Posts Tagged ‘review’

Premature Evaluation: Witch Hunt

Witch Hunt

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s off to the 18th century to hunt a forest full of nasty monsters in horror FPS Witch Hunt. He’s a very brave boy.

Find a bunch of trees and you’ll probably discover a folktale or ghost story set under their boughs. Years ago, I lived right on the boundary of some woodland that was meant to be home to a red-eyed creature that ate children. Walking back from school in winter, when it was already dark, was a nasty business. I’d grimly keep my gaze fixed forwards, always trying to avoid glancing to my left. To the trees, and the red eyes that might be hiding between them.

Witch Hunt has more than one monster living within its gloomy, dead forest. It’s full of them. For a slayer of supernatural beasties, it should be the perfect hunting ground. Not for me, however, a man with no sense of direction and an acute fear of spooky trees. I am very sweaty and very lost.

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Prey: Mooncrash offers a surprising amount to do in a deceptively small space

Prey: Mooncrash is a game of refinement. It’s a piece of DLC that uses an economy of space by asking you to replay the same sprawling collection of areas repeatedly, with varying characters, varying skillsets, and an ever-changing threat to combat. It’s a game that will make you play Prey differently than you have before, and you’ll be grateful of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Jurassic World Evolution

Jurassic World Evolution

I’m not proud to admit that I’ve forced dinosaurs to fight to the death in Jurassic World Evolution. What could possibly lead me to do something so horrible to these wonders of science-fiction? Capitalism, of course. I was being paid, and I needed to buy an ugly fast food restaurant. Every ‘Dino Bite’ that my guests have snacked on has been stained with Velociraptor blood. That’s my guarantee.

My sadness and guilt are especially profound because the dinosaurs are one of the few bright spots in this otherwise humdrum theme park management game.

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Wot I Think: Shadowverse

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The crappiest common cards in Shadowverse look better than the best legendary cards in most of the collectible card games I’ve played, so you can imagine what Shadowverse’s legendaries look like. They are stupidly, irresponsibly beautiful. Dragons with uncountable glistening scales, angels clad in impossibly pearlescent metal, musclebound demons flanked by swirling tongues of raven-black flame, to say nothing of all the hunky anime boys and cute anime girls. The legendaries are also stupidly, irresponsibly powerful, which pretty much sums the whole game up. Shadowverse is a game of extremes – sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great, but always a spectacle. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Vampyr

vampyr-review

“Forget everything you think you know about vampires,” the noblewoman in period dress tells me, in her straight-out-of-Hammer cut-glass accent. This was during our latest night-time meeting (for we cannot walk in sunlight), shortly after I’d caught her secretly sinking her teeth into the necks of the dispossessed, and shortly before I’d been beset by agony upon trying to enter a church. I don’t know what foolish notions her ladyship thought I had about my new status as a fellow vamp – maybe that they all have Welsh accents, or drink blood via their toenails – but ambitious, atmospheric fangs ‘n’ conversation game Vampyr doesn’t often veer far from the current neck-biter hymn sheet.

It sure does veer in almost every other respect, mind you. I’m not sure that 2018 will yield many games quite as expansive as Vampyr, but what I wouldn’t give for a director’s cut that oiled its creakiest coffin hinges.
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Wot I Think: Moonlighter

It took a little while to get going, but goodness me I’m hooked on Moonlighter now. Take a good dose of rogue-lite action-RPG, add in permanence of equipment, and then delicately smother in a shopkeeping sim. It’s a game about raiding dungeons at night, then working in the days to sell the loot from your store. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Cultist Simulator

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In my time with Cultist Simulator, I’ve browsed hidden book shops for arcane grimoires, sent loyal acolytes on doomed expeditions, and felled nosy investigators with poisoned tea. I’ve been reduced to begging in the street for opium money, and I’ve sacrificed followers with antique daggers in secret rites to restore my vitality. Weather Factory’s first outing is what I imagine playing solitaire with Necronomicon pages might feel like, if those pages then formed a map to the location of a much older, much more cryptic tome that made the Necronomicon look like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Laser League

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I can tell Laser League is great because of the noises I make while I’m playing it. There’s my giggling, when I manage to weave my way through an improbably dense field of laser-based death. There’s my sharp intake of breath when I watch a teammate do the same, perhaps coming within a hair’s breadth of reviving me before being shunted away by an opposing bruiser. There was even a moment where I let out a shriek, accompanied by a little clap, after I used a well-timed ability to take out an entire enemy team.

Yet after all that, the most important noise might be a wistful sigh as I wonder whether I can recommend it. I can’t, really – not without the major caveat that you’ll struggle to find humans who’ll play it with you. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Unforeseen Incidents

Oh my! Oh what an actual proper treat. Ladies, gentlemen, humans of Earth, I have for you a really good point-and-click adventure game! It’s Unforeseen Incidents, and here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

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I’ve spent the past few days in a sadly cider-free Summerset, the High Elven setting of The Elder Scrolls Online‘s latest expansion pack. Like the Morrowind DLC before it, Summerset functions as both a big, fat barrel of new things to do/kill/collect for established players and a clean entry-point for newcomers.

I’m somewhere in the middle of that, as someone who stopped by for a nostalgic return to Morrowind – The Elder Scrolls III being one of the best RPGs ever, to my mind- last year, but otherwise feels that his days with traditional MMOs are behind him. Another way of putting that is “someone who fancies some more Elder Scrolls while waiting for whenever and whatever the next mainline Elder Scrolls is.” An oddball mix of tranquil solo adventures and extreme MMO noise, Summerset is surprisingly good at scratching that itch, despite also replicating the sins of a hundred other games.
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Wot I Think – Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time

Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time

The past few years have been good for TV and film-licensed games, especially anime tie-ins. What used to be a dumping ground now contains a growing stable of games blending compelling mechanics with 3D art that captures the look of the original 2D animation.

Based on the popular Netflix-backed anime series, Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is sadly not one of those, but not for lack of trying. It’s a game with grand ambitions that go unfulfilled.

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Wot I Think: The Forest

I’ve loved The Forest when I’ve played it in the past. I first took a look in 2014, finding it limited but a lot of fun. I then went back in 2015 to discover it was hugely improved and far more involved. I even videoed half an hour of my inept ambling. I have been back since then, but not written any more, but it’s probably close to two years since I really dug into it. Now it’s out in a final version, I’m surprised how little has changed in the last three years, but also pleased to find the same mix of survivor and terror. Not quite so pleased to discover so many of the classic bugs are still there. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: State of Decay 2

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I’m driving home from a busy night of killing and the roads are empty, save for some legless grumblers. I sigh and look at my map, try to count the exclamation marks, when a voice comes on my radio. It’s probably the fifth voice I’ve heard tonight, and I half expect another plea for bullets from some faceless chump three doors down. But this time it’s one of my own, a member of my enclave. She’s just calling to tell me: Workshop level 3 complete.

“That’s one more item off the To Do list!” she says enthusiastically.

She’s right. State of Decay 2 feels like a massive To Do list. Read the rest of this entry »

Down for the count: Red Embrace review

Red Embrace

Join Ella McConnell for Waifu Material, a monthly column in which she navigates the murky, cherry-blossom-strewn waters of visual novels, dating sims, and everything in between (reader masochism not required but strongly recommended).

For better or worse (NAMING NO NAMES), vampire romance is a prolific subgenre in pretty much every contemporary medium – and visual novels are no exception. As such, when Red Embrace popped up in my Steam recommendations I decided to embrace the inevitable.

Developed by Argent Games, an up-and-coming Western visual novel team whose previous title Chess of Blades made it into Rock Paper Shotgun’s Unknown Pleasures roundup in January, Red Embrace is also part of the boys’ love – or yaoi – subgenre. Historically, yaoi fans (as well as fans of its female-focused counterpart yuri) have often found themselves under fire in popular culture, but will Red Embrace make a fujoshi out of me?

Let’s find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Thin Silence

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Right at the beginning, The Thin Silence warns you of its themes of depression, suicide and negative mental health and asks you to stay aware of your own mental state while playing. This warning represents the essential sentiment of the game straight away: violence and death should never be taken lightly. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: MachiaVillain

machiavillain-review

MachiaVillain is primarily a game about remembering to sweep severed heads off your porch. Too much visible viscera will scare off the next crop of guileless victims to your hand-crafted house of horrors, y’see. Shamelessly in the tradition of Dungeon Keeper (still my go-to PC gaming nostalgia, along with X-COM), MachiaVillain is a management sim in which the baddies are the goodies. You shepherd a small herd of flesh-eating monsters around, building both an ever-growing lair for themselves and a faux-home to lure in unsuspecting humies with which to feed your festering menagerie.

It runs much further with its inverted horror movie concept than does the usual “ooh, what if you were the bad guy, eh?” tomfoolery, though witless humour and a needlessly fiddly user interface get in the way of the gruesome good times. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Wizard Of Legend

Wizard of Legend

Ever since Avatar: The Last Airbender (the original cartoon, not the film) did the rounds on TV, the concept of magic as martial arts has been steadily rising in popularity. Who needs MP bars or long casting times when you can just use the elements as extensions of your body? Punch with the force of a boulder, leap like the wind and kick arcs of flame into people’s faces.

Wizard of Legend, Contingent99’s new action roguelike for one or two players (local only) builds stylishly on the concept, putting you in the swooshy cloak of a mage-in-training, invited to a festival of simulated dungeon-crawling/martial arts exhibition. No fate-of-the-world stuff here, just mystical showboating.

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Wot I Think: Monster Prom

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High school is already a nightmare without having to woo literal demon spawn, but multiplayer dating sim Monster Prom makes you want to relive the experience over and over. At times obtuse, at times hilarious, this is an education in monster romanticism. But you may not learn the same lessons as my friends and I, because its real strength lies in how varied each playthrough can be. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Maelstrom

Maelstrom

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s running away from sea monsters and hunting down galleons in nautical battle royale, Maelstrom.

I wasn’t a happy pirate. I wasn’t any kind of pirate, really; not with only a series of failed fights and a major lack of booty to my name. It was all a little embarrassing. So when I saw the Dwarven ship on the horizon, there was a storm brewing inside me, and I pointed my shark-drawn Orc ship at the stumpy corsairs and increased speed. Wood and metal and, of course, shark collided, followed by a barrage of cannonfire.

This would be it. I knew it. My first victory in Maelstrom.

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