Posts Tagged ‘hands on’

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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How Is Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s PC Port?

Review code for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate [official site] activated this evening and I’ve spent the hours since playing through the opening sections and fiddling with various settings to see how it all holds together. In short, it runs beautifully and looks a treat. Details and early thoughts about my trip to the Big Smoke are below.

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Exhuming The Past: The Town Of Light

The Town of Light [official site] is a fascinating game. Initial trailers suggested it would be another in a long line of horror stories playing on the abandoned asylum setting. I expected jump scares, deformed creatures forced into straitjackets and maniacal laughter. Instead, as Alec discovered when he spoke to the developers earlier this year, this is a game concerned with “the true meaning of mental illness”.

As revealed today, the game will be released on February 23rd and I’ve spent a few hours exploring an early build.

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Wheels Of Aurelia Is A Narrative Driving Game

Everything that’s interesting about Wheels of Aurelia [official site] sounds brilliant. It’s a “narrative driving” game in which you steer a sports car down the coast of Italy in the 1970s, while simultaneously steering the game’s punkish lead Lella in conversation with her passengers. I’ve been playing its beta.

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Just Cause 3 Has Learned From The Modders

Dakadakadakadakadakadaka!

Here’s how it went: I tied three cars to the helicopter, took off and smashed them into a building like a trio of wrecking balls before firing infinite missiles at every car I saw in a long trail the whole way to the top of the island’s highest mountain, whereupon I leapt out and saw my chopper plummet to the ground just as I opened my wingsuit and glided the whole 8km back to the seaside where I opened my parachute, landed on a rusty old fishing boat, threw the captain overboard and piloted it calmly back to shore only to beach the old rust bucket and begin shooting all the billboards in port with a machine gun the size of my whole body. I did not complete any mission objectives in Just Cause 3 [official site] by doing any of this, but I did set the record for longest wingsuit flight, and also: who the hell cares?

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Hands On – Rainbow Six: Siege

Rainbow Six Siege [official site] is being held hostage in its last stages of development. We dispatched Brendan to breach and clear and also write about it.

The latest Rainbow Six game begins with Angela Bassett telling you that a new terrorist threat has made itself known. One with incomparable resources and intelligence. She’s getting the band back together, and giving you all the power you need to hunt these villains down.  “Borders and protocols,” she says, “are irrelevant”. Apart from being a shocking dismissal of international law, this sentence sums up the game pretty well. See that wall? Irrelevant. See that door? Immaterial. And why should we use the front door, like good neighbours, when we can just blow a hole in the goddamn ceiling?

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Secret Legend Is The Cutest Thing – Hands On

Graphics aren’t everything, are they? We all know this. Shitty pictures can quickly become irrelevant if the game is strong enough, and beautiful shinies often belie a stinking poop of a game. Being distracted by the pretties is a fool’s game. Still, I only chased down the developer of Secret Legend [official site] because I saw pictures of it on Kill Screen* and it looked so damned gorgeous. I nagged him until he sent me a copy of the game in its current very early state, because I wanted that prettiness right in front of my face. Oh, and it seems it’s a really rather lovely game, too!

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Deus Ex Mankind Divided Hands On: “All Signs Suggest It’s An Improvement On Its Predecessor In Every Way”

I’m in the camp that thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a hell of a good starting point. The level design ran up against apparent technical limitations, chopped into distinct sections rather than flowing naturally from streets to interiors and back again, and the stealthy approach sometimes felt more difficult than it should have been thanks to sticky cover and too-rigid AI.

During a day of hands-on experience with follow-up Mankind Divided, it became apparent that Eidos Montreal felt similarly about their first stab at their cyberpunk revival. Moving from the tech renaissance of Human Revolution, the sequel steps into a fractured world of corporate feudalism. It’s looking superb.

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How To Teach An AI To Play Hex: Shards Of Fate

Hex is getting smarter. It’s learning. While it might not quite be approaching the colloquial indifference (or destructive potential) of Wargames’ WOPR, it is watching you play – it’s watching everyone play – and it’s adapting.

After their tremendously successful Kickstarter (warning: contains clown death) and while settling a protracted lawsuit with the creators of Magic: The Gathering, developer Cryptozoic have been diligently ploughing through the alpha and beta stages of Hex [official site], regularly bolting on new features and laboriously constructing the vision that CEO Corey Jones first prophesied nearly two and half years ago.

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The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone Introduces A Tonal Shift

“The quest you’ve chosen would take too long to solve in the time span you have,” remarks a slightly concerned PR representative. “Maybe try the other one when you get the opportunity?”

I take this as a good sign. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone [official site] is the first ‘proper’ piece of DLC for CD Projekt RED’s already vast RPG, and comes after the release of umpteen freely available new clothes, minisodes and weapons. While Hearts of Stone isn’t concerned with adding new areas or mechanics, it’s a thrill to learn that it’s of a grander scale than I can reasonably see in the few hours I’ve been given to play it. In fact, the developers from Poland predict it’ll offer around ten-hours of new quests to play come release on October 13th.

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Bounty Train Is Steam-Powered FTL And I’ve Been Rogueing On Its Railroad

“Best elevator pitch ever” was my response to a colleague’s description of Bounty Train as ‘Elite with steam trains’ when we first heard about it. There’s a game I want to play. Now, Daedelic’s train management/trading/roleplaying/ gunfighting game has pulled up at the Early Access station. Keen to know if dreams can come true, I hitched a ride to hands-on impressions town.

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Divinity Original Sin 2’s Competitive Roleplaying And Diverging Narratives Are Boldly Inventive

Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site] has just landed on Kickstarter but we’ve already played an early build. It’s an ambitious sequel, supporting up to four players who will now be able to compete as their objectives overlap and diverge. As well as bringing about the life and death of the party, Original Sin 2 brilliantly overhauls its predecessor’s turn-based combat and introduces multiple playable races and an origin system that defines each character’s evolving place in the world.

Bold and inventive, it adds complex layers of overlapping narrative consequences to Original Sin’s world of interlocking systems. This is how it works.

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Superhot Is The FPS Made Cool Again

Superhot [official site] is the first-person shooter deconstructed. You don’t move and shoot, jump and dodge. You move then shoot, jump then dodge. The reason for your turn-based decision making is that time only moves when you do. I’ve been playing the beta for the past week, and it’s superb.

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Dark Souls 3’s New Combat Is Faster And More Fearsome

Dark Souls 3 [official site] is in the shadow of a giant. The giant probably has a wound for a face, not a single leg to stand on and spends his days dragging his torso around the ruins of a throne room. After one slightly uneven sequel, the Souls series has returned to the guidance of creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. Rather than replicating what worked so well four years ago, however, From Software are tweaking their design. The architecture of the world is immediately recognisable but combat is changing.

After half an hour with the game, I’m half-way convinced it might be able to step out of the shadow of its predecessors and find a new sun to praise.

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