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Rob Zacny

4 years ago

Feature: Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex – First Assault Online

Each Monday, Rob Zacny sorts through the complexities of Early Access to see which games are ready to stand alone. The question I keep coming back to is 'why this game?' I understand why someone would want a game based on Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, the sci-fi police procedural version of the classic film. Standalone Complex takes all those tantalizing details from the…

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Feature: attack ships on fire

Premature Evaluation: Fractured Space

Each Monday, Rob Zacny picks through the detritus of early access to separate the games might one day be assembled into something worthwhile from those which should remain on the scrapheap. Capital ship warfare is my favorite kind of pornography. I've watched Master and Commander a dozen times or so, but sometimes I put the disc in the drive just to watch the part where…

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Feature: An erector set.

Premature Evaluation: Scrap Mechanic

Please give a warm welcome to Rob Zacny, the new writer of Premature Evaluation. Each Monday he'll be picking through the detritus of early access to separate the games might one day be assembled into something worthwhile from those which should remain on the scrapheap. A confession: I think sandbox games are boring. Which makes their popularity kind of ironic, considering that Jim Rossignol once…

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Feature: We've put them in order from best to worst

The Best And Worst Total War Games

At its best, the Total War series casts a spell over you. Your empire rises from nothing, surrounded by enemies who are poised to trample it into the dust. Each decision on the strategic level is a gamble on the immediate future, where "one more turn" isn't just a stepping-stone to a new upgrade, but a perilous step onto thin ice. Each time you take…

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Feature: A survival 4X RPG roguelike with crafting and card combat.

Thea: The Awakening review

If nothing else, Thea: The Awakening [official site] is different, and different can go a long way. That also makes it a difficult game to assess. Most games lend themselves to comparison with the best games in their genre, or they are clearly borrowing from other games, and I can look at how one design is in dialogue with another. None of that changes how…

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Feature: Saved Games: a retrospective series.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 2000

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you've played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We're going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games. I remember when the Porsche 911 arrived on the scene in 1963. Which…

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Feature: But what makes it special?

Ashes Of The Singularity Interview: “It’s Total Annihilation Meets Company of Heroes Meets Kohan”

Ashes of the Singularity [official site] can let you build, control, and display thousands of units in the course of a single battle, but that enormous scale is in some ways an attempt to make manifest the technical progress that Oxide and Stardock's 64-bit, DirectX 12 RTS represents. There are a lot of things happening under the hood that Stardock's Brad Wardell is happy to…

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Feature: Learning lessons from XCOM.

How BattleTech Hopes To Do Giant Mechs Justice

There is no shortage of classic MechWarrior games for PC. MechWarrior 2 was one of the defining 3D action games of the 90s, and MechCommander remains a beloved tactical game among the people who remember it. But you could argue that there's never been a real BattleTech game, one that faithfully recreated both the tabletop tactical games and the kind of warfare portrayed in in…

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Feature: Matt Damon simulator.

Take On The Martian In Take On Mars

At first glance, Take On Mars [official site] seems like the closest thing we have to a tie-in game for The Martian. You could almost call it Mark Watney Simulator 2015, especially now that manned missions are in the game and let you do things like build Martian bases, grow crops, and drive rugged rovers over the desolate Martian surface. Hell, there's even a mission…

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Feature:

Have You Played… Fields of Glory?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. In an era where wargaming mostly meant hex-grids and counters, Fields of Glory seemed to fulfill the promise and possibilities of the PC. Long before the Total War series or Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, it gave us real-time battles on gorgeous battlefields, covered with…

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Feature:

Have You Played… Jane’s US Navy Fighters 97?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Watching Top Gun at a bachelor party this weekend, I got to thinking about how cool Jane's US Navy Fighters was. It was just as in-love with American carrier aviation as Maverick and Iceman were with each other, and featured an absolute treasure…

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Feature:

Have You Played… World In Conflict?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. The benchmarking test of World in Conflict long outlived the game itself, which was a fitting monument for one of the most stunning games of its era. World in Conflict still looks incredible, as it gives the most spectacularly destructive Cold War military…

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Feature:

Have You Played… Mass Effect?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. The original Mass Effect was one of my entry-points to RPGs, a genre I'd bounced-off-of throughout the 90s. But Mass Effect's sci-fi, Star Trek and 2001 trappings held my interest even as the indifferent combat and dull planet-exploration did their best to convince…

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Feature: Japan's equivalent of, er, Shogun: Total War

Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere Of Influence review

Love of history starts with a love of good stories. The complexity and doubt come later, when you have heard the same stories so many different ways that the veneer of the Great Men narrative starts peeling away from the foundations of messy, conflicting fact. But that love of a good story never really goes away. Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence [official site] succeeds or…

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Feature: RT-Yes?

Act Of Aggression review

Act of Aggression [official site] is a formidable, traditional RTS, a callback to Eugen's pre-Wargame work. In some quarters it has been heralded as the game to fill the Command & Conquer gap in the strategy world. Its three distinct factions, resource gathering and near-future military tech seem to fit the bill. We asked Rob Zacny to join the battle and report back with a…

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Feature:

Have You Played… Star Wars: Dark Forces?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Dark Forces was the first of the Star Wars FPS shooters and one I always felt was unfairly eclipsed by the (admittedly superior) Jedi Knight. Dark Forces bucked a lot of the trends that came before and a lot that would follow: it's…

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Feature: Shhhhhhh

Impressions: StarCraft II – Whispers Of Oblivion

The final expansion for StarCraft II, Legacy Of The Void [official site], is expected to appear before the end of 2015. But in the meantime, those who pre-order the game (don't pre-order - Ed) can gain immediate access to the beta for prologue missions, Whispers Of Oblivion. We sent Rob Zacny in to take a look at both that short campaign, and the multiplayer for…

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Feature: Why The Series Coheres

CD Projekt Red On The Making Of The Witcher 1:
“We thought we could accomplish anything.”

The Witcher 3 [official site] brings to a close one of the strangest trilogies in games. Unlike a series like Mass Effect, where the first game's design laid a foundation for each subsequent instalment, The Witcher series completely reinvented itself at every turn. Yet despite the way CD Projekt Red lurched from one design to another, the series also retained an undeniably unique and consistent…

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Feature: Making Mechs

Why Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri Is Looking Glass’s Forgotten Classic

Released in 1996, tactical mech simulator Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri [GOG page] was one of Looking Glass's most interesting games - and one of their biggest commercial failures. We asked Rob Zacny to explore what made the game so interesting in the wake of its recent addition to GOG.com.

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Feature: A game to be feared

Fear Of The Unknown: What We Want From XCOM 2

Here at RPS, we like XCOM: Enemy Unknown so much that we named it the 12th best strategy game of all time. When Firaxis announced the sequel, the entire RPS team smiled, simultaneously for the first time since 1992. That doesn't mean we'll be happy with more of the same though and when we asked strategy expert Rob Zacny to contemplate the best possible XCOM…

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