Posts Tagged ‘retrospective’

Screw Balance: How Warlords Battlecry 3 Blended Genres

By Sin Vega on March 17th, 2015.

There’s this obscure game called StarCraft – you probably haven’t heard of it. It was one of those games that was so well designed that for years afterwards, most that came after its throne were either failed experiments or pale imitations, and even those that succeeded were just more of the same. Here are a few factions, they’re unique but equal; here’s a campaign where you fight each other faction then a civil war, with each level unlocking more stuff. Get unit x to position y, hold your ground for 30 minutes, insert tab A into slot B. You must construct additional… Mylons. Yeah, that’ll do.

StarCraft numbed me to the RTS for years. Everything wanted to be it, but I’d already played it. Even to this day, I find very little to recommend from that era. In a shock twist, however, there’s an exception in Warlords Battlecry 3.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

38 Comments »

Video: File System Aging – 2. Beginnings

By Robert Florence on March 6th, 2015.

Hey come watch Rab Florence’s new weekly video series, made just for us. Part one is here.

In the second part of this series about games, time and loss, Rab returns to his earliest gaming memories, including M.U.L.E. and Alter Ego.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

15 Comments »

Video: File System Aging – 1. Defragmentation

By RPS on February 27th, 2015.

Hey, come watch Rab Florence’s new weekly video series for us.

Rab Florence digs deep for beautiful PC gaming memories before they’re lost forever in this affectionate series about games, time and life.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

48 Comments »

Return To The Witcher 2: Part 2 – The Not So Good Bits

By Richard Cobbett on February 9th, 2015.

'Geralt, what do we do?' 'I DON'T KNOW THIS IS STILL THE TUTORIAL HOW DO I DRAW MY SWORD AND HIT THINGS!?'

So, last time we looked at The Witcher 2 in all its glory. Today, we’re flipping it round. Where did things go wrong? Before we start, a clarification. While this will inherently be negative, it’s not to bash the game. The game was awesome, and many of the balls it dropped to the ground were at least pretty well gathered up by the Enhanced Edition. This is really more looking at issues to hope won’t be repeated by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [official site], allowing it to be all we want it to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

86 Comments »

Return To The Witcher 2: Part 1 – The Good Bits

By Richard Cobbett on February 6th, 2015.

'You know, I should grow a beard. Just thought of that. Will get started soon.'

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re really looking forward to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [official site] later this year, and you need to go to the gym a lot more. In anticipation of the first and avoidance of the second, I’ve been replaying the second game to refresh my memory and see a few things that I missed the first time round. With the benefit of hindsight, and a big update, where did it go right and where did it go wrong? Let’s do the negatives tomorrow and start with the positives today, of which it has so many to choose from…

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

75 Comments »

Remembering Vangers And The Virtue Of Nonsense

By Marsh Davies on January 23rd, 2015.

Be a good vanger and take the nymbos to Incubator, would you? Grab a jar of phlegma while you’re there – the Podish bunch are due a good smearing. Maybe snap up a tabutask or two if you think your mechos can take it. What’s that you got? An Oxidise Monk? Pfft. Still, if it’s Plump-Up, you might try and run an Eleerection – though take care of that eLeech, vanger. They might just be reincarnated pod-eaters who plumped-out to death, but they still deserve better than to cark it in the back of some rattletrap raffa driven by some know-nothing rambler who crumples into the first stinker he sees. And if you don’t win Eleerection you aren’t ever going to reach Glorx, much less anywhere else in the Chain.

If you understood that, then you probably already have some idea why Vangers – re-released on Steam and GOG last year – is one of the oddest, most original and overlooked games in history. If you didn’t understand it then you are in the position everyone else was in June of 1998, bewildered by their purpose in a gameworld designed to be explicitly, unintelligibly alien in almost every respect.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

26 Comments »

How To Eat Your Cake: Consortium And The Fourth Wall

By Sin Vega on December 30th, 2014.

We can’t keep saying video games are a young medium. We’ve been saying it since I was your age (or since you were mine, if that fits better), and besides, the last few years have finally shown that there’s plenty of room for games that do more than idly amuse us. Consortium is one such game.

Unlike any RPG I can name, Consortium throws you in with no map, no introductory cutscenes or tutorial. When you start, you don’t choose a character, you sign a disclaimer. It’s disorientating and strange, and immediately different, dedicated fully to its central conceit; you the player are accessing a satellite, provided by the developer, iDGi, that allows you to control a man known as Bishop 6, on board an aircraft, in the year 2042.

It nails role playing as a person in a specific situation, to an extent no other game has. Paradoxically, it achieves this by telling you nothing.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , .

100 Comments »

Darklands Retrospective: What RPGs Are Supposed To Be

By Sin Vega on December 9th, 2014.

A lesson that often eludes the games industry is how much names matter. Though it’s hardly the worst offender, Darklands is about as generic as a name gets, and its cover image (which mattered once) is even worse.

Even discounting that, it faced an uphill struggle, as its original 1992 release was marked by a plague of bugs, which Microprose’s patching never entirely expunged. It can still fritz during longer, complex sections – the ones you’ll save at most – and its occasional glitches compound cumbersome controls and an interface that’s awkward and often repetitive. Its sounds are few and its animations simplistic, with minimal feedback. On paper, it’s a bit of a mess.

It’s one of the best RPGs ever made anyway.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

57 Comments »

Remembering Microsoft’s Finest Gaming Hour: Skifree

By Alec Meer on November 30th, 2014.

noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history to pull out one of the best moments from the archive. This week, Alec’s 2009 retrospective of Microsoft oddity Skifree.

Why? Why does he want to eat me? What did I ever do to him?

I’m just skiing, man. I’m not a threat to him or his people. I can’t believe I taste that great, underneath this garish windcheater and plastic boots. I’m certainly not going to replace all the calories he spends chasing me down a frozen mountain slope at about 90mph. He wants to eat me because he’s just a massive bastard. There’s no other possible explanation.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , .

21 Comments »

Why Far Cry 2 Is Still The Best In The Series

By Marsh Davies on November 20th, 2014.

Did you know the word barbecue is one of only a few surviving words from a lost Caribbean language (having since been filtered through Spanish)?

You shouldn’t always give people what they want. This is focus testing’s fatal flaw. It’s also the reason that Far Cry 2 – a game which doesn’t give you what you want and slaps you for asking – is the best game in the series by far.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

207 Comments »

Why Sid Meier Is Wrong About Sid Meier’s Covert Action

By Sin Vega on November 18th, 2014.

Spies! They’re kind of dicks®. If they’re not seducing us or gambling away our taxes, they’re shoving microphones into cats or jabbing us with umbrellas. It’s hardly surprising that so many games about them veer into cartoonish James Bond territory, or cartoonish parody of cartoonish James Bond territory, or some kind of recursive humour vacuum that threatens to make Miranda Harts of us all.

But there’s a lot to be said for the more grounded approach. Sid Meier’s Covert Action, for example, steers clear of supervillains and outlandish capers, instead presenting a sort of action puzzle, with various criminal mysteries to be solved via a collection of minigames. Say “collection of minigames” in the early 90s and the responses you’d get would likely be “take this film licence dreck out the back and shoot it”, but Covert Action is a far better game than that technically accurate description lets on – and one still worth playing today. Let me explain.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

42 Comments »

Not Fade Away: How Dragon Age Origins Got Evil Right

By Matt Lees on November 17th, 2014.

The difficulty with explaining why Dragon Age: Origins was super-duper top dog stuff is that on a surface level it was all a bit boring. Nasty creatures are coming to destroy your green, faintly damp-looking world! You’ve got to save the realm, perhaps because prophecies? Prophecies might be a thing, I suppose. Also: dwarves and elves and sometimes magic.

Thematically there’s very little going on in Ferelden that hadn’t already been flogged to oblivion by the rest of the genre, which makes Origins an even tougher sell to a culture now fixated with Game of Thrones. Decapitation makes an occasional appearance, but Origins is largely po-faced fare. What helps it succeed anyway is the one cliché it skewers beautifully, through its depiction of evil and a place called ‘the fade’.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

93 Comments »

Eurogamer Retro: Driv3r, Also: Comments

By John Walker on July 25th, 2011.

Ah, classy.

Yesterday saw Eurogamer display my retrospective of DrivTHREEr, Atari/Reflections’ astonishingly bad sequel to their loved franchise. In it I say things like,

“Vehicles drive like angry shopping trolleys filled with cannonballs being precariously pushed along a bowling alley. But on foot is when you get to enjoy your character (I’m sure he has a name) stumbling around like a man having his first go at walking, on a trampoline covered in marbles.”

And most interesting to me have been the comments beneath.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

227 Comments »