All posts under Feature
Exit Sign

By on August 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm

When it comes time to make a point about an important issue the tool I usually default to is humour, or satire, because I find it’s easiest to change people’s minds if you can make them laugh along with you. A lot of awful things have happened this week, and in the week before, and I’ve tried a few times to think of a clever way I could write them up while still getting the point across that, hey, things are really bad. I can’t. So here we are.

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Shadow Realms

By on August 26, 2014 at 11:16 am

BioWare Austin — now best known for Star Wars: The Old Republic – is trying to do something very different to what they’ve done before. Shadow Realms is an episodic, 4 versus 1 dungeon crawler that might even be free-to-play come its 2015 launch. Taking a risk.

The idea, though, is an interesting and commendable one. Inspired by pen and paper RPGs of the Dungeons and Dragons mould,  Shadow Realms aims to put the rules and the design of player-to-player conflict back into the hands of the participants and away from the designers. The ‘Shadow Lord’ is controlled by a single player, with the goal of destroying four heroes… think of him like a Dungeon Master, the person that dictates the pacing and the difficulty of the challenge facing the four.

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Dragon Age Inquistion

By on August 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a heterophobe — I know plenty of straight people in real life, and they’re all kind, good, loving souls. But I feel like we have to draw the line somewhere and say: does every game really need to have a token straight character? It’s like, we get it: you’re attracted to the opposite sex. Wow. What an interesting character trait.

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Divinity: Original Sin

By on August 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Late last week, Larian Studios flicked two copies of Divinity: Original Sin across to us here at the games.on.net office. Most of Friday night and the weekend is a blur, but Steam tells me I’ve spent 23 hours in the game, which probably explains why I’m developing bed sores and starting to smell.

Jess and I have been playing co-op non-stop since it arrived, and having a hell of a time. Why? Because it’s pretty much just like playing your own little game of D&D, and it’s amazing. Take a look at this…

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civilization_beyond_earth_5

By on August 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

With Civilization: Beyond Earth launching in a few short months, Alpha Centauri fans everywhere are getting ready to relive their dreams. But from the screenshots we’ve seen and the footage Firaxis have released, one thing is clear: these new planets actually don’t look that much further beyond earth at all.

We put the question to Firaxis lead producer’ Lena Brenk: why aren’t the planets in Beyond Earth more, you know… alien?

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Wasteland 2

By on August 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Ever wondered what it takes to build games based on iconic properties? How do you stay grounded to that concept?

We sat down with the cake-loving, potato-signing Chris Avellone at this years AVCon to ask exactly that. Chris is responsible for some of the industry’s most live properties, including Fallout and Forgotten Realms, as well as being lead designer for the acclaimed Planescape: Torment.

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The Matrix

By on August 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Today, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the Government will be pushing ahead with new legislation forcing ISPs to retain data on ALL of their customers browsing activities, without the need for a warrant. (More coverage here, here.)

iiNet has publicly come out against this policy before and still strongly opposes it now. In this guest post below, our CTO Steve Dalby explains why such a scheme is unworkable and why so-called “just metadata” can actually be used to build an incredibly accurate picture of someone’s life.

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civilization_beyond_earth_1

By on July 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

What does Australia look like in 250 years time? The task of imagining that — and the fate of other nations — fell upon the shoulders of Firaxis’ Will Miller and David McDonough in Civilization: Beyond Earth. Will and David are both sharing the role of lead designer, which is quite unusual for a game project, but both of them readily admit that they’re “relatively young designers”.

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Destiny

By on July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The more I play Destiny, the more I struggle to define what keeps drawing me back in.

On the surface, there’s a lot to offer. Perhaps it’s the way Destiny manages to recycle much of the same content while still keeping it fresh and enjoyable — something many other MMOs have not been able to do. The combat is satisfying in a way that many shooters fail to execute correctly, because they either make the enemies too easy or too difficult. Charging through the nameless hordes, organically pouring out of dropships or quietly shuffling around the guarded shells of a dead Earth, continues to excite especially after you find that great new weapon or apply that upgrade.

The grind still exists and Destiny isn’t pretending it isn’t there — it’s just going out of its way to make sure you’re still having fun while doing it.

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Survarium

By on July 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm

There are times when I’m playing a game — during those crucial stages where you desperately search for some sort of new mechanic or interesting function to latch on to — where I audibly sigh. I sigh because the game is uninspired, because I feel overly cynical for making such a snap judgement, and because I realise I’ve been playing and critiquing games for so long that it becomes second nature. Survarium made me sigh because I struggled to see the point of why it existed, in a sea of titles that were genuinely attempting to make a mark on the landscape and taking risks. The fact that the game took a shocking 36 hours to download should have given me an indication that the PVP-only beta I was about to play wasn’t even hosted properly.

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Heroes of the Storm

By on July 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

It’s hardly a secret to anyone that the learning curve of a MOBA is about as close to vertical as any game gets, right up there with EVE Online, DCS UH-1H Huey and Battletoads. All of DOTA’s various successors have tried in one way or another to bolt some rungs onto that vertical wall: League of Legends removed denying and tried to sort players based on skill, DOTA 2 added an impressive in-game help system, and Heroes of Newerth… okay, HoN did nothing.

All of these things are great, but they didn’t go far enough. Let’s look at why Heroes of the Storm is knocking it out of the park and then punching the park in the face.

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Valiant Hearts

By on July 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm

It’s hard to reconcile the fact that there are actually two Ubisofts.

On the one hand you have BlockBuster Ubisoft who push out AAA games out a mile a minute with the best open-world technology and more side-quests and DLC than you can poke a stick at — and on the other hand you have Quirky Ubisoft, responsible for titles like the ridiculously fun Rayman Legends and the haunting Child of Light. Valiant Hearts, quite frankly, only makes this worse.

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