Samuel Horti

I'm a freelance journalist writing about video games, tech, and real estate/housing. Scroll down for article examples, and email me at sphorti@gmail.com 

PC Gamer

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 Review | PC Gamer

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 reminded me just how good Konami's football games can be—and why I've been playing FIFA instead for years. The slow pace requires precision, patience and deliberate build-up play, and putting together a 10-pass move ending in a volley from the edge of the box is a better feeling than anything you’ll find in FIFA. But poor AI and intermittent online connectivity have given me more headaches than those moments of glory are usually worth. Not all that much has changed sin
TechRadar

How The Last Of Us raised the bar for video game narratives | TechRadar

When I think back to 2013’s The Last of Us, it’s not the stealth segments that stick in my mind. It isn’t the gunplay, or the platforming, or even the blind, shambling Clickers determined to chomp on your neck. Like most fans, I remember the story—the touching, often harrowing moments protagonists Joel and Ellie share. I remember the silent looks, the tears, and the hopeless decisions they faced. It was, and remains, a masterpiece of storytelling. It’s still both gripping and polished enough to
Kotaku UK

Pillars of Eternity 2's Secret Weapon is '90s-Style Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books | Kotaku UK

From the ages of 8 to 11, I devoured as many choose-your-own-adventure books as I could get my sticky little hands on. Give Yourself Goosebumps was my favourite series. I’d stay up late in bed, gripping the pages with shaking hands as I decided whether to take on a group of groaning zombies or run away screaming. I loved being able to dictate the story — even if I always kept a finger on the previous page, of course, so I could change my mind if I didn’t like the outcomes. Playing Pillars of Et
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Clear 100 hours in your calendar, ‘cos CRPGs are here to stay | Rock, Paper, Shotgun

In the mid-to-late 2000s, publishers abandoned the CRPG genre – an acronym describing the very specific genre of video games adapted from tabletop RPGs to be played on computers – which a decade earlier had been a cornerstone of PC gaming. They were more interested in accessible, console-friendly series like Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls, and PC-centric RPGs all but died out.
Rock Paper Shotgun

Four developers of scary games explain how to make scary games very scary indeed | Rock, Paper, Shotgun

The inspiration for Alien: Isolation came from a simple thought experiment: what if somebody let a lion loose in developer Creative Assembly’s office? “I’d get behind my desk and make sure it wouldn’t see me,” says the game’s creative director Alistair Hope. “Then, you’d need to get to the fire escape. Maybe I’d move desk to desk and distract it. If you are confronted by it, what do you do? What do you know about it? What do you know about what it knows about you? That felt pretty cool, and it w
TechRadar

How good is face ID tech? It depends who you're looking for… | TechRadar

“You see it in movies all the time, they zoom in on a picture and it’s all pixelated and they say ‘enhance’, and you get this nice image,” says Tom Heseltine, CEO of facial recognition software firm Aurora. “That’s not real. But with deep learning they’re trying to do that, and it’s becoming quite good. [Some facial recognition systems] are able to take that image and construct a high-resolution face.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Should kids be taught using Minecraft? | Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“The 14-year-old me was weeping inside” says Tom Bennett, the UK government’s school behaviour tsar. He’s recalling the time that Ian Livingstone – the co-creator of both Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy, the series of role-playing books – called him a “luddite”. “It really upset me, I used to love the books and the games that came from them.” The reason Bennett became the target of Livingstone’s ire is because of his views on Minecraft in classrooms. Last November, Microsoft released Minecr
PC Gamer

We tried to get good with Tachanka, Rainbow Six Siege's worst operator | PC Gamer

I rarely get praise from teammates in FPS games. So when my Rainbow Six squad starts worshipping me as a god after pulling off a single kill, I have no idea how to react. I'm learning that this happens more than you expect when you pick Tachanka, Siege's worst operator, affectionately known as “our Lord and savior”. His unique gadget is a mounted LMG with insane stopping power. But it also makes him an easy target. Once enemies know where he is—usually by sending a drone his way—they’ll exploit

About me — scroll down for more articles

I moved from London to Toronto last year to give the freelance life a go. I started off in journalism writing about pharmacy and real estate, and now I mainly write about video games for places like PC Gamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku UK, The Telegraph, TechRadar, GamesMaster and others.

I was previously Digital News Editor of Property Week, and I still write for them on a freelance basis. Here's my Linkedin if you want the full spiel. 

I'm always open to new opportunities, so if you want me to write something for you, or have any questions, just drop me a line at sphorti@gmail.com.

TechRadar

Mario Tennis Aces review: smashing shots failed by flimsy game modes | TechRadar

Mario Tennis Aces for the Nintendo Switch is less about angling the perfect topspin forehand down the line and more about standing in a star, leaping 20 feet in the air and smashing the ball at Bowser’s face. It’s a flashy arcade tennis game with plenty of special moves to master, and playing against someone that’s the same skill level as you is one of the most tense, frantic multiplayer battles you’ll have all year. And yet after less than 15 hours with it, I have no desire to return. That’s b
PC Gamer

Death's Gambit Review | PC Gamer

I died 29 times to one of Death’s Gambit bosses. Granted, I was still learning the ins and outs of my dagger-wielding assassin build, and the boss was backed up by a 50-foot rock monster with a blade wider than I was tall, but that tells you the type of 2D sidescroller this is. Enemies hit hard, bosses have huge health bars, and leveling up your skills to tackle the toughest fights requires a lot of patience. Death's Gambit isn't ashamed of its Dark Souls influence, which extends far beyond the
Gamasutra

How player criticism helped make Dead Cells the game it is today | Gamasutra

By any measure, Dead Cells has had one hell of a stint in Early Access. Since developer Motion Twin pushed it to players in May it’s sold over 850,000 copies, been showered with praise from critics and players—94 percent of its 15,000 Steam reviews are positive as of writing—and turned feedback from fans into heaps of new features. It’ll be ready for a full release next week: August 7. But the outlook wasn’t always so rosy. Lead designer Sébastien Bénard tells Gamasutra that his team were “rea
Glixel (Rolling Stone)

War Games Become Vital History Lesson as Greatest Generation Dies Out | Glixel (Rolling Stone)

Charles Scot-Brown, 94, is watching Call of Duty: WWII’s soldiers storm Omaha Beach. “It’s basically authentic,” he says. “Whoever designed that knew something about what they were doing.” And he’d know: at just 20 years old, he left his native Canada to take charge of a platoon of soldiers in... Website no longer around (content moved over to Variety), so the link is a pdf of the text with images.
VG247

Rainbow Six Siege's new Villa map is Ubisoft's map design at its best | VG247

It is my first match back after a two-month break from Rainbow Six Siege, and I am running around its newest map, Villa, in a daze. Every corridor looks the same, I have no idea how to get to the objective rooms, and I keep getting killed by enemies sitting in unseen corners. In other words, it feels exactly the way a Rainbow Six Siege map should feel when you jump in for the first time. Villa took a full nine months to put together, with the layout envisaged by one designer. The extra attentio
PC Gamer

Is it worth cutting out Steam to sell indie games direct? | PC Gamer

On May 14, 2011, only one game was released on Steam: Jason Rohrer's tactical shooter . "It was on the Steam front page for five days," he tells me. "Releasing a game back then on Steam meant you'd instantly have an audience—I had all these new players that had never even heard of it before." But things have changed a lot since then. Developers are pumping games onto Steam at an astonishing rate, making it harder than ever for individual games to stand out from the crowd. Last Wednesday, as 83
Gamasutra

How a Gears of War dev built the chill Shape of the World on the side | Gamasutra

Stu Maxwell spends his days designing blood splatters and giant guns at a triple-A studio, and his nights making a serene exploration game about planting seeds and floating across treetops. It’s a development life of contrasts: his indie game, called Shape of the World, is about as far removed from his full-time job as lead VFX artist at Gears of War developer The Coalition as you could possibly get. That day-night cycle is now over. Shape of the World came out earlier this month, ending four
CityMetric

Inside PATH, the 30km network of walkways, tunnels and malls beneath Toronto | CityMetric

Since moving to Toronto nine months ago, I’ve found serendipity hard to come by. I’m only here for two years, so if I’m going out to eat, or grab a coffee, or meet a friend, I’ll look up endless lists of the ten best restaurants or pubs in the area, trying to make sure no trip is wasted. I plan my journey door-to-door using local transport app My TTC, leave my flat so that I’ll arrive at the bus stop just as it pulls up, and, when I hop off again, I walk the route I’ve memorised, head down.
TechRadar

How sharks and camels could be the keys to curing brain diseases | TechRadar

“I bleed the sharks every month or two,” aren’t the words you expect to hear from an assistant professor at Maryland University. But that’s exactly what Dr Helen Dooley does in her work as an immunologist, visiting the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore to collect samples for her research. She, and other academics around the world, believe that proteins harvested from shark blood could be the key to diagnosing and treating diseases that are hard to target with existin
TechRadar

Google is building a smart city in Toronto – here’s what you need to know | TechRadar

We know Google can build phones, tablets, laptops, thermostats, watches, smart glasses (sort of) and driverless cars, but can they build a city? Over the next few years, we’ll find out: Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, was last year selected by Toronto officials to create an 83-acre smart neighborhood just east of downtown. The project, which will begin with a $50m (about £38m pounds or AU$70m) pilot scheme later this year, aims to transform a traditionally indus
PC Gamer

Wrecking Ball is Overwatch’s most inventive hero to date | PC Gamer

Overwatch’s new tank hero, Wrecking Ball, is an adorable hamster that pilots a giant round mech. I spent the evening taking him for a spin on the test servers to find out if he’s any fun to play with, what his strengths are, and where he might fit into the meta. You can read the full list of his abilities here , but the one that defines him is the grappling hook, bound to right click. Think of it like Spider-Man’s web: it’ll lodge into walls and ceilings, and you can swing around the point at which it’s
PCGamesN

Happy 18th birthday Deus Ex - let's get drunk together | PCGamesN

Deus Ex turns 18 this month - which means, in the UK, the game can legally get drunk. So let’s all have a beer or two. Or, if you’re protagonist Adam Jensen, have three, and wash them down with a few glasses of wine and a litre of whiskey. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - the third game in the series -  is littered with alcohol, which I didn’t realise until I started searching it out: there are cans stuffed in office drawers and bottles spread liberally across table tops, as if the developers were pl
PC Gamer

Super Mega Baseball 2 review | PC Gamer

Super Mega Baseball was a that was let down by its lack of online play. The follow-up keeps the accessible hitting and pitching mechanics, smooths over some rough edges, and adds everything that was missing, including multiple online modes, a detailed team editor, and custom leagues. Basically, it does everything a sequel should do, and the result is the best on-field baseball sim on PC. Online, you can play a one-off game or a custom tournament with friends, but the flagship mode is Pennant Ra
PC Gamer

Does Braid deserve its status as the iconic breakthrough indie game? | PC Gamer

Braid is one of those games that rolls lazily off the tongue in conversations about the most influential indie games of all time. Depending which of the many breathless pieces you've read about it over the years, Braid was either an "enormous leap towards realising the potential" of videogames that "ripped away…years of gaming blinkers", the "Sex, Lies and Videotape of indie gaming", or possibly even gaming's "Easy Rider" moment. It has a reputation as more than just a clever puzzler with a mind
Kotaku UK

Frostpunk is the Harshest City Builder You'll Ever Play | Kotaku UK

One of your citizens is refusing to part ways with his frostbitten left leg. If your medics leave him alone then gangrene will kill him within days, adding another body to the growing pile dumped in a snowdrift on the edge of town. If you forcibly restrain him and amputate you’ll save his life, but he won’t be able to work, making him a burden on your already-strained resources. So: what do you do? These are the kinds of bleak choices you can expect in Frostpunk, a city builder about surviving
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