All posts under Feature
Reaper of Souls

By on April 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I’m not ashamed to admit that I ragequit over the state of Diablo 3 at launch. After finishing the game once, I’d had enough. The regular and inconveniently-timed-for-Australians server maintenance, latency, and the fact that I couldn’t choose to play offline all led to me coming away from one of my most anticipated games of all time with a sour taste in my mouth. I was frustrated that the sequel to a game that I had played almost exclusively offline came with a whole slew of features that I didn’t care about, which explicitly precluded me from playing the game the way I wanted to play it: offline, with no latency, and with local network multiplayer only.

Not quite two years later came the release of Reaper of Souls, the new expansion to Diablo 3. I was drawn in by the conversation surrounding the new content, I was tempted. Nearly two years of learned lessons, patches, and improvements to a game that I had so sorely wanted to love. Perhaps this was the time for forgiveness, for a second chance? The news that Australian servers had been rolled out was enough to push me over the edge. I was going back to Sanctuary.

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Civilization: Beyond Earth

By on April 13, 2014 at 1:30 am

Civilization: Beyond Earth. Never has a game title dripped with such portent. On the face of it, the meaning is pretty obvious; Firaxis are releasing a new entry in the Civilization franchise, and it is going to be set off-world. However, what is truly exciting is remembering that the last time Firaxis took the Civilization formula to space we got one of the greatest 4X strategy games of all time – Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.

Speaking with Firaxis, it is clear that they are aware of the legacy ‘Civ in space’ brings with it, but it’s equally clear the team intend this to be its own beast.

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Betrayer

By on April 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

The year is 1604. Washed up on a beach after the (presumed) crash of your ship, you expected to find a thriving colony on the edge of the new world. Instead, what you find is an island full of ghosts, demons and a mysterious cloaked woman on a quest to locate her twin sister. Betrayer is easily one of the more ambitious indie titles I have seen in a while, with an opening so ominous, confusing and daunting it put me instantly on the back foot. Soon you’ll find your first “base” of sorts, Fort Henry — but from there, the mystery only deepens as the game forces you to evaluate your surroundings and discover clues to what has occurred. Why are there human remains solidified in place? Why does this bell create instant darkness? Why are these souls begging me to find their loved ones?

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

By on April 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

A chilling scene plays out before me. I witness violent flashbacks, a brutal murder, an eerie young ghost child painting indecipherable, blurry runes on a dank apartment wall. A second later the cutscene is over, and I immediately sprint through a wall into some dude’s kitchen and stand inside his fridge, giggling.

This is Murdered: Soul Suspect, and I’m a ghost detective. That doesn’t mean I have to be serious all the time.

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Rust

By on April 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Rust is many things to many people, and to those who haven’t fallen into its grasp but instead look through a Twitch or YouTube window, it looks simply like DayZ mixed with Minecraft. To an extent, it is — the crafting and survival elements of the game are neatly in tune with its spiritual predecessors, but at the same time, is nothing like them at all.

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The Elder Scrolls Online

By on April 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

The Elder Scrolls Online launches this week, and despite some very positive feedback from beta tests, Zenimax Online’s decision to use a subscription model instead of being free-to-play still  gives prospective players pause.

We caught up with Bethesda’s Global VP of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines, who explained to us that the decision was reached mutually by Bethesda and Zenimax together.

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Pillars of Eternity

By on March 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Obisidian’s Pillars of Eternity, the artist formerly known as Project Eternity, is being eagerly anticipated by hundreds of thousands of RPG lovers around the world. But how many of those backers only latched onto the project because it seemed like an old-school RPG lovers dream come true?

We caught up with Josh Sawyer, project lead on Pillars of Eternity, in a brief moment of calm at this year’s GDC. He explained that Obsidian were undertaking a careful balancing act when it came to just how much weight to give the opinions of old-school RPG grognards.

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cutting_the_red_tape_on_classification

By on March 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

It was just another part of the daily news. The Abbott coalition government, as part of their plan to “slash red tape” and “remove unnecessary regulation”, announced that they would amend the Classification Act of 1995. The heavy, clunky, 1980′s style human element of the classification system for digitally distributed games would be gone, alongside a host of other small changes.

“These reforms are the first step in the process of ensuring our classification system continues to be effective and relevant in the 21st century,” touted the Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, who was effectively following on with pledges by previous Labor administrations to make the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations in enforceable legislation. On the surface, it didn’t really seem like much of a big deal — the meat of the R18+ sandwich had already come and gone. But in reality, the rest of the meal had finally begun to arrive at the table.

To explain why this change is significant, we need to understand how the current status quo works.

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Battlefield 4

By on March 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

It took six years for DICE to release Battlefield 3 after the previous iteration, so a gap of just two years before the release of Battlefield 4 caused some skepticism – but the company has sworn at GDC it made big leaps during that time.

During a talk on Friday morning, the last day of the conference, DICE lead artist Linnea Harrison said the company wanted to add a heightened sense of realism to the series in order to differentiate itself among the flooded FPS market.

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Heroes of the Storm

By on March 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Blizzard are calling this a “technical” alpha, otherwise known as the “really really early stages guys please don’t be too harsh on us build”. All it means to me, and probably everyone else, is that this is the first playable bit of HotS – which is Heroes of the Storm, not Heart of the Swarm.

It finally answers some questions: what Blizzard thinks players want in a MOBA, what holes they think are missing and what direction they’ll take in the future. Some of the decisions are refreshing. Others – not so much.

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BioShock Infinite

By on March 19, 2014 at 7:24 am

Irrational Games may have all but shut down, but its developers are very much out in force at this year’s GDC in San Francisco – and have revealed some key secrets and failures about the development of BioShock Infinite.

Specifically, lead programmer John Abercrombie gave a talk today showcasing the creation of Elizabeth, and her complicated and well-received artificial intelligence – something the team struggled with immensely.

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Wildstar

By on March 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Nostalgia is not usually a quality that many MMORPGs tend to strive for when they set out to create a new universe. WildStar is unique in that it is one of the first Western MMOs in quite a long time that was designed by a small team on a limited budget, but with lofty ambitions to succeed where many others have failed. As a result, it has ended up much closer to the fold of traditional MMOs, such as World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online, in offering what is unabashedly a conservative play system geared significantly towards hardcore players.

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