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Matthew Castle

1 week ago

Feature: Tomb with a view

Have You Played… Tomb Raider: Underworld?

For all the bruisings, beatings and impalings that Lara Croft endures in the recent rebooted trilogy, the real victim was Tomb Raider’s sense of scale. Everything became crushed down to deliver fidelity. There were temples, sure, but you viewed them from cramped tunnels as you scurried past guards, and towering structures were only seen from the extreme close-up of a climbing wall or the long-distance…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Nothing to Fallout over

I miss the fake humans, but Fallout 76 feels like Fallout

“Every character you see is a real person,” said Todd Howard at E3, explaining the lack of traditional NPCs in Fallout 76. But I’m not so sure. Does Howard really expect me to believe that ‘CocktimusPrime’ isn’t waiting to greet everyone outside their vault? He’s there as I step into the light, his big, dumb name floating in front of a horizon that’s meant to…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Saddle up

Video: 8 cowboy games to play on PC while everyone else plays Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 was made by five million people working nine day weeks, but does it have a duck that collects your discarded throwing knives? Actually, I don’t know, as it’s not on PC. But a game that does feature a magic duck, and can be played on your home computer, is the lovely Luckslinger. It’s one of eight delightful cowboy ‘em ups that…

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Feature: Worse things happen at sea

Return of the Obra Dinn review

Return of the Obra Dinn is a terrible advert for sea travel and a great recruitment tool for the insurance industry. A boat arrives in port, absent a living crew and with too few remains to represent the 60 passengers in the ship’s log. You’re an investigator who has to fill in the gaps by studying this vaguest of crime scenes. I always thought insurance…

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2 months ago

Feature: Your place or mined?

Have You Played… Minesweeper?

For years I thought Minesweeper was a horrible trick. It was hidden in a folder in Windows 95 called Games, but it didn’t look like any game I wanted to play (which was mostly Quake, at the time). Bonus side eyes for Spider Solitaire, which sounds more exciting than it is because of the word ‘spider’.

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Feature: Watch, watch, watch this vid, gently as it streams

Come watch RPS become streaming superstars at EGX 2018

[Update: The first day's streaming is done! But you can still watch us kissing the ground hard in Human Fall Flat in the video below.] That rumbling sound you hear is half of Brighton packing its bags as Gamer Network decamps to Birmingham for EGX 2018. And the Rock, Paper, Shotgun Video Department will be at the show, too. We’ve decided to try our hand…

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3 months ago

Feature: Tactics and hacked bits

Video: Bad North is an RTS that even RTS-haters might enjoy

I’m not sure if Bad North is a strategy game for the inept or the lazy. It does a lot that speaks to both: the islands you’re defending are small, you’ve only a few units to guide and those instructions don’t extend beyond ‘go there’ or ‘hide in that’. When they do get ‘there’ they auto-attack any marauders in reach and pursue the stragglers. It…

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Feature: A metaphor for something sad, probably

Video: Platformer Gris is so delicate I won’t spoil it with my honking voice

I imagine many of you see the word video in the headline and assume it’s just going to be Noa or me gabbling over game footage. And while gabbling/footage hybrids do make up 98% of its output, the RPS Video Department knows when to put a sock in it. One such occasion is the arrival of Gris, a wistful adventure that new Spanish outfit Nomada…

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Feature: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Swoon

Video: Perilous platforming and jaguar extermination makes Shadow of the Tomb Raider classic Croft

I often wonder what freakish individuals were enlisted into focus testing to give publishers the idea that everyone wants things mean and moody. Had they invited me, there would be more games set in cheery pubs where you win by having the best bit of nostalgia about early noughties television. Also, the health system would be built entirely on the consumption of floral gums. There…

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4 months ago

Feature: I fought the law and the law fell into a big custard pie

Video: This Is The Police 2 is like trying to win XCOM with the cast of Police Academy

As a great scientist once said (or maybe it was Jeff Goldblum): “A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine.” Meanwhile, in This Is The Police 2 an idiot cop empties pepper spray into their own eyes and a woman burns to death because I don’t have enough law enforcers to answer her distress call.…

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Feature: Hell to the bus driver

Video: Bus Simulator 18’s multiplayer will break your bank balance (and maybe your bones)

The news that Bus Simulator 18 had added a multiplayer mode caused quite the ripple in the RPS treehouse. For one afternoon cat pics and Brendy’s weird GIFs made way for dreams of glorious four bus convoys, all honking horns and sliding open doors in perfect unison. The reality, as I discovered with Noa, is more frightening. This is an unforgiving world where the tiniest…

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Feature: 21 years older, 21 years wiser?

Video: Two Point Hospital isn’t just Theme Hospital 2

After three hours with Two Point Hospital I see similarities with Jurassic World Evolution. Okay, Frontier’s game sees you putting more people in hospital than getting them out the door, but it’s a similarly welcoming management game. You can read that as simplified and slow (as Fraser did in his Jurassic World review), but as an abysmal multitasker I appreciated a campaign that drip-fed ideas…

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Feature: Short but sweet

Video: Great adventures for the time poor

I’ve been playing the endless Assassin's Creed Origins, a game so gargantuan that the time on my save file lasts longer than Ancient Egyptian civilization did. This is a revenge mission stripped of all urgency by the simple fact of being five million hours long. Whatever big bad awaits at the end can rest easy knowing there are 800 fortresses to clear out before I…

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5 months ago

Feature: On the horizon: zero yawns

Video: The most exciting PC games still to come in 2018

Has it really been six months? 2018 is passing in a blur of frozen architects, drug-pushing prophets and accordion duets. Hell, six months ago the RPS Video Department was but a glint in Graham’s eye. You may also recall a gathering of the most exciting games of 2018, a rundown of the year as it looked back in January. With E3 done there’s a clearer…

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Feature: E3's hidden gems

Video: The shark RPG and other hidden gems of E3 2018

Now that the festival of bellowing that is E3 2018 has come to an end, we begin the arduous process of making sense of it all. This means sifting through mountains of press releases and trailers to find all the curious games that lurked outside the spotlight glare of the larger publishers. And we find such treats as Maneater (Jaws RPG where you play as…

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Feature: Red thread redemption

Video: Two creepy yarn beasts are better than one in Unravel 2

The existence of Unravel 2 was a pleasant surprise at an EA showcase depressingly short of them. Even better, you can play the game right now. Er, if you don’t mind using Origin. I adored Unravel’s physics-based platforming, even if the horned, red figure of Yarny himself is clearly demonic in nature. It’s those dead eyes. Brrr. Making the sequel twice as unsettling is the…

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Feature: Amp up your vamp

Video: 10 Vampyr tips to prevent an undead apocalypse

I was going to call this article ‘10 Vampyr tips to stop you sucking at sucking’, but this doesn’t reflect my experience with the game. As you’ll have read in Alec’s delightful Vampyr review, the act of drinking blood is a wicked temptation. It’s the quickest way to slurp up XP and lower the combat difficulty, but comes at the cost of depopulating the world…

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Feature: Where's the goat?

Video: Watch dino fights and raptor escapes in Jurassic World Evolution

Remember the bit in Jurassic Park where John Hammond airlifts a live Ceratosaurus into the food court? No? That’s because it didn’t happen, which was a huge failing of imagination on Spielberg’s part. Hammond was all about show business, after all, and business doesn’t come showier than a dinosaur eating tourists as they exit a burger joint. Obviously, the makers of Jurassic World Evolution don’t…

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6 months ago

Feature: Put the AA in aaaargh

Video: Beware is Silent Hill meets Mad Max

Driving is not relaxing for me. I failed my driving test nine times before passing, so statistically-speaking, only one in ten driving instructors think I should be out on the roads. I don’t like those odds, and I imagine pedestrians don’t either. When you’ve failed your driving test so prolifically the basic idea of sitting behind the wheel is scary enough without a car of…

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Feature: A flipping disgrace

Video: Is House Flipper dirtier than my real house?

Many things are easy in games that I struggle with in reality. A light jog. Climbing ladders. Carrying stuff (my limit’s an eight pack of Pepsi Max Cherry, let alone five axes and a wheel of cheese). But House Flipper, a first-person handyman ‘em up and current chart champion, is based on my bete noire: keeping a house clean and healthy. I stink at cleaning…

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