The Resident Evil Within

By Rich Stanton on October 23rd, 2014.

Shinji Mikami, the director of The Evil Within (TEW), directed both Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4 when at Capcom. It was always clear from TEW’s title that this in some way marked a return to those roots, but about halfway through I started thinking that someone at Capcom had really pissed Mikami off. This is not just a loose reinvention and homage to Resident Evil, but one that absolutely goes for the throat in the latter stages, offering up parallels so stark the comparison is direct rather than implied. So what’s Shinji saying?

Click to once again enter the world of survival horror.

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The Elitist, Part Two: The Exploratory Romp

By Brendan Caldwell on October 22nd, 2014.

Brendan continues on his journey through space in this series on Elite: Dangerous. This week, he sets out to discover strange new worlds, in search of profit and prestige.

Well, here we are. The rickety, unsanctioned outposts of the Gamma Serpentis system, where dismantled shipwrecks lie opposite a huge skull mural painted, somehow, in Zero G. I’m sitting on landing pad number 1 of the Tepper Relay outpost, brimming with fury. Not because I have been blown up in some ridiculous crash, or because I’ve been mugged by an intergalactic pirate king, but because I have gone all across the starways in search of glory and this — this! — is all I have to show for it. A measly, pathetic, laughable 459 credits and a parking spot in the interstellar equivalent of South Armagh.

Sigh. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. It is possible to do that in the space-age era. (No, I mean you can literally get ahead of yourself, something to do with faster-than-light travel). Let me start from the beginning.

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Skyrim Survival Diary: Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

By Brendan Caldwell on October 22nd, 2014.

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

I found Meeko sitting by the side of the road. He is one of Skyrim’s shaggy, grey wolfhounds that look as old as they do stupid. He saw me, turned around and ran into the thicket. I followed him through the trees, where he led me to a run-down shack. I looked inside and there, lying still and grey on the shed’s single rickety bed, was Meeko’s owner. He was dead. The mongrel looked to me, blinked in the cold and seemed to whine. All right then, I thought, you can follow me. It was a decision I never came to regret. Later on, Meeko killed a lot of people for me.

But more importantly, Meeko kept me warm in Skyrim’s deadly mountain passes. One of the mods I have installed is Frostfall, which gives the player a few extra things to worry about. Exposure can leave you freezing to death, while being wet means you succumb to the cold even faster. You have to keep yourself warm at fires and fill up on hot soups to keep your ‘exposure meter’ from dropping too low. Once, I tried to swim across a small, icy river and before I could get a fire going on the opposite shore I passed out from hypothermia. I woke up in a familiar inn, penniless, frostbitten and with this note in my pocket.

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How To Make Skyrim A Survival Game

By Brendan Caldwell on October 22nd, 2014.

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i) write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

You may have already read my Skyrim survival diary and if not, why not? It sees me struggling to ward off frostbite with wine and adopting the game’s most lovable dog just to keep my feet warm. If you want to plod through the winter wastelands of Tamriel with the same ‘survival mode’ in mind yourself, these are the mods you’ll want to add. Most of them come from a single source, the Nexus modding community. Before you grab them, it is best to have their Nexus Mod Manager installed, as well as something called SKSE. (You will also have to register to join the Nexus community to download these files). Getting all this architecture in place is a minor frustration compared to the improvements you’ll see in the end. It will be worth it when you find yourself freezing to death under a rocky outcrop with no wood to start a fire.

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Dote Night: Dota 322

By Philippa Warr on October 22nd, 2014.

And then there were none

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Dota 2 community this past week you’ve probably seen the number 322 popping up repeatedly. “But why is everyone so interested in a Crystal Palace bus route?” you probably asked yourself. Alas, it’s not a reference to the transport systems of South London. It’s because of a series of match-fixing incidents which have been uncovered in South East Asia and which involve the teams Arrow Gaming, MSI and Mineski.

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Bag For Life: Neo Scavenger Diary #2

By Adam Smith on October 22nd, 2014.

Neo Scavenger is one of the best turn-based RPGs I’ve ever played. Although still in Early Access, it has oodles of content and has received several hefty updates since I first played it. As part of Survival Week, I decided to document a single playthrough of the game. No quicksaves, no restarts, no chance. Here’s how I died.

Part one is here.

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Tunnel Vision: Alien Eyes Sore Jubilation

By Alec Meer on October 22nd, 2014.

Tunnel Vision is a fortnightly series about VR gaming.

In space no-one can hear you no no no do not start an article about an Alien game that way, Meer. You’re better than that, dammit.

Straight to business instead: as mentioned in the last Tunnel Vision, it didn’t take long for folk to work out that a simple ini tweak would reinstate Alien Isolation’s missing Oculus Rift support. I say ‘missing’, but the reality is that it was only ever an experimental mode left in for internal and promotional mucking-about-with.
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Wot I Think: Dreamfall Chapters – Book One

By Adam Smith on October 22nd, 2014.

When you spend so long hoping for the continuation and conclusion of a story that was part of your earlier life, it’s a bittersweet relief to hear that the waiting is finally over. Parting is such sweet sorrow and all that, but it’s beneficial to have some closure. The Longest Journey began a decade and a half ago and Dreamfall Chapters marks the end of that journey.

But not yet. Not quite. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: FarSky

By Alec Meer on October 22nd, 2014.

I came for the shark-stabbing, but I stayed for the underwater potato-farming.
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Eidolon Diary: Diarising Eidolon

By Jack de Quidt on October 21st, 2014.

Eidolon is a beautiful survival game inside which John starved to death on video back in August. We asked Jack de Quidt, writer for The Tall Trees, to live a little longer and write a little more about his experiences with the game.

When you first open up your journal in Eidolon you’re met with wonderful, terrifying blankness. You have no objective. You have no map. You have nothing in your inventory. There are spaces for these things, but they’re utterly empty. One icon in particular drew my attention – a little hand-drawn pencil that opened a tab with a single blinking cursor. I closed my journal. I looked out at the landscape. I opened my journal again.

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Cardboard Children – Dungeon Raiders

By Robert Florence on October 21st, 2014.

Okay, I will show some mercy this week and tell you about a game that isn’t very expensive and is tiny in size. Board games often suffer from being TOO DEAR and TOO BLOOMIN’ BIG, so it’s nice to be able to recommend something that is neither. It’s a game that uses cards to tell the story of a band of adventurers raiding a dungeon. It is called, therefore, ADVENTURER BAND STORY. No, sorry. Actually it’s DUNGEON RAIDERS.

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Wot I Think: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

By Jim Rossignol on October 21st, 2014.

It’s a little tricky to avoid feeling that a review of The Pre-Sequel (!) is superfluous. Surely everyone in the world has had a taste of Borderlands at this point, and have made their minds up about it? This is very much more of that same formula, with zaniness turned up to… What’s that, Steve? You’ve never played a Borderlands game? Wow.

Well then, I’d better explain!

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Field Notes: How Devs Recreate Wilderness In Games

By Mitch Bowman on October 21st, 2014.

Most survival games are set in the great outdoors, and while The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Firewatch aren’t survival games, both have taken interesting steps to present natural wilderness. We asked Mitch Bowman to find out more.

The outward appearance of everything on Earth that wasn’t made by humans is one big accident. It’s the result of a bewilderingly complicated system of interactions between organisms that couldn’t care less how pretty their surroundings are, and the end result isa chaotic mess.

As you might imagine, that makes it pretty tough for environment artists to recreate the corners of the planet that humans haven’t messed with. We understand cities – we know what they’re for, we know why they were designed the way they were, and we probably even have some idea how they were built. Not so with the great outdoors, and that presents an interesting challenge to those attempting to emulate wildernesses in video games.

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