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Alec Meer

2 weeks ago

Feature: Closing the book

A Fool In Morrowind, Day 3,557 – Tortured Metaphor

Find the story so far here. I've been in Vvardenfell for so long now, traipsing across its eerie volcanic plains, over its majestic fungal plateaus and through its singular bone cities. A dream life, really, but the senses can only experience so much wonder before wonder becomes ordinary.

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Feature: End of a Meera

The RPS OMeerbus: Alec’s least-worst writing

I am a strict adherent of Writer's Law, which means that I am duty-bound to absolutely despise anything I've written within five minutes of publishing it. Hence, all blood drained from my body and I let loose a desperate, whining howl of pure anguish when, to commemorate my impending departure, Graham asked me to compile a selection of what I considered to be my best…

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Feature: An early look at the Washington DLC

American Truck Simulator: journey’s end

If there's one game that has, for me, defined my last few years at RPS, it's American Truck Simulator. That singular nexus of deadly serious simulation and twinkly-eyed, chill-out road trip has helped hold me together at times when both the world and my own world threatened to fall apart, but it's also been a belated lesson that games need not be defined by skinner…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Self-competitive city-building

Islanders review

I know I've banged on about this enough that people are wishing it had happened three weeks ago already, but I'm leaving RPS (and full-time games journalism) in 5 days. Regrets, I have more than a few, but right now chief among those is that we are in the throes of a building game renaissance. I'm pretty burned out on shooting stupid pretend men in…

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Today: watch us play Phoenix Point, Knights and Bikes, Heaven’s Vault & more live from EGX Rezzed

EGX Rezzed 2019 kicks off today: all the best games will be there, and all the best people will be schlepping to London to see 'em. Except you. You're the best person, clearly, but London? No way, mate. Good news! You can watch the RPS video team playing a bunch of the most exciting and/or charming games from the show, live from the comfort of…

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Feature: Unwalking simulator

It’s Winter review

'Winter' has always been a term with two meanings. The crisp, pure return to nature of a snow-settled world, but also the grey death of everything: the wistful dream and the dour reality. Romance, mundanity. It's Winter, a short vignette about Eastern European apartment blocks, is both of those things. Magic and tedium, wonder and ennui. Real winter, scenes that make your blood temperature drop…

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Feature: Everybody's Gone To The Robopocalypse

Generation Zero could be something special without the shooting

One day I suspect we'll hear the story behind why Avalanche's Generation Zero feels like being served a pizza that's all beautifully crisp sourdough base but no sauce whatsoever. It's a bemusing, hollow misfire as a shooter, barely-there as a story, and its appealing rural Scandi landscapes mask entirely interchangeable interiors that would make an unflattering Ikea stereotype tumble from the lips of even the…

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Feature: Working on the railroad all the livelong day

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is a brutalist city-builder

If Foundation is the warm bath of 2019 city-builders, Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is the ice bucket challenge. Set in the mid-to-late 20th century Soviet Union, this is the management sim as demanding, meticulous manual labour, not unwinding with a cup of Cadbury Instant and a copy of Chat magazine. Frankly, I'm surprised it doesn't demand that I lay every single brick by hand.…

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Playing Morrowind for the first time? A little work makes it look wonderful

Morrowind, the third and greatest instalment in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, has been back in the news this week. It was briefly free to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, and then made a brief return to Steam's top sellers, thanks to discounts and coverage. Which is lovely: it shows its age in many, many painful ways, but its imagination, ambition and wonderfully weird…

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Feature: Islands in the sun

Tropico 6 review

Islands change everything. What would be just a map option to split the landmass into sea-divided blobs in so many other city-builders or strategy games is, in cod-Caribbean management sequel Tropico 6, transformative. For this most conservative of management series - you're a better man than me if you can easily tell the previous three games apart - even the smallest change can make a…

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4 weeks ago

Feature: Avengers vs Aliens

Have you played… XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen?

My favourite XCOM is XCOM: Enemy Unknown*, a pure and direct, no mess/no fuss modern-day remix of metagame-augmented turn-based tactics. My second-favourite XCOM is the polar opposite, XCOM 2 DLC War Of The Chosen, an absurd explosion of superheroics that throws internal logic to the wind.

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Beyond A Steel Sky: 90s cyberpunk adventure gets a sequel

Dystopic pointer-clickerer Beneath A Steel Sky is very much in the 90s PC pantheon, even if it's not necessarily the first name people reach for when turning all misty-eyed about using x on y. With a creative team that included Broken Sword's Charles Cecil and Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, while its puzzles don't exactly stake a claim to immortality, its oppressive vision of tomorrow certainly…

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Overland’s long and winding road to release ends this autumn

Beautiful murderbugs vs Americana turn-based strategy vs roguelike Overland is a game I've blown hot and cold on. I dig the theme, I dig the permanence and agonies of a perilous journey in which you make terrible mistakes and terrible sacrifices, and oh boy do I dig the art. But I've grown increasingly unconvinced by its artificial inventory restrictions, said agonies so dependent on the…

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1 month ago

XCOM 2 is free this weekend (and DLC discounts a-go-go too)

Standard-issue XCOM 2 is probably my least-favourite of the four different flavours of XCOM now available to us (i.e. including the Enemy Within and War Of The Chosen expansions), but that's a bit like saying I don't enjoy 29 degrees of heat quite as much as 26, 27 and 28 degrees. They're all great! Make it like that all the time, please. Only, y'know, without…

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When there’s no more room in hell, a S.W.I.N.E. remaster will walk the earth

I've absolutely nothing against 2001 war-pigs vs battle-bunnies strategy game S.W.I.N.E., but by the point we're making HD versions of fair-to-middling RTSes about New Porkshire invading Carrotland, we've surely reached Peak Remake. Here we are, though, scooping deeper and deeper into the barrel: S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster is out this spring, prettier and modernised for our fancy 2019 tastes. I'll admit, I'm curious about how a…

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System Shock 3 first trailer: she’s back (and so’s he)

Devil's advocate: I'd have been even more excited about Otherside's System Shock 3 if it didn't have revered murder-computer SHODAN in it. 'Shock, traditionally, has been about pushing things forwards, not looking to the past, and what stronger statement could there be than to ditch its godhood-seeking figurehead? Make the big bad a disgruntled janitor named Susan instead, maybe. But I won't pretend that I…

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Notmycar is battle royale but with gun-toting cars and a tiresome attitude

"Everything else is just a walking simulator" is just one example of the bug-eyed posturing with which Skybound Games announce Notmycar, their attempt to snaffle a piece of Fort-Legs pie with a free-to-play, automotive-based battle royale. Notmycar takes the attitude that, if the car-wrecks don't bring all the boys to the yard, maybe being massively obnoxious will. "Are you tired of the same games day…

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Semi-classic racer Grid 2 is free for keepsies

Codemasters' 2013 racer Grid 2 is a fairly geriatric entry in the car-wot-goes-fast pantheon - so old that RPS's prior coverage of it was written by the impossibly ancient likes of Rossignol, J. and Smith, A. - but we sure did like it back then. I've just been back in and, yeah, it still looks and feels dang good for a non-car-gonk like me. Its…

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