Have You Played… King of Dragon Pass?

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

King of Dragon Pass looks like it has been drawn by the illustrator of 1970s books for pre-teens. That is wonderful in its own way, but much of the joy comes not from the wispy beards of your clansfolk but from the insightful stocking of wheat, from the easy diplomatic tone of your emissary, from consistently robbing a group of helpless duckmen.
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Steam Charts: Four Honor

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it’s only the weekly Steam charts! These are the ten games which sold best on Steam last week.

Warning: we have reached Peak Charts. Peak Charts warning. Containment about to be breached. Please evacuate the premises. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Smite Tactics

Every Monday Brendan prays to the gods of early access for favour, power and a winning hand. This week, the collectible card game battler Smite Tactics [official site]

Being a fan of Duelyst’s card-based lunacy, I was more than happy to dip my toes into Smite Tactics at Pip’s suggestion. It’s a spin-off CCG from the makers of the same-named MOBA, using their collected gods and mythical figureheads to get you collecting cards instead of pushing mid. Sadly, it’s as skeletal as an argonaut’s worst nightmare, in dire need of some fleshing out.
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Review: Alienware’s latest gaming laptop is a monster

A monster in good ways and in bad ways, but we’ll get to that shortly. First, here’s the plan. Over the coming few weeks and months, I’m going to review a number of gaming laptops from a variety of manufacturers. Each will be its own standalone review, but as well as the fact that each new review can involve greater comparison to the other systems, at the end of the whole boogaloo, I will buy the laptop I like best. Hardware reviews with a narrative arc. I’m like the Joss Whedon of computer journalism, me.

We kick off with Alienware’s latest 15″ machine (US and UK store link; exact specs and prices differ per territory), toting an NVIDIA GTX 1070 and an Intel Kaby Lake i7 CPU.
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Wot I Think: Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 [official site] is undeniably a console RTS – a rare, exotic bird that looks a bit weird and could only have evolved on an island split off from the rest of the world. Removing it from its natural habitat and introducing it to the PC ecosystem, where its evolutionary niche isn’t quite so niche, might seem a little cruel and ill-conceived. But while it’s certainly not a perfect fit, it’s striking and, more often than not, quite a lot of fun. Here’s wot I think.

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Have You Played… Else Heart.Break()?

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

There are plenty of game cities I’d like to visit. The bars and shops of Mass Effect’s Citadel remind me of a huge, strange airport. The Imperial City of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a part-majestic, part-ruinous jewel in a cosmopolitan world that consistently burps magic. But I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in these places. They’re dangerous. The city of Dorisburg in Else Heart.Break(), however. That’s a place I’d at least spend a year or two.
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The RPG Scrollbars: Old Habitats Die Hard

There’s no better way to cause trouble than to talk about ‘firsts’. Say for instance that King’s Quest IV featured the first female adventure character, and you’re probably going to be drowned out by some pedant waving a copy of Infocom’s Plundered Hearts in your face. That pedant may even be me. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the folly of calling, say, Everquest the first MMO and leaving it without some very quick clarification. The extent of the first M in MMORPG, the importance of success over existence, the jump between mainframe and computer and all manner of other stuff makes it tricky to plant a flag everyone can actually agree deserves to be there.

But there aren’t many games with a better claim than Lucasarts’ Habitat, the latest classic game to get a fancy modern revival project. It definitely deserves it.

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