Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

Victor Vran: Early Access Impressions

By John Walker on February 23rd, 2015.

Well, we’ve got the next action RPG to look forward to!

aRPGs are an odd genre, with there being so popular, but with so few that stand out. Obviously the Diablos, the Torchlights, and the Titan Quests. There’s Path Of Exile, there’s Grim Dawn, and then it gets trickier. The dreary Dungeon Siege games? The clumsy Sacred series? The almost there Van Helsing silliness? I think we may have a game that could sneak into the list, however, with Victor Vran [official site], currently in Early Access.

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In Celebration Of Early Access Games

By Alec Meer on February 20th, 2015.

Nearly done!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Early Access (and the same concept under various different names) has only improved my gaming life.
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Smash-o! Medieval Engineers Launches Into Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on February 20th, 2015.

PREPARE FOR SMASHING.

A touch over a month after announcing Medieval Engineers [official site], Keen Software have now launched the low-tech counterpart to Space Engineers. Well, they’ve launched it into Early Access. I can’t imagine a sandbox crafty build ‘em up doing it any other way, though. Actually. How would Minecraftbuts turn out if they did launch without that lengthy phase of large-scale testing and feedback? Perhaps closer to a LEGO set, made with a specific purpose in mind, than a jumbled box of bricks? Or over-ambitious and under-delivering? Anyway, I don’t have time to ramble on about that now.

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Premature Evaluation: Monstrum

By Marsh Davies on February 16th, 2015.

Given how utterly terrifying, unknown and lethal the sea has been to humans throughout recorded history, maritime horror is a remarkably underused setting in games. Perhaps it's a British thing, being an island nation obsessed with naval superiority, that stories of ghost ships and sea monsters are so particularly resonant: the largest percentage of our idioms are nautical references. By and large, if you can’t fathom what a phrase means, it probably comes from sailing. In fact, “by and large” and “fathom” are nautical terms. The same goes for: cut and run, toe the line, know the ropes, touch and go. You can build entire statements out of them alone: “It’s not a hard and fast rule, but anyone who is three sheets to the wind is a bit of a loose cannon and should be given a wide berth, even if, normally, you like the cut of their jib.” Nautical terms pop up in unusual places. Slush fund, for example, comes from the practice of hoarding the rancid fat from boiled meat so that it might be sold on at port. Yummy.

Each week Marsh Davies skittishly edges into the gloomy bowels of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or simply hides in a locker and tries not to cry too loudly. This week he dons his brownest trousers and hopes never to face his fears in Monstrum, a firstperson horror game set on a boat that procedurally reconfigures its layout every time you get eaten.

My, hasn’t the Find Some Things While Being Chased By A Thing genre come a long way? Only two and half years ago it was largely consigned to the realms of shonky boo-scare creepypasta homage. Now we have dozens upon dozens of iteratively-improved indie imitators, and even the lustrously-rendered likes of Alien: Isolation, which took Slender’s sandbox-scare principles to the triple-A firmament. You’d think, after all the shrieky reaction-cams, exhaustively explored lockers and soiled pants, that a new entrant of this genre would have to try ever so hard to be as effective – and, to its credit, Monstrum does give an earnest shake to the basics, inasmuch as the procedurally arranged cabins and corridors give its replays a Roguish unpredictability. But, largely, this is a retreat from the fulsome narrative structures of Alien or Outlast to something more simple and, ahem, slender: a gloomy environment and stuff to find in it, before something finds you and permadeaths you through the brain.

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Video: A Return To The Long Dark

By John Walker on February 16th, 2015.

Snowy survival sim, The Long Dark [official site], has recently doubled its landscape, so I thought it time to return to explore this newly fallen content. And video myself being eaten by wolves in the process.

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Splat-o! Carmageddon: Reincarnation Adds Multiplayer

By Alice O'Connor on February 14th, 2015.

As Carmageddon: Reincarnation [official site] continues to smash, bash, dash, crash, and splash its way through Early Access, it’s now reached a point where I’m starting to think about picking it up. Developers Stainless Games today launched the death racer’s first beta version, meaning it’s now the whole game with all its modes, cars, and levels, just a little unpolished. Yes, this does include multiplayer. Murdering your pals seems a fair enough way to spend Valentine’s Day.

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Galactic Inheritors: A Space 4X From HoI 3 & CK2 Designer

By Alice O'Connor on February 12th, 2015.

Petting ambassadors is consider a terrible faux pas.

Declaring war is rarely as simple as pressing a big red WAR button. You’ll want your citizens on your side, ideally, though of course propagating a few choice lies can build and exploit prejudice. Space 4X strategy Galactic Inheritors [official site] makes the media an important part of warfare. It’s made by Crispon Games, a studio founded by Chris King, a designer on games including Crusader Kings II and Hearts of Iron III, and fellow former Paradox chap Pontus Åberg. While the only 4X I’ve spent real time with is Castlemaine, I like the sound of some of its ideas.

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Premature Evaluation: Besiege

By Marsh Davies on February 9th, 2015.

Besiege’s depiction of war is largely that of the middle ages, with a few fanciful additions - flight and the self-powering of your engine being the most obvious. Flamethrowers, though, actually date back quite a lot further: Thucydides attests to something of the sort being used by the Boeotians in the Battle of Delium in 424 BC. It consisted of a large cauldron of pitch suspended at a jaunty angle below a tube through which air was pumped using bellows. The tube curled back into the cauldron’s mouth, farting air into the burning tar and causing huge jets of flame to shriek out, engulfing the wooden defences and anyone foolish enough to be standing on them. Apparently, combined with the erosive infusion of piss and vinegar, the flames would crack stone, too. (The phrase “full of piss and vinegar”, however, seems unrelated, first appearing in John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle some 2360 years later.)

Each week Marsh Davies hurls himself at the colossal walls of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or soaks the earth with the blood of his fallen foes. This week he is catapulted into Besiege, a beautiful, physics-based, build-your-own-ballista game.

Dr Blam is a killing machine. He does not have a medical licence. What he does have is a trio of metal braziers mounted at one end of a large wooden frame, each cupping an oversized explosive ball. The braziers are also attached to springs, stretched taut and fixed to armatures at the other end of the frame. Press a button and the braziers explosively decouple from their moorings while a set of three pistons gives them a little bit of extra lift, the springs contract, and the braziers twang upwards and forwards, slinging their contents in a long arc. Most of the time they even go in the right direction. Dr Blam is not really interested in surgical precision, but if the patient under his tender administration is a castle or a flock of sheep, then a messy lesson in anatomy is guaranteed.

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Now Docking: Subnautica Adds Submarine Mothership

By Alice O'Connor on February 6th, 2015.

'Get away from my bins!' hollers the octopus.

Explore-o-survive ‘em up Subnautica [official site] might not have yet left Early Access, but it has now entered my cool books. Docking ships in video games is pretty great in general, a small moment hinting at the grand scale of a world, and even better is docking inside a larger vessel you can also control. Subnautica has that now. An update yesterday added a big new multi-level submarine you can dock smaller subs with and clamber around inside of.

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Early Access Impressions: Darkest Dungeon

By Alec Meer on February 5th, 2015.

First favourite game of the year alert!

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Premature Evaluation: Tiny Trek

By Marsh Davies on February 2nd, 2015.

RPS Season 8: A diplomatic mission turns into a disaster when Jim kisses the wrong kind of eel. Alice finds Pip hibernating in her favourite pillowcase.

Each week Marsh Davies boldly goes where only a small cadre of erratic and often unintelligible Steam reviewers have gone before – Early Access – and comes back with any stories he can find. This week he sucks in his beer-gut, stretches on his gold spandex top and prepares to beam down into Tiny Trek, a procedurally generated lo-fi space-faring sim.

Back when I lived alone in a graveyard, in a forest, in isolation, and had a lot of time on my hands, I would occasionally entertain myself by trying to impersonate Jean-Luc Picard’s replicator request for “Early Grey! Hot! Black!”, sometimes for hours on end. How we used to laugh, my imaginary friends and I, as I’d command Ensign Woodlouse to take us to warp, or open diplomatic communications with the mould patch in my bathroom that had begun to resemble a screaming face. I can’t have that sort of fun these days because my housemate is liable to walk in and tell me to put my trousers back on. But, suffice to say, I am WELL UP for a digital Star Trek fantasy that offers just the right amount of engagement for my labrador-like attention span.

Unfortunately, Tiny Trek is not it. Not yet.
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Kerbal Space Program 1.0: Preparing To Leave Beta

By Philippa Warr on January 28th, 2015.

Let's go!

Kerbal Space Program is leaving beta with the next update.

KSP [official site] will continue to be a work-in-progress – the developers say as much – so what does leaving beta actually mean in this situation?

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Early Impressions: H1Z1

By Alec Meer on January 28th, 2015.

boo!

Why is Sony’s unfinished multiplayer zombie survival game H1Z1 (official site) proving so popular? On paper, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Initial reports were negative; we’ve already got DayZ; even if we wanted a less hardcore DayZ with more crating, we’ve got 7 Days To Die already.

So what on Earth is H1Z1 for? And why am I enjoying it even though I really feel as though I shouldn’t?
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