Prepare The Canons

Fear the Reaper

Not much longer now before the Reapers arrive to wipe out galactic civilization.

Mass Effect 3 is almost upon us, and I’m hardly ready. For anticipation is not just a case of checking the calendar and willing the days to advance quicker, there is work to be done before March 6th comes around. Few games in history have featured what is the Mass Effect series’ main selling point: the ability to carry your save forward into the sequels in order to retain your character and the decisions you have made over the course of the games. So fans aren’t just looking forward to playing the last instalment of a trilogy, they’re looking forward to playing the last instalment of their trilogy. Every decision you make defines your Commander Shepard, decides your relationship with other characters – possibly even their fate, and shapes a universe that is unique to your save. Loading up a game with that save will bring a story that recognises you and remembers what you have done. The series has already provided an unprecedented level of player authorship over narrative, and it only remains to be seen whether the final chapter can deliver a satisfying conclusion.

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The Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle

I was almost going to let this pass by without making a note. Another Humble Bundle has gone up, but it’s one of those inbetween ones without a number; moreoever, it was initially offering only one main game, which felt somewhat off and going against the community vibe that the previous bundles have had. But when that one game happens to be my favourite indie game of the year, and on top of that they go and add my second favourite indie game of the year1, I just can’t deny it acknowledgement. There is over a day left and the total purchases just reached the million milestone. So what the heck, go ahead and buy yourself some substantial hours of smart indie gaming.

So what do you get for your voluntarily-sized payment this time? No less than Frozen Synapse and SpaceChem, two indie heavyweights, as well as Trauma and the previous Frozenbyte bundle if you pay above the average. As well as, of course, the opportunity to donate towards two charities, EFF and Child’s Play. As usual there is additional bonus content included with your key that inflates the total value to ridiculous proportions, such as the soundtracks and editors for some of the games, not to mention registration keys for Steam, Desura, OnLive and Direct 2 Drive should you feel the urge to add DRM to your DRM-free games.
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  1. http://blog.wolfire.com/2011/10/SpaceChem-Added-To-The-Humble-Frozen-Synapse-Bundle []

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Hard Reset Review

Disclaimer: Blade Runner was not harmed in the writing of this review.

For those potentially coming fresh off Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the cyberpunk action-adventure of the moment (also included on our list of recent cyberpunk titles), Flying Wild Hog’s début throwback FPS Hard Reset might take some getting used to. After all, the game’s name could and should be taken in reference to its status as an earnest homage to “all those forgotten Dooms, Quakes, and Painkillers”1.

What the ex-members of CD Projekt RED, People Can Fly, City Interactive and Metropolis do is literally drop the you onto a dank, bleak futuristic alleyway, with barrels and crates strewn across the street, glowing power-ups beckoning. Efforts to interact with this architecturally impressive scene will prove much in vain, however, with items merely bumping, bouncing and rolling about; If you discover an explosive barrel or a glowing transformer, you can rest assured its only function is to act as a stationary tool for tactical destruction.

Stuff blows up. Big time. End of story?

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  1. http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/action/hard-reset/news/6326099/hard-reset-qanda-whats-old-is-new-again?sid=6326099&mode=previews&tag=topslot;thumb;2 []

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Do Ya Feel Lucky, Cyberpunk?

Cyberpunk is much-loved here at the Slowdown. If there’s one thing I and Martyn have in common, it’s our fondness for cyberpunk masterpiece Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s neo-noir thriller has had a considerable influence on the genre since its release almost 3 decades ago. Neuromancer and Ghost in the Shell are two other favourite stories of mine that have inspired countless movies and games. So it has been a pleasure to notice a growing number of games cropping up recently that celibrate cyberpunk themes and offer more than just a nod to the aforementioned properties.
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Rumble In The Bundle

The Humble Indie Bundle is back with a new sale in the name of indie games and charity. You know the drill, pay whatever you want for a set of DRM-free games, and divide your payment into portions going towards the developers, charity, and the bundle initiative itself. I’m a little late in posting but fret not, there is still plenty of time before this offer expires. As is the norm for this project, the reception has overwhelming and the sales numbers have already crossed the $1 million mark.

This time around the games are VVVVVV, And Yet It Moves, Hammerfight, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Steel Storm and Cogs. Purchasing the bundle gives you a unique link to download the games completely free of any DRM as well as bonus activation codes for Steam and Desura; additionally, they have thrown in a free trial of Minecraft. If that wasn’t attractive enough, the whole of Humble Bundle #2 will be available too if you pay more than the current average.
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