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6

Diary: August Arcadia

Shaun

I know anyone reading this will be pretty familiar with outbursts such as this, but it needs saying: holy crap, you guys, I love games.

Emerging from the contracting sphincter of a severe Mass Effect binge initially left me a little unsure of what to do and where to go. Delving so deep into one game or series for so long clearly left me a little disassociated from, well, things that worked differently. But fortunately I recovered quickly. I’ve played quite a bit lately!

First on the list was Prototype 2, the 360 on demand version of which popped up on sale not long ago. I’ve been meaning to play this for some time as I really enjoyed its 2009 predecessor, but I’d heard the PC port was dreadful. Happily, the 360 version is a lot of fun, ticking all the funboxes the first one did. Yes, its writing is embarrassingly/hilariously juvenile (delete as appropriate) but its sandbox world traversal is still only really beaten by Saint’s Row IV, and despite that terrible writing the setting is still one I enjoy exploring and playing within. Even the lack of variation in the mission design is forgiveable thanks to the simple fun of its combat engine and flexible power system. Hell, I devoted time to acquiring achievements! That’s not something I’ve done in a while.

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4

Diary: July Arcadia

Shaun

I’m not the sort of guy who spends inordinate amounts of time with a single game, even those I adore. In this I am unlike, say, Dylan, whose love affair with the Dark Souls series at one point seemed to have turned into a second career, such were the volumes of time he was sinking into it, to the exclusion of most other games. But I am beginning to feel a little like I understand how he feels, now that I am perhaps halfway through the weighty Mass Effect 3.

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6

Diary: June Arcadia

AJ reckons

Most of my time was spent in Montreal this month. I had hoped to make some serious inroads with The Witcher 3 but it transpires that the game is really not the sort of thing you play with company around. The game lends itself to solitary play in silence, not beers and laughing.

Instead I found myself in the thrall of a couple of other things…

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0

Drive Any Track: as fast and furious as your music collection

Drive Any Track featured image

The future! A world composed of bright lights, dehumanising urban density and, if Drive Any Track is any measure, some frankly ridiculous transport networks. But worry not, because even if they’re intricate deathtraps for commuters, they’re pretty bloody good for yoot racers fond of musical time trials.

So, yes: Drive Any Track is the latest in a line of games using music to generate the courses on which you race. In contrast to this field’s big dog – Audiosurf and its follow-up, of course – the gameplay spin is that it’s an arcade racer rather than a high-speed version of Columns.

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2

Diary: May Arcadia

Shaun

AJ has also decided to get in on the shortform mixtape diary approach this month (see below), so I’m going to keep my contributions fairly short and sweet.

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0

Devouring Stars’ stellar warfare hungers for your attention

Devouring Stars screenshot

Considering that the Greek gods, as represented in classic Homerian epics, are usually little more than a bunch of petty, self-absorbed, squabbling superhumans, we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of them. Sometimes they’re represented with rather more inherent nobility and stature than they deserve. Not so in Devouring Stars, a science fiction real-time strategy game that draws inspiration from Eufloria, Boid and their ilk, alongside science fiction novels like Hyperion and Ilium (both by US author Dan Simmons) which plumb literary and mythic history.

The game is currently available on Steam Early Access; it just hit its v0.3 release which added multiplayer. It’s reportedly almost feature complete; most of the remaining work concerns balance tweaks and bug fixing.

I’m a little on the fence about Devouring Stars as it stands. And that is a sentence I almost hate myself for typing. I like Devouring Stars a lot, both for what it is and for the design philosophy and SF concept behind it. But I also have issues with it, and those clash with some of the reasons I like it.

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