Posts Tagged ‘hands on’

Hands On: Magicka 2

By Adam Smith on March 4th, 2015.

The first time I killed one of my teammates, it was an accident. The second time may have been an accident as well. The third time was definitely deliberate and after that, the relationship was one of mutual murdering.

Magicka 2 [official site] is a brilliant, challenging cooperative game about killing your friends.

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First Look: Guild Wars 2 – Heart of Thorns

By Tom Mayo on March 3rd, 2015.

Well, hello there!

Guild Wars 2 [official site] launched with a promise – to fix MMOs. Strident, attention-grabbing, patently doomed schtick that was nevertheless suffused with just enough gosh-shucks-darn-it-I-want-to-see-them-try zest to make it a journey worth tracking. That was two years ago.

The mission met with mixed results, as lead designer Isaiah Cartwright admitted to me when we spoke in Brighton during a hands-on with the game’s first expansion, Heart of Thorns. We were among the first to play the expansion and all of the details are below.

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Hands On: Hearts Of Iron IV

By Adam Smith on February 24th, 2015.

Hearts of Iron [official site] is my Moby Dick. I’ve spent an inordinate portion of my adult life playing grand strategy games, particularly those of the Paradox variety. I’m slightly unusual in that Europa Universalis wasn’t my gateway game – I entered the fold by means of the first Crusader Kings, which swiftly became one of my favourite games, despite its problems. From there I moved to Europa Universalis II and struggled to infiltrate the colonial powers of Victoria. It wasn’t until the sequel that I learned to enjoy the nineteenth century.

Hearts of Iron IV might finally bring me into the heart of the twentieth century.

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Hands On: Cities – Skylines

By Adam Smith on February 17th, 2015.

With release less than a month away, Cities: Skylines [official site] could well be creaking under the weight of expectations. 2013’s SimCity left citybuilding fans hungry. Cities XXL didn’t satisfy the pangs, leaving Skylines in the unenviable position of having a ravenous audience in waiting, the majority of whom have already sent a couple of lackluster meals back to the kitchen.

It could be worse, of course. Everyone could have eaten the first dish that was set in front of them and headed for home. Skylines has a captive audience and at the ParadoxCon last week, I had my first chance to take a close look at what it’ll be serving up for them. I played for over an hour, long enough to purchase two extra plots of land and fill them with great looping roads, beachfront residential properties and a couple of graveyards. The signs are very good indeed.

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First Look: Albino Lullaby

By John Walker on February 2nd, 2015.

Oh, what a rare treat moments like this are. Until this morning I’d never heard of Albino Lullaby. Now it’s the game I’m most looking forward to playing in 2015. An exploration horror, with a gleeful sense of mischief, comparisons with The Stanley Parable are inevitable, and perhaps even deserved. This is a haunted house game that’s, incredibly, bursting with originality, phenomenal moments of level design, and a pervasive creepiness that’s delightful rather than disturbing.

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Hands On: Battlefield Hardline

By Brendan Caldwell on February 2nd, 2015.

After a mixed reaction to the beta, including from our own Graham, Battlefield Hardline [official site] is looking to prove that it isn’t simply a reskin of Battlefield 4 with policemen instead of soldiermen. In many ways, it looks like it is going to have trouble shaking that assumption. But in one particular way (a single game mode called Hotwire), it is going to come out fighting. I visited EA to take a look.

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I’m A Lover, Not A Fighter: 3 Hours With The Witcher 3

By Tom McShea on January 26th, 2015.

I was travelling into the forest with a hunter who had seen a griffin slay dozens of men and women. The ground was still puddled with blood from its most recent massacre, but it was another act of violence that drew my attention. In conversation, the hunter revealed that he was chased from his village because his neighbors discovered that he was gay. Now he lives by himself, away from the judging eyes of his peers. Despite being forced from society, he still helps bring an end to the griffin, to relieve those who shunned him of further suffering.

“Even though it’s a fantasy game, we want to make sure that it feels real,” said Jonas Mattsson, senior environmental artist at CD Projekt Red. Reaching that goal begins with how people are presented in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (official site), the first three hours of which I’ve now played.

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Hands On: Total War – Attila

By Adam Smith on January 5th, 2015.

The last time I wrote a preview of a Total War gameexcluding spin-offs – I was excitable. I wanted nothing more than to go Roamin’ with the Romans across enormous, epic campaigns, and the small slice of the game I played filled me with confidence that the short portion I’d enjoyed was a fitting representation of the eventual end product. I was wrong.

Playing Attila it’s easy to see evidence of a franchise revived, not only by technical fixes but through the insertion of new mechanics that reflect a strong central theme. The early signs are good and there’s a great deal of promise, but this is a game about the end times, and until the full scope of its campaigns can be seen a cautious approach is advisable.

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Insurgency Early Access Impressions: What’s It Like Now?

By Emily Richardson on December 22nd, 2014.

Insurgency is a lot of fun. Following Rich’s great exploratory feature on the highly tactical game last year, I took a look at it for the first time this week and tried to find out more about it, where it’s going and how a year’s further development has shaped it.

At it’s core, Insurgency is a tactical shooter, one that sits between the hardcore realistic works of Arma; the competitive, smart strategies borne of Counter-Strike; and the large-scale war efforts of Red Orchestra. It kind of feels a bit like Battlefield in parts, too.

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Hands On: Total War – Arena

By Adam Smith on December 15th, 2014.

Total War: Arena reminds me of Magicka: Wizard Wars, a game that I’m extremely fond of. Wizard Wars took the chaotic elemental combos of Magicka and directed them into a team-based multiplayer showdown. If it had simply been a team deathmatch iteration of Arrowhead’s original concept though, it wouldn’t have captured my attention for quite as long as it did. Arena strikes a similar chord because it presents one aspect of Total War intelligently re-imagined as a short-form multiplayer game that hasn’t forgotten its strategic roots. After an hour of play, I’m eager for more.

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Hands On With Evolve: Where The FPS Meets The MOBA

By Angus Morrison on December 3rd, 2014.

I was sold on Evolve, convinced by a weekend spent game hunting in October’s Big Alpha. The player numbers seemed to suggest others felt similarly. This is it then, I thought: a high profile title has found approval in alpha and it’s a straight road to release.

However, there was dissent among pundits, forcing me to ponder why some players had rebounded from Evolve, confused by what they found. Turtle Rock have a long history with the Counter-Strike series and created Left 4 Dead. With those credentials, a similar first-person set-up of four friends chasing a fifth controlling a hairy monster should make for an instant connection with players. But there was a contingent who didn’t expect what Evolve was offering. And it turns out, after being dispatched to a Turtle Rock’s studios to play it, neither did I.

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Early Impressions: The Crew

By John Walker on December 2nd, 2014.

Ubisoft’s The Crew is now out, via Steam in the US and UPlay and something called “shops” in other parts of the world. Ubisoft, after the PR disaster of trying to impose post-release embargoes on Assassin’s Creed: Unity reviews, have taken the rather bold step of informing customers not to trust early reviews. This is because they’ve withheld review code from journalists until just before launch, and then insisted that no fair opinion of it can be gained until it’s been played for dozens of hours, the end-game reached, on populated servers. Indeed, no fair review could be written in a day – especially one where, surprise, there are server issues – but impressions can certainly be had of those opening few hours. I’ve written mine below.

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Wot I Think: Lumino City

By Philippa Warr on December 1st, 2014.

Bandstand sunbathing - it's the next big thing

Update: There’s an update at the end of this post with notes after playing the remaining levels in the finished build.

The thing you’ll remember about Lumino City, certainly from the build I played, is the handcrafted element. That’s for both positive and negative reasons.

Lumino City is a point and click adventure which follows a young girl called Lumi as she tries to find her missing grandfather. The story plays out across a papercraft city – one which actually exists in miniature in real life – and revolves around solving puzzles and assisting the cast of odd cliff-dwelling characters.

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