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14 hours ago

Feature: Low-pressure area

Mellowing out with management games

My body betrayed me last month, trapping me in my bed when it wasn’t sending me rushing to my poor, overworked loo. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work and so I turned to management games to take my mind off the virus squatting inside me. Juggling budgets, disasters and production chains might not sound particularly relaxing, but there’s also a swathe of low-pressure sims that…

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16 hours ago

Feature: An epic adventure returns

Have You Played… Grandia?

Those in Europe might not have heard of this late PlayStation-era RPG. It's one I remember vividly, thanks to its distinct steam-punk vibe and memorable battle system. It's not only coming back, but is also finally coming to PC later this year. Perhaps this time it'll get the recognition it deserves.

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18 hours ago

Feature: Armored Brigade inspected

The Flare Path: Iron Curtain Call

Before the Su-17s showed up, the defence of Großenlüder was going like clockwork. Dug in behind wire and minefields, my Chieftains were dominating. Their poppy-brushing 120mm guns had barcoded the eastern horizon with pillars of black smoke. Nothing of Soviet manufacture had made it as far as the village, and nothing looked likely to. But then the napalm came. Tumbling canisters of molten lava delivered…

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19 hours ago

Feature: Blop till you drop

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 review

CODBLOPS: *snarls* Person: I’d... I’d like to shoot some people, please. CODBLOPS: *spits* HOW? HOW would you like to shoot people? Person: Well PUBG: *coughs* Person: Um CSGO: *also coughs* Person: Overwatch: Hi! Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 reminds of an ugly, angry man who’s trying to sell me guns. It’s not that I don’t want to buy those guns, I just wish the…

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1 day ago

Feature: No free-to-play, just free.

The 50 best free games on PC

The best free games are on PC, and if you want to know what the best 50 are then you've come to the right place.

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2 days ago

Feature: Shoot everything until it stops twitching

Have You Played… Shadowgrounds?

For a developer who can't seem to get enough of wizards and weird physics puzzles, you might be surprised that Frozenbyte's first game wasn't anything of the sort. Indeed, the Finnish studio best known for puzzler series Trine and more recent fantasy co-op shenanigans Nine Parchments cut their teeth on a sci-fi, top-down shooter called Shadowgrounds. They even made a sequel! Shadowgrounds: Survivor, they called…

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3 days ago

Feature: Shoots boots and leaves

‘Sometimes I feel like a feet voyeur’ – meet the photographer who snaps shoes of NPCs

“Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” It’s a common enough idiom, a plea for empathy and understanding. Taken literally, it’s also a phrase that rings true for gamers. We walk countless miles in the shoes of our favourite characters, learning to love and feel for them along the way. But despite all the miles we travel, we rarely give our well-worn virtual footwear its…

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4 days ago

Feature: Murder History

The Hex review

Pony Island was one of my favourite games of 2016, a Trojan horse of astoundingly clever ideas and arch critique, and incredibly funny. So clearly I was interested to see where developer Daniel Mullins went next. I'm very delighted to report it's the extraordinary The Hex. A game that defies me to tell you anything about it, not that I'm convinced you'd believe me if…

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Fortnite introduces automated competition and smashing quad bike

For serious fraggers who wish to challenge themselves and prove their chops, today's Fortnite Battle Royale update introduces an in-game tournament system for regular automated competitions. For twats who wish to lark about making smashing things and making loud noises, the update also added a jet-boosted quad bike with a plough on the front which can smash through buildings. I know which I'm spending more…

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Feature: Sibling similarities

The subtle differences between Kassandra and Alexios in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

The argument raged for millennia. Titans clashed on an appropriately dramatic field, with internet armies raging between their massive feet. “Will you choose to play as Alexios or Kassandra?” my local grocer cried, eyes wild with suspicion. "They’re both the same!" screamed a man set aflame. “Yeah, I’m picking Kassandra,” said literally everyone else. However, after playing through the three-hour opening of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey…

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Feature: Death becomes us

The Joy Of meaningful death in The Banner Saga

From the outset, everything in The Banner Saga seems designed to encourage you to be careful. As you lead your caravan towards safety, you try to keep people alive by rationing food, managing the number of your followers and weighing the dangers of the unknown. Anyone who has ever given a soldier in XCOM a custom name knows that it takes very little to get…

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5 days ago

Feature: The existence of Diablo III kind of spoils the ending

Have You Played… Diablo II?

I liked playing Diablo III because so much of it is like Diablo II. And Diablo II is amazing - especially if you got the Lord of Destruction expansion, which added a whole fifth act and two character classes. In fact, one of those classes is the Assassin, and she’s the coolest, so we should probably consider Lord of Destruction as the definitive way to…

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Feature: Choose your own adventure

Metro Exodus wants you to feel liberated from all those trips through the tunnels

It’s deathly quiet in the forest. Then the silence gives way to a man shouting for help. He's tied to a post and trying to fend off a ravenous wolf. A single crossbow bolt takes the feral creature out. The shirtless man pleads for my help to free him, cussing as he explains his predicament. I choose to cut him loose. “I owe you my…

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Feature: Suda, woulda, coulda

Let It Die’s free-to-play money-grubbing fits it perfectly

There's this art installation called the Minimum Wage Machine. Between 2008 and 2010 conceptually-motivated artist Blake Fall-Conroy exhibited a box operated by a hand-crank, which spat out a US penny every four seconds, intended to be equivalent of working for the minimum wage in New York at the time. I take this art piece to be about how labour can be completely disengaged from utility.…

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6 days ago

Feature: Read more

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for promising yourself you'll devote some free time to a project, then inevitably reneging and playing yet more Assassin's Creed. Or reading the best writing about video games from the past week (and beyond). I said 'ooh, that's a good point' aloud when I read this bit in Christian Donlan's Eurogamer piece about the relationship between technology and nature in Zelda: Breath of…

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7 days ago

Feature: Jump x100!!!!!!

Wandersong’s achievements are emblematic of its great attention to detail

Bard-based adventure Wandersong is, simply put, delightful. But though its colourful style and heartwarming story of hope in the face of adversity are excellent, it’s the little details that I find myself enjoying most. There are so many of them, scattered through every part of the game, but a really good example can be found in its achievements. Spoilers up to and including Act Four…

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