Feature

Pixel Boost: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

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Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

When it comes to Star Wars games, they don't make 'em like they used to. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series married fun first-person action—full of iconic weapons and sound effects—with stories and characters from a larger fictional world. Kyle Katarn! Mara Jade! Luke Skywalker! They were all there, and the games they were in were good. After the first two Dark Forces, LucasArts handed the reigns to Raven Software, who amped up the lightsaber combat and multiplayer. All of the Jedi Knight games are available on Steam, so I relived my childhood Star Wars fandom with Jedi Outcast and took 25 4K screenshots in the process.

Dark Souls 2 PC port: mod god Durante's verdict

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PC Gamer at

In 2012, Peter "Durante" Thoman wrote the popular mod DSfix for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die on PC, fixing its locked 1024x720 resolution and other issues. In 2013, he released a similar fix for Deadly Premonition. We asked Durante to analyze the PC port of Dark Souls 2 in a series of articles.

After an initial outing on PC which was barely serviceable—rendering at 1024x720, locked at 30 FPS with unusable mouse controls—From Software and Namco Bandai have a lot to prove with this sequel. For Dark Souls 2, PC was reportedly considered a major target platform from the start. In this article, I'll first investigate the technical quality of the port compared to Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition and the console versions of Dark Souls 2. Then I'll have a closer look at the options included in the game and analyze their impact.

Dark Souls 2 4K screenshots

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Wes Fenlon at

Dark Souls II is a gorgeous game. Except when it's an ugly game. It's a little weird that way—some environments are absolutely breathtaking, while others stand out with dated, blocky geometry. This gallery mostly reflects the former, capturing some of Dark Souls II's most breathtaking vistas and immaculate art direction. There are no bosses or secrets in sight, so don't fear spoilers.

The theme of this gallery is "stoic." Or perhaps "pensive." Or "ooh, pretty lighting." Now feast your eyes on 40 screenshots captured at 3840x2160.


Reinstall: Brothers in Arms

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Ben Griffin at

Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Ben relearns World War 2 tactics in Brothers in Arms.

Find, fix, flank and finish. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 calls them The Four F’s, and almost ten years since its release, I haven’t forgotten. But this is more than a catchy slogan. This authentic military manoeuvre is the game’s backbone, the reason it stands tall among a mid-naughties glut of brain-dead war shooters. Whenever I think about Gearbox’s squad-based FPS, I find myself repeating it like a mantra.

The Early Access Report: Contraption Maker, Broforce and Centration

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Craig Pearson at

Welcome to the early access report, a regular round-up looking at the most interesting early access games of the moment. Here we try new alphas and revisit old ones to separate the promising gems from the bug-ravaged time wasters.

Steam's so big that it's possible for games to be forgotten, like lost civilisations cut off from the rest of the world, never receiving any visitors and wondering who'll eat the special biscuits? But a recent-ish update enables games that have been patched space on the coveted front-page. Anything can land there, as long as it's received a major update, and it works well for Early Access because they're always being updated. That how you /make/ games. That's how I remembered Contraption Maker existed, and that's how a friend ended up playing Broforce and demanding I join him. I also ended up playing Centration so you don't have to.

Diary of a Droid Jedi - Star Wars Conquest, part 3

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Evan Lahti at

This is a chronicle of our absurd, canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade. Our campaign to ruin Star Wars appears each Tuesday.

Last week I received a missive from Mon Mothma, Rebel Commandress. Her invitation was exciting: an invitation to join the Rebel Alliance. I’d receive my own planet (okay, okay—technically just a moon) in exchange for swearing some trivial loyalty oath.

I push my crude transport ship all the way to Dantooine, avoiding major trouble along the way.

The Rift Report: 10 of the best VR experiences

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Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in The Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

The Rift Report will be taking a break until I get my hands and eyes on the higher resolution DK2. But before I go, here’s a list of the games, tech demos, and other oddities I think make the most of the hardware. I’ve been using the Rift pretty frequently for a couple of months now, and it still manages to impress me. But the limitations of the original development kit are obvious, so I think I’ll wait until the fancypants new model lands on my desk before I continue my virtual reality odyssey.

4K Screenshot Showcase: Skyrim

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PC Gamer at

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

Skyrim is a permanent hard drive fixture for many here at PC Gamer. We don't tend to go questing for hours on end like it's 2011, but some worlds are interesting enough to warrant a revisit even years later. There's a fantastic mod community that's pushed Bethesda's engine further than anyone thought possible, but it's easy to forget how good vanilla Skyrim looks with just a little enhancement. To demonstrate, Ben has gone wandering in the wilds to bring you this week's set of shots, from Markath to Riften and beyond.

FTL Advanced Edition: the definitive version of Subset's strategy game

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Samuel Roberts at

FTL: Advanced Edition is free. The goodwill of that gesture to fans, to expand the hit space sim's feature set and narrative possibilities for nothing, is a neat way to get people talking about the game just as it emerges on iPad. For me, FTL has been a go-to game, something I've played every day for as long as I can remember. The additions to the combat feel generous, and certainly justify picking up the game again even if you've logged tens of hours with it previously.

The basic principle of crossing the game's eight sectors is unchanged. One nerdy tweak to the interface I quite like is a heavier use of symbols in dialogue boxes, so you're not always staring at white text on a beige background. But why am I talking about UI and not the new space combat bits, which are clearly the more interesting addition?


Three Lane Highway: several exciting ways for friends to lose games of Dota 2 together

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

I've been in a few teams in the two years I've been playing Dota. I say 'teams', but what I mean is 'groups of five people that agree to put up with each other's ceaseless theorycrafting'. I'm in a team right now, in fact. We're called the Hot Dukes and if you play on Europe West you've probably beaten us.

It's a lot of fun. One of the things I like most about playing with a dedicated stack is learning new and imaginative ways to throw matches. I mean, we're not terrible - our matchmaking ratings range from Questionable to Pretty Good - and we're all capable of big plays in the right conditions. But we're nonetheless capable of falling on our assess with a weight and precision that belies the fact that we'd rather not fall on our assess at all. We've developed a methodology for screwing up that approaches a kind of science, and it's this methodology that I'd like to share with you today. If your friends are looking for new ways to extend the range of your throwing arm, or are simply looking for an explanation for why you lost that game, I think I might be able to help.

Building Crown, part three: collaborating with the Counter-Strike community

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PC Gamer at

Building Crown is a three part series from mapmaker Shawn "FMPONE” Snelling and pro Counter-Strike player/mapmaker Sal "VOLCANO" Garozzo, revealing the inspiration and building process for their map Crown. Their goal with Crown is simple: build the best competitive Counter-Strike map ever. In part three, Snelling talks about iteration in map design and listening to community feedback to improve Crown.

Releasing de_crown has been a fascinating experience for Volcano and I. When we decided Crown was ready for broader community testing, we released the first public build with the same mixture of anxiety and excitement that always accompanies a new map release. Thankfully, the launch went smoothly! Crown received over 1000 favorites in its first week on the map workshop (the highest rated map on the workshop is over a year old, and has about 1500). Crown ranked within the top five maps of all time virtually overnight. Crown was also the most played map on AltPug’s community Matchmaking service during that time period, and the feedback we received there was generally positive.

The community was engaged, but Counter-Strike fans are used to playing high quality, nuanced maps with years of competitive polish. This is a high standard for any brand new map to compete with. Not all the news was positive. In public beta testing, several issues were identified which needed fixing, some of which—such as the addition of a new path—would require major surgery.

The Wargaming.net League Grand Finals: Inside World Of Tanks' 'Cyber Olympics'

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bgriffin at

Wargaming.net has offices from Sydney to Singapore and a player base of 60 million, but their recent tournament in Poland was the biggest eSports event in their 16-year history. I speak, of course, of the Wargaming.net League Grand Finals. It was bloody massive.

From April 4-6, 14 teams waged war in World of Tanks for the chance to take home $300,000 and a safe-sized trophy carved from steel intimidatingly called ‘The Monolith’. These were the best of the best: Fnatic and SIMP from America, Energy Pacemaker and E-Sports Club from China, ARETE and NOA from South Korea, PVP Super Friends and UAD from Southeast Asia, Na’Vi and RR-UNITY from CIS region, and Lemming Train, Team WUSA, Virtus.pro and Synergy from Europe. These eight-man teams (and they were all men, late teens to twenty-somethings) qualified from a pool of over 300,000.


Diary of a Droid Jedi - Star Wars Conquest, part 2

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Evan Lahti at

This is a chronicle of our absurd, canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade. Our campaign to ruin Star Wars appears each Tuesday.

My pride and HP wounded by intergalactic jerkbag Grand Moff Tarkin, I slink back to the comfort of the cantina, hoping to find refuge in drink. Perhaps companionship will await me here, fellow warriors disillusioned by the haphazard scripting that’s native to this strange, anything-goes Star Wars negaverse. I walk up to the bar.

The Rift Report: marriage problems, Skyrim, and virtual voyeurism

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Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

Now that the Facebook buyout story is yesterday’s chip paper, everyone has stopped talking about Oculus Rift. Not me, though. The headset is a permanent fixture on my desk, and I’m always keeping my eye on sites like RiftEnabled and Oculus VR Share for new demos to try. It’s a minefield, though. The open nature of the hardware means there’s a lot of crap out there in Rift land, but it’s amazing that most of the good ones I feature in The Rift Report are made by one person in their spare. Imagine what a team of 100 developers with a blockbuster budget could do.

Show Us Your Rig: Civ V designer Jon Shafer

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Cory Banks at

Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, a new feature where the PC gaming industry's best and brightest show us the systems they use to work and play. 

Conifer Games' Jon Shafer requires a lot of information. As the lead designer on Civilization V, he's understandably used to having a lot of data to process—his civ's economic details or battle data from the front lines, perhaps. Lately, most of that information is the thousands of lines of code for his newest project, the upcoming 4X At The Gates. Still, we were surprised when Shafer told us that his setup for both programming and gaming requires four separate screens. For most people, that'd be information overload. For Shafer, it's just another work day.

4K Screenshot Showcase: Mirror's Edge

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PC Gamer at

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

Mirror's Edge was the game that proved dystopia didn't have to be dirty. The crisp, elegant, angular city was in beautiful contrast to the corruption and double-dealings happening inside it. Throughout, the game drew the player's eye with a restrained use of colour across the clean white and glass backdrop. It was in parts muted and vivid, as Faith travelled over, around and inside the distinct architecture. To celebrate the gorgeous setting, here's a selection of the best Mirror's Edge locations, captured in a gloriously detailed 4K resolution.

Mod of the Week: Tame the Beasts of Skyrim II

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Christopher Livingston at

As an animal lover, it sometimes bothers me to have to slaughter so much wildlife in video games, particularly in Skyrim, where wolves, bears, deer, and mammoths often give you little choice. There's an alternative, however, that lets you put down your sword and pick up a leash. Charm creatures with magic, make them your companions, feed them treats, sell them for profit, and even breed them, with Tame The Beasts of Skyrim II.

The central feature of Tame the Beasts is the Pet Shop (or petshop as it’s called in the mod). There you’ll meet Roselia, the shop owner, who will teach you a new shout. Then, you just need to run around in the wild until you find the animal you’d like to adopt, or just settle for whatever random animal you find, because believe me, when you’re out deliberately looking for a bear, you will never find a bear.


The Week's Highs And Lows In PC Gaming

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Phil Savage at

Each week the PC Gamer team stares into its swirling palantír and assesses the best and worst things to happen over the past seven days. As usual we kick off with the stuff that made us happy...


Pixel Boost: Unreal Tournament 2004 at 4K

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Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Unreal Tournament 2004 turns 10.

Unreal Tournament 2004 turned a decade old in March. There's still nothing as thrillingly tense as an Instagib match on Facing Worlds, nothing as smooth and satisfying as snatching up a Flak Cannon and instantly turning someone into flying giblets with a spread of molten shrapnel. It's just as much fun as you remember, and the online scene still has active servers hosting fast-paced multiplayer matches today. Even better, Unreal Tournament 2004 installs and runs like a champion on modern Windows, and I've got 34 4K screenshots to prove it.

A goat farmer reviews Goat Simulator: "Goats love champagne."

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PC Gamer at

Angelina Bellebuono is a photographer and writer living in rural Georgia. She owns 13 goats (including Dolly, pictured above) and has written for publications including Paste Magazine and Georgia Trend. In 2010, she created an interactive photography/writing project called Goatballad: A Pasture Hymn. We asked Angelina to play Goat Simulator and write about her experience with the game as a goat farmer. This is her personal essay.

A friend of a friend refers to me as goat goddess and emails me explaining that I may get a goat question from San Francisco. I live on a five-acre farm in rural Georgia. San Francisco is far away. Are there any goats in San Francisco?

The email arrives. A request: write about Goat Simulator, a new-but-not-so-serious video game.