Posts Tagged ‘features’

Wot I Think: Watch Dogs

By Graham Smith on May 27th, 2014.

Press E to grieve. But put away your phone first, at least.

One day you will purchase a multi-pack bag of assorted crisps. Maybe because you’re going to a party, maybe because you’re living on a budget. You won’t be overly fond of any of the contained flavours, every bite will feel a little on the soft side of fresh, and the individual packets will be 90% air, but you’ll at least feel comforted by having choice and abundance.

Welcome to Watch_Dogs, the latest videogame from Ubisoft. You play as Aiden Pearce, a brooding packet of cheese & onion whose hacker-criminal past has led to the death of his niece. Now you must run, drive and hack around its ready salted open world on a quest for truth and vengeance, alternating between salt ‘n’ vinegar main quests and a prawn cocktail of crafting and side missions familiar from Far Cry 3 among others.

Running low on crisp flavours, I may just end my review right here. But there’s something of Watch underscore Dogs stuck in my teeth and I need to unpick it. This is wot I think.

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The RPS Bargain Bucket: Suave People

By Cassandra Khaw on May 24th, 2014.

Who knew cosplay events could be so packed? I spent the earlier part of today cautiously inching through a local mall in search of candid moments. Unfortunately, I didn’t come home with too many photos. I was shy, and everyone else had a better assortment of camera equipment. Also, the shoving. Oh, the shoving. On the bright side, I managed to come home in one piece – you’d really be surprised as to how eager some people are to punt passer-bys out of the way. Obligatory rambling aside, here’s hoping that your week has been excellent. As always, we’ve got a bucket full of cheap games to tempt your impulsive side. The backlog demands feeding. (Dosbox’s dragon sends his greetings to all the ladies.)

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Interview: Adding Shieldmaidens To War Of The Vikings

By Paul Dean on May 19th, 2014.

War of the Vikings, Paradox Interactive’s sequel to the gritty and gruesome War of the Roses, is about to receive its first expansion, a relatively modest addition that adds one new class: the Shieldmaiden. Executive producer Gordon Van Dyke, a veteran of multiplayer development who can trace his history back to some of the early Battlefield games, says it’s an opportunity to not only shake up the way the game is played and the patterns that players are falling into, but that it might also be a chance to challenge a few assumptions about gender.

At Paradox’s annual convention in January, Van Dyke spoke to me about his plans to introduce women warriors to the game and how it was important to him that they be dressed in realistic, practical gear rather than sporting the tired trope of stylised “boob armour,” the sort of curvy breastplates and chainmail bikinis that have plagued video games for decades. He explained how this expansion is his chance to make good on his ambition, why there should be women warriors in his game and how he relishes a chance to challenge some of gaming’s sexist conventions.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on May 18th, 2014.

Sundays are for being brief.

  • Keith Stuart at the Guardian looks at the influence HR Giger had over videogames.
  • In turn, the Alien movies would go on to inspire a whole generation of game designers and artists. The first-person shooter Doom mixed demonic monsters with claustrophobic sci-fi environments, and Giger’s weird organic interior designs doubtless inspired the game’s miles of intestinal corridors and womb-like interiors. The influence was surely there too in Valve’s atmospheric Half-Life adventures, with their repulsively transmogrified humanoid creatures, and face hugger-like Head Crabs.

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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Mountain High

    By Cassandra Khaw on May 17th, 2014.

    Lightroom is going to eat my soul. Lightroom has already eaten my soul. After weeks of debate, I finally capitulated and resigned myself to purchasing the software. Then, it devoured my Saturday. All of it. Each and every moment not otherwise spent dealing with human ablutions and food. I am ashamed, but also hopelessly smitten with the software. (Do you have any useful obsessions, Bucketeers?) Fortunately, I managed to extricate myself long enough from Lightroom to hunt down a few, nifty bargains for you. Enjoy. I’m going back to cleaning acne from digital faces.

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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: A Bucket of Joy

    By Cassandra Khaw on May 10th, 2014.

    So, I found out the other week that burgers aren’t so much fast food as they are culinary adventures in Britain. Bone marrow, brisket, and fine-cooked beef served in outlets that utilize bodyguards and queues. Is this true, British people? (Tell me about your favorite place to eat. You don’t have to be British.) If so, I need to move. This week’s Bargain Bucket isn’t quite as delicious as one of those fabled burgers, but it does have more than a few meaty surprises. (P.S: That’s Bloop, Oliver and Kristoff in the bucket. And a nameless plant.)

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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Free Stuff!

    By Cassandra Khaw on May 3rd, 2014.

    Happy Free Comic Book Day! If you live in a city that believes in this most glorious of days, I recommend dashing out to check out your local comic book stores for, well, free comics. Seriously, go! Go and wallow in the splendour of stuff you don’t need to spend money on. At least, if you’re able to. This week’s Bargain Bucket is rife with books, old games and, er, more old games. (I like retro games.) This plushie was its owner’s favorite childhood toy. His name is Fattie. Now, say “D’awwww!

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on April 27th, 2014.

    An act of tradition.

    Sundays are for playing Numenera with good friends, but not before assembling a bumper crop of the week’s best games writing and videoing.

    • Philippa Warr writes about PolitkerStarCraft, a StarCraft tournament in which representatives from Sweden’s political parties do battle. I love that this exists:
    • On April 13, Sweden’s political parties took to the maps of StarCraft II in a struggle for digital supremacy and bragging rights in the ultimate rematch. The PolitikerStarcraft tournament first took place in 2010 in the run up to the Swedish general election. Back then, victory went to the Liberal Party who scored first place in the gaming contest as well as a sort-of first place at the polls as part of a four-party coalition government. With another general election looming, Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist resurrected PolitikerStarcraft, challenging each party in parliament, as well as the Feminist Initiative and the Pirate Party, to field a worthy StarCraft II contender.

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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Scary Fuzz

    By Cassandra Khaw on April 26th, 2014.

    Ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you were gobbled up, chewed on and spat back out? Yeah, it was one of those weeks for me. I’m not even really sure why. It could well be the inexorable build up to this year’s summer blockbusters and the endless nights of writing that will no doubt follow. On another note, bargain hunters should probably monitor Gamersgate for the next few days. It looks like the site is doing some awesome flash deals and whatnot. This week’s plushie comes from lemming. His buckets put mine to shame. Also, that … thing is terrifying.

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    The Sunday Papers

    By Graham Smith on April 20th, 2014.

    Sundays are for checking in late to write up notes on the week’s best games writing. Let’s get this done; there are games to be played.

    • Simon Parkin over at Eurogamer speaks to some of the key team members behind the creation of the original BioShock, including JP LeBreton and Jordan Thomas:
    • Not every aspect of the game evolved so effortlessly. At one point the team needed to create a demo for the American video game magazine Game Informer. The magazine was set to run a BioShock cover story. “The pressure was on to create something that would impress, and our deadline was looming,” says LeBreton. “In a level review, there was some discussion of how an AI should be presented in the short demo. Someone mentioned System Shock 2’s evasive cyborg ninjas as a reference point. Ken threw his glasses down and yelled: ‘I don’t want to hear anything about any f***ing cyborg ninjas!'”

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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Fluffy Showdown

    By Cassandra Khaw on April 19th, 2014.

    If it wasn’t obvious already, I have a camera. An actual camera. Not a dinky, built-into-my-phone camera but an actual camera. Obviously, plushie-related images are now going to appear in abundance. (Bargain Bucket regulars may recognize the floppy white figure in the foreground; it’s the first plushie we ever featured on this column.) As always, it’s that time of the week again and it looks like the Bargain Bucket has discounted shinies to spare.

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    Impressions: Broforce

    By Marsh Davies on April 17th, 2014.

    Broforce is a run-and-gun platformer which joyously spoofs the bellicose masculinity of action cinema. It’s available on Steam Early Access for £12/$15, but its featureset punches above its alpha status: singleplayer, online co-op, deathmatch, time trials, a level editor and more are already in a fairly well-polished state with more tweaks and content planned.

    Here are three uncharitable assumptions you might have made about Broforce: it’s a ten-a-penny mindless blaster; the whole “bro” thing makes it more ironic meme than game; it’s snoresomely reverent of bygone shooters like Contra. Happily, Broforce dodges all these bullets like a spry Sly Stallone weaving through a hail of preposterously inaccurate Kalashnikov fire. On the evidence of its Early Access release, it’s actually a game of breezy invention and energetic pace which deploys both its nostalgia for action films and pixellated shooters with a lightness of touch. And, though there’s a very good deal of carnage, it enforces some degree of tactical caution – partly because even a single bullet will kill you, but mostly because the levels are wholly and very readily destructible, quickly evaporating over-eager bros in devastating chain detonations or squashing them with falling detritus.

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    Dwarf Fortress: The Detailed Roguelike That’s Easy To Play

    By Graham Smith on April 16th, 2014.

    Dwarf Fortress is famous for producing anecdotes by the minute. The two-man, twelve-year, donation-funded indie project weaves together procedurally generated geography, civilizations and histories to create a rich fantasy world. It simulates its characters – standard fare like dwarves, elves, goblins, etc. – down to the most minute detail, and when all its systems combine, the results are often hilarious, occasionally tragic, and always surprising.

    It’s also blissfully easy to play. The game is free to download and easy to install, the UI comes with a detailed and handy help system, and there’s a community wiki full of guides – not that you’ll need them. I started from scratch last night and was having fun immediately. Let me tell you about my experience.

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