City Of Heroes Reborn

By Alec Meer on July 22nd, 2015.

Three years ago, I wrote an epitaph for NCSoft’s axed superhero MMO City of Heroes, and for my beloved character within it.

“The City of Heroes has been closed down forever, and so The Entomologist is dead. Does he still exist on some dusty server, or have the bytes that made him been wiped forever? It doesn’t matter. There’ll be no Jean Gray resurrection for him.”

I was wrong.

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Have You Played… Realms of the Haunting?

By Richard Cobbett on July 22nd, 2015.


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

Realms of the Haunting [Steam / GOG] should be better known. It’s one of my favourite horror games ever to sell about four copies and be forgotten. Hurrah for digital second chances.

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Wot I Think: Sorcerer King

By Adam Smith on July 22nd, 2015.

Stardock’s latest finds the sweet spot between boardgame-inspired strategy design and the Elemental series’ traditional 4X roots, and it mostly manages to stay within that sweet spot during its post-conquest play sessions. “Post-conquest?” you might be thinking. It’s unusual for a strategy game to start anywhere but the beginning – be that the beginning of a war, of history or of a new age of exploration – and Sorcerer King’s [official site] unusual setting is integral to an understanding of how and why it works.

Like Firaxis’ upcoming XCOM 2, Sorcerer King is the sequel to a game that you lost. Here’s wot I think.

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Cardboard Children – Return to Port Blacksand

By Robert Florence on July 21st, 2015.

Hello youse.

My ma died on Friday night just past, but instead of curling up into a ball and rolling into a hole at the bottom of my garden I’m going to talk to you all a little bit about games, because I love to do that. The death of a parent is a difficult thing to process, but I find that it helps to keep talking and reminiscing. And we’ve done a lot of reminiscing in this column over the years, so I’d like to do a little bit more of that today, while I’m among friends. I appreciate your patience.

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There’s Beautiful Art Even In The Darkest Dungeon

By Aleksander Gilyadov on July 21st, 2015.

Developer Red Hook Studios’ Darkest Dungeon [official site] — a brooding, and sadistic take on roguelike RPGs — wouldn’t work without its gorgeous art design. Actually, it would fail miserably at everything it attempts to do otherwise, from the storytelling to the mechanics. I spoke to Darkest Dungeon’s creative director Chris Bourassa to find out how they created an art style that would unify the entire game.

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The Asylum Horror Game That Isn’t A Horror Game

By Alec Meer on July 21st, 2015.

I took a look at the trailers for this Italian-made ‘psychological’ thriller a couple of weeks ago, and worried aloud about whether they’d be able to achieve their stated aim of helping people understand “the true meaning of mental illness” given that The Town Of Light seemed to include many ‘spooky asylum’ tropes.

I played a small section of the game and spoke (via translator) to the Italian team behind The Town Of Light at last week’s Develop conference, and now at least have a clearer idea of what it is.

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Have You Played… Clive Barker’s Undying?

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2015.

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

Liverpudlian author Clive Barker is probably best known as the creator of good old Pinhead and the Hellraiser series. If you want to see the extent of his talents, you’re best off looking at the Books of Blood short story collections though. Or Undying [GOG page], a first-person horror game for which Barker acted as both consultant and voice actor.

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I Have Played Clicker Heroes For 106 Hours And Counting

By Graham Smith on July 21st, 2015.

I’ve been playing Clicker Heroes [official site]. In fact, I’m writing this on a train after two days away from home and technically I’m playing Clicker Heroes even now. It’s an idle game initially released last year and which, since its arrival on Steam in May, has been sat firmly in the top ten of the most played Steam games.

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Impressions: Niko – Through The Dream

By John Walker on July 21st, 2015.

Niko: Through The Dream [official site] is a ghastly title, but is it a ghastly game? I’ve been wandering through its dream-ish puzzles for a good while, to give you my impressions:

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Premature Evaluation: Caves of Qud

By Marsh Davies on July 20th, 2015.

We’re at a weird place in videogames - and possibly in culture in general - where certain tropes have ingrained themselves around the notion of mutation which diametrically misrepresent how it works. I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad thing - Caves of Qud would be a lesser game if it didn’t indulge the fantasy of being able to sprout multiple legs and quills, while farting out a cloud of sleeping gas. Yet it’s peculiar that we have seized upon and so widely propagated such a fanciful interpretation of a process that, when considered as part of evolutionary adaptation, is defined by its sloth, incrementality and a total lack of governing agency.

Each week Marsh Davies sniffs out advantageous evolutions among the many horrendous deformities of Early Access, and comes back with any stories he can find and/or succumbs to a gruesome fate in a Darwinian dead-end. This week, every which way he turns is a genetic cul-de-sac in Caves of Qud [Steam page], an uncompromisingly old-school Rogue-like set in a doggedly lo-fi post-apocalyptic sci-fantasy world, heavy on simulation and mutation both.

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Impressions: Magic Duels – Origins

By Ben Barrett on July 20th, 2015.

Look, Yu-Gi-Oh jokes are really funny so I'm using them in this piece about an entirely different card game, okay? Don't give me that, I bet you couldn't even tell me the CMC of every WUBRG card. Have you ever even been to a PPTQ? Watched the PT? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I’ve been playing Magic regularly for the past five years, and the blame for all that lost time and money is the first Duels of the Planeswalkers [official site]. During that time, the game grew from gateway drug for its cardboard cousin into a full series in its own right, and one looked forward to by long-time fans and new players alike. Unfortunately last year’s edition did almost as much work making me hate it as the original did making me love it. I’ve been playing the next iteration, Magic Duels Origins, to find out whether it manages to fix the series amid the move to an ever-updating free to play model, or whether it falls into the same trap (cards) all over again.

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Thoughts On Team Fortress 2’s Gun Mettle Update

By Matthew Cox on July 20th, 2015.

You might have forgotten Team Fortress 2 exists, but the same can’t be said of the 50-odd-thousand people that are playing it as I write this. Last week Valve rolled out the games 33rd(!) major update, ‘Gun Mettle’ bringing a new comic, new maps, balance changes and a 3 month long event. I spycrabbed my way back in to check it out.

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Have You Played… Democracy 3

By Alec Meer on July 20th, 2015.

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

That there are so few detailed modern political simulators has always surprised me. It seems like such fertile territory, given internet presence seems to go hand-in-hand with an outspoken political stance. But I suppose it is one thing to loudly object to something and another to bury yourself deeply in putting your beliefs into practice. Importantly, Democracy 3 [official site] isn’t about the sound and fury of getting yourself elected, and instead is concerned with how to keep the ship afloat once you are in power.

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