So… What Are You People Playing?


It’s been a while since we’ve asked you to step onto the soapbox, but it’s finally that time again: you’re constantly reading about what we’re playing – but what about you? What has filled your past few weeks, and why? Are you still playing through that backlog of hastily-purchased Steam games? Have you found some gem that we’ve missed? What has surprised you? What has disappointed you? Tell us now, please do.

I particularly want to hear from those of you playing free-to-play stuff. What has held your attention? Speak!

Mechin’ Babies: Mechwarrior’s New Robot


Mechwarrior Online has updated with a new mech, the 80-tonne Pretty Baby, which is detailed in a video which you can watch below. There’s also a big update from the devs on what’s going on with the game generally, including performance tweaks and a new map.

Is anyone still playing MWO? I know I had a blast with it when I first signed up, but then Planetside 2…
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Hands On: March Of The Eagles

From here on in, it's maps all the way down

I didn’t expect it to happen like this. I knew that one day I’d end up sucked into a multiplayer affair that left me checking over my shoulder, erasing entries in my diary and losing sleep, but I figured it’d be Planetside 2 or Day Z, not a strategic wargame. In the last week, I’ve spent a few hours playing March of the Eagles and Europa Universalis IV multiplayer and, despite myself, I’m ready to admit there’s a future in this ‘gaming with other people’ malarkey. More on EU IV soon. First, it’s Napoleon time.

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State Of Mine: Impire Scenario Playthrough

I played Impire last week, although my hands-on time just about saw me through the tutorial so I didn’t get to summon any truly horrible minions. My dungeon was packed with scurrying imps of various sorts though and, later, with heroes too. The brief hands-on session revealed Impire to be a solid take on dungeon management, with a neat incorporation of simple overworld missions and combat that is more engaging than it first appears. It’s also an attractive game and while you’ll have to wait a couple of days for my full impressions, you can watch a few minutes of playthrough footage from the first scenario right now, which gives a good look at the all-important interface.

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Heroes Of Might, Magic, & Anything Else: Project Awakened

I imagine they'll be hearing from lawyers representing Disney and the Mushroom Kingdom before too long.

Bald space marines! They’re pretty great, huh? Always shooting aliens and misplacing their hair everywhere. But in case that pinnacle of videogame characterization wasn’t doing it for you, Phosphor Games is hoping to offer more. Way more. Way, way, way, way more. As in, pretty much anything you can imagine. The basic idea behind Project Awakened is that you get a nigh-bottomless pool of superheroic powers and looks to mix and match in whatever manner you please. These, for instance: “An invisible hero who can charm enemies to fight for her. A non-violent hero with super speed and agility racing past enemies to the goal. A man who spontaneously combusts at will and touches everyone to incinerate them.” OK, well, that last one is the Human Torch, one of the most well-known heroes of all time. But the others seem fairly unique. Video and details after the break.

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McDownload McDroid’s McDemo

Not to be confused with its Aberdeenshire cousin MacDroid

Remember McDroid? A super-cheerful action-strategy, tower defencey thing which seems to exist purely so people can have a good time. It’s been available to buy as fairly content-rich beta for a little while now (full release happens this Spring), and is also doing the Steam Greenlight community lapdance at the moment, so if you’re undecided about taking action on either of those, you should probably play the demo.
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It’ll Be Alright On The Night: LA Noire’s Human Bloopers

Mad, man

Here’s something I never thought of when playing LA Noire. Whatever its other merits and failings, the stuff it does with facial animation and performance capture was amazing, and something the whole industry can benefit from presuming it’s not drowning in a thousand million unbreakable patents (which it probably is). However, all it was being used for was to, essentially, just achieve a slightly better version of something games and especially their cutscenes already did. We can find rehearsed, scripted dialogue and, to wildly varying degrees, attendant facial emotion and animation, all over the place. What we can’t find is naturalistic, unrehearsed performances – people being people, as opposed to be people being videogame characters. Take a look at this to see how big the difference can be.
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Week in Tech: 4K Screens, Virtual Reality, New GPU Grunt

Let’s shake off the downbeat vibe from our last installment involving console toyboxes with some promising prospects for PC display tech. For starters, ultra high-res LCD panels look fairly likely to transition to the PC. If that’s an incremental step, could virtual reality in the form of the Oculus Rift headset deliver a real-world rendering revolution? I’ve also got a little something known as frame latency for you to think about regarding graphics performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Arise, Sir Microtransaction: TERA: Rising Has Risen

does whatever a twenty-foot spider can. I.e. whatever the hell it wants

As prophesied (well, reported) by the god among men that is Nathan ‘big dawg’ Grayson, recent MMO TERA is to hop aboard the divisive ship Free To Play. Its new version, with its free client, has now gone live. Apparently free players will have access to all the game’s content, but if you join ‘TERA Club’ you’ll get all manner of in-game boosts. Existent subscribers fall somewhere in the middle. More details on that side of things here. All and sundry, meanwhile, will find themselves paying extra for stuff like character sots.

TERA: Rising, as it is is now known, is available in Europe right now. As far as I can tell it’s already free in the US too. I’ve put a video below, but you can watch that in any country. Apart from China, probably. I hear the guys in charge over there are right dicks.
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Rise Again: DayZ Standalone Revealed In New Devblog


“Matt, if you maybe take your clothes off over here,” is something Rocket says in this devblog, which perhaps suggests something of the flavour of the piece. The DayZ devs have rolled out a dev video with a fairly lighthearted overview of the work they’ve been doing to get the standalone version of the game out. The environmental details are interesting – no more just searching for piles of loot, you’ll actually have to go and look for stuff in the buildings, and they can even be hidden behind other objects, meaning you’ll have to search. Anyway, go watch below, it’s got some interesting reveals.
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The Telling Of Tales: Unwritten Interview

You may know that Joe Houston worked on Dishonored, or you may remember his considered and compelling words on violence in games, but not enough people seem to know about Unwritten: That Which Happened, the game in development at Joe’s new independent studio, Roxlou Games. Unwritten is one of the most intriguing in the crop of turn-based titles moving through the crowd-funding space, with a focus that lies as much on narrative as combat and tactics. It’ll need a strong final week to reach its $75,000 goal. I spoke to Joe to find out more about the game, going indie and storytelling.

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Sad News: VG247 Editor Won’t Be Eating His Trousers

Denied :(

How we had hoped to see Pat Garratt enjoying a hearty feast of broiled denim and shallow-fried zipper, but it was not to be. The editor of VG247 last year swore to eat his own trousers in the event Minecraft man Markus ‘Notch’ Persson made good on his talk of funding a sequel to Double Fine’s Psychonauts. Alas, Persson has recently confessed that such a thing is not currently possible/desirable, as Double Fine’s estimated $18 million budget for the game was beyond even his mighty means (or, at least, what he considered to be a lucrative investment of his mighty means).
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Mike Pondsmith Talks Reinventing Cyberpunk

Mike Pondsmith is a busy man. So busy, admittedly, that he was only able to exchange words via the cold, unfeeling cyber-pigeon communication medium that is email. Which, I suppose, is kind of fitting given the subject matter, but I generally try to avoid it. Still though, I was able to at least extract some details about Pondsmith’s place in CD Projekt’s massive Cyberpunk 2077 puzzle, especially in regards to world development and what makes a videogame “cyberpunk” to begin with. For example, Deus Ex? Not cyberpunk, says Pondsmith. All that and more after the break.

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Command Your Own Keen: Hall’s Platform Tool Kickstarter

The last Kickstarter project Tom Hall was involved with did not go so well. Old-School RPG (nee SHAKER) neither shook nor stirred up much interest, and both Hall and Brenda Romero decided it was best to go back to the drawing board. It seems, however, that they beelined for different drawing boards, because now Hall’s launching a Commander Keen spiritual successor all by his lonesome. It’s both a game design tool and a game rolled into one. So says Worlds of Wander’s Kickstarter, via the universal language of needlessly gratuitous caps: “It starts with a COMPLETE GAME for you to mess with – the spiritual successor to Commander Keen – SECRET SPACESHIP CLUB!” Somehow, I doubt it will remain a secret for too terribly long.

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Art Game, A Game About Art About Games

But is it?

What with Proteus having sparked another one of those unfortunate periods where a vocal minority decide to aggressively reveal the narrowness of their minds, I immediately presumed that Pippin Barr‘s Art Game would be a commentary on the long-exhausted ‘but what is game? / is game art?’ debates. Elements of them are in there, I think, but in fact this free indie game has something entirely different to say. It is about the subjectivity which fuels appreciation/criticism of both games and art, it is about the pernicious arbitrariness of the art industry, but most of all it is about feeling proud of our own creativity.
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Witcher 3: Open World, Non-Linear, Beard

You know a developer’s really made it when they arrange an exclusive cover feature with GameStop’s loyalty card-flogging magazine Game Informer. CD Projekt RED are the latest to do the whole de facto scoop thing, revealing the already-teased The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Aka, 2014’s most exciting RPG, it rather sounds like.

AND GERALT HAS A BEARD NOW.
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In Which You Are A Candle: Candlelight

Candlevania: Symphony of the Light.

By all rights, Candlelight should be the significantly dimmer prequel to Torchlight, but it’s not. The reality of the situation, however, might just be even better. See, you play as a candle. Now, if you just got into videogames four seconds ago, you might not know that we don’t normally coat our heroes in wax and set them on fire. Not often enough anyway. Not often enough. But Candlelight looks to take that uncommon concept in an attractive, surprisingly apocalyptic direction, so thank goodness. And honestly, the basic needs, desires, and life aspirations of a mournful, world-weary anthropomorphic candle might just lend themselves to an interesting game. Seriously! All will be illuminated after the break.

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Um, That Was Quick: SOE’s Bullet Run Done In March

I guess those bullets are running? I'm still not entirely sure how it works, to be honest.

Remember Bullet Run? It was a free-to-play reality TV shooter thing from SOE best known (around these parts) for being announced and going live. The latter occurred a scant few months ago, last August. But now the style-focused punk-buster’s adding another milestone to its extremely brief timeline: complete shutdown. Which, I guess, is kind of fitting in its own way? I mean, Bullet Run? They may as well have called it Fast Fast. So of course it ended in the blink of an eye.

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Accelerated Psychedelia: Dyad For PC


Shawn McGrath sends word that his breath-taking psychedelic whizzy particle-accelerating game, Dyad, will be heading for the PC (and thereafter Mac and Linux) around March. The game, which is set in “a reactive audio-visual tube creating a harmonious synthesis of color and sound” caused a stir of hippie-noises, gamer awe, and wide-eyed cooing when it was released on PSN, so there’s good reason to suspect that it’ll intoxicating a few of us in the coming months. McGrath says that he prefers using the keyboard to the gamepad on the Windows version, which is a good sign, and that he’ll be supporting that Steam Big Picture doohickey. So that’s reassuring, too.

Original PSN trailer below, in all its swirly glory.

Updated: Shawn’s PC announcement video.
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