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John Walker

4 days ago

Feature: Rock Hard

Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest is making me take RPG battles seriously

The last thing I was expecting Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest to remind me of was a deck-builder. Not least because it doesn't feature any decks. And yet, there's something about this deeply tactical isometric RPG, from Legend Of Grimrock's creators, that contains the same spirit of gradually gaining a deeper and more refined understanding of a limited set of tools, through repeated…

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7 days ago

Feature: Charts and graphs and STATISTICS

Steam Charts: Christmas Miracle Edition

I don't what is this? How many? Are we sure we're in the right charts? This is definitely the Steam Charts, where the mad-brained broken people just buy the same four games over and over and over? Because something is up. People have only bought the same three games over and over!

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2 weeks ago

Feature: We are made of star-stuff

Katamari Damacy Reroll review

There's a reasonably good chance you don't need me to explain Katamari Damacy. Although, like me you may never have played the original game in the series fourteen years ago. Now 2004's sleeper hit, in which you roll a ball around gathering up stuff, has been refreshed, and for the first time is coming to PC. And it's still absolutely bloody marvellous.

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Feature:

Just Cause 4 concern: a bug collector’s video

As I was reviewing the really broken and very disappointing Just Cause 4, I was recording key moments too. Moments like when every car at an intersection went crazy and tried to crash into something. Or when my car touched a tree so was catapulted across a mountain. Or how boats spawn by emerging from underwater like mad whales. Or that time an NPC decided…

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Feature: Under The Weather

Just Cause 4 review

Let me try to capture the feeling of Just Cause 4 in an anecdote: I'm currently attaching tethers to the side of a giant warship to drag it from the hill on which it is perched. I'm aiming to get it back into the water where it would much prefer to be. And it's working! Slowly but surely, with enough tethers, the boat is inching…

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Feature: We live in its shadow

Hold it right there, you taffer – Thief is 20 years old today!

Is Thief: The Dark Project the best game ever? If Thief II isn't, then it definitely is. With its twentieth birthday arriving today, I've been replaying the original sneak 'em up to see if it still holds up (of course it does), and whether my memory of it stands up to reality (it's way better than I remembered).

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Cyberian Desert

Steam Charts: Do U Cyber Edition

Beep boop. I am the SteamChartBot, and welcome to the CYBERCHARTS. They're like the regular charts, but they have the word "CYBER" shouted at the start, and that makes them really bloody cool.

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4 weeks ago

Feature: Through the looking glass

This is not a review of the wholly unfinished Underworld Ascendant

Having poked around at the earliest stages of Underworld Ascendant, I've reached the conclusion that it's just not in a fit state to be released, and as such, not in a fit state to be reviewed. Announced in 2014, this spiritual sequel to the seminal Ultima Underworld games of the early 90s was Kickstarted $860,000 in early 2015, with a ridiculously optimistic release date of…

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More LucasArts classics appear on Steam, including Hit The Road, Afterlife and Outlaws

Just a quick notice that a bunch of new LucasArts/LucasFilms games have arrived on Steam, including the always splendid Sam & Max Hit The Road. And indeed the far less often remembered management sim, Afterlife. And, er, Episode 1: Racer.

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1 month ago

Feature: Well Appointed

The Room Three review

The Room, as I once very wisely said, is the game Myst should have been. Astoundingly pretty graphics, impossible mechanisms and peculiar levers, switches and buttons, and so very many puzzles to solve, all set within a story so mysterious as to be close to impossible to fathom. Except in The Room's series of games there's a coherence, a delicacy of touch, and a far…

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Feature: Hardy Perennial

Post-Apocalypse Day: high-def Mad Maxplosions

One of the post-apocalyptic games that many people think was overlooked was Mad Max. Created by Just Causers Avalanche, it's an open-world driving/punching realisation of the long-loved, thankfully now Gibson-free franchise. Sand, mutants, spiky cars, and explosions. So many explosions. So to celebrate this first day in our newly destroyed Earth, I've put together a gallery of things going boom.

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Feature: Apoc Epoch

Aeon Of Sands has the smartest opening

I doubt it's just me who finds it incredibly hard to take in the infodump that begins most games. I try! I read, "It was the final day of the third season of the Sharmani, so Reslator gathered his bag and made his way down the Triamblate Path..." and I'm already just staring at letters, not absorbing information. It's just made up names in made…

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Feature: The Runs Down

Steam Charts: Sexy AF Edition

QUICKLY! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, QUICKLY! I've written the charts and there are some jokes and you have to read it! One of the jokes is quite good!

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Feature: Pretty vacant

Gris looks just so beautiful, but just so empty

I am so torn by the huge stretch of Gris that I've played. Vastly more than we'd usually expect from a preview, given to us peculiarly close to its 13th December release. I've seen an awful lot of this enemy-less platformer, and yet I still can't tell whether it's beautiful enough to forgive all else, or just too dull to excuse.

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Feature: Now feat. even more fish!

Steam Charts: Aquatic Craniate Edition

There are weeks when the Steam Charts surprise us! There are weeks when interesting new and old games reappear, pushing out the dreary regulars! And then mostly there are weeks like this one, where it's so depressingly bland that it starts raining outside the moment you glance at it. Not good rain, just bland drizzle.

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Feature: Sup

Have You Played… Faust?

My memory of the late 90s is predominantly reviewing abysmal games for PC Gamer. I found a niche in those early days of what I like to amuse folks by calling a career. And most terriblest of all were the Cryo games. Pre-rendered graphics adventures, each attempting to emulate the awful, awful Myst, and yet each somehow finding new ways to be even more dreadful.…

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2 months ago

Feature: Be less horrid

Halloween 2018 Special: Some lovely games!

Video games, you may have noticed, are often a little bit horrid. All sorts of naughtiness, and a distinct lack of people just being kind to one another. What are we like?! But fortunately there are games that make an exception to the potty-mouthed meanies that dominate, and today I celebrate them and their cuteness with a collection of lovely screenshots.

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