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November 2019 Humble Monthly Overview

Gaming article by Luigi Savinelli on Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 11:00
Feature

A Jump in the Past

Along with all of the good that Humble Bundle already brings to the table, they additionally offer players the chance to snatch up a medley of video games for a whopping $12 the first Friday of every month by becoming a subscriber. Varying from popular titles to indie games you’ve probably never heard of, Humble Monthly generates a diverse curated bundle to help establish the most paramount game libraries. In addition, every subscriber automatically receives 10% off titles in the Humble Store. You can’t beat the facts, folks—that’s one heck of a deal.

This month's Humble Monthly will have everyone either rediscover something awesome from their childhood or be introduced to something they're too young to have experienced. November's gaming loot includes a couple of personal favorites from the old times and a few others which I rediscovered with pleasure. Spyro and Crash need no introductions to most, but many of the younger generations didn't have the chance to experience the adventures that started it all. On the same note, there are whippersnappers here that never experienced D-Day in a Call of Duty game or felt the sense of wonder when playing in one of the first open-world games to ever be made in Shenmue. This month's Humble Monthly is here to remind us of this medium's roots.

 

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

One of my fondest memories about video games is about trying to finish Crash Bandicoot 2—that I got on loan from a friend—on my old PlayStation without a memory card. It involved an entire weekend of non-stop play and somehow preventing the entire family from turning off the console accidentally. Since I managed to collect the final crystal and defeat the final boss, the Crash series became one of my favorites. Since that day, I never played Crash 2 again (I played the hell out of Crash 3 though), and now, 22 years later, I am able to revisit those memories.

The three games in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy feel exactly how they did when I was just a kid, but look so much better. The gameplay, while simplistic for today’s standards, still holds up two decades later. The levels are still challenging, and I still hate the ones where you run towards the camera with a passion. Despite that, the games are a ton of fun, the stages look awesome, and, in general, I very much enjoyed this dive in the past.

 

Yay or Nay?

If you had a PlayStation in the '90s, chances are you played at least one of these. The Crash trilogy is still as good as it used to, and all titles play very well. If you’re too young for having played them back then, this will be a treat.

Read our review of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy here.

 

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy

This one goes toe to toe with the Crash trilogy, as it’s another remaster of a mascot platformer from the late '90s and early '00s. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage is probably the first (and one of the few) games I ever 100%'d. Just like its Bandicoot colleague, Spyro, the other characters, and the world surrounding them benefited greatly from the new coat of paint in the Reignited Trilogy. The world is vibrant and colorful, and the gameplay is as fun as I remembered with a good amount of challenging parts and worlds to explore.

Spyro plays very differently than Crash, and for this reason, it’s more than just “another platformer." The range of movement and 3D exploration resulting from the gliding mechanic and the charging creates a wildly different gameplay experience than other games of the same genre.

Yay or Nay?

Spyro the Dragon was a joy for the eyes back then, and with the remaster, even more so. It plays very well despite being basically an old game. On a personal note, thank God that they dropped the hideous Skylander character design for my favorite little dragon.

Read our review of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy here.

 

Call of Duty: WWII

The Call of Duty franchise at this point has entries in most time periods with firearms more complex than a musket, going from the past to the future. The roots of the series, however, are still very anchored to the World War 2 conflict, with the original and the first two numbered sequels set in time. It’s been a while since CoD went back to its roots.

With Call of Duty: WWII, the game revisits the conflict that started the franchise. For those like me that played the original games, this is a welcome return to the past. Of course, replaying the D-Day can never feel as epic as in CoD 2 as the event has been included in many games since, but it still holds its charm.

Yay or Nay?

Call of Duty: WWII will have many old players reminisce of the old days of gaming. Nostalgia aside, it’s your average CoD. Pretty entertaining online, and it has a good single-player campaign.

Read our review of Call of Duty: WWII here.

 

Shenmue I&II

Shenmue is a title that is considered historical by many gamers. Personally, I never had a chance to play it back in the day, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to do so with this month’s Humble Monthly. The game follows our main character Ryo, who is investigating the murder of his father in order to avenge him. Following the trail of his father’s murderer, Ryo finds himself digging deeper and deeper in the criminal underworld, between martial arts fights and dart games.

Even though mechanically the game doesn’t hold up to modern-day standards, Shenmue should be played by everyone even if just for historical reasons. It’s one of the first 3D open-world games (did it even before GTA III) and the first appearance of quick-time events. Retro-gaming love aside, Shenmue is worth to be played even just for its beautiful world. There is care in this game, and it can be seen in every character, secondary or not, and it features a beautiful and well-narrated story.

Yay or Nay?

Even many years later, the sheer ambition of this game is evident. The visuals were top-notch for the time and the open-world formula was still a novelty. With the third and conclusive chapter now out, this is a great way to catch up.

11-11: Memories Retold

Now it’s the turn for a deeply emotional game. 11-11: Memories Retold tells the story of two soldiers on the opposite sides of the World War 1 battlefront who find themselves in the conflict for very different reasons.

Harry is a Canadian photographer that joins the military hoping to return to the homeland with glory in order to make his beloved fall in love with him. Kurt is a German father that decides to depart to the battlefield to search for his son, whose unit is dispersed. The game follows the story of both men, featuring a visual style that reminds people of old paintings.

While the game is mostly narration, there are some gameplay elements. Harry is a photographer, and the levels are littered with photo opportunities that he can take. Kurt loves to write letters back home, and he can fill them with details he discovers overhearing conversations or exploring the environment.

Yay or Nay?

11-11: Memories Retold is an emotional little story that at times leaves the player speechless. Considering it involves talents like Elijah Wood (voice of Harry), Sebastian Koch (voice of Kurt), and a score curated by Olivier Deriviere, it’s quite easy to remain enchanted by this tale.

Synthetik

After some methodical and slow-paced narrative gameplay, let’s wreak some havoc. Synthetik is a fast-paced top-down shooter with roguelite elements that is really easy to pick up and play, but it also offers a good amount of customization and replayability.

Synthetik gives to players several classes to choose from, each with their own particular skills and strategies, and each one can be leveled up independently. The enormous amount of unlockable weapons and equipment of various rarity allows for the creation of an incredible amount of possible loadouts.

The game plays like a classic top-down shooter, with maps to explore and clear in order to access the next one. The shooting honestly feels great, and each weapon behaves differently enough that you can’t rely on a single strategy all the time, keeping the player on their toes.

Yay or Nay?

Synthetik is a simple shooter that offers a lot of replayability value and genuinely engaging gameplay. Many hours are to be spent here.

Evergarden

Evergarden is a game about peace of mind. The soothing music and pleasing-to-the-eye low poly visual style make this little puzzle game extremely relaxing while still being quite challenging.

The player will be tasked to tend a little garden starting from a selection of small plants. The goal of the game is to spread the plants to all the available tiles in order to combine flowers with the same number of leaves to create flowers with an additional leaf. The player has a limited number of turns to combine more plants as possible and gather as many points as possible.

Combining two plants to the maximum tier (two six-leaf plants) will grant the player a stone that can be used to unlock songs. These songs grant special powers like the possibility to save a plant for the next level or the removal of all the pests in the garden.

Yay or Nay?

Evergarden is a relaxing little game with just enough challenge sprinkled on it to keep you entertained as you drag little flowers around. Additionally, Fen the animal spirit is too darn cute.

Operator

This month’s Humble Original will put you in a hacker’s shoes. Or hoodie. You know what I mean.

Operator is a game about infiltrating the network of a company in order to retrieve dangerous and secret information. Your only weapon is a command-line terminal and a few commands. The gameplay revolves around exploiting the limited information at your disposal in order to uncover the next piece of the puzzle.

You start by getting access to a phone. Inside the notes, you find the password for the internal network. From there, you’re able to access the cameras and the keypads. You can use the cameras to zoom onto paper sheets on desks to retrieve information like phone numbers or computer IDs (don’t leave your passwords on post-its, folks).

Yay or Nay?

Operator is a pretty short game but a really engaging one. Looking for clues on how to proceed in the game while at the same time learning about the lives of the people whose devices I was violating proved to be really interesting. The controls for the drone were pretty bad, but it’s venial sin.


Whether you are a 30-something gamer or a bit younger, this month's Humble Monthly will be a treat. Spyro and Crash are games that are as enjoyable now as they were in the '90s, and Shenmue is definitely a piece of history that is worth revisiting, especially now that the third game is a reality.

Disclosure: Humble Bundle works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from links in this article.

About the Author

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Luigi Savinelli

Writer

Gamer since I can remember and now writer for your enjoyment. Can't say more. Those games will not play themselves