Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Samuel Wicks)

The last big official update to Civilization V [official site] came in 2013 with its second large expansion, Brave New World. Three years later, and almost six years after the game s original release, there s another big new release expected, but it s not an official expansion. It s the Community Patch Project (CPP; to be named Vox Populi on release), a community-made mod that overhauls and improves a majority of the game s systems in an attempt to make Civilization V the best game it possibly can be.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

All Walls Must Fall [official site] is the first commercial release from inbetweengames, the indie studio founded by former members of Yager, developers of Spec Ops: The Line. It’s a “tech-noir tactics game” set in Berlin 2089. This is a Berlin still divided by a wall and a world where the Cold War never ended. To navigate its perils and its nightlife, you’ll use a combination of social stealth, time travel and combat. It looks delicious, like a propaganda-powered, post-Syndicate dream.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Suicide Squad, innit?

Well, in fairness, they’ve still got a week to squeak out a much-needed fix for the otherwise great XCOM 2 [official site]’s assorted technical issues before the Anarchy’s Children DLC arrives next week. They might yet do right by us. Leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth to even be talking about flogging extra content before the base game’s fully ship-shape, though – especially as said extra content makes me twist my lips into a sort of bemused pout. I really dig XCOM 2’s current and generous character customisation options, which manage to be playful without capsizing into arbitrary weirdness. I’m not sure the same can be said about the Anarchy’s Children pack of cosmetic add-ons. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rob Zacny)

When Civilization II came out, I spent an entire summer playing it for several hours a day. The only check on my binging was the fact that my parents would eventually come home and force me to pretend, for a few hours at least, that I cared about things other than Civilization II.

I was a senior in college when Civilization IV arrived. I’d barely played strategy games at all for the previous four years, and “senioritis” brought with it a case of intense nostalgia. I bought it in the spring before graduation. It was still consuming my days and nights when the leaves fell later that year.

That was probably the last time my enjoyment of a 4X game was pure and uncomplicated. Lately, I’ve been wondering where that joy has gone, and why so few games seem to add anything essential to those old experiences.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

In which Adam and I sit down with XCOM 2 lead designer Jake Solomon to dissect the strategy sequel. We discuss what it does well and some of the complaints levelled at it, hear about ideas tried and discarded during development, why story had more of a focus this time around and the continued importance of the original X-COM games. >

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

XCOM 2 was made significantly more difficult late in its development cycle after playtesting suggested it was too easy, says the game’s lead designer. “I remember saying ‘you know what, we’re going to make the game a lot harder. We’re going to go back and make the game a lot harder on every level, because this game is not engaging people the way it should,'” Firaxis’ Jake Solomon told RPS. “Of course it triggered a fairly mad rush to balance things out, but I think when the game got more difficult then you started to see people engaging, you felt that spark of life.”

However, he acknowledged that some players might be struggling with the game as a result. “There were definitely moments of ‘is this too much?’ and how do we cater to people that maybe don’t want that experience?”

Solomon also felt that the presentation of the game’s difficulty settings might be to blame for this frustration. “I made a mistake, I think, by calling the lowest difficulty Rookie”.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Steven Messner)

The year is young but we’ve already had the pleasure of welcoming two gruelling tactical slaughterfests into the world: XCOM 2 [official site] and Darkest Dungeon [official site]. We’ve written a great deal about Firaxis’ latest already and our ongoing diary has just hit the point where the alien threat starts to chip away at our beloved squadmates. Darkest Dungeon is more obviously punishing, every element built to communicate a sense of hopelessness and despair.

But how do the games compare, in their treatment of failure and death, both mechanically and thematically?>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I’m playing and diarising XCOM 2 [official site] on Commander difficulty in Iron Man mode, using characters based on the staff of RPS, replaced by readers as and when they die or go out of action. Full explanation and the story so far here here, and you can download the characters for your own game here.>

And I was doing so well (thanks in part to my own advice). As complacency crept in, an RPS writer fell in battle – and they’re not the only casualty of my recklessness. Bloody Sectoids, basically.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Well, ’tis the season and all that. What with XCOM 2 currently overheating a few million graphics cards across the world, it seems a fine time to think back upon Firaxis’ original attempt to reboot Julian Gollop’s classic strategy+everything game for a new generation. (And for an old generation. Primarily an old generation, maybe).

There is a very real chance I’ve played XCOM more than any game other than Quake III, World of Warcraft and City Of Heroes. Granted, part of that is chance and timing: previews, reviews and expansion packs, then doing the whole thing over again on iPad during paternity leave (baby in one hand, the lives of a dozen pretend soldiers in the other), but part of that is because I wanted to>.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Joe Donnelly)

It s been 20 years since the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and while you re sat there wondering where it all went wrong, the alien occupation of the world as we know it is A Thing now. I saved the world the last time round, did I not? I hear you mumble under your breath. No, no one did and that s the end of it. Get it over it, man.

The aliens are here, they re up to no good, and now it s time to get rid of them. This list is the best mods XCOM 2 [official site] has to offer so far and should help you achieve that goal, or at least help you to fail (again) in style. This list is also best served alongside Alec s XCOM 2 Guide: How To Survive And Thrive.

… [visit site to read more]

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