There are lessons to be learned from sci-fi movies. Mostly they're lessons regarding AI and robots (ones that Google seem determined to ignore), but we can also pick up a few tricks from space-based sci-fi horrors. For instance, always bring more electricians than you technically need. The lights are always the first things to go. Also, take plenty of janitors, because - as these new Alien: Isolation screenshots prove - things are going to get pretty messy.
When it comes to these iteratively improving patches, the change-lists can bleed into one big mass of "everything is better this time, again". Patch 9 for Total War: Rome 2 targets improvements to "performance, unit behaviours, unit balancing and much more," which seems suspiciously familiar to the summary of every patch that came before. Skim over the lengthy details, though, and you'll see that this is a substantial and wide-ranging update.
There are plenty of performance updates, targeting campaign performance and battle-screen framerates. The AI has received plenty of tweaks too, with pathfinding and battle logic seemingly the focus of CA's tinkering. Also in the patch notes... well, a bit of everything really.
Total War: Rome 2 has had Steam Workshop support since last October, but mod-makers have had to cobble together their tweaks and edits through community made tools, bits of string and frequent swearing. Now, though, Creative Assembly are providing their Assembly Kit as an open beta to community creators, giving them the chance to try out the official suite of tools before their upcoming full release.
This weekend, you've the chance to sample two entirely separate threads on the PC gaming quilt. There's the gruelling, harsh, harrowing struggle of war in Company of Heroes 2; or the super-powerful, super-power-ballad-full, comedy hijinks of Saints Row IV. Fun and frolics or fear and frostbite? Either way, both games are free to trial until Sunday, and are accompanied by discounts that will last until Monday.
Xenomorphs perfectly follow the theory of the Conservation of Ninjutsu. Hopefully, that rule also applies to the quality of a game. Aliens: Colonial Marines featured many aliens and was rubbish. Creative Assembly's now officially announced Alien: Isolation features just one of the sleek, obsidian terrors, in a game that's more stealth survival than sci-fi action. Will it be good? When Chris came back from playing the game, he was whisked away to an isolation chamber. Through the bloodied notes we found lining the corridors, we've assembled his impressions into a hands-on preview.
You'll play as Ripley's daughter Amanda, who sets out in search of her mother, and instead ends up in the deadliest game of hide & seek. It's like a family tradition at this point. But... wait a second, where did everybody go? Oh no, the horror! A TV Tropes link was hiding in the first line. For the few of you that remain: journey on and witness the game's two announcement trailers.
If nothing else, you've got to admire the Roman work ethic. Want to be adored by the people? Start a war. Want to relieve the boredom of politics? Start a long war. Want to get more glory than a rival? Start a war before them. As shown by this launch trailer for Total War: Rome 2's now available Caesar in Gaul expansion, the new campaign you'll be fighting through is largely being fought because Rome really wanted some more war.
I love the contrast here. First there was Typing of the Dead: Overkill's Shakespeare DLC, classing up the faux-Grindhouse type-'em-up with phrases pulled directly from the bard. Now we're taking a hard swing in the other direction, with the Filth DLC replacing the game's many kill commands with some childish rudeness. Please note, the following post contains language that's both stronger and more puerile than the phrase "arse elbow conundrum".
If there's one thing that World War 2 has taught us, it's that you should never fight a war on two fronts. Also that you should find your craziest haired citizens and put them to work doing science. But what about fighting a war on three fronts? That's just crazy enough to work, and Relic are certainly fighting a war of sorts: against the solid, but not stellar reception to Company of Heroes 2. Their three-pronged assault combines Steam Workshop support, a free multiplayer update, and new DLC for the Theatre of War mode.
Your choices for free gaming this weekend are numerous, incorporating everything from massive free-to-play timesinks, to cool and compelling browser games. Your choices for free gaming with purchasable games on Steam are slightly narrower. Of them, War of the Vikings is the obvious choice, what with it featuring burly man smacking each other about the head with sharp implements. But also check out Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, because - against all odds - it's pretty flipping good.
That Caesar, he did get up to some japes. He created political triumvirates, aggravated the stoic Cato, got up to all sorts with Cleopatra, and generally behaved like a proper scamp. On top of that was all the conquering that he did, and it's for this reason that he's the titular star of Total War: Rome 2's first campaign expansion, Caesar in Gaul.
The expansion will focus in greater detail on Gaul and south Brittania, with this smaller area balanced by a shorter timeframe. Inspired by Caesar’s war diaries from the era, players will be able to play as the Gallic Arverni, the Germanic Suebi, the Belgic Nervii and Rome.
If silliness be the food of love, type on. Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken and so die. And then arise once more because, if you hadn't noticed Curio, we're playing Typing of the Dead: Overkill. More specifically, we're playing Shakespeare of the Dead, a new DLC add-on for the zombie typing shooter that, while ridiculous, is no more so than the concept of typing words to riddle zombies full of holes. Watch out Curio! Damn it man, how hard can it be to type "quintessence". Ah well, restarting is such sweet sorrow.
Football Manager makes sense to me again. The series had slowly driven me away as it crammed more detail into its already stat-heavy simulation of football. I never seemed to be able to tell what information mattered, and which decisions were the cause of my various triumphs and failures.
Classic Mode changed that. Introduced last year, it strips back the game to something that, on the surface, resembles Championship Manager from ten years ago, but is underpinned by the same rich simulation that drives the main game. The mode returns in Football Manager 2014, and it’s still my favourite way to play the game. This release doesn’t have any equivalent flagship feature, but the hundreds of changes it does make are important. Most notable for fans of modern football is the inclusion of expanded player roles, and a tactics system that replaces sliders with the language of real football tacticians. That means being able to deploy players in the midfield as a trequartista, a false nine or an enganche.
Sports Interactive's Miles Jacobson recently gave a London Games Conference presentation on the piracy of Football Manager 2013. The figures he quotes may well be enough to wipe the shout off the mouth of their faceless manager man. According to Jacobson, over 10 million unique IPs have been reported as using an unregistered copy of the game. That's despite FM2013 having not been cracked until over six months after its initial release last year.
These kids with their hip new terms. Creative Assembly have announced that Total War: Rome 2 will be "coming to SteamOS". Which is a fairly torturous way of saying that Total War: Rome 2 will be coming to Linux. Which it will, because SteamOS is Linux.
The reason for specifically name-checking Steam's upcoming OS is because CA seem keen to tout the game's move to conquer the living room, with planned support for Big Picture mode and the Steam Controller. After all, as Ceasar himself once said, "I came, I saw, I lounged lazily in my pants, eating crisps and moving tiny generals around a campaign map."
Earlier this week, we detailed the planned fixes and features of the free Company of Heroes 2 update, Turning Point. Now, Relic have announced Victory at Stalingrad, a DLC pack that will launch alongside the update, bringing new co-op and solo challenges, and three AI battles. Set in the Winter of 1942, it covers the Soviet counter-attack battles of Operations Uranus and Little Saturn. And yes, I've only highlighted those names in a crass attempt to encourage comment thread jokes.
Relic have announced that they're reaching a Turning Point. Confusingly in this case, it's a Company of Heroes 2 update, and not a new commitment to make nice games about not ordering tiny men to angrily shoot each other. As well as more multiplayer maps, this update also puts the tools of battle in the hands of the soldiers, by giving the community a World Builder tool that will let them create and share their own battlefields.
Creative Assembly were clearly worried that Total War: Rome 2's battles were too mild-mannered and sedate. And so, as with Shogun 2 before it, they've released the "Blood & Gore" DLC pack, which amps up the violence to its most absurd setting. Whether its worth the £2/$3 for what is essentially a superfluous graphics tweak is something you'll need to decide for yourself. All I know is that the screenshots which released alongside it are ridiculously, hilariously over-the-top.
We're only one day away from Halloween, and so its fitting that Sega would release a game all about the heart-stopping terror of... typing tests! Sorry for the fright, I'll give you a moment to regain your composure. Typing of the Dead: Overkill is a follow-up to the original series, and a modification of the arcade light gun shooter House of the Dead: Overkill. It's an absurd idea, executed with panache, and it's available now.
It hasn't been a year since the middling Aliens: Colonial Marines, but Twentieth Century Fox has filed a new trademark for a new product based on its seminal science-fiction series. If the rumors about this are true, though, it will be a very different beast compared to the action-heavy effort that Gearbox and TimeGate Studios produced earlier this year.