To 4K Or Not 4K? The Pros & Cons Of Ultra-HD Gaming

With Laird Towers currently undergoing major renovations, RPS’s hardware coverage has been forced to retreat to the vaults. But that hasn’t stopped me. No, I’ve battled through the dust, the rubble, the builders lumbering about the place at ungodly hours of the morning (I regard consciousness before 9:30am as rather uncivilised) and the relentless tea-making to bring you some reflections on 4K gaming. We’ve covered several interesting alternatives to 4K of late including curved super-wide monitors, high refresh rates, IPS panels and frame synced screens. So does that experience put a new spin on plain old 4K, aka gaming at a resolution of 3,840×2160? Read the rest of this entry »

Clowning Around: Dropsy Dropping By In September

“OMG” cried our John, showing a new trailer for Dropsy [official site] around the RPS treehouse. For those of you not fluent in middle-aged dad, I’ll translate. I believe he was trying to say “This upcoming adventure game looks funny and trippy and a bit gross and I really dig it but I’m a bit afraid of clowns and don’t want to look at Dropsy’s maw any longer and I don’t like writing news posts, so if someone does like writing news and isn’t afraid of baggy trousers would like to…?”

Hi there.

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Going Going Gone: Race The Sun Is Free For One Day

Zoom zoom.

That there Race the Sun [official site] is a fine game. You skim across abstract landscapes in a solar-powered vehicle, trying desperately to outrun the impending sunset while not smashing into the odd architecture like a ruddy great fool. It’s fast and exciting. I’d recommend you pay money for it, and I’ll certainly recommend you snag it for free.

To celebration the launch of an iOS version (and its new chillout DLC on PC), developers Fippfly have made Race the Sun free for one day. Head on over to Steam to nab it and it’ll be yours forever.

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A Policeman On What Police Games Get Wrong

If you played Ryse: Son of Rome you may remember it for the serviceably clangy combat. My friend “Jack”, a police officer from northern England of several years standing, recalls the game for other reasons. “There are those bits where you join a shield wall – you’re in a tortoise formation. There are public order situations that are like that. Most officers in Yorkshire get riot training, because of the riots in Bradford. And that sense in Ryse of having all your colleagues alongside, you’re all behind your shields, getting pelted with stuff, there are flames going off everywhere and you’ve got your enemies in front of you… That’s real! That happens.”

City riots are, he adds, scenarios that could be “great” in a third-person action game – our wide-ranging conversation is rife with jarring transitions of this sort, where talk of broken bones and drug dealing flips over abruptly into talk of reward mechanics and hardware specs. “Certainly with the advances in technology, the latest consoles and PCs could cope very easily with the amount of animation required, the particle stuff like smoke, all the crap that comes up off the floor, people getting hurt all around you. It’s like that and it’s scary.”

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Wot I Think: Blues and Bullets

Blues and Bullets is an episodic adventure game in the vein of Telltale’s Walking Dead series, and documents the Untouchables’ Eliot Ness alt-reality, post-retirement involvement in a spate of disappearances and murders which seem to involve his old nemesis Al Capone. The first instalment is out now.

Blues and Bullets is a fan of everything. In one scene, it’s preoccupied with grisly cultist murders which evoke True Detective’s Yellow King. Then there’s a bit about a retired Eliott Ness running a burger bar and discussing Blueberry Pie recipes. Then there’s a huge, preposterous gangster shootout which has more than a touch of Max Payne to it. Then it’s a visit to an impossibly decadent, alt-history Hindenberg that’s so heavily Bioshock-inspired that it’s even owned by an A. Ryan. Then it’s a sort of James Bond introduction sequence featuring a monochrome gunfight set amid giant typography. Then it’s an odd couple comedy. Then it’s the gruesome evidence-combing of LA Noire. There’s a monster, a giant submarine and a knife fight with a masked maniac in there too.

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Endless Space 2 Announced, First Trailer Released

Endless Space was a fine 4X strategy game with interesting, distinct races and a best-in-class interface. Then Amplitude Studios’ follow-up was Endless Legend, a fantasy 4X game set within the same universe which was best-in-class in general. In fact, we named it the best game of 2014.

So pardon my excitement for the news that Amplitude are now making Endless Space 2 [official site] and have released the first CG trailer.

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Have You Played… Kerbal Space Program?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Most films and books about actual human space exploration are about triumph. There are challenges and accidents along the way, but they’re stories of humans overcoming incredible odds in the noble pursuit of knowledge and exploration. Kerbal Space Program [official site] is different because it’s a game about the failures along the way, rather than the success that comes at the end.

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Windows 10 Is Spying On You: Here’s How To Stop It

Windows 10‘s privacy settings very much need to be frowned at. Essentially: unless you pay close attention to the fluffy options offered when you first install Microsoft’s new operating system, it’s going to quietly track your behaviour and use it to fire targeted ads at you, as well as keeping tabs on your location history, data from messages, calendars, contacts and God knows what else. It is a bit scary, despite coming off the back of Microsoft’s own pledge to offer ‘real transparency’. You may or may not be OK with this yourself, but in any event at least some of this stuff can be turned off after the fact. I’ll explain how to do that below.

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Ten Minutes Of Waaagh: Total War – Warhammer In-Game Footage

Here it is then – the first footage of an actual war in Total War: Warhammer [official site]. It looks more or less how I’d imagine Total War with fantasy units would look and that is a good thing. The developer commentary does a good job explaining how certain aspects will work. Flying units, giant units and spells in particular. Speaking of spells, the Foot of Gork stomps down onto the battlefield in the video. I remember the cardboard template for it being my favourite Warhammer Fantasy accessory.

Word of warning: there’s a horrid giant spider.

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Wot I Think: King’s Quest Ch. 1 – A Knight To Remember

Oh wow.

I really had no idea what to expect of the return of King’s Quest [official site]. The original series were mostly terrible, twee and poorly constructed adventure games, but it had its moments, and certainly found its place in nostalgia. The news of its return after a few abortive efforts seemed like it could bode well, especially with The Odd Gentlemen (PB Winterbottom) behind the wheel. Trailers were confusing, not making it clear if it was an adventure game, platformer, third-person somethinger. But I waited to see. Here’s wot I think:

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Where Babies Come From: Deabirth – Real

“The experience of an event begins for its audience when they first hear about it and only finishes when they stop thinking and talking about it,” says Tassos Stevens of interactive theatre gang Coney. I dig that. Many small games I like are big on that extended experience.

I suspect the best way to first hear about Deabirth – Real is to spot this freaky animated gif while looking through new releases on Itch and notice the game’s made by someone named LOVE MERCHANT DEAD GHOST (their capitalisation). Eagerly click on through to its Itch page and enjoy the fine description there. Then download it – it’s free – and oh gosh definitely read its readme file. If you read on through to the rest of this post, you’re only spoiling your own fun.

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The Iconoclasts Still A Stunning Action Platformer

The Iconoclasts [official site] is coming, The Iconoclasts is coming! After a years-long development period, one-person creator Joakim “Konjak” Sandberg has partnered with studio Bifrost Entertainment to finish the action-platformer. Their work has already borne fruit in the form of a new trailer below – the first, I think, since 2012.

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Free To Planeswalk: Magic Duels Released

After the stonking success of Hearthstone and other free-to-play collectible card games, it was inevitable that Magic: The Gathering would follow suit (this pun was unintentional, but I’m leaving it in). Magic may be head honch of the cardboard scene, but its offerings on virtual tabletops have been relatively disappointing. The Duels of the Planeswalkers games only added proper deckbuilding – a huge draw of Magic, for me at least – in its fifth revision, for goodness’ sake.

Magic Duels [official site] continues on from DotP and turns it free-to-play, and… seems to be a good direction for the series? It launched last night, available on Steam.

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