Sundered [official site] is the ridiculously beautiful Metroidvania from the people who brought us the ridiculously beautiful Jotun. In a busy genre, does it do enough to stand out? Here are my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Hand drawn and quartered
RPS Feature What do you want from a dinosaur simulator?
Ark: Survival Evolved, the current king of dinosaur hill, is not a simulation of any kind. Saurian meanwhile, new on Steam Early Access this week after a successful Kickstarting a while back, is a survival game that similarly appeals to our first childhood love, but wants to be more Walking With Dinosaurs than Jurassic World. Which is to say, a dinosaur life simulation based on contemporary science’s best guess as the thunder lizards’ lifestyle. The release version so far is fairly short on things to do, but has some meticulously-recreated dinos, the option to pick a doomed fight with a Triceratops, and the significant risk of getting eaten by your own mother.
RPS Feature All's well that Roswell
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus [official site] is a tale of corrupted icons and waylaid motifs, as Hitler’s propaganda machinery sinks its teeth into the pop memorabilia of 1960s America, and there’s no more wicked instance of that than “Elite Hans” – the Nazi action hero who glares from book stalls, toystores and pinball machines in the game’s Roswell level, which I had a little play of earlier this month. Elite Hans is returning protagonist BJ Blazkowicz’s carnival mirror image: the artwork on one comic even mimics the original cover art for Wolfenstein 3D. Machine Games’ choice of period notwithstanding, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some kind of throwback Nazified shooter to unlock in The New Colossus – a bit of old-fashioned ray-casting to wash down all that glistening high definition viscera. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Foot-to-ball: The Game
Behold The Kickmen [official site] is an almost-football sportsball game: there’s a ball and two teams trying to get it in each other’s goal via tackling, sprinting, passing and kicking. It’s only almost-football though because it has been designed by someone with a wilfull ignorance of football’s details, and who dislikes the sport but did enjoy playing classic football Amiga game Sensible Soccer. Footballers become “kickmen”, your opponent’s team is made up of “enemies”, you “do” a goal rather score one, and the pitch is circular and surrounded by walls.
It mines its own ignorance with comic intent, but I was curious whether it could move beyond the developer’s Twitter bants and stand up as an arcade sports game in its own right. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Get in lane
It’s not enormously likely you’ve heard of Nadia Was Here [official site]. It came out at the end of last month and I’m not sure anyone noticed. Turns out, after stumbling on it today, everyone really should have. My early impressions are that this pixel RPG is something rather special. And that’s a lot to do with some completely intriguing combat. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Eat, love Prey
I thought the monsters and mimicry would be the stars of Prey [official site], but I was wrong. The real star is the Talos-I space station, which manages to be a convincing functional space and a delightful collection of hidden routes and challenges. In my first couple of hours with the game, I thought the setting was a too-predictable mixture of offices and industrial machinery, but six hours in, I’m finding it hard to hard to tear myself away.
Despite all of its powers and tricks, Prey is a game where I’m not so much interested in what I’m doing as I am in where I’m doing it. The combat irritates me more often than it excites me, the creatures pestering rather than petrifying, and the upgrade system hasn’t convinced me yet – but if Talos-I continues to be such a warren of possibilities, I’ll gladly spend another thirty hours or more there.
RPS Feature Rings a little
Hollow Knight [official site] presents a peculiar issue. What do you do with a game that is genuinely good, but rather unoriginal? A game that is so, so similar to others that have come recently before it, but is still a beautifully drawn, solidly built metroidvania? Do you say, “Get this one, because it’s the most recent?” That’s not a coherent argument. Unfortunately for Hollow Knight, I think the design decisions that narrowly define it are really its core weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Thoughts on the first couple of hours
Adam’s handling our full Resident Evil 7 [official site] review, but in the meantime I thought I’d share some more immediate thoughts on how it runs, what it looks and feels like and if it seems at all on course to be the series reinvention it strove for. (By which I mean: I really, really wanted to play it too and this is how I justify doing so in work hours.)
Note that this does not include any storyline spoilers outside of the barest facts of the setting, or anything specific about the threats you face, but does discuss the broader structure and nature of some early obstacles. If you want to in totally cold, don’t read this yet, but if you already know basically what Resi 7 is about, you’ll be fine.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature But is it worth learning to play?
If Frozen Synapse and Battlerite had a baby, it would bear an uncanny resemblance to Atlas Reactor. Think turn-based MOBA-style combat with an emphasis on predicting and responding to your opponent’s’ next move. If you’re not sure what ‘MOBA-style combat’ really means, have no fear: Atlas Reactor is a unique creature, and experience with its genre-spanning inspirations won’t give you much of a competitive edge. It certainly hasn’t for me.
RPS Feature Pros and cons of the new Civ
Unlike Adam, I’ve not been lucky enough to spend the last month soaking in a deep Civilization VI [official site] bath, so I leave it to him to give you the complete picture. I’ve spent a big chunk of today with Firaxis’ latest historical turn-based strategy epic though, and already it’s filled me up with things to say about it. I’m genuinely surprised by how different it feels. There are reasons why I’m massively charmed by it, and there are reasons why it’s been frustrating me.
RPS Feature Go go finger guns
I guess I don’t feel entirely comfortable saying that a game about nothin’ but shooting restored some of my damaged faith in VR, but what the hell: yee-haw! In my fond imagining, VR was going to take me to brand new places, not strand me in the blood-strewn alleys of modern videogaming’s norm. There’s no avoiding it, though: Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope [official site] feels so damned good. This is Time Crisis steroidal and unrepentant, eschewing both gimmick and complexity in favour of finger guns and laughter.
RPS Feature Shadowy
As a professional ninja, I’m constantly frustrated by the representation of my noble traditions in video games. There is so much more to our art than teleportation and sneaky backstabs. Where is the game that shows our penchant for wicker work? When shall I see the portrayal of every ninja’s natural instinct for Polynesian cookery? Yet again, this is all ignored in Aragami [official site].
RPS Feature Too Corny
My major question when first-person-puzzler Maize [official site] got announced was not “lolwut talking corn???’ but rather ‘what even is this game?’ We knew there was anthropomorphic crop but not a lot else. I like not knowing what something is when I come to play it, as it spares me from worrying ‘what if it just does this again or gets that thing wrong?’ So Maize and its weirdo plant-people has had me intrigued. Now, however, I do know what it is. Kinda preferred it when I didn’t.
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RPS Feature Knights vs Vikings vs Samurai and we have to take that seriously
Oh my God, the Ladyvikings are awesome.
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RPS Feature Canadian rock group or brand of air freshener?
To some extent, “early access game” is increasingly a school of design as well as a state of development. Let’s play bingo:
“story to be added later”
RPS Feature How I learned to stop worrying and tolerate the job
I’m out of my mind. I ate a creepy eyeball and got a new perspective on life. A woozy, trippy, ever-so-slightly nightmarish first-person perspective, instead of a cutesy, plinky-plonky third-person one. My ongoing quest to rid the off-world streets of garbage was replaced by a desperate drive to find anywhere even slightly familiar, and from there orientate myself back to my shabby studio apartment and sleep off the bad trip.
Never again, I swear. Of course, it’s not long before I’m poised to pop another eye into my mouth. Beats street-cleaning, right?
RPS Feature Hands on with the beautiful, flight-based platformer
To borrow a line from Graham, there’s a parallel reality where Owlboy [official site] came out before Braid, earned mega-bucks and now Norwegian devs D-Pad are making elaborate and beautiful 3D follow-ups. But now, eight years later, there’s a seething, pixellated mass of neo-retro-platformers and Owlboy is no longer the slam dunk it might have been.
Whatever its fortunes now might be, it’s almost unbelievable that I now actually get to play Owlboy, a game I can remember posting about on RPS back in our earliest months. It is not a disappointment.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature This Is A Review!
I was waging war against the mafia – and they did not know it. The idiots kept telling me any time they had a ‘big job’ planned. They would then offer me big money in a brown envelope to ignore it. But as the chief of police, I could not be bought. I would use their little pre-warning to make sure I had enough officers in the station. And when the crime went down – a casino robbery, an assault, whatever – I would storm in, yelling the game’s title, This Is The Police!
RPS Feature The reality after two days of play
I am having a tremendously good time playing No Man’s Sky [official site], but I’m really getting annoyed by No Man’s Sky. Such is the dichotomy that’s central to this most peculiarly hyped of indie projects, that it is at once magnificent and mundane, breathtaking and benign. It is very much what everyone feared: a massive concept with no ideas to go in it. And yet it seems, from my first couple of days with the PS4 build, to be enough. I had to tear myself away to write this, what with a few quintillion stars I’ve still yet to explore.
RPS Feature More high-concept bin-diving
We Happy Few [official site] is a singleplayer, first-person survival game, set in an alt-history, 1960s-esque England in which the well-to-do all scoff ‘Joy’ pills to ensure an ordered society, while the less fortunate ‘Downers’ are locked out and left to live in squalor and madness. You play as Arthur, a clerk off his pills and starting to glimpse the stark truth of things, and cast out among the Downers as a result. There, you must craft and fight to say alive, and find a way to some presumed better place.
Strange timing. There am I thinking, “hey, We Happy Few owes quite a bit to Sir, You Are Being Hunted,” and then Big Robot (headed by Jim Rossignol, formerly of this parish) only go and announce their new game. The cosmic ballet continues.