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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Saints Row 2 is my favourite of the series for sandbox crimes, and obviously Saints Row IV is the best superhero game ever made, but what about Saints Row: The Third [official site] there in the middle? Well, it suffers in comparison to either, but there are worse things to be than the third-best game in a cracker of a series.
Opinion is divided over the Darksiders games. There are those who wrongly don’t like them, while far better looking people recognise what a tip-top third-person action-adventure biff-me-do they truly are. And right now they’re 90% off on Steam. I’m not usually one to make a post because a single game is having a sale, but bloody hell, 4.50 for both of them?!
While talk of Dawn of War 3 remains but a murmur for now, the Necron will soon invade Dawn of War II – Retribution [official site]. A Necron Overlord will join Retribution’s co-op survival mode, The Last Stand, in celebration of the Retribution’s fifth birthday – the eighth playable character in its roster. As a present, you can get your hands on the new star free-of-charge between March 10 and March 15.
1) Passivity makes me fidgety. Even in a film, TV show, gig or novel I’m hugely enjoying, my mind will at some point drift to the clock, wondering how soon until it ends, how soon until I can stand up or talk or check something or eat something or go somewhere. Awful, I know. Games, broadly, need me to be doing something most of the time, and that is the greatest weapon I have against a propensity to boredom that I am not at all proud of. This is also why I start to go spare in something like StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, as it spends so much of its duration pummelling me with particularly low-grade passive storytelling, and my frustration that I have to watch this nonsense instead of do things for myself goes through the roof.
Back in 2010, when it was first announced, I was as excited about Grim Dawn [official site] as I was about any other game in production. It’s the work of Crate Entertainment, a studio made up of Iron Lore Entertainment veterans, and Iron Lore were the team behind one of my favourite ARPGs, Titan Quest. When the other kids were slaying demons in Blizzaro-Land, I was carving a path through myth and legend. Despite Grim Dawn’s availability in alpha form for some time now, I still haven’t played. The latest release, which adds a deity Devotion system and the first part of the final act, is awfully tempting though.
Can even the Four Horsemen survive an apocalyptic event? Nordic Games hope so. When THQ went down in flames, Nordic bought up Darksiders – but not its creators, Vigil Games – and (naturally) declared that the hack ‘n’ slash action-RPG was not dead. While some assumed this would mean a Darksiders III, Nordic were a little vague, and the first we saw of DS again was the revamped Deathinitive Edition of Darksiders II – which hit PC last week. Worry not, they do indeed want to make a third game, and hope this re-release will help them with that.
Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.
I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.
Hunting for distribution rights is essentially detective work, says Marcin Paczy ski, Head of Product at GOG. Rights can repeatedly change hands or be split up between different parties, and it s our job to get to the bottom of what happened.
Preservation of old games involves more than just an extra patch. The journey from dusty unplayable relic to polished, cross-platform installer is a minefield of technical and legal obstacles. The team at Good Old Games remain the industry leaders in the restoration of classic PC games, tasked with reverse engineering code written more than 20 years ago, unraveling knotty licensing issues left behind by defunct development studios, and battling lethargy on the part of skeptical publishers. It s a thrilling and, at times, gruelling process, but – as the GOG team will testify – it never fails to surprise.
Alec has already told you to play XCOM this weekend if you haven’t, seeing as the full game’s free to try on Steam. It’s “one of the best games of the last few years” says he. Aye, maybe it is, and maybe you could. However. If you fancy real-time smashing rather than turn-based tacticisicing, have a bash at the superpowered open-world antics, shenanigans, and – dare I say – bants of Saints Row IV [official site], which is also holding a free trial weekend on Steam, as is Saints Row: The Third.
SR4 is the best action game on PC, according to John.
Warning: in this piece I’m primarily talking about Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, which isn’t out on PC as yet, though I’ll willingly devour at least one item of clothing if it doesn’t walk this way eventually. Anyway, I talk about STALKER and Dear Esther too, so everything’s OK.>
Playing The Chinese Room’s new game, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, what strikes me almost immediately is not the mystery, the science fiction trappings or even the extreme prettiness. It’s that I’m in England. A very particular England. … [visit site to read more]