Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Premature Evaluation: Make Sail

Make Sail

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s setting off in a rickety boat in Make Sail. It looks a bit like Wind Waker, but you get to build your own vessel. Sadly, it doesn’t talk.

Once a year, usually around the time of Gamescom, I slink off. I stop writing, disconnect from Twitter and flee to the coast of a sun-soaked country that I can comfortably sail around while sipping the cheapest gin and rum I can find. It’s what I look forward to most, every year, and when I return I’m always a more upbeat, raring-to-go kind of guy. It’s safe to say that I love sailing.

Make Sail has tested that love.

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Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War killed off all the diplomats

gladius

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War is an unconventional 4X game that doubles down on the perpetually gloomy universe’s penchant for conflict by cutting out diplomacy entirely. The Space Marines, Astra Militarum, Orks and Necron are all at each other’s throats, leaving them no time to work things out at the negotiating table. War, then, is Gladius’ raison d’être, with Dreadnoughts, Tankbustas and Necron Warriors spilling out onto the hexy map, looking for a fight.

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Sennheiser GSP 600 review: Bass overload

Sennheiser GSP 600

It’s a stupid thing to get excited about in the grand scheme of things, but Sennheiser’s new ‘contact pressure slider’ on their flagship GSP 600 gaming headset really caught my eye when it was announced at this year’s CES tech bonanza. It wasn’t exactly clear what it did at the time thanks to Sennheiser’s rather vague description in its press materials, but it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, it might help alleviate my ongoing battle with the dreaded headset headband pinch. Here’s how I got on.
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Far Cry 5 has the worst endings in all of gaming history

Far Cry 5 has a bad story in the same way that the bubonic plague has a bad bacterium. It is, by a considerable stretch, the most abysmally written narrative in AAA gaming. Not just in how it so idiotically interrupts you in the middle of other scripted missions to force you to play through hideously badly written enforced semi-playable cutscenes, but in every word uttered by every character from start to finish. And wow, does it reach its subterranean nadir when it comes to the finish. It is time to drape yourself in spoiler warnings and embrace the volcano of awful that is Far Cry 5’s ending. Read the rest of this entry »

Samsung T5 review: A fast external SSD that costs just a bit too much

Samsung T5

If you thought the WD My Passport SSD was a dinky external SSD, the Samsung T5 really takes the cake. Measuring just 74mm tall, 57mm wide and 10.5mm deep, the T5 is almost exactly the same size as a small box of matches. Weighing a featherweight 51g, it’s exceedingly light, too, its cool metal chassis putting bigger, bulkier external hard drives to shame.

This is external storage done right. The only problem is that you’ll have to pay through the roof for the privilege.
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WD My Passport SSD review: Good external storage that doesn’t cost the earth

WD My Passport SSD

Having a fast SSD inside your PC is all well and good, but they’re pretty useless if you want to transport large files to a different machine for a bit or back stuff up for safe keeping. In times like this, you need an external SSD, and today I’m taking a look at the WD My Passport SSD.

Portable storage devices have, of course, been around for donkey’s years, but while external hard drives (HDDs) are much cheaper than their SSD counterparts, they’re also a lot more liable to break when you chuck them in a bag due to the number of moving parts they have inside them. They’re also generally a lot bigger and bulkier to carry around.

The WD My Passport SSD, by comparison, measures just 90mm long, 45mm wide and a mere 10mm deep, making it exceedingly easy to slip into a jeans or jacket pocket without much fuss. It also has 256-bit AES hardware encryption to keep it secure, and it’s shock-resistant up to 6.5ft (or just under 2m), too, giving it extra durability if you accidentally send it flying because it’s so damn diddly.
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Embracing the bluff: how SpyParty’s long development changed the game

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Chris Hecker has been working on SpyParty for almost a decade now and I get the impression he’d be happy perfecting it for the rest of his career. Some developers want to move from one project to the next, an internal clock ticking down and reminding them how few ideas can be realised in a lifetime, while others are better suited to exploring one design from as many angles as possible, pushing every aspect to its limits.

“I love Go,” Hecker told me at GDC. “I wanted to make Go, but then I realised I was making a different kind of game. I realised part of the way through that SpyParty is more like Poker.” Embracing what the game is rather than what he originally wanted it to be has been key to the whole process.

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Steam Charts: We Can Rebuild Edition

As the Steam Charts slowly attempt to reassemble themselves after last week’s complete collapse under the weight of Far Cry 5, think of this week’s compilation as the moment the thought-destroyed terrifying monster is halfway through its grotesque reforming. Witness as its undulating viscera twists through recongealing flesh, a bleak but ghoulish moan emanating from deep within its darkest soul. Read the rest of this entry »

Free games of the week

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From extremely challenging platformers that challenge your typing skills to walking simulators just meant for relaxation, there is a bit of everything to be played this week. Starting off, I have a platformer that might cause you to rage quit – but it is very unique in concept. You must type in order to move from area to area, in search of a mysterious item that will save your species. If difficult platformers aren’t your thing, you can explore beautiful worlds full of swaying grass and nice structures in a well made walking simulator or solve some light bending puzzles and take photos of a strangely abandoned planet. Speaking of abandoned, you might want to find out what mysteries are deep within a house where the family was murdered, or even explore the memories of your late mother. There are many types of adventures to explore… Read the rest of this entry »

Putting forts back into Fortnite

fortnite forts

Despite being someone who takes a whole day just to put up a shelf, I’m more of a builder than a fighter. That’s a problem in Fortnite Battle Royale, where forts don’t get much of a look in. The fleeting 50 vs. 50 mode scratched my itch for building citadels but has since left a conspicuous gap. It’s one I’ve spent the last few days attempting to fill.

In squads, duos and solo, building is reactive. If you’re out in the open and someone starts shooting, you can throw down some walls and a ramp so you can peek out. Maybe you want to scale a cliff, so you plonk down some platforms and stairs. The pace and shrinking play area suggests that there isn’t room for more, but I wanted to see for myself.

It’s been going poorly.

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Soren Johnson on challenging the norms of 4X games

“Sid [Meier] didn’t know he was inventing a genre back in ’91 – if he had he might have been a lot more careful. He was just making it up as he went along.”

That’s how genres begin. By mistake. Somebody creates a set of rules and systems for the needs of a particular game, and then either people adopt and adapt those rules. Soren Johnson, creator of Offworld Trading Company and lead designer of Civilization IV, is working on a new game called Ten Crowns and after spending almost an hour talking with him at GDC, I get the impression he’s going to be very careful indeed. Not cautious, because I expect some bold reinvention of 4X strategy fundamentals, but careful in his treatment of a genre that we both agree needs to escape its own past.

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Let’s analyse David Lynch Teaches Typing as if it’s a David Lynch movie

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“I don’t do a perfect Lynch impression off-hand, it took hours of practice,” Luke Palmer says, his words trailed by a humble chuckle. He’s the man spearheading Rhino Stew Productions, an experimental studio behind David Lynch Teaches Typing, a mid-90’s inspired tutorial game where the Americana all-star himself (or at least an impressive impersonation of him) runs you through the basics of typing on your shiny, brand new MacLaclantosh 900. But does the game portray the seedy underbelly of the American dream, or would I be better off smashing my head against a bathroom mirror? Let’s rock. Read the rest of this entry »

Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC review: An AMD-powered 1080p machine

Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC

Most gaming laptops are Intel this and Nvidia that these days, making the fully AMD-powered Asus ROG Strix GL702ZC something of a rarity. Indeed, while AMD’s Ryzen CPUs may be a familiar sight on desktop PCs, this is the first time their top-end Ryzen 7 1700 chip has been taken out for a spin in laptop form, making it an admirable adversary for its Intel Core i7-7700HQ-equipped competition.

Backed up with one of AMD’s 4GB Radeon RX 580 graphics chips and a massive 17.3in 1920×1080 IPS display, the Asus ROG GL702ZC could be just the ticket for those after smooth 1080p gaming you can (sort of) take on the go. Let’s see whether it’s any good. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: A doughty dozen new Steam games

If you don't immediately try to kill all the friendly NPCs, you're doing it wrong.

We’re back!

Unknown Pleasures has been on unplanned hiatus as I have been grotesquely ill. The lack of communication or cover was entirely my fault, and I apologise for that unreservedly (and extend further thanks to the Hivemind for their extraordinary patience). I’m sorry.

Wait, hang on, Adam’s leaving. I can blame him! It was Adam, everyone! Shake your indignant fists.

There’s a bumper of 12 games this week, and then we’ll be back to normal. So, assaulting our ailing bodies this week: third party candidates, pugilistic ducks, and a JRPG that wait where are you going no come on, be fair.

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Best PC gaming deals of the week

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We look in shame upon the mound of empty chocolate packaging that suggests a break well-spent. We see the rows of eggs on store shelves practically being given away to clear space for whatever seasonal tat comes next. Yes, Easter for us may have been and gone but in the world of retail any holiday lasts thrice as long for the chance to squeeze out an extra purchase or two.

So, just before the sales come to a close, here are some of the week’s best deals in the world of gaming, tech and more. Read the rest of this entry »

PC Building Simulator is a good intro to PC building

PC Building Simulator header

PC Building Simulator should really be called IT Support Simulator. You spend a fair amount of time doing the former, but your main role in the game’s career mode is to deal with varying degrees of customer complaints as soon as they plop into your company inbox – which I’m surprised still exists considering you start your new enterprise with -$15 in the bank thanks to your conniving uncle having scrounged it all before he handed it over to you , presumably so he could make his quick getaway before the authorities did him in for fraud.

As a result, it’s up to you to get your shop back in order, making enough money from client orders, virus removals and repair jobs to keep the lights on, pay your bills and gradually upgrade your workshop into the PC building dream palace you’ve envisioned since you first got a whiff of some that sweet, sweet CPU thermal paste.

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Far Cry 5 blossoms into something wonderful once you kill the plot-baddies

far-cry-faith

The way I see it, there are only two significant failings in Far Cry 5. These are its story and the way it creates action in its open world. “But Alec,” asks the imagined reader who hangs on my every word and doesn’t just skip to the end in the hope I actually have something worthwhile to say, “doesn’t that mean basically the whole game?”

“Ho-ho,” I reply in this farcical imagined conversation in which I have already been infinitely more erudite than I am in any real conversation, “you have fallen for my clever introductory ruse designed to either make you nod in furious agreement or raise your fists heavenward in furious disagreement, and in either case you are now unable to resist the siren call to read on. And if, somehow, you are not, how about this: Far Cry 5 blossoms from infuriatingly stupid caterpillar into beautifully madcap butterfly once you have summarily murdered its terrible bosses.”
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Noct out with a fish: my quest to K.O. someone in Tekken with a tuna

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Noctis Lucis Caelum is the young monarch of Final Fantasy XV. He has a double-barrelled surname and a lot of invisible swords. He has also made a guest appearance in Tekken 7. These are two ridiculous worlds I like to inhabit in the evenings, so it makes sense to write about this crossover event. But there needs to be an angle. I need a hook. A hook… Of course! A fishing hook. Noctis loves to go angling, it’s his hobby. I’ll fight a bunch of people as Noctis and try to get a K.O. using a large fish. That’s an article. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Good game, bad story

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“I love to shoot the men!” you shout, as you pump 100 bullets into the prostrate torso of a dead soldier in Far Cry 5. “I’m so glad there are no cutscenes to–

THWOCK.

“Oh no.”

And lo, the lord delivered unto ye a sermon of the highest tedium, and the Four Ubisoft Writers of the Apocalypse rode over the earth and reaped the souls of all humanity with pointless exposition and dull characterisation. It was a bad time. But it’s not the only strong game let down by a bad tale. The latest episode of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, is unable to discuss all the offenders, but we can take a punt.

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