Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Have You Played… Spaceship Warlock?

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

Space may be the final frontier, but it doesn’t have to be so serious. Back in the ’90s, space games were more than happy to poke fun at themselves, from the Muppet-like live-action puppeteering of Commander Blood to Sanctuary Woods’ light-hearted Orion Burger.

That’s why I’m in love with 1994’s Spaceship Warlock, a first-person adventure game that feels as far away from conventional space exploration games as anything ever could. It’s an odd mishmash of surrealism, space pirates, and the strangest characters you’ve seen this side of Harvester.

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Wot I Think: Lego Marvel’s Avengers

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:

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Wot I Think: Cobalt

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.

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Have You Played… Sacrifice?

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

Centuries ago, some unknown ancient sage called Keeron Gillan wrote about a strange action strategy game called Sacrifice. I haven’t heard anyone mention it since. We have failed.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Roles We Take, Roles We Choose

Not for the first time, I’ve spent quite a while recently pondering the nature of roles – more specifically, mechanical role versus narrative role. When we think of RPGs, what we’re usually thinking of is the latter. You play the role of the Hero, but in a universe that’s typically designed to let you define that however you like. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s a key difference between that and stepping into the shoes of someone more specific. Geralt in The Witcher 3 for instance is – spoiler alert – a Witcher. Every encounter revolves around that, every system involves it, every decision has, whether it’s by your choice or Geralt bringing it up, a mercenary element that reinforces that asking for money in exchange for your services is expected and not, as is often the case, the first step towards douchery and getting the Evil ending.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Hearthstone. The two things are linked.

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Wot I Think: XCOM 2

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.

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The Perma-Death Endurance Mode DLC Is The Best Version Of Rise Of The Tomb Raider

I wanted to play Rise of the Tomb Raider [official site] more than I realised I did. It’s nice to not have yet another BrawnMan in the middle of my screen, sure, but for me it’s the idea of vaguely puzzley, vaguely sandboxy adventures in a not-too-fantastical wilderness which appeals.

Enthused by Adam’s review, I picked up the PC version, but it wasn’t long before I was hissing through my teeth at the bad balance of impossible escapes from death, relentlessly dour and earnest tone, mechanically-delivered dialogue and preposterous animal-massacre-based-crafting (because, once again, Lara had gone on an incredibly dangerous adventure without packing anything more than a glowstick and the first option you get if you type ‘bow and arrow’ into Amazon then sort by Price: Low To High). Fortunately, the Endurance Mode DLC turned out to be game I wanted.
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HTC Vive Vs. Oculus Rift: How Do The VR Headsets Compare?

Back in the day, I’d often get asked whether PlayStation or Xbox was best. Helpless efforts to argue “well, actually, PC is…” aside, I’d defuse their concerns about which had the superior graphics by naming which games you would or wouldn’t get on each. It’s not going to be any different for VR.

But for now, when numbers are really all we have, I’m going to list some numbers at you below. It’s too early to say for sure which headset you should buy if you’re planning on buying one at all, but this should help you to determine whether one virtual reality headset or the other might have better image quality or motion tracking.

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A World Gone Sane: Strategy and Story In Hostile Waters

I'm not taking the minutes again, Oliver. I didn't declare war on the world to take bloody minutes.

Strategy games seldom come with a premise more creative than “what if aliens?”, or “what if robots?”, or perhaps “what if alien robots?”, and while this often works – their appeal tends to come from systems and details instead – it does leave a gap for more imaginative fair. Take, for example, Hostile Waters, Rage Games’ 2001 release inspired by the 1988 naval/aerial action strategy hybrid Carrier Command.

The central premise of Hostile Waters’ setting is essentially this: What if the Occupy movement had won?

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