Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Premature Evaluation: Eastside Hockey Manager

By Emily Gera on April 13th, 2015.

As a citizen of Canada, it’s safe to say Paul Newman’s Slap Shot is the single greatest hockey movie of all time.

This is a film so mired in obscurity it’s not even possible to illegally torrent like its thematic cousin The Mighty Ducks, so allow me lay the scene for you instead. Slap Shot is perhaps Newman’s finest work: a comedy from the ’70s about a crappy mill-town hockey team who, after years of crumby results, decides to let their latest acquisitions, three brothers – depicted with glorious thug-moron precision – finally play. The brothers’ savage style of hockey reinvigorates their fanbase and the team is retooled using violence to draw in big crowds.

It’s a wonderful lesson for everyone: Embrace your talents, however impractical, illegal or violent they may be. This is the kind of meat-and-potatoes advice that helped turn Slap Shot into an honourary Canadian sports film and a favourite among the demographic of retirees who like anything vaguely nationalistic, all despite being filmed in Pennsylvania and havinng no Canadian actors.

But it’s a lesson you should follow to a T when playing Sports Interactive’s recently revived Eastside Hockey Manager.

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Space Beast Terror Fright Breaches Steam Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on April 8th, 2015.

Wait, no, don’t be put off by that name! Space Beast Terror Fright [official site] is a cracking little roguelikelike first-person shooter, more tense than any space marine game I’ve played since Aliens versus Predator in 1999.

SBTF dumps us into a deserted ship to salvage data from computers, set it to self-destruct, and escape, dodging hordes of aliens that kill us in one hit, and trying to control space by locking doors and activating sentry turrets. It’s pretty difficult. I dug the early demo, and now it’s moved onto Steam Early Access.

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Bientôt: Killing Floor 2 Due In Early Access This Month

By Alice O'Connor on April 8th, 2015.

Hey, it's me!

As luck would have it, I’ll be in Paris right when monstrous hordes are due to overrun the city. Tripwire Interactive have announced plans to release Killing Floor 2 [official site] onto Steam Early Access on April 21st, and I’ll be on the look out for – wait is that a lady with blue cyberhair in that screenshot – for myself?

The original was a barrel of murderfun, and I’m quite keen to return for more first-person face-shooting. Especially as one of the sequel’s big selling points is that faces (and other bodyparts) will explode in a squillion different gory ways.

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Premature Evaluation: Nosgoth

By Marsh Davies on April 6th, 2015.

It’s curious how far back the idea of drinking blood to replenish youth goes, given that we are only just now beginning to understand the benefits of transfusion. Recent research on mice has shown that a transfusion of young blood into an old body can indeed stimulate stem cells and invigorate ailing neurons. But experiments with transferring blood date back centuries, based on the most dubious understandings of science and mostly with disastrous and macabre results.

Each week Marsh Davies sinks his teeth into the hot, pumping artery of Early Access and drains its sweet lifegiving essence, leaving only a ragged skein of flesh when he’s done. This week he’s played (or free-to-played) Nosgoth, a team-based multiplayer game in which heavily-armed non-consenting blood-donors clash with the fanged forces of unlife.

The general mood has been less than charitable towards this project. It’s a multiplayer spin-off of Legacy of Kain, traditionally an action RPG series, a demo of which I think I brushed past on a PC Format coverdisk once, back in the days before games had invented a way to render the male nipple. But, I’m told, it had really good storytelling for the time, and how dare anyone decide to use this important and sophisticated fiction for something so trivial as a thirdperson asymmetric multiplayer game? Yet dare they have. And it seems they’ve made quite a well-considered one, in which deft movement and exact coordination trump headshots and button mashing, and the two teams of which, vampires and humans, offer very different play but surprising parity.

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Premature Evaluation: 3d Bridges

By Marsh Davies on March 30th, 2015.

As will no doubt be evident from this article, I really know approximately fuck all about bridge construction. This despite living close to several historic bridges: the Clifton Suspension bridge, for instance, or Bath’s Pulteney Bridge - one of only four in the world with shops running the full length down either side! Wow! But living in Bath, where the city traffic is perpetually stricken by the paucity of crossings over its multiple waterways, I do have an appreciation for one particular function of bridges: they make excellent chokepoints. There are not a shortage of examples of this throughout military history, but if I were to pick a favourite, then the Battle of Stamford Bridge certainly has a lot going for it: it’s not only one of the most pivotal moments in British history, and has phenomenal military feats on both sides, but it’s preceded by one of the all-time most awesome threats ever to have been uttered.

Each week Marsh Davies scuttles nervously over the creaking, makeshift architecture of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or plunges to his doom amid a shower of twisting metal. This week, he dons his hardhat and unfolds the blueprint for 3d Bridges, a physics-based construction puzzler in which you construct – yes! – bridges and then run a truck over them to test both their mettle and their metal. It also turns out to be standalone level pack otherwise included in the more sandboxy 3D Bridge Engineer toolkit – which is also on Early Access. They are not entirely as terrible as they might first look. Not entirely.

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Game On! Eastside Hockey Manager Returns

By Alice O'Connor on March 26th, 2015.

You know, if you’re longing for deeper, stat-heavy, party-managing RPGs, you might not go far wrong with a sports management sim. Beneath the sporting veneer lie all the tactics, behaviours, and numbers you could hope for. Sports games are other games in disguise. I was only taking the piss a little bit with that FIFA demo post calling it real-time tactical action, you know. Football Manager has a fair few fans here at RPS, and now its makers are getting back into ice hockey.

Developers Sports Interactive have revived the long-dormant Eastside Hockey Manager series [official site] with a surprise new game which launched onto Steam Early Access today.

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Twin-Stick Murderpals: Friendship Club On Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on March 25th, 2015.

Friendship, my dear chum Pip will explain with groaning resignation, can be trying. (I don’t think ‘trying’ is the word she’d select.) Take Friendship Club official site too – not a game about chums chatting, dancing, Doting, and dining, but rather a competitive local multiplayer twin-stick shooter.

Up to four players blast away at each other with bouncy bullets which ricochet around procedurally-generated arenas, making for a lot of bullet-dodging sillymurder. It’s fine, it’s fine – you’re all playing the imaginary friends of a child named Timmy Bibble. Following a low-key alpha access run by makers Force of Habit, Friendship Club is now on Steam Early Access.

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Premature Evaluation: Mordheim: City of the Damned

By Marsh Davies on March 23rd, 2015.

I’ve always enjoyed the mash of historical periods and technologies that occurs in Warhammer. It starts with a base layer of sub-Tolkien medievalism and dark age myth, but then, as it attempts to differentiate the factions, teeters into the Enlightenment and, at its most fanciful, veers into steampunk Victoriana. The human factions are a case in point. Bretons are drawn as though from the age of chivalry, as depicted in late medieval French romance: all jousting knights and noblesse. The Empire, meanwhile, is styled very much after 16th century Germany, with elaborate cannon and plentiful muskets, and a dash of 17th century dress-sense in their flamboyant feathered caps.

Each week Marsh Davies bleeds for you in the cold, accursed alleys of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or a repulsive corruption born of arcane mutagenic powers. This week he and his band of rat-men scuttle through the streets of Mordheim: City of the Damned – a turned-based tactics game set in the world of Warhammer. Fellow Skaven-fancier Adam had a slightly cool impression of it last November, but have the subsequent five months made a whisker of a difference?

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Premature Evaluation: StarCrawlers

By Marsh Davies on March 16th, 2015.

I’m writing these alt-texts on what is often now called Mother’s Day here in the UK, but can be helpfully distinguished from the American day of the same name by its more accurate title, Mothering Sunday. The origins of each are different, though intertwined, and certainly the popularity of both celebrations share a common factor: the pain many mothers felt at losing their sons to war - which is definitely entirely relevant to SpaceCrawlers and not at all a wild digression born of my waning attention span.

Each week Marsh Davies plunders the ravaged hulk of Early Access and smuggles out any stories he can find and/or succumbs to the terrors of the interdimensional void. This week he murders robotic wait staff and asset-strips sci-fi dungeons in space salvage RPG StarCrawlers. It goes on sale tomorrow.

Is it any wonder that some members of the gaming community nurse a persecution complex when, in the games themselves, so few people, animals, robots, or multifanged amorphous spacethings are ever pleased to see us? In StarCrawlers, even the cleaning droids and busboys want to have a pop, lobbing chinaware and squirting me with detergent. Admittedly, I am usually there to plunder their derelict spacestation, or sabotage their data centres, or “deliver a severance package” to a megacorp employee who has, in a literal and shortly rectified sense, outlived his usefulness. But still, it is a bit of a hit to the self-esteem that you can’t walk from one room to another without some haywire robot or grotesque alien hatchling flinging itself at you. “Where’s the beef?”, I mutter to the hatchlings, as I ruefully sunder them with psychic horror channelled from the abyssal nightmare of the void.

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The Later Early Edition: Invisible, Inc,

By Alec Meer on March 12th, 2015.

An irregular series in which I revisit Early Access games a few months on from when I first tried them. Have they come along much? Does a finished game seem a realistic prospect? This time – Klei’s turn-based cyberpunk stealth title Invisible, Inc [official site], which I last played in September.

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Long Dark Teatime Of The: Soul Axiom In Early Access

By Ben Barrett on March 10th, 2015.

Soul Axiom [official site] doesn’t mess about. Hitting “New Game” immediately tosses you into the nameless, faceless shoes of a character falling through a clouded seeming-infinity. After a few moments of lightning illuminating huge, vaguely humonoid shapes, you land face first on a boat floating through the air, and thus the Early Access puzzleventure and first person weird-goings-on-‘em-up begins. Its spooky cyberspace heart is very much on its sleeve, even though it doesn’t reveal that this is a digital afterlife for storing the souls and memories of the human race until a half hour in. Trailer and some more thoughts below.

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Premature Evaluation: BloodLust Shadowhunter

By Marsh Davies on March 9th, 2015.

I’m not quite sure why BloodLust capitalises its L, seeing as it has happily existed as a single word for a good long time. Its earliest (hyphenated) appearance is credited to Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, politician, poet and idiom-machine, known for coining phrases such as 'the great unwashed', 'the pen is mightier than the sword' and the opening line 'It was a dark and stormy night' - which has become so infamous as to inspire San Jose State University to hold an annual competition 'to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels'.

Each week Marsh Davies runs shrieking from the burning sun and into the dark embrace of Early Access, coming back with any stories he can find and/or an inexplicable desire to wear fishnets, a top-hat and tinted pince-nez while hanging around in abandoned Chinese restaurants. This week, let it not be said that BloodLust Shadowhunter’s name is too subtle an evocation of vampire fiction. It is, however, a surprisingly rich thirdperson RPG with a mix of dungeon crawling, urban squalor and janky make-do charm.

I never went through a Goth phase as a kid, but videogames make me wish I had. I can’t help but find their nighttime cityscapes entrancing – even the squalid backalleys of BloodLust Shadowhunter, with their grimy brickwork, sallow sodium lights, overfilled dumpsters and yesteryear polycounts. Perhaps it’s because, in games, such lonely streets are so often the player’s domain. Perhaps it’s because hours of squinting at Sam Fisher’s rubberised buns have trained me to see shadowy, deserted places as a source of empowerment, from which the populace world can be observed and navigated on my terms. Or perhaps it’s because “BloodLustShadowhunter” is my middle name. Yes, there is that, I suppose.

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Hovercars In Oblivion: Radial-G: Racing Revolved

By Ben Barrett on March 5th, 2015.

“What if instead of the track we just had a massive tube in space?” says one executive of the failing Formula 1 to the other, sometime in the future. “With hovercars and casual disregard for safety!” he continues, getting worked up. Thus, Radial-G: Racing Revolved is born in all its alliterative glory, a high-speed racer about desperately trying to not fly headlong into oblivion. It’s been on Early Access for a couple of months, just had a major recent update and I’ve had a little play.

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