DARK SOULS™ II - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

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

Dark Souls > Bloodborne > Dark Souls 3 > Demon’s Souls > Dark Souls 2.

But if you like the rest, you should still play number 2. It’s good. Being good just isn’t quite enough when you’re born into a family of geniuses. (more…)

FEZ

The first games I played were games of memory. My English grandfather was full of them. Parlour games, mainly. There was one in which each chair in his living room became a station and his family became trains. He would stand in the middle of the room and direct the trains between the stations, and you had to remember which train you were and where the station you were headed to could be found. At five or six, I found it overwhelming, but also intoxicating. (At 39, I now look back and suspect my grandfather wished he hadn't spent his life as clerk of the local magistrate's court.) Then there was another game - I've since learned that it's called Kim's Game, but as a kid I assumed my grandfather had invented it - in which he arranged a tray with bits and pieces from around the house, gave us a minute to study them all and then covered the tray with a cloth and quietly removed one item. When he uncovered the tray again we all had to spot what was missing.

God, memory is just fascinating. At times - these times may be called "the speedy approach to being 40" - it feels like memory is the most human of topics. It's where so much of what we are lays tangled together. Tangled and knotted. I think of Kim's Game and I am instantly back in my grandfather's living room. I can remember so many of the items that served time on the Kim's Game trays - a silver toast rack, a plectrum, a music box with a clown printed on it, a bright purple brazil nut chocolate - and then these items bring their own memories along with them too. I remember looking at that plectrum and wondering what it was for. I think of the toast rack and I can almost smell the gas hob and the marmalade that scented the kitchen of that house. I remember that I was allowed to eat that brazil nut chocolate once that particular game was completed.

Games and memory belong together, I think. There is the way they are stored in the mind, for starters. I tend to remember games the way I remember architecture or poetry: fragments set adrift, occasionally bumping into view, distracting and sometimes faintly troubling. Just as I remember a warm tiled corridor with iron banisters rising at the turn, or a gentleman, clean favoured, and imperially slim, I will suddenly from nowhere recall a cathedral that hangs from chains, or a cavern where visitors are intermittently crushed between slabs of disco-pink quartz. I remember pieces, and the pieces are often more interesting than the games they force me to track down. A door that held an entire ocean behind it. A book that sent me back to the start.

Read more…

Kerbal Space Program

Humans have gazed up at the sky and wondered about their place in the cosmos since the very beginning. Do the same in a game like, say, Breath of the Wild, and you're presented with vivid images of clouds, stars, the sun and the moon. It's an important part of this and many other games that helps to create an illusion of a continuous space that stretches beyond what we actually experience within the confines of the game. The sky implies that Hyrule, despite being a fantasy world, is a part of a cosmos very much like our own, and we accept this even though we cannot fly up and check.

Since it matches our own experience of the sky so closely, we won't spend a lot of time thinking about how the universe around Hyrule is structured. There are quite a few games, however, in which the cosmos moves from the margins to the centre. These games take a close look at, for example, how their worlds were created or might end, the rules by which they operate, or simply how the experiences of the player fit into a larger world view. In other words, they create and explore cosmologies.

Cosmology, the attempt to describe the nature of the universe, didn't start with the advent of modern astronomy, but was present throughout all of human history. Always, real observations about the world were seen and interpreted through lenses of ideology and assumptions about how the world works (even our 'objective' study of the cosmos cannot help but be coloured by our very human perspectives).

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DARK SOULS™ II

UPDATE 2.35pm: Dark Souls Remastered has unsurprisingly just been confirmed for non-Nintendo Switch platforms as well.

It will arrive on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on the same day - 25th May.

ORIGINAL STORY 2.00pm: FromSoftware's legendary Dark Souls will get a new lease of life on Nintendo Switch.

Read more…

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

If you fancy going back through all Dark Souls before the series wraps up with the final DLC in March, now’s a great time to return to Dark Souls 2 [official site]. Today sees the start of Return to Drangleic, an unofficial community-run event to draw players back and revitalise multiplayer. Souls just isn’t the same without online invasions, summonings, ghosts, and messages bringing life to the world, so players are returning en masse to rekindle that spark. Fancy joining them? … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

If I have learned anything from reading other people’s opinions about Dark Souls it’s that Dark Souls is probably a metaphor for something. But what? WHAT? There are so many conflicting opinions out there.

Well, that’s where your pal, Pip (that is me), can help. I have come up with a definitive list of ways to interpret Dark Souls correctly:

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Richard Cobbett)

Ever had one of those games that you just long to get into, but can’t? There haven’t been many I’ve wanted to get into more than the Dark Souls series. To sink into the world I see people talking about on my Twitter feed. To have that sense of discovery in ash and ember. For that crumbling world to feel like something more than just a succession of traps and gauntlets. I want to like Dark Souls. I really hope Dark Souls 3 is the clicking point. But… so far, (whispers)> I’ve never managed to like Dark Souls.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Michael Johnson)

It’ll take a great deal of analysis to figure out how exactly Dark Souls III [official site] fits into the wider mythology of the series in terms of its tremendous, cryptic lore, and it might take even longer for critical opinion to decide where it ranks in the pantheon of Souls games. But we can all agree on one thing, right? Dark Souls is superior to its first sequel in almost every way.

Not Michael Johnson. Here, he argues that Dark Souls II changes and improves on the formula set by its predecessor and that it has the greatest expansions in all of gaming.>

… [visit site to read more]

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

Dark Souls III [official site] is already out in Japan but the rest of the world has to wait until April 12th. I received review code late last week and have spent a few hours kindling bonfires and carving my way through the early stages of the game. I’ve also, as you might imagine, died quite a lot>.

Our full review will be closer to the international release but I wanted to share some thoughts about the opening areas, the PC version and the overall quality of what I’ve seen so far. No spoilers regarding bosses or locations.

… [visit site to read more]

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