All posts under Feature
Civilization: Beyond Earth

By on September 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

It’s been a bad time for Australians trying to buy digital games this year, with two major price rises in the last few weeks — $40 for Civilization: Beyond Earth, and $22 for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor — and Watch Dogs for $15 earlier in May. And as we head towards the glorious Holiday Season, when all the big names finally come out to play, it’s probably going to happen at least one more time.

Each time this happens, the cycle is the same: A member of the public spots the change (it’s never, ever announced ahead of time by the publisher), we report on it, everybody is outraged, the publisher refuses to comment, we look into other ways to buy the game without getting ripped off, and then we move on. And each time I just get more and more frustrated, because nothing about these continual scenarios makes even a bit of sense.

Let’s nut this out, because honestly, it just doesn’t work.

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Batman Arkham Knight

By on September 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Forget Robin — Batman’s fiercest and most capable sidekick is his vehicular riot squad, his tank of ballerina nimbleness. The Batmobile is, and always has been, the single ally he can rely upon to be there for him and provide unequivocal support no matter the task or time. It makes sense, then, that when the going gets tough, it’s this most modern of chariots that takes centre stage.

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Far Cry 4

By on September 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Pagan Min, the villain of Far Cry 4, has all the pomp of a James Bond antagonist and all of the sly and uncompromising threat of a US drone. Clearly, he’s into some bad stuff. Clearly, he needs to be taken down. The worst part of it is that he seems to know you and expects you to join him, without any serious thought on his deadly rampage through Far Cry 4‘s fictional Himalayan state. You’re given a gun, so shoot it. Right?

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Dead Rising 3

By on September 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

The relentless open(ish) world of the Dead Rising games allows you to indulge in all of those zombie-destroying fantasies that you may have imagined in your stranger hours. The very first game, which debuted on the Xbox 360, gave me and many others the ability to mow down the undead with lawnmowers and baseball bats. Now the latest third one, which continues the apocalyptic slog, has introduced it to the next generation. Dead Rising 3 is, arguably, the best zombie experience that you can have on any gaming machine in 2014.

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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 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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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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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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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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