Gaming News

Ubisoft announce their Uplay+ subscription lineup

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 3 hours 3 min ago

Because everyone else is doing it and nobody is powerful enough to stop them, Ubisoft are launching their own games subscription service this September 3rd. Uplay+ will cost $15 a month (with UK and EU pricing still unannounced) and get you access to much of the publisher’s back catalogue and most DLC, but slim-to-nonexistent pickings in the way of third party games. Today, they unveiled their full list of 108 games that’ll be available at or near the service’s launch. You can check it out on the Uplay+ site, or in alphabetical order (thanks, VentureBeat) below.

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Overwatch to start ending matches when it detects cheats

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 4 hours 6 min ago

Rather than have players suffer through matches where cheaters are cheating up the place, saving bans for future punishment, Overwatch should soon shut down games mid-round as soon as it detects skulduggery. That’s a solution Blizzard are currently toying with on the test servers, director Jeff Kaplan explained last week, and it sounds great. When faced with cheaters, I have always found some catharsis in knowing they’ll eventually be whacked but I’d rather see immediate bans. Game over, get that git out of my face.

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey retires to sunny Atlantis for its final DLC today

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 4 hours 11 min ago

Once more unto the beach, dear friends, though returning to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is usually a cheery experience, last episode’s detour to Hades aside. Judgement Of Atlantis is the third and final part of the Fate Of Atlantis arc, and likely the the last ever DLC chapter to the open-world hack n’ slasher. Out now, it finally lets players rise out of the Greek afterlife and into the sci-fi high life. Poseidon, king of the Isu, has appointed Kassandra (or Alexios) as his right hand badass and set them loose to clean up Atlantis. That probably means stabbing. Below, an infotacular trailer.

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Premature Evaluation: Griftlands

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 5 hours 5 min ago

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which Steve Hogarty explores the wilds of early access. This week Steve is still MIA, so Brendan is playing Griftlands, a roguelike card game mostly about arguing.

Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment

Release: Out now (early access)
On: Windows
From: Epic Store
Price: £11.50/$15/€12.50

You can buy drinks for reprobates in Griftlands. The mingling crimefolk of this sci-fi card game hang out in bars and harbours, lounging on static screens hoping to sell you stuff, or waiting for a fight to break out so they can jump in for either side. There are hairy bouncers, froglike bartenders, and scar-faced bandits. Cultists, bent cops, and bounty hunters of all kinds. This is basically a card game based on the pondlife of Mos Eisley cantina, and as a deck-building roguelike of Slay The Spire flavour, it’s too short-lived to confidently recommend just yet. But it has enough character that I’ll happily pull up a stool and sip my spacejuice as developers Klei finish things off. And while I’m at it – bartender – drinks for all my new friends!

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Watch Dogs: Legion spec work is “completely voluntary”, Ubisoft shrug and suggest

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 5 hours 38 min ago

Ubisoft have defended their decision to source some of Watch Dogs: Legion‘s soundtrack through spec work, saying it’s “completely voluntary” for fans to create music hoping Ubi might pick it and pay them for their work. Ubi announced this “opportunity” last week, saying they will put ten fan-made tracks into the game. I suppose it is voluntary, as much as any other work is voluntary. My main objection isn’t even that Ubisoft are seeking spec work for their big-budget game, it’s that they’re using spec work as marketing to build brand engagement. They’re encouraging exploitative labour practices with a goal not much different to a competition offering Watch Dogs t-shirts as prizes for drawing cool hackers.

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Dota Underlords gold guide – tips on how to make gold quickly

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 5 hours 55 min ago

Learning about gold in Dota Underlords is integral to success. It seeps through all the other interlocked lattices of complexity in the game like a chocolate sauce through the layers of a crushed viennetta; and you’ll need to understand all about how to create a bangin’ economy if you’re to have any hope of keeping pace with your opponents. Fortunately, this Dota Underlords gold guide will walk you through how gold is accrued each round, along with tips and strategies on how to maximise your gold gain throughout a match.

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Tetris Effect's trippy tetrominoes tumble onto PC next week

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 5 hours 56 min ago

The digital dreaming of Rez Infinite and music-matching of Lumines lock into the block-spinning puzzling of Tetris next week with the PC launch of Tetris Effect, a trippy take on tetrominoes from some of the folks behind those other two fines games. Tetris Effect debuted on PlayStation 4 in November and I’ll be very glad to have a go myself, given some of the lovely things I’ve heard about it. Hell, forget hearing about it, look at in in this trailer.

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Essential RPGs on Android & iOS

Pocket Tactics - 6 hours 44 min ago

The best RPGs are ones that offer unique environments, well-rounded/written characters, and unusual, original plots. Some of these games are more action-oriented while others are strictly turn-based, but they all have distinct, immersive visions in which the player might find their own ego subsumed, for a time, as deeply as is desired.

Bored of RPGs? How about some board games instead?

Below is not only a collection of great games, but they're also paragons of the genre and represent ‘role-play’ at its finest whether you're playing on Android or iOS.

Community Favourites

Our readers have their own wishlists of top RPGs they'd want to celebrate. We can't we'll be able to rotate them into the main list, but that doesn't mean their voices can't be heard. If you're looking to widen your RPG net, these recommendations from other PTers might fit the bill:

  • 7 Mages
  • Severed
  • Monster Hunter Stories
  • Avernum series
  • The Quest HD
  • Aurum Blade
  • Dungeon Chronicle
  • Partia 3: Knights of Partia
Recently Released

One recent release of note is Nomads of the Fallen Star (pictured)a sci-fi sandbox RPG with a tactical turn-based strategy layer. It's been ported from PC and would be a shoe-in for this list, if it weren't for some lack-lustre implementation. The mobile interface especially is well below what you'd expect for a game of this nature. Still, we highlight it because it's the kind of game we like seeing on mobile, and there's always the chance the interface will be fixed in the future.

Star Traders: Frontiers (Review)

Developer: Trese Brothers
Platform: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $6.99

Star Traders TRPG

One of 2019's best releases so far and an excellent addition to the RPG roster, STF is the culmination of nearly a decade's worth of effort making quality premium games on mobile. You customise your captains and your crew and sail amongst stars trying to eek out a living in a hostile universe. Trade, go on missions, fight pirates and aliens... this is a very diverse sandbox RPG in space, and an excellent port of the original PC version.

The only thing to keep in mind when jumping into Frontiers is that there's a lot to consider all at once, and the openness is almost intimidating. There are some tool tips and an initial main quest that will teach you some ropes, but beyond that one criticism is that its not very good at explaining itself. Still, trial and error is not the worst thing and the more you learn, the more fun you'll have as you explore all the different play-styles and gameplay options. On top of that, the developers are constantly updating the game with free content, so you'll be well served in the future.

Barbearian (Review)

Developer: Kimmo Lahtinen
Platform: iOS Universal
Price: $8.99

Barbearian Header

Nick sums up our thoughts perfectly on Barbearian in his review: 

Barbearian is a real-time action/RPG that features frenetic combat full of huge hits against vast hordes of enemies. The constant motion, explosive hits, and overwhelming odds of it reminds us of running around Diablo III maps looking for more things to kill. It looks great, is loaded with smashy goodness and visceral feel, and is a ton of fun to play. It offers plenty of challenge without nearing the rage-quit-and-never-look-at-the-game-again reaction some similar games seem to elicit. The ability to micromanage the difficulty and completely control the UI layout is just icing on the cake.

An easy one to recommend to RPG fans and definitely GOTY material.

Demons' Rise

Developer: Wave Light Games
Platform: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $7.99

Demons rise best rpg

This dark fantasy, turn-based RPG is a favourite amongst PT staffers, and the sequel reviewed very well when it came out. Even three years later, it still manages to draw new players with its deep approach to tactical combat, and it's D&D-style treatment of the game world. While there's an argument to be made that Demon's Rise 2 should also be on this list (either in addition to, or instead of), which one you end up picking up you're not going to regret your choice.

Fans of tactical RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons, and MMO-style combat will really take to the campaign and won't regret adding this game to their collection.

Also look out for: Wave Light have recently released another fantasy-themed tactical RPG called Shieldwall Chronicles. We quite liked it, although whether it's better than Demon's Rise is a matter for debate (we think probably not). Still, if you've already checked out DR and are looking for a new challenge, Shieldwall would be a good place to start.

Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition (Review)

Developer: Overhaul Games
Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99

planescape

Planescape is strange and idiosyncratic, its characters ranging from a chaotic fire-lord whose passion is simple, total consumption and destruction of the world around him to a cherub from the Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts. Its take on a D&D system isn’t particularly balanced, for the stats and character builds favor wisdom above all, both in terms of raw bonus experience and the extra interactions and dialogue options. But the story is to die for. 

The multiplanar quest of an immortal, tormented, amnesiac main character to know thyself is at once alien and deeply human. Enjoying this pre-millennium classic before its enhanced edition debut last year meant overlooking a multitude of practical shortcomings; the non-scalable and at times grainy graphics, to say nothing of bugs and lost content. Now one can meet the protagonist and experience his joys and sorrows with ease, if not comfort. The game’s peccadillos are entirely the point, its strange, singular vision undimmed by age.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

Developer: Aspyr
Platforms:  iOS, Android
Price: $9.99

KOTOR Best RPG

In a galaxy far, far away, in a distant time immemorial, the Sith and Jedi wore very different masks. To make something as nostalgic and cherished as Star Wars new again, BioWare and LucasArts flung their players millennia into the past and pitted them against Darth Malak in a struggle for the fate of the galaxy.

The characters remain iconic and memorable to this day (HK-47 as a murderous, seemingly punctilious droid, for example), and the now-standard paragon-neutral-renegade trifecta of alignment-based decision rubric for RPGs was a natural fit for the Star Wars mythos. Choose light or dark, good or evil: these archetypes resonate because they work, as does the class- and skill-systems which were tweaked from the paper RPG baseline.

Legend of Grimrock (Review)

Developer: Almost Human
Platform: iOS
Price: $4.99

grimrock

What is Grimrock? Four prisoners marked for death are flung into the heart of an ancient mountain to see trial by the elements. By delving deeper as a party, defeating the enemies and unravelling the riddles, you will overturn your sentence and start afresh. The mysteries of the game’s titular dungeon, whose design indicates was intended a prison for a multitude of strange beings, mount with each level until the mother-horror is finally met on the deepest level. An old-school game with grid-based real-time combat, riddles, puzzles, traps and hand-crafted (read: non-procedural, non-roguelike) levels. Good looking and thoughtfully made, its battle pace and minimal input requirements make it a natural fit for mobile.

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition (Review)

Developer: Overhaul Games
Platforms: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $9.99

baldur

D&D spent a long time banished to the corners of a select few lives, shining for hours at a time in small gatherings held regularly among the elect. There have been many implementations of the various settings and rule systems of the original grand-daddy of pen-and-paper RPGs, but Baldur’s Gate is perhaps the most significant and enduring of them all. (Sorry, Temple of Elemental Evil and friends, close but no cigar).

Chrono Trigger

Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $9.99 

chrono trigger best rpg

A journey for the ages, with a motley crew visiting each era to repair the mistakes of the past and break other timelines, zig-zagging across character arcs and plot holes with aplomb. The RPG elements are just as great as the story, both of them equally...timeless. And the soundtrack is nuanced and varied, with mysterious, mournful threnodies as well as rousing boss-battle hymns. The game keeps popping up everywhere, and for good reason, for its characters, music and story both exemplify the JRPG genre and somehow transcend it. Chrono Trigger is Chrono Trigger; to play it involves learning about RPG conventions and mechanics but to experience it is so much more, a different creature altogether.

Titan Quest (Review)

Developer: THQ Nordic
Platforms: iOS Univeral, Android
Price: $6.99, $8.99 

Titan Quest Best RPG

A diabolic, pan-Hellenic action-RPG whose loot system and mythic references have earned its place in the pantheon. See the world, from the Aegean to Bosphorus, to the Nile, slay its beasts of prominence. At the time of its release in 2006, the game seemed redundant and derivative; now it shines in a mobile market where a premium game with fascinating, nay, compelling, rich pool of random loot, none of it locked behind premium currency or lootboxes, is something of a rara avis. Serviceable combat, shiny loot, excellent pacing and nice controls: this is good simple fun.

Transistor

Developer: Supergiant Games
Platforms:  iOS Universal
Price: $4.99

Transistor bets RPG

The world is falling apart, being destroyed from without while society crumbles and the citizens of Cloudbank panic and retreat from their formerly comfortable lives. Transistor’s pace has only one setting, relentlessly pushing the player to new areas while a narrator overdubs the scenery and battles with evocative, if florid, prose. Transistor’s techno-utopia has clearly gone wrong at some point, and the whole city is flooded with swarms of the Process, a monochrome enemy whose various forms eerily mimic lifeforms.

The modular battle system with its flexible customization options is fun and satisfying, for any program you acquire can be equipped either as a primary (active) ability, a modifier boosting another active, or as a passive. The relative small number of programs means that this mix-and-match is always interesting, never burdensome. The combat itself is real time with the special ability to ‘pause’ the game and plan out actions.

Final Fantasy IX

Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $20.99

FF9 best rpg ios

Nick once considered this the best of all of Square's Final Fantasy ports, so now that we're officially adding JRPGs to the list (for the moment, might spin them off to their own list-ED), we thought we'd pay homage to the grand-daddy of all JRPGs with their finest mobile offering. FF9 was released at the turn of the millennium, and moved the series forward with new mechanics whilst also paying homage to the classical games.

As far as the mobile version is concerned, you couldn't ask for more. Officially it's a remaster of the original game with features such as HD movies and in-game graphics, and they added in an auto-save feature which is essential for the drop-in/drop-out nature of mobile gaming. The only downside of this and any of Square's FF ports is the pricing - at £20 full price, which is far more than what most mobile gamers are willing to pay.

Final Fantasy-like Alternatives

Once upon a time, we posted a feature of Final Fantasy alternatives. We're trying to consolidate a bit, so we're migrating that information here for your convenience. We'll expand on this section during a future update, but for the moment, here's a shortlist of Nick's recommendations if you're looking for a FF like game, but don't want to pay the price of admission:

  • Doom & Destiny
  • Doom & Destiny Advanced
  • Symphony of the Origin
  • Revenant Dogma
  • Dragon Quest
  • Dragon Fantasy
  • Phantasy Star II Classic
Hall of Fame

These games graced the list in a previous life, but have since past on into legend. Here's a reminder, in case we forget:

  • The World Ends with You
  • Avadon: The Black Fortress
  • Shadowrun Returns

What would your list of the best mobile RPGs look like? Let us know in the comments!

Dwarf Fortress Diary: The Basement Of Curiosity Episode Nineteen – Crossing the Rubicon

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 9 hours 5 min ago

This is The Basement Of Curiosity, a weekly Dwarf Fortress diary chronicling Nate Crowley’s attempts to build an illegal, underground zoo in everyone’s favourite text based dwarf management game.

Last time on the BoC: Due to a prolonged water shortage during a goblin siege, the dwarves finally breached the underground to slake their thirst. Despite attacks by giant bats and a mishap with a captured goblin swordsman, great treasures were unearthed below – basement founder Lorbam retrieved a feather from Tol, the great winged worm, as well as using herself as bait to catch a mighty jabberer alive.

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Fortnite is building to a monster v. mecha rumble this weekend

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 9 hours 39 min ago

You take your eyes off Fortnite Battle Royale for one minute, and the kaiju kicks off. Also a kaiju gets added. And a big mech.

The goliaths haven’t actually done anything yet, but the timer floating in the sky suggests they’re about to. As does the way we’re nearing the end of season nine, and how season finales have historically not been kind to the people of Forniteland.

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China forced one horror game publisher to close, but the whole region felt it

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 13 hours 5 min ago

Much like the phantoms that materialise and disappear within the dusky corridors of Devotion, the game itself felt like an apparition. Launched in February, the solid Taiwanese horror game vanished from Steam just weeks afterwards, due to the discovery of in-game talismans that contain derisive references to China’s President, Xi Jinping. Facing a firestorm of criticism, its studio, Red Candle Games, hurriedly hunkered down, announcing that it was putting the game through rounds of quality checks before releasing it again. But it’s now four months later, and the game still hasn’t been restored on Steam. But Red Candle aren’t the only studio that has to wrestle with China’s strict censorship.

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Have You Played… Rime?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - 14 hours 34 min ago

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

What an unexpected journey that was. I certainly didn’t expect the direction Rime went in. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but washing up on an island as a small boy, with a beautiful fox friend to help guide the way as you solve puzzles, sounds absolutely lovely, right? But what a turn it took in the final couple of chapters. What. A. Turn.

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Kingdoms Of The Dump looks like a brilliant load of rubbish

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 22:09

A bin-man, a talking rat and a smoking jacket walk into a bar – less a joke, more a setup for an adorably grimy SNES-styled RPG. Kingdoms Of The Dump hit Kickstarter today, where its devs, Roach Games (a pair of real-life janitors writing what they know, I suppose) are asking for funds to see it to stinky fruition. It looks a charmer, too – a high fantasy adventure set amongst the Dump Kingdoms of the Lands Of Fill. Someone’s gone and taken out (and not returned) the king of Garbagia, so it’s up to young Dustin Binsley and friends to clean up. See a lovely trailer below.

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Where The Water Tastes Like Wine spins some Chinese American yarns

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 20:57

Dim Bulb’s quiet and contemplative story tell ’em up Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is still out there, trudging down America’s dusty depression-era roads, collecting and telling stories. Today, it has a few new ones to tell. Today’s Gold Mountain Update adds an official Chinese localisation, produced by a crew of dedicated Chinese-speaking fans led by one Ryan Zhang. More importantly for English-speakers, it adds a new set of stories to the game, focused on the lives of Chinese Americans and their alchemized folklore as they became woven into America’s fabric.

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Your next Starcraft II opponent might be a robot in disguise

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 19:01

Google’s DeepMind AI division will likely end up making the next generation of military killbots, but before then, at least they’ll provide new challenges for the esports crowd. In January, their “AlphaStar” StarCraft II agent trounced a crew of pro players ten to one. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, they’ve unleashed AlphaStar on the European public. According to this official blog post, AlphaStar is limited to Europe for now. StarCraft II players can opt for a chance to have their next 1v1 partner partner swapped out for an unfeeling machine that’s less likely to insult your mother.

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SolSeraph descends from the heavens but may not have stuck the landing

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 17:59

It got a little lost in last week’s flurry of activity, but SolSeraph — ACE Team’s tribute to genre-blending SNES gem ActRaiser — is out, though sadly not heralded by a celestial chorus. Staying close to its inspirations, it’s half hack n’ slash platformer, half real-time strategy about a god reclaiming their land from monsters and demons in the name of their human followers. I’ve not had a chance to play it for myself, but trusted ActRaiser fans and platformer aficionados alike haven’t had much good to say. Perhaps it just wasn’t weird enough for ACE Team? Below, a launch trailer.

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Devotion won't be re-released any time soon, following Chinese controversy and censorship

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 16:17

The makers of Devotion today said they might re-release their really-quite-nice horror game at some point, if the controversy dies down, but Red Candle Games have no plans for a re-release “in the near-term”. Devotion was pulled from sale after some Chinese players were upset by it containing a forbidden meme comparing Chinese president Xi Jinping to fictional honeyguzzler Winnie the Pooh, which has since led to that government cancelling its Chinese publisher’s business license. It is a good’un so fingers crossed we’ll get another chance to play it. And fingers crossed for the government retribution to end, obvs.

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Dwarf Fortress will let dwarves pet animals and I'm sure that won't backfire

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 16:11

If you’ve been following our Nate’s attempts to build a Dwarf Fortress zoo in the Basement of Curiosity, you might think it couldn’t get much worse between the paved-over Bird Hole and the monstrous bristleworm. Oh it can. Two words: petting zoo. A future update will add the ability for folks to pet animals, y’see.

“Oh god,” Basement of Curiosity head keeper Nate Crowley responded.

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Why are so many old games coming back? We asked developers why they chase nostalgia

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 16:00

Remember that thing you like from 10 years ago? It’s probably getting a sequel. Shenmue 3. Evil Genius 2. Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2. The calendar of upcoming games is packed with throwbacks that will revisit the worlds we left behind over a decade ago. Oddworld: Soulstorm is heading back to the strange homeland of Abe the skinny green freedom farter. Mechwarrior 5 is booting up a bipedal destruct-o-bot that was powered down in the year 2000. If your favourite childhood game is not getting a sequel, it’s probably getting a glittering remake.

Reviving forgotten entertainment relics is nothing new (hi, George Lucas) but the recent glut of resurrections has made me wonder: why are developers and publishers so keen to go back to old ground? Why do they want to chase this sense of nostalgia? So, I asked them.

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Steam Charts: Bubbling Trousers Edition

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mon, 07/15/2019 - 15:28

It’s another dire old week in Chartland, with the last breaths of the Summer Sale ensuring, with the exception of spots #4 and #5, that all the usual suspects dominate. But we won’t let that change us! We’re better than this! We’re going to have fun anyway!

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