Have You Played… Hand of Fate?

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

I love games that try to bring the notion of character into the act of play. Mass Effect 2, Crusader Kings II, Shadow of Mordor, all these are games which view characters not merely as agents to propel the story forward, but as fundamental to the mechanical success of the games in question. Hand of Fate [official site] is another example of this, and what’s particularly interesting about it is it all focuses on just one character. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 27

The third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin’s uncommonly entertaining AI – has three turns left to run. By the end of the weekend the commenter-controlled Soviets will either be celebrating the eleventh-hour capture of New and/or Old Wharf (the most valuable Victory Locations on the map) or facing searching questions from their superiors.

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Update Night – H1Z1: King of the Kill

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Update Night is a new fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse through ongoing development.

I had assumed that, were I trapped in a kill-or-be-killed nightmare future Battle Royale-type dealie, camouflage would be important. In a world where everyone very quickly gets their hands on some form of weapon, I’d want to take lessons from that Hunger Games kid and dress up as a rock, or — at the very least — find a nice pair of neutral khakis that would help me blend into the environment.

But the player-controlled murderers of H1Z1: King of the Kill [official site] don’t subscribe to that kind of wisdom. I’ve been killed by people in tie-dye leggings, by people in unicorn masks, and by one particularly memorable opponent who seemed to be cosplaying as a gorilla. They’ve killed me with luminous green shotguns and pearlescent assault rifles, and rather than pause to consider the emotional impact of taking another life, they’ve stood over my limp body, crotch-chopping like 1990s WWF wrestler.

I braved all this and more in order to appraise the game’s current condition. Has H1Z1: King of the Kill been improved by recent patches, and is it yet worth your time and money? Read the rest of this entry »

Grimoire, the RPG 20 years in the making, is a crazily tough nut to crack

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Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar [official site] is a 90s-style roleplaying game in the vein of the Wizardry and early Might & Magic series, and whose one-person developer has spent the last two decades working on it. In equal parts revered and notorious in hardcore cRPG circles, it’s a game that many believed would never see the light of day. But here it is, real and complete, made and promoted with all the highly outspoken passion that, online at least, often seem to characterise the most devout of old-school RPG fans.

With a single playthrough estimated as requiring up to 600 hours, the learning curve incredibly steep and folk who have lived and breathed Wizardry for decades the target audience, nattering about Grimoire here is not straightforward. Let’s give it a go.
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Sundered is a gorgeously drawn Metroidvania

Sundered [official site] is the ridiculously beautiful Metroidvania from the people who brought us the ridiculously beautiful Jotun. In a busy genre, does it do enough to stand out? Here are my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: The Electronic Wireless Show talks Inside, Foxhole and TV show adaptations

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What sound drips forth from the audio tubes? It’s just the latest RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. Our topic this week is: “which TV show deserves a good videogame adaptation?” Maybe you feel Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Whatever could make a good survival game? Or perhaps The Handmaid’s Tale could be a great FPS? Probably not. Graham is convinced that road trip anime Kino’s Journey is a contender, while I’m yearning for a good The Wire or Wolf Hall game full of intrigue and politicking.

Meanwhile, Graham caught up with the sad boy brigade and played Limbo follow-up Inside, while I’ve been hunkering down in the top-down persistent multiplayer war of Foxhole. It’s just us two this week because Adam is gone and Pip has been possessed by a flu demon that makes her voice sound like it’s trapped in hell.
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Communal Combat Mission: Turn 26

The third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin’s uncommonly entertaining AI – has four turns left to run. By Monday the commenter-controlled Soviets will either be celebrating the eleventh-hour capture of New and Old Wharf (the most valuable Victory Locations on the map) or fielding difficult questions from their superiors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Fortnite

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It’d be easy for me to describe Fortnite [official site] as “DIY Left 4 Dead”. It’s the recent free-to-play zombie shooter from Epic Games, tasking you and three pals with building defences and scavenging supplies between waves of cartoonish undead, all spawned into existence by a paranormal purple storm. But to compare it so readily to Valve’s co-op shooter would evoke a brilliance it simply lacks. Fortnite is one of the most obnoxiously loud and over-designed games I’ve played in a long while.
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Wot I Think: The Long Dark’s Story Mode – Wintermute Episode 2

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After a save game mishap I’ve tagged in for the WIT of The Long Dark‘s [official site] second story mode episode. Don’t worry – the save game thing was a review build issue, not a thing for regular game owners to fret over! But it’s meant I’ve needed to try to marshal my frustrations and pleasures with the game into something approaching coherence. Stay with me as I pick through Wot I Think:

Right now I think a bear ate my shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you played… NEO Scavenger?

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

There are lots of things I love about NEO Scavenger [official site]. I love how, despite its lo-fi visuals, it conveys the fickle fortunes and indifferent cruelty of a wilderness better than many technologically superior survival games. I love its ridiculously detailed combat system that lets you rugby-tackle feral dogs. I love the ambient sound effects that convey the misleading serenity of its natural environments; the chirping of birds, the wind in the trees, the soft crunch of grass underfoot. Delightful. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 25

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s uncommonly entertaining AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. With six days/turns to go, the commenter-controlled Soviets have just taken the railway station in the north and are pushing westward with a will (The two wharf victory locations are the most valuable on the map).

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Steam Charts: WE’RE GOING TO BE RICH!

Hello person reading this on the Steam update page for their favourite game! You can only read this paragraph introducing the Steam Charts right now, but I promise if you only click through to the full article you will read insights into this game of the sorts you could never believe! People, it’s the mother-stuffing Steam Charts. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2: Everything you need to know for The International 2017 main event!

The International, Dota 2

The main event of Dota 2’s premier mega-tournament, The International 2017, kicks off today – and the first round of matches has been decided by a group stage full of surprises. Here’s everything you need to know to get you up to speed (or to bluff your way through a conversation with Dota-loving friends!) Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… The Fancy Pants Adventure?

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

The Fancy Pants Adventure is a 2D platformer with a line-drawing art style and a fun feeling of momentum, but really I remember it for its bouncy acoustic guitar loop. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 24

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s uncommonly entertaining AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. With six days/turns to go, the commenter-controlled Soviets are pushing westward with a will (The two wharf victory locations are the most valuable on the map) and nearing the railway station in the North.

Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 23

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s uncommonly entertaining AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Twenty-two turns in, the commenter-controlled Soviets control three of the map’s seven victory locations, and are in the process of assaulting a fiercely defended building (p15) north of West Bridge.

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What are we all playing this weekend?

The Internet informs me that today is Sandcastle Day, Work Like a Dog Day, Disc Golf Day, Mustard Day, Oyster Day, Mead Day, and Underwear Day. These being well-recognised days we all celebrate, we’re in for an interesting weekend. But wait, it gets better: Sunday’s festivities include International Sailor Moon Day, Psychic Day, and Friendship Day. What a weekend!

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 22

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s uncommonly entertaining AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Twenty-one turns in, the commenter-controlled Soviets control three of the map’s seven victory locations, and are in the process of assaulting a fiercely defended building (p15) north of West Bridge.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beautiful but barebones dino-sim Saurian is the anti-Ark

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Ark: Survival Evolved, the current king of dinosaur hill, is not a simulation of any kind. Saurian meanwhile, new on Steam Early Access this week after a successful Kickstarting a while back, is a survival game that similarly appeals to our first childhood love, but wants to be more Walking With Dinosaurs than Jurassic World. Which is to say, a dinosaur life simulation based on contemporary science’s best guess as the thunder lizards’ lifestyle. The release version so far is fairly short on things to do, but has some meticulously-recreated dinos, the option to pick a doomed fight with a Triceratops, and the significant risk of getting eaten by your own mother.

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