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December 14th, 2015

Generational shift

There's a ton of stuff going on right now, both in and out of TAGAP development, so this will be a relatively short update. But there will be another update incoming this holiday season as part of our now-traditional Penguin DT Holiday Season Goodie Pack – stay tuned, it'll be great!

What am I working on now?

Well, the vehicle stuff is (mostly) behind us now. There's still one player-driven vehicle I haven't created a level for, so we're not completely done with them yet, but for now it's time to work on something else. And 'something else' is a new boss fight. I won't go into too much detail since we're talking about a very-late-game scene here, but rest assured it'll be something cheeky and filled with crazy amount of detail.

Another thing I'm working on, every time I need a diversion from the detail-overkill of the boss mentioned above, is our Holiday Season update. While we don't have a new trailer for you this time, we are going to do a new character reveal – with blog posts, wallpapers and everything!

Backlog adventures

In case you are new to our blog features, Backlog adventures is a spot where I highlight some of the games I've come across in my lengthier-than-lengthy backlog of previous generation titles. I've always maintained that in order to make games, you need to play them, preferably with a broad scope when it comes to genres, so each day I dedicate at least an hour to my backlog. The rest of the free time? There is no such thing, it all belongs to TAGAP!

So, this will be the last 'previous generation backlog' posts for a while. Not because I managed to complete all the games on the list – there are still a handful left – but because my move to next-gen is imminent. Or at least I hope so; I was supposed to get my PlayStation 4 last week but apparently the delivery company Matkahuolto lost the package into a void. Still, even if Matkahuolto manages to find the package soon, it doesn't mean that I'm done with 'backlogging'. These systems have been out for two years now and I have plenty of bargain bin discoveries to go through.

But that's in the near future, let's now take a dive into the games I've completed in the interim. The biggest chunk between this and last update I've spent re-playing id Software's RAGE for 4th or 5th time. See, all these years I've been using a CRT TV for my consoles; The almost zero input lag and rich-as-life colours simply appealed me more than a HD resolution. Seriously, apart from few games having eye-squintingly tiny fonts that were tough to impossible to read, I was very happy with my Panasonic Widescreen CRT TV.

However, that TV didn't have HDMI inputs, so I needed to get a new screen just for the PS4 upgrade. And to put the new Samsung screen through its paces, I went with RAGE. Not only is it one of the best looking games last generation, but it also runs at 60 FPS and has insanely fast combat, both elements great for testing the TV performance. Plus I can never get enough of some id Software first-person-shooting!

As for other games, two of them jumped out; The Lego Movie and Of Orcs and Men.

The Lego Movie game really needs no introduction, now does it? It's a Travellers Tales Lego game and it's based on the absolutely delightful The Lego Movie. Seriously, I can't recommend that film enough; From the movies I've seen this year, I can't tell which I love more – The Lego Movie or Mad Max: Fury Road. Just like the film, the game is an epic brand smash-up and an ode to creativity – even if it is by now triumphed by the even grander Lego Dimensions.

Of Orcs and Men was an interesting ride as well. It's a role playing game from Spiders – the folks behind another RPG I've recently praised, Mars: War Logs. It sort of turns the classic RPG fantasy clichés upside down: Orcs are basically the good guys while the human kingdom is viewed as a bunch of religiously oppressive, racist arse-hats. You play as a warrior orc Arkail and as a goblin assassin Styx – both great characters – trying to prevent humans from forming alliance that could wipe out the orc-kind for good.

Much like Mars: War Logs, Of Orcs and Men has some really rough edges but it has so much unique charm and an interesting world to explore that I wasn't able to resist falling in love with it. Apparently there is a sequel for PS4 focusing on the foul-mouthed assassin goblin Styx and I definitely want to give that a go now. If you don't mind some really rough edges, like your RPGs with interesting characters and want to experience different takes on fantasy tropes, then I can strongly recommend Of Orcs and Men.

So, I guess that's it for now. Next time you're hearing from us on this blog, it'll be in form a character introduction blog post during the holidays. I promise I'll wedge myself away from the Doctor Who levels of Lego Dimensions long enough to get the holiday goodie bag together!

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin