Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Impressions: Else Heart.Break()

The entire time I’ve spent with Else Heart.Break() [official site] I’ve had two concurrent thoughts:

– I think this game is probably extraordinary
– I am not having any fun playing this game

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Cardboard Children – September Board Game News

Hello youse!

Oof! Just made it under the wire for the September Board Game News update. Honestly, I keep hoping against hope that there will be at least one month where there’s no board game news, but it just keeps on coming at this point. Games, games and more games, flowing at us like a cardboard river. And I just can’t fight the current. It’s too strong! I’m –

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Wot I Thought: Life Is Strange Episode 4

The Life Is Strange [official site] Episode 4 thoughts have been a long time coming for one reason and another, but I wanted to get something down on digital paper about it before episode 5 turns up and [presumably] ties some kind of a bow on proceedings. There will be spoilers, pretty much as soon as you click through and then constantly until the end of the article so, y’know, bear that in mind.

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Have You Played… Ground Control?

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 do strategy games. And yet, I love Ground Control! That’s likely because it gets rid of absolutely everything that makes strategy so unbearably tedious – resource gathering, resource management, graphs, paperwork, tax returns – and just focuses on controlling your limited gathering of bang-machines to fight for territory on the planet Krig 7-B.

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Premature Evaluation: Hardland

Put on a mask in Hardland and you can pass undetected among the creatures it represents. Since this is clearly not a disguise that should really fool anybody, there’s something simultaneously slapstick and sinister about it, standing silently amid a herd of pigs with your own pig-hat, with its snub nose and inscrutable glassy eyes. Masks are creepy and weird - as pop-culture appears to be rediscovering with the likes of Hotline Miami, horse memes and True Detective. I feel they’re even weirder if you think about their gestation as a cultural artifact. Drawing or painting what we observe in the world, including faces, seems a too natural behaviour to evolve - but to go from that to creating a face that you can put over your own face is to take a big step into an entirely different realm of symbolism: a desire not only to represent the other but to transform yourself into it. Indeed, a large number of mask rituals across cultures hold the tradition that this is literally what occurs: that the wearers of masks aren’t merely performing a role, but have momentarily become the entity the mask represents.

Each week Marsh Davies gambols through the lush pastures of Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or feeds some ham to a decapitated skeleton while dressed as a chicken. This week he’s been playing Hardland, an unusually gorgeous and imaginative ARPG set in a part-procedural bucolia of rolling hills and haunted forests.

Having no head, much less a stomach, it’s not wholly clear how the skeleton intends to eat the ham he’s begged me to fetch. But there he is, standing by the river in his oversized pauldrons, optimistically holding a saucepan, issuing dying wishes to passing chicken-headed men. As undying wishes go, though, to taste ham one last time is relatively benign and, the difficulties of his digestion aside, my part in this quest is trivial to fulfill. When I give him some ham, after several minutes of pelting round, waving my sword at pigs, the skeleton rewards me with a mask. A pig mask, in fact, which, much like the chicken mask I am currently wearing, successfully disguises me as the animal in question, allowing me to charm and, supposedly, command them, possibly in great numbers.

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The Forest: Half An Hour Of John Trying And Failing To Hit Animals With An Axe

Having returned to The Forest last week, I really didn’t want to stop playing. I ended up spending an afternoon I’d booked off as holiday back in front of it, and recorded half an hour or so of that. To share! After spotting a giant sinkhole, and being so excited I had to hit record, it’s safe to say there’s some early disappointment. But then as I keep exploring, there’s lots of new things to discover, and indeed needlessly hit with an axe. You can watch it below.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Chris Avellone Writes Everything

This week, Larian announced that Chris “Chris Avellone” Avellone would be joining the Divinity: Original Sin 2 writers to help craft what some are already calling “Words”. Commenting, Avellone demonstrated his willingness and capability of writing them by writing others, which read as follows: “This is the first time I think the community is responsible for bringing two developers together who might not have crossed paths… and especially for such a great project.” There was also a stickman involved.

But of course, this is only one of the many projects that Avellone has signed on for in the next year or so. What more of his magic awaits us in coming months?

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The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone Introduces A Tonal Shift

“The quest you’ve chosen would take too long to solve in the time span you have,” remarks a slightly concerned PR representative. “Maybe try the other one when you get the opportunity?”

I take this as a good sign. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone [official site] is the first ‘proper’ piece of DLC for CD Projekt RED’s already vast RPG, and comes after the release of umpteen freely available new clothes, minisodes and weapons. While Hearts of Stone isn’t concerned with adding new areas or mechanics, it’s a thrill to learn that it’s of a grander scale than I can reasonably see in the few hours I’ve been given to play it. In fact, the developers from Poland predict it’ll offer around ten-hours of new quests to play come release on October 13th.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for recovering after another Saturday wedding. Before we slip into another long Phantom Pain session, best spend a couple of hours rounding up the week’s best words about games from around the internet.

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The Gamechangers And Showing Creativity

On Tuesday night, the BBC aired The Gamechangers, their one-off drama about the making of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the court cases brought against Rockstar Games by US lawyer Jack Thompson. This seems like rich subject matter, but the results proved a disappointment in nearly every way.

Other people have already written accurate reviews and rounded up what Rockstar and former GTA developers thought of it, so I’m not going to do either of those things. Instead I want to talk about the film’s failure to offer insight – or even to attempt to depict – the game development process. Mostly I’m going to talk about James L. Brooks’ 1987 movie Broadcast News.

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Have You Played… Micro Machines

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

Released in 1991, the original Micro Machines was not a great game. It didn’t have the speed and challenge of Overdrive or the satisfying physics of Skidmarks. But what it had instead were tracks lined by cereals and egg yolks that slowed you down and so needed to be avoided. As a kid, I loved it.

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How Accurate Are Ark: Survival Evolved’s Dinosaurs?

I play Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] mostly to look at its dinosaurs. I mean, who wouldn’t? But since the very first video that came out about the game, I’ve wondered how close to modern paleontological thinking they are.

I’m interested in all this stuff because for the past few years I’ve been reading a wonderfully When the Internet Was Great-style blog called Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs, which documents representations of dinosaurs, mostly from old picture books, many of which I pored over when I was little, and critiques them according to current scientific thinking. So I asked one of its writers, Marc Vincent, about how games and popular culture depict dinosaurs, and to look at a few of Ark’s. Guess what? Ark’s dinosaurs aren’t very dinosaury.

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Is VR The Future Of Gaming?

Once a week most weeks, the RPS hivemind gathers to discuss An Issue. Sometimes it’s controversial news, sometimes it’s a particular game, sometimes it’s favourite things and least favourite things, sometimes a perennial talking point. This week, in the wake of the Oculus Connect conference and all its many reveals about the Facebook-owned side of virtual reality, we’re talking VR. We’re a few years into what some say is gaming’s next big leap, but it’s still all sweaty plastic faceboxes and a great uncertainty as to whether headspinning and handwaving can sustain their merriment across the course of what we snootily call Proper Games.

Are the Oculus Rift, the Valve Vive, the GearVR and the rest of ‘em really the future of games? We definitely sort the matter out once and for all below. Definitely.

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