Posts Tagged ‘Early Access’

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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Impressions: Catacomb Kids

By Adam Smith on March 3rd, 2015.

My average life expectancy in Catacomb Kids [official site] is measured in minutes. I’ve died within seconds of starting a run through the procedurally generated Spelunky-like, clobbered by monsters or reduced to a blood puddle by swarming piranhas. The first couple of minutes are the hardest part, as I struggle to make sense of my situation and abilities, and if I survive for a couple of levels, I’m likely to die because I deserve to rather than because the game decides to kill me.

Maybe it’s not the game. Problem is, I’m a cat. Curiosity kills me.

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Buttsliding Around Early Access: Action Henk

By Ben Barrett on March 3rd, 2015.

Let me buttslide you to funky town

We last checked up on action figure speedrun simulator Action Henk [official site] when the dearly departed Mr. Grayson gave it the Chatter Over treatment in July last year. It’s continued development since, nearing a full release some time in the next couple of months. It caught my eye with the combo of speed-platforming and ludicrously caricatured style. Betsy may be the most terrifying character in video game history. Latest footage and some more in-depth thoughts below.

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Premature Evaluation: Medieval Engineers

By Marsh Davies on March 2nd, 2015.

The toothy, undulating stonework battlements is often called crenelation, crenels being the gaps (from which we get the word 'cranny') and the protrusions being called, variously, cops or merlons. It's not entirely clear where the word 'merlon' comes from - conflicting attributions give it a Latin origin meaning pitchfork and, oddly, blackbird. One suggestion is that the word for blackbird is used in this way because it suggests things perched along a wall. Bit of a stretch, I think.

Each week Marsh Davies punches a hole through the vertiginous walls of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or watches with grotesque, wet-lipped arousal as the entire structure disassembles in a shower of hot, hot physics. This week, he makes, then mounts, the battlements in Medieval Engineers, a castle construction sandbox. And then he unmakes them, too.

Once you’ve built a castle in Medieval Engineers, you can look at it, hit CTRL-C, then CTRL-V and paste a brick-for-brick duplicate of your entire complex anywhere else in the level. Including the sky – though they are not wont to stay there for very long. Castles, despite a plethora of idiomatic song titles suggesting otherwise, are very much a ground based medium, and when placed in the sky, they attempt to revert to form, with glorious physics-enabled results.

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Premature Evaluation: Eden Star

By Marsh Davies on February 23rd, 2015.

A drop of fairy liquid and some hot water should sort these fellows out.

Each week, Marsh Davies crashlands into the hostile alien landscape that is Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or an acute appreciation of how precious are the few fleeting moments of life allotted to us on this Earth and whether it really constitutes a full life, a good life, to spend the ever-diminishing number of hours and minutes clicking on virtual trees to turn them into virtual logs. Nevertheless, this week, he survives yet another survival game – this one called Eden Star, in which resource scrabbling is appended with tower-defence-style fortification on a distant planet.

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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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