Posts Tagged ‘preview’

Hands On: The Signal From Tölva

I’ve had my hands on a brief demo build of a game called The Signal From Tölva [official site], from maverick and bohemian developers, Big Robot – yes, they of Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Oh, and I guess owned and run by Jim Rossignol, one of the directors and owners of this site. (There’s not going to be a conflict of interest issue here, is there? I mean, I can barely stand him.) Below you can read my very early and quite remarkably impartial first impressions.

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Overland Is A Puzzle Game With A Roguelike Skin

Overland [official site] is a turn-based post-apocalyptic road trip simulator. You drive a car across America, beset by hideous bugs that emerge from the ground and eat your gang of survivors, while everything burns around you, and you try to survive against overwhelming odds. On paper, it’s precisely the kind of game that should be taking up all of my free time but the reality isn’t quite what I hoped for or expected.

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Endless Space 2 Hands On: Buying Planets As The Mafia-Like Lumeris

Endless Space 2 is the sequel to French studio Amplitude’s cosmic 4X game, though it feels just as much a follow-up to their exceptional fantasy strategy affair, Endless Legend. Comfortably sitting next to all the numbers, resources and planetary management are lively stories, epic quests, and fascinating space-faring species, each with distinct hooks – the ingredients that made the company’s last game something special.

I traveled to Amplitude’s offices to get my hands on the game, and thus far my goal is to try and get rich – the noblest of pursuits.

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Parks And Simulation: Planet Coaster

Planet Coaster’s [official site] announcement barely caught my attention at all. There was a time when a new theme park management game might have tickled my fancy, but the subgenre hadn’t been attractive for a while and I didn’t expect Frontier’s game to revive my interest. To do so, it’d have to be a proper simulation that paid as much attention to visitors as to rollercoasters, and it’d need to care about every aspect of its parks rather than focusing on some kind of first-person ride gimmick.

As the developer diaries started to appear, I realised that Planet Coaster was the game to revive my interest in park management, and that it was doing all of the things I’d hoped for and more.

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Magic And Myth In A Post-War World: Tyranny

I’ve seen Tyranny [official site] several times before and I even played it out at E3, but it was only after a hands-on session at Gamescom that I felt ready to write about Obsidian’s next RPG. It’s a tricky one to preview, seeing as so much of the pitch relates to a world that changes to reflect the Big Choices you make. In a game that’s so keen to gesture toward the bigger picture, it can be difficult to get a sense of how well the smaller moments work toward that end.

At Gamescom, I played a new section of the game, crafted some spells, and decided that even if I can’t know how well the bigger picture will come together, there’s enough here to understand at least some of what Obsidian are building. It’s strong stuff.

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Eight Years Later, Owlboy Has Landed

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.
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Motorsport Manager Is About Handling Egos And Cars

Motorsport Manager [official site] is about people as well as their cars. While you can spend time tinkering with the setup of the vehicles to some degree, all of your engineering and design work will come to nothing if your team can’t stand one another, and don’t understand their roles. As a person with little interest in cars wot go fast, I wasn’t sure this would be the game for me, despite my love of sports management, but after sitting down with the developer at Gamescom and spending some time with a preview build at home, I’m hooked.

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Elite Dangerous Is Adding Space Buses And I Want One

Suggestions of an alien intelligence creeping out of the shadows. Fighter ships, piloted remotely and able to bring down ships many times their size. Beautiful space station interiors that visually reflect the goods or services that they produce.

All very exciting, I’m sure, but I’m here for the cruise liners. Turns out I want every game to be a taxi/bus simulator, and if I can fly tourists around the galaxy, I’m definitely back on board the good ship Elite Dangerous [official site].

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Smartly Reinvents The RPG Party

Divinity: Original Sin is one of my favourite games of recent years. It’s a systemic toybox with the skin of a fantasy RPG. I spent an evening playing the sequel [official site] a couple of weeks ago and it improves almost every area. At the foundations, there’s a more interesting world, with a stronger set of characters, but there are also improvements to combat, and the smartest twist on cooperative multiplayer that I’ve seen since Dark Souls.

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Hands On: Dawn Of War III

Last month, I visited Relic at their home in Vancouver. As well as spending a few hours with a single, complete mission from the Dawn of War III [official site] campaign, I had the chance to sit in on short presentations from various members of the team, demonstrating how their own contributions and creativity become part of the bigger picture. There was a lot to absorb, including enough environmental variety to excite the extraterrestrial explorer in me (ruined temples on jungle planets? Yes please), but one series of brief videos stood out, despite containing nothing that hinted at previously unseen planets or units.

The best of the videos used simple shapes to tell me everything I needed to know about the game’s races, and how well Relic understand them.

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Sudden Strike 4 Is A Slower More Thoughtful RTS

Either RTS games got faster or I got slower. Could be both. Either way, there was a point when war, whether interstellar or historical, became unmanageable for me. Exceptions existed, with Company of Heroes the most splendid of them, but the wider arena of real-time strategy esemed like a thing of my past for a while.

Sudden Strike 4 [official site] is a return to a slower, more thoughtful time.

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Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a brilliant competitive race through history while also producing some weird tensions around the idea of what a civilization actually is in the context of the game. Are cultures defined by the choices they make, by their surroundings, their neighbours, by determination or by chance? Whatever the answer might be, one thing is sure: Cleopatra hates me.

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Towering Above The Rest: Project Highrise

There are many Sim games I’d like to see resurrected, prime among them SimEarth and SimLife, which were more enjoyable and educational than all of the geography classes I daydreamed through. SimTower is the outside pick though, its blend of construction and basic life sim making for a game as enjoyable to observe as to play.

Project Highrise [official site] is a new take on the formula and after spending some time building a tower of my own, I’m pleased to say Highrise as strong foundations, even if its occupants are a little plain.

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Urban Empire Is A Fascinating Political Citybuilder

Urban Empire [Steam page] is a political citybuilding game that spans two hundred years of European history, from 1820 to 2020. If you’ve enjoyed elements of The Guild, Cities: Skylines, Democracy or Dragon Commander, this is almost certainly going to be a game for you. Dynamic political decisions, elections, blackmail and threats, district management, and a tech ‘cloud’ that is made up of social ideas as well as science. It looks fantastic.

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Strafe Is A Loving Reinterpretation Of Nineties FPS Games

Devolver had a great E3. I’ve already written about Absolver, which was an unexpected delight, but there’s more to tell. Let’s sidestep into the world of Strafe [official site], a game which was unlikely to surprise me, having been a known quantity for a good while. It’s a first-person shooter with a retro feel and some roguelite qualities. I knew what kind of game to expect but I certainly didn’t expect to fall in love with it quite so quickly.

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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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