Posts Tagged ‘preview’

Hands On: Gathering Sky

By John Walker on March 13th, 2015.

Gathering Sky (nee Apsis) [official site] is an extremely simple game to play. You guide at first a single bird, then two, then many, through a collection of levels. That’s it. While there are things with which you can interact, there are no particular goals, no puzzles to solve, no targets to reach. And yet I sat compelled as I played almost the whole game in one sitting.

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Hands On: The Flock

By John Walker on March 11th, 2015.

We’ve been keeping an eye on multiplayer thriller The Flock [official site] for a couple of years now. Now we’ve finally played it. Good news! It’s really rather good.

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Hands On: SteamWorld Heist

By John Walker on March 11th, 2015.

SteamWorld Dig was a surprise joy in 2013. Released first on the Nintendo 3DS, then latterly to Steam, it was a side-scrolling rogue-lite mining platformer, which turned out to be a superb combination of elements. If you haven’t played it, dear me, you ought. Developers Image & Form more recently announced their follow-up game, set in the same universe of water-seeking robots, SteamWorld Heist [official site]. This time it’s a side-scrolling turn-based space explorer, part XCOM, part Gunpoint. You can’t accuse them of resting on their laurels. I’ve had a play of one of Heist’s levels, and it’s looking like they’ve created a turn-based combat even a great big dolt like me can enjoy.

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Ladykiller In A Bind: Hands On

By John Walker on March 10th, 2015.

Christine Love’s games have always existed to be the antithesis of something. And where Digital: A Love Story and Analogue: A Hate Story were an antithesis to typical visual novels, her next game, Ladykiller In A Bind [official site], is shaping up to be the antithesis to dating games. With a fascinating approach to dialogue, and a genuine desire to make you feel both turned on and uncomfortable, it’s already looking rather extraordinary.

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Hands On: Firewatch

By John Walker on March 9th, 2015.

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 With Mike Bithell’s Volume

By Alec Meer on March 5th, 2015.

that is not camouflage, sir

“It will probably be the only time in my life when I have no responsibilities, didn’t owe anyone any money, didn’t have staff that I had to worry about. Absolute freedom to do what I want. I wasn’t going to use that to make a sequel to a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer.”

I’ve asked Volume lead Mike Bithell if he’s been worried about over-reaching himself. 2012’s Thomas Was Alone was one of several break-out indie hits around that time – a era of Steam that many of today’s PC developers are increasingly worried they’ve missed the boat on – but it was a simple game.

It was, as the man says, a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer, and it blew up because it was charming and funny, effectively anthropomorphising the textureless, two-dimensional rectangles it starred thanks to well-judged narration and very human writing. Volume, by contrast, is a full-on, 3D stealth game which will ship with around 100 levels, features an array of tricsky sci-fi items, has a full level editor and has hired Andy Serkis to voice its lead villain. Conceptually, it’s a huge leap.

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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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Victor Vran: Early Access Impressions

By John Walker on February 23rd, 2015.

Well, we’ve got the next action RPG to look forward to!

aRPGs are an odd genre, with there being so popular, but with so few that stand out. Obviously the Diablos, the Torchlights, and the Titan Quests. There’s Path Of Exile, there’s Grim Dawn, and then it gets trickier. The dreary Dungeon Siege games? The clumsy Sacred series? The almost there Van Helsing silliness? I think we may have a game that could sneak into the list, however, with Victor Vran [official site], currently in Early Access.

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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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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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Command, Conquer, Calculate: Act Of Aggression

By Adam Smith on January 28th, 2015.

Following the success of the Wargame series, Act of Aggression [official site] sees Eugen returning to a more traditional form of RTS. Retaining ideas from the studio’s previous Act of War titles, as well as the clever confusion of R.U.S.E., it’s a game that aims to fill the gap left by the disappearance of Commander & Conquer Generals 2. Based on the forty five minutes I’ve spent in its company, I reckon it might be more than capable of filling that gap.

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