Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Unknown Pleasures: Steam’s latest diamonds in the rough

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Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly deep dive into the deep, dark waters of Steam new releases. These are the games that we most liked from the past seven days (with the exclusion of those we’ve already wittered about in detail).

This week, we have Inner Space: The FPS, globular cats, rollerskate simulation, platforming goldfish and a spiritual Myth sequel.
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Podcast: The Electronic Wireless Show talks Destiny 2, Absolver and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

If on a winter's night a Traveller

Hark, it’s the sweet vocal vibrations of the humble RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. The lads (lads lads) are back from the bright lights of Gamescom and ready to chat hard about the games they saw. But Pip is only giving us a maximum of three words about each one. Madness. Never mind, we can talk more verbosely about the alien-shooting of the Destiny 2 beta, or the otherworldly kickboxing of Absolver, or the other-alien-shooting of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. It’s been quite a good week.
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Face-ripping & identity theft: Divinity Original Sin 2’s Undead

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“And now we just use the Face Ripper on this elven corpse so we can polymorph into an elven form and learn more about what happened by eating the limbs we found earlier.”

At Gamescom, Swen Vincke, CEO of Larian, was showing the playable undead race in Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site] for the first time. Faces were ripped, children were startled, feasting on cadavers quickly became routine. I love Divinity but in among all the elves and dwarves, I sometimes forget just how weird it is. When you’re playing a skeleton, it’s going to be weirder than ever.

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XCOM-like tactical espionage thriller Phantom Doctrine was my Gamescom highlight

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At first glance, Phantom Doctrine [Steam page] looks an awful lot like a Cold War flavoured XCOM. That’s quite an exciting prospect and the closer I looked, the more exciting it became. There are agents instead of aliens, and some novel infiltration and reconnaissance systems, but everything from the UI to the cover system is immediately familiar. The tactical missions are hiding unexpected twists though, and zooming out to the campaign map shows that the setting informs every aspect of the game.

It’s early days, and there’s a lot of work to be done, but Phantom Doctrine might well be one of 2018’s strategy highlights.

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The games chasing EVE’s vision of a single shard MMO

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The planet is full of aimless people. Dozens of non-descript robots silently going to and fro, with no discernable purpose or meaning. Yes, I’m at Gamescom, the annual gaming conference in Germany, but I’m not talking about the visitors on the show floor. I’m talking about the on-screen player bots of Dual Universe [official site], a sci-fi survival MMO making big promises about player numbers and control.

“This is going to be unlike anything else you’ve ever seen before,” says Jean-Christophe Baillie, founder of studio NovaQuark, “because it’s a giant sandbox shared by everyone at the same time where they can build everything they want.”

Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. That’s something I’m hearing a lot these days.
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Red means danger: how to survive in Surviving Mars

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The people living in my new habitat dome have jobs to do, that’s what brought them to Mars in the first place, but when they finish work they have two choices: they can either go to the casino or the bar. I could have built a gym or some other kind of leisure facility, but I went with the casino and bar combo. It’s what I’d want if I had to live in a dome on a hostile planet.

And make no mistake, Mars is a hostile planet. That’s why Surviving Mars [official site] can be so demanding.

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Destiny 2: Judging the game from the beta is an impossible prospect

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Once upon a time (like, 9.30am BST) Adam popped up on work Slack chat and asked if I could spend two days playing the Destiny 2’s [official site] PC beta. 2 Days 2 Destiny, if you will.

I would.

Here is my report after a few hours! I’ll update it with more thinking if and when it occurs to me or if I want to show off a particular quadrakill and pretend it’s news or something. There are mild spoilers ahead but a) I don’t think it’s anything you won’t have seen on various livestreams or at events if you’ve been paying attention to those and b) Bungie have set the whole story bit of the beta up so it cuts off before you get any answers – only questions. Read the rest of this entry »

One absolutely, perfectly ridiculous turn in XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen

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I had a whale of a time with XCOM 2: War of the Chosen [official site] (out today), despite finding its tonal ping-ponging between gritty resistance saga and preposterous superheroics a little jarring.

Speaking of the latter, here’s a video I made showing just how off-the-chain crazy the various new abilities, weapons and features can be. In the space of a single turn (the first turn of a mission), one soldier covers almost the entire length of the map, ‘wakes’ pretty much every enemy on it, kills around 15 of them, winds up at the main mission objective and then proceeds to take zero damage on the alien turn. Meanwhile, most of his team never even leave their starting position. All in one turn. It’s bonkers. This is War Of The Chosen.

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Destiny 2 on PC runs smooth as perma-gloomy butter

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I’ll defer to m’esteemed colleague Pip in terms of opinions about Destiny 2 [official site]’s PC beta (coming this evening – ed), currently open to pre-orderers and then for the whole wide world from 6pm UK time/10am PST today, for she has spent significantly more time than I in the Crucible. What I can do is give you a good sense of Bungie’s long-awaited return to PC-based shootybangs runs on a variety of system, how good (or otherwise) it looks, and the more nebulous but more important business of how it feels on our WASDy weapons of choice.
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Have You Played… Overcooked?

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

Overcooked [official site] is a silly, funny, joyous game about cooperative cooking. Each player handles their own area of the kitchen, or works at specific tasks, and instructions or calls for help are passed back and forth as the orders pile up. And then the dirty dishes pile up, and somebody burns the soup, and then the counters slide across the room because the boat has hit rough waters, and why are we on a boat, and will you please stop burning the soup you are the worst chef ever and I hate you.

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Steam Charts: Half Price Edition!

Other sites will bombard you with “facts” and “details” about the top-selling games on Steam, but not us. We won’t patronise you with such things. We know you’re better than that, taller, more attractive than the readers of those sites. We know you know we know you better, and as such reach for higher, smarter, more eloquent brilliance. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring the dark side of Cities: Skylines – Green Cities

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Green Cities might look like urban paradise, but beneath the lush vertical gardens, something sinister is percolating. Sure, the draped greenery clinging to the side of the new high density apartment blocks looks attractive, but it’s also reminiscent of post-human imagery; nature reclaiming the land. Zoom out far enough, so that the little cars and people are less apparent, and it’s not a great leap from green city to Twelve Monkeys, I Am Legend and The Last Of Us.

But forget the future for a moment because the now of Cities: Skylines [official site] upcoming expansion isn’t the paradise it initially seems to be. Your attempts to create an environmentally friendly utopia might end with the construction of a new Silicon Valley. The road to hell is paved with reclaimed wood and good intentions.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for relaxing. It’s a long weekend here in the UK, but by freeing me from the burden of work – I say, while writing this at 10pm on a Saturday night – I find it’s really just freeing me to spend time thinking about parts of the site I don’t normally have enough time for. (In other words, I’m sending emails bugging other people on the team.) For now, onwards with the week’s best games writing.

A group of No Man’s Sky players ‘settled’ in a particular region of space in order to work together and map its systems. Then the 1.3 patch shifted those systems, their trade routes, and the planet’s terrain such that the area became unrecognisable. Now the people who had settled there need to find a new home, as reported by Gita Jackson at Kotaku. Read the rest of this entry »

How Everything conjures infinity with camera tricks

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This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Everything [official site].

Everything is a game about everything. You can play as everything. Planets and hairs, whales and articulated buses. Pollen, spiral galaxies, tents, penguins – you get the picture. Within a few seconds, you might have moved from being a tardigrade floating on the microscopic scale all the way to being a sun hanging in a star-flecked universe. But the transitions, as you scale from from tardigrade to clump of grass to chimpanzee to forest to continent to planet to sun, feel remarkably smooth, even magical, reflecting the game’s core philosophical message: that everything is related and part of a whole, and that we are natural a part of it all too.

Under that smoothness lie a lot of design tricks by its creators, David O’Reilly and Damien Di Fede, all centred on something it’s very easy to take for granted:

THE MECHANIC: Thirdperson cameras Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Ken Follett’s The Pillars Of The Earth (chapters 1-7)

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Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth [official site] is a book which passed me by, even though I’ve devoured historical novels which must have been sitting mere inches away on the shelves of the library. The action of the story orbits the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge in 12th century England. My experience of the story comes solely from Daedelic’s conversion of the novel into a point-and-click adventure, taking you through intertwining stories from church and state, and allowing you to bend your own pathway a little as you explore the gorgeous and evocative environments.

The first seven chapters of the story comprise a first book of sorts and are now out with two more sets to follow as part of a season pass deal. Here’s Wot I Think so far! Read the rest of this entry »

‘We don’t attempt to be too serious’ – Need For Speed Payback has some comically overblown car chases

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I couldn’t tell you exactly why the truck in front of us has started dropping explosive red barrels out of its container doors, but I am now keenly aware of the fragility of my own speedy car, which is giving chase behind. The oil drums explode and leave firey trails all across the motorway. Innocent drivers swerve and crash to avoid the flames. Then the goons show up. They have taken the form of large black muscle cars. In Need For Speed Payback [official site] everything is a little crazy.

“We’ve always made our fans driving heroes and racing heroes,” says William Ho, creative director, “now we want to make our fans action movie heroes.”
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