Nice to see Minecraft getting the love. Not my particular cup of tea, but I think it really fills that niche carved by a childhood filled with upturned boxes of Lego and going for broke on a creative surge of construction. I do love simply carving elaborate tunnels through the Earth like I’m rescuing Chilean miners, though. If only other indie titles across the board had as wonderful a success story as Minecraft.

Finished up Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, in co-op. It was brilliant, the length perfect for co-op on hard, perhaps the best attention to detail this year in terms of level design. I foresee the resident curmudgeon-in-waiting @bowlisimo snickering and rolling orbs in ocular sockets, and indeed it won’t make any new friends. But the sound and level design is top-notch. My limited time in Shanghai was refreshed in the memory banks by this one. The grime, the conveyance of the summer heat and all the stench and smog it brings with it. From the seedy outer-industrial estates to the overbearing choke of back alleys, clogged with detritus and garbage; from the glorious rendering (Io Interactive do this SO well!) of an airport apron – replete with taxiing 747s – to the grotesque decadence of a corrupt party official’s business lodgings, it’s a feast of the senses. The shooting is much tighter than the first game, but it’s still not what the Uncharted folk would be interested in. The narrative isn’t as grand as Dead Men, but it’s going for a more “slice of the moment” experience, one that simply charts the two protagonists as everything falls apart for them once again and they must do what they have to in order to get the hell out of Shanghai.

If you pick it up, put it on hard, grab a friend and get going.

A quick word on RUSE if anyone is interested. Will soon have the Move controller rocking up on my door, but for the time being, it’s been the standard controller. Whether it’s on PC or the consoles, no doubt – like Master M. Minotti stated on the recent EBP – it’s a tough gig when you release in the same year as Starcraft 2 and Civ V. However, so far it’s so far removed from those two heavyweights that any sort of “but why would you need anything else in the genre?” jab holds little water, if any. Definitely a title that is easy to get into for newcomers but deep enough to satisfy the veterans. Also, probably one of the very few games that the “you need to play it – and maybe play it multiplayer” to see what Eugen were going for in terms of gameplay. It doesn’t kick you in the jewels within the first few minutes of gameplay, there’s no fog of war per se but, again, what you see might not be what you find kampfgruppen moving upon.

So, if you’re looking for a much more relaxed poker-like RTS without having to buy into the “hardcore time investment” image, something I feel is a paradigm built around Starcraft in the interum between Brood War and the sequel, then a hearty recommendation for this one.