Space opera strategy game Ancient Frontier out 21 Sept

Ancient Frontier

Ancient Frontier [official site] is a hexy thing. It’s a space strategy game where you and your ships blast through other fleets to the backdrop of a story about warring factions and intergalactic intrigue. I’m a sucker for hex-based battlefields so I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and developers Fair Weather Studios are trying to let the story drive the game, with two campaigns that have fully-voiced dialogue. I don’t have long to wait as Fair Weather have confirmed a release date of September 21st.

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Frost giants and snow storms in Conan Exiles new region

Conan Exiles frozen north

Early access survival game Conan Exiles [official site] added a new chilly region called the Frozen North this week. It brings with it new weather types including rain and snow, alongside a temperature system that will affect the whole game: you’ll have to wrap up warm in the new area and strip off in the game’s desserts.

There’s shiny weapons to swing at new beasts, including wolves, bears, frost giants and mammoths, fresh dungeons to crawl and new materials to find and cobble together into shelters and items. Plus, you can now summon an Avatar (Exile’s versions of embodied Gods) called Ymir: Lord of Storm and War, who is a giant frosty dude with a big beard, antler horns and a huge axe that can level whole towns.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for hanging out with your kid, taking them somewhere fun, and hoping they’ll play on their own for at least a few minutes while you browse on your phone. Quick, before he or she notices the phone in your hand – click these links to the week’s best games writing.

The lovely Rab Florence, our former Cardboard Children columnist, is launching a new tabletop game review show. It sounds very Rab: Cast The Bones is described as, “a Lovecraftian horror satire about a dead board game review.” I will definitely watch this. It’s currently up on Patreon and at the time of writing a little more than halfway towards its funding goal.

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Steve Jackson’s Ogre rumbles onto PC in October

Ogre

The video game adaption of Steve Jackson Games’ wargame Ogre [official site], which is about battles between super-powered AI war machines rather than man-eating giants, is coming out on 5 October, developers Auroch Digital have announced.

I haven’t played the tabletop version, but a glance at the rules reference sheet tells me that one player controls a single, immensely powerful Ogre and the other tries to fend it off with armoured hovercraft, big tanks and infantry. The video game version expands that formula with multiple units on both sides taking part in turn-based strategic combat on a hexy battlefield. The Ogres are still as scary, mind (there’s one in the bottom right of the picture above).

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Killing Floor: Incursion brings zombie slaughter to VR

Killing Floor Incursion

Chop a zombie’s head off with an axe, grab the skull and chuck it at one of his ghoulish friends, all using your own, real-life hands. That’s the kind of thing you can do in Killing Floor: Incursion [official site], which is out now and brings combat based on the excellent Killing Floor games to virtual reality. It’s exclusive to the Rift right now and requires the Oculus Touch to play, so there’s a big barrier to entry, but if you’re already kitted out then it could be a go-er.

The combat looks intense, and you can shoot through the hordes on your own or with a friend in co-op. The Touch gameplay means you can slash your knives in whatever direction and angle you want, or chuck a shotgun to a friend so they can blow the head off a zombie that’s getting too close. Plus, it looks bloody terrifying: the Killing Floor games weren’t exactly scary but being in VR means there’s no escape. Gulp.

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The Norwood Suite accepts guests from 2 Oct

The Norwood Suite

I thought the style looked familiar! The Norwood Suite [official site] is the new game from Off-Peak creator Cosmo D. Off-Peak, you might remember, is the surreal train station experience Alice and I played which I’d tend to describe as an experiential collage more than a game, if you’re into that categorisation. You should definitely play it if you’re looking for a curious project for the weekend – it’s free.

The Norwood Suite seems to have a similar style and is set in the same universe but is about a secluded, mysterious hotel filled with secrets. It now has an official launch date too so Alice and I can pencil in some time to play it simultaneously over the phone! October 2, if you are thinking of doing the same with your pals…

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What are we all playing this weekend?

Here’s a game I call Reboot, Remake, Rip Off. It works like Flip, Marry, Kill but with video games and without putting your genitals near anything, being more about which of the options you would most like to see rebooted, remade, and widely copied from, yeah? Let’s start with some neglected first-person shooters.

Reboot, remake, rip off: Red Faction, F.E.A.R., and Sin?

Answers and arguments in the comments, gang.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on. Read the rest of this entry »

Tweak-o! StarCraft II big balance changes incoming

I had thought Blizzard were about done with big StarCraft II balance changes, or at least had decided which units should be in the game, but nope! This week they announced a load of changes for all factions in multiplayer, redesigning some units and outright removing one. Blizzard explain, “This time around our general focus is to address underused units and abilities while also trying to reduce sudden game ending moments.” The changes are now live for public testing but won’t launch properly until after the current season ends in November. They’ve got a lot to test and think about. Read the rest of this entry »

You’re not the hero of Pyre’s revolution, and that’s the point

pyre-revolution-1

How many times have you played as The Hero of the Revolution? Where you get to lead the charge against an evil government, backed by a rag-tag rebel group, as a rough, gruff outsider. You’re the one who drives the action, at the head of every important rebel action – it’s your guts and your guns that will win glory for the revolution. You’re the face of change, in that you literally show up on all the WANTED posters. The rebels cheer for you when you walk close. Everyone assures you history will remember your name.

Pyre’s not that game. You’re just a hero of the revolution, no capital letters, and certainly no glory. No one will remember your face, much less your name.

Extensive spoilers for Pyre follow. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Observer

observeheader

In Observer [official site], AKA David Cronenberg’s Bladerunner, Rutger Hauer is having a very bad day. It begins with a phone call, some family problems, and ends in blood and regret. Hauer lends his voice to the player character, who is the titular Observer, a special kind of cop who can jack into suspects’ memories, hopes and fears as a means of interrogation. To do so, he inserts a cable into a chip lodged in their brain and connects it to his own gray matter.

Around a quarter of the way through this particular grim night, he dives into the mind of a person who has just died, an act of necro-hacking that is totally against protocol. That’s when things get really weird.

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Dreadful survival horror Darkwood launches in full

Delightfully unpleasant top-down survival horror Darkwood [official site] has finally escaped early access and launched in full. I’m a big baby where jump scares are concerned but Darkwood looks like exactly the sort of horror I crave: surreal, unsettling, often slow, and with some friendly-ish faces but so many more awful things. The bits I’ve heard from certified brave man Adam make Darkwood sound wizzo, so I’m glad it’s finally properly out.

Here, look at the launch trailer showing the terrible things that happen when you receive something as simple and pleasant as an invitation to a party: Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Metal Gear Solid?

Why did the soldier dies without being alarmed? Because it was SOCOM

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

Was Metal Gear Solid ever on PC? I have feverishly Googled for the answer and discovered: yes! It was ported in 2001 with slightly prettified graphics and some updated VR missions. That means I can write about it. Sweet PC port of the past, you have given me a fine gift this day. The gift of not scouring my brain for videogames that aren’t already on our 700+ list of things we’ve already covered for this column.
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Imprison toddlers in ball pools with incoming Sims 4 toddler stuff pack (I assume)

Toddler Stuff Pack: The Sims 4

The Sims 4‘s Toddler Stuff Pack (stuff packs being the tier of paid DLC that adds cosmetics and objects and things around a particular theme) is how I found out I have opinions about ball pool physics and ball pools as represented in games. I have frequented many a ball pool – sometimes even a ball lido – and I know that The Sims 4 is eliding many a problem with ball pools.

For one it’s entirely possible to perform a ball pool bellyflop and significantly injure yourself but here it’s all fun and games. Actually, I’d say it’s harder to dive or jump into a ball pool and make it look like a fun experience than it is to do so and really hurt yourself. It’s also impossible to confine balls to the ball pool area. Oh, and there’s not a single frame of the trailer showing an adult having to clamber through a ball pool searching for and then hauling out their recalcitrant toddler. Further objections include the fact that you can’t keep adults out of a children’s ball pool and, somewhat relatedly, that I find it objectionable that EA seem to be taking a stand against a grown woman’s right to enjoy a ball pool.

They do manage to recapture an actual argument I had with my brother over who had the right to play with a plastic dinosaur, though. (My argument was: “I’m older and I want it more” and his was “but it is literally my toy dinosaur”). Read the rest of this entry »

Robocraft blasts out of early access this month

The build-your-own-warcmhine battling of Robocraft [official site] is almost ready to launch in full, after three years in early access. It’ll hit version 1.0 and launch on August 24th, developers Freejam Games have announced. If you’re the cautious sort who’d rather not play even a free-to-play game until it’s done, hey, it’s almost here. Read the rest of this entry »

Fishing Planet’s PS4 trailer is the ultimate fish betrayal

Fishing Planet

Can I lodge a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about how the PS4 version of Fishing Planet [official site] got a trailer that was approx one billion times better than the PC trailer? I am FURIOUS right now. We get moody water shots and easy listening and theirs is all TENSION AND FISH AND HYPE AND EXCITING RIFFS AND YES YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE THERE ARE MORE THAN 70 SPECIES OF FISH AND OBVIOUSLY COMPLEX FISH AI IS HAPPENING AND ARE YOU READY FOR THIS BECAUSE I DO NOT THINK YOU ARE READY FOR THIS. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Mostly Positive

Ultimate General: Civil War has travelled a fair-old distance since I Early Accessed it late last year. Game-Labs’ spectacular sprite slaughterhouse is now bigger, better, and even more approachable. I like it a lot, but not quite enough to pin a prestigious RPS Recommended rosette on its breast. Read the rest of this entry »

Spintires returning enhanced & expanded in MudRunner

Back in 2014, the RPS treehouse shook with everyone thundering around pretending to be trucks stuck in squelching mud. Such was the captivating magic of Spintires, a serious simulation of simply trying to drive across rough Russian terrain. But ongoing development got bogged down by a drawn-out spat between developer Pavel Zagrebelny and publishers Oovee Game Studio, and Spintires seemed to be left to rust in the cybermud. Well! In a surprising and confusing twist, Spintires is back with a new edition coming from another studio and a different publisher (update: with Zagrebelny still leading it). Focus Home Interactive today announced Spintires: MudRunner [official site], an enhanced and expanded edition of Spintires coming in October. Read the rest of this entry »

Astroneer parties like it’s Update 199

Astroneer

As the song goes, in space no-one can hear you party like it’s one-hundred-and-ninety-nine. Which is a shame given update 199 for Astroneer [official site] contains a whole bundle of things. It’s not content-heavy/content-at-all-y which I know is a source of frustration for people who are playing it through Early Access. For people like me who pop back in every few months it’s fun to see how the development process is moving, though.

In this instance it sounds like developers System Era are making some meaningful changes on the engineering and stability side which is good. If you’d prefer to know about future content stuff skip down to the part about Prototyping, otherwise join me as I get excited about the ability to change the colours of beacons – no longer will I roam the land assuming I’m going in one direction and then realising I confused one identical beacon with another…

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Best PC gaming deals of the week

It’s the end of another week and what a week it has been. I think we’re all ready for a little old fashioned video game escapism, and what better way to get cracking on that than with a look at some of the best gaming and techy type deals of the past week. As always, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let’s get started.

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