Posts Tagged ‘preview’

Hands On: Renowned Explorers

By Adam Smith on August 26th, 2014.

Renowned Explorers was like an oasis of calm and colour in the cavernous halls of Gamescom. It’s a game about travelling the world in search of impressive artifacts to show off at the World Expo, but rather than making the journey into a nightmare of scurvy and resource management, developers Abbey Games have opted for a sort of turn-based tactics adventure that combines Tintin, Indiana Jones and Jules Verne. It’s a game in which scientists wield Tesla guns and the Mexican contingent of the expedition is a lady Luchador who can pin pirates to the ground while her buddies charm the peglegs off them.

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Impressions: Galactic Civilizations 3

By Brendan Caldwell on August 21st, 2014.

Gal Civ 3 has warped from Early Access alpha to Early Access beta, and brought with it more (but not all) features to the famous, 4X strategy game. Is it worth your time or money yet? We sent Brendan to investigate.

Picture the scene. You are a peaceful, religious race of extra-terrestrials, but you are inexplicably at war with the three rival civilisations that surround you. Your people love you for your mindfulness but they are upset that they don’t have more money to spend. Your desert planet full of shopping centres is deeply unhappy. Your planet full of scorpions is booming. Huge lettering drops from the sky! GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS III.

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Hands-On: Pillars Of Eternity

By Adam Smith on August 20th, 2014.

After publishing my thorough conversation with Pillars of Eternity lead designer Josh Sawyer, I realised that I hadn’t actually expressed an opinion about the game. I was curious and hopeful but hadn’t had a chance to play it, and see how well all of the elements came together. The backer beta, which launched yesterday, is a huge relief. Pillars is shaping up to be worthy of its inspirations, and intelligent and bold enough not to be bound to them.

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Eyes-On: Mordheim – City of the Damned

By Adam Smith on August 18th, 2014.

A warlock with a wooden leg was the highlight of my first day at Gamescom. I didn’t know a huge amount about Mordheim: City of the Damned before I sat down to watch a live demonstration of a typical mission, but half an hour later I was telling anyone who would listen that it deserved far more attention. It’s Warhammer Fantasy with a hint of XCOM, procedural maps and the kind of persistent injuries that require false limbs. If it shapes up even half as good as it looks, it might be one of the best Games Workshop digital adaptations to date.

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Eyes On: The Witcher 3

By Adam Smith on August 15th, 2014.

They're wild those guys, totally wild!

I’ve been watching somebody chopping monsters into pieces. In a miniature temporary cinema in the chaos of Gamescom, The Witcher 3 is on display, strutting around the place like a peacock. In a forty-five-minute live presentation, it proves itself to be the most handsome game at the show but I’m left wondering what exactly it has to show beneath all the finery. That doesn’t mean I want to see its nude collectible sex card but I do want to see what really makes it tick.

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Hands On: Galak-Z, The Roguelite Arcade Shooter

By Graham Smith on August 14th, 2014.

Galak-Z is to top-down space shooters as Spelunky is to side-scrolling platformers. It takes the simple kinetic pleasures of dodging missiles, firing lasers and boosting a spaceship around asteroids and space debris, then pairs them with procedurally generated levels and objectives, and a set of simple, readable AI behaviours that allow you to approach each challenge thoughtfully. And then it layers on top inspiration from early-’80s Saturday morning cartoon shows.

I played it for an hour yesterday in a hotel adjacent to this year’s Gamescom, went to sleep thinking about it, and woke up excited about playing it again.

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Editorial: Assassin’s Creed Is No Longer Critically Relevant

By Graham Smith on August 14th, 2014.

I always think music is a better model for videogames than film: individual series of games can be thought of as performers, reaching a feverish apex of popularity before settling into comfortable grooves and hoping for the rare, Kylie Minogue-like creative resurgence.

What’s unusual about music is that most of its critical discourse revolves around pop. It’s not because pop music is what’s popular – though that helps – but because pop is obsessed with the new. It’s an eclectic, hybrid genre, grabbing new sounds, new ideas, new fashion from wherever it can, subsuming what it needs and discarding the rest. When pop finishes with an idea, that idea either dies or it calcifies as its own genre and people stop talking about it.

In short, Assassin’s Creed is now the adult contemporary of videogames. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is Michael Bolton.

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Hands On: Alien Isolation

By Adam Smith on August 13th, 2014.

Expectations? Enormous. Alien: Isolation is a first-person stealth/horror adaptation of my favourite film. Not a direct adaptation but a digital recreation, in terms of both its setting and its style. I’ve been starved of horror games in recent years and this one has a lot to live up to. Several hours in the company of the creature have just about convinced me that it might be time to believe.

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First Look: Twelve Minutes

By John Walker on August 13th, 2014.

This is likely the first time you’ll have heard of Twelve Minutes. It definitely won’t be the last. A twelve-minute-long time loop, set in a three-room apartment, in a game that’s remarkable for its tiniest details as well as its grand ideas. In its prototype, pre-alpha form, it’s already one of the most intriguing projects we’ve seen a long while. I’ve been playing for twelve minutes, and twelve minutes, and twelve minutes, and…

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The Wicked And The Weird: Darkwood Impressions

By Adam Smith on July 25th, 2014.

I’ve been looking forward to Darkwood for a long time. It’s a top-down survival horror game with crafting elements, but early videos contained a hint of surrealism that helped the game to stand out from the crowd. Now that it has launched in Early Access, I’ve spent an hour exploring the early stages. It’s a slow-paced Teleglitch, a survival horror game by way of Ice-Pick Lodge and Stalker. A few interface issues aside, it lives up to expectations in grand style. There are some spoilers for the prologue section below and I reckon it’s worth going in completely cold, but fear not – I’ll provide a second spoiler warning before going into detail.

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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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Video Preview: Epic’s Fortnite Is… Interesting, Early

By Nathan Grayson on July 8th, 2014.

For the past many years, Epic was known as the One True King of console grimdark. Gears of War was about colossal mountain men with veins running rivulets through their stone hewn necks and stubble-dappled chins, their rage matched only by their apocalyptic sorrow and love of running in slow motion to popular songs that described their situation eerily well. But now we have, well, pretty much the opposite. Fortnite is bright, silly, and PC-only. It’s also basically Gears of War’s ever-popular horde mode plus Minecraft, Left 4 Dead, and a bunch of its own ingredients. It’s certainly unique, but I don’t think it’s great. Yet. Watch below to hear my impressions after a full day of playing a pre-alpha build.

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