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Forest of the Sleep photo
Forest of the Sleep

Proteus developer announces Forest of the Sleep

A game based on Russian fairytales
Aug 27
// Joe Parlock
Proteus developer Ed Key has announced his latest project. Apparently making one pretty game with Proteus wasn’t enough, and so he’s back with Forest of the Sleep. Forest of the Sleep is a collaboration betwe...

Review: Kholat

Jun 09 // Jed Whitaker
Kholat (PC)Developer: IMGN.PRO Publisher: IMGN.PRO MSRP: $19.99Release Date: June 9, 2015 Picture this: You're famous Hollywood actor Sean Bean and you're investigating the deaths of nine hikers while stumbling around Russian mountains and collecting letters and pages from their journals. Now picture that as a game and you have Kholat. It would be easy to write this off as another Slender clone, as part of the formula is the same: you walk around finding pages, while occasionally having a run in with a shadowy figure. What sets Kholat apart is that the ghostly figure isn't constantly chasing you, and every page discovered delivers another piece of the story, be it via text or top-notch voice acting. Kholat plays out in three acts, of which the second is the main meat of the game. Act Two takes place in the snowy mountains where the hikers met their demise. You've got a map with key locations listed in longitude and latitude, a compass, and a flashlight. The goal is to visit each of the nine marked locations to discover key pages to give insight on what exactly happened to the hikers. While finding the nine main locations is the overall goal, many other pages can be found throughout the mountains that provide tidbits of information into what happened there. The game saves each time a new page is found, which gives some incentives to find them other than just experiencing the story, as you may find yourself dying often. Gaseous orange shadows will show up in certain areas of the mountains mostly requiring stealthy movement to avoid, though at times running is the only option. Scripted events occur where orange clouds start to close in around you, and a nearby page must be found before the monsters within can take your life, though these are few and far between. If you're like me, you're going to get lost a lot. Turns out when everything is covered in snow, it looks very similar, but at least Kholat is easy on the eyes. There are some varying locations, from caves, to a charred forest, to a giant spooky tree, to a throne of bones. Each one is a unique and memorable set piece where something important is to be discovered. The scariest part of Kholat isn't the monsters that lurk in the dark, but the feeling of anxiety and urgency brought on by it capturing the feeling of being lost in the wilderness. Each location is coupled with realistic ambiance and weather that when combined with the equally realistic graphics really nails the feeling of being lost on a mountain in solitude. At one point I considered muting the game to give myself a break from the dread coming over me, but I pushed on. The voice-acted pieces of the story are very believable and chilling. While some pages you'll find just read like generic journal entries, others are downright horrifying thanks to a well written and acted script. There are various people writing the pages, providing different perspectives on what happened on the mountain over time. Unlike many games with collectible journals, I find these actually worth seeking out. Little to no directions are given to the player -- you're just dropped into the world and expected to figure things out on your own. It wasn't until my second play session that I realized the locations marked on the map were of importance. After figuring out proper use of the map and compass, it was easy to complete the game in just around four hours, which felt a bit light for the asking price of $20, considering most of your time will be spent looking at snowy rocks. Overall an enjoyable experience that has a fantastic presentation but just lacks much depth in gameplay. [This review is based on a retail build provided by the publisher.]
Kholat Review photo
Sean Bean's Mystery Incorporated
Kholat is based on the Dyatlov Pass incident, which is arguably one of history's greatest mysteries; nine hikers go missing and are subsequently found dead in the snowy Russian mountains. The hikers had cut their wa...

Steam photo

Steam's summer sale is apparently coming June 11

Prepare thy wallet, the harvest is nigh
May 29
// Joe Parlock
On a dark, humid night, you hear it. Slowly, it creeps towards you – clink. Clink. Clink. It sounds inhuman. You close your eyes, hoping the thing won’t find you… but it does. It always does. You can feel i...
Amiibo photo

amiibo is apparently compatible with Moscow's subway system

In Soviet Russia, Amiibo pays for you
Nov 27
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: Our Russian friends in the comments are reporting that the people in the video are saying that the Samus Amiibo doesn't work with the Moscow Subway. I guess in Soviet Russia, green means stop and red means go.] Like...

Spintires photo

Spintires is a game where you murder trees and help trucks out of mud pits

Oh, and dubstep
May 23
// Brittany Vincent
Have you ever wanted to drive straight into trees and punish them with reckless abandon for daring to grow wherever they want? Spintires is the game for you. Watch as you abuse forestry and mow down foliage, get stuck in mud...
CENSORSHIP!!!!!! photo

Russia brands Sims 4 18+ because of same-sex relationships

Putin the Sims in jail
May 10
// Steven Hansen
Look, The Sims can get villainous. You play god and can deprive a simulated individual of basic necessities or trap them in a swimming pool or whatever. But Adults Only? Due to a backwards 2012 law that restricts the promotio...
Warside photo

This trailer for Warside doesn't let up for a second

Do these guys stop firing at any point?
Apr 03
// Alasdair Duncan
Talk about intense! D'you think the players in this trailer for Warside ever take their finger off the firing button? When I first started watching the trailer above, I initially though this was a 2D platformer/shooter in th...
Russia funding patriotism photo
Russia funding patriotism

Russia to fund games 'conducive to patriotic education'

They're Russian to ban certain foreign games, too
Oct 09
// Steven Hansen
The Russian government is taking videogames seriously. Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, who also heads The Russian Military History Society, is taking charge on the government's videogame project. The first produc...
Company of Heroes 2 photo
Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2 removed from sale in Russia

Relic's WW2 RTS title also removed from other Eastern European countries
Aug 05
// Alasdair Duncan
Whilst our own Joshua Derocher loved Company of Heroes 2, it has not gone down too well in Russia and Eastern Europe. Polgyon reports that the game's publisher in those regions, 1C-SoftClub, has removed the game from sale, bo...
Survarium photo

Survarium devs looking for alpha testers

Vostok Games is looking for a variety of applicants
Apr 04
// Alasdair Duncan
As we reported earlier in the year, Vostok Games is launching an alpha for its upcoming open-world shooter Survarium. In a blog post on the official website, the Russian developers are looking for applicants to take part in ...

Russia's budget-friendy, live-action PS All-Stars ad

The Ratchet costume isn't half bad!
Nov 05
// Jordan Devore
I actually prefer this Russian live-action advertisement for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (via All Games Beta) over the short we recently got to see. While it is clearly lacking in production values, the commercial mo...

Dishonored region-locked in Russia, just like Borderlands

Bethesda acts without honor
Oct 12
// Jim Sterling
Eastern European gamers are being diddled again, this time by Bethesda. Hot off the heels of Borderlands 2's controversial Russian-version region lock, it's become apparent that Dishonored is also using a locked version in Ea...

Russian Borderlands 2 problems officially resolved

Russia and its neighbors get international version
Sep 20
// Jim Sterling
Borderlands 2 caused a commotion in the East when it was revealed that Russia and surrounding territories would be forced to buy a locked-down, Russian-only version of the game, despite not being warned before purchase. After...

Russia forced to get unwanted region-locked Borderlands 2

Russian gamers unable to play worldwide
Sep 18
// Jim Sterling
Gamers in Russia and Ukraine are unhappy with their purchase of Borderlands 2 at the moment, because they got a version of the game they never expected or asked for. Any version bought in the Commonwealth of Independent State...

Weird Metacritic user reviews tear Darksiders II to bits

Sleeping Dogs and Dark Souls PC also attacked
Sep 01
// Jim Sterling
[Update 3: A Russian speaking friend of mine went through the site and believes it to be a highly detailed troll. The cult is dedicated to keeping alive the memory of an old Soviet actor from the 50s, who they openly ac...

This developer diary for Survarium sets the mood

Jul 09
// Jordan Devore
I'm not usually one for developer diaries, but this one was timed well. I've heard just enough about Vostok Games' Survarium to have this free-to-play MMOFPS on my radar with a mild amount of interest. The video kicks off wi...

Fun facts about X-Blades followup Blades of Time

Feb 29
// Jim Sterling
I've been chatting with Anthony DeCicco from The Gamers Hub, who apparently has as soft a spot in his heart as I do for X-Blades and its associated games. Following the release of this weeks' Blades of Time trailer, DeCi...

Preview: Masters of the Broken World

Aug 20 // Maurice Tan
Masters of the Broken World (PC)Developer: Unicorn Games, Snowberry ConnectionPublisher: Snowberry ConnectionRelease date: 2012  The universe is shattered, with Shards of land floating around in space. As a "master," it is up to you to take control of all these masses and bring them together to forge a new world in your image. Meanwhile, others are trying to do the same. Taking control of a Shard yields you bonuses and advances for what was being described as a "tech tree," although some information may have been lost in translation. Either way, you want and need to control all of the Shards. When you select a Shard from this galactic map of sorts, you enter a Total War-esque overworld with a top-down map divided into provinces. You and the AI opponents have one castle that must be defended at all cost, as the player who captures all castles wins control of the Shard. Your castle has nine districts that can each be developed for your military power, economy, etc. If you've played a Heroes of Might & Magic game, it's a bit like that. Completely different from HOMM is how your army works. You are able to recruit up to four heroes, with every hero becoming increasingly more expensive to purchase -- and I'm talking a lot more expensive. Contrary to HOMM, you won't build hundreds of weak-but-inexpensive units; instead, every unit is simply one unit with its own upgrade system. Essentially, they act as mini heroes. Units are of different alignments, and the units you use reflect upon your own alignment. Use creatures like orcs and other monsters -- instead of priests and human units -- and your alignment will shift accordingly. On the Shard's overworld, you can move your hero's army around to other provinces, which pops up a kind of quest and choice screen similar to how King Arthur did it. Some provinces may ally themselves with you by fulfilling a quest somewhere else, others might need to be paid off, and if you want you can just attack them with brute force. When you choose the latter, you will enter a King's Bounty-like form of combat in which the terrain of that province on the overworld defines the terrain in combat. Units line up on opposing sides of a 2D hexagonal map where the terrain gives different bonuses to different units. Archers receive a bonus on hills, mages are better off in forests where they have better defense, and so on. Since you only have one unit that you can become attached to over time, by upgrading and nurturing it, they are much more precious than the kind you just purchase by the dozens in a city barracks. Every unit has three bars: health, stamina, and morale. If you use a unit, its stamina will drop. The consequence is that you can't use one super powerful unit to destroy all enemies while ignoring every other weaker unit. Morale is affected by how the battle progresses, but also by the type of units in your army. Throw "light side" and "dark side" units together, for lack of a better term, and morale will drop.  The classes of heroes you choose can affect stats like army support, diplomacy, and magic. Maybe you'll want a mage to deal a lot of damage (heroes fight in combat themselves), or maybe you'll want a support class that allows you to support larger armies.  If you do go down the dark path with an army full of monsters and keep selecting the "evil" choice in quests, your economy will suffer compared to the more light-side alignment that boosts your economy. After all, nurturing your cities and society does tend to lead to better economies than being feared as a warmongering dictator. You'll have to make your decisions according to your play style and whether you want to field large armies or develop your economy while resolving province requests through diplomacy. Once you take over a province, you can also explore it with your hero. This will reveal things like hidden artifacts and dungeons that boost your economy even more. To top it all off, you can use diplomacy to form alliances on a Shard. Masters of the Broken World seems to pick elements from some of my favorite PC strategy games, improves them, and puts them all in one game. It's a single-player game at the moment, but the producer mentioned that because they self-publish they can take their time to think about what they want to do for the final product. It may take a while before we'll get to play it, but Masters of the Broken World is certainly one of the games at gamescom that I'm looking forward to the most.

The story behind Masters of the Broken World is a fascinating one. Snowberry Connection, an international independent production fund that has been responsible for games such as Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sw...


Take a look at a Disciples III: Resurrection video

May 05
// Maurice Tan
Wow, Disciples. Now there is a name I haven't heard of in ages. Disciples III: Resurrection is the sequel to last year's Disciples III: Renaissance. If nothing in that sentence makes any sense to you: they are fantasy strate...

Cargo: The Quest for Gravity released, looks INSANE

Apr 22
// Jim Sterling
I will admit right now that, even while I'm downloading Cargo: The Quest for Gravity on Steam, I have no idea what it's about. I found out about the game on RPS' recently published impressions piece, but I don't want to read ...

Freebie alert: Super Soviet Missile Master for iDevices

Feb 05
// Jordan Devore
As promised, The Behemoth has put Super Soviet Missile Mastar out for iPhone and iPad. It's a free download, so you might as well grab the game. In it, you guide a missile away from inconsiderate birds and helicopters so that...

GSC Game World wants your S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 quest ideas

Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
GSC Game World is crowdsourcing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 -- well, a small part of it, anyway. The studio is currently holding a contest in which creative types can submit their quest ideas (up to five) for the impending post-apocalyp...

They're doing a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. TV series? Sure, why not

Nov 10
// Jordan Devore
Before I say anything, go ahead and watch the teaser for yourself. Basically, it is exactly what you'd think a television show adaptation of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series would look like; that was my takeaway. Much like the game...

Braid's Russian box art grosses me out

Nov 09
// Dale North
Eww! I can't look at it. Get it away. Take it far from here. Take it back to Russia, where it came from. MumboJumbo and Russobit-M/GFI have brought the popular indie game Braid to Russia, says Kotaku, and this is what they ma...

Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot has a major problem when it comes to plot. You see, it's not the late 1980s anymore, so the rampant fear of Soviet Russia doesn't hang over us like a red curtain. So Rush'n Attack: Ex Patri...

Preview: Apache: Air Assault

Sep 21 // Ben Perlee
Apache: Air Assault (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Develop: Gaijin EntertainmentPublisher: ActivisionTo be released: November 16, 2010 To be clear, usually these sorts of titles appeal to a specific fanbase. While military simulations are always popular, they have a tendency to alienate more casual users by not offering the right sort of experience to appeal to everyone. Thankfully, publisher Activision and Gaijin Entertainment have added variations of difficulty to make the game more enjoyable to different audiences. For those who would rather get in the chopper and not worry about technical maneuvers or careful flight techniques, there is the Training Mode. While it restricts you from performing certain helicopter actions, it does let players go through the entire campaign without too much difficulty. For a greater challenge, there is Realistic Mode, in which players have only three lives. For players who really love helicopter action, there is finally Veteran Mode, offering only one life and finite ammo.  The helicopters themselves are all Apache brand choppers: the Apache AH-64D Longbow, Apache AH-1, Apache AH-64X Experimental Prototype, MQ-8B Fire Scout, and Mi-35 Hind. While only major helicopter nerds will know the variations by name alone, players will find that each one controls and functions differently. Compared to airplanes, these machines need a wider turning radius, can obviously hover, and generally function in a manner very different from other flight simulators. Helicopters unsurprisingly have special abilities, and Apache pilots will be able to maneuver these machines vertically and nearly upside down, for example. These abilities range from hovering to shooting techniques. Dodging missiles is as easy as dropping altitude, yet to gain speed, the player must dive the Apache downward then swing up, much like a glider. There is a lot of flexibility with these vehicles, and it's going to require a minor learning curve even for those players who are comfortable with flight simulators. One impressive feature is how the helicopters handle variations of damage, such as flying with a damaged engine at the expense of mobility. However, certain parts, like the rotor blades, cannot be taken out without bad things happening. You get my drift. While flight simulators don't exactly offer in-depth plots, Apache: Air Assault tells the story of three different Apache crews working for a fictional UN military organization fighting insurgents across the world. I suppose it'll get the job done, but let's admit it, no one will be playing this game for the plot. However, missions themselves are rather dynamic. Objectives will change on the fly, and goals never take more than a few minutes to perform. The first level I was shown, taking place over the plains of Africa, guided us across bluffs and dusty roads while we took out insurgent vehicles. After reducing one insurgent town to rubble (hey, it was filled with no one but guerrilla terrorists, alright?), our Apache had to defend a fellow downed helicopter in a much larger city as insurgents attacked both us and the soldiers on the ground waiting for airlift. Success in this mission involved locking the Apache into a hover position, then switching over to a shooting mode, alternating between a tactical black-and-white vision cam that highlights enemy vehicles and an infrared cam that highlights enemy soldiers as solid white against a field of black. It looks pretty great, and once the rescue crew showed up, the mission became an escort mission. Within 15 minutes, missions varied from taking out targets, defensive aerial battles, and escort challenges. If the whole game can keep up with the variety, fans of flight simulators will have a lot to like. If not, they'll appreciate the free flight mode, with a whole set of variables to keep the gameplay dynamic. With regards to multiplayer, Gaijin Entertainment is taking a cooperative approach. Apache: Air Assault offers 13 multiplayer-exclusive modes with up to four players acting as a squadron to work through more team-based missions. Though online only, the main campaign can be completed as a co-operative team with one player acting as the pilot and the other as the gunner. Coming away from the game, it's clear that fans of air combat games and flight simulators will find a lot to appreciate and enjoy. Clearly, it's not for everyone, but it's a niche title for a niche audience. However, there seems to be a strong amount of polish and focus on making a helicopter title that works. It also helps that it is a great looking game with very lush and realistic geography and a solid draw distance. Hopefully, Gaijin Entertainment and Activision can keep things together and release a quality Apache helicopter simulator when Apache: Air Assault launches this November.

Apache: Air Assault is a special beast. While it might be considered a helicopter version of Gaijin Entertainment's IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a military aerial simulator released in 2009, it is clearly a differ...


1C Company brings screenshots of Theatre of War 2: Korea

Jun 07
// Ben Perlee
You know, it's true, for every ten titles of World War II, there is maybe a couple modern fictional military shooters, four "pseudo-realistic" future titles, maybe a Desert Storm game, and if a publisher is feeling particular...

King's Bounty: Crossworlds expansion oozes bounty

Jun 07
// Ben Perlee
For those who picked up last year's King's Bounty: Armored Princess found a great strategy game with a fairly strong legacy, if not the most mainstream appeal. However, 1C Company has found enough of a core base tha...

Boy banned from videogames, sledgehammers father to death

Apr 16
// Jim Sterling
A fourteen-year-old boy recently gave his father the Peter Gabriel treatment after he was banned from computer games, battering him to death with a sledgehammer.  The unnamed teen had his keyboard confiscated after being...

Metro 2033 won't be an open-world game

Dec 16
// Jim Sterling
Metro 2033 may be about post-apocalyptic Russia, but if you thought that would make it the next Fallout 3 or S.T.A.L.K.E.R, you'd be dead wrong. Unlike those games, Metro 2033 is not going the open-world route, giving us some...

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