RPS Feature Towering
RPS Feature Towering
RPS Feature An alphabetical murder
When I wrote about the preview snippet of Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders [Steam page]I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The art style felt pleasant and the extra points for behaving as Poirot would were a nice touch, but the puzzles were straightforward and you weren’t really playing as Poirot. The overall impression was of a studio trying to make a murder mystery story into a game and adding a lot of superficial interactivity. So does the full game succeed where the snippet failed? Here’s Wot I Think:
RPS Feature The road trip you want
We were somewhere north of Barstow on the edge of the desert – no, really, we actually were, I was so pleased – when awareness began to take hold. I rent squalid office space with two people from different companies, and they were baffled when the dull rock soundtrack of American Truck Simulator [official site]’s title screen began leaking from my speakers. Of all the games in the world, why would I choose to play this? Worst case scenario: every stereotype about PC gaming confirmed. Best case scenario: I was playing this profoundly boring driving simulator ironically. Mad Skill, No Plow, 360 Crop Rotation and all that.
By the end of the day, after hours of watching me drive through California’s forests and Nevada’s deserts, the three of us had grown appreciably closer. As night fell on San Francisco, we swapped rueful tales of love, sex and booze from our youth. As day broke over Reno, we sang in broken harmony to Gimme Shelter. As I rolled carefully into a depot in pitch-black Oakland after a long, long night’s drive, someone volunteered “shall I get some beers in?” We sat back in our seats and sighed contentedly. Our American road trip.
RPS Feature WITNESS ME, BLOOD BAG
After a whopping seven years in development, Jonathan Blow’s follow-up to Braid is finally here. The Witness [official site] throws out much — though not all — of the pompousness of its predecessor to deliver a less obtuse, modernised riff on Myst. And it’s actually quite brilliant, if you can ignore its layer of self-satisfied philosophical grandiosity. Here’s wot I think.
RPS Feature A real page-turner
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! [official site] has been showing the mobile world what modern gamebooks can be since 2013, and now they’re following 80 Days onto the PC. The first two chapters come as a bundle, with two more on the way. If you’ve played them on iOS, they’re exactly the same games, only you can finally click on things instead of using your filthy sausage-fingers. If not, here’s Wot I Think.
RPS Feature No, just bombing
3D Realms, freshly emerged from their settled lawsuit with Gearbox, bring us the much delayed top-down action shooter, Bombshell [official site]. Has the deviation from the Duke been worthwhile? No! No, it hasn’t! This is a steaming pile of shit. Now, with all surprises off the table, here’s wot I think:
RPS Feature Avengers Disassemble
Something very odd is going on at Traveller’s Tales. I’m not sure how, but in Lego Marvel’s Avengers [official site] they’ve managed to release a game that actively goes out of its way to hide everything good about it. So much so that it was only after hours of snoring through its dull, phoned in story mode that I discovered, behind a completely obscure and unmentioned menu option, what was really on offer here. Here’s wot I think:
RPS Feature A 2D shooter with style.
Cobalt is about a tiny, blue, quick-witted murderbot who’s travelling through space with its ship’s AI, searching for remnants of human life. It’s a story that tackles themes like consciousness and sentience, but it’s tongue-in-cheek and full of lighthearted touches – like stumbling across a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in a library, or meeting an enclave of dubstep-listening, friendly robots who identify as non-binary genders. It’s SOMA via Futurama and Max Payne, and here’s wot I think.
From the outside Cobalt appears to be simple 2D, physics-based shooter, but if you jam a crowbar under its metallic blue plating and tear it back to reveal the tangled circuitry beneath, you might be surprised by its composition. Under its surface there’s a complexity to Cobalt’s systems and a surprising depth that will keep you playing.
RPS Feature Resistance is futile
In 2012, Firaxis took on the seemingly impossible task of reviving one of the most beloved PC games ever made. The original X-COM is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of the nineties golden age, and since its release there have been sequels, spin-offs and unofficial revivals, but Firaxis’ XCOM was a complete, licensed reinterpretation. It was also rather good. Now, with XCOM 2 [official site] ready for release, Firaxis aim to improve on the formula that made Enemy Unknown such a triumph. Here’s wot I think.
RPS Feature Art and Croft
Rise of the Tomb Raider [official site] expands on and improves the core pillars of the series’ 2013 reboot. What it doesn’t do is change the formula significantly. Lara Croft is still a young woman and we’re witnessing the process by which she will become the titular crypt corrupter. As in the previous game, she’s soon stranded in an unwelcoming environment with little in the way of equipment and no network of support. Over the next twenty hours or so, you’ll guide her from branch-gathering and hide-hunting to full-on military engagements and supernatural shenanigans. Here’s wot I think.