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Jay Castello

Hades review

Attack and dethrone god

31

A Monster's Expedition review

No need to be stumped

12

Necrobarista review

Ordering up a nice steaming cuppa feelings

24

1 month ago

Feature: Attack and dethrone god

Hades review

Hot god encyclopaedia by way of hack ‘n’ slash roguelike Hades was basically already game of the year when it released into early access in 2018. Its core components were all in place. You fight through a constantly randomised hell filled with monsters and bosses as Zagreus, sarcastic and perpetually titty-out son of Hades. Along the way, you can pick up abilities bestowed by gods…

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Feature: No need to be stumped

A Monster’s Expedition review

I think that I owe myself an apology. I have always thought that I was no good at these sorts of spatially-based push-em-up puzzles. But A Monster’s Expedition, which is entirely made up of them, has challenged that assumption purely through the power of great teaching. It’s all well and good when these brainteasers are tossed context-free into other games as Pokémon gyms or Professor…

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3 months ago

Feature: Ordering up a nice steaming cuppa feelings

Necrobarista review

I’ve had the luxury of a few days to sit with my thoughts on Necrobarista before having to tell you wot I think, and wot I think is this: the game tricked me in the best possible way. Of course it’s a game about death, it’s set in a café that predominantly serves the recently deceased. Many of its characters are wrestling with their own…

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5 months ago

Feature: First person shooter

How esports photographers are using in-game capture in place of live events

This year was supposed to be the Overwatch League’s big leap into local homesteads, and while no one was quite clear how well it would work, they certainly weren’t expecting a global pandemic to move the whole thing back online again. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but they’ve mostly managed to pull it off. In certain spots, the challenge has actually pushed some fun…

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7 months ago

Feature: Modern world

The modders creating accessibility modes for notoriously difficult games

Whether or not famously difficult games should have an optional easy mode has long been a point of contention. But many already do, albeit unofficially, thanks to modders taking things into their own hands. Take the fella who goes by "n00bplatformer", for example. He recently created an “Assist Mode” for run 'n’ gun action game Cuphead. It makes simple tweaks to some of the game’s…

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8 months ago

Feature: My kingdom for a Powered Large Wheel

Besiege review

If I had to choose a single incident to sum up my time in physics-y medieval build and destroy ‘em up Besiege, it would probably be the time I got 15 steps into its 33-part guide to making a plane, saw that it was asking me to access the “advanced build” menu, despaired for a second, and then realised that I didn't need a plane…

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Feature: To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose

The joy of purposefully losing runs in Hades

It took me a couple dozen attempts to escape hell in Supergiant Games’ early access roguelite Hades. Once I succeeded I thought I might give it a break; return when there were new updates. But it absolutely has its claws in me, which is how I found out that mucking about and losing is actually way better than trying to win.

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11 months ago

Feature: Whether you'll want to spend hours in the character creator remains to be seen

Crimson Desert is the gruff Scottish sibling to Black Desert Online

Pearl Abyss’s recently announced single- and multiplayer blended RPG Crimson Desert started life as a prequel to their similarly named MMO Black Desert Online. Since then, though, it’s shimmered, mirage-like, into its own IP, still linked to the preexisting world, but more nebulously. Its lore connection isn’t the only thing that remains indistinct on the horizon, but I spoke with lead producer Jason Jung to…

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Feature: For a "shadow" "desert" it was plenty light and lush, actually

Shadow Arena shakes up the battle royale genre with a cast of action heroes

Black Desert Online developers Pearl Abyss are in the process of branching out of their MMO roots, having announced a clutch of new games this week. But while they might be working on games as far removed as a shooter and a cutesy monster catch ‘em up, it’s Black Desert’s battle royale-esque spinoff Shadow Arena that’s furthest through development. I got my hands on it…

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12 months ago

Feature: But protesters still hope they raised awareness

It was business as usual at Blizzcon despite Hong Kong protests

It wasn't possible to ignore the protesters directly outside Blizzcon's gates this year. They were drawn by Blizzard's ongoing failure to respond appropriately to Hearthstone pro Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai calling for the liberation of Hong Kong in an interview. They clustered right outside, handing out shirts, placards, and information. But inside, it was easy to forget. In a sea of people wearing Blizzard merchandise,…

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Feature: A new way to tell the same story

Overwatch 2 focuses on the story, but doesn’t seem to correct any of its issues

If you’ve played one of Overwatch’s lore PvE events, you probably know what to expect from the bulk of the new stuff that’s unique in Overwatch 2. The mostly-sequel format of its release means that a cleaner UI, new heroes, and a new map type will be added to the first game at the same time that the sequel launches, leaving a new look for…

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Feature: It's always online again

Diablo 4 mixes up the darkness of its dungeons with a varied overworld

Diablo 4 was revealed yesterday in a swirl of blood and grime and men talking about the lure of the darkness both in the trailer and onstage. I chatted with a couple of the developers about the new world they’ve created, the monsters they filled it up with, and their painterly inspirations. And I played a bit. It was surprisingly well lit.

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Abandon Ship sails out of early access

The wind has caught the sails of naval FTL-like Abandon Ship, moving it out of early access and into its 1.0 release. I never thought seafaring was particularly safe, but I wasn’t quite expecting the dangers in this trailer. Fighting other ships, sure. I’ll even take a horrible kraken creature. But volcanoes? Spiders descending from nowhere? That just seems unfair.

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Screenshot Saturday Sundays: Comforting caves, peculiar planes, and bubbling baths

Screenshot Saturday! A day for game developers to give us all a look at what they’re working on. And considering the time of year, a surprisingly unspooky one, but we’ll do our best to find scares where we can get them. This week: somewhere to hide from the rain, a mysterious plane crash, and a nice dip in the hot springs.

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BBC Radio 3’s Sound Of Gaming is a nice look at video game tunes and the people behind them

BBC Radio 3 are getting stuck in to the world of video game music beginning today, with composer Jessica Curry (whose work you’ll hear in Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture) beginning her new show Sound Of Gaming. It’s good listening, particularly if you, like me, can’t stand to have lyrics on while putting words to paper (or internet) lest it become a…

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Slithery squish ’em up Carrion has a free demo available this week

Since I first saw a gif of the squishy guts monster of Carrion I haven’t been able to decide whether its movement is nauseating or beautiful. Playing its free demo, which is available now through next Saturday, November 2nd, has neither settled my stomach nor my appreciation for its aesthetics. I think this is a good thing.

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WWE 2K20 promise a patch for all those wrestling mishaps

Many people, including myself, have only been clued into WWE 2K20’s existence because of some wonderfully gif-able glitches that have been whizzing around the internet like a character model caught in the rapidly-twanging arena ropes. But there are those who actually wanted to play the game as it was intended, and developers Visual Concepts have taken to Twitter to say that they’re aware of the…

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Epic Games sue tester for “spoiling” Fortnite: Chapter 2

Epic Games, developers of that little game that you might have heard of called Fortnite, are suing a UX tester for leaking details about their big shift into Chapter 2. They say that Ronald Sykes caused them harm by Tweeting things he shouldn’t have about season 11, which eventually arrived after their big black hole event a couple of weeks ago.

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