"They'll never know we were here"
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 »
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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Let's talk about hex (based games)
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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Police, ambulance or fire services?
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 »
Wraps up well
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 »
Teeny laptop hooked up to a giant grpahics card
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 »
Rings a little
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 »