31 July 2018

Fantasy survival team-shooter sandbox Rend enters early access

Survival sandbox games aren’t exactly rare, but the Norse myth-themed Rend has my attention, thanks to its intriguing structure. Similar to Ark: Survival Evolved, players build, craft, level, fight (or tame) monsters and expand. The big difference here is that the players are split into three rival factions of a few dozen players online at time with an ultimate, server-resetting goal in sight. No getting ganked by random jerks here – you and your faction are in this boat together, and after watching some streamed gameplay (and asking the devs a few questions), this one is on my radar.

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Premature Evaluation – Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s getting hunted down by streamers in Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale. It’s a sci-fi FPS in a lovely alien theme park that also happens to be a massive murder arena full of angry supersoldiers.

Islands of Nyne bills itself as a battle royale for the competitive crowd – specifically the FPS lot – so as I hurtled into my first game, it felt a little bit like I was crashing a stranger’s party. The third-person, messy battle royales that are sprouting up everywhere leave a lot of room for luck and second chances, but Islands of Nyne is all about precision, speed and being shot in the head by a Twitch streamer. It’s been a struggle.

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Sea Of Thieves’s skellington-crewed Cursed Sails update is live

While aesthetically lovely, online swashbuckler Sea Of Thieves probably didn’t have enough meat on its bones at launch. Today’s update, Cursed Sails, is a bit paradoxical then – its roaming crews of evil skeleton sailors add a major new NPC threat to the oceans, just ironically without flesh. Adding a new time-limited quest, plus a goodly chunk of new things to see and do to the base game, and it’s live right now and free for all you scurvy sea-dogs.

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What makes an Overwatch MVP?

When the Overwatch League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award was handed to Jjonak of the New York Excelsior, no one was really surprised. His Zenyatta play has undoubtedly been immensely valuable; a key factor in New York’s impressive 34-6 win-loss ratio. The amount of damage he deals far outstrips every other Zenyatta player in the League, and often that of DPS players, too – all without neglecting his healing duties.

Nonetheless, the definition of “valuable” is a subjective one, and the accolade is a useful lens for thinking about what parts of the game and its culture we consider to be of value, and what parts we tend to dismiss or overlook. (more…)

Retro FPS rework Forsaken Remastered parties like it’s 1998 today

Descent-like hoverbike FPS Forsaken rides again today, remastered by Nightdive. A fascinating relic from an era of over-filtered textures and lurid coloured lighting, Forsaken Remastered takes the ‘6 degrees of freedom’ concept and makes it faster, louder and dumber. Fun, too, especially in its many messy multiplayer modes. While most of Nightdive’s remasters have been as authentic to the source material as possible, this one breaks from the norm, combining the remarkably different PC and N64 versions of the game into a single gestalt whole.

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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice added VR support today

“More than once during Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice I had to fight the urge to rip the headphones from my ears,” Samuel Horti wrote in his Hellblade review, noting that “as a portrayal of how harrowing it is to live with psychosis it undoubtedly succeeds.” Yeah yeah, but what if you could jam your eyeballs inside psychosis too? Now you may, as developers Ninja Theory today added official support for VR goggles for free. Even if cybergoggs did work with my peepers, I think I might steer clear of jacking into Celtic hallucinations. Though I spent much of last night hugging the toilet while drifting in and out of sleep, so perhaps I’ve already lived it.

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