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Posts tagged “retrospective”

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: LFG like it's 2006

The World before time: original WoW, revisited

Last year, I tried to indulge my nostalgia for Dun Morogh, the wintry original Dwarf & Gnome starting zone in World of Warcraft, by returning to it as it is now. It did not go entirely well - in the 11 years since WoW's launch, much has changed. Where once this was a slow-starting MMO, defined by long wandering, hard work and a certain degree…

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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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Feature: Despite the very real flaws

Friendless Space: Why Master Of Orion 3 Is Important

Games are either good or the worst thing to ever happen. That's just how it works. Oh, sure, there are divisive games, but once the consensus has been reached that a game is bad, that's it. Cast it away into the pit of 1 star reviews, the lair of the Thumbdown, to be spoken of only with frothing hatred and contempt. Never to be touched.…

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Feature: Ten years old this month

The Making Of Company Of Heroes

In 2001, Band of Brothers was still airing on HBO and Canadian developer Relic Entertainment was finishing up development of Impossible Creatures, its freaky animal RTS. Space and sci-fi had been its muse for years, but it found, in the increased cultural interest in World War 2, another setting and the impetus for Company of Heroes. Relic celebrated the game's tenth anniversary this month. It…

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Feature: NCC-1701-3D

Retrospective – Star Trek: Elite Force II

Jean-Luc Picard looks small and lonely. Older, somehow more statesmanlike than ever, still captain of the Starfleet's flagship, but weirdly tiny, as though he is slowly disappearing. Because he's alone. All of his officers have gone. There's just all these unfamiliar young people now. Young, quiet, anonymous. Oh, and a visiting Tuvok from Voyager, but he's no Data, is he?

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