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The PC Gamer Show episode 4: SOE Live, Alien Isolation, Velvet Sundown

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode four, Cory travels to SOE Live to interview Sony Online President John Smedley and talk Everquest Next and H1Z1. Meanwhile, back at the office, we take a cruise on the Velvet Sundown and Tim chats with UK editor Chris Thursten about their hands-on time with Alien Isolation.


Three Lane Highway: why Culling Blade is Dota 2's most entertaining skill

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

Ultimate abilities are a good place to start whenever you're tasked with explaining why Dota is cool. They're silly, diverse, exciting to watch. If you're staring at an unconvinced game designer, show them how Chain Frost interacts with Chronosphere. Show them how Wraith King's Reincarnation power is both a safetynet and a mobile psychological deterrent. Show them almost any great Echoslam, but probably this one, because it's a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.

Konami are making a new Silent Hill. Will it come to PC?

Andy Kelly at

Last week Konami revealed a new Silent Hill game. After a succession of underwhelming sequels that spectacularly failed to capture the dark, subversive magic of the originals, you’d be forgiven for shrugging this news off. But this new Silent Hill is being developed by Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series, in collaboration with Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro. Konami, it seems, are finally giving their flagship horror series the love it deserves.


Hearthstone Help: What I learned from playing with a professional coach

Tim Clark at

When a golfer has a wonky swing, the obvious solution is a visit to the club pro for a tune up. But there’s a big difference between a sport in which people think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on a new driver and a game like Hearthstone, where many players pride themselves on never paying for a single booster pack. So I was surprised to see an increasing number of pro players and popular streamers starting to offer coaching sessions. But could an hour’s worth of advice really improve my winrate?


10 essential Windows 7 applications

PC Gamer at

Windows 8.1 has been out since October 2013, but we still cling to our installs of Windows 7. We love its reliability, even if it's missing some of Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements. If you're also still using Windows 7, your gaming PC is probably loaded with years of accumulated software. But are you using the best? Our colleagues at TechRadar put together a list of the best free programs for Windows 7, and we've boiled that list down to the 10 programs we think are essentials. If you don't have these programs installed already, here's why you should download them.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Thief

Ben Griffin at

Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

Say what you will about the game itself, but Thief's setting is as evocative as they come. Known simply as The City, this moody hub is equal parts Victorian Gothic and supernatural steampunk, sporadically illuminated by the light leaking from clouded windows and drowning in low-hanging mist.

There's little respite from the blue-black colour scheme besides the seedy rouge decor in the House of Blossoms and warmer tones of the Baron's manor, but that's what makes it so oppressive: it's always night, and it's nearly always raining. I actually took 40 shots in all, so if you'd like to see the ones not linked below, click here.

How to set up Steam in-home streaming on your PC

Wes Fenlon at

Steam in-home streaming may be the future of PC gaming in the living room. Sure, you can build a powerful gaming machine for the living room. But that's expensive. You might be able to run an HDMI cable from your desktop to your big screen TV. But that's usually impractical. In-home streaming is the third option: you use an old PC, or build a low-power client box, to stream games over your home network. Valve's in-home streaming started as an exclusive beta feature in Steam, but now it's built right into the client and available to anyone. It only takes about five minutes to set up, and it works amazingly well.

If you're ready to try out in-home streaming yourself, I'll walk you through the whole process: how to enable streaming in Steam, what kind of host PC and client you'll need, how to make sure your home network is up to the task, and how to control your games once they're up and running.

Inside IndieBox, the startup bringing back the glory of 80s game packaging

Andy Chalk at

Consider the box. There was a time when the lowly construct of cardboard was more ubiquitous than Steam: If you wanted a game, you bought it in a box, complete with manual, reference card, promotional material for other games in the publisher's catalog, and, in many cases, “the stuff”: Supplemental reading material, perhaps, or a swanky poster, or a microscopic alien space fleet in a ziplock bag. And it was good. Browsing row upon row of brightly colored boxes of various sizes and shapes was exciting not just because you knew you'd be coming home with something, but because you could never be entirely certain what was inside. That mystery is an element of the game-buying experience that's just not possible with the "all things at all times" nature of digital distribution, and for some gamers that's a real loss.

IndieBox hopes to fill that void with a unique blind subscription service: an indie game delivered to your mailbox every month, along with specially crafted box art, a manual, and other goodies. You never know what you're going to get: You pays your dime, as they say, and you takes your chances. It is perhaps an odd way to do business, but as co-founder John Carter explained, there’s an odd kind of sense to it, too.


Pixel Boost: Deus Ex at 5K

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Looking sharp, JC Denton. Real sharp.

It's one of the best RPGs ever made. It's one of the best games ever made, period. Deus Ex needs little introduction—since 2000, Ion Storm's first-person shooter/RPG has been the benchmark for open-ended game design. There's always a secret vent to crawl through, or a door to hack, or an NPC to persuade. Deus Ex's popularity endures to this day, and modders are still working to make the game look better every year. We decided to pay ol' JC Denton a visit on modern Windows and snap 33 5K screenshots. Here are the tools you can use to do the same.

Hearthstone Help: Top 10 new Naxxramas card combos

PC Gamer at

In this week's Hearthstone column our resident Legendary player is back to list his favorite combos enabled by the new Naxx cards. Because hey, who doesn't want to live the double Thaddius dream, right?


Why Rise of the Tomb Raider's exclusivity deal is a prehistoric relic

Tim Clark at

Well, I guess this is adieu then Lara. The news from Gamescom today that Rise Of The Tomb Raider will launch “exclusively on Xbox” next year means that, at best, PC gamers will have to wait out whatever window of time Microsoft’s money hat has paid for. Irritating, but nothing we’re not used to. More troubling is the suggestion that this is actually a lifetime exclusive. If that is the case (and I strongly suspect it isn’t), then it would represent one of the dumbest partnership deals I can recall.


Back to Baldur's Gate: revisiting BioWare's legendary RPG

Andy Kelly at

Baldur’s Gate was one of my formative PC gaming experiences. I have vivid memories of sitting in the glow of my old CRT monitor on a Friday evening after school, dungeon crawling until the sun rose. I’ve never been one for misty-eyed nostalgia, but last week I felt compelled to reinstall it. It was almost midnight, and I had work the next day, but I didn’t think I’d be playing for long. Just enough to sate my nostalgia. Three hours later and I was still up. Its claws are in me again—almost 16 years after I first installed it on my old beige Pentium II—and, surprisingly, it still holds up.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Borderlands 2

Ben Griffin at

Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

Famously, Gearbox changed Borderlands' visuals at the eleventh hour, completely re-doing the character models and textures to turn it from an ugly caterpillar into a bazooka-firing butterfly dipped in a vat of leaky glowsticks. Gearbox further loosened their belt for the sequel. They continue the first game's cel-shaded mania but notch up the environmental variety, with arctic wastes, gleaming metropolises, bone-dry dust bowls, and green goo-filled mines. It makes for a game that delivers plenty of spectacle.

Dominions 4 diary part three: wizards, lizards and eternal darkness

Tom Senior at

In parts one and two, Balboa, my obelisk god, leader of the Lanka, successfully fended off challenges from other pretender gods in the west of the kingdom, and plans to turn his attentions south once those enemies have been defeated.

Lizards. Lizards everywhere. The cold-blooded bastards have crossed the southern river to strike at my exposed heartlands. Far to the west, my armies continue to decimate the gods that challenged me last month, but it’ll take them ages to double back and help my central cities. This could mean trouble. Big, scaly trouble.

The best living room PC games to play on the couch

Wes Fenlon at

Every so often, PC gamers want to step away from the desk and play some games in the living room. There's a comfy couch! And a big TV! While we'd never want to give up our trusty keyboard and mouse for Counter-Strike or Civilization, there are tons of great PC games—both multiplayer and singleplayer—that are ideally suited to a controller and a big TV. We've assembled a list of the 20 best PC games for the living room right now, from modern multiplayer classics (Towerfall! Nidhogg!) to sprawling adventures like Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, built with controllers in mind.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Each week PC Gamer’s poets in residence gather their thoughts on the previous seven days. Weirdly, it never seems to rhyme.

The PC Gamer Show episode 3: Videoball, GTA 4 no-friction and more on LPC Jr., Arma 3 Zeus mode

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode three we're introducing the new Large Pixel Collider Jr. with an afternoon of special living room gaming challenges. Can Counter-Strike maven Evan Lahti win when he's forced to play with an Xbox controller? Who will survive the frictionless mayhem of GTA 4's Carmageddon mod? Plus, we play upcoming electronic sport Videoball, and PC Gamer UK walks us through ARMA 3's awesome Zeus mode.


Three Lane Highway: there are many Dotas, and other thoughts on custom game modes

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

Dota 2's popularity goes against all of the received wisdom about game design I can think of. It is complicated and inconsistent and it pushes people to interact in a way that generates all sorts of well-documented discontent. What it offers can't be summed up in a single sentence, and even a documentary dedicated to explaining its competitive side can only do so much to explain what you actually do in the game, or why that is fun.

Why WoW's level 90 character boost is a shortcut you shouldn't take

Cory Banks at

World of Warcraft launched ten years ago this November. That’s a long time in video game years, and even longer for an MMORPG. The world of Azeroth was already big when the game launched in November 2004, but ten years and four expansions have made WoW utterly massive—and intimidating for new or returning players. That’s one of the reasons why Blizzard has introduced a new in-game service to boost characters to the game’s current max level, 90. For $60, you can take a brand new character, or one you played but didn’t max out, and shortcut them straight to the top-end content for Mists of Pandaria, the game’s most current expansion.

It’s a handy service for both current and returning players, but it’s not perfect. Getting a boost from level 1 to 90 is like learning how to swim by jumping off a diving board, straight into the deep end. And even though Blizzard gives you all of the skills and gear you need to be level 90, it may not be enough to keep your group happy. No one wants to be at the bottom of the damage-per-second charts in an endgame raid.

The best PC joysticks

Dave James at

Space trucking and exploring in Elite: Dangerous. Dogfighting in Star Citizen. For the first time since the glory days of 1990s space sims, the flightstick is a must-have peripheral. An Xbox controller just can't compare to the feel of a flight stick and throttle, and you'll want every one of those buttons and switches for controlling a space ship or dogfighting above a Battlefield ground skirmish. We've tested out seven sticks to help you decide which to buy. If you're on a budget, never fear—one of our favorite sticks is a mere $50/£40.