Author Archive

Journeys In Games: Let’s Talk About Fast Travel

By Brendan Caldwell on June 26th, 2015.

I first noticed the feeling when I stopped at an inn. They had a roaring fire, plenty of food and wine, and there was a dog lying at my feet. Skyrim had never felt more welcoming. I was replaying the game with some mods installed. One mod took away all the dragonborn stuff and left me starting as a simple bandit schmuck. Another mod made the world of Skyrim cold and harsh to survive in, so I had to light fires to keep myself warm and make sure I didn’t fall into any water lest I catch my literal hypothermic death. But one of these mods had a side option, which was to turn fast travel off. On a whim, I did. It was only days later, in the warm glow of this inn that the feeling began to come over me. And I realised something. Something that all my gaming life I’d never even thought about.

I HATE fast travel. Let me tell you why.

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Wot I Think: Kerbal Space Program

By Brendan Caldwell on May 13th, 2015.

Kerbal Space Program [official site] is a game about exploration, vehicular design and physics. It involves triumph and tragedy, careful meticulous planning and improvised catastrophe. We asked Brendan to suit up and go forth, in the name of science.

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Wot I Think: Infinite Crisis

By Brendan Caldwell on April 2nd, 2015.

My first few hours with Infinite Crisis [official site] convince me it is a terrible game. But I persevere, thinking that part of my dislike may have to do with my lack of skill. Following a particularly bad defeat a teammate collars me in the post-match chat window. “Bredy,” they say, using the username I had misspelled on signing up. “Uninstall this game.”

It was the worst (best) post-game put-down I have ever received. “Uninstall this game.” No anger, no frustration. Just a resigned sigh of a comment, communicating nothing but the undeniable fact of my awfulness. “Uninstall this game.” Sadly, the poo-slinger disappeared shortly afterwards. I had no time to reply and tell them that I already dreadfully, desperately wanted to.

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Job Seeking: An Elite Dangerous Career Guide

By Brendan Caldwell on March 16th, 2015.

A career! Everybody has one. Mine is looking at a keyboard until I black out and coming back to consciousness with 4000 words on my screen about how to get started in Elite: Dangerous [official site]. This guide will give you some pointers about the main careers you can undertake in the game, from vigilante to explorer, from trader to (ugh) miner. We’re basically an interstellar jobcentre. One thing: you’re probably going to want some cash saved for these callings, as outfitting each ship is going to cost a pretty penny, and some of those pennies will be prettier than others. Okay then, let’s get on with it.

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Attention Rookies: Getting Started In Elite Dangerous

By Brendan Caldwell on March 2nd, 2015.

This is our guide for absolute beginners. For more detailed advice on a particular space career, look out for our upcoming Careers and Resource Guides.

It may have its flaws but even as undercooked as it is, Elite: Dangerous [official site] still has enough going on that makes it both interesting and difficult to find your feet in the vast galaxy. Trading, bounty hunting, even learning to pilot your ship takes patience and a bit of experimentation. To make things easier as you scrounge together your first few thousand credits (and in anticipation of the upcoming 1.2 update which will finally add useful multiplayer groups), RPS has recruited me to hand out some tips and tricks to get you on your way. So strap in, Commander, and trust in some advice from a man who has learned it the hard way.

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Hands On: Battlefield Hardline

By Brendan Caldwell on February 2nd, 2015.

After a mixed reaction to the beta, including from our own Graham, Battlefield Hardline [official site] is looking to prove that it isn’t simply a reskin of Battlefield 4 with policemen instead of soldiermen. In many ways, it looks like it is going to have trouble shaking that assumption. But in one particular way (a single game mode called Hotwire), it is going to come out fighting. I visited EA to take a look.

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Wot I Think – Elite: Dangerous

By Brendan Caldwell on January 15th, 2015.

Elite: Dangerous is a big game. It is big because it offers an uncharted galaxy of 400 billion stars to roam around. It is big because its bloodline comes from of one of gaming’s most respected sims. And it is big because it has the ambition of an interstellar Macbeth, backed by over £1.5 million in crowdfunding cash. When Pip asked me in her audio feature what I thought of the game, I responded: “I don’t envy the person who has to review it.” As it turns out, that’s me. So here we go. A big review for a big game. Here’s Wot I Think.

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Party Games: How To Host Your Own Multiplayer Party

By Brendan Caldwell on January 7th, 2015.

Every month, we dispatch Brendan to some of gaming’s best blowouts to schmooze and play games with the partygoers. In part four, some lessons for holding your own shindig.

We’ve been covering a lot of party games at different events over the past few months but what if you don’t want to go out? Let’s say you prefer to sit in your cosy house and have pals over instead. Picture the scene. You’re sipping on a spicy bourbon next to a nice warm fire with a few special friends, enjoying the flow of easy-going conversation and, wait, now that you think about it, you don’t have a fireplace. FIRE. FIRE. SOMEBODY PUT OUT THE FIRE. See, it’s not so easy, is it?

What you want is some sort of RPS guide to party-making, based on our own recent experience. So here you go: how to host your own party without suffering deadly immolation.

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Party Games: Do Cocktails And Videogames Mix?

By Brendan Caldwell on December 12th, 2014.

Every month, we dispatch Brendan to some of gaming’s best blowouts to schmooze and play party games with the partygoers. This is part three.

Loading Bar (aka Scenario) is a videogame-themed bar in London that hosts gigs, games and parties. As well as having a cushy basement filled with screens and games consoles, it regularly welcomes groups of Smash Bros devotees or Netrunner fans to take part in friendly tournaments. It also hosts a local multiplayer night called Multiclash, where developers can show off their party games. All this while serving up colourful cocktails with names like “Earthworm Gin” and “Rum: Total War”. Obviously, with all this going on, RPS needed somebody to investigate.

When I arrive at the bar, located deep in the city’s hipster underbelly of Stoke Newington, there are about five games on show. It is probably best to go through them one by one, giving each its due attention. But before that, a trip to the bar staff is in order. As the night wears on, I find that the cocktails being served to me have become (mostly) synchronised to the games, each a little alcoholic companion that would last only until I finished murdering that wretched blue swordsman in Samurai Gunn, or outpacing that dastardly unicorn in Speedrunners. For the most part, they were pretty damn good. As such, it would only be fair to rate the cocktails as accompaniments alongside the games. What games, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at what we played.

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Diary: Seven Days Of Dying In 7 Days To Die

By Brendan Caldwell on November 27th, 2014.

I am wandering down an empty road in a snowy, forested landscape and rustling through every pile of rubbish I see discarded in the gutter. Behind me, in the distance, I can still hear the groans. When I started playing 7 Days To Die, I was sceptical. The crudeness of the graphics and the presentation in the trailer suggest some kind of rough hewn Minecraft clone, a bargain bucket DayZ. But one (in-game) week into this blocky zombie apocalypse and I am thoroughly enjoying myself, finding the game still has lots to offer. Years of videogames should have taught me by now that visual quality means nothing when it comes to how the thing actually plays. As the old saying goes: “You should never judge a procedurally-generated doomsday scenario with extensive crafting mechanics by its cover.”

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The Elitist, Part Five: Hunting Dogs

By Brendan Caldwell on November 19th, 2014.

Brendan continues his life as space misfit in our Elite Dangerous Diary. In this final entry, he finds himself settling down among the stars with a steady delivery job. But how long can the simple life last?

There she is, the Asp Explorer. A gargantuan beast of a spaceship, she is able to blast every wannabe outlaw out of the sky and still jump 10 lightyears to drop off one-hundred tonnes of coffee to some jittery, caffeine-starved miners two systems away. Able to function both as a military vehicle and a civilian transport, she is the interstellar equivalent of a Land Rover. Standard fittings include multi-cannons, heat sinks, point defence turrets. Average engine mass of 500 tonnes, power usage threshold of 17.00mw. She is wonderful. I watch as the Asp veers over my head, out of the docking bay and into the black beyond. The Asp is not my ship. No. This is my ship…

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The Elitist, Part Four: Spacer, Miner, Robber, Jerk

By Brendan Caldwell on November 12th, 2014.

Brendan’s misadventures in deep space continue in our Elite: Dangerous diary. This week, he tries out the new features of Elite’s Beta 3.0.

I was lounging in Alison City station listening to to the Lauren Laverne show when the call came in. I say “when the call came in” to give you the image of a space rat in his natural habitat, feet up on the sensor monitor, drinking spiced wine and flicking the dust off the thruster in boredom until his screen lights up with “INCOMING MESSAGE” and he dives for the comms panel. What I really mean is: “when the bulletin board lit up”. The bulletin board marks all the jobs in Elite’s many space stations. My eyes fell from one job to the other – dead, fed-up eyes – then faltered and stopped as they saw a plain-looking advert marked “Light cargo transports required”.

I slouched closer to the screen, utilising the powerful hunch that would inevitably give me repetitive strain injury. This can’t be right, I thought. 174,000 credits for one job? That’s crazy. I’d be lucky to get 20,000 for a single gig. I clicked on the ad. The orders: take 18 tonnes of gold to Foucault Landing. Good lord, is that all? I instantly accepted the job and smiled an obnoxious, greedy smile. Then I looked at my mission screen. That’s where I saw the catch.

I had 14 minutes to get there.

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Party Games: Dog Park And GameCity’s Grand Finale

By Brendan Caldwell on November 4th, 2014.

Every month, we dispatch Brendan to some of gaming’s best blowouts to schmooze and play party games with the partygoers. This week, he visits GameCity, pretends to be a dog, and listens to some spoken word performances about games.

It’s Saturday night and I’m standing in one of Nottingham’s oldest pubs, where a Tekken 3 arcade cabinet is blinking in front of me. Two of the bar’s regulars have just challenged me to a game. My opponent picks Jin out of the line-up, his favourite character. Meanwhile, his friend explains something to me – this cabinet has something of a personality. The joystick on the Player 2 side does not recognise ‘up’ or ‘down’ commands. But because this pair are always here, always playing this machine, they will let me use the Player 1 controls, effectively handicapping themselves. I put my drink down on the game’s bonnet and prepare myself. The time is approximately 1am. I have selected Law.

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