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Posts tagged “preview”

Feature: 21 years older, 21 years wiser?

Video: Two Point Hospital isn’t just Theme Hospital 2

After three hours with Two Point Hospital I see similarities with Jurassic World Evolution. Okay, Frontier’s game sees you putting more people in hospital than getting them out the door, but it’s a similarly welcoming management game. You can read that as simplified and slow (as Fraser did in his Jurassic World review), but as an abysmal multitasker I appreciated a campaign that drip-fed ideas…

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Feature: Hands on with the backer beta

The Bard’s Tale IV is a rough but compelling take on first-person puzzle-dungeons

I'll be frank: The Bard's Tale IV looks like what I'd expect to see if I found a DVD-ROM from 2005 with 'Legend of Fantasy: Mages & Goblins' scrawled on it. My every instinct, after the first few minutes with it, was to run screaming from its Bratz doll faces and onslaught of fol-de-rol. Books, covers and all that, though: underneath its soupy presentation, the first few hours…

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Feature: Twister twister

Just Cause 4 wants you to kick up a storm

Just Cause has been described as Far Cry’s brash, dumb and lovable cousin. At least, that’s how John described it when he blew up all those statues in his Just Cause 3 review. Judging by what I saw at E3, the next outing isn’t so much “leaning in” to that reputation as it is diving into it headfirst with a grenade launcher in both hands.…

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Feature: Guanxi good thing

What Total War: Three Kingdoms is learning from its Warhammer cousins (and Crusader Kings II)

They’re climbing the walls. Hundreds of tiny warriors are using grappling hooks to scale the stone barriers of a Chinese settlement, as I look down on the battlefield from my perch at E3. I bite my lip and pretend to know what I’m doing. Yes, swordsmen, through the breach. Spear dudes, down the middle. Grappling hook men, up you go. Only stinky Romans use anything…

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Feature: The long development arm of the law

Police Stories is coming along nicely, but taking its time

When I last played Police Stories, I was pretty delighted by how much the two level alpha had to offer. So it was with somewhat mixed feelings that a year later I found myself playing a four level alpha - this feels like slow progress, albeit it with a graphical overhaul. And yet I am just as captured and occupied by the levels it has,…

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Feature: You won't get away with this, Snowmancer!

Captain Spirit looks heroic, but sometimes tragic too

Oh look, this Life is Strange spin-off is due out next week as a freebie. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a two-hour pretend-em-up in which you play Chris, an imaginative kid who fancies himself a superhero on the weekends, and isn’t afraid to take on evil beings like the powerful Snowmancer (a snowman) and nasty beasts such as the dreaded Water Eater (the…

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Feature: Blinded by the light

Dying Light 2 is making the sun your new best friend

A room full of mannequins is rarely a safe place in videogames, but in Dying Light 2 it looks especially unnerving. Welcome to a zombie nest, where dozens of shamblers sleep during the day, huddling together in the shade of an abandoned clothes shop. They sleep upright, like decomposing commuters nodding off in a packed tube carriage. The best thing to do when you enter…

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Feature: From reformed pagans to unreformed sharks

What’s next for Crusader Kings 2, EUIV and Hearts of Iron IV DLC

The Paradox DLC factory continues to diligently extend the lives of its myriad grand strategy romps, with all but Stellaris getting new DLC announcements at PDXCON last month. We’re getting restless pagan warriors, war elephants and even some sharks. If you can match the feature to the game, you get a polite nod of respect. Rather than tiring you out, making you click on three…

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Feature: The future looks good

Cyberpunk 2077’s demo at E3 was a vivid, drug-huffing first-person romp of guns and butts

Yup, the neon future of Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person RPG shooter. You can create your own character, drive cars through the streets, shoot gangster’s legs off in slow motion, hack their guns, and shag your fellow cyberpunks, among other deeds. All this is based on the 50-minute demo shown to press at E3 yesterday, a demo of asymmetrical haircuts, exposed buttocks, golden prosthetics and…

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Feature: All rise for the...

Anthem tries to embrace its own Destiny

During yesterday's EA’s press conference for E3 (which seemed at times like an hour-long apology for microtransactions) we saw a bit more of Anthem, the upcoming shooter from BioWare. The sliced-together footage followed a multiplayer run through the jungles and rock-pools of the world, ending when the four "freelancers" in robot suits encountered a large insect who eats cameras. But I’ve been braving the LA…

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Feature: A flipping disgrace

Video: Is House Flipper dirtier than my real house?

Many things are easy in games that I struggle with in reality. A light jog. Climbing ladders. Carrying stuff (my limit’s an eight pack of Pepsi Max Cherry, let alone five axes and a wheel of cheese). But House Flipper, a first-person handyman ‘em up and current chart champion, is based on my bete noire: keeping a house clean and healthy. I stink at cleaning…

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Feature: A 4X offering something new

Age of Wonders: Planetfall makes a great case for leaving fantasy behind

For nearly two decades, the Age of Wonders series has been firmly entrenched in a fantasy realm, with all the tropes that accompany it: Orcs, Halflings, meddling wizards and flying lizards. Triumph Studios’ latest 4X outing, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, does away with all of that. It swaps magic for mechs, pitting alien races against each other in a galaxy reeling from the collapse of…

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Feature: Squads and ends

Battlefield V is about making friends, building forts and daily chores

World War 2 has broken out once again as EA DICE heads back to the 1940s with Battlefield V, a theoretically safe sequel with some curious, and possibly divisive, ideas at its core. After the thematic reset that was Battlefield 1 I wasn't expecting much from this year's instalment of the long-running shooter series – class tweaks, new period accessories and still-higher fidelity explosions, all…

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Feature: What have the Romans ever done for us?

Imperator: Rome has a world ripe for conquest

When Paradox unveiled the map for its latest grand strategy romp, Imperator: Rome, I don’t mind admitting that I made an involuntary noise that normally only comes out of me when I’m biting into something delicious and unhealthy. It is excellent map porn. Zoomed out, it’s clean and no-nonsense, but when you narrow your focus, it explodes with colour and detail, particularly on the coast,…

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Feature: 20 CCs of nostalgia, stat!

Video: How does Two Point Hospital compare to Theme Hospital?

Do no harm, goes the Hippocratic Oath. So it’s with trepidation that I approach Two Point Hospital, a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital that could all too easily do harm to fond childhood memories of Bullfrog’s heal ‘em up. Thankfully, Alec’s recent visit to these shiny new wards have put my mind at rest - it sounds like the team has successfully transplanted the heart…

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Feature: Fast, fluid and fresh, despite the fragrant tang of nostalgia

Theme Hospital successor Two Point Hospital is very much 1997 wearing 2018’s clothes

The main thing I thought as I began to play Two Point Hospital, spiritual sequel to 90s medical management hit Theme Hospital, is that I barely had to think at all. Some alchemy of 90s sim game muscle memory and slick, thoroughly 21st century building assists meant I hit the ground running, immediately in my happy place of dragging out room sizes, rotating machinery and…

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Feature: From deckbuilding to ranked play

Artifact feels like Valve’s solution to post-Hearthstone card games

Collectible card games have been around for decades, but they've really been running hot ever since Blizzard unleashed Hearthstone four years ago. Since then, we've seen Shadowverse, Gwent, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Duelyst, Faeria - there are a lot of these things, if you haven't heard. They all put their own spin on rectangles with numbers on 'em, but they also universally take cues from…

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Feature: We played for 3 hours

Video: State of Decay 2 goes for the jugular and jugglers

Come the zombie apocalypse the jugglers are the first against the wall. What to do with an unemployed children’s entertainer is one of the tamer dilemmas thrown up in the three hours I spent with State of Decay 2. But it’s indicative of Undead Lab’s slightly goofy take on zombie survival, one that has you desperately scavenging for supplies one second and weighing up the…

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Feature: Lane down your cards

Artifact pairs the best ideas of Dota with the best parts of card games

You'll often see characters in sci-fi stories play seemingly incomprehensible games like multi-dimensional space chess, and that's basically what it's like playing Artifact, Valve's upcoming Dota-inspired card game. It's an ambitious hybrid of the studio's MOBA and Magic: The Gathering, and it works shockingly well. So much so that it only took two games for me to understand and get on board with Valve's vision.

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Feature: Power plants

Terraforming Mars but without the fiddly bits

Bits are both the joy and bane of board games. You know, bits - those fiddly counters, miniatures and cubes of plastic, wood or metal (oooh, fancy). On the one hand, the tactile sensation of slamming down a plastic train in Ticket to Ride, cutting off your opponent’s train route to their howls of anguish, is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a feeling that’s…

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