Have You Played… Consortium?

By Richard Cobbett on July 27th, 2015.

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

Consortium [official site] is one of those games that’s kinda hard to recommend… but I really respect and wish more people would play. I know. Contradiction. Let me explain. With words.

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Hands On: RymdResa

By John Walker on July 27th, 2015.

It’s tough to pin down exactly what sort of game RymdResa [official site] is going to be when it comes out next month, not least because it keeps changing as you go through. Split into three chapters, each slightly varying on the last, it’s a 2D space exploration/thruster-based arcade game, with poetry. You know the sort. I’ve had my hands on some code.

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Choices Of A Samurai

By Richard Cobbett on July 27th, 2015.

You know, I’m not entirely sure that Way of the Samurai 4 [official site] is the most authentic historical game. Not sure what makes me think that. Possibly the British ambassador to Japan being a tiny girl in a Lolita dress. Maybe the stock dialogue option “I’m allowed to kill you if I want to.” At a pinch, maybe the fact that the British Royal Marine Commander’s name is “Melinda Megamelons”. No, no, it’s probably nothing. I’m sure you could use it for homework and walk off with an A.

But as well as being educational, it’s the ideal candidate for an RPG cultural exchange – a pot of great ideas and potential cool things just sitting there for Western games to both play with and pilfer, and a refreshing change from the sprawling norm. If you don’t mind your eyes sometimes rolling so hard that you get a quick peek inside your own skull. Ouch, that gets painful after a bit.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on July 26th, 2015.

Sundays are for resisting the pull of Rocket League. Rocket League, with its short, exciting matches. Rocket League with its swift and easy matchmaking. Rocket League with its fast cars and alluring balls. Mmm, Rocket League.

Quick! Round up the week’s best games writing before it’s too late!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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.

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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?

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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.
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