So I Bought A Mechanical Keyboard

By Alec Meer on January 20th, 2015.

Note – this piece is aimed at people who are as ignorant about mechanical keyboards as I was until around a week ago (and probably still am), not at old hands.

For the longest time, my major interest in a keyboard has been whether it’s got big, easy multimedia controls. Apart from that, it’s a plastic thing with buttons on it, right? Then people (including our resident tech-head Jeremy) started talking about mechanical keyboards and how they were the best thing to happen to both typing and gaming since Ian Keyboard invented the keyboard in 1426, and I started to worry about being left behind.
Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

185 Comments »

Premature Evaluation: Vagante

By Marsh Davies on January 19th, 2015.

Vagante is Italian, if you’re wondering. Or rather, if you’re wandering. It means “wandering”, is what I’m saying. So, that’d be a hard “g” with an audible trailing “e”.

Each week Marsh Davies shuffles apprehensively into the dank catacombs of Early Access and returns with any stories he can find and/or a faceful of cycloptic bat guano. This week he quaffs an unidentified cyan potion and throws himself onto a bed of spikes, repeatedly, in procedural permadeath platformer Vagante, a particularly Roguish Spelunkalike.

Did you play Spelunky and think, “What this really needs is to be a lot darker, with several additional layers of complication and a much less parseable tileset”? Somebody out there did, and judging by the wholly positive Steam reviews, at least 68 other folk did as well.

I can’t claim to be one of these strange, troglodytic creatures, but then I also must confess that it took me many concerted attempts before I finally fell beneath Spelunky’s subterranean charm. Maybe it’ll happen with Vagante. It hasn’t quite yet – although some several dozen misadventures later, I am warming to it. It manages that rare trick, as Spelunky did, of making failure the most entertaining part. It’s certainly the most plentiful. My sorties into the underworld have ended in the digestive cavities of man-eating plants, as demon-dog dinners, beneath boulders, in spike-pits and in pieces, thanks to the Bandit King’s axe. But throughout, my most dangerous enemy has been myself – my incaution, my stupidity, my insatiable desire to immediately glug every pungent, bubbling concoction I find in the bottom of a barrel. If I discover a helmet made out of jelly, I’m wearing it. And then, when I realise it’s cursed, I’m going to drink my unidentified inventory dry, set myself on fire, and teleport into a pool of piranhas.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , .

17 Comments »

Shadow of More-dor: Playing With Permadeath In The DLC

By Matthew Cox on January 19th, 2015.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor came out last year to widespread appeal. Sure, the combat’s just a gorier, hyper deadly version of what we’ve already seen in the Batman Arkham games. Yeah, open world icon assassination was clearly lifted from Assassin’s Creed. But this time those icons were orcs, with actual memories and personalities, balanced on a power structure which the player was free to tinker with.

It’s great, but by the end of the game, messing with those systems felt unnecessary. You were powerful enough to just wade into the fortresses and kill your targets willy-nilly. What’s held my attention instead are the extra modes added since launch (one free, the rest paid-for DLC), which allow you to play the game as something approximating a roguelike. The free ‘Test of Defiance’ is the only mode that actually limits you to a single death, but it also doesn’t randomize the enemies or require you to gather intel on them.. Instead, I’m playing the ‘Test of the Wild’, which tasks you with ‘killing all 5 Warchiefs plus all 20 Captains’. I’m only giving myself one life, and to make things more interesting I’ll only use runes which I find as I play, ignoring the haul I gathered while playing the main game. Bring it on, hordes of Sauron.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

15 Comments »

Wot I Think: Resident Evil HD Remaster

By Adam Smith on January 19th, 2015.

Originally released in 1996 and remade in 2002, Resident Evil is one of the giants of survival horror. This new release is the first appearance of the remake on PC and it comes hot on the heels of director Shinji Mikami’s return to survival horror. Far more than an object of historical curiosity, it’s a smartly designed and claustrophobic masterpiece.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , .

49 Comments »

Wot I Think: Saints Row – Gat Out Of Hell

By John Walker on January 19th, 2015.

Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell arrives later this week, but we’ve been annoying Satan before that. And in the game. Unfortunately review code was all-too-familiarly later than promised, so this review is written before I’ve managed to complete the whole game. We’ll update it with anything crucial if necessary. Here’s wot I think:

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

64 Comments »

Have You Played… Catacomb 3-D?

By Alec Meer on January 19th, 2015.

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

It’s the first first-person shooter, you know. Don’t listen to those blowhards who talk about Wolfenstein: they know nothing, John Snow. Even then, it depends on your definition of first-person shooter, but if we’re going with ‘you can see a hand and that hand fires things at enemies’, then bingo.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

17 Comments »

Wot I Think: 868-HACK

By Alec Meer on January 19th, 2015.

868-HACK is sort-of-cyberpunk sort-of-roguelite, in which you play the avatar of a hacker trying to break into a system riddled with glitches, daemons and viruses. It falls somewhere between Pac-Man and Uplink. Well-received on iOS in 2013, it’s due out on PC very soon.

I’m several years too late to the party here (it is too late to visit Dwarf Fortress?) but increasingly I’m drawn towards games that decline to tell me much about how they work. So much more pleasure comes from discovery – oh, so that’s what that thing’s for – than simply following an objective and getting an action or cutscene pay-off. There’s this cold war right now between proponents of formalist games and leftfield games (for lack of a better term), but I think this is a conflict of equal import: games that must be learned versus games that will reward you regardless.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

14 Comments »

Mod Creation For Idiots (By An Idiot)

By Kieron Gillen on January 18th, 2015.

Ah, Jo Parkes, who was always kind of side-lined in Cassandra and I'll probably use for something else eventually. Also note the AB-originated culture-referencing texture bombard

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 142-year history to pull out one of the best moments from the archive. This week, Kieron’s look at his experiences working on Deus Ex mod Cassandra Project, originally written for PC Format and published on these pages with revisions in September 2008.

The decision to do a mod is the first step. It’s also, by far, the easiest. From then on, you’re entering a painful world of hurting to strive to create something that, in all possibility, will never be finished or be completely ignored by the community. These are general rules that I’ve learned from my own time theoretically being in a mod team. I felt the pain so, ideally, you shouldn’t have to. Or rather unnecessary pain – no matter what you do, you’re going to carry your own scars.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

10 Comments »

Wot I Want From 2015

By Alec Meer on January 18th, 2015.

I couldn't think of a relevant picture, so here's Tom Baker turning into a cactus instead

2014 wasn’t a great year on a personal level, although it was also an epochal one on a personal level – I bought a (very small) house, I saw my daughter grow from ever-wailing baby to mostly-smiling toddler, and I finally accepted that I should just take my increasingly dusty Rock Band kit to the charity shop (there’s a certain satisfaction in accepting that your party glory days are behind you).

But 2014 was the year in which I barely had an unbroken night’s sleep (which takes a severe toll on both memory and emotional state), played far fewer games than in any year since around 2006, for a second consecutive year was let down by collaborators and thus failed to get my own project (a strategy game about cats, since you ask) off the ground, saw a ‘community’ I thought I shared a hobby with attempt to destroy my livelihood and the lives of people I care about and/or deeply respect, and to add insult to injury the new Civilization game was kind of lousy. Get out of here, 2014.
Read the rest of this entry »

, .

82 Comments »

The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on January 18th, 2015.

Sundays are for waiting impatiently for the Tesco’s delivery person to arrive so you can finally eat some food. Quick, best round up the week’s best videogame writing before he arrives and we bury ourselves in bagels and hummus.

  • Chris Donlan profiles Michael Cook and the Procedural Generation Jam, highlighting both some of the entries and Cook’s ambitions. I owe Cook an email.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    , .

    104 Comments »

    Have You Played… Hotline Miami?

    By Alec Meer on January 17th, 2015.

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

    The second game in this hyper-kinectic retro-violence series keeps making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and I’m not at all willing to make any sort of judgement about all that until I’ve played the thing. What I do want to do is flashback to when Hotline Miami, Dennaton’s hallucinogenic Drive-like stealth-murder game came out of nowhere rather than was any sort of known quantity. I’d so love to be able to play it again with knowledge or association, to be back in that ‘what the hell is this / this is incredible’ mindset.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , , .

    44 Comments »

    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Triple A Threats

    By Cassandra Khaw on January 17th, 2015.

    We’re about three weeks into 2015, and I’m already bristling with things to tell you about. So many things. All of the things, in fact. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you anything till March, at least. Such an unfortunate thing. Have I abused variations of the word ‘thing’ enough yet? Okay. I thing so. Okay, okay. I’ll stop for real this time. Sure thing. (P.S: That’s a Maneki Neko plushie!)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , .

    25 Comments »

    The Act Structure Of Elite Dangerous

    By Graham Smith on January 17th, 2015.

    The above is my attempt to draw a screenshot of Elite: Dangerous.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    , , .

    71 Comments »