Posts Tagged ‘review’

Premature Evaluation: This Merchant Life

Cart man

Every week (apart from the past few weeks) we send Brendan onto the early access high road with a donkey and a purse full of games. This time, the penny pinching of This Merchant Life [official site]

Hello. I’m an ex-sailor today, but I’m looking to become a rich and well-known merchant in the towns and villages of a fantasy medieval land. I have a horse-drawn cart, 2000 pieces of gold and a can-do attitude. But these things will only go so far in a world inhabited by highwaymen, spiders, and larger-than-average potholes. Join me as we travel the roads of our non-existent ancestors and repeatedly fail to make any significant sum of money in This Merchant Life.

*cheap BBC documentary music*

Read the rest of this entry »

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is as clunky as its name

It’s hard to imagine a game clunkier than Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr [official site]. Even the name is a lumpen boulder. (We’ll call it “Martyr” for our sanity’s sake.) This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad game – there’s probably something decent enough behind it all – just the clunkiest festival of clunk since Professor David Clunkington invented his Clunkatron 3000. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Absolver

Absolver

Our review has now been updated with post-release impressions. Read them below!

I stumbled into Raslan like a newborn foal, aimless and on wobbly legs. Absolver [official site] and its labyrinthine city are not gentle with Prospects, the masked warriors who make up the game’s players and AI-controlled enemies, but I assume that ritualistic combat trials aren’t typically easy-going affairs. Regardless, for the last week I have persevered, fighting my way from lowly Prospect to the coveted position of Absolver. I remain absolutely lost.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Songbringer

I find Songbringer [official site] absolutely fascinating. It’s like the fragmented remains of a game, carefully discovered and pieced together as you play. A stunningly beautiful conflation of pixel graphics and intricately complex lighting effects, creating a fractured and intense look, presenting a combination of action RPG and rogue-ish exploration of a wonderfully detailed yet procedurally generated world. What you’re doing, why you’re doing it, how best to do it – that’s what I’m putting together the more I play. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Life is Strange: Before the Storm [official site] is the episodic narrative adventure Life is Strange prequel which shines a light on grieving rebel Chloe’s sudden and intense friendship with school queen bee, Rachel Amber. Rather than this being a Dontnod game the story has been entrusted to third party devs at Deck Nine, although Deck Nine have kept the look and feel of the original episodic teen tale intact, rooting a lot of the action in familiar locations and involving familiar faces. It struggles with characterisation and motivation at times, BUT it also made me laugh out loud and furnished me with an unexpected weepy moment. Here’s Wot I Think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Ken Follett’s The Pillars Of The Earth (chapters 1-7)

The Pillars of the Earth

Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth [official site] is a book which passed me by, even though I’ve devoured historical novels which must have been sitting mere inches away on the shelves of the library. The action of the story orbits the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge in 12th century England. My experience of the story comes solely from Daedelic’s conversion of the novel into a point-and-click adventure, taking you through intertwining stories from church and state, and allowing you to bend your own pathway a little as you explore the gorgeous and evocative environments.

The first seven chapters of the story comprise a first book of sorts and are now out with two more sets to follow as part of a season pass deal. Here’s Wot I Think so far! Read the rest of this entry »

With Atlas Rises, it’s worth returning to No Man’s Sky

Hello Games are in a deeply unenviable position. In the wake of No Man’s Sky‘s [official site] release with its waterfall of unkept promises, to me it seems the studio is trapped in the Sisyphean task of trying to tweak, patch, update and amend their game until it can meet the impossible imagined version created by the combined efforts of its developers and its players. Rather than compare this hugely embellished version of the game that greets players now with that of just over a year ago, the temptation is to compare it to the dream version we will never get.

But it’s crucial to push that aside, and accept that no, No Man’s Sky was never going to be this game of true universal exploration, of truly unique realistic planets with truly unique creatures existing in an intricate ecosystem, where we might stumble upon another player and interact, where we might see flocking dinosaurs hunted by predatory beasts as trees fall down in their wake… Instead, let’s look at what we do have now, because it’s actually rather a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen

wotcr

I can’t help but think of a sausage. A huge, fat, glistening sausage, bulging with meat (or the nearest vegetarian equivalent) to the point that the innards have burst through the skin, forming deliciously fatty globules on the surface. There is surely no room for more, but nonetheless even more has been stuffed inside it. It clearly shouldn’t work. It’s almost obscene. It looks like it will fall apart or even explode if even the slightest pressure is applied. It is sausage-based madness. The sausage is XCOM 2: War of the Chosen [official site], and it is as delectable and satisfying as it absolutely bloody insane. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Total War: Warhammer – Norsca DLC

norsca1

From the unpleasantly chilly northern edge of Total War: Warhammer’s [official site] Old World comes its final DLC faction: Norsca. These mammoth-loving Viking analogues, despite being a minor faction that don’t quite have the star power of the Orcs or Empire, manage to encapsulate and then build on all that’s great about Creative Assembly’s post-release armies. They’re aggressive, experimental and blessed with an exotic and intimidating roster of warriors and monsters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Observer

observeheader

In Observer [official site], AKA David Cronenberg’s Bladerunner, Rutger Hauer is having a very bad day. It begins with a phone call, some family problems, and ends in blood and regret. Hauer lends his voice to the player character, who is the titular Observer, a special kind of cop who can jack into suspects’ memories, hopes and fears as a means of interrogation. To do so, he inserts a cable into a chip lodged in their brain and connects it to his own gray matter.

Around a quarter of the way through this particular grim night, he dives into the mind of a person who has just died, an act of necro-hacking that is totally against protocol. That’s when things get really weird.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Mostly Positive

Ultimate General: Civil War has travelled a fair-old distance since I Early Accessed it late last year. Game-Labs’ spectacular sprite slaughterhouse is now bigger, better, and even more approachable. I like it a lot, but not quite enough to pin a prestigious RPS Recommended rosette on its breast. Read the rest of this entry »

LawBreakers is a zero-gravity FPS that nearly touches the sky

LawBreakers header

It’s hard not to get excited about LawBreakers‘ [official site] simple hook: flying military grunts with rockets strapped to their feet zip around zero gravity arenas dodging grenades and pumping bullets into each other. I’m happy to report that it’s as fun as it sounds, and its ideas set it apart from other games in the genre. Yet what has impressed me more is how polished it is away from those aerial segments, which actually only make up part of the action. Far from a one-trick pony, LawBreakers is a rock solid shooter with game modes that necessitate team play, and although it’s not fully complete yet (there’s ranked play coming soon) it’s got enough variety to keep me coming back for more. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Nidhogg 2

nidhoggheader

Abstract multiplayer fencing game Nidhogg didn’t need its minimalist style to be buried under a splatter of aggressively grotesque paint and gore. It didn’t need extra weapons to upset the perfect balance and precision of its two-button combat. It certainly didn’t need its titular wurms to chew the air with stumpy rotten teeth.

All a Nidhogg sequel really needs, to justify its existence entirely, is better netcode and maybe a couple of new modes to play with. By messing with the original formula, particularly with that divisive visual switch, Nidhogg 2 [official site] risks proving that more can sometimes be less. Here’s wot I think.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rez Infinite is the greatest VR game to date

rez6

I’ll defer from any commentary on the health of the VR industry and speak only personally: until today, there was enough dust on my goggles to craft a life-size Jeff Fahey statue. With the shock release of ur-console musical shooter Rez Infinite [official site] on PC last week, that’s all changed. Whatever the future might hold for VR, the blissful lines, colours and rhythm of Rez writ wraparound and gigantic is a moment of redemption for the whole concept.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Agents Of Mayhem

Agents Of Mayhem [official site] should not be judged for not being a Saints Row game. Volition are under no obligation to keep making that series, even after they struck on such extraordinary gold with SR III and IV. Agents Of Mayhem loosely shares the same universe, albeit mostly via the presence of the colour purple and fleurs-de-lis. There are also a few half-familiar character names, and a DLC that lets you add Johnny Gat into the mix, but beyond this AoM and SR are separate games. Different types of games. You can’t measure Agents Of Mayhem against Saints Row in a sensible way. Still, it doesn’t stop them trying, and, well, you know, it’s nowhere near as good as the recent Saints Row games. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade Senua 1

The voices won’t stop. They’re whispering in my ear, gnawing at my skull from all angles. “Turn back”, one says. “They’re watching you”. “She falls for their tricks every time,” says another, cackling while Senua screams. More than once during Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice [official site] I had to fight the urge to rip the headphones from my ears. As a portrayal of how harrowing it is to live with psychosis it undoubtedly succeeds, and it uses Senua’s illness as a route into an excellent eight-hour story about love and loss. But, sometimes, especially in its combat segments, it’s also difficult to play for the wrong reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: West of Loathing

wolr

When I play games, my face (oh, it is tired) spends 90% of the time entirely inert, and the remaining 10% wincing or eye-rolling when something kills me and/or I fall off some ledge to my doom. Neither is from a lack of enjoyment, but just from being lost in an internal world of pursuing goals. You almost certainly look equally unsettling when you’re gaming.

In West of Loathing [official site], I would estimate I spent 95% of the time smiling. If you knew me (and you don’t – only my cat truly knows me) you’d know that’s highly unusual. West Of Loathing, a lovely, warm comedy RPG set in an only slightly supernatural wild west, makes me feel so happy.
Read the rest of this entry »

In Foxhole’s war the truck drivers are the real heroes

foxhole2

For the third day in a row, our outpost was under attack. Some enterprising yanks had discovered they could take opportunistic raiding parties through an undefended snowy field and get within grenade-throwing distance of our forward operating base – a walled-in barracks full of tiny toy soldiers all sitting around grunting that they didn’t have enough rifles, ammo, or best friends to clutch to their breasts as they died in the snow. Someone lowered the iron gate for me and I drove the truck into the compound, during a mercifully quiet and shrapnel-free moment.

“Who wants b-mats!” I shouted, employing the shorthand for ‘basic materials’ I’d learned from wiser, fightier men. “Get your b-mats here!”

Everyone in the compound rushed to the truck.

“Oh YES,” said an engineer, as he unloaded the essentials he needed to build up defences and do his own job. “Buddy, you are the real MVP.”
Read the rest of this entry »