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Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

2 months ago

Feature: All work and some play

The Suicide of Rachel Foster asks “What if Firewatch, but also The Shining?”

Midway through totemic 80s skin-crawler The Shining there's a scene where Jack Nicholson's disheveled caretaker, scouring the Overlook Hotel for the antidote to writer's block, stumbles on a scale model of the hedge maze his wife and son are exploring outside. He glares down at it (Nicholson's eyebrows really deserve an Oscar apiece) and the film cuts to a slow zoom from above, showing us…

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3 months ago

Feature: Dinner and a Movie of the Three Kingdoms

Total War: Three Kingdoms’ battle tactics are old hat, but its espionage has promise

“Spearmen before archers,” I mutter to myself, as the Gamescom build for Creative Assembly's Total War: Three Kingdoms spins up. “Spearmen before archers.” In 20 years of playing Total War games set everywhere and when, from feudal Japan to medieval Europe, that magic mantra has never steered me wrong: it's the equivalent of “i before e except in c”, or “always hit the treasure chest…

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Feature: From malevolent wizards to climate change

How Six Ages and King of Dragon Pass explore the politics of myth

It wasn't till some way into development of Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind that designer David Dunham realised he was making a game about climate change. Like its 19-year-old predecessor, the seminal King of Dragon Pass, Six Ages is set in Glorantha, a fantasy universe originally cooked up by Greg Stafford, and sees you raising a community in the wilds after being expelled from…

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4 months ago

Feature: Yakety yak, Heat attack.

Yakuza 0 review

Many games are defined by the amassing of wealth but few take such an unseemly, predatory relish in the idea as Yakuza 0. The first of Sega's Japanese crime epics to appear on PC, it's an orgy of late 80s materialism in which you don't merely earn cash by defeating opponents but punch it out of their bodies - banknotes blasting from collars and shirt…

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5 months ago

Feature: But is it Artyom

Metro Exodus is a far cry from the tunnel shooter we knew

I didn't realise how much I'd missed Metro's ball bearing rifle till I spent two hours with Metro Exodus, the third in 4A Games' cult series of post-Soviet, post-apocalyptic shooters. Goodness, that rifle. The sheer delight of cranking its Super Soaker handle. The vicious snap of escaping air when you pull the trigger. The rush to make the most of those few seconds of maximum…

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6 months ago

Feature: Suppressive fire

Battlefield V interview: dodging the lootbox question, and why battle royale “would really fit the universe”

I came away from my Battlefield V first look surprisingly ready for another tour of the Western front - prosthetic-armed Cockneys and all - but with a number of nagging questions. Firstly, how exactly is EA DICE approaching monetisation right now, in the wake of the uproar over Star Wars: Battlefront 2's rubbish launch-day microtransactions? I was treated to an hour-long presentation on the game's…

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Feature: Squads and ends

Battlefield V is about making friends, building forts and daily chores

World War 2 has broken out once again as EA DICE heads back to the 1940s with Battlefield V, a theoretically safe sequel with some curious, and possibly divisive, ideas at its core. After the thematic reset that was Battlefield 1 I wasn't expecting much from this year's instalment of the long-running shooter series – class tweaks, new period accessories and still-higher fidelity explosions, all…

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7 months ago

Feature: Croft in transit

Shadow of the Tomb Raider appears to be beautiful but a little vacuous

In the course of 45 minutes with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft gatecrashes a fiesta, scales a cliff, wrestles an eel, levels a temple, steals a magic dagger, murders a bunch of dudes in Mariachi skullpaint and drowns a city after triggering the apocalypse. That's quite the evening's work, especially if you factor in all the times I accidentally impaled her on rebars,…

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9 months ago

Feature: Witcher's Brew

Kingdom Come – Deliverance review

“Elder Scrolls without the magic,” is the elevator pitch for Warhorse's historical RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but magic is a relative term - it all depends on what you're used to. The game's stringent recreation of alchemy may seem downright paranormal, for example, if you're used to the streamlined, fire-and-forget approach of a game like Skyrim. Given how many dungeons, dragons and mages RPGs tend…

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Feature: Attack the Block

Surviving Mars is stranger than it seems

The cubes are black, and shiny, and mobile. They hover in a neat, impossible stack outside one of my colony's larger domes, clicking delicately about one another, always returning to the same overall shape, harming nobody. My robot rovers form a cautious circle around them while my scientists scratch their heads and bicker. I look at the cubes, one of the many Mysteries of Haemimont's…

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10 months ago

Feature: Tomb it may convern

Warhammer II’s Tomb Kings are a defensive juggernaut

If you've ever come back from holiday to find that your flatmates/children/parents have flooded the kitchen/dyed the cat blue/thrown out all your original Jethro Tull LPs, then spare a thought for the Tomb Kings, Total War: Warhammer II's first all-new DLC faction. Once upon a time, they ruled a pseudo-Ancient Egyptian empire in which scholars quested for the secret to eternal youth and tyrants went…

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11 months ago

Feature: Including Sanik

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers. I've been thinking about time a lot recently - how we create and manipulate histories and the present in video games and in general - so you'll forgive me if my end-of-year choices…

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Feature: Tool of destruction

How Wolfenstein: The New Colossus takes the white dudebro hero apart

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a shooter that often feels at odds with its own protagonist, the worn-out vanilla action hero who is somehow the heart of a neurodiverse, multi-ethnic cast of socialist firebrands, civil rights campaigners, pacifists, lapsed jazz maestros and rabid UFO chasers. At first glance, it has a lot to say in spite of BJ Blazkowicz rather than through him, its…

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12 months ago

Feature: Meet your mecha

Battletech’s campaign mode is a robot Dark Ages

It's odd to think of Mickey Mouse while ordering a giant robot to rip another robot's arms off, but in the words of its creator Jordan Weisman, Battletech is kind of like Walt Disney's Tomorrowland. Opened in 1955, the park was an homage to the march of science that inevitably struggled to keep up. Its present-day incarnations are a bizarre mishmash of the vintage, the…

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1 year ago

Feature: Pharopen world

Assassin’s Creed Origins review

A soft reboot four years in the making, Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed: Origins is one giant step back in time plus a smaller step forward in terms of world design, a stumble in terms of its levelling system, a sideways hop as regards combat and an exercise in jogging on the spot in terms of missions. This is exactly the kind of complex footwork that…

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Feature: Niles ahead

Assassin’s Creed Origins is a world of delicate details

Our full review of Assassin's Creed: Origins is yet to come, but Edwin has been exploring its world on our behalf and sends back this report. I've only had time for a quick poke through the world of Assassin's Creed: Origins, thanks to a combination of Ancient Egypt-grade download speeds, short notice and a tortuous wrangle with graphics card drivers, but I'm already enjoying myself. This…

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Feature: Mercynaries

A reminder that Overwatch should be the friendliest shooter ever

At its best, Blizzard's Overwatch is the place I hope to wake up in when I die, die, die. A superspy sitcom that just happens to be a sublime entwining of FPS and MOBA, it has gulped down more of my free time than any other game in the past five years. It's also the game where I never speak to anybody, rarely accept a…

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Feature: All's well that Roswell

A postcard from the perverted America of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus [official site] is a tale of corrupted icons and waylaid motifs, as Hitler's propaganda machinery sinks its teeth into the pop memorabilia of 1960s America, and there's no more wicked instance of that than “Elite Hans” - the Nazi action hero who glares from book stalls, toystores and pinball machines in the game's Roswell level, which I had a little play…

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Feature: Hands-on gameprey

Dauntless is Monster Hunter for people who fear grind

Behold the Quillshot - a living manifestation of ether, the mystical substance that keeps the flying archipelago of promising Monster Hunter tribute Dauntless [official site] aloft. It's a majestic hybrid of stegosaurus and porcupine, the Quillshot, made up of wayward primal energies that must be freed lest the island beneath us crumble away. It's also a bit of a dick. With Phoenix Lab's Nick Clifford…

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2 years ago

Feature: Creative Assembly's other other RTS

Halo Wars 2’s Blitz Mode could be its salvation

I was all set to thoroughly dismiss Halo Wars 2 [official site], before I joined Microsoft for a spot of top-down Warthog-baiting earlier in the month, and I'm still not completely convinced. Last year's Xbox One beta suggested yet another Halo game intent on rebottling the lightning of a departed era - in this case, that fleeting, Quixotic period when the idea of RTS on…

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