PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usFri, 12 Feb 2016 02:47:36 +0000yesFive Nights at Freddy's World is back, and it's freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-world-is-back-and-its-free/There's a new overworld, among other changes.Fri, 12 Feb 2016 02:47:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-world-is-back-and-its-free/Five Nights at Freddy'sNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GihjdOQ1RBiQ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z5DPfG2n0gN6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 1.30.56 pm"></p><p>Five Nights at Freddy's World was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-world-has-been-removed-from-steam/">removed from Steam</a> last month because it wasn't very good. Creator Scott Cawthon admitted as much, writing that he wasn't satisfied with the state of the game following an avalanche of&nbsp;negative feedback on Steam. Everyone who bought it – no matter how long they had played it – was entitled to a refund.&nbsp;</p><p>Cawthon also wrote that when Five Nights at Freddy's World was fit for public consumption, it'd be free. That moment has arrived, creepy animatronic lovers, because the game is now available&nbsp;<a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/fnaf-world/124921#close">on Gamejolt for zero dollars</a>.&nbsp;The game has apparently&nbsp;been improved: there's a remodelled overworld in addition to "many other new features", but Cawthon writes on the Gamejolt page that more updates are to come.&nbsp;</p><p>Five Nights at Freddy's World is a Pokemon-esque RPG featuring the cast of the surprisingly popular FNaF games, a point-and-click horror series that has spawned fan fiction,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-is-getting-its-own-novel/">novels</a> and even a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/five-nights-at-freddys-is-coming-to-the-big-screen/">forthcoming feature film</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>"Take control of Freddy and the gang as they set out on a quest in the world beneath worlds, a world that reflects the actions and deeds of the 'flipside', where things have started becoming distorted and broken," reads the official description.&nbsp;"Lead your team deeper into this digital world to find the source of these glitches and monsters, and restore it to what it was designed to be- a safe haven."</p> Firewatch gallery: a colorful tour of Shoshone National Foresthttp://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-gallery-a-colorful-tour-of-shoshone-national-forest/Take a look at Firewatch downsampled at 4K.Fri, 12 Feb 2016 01:51:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-gallery-a-colorful-tour-of-shoshone-national-forest/AdventureFirewatchPixel BoostSingle-player Rainbow Six Siege gets spectator cams and fixes in latest updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-gets-spectator-cams-and-fixes-in-latest-update/No more jesus poses, apparently.Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:54:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege-gets-spectator-cams-and-fixes-in-latest-update/FPSNewsRainbow Six SiegeUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c0O4_VOIQJia.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3EZVqa6339J7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rainbow Six Siege Black Ice"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rainbow-six-siege/">Rainbow Six: Siege</a> received a major update last week in the form of Black Ice, which introduced two new operators, a map and a slew of fixes. As Evan&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-state-of-rainbow-six-siege-after-its-first-major-update/">noted</a>, it was a substantial and satisfying&nbsp;update, but it introduced a range of new&nbsp;problems. Players have noticed a tonne of glitches and balance problems, but thankfully Ubisoft has been quick to patch them up – update 2.1 is out now for PC.</p><p>The most notable inclusion is spectator cameras for custom games, which coincides with support for ten player custom games on dedicated servers. An eleventh player is required to create (and observe) the matches on those servers, and at the moment the feature only supports one spectator. The full rundown can be read on the&nbsp;<a href="http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1387463-In-Depth-Patch-Notes-%E2%80%93-Update-2-1-%E2%80%93-February-11th-(PC)-amp-February-16th-(Console)?s=7ad7adc0ffce3bcf175d585b71635520">Ubisoft website</a>, but overall the functionality is pretty limited at the moment.</p><p>Meanwhile, Blitz – one of the defence team's shield bearers – is now harder to headshot thanks to a reduction in head size. The rampant "jesus pose" bug has been eliminated, Kapkan's invisible trap bug is no longer, and headshots should register properly.&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1387463-In-Depth-Patch-Notes-%E2%80%93-Update-2-1-%E2%80%93-February-11th-(PC)-amp-February-16th-(Console)?s=7ad7adc0ffce3bcf175d585b71635520">fix list is very long</a>, and seems to address all of the bigger problems ushered in by the Black Ice expansion, as well as some more enduring bugs. The game seems to be in good health leading up to the forthcoming&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-rainbow-six-pro-league-kicks-off-in-march/">Rainbow Six Pro League</a>, which kicks off next month.</p> Bethesda teases Fallout 4 DLC news and a Survival Mode "overhaul"http://www.pcgamer.com/bethesda-teases-fallout-4-dlc-news-and-a-survival-mode-overhaul/It sounds like big changes are coming.Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:33:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bethesda-teases-fallout-4-dlc-news-and-a-survival-mode-overhaul/Bethesda SoftworksFallout 4FPSNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JG8aJCJITG-O.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8eJhTTvVfxwt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fallout 4"></p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4/">Fallout 4</a> patch that came out a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-patch-13-is-available-now/">couple of weeks ago</a> made a number of changes to the game, including the addition of a new ambient occlusion setting, new weapon debris effects, and a status menu for settlers. But a couple of tweets that came out of the Bethesda twitter account earlier today indicate that even bigger changes are on the way, and so is news about DLC.</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We know you’re ready to learn what’s coming for Fallout 4 DLC. We’re not far off, and we think you’ll be excited.</p><p>&mdash; BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) <a href="https://twitter.com/BethesdaStudios/status/697885930913406976">February 11, 2016</a></p></blockquote><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We’re also doing a complete overhaul of Fallout 4 Survival mode. Food, sleep, diseases, danger and more. Stay tuned.</p><p>&mdash; BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) <a href="https://twitter.com/BethesdaStudios/status/697886212640665600">February 11, 2016</a></p></blockquote><p> I actually find the promise of the Survival difficulty overhaul more intriguing that the DLC tease. I emailed Bethesda to ask if they'd give me more information about the changes to Survival mode, and they said&mdash;and I'm not making this up&mdash;“Nope!” Hey, I tried. We'll keep you posted.</p> Explore and paint in Eastshade's gorgeous open worldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/explore-and-paint-in-eastshades-gorgeous-open-world/You can thentrade your paintings to NPCsfor information and items.Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:30:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/explore-and-paint-in-eastshades-gorgeous-open-world/EastshadeNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l-TtZtPy8Ms" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> If you enjoyed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-lets-you-turn-in-game-photos-into-real-world-prints/">taking pictures of your surroundings</a> in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-review/">Firewatch</a>, or if you like exploring and&nbsp;taking beautiful screenshots in general, you will want to&nbsp;feast your eyes on the trailer for&nbsp;Eastshade, a first-person open world&nbsp;exploration game due in early 2017. In it, you play a wandering artist, and you can "paint" pictures of the landscape you find yourself in. Here's the description from&nbsp;the devblog:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>“You are a traveling painter, exploring the island of Eastshade. Capture the world on canvas using your artist’s easel. Talk to the inhabitants to learn about their lives. Make friends and help those in need. Discover mysteries and uncover secrets about the land. Surmount natural impasses to reach forgotten places. Experience how your actions impact the world around you.”</em></p><p>From the trailer, as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGhaQ_9jEII">this brief gameplay video</a>, we&nbsp;can see you&nbsp;don't actually stand there, in-game, dabbing away at a canvas like some disembodied&nbsp;Bob Ross. Rather, you frame your shot, select the canvas, adjust the size, and the landscape appears on your canvas. You can then offer your paintings&nbsp;to other characters on the island in exchange for information or items.</p><p>The game will also include some crafting elements, and rather than one big overarching story Eastshade will&nbsp;contain connected&nbsp;"micro-stories." How you choose to involve yourself in the lives of other characters will have an effect on&nbsp;future events and interactions.</p><p>You can learn more at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eastshade.com/">Eastshade's official site</a>, or check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eastshade.com/devblog/">the devblog</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SghJqHBQR2S-.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f-yqo02CVtuV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eastshade"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P_E2NyAiR9em.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jYCcV6O3-fUR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eastshade"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ENdQ3iqBQWST.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-jcQjLzchD1R.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eastshade3"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zWJPLbr8S0eW.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iheYgTX9cf3o.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eastshade5"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VzDvN8NjQd2f.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uuuBI4I7V3I2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eastshade 2"></p> Watch Dogs 2 confirmed, due out before April 2017http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-2-confirmed-due-out-before-april-2017/Woof!Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:14:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-2-confirmed-due-out-before-april-2017/ActionNewsUbisoftWatch Dogs <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6ECtzAqFR8Om.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ii3LQkNsa0R4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs"></p><p>We speculated back in April of 2015, based on a job posting for a senior gameplay programmer for Watch Dogs 2, that Watch Dogs 2 was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-2-appears-to-be-in-development/">in development</a>. Okay, fine, it wasn't a Sherlockian leap of&nbsp;deductive reasoning, but the game has nonetheless remained an unconfirmed rumor until today, when Ubisoft confirmed in its <a href="https://www.ubisoft.com/en-US/company/investor_center/index.aspx">third quarter sales announcement</a> that Watch Dogs 2, and a few other games of note, will be out sometime during its 2016-17 fiscal year.</p><p>The report throws around some big numbers, as they are wont to do: Ubisoft expects big sales this year&mdash;€1.36 billion/$1.54 billion&mdash;and even more next year&mdash;€1.7 billion ($1.93 billion)&mdash;thanks to what&nbsp;Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot calls&nbsp;a "portfolio of powerful franchises." Mo' money is good news for Ubi, but the interesting part from a non-business perspective is found a bit lower down the announcement.&nbsp;</p><p>There are no specific dates, or even seasons, but the report makes Watch Dogs 2 official by stating that it will be released something during the coming fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. Other games of note that, barring delays, will be released over the same period include the medieval melee game <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/for-honor/">For Honor</a>, the new South Park RPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/south-park-the-fractured-but-whole/">Fractured But Whole</a> (get it?), and the open-world <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ghost-recon-wildlands/">Ghost Recon Wildlands</a>. </p><p>Interestingly, but surely not coincidentally, Ubisoft confirmed earlier today in a separate blog post that something we won't see in 2016 is a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/confirmed-no-new-assassins-creed-this-year/">new Assassin's Creed</a> release. Ubi is “stepping back and re-examining” the franchise, a move Guillemot said was made possible by the strength of the other games it has lined up for the year.</p> Activision is not skipping Call of Duty in 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/activision-is-not-skipping-call-of-duty-in-2016/Infinity Ward to develop.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:44:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/activision-is-not-skipping-call-of-duty-in-2016/Activison BlizzardCall of DutyFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zb6xOtUwSWiE.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TkyL7Qk2meoa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Call of Duty zombies"></p><p>The sky is blue, Half-Life 3 is not out and Call of Duty will get its 13th major&nbsp;instalment later this year. Publisher Activision confirmed the release today during an investor's call, and while we don't know what it's called or whether it'll have zombies, we do know that Infinity Ward will&nbsp;take the reins. The last game Infinity&nbsp;Ward turned in was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-ghosts-pc-review/">Ghosts</a>, but the studio is better known for the Modern Warfare sub-series.</p><p>There isn't much else to report from the investor's call: World of Warcraft is getting another expansion this year known as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/all-the-details-on-the-world-of-warcraft-legion-expansion/">Legion</a>, but we already knew that. A proper Destiny sequel is scheduled for 2017, and while studio Bungie has been recruiting for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/destiny-studio-bungie-appears-to-be-working-on-something-pc-related/">developers specializing in PC</a>, it's yet to be seen whether it will hit our platform.</p><p>The last COD instalment,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3/">Black Ops 3</a>, was a serviceable but mostly unremarkable entry. "The graphics get a little prettier, the story gets a little darker, and another Call of Duty counts time as we march together toward death," our optimistic reviewer Ian Birnbaum&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-review/">wrote</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>It's already looking like a busy 2016 for games: here's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-games-2016/">our exhaustive list</a> of the most exciting titles set to launch this year.&nbsp;</p> The best PC gaming processorshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-gaming-cpus-processors/The three best processor choices for your next PC build: one budget, one high-end, and one that's great for everyone.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:24:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-gaming-cpus-processors/Buying GuideHardwareTop Buying Guides <p>There's no component of your PC working harder than the CPU. It's running your operating system and programs as complex as Battlefield 4 and as simple as Notepad. Today's desktop processors can handle just about any game you throw at them, and can even be overclocked to better multitasking performance. You don't have to buy the most expensive processor around to have a great gaming experience. We've researched and tested the best gaming CPUs around, and these are the ones worth putting in your next gaming rig.</p><p><em><strong>Update 2/11/2016:</strong> We've revamped our testing and recommendations for the best gaming CPU and best high-end CPU, respectively. Our next update will tackle the best budget CPU for gaming.</em></p><br/> <h3>The best gaming processor</h3><p>It takes a lot to improve on a processor. Hundreds of millions of dollars of R&amp;D, in fact.&nbsp;Take the short-lived Broadwell CPU, released just a few months before Skylake: in essence it’s a die shrink of the Haswell architecture, but boy did it take Intel some time to get that one nailed. But then shrinking below 22nm is no laughing matter. It was Intel’s (and the world’s) first-ever consumer 14nm processor. That paved the way for Skylake and the&nbsp;<span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Core i5 6600k" data-link-text="i5-6600K"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012M8M7TY/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu" rel="nofollow">i5-6600K</a>, the new best gaming CPU in town.</span></p><p>Sklyake's new architecture at 14nm&nbsp;provided a much needed 10% improvement on the last generation of processors while also supporting modern advancements with the Z170 chipset. It brought DDR4 support to the masses, improved USB and Thunderbolt support and swapped over from 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes on the chipset to 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes instead, for all of your M.2 storage needs.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> Number Of Cores: 4 <br> Hyper-threading: No <br> Base Clock Frequency: 3.5 GHz <br> Turbo Clock Frequency: 3.9 GHz <br> L3 Cache: 6MB <br> Thermal Design Power (TDP): 91W <br> PCI-Express 3.0&nbsp;lanes:&nbsp;16</p> </div><p>Since the launch of Nehalem way back in 2009, the i5 processor lineup has been the absolute cornerstone of dependable gaming processors. And today, not a lot has changed. If you’re after one of the best all-rounders,&nbsp;<span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Core i5 6600k" data-link-text="Intel’s i5-6600K"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012M8M7TY/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu" rel="nofollow">Intel’s i5-6600K</a></span>&nbsp;is definitely up there with the best of them. Much more reasonably priced than the audacious i7-6700K, this quad-core chip runs at a base frequency of 3.5 GHz, ramping up all the way to 3.9 GHz under turbo. Although this i5 has an almost identical spec to our previous favorite CPU, the&nbsp;Core i5-4690K, overall performance for this processor trumps its predecessor by up to 10% in rendering, archiving and other workstation simulated tasks.</p><p>That doesn’t sound like&nbsp;a lot, but if you’ve been coasting on an Intel i5-2500K for a few years, now might be the time to make a jump to a new CPU.&nbsp;You’ll be looking at around 30-40% improved performance at the very least. And that’s not including the real reason to upgrade: all the new features of&nbsp;the Z170 chipset.</p><p>So why not an i7? Well there’s two main factors, the first being the cost. If you’re lucky you might be able to net yourself one of the nifty i7-6700Ks for just under £300 or $410, but honestly that’s a hell of a jump from the i7-4790K more reasonable price. And secondly? The i7's&nbsp;hyper-threading adds very little to overall gaming performance. For the money you’d be far better off spending more on your&nbsp;graphics card instead.</p><p>If you are interested in the idea of streaming your gameplay footage over Twitch, or rendering YouTube videos for the masses to see, hyper-threading will be more useful, but even then we still wouldn’t suggest you grab the i7-6700K (see below). Ultimately it’s just not the best value for money. And for the vast majority of us the thoroughbred specs of Intel’s i5 lineup will be more than enough to satisfy all of our gaming desires.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YPgnIZ3QRfiW.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UE5S8V8D9SIX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Empire Total War "></p><h3>Overclocking the 6600K</h3><p>The next question we’re sure you’re asking is: “why the K series?” Overclocking isn’t for everyone, but it’s all about that longevity. Three of four years from now you might find yourself beginning to struggle with game performance. Whether that’s with post-processing effects, CPU-based rendering, or computational tasks, it’s eventually going to happen, and when that time comes it certainly won’t hurt to have some extra oomph from overclocking.</p><p>Throughout the entirety of Intel’s processor range the “K/X” in the model designation indicates that the multiplier has been left unlocked. What this means is that by adding a little extra voltage you can successfully adjust the multiplier to achieve a far higher overall clock frequency than before. Take this i5-6600K. It comes clocked at standard at 3.9 GHz, or 3900 MHz&mdash;a multiplier of 39, alongside a base clock frequency of 100. A simple overclock would be to increase the multiplier to 43, this would provide you with an overall frequency of 4.3 GHz and improve your performance in game, as well as in other computational benchmarks.</p><p>There’s more to it than that, and there’s inevitably always going to be some danger when it comes to increasing the amount of voltage going into your CPU. We’ll let Asus show you how it’s done here (don’t worry, though: the basic principles of overclocking haven’t changed much since Sandy Bridge).</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Z7zPu9255ZI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>In our testing we managed to get a maximum 4.8 GHz out of our Intel Core i5-6600K, with 1.4v amping into the VCore. For an everyday overclock we would advise you stick to something more comfortable like 4.4-4.6 GHz. It shouldn’t push your CPU too hard, and in some cases you might not even need to adjust the voltage, depending on how lucky you get in the silicon lottery.</p><h3>Performance versus price</h3><p>If you have no intention of overclocking, you won’t be much worse off immediately by opting for the i5-6600 instead. What matters here is the number of cores, and although there are definitely games out there that can make use of that additional processing power, they’re very few and far between. In fact if you’re looking to overclock anything, boosting your GPU by 5-10 percent will actually gain you far more frames per second in game than anything you ever do to your CPU.</p><h3>Conclusion</h3><p>As far as gaming performance goes, Intel’s i5-6600K is a strong contender. In our benchmarks we found this mighty quad-core provided little to no bottleneck in typically simple AAA titles. More CPU intensive games such as Creative Assembly’s Total War franchise benefited the most from additional clock frequency, more threads/cores, but it wasn’t enough to cause us any major worry, as most of this was down to post-processing, and the colossal number of assets being rendered and thrown around on screen.</p><p>Ultimately the i5-6600K’s biggest advantage came down to that Z170 chipset. Better support for M.2/U.2 PCIe storage, better USB support, overall lower power consumption, and that 10 percent&nbsp;improvement in computational tasks. In the vast majority of games can match up to either of the two big boys in our testing no sweat. For those reasons alone it’s our gaming CPU of choice.</p><h3>The best budget gaming processor</h3><p><strong><em>Note: There are now better low-end CPUs than the G3258, as more games begin to take advantage of quad core CPUs. We'll have an update for this recommendation soon.</em></strong></p><p> One of the oft-cited downsides of gaming on a PC, compared with gaming on a console, is the cost of the hardware. There’s certainly some truth to that, since a single high-end component can cost as much as entire console, and in some cases, more.&nbsp;But by carefully choosing components, you can shave hundreds off the price of your gaming PC and still enjoy most up-to-date games in high resolution without having to keep the detail settings on the lowest possible level.</p><p> Enter the&nbsp; <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Pentium K Anniversary Edition G3258" data-link-text="Pentium K G3258 processor"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KPRWAZQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu">Pentium K G3258 processor</a></span>, a truly affordable chip that can slug it out with the big guns of the processor world. Every so often, Intel brings out an affordable CPU that’s trivial to overlock to higher speeds. You might even think they’ve done it on purpose, since the G3258 carries Intel’s Pentium 20th Anniversary branding.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> Number Of Cores: 2 <br> Hyper-threading: No <br> Base Clock Frequency: 3.2 GHz <br> L3 Cache: 3MB <br> Thermal Design Power (TDP): 53W <br> PCI-Express lanes: 16 </p> </div><p> Both Intel and AMD sells a wide range of other affordable processors, including the Core i3 line and other Pentium chips. But none of these even approach the value for money of the Pentium K G3258, given how well it does in tests.</p><p> This dual-core chip runs at 3.2 GHz stock, but can easily overclock towards 4.5 Ghz without needing an exotic cooling system, or even increasing the voltage. It costs&nbsp; <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Pentium K Anniversary Edition G3258" data-link-text="just $70 on Amazon"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KPRWAZQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu">just $70 on Amazon</a></span>, a bargain by any standard. While it’s a no-frills processor, as it’s only a dual-core model, and lacks Turbo Mode or hyper-threading, this is still enough to drive the majority of games at playable resolution and detail settings.</p><p> The Core i3 processors may be marginally faster, equal, or even slower in some cases, but nearly all of them cost more.&nbsp;Since the G3258 is all about saving cash, it makes little sense to pair it with an expensive modular 1000-watt power supply, water-cooling setup or a deluxe motherboard that costs three times as much as the CPU. This is a perfect budget chip for a budget rig.</p><p> The same goes for the GPU. While you could pair an all-singing $349 GeForce GTX 970 with a $68 Pentium K processor, if you’re going down that line, it makes more sense to spend just another $150 and get a Core i5 for much better overall performance in a wider range of gaming and non-gaming tasks. If you’re trying to save cash and build the best gaming PC you can on a limited budget, a more modest graphics card will save hundreds, and also means you can use a less expensive power supply.</p><p> What would we recommend? A Micro-ATX Z97 motherboard such as the Gigabyte Z97M-DSH3 and a nice-looking case such as Corsair’s Carbide Air 240. 8GB of memory will be fine, and there are a new breed of affordable SSDs to consider, such as Corsair’s MX100, or Samsung’s 850 Evo. Buy a 512GB model and you can squeeze in loads of games from a bulging Steam library, leaving a hard disk off the shopping list.&nbsp;As for a graphics card, the Pentium K G3258 is a great partner for&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/#page-4">AMD’s Radeon R270X, our favorite budget GPU</a>, which can be found online for as little as $170.</p><p> So with these affordable prices, you can get a processor, motherboard, memory and graphics card for about $400. Although this doesn’t factor in a display, PSU or case, this is the guts of a gaming PC for around the same price as a PS4 or Xbox One.</p><h3>Budget limitations</h3><p> As great as the Pentium chip is, it does have some limitations. As we pointed out earlier, it's much slower than the i5-4690k and i7-4790k when it comes to demanding multi-core applications, like video encoding. That's because it's a dual-core CPU. Because many games don't take advantage of every CPU core, it can hold its own even in demanding modern games.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> Benchmark </strong></td> <td><strong> Pentium G3258 </strong></td> <td><strong> Core i5 4690k </strong></td> <td><strong> Core i7 4790k</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Tomb Raider (avg fps) </td> <td> 83.7 </td> <td> 84.2 </td> <td> 85 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Metro: Last Light (1080p V. High) </td> <td> 36.3 </td> <td> 45 </td> <td> 45 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Civ: Beyond Earth (avg fps) </td> <td> 134 </td> <td> 170 </td> <td> 172 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Unigine Heaven 4.0 (fps) </td> <td> 51.8 </td> <td> 53.6 </td> <td> 53.5 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Handbrake encode </td> <td> 4h 12m </td> <td> 1h 42m </td> <td> 1h 19m </td> </tr> </tbody> </table><p> Overclocked, the Pentium G3258 puts up some truly impressive numbers compared to the beefier chips.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-pentium-anniversary-edition-g3258-review/">As we pointed out in our review</a>, punishing multi-core games are the only ones that give it problems. It's not a great CPU for Battlefield 4.</p><p> So how does the Pentium G3258 compare to AMD's budget price chips? Intel's been outperforming AMD in the high performance arena for several years, but still sells some chips at attractive budget prices. The strength of AMD's current APUs is their onboard graphics processing. They still beat Intel there, but that graphics performance is irrelevant if you're going to buy a graphics card. Our budget recommendation has this in mind. You could buy the&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009O7YORK/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu">$110 AMD FX 6300</a>, or buy the cheaper Pentium and put that $40 you save towards a much more powerful dedicated GPU.</p><p> AMD does have some cheaper desktop CPUs under the $100 mark. But they're just not as good for gaming, or don't come close to offering the same bang for your buck. The Tech Report&nbsp;found that the G3258&nbsp; <a href="http://techreport.com/review/26845/amd-a10-7800-processor-reviewed/4">outperformed AMD's A6 and A10 APUs in Thief</a>. Anandtech found the G3258&nbsp;<a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8291/amd-a10-7800-review-65w-kaveri/2">outperformed a new AMD APU that cost $80 more</a> in some non-gaming tasks, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_a10_7800_kaveri_apu_review,10.html">Guru3D found</a> that it beat the same AMD A10-7800 in dedicated gaming benchmarks, too.&nbsp;<span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Pentium K Anniversary Edition G3258" data-link-text="At $70, the G3258"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KPRWAZQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu">At $70, the G3258</a></span> is the best budget CPU.</p><h3>The best high-end gaming processor</h3><p>In the last iteration of this buyer’s guide we opted for a standard i7 CPU over the more premium&nbsp;Haswell-E, deciding the "extreme" platform&nbsp;was too expensive&nbsp;to recommend for gaming&nbsp;. Since then, as usual,&nbsp;the dynamic PC gaming landscape has changed quite dramatically.</p><p>To understand our choice here, you have to understand exactly how the industry and our demographic is changing.&nbsp;Today’s 1.2 billion PC gamers&nbsp;stream, they render video, they work on their machines and run all sorts of additional programs in the background. And for that reason we decided to opt for the <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Core i7-5820K" data-link-text="Intel Core i7-5820K "><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMLXIKY/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu" rel="nofollow">Intel Core i7-5820K </a></span>as our best high-end gaming processor.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> Number Of Cores: 6<br>Hyper-threading: Yes&nbsp;<br> Base Clock Frequency: 3.3 GHz <br> Turbo Clock Frequency: 3.6 GHz <br> L3 Cache: 15MB <br> Thermal Design Power (TDP): 140W <br> PCI-Express 3.0 lanes: 28</p> </div><p> Why? Well, Intel’s Sklake i7-6700K costs £300 or $410 to invest in, and considering the i7-5820K comes in just £20 more in the UK and $25 less in the US, it’s just too good an opportunity to miss at this price point. If you do decide to invest in the X99 platform, the i7-5820K will provide you with six cores, clocked at 3.3 GHz and turboing up to 3.6 GHz, 28 PCIe 3.0 lanes supported directly by the CPU, 15 MB of L3 Cache, along with all of the support the X99 chipset can muster.</p><p> So is this truly still better than Skylake’s crème de la crème of processors,the i7-6700K? Yep, absolutely. In computational benchmarks those six cores run rings around it’s Skylake cousin. If you do overclock the i7-6700K up to 4.8 GHz you can keep pace with a stock 5820K, but as soon as you touch the multiplier on that monster of a value CPU it rockets well beyond reach once more.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YNQFSkJgTeCa.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PQHM3xvyOnT5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gigabyte Gaming 5 - Hero"></p><p> As far as gaming goes there’s very negligible difference between the two CPUs. This is mostly down to the fact that the vast majority of graphical rendering is now done on the GPUs of today. Any post-processing effects are so limited in contrast to the power CPUs have available to them, that they really do not become a bottleneck to any great degree. Indeed we’ve noticed even with our i7-5820K de-clocked down to 2.7 GHz we still saw absolutely no degradation in overall frame rate for games such as Shadow of Mordor. The biggest advantages we saw were in unoptimised titles such as Batman Arkham Knight and Ark: Survival Evolved, where those six cores battered the i7-6700K into submission by up to 20fps in some cases.</p><h3>Price of the X99 platform</h3><p> You can spend a lot of money in the enthusiast section of Intel’s arsenal. Admittedly there are motherboards out there topping £400 if you look hard enough, but to be frank, the same can be said for Skylake. Couple that with how the price of DDR4 continues to plummet and you’re actually starting to find affordable X99 systems popping up all over the place. DDR4 was another price barrier a year ago; now it's cheaper than DDR3.</p><p> If you’re from the UK, check out Overclocker’s <a href="https://www.overclockers.co.uk/titan-riptide-intel-core-i7-5820k-4.2ghz-overclocked-six-core-gaming-pc-fs-122-og.html">Titan Riptide</a> as a good example.</p><h3>Performance</h3><p> As we’ve already established, the performance in-game at this point is well beyond any bottlenecks. You’re just not going to see much (if any) change in overall frame rates between high-end CPUs. Even if you’re running multiple GPUs, with Skylake now supporting those additional PCIe 3.0 lanes through the DMI chipset, and X99 supporting them through the physical CPU, you’re just not going to find any problems here.</p><p> The big one then is the computational tasks. If you’re looking at venturing into the world of Twitch streaming, perhaps starting to create some YouTube videos with your buddies, or even need a system that can compete as both a fully professional workstation and a gaming station, X99 is an incredibly good decision to take, especially with <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Core i7-5820K" data-link-text="the 5820K"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMLXIKY/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestcpu" rel="nofollow">the 5820K</a></span>.</p> <h3>How we tested processors and others we tested</h3><p>In our latest round of testing, we focused on Intel's new Skylake CPUs and how those compared to last generation's Devil's Canyon and the still competitive X99 Haswell-E platform. For our next update, we plan to focus on the budget tier and incorporate benchmarks with AMD's latest processors.</p><h3>How we tested</h3><p>To bring our CPU testing and buyer’s guides in line with the rest of our future reviews, we decided to completely rework our testing protocols for the lot of them. First we have to start with the test beds.</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td>Platform</td><td>Z170 - Skylake</td><td>X99 - Haswell-E</td></tr><tr><td>Motherboard</td><td>Asus Z170 Maximus VIII Formula</td><td>Asus X99 TUF Sabertooth</td></tr><tr><td>RAM</td><td>32GB (4x8GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum 2400 MT/s C14</td><td>32GB (4x8GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum 2400 MT/s C14</td></tr><tr><td>GPU</td><td>Nvidia GeForce GTX 980</td><td>Nvidia GeForce GTX 980</td></tr><tr><td>SSD 1</td><td>Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD</td><td>Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD</td></tr><tr><td>SSD 2</td><td>Samsung 850 Pro 2TB SSD</td><td>Samsung 850 Pro 2TB SSD</td></tr><tr><td>PSU</td><td>Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro Platinum 1200W</td><td>Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro Platinum 1200W</td></tr><tr><td>CPU Cooler</td><td>NZXT Kraken X61</td><td>NZXT Kraken X61</td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>As you can see it’s a pretty extensive array of hardware, most of it not cheap. The reason being is that when testing CPUs we want to ensure that there are minimal to zero bottlenecks in other parts of our systems. Samsung’s 950 Pro PCIe M.2 drives are phenomenally fast, and provide us with ample storage room to play with. Couple that with the 2TB SSD to house our Steam library and we’re set. Sticking with Asus for motherboards meant we shouldn’t have any conflicting driver issues. And Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 is still a powerful GPU, capable of driving games both at 1440p and 1080p with little to no problem. Cool all this with a full 280mm NZXT Kraken X61 and we’re good to push the overclocks as hard as we can.</p><p>Then it comes down to our testing software suite. We use a fresh install of Windows 10 Technical Preview, alongside the latest chipset, driver and BIOS updates for both boards. For computational rendering benchmarks we decided to use both CineBench (R15) and HWBOT’s x265 Benchmark. For synthetic graphics testing we used both 3D Mark Firestrike’s standard test, and Heaven 4.0. Then for good measure we threw in AS SSD’s Sequential and 4K benchmarks for our second SSD, and also prepared a 5GB archive folder package, just to see what each CPU could do.</p><p>Then it’s all about them load tests, so for power draw and temperature we powered the system on, closed down any additional programs, waited 5 minutes and took readings from our watt measuring device and the average from the four cores from real temp GT. Then to test load temperatures we coupled Prime 95’s burn test with a standard FurMark 1920x1080 GPU stress test, waited five more minutes and did the same. We did this at both stock and overclocked frequencies, that way we could ensure that we had stable overclocks at the same time.</p><p>Then the most important factor came down to the game tests. We used Total War: Attila’s in engine benchmark tool, Batman: Arkham Knight’s in engine benchmark tool (for an example of an&nbsp;unoptimised game), Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for your traditional AAA shooter, and of course Project Cars, to try and push the GPUs as hard as we could.</p><p>All benchmarks are performed three times, and then an average is taken from the three. All gaming benchmarks, bar the integrated ones are recorded in MSI’s Afterburner software, pulled into an excel document and then the average is found from there.</p><h3>Benchmarks</h3><table><colgroup><col><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td>Socket</td><td>2011 - 3</td><td>1151</td><td>1151</td></tr><tr><td>Chipset</td><td>X99</td><td>Z170</td><td>Z170</td></tr><tr><td>Codename</td><td>Haswell-E</td><td>Skylake</td><td>Skylake</td></tr><tr><td>Model</td><td>i7-5820K</td><td>i7-6700K</td><td>i5-6600K</td></tr><tr><td>Computational Benchmarks</td></tr><tr><td>CineBench (R15)</td><td>1,008</td><td>873</td><td>591</td></tr><tr><td>HWBOT x265 Benchmark</td><td>21.64 fps</td><td>20.90 fps</td><td>15.50 fps</td></tr><tr><td>AS SSD - Sequential SSD2</td><td>497 MB/s - 480 MB/s</td><td>500 MB/s - 479 MB/s</td><td>492 MB/s - 466 MB/s</td></tr><tr><td>AS SSD - 4K SSD2</td><td>32 MB/s - 83MB/s</td><td>24 MB/s - 48 MB/s</td><td>26 MB/s - 45 MB/s</td></tr><tr><td>Firestrike - Integrated</td><td>--</td><td>1,090</td><td>1,053</td></tr><tr><td>Firestrike - Dedicated</td><td>11,328</td><td>11,293</td><td>10,469</td></tr><tr><td>Heaven 4.0 - Dedicated</td><td>72.9 fps</td><td>75.3 fps</td><td>74.4 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Extract Time - 5GB Folder</td><td>00:58</td><td>00:45</td><td>00:51</td></tr><tr><td>Archive Time - 5GB Folder</td><td>02:11</td><td>02:49</td><td>04:08</td></tr><tr><td>Overclock Benchmarks</td></tr><tr><td>Maximum Overclock Achieved</td><td>4.5 GHz</td><td>4.9 GHz</td><td>4.8 GHz</td></tr><tr><td>Maximum Overclock Voltage</td><td>1.415V / 1.9V</td><td>1.41V</td><td>1.4V</td></tr><tr><td>CineBench (R15)</td><td>1294</td><td>1,060</td><td>772</td></tr><tr><td>Heaven 4.0 - Dedicated</td><td>74.8 fps</td><td>75.5 fps</td><td>74.9 fps</td></tr><tr><td>HWBOT x265 Benchmark</td><td>28.76 fps</td><td>25.35 fps</td><td>20.17 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Power &amp; Temperature</td></tr><tr><td>Draw &amp; Temp - Idle</td><td>70W / 25*</td><td>63W / 21*</td><td>61W / 21*</td></tr><tr><td>Draw &amp; Temp - Load</td><td>375W / 50*</td><td>353W / 61*</td><td>299W / 42*</td></tr><tr><td>Draw &amp; Temp OC - Idle</td><td>95W / 26*</td><td>81W / 27*</td><td>71W / 22*</td></tr><tr><td>Draw &amp; Temp OC - Load</td><td>527W / 78*</td><td>420W / 86*</td><td>340W / 63*</td></tr><tr><td>Gaming Benchmarks</td></tr><tr><td>Total War: ATTILA</td><td>47.8</td><td>46.5 fps</td><td>38.1 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Batman: Arkham Knight</td><td>106 fps</td><td>87 fps</td><td>87 fps</td></tr><tr><td>CoD: Black Ops 3</td><td>96.0 fps</td><td>74.1 fps</td><td>85.1 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Project Cars</td><td>70.0 fps</td><td>69.1 fps</td><td>64.9 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Gaming Benchmarks @ OC</td></tr><tr><td>Total War: ATTILA</td><td>52.6 fps</td><td>51.2 fps</td><td>48.6 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Batman: Arkham Knight</td><td>109 fps</td><td>90 fps</td><td>95 fps</td></tr><tr><td>CoD: Black Ops 3</td><td>98.7 fps</td><td>83.3 fps</td><td>88.4 fps</td></tr><tr><td>Project Cars</td><td>69.0 fps</td><td>69.4 fps</td><td>69.8 fps</td></tr></tbody></table><h3> Competitors</h3><p> Although Intel has dominated our CPU recommendations, this is due to their current strong position in the CPU market. AMD’s competing processors are a fine platform, and won’t exactly perform badly in games, but the company remains a step behind Intel, unable to offer the same level of performance at the same price. AMD's new Zen CPU, releasing in 2016, could majorly shake things up, with a huge expected jump in instructions per clock. We're eagerly waiting to see how the next round of competition plays out.</p><p><em>Original reporting by Orestis Bastounis. Updated reporting by Zak Storey.</em></p><p><em>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> Hatred studio's next game is called IS Defensehttp://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-studios-next-game-is-called-is-defense/Yes, it's gross.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:26:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-studios-next-game-is-called-is-defense/ActionDestructive CreationsHatredNews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SNVmXt-H8AA?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Destructive Creations, the studio behind the controversial but ultimately not-very-good twin-stick shooter <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-review/">Hatred</a>, has announced its next project, and it's about as subtle as you'd&nbsp;predict: a stationary shooter called IS Defense that tasks players with defending the “the old continent” of Europe against the invading forces of Islamic State in the year 2020.</p><p> “The player takes the role of NATO’s stationary machine-gun operator, deployed to defend the shores of Europe. His task is to blast as many of the invaders as possible, until his glorious death,” the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=620126439">Steam Greenlight</a> description states. “To do so, he has NATO support forces, his Machinegun and Rocket Launcher at his disposal. During the progress of this heroic defense, he gets the opportunities to upgrade his gear, his body and army rank–which affects the efficiency of the called support.”</p><p> It's fundamentally silly, of course, and on one level it's no worse than any other game that has you blowing apart onrushing hordes of Nazis or generic banana republic mercenaries. But the way it capitalizes on anti-Muslim sentiment&mdash;the studio describes it as “our personal veto against what is happening in the Middle East nowadays”&mdash;in a bid to draw attention to what otherwise appears to be an entirely unremarkable addition to a long-moribund genre is troubling. And I say that as someone who had no particular issue with Hatred, aside from the way it did its best to give legitimacy to all of the worst of gamer stereotypes.</p><p> IS Defense is on Steam Greenlight now, and has already attracted a pile of comments, which I do&nbsp;not encourage you to read. It's expected to be ready for release sometime in the second quarter of this year.</p> The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-aquatic-adventure-of-the-last-human-review/Harpoon the abyss and the abyss harpoons back.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:20:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-aquatic-adventure-of-the-last-human-review/2DAdventureReviewsThe Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it? </strong>A post human&nbsp;submarine Metroidvania<br> <strong></strong><strong>Expect to pay </strong>$10 /&nbsp;£7 <strong>Developer </strong>YCJY<br> <strong>Publisher </strong>YCJY<br> <strong></strong><strong>Reviewed on</strong>&nbsp;Intel Core-i7 6700K, 16GB RAM, GTX 980 Ti <strong style="background-color: initial;">Link&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://whycjwhy.com/aquaticadventure/index.html" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human fasts forwards through the Metroidvania template, stripping it down to its most essential parts: exploration, atmosphere, and player growth. As the last human alive, you explore Earth in the far future after massive climate change submerged the greater land masses. In a tiny submarine, you putter around underwater ecosystems that have long since adapted to the new world, even if they still show the scars of trauma left from an excessive human civilization. You'll discover secrets, shoot innocent fish (big and small), and explore a mysterious narrative. It's&nbsp;a somber story, but nothing that can&nbsp;spoil the fun of turning my tin can into a mobile fish cannery. I’m not here just to survive, I’m here to upset the food chain. <a href="https:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s64aSHOk3bg">I’m here to get power ups</a>, baby.&nbsp;</p><p>Aquatic Adventure is&nbsp;short and the art&nbsp;is minimalist (but holy-cow-gorgeous), and yet it's one of the best Metroidvania experiences I’ve ever had. It understands the best facets of the genre, and uses them to say something more while wrapping my attention around its&nbsp;labyrinths and upgrades and fierce boss fights.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><h2>Super soaker</h2><p> As with most Metroidvanias, you start out with super limited mobility and defense. The first upgrade available is a harpoon gun that can only shoot 180-degrees from tip to tail below the sub, so I spent the first hour or so struggling to stay above bosses to even have chance to shoot them. And without spoiling too much, by the end of the game, I went from controlling a freefalling pebble to a Cobra attack helicopter.</p><p>Aquatic Adventure understands the hypnotic power of the genre; I traversed dense, interconnected environments layered with art that told tiny stories without saying a word. I fruitlessly bumped up against thick bundles of seaweed, and returned, vengeful, after gutting a big fish for a saw upgrade. I pressed down into the darkest depths of the ocean without the guidance of a map, navigating rusted minefields and the remnants of human civilization. The McDonalds was closed. It’s short, five hours or so, and the map isn’t massive, but Aquatic Adventure distills a greater sense of discovery, player growth, and mechanical growth into its tiny package than the majority of Metroidvanias today. It’s the genre’s most potent espresso shot: quick, bitter, and just as powerful.</p><p>It even has the necessary genre staples for extended play.While I’m unsure what kind of exploits Aquatic Adventure might be hiding, the labyrinthine map, the open order in which you can tackle bosses, and the skill level required to beat some of the bosses should be a gilded invitation for speedrunners. It’s missing the platforming precision from gravity bound games of its ilk, but taking on the final boss with no hull upgrades and a limited harpoon? Phew. I’d pay to see it happen.</p><h2>U-57Fun</h2><p>That’s especially because the boss fights are so great. Within five minutes of starting, a freighter-sized sea worm burst out of the ocean floor and attacked my sub. I died immediately. The worm puked up dozens of tiny worms I danced around, it flew across the screen towards me, and zig-zagged in and out of the ground as I fruitlessly shot harpoons in its general direction. After fifteen or so deaths, I finally took it down. The only way out of the room was to float through the worm’s freshly eviscerated body and out of its worm ass. I’m fairly certain a passive playthrough is impossible.</p><p>But divorced from ethics (hooray!) the bosses are a ton of fun to fight. They’re massive and multifaceted. And since Aquatic Adventure is almost entirely open from the get-go, I encountered some insane bosses right off the bat. If I ever felt too stuck on a certain one, I’d go adventuring for hidden upgrades, or take down another one in the meantime. Almost every boss I revisited felt much easier on our second meeting, both through ability acquisition and the sharpening of my sub shooting skills. And skill is an absolute necessity. The power-in-numbers (and explosions) shark swarm The Chain Gang took me about thirty tries, but I kept going because I knew every failure was my fault. The rest are exercises in bullet hell or in harpoon precision, a couple require puzzling out, and a few, well, they’re tests of cruelty.</p><p>The more I progressed, the more I felt the game was trying to get me to think about why I was searching for the means to kill so many bigass sea creatures. <em>Power ups</em>, I whisper, breaking eye contact. An in-game description for one of the game’s bosses says it better than I can: “It's better to think of it as a killer. We'll all sleep better with a monster dead than with a guardian betrayed.” The trick to beating the boss is poised to paint the player as a submarine sadist. The creature was only blocking my path and I tore it apart, limb by limb, as it moaned in low, terrible tones until I reduced it to a pathetic nub. Again, just <em>in the way</em>&hellip;</p><p>It’s this thematic use of the genre that makes Aquatic Adventure more than just an excellent Metroidvania. The will to grow and progress made me power up snowblind, unwilling to think about why I was chopping up leviathan after leviathan in lieu of succumbing to the super blatant narrative catch: I am the last human. So what’s the point of it all? Why tear through fish after fish? We’re doomed. But since the exploration-reward loop is so deeply embedded, I carried on for the sake of play. And ultimately, the game itself is harmless, but by the end, it jostled me out of a habitual mode of thinking to consider what else I might be harming for the sake of my personal pleasure.</p><p>Still, swimming out of that sea worm’s ass was pretty cool.</p> Funcom reveals The Man Himself in first Conan Exiles dev diaryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/funcom-reveals-the-man-himself-in-first-conan-exiles-dev-diary/Survival, crafting... and dismemberment!Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:09:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/funcom-reveals-the-man-himself-in-first-conan-exiles-dev-diary/Conan ExilesFuncomNewsSurvival <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OPxNDnhDiHY?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Funcom's new Conan game was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-conan-project-is-a-survival-game/">announced last month</a> as a survival-crafting game, which I think caught some folks by surprise, since that doesn't really make it sound like the sort of barbarically violent experience one would expect from a game built around Robert E. Howard's loin-clothed lunatic. But eking out a miserable existence&nbsp;in a harsh and unforgiving world is actually rather fitting, and the first Conan Exiles dev diary offers comforting reassurance that there will be plenty of dismemberment and decapitation. Phew.</p><p> The intro is cool&mdash;Conan himself saves you from crucifixion&mdash;and the dynamic sand effects look very promising, even in the early-state game editor. But it's the hacking and the slashing and the hey hey hey it hurts me that we're all here for, and Funcom has plans for that, too.</p><p> “In the game, when you hit somebody, you see you do damage. You see you leave a mark on the other player. You see heads coming off, you see arms coming off, you see blood, you see gore, you see dents in armor,” the narrator says. “These are the things we're aiming for, this is what we want to achieve in the game.”</p><p> Conan Exiles will be playable solo or on publicly hosted servers, and multiplayer is clearly where the action is: Budding barbarians will be able to build settlements and strongholds, wage war, and even sacrifice the hearts of enemy players to Hyborian gods, to gain divine favor or just to be a jerk. Teamwork will also be encouraged by Purges, special events in which NPC armies from neighboring kingdoms rampage through the land, destroying the work of the exiles&mdash;although Funcom hinted that devious players might find ways to take advantage of Purges for more personal gain.</p><p> Conan Exiles is slated for an Early Access release this summer. You can find out more at <a href="http://www.conanexiles.com/">conanexiles.com</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mQWQVe5-SBKG.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zwjI9oyx1gHO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Conan Exiles"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TMzxZXkOSUOy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_IkKlOdRjhCg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Conan Exiles"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TkSsoGrZTz-u.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pDs2C-tPpLH-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Conan Exiles"></p> Quantum Break system requirements out, Windows 10 requiredhttp://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-system-requirements-out-windows-10-required/Welcome to the future, where DirectX 12 is non-optional.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:17:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-system-requirements-out-windows-10-required/ActionMicrosoftNewsQuantum BreakRemedy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u5rxnzcyRRCp.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S-fmM7hYex4m.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Quantum Break "></p><p>A PC release of Remedy's upcoming Quantum Break was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-confirmed-for-windows-10/">confirmed earlier today</a>, but the question of whether it would be exclusive to Windows 10, or available to owners of Win7/8 as well, was not immediately answered. Now it has been, and as a Windows 7 stalwart I'm sorry to say it looks like I can't hold out much longer.</p><p>The system requirements, as posted on <a href="http://www.quantumbreak.com/windows10/">quantumbreak.com</a>:</p><p>Minimum:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> Windows 10 (64-bit)</li><li><strong>CPU:</strong> Intel Core i5-4460, 2.70GHz or AMD FX-6300 </li><li><strong>GPU:</strong> NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x </li><li><strong>RAM:</strong> 8 GB</li><li><strong>VRAM:</strong> 2 GB</li><li><strong>HDD:</strong> 55 GB available space</li><li><strong>DX:</strong> DirectX 12</li></ul><p>Recommended:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> Windows 10 (64-bit)</li><li><strong>CPU:</strong> Intel Core i7 4790, 4GHz or AMD equivalent </li><li><strong>GPU:</strong> NVIDIA GeForce 980 Ti or AMD Radeon R9 Fury X </li><li><strong>RAM:</strong> 16 GB</li><li><strong>VRAM:</strong> 6 GB</li><li><strong>HDD:</strong> 55 GB available space</li><li><strong>DX:</strong> DirectX 12</li></ul><p>That is a seriously high-end recommended spec, although I'm guessing you'll&nbsp;probably be alright if you're willing to settle for playing it at “only” 1080p, with maybe a few of the bleeding edge effects dialed back. We'll analyze the performance when we have it in to tell you whether or not that 980 Ti is really so important.&nbsp;The real knock is the DX12 requirement, so there's no choice in whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10 if you want to play.</p><p>Microsoft also said that the Windows 10 and Xbox One versions of Quantum Break will support shared saves but not actual cross-play, because it is “a single player action-adventure experience.” </p><p>Quantum Break for Windows 10 will be out on April 15.</p> Souped-up Need for Speed is coming to the PC in Marchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed-comes-to-the-pc-in-march-with-4k-support-manual-gears/The PC version of NFS will support 4K resolution, unlocked frame rates, manual shifting, and wheels.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:37:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed-comes-to-the-pc-in-march-with-4k-support-manual-gears/Electronic ArtsNeed for SpeedNewsRacing <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z0xo6NRQdbw?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The PC version of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed/">Need for Speed</a> was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/need-for-speed-delayed-on-pc/">delayed</a> last year to the spring of this year, and we haven't heard a whole lot about it since. But today Ghost Games <a href="http://www.needforspeed.com/news/pc-release-date">announced</a> that it will arrive on Origin on March 15, sporting upgrades and new features including unlocked frame rates, support for 4K resolution, and manual transmissions.</p><p> That last bit, about the manual gearboxes, is interesting because the console versions of the game did not include them when they were released last November. (They're getting manual transmissions too, by the way, in a future update.) The exclusion makes sense in a way, since technology has far surpassed human ability when it comes to shifting gears, but players apparently wanted it, and so now they're getting it. </p><p> (An interesting and sort-of-relevant aside: Porsche recently committed to offering manual transmissions in its 911 series for “as long as possible,” even though the cars will suffer a performance hit for having them. “It's not only a discussion of lap times, but also of emotion, of being fun to drive,” Erhard Mössle, Porsche's head of engineering, told <a href="http://blog.caranddriver.com/porsche-committed-to-manual-transmissions-for-as-long-as-possible/">Car and Driver</a>. “Of course the <a href="http://www.porsche.com/usa/models/911/911-turbo/drive/porsche-doppelkupplung-pdk/">PDK</a> is faster, but a lot of customers want to change gear by themselves. Therefore I think we should keep it, for the next generation also.”)</p><p> The PC version of the game will support “a selection of wheels from Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Fanatec,” and of course will incorporate all the various fixes and tweaks that have been made since the console versions came out. The Icons and Legends updates will also be built in, while the Showcase update, which released for consoles on February 3, will come to the PC version shortly after it goes live. The one thing it's lacking, unfortunately, is a proper cockpit view, which to my mind is an even more glaring omission than manual gearboxes. I get that you can't see your sleek machine from behind the wheel, but if the intent is to offer something approaching a realistic driving experience, then you really need to let people actually get inside the car. </p><p> So says I, anyway. Finally, Need for Speed on the PC will be available five days early&mdash;that's March 10&mdash;to members of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ea-access-programme-arrives-on-pc/">Origin Access</a>, which offers subscription-based access to various EA games for $5/£4 per month. Find out more from <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-ca/store/buy/needforspeed/pc-download/base-game/standard-edition">Origin</a>.</p> The Wild Eight is co-op survival with mutated wolveshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-wild-eight-is-co-op-survival-with-mutated-wolves/The upcoming game takes place in the harsh climate of Alaska.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:57:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-wild-eight-is-co-op-survival-with-mutated-wolves/NewsThe Wild Eight <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f6NrsPNBJ1Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> A reveal trailer and a handful of&nbsp;screenshots have appeared for an upcoming cooperative survival game called The Wild Eight. In the grand tradition of reveal trailers everywhere&nbsp;it actually&nbsp;doesn't reveal <em>much</em>, but the basic premise is this: as the result of a plane crash, a handful of survivors find themselves stranded in the harsh wilderness&nbsp;of Alaska and must work together to stay alive.</p><p>The Wild Eight&nbsp;website mentions that players will have to develop survival skills such as shelter building, and&nbsp;hunting is definitely on the roster&nbsp;(one screenshot shows the team taking down an animal using knives and clubs, and one player is throwing rocks). The freezing temperatures at night will come into play, and there are apparently mutated wolves on the loose.&nbsp;The game is being made&nbsp;by a&nbsp;Russian development team named&nbsp;8 Points, and some of the text on the site&nbsp;is&nbsp;a little hard to parse:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Survive and explore the forest with other players. It’s the right way to stand against this harsh world... until a madman appears in your group who wishes to grab the catch."</em></p><p>I'm not quite sure what that means.&nbsp;You can sign up&nbsp;for the beta&nbsp;<a href="http://thewildeight.com/">at the official site</a> where there are also&nbsp;a few more screenshots and another sample&nbsp;of the game's haunting soundtrack.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1skfTm25Qi62.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EhXGOJH_nFAE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wild Eight"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6nn0xNcPTZmU.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rCc2k0aRhJwL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wild82" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CfghNrtgTDOA.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/l33UT-lnHYsI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wild83"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jMdKTgr9QOy8.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Jv5SN00DVCtd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wild84"></p> ​Everything you can play at the PC Gamer Weekender in Londonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/everything-you-can-play-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender-in-london/Be among the first to play Dark Souls III and a ton of other games this March.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/everything-you-can-play-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender-in-london/Dark Souls 3FPSPC Gamer WeekenderRPGRTSTotal War: WarhammerUmbrella Corps <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hYHoaYr-RjaX.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gIWRbEhhOrM9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Weekender Header"></p><p> Want to play some games with us? Grab some tickets for the <a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">PC Gamer Weekender</a>! Running March 5-6, we'll have the UK's biggest PC gaming floor with hundreds of stations for you to try the latest games, developer sessions, hardware seminars, and more. Get exclusive access to Dark Souls III and Total War: Warhammer, then pick up the parts and expertise you need to create your perfect gaming rig. Battle for glory in our competitive gaming area and, when the day is done, enjoy everything that East London has to offer.</p><p> Below are all the games that’ll be at the show for you to play. Head to <a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">weekender.pcgamer.com</a> for tickets and more information.</p><h3>Dark Souls 3</h3><p> If <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-dark-souls-3-opening-cinematic/">the opening cinematic for Dark Souls 3</a> is any indication, From Software’s next Souls game will be just as otherworldly as ever, with incredible bosses to fight and a decaying world to explore. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-3-is-more-of-the-sameand-still-good/">Our hands-on time with the game so far</a> has confirmed the same. It looks and feels a whole lot like Dark Souls, but with a welcome infusion of Bloodborne’s faster combat. We’re most excited about the unique skills attached to each weapon style, which you’ll be able to try for yourself before the game’s out. Dark Souls 3 releases on March 24.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CU0ajA_PSuyU.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AGHHnj6Z7Iop.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="New Dark Souls 3 7"></p><h3>Total War: Warhammer</h3><p> Dwarves with flamethrowers. Dwarves with beard armor with flamethrowers. That's a strong sell for Total War: Warhammer. Creative Assembly’s next 4X strategy game finally gives the developer a chance to break from historical accuracy to frolic in the absurd playground of Warhammer lore, bringing a scale to Warhammer battles we only dreamed of when playing the tabletop game. The animation and unit variety on display for each faction, from orc boar boyz to spiders to dwarf gyrocopters to wizards, is a refreshing change from Total War’s human legions. And <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-warhammer-campaign-interview/">the campaign map even shakes things up</a>, offering RPG-style quests and legendary items to earn. Truly the peanut butter and jelly of war-related brands.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MFb0iBemQOiJ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hn92ywPJW-JK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Total War Warhammer Chaos 5"></p><h3>Umbrella Corps</h3><p> We got our hands on Capcom’s fast-paced 3v3 competitive shooter at PAX South, and came away <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/umbrella-corps-is-a-surprisingly-fast-and-fun-shooter/">impressed and eager to play more</a>. Its short rounds and no respawning after death gave it a real Counter-Strike feel. It’s set in the Resident Evil universe, however, meaning the maps are also filled with zombies that attack both teams. It’s due out in May and this is a great chance for an early look. (Note: Age 18+)</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CTWpq0WKT0qs.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SZnf4Yia7Fl7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Resident Evil Umbrella Corps"></p><h3>Worlds Adrift</h3><p> Everything in Worlds Adrift is persistent&mdash;move a rock, and that rock will stay where you put it until another player comes along and trips over it. Well, only if stubbed toes are a feature, but the point is that this upcoming MMO is one of the most ambitious out there. Using <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/a-probable-future-for-the-mmo-worlds-adrift-and-improbable-tech/">new technology</a>, it promises a world where nothing is static, where players shape their environment and explore in hand-crafted airships that are restricted only by physics. Be one of the first to try out the MMO of the future.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ahA8SHf2TTGh.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YodHCkpSSUOy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Worlds adrift"></p><h3>Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade</h3><p> Currently in&nbsp; <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/375230/">on Steam in Early Access</a>, Eternal Crusade will soon be much bigger. It’s a team shoot-’n-melee game set in the Warhammer 40K universe that will eventually see us battling for territory, both in PvP and PvE, in a persistent war between three factions. We recently got <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/first-look-at-eternal-crusades-eldar-and-the-warhammer-mmos-future/">our first look at the Eldar faction</a>, and spoke with the lead devs on how Eternal Crusade will grow into a massively-multiplayer war.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SKzXPfogTRuj.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qcKpdEnO0uKY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Warhammer 40k eternal crusade"></p><h3>XCOM 2</h3><p> We’ve been playing the hell out of Firaxis’ humans vs. aliens war game&mdash;which we <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-review/">gave one of our highest scores ever</a>&mdash;but if you haven’t given it a go yet, it’s well worth taking a seat in the situation room to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/emily-blunt-xcom-2-rita-vrataski/">command Emily Blunt </a>or <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-soldiers/">Kylo Ren</a> against extraterrestrials in turn-based skirmishes.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SeQ-Lb9RTzin.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AWvXdV20SUxB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="XCOM 2 new tom screen 17"></p><h3>Street Fighter 5</h3><p> Winner plays next on a bunch of stations running the brand new Street Fighter 5. We had <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/street-fighter-5-introduces-the-v-gauge/">a good look last year</a>, and this is your chance to try out the V-gauge and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/street-fighter-v/">new characters</a> with a crowd of fans. For more, check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnJYUs2wpsOLwyFeUDW2ChbfJzqE3KsiT">Capcom’s character introduction</a> series and familiarize yourself with your chosen kickpuncher before testing your skills at the Weekender.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZBS5s-55SU-7.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/St_gcoCwLlRc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Street Fighter 5 guy"></p><h3>Killing Floor 2</h3><p> Get a taste of the Early Access mutant bloodbath that is already shaping up to be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor-2-review-early-access/">better than the original</a>. The gory co-op shooter’s got tons of guns, waves of enemies, and room for five of your friends as you work together to blast and bludgeon disgusting monsters and supremely nasty bosses. After each wave, restock on ammo, replace you armor, and grab whatever new weapons you can afford. If you haven’t hacked the twitching limbs off the game’s mutated freaks yet, this is a great chance to give it a shot.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PQX0pz1ZQpmd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bkykp2wmnS5i.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Killing Floor 2"></p><h3>Superhot</h3><p> It’s a time-twisting FPS where bullets and bad guys only move when you do, meaning it’s less about reflexes and more about temporal planning. To stop the action, just stop moving, and to avoid enemy fire just step out of the way, all the while reveling in the slow-motion gunplay, breaking glass, and bullet trails in the air. We’ve played it, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/superhot-game-fps/">it made us feel like a frag god</a>. Best of all, you can watch the entire round in real-time thanks to its replay feature.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iTjnfpp3Sp2-.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e2PP3dGlvpqC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Superhot"></p><h3>Battleborn</h3><p> Battleborn is Gearbox’s new shooter-MOBA, a colourful entry into one of the most hotly-contested genres in PC gaming. Last year, Evan <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battleborn-the-fps-that-wants-to-be-everything-to-everyone/">praised Battleborn</a> for being one of the few shooters still offering the ‘complete package’&mdash;multiplayer, singleplayer, competitive and cooperative ways to play&mdash;but had concerns about level design. You can find out for yourself how far the game has progressed since then when you try it for yourself at the PC Gamer Weekender.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q2K50ZB3TDCk.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5iLRvjWixR5V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battleborn"></p><p> <em>Find even more games below, and everything else you need to know on the&nbsp;</em><a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/"><em>Weekender site</em></a><em>!</em></p><hr> <h3>Alien Isolation</h3><p> In <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-the-year-2014-alien-isolation/">our game of the year for 2014</a>, sneak and scurry through a claustrophobic space station while the titular alien hunts you down. It’s atmospheric, challenging, and features one of the most striking and detailed game worlds we’ve ever seen. (Note: Age 18+)</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RNvxCMR-Tr-9.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y0ojEbFRaF89.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alien: Isolation"></p><h3>American Truck Simulator</h3><p> Hit the open roads of California and Nevada in the U.S. version of the PC’s best trucking game. Visit San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and all points in between. While not as expansive as Euro Truck Simulator&mdash;not yet, anyway&mdash;it’s still <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/american-truck-simulator-review/">a worthwhile addition to the series</a>.</p><h3>Aperion Cyberstorm</h3><p> A twin-stick 2D sci-fi shooter with lasers, rockets, and drones. Jump in for some fast-paced bullet hell action for up to five players with co-op onslaught mode or cutthroat versus mode. There’s also a campaign mode for solo players.</p><h3>Arenhack</h3><p> The full blueprint for <a href="http://www.arenhack.com/index.php#">Arenhack</a> is still fuzzy, but what we do know is that we’re going to be messing with our opponents with those titular hacks. A couple examples: “your opponent can move only sideways or backwards” and “your opponent jumps too high.”</p><h3>Better Late Than DEAD</h3><p> Stranded on an island filled with dangerous animals and scarce supplies, it’s up to you to find food, water, tools, and weapons in this Early Access survival game. As you explore, you’ll also find the island may hide some deeper mysteries and more serious threats.</p><h3>Caretaker Sacrifice</h3><p> Investigate and attack the mysterious “Alpha Device” which <a href="http://caretaker-game.com/">is apparently</a> doing quite a number on the universe’s stars&mdash;those big burny things that allow us to enjoy life. As one of two planned Caretaker games, it’s part puzzle, part adventure, and part shooter, and being developed for the Oculus Rift.</p><h3>Chronicle: Runescape Legends</h3><p> Get a look at developer Jagex’s upcoming collectible card game featuring heroes and characters from the Runescape universe.</p><h3>Circuit Breakers</h3><p> A top-down shooter with a blistering pace and room for three of your friends. Blast wave after wave of robots and collect upgrades and powerups for weapons like lasers, missiles, and guns.</p><h3>Crazy Taxi</h3><p> Let off some steam by driving like a lunatic in this open-world arcade classic with ridiculous physics, where getting your passenger there safely isn’t nearly as important as getting them there quickly.</p><h3>Counter Terrorism Unit</h3><p> Inspired by the classic SWAT games, this co-op shooter for up to five players features tactical gameplay as you breach locations and take on bad guys using guns, wits, and even intimidation. Employ night-vision gear, snake cams, riot shields, and other tools and gear to defuse the dangerous situations you encounter.</p><h3>Deckbound Heroes</h3><p> Try your hand (ha!) at this in-development browser-based collectible card game, where cards can be leveled up, traded, and even loaned to other players when you’re not using them.</p><h3>Democracy 3: Africa</h3><p> Currently in development, this standalone version of Democracy 3 takes you to the challenge of Africa where you’ll have to manage a whole new host of problems like malnutrition, clean water, and foreign aid.</p><h3>E.T. Armies</h3><p> This sci-fi FPS with impressive visuals and online multiplayer takes place on a planet Earth that’s been drained of resources and almost entirely abandoned. Fight off a mysterious faction called Forsaken and disrupt their plans to dominate the planet.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5xf0EnuqRt6K.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OHi4kP_YyjCf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ET Armies"></p><h3>Enforcer: Police Crime Action</h3><p> The law enforcement sim challenges you not only to tackle both minor and major crimes to keep the streets safe, but also to make the most of your off-duty time and manage your stress levels and performance. (Note: Age 18+)</p><h3>Hopiko</h3><p> Stylish and challenging, this speedrunning platformer pits you against a virus that is threatening to wipe out video games altogether. It’s got an old-school feel, requiring extreme precision and split-second timing, and it’s distinctly unforgiving of mistakes.</p><h3>Jalopy</h3><p> Take a road trip across Europe during the fall of communism in a car that’s slowly collapsing as well. Change flat tires, fix your carburetor, and upgrade your clunky, faltering ride when you can. As capitalism begins to rise, use it to your advantage by trading, selling scrap, and even smuggling goods from place to place.</p><h3>Mainlining</h3><p> An adventure game that takes place on the simulated desktop of a government agent. Hack the computers and phones of suspects, gather data, and spy like the pros do: without ever leaving your desk.</p><h3>Master of Orion</h3><p> Wargaming, the developer of free-to-play World of Warships, picked up the rights to the Master of Orion 4x strategy series and are rebooting it! With modern graphics and a new soundtrack, we’re looking forward to seeing how the game is shaping up and revisiting a universe that hasn’t gotten attention in over a decade.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YsxdUazORiOe.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i_y71BpQqKUw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Master of Orion top"></p><h3>Perfect Universe</h3><p> Gravity is the name of the game in this attractive indie title with a hand-drawn look. One mode serves as a platformer, where you jump and glide across the landscape, and other modes feature golf and volleyball-like sports games, races against other players, and guiding an alien known as Mr. Legs across a dangerous, trap-filled environment.</p><h3>Prison Architect</h3><p> It’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/prison-architect-review/">one of the best and most engrossing simulation games of 2015</a>, and we invite you to take a crack at designing and managing a prison without getting completely sucked in. From the challenge of planning a logical layout to obsessing over individual inmates, it's a grimly fascinating, and yet weirdly fun sim you’ll have a hard time stepping away from.</p><h3>Riot: Civil Unrest</h3><p> Get an early look at this strategy game due in April that lets you play as the police trying to quell a riot&mdash;and also lets you play as the rioters themselves. It’s got an appealingly gritty pixel art style and an intriguing and somewhat disturbing premise as the levels are based in the locations of real-world clashes.</p><h3>Sega Bass Fishing</h3><p> Kick back with some classic arcade fishing! Compete with other attendees to see who can reel in the biggest prize in this throwback to the arcade cabinets of yesteryear.</p><h3>Sega Megadrive Collection</h3><p> Enjoy this library of classic Sega games like Altered Beast, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin, Space Harrier 2, and tons more.</p><h3>Shadowhand</h3><p> From the publisher behind Redshirt and Big Pharma and the developer of Regency Solitaire comes this narrative-driven card-battling game. Set in 18th century England, it follows the adventures of an aristocrat who is secretly a notorious highwayman. Between solitaire battles, the story unfolds in the style of a visual novel.</p><h3>Shoppe Keep</h3><p> Rather than playing as a famous adventurer who dashes in and out of town pausing only to dump his collected trinkets in the general store, you actually play as the shopkeeper himself in this simulation and management game. Keep a selection of items on hand that appeal to all manner of adventurers, tidy up and stay organized, and obviously keep an eye out for pilfering thieves and thoughtless barbarians.</p><h3>Sol Trader</h3><p> It’s like Dwarf Fortress in space, with some Elite thrown in and a little arcade-like Asteroids action. In other words, it’s a lot of things. In a procedurally generated galaxy you’ll try to rise to prominence as a trader while managing relationships, dealing with family feuds that predate your own birth, and dabbling in piracy, espionage, and exploration.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xxC8xqo9S7Gf.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vv9RV1gEz8kG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sol Trader"></p><h3>Sonic &amp; All Stars Racing Transformed</h3><p> Finally, Sonic can race against TF2’s Heavy and a guy in a suit from Football Manager! <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/212480/">Sonic &amp; All Stars Racing Transformed</a> is one of the few good kart racers on PC, and it’s well worth a spin at the Weekender. As always, gotta go fast.</p><h3>Space Overlords</h3><p> As a giant, extremely powerful Overlord (of space), you’ll smash up the defenses and cities of some evil aliens&hellip; at least, we hope they’re evil, because it sure looks like we’re going to stomp on a lot of them.</p><h3>Starbound</h3><p> Explore strange new worlds, craft strange new things&mdash;just like they did in Star Trek, right? Starbound is a sidescrolling game in the style of Terraria. With a modest spaceship to start, transform the planets you visit into new homes, dig deep mines, grow food, battle the wildlife (and wildrobots), and survive being stranded among the stars.</p><h3>Starship Mechanic</h3><p> Game after game has made us a starship captain, but what of the other jobs? What, is Geordi La Forge chopped liver? <a href="http://resonancestudios.co.uk/games/Starship-Mechanic/">Starship Mechanic</a> aims to celebrate the most important job on any spaceship: making sure the thing works.</p><h3>Soul Axiom</h3><p> Investigate your identity&mdash;and the contents of your soul&mdash;in a sci-fi thriller that takes place in the digital afterlife, where your memories now live forever. Explore this stark otherworld, solve puzzles, and grapple with existential quandaries.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9XS0kUddTEST.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nc1gQO0Iu8rJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Soul Axiom"></p><h3>Tembo the Badass Elephant</h3><p> One of the best recent Sonic games, except it isn’t a Sonic game: it’s Tembo, and he’s a badass elephant who dashes, crashes, and smashes the evil forces of PHANTOM to&hellip; ashes. He butt stomps, too, but that didn’t rhyme.</p><h3>The Town of Light</h3><p> Explore the troubling experiences of a fictional girl in a reconstruction of a real 20th century asylum. Rather than exploit the asylum and mental health as a generic horror trope, The Town of Light appears to harness more empathy than stigma, dramatizing the true failures of mental health treatment. (Note: Age 18+)</p><h3>Total War: Arena</h3><p> As Creative Assembly’s free-to-play RTS continues marching toward a full release, you can partake in strategic 10v10 battles. This is a great chance to check out the game’s progress if you’re not in the closed beta.</p><h3>Typing of the Dead: Overkill</h3><p> Hope your fingers are feeling nimble as you take on waves of zombies that can only be stopped by accurate typing. Hammer out the words and phrases you see on the screen to deliver bullets into the encroaching undead in a game that isn’t just fun and challenging but actually can improve your keyboarding skills. Where else can you struggle to properly type the word ‘unicorn’ while a zombie slashes at your throat? Nowhere but here. (Note: Age 18+)</p><h3>Valkyria Chronicles</h3><p> One of our favorite games of 2014, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valkyria-chronicles-review/">Valkyria Chronicles</a> is a PC release of one of the PS3’s best games (and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valkyria-chronicles-pc-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/">not a totally botched port</a>, either!). It’s an alternate history version of World War 2 in the style of a JRPG, but with mixed turn-based and real-time combat. That’s a lot to digest, but it’s worth trying a bite.</p><h3>World of Tanks</h3><p> Hop into one of World of Tanks’ many war machines for a mix of historical authenticity and action game shooting. A free-to-play phenomenon, World of Tanks holds the Guinness World Record for most simultaneous online players. If you’ve never tried it, this is the perfect opportunity to take a treaded tour of its battlefields.</p><h3>World of Warships</h3><p> From the creator of World of Tanks comes another world inhabited only by warships. Do they have crews, or is it like Pixars’ Cars, where the vehicles themselves are sentient? That’s not important. What’s important is that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-review/">we like it quite a bit</a>, and if you haven’t tried lobbing projectiles over the sea, now’s a good time to put your nautical marksmanship to the test.</p><h3>World Ship Simulator</h3><p> Go from landlubber to sea&hellip; liker. World Ship Simulator, which is <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/403980/">currently in Early Access</a>, has you completing jobs on the open water to build up a fleet of ships&mdash;think Euro Truck Simulator but on top of fish.</p><p> <strong>See something you fancy?&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Get your ticket now</a>.</strong></p> Confirmed: No new Assassin's Creed this yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/confirmed-no-new-assassins-creed-this-year/The franchise is being allowed some much-needed RR.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:22:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/confirmed-no-new-assassins-creed-this-year/ActionAssassin's Creed SyndicateNews <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ftqA5sNaQ0it.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fCsa_1hW4v18.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shhhhh, sleep now." class=""> <figcaption>Shhhhh, sleep now.</figcaption></figure><p> This is sort of like announcing that the tides have given up. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-syndicate/" target="_blank">Assassin's Creed</a> series has performed with such exhausting regularity that its absence&nbsp;is in itself startling. But that is the strange reality we now live in: Ubisoft has confirmed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rumor-no-new-assassins-creed-in-2016/" target="_blank">earlier rumours</a> that there will be no new Assassin's Creed this year.</p><p> "This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise," Ubisoft says&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.ubi.com/a-message-from-the-assassins-creed-team/" target="_blank">in a blog entry</a>. "We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground."</p><p> Could this mean no more bell&nbsp;towers? No more relieving&nbsp;myriad careless citizens of their&nbsp;treasure chests? I'm almost afraid to imagine such an unnatural scenario.</p> Total War: Warhammer shows off Empire campaignhttp://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-warhammer-shows-off-empire-campaign/Humans, but murderier.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:00:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-warhammer-shows-off-empire-campaign/NewsStrategyTotal War: Warhammer <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M3Uf53_Y6nk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Play it first!</h5> <p> Play Total War: Warhammer at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> The more I see of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-warhammer/" target="_blank">Total War: Warhammer</a>, the more I'm aware of it sinking its chaotic tendrils into my imagination, corrupting and compelling. It looks smashing, from the delightfully clean lines of its interface to the intricate world map themed to suit the current controlling faction. The latest video is a seven-minute overview of the Empire campaign and the quirks that set the Empire apart from other, greener races.</p><p> Where&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-warhammer-video-shows-one-turn-in-orc-campaign/" target="_blank">the Greenskins were revealed</a> to be driven by Fightiness, the Empire has Offices&mdash;high ranking officials who report directly to Emperor Karl Franz himself (who, by the way, isn't afraid to go trudging about the battlefield). Office-holders confer buffs upon your armies. Assigning ol' Felix von Raukov to the office of Treasurer, for example, boosts tradeable resources and income from buildings by 25%.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gPWQXwkVSeGT.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5f8Kf8CJ5H1g.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Total War Warhammer Balthasar"></p><p> In honour of his reassignment, Felix is promptly renamed to, well, whatever you damn well please. Everyone can be renamed with the exception of Legendary Lords to give that large and faceless Empire a personal touch.</p><p> The video&nbsp;also reveals a little of Empire progression, which is tied heavily to what you&nbsp;build. Whapping a Rally Field down in Altdorf, say, gives you access to the stat-boosting delights of State Troop Sergeants, Standards and Musicians.</p><p> Total War: Warhammer gets deeper and deeper, but you can get the jump on it nearly two months before release at&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank">the PC Gamer Weekender</a> in London, you lucky things, you.</p> Twitch users watched 459,366 years worth of content in 2015http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-users-watched-459366-years-worth-of-content-in-2015/...that's241,441,823,059 minutes.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-users-watched-459366-years-worth-of-content-in-2015/Twitch <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cgs0tJ3vRCaY.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fy9O3gV1KXDm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Twitch"></p><p><a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer">Twitch</a> is a very popular streaming website – that much we know for certain. As a means to demonstrate just how popular it is, the company has released a fancy 2015 round-up, complete with all manner of favourable looking statistics. For example: did you know that Twitch users streamed&nbsp;459,366 years worth of content last year? Well, you probably did since it's in the headline, but still, it's impressive.</p><p>Meanwhile, the peak concurrent viewers record last year was 2,098,529, for the&nbsp;ESL One: Cologne 2015 and League of Legends NA LCS Final, which both took place on August 23. The record for concurrent broadcasters was 35,610. Oh, and did you know Twitch users watched an average of 421.6 minutes last year, compared to YouTube's 291? Ouch.</p><p>As for the most popular games, well, there are few surprises. League of Legends and Counter-Strike: GO were the first and second most played respectively, followed by Dota 2, Hearthstone, Minecraft, H1Z1, Destiny, World of Tanks, World of&nbsp;Warcraft and FIFA 15. Fallout 4 and Rocket League had the biggest launch days (well, Destiny beat both of those, but not on PC).&nbsp;</p><p>There are a bunch of other mildly interesting stats over on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/year/2015">the official Twitch round-up</a>.&nbsp;</p><h4></h4> The lucky, tragic, and funny moments of XCOM 2 so farhttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-highlights/A vertical slice of the best moments in XCOM 2 so far.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-highlights/StrategyXCOM 2 <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">JOIN US!</h5> <p> Come play XCOM 2 with us&nbsp;at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Full details here</a>. </p> </div><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-review/" target="_blank">XCOM 2 is out</a>, and boy-oh-boy, does it hurt. Turns out, it’s a difficult game. A videogame where it’s possible, in fact, to miss when you shoot. Yes, God is dead, and we couldn’t be happier. Nowhere else is it more apparent than the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/xcom" target="_blank">XCOM community</a>, who’ve been lighting up the internet with videos and&nbsp;tiny gif tales regaling the most unlikely victories (and absolute tragedies). As a way to work through the immense pain and distill the tiny victories, we’ve assembled a best, worst, and funniest XCOM moments so far. Take a gander and with a decent dice roll, you may actually feel something.</p><hr id="horizontal rule"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DFDSFcyMpFg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><h3><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFDSFcyMpFg" style="font-size: 30px; font-weight: bold;" target="_blank">What exactly are the Advent yelling all the time?</a></h3><p> The folks over at Eurogamer&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFDSFcyMpFg" target="_blank">finally answer</a> what we’ve all been wondering, and their blunt, scientific examination is 100% leak proof. Finally, an alien language, decoded. Now to look into the lore implications of ‘hug that shit.' I’m taking book pitches.</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="ArtisticPaltryGoldfinch (gfyCat video) " data-id="ArtisticPaltryGoldfinch" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/455d20/when_the_goop_monster_has_your_back/" target="_blank">Slimebro has your back</a></h3><p> True friendship isn’t what you say to the people you care about, it’s what you do as a deadly towering slime person. And&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/455d20/when_the_goop_monster_has_your_back/" target="_blank">if this gif is any indication</a>, XCOM 2 is jam packed with friends we haven’t made yet. So get out there and say hello. Hug a Muton today.&nbsp;</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GewunKha6SI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><h3><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GewunKha6SI" target="_blank">The petty fury of XCOM distilled</a></h3><p> No matter how high the odds, there’s still a chance for failure, and no other game is a more painful reminder than XCOM 2. Did you get it? Did you get the alien?&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GewunKha6SI" target="_blank">This clip has the answer</a>, and it’s full of tough love.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xh0s6DNSht4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><h3><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh0s6DNSht4&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">The holiest grenade throw</a></h3><p> The maniacal laugh that comes in halfway through this video is disturbing. Mostly, because I can hear a bit of myself in it. As far as grenade throws go,&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh0s6DNSht4&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">this might be one of the best</a>. It lathers a group of Advent with fall and fire damage before the player’s last soldier finishes ‘em off with style.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4-0GMyzuTJSl.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bi31VceccnWt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rita Vratski"></p><h3><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/emily-blunt-xcom-2-rita-vrataski/">The best XCOM 2 character is, indisputably, Emily Blunt</a></h3><p> Okay, so it’s not quite a moment in the game, but it’s a moment of revelation.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/emily-blunt-xcom-2-rita-vrataski/" target="_blank">Evan found a character</a> that falls in line almost perfectly with XCOM 2’s visual and thematic palette. Hit the link to find out why he thinks a time traveling future soldier makes the perfect custom character.</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="AlarmingFakeIberianmole (gfyCat video) " data-id="AlarmingFakeIberianmole" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44huz4/faceless_denied/">A Faceless jump shot gets denied at the buzzer</a></h3><p> Whenever I watch&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44huz4/faceless_denied/" target="_blank">this gif</a>, I imagine the silence of the crowd before that first shot, and then the explosion of raucous applause following. Before the inevitable dunks mods shows up, this might be the only sanctioned dunk in all of XCOM 2. Faceless? Especially now, shapeshifter or not, that mug can’t show itself in this neighborhood after that denial. Oof.</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="AmpleWhirlwindIndochinesetiger (gfyCat video) " data-id="AmpleWhirlwindIndochinesetiger" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/449vgp/what_a_first_turn/">How to be a stealth master</a></h3><p> The first rule of stealth:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/449vgp/what_a_first_turn/" target="_blank">let RNG mess up your stealth game</a> on the first turn. It’s pretty simple, really. Just go in, not expecting to find an Advent soldier chilling right next to your drop sight, stumble into the alien jerk immediately, and take him (and yourself) by surprise! It cannot fail.</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="OffbeatAlienatedAsiaticmouflon (gfyCat video) " data-id="OffbeatAlienatedAsiaticmouflon" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44j4em/nsfl_for_men_thats_gotta_hurt/">In which a soldier attempts to hack an alien groin</a></h3><p> Even&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44j4em/nsfl_for_men_thats_gotta_hurt/" target="_blank">XCOM 2 is down to clown</a>. Problem is, XCOM 2 doesn’t really know how to go about it. Behold the horror of dick hacks and then imagine the secrets that data could unravel. Hack! Hack away, good soldier! The human race is depending on you!</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="ShadowyComplicatedEwe (gfyCat video) " data-id="ShadowyComplicatedEwe" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44iu8o/now_am_i_become_death/">An entire alien force wiped out&nbsp;in one incredible turn </a></h3><p> But that’s enough pain for now. And XCOM 2 wouldn’t be so gratifying if its successes weren’t as intense. That said, it might be a while–hell, I’m not sure if I’ll ever see&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44iu8o/now_am_i_become_death/" target="_blank">a turn like this</a>. Watch as this player shreds, shoots, and deads an intimidating enemy force in one fell swoop. Squad goals. Squad goals indeed.</p><p> <img class="gfyitem" alt="MassiveAjarGarpike (gfyCat video) " data-id="MassiveAjarGarpike" data-controls="false" data-title="false" data-autoplay="true" data-expand="true"></p><h3><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44urdw/damn_it_feels_good_to_be_playing_xcom_again/">That’s XCOM, baby. </a></h3><p> Nah, the pain doesn’t stop in XCOM. It’s the only constant.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/44urdw/damn_it_feels_good_to_be_playing_xcom_again/" target="_blank">This gif from Reddit user bradthebrain</a> sums up our love/hate succinctly, and because it’s a gif, it loops indefinitely, forever and ever, amen. Failure, anger, failure, anger, failure, underscored by a teeny-tiny bit of hope.</p> Frozen Synapse 2 on show first at the PC Gamer Weekenderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-2-on-show-first-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/Pause. Think.Commit.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:59:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-2-on-show-first-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/Frozen Synapse 2PC Gamer WeekenderStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x6J4Z4vPTyaP.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y5VOsGdxGzl-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Frozen Synapse 2 logo"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-2-announced/" target="_blank">Only yesterday</a> I was scratching my head in confusion at how the&nbsp;tactical, time-bending maestros at&nbsp;Mode 7 could work&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-review/" target="_blank">Frozen Synapse</a>'s exquisite strategic&nbsp;puzzles into an open world. That detail and a great many more will be revealed first on-stage at&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com/&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank">the PC Gamer Weekender</a>, March 5-6, at London's Old Truman Brewery.</p><p>Lead designer and programmer Ian Hardingham will demo&nbsp;an early build as his partner in crime and Frozen Synapse composer&nbsp;Paul Kilduff-Taylor attempts to ruin his every move. Ah, friendship. When he's not burning bridges,&nbsp;Kilduff-Taylor will go in-depth on the game's music,&nbsp;art direction and narrative, breaking down what 'open world tactics' actually means. And if that weren't enough, from time to time they'll dip into the history of indie development and how Mode 7 has been shaped.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wa2fZIqWSQWa.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b9oIGDFWArQ_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Frozen Synapse 2"></p><p>Frozen Synapse 2 is the latest in a stonking line-up of on-stage events:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/see-divinity-original-sin-2-on-stage-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/" target="_blank">Divinity: Original Sin 2</a> will be presented by Larian CEO Swen Vincke himself; X-COM co-creator&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/julian-gollop-confirmed-for-the-pc-gamer-weekender/" target="_blank">Julian Gollop</a> will be chatting about his stupendous career; and Paradox Interactive is&nbsp;turning up in force.</p><p>Did I mention there's&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/whats-on/games-on-show-at-the-weekender/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank">a full show floor</a> of playable&nbsp;pre-release games? Dark Souls 3 is headlining over a month before it's out, supported by the likes of Worlds Adrift and Umbrella Corps. When your mouse hand gets tired, head over to the hardware zone for insight into the cutting edge of PC tech.</p><p>For a limited time, tickets cost a miniscule £9.99. The PC Gamer&nbsp;team will be there too, so it's a bargain opportunity to assert your dominance over us so-called 'professionals'.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank">Book here</a>, and I'll see you on the ground.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d13YJdxMTuk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> PC Gamer UK March issue: Dark Souls IIIhttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-uk-march-issue-dark-souls-iii/Also: The Division, Homefront: The Revolution, the future of the RTS.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-uk-march-issue-dark-souls-iii/Dark Souls 3MagazinePC Gamer UK <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dbau_hImSVSC.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OnA0KhXr94Jz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magpost Uk 289banner Weekender"></p><p> Welcome to the issue of PC Gamer that nearly burned Future Publishing to the ground. Our Dark Souls 3 cover feature&nbsp;is so potent that it set our office printer on fire. I know these introductory paragraphs are usually filled with lighthearted whimsy, but not this time. This&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/Pelloki/status/692023180110733312" target="_blank">really&nbsp;happened</a>.</p><p> In addition to Andi Hamilton's hands-on feature, this issue also features an interview with Dark Souls series director&nbsp;Hidetaka Miyazaki. He talks to us about mystery, tragedy and big, scary dragons. If you can't wait for Dark Souls 3, you'll be able to <strong>play it before anyone else at the&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank"><strong>PC Gamer Weekender</strong></a> in London, March 5 - 6. Hurry, and you can take advantage of our limited time&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks" target="_blank">ticket price of £9.99</a>.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Play it first!</h5> <p> Play Dark Souls III at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp; <a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> Also this issue, Phil attempts to rescue New York in Tom Clancy's The Division, and Edwin Evans-Thirwell looks ahead to the future of the RTS genre. And that's not all. The issue comes with a free Steam key for Murder Miners, and Bellona and a free skin for Smite.&nbsp;The issue, which is in shops now, can be ordered through <a href="https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-back-issues/pc-gamer-march-2016-issue-289/">My Favourite Magazines</a>. Digitally, you'll find it on the <a href="http://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?TSID=5404&amp;GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fgb%2Fapp%2Fpc-gamer-uk-edition-worlds%2Fid451452510%3Fmt%3D8">App Store</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/newsstand/details/PC_Gamer_UK_Edition?id=CAow5b-IAg">Google Play</a>, and <a href="http://gb.zinio.com/magazine/PC-Gamer/pr-500608931/cat-cat1960014">Zinio</a>, and you can <a href="http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-subscription/">subscribe</a> to get issues delivered directly to your door. Below you see the exclusive subscriber cover, and a round-up of issue 289's perspicacious pages.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KhC-0XMMRNqu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gPmMG0QKk4QS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magpost Uk 289subscover"></p><p> This issue we:</p><ul> <li>Prepare to die in Dark Souls III</li> <li>Talk to Dark Souls III creator&nbsp;Hidetaka Miyazaki</li> <li>Patrol New York in&nbsp;Tom Clancy's The Division</li> <li>Quiz strategy devs on the future of the RTS</li> <li>Review XCOM 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, American Truck Simulator and more</li> <li>Live large as a minor lord in Crusader Kings 2</li> <li>Return to the '90s with Little Big Adventure 2</li> <li>Supertest the best SSDs for your rig</li></ul><p> ...And more.</p> Quantum Break confirmed for Windows 10http://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-confirmed-for-windows-10/Surprise!Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:38:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-confirmed-for-windows-10/ActionNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d4or8YE-6P4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/quantum-break-rated-for-pc-in-brazil/" target="_blank">As revealed</a> by the leaky membranes of the Brazilian ratings advisory board, Quantum Break is indeed coming to PC&mdash;or at least, to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-has-been-installed-in-more-than-200-million-systems/" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>. What's more surprising is that it will see simultaneous release with its console counterparts on April 5.</p><p>But there's more. In a press release, Microsoft has announced that anyone pre-ordering the console version of Quantum Break will get the PC version thrown in. However, the fact that the PC code is redeemable specifically through the Windows Store makes me a little uneasy&mdash;it suggests that Microsoft may well keep Quantum Break locked&nbsp;to Windows 10,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-pc-will-be-exclusive-to-the-windows-10-store/" target="_blank">à la Fable Legends</a>. I've emailed Remedy for clarification with regard to Windows 7/8 compatibility,&nbsp;and I'll update you should I hear back.</p> Revisiting the bleak, bloody world of Kane & Lynch 2http://www.pcgamer.com/revisiting-the-bleak-bloody-world-of-kane-lynch-2/Revisiting IO’s minimalist, ultraviolent shooterThu, 11 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/revisiting-the-bleak-bloody-world-of-kane-lynch-2/Reinstall <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C3pWOeqcQU6j.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_n59AavobjdT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kane and Lynch 2 top"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">REINSTALL</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DXCbRVO5QCKT.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LVOvEnnx2Nvo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kane and Lynch 3"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall/">Reinstall</a> invites you to join us in revisiting PC gaming days gone by. Today, Andy goes back to the grotty alleyways of Kane &amp; Lynch 2.</p></div><p>About 14 million people live in Shanghai, and by the end of Kane &amp; lynch 2 I felt like I’d killed most of them. The crowded, neon-lit streets of the world’s largest city become soaked in blood as murderous psychopath Lynch drags his reluctant partner Kane through endless waves of gun-toting gangsters, corrupt cops, and the Chinese military.&nbsp;</p><p>The game was released in 2010 to mostly negative reviews, but has since developed something of a cult following. After a year of complex open-world blockbusters, I thought it would be interesting to revisit a shooter so lean it’s positively starving.&nbsp;</p><p>This is a game with one word in its vocabulary: kill. It’s a singleminded, uncompromisingly violent third-person shooter that’s so minimal, there isn’t even a grenade button. You can shoot, reload, use cover, and that’s it. There’s a story, sort of, but it doesn’t really matter. The thin narrative is little more than a means of getting the duo from one place to another, and the majority of the dialogue is Lynch shouting variations of “Fuck!” as he wades into yet another hail of gunfire.&nbsp;</p><p>But while Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is about as low concept as shooters get, the art direction is anything but. A dirty, distorted VHS effect degrades the visuals, with compression artefacts to&nbsp;suggest you’re watching the action on YouTube. The camera shakes and wobbles as if someone’s filming you with a handheld camera, and gore is pixelated. These effects combine to give the game a rough, documentary feel, which makes everything seem grittier and more brutal. When you shoot someone in the head and see pixels rather than blood, it somehow feels more savage. More real.&nbsp;</p><p>It’s a gimmick, but an effective one. The sickly glow of neon signs, the trash-strewn streets and dark, dingy alleyways make for an almost tangibly grim setting when viewed through this glitchy, grainy lens. You move from wide, busy thoroughfares, through apartment blocks, into illegal sweatshops, and up to rain-soaked rooftops. The pacing is frenetic and the scenery constantly changes around you, which may explain the game’s short length. It’s five hours long, and that’s enough. Any more and you’d collapse from exhaustion.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zeK1clUsQTuV.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zILDDicVeKEw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kane and Lynch 1"></p><p>For a game entirely about shooting people, the combat is maddeningly imprecise. Submachine guns spray wildly with exaggerated kickback. Shotgun blasts only seem to make contact half the time. And you can empty an entire assault rifle magazine and your target will still be standing. The sloppy, unpredictable firefights add to the game’s sense of&nbsp;messy ultraviolence&mdash;Kane and Lynch are criminals, not trained soldiers&mdash;but it also makes it a pretty unsatisfying shooter. When you run out of bullets you toss your gun away and pick up another from among the mass of bodies at your feet, although an automatic shotgun is about as exotic as your arsenal ever gets.&nbsp;</p><p>But here’s the thing. As simplistic and one-note as Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is, it’s strangely compelling. The level design, combat, story, and pretty much everything except the setting and visuals are unremarkable. But in the thick of a firefight, with the camera shaking and your guns blazing, you get caught up in the moment. Your senses are overwhelmed and you forget you’re playing a completely rote thirdperson shooter. It’s all smoke and mirrors. The equivalent of a photographer waving a stuffed toy around to get a distracted baby to look at his camera. But it works.&nbsp;</p><p>There are no real set-pieces to speak of. The game is, somewhat admirably, light on Call of Duty-style nonsense. But there are a few brilliant moments. After being kidnapped and tortured, the duo are forced to escape their captors while naked and covered in blood. It’s gruesomely hilarious: the stuff of a particularly exploitative ’80s video-nasty. You spend the whole level staring at their blood-soaked arses as they sneak past guards in the pounding rain&mdash;although their junk is, mercifully, pixelated.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Fdeuj-NCSQOY.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fahNEDenXgss.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kane and Lynch 2"></p><p>IO’s environment design has always been incredible, and Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is no different. There’s an early sequence where you barge through an apartment complex, bursting into people’s homes as you pursue a fleeing gangster. You get snippets of the inhabitants’ lives&mdash;a family eating dinner at a dining table, a junkie slumped in front of a TV&mdash;and it makes for a convincingly real, lived-in world. The visuals have aged badly on a technical level, but the vaseline smear of the VHS postprocessing and camera shake hide it well. Proof that strong art direction can make a game timeless.&nbsp;</p><p>There are moments when you emerge from the dark alleys of the city into busy streets teeming with traffic and people. Flanked by giant&nbsp;neon signs, civilians are caught in the crossfire as you exchange bullets with cops and gangsters. This collateral damage is shrugged off, which is bleak, but fits the dark, ruthless mood of the game. The only glimmers of humanity are Lynch’s concern for a largely unseen girlfriend and Kane talking about his daughter – whose rescue was part of the first game. But it’s only touched upon, and there’s no character development whatsoever.&nbsp;</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">UNINSTALL</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/714Bwox1Qk6r.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i-qSVBrPky-R.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hs Phil Savage" style="width: 180px; background-color: initial;"></p><p><strong>Phil Savage&nbsp;prefers a lynching.</strong></p><p>“Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is a game about firing a gun for five hours. You’d find more variety in the blandest level of the worst Call of Duty . The inept cameraman following Prick and Bigger Prick should have put a bullet in their heads and saved us all the trouble. In the bin with it.”</p></div><p>Then the gruesome twosome foolishly leave Shanghai behind and find themselves fighting through dreary warehouses and grey train yards. It’s a jarring change of scenery and marks the point where the game loses all its momentum. Without the bustling neon haze of the city to flood your senses, you become increasingly aware of how little the game has to offer. The smoke clears and the&nbsp;mirrors shatter. Your eyes glaze over as you murder endless waves of riot cops and plead for it to end. It does, eventually, and you’re left with an empty, hollow feeling.&nbsp;</p><p>You wonder what all that death and destruction really achieved. Kane and Lynch successfully escape the people who, perhaps rightfully, wanted them dead, and live to fight another day. But is that a good thing? It’s not like you’re rooting for them, because they’re unsympathetic, one-dimensional killers. Your desire to keep them alive is so you can finish the game, not because you’ll be sad if they die. In this respect,&nbsp;</p><p>Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is a deeply cynical, misanthropic game with absolutely no heart. And I think that’s the point. It’s a brazen, ghoulish murder-fest, as twisted and amoral as its heroes, and has no pretensions otherwise. And you’re a voyeur, watching their wanton barbarism on YouTube, unable to turn away, complicit.&nbsp;</p><p>Kane &amp; Lynch 2 is, fundamentally, a bad game. It’s clunky, simplistic, and unimaginative. But I love it because of its distinctive, powerful art design and its utterly unapologetic nature. It’s not trying to tell a story or&nbsp;develop its characters. The only message you’ll get from it is kill. It’s a grotty snuff film found on an unmarked, worn-out VHS tape. A grotesque celebration of violence starring a pair of morally barren criminals. Those first few hours, when the streets of Shanghai erupt with gunfire, are exhilarating, but also troublingly intense. As you unload a shotgun into a police officer and pixels obscure the ensuing mess, you feel bad for enjoying it. But you do. You monster.</p> Rocket League Season 2 has begunhttp://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-league-season-2-has-begun/To the victor, the spoilers.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:51:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-league-season-2-has-begun/NewsProRacingRocket League <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tdE-8CoxS46b.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JTfuAyubE-Hv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rocket League season 2"></p><p>Hallelujah. Since the announcement in mid-January&nbsp;that cosmetic&nbsp;crowns would be&nbsp;awarded based on your Season 1 rank, I've been too afraid to play&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-league/" target="_blank">Rocket League</a> competitively lest I slip from my precarious score of 400&mdash;the very edge of Silver. Now the silver crown is mine, however questionably, and the entire ranking system has been thrown out the window for the start of Season 2, in addition to some welcome PC-specific changes.</p><p>No longer will players climb the ladder based on points separate from the hidden MMR score that attempts to match rocketeers based on skill. Instead, we'll be split into divisions, and it'll take more than a handful of losses to bump you one lower. Ten placement matches must be played to be assigned a division in each of the competitive playlists.&nbsp;You can read Andy's breakdown of the new system&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-leagues-second-season-will-kick-off-in-february/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nRqXO1h7TNKI.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3Zwng9SWrsEg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rocket League"></p><p>In big news for people not keen&nbsp;on smack talk and widespread&nbsp;spite, a beta player-reporting feature has been added which submits the match's full chat log to Psyonix. Hopefully it'll water down some of the more poisonous 'What a save!' spamming, but I also expect each and every goal to be followed with a cry of 'Report!'</p><p>Performance has been improved overall, which is excellent considering the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/player-escapes-rocket-league-map-discovers-strange-world/" target="_blank">notoriously taxing Wasteland arena</a> is now part of competitive playlists, and, most excitingly, the framerate can now be uncapped. Previously it was limited to 60fps. And good news for those of us running at&nbsp;1440p and above: the UI has been made scalable to offset its unaccountable expansion&nbsp;after the last patch.</p><p>On top of all this, the experimental&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-labs-mode-coming-to-rocket-league/" target="_blank">Rocket Labs</a> playlist has been patched in,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-leagues-next-update-to-add-uncommon-loot-drops/" target="_blank">uncommon loot</a> has been added&nbsp;and bugs with the hand-braking of a number of cars has been fixed. All in all, one heck of an update. Full notes&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/252950/announcements/detail/747965062786997982" target="_blank">here</a>. Gl;hf.</p> Study analyses gaming tastes as we agehttp://www.pcgamer.com/study-analyses-gaming-tastes-as-we-age/There is unlikely to be a geriatric Dota community.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:56:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/study-analyses-gaming-tastes-as-we-age/FPSMOBANewsStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YuH4LHGJRqK_.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/njm61Nio46uI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Ascendance"></p><p>What are the stereotypes again? Strategy is for Tweed-wearing old men and Call of Duty is the province of raving high-schoolers? Well it turns out at least one of those has some truth to it. Gaming analytics&nbsp;consultancy Quantic Foundry&nbsp;<a href="http://quanticfoundry.com/2016/02/10/gamer-generation/" target="_blank">has released a study</a> of over 140,000 'Gamer Motivation Profiles' to identify how our tastes in games change as we age.</p><p>Quantic Foundry's&nbsp;<a href="http://quanticfoundry.com/2015/12/15/handy-reference/" target="_blank">Gamer Motivation Model</a> splits our motivations into twelve categories, including Social, Excitement, Competition, Destruction, Strategy and Story. The most notable change with age was identified in the Competition category: both sexes' desire for competition wanes as we age, with the initially higher&nbsp;male competitiveness&nbsp;reaching parity with&nbsp;women past the age of 45. Next time you provoke a 15-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rocket-league/" target="_blank">Rocket League</a> player into a screaming fit, know that he really is as bothered by the match as he sounds.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-uGW1DKTRMeQ.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eByRK5tbOlNY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Image via Quantic Foundry." class=""> <figcaption>Image via Quantic Foundry.</figcaption></figure><p>The lingering&nbsp;perception of strategy as a sedate retirement home genre is nonsense.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/strategy/" target="_blank">Strategy</a> was found to be the most stable motivation with regard to age, with men driven more strongly by strategy than women across the board.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CDQ11wnERuWH.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xn3I4rfijx25.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Image via Quantic Foundry." class=""><figcaption>Image via Quantic Foundry.</figcaption></figure><p>It's a mite depressing that overall Quantic Foundry discovered that&nbsp;no gaming motivation increases with age. Life is to blame apparently, with stuff like mortgages and screaming, competitive offspring of their own reducing the likelihood of older gamers to rate any motivation as "extremely important/enjoyable". I'm off to pwn some noobs before time strips&nbsp;the sweet joy out of it.</p> League of Legends puts Dominion mode to sleephttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-puts-dominion-mode-to-sleep/Goodnight, sweet prince.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:04:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-puts-dominion-mode-to-sleep/League of LegendsMOBANewsPro <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/285Qd-SgQS-I.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2ThuDKzlHgkN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LoL_Dominion_map_final"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/" target="_blank">League of Legends</a> developer Riot has sent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-trailer-dives-into-new-dominion-map/" target="_blank">Dominion</a> to the big game mode home in the sky, announcing the decision with&nbsp;<a href="http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/features/retiring-dominion" target="_blank">a frank, bashful blog post</a>. Dominion's retirement will take place February 22, so get in a few games now for old times' sake.</p><p>Fewer than 0.5% of League of Legends players regularly take part in Dominion&mdash;the fast-paced, capture-point variant on League's main game mode. Worse, Riot acknowledges that a decent proportion of those may be bots.</p><p>As a result, queue times are horrible, and matchmaking is accordingly foul as the algorithm searches an ever-wider pool of players. Riot has concluded that secondary game modes work better in rotation, meaning that Dominion may reappear at a later date, but nothing is for certain.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XgfMagViQlSL.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9i1qHCemqAw3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="dominion-thumb"></p><p>"We haven’t been supporting Dominion," the post reads, "and we’ve trapped ourselves in a vicious cycle where the queue isn’t large enough to warrant major attention, but falls prey to bugs and periods of imbalance from the introduction of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/meet-league-of-legends-new-champion-jhin/" target="_blank">new champs</a> and items (which then drives down the size of the queue, and so on)."</p><p>Naturally, Riot is reluctant to upset any portion of its player base, however small,&nbsp;and so far&nbsp;the reception&nbsp;has been vitriolic.&nbsp;As a token gesture, anyone who has 100 matchmade&nbsp;wins in Dominion before it's&nbsp;shut down for good will receive a Summoner Icon never to be attainable again.</p><p><strong>Edit: </strong>Swapped 'matchmade wins' in for 'ranked wins', which was gibberish. That'll teach me for paraphrasing.</p> The Flame in the Flood launches out of Early Access this monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-flame-in-the-flood-launches-out-of-early-access-this-month/February 24 to be exact.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 05:28:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-flame-in-the-flood-launches-out-of-early-access-this-month/NewsSurvivalThe Flame in the Flood <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KnHMtg2kPrE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You'd be forgiven for feeling a bit fed up with permadeath survival games, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-flame-in-the-flood/">The Flame in the Flood</a> looks pretty promising. Set in a barren and depressed future America, the protagonist must negotiate a procedurally-generated river in order to survive. There's crafting, angry animals and the nagging requirement to stay healthy. It's all par for the course, except it <em>looks</em> beautiful, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/318600/">Early Access community</a> appears to be in love with it.</p><p>So it's nice that The Flame in the Flood will exit Early Access and become a feature complete game on February 24 (though you can grab the EA version&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/318600/">right now</a> if you want). The above trailer demonstrates what it's about. It kinda looks like a more atmospheric Don't Starve, but I'll reserve judgement until its released.</p><p>Chris Livingston played an early version last year. He seemed to have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-often-and-of-everything-in-the-flame-in-the-flood/">trouble with the wolves</a>.&nbsp;</p> XCOM 2 performance issues being looked into by Firaxishttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-performance-issues-being-looked-into-by-firaxis/Firaxisacknowledges the game'sperformance issues for the first time.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:00:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-performance-issues-being-looked-into-by-firaxis/NewsStrategyXCOM 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hr4XBDVzRny3.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/r25BQ3rOxUvC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gunslinger6"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-guide/">XCOM 2</a> launched to near-universal acclaim last week, but also with a near-universal caveat to that acclaim: it doesn't run as buttery as you'd expect a turn-based strategy game to, even on high-end hardware. Some players, including most of us on the PC Gamer team,&nbsp;have reported dips in framerate and hitching, especially during camera movement and in-engine cutscenes. Criticism of the issues has found its way onto two of the usual venues for such outcry: XCOM 2's&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/268500/#app_reviews_hash">Steam reviews page</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/xcom-2/user-reviews?dist=negative">Metacritic</a>, where one user wrote "I literally can not recall the last game that gave me as much technical difficulties as XCOM 2."</p><p>We reached out to 2K, the game's publisher, shortly after launch last week after noticing the issue, they've just written back with a response.&nbsp;"We are aware some players have experienced performance issues while playing XCOM 2, and we are looking into them and gathering more information from users," a 2K Games representative told PC Gamer via email. "We want everyone to have the best experience possible, and will continue supporting the title with upcoming patches."</p><p>'Upcoming' seems to signal that a patch is coming relatively soon, but that's my speculation. In the meantime, the&nbsp;<a href="http://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?4212311-FAQ-Basic-Tech-Troubleshooting">official forums</a> for XCOM 2 has a guide to tech troubleshooting that may help you manage issues you're experiencing.</p> Dying Light: The Following reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-review/The beefy expansion adds a massive map and a car to travel it with.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 02:01:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-review/Dying Light: The FollowingFPSReviewsTechlandWarner Bros Interactive <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">need to know</h5><p><strong></strong><strong>What is it?</strong> An expansion to Dying Light that adds a countryside map and a car and one million more zombies you can run over with the car<br><strong></strong><strong>Expect to pay</strong>: $20/£16<br><b style="background-color: initial;">Developer</b>: Techland<br><b style="background-color: initial;">Publisher</b>: Warner Bros.<br><b style="background-color: initial;">Reviewed on</b>: Intel i7 x980 3.33 GHz, 9 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960<br><b style="background-color: initial;">Multiplayer</b>: Co-op<br><b style="background-color: initial;">Link</b>: <a href="http://dyinglightgame.com/dl-the-following">Official Site</a></p></div><p>I didn’t exactly love free-running zombie FPS Dying Light&mdash;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-review/">I thought it was good, not great</a>&mdash;and having logged some 40 hours of dashing, clambering, climbing, and bludgeoning, I needed a change of pace to energize my return. Techland has delivered one with its meaty, speedy expansion, The Following, which moves the undead terror from the city to the countryside and puts you behind the wheel of a rusty, ramshackle, zombie-smashing car. Am I happier peering ahead at a lurching crowd of zombies and not planning to sneak around them but instead to drive directly through them? Yes.</p><p>Once again you inhabit the boots of Kyle “I’m Just Trying To Help” Crane, the boringly earnest do-gooder now investigating rumors that a shadowy cult has gained immunity from the zombie virus. Hoping to bring this cure back to the city, which has run low on antizen, Kyle clambers his way out of Harran and into the outlying farming community. There he must investigate a mystical, masked society and uncover the secret of their zombie-stopping powers, mostly by running errands for the distrustful members of a town struggling to survive (but not struggling /that/ hard because they won’t do anything for themselves).</p><p>Your gutsy little car isn’t just for getting around the massive map, it’s your primary weapon and it comes with an entirely new skill tree. XP dribbles in slowly but steadily as long as you’re behind the wheel, and you’ll eventually be able to turn your buggy into a high-speed deathtrap, adding nitro boosts, an electrified cage, ramming bumpers, and UV headlights to keep the nighttime zeds at bay. My personal favorite: landmines you can drop as you speed along. I found them useful for shaking Virals, the lightning-fast enemies who’ll chase you doggedly down the country roads for miles, latch onto your car, and annoyingly punch you in the face through your windowless windshield until you scrape them off against a tree or a fence.</p><h2>Pedal to the Deadal</h2><p>The driving itself is pretty tricky and somewhat clunky&mdash;for a while. For the first few hours the roads feel far too cluttered with disabled vehicles, barricades, pools of toxic sludge that can kill you in an instant, puddles of water that send you skidding, and other hazards, all which slow you down and makes traveling a somewhat plodding experience. As I began to learn the roads, though, it became more fun and satisfying, crossing clogged bridges, jumping ramps, and traveling over great swaths of the map without slamming to a halt. Smashing through zombies doesn’t feel quite as enjoyable as it should&mdash;they fall apart more than get thrown entertainingly through the air, but it still beats the alternative of wading through them on foot.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zBivbgPzTeaL.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/15yYigcdsWy3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="239140 2016-02-10 00204" class=""><figcaption>Do. You. Mind? I'm trying to drive, here.</figcaption></figure><p>The buggy also requires a lot of attention. Ramming zombies from dawn to dusk means you’ll need to stop regularly to repair your ride, and repairs require materials scrounged from other vehicles. You’ll also have to stop at gas stations every now and then for a fill-up. This mostly works okay: it can be fun and nerve-wracking, scrounging for materials and gas with a horde bearing down on you and the sun hanging distressingly low in the sky. At other times, it can be a be a bit of nuisance to have to fix your whip for the umpteenth time when you’d rather just be getting on with a mission. It never felt downright irritating, though, and as you replace some parts and upgrade your car-based skills, it becomes vastly more reliable.</p><p>Infiltrating the cult and gaining the trust of the townies will take you and your buggy from one end of the sprawling map to the other and back. Electrical power must be restored (naturally), a water pipeline must be repaired (of course), items must be retrieved and various missing persons must be located. In true side-quest format these missions are rarely as straightforward as they sound, leading to some extended adventures, a few enjoyable twists, and this one asshole who spent his time during the apocalypse first hiding his cache of weapons and then writing rhyming poems about where you can find them. Screw that guy.</p><p> As you speed off over piles of zombies to complete these tasks you’ll run across an almost exhausting number of other encounters and adventures: locations to explore, people radioing for help, airdrops to recover from armed goons, timed challenge modes, geotagged military caches to track down, and caves filled with dangerous Volatiles to clear out&mdash;or not clear out. Look, don’t clear them out. It’s really, <em>really </em>awful in there. Some of these encounters feel like filler, hardly worth stopping for, but I’ll never not enjoy following a rapidly beeping transmitter to its source. Anything that yields new blueprints or weapon attachments is time well spent.</p><p>There’s a lot to do in The Following, and I wound up enjoying it more than the original game. Much of my issue with Dying Light had to do with the long, slow grind to improve Kyle’s skills to the point where he was actually fun to play. Here, the progress with the car feels faster and becomes enjoyable much more quickly. Steam annoyingly didn’t track the time I spent on my review copy, but I’d estimate there’s a good 10-20 hours of fresh adventures to be had, and many more for completionists. And, while definitely focusing on car-based hijinks, there are still plenty of opportunities for climbing and running and bludgeoning for those who didn’t get enough of that in the base game. The new characters and story are, unfortunately, just as dull as they were in the original, though I feel they’re both a bit quicker to get to the point.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wucvdV0IT8uL.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B4KrQdzIgSqv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light" class=""><figcaption>Is the paint&nbsp;job a little too much?</figcaption></figure><p>The Following is meant for players who have already maxed their skill trees in the base game, evident in the fact that boss zombies aren’t just encountered at the climax of missions: there are plenty of them just wandering around trying to fit in with the crowd now. There are also Freaks of Nature: ultra-bosses, designed to be taken down with a co-op partner, so ridiculously swollen with hit points that it took me, playing solo, a good 10 minutes to kill one, most of that time spent crouching fearfully on a rooftop and using my entire collection of crafting components to build explosives.</p><p>The expansion ran great for me: I didn’t experience a single crash (PC crash, that is: I crashed my buggy plenty). The issues I had were minor, like, while racing at top speed I sometimes overtook the spawn rate of new zombies, meaning I could see them pop into existence in front of me. Enemy AI didn’t work well in a few cases: boss enemies unwilling to walk around a minor obstruction, considerately letting me slowly plink them to death at my leisure, and some human goons who wouldn’t open fire if I backpedaled a few steps. Not complaining, really, it made a few fights a lot easier.</p><p>Otherwise, I think Techland did a good job of turning its running game into a driving game, and didn’t skimp on the extras. It’s a substantial expansion, it deviates nicely from the original, and it’s a reasonable price for its weight.</p> The PC Gamer Show: XCOM 2, Firewatch, and Overwatchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-xcom-2-firewatch-and-overwatch/Evan, James, and Chris talk about what they've been playing, and all the excitement and loss of their first XCOM 2 runs.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 01:53:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-xcom-2-firewatch-and-overwatch/AdventureFirewatchFPSOverwatchpodcastStrategyXCOM 2 Titanfall 2 will release later this year, according to toy companyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-will-release-later-this-year-according-to-toy-company/"Winter 2016" is the most specific date we have so far.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:37:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-will-release-later-this-year-according-to-toy-company/FPSNewsTitanfall <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vLaHvoV1QUOe.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9e_xONqe5-kn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Titanfall 1"></p><p>It feels like barely a week goes by without some strong evidence pointing to Titanfall 2's release date.&nbsp;Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-release-date-wont-fall-in-2015/">said last year</a> that the sequel would release some time during EA's 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 2016 and ends March 2017. Now, that time has been whittled down even further – by toy company&nbsp;McFarlane Toys.</p><p>In a press release seen by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.polygon.com/2016/2/10/10962236/titanfall-2-release-date-mcfarlane-toys-respawn">Polygon</a>, McFarlane Toys announces its forthcoming Titanfall 2 figurines, before announcing they'll be available alongside the game's release in "winter 2016" (summer in Australia).&nbsp;CEO Todd McMarlane writes that the partnership "is a perfect fit. McFarlane [Toys] was created so I could make cool stuff just like this.&nbsp;Without saying too much about the new game... You're not going to believe where we can take this."</p><p>As we learnt earlier this week, Titanfall 2 will&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-details-science-meets-magic-in-a-grounded-dirty-human-world/">feature a single&nbsp;player campaign</a> and maybe even a television series. According to writer Jesse Stern, it will&nbsp;"deliver a vision of grand global colonial warfare". All I need is robots shooting other robots while pilots run amok on the side of walls, but frame it however you please.&nbsp;</p> Cities: Skylines free update adds theme editor, weather effects, and hatshttp://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-free-update-adds-theme-editor-weather-effects-and-hats/The free update will go live the same day as the Snowfall expansion.Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:04:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-free-update-adds-theme-editor-weather-effects-and-hats/Cities: SkylinesNewsParadox Interactivesim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8n8KV0dvTrKg.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tobCygOwDklu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities: Skylines Theme Editor"></p><p> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines/">Cities: Skylines</a> Snowfall expansion will be out in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-snowfall-release-date-revealed/">just over a week</a>, adding, as the name obliquely hints, snow-themed maps, heating infrastructure, snowplows, and other such bits of winter misery that seem like fun until you actually have to dig out your car at 6:30 in the freakin' morning in the middle of freakin' February just&nbsp;so you can get to freakin' work.&nbsp;</p><p>Anyway, even if you don't feel like forking over the $13 the expansion will cost, you'll still be able to take advantage of a number of new features that will be released on the same day as part of&nbsp;a free update. It&nbsp;will include the following:</p><ul> <li>Rain and fog-based cosmetic weather for existing maps outside the new “Winter” themed maps</li> <li>A new Theme Editor for map modding, allowing players to create new Map Themes ranging from different terrain styles to incredible alien worlds; here is one such incredible alien world An expanded UI for public transportation management</li> <li>New Chirps from everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar</li> <li>New Hats for everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar</li> <li>Newfound respect for everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar</li></ul><p> Paradox held a livestream showcasing the new features in the expansion earlier today, which unfortunately is now over. However, you can still enjoy it thanks to the magic of video on demand, and the embed codes that allow me to paste it below for your viewing edification. The Cities: Skylines Snowfall expansion, and the free update, will both be out on February 18.</p><iframe src="http://player.twitch.tv/?video=v43184951" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="378" width="620"></iframe> Watch Gabe Newell's "Oprah moment" as he gives out free VR headsetshttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-gabe-newells-oprah-moment-as-he-gives-out-free-vr-headsets/Gabe's giveaway steals the show as he alsopromises native SteamVR support for Unity.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:54:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-gabe-newells-oprah-moment-as-he-gives-out-free-vr-headsets/ <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/K2ekteuHBi4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>In Los Angeles earlier today Gabe Newell gave a crowd of VR developers what might be the best&nbsp;present this side of a Half-Life 3 announcement. During the&nbsp;Vision VR summit keynote he&nbsp;told those&nbsp;in attendance&nbsp;that they will all&nbsp;be getting&nbsp;a&nbsp;free HTC Vive Pre headset. A grinning Newell described it as "his Oprah moment", and&mdash;as you can see from the video&mdash;the room went predictably&nbsp;nuts.&nbsp;</p><p>Valve handing out free Vives to devs&nbsp;is a smart way to encourage even more support for the nascent&nbsp;hardware. Newell appeared on stage&nbsp;via a prerecorded message that contained more good news:&nbsp;Valve and Unity have collaborated&nbsp;on native SteamVR support for the game engine, and Valve is releasing a rendering plugin for Unity that will improve visual fidelity and performance.</p><p>Unity’s press release, sent out after the keynote, doesn’t offer much more in the way of&nbsp;detail.</p><p>“Valve and Unity Technologies today announced a new collaboration to offer native support for SteamVR in the Unity Platform, giving developers new reach at no extra cost,” it reads. “Additionally, a new VR rendering plugin has been added to further enhance functionality.</p><p>“Integration of the SteamVR code delivers native support for Valve's upcoming SteamVR platform to all of Unity’s developers. Beyond SteamVR support, Valve has developed an advanced SteamVR rendering plugin for Unity that allows for enhanced fidelity and performance, bringing consumers more realistic experiences.”</p><p>The press release also includes a brief quote from Newell which&nbsp;states that most of Valve’s demos for the Vive were made with Unity. From my experience demoing games on both Vive and Oculus, I’d say that’s true across the board&mdash;the majority of the games I’ve played were built on Unity, so better VR support natively integrated into the engine can only mean good things.</p> Layers of Fear launches next week, so here's a new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/layers-of-fear-launches-next-week-so-heres-a-new-trailer/Walk around a mansion, look at creepy paintings, get scared.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:18:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/layers-of-fear-launches-next-week-so-heres-a-new-trailer/HorrorLayers of FearNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d4jYpEjIaFA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>After a six month stint in Early Access, painter-gone-mad horror&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/layers-of-fear-is-a-horror-game-set-in-the-mind-of-a-mad-painter/">Layers of Fear</a> will launch proper on February 16. To celebrate the corresponding PS4 release, studio Bloober Team has rolled out the above trailer, which is also relevant to us because it provides a satisfying look at the creepy mansion we'll be exploring next week.</p><p>It's an interesting choice for an Early Access game: narrative-driven games tend to be ill-fitted to the scheme because once you've played the game – broken or not – you're unlikely to want to do so again. Never fear, though, because whole plot points have been removed from the EA version, so even if you've played it before, it'll be worth checking out the final version.</p><p>Oh, and if you don't fancy waiting for the final version, you can grab the Early Access version&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/391720/">right now</a>.</p> Overload is a new 6DOF shooter from the makers of Descenthttp://www.pcgamer.com/overload-is-a-new-6dof-shooter-from-the-makers-of-descent/Overload is trying its luck on Kickstarter.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:42:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/overload-is-a-new-6dof-shooter-from-the-makers-of-descent/FPSKickstarterNews <iframe src="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2010925172/overload-the-ultimate-six-degree-of-freedom-shoote/widget/video.html" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="458" width="610"> </iframe><p> In April of 1995, PC Gamer posited that the hot new&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_freedom">6DOF</a> shooter <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/descent/">Descent</a> might just be the Doom-Killer. Clearly, we were wrong, but even so it was an important and influential game, and really good, too. And now a number of the people responsible for creating it, including the co-founders and programmers of original Descent studio Parallax Software, have headed to <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2010925172/overload-the-ultimate-six-degree-of-freedom-shoote">Kickstarter</a> in search of funding for a new 6DOF shooter called Overload.</p><p> Overload's hook is that it is basically a new Descent from the guys who made the old Descent. And in fact it will cleave fairly closely to its ancestor's “find the reactor, blow it up, haul ass” style of gameplay. “Carrying out your objective is where the true essence of the game lay, and that’s what we’re focusing on with Overload. Each level will be full of gameplay reasons to move and look and shoot all around you, with secrets to discover, traps to trigger, powerups to find, and cryo-frozen hostages to rescue,” the Kickstarter pitch explains. “Along the way you’ll encounter plenty of robots to battle or flee from. There will be keys to collect, shortcuts to take, and reactors to eliminate. You’ll race to the exit as the timer counts down and be thrilled when you make it out just in time.”</p><p> At the same time, the developers also promise “a rich backstory and universe ripe for expansion,” being written by the writer of the brilliantly good <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-2-review-january-2000-us-edition/">Freespace 2</a>. Naturally, it will also sport top-notch graphics technology, with physically-based rendering, dynamic shadows, realtime global illumination, and “beautifully rendered particle effects”&mdash;robots will blow up real good, in other words&mdash;and feature music from the composers of Descent 2, Freespace, Red Faction, Dungeon Master 2, and many other games.</p><p> It's interesting to note that this is actually the second recent Kickstarter to be directly descended from Descent: In April 2015, the officially licensed sequel <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/descent-underground/">Descent: Underground</a>, being developed by a team that has no connection with the original game, just barely squeaked past its $600,000 goal. Overload, the unofficial follow-up being developed by the (largely) original squad, is looking for half that amount.&nbsp;The Kickstarter campaign runs until March 11.</p> Crysis, Ryse: Son of Rome composer joins Divinity: Original Sin 2 teamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/crysis-ryse-son-of-rome-composer-joins-divinity-original-sin-2-team/Borislav Slavov is Larian Studios' new composer.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:22:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/crysis-ryse-son-of-rome-composer-joins-divinity-original-sin-2-team/Divinity: Original Sin 2Larian StudiosNewsRPG <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DsmjKEFwUms?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> It came as sad and surprising news last summer when Larian Studios <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-composer-kirill-pokrovsky-has-died/">announced</a> that Divinity composer Kirill Pokrovsky had died. Pokrovsky had created memorable music for all of Larian's games, going all the way back to LED Wars in 1997, and became a Larian “face” through his livestreamed mini-concerts in support of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin/">Divinity: Original Sin</a>. He left, as they say, very big shoes to fill.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">FIND OUT MORE!</h5> <p> Hear new info&nbsp;about Divinity: Original Sin 2 at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> Stepping into them, Larian announced today in a <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/larianstudios/divinity-original-sin-2/posts/1486313">Kickstarter update</a>, will be Borislav “Bobby” Slavov, formerly of Crytek, whose recent credits include <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ryse-son-of-rome-2/">Ryse: Son of Rome</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crysis-2/">Crysis 2</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crysis-3/">3</a>. “While no one can truly replace him, the search for a successor to compose the music for Divinity: Original Sin 2 has come to a fantastic conclusion,” Crytek said. “[Bobby] first caught the attention of Larian Studios with his talent for creating adaptive music that evolves with players' actions, and his plans for Divinity: Original Sin 2 are impressive, to say the least.”</p><p> Slavov pays a nice tribute to his predecessor in the latest&nbsp;update video when he says that despite being a long-time fan of Larian's games, he never inquired about working for the studio because he was “so in love with Kirill's music.” The video also includes a clip of Slavov's work-in-progress music playing in the background, but while Larian founder Swen Vincke promised that the new composer has big and surprising ideas for Divinity: Original Sin 2&mdash;“super, super, super cool,” as he put it&mdash;he said the studio won't reveal any of his work until it's finished.</p><p> The Kickstarter update also includes a new Skill Tree poll, information about backer rewards, and a note about upcoming appearances, including at the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-weekender/">PC Gamer Weekender</a> on March 5 and 6, where Vincke will appear on two panels&mdash;one each day&mdash;to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/see-divinity-original-sin-2-on-stage-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/">discuss the development of the new game</a>. If you're planning on being in London for that weekend, you can take a shot at winning some free tickets <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/win-tickets-to-the-pc-gamer-weekender-in-london/">right here</a>.</p> Finding promising rookies in the losing teams of LoL's pro scenehttp://www.pcgamer.com/finding-promising-rookies-in-the-losing-teams-of-lols-pro-scene/Promising players may start out on teams with rocky records, but practice and determination can carry them to the big time.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:18:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/finding-promising-rookies-in-the-losing-teams-of-lols-pro-scene/League of LegendsLoLwatchMOBAPro <p>Things can be tough for rookie players&mdash;especially if they're also on rookie teams. Every play is scrutinized, every failure a trigger for harsh rebuke by the peanut gallery. They're forced to operate in the shadows, fodder for highlight reels as their more veteran and popular counterparts dismantle them before a public audience.</p><p> Some are lucky enough to make it big almost immediately. Team Liquid's Dardoch is already in the running for North America's top jungler, for instance. Unicorns' Rudy is tearing things up across the Atlantic, with a Kindred that makes mockery of experience. And then there are the Faker moments. The once-in-a-lifetime outburst of talent, obvious upon their very debut, that subsequently take the world by storm.</p><p> But not everybody can be Faker. And not being Faker doesn't mean being unworthy. The major and well-respected players of tomorrow had to start somewhere, and often they start in the most humble of conditions. Losing teams but stalwart individual performances are the hallmarks of those that can yet be fostered to greatness, and these are some of the players with the potential for more than what they've currently shown.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wx6j1e30RBOX.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AEhM1h8_wVOI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Splyce Sencux"></p><h3> Sencux</h3><p> The Splyce roster in general suffers a lot from being basically a team's worth of rookies, but have shown glimmers of improvement as weeks progressed. Chres "Sencux" Laursen, one of the youngest players&nbsp;in the circuit, has shown some particularly interesting stunts.</p><p> Obviously,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s_6lntN67c">his LeBlanc against the Giants was great</a>. That's not really any credit&mdash;anybody can beat the Giants right now. But even as Splyce&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ud2XCkIIxw">lost the game against front-runner H2K</a>, Sencux's Ahri was oddly menacing. Brave flanks, deep into the enemy back line, proved themselves well-timed and punishing.</p><p> But that does raise a question: is he an assassins-only mid laner, like so many other flash-in-the-pan mids? The champion archetype tends to be the most visually impressive, but also most meta-dependent, of the various mid lane strategic options. Sencux's Lulu was fairly dismal against G2, suggesting he doesn't quite have as solid a grasp on playing a utility-oriented role.</p><h3> Nuclear</h3><p> Kim "Nuclear" Seung-hoo does not deserve his team. Or, rather, SBENU Sonicboom does not deserve to have an AD carry of his caliber. Korea's bottom-rankers have an AD carry that routinely out-farms and out-fights his rivals on other teams&mdash;but to what result? It's not as if Flawless or SaSin can capitalize off his efforts.</p><p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSFe8z02-Ak">That third game against Em-Fire</a> was tragedy writ large. Nuclear's Lucian was an 11-0-10 beast, fully decked out with six items, boasting a 70 CS lead over Ssol, and a major reason why the game was nearly an entire hour long. Too bad, then, that the rest of his team were so far behind their own counterparts by every conceivable measure. Despite his best efforts, Nuclear is on a team that is completely winless by week four. Somebody give the poor guy a break.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TLvomQ8SSy-x.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mYxysUJ28ZFZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HKE Rokenia"></p><h3> Rokenia</h3><p> Three different nations can lay claim to Hong Kong Esports' newest mid laner's recent proof of talent. Jeon "Rokenia" Yeong-dae is a South Korean pro player who debuted in Japan's wildcard circuit, only to get scouted and bought by Taiwan's Gash Bears Challenger team before the start of the LoL Master Series' second season. Except that the Gash Bears turned out to be a bit of a wreck&mdash;despite its roster of veterans and hired guns, it was dismantled messily by four rookies led by former Logitech Sniper jungler Yo.</p><p> Note that the Snipers fell apart quickly, Yo's a no-name compared to the rest of Taiwan's junglers, and they still made Rokenia look like no big deal. Yet somebody at Hong Kong Esports must have thought the guy still had something to prove, and their investment looks like it's paying off.</p><p> It's way too much to claim that Rokenia's competitive for the LMS's top ranks. AHQ is "cheating" by having both Chawy and Westdoor, Maple's Zed is going to be even more frightening come Patch 6.3, and Machi's Apex is the next big thing. On the other hand, Rokenia's showing that most important trait among premier region rookies: instead of melting under the pressure, he's improving under the challenge that Taiwan's already high-caliber mid lane game's imposed on him.</p><p> The fact that he has HKE jungler DinTer to guide and foster him is almost karmic: DinTer's now easily one of the region's best junglers, but started as a Taipei Assassins player routinely mocked for bad ults, bad mechanics, and bad shotcalling. DinTer, in fact, is proof that even the worst players now can become the real deal in a year or two. So long as they're given a chance to grow and learn, and so long as they have the will and determination to do so despite the jeers and the scorn, it's actually impossible to predict where their ultimate skill ceiling lies.</p><p> All you can really do is keep watch, and give them a chance.</p> XCOM 2 players have already killed 53 million alienshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-players-have-already-killed-53-million-aliens/The XCOM 2 stats page is filled with fun and interesting facts!Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:14:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-players-have-already-killed-53-million-aliens/FiraxisNewsStrategyXCOM 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0nQhajc7TZuA.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/osfwR8JT7FGq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="XCOM 2 stats"></p><p>The newly-opened <a href="https://xcom.com/xcom-2-stats">XCOM 2 Global Overview</a> stats page reveals some surprising, and even startling, numbers&mdash;foremost among them is that more than 4.4 million missions have been successfully executed by resurgent XCOM forces. So why, then, has nobody been able to finish even one single game?</p><p>The flat zero “total game victories” is obviously a glitch in the system, but amusing in light of the huge number of victorious missions, nearly two-thirds of which were&nbsp;completed on&nbsp;the Veteran difficulty level. 53,375,646 (and counting) enemies have died as a result of resistance actions, Troopers being&nbsp;the most common kills&nbsp;and Codex the rarest. Rangers have scored the most kills, accounting for 27 percent of the body count, and rifles are the weapon of choice, also accounting for 27 percent of dead alien meat.</p><p>On the downside of the equation, 4,206,605 million XCOM soldiers have paid the ultimate price, the vast majority of them falling as a result of “collateral damage.” Only 23 percent of resistance fighters have been killed by direct enemy fire thus far&mdash;roughly half of them at the hands of Troopers&mdash;and a very disappointing two percent have been fragged by their fellow soldiers. Come on, guys, war is hell but watch where you're pointing that thing, okay?</p><p>(That works out to an average K/D ratio of about 12.6:1, by the way, which is actually quite good as long as you can stand the attrition.)</p><p>There are numbers to see than just these&mdash;1,343,609 doors have been kicked in so far, for example&mdash;and the numbers are ticking up. (Even that "game victories" count will begin to rise sooner or later.) Want a head start on adding to the first batch of numbers, while staying out of the second? Have a look at our XCOM 2 build guide, with ideas for both specialist and hybrid characters who will be handy in a fight, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-builds/">right here</a>.</p><p>Whoops&mdash;make that 4,217,061 XCOM soldiers lost. Let's be careful out there, people.</p> Recommended PC gaming chairshttp://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/Are you sitting comfortably?Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:56:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/Buying GuideHardwareTop Buying Guides <p>When budgeting a PC setup, how much do you allocate for a new chair? Probably a lot less than you&nbsp;spend on the graphics card, but consider how integral the chair is to the overall experience. A good chair can last you a decade, and you’re not going to be upgrading to spine 2.0 anytime soon. I set out to find the best chairs for long gaming sessions by talking to an ergonomist and spending three months researching and testing chairs with the PC Gamer staff.</p><p><em><strong>Update 2/10/2016:</strong> We've checked over our guide,&nbsp;updated pricing information, and feel confident these are still the best chairs for your spine and posterior. We plan to look into more popular and budget gaming chairs this year, but don't expect our primary or high-end recommendations to change any time soon.</em></p><br/> <h3>Our recommended PC gaming chair</h3><p>On the face of it, the <a href="http://www.ergodirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=16688">Office Master OM5</a> ($497 with armrests from Ergodirect, or <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="OM5" data-link-text="$519 on Amazon"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=office+master+om5&amp;tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">$550 on Amazon</a></span>) sounds like the snake oil of seating. The marketing materials describe it as “a self weighing chair that intuitively responds to a wide range of body weights and sizes without the need for manual tension.” Essentially: don’t worry about all those levers and knobs on the other chairs, this one will magically work out what your butt and back need, no problemo. My skepticism didn’t last long, though, because when it comes to the OM5, sitting is believing.</p><p>These are the elements of the OM5 which are adjustable: the height (self explanatory), the front seat “waterfall” lip, which you can curl forwards if your thighs want the extra space, and the armrests, which can be slid back and forth, and be rotated towards your body. Where all the smart stuff happens is around your hips. Lean back, apply a little forward pressure, and the seat pan shifts forwards while the backrest reclines in response, articulating smoothly thanks to wheels on runners that function much like the ones in desk draw sliders. It takes a little getting used to, but transitioning from upright work mode to relaxing whilst playing or watching swiftly becomes a cinch.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">Office master om5</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X7uypaaDTBKg.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fsee_HB7DzsC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Office Master OM5 back " style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> That crescent-shape is where the smart backrest mechanism lives. </p> </div><p>Aside from the fact it doesn’t require regular fussing-with to feel right, what I like most about the OM5 is that the natural tension in the backrest is neither too tight nor too loose. It requires just the right amount of effort to make the seat and backrest shift in tandem, but I didn’t find myself slipping around when I wanted to remain stationary. In fact, the more time I spent in the chair, the more I found myself enjoying the opportunity to move around relatively freely, taking the opportunity to lean back regularly rather than getting stuck in the same position for extended periods. As Afterman noted, it’s vital to find a chair that encourages movement, and the OM5 does just that.</p><p> The workmanship on the chair, from its lightweight aluminium base to the slatted PolyFlex backrest, is robust and impressive, giving it a feel that’s far closer to the higher-end models we tested than the budget choices. The 12-year warranty which the OM5 comes with also speaks of confidence in the build quality. There’s plenty of scope for personalisation, too, with cushion fabric available in multiple colours and a leather option, should you be channeling a more ‘80s power exec vibe.&nbsp;<span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="OM5" data-link-text="Amazon sells the Office Master OM5 in many configurations"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=om5+chair&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aom5+chair">Amazon sells the Office Master OM5 in many configurations</a></span>.&nbsp;The backrest can also be ordered in a tall version (pictured right in main image).</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">Office master affirm</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/85VE0RFlTCqa.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6cX1P77SytPe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Affirm 2795 crop" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> The Affirm is a more conventional task chair than the OM5, but also excellent. </p> </div><p> The OM5 is compelling because it gives you close to high-end quality for a midrange price. You feel like you’re getting in on a secret that only seat nerds know about. However, I should also note that one of our testers didn’t like the moving back.&nbsp;So, if you’re not convinced by the idea of its ‘look mom, no levers!’ trickery, consider checking out Office Master’s new <a href="http://www.ergodirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=18185">Affirm series</a> (AF528 model tested,&nbsp;$434 specced as pictured) as an alternative, which offers a more standard suite of adjustments. It’s another excellent ergonomic office chair, though for my money feels a little less special than the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ergodirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=16688">Office Master&nbsp;OM5</a>. But, if the idea of being able to lock your tweaks seems essential, the Affirm is a safer and slightly&nbsp;cheaper&nbsp;bet.</p><h3>Our recommended budget chair</h3><p>Perhaps you’ve already blown the kids’ college fund on bleeding edge GPU whizzbangery and now have limited funds with which to purchase a new gaming throne. The budget section beckons, and truth be told it’s an intimidating place, full of generic-looking chairs with underwhelming customer reviews. However, there are bargains to be found, though you’re going to have to accept the odd flaw in your gem.</p><p>Office Star’s <a href="http://www.officestar.net/index.php/products/proline-ii/205-proline-ii-pro-grid-series">range of chairs</a> don’t look noteworthy at first glance, but the customer reviews are consistently good. I like the <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="ProGrid" data-link-text="ProGrid Back Managers Chair"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Office-Star-Managers-Adjustable-Function/dp/B002L15O02/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">ProGrid Back Managers Chair</a></span> ($160 with arms) a lot because it offers the kind of tweakability usually only found on much more expensive models. Using its daunting array of levers, you can adjust the height and tilt of the chair, plus slide the seat pan forwards or backwards. The backrest can also be shifted up or down, and the armrests raised or lowered and slid back and forth until you find the perfect position.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Progrid back managers chair</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g-k-P1Z3QaCN.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SjRSnyZYz13-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Office Star crop" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> She's no looker, but the ProGrid will stop your wallet from squealing. </p> </div><p> In practice that means you spend a fair amount of time initially getting the chair locked in exactly as you’d like it, during which the feel remains unremarkable. But once you hit the sweet spot of comfort and support, the effect is transformative. I found that when I had it arranged just so, the time I spent with ProGrid compared favourably with the midrange Office Master models.</p><p> Sure, in terms of build quality you’re not getting the same standard&mdash;the plasticky arms in particular feel cheap&mdash;but the mesh back is perfectly functional, and the thick foam seat proved surprisingly pleasant during extended sessions parked on it. Office Star also do a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004O4R01U?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">high-backed model</a> for stringbeans like me, which can be found for only $20 more, and one with a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Office-Star-ProLine-ProGrid-Managers/dp/B004LQ1U9O/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">partially leather seat</a>, for less than a buck more than the model I tested.</p><p> There are a couple of caveats, the first of which is minor: During building, one of the nuts used to fix the chair to its pneumatic adjustment mechanism is positioned so that there’s no easy way to tighten it using the Allen key. It’s doable, but unnecessarily annoying.</p><p> The other issue bears more scrutiny. Because the ProGrid requires you to set it up ‘just so’ for the best results, once I had every element how I liked it I didn’t want to mess with the settings too much, not least because the levers are pretty clunky to interact with. However, once I had the seat pan position and chair tilt fixed in positions I was happy with, I was able to get a nice combination of bounce and support in the back rest. The fact that you can really fine tune the feel of the ProGrid makes it a strong choice, and very hard to beat at this price.</p><p> <strong>Note for UK readers: </strong>The ProGrid may be tricky to find in the UK. Alternatively, you might consider something like this <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004OR13NS?tag=futurepublishpcg-21&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">Eliza Tinsley</a> (£171) Executive Armchair, which also has good customer reviews.</p><hr><h3>Alternatively: Ikea Markus</h3> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">Ikea markus</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udeOZN0bQo-j.JPG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2b0U8kaNH4u1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ikea Markus" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> The Markus makes up for its lack of adjustments with high overall quality&nbsp; </p> </div><p> If all that knob twiddling sounds like too much effort dedicated to the art of sitting down, you should go for the <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00103102/">Ikea Markus</a> ($199/£125) instead. This high-backed mesh chair from the Swedish meatball merchant was first identified as a strong budget choice by in <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5941523/five-best-office-chairs">this Lifehacker article</a> from 2012, and later highlighted by <a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-office-chair-is-the-steelcase-leap/">The Wirecutter</a>. I’ve owned one for almost a year, and it’s served me well.</p><p> Adjustments here are limited to seat height and tilt, but I barely use the latter function. Unlike the OM5, the travel in the backrest is a little too loose when unlocked, so I always end up fixing it pretty much fully upright whether typing or playing. The armrests, however, can’t be altered at all. Effectively that means you need to enjoy sitting in this chair in its standard position. Luckily, that’s pretty likely. The backrest has a swatch of lumbar support woven into its mesh that has proved consistently supportive. I rarely find myself slouching, because its upright nature encourages sitting flush against the backrest. There’s also just enough movement when locked that you don’t feel totally rigid.</p><p> The chair comes with excellent build instructions and a 10-year warranty, (though that won’t cover basic wear and tear), and the quality of materials used is impressive. The base is aluminium and there’s leather padding on the armrest, headpiece, and seat itself, which is fairly wide. The foam will however be a little too firm for some tastes. I find myself fidgeting a bit after a couple of hours and need to get up. Which, of course, you should do anyway&mdash;but the Markus is not what I’d call plush. (Perhaps the designer spent too long perched on a sauna bench and this felt like a cloud in comparison.) Still, if you like the high-backed style and are strapped for cash, it’s a fine option.</p><h3>Our recommended high-end chair</h3><p>The <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Steelcase Leap" data-link-text="Steelcase Leap"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Steelcase-Leap-Fabric-Chair-Black/dp/B006H1QYBA?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">Steelcase Leap</a></span> is one of the most iconic modern chairs, with a price to match its performance. The Wirecutter named it the <a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-office-chair-is-the-steelcase-leap/">best office chair</a> a couple of years ago, but I prefer the newer <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Steelcase Gesture" data-link-text="Steelcase Gesture"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HDT4X6S?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">Steelcase Gesture</a></span> ($1014, specced as pictured) for a number of reasons. Foremost of which is, holy smoke, it feels good. If your eyes are still watering at the cost, know this: much as I enjoyed the other chairs singled out here, every minute that I spent in them I was secretly wishing I was in the Gesture. Imagine your butt and back being perfectly cupped by the giant ever-loving hand of the deity of your choice. That’s what the Gesture is like. Or, as it became known amongst us testing it: ‘the dream chair.’</p><p>According to Steelcase, the Gesture was designed as the result of research that showed the influx of new devices in the workplace had led to people sitting in all sorts of cockamamie new positions. (Nine of them, if their <a href="http://www.steelcase.com/en/products/Category/Seating/task/gesture/PublishingImages/9-new-postures-steelcase.jpg">Joy Of Sitting-style infographic</a> is to be believed.) The solution here is similar to the one offered by the OM5: A backrest and seat which articulate in response to how you move around in the chair. However, whereas the OM5 travels through a single curve between fully upright and reclined, the Gesture’s backrest can also tilt in and out as it moves backwards.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">SteelCase gesture</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pVwHjLWYRwSO.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UpoyiF6jR7qr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steelcase Gesture" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> The Gesture's&nbsp;design screams&nbsp;quality. It is the chair you're looking for. </p> </div><p>The result of that additional point of articulation is that you always feel completely supported and comfortable. I suffer from back pain caused by bad posture, but it pretty much melted away when using the Gesture. You get the same core benefit the OM5 provides, in the sense that you can switch tasks and positions without having to adjust the chair, but the truth is that the Gesture does the job notably better, and is in a different league in terms of overall enjoyment. Which is as you’d hope, given that it costs twice the price.</p><p> That money buys you a lifetime warranty and truly exceptional build quality, though. In my chat with Melissa Afterman, she told me that ergonomically it’s fine not to have armrests, but they will of course provide significant extra comfort and support. The correct positioning is so they just graze your forearms without putting any pressure on the elbow. That’s easy to achieve with the Gesture because its armrests can be lowered, angled and tilted in every manner conceivable. Easily the most flexible of any of the chairs I tried. As for other adjustments, there’s one knob to slide the seat pan forward, and another that alters the tension in the backrest. As with everything about the Gesture, these just work perfectly.</p><p> Price aside, I can’t fault the Gesture. It’s the little bear’s porridge of fancy chairs. The fabric (of which there are 13 colour ways to choose from, plus leather options) is wonderfully soft and every aspect of the chair feels premium. It’s got that thing all great objects of design have: you just want to keep touching it. Interestingly, Wired <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/06/office-chair-gallery/#slideid-505729">weren’t as impressed</a>, with their reviewer complaining about overheating in it. I didn’t find that at all, and would say I tend to run hot. (Particularly when on a bad Hearthstone tilt.)</p><p> Would I personally throw down this amount of money on a chair? Absolutely. In fact I’m so sold on&nbsp;<span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="Steelcase Leap" data-link-text="the Steelcase&nbsp;Gesture"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HDT4X6S?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">the Steelcase&nbsp;Gesture</a></span> that I’m already trying to work out a way to do just that. Owning two kidneys seems like overkill anyway.</p><p> <strong>Note for&nbsp;UK readers: </strong>I struggled to&nbsp;find the Gesture for sale online, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steelcase.co.uk/en/how-to-buy/dealer-finder/pages/how-to-buy.aspx">here's Steelcase's&nbsp;list of more than 20 locations where its chairs are available</a>.</p><hr> <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9m6ki4NVT9Kw.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PlLd8Rm2SG4w.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mirra, Mirra, on the floor, you're almost the fairest chair of all" style="font-size: 14px; color: rgb(154, 154, 154); background-color: initial;" class=""> <p> Mirra, Mirra, on the floor, you're almost the fairest chair of all</p></figure><h3>Alternatively: Herman Miller Mirra 2</h3><p> Beloved of failed startups the world over, the Herman Miller Aeron chair is a masterpiece of design. The <a href="http://store.hermanmiller.com/Products/Mirra-2-Chair?device=c&amp;network=g&amp;matchtype=b&amp;gclid=CMrumZnxvMMCFRJlfgodXjYAwQ">Mirra 2</a> ($819 as tested) is similarly styled to the Aeron, and provides a very viable alternative to the Gesture, particularly if you prefer a more lightweight chair with mesh-based support rather than foam cushioning.&nbsp;UK readers can buy <a href="http://www.officechairsuk.co.uk/herman-miller-mirra-2/">the Mirra 2 for £663 (inc vat) from Office Chairs UK</a>.&nbsp;With the backrest unlocked it gives a pleasingly springy amount of recline, whilst the curved, spongy armrests are more satisfying to rest on than the flatter versions found on most of the other models I tried.</p><p> A note on the price. Follow the link above, and by jettisoning the arms entirely, and losing a number of other niceties like the tweakable lumbar support, (the tension in the left and right sides can be adjusted individually using little levers in the backrest), you can bring the price down to just over $600. That would bring the Mirra 2 into contention with the OM5, but I wouldn’t recommend stripping features from it. The stuff you’re losing is an essential part of what makes the chair a strong choice in the first place.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">Herman miller embody</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zK67cqknSTiY.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EO2BU0P2Ygg6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Herman Miller Embody" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> The Embody's rakishly curved back is much more comfortable than it looks. </p> </div><p> If money really is no object (hi Notch!) then Herman Miller also make the <a href="http://store.hermanmiller.com/Products/Embody-Chair">Embody</a> ($1229). It’s the most obviously high-end looking of the chairs I tried. Viewed from behind its dramatically-shaped backrest has a biomechanical look that would be at home in a Prometheus cockpit. According to its maker, “Embody is so advanced that it actually lowers your heart rate and reduces stress. By stimulating blood and oxygen flow while you sit.”</p><p> I can’t confirm that, but what the Embody’s flexible matrix design definitely does offer is superb support in the lower back area, while the higher part bends reed-like to enable you to recline for a second and then switch back to sitting fully upright. The puckered fabric used for the seat material also stays pleasantly cool, despite prolonged exposure to my warm thighs. (The image of which, I apologise for.) The Embody is clearly an excellent chair, and one of our testers absolutely fell in love with it, but for my hypothetical dollar the Gesture is just that little bit more special.</p> <h3>How we test gaming chairs and others we tested</h3><p> Between recent articles about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/is-sitting-down-while-playing-bad-for-you/">the effects of sitting down</a> on your body, and our experimentation <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/a-year-of-pc-gaming-with-a-standing-desk/">with standing desks</a>, you might think PC Gamer has fallen out of love with the humble chair. Dear reader, that could not be further from the truth. As gamers and office workers, our writers spend a significant chunk of each day sat on their money makers in front of screens. Given that most of us don’t plan to change that anytime soon, it only makes sense to do so in a great chair. So that’s what I set out to find.</p><p> I wanted to find three chairs&mdash;budget, midrange and high-end&mdash;that maximised comfort, support and value. I knew I needed expert advice to help narrow my search, so I spoke with Melissa Afterman, <a href="http://www.bcpe.org/">MS CPE</a>, a Senior Principal Ergonomist with <a href="http://vsi-consulting.com/">VSI Risk Management &amp; Ergonomics</a>, Inc. who specialises in workstation setups. “Absolutely chairs are still okay,” she told me. “Yes we know that sitting too long is bad for you. The reality is that standing too long is just as bad for you, and so the answer is movement. Taking breaks, getting up at least every hour and moving, or changing your position from standing to sitting every hour so that you’re not standing too long either.”</p><p> When searching for a new chair, aside from essential-but-obvious tweakable elements like seat height and armrests, Melissa told me a key element to consider is the backrest: “If you’re typing and working at the computer, you really want more upright support so that you can maintain neutral spine posture and let the chair hold you up,” she said. “But when you switch to gaming mode, you may want to recline a little bit to relax your lower back, while still having good support in that position. So a locking backrest and/or some sort of tension control is important.”</p><p> Another feature to look for, though it tends to be found on more expensive models, is a seat pan slider. This enables you to slide the positioning of your butt forwards or backwards relative to the backrest. “The nice thing about that,” explained Afterman, “is that if you’re tall you can get more support behind your leg, and if you’re short it can be set more shallow so you can actually sit all the way back in the chair.”</p><p> When it comes to fabric and other materials, it’s pretty much a purely aesthetic decision&mdash;though whether you prefer plush leather or breathable mesh should be dictated by how hot you are. No, really. Afterman explained: “Some people run cold, some people run warm, and I think that when you talk about the fabric choices it depends on personal comfort and aesthetics.” As for what you should definitely avoid, Afterman recommended steering clear of overly rigid seat pans and fixed height armrests&mdash;both are likely to lead to discomfort.</p><p> In terms of how much you should expect to spend, she suggested that in order to tick all the boxes an ergonomist would hope to find, $300-400 ought to be enough for a supportive chair that looks and feels great. Below that, there are going to be tradeoffs. Likewise, if you’re willing to spend more, you can open up greater levels of customisation and luxury.</p><h3>Testing chairs</h3><p> Armed with her advice, I began cross-referencing customer reviews with chair round-ups written elsewhere to create a shortlist. Over the course of three months I then called in samples and tested them, with help from the variously shaped rear-ends of the PC Gamer team.</p><p> Whilst it’s impossible to be exhaustive with our first pass at a subject this big, I’m confident that any of our picks will delight you (and your butt). Of the chairs we tested, the one I believe offers PC gamers the best value is the Office Master OM5. It has all the ergonomic functionality of name brand chairs at twice its price, impeccable build quality, and good looks that are substantially customisable. What’s unusual about the OM5, though, is that it actually dispenses with a lot of the fiddling found on ergonomic chairs in favour of a simpler approach.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eqZtPRDpTNO5.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3pC16zGafiGU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="About to make it big on Twitch? The Maxnomic Casual Sports understated looks could be for you" style="font-size: 14px; color: rgb(154, 154, 154); background-color: initial;" class=""> <figcaption>About to make it big on Twitch? The Maxnomic Casual Sport's understated looks could be for you</figcaption></figure><h3>Future testing</h3><p> When it comes to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/">rating graphics cards</a>, we judge their performance based on strict benchmark tests. Not so with chairs. Of all the elements in your dream gaming set-up, none is likely to be so subjective as the choice of chair. Personal preference in terms of look and feel, plus your own body shape, have a huge bearing on what will be the right chair for you. That said, I think the ones highlighted here are all strong options for most people.</p><p> One of the main things I learned during testing is that there’s even less uniformity across countries with chairs than there is with PC component parts, making it tricky to find universal recommendations except at the high-end. When we revisit the topic I want to find more midrange options that will be easy to find for readers in Europe and the rest of the world.</p><p> As part of testing I wanted to take a look at the racing-style bucket seats which you often find Twitch streamers sponsored to sit in, and had better customer reviews than I expected. I couldn’t get hold of anything from the <a href="http://www.dxracer.com/">DXRacer</a> range, but did try three <a href="http://www.needforseatusa.com/computer_office_gaming_chairs">Maxnomic</a> models&mdash;the Casual Sport (pictured top,&nbsp;$329), Pro-Gaming &amp; Office ($369) and the Office Comfort ($449). These are fun, eye-catching chairs, which offer reasonable amount of adjustability. The variation in prince point largely amounted to niceties like extra cushioning and optional head and lumbar support pillows&mdash;neither of which I was a fan of, although others who tried them were more impressed. At this sort of price, though, I think that you’re better off going for a dedicated ergonomic task chair like the Office Master ones, which unquestionably provide a more supportive experience long-term.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">tcentric hybrid</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8A-z5fLASV2G.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D650iJoNeCUp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tcentric" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> One for the future: The hybrid is a&nbsp;future rival for the OM5's king of butts&nbsp;crown. </p> </div><p>Speaking of which, there are a number of ergonomic chairs I still want to test and will continue working on trying to source. <a href="http://ergohuman.com/?gclid=CMCI6ZHmlsICFU9efgodrQ4A_g" style="font-size: 14px;">Ergohuman</a>, who also do standing desks, have a range around the $600 mark which includes some interesting headrests I’d like to try. At the higher end I want to get hold of <a href="http://www.thehumansolution.com/knoll-generation-ergonomic-chair.html" style="font-size: 14px;">Knoll Generation Chair</a> ($679 unconfigured), to see how it stacks up against its Steelcase and Herman Miller rivals. Melissa Afterman also suggests taking a look at <a href="http://www.ergocentric.com/catalogue.asp?id=415" style="font-size: 14px;">Ergocentric’s tCentric Hybrid</a> as an alternative to the Office Master chairs.</p><p> If you’re trying to find the Titan-Z of ergonomic chairs, then a <a href="http://www.lifeformchairs.com/coreflex/">Lifeform</a><a href="http://www.relaxtheback.com/brezza-office-chair.html">Core-flex Brezza</a> ($1,245) might be the answer. The unusual split-style of the seat is designed to encourage small but constant user movement, preventing cramping or cutting off circulation. Interesting, but definitely one to sample first. Last up on my current shortlist to audition is the <a href="http://www.humanscale.com/products/category_detail.cfm?category=seating">Humanscale</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/HumanScale-Freedom-Chair-Headrest-Fabric/dp/B00062X3II?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestchair">Freedom</a> ($1,049), though the customer reviews seem a little mixed.</p><p> While "gaming" branded chairs often don't offer the ergonomic smarts of office chairs, I'd like to look into DXRacer and similar brands.</p><p> Finally, I’d be keen to hear what you’re perched on. I’m sure there are some amazing chairs out there waiting for my cheeks. (Again, apologies for the image.) Let me know in the comments what you recommend.</p><p> The last word, though, should go to the expert. Afterman told me that when gaming, “you have high visual demands with the computer screen and you also need high precision with your fingers or your hands. Being able to support the forearms on the work surface or the desk is a way to increase precision. However, you can get support from the armrest too. The key is bringing the monitor, keyboard, and mouse closer to you, so that you can relax back in the chair and keep the ears balanced over the shoulders and the shoulders in line with the hips.”</p><p> The right seat will only take you so far. Getting your gaming space set up correctly is every bit as crucial, a subject we plan to revisit soon.</p><h4>Further reading</h4><p> Here’s a selection of links I used at the start of testing to narrow my search&hellip;</p><ul> <li><a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-office-chair/">Best office chair is the steelcase gesture</a> - The Wirecutter</li> <li><a href="http://www.highgroundgaming.com/pc-gaming-chair/">Console &amp; PC Gaming Chairs – The Best Options for Gamers</a> - High Ground Gaming </li> <li><a href="http://www.gameaccessoriesguide.com/best-gaming-chair/best-pcdesk-gaming-chair/">What is the Best PC/Desk Gaming Chair 2014?</a> - Gaming Accessories Guide</li> <li><a href="http://lifehacker.com/5941523/five-best-office-chairs">Five Best Office Chairs</a> - Lifehacker </li> <li><a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/06/office-chair-gallery/#slideid-505729">You’re Gonna Want to Sit Down for This: 6 High-End Desk Chairs Reviewed</a> - Wired </li></ul><p> <em>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> Warcraft moviegoers may get World of Warcraft for freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/warcraft-moviegoers-may-get-world-of-warcraft-for-free/Blizzard is giving thought to a rather unique movie/game crossover promotion.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warcraft-moviegoers-may-get-world-of-warcraft-for-free/BlizzardMMONewswarcraftWorld of Warcraft <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6qEXq0cH3x0?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-warcraft-film-trailer-is-finally-here/">Warcraft film</a> is approaching fast&mdash;June 10, if you hadn't heard&mdash;and the word on the street is that Blizzard is considering a movie/videogame crossover of a sort I haven't encountered&nbsp;before. “The street,” to be more precise about it, is <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/44344q/just_got_a_survey_from_blizzard_this_is_a_great/">Reddit</a>, where a user has posted an image of a survey saying that Blizzard is giving thought to offering a free copy of the World of Warcraft “Ultimate Movie Edition” with every purchase of a ticket to see Warcraft in a theater.</p><p> The WoW Ultimate Movie Edition would include the base game, plus the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, and Warlords of Draenor expansions, as well as an exclusive in-game item and one month of free game time. The sharp-eyed among you will notice that Wrath of the Lich King is spelled incorrectly as “Litch,” which should immediately raise suspicions. However, Blizzard Customer Support agent “Araxom” stated in the thread that the survey, and the typo, <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/44344q/just_got_a_survey_from_blizzard_this_is_a_great/cznzitt">are legit</a>.</p><p> That's no guarantee that it's happening, and even if Blizzard decides that this is a good idea&mdash;and I certainly think it is&mdash;there are still a number of regional and logistical issues to overcome. Will the offer be available outside the US? What about long-time WoWzers who may feel neglected? And what kind of “proof of viewership” will be required? I've emailed Blizzard for more information, but for now it sounds like you'd be smart to hang on to your ticket stubs.</p><p> Thanks, <a href="http://www.pcgamesn.com/world-of-warcraft/blizzard-considering-giving-world-of-warcraft-to-all-movie-goers">PCGamesN</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6XEgTzuJR_q4.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XEq_XcneBwzv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Warcraft movie survey"></p> Recommended XCOM 2 soldier buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-builds/Best ofEditors PicksguideMust ReadStrategyXCOM 2 <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/duqgvs83SiGh.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/il3ierMgICmc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BattleMedic3"></p><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Play it!</h5> <p> You can play XCOM&nbsp;2 at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> XCOM 2’s classes share similarities and themes with the soldier types from the first game, but the Sharpshooter, Ranger, Specialist and Grenadier are all very distinct from their predecessors. There are many ways to combine perks, gear and soldiers to create powerful squads, and you should experiment often to find new strategies and tactics&mdash;but if you’d like some straight-up advice, read on for my favorite builds of XCOM 2’s classes.</p><p> Remember, you can respec characters through the Advanced Warfare Center facility.</p><p> <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds">Ranger builds</a></p><p> <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds">Sharpshooter builds</a></p><p> <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds">Specialist builds</a></p><p> <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds">Grenadier builds</a></p><p> <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds">Hybrid builds</a></p> Recommended XCOM 2 hybrid buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds/StrategyXCOM 2 <h3> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Qyi7ZE4VT66s.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nTqQGPBP-Aq1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HeavyGunner6"></p></h3><h3>Grenadier Gunner</h3><p><strong>Abilities:</strong>&nbsp;Launch Grenade, Shredder, Suppression, Holo Targeting, Volatile Mix, Salvo, Rupture</p><p>With eight builds to fit in six slots, you can’t bring everything on every mission. There’s some key things to consider if you can only bring one Grenadier or Specialist. For the Grenadier, Holo Targeting and Rupture are key abilities too big to miss out on - giving your entire squad +15 aim and +3 damage respectively are huge buffs that shouldn’t be ignored. Shredder, Volatile Mix and Salvo ensure your Grenadier can weaken armored enemies while also providing heavy explosive power.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aFVwDDYTQv2A.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DhyEaEoBqGBu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CombatHacker3"></p><h3>Hacker Medic</h3><p><strong>Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Aid Protocol, Medical Protocol, Haywire Protocol, Field Medic, Threat Assessment, Guardian, Capacitor Discharge</p><p>For the Specialist, Medical Protocol and Field Medic provide the sustainability you need for lategame firefights, while Haywire Protocol ensures you won’t be caught flat-footed against tough robotic opponents like Heavy MECs, Andromedon Shells, and Sectopods.&nbsp;When all else fails, try out your own builds and squad loadouts&mdash;creativity and experimentation will yield you powerful strategies all your own. Good luck!</p><p><em>More of our recommended XCOM 2 soldier builds:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds/">Ranger</a> / <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds">Specialist</a> / <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds">Grenadier</a> /&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds/"><em>Sharpshooter</em></a></p> Recommended XCOM 2 Grenadier buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds/StrategyXCOM 2 <h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bYfu5vqsSG-A.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EH63JUAjpMct.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HeavyGunner5"></p></h3><h3>Grenadier build: Heavy Gunner</h3><p><strong>Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Launch Grenade, Shredder, Suppression, Holo Targeting, Chain Shot, Salvo, Saturation Fire</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>EXO/WAR Suit, Rocket/Blaster Launcher, Grenades</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Perception, Scope, Autoloader (Bonus: Expanded Magazine)</p><p>The Heavy Gunner provides incredible support fire capability, backed up with a respectable amount of explosive ordnance. Shredder and Chain Shot combine to wreak havoc upon robotic enemies, while Holo Targeting ensures every follow up shot from the squad gains a significant accuracy boost. Suppression keeps enemy heads down and neuters their aim, and Salvo allows you to remove enemy cover then tear them apart with a follow up shot. Its alternative, Hail of Bullets, may tempt you with its guaranteed hit chance&mdash;but by the time you reach Major, you should have enough Scopes and Perception PCS chips to make the extra accuracy redundant, while extra explosions are never unnecessary.</p><p>Rupture is a key skill that you must have on at least one soldier in your squad, but if you bring multiple Grenadiers, I recommend Saturation Fire on your Gunners. This build sacrifices explosive potential for cannon power, so the skill gives back some AoE capability while also making good use of your high aim to hit multiple enemies at once. The fact that it also applies Shredder is just icing on the cake.</p><p>Aim is critical for Heavy Gunners, as missing your Chain Shot is the difference between wiping out a Sectopod and being fodder for its angry, angry lasers. Autoloaders and Expanded Mags help to counteract the huge amount of ammo you’ll burn through, and a Rocket (or later, Blaster) Launcher grants some more AoE potential to Salvo off towards your enemies.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TL9731dgQiON.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BpVPQ7DniMSx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DemoExpert1"></p><h3>Grenadier build: Demolitions Expert</h3><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Launch Grenade, Blast Padding, Suppression, Heavy Ordinance, Volatile Mix, Salvo, Rupture</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>EXO/WAR Suit, Shredder/Shredstorm Cannon, Grenade, Acid Grenades</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Conditioning, Stock, Autoloader (Bonus: Expanded Magazine)</p><p>Typically responsible for millions in property damage, Demolitions Experts are the purest form of Grenadier. Heavy Ordinance, Volatile Mix and Salvo allow you to blow things up effectively and often, while Blast Padding allows you to take damage instead of just dishing it out. Suppression remains an effective pinning perk over the less reliable Demolition (who needs a cover destruction perk when you’ve got five explosives?), and Rupture provides powerful single target damage to round out your otherwise AoE focused arsenal.</p><p>Acid Grenades and Shredder/Shredstorm Cannons are excellent picks for Demo Experts, making up their lack of Shredder with plenty of armor removal capability. Blast Padding combos well with a Conditioning PCS to make this soldier your main tank&mdash;and with the extra armor of an EXO/WAR Suit (and even a Plated Armor vest) you’ll be approaching incredible levels of toughness. Autoloaders and Expanded Mags are still good to keep your suppression fire going, while a Stock makes the most of your lack of accuracy by ensuring damage regardless.</p><p>Once you pick up Rupture, consider accessorizing your Demo Experts more like their Heavy Gunner brethren&mdash;Scopes and Perception chips will make your Rupture more reliable, which will allow ridiculous damage combined with your squad and particularly with your Gunslinger.</p><p><em>More of our recommended XCOM 2 soldier builds:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds/">Ranger</a> / <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds">Specialist</a> /&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds/">Sharpshooter</a> / </em><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds"><em>Hybrid builds</em></a></p> Recommended XCOM 2 Specialist buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds/StrategyXCOM 2 <h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NWom_kjPSmOX.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wwUzU9u-HdX6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CombatHacker2"></p></h3><h3>Specialist build: Combat Hacker</h3><p><strong>Abilities:</strong>&nbsp;Aid Protocol, Combat Protocol, Haywire Protocol, Scanning Protocol, Threat Assessment, Guardian, Capacitor Discharge</p><p><strong>Gear:</strong> Predator/Warden Armor, Skulljack, Miscellaneous</p><p><strong>Accessories:</strong> Perception, Scope, Expanded Magazine (Bonus: Repeater)</p><p>The Combat Hacker is an immensely powerful support unit who can control the battlespace with surprising efficiency. Combat and Haywire Protocol are obvious counters to robotic enemies but the former is also very useful for picking off wounded enemies in cover. Scanning Protocol gives you free recon on demand, while Threat Assessment and Guardian let you provide impressive amounts of overwatch, either from an Aid Protocol enhanced teammate or from the Hacker themselves. Capacitor Discharge is a large AoE with shocking damage that can also stun and disorient enemies.</p><p>Much of the Specialist’s efficiency comes from Aid Protocol being a single action ability. You can send your Gremlin to assist a teammate and still take a second action afterwards - granting Threat Assessment to an ally and then going on Guardian overwatch yourself is a huge amount of cover fire threat for any enemy to test. We want Perception, a Scope and an Expanded Mag to make the most out of Guardian&mdash;more aim and ammo to keep those chain hits coming.</p><p>A Skulljack with the Skullmine upgrade grants extra power to each hack you attempt, and the extra item slot is yours to use&mdash;a Mimic Beacon’s a powerful pick if you need a suggestion.</p><p>Guerilla Op objectives can grant you +20 to your hack score on a good attempt, so use them to boost your Specialist’s tech power as often as you can. It’ll be worth it when you’re hijacking Sectopods at Colonel.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IcOkrULhTZaY.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NXXv-IxzhHSK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BattleMedic1"></p><h3>Specialist build: Battle Medic</h3><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Aid Protocol, Medical Protocol, Revival Protocol, Field Medic, Threat Assessment, Guardian, Capacitor Discharge</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>Predator/Warden Armor, Medkit, Miscellaneous</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Perception, Scope, Expanded Magazine (Bonus: Repeater)</p><p>The Battle Medic trades anti-robotic capability for increased support potential. Medical and Revival Protocol allow you to remotely heal allies and remove negative effects from them such as panic. Field Medic increases your sustainability, while Threat Assessment and Guardian remain my preferred picks for any type of Specialist compared to their alternatives. Restoration is the most powerful healing skill available but one I choose to avoid&mdash;while it could single-handedly save the day if every member of your squad is wounded or dying, I feel that situation is rare enough that normal healing can suffice. Instead, Capacitor Discharge means your Medic still has some teeth, and a powerful AoE skill to assist with multiple enemy cleanups.</p><p>Just like Aid Protocol, Medical and Revival Protocol are also single actions, allowing you to assist a friendly and then take a second action afterwards. We still want aim and ammo to boost Guardian’s power, but a key difference is we no longer need a Skulljack, as without Haywire Protocol your Specialist has less need for a high hack score. A Medkit is naturally core, leaving another item slot to do with as you see fit.</p><p>The Battle Medic becomes more important later in the game as enemies land more and greater damage per turn. Ignore this build at your own peril&mdash;sooner or later, you’ll likely regret not having a healer in your squad.</p><p><em>More of our recommended XCOM 2 soldier builds:&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds/"><em>Ranger</em></a> <em>/ <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds">Sharpshooter</a> / </em><em><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds">Grenadier</a> / </em><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds"><em>Hybrid builds</em></a></p> Recommended XCOM 2 Ranger buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds/StrategyXCOM 2 <h3></h3><h3> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1xA_zdzGQOqp.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q0nqdJsIHymJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shotgunner3"></p></h3><h3>Ranger build: Shotgunner</h3><p><strong>Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Slash, Phantom, Shadowstep, Run and Gun, Implacable, Untouchable, Rapid Fire</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>Spider/Wraith Suit, Talon Rounds</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Speed or&nbsp;Perception, Laser Sight, Autoloader (Bonus: Hair Trigger)</p><p>The Ranger is one of the most powerful units you can command. Phantom’s extended stealth allows constant recon of the enemy, allowing you to position and ambush with perfect intel. Shadowstep with Run and Gun lets you hit anyone, anywhere, anytime with powerful (and accurate) shotgun blasts, while Implacable and Untouchable get you out of the dangerous situation you just charged into.</p><p>Rapid Fire is the crown jewel&mdash;doubling your potential damage every single turn for a paltry -15 aim penalty. The shotgun’s inherent accuracy at close range combined with near-guaranteed crits from Talon Rounds and a Laser Sight ensure you won’t regret the trade off. The Spider/Wraith suit’s mobility and grapple only enhances this lethal combination of speed and power, and an Autoloader offsets your constant ammo dumping, keeping you ready to kill at all times.</p><p>A Speed PCS further boosts your mobility for flanking, or Perception will let you Rapid Fire reliably from longer distances. What you value more is your call.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U4CE_BKLStKq.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5NL-6o1Q88hq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Blademaster1"></p><h3>Ranger build: Blademaster</h3><p><strong>Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Slash, Blademaster, Shadowstep, Conceal, Bladestorm, Untouchable, Reaper</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>Spider or&nbsp;Wraith Suit&nbsp;- Hazmat Vest, Plated Vest, Overdrive Serum</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Speed or Perception or&nbsp;Conditioning, Laser Sight, Repeater (Bonus: Hair Trigger)</p><p>Melee-focused Rangers don’t get the same raw damage as a Shotgunner, instead providing versatility and multiple target capability. Grabbing Blademaster is a given, and Shadowstep lets you charge targets while ignoring enemy overwatch. Conceal provides Phantom’s power in an active ability instead of a passive, and with no need for Run and Gun it’s an easy pickup. Bladestorm lets the Ranger control his immediate area and Untouchable keeps you safe after your aggressive charges leave you exposed.</p><p>Reaper is huge&mdash;if your squad can lower the health of enough enemies to within the Blademaster’s kill range, you can chain kill all of them in one go. The key is mobility and grappling, as both will allow you to reach more enemies for your kill chain. A Laser Sight is still mandatory for your Shotgun, and a Repeater means when a new pod stumbles into your Blademaster’s overwatch, you’ll have a chance to instantly kill one of them, which is well worth the slot on a weapon we’ll otherwise rarely use.</p><p>Speed, Perception and Conditioning are all great PCS choices here&mdash;charge enemies from further away, ensure you never miss a sword strike, or have extra health to survive a brutal melee brawl.</p><p><em>More of our recommended XCOM 2 soldier builds:&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds/"><em>Sharpshooter</em></a><em>&nbsp;</em><em>/ <a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds">Specialist</a> / </em><em><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds">Grenadier</a> / </em><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds"><em>Hybrid builds</em></a></p> Recommended XCOM 2 Sharpshooter buildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds/10 recommended character builds for maximum alien-slaying in XCOM 2.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:18:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds/StrategyXCOM 2 <h3><br><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VtvlpOwyThCQ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uITq7exOhmJw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gunslinger3"></p></h3><h3>Sharpshooter build: Gunslinger</h3><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Squadsight, Return Fire, Lightning Hands, Quickdraw, Faceoff, Steady Hands, Fan Fire</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>Spider/Wraith Suit, +1 Damage Ammo (your choice)</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Perception, Scope, Repeater (Bonus: Hair Trigger)</p><p>Gunslingers are the damage carries of XCOM 2, and that title is well deserved. Lightning Hands, Quickdraw and Fan Fire allow this soldier to put out more damage in a single turn than anything else in the game, bar a Rapid Fire crit combo or a very angry Sectopod. Return Fire provides yet more damage by hitting back at enemies during their turn. I prefer Steady Hands over Aim&mdash;I rarely hunker my Gunslingers and instead prefer to keep shooting, so the passive nature of Steady Hands gives me more benefit.</p><p>The core of a Gunslinger’s power is ammo items&mdash;Dragon and Venom rounds each give them +1 damage on every pistol hit while also applying either burning or poison effects, dealing damage over time and debilitating your enemies. Particularly when combined with Faceoff to shoot every enemy in sight, this +1 damage quickly adds up to a ridiculous benefit over the course of many painful hits. Conversely, armor is where Gunslingers struggle&mdash;their many small hits tend to be wasted on well protected enemies.</p><p>High aim is critical for a Gunslinger, so a Perception PCS is essential. For weapon attachments, stick a Scope and Repeater on your rarely used rifle - when you do use it, it’s probably due to facing a tough and well armored enemy. Your pistol might not kill a Sectopod, but executing it with a Repeater rifle shot might just help. Otherwise, shred the armor and go to town&mdash;once you’ve removed an enemy’s armor, a Gunslinger’s pistol is more than enough to kill anything that moves.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fjzP6kYyTCeC.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iFJSU4FVLErX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sniper2"></p><h3>Sharpshooter build: Sniper</h3><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Abilities:&nbsp;</strong>Squadsight, Long Watch, Deadeye, Death from Above, Kill Zone, Aim, Serial</p><p><strong>Gear: </strong>Spider/Wraith Suit, Tracer Rounds</p><p><strong>Accessories: </strong>Perception, Scope, Expanded Magazine (Bonus: Hair Trigger)</p><p>The Sniper is less flexible than a Gunslinger and suffers from being very static, a handicap in most of XCOM 2’s timed missions. However, their ability to attack any target in their view combined with some powerful skills still makes them highly effective. Long Watch and Deadeye provide Overwatch and improved damage from squadsight range. Kill Zone is a critical skill that lets you lock down an entire cone of the map with covering fire, which is why we take an Expanded Mag - we want the ammo reserves for shooting up to 6 enemies in a single move. Death from Above combos well with Aim, letting you hunker after every high ground killshot to gain accuracy for your next attack.</p><p>Serial allows the Sniper to kill for free, refunding actions for every enemy you drop while the ability is active. While all of these abilities work at Squadsight range, the aim penalty incurred for this requires some serious offsetting&mdash;we’ll want the best Scope we can find as well as a Perception PCS to boot. If you’ve earned the extra attachment slot through the continent bonus, you can try a Hair Trigger to give yourself the occasional free shot, or try an Autoloader to as much as quadruple the amount of enemies you can kill in a single Serial chain.</p><p>Tracer Rounds stack your aim even further to further counter the Squadsight penalty, but feel free to take whatever you like instead. A Spider/Wraith suit is important though, as it gives you free and easy access to high ground which is critical for your Sniper’s effectiveness.</p><p><em>More of our recommended XCOM 2 soldier builds:&nbsp;</em><i style="background-color: initial;"><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-ranger-builds">Ranger</a> /&nbsp;<a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-sharpshooter-builds"></a><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds">Specialist</a> /&nbsp;</i><i style="background-color: initial;"><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-specialist-builds"></a><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds">Grenadier</a> /&nbsp;</i><i style="background-color: initial;"><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-grenadier-builds"></a></i><a href="http://pcgamer.com/xcom-2-hybrid-builds"><em>Hybrid builds</em></a></p> Vive and Oculus VR devs confirm a GTX 970 will run most gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/vive-and-oculus-vr-devs-confirm-a-gtx-970-will-run-most-games/After talking to developers about their hardware, it looks like the GTX 970 will be enough for most Oculus and Vive games, too.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:43:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/vive-and-oculus-vr-devs-confirm-a-gtx-970-will-run-most-games/HardwareOculusOculus RiftSteamVRvirtual realityVive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RQiXVSzZSQqN.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EL-lrcJQcKvN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rift Dreams"></p><p>In May 2015, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-pc-requirements-revealed/">Oculus announced the recommended system specs</a> for "a great experience"&mdash;in other words, what your PC will need to handle the majority of VR games. When you're gaming on a monitor, losing a few frames here and there won't totally wreck your experience. That's not the case in VR, where dropped frames will lead to some nasty motion sickness. And outputting to a VR headset is even more demanding than outputting to a monitor.</p><p>Both the Vive and the Oculus Rift run 2160x1200 displays refreshing at 90 Hz, for a total of 233 million pixels rendered per second. That's nearly double the output for a 1080p monitor at 60 Hz. When Oculus named the Nvidia GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290 as the recommended graphics card for running VR games, I was surprised. Not because that's a high-end graphics card&mdash;because I wasn't sure a GTX 970 was powerful enough.</p><p>I wouldn't be surprised if VR games released six months or a year after the launch of the Oculus Rift require even beefier hardware, but for now, the GTX 970 requirement seems to check out. And, thankfully, that system spec appears to apply to the HTC Vive as well.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/we-talked-to-htc-and-valve-about-whats-new-whats-ahead-for-vive/">When I interviewed</a> HTC vice president of VR Daniel O'Brien about the Vive at CES, he said "Right now we’re just saying for an optimized spec to have a great optimized experience, if you use a 970, if you use a 290 with AMD, you’re going to have a great experience." Still, I was skeptical, so when I attended <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/what-to-expect-from-12-games-coming-to-the-htc-vive-this-year/">Valve's recent developer showcase in Seattle</a>, I asked several developers what kind of hardware it takes to run their games. All of them said they'll run on a GTX 970.</p><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>Even Elite: Dangerous developers Frontier Developments said the game will run on a GTX 970, although they recommend a GTX 980 for turning up all the graphics settings that a 970 won't be able to handle in VR. Still, running on a 970 won't be like the mediocre experience of playing at minimum settings on integrated graphics. It just won't quite have that 'ultra' sheen.</p><p>Elite is actually an interesting example for VR performance&mdash;unlike most of the games demoed at VR events over the past two years, it's playable without a headset strapped to your face. It's a more traditional PC game, and has the usual graphics options to go along with that. Compare Elite to many of the games shown for the Oculus Rift, which will likely be launching alongside or soon after the hardware. Edge of Nowhere and Chronos are adventure games with fixed camera angles, allowing the developers to tightly control how much of the environment is on screen at any given moment. Lucky's Tale is a platformer with a similarly guided camera.</p><p>Many of the games I've played on the Vive, like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/space-pirate-trainer-nails-the-purity-of-an-arcade-fps-in-vr/">Space Pirate Trainer</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/virtual-punching-real-music-in-the-new-game-from-audiosurfs-creator/">Audioshield</a>, use simple graphics with a focus on bold colors over detailed textures. Partially I think that's playing to what works best in VR&mdash;what's pleasant and parsable at the resolution of today's headsets&mdash;and partially it seems like a smart move for performance.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OrPv_qrIS-yK.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ENehbIfzctpx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fantastic Contraption exemplifies the simple and colorful graphics of many VR games." class=""> <figcaption>Fantastic Contraption exemplifies the simple and colorful graphics of many VR games.</figcaption></figure><p>There will definitely be more graphically advanced VR games once the hardware is in the wild (and Elite: Dangerous and Eve Valkyrie are already impressive for launch), but I suspect many of the first wave of games won't even have graphics options.</p><p>They'll be optimized to run on a 970, without lower settings for weaker hardware or advanced effects for higher-end rigs. It makes sense for VR development to, in a way, be more like console development, with a rigid hardware standard for developers to meet. Fall one frame below the expected threshold and everything goes to hell. Easy solution: avoid offering graphical settings that gamers could accidentally tank their performance with (even if more savvy users might be missing out on the usual high-end graphical perks). Oculus's recommended spec also gives devs an across-the-board performance level to aim for, without the expectation of supporting lower-end hardware.</p><p>The more open platform of SteamVR may be a different story; we'll see soon enough. With <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-ready-pc-and-rift-bundles-available-for-pre-order-next-week/">the first Oculus Ready PCs</a> available soon, and nearly all of them outfitted with GTX 970s, it's safe to say we know what it's going to take to run the majority of 2016's VR games.</p> The Walking Dead: Michonne debuts this monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-walking-dead-michonne-debuts-this-month/TWD: Michonne will explore her absence from a 14-issue run of the comic series.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:31:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-walking-dead-michonne-debuts-this-month/AdventureNewsTelltale GamesThe Walking Dead: Michonne <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NyHV4DEsQymA.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RtCpQt6gPK2P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead: Michonne"></p><p>More than three months after <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-walking-dead-michonne-is-about-to-sneak-up-on-you/">hinting</a> that an announcement was imminent, Telltale Games has finally got around to revealing that the first episode of the three-part mini-series adventure <a href="https://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead/michonne/">The Walking Dead: Michonne</a> will be out on February 23. </p><p>TWD: Michonne will dig into the events that led to the sword-toting survivor's absence between issues 126 and 139 of the comic book&mdash;this is based on the books, by the way, and not the television series&mdash;and what ultimately brought her back. In the first episode, “In Too Deep,” Michonne joins the crew of the sailing ship The Companion, cruising the coast for survivors and supplies. Naturally, things go wrong quickly: “When a desperate signal for help draws them to a scene of a horrific massacre, Michonne and the crew are led further to the floating survivors' colony of Monroe, which may just be harboring the person responsible for the carnage.”</p><p>The second episode in the series, “Give No Shelter,” will be released in March, followed by the third and final episode, “What We Deserve,” in April. All three will be available for $15 from the Telltale Store, Steam, and other fine digital distributors. Ahead of its release, on February 23, Telltale will offer an “extended preview” of the game at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/TelltaleGames">youtube.com/telltalegames</a>, which will reveal the first five minutes of the first episode.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5R7o_4_PRcOp.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tgyloh8VAL2S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead: Michonne"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q3RjYXZRQSOl.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8ZIjK47W2WDb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead: Michonne"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nz9dN6gnQbqB.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BGDNpqpICfth.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead: Michonne"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EJro3IxATUKK.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2JtRVdRhR2wK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead: Michonne"></p> Win tickets to the PC Gamer Weekender in London!http://www.pcgamer.com/win-tickets-to-the-pc-gamer-weekender-in-london/Be the first to play Dark Souls III!Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/win-tickets-to-the-pc-gamer-weekender-in-london/Dark Souls 3PC Gamer WeekenderRPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ksDa4zvaQXGb.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UAILKA9L1JOp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls III"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Play it first!</h5> <p> Play Dark Souls III at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> The PC Gamer Weekender is coming to London on the 5th-6th of March. We’re offering your first chance to play Dark Souls III and Total War: Warhammer along with loads of other games, hardware seminars, developer sessions, tournament gaming and more. The Weekender is a chance to meet people who share your interests, play a bunch of new stuff, and go for a pint afterwards. We can’t wait. Find out more, and get your tickets, <a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/">right here</a>.</p><p> To make the trip even easier, we’ve got four pairs of tickets to give away right now. All you need to do to enter is answer the question below and fill in your details. Winners will be contacted by email. GL HF!</p><iframe src="http://email.pcgamer.com/k/Future-Publishing/pcgw_comp" width="600" height="400"> </iframe><p> <a href="http://www.futureplc.com/terms-conditions/">Click here for competition Terms &amp; Conditions.</a></p> Be My Valentine is GTA's latest off-kilter updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/be-my-valentine-is-gtas-latest-off-kilter-update/Love is in the air.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:28:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/be-my-valentine-is-gtas-latest-off-kilter-update/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aRIE_x68Rjep.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XMxgm03-EyXI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTAV Valentine"></p><p>Roses are red, this new car is red, your mangled corpse is red. It can only be the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5/" target="_blank">Grand Theft Auto Online</a> Be My Valentine event, live now.</p><p>Be My Valentine brings a few frivolous goodies free for all. The Albany Roosevelt Valor&nbsp;is a classic car in which to sweep your lady friend off to watch the sunset&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5s-ufo-hunters-a-community-in-turmoil/" target="_blank">from Mount Chiliad</a>. You can buy one from Legendary Motorsport.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mpgNH5AEQwaU.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MobriKZ5JTK4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA V Valentine clothes"></p><p>There's also some sharp period clothing on offer (but really when isn't beige check in fashion?), to be joined on Friday by a couples event&nbsp;called 'Till Death Do Us Part Adversary Mode'. That's more like it.</p><p>All this is accompanied by everything from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/52188/GTA-Online-Valentine-s-Day-Massacre-Special-Is-Now-Available" target="_blank">the previous Valentine's update</a> too (the more fittingly named Valentine's Day Massacre Special) and the Gusenberg Sweeper is back in stock at Ammu-Nation.&nbsp;Enjoy it while it lasts.</p> Frozen Synapse 2 announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-2-announced/The only time you want to get brain freeze.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:44:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-2-announced/Frozen Synapse 2NewsStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wa2fZIqWSQWa.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b9oIGDFWArQ_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Frozen Synapse 2">Frozen Synapse is the exquisite game of pre-planning, replanning and committing to a tactical assault on&nbsp;an enemy doing the same thing asynchronously, not&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-endzone-first-look-tackling-tactically-in-mode-7s-competitive-robot-sports-sim/" target="_blank">the American-football-with-robots one</a> by the same devs that I keep confusing it with. Tom Francis&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-synapse-review/" target="_blank">gave Frozen Synapse 89</a> in our review, so let's all take a moment to nod appreciatively at the announcement of Frozen Synapse 2.</p><p>Where the first Frozen Synapse took place in procedurally generated office blocks, this time the devs are seeking more of a challenge. Details are exceedingly thin on the ground but it appears that Frozen Synapse 2 will take place in an open world. How asynchronous plotting, rewinding and tweaking of multiple teams of gunmen in an open world is at all possible is beyond me, but we're told to expect more details in the coming weeks. It's aiming for release this year.</p><p>If you like Frozen Synapse enough to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.frozensynapse2.com/" target="_blank">sign up to its mailing list</a>, you get a free track by FS2 composer,&nbsp;nervous_testpilot, which sounds like a good deal.</p> Mad Catz sheds one third of staffhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mad-catz-sheds-one-third-of-staff/Sad Catz.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:51:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mad-catz-sheds-one-third-of-staff/HardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BKpcMUP2Qh6Z.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wkjZ43TWsmyK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mad Catz keyboard"></p><p>Producer of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mad-catzs-rat-pro-x-is-insanely-customizable-and-200/" target="_blank">off-the-wall peripherals</a> Mad Catz will be&nbsp;laying off a third of its staff in the course of the next twelve months&nbsp;after a disappointing financial year. Top execs, including president and CEO Darren Richardson, have already resigned.</p><p>The redundancies are being made in a bid to save $5 million a year from April 1 despite Mad Catz reporting record sales in the three months leading up to January (up 114%, in fact). Those come courtesy of its deal with Harmonix to supply the official controllers for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/harmonix-explains-why-rock-band-4-isnt-coming-to-pc/" target="_blank">Rock Band 4 on consoles</a>, which nevertheless sold short of expectations.</p><p>It's hard to know how the layoffs will affect its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mad-catz-r-a-t-te-mouse-review/" target="_blank">PC peripherals</a> business long-term, but the restructuring announcement accompanied the release of&nbsp;<a href="http://store.madcatz.com/Mad-Catz-RAT1-Mouse.html#details-div" target="_blank">the bizarre RAT 1 mouse</a>, so there doesn't seem to be any shortage of ideas.</p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/265502/Mad_Catz_lays_off_37_of_staff_in_restructuring_plan.php" target="_blank">Gamasutra</a>.</p> Hear about Divinity: Original Sin 2 on-stage at the PC Gamer Weekenderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/see-divinity-original-sin-2-on-stage-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/What better place to display one of the deepest RPGs of all time?Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/see-divinity-original-sin-2-on-stage-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/Divinity: Original Sin 2PC Gamer WeekenderRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CetOaiW9SEuY.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X2fKoQuLoNK4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 2 Weekender"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Special Guest</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hl9owLEjQoSz.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BhxJ7YOHVAM-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Swen Vincke 2"></p><p>Swen Vincke has harboured dreams of a couch co-op cRPG since the early '90s. With Original Sin, he made them a reality.</p></div><p>Larian's escape from the publishing cycle in favour of crowdfunding and Early Access&nbsp;nearly broke the studio, but the team refused to let Divinity: Original Sin go until every last penny was spent on polishing it up and acting on player feedback. The result was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-review/" target="_blank">the deepest, systems-driven cRPG</a> to rise from the genre's revival, in which you can just as well smash in a door as faff about picking the lock. And still they polish! Flush with success, Larian has&nbsp;launched into development of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-2/" target="_blank">Original Sin 2</a>, and you can hear all&nbsp;about how it's pushing the genre further than ever on-stage at&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/" target="_blank">the PC Gamer Weekender</a>.</p><p>CEO Swen Vincke himself is popping over from Belgium to reveal more&nbsp;about Original Sin 2's progress and give us new insight into its development. He'll be joining a line-up of giants, including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/julian-gollop-confirmed-for-the-pc-gamer-weekender/" target="_blank">X-COM creator Julian Gollop</a>, a wealth of pre-release games on the show floor, such as Dark Souls 3, Umbrella Corps and Worlds Adrift, and the best in PC gaming hardware.</p><p>The Weekender will be taking over the Old Truman Brewery in London from March 5-6, and the next 500 tickets are only £9.99.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new" target="_blank">Book here</a>!&nbsp;I'll be there, but don't let that put you off.</p> Trying to break the largest level in Hitman historyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/trying-to-break-the-largest-level-in-hitman-history/Ben tests the limits of Hitman's sandbox.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/trying-to-break-the-largest-level-in-hitman-history/HitmanPreviewsStealth <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ovz8JPyBSMal.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-PICvrS7HmGF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman2"></p><p> You’ve probably seen footage of glitzy catwalk models, upper crust crowds rubbing shoulders that miraculously keep from clipping, and Agent 47 navigating the scene with cool professionalism. That uninterrupted walkthrough of Hitman’s The Showstopper stage has been available on IO’s official YouTube channel for some time and presents the game how it’s meant to be played. I like to take a different approach.</p><p> In efforts to eliminate two ringleaders of shadowy spy network IAGO, who are using this fashion show as a front for an auction in which they’re selling identities of covert operatives, there’s plenty of space for innovation. It’s a return to old Hitman values: huge multi-directional levels that cast you as hunter rather than the last game’s hunted. But what if you’re an Elmer Fudd like me?</p><p> For my first faux pas I stalk a waiter to his delivery van and garrote him with patented choking wire while he smokes, then infiltrate a subterranean kitchen in my newly acquired duds and tamper with a stove by haplessly jabbing a screwdriver around (I can also puncture oil canisters, make taps run, and electrify spotlights with this handy tool). Now leaking gas (the stove, that is), I do something quite stupid and turn it on. Boom! Agent 47 launches through the air in a fireball and I learn that yes, you can kill yourself. Reload.</p><blockquote> "It's a believable place. You have a sense of freedom and agency over what you're doing." </blockquote><p> “Our level design process is very elaborate because we don't create levels, we create locations,” says Hannes Seifert, Studio Head of Io-Interactive. “And of course there's a way to play through and just do the hits once, right, and then just see like five percent of it. And then you have all this other stuff you can do, and I think that's what makes the game interesting. It's a believable place. You have a sense of freedom and agency over what you're doing.” Freedom to blow yourself up, for instance. </p><p> You’ve also got the freedom to be a dick. In my second go I enter a grand palatial lobby and walk right up to a lady, staring at her for ages. You’d think she’d register a flicker of panic, but nothing. I run around in circles, then go stand in the moat of water around the stage. No one notices, and I feel a bit like a ghost. I do manage to elicit a reaction from one observant man who, after a few barges, remarks “Wait a minute&hellip;” For a moment it’s me walking slowly in circles and him farcially following and saying things like “Hold on, buddy,” before I lead him to the toilet and knock him out. While these responses are unconvincing, Hitman’s AI improves considerably in other areas. </p><p> Says Seifert, “We’ve added lot of new features to the AI. Like they can escort you out now, or discover stuff on the ground and fetch guards, guards will take the stuff and carry it into a vault, so you can actually distract guard by having a civilian fetch him, or make guards smuggle something into the building for you when you go through a frisk zone.” It makes for a more reactive game. I return to a stylist I murdered earlier and find a macabre sight: a guard slowly dragging him along the floor in a black body bag. Tailing, I see him deposit the corpse in a quiet corner, and upon returning later after more killings those body bags have piled up. Death has a process here. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/geAHu2yfTp6Z.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/71wIvQa700KA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman"></p><p>Stealth is more nuanced, too. For example, only people who see you commit a crime will know about it. At one point two security guards catch me using a sledgehammer to play human whack-a-mole and before they can radio for help I punch them both to oblivion. Back to blissful anonymity I go, thankful that Absolution’s hivemind NPCs, who all knew the instant you killed someone, are no more.</p><p> They’ve got different resting states of suspicion, too. A waiter on the other side of the stage has no idea the disguise I’m wearing isn’t mine, but if I try and pass myself off as his non-bald colleague, he’s going to notice. People also have a third state between living and dead: unconscious. Seifert says this leads to moments where they can wake up naked and go searching for their clothes in a panic, although regrettably I haven’t actually witnessed this. </p><p> Other ways of interacting with this level includes putting a coin inside a mechanical diorama to turn it on and confuse people, dropping heavy metal scaffolding on unwitting heads, hacking into a laptop and sabotaging the auction and, I’m told by a fellow games writer I hope isn’t pulling my leg, disguising myself as a model and taking to the catwalk. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dmgohd_uQzuQ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oR6_4-mEMQlz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman3"></p><p> Inside Hitman’s largest, most complex, most impressive location ever, inconsistent AI is mostly ignorable. The controversial pricing structure isn’t. After several revisions and the need for an infographic to explain it all, IO have settled on the model: in March the intro pack launches with just one level in The Showstopper, then throughout 2016 comes Italy, Marrakech, Thailand, USA, and Japan. You can buy them in installments or as a complete&nbsp;package at the end of the year, a bit like Telltale’s Walking Dead games. </p><p> Seifert calls Hitman the world’s first ‘AAA episodic game’. “When you do something groundbreaking people always question it. I think that's OK that they should, right, but people that ask why don't we wait and ship everything at once? That's what we do. You can buy the game when the season is concluded...why make all the other people who want to be part of it wait to try? They can just join earlier.” </p><p> With thorough playthroughs of The Showstopper clocking in “at least 4 hours”, according to Seifert’s metrics, and the entirety of Absolution taking “between 11 and 16 hours,” it’s clear that when you take into account later locations and all the havoc you can cause within them, this is a much, much bigger game. “I think at the end of the season when people look back to what they played and what they have I cannot imagine anybody would be disappointed by the amount of gameplay we have in it.” </p> Hitman video impressionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-video-impressions/Thoughts on the latest build of the episodic assassination sandbox.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-video-impressions/HitmanStealthVideos <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tUWt6SN8KXg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> At a recent Square Enix preview event, I was able to get my hands on the first episode of the new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman/" target="_blank">Hitman</a> game from IO Interactive arriving March 11th. After the more limited, controversial Hitman: Absolution, IO took a step back from story and a step towards sandbox. The new Paris level is massive, bigger than any in Hitman's history, and brimming with creative ways to infiltrate and attack assigned targets. It's hard to say right now whether or not a bigger sandbox is a better sandbox&mdash;the more opportunities available, the more trial and error to find them all. And a few components, like controls and graphical fidelity, feel a bit dated and unrefined. But it still feels like a return to Blood Money-era Hitman, where player freedom and creativity matter more than anything.&nbsp;</p><p> For more in-depth coverage of the game,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/trying-to-break-the-largest-level-in-hitman-history/" target="_blank">check out our written&nbsp;preview</a>.&nbsp;</p> Free demo for American Truck Simulatorhttp://www.pcgamer.com/free-demo-for-american-truck-simulator/*Leans on the mighty horn of news*Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:32:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/free-demo-for-american-truck-simulator/American Truck SimulatorNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nV5Qc-kAS9-t.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/30RgGTZeWo6R.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="American Truck Simulator golden gate bridge"></p><p>Now I'm pretty sure the American Dream doesn't mention free stuff at any point, so this must be SCS exporting&nbsp;its&nbsp;strange European ideals:<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/american-truck-simulator/" target="_blank">&nbsp;American Truck Simulator</a> now&nbsp;has&nbsp;<a href="https://steamcommunity.com/games/americantrucksimulator/announcements/detail/990033542754274678" target="_blank">a free demo</a> to try.</p><p>The demo version chops off&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/american-truck-simulator-will-have-nevada-at-launch/" target="_blank">Nevada</a>, leaving you with 'just' the state of California, and limits&nbsp;the number of jobs you're able to take, but your savegame in the demo version will carry right on over to the full game if you decide to pick it up.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/american-truck-simulator-review/" target="_blank">Andy is holding out</a> for more states that show off the variety in the continental US before investing serious&nbsp;time, but American Truck Simulator is still a big, bold entry in the truck simulating business.</p> Malware targets Hearthstone cheatershttp://www.pcgamer.com/malware-targets-hearthstone-cheaters/Ah, the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:17:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/malware-targets-hearthstone-cheaters/Card GameHearthstoneNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/586wquFWT4qt.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2O2FdkuN_Zms.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Reynad removed cards for interview Hearthstone"></p><p>Ah, the anguished howls of rule-breakers&mdash;my Mozart, my birdsong. Security firm&nbsp;<a href="http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/hearthstone-add-ons-cheating-tools-come-data-stealing-malware" target="_blank">Symantec reports</a> to&nbsp;have identified malware&nbsp;disguising itself&nbsp;in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/" target="_blank">Hearthstone</a> hacks and deck trackers, causing would-be cheaters and occupiers of moral grey areas to surrender their Bitcoins and compromise their webcams.</p><p>The first, Trojan.Coinbitclip purports to be a gold and dust&nbsp;hack. It does no such thing, instead scouring the user's clipboard for Bitcoin addresses and&nbsp;swapping out anything it finds for a similar but quite useless string of gibberish. Avoiding the clipboard should be&nbsp;standard practice for Bitcoin miners, Hearthstone enthusiasts or otherwise.</p><p>Backdoor.Breut came disguised as Hearthstone Deck Tracker.exe&mdash;the hilariously fake-sounding&nbsp;name of a real Hearthstone deck tracker.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/find-the-best-hearthstone-deck-tracker-for-you/" target="_blank">Deck Trackers are a grey area</a> among Hearthstone players. They card count, basically, letting you know what's left in your deck,&nbsp;the odds of drawing a specific card, what your opponent might be holding and the winrates of various set-ups. Many call this an unfair advantage, but as it's technically possible with pen and paper (and the brain of a prodigy) and doesn't alter the game files in any way, Blizzard allows it. This one, however, logs keystrokes, steals passwords and accesses the&nbsp;webcam to see the look of horror on the user's&nbsp;face.</p><p>Maybe&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-antivirus-software-for-pc/" target="_blank">run a scan</a> just in case.</p> Now you can safely enjoy the strange beauty of 1990s malware http://www.pcgamer.com/now-you-can-safely-enjoy-the-strange-beauty-of-1990s-malware/New archive is a nostalgic trip for virus enthusiasts.Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:12:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/now-you-can-safely-enjoy-the-strange-beauty-of-1990s-malware/News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8UnL-S2ISdSd.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HvQj-1CDfCRE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.29.02 am"></p><p>Malware tends to be subtle nowadays, but&nbsp;in the '90s it liked to announce its presence loudly and proudly. Most&nbsp;PC users were less savvy back then, so it was okay to hijack their screens and spook them (or attempt to entertain them) while formatting the C: drive. There was no need to be underhanded because there was less at stake – credit card transactions weren't as ubiquitous as they are now, and identity theft less lucrative.&nbsp;</p><p>So it's weird to visit this new archive of classic malware programs – known as&nbsp;<a href="https://archive.org/details/malwaremuseum&amp;tab=collection">the Malware Museum</a> – and note how creepy and threatening they sometimes were (though they were often very funny, too!). Take&nbsp;<a href="https://archive.org/details/malware_Q-CASINO.COM">Q Casino</a> for example, which hijacks the DOS prompt with a good ol' fashioned round of&nbsp;Russian Roulette: if you win, your hard drive stays intact and you get the hacker's phone number. If you lose, say bye to all your files.</p><p>Some – or most – weren't as cunning. Some of my favourites are those that just make&nbsp;<a href="https://archive.org/details/malware_CRASH.COM">the screen look pretty</a>, or which play&nbsp;<a href="https://archive.org/details/malware_TECHNO.COM">austere, beatless techno music</a>. While no doubt annoying and frightening in the '90s, now these tiny programmes – emulated via DOSBox – are charming in the way they capture the prankster experimentation of the time.&nbsp;</p><p>Browsing the Malware Museum won't infect your modern PC. All "destructive routines" have been removed by curators Mikko Hypponen and Jason Scott, and the library is for posterity. As someone on the receiving end of quite a bit of this stuff in the mid '90s, I get cold flushes when I watch some of these. Still, it's hard to ward off nostalgia for a time when malicious software would just render&nbsp;<a href="https://archive.org/details/malware_PYRAMID.COM">a pleasant Egyptian pyramid</a> on the screen.</p><p>Cheers,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/02/08/malware-museum-viruses/">Rock Paper Shotgun</a>.</p> Every legendary skin in the Overwatch betahttp://www.pcgamer.com/every-legendary-skin-in-the-overwatch-beta/And 2016'smost *fabulous* FPS is...Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:53:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/every-legendary-skin-in-the-overwatch-beta/BlizzardFPSOverwatchPro Firewatch lets you turn in-game photos into real world printshttp://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-lets-you-turn-in-game-photos-into-real-world-prints/You press the button. They do the rest.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:49:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-lets-you-turn-in-game-photos-into-real-world-prints/AdventureCampo SantoFirewatchNews <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KFqW61qlSfqv.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t-hgIzjvOgKI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch Photos Printed"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch/">Firewatch</a> is a very good game, and a gorgeous one, too. And as <a href="http://www.technobuffalo.com/2016/02/08/firewatch-pc-photos-developed/">TechnoBuffalo</a> recently discovered, it contains a very cool (and, until now, hidden) feature that enables you to order hard copies of the photos you take with your in-game disposable camera from a fake photo development company called Fotodome. </p><p>I've seen no mention of the photo finishing feature on the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/383870/">Steam page</a>, but TechnoBuffalo posted an image of the snapshots it received&mdash;complete with Fotodome envelope&mdash;and Cabel Sasser, the co-founder of publisher <a href="https://panic.com/">Panic Inc</a>., confirmed the option with <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-02-09-firewatch-on-steam-lets-you-purchase-physical-copies-of-in-game-photos">Eurogamer</a>. It costs $15 to have your pictures printed, but that price holds for anywhere in the world, so in the UK, for instance, it'll run about £10&mdash;but they'll also take a lot longer to arrive.</p><p>For now, the option is only included in the PC version of the game, but Sasser said the publisher is “actively investigating” the possibility of bringing it to the PS4 edition.&nbsp;</p><p>I haven't played Firewatch yet, but I'm very much looking forward to it. And I'll definitely be taking advantage of this offer, too. Have a look at some of the screens from <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-review/">our review</a>, and you'll see why.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SmoEh4BiSAWy.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zXvclLsu1H6P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PnSclzMSRgKu.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P6IArkA5_qYW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7-bGf4CmQhu6.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RTcAAVAKE00N.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch 150305 03"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dkPrtbczS7iU.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dcDYLb-uw3gm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch 5"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PqFRFJ-3SmKE.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JIYJTpT6_K3K.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firewatch"></p> Overwatch's unlockable 'Highlight Intros' are ridiculously good lookinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/overwatchs-unlockable-highlight-intros-are-ridiculously-good-looking/Show off in style afteryou make the bestplay of the game.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:32:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatchs-unlockable-highlight-intros-are-ridiculously-good-looking/FPSNewsOverwatchVideo <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XSKleQdF2Bk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>In case you've been sleeping in a cartoon bomb shelter, as of today the Overwatch beta&nbsp;is very much&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-beta-resumes-with-some-big-changes/">back, baby</a>. Game director Jeff Kaplan has already&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/jeff-kaplan-talks-overwatch-progression-unlocks-and-beta-invites/">told us</a> about the team-based shooter's&nbsp;new player progression system and cosmetic loot unlocks. But you might also like to see some of the new 'Highlight Intros' in action. Senior animator David Gordon explained how&nbsp;these glitzy routines work...</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Alphalance">@Alphalance</a> these custom character intros will play when you get "play of the game" once you unlock them. make sense?</p><p>&mdash; David Gibson (@PoodleTime) <a href="https://twitter.com/PoodleTime/status/697190762044198912">February 9, 2016</a></p></blockquote><p>Sounds like you'll have to grind a little to get your hands on them,&nbsp;but it's good to see Overwatch sticking to its guns in terms of items offering additional&nbsp;customisation rather than power boosts. We'll have much more on the beta once we've got accustomed to&nbsp;the changes. Meanwhile, check out our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/every-legendary-skin-in-the-overwatch-beta/">gallery of all the legendary skins you can unlock</a> for the characters.&nbsp;</p> Cookie Clicker v.2 ushers in huge changes, but there are still cookieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/cookie-clicker-v2-ushers-in-huge-changes-but-there-are-still-cookies/New buildings and even a couple of dragons.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:48:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cookie-clicker-v2-ushers-in-huge-changes-but-there-are-still-cookies/AdventureCookie ClickerNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VzOlb46LSeCn.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B5sJANfNL-gp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.27.43 am"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cookie-clicker/">Cookie Clicker</a> is a simple game. As the name implies it's about clicking cookies, but there are also ways to get the cookies to generate without having to click. My friend Troy created a macro to get the cookies to self-click, but the game has some legit ways to acquire cookies quicker, too: grandmas bake them en&nbsp;masse, and time machines teleport cookies from the past and future.&nbsp;</p><p>It's all about getting the most cookies, and for some reason it's very addictive. If you're still playing Cookie Clicker you may be happy to know that version two is now live. It's been in beta since 2014, but now it's active on&nbsp;<a href="http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/">the official Cookie Clicker page</a> with "new buildings, heavenly upgrades, sounds, angels, switches, dragons" and apparently a lot of other stuff, too.</p><p>What are the new buildings and "other stuff"? No idea, and I'm not going to play the game to find out, because Cookie Clicker ruined three months of my life in 2014. Which is the&nbsp;highest praise I can offer it.&nbsp;</p> The Audio-Technica ATH-AG1x brings audiophile quality to a gaming headsethttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-audio-technica-ath-ag1x-brings-audiophile-quality-to-a-gaming-headset/Audio-Technica brings high-end audio performance to a gaming headset, but it doesn't come cheap.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:29:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-audio-technica-ath-ag1x-brings-audiophile-quality-to-a-gaming-headset/gaming headsetHardware <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cWdoQIcHTTKY.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A_yT6mznsKj_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Audio Technica Ath Ag1x"></p><p>Audio-Technica is a well-established brand in the audiophile headphone market, making studio monitor-class cans with pure titanium backing, down to more affordable high-res audio headphones.&nbsp;Though we weren’t too inspired by its first stab at a gaming headset with the&nbsp;Audio-Technica ATH-AG1, with its weird headrest design and overall so-so sound reproduction, the newly minted ATH-AG1x headset has fixed at least one of those issues.</p><p>Audio-Technica’s AG1x is the sort of headset which screams ‘what do you mean you don’t have a dedicated soundcard?!’ when you plug it into your motherboard. This is a premium headset which deserves serious audio hardware.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">More on headsets</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mw3lRqmcRpu8.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2Z6o5wtrzZMo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Best Gaming Headset - Kingston Hyperxcloud"></p><p>The ATH-AG1x will&nbsp;soon be our new favorite high-end headset in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-headsets/">our guide to the best gaming headsets</a>.</p></div><p>If you’re set on spending $300 (£240) on a gaming headset, you owe it to yourself to ensure your PC is capable of making the most of the sonic side of games. If your motherboard doesn’t have a shielded area for its audio components (a basic indicator the manufacturer has considered the quality of audio) then it’s worth investing in either a good sound card (remember them?) or an external headphone amp, such as the Creative Sound Blaster E5.</p><p>And it’s worth putting that money into the source device: the audio the AG1x is able to deliver regularly had the hairs standing up on my arms. The detail, separation and clarity to its 53mm drivers is quite stunning and perfectly suited for the gamer with a penchant for high-resolution FLAC files too. And the broad 15-30,000Hz frequency range ably backs those drivers up.</p><p>When the sprawling, depressing wasteland of Fallout 4 or the desperate struggle for survival in XCOM 2 becomes too much, maybe it’s time to kick back with some tunes. There is a tendency for the AG1x to be a touch heavy on the low-end for optimal music listening, which does show where they have been tuned for the gaming audience rather than the muso crowd.</p><blockquote>The ambient sound of The Witcher 3 brought Novigrad to life more than any other gaming-specific headset I’ve used.</blockquote><p>In-game, the AG1x headset is stunning. The wide soundscape, despite the closed-back design, makes gaming immersion a slightly terrifying prospect. The bullets flying overhead and explosions rocking the foundations in BF4 made me duck in my chair, and the ambient sound of The Witcher 3 brought Novigrad to life more than any other gaming-specific headset I’ve used.</p><p>Sometime I even found myself quickly pulling the headset off during a late-night gaming session because of some in-game sound I thought was coming from the next room. To me that’s an indication not just of a nervous disposition but also of a headset that’s able to deliver a realistic, broad audio experience.</p><p>I’m now really keen to get ears-on with the open-back version&mdash;the Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1x&mdash;which could take that excellent gaming soundscape to the next level.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">ath-ADG1x</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yq4gfCV0S_Ci.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bJdKJNwyRgIs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Adg1x"></p><p>The ADG1x is Audio-Technica's open-back version of the AG1x, which should sound even better (if you don't mind the sound leakage).</p></div><p>So, the aural side has been improved over the now-retired AG1 headset, but what about that weird headrest? Sadly it’s still in attendance, and still feels a little wacky for my tastes. There’s no real headband to speak of. Instead the AG1x rests on the top of the head using a pair of tensed pads which press either side of the head.</p><p>It can be a comfortable design for the round of head like me, but it’s going to be a little more awkward for some. I would definitely recommend a try-before-you-buy policy on the wing design alone.</p><p>But it worked for me, and remained light and comfortable over long gaming and listening sessions, making the AG1x feel very lightweight. The fit just feels a little tenuous; while you don’t necessarily want your head to feel like it’s gripped in a vice, a certain robust skull-cuddle is more reassuring.</p><p>That strange design choice aside, the Audio-Technica ATH-AG1x is the most impressive-sounding gaming headset I’ve used. It’s even made me put down the otherwise awesome Qpad QH-1339s that I have loved so dearly...up to now.</p><p><em>The AG1x was just recently released and is thus hard to find online at the moment, but it'll go for $300 (£240) when you can get your hands on a pair. We plan to update&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-headsets/">our guide to the best gaming headsets</a> with the AG1x as our new high-end recommendation when it's available online.</em></p> Overwatch beta resumes with some big changeshttp://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-beta-resumes-with-some-big-changes/The second round of the Overwatch closed beta has begun.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:58:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-beta-resumes-with-some-big-changes/BlizzardFPSNewsOverwatch <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6hVP44gTSpyg.JPG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JEGkIQodGV6s.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch/">Overwatch</a> closed beta resumed today, with quite a number of changes both up-front and under the hood. We <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/jeff-kaplan-talks-overwatch-progression-unlocks-and-beta-invites/">spoke with Game Director Jeff Kaplan</a> about some of the biggest new features, including the progression system and unlocks, but if you want to dig down into the details&mdash;I'm talking about things like Torbjorn's scrap-per-pickup amount being reduced from 30 to 20&mdash;then you'll want to have a look at the full Beta Patch Notes that are now up at <a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-2">Battle.net</a>. If you want to skip to a specific part, these heated links will help...</p><ul><li><a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-2">Patch Features</a></li><li><a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-3">General</a></li><li><a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-4">Hero Balance Changes</a></li><li><a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-5">User Interface</a></li><li><a href="http://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20742184292#post-6">Bug Fixes</a></li></ul><p>For those still here, major changes in the new beta include a new Control game mode, in which two teams fight over objective areas in a best-of-three format, two new control maps called Lijiang Tower and Nepal, an option to play against the AI rather than other humans, and active player progression, which Blizzard discussed in further depth <a href="http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/blog/20034301/">here</a>.</p><p> “Progression in Overwatch is built around earning experience and leveling up your account. Moving forward, you will now gain experience by completing Quick Play and Play vs. AI games. Earn enough experience, and you’ll level up. Level up and you'll receive a Loot Box!” the patch notes explain. “Loot Boxes contain a random selection of items that can be used to customize the look of your hero and express yourself in-game, including skins, animations, emotes, custom dialogue options, sprays, and more. In addition to collecting these items from Loot Boxes, players can also unlock them by spending a new in-game currency called credits.”</p><p> Blizzard also tweeted some good news for people waiting to get into the second beta:</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">[BETA] A new wave of accounts from our opt-in pool have just been flagged for Closed Beta access. Emails are on the way!</p><p>&mdash; Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) <a href="https://twitter.com/PlayOverwatch/status/697155577877630976">February 9, 2016</a></p></blockquote><p>Let us know if you got in!</p> Total War: Attila "Slavic Nations" DLC fights to be freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila-slavic-nations-dlc-fights-to-be-free/If Total War: Attila wins the Make War Not Love competition, The Slavic Nations DLC will be free for everyone.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:38:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila-slavic-nations-dlc-fights-to-be-free/Creative AssemblyNewsStrategyTotal War: Attila <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QiVx6yBp4fg?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://www.makewarnotlove.com/">Make War Not Love</a> is a three-way strategy game throwdown between <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2/">Company of Heroes 2</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila/">Total War: Attila</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-40000-dawn-of-war-ii/">Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2</a> to see which of them can ring up the most players between February 14 and February 20. (The competition starts and ends at 10.00 AM PST.)&nbsp;Prizes will be awarded to the leading game&nbsp;every 48 hours, and at the end, the victor will claim the spoils in the form of “faction-specific digital content.” And if Total War: Attila comes out on top, Creative Assembly will make the upcoming <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/428730/?snr=1_5_9__405">Slavic Nations Culture Pack</a> free for everyone.</p><p> The Slavic Nations pack, announced today, adds three new factions to the game&mdash;the Anteans, the Sclavenians, and the Venedians&mdash;each of which can be used in single and multiplayer campaign modes, as well as custom and multiplayer battles. I've never heard of any of them, but according to the Steam blurb, the Slavs as a whole are “a hardy and mobile people [who] range far and wide across the blasted Steppe to recolonize and bring new life to abandoned earth.”</p><p> “When conflict occurs, they release withering hails of poison arrows on their foes,” it says. “Whether through diplomacy or conflict, they offer the perfect counter to the Hunnic threat, and introduce a number of unique ways to play Total War: Attila in both Campaign and Battle.”</p><p> <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/325610/">Total War: Attila</a> will be on sale for 75 percent off during the contest (and is actually on sale now as part of the Steam Lunar New Year Sale), cutting the price to $11/£7.50. It will also be available to play for free from February 18 to February 20, if you want to give it a shot without over-committing. Win or lose, the Slavic Nations Culture Pack comes out on February 25. Find out more about how you'll get down in Slav-town at the <a href="http://wiki.totalwar.com/w/TWA_Slavic_Nations">Total War Wiki</a>.</p> The PC Gamer Show: XCOM 2, Overwatch, and morehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-xcom-2-overwatch-and-more/Starting soon!Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:37:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-xcom-2-overwatch-and-more/podcastThe PC Gamer Show <iframe src="http://player.twitch.tv/?channel=pcgamer" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="378" width="620"> </iframe><p> Every Tuesday at 1 PM Pacific we broadcast&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show" target="_blank">The PC Gamer Show</a> live on Twitch. It's your chance to get your questions answered live on Twitch, and hear us talk&nbsp;about gaming news, hardware, and what we're playing.</p><p> There's a lot to chat about today, with the relaunch of the Overwatch beta alongside our first post-release&nbsp;chat about&nbsp;XCOM 2. We've also been playing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-review/">Firewatch</a>, which released yesterday.</p><p> Watch along today&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer" target="_blank">on Twitch</a>, and toss us some feedback on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/pcgamer" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or here in the comments!&nbsp;</p><p> <em>You can also listen to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pc-gamer-show-best-of-pax-the-division-and-more_Podcast/" target="_blank">last week's episode right here</a>.</em></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kyjqUPSMRPeh.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jr9hB6Fy5Ea4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The PC Gamer Show with logo 2"></p><p> <em>The awesome images we use for the show were made for us&nbsp;in Source Film Maker by Ness "Uberchain" Delacroix. You can find </em><em>her&nbsp;<a href="http://uberchain.deviantart.com/" target="_blank">DeviantArt page here</a> and her&nbsp;<a href="https://www.patreon.com/uberchain?ty=h" target="_blank">Patreon page here</a>.</em></p> First look at Eternal Crusade’s Eldar and the Warhammer MMO's futurehttp://www.pcgamer.com/first-look-at-eternal-crusades-eldar-and-the-warhammer-mmos-future/A look at the next faction in Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade, and what to expect when it releases.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/first-look-at-eternal-crusades-eldar-and-the-warhammer-mmos-future/ActionFPSMMOWarhammer 40000: Eternal Crusade <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tAiRd7pLQ1-U.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lcAmzWzIZfUp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Eldars are coming." class=""><figcaption>The Eldar are coming.</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Play it with us!</h5> <p> Play Eternal Crusade at the PC Gamer Weekender&nbsp;in London from March 5-6.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/?utm_source=pcgamer.com&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=pcgw-houselinks">Click here to find out more</a>. </p> </div><p> Sprinkled across the loading screens and chapter headings of Warhammer 40,000 games you often see cheery thoughts of the day from the Imperium of Man, its dystopian fascist future of humanity. According to one of them, “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.”</p><p> That will be a sentiment familiar to anyone who followed Dark Millennium Online, the Warhammer 40,000 MMORPG that Vigil Games were developing before publisher THQ went bankrupt. To be honest it’s a sentiment anyone who follows the development of MMOs will know well. It’s not usually a genre where it’s worth getting your hopes up early.</p><p> And yet, there’s hope for Warhammer 40,000 fans coming from an unexpected source. Canada’s Behaviour Interactive isn’t known to many unless it’s as the company that used to be A2M&mdash;until somebody googled the name&nbsp;realized it referred to something pornographic. For the last two years Behaviour has been working on a Warhammer 40,000 MMO that’s recently made it into&nbsp; <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/375230/" target="_blank">Early Access on Steam</a>. Eternal Crusade isn’t a standard MMORPG though, as executive producer Nathan Richardsson and lead designer Brent Ellison are at pains to explain.</p><blockquote> “We don’t have mission-givers with a question mark on top of their heads!” </blockquote><p> “We don’t have mission-givers with a question mark on top of their heads!” Richardsson says. Instead Eternal Crusade will be a game about territorial conquest, the map split up into sectors that can be taken over by its four factions. It sounds a lot like Planetside, but if you fire Eternal Crusade up now what you’ll be playing is something closer to the early Battlefield, games with 16-a-side matches that see&nbsp;the two currently available factions fighting over a handful of control points rather than a persistent world.</p><p> “The Early Access alpha is very much like a lobby shooter,” Richardsson explains, “because that’s what we want, to get the core shooter first, right? If that doesn’t work the rest of the MMO doesn’t matter at all, it’s going to be a boring game.”</p><p> “Right now we’re just doing individual matches and stuff,” says Ellison, “but in the game every battle takes place at a point that’s on the strategic layer of the map, and will cause territories to flip and ownership to change. On top of that we’ve got a social area where you can go to train and have other people around, we’ve got persistent character progression, we’ve got PvE challenges.”</p><p> Those PvE challenges will be where the Tyranids come in, NPC alien bug-dinosaurs who live under the surface of the planet everyone else is fighting over and who can be fought in co-op missions a little like a game of Left 4 Dead. “Certain territories can start to have an infestation level and in order to clear it out you do these underground missions against Tyranids with your faction,” Ellison says. “You take up to five people initially, we’ll expand to more later, but you take up to five people in, complete a series of objectives while Tyranids are spawning on top of you. It’s not just about slaying the Tyranids, it’s about completing the objectives. More like Mass Effect 3.”</p><p> Combined with the planned social space and training area, Eternal Crusade will be the kind of MMO that’s about letting groups of friends get together and then play multiple modes, “which is basically the same as model as Destiny,” as Richardsson puts it. (“Guild Wars 1 actually,” Ellison interrupts.)</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PT4QpbSzSgKB.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KPWDbPU-XuyS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="WIP ELD Classes Lineup"></p><h3>Introducing the Eldar</h3> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">concept art</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fF7De7Y0QOuA.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gqjYOngJrbHJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="WIP ModelSheet ELD FirePrism"> </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EGoJ787kRW6z.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wIe5cFeu3Rca.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="WIP ELD Warlock progression"> </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s7Lu-RO4Tn6P.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7mQ6XtPoWS7d.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ELD SwoopingHawk Lasblasterv2"> </p> </div><p> The two playable factions in Eternal Crusade right now are the Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines, with the Eldar to be added next, followed by Orks (and more after launch). The Eldar are an unusual species in Warhammer 40,000&mdash;basically theatrical zen space elves. The long-lived survivors of a fallen empire that grew so decadent it accidentally birthed a god of sadomasochistic pleasure, the Eldar protect themselves from falling back into their bad old ways through ascetic devotion and focus, making them hyper-specialized.</p><p> That’s an easy philosophy to translate into game terms. “We have seven different classes for the Eldar,” says Ellison, “which is more than we have for the rest of them, and each of them has a very specific role. They have a few weapons available to them but fewer than you would see on Space Marines or Orks or whatever. To give an example, the Howling Banshees are good at one thing&mdash;that’s charging at the enemy and chopping them up. So we’re giving them tools they need to do that, but that’s exactly what the Howling Banshees do and if they try to do anything else they’re going to be in trouble.”</p><p> The other classes available to Eldar will be Dire Avengers, point-capturing troops armed primarily with shuriken catapults, Fire Dragons, who have anti-vehicle ‘melta’ weapons, Warlocks for psychic support, Dark Reapers with heavy weapons, Striking Scorpions for melee infiltration, and the gliding Swooping Hawks who excel at aerial harassment. “That’s the key there, maneuverability and specialization. When I say maneuverability I also mean they will be able to turn faster, move faster, that sort of thing.”</p><p> Motion capture for the Eldar was completed in December, and Ellison was impressed with the results. “The stuff that the actress was able to pull off was awesome, the wirework and things like that, really cool. A bit more inspired by Platinum Games and stuff like that as opposed to the brawlers that the Space Marines and Chaos are.”</p><p> True to the setting, with its chainswords and power fists, Eternal Crusade is a shooter where hand-to-hand combat is important. If you ever played the multiplayer in Relic’s third-person action game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine there’s been direct inspiration taken from that, and your first death will probably be to someone with a jump pack plummeting out of the sky to cut you in half. (Your second and third deaths are liable to be similar.)</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lpcBzGGoS9un.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j4T1nBD7MZMP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt=""></p><p> “When you play the classes which are heavily melee-based they aren’t just limited to a very simple play experience,” Richardsson says. “It’s deeper than you see in other games which are shooters. We’re not a melee-only game which has very complex systems, but as Brent likes to explain when you have ranged weapons and melee at the same time you’re not gonna see a duel at dawn where they’re standing against each other for 12 minutes because someone’s going to run by and shoot you.”</p><p> “Just approaching the enemy in the context of a battle that’s going on around you with tanks and sniper rifles and everything is part of the challenge,” Ellison adds. As for those tanks, the Eldar apparently hate wheels. All of their vehicles either walk or float. While the Marine vehicles trundle around on their frumpy treads the Eldar will have fashionably hovering ‘grav tanks’ in the colors of their sub-factions.</p><p> Each faction currently has five sub-factions to choose from, which will eventually have their own combat barks, equipment options, and branches in the progression trees. Primarily they’re a cosmetic difference, but a characterful one. “We did this event to have the players pick what the fifth sub-faction would be for each of the factions and for the Eldar they picked the Altansar,” says Ellison. “Their Craftworld was trapped in the Eye of Terror for centuries and they only recently came out. As a result of their experiences there they only speak in whispers and they never remove their helmets. We’re going to respect that so they’re getting their own voice pack.”</p><p> “But they suck at communication because they whisper,” Richardsson adds. “You can hear them say INCOMING! with a grenade, it’s like incomiiing,” he whispers. “Then they blow up. So that’s their flavor. No, I’m kidding.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X3pvQgLoRWSI.bmp" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hg5mcN-qImDZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eternal Crusade"></p><h3>Eternal means forever, right?</h3><p> As an MMO Eternal Crusade will of course continue to grow after its launch, with a plan to leave Early Access later this year. “We have free expansions every three months, that’s our goal here in terms of adding more things,” Richardsson says. One of the first of these will be the heavy armor Terminator class. For the Eldar, that class will take the shape of the Wraithguard, who are robots made of psycho-plastic material piloted by spirits of the dead. So that’s nice.</p><p> Another planned post-launch feature will be a free-to-play mode that allows players to try Eternal Crusade without buying it, but limits them to playing as Ork Boyz, the cannon fodder hooligans of the game’s fourth faction. “It’s not going to be at launch, simply because we serve our paying customers first,” says Richardsson. Free-to-play Orks were announced when Behaviour was aiming to have battles with “a thousand Orks just coming at you” but expectations have had to be reduced. While players will eventually see bigger conflicts than the current 16-a-side scrums, the technology isn’t there to simulate the full Green Tide of the Orks.</p><blockquote> I’d say we have a very mature audience right now, which has been around for a long time with Warhammer. </blockquote><p> There’s another terrifying influx coming though, and that’s one of humans. Eternal Crusade recently jumped from closed alpha to an open one which bumped up player numbers, and there will be another bump when it’s released. Anyone who plays online games will be familiar with the phenomenon of a game’s friendly community of early adopters turning toxic as it grows larger. Will that happen to Eternal Crusade?&nbsp;</p><p> “Nah, I have no idea what you’re talking about! There’s only nice people on the internet,” says Richardsson with a laugh. “It’s a good question. I’d say we have a very mature audience right now, which has been around for a long time with Warhammer, right? But opening it up to a larger audience doesn’t equal everything going haywire and it becoming horrible. You won’t even get that far in the gameplay that we’re trying to foster and reward in the game itself by being an asshole. While we can’t change the world we can do our part to encourage certain behavior at least in-game.”</p><p> “One of the big benefits of early access will be us figuring out all the things that can go wrong as players try to do terrible things,” says Ellison, “so I think we anticipate putting in more and more measures to counter really the worst stuff, like griefing, team-killing, etcetera.”</p><p> To get to the point where that’s really a concern they’ll need to make it to launch, which some fans burned by Dark Millennium Online have been publicly doubtful about. “People ask us, why are you going into Early Access, do you lack money?” says Richardsson. “There’s a lot of different reasons. Do we need money? No, we are funded till our launch this year. Would we like more money? Well, of course. What a silly question; then we can do more as part of the launch.”</p><p> He sighs. “Everybody is afraid that we’re gonna blow up like other 40K games.”</p><p> “We would already have blown up,” says Ellison. “We’ve had opportunities to blow up, but we haven’t blown up yet.”</p> Hitman system requirements and preorder bonus revealedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-system-requirements-and-preorder-bonus-revealed/Does your PC have the muscle to Hit the Man?Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:25:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-system-requirements-and-preorder-bonus-revealed/ActionHitmanNewsSquare EnixStealth <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rhA0LYafQBW0.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vGueHX_9zOhu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hitman"></p><p>We'll have extensive hands-on coverage of the new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman/">Hitman</a> on the site&nbsp;for you tomorrow.&nbsp;But before getting into the weeds with that, today there's&nbsp;a more immediate and pressing question: Can you run it? </p><p>Below you will find the minimum and recommended specs, which I have renamed using&nbsp;contract killers from popular fiction of&nbsp;wildly varying ability.&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qJRMc1TJ1E">Charles Dreyfus</a>:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> OS 64-bit Windows 7 </li><li><strong>Processor:</strong> Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940 </li><li><strong>Memory:</strong> 8 GB RAM </li><li><strong>Graphics:</strong> NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 / Radeon HD 7870 </li><li><strong>DirectX:</strong> Version 11 </li></ul><p>The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3THL_7Z29Y">John Wick</a>:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> OS 64-bit Windows 7 / 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1) or Windows 10 </li><li><strong>Processor:</strong> Intel CPU Core i7 3770 3,4 GHz / AMD CPU AMD FX-8350 4 GHz </li><li><strong>Memory:</strong> 8 GB RAM </li><li><strong>Graphics:</strong> Nvidia GPU GeForce GTX 770 / AMD GPU Radeon R9 290 </li><li><strong>DirectX:</strong> Version 11 </li></ul><p>Square Enix also announced today that pre-purchases of Hitman <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/236870">on Steam</a>, either the Intro Pack or the Full Experience, will come with the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/236870/announcements/detail/872939559624531295">Requiem Blood Money Pack</a>, which includes the white suit and gloves from Requiem, the final mission of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall-hitman-blood-money/">Hitman: Blood Money</a>, as well as the suave striped shirt and tie he wore in the game, a white rubber duck explosive, and the silenced ICA-19 Chrome pistol&mdash;which, for the record, is an additional weapon and not a replacement for the infamous Silverballers, which all players will have access to.</p><p>The Hitman beta, which will take a look back at the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-beta-details-accompany-new-trailer/">early days of Agent 47's career</a>, goes live on the PC on February 19.</p> The world's best pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teamshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-worlds-best-pro-counter-strike-global-offensive-teams/The top squads in a fiercely competitive scene.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-worlds-best-pro-counter-strike-global-offensive-teams/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveesportsFPSPro Oculus ready PC and Rift 'bundles' available for pre-order next weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-ready-pc-and-rift-bundles-available-for-pre-order-next-week/Asus, Alienware, and Dell have a number of PCs ready to go.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:47:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-ready-pc-and-rift-bundles-available-for-pre-order-next-week/HardwareNewsOculusvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zqLMnKC5RY2C.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/guTyzBNn0rEg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Oculus Ready Pcs"></p><p>Oculus has announced that the first Oculus Rift-ready PCs from Asus, Alienware, and Dell will be available for pre-order from February 16. Through a confusing use of the word 'bundle,'&nbsp;<a href="https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/pre-orders-for-oculus-ready-pcs-and-rift-bundles-start-february-16/">Oculus's blog post</a> makes it sound like the PCs will be paired with Rift headsets and sold for surprisingly low prices. We confirmed with Oculus PR that the listed 'bundle prices' are actually what you'll pay for the PC if you <em>also </em>purchase a Rift headset.</p><p>The PC prices&nbsp;range from $950 to $2550, and will be available from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/oculus-rift-vr-offer/pcmcat748301736879.c?id=pcmcat748301736879" target="_blank">Best Buy</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Oculus-Rift-Certified-G11CD-WS51-Desktop-Bundle/dp/B01BHFI4XG" target="_blank">Amazon</a>, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/cat/PC-Gaming/categoryID.68289300" target="_blank">Microsoft Store</a>. In most cases the 'bundle price' is $100 cheaper than the MSRP, meaning if you also purchase the $600 Oculus Rift (which includes&nbsp;the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder's Pack, and Lucky's Tale) you get the PC a bit cheaper.</p><p>Pre-orders will ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions from Oculus' retail partners starting in April.</p><p>As for the hardware, here are the details on the first wave of systems.</p><p>Dell's Oculus-ready system is the&nbsp;XPS 8900 SE. It costs $999, and includes an Intel i5-6400, an Nvidia GTX 970 GPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.&nbsp;</p><p>Asus is offering the G11CD for $949. It's got an Intel i5-6400, an Nvidia GTX 970, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 1TB of storage.</p><p>There are also two Asus&nbsp;RoG options available. The $1349&nbsp;G20CB has an i5-6400, a GTX 970, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The $1599 G20CB has an i7-6700, a GTX 980, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD.</p><p>Alienware also has three options. The cheapest is the $999 X51 R3 has an Intel i5-6400, an Nvidia GTX 970, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 1TB HDD. You can upgrade those specs to include a GTX 980, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD instead for $1499.</p><p>The Area 51 is Alienware's monster, which has an Intel i7-5820K, a GTX 980, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 2TB HDD. That one will set you back $2549.</p><p>If you've already pre-ordered the Oculus Rift, Oculus writes "to claim your discount, <a href="https://shop.oculus.com/en-us/history/">check your order status</a> and opt into partner offers if you haven’t already. Offer codes will appear on your order status page February 16."</p> Hearthstone pros give their verdict on the new Standard formathttp://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-pros-give-their-verdict-on-the-new-standard-format/We askedLifecoach,Thijs,Purple and more for thoughtson rotating card setsTue, 09 Feb 2016 19:23:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-pros-give-their-verdict-on-the-new-standard-format/BlizzardCard GameHearthstone <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0o0ex6f9TviI.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iihHh-ZduD15.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hearthstone year of the Kraken announcement 16x9"></p><p> This spring Hearthstone will undergo seismic change. When the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-new-format-will-see-old-expansions-retired-from-standard-play/">new ‘Standard’ format </a>arrives, the Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes sets will no longer be eligible for play in it, removing more than 150 cards, many of which are some of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-20-most-important-cards-that-will-be-removed-from-hearthstone-standard/">most powerful used in decks today</a>. (Those cards will still be fine to use in the ‘Wild’ format, which will see no set rotation, and is essentially the game we’re playing today.)</p><p> The spring set rotation, which is due to take place annually, will simultaneously see the release of the next, currently unnamed, card expansion. A shift of this scale will impact every layer of Hearthstone, from the most casual phone jockeys to the heights of the pro scene. A few months from now, we’ll be looking at a very different experience. To gauge the temperature of the competitive community, we polled seven of the best players to find out if they’re happy about the change and what they expect to happen next.</p><h4>Ryan “Purple” Root</h4><p> “Any change to Hearthstone is good. After a few months without new cards, the meta and the best decks get discovered and we end up seeing a total of, say, five tier one decks. With the announcement of the new format, it is hard to say what will end up happening without seeing the cards that will be released [in the new set]. However, it’s notable that Loatheb, Sludge Belcher and Antique Healbot get cut [from Standard].”</p><p> “In a lot of games, the statement ‘I win this unless my opponent has exactly Loatheb’ can be applied, which I feel has been an issue for a while. Losing Belcher and Healbot is scary as well, given they are two of the best defensive cards in the game and without them many control archetypes of decks will not be able to exist because of Face Hunter, [Aggro] Shaman and other aggressive decks. Those are my fears for now, but like I said it’s hard to predict without knowing what new cards will be introduced alongside the changes.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/hspurple?lang=en">@HSPurple</a></p><h4>Adrian “Lifecoach” Koy</h4><p> “It’s really hard for me to form an opinion on the basis of just this announcement. I think we’ll have to see what problems occur with the rotation of the old sets. I guess it will be substantially more difficult to keep all the nine classes and the aggro decks balanced, since you will always have to fill the roles of the cards that rotate out. I cannot see the future and how it will all develop, but then again with more changes comes more room for deckbuilding, which I greatly appreciate.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/G2Lifecoach">@G2Lifecoach</a></p><h4>Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen<a href="https://twitter.com/NaViHoej"></a></h4><p> “Two days before it was announced I actually started writing an article about how Hearthstone would face problems in the future if they kept adding cards, without changing the ones they already had. So, even though my upcoming article lost its news value, I am really happy that Blizzard figured out that they need to change some basics to keep Hearthstone healthy.”</p><p> “Previously, when Hearthstone released new cards they had to compete with the existing cards. For example, when they made a new four-drop it would instantly be compared to Piloted Shredder. Now that Piloted Shredder will be left out [from Standard] in future it opens up more discussion and comparison around new four-drops. Personally, I’m really excited and happy that Blizzard are spending a lot of effort in keeping Hearthstone the awesome game it is by constantly updating.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/NaViHoej">@NaViHoej</a></p><h4>Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk<a href="https://twitter.com/G2Thijs"></a></h4><p> “I am really happy to welcome the new standard Hearthstone format. It will be healthy for the game when expansions are limited in the competitive scene. It will ensure that the meta keeps switching around. A big challenge for Blizzard now is to make sure the standard and common cards from the different classes are even in power to each other. Balancing them in full might be hard, but I can't wait to try out new decks, see some old decks gone, and get ready for a big new expansion with 200 new cards!”&nbsp;&mdash; <a href="https://twitter.com/G2Thijs">@G2Thijs</a></p><h4>Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall<a href="https://twitter.com/NaViOstkaka"></a></h4><p> “Some form of rotation is very healthy, if not essential, for the future of Hearthstone&mdash;and it makes room for card design. Cards you release from now on don't always have to compete with Piloted Shredder in order to be playable. It's really exciting to see more change in Hearthstone, and for competitive players to hopefully be able to showcase more skill in terms of tournament preparation. As for the metagame, I think it's too early to say much. There are still current cards to be changed and an entire expansion to be released which will come with substitutes for cards that were removed with Naxx and GvG.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/NaViOstkaka">@NaViOstkaka</a></p><h4>Jon “Orange” Westberg<a href="https://twitter.com/ArchonOrange"></a></h4><p> “I think the Standard [set] rotation is the best thing that has happened to Hearthstone so far. Not only does this create a more diverse format, but it also acts as an automatic fix to the cards we've grown tired of such as Dr. Boom and Piloted Shredder, and will do so for every future set to come. This system is already implemented in Magic: The Gathering and is the biggest reason why this 20+ year old game remains new and fresh. I have very high hopes for standard, and can’t wait to see how it rewards the good deck builders out there. I'm very happy with this change.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/ArchonOrange">@ArchonOrange</a></p><h4>Stanislav Cifka<a href="https://twitter.com/StanCifka"></a></h4><p> “The new Standard format is really appealing to me. Before Hearthstone I used to play Magic: The Gathering which has used a similar system for more than ten years. The main advantage of the standard format is that with a huge card pool it’s nearly impossible to make a new successful deck as all the staple decks use most powerful cards and have been tuned for a long time. Standard will challenge players a lot more in terms of deckbuilding and this aspect makes the game even more interesting.”&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/StanCifka">@StanCifka</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <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> Former Dragon Age Lead Writer David Gaider joins Beamdoghttp://www.pcgamer.com/former-dragon-age-lead-writer-david-gaider-joins-beamdog/Gaider, whose credits also include Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate 2, and KOTOR, left BioWare last month.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:18:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/former-dragon-age-lead-writer-david-gaider-joins-beamdog/Baldur's GateBeamdogBiowareDavid GaiderDragon AgeNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VHvqMOhiQcGf.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6EAxVBWxb5A2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="David Gaider"></p><p>Former Dragon Age Lead Writer David Gaider announced his <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/david-gaider-the-lead-writer-of-dragon-age-leaves-bioware/">departure from BioWare</a> a few weeks ago, saying that it was “time to move on to a new challenge.” Today that new challenge was revealed as Beamdog, the digital distribution platform, publisher, and developer that's currently working on a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/baldurs-gate-countdown-ends-at-the-siege-of-dragonspear-expansion/">new Baldur's Gate</a>.</p><p>“We're very pleased to welcome David Gaider to the company as our new creative director. Originally we advertised for the position of senior writer, but when David contacted Trent about the position, we upgraded the role,” <a href="http://blog.beamdog.com/2016/02/beamdog-welcomes-david-gaider.html">Beamdog said</a>. “David is well known for his design and writing work on Baldur’s Gate 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age: Origins. He brings 17 years of experience to our little team and we couldn't be happier to work with him. David will lead the writing team and direct new creative endeavors for the company.”</p><p>Gaider's long history at BioWare would make any new role noteworthy, but his move to Beamdog is especially interesting because of its work on Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog (and BioWare) co-founder Trent Oster said in December 2015 that it's “<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/baldurs-gate-siege-of-dragonspear-dated-for-early-2016/">content complete</a>” and so Gaider won't have much impact on that game, but assuming that it sells reasonably well (and on the strength of the name alone, I'm guessing that it will), further releases in the series seem likely. And more Baldur's Gate, narratively helmed by one of the main guys behind Baldur's Gate 2, is a very exciting prospect.</p> Intel puts a stop to overclocking on non-K Skylake CPUshttp://www.pcgamer.com/intel-puts-a-stop-to-overclocking-on-non-k-skylake-cpus/New BIOS updates, using code from Intel, put a stop to the brief but glorious window of non-K Skylake overclocking.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:47:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-puts-a-stop-to-overclocking-on-non-k-skylake-cpus/HardwareIntelNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Iwf5wR4FSEa9.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fo0IlgOMEpae.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel Skylake High Res"></p><p>Last week, the latest&nbsp;<a href="http://www.asrock.com.tw/support/download.asp?cat=BIOS" target="_blank">BIOS update for ASRock</a> Z170&nbsp;motherboards removed the Sky OC function, which was the company's term for the ability to overclock non-K Intel Skylake processors. Today, Intel has confirmed that it will be updating its CPUs to stop users overclocking processors they shouldn't be able to.</p><p>Towards the end of last year,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/asrock-bios-update-unlocks-non-k-skylake-overclocking/" target="_blank">ASRock announced that a BIOS update</a> would allow base clock frequency&nbsp;overclocking on restricted Skylake processors. Some other motherboard vendors followed suit, adding the feature in beta BIOS updates that overclockers snapped up. Intel, it seems, wasn't too happy about it.</p><p>Intel confirmed to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/3031255/hardware/its-official-intel-shuts-down-the-cheap-overclocking-party-by-closing-skylake-loophole.html" target="_blank">PC World</a> today that a microcode update will be closing the loophole.&nbsp;”Intel regularly issues updates for our processors which our partners voluntarily incorporate into their BIOS,” an Intel spokesman said to PC World. “The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications.”</p><p>In other words: if you want to overclock a Skylake CPU, you better pony up for the more expensive K-series chips.</p><p>A similar situation arose with Intel's previous architecture, Haswell. Limited non-K overclocking was available for a short period, but was fairly quickly dropped by the company.</p> Riot's lead game designer explains why League Of Legend's tutorial suckshttp://www.pcgamer.com/riots-lead-game-designer-explains-why-league-of-legends-tutorial-sucks/Greg Street recently answered a bunch of questions about life, the universe, and League of Legends.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:47:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/riots-lead-game-designer-explains-why-league-of-legends-tutorial-sucks/League of LegendsMOBANewsProRiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fRUh5PkQR2uu.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PHIqjMizhzjp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Graves league of legends"></p><p>Greg Street, the lead game designer at <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/">League of Legends</a> studio Riot Games, recently spent some time answering questions over at <a href="https://ask.fm/RiotGhostcrawler">Ask.FM</a> about such things as game design, the nature of Amumu, what kind of music he's listening to, and why LoL has such a bad tutorial.</p><p>It covers a lot of ground, as AMAs tend to, but the bit about the tutorial is particularly illuminating. Street acknowledged that the current tutorial isn't very good in response to a question which cited Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm as offering easier ways in, but said that improving it “is not as high a priority as many of the other things we need to improve in the game.”</p><p>“We don't want to shift resources to features mostly aimed at attracting new players when we could be adding or improving features for existing players,” he wrote. “That's probably not the strategy a brand new game would choose, because new games really need to focus on building up an audience. We have a good-sized audience, and our highest priority is meeting their needs.”</p><p>Improving the tutorial is on the “things to do list,” because “we know it makes it that much harder to convince friends to try League.” But, he added, “We think improving the 1-30 experience outside of tutorials is a higher priority for us, specifically the length of the grind, the underwhelming celebration of milestones, and the power discrepancy for runes and masteries.”</p><p>Street added that he was, at that moment, listening to the Assassin's Creed soundtrack.</p> Jeff Kaplan talks Overwatch progression, unlocks, and beta inviteshttp://www.pcgamer.com/jeff-kaplan-talks-overwatch-progression-unlocks-and-beta-invites/Blizzard has made some big changes to the game.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/jeff-kaplan-talks-overwatch-progression-unlocks-and-beta-invites/BlizzardFPSOverwatchPro <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MbBd_43ERdaP.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z19aYs5vbocq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Jeff Kaplan"></p><p>Ahead of today's relaunch of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch/">Overwatch</a> closed beta, we had a chance to talk to Game Director Jeff Kaplan about some of the changes that have been made during the hiatus. The second beta will feature a new King of the Hill-style game mode called Control, and a pair of new maps, one set in Zenyatta's homeland of Nepal, and the other a “giant, super-tall skyscraper in China,” which Kaplan said is a particularly effective showcase for Overwatch's colorful&nbsp;vision of the future. Beyond that, he also offered some interesting insight into player and character progression, unlockables, and how Blizzard may&mdash;or may not&mdash;approach microtransactions.</p><p>Kaplan reiterated a point he made <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-is-working-on-a-new-overwatch-character-progression-system/">late last year</a>, saying that Overwatch, unlike other Blizzard releases such as&nbsp;World of Warcraft or Diablo, is not a progression-based game. Progress rewards are a way of “thanking the players for their time invested,” he said, rather than a means of forcing them to grind through content they may not be interested in. To that end, progression is measured through player level, so instead of leveling individual heroes, you'll effectively be leveling yourself.</p><p>“As you gain levels&mdash;and there are unlimited levels, we don't have a level cap, you can always gain levels&mdash;each time you gain a level, we give you a loot box. Inside the loot box there can be four items that come out of it,” he&nbsp;said. Loot box items are randomized, and each item has a rarity level: common, rare, epic, and so forth. And, he emphasized, they are all purely cosmetic. “You don't gain any sort of advantage over other player by unlocking these items. They're purely for player expression, and just because they're cool.”</p><p>Unlockables will include “a host of skins across all of the heroes,” as well as emotes like “victory poses,” which enables heroes to show off&nbsp;in all sorts of different ways when they're on the winning team. Kaplan said one of the coolest things coming are “Highlight Intro” animations that, when unlocked, will display a “really amazing animation” when players earn a Play of the Game, like Torbjorn “riding his chariot like a mechanical bull.” There will also be dozens of different sprays on tap, and even unlockable VO lines that can be triggered through the communications wheel.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4BhUpoc-TI2v.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s4_JetgHejkv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Poster Final"></p><p>And if you end up pulling duplicates or stuff you just don't care about it, you'll have the option to exchange those items&nbsp;for “credits” that can be used to unlock things&nbsp;you actually want. “If there's, you know, 'Oh my god, that Zarya skin, I really wanted that but I keep unlocking stuff for heroes who aren't Zarya,' over time you'll have enough credits where you can just buy the Zarya skin and you don't have to depend on random luck anymore,” Kaplan said. “We feel like it's casual, it's simple, it's fun, it's expressive, and it doesn't make you feel obligated to do the progression&mdash;but it makes you feel very rewarded for the time you've invested.”</p><p>Kaplan said there's been discussion about making the loot boxes purchasable, noting that while they drop “at a pretty decent pace,” some internal testers wanted to be able to get at them right away. “I feel like [it's] an age-old debate, and by age-old I think it's like a ten-year-old debate at this point,” he said. “[There are] some who feel like they have more time than they do money, and some that feel that they have more money than they do time. So we're definitely open to exploring allowing the loot boxes to be purchasable at some point, but we haven't gotten to it yet.” </p><p>It's less likely that Blizzard will sell Overwatch credits separately, but it's something that could come up for consideration in the future, he said. Similarly, while there's currently no “purchase-only” content in the game beyond the Origins Edition and Widowmaker preorder skins [those won't be unlockable for credits because, he said, “We want those to feel special and exclusive”], it's simply too early in the process to commit to it one way or the other. </p><p>“We haven't made any philosophical decision of whether or not we will ever do that, or not do that. I think right now, the biggest question we want to answer, when the beta comes back up next week is, 'Are the loot boxes fun? Do people like the items?'” he said. “We added this thing called the Hero Gallery where you can really browse through all the heroes and unlockable stuff, and we want that to be awesome. When you look at the hero gallery and look at all the stuff, we just want you to go, 'Wow, there's so much cool stuff.' And if the players aren't saying that, we have to revisit some things. So that's kind of the first step for us, and whether or not we'd have items for purchase exclusively down the road, I think it's too soon for us to really know that right now.”</p><p>Kaplan said that another round of beta invites will be going out, and it will be “equal to or larger than the largest [beta] wave that we've ever done.” Despite that, he predicted that disappointment will be plentiful: “ I don't think there's any beta wave short of letting everybody into the beta that's big enough at this point.”</p><p>He's probably right. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R9jbB7CVS16a.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RUKSEe6XFfMb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V1iiE54bSQOA.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/REv0iqN3oZHv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S95daz7bSCK-.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jDpODFj6MOFK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TcAsPlwCSDO8.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QkSVWwxBgjsB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TXlD7NmVQWmY.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zQuTGoiYM6GX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_nsmJWIbT9Gd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7BZru-1Q6qBr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Fy8B3-x1Qlmm.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U2yImg8HKbTd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c8GrXbPXRRam.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-vemLlCBn1j6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zmp4JnBGTUuA.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DfOEQiAqa5Y0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch"></p> Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition out todayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-enhanced-edition-out-today/The whole package.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:33:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-enhanced-edition-out-today/ActionDying LightNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SHySNHmur8E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Dying Light&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-review/" target="_blank">exceeded most expectations</a>, especially on PC where drama over&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/techland-working-to-restore-dying-light-mod-support-and-address-dmca-claims/" target="_blank">mistaken DMCA takedown notices</a> quickly transformed into&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/techland-prepping-free-dying-light-mod-tools/" target="_blank">a powerful modding kit</a> which has continued to expand. Players are still hungry for running and jumping away from zombies, it appears, because at long last&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-announced/" target="_blank">Dying Light: The Following</a> has been released, in DLC and Enhanced Editions.</p><p>The DLC, which requires a copy of Dying Light to run, is an expansion-sized update, opening up a new region beyond Harran large enough to host dirt buggies and a new storyline. It's being billed as the size of all previous Dying Light maps combined, although how much of that is grassland remains to be seen.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nIrM8AArTBaw.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eEf4kCXweVvY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light The Following"></p><p>Speaking of previous Dying Light maps, the Enhanced Edition is similar to a game-of-the-year edition, incorporating all previous DLC in addition to The Following, plus improvements to&nbsp;the visuals and general tweaking.</p><p>Both editions and the base game will get '<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-legendary-levels-are-coming-free-in-february/" target="_blank">Legendary Levels</a>' patched in free&mdash;a new skill tree opened up upon maxing out one of the default branches, along with new emblems and weapons.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-the-following-nightmare-mode-detailed/" target="_blank">Nightmare mode</a> is also in: longer nights, Souls-like loss of XP on death and harder enemies. Sounds grim; have fun!</p> PC gaming’s coolest spaceshipshttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamings-coolest-spaceships/Ten of our favourite spacecraft, from the Normandy SR-2 to the USG Ishimura.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:29:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamings-coolest-spaceships/Gallery The Division open beta is happening next weekendhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-open-beta-is-happening-next-weekend/There's a new trailer, too.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:15:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-open-beta-is-happening-next-weekend/NewsThe DivisionThird Person ShooterTom Clancy's The DivisionUbisoft <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0rdX4uzgbcM?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Ubisoft has announced that, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-open-beta-potentially-leaked/">as rumored</a>, the end-of-the-world third-person shooter <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division/">The Division</a> will have an open beta. The testing period will run from February 19 to 21, with beta preloading available as of February 16.</p><p> Ubisoft said in <a href="http://blog.ubi.com/announcing-the-division-open-beta/">the announcement</a> that most of the PC <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-promises-to-crack-down-on-cheating-in-the-division/">cheating issues</a> have been resolved, and recommitted to having it cleared up completely by the time the game launches. The open beta will include a new story mission that wasn't available in the closed beta that wrapped last week, and anyone who takes part will get a special in-game reward that will unlock at launch. No, I have no idea what it is.</p><p> The Division is set to launch in full on March 8. Find out more at <a href="http://www.thedivisiongame.com">thedivisiongame.com</a>.</p> Phanteks releasing svelte P400 cases in Marchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/phanteks-releasing-svelte-p400-cases-in-march/The P400 has a smooth design,subtle lighting, and comes in a silent version (plus, multiple colors!).Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:00:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/phanteks-releasing-svelte-p400-cases-in-march/CasesHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aSoaMVC_SaSp.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3eEwmUNWxYgq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="P400 white"></p><p>Phanteks is on the verge of releasing the P400 and the P400S, two new cases which have sleek designs a bit reminiscent of NZXT and some nice "RGB lighting," although you can actually only choose between 10 colors for&nbsp;the Phanteks logo on the front of the case.&nbsp;</p><p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/phanteks-p400-p400s-rgb-case,31154.html#xtor=RSS-181" target="_blank">Tom's Hardware</a>, the two cases have room for E-ATX motherboards, graphics cards up to 395mm, CPU coolers up to 170mm tall, and ATX PSUs up to 270mm long. There's an optional hard drive cage, but your GPU space will be limited to 280mm if you use it. There's room for two 3.5-inch hard drives at the bottom, four more at the front, and two 2.5-inch SSDs will fit behind the motherboard tray.&nbsp;</p><p>For your cooling needs, the cases come with two 120mm fans for the front and back, and you can fit either an&nbsp;additional three 120mm fans, or two 140mm fans, on the top. If you're water cooling, there's room for up to a 360mm radiator at the front and a 120mm at the back.&nbsp;</p><p>On the front of the case you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, a pair of HD audio ports, and the LED control. The P400S version also has a three speed fan controller.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3vzzgnnYSrCf.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xsPuRFYVJ8JU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="P400"></p><p>The P400S is the quieter version of the case, as it comes with dampening material in its side panels which increases its price by $10.&nbsp;The top exhausts can also be closed off with covers.</p><p>Both cases weigh around 7kg, and measure 555 x 300 x 520mm.&nbsp;There are actually two versions of the "silent" version of the case, one with a side window and one with a standard side panel. The P400 only has the windowed version. All three case models&nbsp;will come in a few colors: Satin Black, Glacier White, and Anthracite Gray.&nbsp;</p><p>The P400 costs $70,&nbsp;and the P400S costs $80. Both&nbsp;will be available in March.</p> Experience the Eastern European thrill of Jalopy at the PC Gamer Weekenderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/experience-the-eastern-european-thrill-of-jalopy-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/Capitalism reins.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:47:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/experience-the-eastern-european-thrill-of-jalopy-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/PC Gamer WeekenderSurvival <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xs70oYmZOoQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Who'd have thought that Eastern Europe would be enjoying a videogame vogue that doesn't involve Chernobyl? We've Papers, Please to thank for that, I'll wager. Jalopy has sets its sights on grander things than an immigration booth in Arstotzka, however, as it takes you on a road trip through a procedurally generated&nbsp;Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of capitalism. You'll get to take the wheel of a rusted feat of German engineering at our very own&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/welcome" target="_blank">PC Gamer Weekender</a> before it ever gets to Steam.</p><p>You'll need to keep your tin can of a Laika 601 running as you trundle the countryside, be that through scavenging scrap, trading like an honest schmuck or smuggling goods past border guards. It's like Oregon Trail with carburettors.&nbsp;Ah, capitalism!</p><p>When your car has carried you as far as it'll go, you can switch over to Dark Souls 3, Umbrella Corps, Street Fighter V, XCOM 2 or any of the dozens of games we'll have on the show floor. Maybe that's too many games for you&mdash;never fear, we'll have hardware masterclasses and the great and good of gaming on-stage too.</p><p>The Weekender will be held at London's Old Truman Brewery from March 5-6.&nbsp;You can&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new" target="_blank">book your tickets here</a>, but if somehow you're not convinced yet, here's a bangin' teaser:&nbsp;</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d13YJdxMTuk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Far Cry Primal 101 video reveals the deadly detailshttp://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-primal-101-video-reveals-the-deadly-details/Five minutes of why we should be thankful for desk jobs.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:11:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-primal-101-video-reveals-the-deadly-details/ActionFar Cry PrimalNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lVjumHDcxhI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>Edit:</strong> Here's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI_HA5Hfr54" target="_blank">a US mirror</a> if the embedded video won't play.</p><p><strong>Original:</strong>&nbsp;So let me make sure I'm absolutely clear on this: the animals want to eat you, the cannibals want to eat you, and the psychotic fire-wielding tribe want to char-grill and maybe eat you if there's nothing else going. It's going to be one of those sorts of days.</p><p>The latest&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-primal-2/" target="_blank">Far Cry Primal</a> video fills in the blanks in the wake of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/two-new-far-cry-videos-show-primals-human-side/" target="_blank">the story trailer</a>. Bear riding, for example, is confirmed;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-primal-gameplay-10-minutes-of-mesolithic-strife/" target="_blank">owl executions</a> also guaranteed. More striking is the confirmation of a settlement-building component in which you not only round up the scattered survivors of your tribe but are required to gather the material to help them open up shop, in turn unlocking more missions and 'spiritual journeys', which are confirmed to involve boobs, in keeping with&nbsp;previous Far Cry games. Tradition is tradition, I guess, but maybe give the video a pass if you're at work.</p><p>Otherwise the trailer is five minutes of anarchic fun, involving phrases&nbsp;like "flaming ball of destruction" and "double bow and arrow". Good stuff.</p> Chaotic Football Manager world record attempt is real-life Twitch Playshttp://www.pcgamer.com/chaotic-football-manager-world-record-attempt-is-real-life-twitch-plays/"Most Trolling To A Save File on a Videogame"Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:16:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/chaotic-football-manager-world-record-attempt-is-real-life-twitch-plays/Football ManagerNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o5ILQZ6-Q1Gs.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_DeWeyZaX9BG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Football Manager Touch"></p><p>Twitch Plays live. Iron men. Hot mess. Any of those will do to describe the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rift-breaks-guinness-world-record-for-most-mmo-marriages-in-a-day/" target="_blank">bizarre Guinness&nbsp;world record attempt</a> being set up by Sports Interactive and the UK's National Football Museum. In the course of 100 days, 100 different&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/1000-years-of-the-beautiful-game-simulated-in-football-manager-15/" target="_blank">Football Manager</a> players will attempt to take Kingsmeadow to the top of the league in Touch mode&nbsp;<em>on one save</em>.</p><p>That's right, each of those 100 managers will play the same save in turn, in-person, picking up where their predecessor left off at the museum itself. The record they're aiming for is "Most Contributions To A Save File on a Videogame".&nbsp;The rest of us will get to find out what catastrophic managerial instability does to a football team.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IdrI043LRkST.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/La2HWw7VZobz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Football Manager Touch 2"></p><p>You can book in to be a part of the event&nbsp;<a href="https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fm100-100-football-managers-100-days-tickets-21222283421" target="_blank">here</a>, but you'll be expected to turn up to Manchester's National Football Museum between 12pm and 1pm from February 12&nbsp;for a minimum of 45 minutes' play, presumably while museum-goers make snide comments about your transfers.</p><p>At the end of the attempt, one manager will be randomly picked to appear as a player in Football Manager 2017 and everyone will receive a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/football-manager-2016-review/" target="_blank">Football Manager 2016</a> with their face on the cover.&nbsp;That's neat.</p> Did Fallout 4 need a new engine?http://www.pcgamer.com/did-fallout-4-need-a-new-engine/As development costs rise ever higher, studios should be praised for working within their means.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/did-fallout-4-need-a-new-engine/Fallout 4RPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tAYOXNXzR9OW.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fc41JG5fC8Pm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fallout 4 top"></p><p> The internet is a sea of opinions, and many of them&nbsp;concern Fallout 4. Hot takes roam the comment threads like Deathclaws prowl the Commonwealth. “Fallout: New Vegas is a vastly superior game,” argues one, oblivious to all of New Vegas’s many faults and failures. “It’s a really bad FPS with statistics,” reckons another, blind to the fact that it’s a great FPS (with statistics). “A brilliant, massive sandbox of systems,” says me, in my review. It’s opinions all the way down.&nbsp;</p><p> Most are harmless enough, and some even make a good point. But one repeated refrain bothers me greatly. It’s the idea that Bethesda should have created a new engine; the suggestion is that, by sticking with Skyrim’s Creation Engine, Fallout 4’s developers were in some way being lazy. This isn’t just wrongheaded, but damaging. It propagates the idea that developers should be forced to utilise the latest, best tech, despite all the ways that could harm a project.&nbsp;</p><p> On some level, it sounds sensible. Fallout 4 has its fair share of bugs and glitches. It functions in a way reminiscent of past Bethesda games. It even looks like like past Bethesda games. Given the increased popularity of Bethesda’s RPGs, it’s understandable to see familiarity breeding contempt. It’s easy to get carried away when you play Fallout 4&mdash;to imagine a version that’s prettier, smoother and more polished.&nbsp;</p><p> The problem is that game development doesn’t work like that. Fallout 4 is a complex, dense production. It works because its development team is now very good at making the kind of games Bethesda makes. They’re deft at weaving together disparate systems into a player-led adventure filled with moment-to-moment choice. A whole new engine could well upset that balance. I suspect that’s why, for all of Skyrim’s improvements, its Creation Engine was just a heavily modified version of Gamebryo. It’s this tech that allows Bethesda’s designers to do what they do,&nbsp;and so it seems counterintuitive to expect them to deviate from it.&nbsp;</p><blockquote> Bethesda should be celebrated for sticking to a modest, sustainable model, because the alternative is fraught with problems.&nbsp; </blockquote><p> The assumption made is that, because Bethesda is a successful studio, it’s also a large one. That isn’t so. A photo of the development team was released at the time of Fallout 4’s launch, showing just over 100 employees (and a dog.) That isn’t many people. I think Bethesda should be celebrated for sticking to a modest, sustainable model, because the alternative is fraught with problems.&nbsp;</p><p> As open worlds become more complex, the returns need to be so much higher. It’s likely this reason that Assassin’s Creed games now flirt with microtransactions; why Metal Gear Solid V has a tumultuous development history; and why Just Cause 3 is a huge, lavish, beautiful space with sod-all in the way of interactivity. Fallout 4 has a season pass, but, based on the studio’s past games, its DLC will at least be substantial. And where every other big release features a lengthy, complicated pre-order reward plan, Fallout 4 had none. There are big consumer benefits when a company can afford to develop its games properly.&nbsp;</p><p> The Creation Engine has other benefits, too. The most obvious of these is mod support. Time and again we’ve seen developers invest in new, more complex engines, resulting in an editor too unwieldy to release to the public. Mod support is the lifeblood of any Bethesda RPG. It will keep Fallout 4 relevant for years to come.&nbsp;</p><p> Despite all this, Bethesda is, to an extent, responsible for the criticism it has received. The announcement trailer for Fallout 4 was pure marketing hype&mdash;presenting moody and beautifully lit versions of environments that look much plainer in-game. The most egregious shot is Nick Valentine walking through the town of Goodneighbor. In the trailer, it’s bathed in smoky reds and purples&mdash;a scene impossible to recreate in-game without mods. But bullshit marketing is a different problem. It’s not a reason to criticise Fallout 4’s developers for creating an excellent game within their means.</p> Plague Inc: Evolved nears its final formhttp://www.pcgamer.com/plague-inc-evolved-nears-its-final-form/What an unusually smooth trip it's been.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:46:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/plague-inc-evolved-nears-its-final-form/NewsPlague Inc: EvolvedPuzzleStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bPvyPKQZTkaz.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-pO6f__YcpJz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Plague Inc. Evolved"></p><p>Usually, if a virus stops adapting, it's finished. Fittingly,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-early-access-report-dead-state-and-plague-inc-evolved/" target="_blank">Plague Inc: Evolved</a> will receive its final Early Access update on February 18, wrapping up two years of development. To their credit, the devs have implemented each and every feature they pledged at the start of the project in addition to requests from players.</p><p>Evolution (update) 18, which will take Plague, Inc&nbsp;to version 1.0, will introduce co-op mode to Steam's premiere pandemic simulator, joining the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/plague-inc-evolved-gets-head-to-head-multiplayer-next-week/" target="_blank">head-to-head play</a> added in December. You and a pal take charge of two different diseases and attempt to bring down civilisation in tandem. That feels a bit unfair on humanity, but I do&nbsp;have a vested interest in not being riddled with disease.&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/plagueincevolved/announcements/detail/975396708496963510" target="_blank">Fine detail on the update</a> can be found on Plague's Steam community&nbsp;page.</p><p>40,224,866,097,135,818 people have been infected by Plague, Inc players. Here's to many more.</p> The horrifying void between dimensions in Portal 2http://www.pcgamer.com/the-horrifying-void-between-dimensions-in-portal-2/Hold me.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 11:47:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-horrifying-void-between-dimensions-in-portal-2/NewsPortal 2Puzzle <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0TZd95BCKMY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Science has gone too far. One minute you're enjoying a spot of light testing, the next you're trapped in the infinite, unknowable void between dimensions, outside of space and time itself, staring at the side of your own head through a kaleidoscope. It's remarkable no one has tried it before.</p><p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYZtp0YIxYOipX15v_h_jnA" target="_blank">YouTuber CrowbCat</a> used the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/portal-2/" target="_blank">Portal 2</a> SDK to set up a test chamber in which two portals could be brought face-to-face. In keeping with scientific spirit, he jumped on in. Somehow, the game doesn't crash and&nbsp;the result is fun to pass off as part of the lore of the universe. In one of an infinite number of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/portal-2-mod-thinking-with-time-machine-now-available-on-steam/" target="_blank">Portal timelines</a>, Chell is lost in the orange and blue folds of the fabric of reality. What a way to go.</p> Amazon launches free 'triple-A' Lumberyard enginehttp://www.pcgamer.com/amazon-launches-free-triple-a-lumberyard-engine/There's a plan to make its competitors timber.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 11:11:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amazon-launches-free-triple-a-lumberyard-engine/AmazonNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/50xCeG9hT-qe.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BUpm3ZyH3i-9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lumberyard meadow"></p><p>News of Amazon dipping its&nbsp;toes in gaming's choppy waters has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amazon-hiring-for-an-ambitious-new-pc-game/" target="_blank">circulating for years</a>, without much to show for it beyond a few big-name hires from the likes of Valve and its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amazon-explains-why-it-bought-twitch/" target="_blank">Twitch takeover</a>. Its ambitions suddenly have much more substance with the launch of Amazon Lumberyard, a free, 'triple-A' game engine named so as to upset eco-warriors everywhere.</p><p>Lumberyard is intended to make developers' lives easier, particularly connectivity work, which tends to require specialised engineers. That comes courtesy of Amazon Web Services' cloud tech and Twitch.&nbsp;Amazon has hard-wired Twitch functionality into the engine itself (including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-plays-made-a-genre-of-its-own/" target="_blank">Twitch&nbsp;Plays</a> commands), which I'm sure will make many devs happy in addition to ensuring no shortage of publicity for Lumberyard itself.</p><p>And yes, my fellow PC gamers, the engine is mod-friendly.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QBMK7imORruB.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sbTg1jIChIa-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lumberyard editor"></p><p>Lumberyard has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crytek-are-also-targeting-indies-announce-royalty-free-cryengine-subscription/" target="_blank">CryEngine</a> DNA. Amazon licensed the software&nbsp;from Crytek&nbsp;and went to town on it, stitching in new networking code and assets pipelines. This might go some way to explaining how Crytek avoided&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crytek-u-k-is-closing-down-following-homefront-sale-while-austin-studio-suffers-layoffs/" target="_blank">complete implosion</a>, although I do wonder if it'll come to regret the decision. How do you compete with free?</p><p>Make no mistake, this is the&nbsp;free sort of free: no download fee, no royalties liable. Depending on how developers take to it, Lumberyard could cause huge upset in the engine business, topping the deals offered by both Unity and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/" target="_blank">Unreal Engine</a>. Even its source code is free to tinker with.&nbsp;The caveat is that developers have to use Amazon as their server infrastructure&nbsp;provider through Amazon Web Services.</p><p>Lumberyard is in beta and&nbsp;<a href="http://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/" target="_blank">free to download now</a> if you have the skills and want to tinker.</p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://gamasutra.com/view/news/265425/Amazon_launches_new_free_highquality_game_engine_Lumberyard.php" target="_blank">Gamasutra</a>.</p> The life of a top Steam achievement hunterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-achievement-hunters/Inside the community that's mining Steam for all the achievements it's worth.Tue, 09 Feb 2016 02:06:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-achievement-hunters/SteamValve <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NJJuS5ufRRGT.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WkKHEfdbCcJ8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Where achievements happen." class=""> <figcaption>Where achievements happen.</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Ryan and Dogs</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WeV8pBz8R3ql.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0zneEpOg_p5Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ss+(2016 02 07+at+03.51.05)" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p><a href="http://www.twitch.tv/xeinok" target="_blank">Xeinok</a>, whose real name is Ryan (and asked I keep his last name private), has climbed the ranks of Steam achievement hunters to become one of the top ranked in the world. He’s earned over 8,000 total achievements and has grabbed every achievement in over 200 games.</p><p> Ryan is part of a community of achievement hunters which gathers in the long-standing <a href="https://steamcommunity.com/groups/100pAG">100% Achievements Steam group</a>, chats <a href="https://discordapp.com/invite/0OkN0DNWIuwkEjJA">on Discord</a>, and compares stats on a couple ranking sites. The most popular of those is <a href="http://astats.astats.nl/astats/">astats.nl</a>, though when we spoke last week Ryan also mentioned <a href="https://truesteamachievements.com/">TrueSteamAchievements</a>, a spin-off of the Xbox site TrueAchievements. These sites don’t just track the total number of achievements earned, or number of games a player has hundred percented&mdash;they also take into account the rarity of an achievement to calculate a score. On astats.nl, Ryan is ranked number two in the US, and number 13 in the world.</p><p> “My whole goal in my career is to go to work and be happy and like what I do,” said Ryan, “and then get the ability to come home and just play PC games all day.” I said he must be living some people’s dreams, to go to a job he enjoys and then go home and play all the games he can.</p><p> “We jokingly say, ‘Go 100 percent life before you come 100 percent games,’” he said. “Because there are some people who are on pretty tough times, and I feel like if they’re pouring all their life energy into trying to perfect all these games it can take away time from going to the gym, or trying to find a better job if you don’t like where you’re at, so we always try to push each other to live life.”</p><p> As a trilingual company executive (which explains how he owns around $5K worth of games), Ryan clearly follows his own advice. Below is our lightly abridged chat, which reveals how much there is to talk about in achievement hunting: mobbing forgotten multiplayer games, playing the best, worst, and hardest games on&nbsp;Steam, identifying cheaters, and discovering impossible achievements. The hobby has driven some to amass <a href="http://astats.astats.nl/astats/User_Info.php?SteamID64=76561197996069336">over 20,000 achievements</a> in thousands of games.</p><p> <strong> PC Gamer: What got you interested in trying to get as many Steam achievements as you could in the first place?</strong></p><p> <strong>Ryan:</strong> I think I’m a little bit of a weird case myself, because growing up I was always the type who would play Chrono Trigger or the original Deus Ex or whatever, and I’d always blast through and try to get 100 percent of everything anyway, so it felt natural for me I think. I was just never much of a console guy, so I didn’t get too into the Xbox thing, with the Gamerscore and all. So yeah, when it came to Steam I was all about it.</p><p> <strong> But there’s a bit of a difference between enjoying getting a few achievements from the games you own and actively seeking out achievements, right?</strong></p><p> Oh, yeah, yeah. You know, I think it gets more and more addictive, I guess. There’s definitely a line you cross eventually as an achievement hunter where you’re searching out games for their achievements and stuff like that. I try to keep it as best I can to still playing games I really enjoy. There are so many games on Steam that you’re never really punishing yourself to play crappy games or anything.</p><p> <strong> When it comes to maximizing the achievements you get, do people&mdash;or do you&mdash;make it a goal to find cheap games with easy achievements, or is it really just about playing whatever you’re interested in?</strong></p><p> It can be both. I think there’s a lot of different sub-categories to achievement hunters, certainly Steam achievement hunters. We’ve got people who really target difficult games, and they just really love to see up on their profile, “Like, hey, I beat Surgeon Sim, or Ikaruga, or Super Meat Boy.” Those games that are really hard, and they love getting those. And then there’s the total opposite. There’s people who are achievement hunters and every single day they’ll check Indiegala and Bundle&nbsp;Stars looking for the easiest visual novel kind of crap game that they can blast through, and you know, add another tick to their hundred percented games.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4ems95kuRkmG.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J0MNyEXKDbmi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hundred percenting a game like Ikaruga is a point of pride for" class=""><figcaption>Hundred percenting a game like Ikaruga is a point of pride.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong> So, at the time we’re talking, how many achievements do you have?</strong></p><p> Let me pull up my Steam profile. I have 209 games that perfected, got all the achievements in, and I have about 7,700 achievements right now. [I checked his Steam profile before this was published, and it’s actually 8,112.]</p><p> <strong> That’s a lot of achievements.</strong></p><p> Ah, it’s not too bad. I’m more the type that leans on the side of the more difficult types of games, so they’re considered more valuable in all of our leaderboards. So that’s how I can be ranked as high, but I know a guy, he’s probably top in the world right now. He’s from Chile, and I think he has 750 games hundred percented right now. He’s a total machine. Including, like, every single Final Fantasy game. He’s done them all and they’re all really hard games to get all the achievements in.</p><p> <strong> What’s the hardest achievement you’ve gotten?</strong></p><p> The hardest one? Let me see. Steam will sort it for you automatically, they give you this little achievement showcase thing, and right now it says the rarest one I have is from Guns of Icarus, which is a multiplayer airship battle game. I guess it was to win a bunch of games with a completely new player on my team. So, sounds like that was pretty tough.</p><p> If I had to pick one off the top of my head that’s not based on rarity, I’d probably say Dishonored. The DLC that released for Dishonored was really, really brutal. There’s some achievements in there that you had to play through a score attack kind of mode, getting only headshots, and that game doesn’t have the best aim always. So that was pretty tough. There’s another game called La-Mulana that’s on Steam, made by a Japanese indie dev, and that was completely brutal all the way through. That game’s super, super tough if you haven’t played it.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/958M2fZBSIG5.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aYTFifwvxr5l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Guns of Icarus " class=""><figcaption>Multiplayer achievements can prove tough to get for older games.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong> Over email you talked about the community growing around Steam achievement hunting, where can someone find that?</strong></p><p> Yeah, there’s a ton of people. We <a href="https://discordapp.com/invite/0OkN0DNWIuwkEjJA">use Discord</a>, we have a big group of achievement hunters on there, it’s always growing. There’s usually about 40 to 80 of us online, just kind of talking about achievements, and chatting, hanging out on VOIP. And then there’s also a large Steam group with probably 20K-plus people or so, and it’s just called the <a href="https://steamcommunity.com/groups/100pAG">100% Achievements group</a>. There’s a super active Steam chat, the most active Steam chat I’ve ever seen, people are always in there talking, trading tips and stuff. And then, yeah, we have a couple different community websites that are really big right now.</p><p> The main one we use is <a href="http://astats.astats.nl/astats/">astats.nl</a>. It was just made by a prominent achievement hunter a few years back and it’s got all the world top people up there, it’s totally made for achievement hunters, has a bunch of cool features. And then the TrueAchievements brand, it’s an Xbox site, but they’re a&nbsp;super massive, really popular website... they just released this new Steam achievement website called <a href="https://truesteamachievements.com/">TrueSteamAchievements</a>, so that’s an upcoming, big thing there.</p><p> <strong> So anyone who wants to join the community should head to these places?</strong></p><p> Yeah, everyone’s super welcoming. There’s people who have just a couple games, people who don’t have anything yet. We’re super welcoming, super nice. We try to emulate the speedrunning community as much as we can with how awesome they’ve been and the events that they do, being really nice to new people and helping them out.</p><p> <strong> Is there any achievement hunter lingo people should know before jumping in?</strong></p><p> We have some. Obviously I think it’s normal to say ‘cheevo’ instead of achievements, or ‘achieves.’ People say different stuff for that. A funny one that we say is ‘hundo,’ like a verb form, ‘to hundo’ is to hundred percent it. Or when we uninstall a game right after hundred percenting it, a game you hated or something, you really trudged through it and it was a grind and you’re done, you can say ‘I huninstalled that game.’ So just dumb stuff like that.</p><p> And every time someone gets a hundred percent in a game we’ll post in chat and everyone else will post a Steam emote trophy at them, or something like that. Recently we’ve had some friends where it autocorrected the trophy emote and they ended up typing a trolley bus. So now when someone hundred percents a game everyone will post trolleys at them.</p><p> <strong> Can you explain how the ranking sites, astats.nl for instance, rank players? It’s not just total number of achievements, right?</strong></p><p> The different leaderboard sites have slightly different formulas that they use, but pretty much what it does is check how many people have this game, how many people have played this game, which usually means they have at least one achievements in it or they have 5 minutes of play time&nbsp;&hellip; The formula takes that number of players and pretty much divides it by the achievements, by how many people have gotten each one, and builds up a rarity evaluation for it. So take Super Meat Boy for example: a ton of people will have beat world one. It’s pretty easy to do, almost everyone who buys the game is going to do that. So that’s going to be worth, like, one point. And then the last achievement in that game is like Golden God&mdash;something like get all the other achievements in the game and beat the game in one run, be a psycho badass type of thing, and it’s probably worth a ton, because very few people can do it.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1OwjONDRQgCj.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F62UmhTpHIG2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rare achievements in popular games are worth lots of points." class=""><figcaption>Rare achievements in popular games are worth a&nbsp;lot of points.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong> Did you get all the Super Meat Boy achievements?</strong></p><p> [Laughs] No I have not. I have not even attempted it. Some day&hellip; It’s funny though, you know, the way that formula works, it ends up doing some stuff you might not think about at first. So a game like Guns of Icarus that’s not exactly super difficult, but has a ton of achievements and has a lot of people who played it once or twice but didn’t really stick with it&mdash;that really boosts the value of a game like that.</p><p> Another one I just completed is a brutal roguelike on Steam called Tales of Maj'Eyal&nbsp;&hellip; It’s like an old-school sort of ASCII art, type of Nethack, kind of roguelike thing going on. But it’s permadeath, it takes you 30 hours to beat the game once, it’s so brutal. People come into the grinder, they play it once, and they’re like, “Oh God no.” They run away, so the value just skyrockets for the game because they played it but didn’t get too many achievements.</p><p> <strong> So there must be games out there that are almost impossible to complete, like old multiplayer games no one is playing anymore.</strong></p><p> Yeah, totally. We usually have an event every week on Saturday, organized by a buddy of mine who’s a moderator on astats and a moderator of the 100% Achievements Steam group, and every week we all jump on Discord and that’s exactly what we do. We jump onto an old, dead, multiplayer game and we knock it out, since no one else is playing it. We did Fistful of Frags a couple weeks ago&hellip; and we did some dinosaur game [after that].</p><p> <strong> I wonder how many people have achievements from games you can’t even buy anymore.</strong></p><p> Yeah, you know, some people collect games like that. They love to collect Steam games that have been removed from the story, and the achievements go right along with that. Some people are really into getting achievements from games that are going to be removed.</p><p> <strong> So they just buy the worst games, knowing they’ll be removed?</strong></p><p> Yeah, they’re trying for it. There was a game, what was it called? Moonrise. It was on Steam up until the end of this year, and it was kind of like a Pokemon MMO that was on Steam. I’d never heard of it. And they posted that the servers were shutting down at the end of December so I know a ton of achievement hunter buddies jumped on it to hundred percent it before it went away.</p><p> The funny thing, though, is actually the enforcement and moderation is really intense. So if a game has a broken achievement that’s unattainable we’ll mark it as that on astats and TrueSteamAchievements, and then that means it counts for no points, and it won’t count against you for getting the hundred percent. There’s a lot of games that have broken achievements, and there are games that are completely broken, or get removed from the Store, so they no longer count count for your standing on the leaderboards. This includes some weird stuff, like in Left 4 Dead 2 there was one weekend a few years back where they had an achievement called ‘Good Guy Nick,’ and you got that by completing the campaign once with a completely new player of Left 4 Dead 2, which was super rare, because everyone and their brother had played Left 4 Dead 2. So they only had one weekend for it, and the people who got it got it, and Valve has said nothing about it ever coming back again. So, that achievement is marked as ‘broken’ now, because it’s completely unattainable.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L5aYFsMJRjqk.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LU1sxCJja-bS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="You may never be able to earn a certain L4D2 achievement." class=""> <figcaption>You may never be able to earn a certain L4D2 achievement.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Do you have any trouble with cheating?</strong></p><p> One unfortunate thing for the Steam achievement hunting community as opposed to the Xbox and PlayStation is the existence of this program that people use to get cards and rewards in games. There’s a program called IdleMaster that just loads a bunch of Steam games and sits in them. And there’s a program literally just called Steam Achievement Manager. It’s really obvious to us, and the moderation staff, when someone will&nbsp;just cheat all their achievements and unlock them all at once, because you get timestamps for everything,&nbsp;so that stuff is brutally moderated. The system autodetects a ton of cheating. Stuff like using trainers, or changing your BIOS system date, or having someone else play for you, stuff like that&mdash;we take that stuff super, super seriously. We know everyone on the leaderboards is legitimate because we’re a police state. Super enforced rules.</p><p> Console commands are usually all good to go for us, in terms of, they’re not considered cheating. Spawning bots, or&nbsp;making a game mode super weird, going into [Team Fortress 2's]&nbsp;Man vs. Machine and making the robots do weird stuff.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong>So anything you can do in the game is considered fair?</strong></p><p> Yeah, for the most part.&nbsp;Automatically unlocking things or going against what the developers have&nbsp;expressly said or wanted&mdash;we always try to stay on the good side of the developers. So using outside programs, modifying the game files, that’s all out, that's all totally illegal.&nbsp;Using glitches, just like speedrunners, exploits, glitches, tricks, all that is pretty much good to go. In-game cheats are cool. I was playing Duke Nukem 3D recently&nbsp;and it has God mode, so that's totally acceptable.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong> Can you remember what the worst game you hundred percented was?</strong></p><p> [Laughs] That’s a good question. Right now I’d have to say, there’s a game on Steam called Ninja Guy. It looks like Banjo-Kazooie in space almost, but you’re this white ninja guy who is just super racist, yelling the most horrible racist things constantly. The game is so buggy, so crash happy, it has like three levels and you can beat it in 30 minutes. Everything about it, it makes you go, “How is this even on Steam?” It’s just so offensive and bad. That’s probably the worst one, yeah.</p><p> <em>Big thanks to Ryan for talking with us. To reiterate some of what he said, anyone interested in joining the achievement hunting community can join the <a href="https://steamcommunity.com/groups/100pAG">100% Achievement group on Steam</a>, the <a href="https://discordapp.com/invite/0OkN0DNWIuwkEjJA">Discord chat</a>, and sign up at <a href="http://astats.astats.nl/astats/">astats.nl</a> and <a href="https://truesteamachievements.com/">TrueSteamAchievements</a>. Y</em>ou can also find Ryan&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/xeinok">streaming on Twitch</a>.</p> The best XCOM 2 character is, indisputably, Emily Blunthttp://www.pcgamer.com/emily-blunt-xcom-2-rita-vrataski/Why Rita "Full Metal Bitch" Vrataski is aninsanelyappropriate fitfor XCOM 2.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/emily-blunt-xcom-2-rita-vrataski/StrategyXCOM 2 <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4-0GMyzuTJSl.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bi31VceccnWt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rita Vratski"></p><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-soldiers/">Creating characters</a> you love in XCOM 2 is just as difficult as&nbsp;coping with their&nbsp;irrevocable deaths. XCOM 2's character editor is&nbsp;a good set of tools&mdash;much better than&nbsp;XCOM: Enemy Unknown, where I&nbsp;would reroll my game several times until I got the gender/nationality mix that I liked. But for me&nbsp;there's nothing worse than chasing ADVENT&nbsp;around the globe with a cast that doesn't&nbsp;quite 'fit' in XCOM 2's universe.&nbsp;</p><p> I can build&nbsp;a terrific&nbsp;<a href="http://i.imgur.com/aDG0NT6.jpg">Wolverine</a>, but if XCOM 2 rolls him as anything but a blade-wielding Ranger, it jumbles the already-shuffled fiction I've constructed.&nbsp;Furiosa is a convincing Grenadier, but only when she's wearing armor and face paint&nbsp;that's available through the&nbsp;<a href="https://xcom.com/news/xcom-enemy-unknown-is-free-to-play-on-steam-this-weekend">Resistance Warrior Pack pre-order bonus</a>. Once you upgrade to second-tier armor, she stops looking like she stepped right off of Fury Road.</p><p> Emily Blunt, on the other hand, is the most thematically appropriate XCOM 2 cameo conceivable. In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamesradar.com/edge-of-tomorrow-review/">Edge of Tomorrow</a>, her character Rita Vrataski:</p><ol> <li>Fights&nbsp;a hopeless war to save humanity from aliens who have colonized&nbsp;Earth</li> <li>Wears a movement-assisting suit that looks identical to XCOM 2's E.X.O. Suit</li> <li>Has a big sword, but also shoots things</li> <li>Speaks with a British accent (I recommend "UK English 2" in XCOM 2)</li><li>Is an alien&nbsp;killing god-badass</li></ol><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T2KTXUFVRvyG.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9bx1WL9-zCvX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rita Vrataski Xcom 2"></p><p> Maybe the biggest piece of Venn diagram overlap, though, is the way&nbsp;Edge of Tomorrow's premise&nbsp;mirrors&nbsp;the way we play XCOM 2. Edge of Tomorrow sees Blunt and Tom&nbsp;Cruise's characters trapped in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, unable to escape mankind's fate of losing a worldwide war against aliens. Vrataski is right at home in a setting where loss and setback are inevitable, but even further, it's arguably canon&nbsp;to create her again in-game if she dies. Or, if you're not playing on Ironman,&nbsp;reload your&nbsp;save file if she's killed.</p><p> All of that&nbsp;symmetry was too perfect&nbsp;for me to keep&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ELahti/status/696588680094285824">on Twitter</a>. 'Full Metal Bitch,' Vrataski's moniker in the movie, sadly doesn't fit all the way in XCOM 2's&nbsp;nickname field, but maybe a mod will address that. In the meantime here she is doing what she loves: vaporizing aliens with a wrist-mounted cannon.</p> <div style="width: 100%; height: 0px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.250%;"> <iframe src="https://streamable.com/e/zdoa?logo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" style="width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"> </iframe> </div><p>I've added Rita to our growing&nbsp;list of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-xcom-2-soldiers/">downloadable&nbsp;XCOM 2 custom characters</a>.</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:00:00 +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> <strong>Some highlights of this week: </strong>Steam's Lunar New Year sale is underway with deals like<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/255710/"> Cities: Skylines for $12</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/213670/">South Park: The Stick of Truth for $7.49</a>. Amazon has some game deals, too, but they're mostly going to match what Steam has to offer. In Hardware, Newegg has a 27" 144 Hz 1440p display for $480, and HyperX headsets are on sale at Amazon.&nbsp;</p><p><strong></strong><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" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h4>Hardware deals:</h4><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Two 8GB sticks (16GB total) of Crucial DDR4 2133 RAM</strong> is only <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMLUYQK/?tag=pcgedit-20" target="_blank">$70 on Amazon</a>, a good choice if you are looking to upgrade to a Skylake CPU.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash; </strong>The<b style="background-color: initial;">&nbsp;Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler</b> is down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005O65JXI/?tag=pcgedit-20" target="_blank">$30 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>ASUS MG279Q 27" 144 Hz 2560x1440 monitor</strong>&nbsp;is at <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236466" target="_blank">$480 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash; </strong>The <strong>HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset</strong> is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/HyperX-Cloud-Gaming-Headset-KHX-H3CL/dp/B00JJNQG98/?tag=pcgedit-20">$78.39 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The&nbsp;<strong>Corsair Gaming M65 RGB FPS Gaming Mouse</strong> is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Gaming-Aircraft-Grade-Aluminum-CH-9000109-NA/dp/B014W1YRY2/?tag=pcgedit-20">$50 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></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><h4>Game deals:&nbsp;</h4><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash; Steam's Lunar New Year Sale</strong>&nbsp;has&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/">discounts on thousands of games</a>. Here are some highlights.</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/255710/">Cities: Skylines for $12</a></p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/261570/">Ori and the Blind Forest for $10</a></p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/200510/">XCOM: Enemy Unknown for $7.50</a></p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/271590/">Grand Theft Auto 5 for $40.19</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Call of Duty: Black Ops III</strong>&nbsp;is down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Call-Duty-Black-Ops-III-Standard/dp/B00VU4IXIQ/?tag=pcgedit-20">$28 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"></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. Disclosure note: The Golden Joystick Store is operated by Future, which also owns PC Gamer.&nbsp;</em></p> Blizzard is 25 years old todayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-is-25-years-old-today/Happy birthday to Blizzard!Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:48:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-is-25-years-old-today/BlizzardNews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yeA6rT5LaEQ?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> On February 8, 1991, three guys from California founded a company you've likely never heard of, called Silicon &amp; Synapse. Today, that same company marked 25 years of incredibly successful operation, most of it under a different name you certainly have heard of: Blizzard Entertainment.</p><p> Blizzard did some cool but relatively unremarkable things in its early days, like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-lost-vikings-return-to-action-in-heroes-of-the-storm/">Lost Vikings</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzards-16-bit-platformer-blackthorne-is-now-available-as-free-download/">Blackthorne</a>, but Warcraft: Orcs &amp; Humans in 1994, and then Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness in '95 really set things rolling. After that came Diablo, StarCraft, World of Warcraft, years of sequels and expansions galore, and in more recent history, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, both of them big hits in their own right.</p><p> There are literally no duds in that list, and so it's perfectly understandable (and forgivable) that the 25th anniversary celebration video Blizzard released today is more of a quickie flashback to past glories than it is a look ahead to the future&mdash;although CEO Mike Morhaime wraps up by saying he's excited for what's coming. “We have, I think, some of the most talented developers. We're going to have some really awesome games to play in the future,” he says. “So once again thank you for showing your support, for continuing to play our games, and we hope to live up to the high expectations that you guys have of us.”</p> Build of the week: Cerberohttp://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-cerbero/The angular design of this bizarre build is a mind-messer.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-cerbero/Build of the weekHardware Night in the Woods will be out this fallhttp://www.pcgamer.com/night-in-the-woods-will-be-out-this-fall/The 2D adventure/exploration game earned more than $200,000 on Kickstarter in 2013.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:40:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/night-in-the-woods-will-be-out-this-fall/AdventureInfinite FallNewsNight in the Woods <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/night-in-the-woods/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F1exeVUQRuOQ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G_by6g2pska2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Night in the Woods"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/night-in-the-woods/">Night in the Woods</a> is a 2D adventure/exploration game starring a cat named Mae who returns to her hometown after a dropping out of college to discover that things aren't quite as she remembers them. It's all about running, jumping, astral projection, wasting time with loser friends, discovering secrets, playing bass, and breaking stuff&mdash;potentially very cool, in other words. It came out of <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1307515311/night-in-the-woods/description">Kickstarter</a> in the fall of 2013 with more than four times its $50,000 goal, but the “estimated delivery date” of January 2015 didn't happen. Fortunately, the wheels of development have continued to turn, and developer Infinite Fall announced today that the game will be out later this year.</p><p> The word of the release season came at the end of a trio of tweets that began with “Hello,” continued through “ahem,” and then wrapped up with this:</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Night In The Woods will be released this fall. <a href="https://t.co/qs8FQ5Ozn6">pic.twitter.com/qs8FQ5Ozn6</a></p><p>&mdash; Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods) <a href="https://twitter.com/NightInTheWoods/status/696694140847943682">February 8, 2016</a></p></blockquote><p> It's not the most precise announcement ever, but it's nice to know that things are firming up, even if there's still a wait ahead. For now, you can find out more about the game at <a href="http://www.nightinthewoods.com/">nightinthewoods.com</a>.</p><p> Thanks, <a href="http://www.pcgamesn.com/night-in-the-woods-to-release-this-fall-according-to-devs">PCGamesN</a>.</p> Theorycraftr democratizes League of Legends analyticshttp://www.pcgamer.com/theorycraftr-democratizes-league-of-legends-analytics/Behind the web app that promises to help you master your matchups.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/theorycraftr-democratizes-league-of-legends-analytics/League of LegendsMOBAPro <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KcbH7z2bQPWN.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P1okCr4-W6kl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LoL Theorycraftr"></p><p> Six months is a long time to go without a steady gig, but former AAA predictive modeler Jason Park had an itch to scratch that his old job wasn’t fulfilling. The man behind <a href="http://theorycraftr.com/#!/">Theorycraftr.com</a> wanted a way to democratize analytics for the League of Legends community&mdash;even if it meant learning everything about engineering the software to do so from the ground up.</p><p> The inspiration for Theorycraftr was simple: a commonly-expressed desire for a comprehensive theorycrafting tool from the large League of Legends community on Reddit. "I wanted to learn new technologies," says Park. "I wanted to do something that I really enjoy. My inspiration was the subreddit&mdash;a lot of comments mentioning that they wished they had a champion-building tool. I thought that would be the perfect project or excuse to start learning everything I wanted to learn."</p><p> Park was also motivated by the limitations of his old job. "From my skillsets point of view, I was just purely doing predictive modeling. A lot of statistics. And I thought, even with such a big corporation, there's such a big disconnect between analytics and engineering&mdash;IT, basically. I wanted to expand my skillset to a full-blown data scientist." Though he considered expanding his skillsets via alternative occupations, the allure of the competitive gaming community, and its increasing mainstream presence, ultimately led to his decision to go indie for half a year.</p><p> "I'm in Silicon Valley, nerd central, and there's conversations in Starbucks where people talk about AP Corki or whatever. So I thought, 'okay, this is a big enough audience," Park remembers. "There's big enough interest in people just talking about builds. So I thought, 'let's do two birds; one stone.' Do something I love, and also expand my skillset."</p><p> The lack of a pre-existing service on League of Legends websites helped spur his efforts, but it did mean he had to basically create everything from scratch. "Everything was new to me," says Park. "I literally had to start with beginning tutorials for Javascript, MongoDB, all these foreign languages and programs I had no idea about."</p><p> To aid his solo effort, Park deliberately chose programs with a minimum amount of administration needed. But that still meant single-handedly handling the database, back-end, front-end, and even design. Six months later, a working prototype was borne.</p><h3>Modeling behavior</h3><p> "The Theorycraftr building system is an archive of all aspects of League of Legends contributing to calculating damage," Park wrote in an introductory post on Reddit. In short, it lets users compare champion stats, assign skills and attacks, mess around with item builds, and finally answer if G2 Kikis's legendary Twisted Fate jungle from last year was actually a good idea or not (at least on paper).</p><p> The project as-is basically allows anybody to simulate the outcomes of a battle without having to actually get into the game themselves, or worse&mdash;actually calculate each interaction by hand or elaborate spreadsheets. With access to Riot's API, it also allows players and analysts to do patch-vs-patch comparisons, to see who dropped off past usability with patch changes, or who's been buffed into relevance.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XD7Qap71rEA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Currently, it only allows players to do theoretical matches, but Park wants to make it relevant past the hardcore stats-obsessed demographic, and to players in general. "I still have to research this and do vetting if this is feasible and maintainable, but what I want to do is set up the Theorycraftr engine and apply it to match history. So what I want to do is, if you have a match and you lost, you can go back in time to a major fight and you can switch out some of your items. It'll tell you how much your defense increased, how much your output would have increased, and everything would adjust accordingly."</p><p> He also hopes to have it apply to professional games as well, though that would first require access to the tournament server data&mdash;if not available, then at least the public server accounts of professional players. "My philosophy in all of this, which I think I accomplished, is that I wanted to democratize analytics. What I want to make Theorycraftr into is: I want regular players to feel as if they have a team of analysts around them. They actually have serious tools that are very accessible."</p><h3>Performance limit</h3><p> According to Park, Theorycraftr as-is is still short of his full vision. The match history implementation is expected to finish at around June&mdash;a full year's worth of effort. But along the way, he's attracted a lot of high profile attention. "I don't know if this is supposed to be out there, but I got private messages from Curse, Fnatic, bunch of other websites... the one super-weird one was Mark Cuban!"</p><p> While public reception of Theorycraftr has been positive, team analysts are a little more skeptical of its application. Former CBLoL analyst Renato "Shakarez" Perdigão notes that there are hard limits to what you can predict off damage calculations alone. "It's basically too theoretical and not practical at all," said Perdigão. "League isn't a 1v1 game, and the way it's calculated is always assuming perfect scenarios where you hit every skillshot&mdash;which frankly doesn't happen 99% of the time."</p><p> Factors like movespeed and map movement self-evidently can't be modeled by Theorycraftr, but Oceania's Mike "Cyranoss" Giglio is more balanced in his reception. "I thought it makes a really good baseline tool to teach someone a lane matchup," said Giglio. "You can pretty easily plug your opponent's usual build and see when you're stronger vs when you're weaker&mdash;and, as a result, how you should play different parts of the matchup. That sort of baseline can be really useful for a player just trying to pick up a champion."</p><p> He's more skeptical about Park's plans for match history analysis. "Due to the way teams have to play scrims, and there being a tournament realm, it's unlikely this system will be the one that finds a work-around no one else has." Pro teams have a habit of minimizing scouting potential by not playing scrims in full, preventing match history from recording the results of their game.</p><p> But even more than that, Giglio points out that scrim and solo queue behavior can often be at drastic odds with what shows up on stage&mdash;something that dynamic queue, which encourages teams to queue together, doesn't actually solve. "Even if the whole team groups together, most players are more paranoid than coaches about giving away information to other teams. So they play silly champions together, or all swap roles, or other nonsense. I've never worked with a team that played together normally on live servers unless they had to play ranked 5s to qualify for a tournament."</p><p> With that in mind, however, Giglio admits that there's a viable market below the LCS level. "If Riot is still doing ranked 5s to qualify for Challenger events, teams involved in those would definitely benefit the most."</p><hr id="horizontal rule"> <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> Terror Birds and grappling hooks come to Ark: Survival Evolvedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/terror-birds-and-grappling-hooks-come-to-ark-survival-evolved/I'm not sure "terror" is the word I would use.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:43:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/terror-birds-and-grappling-hooks-come-to-ark-survival-evolved/Ark: Survival EvolvedNewsStudio WildcardSurvival <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bb8eDpB7q3M?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> An all-new, almost-flying menace known as <em>Phorusrhacidae rapidesultor</em> has joined the strange realm of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved/">Ark: Survival Evolved</a>. But don't worry about struggling with that tongue-twisting handle, because you can just call it the Terror Bird for short.</p><p> The Terror Bird stands from eight to 12 feet tall, and while it can't actually fly, it is capable of “high-speed sprints and brief leaps.” It's aggressive but can be tamed, and its combination of fast ground-based travel and near-flight capabilities makes an excellent combat mount. It's also kind of goofy looking, which I like: Getting smoked by a T. rex is one thing, but taking a thumping at the hands (claws?) of an oversized dodo bird adds a layer of humiliation to the action that I consider a real selling point.</p><p> The latest Ark update also includes the “game-changing” grappling hook tool that gives players the ability to climb sheer walls, snag objects, and drag (or be dragged by) creatures of various sorts, including those that fly. Tribal Alliances are now functional, enabling small Tribes to band together against larger ones in both PvP and PvE modes, and Coel fish now come in different sizes that provide differing amounts of resources.</p><p> The Ark: Survival Evolved Terror Bird update&mdash;technically known as version 2235&mdash;is live now, while the game itself is on sale for $20/£15 as part of the ongoing <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110">Steam Lunar New Year Sale</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oFCBsQPhTvmy.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IIrM1Bmh72f3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Terror Bird"></p> Your most loved and hated gaming charactershttp://www.pcgamer.com/your-most-loved-and-hated-gaming-characters/We asked the PC Gamer community for the characters they love, and those they love to hate.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/your-most-loved-and-hated-gaming-characters/Fallout 4Far Cry 3Half-Life 2Metal Gear Solid 5Stalker: Shadow of ChernobylThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Fallout 4 mod brings Geralt's gear to the Wastelandhttp://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-mod-brings-geralts-gear-to-the-wasteland/The Witcher goes post-nuclear.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:29:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-mod-brings-geralts-gear-to-the-wasteland/Bethesda SoftworksCD ProjektFallout 4FPSModNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sbIQHRJ8Ch8?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Envision this: An attractive young man is walking down the street, not really paying attention to where he's going, with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</a> in his hands. Coming from the opposite direction, a similarly inattentive young woman carrying <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4/">Fallout 4</a>. Rounding a corner, they run headlong into one another! “You got your Witcher in my Fallout!” she exclaims. And in reply, he cries, “You got your Fallout in my... wait, no, you're right. That's Witcher 3 in Fallout 4, for sure.”</p><p> The “Geralt's Prologue Gear” mod adds the Witcher crossbow, Geralt's outfit, and the Witcher wolf mask to Fallout 4. The weapon and outfit are available in different models and colors, while the mask has selectable eye designs. And based on the teaser video, they look great&mdash;mainly because they're built on the original models and textures used in The Witcher 3. The mod maker, Renn, linked to an <a href="http://imgur.com/DgRNgAp">image of an email</a> he received granting him permission to use the assets, something CD Projekt said it normally doesn't allow.</p><p> “We can make an exception and allow you to use The Witcher assets in accordance with what is in your email below and within this scope. Please just make sure that you do not create any kind of impression that CD Projekt SA is your official partner, co-author of your derivative work, or that it assumes any responsibility for the result of your work,” the studio wrote. It also asked that he ensure it's not used for anything “racist, xenophobic, sexist, defamatory or otherwise offensive or illegal,” and of course that it not be used for commercial purposes.</p><p> Solid move, guys. The Geralt's Prologue Gears mod for Fallout 4 is available from <a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/9519/?">Nexus Mods</a>.</p><p> Thanks, <a href="http://www.vg247.com/2016/02/08/fallout-4-witcher-3-mod/">VG247</a>.</p> Firewatch reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-review/Hiking through a beautiful wilderness in the moving, mysterious debut game from Campo Santo.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-review/AdventureFirewatchReviews <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5><p><strong>What is it? </strong>A first-person adventure game about a fire watchman.<br><strong></strong><strong>Expect to pay</strong> £15/$20<br><strong></strong><strong>Developer</strong> Campo Santo<br><strong></strong><strong>Publishe</strong>r Panic<br><strong></strong><strong>Reviewed on</strong> GeForce GTX 970, Intel i7-950, 16GB RAM<br><strong></strong><strong>Multiplayer</strong> None<br><strong></strong><strong>Link </strong><a href="http://www.firewatchgame.com">www.firewatchgame.com</a></p></div><p>Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming is a picturesque 2.5 million acre expanse of forests, canyons, lakes, mountains, and rivers. Over 60% of this rugged, alluring landscape is covered in fir, pine, and spruce&nbsp;trees, which makes the area prone to wildfires. And as a newly hired fire watchman at Two Forks Lookout, it’s your job to spot&nbsp;these fires, report them, and&nbsp;stop them spreading. It’s a lonely job in a lonely place, but that’s exactly what you wanted.</p><p>Henry, the protagonist of Firewatch, is running away. People who take jobs like this usually are. Some people flee to Antarctica&mdash;the subject of Werner Herzog documentary Encounters at the End of the World&mdash;while others, like our hero, prefer the vast, forested wildernesses of North America. I won’t say what he’s escaping from, because it’s better if you find out yourself, but it’s enough to make a man in his forties leave the world behind and hike for two days into the middle of nowhere.</p><p>After a long trek through the woods, you finally reach the tower. As you enter, a walkie-talkie crackles to life and a warm, dulcet voice urges you to pick it up. This is Delilah, a fellow lookout who introduces herself by brazenly, and slightly mischievously, asking what happened in your life that made you want to take a job all the way out here. Exhausted from the trip and caught off guard by her probing, you avoid the question and go to sleep. Tomorrow, your new life begins.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uE13nC3mR3iZ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mfirVcp8wodo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="383870 2016-02-04 00028"></p><p>Delilah apologies the next day, and a friendship begins to bloom. The relationship is playful and a joy to eavesdrop on. As you wander the wilderness and investigate, among other things, plumes of smoke and a couple of rowdy teenagers setting off fireworks, you can point at something&mdash;a landmark, an lost backpack, a cave, whatever&mdash;and bring up the walkie-talkie to ask her about it. She knows the area well, revealing its history and pointing you in the right direction if you get lost.</p><p>These early moments, hiking through the serene forests and valleys of the Shoshone, talking to Delilah, listening to the wind blowing through the trees, are beautifully peaceful. A map and compass let you do some basic orienteering, and although your location is shown on the map, there’s an option to disable it if you’d rather do things the old-fashioned way. It’s a gorgeous place to explore, with a rich, colourful art style and a vivid sense of place. And careful, measured pacing means you can amble at your leisure without worrying too much about objectives or time limits.</p><p>The world is mostly open from the start, meaning you can wander off the beaten path and ignore your objective if you want. Some areas are locked until you find certain equipment&mdash;like pitons to wedge into rocks and anchor ropes to&mdash;but for the most part you’re free to wander. Environmental details bring your surroundings to life and give them a sense of history, from old lookout towers and rusting snowmobiles abandoned in winter, to the remains of a summer camp. Over time you get better at finding your way around, using landmarks to orient yourself without needing the map.</p><p>A stylish, minimal soundtrack by Gone Home composer Chris Remo uses sparse layers of electric guitar and bass to give weight to important moments, but most of the time all you can hear is the sound of nature around you: trickling streams, rustling leaves, the quiet howl of the wind, squawking birds. This limited use of scoring makes the times when the music does come in more special, because you know its arrival heralds something emotional, dramatic, or revelatory. And although you’re almost always in conversation with Delilah, there are some sections of quiet where you can enjoy the game’s excellent environmental audio design.</p><p>There are some problems to overcome in the wilds, like abseiling down shale slides with climbing ropes, locating supply caches, and finding ways around impassable areas, but it’s not a taxing game at all. It’s more about story, ambience, and exploration than any kind of challenge. Everything happens in the first-person, and I love the chunky, expressive animations of Henry’s arms and stubby, hairy legs as he scrambles up rocky cliffs, picks things up and examines them,&nbsp;and reclines at his desk. You never see his face, but his limbs alone have more personality than some entire characters in other games.</p><p>The voice acting is fantastic too. Henry is played by Rich Sommer&mdash;Mad Men's Harry Crane, TV fans&mdash;and his performance is superbly understated and naturalistic. He has a wry, self-effacing sense of humour, and I enjoyed spending time with him. Cissy Jones, who plays Delilah, is great too, and the chemistry between the two characters is one of the highlights of the game. The way their relationship grows, and how they comfort each other at low points, is wonderfully written, even though they communicate entirely by walkie-talkie. And the dialogue is touching, but never feels cloying or forced. A joke is always waiting if things get too saccharine.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/niC3T0CIRR2F.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2tFgXaosbArQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="383870 2016-02-03 00037"></p><p>But this calm can’t last forever, and it’s not long before your daily routine is interrupted. A series of strange events, including a brief glimpse of a shadowy figure in the woods, sets a mystery in motion that shifts the tone of the game dramatically. What begins as a gentle David Attenborough documentary suddenly turns into an episode of Lost, and the pace gets more fraught as a result. Just as you’ve settled into the easy rhythm of Henry’s new life, you’re faced with a series of unnerving experiences, and the change is quite jarring. The mood of the forest&nbsp;changes too, from a safe, solitary place to somewhere where you feel like you’re being watched.</p><p>I might have been imagining it, but from this point on, as I walked through the trees, I was sure I could hear the crunch of twigs behind me. Like someone was following me. The mystery (that’s as specific as I can get) is intriguing, and you become aware of how isolated Henry is, miles from any city, alone except for a voice on a walkie-talkie. It plays brilliantly to these feelings of loneliness, and Delilah becomes an emotional lifeline: for Henry and you. She’s a reassuring voice in the darkness, but the game cleverly uses this against you too. I’m being spectacularly vague here, but the game is so heavy on story that any more details would damage your experience.</p><p>But here lies my biggest issue with Firewatch. The resolution to this mystery just didn’t work for me. A compelling setup gave way to a fairly rushed, unsatisfying conclusion, and I didn’t feel like Henry had gone on any meaningful journey as a character. The events that happened in the Shoshone didn’t seem to have much relevance to him personally, or even on a thematic level. Maybe I just didn’t pick up on it, but I was left with a feeling that there was more left to explore. It seemed like there was no real, meaty connecting tissue between what happened in the forest,&nbsp;what brought him there, and the story's conclusion.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DKtpG4nFRuqL.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eZY8evfUDI7K.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="383870 2016-02-04 00014"></p><p>His relationship with Delilah was much more interesting to me. It’s one of the most delightful, sincere, believable relationships between two people I’ve encountered in a game. And the fact that this was achieved entirely through a walkie-talkie&mdash;without millions of dollars spent on performance capture technology&mdash;speaks volumes about how good writing, strong characterisation, and quality voice acting will always trump the most dizzyingly realistic-looking 3D models. I was sad when the game was over, mainly because I wanted to spend more time with both of them.</p><p>Firewatch is a beautiful, atmospheric game with a lot of heart, and even though the ending and a few other plot points&nbsp;didn’t fully work for me, I immediately wanted to play it again. It tells a poignant, heartfelt story, but always knows precisely when to crack a joke. And its Wyoming wilderness is a stunning, evocative place to exist in. But most of all, it’s the characters I fell in love with. I would have liked some more time to experience Henry’s day job&mdash;you don’t do much actual fire-watching all told&mdash;but it’s a game I won’t forget in a hurry. And if you're looking for your own escape,&nbsp;it’s cheaper than a ticket to Wyoming.</p> Hitman beta details accompany new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-beta-details-accompany-new-trailer/'The beginning'.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:37:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-beta-details-accompany-new-trailer/HitmanNewsStealth <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3O1DnIyhA3I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=pcgamer%20hitman" target="_blank">Hitman</a> beta for pre-orderers&nbsp;is still a way off for PC players (February 19), but a new trailer has appeared that starts to answers&nbsp;some questions surrounding Agent 47's new incarnation. The beta, rather than being labelled a 'stress&nbsp;test' or the like, is being billed as 'the beginning'.</p><p>It's set 20 years in the past at a top secret facility, and will detail how Agent 47 joined international murder conglomerate, the ICA. It's effectively a discrete episode within&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-reboot-switches-to-fully-episodic-release-schedule/" target="_blank">the series of Hitman chapters</a> to be released.</p><p>Naturally, it'll give Io the chance to test their online content like leaderboards and the implementation&nbsp;of new targets, and it'll also allow us to get a feel for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hitman-preview-can-io-recapture-the-glory-of-blood-money/" target="_blank">47's new groove</a> without spoiling the one&nbsp;headline&nbsp;map Hitman will launch with. I should note that the introductory level will also be present when Hitman releases, so don't worry about missing out, although saves won't carry over.</p><p>Hitman's first chapter may be more substantial than we thought.</p> Play Umbrella Corps at the PC Gamer Weekenderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/play-umbrella-corps-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/A Resident Evil competitive shooter.You're curious despite yourself, aren't you?Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:50:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/play-umbrella-corps-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/PC Gamer WeekenderThird Person ShooterUmbrella Corps <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CEVhS5VmQLOD.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1qcW8nMu2bZD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Umbrella Corps"></p><p>Yes, Umbrella Corps, the Resident Evil competitive shooter that neither science nor magic could have predicted. I've had a good time poking fun at the random assortment of concepts&mdash;I think we all have&mdash;but then&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/umbrella-corps-is-a-surprisingly-fast-and-fun-shooter/" target="_blank">Tom went and played it</a> at PAX&nbsp;South and couldn't wait to play more. He discovered not just an unexpectedly competent shooter, but a compelling, fast-paced introduction to competitive team-based firefights in the vein of CS:GO. And now I'm curious.</p><p>If you feel the need to know how such a thing has come to exist and, more importantly, whether it really plays as well as Tom says, it'll be on our show floor at the PC Gamer Weekender in London's&nbsp;Old Truman Brewery from&nbsp;March 5-6.</p><p>Umbrella Corps joins a legion of 2016's biggest games that will be available to play before release, such as the haunting Dark Souls 3 (look,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-dark-souls-3-opening-cinematic/" target="_blank">new trailer</a>!) and revolutionary&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/play-worlds-adrift-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/" target="_blank">Worlds Adrift</a>. That's in addition to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-build-and-overclock-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender-workshop/" target="_blank">hardware masterclasses</a> and appearances by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/julian-gollop-confirmed-for-the-pc-gamer-weekender/" target="_blank">veteran developers</a>.</p><p>Better still, we have a limited number of tickets at only £10.&nbsp;You can&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new" target="_blank">book&nbsp;and find the&nbsp;full schedule here</a>.&nbsp;See you soon!</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d9Bf9jIgcXU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Watch the Dark Souls 3 opening cinematichttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-dark-souls-3-opening-cinematic/It's not exactly Roald Dahl.Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:42:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-dark-souls-3-opening-cinematic/Dark Souls 3NewsRPG <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fjCxZtRrc2Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> "It is called Lothric, where the transitory lands of the Lords of Cinder converge."</p><p> How fascinating. Time and space are still in flux in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-3/" target="_blank">Dark Souls 3</a>, it would seem. We know&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unsettling-dark-souls-3-screens-emerge/" target="_blank">Firelink Shrine appears</a> in the third instalment, and I'll be damned if I haven't seen the ruined&nbsp;spires of Anor Londo crop up here and there, but this is confirmation that we're not in Lordran as we know it. Rather, Dark Souls 3 will sit&nbsp;betwixt planes of existence, or so the opening cinematic suggests, but it's a fool who takes Dark Souls footage at face value.</p><p> There's a brief peak at Lothric's big baddies too:&nbsp;Yhorm the Giant, Aldrich Saint of the Deep and&nbsp;Farron's Undead Legion. Excuse me while I spend all my souls in Faith.</p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p> <img class="pulled-image pull-left" style="margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;" data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2qehMu9RdRz3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2qehMu9RdRz3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcgp Logo Red Small"> Dark Souls 3 will be playable a month before release&nbsp;at the&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/">PC Gamer Weekender</a>.</strong>&nbsp;Our UK live event is packed to the rafters with exclusive game premiers, PC gaming heroes and all the kit you’ve ever dreamed of.&nbsp;<a href="http://weekender.pcgamer.com/book-tickets"><strong>Book your tickets now</strong></a>.</p>