Have You Played… Heart’s Medicine – Time to Heal?

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

Romance! Drama! Surgery! Ambulance crashes! Heart’s Medicine – Time to Heal is a time management game by way of medical soap operas, like Gray’s Anatomy or Casualty, and I kind of love it.

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The Ninth RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: Do you know the name of the mountain climber in Getting Over it? Read the rest of this entry »

Wot we played on our holidays

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Welcome back, gentle human bean, to another year of PC gaming thrills, spills and ambient anxiety about the correct deployment of the term ‘roguelite’ here on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. As our beleaguered forms struggle to cope with the sudden shift away from Chocolate Oranges for breakfast, now is the time for our time-lost minds to reflect upon how we occupied ourselves over the past ten days.

To wit: what videogames did we play, when time, relatives, bloating and demanding pets allowed?

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Exposition Demolition: Just let us start playing the game

A challenge to game developers: let the first thing the player sees on starting a new game be the game itself. Let the player be immediately in control. And let them keep that control at least until it has at least become familiar.

I love gaming stories. Stories have always been my primary interest in playing games, from the first text adventures in the early 1980s, through the glorious adventure years of the ’90s, to the dynamic and impactful environmental storytelling of the 2000s, to today’s glorious open worlds packed with freely explorable plot. And interwoven throughout all these eras, the RPGs that have delivered their epic plots across space and time. I love stories. I am not, and would not, argue against the narrative aspects of gaming. I just, more than ever before, want to experience those stories while I’m playing. Read the rest of this entry »

The most exciting games of 2018

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As we lay 2017 to rest, let us remember all of the wonderful games that flickered across our screens and occupied our hearts and minds. But now we must promise never to think of them again because times have changed. This is 2018 and if we’ve learned one thing from the few hours we’ve spent in it it’s that there are games everywhere. Every firework that exploded in the many midnights of New Year’s celebrations was stuffed with games and they were still raining down across the world this morning. We cannot stop them, we cannot contain them, but we can attempt to understand them.

Hundreds of them will be worth our time and attention, but we’ve selected a few of the ones that excite us most as we prepare for another year of splendid PC gaming. There’s something for everyone, from Aunt Maude, the military genius, to merry Ian Rogue, the man who hates permadeath and procedural generation with a passion.

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The Eighth RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: What did puzzle game designer Jason Roberts say when he needed the toilet? Read the rest of this entry »

The 14 Best Metroidvania Games On PC

The Metroidvania is perhaps one of the more tricky genres to nail down. With its very name coming from an amalgamation of two actually quite different Nintendo-based game series – Metroid and Castlevania – quite what qualifies is always up for debate. Hence, we suspect this could be one of the more controversial lists, when it leaves out a favourite game that someone else might argue fits the remit, but we decided did not. The important thing to remember is that we’re right. And all of these games are brilliant.

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The Seventh RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: Did you hear about the game developer who coughed up a hat? Read the rest of this entry »

Alyse Stanley’s favourite games of 2017

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This year it has felt like there’s been a string of quality games releases. Games that I’m proud to support, whether it be for their tackling of serious subject matter or excellent writing or unique concepts that push the industry forward. Games that are already redefining preconceived standards of play.

In short: next year has a tough act to follow. Read the rest of this entry »

The importance of going home in Assassin’s Creed Origins

Sometimes it’s good to go back to where you came from in open world games. When the content is the world, travelling through it can often feel like you’re gobbling it up, every virtual kilometre a chunk of media you’ve greedily consumed rather than occupied.

But they rarely give you much reason for retracing your steps. Levelled rewards are rarely worth the journey; storylines and quests are often all used up. Towns, jungles, villages are left frozen in time, a snapshot of less sophisticated times. Now their challenges are less keen, their demands on your expanded skillset simplistic. Their NPCs repeat the same declamations as they ever did, ignorant of your world-spanning achievements.

While these worlds are physically non-linear, they often feel the opposite, locations standing as staging posts on a winding trail rather than interconnected places. Then I played Assassin’s Creed Origins, which goes out of its way to seed the places you’ve barrelled through with reasons to return. Read the rest of this entry »

The Sixth RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: What’s an agoraphobic’s least favourite game? Read the rest of this entry »

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

I’ve been thinking about time a lot recently – how we create and manipulate histories and the present in video games and in general – so you’ll forgive me if my end-of-year choices are a bit Back to the Futurey. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fifth RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: What’s the name of EA’s Charles Dickens adaptation? Read the rest of this entry »

Fraser Brown’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

I think I would have lost my mind if it wasn’t for the many incredible digital holidays I’ve taken in 2017. It’s been a bit overwhelming to play so many great but also massive games in a single year, however. New Year’s resolution: squeeze more brief games into my life. Read the rest of this entry »

How Wolfenstein: The New Colossus takes the white dudebro hero apart

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a shooter that often feels at odds with its own protagonist, the worn-out vanilla action hero who is somehow the heart of a neurodiverse, multi-ethnic cast of socialist firebrands, civil rights campaigners, pacifists, lapsed jazz maestros and rabid UFO chasers. At first glance, it has a lot to say in spite of BJ Blazkowicz rather than through him, its levels and intermissions thick with references to feminist activism and race rights movements that risk being swallowed up in the bloodshed. Many of the allusions are very timely, for all the retro silliness of Wolfenstein’s Nazis – it’s hard not to draw a line between in-game propaganda about the “cancerous” press and Donald Trump’s frequent denunciations of the US media, for example.

MachineGames has downplayed these parallels in conversation, but Bethesda’s marketing teams have latched onto them rather opportunistically, going so far as to parody Trump’s infamous #MakeAmericaGreatAgain slogan on social media and subtweet his defence of rightwing marchers following the murder of Heather Heyer. Ultimately, however, The New Colossus offers no straightforward rejection of the bigotry Trump and his followers have tacitly and not-so-tacitly endorsed. Rather, the game’s achievement is to show how BJ’s story of white heroism risks echoing that chauvinism, and how it and toxic social archetypes at large may become instruments of resistance. With spoilers right up to the final moments, let’s look at how all that holds together.

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The Fourth RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: Did you hear about the Ubisoft employee who worked for the London Underground? Read the rest of this entry »

Dominic Tarason’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

2017 has been a stunning year. Partially in the ears-ringing, shellshocked way, partly in the ‘Wow, I’m making a living writing about games’ style, and consistently in the ‘Nobody has time for even half these amazing games’ sense. Of the scant handful of games I did manage to see through to the end, here are my picks from 2017, although if I had time and column inches to spare, I could sing the praises of another dozen more. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of not talking to other people in Destiny 2

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Destiny 2 has had a rough time of late, what with players discovering that late-game grinding may very well be a gigantic waste of time, and the general hostility to microtransactions going around these days. Since its launch on PC in October, players have also groused about its strict communication rules: there’s no in-game chat lobby, text or voice, in which to find fireteam members for that Nightfall strike or Leviathan raid. And no public matchmaking for these activities, which yield the game’s most exclusive and powerful gear. Me, though? I love that about it.

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The Third RPS Cracker Of Christmas

While we’re all curled up in our shared Christmas hibernation cocoon over the holidays, the site gets a little quieter. But fear not, for each day of the ho-ho-holidays there’s a Christmas cracker to pull! Oh, and of course, if you’re after more posts you might have missed, why not join our Supporter Program, and unlock dozens of new posts from the last year!

Meanwhile, you provide your own party hat, and we’ll provide the groaner of a gag.

Q: Why did the orange hologram need medical treatment? Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Stone’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

Having just re-read all 51 of this year’s Flare Paths carefully noting when and where words like ‘lovely’, ‘compelling’ and ‘clever’ were used, I now know for sure what my Favourite Games of 2017 are. It turns out that although Tank Warfare: Tunisia is 55% ‘lovelier’ than Steel Division: Normandy, Diesel Railcar Simulator is 113% ‘nicer’ than Train Sim World, and Venti Mesi is 33% ‘more memorable’ than Way of Defector, none of them have quite enough ‘magic’, ‘charm’ and ‘personality’ to displace the three evening-eaters described below. Read the rest of this entry »