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Adam Smith

2 years ago

Feature: Not so angelic

Have You Played… Messiah?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. You are a chubby baby, sent down from heaven to Earth in order to... I dunno... possess workmen and force them to jump into big grinding industrial machinery? That's certainly how I played Messiah. There might have been more to it than sneaking up behind people,…

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Feature: The chaos of war

Insurgency: Sandstorm is a harrowing depiction of combat

This is what it must feel like to enjoy Battlefield or Call of Duty. I've tried many multiplayer military shooters over the years but I've never thought of one as more than a passing distraction until now. Insurgency: Sandstorm is more than a distraction. It's one of the most harrowing and thrilling depictions of combat I've ever seen, and I think it's a goddamn work…

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Feature: Bloody hell

Vampyr isn’t the afterlife of the party just yet

I feel like Vampyr has been part of my life for a very long time. It was only three years ago that I first saw the game, but I've been following it closely since then. It's always been at arm's length though, seen in the occasional video playthrough or prior to an interview with the developers. Last week, I had my first chance to play…

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Feature: A new golden age?

Civilization 6 – Rise And Fall review

Civilization is at its worst when you're winning. Success breeds complacency as you click the end turn button and acknowledge the news of great accomplishments with the practiced apathy of a regent signing papers on behalf of an infant king. There is an inevitability about your empire's march through history and it's easy to feel like a passive pawn. Rise and Fall, the first major…

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Feature: Now on Steam

Have You Played… Hidden & Dangerous 2: Courage Under Fire?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. I thought of the Hidden & Dangerous games as Rainbow Six: WWII. That was no bad thing. Combining stealth, squad management, action, and lots of careful planning that often ended in a few brutal seconds of panic and failure, they were wonderful things. I've been revisiting…

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Feature: Blissful abyss

Underworld Ascendant wants you to break all the rules

Underworld Ascendant is a game for anyone who has ever tormented a GM during a tabletop RPG session. The maps have been drawn up, the traps have been primed and all of the plans are coming together. You're deep in a dungeon and the story is about to take a very unpleasant turn. And then... “You said the spikey pillars are made of the same…

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Frostpunk introduces its awesome/terrifying automatons

In Frostpunk, what doesn't kill you definitely doesn't make you stronger. It probably makes your arm fall off, or convinces everyone that you're no longer a capable part of the workforce so that they feel compelled to save some power by cutting off the heat supply to your house. And, hey, if you're lucky, you might be able to contribute to the survival of your…

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Feature: Danelaw and order

Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is a smaller game with some very big ideas

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. That's a useful motto, a pick-me-up for the smaller among us, but the truth is right now, I am a very small dog with very little fight left in it. I'm the boss of Mide, a province in the middle of Ireland. The 9th century is…

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Feature: Mountains of sadness

Celeste review

You're climbing a mountain. It's hard, especially when the wind is cutting through you like a knife and angry spikes are pulsing from the walls. Sometimes you're not even sure if the mountain is actually a metaphor for every difficult thing you've ever done in your life. That's how much trouble you're having getting to the peak. That is my brief summary of Celeste, a…

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Smashing shooter Crimsonland is free to play this weekend

This weekend, why not spend some time surrounded by creeping death that approaches from all sides in the form of horrid aliens and giant spiders? Sounds appealing, doesn't it? What if I told you that you don't even have to leave your house and that it won't cost you a penny? SOLD, you'd say, and I'd patiently restate that you don't need to pay anything…

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Feature: How to cure a haunting

Have You Played… Wunderdoktor?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. Pulling worms out of eye sockets, popping eyeballs back into those sockets, then retrieving the ghosts from inside someone's skull might sound like a grisly business, but Wunderdoktor finds the fun in fungal infections. We're talking actual toadstools growing where toadstools should not grow. Or bits…

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Feature: A whale of a time?

Nantucket review

My rotten sloop is wheezing into port, the decks slick with blubber and blood, and still it isn't enough. The sea teems with life and before this day is done, I swear I will silence all of it. From our home port to the distant shores of Europe and Africa, the water will run red. This is Nantucket, a strategic-RPG about the golden age of…

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Steel Division: Normandy 44 Back to Hell DLC announced

As Meat Loaf sang, "Like a bat out of hell, I'll be promptly returning to hell when the morning comes." Not one for sticking around to clean up the flat or make a fry-up after a night of partying, Mr Loaf. Steel Division: Normandy 44, the rather spiffy WWII RTS developed by Wargame and R.U.S.E. studio Eugen, is also going back to hell. The hell…

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Feature: BloodQuake

DUSK is a delicious cocktail of nineties shooters

A lot of people are comparing DUSK to Quake. They're not wrong to do that; there are enough brown polygons and chunky weapons to bring back memories of nailguns, ogres and Trent Reznor's ominous drones. My mind turned to Blood though. DUSK begins with b-movie horror tropes as chainsaws whirr and cultists shriek threats, and from there it takes a tour through pretty much the…

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Civ VI: Rise and Fall’s new features explained

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down. That's what I'll be singing when I play Civilization VI's upcoming Rise and Fall expansion. There are loads of new features but the unifying theme is, as the title suggests, success, failure and recovery. That means dark ages that come with hardships but also bring about the possibility of a…

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Feature: Convoy through hell

Nowhere Prophet is a post-apocalyptic trip with a soul

A large dog-like creature had been sniffing around our camp while we slept. The road hadn't been kind to us and our food supplies were running low. Truth be told, my own altruistic streak was responsible for most of our problems; we'd picked up stragglers and waifs wherever we found them, and had far too many mouths to feed. But this dog-thing was not joining…

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First footage of Yume Nikki follow-up Dream Diary

Cult indie horror game Yume Nikki arrived on Steam this week and, more than a decade after its original release, we saw signs that the dream saga might continue. Yume Nikki is free and if you're at all interested in wandering through subtle and not-so-subtle nightmare realms while trying to decipher their strange logic, you should play it! A countdown site suggested we'd find out…

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Stellaris: Apocalypse will let you kill planets

Too many worlds. That's the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there's all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids. Stellaris's upcoming expansion, Apocalypse, will let you clear out some of the clutter. It brings planet-destroying weapons…

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Cult horror Yume Nikki now on Steam, follow-up teased

I'm not a card-carrying member of the Yume Nikki cult. If I were, I'd be able to tell you how to pick your way through the dreamscape, and might even be able to decipher some of the mysteries that it contains. Since it's original release over a decade ago, Yume Nikki has fascinated me but I've never spent enough time in its surreal environments to…

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Total War: Three Kingdoms tackles the turbulence of 3rd century China

Total War has been enjoying its time among the greenskins and the undead, but we've been waiting to see exactly which period it'd land in when it returns to its historical roots for its next major installment. Now the answer is here. Total War: Three Kingdoms. The year is 190CE. China is in turmoil. The Han Dynasty crumbles before the child-emperor. He is but a…

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