Wot I Think: Not A Hero

By Adam Smith on May 20th, 2015.

If Hotline Miami had come into being during a late night session in an British pub, it would probably have emerged into the light looking quite a lot like Not a Hero [official site]. Although its action is side-on rather than topdown, the content is similar – surrealist sprees of violence involving an odd crew of protagonists and countless stereotypical gangland denizens. It’s from the makers of indie skateboarding smash hit OlliOlli and here’s wot I think.

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World Of Wuxia: Blade And Soul

By Emily Gera on May 20th, 2015.

What exactly is the incentive for a studio to bring another free-to-play MMO to the West?

Even among fans of these here grind-machines, the approval-rating of MMOs rises and falls with a steadiness usually reserved for politicians. But somehow NCsoft have managed to keep a stable of these games in their portfolio for years. The publishers have announced today that they’re localizing Blade And Soul [official site], its three-year-old free-to-play MMO, for North America and Europe this year, making this the fifth title from the company to launch in Asia before it releases in the West. We decided to take a closer look.

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A Witcher 3 Diary, Day 1: Beyond The End Of The World

By Alec Meer on May 20th, 2015.

glaring eyes

Richard is handling opinions on The Witcher 3 [official site] (including tech issues and similar fun), but as a man without 200-odd hours to spare on questing, quaffing, sexing and beard-growing, I shall instead run a (mostly) in-character diary series covering my adventures in, presumably, just the earlier stages of CDP’s saucy roleplayer. But for the record, it runs OK if I turn Fancy Hair off but it has crashed twice so far.
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Cardboard Children – Boardgame News

By Robert Florence on May 19th, 2015.

Hello youse!

We’re off the back of a string of five reviews, so it’s time for a NEWS UPDATE. Let’s call this the NEWS UPDATE OF MAY, or the MAY NEWS UPDATE. Of board games, obviously. And you might be thinking – “Well, Rab, you just did a news update last month, called the April News Update or something. Is there even more news about daft board games already?” And I’m all like that – “Well, yes.”

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First Impressions: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

By Richard Cobbett on May 19th, 2015.

Ideally, you’d be looking at the review right now. Unfortunately, due to code not showing up til Sunday and then problems getting it to run, I’m only just digging into The Witcher 3 [official site] myself. The full verdict will be with you as soon as possible, though it’s a big game and I don’t want to do it or you the disservice of rushing through it just to throw words at the screen. However, here’s a few thoughts from my first few hours of witching, on the opening hours, on the controversial graphics, and my displeasure that it features hair technology that hasn’t been named “TrissFX.” Such a wasted opportunity.

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Wot I Think – Dead State: Reanimated

By Alec Meer on May 19th, 2015.

I’d been wanting to check out Doublebear’s Dead State – which I’m going to loosely label ‘The Walking Dead does X-COM’ – for a while, but Wot I Thinkery fell to someone else upon its initial release. The free ‘Reanimated’ update is a fancy name for a mega-patch designed to address assorted gripes about the doomy turn-based strategy/RPG zombie survival game, and also my opportunity to finally visit the blighted town of Splendid, Texas.

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The Best Steam Skins

By Philippa Warr on May 19th, 2015.

This is how I've customised my Air skin

Steam skins let you change up how your Steam client looks. Some are pretty much just recolouring options while others want to have their wicked way with your menus, refining or rejigging them. Skins have been around for years now so you might have encountered some of these already – certainly, the community has clustered round a few good skins with a smattering of irregularly updated fan service when it comes to particular games, anime or My Little Pony (well hi there, Fluttershy). But there’s a chance you’ve missed out – or you’re hankering for a change of digital scenery – so here are five of the bestest best Steam skins.

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Premature Evaluation: The Magic Circle

By Marsh Davies on May 18th, 2015.

One of the things I like most about The Magic Circle is its name. It captures the illusory nature of these conjured worlds, their potential for wonder and the artistry that informs them. Celebrated sentient beard and author Alan Moore has, in his mischievous way, declared himself a magician and all art a kind of magic. Defining art as the act of creating illusions to work an effect on the mind of the audience, he claims this is as close to a shamanistic understanding of magic as we have in this century.

Each week Marsh Davies plays unfinished and broken games on Early Access and usually tries to come up with an introductory sentence which says exactly this while using imagery appropriate to the idiom of the given week’s game. But the idiom of this week’s game is being an unfinished and broken game! So, job done. It’s The Magic Circle [Steam page], a game set within a game, in which the player edits the properties of the world around him while exploring the strata of the game’s many abandoned developmental stages, unravelling the story of its creators in the process.

I have tamed Jim Rossignol’s bumhole. I’ve also made Jim Rossignol’s bumhole fireproof, which is just as well, since Jim Rossignol’s bumhole spews gouts of flame when angered. Jim Rossignol’s bumhole has a lightning rod jammed in it, too, which deactivates forcefields. With my latest effort, Jim Rossignol’s bumhole has sprouted a little propeller, allowing Jim Rossignol’s bumhole to fly about. John Walker’s angry red Weeto has many of the same properties, and it should surprise no one that Alec Meer’s huge husky third leg is shaped like a ginormous mushroom.

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Impressions: Highlands

By Graham Smith on May 18th, 2015.

I fought all the way to my enemy’s doorstep, but now here I am, ten minutes later, back where I started and with an insurmountable force at my door. I started playing Highlands [official site] because of the hand-drawn artwork, but its turn-based tactics are harder than they first appear.

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The RPG Scrollbars: A Quest For Heroes

By Richard Cobbett on May 18th, 2015.

Heroism is at the core of most fantasy stories, but there’s a difference between being a hero and simply a weapon to be pointed at the world’s biggest threat. When heroes happily loot peasants’ houses and murder their way through problems, do they really deserve their title?

If there’s any developer duo that should know a thing about heroes, it’s Lori and Corey Cole, creators of one of my favourite adventure series of all time – Quest for Glory. (The fourth especially is high on my list of best adventures ever, not least for its villain). In addition to those, they ran a dedicated School for Heroes for a while, and are currently working on the spiritual successor to the original games, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption – currently in a second Kickstarter after the scope moved from a relatively simple Roguelike on a basic engine into a full-on new adventure. I spoke to them about the complex characters in their games, offering real heroism, and returning to crowdfunding.

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Epic Lute: Brian Fargo On Bringing Back The Bard’s Tale

By Richard Cobbett on May 18th, 2015.

Looks like concept art. Is actually in-game shot. Except the logo in the bottom left. That would be INCREDIBLY distracting.

Having successfully brought Wasteland back to life with the help of 61,920 of its closest friends, Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment are turning their attentions to another classic RPG – The Bard’s Tale [official site]. Forget the appalling comedy vacuum from a few years ago, this is The Actual Bard’s Tale IV, both a return to and modernisation of dungeon crawling with a few new tricks up its sleeve. The Kickstarter begins June 2nd, but Fargo gave us a quick preview of what to expect.

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Interview: Civ Beyond Earth Devs Reveal First Expansion, “Nudging The Game Further Into True Sci-Fi”

By Alec Meer on May 18th, 2015.

‘Wait for the expansion’, is what RPS’ feeling about Civilization’s sci-fi spin-off Beyond Earth boiled down to. Well, now that expansion has been announced. Sid Meier’s Civlization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide is due for release ‘this Fall’, and brings water construction and combat, a revamped diplomacy system and two new factions into play. A few days ago, I had a chat with Will Miller and David McDonough, Co-Lead Designers on the turn-based strategy title, about what’s planned, whether Beyond Earth was too conservative both in terms of breaking the Civ template and in its science-fiction, how war shouldn’t be a surprise any more, and whether this is considered redemption.

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Interview: MinecraftEdu And Digital Citizenship

By Graham Smith on May 17th, 2015.

Last year I spoke to Joel Levin, creator and co-founder of MinecraftEdu, a school-friendly remix of Minecraft [official site] which is designed to be used in schools. Levin spoke with eloquence and hope about how the blockbuilding game can be used to teach children internet etiquette, patience, general learning skills, and every subject from science to history to foreign languages. Below is an excerpt of the interview which charts the initial inspiration for the software and which is full of good, inspirational examples for how to make “screen time” healthy and useful for kids.

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