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Our Week in Games – Week 31

Our Week in Games – Week 31

With all this news of next-generation consoles, features they will include and exclusive games it seems I’m still living in the past. By far the most exciting piece of news for me this week was that Age of Empires II will be receiving an HD update exclusively for Steam. While the graphical update is minimal and not really all that it important, it will be featuring mod support and easy access to multiplayer gaming which is a big improvement. I could easily see this becoming my most played game of the year. Move over League of Legends, you’re not laughing any more.

Kevin

Race Driver GRID Xbox Live on-demand sale

It’s been a long time since I’ve had proper fun with a racing game. Forza 3 was enjoyable as a serious driving sim and Horizon was a brilliant indication of what potential an open world racing game could really do. For me however, it had little replay value unless you have plenty of competitive friends on your leaderboards to provide a constant challenge. I’m talking about proper fun though, like you used to have as a kid.

Thanks to the recent Xbox Live on-demand sale, I happened to pick up a super cheap copy of GRID, a racing game with slightly more arcade roots. Despite its old age (originally released in 2008) GRID has stood the test of time well in most cases. Sure, the menu options are not up to scratch and yeah, it probably plays better with a controller than a wheel, but all that is forgiven when you start having fun.

Having damage always on was a brilliant idea as far as I’m concerned. Races become far more interesting with this unavoidable mechanic and taking out AI cars by clipping the rear of their car NYPD style is just far too tempting to resist. If your in the mood to hear the crunching of metal there is even a playlist (destruction derby) dedicated to smashing the crap out of each other. There are plenty of different game modes to sink your teeth into and even the online play isn’t all that bad, considering your actually expected to hit each other a few times in a race. Let fun commence!

Edcrab

True to my word I played Mass Effect 3 this week, and I’ll finish the Citadel DLC for next time, but for now I shall talk to you about… roguelikes!

Not since FTL have I played a sci-fi roguelike, so, uh, I guess it hasn’t actually been that long. But Sword of the Stars: The Pit (and proviso, I am not that familiar with the SotS setting) is a solid little offering. And the devs have already patched out my two main complaints, the lack of separate character save slots and the absence of mouse-control for targeting, which is a great start.

A turn based offering with a simple three attribute system and a few dozen skills, you take your character— either a Marine, Scout, or Engineer each specialising in Might, Finesse, or Brains respectively— down into the eponymous Pit, thirty floors of randomised alien weirdness, in a bid to save a surface colony from a nasty plague. There are doors to lockpick, machines to repair, computers to hack and, of course, massive hordes of monsters to kill: most of which wander towards you when you enter a new floor, rather than patiently waiting for you to come find them.

Being a roguelike, there is permadeath and random bullshit will irritate and annoy. But so far at least I’m yet to find an instadeath moment. Yes I’ve been brain damaged by unidentified chemicals, yes I’ve been mauled by half a dozen rats sitting beneath the manhole cover I climbed down through, but I’m yet to come across something that unexpectedly killed me outright. When I do die, it feels like it would’ve been avoidable, if only I’d made slightly different decisions in the lead up to that moment.

In related news, make sure you’ve got some armour-piercing weapons around because if you run out of ammo when there’s a goddamn Hopkinite about, it’s not fun. Floating little gits. Or chicken out and try it on Easy. Works for me!

Nick

tld

This week saw the unveiling of the first chapter of The Last Doora sinister horror from The Game Kitchen. Apparently this game was made entirely for me; being a Victorian era low resolution adventure game, it ticks pretty much every box on my excitement bingo-card.

Lying somewhere between Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, TLD tells a creepy tale of late 19th century England. Although the puzzles are simple, TLD seems concerned far more with developing an atmosphere than making me scratch my head in confusion, something I’m greatly appreciating with little spare time on my hands.

After playing Home back in September, I’m sold on the idea that low resolution games can achieve a great deal in the horror genre. When your brain has only a few pixels to play with, you’ve no choice but to fill in the blanks yourself. 

In other news,  work has resumed on Galaxy Prime. It’s a randomly generated rogue-like I’ve been working on for about a year with no end in sight, but I’ve just hit that wonderful threshold where it’s actually become fun to play. Think Sid Meier’s Pirates in space, but, you know, not very good.

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Good news crew, tonight we dine on space-calamari!
New Video Game Releases – April Schedule

New Video Game Releases – April Schedule

Welcome to The Reticule’s definitive roundup of gaming releases throughout April 2013. All release dates stated are for the EU, across all currently available platforms. Keep this page bookmarked for easy access, as we will link all previews and reviews when we post them on the site.

Still catching up with this months games? March’s release schedule can be found here.

2nd
Defiance
PC, PS3, Xbox 360

5th
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
PS3, Xbox 360

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
PS3, Xbox 360

Tai Chi Elements
PC

9th
Age of Empires II HD
PC

Age of Empires II 2 HD Steam Screenshot Release Date 9th April 5th

In Age of Empires II: HD Edition, fans of the original game and new players alike will fall in love with the classic Age of Empires II experience. Explore all the original single player campaigns from both Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, choose from 18 civilizations spanning over a thousand years of history, and head online to challenge other Steam players in your quest for world domination throughout the ages.

10th
ShootMania Storm
PC

12th
Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused?
3DS

15th
Secret Agent Files
3DS

19th
Injustice: Gods Among Us
PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360

Fire Emblem: Awakening
3DS

StarDrive
PC

Don’t Starve (First Impressions, Review)
PC

21st
LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins
3DS

24th
Monaco (Review)

26th
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
PS3, Xbox 360

Dragon's Dogma - Dark Arisen DLC Expansion Release Date April 26th Screenshot

Just off the Gransys mainland is the cursed Bitterblack Isle and it is here that gamers will discover an underground realm, complete with new terrifying foes to face and incredible treasure to find as they embark on an all new quest. Owners of the original Dragon’s Dogma will be able to export their existing characters and all other saved data, to continue their journey as the Arisen and face this new threat that has emerged from the cavernous depths. Players will be able to take their characters to new heights, with brand new high-level skills and augments as well as all new weapons and armour sets. For those that missed Dragon’s Dogma the first time around, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen provides the opportunity to start their journey from the very beginning before tackling the all new content.

Star Trek
PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Star Trek Screenshot Release Date 26th April Kirk Spok

Star Trek is expected to be a single-player action game with cooperative gameplay elements allowing two people to control Kirk and Spock. The two characters are intended to show different gameplay techniques, with Kirk being the more typical shooter while Spock has stealth techniques and can use both the Vulcan nerve pinch and mind meld. Each are armed with weapons to reflect their gameplay style, with Kirk armed with a phaser equipped with a stun setting, while Spock’s weapon is quieter and freezes enemies instead.

Dead Island Riptide
PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Dead Island Riptide Screenshot Release Date 26th April

They thought they had escaped the terrors of Banoi and survived the apocalypse on a corrupted paradise. Then their fate took a turn for the worse… The Dead Island heroes escaped in a helicopter to the safety of a military ship, but when a furious storm hits and the virus suddenly spreads throughout the crew, the nightmare starts all over again, leaving hope drowning in the rising tides.

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut
PS3