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Half-Life and Deus Ex combine for superb new FPS game you can play now

The rapid run-and-gun style of Half-Life mixes with the narrative and RPG substance of Deus Ex in a new FPS game available to try now.

Parkside Decayed Soul Manipulation new Steam FPS game: Combat from Steam FPS game Parkside

Between the instantly recognizable design of Black Mesa, the mysteries of G-Man, and all the debates about silent protagonist icon Gordon Freeman, you can neglect to notice just how fast and fluid the firefights are in Half-Life. Crouch jumping in the wake of Doom and id Software’s original Quake, Valve’s shooter feels – in the best way possible – like ice skating, as you sprint and weave between Xen creatures and HECU soldiers like an especially lethal dancer. Combine that with Deus Ex, the original, Ion Storm classic, where augmentations, government control, and conspiracy form the narrative spine for an immersive sim and FPS-RPG hybrid, and you’ve got some serious promise. Available to try right now, this is one of 2024’s most unique new shooters.

Parkside: Decayed Soul Manipulation is the FPS game opus of independent developer Banana Hardsoft. In a dystopian, quasi-cyberpunk near future, you play an unemployed hacker who is kidnapped by the fantastically named Illuminated Brethren of Conclave Automata. Their objectives are murky, but through coercion and blackmail they force you to undertake a series of spying and assassination missions. By interfacing with a sophisticated, humanoid avatar called the Polyphemus, you’re sent into the totalitarian urban battlefield of Abbotsford, California to expand the Brethren’s influence.

Combat is reminiscent of Half-Life, Doom, or the 2016 Doom reboot. Exploration and navigation on the other hand come right out of Deus Ex. Use lockpicks, vent shafts, and secret entrances to infiltrate your target building. Hack cameras and computers to sneak past security and learn passwords. Everything is interactive. The Polyphemus itself is like your own personal JC Denton, which you can gradually upgrade with new and improved abilities.

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Likewise, Parkside presents a world of cybernetic augmentations, conspiracy theories, and retro futuristic computers and hacking. The mainstream inspirations are clear, but Parkside also draws from more esoteric, independent works like El Paso, Elsewhere and 2018’s Paratopic. Lo-fi and polygonal, it becomes a heightened, bizarro version of classic ‘90s shooters and immersive sims.

If you want to try Parkside for yourself, a new demo is available right this second – just head here. We’re still waiting on a launch date, but this is shaping up to be one of the most unique new shooters of the year.

Take a look at some of the other best upcoming games, or maybe the best old games, if you miss the likes of Half-Life and Deus Ex.

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