Posts Tagged ‘preview’

Martial Arts Sim Absolver Was One Of E3’s Best Games

I saw good games at E3 and I saw great games, but no other game surprised and delighted me as much as Absolver [official site]. It’s a game about punching and kicking opponents in an open world, but describing it as a beat ‘em up seems unfair. It’s a martial arts simulator, with elements of both Dark Souls and Zeno Clash but a combat system all its own.

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Phoenix Point: Every Detail Of The X-COM Creator’s Return To The Genre

One of the most exciting games in Los Angeles this week won’t be featured at press conferences or on the showfloor. Phoenix Point [official site] is the new tactical-strategy hybrid from Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM, and we met yesterday to discuss its procedurally generated alien threats, simulated human factions and much more. Here’s the world’s first in-depth look at the game.

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Train To The End Of The World: The Final Station Beta

They could have called The Final Station [official site] ‘zombies on a train’ but they didn’t, and I think we should all respect them for that. In any case, the zombies don’t really go onto the train itself, and in any case they might be some sort of shadow-ghoul. Don’t ask me, I just kill ’em. Or get killed by them. Rather a lot, as it happens.

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Hands On: Civilization VI Is Exciting, Complex & Aggressive

The barbarians are at the gates. They’re not here to kick the gates down and storm the city though; instead, they retreat, in the direction of the camp that spawned them.

“You might want to send a warrior after those barbarian scouts,” Firaxis’ Pete Murray advises, watching the screen over my shoulder. “They’ll fetch a raiding party if they manage to get home.”

That’s new. It’s the tip of the iceberg as far as changes go, but it’s an illustrative example of what the early stages of this game are all about. Civilization VI [official site], at this stage of its development, is host to the most reactive AI that I can remember in the series’ long history. Lead designer Ed Beach and his team are building a Civ game that they hope will pry long-time players out of their established comfort zones, and a too-brief 60 turns with the game last week showed plenty of evidence that they’ll achieve that goal.

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Civilization VI Releases October: Here’s Every Detail

As if 2016 didn’t already contain a rich enough seam of strategy games, Firaxis announce today that Civilization VI will be released on October 21st. Development duties are in the hands of the team behind Civ V’s expansions, Gods & Kings and Brave New World, and when we spoke to designer Ed Beach and associate producer Sarah Darney last week to learn all the details, they told us that almost every system from the complete Civ V will be included in the sequel: trade routes, religious systems, archaeology…there’ll be no need to wait for expansions, it’s all in the base game.

The game is running on a brand new suite of software, built to be far more mod-friendly than its predecessor, and as well as brand new AI systems, there are a host of new mechanics that will explore and emphasise your relationship with Civ’s greatest character: the map.

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From Dust: CCP’s New Free-To-Play FPS Project Nova

Dust 514, the free-to-play EVE Online shooter for the Playstation 3, was a bit of a tragedy for me. It was both relentlessly ambitious and sadly crippled, hamstrung by its attempt to create a microcosm sandbox with a complex relationship to its big brother, EVE Online. But after talking with Snorri Árnason, the senior director for CCP’s new FPS, Project Nova, I’m worried that the failed marriage between Dust 514 and EVE Online is preventing them from doing the one thing worth doing with the recently unveiled shooter: taking risks.

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Hands On: Hitman Hits Its Stride In Sapienza And Marrakesh

After the flashbulbs and pulsing techno of Paris, Hitman [official site] Episode 2’s Sapienza level feels like a holiday – the kind of holiday John Le Carre writes about, in which lingering over your espresso is tantamount to painting a bullseye on your back. Set on the Italian coast, the chapter opens with Agent 47 idling on a bench opposite a fortified mansion belonging to your target, a bioweapons scientist whose latest creation must be nipped in the bud. Under an archway to your left, two sheepish flower delivery drivers are tending to an unconscious cyclist. Somewhere behind you, a couple of heavyset gentlemen chat quietly about a secret laboratory. Off to the right, a woman in the street bellows up at her partner, a sous-chef who is late for work in the mansion’s kitchen.

It’s a world of threads begging to be yanked on, the better to hoist somebody by the neck, but what’s your hurry? You’ve got your paper and the sun is out. With its postcard locales and indulgent pacing, Hitman has always been something of a tourism simulator, and in Sapienza, IO has conjured up the perfect ambience – bottomless blue skies, dusky cobblestones and guidebook hotspots roamed by sweaty foreigners in ridiculous shorts.

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Hands On: Lawbreakers

Earlier this month, we sent Rob Zacny to the offices of Boss Key Productions in North Carolina. The studio are working on their first game, Lawbreakers, a multiplayer action game from a team led by Unreal’s Cliff Bleszinski. Approaching with a healthy dose of skepticism, Rob spent some time playing the game and learning its secrets to see if it could win him over, and to find the answer to his initial question.

Who, I wondered, is going to give a damn about Lawbreakers?

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From Alpha Centauri To Apocalypse: The Design And Inspirations Behind Frozen Synapse 2

Frozen Synapse 2 [official site] is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. I’ve spent a long time considering how best to put my thoughts about it into words, having met with Paul Kilduff-Taylor, composer of lovely electronica and co-founder of Mode 7 Games, to see how development was progressing. The simple fact is, it ticks so many boxes in the ‘dream game’ column that extreme enthusiasm is entirely appropriate. Here’s why.

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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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Redwall Meets Revolution: Tooth And Tail

Tooth and Tail [official site] is to Command and Conquer what Monaco was to an actual bank heist. If you took an RTS and threw it into a pot then burned off all the fat, you’d be left with something that looked a little like the latest from Andy Schatz and his team at Pocketwatch Games. But would you lose some of the flavour as well? I played the game at GDC (Pip beat me, as usual) and spoke to the team about its design, artistic and mechanical.

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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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Grim, Gruesome And Grotesque: 2Dark Could Be A Stealth-Horror Triumph

2Dark [official site], the new stealth horror game from the creator of the original Alone in the Dark, is a grim, gruesome and thoroughly unpleasant affair. The story begins in flashback – a family on a camping trip meet with violence and death, the children abducted, their mother murdered, and the father set on a path of grief, hard liquor and eventual blood-soaked revenge. From there on in, you’re hunting serial killers in a top-down stealth-horror game that looks as smart as it is sinister.

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Sumer: Eurogaming Meets Platforming In Mesopotamia

While over at GDC I stopped to check out digital board game Sumer [official site]. I feel like a fair few games have billed themselves as digital board games in recent years but Sumer is the one which caught my attention, partly because I liked the aesthetic and partly because anything that wants to offer me a Eurogame* experience without me needing to read a rulebook is Of Interest.

Developer Misha Favorov describes Sumer as a worker-placement platformer.

“It’s a game where you play as a bunch of Sumerian nobles trying to compete to win the favour of Inanna to become the first ever king or queen of ancient Mesopotamia,” he explains.

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Shadowhand: Dueling With Playing Cards In Georgian England

Remember how last year Adam and I got VERY into romance novel card game Regency Solitaire? Well, the developers, Grey Alien Games have been working on Shadowhand [official site] – a twist on the solitaire format which lets you duel enemies as an adventurous highwaywoman by playing cards.

I took the current demo build for a spin a month or two back but sat down for a proper chat with the studio’s owner Jake Birkett at GDC so we could talk about the game in more depth. Let’s start with the highwaywoman herself – who is the mysterious Shadowhand?

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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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Early Impressions: Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III [official site] is already out in Japan but the rest of the world has to wait until April 12th. I received review code late last week and have spent a few hours kindling bonfires and carving my way through the early stages of the game. I’ve also, as you might imagine, died quite a lot.

Our full review will be closer to the international release but I wanted to share some thoughts about the opening areas, the PC version and the overall quality of what I’ve seen so far. No spoilers regarding bosses or locations.

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Pool Nation Is The Perfect VR Litmus Test

I’ve deflected blaster shots using a lightsaber, standing in the shadow of the Millennium Falcon, fought off shambling horrors in the ruins of a city at night, and constructed fantastic contraptions, suspended on a grassy plain in a bright and breezy abstract world. No attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion yet, but VR has taken me to some wild and wonderful places.

And yet, the game that convinced me of the immersive qualities of the Vive’s roomscale and touch technology dropped me into a pub, in front of a pool table. Pool Nation, in replicating an experience that I’m familiar with, came closest to fooling my senses completely.

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