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Nate Crowley

4 weeks ago

Feature: Let's have a bit of a heart to heart

Hands-on Hands-in preview: Surgeon Simulator 2 is coming in August, and it’s got the wildest dance parties

I've just invented a new dance move. It's called the Squatting Witch. You grasp an imaginary ladle, and stir it slowly around an invisible cauldron while doing squats in time to the music. It's my second best move after the Driving Crab, where you curl your fingers over a pretend steering wheel and steer left and right while scuttling from side to side. My hosts,…

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Feature: Consider your predicament

Baldur’s Gate 3 will (maybe) hit early access in August… and that trailer got me well excited

Today's Guerilla Collective stream treated us to two tasty nuggets from the Forgotten Realms, as Baldur's Gate 3 got its first official trailer, and also a tentative early access release date of "August (Maybe)". That 'Maybe' is, understandably, doing a lot of heavy lifting right now, as developers Larian Studios can't be certain what will and won't be possible under the looming spectre of the…

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1 month ago

Feature: Hectic of Troy

Hands-on preview – Total War Saga: Troy promises demanding, fast-paced strategy

Total War Saga: Troy is out on August 13th and will be free at launch, and having played a demo battle which pitted Achilles’ Acheans against Hector’s Trojans, I’m intrigued to play more. I've chosen the word "intrigued" deliberately, here. Because while the tactical depth of what I played was impressive, and rooted itself emphatically in its semi-mythical setting, its multi-skilled infantry and attention-demanding heroes…

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Feature: Behold the Shatterpillar

Nimbatus review

Nimbatus is about building spaceships. More accurately, it's about learning to build spaceships. And if we're being completely honest, it's a game about learning how not to build them. At its heart is one of the most flexible digital construction toys I've come across, which allows for enormous complexity despite a relatively unforgiving learning curve, and Nimbatus would be a worthy purchase if its freestyle…

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2 months ago

Feature: I mean, it worked with Illagers

5 Minecraft Dungeons features that should be in Minecraft

Minecraft Dungeons may have borrowed very little from its parent game in terms of features, sticking largely to the blockbuster construction game's aesthetics instead, but that's not to say it hasn't given plenty back. While Dungeons was being developed, according to executive director David Nisshagen in my interview with him, its team came up with illagers, a.ka. angry squidwards, in order to provide a staple…

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Feature: In soviet russia, the watchtowers are all around you

I am the Tower Bully now: an Age Of Empires 2 match report

I've been having a bit of a rough time in my quest to become good at Age Of Empires 2: Definitive Edition. After my first ranked win, I had a streak of confidence-fuelled victories, and started to feel like maybe I was the Big Man. But oh, no. I was not. The wins took me out of the world of newcomers, into the wide band…

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Feature: Eaten mess

Maneater review

When I saw the footage of aquatic murder sim Maneater from E3 last year, I had two responses. The first was that it looked really thrilling to play. The second was that it had the potential to be obscenely stupid. I wrote all about this in my preview, and tbh it's worth a read before you carry on, so I don't need to repeat myself…

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Feature: A worthy pick

Minecraft Dungeons review

I knew Minecraft Dungeons was going to be fun when I played a couple of hours of the beta build last month. I knew this because, well, it was fun. It was the kind of fun you can fathom within about twelve seconds of starting a game, and the kind you know will be dependable in its simplicity, even if it might not last forever.…

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Feature: Red-footed Booby to Leghorn Rooster

All 234 animals in Red Dead Redemption 2 reviewed (part 2)

As I said last time, my favourite thing about Red Dead Redemption 2 is the fact you can treat the game as an extremely perilous wildlife-spotting sim, with new creatures to behold every time you enter a new corner of the Cowboy's grotty, whiskey-stained world. Some 234 creatures, in fact. And as a mark of respect, largely to the concept of animals but also to…

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Feature: ♬ We built this city on robust project management standards ♬

400 people spent a decade building a 1:1 city in Minecraft

It just doesn't make sense. Until you fullscreen the image above and peer closely, noticing the flat tones on the buses and the blocky curve on the roadway, you wouldn't expect it to have come from a game more commonly used to build eye-hurting failure hovels from ugly cubes of cobblestone. But alas, this is a screenshot from Minecraft, and it is a view over…

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Feature: It still beats Zoom.

People are using Red Dead Redemption 2 to hold conference calls

"Found my own body floating down the river today. Didn't recognise myself for ages." This may sound like the start of a magical realist detective story, rather than something you'd say in a meeting with colleagues. But in Red Dead Redemption 2, which is rapidly emerging as an unlikely competitor to Zoom and Skype in the world of conference calling, this is business as usual.…

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Feature: There was definitely a pirate ship

I am fairly certain this is the plot of The Witcher 3

I'm one of those people.I love the idea of The Witcher 3. I enjoy playing the game, even. But I seem to be cursed. Every year or so I sit down to play it, full of resolve to see it through to the end. But every damn time, despite finding myself increasingly drawn in to its meticulously crafted fantasy world, and despite revelling in my…

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Feature: Lightest dungeon.

Deathtrap Dungeon is the museum of 80s trad fantasy you didn’t know you needed

OK, time for a classic palaeontology opener metaphor, I'm afraid. You ever heard of a 'living fossil'? It's not an enemy from Deathtrap Dungeon, alas, but an organism that's remained virtually unchanged for huge stretches of time. The archetypal living fossil is the coelacanth, a fish that first appeared in the fossil record getting on for half a billion years ago, with thick, stumpy fins…

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Feature: Gadzooks etc.

Hands-on preview: Crusader Kings 3 is the RPG that will suck you into grand strategy

Crusader Kings 3 is coming on September 1st, and after having access to an early build for a few days, I’m seriously impatient to get back to scheming, disinheriting, and declaring myself the new pope. It’s got that terrible magic that leads to all-day-and-half-the-night sessions, and that’s largely because, secretly, it’s two games at once. It’s a strategy game, obviously. But it’s also a roleplaying…

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Feature: Fist of not much fun

Very silly Hearthstone decks: The Fist Of Sadness

The Hearthstone meta has been a bit of a mess recently. The new Demon Hunter class smashed through the entire game like a massive concrete dog through wet tissue, and although two balance patches were swiftly applied to rein in the madness, I'm gonna be honest and say I'm not entirely certain what's going on now in terms of the best decks to use. But…

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Feature: clickety-pop, clickety-pop

Have a grand old time watching loads of scaffolding collapse in Minecraft

I'm a big fan of elaborate castle/tower builds in Minecraft. People manage to tease some spectacularly baroque excess from just a meagre few varieties of textured cube, and ten years after I first came across the game, I'm still seeing entirely new ideas every time I have a poke around for inspiration. Reddit user and YouTuber Kyle Blane, whose work I encountered today, is a…

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Feature: American Alligator to Giant Boar

All 234 animals in Red Dead Redemption 2 reviewed (part 1)

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game drowning in details, with its attempt to capture a simulated vision of an American west that's been gone for 120 years, down to every last shell casing, spittoon stain and sweat-crusted saddlebag. Probably my favourite thing about it all, however, is the obsessive, noachian fervour with which the natural world has been catalogued. There are some 234 animals…

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Feature: Hairy egg fetch quest

7 reasons why The Mandalorian is the best RPG so far this year

It was a bold move for Disney to release a blockbuster sci-fi RPG without any control input at all, but there's no doubt about it: that's exactly what their Star Wars spin-off TV show The Mandalorian is. And for my money, it's the best RPG of 2020 so far. Not convinced by this admittedly fairly spicy take? Don't worry. With the eighth and final episode…

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Feature: You can command a horse to water, but you can't make it conquer.

Command & Conquer Remastered is a big hit of nostalgia – but will it be a great RTS?

Ahead of its launch on June 5th, I've been able to see the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection in action, and it certainly looks the part. The quarter-century-old RTS, as well as comrade Red Alert and their squad of three expansion packs, have been sent over the top of their pixellated trench, and into the high-res carnage of no-man's-land. Malaysian art house Lemon Sky Studios…

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3 months ago

Feature: Top gear

Gears Tactics review

I've been playing Gears Tactics with every spare moment of the last week. The second I'm done writing review, I'm going back for more. It's superb. In fact, it's good to the extent where, as risky as it is to say such a thing, I'd argue it sets the new gold standard for turn-based tactics.I say that as a lifelong XCOM (and X-COM) fan, too,…

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