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Dark Souls is a tough act to follow. While it was the second game in the dark fantasy Souls series, it had a wider audience and fell under closer scrutiny. As well as solidifying the mechanics that Demon’s Souls had laid out it made some major changes and built a more cohesive world. Dark Souls II tweaks the formula again and the results aren’t entirely satisfying. Here’s wot I think.>
I’m an RPS reader as much as a writer, and sometimes one of our contributors writes about a game that I’ve never heard of before but which I can’t wait to play. That was the case with Limbs, a game developed for the recent Cyberpunk Game Jam which Porp picked out in a recent Live Free Play Hard column.
Limbs is like Papers Please, if Papers Please was about checking warranties, comparing barcodes and repairing robot hands. I’ve been playing it and I basically just think it deserves more attention. Maybe you don’t read RPS on Sundays? You can play it free in your browser, or if you need more convincing click below for more details of this futuristic hand job.
Last December we saw the first part of the Kickstarted Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse. It was a pretty game, and made for a warm reunion with two beloved characters, but one with more than a little cause for concern. Now, the second part is finally out. Here’s Wot I Think.>
This isn’t going to be pretty. The first episode of this new Broken Sword was like catching up with old friends after a long absence; a warm nostalgia that helped paper over many of the cracks and turn a largely bland – if pretty – adventure into something comfortable and fresh. This second part? That’s several hours later, when the wine and nibbles are all gone, and all the old stories have been told. You yawn, you check your watch, you say “We really have to do this again,” and then inwardly sigh as you see a glass being refilled and a new photo album. Except with some very silly puzzles, and a lack of narrative chops that would be stunning if it wasn’t too busy being depressing.
As sorry as I was to hear this month that CCP has cancelled its World of Darkness MMO, when a developer says that a game just isn’t working out, I tend to believe them. Testers have started to leak little bits of World of Darkness, several sets of screenshots and a supposed playtest manual, and, well, it does look ropey.
The playtest manual is from March so, assuming it’s real, the decision to cancel really was recent. It was clearly still early days for the game, incomplete and bugged, but many of its ideas seem settled.
Surely one of the benefits of being a villain is that you can be as jolly or silly as you please, as if anyone pokes fun you can simply fill their throat with wasps. But no, how very brooding villains tend to be, scowling and wearing black not for the perfectly acceptable reason of because they think it makes them look ‘cool’ and ‘artistic’ (not to mention ‘badass’ if I’ve got my leather jacket on too).
Quest for Infamy is happy to be a bit daffy in its blaggardry, probably because it takes a heavy dose of inspiration from Sierra’s classic Quest for Glory games with a dastardly reversal. And lo, the adventure-RPG now has a release date of June 26 and a new trailer.
Once not so long ago, I wrote a ’90s Saturday morning cartoon theme song for Techland’s Hellraid. Name aside, however, the first-person Diablo-esque RPG never struck me as particularly inspired, and apparently Techland agreed. The Dead Island developer has spent the past year rebuilding many elements of its demon-bopping opus, with melee combat and magic apparently gaining double the complexity. A transition into the “next-gen” Chrome Engine 6, meanwhile, is imminent, and that’ll bring better graphics, adaptive AI, and a slew of other upgrades. It’s all coming to Steam Early Access this fall, but for now I met up with producer Marcin Kruczkiewicz to discuss changes, delays, developing for PC first and foremost, the possibility of mod support, and why training with real swords is something every game developer should do.>
I’ve played a worrisome number of side-scrolling Metroidvanias in my time, but I still have a soft spot for especially attractive and/or purple ones. Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, thankfully, qualifies as both. It’s also apparently inspired by Dark Souls, as is everything these days be it a tough-as-nails videogame or a painting of some ducklings nuzzling their mother as a perfect sun sets in the background. There’s ten minutes of footage below, and I find myself especially intrigued by the little bits of voice-acted character and story on show. Give it a watch.
Sometimes you want to charge guns, swords, and words a-blazin into a game world and tame the land until Iron Maiden writes a song about you. Other times, you just want to heft your heavy eyelids, sip a light tea, and gently sail through friendly old places made new again. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, but you don’t have to venture out into the cruel sadlands of life just yet. Remember better days. Here, let me help with videos of the original BioShock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution re-realized in Unreal Engine 4. They’re quite a sight.
Shawn Alexander Allen is a fascinating developer creating a game that’s a complex mash-up of turn-based tactics and oldschool brawler. Drawing inspiration from influences ranging from Bad Dudes to FTL and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Treachery In Beatdown City is currently seeking a final push on Kickstarter. I contacted Shawn to discuss the game and the influence of a life in ever-changing NYC, as well as his time working at Rockstar, the finer points of GTA and the representation and cultural impact of previously marginalised groups on the development scene.>
Dying in video games has become an awful lot more interesting in recent years, with a wide spectrum from permadeath in roguelike-likes to the die-restart-go-die-restart-go of Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami. Something I’ve been keen to see more of, though, is games where dying isn’t the main failure state, where things go wrong and we need to roll with the consequences.
Side-on survival horror Uncanny Valley is having a crack at this, not killing the player (mostly) but instead affecting the character and the story. Given that this story appears to be about nasty things going on in an android research plant, that sounds pleasingly dreadful.