LawBreakers is a zero-gravity FPS that nearly touches the sky

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It’s hard not to get excited about LawBreakers‘ [official site] simple hook: flying military grunts with rockets strapped to their feet zip around zero gravity arenas dodging grenades and pumping bullets into each other. I’m happy to report that it’s as fun as it sounds, and its ideas set it apart from other games in the genre. Yet what has impressed me more is how polished it is away from those aerial segments, which actually only make up part of the action. Far from a one-trick pony, LawBreakers is a rock solid shooter with game modes that necessitate team play, and although it’s not fully complete yet (there’s ranked play coming soon) it’s got enough variety to keep me coming back for more. Read the rest of this entry »

Bizarre bestiaries and weird relics: what fantasy can learn from history

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Swords. Castles. Peasants, knights, shieldmaidens, queens, kings, princes, bandits and men at arms. Games often draw on certain aspects of medieval history, whether they’re using it to add colour and flavour to a limb-lopping action game, swords ‘n’ sorcery platformer or fantasy RPG. But there’s more to the period than grim warriors, noble (and cruel) kings, and dank dungeons. A few games, including The Witcher 3 and Crusader Kings, dig beneath the surface to capture some of the mystery and wonder of a time thick with superstition and folklore, but the middle ages have many more tales to tell.

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Peter Molyneux’s The Trail strolls onto PC

Lionheaded bullfrog Peter Molyneux and his 22Cans studio today launched the PC version of their hike ’em up The Trail: Frontier Challenge [official site]. It’s a game where players walk a path across a wild frontier, not to be confused with walking simulators where we get to have a lovely wander where we please. Along the way, folks get to collect stuff, take up a profession, craft, trade, dress up, and build a home. The Trail first hit pocket telephones last year, and has been reworked a touch for PC. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet The Evil Within 2’s tortured/torturous artist

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Let’s all go on holiday! To a twisted horror-world that exists solely as the manifestation of a fractured and agonised mind. Sure, the walls will probably bleed and that clock over there is definitely screaming about the severed threads of temporal stability, but there’s so much to see and do. And let’s not forget all the wonderful people we’ll meet as we hike from one attraction to the next.

There’s Stefano Valentini, for instance. He used to be a photojournalist but now he’s an artist who likes nothing more than creating tableaux of peoples’ dying moments. And because it’s not every day you stumble across someone’s dying moment, he’s taken to creating some magical moments of his own. By murdering people. The Evil Within 2 [official site] looks as gruesomely and gloriously daft as the first, and I am totally on board with this nasty disciple of Sander Cohen.

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Skaven tunnel into Total War: Warhammer 2

The Skaven ratmen are seen as rumour, hearsay, or heresy in the world of Warhammer. Who’d believe that an empire of giant pestilent rats lies beneath our feet? Similarly, Sega have tried to play it cool with the Skaven in Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site]. After five months of teasing a mysterious fourth faction — which has clearly been the Skaven, clear since the chuffing announcement trailer — today they finally confirmed that yup, that ratty rabble will round out Total Warhammer 2. You never really know they’re real until they’re rolling towards you with doom-blasting hamster wheels and vast abominations, as the other factions experience in this new trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

ReBOOt! Horror adventure Black Mirror returns this year

The Black Mirror, the horror adventure series kicked off in 2003 by Future Games then followed by two sequels from another studio, is returning this year with a reboot. The new Black Mirror [official site] is set in a new place with a new story so it’s basically a new game with an old game, but it has drafted some familiar help. Black Mirror is being made by King Art Games, who made a lot of Black Mirror II and went on to create adventure games including The Book of Unwritten Tales and The Raven. Black Mirror is due on November 28th. For now, here’s the announcement trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds slowing pace of patching

As mega-hit Battle Royale ’em up Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] has rolled on through early access, it has mostly kept to its plan to releasing one big content update every month (one was a week late) and smaller tweaky fixy patches every week. That is changing. Developers Bluehole Studio today announced that they’re easing up on the patch pace a little, no longer sticking to that strict schedule, as they found it was making them rush and could cause problems. This is certainly true. One Plunkbat patch earlier this month brought terrible lag problems, which were quickly fixed but sure sucked. I’m okay with a little more caution. Read the rest of this entry »

Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 passes its MOT

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I spent a few pleasant but troubled days with Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 [official site] just after launch, reporting that it was a great game saddled with significant technical and interface issues. Since that time, the developers have released approximately eight million and twelve patches (not to mention a feverish mea culpa for the game’s launch woes), so it’s time to take it back to the shop and see if it’s safe to drive by now.
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Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates opens up on 4 Oct

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Neo-Victorian isometric RPG, Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates [official site], now has a release date for those interested to lord it up over the sea gates. It’s October 4. I am already a lord of the sea gate but by that I mean that I own a Seagate external hard drive and make it do my bidding rather than having any special status in an alternative American timeline where New York is flooding and I need to lead a bunch of companions through a story. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pillars of the Earth breaks ground, is out now

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Having spent the entirety of its existence assuming The Pillars of the Earth [official site] was probably Pillars of Eternity I have found out today that a) it isn’t and b) it’s a point and click about CATHEDRAL CONSTRUCTION IN 12th CENTURY ENGLAND! Oh, also c) it’s out now and there’s a launch trailer to watch… Read the rest of this entry »

Deadly Premonition director’s The Good Life visits a town where people turn into cats

We’re off to a small English town where everyone turns into cats at night with the first game from the new studio of Deadly Premonition director Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro. The Good Life [future Fig page] is a “daily life RPG” with a dash of mystery, roaming the town as a human by day and by night exploring places only cats can go. I adore nosing around town, meeting people, and peering through windows in Deadly Premonition — the world’s worst best game — so this sounds splendid. The Good Life is due to launch a crowdfunding campaign in September, which sounds grand as I’d love to see Swery doing what Swery does without publisher interference (combat in Deadly Premonition was famously a publisher’s idea). Read the rest of this entry »

Destiny 2 shows off 4K shootbangs ahead of PC beta

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A new trailer for Destiny 2’s [official site] PC beta has arrived and like so much of the marketing, it’s nodding at all your PC’s most powerful components in a suggestive fashion: “With that kind of equipment, I can go full 4K with an uncapped framerate.” Even though the game itself is coming to PC later than console, as is the beta which arrives August 29th, it plans to use the extra time to really preen itself. Pre-order and you can join the beta a day early, but it’ll open up worldwide on the 29th, through the recently rebranded Blizzard.Battle/NothingButNet.

Speaking of BattleNet, Bungie recently reiterated that there are no plans to release Destiny 2 anywhere else on PC. “We’re with Blizzard”, says Bungie community manager DeeJ.

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EVE: Valkyrie welcoming non-VR players in September

After almost a year strapped to the foreheads of cybergoggleers, EVE: Valkyrie [official site] is coming to regular screens too. The dogfighting spin-off from spacebastard MMO EVE Online will get new maps, ships, and modes with the launch of its free expansion ‘Warzone’ on September 26th, and more importantly will no longer require VR goggles. I’ve quite fancied a go at Valkyrie’s first-person space-dogfighting but am no gogghead so this is splendid news. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Nidhogg 2

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Abstract multiplayer fencing game Nidhogg didn’t need its minimalist style to be buried under a splatter of aggressively grotesque paint and gore. It didn’t need extra weapons to upset the perfect balance and precision of its two-button combat. It certainly didn’t need its titular wurms to chew the air with stumpy rotten teeth.

All a Nidhogg sequel really needs, to justify its existence entirely, is better netcode and maybe a couple of new modes to play with. By messing with the original formula, particularly with that divisive visual switch, Nidhogg 2 [official site] risks proving that more can sometimes be less. Here’s wot I think.

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Rock of Ages 2 rolling out later this month

“I wanna rock!” sang Twisted Sister. Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder [official site] will deliver the rocks that Dee Snider so desires. Queen will have their own interest, having sung “O Rock of Ages, do not crumble, love is breathing still”. But they will be less pleased by ACE Team’s game, where players roll huge buildings down gorgeous obstacle courses, smashing through defenses, and into the base of their enemy. The rocks most certainly will crumble along the way. We’ll get to see for ourselves soon, as publishers Atlus today announced a release date of August 28. Read the rest of this entry »

Rez Infinite is the greatest VR game to date

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I’ll defer from any commentary on the health of the VR industry and speak only personally: until today, there was enough dust on my goggles to craft a life-size Jeff Fahey statue. With the shock release of ur-console musical shooter Rez Infinite [official site] on PC last week, that’s all changed. Whatever the future might hold for VR, the blissful lines, colours and rhythm of Rez writ wraparound and gigantic is a moment of redemption for the whole concept.
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Pure Farming 2018 trundles out in March 2018

Just as E3 rides a wave of big flashy announcements from American games full of headshots, Gamescom is drifting in atop news about German favourites like industrial simulators. Techland today announced that Pure Farming 2018 [official site], which they’re publishing but not making, will launch on March 13th 2018. A new trailer shows that coo, this is looking pretty swish – a possible rival for Giants Software’s ruling Farming Simulator rather that yet another scrappy little oddity created for the budget rack. Big-budget farming. Fancy farming for fancy farmers. Subsidised up the wazoo. Read the rest of this entry »

H1Z1: Just Survive gets new map and new name

Survival sandbox H1Z1: Just Survive [official site] today receives a big update but also loses its name. The update will bring a new level, a new base-building system, a revamp of weapons and melee combat, and more. At the same time, H1Z1: Just Survive is now named simply Just Survive. Developers Daybreak Game Company don’t state a sensible reason for the rebranding but I’d guess they’re trying to avoid people confusing it with H1Z1: King of the Kill, the massively popular Battle Royale ’em up spin-off designed by the creator of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Project Highrise?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

If you’ve ever played XCOM and wished you could spend more time building your antfarm base and less time watching your operatives die, Project Highrise [official site] might be the game for you.

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