Posts Tagged ‘hands on’

Hands-On: Civilization – Beyond Earth

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2014.

Last week, I visited Firaxis to talk about the studio’s history and the ongoing evolution of Civilization. We mainly focused on the series of games rather than humanity’s works as a whole, so as to stay on topic, and I spent part of the day playing Beyond Earth. Is it a sci-fi spin-off or a fully fledged sequel? How precisely is it related to the series and to the much-loved Alpha Centauri? Later this week, I’ll share conversations with the development team and more thoughts on the history of the series, but first of all, here are some impressions of the game itself.

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Hands On: Due Process

By Graham Smith on July 10th, 2014.

All of this art will change, but I like the way it looks now.

Due Process is a tactical, team-based multiplayer first-person shooter inspired by SWAT, Rainbow Six and Counter-Strike. After I wrote about its first trailer, the developer’s invited me along to a testing session so I could play it for myself. It is, as the trailer asserts, “alpha as fuck.” It’s also tons of fun.

“I’m going to kick it.”

There’s a thud of a door being kicked open from the other side of the building. The gunfire, between two of our team and the criminals inside, begins immediately. “Blow it, blow it, blow it.”

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Hands-On: Alien Isolation

By Craig Pearson on June 10th, 2014.

Alien: Isolation is a hybrid of stealth and survival horror. A game where you are a very weak person against a very strong thing, but where you know where that strong thing is at all times. You can’t kill it, but you can avoid it, antagonise it, and occasionally attack it to give you time to flee. I’ve been wandering the Sevastopol, encountering humans, crafting, and the beast. Here’s what went down.

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Hands On: Among The Sleep

By Adam Smith on May 21st, 2014.

During a recent trip to Oslo, I found two members of Krillbite working in the same office space as Red Thread Games. Before sitting down with Dreamfall Chapters, I spent a couple of hours in the company of a teddy bear, sucking my thumb in the dark. Among The Sleep is creepy, as I’d expected, but there are hints of something far darker than night terrors in its shattered domestic spaces.

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Hands On: Dreamfall Chapters

By Adam Smith on May 20th, 2014.

Dreamfall Chapters opens with a series of nightmares, wasting no time before informing the player of the high stakes and gravity of its multi-threaded plot. It’s a personal story, of family and sacrifice, but the potential consequences are cosmic. In truth, it’s not a single story at all, it’s a collection of stories within stories and about stories, taking the disparate worlds of The Longest Journey and weaving a larger tapestry. I’ve played the first three hours and found something quite different to the point and click adventure I was expecting.

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Hands On: Heroes Of The Storm

By Philippa Warr on April 29th, 2014.

‘Hero brawler’. That’s what Blizzard would like you to call their all-star lane pushing videogame, Heroes of the Storm. In marketing terms it’s better than referencing your competitors by saying Dota-like or LoL-a-like (sidenote: no-one says LoL-a-like and this is a crying shame). More importantly, it’s better than the emotionally dead and uselessly expansive MOBA. It gives you the flavour of the game you’re about to play. The phrase ‘hero brawler’ contains something of the rambunctiousness you’ll find infecting lanes, infiltrating the weird scrubland that the genre’s traditional vocabulary dubs ‘jungle’ and venturing into haunted mineshafts.

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Down And Out In Drangleic: Dark Souls II Impressions

By Adam Smith on April 25th, 2014.

Dark Souls II unlocked at midnight and I haven’t stopped playing since then. The hour between 4 and 5 am was distressing, as I found myself caught in a bleary-eyed Groundhog Day loop of blood-seeking and blood-letting. That central rhythm, of loss and learning as each death becomes a lesson for the next life, is intact and as compelling as ever in the first terrible and glorious hours of this third Souls title. Here are my early impressions and a couple of niggling doubts.

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Interview: Gnah! A Windosill-Inspired Game About Heads

By Graham Smith on April 22nd, 2014.

I was in love with Gnah! the second I saw it. Each of this puzzle game’s levels is a hollow head drawn and modelled in a crisp, graphic style. When you sit down to play it, your objective isn’t explicitly stated, and so you just start to spin it around and poke at it. Twirl this cog to make its eyes open, angle this search light to make screens light up inside, twist this nodule to let the water in. By experimenting with each level-headed toy, you discover its logic and unlock progress to the next. There was some non-euclidean trickery in the build I played, but otherwise it’s a gentle experience, more interested in the delight and discovery of playing with heads than in making you scratch your own.

To find out more about the game I spoke to Samuel Boucher, Saleem Dabbous and Nick Rudzicz from developers KO-OP MODE about how each level begins as a 2D concept, the tragedy of each Gnah head, and the inspiration they’ve drawn from Windosill and Polly Pockets.

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Hands On: Gang Beasts

By Adam Smith on April 4th, 2014.

Currently in alpha, Gang Beasts is free to download and you should grab it right now. It’s a surprisingly nuanced multiplayer beat ‘em up that combines playgrounds packed with perilous physics and a control scheme that makes combat a sequence of shoving, grappling and tripping over your own fists. Rounds often come to a halt as the last Beasts standing collapse into a meat grinder together, unsure who is pushing toward and who is pulling away.

It’s already a wonderful game, both hilarious and intelligently designed, but rather than simply praising its silliness, I’ve been thinking about how the whole thing works and why it’s satisfying, while also looking at the possibilities that the future of jelly-combat holds.

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Hands On: LEGO Minifigures Online

By John Walker on March 31st, 2014.

Funcom haven’t had a smooth ride of late. The Secret World performed under expectations (although these were expectations based on their delusionally thinking they could charge a box price and subscription for a new IP MMO), and in January they were briefly suspended from trading as their offices were raided. That cannot have been fun. However, things appear to be back on track now, and last week they were showing off their next MMO, LEGO Minifigures Online. It could well be a much needed cash cow for the milking. I sat down and had a play of the family-friendly brick-me-do.

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Hands On: Survarium

By Jim Rossignol on March 31st, 2014.

The first part of Vostok’s grand post-apocalyptic shooter plan, Survarium, has now started inviting batches of sign ups to their beta. It’s the multiplayer FPS portion of the game, and as such basically a test of the shooting, running about, and weapon unlocking game systems. It’s an experience that will be familiar to anyone who spent time playing first-person games online in the past decade, although set in the most lavish of Ukrainian apocalypses.

So is that offering going to be strong enough to power the game through to its pseudo-Stalker co-op core? Peer into my crystal lake of toxic weirdness to find out.

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Hands On: Alien – Isolation

By RPS on March 23rd, 2014.

When he isn’t hanging around in hotel beds with Nathan, John and assorted other folks, Hayden Dingman plays games and then writes about them. As GDC creaks to a halt for another year, he filed this report, detailing the fears and frustrations that arose during a hands-on experience with Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation. Is it the Alien game we want? Is it the Alien game we deserve? Is it gonna be a terrifying survival horror game, a standup fight or just another bughunt?

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Hands On: The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II

By John Walker on March 12th, 2014.

I’ve had my hands on a single mega-level from the forthcoming The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II, which is due to arrive on the 17th April. With promises to make big improvements over the first game, this level gives a taste of how they plan to implement the tactical angle of the first game’s finale into the general levels. It seems to be working.

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