Is Early Access A Good Thing For Players Or Developers?

By RPS on July 31st, 2015.

Early Access games are here to stay, but is that cause for concern or celebration? We gathered to discuss whether early access benefits developers or players in its current state, and how we’d make it better. Along the way, we discussed the best alpha examples, paying for unfinished games, our love of regularly updated mods, Minecraft and the untapped potential of digital stores.

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Have You Played… To The Moon?

By Brendan Caldwell on July 31st, 2015.

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

Truthfully, I don’t remember all the ins and outs of To The Moon’s [official site] lackadaisical storytelling, but perhaps that is funny in itself, considering how important decaying memory is to the tale. But the enduring feeling of the game is one of wistful melancholy. Is “wistful melancholy” a thing? Yes, it is. If RPS was to have a list feature titled “Ten Games Wot Made Us Somewhat Lumpy-Throated”, this game would surely hang within the upper echelons.
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The Flare Path: Perpetually Monitoring

By Tim Stone on July 31st, 2015.

Close Combat was PC wargaming’s Hirō Onoda. Years after his comrades emerged from the jungle with hands raised, the turn-spurning CC engine was still busy patrolling… scouting… soldiering. People like me would periodically point our bullhorns at the undergrowth and urge the old fool campaigner to “Jack it in!”, or at the very least learn some new tactics. Usually he’d reply with wild rifle shots or deluded AI improvement boasts.

Now, thank goodness, the decade-long farce is finally over. Last year Slitherine/Matrix announced that they were retiring Atomic’s ancient code tangle and commencing work on Close Combat: The Bloody First, a new 3D-engined-but-still-top-down successor. There’s been no news of that project since, but, in an intriguing development this week, another developer announced that they too intended to take up the CC torch. Read the rest of this entry »

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

By Jeremy Laird on July 30th, 2015.

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 »

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A Policeman On What Police Games Get Wrong

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell on July 30th, 2015.

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

By Alec Meer on July 30th, 2015.

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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Have You Played… Kerbal Space Program?

By Graham Smith on July 30th, 2015.

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

By Alec Meer on July 30th, 2015.

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

By John Walker on July 30th, 2015.

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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ARK: Survival Evolved – Let’s Play, Part 1

By Andro Dars on July 29th, 2015.

Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] is the survival game du jour, and apparently not without cause. While others have tried to create worlds that combine dinosaurs with the crafting, progression, and violent encounters with other players typical of the genre, ARK’s early access release seems to come the closest to pulling it off. To explore it a little more, we asked Andro Dars to make a video playthrough to show what works and what doesn’t. Part one is below.

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Wot I Think: The Swindle

By Adam Smith on July 29th, 2015.

Steampunk London-town heist caper The Swindle [official site] should feel comfortable in the shadows. It’s a sneak ‘em up, with gadgets, set in self-contained randomised levels full of robotic guards, fatal falls and explosive traps. There are also clanking great computers that a skilled hacker can siphon cash out of and piles of cash. All of these elements are scattered willy-nilly around the interiors of the various slums, factories and warehouses you’ll guide your endless supply of miscreants through. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Victor Vran

By John Walker on July 29th, 2015.

Out of Early Access and in a full release, action RPG Victor Vran [official site] is big diversion for Tropico developers Haemimont Games. But is it a successful one? Here’s wot I think:

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Have You Played… Digital: A Love Story?

By Brendan Caldwell on July 29th, 2015.

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

There’s a moment in Digital: A Love Story [official site] when your (in-game) computer starts to crackle. Lines of pixels run across your screen and obscure your view. You’re under attack! Your attacker has manipulated a vulnerability in your system. But… didn’t you upgrade? Didn’t you patch this very vulnerability? Why hasn’t the upgrade been applied? That’s when you realise there’s a simple solution to your hacker problem: turning it off and on again.
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