Battlerite bills itself as a Team Arena Brawler. It takes the team fights from MOBAs, strips out everything else and distills those fights into intricate ballets of timing, fast reactions and tactics. I’m having a blast.
RPS Feature Battle right
RPS Feature Soulsful
Describing a game as X meets Dark Souls is a sure way to invite mockery and contempt. It’s lazy critical short-hand, people will say, and they’re often correct. Well, prepare to mock. But only a little.
I promise I’m not being lazy when I say that Nioh is Dark Souls meets Sengoku period Japan though, and to prove it I’m going to use that short-hand as a starting point rather than an end-point. Fortunately, where Nioh differs from Dark Souls is far more interesting than where the two games overlap.
RPS Feature Pharopen world
A soft reboot four years in the making, Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one giant step back in time plus a smaller step forward in terms of world design, a stumble in terms of its levelling system, a sideways hop as regards combat and an exercise in jogging on the spot in terms of missions. This is exactly the kind of complex footwork that leads to messy accidents during parkour sequences, but somehow, the game keeps its balance throughout, though it’s not quite the revival I was hoping for.
RPS Feature Colossal
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus does not pull its punches. Early in the game a returning villain asks, “is this what a hero looks like?” She’s mocking and threatening a wounded, degraded and broken woman. She’s about to execute that woman.
Wolfenstein’s answer is a defiant “yes”. Its heroes don’t look like any one thing because they are many and they are diverse. They are survivors and fighters and thinkers, black, white, American Jewish, British, German, male, female, disabled, disfigured and powerful. They’re also flawed – sometimes too angry, sometimes too selfish, sometimes too afraid to face up to reality – but they are the kind of people you’d want in your corner if the world went wrong.
They’re also the game’s greatest asset and its most potent weapons.
RPS Feature Surprisingly heartfelt
The Evil Within 2 begins by wearing its heart on its sleeve; here’s a burning house, and oh no, the protagonist’s daughter is inside it. From the outset, it yells in your face that this is going to be a Tragic Dad story, the most beloved of videogame narrative tropes. And it never really rises above this familiar narrative conceit as Sebastian Castellanos explores a horror world filled with bad science and twisted terrors in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter. It’s predictable. In other hands, it could’ve been trite. But The Evil Within 2 revels in its horror b-movieness. It embraces it, telling a surprisingly heartfelt and sincere tale of a man who just wants the best for his loved ones. Even if he has to descend into actual hell and face off against some of the most hideous monsters ever conceived in order to achieve this. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature That's so Skaven
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.
RPS Feature KILL ALL LORE
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.
RPS Feature Give it both fingers
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 »
RPS Feature Music to your ears
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 »
RPS Feature Beyond expansion
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 »
RPS Feature What a nice time I've had
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 »
RPS Feature Hand drawn and quartered
RPS Feature Early access done right
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 »
RPS Feature Space station snooping
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 »
RPS Feature Blooping and glooping!
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 »
RPS Feature Windows 95%
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 »
RPS Feature Breath Of The Tamed
RPS Feature "An enormous pleasure"
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really see a space in Diablo III for a Necromancer. Another class that’s based on raising gross minions and smashing up mobs from afar? The Witch Doctor seemed to have that amply covered, commanding zombie dogs, harvesting souls and erupting towers of zombies from the ground.
Oh but it’s great to be completely wrong. I’ve been having a wonderful time, raising the dead and casting dark curses. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Robotron 2017
I can’t think of a better collaboration than the one that’s brought Nex Machina [official site] to life. The blindingly-fast twin-stick shooter is the spawn of Resogun developer Housemarque and the creator of the entire genre, Eugene Jarvis. It has a great deal to live up to, then, and the legacy of Robotron, Smash TV and Resogun hovering over it. Clearly the pair were up to the challenge.
All of the above games are inside Nex Machina. They are in both the foundations and the bricks — the teeming swarms of robots, the linked rooms, even the voxels. Combined, however, the construct something new; something that’s full of its own tricks and quirks, challenges and surprises. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Many reasons to Rime