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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Absolver will add more modes and moves after launch

I was already ‘jazzed’, ‘stoked’, and ‘ziffed’ for the launch of open-world fighting game Absolver [official site] later this month, and now the weeks beyond that are sounding good too. New fighting styles and moves will arrive in free content updates after launch, developers Sloclap and publishers Devolver Digital announced yesterday, as well as features like a 3v3 mode and spectating. In a game where every player builds their own fighting style from different stances and attacks, I’d certainly like to safely watch other people’s technique. Read the rest of this entry »

They finally really did it: a new Planet of the Apes game

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There are many unresolved questions about the state of the world in 2017, but one of them is how we ended up in a situation whereby films about talking CGI apes riding horses are considered a high watermark of modern mainstream cinema. Sure, the recent Planet of the Apes films are fine as contemporary action movies go, but they are also films about talking CGI apes riding horses, and somehow our brains stop laughing at that after a few minutes of desaturated colour palettes and sad Serkis eyes.

Can a videogame spin off, set between the second and third movies, hope to maintain the same illusion? Or: can it instead embrace the inherent silliness and go monkeycrazy?
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Update: AMD’s new graphics and CPU awesomeness

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It’s all kicking off at AMD, peeps. The new Vega graphics chip is now more than merely a press release and has finally been released into the wild. Meanwhile, the insane ThreadRipper CPU with 16 cores and 32 threads has also landed. It’s all a far cry from just a few months ago when AMD was soldiering on with an elderly graphics product and a deadbeat CPU line up. Time to catch up with AMD’s latest hardware awesomeness. Read the rest of this entry »

Shenmue 3 picks up Deep Silver as publisher

With the development saga of Shenmue 3 [official site] now creeping up on sixteen years, hey, here’s another little bit of good news. After getting the ball rolling with crowdfunding, the RPG has now secured a publisher. Developers Ys net today announced that they’ve signed up with Deep Silver, the folks who publish such series as Saints Row and Metro. Having the technical and financial support of a publisher will surely be helpful for such a big life-sim-o-fight-a-RPG, especially considering the crowdfunding has only raised a fraction of the amount the first game reportedly cost – supposedly it was, in its day, the most expensive game ever made. Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Was Alone creator launches Subsurface Circular

After telling stories about shapes then even a teenager, the fella behind Thomas Was Alone and Volume has taken another step up the consciousness scale for his next story with a game about robots. Bithell’s studio today both announced and launched Subsurface Circular [official site], a short text adventure starring a robot detective investigating missing robots. It’s a text-based story-o-puzzler where you gather new words rather than items, an expanded vocabulary opening new opportunities. While it’s all wordy-like, it does have some nice pictures to go along with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: this week’s Steam new release highlights

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Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly round-up of the best new but under-reported games released on Steam over the past seven days.

This week: SF startup simulation, nihilistic Tetris, toilet humour and fantasy RPG Tinder.
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Fyre it up! Cities: Skylines launches Concerts DLC

How difficult can organising a music festival be? Oh, right. Well! If you’ve got the moxie despite being woefully underqualified, you can now step up and organise concerts with the latest “mini-expansion” for city-builder Cities: Skylines [official site]. It lets players build festival grounds, host bands, and hopefully not end up with a musical mega-hell. It’s not a deep business simulation but might be a bit of fun to brighten up your city. Read the rest of this entry »

Quake Champions enters early access arena next week

Something about putting the words ‘Quake’ and ‘early access’ into the same sentence makes me dizzy. We’re in another world these days, but back in the day Quakes were games that arrived so fully-formed, so absolute and monumental, that the idea of being able to buy an unfinished one makes the damn fool old man who sits at the back of my head wave his walking stick around furiously.

But there it is: id Software’s multiplayer-only shooter Quake Champions [official site] is strafing into the rough’n’readier part of Steam in just five days.

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