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Posts tagged “retrospective”

Feature: It's all kicking OFF

Ten years later, OFF lives ON

Every year, Tumblr publishes its Year in Review, an annual summary of the biggest, hippest fandoms on the site. In 2013, the “most popular games” list included big names like Pokemon, Animal Crossing, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Zelda and Mass Effect. But the sixth one was a small indie game called OFF.

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Feature: New Testaments

Puyo Puyo Tetris is a history lesson in competitive puzzles

New Testaments is a monthly column in which Amr Al-Aaser presents an overlooked modern game and explicates its best ideas. After several years trapped in a Tetris licensing hell, Puyo Puyo Tetris finally appeared on PC earlier this year. Developed by Sonic Team, the game is a reflection of the long histories of both franchises. Each game began quietly as a PC title, evolving through…

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Feature: New Testaments

Nioh brings a ballet of breathtaking violence

New Testaments is a new monthly column in which Amr Al-Aaser presents an overlooked modern game and explicates its best ideas. Nioh is the kind of game that this column exists for. On release it quickly saw itself buried beneath the comparisons to Dark Souls, praised for the ways it imitated the series, and criticised for its failings in repeating From Software's successes. But while…

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Feature: New Testaments

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed turned the mascot racer into serious competition

New Testaments is a monthly retrospective in which Amr Al-Aaser presents an overlooked modern game and champions its best ideas. Sonic the Hedgehog might be fast, but he’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of top tier arcade racers. So it might catch you by surprise to find out that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed manages to not only…

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Feature: A final farewell

The rise and fall of Super Monday Night Combat helped make me better

I don’t think many will mourn the death of Super Monday Night Combat. Uber Entertainment’s free-to-play follow-up to XBLA smash Monday Night Combat was something of a hidden gem, albeit one with its die-hard fans. It still sits at the top of my Steam most-played list, and I promise this piece isn’t just an excuse for dumping over a thousand hours in a game few…

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Feature: Learning from games

King’s Quest IV: A love letter from my 3-year-old heart

Like your first love, or your first hangover, you never really forget your first video game. You know the one. The game you were first obsessed by. The game you gushed about to extremely bored friends cornered in the soft play area. For me, one of my earliest memories is playing Sierra’s 1988 pixelated wonderland, King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella.

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Feature: Political without being heavy handed

Even The Ocean shows us how good people let bad things happen

Videogames aren't much for quiet. They trend towards spectacle, to grandiose statements of scale, and the intense catharsis of violence. And sometimes that means we won’t hear a message unless its shouted at us, unless it roars above the noise ever present in this space. We prefer meaning to be blunt and dramatic. So it’s easy to see how Even The Ocean, the second game…

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Feature: Not just Sonic in a new skin

Spark the Electric Jester is more than mere homage

Games often feel doomed to be defined either by the games they're inspired by, or the games they go on to inspire. After all, this is a space where certain games loom so large that we've named entire genres after them. So it can be tough to sneak out of the "x meets y" framework we use to describe games. Spark the Electric Jester wears…

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Feature: Death Becomes Him

Retrospective: Darksiders II – Deathinitive Edition

Returning to Darksiders II [official site] nearly five years after I first reviewed it, for a worrying time I wondered what on Earth I'd been on about. I remember absolutely loving the game, and writing a rave review back in 2012, so why was I struggling to even want to carry on in the first hour? It turns out, it just has a really dull…

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Feature: Press 'x' to hear poem

Saved Games: Interstate ‘76 is the game worth saving from 1997

Every game released before 2015 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games. There’s a moment just seconds into Interstate ‘76’s intro cinematic that I think…

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Feature: Who needs Twin Peaks S3

Deadly Premonition is the game worth saving from 2013

Every game released before 2015 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games. Deadly Premonition, in many respects, is one of the worst games I’ve ever…

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Feature: Just to watch the world burn

Red Faction: Guerilla’s destructible scenery makes it still worth playing today

Two hostages. One building. Five government guards with reinforcements waiting in the wings. In most games, I'd try to sneak in with a silenced rifle, methodically popping enemies in the head one-by-one. But in Red Faction: Guerrilla, I don't even have a gun in my inventory, let alone a silenced one. What I have instead are explosives. Lots of explosives. I rig five charges at…

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Feature: Some games last a lifetime

The remarkable community around a 27-year-old MS-DOS racing game

What does it take to keep a game alive for 27 years? Stunts, released by Distinctive Software in 1990, is a brutally unforgiving racing game. In glorious 640x480 resolution, it boasts 3D graphics in bold primary colours, a physics engine (that will regularly destroy your car), and a track editor. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, it was pretty cutting edge. But what…

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Feature: Flank, cover and run away

Why F.E.A.R.’s AI is still the best in first-person shooters

The shadows on the wall tell me they’re coming. Two of them, both with assault rifles swinging idly at their hips. If I’m quick enough, I’m sure I can take them both out in one go. I peek out of cover as they round the corner, and let my stake gun sing, pinning the first enemy to the wall with 10mm steel projectiles. But at…

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Feature: Almost 20 years later...

Meet the superfans still playing Populous: The Beginning

In 1998, Bullfrog released Populous: The Beginning, a quirky RTS sequel to the legendary Populous series of god games, to middling reviews. It ‘[wa]sn’t really Populous’ (Ron Dulin, GameSpot). It was ‘incredibly entertaining for about two weeks’ (Trent Ward, IGN). EA absorbed Bullfrog in 2001, and shut down the game’s multiplayer server in 2004. And that was that. So how come there’s still an active…

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Feature: A retrospective of torment

Raised By Screens, chapter 17 – Planescape: Torment

Raised by screens is an intermittent autobiography, structured around the PC games I played in my youth. Most instalments are currently only available to RPS subscribers, but I shall compile them somewhere once the series reaches its eventual end. Some spoilers for Planescape: Torment's ending follow. Too many games now, too many websites, too much happening each and every day. I mean only 'too much…

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Feature: Digital archeology

The RPG Scrollbars: Old Habitats Die Hard

There's no better way to cause trouble than to talk about 'firsts'. Say for instance that King's Quest IV featured the first female adventure character, and you're probably going to be drowned out by some pedant waving a copy of Infocom's Plundered Hearts in your face. That pedant may even be me. Of course, that's nothing compared to the folly of calling, say, Everquest the…

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Feature: When flight sims were for everyone

Stunt Island, a vital piece of PC gaming history, is back

SWAT 4 isn't the only golden geriatric to fetch up on GOG lately, you know. Stunt Island joined the ranks of olden wunderkinds on the Steam alternative late last year, but we were too knee-deep in festive fractiousness to cover it at the time. I don't want to just ignore the charming and ambitious flight sim-meets-movie-making game, so let's do this now.

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Feature: Exclusive Prey review!

Prey 2006: A giant pile of ideas abandoned in a heap on the floor

2006's original Prey came a full eleven years after 3D Realms began its production. Eventually completed by Human Head Studios, although using some of the original concepts (primarily the portal tech), it was released to rave reviews. Which is odd, because it's a colossal pile of shit.

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Feature: A tower defense game that's not boring

Creeper World 3 has the best monster of any game

What's the best video game monster? Stop and think. You've probably thought of something bristling with claws, which snarls as it rushes to bite you, or some skittering horror that lurks in the shadows. Perhaps it's a shiny robot or a soldier with particularly fiendish AI. These are all understandable choices. They are, however, wrong. The best monster is in Creeper World 3 [official site].…

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