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Found 36 results

  1. The sequel to the Russian cult classic has donned its plague mask and begun its final march toward release. Pathologic 2 gives players twelve days to explore its mysterious and creepy open world, a land stricken with a deadly disease. While the people who reside there have become ever more paranoid and prone to extreme reactions to newcomers, something about the outbreak seems to have attracted the attention of otherworldly entities. The society presented in-game will almost certainly collapse, leaving players to navigate its ruins. Do you look out for everyone you meet or blaze your own violent trail? Either way, one of the core tenants of Pathologic 2 is a simple phrase: You can't save everyone. There will be unwinnable challenges to face where every choice brings with it a bitter downside. A variety of mysteries invite players to investigate. Uncover why your father, the town's chief doctor, was murdered and who killed him. There's also someone who might possibly be your twin who seems to be mixed up in the outbreak somehow. And as the adults join gangs and begin spreading death in their own ways, the town's children seem to be acting strangely.... Developer Ice-Pick Lodge will be showing the alpha version of Pathologic 2 at PAX West at the end of the month to those who attend the show. If you're interested in trying the game for yourself, you can sign up for alpha participation on the game's website. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. The sequel to the Russian cult classic has donned its plague mask and begun its final march toward release. Pathologic 2 gives players twelve days to explore its mysterious and creepy open world, a land stricken with a deadly disease. While the people who reside there have become ever more paranoid and prone to extreme reactions to newcomers, something about the outbreak seems to have attracted the attention of otherworldly entities. The society presented in-game will almost certainly collapse, leaving players to navigate its ruins. Do you look out for everyone you meet or blaze your own violent trail? Either way, one of the core tenants of Pathologic 2 is a simple phrase: You can't save everyone. There will be unwinnable challenges to face where every choice brings with it a bitter downside. A variety of mysteries invite players to investigate. Uncover why your father, the town's chief doctor, was murdered and who killed him. There's also someone who might possibly be your twin who seems to be mixed up in the outbreak somehow. And as the adults join gangs and begin spreading death in their own ways, the town's children seem to be acting strangely.... Developer Ice-Pick Lodge will be showing the alpha version of Pathologic 2 at PAX West at the end of the month to those who attend the show. If you're interested in trying the game for yourself, you can sign up for alpha participation on the game's website. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Survival? In my zombie game? Wha- wha- whaaaaaaat? That's right, this week we are tackling State of Decay! Released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and since released on PC and Xbox One, State of Decay garnered a cult following over the years. Developer Undead Labs' created its first game with the goal of carving out a niche in the saturated zombie game market by adding permadeath, individual survival elements, and larger, group-oriented goals. How well did they succeed at doing this? And does the game as a whole stand as one of the best games of all-time? Take a listen and share your thoughts! Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Undeadline 'Marching Towards Roshufa's Spirit' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03475) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. Survival? In my zombie game? Wha- wha- whaaaaaaat? That's right, this week we are tackling State of Decay! Released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and since released on PC and Xbox One, State of Decay garnered a cult following over the years. Developer Undead Labs' created its first game with the goal of carving out a niche in the saturated zombie game market by adding permadeath, individual survival elements, and larger, group-oriented goals. How well did they succeed at doing this? And does the game as a whole stand as one of the best games of all-time? Take a listen and share your thoughts! Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Undeadline 'Marching Towards Roshufa's Spirit' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03475) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. We Happy Few turned a lot of heads when it debuted in 2015. Its intriguing premise of a drug-fueled utopia, combined with the Bioshock-esque presentation and gameplay, gave the impression of narrative-focused shooter on-par with Ken Levine’s work. That excitement turned to disappointment when the game’s multiplayer entered early beta in 2016. Even though developer Compulsion Games promised a single-player component from the beginning, an off-put player base didn’t react kindly to this first offering. They weren’t alone. My own enthusiasm for We Happy Few waned significantly in light of this direction. Fast-forward months later, and Compulsion has found a publisher in Gearbox Software. The financial backing of a triple-A publisher has allowed the developer to expand the project’s scope–particularly its single-player. After spending an hour with We Happy Few’s revamped story campaign, I can confidently say that it feels like the experience people wanted from the get-go. On a personal note, I fell in love with the project all over again. To quickly recap the game’s premise, We Happy Few takes place in the retrofuturistic city of Wellington Wells. Set in an alternate 1960’s Britain, citizens live their lives constantly hopped up on a drug called Joy. As the name suggests, the drug basically brainwashes them into a creepy, forced happiness, causing hallucinations and general insanity. Those who don’t take their Joy get labeled as Downers, and become exiled as enemies. The demo I played picked up immediately after the conclusion of the game’s E3 2016 trailer. Protagonist Arthur Hastings, a newspaper censor, (and one of three available characters) was outed as a Downer and narrowly evaded capture by the authorities. We last saw him enter the sewers where I continued his escape. I immediately felt the Bioshock vibes, from the quirky writing (though We Happy Few leans harder into black comedy territory) to the the exaggerated characters. Logs and books filling in the world’s lore littered environments for the player’s reading pleasure. Every piece of furniture, as well as bodies, can be searched for supplies. And search for supplies you should because We Happy Few focuses heavily on crafting and survival. Food, medical supplies, tools, and even clothing must be whipped up using random parts. Additionally, players can discover blueprints to make other items. As someone who enjoys picking up junk to create not-junk, I felt that unexplainable but familiar satisfaction of hoarding everything in sight and got excited for every new blueprint. Player’s maintain Arthur’s hunger and thirst by devouring food and water. Most of the food I found barely qualified as edible, so I needed to craft food poisoning remedies to keep on hand at all times. Maintaining Arthur’s statuses seemed like a potential burden, but these meters depleted slowly. I also frequently found food (albeit decayed), which left me to enjoy myself without stopping every few minutes to stuff Arthur’s face. The map’s enormous scale stood out as I roamed the scenic British countryside. In fact, my lengthy trek only uncovered a relatively small portion of it. Furthermore, the area I occupied only represented one of around five or six zones players explore. Needless to say, We Happy Few seems poised to offer plenty of game to across its roughly 20 hour campaign. A huge world needs plenty of side activities. We Happy Few features traditional NPC side-quests as well as extra objectives. I found maps that revealed dig spots where I unearthed buried treasure. Discovering certain ingredients opened up crafting quests which essentially acted as tutorials for assembling a new recipe. It remains to be seen just how much We Happy Few has to offer outside of the critical path, but the diversions I found left me feeling optimistic on that front. I eventually reached my objective: a dilapidated, poverty-stricken town. Its population appeared to consist of sullen Wellington Wells outcasts. Since they resented their former home, they didn’t take kindly to Arthur’s fancy city garb and proceeded to band together and give chase. I fled into a nearby church. Inside, I met a character recommending I tear up my clothing to appear more downtrodden. Blending into the surroundings is another crucial element of We Happy Few. That could involve posing as a exile on the outside or maintaining the illusion of Joy-fueled cheerfulness within Wellington Wells. After crafting a crappier version of my outfit, I stepped outside to greet the unruly mob. Upon noticing my new digs, they instantly shrugged and dissipated in a somewhat comedic moment. I could now freely explore the town. Citizen interactions have an Elder Scrolls-like flavor. For example, intruding into homes uninvited or getting caught stealing possessions can cause residents to violently retaliate. Now that I’ve successfully assimilated myself into the local populace, crossing a bridge to reach the next region became my next goal. I reached the gentleman guarding the bridge gate; however, it turned out a local gang swiped his precious war medals and he wouldn’t let me pass until I recovered them. Furthermore, I also needed to find a necessary power cell. To recover the medals, I had to locate and infiltrate the gang’s stronghold. Despite sneaking through a back opening undetected (one of multiple routes), the gang were prepared for intruders all along and captured me when I rode their elevator. The reason behind their setup: to lure potential competitors to battle to the death in their popular fighting arena. After stripping me of my belongings, the thugs led me into their battlefield. I met my opponent: a former associate of Arthur’s who blamed him for not publishing one of his articles in the newspaper. Arthur explained that the man’s piece blatantly plagiarized Arthur’s own work, but the man still swore revenge in a humorous exchange. I had the option of choosing to use non-lethal or deadly force. I went with the non-fatal pipe wrapped in padding. My adversary swiftly opted for a deadlier weapon, much to Arthur’s chagrin. Despite having this choice, We Happy Few doesn’t feature a morality mechanic. When I asked Compulsion’s Narrative Director Alex Epstein about this, he told me he’d rather players feel the consequences themselves rather than gamify it. Judging by this response, I wouldn't expect any horns to sprout on Arthur's head if you opt for a bloodier approach. Combat resembled the style of BioShock or Dishonored. The right shoulder button initiated attacks while the left shoulder button blocked. Players can also perform a guard-breaking shove. Picking up downed bodies and hurling them at opponents became my favorite offensive move for its silliness. After incapacitating the writer, more enemies entered the fray. I found it easy to drop foes by backing them into a corner and wailing on them, though I had to remain mindful of Arthur’s stamina meter. After finally beating my challengers, the gang allowed me to walk free, but I had no intention of leaving without accomplishing my mission. I snuck my way into the underbelly of the hideout. Navigating unseen, I creeped up behind unsuspecting foes and choked them out. To distract others, I lobbed glass bottles. These mechanics won’t surprise stealth fans, but players can access more abilities by unlocking them in the skill tree. I eventually found the gatekeeper’s medals, along with a power cell and my stolen inventory, and chose to escape without making a ruckus. After returning the medals to the grateful veteran, I passed through the gate and took a train to the next area. Unfortunately, I had to end things there before I could see what lay ahead. Had I not had to hoof it to another appointment, I’d have gladly kept playing. We Happy Few’s strange world begs to be explored, and I got hooked on gathering as many resources to make Arthur as capable as possible. With a world this large, We Happy Few will live or die based on the number of interesting things to do. Ultimately, I’m relieved to have substantial single-player component to sink my teeth into as the idea of the multiplayer doesn’t excite me in the same way. The wait for We Happy Few won’t last much longer, thankfully. It launches August 10 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  6. Marcus Stewart

    We Happy Few's E3 Demo Made Me A Believer Again

    We Happy Few turned a lot of heads when it debuted in 2015. Its intriguing premise of a drug-fueled utopia, combined with the Bioshock-esque presentation and gameplay, gave the impression of narrative-focused shooter on-par with Ken Levine’s work. That excitement turned to disappointment when the game’s multiplayer entered early beta in 2016. Even though developer Compulsion Games promised a single-player component from the beginning, an off-put player base didn’t react kindly to this first offering. They weren’t alone. My own enthusiasm for We Happy Few waned significantly in light of this direction. Fast-forward months later, and Compulsion has found a publisher in Gearbox Software. The financial backing of a triple-A publisher has allowed the developer to expand the project’s scope–particularly its single-player. After spending an hour with We Happy Few’s revamped story campaign, I can confidently say that it feels like the experience people wanted from the get-go. On a personal note, I fell in love with the project all over again. To quickly recap the game’s premise, We Happy Few takes place in the retrofuturistic city of Wellington Wells. Set in an alternate 1960’s Britain, citizens live their lives constantly hopped up on a drug called Joy. As the name suggests, the drug basically brainwashes them into a creepy, forced happiness, causing hallucinations and general insanity. Those who don’t take their Joy get labeled as Downers, and become exiled as enemies. The demo I played picked up immediately after the conclusion of the game’s E3 2016 trailer. Protagonist Arthur Hastings, a newspaper censor, (and one of three available characters) was outed as a Downer and narrowly evaded capture by the authorities. We last saw him enter the sewers where I continued his escape. I immediately felt the Bioshock vibes, from the quirky writing (though We Happy Few leans harder into black comedy territory) to the the exaggerated characters. Logs and books filling in the world’s lore littered environments for the player’s reading pleasure. Every piece of furniture, as well as bodies, can be searched for supplies. And search for supplies you should because We Happy Few focuses heavily on crafting and survival. Food, medical supplies, tools, and even clothing must be whipped up using random parts. Additionally, players can discover blueprints to make other items. As someone who enjoys picking up junk to create not-junk, I felt that unexplainable but familiar satisfaction of hoarding everything in sight and got excited for every new blueprint. Player’s maintain Arthur’s hunger and thirst by devouring food and water. Most of the food I found barely qualified as edible, so I needed to craft food poisoning remedies to keep on hand at all times. Maintaining Arthur’s statuses seemed like a potential burden, but these meters depleted slowly. I also frequently found food (albeit decayed), which left me to enjoy myself without stopping every few minutes to stuff Arthur’s face. The map’s enormous scale stood out as I roamed the scenic British countryside. In fact, my lengthy trek only uncovered a relatively small portion of it. Furthermore, the area I occupied only represented one of around five or six zones players explore. Needless to say, We Happy Few seems poised to offer plenty of game to across its roughly 20 hour campaign. A huge world needs plenty of side activities. We Happy Few features traditional NPC side-quests as well as extra objectives. I found maps that revealed dig spots where I unearthed buried treasure. Discovering certain ingredients opened up crafting quests which essentially acted as tutorials for assembling a new recipe. It remains to be seen just how much We Happy Few has to offer outside of the critical path, but the diversions I found left me feeling optimistic on that front. I eventually reached my objective: a dilapidated, poverty-stricken town. Its population appeared to consist of sullen Wellington Wells outcasts. Since they resented their former home, they didn’t take kindly to Arthur’s fancy city garb and proceeded to band together and give chase. I fled into a nearby church. Inside, I met a character recommending I tear up my clothing to appear more downtrodden. Blending into the surroundings is another crucial element of We Happy Few. That could involve posing as a exile on the outside or maintaining the illusion of Joy-fueled cheerfulness within Wellington Wells. After crafting a crappier version of my outfit, I stepped outside to greet the unruly mob. Upon noticing my new digs, they instantly shrugged and dissipated in a somewhat comedic moment. I could now freely explore the town. Citizen interactions have an Elder Scrolls-like flavor. For example, intruding into homes uninvited or getting caught stealing possessions can cause residents to violently retaliate. Now that I’ve successfully assimilated myself into the local populace, crossing a bridge to reach the next region became my next goal. I reached the gentleman guarding the bridge gate; however, it turned out a local gang swiped his precious war medals and he wouldn’t let me pass until I recovered them. Furthermore, I also needed to find a necessary power cell. To recover the medals, I had to locate and infiltrate the gang’s stronghold. Despite sneaking through a back opening undetected (one of multiple routes), the gang were prepared for intruders all along and captured me when I rode their elevator. The reason behind their setup: to lure potential competitors to battle to the death in their popular fighting arena. After stripping me of my belongings, the thugs led me into their battlefield. I met my opponent: a former associate of Arthur’s who blamed him for not publishing one of his articles in the newspaper. Arthur explained that the man’s piece blatantly plagiarized Arthur’s own work, but the man still swore revenge in a humorous exchange. I had the option of choosing to use non-lethal or deadly force. I went with the non-fatal pipe wrapped in padding. My adversary swiftly opted for a deadlier weapon, much to Arthur’s chagrin. Despite having this choice, We Happy Few doesn’t feature a morality mechanic. When I asked Compulsion’s Narrative Director Alex Epstein about this, he told me he’d rather players feel the consequences themselves rather than gamify it. Judging by this response, I wouldn't expect any horns to sprout on Arthur's head if you opt for a bloodier approach. Combat resembled the style of BioShock or Dishonored. The right shoulder button initiated attacks while the left shoulder button blocked. Players can also perform a guard-breaking shove. Picking up downed bodies and hurling them at opponents became my favorite offensive move for its silliness. After incapacitating the writer, more enemies entered the fray. I found it easy to drop foes by backing them into a corner and wailing on them, though I had to remain mindful of Arthur’s stamina meter. After finally beating my challengers, the gang allowed me to walk free, but I had no intention of leaving without accomplishing my mission. I snuck my way into the underbelly of the hideout. Navigating unseen, I creeped up behind unsuspecting foes and choked them out. To distract others, I lobbed glass bottles. These mechanics won’t surprise stealth fans, but players can access more abilities by unlocking them in the skill tree. I eventually found the gatekeeper’s medals, along with a power cell and my stolen inventory, and chose to escape without making a ruckus. After returning the medals to the grateful veteran, I passed through the gate and took a train to the next area. Unfortunately, I had to end things there before I could see what lay ahead. Had I not had to hoof it to another appointment, I’d have gladly kept playing. We Happy Few’s strange world begs to be explored, and I got hooked on gathering as many resources to make Arthur as capable as possible. With a world this large, We Happy Few will live or die based on the number of interesting things to do. Ultimately, I’m relieved to have substantial single-player component to sink my teeth into as the idea of the multiplayer doesn’t excite me in the same way. The wait for We Happy Few won’t last much longer, thankfully. It launches August 10 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. Jack Gardner

    The Best Games Period - Episode 97 - Minecraft

    Minecraft officially released back in 2011 and has since been taking the world by storm. You can now find Minecraft action figures, movies, several alternate versions of the game built as educational tools, and more that have forged a media empire based on that one game alone. In 2014, only three years after Minecraft's official launch, that empire had grown into a property worth billions of dollars. Microsoft approached the owner of Mojang, Minecraft's development studio, and bought the studio and its intellectual property for $2.5 billion. Boasting a bevy of free updates, narrative-based spin-offs, and a thriving community of players and content creators who continue to delve into its intricacies, Minecraft continues to be one of the most popular games in the world. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Minecraft 'Squishy's Theme' by The Orichalcon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02327) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  8. Minecraft officially released back in 2011 and has since been taking the world by storm. You can now find Minecraft action figures, movies, several alternate versions of the game built as educational tools, and more that have forged a media empire based on that one game alone. In 2014, only three years after Minecraft's official launch, that empire had grown into a property worth billions of dollars. Microsoft approached the owner of Mojang, Minecraft's development studio, and bought the studio and its intellectual property for $2.5 billion. Boasting a bevy of free updates, narrative-based spin-offs, and a thriving community of players and content creators who continue to delve into its intricacies, Minecraft continues to be one of the most popular games in the world. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Minecraft 'Squishy's Theme' by The Orichalcon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02327) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  9. Jack Gardner

    Review: The Forest

    Armed with nothing more than an axe, a few cans of soda, and a paltry supply of medicine, I step out into a new world filled with beauty and horror in equal measure. The island I've found myself stranded on holds glistening ponds rife with exotic fish, fields in which rabbits and squirrels frolic together alongside giant lizards. Crocodiles swim in the lakes and deer cavort in the thickets of the woods. In many ways, this island seems a paradise; that is, until the sun sets and human horrors emerge from the earth. In The Forest, Endnight Games has carefully crafted a vibrant ecosystem in which players become disruptive interlopers and slowly descend, both figuratively and literally, into madness. Players take on the role of Eric Leblanc as he flies on a plane with his son, Timmy, to an unnamed destination. The airplane seems to hit turbulence in the opening scene before crashing violently onto a remote island. As Eric struggles to maintain consciousness, a strange human painted red wades into the wreckage and takes Timmy away. When Eric finally awakens, all he has are the supplies he can scavenge from the plane and its deceased occupants and his will to survive and find Timmy. The Forest becomes a game about survival and discovery after those initial opening minutes. Finding good places to set up camp, creating defensible positions, and developing sustainable ways of harvesting food and water are the absolute priority. To do all of that, players will need to master the crafting system to create structures, upgrades to their gear, and even entirely new pieces of equipment. It might also require some trial and error, as those opening days can be quite risky for a novice player. The biggest danger in The Forest comes at night. You see, for as idyllic and peaceful as the island can seem during the day, it's actually home to several groups of cannibals. They aren't automatically hostile at first, but with time their attitude will shift. This shift happens sooner if the player begins attacking them, building large structures, obstructing their patrol paths, or journeying into their underground catacombs. Once the cannibals become hostile, The Forest slowly ramps up the frequency and strength of their attacks. Players will need to turn to devious traps and fort layouts to keep themselves safe - but always remember that safety is relative in The Forest. As attacks become more potent, players will begin encountering a wider variety of cannibals, like ones that throw Molotov cocktails that can leave a base in flames or bombs that are capable of blowing a hole through your defensive walls. However, cannibals are not the worst thing that can crawl up into the surface world. Nightmarish conglomerations of limbs and heads occasionally roam the wild and catching their attention can prove to be incredibly deadly for the unprepared player. These behemoths can plow through defenses and traps with ease, leaving your carefully constructed bases in tatters. Even worse, they represent the primary threats once players have explored enough of the overworld and begin spelunking into the dark caverns that delve deep into the earth for treasure and resources. The possible treasures that await in the depths of The Forest's caves are certainly worth the risk. Improved axes, components to build explosives, hints at the history of the island and the origins of its twisted population, and gear that enables further exploration of caves can only be found by exploring the various nooks and crannies the cannibals have filled with their trophies and victims. The Forest does something interesting with its pacing and story. It initially hits hard with the horror of cannibalism on full display. Cannibals feast on their downed comrades, their caves and settlements hang bisected bodies and limbs everywhere, and they'll even build horrific displays in the night to mark their territory. However, over time, The Forest pulls a fantastically creepy and insidious slight-of-hand trick: These scenes gradually become mundane, normal - and there's always the option to fall into similar practices. Players can also turn to cannibalism and create effigies to mark their territory, blurring the line between the player and the monsters. Arming players with the ability to participate in cannibalism poses interesting moral questions: How far are you willing to go to survive? Have you really survived if you have abandoned the things that make you human? These questions tie in nicely with The Forest's climax which asks the player how far they have fallen from where they were when the game began. What sacrifice are you willing to make for something you see as yours? The Forest can be tackled solo or in a group with up to eight people playing simultaneously. The solo or duo experience seems more suited to players who value the survival horror experience and are looking for a more focused game. Playing with more than one other person lowers the tension while diving into caves or getting into scraps with groups of cannibals. However, it also makes building large settlements a more attainable goal. I'd encourage everyone to try both modes of play to see what suits their personal tastes best. After four years in Steam's Early Access program, The Forest finally looks great in an optimized state. The lighting effects as the day slowly cycles to night are especially great. Lighting in extreme darkness becomes a major hurdle since, oddly, being in the dark makes it difficult to see. There's no way around this by being crafty with the lighting settings; players simply have to make do with whatever light sources they can find. The all too real danger posed by darkness serves to make plunging into foreboding caves that much more frightening. It also highlights Endnight's impressive use of sound to convey the feel of locations, whether that's the creaking of trees in the woods, the drip of water in damp caves, or the maddened shriek of a blood-crazed creature in the woods calling for reinforcements. Conclusion: Going into The Forest blind and discovering the scope of its world, crafting system, and secrets was a really enjoyable ride through a new entry in the survival horror genre. It manages to toe the line between enjoyable building sim and the horror of monsters lurking in the dark. The story on its own isn't terribly interesting save for an impressive twist leading up to the end that might have been better served with more integration to the wider game. However, the mechanics and presentation of the game tell a story all their own that makes the core narrative stronger by association. At a mere $20, The Forest is a huge steal. I spent over 60 hours in it until I reached the end of the story, but I plan on diving back in with some friends to see what kinds of crazy contraptions and bases we can build in the dangerous wilds. The Forest is currently available for PC and is rumored to have a PlayStation 4 port on the way).
  10. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: The Forest

    Armed with nothing more than an axe, a few cans of soda, and a paltry supply of medicine, I step out into a new world filled with beauty and horror in equal measure. The island I've found myself stranded on holds glistening ponds rife with exotic fish, fields in which rabbits and squirrels frolic together alongside giant lizards. Crocodiles swim in the lakes and deer cavort in the thickets of the woods. In many ways, this island seems a paradise; that is, until the sun sets and human horrors emerge from the earth. In The Forest, Endnight Games has carefully crafted a vibrant ecosystem in which players become disruptive interlopers and slowly descend, both figuratively and literally, into madness. Players take on the role of Eric Leblanc as he flies on a plane with his son, Timmy, to an unnamed destination. The airplane seems to hit turbulence in the opening scene before crashing violently onto a remote island. As Eric struggles to maintain consciousness, a strange human painted red wades into the wreckage and takes Timmy away. When Eric finally awakens, all he has are the supplies he can scavenge from the plane and its deceased occupants and his will to survive and find Timmy. The Forest becomes a game about survival and discovery after those initial opening minutes. Finding good places to set up camp, creating defensible positions, and developing sustainable ways of harvesting food and water are the absolute priority. To do all of that, players will need to master the crafting system to create structures, upgrades to their gear, and even entirely new pieces of equipment. It might also require some trial and error, as those opening days can be quite risky for a novice player. The biggest danger in The Forest comes at night. You see, for as idyllic and peaceful as the island can seem during the day, it's actually home to several groups of cannibals. They aren't automatically hostile at first, but with time their attitude will shift. This shift happens sooner if the player begins attacking them, building large structures, obstructing their patrol paths, or journeying into their underground catacombs. Once the cannibals become hostile, The Forest slowly ramps up the frequency and strength of their attacks. Players will need to turn to devious traps and fort layouts to keep themselves safe - but always remember that safety is relative in The Forest. As attacks become more potent, players will begin encountering a wider variety of cannibals, like ones that throw Molotov cocktails that can leave a base in flames or bombs that are capable of blowing a hole through your defensive walls. However, cannibals are not the worst thing that can crawl up into the surface world. Nightmarish conglomerations of limbs and heads occasionally roam the wild and catching their attention can prove to be incredibly deadly for the unprepared player. These behemoths can plow through defenses and traps with ease, leaving your carefully constructed bases in tatters. Even worse, they represent the primary threats once players have explored enough of the overworld and begin spelunking into the dark caverns that delve deep into the earth for treasure and resources. The possible treasures that await in the depths of The Forest's caves are certainly worth the risk. Improved axes, components to build explosives, hints at the history of the island and the origins of its twisted population, and gear that enables further exploration of caves can only be found by exploring the various nooks and crannies the cannibals have filled with their trophies and victims. The Forest does something interesting with its pacing and story. It initially hits hard with the horror of cannibalism on full display. Cannibals feast on their downed comrades, their caves and settlements hang bisected bodies and limbs everywhere, and they'll even build horrific displays in the night to mark their territory. However, over time, The Forest pulls a fantastically creepy and insidious slight-of-hand trick: These scenes gradually become mundane, normal - and there's always the option to fall into similar practices. Players can also turn to cannibalism and create effigies to mark their territory, blurring the line between the player and the monsters. Arming players with the ability to participate in cannibalism poses interesting moral questions: How far are you willing to go to survive? Have you really survived if you have abandoned the things that make you human? These questions tie in nicely with The Forest's climax which asks the player how far they have fallen from where they were when the game began. What sacrifice are you willing to make for something you see as yours? The Forest can be tackled solo or in a group with up to eight people playing simultaneously. The solo or duo experience seems more suited to players who value the survival horror experience and are looking for a more focused game. Playing with more than one other person lowers the tension while diving into caves or getting into scraps with groups of cannibals. However, it also makes building large settlements a more attainable goal. I'd encourage everyone to try both modes of play to see what suits their personal tastes best. After four years in Steam's Early Access program, The Forest finally looks great in an optimized state. The lighting effects as the day slowly cycles to night are especially great. Lighting in extreme darkness becomes a major hurdle since, oddly, being in the dark makes it difficult to see. There's no way around this by being crafty with the lighting settings; players simply have to make do with whatever light sources they can find. The all too real danger posed by darkness serves to make plunging into foreboding caves that much more frightening. It also highlights Endnight's impressive use of sound to convey the feel of locations, whether that's the creaking of trees in the woods, the drip of water in damp caves, or the maddened shriek of a blood-crazed creature in the woods calling for reinforcements. Conclusion: Going into The Forest blind and discovering the scope of its world, crafting system, and secrets was a really enjoyable ride through a new entry in the survival horror genre. It manages to toe the line between enjoyable building sim and the horror of monsters lurking in the dark. The story on its own isn't terribly interesting save for an impressive twist leading up to the end that might have been better served with more integration to the wider game. However, the mechanics and presentation of the game tell a story all their own that makes the core narrative stronger by association. At a mere $20, The Forest is a huge steal. I spent over 60 hours in it until I reached the end of the story, but I plan on diving back in with some friends to see what kinds of crazy contraptions and bases we can build in the dangerous wilds. The Forest is currently available for PC and is rumored to have a PlayStation 4 port on the way). View full article
  11. Composed of industry veterans with experience working on Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo, Midwinter Entertainment has announced their first game: Scavengers. Scavengers can best be summed up as a survival game mixed with a shooter that has elements of team-based PvP mixed with PvE. Midwinter has dubbed their unique take on cooperative competition "co-opetition." Teams of players will be thrust into a starkly beautiful post-apocalyptic world that has fallen to a new ice age and they will have to battle other teams of scavengers as well as the hostile wildlife that roams the planet. In the aftermath of the mysterious cataclysm that ended the old world, a disease has been unleashed that mutates whatever life-form it touches. The general presentation of the announcement reminded me very much of John Carpenter's The Thing, but flung far into the future. Animals have tentacles, alien deformities, and they seem to be bent on attacking humans and spreading the plague. The snowy landscapes are just the icing on the Carpenter cake. Midwinter indicated that Scavengers presented a technical challenge. It's large, open-world environment might seem daunting, especially in a game that will supposedly support multiple teams of players battling in the same space against each other and AI enemies. They pointed to a new tech called SpatialOS that will enable them to build up the world and online infrastructure. Different parts of the game will be supported by different servers all running concurrently, specializing in different aspects. Scavengers seems to be a really ambitious game made by some really talented folks. No release dates, windows, or platforms were given, but Midwinter certainly seems to have an interesting concept on their hands. View full article
  12. Composed of industry veterans with experience working on Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo, Midwinter Entertainment has announced their first game: Scavengers. Scavengers can best be summed up as a survival game mixed with a shooter that has elements of team-based PvP mixed with PvE. Midwinter has dubbed their unique take on cooperative competition "co-opetition." Teams of players will be thrust into a starkly beautiful post-apocalyptic world that has fallen to a new ice age and they will have to battle other teams of scavengers as well as the hostile wildlife that roams the planet. In the aftermath of the mysterious cataclysm that ended the old world, a disease has been unleashed that mutates whatever life-form it touches. The general presentation of the announcement reminded me very much of John Carpenter's The Thing, but flung far into the future. Animals have tentacles, alien deformities, and they seem to be bent on attacking humans and spreading the plague. The snowy landscapes are just the icing on the Carpenter cake. Midwinter indicated that Scavengers presented a technical challenge. It's large, open-world environment might seem daunting, especially in a game that will supposedly support multiple teams of players battling in the same space against each other and AI enemies. They pointed to a new tech called SpatialOS that will enable them to build up the world and online infrastructure. Different parts of the game will be supported by different servers all running concurrently, specializing in different aspects. Scavengers seems to be a really ambitious game made by some really talented folks. No release dates, windows, or platforms were given, but Midwinter certainly seems to have an interesting concept on their hands.
  13. The Long Dark presents players with an existential apocalypse and tasks them with surviving the wild in the face of an unending winter. Originally a Kickstarter project, The Long Dark has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2013. Launched in 2014 as an Early Access title, the team at Hinterland has patiently improved and updated their studio's premier title up to and beyond its official release in 2017. The Long Dark still lacks its entire single-player campaign with two episodes of its five episode story mode released to date. That being said, it stands unique among the most prominent survival titles with its focus squarely on survival, stripping many of the distractions away from the gameplay and pitting players on an inexorable collision course with death. With such a long and transparent development process, there seems to be a wide range of opinions on The Long Dark. Can it stand as one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 'All I Want for Christmas Is Grandma's Sweet Elixir Soup' by Ridiculously Garrett (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03696) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod You can follow Naomi on Twitter @NaomiNLugo where you can find her thoughts on Final Fantasy XV, the live-action adaptations of Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist, and her work. You can also find her work on Extra Life (that's here!) and Twin Cities Geek! New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  14. The Long Dark presents players with an existential apocalypse and tasks them with surviving the wild in the face of an unending winter. Originally a Kickstarter project, The Long Dark has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2013. Launched in 2014 as an Early Access title, the team at Hinterland has patiently improved and updated their studio's premier title up to and beyond its official release in 2017. The Long Dark still lacks its entire single-player campaign with two episodes of its five episode story mode released to date. That being said, it stands unique among the most prominent survival titles with its focus squarely on survival, stripping many of the distractions away from the gameplay and pitting players on an inexorable collision course with death. With such a long and transparent development process, there seems to be a wide range of opinions on The Long Dark. Can it stand as one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 'All I Want for Christmas Is Grandma's Sweet Elixir Soup' by Ridiculously Garrett (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03696) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod You can follow Naomi on Twitter @NaomiNLugo where you can find her thoughts on Final Fantasy XV, the live-action adaptations of Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist, and her work. You can also find her work on Extra Life (that's here!) and Twin Cities Geek! New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  15. You might not remember much about Kursk, an adventure game announced two years ago. Jujubee, the studio developing it, has been largely silent about the project after the reveal generated a considerable amount of criticism for its focus on the tragic sinking of the titular submarine in 2000, which resulted in the loss of all 118 sailors. The studio responded to those criticizing Kursk with the following statement: We would like to clarify a few things about our upcoming game "KURSK", because we see that there are some concerns. We are fully aware that this tragedy was a very painful topic for the Russian society and we can assure you that the game will be made with all the respect. There are many movies and books about current, very often painful events and we feel that games are now also a form of art and that the time has come for our industry to talk about serious and real topics. "KURSK" will be a game for the mature audience that can appreciate a deep storyline and our main goal is to do it right, without offending anyone. We hope that the final game will put all concerns to rest and that players will realize how much bravery it takes to live and work on a submarine. Many critics remained unconvinced, however, which may explain why the studio has been silent for two years. But now they're back with more information on their secretive project. Their announcement dubs Kursk the first "adventure-documentary game" in the history of video games. The claim that Kursk will be the first game ever to focus on a historical event is inaccurate, but Jujubee does seem to be aiming for historical accuracy with some embellishments. The additional details about Kursk's storyline reveal that it focuses on a character who didn't exist. Kursk will put players into the shoes of a fictional spy tasked with obtaining information on the Shkval supercavitating torpedoes, real torpedoes that the governments of the world had taken a keen interest in around the time of the incident. Players will be able to explore the submarine, Moscow, and the town of Vidyayevo, all locations which played pivotal roles in the lead up to the tragedy. Jujubee has implemented a variety of mechanics throughout the game to help bolster its narrative and help it stand out from what it sees as more conventional, repetitive games. Kursk's expected length sits at about ten hours. Michał Stępień, CEO at Jujubee, expressed his belief that Kursk would be a complex, nuanced story that would leave people better educated about the event and honor those who lost their lives saying: We think that the time has come to tell true stories. It’s fascinating how much our industry has evolved over the last dozen or so years. Games are becoming more and more complex, they offer an incredible audiovisual experience and let us immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but we should expect something more from them. As developers, we realize how much time users spend with our products, but we often fail to remember the responsibility connected to it. We can make games something more than just exciting entertainment. Games can become a tool not unlike books or films. They can help us develop, educate us, broaden our horizons, and provoke discussions that go far beyond the world of video games. We believe that KURSK will be precisely that kind of creation. It’s a game that brings the Russian submarine crew’s tragic story to the fore while maintaining all the advantages of sandbox gameplay. We’d like players not only to feel an integral part of the world we’re creating, but also to be inspired by the facts of this fascinating, if not dramatic story. The game will look at the story of the Kursk in a very comprehensive way. We aim for realism and as much immersion as possible. The player will not only have the opportunity to feel like a member of a submarine crew, but they will also be able to influence the story through their choices, including moral ones. The decisions they make will have a significant impact on the ending of the game, and there’ll be several of them Following the release of Kursk later this year, Jujubee has announced two expansions for the game. The first will be titled Kengir and will detail the events of the Kengir labor camp uprising in 1954 and the escape of one of the prisoners held there. The choice of subject matter for the DLC shows that Jujubee will not be shying away from potentially touchy topics going forward. The second DLC brings VR support in 4K and beyond. Kursk has no set release date, but it will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2018. View full article
  16. Jack Gardner

    Kursk Resurfaces for Release This Year

    You might not remember much about Kursk, an adventure game announced two years ago. Jujubee, the studio developing it, has been largely silent about the project after the reveal generated a considerable amount of criticism for its focus on the tragic sinking of the titular submarine in 2000, which resulted in the loss of all 118 sailors. The studio responded to those criticizing Kursk with the following statement: We would like to clarify a few things about our upcoming game "KURSK", because we see that there are some concerns. We are fully aware that this tragedy was a very painful topic for the Russian society and we can assure you that the game will be made with all the respect. There are many movies and books about current, very often painful events and we feel that games are now also a form of art and that the time has come for our industry to talk about serious and real topics. "KURSK" will be a game for the mature audience that can appreciate a deep storyline and our main goal is to do it right, without offending anyone. We hope that the final game will put all concerns to rest and that players will realize how much bravery it takes to live and work on a submarine. Many critics remained unconvinced, however, which may explain why the studio has been silent for two years. But now they're back with more information on their secretive project. Their announcement dubs Kursk the first "adventure-documentary game" in the history of video games. The claim that Kursk will be the first game ever to focus on a historical event is inaccurate, but Jujubee does seem to be aiming for historical accuracy with some embellishments. The additional details about Kursk's storyline reveal that it focuses on a character who didn't exist. Kursk will put players into the shoes of a fictional spy tasked with obtaining information on the Shkval supercavitating torpedoes, real torpedoes that the governments of the world had taken a keen interest in around the time of the incident. Players will be able to explore the submarine, Moscow, and the town of Vidyayevo, all locations which played pivotal roles in the lead up to the tragedy. Jujubee has implemented a variety of mechanics throughout the game to help bolster its narrative and help it stand out from what it sees as more conventional, repetitive games. Kursk's expected length sits at about ten hours. Michał Stępień, CEO at Jujubee, expressed his belief that Kursk would be a complex, nuanced story that would leave people better educated about the event and honor those who lost their lives saying: We think that the time has come to tell true stories. It’s fascinating how much our industry has evolved over the last dozen or so years. Games are becoming more and more complex, they offer an incredible audiovisual experience and let us immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but we should expect something more from them. As developers, we realize how much time users spend with our products, but we often fail to remember the responsibility connected to it. We can make games something more than just exciting entertainment. Games can become a tool not unlike books or films. They can help us develop, educate us, broaden our horizons, and provoke discussions that go far beyond the world of video games. We believe that KURSK will be precisely that kind of creation. It’s a game that brings the Russian submarine crew’s tragic story to the fore while maintaining all the advantages of sandbox gameplay. We’d like players not only to feel an integral part of the world we’re creating, but also to be inspired by the facts of this fascinating, if not dramatic story. The game will look at the story of the Kursk in a very comprehensive way. We aim for realism and as much immersion as possible. The player will not only have the opportunity to feel like a member of a submarine crew, but they will also be able to influence the story through their choices, including moral ones. The decisions they make will have a significant impact on the ending of the game, and there’ll be several of them Following the release of Kursk later this year, Jujubee has announced two expansions for the game. The first will be titled Kengir and will detail the events of the Kengir labor camp uprising in 1954 and the escape of one of the prisoners held there. The choice of subject matter for the DLC shows that Jujubee will not be shying away from potentially touchy topics going forward. The second DLC brings VR support in 4K and beyond. Kursk has no set release date, but it will be releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2018.
  17. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC. View full article
  18. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC.
  19. Just three years ago, This War of Mine released on PC to relate the experience of civilians struggling to survive in the midst of war. The indie game developed by 11 bit studios has continued to receive support over the years in the form of translations and expansions. However, 11 bit has undertaken a new effort to bring life back to their dramatic survival title. The initiative, called This War of Mine Stories, aims to bring a number of narrative adventures to life. Father's Promise will be the first of these DLC expansions. It uses the framework of This War of Mine to weave the compelling tale of Adam, a man trying to protect his daughter and escape from their war-torn city. 11 bit studios based Father's Promise on an audio-drama by author Łukasz Orbitowski. Orbitowski has won awards for his literary accomplishments and has been hailed as "a Polish Steven King." It is unclear whether future Stories DLC will also be based on Orbitowski's work or if they will draw from other sources of inspiration. Father's Promise is available now for $1.99 or can be obtained by purchasing a season pass for all This War of Mine Stories for $4.99.
  20. Just three years ago, This War of Mine released on PC to relate the experience of civilians struggling to survive in the midst of war. The indie game developed by 11 bit studios has continued to receive support over the years in the form of translations and expansions. However, 11 bit has undertaken a new effort to bring life back to their dramatic survival title. The initiative, called This War of Mine Stories, aims to bring a number of narrative adventures to life. Father's Promise will be the first of these DLC expansions. It uses the framework of This War of Mine to weave the compelling tale of Adam, a man trying to protect his daughter and escape from their war-torn city. 11 bit studios based Father's Promise on an audio-drama by author Łukasz Orbitowski. Orbitowski has won awards for his literary accomplishments and has been hailed as "a Polish Steven King." It is unclear whether future Stories DLC will also be based on Orbitowski's work or if they will draw from other sources of inspiration. Father's Promise is available now for $1.99 or can be obtained by purchasing a season pass for all This War of Mine Stories for $4.99. View full article
  21. Xbox and Microsoft seem to be throwing not one but two battle royale-style games onto their consoles in the near future. The Darwin Project, from the relatively new Scavenger Studios, aims to throw players into an ice cold ring full of equally cold enemies. Featuring cartoonish graphics, the staged demo showed off a player hunting down an unsuspecting player in the game's snowy combat arena, which is shared by six other players and A.I. wildlife. The player can scavenge for resources like wood in order to make items, like a bow or shield. Alliances may even be formed, though Scavengers Studios implies they'll only be temporary. Check out the trailer for an in-depth look. Scavengers Studios also released details on the Darwin Project's "Director Mode," which allows one player to manipulate the game for the contestants. The director can initiate manhunts by briefly revealing a player's location, restricting zones, or even calling in airstrikes. Scavengers Studios also plan to release a mode that lets stream viewers play a role in the contest. What do you make of this battle royal game? Does it feel like it can compete with the like of Battlegrounds? View full article
  22. Xbox and Microsoft seem to be throwing not one but two battle royale-style games onto their consoles in the near future. The Darwin Project, from the relatively new Scavenger Studios, aims to throw players into an ice cold ring full of equally cold enemies. Featuring cartoonish graphics, the staged demo showed off a player hunting down an unsuspecting player in the game's snowy combat arena, which is shared by six other players and A.I. wildlife. The player can scavenge for resources like wood in order to make items, like a bow or shield. Alliances may even be formed, though Scavengers Studios implies they'll only be temporary. Check out the trailer for an in-depth look. Scavengers Studios also released details on the Darwin Project's "Director Mode," which allows one player to manipulate the game for the contestants. The director can initiate manhunts by briefly revealing a player's location, restricting zones, or even calling in airstrikes. Scavengers Studios also plan to release a mode that lets stream viewers play a role in the contest. What do you make of this battle royal game? Does it feel like it can compete with the like of Battlegrounds?
  23. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.”
  24. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.” View full article
  25. In honor of the day of all things spooky-scary we're turning to the game that took up Resident Evil 4's third-person horror mantle and mixed it with Alien and Event Horizon. Dead Space released in 2008 and garnered numerous accolades for its tense sound, tight level design, and its unique focus on dismembering monsters. Some reviewers and fans at the time crowned Dead Space as the scariest game of all time. Though that title might have since been given to other games, Dead Space still holds its share of horror. but is that enough for it to be a best game period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Uninvited 'The Old Mansion by the Road' by Sir_NutS, Stephen Kelly, and WillRock (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03443) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
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