Posts Tagged ‘preview’

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is an off-brand Far Cry game

Guards come in all shapes and sizes, but their behaviours are quite robotic

We sent Edwin Evans-Thirwell into the field to see Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 [official site] and he came back to us with a report about the good, the bad and the ugly of the game, and thoughts on the loneliness of the long distance killer.

Sniper rifles are ubiquitous in video games, but I’m not sure a game has ever captured what it means to be a sniper – or to face one. These guns are characterised as delicate tools, the preserve of a methodical elite, but while sniping may require subtlety, a sniper rifle is essentially an instrument of terror.

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On abusing the peasants in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

All the NPCs play the same mini-games as the player to craft items and resources

Kingdom Come: Deliverance [official site] is about the ring of steel on steel, the august machinery of feudal politics and the intricacies of village society. It’s also about throwing turds at houses, as I discovered during a hands-off showing of the game’s prologue area. The house in question belongs to a man who has been singing the virtues of the German-backed Hungarian invasion of Bohemia at a nearby tavern. As proud Bohemians, it’s up to Mr Protagonist and his fellow yokels to defend the country’s honour by, in this case, carpet-bombing a small piece of it with dung.

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Fantasy-Free, Choice-Heavy RPG Expeditions: Viking

Over the last three weeks, I’ve received emails about seven different viking-based games. I guess we have our new zombies. Vikings, though, have something that the walking dead do not: Viqueens. I am glad to say that earthy, quasi-political RPG Expeditions: Viking does not force me to be another Odinson.

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The Beautiful Cruelty Of Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2‘s fourth mission is supposedly about infiltrating the home of Kirin Jindosh, a sadistic inventor who must be bumped off or “neutralised” before he unleashes an army of automatons upon the world. But what you’re really doing in the Clockwork Mansion is invading a brain. Having already seen excerpts from a developer playthrough, I had a sense that the building’s rearrangeable mechanical layouts might reflect the character of its architect, much as Bioshock and Portal’s labyrinths do GlaDOS and Andrew Ryan. I was unprepared, however, for how extravagantly Jindosh’s neuroses infest the place, or for how cruel it feels to slip through the cracks in his amazing creation – past the velvet drapes, beneath the lacquered facades and into the whirring schematics of his subconsciousness.

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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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