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Posts tagged “preview”

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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Feature: Croft in transit

Shadow of the Tomb Raider appears to be beautiful but a little vacuous

In the course of 45 minutes with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft gatecrashes a fiesta, scales a cliff, wrestles an eel, levels a temple, steals a magic dagger, murders a bunch of dudes in Mariachi skullpaint and drowns a city after triggering the apocalypse. That's quite the evening's work, especially if you factor in all the times I accidentally impaled her on rebars,…

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Feature: Fight me, you cowards

Chasing tanks in Close Combat: The Bloody First

The development of Close Combat: The Bloody First has lasted for as long as the war it depicts, but four years after its original intended launch date, Matrix Games’ World War II RTS is due to storm the beaches soon. As well as being the first 3D game in the series, it’s the first that’s been built in publisher Slitherine’s Archon engine, but more interesting…

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X-Com spiritual successor Phoenix Point is doing $100k per month in pre-orders

Snapshot Games, lead by David Kaye and X-Com creator Julian Gollop, is a runaway success. Or at least I would think $100k a month in pledges would give a game studio some breathing room. But Snapshot isn't sleeping at night. The prevalence of cheap games and promotional bundles has the studio spooked because, while this is a time of incredibly bounties for consumers, not every…

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Feature: Along came a spider

Phoenix Point is so much like XCOM it scares me

The mutant spider queen ripped through another building and I knew my team was dead. This didn’t bother me, I’ve played enough of nu-XCOM to accept the loss of humanity’s last hope. But there’s something more unsettling than being impaled by a large arachnid in Phoenix Point. Its the game’s uncanny and unnerving resemblance to its XCOM cousins. It’s like seeing a doppelgänger of your…

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Feature: Shady tales

Lamplight City promises a detective story where you can screw up everything

After the delights of sci-fi adventure Shardlight we were always going to be interested in what Francisco Gonzalez did next. Now having played a small section of his follow-up, Lamplight City, I can confirm such anticipation is well merited. This is a steampunk detective adventure where messing everything up is an entirely legitimate way to play.

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Feature: Repossessed

Unavowed aims to be an adventure that borrows the best of RPG narrative

It really doesn't feel like it, but it's been five years since Dave Gilbert released one of his splendid point-and-click adventure games, and twelve years since he worked on a brand new story, following his series of Blackwell games. Unavowed is that brand new story, due out later this year, and it's ambitious in ways I wasn't expecting: it's a very traditional-looking adventure, that belies…

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Feature: Everything falls apart

Noita lets you break the world in beautiful ways

Noita is how Spelunky looks in my dreams. It's a game in which the world is simulated down to each individual pixel, so that liquids drip, flow, splash and stain. You're tasked with travelling ever downward through a series of caverns, collecting new magical weapons and slaying beasties. That wasn't always the case though. As I learned when I sat down with the developers at…

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Feature: 4K fantasy

Hands on with Final Fantasy XV in bonkers 4K

There's a moment about half way through Final Fantasy XV where you have to say goodbye to your stag-do-cum-road-trip adventure and actually start saving the world. It's the same point that sees you swap your ridiculously large car and the sweeping fields of Lucis for a boat, and then a train, that carries you, quite literally, in a non-stop line toward the game's conclusion, where…

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Feature: Blissful abyss

Underworld Ascendant wants you to break all the rules

Underworld Ascendant is a game for anyone who has ever tormented a GM during a tabletop RPG session. The maps have been drawn up, the traps have been primed and all of the plans are coming together. You're deep in a dungeon and the story is about to take a very unpleasant turn. And then... “You said the spikey pillars are made of the same…

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Feature: Pre-Modern Warfare multiplayer

Battalion 1944: a hardcore hybrid of noughties COD and Counter-Strike, with teething troubles

"I wonder how long it will be before I get even a single kill in Battalion 1944", I whinged at my colleagues earlier. I had plenty of time to whinge, because I was, on average, getting insta-killed within 10 seconds of starting a round, then having to wait 50 seconds before the next one started, at which point I would respawn. The more capable players,…

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Feature: Attack the Block

Surviving Mars is stranger than it seems

The cubes are black, and shiny, and mobile. They hover in a neat, impossible stack outside one of my colony's larger domes, clicking delicately about one another, always returning to the same overall shape, harming nobody. My robot rovers form a cautious circle around them while my scientists scratch their heads and bicker. I look at the cubes, one of the many Mysteries of Haemimont's…

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Feature: Convoy through hell

Nowhere Prophet is a post-apocalyptic trip with a soul

A large dog-like creature had been sniffing around our camp while we slept. The road hadn't been kind to us and our food supplies were running low. Truth be told, my own altruistic streak was responsible for most of our problems; we'd picked up stragglers and waifs wherever we found them, and had far too many mouths to feed. But this dog-thing was not joining…

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Feature: (Under)cover-based

Phantom Doctrine is much more than a Cold War XCOM

Phantom Doctrine is a game of 'ifs' and 'buts'. I would have completed my mission without being spotted if one of my agents hadn't been compromised but the fact that she turned on me and I managed to neutralise her at least means the enemy has played their hand and she can't do any further damage. Now, even though our cover is blown, if we…

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Feature: Redrawing the map

Path Of Exile’s endgame expands yet again next month in War For The Atlas

Path of Exile is already a very big, very demanding game. Ever since its first public beta debut, the free-to-play action RPG has grown steadily, layering new content and mechanics onto an already complex design. With the release of the massive Fall Of Oriath expansion back in August it grew into one of the largest action-RPGs ever made, ballooning from four acts (played three times…

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Feature: Meet your mecha

Battletech’s campaign mode is a robot Dark Ages

It's odd to think of Mickey Mouse while ordering a giant robot to rip another robot's arms off, but in the words of its creator Jordan Weisman, Battletech is kind of like Walt Disney's Tomorrowland. Opened in 1955, the park was an homage to the march of science that inevitably struggled to keep up. Its present-day incarnations are a bizarre mishmash of the vintage, the…

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Feature: Footage from and thoughts about The New Order sequel

Cool coats, comedy copulation and cyber-cats – Wolfenstein: The New Colossus wants to do everything

In the surprisingly, refreshingly excellent 2014 shooter reboot-o-sequel Wolfenstein: The New Order, it was the eyes that captivated me. The sad, aged eyes of BJ Blazkowicz, a war-weary he-man forced to take up arms yet again - tirelessly heroic, sure, but those windows to his haunted soul revealed his longing for an end to all this suffering. I could not look away from those eyes,…

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Feature: A mini horror adventure through every door

How The Evil Within 2 tries to be an open world b-movie

Let me qualify that title statement, for fear it merely conjures images of a game in which you're supposed to be endlessly surprised to find more zombies lurking behind the next hedgerow. A good (or, indeed, bad) b-movie is not someone sprinting aimlessly around and being constantly jumped by monsters, but rather it's scene-by-scene situational. What fresh horror awaits in the basement, what tricksy traps…

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Feature: Residential evils

Watch an hour of The Evil Within 2’s butchery, nightmare dinners and basement portals to other realities

Last week I popped off to play Bethesda and Tango Gameworks' upcoming survival horror sequel The Evil Within 2, which adds open world elements to its stomp through a town filled with science-gone-wrong monstrosities. You can read what I thought about it in my Evil Within 2 impressions here, or alternatively you can watch what I did and how many times I got killed by…

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