S.EXE: Dragon Age II And The Long Road

By Cara Ellison on August 15th, 2014.

same

I usually discover the best stories about games over a quiet drink with a friend. This week I am residing in the Isle of Wight, working with the artist Howard Hardiman, author of The Lengths. The Lengths is, amongst other things, an exploration of the world of male gay escorts based on real conversations with sex workers; illustrations and dialogue of the feelings and life of someone who lives to please other people. I found myself in The Mess asking Howard which games he liked that expressed something about the relationships between people. This will contain spoilers for Dragon Age II.

Howard explained to me that Aveline’s crush on a coworker in Dragon Age II almost broke his heart. So we went back home to play The Long Road.

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The Risen 3 Report, Day 4: The Salem Duck Trials

By Alec Meer on August 15th, 2014.

Previously on the Risen 3 Report:

Evil Pirate Porn Star Sisters!
Garth Merenghi’s Dark Arts Place!
Scrotal Fashion!
Several hours of adventuring in the pirate town of Antigua, which I’m not going to tell you about because it was pretty dull!
Now: a suspicious duck.

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The Flare Path: A Flummox Of Foxers

By Tim Stone on August 15th, 2014.

I found a foxer, caught by dogs. He let me take him in my hands.

The Flare Path turns three this week. Here in the UK that means it can legally buy khat, attack bouncy castles with bouncy siege engines, and speculate about Thomas the Tank Engine’s sexuality. To mark the occasion there’ll be no news items or inscrutable intros today. The entire column will be given over to puzzles. Slumbering hypertextually beyond the break is a link to the very first (and – quite possibly – very last) digital foxer collection. Download, then defox with dispatch, and a Good Old Game or a Just Flight sim selection could be yours. Read the rest of this entry »

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Eyes On: The Witcher 3

By Adam Smith on August 15th, 2014.

They're wild those guys, totally wild!

I’ve been watching somebody chopping monsters into pieces. In a miniature temporary cinema in the chaos of Gamescom, The Witcher 3 is on display, strutting around the place like a peacock. In a forty-five-minute live presentation, it proves itself to be the most handsome game at the show but I’m left wondering what exactly it has to show beneath all the finery. That doesn’t mean I want to see its nude collectible sex card but I do want to see what really makes it tick.

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Week in Tech: Intel Shrinks Desktop Apathy Down To 14nm

By Jeremy Laird on August 14th, 2014.

22nm apathy to the left, 14nm on the right

Spool up the apathy drive and buckle in for yet another family of unexciting new CPUs from Intel. The 14nm Broadwell generation is nearly upon us and Intel has begun the slow drip feed of info about a CPU hardly anyone will notice or care about in desktop PCs. It’ll be a while yet before we get full speeds and feeds. But we already know enough to say that Broadwell is more of the same. No more cores, barely any additional CPU performance, better graphics and battery life. Deathly dull and disappointing? Yup, except possibly for mobile gaming. It’s all too familiar. Of course, if it’s exciting desktop stuff you crave, Intel’s Haswell-E is, surprisingly, shaping up rather nicely. Pity I can’t tell you any more about that, for now…
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Impressions: Lovecraftian Citybuilder Clockwork Empires

By Alec Meer on August 14th, 2014.

Clockwork Empires is a citybuilding/Lovecraftian survival sim from Gaslamp Games, they of the splendid Dungeons of Dredmor, in which you manage and protect Imperial colonists attempting to build a life on a new frontier. A new frontier which just so happens to contain Other Creatures. While it might be a dramatic departure from the successful roguelike that went before it, it does retain the horror-comedy tone. It arrives on Steam Early Access tomorrow, but I’ve been playing it for the last few days.
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Hands On: Galak-Z, The Roguelite Arcade Shooter

By Graham Smith on August 14th, 2014.

Galak-Z is to top-down space shooters as Spelunky is to side-scrolling platformers. It takes the simple kinetic pleasures of dodging missiles, firing lasers and boosting a spaceship around asteroids and space debris, then pairs them with procedurally generated levels and objectives, and a set of simple, readable AI behaviours that allow you to approach each challenge thoughtfully. And then it layers on top inspiration from early-’80s Saturday morning cartoon shows.

I played it for an hour yesterday in a hotel adjacent to this year’s Gamescom, went to sleep thinking about it, and woke up excited about playing it again.

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A Log Book: The Forest Diary Part One

By John Walker on August 14th, 2014.

The Forest has been doing really rather well on Steam’s Early Access this year. A survival game with an emphasis on crafting and building, and yet it’s not made out of cubes. In fact, it’s really quite impressively realistic. Apart from, maybe, the mutant horrors. I hope. Oh God, please don’t let those be realistic.

I’ve decided I’m going to master this game. I’m going to be Lord Of The Damned Woods. I’ll document my attempts, in words and video. Here’s the story of my first go.

I got my log cabin. All my life I’ve been waiting for the chance to be stranded in the woods, and have both the resources, and the wherewithal, to build a log cabin. I may have also killed a woman.

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Interview: Luis Antonio Talks Twelve Minutes

By John Walker on August 14th, 2014.

We revealed Twelve Minutes this week – an extraordinarily interesting project, a game about a man trapped in a twelve minute time loop, trying to discover the reason why his wife is being accused of the murder of her father. And indeed why a policeman keeps kicking his head in. The game is already extremely impressive at its prototype phase, but creator Luis Antonio says there’s a lot more work to do. We spoke to Antonio about how he taught himself programming to be able to make this game, where he wants to take it, and how he’s not planning on releasing an early access version of the game.

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Editorial: Assassin’s Creed Is No Longer Critically Relevant

By Graham Smith on August 14th, 2014.

I always think music is a better model for videogames than film: individual series of games can be thought of as performers, reaching a feverish apex of popularity before settling into comfortable grooves and hoping for the rare, Kylie Minogue-like creative resurgence.

What’s unusual about music is that most of its critical discourse revolves around pop. It’s not because pop music is what’s popular – though that helps – but because pop is obsessed with the new. It’s an eclectic, hybrid genre, grabbing new sounds, new ideas, new fashion from wherever it can, subsuming what it needs and discarding the rest. When pop finishes with an idea, that idea either dies or it calcifies as its own genre and people stop talking about it.

In short, Assassin’s Creed is now the adult contemporary of videogames. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is Michael Bolton.

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Dote Night: Era And The Case For A Dota Reserve Squad

By Philippa Warr on August 13th, 2014.

OBVS.

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.

Just prior to The International 4 one of the professional teams – Fnatic – was engaged in a frantic back-and-forth with Valve. The discussion (and thus, this week’s column) centred on team substitutions. Specifically whether Fnatic was allowed to compete at TI4 with Steve ‘Excalibur’ Ye taking the place of their invited carry player Adrian ‘Era’ Kryeziu. The swap was being pursued by Fnatic because Era’s recent health concerns, including panic attacks, had put his ability to travel to Seattle and compete in doubt. Valve’s response was unequivocal. Fnatic had to attend with their invited lineup or they couldn’t compete.

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Teenage Spacekicks: On Planetarion And Caring Too Much

By Graham Smith on August 13th, 2014.

At my Secondary School, for a few months at least, our teenage politics was defined by who was kissing whom, who had insulted whom, and who was sending spaceships to defend or attack whom. My friends and I were all playing Planetarion, a browser-based massively multiplayer game of long-term space domination. Each player was given control of a planet and would strive to gain the most points by mining their asteroids, building ships and capturing enemy planets.

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Hands On: Alien Isolation

By Adam Smith on August 13th, 2014.

Expectations? Enormous. Alien: Isolation is a first-person stealth/horror adaptation of my favourite film. Not a direct adaptation but a digital recreation, in terms of both its setting and its style. I’ve been starved of horror games in recent years and this one has a lot to live up to. Several hours in the company of the creature have just about convinced me that it might be time to believe.

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