In The Witness, a magnificent new puzzle game from from developer Jonathan Blow you come upon challenges by wandering, in a first-person perspective, through the most beautiful island I’ve ever been to in a video game. The island is densely packed with puzzles, some propped up for you to solve, many others masterfully hidden.
I think it's happened to us all at some point or another: a game you've idolized from afar finally comes out. You boot it up and brace yourself for magic. Hours pass. Magic still hasn't happened. This is... unexpected. That is when you begin your Dante-esque multi-stage descent into a very unique sort of madness: disappointment.
Old-school publishers like Ubisoft, EA, and 2K are employing a distinctly old-fashioned way of doing things, especially in this era of free-to-play multiplayer juggernauts. In the long run, the $60 price point doesn’t help publishers or the players they’re catering to. It stops communities from growing.
#ThrowBackThursday Building a gaming PC can be time-consuming and stressful. There are a thousand things that could go wrong, and any one of them could wind up costing hundreds of dollars. And yet we do it anyway. Why? Because building PCs is totally awesome.
Unlike the other gaming platforms we’ve been evaluating here at the end of the year, the PC’s been around for decades. Recently, the PC’s long legacy of openness and customization has come into conflict with a mainstream that’s finally—finally—realized just how big of a deal PC gaming actually is. By and large, the PC is in a great place in 2015.
With Legacy of the Void, StarCraft II multiplayer is in a better place than it’s ever been. Competitive matches are faster and more interesting. The new co-op mode is an unexpected delight. There appear to be balance issues but this is a living game that will be patched and updated for years to come. Amid new ideas and changes it's clear that Blizzard is not afraid to experiment.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes us to Victorian London in 1868. The historical setting mixes painstakingly accurate architectural renderings with entertainingly campy and counterfactual cameos from figures like Darwin and Dickens. Interactively and narratively Syndicate is a mixed bag. But it's also the best entry in years for a series that's seen some high profile misfires.
As Steam has expanded over the years it’s also taken on an infernal-machine-like quality; it’s become this cacophonous conglomerate of bells and whistles, many of which are buried under other bells and whistles. It’s hard to know everything it is capable of, so here are a few lesser-known Steam features I’ve come across.
The thing about Rocket League that keeps me coming back to it so often, is how it’s a multiplayer game, but it’s not a multiplayer game. I normally avoid traditionally multiplayer titles; the last thing I want to deal with when playing video games is the grating sound and erratic behaviour of other human beings. But with Rocket League, it just doesn’t matter.
Thanks to the rapid rate of change in video games, both my job and the industry I cover are practically unrecognisable after a decade. There have been hundreds of significant changes, big and small, technological and cultural. Here are the 10 things I believe are the most important in this decade of transformation.
If you want to understand Massive Chalice, you need to understand XCOM. Double Fine’s Massive Chalice has been hugely influenced by Julian Gallop’s seminal 1994 strategy game. Massive Chalice focuses on up-close tactical gameplay and big-picture strategy. It handles the former exceptionally well, far better than it handles the latter.
Blizzard defines Heroes of the Storm as a “hero brawler.” But really, it’s a MOBA—an idiosyncratic and sparsely populated genre that mixes together bits and pieces of real-time strategy and fighting games in fiercely competitive matches. The game pits two teams of fantastical creatures against each other to see who can destroy the other’s base first.
Silly fanboys. All these years arguing over things you thought were important, like specs, and games, and controllers. Not once have you considered the most crucial thing about a video game console: how good it looks. Over the past four decades, there have been some plain consoles, sometimes even some ugly consoles, but we don’t care about them today. Today, we celebrate the best-looking video game consoles (no handhelds) of all time.