Posts Tagged ‘hands on’

Hands On: Megaton Rainfall

Blowing shit up is a lot of fun. It’s an enormous amount of fun, in fact, which makes it strange that it’s so rarely offered in gaming. Destructible environments must be a royal pain in the arse for so many not to include them, meaning we need to hark back to the Red Faction series to remember the last time it was properly enjoyable. Step forward Megaton Rainfall [official site], which offers literally worlds filled with cities to damage. All in the name of thwarting an alien attack, obviously. I’ve had a play, and can confirm it’s looking like something pretty special.

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Hands On: Firewatch

If you’ve already seen the Firewatch [official site] footage Alec posted last week, then you’ve seen what I’ve played. (Sort of. It’s hard to imagine how someone could have played it quite so weirdly, missing out almost all of the best lines, ignoring lots of the things to do). Of course, watching and playing are rarely the same experience. And this is already something pretty special to play.

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Hands On: Magicka 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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