Posts Tagged ‘review’

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

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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.”
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Update Night – H1Z1: King of the Kill

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Update Night is a new fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse through ongoing development.

I had assumed that, were I trapped in a kill-or-be-killed nightmare future Battle Royale-type dealie, camouflage would be important. In a world where everyone very quickly gets their hands on some form of weapon, I’d want to take lessons from that Hunger Games kid and dress up as a rock, or — at the very least — find a nice pair of neutral khakis that would help me blend into the environment.

But the player-controlled murderers of H1Z1: King of the Kill [official site] don’t subscribe to that kind of wisdom. I’ve been killed by people in tie-dye leggings, by people in unicorn masks, and by one particularly memorable opponent who seemed to be cosplaying as a gorilla. They’ve killed me with luminous green shotguns and pearlescent assault rifles, and rather than pause to consider the emotional impact of taking another life, they’ve stood over my limp body, crotch-chopping like 1990s WWF wrestler.

I braved all this and more in order to appraise the game’s current condition. Has H1Z1: King of the Kill been improved by recent patches, and is it yet worth your time and money? Read the rest of this entry »

Sundered is a gorgeously drawn Metroidvania

Sundered [official site] is the ridiculously beautiful Metroidvania from the people who brought us the ridiculously beautiful Jotun. In a busy genre, does it do enough to stand out? Here are my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Fortnite

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It’d be easy for me to describe Fortnite [official site] as “DIY Left 4 Dead”. It’s the recent free-to-play zombie shooter from Epic Games [correction: it will be free-to-play but it’s non-sale price is currently £34.99 for a ‘Founder’s Pack’], tasking you and three pals with building defences and scavenging supplies between waves of cartoonish undead, all spawned into existence by a paranormal purple storm. But to compare it so readily to Valve’s co-op shooter would evoke a brilliance it simply lacks. Fortnite is one of the most obnoxiously loud and over-designed games I’ve played in a long while.
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Wot I Think: The Long Dark’s Story Mode – Wintermute Episode 2

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After a save game mishap I’ve tagged in for the WIT of The Long Dark‘s [official site] second story mode episode. Don’t worry – the save game thing was a review build issue, not a thing for regular game owners to fret over! But it’s meant I’ve needed to try to marshal my frustrations and pleasures with the game into something approaching coherence. Stay with me as I pick through Wot I Think:

Right now I think a bear ate my shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Tower Of Time is a splendid RPG with tactical real-time combat

You have to respect clever, and clever is oozing out of Tower Of Time [official site]. Not just an RPG with the guts to try its very own combat system far more intricate than us dungeon crawlers are used to, but also the use of Early Access in a way that makes it seem like an advantage to the player rather than the developer. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: corporate espionage adventure The Low Road

Who hasn’t dreamed of the exciting world of corporate espionage? The Low Road [official site] is an adventure about business spying in the 1970s, but does it survive inspection under a magnifying glass? Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Long Dark’s Story Mode – Wintermute Episode 1

The Long Dark‘s [official site] story mode, Wintermute, is finally with us. Well, the first two fifths are, of what developers Hinterland are calling the first season. Due to review code only showing up yesterday, I’ve been able to complete the first (“Do Not Go Gentle”) of the two eps before launch, so below am reviewing that episode on its own. I’ll be back with more details about episode two (“Luminance Fugue”), very soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Tacoma

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Tacoma is… a beautifully designed lift-the-flap book for grownups? An interactive theatrical novella set somewhere between now and a far-future cyberpunk dystopia? A mysterious soap opera? A snoop-sim? A basket of Easter eggs being used to make a sci-fi omelette? I found it to be a rewarding, tightly edited mix of all of the above, but you probably want to know a bit more so here’s Wot I Think… Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Slime Rancher

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When I go to my exercise class in the evening sometimes the matter of what I do for a living comes up in pre-class chat. Usually I can be like, “This is a credible grown-up profession. I absolutely pinky swear this to be true!” The last few days I have spent 30 hours corralling adorable bouncing blobs and selling their poop on the stock market or funnelling it into science. Maybe I’ll pretend I’ve lost my voice at class this evening. But Slime Rancher [official site] is so cute I also want to tell everyone about it! Here’s Wot I Think… Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Darkside Detective

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Officer Dooley is the best point and click character I’ve met in ages, and I say that having thoroughly enjoyed the company of Thimbleweed Park’s misfits and misanthropes. Dooley is on a different level though. Maybe it’s that he’s unvoiced and yet so smartly written that I can hear his every word, or maybe it’s that he’s secretly the world’s laziest anarchist trapped inside the uniform of a policeman.

He’s the best thing about The Darkside Detective [official site], a small but perfectly formed paranormal adventure that is full of good things.

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Wot I Think: Pyre

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A purgatorial fantasy sport is not the direction I expected Supergiant Games, creators of Bastion and Transistor, to go with their next game. Then again, expectations seem increasingly useless when it comes to a studio such as this. Pyre [official site] is set in a world where literacy is banned and punishable by exile – banishment to a dangerous land called the Downside, cut off from the home realm of the Commonwealth. This underworld is where you find yourself. But you soon make new friends and, to earn your freedom, you start to compete in a quasi-religious tournament of orb-throwing and goal-scoring.

The sport of Pyreball itself has caused me to curse and sigh many times, but I can’t accuse it of being uninventive. That goes double for the story of this band of exile-sinners, told through visual novel-style interjections and dialogue choices. It’s a great story. One I often wish didn’t have fantasy netball clinging to it.

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Wot I Think: Solstice Chronicles: MIA

I have a fairly sketchy history of what, for want of a proper genre name, we’ll call Alien Breed-like games. They’re top-down or isometric shooters in which you contend with onslaughts of skittery or lumbery alien enemies, while hoovering up weapons and ammo and dashing about opening doors. They peaked, I think it’s fair to say, with Frozenbyte’s Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor, and Valve’s freebie Alien Swarm in 2010 gave us the best co-op incarnation of the form. But despite being able to pluck out examples from various years (not least Sigma Team’s series of Alien Shooter and Zombie Shooter series spanning a decade of releases) it still seems a very under-served format, not least in terms of experimentation and evolution.

Solstice Chronicles: MIA [official site] arrives to offer an attempt at the former, but unfortunately doesn’t much succeed at the latter.

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Premature Evaluation – Next Day: Survival

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Every week we abandon Brendan to the post-apocalyptic wastes of early access. This time, the cold, hard life of Next Day: Survival [official site]

I found my new friend sitting in a car outside the Safe Zone compound. The car was broken down and stationary, but he sat behind the wheel anyway. He was making his own speedy car noises and engine sounds.

“Brrrrrrr-brm-brrrrrrrrr. Brrr-brr-brrrrrrrvvvv!”

I stepped in front of the immobile vehicle, wearing nothing but the boxer shorts and t-shirt that accompanied me into this world. I peered through the windshield to get a closer look at the man inside, pretending to drive.

“Oh shit!” he shouted “A pedestrian!”
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Wot I Think: The Automatician

Hyperbolic responses to you successfully completing a challenge are a perennial issue in puzzle games. When it comes to no-frills mobile puzzling, and for no sensible reason it throws up the word “OUTSTANDING!” at you no matter how tricky the conundrum, it’s pleasantly silly. But when a game tries to add an element of narrative to the situation, where characters fall over themselves to bestow you with accolades on clicking through a mundane brain-teaser with little effort. “Astonishing!” they ejaculate after you turn all three lights green or whatmaybe. “You truly are the chosen one! Have my firstborn!” It starts to feel more than a little disingenuous. It is unfortunate that such nonsense runs through the core of The Automatician [official site]. It doesn’t help that the main puzzle idea itself just isn’t that good. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Aven Colony

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My stint as the governor of an off-world colony has gone a bit pear-shaped. I’ve got aliens to worry about, toxic fumes are floating in from the east, lightning has set fire to my farms and shards are falling from the heavens, smashing into my vulnerable habitats. If that’s not enough of a pain in the arse, protesters have taken to the streets, complete with massive holographic slogans. Playing Aven Colony [official site] is like trying to make a house of cards next to an open window.

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Wot I Think: The End Is Nigh

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You can’t walljump. For me, this is what defines The End Is Nigh [official site], the hardcore platformer from Edmund McMillen and Tyler Glaiel. McMillen’s last co-created platformer was Super Meat Boy, a game that made simply moving left and right a kinetic joy. The End Is Nigh is by comparison a slower but no less difficult game. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Kingsway

Goodness me, Kingsway [official site] is clever. It’s clever in so, so many ways. It’s clever in its absolutely spectacular presentation, but it’s far too clever to let that just be a gimmick – its peculiar appearance as a mid-90s Windows desktop could so easily have been a cute idea that hid an ordinary roguelite RPG, but instead it so very brilliantly influences how you play, and indeed the foibles of such an interface become crucial to how you experience it. It’s also really bloody tough. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Unturned

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I’ve been wondering for a while what kinds of games kids who grew up playing Minecraft and Roblox would go on to make for themselves. This is a generation that’s been immersed in modding culture and open objectives since it could grasp a mouse, and I’m fascinated to see how that might have formed new attitudes to games in general.

One particular answer is Unturned [official site], a free-to-play Day-Glo take on DayZ. Made by a Canadian school student, it’s just come out of Early Access, where it attracted nearly 25 million players. But was that simply because it’s free, or is there more to uncover in Unturned? Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Yonder – The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Ignore the silly name, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [official site] is pretty special. A combat-free, risk-free game of exploration and meandering, farming and cat-gathering, questing and lazily fishing. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »