Posts Tagged ‘hands on’

Endless Space 2 Hands On: Buying Planets As The Mafia-Like Lumeris

Endless Space 2 is the sequel to French studio Amplitude’s cosmic 4X game, though it feels just as much a follow-up to their exceptional fantasy strategy affair, Endless Legend. Comfortably sitting next to all the numbers, resources and planetary management are lively stories, epic quests, and fascinating space-faring species, each with distinct hooks – the ingredients that made the company’s last game something special.

I traveled to Amplitude’s offices to get my hands on the game, and thus far my goal is to try and get rich – the noblest of pursuits.

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Hands On: Dawn Of War III

Last month, I visited Relic at their home in Vancouver. As well as spending a few hours with a single, complete mission from the Dawn of War III [official site] campaign, I had the chance to sit in on short presentations from various members of the team, demonstrating how their own contributions and creativity become part of the bigger picture. There was a lot to absorb, including enough environmental variety to excite the extraterrestrial explorer in me (ruined temples on jungle planets? Yes please), but one series of brief videos stood out, despite containing nothing that hinted at previously unseen planets or units.

The best of the videos used simple shapes to tell me everything I needed to know about the game’s races, and how well Relic understand them.

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Hands On: Grow Up Is A Confident Sequel To Grow Home

It might be a damp, grey Newcastle morning, but I’m giggling with delight, uncharacteristically, perched on the sofa in the corner of Ubisoft Reflections’ offices. Grow Up is entirely to blame. The sequel to Grow Home, one of last year’s most endearing games and the product of experiments with procedural animation, is a gleeful, lighthearted adventure with a gorgeous globe to explore and a wobbly robot to explore it with.

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I Am Setsuna Has A Few Twists On The JRPG Formula

Due on English-speaking shores this summer, Tokyo RPG Factory’s I Am Setsuna is a charming throwback experience with one of the bleakest storylines I’ve come across. It takes place in a kingdom beset by monsters – if that’s really the right word for the excitable penguins and shellfish you’ll battle early on – who must be periodically appeased with a human sacrifice. The titular Setsuna is next up for the chopping block, and your task as some random mercenary swordsman is to shepherd the poor girl to the site of her ordained demise – a job you land after failing to murder Setsuna at the request of a mysterious old guy in a forest.

It’s not your classic save-the-princess yarn, but during my playtime, it certainly feels like it. I Am Setsuna couldn’t be more of a homage to the genre’s glory days if it were distributed in tatty cardboard boxes and sold exclusively by rancid import shops in Manchester.

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Hands On: Rogue Wizards

Okay, I didn’t want to do this, but the moratorium on “rogue-like” is now legally enforced. Your game is nothing like Rogue, so stop calling it a roguelike, or you will go to prison. Definitely up for a lengthy sentence is the completely charming private beta of Rogue Wizards [official site], which even loses rights to parole for putting the word “Rogue” right in its title, despite containing little that directly associates it with the genre. So forget that silliness, and instead let’s focus on what Not-Rogue Wizards actually does, which is be a very lovely, well designed dungeon crawling RPG.

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Impressions: Knee Deep In DOOM’s Open Beta

Doom [official site]! It’s the bloodsoaked new game with the demons and the rocket skeletons and the telefrags and the shotguns and the multiplayer levelling and the character customisation and the class-like loadouts and the double-jump. Yeah, you know Doom.

Hmmm. Some of those things are more familiar than others to a seasoned Doom player like myself and I fear change more than I fear a sextet of Cyberdemons. The multiplayer beta for id’s latest opened today and, determined to face my fears, I’ve been playing for most of the day.

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Hands On, Bombs Off, With Introversion’s Wrong Wire

As Pip discussed yesterday, Darwinia/Prison Architect developers Introversion surprised everyone at Rezzed by having two entirely unannounced prototypes of new games on the show floor for people to play. Pip had a good play of Scanner Sombre, the game that narrowly won an attendee vote of interest, and I’ve sat down with Wrong Wire to see if I’ve the steely nerves required for defusing naughty bombs.

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Hands On: Gonner Is A Superb, Stylish Action Game

They had to drag me away from Gonner [official site] in the end. Well, truth be told, they were far too polite to drag me away but they came close to turning out the lights.

‘They’ are two members of Art in Heart, creators of the game, and half of Raw Fury, a new publisher made up of industry veterans. I was playing the game in a rented loft near the heart of GDC in San Francisco and I thought then – and maintain now – that it was the best pure action game I saw at the show.

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Homefront: The Revolution Wants To Make America Great Again

Homefront: The Revolution [official site] is a surprisingly sophisticated game. New developer Dambusters has assembled a thoughtful open world shooter that mixes the DNA of a Far Cry gunfight with the dented, jury-rigged science fiction of a Metro 2033. On the strength of six hours play it’s streets ahead of the Kaos Studios original, despite the project’s changing hands twice in two years – airlifted from THQ’s collapse by Crytek, only to be torn from Crytek’s flailing grasp by co-publisher Deep Silver. But it does feel rather conservative for a game about toppling the Powers That Be.

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Planet Coaster Reinvents The Theme Park Genre

Back in 1994, I was five years old and I had a PC in my room. The PC had just two games on it, DOOM and Theme Park, both installed by a family friend who made me promise not to let anyone see me playing DOOM. This meant that while most kids wanted to be an astronaut or a policeman, I wanted to build theme parks. Eventually, world weary cynicism took that away from me: theme park architect probably isn’t a real job, I thought, and it certainly won’t pay the bills. I gave up on my dream.

Seeing the alpha build for Frontier’s forthcoming Planet Coaster last week, I gave up on giving up on my dream. I’m going to be a rollercoaster tycoon (sorry) again.

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Hands On: Nelly Cootalot – The Fowl Fleet

RPS had barely gotten started when free point-and-click adventure Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy appeared in 2007. I adored it, and it appeared in our first ever advent calendar. So in 2013, when a Kickstarter was announced to fund a full-length sequel, Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet [official site], we demanded you fund it. You did, and with additional funding from snazzily named publishers Application Systems, the game is coming out on the 22nd. Yesterday I sat down in a Starbucks with creator Alasdair Beckett-King and had a play.

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Early Access Preview: Kelvin And The Infamous Machine

After somewhat less pleasant adventure experiences of late, it’s rather lovely to encounter a simple but sweet point-and-click that is neither focused on stupidity nor cruelty. But rather time travelling silliness, saving the world from a mad scientist hell-bent on claiming the credit for the great works of geniuses past. After a successful modest Kickstarter, developers Blyts’ Kelvin And The Infamous Machine [official site] is out on Early Access today, complete but for voice acting and final bug testing. I’ve played it through.

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Emerging Markets: The Brilliant Complexity Of Offworld Trading Company

Last week I visited Mohawk Studios to speak to Soren Johnson. His short but impressive CV has one standout entry – he was the lead designer of Civilization IV, a game which I hold in very high regard. His latest project is a short-form sci-fi strategy game with no military component and, in fact, no combat whatsoever. Offworld Trading Company [official site] is an economic strategy game and it’s about as far from Civ as a strategy game could be.

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Enter The Gungeon Has Lots Of Excellent Weapons

I just picked up a gun that fires t-shirts. Even though it feels considerably less useful than my other weapon, which shoots ice cubes that bounce around and freeze enemies, I’m going to use it because the novelty of murdering enemies with high-velocity clothing is irresistible (RIP Maude). That sums up the silliness of Enter the Gungeon somewhat.

It’s a roguelike shmup which should be arriving some point later this spring and though I’ve only played a small portion of the game, I’ve lost count of how many times I giggled at the ridiculous weapons I stumbled upon during my journey. Every time I think I couldn’t possibly find a more ludicrous gun, one always appears.

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Hitman Aims For Freedom But Misses The Mark

After Hitman: Absolution, Agent 47 is in need of another subtitle. Redemption, perhaps, or Contrition. His upcoming adventure has already made headlines thanks to its now-confirmed episodic release schedule but it also seemed to be a game made with the awareness that the previous hadn’t given fans of the series quite what they wanted. I was eager to get my hands on it after seeing a promising demo at Gamescom last year and now that I have, I’m in two minds.

Hitman [official site] contains just about everything I want from the series but all of the ingredients have become a little muddled.

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Hands On: Dying Light – The Following

I’m the resident cheerleader for Dying Light [official site] round these parts. Techland’s zombies ‘n’ parkour urban playground was one of my favourite action games of 2015, and a few hours with enormous expansion The Following have convinced me that the entire game is far smarter than the surface suggests. Rather than distracting from the free-running and scavenging, the addition of a vehicle and rural map bring out the best in the existing systems.

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Hands On: Shardlight

While the world got over-excited at the prospect of old men and women emerging from their dusty tombs to make adventure games again, one indie production company quietly continued putting out the best in the business. Dave Gilbert’s Wadjet Eye diverged from his self-created Blackwell series to producing adventures made by other individuals or tiny teams. The results have been splendid games like Technobabylon, Resonance and Gemini Rue. While I’ve only played the first third, it’s looking very hopeful we will be able to include Shardlight [official site] in that list of successes. The post-apocalyptic adventure from developer Francisco Gonzalez presents an intriguing story in an immediately embellished and believable post-apocalyptic world.

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A Tactical ARPG: Hands-On With The Division

The Division [official site] is, initially, a confusing game. All of the individual pieces make a certain kind of sense, but the combination doesn’t quite hang together. It’s like ordering tempura and getting a thick, creamy, eggy mayonnaise on the side in place of a good Tentsuyu dipping sauce. Both parts of the dish are enticing on their own but the combination is an acquired taste at best. I spent three hours playing the game this week and I’m still not sure if this is a taste I’ll ever be fully on board with – it’s an unusual game though and far more interesting than it’s gruff near-future shootybangs had led me to expect.

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Hands On: XCOM 2’s Brutal Difficulty And Superb Tactical Overhaul

Nobody gets left behind. That was my XCOM: Enemy Unknown rule and it was a rule that I adhered to in almost every one of the hundreds of missions I oversaw. If a squad fell in combat, they fell side by side.

XCOM 2 [official site] has made me break my one rule. Repeatedly. Deviously. Tragically. It’s hard as nails, and superbly distorts the tactics and strategies that were successful in its predecessor. I’m smitten.

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Hands On: XCOM 2’s Strategy And Tactics Dissected

With XCOM 2 [official site], Firaxis are not resting on their laurels. The studio’s reboot of the license had a great deal to prove – primarily, it had to satisfactorily answer the question as to why the much-loved series needed to be revived at all.

That obstacle overcome, the sequel is on safer ground and it might have been enough to reskin and reshape ever so slightly. A new setting, a new gang of aliens, and a few new weapons and hairstyles for the defenders of the Earth. Instead, there’s a degree of role-reversal, with the player now attempting to take the planet back from an occupying force rather than protecting it from invaders. There’s a new approach to the strategic side of the game, the return of randomised maps and an in-depth suite of soldier customisation tools.

After a couple of hours with the sequel, I’m more excited about XCOM than I’ve been since the announcement of the reboot.

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