The RPS Bargain: S Dot T Dot A Dot And So On

By Cassandra Khaw on July 25th, 2015.

The best game deals can be hard to find on your own, popping up as they do on obscure sites and often vanishing hours later. That’s what the Bargain Bucket is for – to round up the week’s sales in case your short on money and high on desire to play something new.

This week’s plushie diaroma is from Welverin. Well, damn.

Read the rest of this entry »

, .

15 Comments »

Galaxies, Wrenches And Disclosures: Gunpoint Creator Tom Francis’ Heat Signature

By Alec Meer on July 24th, 2015.

Heat Signature [official site] is an action/stealth game in which you can go inside the spaceships, from the team behind Gunpoint. I played a recent build last week and spoke to its lead designer Tom Francis about how how it’s grown into a game of factional war, if it can ever be finished, comedy wrench KOs and the awkwardness of journalists covering ex-journalists’ games. By which I mean: disclaimer – I used to work at the same magazine company as Tom, and we socialised on occasion.

Heat Signature’s pratfalls-in-space concepts were a giggle already, but the scope has expanded dramatically since the first time I saw it, less than a year ago. It’s becoming Galactic Civilizations as well as this sort of high-speed, outer space heist game. Gunpoint’s use of physics as both freeform puzzle and source of Three Stooges comedy ethos is very clearly in there, as is a shared determination to ensure the player is doing their own thing in any given second of the game, but as well as stealing procedurally-generated spaceships you now get to play galactic factions against each other in a persistent universe. This wasn’t the original plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

27 Comments »

An Anthropological Jaunt Through Ark: Survival Evolved

By Brendan Caldwell on July 24th, 2015.

A tree fell in the distance, lumberjack style, and I knew I would have to investigate. A second tree fell as I approached, then a third. By the time the man in red armour turned and saw me, I had already resolved to die in whatever mundane or horrible fashion he deemed appropriate. Hours of DayZ and Rust had instilled in me an understanding of survival gaming’s harsh realities. Yet, for some reason, all that time spent respawning had never eroded my essential curiousity for the human beings who inhabit these deadly environments. I said hello to the man in red. He held his axe aloft for a moment and stood eerily still. “Hello,” he said. Then he did something entirely unexpected. He took me into his home.

Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] has been straddling the Steam bestsellers list for months since its release. Like the many survival games before it, the dinosaur infested island of Ark has been attracting PC gamers non-stop, as if they really were arriving to its pristine beaches by the boatload. And yet the response of the games media, outside of the YouTube dimension, has been kind of muted. You can understand why. It is another survival game.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

33 Comments »

Have You Played… Psychonauts?

By John Walker on July 24th, 2015.

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

Tim Schafer’s last great game? Oooh, there’s a statement. Whichever way you fall on that, it’d be hard to argue that Psychonauts [official site] weren’t a wondrous thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

59 Comments »

The Flare Path: Beardy Bits And Bobs

By Tim Stone on July 24th, 2015.

Heard of Kim's Game? Tim's Game is very similar. You have 60 seconds to memorise (no writing anything down) the twelve objects in this photo. Your 60 seconds start now.

I think it’s about time I cut my beard. This morning while Brylcreeming my eyebrows (they probably need a trim too) I discovered the above items nestling in my W.G. Grace-inspired chin thicket.

They weren’t alone either. Further rummaging revealed:

– One Mills Bomb pin
– A 1/4 scale replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy
– A wren’s nest (unoccupied)
– A Wren’s vest (unoccupied)
– The Bruce-Partington plans
– A Pike & Shot news story
– A speedboat sim news story
– Topical paragraphs on DCS World and Copa Petrobras de Marcas

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , , .

36 Comments »

Wot I Think: The Talos Principle – Road To Gehenna

By John Walker on July 24th, 2015.

The Talos Principle [official site] arrived very late in 2014, such that it erroneously missed out on the Game Of The Year accolades it unquestionably deserved. It had puzzles to match the exquisite Portal 2, and a story which fascinatingly and engagingly explored the philosophy of consciousness and existence. But hurrah, it can now return to our attention some seven months later with the addition of Road To Gehenna – an extensive expansion pack with a whole new story. Here’s wot I think:

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , .

29 Comments »

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Looking Back With Spoilers

By Richard Cobbett on July 23rd, 2015.

Many games suffer from a little bit of distance. You play them and they seem great, but once the novelty has faded, so has part of their soul. I’d say Dragon Age: Inquisition is a good example there. It’s a game I enjoyed, but it’s also one I’ve not really thought about since its credits rolled.

With The Witcher III: Wild Hunt [official site] though, the scale of CD Projekt’s accomplishment still hasn’t fully sunk in, and probably won’t until the next big RPG that doesn’t live up to the many, many amazing bits of design that game offers. I’m of course talking of the big stuff, like its sweeping plot and open world. More though, I’m thinking of the details; the smaller stuff, like how the scripting system is advanced enough to stop a fight after a specific comment of “Wait, you’re Geralt?!” or the exquisite attention to detail on even the smallest of quests. It’s CD Projekt’s masterpiece; the Witcher experience they’ve been working towards since getting the license all those years ago.

And now it’s been out for a while, let’s look at some of the more spoilery bits.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

97 Comments »

XCOM 2: “I Swore I Would Never Make A Snake Man. I Didn’t Say Anything About A Snake Woman”

By Philippa Warr on July 23rd, 2015.

Vipers that can rip you out of cover, the promise of an easier modding system, the knowledge that XCOM failed that first time around… There was a lot I wanted to know more about having watched the XCOM 2 [official site] trailer at E3, so I took my questions to the game’s lead producer Garth DeAngelis and art director Greg Foertsch.

So tell me about how XCOM 2 starts, because the premise is that the XCOM organisation has failed, isn’t it?

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

49 Comments »

Nuclear Throne’s Vlambeer: “If The Customer Was Always Right I Wouldn’t Have A Job”

By Alec Meer on July 23rd, 2015.

When I meet Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, it’s in the middle of the annual Develop conference in Brighton. He’s a striking figure in a sea that’s half middle-aged businessmen and half wide-eyed, unshaven young developers in t-shirts: improbably tall, wearing a leather jacket on a hot summer’s day, hair everywhere, and a mile-a-minute patter that conveys extreme confidence without evident arrogance. He’s nearing the end of Ramadan, which means he hasn’t eaten during the day for several weeks, but has the energy and enthusiasm of someone about to climb Everest. Like his company’s offbeat action games and his often highly outspoken social media style or not, it is little surprise that this guy became so successful – though of course the raw, joyful appeal of games including Nuclear Throne, Super Crate Box, Luftrausers and Ridiculous Fishing went a long way towards that.

But would the confidence and conviction that he has when he wades headlong into the gaming issues of the day or, as he does in his keynote Develop speech the next day, declare that listening to one’s customers is not necessarily the best policy, be there if he didn’t already have the safety net of that success? In the unedited transcript below, we talk about that, about his feelings towards his own customers, indie ‘luck’, why games want rockstars, Ubisoft’s women characters controversy and why he doesn’t feel he can tell anyone else how to be successful.
Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

76 Comments »

Have You Played… Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven?

By John Walker on July 23rd, 2015.

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

Gosh, I don’t like to think that you might not have played Mafia. Oh no, what if you played the horrible Mafia II, and not the first one? Oh gosh, dear me, no.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

88 Comments »

Let Me Skip

By Alec Meer on July 23rd, 2015.

Let me skip.

I know you worked hard on those words, those animations, that music. I know it was distressingly expensive. I know you think it’s extremely important that I understand the context of my impending actions, or that you have my full attention while you introduce an unusual mechanic. I know I wouldn’t skip a chapter in a book or forward wind a film by ten minutes to get to the explosions. I know it’s disrespectful, I know it can be lazy, I know it ruin my own experience, I know it can even be actively anti-intellectual, but please, let me skip. Let me skip anything that isn’t me playing the game, no matter how detrimental it might be to your concept of your own game.
Read the rest of this entry »

, .

118 Comments »

Dote Night: Which Role Should You Play In Dota 2?

By Philippa Warr on July 22nd, 2015.

Pip is here to help. Probably. Sort of.

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.

Today Twitter had a meltdown over the existence of a magazine about YouTubers called Oh My Vlog. You can pretty much guess at the reactions. The reason that I bring it up is that it prompted me to take my first internet quiz in about ten years.

Suddenly I was seized by curiosity. Were there Dota 2 quizzes? There must be! This is the internet, there’s a quiz for everything.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

28 Comments »

How Thinking Like A Historian Can Help You Understand Games, From The Witcher 3 To Assassin’s Creed

By Robert Whitaker on July 22nd, 2015.

There has been a lot of discussion recently in games about historical accuracy. We’ve seen a number of articles debating the absence of people of color in The Witcher 3 as well as essays criticizing Apple’s decision to remove games featuring the Confederate battle flag from the App Store. Most of this discussion treats historical accuracy as something close to gospel, beyond reproach or change. “There were never people of color in the medieval, Eastern European milieu from which The Witcher is drawn.” “There were always Confederate battle flags in the American Civil War.” For most people, using “never” and “always” with regard to history seems natural. If any field of knowledge can offer such certainty, it must be history, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

186 Comments »