The Technomancer

The Technomancer is a third-person RPG set in a dystopian cyberpunk future on Mars, fuelled by all the tropes you’d expect from both the genre and setting. (Ed. It’s almost as predictable as a writer starting their review with the title of the game.) Emulating heavy-hitter genre-favourites, particularly Mass Effect, The Technomancer bites off a quite a lot more than it can chew. The hard work invested struggles to shine through the dull, boggy surface of this disappointing over-reacher. Hidden in this game are interesting stories and promises of a fun, epic RPG brawler, but the foundations are very weak, and there is nothing within this amateurish title to compensate for its myriad of slip-ups.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

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Given Sherlock Holmes is often described as one of the world’s greatest detectives, making a player really feel like they’ve taken on the role of such a genius is no easy feat. While one can’t be transformed into an eagle-eyed observer or a master of logical reasoning by simply donning a deerstalker and overusing the word ‘elementary’, Sherlock’s unique skills do lend themselves to the potential for some interesting game mechanics. Sadly, despite building on seven other attempts to create the perfect Sherlock Holmes adventure game, The Devil’s Daughter still doesn’t quite find that sweet spot. It is, however, filled with the endless frustration that I imagine actually being around Sherlock Holmes in person would bring. So, at least there’s that realistic touch.

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Lost Sea

It’s a warm subtropical afternoon. The sun is beating down on you through a cloudless sky. The ocean gently caresses your scalp as you open your eyes; your wet clothes clinging to your body. You push your hands into the wet sand as you wearily get to your feet.

You are on a beach.

How did you get here?

This is how you begin Lost Sea.

Lost Sea cleverly borrows contextual flavour from contemporary pop-mythology by setting itself on a series of archipelagos within the Bermuda Triangle – a real world area of the ocean where ships and aircraft are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, often attributed to the paranormal. Soon you meet with a scientist conducting research in the area who will inform you that you were brought to the island through a dimensional rift and that in order to escape you will need to gather magical tablets that can be found on the islands in the area.

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Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

Femininity isn’t something mainstream games tend to embrace. Masculine, ‘tough girl’ tropes? Sure, Tomb Raider is kind of a thing. Sexualized femininity? Hoo boy, do videogames have that covered. But it’s almost never that we have a game celebrating femininity for its own sake – as a virtue or as a strength. However, one game series that has done a consistently excellent job bucking this trend is Gust’s Atelier games. Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book marks the 17th entry in the long running series, and is the series’ first venture on to the Playstation 4 console. But after so many installations in this JRPG franchise, has Atelier Sophie still got the magic touch?

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Homefront: The Revolution

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I don’t think there’s a single person on the planet who was super pumped for Homefront: The Revolution. A sort-of sequel/reboot of 2011’s largely forgettable CoD cash-in Homefront, Revolution was plagued with development issues and collapsing companies–announced following the original game’s release, Revolution traded hands first from THQ to Crytek after the former’s bankruptcy in 2012, then from Crytek to Deep Silver in 2014 after the latter underwent “internal restructuring.” One wouldn’t have been surprised if this unlucky title never saw the light of day. But here we are–it’s 2016, and the game that nobody really wanted is finally upon us. And, really, it’s not all that bad. No, really.

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Dialogue Tree: The SSM Podcast! Episode 1: Wizard Rock Died a Long Time Ago

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Hi friends! We’ve decided to try another new thing: a podcast! We’ve named it Dialogue Tree. All the other names were taken.

Yes, there are lots of video game podcasts, but we’re undeniably the best one. You can’t even argue against it. Featuring Matt, Jess, Angus, Nick and Britt–all of the current staff of Select Start Media!

Check it out here, or pop over to Soundcloud to download it and listen to it on the commute, at the Centrelink waiting room, or while you’re having a wank. They’re your only options.

 

Games with Gold Round-up, April 2016

Greetings, loyal readers. We’re trying out a new idea at SSM, now that we’ve got a bigger team. Starting now, every month (hopefully) we’ll bring you a quick round-up of the games featured in the Xbox Games with Gold line up and the PlayStation Plus line up–or at least, a round-up of the games we’ve played already, just to ensure that they’re still free (in Xbox’s case) by the time we can publish the article.

There are four games on offer during April as part of the Xbox Games with Gold program, two for the Xbox One and two for the Xbox 360, and, whaddya know, we’ve already played all of em. But should you bother? Read on and see if anything tickles your fancy.

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