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First Contact: This War of Mine | The Cost of Living

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
11 bit Studios, First Contact, Games previews, Let's Play, PC games, Survival Adventure Games, This War of Mine, Videos

First Contact: This War of Mine | The Cost of Living

I'm really enjoying This War of Mine.

Actually, that's wrong. "Enjoying" is too jolly a word for such a bleak game. This War of Mine puts you in control of a band of civilian survivors trying to eke out an existence in the rubble of a war zone. Food is scarce, illness is widespread, and extreme circumstances have led many into taking extreme measures to survive. The pockets of humanity that are left are rife with mistrust and paranoia, and you must do all that you can to keep your characters alive.

Well... "must" is a strong word too.

First Contact: This War of Mine | The Cost of Living

See, This War of Mine is all about choices. It's what you might expect The Walking Dead to look like if they replaced the zombie apocalypse with a war-torn one, and took the shackles off the story so you could create your own survival narrative packed with questionable decision and moral crises.

As you'll see in the video, the characters you take control of are not hardened action heroes or gritty folk well-seasoned in the art of living off the grid. These are regular Joes and Janes, people who never thought they'd live through times such as those depicted here. Their concerns are basic -- food, warmth, health, safety -- but I was struck by the appearance of "sad" in their character files after I accidentally got one of them killed on a night-time scouting mission. Clicking them open, I realised that they'd been chronicling the days through brief journal entries -- character reflecting on the things that I'd caused to happen. The mental strain of it all taking a toll on their efficiency.

Click here to read more...

First Contact | Fenix Rage is a profanity-inducing piece of precision platforming

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Fenix Rage, First Contact, Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Platformers, Videos

First Contact | Fenix Rage is a profanity-inducing piece of precision platforming

I've just called a bundle of pixels a "cancerous badger's nutsack". Ten seconds earlier I told the game to which these pixels belonged that I would perform an inventive, illegal sex act upon its relatives on a bed made of lava and nightmares.

Fenix Rage is an incredibly aptly-named game. It's all about dying over and over and over again and resurrecting until you just get better, and it'll make you apoplectic with rage. I for one am quite glad about this. It's given me a chance to practise my more creative swearing for Destiny's loot cave.

It's a game that's a lot like Super Meat Boy at its heart: simple controls, fine margins, increasingly complex levels, and oodles of death. But is it any good? Well, the review is on its way, but in the interim, here's a look at my first half hour with the game.

Check out the game's official site here.

Brendan Plays Surgeon Simulator on PS4 - Is this PS4's most broken game?

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Let's Play, PS4 games, Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition

Brendan Plays Surgeon Simulator on PS4 - Is this PS4's most broken game?

It doesn't look like that medical career is ever going to happen for me. That said, I'd like to think that I'd be able to hold medical equipment with more conviction portrayed by the downright awful controls in Surgeon Simulator on PS4, where my dainty grip would indicate I'm holding a piss-soaked towel rather than a bone cutting electrical saw.

'But that's part of the fun' I hear you say. Admittedly, anyone in the room that watched my increasingly futile attempts at a heart transplant were in stitches, probably because they know how angry I was getting. When you're trying to control the action though, the joke wears thin pretty quick, especially when one of the multiple glitches sees sheets get stuck to your fingers or your hand gets trapped in the rib cage or on a table rail. There might be a review coming soon, but I should probably stop using Dr 'Hi everybody!' Nick videos for tutorials if I want to make any more progress. If that bunch of mindless plebs in Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy are supposed to be surgeons, I really should be doing better. For now I'm going back to having nightmares about having to review an Octodad/Surgeon Simulator crossover.

Click here to watch the video.

Kidnappers and Baby Murderers: Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #1

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Josh Sawyer, Let's Play, Obsidian Entertainment, PC games, Pillars Of Eternity, RPGs, Videos

Kidnappers and Baby Murderers: Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #1

Some pretty grim things have been going on the Dyrwood. A betrothed noblewoman passing through the village on the way to the altar has gone missing. There's a orlan woman holed up in the pub who's apparently guilty of murdering a bunch of babies. Soldiers are clashing with townsfolk and an all out class war is brewing in the streets and in downed flagons of ale.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the place is surrounded by bandits and brigands and ogres and a dragon who's gone and burned the face off of the potions merchant.

Into the thick of this omnishambles we stride -- a fiery, horn-topped Godlike Cipher, and a band of nondescript party members -- determined to fix things. I like to try and be honest, I'm a bit of a smartypants at times, and I do like a clever quip here and there. One of the best things about the early parts of the beta, and the conversation options is that you can construct your character's personality through interaction. Will you be reasonable or quick to temper? A cruel mercenary or an honest hero with genuine good will? You can turn off all of the character highlights if you want to make decisions based simply on the writing and the lines of dialogue, and you can choose to have the options unavailable to your particular character build vanish so you don't know what you're missing.

It all depends what sort of role-playing experience you want to have.

Apparently mine involves terribly accented voices performed by yours truly. Pressures of the "record" button and all that jazz. In any case, here's a little walkthrough of what to expect in the first half hour of the Pillars of Eternity backer beta.

VIDEO | Hohokum is a colourful, artsy, interactive cartoon that might make your heart soar

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Cross-buy, Hohokum, Honeyslug, Let's Play, PS Vita games, PS3 games, PS4 games, Richard Hogg, Sony Santa Monica, Videos

...or leave you feeling bored, confused, and shrugging

Hohokum is another one of those arty games that's going to polarise people. Some will hold it up as an example of unconventional interactive entertainment and proof that games can and are art. Others will passionately argue that it isn't even a game. There will be those that miss the point completely, some for whom this really isn't their thing. Equally, there will be others that pronounce Hohokum to be one of the best things to be seen all year.

I like the way it encourages a genuine spirit of "play" in a manner that's rather unique.

It's a combination of beautiful, striking art from Richard Hogg, various aural dreamscapes that soothe and relax, and fluid mechanics that aren't explained outright, instead encouraging you to discover little cartoonish vignettes through direct interaction as well as poring over the scenery with your eyes.

It's quite possibly the bubble bath of gaming.

The review's on its way.

MIND: Path to Thalamus takes players through the guilty mind of a coma patient

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carlos Coronado, Indie Games, Let's Play, MIND: Path to Thalamus, PC games, Puzzle games, Videos

It's hard to fathom that MIND: Path to Thalamus was created by one person, but then again, the singular vision of this magical-realist, first-person puzzle-em-up is such that I'm not sure it could have existed any other way.

"How many times will I kill her?" comes the voice of the narrator before a narrative involving meteorological obsession and accidents involving close family and loved ones, parental errors of judgement, and soul-destroying guilt comes to the fore, played out in the mind of a culpable coma patient.

It's a fascinating little game, one that plays with natural elements (and asks you to play with them too), bends the mind with abstract puzzling and the manipulation of physical forces, and ties it all together with this striking narrative conceit.

VIDEO | Expendabros might be the best piece of free bromotional material we've ever played

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Broforce, Devolver Digital, Expendabros, Free Lives, Let's Play, PC games, The Expendables 3, Videos

VIDEO | Expendabros might be the best piece of free bromotional material we've ever played

Expendabros is a free game. Think of it as an extended demo for the excellent Broforce, that just happens to feature some of the characters from the upcoming Expendables 3 movie. I know, the last time there was an Expendables game, it was one of the worst pieces of interactive excrement we've ever had the misfortune of playing through.

But this is basically Broforce. And, as anyone who's played Free Lives' games or seen any of our amazingly brofessional coverage of it will testify, Broforce is awesome, dumb, arcadey fun.

Forget those free Doritos games that Microsoft pumped out on Xbox LIVE, forget Zool and its Chupa-Chups. This is quite possibly the best piece of advergaming we've seen in a long time, possibly ever. It's not a true film tie-in per se, but even if it was, it'd be a damn sight better than most tie-in games. Because its free. And awesome.

You can try it out for yourself (and then download Broforce proper for more crazy explosive pixellated brilliance and online multiplayer), but I also threw together a little video last night that may be the least professional thing I've ever made. You can watch it after the jump. Apologies to any and all who do. There are many swears, terrible impressions, Darkness-esque moments of falsetto singing, and lashings of maniacal laughter.

Click here to read more...

Let's Play... Eidolon | Grizzlies and Gangrene

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eidolon, Ice Water Games, Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Videos

Let's Play... Eidolon | Grizzlies and Gangrene

Eidolon is massive.

Dropping you with absolutely no context into a huge forest with no idea where you are or what you're doing, it's safe to say that the hand-holding tendencies of many modern games are thrown out of the window with this one. As a player in this verdant, lonely environment, it's up to you to pick your way across the landscape, dredging up context and clues, and discovering why there's not another soul to be found.

Like most of our Let's Play, the video after the jump shows off my first experiences with the game, going with little knowledge beyond that which the game delivers. It's a game that's played at a very slow pace, one that requires patience and perseverance, and at the time of writing (having played more of it since I made this video yesterday), I'm still not sure how well balanced it is. Eidolon has moments of real beauty and a melancholic atmosphere fuelled by the player's isolation in this world. It's not a survival horror in the same vein as the also-singleplayer The Forest, but it has survival elements. An encounter with a bear leads to a rather nasty wound, and there are no obvious antibiotics in a seemingly never-ending forest.

Let's Play... Eidolon | Grizzlies and Gangrene

White, shimmering icons deliver basic survival equipment, while green equivalents serve to shine a light on small pockets of the narrative, filling in the vast blank spaces of story bit by bit. Eidolon asks a lot of its players, and I'm still not sure if it necessarily does enough to warrant all of this slow trudging, but perhaps most crucially, I've been thinking about it a lot over the last couple of days and I want to go back and learn more.

Not just for the purpose of the review, either, and that's always a good sign.

Click here to read more...

Let's Play...Destiny Beta: Lvl 2 Story Mission - Restoration

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Activision, Beta, Bungie, Destiny, FPS games, Gameplay footage, Let's Play, Videos

The Destiny beta is upon us, and we've got an enormous amount of content coming over the next few days. Whereas the Alpha presented us with a single story mission, there considerably more opportunities to get a feel for the game's narrative here in the beta.

You can check out Brendan's video of Destiny's striking opening scenes and the first playable mission here, and above we've gone and captured the level two mission, titled "Restoration", that sees my Warlock Guardian and the Dinklage Ghost rooting around Old Russia for a warp drive.

Make sure you hit subscribe, as there's going to be plenty more content to come!

Let's Play... Cosmic DJ - Getting Jazzed

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Cosmic DJ, Devolver Digital, Gl33k, Indie Games, Let's Play, Music games, PC games, Rhythm games, Videos

Let's Play... Cosmic DJ - Getting Jazzed

Cosmic DJ is essentially a beginner's guide to music sequencing wrapped up in a bundle of crazy. And I love it.

The developers at Austin studio Gl33k are no newcomers to the scene, though you're more likely to have found them working behind it than stepping into the spotlight in the past few years. They've been responsible for some award-winning sound design across the likes of Halo 4 and Uncharted 3. Put simply, they know their shit.

Perhaps that's why Cosmic DJ is such a delight. It's a simple, straightforward affair that provides instant pick-up-and-play appeal, filled with all sorts of utterly bonkers instruments and effects, and set to a narrative that has you (the Cosmic DJ of Legend) and a floating polygon named Steve (who sounds a lot like the eponymous virus that infects Lister in the Red Dwarf episode "Epideme") saving the universe through the power of music, by fixing a bunch of "Jamtennae" and creating barmy dance music to barmy pictures of horses wearing 3D glasses, barking corgis, and pixel pizza.

Let's Play... Cosmic DJ - Getting Jazzed

It's quite odd. It's also a lot of fun.

Click here to read more...

Matt Plays... Warlock II: The Exiled | Hextacular Planestriding

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Ino-Co, Let's Play, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Strategy games, Turn-based strategy games, Videos, Warlock 2: The Exiled

Matt Plays... Warlock II: The Exiled | Hextacular Planestriding

By all accounts, Warlock: Master of the Arcane was a game that took a number of cues from Civilization V, setting out its turn-based strategy atop sprawling, hex-based maps. But it was a rather more light-hearted affair than most strategy games out there, freely combining the fantastical and the ridiculous with often hilarious effect, and just about managing to avoid a decent into wacky, random humour just for the sake of it.

Now, its sequel is almost here. The world has been torn asunder, ripped into shards connected only by magical portals and its your job to find your way back to the world of Ardania from the far-flung shard upon which you find yourself at the start of the game. The maps are all dynamically-generated, every playthrough is going to be different, and there's a new race in the form of the Planestriders, whom we take control of here.

Click here to read more...

Let's Play... Cloudbuilt | Forget Cloud Power, This Is Rocket Power!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Coilworks, Gameplay footage, Let's Play, PC, PC games, Rising Star games

Let's Play... Cloudbuilt | Forget Cloud Power, This Is Rocket Power!

Cloudbuilt has been haunting our dreams ever since we first laid eyes on it. Not only is this Swedish platformer achingly beautiful, but it's also a fantastic gameplay proposition, hinging around pulling off insane feats of agility against the clock in some geometrically implausible stages.

The fact that it stars a mysterious protagonist clad in an epic mech suit equipped with rocket boosters and a laser cannon is just icing on the rambunctious speedrunning cake.

We'll have a full hands-on preview ready for you very soon, but here's a first look at Cloudbuilt in action to get you in the mood, featuring my attempts to suck as little as possible in some early levels.

Click here to read more...

Let's Play... Void Of Darkness | A One-Man Space Epic In The Making?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Space games, Tropical Games, Videos, Void Of Darkness

Let's Play... Void Of Darkness | A One-Man Space Epic In The Making?

Void Of Darkness is one developer's attempt to go beyond Starflight, the classic 1986 space adventure that puts you at the helm of a tiny ship in an enormous universe.

Tropical Games' Justin Sampson has laboured long and hard to create an entire galaxy to explore, throwing you in headfirst as an ambassador of the human race. You'll trade, battle, mine, parley and chart strange new worlds in a bid for galactic dominance, and to cement humanity's place amongst the stars, with no preset objective save your own moral compass. The gameplay pillars are in place, such as in-depth bartering, accessible yet nuanced twin-stick combat, numerous races, diplomacy, warp travel, scanning and all the mod cons you'd expect from a truly freeform space odyssey.

However, Void Of Darkness is also still in need of some serious polish and more than a little bug fixing. To his credit, Sampson has continually issued new updates in line with player feedback - the latest of which, v.1.1, is set to go live imminently.

We'll have a full review and in-depth video impressions of the brand new build very soon, but for now, here's a taster of the trials and tribulations of exploring the wild black yonder.

Click here to read more...

Dealspwn Playthrough | Don't Starve - PS4 Gameplay

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dealspwn Playthrough, Let's Play, PS Plus, PS4 games, Videos

Dealspwn Playthrough | Don't Starve - PS4 Gameplay

Our new playthrough video is a 12 minute glimpse at the world of Don't Starve, the latest free PS4 game to land on the PS Plus service. The game's similarities to the likes of Minecraft, or more specifically Terraria, are there for all the indie-PC crowd to see. But how will such a niche survival-style title fare on the PS4?

Sony has been keen to show off their indie credentials with the PS4, but have they perhaps made a rare miss-calculation by having this as the first free PS Plus title since Contrast and Resogun back at launch last year? I'm very much a console gamer, but I managed to get into Terraria when I covered it on the 360 elsewhere last year. But Don't Starve is a different sort of beast with its aggressive one-life policy making it hard to stomach, especially given the lack of any tangible rewards for the time required to put in. That said, I've only played the game for about two hours so far.

As I said though, the game is free on PS Plus right now, so give it a go if you're hooked up, or check out my playthrough video to see the game in action first. It says a lot, that it's made me look forward to DriveClub (will be free on PS Plus next month) so much more now. Naturally, we'd love to hear from any of our readers who've downloaded the game recently too.

Check out the video after the break.

Matt Plays... Secrets of Raetikon | Episode 2 - The Lynx Effect

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Videos

In episode 2 of our Secrets of Raetikon playthrough, Marmalade (yes, I finally named him) navigates the Corridor of Spiny Death, meets Mrs. Fox and her pack, and tussles with a Lynx.

NB. We're sorry to say that one or two virtual rabbits may have been harmed in the making of this video.

You can check out episode 1 here.

Matt Plays... Secrets of Raetikon | Episode 1 - CPR DIVE!

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Videos

Matt Plays... Secrets of Raetikon | Episode 1 - CPR DIVE!

Secrets of Raetikon is a little bit special. With its vivid colour palette, vector-based art style, and exploratory nature, Broken Rules have created a game designed for you to sink into and muck about. Like the best games, Raetikon encourages you to meet it halfway, indeed the centreal underlying gameplay feature here is curiosity, and we rather like that. It's a game of ancient machinery, natural habitats and ecosystem, and the serenity of flight as you take on the mantle of a very handsome looking bird.

Broken Rules themselves describe the game like this:

“Secrets of Raetikon is a game where players fly like birds. They explore a beautiful rugged alpine landscape populated by wild animals. To progress through the game, players reactivate ancient machinery. It is a physical puzzle game as much as an exploration game. Secrets of Raetikon is a game for anyone who has ever dreamed of flying.”

The first moment I broke through the clouds and the sun-filled sky flooded itself with oranges and reds only to return smoothly to the sea-soaked blues of before was an accident. So I had to go back and do it again, and again. It's the reason people ask for window seats on planes.

Matt Plays... Secrets of Raetikon | Episode 1 - CPR DIVE!

We're going to do a little video series before we get to the review proper, and it should be noted that the game is still in its alpha stages. You can get involved now via Broken Rules' own site, but there's Steam Early Access just around the corner in a couple of days too on the 7th should you wish to add the game to your Steam library.

In the interim, we'll be dropping a few Let's Play vids onsite to give you an idea of what you can expect.

Oh, and I still need a name for my bird. Any suggestions?

Click here to read more...

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 3 - The Trial Of The Red Phantoms

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Dark Souls II, Dealspwn Playthrough, From Software, Gameplay, Let's Play, Namco Bandai, Network Test, Red Phantoms, RPGs

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 3 - The Trial Of The Red Phantoms
He's faced dastardly ambush after ambush, he's bested sickle-flailing red phantoms, and he took down the Skeleton Lord on the first try, but the greatest test is about to happen. In the final part of our videos from last weekend's Network Test of Dark Souls II, Carl retraces his steps to seek revenge on those enemies that bested his before, only to discover a new path with his greatest challenge yet - five Red Phantoms. Can he defeat them all before the servers shut down? Find out the answer after the jump.

Click here to read more...

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 2 - Road To The Skeleton Lord

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Dark Souls II, Dealspwn Playthrough, From Software, Gameplay, Let's Play, Namco Bandai, Network Test, RPGs, Skeleton Lord

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 2 - Road To The Skeleton Lord
We're back with Part 2 of our misadventures in last weekend's Network Test for Dark Souls II. In today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, a slightly-more-awake Carl continues to forge a path towards the boss fight for the beta - the Skeleton Lord. Before he does that he has to come across a new foe in the Red Phantoms. See how he fares after the jump.

Click here to read more...

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 1 - How To Do The Tree Dance

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Dark Souls II, Dealspwn Playthrough, From Software, Gameplay, Let's Play, Namco Bandai, ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod, Tree Dance

Dealspwn Playthrough | Dark Souls II Beta Part 1 - How To Do The Tree Dance

We begin a series of episodes where Carl dives into last weekend's Network Test for From Software's upcoming RPG Dark Souls II. In today's episode, a very sleepy Carl gets his bearing as he gets hands-on for the first time, remembers how to play the game, and then uses unconventional tactics to take on the various enemies on his march to glory.

Click here to read more...

Dealspwn Playthrough | Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
505 Games, Brothers - A Tale Of Two Sons, Dealspwn Playthrough, Josef Fares, Let's Play, Starbreeze

Dealspwn Playthrough | Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

In today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, Matt plays through a section of Josef Fares and Starbreeze Studios' new game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and discusses the control system, the difficulties presented by having a narrative-led game with no dialogue, and how he wishes he was LeBron James.

Read our review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
Check out the Opening Scenes here.

Click here to read more...