Posts Tagged ‘review’

Wot I Think: Total War – Warhammer 2

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In three more turns, the ritual will be complete, and I’ll be one step closer to controlling the Vortex that holds the forces of Chaos at bay. In two more turns, Skaven and Chaos armies will be at the gates. I’m surrounded. By land and sea they arrive, this howling mass of warped warriors and chittering rat-men. Army, after army, after army, all attempting to stop the ritual. Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site] is a race, and it’s an utterly savage one.

From the safety of the other side of that campaign I can tell you that I survived. Just. Reinforcements made it in time, slaughtering the rats and warriors by their hundreds. It was touch and go for a bit, though, which is fairly typical of Creative Assembly’s bloodthirsty sequel.

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Wot I Think: Divinity Original Sin 2

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We were supposed to be heroes. As you play through Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site], your character and companions will be many things to many people: thieves, killers, saviours, fugitives, outcasts, demons, nightmares, lovers, traitors, jackasses, adventurers, pranksters and fools. But heroes? You can play through the entire game, multiple times, and never feel like much of a hero.

There’s just so much to do in the world that doing good can feel just a little to obvious.

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Wot I Think – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

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Me: someone who believes that gothbro apparent trickster god The Outsider is the worst thing that ever happened to the Dishonored games, and thus positively relishes the chance to kill the blighter.

Also me: someone who is absolutely determined to play Dishonored games without causing even a single fatality.

Hmm. Standalone expansion Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider [official site] makes life pretty tricky for me, then. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Planetoid Pioneers

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Every week we abandon Brendan on an early access space rock to test his resolve. This time, the janky, comedy physics of Planetoid Pioneers [official site]

My robot head is jammed in a gate. I idled too long by a giant steel door while considering my route through the tunnels, and now the door has closed automatically. My bonce is firmly trapped against the ground as if by a giant mechanical boot. By the time I wriggle free, my bot-body will be all scratched and scraped. I’d like to say it’s the worst thing to happen during my time with Planetoid Pioneers but this isn’t the only ignominy I’ve suffered in my exploration of the physics-based platformer. I’ve been roasted alive, crushed by a boulder, trapped under an elevator, gunned to shreds by turrets, and completely de-limbed by other robots. But I’ve also giggled quite a lot.
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Wot I Think: Rogue Islands

Rogue Islands

Roguelikes and roguelikelikes are not my thing. I get bored, I get frustrated, I absolutely hate the idea of starting all over again when I’ve finally had a good run and it goes sour, I hate Spelunky’s bats, I hate FTL’s fights and I would happily push Don’t Starve’s bees into a volcano. However, after making a video of the game last week, I have spent 15 entirely voluntary hours of my weekend in Rogue Islands [official site], a roguelikelike where you roam across a set of Minecrafty-looking procedural island levels deactivating demon portals and walloping hell bats. Here’s why:

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Wot I Think: Project Cars 2

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Project Cars 2 [official site] threw me into so many different racing disciplines that I needed copious amounts of tea to reflect and recover. I got a taste of the game a few weeks ago and found it satisfying, but now that I’ve spent some time with the full version, due for release this week, I’m fully on board, in spite of a few significant flaws. Containing so many options and disciplines risks making it a jack of all trades, but there’s enough quality in the fundamentals to make the whole thing worth your while.

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Wot I Think – Ark: Survival Evolved

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I had it all planned out. I’d reach level 21 and unlock tranquiliser arrows, which I could then shoot at a triceratops to knock it out long enough to tame it. Then I’d craft a saddle for my newly-owned Trike (as it’s known in the game) and stomp around collecting more berries than I could feasibly eat in a lifetime. I’d use those berries – including Narcoberries, which help keep dinosaurs asleep while you tame them – to breed a small army of raptors, more Trikes and a flying Pteranodon to transport me around this tropical island. It was one arbitrary goal among an infinite sea of possible arbitrary goals in Ark: Survival Evolved [official site], a sandbox craft-and-survive multiplayer game set in a world where dinosaurs can be mounted with cannons. The game left early access two weeks ago, and here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Startup Company

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Every week we give Brendan a small loan and tell him to invest in an early access game. This week, the Silicon Valley-ing of Startup Company [official site]

Okay, here’s the pitch. People love to share their photographs online, yeah? And people love to cook, yeah? Well, think of a food that people love to share, right? No. No, another type of food. No, okay, listen it’s stew, the answer is stew. Right, people love to share stew, that’s what we’re getting at here. All right, so what if you had an app, yeah, that dynamically and innovatively shared stew? Like, not real stew, not actual stew in a pot, but just like little pictures of stew. Collectible stew. Dynamically. I know! I know. We’re calling it StewPix. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Two-button metroidvania Necrosphere

I am completely and totally in love with platformer Necrosphere [official site]. I have also shouted at it so much that I now genuinely have a sore throat. I cannot remember a time when I’ve improved so, so much at a game in a relatively short space of time, to the point where completing certain sections has had me begin to imagine statues built in my honour. And then I come crashing down to Earth as I struggle with the very next moment. It’s a complete joy, a full 2D Metroidvania, and yet the whole game is controlled with only two buttons. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: This Merchant Life

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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*

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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Wot I Think: Observer

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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.

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