Posts Tagged ‘preview’

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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Hands And Face On: Alien Isolation On Oculus Rift

By Brendan Caldwell on July 7th, 2014.

Imagine the Xenomorph from Alien is in the room with you right now. Where exactly? You don’t know. But you do know it’s in there. You lean a little forward, peeping over that stack of empty pizza boxes. Meat feast. You have been meaning to tidy those away. You peer into the gloom. You hear something above you. Something scuttling. Something dark. You look up! But it is too late. You have been eaten. Well done, imagination!

Of course, it is looking possible you will not need your imagination to enjoy these scenarios anymore because the folks making Alien: Isolation at Creative Assembley and SEGA have been tinkering with the Oculus Rift development kits and have shown us their deliciously scary ‘prototype’.

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Lyrical Ballast: Impressions Of A Sunless Sea

By Adam Smith on July 1st, 2014.

We’re deep down now, deep down where dreams and figments tumble and churn together like silt, deep down in sleep, where pain and sorrow fall drop by drop into the Sunless Sea, and wisdom comes in whispers of text and through the rubbery fronds of some ancient lifeform. Now in Early Access, Sunless Sea is the first ‘proper’ game from Failbetter, the clever-clogs creators of Fallen London and the Story Nexus platform. I’ve been navigating its strange shores for the past few days.

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Battlefield Hardline: On Meaning And Theme In Multiplayer

By Graham Smith on June 18th, 2014.

This is not a police car.

Battlefield Hardline takes the series’ now familiar formula and gives it a new theme. It’s still about large teams of players killing, capturing and controlling vehicles in various objective-based multiplayer modes. But instead of visiting exotic locations and fighting as a military force, the game takes place in the streets of Los Angeles and players play the roles of cops and robbers.

I’ve been playing the closed beta since last Friday, and in between rounds of criminal mayhem I’ve been thinking a lot about meaning and structure in multiplayer game design. Now that the beta has opened up to all, let me exorcise those thought-demons here.

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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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First Look: Homefront – The Revolution

By Craig Pearson on June 3rd, 2014.

I’m not sure how a Homefront sequel that I didn’t really care about became a Crysis game that I really want to play, but that’s what I saw the other day. Homefront: The Revolution is Crysis. Hilariously Crysis. So very very Crysis. And yet it’s a Crysis game that Crytek haven’t even managed to make, despite having all the component parts.

Now they are, and it’s a Homefront game. I am confused.

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First Look: Investigating The Horror Of Draugen

By Adam Smith on May 28th, 2014.

Ragnar Tørnquist describes Draugen as the game at the heart of Red Thread Studios. That’s something of a surprise, considering that a script and concept for Dreamfall Chapters have existed in his mind (and on various hard drives) for more than a decade now. The Nordic horror/mystery will be his new team’s second release and, as he explained to me during a recent visit to Oslo, it’s the game they were founded to create.

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