Murderous Pursuits is the best version of Assassin’s Creed multiplayer

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Murderous Pursuits is The Ship: Remasted crew’s latest stab at a multiplayer assassination game, due out next month. Like in previous Ship games (and Blazing Griffin’s spin off, Bloody Good Time), you’re given a target to hunt while another player hunts you. Unlike previous Ship games, you’re on a flying boat packed with alternate reality Victorian time-travellers.

The real difference, though, lies in how the devs have fully embraced the joys of NPCamoflauge: the three rounds I’ve played were much closer to the main multiplayer mode from old Assassin’s Creed games than they were to previous versions of The Ship. Turns out that was exactly the right direction to head in.

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Premature Evaluation: Eco

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Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s joining a civilisation and facing down a meteor in environmentally-conscious sandbox Eco. But mostly he’s building a terrible house.

The worlds of crafting and survival games are big balls of resources waiting to be exploited. Normally. Not so in Eco, where the world is a vulnerable, reactive globe that requires respect and nurturing. And only a wee bit of exploitation. It looks like a pretty Minecraft, but while it shares most of its fundamentals, Eco is as much simulation as a crafting sandbox, complete with an ecosystem that can be irreparably destroyed by human interference.

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Have You Played… Tekken?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

My first encounter with the angry polygons of Tekken was on a sticky arcade cabinet in a Catalonian holiday resort. I liked this holiday. There was a massive pool, where a bigger boy once dunked me and held my head under the water. “The fool,” I thought, “Doesn’t he know I’m an Iron Fist champion?” Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think (Or Seemingly Can’t Think): Cypher

A new game from Matthew “Hexcells” Brown is always a reason to sit up and remember where you are. Cypher marks quite a diversion from the likes of Hexcells, Squarecells and CrossCells. (Although so did Sound Shift.) Although it remains a collection of puzzles presented with his distinctively clean aesthetic, this time in 3D. It’s about solving ciphers. And it’s really bloody tough. Read the rest of this entry »

Why revealing all is the secret of Slay The Spire’s success

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Slay the Spire [official site].

Slay the Spire is a deck-building card game about careful attack and defence. And poisoning. And letting your own blood to amplify your damage, and hitting each enemy every time you lose a card, and gaining energy by hovering close to death. It’s a bit like Hearthstone, but it’s also a Rogue-like in which you ascend floors and find new cards and relics which power up your character in transformational ways.

It’s really good! And the secret behind it is a detail that seems minor, but without it your card-playing strategising would be for nothing. It’s the fact you get to see what your enemies will do on their next turn. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweatness and light: The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya review

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Join Ella McConnell for Waifu Material, a new monthly column in which she navigates the murky, cherry-blossom-strewn waters of visual novels, dating sims, and everything in between (reader masochism not required but strongly recommended). [Content warning: sketchy consent stuff.]

With one of my most recent visual novel excursions having been the cat-fucking creepiness of NEKOPARA, it was high time to go back into otome territory.The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya was released on Steam back in October 2015, with the game previously having been available on the PS Vita and as a smartphone app. Because of the latter and the fact that it costs a whopping £22.99 at full price, I had my doubts – BUT IT’S TOO LATE NOW. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Messiah?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

You are a chubby baby, sent down from heaven to Earth in order to… I dunno… possess workmen and force them to jump into big grinding industrial machinery? That’s certainly how I played Messiah. There might have been more to it than sneaking up behind people, diving into their soul and then making them do a fatal pratfall, but I couldn’t tell you what. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: Pre-Congeal Edition

As the charting games on Steam once more congeal into a single amorphous lump, quickly dive in to catch the last appearance of Subnautica, and probably Slay The Spire too. Next week it’ll just be GTA: Counter-Strike – Witcher Battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Free games of the week

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Racing cars around, bashing into each other, throwing yourself or your friends off of the edge. This week you can play a fiendishly fun yet deviously simple car game, or scroll down and read about some strategic roguelikes where you must destroy your enemies and try to survive.

If neither of these ideas take your fancy, I’ve also been playing an astoundingly adorable platformer about a baby bird that is learning to sing, and one about a ghost longing to be a great knight and a hero for the kingdom. Each of these games contain within them their own unique charm and adventure – read on and find a game for you to explore. Read the rest of this entry »

Spawn Point: The best JRPGs for total beginners

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Welcome back to Spawn Point, where we take an element from the world of gaming and explain what it is, why it’s worth your time and how you can dip your toes in and get involved. Last time, Brendan gave you a 101 course in Final Fantasy XII, a JRPG that recently got spruced up for PC twelve years after its original launch on PlayStation 2. This time, however, I’m going to be looking at JRPGs as a whole, discussing what they are and which ones you should try your hand at first if you’ve never played one before.

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Have you played… Superflight?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

A wingsuit sim/acrobatic challenge game with glorious scale and a breathtaking sense of speed. It flew under the radar last year – what doesn’t, these days? – but in these quieter weeks during the year’s cruellest months, now is very much the time to seek out Superflight‘s tangible, giddying escapism. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: PIAT fails and PITA whales

Three of the first four Close Combat games are now back in legal circulation thanks to GOG.com and current licence holders, Slitherine. For years I’ve been telling myself that prolonged exposure to Combat Mission and Graviteam Tactics would make a long-term relationship with Atomic’s top-down tussle series – a series I loved dearly in the late Nineties – difficult today. I now realise I was wrong. Twenty years on Close Combats 2 (aka Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far) and 3 still entertain as consummately as any of the tactics titles that followed them. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Fe

Fe is, I’m so pleased to report, utterly wonderful. I’ve no idea how to say it, whether it’s “Fee”, “Fey”, or maybe even “Iron”? It matters not. It is, perhaps, the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen. And playing it, swooping, running and leaping about in its world, has been a complete delight. And continues to be, even after I’ve ostensibly finished it. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Best PC gaming deals of the week

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Valentine’s Day has come and gone, now comes the time to gorge on discounted chocolate. In addition to entire supermarket shops dedicated to picking up half-price Milk Trays, it just so happens that you can pick up a few gaming bargains, too. Everything from beat ’em ups to CPU coolers. Here’s a batch of the best PC gaming deals of the week, with some other fun stuff thrown in for good measure.

As usual, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let’s get started.

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Podcast: The toughest moral choices we’ve made

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All right, picture this. There’s five podcasts tied to a train track, and you’re on a train speeding toward them. On another track, there’s just one podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. Do you swap tracks and kill one podcast to save the other five? Or do you forge ahead? Take your time, it’s a difficult moral choice – exactly our topic this week. Think hard about it. No, listen, you should think about it very carefully. No, listen–

I know, but–

You can’t just p–

Ha ha, okay, stop the train. Joke’s over.

Stop the train.

STOP THE TRAIN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP THE TR– Read the rest of this entry »

Path of Exile’s upcoming Bestiary league adds zookeeping and blood-rituals to your repertoire

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In The Fall of Oriath, you went to war with the gods themselves. In the Abyss, you fought ancient undead, led by a nameless lich-king and in the War For The Atlas, you set your sights on two almighty beings that create and destroy entire worlds on a whim. Now, Path of Exile‘s next league challenges you to… open a zoo? Well, that’s a bit different.

While not quite as ambitious as the expansions preceding it, the Bestiary league (due March 2nd) for Path of Exile looks to add a lot more flavour and tangential content to the popular free-to-play action RPG, designed to be accessible to all players from total beginners right up to endgame grind-fiends.

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BenQ GL2580HM review: Great looks undermined by terrible contrast

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What’s this? A screen that isn’t prefaced by the words ‘best monitor for Final Fantasy XII‘? Well, I never. Yes, I’m having a small break from my 21:9 test quest to take a look at something altogether more affordable: the BenQ GL2580HM.

While not a ‘gaming monitor’ as such, this slimline 24.5in 1920×1080 TN display costs just £140 in the UK (or around $150 if you can find it in the US) and is arguably one of the most stylish monitors I’ve seen in some time. Let’s see if it’s any cop.

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Meet the man who runs the Origin Museum, collecting the history of Wing Commander and Ultima

Joe Garrity

In the basement of an unassuming suburban home just outside Washington, D.C., you’ll find one of the largest collections of documents, data, images and props from Origin Systems, the company behind the Ultima and Wing Commander game series of the 80s and 90s.

The Origin Museum is owned and curated by Joe Garrity, and has been running since 1999, when Garrity lived in Virginia. Over the past 18 years, former Origin staff have donated entire offices worth of documents and even source code to the museum. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… this mystery game?

A classic

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

A timeless classic. This game has been indulged by children and adults alike for so many decades that its artistry, ingenuity and grace cannot be denied. It is, without a doubt, one of the best games ever to sprout from mankind’s imagination. But what is it? Look below and you’ll find out. Read the rest of this entry »