Archive for April, 2008

Duke Nukem Not Never

Something about parking bricks

Just a brief note on something we really should have mentioned a couple of days back – Shacknews have, they claim, actually seen Duke Nukem Forever in action. Like, with their eyes and stuff. The very scant report they gave had some calling shenanigans, but 3D Realms’ George Broussard later popped his head into the thick of it to offer some apparent corroboration.

All the detail on offer is this:

“We actually got to see the truth of Duke curator George Broussard’s many past claims, including environmental puzzles and interactivity, a host of finished weapons, the existence of an in-game forklift, and plenty of heads and arms being blown off. We both confidently agree that after seeing this demonstration, Duke Nukem Forever is looking great, and will easily stand apart from the crowd in both visual and gameplay styles.”

An in-game forklift! Stop the fricking presses!

I jest, of course. The info-embargo is understandable, and it’s good to hear more evidence that DNF is at last on its way, even if there’s nothing whatsoever to yet prove if and how it’s a triumph.

Want Want Want: Sledgehammer

UPDATE: Russian demo available here. Still downloading at the mo, impressions may follow later.

One reason GTA is quite so successful is because it fulfils the innate fantasies of modern existence – I would like to drive cars really fast wherever I wanted, I would like to kill people without moral, legal or awkward body-disposal consequence, and most of all I want to be the most baddass badass in all existence. Unfortunately, it neglects a very, very important part of that fantasy – controlling giant, jet-propelled, transforming trucks loaded with enough heavy weaponry to level a small farming town.

Introducing… Sledgehammer:

Crunchy thanks, Gametrailers.

18 Wheels of Steel + Carmageddon = Whee! Read the rest of this entry »

The Guardian: Peter Molyneux Interview

I do like the white backgrounds. It makes me feel like as pretty as a princess.

I’ve spent the week doing a couple of short, if dense interviews with major gaming figures for the Guardian Online. First one’s up, where I talk to Peter Molyneux about the idea of name-creators, why there hasn’t been a refresh of them for a long time, where they may arise and why he hopes they do arrive. The quote the Guardian chose to open on: “I’ve been credited unduly”.

Dinner With Rod Humble: Sims Style Stuff

Last week we brought you part one of our interview with EA’s Rod Humble. This week we bring you the second part, where we get down to talking about Rod’s day job: The Sims. When you’re sat down for dinner with the man in charge of one the biggest selling gaming franchise ever, and have a chance to find out more about the forthcoming The Sims 3, what do you ask about? Peeing. And then some slightly more practical questions. Along the way we discussed The Sims’ sociology on a wider scale, how Rod finds freezing to death endlessly funny, and why The Sims’ expansion packs deserve a better time than the gaming press gives them.

In future, could girls be more subtle when rejecting me?

RPS: You said that you want Sims 3 to welcome back the hardcore.

RH: Yeah. We’re adding systems which add depth and longevity to the gameplay. In addition to being able to go up many different advancement tracks, such as gardening or hobbies. The game also gives you little tasks to do. The game has an added depth that I think we’ve learned from other games that have come out in the last four or five years. It adds that extra meat of challenge. I think a lot of current players love all the Sims games as creative tools, but quite often I think core gamers like challenge and depth, and we’re always trying to strike a balance. I hope Sims 3 adds a little bit more to that balance.

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Eurogamer: TrackMania Nations Forever

There are seriously not enough loops in regular driving.

After yesterday’s Verdict, quickly following is my review of Nations Forever for Eurogamer. It begins like this:

At 1.30am last night, I couldn’t tell you whether I loved or hated TrackMania. What I can tell you is that I was playing it. Or more specifically, playing one track. Again and again. Determined to beat it. Increasingly tired, and as such increasingly unable to make the perfectly timed turns to get that Gold medal that sat between me and sleep.

And then carries on when you click here. (But don’t click here).

EA-Land To Close Borders

Sorry, EA-Land fans.

Eurogamer report that EA-Land, née The Sims Online, is to come to an end. According to a post on EA-Land’s blog, the online world will be entering the /dev/null on August 1st, but for the next three months will be completely free to all players. EA says,

“Since 2002, EA-Land / TSO has attracted a very special group of players (of which you are one) and we certainly appreciate your participation in the EA-Land community. The lifetime of the game has drawn to an end, and now we will be focusing on new ideas and other innovative concepts in the games arena. We’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in this online community as a unique experience in the virtual world.”

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Valve Announce Gold Rush For TF2

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Some breaking news before RPS heads bedwards: There’s a new Team Fortress 2 map available. And more, as part of the free Gold Rush update.

Valve explain,

“The Gold Rush Update introduces the new Gold Rush map and Payload gameplay style, the first set of unlockable weapons, and a new set of achievements for the Medic.”

If you don’t own it and that’s not enough to tempt you, perhaps a free weekend might do that. Starting Friday at noon PDT, TF2 will be free to everyone until Sunday. You can begin pre-loading the files now, with all the details you’ll need here.

More Gold Rush in the morning. But first some shots fresh from The Night Of A Thousand Medics.
Read the rest of this entry »

7 Commandments Get Cracked

Not enough stuff is written in stone these days.

The excellent folks at Cracked.com have announced some new rules for videogames, and by the law of Enough Of Them Being PC, we link away.

We are here to condemn Grand Theft Auto IV, and other equally great games, not out of hatred, but out of love. For it does no good to point out the flaws in bad games as bad games by definition cannot be saved. No, we aim to save gaming from the abyss by pointing out the sins of games like the Elder Scrolls and Half Life series, games made by creators who actually care. It is in that spirit that we proclaim the commandments that they have broken, so that they may be redeemed.

Some of it’s familiar – too much WW2, etc – but more importantly, a lot of it is filled with ire and rage. We like ire and rage. So yes, they missed your one. Post it below.

Final Crysis

Sulk.

Epic do it. id do it. Even educated fleas do it. And now Crytek have announced they too are dumping PC exclusives. VG247 spots Crytek’s Cevat Yerli telling PC Play about the aftershocks of Crysis:

“We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin. I believe that’s the core problem of PC gaming: PC gamers that pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we won’t have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive any more.”

Whether or not his mooted reason for it rings true, it’s sad news, and leaves me wondering who’ll next pick up the baton of bleeding-edge graphics. Crytek collected it from Epic, who’d collected it from id, but there’s no obvious successor – with the possible exception of Valve, who lately (and happily) have been concentrating more on eyecandy-via-art, not tech. That said, in these splendidly idea-rich times for PC, do we even still need someone pushing quite so hard against the graphical ceiling?

GTA IV PC Release Confirmed (By Me, And I’m Lying)

As GTA IV enters its extensive beta-testing period on 360 and PS3, the question remains exactly when it will be released on PC.

Sorry PS3 owners, this must suck!

Okay, sure, they’ve yet to announce it for PC, but tradition dictates that it should be with us within the next year. And if that tradition continues, it will be a superior version designed for considerably more handsome people. Well, we’ve been down to the rumour mill, despite hazardous safety conditions and a lack of protective eyewear, and heard that it might be in November.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Hard Day’s Knight: Violent Trevor – Adventurer!

Where's my mount? Bastard.

We’ve never actually explained Mount & Blade properly, in terms of what you do. I figured the best way to actually capture the random adventuring lifestyle was to narrate the adventuring life-style. Since the demo stops at level eight, it struck me as the right sort of length for a sample. You know – with the added advantage of showing what you can get up to with just clicking on the download link. So I make my character, choosing options to make Violent Trevor a gruff nobleman character out for trouble. Click create and…

Damn. It’s hit one of the latest version bugs where you start in the wilderness, unarmed in your underwear.

I decide to find out what I can do even when the game goes wrong. And it all ends up working delightfully.
Read the rest of this entry »

Rise Of The Argonauts


EDIT: Codemasters drop us a line to say the June 1st release date I reported is erroneous, and the game is in fact due in the Autumn.

Codemasters mythologically-fueled action-RPG Rise Of The Argonauts is just a few weeks months off, with a June 1st an “Autumn” release date reported for PC. In anticipation of this, Codemasters have released some more screenshots, posted below. There’s very little other information on the title other than it being an RPG, with real-time combat, a single main character (Jason), and it having “deep exploration”, which presumably means there’s a big old ancient Mediterranean environment to wander round in. It’s an Unreal 3 engine game by industry veterans Liquid Entertainment, who did Battle Realms, Dragonshard, and er, Desperate Housewives, so it might just a solid game. Those screens and a (rather old) trailer after the jump.
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Scripty of Heroes

Strongest one there is

(Sorry for the hideous pun – I’m still badly jetlagged).

News reaches us, via Eurogamer, that RPS’ favourite MMO (Jim’s Eve obsession being obscured by a shallow veil of democracy), City of Heroes, is due for an intruiging new update. Always a game that’s struggled to offer long-term appeal for its less devout players, it’s had a few goes at adding a bit more meat to its big bones – but somehow crafting, auctioneering, veterans’ rewards and even PvP haven’t quite mustered the variety it badly needs. Perhaps, though, its newly-announced upcoming feature will. Read the rest of this entry »

Escapist: Team Roomba Profile

I just do this because I hate snipers.

You notice something amiss: The Scout is stuck halfway up the wall.

This is problematic. Normally, it’d only be problematic for the Scout. But the wall in which he’s stuck is the doorway to the room where the rest of his team are. He’s jammed himself in such a way that the door is equally stuck, with a gap that’s just too small for the team to escape.

Someone speaks up: “Is he glitched, or is he just being a douchebag?”

There’s a notable pause before a voice answers: “I think it’s a little of column ‘A,’ a little of column ‘B.'”

My piece about the – er – performance griefing Team roomba goes live in the Escapist’s comedy issue. I like it when they stand in front of the Sniper.

RPS Verdict: Trackmania United Forever


You find our bickering crew mid-insult, as they talk bad about John’s mum and make fun of Kieron’s general confusion in the face of existence. But there’s a purpose to this gathering, and it’s to discuss the most recent Trackmania games. Let’s see how we get on.

John: We should totally print this. A verdict on how Kieron can’t do jokes.
Kieron: Kieron can’t read, Thankyou.
Jim: I have no idea what game we’re verdicting – Trackmania Unified Nations Forever United?
Kieron: United?
John: United’s a year old game.
Alec: Nations Forever is free. United Forever is the latest retail version.
Jim: Forever Nations Mania TrackNited?
Kieron: Yeah, we’re lost. Can we just have a verdict on their ludicrously stupid naming scheme?
Read the rest of this entry »

Eurogamer: Pete Hines on Fallout 3

It's a mini-adventure. A minigun adventure. In homicide.

Following on from my preview, Eurogamer lobs up my interview with Pete Hines. I finally ask the “Why the hell do Fallout when it just buys you trouble. Make your own world and you dodge it all” question. To which Pete replies…

It’s like, if George Lucas died tomorrow – God willing, he doesn’t – and you’re a film director. And you’ve grown up making big epic films – maybe you’re Peter Jackson. And he finishes whatever his big next film is. And someone asks him, “what do you want to do next?” And he says, “I always wanted to make a big space movie. A big epic movie full of action.” And they ask, “do you want to do generic space movie that you make up yourself, or do you want to do Star Wars.”

And he continues. Other topics include response to criticism, the internal dialogue at Bethesda and mild swearing at Ken Levine.

The Last Stand 2: The Last Standier


I enjoyed Zombie Defence game The Last Stand. I enjoy its sequel even more. It’s essentially the same idea, but inching something more complicated. By night, you defend the barricade. By day, you search for survivors, food and supplies. Except now this strategy level isn’t as abstracted, with you choosing where on a map to look. You’re also able to lay traps, equip your survivors with better weapons and – perhaps most brilliantly – work your way across a larger-scale map to go to new towns on the way to the port. Thirty days until the ship leaves. Do you go via the small, quieter town, or pile into the city in search of richer pickings? One day someone’s going to look at the wave of zombie webgames and realise there’s room for a more sophisticated zombie game in the mainstream. Until then, this’ll do nicely, eh?

Exodus From The Earth

Strategy First have announced that they’re going to be publishing a new sci-fi shooter, Exodus From The Earth. It’s being developed by Parallax Arts Studio, who are based on St. Petersburg. This is Parallax’s third game, and I can’t say I know much about the other two. I vaguely remember the announcement of “Liquidator 2” but little more. They’ve quite possibly only found distribution in Russia before now.

The features list for the game looks like a checklist of any old FPS, but the screens have some fancy lookin’ vehicle combat action, which might spice things up a little. Not getting my hopes up though, natch. I was, incidentally, out in Russia recently for a report that will be published in PC Gamer UK next month. I saw some pretty interesting stuff, and there are definitely a couple of shooters coming out of Russia that have the potential to shake things up a little. Most impressive of the lot is Cryostasis. But more on that another time.