Posts Tagged ‘feature’

The RPG Scrollbars: Legends Of Valour

Who said epic action and high adventure has to be part of an adventurer’s life? (Checks) Oh, right. Pretty much everyone at least expects it. Still, back in 1992, US Gold and Synthetic Dimensions decided to try something a little different. Specifically, spelling ‘Valour’ correctly. (The sequel might have done the same for ‘Honour’, but we never got to find out.) Also, something to do with life simulation. It’s a little remembered game these days, but one that had a major impact on some of the biggest modern RPGs around. Ever heard of a series called The Elder Scrolls? Bethesda’s Todd Howard has long mentioned this being one of its big inspirations.

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Wot I Think: STASIS

Stasis [official site] is a traditional point and click adventure game with a sci-fi horror theme. Successfully Kickstarted by tiny South African studio The Brotherhood in 2013, it was released yesterday. Join me for some space-screaming.

Perhaps the main reason adventure games and I broke up is that I found them too arbitrary to take seriously. The puzzles were so often at odds with the setting or theme, necessitating a suspension of disbelief (either that there really only are three usable objects in this room, or that the protagonist is simply too stupid to try anything else) that I was increasingly unwilling to provide in order to commune with some designer’s lateral thinking, or some writer’s gags. Even Grim Fandango, the last adventure game I loved, was guilty of this: that wonderful sense of journey regularly disrupted by an inherent illogic. I don’t enjoy puzzling for puzzling’s sake – but when it’s a puzzle which propels a game’s events onwards, that’s a different matter entirely. STASIS is all about momentum rather than stop-start headscratching. The majority of its puzzles act as natural stepping stones along its journey into body-horror darkness, not obstacles. It flows.

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Premature Evaluation: Universe Sandbox 2

Universe Sandbox 2 has some perfectly reasonable restrictions on what it is willing to simulate, but isn’t always clear about why it’s stopping you from doing something. I wanted to recreate the 0.1 fm wide black hole from Larry Niven’s 1973 story The Hole Man, for instance - and found the scale doesn’t descend that low. It’s not especially surprising that the game doesn’t model subatomic sizes, but getting the diameter below a couple of kilometres is also impossible and attempting to do so has this strange effect of deleting what you just typed and replacing it with the lowest number that the program will accept, and yet nonetheless changing a bunch of other stats that would be affected by a further reduction in diameter.

Each week Marsh Davies orbits the supermassive blackhole that is Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find or gets shredded to subatomic spaghetti as he tumbles towards a point of infinite mass. This week he has become death, destroyer of worlds, and really quite a lot of moons as well, in Universe Sandbox 2. Otherwise known as Universe Sandbox², if you’re the kind of terrible prick who insists on using Character Map to enforce your brand. Anyway, the game’s great.

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Have You Played… Door Kickers

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

I don’t know when I’ll ever get another first-person experience like SWAT 4, but Door Kickers [official site] is pretty close. It’s played from above, but you command a squad of well-trained soldiers to breach and clear rooms full of criminals, and it’s every bit as smart, tactical and exciting as its inspirations.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for laying face down on the ground, thanking the carpet fibres that the following day is a bank holiday and you don’t have to move anytime soon. Good thing you gathered the week’s best games writing at some earlier, unspecified point of the week, eh?

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What Are We All Playing This Weekend?

The weekend is here, the weekend is here! And it’s a long one here in England, giving some of us time to scale that extra large mountain, complete that extra large jigsaw puzzle, or drink that extra large glass of refreshing alcohol. Perhaps it might even give you enough time to finally play some of those extra large videogames. Here’s what Team RPS are playing this week. Leave your own plans in the comments below.

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A Psychogeography Of Games #3: Kerry Turner

This is the third of 6 talks I’m doing for Videobrains walking with game designers and thinking about how the landscape of their lives affects their game design. If you enjoy this series, please back me at patreon.com/hannahnicklin. This week, developer Kerry Turner, creator of indie gem Heartwood.

We’re going to Brighton, the long way round.

Around 12,000 years ago the ice left Yorkshire. As the glaciers passed by they scraped away earth and vegetation to reveal the limestone below, a flat bare surface. Limestone is slightly soluble and as rain hit it over and over and over joints and cracks in the limestone wore away into tiny streams, drainage to the earth below. The dialect word for those fissures is ‘grykes’, the paving-slab like regular stone they divide: ‘clints’. In modern terms it’s a limestone pavement. Malham Cove is one of these rare formations, not far from a ravine called Gordale Scar, a few miles or so out of Malham, North Yorkshire.

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Impressions: Corpse Of Discovery

A new phenomenon of modern games criticism is playing a game for a bit, then stopping to double-check if you missed its being in early access. That’s certainly something I did when playing Corpse Of Discovery [official site]. (The punning title rendered even more clumsy when a character pronounces its near-homograph with a hard ‘ps’.) But no, despite a growing certainty as I started playing, this is entirely released. That might not be for the best.

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The Design And Politics Of Deus Ex Mankind Divided

At Gamescom 2015, I had the opportunity to talk to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay director Patrick Fortier. We talked about feeling a sense of ownership over Deus Ex at last, expanding the language of its level design beyond vents, and the politics of a “mechanical apartheid.” Before I asked him about the game’s ceilings.

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Have You Played… Fantasy General?

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

Fantasy General [link to GOG page] is a 1996 game best described as Panzer General with Dragonknights and centaurs. Hexes, turn-based warfare and an enormous variety of weird and wonderful units.

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Wot I Think: Satellite Reign

When I consider Satellite Reign [official site] as a whole, a grand canvas spattered with raindrops, neon and bulletholes, I’m in love with it. Yes, it looks and feels a little like Syndicate, but 5 Lives’ Kickstarted RTS-RPG does not slavishly follow a model from the past. Its city is open, a series of district-hubs with opportunities and mission locations scattered across them, and there are many possible routes to victory.

Satellite Reign is, from the wide-scan satellite’s view, a thing of beauty and promise. But I’ve been down in the streets for the last few days to take a closer look at the city. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Pillars Of Eternity – The White March Part 1

It’s been nearly half a year since we devoured Pillars Of Eternity. Now Obsidian are back with another great big chunk, in the form of the first half of The White March [official site]. Does the expansion give good reason to return to the Dyrwood? Here’s wot I think.

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The 25 Best Action Games On PC

You probably like action games. But which ones should you like best?! We’ve narrowed it down to 25, and then put them in the unimpeachably correct order. Read on for details of the best action biff-zap-collect-me-do gaming you can stuff down your trousers.

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