Posts Tagged ‘review’

Wot I Think: Mass Effect Andromeda

Strap in. Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] is out on Tuesday in the US, and then because EA still lives in 1987, in Europe on Thursday. I’ve played it for over 70 hours, seen the main ending, and am entirely ready to tell you wot I think. It’s well worth reading my previous piece on the first few hours, as there’s much there that’s relevant that I’ve not repeated below. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Pixel Privateers

To FTL what Aliens is to Alien, Pixel Privateers [official site] is a lost-in-space roguelikeish that’s focused on interplanetary ground missions and loot-showers rather than interstellar survival. Though its title and appearance suggest cynical faux-retromancy, underneath that mercenary skin there’s plenty going on. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Cattle, Crops, and Crusaders

Steam tells me Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul requires a mere 2.8 of my Great Britains and will be in my possession in a trifling 48 minutes. That should leave me just enough time to a) draw your attention to the fairly imminent Cattle and Crops, an agri sim with a feature list [guaranteed] likely to gladden the heart of serious sodbusters, and b) run my Phantom Leader review, and this intro, through RPS’s new Objectivo 6000, [probably] unquestionably the finest subjectivity removal device money can buy. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Faeria

We’re currently spoiled for choice when it comes to collectible card games. If you’re not into the traditional nature of the efficient Hearthstone, you might dip your toes into the monster chess of Duelyst, and if you don’t fancy that maybe you’ll swan off with the Gods of Smite Tactics (although I wouldn’t currently recommend it). Into this arena comes Faeria [official site] a board-game-card-game hybrid that moves slowly and methodically but soon reveals itself to be quietly clever. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Epic’s VR shooter Robo Recall

Invent an exciting new games technology. Imagine all the possibilities. New worlds, new forms of interaction, new creativity mediums, maybe even new ways of humans interacting with each other.

Let’s be honest. It’s going to end up being all about guns, isn’t it?

And so it is that Unreal/Gears of War studio Epic’s Oculus Rift-exclusive first-person shooter Robo Recall [official site] joins Serious Sam VR and SUPERHOT VR in the so-far short roster of virtual reality titles I can see myself revisiting relatively often. What these have in common is, of course, face-shooting. I’m not proud, but I did have a bloody good time.
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Premature Evaluation: Streets of Rogue

Every week we send Brendan out to the slums of early access to see what goodies he can find in the rubbish bins. This time, the absurd chaos of Streets of Rogue [official site].

“You better pay this back,” said the bartender as I took the money from him. I left the bar in silence and went looking for some cocaine. It’s not often you get to play as an investment banker in a roguelike, and I am enjoying it. This one has the special ability to convince shopkeepers and bartenders to lend him money. I made great use of this skill in every bar or shop I came across. “You better pay this back,” each of my “investors” said to me. A couple of levels later, I was suffering withdrawal and trying to find a drug dealer for my fix when a gang of ninjas came out of nowhere and tried to assassinate me for being so deep in debt. “Phew,” I thought as I escaped their attacks and rounded a corner. Then I ran into the killer robot. He was also hunting me, and I’ll say this for him: he has much better aim. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Styx: Shards Of Darkness

A few years ago, I probably would have forgiven Styx: Shards of Darkness [official site] a multitude of sins (and though there is not a multitude, there is one honking great sin). A proper stealth game that isn’t low-rent or poorly balanced, with a choice of paths and abilities but which doesn’t devolve into routine action – we didn’t used to get too many of them.

Recent times have given us new Dishonoreds and Deus Exes and Metal Gear Solids and Hitmen, endless Assassin’s Creeds and even a so-so Thief, the game Styx most resembles. Hell, even the new Zelda game has a functional stealth element to it. We are spoilt for stealth choice, and that makes this fantasy wall-hugging sequel a tough sell. What it’s got on its side is purity. What it has against it is its lead character. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Crusader Kings 2 – Monks and Mystics

I’ve been hanging around with a bad crowd, staying up all night, attending weird orgies and torturing rivals until they embrace the teachings of Lucifer. Last night I ate my cousin because the Devil told me to do it. Crusader Kings 2 [official site] has always had a bit of a dark side, but with the new Monks and Mystics DLC, it’s been cranked up to 666.

Ostensibly, Monks and Mystics is all about opening up new roleplaying possibilities in regards to faith. You can join a variety of societies, including monastic orders, secret organisations and devilish cults. These sects offer new ways to interact with the religious side of medieval society and for the adventurous can offer strange powers, forbidden knowledge, and the ability to champion heretical religions. Guess which path I followed?

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Wot I Think: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands [official site] is Ubisoft’s latest open-world co-op narco war. I played some of it during the beta, along with Graham, and I came out of it feeling like a tub of old bath water. Lukewarm and slightly dirty. I only knew for certain that I actively disliked it when I was stricken down by one of its insta-fail stealth missions. Cast away from my carefully selected sniping spot on a sandy ridge because of a single stray bullet and dumped on the other side of the mission area, where I would have to repeat the cautious approach, the enemy spotting and the multiple silent kills all over again. It is 2017 and insta-fail stealth missions still exist. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Loot Rascals

I suspect that everyone who makes games wishes they’d made Spelunky. Effectively perfect game design, unconstrained by the heavy flab of spectacle. Loot Rascals [official site] takes that game’s random generation, escalating challenge, extreme balancing, minimal explaining and daily runs and applies it all to a slick, playful roguelite and collectable card game hybrid. Then slathers gloriously weird creature design all over it.
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Premature Evaluation: For The King

Every Monday we order Brendan to examine the early access entrails for signs of coming chaos. This week, the guts tell of a magical and old-fashioned RPG called For The King [official site] with strange rougelike properties…

Death comes easily to the intrepid hex explorer. If you’re lucky, you’ll just get a quick bandit axe in the forehead. But if you’re like me, only the most scurrilous death will do. In a poison bog surrounded by old swamp hags, for example. Or deep underground at the hands of deranged cultists and their bat minions. These are just some of the ways you can (will) die in For The King, a shiny and modern-looking RPG that nevertheless retains a good and ancient heart. And by that I mean it has absolutely no qualms about murdering you.
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Wot I Think: 911 Operator

A few days before Christmas, I was involved in a car accident. No-one was seriously hurt, but I spent 90 minutes stood alone on a central reservation, shaking from both cold and shock, watching car after car after car nearly collide with my own wrecked and dangerously stranded vehicle, waiting for police who never came. I called twice. Both times I was told they’d be right there. They did not show (FYI roadside recovery did eventually, an hour after their ETA). I was as furious as I was terrified.

15 minutes with 911 Operator [official site] was all it took to entirely sympathise with why they didn’t send a car out. Read the rest of this entry »

Belated Wot I Think: Four Sided Fantasy

For a while there, back in 2014, we were rather excited to see Four Sided Fantasy [official site]. Then things went quiet. And then, er, the game came out last August. Oops. So why now? Well, I was looking up Four Last Things, the bonkers (and a bit annoying, honestly) Renaissance painting adventure, and clicked the wrong button. Yeah. Welcome to RPS.

Crikey, Four Sided Fantasy is rather good. It’s not too late to tell you. Read the rest of this entry »

Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core review: the external laptop graphics card dream

you get kitchen chairs instead of a dusty floor this time

Consider this a slight tangent from my ongoing quest to decide which gaming laptop to buy by reviewing a bunch of them. The Razer Blade Stealth is not a gaming laptop, despite coming from a company most known for aggressively ‘gamer’-orientated technology. It’s an ultrabook, which is to say very thin and light, which means no discrete graphics card and a low-power processor. The Macbook Air would be the most obvious point of comparison.

The situation changes when it’s hooked up to a speaker-sized black metal box known officially as the Razer Core. This is an external graphics card enclosure, which, with a single cable connected to a port on its outside edge, enables the Stealth to run a desktop GPU. Too good to be true? As it happens, no. Read the rest of this entry »

Hollow Knight feels too familiar, despite being a solid metroidvania

Hollow Knight [official site] presents a peculiar issue. What do you do with a game that is genuinely good, but rather unoriginal? A game that is so, so similar to others that have come recently before it, but is still a beautifully drawn, solidly built metroidvania? Do you say, “Get this one, because it’s the most recent?” That’s not a coherent argument. Unfortunately for Hollow Knight, I think the design decisions that narrowly define it are really its core weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Stories Untold

Gosh, we’re living in brilliant times for interesting games. It seems barely a month goes by now without something novel and fascinating appearing, pushing at the edges, upcycling old ideas for new minds, and messing with our brains. The latest that fits all these categories is the really very splendid Stories Untold [entirely pointless official site], ostensibly a collection of four novella-like adventures linked by an opaque theme. It’s part parser-based text adventure, part horror peculiarity, part 80s TV show… It’s unlike anything you’ve played before, despite being built from the half-remembered remains of a childhood of gaming.

So a familiar caveat to accompany such a review: if you trust me, if you want to experience the game with as little information as possible so everything’s a surprise, then take the above paragraph as everything you need and spend £6 on this. If you want more details (wonderfully written and spoiler-free), then read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Torment: Tides Of Numenera (for Planescape veterans)

You know Planescape: Torment well, and chose to hear whether Torment: Tides of Numenera will betray your trust or not rather than to have its nature defined first.

Please note that certain key elements of the game are skipped over here, which is because they are covered in more detail in the Torment newcomers review here. I did not wish to repeat myself unduly in an already long article. If you are a Planescape veteran, I do encourage reading both pieces. After all, you rather like reading, don’t you?

We expect certain things of a game with ‘Torment’ in the title – expectations that have mounted rather than faded over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Torment: Tides of Numenera

Torment: Tides of Numenera [official site] is a weird-fantasy roleplaying game and spiritual sequel to 1999’s revered Planescape: Torment. After being successfully Kickstarted a couple of years ago, it is released to the world today.

1. I’m new to all this. Tell me whether this is where I want to be.
2. I’ve been here before. Tell me what’s changed. Tell me whether I can trust this.
3. [Anamnesis] Let the memories come.
4. [Smashing] My time is short. Brute-force my way straight to a conclusion.

Wot I Think – Torment: Tides of Numenera (for series newcomers)

You do not know the past of Torment, and so chose to hear everything.

No, you don’t need to have played 1999 weird fantasy roleplaying game Planescape: Torment to enjoy this spiritual sequel. There are references and commonalities, but they’re not in any way necessary to understand or appreciate it. What is required is a reasonable degree of patience, and an enjoyment of reading and of big ideas.
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Premature Evaluation: Northgard

Every Monday we send Brendan to scout the early access ruins for hidden treasures. This week, the careful Viking tactics of Northgard [official site]

This is Blainn, below. He’s just killed a Wyvern. He’s my best mate because I gave him and his giant pals, the Jötunn, enough food to last a lifetime. They reckon we in the Goat clan are excellent humans and now Chief Blainn is fighting alongside us in our hoofed conquest of the whole land. This is one endgame that comes in Northgard, a rock-solid RTS about allocating and reallocating your Viking workforce in just the right way. Technically this match ended over an hour ago, when my opponent reached a “wisdom victory”. But it’s a testament to Northgard’s foundations that, when given the option to leave or continue following my defeat, I happily clicked “keep playing”.
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