PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usSun, 04 Oct 2015 01:05:00 +0000yesKnuckle Sandwich trailer pits man against giant, legged noseshttp://www.pcgamer.com/knuckle-sandwich-trailer-pits-man-against-giant-legged-noses/Knuckle Sandwich'sfirst trailer arrives along side the launch of itsSteam Greenlight campaign.Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:05:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/knuckle-sandwich-trailer-pits-man-against-giant-legged-noses/Knuckle SandwichNewsRPG <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-2U7vDXzkhs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>I got a chance to play&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/knuckle-sandwich/" target="_blank">Knuckle Sandwich</a> in August and thought&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/knuckle-sandwich-is-like-a-grown-up-earthbound/" target="_blank">it looked and felt like a "grown-up" Earthbound</a>, which is nothing but a compliment. Now everyone else can&nbsp;see what I meant, as creator Andrew Brophy just released the game's first trailer as part of its launch on Steam Greenlight. Knuckle Sandwich is an incredibly weird RPG about working a terrible service job&nbsp;in a burger joint&mdash;though, from the looks of the turn-based battles against&nbsp;giant noses and zombies, I doubt the whole game will be spent slinging fast food.</p><p>You can find&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=455482194" target="_blank">Knuckle Sandwich on Steam Greenlight here</a>, and read my&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/knuckle-sandwich-is-like-a-grown-up-earthbound/" target="_blank">full thoughts on the game right here</a>.</p> The killing decision in Metal Gear Solid 5http://www.pcgamer.com/the-killing-decision-in-metal-gear-solid-5/Konami adds an interesting twist to the lethal vs. non-lethal debate.Sat, 03 Oct 2015 20:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-killing-decision-in-metal-gear-solid-5/KonamiMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainStealth <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/caPkLQFaQtK8.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VeBvHj87N_wX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MGS5"></p><p><em>Tom Francis is a former writer for PC Gamer and current game developer. He's been playing Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and writing up his thoughts on <a href="http://www.pentadact.com/">his personal website</a>. We've been enjoying his musings and he agreed to let us share them with you here. You can follow the development of Tom's next game, Heat Signature, <a href="http://www.heatsig.com/">at its official site</a>.</em></p><p>Almost every game that lets you take people out lethally or non-lethally presents it as a choice between pragmatism and ethics: killing is easier, but tranqing is nicer. That’s true in MGS V too, but it adds something else to that choice that solves a problem I’ve had with these games for ages.</p><p> The ability to play a game nonlethally lets you adopt that policy as your character’s moral code, and that makes your game persona a little more sympathetic. By the same token, it also demonises the act of killing: it’s no longer possible to claim it’s necessary, because you often have the developer’s word that it isn’t. To kill is now either the act of a sadistic monster, or an unsatisfying compromise made because you either couldn’t or couldn’t be bothered to pull off the non-lethal option.</p><p> So the ways of playing these games&mdash;including my own&mdash;boil down to:</p><p> 1. Do everything nonlethally forever, no matter how difficult or boring it becomes.</p><p> 2. Kill everyone, playing the role of a psychotic monster who usually clashes with both the story and your own ability to embody your character.</p><p> 3. Stop caring about the distinction and do a messy mix of both, as your mood or the situation dictates.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xud-FP2rQ-Gn.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YX1ioYp5DfAB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MGS5"></p><p> It’s probably clear from the way I’ve phrased these that I don’t find any of them entirely satisfactory. Very few games make the purely nonlethal option inherently fun – the faint satisfaction of knowing you’ve done the ‘right’ thing is balanced against how boring and time consuming the methods were, how many cool tools you weren’t allowed to use, and how utterly fake the whole charade is&mdash;you’re usually only doing it this way because you have divine knowledge that the world has been architected to make it possible.</p><p> Mechanically, I like the third option. I like having a lot of tools. Option 1 makes lethal tools forbidden, and option 2 makes nonlethal tools pointless. But by itself, option 3 doesn’t give you any particular <em>reason</em> to use both sets, so it can feel kind of empty.</p><p> That’s the thing MGS V fixes. With an early upgrade to your binoculars, you can scan every soldier to see how good they are at a variety of different tasks. If they’re any good, it’s worth taking them out non-lethally, because you can then tie a balloon to them, send them up into the sky, have your colleagues collect them with a passing plane, fly them to the Seychelles, drop them off at an offshore base, persuade them to change sides to your private mercenary corp, then put them in full-time, devotedly loyal employment in the division of your base that their talents best suit.</p><p> I’ll be honest, this was not my next guess for how games would ultimately fix this problem.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JdbYsIB5SZCZ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Syal1C4kodcs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MGS5"></p><p> But it does work.</p><p> You have to disengage with the moral aspect completely, of course&mdash;you’re now operating in a pretty grotesque fantasy land where no-one has a will that can’t be bent to serve your own. You can shoot a person 7 times in the knees and then make them work in your box-delivery department forever, and they will salute you on sight and thank you if you punch them. You could read it as parody or an ugly dominance fantasy, but I suspect it’s just where a series of cool systems ideas led them, and they didn’t much mind that it was narratively mad. Luckily, neither do I.</p><p> It works because there’s now a strong practical reason to use nonlethal tactics for some guards, and lethal for others. This guard has an A in Engineering and this one has a B in Intel, so I’ll tranq those two and kill the rest. You don’t <em>have</em> to kill the rest, but as in most games it’s easier: you have more powerful, more varied, and more satisfying tools to do it, and it eliminates them from the complicated patrol equation: people don’t get up from death.</p><p> Pure lethal and pure nonlethal are still options, but by fleshing out option 3 with interesting systems, it makes it clear how much less interesting they really are. Fine for an experimental or role-playing playthrough, but monotonous compared to the juice you can get out of that choice if you let it vary situationally.</p><p>In other games, the “kill or tranq?” question asks you to pick one of two possible playthroughs at the start, and it takes a dozen hours to finish enunciating your answer. MGS V lets it become an ongoing debate.</p><p><em>This article <a href="http://www.pentadact.com/2015-09-15-the-killing-decision-in-metal-gear-solid-v/">was originally posted on pentadact.com</a>.</em></p> Dota 2 Custom Game of the week: Hardcore Ninjahttp://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-custom-game-of-the-week-hardcore-ninja/15 minute battles of pure mind games, juking, dodging spells and landing skill shotsSat, 03 Oct 2015 18:38:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-custom-game-of-the-week-hardcore-ninja/Dota 2MOBAProValve <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JyU9QhbUTUyO.bmp" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gS3hpHqBaWTk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardcore Ninja 1"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Custom Games</h5> <p> Every Saturday, we’ll highlight a Dota 2 custom game that is fun, playable, and relatively bug-free. To find a custom game, go to the ‘Custom Games’ tab in Dota 2 and enter the name as we’ve provided it in the search box in the top right&mdash;in this case, <strong>Hardcore Ninja</strong>. </p> </div><p> I’m a lone juggernaut, my fingers poised over the keyboard as I blink around the map. Death could come from around any corner, and it’ll come quickly. Fortunately, my two remaining opponents are in exactly the same position; the eyes of their dead team members fixed on them just as mine are on me.</p><p> Hardcore Ninja bills itself as ‘a PvP Battle of pure reflex’, but it’s more than that. A round lasts between 30 seconds and a minute, five players on each team controlling juggernauts equipped with four abilities and a quelling blade. My first ability, ‘Deflect’, makes me invulnerable for 0.7 seconds. My three other spells are slightly reworked versions of Blink, Magnus’s Shockwave and PA’s Dagger. The latter two, of course, are instakills. First team to 15 rounds wins. That’s it, apart from a final flourish: scoring a kill resets all cooldowns.</p><p> One of the enemy juggernauts blinks on top of me, startling us both. I blink away to the other side of some trees, earning us both a brief respite&mdash;but now we each know where the other is. A blown shockwave skims past me, giving me the confidence to poke my head around the corner and fire off my own. He deflects, but by this point my blink’s off cooldown and I teleport behind him with an auto attack queued up. He falls just as his friends’ dagger is about to bury itself in my chest. I blink again, attempting the same trick as before. He deflects, forcing me to do the same as our attacks bounce off each other. Luckily for me I’ve still got a dagger in the bank, which I throw at point blank range before he manages to get his shockwave off, winning my team the round. The whole fight probably took about three seconds.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TFugzSp5Rtmn.bmp" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8aJhyRpr3BPB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardcore Ninja 2"></p><p> A game of Hardcore Ninja captures the best bits of Nidhogg and Samurai Gunn, using the threat of instant death to imbue every moment with tension. This fits perfectly with the round based structure from Counter-Strike, generating those gleeful stories of one person managing to overcome an entire team on their own. It’s fun being that guy, sure, but rooting for your own last surviving team member from the side-lines is almost as good. Even when the roles are flipped, watching a skillful player pick apart a team is rewarding in and of itself. It’s fundamentally a game about looking cool in front of people, which ticks all kinds of boxes for me as a mid player.</p><p> Sure, it doesn’t have the complex teamfight interactions you see in Dota proper or some of the more expansive custom games, but it doesn’t need them. One of the problems I’ve found with other custom games is that the fun is behind a learning curve akin to actual Dota. Introducing new systems, new abilities and new items may create depth, but it also results in the need to learn a whole new language in order to compete. Ninja’s simplicity does away with that: someone who’s been playing for 10 seconds will be as clued up as a player who’s invested several hours. There’s still plenty of depth to be found with the few ingredients it gives you. For every death that comes randomly from a stray shockwave, there’s an intricate duel where anticipation, trickery and finesse are key.</p><p> At the moment there are just two maps, and one of them is far superior to the other. It’s a small arena with clumps of trees that leave players obscured from each other most of the time, weaving in and out of the copses into clearings where an encounter is more likely. Playing around with sightlines adds a whole new element to the game, where one juggernaut can leap at another only to melt back into the shadows as their attack gets dodged or absorbed. The second consists of a grid of pillars and next to no fog of war, which robs matches of the tension that provides.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QE-rqHEKSEKA.bmp" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ukl4YmqdkCRo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardcore Ninja 3"></p><p> For the most part, the game’s streamlined in such a way that suggesting potential improvements is tricky. Working in the disjoint from Manta Style, which needs impeccable timing, would allow for even more impressive plays and raise the skill ceiling yet higher. However, that would mean either adding a whole new ability or replacing an existing one, which are nicely balanced as they are. A timer to end the occasional frustrating match where one player just hides would be a welcome addition&mdash;or better yet, a shrinking arena. Ninja does suffer from the unavoidable problem of early leavers that affects every custom game. Here, at least, that’s somewhat mitigated by how short each match is. Besides, some of the best moments emerge from being outnumbered.</p><p> At its best, Hardcore Ninja is a purification of some of the elements that most appeal to me from Dota proper. It’s a 15 minute battle of pure mind games,&nbsp;juking, dodging spells and landing skill shots. For players who focus on heroes which rely heavily on such techniques, it’s excellent practice for the main game. It’s also a good way for players to try out a high damage, low health playstyle without the pressure and responsibility that comes with an actual game of Dota.</p><p> On its own terms, Hardcore Ninja nails the feeling of being both deadly and fragile, just as a Ninja should be. Go check it out.</p><hr> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Free games of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/free-games-of-the-week/Dreamworlds, tombs, and arty art await this week.Sat, 03 Oct 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/free-games-of-the-week/browser gamesFree GamesIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3SB1r4tFToaP.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NynvjFdxFjvz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Yume Nikki 3D"></p><p>This week we find ourselves trapped in a tomb, lost in a dream,&nbsp;locked in a weirdscape, and separated from the other members of our squabbling&nbsp;girl band.</p><h3><a href="http://thewaether.itch.io/dsa" target="_blank">D.S.A. by Kate Barrett</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/buzzHc8sTXSL.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E0zjwmcTgpvB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DSA"></p><p>D.S.A. has been in development for five years, and the result is a big, fun, enjoyably scrappy adventure game set in a bizarre world. You'll play as all three members of a separated girl group, solving puzzles by exploring and interacting with stuff, rather than trying every inventory item on every other inventory item ad nauseum. I like the&nbsp;"Low-Quality MSPaint Graphics" quite a lot; this feels like a lost game from before indie gaming exploded, something like Treasure Adventure Game or Eternal Daughter. (i.e. it's&nbsp;huge and fully featured, and rather ambitious.)</p><h3><a href="http://www.ifcomp.org/1353/content/TOMBs_of_Reschette.html" target="_blank">TOMBs of Reschette by Richard Goodness</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8-kpCg5lTCaX.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YgN5RvoL0RME.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tombs of Reschette"></p><p>I've been a bit lax in finding interactive fiction lately, so here's a good one from one of the genre's best writers, Richard Goodness. It's a joyously silly game set in a smallish dungeon, but one where you'll want to try every option to see what wonderfully bonkers endings you can uncover. TOMBs of Reschette is&nbsp;genuinely funny, something few games manage, and it makes great use of Twine. (Via&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/gnomeslair/status/649951782836289536" target="_blank">Gnome</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://zykoveddy.itch.io/yume-nikki-3d" target="_blank">Yume Nikki 3D by Zykov Eddy</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3SB1r4tFToaP.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NynvjFdxFjvz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Yume Nikki 3D"></p><p>A Yume Nikki fangame from&nbsp;<a href="http://zykoveddy.itch.io/electric-highways" target="_blank">Electric Highways</a> developer Zykov Eddy, with a standalone expansion available in the same folder. What a moody world (well, <em>worlds</em>) to explore, from a novel, almost&nbsp;second-person perspective that constantly&nbsp;reminds us whose subconscious it is we're traipsing through. But mostly I like this because I like seeing pixel art in 3D games; Yume Nikki&nbsp;3D is damned good at delivering that.&nbsp;(Via&nbsp;<a href="http://wip.warpdoor.com/2015/09/30/yume-nikki-3d/" target="_blank">Warp Door</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://holly.itch.io/artners" target="_blank">Artners by Holly Gramazio</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pWUrzJCWS7mg.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lVxJLG-lrUNj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Artners"></p><p>I like art creation games, not because I personally get much out of them, but because I know people are going to make some wonderful stuff. Artners gives you a subject, some time, and a set of tools with which to slop paint on your canvas;&nbsp;in a neat touch, another player can join in using the other side of the keyboard.</p><h3><a href="http://niall-moody.itch.io/mount-pleasant-drive" target="_blank">Mount Pleasant Drive by Niall Moody</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4rggk31JSnyD.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8SA79i2awfqO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mount Pleasant Drive"></p><p>I've not been to Glasgow, so for all I know it looks exactly like this strange, stationary trip through its streets, rivers, shops, parks, and other things I thought I saw in Niall Moody's "broken audiovisual radio". You move the mouse (I don't think you need to move the mouse, but it does speed things up) and the landscape contorts around you, taking you on a dreamlike/nightmarish journey around an urban place.</p><p><em>Click through for recommendations from previous weeks.</em></p><p><a href="http://strangethink.itch.io/mystery-tapes" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Mystery Tapes by Strangethink</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O8Z2nKnBT5uR.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/utuOs8lCBC_7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mystery Tapes"></p><p>You awake amid a pile of videotapes, hundreds and hundreds of tapes with names that suggest so much, and that result in a different set of coloured wavy lines when fed into one of three TV-VHS units. Experiment with different tape combos to create alternately&nbsp;weird environments, and to generate a different string of disjointed nonsense from the figure overseeing your exploration. A wonderfully tactile exhibit.</p><h3><a href="http://aaronmeyers.itch.io/michael-e-michael" target="_blank">Michael E Michael by Aaron Meyers</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dcua-DINQwuN.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W1kw0SBslehu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Michael E Michael"></p><p>Square off against Michael Jackson as his arch-nemesis, Michael Jackson, in this funny two-player local multiplayer game, created for Itch.io's&nbsp;<a href="http://itch.io/jam/duplicade" target="_blank">Duplicade</a> jam. Michael can punch, Michael can of course fire lasers, and most vitally of all Michael can dance. Man, can he dance.&nbsp;Michael's dancing, as it did in real life, creates an army of mini-clones. Look at them go.</p><h3><a href="http://calavera.itch.io/fire-dance-with-me" target="_blank">Fire Dance With Me by&nbsp;Robert Gaither and&nbsp;Anja Luzega</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NpfJg2ZhSH6c.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nf-uC-gcxF-P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fire Dance With Me" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Another Duplicade entry, Fire Dance With Me lets you&nbsp;"pick your favorite Twin Peaks character and Dance Dance with Leland Palmer". Obviously I picked the Log Lady's Log, and that sharp-suited guy from the Red Lodge. This is such a beautifully inappropriate rhythm game, with great sprites and an apt choice of music.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/the-mammoth-a-cave-painting/92537" target="_blank">The Mammoth: A Cave Painting by inbetweengames</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6K6kRktrSxuq.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E53CRq2Yi50E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Mammoth"></p><p>Rescue stranded mammoth-lings, and attempt to&nbsp;defend them from nasty human hunters, in this lovely-lookin' short adventure set in prehistoric times. In the vast, endless sea that is indie games in 2015,&nbsp;I'm a big fan of short, polished, pointed games like this.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/notice-me-detective/89207" target="_blank">Notice Me Detective by&nbsp;Valentina Chrysostomou,&nbsp;Maria Christofi,&nbsp;Kyriakos Georgiou</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AvsKXU5LSqqB.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XuiFnddpHiOU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Notice Me Detective"></p><p>I missed this back in August, and that's almost as criminal as the wrong-doings you're dispatched to investigate, as the hotshot, box-headed Detective Buh. Notice Me Detective is a fun&nbsp;first-person comedy/mystery game, recalling Jazzpunk, set in a series of crime scenes that you can contaminate with your invisible hands if you desire. The controls felt a bit off, but this is a big, well-detailed world that's fun to explore, either as yourself or a handy animal partner.</p><p><a href="http://01101101.itch.io/loup" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Loup by&nbsp;01101101</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqPXrwHBTJWX.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X33Qct7Du2Hj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Loup"></p><p>Well it's basically Tag (or Tig, if you live in a different part of the UK, where they name everything wrongly). The rules of Tag being that if you touch someone, they become 'It', and therefore temporarily infectious to children everywhere. Here, It gets to wear a cool wolf mask, while the mechanics of Tag have been expanded in a gamey way. You can now earn more points (and indeed, earn points at all) by hovering near It in a dangerous, playing-with-fire way.</p><p>I wish that It (when it's being controlled by the AI) would chase other children once in a while, but that little issue aside&nbsp;there's something wonderfully innocent about Loup.</p><h3><a href="http://eightbitskyline.itch.io/hjarta" target="_blank">Hjarta by Eight Bit Skyline</a></h3><iframe width="552" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A_oq23_Y1HE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Eight Bit's freeware Adventure Game Studio game is a "collection of short stories", concerned with the fates of three characters: the Cosmonaut, the Prisoner, and the Martyr. I'm not sure about the art, but the animation is very nice, bringing a colourful and interesting&nbsp;science fiction world to life.</p><h3><a href="http://risingpixel.itch.io/close-remixes-of-the-third-kind" target="_blank">Close Remixes of the Third Kind by RisingPixel</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BSsT60mXTN-X.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e_NO1pYqfGqJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Close Remixes" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Remember that bit in Close Encounters when humans conversed with Johnny Alien through a series of musical notes? This is that, but with aliens that don't want to hear everything they say parroted back to them&mdash;and who can blame them? Instead, to earn the most points, you'll 'remix' their notes by repeating them in a different order, something they seem to enjoy. This really needs a proper time limit, and more scope for creativity, but what's here is fun. (Via&nbsp;<a href="http://wip.warpdoor.com/2015/09/17/close-remixes-of-the-third-kind/" target="_blank">Warp Door</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://pixelsix.itch.io/escape-2107" target="_blank">ESCAPE 2107 by Jonas Hansen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WEvusIn5QTSD.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pKuJOzmp94rh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Escape 2107"></p><p>"Escape an infinite array of vectorized spaces before time runs out." Or, to put it slightly more simply, find the exit point in each grid-based first-person level to advance to the next. The time limit you have to work with is punishingly tiny, and while you annoyingly have to restart the entire game after failing too many times (argh!), you can mitigate this somewhat by collecting credits along the way. I couldn't find a solution to level 4; perhaps you'll fare better? Which is to say, of course you will.</p><h3><a href="http://kottis.itch.io/snong" target="_blank">Snong by Andreas Johansen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/McrdHDaKQ9Wv.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6Ux5hGRQryRw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Snong"></p><p>Andreas Johansen has mated Snake with Pong, naming the resulting ungodly abomination 'Snong'. let's just appreciate that perfectly ugly portmanteau for a moment.</p><p>Wonderful stuff. Anyway, Snong is a two-player Ponglike that lets you move around like the snake from Snake, collecting bits to increase your size and make a you a better, more efficient Pong bat. It's a fun idea, the presentation is cute, and the mechanics mash together surprisingly well.</p><p>*</p><p>Developer Stew Hogarth sadly died this week&mdash;you might remember his wonderful I Am Level from The Free Webgame Round-Up&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-free-webgame-round-up-50/" target="_blank">back in 2013</a>. Now seems like a good time to return to that accomplished pinball platformer, or to play some of his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.smilingbag.co.uk/our-games/" target="_blank">other games</a>.</p><p><a href="http://zykoveddy.itch.io/electric-highways" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Electric Highways by Zykov Eddy, Xitilon</a></p><iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dszUrm4s6gE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Electric Highways is an exploration and puzzle-focused wanderer, with a first-person-but-with-pixels art style that recalls the original System Shock, Ultima Underworld, games like that. It's a fun place to explore: ten levels of moods, skies, lights and things to press, in 2072's version of the virtual reality web. There's a mite more interaction, and a lot more level design going on than in most walking simulators, so I'm going to call this genre 'Doomlike, But Without Any Guns'. More of those please, developers.</p><h3><a href="http://jfriedhoff.itch.io/slam-city-oracles" target="_blank">Slam City Oracles by&nbsp;Jane Friedhoff,&nbsp;Jenny Jiao Hsia, Scully</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rq1jFwhdRuah.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JNb0xdxu_zDS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Slam City Oracles"></p><p>"Slam City Oracles is a rambunctious, riot grrrl, Katamari-meets-Grand Theft Auto physics game, in which you and a friend slam onto the world around you to cause as much chaos as possible in two minutes."</p><p>I found the slamming mechanic a little inconsistent and mildly infuriating (alternatively: I'm terrible and didn't understand it), but I do love a good physics-heavy sandbox game. it's almost a shame that the camera soon zooms out to accommodate both players, as there's some cute, happy art in this game about smashing a vertical settlement to bits.</p><h3><a href="http://roguenoodle.itch.io/trappy-mine" target="_blank">Trappy Mine by rogueNoodle</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bvjr1LPdSKyV.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xz7GPsJgQkHG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Trappy Mine"></p><p>Explore a mine full of treasure, traps, spikes and exploding things, while trying to escape your nemesis: a vertically scrolling screen that will do you in should you find yourself&nbsp;caught in its invisible grip. This is a wonderfully polished, attractive and hectic arcade game, and one that greatly benefits from that added time pressure, which causes you to make snap decisions and horrible mistakes as you descend further&nbsp;into this deadly,&nbsp;trappy&nbsp;mine.</p><h3><a href="http://leafthief.itch.io/a-heart-between-parts" target="_blank">A Heart between Parts by leafthief</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1pQQOZ1bSJub.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VuOB_RVce5hD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="A Heart between Parts"></p><p>You Are The Monster, again, in this gorgeous point and click, which asks you to escape from the room you've been imprisoned in. You're a scientific experiment, deemed a failure by your creator (you can see why you want to get the hell out of there). I do enjoy a good room escape, and here's one with scrumptious art and a brilliant premise.</p><h3><a href="http://kingpenguin.itch.io/ladybug" target="_blank">LadyBug by kingPenguin</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vamDRHhsQlCJ.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YsGJ6VewX5Y_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LadyBug"></p><p>The Fly meets Hotline Miami in this blisteringly quick, gory platformer about a half-woman, half-bug that has to kill a bunch of scientists before they can&nbsp;kill her. As is typical with these sorts of things, I'm no good at it at all, meaning LadyBug requires skill, patience, and a tolerance for repetition. I do love the pixel art&mdash;the scampering wall-running of the titular ladybug is my favourite animation of the week.</p><p><a href="http://www.draknek.org/games/puzzlescript/skipping-stones.php" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Skipping Stones To Lonely Homes&nbsp;by Alan Hazelden</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_diN1yUDTsyV.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w_ruIbv6iKfH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Skipping Stones"></p><p>I wanted to include this last week, but because I'm an idiot&mdash;and because the very first screen of Alan Hazelden's latest Puzzlescript game had me stumped&mdash;it's taken me this long to get past the first island. I'm now on island 3, and it's not letting up.</p><p>Skipping Stones is a game about punting rocks across the water, rocks that will disturb lily pads you can use to cross from island to island. Lily pads follow water currents. Stones do not. There's your basis for a beautifully pure puzzler that will really&nbsp;get under your skin.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/meeuw/88227" target="_blank">Meeuw by Tom van den Boogaart</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s4No9Ap8RImV.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BG-yg-IaQ7i2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Meeuw"></p><p>Tom's follow-up to the wonderful Red Amazon is the silly, fun Meeuw, a game about a psychotic seagull. Like all seagulls, the one you play as in Meeuw can breath fire, and you'll use it here to immolate pedestrians, to ruin the scenery, and to blow up cars. This is what happens when you give seagulls chips, people.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/laraan/87563" target="_blank">Laraan by Flynn's Arcade</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fFpbBNDcSryt.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ij6rKHsf84X_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Laraan"></p><p>I'm not entirely sure that developer Flynn's Arcade is being serious when it describes Laraan as a game that "bridges the gap between Cinema and Action/Adventure games with a completely old style of fluid, cinematic storytelling." That's because it's a nice-looking walking simulator with painfully slow movement and a lovely big jump button, although it is a particularly good one of those. The colour palette evokes the immortal&nbsp;Moebius, which is the best thing a colour palette can do. I don't like the feeling of movement much, but Laraan offers an interesting place to explore.</p><h3><a href="http://managore.itch.io/death-of-a-lich" target="_blank">Death of a Lich by Daniel Linssen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D8eQkzW-Riqn.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/haIFFclW6GVP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Death of a Lich"></p><p>Linssen's latest puts you in a seemingly procedurally generated tower that sometimes generates in a way that doesn't let you proceed. Still, it's worth a restart when that happens, as this one of the more original You Are The Monster games. As the monster, you'll drop between platforms in a turn-based stylee, trying to fight or avoid archers and other soldiers even as you hunger after their yummy, yummy souls. You'll need to master your timing to dodge arrows, and gauge your jumps so that you don't fall too far and injure your lichy self.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/excavate/90086" target="_blank">Excavation! by Scriptwelder</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wNxrIl5BQAeW.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PAefV84vmkSY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Excavate"></p><p>The talented Scriptwelder leaves room escape behind for the involved Excavation!, a game about conducting an archaeological dig. After assembling a crew with hopefully varying skill sets, and after&nbsp;buying a few tools, you'll survey, test, and dig up clumps up of earth, in your search for rare finds from long ago.</p><p>At a basic level this is Minesweeper, with each of those little numbers above indicating where mines (or, in this case, treasure) might be buried. That concept's embellished with the need to&nbsp;preserve&nbsp;priceless artefacts, and to manage your funds and stamina. You only have so many days on this dig site, so you'd better make them count. This is a smart and accomplished Minesweeper re-imagining.</p><p><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/dullahan/87120" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Dullahan by like, a hundred bears</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uQs3UOCHQQa3.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8cPgWrqxnRk0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dullahan"></p><p>Dullahan is a Castlevania-like that will really make you *cheeky wink* <em>lose your head</em>, which is to say that it's a GameBoy-styled platformer that allows you to plonk things like keys and bombs into your gaping neckhole. This is a neat mechanic, once you realise that Up and Attack uses keys,&nbsp;and the aesthetic&nbsp;feels quite authentic to the era, but it is stupid and&nbsp;frustrating to have to restart the entire thing upon death.</p><h3><a href="http://spotline.itch.io/telepath" target="_blank">Telepath by Spotline</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ylsUfXEqQYGG.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VD4PBNn_bdWb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Telepath"></p><p>Wow. If you're using Chrome you'll need to download Telepath to play it, but it's worth it for the extraordinary way it uses shaders to create multiple worlds within the same space. The world's default state is blank and featureless, and to see it how others see it (or, I guess, for a window into their minds), you have to&nbsp;pass through them like a ghost. Each entity houses a world, of nature or numbers or skyscrapers, but you can only witness it while you're passing through their form. This is seriously&nbsp;smart stuff, from the developer of Ultimate Pate and The World Beneath.</p><h3><a href="http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&amp;uid=20641" target="_blank">Totem by Ian MacLarty</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gCcA_tmLS8ew.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oqvAw4MXa2ZO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Totem"></p><p>A pretty literal interpretation of You Are The Monster, Totem is a mechanically simple game about a big rockperson that walks out of the sea. Smash all the island's inhabitants with your big rock bum to trigger an ending, while appreciating some truly bloody lovely artwork, and trying to tolerate some&nbsp;horrible bagpipey music.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/labyrinth-of-loneliness/88497" target="_blank">Labyrinth of Loneliness by LTPATS</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QzWLfhiwQDGU.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tYPMWrX3ZWMX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Labyrinth of Loneliness" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Speaking of lovely artwork, would you just&nbsp;look at Labyrinth of Loneliness. It's another Ludum Dare game, and one where you chase nicely sketched and animated people into fiery deathpits. Every time you do so, some cringeworthy text appears to insinuate some deeper meaning, but it's worth putting up with that for the fun chase sequences (the chasees look behind them sometimes, it's kind of cute), and of course for the&nbsp;striking visual style.</p><h3><a href="http://www.increpare.com/2015/08/subway-adventure/" target="_blank">Subway Adventure by Stephen Lavelle</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oaRa1wPtRzmO.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KXWogQETIo8j.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Subway Adventure"></p><p>It's a new Stephen Lavelle/Increpare game&mdash;need we say more? OK, some more. It's a massive subway network filled with very strange stops expressed in a variety of colours and art styles, with roaming&nbsp;NPCs, and&nbsp;signs to click that may&nbsp;help you map the game world. You'll visit a range of odd, funny, glitchy stops in Subway Adventure, or you will if its juddering pedestrians will let you enter and exit your train. A lovely slice of digital tourism, in a land ripe for exploration and photo-taking.</p><p><a href="http://contest.gamedevfort.com/submission/657#.Vc-YHvlViko" target="_blank" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Nocturne in Yellow by TerminusEst13</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i4HGnrIuTTCh.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g3sWynEpfunv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nocturne in Yellow"></p><p>My excitement for&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=48994" target="_blank">Gloome</a> (a new version of id-engine modding tool GZDoom, that allows modders to release commercial games) is only slightly tempered by the fact that I have no clue how to set the damned thing up. Other people have, however, including TerminusEst13, who has made the fun Gothic shooter Nocturne In Yellow. It's a bit like Castlevania, and a lot like Heretic/Doom etc, meaning you'll stab up zombies, spiders and vampires using a gory spear, and a bow with infinite arrows. Man, I've missed the ridiculously fast movement speed of id-engine games.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/red-amazon/87009" target="_blank">Red Amazon by Tom van den Boogaart</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PGQ1p568TW6c.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dmhXRNPssB1F.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Red Amazon"></p><p>This is one of the most beautiful free games I've played for ages: a clean, low-poly first-person story from one of indie gaming's best and brightest, Tom van den Boogaart. I love his stylised take on the wilderness, I love the quirky movement system (no default Unity FPS controls here, thankfully), and I love the fact that Red Amazon actually features an animated entity, unlike almost every first-person indie game I've played recently. The only thing I don't like is Boogaart's relative obscurity: he deserves to be a much bigger name.</p><h3><a href="http://ragzouken.itch.io/porthole" target="_blank">Porthole by Mark Wonnacott and Claire Morley</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HJr9PP1xTdik.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e5A0gwGd7m4E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Porthole"></p><p>Explore a weird world from your rotatable porthole, as you try to figure out where you are, and what the bally, slimey, clustery things in front of you could possibly be. “Follow the compass,” proclaims the Itch.io page, and “seek the depths”. That compass looks&nbsp;a bit like a Stargate&nbsp;chevron.</p><h3><a href="http://leafthief.itch.io/onemore-night" target="_blank">One More Night by Stefan Srb and Craig Barnes</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R6n_LkDhR5W3.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K7SS-4jqquKl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="One More Night"></p><p>A short choose-your-own-adventure made for the&nbsp;<a href="http://jams.gamejolt.io/gbjam4" target="_blank">GameBoy jam</a> (and now I'm imagining what GameBoy jam would look and taste like – probably Greengage). The pixel art is scrumptious, the sound is just discordant and shrill enough to convince, and the story is open-ended enough to make you want to replay immediately. “Three friends embark on a two-day camping trip before their last year of school begins. A trip they never want to end.” A cute, sweet, very green game.</p><h3><a href="http://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=2274" target="_blank">Dusk Child by Sophie Houlden</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BOkkIc6SQiSQ.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uHcI-PD2C76r.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dusk Child"></p><p>A wonderful puzzle-platformer made using Lexaloffle's increasingly impressive&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php" target="_blank">Pico-8</a>. Fathom your way around a mysterious location, examining objects with the Z button and ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the gorgeous pixel art with your mouth. One of the best uses of Pico-8 yet&mdash;I'm also greatly looking forward to Terry Cavanagh's&nbsp;<a href="http://distractionware.com/blog/2015/08/coming-soon-2/" target="_blank">first-person shooter</a> made for the console.</p><p><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/graynold-runner/66098" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">graynold runner by Jake Clover</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jB_HJHuuS-io.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oRaYvpTgJf98.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Graynold Runner" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>A sidescrolling shmup that prioritises atmosphere over score-chasing, featuring music by Beeswing's Jack King-Spooner. I love Jake Clover's sprites, the strange alien universe that all his games seem to take place in. graynold runner gives you two ships, then when they're on fire and you jettison to safety, it gives you two little astronauts, who can hijack passing vehicles. A serene little anti-shoot-'em-up (maybe the world's first?)</p><h3><a href="http://polclarissou.itch.io/wish-fishing">Wish Fishing by Pol Clarissou</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ebGWzI_RQP6_.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EoENsoQdnh71.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wish Fishing" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>A digital wishing well that lets you cast a word, a phrase, a string of nonsense into space. That's part of it: the fun part is looking at what other people have chucked out before you. The terms they dared scrawl on the game's galactic messageboard, the words they typed when they thought nobody else was looking. When you're done, Wish Fishing prescribes you a sort of horoscope, which you can try to decipher at the linked <a href="http://polclarissou.com/wishfishing/">glossary page</a>.</p><h3><a href="http://noxlof.itch.io/unterwelt">UNTERwELT by Noxlof</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K1FCUsr7RWqv.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uF-5yiAnl41Z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="UNTERWeLT" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>This short, stylish story was made for the <a href="http://itch.io/jam/a-game-by-its-cover-2015">A Game By Its Cover jam</a>, in which developers made titles based on fake cartridge art. The rushed development period has resulted in plenty of spelling errors and straightforward dialogue that kinda undermines the experience, but you can't fault the lovely pixel art and and palpable atmosphere in UNTERwELT.</p><h3><a href="http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=52502.0">The Jimi Hendrix Case by Gurok</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9aBteezdSL6-.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cW7dtDgHhCQA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Jimi Hendrix Case" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>“In a world where everyone is Jimi Hendrix, only Jimi Hendrix can solve the murder and find out who killed Jimi Hendrix.” So begins a point-and-click adventure with gorgeous pixel art and funny dialogue, where you actually get to use your gun. I've loved that in adventure games since Blade Runner, and despite (or perhaps because of) its short length, The Jimi Hendrix Case is one of the few to make full use of its shooting system. (Via <a href="http://wip.warpdoor.com/2015/08/11/the-jimi-hendrix-case-gurok/">Warp Door</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://hedgehog.exposed/">Sonic Dreams Collection by Arcane Kids</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_ohLsWirSs2d.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mq35fK0raCOT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sonic Dreams Collection" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>Zineth/Bubsy 3D/Room of 1000 Snakes developers Arcane Kids are back with another brilliant piece of freeware, this one pretending to be a collection of lost Sonic demos and prototypes from the mid to late '90s. They've got the Dreamcast look down pat by now, and if it weren't for the sight of Sonic and pals engaging in an orgy in Sonic Movie Maker, this could be pretty convincing. There are four little games included here: Make My Sonic, Eggman Origin, Sonic Movie Maker, and My Roommate Sonic, AKA stretch a Sonic character, try to play a non-functioning MMO, film seedy Sonic shenanigans with a movie camera, and romance Sonic the Hedgehog in VR. A disturbing and hilarious game about fandom, from some of the best comedians in the business.</p><p><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/banned-memories-yamanashi/78205" style="font-size: 24px; font-weight: bold;">Banned Memories: Yamanashi by GamingEngineer</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WD8y_TAdSEmx.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mYQ8Cwpc4WOf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Banned Memories" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>Banned Memories turns the restrictions of PS1 hardware into a stylistic choice, and why not? Restrictions are great, giving a project a framework to rail against, or to comfortably fit within as you see fit. While the game seems to relish in the low-poly models and texture warping of the early 32-bit days, developer GamingEngineer <em>is</em> pushing against the restrictions of Game Maker: Studio, making probably the most impressive 3D game I've seen with it yet.</p><p>Engine aside, this is an atmospheric horror game that stacks up nicely against the likes of Silent Hill and Overblood, even if it's obviously several shades behind those games on account of it being made by one person, rather than a whole team of seasoned professionals. This is an early look at the game, containing a part of a haunted school to explore, and I'm really digging what I've played of it so far. (Via <a href="http://indiegames.com/2015/08/face_your_dark_past_and_some_e.html">IndieGames</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://saintheiser.itch.io/zzzz-zzzz-zzzz">Zzzz-Zzzz-Zzzz by SaintHeiser</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B2ruPHlNSl-n.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xxGbsrnu04sE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ZzzzZzzzZzzz" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>The remarkable Zzzz-Zzzz-Zzzz is set in a dream world, and fittingly its rules have no consistency from one screen to the next. It's called that not only because you're asleep, but because you'll be pressing Z a lot. Z to go through a door. Z to go to sleep. Z to do an interaction, though you're never quite sure what that interaction will be. Because of this, because each new screen feels strange and unfamiliar, Zzzz-Zzzz-Zzzz is one of the few games to really get what dreams are about. It's a delightful, constantly surprising thing&mdash;fans of Fez are going to fall in love with it, I reckon.</p><h3><a href="http://newmarksoftware.itch.io/liberation-my-love">Liberation, My Love by Newmark Software</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jTsRPMcAToiP.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/a0ubaa-Gmp2X.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Liberation My Love" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>A simple platformer embellished with a pleasant art style and premise, about a keytar-wielding robot thing that shoots colours at baddies. (He also has a shield, and a nifty lateral dash move.) The basic jumping and spike-avoiding could feel slicker, but Liberation, My Love's unique setting and look go a long way.</p><h3><a href="http://outofsight.itch.io/out-of-sight">Out of Sight by Isart Digital students</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SAvM8tuISnas.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TJNAaFLEaNjo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Out Of Sight" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>It's a bit like Remember Me, this, specifically those bits in Remember Me where you have to reprogram people's memories (because you're a jerk). You're a woman with dymnesia trying to recover lost memories with the aid of a psychiatrist here, something you achieve by pivoting from one interactible object to the next, in a series of frozen moments from your past. You can examine each object for a bit of background detail, or combine the various sights and smells and sounds and other senses to bring the central memory to life. Writing and UI-wise, this is slightly clumsy, but I think the premise is a strong one. It's a bold and stylistically impressive game too.</p><h3><a href="http://martincohen.itch.io/disposable">Disposable by Martin Cohen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/blJwUdZmQtGc.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y4boRtLiQ-F0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Disposable" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>There's not much to Disposable yet, but I did enjoy the look of the world, and the dashy jumping ability I never managed to master. As your little robot explores a facility, looking for terminals to hack in order to open a central door, you'll occasionally need to rely on a tricksy dash-jump-thing that hurtles you through the air at a fixed distance. It's a fun, challenging few minutes of platforming, that Martin Cohen will hopefully return to at a later date.</p> Dreamy puzzler Pavilion coming to PC this yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dreamy-puzzler-pavilion-coming-to-pc-this-year/Well, the first half of Pavilion isthe second part is due in 2016.Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dreamy-puzzler-pavilion-coming-to-pc-this-year/NewsPavilionPuzzle <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lS78mwT9QduX.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FfMPsLaAFIia.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pavilion"></p><p>Ooooh,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inthepavilion.com" target="_blank">Pavilion</a> looks nice, doesn't it? It's a puzzle game&nbsp;about a man in a surreal dreamscape, who you move around indirectly by fiddling with lights and shuffling obstacles about. The story of this "fourth-person puzzling adventure" is being told without&nbsp;pesky words, so you'll have to figure out what's going on, and where you are,&nbsp;just&nbsp;by looking at the environment. I think, in an environment this lovely, that's not going to be much of a problem.</p><iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YM30eQNb44k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Pavilion is releasing in two chapters, the first of which will be out this year (the second, as you may have guessed, is coming sometime in 2016). It's just hit&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=409371440" target="_blank">Steam Greenlight</a>, and I don't think it will have too much trouble accruing those Yes votes.</p><p>Here's a bit more about it, from the Greenlight page:</p><p>"Pavilion takes place in a world unknown to both the player and the main character. A surreal dream-like place where reality clash with fantasy. Fully realised in beautiful hand-painted 2d graphics and dreamy ambient music that makes for an unforgettable audio-visual experience."</p> StarCraft 2's new user interface detailedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/starcraft-2s-new-user-interface-detailed/Patch 3.0 makes big changes to theUI.Sat, 03 Oct 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/starcraft-2s-new-user-interface-detailed/BlizzardNewsStarCraft 2: Heart of the SwarmStarCraft 2: Legacy of the VoidStarCraft 2: Wings of LibertyStarcraft IIStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/duiJfNGuQc6b.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/egNJ_oZyFXgw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="StarCraft 2 new UI"></p><p>If you've played the original StarCraft, the above screen might look a little familiar&mdash;that's because it recalls the campaign selection screen featured&nbsp;in Brood War. It's also&nbsp;how Starcraft 2's campaign select menu is going to look when patch 3.0 hits, for all three chapters of Blizzard's shiny&nbsp;strategy game.</p><p>Blizzard has detailed the user interface changes in a&nbsp;<a href="http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/blog/19911221/new-user-interface-coming-to-starcraft-ii-10-2-2015" target="_blank">blog post</a>, and in the following video, so you've no excuse to be surprised when your game suddenly looks a bit&nbsp;different after you boot it up. Joining that nicer, cleaner menu are a bunch of other nicer, cleaner menus that seem a little&nbsp;easier to navigate than the old ones. The Arcade will soon be updated to make it quicker to join a game, while Chat is getting a whole host of improvements to make yammering a less cumbersome affair.</p><iframe width="590" height="357" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qXB6sIVdg04" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>There's no date for the patch yet, but it's pretty well detailed so it&nbsp;doesn't seem like it's too far out.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/starcraft-2-legacy-of-the-void-release-date-and-opening-revealed/" target="_blank">We do know</a> when Legacy of the Void will release, however: November 10.</p> Razer Mamba reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/razer-mamba-review/The 2015 Mamba improves upon its past wireless mice, but a few things hold it back from being the very best around.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 23:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/razer-mamba-review/gaming miceHardwareRazer <p>The Razer Mamba is <em>almost</em> the Deathadder. The 2015 evolution of the Mamba adds new RGB lighting around the sides of the mouse, implements an interesting click force adjustment feature for independent tuning of the left and right mouse buttons, and a new sensor with a max 16,000 CPI. It adds a couple extra inputs with a scroll wheel that can click left and right while dropping the previous Mamba’s two buttons beside the left click. Like the Deathadder, its main buttons have an iconic contoured lip and the sides have grippy rubber pads for great control. The Mamba is almost a wireless Deathadder, but its minute differences, and the added weight of its rechargeable batteries, keep it from matching <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-mouse/">the best gaming mouse</a>.</p><p>I’ve spent more than a week using the Razer Mamba non-stop as my work and gaming mouse, and I think it’s a big improvement over the wireless Razer Ouroborus in form-factor, customization, and battery life. Where the Ourobos’ customization focused on adding or removing thumb rests to either side, they never felt great. The Mamba instead nails its physical design with a fantastic body shape, and leaves the customization to the force required to click the left and right mouse buttons. Razer calls this “adjustable click force technology.”</p><p>The actuation force for each button can be separately adjusted to between 45 to 95 grams, with 15 steps of granularity. Razer recommends the lighter force for games like MOBAs where you want to click very quickly, and the higher force for shooters that require more “distinct and controlled” clicks. In my testing, the adjustment really does make a perceptible difference, but I wouldn’t say that it actually affected my playing across a variety of games. I didn’t find the minimum click too soft or easy, and I didn’t find the maximum click too hard. Both were fine.</p><p>I even booted up Cookie Clicker and timed myself clicking at 45g and 95g. In 20 seconds, I consistently scored in the 120-130 clicks range at 95g, and at 130-140 clicks at 45g. Our intern James saw a similar increase of about 10 clicks in that 20 second window when he tried cookie clicking. Evan and Tom, however, saw opposite results, and Evan and I talked about why; it’s hard sensation to describe, but our theory was that when raising his finger after the click, he was sometimes still applying <em>just</em> enough force to keep the button depressed. That lowered his total click count, because some intended clicks weren’t registering. I think the click force adjustment is a nice customization option to have, but don’t expect it to significantly change your gaming performance.</p><p>Battery life, too, is better. The Mamba has a rechargeable battery that Razer rates at 20 hours of continuous gaming, versus 12 hours for the Ouroboros. It’s also an improvement from the 16 hours claimed by the previous generation Mamba. That said, don’t necessarily expect to get 20 hours out of the mouse. The 1000Hz polling rate will use more battery life than the default 500 Hz, but if you care about the difference between a 1ms report rate to your PC and a 2ms report rate, the option is there for you. In my testing of the Mamba and many other gaming mice, I’ve never felt a noticeable difference between the two.</p><p>Using the Mamba as my day-to-day mouse requires some adjustment, because I’m not accustomed to putting my mouse on a charging dock every day when I’m finished using it. With the Logitech G602, <a href="http://gaming.logitech.com/en-us/product/g602-wireless-gaming-mouse">my favorite wireless gaming mouse</a>, battery life on a pair of AAs is so good I can leave the mouse on the mousepad without ever turning it off. It goes to sleep, available instantly on wake-up, and drains so little juice, I didn’t have to replace the batteries for more than six months. Despite having the Mamba set to go to sleep after lying dormant for 10 minutes, I had it die on me overnight twice, losing between 25-30% battery life while I was away from my desk. One of those times it was resting on the charging dock, but my work PC didn’t have trickle charging over USB enabled, so it didn’t get any juice while the system was off.</p><p>I’m glad I can disable the Mamba’s lighting and dial its polling rate back if I want better battery life. Long term, I could get into a habit of charging the mouse when I’m not using it. But with such a massive difference in battery life compared to a mouse like the G602, I’d gladly trade the built-in rechargeable battery for swapping out a pair of AA batteries a couple times a year. Or perhaps adjustments to the Mamba’s sleep mode could help it draw less juice when not being used. As a wireless mouse, the Mamba is only practical as long as you remember to charge it overnight.</p><p>The Mamba can, however, be used in wired mode, which eliminates battery concerns and lets you go all out with the 1000 Hz report rate and Chroma lighting. At that point, there’s only the question of design, and the Mamba is definitely one of the best-feeling mice I’ve used. As I said at the top of this review, it’s almost a Deathadder in shape and feel, and the Deathadder is as close to perfect as mouse design gets. Despite them being extremely similar, however, I don’t like holding the Mamba quite as much. The Mamba has a slightly different arch than the Deathadder, which means that when I use a palm grip on the mouse, my fingers end up hanging over the front of the mouse by a couple centimeters. My fingers hang off the Deathadder a tiny bit less while palm gripping, and the minute difference means that the Mamba doesn’t feel quite as good to palm grip.</p><p>I have fairly large hands, so for some people this won't be a problem at all. And the Mamba feels great in a palm grip. If you haven’t spent months using a Deathadder, the difference between the two is probably imperceptible, but I don’t like the Mamba quite as much in my hand. Razer still uses the best-feeling materials in the mouse world, though: sweat-resistant matte plastic for the top of the mouse, great grippy rubber for the side panels. The Mamba’s thumb buttons are generously sized, perfectly placed and have a satisfying click.</p><p>Where the Deathadder is still the obvious winner is weight. The battery-laden Mamba is a noticeably heavy mouse, weighing over 140 grams (about 0.3 pounds). That is a bit lighter than the wireless Logitech G602 at over 160 grams, but the G602 is slightly larger, and thus doesn’t feel as dense. I was actually surprised to find that the Mamba was lighter when I weighed the two. The Deathadder, by comparison, is about 105 grams, and some gaming mice drop below the 100 gram mark. While the Mamba skates very well, its weight is easy to feel in your hand. Based on my own preferences and feedback from professional gamers, I always recommend light over heavy, and the Mamba is most definitely heavy.</p><p>The 16,000 DPI sensor, as far as I’ve been able to tell, performs excellently. I tested out the Mamba in a variety of shooters, including Dirty Bomb, CS:GO, Killing Floor 2 and Unreal Tournament. I always felt accurate (well, as accurate as usual) and on my game, without a significant adjustment period to the mouse's shape. The scroll wheel is notched well enough to make switching weapons precise without feeling clunky. I also tested out League of Legends and some non-FPS games and found the shape of the mouse and the accuracy of the sensor just as good as it is for shooters. As I mentioned above, the lighter click level didn't make me feel <em>better</em> at these games, but it did feel response for a demanding MOBA like LoL.</p><p>I performed&nbsp;some unscientific acceleration tests in first-person shooters at my standard of 1,600 CPI, as well as higher CPIs like 8,000, and haven’t noticed any issues with mouse acceleration. I also tested drawing in MS Paint at a variety of CPI settings and didn’t spot any jitter whatsoever in the cursor movement. On my aging Windows 7 work PC, I have experienced some issues with wireless performance, however: occasional stuttery or laggy cursor movement on the Windows desktop. I’ve also experienced the signal seemingly cutting out for a couple seconds, the light beneath the charging dock going dark, and then reconnecting after about five seconds.</p><p>To give the mouse a fair chance, I also tested it on a newer Windows 8 PC, and didn’t experience any of the same issues. The Mamba worked flawlessly in-game and on the desktop on the Windows 8 PC. I’m willing to blame the issues I experienced on my work PC, but I’ve tested dozens of mouse on it, including quite a few wireless mice, and most of them perform flawlessly. I did experience similar cursor hanging with the Steelseries Sensei, as I wrote about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-wireless-gaming-mouse/">when I tested wireless mice</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MKTcIlTAQMm9.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cdo-ZztHLq7V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Razer Mamba Top"></p><p>At $150, the Razer Mamba is a very expensive mouse. It <em>feels</em> like an expensive, high quality accessory, and the ability to work in wireless/wired mode, plus its adjustable click force feature, does stand out amongst the competition. It’s good at being both wired and wireless and definitely the best wireless mouse Razer has made yet&mdash;but between its price and the small issues I’ve had with it here and there, it falls short of being the best choice around as a wireless or wired mouse.</p> The best pro gaming to watch this weekendhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pro-gaming-to-watch-this-weekend-2/Every major esport has a top tier showdown this weekendFri, 02 Oct 2015 23:44:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pro-gaming-to-watch-this-weekend-2/Card GameCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveesportsFPSHearthstoneHeroes of the StormLeague of LegendsMOBAPro <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L9-cQPv3S-aB.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u6z2cEiVbYZz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="RTB15 01 Wallpaper 1600x1200"></p><p>Esports goes full throttle this weekend as the month-long climax of League of Legends begins in Paris. The group stages of LoL's European tour takes place over the next two weeks, the first of four stops that also includes London, Brussels and eventually Berlin for that spooky Hallowe'en Grand Final. In fact, almost&nbsp;every major esport has a top tier showdown this weekend, and with BlizzCon's European qualifiers in the mix, more than half are only the build up to massive global championships at the end of October. It's a busy month, so let's get started right with some sincere GLHFs for the following tournaments.</p><hr> <h4>ESL One New York 2015</h4><p>The first chance to see many of the world's tier 1 teams meeting outside of their own regions since The International. A lot has changed since then, with team rosters frantically scrambled about before September's lock-in date to be eligible for Valve's new Majors format of quarterly tournaments. Quarter-finals begin with Secret's almost unrecognisable new team (save for the remaining Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov) taking on Fnatic at 08:00 PDT/16:00 BST on Saturday, with Evil Geniuses going against Vega Squadron at 17:00 PDT/01:00 BST. Semi-finals begin on Sunday at 08:00 PDT/16:00 BST and the Grand Final Bo5 kicks off at 14:00 PDT/00:00 BST. You can watch it all on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/esl_dota2" target="_blank">ESL's official Twitch channel</a>.&nbsp;</p><h4>Hearthstone: EU Road 2 BlizzCon HWC 2015</h4><p>Europe's top card slingers meet in Prague this weekend for the final stage of qualifiers for this month's BlizzCon World Championships. Group stages run Saturday between 03:00-14:40 PDT/11:00-22:40 BST and you'll want to keep your eyes on pretty much any matches coming out of Group A. Maverick, Ostkaka, ThijsNL and Hoej are all excellent and highly entertaining duelists and will ensure some exciting matches before the semi-finals on Saturday evening and final playoffs on the Sunday. You can watch it all on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/playhearthstone" target="_blank">Blizzard's official Hearthstone stream</a>.</p><h4>Heroes of the Storm: EU Road 2 BlizzCon HWC 2015</h4><p>Ever the shrewd business people, Blizzard are also holding the Heroes of the Storm EU Championships-cum-BlizzCon Qualifiers at the same time in Prague this weekend. They've even given them the same acronym to save on letters, how thoughtful. It's the final hurdle for European teams before all of the world's best meet in Anaheim at the end of this month, so there's some guaranteed fireworks. Heroes action begins earlier than the rest of Blizzard's stable as the group stages started this morning and are running up until 11:00 PDT/19:00 BST today. Semi-finals begin at 08:00 PDT/16:00 BST on the Saturday, with the second three hours later at 12:30 PDT/19:30 BST. The finals fall to the Sunday at 07:00 PDT/15:00 BST, joining Hearthstone and WoW finals in one glorious Blizzard blowout. You can see all Heroes matches on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/BlizzHeroes" target="_blank">Blizzard's official stream</a>.</p><h4>League of Legends: LCS Worlds Group Stages</h4><p>The European tour of this year's final showdown for League's top teams kicks off in Paris this extended weekend, beginning Thursday. The group stages are split over this week and the next, in a double round robin format, so there's plenty of chance to see a specific match-up. The seeding system means there'll be no clashes of each regions top talent just yet, but the skill level of all the qualifiers is so high that there's still plenty to tune in for. This weekend's offerings include Origen vs TSM (08:00 PDT/16:00 BST) and iG vs Cloud9 an hour later on the Saturday. Sunday provides a chance to see TSM take on Chinese first seed LGD (05:00 PDT/13:00 BST) and C9 take on EU first seed Fnatic (08:00 PDT/16:00 BST) in day of the American underdogs. All available on pretty much every streaming solution known to man,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/riotgames" target="_blank">including Twitch</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/LoLChampSeries" target="_blank">YouTube</a>,&nbsp;and Azubu (and six other Chinese ones if you're feeling exotic).</p><h4>CS:GO: PGL Season 1 Finals</h4><p>Twelve teams whittled down to just four, including Fnatic, TSM, Team Liquid and Virtus.pro, will fight it out for the PGL Championship title starting today with VP vs Liquid and Fnatic vs TSM. Today's semi-finals decide who will be playing for survival on Saturday and who for their spot in Sunday's Grand Finals. The loser's bracket elimination kicks off early on Saturday at 12:00 BST, while the winner's final runs three hours later 15:00 BST. Sunday follows the same schedule with the last chance of making it into the top two for a shot at the $40,000 grand prize coming before the Grand Final at 15:00 BST. You can watch it all at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/PGL" target="_blank">www.twitch.tv/PGL</a>.</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaming http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Oct2_2015/Every Friday PC Gamer’s writers press their heads together and hope the hot takes will pass through osmosis.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 22:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Oct2_2015/highs and lows <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_BBKgK2-RImQ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/znl-9ajMKlco.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman Arkham Knight"></p><p><strong>THE HIGHS</strong></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Batman returns</strong><br>Arkham Knight returns to PC <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/arkham-knight-pc-re-release-date-narrowed-to-end-of-october/">at the end of October</a>, a mere four months after its original release date! To be fair, post-interim patch it’s running reasonably well on PC, although getting a consistent 60fps at 1080p with my 780 on high settings seems out of the question. It’s going to be interesting to see how it reviews with a few months passing since the console version&mdash;I think some reviewers were too forgiving towards the dreadful Batmobile stealth sections, for example, which threatened to ruin large chunks of the game and made this overall a less well-structured experience than City or Asylum was.</p><p>Where it makes up for that is sidequest design, which is mostly excellent, and the experience of being Batman in an open world that looks this good. I’m particularly excited about getting into the DLC, which has so far not been released on PC at all&mdash;driving the Tumbler from the Nolan films around that city is going to feel amazing.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Meta critic</strong><br>Prepare your chin for stroking, because the latest release from The Stanley Parable's Davey Wreden is the chin-strokiest game of the week, month, and perhaps year. In <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-beginners-guide-trailer-teases-mystery-loneliness/">The Beginner’s Guide</a> Wreden's cheery narration guides you through a series of prototype games created by an invented designer called "Coda". The prototypes are primitive, but Wreden's explanations give meaning to the recurring motifs that keep popping throughout Coda's body of work.</p><p>It's a primarily a character study, but it's also a game about the power of criticism. The critic, Wreden in this case, curates Coda's work for you, giving meaning to Coda's odd use of lamp posts and door puzzles, and spinning an otherwise impenetrable series of Source experiments into something rich and emotionally affecting. Is it the meaning that Coda intended? Considering the fact that Coda is Wreden's creation, how does it scan as an autobiographical work about the loneliness of the creative process? <a href="http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Batman-Chin-Rub.gif">Hmmm</a>!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SlGpMwG5Tie2.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4bhNaXZ5fgE8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Flame in the Flood Slide"></p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: The game in the flood</strong><br>Last week <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-often-and-of-everything-in-the-flame-in-the-flood/">I griped a bit about The Flame in the Flood</a>, a stylish survival roguelite in Early Access that ultimately felt too difficult. The issue I had wasn't that the world was a perilous place, but that the peril didn't seem to care if I'd only been in the world for just a few seconds. I found that the moment I started my journey I was already facing dangers, mostly wolves, that I'd simply not been given the chance to prepare for.</p><p>It appears others felt the same way, and developer The Molasses Flood was listening to their players. They <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/318600/announcements/detail/130959224011730474">issued a patch</a> that, among other things, keeps wolves from spawning at the first few locations the player visits. I played a game post-patch, and I think it's greatly improved the experience. There are still plenty of risks and dangers, but now you can at least spend a little time preparing and exploring before being shredded by wolves. I even lived long enough to die of sepsis! Hooray! The Flame in the Flood was so unforgiving before the patch that I consider that a genuine improvement, and it's always great to see developers listening to their playerbase and considering changes based on the feedback they receive.</p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: Building games</strong><br>People are making cool stuff, in and out of games. Last month we showed you a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/this-portal-themed-bedroom-is-a-huge-success/">Portal-themed bedroom</a>, and this week we got a look at a Canadian man’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-fan-builds-vault-tec-door-is-awesome/">very own Vault-Tec door</a>. Even more impressive, someone is <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-genius-building-working-pokemon-game-one-block-at-a-time/">recreating Pokemon Red</a> in Minecraft. I boggle at the process, but I’m sure it makes sense to Minecraft experts.</p><p>I have no grand thoughts about any of this, just that it’s great how creative and motivated gamers can be. We even beat <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-twitch-plays-dark-souls-defeat-ornstein-and-smough/">Dark Souls via Twitch chat</a>, which is probably the most productive thing to ever happen in Twitch chat.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XSWx94hkQdy_.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T_RB17qf_nHQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rocket League Slide"></p><p><strong>Andy Kelly: The joy of carball</strong><br>I’m late to the party here, but whatever. Cool people turn up to parties late, then drink all your beer. I pre-ordered Valve’s new Steam controller and got a free copy of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-league-review/">Rocket League</a>, so I thought I’d give it a go. I don’t have much interest in cars or football, so I didn’t think I’d be into a game featuring both. But I was a damn fool to think that, ‘cause I’m already hooked, and I plan to spend this weekend playing the heck out of it.</p><p>Since finishing <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/else-heartbreak-review/">Else Heart.Break()</a> and Metal Gear Solid V&mdash;two big, lengthy open-world games&mdash;I’ve been looking for a palate cleanser, and I think this is it. It’s refreshing to have a game I can just dip into for a short period of time. The games I love, which are mainly RPGs and open-world games, are such incredible time-sinks that every time I sit down to play them, I know I need to be there for at least an hour. But Rocket League seems like something I can just stick on whenever I have a spare moment for instant, immediate fun.</p><p><strong>James Davenport: PewDieHi, world!</strong><br>Last night, Stephen Colbert interviewed PewDiePie on The Late Show and didn’t condescend. The unfortunate expectation when anyone outside the influence of video games talks about video games is that they’re going to mistreat the subject with septuagenarian lawnchair bleating, i.e., These video game kids need to get outside (but off my lawn), dagnabit!</p><p>Instead, Colbert poked fun at the absurdity of both sides and the gap in understanding, but without tossing moral weight one way or the other. Instead of dwelling on moot points, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&amp;v=pM21uQR6G_Q">PewDiePie taught Colbert some Swedish swear words</a>. The interview as a whole wasn’t revelatory or particularly funny, but it sure was a relief to see Let’s Play culture respected instead of lampooned in the spotlight</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KTMcN6QfRDaN.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cva73ENmcY4k.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AC Syndicate crafting"></p><p><strong>THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Tom Senior: A crafty diversion</strong><br>For ages the Assassin’s Creed games have expanded laterally. Each iteration adds an extra layer of game to distract us from the familiar parkour systems and dodgy combat. Sometimes the distractions are great, like the high seas piracy of Black Flag. Sometimes you get a flaccid tower defense minigame. Last year Unity added loads of armour with RPG stats. Now Syndicate is adding <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-has-crafting-heres-what-it-involves/">detailed crafting systems</a>. Is this what Assassin’s Creed fans are asking for? Are these new systems fun, or are they bloat that helps the latest entry differentiate itself from the last, giving the series the illusion of evolution where there is none?</p><p>It’s hardly the designers’ fault. If Ubi have to push out an Assassin’s Creed game every year, sometimes two. Their environments are gorgeous, the stories enjoyably silly, but I yearn for the AC that pushes the series on to greater heights. It doesn’t feel like Syndicate will be the one to do it.</p><p><strong>James Davenport:&nbsp;</strong><strong>Mod hunt<br></strong>The Witcher 3 might be<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-review/"> one of the best RPGs</a> I’ve ever played. After spending 60 or so hours with it, I was ready to be done, but CD Projekt is still plugging away on exciting expansions for the game. With the imminent release of Hearts of Stone, which I think <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/love-giant-frog-monsters-and-ghost-parties-in-the-witcher-3s-first-expansion/">should be pretty cool</a>, I reinstalled The Witcher 3 on my PC and, as I do when returning to games after a long absence, I looked to the modding community for ways to spruce up my comeback. My search was somewhat disheartening. While modders are undoubtedly doing what they can, the majority are UI tweaks and a few subtle FX mods.</p><p>I’m not sure what I expected, given that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/modkit-is-the-only-planned-mod-support-for-the-witcher-3/">CD Projekt scaled back</a> on mod support from the release of the robust REDkit for The Witcher 2. Skyrim might have ruined me, forever elevating my expectations for mod support in open world games, and PC games in general. Returning to Skyrim year after year is welcomed with a font of new surprises, from small script tweaks to total conversions. As it stands in The Witcher 3, mod support is severely limited. So long as CD Projekt supports the game as it has been, it’ll be harder to complain, but four years from now, which PC games will be remembered more fondly? Incredible but unchanging experiences or those that give players the reins?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sfRhKWq_QUSz.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IRkiaqhcknMF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rainbow Six Siege Slide"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: No campaign for Siege</strong><br>For those who once considered the campaign to be part of the appeal behind the Rainbow Six series, I imagine the (unsurprising) news that Siege <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-wont-have-a-campaign-but-theres-training-and-bots/">won’t have a major single-player element</a> outside of bots will be kind of disappointing.</p><p>I saw this coming, to be honest&mdash;and I’m personally fine with it, since Siege has clearly positioned itself as a competitive shooter from day one, but it does make me wonder if the days of a significant single-player element in multiplayer-focused games are numbered. There’s also the matter of price to consider. The assumption is that you always want to play online, which may or may not be correct&mdash;and do you think Siege will be worth paying $60/£50 for with just the multiplayer element? CS: GO is just $15/£12, after all.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Going Viral</strong><br>My elderly German neighbor came over the other day to ask (well, demand) that I help her with a virus on her laptop. She was on the phone with tech support, and said she couldn't understand his accent, which I found ironic considering I often couldn't understand hers. I went into her house where I found her laptop shrieking, in a computerized voice, "YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED! YOUR DATA IS AT RISK! DO NOT USE THIS COMPUTER UNTIL THE VIRUS HAS BEEN REMOVED!" over and over again.</p><p>I shut it off and the tech support guy began walking me through the steps to restart it in safe mode and allow him remote access so he could remove the virus. I was following his instructions when a tiny bell went off in my head. I put him on hold, and asked my neighbor who exactly it was I was talking to. "Tech support," she said. I asked where she'd gotten their number. "On the screen," she told me. Yeah. The window that had popped up telling her that she had a virus had also given her a tech support number to call to fix the virus. How considerate!</p><p>I asked the man a bunch of questions about his tech support firm, and how his number had gotten on her screen when she'd never used their service or heard of his firm. I politely listened to his ridiculous replies, then informed him that he was a piece of human garbage for preying on the elderly, and hung up. Then I spent a good forty minutes explaining to my neighbor what a scam is, what malware is, and how if it was a real tech support number she would have been on hold for eleven hours before getting help. She seemed to eventually understand, and her nephew (well, let's hope he's her nephew and not a scammer wearing a nephew disguise) has taken the laptop away to be cleansed with fire.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w7wjER6rQYOK.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AQZRQQmsOkCe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Undertale Slide"></p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: What did I ever do to video games?</strong><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/undertale-review/">Undertale</a> hurt my feelings. I don’t mean that it made me sad because the story is sad, I mean that I felt manipulated and then judged for something I never wanted to do. Undertale is a big meanie.</p><p>As always, someone has to do a low that’s actually a high, so here it is. Between Undertale and The Beginner’s Guide this week, I’ve had some great, upsetting experiences I’m not used to having in games. Undertale breaks the fourth wall, ignoring game conventions with a wink, but for more than just to freak me out Metal Gear style. It made me feel bad. The Beginner’s Guide, meanwhile, has no fourth wall to act as a barrier between me and its anxiety and depression.</p><p>And then along came a freaking <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/home-free-is-a-heartbreaking-lost-dog-simulator/">game about a lost dog.</a> The last time I cried was watching Toy Story 3 in 2010 and I’m not about to break this streak, video games.</p><p><strong>Andy Kelly: It’s good to talk</strong><br>After over a year away, I’ve returned to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2/">Guild Wars 2</a>. I find it to be a weirdly peaceful game, and running around completing heart quests is super relaxing. I don’t bother with PVP or dungeons: I’m all about the PVE. Of all the MMOs I’ve played, GW2 feels the most social. When a world event triggers, it’s cool to see everyone in the area run towards it, working together to complete the objective. But outside of those moments, people just keep to themselves.</p><p>I’ve always hated this in MMOs. You’re running around doing quests, and you bump into another player. You say hello, and you get nothing back. They’re lost in their own little worlds, playing it like it’s a single-player RPG. I always try and interact with people in MMOs, and I’ve met some nice people, but mostly everyone’s just really anti-social. Why don’t people wanna talk? Do I smell? Oh well. I’ll keep trying anyway. If you see a giant white cat running around in Guild Wars 2 trying and failing to talk to people, come say hello. I’ve got fangs, but I don’t bite.</p> Evil wizards, football, and boobs: weird Solitaire games on Steamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-solitaire-games/Save the world by shuffling the deck.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:51:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-solitaire-games/Card Game <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Erj5m8PoTTS_.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AV7Mdv6vtO0r.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> Solitaire has been a staple on PC almost since the invention of the PC, but there are other reasons to play than just pure conference&nbsp;call-related&nbsp;boredom! Solitaire games these days have&nbsp;stories involving wizards, monsters, zombies, romance, football,&nbsp;and giggling women who are incredibly turned on by your ability to match simple&nbsp;numbers and symbols.</p><p> I spent some time this week&mdash;far too much time&mdash;trying out a number of solitaire games I found in the&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/search/?snr=1_5_9__12&amp;term=solitaire">Steam store</a>.&nbsp;Below, I evaluate&nbsp;them&nbsp;in terms of story, gameplay, music, something I found weird about it,&nbsp;and how much room each game&nbsp;gave me to type in my name. Maybe that seems like an&nbsp;odd set of&nbsp;criteria with which to judge card&nbsp;games&nbsp;but when&nbsp;you've spend two solid days playing solitaire, then you can judge me.</p><h2>Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yXhP_cKOS9qK.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/26saiKTP5uxr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: An ancient and nameless evil has awakened, which seems to happen so often in fantasy worlds I'm surprised it even makes the news. The kingdom cries out for a great hero to defeat the evil by traveling the realm and stopping regularly to play a bunch of solitaire. The story&nbsp;is related to us by a voice-over, in a somber tone reminiscent of someone narrating a nature documentary that's just reached the part where we find out the animals' natural habitat is being wiped out by the logging industry.</p><p> <strong>The game</strong>: It's not bad, really,&nbsp;it's just a little dull. The animation isn't great, the colors are a bit bland, the art is a bit cheap-looking, and things that should be at least mildly enjoyable, like using an axe to smash cards trapped in ice, ain't.</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Sort of generic fantasy-lite. It's not too distracting.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ZI1qJr3TKOm.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xaTPWqMj4IfP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong> No. I wanted to be 'Prince Chris' but there was only room for 'Prince Chr'. Maybe that's why the ancient evil went nameless.</p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">A weird thing about it</strong>: There's a dragon (unseen) who sometimes sets a couple of your&nbsp;cards on fire, which is strange. You're a dragon, why not set all the cards on fire? Wait, no,&nbsp;forget the cards! You've spotted a hero squatting in the dirt playing solitaire, just set him on fire! Anyway,&nbsp;the cards eventually stop burning, no harm done, so maybe it's just a wimpy-ass dragon.</p><h2>Regency Solitaire</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HIxxto9TT0eZ.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7jEYdJFlxecw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: In early 19th-century England, a young woman named Bella is smitten with the handsome and wealthy Lord Henry Worthington (swoon!) but her father wants her to marry not-handsome but still wealthy Mr. Bleakly (booo! hiss!) to whom dad is in debt. How will Bella catch Worthington's eye? By holding a fancy ball in her mansion. How will she accomplish that? By playing several hundred hands of solitaire.</p><p> <strong>The game: </strong>It's a really nice game. Expertly made, wonderful art, animation, and well-written characters especially considering this is a friggin' solitaire game. Playing cards earns Bella money to spend on her ballroom, for things like fancy furniture, new clothing and jewelry, and even a portrait of Henry to hang on the wall (though&nbsp;the last one&nbsp;frankly feels like coming on a bit too&nbsp;strong).</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Quite enjoyable! I didn't even turn it off.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MRie1Y00Tf-M.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-dlOYkthLB2O.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <strong>Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong> Nope. I wanted to be "The Duke of Christopher" but alas. It's going to be embarrassing when they announce me at the ball.</p><p> <strong>A weird thing about it</strong>: Bella is helped by several family members who want to protect her from the gross Mr. Bleakly (booo!). But instead of just giving her important items they hide them in decks of cards. Why would you do that? Just give her the damn pearl necklace! There's a lot at stake here, you buncha weirdos.</p><h2>The chronicles of Emerland. Solitaire.</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1VA9KwjHTWad.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xiygHqLYFUEh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: A rock monster, perhaps of the ancient and nameless variety, comes out of the ground and laughs at you. A Gandalf-lookin' wizard takes you as a disciple but turns out not to be very Gandalf-like because he needs you&nbsp;to do everything for him, including picking up his lost playing cards even though they're not really lost, they're quite visibly just lying around his magic treehouse. An evil wizard named Seth (no, really) who sounds exactly like Gargamel from The Smurfs wants to destroy the world, and begins by sending a few caterpillars to eat the nice wizard's fancy tree (again, really). Only you can stop him, via solitaire.</p><p> Really:&nbsp;it's Seth, the evil caterpillar-dispensing wizard.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jYn2yUi5RC6v.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oBxWpQpXy2Ja.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The game</strong>: It's a decent game, though a little unforgiving if you fail a hand. And when you fail, Seth's gross face always&nbsp;appears and mocks you. Seriously, Seth, you seem way too invested in my little&nbsp;card game.</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: More generic fantasy. Lutes 'n flutes. You know the drill.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jRQYW4rbRM6u.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e5Ei5EopD1gO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong>&nbsp;I tried naming myself Card Playing Wizard Student but there's no spaces allowed and there wasn't enough room anyway.</p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">A weird thing about it</strong>: I know that title above&nbsp;looks a little like I messed it up&nbsp;with the missed capitalization and the oddly place periods, but that's genuinely how&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/389400/">it appears in the Steam store</a>. It's 'The chronicles of Emerland. Solitaire.' That's weird!</p><h2>Lapland Solitaire</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aOVolxVhT8eT.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JaTXR4kpHDc9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: How is it that no one has ever captured Santa and forced him to build things more important than rocking horses, like homes for the poor or experimental military weapons? Because every year he abandons his workshop and builds a new one somewhere else, to throw the media/government/reddit off his trail. You need to help an elf build a new home for Santa, and your help will come in the form of playing cards by yourself.</p><p> <strong>The game:</strong> It's pretty okay, really!&nbsp;As you play you earn money to buy buildings for Santa's new compound. There's a building called "Elf Hut" where I presume the elves live. It's tiny, even for elves,&nbsp;and goes in the farthest corner of the screen. I think Santa is probably a terrible Elf Lord when you get right down to it.</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Generic and blaring Christmas music that really captures the "I'm stuck in an endless line at the shopping mall on December 24th" feeling.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qtr1tOVbQECC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uB56w4W4Ob7K.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong>&nbsp;Not only is there more than&nbsp;enough room for my name, it's officially the most room for a name allowed in any game, ever. I just kept typing and typing and it let me, even though the text gets smaller and smaller so it fits. Point is, it fits! All of it! It's a Christmas miracle!</p><p> <strong>A weird thing about it:</strong> Cards glow&nbsp;when you hover over them, as in many solitaire games. But it happens when you hover over <em>any </em>card, not just the playable cards. That is weird! That is not helpful!</p><p>It's your lucky day! There are more solitaire games on the next page.</p><h2>Gridiron Solitaire</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6YJ-OakARdGv.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8wWOOsr6DVY0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: There's a newsreel at the start that says a bunch of things about football, but the basic story is that you own a football team and you want to win all the football! Your path to football victory involves clicking cards with little football players on them. There's a real season and everything.</p><p> <strong>The game</strong>: Doesn't feel much like solitaire or&nbsp;football, really. You're looking to find two cards, one red, one black, that are only one number off in value. Click them, and they're replaced by two new cards. Do that as much as you can to advance or defend. It's not terrible, it's just sort of unclear how far the ball is going to move&nbsp;and what your AI opponent is doing.</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Boisterous marching band rah-rah go-team&nbsp;type stuff you will want to turn off pretty quickly.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/myQRQThjRQ6z.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5TCksRdzPmdH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong>&nbsp;There's not a whole lotta room, but I wanted to name my team the PC Gamer Computers, and I was able to! A-.</p><p> <strong>A weird thing about it</strong>: Even when you get a first down, it'll usually be, like, 1st down&nbsp;and 40. Which is weird, because the point of first down, besides getting four more tries,&nbsp;is that you don't have to go that far to get another first down.</p><h2>Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EsXyy-gxTG6Y.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ceu5PIz2RtEU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The story</strong>: A series of young women&nbsp;with large breasts invite you to play mahjong solitaire, and the very sight of you clicking on matching tiles arouses them so much they moan, squeak, giggle,&nbsp;or make high-pitched&nbsp;cat noises. After a few rounds a monkey(?) riding on a cloud slowly&nbsp;lowers a bar&nbsp;to reveal a skimpy outfit (on the women, not the monkey), which the women&nbsp;seem embarrassed about. They're not alone.</p><p> <strong>The game</strong>: It's an okay&nbsp;mahjong game,&nbsp;though it's timed, which is bad. Why is there a timer? When I seduce women with my solitaire skills in real life, I find a leisurely pace works better than a frantic scramble to match peacock symbols. It's also, like, $15.</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Super loud action&nbsp;anime music that is very well made and that I turned off immediately.</p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong>&nbsp;It never asks for a name. I think it knows&nbsp;everyone involved should&nbsp;remain anonymous.</p><p> <strong>A weird thing about it</strong>: So, I <em>totally </em>get that playing mahjong turns these women on to the point of them allowing a magical monkey to take&nbsp;off their clothing. Why wouldn't it?&nbsp;There's simply&nbsp;nothing sexier than someone recognizing identical symbols.&nbsp;But once they've revealed their bikini,&nbsp;latex body suit, or futuristic&nbsp;spaceship&nbsp;flight attendant outfit, they then put their original clothing&nbsp;back on and you have to play more mahjong to see another outfit. That's definitely&nbsp;the <em>only </em>thing confusing about this game, other than the fact that there are far&nbsp;easier ways to see cartoon bikini-boobs than by playing hours of mahjong and enlisting the help of a small, hovering, breast-loving&nbsp;monkey.</p><h2>Zombie Solitaire</h2><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9a6gS2r6R_-i.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lbe2rBNPinUw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong>The&nbsp;Story</strong>: In a scene featuring art clearly inspired by Plants vs. Zombies, a man eats a tofu burger and turns into a zombie, leading to the undead invading your house. You must escape to Safe Island, which is named either after the person who discovered it, famed&nbsp;adventurer Thomas Walton Briggingham&nbsp;Safe, or perhaps because it's safe from zombies. How will you get there? The answer is&nbsp;cards. The answer is always cards.</p><p> <strong>The game</strong>: It's not bad! You can buy bonus cards like shotguns (they kill zombie cards)&nbsp;and bowling balls (they take out a whole row of cards) and they're fun to use.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong>The music</strong>: Grating.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dO9Ez0CZTf6E.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BfB7RqZIPHoR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solitaire"></p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Enough room to enter my name of choice?</strong>: I wanted to call myself Zombified Version of Chris. I could not, however, despite there appearing to be plenty more room in the box.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong>A weird thing about it</strong>: In between rounds, you play a little minigame. When some zombies came at me in a parking lot, I had to search some cars, where I eventually found gasoline to fuel a chainsaw. I clicked on the zombies to kill them with the chainsaw, but it didn't work. I instead had to cut down a tree that&nbsp;squished the zombies. Chainsaw + zombies = tree? That's bad zombie math.</p> Master of Orion gameplay video releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/master-of-orion-gameplay-video-released/What are you looking forward to seeing in this reboot of a classic game?Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:37:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/master-of-orion-gameplay-video-released/4XMaster of Orion (Wargaming)NewsStrategywargaming.net <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-tcUDw0mT-aq.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M2wOW1qbWpf_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Master of Orion"></p><p>Wargaming has released a video showing the first gameplay footage of its 4X strategy remake, Master of Orion. Released in 1993, the original&nbsp;Orion was&nbsp;one of the great-great grandpappies of modern strategy games. In the video, a pair of somewhat poorly programmed robot newscasters give the political news of the day: war and conflict in Orion.</p><p>Wargaming's reboot will focus on bringing modern graphics and a new orchestral soundtrack to the Orion universe. Though it's an early look, what we can see of the game's combat looks pretty stilted. Then again, swishy combat animations were never really the point for galaxy-spanning strategic conquest simulators like Master of Orion.</p><p>Evan got a chance to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/master-of-orion-wargamings-plan-for-remaking-a-classic/">interview</a> project director Chris Keeling at E3. Also note: unlike Wargaming's other titles, Master of Orion will not be a free-to-play multiplayer game, much to our relief.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4RUz80MUK_s?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Ubisoft postpones World in Conflict server shutdown after outcryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-postpones-world-in-conflict-server-shutdown-after-outcry/The publisher is looking into community-based solutions instead of giving the game the axe.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:28:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-postpones-world-in-conflict-server-shutdown-after-outcry/NewsRTS <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6VqwhXIVRwiK.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wPhS9wZyJNnY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="World in Conflict"></p><p>We recently highlighted our favorite&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overlooked-strategy-games-that-are-worth-playing/">overlooked strategy games</a>, including Ubisoft's 2007 RTS, World in Conflict.&nbsp;As we sang its praises, we noted that "World in Conflict never quite received the dues it deserved." What we didn't know at the time was that developer Massive had recently&nbsp;decided&nbsp;to shut down all online functions for the game.</p><p>"It was a very difficult decision to make but for several reasons it is not possible to keep the servers online anymore," a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.massgate.net/read.php?182,613394">post on the game forums</a> announced. "This includes Massgate, the game severs and the forums, which means it will only be possible to play campaign and LAN games after that." Though the cost of servers against the game's income isn't listed explicitly, the game's low popularity was undoubtedly part of the math.&nbsp;In the past year, a maximum of 125 players have played World in Conflict at once&mdash;surely&nbsp;not enough to make supporting an eight-year-old game worth Ubisoft's money.</p><p>The community wasn't dead, though. According to World in Conflict fan Jason Mannion, a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.change.org/p/ubisoft-massive-entertainment-save-world-in-conflict">Change.org petition</a> soon circulated through the small community. Though the 439 signatories weren't enough to meet the petitions own goals, it was enough to catch Ubisoft's attention. This afternoon, Ubisoft&nbsp;<a href="http://www.massgate.net/read.php?182,614378">posted</a> that it has decided to postpone the October 6 shutdown date while it weighs other options.&nbsp;</p><p>"We are still investigating some potential community based solutions," the update says.&nbsp;"No promises, but we are looking into it. We want to make sure all options are exhausted before we shut it down."</p><p>"This is great news for the WiC community," Mannion told PC Gamer. "The story isn't over yet. It remains to be seen if Massive can ultimately save WiC in the long term. Nonetheless, this is a big victory for WiC fans."</p> Soma sells 92,000 copies in first ten dayshttp://www.pcgamer.com/soma-sells-92000-copies-in-first-ten-days/Have you explored the deep yet?Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:32:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-sells-92000-copies-in-first-ten-days/Frictional GamesHorrorNewsSOMA <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9z0Yz-cP73U?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Watery horror game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma/">Soma</a> has sold 92,000 copies since launch ten days ago, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2015/10/soma-10-days-after-launch.html">post-mortem</a> written on Frictional Games's developer&nbsp;blog. Around 2,000 copies are still being sold each day, which the author notes is putting Soma right on target for Frictional's goal of selling 100,000 in the first month.</p><p> "We need to sell almost 3 times that amount to do [recoup our total costs]," the post reads. "But given that it took us 5 years to make the project, there's no immediate stress to do so. One of the great things about funding SOMA 100% ourselves is that all money earned goes into our own pockets and is directly used to fund our upcoming projects. So we are under no pressure to recoup immediately so long as we get enough to keep going&mdash;which we certainly have now."</p><p> Soma is also Frictional's first game to launch without a pirated version already in the wild. That might have contributed to Soma's solid launch, which was stronger than Amnesia: The Dark Descent but slightly weaker than Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.</p><p> It's heartening to see that Frictional can continue to fund a company with niche horror games. "The money that we've got from this will pretty much pay our company expenses for another 2 years," the post says.</p><p> Andy called Soma "a masterpiece" in his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-review/">review</a>, so take a look if you haven't had a good scare recently. The&nbsp;<a href="http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2015/10/soma-10-days-after-launch.html">full blog post</a> is also worth a read for anyone interested in the nitty gritty business of indie game development.</p> Brian Kibler: “Card draw in general in Hearthstone is too good”http://www.pcgamer.com/brian-kibler-interview-hearthstone/The dragon master on the current state of the gameFri, 02 Oct 2015 18:58:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/brian-kibler-interview-hearthstone/BlizzardCard GameesportsHearthstonePro <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/I4R-uw9oSgw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> When I started watching Brian Kibler play Hearthstone, it was with a mixture of curiosity, excitement, and some small amount of scepticism. Here was a guy who was a Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famer. Would it damage Hearthstone if he played the game and hated it? What if he was immediately better than all the existing pros? Predictably, Twitch chat gave him a robust welcome with near constant spam based on Kibler’s use of his name as brand. But whatever doubt there was about his commitment to Hearthstone is now long gone.</p><p> Though he still plays Magic competitively, Kibler streams Hearthstone daily and recently tore up the Archon Team League finals as part of Trump’s Value Town outfit. He’s also a brilliantly analytical caster, who avoids leaping to judgmental conclusions based on the benefit of seeing both players hands, and an excellent writer when it comes to CCG game design. His piece on <a href="http://bmkgaming.com/the-problem-of-big-game-hunter-ive-got-the-fun-in-my-sights/" target="_blank">why Big Game Hunter is a fun ruiner</a> is essential reading, and he recently wrote about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/brian-kibler-on-magics-battle-to-catch-up-with-hearthstone/" target="_blank">Magic’s battle to catch Hearthstone</a>’s wizardly coattails for this site. I sat down with him recently to discuss how he views the current state of Hearthstone...</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Brian Kibler</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkYMAFx8T2uT.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1M433f0khhk6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Brian Kibler"> </p> <p> In addition to his illustrious record as an MTG pro, Kibler was lead designer on the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, which was the paper precursor for Hearthstone. He is also currently senior game designer on Solforge. He can be found on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/bmkibler" target="_blank">here</a> and you can watch his Twitch <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/bmkibler" target="_blank">stream</a> here, where you’ll usually find him conducting unholy experiments involving dragons. </p> </div><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> What are the most common mistakes you see people on ladder making?</p><p> <strong>Kibler:</strong> I think misunderstanding their role in a particular game. In a lot of cases players don’t recognise when they need to turn the corner and be aggressive, or when they need to play a more controlling style. For instance, against [Grim] Patron a lot of people will try to approach the game defensively. “Oh I don’t want to take damage, I don’t want to get one-turn killed.” But actually the best way to beat them is to continue to put on pressure and not give them time to find the cards that they need.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> Do you think a lot of Hearthstone players would be helped by reading [classic Magic: The Gathering strategy article] <a href="http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/fundamentals/3692_Whos_The_Beatdown.html" target="_blank">‘Who’s the beatdown?’</a>?</p><p> <strong>Kiber: </strong>I do think so. The references to particular cards&mdash;y’know, because it’s Magic, and very old&mdash;might be a little confusing, but understanding what your position is in any given game, and the way that you need to approach it, is one of the most important things to being successful.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> If there was one card you could delete from Hearthstone what would it be?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>Right now my least favorite card in Hearthstone is probably Battle Rage. I think that card draw in general in Hearthstone is too good. Battle Rage is one of the most egregious examples, that happens to be a major component of the currently <a href="http://www.hearthstonetopdecks.com/decks/grim-patron-warrior-deck-list/" target="_blank">most successful deck</a>. I think that the ability for players to assemble combos by basically drawing their entire deck is just too easy in Hearthstone, and I wish that in general there were less cards that allowed you to consistently do that.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Other than yourself, who do you think is the most creative deck builder?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>I don’t know about most creative deck builder. Most people tend to build decks because they’re trying to make the most successful decks for tournaments. I actually really like a lot of the decks that <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/strifecro" target="_blank">StrifeCro</a> puts together. He and I have a lot of similar perspectives on the kind of things that we enjoy doing. We both like sort of midrange-y, grinding, control-style decks. We were actually just earlier talking about our woes in making Duplicate Mage decks work, because it’s kind of in a rough spot right now&hellip; I have hope for the future.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wp6G8ff1_zU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> I always regarded him as the Druid master back in the day&hellip;</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>He hates Druids!</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Yeah, he said the reason he played it was because he couldn’t face playing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBjJ_H3GDNk" target="_blank">Zoo</a>. How important is it to play a deck you enjoy playing versus one you think is most powerful.</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>Personally, and I think this is probably more of an issue in a game like Magic where you just play the same deck through a tournament, I think that if I’m not enjoying myself then I’m not trying to win as hard. It’s kind of weird, I guess, but particularly when I’m practicing I will be looking to try to make something successful more if I’m actually invested and interested in it.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Do you consider Hearthstone as your full-time gig now? Is it your priority?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>Hearthstone is how I spend most of my time now, yes.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Shiro</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gyya1BtETMaN.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V5N9NO0x4INv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kibler Shiro">Kibler's pomerian Shiro, prominently featured on his Twitch channel. </p> </div><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>If Twitch let you create a global emote, what would it be. (I think I know the answer to this one.)</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>I actually don’t think it would be [Kibler’s adorable Pomerian] <a href="http://bmkbucket.objects.cdn.dream.io/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/1474631_10151993262425675_413272977_n.jpg" target="_blank">Shiro</a>. I want people to have to subscribe to my channel for Shiro, because Shiro is just the best possible emote. Maybe it would be some alternate version of Shiro.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Mecha-Shiro?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>Ooh! Or Shiro as a dragon.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>What was the first legendary card you got?</p><p> <strong>Kibler:</strong> It was actually Leeroy Jenkins. It was in like the third pack I opened. I actually played Hearthstone for a while, and accumulated a ton of gold and packs from Arena before I started playing constructed. Something like 55 packs when I first opened them. And yeah Leeroy was the very first legendary I opened, but I didn’t have the other stuff to build any of the combo decks that used Leeroy and ended up playing a midrange Shaman deck for the first month.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> Playing Arena before playing Constructed is the classic approach for people starting out, but you were coming from Magic, understood card games, and are a man of some means&mdash;why didn’t you just buy a bunch of packs and dive in?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>There was a point where it was kind of a prideful thing that I was like: “Yeah, I’m just playing this game for free.” And there was a while where I played a bunch of Arena, but I never really fell in love with it, because I just don’t enjoy arena as much as I enjoy constructed. It’s the same thing for me in Magic. I liked constructed in Magic much more than I like Draft because of the puzzle solving element of it and actually piecing your deck together to do a certain thing. That’s more compelling to me in constructed than Arena. But I had this notion that I was proving to myself that I could do this, which is sort of funny because I should have known that I could do this [laughs]. But I’ve done the same thing with various games before. It was this point of pride that I was playing for free for however long, and then eventually I just decided that I wanted to be able to build all these other decks, and spent a bunch of money on a ton of packs.</p><blockquote> Lots of people were pointing at me as the potential weak link for my team... </blockquote><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> What’s been your happiest Hearthstone moment so far?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>Making it to the finals of the <a href="http://league.teamarchon.com/" target="_blank">Archon Team League</a>. It was a lot of fun to play with both <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/trumpsc" target="_blank">Trump</a> and <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/hsdogdog" target="_blank">Dog</a>. Being able to put up an excellent showing in that tournament, particularly when lots of people were pointing at me as the potential weak link for my team&hellip;</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Were you aware of that going in?</p><p> <strong>Kibler:</strong> I knew that that was what people were saying, which was kinda funny to me because, yeah, I hadn’t that much success in Hearthstone tournaments, but no-one had given me a quarter of a million dollars to care about them before. Also, that particular structure of that tournament really played to my strengths, which let me play the decks that I wanted to play, instead of the normal tournament format where the best decks are Handlock and Patron, which I don’t enjoy and don’t want to play. So I will either be hamstringing myself by not playing them, or hamstringing myself by trying to play these things that I’m not really familiar with.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer:</strong> And what’s been the lowest moment so far?</p><p> <strong>Kibler:</strong> I don’t think I’ve had all that many major lows in Hearthstone. Even when things go badly for me, I just shrug them off. Before I had any real understanding of tournament Hearthstone, I played in one tournament with multiple decks that I hadn’t played beforehand, and ended up coming second. And then, based on my notoriety from Magic, I got invited to the <a href="http://wiki.teamliquid.net/hearthstone/VGVN_Naxxramas_Release_Tournament_3" target="_blank">VGVN Naxxramas release tournament</a>, and I just had no idea what I was doing. [You can read Brian’s thoughts on that over at <a href="http://bmkgaming.com/vgvn-3-experience/" target="_blank">his site</a>.]</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Qu8adr6bdMM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Kibler:&nbsp;</strong>Not only did I not even understand how decks like Handlock worked, because I’d never played against them before, and got crushed by them throughout the tournament, but it was also the day after my birthday when I’d been out partying and drinking. So, not in the best shape to be playing competitively, and I made a number of pretty serious blunders. I just laughed at them, because whatever. It’s not something that in the longterm is going to negatively impact me.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>Is there too much RNG in Hearthstone?</p><p> <strong>Kibler: </strong>I think that there are a lot of explicit moments that people can point to as being the result of pure randomness, or at least of randomness that is very difficult to manage. And I think that the perception of that is worse than the reality. I think that people’s cries of “Oh, esports!” whenever someone plays an Imp-losion or Spellslinger&mdash;that attitude is worse than the actual negative impact that randomness has on the game.</p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: </strong>If you were <a href="https://twitter.com/bdbrode" target="_blank">Ben Brode</a> running [Hearthstone developer] Team 5 for a&nbsp;day, what would you try to get done?</p><p> <strong>Kibler:</strong> I would just laugh as much as possible.</p><p> <em>We also recently spoke with&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-savjz-on-rng-tilt-and-the-mistakes-ladder-players-make/" target="_blank">pro Hearthstone player Savjz</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/meet-the-14-year-old-who-hit-1-legend-in-hearthstone-without-spending-a-cent/" target="_blank">14 year old pro Amnesiac</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-ben-brode-on-rng-esports-and-the-rise-of-secret-paladin/" target="_blank">Hearthstone's senior&nbsp;designer Ben Brode</a>.</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-savjz-on-rng-tilt-and-the-mistakes-ladder-players-make/" target="_blank"></a></p><hr><p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/" target="_blank">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> PC build guide: recommended mid-range gaming PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/best-gaming-pc/This is our recommended PC build: affordable components that will deliver 1080p, 60 fps performance for years.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:47:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/best-gaming-pc/Build Week 2015Buying GuideFeatured GuideHardware <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bK3IucPuTJSd.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yALyfKESQsSJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Build Guide Mid Range Recommended Header"></p><p> It's amazing to look back at ads from the 80s and 90s and see what kind of PC hardware you could get for $2000. Technology marches on, PC parts become exponentially more powerful, and everything gets cheaper. Today you can build&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-build-guide-budget-gaming-pc/">a high-performance budget gaming PC for less than $700</a>.&nbsp;But we'd recommend most PC gamers spend a bit more to get a far more powerful, more future-proof machine.&nbsp;For about $1300, I think you can build an amazing gaming rig that will last <em>at least</em> four years without an upgrade. And I know just the parts that you should use.</p><p> This is PC Gamer’s guide to building the best mid-range PC money can buy. Really, this is the rig we’d recommend to the majority of PC gamers. It’s powerful and built to last, but not extravagant. The parts are reliable, high quality, and will get you close to the performance of a much more expensive rig. There are no compromises here, just smart choices.</p><p> With this rig, I expect you to be able to play most of today’s most demanding games on ultra settings, at 1080p and 60fps. You’ll probably be able to handle most of those games at 1440p, too. And three years from now, when games have even stiffer graphics requirements, this rig will still have the power to handle them on high or medium settings (especially with a bit of overclocking).</p><p><em><strong>Update 10/2/2015:</strong> We've refreshed our build guide with a new motherboard, CPU and RAM with the release of Intel's Skylake platform.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/build-week-2015/" target="_blank"><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vbdkm4fCSBSu.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OtFd3ftJi9qp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Build Week Banner Thin"></a></p><p> Here are the parts I recommend for a great gaming build for anyone. And, naturally, you can tweak this build to suit your needs, and save a few bucks by ditching the DVD drive or buying a smaller HDD.&nbsp;<strong>Scroll down below the chart</strong> for the reasoning behind each part choice, and a few different case recommendations for sizes, styles, and prices.</p><hr> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <strong>Component type</strong> </td> <td> <strong>Recommended component</strong> </td> <td> <strong>Price</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Processor </td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117561">Intel Core i5-6600k</a><br> </td> <td> $260 (£215) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Motherboard </td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132567">Asus Z170 Pro Gaming</a><br> </td> <td> $162 (£110) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory </td> <td><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MTSWEQE/?tag=pcgedit-20">Crucial Ballistix Sport&nbsp;DDR4 2400 (8GB)</a><br></td> <td> $55</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Graphics card </td> <td><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GEXQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">MSI&nbsp;GTX 970 4G</a><br></td> <td> $335 (£270)</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Power supply </td> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139048">Corsair CX600M 600 watt 80 Plus Bronze</a> </td> <td> $65 (£61) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Primary storage </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OAJ412U/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Samsung 850 EVO 250GB</a><br> </td> <td> $98 (£74) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Secondary storage </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FJRS628/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Western Digital Black 2TB WD2003FZEX</a><br> </td> <td> $125 (£96) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> CPU cooler </td> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099">Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO</a><br> </td> <td> $35 (£25) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Disc drive </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Asus 24x DVD-RW</a><br> </td> <td> $21 (£14) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Cases </td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146189">NZXT S340</a> (see below for more) </td> <td> $70&nbsp;(£57)</td> </tr> <tr> <td> &nbsp; </td> <td> &nbsp; </td> <td> <strong>$1226</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UWsQiM-5QtOY.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uo3WNbkHaGMk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mid-range Pc - Intel Core I5 6600k"></p><h3>Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K</h3><p> Price:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117561">$260 on Newegg</a> (£215)</p><p> Ever since the Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K in 2011, Intel’s i5 processor has been the perfect sweet spot for gaming. It’s reasonably priced, highly overclockable, and for gaming, not much different from the more expensive Core i7. Since most games are more GPU intensive than CPU intensive, an i5 processor is exactly the right amount of muscle you need.</p><p> An overclocked i5 can handily tackle some of gaming’s most demanding CPU tasks, like running the Dolphin GameCube/Wii emulator. It’s also a great all-around processor for normal PC usage. The new Skylake i5-6600K isn't a major performance boost over its predecessor, but we recommend using Skylake if you're building a new PC, as the new platform includes more PCIe lanes and support for much faster storage that will be important down the line.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_jpcwD47TuaZ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/27AXKYEtqT5D.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mid Range Pc Asus Z170 Pro Gaming"></p><h3>Motherboard: Asus Z170 Pro Gaming</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132567">$162 on Newegg</a> (£110)</p><p> Motherboards are a nightmare to shop for: there are so many, with such a broad range in prices, it’s difficult to identify the features that are important and how much you should be paying. You can easily spend $300 on a motherboard, but you don’t need to. The Asus Z170 Pro Gaming includes most of the important features of Asus' high-end boards that matter for gaming, at a lower price.&nbsp;It's&nbsp;the latest iteration of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-motherboards/" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">our favorite gaming motherboard</a>.</p><p> At $160, <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132510">the ASUS Z97-A</a> is well-reviewed by buyers, offers plenty of overclocking potential, and has Asus' typically powerful and easy-to-use UEFI BIOS. It includes an important M.2 port rated for PCIe x4 speed, as well as two PCIe x6 lanes for a dual-GPU setup. In another nice bit of future-proofing, it includes two USB 3.1 ports.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EW8R3XzbRg6V.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_L0KVBLkjLuw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mid Range Pc Crucial Ballistix Sport Ddr4"></p><h3>Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2400 (8GB)</h3><p> Price:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MTSWEQE/?tag=pcpapi-20">$55 on Amazon</a></p><p> DDR4 prices are thankfully dropping quickly these days, and it won't be long before those prices match DDR3. The Ballistix from Crucial are an easy choice: they're fast, cheap, and low profile enough to sneak under a chunky air cooler.</p><p> According to my research into RAM speed ( <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/7364/memory-scaling-on-haswell/10">here’s a great article on Anandtech</a>), faster speeds and memory timings aren’t that important, especially for gaming. You’re not going to see much of a framerate difference as a result of RAM speeds. In fact, you probably won’t see any difference at all. RAM speed makes more of a difference in other PC tasks, but Anandtech’s bottom-line advice is pretty simple: more RAM is a better upgrade than faster RAM, and RAM faster than 1600 MHz makes a small but meaningful difference.</p><p>While you could make the jump up to 16GB and see a bit better performance in heavy duty applications like Adobe Premiere, for gaming, it's not going to make much of a difference.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-testing-shows-that-4gb-of-ram-is-still-plenty-for-gaming/">Some recent testing</a> has shown how little difference 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of RAM actually makes on gaming performance.</p><p>UK readers: This exact kit isn't available in 8GB in the UK, but you can grab similar&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013J7N50M/">G.Skill Ripjaws V Series for for&nbsp;£53 on Amazon.co.uk</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-H-hI_2iRpKx.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xYkGhiUMF5WC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Msi Gtx 970 Graphics Card"></p><h3>Graphics card: MSI GTX 970 4G</h3><p> Price:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GEXQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">$335 on Amazon</a> (£270)</p><p>There's still a lot of controversy around the GTX 970. Nvidia messed up and gave out incorrect information about the card, and it took several months for the divide between 3.5GB of VRAM and a slower 500MB to come to light. Despite the controversy, the MSI GTX 970 is still the best price/performance graphics card on the market. It's fast, incredibly overclockable, and should handily deliver 1080p, 60 fps gaming for the next few years.</p><p>And there's a reason why the memory issue didn't show up&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/">in positive initial reviews of the card like ours</a>: you have to go far out of your way, and run the card at resolutions/settings it's not really capable of handling, to spot any issues with its memory management. If you're still suspicious/confused about the 970's performance,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2015-nvidia-geforce-gtx-970-revisited">read Digital Foundry's excellent breakdown of the controversy</a>. It's a great, informative read.</p><p>Now, why the MSI GTX 970 4G over other alternatives? Simply put, it's a great card: quiet, very overclockable, and much cheaper than other 970 options.</p><p>I recommend the 970 over any other currently available card for price/performance, but if you've sworn off Nvidia, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150696&amp;cm_re=r9_290x-_-14-150-696-_-Product">Radeon R9 290X</a> is the only close option. It's much louder, and far more power-hungry, than the GTX 970, but you can get close to the same performance for the price.</p><h3><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fMME3WRPRtWW.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oOHEZTobw4yz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midrange Corsair Cx600m"></p></h3><h3>Power Supply: Corsair CX600M 600 watt 80 Plus Bronze</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139048">$65 on Newegg</a> (£61)</p><p> How much power do you need for a gaming PC? Nvidia’s latest graphics cards are more power efficient than ever, but if you overclock your graphics card and CPU, you could easily be using 400 watts of power. A 600 watt power supply offers plenty of headroom for lost power (with a 80 Plus Bronze rating, a PSU is at least 82% efficient) and even a more power-hungry graphics card down the road.</p><p> I recommend Corsair’s power supplies for their reliability, and the <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139048">CX600M model</a> in particular because it’s modular. You can certainly find a cheaper power supply that offers as much juice, but modular power supplies are far nicer to build with. They leave you with fewer cables to deal with and let you plug in exactly what you need for your rig.</p><h3><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y5vImeiQT_O1.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7CiudL93t8Xu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midrange Samsung 850 Evo"></p></h3><h3>Primary storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OAJ412U/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">$98 on Amazon</a> (£74)</p><p> Now that it’s come down in price a bit, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-850-evo-ssd-review/">Samsung’s 850 EVO</a> is a great buy for a fast, affordable SSD. On sequential R/W speeds it pushes the SATA standard to its limit, and on random R/W it puts up substantially better numbers than last year’s competition, the Crucial MX100 and Samsung 840 EVO. For <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OAJ412U/?tag=pcgedit-20">$115, the 850 EVO</a> is worth it.</p><p> If you know you’ll want more SSD space, you can <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OBRE5UE/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">upgrade to the 500GB model for $190</a>.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hF5ms0tWTaqJ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CN9ltUHEo_1Z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midrange Western Digital Black Hdd"></p><h3>Secondary storage: Western Digital Black 2TB WD2003FZEX</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FJRS628/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">$125 on Amazon</a> (£96)</p><p> This is an optional addition to your primary SSD, but it’s one I expect most modern PC owners will want. Unless your PC is for games, and nothing but games, you’re probably going to want storage space for music, personal photos, movies, PC Gamer fan letter drafts, and all sorts of other files. You may also want to keep most games installed than you have room for on a 250GB SSD. Spinning disk HDDs still have a place in today’s PCs, since they’re so dang cheap.</p><p> The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FJRS628/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Western Digital Black</a> is the HDD I’d recommend to anyone installing applications on the HDD. It’s considerably faster than a WD Green drive. While I wouldn’t recommend it for storing games where load times really matter (an MMO like Guild Wars 2 or a giant game like Battlefield), smaller, quick-loading indie games will be just as playable on a HDD as they are on an SSD. The speed of the Black drive gives you plenty of storage, still at a good price, without poor performance.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g9x7Q-mlSQKJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-1pG9qYDt-Ra.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Budgetpc Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo"></p><h3>CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099">$35 on Newegg</a> (£25)</p><p> The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is our recommendation for a budget CPU cooler, and it’s our recommendation for a mid-range CPU cooler, too. Why? It’s just that good. It’ll give you plenty of cooling for a heavy overclock, it’s extremely cheap, and it’s easy to install. It’s far better and cooling, and quieter, than a stock Intel cooler. It’s the easiest choice of any part on this list.</p><p> The cooler is also <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005O65JXI/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=budgetpc">$35 on Amazon with Prime shipping</a>, if you’d prefer to buy it there.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/epZqNNgWQOex.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9G1dDQ-72or6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midrange Asus Dvd Drive"></p><h3>Disc drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW</h3><p> Price: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">$21 on Amazon</a> (£14)</p><p> Do you need one? Do you want one? What the hell. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">This one costs $21</a>, and it’s probably not going to break. You’re only going to put about three DVDs in it a year.</p><h3>Cases</h3> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jxYK71_fSNeS.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kRrgB29UlB3C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fractal Design Define R5 (high) Angle" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y1RUu_1AT3ui.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vqgqu63gImBe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nzxt Phantom (mid) Angle" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5gTyXaJYR5ql.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/INKQkJ05pgFx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cooler Master N400 Case" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jT-Dg98sQcC8.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RffzpUP0D7LT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NZXT h440 case" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4CP2MA3956">Fractal Design Define R5 ($110 on Newegg)</a><br> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006I2H04I/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">NZXT Phantom 410 ($95 on Amazon)</a><br> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DOZHJU2/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Cooler Master N400 ($60 on Amazon)</a><br> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146148">NZXT H440 ($120 on Newegg)</a><br> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table><p> <em style="background-color: initial;"><br> </em></p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6DLltgLxQh--.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hfaYiNMk9-bt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nzxt S340 Case"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DMq5IyEKT0-4.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AFtSZ0Ln6XWk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Phanteks Enthoo Pro Case" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4j7miB4kTkuN.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OooSecWREcRa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Corsair Carbide 500r Case" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> <td> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pg4J97tuQcWL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/roKkcJJe_fnx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Corsair 750d Case" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146189">NZXT S340 ($70 on Newegg)</a> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811854003">Phanteks Enthoo Pro&nbsp;($100 on Newegg)</a> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005E97ZUU/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Corsair Carbide 500R ($126 on Amazon)</a> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EB6O4N8/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=midrangepc">Corsair 750D ($140 on Amazon)</a><br> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table><p> <em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to stores like Amazon. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support our work evaluating PC components.</em></p> AMD's Catalyst 15.9.1 beta driver update fixes memory leak issuehttp://www.pcgamer.com/amds-catalyst-1591-beta-driver-update-fixes-memory-leak-issue/A memory leak issue from the previous update has been fixed.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 17:56:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amds-catalyst-1591-beta-driver-update-fixes-memory-leak-issue/AMDdriversHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Od4KL2yQTJme.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BNoyIGQUu77W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront"></p><p>AMD has released the Catalyst 15.9.1 beta driver update to fix a severe issue which arose from the 15.9 update on Tuesday, which included optimizations for the Star Wars Battlefront beta and Fable Legends' DirectX 12 benchmark.</p><p>Some users discovered a major memory leak in the 15.9 driver update that could be triggered by resizing or snapping certain windows, causing all the video memory of the graphics card to be used. AMD quickly issued a statement once it learned of the issue, recommending that people roll back to previous driver versions.</p><p>The Catalyst 15.9.1 beta driver update fixes the issue, so you should download that as soon as possible if you’ve updated to 15.9. It includes the same&nbsp;driver&nbsp;optimizations for the Star Wars Battlefront beta and Fable Legends, along with a DirectX Diagnostics bug fix. Other bug fixes included crashes and signal loss on some BenQ FreeSync&nbsp;monitors, and an issue with Catalyst Control Center that made it impossible to download updates from within that software.</p><p><a href="http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx" target="_blank">The 15.9.1&nbsp;update is available for download from AMD's website</a>.</p> Multiplayer runner SpeedRunners is free to play this weekendhttp://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-runner-speedrunners-is-free-to-play-this-weekend/Saturday Sunday SpeedRunnersday.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 16:25:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-runner-speedrunners-is-free-to-play-this-weekend/NewsSpeedrunners <p>Earlier today&nbsp;I asked people on Twitter for recommendations of good early-access games, and one that came up was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/speedrunners/">SpeedRunners</a>, described as a "cut-throat multiplayer running game". I'd never tried it, but now I can without even spending any money, because it's free to play on&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/207140/">Steam</a> this weekend.</p><p>SpeedRunners is being developed by Dutch developer DoubleDutch Games and published by tinyBuild. It's a colourful fast-paced same-screen multiplayer game in which you run, jump, and swing through levels while using weapons and other items to prevent your opponents from doing the same.</p><p>Normally, SpeedRunners costs £10.99 / $14.99, but you can play it for absolutely nothing until the end of Sunday, and if you like it you can buy it for a third of its usual price at £3.62 / $4.94.&nbsp;If you've long harboured a desire to play a game as famous YouTuber, you can also buy two YouTuber Packs for 49p / 98 cents&nbsp;apiece. Apparently this is PewDiePie:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6hqc9LqzQwSo.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zP_w96SwcUNp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="SpeedRunners PewDiePie"></p> Free Battlefield 4 map Operation Outbreak coming this Fallhttp://www.pcgamer.com/free-battlefield-4-map-operation-outbreak-coming-this-fall/It was made with the help of the community, so it's probably good that it's free.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 16:22:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/free-battlefield-4-map-operation-outbreak-coming-this-fall/Battlefield 4News <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Kf4vWxMjl7Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>A few months ago, Dice announced the Community Map Project, through which they created a map with the help of&nbsp;the community along the way. The end result is called&nbsp;<a href="http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf4/news/view/introducing-battlefield-4-community-operations/">Operation Outbreak</a>, and it's going to be available, for free, in the nebulous season that is "Fall 2015".</p><p>I went back to old blog posts to see what kind of contributions the Battlefield 4&nbsp;community were able to have in the creation of this map. One early&nbsp;<a href="http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf4/news/view/battlefield-4-community-map-project-update/">udpate</a> has the creative director telling fans that they can't have the urban setting they want because it doesn't work with their "High Level Framework". Rural it is. Then there's a poll that allowed respondents to choose between jungle, desert, and mountain.</p><p>Clearly they chose jungle, because Operation Outbreak takes place in a "dense jungle" with such features as "a medical research facility, an ancient temple, and a lush waterfall". If you've ever wanted to play Battlefield in the world of Uncharted, I guess this is your chance.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LG-pmgNMQMGb.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HtCVTYWTPgZF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battlefield 4 Operation Outbreak"></p> How The Witcher 3's best quest was madehttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-the-witcher-3s-best-quest-was-made/The story behind The Witcher 3's best quest, and the flawed, human character at its heart.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:10:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-the-witcher-3s-best-quest-was-made/Best ofThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8gDjDbbWRdGR.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BCk5c3f0wjPA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 1"></p><p><em>This article contains <strong>spoilers</strong> for the Family Matters quest in The Witcher 3.&nbsp;</em><em style="background-color: initial;">The story was originally published in </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-uk-october-issue-doom/"><em>PC Gamer issue&nbsp;283</em></a><em>.</em><em style="background-color: initial;">&nbsp;For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the <a href="http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-subscription/">UK</a> and the <a href="http://shop.futureus.com/subscriptions/pc-gamer-subscription.htmlsg=AFQjCNFwngYO2epGqJngcofj1QufuKAarA">US</a>.</em></p><p>When Geralt of Rivia arrives in Velen, searching for his adopted daughter Ciri, he finds a war-ravaged no man’s land. Dead soldiers litter the fields&mdash;the aftermath of a bloody war between Temeria and the invading Nilfgaardians&mdash;and deserters hang from trees, bags over their heads, swaying gently in the breeze. Yet despite this horror and devastation, Velen is also a place of startling natural beauty, of lush forests and rolling hills. This contrast is mirrored in The Witcher 3’s most emotional and disturbing quest, Family Matters, and in the complex, conflicted character at the centre of it: the Bloody Baron.</p><p>“We needed a character that personified Velen, with all of its beauty and troubles,” Paweł Sasko, designer of the quest, tells me. “The Baron is a soldier, much like we have today, who comes back from war with PTSD and alcohol issues. He’s unstable and unpleasant, but he also has positive traits. He loves his family and would do anything for them.”&nbsp;</p><p>The roots of Family Matters can be traced back to Sasko’s childhood, growing up in a poor village in the Polish mountains. “I saw families destroyed by alcoholism and violence,” he says. “I saw parents fighting with each other and beating their kids, but they were also in love and loyal to their family.” Fascinated by this complexity, Sasko went to university and took a PhD in psychology to help him understand people better.&nbsp;</p><p>The Baron knows where to find Ciri, but won’t tell Geralt until he helps him find his missing wife and daughter. “The Baron was created as a parallel to Geralt,” says Sasko. “They’re two fathers who have lost their loved ones; two men with blood on their hands; they both have personality issues; they’d do anything for their families.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/52IehuYiRp-9.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uhuvE2QpRb04.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 2"></p><p> It’s clear they don’t entirely trust each other, and their relationship is uneasy, but these similarities mean Geralt connects with the Baron on a personal level&mdash;whether he likes to admit it or not. On the surface the Baron is charismatic, likeable, and quick to make a joke, but there’s a dark side to him that slowly unravels. You find yourself sympathising with him one moment, and cursing him the next.&nbsp;</p><p>“That was one of my goals when I designed him,” Sasko says. “There are very few people in our lives, even if we love them, that we’ve never felt conflicted about. That’s what makes a character real.” By making you feel torn between loving and loathing the Baron, Sasko says, he was able to give extra weight to your decision-making in the quest. “You hesitate when presented with a choice. Family Matters was intentionally designed to show both sides of the Baron, to highlight how tragic his story is.”&nbsp;</p><p>Geralt explores the Baron’s fort, Crow’s Perch, using his witcher senses to trace the missing family. But in doing so, he finds signs of domestic violence and spilled wine that suggest there’s more to the story. They didn’t go missing: they left after the Baron got drunk and assaulted his wife, causing her to miscarry their unborn child.&nbsp;</p><p>It’s a dark revelation, and one of the first times your opinion of the Baron is soured. But you also know that, prior to Geralt’s arrival, he helped Ciri. “The Baron took care of her, almost like a replacement for his daughter,” says Sasko. “This was a narrative trick to make you sympathise with him. To doubt that he’s really a bad person.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ofS6iuqDTgmW.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o2SGQyfb0z5J.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3"></p><p> The Baron’s abuse of his wife has grave consequences beyond the emotional distress caused. The miscarried child, which was hastily buried outside the fort, has become a foul creature called a botchling. These grotesque, baby-like monsters sneak into the bedrooms of pregnant women and drink their blood. It’s the most disturbing creature in The Witcher 3. And like many of the game’s monsters, it’s rooted in Slavic folklore.</p><p> “In an old book, a Slavic bestiary,” Sasko tells me, “I found a picture of a creature that was half bat, half newborn baby, called a poroniec&mdash;whose name is derived from the Polish word for miscarriage. This became the inspiration for the botchling.” The idea was passed to the concept art team, and Marek Madej, who was responsible for drawing many of the game’s monsters, dreamed up its macabre design.</p><blockquote> They were very strict about secrecy, so scenes arrived in batches. I had no idea where the story was going. </blockquote><p> Geralt can choose to force the Baron to give the botchling a proper burial, freeing it from its turmoil, or kill it. Choose the latter and it morphs into a fearsome beast, and a boss fight ensues, but it’s the burial option that’s the most interesting&mdash;especially in terms of the Baron’s character development. For the first time we see the haunted soul behind his jokes and bluster, and it’s a genuinely touching moment.</p><p> The Bloody Baron is a rich, nuanced character, which is down to good writing, but also to the wonderful performance of actor James Clyde, who voices him. “I didn’t know how popular The Witcher was until my daughter told me,” he says. “This is my first videogame.”</p><p> Clyde, a classically trained stage actor, recorded dialogue for the Baron at a studio in central London over a period of 18 months. “They were very strict about secrecy, so scenes arrived in batches. I had no idea where the story was going. I wasn’t sure at first if there was much complexity to the character, but as it went on the layers were revealed.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K93MfVIRS4Cs.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mw3bBGsuzS3H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 5"></p><p> “What forged the character, as well as his military history, was the troubled relationship between him and his daughter,” says Clyde. “The boozing and humour is his attempt to smother that, I think. But I only became aware of this complexity as the scenes arrived in bits. If it was a movie or a play I’d have known all this stuff beforehand.”</p><p> “In games like ours, high quality voice acting for a character is essential,” says Sasko. “In the case of the Bloody Baron, we did a live casting, and the results were presented to Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz (lead English writer), who always has final say.”</p><p> “You had to trust the directors,” says Clyde. “Sometimes I didn’t know where I was in the story or what was going on. We’d have to call Borys, who never seemed to sleep. He’d always be willing to explain. It was amazing. We’d call him up about a word we didn’t know how to pronounce and he wouldn’t mind, even if it was four in the morning for him. He even recorded a whole load of pronunciations for us. Thousands of them.”</p><p> “The personality and motivations of the Bloody Baron were discussed at length,” Sasko says. “James Clyde voiced him perfectly in the English version. In other languages he sounds equally good, but I think his performance is my favourite.”</p><p> “The night before my first session, I got a call from one of the directors, Kate Saxon,” says Clyde. “She said ‘Look, we’ve got a slight problem. We used every regional British accent in the first two games. Well, except one...’ And I was like, don’t tell me it’s Birmingham. And it was. So that’s why the Baron’s a brummie.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nu5_W93sQrWw.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9gfL-dZZsgLh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 4"></p><p>“With about 50 hours of dialogue in the main storyline, a script of 450,000 words and 950 characters, it took over two and a half years to finish the whole game,” says Ben Ryalls from Side, who produced, cast, directed, and recorded all the game’s English dialogue. “We visited CD Projekt RED for an intensive prep session in which we were given extensive quest synopses, plot branching maps, images, and videos. The director, the main English writer, and actors would discuss every scene in detail. The writer was always on hand to give more context when needed. The scripts were great, so we had good source material to work from, plus we cast strong performers who could give us the performances it required. James Clyde is a great example: he has credits in theatre, TV, and film, so he brought a lot of experience.”</p><p>After dealing with the botchling and, in the process, encouraging the Baron to confront his demons, Geralt is hired to track down his family. His daughter, Tamara, has fled Crow’s Perch to escape her father’s drunken rages and joined the Eternal Fire, becoming a witch hunter. Anna, his wife, is enslaved by witches living in nearby Crookback Bog. Everything comes to a head when the Baron is reunited with his family in the Bog, and the story can end in a number of ways&mdash;some of them happy, some really not&mdash;depending on Geralt’s actions.</p><p>“The challenge with a game like The Witcher 3 is the branching storylines,” says Ryalls. “The directors, actors, and writers really have to work together to hit the right tone for each path a player can take, so that each one gets a performance to match their choices.” In one ending the Baron’s wife dies, and he later hangs himself, torn apart by grief. In another he saves her, and takes her to the Blue Mountains to reverse the crones’ curse. Depending on the ending, Family Matters is either a story of redemption, or a bleak tragedy.</p><p>“We started with a very basic idea,” says Sasko. “Geralt meets a baron who wants him to kill a monster, and offers information about Ciri in return.” Sasko designed the events of the quest, and scripted it in the engine, while Karolina Stachyra wrote the dialogue and cutscenes. Then it was tested and approved by the project leads.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VWfuq89XQuuu.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3tTgaDY_qi25.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 6"></p><p>“Every area in The Witcher 3 touches a different topic and has a different atmosphere,” says Sasko. “The story of the Baron was designed to reflect the problems of folk living in Velen. In this place there’s war, famine, death, missing people, old rituals, and terrifying monsters. And Family Matters was crafted to contain all of these elements.”</p><p>The quest didn’t change much from the first version Sasko designed on paper, but some details changed over time. “The tone of small things were changed and dozens of ideas from the team were incorporated. This is how quests are designed at CD Projekt RED, from the smallest to the biggest. We always go down the same path.”</p><p>Family Matters is one of the best RPG quests I’ve played in years. It takes very real, important subjects&mdash;alcoholism and domestic abuse&mdash;and deals with them in a brutal, heartbreaking, and honest way. But, thanks to the blood-curdling botchling, it still feels like part of The Witcher’s dark fantasy world. It’s superbly written, brilliantly acted, and the branching paths make it well worth replaying. It’s The Witcher 3 and developer CD Projekt RED at their absolute best, and was the highlight of the game for many players. </p><p>“It’s amazing to hear that people love Family Matters,” says Sasko. “That is, hands down, the best reward I could ever imagine to get for my work. Our lead writer, Marcin Blacha, said once that he doesn’t like stupid games, and I think that’s the reason for The Witcher 3’s success. We respect the player’s intelligence. We treat videogames as a medium for adults, to tell mature stories. Our ambition is to touch on issues that have never been tackled by games before, but tastefully, and with respect for the subject.”</p> Arkham Knight PC re-release window narrowed to end of Octoberhttp://www.pcgamer.com/arkham-knight-pc-re-release-date-narrowed-to-end-of-october/It only took three months.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:04:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/arkham-knight-pc-re-release-date-narrowed-to-end-of-october/Batman: Arkham KnightNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_BBKgK2-RImQ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/znl-9ajMKlco.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman Arkham Knight"></p><p>I don't envy the Community Admin for WB Games. It can't be fun having to share news on Batman: Arkham Knight with pissed-off PC players. For instance, you'd think that people would be glad to hear that a significantly improved version of Arkham Knight will be available on Steam at the end of this month, but the comments are all middle fingers.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/208650/announcements/detail/126456258427632890">update</a> is short, but it promises additional updates and support for all DLC that has already been released on console, though commenters who were hoping that at least some of that DLC would be made available for free as a kind of peace offering are pretty unhappy about that.</p><p>Hopefully this improved version of the game means we'll actually be able to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-our-batman-arkham-knight-review-is-delayed/">review</a> it.</p> A House of Many Doors raises triple its Kickstarter goalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-house-of-many-doors-raises-triple-its-kickstarter-goal/Read on for procedurally generated poetry.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:46:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-house-of-many-doors-raises-triple-its-kickstarter-goal/News <p>This time&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/a-house-of-many-doors-is-from-failbetters-first-incubee/">last month</a>, I was telling you about&nbsp;Failbetter's first incubee, Harry Tuffs, and his dream to make a 2D exploration RPG that lets you travel through a parasitic dimension in a many-legged steam engine.</p><p>Now, I'm here to tell you that his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847455584/a-house-of-many-doors-an-exploration-rpg/description">Kickstarter campaign</a> has just closed with three times as much money as he was hoping to raise. He only wanted £4,000 to pay his artist and add some music, and now he's got £12,866 to play with. He didn't create stretch goals, but he does say in an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/847455584/a-house-of-many-doors-an-exploration-rpg/posts/1348065">update</a> that much of the money will probably go on making the game prettier.</p><p>Also in that update are some examples of the procedurally generated poetry that piqued my interest, like this one entitled Essays on the Vomiting of the Cats:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lvyI3rTZS5mL.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/exVcFGcg432k.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="A House of Many Doors proc gen poetry"></p><p>Tuffs says he's going to take a day to celebrate, but then he'll get right back to development. Hopefully under the watchful eye of Failbetter he'll be able to stay on course and finish the game in time for release next year.</p> Fallout Anthology available now, comes in a mini-nukehttp://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-anthology-available-now-comes-in-a-mini-nuke/It appears to be sold out unless you want to pay double.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 10:54:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-anthology-available-now-comes-in-a-mini-nuke/falloutFallout 2Fallout 3Fallout 4Fallout: New VegasFallout: TacticsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4F0MR-53RuSS.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1JK3KCVn2KYx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fallout Anthology"></p><p>As we mentioned&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bethesda-drops-a-bomb-with-the-new-fallout-anthology/">a few months ago</a>,&nbsp;Bethesda is making the most of this renewed attention on the Fallout franchise with its Fallout Anthology, a collection of nearly every Fallout game ever. &nbsp;It came out a few days ago in the US, but it's also&nbsp;now available over here.</p><p>Unfortunately,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.game.co.uk/en/fallout-anthology-only-at-game-733290">Game</a> (which I think is the only official retailer for it) is reporting that the Anthology is sold out, though some people appear to be reselling it for more than twice as much (£95 versus £40) on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bethesda-Fallout-Anthology/dp/B015D7C9DK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8">Amazon</a>.</p><p>Of course, the standout feature of the Fallout Anthology is that the storage case&nbsp;looks like a mini-nuke, with what Bethesda describes as an "audible bomb sound" (Department of Redundancy Department?).</p><p>Here are the games you get in the box:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout/">Fallout</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-2/">Fallout 2</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-tactics/">Fallout Tactics</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-3/">Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-new-vegas/">Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition</a>.</p><p>There's also a handy gap ready for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4/">Fallout 4</a>. I guess you'll have to buy a new nuke when they bring out Fallout 5.</p> Paladins puts deck building into an FPS, and it works greathttp://www.pcgamer.com/paladins-hands-on-preview-deck-building-inside-an-fps-and-it-works-great/Smite developer Hi-Rez Studios’ next game is a team-based FPS with a deck-building system.Fri, 02 Oct 2015 00:23:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/paladins-hands-on-preview-deck-building-inside-an-fps-and-it-works-great/FPSHands OnHi-Rez StudiosPaladinsPro <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dv1_exr7R-6H.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dVHasepWrxx4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Paladins Defending Point Web"></p><p>On paper, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/paladins/">Paladins</a> feels like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hi-rez-studios/">Hi-Rez Studios</a> pinned today’s most popular video game buzzwords to a dart board and started throwing. It’s a free-to-play, team-based FPS where each character has MOBA-like abilities and a custom card deck that you build by opening card packs&mdash;all wrapped up with a cartoony, fantasy/sci-fi art style. Paladins packs this all into a shooter that’s fun and unique, but is currently a bit repetitive, with weapons that lack the satisfying feedback I’ve come to expect from a shooter.</p><p>Paladins does feel like an FPS more than anything else, though, and Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam was quick to tell me that “it’s a shooter first.” Firing is mostly done from the hip, and every character has a unique weapon, two combat abilities, and a movement ability&mdash;usually a dash or dodge. The first character I played, a lightning shaman named Grohk, spat lightning that chained to nearby enemies. My second character, a goblin named Ruckus piloting a possessed mech suit, could hover high above other characters while firing a minigun he never needed to reload. Even though the characters and their abilities leveled up throughout a match, it nearly always felt like good aim and effective strafing could still give me the upper hand against a higher level enemy.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0XQJvAO4nR0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The five-on-five format suits Paladins' competitive focus, a more appropriate scale than the large team sizes of Team Fortress 2 or Dirty Bomb. Your team has to destroy your opponent’s base by capturing control points in the center of the map. Each time your character levels up, instead of assigning ability points, you’re given a choice between three random cards drawn from a 10-15 card deck you build before the match. The cards permanently buff your character with effects like increasing attack speed, decreasing cooldowns, upgrading your abilities, and more&mdash;and the later in a match you pick a card, the stronger the effect will be. Respawn timers are short, but your card bonuses will go on cooldown every time you die, leaving you weaker at the beginning of a life.</p><p>The card system is unique, but what really makes Paladins feel different from games like it is its pacing. It’s closer to set of tennis than a soccer match, though with far more bullets and explosions than either. Combat is almost always about attacking or defending a stationary point with your team, rather than smaller one-on-one engagements spread out across the map. Only one of three capture points is active at a time, so every player rushes to that spot. When the point is captured, a siege engine is spawned and heads toward the enemy base. A base can only be damaged while a siege engine is present, and the siege engine takes significantly less damage until it starts attacking so, once again, every player rushes to where the two will meet and fights. When the siege engine is blown up, a new capture point activates and the process starts over until one team’s base is destroyed.</p><blockquote>“There are actually like 50 different ways to do deck building in a game like this,&nbsp;and we know&nbsp;because we’ve tried all 50.”</blockquote><p>Adding deck building to an FPS seems like an awkward fit, but it works surprisingly well&mdash;and Chisam told me that’s partially because of how many iterations the card system has been through. “There are actually like 50 different ways to do deck building in a game like this,” Chisam said, “and we know, because we’ve tried all 50.” The cards can give you powerful buffs, but never feel like they are undermining mechanical skills like aim and positioning. Unfortunately, many of Paladins’ current cards have purely stat-based effects, so level-ups have a less noticeable effect than in other ability-based games.</p><p>The king-of-the-hill-style fights were fun, but the shooting itself lacked excitement. Each character’s weapons are unique and well-animated, but I didn’t get much feedback that I was hitting an enemy apart from the small red damage numbers spraying from their character. When I activated Grohk’s Chain Lightning ability, I could see damage indicators spouting from the cluster of enemies I was shooting at, but their health dwindled so slowly that it didn’t feel very powerful. Likewise, getting hit didn’t disrupt my actions very much, causing me to not realize how low my health had gotten on multiple occasions.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/So2APxsNQF66.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KcZXyugzpqFF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Paladins Ruckus Cassie Web"></p><p>Additionally, the control point/siege engine/control point loop started feeling routine by the end of my first match, but thankfully the short 10-20 minute match times work in Paladins’ favor. Picking cards forced me to think critically during a match (do I choose the Chronos card at level one to make my ability cooldowns refresh 20% faster, or wait and hope I see it again later when it could potentially make them refresh 100% faster?)&nbsp;but those choices didn’t manifest themselves on the battlefield as much as I had expected. That being said, I wasn’t able to build my own deck and didn’t get a look at the out-of-match progression, so it’s definitely possible I would be more invested if I had gotten a chance to tinker with different strategies.</p><p>Paladins is currently getting ready for a ‘closed alpha’ launch, and Chisam told me they aren’t anywhere near done creating and balancing all of the cards they want in the final game. Hi-Rez has managed to take a lot of different ideas and mesh them together into a fun and unique FPS&mdash;but if Paladins is meant to be a shooter first, then I hope Hi-Rez can spend the alpha period giving the shooting a bit more substance.&nbsp;</p><p><em>You can learn more about Paladins on its&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.paladins.com/" target="_blank"><em>official site</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><strong>[Update: </strong>This article originally listed the Chronos card as giving 20-100% cooldown reduction, when it actually gives 20-100% faster cooldown refresh rates. I have corrected&nbsp;the text, as&nbsp;100% cooldown reduction would be ludicrous.]</p> Humble Bundle launches monthly subscription programhttp://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-launches-monthly-subscription-program/A $12 a month adventure into games Humble thinks you might like.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 22:07:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-launches-monthly-subscription-program/Humble BundleNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j5xyqn4DT3qh.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sd40cESHN1IN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Humble Monthly Bundle"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/humble-bundle/">Humble Bundle</a> has been going strong for a few years, and now it's launching something new. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/monthly">Humble Monthly Bundle</a> is a subscription service that delivers bundles to customers for $12 a month. Humble is pitching this service as a bit of an adventure, an opportunity for gamers to get games they might not have picked up otherwise. See the video below, which&nbsp;has a mysterious woods and everything.</p><p>"PC games delivered digitally to you in a monthly subscription bundle," the announcement page reads. "Join for a new slate of games every month. Every bundle you get is yours to keep." Humble is promising both "hidden gems" and "timeless classics."</p><p>The spirit of this announcement seems genuine and adventurous, but I'm not convinced I need an exciting new way to grow my Pile of Shame any bigger than it already is. The first monthly bundle won't unlock until November 6, but subscribing now earns you a copy of the very good <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/legend-of-grimrock-2-review/">Legends of Grimrock 2</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rkOfIpq5YRM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Minecraft genius is building a working Pokemon gamehttp://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-genius-building-working-pokemon-game-one-block-at-a-time/Feeling pretty embarrassed aboutabout your one-room cottage now, aren't you?Thu, 01 Oct 2015 21:47:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-genius-building-working-pokemon-game-one-block-at-a-time/MinecraftNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zzag6b20SGqM.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6GVFGep5uvyQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Minecraft Pokemon Red"> </p> <p> A dedicated&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft/">Minecraft</a> engineer has been building a working version of Pokemon Red and detailing the build in the Minecraft subreddit. Beginning in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/3dxi3r/pokemon_red_update_now_with_basic_movement/">late July</a>, user&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Magib1">Magib1</a> began posting about&nbsp;the command-block-powered&nbsp;Game Boy sitting on the flat sands of Minecraft's creative sandbox mode. </p> <p> "It is a rather ambitious project," Magib1&nbsp; <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/3n0ymf/pok%C3%A9mon_red_update_smooth_movement_and_better/">admits</a>. "I hope to get most of the core mechanics sorted out over the next 3 or 4 months." This is so far beyond the 8-bit calculators and basic computers we've mostly seen over the years. Projects of this scale, like a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lord-of-the-rings-the-shire-looks-beautiful-in-minecraft/">recreation of the Shire</a> or a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-player-builds-walking-death-robot/">walking death bot</a>, are usually built by dedicated teams. Magib1 seems to be working solo. </p> <p> As for how it works, Magib1&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/3dxi3r/pokemon_red_update_now_with_basic_movement/" target="_blank">explains</a>: "All of the background textures are custom maps. In the spawn chunks there is a (very large) physical representation of the entire Pokemon Red overworld, with each block corresponding to a separate map texture. An armor stand moves along this physical map and, whenever the tries to move (by using inventory slots rebound to arrow keys) the blocks for the newly loaded maps are cloned behind the map display. The item frames loading the new tiles then "read" the block type and display the appropriate map, and the remaining frames get shifted up/down/left/right by a block." </p> <p> The finished product is intended to be a&nbsp;full port of the entire game&mdash;the builder already has a working Pokedex and rudimentary collision detection: </p> <iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/WetUnrulyAmethystgemclam" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="700" height="394" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe> <p> Hat tip to&nbsp;Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez for&nbsp; <a href="http://kotaku.com/someones-making-a-working-copy-of-pokemon-red-in-minecr-1734030916" target="_blank">posting this project</a>. </p> Proteus gallery downsampled from 4khttp://www.pcgamer.com/proteus-gallery-downsampled-from-4k/Every frame is worthy of saving in this trippy island hiking game.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 21:14:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/proteus-gallery-downsampled-from-4k/IndiePixel BoostProteus How to prepare your PC and room for VRhttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-prepare-your-pc-and-room-for-vr/Planning to buy into VR when the Oculus Rift or SteamVR are available in early 2016? Here's how to prep your house and PC.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-prepare-your-pc-and-room-for-vr/OculusOculus RiftSteamVRvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SICWCWr8QJet.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1rLRhbK58VHV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="future of VR cover crop"></p><p>The year: 2016. The month: One of those early ones. The location of your body: your living room. The location of your mind: someplace very, very different. You’ve been gaming for hours, but you haven’t seen the walls of your living room. You’ve been immersed in the experience of one virtual world after another, enthralled with the accuracy of Valve’s SteamVR headset and motion controllers. As you encounter your first virtual sunrise in the next great walking simulator, a single tear appears below your headset and rolls down your cheek.</p><p>That’s one way your glorious first day with a VR headset could go. Here’s another: as you take your first tentative virtual steps, you bash your knee against your coffee table, spilling water everywhere. You jerk backwards to keep your balance and tangle your legs in the cord running from headset to PC. You fall, crashing into a lamp and smacking your head onto an end table. You die.</p><p>Okay, you don’t die. You just feel a bit sheepish about the whole falling down incident and realize you probably could’ve done a better job preparing for this whole VR thing. From our hands-on time with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-everything-you-need-to-know/">Oculus Rift</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steamvr-everything-you-need-to-know/">SteamVR</a>, virtual reality’s going to create some amazing gaming experiences. Here’s what you’ll need to be prepared for this brave new world, from a souped-up rig to a shin-safe living room.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A1Cm2CcFQ7-Q.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ermnXa9Peuyq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ccp Vr 3"></p><h2>The VR Room</h2><p>Let’s assume that you don’t have a giant empty room in your house just waiting to become your own personal Holodeck. Because if you do, you’re already in good shape for VR. Also, we’re very jealous and would like to come hang out, please.</p><p>The space requirements for VR games will vary significantly from game to game and platform to platform. Valve’s SteamVR, especially, may require some real living room rearrangement if you plan on standing up and walking around. And trust us, you want to&mdash;nothing sells the feeling of immersion more than walking in virtual reality. You’ll be able to stand with the Oculus Rift, too, but it’s not designed for full-room movement, so it’ll be a bit easier to set up for. We’ll start there.</p><h4><strong>What kind of space will I need for the Oculus Rift?</strong></h4><p>The Oculus Rift’s head tracking relies on an external IR LED tracking sensor pointed at the headset, which Oculus calls its “constellation tracking system.” The sensor is small and mounted on an elegant metal stand; it looks like a minimalist microphone stand with a cylindrical webcam mounted on top. The tracking works by detecting infrared LEDs emitted from beneath the fabric covering of the Rift headset.</p><p>Because the sensor’s stand is relatively short, you’ll need to set it on a desk or table to keep the Rift within its field of view while sitting or standing. Only one sensor will ship with the Rift headset, but multiple will be usable together to cover a larger room space. Assuming you start with just the one, you’ll only need to prepare a small area&mdash;probably around 1.5x1.5 meters&mdash;to be VR-safe while walking around with the Rift on your head. Avoid rugs and other tripping hazards.</p><p>When the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-oculus-touch-is-an-intuitive-exciting-vr-controller/">Oculus Touch</a> motion controller is released sometime in Q2 of 2016, it will come with another sensor in the box. That will give you a bit more room to move around, and allow you to turn around without losing tracking, depending on your placement of the sensor. Keep in mind you'll need a second surface to place or mount this sensor to.</p><p>We’d recommend two accessories for your VR room. For standing, consider buying an anti-fatigue mat designed for standing desks. You can use the edges of the pad to ‘center’ yourself as you start to wander around in VR.</p><p>For seated VR games&mdash;which will be far more common on the Rift, at least at launch&mdash;you’ll want a swivel chair. A wheeled office chair will work, but swiveling may inadvertently cause you to roll around, too. A swivel chair with a solid base is a better choice. Oculus’ John Carmack has called out swivel chairs as the best way to experience GearVR, which lacks the Rift’s head tracking. But plenty of Rift games encourage looking around 360 degrees and finding hidden delights behind you. That’s easier to do in a swivel chair, where you don’t have to worry about tripping yourself up with cables.</p><p><strong>Speaking of cables</strong>: make sure there’s a clear path between your PC and where you play your VR games, or you could be sweeping mugs and tchotchkes off your desk like an excited Golden Retriever with an out of control tail.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pw-__vRASMO4.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jOkJ--JwUuDw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steamvr Dev Kit"></p><h4><strong>What kind of space will I need for SteamVR?</strong></h4><p>Valve wants you to walk around in virtual reality. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to, too&mdash;nothing sells the magic of virtual reality more quickly. SteamVR’s Lighthouse tracking system uses a pair of emitters to coat a room in lasers (don’t worry, they’re not lethal), letting you walk around with extremely precise positional tracking. The base stations can cover a play area of about 4x3 meters, and need to be positioned above head height. If you have some bookshelves in your living room, those will probably be perfect mount points. Otherwise, you might be looking at wall-mounting.</p><p>Obviously, you’ll need to clear your intended VR space of furniture, rugs, and any other tripping hazards. Keep in mind that your planned playspace doesn’t have to be as large as Lighthouse supports. If your setup is in the living room, try scooting the couch back and putting a rug underneath the coffee table; when it’s VR time, you can easily slide the coffee table out of the way.</p><p>Here’s the really cool thing about SteamVR: during the setup process, it maps the floor and walls of your room, so that they can fade into view in-game as you approach them. It’s trippy to reach out and touch a physical wall exactly where it appears to be in VR&mdash;and also useful, since it prevents you from smacking your head into a wall.</p><p>SteamVR’s technology will likely inspire many developers to design games around walking, which increases the risk of tripping over the cord attaching the headset to your PC. Consider using a belt clip to keep the slack cable away from your feet. If you get really into VR, you may even want some kind of ceiling-mounted swinging arm to feed you cable without it ever touching the ground&mdash;but let’s save that modification for 2016, okay?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vK6IjaIoSfav.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uPfFpm8bTWMg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lavins PC build 2"></p><h2>A VR-ready PC</h2><p>Much like today’s PC gaming, some VR games will be more demanding than others. But the baseline for acceptable VR performance is going to be much, much higher. Right now, you might be satisfied with 1080p, 60 frames per second performance. That’s not going to cut it for VR.</p><p>SteamVR and the consumer Oculus Rift both use a pair of 1080x1200 displays being refreshed at 90 Hz. That means your PC will have to render two monitors’ worth of content at 90 frames per second for a smooth experience. No easy task.</p><p>What kind of rig will you need to handle that? For the Oculus Rift, there are two hard requirements: a system with at least two USB 3.0 ports, and Windows 7 SP1 or newer for the OS. For the “full Oculus experience,” they recommend these components:</p><ul> <li>NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater</li><li>Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater</li><li>8GB+ RAM</li><li>Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output</li></ul><p>Oculus has also announced an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-vr-unveils-the-oculus-ready-pc-program/">Oculus Ready PC program</a>, with a couple partners so far: Dell (including Alienware) and Asus. Those partners will be selling PCs that meet the Oculus minimum spec (the components listed above) using Intel and Nvidia parts for under $1000. Expect to see more partners jump on board in the future, too.</p><p>We don’t know what kind of specs Valve’s SteamVR will require, but developers working with SteamVR hardware have recommended an Nvidia GTX 980, a step up in performance past the GTX 970. When the final SteamVR hardware ships, that much graphics horsepower might not be necessary: games will be better-optimized as developers spend more time with the hardware. But if you’re not running at least a Core i5 processor and a high-end graphics card, plan an upgrade into your budget.</p><p>One other consideration when it comes to the graphics card: even if it’s not top-of-the-line, a newer graphics card is likely to be more future proof. Nvidia has been optimizing its 900 Series “Maxwell” GPUs to deliver lower latency rendering for VR, while AMD has developed a similar program with its LiquidVR SDK.</p><p>As DirectX 12 launches with Windows 10, many developers are likely to switch over to the API from DirectX 11. But it won't be a quick change. Don't expect to see many DX12 games before late 2016. Still,&nbsp;that makes a DX12 compatible graphics card important. Thankfully, DX12 support extends back to the last 2-3 years of graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, although some DX12 features are limited to newer cards. Right now, it’s hard to say how much, if at all, those features will matter for VR, but every millisecond of latency shaved off counts.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sfHLNDlBRZuF.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qSQjiOjyv0y6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="futurepcgaming-vr"></p><h2>The VR FAQ checklist</h2><p>You’ve got your headset. You’ve got your swivel chair. You’ve got your beastly gaming rig. What else do you need? Let’s go over some common questions.</p><p><strong>Q: Do I need to buy a controller for the Oculus Rift?</strong></p><p>A: The Oculus Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller, but you should be able to use an Xbox 360 or DualShock 4 pad in its place if you prefer. The Oculus Touch controller releases later, in the first half of 2016, and will be a separate purchase. You’ll have to buy one for games built around motion controls. It’ll be worth it&mdash;from our hands-on time with it, the Oculus Touch is a fantastic controller.</p><p><strong>Q: Do I need to buy a controller for SteamVR?</strong></p><p>A: Valve has designed a pair of wand motion controllers for SteamVR. They’re part of the package deal.</p><p><strong>Q: How much money should I be saving for VR?</strong></p><p>A: As of this writing, we still don’t know. Oculus will almost certainly be cheaper than SteamVR, and we expect both to cost less than $500 US. Oculus told us the Rift will cost "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-price/">at least $300</a>."&nbsp;If you need some PC upgrades to handle VR gaming, allocate your money there, first.</p><p><strong>Q: Will any VR game work on any VR headset?</strong></p><p>A: Sadly, no. All of the games Oculus is developing and funding will be sold through the Oculus Home storefront, which means those games will likely never show up on Steam. Games made specifically for SteamVR will, of course, be on Steam. The rest is still a bit up in the air.</p><p>Oculus maintains that it wants to support open source development, and some games will be playable on multiple VR platforms, but hardware differences will require some unique programming. Throw Razer’s OSVR and other VR platforms into the mix, and it’s hard to predict right now how many games will be playable on different headsets. It’s gonna be messy for awhile, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-vr-games-wont-care-which-headset-youre-using/">from our talks with developers</a>, cross-platform development won't be <em>too </em>bad. Hopefully a healthy portion of VR games will be playable on whichever headset you buy.</p><p><strong>Q: Will I be able to use my VR headset for more than gaming?</strong></p><p>A: Heck yes! Virtual tourism may be a more compelling use of VR than gaming, someday. Oculus Home already hosts a cinema for watching movies in vision-filling VR and apps for panoramic photos and videos. We expect more VR media to appear once more headsets are released. Even John Carmack thinks that gaming will represent less than 50% of the eventual content for VR.</p> GeForce NOW is the promise of cloud gaming realizedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/geforce-now-is-the-promise-of-cloud-gaming-realized/Experience cloud gaming with GeForce NOW.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:15:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/geforce-now-is-the-promise-of-cloud-gaming-realized/Sponsored <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OIyjgRSTT4Wn.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2U9z_pBO-QnS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV"></p><p> Cloud gaming has been something of a buzzword in tech and PC gaming circles for years. And it’s easy to understand why, as the idea is based on the development of technologies that offer a tantalizing promise&mdash;a huge library of great games stored remotely on a supercomputer in the cloud for you to pick from and instantly play whenever you choose.</p><p> NVIDIA’s new <a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/grid-game-streaming#utm_campaign=GeForce-NOW-3&amp;utm_medium=pm-dialect&amp;utm_source=Future-Article" rel="nofollow">GeForce NOW</a> service is the first cloud-gaming service to step up and realize this promise for anyone that owns an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, SHIELD tablet or SHIELD portable. And believe us, if you don’t own one, yet, then you are soon going to want to, once you experience GeForce NOW for yourself.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j1iKGtRwWkw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Goodbye GRID, hello NOW!</p><p> GeForce NOW is the commercial rollout of NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service, which was called GRID throughout its beta period. Exclusive to SHIELD, GeForce NOW provides members with immediate access to a diverse library that includes some of the best and most critically-acclaimed games released over the last few years. Don't believe us? Just check out the long-list of releases, which includes games like The Witcher series, The Walking Dead, Borderlands and more.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HNh6GAfRShCA.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VrTePrO7H1lI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s23LUn1dRn6K.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k2VvLLBZwCN7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4r_UTG-pQf69.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fZnNb6Let08-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Borderlands"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KOu_KV7lSGS6.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XMqcmvwSGIoQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DiRT 3"></p><p> In practice the arrival of GeForce NOW means three key things for SHIELD owners. Game streaming is easier, more affordable and more convenient than ever before. As you are streaming your chosen titles from one of NVIDIA’s remote supercomputers, you don’t even have to worry about the hassle of downloading the game, updating drivers, and then installing the game. That’s because the game itself is running on one of NVIDIA’s remote, proprietary servers that are chock full of GeForce GTX GPUs. All this power ensures that GeForce NOW can deliver the ultimate game-streaming experience to your SHIELD device of choice. To try to put it as simply as possible, the game you are playing is <em>running</em> on an NVIDIA supercomputer in the cloud, but you are <em>interacting</em> with it on your local SHIELD screen.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bRl3A6dcTV-x.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/89OjY-mTW8ED.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Toybox Turbos"></p><p> Providing that you have a reasonably strong broadband Internet connection and Wi-Fi router (NVIDIA recommends at least 10Mbps and <a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/routers#utm_campaign=GeForce-NOW-3&amp;utm_medium=pm-dialect&amp;utm_source=Future-Article" rel="nofollow">a 5 GHz SHIELD-READY router</a> for consistent, lag-free gaming at 720p resolution, with gameplay running at 60-frames-per-second) then you are good to take advantage of all the great games GeForce NOW has to offer.&nbsp;</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jHMCIh5ZSlmO.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ny5Nf5wCbLvc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Orcs Must Die"></p><p> NVIDIA is also committed to constantly updating the <a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/games/grid#utm_campaign=GeForce-NOW-3&amp;utm_medium=pm-dialect&amp;utm_source=Future-Article" rel="nofollow">robust library of PC games</a> that can be enjoyed on GeForce NOW. And if the current lineup of games is any indicator of things to come, then NVIDIA SHIELD owners will have plenty of high-quality gaming experiences to take part in for a long time to come.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J4wYsafFS-Ci.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_QImM7taT_1Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Saints Row IV"></p><p> After all, if some tech guru had told us, even a couple of years ago, that we would one day have the option of playing high-end PC quality games fuss-free and immediately on any device we chose – including choice titles such as Trine 3, The Witcher 3, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Metro 2033 Redux, MotoGP 15, or the best of the Batman and LEGO series – we would have said they were on cloud nine.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0bbn2Lw7SZ6J.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aOJeLjbk15Ie.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Trine 3"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jLnbH6VTT4ys.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/otCNe0YT2nQb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Resident Evil Revelations 2"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i59MYZ7KRM2_.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CdwxC4SAhcfe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Metro 2033 Redux"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gu7BMaojTSyZ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UZ41N1tSXTNJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MotoGP 15"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PFhAq4NmRN-i.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JcWKitzJefKx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman Arkham City"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2OJ-FeSlTjq6.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MbQp-l7Nlq-M.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LEGO Marvel Superheroes"></p><p> GeForce NOW is that original promise of cloud gaming finally realized. If you like games, you need this. There really is little more to be said.</p><p> The first three months of service are free for new members, and then just $7.99 per month thereafter. <a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/grid-game-streaming#utm_campaign=GeForce-NOW-3&amp;utm_medium=pm-dialect&amp;utm_source=Future-Article" rel="nofollow">Sign-up today!</a></p><p><em>Sponsored by NVIDIA</em></p><p><img style="display:none;" src="//track.rtb-media.me/pixel90AFA468.gif"></p> Escape Mode turns Prison Architect into Hotline Miamihttp://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-escape-mode/We play Prison Architect's new 'Escape Mode' with Introversion Software co-founders Chris Delay and Mark Morris.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:29:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-escape-mode/Introversion SoftwarePrison ArchitectStrategyVideos <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/numCg1mHs50" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>We got a chance to play&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect/" target="_blank">Prison Architect's</a> new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-leaves-early-access-with-new-mode-next-week/" target="_blank">'Escape Mode'</a> with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-leaves-early-access-with-new-mode-next-week/" target="_blank">Introversion Software</a> co-founders Chris Delay and Mark Morris on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-prison-architect-devs-vr-twitchcon/" target="_blank">this week's PC Gamer Show</a>, and I was impressed with how much it flips the game on its head. After being a building game for 36 months of early access, Escape Mode lets you take control of individual characters, fire guns, and personally do everything else you've only been able to view at a distance until now. Watch the video above to see Delay give us a hands-on look at the chaos that can ensue. Prison Architect will be&nbsp;leaving early access, along with Escape Mode, on October 6th.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show">The PC Gamer Show</a> is&nbsp;our weekly livestreamed podcast. You can catch the show live on Tuesdays at 1 PM PDT on <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer">our Twitch channel</a>, or and the archive of past episodes&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show/" target="_blank"><em>right here</em></a><em>.</em></p> Here are the six new FreeSync monitors released in the past monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/here-are-the-six-new-freesync-monitors-released-in-the-past-month/We've gathered some information on some of the most recent FreeSync monitors.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:26:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/here-are-the-six-new-freesync-monitors-released-in-the-past-month/AMDfreesyncHardwaremonitorsNews <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freesync/">FreeSync</a> is AMD’s variable refresh rate technology that many manufacturers have begun to adopt in recent months alongside Nvidia’s equivalent G-Sync. There are close to 30 displays that are out now (or coming very soon) that are FreeSync compatible, so here are the stats on some of the most recent ones.</p><p>If you need a refresher on what FreeSync and G-Sync do,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/guide-to-monitor-technology-resolutions-panel-types-and-refresh-rates/">check out our guide to monitor technology</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0la5ewHrSx6U.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aENusyhN-Lwn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Acer XR341CK"></p><p>The Acer XR341CK is a 34-inch curved IPS display which has a resolution of 3,400x1,400. Its minimum refresh rate is 30Hz with a maximum of 75Hz, and it has a response time of 4ms. You can find one on <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824106002">Newegg right now for $1,100</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sarF6nDUQviu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/in3DthOoUrbg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="asus mg278Q"></p><p>Asus’ MG278Q is a 27-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 2560x1440. It has a minimum refresh rate of 35Hz and a maximum of 144Hz, and the response time is 1ms. One of these will set you back around <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236593&amp;cm_re=MG278Q-_-24-236-593-_-Product">$530 on Newegg</a>. That's an exciting alternative to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-monitors/">our favorite gaming monitor</a>, an $800 G-Sync monitor with a similarly vivid IPS screen and 144 Hz refresh.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IVjSDRShSmK-.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UIHCXvSxGM8u.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="aoc G2460PF"></p><p>AOC has two new FreeSync compatible monitors, the G2460PF and the G2770PF. They’re both 1920x1080, but the G2460PF is a 24-inch TN monitor compared to the 27-inch TN G2770PF. With FreeSync enabled the refresh rate for the 2460 supposedly ranges from 48-146Hz, while the 2700 ranges from 30-160Hz. The <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824160273&amp;cm_re=aoc_g2460pf-_-24-160-273-_-Product">G2460PF costs around $270</a> at the moment, and you can get a <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824160274&amp;cm_re=g2770pf-_-24-160-274-_-Product">G2770PF for around $360</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ee_cfIAdQz-b.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HCCbk_UKYnvw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nixeus"></p><p>The Nixeus NX-Vue 24-inch TN panel has a resolution of 1920x1080. Its refresh rate varies between 30-144Hz and it has a response time of 1ms. You can currently get one on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0131PBN6U?keywords=aoc%20g2460pf&amp;qid=1443658633&amp;ref_=sr_1_fkmr0_1&amp;sr=8-1-fkmr0">Amazon for $280</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vUC1SF0FQ5W-.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vnMRZoczfmDC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Samsung"></p><p>Samsung SE370 is now available for pre-order at an MSRP of $250. It’s a 1920x1080 23.6-inch monitor with FreeSync capabilities, but Samsung hasn’t published the range of refresh rates yet. However, Samsung says that it is the world’s first monitor to have a wireless charging area integrated into the stand, which could be pretty handy.</p> The Beginner's Guide trailer teases mystery, lonelinesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-beginners-guide-trailer-teases-mystery-loneliness/The Beginner's Guide was just announced on Tuesday, and the trailer only makes it more mysterious.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:26:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-beginners-guide-trailer-teases-mystery-loneliness/Davey WredenNewsThe Beginner's Guide <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cNcpDX8cTuqk.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IAcUQLR6q19x.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Beginner's Guide"></p><p><a href="http://www.thebeginnersgui.de/">The Beginner's Guide&nbsp;</a>was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/stanley-parable-creator-announces-the-beginners-guide/">announced barely forty-eight hours ago</a>, but developer&nbsp;Davey Wreden has now released the game with an intriguing trailer for company.</p><p>Wreden is returning to the surreal, fourth-wall-breaking style of&nbsp;The&nbsp;Stanley Parable, but The Beginner's Guide feels a little bit more personal and less morose than Stanley. The trailer centers on exploring an unknown person's PC, opening all of the game projects they've created in an effort to understand them. Wreden has been public about his <a href="http://www.galactic-cafe.com/">unexpected struggles</a> with success. When the trailer narration includes the question, <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-guilt-of-the-video-game-millionaires">"Do they even enjoy making video games at all?"</a>, I wonder if The Beginner's Guide might end up being a bit of an autobiography.</p><p>The Beginner's Guide is available now on Mac and PC. You can get it from <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/303210">Steam</a> or the <a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/thebeginnersguide_storefront">Humble Store</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RBK5Jheu0To?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Learning to communicate more effectively in Dota 2http://www.pcgamer.com/learning-to-communicate-more-effectively-in-dota-2/Nervous about using team chat while playing solo? You don't need to be.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:44:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/learning-to-communicate-more-effectively-in-dota-2/Dota 2MOBAProThree Lane Highway <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FbIwLWfMTr-u.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hw6GM0cuXWVt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nature's Prophet Tiny ningyee7" class=""><figcaption>Art above by Matt 'ningyee7' Lau.&nbsp;<a href="http://ningyee7.deviantart.com/">Click here for his DeviantArt page</a>.</figcaption></figure><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Three Lane Highway</h5> <p> Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2 and wizards in general.&nbsp;To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.&nbsp; </p> </div><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-playing-the-blame-game-will-always-hold-you-back/">Last week</a> I wrote about the attitudes that can hold people back from improving their Dota 2 game. This week I want to return to the topic of communication from a different angle. When you're playing solo, trying to build a rapport with your team is one of the most difficult things to do but also the most important. It's hard, in part, because it's easy to ignore: to believe that if you just keep your head down, stay quiet and play then nothing bad can happen. This is an understandable approach, but not the ideal one. Team chat is there for a reason.</p><h3>Actually talk</h3><p> This is the first step, and something I have to keep reminding myself. Taking the first step and being active in team chat makes it easier for other reasonable players to step forward. Everybody's been burned in Dota at one point or another, and everybody considers staying silent just to avoid the flames. In my experience, you're far more likely to be matchmade with other reticent chatters than you are with genuine assholes. As soon as you establish that you're not a dick, you'll find out that lots of the people on your team aren't dicks either.</p><p> Something simple like "which lane do you want?" during hero selection makes it clear that (a) you're willing to cooperate and (b) you're invested enough in the game to start strategising. This promotes good behaviour in other people, and&mdash;if at least a few of your teammates feel like you've got their back&mdash;shields you against rage from the minority later on.</p><p> I find that the positive impact of being vocal increases if you're willing to use in-game voice, but it's completely reasonable to avoid it. If you worry that you'll have a bad experience if other players hear your voice, use text: it's still a huge benefit, and there's no reason to make yourself uncomfortable.</p><h3>Give compliments</h3><p> 'Well played!' is one of the most useful commands you can place on your chat wheel. If somebody does well, say so. If somebody does really well, call them out specifically&mdash;"gj tusk". This makes people feel respected and, as a consequence, they're more likely to regard you positively. A few players are arrogant enough to respond to "wp" with "yep", but they're in the minority. If you manage to achieve a reciprocal "wp"&mdash;where they compliment you as you compliment them&mdash;congratulations! You've made a friend and, if things get rough later on, your team is less likely to tilt and throw.</p><p> As somebody who plays a lot of position five in ranked, my favourite approach is to congratulate our midlaner every time a mid gank goes well. It doesn't matter if they played particularly well or not: if the kill happened, it's an opportunity to form a bond. That bond will be extremely helpful later on, as blame tends to fall on either the midlaner or support when things go south. If you're willing to back each other up, it can hold the team together.</p><h3>Explain, but never get personal</h3><p> I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to respond to insults. Anybody who says 'noob' without irony isn't worth responding to: it can be fun to simply send a '&lt;3' their way, but this tends to make them angrier. Most of the time, you can completely ignore name-calling.</p><p> It gets more complicated if a player is actively accusing you of doing something you didn't do. For example: in my last solo ranked game, a rough midgame left me underlevelled. As a position five Rubick against Silencer, I was struggling to survive the opening moments of each teamfight and as a result I wasn't picking up enough XP. This is definitely my error and something that fell to me to fix.</p><p> As the enemy was knocking on our tier three towers, however, our carry decided to blame me&mdash;claiming that I'd ruined his game by hanging around in lane soaking XP and become underleveled as a result. This was flat-out untrue, but our offlaner decided to agree with him anyway. Rather than get personal about it, I pointed out that I'd ganked mid twice, stacked our jungle, and pulled&mdash;that time in-lane accounted for a very small part of my early game. Because I'd established a decent relationship with our midlaner (see above), he backed me up. The carry didn't press the point any further, I got a handle on my dying-too-much problem, we turned the game around and won.</p><h3>Always suggest actions</h3><p> It's a very good idea to frame everything you say as a suggestion. "We need wards" is bad; "I'm going to ward" is good, as is "come with me so you can place wards safely." Similarly, "Lina invis" is okay: "Lina invis bot, get back" is better. If you express yourself in a way that is both detailed and clearly communicates the action that needs to happen, that action is more likely to happen. As a bonus, it becomes harder for bad-attitude teammates to complain that they weren't give enough warning about an incoming gank, too.</p><p> The exact opposite of this approach is context-free pinging. Pinging is, a lot of the time, meaningless&mdash;or it's exactly as meaningful as Lassie barking. You might figure out that little Timmy has fallen down the well eventually, but Timmy would probably be better of if Lassie could, you know, talk. Much as "Timmy down well help" is more quickly understood than "WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF", "Tusk shadow blade DD rune mid" is better than PING PING PING PING PING PING PING.</p><p> Suggesting action is also a good way to start turning a game around when the team has started to tilt. Staying calm and useful means saying "defend together" rather than "just back pls"; "lets go deward rosh" beats pinging the Roshan pit helplessly.</p><p> When other people suggest action, and those actions are a good idea, don't just silently comply: if you let people know that you're on your way, or that your teleport scroll is on cooldown for another 10 seconds, you create better understanding and a stronger sense of cooperation. This, again, makes people feel like their suggestions are being respected. It's respect, at the end of the day, that holds teams together and wins matches.</p><hr> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Else Heart.Break() reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/else-heartbreak-review/A unique hacking adventure.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:55:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/else-heartbreak-review/Adventureelse Heart.Break()Reviews <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5><p><strong>What is it?</strong> An open-world adventure game with hacking.<br><strong>Expect to pay</strong> £19/$25 <strong>Developer</strong> Erik Svedäng, et al.<br><strong>Publisher </strong>In-house<br><strong>Reviewed on </strong>GeForce GTX 970, Intel i5-3570K, 16GB RAM<br><strong>Link </strong><a href="http://www.elseheartbreak.com">www.elseheartbreak.com</a></p></div><p>The world of Else Heart.Break() is not like our own. In this strange place, bits&nbsp;have replaced atoms, allowing people to hack into, and alter, the very fabric of reality. With the right tools, you can dive into almost any object’s code, edit it, and change its behaviour&mdash;to solve problems, cause mischief, or just for fun.</p><p>It’s also a game about love, friendship, and finding your place in the world&mdash;and it all starts with a chance encounter with a girl&nbsp;in a bar. You, Sebastian, arrive in the city of Dorisburg to work as a salesman for the Wellspring soda company, and you feel completely lost. Anyone who’s ever left home and moved to a new city will know the feeling of walking unfamiliar streets and being&nbsp;surrounded by strangers.</p><p>In these opening hours, Else Heart.Break() feels like a fairly traditional, albeit non-linear, point-and-click adventure. You check in at the rundown Devotchka hotel, meet a fellow Wellspring employee to learn about your new job, and explore the city. There’s no journal or map telling you where to go or what your next objective is: you have to figure out what to do by yourself.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fMhmY3tCT0qF.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UDfMRtth6HLz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="400110_2015-09-30_00014 (2)"></p><p>The lack of hand-holding can be bewildering at first&mdash;not helped by the confusing layout of the city&mdash;but you soon settle into the game’s unusual rhythm. Over time, the streets become more familiar. Your relationship with Dorisburg mirrors Sebastian’s: an alien place that slowly but surely begins to feel like home. You sell soda, make friends, drink beer, hang out, and go to bed when it gets dark.</p><p>Dorisburg is a sprawling, intricate city, and almost every building can be entered and explored. The geometry of its cardboard dioramas is simple, but artful use of light and shadow&mdash;and vivid, psychedelic textures&mdash;bring them to life. The game brilliantly&nbsp;captures contemporary city life, and has some of the best art direction I’ve ever seen in a game. You’ll want to explore every corner of it.</p><p>Then you meet Pixie, and everything changes. You bump into her in a bar and she excitedly welcomes you to Dorisburg, inviting you to a party the following night. There’s a story in Else Heart.Break(), with multiple endings, and meeting Pixie&mdash;who Sebastian immediately becomes infatuated with&mdash;sets it in motion. But there’s no pressure to reach the end, and you can play at your own pace.</p><p>Soon after meeting Pixie, you learn about hacking, and this is where&nbsp;Else Heart.Break() really comes into its own. Equip a device called a modifier and a new ‘hack’ option appears in the context menu when you hover over an object. Click on pretty much anything&nbsp;and you’ll see the code that decides&nbsp;how the object behaves, which can be edited to make it do different things. It sounds daunting, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get to grips with.</p><p>The game’s language, Språk, is based on BASIC, but you don’t have to know anything about programming to enjoy this side of the game. I’ve never coded anything in my life, and was constantly surprising myself by writing code that didn’t immediately make the object I was hacking spew&nbsp;smoke&mdash;a cute visual indicator that your code's full of errors. Solving puzzles through hacking is super&nbsp;satisfying, and the flexibility of the language means there are always multiple solutions. I enjoyed&nbsp;looking online after solving one&nbsp;and seeing how others had done it.</p><p>There are clear, well-written tutorials, but mostly I got to grips with Språk by looking at, and learning from, existing code. You eventually reach a point where limitations that bugged you earlier in the game can suddenly be solved instantly through hacking. Feeling tired? Don’t bother running back to the hotel to sleep: tweak the code in a glass of water to reduce your sleepiness, then drink it. Need to be on the other side of town? Hack a nearby door to transport you directly there. It’s almost as if these intrusive systems exist solely to make&nbsp;players invent&nbsp;workarounds.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iZJazpLHTai3.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y0Lrbj5_3wEh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="400110 2015-09-30 00013"></p><p>Sebastian eventually starts&nbsp;working for a group of hackers fighting against the Ministry, a sinister government agency that's cracking down on hacking&nbsp;and stripping the city of its personality. To join their ranks you need to complete a series of hacking challenges, which serve as more in-depth tutorials. Then, if&nbsp;you pass and become a member,&nbsp;you're sent on missions that are real tests of your coding prowess. But the solution to a problem is always in the environment somewhere: either on floppy disks scattered around the place&nbsp;or by studying code and reverse-engineering it.</p><p>By the end I’d grown attached to Dorisburg and its eccentric residents. Else Heart.Break() has a lot of personality, with funny, idiosyncratic dialogue, pop culture references that don’t feel forced, superb music, and likeable characters. When you’re lost and can’t figure out what to do next, the vague, open-ended structure can feel a little obtuse. The camera is flaky, with bits of scenery occasionally obscuring your view. And some of the coding puzzles will prove challenging for amateurs.</p><p>But get past these problems and you’ll find a stylish, original game that combines elements of point-and-click adventures, open-world games, and RPGs in a unique, exciting way. It gives you the power to explore, rewrite, and experiment with the systems that govern the game, and has spawned a community of enthusiastic coders who are finding new ways to use Språk to do amazing things. You might feel confused at first, but seriously,&nbsp;stick with it.</p> GamesAid raised £564,000 this yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/gamesaid-raised-564000-this-year/Proceeds to be split between eightgames charities.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:30:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gamesaid-raised-564000-this-year/News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/48RVuuR6TXex.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XZvHuScZ_MR7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GamesAid"></p><p><a href="http://www.gamesaid.org/">GamesAid</a> is a UK-based video games charity,&nbsp;supporting smaller charities who help disadvantaged children and young people. Every year, members of the games industry vote for which charities will receive money from GamesAid, and the funds are distributed evenly between those with the most votes.</p><p>Last night, GamesAid announced that the £564,000 it has raised in the past year (which, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-09-30-gamesaid-raises-564-000-29-percent-more-than-last-year?utm_content=bufferd715e&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer">gamesindustry.biz</a>, makes this the eighth year it's broken its fundraising record) will go to: Accuro, Action for Kids, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, Lifelites, MAPS, Safe @ Last,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/specialeffect-1/">SpecialEffect</a>, and Jigsaw 4 U. At a special event, each charity received giant cheques for £70,500.</p><p>Of those, SpecialEffect is probably most familiar to you. They provide special equipment to people&nbsp;with disabilities that might otherwise prevent them from playing games. We've written about them a few times before, like when David Cameron launched their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/david-cameron-launches-specialeffect-centre-for-disabled-gamers/">Accessible Video Games Centre</a>, though maybe they'll want to disassociate themselves from him now.</p> Deus Ex: Mankind Divided silly preorder scheme scrappedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-ridiculous-preorder-scheme-cancelled/Next step: destroy all preorders.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:08:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-ridiculous-preorder-scheme-cancelled/Deus Ex: Mankind DividedNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JTGvg3KNQcS0.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CZVJy5QqII0X.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deus Ex Pre Order Slide"> </p> <p> Remember that tiered preorder scheme for Deus Ex: Mankinded, "Augment Your Pre-Order",&nbsp;that we told you about in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-new-deus-ex-may-get-an-early-release-but-only-if-enough-people-pre-order/">August</a>?&nbsp;The one where you could only pick one reward from each "tier", and more&nbsp;tiers would only be unlocked by more people preordering the game? The one&nbsp;where the final tier was a four-day&nbsp;early release? </p> <p> To the relief of almost everyone, it's been cancelled. </p> <p> In the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.deusex.com/news/aypo-cancelled">announcement</a>, Square Enix and Eidos-Montreal have tried to explain why they came up with the scheme in the first place. Apparently it was meant to provide a preferable alternative to preorder schemes that provide different rewards for different regions. Now they've realised that the most preferable alternative is to just give everyone all the rewards, which is what they're doing (if you preorder or buy a day-one edition, anyway). </p> <p> That does mean the game won't come out four days earlier, which was going to be the final tier, but if you can't wait four extra days for a game then I'm not sure you deserve it. </p> <p> If you've already preordered, don't worry: you'll automatically get all of the incentives. </p> <p> When the official Deus Ex twitter account&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/DeusEx/status/649570097980379136">shared</a> the news, they said: </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You asked for this: we are cancelling the &quot;Augment your Pre-Order&quot; program. Read all the details here - <a href="https://t.co/L7c4axjmuV">https://t.co/L7c4axjmuV</a></p>&mdash; Deus Ex (@DeusEx) <a href="https://twitter.com/DeusEx/status/649570097980379136">October 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> Which sounds passive aggressive, but apparently it's a meme. I should probably play Deus Ex one of these days. </p> Armikrog is out, apparently brokenhttp://www.pcgamer.com/armikrog-is-out-apparently-broken/Twice-delayed and still not working properly.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:40:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/armikrog-is-out-apparently-broken/ArmikrogNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dClJKDiFSESO.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M763253JLagD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Armikrog"></p><p>I was going to just let you know that claymation point-and-click adventure&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/i-dream-of-plasticine-neverhood-developer-is-carving-out-a-new-claymation-vision/">Armikrog</a> is finally out, but then I saw RPS&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/10/01/steer-clear-of-armikrog-for-a-bit/">report</a> a particularly nasty progress-halting bug. Now this is a warning: probably don't buy Armikrog yet.</p><p>You might be thinking, "I'm a PC gamer. Bugs don't bother me," but the list of problems is extensive: faulty triggers (thus why John Walker has had to start the game again), missing voices, objects generally not acting as they should, and much more.</p><p>People on the Steam forums are&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/334120/discussions/0/483366528901797774/">not happy</a>, but the developers say that, other than a few "minor issues," they're "quite happy and proud of it".&nbsp;Hopefully Armikrog will get a patch, because it looks visually very impressive. Just probably hold off until the issues are fixed.</p> Doom hands-on: teaching old demons new trickshttp://www.pcgamer.com/doom-hands-on-teaching-old-demons-new-tricks/Mutants, multiplayer and monstrous guns.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/doom-hands-on-teaching-old-demons-new-tricks/Doom <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IXDTrwJUTDmy.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9uVff7eQydNh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom top"></p><p><em>This article was originally published in&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-uk-october-issue-doom/"><em>PC Gamer issue 283</em></a><em>. For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the <a href="http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-subscription/">UK</a> and the <a href="http://shop.futureus.com/subscriptions/pc-gamer-subscription.htmlsg=AFQjCNFwngYO2epGqJngcofj1QufuKAarA">US</a>.</em></p><p>Brad Bramlett, id’s multiplayer producer, describes it as “movement as defence.” Art director Hugo Martin says he wants players to feel like “Bruce Lee with a shotgun on a skateboard.” Marty Stratton, Doom’s executive producer, puts it more bluntly. “Stopping is death,” he told a crowd at 2015’s QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas. To encourage players to stay in motion, Doom has no regenerative health, no stealth system, and multiplayer matches that are all about capturing the devastating power-ups that are scattered throughout the arena.&nbsp;</p><p>"Doom is all about moving, and never standing still. Says Stratton: “it ties into every decision we make.”&nbsp;</p><p>How do you reboot a seminal PC classic like Doom, a game whose DNA is present in every shooter since 1993? For id, it’s a carefully considered process that avoids simple fan service in favour of new twists and takes on familiar material.&nbsp;</p><p>This is the main consideration when it comes “all that nostalgia stuff,” Stratton told me at QuakeCon. “We’re not putting things in the game just because they existed in the past. To the extent that we feel like something does belong in the game because of the game’s history, we’re making sure that it isn’t just in there to check the box. It’s in there with purpose.”&nbsp;</p><p>If you’ve played Doom before, there will be plenty of familiar sights, but Stratton wants to surprise veteran players just as much as those who may be trying a Doom game for the first time. Take the Revenant, a mainstay demon in the series. “If you know Doom, you know that’s the Revenant. If you don’t know Doom, he is totally cool&nbsp;and crazy. He’s a massive skeleton with a mechanised pack that shoots rockets from his shoulders... and he has a jetpack. He didn’t have a jetpack in Doom, so I think that’s a good example of ‘this is a Doom-now creature.’ If you know Doom you look back and you’re like, ‘Ahhh, I see what they did there’. He’s very new in his implementation.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H9lvRNQPSSKE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yOLMNEGsvaqL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom 3"></p><p>The same philosophy extends from the enemies to the weapons. While familiar guns like the super shotgun, plasma rifle and rocket launcher can be seen in the E3 trailer, they have new alt-fire features as well as weapon mods and attachments that can be collected in the campaign. id wants to drop in other familiar elements that longtime fans will recognise&mdash;the sound of the mechanical doors sliding open, for example, is carried over from the original&mdash;but they didn’t want to copy and paste every little detail. Just enough to ring an occasional bell. That includes the music. Doom’s soundtrack is one of the most recognisable in gaming history, but it hasn’t been entirely recreated note for note for the new game. “It’s not like we’ve taken songs and just said, oh, let’s redo that,” Stratton says. But there will be&nbsp;moments of music that returning players will recognise. “We’ll weave little elements in there once in a while.”&nbsp;</p><p>There are plenty of completely new features as well, most notably the ultra-bloody melee finishing moves, or ‘glory kills’ as they’re referred to by id’s staff. When players push in close to enemies they’ll be able to tear off a monster’s leg and jam it into its skull, yank a demon’s jaws apart with both hands, or rip out the heart of a Mancubus and cram it down its throat.&nbsp;</p><p>Even with these gruesome acts, movement is an important consideration. The kills are dynamic, and the resulting animation depends on which part of the demon’s body you focus on. But it was also important that glory kills were lightning fast. Says Robert Duffy, id Software’s chief technology officer: “You don’t want to feel like control is ever taken from you, and very early on we determined that 600-700 milliseconds is about the time that you have to start and finish... And so I think it really played well into&nbsp;the speed of the game.” Glory kills will also provide a greater health pickup than players would get from killing enemies with a weapon.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/irHJAqiLSXWd.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2IYMMXqQEq_H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom 4"></p><p>Double-jumping, another new element for the Doom series, was added in an effort to give the game some additional verticality and to provide the player with more movement options. The idea to include it came early, within the first six months of development, shortly after the glory kills were first conceived of. The addition of these elements is when the game really began to really feel like Doom for Marty Stratton, which is interesting, because not only are they new features but their roots lie in a game id Software doesn’t really like to talk about:</p><p>Doom 4. Doom 4, referred to as ‘Call of Doom’ after some footage leaked earlier this year, was in development for several years before it was decided, sometime in 2011, that a major change in direction was needed. “I think it was a good game,” Stratton says. It just wasn’t Doom. Nor was it completely thrown out when development began on the current version of the game. </p><p>“It’s easy to say ‘we scrapped all that’, but that’s never the case. You are always a collection of the things you’ve done in the past, including stuff that you decide to move away from.” There was a strong melee combat element in Doom 4, and Stratton says salvaging it eventually led to the creation of the glory kill system. </p><p>If anything slows modern shooters down, it’s probably all the extra components that have been tacked on over the years. Crafting systems, collectibles, and roleplaying elements such as those complicated skill trees that lead to long moments agonising over where to spend XP. While unwilling to discuss the specifics, Stratton confirmed that Doom will include some RPG elements, but he sees them working differently than they do in other shooters. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-Dnjq7oXQgeq.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rt8Obj79C9xA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom 5"></p><p>“We’re not doing a massive amount of skill-tree-ish type things. That doesn’t feel like really what Doom is. But certainly, making your guns cooler and more powerful or more functional based on the enemies you’re fighting, and making your character more functional and effective, is a big part of what we’re doing.” </p><p>He also insists these upgrades won’t just be tied to the weapon mods shown in the trailer, and won’t be the kind of incremental stat boosts common among other shooters. “We make them meaningful. It’s kind of a philosophy of our design team that if I’m gonna give you something, I’m gonna make it feel like I really gave you something, as opposed to these little niggly things that just kind of feel like you have to grind for.” To demonstrate, he rocks back in his chair as if something incredible has just appeared in his hands. “Whoah! I got this badass new capability!” </p><p>The weapon mods, he says, are good example of what he’s talking about. “They’re really effective, and you can upgrade them, and you can upgrade them in pretty effective ways, and make yourself a pretty good badass by the end of the game.” </p><p>Modding is nothing new to Doom games, nor has it gotten old: the original Doom is still being modded today, over 20 years after its release. With SnapMap, a utility built right into Doom that allows players to piece together their own maps and game modes, id wanted to remove the barriers to entry. And, while it’s meant to be easy for beginners, it doesn’t mean more serious modders and programmers won’t be able to create more complicated mods from the ground up.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-q0VhaToSc2F.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b-h7-tgSXgbn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom 1"></p><p>“SnapMap is our approach to making everybody, literally everybody who buys the game, have the ability to mod in some fashion,” Stratton says. “It doesn’t in our mind replace our desire to make our tools and technology available like we always have.”</p><p>Tying in with the philosophy of keeping things moving, Stratton says sharing SnapMap creations should be nearly instantaneous. “My favourite part about SnapMap is that everybody has all the data. So, if you’ve been a mod maker or somebody who makes levels or texture packs or whatever, to have somebody play your stuff requires you to upload it and them to download it, and things like Steam Workshop have made that easier. But with SnapMap, literally everybody has everything.” The result is that only a small instruction file is actually passed between clients as opposed to every single asset in the mod. “It doesn’t matter how complex a thing you build, it is as fast as a level load to have that data transferred.”</p><p>At QuakeCon, fans and press were handed a surprise: Doom multiplayer was actually playable, and all the talk about movement could be experienced first hand. All weekend, players lined up to play 6v6 team deathmatch in six-minute matches. While it doesn’t feel as fast as the original Doom&mdash;more than once I pressed the Shift button in hopes of getting a burst of speed&mdash;it’s defi nitely fast-paced and frantic, and movement is, as promised, king. One weapon is literally built to keep you moving. The static cannon fires an underwhelming zap unless you’ve charged it by running, in which case it delivers a massive blast that can devastate an opponent. With the static cannon in your hands the impulse to run, to watch that meter quickly fill and then unleash it on some sucker’s face, is almost addictive.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xGAx3rGjQ96-.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8YMtJLUdzPhs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom 6"></p><p>The rest of the weapons feel solid: the plasma rifle, which looked a bit wimpy in the trailer, is exciting to use, and each time you connect you’re given audio feedback reminiscent of Team Fortress 2’s critical hits. The alt-fire mode on the rocket launcher is great: a right-click lets you detonate rockets in mid-air, so just because an enemy side-steps your missile doesn’t mean you can’t still splash them.</p><p>While deathmatch only allows players to carry two guns at a time, along with either grenades or a personal teleporter, there are more powerful weapons spawning regularly in the arena, like the powerful gauss cannon, the only one-hit kill weapon in the arena. Also spawning intermittently on the map is a demon rune, which transforms the bearer into a towering, rocket-firing, jet-pack wearing Revenant. The appearance of these runes in different spots in the arena creates a roving control-point feel to the match, as everyone flocks to the rune’s location to fight over it. If the player-controlled Revenant is killed, the rune can’t be recaptured by the original team for a short period of time, meaning another brawl breaks out wherever it drops, with one team defending the rune and the other swarming in to nab it.</p><p>With other power-ups appearing, such as invisibility, armour, and a quad-damage token, players are constantly in motion. The level design of the map complements this, featuring curving corridors that feed you back into play, a lack of dead-ends, and plenty of catwalks, ledges, and pedestals to double-jump onto and mantle over. I played a half-dozen matches at QuakeCon, and despite them all taking place on the same single map, I could have easily sat there all weekend. I have to agree with Stratton: movement is king, stopping is death.</p><p>Whether they’re coming up with fresh takes on the classics, or adding completely new elements, the team at id has one other guideline&mdash;beyond the doctrine of movement&mdash;that they take into consideration when designing Doom . “We make decisions based on what we think is going to be most fun,” says Stratton. “Fun rules, for us.”</p> Democracy 3 update adds new achievements, secret eventshttp://www.pcgamer.com/democracy-3-update-adds-new-achievements-secret-events/Democracy shouldn't be static.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:19:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/democracy-3-update-adds-new-achievements-secret-events/Democracy 3News <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1EDujkAukSc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> In between publishing games like Big Pharma and finding other games to publish like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pose-as-an-18th-century-highwaywoman-in-shadowhand/">ShadowHand</a>, Cliff "Cliffski" Harris has somehow also managed to find time to release an&nbsp;<a href="http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2015/09/30/democracy-3-updated-after-over-a-year/">update</a> for his own game,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/democracy-3-review/">Democracy 3</a>.</p><p> This free patch is meant to fix issues that have been in the game since the last update more than a year ago, and also adds a few new features to improve various aspects of the game. For instance, there are 12 new achievements, and if you want to check them out there's a new "Awards" button on the main menu.</p><p> Other additions include more information about security threats, with more of a breakdown on how the game calculates "security effectiveness", so you can see how certain policies and angry voters contribute. There's also now more info on the finance screen, and other smaller tweaks and balance changes.</p><p> As for new events, all we have to go on are teaser images so I can't tell you what they are. What do you think they&nbsp;represent?</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jfXeQx3MQq2Q.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OvlM6Nawhz1n.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Democracy 3 events"></p> Rainbow Six Siege beta extended for the weekendhttp://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-beta-extended-for-the-weekend/Sunday sieging.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:14:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-beta-extended-for-the-weekend/NewsRainbow Six Siege <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/od_TM1OjQeaG.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p0YE67u1EtsM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rainbow Six Siege"></p><p>Have you been playing the Rainbow Six Siege beta, squeezing in time in the evenings after your day job? Were you disappointed that it was supposed to end today? Never fear: the beta has now been extended until October 4, which means if you really, really want to you can conceivably play it all weekend.</p><p>Of course, a beta is a beta, and the game won't work perfectly, though apparently the wait time for PvP matchmaking has gone down to an average of 30-45 seconds and the success rate for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-terrorist-hunt-video-and-impressions/">Terrorist Hunt</a> is 96% per matchmaking attempt. You'll have to tell me if that's good or not.</p><p>If you haven't got a code for the beta, see if any of your friends played at least one match in the beta before 2pm EST last Tuesday; they should have a code for friend referral.</p><p>Ubisoft already&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-beta-extended-until-the-end-of-the-month/">extended</a> this beta a few days ago. Maybe they'll just keep extending it until the game comes out in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-delayed/">December</a>?</p> Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 story says "be careful what you wish for"http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-story-says-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/And the only thing you should stick in your brain is knowledge.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 10:15:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-story-says-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/Call of Duty: Black Ops 3News <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k2GMPVXLGbk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If there's one lesson you should take away from the story trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, it's: don't ask someone to turn you into a killing machine if you don't want to be, you know, a machine.</p><p>From what I can tell, the theme of the latest Call of Duty game is "be careful what you wish for". I predict a game at war with itself, trying to tell a cautionary tale about future technology while also giving you lots of cool future technology to play with.</p><p>At one point a character says, "Your mind truly is your greatest weapon," which sounds progressive&nbsp;but is actually to do with the fact that they've literally weaponised some guy's (presumably a playable character) brain through a "direct neural interface". What could possibly go wrong?</p><p>It's difficult to get past the line&nbsp;"we wanted a perfect future, and fuck, we got it" without laughing, but after that you can actually get some story details if that's your kind of thing. Your task in the single-player campaign is to find out what's happened to your missing brothers (presumably military, not familial). Here's my prediction: they also had direct neural interfaces, which&nbsp;led them to get mixed up with your enemy, and yours will also go wrong at some point, and we'll all learn a valuable lesson about not trying to control people's brains.</p><p>Sound a bit heavy for you? Don't worry, there'll also&nbsp;be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-is-definitely-getting-a-zombies-mode/">zombies</a>.</p> Dirt Rally update brings new Finland stages and carshttp://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-update-brings-new-finland-stages-and-cars/Free for all early access owners.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 05:16:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-update-brings-new-finland-stages-and-cars/CodemastersDirt RallyNewsRacing <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ysVcFifPfZA" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>Ah, Finland. It's definitely a country, and it's definitely where Finnish people live. It's also the setting for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-review-early-access/">Dirt Rally</a>'s new update, which brings twelve stages set near Jämsä. As the video above demonstrates, it's a beautiful, green, tranquil kind of place – or at least it is when rally cars aren't tearing through the countryside.&nbsp;</p><p>Codemasters rolled the update out earlier today. It also boasts a new 2000s vehicle class, and two new vehicles in the form of the Subaru Impreza 2001 and Ford Focus RS Rally 2001. You can now create custom championships, while mouse support has also been patched in. Elsewhere, a range of tweaks and updates to existing cars have been actioned, including the handling on 60s, 70s, 80s RWD and 2010s classes.</p><p>Full details are over on the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/310560/announcements/detail/39761965595256027">Dirt Rally Steam page</a>. The update is free, as the game is still in Early Access.</p> Can Assassin's Creed: Syndicate reinvigorate an ailing series?http://www.pcgamer.com/can-assassins-creed-syndicate-reinvigorate-an-ailing-series/Two hours in 18th Century London.Thu, 01 Oct 2015 00:28:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/can-assassins-creed-syndicate-reinvigorate-an-ailing-series/ActionAssassin's Creed: SyndicatePreviewsUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LJEvcZ89QqOw.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/35RWH02opc4k.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ACS SC Previews SecretsOfLondon 20150924 1800CET"></p><p>After about ten minutes in London I’ve socked a guy in the face and met Charles Dickens. It’s 1868, and I’m a spritely twin named Evie Frye. Evie’s brother Jacob is playable too, but he’s a prat. It’s nice to play an Assassin’s Creed game as not-a-prat for once. As far as I can tell that’s this entry’s biggest innovation.</p><p>For reasons urgently explained in a cutscene, Evie and Jacob have come to Whitechapel in order to conquer and replace London’s notorious criminal gangs. It’s not long before we’re chasing little artful dodgers through destitute lanes, and climbing awkwardly up the side of Victorian-era buildings.</p><p>I play through the entirety of Sequence Three on a PS4 during my two hour hands-on session, so I can’t really comment on how the game will perform on PC. Aside from missions, most of my time is spent riding on the back of the train, or bashing around in a horse and cart. The latter operates well enough but is hardly as heady a fantasy as <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-4-black-flag-review/">Black Flag</a>’s pirate ships, though the ‘ram’ move is hilariously effective. It’s very easy to bulldoze your way through heavy traffic in Syndicate, but that’s not to say you should. Oh, and it has a boost button. That’s good.</p><p>Judging by how Sequence Three was structured, a fair chunk of Syndicate will involve winning regions of London from established criminal organisations. The guys in Whitechapel were pushovers (I pushed the boss off a train carriage) but the sequence served to demonstrate all the things you’ll be doing in Syndicate. Befitting your role as a gang leader, you’ll be able to recruit people into your gang and level them up. A glance at the progression path reveals that you’ll be able to unlock police bribes, and have your crew hang perilous barrels around London in order to fell them tactically upon your foes’ heads. You can also summon them into battle, and progression determines how strong they are and in what number they’ll arrive.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2KF2o4lsSt2B.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VHcoxx_LE9O8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ACS SC Previews IgniteExplosives 20150924 1800CET"></p><p>It’s typical Ubisoft metagame, but the moment-to-moment gameplay hasn’t changed much. Evie is arguably the stealthier of the twins. She’s tasked at one point with saving a bunch of child labourers from a Whitechapel factory, and as far as Assassin’s Creed stealth sequences go it’s decent: there are several ways to enter, and you can theoretically ghost it, but I went for the classic get-in-quietly-and-exit-spectacularly strategy.</p><p>I wish Assassin’s Creed was like this all the time. Carefully marking out enemies, monitoring their patterns and planning an attack is an enduring and simple video game pleasure. Dealing with the combat isn’t so much: it’s functionally sound and there’s nothing exactly <em>wrong</em> with it, it just lacks grace and impact&mdash;and no amount of slow pans while you cleave a cop’s throat can change that. Attacking, stunning and countering is easy to get the hang of but you often have half-a-dozen enemies grilling you at once and, well, Evie is no Batman. On the bright side, I suppose this reinforces that Assassin’s Creed is a stealth game.</p><p>Meanwhile, the parkour still doesn’t feel perfect, but here’s the thing&mdash;I don’t know how any Ubisoft studio could go about fixing that at the series’ current rate of output. Evie and Jacob are far too lithe for their own good, and while switching from climbing up to vaulting down is theoretically simple, in the heat of a long pursuit it’s easy to stuff it up&mdash;and this is coming from someone who has played at least half-a-dozen Assassin’s Creed games. There are improvements over Unity&mdash;you won’t climb into a window unless you hit a specific button to do so&mdash;but this system needs a total rework. At the moment it’s merely satisfactory.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2ziVArNxRfu9.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9QoIFG1hBEJU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ACS SC Previews Puzzle 20150924 1800CET"></p><p>The big problem with Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is that it’s just not very exciting. London is bleak and beautiful, but it’s not very interactive. I wanted to give a coin to some begging children, but I couldn’t. I wanted to talk to a clerk in a store, but I couldn’t. Victorian London is not the same as 15th century Constantinople or 16th century Rome, but the sheer amount of Assassin’s Creed content out there&mdash;and the size of each separate game&mdash;is slowly eroding this series’ sense of identity. The rush I felt when entering 18th century Boston or Paris’ French Revolution is absent. It’s London, but so what? It doesn’t feel functionally different to the other hundreds of hours I’ve spent in this universe. A new city, a grappling hook, two protagonists and some horse and carts just aren’t enough&mdash;and maybe it’s not new features that Assassin’s Creed needs. Maybe it just needs time.</p><p>Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate has the potential to be fun: series tragics will like it. It has the potential to tell a great story&mdash;the dynamic between Jacob and Evie is a lot of fun, and the general tone of the game seems to aim for Guy Ritchie in the 1800s, rather than the po-faced severity seen in last year’s Unity. I genuinely believe Syndicate will be a decent game, but I think it and the team working on it deserve more. I think this series needs a rest. I think Ubisoft needs to iron out the enduring problems with its parkour and combat, and just&hellip; you know, slow down a bit. Don’t waste another city.</p> Mars astronauts depend on your lucky dice rolls in Tharsishttp://www.pcgamer.com/tharsis-preview-hands-on/Tharsis is like playing four games of Yahtzee simultaneously, only sometimes you’re on fire.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 22:52:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tharsis-preview-hands-on/StrategyTharsis <iframe width="640" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/khKm0T2NeAQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> When there’s an element of chance in a board game, whether rolling dice or dealing cards or drawing tiles from a bag, some players will be put off by it. You see them in the comments at board game websites, where someone is always praising the pure strategy of an abstract German game about running a farm for postal trains. But randomness has its place: it can alter a game in ways that force tactical shifts, preventing the same safe strategy from always being the best. Even though it’s on a computer rather than your table, Tharsis uses dice the same way.</p><p> Choice Provisions’ game, which I’ve been playing an early version of, is about getting a spaceship to Mars. Nine weeks out meteors hit some of the important science bits and two crew die, then the rest have to hold the ship together for the rest of the voyage with duct tape and dreams. It’s the panicky part of FTL where fire spreads from room to room expanded into an entire game.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XE9D8GTxSLG3.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kB4US9Xc1Yoy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tharsis Thumb 2" class=""> <figcaption>Everything is going fine and will definitely continue to.</figcaption></figure><p> When you assign astronauts to repair damaged modules their performance is represented by dice, one for each action point they have, with three re-rolls allowed. After rolling you can spend some of those dice to reduce the number representing repair work still to be done, but any die that rolls over five can instead be spent to activate an astronaut’s special ability (the doctor’s healing, the mechanic’s hull repair), and each module has its own function that can also be activated by spending dice in various combinations (the greenhouse provides food, life support replenishes action points). Finally, at the bottom of the screen is a research bar you fill up for special bonuses by slotting in one die of each number, one through six, which can be added to from any module.&nbsp;</p><p> Tharsis is like playing four games of Yahtzee simultaneously, only sometimes you’re on fire. Additional complications vary from room to room: in one rolling fives might reduce an astronaut’s hit points; while in another any twos will be removed from play as if they’re being voided out a tear in the hull. It gets complex quickly. You’re always being tempted to split dice over three things at once, juggling the numbers and shuffling them around before deciding how many to risk re-rolling, potentially triggering injuries or just getting even lower numbers than you did the last time.</p><p> Every turn that passes without everything being repaired brings the ship’s structural collapse slightly closer. Assuming the crew survive for another turn, the second phase of Tharsis takes place. In this moment between methane leaks and meteor strikes the crew split up to suggest competing overall strategies–sacrificing some of the next turn’s action points for the sake of gaining a bonus to hull repair versus consuming more food for the sake of extra action points, for instance–and then once that decision’s been made, it’s feeding time.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/l65PC-kfTZew.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cI7UaUX_1CO4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Everybody has unique horrified facial expressions" class=""> <figcaption>Everybody has unique,&nbsp;horrified facial expressions.</figcaption></figure><h3>Astronaut food</h3><p> Each precious lump of space food restores one astronaut’s action points, giving them more dice next turn. But food is limited, and there’s never enough–unless someone dies. When the mechanic is slow-roasted by a fire in the airlock, why not put that corpse to use? In Tharsis (at least in the current build) cannibalism is inevitable, but not without consequences. Eating each other reduces the crew’s maximum hit points and increases their stress, illustrated as they recoil in horror when you drag red lumps of people meat toward them like you’re feeding a reluctant baby with a spoon. (“Here comes the aeroplane! It used to be Jones from medbay!”) The dice gained by these acts of cannibalism turn red and splatter blood across the screen when rolled, as if stained with horror.</p><blockquote> "Here comes the aeroplane! It used to be Jones from medbay!" </blockquote><p> A thing we inevitably say about video games now is that they’re ‘harsh but fair.’ Dark Souls and Spelunky are hard as balls but play by predictable rules. When you screw up it’s entirely your own fault, but in games that involve luck it’s a different matter. Put a percentage-chance-to-hit over the head of enemies, like in XCOM or Shadowrun, and some of the fault is taken away from us. If you miss a 90% shot and fail a mission because of it you can blame the random number generator, which is clearly and obviously cheating, rather than admitting you shouldn’t have put yourself in a situation where the success of an entire mission hinges on a single shot no matter how high the percentage.</p><p> In Tharsis the dice act like a cushion of blame. It’s partly my fault I put the technician with only two hit points in a room where she’d get killed if she rolled two fives, but it’s also the fault of those damn dice for rolling them. In fact it’s mainly the fault of the dice, who are jerks. A failure in Tharsis feels less dispiriting than in other games with permadeath, which is nice because I don’t always play video games so I can hate myself for not being good enough at playing video games. I can just blame the dice, especially the red ones made of people, which seem to be angry about something. It is definitely not my fault we cooked the mechanic and then carved him into haunted meat dice that never roll higher than a three. Almost definitely.</p> Fallout fan builds Vault-Tec door, is awesomehttp://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-fan-builds-vault-tec-door-is-awesome/It was a bit of a grind, but I bet his Carpentry skill went up a few points.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 22:30:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-fan-builds-vault-tec-door-is-awesome/Fallout 4NewsRPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wn731QnzS5uw.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wq4gzfYbTjQy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DIY Vault Door"></p><p> Fans riled up for November's release of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4/">Fallout 4</a> have done a lot of things to get psyched. Now, from rural Canada, comes a functioning Vault-Tec (Home Division) vault door. The huge door was built by Trey Hill as a way of putting a personal touch on his newly built home.</p><p> "I&nbsp;tell most people I built it because I am north and bored, but the real reason is I recently built the house," Trey told PC Gamer. "My wife said, 'since you built us a house, the basement is yours to do what you want.' She may end up regretting that statement."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VpX7LszzRC6D.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0f4L6dNsk-Fk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fallout Vault Door" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p> The vault door, which weighs about 100 pounds and is rolled open and closed by hand, was built on a budget of about $400. Trey spent a month on it in his home in Newfoundland, Canada, bringing a touch of the nuclear post-apocalypse to the entrance to his home theater. Trey is an IT manager for the local school, so the code for a missing web page, 404, seemed an appropriate designation for his vault.</p><p>"The hardest part was making the door fit the hole without having it fall through or sit twisty," Trey said. "To fix this, the back side of the cog is slightly smaller than the front, so it slides in nicely and doesn't fall through."</p><p> You can see more pictures of the door&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/jVI4v">build</a> and the&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/gallery/bJ4rD/new">finished product</a> in Trey's imgur albums. A bonus GIF of the door opening and closing is embedded below.</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/ShamefulOrderlyLark" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="854" height="480" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"></iframe> Raspberry Pi 2 now has a Windows 10 Core starter packhttp://www.pcgamer.com/raspberry-pi-2-now-has-a-windows-10-core-starter-pack/Microsoft and Adafruit have released a Windows 10 Core starter pack for Raspberry Pi 2.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/raspberry-pi-2-now-has-a-windows-10-core-starter-pack/HardwareNews <p>Microsoft and Adafruit have announced the release of the Windows 10 Core Starter Pack for Raspberry Pi 2. It’s for people who want to get started “learning either electronics or Windows 10 IoT Core and the Raspberry Pi 2,” said Steve Teixera on the <a href="http://blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/2015/09/24/whats-next-for-windows-10-iot-core/" target="_blank">Windows Blog</a> announcement.</p><p>The kit comes with a compatible set of sensors, electronic parts, wires and cables that work with Windows 10 IoT Core. It also comes with an SD card with Windows 10 IoT Core on it, as well as some getting started instructions and sample code for projects you can make. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PXxAl9tjQamN.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/euR4ls-T7r9o.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Raspberry"></p><p>A power supply, WiFi module, ethernet cable, breadboard, jumper wires, LEDs, potentiometers, and switches are all included in the pack. There are also different sensors for detecting light, colour, temperature and pressure. There's a lot in there to get you started.</p><p>"Many Windows developers are coming to Raspberry Pi for the first time," said Helen Lynn, Raspberry Pi social media editor.&nbsp;"We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them, and we hope they’ll encounter much success and plenty of fun building with Raspberry Pi."</p><p>The Microsoft IoT pack is currently $115 (including a Pi 2 Model B) on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adafruit.com/windows10iotpi2" target="_blank">Adafruit website</a>, or $40 without, but both are currently out of stock. More kits are on the way, though.&nbsp;</p> Budgeting for monster attacks in the mystifying Kingdomhttp://www.pcgamer.com/budgeting-for-monster-attacks-in-the-mystifying-kingdom/Mystery, money, and monsters in a deep resourcemanagement game.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:15:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/budgeting-for-monster-attacks-in-the-mystifying-kingdom/2DHands OnKingdom <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iIvbTMQ9uRE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> It’s been three days since I started building my kingdom. The monsters have been increasing in numbers each night. Our walls still stand, but we lost an archer in the fray. I’ve ventured further into the woods than normal to convert some lowly vagabonds into new recruits. I’ll need to purchase some new bows for them of course, but that shouldn’t be a problem, so long as they pay their taxes. Through a clearing in the forest, I spy a massive stone tablet covered in runic symbols. A prompt to give it the majority of my wealth appears. I have no idea what giving it money will do. It’s just a shiny, massive, very curious stone.</p><p> I feel the uncanny desire to splurge.</p><p><a href="http://rawfury.com/games/kingdom/" target="_blank">Kingdom</a> is&nbsp;a&nbsp;sidescrolling exploration and base management game&mdash;a&nbsp;collaboration between two developers: Licorice from Iceland and Noio from the Netherlands. You play as an entrepreneurial king or queen. Venture out on your horse, hire some folks, and start building. But choose your purchases carefully.</p><h2>Death and taxes</h2><p> It's simpler to play than it sounds. You move left or right, combing the forest for new recruits, uncovering ancient secrets, and looking for new ways to expand your territory and technologies. It all operates on a deep economy. Besides walking left and right, every interaction involves the exchange of coin.</p><p> Early on, the most essential resources boil down to followers, equipment, and walls. Followers can be recruited with a single coin, which you can toss by pressing down on the keyboard. Some will wander your way automatically, some are camping deep within the forest. You can assign every follower a job by purchasing them a hammer or a bow in your village. As you progress, it’s possible to develop new jobs. How many total? No clue.</p><p> <a href="Kingdom sure is pretty."> </a></p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WWC8VQa-RFiW.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mVSjdiKbVoHE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kingdom sure is pretty." style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;" class=""><figcaption>Kingdom sure is pretty.</figcaption></figure><p> Hammers convert followers into builders, which then carry out build purchases, like walls and fort upgrades, both of which slow enemy assaults. Bows convert them into archers. They hunt rabbits during the day (dead bunnies yield one coin each) and defend your base from monsters at night. My archers have terrible aim and are the worst, but I still love them. They’re too loyal not to.</p><p> When night comes (and the sun sets quickly) monsters emerge from the forest and attack your kingdom start-up. The catch is, they won’t kill you or your followers, they’ll just destroy your walls and try to drain you of your wealth, a game over when it’s all gone. Monsters knock over your followers and steal their coins, but only get a chance if you fail to properly prepare. <em> I should’ve invested more in that wall! Just one more archer and I might’ve made it! Why did I drop six coins on that dumb rune?</em> And so on. Learning how and when to spend is vital.</p><p> There are optimal investment paths, but none of the most helpful mechanics are overtly communicated, and with a high difficulty curve, it’s important to pay attention and uncover every hidden system and advantage possible.</p><h2>Mystery meat</h2><p> Kingdom is the type of game that inspires big FAQs and dedicated subreddits. The pixel art is inherently lo-fi, but surprisingly expressive. Paying attention to subtle cues in visual information can make the difference between a high castle and a barren patch of broken dreams. The same goes for the lovely score. Composed by <a href="http://toytreemusic.com">Amos Roddy</a> (a.k.a. ToyTree) of Portland, the tunes and sound evoke a somber&nbsp;sense of age and mystery, but also function as subtle mechanical cues, vital for understanding the game’s systems.</p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/210370590&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"> </iframe><p> How Kingdom’s chain of discovery plays out will likely determine how it fares. The developers plan to support the game after launch and the players’ reactions will determine what form that support takes. Players will have to crack the many mysteries in the initial release first, the depth of which remains to be explored.</p><p> Nothing obvious happens when I give the giant runic tablet my money. Big monsters destroy my village in the night because I can’t afford any more bows, and I get a game over. I’ve been assured my frivolous rune spending wasn’t a waste&mdash;I’m told it has a vital effect, but maybe wasn’t worth every last penny while in dire need of defenses.&nbsp;</p><p>Kingdom channels the same financial anxiety I get after a bad month of budgeting or checking on my college debt.&nbsp;Only&nbsp;I get a do-over in Kingdom. It’s not easy, but there’s some logic buried beneath its oblique presentation, some hope to get it right.</p><p> The build I played was limited and early, but for now, it seems that Kingdom is on track to be a cryptic, gorgeous, and righteously frustrating way to spend time. It releases ‘when it’s done,’ likely this fall.</p> Home Free is a heartbreaking lost dog simulator http://www.pcgamer.com/home-free-is-a-heartbreaking-lost-dog-simulator/Explore city streets, chase cats, and steal garbage in this slice of Dog Heaven.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 20:32:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/home-free-is-a-heartbreaking-lost-dog-simulator/KickstarterNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YTRhbVa4tXQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Even a low-poly fictional dog can make me a little weepy, because I'm a giant baby when it comes to animals. Tugging at my heart strings today is&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/143870832/home-free-0">Home Free</a>: an open-world game in which you play as a stray dog.</p><p> "You are a dog, lost in a sprawling and unfamiliar city," writes developer&nbsp;Kevin Cancienne. "You wander the streets, searching for scraps, for shelter, for a friendly face. Slowly, you overcome some of your fears. You learn where you can snag a meaty bone, where you can sleep warm and safe at night. Strange streets become familiar territory. One by one, the streets become yours."</p><p> The game will also ship with a multiplayer "dog wrasslin"&nbsp;component called Dog Park. Various dog breeds and colors are included in the game, but most important is the GIF of a Shiba Inu sitting on playground equipment below.</p><p>Home Free's <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/143870832/home-free-0">crowdfunding effort</a> launched this morning and has already raised $12,000 of its $50,000 goal. At this pace, it's likely that stretch goals such as "Cats" and "Tiny Legs" will make their way into the game. Keep an eye on this one. Keeeeeep watching. Stay. Staaaaaay.</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/AdventurousShowyArchaeopteryx" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="680" height="510" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe> OpenCritic review aggregator launches as a Metacritic alternativehttp://www.pcgamer.com/opencritic-review-aggregator-launches-as-a-metacritic-alternative/OpenCritic weights scores equally, and allows users to pick trusted publications.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 20:20:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/opencritic-review-aggregator-launches-as-a-metacritic-alternative/MetacriticNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rd_Qxu5vT0WE.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0-d2QkqHHH2U.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="OpenCritic"></p><p>A new review aggregation site,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opencritic.com/#!home">OpenCritic</a>, launched today, promising a dedication to transparency and customization. Though&nbsp;<a href="http://pcgamer.com/tag/metacritic/">Metacritic</a> isn't mentioned in OpenCritic's launch-day press release, the site seems to have been designed from the ground up to address the gaming world's complaints with Metacritic's domination of review aggregation.</p><p>“Gamers, critics, and developers alike have made clear their desires for a more industry-focused review aggregator,” OpenCritic&nbsp;founder, and Riot Games&nbsp;product manager,&nbsp;Matthew Enthoven wrote in a press release. “We hope to meet those desires by giving consumers personalized scores; humanizing the critics behind the reviews; and celebrating the games that the industry’s passionate developers have worked so hard to create.”</p><p>Aggregated scores have become so important to the industry that developer's bonuses are sometimes tied to Metacritic, and the user reviews sections have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-employees-genetically-engineer-jurassic-park-scores/">seen developer interference</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/modern-warfare-3-dev-attempts-to-boost-metacritic-score-via-twitter/">mob justice</a>. The Metacritic algorithm that combines scores is weighted to count some outlets more heavily than others&mdash;it's also a&nbsp;<a href="http://kotaku.com/the-case-of-the-flawed-metacritic-study-463147686">secret</a>. OpenCritic seeks to do away with all that, offering a simple average of all numerical critic&nbsp;scores, and including the author's name on reviews. Users can build a custom score page selecting only from publications they trust.</p><p>Metacritic's influence in the games industry has been a controversial topic,&nbsp;and&nbsp;Enthoven's new project could become an interesting alternative. Though if it were to usurp Metacritic, there's nothing to say that OpenCritic wouldn't also&nbsp;become the same quality benchmark&nbsp;for publishers, albeit without all the mystery of a secret&nbsp;weighting system.</p> Nvidia launched Grid game streaming service out of beta as GeForce Nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-launched-grid-game-streaming-service-out-of-beta-as-geforce-now/Goodbye, Nvidia Grid. Hello, GeForceNow.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 19:13:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-launched-grid-game-streaming-service-out-of-beta-as-geforce-now/HardwareNewsNvidia <p>Nvidia has unveiled the full release of its GeForce Now game streaming service (formerly known as Grid). It’ll be on the Google Fiber store in Utah, Provo, Kansas City, and Austin on October 1, as well as making its debut in the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden on the same date.</p><p>Now you’ll be able to stream games from the cloud to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-shield-review/">an Nvidia Shield device</a> at 1080p and 60FPS. Of course, you’ll need a decent Internet connection to do so. Nvidia recommends 50 Mbps for 1080p, and 20 Mbps for 720p. That's a high bar for gamers in many parts of the United States, where DSL connections still lag behind cities in the 3-6 Mbps range.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b2MtRn2tSUOB.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mia7uDvy4npJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt=""></p><p>GeForce Now costs $8 per month (new customers get the first three months free), and comes with around 60 free games as well as the ability to buy extras. At launch, around 10 games will be available for purchase, with more on the way. For most games you purchase from the store, you’ll get a code for the PC version of that game too. The <a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/games/geforce-now">full list of available games is on the Nvidia website</a>.</p><p> Nvidia has said that it aims to get games starting in less than 30 seconds, and claims that it’s two times faster than PlayStation Now, Sony’s equivalent service. </p><p>If you’ve been testing Grid, then you’ll see that the old home screen has been replaced by the GeForce hub. Games are placed in categories so you can browse among various franchises and genres. There are also voice commands if you don’t fancy using the controller. </p><p>On the non-gaming end of things, Nvidia Shield is being updated with a number of apps including Twitch, the WWE Network, HBO Now, and Showtime Anytime.&nbsp;</p> If you like Metal Gear Solid 5, you’ll also like…http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-metal-gear-solid-5-youll-also-like/Entertain yourself with these once you’re done with all those audio cassettes.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-metal-gear-solid-5-youll-also-like/If you likeMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BHso47-HRQms.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KPuE6JIJI8Q_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MGS 5 top"></p><p>The Metal Gear Solid series has always been as much about mining the history of movies as actual world events. There are so many allusions and references embedded in the long-running stealth action series, that the possibilities in terms of recommending further reading and watching are almost endless. The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-review/">recent release</a> of MGS 5: The Phantom Pain represents the end of Metal Gear under its creator Hideo Kojima’s stewardship, and the game bows out with an appropriately rich fusion of twisted history and ‘80s-influenced action movie madness.</p><p> Kojima has often gone <a href="http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/88824-The-15-Films-that-Influenced-Hideo-Kojima">on record</a> listing the cinematic influences that have been important to him in as he guided MGS through its various incarnations, including classics like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Deer_Hunter">The Deer Hunter</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_Metal_Jacket">Full Metal Jacket</a>, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_(1995_film)">Heat</a>. It’s clear that the series’ mastermind has been motivated by big films that take on sweeping and transformative moments in history, accompanied by a deep uneasiness with the direction the modern world is heading in.</p><p> With all that in mind, in this edition of ‘If you like...’ I’ve selected films and books that echo Metal Gear Solid’s fundamental foundations: visual splendor amidst startling violence, the intersection of technology and the body, and the deadly legacy of the Cold War...</p><h3>Escape from New York, directed by John Carpenter</h3><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yaRaAktussE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>John Carpenter’s 1981 vision of the Big Apple as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_New_York">a dystopic, maximum security prison</a> shares all the ingredients of a Metal Gear Solid sneaking mission. On the eve of a crucial summit on nuclear weapons, the President of the United States is missing and only one man can save him in time&mdash;Snake Plissken. Played with suitable gruffness by Kurt Russell, it’s up to the ex-soldier turned heistman to sneak into New York and nab the President plus a crucial audiotape he’s carrying.</p><p> Beyond providing the obvious inspiration for Snake himself, Carpenter’s film also shares a lot in common with another classic fictional world that had a deep influence on Kojima: James Bond. Escape from New York isn’t just about a one-eyed, scowling tough guy, it’s also about gadgets, ticking time-bomb scenarios, and strange sidekicks picked up along the way. And like Bond, we see that no matter how perilous the problem, it’s really all about Snake in the end.</p><h3> Marvel Comics Presents: Weapon X, written and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith</h3> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">MCP: Weapon X, issue 72</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O1tsn24nT0Sb.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/leB0YBfqJAzh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Marvel Weapon X Issue 01" class="hoverZoomLink"> </p> </div><p> Conceived by Barry Windsor-Smith as a psychologically rich and disturbing origin story for Marvel icon Wolverine, this <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon_X_(story_arc)">1991 arc</a> from Marvel Comics Presents fits neatly into the Metal Gear Solid worldview. It’s set in a secret laboratory where scientists are working to create the perfect killing machine out of Logan aka Wolverine. During this process we get insight into the development of not only his fearsome adamantium claws, but also his dark and troubled personality.</p><p> In a way that reminds me of The Phantom Pain’s vivid and violent introduction, Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X presents Wolverine as damaged goods. As with Big Boss, Logan’s biggest challenge isn’t surviving the medical experimentation so much as rediscovering his humanity and identity. No matter the technology that helped transform him, the biggest question seems to be&mdash;is he a man or an animal?</p><h3>Black Hawk Down, directed by Ridley Scott</h3><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qe9xbgtige0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><h3></h3><p> A director long known for his arresting and powerful visual style, Ridley Scott’s 2001 <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_Down_(film)">action/drama film</a> dealing with the 1993 <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mogadishu_(1993)">Battle of Mogadishu</a> has long been pointed to as an obvious touchstone for events in the Metal Gear Solid universe (especially those from The Phantom Pain’s predecessor, MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots). Based on an original book of the same name by Mark Bowden, Scott’s film traces themes that also surface prominently in The Phantom Pain&mdash;loyalty, camaraderie among soldiers, and the blurred lines of life lived in a war zone.</p><p> Beyond the thematic similarities, Black Hawk Down is simply a brilliant war film packed with great performances by talented actors. Eric Bana’s turn as a cynical but clear-eyed Delta Force operative is particularly moving and acts as a kind of mirror to Josh Hartnett’s more idealistic Army Ranger. While the film is a fairly one-sided fantasy about the costs of war, it meshes the personal with the political in a way that very few recent war films have been able to do so effectively.</p><h3> The Gun, by C.J. Chivers</h3><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">The GUN</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/03qkWFmYRfiD.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JHreIcGesVEk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Gun Cover" style="background-color: initial;"></p></div><p> Metal Gear Solid has always ramped up the drama of weapons technology by returning again and again to giant death machines that threaten world peace. In <a href="http://cjchivers.com/">C.J. Chivers’s</a> 2009 book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gun-C-J-Chivers/dp/0743271734/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1328239789&amp;sr=8-2">The Gun</a>, we get a social history of the Cold War’s <em>actual</em> deadliest weapon&mdash;the AK-47. A longtime NY Times war correspondent and former Marine, Chivers walks his readers through the origins of automatic weapons, their proliferation throughout the world, and their impact on warfare to the present day. And he does all this through the lens of perhaps the most famous gun ever developed, the Kalashnikov.</p><p> Exhaustively researched and highly readable, Chivers’s book resists tidy conclusions. It works to explain the significance of a weapons technology that has impacted nearly every dimension of contemporary world conflict, from gang warfare to the battlefields of Afghanistan.</p><p> <em>Patrick currently works as web editor for Hinterland Studios, which is making The Long Dark. For more installments of ‘<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like/">If you like...</a>’, check out his recommendations for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-dead-space-youll-also-like/">Dead Space</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-the-witcher-youll-also-like/">The Witcher</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-dishonored-youll-also-like/">Dishonored</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-mass-effect-youll-also-like/">Mass Effect</a>,<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-skyrim-youll-also-like/">Skyrim</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-fallout-3-youll-also-like/">Fallout 3</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-deus-ex-youll-also-like-2/">Deus Ex</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-company-of-heroes-youll-like/">Company of Heroes</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-stalker-youll-also-like/">STALKER </a>and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-her-story-youll-also-like/">Her Story</a> fans.</em></p> The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone physical Gwent cards are really nicehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-hearts-of-stone-physical-gwent-cards-are-really-nice/CD Projekt Red's limited edition Gwent cards are gorgeous. And Gwent with real cards is fun!Wed, 30 Sep 2015 18:10:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-hearts-of-stone-physical-gwent-cards-are-really-nice/Card GameRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild HuntTrading Card Game <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/at5DoCapQaGw.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aMefaS9kh_IE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gwent Cards 2"></p><p>When CD Projekt Red came by to demo the first Witcher 3 expansion Hearts of Stone, they also dropped off something that got my heart fluttering just a bit: a box of Gwent cards. The box contains two decks of cards, Monsters and Scoia’tael, with the same beautiful art as the digital cards inside The Witcher 3. This box of cards comes with the $20 retail edition of Hearts of Stone, but if you already own the expansion pass, you can buy the cards separately <a href="http://redeemgwent.com/">through this website</a>. After opening up the box and playing a couple real life games of Gwent, I’m lusting after a full set with the rest of the factions represented.</p><p>The cards look great, with generous space dedicated to the artwork and bold faction symbols on the backs. They’re basically identical to the zoomed-in versions of the Gwent cards you see as you’re choosing which cards to play or add to your deck. Interestingly, the decks aren’t quite identical: I counted 48 Scoia’tael unit cards and 51 Monstesr units, with a side of weather, scorch, decoy and commander’s horns in each.</p><p>The decks will look plenty familiar if you’ve played Gwent in The Witcher 3, and include a mix of exclusive units (like werewolves and fiends on the Monsters side) and generic heroes who could be used interchangeably in any deck in the game (like Zoltan Chivay). There are also five leader cards to choose from for each deck, and each deck even comes with a little quick reference card that includes the faction ability listed at the top.</p><p>I had fun assembling a deck from the selection of unit cards available, and found myself choosing cards a bit differently than I did in The Witcher 3. There, I always went with the strongest possible cards available, keeping my deck lean to maximize the potential for good draws. With the physical cards, since I was playing against a Gwent newbie, I included a range of weaker cards to keep it more competitive. I did a good job, because I lost.</p><p>The second go-around, I picked some stronger cards, and we ended up with a great game that came down to the very last play. I don't know how much the strategy of Gwent really changes with a human component, but face-to-face bluffing and second-guessing&nbsp;definitely makes it a more tense experience.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xdjufBCxT3mr.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FZo20aSQz2U0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gwent cards 1"></p><p>As a standalone card game, I think Gwent is best suited to a light RPG experience with progression much like its Witcher 3 implementation, with unlockable cards that gradually beef up your deck and supplant your weaker units. It doesn’t have the mechanical depth to be a real competitive human vs. human game in its current form, but I’m okay with that.</p><p>The physical cards are a fun collectible&mdash;it's a shame the Nilfgaard and Northern Realms decks CD Projekt created were only available in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Witcher-Wild-Hunt-Collectors-Edition/dp/B00KSN7OGC">Xbox One Collector's Edition of The Witcher 3</a>.&nbsp;I’ll pull these decks out now and again to play a couple rounds with fellow Witcher fans. We’ll probably spend most of that time talking about how much we want a standalone Gwent game.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-eBFOP-KSA60.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sk1Tq2iQ-BX4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gwent Cards 3"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n2dGFj0oTYGf.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fe_-EugymdTm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gwent cards 4"></p> ​PC Gamer Presents PC Hardware: The Ultimate Guide 2015 is out nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-presents-pc-hardware-the-ultimate-guide-2015-is-out-now/Get our comprehensive hardware-focused 146-page special in print or on digital.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-presents-pc-hardware-the-ultimate-guide-2015-is-out-now/HardwareMagazine <p> Our comprehensive hardware-focused 146-page special is out now in the UK <em>and</em> the US!&nbsp;Featuring guides on how to build a PC, tons of buyer’s advice, Windows 10 and loads more, it’s the perfect place to start if you want to build a new PC&mdash;or if you’re just looking to upgrade. You can buy it now in <a href="https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/tech-and-gadgets-guides-and-specials/PC-Hardware-the-Ultimate-Guide-2015.html">print for $19 (£9.99)</a> and digitally for $8.99, from inside the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pc-gamer-us-worlds-number/id469919856?mt=8">PC Gamer US app</a>.</p><p> Inside:</p><ul> <li>10-page illustrated guide to building a PC from scratch.</li> <li>Hardware buyer’s guide for every price range.</li> <li>How to prepare for VR, hands-on with Steam VR, the Oculus Touch controllers, the ten best VR experiences you can have right now and more.</li> <li>Mechanical keyboards guide.</li> <li>Tips to making your PC look the part.</li> <li>Five of the best custom cases, including two inspired by the likes of Skyrim and Iron Man.</li> <li>How to overclock your CPU and GPU.</li> <li>Huge guide to setting up Windows 10 to get Microsoft’s new OS at its best.</li> <li>Impressions of Intel’s new Skylake processors. </li> <li>Reviews of GPUs, CPUs, motherboards, streaming devices, wired and wireless mice, headsets, SSDs, hi-res monitors and headsets.</li></ul><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6WPGGHxbTPSG.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HIYPTSadLTlY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PGB09.cover"></p> Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter ends with quadruple its goalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-2-kickstarter-ends-with-quadruple-its-goal/Divinity: Original Sin 2 Million Dollars.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:09:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-2-kickstarter-ends-with-quadruple-its-goal/Divinity: Original Sin 2News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zLEp6ejXTIK9.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NT2N3ex6fO89.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 2"></p><p>The Kickstarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin 2 hit its $500,000&nbsp;target in its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-2-has-hit-its-kickstarter-target/">first twelve hours</a>, so it's unsurprising that it raised much more money in the month that followed, closing today with a total of $2,032,434 (and an estimated $43,000 brought in through PayPal).</p><p>Scraping past the $2,000,000 marker (well, I say 'scraping'; I'd love to have a spare $32,434) means that backers managed to unlock all of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-2-stretch-goals-revealed/">stretch goals</a>, the latter of which&nbsp;was a Game Master&nbsp;mode.</p><p>As we discovered last week, the project has also attracted prolific RPG writer&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/chris-avellone-to-work-his-magic-on-divinity-original-sin-2/">Chris Avellone</a>, who must have cloned himself or own a Time-Turner or something to be able to work on all the games he does.</p><p>Larian Studios is currently celebrating, and if you want to&nbsp;you can watch them party (and maybe even showcase some of the game) on their Twitch channel:</p><iframe src="http://www.twitch.tv/larianstudios/embed" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="378" width="620"></iframe> Cosplaying Mayor of Taipei lends his support to Taiwanese LoLhttp://www.pcgamer.com/cosplaying-mayor-of-taipei-lends-his-support-to-taiwanese-lol/You'd never see Boris Johnson do this.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:47:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cosplaying-mayor-of-taipei-lends-his-support-to-taiwanese-lol/esportsLeague of LegendsMOBANewsPro <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TFakcRqGB4M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> In the west, the slightest sniff of mainstream acceptance is enough to set the esports hot take engine churnin'. We tend to get a little caught up on the idea that legitimacy is waiting to be handed out by ESPN, the Olympic committee, the government, and so on. Spoiler: it isn't, and esports wouldn't need it even if it did. </p><p> Things are different in Asia&mdash;often, spectacularly so. The South Korean StarCraft scene has long looked like a vision of what mainstream esports might look like in the rest of the world in ten years. Widespread popular and insitutional support for esports in China account for the strength of that country's teams and organisations.</p><p> Even so, it doesn't get much more legit than the Mayor of one of the world's largest cities dressing up as a League of Legends character in order to support Taiwan's two World Championship contenders, FlashWolves and ahq e-Sports club. If you're wondering why Mayor Ko Wen-je chose to dress up as&nbsp; <a href="http://www.lolking.net/models?champion=98&amp;skin=3">Surgeon Shen</a>, then it's probably because he was a professor of medicine and a surgeon prior to becoming Taipei's first independent Mayor in 2014.</p><p> He's also accompanied by an enthusiastic man in a Winnie the Pooh necktie. I do not know whether or not the enthusiastic man in a Winnie the Pooh necktie is, or has ever been, a surgeon.</p><p> Here's an English translation of the video, courtesy of redditor&nbsp; <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3mxzmg/mayor_of_taipei_cosplays_shen_to_support_ahq_and/cvj3sd3">SilentStride</a>:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Announcer:</strong> Shen! It's you!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> Shen? Where's the kidney? (Shen and kidney is pronounced the same way in Mandarin.)</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> You might as well call me liver! I'm Ko Wen-je!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> I heard that there are esports players leaving Taiwan to compete internationally.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Annoucer:</strong> Yes that's riiiight!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> League of Legends World Championship.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Announcer:</strong> Huh? You know this too?</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> To be honest I'm an esports Pro too. But I play new Solitaire. (New Solitaire esports pro Ko Wen-je).</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je: I</strong>'m very happy to see Taiwan's eports players shine brightly in their own field of expertise. The government's power is limited, but The Power of the People is infinite.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je: </strong>Against powerful enemies, there's no need to be afraid. Come to my side, I'll give you SUPPORT!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> Look at my "Stand United"! Let's go Taiwan esports!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> (Announcer talks about free streaming location in Taiwan)</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>Ko Wen-je:</strong> Phew, carried another game.</p><p> I'd normally argue that the esports industry shouldn't chase mainstream acceptance&mdash;but if it means more politicians dressed as internet videogame wizards, then sign me up.</p><p>The World Championship group stages begin tomorrow in Paris. Check out our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lol-2015-world-championship-get-ready-for-the-group-stage/">massive preview</a> for the lowdown on the teams and their chances.</p><p> Thanks,&nbsp; <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3mxzmg/mayor_of_taipei_cosplays_shen_to_support_ahq_and/">/r/leagueoflegends</a>.</p> Fallout 4's 4th SPECIAL trait: Charismahttp://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4s-4th-special-trait-charisma/Talk your way out of trouble in Bethesda's RPG.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:21:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4s-4th-special-trait-charisma/Fallout 4News <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nyMhkbeeHdA" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>"Unlike the clean, wholesome America you may recall," the voiceover begins, "The wasteland will be a distrustful place full of unsavoury characters and few morals." I think these are getting funnier.</p><p>This is the fourth part of Bethesda's video series about the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes in Fallout 4, focusing on C for Charisma. I've been looking forward to this one. My characters always have higher charisma than anything else because a) I like to be able to talk my way out of things, and b) I like to play as myself (i.e. totally lacking in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-special-video-explains-strength/">strength</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-special-video-series-continues-with-perception/">perception</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4s-third-special-video-focuses-on-endurance/">endurance</a>...).</p><p>Watch the video for tips on how to make friends that might come in handy in real life, though perhaps not for its suggestion that charisma makes you less susceptible to addiction. As with the other videos in the series, the end flicks through hints of how this attribute will affect the game, suggesting that as well as befriend animals you'll be able to ensure more loyal companions and convince others to do your dirty work.</p><p>I imagine charisma will also help when trying to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-companions/">romance</a> your companions. One more reason for me to max out mine.</p> Alan Wake's Bright Fallshttp://www.pcgamer.com/alan-wakes-bright-falls/The haunting, atmospheric beauty of Remedy's Pacific Northwest.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/alan-wakes-bright-falls/Alan WakeWhy I Love <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vinK5jAcQ5W5.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D-YEKm70kWMV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alan Wake 1"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">WHY I LOVE</h5> <p> In <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love/">Why I Love</a>, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Andy savours Alan Wake's Lynchian influences. </p> </div><p> America’s Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but there’s also something haunting and mysterious about those dark woods and forested valleys. This landscape inspired David Lynch when he created supernatural soap opera Twin Peaks, and ultimately Finnish horror game Alan Wake.&nbsp;</p><p> Remedy’s love of Lynch has been apparent since the ‘Address Unknown’ theme park in Max Payne 2, but Wake is its most overt homage to his work. Like Twin Peaks, the game uses a place of stunning natural beauty to tell a grim, twisted horror story, and it’s this contrast that makes Bright Falls such an evocative setting.&nbsp;</p><p> You arrive by ferry, in a disarmingly peaceful introduction to the small town and its picturesque surroundings. The fir trees and foggy mountain peaks are realistic enough, but Remedy’s take on the geography is exaggerated. It’s almost a caricature of the region: what you imagine it looks like, rather than the reality. The valleys are a little too deep, the mountains a little too steep.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jaSZS8f9Qj2A.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e-H_MJvMhShh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alan wake 2"></p><p> Alan Wake began life as an open-world game, and there are still traces of it. The tallest mountain in the region can be seen from most places, which helps you keep track of where Wake’s journey is taking him. Brief driving sections let you travel long distances, giving you a limited taste of what the game could’ve been like had Remedy kept to its original vision. Access the game’s built-in free camera, pull back, and you’ll see that the whole world is always there, but that you’re confined to a relatively small corner of it.&nbsp;</p><p> Wake’s travels take him to the Oh Deer Diner, a homage to Twin Peaks’ Double R, and Cauldron Lake, which is based on Oregon’s stunning Crater Lake&mdash;seen recently in Jean-Marc Vallée’s wonderful film Wild. Other landmarks include the historic Bright Falls Coal Mine, the Sparkling River Estates Trailer Park (most likely inspired by Twin Peaks’ equally rundown Fat Trout Trailer Park), and the Bright Falls Dam. It’s a quintessential slice of rural Americana, albeit one haunted by shadowy, murderous ghosts.&nbsp;</p><p> Remedy is based in Espoo, Finland, but the team spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest, taking reference photos and getting a feel for the geography and climate.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1GixxD5tRky-.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/12KOuO45qRYQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alan wake 3"></p><p> “We drove about 2,000 miles around it for a period of almost two weeks,” says Saku Lehtinen, art director. “We went to places like Astoria, a very typical Pacific Northwestern coastal town, where the movie Ring was made. We went to North Bend, where Twin Peaks was filmed, which is just outside of Seattle. The story in Alan Wake has fantastic elements, but it has to be rooted in reality.”&nbsp;</p><p> “It’s a naturally exciting setting,” says writer Mikko Rautalahti. “It’s also something you don’t see in games a lot. We wanted wide open spaces instead of corridors and underground complexes. The nature there is beautiful and rich, but it’s also perfect for a horror game. Take those deep, dark woods, add something weird and horrible lurking there, and you’re all set.”&nbsp;</p><p> Remedy even went as far as using NASA star maps to make sure Bright Falls’s night sky was accurate. Night is a big part of Alan Wake, and you spend much of the game traipsing through foggy, moonlit forests. Remedy’s proprietary Alan Wake Engine is, even now, stunning to look at. The way the cold, pale moonlight shines through the swirling mist is really atmospheric. The weather effects are superb, with trees swaying in the wind and forks of jagged lightning lighting up the sky. Creating their own bespoke tech delayed the game for several years, but the results are still spectacular.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uo_0mYuQSr-n.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DsGzxltqw628.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alan wake 4"></p><p> Alan Wake is a flawed game. The handful of enemy types makes combat repetitive and frustrating, and it’s often stiflingly linear. But, for me, the setting makes up for its shortcomings. The Pacific Northwest is a place we rarely get to visit in videogames, and Remedy captured its essence perfectly. A sequel to Alan Wake was in the works, but was cancelled so the team could start work on Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break, so it’s unlikely, sadly, that we’ll ever visit Bright Falls again.&nbsp;</p><p> But with Twin Peaks returning to television screens in 2017, perhaps that would be the perfect time for Remedy to revisit its town and continue the story of troubled horror writer Alan Wake.</p> Xenonauts 2 is being prototyped right nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/xenonauts-2-is-being-prototyped-right-now/The chances of an imminent sequel are "better than even".Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:16:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xenonauts-2-is-being-prototyped-right-now/NewsXenonauts <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AtIIcHaSRNCW.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EWPxbP23Bqd0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Xenonauts"></p><p>Over on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/showthread.php/13299-Xenonauts-2-Update">Goldhawk Forums</a>, Xenonauts project lead Chris England is raising everybody's hopes for Xenonauts 2. His language is tentative but promising. "We're still evaluating the possibility," he says, "But I'd say the chances of us making Xenonauts 2 as our next game are better than even."</p><p>Apparently community feedback has helped to convince the team to make a sequel, but it's still possible that they might go in a different direction. The codebase they've been working on in the time since releasing Xenonauts would work for any "squad-based tactics game" they want, so it's possible their next game will tell a new story in the same genre.</p><p>However, it does look like they've been doing a lot of thinking about Xenonauts, for instance testing a 3D art style, redesigning the aliens from the first game, and considering whether they're able to create a new strategy layer. England says that at this stage the team is "actively designing and prototyping" Xenonauts 2, but it'll probably&nbsp;be one or two months until we know for sure whether they'll commit to it as their next project.</p><p>Not played Xenonauts? Check out our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xenonauts-review/">review</a>, and if you want to give it a try it's part of the current&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-15-features-gang-beasts-planetary-annihilation/">Humble Bundle</a>.</p><p>(Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/09/30/xenonauts-2/">RPS</a>.)</p> Humble Indie Bundle 15 features Gang Beasts, Planetary Annihilationhttp://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-15-features-gang-beasts-planetary-annihilation/Destroy planets, or just your friends.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:36:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-15-features-gang-beasts-planetary-annihilation/News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DcAkiFeaRXeu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UVjHByqiAITt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gang Beasts"></p><p>The funny thing about Humble Bundle is that&nbsp;I looked at the latest and thought, "15? Surely they've run out of games by now?" but of course they haven't, because an independent game developer is born every minute.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gang-beasts-to-be-published-by-double-fine-will-release-on-steam-early-access-next-week/">Gang Beasts</a>, for example,&nbsp;is so fresh that it's still in early access, but you only have to pay $10 (currently £6.58) to get a copy as part of your bundle.</p><p>You can also pay lots more dollars to get DIY Gang Beasts figures, but that's obviously for super&nbsp;fans. Just the games will do for&nbsp;me. Already got access to Gang Beasts? The next tier down merely requires you to pay more than the average, currently $6.73 (£4.43), to get hold of fighting game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/259-skullgirls-review/">Skullgirls</a> (plus all of its DLC), RTS&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/planetary-annihilation-review/">Planetary Annihilation</a>, turn-based strategy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xenonauts-review/">Xenonauts</a>, and whatever other games Humble decides to add over the next few days.</p><p>If even that is too dear, feel free to chuck mere pennies at Humble for the base tier, though they, the developers, and the two supported charities probably all deserve a little more than that. Either way, you'll get copies of stealth game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sir-you-are-being-hunted-review/">Sir, You Are Being Hunted</a>;&nbsp;first-person puzzle game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/qube-review/">Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut</a>; and point-and-click adventure&nbsp;Goodbye Deponia.</p><p>What I like about this Humble Bundle is the genre variety&mdash;there's something for everyone! Make sure you click those links to check out our review of each game. I know these bundles are cheap, but you still deserve to know what you're getting for your money.</p> Fallout: New Vegas mod Autumn Leaves is out tomorrowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-new-vegas-mod-autumn-leaves-is-out-tomorrow/Four years in development and with more than 2000 lines of voiced dialogue.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:04:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-new-vegas-mod-autumn-leaves-is-out-tomorrow/Fallout: New VegasNews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eCijaeSAXsE" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4/">Fallout 4</a> is just over a month away from release, but it's entirely possible that you're an impatient person desperate for more Fallout content in that time. If so, I'll assume you already own a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-new-vegas/">Fallout: New Vegas</a>, in which case there's really no good reason not to get the free mod&nbsp;<a href="http://baronvonchateau.tumblr.com/">Autumn Leaves</a> when it becomes available tomorrow.</p><p>Autumn Leaves has been in development for four years, and it shows, with eight quests spanning seven to ten hours, multiple endings,&nbsp;more than 2,000 lines of voiced dialogue, and its own original soundtrack. Think of it as unofficial DLC with a chunk of story related to but separate from the rest of New Vegas.</p><p>The setting is "a derelict library inhabited by sentient machines, each with their own back-story and agency", and apparently it features "excruciating&nbsp;dilemmas" and "philosophical themes",&nbsp;all of&nbsp;which makes me imagine something like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-review/">Soma</a>. No word yet on whether we'll get any&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-new-vegas-romance/">romance</a> like we nearly had in the base game.</p><p>(Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-09-30-new-fallout-new-vegas-mod-looks-as-slick-as-an-official-expansion">Eurogamer</a>.)</p> The PC Gamer Show: Prison Architect devs, VR, TwitchConhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-prison-architect-devs-vr-twitchcon/Introversion Software's Chris Delay and Mark Morris join us to talk about VR, Twitch, early access, and more.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 02:28:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-prison-architect-devs-vr-twitchcon/podcastPrison ArchitectThe PC Gamer Show AMD has expanded its embedded graphics lineuphttp://www.pcgamer.com/amd-has-expanded-its-embedded-graphics-lineup/AMD is offering new embedded graphics solutions ranging from power efficient to ultra high performance.Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:49:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-has-expanded-its-embedded-graphics-lineup/AMDHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hR8x2o9dTgS-.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HX0ix3ElCZZt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AMD_GPU"></p><p>While AMD is still struggling with its desktop graphics marketshare, they're still fighting the good fight against Nvidia and Intel. AMD makes the GPUs for all three current generation game consoles, and today they announced&nbsp;<a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/216403/amd-expands-embedded-graphics-lineup.html">a new range of discrete graphics</a> for embedded systems.&nbsp;They range from power efficient, to high performance, up to ultra-high performance, and they have Multi-Chip Module (MCM), Mobile PCIe Module (MXM), and PCIe options.</p><p>The ultra-high performance E8950MXM is built for 4K applications with support for 4K decode, 4K encode, and up to six 4K displays. AMD says that this one is “ideal for high-end casino and arcade gaming machines, medical imaging devices and military/aerospace applications.” It’s got 32 Compute Units, with 3 TFLOPS peak single precision, and 8GB GDDR5 memory, while using below 95W thermal design power. It’s also a smaller form factor than standard commercial GPUs, specifically designed for systems with small space requirements. </p><p>The mid-range E8870MXM and E8870PCIe options provide a balance of power and performance, with 12 Compute Units, 1.5 TFLOPS peak single precision, and 4GB GDDR5 memory. They operate under 75W TDP, and also have six output capabilities. </p><p>The E6465MCM, the E6465MXM, and the E6465PCIe are the power-efficient options, operating at under 20W TDP. They have just the two Computer Units, with 192 GFLOPS peak single precision, &nbsp;2GB GDDR5 memory,&nbsp;and have support for up to four display outputs.</p><p>These exact GPUs won't be showing up in your desktop or laptop, but it'll be interesting to see how the E8950MXM stacks up against AMD's next high-end gaming laptop GPUs.</p> Prison Architect creators' next game will be VR-readyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-creators-next-game-will-be-vr-ready/Introversion's Mark Morris told us it would be "almost inconceivablethat ournext game would not be playable in VR."Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:19:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-creators-next-game-will-be-vr-ready/Introversion SoftwareNewsPrison ArchitectVR <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/C_yoQKoVSTE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><em>Note: The thumbnail image used for this video is from Introversion's previous game Darwinia, not any new project.</em></p><p> Today on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show" target="_blank">The PC Gamer Show</a>, our weekly livestreamed podcast,&nbsp;Introversion Software's co-founder&nbsp;Mark Morris told us their next game would almost definitely be ready for VR.&nbsp;"I think it would be almost inconceivable that our next game would not be playable in VR," Morris said, but was careful to point out that he doesn't think it will&nbsp;be exclusive to&nbsp;VR as the technology is still "too bleeding edge."&nbsp;What that game is and how much longer they'll be updating&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect/" target="_blank">Prison Architect</a>, which leaves early access next Tuesday,&nbsp;is still unknown&mdash;but both him and fellow co-founder Chris Delay are very excited about VR's&nbsp;prospects.&nbsp;</p><p> You can watch the video above to see him explain his thoughts on their next game, and you'll be able to hear their full thoughts on VR when we post the show later today, including Morris and Delay discussing&nbsp;some of their early prototypes for the HTC Vive headset.</p> Guild Wars 2 lead designer has joined Amazon Game Studios http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-lead-designer-has-joined-amazon-game-studios/Will be working on a "competitive, melee-oriented" PC title, apparently.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 23:35:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-lead-designer-has-joined-amazon-game-studios/AmazonGuild Wars 2News <p>Guild Wars 2 lead designer Eric Flannum has left ArenaNet to join Amazon Game Studios. He's working on a PC game which will utilize "the latest technology to explore third person, competitive, melee-oriented action gameplay in an entirely new light". That's presumably the same project Amazon was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amazon-hiring-for-an-ambitious-new-pc-game/">hiring for back in June</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>That quote above comes from a <a href="http://Our Seattle team is comprised of creators who have worked on dozens of amazing projects like Guild Wars, Forza, Halo, Starcraft, Half Life 2, Left for Dead, Dota, Infamous, Sunset Overdrive, Destiny, and Shadow of Mordor. ">LinkedIn</a> post by Flannum, where he's listed as a creative director at Amazon Game Studios. He lists a handful of employment opportunities at the studio and claims the current team has talent from "projects like Guild Wars, Forza, Halo, Starcraft, Half Life 2, Left for Dead, Dota, Infamous, Sunset Overdrive, Destiny, and Shadow of Mordor."</p><p>The studio does indeed boast some interesting talent, including Portal's Kim Swift. Far Cry 2 mastermind Clint Hocking was employed in 2014, but left in August. That apparently prompted two other designers – principal game designer Jonathan Hamel and director of narrative design Eric Nylund – to leave too.</p><p>There's still been no public announcement regarding Amazon's mysterious project(s), but whatever happens, it'll be interesting to see what Amazon brings to the table – especially with its apparent PC focus. </p> Building an entire city on a highway off-ramp in Cities: Skylineshttp://www.pcgamer.com/building-an-entire-city-on-a-highway-off-ramp-in-cities-skylines/Don't think of it as small, think of it as cozy.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 22:32:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/building-an-entire-city-on-a-highway-off-ramp-in-cities-skylines/Cities: SkylinesCities: Skylines: After DarkColossal OrderGallerysim Undertale reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/undertale-review/Undertale is determined to reinvent the JRPG.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 22:19:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/undertale-review/ReviewsRPGUndertale <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> A JRPG-style adventure into comedy and genocide; first one, then the other. A classic game style packed with new ideas. <br> <strong>Reviewed On</strong>: i7, GTX 970, 8GB RAM <br> <strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;$10 /&nbsp;£7&nbsp; <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher: </strong>tobyfox <br> <strong>Developer: </strong>tobyfox <br> <strong>Link: </strong><a href="http://undertale.com/" target="_blank">undertale.com</a><a href="http://worldofwarships.com/"></a> </p> </div><p> Undertale shouldn’t be spoiled in advance. You’ve seen the score, you’ve seen from the screenshots that it’s a JRPG-style game, and I’ll tell you up front, it’s one of the funniest and best designed RPGs you’re likely to play this year. Beyond that, I’ll try to stay light on details&mdash;as much as I can while still telling you why it’s great&mdash;but avoid Google, avoid forums, avoid picking away at the scab of not knowing much. The less you know about Undertale before diving in, the better it can work its magic.</p><p> The basic secret is that it’s not entirely what it looks like: a goofy 8-bit RPG parody that owes a debt and at least two limbs to EarthBound/Mother. It’s partly that, sure, and it’s brilliant at it. After a slow and not particularly fun intro area, it opens up into a world more densely packed with jokes and puns and adorable characters than pretty much anything out there. Papyrus, the skeleton guard desperate for recognition and friends. His brother Sans, mocking RPG puzzles by just dumping a Junior Jumble to block your way. Crazy monsters like Woshua, who just wants you to be clean, and a ghost who only lowers his HP when you attack to be polite.</p><p>I haven’t laughed this hard at a game in years, and if Undertale was purely a joke RPG like Cthulhu Saves The World or Barkley Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden, it’d honestly be enough. Even its weaker moments where it veers too close to reference and inside joke oversaturation&mdash;the stuff of many a comedy RPG Maker game&mdash;just about work, if only because they’re always over quickly.</p><p>But that’s just what’s happening on the surface, and it’s disarming in just the right way. The cleverness builds as you play, and systems that originally seemed throw-away usually end up being more than they seem. The big gimmick is that nobody has to die: there are ways to spare everything and everybody, from the random&nbsp;monster encounters to the bosses. Combat plays out via a series of minigames, mostly unique to each monster, in which you move your pixel heart around in a small box&mdash;dodging bullets, blocking shots with shields, simple platforming, getting past shields, often layered to make things more complicated when you face off against multiple enemies at once.</p><p>As a really basic example of the mechanics being more than they seem, Undertale often uses them to convey the character’s mental state: faster attacks when they’re annoyed, bolder attacks when they’re feeling confident, or even aiming to miss when they don’t really want to fight. There’s the vegetable who just wants you to eat your greens and will leave you alone if you do. A late game encounter with a character who gets a mid-battle telegram from a previous zone to tell them that it’s cool, you’re a friend. Papyrus, who's&nbsp;so desperate to have cool attacks that he’s forgotten to actually make them deadly, and who's&nbsp;interrupted by a dog stealing the bones he intended to throw at you in his next turn.</p><p>How you choose to handle things affects how the story plays out. It also affects your replays, with Undertale interested in experimenting with what happens if certain characters remembered what you did the last time, and what the implication of that power might be. Finishing the story only takes about 5-7 hours, but to dig into its secrets takes another couple of loops, and a strong stomach. We’re also not just talking a few line changes. Going for a genocide run, where you murder literally everybody, essentially turns the whole thing into a pitch-black horror game. A peaceful run meanwhile leads to one of the most charming and heartfelt RPGs ever made. Murder followed by a reload to see what might have been&hellip; well, you get what you deserve.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EmCtqE6MTc-6.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PyQtpLcdg_VU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="You can spare the monsters. Not always their feelings." class=""> <figcaption>You can spare the monsters. Not always their feelings.</figcaption></figure><p>Undertale obviously has its faults, including a couple of puzzles that wear out their welcome, a first play that’s a little too easy to be satisfying, and occasionally relying a bit too much on players getting jokes like a jealous aircraft called the ‘Tsunderplane’. If you can’t stand those, or the JRPG style in general, it won’t likely win you over. Every player also seems to have one area that they dislike, though rarely the same one&mdash;for me it was the Hotlands, not because the action was bad, but because the puzzles were time consuming without being satisfying. Luckily, the same location also had one of my favourite characters, as well as one of Undertale’s best direct parodies.</p><p>To miss it though is to miss out. Undertale isn’t simply like Earthbound, like Chrono Trigger, like Final Fantasy VI in its graphical and mechanical style, but a worthy successor to the way they took the JRPG genre and experimented with it, evolved it, took it in new and interesting directions. It’s an old-school game, but one designed with modern sensibilities and an eye for deconstruction matched only by Knights Of The Old Republic 2’s brutal assault on the Star Wars universe.</p><p>The fact that this is basically a one-person project only makes it more impressive, from the excellent use of simple graphics to convey emotion, to the fantastic lo-fi soundtrack. It may or may not be the best RPG you play this year, but it’s certainly going to be one of the most worthwhile&mdash;as memorable as anything in, say, The Witcher 3, and every bit as worthy.</p> Mass Effect "4D" movie coming to California amusement parkhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-4d-movie-coming-to-amusement-park/Are you ready for an immersive Mass Effect movie?Tue, 29 Sep 2015 21:45:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-4d-movie-coming-to-amusement-park/Mass EffectNewsRPGsci-fispace rpg <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/62PdJviGTtCZ.JPG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DSH18vi2UtXO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mass Effect Andromeda"></p><p> California's Great America, a roller&nbsp;coaster-based&nbsp;amusement park in the San Francisco&nbsp;Bay Area, is launching a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/mass-effect/">Mass Effect</a>–themed "4D holographic" movie show. Far from conventional understandings of&nbsp;four-dimensional Euclidean space or spacetime, 4D is the theme park term for crowd-facing special effects: wind and water effects and&nbsp;rumbling seats, perhaps. Though we don't know exactly what this show will entail.</p><p>"This exciting guest experience involves cutting edge technology customized for Great America and delivers 4D effects combined with a live performer and incredible special effects," the theme park&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cagreatamerica.com/what-s-new/coming-in-2016">wrote in a press release</a> today. "Great America guests will be taken on a thrilling adventure across the galaxy where they will travel through awe-inspiring landscapes, face off against bigger than life adversaries and ultimately help save the day."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/22afovwzRlSK.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TZFDcnpwzYfn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mass Effect 4D Movie"></p><p>Having been to a few too many 4D shows in my time, I'd just as soon watch a Mass Effect movie without a nozzle shooting lukewarm water in my face and curious smells wafting by, or whatever they have planned. It might be worth putting up with for a big dose of new Mass Effect lore, though, so I'll be keeping my eye on the as-yet unnamed movie, coming in 2016.</p> A new turn-based BattleTech game is in developmenthttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-new-turn-based-battletech-game-is-in-development/Turn-based BattleTech is back.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 21:21:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-new-turn-based-battletech-game-is-in-development/BattleTechKickstartermechsNewsStrategyTurn based strategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JZp_RcnrSt2p.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pOElRkGKiV14.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BattleTech"></p><p>The classic giant-robots-fighting-robots series BattleTech will return&nbsp;to PC after its successful&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/battletech/description">Kickstarter campaign</a> was&nbsp;launched and&nbsp;funded earlier today. Developer Harebrained Schemes and BattleTech creator Jordan Weisman pitched a single&nbsp;player,&nbsp;turn-based Mech strategy game to fans, looking for $250,000. Just under an hour later, Harebrained Schemes had gotten enough funding to meet that goal. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $500,000.</p><p>"Our goal is to craft a combat system for BATTLETECH that’s the perfect blend of tactical depth, speed of play, and meaningful unit customization," Harebrained Schemes writes on its Kickstarter page. "As we did with our Shadowrun games, we intend to capture the *spirit* of the original tabletop rules, while designing the best PC game we can."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J9vxi5g8RYy1.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dddWh6DGYabM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BattleTech Kickstarter"></p><p>The new BattleTech game will be set in "classic BattleTech" universe, during the Succession Wars that made up the backdrop of the 1987 board game. Harebrained Schemes has also gotten permission to use the mech models from&nbsp;Piranha Games's MechWarrior Online, so the universes will be artistically linked with one another.</p><p>The first quarter million is just the start. Harebrained Schemes has its sights set on more than $2.5 million, which it says will fund a full story campaign, mercenary pilot career mode, and PVP multiplayer modes. To read more about the new BattleTech game, see the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/battletech/description">Kickstarter page</a>. Harebrained Schemes is no stranger to Kickstarter campaigns, having previously delivered on crowdfunding efforts for its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shadowrun-returns-dragonfall-review/">Shadowrun</a> series.</p> Job Simulator makes office life (and puking) a blast in VRhttp://www.pcgamer.com/job-simulator-makes-office-life-and-puking-a-blast-in-vr/VR offers some amazing opportunities for slapstick comedy in gamingand it still feels eerily real.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 20:44:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/job-simulator-makes-office-life-and-puking-a-blast-in-vr/Job SimulatorOculusOculus RiftsimSteamVRvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wAr0x4iuSCqx.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7J0VIMnWTJBe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Job Simulator Office"></p><p>I vomited while playing a VR game for the first time last week. Thankfully, it was fake, virtual vomit, spraying out of my first-person camera in green spurts and a few chunks of half-eaten doughnut. That’s what happens in Owlchemy Labs’ delightful Job Simulator&mdash;a launch title for both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive&mdash;when you pull a moldy doughnut out of the trash can and eat it. The same thing may also happen in real life. I haven’t tried that, yet.</p><p>Job Simulator was the most fun I had demoing the Oculus Touch controller. For a brief five minutes, I was standing in an office cubicle, waving cartoony oversized hands around in perfect 1:1 symmetry with my Touch controllers. Much like Surgeon Simulator, Job Simulator is a playground that turns the mundane into outlandish slapstick. Owlchemy Labs started with an inherently silly twist on reality, setting Job Simulator in the future of 2050 where “Robots cook, clean, service, and rule organize the world with precision and speed. Human occupations are now memories of the past; long gone are the blue collar jobs that ran the old world. Humans raised in our perfect automated society must not forget their useless ancient ancestors and history. This is why JobBot was born. JobBot created Job Simulator to teach humans what it is 'to job'. All praise to JobBot, for he is the keeper of human history.”</p><p>My time on the job actually felt longer than five minutes, because the cubicle was so densely packed with things to pick up, giggle at, and interact with. When my chunky CRT monitor didn’t turn on, I (physically) crouched down to look under the desk and find the cords I needed to plug in. I opened a doughnut box and put a frosted doughnut in the photocopier. I copied the doughnut.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Uhh4dA-V2os" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>I even found a disc hidden among the books on my shelf, put it in the computer, and played a Flappy Bird clone. When the phone rang, I answered it, instinctively raising my hand to the side of my face. Then I thought “what the hell am I doing?” and sheepishly threw the phone across the cubicle.</p><p>“We were originally thinking about doing 10 or more jobs,” said Owlchemy Labs dev Alex Schwartz, who I talked to after trying out Job Simulator. “And then we realized that as we started building, it’s the depth of each world that’s important. When you pull that book off the shelf and look on the back and see in the corner this funny joke, you’re like ‘aha, those developers!’ Or when you find that Flappy Bot disc and find out there’s a whole game on it. We can put so much richness in the world, that it’s better to have depth and richness than lots of jobs with more sparse population.”</p><p>The office isn’t the only job in Job Simulator, though&mdash;Owlchemy Labs has five planned, including cooking and clerking at a convenience store. There’s also going to be significantly more to each job than the five minutes I spent messing around. </p><p>“There are elements of progression on top of the sandbox,” Schwartz said. “Technically the first thing you had to do was drink coffee. But you could’ve done everything in the world and then at the last minute drank the coffee. And then you would’ve gotten through one task in the sequence, yet done so much stuff. It's a hard line to balance. You can play GTA for 8 hours and then do the first mission.”</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4MpkR2L4Vc4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Much of the appeal of Job Simulator is how intuitive every action feels. I actually played the cooking job <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steamvr-hands-on-valve-overtakes-oculus/">on SteamVR</a> back in April, and it was great. But I had more fun in the office using Oculus Touch, which allows you to squeeze a perfectly placed button to “grab” objects. It feel natural, like making a fist. While I never actively feel immersed in Job Simulator’s reality, it’s surprising how effectively motion-based VR can fool the brain, as was the case with my phone-to-ear reflex. Owlchemy Labs has encountered those reactions more than a few times while developing their game.</p><p>“The table in the kitchen feels so real, [my friend] was playing the game and was done, and he was like ‘that was so much fun!’ and put his hands forward and then let go of the controllers in mid-air,” said Schwartz. “Even though he was taking himself out of the experience and talking to us as people, he thought that table was so freaking real he just dropped our controllers on the ground.”</p><p>Owlchemy plans to launch Job Simulator on both Oculus and SteamVR when they’re available, although “launch” for SteamVR is a bit of a loose window&mdash;Valve will only be releasing a limited number of units at the end of 2015. Schwartz told me they’re waiting for Valve to announce the official launch, but Job Simulator will be there with its five jobs when it happens.</p><p>I hope I can puke in each one.</p> ​Counter Logic Gaming talk the past and future of North American LoLhttp://www.pcgamer.com/counter-logic-gaming-talk-the-past-and-future-of-north-american-league-of-legends/The once (and future?) kings of NA League of Legends talk about their Worlds prospects.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-logic-gaming-talk-the-past-and-future-of-north-american-league-of-legends/esportsLeague of LegendsMOBAPro <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2rETSCgcTQKb.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I55q2GTlyASE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Aphromoo" class=""><figcaption>Zaqueri 'Aphromoo' Black</figcaption></figure><p> Early in the dawn of League of Legends history, the best region in the world was North America and the best team in North America was Counter Logic Gaming. They were the first and oldest of the major teams&mdash;the winners of the World Cyber Games and the victors of the Newegg Winter Wanfest, both in 2010. Though their fifth place finish in the first-ever World Championship was a disappointing conclusion to their initial foray into esports, this early era was a rewarding one for fans of the young team. Gold was plentiful&mdash;in-game, out of it, and in the form of accolades and trophies as they worked their way through National ESL, IEM Cologne and MLG Raleigh.</p><p> That early era is like something out of a mythological dawn for the modern CLG fan. The roster's barely remembered&mdash;who even remembers that Riot caster Sam ‘Kobe’ Hartman-Kenzler used to jungle for the team? Who remains fluent in deciphering the arcane mysteries of Jijispeak? What they remember, mainly, is that this team used to be good. They used to be kings. And though they've been derailed since IPL 3 Atlantic City, though their every attempt to tap into the ominous power of Korean esports has thus far failed, there was the hope that they might one day reclaim that crown of glory.</p><p> This year, as the 2015 World Championship approaches, their fans' sorely tested faith may finally be rewarded.</p><h3>You gotta have faith</h3><p> The current roster is easily the best the team has ever looked, though not without undergoing one last dramatic phase as it has cycled through its fifth top lane change in three years and similarly numerous alterations to every position but AD carry. For a while, this looked like the darkest time for the eldest North American team&mdash;flirtations with relegation and a constant incapability in the face of historic rivals Team Solomid.</p><p> But this time, it seemed to work. For the first time since 2012, Counter Logic Gaming's found a berth at the League of Legends World Championship&mdash;and as North America's first seed at that.</p><p> "In the past years, we failed over and over again," says Aphromoo. "Pretty crappy, but finally we found the recipe for success with the pieces we pulled in this split. Which is, you know: Coach Chris, ZionSpartan, Xmithie... brought in Pobelter as well. It was easy. Easier than past years, just because individuals as well as management staff took more of the load than past rosters, where people hated each other and didn't really try as hard as they could have."</p><p> "We started being actual people instead of working at a regular job," Aphromoo says. "We actually have friendships outside of the game with each other, instead of just talking League of Legends most of the time." He credits head coach Chris ‘Blurred Limes’ Ehrenreich for much of the changes in the organization's internal culture. Ehrenreich enforces a group-oriented culture even outside of the game, including meals and gym work together, as well as compartmentalizing work done on and off their computers.</p><p> Aphromoo recounts their practice methodology, noting that "usually after the games, instead of being in the practice room environment, we just do our group discussions outside. So actually standing up and not sitting down for long periods of time and just keep sitting in that high-pressure environment, talking about mistakes and all."</p><p> The overall result: a greater collective identity, smoother internal interactions and treating each other as "actual people instead of just players.” Not coincidentally, it also got a lot easier to win&mdash;including a dominant victory over TSM, who had CLG's number in all previous LCS splits.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CEQLZiklSMmj.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X64kKwvizky-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Zionspartan" class=""><figcaption>Darshan 'ZionSpartan' Upadhyaha</figcaption></figure><h3>You'd think they'd be happier about winning</h3><p> "There definitely wasn't any relief," says Darshan ‘ZionSpartan’ Upadhyaha, CLG's top laner. “I realized that it was nice to win NA, but it wasn't really my goal. 3-0ing TSM was definitely an accomplishment, but it wasn't the accomplishment I was looking for&mdash;to win Worlds and prove that I'm the best and we're the best. That's what I'm shooting for, and I'm not really looking for anything less."</p><p> "I think Doublelift appreciated [winning NA LCS Summer 2015] more than I did," says Aphromoo. "I wasn't happy with our performance in the finals particularly, if only because it was pretty sloppy."</p><p> But improvement focuses aside, the team is entering Worlds with an overwhelming confidence in their own capabilities.</p><h3>CLG versus the world</h3><p> The start of the 2015 competitive season was marked by a massive wave of changes in the eastern hemisphere. China's teams, sick of playing second fiddle to the perpetually dominant Korean scene, decided that if they couldn't beat them, they'd make the Koreans join them. With the backing of some of the richest oligarchs of their state, whole rosters were bought out&mdash;Samsung lost both the 2014 world championship team and its sister team as well, along with coaching staff. KT Rolster was similarly affected, as was CJ Entus&mdash;and in the wake of EDG's ascendancy over SKT T1 during the mid-season invitational, many anticipated that this would be the year that KeSPA's stranglehold over League of Legends' highest honors would at last be broken.</p><p> But that perception is not without its dissidents. "For China, definitely the language barrier&mdash;just because they don't speak the same language brings them down a couple notches," says Aphromoo. He explains, "just because of that fact, they can't really get the necessary information they need in a couple seconds. Whereas if you speak the same language, you definitely have the advantage when it comes to decision-making against the China region, as well as the teamplay-centric playstyle that they succumb to."</p><p> Aphromoo estimates that the gap's largely closed between the major regions, at least at the uppermost level&mdash;but that Korea still has an overall advantage. "I'm only really scared, team-wise, of SKT T1. Not really scared of any of the China teams. I think KT's pretty good as well."</p><p> But though they aren't particularly scared of any of the matchups at this year's tournament, there are definitely teams and players that they would particularly like to test their mettle against. Aphromoo's disappointed that Mata, last year's world championship winning support, won't be in attendance, and expects only KOO Tigers to be particularly interesting in his group. ZionSpartan, given the current metagame's top lane focus, looks forward to the other high-profile players in his role. Ssumday, Zzitai and Marin are in his crosshairs as he looks to prove that, despite all the naysayers, North America can stand up to their international counterparts.</p><p> "I don't think that the Korean and Chinese top laners are that much better mechanically than the North American top laners," says ZionSpartan. "They play much better towards winning the game and as a team, and use Teleport a lot better. But I feel that, in terms of individual skill, it's not that big a difference. I think people have a big misconception that North American players are way worse than players of other regions, and I don't think that's true at all."</p><p> He acknowledges that Korea and China does have greater average strength (their historic performance speaks for itself), but believes it’s more about infrastructure and culture than deficiency in North America's players. "I think the solo queue is a bit better in Korea, and I think the infrastructure is a little better&mdash;just in terms of things like scheduling. People are a lot less likely to be late [to scrims or practice] and things like that, and I think that little extra bit of seriousness levels up their play. That ends up making the difference."</p><p> He and Aphromoo believe that CLG have largely overcome those shortcomings, and have little to fear from even the best that Worlds can toss at them. "I just think we're gonna do really well and make it," says Aphromoo. "I don't feel really scared about anything&mdash;I dunno, a 50% chance we'll make it. If we face SKT earlier, like a baby grand final... unfortunate, but I still think we can beat them."</p><p> "It's hard to say, because I haven't played against every player," says ZionSpartan, wrapping it up. "But I personally feel by the end of the tournament, we'll prove that we're the best team in the world. And that's all that matters."</p><hr> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Stanley Parable creator announces The Beginner's Guidehttp://www.pcgamer.com/stanley-parable-creator-announces-the-beginners-guide/The Stanley Parable was weird and wonderful, and it's followup is out very soon.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:58:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/stanley-parable-creator-announces-the-beginners-guide/Davey WredenIndieNewsThe Beginner's GuideThe Stanley Parable <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZtGaxL_GS9ef.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xo2pefyXh7wx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Beginner's Guide"></p><p>One of the minds behind 2013's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stanley-parable-review/">weird and wonderful</a> hit,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stanley-parable/">The Stanley Parable</a>, announced his next project today:&nbsp;The Beginner's Guide. Stanley Parable designer Davey Wreden dropped the news on&nbsp;Twitter, writing, "The Beginner's Guide is my new game and my followup to Stanley Parable." It will also be a first-person narrative and exploration game, but in Wreden's hands that exploration could take almost any shape.</p><p>Details are sparse, but we won't have to wait very long for more. The Beginner's Guide will launch this week on October 1, a mere 48 hours after its announcement to the world. In the meantime, we have a <a href="http://www.thebeginnersgui.de/">mostly blank website</a> and a couple of screenshots from <a href="https://twitter.com/HelloCakebread/status/648904902605803520">Wreden's Twitter</a> and a couple more from <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2015/9/29/9398101/stanley-parable-the-beginners-guide">Polygon</a>.</p><p>Wreden also noted that the other half of the standalone&nbsp;Stanley Parable's dev team, William Pugh, <a href="https://twitter.com/HelloCakebread/status/648910710651555841">did not have a hand in</a> The Beginner's Guide, although we do know that Pugh is potentially <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/creature-prison-inside-the-vr-designs-of-rick-and-mortys-co-creator/">working with Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland</a> on a VR game, among other things.</p><p>The Beginner's Guide is out this Thursday on both Mac and PC.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cNcpDX8cTuqk.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IAcUQLR6q19x.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Beginner's Guide"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pbmlmMYMSg2i.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DW14W27kHXTU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Beginner's Guide"></p> The PC Gamer Show: Prison Architect devs, VR, TwitchConhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-vr-twitchcon-and-the-prison-architect-devs/The show starts live at 1pm Pacific, with the developers of Prison Architect as our guests this week.Come watch!Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:29:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-vr-twitchcon-and-the-prison-architect-devs/The PC Gamer Show <iframe src="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer/embed" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="378" width="620"> </iframe><p>Every Tuesday at 1 PM Pacific we broadcast <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show" target="_blank">The PC Gamer Show</a> live from our office. It's your chance to get your questions answered live on Twitch, and hear us talk about gaming news, hardware, and what we're playing.</p><p>This week we're lucky to be&nbsp;joined by Chris Delay and Mark Morris, co-founders of Introversion Software and developers of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect/" target="_blank">Prison Architect</a>. They'll be showing off an early look at its final build after the show.</p><p>We'll be talking about TwitchCon 2015, the good and the bad of early access games, how kids games have changed since the days of Putt-Putt and Spy Fox, Oculus' latest VR announcments, and more&mdash;including a "hands-on"&nbsp;TF2 themed&nbsp;Catfantastic quiz and our usual Twitch chat Q&amp;A.</p><p>Watch along today <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer" target="_blank">on Twitch</a>, and toss us some feedback on <a href="https://twitter.com/pcgamer" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or here in the comments! </p><p><em>You can also listen to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-special-guests-from-fatshark-games-and-trendy-entertainment/" target="_blank">last week's episode right here</a></em><em><u>.</u></em></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show" target="_blank"><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/taCXiNP6SzCQ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IsXUp3XaU9XI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The PC Gamer Show thumb with logo"></a></p><p><em><u></u></em></p> Unsung heroes of Dota 2: Omniknighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/unsung-heroes-of-dota-2-omniknight/Why you should make an ally of the Omniscience.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/unsung-heroes-of-dota-2-omniknight/Dota 2MOBAPro <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cKas-RSfTfaV.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lRyA4OMq9BN6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Omniknight Stalwart Soul" class=""> <figcaption>Image:&nbsp;<a href="http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Armor_of_the_Stalwart_Soul">Armor of the Stalwart Soul</a> loading screen by Chiz.</figcaption></figure><p> Given that Dota 2's entire character roster is available to everybody, all of the time, learning new heroes presents a daunting challenge to new players. Talking to people who are just starting out on the long road to being halfway-competent-maybe at Dota, a question I've heard a lot is 'how do I choose who to play next?'</p><p> In this series, then, I'm going to shine a light on heroes that new players may miss. In particular, I'm looking for heroes that have a higher-than-average win-rate (calcuated using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dotabuff.com/">DotaBuff</a>) but who wouldn't otherwise be considered a major part of the current metagame. Champions of pub Dota, in other words, heroes you might not see very often in the hands of top players but who you might get a kick out of as you take your first steps into ranked.</p><p> We’re going to alternate this series with our Dota 2 Q&amp;A, ‘Game Is Hard’, on a bi-weekly basis. This gives us more time to set up interviews and gives time for new hero trends to emerge.</p><p> Let’s get to business.</p><h1>What does Omniknight do?</h1><p> Omniknight is a strength melee hero most commonly played as a support. His abilities emphasise protection: even his most powerful damage spell is deployed defensively.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zMH4GmNoSn2V.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3iThvtgiKwB6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Omniknight Purification" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" class="pulled-image pull-left"> <strong>Purification</strong> is a powerful single-target heal that, in addition to restoring health, does a large amount of damage in an area immediately around the target. This is pure damage, which broadly speaking means that it ignores armour, magic resistance, and spell immunity. Omniknight can cast it on himself, allied heroes, or creeps. In ideal scenario, you’ll always be getting maximum use out of both of its components: using it to prop up a beleaguered ally while also doing significant damage to their assailants. You’ll put your skill points into this first.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VXowl43-RCaA.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/28MEcC1xrOpC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Omniknight Repel" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" class="pulled-image pull-left"> <strong>Repel</strong> grants spell immunity and 100% magic damage resistance to a single target. This is exactly the same as the defensive item Black King Bar, which most carries won’t have built until the midgame. Repel is great for ensuring that your carry doesn’t get stunned into oblivion during a teamfight, or for shielding yourself while you use a teleport scroll to escape. It can also be cast on enemies to prevent them from receiving beneficial effects, but bear in mind that spell immunity is more often a help than a hindrance: if in doubt, Repel an ally. You’ll put skill points into Repel second.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/guBfcJPoSdyz.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pRtrLpRzpIre.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Omniknight Degen Aura" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" class="pulled-image pull-left"> <strong>Degen Aura </strong>slows the movement and attack speed of enemies within a radius of Omniknight. This gives him a little bit of scaling potential in the late game, as attack speed becomes more important, but you wouldn’t want to put skill points into it too early. Generally speaking, it’s more important for Omniknight to survive long enough to use his other abilities and items than it is to be close enough to the enemy for Degen Aura to be useful. In certain one-on-one situations, however, the movement speed debuff can be used to get Omniknight slightly ahead of the enemy in order to line up a self-cast Purification.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OUzDxwFhQQiX.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G3pwxxoLjxh_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Omniknight Guardian Angel" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" class="pulled-image pull-left"> <strong>Guardian Angel</strong> is Omniknight’s ultimate. For a fixed duration, allied units in an area around Omniknight gain immunity to physical damage&mdash;i.e, auto-attacks and certain spells. If upgraded using an Aghanim’s Scepter, Guardian Angel gains global cast range and also affects buildings&mdash;effectively acting as a second Glyph of Fortification. Guardian Angel has a massive impact on teamfights, effectively nullifying the impact of auto-attack happy enemy carries. In pub games, particularly at the beginner level, players tend to be pretty bad at ‘playing around’ ults like this one. If you’re tired of being rolled over by Sniper, Guardian Angel renders him entirely useless for its duration.</p><h1>Why Omniknight?</h1><p> Dota 2 tends to shy from traditional fantasy stereotypes&mdash;or at least they’re rarely presented without a twist of some kind. Omniknight looks like a paladin, sounds like a paladin and&mdash;for the most part&mdash;plays like a paladin. The twist here is a relatively subtle one: despite the crusader knight imagery, angelic guardians and god-rays, Omniknight actually worships a cave-dwelling Elder Thing that may or may not have created the world by chance while trying to hide from space monsters. As you do.</p><p> He’s been sat in the middle of the popularity charts for a long time, now, despite a consistently high win-rate&mdash;greater than 60%. Let’s break down some of the reasons why this might be.</p><h3>He’s almost always played as a hard support</h3><p> This contributes to both his winrate and his unpopularity. As a wise man once said: “nobody wants to play support, but everybody wants to win.” As a defense-oriented character, Omniknight doesn’t offer the multi-kill potential that most players chase. On the other hand, picking him communicates a rare desire to cooperate with your team&mdash;and it’s this, most of the time, that wins games.</p><h3>He upsets aggressive players</h3><p>Omniknight is powerful in pub matches because he punishes players that don’t think twice before committing to an attack. This accounts for a lot of players. When somebody is diving in pursuit of an easy kill, a well-timed heal, burst of magic immunity, or team-wide protection from regular attacks can all turn fights on their head. In a game that is often about snowballing momentum, Omniknight acts as a human stop sign: and he doesn't need much by way of items or levels to do it. A well-timed Guardian Angel can keep a losing team in the game for a long time.</p><h3>He acts as a safety net for allies</h3><p> The inverse is also true: when your own allies are too aggressive, Omniknight is good at making sure that they don’t pay too much for it. Repel acts as a free Black King Bar, granting on-the-fly magic immunity to carries who are dead-set against building defensive items for themselves. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t build defensively, of course, but it’s hardly unusual for pub players to go for more damage over more survivability: Omniknight patches up that gap, whether they like it or not. The key here is that Omniknight himself has to play carefully, even if his allies aren't: make sure you're where you need to be to deliver that clutch Purification, but don't die for it.</p><h3>He is everybody’s dad</h3><p> To put all of this another way: Omniknight is great in pubs because he acts as a moderating influence on what tends to be an immoderate form of Dota. Your job is to stand on the sidelines, dampening enemy aggression and preventing your teammates from hurting themselves too badly. If you can keep a cool head, he’s relatively easy to play: an effective Omniknight is one who reliably gets the most out of a single Purification, a single Repel, a single Guardian Angel. That means walking the tightrope between waiting for the right moment and becoming too hesitant, which is something you’ll only improve with experience. But you’d be surprised at how many games can be won by a single player acting responsibly, defensively, and putting their team first: Omniknight’s 60% winrate isn’t an accident. He isn't flashy, but if you enjoy winning games from a position of control on the sidelines, you'll get a kick out of him.</p><h1>Items to consider</h1><p> As a support, you’re going to spend a lot of time buying <strong>Observer and Sentry Wards</strong> as well as the <strong>Courier</strong> and its flying upgrade. Mana and mobility are both important to Omniknight, so<strong> Arcane Boots</strong> are a priority. His abilities mesh well with a <strong>Soul Ring</strong>, and <strong>Force Staff</strong> lets him reposition within a fight and escape more reliably (something he otherwise lacks.) He’s a natural <strong>Mekansm</strong> carrier, which transitions naturally into <strong>Guardian Greaves</strong>, and his <strong>Aghanim’s Scepter</strong> upgrade can be game-winning. You might also consider picking up helpful aura items on him, like <strong>Vladimir’s Offering</strong> and <strong>Drums of Endurance</strong>. If things are going extremely well, consider a <strong>Refresher Orb</strong>, <strong>Shiva’s Guard</strong>, or <strong>Scythe of Vyse</strong>. Essentially: this is a team-focused hero. Build with your team in mind.</p><hr> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Hitman out March 11, new locations to follow in April, May and Junehttp://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-out-march-11-with-new-locations-to-follow-in-april-may-and-june/Hitman's unusual release schedule has finally been detailed.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:10:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-out-march-11-with-new-locations-to-follow-in-april-may-and-june/HitmanIo InteractiveNewsSquare EnixStealth <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kbh6i9WcSHqQ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2YQeAeKkDK_q.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman absolution 2"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman/" target="_blank">Hitman's</a> unusual release schedule has finally been&nbsp;<a href="https://hitman.com/en-us/news/hitman-release-details#" target="_blank">detailed</a>. The 'Hitman Intro Pack' will be available March 11 for $34.99, and will comprise three 'sandbox locations'&mdash;France, Italy and Morocco&mdash;along with six missions, 800 targets for the game's&nbsp;Contracts mode, 40 'signature kills', plus weekly events to keep Agent 47 busy until April.</p><p>There will be three additional sandbox&nbsp;locations arriving in April, May and June: Thailand, the USA, and Japan, respectively. Plus more missions, and more of everything else really. You'll be able to upgrade the Intro Pack&nbsp;for an additional $29.99&mdash;or buy everything upfront for $59.99. You can pre-order 'The Full Experience' now, which will give you guaranteed beta access, though it's not clear yet how limited the beta will be. As ever, it's probably best to wait.</p><p>It's certainly an interesting way to release a big-budget game, one that will hopefully give the developers more time to work on Hitman before launch. You can see a pizza-like infographic explaining the release schedule below.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NSyyQ23ZQcSw.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gMDyoWDVZ4ej.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman release schedule"></p> Need For Speed preview: does story belong in a racing game? http://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed-preview-does-story-belong-in-a-racing-game/Hands-on with the oddly story-driven Need For Speed reboot.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:01:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed-preview-does-story-belong-in-a-racing-game/Need for SpeedPreviewsRacing <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BoE_yw_RRl2p.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kf-4l2Op-EdK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NFS gamescom 01"></p><p>Welcome to the crazy world of 2015, where a Need For Speed game somehow has more story than a Metal Gear Solid sequel. I should be more against that idea than I actually am: the word ‘bae’ is used twice in the first minute of the first cutscene without a shadow of irony, for example, but it’s actually quite a fun way to structure this open-world racing RPG. This reboot&nbsp;feels like&nbsp;a best-of compilation of the Need For Speed series, and this story component is weirdly one of the parts I enjoyed the most in my hands-on with the game.</p><p>Need For Speed’s story is conveyed through live-action cutscenes that sometimes insert your own car into the background, with five supporting characters that each represent a discipline in car culture: there’s speed, style, build, crew and outlaw. I played through 13% of the whole game across three hours, and mainly focused on the first three, which involved cycling through races and a drifting score attack mode. The crew and outlaw elements&nbsp;are about multiplayer and law-breaking, respectively.&nbsp;</p><p>Each of the five ways to play is represented by a real-life icon of racing: rally driver&nbsp;Ken Block represents style, for example, while street racing team Risky Devil represent crew. They also sometimes feature in the background of cutscenes, to create the impression you’re part of a genuine car culture&mdash;it’s all heightened and ludicrously glamorous, of course, but it adds a real-world credibility to your part in the story as a rising star in this scene. Five main fictional characters represent a different discipline, too, and they essentially function as separate quest lines throughout the game.<img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lv7qo2hsQzOZ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E6Zdh3qjA5SU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bmw M3e46 World 1920" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p>First among that cast is Spike, an enthusiastic little brother-style character with a hat trying to break into the racing scene, who would remind me of my own little brother were he interested in cars instead of Sword Art Online. Spike seems to have rich parents, which annoyingly enables him to follow his dreams of becoming a street racer instead of finding real work, and he fancies a lady called Robyn, who doesn’t seem terribly interested in him. Then there’s Amy, the no-nonsense mechanic, who I think might fancy me (the silent player character, rather than PC Gamer’s Samuel Roberts). There’s also&nbsp;Manu, who openly mocks Spike for being a rich kid, which I appreciate, and just got into some minor trouble with the police at the end of my preview with the game. And finally, there's Travis, who represents the Outlaw side of things, liking making getaways from cops,&nbsp;and he only briefly appeared in the parts of the story I reached.</p><p>That’s about as dramatic as it gets&mdash;it’s light soap opera, like a less dickish Entourage with cars,&nbsp;and&nbsp;there’s no danger of anyone giving birth or getting assassinated. We're talking mild peril at most, here.&nbsp;Each character calls you frequently&nbsp;and sets up new story challenges, which then appear on the map of Ventura Bay, the game’s wet, well-lit&nbsp;and expansive city setting. Complete these challenges and more customisations options open up. Amy’s, for example, were the key to getting faster car parts, so there’s an incentive to engage with the characters beyond the mild curiosity about their personal lives.</p><p>Success earns you both experience points to build up your REP (your RPG level, basically, which gates both new challenges and car parts) and money to spend on upgrades. You can instantly zap back to your garage at any time, to replace parts and tinker with the handling to find the right balance between drifting and control. There’s a pleasing arc in taking a slightly rubbish car and transforming it into a more&nbsp;competitive one. In my hours with Need For Speed I took a 1990 Ford Mustang from being a 100MPH car into a 180MPH beast with a blatantly tacky gold paint job, leaving it looking like something my dad would’ve loved to drive&nbsp;as a younger man while listening to ELO cassettes.<img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q6cKs0B5QOOa.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mVpLTqppQDew.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ford Mustang Gt Stock 1920" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p>The customisation and progression options feel meaningful, and you can get a car to that point pretty fast&mdash;and there were clearly way more options deeper into the game to make it even faster. It’s an online-only game, so you’ll see other players racing around and occasionally, if they’re bored, ramming into you for fun.&nbsp;</p><p>There are some quirks that need ironing out&mdash;the characters call you so often to set up challenges in the build I’m playing, for example, that it actually puts you off driving in the middle of the race. That’s apparently being scaled back for the full release, though, which would help avoid unfavourable comparisons with GTA IV’s needy friends.</p><p>Nothing’s that complicated in Need For Speed, of course, and it's about as mass market as driving games get.&nbsp;But there’s enough depth and variety here that I think it'll be fun to build up a whole garage of personalised, absurdly upgraded cars. I’m slightly curious about what happens to these characters, too&mdash;I envy their lives of cheerfully sitting in diners while&nbsp;being young, beautiful and owning&nbsp;fancy cars like that’s a viable way to make a living in a major American city. It’s lightweight but fun, and successfully provides a framework for what might otherwise just be a grab bag of fun&nbsp;open world challenges.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/td2CBxw2RAyU.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kDKzm39WotVo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nissan Silvia Garage 1920"></p><p>The PC build of Need For Speed is sadly coming much later than console versions, though, in Spring 2016. On one hand, it’s good that Ghost took criticism of Rivals’ locked framerate on-board to create a&nbsp;PC version with an unlocked&nbsp;framerate, but having to wait for four or five months longer to play it is something of an unfortunate trade-off. It’s not a small job for Ghost Games, which I appreciate&mdash;and perhaps Batman’s disastrous PC launch indicates that rushing ports out the door has its own cost.</p> Inkle's globetrotting adventure 80 Days hits PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/inkles-globetrotting-adventure-80-days-hits-pc/Get your Phileas massive work of interactive fiction.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/inkles-globetrotting-adventure-80-days-hits-pc/80 DaysAdventureNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZSrL9YIIRFyE.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N16efuSJxFGr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="80 Days"></p><p>As an iPhone- and iPad-less, and generally rubbish-phone-having&nbsp;individual, I've had to peek over the fence at folks enjoying Inkle's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inklestudios.com/80days/" target="_blank">80 Days</a>, a globe-trotting interactive fiction game inspired by Victorian traveller and crisp manufacturer&nbsp;Phileas Fogg. Now that it's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-multiple-award-winning-80-days-is-coming-to-pc-with-a-major-content-update/" target="_blank">come to PC</a>, I can add it to my Steam library then forget I ever&nbsp;bought it, as is the way of all things.</p><p>That second part&nbsp;might be unwise, as I've heard that 80 Days is very good indeed. It's set in a steampunky 1872, and in a big world that lets you go seemingly&nbsp;pretty much anywhere in your quest to circumnavigate the globe. Fogg reckons he can do this in just 80 of our Earth days, and as his valet, Passepartout, you'll need to manage this strict time limit&nbsp;at every turn. Here's a bit more, from the Steam page:</p><p>"80 DAYS is a breakneck race, with an in-game clock that never stops running. Trains, steamers, hot-air balloons, boats, camels, horses and more leave and arrive minute by minute.</p><p>"Every city and journey is narrated via an interactive story where you control every action. Will your choices speed you up - or lead you into disaster? Will you earn Fogg's trust and respect? Will you uncover the secrets and short-cuts that can shave days off your time? Murder, romance, rebellion and intrigue await!"</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NzR3GED4P7g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This new version adds more storylines, more parts of the world, and more <em>more</em>, as detailed in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inklestudios.com/2015/09/17/new_adventures.html" target="_blank">this blog post</a> by developer Inkle. The game's word count now stands at a faintly incredible 750,000, "longer than the first five Harry Potter novels combined".</p><p>80 Days is out now on&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com//app/381780" target="_blank">Steam</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/80_days" target="_blank">GOG</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greenmangaming.com/s/gb/en/pc/games/adventure/80-days/" target="_blank">Green Man Gaming</a> and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/80days_storefront" target="_blank">Humble Store</a>, and it'll cost you around £7.</p> Jotun is a beautiful hand-drawn game about killing Norse titanshttp://www.pcgamer.com/jotun-is-beautiful-hand-drawn-game-about-killing-norse-titans/We kill gigantic Norse titans with Jotun's Creative Director William Dubé.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:02:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/jotun-is-beautiful-hand-drawn-game-about-killing-norse-titans/ActionJotunVideos <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WytbfztD4dQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/jotun/" target="_blank">Jotun</a> is one of only a few games that actually made me feel small. Faced with&nbsp;killing gigantic Norse titans called Jotun, you have to dodge and attack with precise timing or else be crushed swiftly and without remorse.&nbsp;I got a chance to play Jotun with its Creative Director&nbsp;William Dubé, who told me about the art and design directions of the game while giving me a few tips on how to survive. Watch the video above to see&nbsp;Jotun's beautiful&nbsp;hand drawn&nbsp;art style in action, and you can find it on&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/323580/" target="_blank">Steam</a> starting&nbsp;today.&nbsp;</p> Assassin's Creed Syndicate has crafting, here's what it involveshttp://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-has-crafting-heres-what-it-involves/Jacob and Evie's skill trees also detailed.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-has-crafting-heres-what-it-involves/ActionAssassin's Creed: SyndicateNewsUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KTMcN6QfRDaN.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cva73ENmcY4k.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AC Syndicate crafting"></p><p>Did Assassin's Creed Unity have crafting? I can't remember, and if it did, it was probably lost in its awful, dispiriting menus full of confusing&nbsp;icons, currencies and numbers. I know that Black Flag&mdash;the last good AC game&mdash;did, and crafting is returning for the Victorian London-set&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate/" target="_blank">Syndicate</a>.</p><p>Ubisoft has detailed crafting over on the&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.ubi.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-crafting-and-customization-faq/" target="_blank">Ubiblog</a>, a fun word that I'm going to demand you try to say out loud three times in a row. UbiblogUbiblogUbiblog.</p><p>Can't be done, can it? Anyway, you'll&nbsp;need to craft upgrades to hold more explosives in your bomb pouch, more syringes in your&nbsp;medicine pouch and so on, in addition to making fancier clothes. Sadly you won't be able to air-assassinate an ocelot in this one, so you'll be getting crafting&nbsp;resources from chests and from missions instead. However, you'll also be able to use these to make your gang, the Rooks, more powerful.</p><p>"Use resources," the Ubiblog Ubisays,&nbsp;"to get discounts on items, bribe the police, sabotage the Templar’s carriages and weapons, make your Rooks stronger, and much more".</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jODJGZbWSnaG.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I3F4eQ-ONVy0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AC Syndicate skills"></p><p>Syndicate's skill trees have also been detailed, and murdery twins Jacob and Evie will each&nbsp;have a different set of skills. Jacob loves punching, while Evie loves hiding&mdash;she can also turn invisible, something Phil&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-is-invisibility-a-stealth-trick-too-far/" target="_blank">wasn't too keen on</a> when he played the game the other month.</p><p>AC Syndicate is out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-landing-late-on-pc/" target="_blank">November 19</a>, at least on PC, and Jack the Ripper is in it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate-to-get-predicted-jack-the-ripper-dlc/" target="_blank">as DLC</a>.</p> RollerCoaster Tycoon World release date set for Decemberhttp://www.pcgamer.com/rollercoaster-tycoon-world-release-date-set-for-december/There will alsobe two beta weekends for those who pre-order.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rollercoaster-tycoon-world-release-date-set-for-december/AtariNewsrollercoaster tycoon worldsim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/00n3oCGnS_aZ.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TOf748JqQkuK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="RCTW"></p><p>After ten long years (not to mention several different developers)&nbsp;the fourth major installment in&nbsp;the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, RollerCoaster Tycoon World, will arrive on&nbsp;December 10. Prior to launch, there will be&nbsp;two beta weekends for those who pre-purchase the game to get an early look.</p><p>I spoke on&nbsp;Monday&nbsp;with Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, COO Todd Shallbeter, Senior Director of Marketing Tony Chien,&nbsp;and RCTW producer&nbsp;Matt Labunka.&nbsp;While RCTW's&nbsp;multiplayer mode will not be ready in time for launch, they told me it is&nbsp;planned as an free&nbsp;update&nbsp;in the future. In the meantime, there will still&nbsp;be some&nbsp;online functionality when the game is released. You'll be able to visit your friends' parks and utilize&nbsp;other social features like sharing screenshots and videos.</p><p>They also confirmed that&nbsp;RCTW will include&nbsp;Steam Workshop support at launch&mdash;which has certainly done wonders for extending the lifespan of city-building sim&nbsp;Cities: Skylines. RCTW will allow&nbsp;players to upload and&nbsp;share the&nbsp;coasters they build, custom&nbsp;scenery, and other assets, along with saved games and parks. According to Atari, creating your own scenery and "peeps" (park visitors) can be done with any 3D editing program compatible with Unity. Atari couldn't quite confirm there would be deeper mod support in the future, to allow custom-made rides or other changes to the core&nbsp;gameplay, though producer&nbsp;Matt Labunka told me it is&nbsp;"certainly something we're looking at."</p><p>Atari initially&nbsp;took some criticism back&nbsp;in March for their first RCTW&nbsp;gameplay trailer, with many fans finding the visuals underwhelming and voicing concerns about low&nbsp;framerates. Since then, however, Atari has upgraded to Unity 5 and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03tQP6pulHM">the videos released since then</a> (at least in my opinion) show a good&nbsp;deal of improvement.</p><p>RCTW will ship with a scenario mode in which, similar to previous games in the series, players build parks to reach certain milestones&nbsp;before moving on to start a new park. I personally&nbsp;always hated having to leave a park just to start over with a new one, so I was relieved&nbsp;to hear there will also be a campaign mode that takes&nbsp;place in a single park, where players unlock new rides and buildings&nbsp;as they progress. Naturally, there will be a&nbsp;sandbox mode&nbsp;where players can build without restrictions or milestones (and with infinite money).</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jF_WtzJoTbKh.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ikX5o5ssA2l6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="rctw"></p><p>As in RCT3, you can also ride all of your attractions in first-person mode, and in addition to the free camera you'll be able to use an isometric view if that's your jam.&nbsp;RCTW&nbsp;also features gridless object placement to allow players to position buildings and rides at any angle they choose, though there will be an option to 'snap' things in place for more casual players (like me).</p><p>RollerCoaster Tycoon World&nbsp;can now&nbsp;be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rollercoastertycoon.com/buy">pre-purchased at its official site</a>, and may also be found&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/282560/">in the Steam store</a>.&nbsp;There are a few editions to choose from: the standard edition, or for $10 more, a Digital Deluxe version which comes with a digital art book, two extra maps and a few cosmetic items. There's also an 'Ultimate Tycoon' version which includes the Digital Deluxe edition plus all of the previous games (and their DLC) from the RollerCoaster Tycoon series.</p><p>Pre-purchasing any version of RollerCoaster Tycoon World will grant players access to two beta weekends prior to the December launch. One beta weekend is planned for the end of October, the other for the end of November. Taking that pre-purchase&nbsp;leap is a risk we're always going to be wary of,&nbsp;but we'll look to the beta weekends for early impressions.</p> Project Spark is going freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/project-spark-is-going-free/All DLC will be made free on October 5.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/project-spark-is-going-free/MicrosoftNewsProject Spark <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ViulXxN4R1Gm.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/r-ZrFje8QUfZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Project Spark"></p><p>Microsoft's&nbsp;<a href="http://welcome.projectspark.com/" target="_blank">Project Spark</a> lets you make and share games, short animated&nbsp;films, levels etc etc for<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/project-spark-trailer-promises-a-universe-of-possibility-but-only-if-youre-using-windows-8/" target="_blank"> Xbox platforms and Windows 8</a>, and until now it's been supported by micro-transactions that ask you to shell out for the&nbsp;constituent elements. I said 'until now', because Microsoft has&nbsp;<a href="http://news.xbox.com/2015/09/games-project-spark-transition" target="_blank">just announced</a> that all of the various DLC will soon be free. It's also lifting restrictions on terrain and in-game props, and adding a load of new assets to the creation tool.</p><p>"On October 5," Microsoft says,&nbsp;"Project Spark will transition from its microtransaction model to a free and open creation engine. This will automatically unlock previously paid downloadable content for new and existing Project Spark users. Microsoft will pivot from producing DLC and active feature development to encouraging more user generated content and opening the Project Spark experience.</p><p>'Pivot'. Also, 'active feature development'&mdash;it&nbsp;sounds like Microsoft is quietly putting Project Spark out to pasture. Here's a bit more, which will be of interest if you've previously shelled out for any DLC.</p><p>"In light of these changes to a fully free model, all players who have purchased Project Spark digital content on or after July 28, 2015, purchased and activated retail discs on or after July 28, 2015 or have a remainder balance of purchased in-game tokens will be entitled to Microsoft Store credit equivalent to their money spent. Microsoft Store credits will be awarded to all users within 30-60 days after October 5."</p><p>Project Spark briefly brought Rare's&nbsp;Conker back from the grave, whether you wanted it to or not. Here's the trailer heralding his scatological&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/conker-making-his-debut-on-pc/" target="_blank">adventures</a>:</p><iframe width="615" height="346" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uSBMgJ-kpjA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Microsoft says it&nbsp;will "no longer create episodic adventures" for Project Spark, "including future Conker’s Big Reunion episodic content". So that's the end of him.</p> Soma has a live-action mini-series, first episode out nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/soma-has-a-live-action-mini-series-first-episode-out-now/A prequel series set before the game.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-has-a-live-action-mini-series-first-episode-out-now/HorrorNewsSOMA <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pFs8gR3BQ0Ki.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yQmetjbWBrFP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Soma live-action"></p><p>I liked Frictional Games'&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma/" target="_blank">SOMA</a> a fair amount, but it didn't live up to those early live-action teasers, which set my&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/frictionals-next-game-teased-involves-a-big-freaky-machine-somehow/" target="_blank">imagination racing</a> a couple of years ago. (Also, hey, I was pretty off with&nbsp;my 'wild prediction', wasn't I?) Now, Frictional has returned to the realm of live-action with a new prequel&nbsp;miniseries, fleshing out the plot of their soggy, philosophical horror adventure.</p><p>The first is below, and contains "very minor spoilers",&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/frictionalgames/status/648486034062319616" target="_blank">according to Frictional</a>. And yep, they are pretty minor. But I'd still recommend playing, and finishing, SOMA first, as the following video will rob the game of some of its surprise.</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/L8I_J2VjsqQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's about Sci-Fi&mdash;sorry, *shudder*, 'Syfy'&mdash;TV movie quality, I reckon, although that robot is pretty convincing. Frictional is going to be releasing an episode a day between now and October 5, and as this one came out yesterday, we should expect another later today.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-review/" target="_blank">Andy called SOMA</a> a&nbsp;"masterpiece of audio and visual design", "atmospheric, cerebral, and occasionally frustrating".</p> Fungal physics puzzler Mushroom 11 out soonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/fungal-physics-puzzler-mushroom-11-out-soon/I must have missed the first ten.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fungal-physics-puzzler-mushroom-11-out-soon/Mushroom 11NewsPlatformerPuzzle <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QWCHEz0TSVq3.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5TlmuprBi7hG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mushroom 11"></p><p>Back in my day *stops mid-sentence to yell at passing cloud* there were only about seven indie games, and three of them were made by Derek Yu. Delightful physics puzzler&nbsp;World of Goo was one of the ones that wasn't, and it's taken this long for a game to appear that reminds me of that wonderfully tactile game.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mushroom11.com/" target="_blank">Mushroom 11</a> is its own thing, of course: a game about&nbsp;an amorphous&nbsp;blob traversing a post-apocalyptic landscape, and in that way it's not unlike your mum's&nbsp;daily commute to Newport town centre.</p><p>Let's take a&nbsp;look at a&nbsp;trailer, shall we?</p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KVe76XebJcw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The human race is dead, see, and one of the few things to be spared is a big ball of fungus, also known as you. To move across the ruined world, you'll need to destroy parts of yourself, contorting your form into shapes that will fit through gaps and bypass obstacles. Don't worry: what with you&nbsp;being a freaky&nbsp;mushroom-thing,&nbsp;you'll regrow.</p><p>Developer Untame's strange puzzle-platformer is releasing October 15, on National Mushroom Day, which is apparently a real thing. There's a bit of buzz around this one, so it's worth a deeper look, if that unassuming name has put you off. Mushroom 11 will retail for $14.99, from GOG and Steam, and you can already find the&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/243160/" target="_blank">Steam page here</a>.</p> FIFA 16 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/fifa-16-review/Still the best football game you can buy for your rig, but FIFA 16 feels unambitious.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fifa-16-review/FIFA 16ReviewsSports <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>Price:</strong> £50 / $60 <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> EA Sports <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> EA Canada <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> Online, co-op and competitive <br> <strong>Link:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.easports.com/fifa" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> Reviewing FIFA 16 for PC is a tricky proposition. Sure, EA Canada has yet again laid out an all encompassing soccer smörgåsbord that boasts immaculate presentation and dizzying production values. Yet it's hard to fight off the feeling this season's effort feels more like a glorified DLC pack, rather than the full priced annual update you'd hope for.</p><p> No Touch Dribbling. Dynamic Crossing. Clinical Finishing. Confidence In Defending. Interception Intelligence. Good lord does EA love a capitalised buzz phrase. Unfortunately, most of this year's supposedly new on-pitch features translate into diddly squat when you're looking for tangible, easily felt improvements over FIFA 15.</p><p> Nearly everything that was right and wrong on the field last year remains in FIFA 16. That means slightly floaty shooting, fiddly tackling, lots of wing play and many an unspectacular tap-in dribbling over the line. Of course, it also means an incredibly solid passing game, with emphasis on satisfying buildup play and ferociously whipped in crosses. In other words, EA's chart-topping juggernaut still plays a cracking game of football... for the most part.</p><p> What little that has changed revolves around subtly tinkered with passing on the ground. Previously, the FIFA community would complain that zipping the ball about a packed midfield was like a giant game of human pinball being played out between 22 millionaires. Now, though, stroking the ball even 10 yards between midfielders can feel downright glacial, with passes demonstrably slower than they were last year.</p><p> It's not necessarily a bad thing&mdash;it certainly gives FIFA 16 a more realistic tempo&mdash;but given the fact many matches against the CPU are already unspectacular, low-scoring affairs, it leaves you with an experience that feels diligent, thoughtful, yet ultimately a little&mdash;whisper it&mdash;boring.&nbsp;</p><p>FIFA 16 may occasionally give into the Dull Side of the Force, but at least it's progressive in other areas. At long last women are represented in a football game. Considering the impact last year's terrific Women's World Cup had on broadening the appeal of the sport, this is a welcomingly inclusive move on EA's part. </p><p>The 12 national women's sides offered might be a little stingy in number, but it’s a start and at least an effort has been made to ensure their matches feel different from the men's game. The action is slower and more deliberate. Slightly more languid turning circles mean dribbling in tight spaces is difficult, encouraging a more robust style of passing. I found the altered pace refreshing.</p><p>Whether playing as men or women, FIFA's life-swallowing online offering is stronger than ever. EA's streamlined matchmaking is so confident and reliable at this point, instantly hopping into lag-free multiplayer matches is something you instantly take for granted. And of course, FIFA Ultimate Team (the absurdly addictive card-collecting mode) is back and remains the crowning jewel. This time, the headline addition is FUT Draft; a set of one-off tournaments that reward you for putting together winning streaks. The bigger the run of victories, the better the prizes&mdash;I bagged three Premium Gold Packs for a three-match win streak, one of which gave me Messi and Aguero as loan players.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m065GqfXQdWE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-VxHzk3zJDXd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="FIFA 16 screen 3"></p><p>This being 2015, these juicy card prizes don't come for free. You have to cough up 15,000 FUT coins or 300 FIFA points to enter a Draft tournament&mdash;the latter costing roughly £1/$1 of real money per 100 points. While you can still play the rest of FUT for free and have a grand old time winning games as you build up the Chemistry rating of your team by tweaking your squad and formation, EA's love of micro-transactions is a reminder that FIFA 16 isn't exactly great value for money. At £50/$60 for the standard edition, the lack of significant on-field improvements grates. </p><p>Make no mistake: this is still an exhaustive package. There are enough licensed teams, leagues and spot-on player likenesses here to, well, launch your own brown-envelope-free rival governing body. And, unlike PES 16's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pes-2016s-seemingly-shonky-pc-port-gets-a-demo/">pitiful PC showing</a>, FIFA 16 is a cracking port that runs well on a variety of rigs&mdash;I played on a (admittedly monstrous) 980 TI, and the subsequent 4K/unfaltering 60fps action was totally sumptuous. </p><p>Technical triumph aside, there's no denying EA's soccer goliath is resting on its considerable laurels. Between FIFA 09-12, each new entry introduced bold new revisions&mdash;think 360-Degree Dribbling and Tactical Defending&mdash;which had a transformative effect on the actual football year after year. Yet since moving to the Ignite engine, the series has effectively stood still. Is FIFA 16 still the best football sim you can buy on PC? Absolutely. Has it also utterly stagnated over the last two years? You can bet Diego Costa's hollowed out soul it has.</p> The G410 is Logitech's new light, tenkeyless mechanical keyboardhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-g410-is-logitechs-new-light-tenkeyless-mechanical-keyboard/Logitech's new keyboard ditches the number pad to be lightweightandtravel ready.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 08:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-g410-is-logitechs-new-light-tenkeyless-mechanical-keyboard/HardwareLogitechMechanical keyboardsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GaAOx5bsQ4GQ.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3detzvmThZMF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Logitech G410"></p><p>Logitech has unveiled the G410 Atlas Spectrum TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, a small RG keyboard that drops the G910's custom angled keycaps in favor of a more finger-familiar shape.</p><p>Logitech says that fans have been asking for a smaller mechanical keyboard, so the G410 has a tenkeyless design (i.e. no numpad or macro keys) which makes it small and light enough to throw in your backpack. </p><p>The G410 has Logitech's custom&nbsp;“Romer-G” mechanical switches, which Logitech says register key presses up to 25 percent faster than its competitors (with a 45 gram actuation force and 1.5mm actuation point, they're easier to press than most Cherry keys).</p><p>The G410 has individually customizable RGB keys, and like most of Logitech's new products, you can download the Logitech Arx Control app for iOS or Android, which displays things like in-game information and vital statistics. The G410 comes with a little phone stand in case you want to prop it up on your desk with the app running.</p><p>The G410 Atlas Spectrum is scheduled to launch in the US and Europe in October with a retail price of $130 / €149. We've got our hands on one, and will be reporting back soon with a review.</p> How an MMO turns free-to-play without losing its soulhttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-an-mmo-turns-free-to-play-without-losing-its-soul/WildStar, for all its bouncy enthusiasm, hasn't had the easiest go of things.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 04:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-an-mmo-turns-free-to-play-without-losing-its-soul/interviewMMORPGWildStar <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1RWvZCceRoOx.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5t2gl3Llt3V-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wildstar"></p><p> WildStar, for all its bouncy enthusiasm, hasn't had the easiest go of things. Despite <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wildstar-review/">the warm reception the game received at launch</a>, it felt like everything has been downhill from there: subscriber numbers continued to dip following its release, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wildstar-studio-loses-around-60-employees-in-ncsoft-restructure/">Carbine suffered a wave of layoffs last year</a>, and new content wasn't always in a polished state. Things were looking bleak for the subscription-based sci-fi MMORPG. But talking with product director Mike Donatelli and creative director Chad Moore, you would never know it. If anything, the troubles that Carbine have weathered since launch has only strengthened their resolve to deliver a better, more accessible game. With WildStar dropping its subscription for good and relaunching as WildStar: Reloaded this week, they seem better poised than ever to do just that.</p><p> "Obviously we made a few missteps along the way," says Moore. He has been with the studio for almost a decade despite WildStar being Carbine's only game. "What I will say now&mdash;and I've said it a lot&mdash;I think that the core of WildStar was always really good. I think that some of the supporting framework around it was a little shaky."</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Haw_20wqWBM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> That supporting framework, according to Donatelli, had a lot to do with the fact that WildStar was being created for a market that, when the game launched, no longer existed.</p><p> "When I started, this was a sub game and the systems were built to support a subscription, and there were multiple subscription-based games out there that were doing just fine!" Donatelli tells me.</p><p> When WildStar arrived alongside other popular MMORPGs that year, it wasn't long before the team realized that subscriptions were no longer as tolerated as they once were. Donatelli explains that, as he sees it, the term ‘free-to-play’ has evolved rapidly over the past few years. What used to be products that were free because the quality of the game was much lower has now grown into a healthy ecosystem that benefits both consumers and, as Donatelli hopes is the case for WildStar, developers too. But regardless of how the transition to free-to-play affects WildStar, Donatelli believes that subscription fees aren't the future of the genre. "I would never want to make another subscription game&mdash;not in the current market," he says.</p><p> While dropping the monthly fee might seem like a small change, Moore and Donatelli couldn't stress enough how much effort had to be poured into shifting gears on WildStar's future. Alongside a huge host of mechanical changes that have been made to the game for its free-to-play release, they also had to dedicate a large portion of the last year to figuring out how to bring WildStar to a new audience without compromising their original vision.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aD9eIsdqRamW.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DkYIFZ0-w610.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wildstar Red"></p><p> "It was a battle. But we were all on the same page where we never wanted to sell power, and we wanted to make sure that players, whether they wanted to spend money or not, could access the same kind of stuff," says Donatelli.</p><p> Switching to free-to-play can rightly make a lot of potential and existing players very anxious. The financial model is vulnerable to all manner of corruptions in pursuit of getting players to cough up their cash. Donatelli was honest about the difficulties the studio had about wanting to find the best balance between making WildStar financially successful enough to continue supporting it but also avoid gouging their customers by being too greedy. "We just want you to pay us money so we can make more WildStar."</p><blockquote> "I would never want to make another subscription game&mdash;not in the current market." </blockquote><p> Having a monthly fee wasn't the only nail in the coffin of WildStar's hopes of a successful first year. There were several factors that led to the game quickly leaving player's hard drives, factors that Carbine has been hard at work addressing. WildStar's gruelling raid attunement, a series of objectives players had to complete before taking part in the raid, has been shortened from 12 steps down to four. And that's only one example of how the game is an overall smoother experience.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IoK0zCZ1QNWj.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fLVWp3uiLyks.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pets - Wildstar 3"></p><p> While the team spent a considerable amount of time building the in-game cash shop and balancing other aspects of WildStar in preparation for dropping the monthly fee, they've also been hard at work polishing and adding new content at a fairly rapid pace. When I jumped back into WildStar in preparation for the free-to-play launch, I was surprised by how much it had grown. Despite waning numbers of players month after month, the team has been adding new dungeons, new Shiphand missions (dungeons that can be played alone or as a group), new zones, and more.</p><p> "We learned a lot in the months after launch," Moore says. "There is a huge difference between a development studio and a live studio. The team we have now is significantly changed and matured from the time when we launched the game."</p><p> "Our number one challenge when we came out of launch was that, hey, we made this game, and now we need to figure out a way to get players a good, steady stream of content."</p><p> Donatelli adds that, before the launch, he didn't appreciate the amount of effort that would go into both supporting WildStar as it is while making new content for it down the road. Before launch, Carbine was pretty adamant that the game would see monthly content updates. Compounded with their financial woes, the team realized that monthly updates might have been a bit too high of a bar to reach. They had to adjust. Since then, the team has settled into a very "stable" quarterly update schedule.&nbsp;"You could time a watch to it," Donatelli jokes.&nbsp;</p><p> A subscription fee isn't the only thing that will be left in the dust today because WildStar has also been abandoning its vision for a revival for the hardcore MMORPG experience.&nbsp;"I think there was a certain nostalgia for that kind of gameplay," Moore says. "It wasn't reality. People can't&mdash;and don't&mdash;play that way anymore."</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TW9bbCKbTsiL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LeZitz4PHJ4S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wildstar 3"></p><p> Before launch, WildStar billed itself as a return to the glory of World of Warcraft before Blizzard's integrity was sullied by such abhorrent pursuits like 'convenience.' WildStar boasted 40 man raids that were designed from the ground up to be the most challenging content ever created in an MMORPG. But according to Moore, WildStar was placing bets on players who didn't realize that, despite what they might think, they didn't actually want that style of game.</p><p> "You can find these comments, they are everywhere, where people are like, yeah man, I thought that was going to be a great idea too," Moore says. "They realized they're not 20 years old anymore."</p><p> Throughout the interview, as Moore and Donatelli walked me through the the large number of changes that WildStar has undergone since release and will be undergoing this week and in the following months, the word "accessible" came up a lot. While WildStar still retains much of its challenge, the team is intent on crafting an experience that also caters to the way that modern players approach MMORPGs. Features like contracts were added to the game, which give players easily digestible objectives to pursue in a short play session that still provide meaningful progression and rewards.</p><blockquote> "Before launch, WildStar billed itself as a return to the glory of World of Warcraft." </blockquote><p> "We needed to start looking at faster ways to get in, enjoy the game&mdash;play it, and then log out and go to bed because you have to get up early or whatever," says Donatelli.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">simplifying the stats</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oFkElg2hR9WI.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mzu0Z4_SaVwM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wildstar 1"> </p> <p> One aspect that was infuriating for the WildStar community was the way character stats affected each class differently. Where one class would rely on one stat for damage, a different class would need to focus on another, a problem that confused plenty of players. For the free-to-play update, Carbine has replaced the system with six main stats that impact each class equally. Though it seems like it might be a minor adjustment, it took months to implement. The team had to essentially re-balance the game with new math and then apply those changes to each item individually. </p> </div><p> While raiding still remains the core focus on WildStar's endgame, Carbine also included veteran Shiphand missions for players who don't have the time to dedicate to a sweaty evening of slamming their head against WildStar's brutal raid bosses. The more the team explained to me, the more it was evident that WildStar is a more flexible game than ever.</p><p> The changes don't stop there. WildStar:&nbsp;Reloaded&nbsp;will also introduce a host of systems to help improve the quality of life of players, making it more approachable for every audience. Housing plots have been expanded to give players more options for building their home, a new tutorial is much shorter and allows players to tailor the experience based on their familiarity with MMOs, and a new content finder has been added to make queuing for dungeons easier while also providing suggestions on where to spend your time in Nexus.</p><p> Carbine is even addressing a slight imbalance in player population due to the fact that players seemed to gravitate toward the fluffy-tailed Aurin over their mad-scientist cousins, the Chua, from the opposing faction.</p><p> "People love the bunny people," Moore jokes. The team is working to find new ways of making the Chua, who, quite frankly, look like fat rats, more appealing. Moore says my suggestion of simply making the Aurin uglier will be taken under consideration.</p><p> Awkward revelations about how players like to portray themselves in-game aside, Moore is adamant that the team is well aware of the need to make this second impression count. For that, they are leaning on their small but dedicated fans to help spread the word.</p><p> "We just have to depend on the fact that there is still a core group of lovable lunatics that are in this game all the time," Donatelli adds. "We have a crazy community, and I hope that they're going to help get the word out there."</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nIAHjOEXQdOr.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M2Ya1yFnDTL9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wildstar"></p><p> While an MMORPG is only as good as its next update, the team wasn't willing to divulge any specifics on the future of WildStar in terms of major expansions to the core game. They were quick to reiterate their quarterly update schedule and did tease the potential for a new raid arriving at some point in the coming months, but nothing concrete. There is a host of new community events taking place this fall and winter like bonus experience weekends, holiday events, and even the Hoverboard zPrix Invitational which celebrates the glory of WildStar's hoverboards in a race where players can win new boards, titles, and costumes.</p><p> If the last few years have taught us&mdash;and Carbine&mdash;anything, it's that MMORPGs are undergoing a pretty significant change. The old ways of playing them are transforming, and WildStar had the misfortune of existing in the awkward space between that change. Talking with Moore and Donatelli, it is evident that the team at Carbine is nothing but excited about this new free-to-play future for their charming sci-fi MMO.</p><p> "The whole point of what we tried to do with WildStar always had a purity to it, and I think that people are going to be able to feel that when they jump back in," Moore says. "I think they're really going to enjoy it."</p> WildStar's free-to-play version launched todayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/wildstars-free-to-play-version-launched-today/The transition comes with a big update,WildStar: Reloaded.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 04:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wildstars-free-to-play-version-launched-today/MMONewsWildStar <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mk_0tWO7SM-V.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tcTDQfdlVjoc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="WildStar"></p><p>Following the life cycle of most&nbsp;modern MMOs, WildStar relaunched today as a free-to-play game, dropping its subscription model. The new free-to-play version came with a big content update titled WildStar: Reloaded.</p><p>“We received a ton of&nbsp;positive feedback from our fan base through our closed beta and have worked to create a game that is fun,&nbsp;accessible, and engaging for all players," Carbine Studios product director&nbsp;Mike Donatelli wrote in a press release.</p><p>Relaunching as a free-to-play game can seem like an admission of failure, but it's a trend that many new MMOs are following. Even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/world-of-warcraft/">World of Warcraft</a> is, after a decade,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-sheds-another-15-million-subs/">steadily losing subscribers</a>. Moving to free-to-play can also earn the developer a ton of extra cash, as when&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/swtors-average-monthly-revenue-has-doubled-since-going-f2p/">The Old Republic made the move</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The development&nbsp;team itself has changed a lot, too.&nbsp;"We learned a lot in the months after launch,"&nbsp;creative director Chad Moore&nbsp;told PC Gamer in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/how-an-mmo-turns-free-to-play-without-losing-its-soul/">our interview</a>. "There is a huge difference between a development studio and a live studio. The team we have now is significantly changed and matured from the time when we launched the game."</p><p>Phil liked WildStar when he&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wildstar-review/">reviewed it</a>. If you never checked out the colorful world of Nexus, or you tired of it quickly after the original launch, today would be an excellent day to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/freetoplay">check it out</a>.</p> World of Warships reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-review/World of Warships is Wargaming’s finest vehicle combat game, but its free-to-play model is getting prohibitively expensive.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:27:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-review/ActionMMOReviewssimStrategyWorld of Warships <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">What is it?</strong> Multiplayer free-to-play WW2 boat-em-up <br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;Windows 8, Core i5, 8GB RAM, GTX 970 <br> <strong>Price:</strong> Free to play <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Wargaming.net <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Wargaming.net <br> <strong>Link:</strong> <a href="http://worldofwarships.com/">worldofwarships.com</a> </p> </div><p><a href="http://pcgamer.com/tag/world-of-tanks/">World of Tanks</a> is a global phenomenon, and its success has become a new genre of sorts: the World War 2 vehicle shooter. World of Warships, the newest entry in the series after 2013’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warplanes-review/">World of Warplanes</a>, is finally out of drydock and officially launched. Its mix of ponderous warships and huge guns&mdash;the biggest guns ever fired in anger by mankind&mdash;is beautiful, polished, and a joy to play. Warships is the most thoughtful Wargaming game so far, but its economy continues Wargaming’s pattern of expensive, exploitative freemium prices.</p><p>Across the archipelagos of the South Pacific and the glacier fields of Alaska, the vessels of World of Warships duke it out. Unlike the dense urban landscapes in World of Tanks, there’s very little to hide behind. Unlike dogfighting aircraft in World of Warplanes, battleships are slow and vulnerable. Without the freedom to escape, turn, or hide, Warships places even greater emphasis on group tactics and positioning than its land and air-based siblings.</p><h2>Full steam ahead</h2><p>Ships are controlled from an overhead view, as though the captain was hovering twenty feet over the central tower. Wargaming continues to be a dab hand at making controls that turn a complicated war machine into an accessible, keyboard-friendly vehicle. The rudder and throttle controls are designed to be set and forgotten, as though a subordinate had an order yelled at them while the captain worried about other things.</p><p>Planning ahead is key for Warships. Especially in larger boats, bringing guns around to face an enemy takes a minute. Knowing that enemies will most likely come from the East, and planning accordingly, gives captains time to get pointed in the right direction with the explodey-parts facing the bad guys. This same slowness also makes flanking especially effective in Warships: sneaking around an island to come up behind a ship gives the crafty tactician a solid 30 seconds of free punches while the victim’s cannons rotate around to counter.</p><p>I had one particularly tense battle at the helm of the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana-class_battleship">USS Montana</a>, a truly monstrous battleship with guns as big around as my car tires. An enemy cruiser flanked our lead position and started making trouble, so I rotated my twelve barrels of kickass and started aiming down the gunner sights. In my narrow field of view, he sailed straight toward me. As the distance closed I measured his range on tiny hashmarks, leading the target from ten kilometers away. His profile was tiny and constantly shifting. Though it pained me, I kept taking single shots instead of unleashing my entire battery at once, trying to get my aim just right. Each time, my shot fell just short or just off to the side of his vulnerable hull.</p><p>Then, he made a mistake. To better engage me, he turned his fat broadside my way and stopped closing the distance. With a huge, wide target sitting at a set range, I took one more targeting shot. When it landed smack amidships, I enjoyed an evil smile and fired all four batteries at once. Twelve 16-inch shells, each weighing about three tons, arced across the sky and dropped on his head like the fist of an angry god, sinking his ship in one volley. If this had been Counter-Strike, I would have just landed a head-shot with the AWP. I got the same sense of satisfaction, even if it did take about five minutes to fully play out.&nbsp;</p><p>There’s an art to angles in Warships, and it tickles the tiny, forgotten part of my brain that experiences math as a form of pleasure. (I’ve tried to subdue that part of my brain with booze, but alas, it remains.) With guns mounted all down the body of a ship, facing broadside to an enemy is the best way to unload on some poor sucker. Unfortunately, going broadside also shows the enemy team a huge target to shoot at. There’s a sweet spot at around 30 degrees that brings all guns onto a target while minimizing exposure. Instead of doing a barrel roll or hiding behind a bombed-out church, this mental geometry is how captains stay safe on the oceans. And because boats can't pivot instantaneously, it takes pleasant intuition to pull off.</p><p>I’ve mentioned it in passing already, but Warships looks incredibly good. Even as pretty as it is, it comes packed with graphics options that should tone down enough for less powerful rigs to run it. It includes support for multiple monitors and a variety of native resolutions. “Sky and Clouds Quality” and “Sea Rendering Quality” would sound like esoteric settings for minutia in any other game, but in Warships half of what the game renders is water or sky. On my GTX 970, I had no problem getting a solid 60 frames per second on the highest quality settings.</p><p>There’s a huge variety of gadgets and weapons to play with, from scout planes to emergency repair crews. Each of Warships’ four ship types (destroyer, cruiser, carrier, and battleship) drive differently. Some are slower, more powerful, or pack smoke screens and deadly torpedo spreads.</p><p>The most unique is the aircraft carrier, which carries no ship-to-ship guns at all. Carriers are commanded from an overhead view as the flight deck manager, ordering flights of torpedo boats to attack enemy battleships or sending fighters to intercept enemy bombers. Playing a carrier feels like a slow-moving RTS has been welded onto the side of a different game, and I don’t think the native view works very well. Looking down on the carrier with a zoomed-out camera leaves out all the information I need to make decisions, so my carrier experience was spent almost entirely inside the tactical map screen. To break up the monotony, I enjoyed watching from the attacking warplanes’ perspective, but it's mostly&nbsp;a passive experience. Even so, after a few hours of pounding distant cruisers with artillery, dispatching torpedo sneak attacks was refreshingly new.</p><h2>Stock the larders</h2><p>All four types of ship also come in multiple tiers representing the advances technology brought to these war machines. The carrier is a good example: the lowest tier is a converted coal tanker, the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Langley_(CV-1)">USS Langley</a>, with a deck covered in canvas-winged bi-planes. Carriers evolve up through the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Lexington_(CV-16)">USS Lexington</a> to the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Midway_(CV-41)">USS Midway</a>, a late-War behemoth.</p><p>There’s no denying that high-end vessels are crazy fun to play. As the Japanese giant <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_battleship_Yamato">Yamato</a>, I terrorized the local battlefield, parking myself in shallows with a clear line of sight and raining explosive hell down on half the server. As the Midway, I hid behind a volcanic island just meters from the fighting, sending fighters and bombers overland and back again, picking the enemy apart. The trouble is that most players will never see these late game ships. World of Warships is Wargaming’s most expensive, grind-heavy meta-economy yet.</p><p>These ships are expensive, and playing at the highest tier is going to devour time and money. In order to research and then buy all of the ships required to play as the Midway&mdash;and then the Midway herself&mdash;I’d need to spend about $177 total. Grinding the XP (which isn’t purchasable) that you need to unlock the Midway would likely earn a fair chunk of in-game currency, but not enough, so that's more grinding to do if you want to avoid paying. Meanwhile, you also need to use in-game currency to repair ships and reload guns.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9hSHCDzxRIC4.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5k31NVOA2lqw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The USS Langley’s quaint biplanes are slow and weak, but their torpedo attack isn’t messing around." class=""> <figcaption>The USS Langley’s quaint biplanes are slow and weak, but their torpedo attack isn’t messing around.</figcaption></figure><p>Researching all of the American carrier branch costs over 700,000 XP, which I estimate would take me between 1,500 and 3,000 games&mdash;a truly interminable grind. Earning XP and in-game currency would be faster with a Premium account, which can be had for $90 per year or $11 a month. Premium ships like the $38 <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Atlanta_(CL-51)">USS Atlanta</a> can be bought at any time without spending time on XP.</p><p>It’s laudable, I guess, that unskilled players with cash to spare can’t just outright purchase the best ships in the game (they can buy pretty good ones, but not the best). The ship tiers themselves function as a type of matchmaking filter as well, so people in the biggest ships are going to find themselves against the best players around. To be fair, you do get a lot of ships fairly quickly. Most players will have no problem unlocking the first four tiers of ships, which gives access to all four types of ship and a lot of options. But after that tier, prices go up exponentially. It's&nbsp;unfortunate that so much of this game’s wonderful art, the gleaming steel decks and rusting hull panels and black-bored guns, won’t be seen except by a narrow sliver of die-hard fans.</p><p>For the rest of us, playing Warships for free at the lowest tiers offer a great tactical puzzle and an unusual take on the online team deathmatch. Finally sinking a troublesome battleship with a well-placed volley or torpedoing a carrier from behind is incredibly rewarding. Gorgeous lighting and water effects gently reflect infernos of burning steel. It’s a game that I want to come back to again and again. The lowest tier ships are fun, and that’s good&mdash;most players will probably only see the first three or four levels. With so much amazing art and incredible history in the biggest ships, though, I just wish that more of us could see everything Warships has to offer without an aggressive, expensive grind.</p> Twitch has beaten Dark Soulshttp://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-has-beaten-dark-souls/...and now they've moved onto Dark Souls 2.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:18:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-has-beaten-dark-souls/Dark SoulsNewsRPGTwitch <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YTX0HFeYPHU" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>As far as I'm concerned, Twitch basically "won" <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls/">Dark Souls</a> when <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-twitch-plays-dark-souls-defeat-ornstein-and-smough/">it beat Orstein and Smough</a> a couple of weeks back. Since then I've tuned out of the playthrough, because nothing really compares to that encounter. That's the peak of the game's difficulty, and it's a relatively easy descent from there.</p><p>So it's as a token gesture that I offer to you footage (courtesy of YouTuber <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCnym9rpt_ugh9OCBKrbQyw">whydoyoubark</a>) of Twitch slaying Gwyn Lord of Cinder, the final boss in Dark Souls. The final death count was 904, which is probably considerably less than mine on my first playthrough.</p><p>In case you've missed the details, Twitch Plays Dark Souls is a modded version of the game whichs adds regular pauses to allow the Twitch community to plan their moves. The video above has those pauses edited out.</p><p>Where to from here for the Twitch Plays Dark Souls community? <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/twitchplaysdark">Dark Souls 2, naturally</a>.</p> Why VR games won't care which headset you're usinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-vr-games-wont-care-which-headset-youre-using/There are still challenges, but talking to devs at Oculus Connect gave me an optimistic outlook on multi-platform VR gaming.Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:10:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-vr-games-wont-care-which-headset-youre-using/EVE: ValkyrieHardwareJob SimulatorOculusOculus RiftOculus VRSteamVRUnityUnreal Enginevirtual realityVive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KhdDHAfRRei5.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mcC1wkfdFvQe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Oculus app store"></p><p> At Oculus Connect one year ago, the Oculus Rift was, essentially, the only game in town. Oculus was leading the charge on VR, and while their sale to Facebook soured some of the fanbase, they still largely had the faith and support of the community behind them. By early 2015, things were very different. Razer was creating the Open Source VR ecosystem “to abstract the complexities of [VR] game development,” <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/razer-osvr-interview-first-vr-consumer-product-will-be-a-peripheral/">telling me</a> “if we don’t build this, the ecosystem will never survive.” Then Valve’s SteamVR joined the race <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steamvr-hands-on-valve-overtakes-oculus/">with hardware that surpassed the best of what Oculus had to offer</a>, with the promise of great touch controllers as part of the package.</p><p> At this point, I was getting worried. How were developers supposed to support all these different headsets and controllers? Will multi-platform VR development be overwhelming for small teams new to VR development? Will the end result be a messy platform war, burned out displays and trampled controller husks littering the battlefield, where the majority of games work on Oculus or SteamVR but not on both? With so much happening around VR so fast, these seemed like legitimate concerns to me. But after spending a couple days at Oculus Connect 2 and talking to developers, I’m not so worried anymore.</p><p> VR development is going to be just fine.</p><p> All of the devs I talked to were predictably bullish on working with Oculus’ hardware. But I also tried to talk to some of them about cross-platform development, particularly with SteamVR. What I heard was good news.</p><p> “We want people to focus on making great content, great interactions, and deploy it anywhere. It just works out of the box,” said Nick Whiting, Epic Games’ lead VR engineer. Whiting and I discussed the new <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bullet-train-oculus-touch-rift-epic-fps/">Bullet Train demo</a>, but we also talked about how Epic’s been tailoring Unreal Engine 4 to suit the needs of VR developers. “For instance, [our previous demo] <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/epics-showdown-vr-demo-is-free-to-download-now/">Showdown</a>, we’ve shown it on the Vive, we’ve shown it on the Oculus, we’ve shown it on the&nbsp;Morpheus with no content modifications. It works on all of them out of the box with no content modifications, other than for the Vive, for the standing experience it assumes zero is on the ground, and on Oculus it assumes it’s in the head position. So you basically just change one number to set your camera position and everything else works. Very little modification to get it to work on different systems.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u4p41bTzRIeD.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B66ZKyGNTmdp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Showdown"></p><p> That’s a promising degree of cross-platform compatibility already, and the hardware is still months out from release.</p><p> Whiting gave me a more detailed example of how supporting different motion controllers&mdash;SteamVR’s, the PlayStation Move, and Oculus Touch&mdash;works in UE4.</p><p> “[For] the control input, the actual buttons on the device, we have an abstraction called the motion controller abstraction. It’s like with a gamepad. With gamepads you have the left thumbstick, right thumbstick, set of buttons. We did the same thing with motion controllers. They all have some sort of touchpad or joystick on top, a grip button, a trigger button. We have an abstraction that says ‘when the left motion controller trigger is pulled, when the right motion controller trigger is pulled&hellip;’ so that it doesn’t matter what you have hooked up to it, it’ll work out of the box. For the actual motion controller tracking, there’s a little component that you attach to your actor in there that tracks around, you can say ‘I want to track the left hand, I want to track the right hand.’ If you have a Touch or Vive or Move in there, it all works the same.”</p><p> But what about accounting for the differences in performance between those controllers? If one tracks more quickly and accurately than another, does that affect its implementation in the engine? Is that something developers will have to account for? According to Whiting, prediction solves that problem.</p><blockquote> If you have a Touch or Vive or Move in there, it all works the same.</blockquote><p> “[The latency of the tracking] makes a huge different, but fortunately from the SDK side of it, we can handle prediction mostly equivalently on all the different things, so they behave the same,” he said. “We do what we call a late update. So when we read the input, we read it twice per frame. Once at the very beginning of the frame, so when we do all the gameplay stuff like when you pull the trigger, what direction is it looking, and then right before we render everything we also update the rendering position of all the stuff. So if you have a gun in your hand we’ll update it twice a frame, once before the gameplay interaction and once before the rendering. So it’s moving much more smoothly in the visual field but we’re simulating it.</p><p> “There’s more latency on the interaction, but the visual stuff is really what causes the feeling of presence. As long as the visual updating is really really crisp, that makes you feel like you really have something in your hand and presence in the world. Everyone’s a little bit different, so we want to handle the technical details for that so they don’t have to worry about it. They just have this motion controller component, and we’ve handled the latency, adding the late updates and doing all the rendering updates on the backend so it just works out of the box.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wAr0x4iuSCqx.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7J0VIMnWTJBe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Job Simulator Office"></p><p> While Unreal Engine 3 earned a reputation as a high-end engine for AAA studios, Epic’s made serious attempts to simplify UE4 and make it more approachable (<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/">and far more affordable</a>) for smaller teams. They’ve had to, because indie darling Unity has done so much to democratize game development.</p><p> Unity, like Unreal, <a href="http://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/VROverview.html">has built-in VR support</a>, but that doesn’t mean much by itself; the crucial element is how Unity handles developing for multiple VR platforms. “Fantastic,” according to the developers at Owlchemy Labs, who’ve been working on <a href="http://jobsimulatorgame.com/">Job Simulator</a> for SteamVR and the Oculus Rift.</p><p> “We have to do a little bit of tweaking. Everything’s really early. But it’s been fantastic,” said Owlchemy’s Devin Reimer.</p><p> “We’d be out of business if we weren’t using an established engine like Unity or Unreal. If we were trying to write our own stuff we’d be fucked,” added Owlchemy’s Alex Schwartz. “Unity’s been really helpful, and they know VR is a big play, so they’re bringing us into their loop on betas and alphas. We get to try early stuff and give feedback&hellip;.So yeah, integrating multiple SDKs into the project is great. They’re also going with this concept of ‘VR default multiplatform,’ where built into Unity would be out of the box support for all these platforms.”</p><p> VR development will still suffer some growing pains over the next couple years, and it’s true that the volume of competing SDKs and hardware platforms is messy and a bit confusing. It’s still unclear how exactly Razer’s OSVR SDK, Valve’s OpenVR SDK, the Oculus SDK, and every hardware platform will live together. There’s also Nvidia’s GameWorksVR and AMD’s LiquidVR, which both strive to improve VR performance.</p><p>There will be some confusion and some fragmentation. But it seems like the major engines, <a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-08/06/crytek-virtual-reality-interview">including CryEngine</a>, will enable developers to build multi-platform games with relative ease. And that means that, as gamers, we won't have to care too much about which headset we're using. Plenty of games will just work.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/USbbBFm9QEew.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dBdJMn8kazDm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite: Dangerous plans to add SteamVR support by the end of the year." class=""> <figcaption>Elite: Dangerous plans to add SteamVR support by the end of the year.</figcaption></figure><p> And Unreal Engine 4, like Unity, is now a viable option for small teams, who will likely be creating the most interesting VR experiences as the industry feels out what works and what doesn’t. Nick Whiting pointed out that UE4’s <a href="https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Blueprints/index.html">Blueprints visual scripting</a>, which he works on in addition to VR, is meant to give designers the tools to create their games without doing any coding.</p><p> “One of the things we focus on is how do we make it easier for small teams to make much more detailed worlds. We want Blueprints to be a visual scripting language that people can populate the world with interactables and procedural layout tools and whatnot, completely without the help of a programmer,” Whiting said. “So if somebody wants to shoot a fire hydrant and have it shoot out water, previously someone would have to script that. With the Blueprint system anyone can add a quick interaction for that. It makes it really easy to make these rich detailed worlds that have a lot of nuance to them...instead of a setpiece that’s completely non-interactable. I think that’s really the next jump. When you start making open worlds, the burden of being immersed and grounded in that world requires you have a lot of interactivity and personality to the world in addition to it looking nice.”</p><p> We may well end up seeing more games platform-locked due to exclusivity deals than the difficulty of multiplatform development. But it’s easy to forget with all the excitement around VR that a true consumer release is still a few months away, and that’s when development is at its messiest.</p><p> “Hopefully the utopian future of VR development is you hit the button and you’ve built VR support for tracked controllers and head tracking, and it works on a new headset that’s come out in the time you’ve launched a game, and it just works,” said Alex Schwartz. “It would be really cool if that future got there. But by definition we’re working on such early stuff that it’s hacky, early stuff.</p><p> "Plus we can’t complain. If we went to someone who built games 20 years ago and told them about our problems, they’d be like ‘Shut up. I had to write in Assembly!’ "</p> The six biggest changes in Dota 2's 6.85 patchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-six-biggest-changes-in-dota-2s-685-patch/Get your head around the new meta now.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 23:21:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-six-biggest-changes-in-dota-2s-685-patch/Dota 2MOBAPro <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2DsACguHQPOM.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NoOuEVuK0Hft.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Header Dota 2 patch"></p><p> Last week saw the arrival of Dota 2’s much anticipated 6.85 patch. You can read the full set of accompanying notes <a href="https://www.dota2.com/685/">here</a>, but unlike other patches released after The International, 6.85 doesn’t rework Dota 2 at a fundamental level. Instead, it has numerous tweaks that focus on the micro aspects of Dota. This is likely due to the proximity of&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.dota2.com/2015/09/announcing-the-frankfurt-major/">The Frankfurt Major</a>, with open qualifiers starting on October 6th.&nbsp;</p><p> Despite the lack of sweeping changes, like the bounty rework made in 6.82, these smaller patches can still have substantial effects on the metagame. Take, for example, patch 6.83, which made Sniper’s haunting laugh a common occurrence when he was picked in every single game. With that in mind, here are six of the biggest changes in 6.85.</p><h3>1. The top tiers aren’t as top anymore</h3><figure><a href="http://www.dotabuff.com/heroes/trends" target="_blank"><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rqDJ7PduQlCK.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oSZ4rvW_3ooc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Photo Credit to DotaBuff" class=""></a> <figcaption>Photo Credit to DotaBuff</figcaption></figure><p> Just about every hero used heavily at the top of professional play has received some sort of nerf. The immediate effect has been the plummeting of win rates, as <a href="http://www.dotabuff.com/heroes/trends">DotaBuff</a> gloriously shows. What’s important is that none of these changes have ruined the design of any character. Leshrac can still do ridiculous damage, but Lightning Storm doesn’t give him a free win in middle lane. Storm Spirit continues to excel at both zipping and zapping, but he lost some laning prowess and requires even more careful mana management. These heroes are not in some sort of unplayable fail state, but they no longer overwhelm other heroes in very obvious ways. These slight nerfs may have huge implications in upcoming tournaments, and have already had very visible effects in non-pro play.</p><h3>2. Techies were nerfed</h3><p> In what may be the best news of the decade, the reign of Squee, Spleen, and Spoon has been curbed. Techies are unable to enter lane as a short-range burst caster, a major issue in professional play. Gone are the days of laying down a single mine to wave clear, and farewell to the 1200 damage burst combo that was supported by heroes like Tusk. Additionally, melee heroes can clear all mine varieties with a quelling blade, giving every hero in the game a way to destroy troublesome mines. However, Techies weren’t nerfed in a way that stops their forest traps, and hapless players will still find themselves blown to smithereens. Remote Mines weren’t adjusted, and the Land Mine nerfs are irrelevant in successful multi-mine traps. As a matter of fact, Techies are even better at placing Land Mines because...</p><h3>3. Techies’ art possibilities have been dramatically buffed</h3><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WJSlRZVJSgSj.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fPxSNCY5T9Fj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pic3 Dota 2 patch"></p><p> One of the major changes to Techies was the removal of a Land Mine cap, which was previously 20. In terms of gameplay it means that Techies players can draw out games to an even greater extent with higher usage of Land Mines during slow parts of a game. So a theoretical Techies game can be even more arduous than before. In terms of art, it means that that there’s a new placeable object to help round the color palette normally used in-game. Dota 2 pseudo-pixel art has reached the next level.</p><h3>4. Terrorblade might actually be scary again&nbsp;</h3><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5qrBR2vOSxGj.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Qi-NcdqUUk2W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pic4 Dota 2 patch"></p><p> Terrorblade received tweaks across his skillset, and his in-game presence has changed dramatically. Reflection, a spell that produces replicas of enemies, gained a large area of effect at the cost of a weaker slow and slightly longer cooldown. Prior to this patch, Reflection was kept at rank one and was only used as a short-range slow in skirmishes.Now, for the first time in years, Terrorblade has a spell with noticeable teamfight utility – and it scales into late game. Additionally, Terrorblade received numerous quality of life buffs to make him more comfortable to play. He’s a bit less clunky and his illusions don’t get left behind when he transforms. The major disappointment this patch is that his lore hasn’t been updated, and he’s still a weird demon that went to Double Hell.</p><h3>5. Undying had a scaling flip-flop</h3><p> Similar to Terrorblade, Undying received a rebalancing instead of the nerf that many popular picks felt. His Tombstone summon has had a total reversal in survivability, now taking hits to destroy instead of having decent HP and the powerful “structure” armor type. At level one a tombstone will have difficulty surviving as it can only withstand three hits, but in endgame fights, when carries have massive damage numbers, a max rank tombstone still takes seven hits. He also received an Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade to his Decay spell, losing the rarely considered damage amplification it provided to his ultimate. The upgrade steals more strength, and Undying gains 190 HP when he hits a single hero with Decay. If the enemy team clumps up he can receive as much 950 HP with a single cast on a 4 second cooldown. Undying has a very direct and effective late game presence, something he hasn’t had since the release of Dota 2.</p><h3>6. There are still changes that have unknown implications</h3><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J9phN6OSRTmD.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b-VQVELR9TQh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="pic6 Dota 2 patch"></p><p> Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, are the numerous subtle changes that came with the patch. Item adjustments, smaller hero buffs, these many small changes will take time and deep investigation to truly understand. For example, siege creeps can now be targeted like a normal lane creep in regards to spells, though they have high magic resistance. On its own this may not seem like a major change, but Helm of the Dominator was buffed to always give dominated creeps a minimum HP of 1400. Combine the two changes and ridiculously beefy siege creeps might have a role in 6.85’s meta. This is just one small possibility in the wide array of potential Dota changes, and it will take time for the hidden gems to surface. The latest overpowered build is just waiting to be discovered.</p><hr><p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Ark: Survival Evolved is getting two new biomes todayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-got-two-new-biomes-today/The lost world of Ark: Survival Evolved grew a little bit bigger today with the addition of two new biomes: snow and swamps.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 22:54:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-got-two-new-biomes-today/Ark: Survival EvolvedNewsopen world survivalSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ncQQvYydSM69.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DdcHM3vkQsLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="1443401903_Extreme Climate"></p><p>The lost world of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved/">Ark: Survival Evolved</a> is growing a&nbsp;little bit bigger today with the addition of two new biomes: snow and swamps. Given the intricate nature of Ark's survival simulation, I'm sure that the snowy biome in particular will require extra thick furs and heavy dino-skin boots. Swamps might not mess with your body temperature, but they're smash-full of venomous creepy crawly things. Personally, I'd pick the snow every day of the week.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OMyB32Nv_2g?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>These biomes come with their own cadre of creatures to hunt, eat, and run from. Giant frogs and snakes guard rare plants in the swamps, so adventurous herbalists might want to pack an escort if they're looking for powerful ingredients. In the snowy mountains, Dire Wolves can be tamed and used to hunt&nbsp;other, weaker animals; if they didn't want to be eaten, they should have figured out how to ride a Dire Wolf.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sknrV-jUTW-o.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V-VgmM6yLAzu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ark: Survival Evolved Swamp biome"></p><p><a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/346110/announcements/detail/110693025694980093" target="_blank">All of this</a> is rolling out today. If you haven't tried pooping on command in Ark yet, see Chris's playthrough diary, starting&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dinos-dodos-and-doo-doos-my-first-day-in-ark/">here</a>. Evan caught up with the developers at PAX Prime this year, and they had a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-video-game/">lot to say</a> about building a competitive, yet cooperative, community.</p> Here's a game about nuking a businessman to smash him through buildingshttp://www.pcgamer.com/heres-a-game-about-nuking-a-businessman-to-smash-him-through-buildings/In which game jams continue to innovate and inspire.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 22:52:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-a-game-about-nuking-a-businessman-to-smash-him-through-buildings/NewsNuclear Business <p><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/U2ZbA2oHwStw4zXZ9WPJB1SgBGB7l4sSURaVng7-XPQH6EQfSOs6UyxZsT_ZznPBlb9XsWo__lrBnyX1fkS0aHImLJ8gG6raI3Sh3T03tRiGKW_5LaFuVBIkPy3ymhYe=s1600" width="624px;" height="351px;" style="border-style: none; border-width: initial; transform: rotate(0rad);"></p><p>I’ve seen my fair share of weighty, emotional concepts come out of game jams, but never have I been so <em>blown away</em> such a <em>high-flying</em> idea. OK, not entirely true, but for the sake of puns, I dig it.&nbsp;In Nuclear Business, you direct a nuclear bomb to land on or around a lone businessman to send him flying through nearby buildings for, what else, points.&nbsp;</p><p>Because I’ve read several books, I’m inclined to interpret the businessman as ‘business’ taking over ‘man’ and the bomb&mdash;stick with me here&mdash;as our subconscious attempting to separate the business from the man, but in doing so, we destroy buildings, obviously symbolic of progress under the reign of business as defined by modern man. I’m working on a dissertation.</p><p>But really, while it may be the result of a quick game jam, Nuclear Business looks like a funny&nbsp;twist on simple physics-based gameplay. You can follow the development and sign up for the alpha on the <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/NuclearBusiness">Nuclear Business</a> subreddit.</p> Build of the Week: Back to the Modhttp://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-back-to-the-mod/Marc Mollela brings an old case 'back to the future' with an impressive reconstruction.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 19:58:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-back-to-the-mod/Build of the weekHardware Multiplayer ships coming to Elite: Dangerous next yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-ships-coming-to-elite-dangerous-next-year/Better start making more friends.Who's your first officer?Mon, 28 Sep 2015 19:53:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-ships-coming-to-elite-dangerous-next-year/Elite: DangerousMMONewsspace flight simulator <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GdZARfx9QU-m.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jnMFvJSr27CS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite: Dangerous Horizons Multi-Crew Ship"></p><p><a href="http://pcgamer.com/tag/elite-dangerous">Elite: Dangerous</a> developer Frontier&nbsp;announced on Friday that multi-crew ships and an avatar creator will be part of its new season of DLC, dubbed Horizons, in 2016. We&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/planetary-landings-are-coming-to-elite-dangerous-this-year/">already knew</a> that the galaxy-sized flight sim would introduce planetary landings later this year, but ships crewed by groups of players has also been high on players' wishlist since the game arrived on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/updates">Kickstarter in 2012</a>.</p><p>"Multi-Crew lets you fly in the same ship with friends, which will up the intensity and camaraderie levels of a joint mission even further!" Frontier wrote in an email on Friday. "You’ll be able to share and alternate control of weapons systems, turrets and flight duties to multiply your effectiveness. Even to the extent of piloting a ship-launched fighter and working in combination with the mothership. It’ll be especially useful in some of the very large trading ships coming in season two."</p><p>Since players will be walking around and talking with other players on a more personal level, Frontier is adding an avatar creator. Having recognizable faces designed by players opens up a lot of the personal interaction that Elite: Dangerous has been lacking so far. In a close crew, Frontier writes, players can "identify friends with a quick glance across your ship's bridge."&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uiCxdBNXRcyQ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2HwFZ2jaAHv6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite: Dangerous Horizons Commander Creator"></p><p>New ships and more changes are coming to Elite: Dangerous next year as part of the new season of DLC. Elite spent the weekend on sale and at the top of the Steam best-seller list, so plenty of new commanders are joining the game as we approach one year since launch.</p> Mod brings a UFO invasion to Grand Theft Auto 5http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-brings-a-ufo-invasion-to-grand-theft-auto-5/The aliens are here, and they're angry.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 19:13:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-brings-a-ufo-invasion-to-grand-theft-auto-5/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5GTA 5NewsRockstar Games <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kZ2z631WX3M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> The truth is out there, or at least it used to be. Now it's right here, overhead, bombarding the streets of GTA 5's Los Santos.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/scripts/ufo-invasion">The UFO Invasion mod</a> gives you a nice look at GTA 5's elusive flying saucers by having them hover in the sky, blasting the city (and you)&nbsp;with deadly blue&nbsp;lasers, and sucking up cars and citizens (and you!) with tractor beams.</p><p>As you can see in the video above, you&nbsp;can choose how many UFOs you want to spawn once you've installed and activated the mod. Three look like more than enough, but the second half of the video shows 20 alien spacecraft, which creates a real Independence Day-style assault.&nbsp;You can take the flying saucers&nbsp;down with repeated rocket attacks, if you can stay on your feet long enough. I'm not sure what Los Santos did to anger those aliens, but if I had to guess it was probably all that obnoxious&nbsp;talk radio being beamed into space.</p><p><a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/scripts/ufo-invasion">You can download the UFO invasion mod here</a>. It requires&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/tools/script-hook-v">Script Hook 5&nbsp;</a>and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/tools/scripthookv-net">Community Scripthook 5 Net</a>.</p> The 10 best CS:GO players in the worldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-csgo-players-in-the-world/There’s more talent than ever in Counter-Strike.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 18:55:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-csgo-players-in-the-world/Counter-StrikeCounter-Strike SourceCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveesportsFPSProTriggernometry <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/atK6UiTnQumM.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k_KAFCfX0joa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Csgo M4" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/lurppis_"><em>lurppis</em></a><em>&nbsp;played CS 1.6 professionally for eight years for teams such as wings, roccat/69N-28E, EG and WinFakt with team winnings exceeding $350,000. Since ending his playing career in 2012 he has stayed active in the CS:GO scene as part of the media.</em></p><p>The competitive Counter-Strike scene is at its peak. There’s more talent than ever in pro CS, which means that in order to pick the best players in the world&nbsp;you need clear,&nbsp;specific criteria. To make this ranking, a player must have competed in a number of top tier events&mdash;no player can be awarded top ten status for simply being incredible online. Almost by default, that means the player will be on a top team as well, which is the case for everyone on this list. I also decided to use roughly the past six months’ results for statistical comparison, with obviously more emphasis on recent performances, as they are most likely more indicative of these players’ current form. </p><p>Before we dig in, let’s first take a look at some of the big names who barely missed the cut of being in the top ten. Recent fan favorite Nikola “NiKo” Kovac did not make this list because he has not performed at enough events yet. Richard “shox” Papillon came close, and in Titan he might regain the kind of role that will allow him a spot on the list, but currently he must be left out. Finally, NiP’s Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund’s Dubai performance was incredible, but it is not enough after six-plus months of, for him, average play. You could also have made a case for Rene “cajunb” Borg, who has been TSM’s second best player for a long time, and like shox and GeT_RiGhT, boast a strong individual track record at the majors.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NxhUgbDwSh2I.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FzhmMslVVrzV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kenny “kennyS” Schrub" class=""> <figcaption><em>Photo via the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/eslphotos/">ESL Flickr</a> page</em></figcaption></figure><h3>10. Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub</h3><p> <strong>France |&nbsp;Team&nbsp;EnVyUs</strong></p><p> In late 2014 and early 2015 kennyS was arguably the number one player in the world as the game’s most dominant AWPer. Despite playing on a team barely in the top eight, he constantly put up performances that allowed Titan to compete with all of the world’s best teams, and even score some strong tournament finishes. Since the AWP update he hasn’t been as dominant, and it is possible the limited, in comparison, role he has on EnVy will never allow him to regain the top spot. Even through these changes, Kenny remains one of the world’s best.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A7PoZc3iRIWL.jpeg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xjsJeHY9Hgu3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Skadoodle Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>9. Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham</h3><p> <strong>USA | Cloud9</strong></p><p> While fans go crazy about shroud’s exciting flick shots, the true star of Cloud9 and the player who makes the team who in the summer was a legitimate threat to contend for titles go, is Skadoodle&mdash;one of the world’s best snipers. He’s the best North American player&mdash;at least until Hiko fully returns&mdash;by far the most consistent player on Cloud9 and the team relies on his strong play more than anyone else’s. It’s possible Skadoodle will climb the rankings in the future, but his team must regain top form to do so&mdash;competing in North America won’t help him here.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SZb-5B5gTUih.jpeg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6hMr64NCypw4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="S1mple Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>8. Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev</h3><p> <strong>Ukraine | HellRaisers</strong></p><p> Easily one of the most explosive players in the world, s1mple&mdash;the third AWPer so far on this list&mdash;has been outside of the spotlight since he left FlipSid3, seemingly out of the blue, after the team was knocked out of ESWC. Some of the statlines s1mple put together while playing in a tactical, but not very skilled F3 team are absurd. Once his ESL ban is up and he matures a little, he will become the number one player in the ex-CIS region, and you can expect him settle much higher in this ranking once he reaches his peak&mdash;he’s still only 17.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tOBLD0RMRVGl.jpeg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p_jF88JnTepT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Flusha Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>7. Robin 'flusha' Ronnquist</h3><p> <strong>Sweden | Fnatic</strong></p><p> flusha was the best player in fnatic for a long time, and his overall performance throughout 2014 was incredible. This year he has taken a backseat in the team while his teammates have shined brighter, but one must not discount his impact in fnatic’s wins either. For one, he has the best stats overall across all the CS:GO majors to-date, and he is one of just three players ever to three majors&mdash;and one of five to win two. He has nearly perfected the passive playing style as a rifler, yet is still capable of flashy highlights when needed. flusha could conceivably be the best player on almost any team, but he has practically accepted a smaller role to ensure his team keeps winning.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AC4fW661QTKb.jpeg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kNR0yTRdT4aj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Krimz Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif; background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif;"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>6. Freddy 'KRiMZ' Johansson</h3><p> <strong>Sweden | Fnatic</strong></p><p> No one could have predicted the breakout performances KRiMZ had in late 2014. He was a role player on the successful LGB team, and had been without a team before fnatic picked him up last summer. That KRiMZ went onto have some of the best individual performances on that team is truly remarkable. He was not a player who caught a hot streak and went with it, his nearly flawless fundamentals, especially with the M4A1-S and AK-47, allowed him to elevate his level of play almost overnight, and what’s more, he’s stayed up there for a year now. A cornerstone in the world’s best team’s success, and easily one of the best players in CS:GO.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PwoqrKCIR5WJ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vw5v9Hxgrggj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via the <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/eslphotos/">ESL Flickr</a> page</em></figcaption></figure><h3>5. Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski</h3><p> <strong>Poland |&nbsp;Virtus.pro</strong></p><p> Due to the way Virtus.pro is structured, a lot of the time their players go without the same kind of celebration that top players in other teams enjoy. There is no clear superstar in the Polish team, and at times all five of their players have good enough games to receive MVP awards. In any case, over the long haul the best player in Virtus.pro, and the most important one as well, has been Snax. He is an extremely versatile player, a part-in-game-leader, and probably the game’s trickiest player. He was the MVP of ESL ESEA Dubai Invitational, the second-best player all-time at the majors, and you can bet any time he plays that well Virtus.pro will go deep in tournaments.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hmamyrKYS1aK.jpeg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YNgFuJEOxA49.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Happy Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>4. Vincent 'Happy' Cervoni</h3><p> <strong>France |&nbsp;Team EnVyUs</strong></p><p> Happy might be the first in-game leader in Counter-Strike’s history to have the kind of success individually that he has had. He gets criticized by many&mdash;including me&mdash;for baiting his teammates at times, in a fashion that almost looks like he’s padding stats. In any case, he is the best player on EnVy, who have been a top three team for most of the past year, and has become the game’s best lurker after GeT_RiGhT’s decline. He can AWP, lead the world’s best team, and play with just about every weapon out there. Happy is almost a complete player, and that kind of versatility is especially valuable.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I4DR5rsNQ1ev.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A0oQG51VHNk7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via the <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/eslphotos/">ESL Flickr</a> page</em></figcaption></figure><h3>3. Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovacs</h3><p> <strong>Slovakia |&nbsp;Natus Vincere</strong></p><p> The lone Slovakian player&mdash;but the fourth main AWPer&mdash;on this list has been among the world’s best since 2012, but aside from the brief period when his Virtus.pro team took down NiP, he did not enjoy the kind of success or fanfare that he likely deserved until Na`Vi broke through as a top tier squad in May 2014. Since then he has probably been the biggest carry in a top five team. Simply put, Na`Vi often lived and died with GuardiaN’s performances. Lately he has gotten more help with the addition of flamie, but make no mistake&mdash;GuardiaN has been the most important player, on a team that was recently ranked second-best in the world, for a long time.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GpTgOszYSJmi.jpeg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sbJLl2zFhtQw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Device Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em style="background-color: initial;">Photo via </em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>2. Nicolai 'device' Reedtz</h3><p> <strong>Denmark | Team SoloMid</strong></p><p> It’s safe to say that device has finally arrived. The Dane was championed as the next generation’s f0rest or GeT_RiGhT by Thorin a long time ago, and it seemed only his nerves were holding him back from becoming an absolute force in the Counter-Strike world. Well, now he is one&mdash;device has been the best player on TSM while the squad has racked up multiple international wins and even more top three finishes. Much like peak-f0rest, he can both AWP and rifle at an elite level. No longer is he the player who goes MIA in big games and needs to be pulled across the finish line. The best player in the world’s second-best team, device deserves the second spot in this ranking, and could easily edge his way to the top in the future.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AL6UTAT6Se6m.jpeg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cP21WKucrltu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Olofm Csgo" class=""> <figcaption><em>Photo via&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.hltv.org/"><em>HLTV.org</em></a></figcaption></figure><h3>1. Olof 'olofm' Kajbjer</h3><p> <strong>Sweden | Fnatic</strong></p><p> This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been actively following the scene. Currently&mdash;and for a while now&mdash;the king of Counter-Strike has been fnatic’s olofm, the player who has been the brightest star in the world’s best team&mdash;ever&mdash;and has effectively broken through as perhaps the game’s only superstar despite having three other incredibly skilled teammates. olofm has lived up to all the promises, and more, of the LGB days. Often he has been the difference between a top-three finish and another championship, and there is no player as scary in CS:GO currently as olofm having a good game&mdash;and other teams can surely testify to that. He is probably the game’s most versatile player&mdash;able to play both passively and aggressively on both halves, and handle every weapon, both rifles and snipers, at an elite level. Enjoy it while it lasts, because we do not get to enjoy players like this too often.</p><hr> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udJMoWhiR6uK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EOXQtbQL9-vi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> <strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pro/">PC Gamer Pro</a></strong> is a new channel dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!</p> Avexir brings its flashy LEDs to a new SSDhttp://www.pcgamer.com/avexir-brings-its-flashy-leds-to-a-new-ssd/Avexir is known for its flashy RAM, and now there's a flashy SSD to go with it.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 18:27:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/avexir-brings-its-flashy-leds-to-a-new-ssd/HardwareNews <p>Avexir is a little-known company compared to the giants of PC memory such as Corsair and Kingston, but it does make some very pretty RAM. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/youve-probably-never-heard-of-this-ram-but-its-ridiculous-and-fun/">PC Gamer got a look at some of that flashy RAM</a>, complete with bright LEDs, a few months ago. Now, Avexir has moved into the SSD market, announcing the S100.</p><p>Avexir’s kind of ridiculous, but undeniably fun&nbsp;designs have carried over to the S100, which has a “breathing LED light effect.” The company says that even lighting is ensured throughout the SSD, “creating the perfect rhythm in your PC for the best visual experience.” </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ARyKxR3WT1SA.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TYeArUoDG1t1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Avexir"></p><p>The S100 is powered by a JMicron controller, and uses original NAND flash chips. It has sequential read/write speeds of 540/450 MB/s, with 80,000 IOPS random 4k write. The S100 comes with “an exclusive designed SATA cable and 3.5-inch bracket. It comes in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities with a three year warranty.</p><p>The specs for the S100 aren’t mind-blowing, but if you’re thinking about building a PC that's&nbsp;more about design than function, then it could be a fun way to go. Avexir hasn’t announced any pricing information yet, but you can expect it to be a bit pricier than SSDs with similar stats.&nbsp;</p> You are invited to an exclusive ASUS ROG eventhttp://www.pcgamer.com/you-are-invited-to-an-exclusive-asus-rog-event/Experience the new ROG lineup of gaming notebooks, desktops, and components #ROGunleashedMon, 28 Sep 2015 18:12:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/you-are-invited-to-an-exclusive-asus-rog-event/ <iframe frameborder="0" height="1480" src="http://bit.ly/1FnpSOy" width="100%"> </iframe> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/DealsHardware <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PULBFWNXSiar.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1PBAHOzkjSLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="This week’s PC gaming deals"></p><p> We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! Each week, we have our&nbsp;bargainmeisters bring you a list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.</p><p>Some highlights of this week: Rockstar has put a bunch of their games on sale, including LA Noire and Grand Theft Auto 5. The GTX 970 is currently under $300, and Newegg also has a 24"&nbsp;144hz Acer monitor for under $200. Ubisoft has a few games discounted on GamersGate, including Child of Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth. And last but not least, Arma 3 is a whopping 50% off on Steam.&nbsp;</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb1EiqSTRwCB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xogsAmxSJHmE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardware Deals"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>EVGA GTX 970 ACX 2.0 Double Bios GPU</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1QIZWNz" target="_blank">$290 on Newegg</a> after a $10 rebate.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Today only, the <strong>Acer GN246HL 24” 1ms 144hz 1080p monitor</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1QJ0mUb" target="_blank">$180 on Newegg</a> with the code <strong>EMCAXNW23</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Corsair CX500M 500W 80 PLUS Bronze certified modular PSU</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1LhjHxD" target="_blank">$35 on Newegg</a> after a $20 rebate.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The<strong> Sennheiser Momentum on-ear headphones</strong> are down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DKPXVEY/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals" target="_blank">$80 on Amazon</a>, if you like the green color.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong></strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zH9aHn-LRL6I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b_1wP4rcanyg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Deals"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Grand Theft Auto 5</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXAGTV6/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals" target="_blank">$48 on Amazon</a>. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Child of Light</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1LhhZfO" target="_blank">$3.75 on GamersGate</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>South Park: The Stick of Truth</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1QIYMSk" target="_blank">$7.50 on GamersGate</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>LA Noire </strong>is <a href="http://fave.co/1QIZvTy" target="_blank">$5 on Green Man Gaming</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Arma 3</strong> is half-off, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/107410/" target="_blank">$30 on Steam</a>.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.</em></p> Giants: Citizen Kabuto successor First Wonder hits Kickstarterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/giants-citizen-kabuto-successor-first-wonder-hits-kickstarter/Wonders never cease.Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:32:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/giants-citizen-kabuto-successor-first-wonder-hits-kickstarter/ActionFirst WonderNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-BILN4STS5Kr.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oQxDG7MUllfy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="First Wonder"></p><p>Kickstarter has mined your nostalgia pretty comprehensively over the last few years, but maybe you look back on...Giants: Citizen Kabuto with fondness? There are certainly not very&nbsp;many Shiny-like games around these days, so if developer&nbsp;Rogue Rocket can capture some of&nbsp;Shiny's famous wit and weirdness, they might be on to a winner.</p><p>Rogue Rocket are developing a spiritual successor to Planet Moon's&nbsp;third-person,&nbsp;RTSy, jetpacky shooter Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and Planet Moon co-founder Nick Bruty is at the helm. (He previously worked at Shiny, making games like MDK and Earthworm Jim.)&nbsp;It's called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.first-wonder.com/#getinvolved-ks" target="_blank">First Wonder</a>, a name that makes me think of a particular&nbsp;brand of&nbsp;golden crisps, and it's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/roguerocket/first-wonder" target="_blank">now on Kickstarter</a> for your monetary consideration.</p><p>Here's the pitch video:</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvwAse0Mir0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>And here's a bit more, from that Kickstarter page:</p><p>"The Cargonauts are a team of deep-space salvagers that come across an incredible fossilized creature: Monstro. They unwittingly deliver it to Planet Majorca, an intergalactic resort planet where the management intends to turn this huge fossil into the crown jewel of their extensive collection of artifacts from across the galaxy.</p><p>"Unfortunately for resort-goers, Monstro awakens and begins to wreak havoc across the planet. Is he a mindless beast, or is there a motivation behind the destruction? What is he up to, and what will happen if he’s allowed to fulfill the newly discovered prophecies of the planet? The Cargonauts don’t intend to find out."&nbsp;</p><p>What we can see in that campaign reminds me of a much more violent Pilotwings, only with guns, monsters, and both story and asymmetrical multiplayer modes.&nbsp;Rogue Rocket reckons First Wonder will&nbsp;be done late next year, providing it reaches its $500,000 funding goal.</p> Grab free Steam keys for Time Gentlemen, Please and Ben There Dan Thathttp://www.pcgamer.com/grab-a-free-steam-key-for-time-gentlemen-please-and-ben-there-dan-that/Free games for everyone!Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/grab-a-free-steam-key-for-time-gentlemen-please-and-ben-there-dan-that/Giveaways <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rbZA4KDKRHyp.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MDH95rAzm9ug.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Time Gentlemen 1"></p><p>Two of the funniest adventure games on Steam are now yours to own entirely for free, thanks to this week's massive Steam key giveaway! Time Gentlemen, Please and Ben There Dan That affectionately parody '90s point and click classics with a gag-a-minute script and referential puzzles that poke fun at the genre. If you've ever enjoyed an adventure game, don't miss out.</p><p>Once again we're running this giveaway with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bundlestars.com/">Bundle Stars</a>. As well as selling individual Steam keys, Bundle Stars collects indie and AAA&nbsp;games into bundles that offer savings of up to 98%. Check out the site for deals on the Batman Arkham series and much more.</p><p>To grab your Steam key, simply follow the instructions in the widget below, and check back on Monday for our next big giveaway.</p><iframe src="http://woobox.com/kppx7k" frameborder="0" height="850" width="100%" scrolling="yes"> </iframe>