Good Game Reads 6 - February 17th 2017

This past weekend I spent less time than I would have liked with the For Honor beta, and that's a good thing. With most of these spans of free game time, I've had my fill by the time the clock runs out. Not so with Ubisoft's mashup of blade swingers. All the video I had seen up to the beta implied a tense yet simple dueling system consisting of: block your enemy in the same direction they are attacking, counter-attack, and if you can throw them off something do it because it's hilarious.

When I first got into the game I was overwhelmed and initially disappointed by the huge number of mechanics. For Honor is actually closer to a fighting game in 3 dimensions. Quick attack, strong attack, combos, parries, guardbreaks, dodges. Then there's the meta. Gear with status effects, including the guard on your sword. Depending on which faction you choose, you can dump points earned from winning into a persistent land war taking place in the muliplayer menu. It's...a lot.

I'm here to tell you to forget all that. Use the practice modes to learn how to guard and memorize the moveset of your chosen character. Then get in a game, find a player, and destroy them with an unblockable hit at the end of a perfectly executed chain. Also, maybe choose the Conqueror. Just trust me.

The Quest for the First FDA-Approved Video Game
You've probably heard of at least one game that claims to "train" your brain, improve memory, or even treat a neurological disorder. This is the story of a man who set out to the make the first game that is clinically proven to slow or reverse cognitive decline. Spoiler: He's really close.
Asi Burak

A year in Stardew Valley: life, labour and love
Stardew Valley was one of my favorite games last year. I found it to be a reliable and relaxing way to earn a small sense of accomplishment at the end of a long day. While I used it as an escape, Paul Dean was finding parallels to his daily life. He weaves the two together brilliantly in this piece.
Paul Dean

How 'NieR' was brought back from the dead
I had never hear of Nier before seeing gameplay of its upcoming sequel, Automata. The speedy combat and bizarre looking enemies caught my attention, and seems to have done the same for others. In this article the game's director talks about how he got the sequel made and how it confronts players' relationships with killing.
Nick Summers

Coming to Video Games Near You: Depressed Towns, Dead-End Characters
Towns and people left behind by a changing economy might not seem like prime material for video games. Laura Hudson talks to developers who are trying to address this unconventional subject matter, and why it's important.
Laura Hudson

Something In the Water: My Nightmare of ‘Ecco the Dolphin’
If you had told me at the beginning of this week that I would read something about a terrifying childhood experience with Ecco the Dolphin that would make me laught out loud, I would have said "...yeah that makes sense." Also, "gimme gimme gimme".
Andy McDonald