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If you want to make enemies… – Deus Ex: The Fall preview

As a real, serious journalist of genuine integrity, I must disclaim the following ahead of the rest of this preview: two weeks ago I was flown to E3 as a “Community Ambassador” for and by Eidos Montreal, to try out their upcoming titles Deus Ex: The Fall, Deus Ex Human Revolution: Director’s Cut and Thief. This was an all expenses paid trip, and included time with not only the games themselves, but also many members of the development teams.

The only thing asked of me in return for this trip was that I would answer questions about the games on the official forums upon my return. Crucially, it was not demanded, asked or even politely hinted that I should be unduly positive about any of the titles: in fact, I have been strongly encouraged to be honest about my experiences, both good and bad, as you will see below.. Of course, some people will still believe that I have been bought off – an understandable assumption, though a mistaken one. If you are one of those people, please know that while I respect your right to hold any incorrect opinion you wish, you should be aware that I cannot hear you over the sound of my personal butler, who is making a dreadful noise as he slices my unicorn steak and pours me a glass of orphan tear wine.

Anyway, on with the preview! Continue reading

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Competition: Make us laugh, win XCOM

This may come as a surprise, but I’m quite a big fan of XCOM. If you hadn’t noticed, don’t worry, it’s quite easy to miss – apart from a glowing review, a “Make it Happen” article and – of course – naming it as my game of 2012, not to mention goodness knows how many tweets on the subject, I’ve barely mentioned it at all. But take my word on this: it’s really rather special. And you can win a copy of it!

To be in with a chance of winning a PC copy of XCOM, all you have to do is come up with a caption for the above image (click for the full image.) The one that makes me laugh the most will get the game, simple as that. There are a few terms and conditions after the jump which you should check out, but other than that, it’s time to crack open your brains and feast on the imagination goo inside! …Wait, forget that. Just write something funny about the above image in the comments.

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Better late than never: Phasemonkey’s 2012 wrap-up

Call me crazy (you may as well, my therapist does) but doling out Game of the Year awards before the year has actually ended has always seemed somewhat premature to me. For all any of us knew, on December 31st Peter Molyneux might have floated down from his cloud to release his magnum opus, a secretly developed epic that finally fulfilled every wild promise he’d ever made. Then how stupid would you feel for saying Journey was the game of the year? Huh?

Of course, that didn’t happen. But it might have, and for that reason (definitely nothing else) we at Phasemonkey chose to defy tradition and hold back our GOTY choices until the new year. I know, I know, we’re such teases. But no longer! For behold, here are our highlights, lowlights and surpriselights of 2012. You can probably guess what Andy’s top spot was already, though.

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Is the future where it’s at?: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 review

It’s that time of year again, there is a chill in the air, some very eager people have already purchased their Christmas shopping and Activision has released the newest game in the Call of Duty Franchise. The question has to be asked, is it any good? Read on for Phasemonkey forumite Thomas “Draken” Mortimer’s verdict…

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Make it Happen: XCOM

You may have noticed a relative lack of updates on this site lately; we here at Phasemonkey hold our hands up to this and apologise for it. For Mike’s part, this has been for real, grown up reasons: he and his wife have a baby on the way, and preparations for their new arrival have obviously and understandably been taking up a lot of his time. My reasons are somewhat less valid, however, and can be summed up in four letters: XCOM.

Yes, I’m completely addicted. I’ve logged over 70 hours, completed it twice and aborted three games mid-way for various reasons. It’s stopped me from completing Dishonored (review next week though – hopefully!) and, in fact, stopped me from playing pretty much anything else. If you haven’t bought it already, then for the love of god stop reading this article, get to Steam and buy it now. You won’t regret it.

But it’s not perfect – not quite. There are a few areas which could be improved, parts which could be polished, niggles which could be de-niggled. Below are my suggestions on how an already excellent game could potentially be made even better. As ever, if you have any thoughts, leave them in the comments below!

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Gaming on Linux: Is it worth it?

In the first of a series of guest posts on Phasemonkey, Thomas “Draken” Mortimer takes Linux for a spin to see if it’s a viable alternative to Windows gaming yet. Read on to find out if we should all join the open source party, or if Microsoft will keep their control over our purse strings for the time being.

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Phase Two: Kickstarter

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In February this year we saw the start of something potentially massive. The Double Fine adventure, though by no means the first project to be successfully crowd funded, was certainly the one which truly propelled Kickstarter into the spotlight. In just a few short months we’ve seen a host of other developers follow suit, taking their games directly to the people and bypassing the traditional publisher route to market entirely. Is this really the start of a revolution, though, or are the risks too great to balance out the potential rewards?

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299,792,459: Faster than Light Review

FTL Logo

You know what I love? Space games. Yep, love ‘em. What I love more, is space combat and exploration games with RPG elements. Along comes Faster than Light, a game that on paper ticks pretty much every box on my “should I buy a game” list. It actually came out a month ago, and I’d been meaning to get it on release day. Of course, being me I absent mindedly forgot; that sort of thing happens to me from time-to-time. Anyway, I’ve now spent a week in its company, and while I’m a little late to the review party, you may still not have played it. Read on to find out if you should.

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Welcome to Earth: XCOM: Enemy Unknown review

Our first attempt to take the fight back to the aliens ended in disaster. For months we’d been playing catch up, responding to distress calls when and where we could, but always arriving after the worst of the damage had been done. So when we got a lock on the aliens’ base, we jumped at the chance of a pre-emptive strike, to hit them on their own turf – even if that turf was rightly ours to begin with.

So I assembled a squad of my finest soldiers, outfitted them with our most cutting-edge weapons and armour, and sent them in. It wasn’t enough. One by one they were picked off by an aggressive, territorial alien force. Our final two soldiers – dead-eye sniper Timo “Stalker” Tolonen and medic Thomas “Draken” Mortimer – fought bravely and made strong progress through the hostile base, but were eventually torn apart in a surprise attack by a group of chrysalids. My only solace was that, with the mission over, I didn’t have to watch them get reanimated as mindless zombies – and hosts for further chrysalids.

Everything had gone to hell. XCOM had lost our finest team of xeno-killers, and the nations of the world were panicking, withdrawing from the program and taking their precious funding with them. The few soldiers we had left were rookies, and no match for the host of horrors they were facing in the field. I’d lost: the Earth belonged to the aliens.

With no real options left, I started a new game, losing the 12 hours of progress I’d already made. But I wasn’t angry – no, I was smiling. I bloody love XCOM.

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Bacon up that Sausage: Bad Piggies Review

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If you haven’t heard of Angry Birds, you are both simultaneously massively out-of-touch, and my hero. It’s not that I don’t like the game, it’s just that I don’t think it’s that good. It’s certainly not good enough to merit the praise or staggering sales it’s had. Why? Because it’s a game where you slingshot a bird and then sit and watch while a lot of stuff doesn’t happen. I must be in the minority though, I just checked and the free version of Angry Birds on Google Play has been downloaded over 100 million times. Holy. Crap.

I’ve digressed. It doesn’t matter if you like Angry Birds or not, because Bad Piggies is out, and it’s nothing like it. Is it good? Read on to discover the shocking truth! [Or indeed, the regular truth – Andy].

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