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Don’t bother him with details.

Ever since George Lucas decided to retcon the Star Wars continuity, prequels have been all the rage. Some attempts have been more successful than others: compare Star Trek: Enterprise and Hannibal Rising to, say, Smallville, and it quickly becomes apparent that prequels are a hit-or-miss affair. On the gaming side of things, The Legend of Zelda is the biggest culprit when it comes to endless retconning, but fans can hardly fault the series since they love it so much. With regressive storytelling being so risky, it’s no wonder companies like Valve opted to ditch prequels entirely and mainly resort to exploring backstory to flesh out their scenarios. It’s therefore been up to fans to take up the mantle of fully imagining a pre-GLaDOS Aperture Science facility in the aptly-named Portal: Prelude.

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The first part of upcoming Hearthstone expansion “Curse of Naxxramas” will be available on 22 July 23 July (as pointed out by R4mzy in the comments below). We realise that that previous sentence was entirely superfluous considering the headline of this article. In fact, the rest of this article is pretty unnecessary as well. So, yeah. This is awkward. A three-headed monkey would be great right about now.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II takes place in Borgovia, a land where gothic meets geek and dark creatures are met with darker puns. It’s an action RPG in the tradition of Torchlight and Diablo, with a baroque style of its own. It’s my first real outing with the inimitable young monster hunter Van Helsing and his wise-cracking, ass-kicking ghost companion Lady Katarina, having played the first game only briefly. And, despite an incredibly slow start, balance issues and a couple of niggly bugs, Van Helsing II is a fun romp for the price.

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Early Access. Now there’s a concept I’ll never understand as it relates to video games. Okay, I get the logic: you buy the game before it’s finished so the indie developers can afford to make it in the first place – but personally, I only want to buy finished products.

I’ve heard that the other benefit is that it gives you a say in the game’s development – although from what I’ve seen, that translates into some developers collecting all your suggestions, bug reports and complaints and then diligently ignoring them. Still, I decided to dip a toe into these murky waters as a personal experiment a while back. The title in question: an interesting looking survival game called Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

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NOW you’re in trouble.

We’ve had our eyes on this baby for quite some time, pun intended. I mean, the premise alone is intriguing: viewing the world through the eyes of a toddler and reliving our instinctive fear of the dark! It’s a more novel approach to horror and an inspired break from the usual gore-drenched tropes that are common in the genre. Now that Among the Sleep has finally arrived, we can see if it lives up to our expectations or if it’s just another memory gone awry.

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As per my usual way of doing things, I didn’t know a damn thing about Watch Dogs until I popped it into my PS4. That might be inconceivable to some of you, that someone could know nothing about a game as important as this, but it’s not that hard, really. Just take all the time you would spend online reading gaming news and watching trailers and do something else with it. Like sleeping. That’s one of my favourites.

That ignorance helps me to remain objective, I think. No exposure to expectations or hype or even knowledge of the game’s content. I only start thinking about the game as I play it. All I knew going in was that it’s an open-world game in which you play a dude wearing a trench coat and a baseball cap, and it has something to do with hacking.

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Had I known two things beforehand, I might have thought twice before parting with cash to buy Bound by Flame. The first is that the trailer was cleverly cut to make the game look more fast-paced and entertaining than it actually is, and second is that the game was developed by the same team that made Mars: War Logs.

Now, I kind of liked Mars: War Logs despite its numerous flaws, and that’s exactly what Bound by Flame is: a re-skinned version of Mars: War Logs. The slow-paced combat works exactly the same way, the armour and weapon upgrading works exactly the same way, the crafting system works exactly the same way, the small maps and hub-based quests work exactly the same way, and you even get a single sidekick who you cannot control in any way, just like in Mars: War Logs.

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The Wolfenstein games, like some other long-running franchises, have managed to stay relevant despite the passage of time. Although 2009′s rather uninspiringly-named Wolfenstein did little to make waves, it was nonetheless a solid shooter experience which endeared fans and reminded us that, along with zombies and aliens, having twisted Nazis as enemies never gets old. With this in mind, it was no surprise that we all got a bit excited [And with that, we officially have the understatement of the millennium – Ed.] to see a new Wolf game was in the works, and now we finally have our latest Reich-crushing fix in the form of Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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DAMN YANKEES GET OFFA MUH PROPERTY

Ah, Source. That venerable engine that’s the basis for so many of our favourite games and mods. Despite being a decade old, it’s still truckin’ and we’re seeing new things birthed from it on a regular basis. It has a lengthy repertoire which now includes a nugget of multiplayer goodness in the form of Fistful of Frags. It’s been doing the rounds as a mod for 8 years and is now available as a stand-alone game.

As you may have probably guessed from the title, the game is largely an arena FPS affair with an Old West theme. Games and mods of this type are not uncommon: the older among you may remember Boothill for the original DOOM games, while more recently Smokin’ Guns – a Quake III modification turned standalone game – has been doing the rounds in the freeware scene. Nonetheless, none of them have the same charm and polish that is to be found in Fistful of Frags.

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The Elder Scrolls Online (from here on referred to as TESO) is the latest in the Elder Scrolls series, a departure from the dense single-player experiences it’s offered in installments past. In moving online, it tries to be more than the sum of its parts: attempting to replicate the freedom and narrative of its forebears while seamlessly blending in the more social and group-orientated activities that keep MMO players coming back.

Reviewing an MMO is a tricky proposition, especially in the case of one with a monthly subscription fee. Does the game hold out over the long-term for MMO fans? Can it cater for solo players — who don’t necessarily have the time to dedicate to longer raids or quests — and provide an enjoyable single-player RPG? And does it uphold the Elder Scrolls legacy?

In the interest of providing a more accurate reflection of TESO, I’ll be posting my impressions over the course of my time with the game. This article covers the first 15 character levels, and represents some 50 hours of play-time with ESO thus far.

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