PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usTue, 21 Oct 2014 18:01:00 +0000Gigabyte introduces the first Mini-ITX GTX 970http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-introduces-the-first-mini-itx-gtx-970/Mini-ITX builders rejoice, there’s now a GTX 970 for you that can hold its own against the full-size card.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:01:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-introduces-the-first-mini-itx-gtx-970/GigabyteHardwareNewsNvidiaNvidia MaxwellTech <a href="/gigabyte-introduces-the-first-mini-itx-gtx-970/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J-CtrtQfT81a.780x349.SW2sPiaA.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><em><br></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zOaPQunVSCG4.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J-CtrtQfT81a.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gigabyte Mini-ITX GTX 970"></p><p><em>Article by Kevin Lee</em></p><p><a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-mini-itx-gtx970-oc,27915.html#xtor=RSS-181">Gigabyte has produced</a> the first miniaturized&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/review/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/">Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card</a> made for Mini-ITX computers, and it really is a precious little thing. Don’t let this mini-GPU’s cuteness deceive you, though: it’s still packing a lot of power.</p><p>The card comes overclocked and running at 1076 MHz base clock speed, which can be further boosted to 1216 MHz. 1076 MHz is actually slightly faster than the 1051 base speed of the reference GTX 970, but keep in mind that full-size cards like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/">Gigabyte’s GTX 970 G1 Gaming</a> can overclock as high as the 1500 MHz mark. The full-size card draws power from two 6-pin connectors; Gigabyte’s Mini-ITX 970 requires a single 8-pin power connector.</p><p>Gigabyte has swapped out the reference cooler for its own WindForce 3X cooler. Despite the name, the cooler only has a single fan. According to Gigabyte, the massive heatsink and three heat pipes were still able to keep the Mini-ITX GTX 970 at a cool 62-degrees Celsius while running the Metro Last Light benchmark test. Gigabyte claimed a reference card equipped with a NVTTM cooler running the same benchmark topped out at a much hotter 76 degrees Celsius.</p><p>Now the most interesting bit: Gigabyte is selling its Mini-ITX GTX 970 for $329.99, which happens to be Nvidia’s reference pricing for the standard GTX 970. You’re not going to get the same overclocking or cooling potential out of the mini-ITX 970 as you would a full-size card, but for a mini-ITX system, it’s packing a hell of a lot of power into a smaller form factor.</p> BlizzCon 2014 will close with a Metallica concerthttp://www.pcgamer.com/blizzcon-2014-will-close-with-a-metallica-concert/ This year's BlizzConwill give you dabajabaza.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:46:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzcon-2014-will-close-with-a-metallica-concert/Blizzard EntertainmentBlizzconNews <a href="/blizzcon-2014-will-close-with-a-metallica-concert/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/St1tkl8g77wy.780x349.0PAukDWX.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w0F6YpGzRp6v.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pc-BmPDM9EwD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Metallica at BlizzCon"></p><p>Blizzard has announced that Metallica, the ageing rockmeisters who threatened to sue the internet into oblivion for downloading their riffage on Napster, will perform the closing concert at <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzcon-2014-dates-and-prices-announced/">BlizzCon 2014</a>. Needless to say, my unironic 1992 mullet and I are extremely excited.</p><p>As you're probably aware, BlizzCon is an annual celebration of all things Blizzard, during which fans of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warcraft/">Warcraft</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/starcraft/">StarCraft</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/diablo/">Diablo</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a> get together to watch and take part in panels, interviews, cosplay contents, tournaments, and all the other kinds of stuff you'd expect from a weekend-long gaming blowout. And when the 2014 edition of said blowout wraps up, attendees will be treated to a closing concert featuring the silky smooth stylings of Metallica.</p><p>If you can't be there in person, you can still enjoy the fine musical craftsmanship of James, Lars, whatshisface, and the new guy by way of the BlizzCon "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzcon-2014-virtual-ticket-provides-full-online-streaming-access-for-a-price/">Virtual Ticket</a>." For $40, a V-ticket includes streaming access to all BlizzCon content, in-game items, and of course the Metallica show.</p><p>Is this cool? I honestly don't know anymore. Metallica used to put on an absolutely killer live show but that was the mid-90s, and when I watched the band's performance at this year's Grammys I mostly felt a sense of vague embarrassment about the whole thing. How did we get from "Metal up your ass" to this? </p><p>Anyway, hope it rocks, and being somewhat more serious about it for a moment, I expect it will&mdash;there are few bands with a more commanding stage presence than Metallica. BlizzCon 2014 happens at the Anahein Convention Center in California on November 7 and 8. </p> Show Us Your Rig: Prison Architect designer Chris Delayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-prison-architect-designer-chris-delay/Chris Delay, game designer at Introversion Software, works out of abeautiful custom built studio in his backyard.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:10:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-prison-architect-designer-chris-delay/Chris DelayIntroversion SoftwarePrison Architectshow us your rigStrategy <a href="/show-us-your-rig-prison-architect-designer-chris-delay/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ONWYSj8BhbU5.780x349.QfKkS39-.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n_0KdP-ESSin.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ONWYSj8BhbU5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a>, we feature the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> Chris Delay, game designer at Introversion Software of Darwinia and Prison Architect fame, works in a downright lovely environment; a custom built studio in his backyard&nbsp;that's as cozy as it is clean. I was&nbsp;taken aback by the massive&nbsp;amount of light the room lets in, and then quickly startled by the discovery that&nbsp;Chris uses the exact same keyboard, mouse, and monitor setup I have in front of me at this very moment. A man of good taste, Chris kindly took the time to show off what he uses to work, as well as&nbsp;"research" other games.&nbsp;</p><h4> <strong>What's in your PC?</strong></h4><p> My main computer is a desktop PC sat under my desk:</p><ul> <li>Intel Core i7 4770 @ 3.5 Ghz</li> <li>32 GB ram</li> <li>Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti</li> <li>Windows 7 64 bit</li></ul><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zKCciYqeT22D.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i9bsEMDKgHDx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p><p> The main hard disk is a 1 TB ssd&mdash;I've found this makes a genuinely massive performance difference to just about everything. Especially Windows itself. I'm still running Windows 7 because 8 looks like a tablet OS to me, and therefore isn't suitable to my desktop pc with keyboard and mouse. I've got a water cooling system on the CPU (in the past I've had a lot of issues with computers dying due to bad cooling, so I just went all out this time), and lots of blue LEDs inside the case, because video games.</p><p> I use the Corsair K70 (mechanical) keyboard because I love the feel of mechanical keys (and the sound they make when you type,) and I secretly love the backlit red LEDs as well. The mouse is a Razer DeathAdder, which I find really comfortable to use. Together I think they look awesome. I'm using quite an old 24" monitor and planning to upgrade that soon, once the 4k devices have settled down and it's clear which one to go for.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AzeWSTfDSnmg.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bt-Qn6GkQRXU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p><p> There's a rotel stereo amp and B&amp;W speakers&mdash;you can see them mounted on the wall at either side of the monitor. Sound is extremely important to me, and I spend a great deal of time listening to the game I'm making. I think sound is one of the most important parts of a game's presentation, and I've always tried to have a decent sound system built around my main desk.</p><p> I also carry around an Apple Macbook Pro, 13" retina model, also entirely ssd. I think it's the perfect sweet spot for a laptop&mdash;very powerful, super quick at just about everything, but still quite small and light. I swap between the Windows PC and the Mac laptop regularly, which is a great way of ensuring all the code I write works well on multiple platforms.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zw6qSukQQ9-p.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qkl044uDVThz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p><h4> <strong>What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</strong></h4><p> I used to work in the upstairs bedroom in our house, but real life put an end to that. I now have two children, and my wife told me I would have to surrender my office so our kids could have bedrooms of their own. My solution was to custom build my own studio at the bottom of the garden&mdash;somewhere I would be isolated from the noise in the house, and somewhere I would feel inspired and creative without being interrupted.</p><p> The desk on the right side is my main desktop pc station. The desk on the left side is usually used for the Mac as a docking station, and you can see I also have all my games systems under a nice big tv. Because researching other games is a very important part of my job ;)</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4n0vAep9RVSs.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8Mldb2UJqivt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p><p> There's a Darwinia painting aboe my main desktop and a painting of a woman in red above the left desk &mdash;both painted by my wife. I think they add a lot of colour to the room. I also took the recent PC Gamer cover that featured Prison Architect and had it framed, because that was such an honour for us.</p><h4> <strong>What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</strong></h4><p> I quite like my desk to be as clear as possible ;)</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p9w7Tl5VRMSm.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F-1ba_3ih3al.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Delay Show Us Your Rig"></p><h4> <strong>What are you playing right now?</strong></h4><p> Still playing Battlefield 3 pretty regularly&mdash;I find the sound and the graphics to be so involving that I can play for hours at a time. Beyond that, I'm loving Kerbal Space Program at the moment. I've been replaying Final Fantasty X on the PS3, which has been an awesome experience, and I might actually complete it this time.</p><h4> <strong>What's your favorite game and why?</strong></h4><p> A really difficult question. I'm assuming you mean "ever," in which case I'd have to say Civilization, which I've played probably every year since I first tried it on my Amiga&mdash;basically forever ago. I'm including the later versions of course, but it's the original that to me is such a masterpiece of game design.</p> Massive Chalice interview: "You have to have thick skin"http://www.pcgamer.com/massive-chalice-interview-you-dont-have-to-gaze-upon-the-making-of-the-sausage/Massive Chalice Project Lead Brad Muir discusses Kickstarter-funded development.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/massive-chalice-interview-you-dont-have-to-gaze-upon-the-making-of-the-sausage/interviewMassive ChaliceStrategy <a href="/massive-chalice-interview-you-dont-have-to-gaze-upon-the-making-of-the-sausage/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ayh0SCCiP7Is.780x349.JOoRYyws.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ndLwDHtDQxaB.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ayh0SCCiP7Is.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MASSIVECHALICE Battle 2560x1440"></p><p>Tactical strategy game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/massive-chalice-hands-on-respect-your-elders-and-dont-marry-your-cousins/">Massive Chalice</a> is Double Fine's second Kickstarted project, and one of many that fans have been able to watch very closely during development. Between <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/double-fines-amnesia-fortnight-winners-announced/">Amnesia Fortnight</a> projects such as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/spacebase-df-9/">Spacebase DF-9</a> and other Early Access games such as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hack-n-slash-review/">Hack 'n' Slash</a>, Double Fine has invited fans to watch them pitch concepts, create art, and balance character stats in spreadsheets via developer diaries and Twitch streams.</p><p>It's all super interesting stuff if you want to see how games are made, but there have been problems. Recently, there was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tim-schafer-explains-spacebase-df-9s-v1-0-release/">some controversy</a> around Spacebase's unexpected transition from Early Access to v1.0, and planned features lost in the process. When I sat down with Massive Chalice Project Lead Brad Muir, I asked him if this caused Double Fine to reconsider its&nbsp;approach. </p><p><strong>PC Gamer: Did you discuss how to better manage expectations when developing a game in full view after the reaction to Spacebase's release?</strong></p><p><strong>Brad Muir:</strong> We talked about it a little bit but I think our communication has been good, really transparent...Massive Chalice is really mechanical and procedural, so we're content complete at this point. There are small features, enemy behavior, some abilities we want to tweak. Lots of number tweaks. Overall balance to the game is going to change dramatically, especially the second half of it. That's one thing about any sort of long term, strategic game: the further you deviate from the beginning, the less testing you're going to get on it. I'm excited to have all these people helping test the game.</p><p><strong>What's it been like developing Massive Chalice with constant feedback from backers?</strong> </p><p>One of our tenants as a Kickstarter project is that we didn't have the whole thing designed, and we had a lot of people come to us with ideas that were better than ours. One of our classes is an alchemist that throws exploding flasks. This guy on the forums, zdesert, did this quick talent tree in MS Paint and drew all these icons that the alchemist character would have. Some of them were fine, some of them were bad, but one of them, it was a jar of bees. I wanted some kind of area denial ability, like poison gas, but this kid...I actually don't even know if he's a kid, maybe he's like 45, I have no idea, but he made this thing that's even more interesting because it can move around the map, it can create this hazard that can break up and shift for a few turns before it dissipates, and that's a lot more interesting than a cloud of poison gas.</p><p><strong>Does he know it's in the game?</strong></p><p>Absolutely he knows. He's so stoked. He will forever be able to say that he had an idea that went right into this game.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C4QNndyiTliN.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/veoaBE6uK4Ka.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Massive Chalice" class=""> <figcaption>The origin of 'bees in a bottle.'</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Creatively, what's the downside of working this way? If I had to write something on a Twitch stream I'd be too self-conscious.</strong></p><p>It's impossible to know what this game would look like if we just closed the doors and developed it internally. For sure, you have to have thick skin because people are going to talk shit about it, and say some inflammatory, angry things, and you just have to do your best to ignore it I guess. Just the other day, there was a guy who came into our forums, TrashMan, and he was like, "What the fuck, these classes are stupid."</p><p>We have three core classes in the game and we tried to make something that's not just magic and wizards and fireballs flying around. That stuff is cool, but there are so many games that exhibit that kind of orcs and elves, Tolkien-esque high fantasy stuff. </p><p>When someone like the TrashMan appears&mdash;I love that he's called that, it's so perfect&mdash;there are other backers saying "check out <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/doublefine/profile">Teamstream</a> number 3, where they went through all this stuff." It's been nice, but there's an ugly side to it&mdash;the internet gives everyone a voice. And the other thing is, I don't know anything about these people, that's one part I find very strange about this. I would like to know more about zdesert. He might be a girl, I don't know. It's weird. And this TrashMan guy, I'd like to think that he's just an angry kid, but he might be 40 and through two divorces.</p><p><strong>Are you scared that this is taking some of the magic away, showing how the sausage is made?</strong></p><p>I think one of the cool things about Kickstarter is you're choosing to be more involved, you're choosing to make this thing happen, though you don't have too. You don't have to gaze upon the making of the sausage. </p><p>I don't think that it will ruin it for people. I hope there are more people like zdesert that are just that much more invested because of it, because they saw it grow from nothing. We made Massive Chalice with their help. That's really cool.&nbsp;</p> Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team accused of match fixinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-team-accused-of-match-fixing/Members of the team bet against themselves in an ESL Pro Series Poland match.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:48:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-team-accused-of-match-fixing/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveE-sportsFPSNews <a href="/counter-strike-global-offensive-team-accused-of-match-fixing/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2TCoYJ0RUMsW.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e3ChljwbQI-3.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2TCoYJ0RUMsW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Counter-Strike: Global Offensive"></p><p>Polish <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive/">Counter-Strike: Global Offensive</a> team ALSEN has been accused of match fixing during the ESL Pro Series Poland Season 9. Evidence has emerged that three members of the team, including captain Damian "DiAMon" Zarski, actually placed bets on their opponents, and then went on to lose the match despite being heavy favorites.</p><p>Rumors that <a href="http://www.alsen-team.pl/">ALSEN</a> would throw the match were floating around before it even began, according to <a href="http://www.hltv.org/n/13437">HLTV.org</a>, and in the end they did end up losing to <a href="http://www.gosugamers.net/counterstrike/teams/9200-eliminacja">eliminacja</a> by a score of 16-10. After the victory, online betting site <a href="http://csgolounge.com/">CS: GO Lounge</a> revealed that Zarski, as well as players Michal "bCk" Lis and Jakub "kub" Pamula, had actually placed bets on eliminacja. Lis and Pamula made their bets from their own Steam accounts, while Zarski used four alternate accounts, but also used his primary account to place a smaller bet on his own team.</p><p>Players betting through CS: GO Lounge wager in-game items, not cash, but the monetary values can still be substantial. Based on the valuations determined by the site, Lis won more than $300 in items as a result of the loss, Jakub won more than $550, and Zarski walked away with nearly $1500 worth of items.&nbsp;</p><p>The other three members of ALSEN&mdash;Michal "michi" Majkowski, Mateusz "matty" Kobodziejczyk, and Rafal "sany" Pietrzak&mdash;were not found to have been involved in the betting. There is, however, evidence that other EPS Poland teams were aware of the situation but didn't report it; instead, they placed bets of their own on eliminacja, taking advantage of the steep 81-19 odds against them.</p><p>Given that in-game items were involved rather than actual cash, the exact legality of the situation (or lack thereof) is unclear. But it's incredibly sketchy behavior, and worse, it invokes the specter of rampant match-fixing in lower-tier pro leagues, where oversight may be lax. It's a lot easier to lose a match than it is to win one, and while the most egregious examples may be easy enough to pick out, more skillfully-managed fixing (and let's be honest, using your own Steam account to place bets against your team is pretty ham-fisted) is much harder to pick up on. </p><p>"Tournament admins and organizers, and [CS: GO Lounge] site admins did and will do everything to stop stuff like this," CS: GO Lounge admins said in a statement. ESL Pro Series Poland reps have not yet commented.</p> Bundle Stars offers 33% off Shadow of Mordor for the next 48 hourshttp://www.pcgamer.com/bundle-stars-offers-33-off-shadow-of-mordor-for-the-next-48-hours/Prices slashed on the orc slaying action game.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:38:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bundle-stars-offers-33-off-shadow-of-mordor-for-the-next-48-hours/ActionDealsMiddle-Earth: Shadow of MordorNews <a href="/bundle-stars-offers-33-off-shadow-of-mordor-for-the-next-48-hours/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qdRE06dw223U.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gU6wSX4gS9ep.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qdRE06dw223U.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shadow of Mordor"></p><p> Sound the deal gong; chime the bargain bell; honk the, er, sale horn? Do whatever it is you do to celebrate a new game being sold on the&nbsp;cheap, for that is what is happening right now.</p><p> Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middleearth-shadow-of-mordor-review/" target="_blank">very good game</a>&mdash;one that features an&nbsp;unbelievable amount of orc death.&nbsp;For the next 48 hours,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bundlestars.com/store/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor/" target="_blank">Bundle Stars are offering a substantial 33% off it</a>. It's now £20/$33.33 for the main game, and £13.33/$16.66 for the season pass. All this lasts until 5pm BST on 23 October. This is a Steam key sale, so you'll need to use that service to play the game.</p><p> A sort-of-related question: what do you think of doing a news on this? In the past, we've reported on bundles and big sales, but rarely on solid price cuts to recently released games. Is this a useful thing you'd like more of? If it helps, I could pair them with pictures of small animals.</p><p> Here is a stoat:</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GPQchXy_Q8CY.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iOdeqnltBu3R.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="A Stoat" class=""><figcaption>This is good web content, right?<br> </figcaption></figure><p> Yes? No? Let me know in the comments.</p> Assassin's Creed Chronicles could become a serieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-chronicles-could-become-a-series/More side-scrolling adventures on the way.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:49:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-chronicles-could-become-a-series/ActionAssassin's Creed: UnityNewsUbisoft <a href="/assassins-creed-chronicles-could-become-a-series/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZMWMG9btx3hc.780x349.pTdws7yf.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JqQvBVgHQxWZ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZMWMG9btx3hc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AC: Chronicles"></p><p> Side-scrolling Assassin's Creed is a thing that's going to happen. Weirdly, though, the intriguing&nbsp;Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is being relegated to a bonus included as part of Assassin's Creed: Unity's season pass. Despite that, Ubisoft seems to have confidence in the premise, and is now saying that more Chronicles are planned.</p><p> "We really liked the side-scrolling idea, like Mark of the Ninja," AC:U creative director Alex Amancio said to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-10-21-more-assassins-creed-chronicles-spin-offs-planned" target="_blank">Eurogamer</a>,&nbsp;"and we thought it would be a really great way to explore some of the other universes we've created.</p><p> "One thing that's really cool is that every one of the chapters of this game will be in the art style representative of that era in time. This is why Shao Jun's game is like Chinese ink - very black and red."</p><p>Other timeframes, said Amancio, would feature a different art style designed to match the specific characters.</p><p>It's currently unclear how future Chronicles games will be released&mdash;whether as standalone titles, or bundled with larger releases.</p> Is Alien: Isolation’s Nostromo DLC worth buying?http://www.pcgamer.com/is-alien-isolations-nostromo-dlc-worth-buying/Andy plays Alien: Isolation's Nostromo DLC missions.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:37:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/is-alien-isolations-nostromo-dlc-worth-buying/Alien: IsolationHorrorStealth <a href="/is-alien-isolations-nostromo-dlc-worth-buying/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sTdx0xIYE9La.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/39R-PP62QgeJ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sTdx0xIYE9La.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ripley last survivor"></p><p>These downloadable missions faithfully recreate two key scenes from Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic, but with a few subtle twists. The premise is that MOTHER, the Nostromo’s supercomputer, is simulating these events to determine the best way to defeat the alien, which has allowed The Creative Assembly to play with the story in a way that isn’t strictly canon.</p><p>The first,&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/282511/" target="_blank">Crew Expendable</a>, focuses on the crew’s attempts to trap the xenomorph in the ship’s airlock and blow it out into space. In the film it was captain Dallas who bravely volunteered to climb into the ventilation system with the beast, but here you can choose who does it: Dallas, Ripley, or Parker. Your choice doesn’t affect the game in any way&mdash;only dialogue&mdash;but it’s a cool idea.</p><p>The sedate opening sets the scene. You’re free to explore the Nostromo before you climb to the lower decks and begin the mission. The ship has been beautifully, painstakingly realised, and it’s like stepping onto the set of Scott’s film. The dining table where the infamous ‘birth’ scene took place, the dimly-lit bridge, and the blinking lights of the MOTHER computer are all superbly authentic&mdash;although, as I discovered in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/how-authentic-is-alien-isolation/">this feature</a> I wrote, not everything is 100% accurate.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/azvg6wNQRMyZ.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DWvLr5t_9QmQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2"></p><p>Eventually you descend to the engineering deck and have to avoid the alien as you seal a series of vent covers scattered around the level. This is the least inspiring of the two missions in terms of level design, and you won’t find it particularly challenging if you’ve already finished the main game. It’s a notably smaller, more claustrophobic space than anywhere on Sevastopol, and you’ll need to make ample use of ducts and side-rooms to carefully manoeuvre around the creature.</p><p>The last sequence is better, replicating the film’s brilliant vent scene. You’re trapped in a dark metal maze with the alien, lit only by the burning tip of your flamethrower. Lambert monitors a motion tracker and shouts directions over the radio as you try to reach the exit. If you thought this moment was tense in the film, just wait until you’re in there with the creature yourself.</p><p><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/282510/" target="_blank">Last Survivor</a> is the second, and best, of the DLC missions. It’s based on the last scenes of the film, in which Ripley attempts to engage the Nostromo’s self destruct and escape on a shuttle. In the film, Lambert’s death is left horribly ambiguous, but here you get to see the grisly aftermath of her and Parker’s last moments. Hunted by the alien, you must make your way through the belly of the ship and trigger the self-destruct as alarms wail and jets of steam suddenly burst from pipes.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zthA39UwRFWy.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zdgJLdLGEVu6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3"></p><p>This is a tough, tightly-designed mission&mdash;probably one of the best in the game&mdash;and does a great job of replicating the final, desperate moments of the film. You’re limited to basic supplies and a small amount of flamethrower fuel, forcing you to rely almost entirely on pure stealth, which is a nice contrast to the main game’s abundance of gadgets and weapons.</p><p>It’s clear these missions have been made especially for Alien fans. They’re a lovingly-crafted homage to the film, and they even managed to reunite most of the original cast including, crucially, Sigourney Weaver, who reprises her role as Ellen Ripley for the first time since the woeful Alien: Resurrection. Ash is voiced by&nbsp;a soundalike, but he really, <em>really </em>sounds like Ian Holm.</p><p>There’s a nice moment in an audio log that ties the DLC to Ripley's&nbsp;daughter Amanda's story&nbsp;in the main game, but otherwise they can be enjoyed as standalone experiences. The missions will cost you about £3/$4&nbsp;each, which isn’t much considering how much love has been poured into them&mdash;although they aren’t that long, and you’ll be able to get through both of them in little over an hour. For an Alien fan, though, it’s a small price to pay to step inside a timeless science fiction classic.</p> Alien: Isolation 'Corporate Lockdown' DLC announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-corporate-lockdown-dlc-announced/They mostly come out as add-on packs. Mostly.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:40:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-corporate-lockdown-dlc-announced/Alien: IsolationHorrorNews <a href="/alien-isolation-corporate-lockdown-dlc-announced/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WMOmJeijmcDJ.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1qX77c-uRwGy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WMOmJeijmcDJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alien Isolation"></p><p>So far, the base game of Alien: Isolation is proving to be all the crippling terror I need. Eventually, though, I'll emerge from my locker, and make my way through the game. And then? Well, there'll be more game. Creative Assembly has announced 'Corporate Lockdown'; Isolation's first add-on content. It will add three new maps for the game's survivor mode&mdash;each expanding the&nbsp;Sevastopol's story.</p><p>"In ‘Corporate Lockdown’, Seegson Executive Ransome has learnt that he has been abandoned by his paymasters," explains the press release.&nbsp;"Knowing that the Torrens is on the way, he decides to make his escape and hitch a ride on board, taking decoded Nostromo data with him. However, while escaping he wants to tie up a few loose ends."</p><p>In addition to the maps, the add-on will introduce Gauntlet mode&mdash;challenging players to complete all three Survivor challenges back-to-back without dying.</p><p>Back to the locker, then. Corporate Lockdown is due out 28 October, costing £5.59 / $8. It'll be followed by four subsequent packs.</p> Now Playing: co-op calamity in Divinity: Original Sinhttp://www.pcgamer.com/now-playing-co-op-calamity-in-divinity-original-sin/Rock, paper, scissors can't solve everything.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:50:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/now-playing-co-op-calamity-in-divinity-original-sin/Divinity: Original SinNow PlayingRPG <a href="/now-playing-co-op-calamity-in-divinity-original-sin/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gLz7ugRMe_5P.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H0wpPgpwQ1S1.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_fs1GD6cruSK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 1"></p><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NOW PLAYING</h5> <p> In 'Now Playing' PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Cory teams up with a buddy to find adventure in Divinity: Original Sin.</p> </div><p>"Wait, so how do I join?" I ask. Shawn doesn’t answer, but across the 1,200 miles of our Skype call I can hear him clicking. It takes longer than expected, but eventually we sync up. We’re two source hunters, and we’re on the prowl.&nbsp;</p><p> Shawn and I have a long history of cooperative play. We’ve tackled innumerable adventures together, buddying up and beating the crap out of all kinds of monsters. Divinity: Original Sin represents our biggest challenge: a deep, complex, 100-hour RPG with a focus on narrative and communication. Neither of us have played much, and learning it will be a serious commitment.</p><blockquote> We’ve tackled innumerable adventures together, buddying up and beating the crap out of all kinds of monsters. </blockquote><p> I build a brute of a knight, adding all my points to strength in the hopes of splitting orcs in half with a greatsword. Shawn balances this with a Wayfarer, which mixes bow skills with healing magic. Neither of us customise these starter builds too deeply, but both spend far too long on how our characters’ hair will look.</p><p> We’re in, and almost immediately, we both try to pick up the same sea shells, then experiment with moving them between our inventories. Shawn doesn’t have to be standing right beside me to give me the apple he just liberated from a crate&mdash;he right-clicks on the item in his inventory and can simply teleport it to me. I eat it, so I don’t have to give it back.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mXN4yDobR3CX.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CZaty9RgCvSp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 2"></p><p> In typical fashion, Shawn moves ahead faster than I do. While I’m poking around the shoreline, he encounters the game’s first battle and yelps for me to come help. Combat in Divinity is turn-based, but a co-op partner sees things happening in real time. I wander&nbsp;up, but keep my distance as I watch his Wayfarer summon a spider to fight a skeleton. I can move however I want, but his battle’s participants move as if in some bullet-time bubble. It’s odd to watch. Eventually I get too close and get pulled into the battle myself, and we defeat the bad guys.</p><p> “So you could have just left me to handle the fight myself? Shawn asks.</p><p> “Seems so,” I say. In fact, I could have been a world away.</p><p> We encounter two drunken guards who demand to escort us to the city gates. Since Shawn started the conversation with them, I have to watch the dialogue above each person’s head to see what’s going on. Shawn clicks through the options on auto-pilot, and chooses to accompany the guards. And then suddenly, I get a dialogue box of my own, giving me options.</p><p> I choose to fight the guards. I’m a contrarian.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WixU8vA_SuSZ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uR_wr7wyAI5W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 3"></p><p> “What are you doing?” Shawn asks. “These guys&nbsp;are trying to help us.” He chooses another dialogue option, apparently trying to charm me into his way of thinking.</p><p> “Bullshit. Let’s bust some heads.” I click the ‘intimidate’ option, and the game becomes an epic battle of roshambo. I throw paper, he throws rock. I throw rock, he throws scissors. I emerge victorious, and now we have to murder some guards.</p><p> “But that’s not what I wanted to do!” Shawn protests. I snigger.</p><p> Three hours later, we’re overwhelmed. Every dialogue window requires a recap of the conversation, and every decision ends in the rock-paper-scissors minigame. We’ve made almost no progress.</p><p> “You know what? I don’t think we can do this.” Shawn says. His voice breaks a little over the Skype connection. “There’s no way we can commit to this. I’m gonna go play singleplayer.” He signs off, and I go relive the last three hours in a game of my own. I’m sure lots of people will play co-op for all 100 hours of Divinity, and I applaud their devotion. But I’m happier playing at my own speed.</p> Playfire announces Most Played Golden Joystickhttp://www.pcgamer.com/playfire-announces-most-played-golden-joystick/Vote with your feet – or rather your gamepad for this special award.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:10:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/playfire-announces-most-played-golden-joystick/Sponsored <a href="/playfire-announces-most-played-golden-joystick/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6ylLp8H_MRGm.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> Playfire, the gamer service sponsoring this year’s&nbsp; <a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=100552463&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink">Golden Joystick awards</a> (and there’s still time to <a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/479038/blog/golden-joysticks-free-xcom-promotion-still-available/">get your votes in and secure yourself a copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown today</a>), has announced a brand new category for the show on Friday which is its Most Played award. </p> <p> Gamers will get to vote directly with their feet or in this case with their Joysticks and gamepads, with the award going to the game which racks up the most hours played by users on the Playfire service. </p> <ul> <li>The contenders for the title this year are:</li> <li>Batman: Arkham Origins</li> <li>Dark Souls II</li> <li>DayZ</li> <li>Football Manager 2014</li> <li>Loadout</li> <li>Path of Exile</li> <li>Rust</li> <li>South Park&trade;:</li> <li>The Stick of Truth&trade;</li> <li>Starbound</li> <li>Thief </li> </ul> <p> Those are the top ten most popular games played since last year’s awards, from the thousands of titles tracked on the Playfire service, and just how many hours have you put into those little numbers? We dread to think how many Football Manager 2014 alone has racked up, let alone Day Z, Batman or all that time spent getting mercilessly killed in Dark Souls II. </p> <p> “It's great to see a Golden Joystick Award category that is directly influenced and decided on by playing games" said Ben Bateman, Head of Community at Green Man Gaming and Playfire. "We've already seen members of the Playfire community coming together and joining forces to try and rack-up playtime on their favourite titles, and we can't wait to see which game will be the eventual winner at the awards." </p> <p> The Golden Joysticks’&nbsp;Playfire Most Played Award&nbsp;will be decided at&nbsp;midday on Friday 24th October 2014, and will be announced during the ceremony which you can watch live on CVG, PC Gamer and on the Golden Joysticks site itself, as well as being broadcast on Twitch TV. </p> <p> If you're not a Playfire member then getting involved is easy.&nbsp;Just&nbsp; <a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=100552703&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink"></a> with your GMG account, link your gamertags, and get playing for a chance to earn great rewards, including new Rewards this week on the following new releases: </p> <ul> <li>Fist of Jesus</li> <li>Spheritis</li> <li>DeadCore</li> <li>DarkEnd</li> <li>Pike and Shot</li> <li>Sinister City</li> <li>Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror</li> <li>The Legend of Korra</li> <li>Screencheat</li> <li>Dreamfall Chapters</li> <li>Time Rifters</li> <li>Devil’s Dare</li> <li>Prophour23</li> <li>Deathtrap</li> <li>The Shopkeeper</li> <li>Squishy the Suicidal Pig</li> <li>Enforcer: Police Crime Action</li> <li>Sign Motion</li> <li>Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth</li> <li>Sproggiwood </li> </ul> <p> Playfire members can also play the following games and earn a 25% off discount off the Season Pass (by simply playing the applicable game for one hour and tracking on Playfire): </p> <p> Alien: Isolation (get 25% off Alien: Isolation Season Pass) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor The Evil Within </p> <p> For the full list of all live Rewards please visit: <a href="https://www.playfire.com/a/rewards">https://www.playfire.com/a/rewards</a> </p> Guild Wars 2 end-of-year update schedule mapped outhttp://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-end-of-year-update-schedule-mapped-out/What's occurring in Tyria? Dragons, mostly.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:54:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-end-of-year-update-schedule-mapped-out/Guild Wars 2MMONews <a href="/guild-wars-2-end-of-year-update-schedule-mapped-out/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kJMdMp06XALP.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/21u2hdzvS2ay.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kJMdMp06XALP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Guild Wars 2"></p><p>It's nice when evil can organise itself to a schedule. For Guild Wars 2's world of Tyria, its various bad things have&nbsp;now&nbsp;mapped out their plans for the rest of the year, giving the various heroes of the world a much needed heads-up.</p><p>The first update, due later today, is the game's annual&nbsp;Halloween event. It will be a repeat of last year's festivities&mdash;as will&nbsp;the game's Wintersday event, due 16 December. Expect Mad Realms&nbsp;and a jumping puzzle&nbsp;<a href="https://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/releases/october-15-2013/">for the former</a>, and Workshops and another jumping puzzle&nbsp;<a href="https://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/releases/december-10-2013/" target="_blank">for the latter</a>.&nbsp;Despite featuring the same activities, both will offer "refreshed rewards".</p><p>Between these two events comes the return of Living World: Season 2. The fifth episode is due 4 November, and will continue on from the mid-season cliffhanger. ArenaNet is teasing the final episode of this series, referring to "points of no return".&nbsp;</p><p>"Tyria has already decided to take the battle to Mordremoth," explains the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/tyrias-point-of-no-return/" target="_blank">latest blog post</a>.&nbsp;"As we go on this journey we’ll learn dark secrets of Tyria’s past, venture into stories with roots deep in the very heart of <em style="background-color: initial;">Guild Wars</em> lore, and visit places that have only been rumored to exist."</p> Galactic Civilization 3 trailer details diplomacy updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilization-3-trailer-details-diplomacy-update/Chat to hot dictators in your galaxy!Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:10:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilization-3-trailer-details-diplomacy-update/4XGalactic Civilizations 3NewsStrategy <a href="/galactic-civilization-3-trailer-details-diplomacy-update/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E-k5ZMTMRwRS.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7bI7jIlSAeU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Andy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-iii-update-adds-trade-diplomacy-and-a-new-race/" target="_blank">recently ran down</a> the contents of GalCiv 3's Beta 2 update. But, if reading words makes you itch uncontrollably... well, first, I'm very sorry, this very page must be unbearably hellish. Second, there's now a video that runs through the diplomacy patch's contents.</p><p>In addition to diplomacy, the update adds new victory conditions and trade networks. It's a significant step along the road to the early access 4X's eventual full release.</p> Civilization 5 is free to play this weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-5-is-free-to-play-this-week/Show that Gandhi what you're made of.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:31:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-5-is-free-to-play-this-week/4XFree stuffNewsSid Meier's Civilization VStrategy <a href="/civilization-5-is-free-to-play-this-week/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s_i60_zy5nHz.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6NNtk4v2RoCT.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rxQ-GWhB6940.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Civilization"></p><p>That's free to play, not free-to-play&mdash;an important distinction. Steam is again playing host to more (temporarily) free goodies, with a&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/8930" target="_blank">midweek trial of Civilization 5</a>. The offer, which lets you play the full game until Thursday, 10am PDT, will give everyone a chance&nbsp;to experience the unstoppable wrath of&nbsp;Gandhi.</p><p>This, of course, is designed to prepare people for the upcoming Civilization: Beyond Earth, which has begun pre-loading ahead of this Friday's release. That game bears many similarities to Civ 5, only it's on an alien planet in the future. It is not, for instance, a game in which&nbsp;Genghis Khan can negotiate a beneficial spice deal with Bismarck.</p><p>Unfortunately, the free trial doesn't include the excellent expansions. Nevertheless, it's worth an investigation if, somehow, you've managed to hold off this long.</p> Dark Souls making the jump to Steam next monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-making-the-jump-to-steam-next-month/Rest in pieces, Games For Windows Live. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-making-the-jump-to-steam-next-month/Bandai NamcoDark SoulsFrom SoftwareNewsRPG <a href="/dark-souls-making-the-jump-to-steam-next-month/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yo-QhJYw-BXG.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-EoMIRgGRkWS.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yo-QhJYw-BXG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls PC review"></p><p>When Bandai Namco announced a PC port for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls/">Dark Souls</a> there was much rejoicing. Then, when it was announced that it would release on the dreaded Games For Windows Live platform, there was much rage. Well here's good news: come November, those who own Dark Souls on GFWL will have the opportunity to transition over to Steam.</p><p>Next month users can redeem their GFWL tokens on Steam in order to access Dark Souls. While you'll be able to do this indefinitely, the transferal of save data and achievements will be possible for a limited time only. More specific dates will be provided soon, Bandai Namco <a href="http://bandainamcous.tumblr.com/post/100546461401/we-are-very-excited-to-announce-that-next-month-it">posted today</a>.</p><p>The publisher announced earlier this year that it had <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-will-remain-functional-as-gfwl-prepares-to-die-in-july/">plans to accommodate</a> those still playing Dark Souls, despite GFWL's imminent death. It's one of the last games with ties remaining to the service, with most studios and publishers <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/games-for-windows-live-will-soon-be-dead-hooray-heres-a-list-of-devs-removing-it-from-their-games/">making the jump</a> to other platforms much earlier.</p> Paranautical Activity removed from Steam following developer outbursthttp://www.pcgamer.com/paranautical-activity-removed-from-steam-following-developer-outburst/Developer Tweets Gabe Newell death threat, resulting in ban.Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:31:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/paranautical-activity-removed-from-steam-following-developer-outburst/FPSNewsParanautical ActivitySteamValve <a href="/paranautical-activity-removed-from-steam-following-developer-outburst/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HsckefKF2Ac0.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lw1vxRiUSbSx.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HsckefKF2Ac0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Paranautical"></p><p> Voxel-based rogue-like shooter <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/paranautical-activity-starts-haunting-steam-early-access/">Paranautical Activity</a> has been removed from Steam, following an online outburst by its creator Mike Maulbeck. The developer reportedly made death threats to Gabe Newell after Steam failed to update Paranautical Activity from an Early Access title to a full game in a timely fashion.&nbsp;</p><p> The alleged death threat has since been deleted, though Maulbeck has since admitted that posting the deleted Tweet was wrong.</p><blockquote>&nbsp;People telling me it's fucking stupid to say I wanna kill gabe. Can I set up a "no shit" autoresponse on twitter?</blockquote><p> &mdash; Mike Murderbeck (@SpooderW) <a href="https://twitter.com/SpooderW/status/524343242335076352">October 20, 2014</a></p><p> Other Tweets remain where Maulbeck describes Steam as an "<a href="https://twitter.com/SpooderW/status/524213891229052928">incompetent piece of fucking shit</a>" and a "monopoly", among other things. "It's just not possible to make a living in this industry without Steam," Maulbeck <a href="https://twitter.com/SpooderW/status/524328446961278976">wrote</a>, "so I'm just out."</p><p> Speaking to <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/10/20/7024585/gabe-newell-death-threat-paranautical-activity-steam-valve">Polygon</a>, Maulbeck reiterated that he regrets the outburst. "I have since obviously replied to them saying that I didn't mean what I said and pleaded that they consider the monopoly they have on the PC market before totally writing us off," he said, "but let's be real. If they took the game off the store, they're fuckin sure about their decision. There's probably nothing to be done."</p><p> Valve's Doug Lombardi confirmed the news to Polygon. "Yes, we have removed the game's sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees."</p><p> Paranautical Activity is still available on Desura and the Humble Store, though neither come close to the effectiveness of Steam. "Don't worry guys, everything is gonna be OK, we sold TWELVE copies on non-steam platforms today," Maulbeck later Tweeted.</p><p> "We were selling more than that a minute on Steam."</p> Metrocide now available on Early Access ahead of December releasehttp://www.pcgamer.com/metrocide-now-available-on-early-access-ahead-of-december-release/Studio is busy balancing difficulty; wants your help. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:52:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/metrocide-now-available-on-early-access-ahead-of-december-release/ActionFlat Earth GamesNewsStealth <a href="/metrocide-now-available-on-early-access-ahead-of-december-release/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TiDs2biWao6O.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qhmVK9tJRYSc.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TiDs2biWao6O.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Metrocide"></p><p>According to our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metrocide-interview-theres-so-much-fun-to-be-had-in-a-dystopia/">recent interview</a> with Metrocide studio Flat Earth Games, the stealth shooter was due to release in August. That hasn't happened yet, and fair enough too: the indie studio has been too busy optimising the game's difficulty. Should it be "really hard" or "excruciatingly hard"? How hard is too hard? Flat Earth Games wants you to help them answer these questions, thus they've made the game available on Early Access until the game's final November / December release date.&nbsp;</p><p>“From the very beginning, we decided we wanted Metrocide to be hard," a spokeperson for the studio wrote on the game's <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/313130/">Steam page</a>. "Every time we've finished the game, we've made it harder and tried again. Cops, security cameras, gang members and vigilantes mix with permadeath to make sure that no matter how armed to the teeth you might be, one wrong move and you're back at square one (although you will keep all the unlocks)."&nbsp;</p><p>The studio said that it's happy with the game from a technical perspective but that it didn't want to go overboard with the difficulty. "The short time we intend to be in Early Access will be centred around balancing the game (the last third or so in particular), to make sure that it's as punishing as we intend it to be, but also that it's punishing in the right way.”</p><p>Metrocide is available now on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/313130/">Early Access</a>.&nbsp;</p> Uber Entertainment cancels faltering Human Resources crowdfundinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/uber-entertainment-cancels-faltering-human-resources-crowdfunding/Predictive models said Human Resources had no hope of reaching its Kickstarter goal.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:26:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/uber-entertainment-cancels-faltering-human-resources-crowdfunding/Human ResourcesKickstarterNewsRTSUber Entertainment <a href="/uber-entertainment-cancels-faltering-human-resources-crowdfunding/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hok0b9iKYxLU.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uLeFc4qaRliy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hok0b9iKYxLU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Human Resources"></p><p>I loved the idea of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/human-resources-pits-robot-death-machines-against-ancient-tentacle-monsters/">Human Resources</a> from the moment I read about it: Humanity inflicts technological doom on itself, then makes things worse by invoking the Ancient Ones and ends up as nothing more than a generic resource used as fuel in the ensuing war. Alas, as good as the idea is, it wasn't quite good to separate enough people from their&nbsp;crowdfunding dollars.</p><p>The decision to pull the plug was&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/659943965/human-resources-an-apocalyptic-rts-game/posts">announced today</a> by John Comes, the design director at developer Uber Entertainment, which had a big hit on Kickstarter in 2012 with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/planetary-annihilation/">Planetary Annihilation</a>. The Human Resources effort had brought in more than $384,000 from 9326 backers, which sounds impressive in a vacuum. The goal, however, was $1.4 million, and after nearly three weeks it clearly wasn't going to get there.</p><p>"Every Kickstarter prediction model is showing that we will come up woefully short of our goal," Comes wrote in an update. "Running a Kickstarter is a full time job for several people. As a small indie, we can’t continue spending time and money focusing on a project that won’t get funded."</p><p>Comes said Uber Entertainment is "profoundly grateful" to everyone who supported the project, and that after some "recovery time," the studio would figure out its next step. "One thing is for sure, Human Resources, as pitched in this Kickstarter, is over," he wrote. "But we adore the world of Human Resources and will endeavor to do what we can to bring it to life in some form."</p><p>There's at least some defiant bravado in there, but I hope Uber is able to follow through on it somehow; I'm not much of an RTS fan but this is too good an idea to let die. Comes also reminded everyone who backed the project, as we will repeat here in case the question comes up, that because it was not funded, no money will be taken, and no rewards will be delivered.</p> Obduction is now fully playable in a "very rough" statehttp://www.pcgamer.com/obduction-is-now-fully-playable-in-a-very-rough-state/Cyan says the development of the Myst-inspired adventure game is going well.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/obduction-is-now-fully-playable-in-a-very-rough-state/AdventureCyanNewsObduction <a href="/obduction-is-now-fully-playable-in-a-very-rough-state/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jOIquFOAiFUg.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_mj3krIUS0OJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jOIquFOAiFUg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Obduction"></p><p>Work on the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/myst/">Myst</a>-inspired <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/obduction/">Obduction</a> is proceeding apace, according to the latest update on Kickstarter, and in fact the game is now playable from start to finish, albeit in a very pre-alpha state. And even though it should probably go without saying under the circumstances, developer Cyan also made a point of noting that despite what you may have heard, it has not actually run out of money.</p><p>I'm not sure where the "no more money" impression came from, to be honest. The <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cyaninc/obduction/posts/950005">October 16 update</a> offers a Kickstarter post-mortem and a breakdown of what, in Cyan's opinion, made it such a successful campaign. But nothing else about it, at least to my eye, has a ring of, "Oh, by the way, the money is gone." Yet that's how some backers took it, and so in a <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cyaninc/obduction/posts/1020609">second update</a>, posted the day after, Obduction Project Manager Ryan Warzecha clarified that this is not the case at all.</p><p>He also revealed that the full game is now playable "in a very rough pre-pre-pre-alpha state," and that the studio is actually expanding to meet the project's needs. There's now a website up at <a href="http://www.obduction.com">obduction.com</a> as well, although it doesn't yet contain any new information about the game.</p><p>There is one small spot of bad news: Backer rewards, specifically the Obduction t-shirts, have been delayed. "Everything takes longer than expected, and because we want to keep the team small, everyone is taking on multiple roles. (Rand is even the maintainer of the Kickstarter/Paypal database code.)," Warzecha wrote. "This all to say, we are being very careful up front so we can provide you the best possible experience later." </p><p>Receipts will be sent to backers within the next few weeks, he added, and once shipping information has been confirmed, the order will be placed and shipped. Obduction itself, a "real-time, first-person adventure that harkens back to the spirit of Cyan’s earlier games Myst and Riven," is currently scheduled to come out in mid-to-late 2015.</p> Civilization: Beyond Earth – the big things you need to knowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-the-big-things-you-need-to-know/We break down all the differencesbetween Civilization: Beyond Earth and its predecessor.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-the-big-things-you-need-to-know/4XCivilization: Beyond EarthFiraxisSid MeierStrategy <a href="/civilization-beyond-earth-the-big-things-you-need-to-know/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iO55mS55PTP4.780x349.cJo98ZRJ.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> Elite: Dangerous developer is running a speed docking contesthttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-developer-is-running-a-speed-docking-contest/Frontier Developments will not be responsible if you turn yourself into a divot.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:26:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-developer-is-running-a-speed-docking-contest/Elite: DangerousFrontier DevelopmentsNewssim <a href="/elite-dangerous-developer-is-running-a-speed-docking-contest/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aAR6VFyf33Fw.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3E7hXiJYxE4?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"> </iframe><p> As anyone who's ever taken a driver's test knows, parallel parking sucks. But parallel parking in space? That's awesome, especially when it's done at ludicrous speed, with no regard for the safety of yourself or those around you. And if you happen to have a talent for that sort of intergalactic hotdogging, you might be able to score some free <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a> loot with it.</p><p>Inspiration for the "Frontier Competition" speed docking contest goes back to July, when Elite: Dangerous forum user EidLeWeise, aka Ben Mos-Woodward, posted the rules and some videos from a competition held during <a href="http://laveradio.com/lavecon-2014.aspx">Lavecon 2014</a>. Naturally, it didn't take long for other pilots to try to best his mark, and earlier today Frontier Developments decided to make it an official contest.</p><p> "At the end of the working week (Friday 4PM BST) we'll be putting the top ten times in to a prize draw&mdash;the winner will get an Elite: Dangerous goodie bag," Community Relations Manager Edward Lewis wrote. He initially said that different classes of ships could be used in the contest, but the studio eventually decided to keep the challenge as it was originally laid out: An unmodified Sidewinder starting from 5 km out, facing away from the station.</p><p> At last check, the top gun was Kerrash, who went from the start position to landed in a ridiculous 39 seconds. Watching him hit the spot in the video above, it becomes clear that this is going to be a tough time to beat; the only place I can see other pilots shaving a second or two off is during the landing sequence, although since I've never played Elite: Dangerous myself I don't know how quickly you can actually get these things turned around and on the ground. This might be as good as it gets.</p><p> It's not quite as exciting (or dangerous) as Isinona's famous and thoroughly crazy <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-video-shows-a-players-amazing-smuggling-run/">unpowered smuggling run</a>, but standing on it through such a tiny slot, and then getting on the brakes hard enough and fast enough to land without turning yourself into a smear, is still a risky business&mdash;risky enough for Frontier to warn on Twitter that you pays your dime, you takes your chances. </p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>We cannot be held responsible for any damaged ship parts as a result of this competition!</p><p>&mdash; Elite Dangerous (@EliteDangerous) <a href="https://twitter.com/EliteDangerous/status/524214445544054785">October 20, 2014</a></p></blockquote><p> Full contest rules (although there's really no more to it than what's mentioned above), entry links, and other relevant information can be found on the <a href="http://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=25059&amp;page=3">Elite: Dangerous Fan Creations forum</a>.</p><p>[Update: The report originally stated that the contest "began" with EidLeWeise's July forum post. We've edited for clarity.]</p> Own a Samsung 840 EVO? Download this fix for slow read speedshttp://www.pcgamer.com/own-a-samsung-840-evo-download-this-fix-for-slow-read-speeds/Samsung remedies a bug causing slow read performance in its popular 840 EVO SSD.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:23:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/own-a-samsung-840-evo-download-this-fix-for-slow-read-speeds/HardwareNewsSamsungSSDTech <a href="/own-a-samsung-840-evo-download-this-fix-for-slow-read-speeds/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yGtt_AutklG3.780x349.OyaJo6FV.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><em><br></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u6fl30SNQpeQ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t8FrWP-NxS4K.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Samsung 840 Evo"></p><p><em>Article by Kevin Lee</em></p><p>Have you been noticing any slowing performance with your <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-840-evo-msata-500gb-review/">Samsung 840 EVO</a> SSD? Well fret no more: Samsung has a&nbsp;fix for a recently discovered read performance bug called the <a href="http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/samsungssd/downloads.html?gclid=COaEp9KfrsECFZTLtAodanEAIg">Performance Restoration Software</a>. The software will return your SSD back to full working order with its original read and write speeds.</p><p>The restoration tool will essentially run like an automatic program by first loading the SSD with a new firmware, after which users will have to restart their computer. Once rebooted, the drive will go into a three-step restoration process, which will rewrite all the data on your drive. Samsung claims the process won’t wipe your drive, but we would suggest backing up your data to be on the safe side.</p><p>Currently the tool is only available for Windows. However, Samsung says it is working on a version for OS X and Linux machines. The restoration tool will also not work with 840 EVO SSDs set up in a RAID array, so you’ll need to dissolve a multidrive configuration before running the software. </p><p>For the last month 840 EVO users have been reporting slow read speed performance with Samsung’s most popular SSD. The sluggish issue seems to stem from the drive falsely identifying corrupted read points. This problem invariably caused the SSD to repeat the read process multiple times and thus slowed the drive’s performance. <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8617/samsung-releases-firmware-update-to-fix-the-ssd-840-evo-read-performance-bug">AnandTech</a> goes into a deeper detail about the issue.</p><p>Even if you’re not experiencing any noticeable read performance issues, if you own an 840 EVO SSD, check out this software fix. According to Anandtech, there have been a few reports that the bug also affects regular 840 and OEM drives, so hopefully the Samsung can come up with a solution to squash the problem across its entire SSD line.</p> How to scout in CS:GO and win without fightinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-scout-in-csgo-and-win-without-fighting/Counter-Strike became a more interesting game to me the moment I embraced that it's as much about information gathering as it is about gathering sick AWP noscopes.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-scout-in-csgo-and-win-without-fighting/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSTriggernometry <a href="/how-to-scout-in-csgo-and-win-without-fighting/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqhbK5rop-59.780x349.wOwdIbq-.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0EV4zuyYRSep.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqhbK5rop-59.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Csgo Side"></p><p><em>Evan writes about CS:GO and other&nbsp;FPSes each Monday in&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/triggernometry/"><em>Triggernometry</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><a href="http://blog.counter-strike.net/">Counter-Strike</a> became a more interesting game to me the moment I embraced that it's as much about information gathering as it is about gathering sick AWP noscopes.</p><p> In a five-on-five format&mdash;the way you should be playing Counter-Strike, regardless of your skill level&mdash;CS shrinks to a size that fits in your brain. Every player action&mdash;footsteps, reloads&mdash;produces information, and every information piece paints a clearer picture of what the enemy team is up to that you're meant to adapt your tactics and positioning to.</p><p> You play within a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_space">possibility space</a> shaped by bottlenecks and fixed spawn positions, and this distinguishes CS from other FPSes, which begs the question: are you playing CS like it's a different game?</p><p> It’s obvious that Battlefield 4, for example, is spatially larger than CS:GO. But think about the way that BF4’s scale, along with the design of its respawn systems, make information decay quickly. Players can spawn on one another, on any owned capture point, or parachute from the sky&mdash;the three medics you saw on capture point D a moment ago can multiply into a dozen by the time the tank you've called in arrives. It's a game of fluctuating hotspots mostly played on open, flankable terrain. It's a game about putting out fires and starting your own.</p><p> CS, by contrast, is a checkerboard slowly revealed as you move through it. There are only so many positions an enemy can occupy, and unless you leave a hole in your collective vision, they can't magically appear behind you through teleportation. Where enemies are (and, secondarily, what resources they have (HP, armor, weapons)) is reliable information with a measurable lifespan. Without having some of that information, you're simply hoping for the best, relying on your aim to get you out of every situation.</p><p> Embrace scouting as a necessary aspect of Counter-Strike, and you may improve your win rate on the way to appreciating the tiny maneuvers that drive CS' strategic depth.</p><h3>Jump-Scouting </h3><p> It was during the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-highlights-from-csgos-esl-one-cologne-2014-tournament/">ESL One Cologne</a> that I finally realized I could win rounds of Counter-Strike with my eyes. There's a position on de_mirage beside the van on bombsite B, and I watched teams jump like kangaroos here, elevating their eyes for a moment each time to peek down apartments. Even if the Terrorists are rushing B flat-out, this move buys the defenders a few more seconds to get their asses to the bomsite, which can absolutely make a difference. (If you're daring, you can also land jumping Scout or AWP shots.)</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/DefiniteDependentCrayfish" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="698" height="440" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe><p> This was a huge epiphany for me; up until then, I'd been hurling smoke into the Mirage apartments at the start of every round on the assumption that someone was there. Smoke has the ability to stop pushes and burn precious time off the clock, but deploying it there was also denying me the opportunity to gather visual information. I was putting myself in a position to be surprised every round and hoping that my aim could get me out of it.</p><p> Few maps offer the jump maneuver I mentioned on de_mirage as a quick, usually-safe scouting option. More often, the technique you want is a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foyWFO4w6R8">shoulder peek</a>: making the smallest possible movement around a corner with no intention of engaging. The whole idea of the shoulder peek is to not stick your neck out long enough to even observe enemies, but 'process' what you've seen behind cover. You're snapping a quick photo, jerking back, then essentially looking at it in your own brain while you're safe. Do this with a knife out to be as fast as possible.</p><p> We’ll dig into shoulder peeking more&nbsp;another week. The takeaway here is that&nbsp;in&nbsp;CS'&nbsp;five-on-five format there's an unusually high value to knowing where enemies are: it determines your aim, positioning, and grenade tosses&mdash;three essential elements of CS. Part of playing well, then, means learning how to gain information with as little risk to your resources (HP and the weapons you're carrying) as possible. Recognizing the map locations and round situations where information is available at a low cost (i.e. risk to your team’s lives, position, or weapons) is a valuable step to playing a more deliberate game.</p> Far Cry 4 Season Pass offers new missions and PvP modehttp://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4-season-pass-offers-new-missions-and-pvp-mode/The season pass content will also be available in the Far Cry 4 Gold Edition.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:19:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4-season-pass-offers-new-missions-and-pvp-mode/Far Cry 4FPSNewsUbisoft <a href="/far-cry-4-season-pass-offers-new-missions-and-pvp-mode/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DnPTZ8v_UNiK.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5_ZOOV8mR9G5.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DnPTZ8v_UNiK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Far Cry 4 season pass"></p><p>The days when you could just buy a game safe in the knowledge that you were getting all of that&nbsp;game&nbsp;are long gone. Now big games are routinely carved up into increasingly Byzantine packages of pre-order bonuses and day one DLC. In which spirit&nbsp;Ubisoft has released details of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4/">Far Cry 4</a> season pass, which will include an exclusive launch-day mission, a new PvP multiplayer mode, five missions with Hurk, and maybe even a Yeti or two.</p><p>The season pass will go for $30 and include the following:</p><ul> <li><strong>The Syringe</strong> – Available from launch exclusively for Season Pass holders, players must keep a rare and potent recipe from falling into the hands of Pagan Min’s forces. Playable in single-player and co-op, players will need to ensure that he does not use its devastating effects on the rebel forces.</li><li><strong>Escape from Durgesh Prison</strong> – Ajay and Hurk have been rounded up and tortured in Yuma’s prison. Team up with a friend to escape and survive the hostile lands of Pagan Min’s Kyrat.</li><li><strong>Hurk Deluxe Pack</strong> – Five missions, playable in single-player and co-op, including Yak Farm, Blood Ruby and Hurk’s Redemption are available. Access an arsenal of new weapons including a harpoon gun for Hurk.</li><li><strong>Overrun</strong> – Team up as Rakshasa or Golden Path in this PvP mode and control a series of neutral locations across Kyrat’s countryside to protect them from being overrun by your opponents.</li><li><strong>Valley of the Yetis</strong> – Ajay’s helicopter has crashed on an unforgiving Himalayan ridge. Explore the frozen landscape and find tools to upgrade your camp and protect it from a dangerous cult when night falls. With single-player and co-op options, players will not be alone, but in the darkest caves players will have more to fear than just the cult as the yetis await their prey&hellip;</li></ul><p>It looks to be a fair chunk of content, but it's a fair chunk of change for an up-front DLC purchase, too&mdash;even at a 20 percent discount off the combined, separate purchase prices. The game and the pass are also available in an all-in-one <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/298110/">Far Cry Gold Edition</a>, but at $90 there's no further discount for getting it that way.</p><p>Far Cry 4 comes out on November 18.</p> Rockstar warns against Grand Theft Auto V beta scamshttp://www.pcgamer.com/rockstar-warns-against-grand-theft-auto-v-beta-scams/There will be no Grand Theft Auto V beta.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:16:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rockstar-warns-against-grand-theft-auto-v-beta-scams/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar Games <a href="/rockstar-warns-against-grand-theft-auto-v-beta-scams/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-6QKPcwNlL-W.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S5OsrJH1Q8Sc.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-6QKPcwNlL-W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Grand Theft Auto V"></p><p>Pre-release access to games through beta tests or various forms of early access have become so ubiquitous that we tend to expect it, especially when it comes to major titles. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-v/">Grand Theft Auto V</a> certainly qualifies as one of those, but Rockstar says in no uncertain terms that there will be no public beta for the game.</p><p>"Please note: There is no pre-release 'beta' test for Grand Theft Auto V," the message, written in white block caps on a stark black background, <a href="http://www.rockstargames.com/nobeta/">warns anxious GTA fans</a>. "If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some kind of online phishing scam."</p><p>The message doesn't warn against any specific scam, but enticing gamers with the promise of free stuff is a relatively common practice. A FIFA World Cup <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dont-be-fooled-by-this-ea-sports-fifa-world-cup-phishing-scam/">scam</a> went after EA Sports accounts over the summer, and phishers try to dig up <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/updated-steam-phishing-scam-automates-ssfn-upload/">Steam account information</a> with almost admirable determination; the Malwarebytes Unpacked blog also recently <a href="https://blog.malwarebytes.org/fraud-scam/2014/10/the-emulation-imitation/">warned of scams</a> involving purported Xbox emulators.</p><p>As usual, the bottom line is simple: Always ensure that beta offers come through <a href="http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire">official channels</a>, and always ensure that those channels are, in fact, official. The PC release of Grand Theft Auto V is scheduled for January 27, 2015.</p> The Evil Within's God Mode might make you lose your headhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-withins-god-mode-might-make-you-lose-your-head/At least you're not legless.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-withins-god-mode-might-make-you-lose-your-head/HorrorNewsThe Evil Within <a href="/the-evil-withins-god-mode-might-make-you-lose-your-head/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SJrnuVOxf92Y.780x349.yaB4kB4O.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/k0TSp7uU--g?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Sometimes dumb stuff happens in video games, episode #351: in which The Evil Within's god mode leads to unintended consequences.</p><p>Normally, were a giant&nbsp;spinning blade to pass through the neck&nbsp;region, the game's protagonist would die. Here, though, he has been imbued with the power of a deity. Not an omnipotent one&mdash;one that could&nbsp;disintegrate the blade down to its very atoms, before reforming them into, I don't know, a nice bowl of rum and raisin ice cream. Instead, it's&nbsp;the kind of god that would be used as the punchline for a fable about the folly of immortality. Probably one of those old Greek ones, or something.</p><p>He has no head but the game is still playing. That's what I'm trying to say here.</p><p>The video's creator refers to it as a glitch, but, as Bethesda told&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2014/10/20/the-evil-within-is-even-more-scary-with-this-headless-glitch/" target="_blank">VG247</a>, it's the result of activating the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-debug-console-commands-detailed-god-mode-is-in/" target="_blank">immortality console command</a>.</p><p>Why, yes, it is a slow news day. Why do you ask?</p><p>(Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://kotaku.com/grisly-evil-within-glitch-lets-you-play-after-getting-1648377763" target="_blank">Kotaku</a>.)</p> One day left to vote in the Golden Joystick Awardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/one-day-left-to-vote-in-the-golden-joystick-awards/It's your last chance to help the PC clean up at this Friday's awards.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:37:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/one-day-left-to-vote-in-the-golden-joystick-awards/Golden JoysticksNews <a href="/one-day-left-to-vote-in-the-golden-joystick-awards/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LlzOJHY17Bfq.780x349.W_9tEmQe.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FPmITGFPTouJ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LlzOJHY17Bfq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Golden Joystick Collage" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>The Golden Joystick Awards are nearly here. All across the world, top developers are nervously eyeing their competition&mdash;hoping that they'll win out in this Friday's publicly voted award ceremony.</p><p>You have one day left to help decide those winners. Just head over to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/" target="_blank">official Golden Joysticks voting site</a>, and choose the most deserving game in&nbsp;each of the categories. Voting closes tomorrow, 21 October.</p><p>If you need an extra incentive, you can&nbsp;receive a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/" target="_blank">free copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown</a> while stocks last. You'll&nbsp;also be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Air.</p><p>More than that, though, you'll have the chance to help the PC come out as ultimate winner&mdash;demonstrating to the world the power and potential of the platform. If you need some voting suggestions, we've listed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-our-pick-of-the-golden-joystick-awards-2014/" target="_blank">our picks for each&nbsp;relevant category</a>.</p> Transmission: a free puzzler about communication networkshttp://www.pcgamer.com/transmission-a-free-puzzler-about-communication-networks/Connect nodes and send signals... for science (museum).Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:18:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/transmission-a-free-puzzler-about-communication-networks/FreeNewsPuzzle <a href="/transmission-a-free-puzzler-about-communication-networks/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0lp0QCfq9fNI.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K7F9cZxqSZCM.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZnibbQUM3jX3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Transmission"></p><p>Transmission is a puzzle game about communication networks. Created for London's Science Museum, it charts the history of telecommunication through their connections&mdash;showing the increased complexity of every new development. It starts with telegrams, then telephones, then computers, then broadcast, then... well, I don't know, I haven't got that far yet. Maybe MySpace?</p><p>At its most basic, you need to move information from a transmitter to a receiver&mdash;dragging a connection into existence between the two nodes. As you move through the technology, the amount of information that can be moved increases, but so does the complexity of making that happen.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wX7eJjr-nOE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's neat&mdash;relaxing, with a nice tactile pleasure to drawing out connections. It does take a while to become taxing. You should breeze through the telegram and telephone phases, with things not requiring much thought until the computer phase.</p><p>You can play Transmission now, for free in your browser, by visiting the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/online_science/games/transmission" target="_blank">Science Museum website</a>. For more info, head over to the&nbsp;<a href="http://loju.co.uk/transmission.html">game's official web page</a>.</p> Rebel Galaxy announced, is by former Torchlight devshttp://www.pcgamer.com/rebel-galaxy-announced-is-by-former-torchlight-devs/Ex-Runic founders retreat to space, find adventure.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:18:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rebel-galaxy-announced-is-by-former-torchlight-devs/NewsRebel Galaxyspace <a href="/rebel-galaxy-announced-is-by-former-torchlight-devs/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1C82fHM5eJuc.780x349.ULv9STqd.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TtQwQKGwTP-1.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hx52XT8v4GrE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rebel Galaxy"></p><p>Ex-Runic founders&nbsp;Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer have revealed the first project of their new studio, Double Damage. Rebel Galaxy is the name of the game, and it won't involve clicking on a seemingly never-ending number of goblins. Instead, it's a exploration-based space adventure, due out next year on PC and PS4. An announcement trailer shows the game's interesting take on trade negotiation.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rtg56RGq0OY?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>"As the commander of an immensely powerful star destroyer," explains the&nbsp;<a href="http://rebel-galaxy.com/announcing-rebel-galaxy/" target="_blank">announcement post</a>,&nbsp;"you’ll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer – or maybe a little of each."</p><p>Money earned can put towards bigger ships with more guns and better defences. That increased power will let you get further out into the galaxy&mdash;searching out hidden secrets.&nbsp;</p><p>You can find more details over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://rebel-galaxy.com/" target="_blank">game's website</a>, and see more screenshots below.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MqbSpdPLTdiZ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OmJ0sEXVSb9B.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rebel Galaxy - Broadsides"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yyrUg8FnSWSE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pq1xSDPYTS4R.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Leviathan"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XA6LqorUR6Wt.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eT1t8A-hnhH7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rebel Galaxy - Nebula"></p> Total War: Attila trailer shows fire and destructionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila-trailer-shows-fire-and-destruction/Sure, London's in ruins, but at least there's some nice fire propagation.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:15:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila-trailer-shows-fire-and-destruction/NewsStrategyTotal WarTotal War: Attila <a href="/total-war-attila-trailer-shows-fire-and-destruction/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RvyTnZ1kkmGX.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/n5ba57WamwM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It occurs to me that I don't give reality enough credit. Here I am, quietly&nbsp;impressed by&nbsp;Total War: Attila's&nbsp;fire simulation. And yet, if&nbsp;a real fire broke out, I'd attempt to put it out without once thinking, "wow, reality has excellent dynamically propagating fire effects."</p><p>The trailer shows how the upcoming Total War will handle assaults&nbsp;against settlements. A big part of this is the escalation of sieges. Storm a city straight away and it'll be harder to take. Wait it out in a protracted siege and, when you do decide to start the assault, the city will be decaying&mdash;thus easier to breach.</p><p>For the defenders, though, barricades can be placed. These can be smashed through, but doing so will take time. It's often easier to go around, but this gives the defending general the opportunity to funnel the enemy into a trap.</p><p>For more on Total War: Attila&mdash;including details of its planned campaign map improvements&mdash;check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-attila-preview/" target="_blank">my hands-on impressions</a> from last month's&nbsp;announcement.</p> Dragon Age: Inquisition video reintroduces Cassandra Pentaghasthttp://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-video-reintroduces-cassandra-pentaghast/Cassandra Pentaghast is back for the third Dragon Age. Here's what she' s about.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:27:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-video-reintroduces-cassandra-pentaghast/Dragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <a href="/dragon-age-inquisition-video-reintroduces-cassandra-pentaghast/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kaBfsttRokXG.780x349.25gUve-1.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BzKE7xwqzEA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Dragon Age 2's&nbsp;Cassandra&nbsp;Pentaghast will be a returning character in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-2/" target="_blank">Dragon Age: Inquisition</a>, and, from the sounds of this trailer, will be only slightly less all up in Varric's face.&nbsp;The video stars&nbsp;voice actor&nbsp;Miranda Raison, who explains how the companion&nbsp;character has grown and changed in the time between the two games.</p><p>Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't far off now&mdash;arriving on 18 November in the USA and 21 November in Europe. For more, here's Evan's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-hands-on-fine-fantasy/" target="_blank">hands-on impressions</a> from back in August.</p> Free XCOM games now being dispatchedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/Green Man Gaming free game deal open to all voters, while stock last.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/ <a href="/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tarDoHRlZied.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-Ww1wSpWSS-l.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R4lq1dqGRjt1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="XCOM Enemy Unknown"></p><p> Good news! Digital distributor Green Man Gaming is now distributing free copies of Firaxis' seminal sci-fi strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, to voters of this year’s Golden Joystick Awards.</p><p> The offer is available to everyone who’s voted so far, as well as those who <a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=99502103&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink" target="_blank">head over to GoldenJoystick.com</a> and cast their votes between now and the day we slam the door shut next week.</p><p> As an extra bonus, anyone who plays their copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown will receive an 80% discount voucher for XCOM: Enemy Within via <a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=100202423&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink">Playfire Rewards</a>.</p><p> Launched by CVG magazine in 1982, the Joysticks is the world's biggest public-voted gaming awards. The 2014 Golden Joystick Awards ceremony is set to take place on Friday, October 24 at the IndigO2 at London's O2 Arena.</p><p> To claim your free game, follow these steps:</p><ul> <li><strong>Place your votes</strong> - Head over to the <a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=99502103&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink">Golden Joystick Awards website</a> and pick your winners. <em>Make sure you submit your votes with the same email address as your GMG account if you have one.</em></li> <li><strong>Claim your free game</strong> - Make your way to <a href="http://goldenjoysticks.greenmangaming.com">goldenjoysticks.greenmangaming.com</a> and fill in the 'Claim your free game' form. <em>If you're registering your GMG account for the first time, make sure you use the same email address you used for the Golden Joystick Awards website.</em></li> <li><strong>Link your Steam account</strong> - If you're an existing Playfire member with your Steam account linked, you’re already finished.</li></ul><p> The offer is "while stock lasts" and you'll have to be over 18 to claim. Please be aware that certain territories may run out of keys faster than others based on demand. Here's GMG's explanation.</p><p> <em>"There have been questions raised about the availability of the website and the free game for voting in the Golden Joystick Awards. While we would love to give games out to as many people as possible we only have a limited stock. We are acutely aware that working across different timezones means that the offer is more popular in different regions at different times of the day. Therefore in order to remain as fair as possible to our global audience we have allocated game keys on a territory basis globally. Some countries have been extremely quick with claiming their free game and so some country stocks have run out. We have also had some abuse of the system that we have corrected, reducing the overall number of games available to you all. </em></p><p> <em>We will be working to make more keys available but please be assured that if you cannot claim a free game we will not be storing your data or adding you to our Playfire service. </em></p><p> <em> We hope you appreciate our efforts to remain fair to our global gaming community and please bear with us in this very popular promotion. </em></p><p> <em> Thanks, GMG"</em></p> Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare system requirements releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-system-requirements-released/Requires 55GB hard drive space, so start deleting.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:54:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-system-requirements-released/ActivisionCall of Duty: Advanced WarfareFPSNewsSledgehammer Games <a href="/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-system-requirements-released/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cb5rvc0bijUi.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QOP5QPNfSj6F.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cb5rvc0bijUi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare"></p><p>Those hoping to boost jump, murder and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfares-multiplayer-revealed-exo-suits-quittich-and-a-massive-mid-level-tsunami/?region=au">run away from massive waves</a> next month will need to make sure their system can run <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare/">Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</a>. Thankfully Activision has published the minimum requirements on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/209650/">Steam</a>, though 'recommended' requirements are nowhere to be found. In terms of specs, it's only a small leap higher than what we needed for last year's Call of Duty: Ghosts. Memory and video card requirements stay the same, while the game will require a whooping 55GB space on your drive.</p><p>The minimum requirements:</p><p>OS: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit / Windows 8.1 64-Bit<br>Processor: Intel CoreTM i3-530 @ 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 810 @ 2.80 GHz or better<br>Memory: 6 GB RAM<br>Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 @ 1GB / ATI Radeon HD 5870 @ 1GB or better<br>DirectX: Version 11<br>Network: Broadband Internet connection<br>Hard Drive: 55 GB available space<br>Sound Card: DirectX-compatible</p><p>Advanced Warfare releases November 4. That hasn't stopped Activision releasing a '<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer-jumps-the-gun/">launch trailer</a>' a whole two weeks ahead of the game's actual launch. I suppose when you own one of the biggest game franchises in the world you can release the launch trailer whenever the hell you like.</p> Screencheat reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/screencheat-review/ Splitscreen shooter balances depth with accessibility; shotguns with hobby horses.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/screencheat-review/FPSReviewsSamurai PunkSurprise Attack <a href="/screencheat-review/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jkiRo6MHLKpc.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5><p> <strong>What is it? </strong>Fast paced first-person shooter that rewards cheating<strong><br>Play it on:</strong> Windows Vista/7, 1.4GHz or faster, 1 GB RAM<strong><br>Reviewed on:</strong> <strong></strong>Windows 7, Intel Core i7-4800MQ, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M / 3GB GDDR<strong><br>Copy protection:</strong> Steam <br> <strong>Price:</strong> $14.99<br> <strong>Release date:</strong> October 21<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Surprise Attack<br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Samurai Punk<br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> 2-4 players, local and online<br> <strong>Link: </strong><a href="http://www.screencheat.com ">Official site</a><a href="http://community.surpriseattackgames.com/screencheat"></a> </p></div><p>We take for granted that our enemies are visible in first-person shooters. Fair enough too, as shooting them might not be fun otherwise. That’s according to conventional wisdom anyway, which <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/screencheat/">Screencheat</a> shirks from the outset. A small project developed by Melbourne studio Samurai Punk, Screencheat is a competitive splitscreen shooter where four invisible players duke it out in tight, colour-coded arenas. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cop a confetti spraying rainbow piñata in the face.</p><p>Instead of monitoring your own quarter of the screen, in Screencheat you’re encouraged to spend more time watching what your opponents are doing in order to figure out where they are. Those reared on Nintendo 64-era splitscreen shooters (Goldeneye 64, Perfect Dark) will be familiar with this reprehensible tactic, terminally impossible to police. Screencheat wields it as a central mechanic. </p><p> As a concept it doesn’t sound very fun, but in practice it is. Maps have distinctly coloured regions and landmarks which give away the location of each player. Movement and traversal is closer to the spirit of fast-paced arena shooters, with no fall damage complimenting the breakneck verticality of most of the game’s five maps. In standard deathmatch kills come thick and fast: weapons emit faint evidence of their owner’s location, and I quickly learned that precision and planning is more important than spamming the attack key, which most newcomers instinctively do. With one exception the maps tend to span upwards rather than horizontally, meaning I spent a lot of time in the air, propelled by air vents and trampolines, spraying bullets ungracefully as I plummeted.</p><p> Weapons are invariably one-shot kills, so there’s initially no incentive to explore Screencheat’s weirder weapons (y’know, explosive bouncing bears, modified car engines). The default blunderbuss boasts a generous bullet spread, and I was never attracted to any of the slower weapons like the aforementioned Chefolet car engine or grenade launcher. Melee weapons like the firey Hobby Horse and the Candelabra are good in tight situations, with the former providing a burst of speed at the expense of invisibility.</p><figure><img class="" data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FnqCAycKSbOR.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-jHgw1K3JSr3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2014-10-16 00014"><figcaption>The Candelabra is good for sneaky players as it leaves less evidence in its wake.</figcaption></figure><p> The five game modes range standard fare (deathmatch, a king of the hill mode) through to Murder Mystery, which assigns each player a specific target to be killed with a specific weapon. While this has its charms, Screencheat feels more at home in conventional modes where you’re free to focus on shooting and surviving, because that alone is usually stressful enough. Having to keep track of the location of three other players, with these locations changing by the second, is fatiguing after a while. I couldn’t handle playing Screencheat for more than half-an-hour at a time, but then, I don’t think it’s designed to be binged on.</p><p> That’s because Screencheat demands to be played on the couch with friends, and it doesn’t pretend to be a serious first-person shooter. Its breezy and whimsical atmosphere situates it closer to Mario Kart than say, Counter-Strike. The thickly accented Australian commentary seems to mock the severity of other first-person shooters, and the kill messages are often ridiculous (it’s possible to be ‘Windows Vista-ed’ in Screencheat). While online splitscreen play is an option, the game shines among friends you can punch and swear at.</p><p> Which isn’t to say Screencheat lacks depth. Over the course of my five hours with the game I learned some pretty neat tricks. The crossbow seems like a useless weapon at first, requiring a level of precision virtually impossible against invisible foes, but once I learnt that it actually shoots laser beams which can wrap around corners, I started to use it to set temporary traps. Getting good at Screencheat isn’t about being a precise shooter or learning the maps but instead movement, observation, and lightning-quick thinking. Being good at Call of Duty won’t necessarily hold you in good stead if you play Screencheat, which was a huge relief for me.</p><p> While Screencheat’s premise is unique, it feels very much part of a burgeoning new approach to shooters on PC. Independent studios are starting to squeeze new life from the genre: see the strange warping mechanics in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/s-w-a-p-is-a-first-person-arena-shooter-without-any-guns/">S.W.A.P. </a>or the killstreak-centric Megaman-aping <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wrack-is-an-old-school-first-person-shooter-with-a-mega-man-aesthetic/">Wrack</a>. Screencheat is a refreshingly barebones game which focuses on one particular thing: you don’t gain XP, you don’t climb leaderboards, and you never unlock weapons your opponents don’t have access to. For these reasons it’s the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer game for a long time. I heartily recommend it, especially if you like Windows Vista-ing invisible crash test dummies with modified car engines.</p> League of Legends World Championship 2014 final round - watch it herehttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-world-championship-2014-final-round-watch-it-here/Watch South Korea versus China right here.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:27:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-world-championship-2014-final-round-watch-it-here/League of LegendsLeague of Legends World Championship 2014MOBANews <a href="/league-of-legends-world-championship-2014-final-round-watch-it-here/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DsAxXIbcQK85.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pamh_depRMu_.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DsAxXIbcQK85.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="League of Legends"></p><p>The League of Legends World Championships finished up at the weekend, and the round between South Korea's Samsung Galaxy White and China's Star Horn Royal Club can be viewed in full below. Resident LoL expert James Chen had <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-2014-world-championship-grand-finals-a-primer/">a few predictions</a> regarding the round last week, but if you're wanting to watch the match free of spoilers I'd suggest not reading the final paragraph in this story. </p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GTx2HL02-dU" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>Samsung Galaxy White ended up taking the championship, continuing South Korea's dominance for the sixth year. The prize was US $1 million, while Star Horn Royal Club took home $250,000 to share among them.</p> How much RAM do you really need for gaming?http://www.pcgamer.com/how-much-ram-do-you-really-need-for-gaming/Is it worth it to get 16GB or 32GB of RAM? Depends what you're doing...Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:57:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-much-ram-do-you-really-need-for-gaming/Ask PC GamerHardware <a href="/how-much-ram-do-you-really-need-for-gaming/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KMvE4Wax5i0f.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <strong><br> </strong></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WDHSQ5q_QlGA.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KMvE4Wax5i0f.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dom Pt X4 A Cropped"></p><p> <strong>What's considered the recommended maximum amount of RAM for gaming? You know, the maximum before it's just sitting there inflating e-peen rather than actually doing anything in-game? I personally have 8GB, but have read that no more than 4GB is used. Other sites say 8GB. My friend has something like 32GB, but I suspect he's compensating for something. Is more than 8GB even used? &mdash; Nathan I.</strong></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">ask pc gamer</h5> <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ask-pc-gamer/">Ask PC Gamer</a> is our weekly advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to <a href="mailto:letters@pcgamer.com">letters@pcgamer.com</a>.</p></div><p> I'm not sure if there's any correlation between RAM and body parts, but no, you don't need 32GB of RAM for gaming. I recommend 8GB or 16GB, and that will truly be fine for the time being.</p><p> If you have too little RAM&mdash;say,&nbsp;2GB&mdash;there's a good chance a lot of&nbsp;the games you want to play just won't run. If you have the minimum 4GB for games like Alien: Isolation, you <em>may</em> not get the performance you would with 8GB and it'll be restrictive considering the number of programs the average person runs on Windows, but you can get by. You may see no performance dip at all.</p><p> Below is a shot of Task Manager while I was running Alien: Isolation, Chrome, Photoshop, and a few other applications on my rig at home with 8GB of&nbsp;RAM. Everything is peachy. I can Alt-Tab out of Alien and do something in Photoshop with just a slight slow-down.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9AF_XC9ATp6d.PNG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S_iKJXsWlwiD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ram2"></p><p> But there <em>are</em> times when I wish I had more RAM. If I'm running a game, streaming it, responding to chat questions on a second monitor, and playing music, or whatever else I might want to do simultaneously, 16GB would make a difference (and it's not all that expensive). Additionally, sometimes I work with a music sequencer and load lots of virtual instruments into memory&mdash;if you do audio or video work on the same machine you game on, you might consider going higher than 8GB. I plan to upgrade.</p><p> But as far as just simply gaming goes, 8GB is just fine, and is currently the recommended spec for most games. 4GB is the minimum you should have, but even so,&nbsp;I benchmarked Batman: Arkham City at max settings (PhysX off)&nbsp;with 8GB RAM, then popped out one of my sticks and benchmarked it again at 4GB&nbsp;and&nbsp;saw absolutely no change in FPS. I did see a comparative&nbsp;drop&nbsp;with PhysX on, but that seems&nbsp;like a special&nbsp;case&nbsp;I'll have to investigate further to figure out, and I was still getting 52 average FPS.</p><p>In general, more RAM can make your computing more pleasant, and I certainly don't recommend <em style="background-color: initial;">against</em> 16GB.&nbsp;But in general,&nbsp;if&nbsp;you're looking to improve framerate, a better video card is going to make a much bigger difference than going from 8GB to 32GB, which may have no effect at all.</p> Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward expansion adds new race, classes, areashttp://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-expansion-adds-new-race-classes-areas/Along with new jobs, dungeons, raids and bigger level cap.Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:39:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-expansion-adds-new-race-classes-areas/Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornMMONewsSquare Enix <a href="/final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-expansion-adds-new-race-classes-areas/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qD2VGFjPpEdX.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yXzBuzElT4er.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qD2VGFjPpEdX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heavensward"></p><p>If you were in any doubt that Final Fantasy XIV would be expanding over time, er, don't be, because as of this weekend it demonstrably is. Heavensward is the first, and as FF expansion/add-on names go, it is a little disappointing. FFXI brought us&nbsp;A Crystalline Prophecy: Ode of Life Bestowing, and&nbsp;A Moogle Kupo d'Etat: Evil in Small Doses, for example. Regardless, Heavensward will add a new race, new classes, <strong>allow players to&nbsp;build airships</strong>, and increase the level cap from 50 to 60, among other stuff.</p><p>Square Enix revealed FFXIV's first expansion at the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival at Las Vegas this weekend, and&nbsp;<a href="http://kotaku.com/final-fantasy-xivs-first-expansion-is-heavensward-1648065746" target="_blank">Kotaku</a> has the details. Along with the additions mentioned above, we can expect Heavensward to bring new jobs, raids and dungeons, plus new areas including&nbsp;the Northern city of Ishgard. The story has something to do with the Dragonsong War and the Wyrmking, who I'm sure is an entirely pleasant individual. There will be more details at the next FFXIV event, which takes place&nbsp;next weekend, but here's a very brief teaser trailer in the meantime.</p><iframe width="620" height="350" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/68CNzwinqlg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>See, I told you it was brief.&nbsp;It's a good time for Final Fantasy XIV info, it seems: a&nbsp;couple of days ago we brought you&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-14-trailer-details-patch-24/" target="_blank">this massive trailer</a> for the game's 2.4 patch, which is due out later this month.</p> Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launch trailer jumps the gunhttp://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer-jumps-the-gun/Spacey, White Stripes, robots, jetpacks.Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:55:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer-jumps-the-gun/Activision-BlizzardCall of Duty: Advanced WarfareFPSNewsSledgehammer Games <a href="/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer-jumps-the-gun/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uV7ksZ5t_rIu.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hGALcDxqQs-s.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uV7ksZ5t_rIu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Spacey Warfare"></p><p>Not content with being a big political bastard in the US remake of&nbsp;House of Cards, Kevin Spacey is turning his smug, villainous grin to the world of video games. He's a big deal in Sledgehammer's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which releases in a couple of weeks, chock-full of Titanfally jetpacks, impressive, jowly face-tech, and bits where characters are thrown back from slow-motion explosions. To commemorate the occasion, a 'launch' trailer has been released two weeks early, giving us extra time to prepare our monitors and HDTVs&nbsp;for&nbsp;the chilling&nbsp;arrival of Waxwork Kevin&nbsp;Spacey. Be afraid, be very afraid after the break.</p><iframe width="574" height="323" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YSp8ZqIKEIM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Advanced Warfare comes out on the 4th of November, as confirmed by some&nbsp;block lettering at the tail end of the preceding trailer. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-video-demonstrates-upgraded-scorestreaks/" target="_blank">previous video</a> detailed some of&nbsp;the changes being made to the series' Scorestreaks system, while the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-trailer-reveals-exo-survival-multiplayer-mode-and-day-zero-edition/" target="_blank">one before that</a> revealed the game's new Exo Survival multiplayer&nbsp;mode.</p> Mob War in New Vegashttp://www.pcgamer.com/mob-war-in-new-vegas/A mod brings heists and hitmen to Fallout: New Vegas.Sun, 19 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mob-war-in-new-vegas/Fallout: New VegasModsRPG <a href="/mob-war-in-new-vegas/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bDJLIU1zEJ5B.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">MOD OF THE WEEK</h5><p>Every week Chris Livingston picks out a fantastic mod to help you get more out of your gaming library, and have some adventures along the way.</p></div><p>Heists. Hits. Hats. Those are the three essential components of gangsters, and a mod called <a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/57110/?" style="font-size: 14px;">Blackrow</a> uses them all in Fallout: New Vegas. Visit a town controlled by organized crime, meet the man in charge, and start working your way to the top of the mob, first by rubbing out some of the competition, then by ambushing convoys and robbing a bank, and finally, by taking down another major crime boss.</p><p>The town of Blackrow, north of Vegas, is quite obviously a major criminal hangout. Armed goons in suits and hats lounge against walls and stroll through the streets, and the town features a bar, a gun store, and a brothel. I paid a visit to the man in charge, who made an offer I couldn't refuse. Well, I could have refused. Easily. It just wouldn't make for a very interesting article.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2Hjyv0PjQkad.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DQb1et_yuXOE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F2"></p><p>Mr. Sharp runs Blackrow, and he asked me to prove my worth by taking down a drug-runner who'd made off with some of his merchandise. After gearing myself up mafioso style -- tommy gun, shotgun, and revolver -- I found the mark hiding in a bunker and dispatched him, along with a couple of his henchmen. Mr. Sharp was pleased, and offered me a second hit: a general at the Mojave Outpost who couldn't be bought. I was well-liked at the outpost, so it wasn't hard for me to stroll in, activate a Stealth-Boy, and pop the general with a silenced pistol. Then I strolled back out, no one the wiser.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ku7yGYeTSD-A.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ASz1wYHswoBL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F3"></p><p>My next target was tougher, another competing criminal with a bunch of heavily armed and armored goons protecting him at his hideout in Freeside, but after airing him out, I became a trusted figure in Blackrow and Sharp referred me to his associate for more work. This time I'd need to intercept a convoy carrying a stash of caps. It went well, though I was ambushed mid-ambush by some of Caesar's assassins, apparently tasked to rub me out over some former slight I can't even remember. Also, the Brahmin pack animals attacked me as well. Still, I recovered the shipment.</p><p>From there, I was onto something big and dangerous, an actual bank heist to snatch five valuable gold bars from the vault. I changed into some real gangster gear and scoped out the bank.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JLzhHmWtQfKt.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i3J3-xIkPrVB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F4"></p><p>Bursting through the door, I found the place packed with guards, tellers, and civilians. I ordered everyone to get on the ground, but no dice: the tellers ran around in a panic and everyone else drew their weapons. It was chaos, the best kind, a snatch-and-grab turned shoot-and-get-shot. Eventually, I'd taken down all the guards, and only one teller hadn't fled the building. To ensure he didn't spill the beans, I had to... how to put this delicately... murder him in the face with a gun. Wait! No. I should have said something like "I had to silence him... permanently." That would have been way more cool.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4XyJFfybSWaU.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MJcGzRsAO_wp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F5"></p><p>After retrieving a couple keys, one of which the bank manager wasn't too keen to relinquish (I murdered him in the body with bullets), I had another brief skirmish with an armored guard in the vault, then I collected the gold and stepped out into the streets, prepared to nonchalantly walk away. It wasn't that easy. It never is. Seems this was no ordinary bank, and the owner of the gold was himself a made man named Cohen. His collection of natty thugs weren't about to let me stroll off with his bling.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D8LY6tRZQ46H.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ahfN_JljtGO2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F6"></p><p>Eventually, I returned to Blackrow HQ. The bank job had caused a real problem between Sharp and Cohen, and it seemed the best course of action was to take down Cohen's entire operation before he did the same to us. I hit one of his convoys, finding not only a safe but some classic loot bags with dollar signs on them! Then it was time to eliminate Cohen himself.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pDepYFoDTmq3.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4IA7Aj6BjlTb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F7"></p><p>This was a massive battle in a dusty town tucked away in the hills. Cohen had tons of goons, and I regretted not bringing a sidekick to help out, or at least serve as another target. I settled for using little extra firepower to mop up, then infiltrated Cohen's personal hideout, where more goons were waiting.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c6P8qkktQASj.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2bTbWA-3aWre.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F8"></p><p>Once I had Cohen alone, I decided to take him out in classic mob fashion: by beating him to death with a baseball bat. Unfortunately, I didn't have one, so I went with my back-up plan: incinerate him with Tesla-Beaton Prototype. It's an large anti-tank energy weapon. It got the job done.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uFZBZp2jTfm0.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KWbDOfpZ4WnJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F10"></p><p>This is a pretty cool mod, with maybe an hour or two of play, depending on how tough you are. There's another quest-giver in town once you've helped out Sharp, which will allow you to participate in another, bigger bank heist, and the town has a hotel to stay in and a few other amenities. There's no custom voice-work, which is fine: this game is mainly about rubbing out thugs and making off with the loot.</p><p><a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/57110/?">You can download it here</a>. It's a single .esp file you can drop in your data folder, and then you can just tick its box when starting the game. For me, at least, Blackrow didn't appear on my map automatically, I had to physically step into it before the icon appeared. You'll find it north of H&amp;H Tools Factory near North Vegas Square.</p> The Best Free Games of the Weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-48/Non-grindy gears, a nasty empress, and a remixedhorror house await.Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:16:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-48/ActionAdventurebrowser gamesIndiePlatformerThe Best Free Games of the Week <a href="/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-48/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YrPpvoOuHB8B.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ni6z5ZYFSC-t.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3oUNPih3sCci.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="With Those 2"></p><p>Prepare to&nbsp;serve the empress in With Those We Love Alive, to&nbsp;serve the whims of gravity in The Gears Don't Grind, and to&nbsp;be served a meal of&nbsp;slimy treats in&nbsp;Hugo's House of Horrors. You'll be doing a lot of reading, walking, shooting and jumping in this week's roundup, so be sure&nbsp;to outfit yourself appropriately.</p><h3><a href="http://beanallean.itch.io/thegearsdontgrind" target="_blank">The Gears Don't Grind by Ben Allen and Arayan</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6sAfjii7SL6s.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JhWlByyNwD4a.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Gears Don't Grind"></p><p>The gears don't grind, but your teeth might while you're playing this super-hard minimalist platformer. Compared to other super-hard minimalist platformers, Gears most closely resembles VVVVVV or Fred Wood's Love, thanks to its iconic, simplistic art style and retro colour palette. The gravity mechanic recalls Tez Cavanagh's game as well, although it works a little differently here. Every time you leap or fall from the side of the screen the gravity shifts – one moment you might be walking on the wall, the next you're dancing on the ceiling. (Oh what a feeling.) The functions of the left and right cursor keys are frequently reversed, often necessitating a spot of neck-craning to maneuver yourself about.</p><h3><a href="http://cellusious.itch.io/dr-love" target="_blank">Dr Love by Cellusious</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aPLitOIuQkCq.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ARqwh1CAqCbp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dr Love"></p><p>Dr Love is a twin-stick shooter because, well, what else could it be? I suppose it could be a match-three puzzler like Dr Mario, or a fictional London GP like Eastenders' Dr Legg, but I'm happy with the shooty Dr Love game we got. The twist here is that you're shooting blocks, most of the time, blocks that drop from the sky to either a) crush you like a love pancake, or b) get in your motherlovin' way. Blocks have differing properties, and it's not long before jerk enemies introduce themselves as well. The way the game progresses seems a little random for my liking, but this is a fast and furious and pretty enough shooter that maybe that doesn't matter all that much.</p><h3><a href="http://aliendovecote.com/uploads/twine/empress/empress.html" target="_blank">With Those We Love Alive by Porpentine and Neotenomie</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tS5hPEi4RxCf.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kWgBF6E8Vrby.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="With Those"></p><p>The figure of the empress looms over this sumptuous, destabilising bit of sci-fi that filters childhood trauma through a pulp sci-fi/fantasy lens. Porpentine's vocabulary, turns of phrase, and mastery of Twine continues to impress, but it's Neotenomie's lush, embracing soundtrack that ties everything together. As an indentured servant in the palace of the brutal Empress, you'll construct strange armour, ethereal ornaments, and gruesome weaponry, as your subsumed past slowly creeps back into your life.</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/other/orthoclase/36007/" target="_blank">Orthoclase by Andrew Dawson</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xd9bVseZQOiC.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XDRwabwVmCbL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Orthoclase"></p><p>Sometimes you need a virtual island to retreat to and&nbsp;saunter about on, and Andrew Dawson's Orthoclase is better than most. There's nothing to do here but stroll, and look, and absorb, and appreciate, and it's a good way to unwind if, for some reason, you don't own your own private island in real life. I was a bit disappointed to find&nbsp;that I couldn't swim off to that distant landmass over there, but what can you do? *Starts furious e-petition demanding that Dawson add it in*.</p><h3><a href="http://ifcomp.org/1241/content/HHH.html" target="_blank">Hugo's House of Horrors by Robot Parking and David Gray</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Edj9dattSAqI.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BmEceJYW6u6G.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hhh"></p><p>A wonderfully cheeky bit of interactive fiction that takes David Gray's 1990 adventure game Hugo's House of Horrors and adds new writing over the top. It's a little like a game version of the brilliant Bad Lip Reading YouTube series, which uses clips from shows like The Walking Dead and implements new, hilarious dialogue that matches the lip-syncing perfectly. Robot Parking's poetic, silly, and sweary new words complement (screengrabs of) the original's pixel art rather well – I like to think that they've never even played it, and that they're improvising a new scenario on the spot.</p> Co-op life sim Stardew Valley gets lovely new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/co-op-life-sim-stardew-valley-gets-lovely-new-trailer/Farm! Get married! Fish! Battle slimes!Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:01:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/co-op-life-sim-stardew-valley-gets-lovely-new-trailer/Co-opDungeon CrawlerIndieNewssimStardew Valley <a href="/co-op-life-sim-stardew-valley-gets-lovely-new-trailer/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DpbAuXeCs0io.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tfh6tYcBRBih.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DpbAuXeCs0io.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Stardew Valley"></p><p>The quietly enormously ambitious&nbsp;<a href="http://stardewvalley.net/" target="_blank">Stardew Valley</a> has been given a new trailer detailing some of the Harvest Moony life sim's many, many activities. Activities like farming, battling monsters in procedurally generated caves, fishing, popping to the shops, and standing moodily on a dock looking out to sea. Not pictured: marriage, co-op, archaeology, cooking, crafting, or the other things mentioned on&nbsp;<a href="http://stardewvalley.net/about/" target="_blank">this About page</a>.</p><p>Stardew Valley is one of the few PC&nbsp;life sims, and it's&nbsp;shaping up to be a timesink of gigantic proportions.&nbsp;I mentioned it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/stardew-valley-a-co-op-harvest-moon-with-marriage-monsters-randomly-generated-caves/" target="_blank">before</a>,&nbsp;nearly two years ago now, but it seems to have come on a fair bit since then. Starbound developers Chucklefish are publishing, which seems entirely apt to me: there's a similar sense of&nbsp;scale and ambition&nbsp;to the more earthbound&nbsp;Stardew Valley. As you can see here:</p><iframe width="854" height="510" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4IYbC5o-a-A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>No release date yet, unfortunately, but while we&nbsp;wait, the game's&nbsp;website is full of interesting development titbits. Titbits like this one:</p><p>"Now, about Joja Corporation [the Walmart-like chain store featured in the above trailer]&hellip; I’ve decided not to impose a time limit on players. Here’s my new Joja concept:</p><p>"JojaMart already exists when you arrive in town. In fact, Joja’s presence is the reason the community center has fallen into disrepair, and why the local mom and pop businesses are suffering. Some townspeople long for the old days, when local businesses were thriving and the town had a strong sense of unity. Others welcome the convenience and affordability of the JojaMart."</p><p>You'll be able to affect&nbsp;JojaMart's influence on the town, by revitalising the community centre and putting Joja out of business, by expanding the mega-chain and demolishing the community centre for good&nbsp;(you monster), or by abstaining from the decision process and letting things run their course. Interesting stuff!</p> Visceral outlines Battlefield Hardline changes following beta feedbackhttp://www.pcgamer.com/visceral-outlines-battlefield-hardline-changes-following-beta-feedback/Will feature faction specific weapons, and guns in car boots.Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:18:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/visceral-outlines-battlefield-hardline-changes-following-beta-feedback/battlefield hardlineDICEElectronic ArtsFPSNewsVisceral Games <a href="/visceral-outlines-battlefield-hardline-changes-following-beta-feedback/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AcbNOrcMKYuz.780x349.KITgbTEZ.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WWjlcGhPROOL.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AcbNOrcMKYuz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardline thumb"></p><p>Impressions of the Battlefield Hardline beta&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-e3-pc-hands-on-cops-robbers-chaos/" target="_blank">weren't entirely positive</a>, and it's this wealth of feedback that&nbsp;caused Visceral to ask EA for some&nbsp;extra time to develop their game&mdash;that's according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2014/10/17/battlefield-hardline-beta-not-a-demo/" target="_blank">this interview</a> with Visceral's Steve&nbsp;Papoutsis over on VG247. He also revealed a few of the changes that have already been made, including newly&nbsp;faction specific weapons and the option to stow special weapons in a vehicle's boot.</p><p>The two factions of the game&mdash;cops and criminals&mdash;will now boast their own specific guns, a change requested by the community that I think will better&nbsp;suit Hardline's underlying premise. But there are other, equally big changes being made. RPGs and mines will no longer be&nbsp;quite so easy to attain: it seems they'll now be pickup item&nbsp;that both sides will have to find before they can use them. Here's Papoutsis explaining the new systems in more detail:</p><p>"The other big change is more around explosives and some of the heavy duty weapons. Obviously with Battlefield you have this really solid foundation of rock, paper, scissors gameplay. The heavy weapons counter the vehicles, etc. There’s a great balance that the team has created over the years. We wanted to include RPGs and mines – and we did – but people felt that it took them out of the fiction a little bit; that you could just load up a character and equip an RPG. So that wasn’t an easy thing to get rid of because it’s part of the balance.</p><p>"The design team came up with a cool ideas based on that feedback. One is to have some of those more powerful weapons be pick-ups so it creates a secondary objective. Some of the modes, like in Hotwire, the RPG cache is one of the objectives. If you control that cache your team has access to the RPG. And that creates more interesting gameplay. We also came up with the notion of ‘junk in the trunk’ – what if we allowed players to equip special items to their vehicle instead of their inventory loadout. It goes back to movies where bad guys pop open the trunk to grab something big. When you play the game, if you set up your vehicle loadout to have a specific weapon in the trunk and you control the vehicle you can use that item. So now you want to get a vehicle to get access to a specific weapon, which also fits the fiction better."</p><p>Visceral and EA recently&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardlines-hotwire-mode-is-like-need-for-speed-with-rocket-launchers/" target="_blank">blew the bloody doors off</a> Hardline's Hotwire mode, which is pretty much Need for Speed but with rocket launchers. Here's a video of it in action.</p><iframe width="615" height="346" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zOABuPJtGmg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Gabriel Knight And The Colours Of Voodoohttp://www.pcgamer.com/gabriel-knight-and-the-colours-of-voodoo/How the war between blue and orange helped a good game become great.Sat, 18 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gabriel-knight-and-the-colours-of-voodoo/ <a href="/gabriel-knight-and-the-colours-of-voodoo/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S1gc9eiaepYY.780x349.2xs-SSAO.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/r5QkKGK-TOCU.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_6W95krkj8bT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Voodoo1" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">CRITICAL PATHS</h5><p>Every Saturday, <a href="http://www.richardcobbett.com/">Richard Cobbett</a> digs into the world of story and writing in games&mdash;some old, some new. First up, a bit of both. What can you tell me about voodoo?</p></div><p>Many years ago, John Carmack said of stories in games that they're like stories in porn movies, "It's expected to be there, but it's not that important." I've always disagreed... with the gaming side of that I mean, not the other. Story is wonderful stuff. It's what makes our victories satisfying, it's what turns a few pixels on a screen into a character that we can fall in at least platonic love with, and what turns, say, running around a city of glorified boxes into being given the freedom of Paris.</p><p>I love story. I hope you do too. If not, I hope to convince you over time.</p><p>Where a lot of people go wrong though is thinking of story as simply 'plot' - the reason why you're shooting aliens in the face, the dead wife and child justifying some angry man's rampage, the doomsday weapon somewhere on the final level. All that is part of it, sure, but done well story is a thing that touches every part of a game. It's in the script, but it's also in the design, in the ambience, in the music, and in what's allowed to be unspoken. It's not a thing that someone simply pours onto a game when all else is done... or rather, it shouldn't be... but something that goes down to the bones.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ae9I11AjSoCv.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_j7lO-KH9xBa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lout" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p>As such, I thought we'd start off by looking at a classic from a slightly different perspective. If you know anything about adventure games, then Gabriel Knight needs no introduction. If not, this 1993 adventure was one of the first mainstream titles to really go for the mature audience in a way that counted as mature rather than simply adult. It sold itself as a horror game, but it was its characters and meticulous exploration of voodoo (or at least, the convincing appearance of it, especially in a time before Wikipedia) that made it a legend. Later, there was a thing about a cat-hair moustache stuck on with syrup. Let's, uh, not speak of that. Ever.</p><p>As such an overtly story-heavy game, there's a lot of interest here, from the character&nbsp;relationships to the setting itself, and at least one thing that I plan to return to. Instead of the words and the plot though, let's kick off with something whose influence is almost never talked&nbsp;about - the colour palette. Gabriel Knight only had 256 colours to work with, and part of what made it such an impressive game was how far the artists stretched them to create amazingly detailed locations like the one above. As the game goes on though, it's soon revealed to be even cleverer&nbsp;than it first appears.&nbsp;Take a look at this, the first of several graphic novel style cut-scenes, where Gabriel meets his love interest and the technical&nbsp;villain, socialite Malia Gedde.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yJWdwtkCSemB.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S1gc9eiaepYY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gk" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p>There's a lot more going on here than first meets the eye. This is the meeting of two different worlds, in a number of ways - hero and villain, rich and poor, hunter and hunted (though neither knows that bit yet...) This is represented visually by the use of complementary yet contrasting&nbsp;colours - blue and orange - to the point that Malia looks more like a sunbed obsessive than the leader of a murderous voodoo cult. It's a vivid look, made all the more notable by the fact that the artist could absolutely have gone with a more subdued, less illuminated skin tone had they wanted to - &nbsp;just look at Gabriel himself in the middle there. It's also notable that while&nbsp;Malia does get described elsewhere as having copper-colour skin, which is fitting,&nbsp;the poetic description of her at the start of the game opts instead for this:</p> <div><em><br></em></div> <div><em>I dreamt of blood upon the shore, of eyes that spoke of sin.</em></div><div><em>The lake was smooth and deep and black, as was her scented skin...</em><br></div> <div><em><br></em></div><p>Maybe it's just me, but <em>bright orange</em>&nbsp;is not the colour I'd personally associate with a deep lake. It is however surprisingly important within the overall art style...</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/McfmQGfiSNaA.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UHAj3KxPp7br.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gkbar"></p><p>In particular, the contrasting colours are&nbsp;used throughout to represent the two lovers' different worlds - Gabriel's is cold, and for much of the game actively&nbsp;mundane. While there's a warmth to his bookshop, generally his parts of town are painted in blues and magentas - his cop buddy Mosely adding a dose of yellow with police tape, his jacket, and his office decorations, but otherwise maintaining the mundanity.&nbsp;</p><p>Malia's world however is implicitly one of magic and of mystery,&nbsp;with&nbsp;both fire and orange becoming recurring themes in any environment where those elements are in focus. She&nbsp;doesn't have <em>exclusive</em> rights to them, but when they appear outside of this context&nbsp;it's almost always either obscured or in a far more muted shade.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W6t23lPRT9S5.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3hMqoA5zsRfE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Malia0"></p><p>Orange in fact soon becomes&nbsp;an almost invasive force in Gabriel's world, as seen here in her house - the blues and magentas representing her public identity&nbsp;as simply a rich socialite and philanthropist (seriously,&nbsp;are they ever <em>not</em> evil?), but the fire acting as the focal point of the scene and Malia's&nbsp;red clothing doubling down on it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SS3VoGNBS4uK.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dNqHTKswHri7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Malia 1"></p><p>In a similar vein, this shot from the voodoo museum shows another member of the cult, Dr. John, carefully standing in the small pool of orange light rather than in the part of the shop meant for tourists. Also of note is that his corner is where you find the&nbsp;snake that's the only thing that tries to kill Gabriel for most of the early story.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t594Umf0SZ6H.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/srHalFPIReCO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Drjohn"></p><p>The more overtly voodoo related locations meanwhile go all-out for it. The Dixieland Drug Store that specialises in paraphernalia without actually being linked to the murders directly uses all orange. So too, initially oddly, does the church. This makes more sense later on when it proves to be the home base of the villains, accessed via a secret passage in the confessional. Yeah, this game does get a bit goofy. They have a whole James Bond base underneath it, complete with offices where people work and janitorial cupboards, but also a whole zoo full of voodoo related animals and a inter-office communication system that involves someone going to a sacrificial chamber and banging out codes on a drum. These guys badly needed e-mail.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n0WjOqhDTaWC.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yoiweUjsUupT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Church"></p><p>Even that late in the game though,&nbsp;the theme is continued. Here's an ancient tomb in Africa from the villains' past. Torchlight is of course always going to be orange, but someone still&nbsp;had to put them there, and the key colour remains notable...</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DnTGHt-fRNmQ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8LFUCAYYEBT7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tomb"></p><p>...while Gabriel's own&nbsp;ancestral home embraces the old contrast between cold and warmth, blue and orange, to the point of looking like this <em>in the middle of summer!</em> (The castle is&nbsp;one of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.postudios.com/blog/?p=5314">major changes made by the recent remake</a>, upgrading it to the sequel's more modern one and surrounding it with greenery. I totally agree with this, because the snow is bloody stupid in the original. Theme only goes so far!)</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xd3cBo5jS9Cd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iCYX0SjEDSa9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ritter"></p><p>Now it's certainly not the case that every case of fire and every splash of orange in the game feels like part of this theme, but these patterns are present and notable throughout most of it.&nbsp;It's a natural fit in many ways. The main story revolves around a family of witch-hunters (technically, shadow hunters, but it's a witch at the centre of this story), whose mistakes have led to their family declining while Malia's rose in power to become the rulers of New Orleans. In a very real sense, they've stolen their fire. It's a thematic element that bookends the game. The first thing we see is Malia's ancestor burning at the stake while Gabriel's watches and regrets his decision. The very last thing is the final battle between the two families <em>literally</em> ripping New Orleans apart (in arguably the only scene in gaming that&nbsp;makes geologists weep more than taking a tour of World of Warcraft) as Gabriel finally atones for the past.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Jwvjcic8SIaa.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b7r70Dyz6T1W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rip"></p><p>This use of contrast is something that Gabriel Knight gets fantastic use out of, allowing it to keep its most powerful colours for its biggest scenes, but also creating a mood that's at least slightly unsettling without ever being too noticeable. In the first instance, there's a distinct split between the areas in which Gabriel is comfortable in, and those where he's at least somewhat out of his comfort zone - daffy voodoienne Magentia Moonbeam for instance is no threat, and she's just treated as a kook, while the drugstore whose owner casually mentions human sacrifice and then immediately claims all his stock is just to milk passing tourists&nbsp;has a slight alien element to it.</p><p>Its use even extends to the death screen; the triumph of orange.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1dBAHVqASsKl.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pZwtdiurM_ps.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gkdeath"></p><p>It must be said though that after a while, you do start to wonder about the voodoo cult's membership. They don't really do a lot during the game, and never seem to be around. Even when you go into their base, it's largely deserted. So who are these cultists? Let's see... almost entirely unknown, very mysterious, most likely bright orange to keep with the general&nbsp;theme they've got going here... very likely on the far wrong side of politically correct by modern standards... wait a damn minute!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QufafGzrQaqH.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gU6vMI1rbQEJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Oompa"></p><p><em>Oompa Loompa, doing Voodoo</em></p><p><em>Delivering just one last warning to you</em></p><p><em>Oompa Loompa, we guarantee</em></p><p><em>Stop or you'll be eaten by&nbsp;Ogun Badagris.</em></p><p><em>What do you get when you get in our way?</em></p><p><em>Messing things up in ten or so days?</em></p><p><em>Keep poking round&nbsp;and you'll just&nbsp;wind up dead</em></p><p><em>And quit&nbsp;riding our Loa in your bed.</em></p><p><em>(That is inappropriate!)</em></p><p><em>Oompa Loompa, Gabriel Knight</em></p><p><em>We bought your books, and thought they were shite</em></p><p><em>Be smart and stay in your dull world of blue</em></p><p><em>Because the Oompa Loompas are watching you...</em></p><p><em>(Always watching you.)</em></p><p><em>...</em></p><p>Brr.&nbsp;Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes.</p><p>On a wider level, the colours subvert the usual concept of warm being comfortable. Here, they're always charged. The church that you expect to be safe is where a man dies horribly.&nbsp;&nbsp;The voodoo ceremonies are dangerous and intimidating, with a raw power that has nothing to do with any magic that may or may not actually be happening... at least, early on. And when those sequences reach a crescendo, the colour scheme is quick to back that up as it shifts colour all the way to&nbsp;blood red.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ab1E1NkdSkiU.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cBsUkeI0R8pO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Voodoo2" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"></p><p>None of this would work if not for the words and the storyline driving the game, but it acts as a multiplier - just one way that all the disparate elements of the game pulled together towards a common goal. The game already rests heavily on symbolism, especially in elements like Gabriel's family medallion and the use of dragon and snake imagery. Where those are always pushed front and centre though, not least in the introduction, the colours are there to be felt more than actively noticed.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BWdmmu91jGY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This kind of direction is, for me anyway, the main thing missing in the recent&nbsp;remake. Where the original artists had to make every last pixel work for their money, the remake gets all the colours in the world and probably garrow too, and as such adopts a more realistic graphical&nbsp;approach. Here for instance is the updated cut-scene where Gabriel meets Malia, done in the remake's more modern style.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fEA35KhcSwen.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/49EWjUjkoroo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Comic"></p><p>While the art here&nbsp;is basically okay, it doesn't convey even half as&nbsp;as much as the original. Later cut-scenes fare much better at that, and are genuinely good. The backgrounds though tend to be attempts at realism compared to the stylised world of the original, and it's a distinctly different world as a result - less threatening, less alien, less hanging with menace. Not bad, but definitely different, and more than you'd think given that the details of most of the locations are much the same as they were in the original. Largely, it feels like a result of two very different goals - the original on supporting the story at the expense of an&nbsp;immediate wow factor,&nbsp;the remake aiming to make the existing screens as visually impressive as possible&nbsp;(Which is of course what you'd expect a game pushing HD graphics as its main selling point to do.)</p><p>Certainly, the original's&nbsp;locations - while beautifully done - lacked the snap factor of many other titles of around the same time, like most of Lucasarts' games or the&nbsp;gorgeous&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mobygames.com/game/legend-of-kyrandia-hand-of-fate/screenshots">Hand of Fate</a>. At first glance, they were even somewhat <em>unpleasant </em>by the standards of the time&nbsp;- claustrophobic, dark, and very restrained outside of the cut-scenes. Very few other sprite based games though managed to get the same levels of presence and texture, even in the many, many scenes when nothing was happening. It's one of the reasons they still look good today, while most games shooting for reality soon look ancient. Artistry fades much more slowly than art.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xJhvD8_3T9mT.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5DAfIgOOZFZ8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Drugstore"></p><p>This level of both craft and willingness to support the story isn't the kind of thing that in itself marks the distinction between&nbsp;a bad game and a good one, but it is the kind of thing that marks a great one from a merely good one - the willingness to dig that little bit deeper than most other games, and make all the components come together to be the sum of their parts. The writing, the plot, the characters, the research, all the most obvious elements absolutely&nbsp;deserve the lion's share of the credit on Gabriel Knight, much as they did in its sequel, The Beast Within's fusion of European mythology and modern adventure.&nbsp;The best games though&nbsp;find many ways to make all their elements work together, and I don't think many would argue that Gabriel Knight doesn't qualify.&nbsp;It was a hit back in the 90s, and remains a classic.</p><p>But enough of all this&nbsp;pixel-loving. Next time, something far more rooted in the traditional story side of things, and a very different game entirely...</p> Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 8k screenshot galleryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-8k-screenshot-gallery/40screenshots of Shadow of Mordor captured with camera hacks at 7680x4320 resolution.Sat, 18 Oct 2014 00:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-8k-screenshot-gallery/Middle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMust ReadPixel Boost <a href="/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-8k-screenshot-gallery/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Votg8Ayg386n.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> GTX 980M benchmarked: testing Nvidia's mobile performance claimshttp://www.pcgamer.com/gtx-980m-benchmarked-testing-nvidias-mobile-performance-claims/Nvidia claims that the GTX 980M is 75% as fast as the desktop 980. In our testing, it's fastbut not quite that fast.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:15:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gtx-980m-benchmarked-testing-nvidias-mobile-performance-claims/HardwareNvidiaNvidia GTX 980Nvidia Maxwell <a href="/gtx-980m-benchmarked-testing-nvidias-mobile-performance-claims/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T27KF3l_otiO.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XpjoQhatQCW9.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T27KF3l_otiO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Msi Gt72 980m"></p><p>When Nvidia announced the GTX 980M graphics card for gaming laptops, it made a bold claim: 75% of the performance of its desktop 980, which is currently the fastest single-GPU card on the market. The 680M, by comparison, delivered around 60% of the performance of the GTX 680 in 2012. That’s a huge growth for mobile GPU efficiency, if it’s true. In other words, the GTX 980M has a lot to live up to.</p><p>In our testing, the 980M delivered great performance at 1080p, but it didn’t come close to matching that 75% score of its desktop counterpart.</p><p>I tested the GTX 980M inside MSI’s GT72 Dominator gaming laptop, which runs on a 2.5GHz (3.5GHz turbo) Haswell i7-4710HQ processor, 32GB DDR3-800 RAM and a SATA SSD. It’s a $3000 configuration. If you need a refresher on the 980M itself, here are the specs:</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td>Specs</td><td>GTX 970M</td><td>GTX 980M</td></tr><tr><td>Base clock</td><td>924 MHz</td><td>1038 MHz</td></tr><tr><td>CUDA cores</td><td>1280</td><td>1536</td></tr><tr><td>Memory config</td><td>Up to 3GB 192-bit GDDR5</td><td>Up to 4GB 256-bit GDDR5</td></tr><tr><td>Memory speed</td><td>2500 MHz</td><td>2500 MHz</td></tr></tbody></table></div><p><br> Now for performance: I ran the GTX 980M through some popular benchmarks at the GT72’s default 1080p resolution, with all games set to ultra or very high settings. Because one of the big features <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-970m-and-980m-maxwell-mobile-gpus/">Nvidia’s been talking up</a> for the 900-series mobile GPUs is its Battery Boost technology, I ran each benchmark three different ways: on AC power, unplugged, and unplugged with Battery Boost disabled (and set to a framerate throttle of 60 fps). By default, Battery Boost limits the framerate to 30 fps, but I cranked that to the maximum of 60 fps to see if the laptop could manage that level of performance on battery.</p><p>Here are the average frames per second&nbsp;results of each benchmark at 1080p and ultra settings, typically with 4x MSAA and an ultra preset. In Tomb Raider, TressFX was enabled; in Metro: Last Light, tessellation was set to high.</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td>Benchmark: unplugged, 1080p</td><td>GTX 980M: Battery Boost</td><td>GTX 980M: No Battery Boost</td></tr><tr><td>Unigine Valley</td><td>29.8</td><td>29.6</td></tr><tr><td>Batman: Arkham Origins</td><td>51</td><td>crashed multiple times</td></tr><tr><td>Tomb Raider</td><td>33</td><td>34.3</td></tr><tr><td>Thief</td><td>34.4</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>Metro: Last Light</td><td>34</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>Bioshock Infinite</td><td>55.8</td><td>69.1</td></tr></tbody></table></div><p><br> As you can see, each benchmark delivered playable framerates at 1080p and ultra settings, even unplugged. Playable, but often not great&mdash;realistically, most demanding games won’t be able to maintain a solid 60 fps at these settings unplugged. The GPU just can’t get enough juice off the battery alone to run at full capacity. These are obviously strenuous tests, and turning off a few settings, even playing at high with a few bells and whistles turned off, will deliver much more playable framerates.</p><p>If you can stomach gaming at 30 fps, though, Battery Boost will be able to keep games running smoothly. Disabling battery boost delivered slightly higher framerates in most games, but not enough to make a significant difference. It will take more testing to see how the MSI GT72’s battery life fares with battery boost enabled and disabled.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iVl5dPddRx6t.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c7Zk4Oe6RBdx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gtx 980M Battery Boost"></p><p>Though portability is the big selling point of a gaming laptop, typically, any serious gaming time spent with them will be spent plugged into an outlet. On-battery results don’t come anywhere close to the desktop 980’s performance, but that’s to be expected. Powered benchmarks are the true test.</p><p>At 1080p, the GTX 980M turned in great framerates plugged in, often getting above 60 frames per second. Because we did most of our desktop GTX 980 benchmarks at 2560x1600, I hooked the MSI GT72 up to a 30-inch monitor to test its performance&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-gtx-980-tested-sli-4k-and-single-gpu-benchmarks-and-impressions/">against the full-size reference card, paired with a Haswell i7-3960X and 16GB DDR3</a>. There it didn’t fare quite as well as Nvidia claimed.</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td>Benchmark: plugged in</td><td>GTX 980M @ 1080p</td><td>GTX 980M @ 1600p</td><td>GTX 980 @ 1600p</td></tr><tr><td>Unigine Valley</td><td>50.3</td><td>27</td><td>44.5</td></tr><tr><td>Batman: Arkham Origins</td><td>87</td><td>44</td><td>75</td></tr><tr><td>Tomb Raider</td><td>55.2</td><td>35</td><td>57.6</td></tr><tr><td>Thief</td><td>53.8</td><td>32</td><td>50.5</td></tr><tr><td>Metro: Last Light</td><td>50</td><td>30.7</td><td>46</td></tr><tr><td>Bioshock Infinite</td><td>101</td><td>65.7</td><td>101.7</td></tr><tr><td>Hitman Absolution</td><td>48</td><td>30.8</td><td>41</td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>It is impressive that the mobile 980M is able to push out enough pixels to run most of these games at ultra settings, 2560x1600, while keeping above 30 frames per second. At 1080p, lowering AA settings or turning down some post-processing could easily keep most games running at more than 60 frames per second, which makes this a hell of a mobile GPU. </p><p>But is the 980M actually 75% as fast as the GTX 980? If you do the math on the numbers above, the answer is no.</p><p>The performance discrepancy naturally varied between benchmarks, but all but Hitman Absolution fell below that 75% claim in my testing. Arkham Origins was 58% as fast. Thief was 63% as fast. Metro last light hit 67%. Hitman Absolution did actually live up to Nvidia’s claim and nailed 75% performance.</p><p>The numbers above don’t make a convincing claim for using Nvidia’s Dynamic Super Resolution downsampling on the 980M; the mobile graphics card is clearly best-suited to running games at 1080p. Unless you have to play every game on the highest possible settings (and if you do, why game on a laptop?) the 980M will be a great card for 1080p gaming. Testing at 1600p, I’d peg the 980M’s performance at approximately 65% of its desktop counterpart.</p><p>I’ll continue using the MSI GT72 laptop and do longer-term testing of the GTX 980; look for a full review of the laptop coming in the next few weeks.</p> I Am Bread is one slice's epic quest to get toastedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/i-am-bread-is-one-slices-epic-quest-to-get-toasted/The story of one slice's mission to become something more.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 22:53:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/i-am-bread-is-one-slices-epic-quest-to-get-toasted/ActionBossa StudiosI Am BreadNews <a href="/i-am-bread-is-one-slices-epic-quest-to-get-toasted/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fA337jqdEXze.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GDE4rsLVB9A?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/surgeon-simulator/">Surgeon Simulator</a> developer Bossa Studios has announced its next project, and it's both completely unexpected and about as strange as you'd expect: I Am Bread, an emotionally fraught tale of one slice's quest to become toasted.</p><p>The "first look" video indicates that players will use a controller to interact with the four corners of a slice of bread, maneuvering it around a household environment, and the <a href="https://twitter.com/IAmBreadGame">Twitter account</a> hints that "Toasters aren't the only way to toast bread." Beyond that, however, we really don't know anything about I Am Bread at this stage, including what platforms it's being developed for.</p><p>That doesn't preclude us from bringing it to your attention, however. For one thing, it looks exactly like the sort of silly ridiculousness that's most at home on the PC. It's also a really funny trailer, especially around the 45 second mark. Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?</p><p>Bossa's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/IamBreadGame/timeline">description</a> of the game is great, too: "The beautiful story of one slice of bread's epic and emotional journey as it embarks upon a quest to become toasted."</p><p>This will presumably not be a "big" release, and in fact Bossa refers to it as its "latest game jam title," suggesting that it's something the studio put together over a weekend and a few gallons of coffee. Even so, it looks like it could be a lot of fun. We've reached out to Bossa to confirm that a PC release is in the works; no release date has been announced.</p> Clockwork Empires gets a major update in Midnight Defence At SkullSwamp Arsenalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/clockwork-empires-gets-a-major-update-in-midnight-defence-at-skullswamp-arsenal/The latest update implements a huge number of fixes and tweaks. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:57:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/clockwork-empires-gets-a-major-update-in-midnight-defence-at-skullswamp-arsenal/Clockwork EmpiresGaslamp GamesNewsStrategy <a href="/clockwork-empires-gets-a-major-update-in-midnight-defence-at-skullswamp-arsenal/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wazon07uWQQ5.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/flskFF_6Q4Gd.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wazon07uWQQ5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Clockwork Empires"></p><p>The intensely weird <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/clockwork-empires/">Clockwork Empires</a>, a strategy game about building and managing a steampunk colonial outpost in a strange land infested with Cthulhu-esque monsters, has received another substantial update.The changelog is so big it actually won't fit in the official <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/224740/announcements/detail/230007340960065148">Steam announcement</a>, but highlights include a new building module placement system, control over which workcrew works in a workshop, an ammunition system, and the ability to cook stew without having to watch the pot. </p><p>I'm not really sure how that last point fits the "major gameplay changes" list, but there it is nonetheless. The bulk of the <a href="https://www.gaslampgames.com/2014/10/17/clockwork-empires-october-update-midnight-defence-at-skullswamp-arsenal/">Midnight Defence at Skulllswamp Arsenal</a> update is actually in fixes and tweaks, and on that front there's an awful lot to look at. I really enjoy how some many of them provide insight into the bizarre nature of Clockwork Empires: "Buried corpses will no longer upset people" is one fix, as is, "Colonists will no longer have conversations with cultist murderers." In the "tweaks" department, meanwhile, there's "Spruced up death descriptions," and what may well be my favorite, "Made upsetting things in general slightly more maddening."</p><p>"This month we've focused less on big showy things and more on the player experience," developer Gaslamp Games wrote in the October <a href="http://clockworkempires.com/development.html">update notes</a>. "We've made existing gameplay smoother, fixed as many little broken things as possible, and have otherwise started putting together the infrastructure for really getting the game economy working." The update will allow "much stronger economic gameplay" to be implemented next month, it added.</p><p>Clockwork Empires is available now through <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/224740/?snr=1_7_15__13">Steam Early Access</a>. Gaslamp also revealed that Mac and Linux-compatible versions of the game will be released by the end of October.</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_oct_17/The team look back at another turbulent seven days on the Good Ship Games.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_oct_17/highs and lows <a href="/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_oct_17/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TGW7TpYoqMtW.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RYL_CjYAT6O2.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TGW7TpYoqMtW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ShadowMordorOrc"></p><p><em>Each Friday PC Gamer’s writers dash through the gunsmoke and hunker down in a crater to collect their thoughts&hellip;</em></p><p><strong>THE HIGHS</strong></p><p><strong>Tim Clark: Mordor’s orcs are magic</strong></p><p>As Leif detailed at length in his <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middleearth-shadow-of-mordor-review/">Shadow Of Mordor review</a>, the ‘nemesis’ system really is a helluva thing. My jaw actually dropped the first time I got cubed by some orcs and then saw them gleefully levelling up their powers. It’s bad enough being killed by the bastards, but career advancement? Not on my watch. The brilliance of the idea is that it turns what might otherwise be routine combat encounters into brilliantly overwrought it’s-you-or-me-asshole duels. </p><p>Actually there’s nothing routine about the combat – it’s a gloriously solid spin on the counter-attacking style which the Batman games popularised. Check out Sam’s love letter to that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-counterattacking-in-batman-arkham-asylum/">here</a>. The fact you can also avenge your Steam friends deaths against specific, invariably colourfully-named, orcs only amplifies Mordor’s fun further. I expect the system to be copied liberally by almost any game which would otherwise have featured a cast of unremarkable enemy fodder.</p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Turkey shoot</strong></p><p>I’ve been a lifelong fan of de_rats style maps in Valve games&mdash;my favorite was “<a href="http://i.imgur.com/iLUwD2m.jpg">turkeyburgers</a>” in Team Fortress Classic, which almost always devolved into a low-gravity battle between snipers and rocket-jumping soldiers over oversized bookshelves and soda cans. It was neat to see the lineage of oversized maps get extended a little with <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=326165645">de_boiler</a>, a novelty CS:GO level created by super-sizing de_inferno’s “boiler” hotspot. </p><p>In other map news, Tripwire rolled out <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floors-halloween-horror-double-feature-update-brings-out-the-zeds/">a new Halloween event for Killing Floor</a>, its latest serving of free content now five years after release. The support this game has gotten has been ridiculous, even as Tripwire nears an Early Access release for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor-2-dev-diary-promises-bullets-blades-and-blood/">Killing Floor 2</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TiCYbujJSvek.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sPljuVHR041f.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Citizen"></p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: Star Citizen looks lovely</strong></p><p>Putting aside concerns about Star Citizen’s ‘buy now, play later’ business model and grumpiness over the long wait for the persistent universe, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-planetside-footage-shown-at-citizencon/">the latest gameplay footage</a> has me giddy. It shows a pilot landing on a planet, walking around his ship, getting out, and wandering around a small urban area.</p><p>I’ve seen a few comments along the lines of, ‘So what, it’s an automated landing procedure and you can walk around on a planet, but you’re not really doing anything.’ No, it’s not <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey22m463104">Elite: Dangerous’ manual docking</a>, which is also very cool, but that’s not the point for me. There’s value in just existing in a game’s world, of fidelity for fidelity’s sake. Landing on a planet could have just been a quick cutscene, and the shop he visits could have just been a menu. Instead, he goes through the motions of contacting landing control and being scanned by immigration&mdash;it’s mundane, really, but doing mundane things in incredible settings is one of my favorite things. Why did I decorate my house in Skyrim? Or insist that I walk like a normal person on Mass Effect’s Citadel instead of running everywhere? It makes the universe feel believable, like somewhere people live instead of a bunch of game logic.</p><p>I hope for more mundanity. I want to sit down in my ship and play a game of solitaire, or watch goofy future television, or get my character so drunk he can barely see the controls. Those are the kinds of things I think about when I imagine my future life as a space trucker, and I want to simulate that with my friends.</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Rogue on PC</strong></p><p>Assassin’s Creed: Rogu<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-rogue-pc-release-date-announced/">e is coming to PC</a> in 2015, shortly after Unity. There are too many Assassin’s Creed games, yes, and I won’t be playing through both of them this year&mdash;I still haven’t beaten Black Flag, and one a year was getting a bit much for me. I’m glad, though, that even if this year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity turns out to be a disappointing and half-realised reinterpretation of the series’ original conceit with a boring protagonist in an admittedly glorious Paris, there’s another one with pirates and a proven formula that might just be a lot better. Right now, only PC players get to have both this year, and that’s actually quite cool.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/54lWuQVyQ3il.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/d7okASTG_LII.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Evil Within"></p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Evil thoughts</strong></p><p>I was cynical about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-review/">The Evil Within's</a> transparent attempt to recapture the glory Resident Evil. I feared a nostalgic diet re-run of Resi 4 trading on an obvious crop of cinema horror greats&mdash;Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ringu, Dawn of the Dead. But in spite of the crummy port, I found myself enjoying it enormously this week. There's a moment early in the game when you're told to fight through a town of cursed shamblers. It's a great environment, full of traps, hatchets, hidden goodies and matches&mdash;the best weapon in the game so far. When cursed citizens start to charge I shoot them once in the leg&mdash;gotta preserve ammo&mdash;and then casually drop a match on them as they slowly try to clamber back to their feet. The resulting immolation is both grotesque and satisfying. It's familiar horror, but startlingly effective.</p><p><strong>Phil Savage: A confession</strong></p><p>Hi everyone, I'm Phil, and I quite like Dragon Age 2.</p><p>I'm playing it for the first time, after recently replaying Origins. It is, without question, the subject of one of our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-2-review/">more controversial reviews</a>. Rich liked it a lot. Many people don't like it anywhere near as much. I, it turns out, am enjoying it. It's pretty good.</p><p>The caveat is I'm only about five hours in, and yet to deal with the infamous repeating scenery. I haven't even been to the cave yet, let alone the same cave over and over again. But the interplay between the characters is great, and I love the way the rivalry system works. It seems I'll never see eye-to-eye with Hawke's brother, Carver&mdash;we are destined to always be rivals. But while his sibling petulance is annoying, we share similar aims. We're uneasy allies, which makes for an interesting relationship. I look forward to where that's heading, even if much of it will take place in a cave.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/or5DStzxQaaZ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/revOEf4OkSOA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII"></p><p><strong>THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Thirteenth time is not the charm</strong></p><p>I’ll have a full review next week, but for now let’s say I’m pretty damn disappointed by <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/finfal-fantasy-xiii-locked-to-720p-on-pc/">the port of Final Fantasy XIII on PC</a>. With no video options whatsoever aside from windowed/full screen mode (woo!) and locked 720p framerate, this shoddy port can sometimes chug to below 20 fps on a mid-ranged PC when there’s four enemy units on-screen (usually running at 30). We’re not talking about a systemic open world with complex AI systems, here&mdash;this is one of FFXIII’s many shiny corridors, from a game that was created for nine year-old hardware. Once I’m done reviewing it, I’ll put on Durante’s fix&mdash;but it’s disappointing that such a high-profile entry in the series has just been dropped onto Steam with little fanfare or pride in the way it’s presented.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Finality</strong></p><p>Damnit Sam, I was going to do Final Fantasy XIII, but for a different reason. I've always valued the FF games' tendency to bring a new world, new characters and a new combat system to every entry in the series. It's a hugely risky thing to with games that are capable of spending money faster than an NPC trapped in the Gold Saucer. The effects of all that cash are apparent in the lavish cutscenes and meticulous skyboxes of XIII, but after six hours of endless auto-attacking and patronising tutorial prompts, I'm convinced the game thinks I'm a complete idiot.</p><p>The paradigm shift system is designed to let you control the strategic flow of the battle without having to quickly navigate menus to issue individual orders, but it still makes me press the auto-attack button once every 30 seconds, and the monsters I'm slaughtering don't offer enough resistance to make any of that effort worthwhile. I'm told it "opens up after 30 hours". There's no way I'm going to make it that far.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/divZ6orKSeSV.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZKYug8CZIEX5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Half-Life 2"></p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: I don’t even want Half-Life 3 anymore</strong></p><p>OK, I kind of still do want Half-Life 3&mdash;I mean, I’ll play it and all&mdash;but <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-3-pressure-campaign-sounds-like-a-terrible-idea/">this silly campaign to pressure Valve</a> into talking about it makes me cringe. It’s been fun to make ‘HL3 confirmed’ jokes, but we’ve been doing it for so long I’m afraid we don’t even know why we want it anymore. Yeah, Half-Life 2 was great, but let’s not pretend it’s the end all of game design. Finding a vent to bypass an obstacle isn’t brilliant, and while I still like the characters and universe, I don’t look back on it as one of my favorite sci-fi stories ever. It wouldn’t kill me to never find out what happens to crowbar-man.</p><p>I respect the achievement Half-Life 2 was, and I respect Valve for making it. I’m looking forward to celebrating its 10 year anniversary next month, and if Valve announced HL3 along with it I’d be just as excited as anyone. It would be huge. But I’m not going to fret about it, and if they instead announced a brand new game that doesn’t carry the burden of HL2’s weight, that’d be great, too. We don’t need Half-Life 3 to be happy.</p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Hating Hatred</strong></p><p>Until the reveal trailer for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrX7G-1xPLs">Hatred</a> [NSFW] went up on Thursday, it had been a blissfully long time since we’d had a game whose self-stated purpose for existing was to upset people and get as much attention in the process. Hatred’s unfortunate premise, as explained by Polish studio Destructive Creations, is that you’ll get to “Fight against law enforcement and take a journey into the antagonist's hateful mind.” What it doesn’t mention in words, seemingly because the developers are too uncomfortable themselves to write it down, is that you’ll brutally and vividly execute as many innocent people as you can along the way.</p><p>Why would I want to? Why would anyone want to play a game that does that? Hatred has a right to exist, obviously, and I’d say that we should all want more games that explore controversial issues, potentially up to and including atrocities. But there’s nothing about Hatred that convinces me that its tediously dark, straight-faced, and gleeful portrayal of mass murder won’t drown out anything it might have to say about violence or perceived political correctness.</p><p>Pre-empting criticism, Destructive Creations writes on its website: “The question you may ask is: why do they do this? These days, when a lot of games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment – we wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure, gaming pleasure.”</p><p>I don’t think there’s anything pleasant about playing a game like that. Beyond that, what trend are they referencing? Between Spec Ops: The Line, Hotline Miami, and conventional horror fare like Dead Space, Killing Floor, The Evil Within, and even the way kidnapping plays out in DayZ, we’ve got plenty of games that feature violence in a nuanced way. Stuff like Postal, though terribly designed, was playful&mdash;it was also created when games had a more limited capacity to simulate violence with fidelity. Hatred, on the other hand, plays up its use of Unreal 4 and PhysX to accurately represent horrific murder. If Destructive wants to make a game that explores hyperviolence as a criticism of censorship, taking the most extreme form possible doesn’t seem like an effective way to achieve that.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HRBaaeFsQXWU.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sL7LOuG_Iaur.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell"></p><p><strong>Phil Savage: I will do anything for love, but I won't do Gat</strong></p><p>I'm looking forward to Gat Out of Hell, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-gets-a-new-trailer-and-a-nearer-launch-date/">the new trailer</a> only reignites my anticipation. Even better, it's being released a week earlier. Everything about it is good. Almost.</p><p>I still don't care about Johnny Gat. My love of the series started with The Third, which, for various plot reasons, he was barely in. He wasn't among the characters I got to know&mdash;and, more than anything, Saints Row is a comedy about its characters. Subsequently, I never really understood the idolisation of him in Saints Row 4. He's good at killing people is he? Big deal, we're all good at killing people. Now, in this next game, he's the main character.</p><p>Fine, I guess, but I've grown attached to The Boss. More importantly, I like the idea of The Boss&mdash;a malleable figure with an amazing degree of customisation. Gat's an established character with an established look, and already that takes away some of the magic.</p><p><strong>Tim Clark: This is a low</strong></p><p>Most weeks I use this column to moan about some minor annoyance in PC gaming. Like the fact a computer with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_10_oct/#page-1">three GTX 980s is still crashing</a> two turns into my Hearthstone ladder matches. I’m also intensely aware that at this point writing anything about GamerGate, and the grim surrounding fallout, is like opening <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemarchand's_box">Lemarchand’s box</a> and hoping for the best, but equally I can’t look back over the week without addressing how serious this has all&nbsp;become. </p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/anita-sarkeesian-cancels-university-talk-after-school-shooting-threat/">events</a> which have taken the topic onto the front pages of national news sites are my low. As a team we’ve talked about the subject at length, and I struggle to recall anything in gaming culture that’s been quite so collectively depressing. Not because there shouldn’t be discussion about how games are made and covered&mdash;of course there should, and I’m yet to see anyone sensible suggest otherwise. However the manner and tone of much (but not all) of the current discussion that’s being corralled inside that shifting, nebulous hashtag, is so hostile, aggressive, and at the outer limits actually criminal, that it’s hard to know how to begin engaging with it productively.</p><p>I want to think that what we choose to cover, and how we go about it, speaks for what PC Gamer stands for. But I also want to add more specifically that the team, past and present, has always championed inclusivity and the limitless possibilities of gaming. That means embracing the idea that games can and should be made and enjoyed by as wide a group of people as possible. Logically that will only increase the likelihood of more brilliant, weird, exciting games blinking into existence. Everyone should feel welcome and everyone should feel safe. I hope that position is already understood, because it seems so entirely obvious. If it isn’t then we’ll just have to work harder to keep showing why it matters.</p> PC Gamer Show Ep. 7: Alien Isolation, GTX 980 graphicshttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-ep-7-alien-isolation-gtx-980-graphics/In this week's episode, we welcome a new member (and his bow tie)to the PC Gamer team. Plus, Alien and graphics cards!Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-ep-7-alien-isolation-gtx-980-graphics/Alien: Isolationgraphics cardPC Gamer Show <a href="/pc-gamer-show-ep-7-alien-isolation-gtx-980-graphics/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DSVgcnwdpUy4.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LQILW6LOyHY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show">the PC Gamer Show</a>! In this episode, we welcome a new member to the team (he wears a bow tie), talk about the performance boosts of Nvidia's new 900-series graphics cards, and reflect on the spooky ambiance of Alien: Isolation.</p><p><strong>Act I:</strong> Wes and Tyler talk about the new GTX 980 graphics card and whether it's worth upgrading from last year's models.</p><p><strong>Act II:</strong> Tom and Andy take a stroll through Alien: Isolation and talk about how it compares to the film, and what makes the game so great.</p><p>Check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show/">the rest of the episodes of The PC Gamer show right here</a>.</p> Camelot Unchained pre-alpha testing goes smoothlyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/camelot-unchained-pre-alpha-testing-goes-smoothly/Mark Jacobs says the response to the early round of testing was very positive.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:10:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/camelot-unchained-pre-alpha-testing-goes-smoothly/Camelot UnchainedCity State EntertainmentMark JacobsMMONews <a href="/camelot-unchained-pre-alpha-testing-goes-smoothly/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb9MM7b5ZfSk.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jZ21IXAlRs6K.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb9MM7b5ZfSk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Camelot Unchained"></p><p>We haven't heard much about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/camelot-unchained/">Camelot Unchained</a> since it came out of Kickstarter last year with more than $2 million. In fact, the last bit of news wasn't particularly good: An alpha test that was supposed to run in August was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/camelot-unchained-falls-behind-schedule-alpha-test-delayed-into-2015/">pushed into 2015</a> because of a shortage of engineers at developer City State Entertainment. But a 'pre-alpha' testing period actually took place a couple days ago, and according to studio founder Mark Jacobs, it went swimmingly well.</p><p>It's worth keeping things in perspective: The pre-alpha test was very small, peaking at more than 500 simultaneous players, and the action took place within a fairly tiny arena. But the servers ran through the entire test without a single crash, and while the battles didn't reach quite the scale the developers were hoping for, they say performance was rock-solid throughout. The game's server-based physics also performed "beautifully," and the character creation system reportedly went over very well.</p><p>"Major problems were non-existent, and while there were a number of issues with older video cards/CPUs and OS versions, these were in a tiny minority rather than the majority. We are actively working with the players to update our F.A.Q. with the known cards/OS version with issues, just as we did with the previous AMD card problems," <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13861848/camelot-unchained/posts/1019817">Jacobs wrote</a>. "However, we’re going to fix those issues sooner rather than later (as soon as we get some build machines up with the older cards). Now, this doesn’t mean you will be able to play Camelot Unchained with a 7-year old machine with Windows XP, but we are addressing any known issues with cards as a priority item."</p><p>The majority of complaints related to things like slower-than-expected movement, casting times, and other such issues, but Jacobs pointed out that the pre-alpha is intended to test the engine, not the design elements. Follow-up testing sessions are scheduled for today and Sunday.</p> Cooler Master switches it up with silent CM Storm Suppressor keyboardhttp://www.pcgamer.com/cooler-master-switches-it-up-with-silent-cm-storm-suppressor-keyboard/Before you go eww, these are some pretty neat membrane keys.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:18:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cooler-master-switches-it-up-with-silent-cm-storm-suppressor-keyboard/Cooler MasterHardwareKeyboardsNews <a href="/cooler-master-switches-it-up-with-silent-cm-storm-suppressor-keyboard/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xfDEEDtHLCom.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><em><br></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kYGIo9ckSSm4.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xfDEEDtHLCom.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cooler Master CM Storm Suppressor Gaming Keyboard"></p><p><em>Article by Kevin Lee</em></p><p>Cooler Master just <a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/206392/cooler-master-announces-cm-storm-suppressor-gaming-keyboard.html">announced a new CM Storm keyboard</a> that utilizes membrane keys rather than the usual assortment Cherry MX mechanical keys found in gaming keyboards. Wait! Before you shut your browser tab on this post, you should know the CM Storm Suppressor Gaming Keyboard has specially designed membrane keys that are silent to the touch. Cooler Master also promises the same noise dampening material under each key is made to last through a long life of heavy keystrokes.</p><p>The keyboard is also equipped with a 72 MHz ARM Rapid Engine processor paired with 128-kilobytes of internal memory. With this onboard chipset the keyboard can store up to 75 programmable macros split across five different profiles. Players can set up 15 keystrokes on each individual profile for anything such calling in units in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/starcraft-2-heart-of-the-swarm-review/">StarCraft II</a>. As the macros are being store on the keyboard itself, you’ll be able to simply plug it into another computer without having to reprogram everything. </p><p>Lastly, the CM Storm Suppressor keyboard lights up with white LED light. It’s nowhere near as colorful or fun as the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB, but the extra bit of light is helpful for navigating to WASD in the dark. Without mechanical keys the CM Storm Suppressor isn’t likely to usurp our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-keyboards/">favorite gaming keyboard</a>, but we’ll keep an eye on it as a challenger for our favorite membrane pick.</p><p>The CM Storm Suppressor will be available soon in Europe for €45 (about $57, £35). Meanwhile, the keyboard is due to arrive in Asia later this month, with availability in Russia and East Europe sometime this December leading into early January. No word on if/when the keyboard is coming to the US.</p> Hyper Light Drifter is a beautiful high-octane brawlerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-is-a-beautiful-high-octane-brawler/Andy plays Heart Machine's stylish action RPG.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:05:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-is-a-beautiful-high-octane-brawler/ActionHyper Light DrifterpreviewRPG <a href="/hyper-light-drifter-is-a-beautiful-high-octane-brawler/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4giLfLAGGB29.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4OEgdCEcRY-z.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4giLfLAGGB29.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="257850 2014-10-17 00057" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Last year, LA artist Alex Preston asked for $27,000 to make an action RPG called Hyper Light Drifter. In October, after the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1661802484/hyper-light-drifter">Kickstarter campaign</a> ended, he’d raised well over $600,000. His team includes Rich ‘Disasterpeace’ Vreeland, who composed the beautiful soundtrack for Fez, Beau ‘Teknopants’ Blyth, developer of Samurai Gunn, and others. Known collectively as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.heart-machine.com/home1/">Heart Machine</a>, this is a team bursting with talent and creativity, which is evident in every frame of this confident debut.</p><p>I launch our preview build and find myself in a green forest dotted with alien-looking ruins. A light rain falls and yellow birds skip through the grass. Vreeland’s music drifts in, which has echoes of Fez, but is gentler and more minimalist. There are no enemies and no instructions. I feel my way around the controller and discover that I have a sword, a gun, and the ability to dash a short distance&mdash;but so quickly that it’s more like teleporting. I head north and find a temple-like structure studded with glowing lights.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TQ4nSZwjQVyw.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uElVNo92LRUN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="257850 2014-10-17 00014"></p><p>It’s a sedate opening to what I quickly discover is actually a fast-paced and surprisingly challenging action game. The top-down perspective and dungeon-esque levels are reminiscent of Diablo, but it’s no RSI slugfest. Surviving encounters with the game’s oddball cast of enemies takes finesse and careful timing, almost like a pixelated Platinum brawler. There are basic drones you can merrily slice your way through, but gun-toting skeletons and hulking cycloptic ape-things force you to make ample use of your dashing ability and projectile weapons. Their patterns are easy to learn and exploit, but the challenge lies in fighting multiple enemy types at once.</p><p>As I make my through the temple, dungeon, castle, or whatever this place is, I’m struck by just how little the game is willing to reveal about itself. Moving between chambers, fighting increasingly bizarre enemies, I figure out that I have to find a certain number of keys strewn around the map to open a locked door&mdash;a structure anyone who played Fez will be familiar with. This lack of hand-holding will split opinion in the same way Polytron’s game did, but to me it gives this strange, vivid world a genuine sense of mystery. I have no idea what I’m doing here, but I want to find out.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uoz23TQQQUqP.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zOAJr_SNubr9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="257850 2014-10-17 00003"></p><p>The game’s red-cloaked hero wields a sword made of glowing blue light and can fire a number of guns, including a powerful laser that requires a few seconds to charge up, a pistol that fires in short bursts, and a scattergun of sorts. Combining the two with the dash move makes for some brilliantly slick, kinetic combat. You’re constantly on the move, flitting rapidly between enemies. Some levels have deadly pits in the floor that will swallow you up if you’re careless with your dashing. Dying resets enemies and places you back at the entrance, and you’ll find yourself repeating rooms over and over again until you find the most efficient route through them, Hotline Miami-style.</p><p>The stylish pixel art, vibrant colour palette, and flowing, expressive animation make Hyper Light Drifter a consistent delight for the eyes, but I’m glad it’s not just a pretty face. There’s real depth to the combat, complemented by light, responsive controls and satisfying visual feedback. A special move sees our hero explode into a flurry of strikes, lopping an enemy’s head off with a crimson splash of blood. But even after a couple of hours, the enigmatic nature of the game means I still don’t know how I actually trigger this. It just happens&mdash;but when it does, it feels amazing.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W0dYUMwIQKa4.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q-R36prd92oD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="257850 2014-10-17 00052"></p><p>The Super Nintendo is an obvious influence. The level design is pure Zelda. The combat has shades of Secret of Mana. The atmosphere has the same dark, alien tone as Super Metroid. But it also has its own distinct personality, and doesn’t feel&mdash;like so many pixelated Kickstarter games&mdash;a shallow, derivative nostalgia trip. Its visuals and a lot of its design are steeped in the 16-bit era, but with a fresh, contemporary edge. If it’s this good now, I can’t wait to see what the finished game has to offer.</p> Final Fantasy 14 trailer details patch 2.4http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-14-trailer-details-patch-24/Dreams of Ice due later this month, brings angry ice lady.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-14-trailer-details-patch-24/Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornMMOMMORPGNewsSquare Enix <a href="/final-fantasy-14-trailer-details-patch-24/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_hecU0CEZes5.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QbiFK4tcz9w?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Square Enix has produced a lengthy trailer detailing the major additions of Final Fantasy XIV's 2.4 patch.&nbsp;This time around, Shiva is being&nbsp;added to the mix&mdash;with players taking on the ice elemental as part of the Akh Afah Amphitheatre.</p><p>Also, you've had the Binding Coil, you've had the Second Coil... now, it's time for the&nbsp;The Final Coil of Bahamut. In addition to that, two more dungeons are being added.</p><p>Also, <em>also </em>there's a new class, the Rogue, and a new job, the Ninja. There's also the new scenario, Dreams of Ice, and a bunch of side-quests&mdash;just for good measure.</p><p>In all, it sounds like a big patch, which is why it takes more than eight minutes to get through its trailer preview. Patch 2.4 is due out later this month.</p> Project CARS delayed into 2015 for more polish, less competitionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-delayed-into-2015-for-more-polish-less-competition/The delay will allow Project CARS to avoid the crowded holiday season.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:12:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-delayed-into-2015-for-more-polish-less-competition/Bandai NamcoNewsProject CARSRacingSlightly Mad Studios <a href="/project-cars-delayed-into-2015-for-more-polish-less-competition/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yQC5MJmjOy1Q.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/phzT0GAeRbqO.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yQC5MJmjOy1Q.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screenshots of the year - Project Cars"></p><p>Slightly Mad Studios' none-more-sexy racing sim <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars/">Project CARS</a> is going to be a few months late in arriving. The game was originally scheduled to come out in November but publisher Bandai Namco confirmed today that it won't actually hit the streets until March 2015. The delay will give the studio more time to polish the game and, more importantly, allow it to dodge the highly competitive holiday season.</p><p>In a pleasantly frank admission to Kickstarter backers that found its way to Reddit and then <a href="http://www.nowgamer.com/looks-like-project-cars-is-being-delayed-until-2015/">NowGamer</a>, Development Director Andy Garton said the decision to delay the game was "primarily... because a couple of other big games have announced they are shipping around the same time as our planned first date."</p><p>"We know it might be a little hard to believe but this would have had a very significant impact on our initial sales (and the initial sales period is critical as that's when the majority occur)," Garton wrote. "It became immediately clear therefore that we'd need to move away from this release window."</p><p>Garton also said that while the studio could have made the planned November release, the game still needs work, and pushing it out for that date "wouldn't have resulted in the ultimate level of quality that we wanted." That sentiment was echoed in a follow-up press release from Bandai Namco confirming the delay. "The change in release date allows the game the greatest chance of success and visibility, and the opportunity to polish the game even further to the high standards that both ourselves and our community demand and expect," the publisher said.</p><p><a href="http://www.projectcarsgame.com/">Project CARS</a>' new definitely-won't-skid-again&nbsp;launch date is March 20.</p> The most fabulous fan-made simshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-most-fabulous-fan-made-sims/Hogwarts alumni, popstars, Vladimir Putin and, er, Yoda.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-most-fabulous-fan-made-sims/Electronic ArtsMust ReadsimThe Sims 4 <a href="/the-most-fabulous-fan-made-sims/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nNYs8DTa9oGQ.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> PC Gamer Presents: World of Warplaneshttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-presents-world-of-warplanes-2/Comes with a free plane and in-game gold.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-presents-world-of-warplanes-2/ <a href="/pc-gamer-presents-world-of-warplanes-2/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CR-CTHa09tJp.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p>When World of Warplanes launched in late 2013 it was fast, brash, and promising&mdash;if a little thin on features. It has since had a year to mature, steadily growing in breadth and complexity. In the latest PC Gamer Presents magazine special we take an in-depth look at World of Warplanes, offering advice for each of the game's many aircraft as well as exploring the dogfighting principles that turn good players into great ones.</p><p>We've done historical research as well as in-game testing to provide context for every warplane. In the expanded features section you'll also find an in-depth hands-on with the forthcoming World of Warships, as well as a look at how World of Tanks' new features have added depth and complexity to its competitive scene.</p><p>That's not all! You'll also find an invite code (redeemable on new accounts until 1st December 2014) for <strong>seven days of Premium account access, 300 gold and a Mitsubishi Ki-33 warplane</strong>. The issue is available now through all good magazine outlets in the US and UK. </p><p>UK residents can also order through <a href="http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/world-of-warplanes-your-definitive-guide/">My Favourite Magazines</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jWzWz2e9TIKS.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jb9Wiashnhh3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="World of Warplanes cover"></p> Assassin's Creed Unity cast and characters shown in new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-cast-and-characters-shown-in-new-trailer/Just who is thatNapoleon fellow?Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:50:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-cast-and-characters-shown-in-new-trailer/ActionAssassin's Creed: UnityNewsUbisoft <a href="/assassins-creed-unity-cast-and-characters-shown-in-new-trailer/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YyPlE6OQwp15.780x349.KGk4aTRk.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/SS_ZoNEXoPw?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>There's a new Assassin's Creed coming out. You probably noticed, what with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity/" target="_blank">endless stream of trailers</a> Ubisoft has pumped into the internet. Here, inevitable, is another one&mdash;this time focusing on the cast behind its array of historical figures of note. Each cast member gives some insight into their character; even if that insight doesn't always go much beyond, yes, he was Napoleon.</p><p>For more on this upcoming&nbsp;Assassin's Creed, check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-hands-on-co-ordinated-killing-in-a-co-op-heist/" target="_blank">Tom's hands-on</a> with the new co-op mode. Unity is due out 13 November.</p> Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault trailer releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2-ardennes-assault-trailer-released/The Battle of the Bulge comes to Company of Heroes 2.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2-ardennes-assault-trailer-released/Company of Heroes 2NewsRelic EntertainmentRTS <a href="/company-of-heroes-2-ardennes-assault-trailer-released/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W4NcF7rMIk8L.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/uzl7qpY_M3I?list=UUXgK_BvNF2j7qH_NZcNlSeQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Relic has released the first game footage of the Company of Heroes 2 expandalone, Ardennes Assault. If, like me, you watch Band of Brothers with an alarming regularity, you'll know the Battle of the Bulge as basically hell frozen over. Judging from this trailer, the upcoming single-player campaign will capture the frantic and gruelling mix of frantic battle and terrible conditions.</p><p>This is the first new single-player content for CoH2, after the multiplayer focused The Western Front Armies was released earlier this year. That pack introduced the US Forces and&nbsp;Oberkommando West to the game, and now this one will give them a sizeable&nbsp;18-mission campaign.</p><p>For more on Ardennes Assault, check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2-ardennes-assault-2/" target="_blank">Tom's first look preview</a>. Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault will release on 18 November.</p> The science behind Civilization: Beyond Earthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-science-behind-civilization-beyond-earth/Space lasers, extraterrestrial life and terraforming tech analysed.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-science-behind-civilization-beyond-earth/Civilization: Beyond EarthSponsoredStrategy <a href="/the-science-behind-civilization-beyond-earth/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jnlTr3FPGHss.780x349.dtdXpwu9.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tCVPORt4QJWS.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dtD3ERcNJbMr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Civilization beyond earth advertorial 2 header"></p><p>Science has a lot of running to do to catch up with the aspirational extremes of science fiction, but many of the concepts and technologies that you use to mould your futuristic society in Civilization: Beyond Earth are based on real world ideas and technology. Beyond Earth's sprawling technology web encompasses futuristic interpretations of biology, bionics and military science, so let's take a look at some of the real science behind those spectacular inventions.</p><h3> Space lasers</h3><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G4kbGOUMSdCR.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bY9cAI9XYLSB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Akira" class=""><figcaption>Akira's vision of the devastating orbital laser platform.</figcaption></figure><p> Orbital units in Civilization: Beyond Earth have many uses, both helpful and destructive. By positioning a satellite in the orbital view you can buff cities and tiles positioned beneath it, or use an orbital weapon to devastate an enemy. The orbital weapons platform has long had a place in science fiction, whether you're reading Akira or watching James Bond try to shut down the Goldeneye platform. The reality of weaponised orbital units thankfully doesn't reflect the fiction.</p><p> This is thanks in part to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forbade nations from sending nuclear warheads into space. The treaty was necessary at the height of the Cold War, when the militarisation of space began in earnest. The secret Soviet space station, Almaz 2, was equipped with a gun on-board to fend off potential boarding actions from US forces, though the whole space station would have to be rotated to aim the weapon, and there were fears that the kinetic force of firing the gun could destabilise the station's orbit.</p><p> But what about space-to-Earth orbital attack craft? These largely exist in theoretical forms. The Nazi regime designed heliobeam&mdash;a huge space mirror that would concentrate sunlight on a point on Earth's surface. The Soviet Fractional Orbit Bombardment system orbited Earth for 15 years during the Cold War, and was capable of guiding nuclear missiles in low orbit. That was decommissioned in the early '80s in accordance with space demilitarisation agreements.</p><p> Space-capable nations have been launching classified missions for decades, so it's impossible to say for sure that more elaborate space weapons aren't orbiting right now. On a new planet with no international treaties, like the ones envisioned by Civilization: Beyond Earth, there's every chance humanity could develop very effective orbital weapons platforms.</p><h3> Bionic augmentation</h3><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3ae2Z8bmRVma.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cS2fbNbCj7ky.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bionic Augmentation" class=""><figcaption>The Supremacy affinity is fond of replacing limbs with better mechanical versions.</figcaption></figure><p> In Civilization: Beyond Earth, you can choose to align your civ with one of three affinities. Each reflects a different philosophical approach to humanity's future. The technology of each faction is hugely important to their identity. The Supremacy affinity, for example, is all about using technology to help humanity advance its current form. They want to improve our human characteristics through advanced computing and superior bionic components.</p><p> Most of these ideas are far from feasible, but we've been augmenting the human form for a long time, as anyone wearing glasses or contact lenses will have experience of first-hand. Hugely successful Cochlear implants improve hearing in profoundly deaf people. Artificial hearts are frequently used as a bridge organ during heart transplants, and have sustained patients for years in lieu of a working organ.</p><p> Dramatic strides have also been made in limb-replacement technology for amputee patients. New limbs model the complex actions of a limb, of course, but the discipline also incorporates the development of machine-brain interfaces to allow the amputee to control their new limb with thought. This currently means painstakingly wiring nerves to the replacement limb&mdash;a difficult and expensive process for now.</p><p> Existing technologies are basic compared to the metal soldiers of Civilization: Beyond Earth, but it's a burgeoning area of science. It seems inevitable that we'll reach the dilemma faced by Beyond Earth's factions: when augmentations are better than our existing bodies, will we embrace machines completely like the Supremacy player, or hold onto our fleshy human forms like the Purity player?</p><h3> Terraforming</h3><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MbQaZZnZTHqY.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M5yzh7SVU03q.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Terraforming" class=""><figcaption>Some gardening required.</figcaption></figure><p> The Purity affinity is dedicated to preserving humanity in its current state. They view the new planet they've settled on as a new paradise, a second Earth which can offer the species a second chance.</p><p> That means changes need to be made to the new world. While the planet is habitable, it isn't hospitable. Clouds of deadly miasma blanket the terrain and indigenous creatures patrol their territory. The Harmony player will seek to preserve the natural order of the planet, but others would rather change it to be more Earth-like.</p><p> That process is known as terraforming. It's largely a theoretical concept at the moment, but serious scientific thought has been given to the idea of reshaping worlds within our solar system to make them habitable.</p><p> Mars is a particularly interesting candidate, as it once held surface water. Its lack of magnetic atmosphere means it's currently too exposed to solar winds to settle on, but the introduction of huge amounts of greenhouse gases could theoretically create an atmosphere that could trap heat. The addition of water and earthen microbiology could then create an environment that would support plantlife. The oxygen output would eventually render the atmosphere breathable.</p><p> Another popular terraforming technique involves the construction of vast domes, which operate as miniature, man-made atmospheres and contain within them the gases and temperature conditions needed to support life. One of these actually exists on Earth. The Biosphere 2 is a huge biome in Oracle, Arizona that, for a time, enclosed a sealed artificial atmosphere and ecosystem. Scientists lived inside these systems for years, studying precise changes in the chemical makeup of the air and resident plantlife. Those experiments were shut down after the isolated scientists involved fell out and split into factions.</p><p> Luckily, the planets you settle on in Civilization: Beyond Earth already have an atmosphere, but it's sensible to build a small army of worker drones to build farms and scientific facilities near your cities. Satellites are also a useful terraforming tool, and can be used to burn away that inconvenient miasma.</p><h3> Habitable planets and extraterrestrial life</h3><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Kt4I92vATSqI.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XYeweioDPW9A.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Civilization Beyond Earth" class=""><figcaption>He's more scared of you than you are of him.</figcaption></figure><p> Alien life is everywhere in Civilization: Beyond Earth. Every city starts out as a fragile outpost that must survive in a climate full of roaming siege worms, and other local critters. The Contact victory condition invites you to make contact with a technologically advanced alien race. How close are we to meeting an alien species?</p><p> Let's start small. Scientists have long suspected that Mars may hold the fossilised remains of bacteria, which could have thrived on Martian water. The findings so far have been inconclusive, but that hasn't stopped scientists from looking further afield. One hypothesis suggests that the chemical components of DNA and RNA&mdash;the building blocks of life&mdash;could form in outer space and travel on asteroids, giving impacted planets a better chance of generating life. Earlier this year NASA also revealed a database for tracking polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the universe, which some theories suggest played a significant role in the origin of life on Earth.</p><p> But what about the search for sentient beings? Obviously, they haven't been discovered yet, but the SETI project is devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. They monitor electromagnetic radiation for signs of alien transmissions and radio telescopes scour the cosmos for any sign of intelligent signals. In Civilization: Beyond Earth you have to decipher the Progenitor code to make contact with the alien race, which might seem convenient, but we've been attaching cryptic guides to our cosmic location to our spacecraft for decades just in case they fall into the hands of a alien race beyond the edges of the solar system.</p><p> Astronomers, meanwhile, are busy searching for terrestrial planets similar to our own elsewhere in the galaxy. It's thought that the nearest star to ours, Alpha Centauri, could support planets capable of sustaining life, but the most recently discovered and potentially habitable planet is Kepler-186f, orbiting the red dwarf, Kepler-186, a mere 500 light years away.</p><p> That's just a small taste of the scientific basis for Civilization: Beyond Earth's most exciting technologies. Which piece of Beyond Earth tech would you most like to see developed in the real world?</p> Half-Life 3 pressure campaign sounds like a terrible ideahttp://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-3-pressure-campaign-sounds-like-a-terrible-idea/We don't need Half-Life 3 that badly.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 01:02:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-3-pressure-campaign-sounds-like-a-terrible-idea/FPSHalf-LifeHalf-Life 2NewsValve <a href="/half-life-3-pressure-campaign-sounds-like-a-terrible-idea/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7knV99rwjLqv.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lh7DPNE0RyKi.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7knV99rwjLqv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rumor: Half-Life 3?"></p><p>Everyone still wants Half-Life 3. People feel its continued absence like a pain in the gut. Some people carry this weight around with them every day, and may well do so for the rest of their lives. Some people, when you say something nice has happened, silently whisper to themselves "Half-Life 3 confirmed?"&nbsp;</p><p>This doesn't mean we ought to 'engulf' the lives of Valve employees, as a press release for a new crowdfunding <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/we-want-half-life-3">campaign</a> calls upon us to do. A ploy concocted by two interns at New Mexico ad firm McKee Wallwork &amp; Co., the campaign is seeking $150,000 to organise a series of events and advertising sprees intended to persuade Valve to develop the anticipated installment.&nbsp;</p><p>It's a unique idea - and it's probably not as dodgy as it sounds - but some of the wording is very problematic indeed, especially in light of recent harassment campaigns in the games industry. According to the press release received by <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/16/to-demand-half-life-3-an-ad-agency-is-crowdfunding-a-campaign-to-engulf-valve-employees-lives/?n_play=54402e9ce4b077859694868c">VentureBeat</a>, Half-Life fans have "never truly shown a united front", though "a little concentrated effort might finally get us what we want.” The press release headline reads “Indiegogo campaign to engulf Valve employee’s lives.”</p><p><a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/16/to-demand-half-life-3-an-ad-agency-is-crowdfunding-a-campaign-to-engulf-valve-employees-lives/?n_play=54402e9ce4b077859694868c">VentureBeat</a> reached out to the campaign creators Chris Salem and Kyle Mazzei, and this is what they had to say regarding the potential for harrassment. “Obviously, lines like [engulf people's lives] is a little sensationalized to get people’s attention,” Salem said. “But we think we’re doing everything in a good-hearted way. We aren’t going to have people camped out in front of Valve headquarters for weeks at a time. It’s just going to be a one-day thing.”</p><p>The IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign involves the purchase of Google Ad Words, mobile billboards, a Valve doorstop campaign populated by Gabe Newell look-alikes and a concert. It's currently raised $36.</p> Legend of Grimrock 2 gameplay video — our first impressionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/legend-of-grimrock-2-gameplay-video-our-first-impressions/Tyler plays through the first hour of the classic-style RPG.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:41:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/legend-of-grimrock-2-gameplay-video-our-first-impressions/Legend of Grimrock 2RPGVideos <a href="/legend-of-grimrock-2-gameplay-video-our-first-impressions/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/us66G05vEiZX.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HoyOD7Mbi4k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Our Legend of Grimrock 2 review is in the works, but until then, here's about an hour of gameplay from the grid-based RPG. The short of it: I really like Legend of Grimrock 2 so far. It's wonderfully inviting&mdash;I can launch it and be playing in seconds, without any need for a tutorial as its rules are picked up through experimenting.&nbsp;And in as much as I've&nbsp;played, it distills a classic genre&nbsp;into a few great qualities: an understated mystery, characters I can imagine on my own, and RPG systems complex enough to surprise and challenge me. (Although you may note my dramatic lack of tactical skill, which I sheepishly blame on my attention being set to talking.)</p><p>Not even mentioned in this video is the custom dungeon creator and Steam Workshop support for sharing. We'll surely hit on that in our review, which will come soon. And if our verdict&nbsp;ends up&nbsp;contradicting all my gushing here, it's worth restating that aside from this video, I've only played a few hours&mdash;these are just our initial impressions, however positive. We did&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/legend-of-grimrock-review/">like the first game</a> quite a bit.</p> The Evil Within reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-review/The Evil Within replaces fear with ridiculous amounts of gore, plus some questionable design choices.Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-review/HorrorReviewsSurvivalThe Evil Within <a href="/the-evil-within-review/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cpo4ZXOKSk_o.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it? </strong>A third-person survival action horror game from Resident Evil's Shinji Mikami <br> <strong>Copy protection:</strong> Steam <br> <strong>Price:</strong> £35/$60 <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Bethesda Softworks <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Tango Gameworks <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> None <br> <strong>Link:&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://theevilwithin.com/http://theevilwithin.com/"><strong></strong>Official site</a> </p> </div><p>About halfway through The Evil Within, the third-person survival horror game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and developer Tango Gameworks, I came across five abandoned wheelchairs in a darkened hospital hallway. To me, this image summed up the philosophy of the game perfectly. One abandoned wheelchair in a hallway would be spooky, but five? That must be five times as spooky, right? Forget about a blood trail leading to a closed door, or a bloody handprint on a wall: here comes an actual river of blood that pulls you down a chute of blood and deposits you into a chest-high pool of blood. Unfortunately, though, a hundred times the gore doesn't produce a hundred times the scares. The Evil Within is extremely challenging, tense at times, and often exciting, but in place of real terror there's just a metric ton of grisly gross-outs. If you're looking for horror, I'm afraid you'll have to find it some of the many design flaws.</p><p>We start by meeting Sebastian Castellanos and his fellow detectives. Are you done meeting them? Good, because after a few brief words they're whisked to a hospital where they stand gazing at dozens of brutally murdered bodies. There's no tension-filled foreshadowing to the carnage and mayhem in The Evil Within: you just walk through a door and wind up standing knee-deep in it. Within minutes, Sebastian goes from hanging upsidedown in a human slaughterhouse to creeping through gore-splattered hallways while a hulking, chainsaw-wielding maniac hunts him. (A direct quote: "RAAAWRR!") A few minutes later, the ridiculously named Krimson City is twisting in on itself like a giant Rubik's Cube, and Sebastian is on his own, in the dark, surrounded by abominations with next to nothing to fight them off with.</p><h2>Head games</h2><p> Initially, Sebastian's only real chance against his zombified enemies is to employ stealth. Though he has a revolver, there's precious little ammo to be found, and shooting these shambling foes, even in the head, often doesn't put them down for good. Careful creeping, hiding, and liberal use of his knife on unsuspecting boogeymen is required, along with setting fire to their bodies to ensure they don't get up again.</p><p> Later, more weapons are introduced, including a shotgun, a sniper rifle, and most importantly, a&nbsp;crossbow, for which Sebastian can fashion a variety of deadly bolts by disarming mechanical traps. While stealth remains important throughout, The Evil Within opens up into flat-out gun-blazing action, with a number of arena-like encounters requiring all the firepower you can muster to fend off swarms of mutilated creeps. Both the stealth and action are fun: taking down monsters with a knife to the brain, splitting their heads with shotgun blasts, or blowing their entire bodies into chunks with explosive arrows are all grandly gross and satisfying. The crossbow bolts also function as proximity mines, so even if you miss they can still serve as traps, important as every shot taken diminishes your meager resources.</p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Y9qABf4k6fQ" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"> </iframe><p> Over fifteen chapters, Sebastian visits a number of settings, from hospital wards to industrial buildings to labyrinthine underground torture chambers, and even, oddly, a medieval castle town. The interior locations are typically dark, often pitch-black, all liberally strewn with gore, blood, and entrails, their walls lined with glistening mucus, rusting metal, and peeling paint. The outdoor areas, then, become a welcome change and are the best designed sections, especially a trip through the shattered remnants of Krimson City, which forces you to navigate through crumbling buildings, across precarious ledges, and over the buckling asphalt streets. There's no logical link between these locations: at the end of a chapter, Sebastian is simply whisked off to the next one, often after being knocked unconscious by a fall or some sort of psychic attack. The effect is that of a nightmare you can't wake from, and it's a convincing one.</p><h2>Monster mash</h2><p>The gruesome, mutilated enemies you face grow from simple shambling zombie-types to more active and capable monsters. A few are invisible, which makes for some great tension as they open doors, leave footprints in puddles, and jostle nearby objects, giving you vital clues to their location. Some wield axes, others throw dynamite, several brandish guns and even operate machinery like spike-hurling turrets. Hell, one zombie even arrives in an speeding armored car with a machine-gun blazing. Which is pretty awesome, really.</p><p>These are just the grunts, though: the real challenge comes from the boss baddies. One walks around with his head locked in a safe that rests on his shoulders, one is a wall-crawling collection of spindly limbs and matted hair, and another is a hooded wraith who shows up to either simply taunt you or kill you with a single touch. When they kill you, it's with a grisly animation, and when you kill them, well, they don't stay dead for long, and often your only option is to run. They're gruesome, definitely, but not really scary: since most bosses are recycled a handful of times throughout the game, they quickly just become familiar obstacles to overcome or avoid.</p><p>At least the survival portion of "survival horror" is apt. Sebastian is fragile and slow, only able to sprint short distances without hunching over in exhaustion, making stamina management a major concern. He's no space marine, either. He can't absorb much damage at all, and health kits are at least as rare as ammunition. Upgrading my skills and abilities always took several minutes of careful thought. Which do I need more? A sliver more health? To be able to sprint for a couple seconds longer? The ability to carry more ammo, or for my weapons to do a bit more damage? The answer is yes, desperately, all of the above, always. Even when upgraded, keeping Sebastian alive is difficult, even on the game's casual setting.</p><p>While I didn't find The Evil Within scary, I did at times find it tense and exciting. There are areas so dark that even Sebastian's charmingly silly old-timey lantern barely illuminates the gloom, and even knowing full well what you'll find (monsters and traps, inevitably) it's impossible not to be nervous while cautiously exploring. There are also some exciting action sequences, especially the ones requiring Sebastian to hustle toward camera as either a mega-monster or a series of traps chase him down narrow corridors. While the characters are all written as dull as dishwater, there’s definitely a sense of humor. One boss fight, very near the end, was so ludicrously and hilariously Video Game-y in nature that I laughed through the entire thing. I won't even spoil it: it's just too great.</p><p>This is also a very challenging game&mdash;a genuine old-school torture chamber of an experience that has no interest in taking it easy on you. One sequence throws everything in the book at you all at once: I needed to manage my sprint meter, have perfect aim, search the floor for traps and scan the ceiling for triggers while killing loads of lesser zombies and being pursued by an essentially unkillable boss. It's brutal and unforgiving in a way that isn't seen much these days. The downside, of course, is having to play some of these sequences repeatedly due to failing, though success provides some real satisfaction, or at least a great sense of relief that it's over.</p><h2>Hard to see</h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">performance and settings</h5> <p> <a href="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/POI2oXc_QNmd.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NzdGJHfr7vtA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" target="_blank"><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/POI2oXc_QNmd.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NzdGJHfr7vtA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ewsettings" style="background-color: initial;"></a> </p> <p> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;Windows 7, Intel i7 2.8 GhZ, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 660Ti <br> <strong>Play it on: </strong>64-bit Windows 7/8, i7 4+ cores, 4GB RAM, GeForce GTX 670 <br> <strong>Variable framerate?</strong> Locked at 30, but can be unlocked with console code <br> <strong>Anti-aliasing:</strong> FXAA, MLAA, SMAA <br> <strong>Anisotropic filtering: </strong>No setting <br> <strong>FOV:</strong> No setting <br> <strong>Misc. options:</strong> Motion blur, SSAO, reflections <br> <strong>Remappable controls:</strong> Yes <br> <strong>Gamepad support:</strong> Yes </p> <p> The Evil Within crashed repeatedly on my PC during Chapter 2, though after turning down AA to MLAA (I'd been on SMAA) I saw no further crashes for the remainder of the game, and it ran smoothly otherwise. There's not a huge graphical difference between minimum and maximum settings, which means it won't look terrible on the lowest settings, but nor will it look fantastic on the highest. </p> </div><p> While intentionally making things gruellingly tough is fine, making it even more difficult due to the restrictive presentation and rotten controls isn’t. The Evil Within forces an aspect ratio of 2.5:1, meaning about 30% of the screen is unused, covered with black bars at the top and bottom. This makes the&nbsp;awkward follow camera, which is already often stuck directly behind Sebastian's head or body (or butt, when he's crouching) even worse than it already is. Trying to look over low walls, see through tall grass, or just scope out the area around you is frustrating, and I spent far too much time wheeling the camera around to get a decent view of things.</p><p> Bethesda hurriedly released&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-debug-console-commands-detailed-god-mode-is-in/">a set of console commands</a> allowing you to play in fullscreen without the black bars, but it's accomplished by zooming in, meaning Sebastian's body takes up even more space on the screen than it already was. Either way you play, the presentation sucks and there's no FOV slider on hand to help. The game doesn't even look that great: while some of the environments are nicely detailed, the characters themselves look like they'd be at home on the last generation of consoles, and recurring late texture pop-ins were common and distracting during cutscenes. The frame rate is capped at 30 FPS, and while that felt smooth to me as is, I did play a bit with the FPS completely unlocked (using another code provided), and averaged between 45 and 55 FPS in most areas I tried. It did look a bit smoother and I didn't experience any noticeable problems.</p><p> Controlling the detective is also a sluggish experience. With the dozens of wheels, valves, cranks, and levers he has to activate to open gates and passageways, getting him close enough and facing just the right direction to receive the on-screen prompt is often tricky, more so when there are monsters on your heels. His melee attack is a ridiculously huge overhand lunge which moves him forward a step and turns him sideways, meaning even smashing open stationary crates is an embarrassing adventure, let alone clubbing approaching zombies. Guns will auto-aim if monsters are close, but when they're too close you'll wind up zoomed in to the extent you can't see your character or even much of the zombie. I blundered into far more traps than I should have because I couldn't look at the floor at my feet easily enough, and was often caught by monsters due to the clunkiness of steering Sebastian through doorways and around corners. Further, XP is represented as green goo, which must be manually collected from jars or scooped up from the bodies of dead enemies. Want to watch Sebastian perform his "pick up" animation one million times? I sure hope so. I used a controller for most of the game, though the mouse and keyboard works just as well, keeping in mind that "just as well" is not particularly well.</p><p> The story, meanwhile, can be slowly pieced together through journal pages and audio recordings found in all the usual places people leave suspiciously relevant fragments of information. There's nothing particularly satisfying in the explanation of why Monsters Are Happening, but there never really is, and frankly, I don't think there needs to be. Monsters Are Happening. Deal with it, detective.</p><p> I know fans of Mikami's past work won't want to miss this, but despite some exciting action sequences and enjoyable fights, plus a genuinely hardcore old-school survival challenge, I'd have a tough time recommending this. The controls are sluggish, the video options are limited, and the aspect ratio decision is utterly stupid. All of the above drags The Evil Within from enjoyably challenging to needlessly frustrating.</p> A newbie plays Dwarf Fortresshttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-newbie-plays-dwarf-fortress/Watch Wes learn to play Dwarf Fortress in our Let's Play series. Updated every Tuesday and Thursday!Thu, 16 Oct 2014 23:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-newbie-plays-dwarf-fortress/Dwarf Fortressnewbie plays dwarf fortressStrategy <a href="/a-newbie-plays-dwarf-fortress/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2f5OORP6IIBx.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A2vLVv2KS2c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Welcome to Illralam, a land of optimistic dwarves and bloodthirsty elves. It's the world of PC Gamer's Dwarf Fortress LP "A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress." Wes, the newbie, teams up with Dwarf Fortress veteran and PCG video producer Will to learn the ropes of the dwarven life simulator.</p><p> We put up new episodes on Tuesday and Thursdays, and now they're all collected in this post. The newest one is at the top there, while the previous episode is&nbsp;below.</p><p> Want to know more about Dwarf Fortress?&nbsp;In early July 2014, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/08/dwarf-fortress-0-40-01-released-in-game-graphics-now-possible-in-older-version/">Dwarf Fortress received its first major update in two years.</a> We wrote about why now is the time to get into the game with our guide <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/25/into-the-deep-its-time-to-learn-how-to-play-dwarf-fortress/">Into the deep</a>. Now you can learn along with us.</p><p> Check back for new episodes every Tuesday/Thursday. And enjoy!</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0OokI4Ns3LA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/yFamHo0mZDM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> The Crew for PC may get an official 60fps option, says Ubisofthttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew-for-pc-may-get-an-official-60fps-option-says-ubisoft/But it's not a dead certainty. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:51:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew-for-pc-may-get-an-official-60fps-option-says-ubisoft/Ivory TowerNewsRacingThe CrewUbisoft <a href="/the-crew-for-pc-may-get-an-official-60fps-option-says-ubisoft/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VISwEfguLpHz.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5rElXNKoTfG9.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VISwEfguLpHz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Crew in Times Square, NY"></p><p>Ubisoft has copped a lot of flack lately regarding performance and frame rate issues. Watch Dogs <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-e3-2012-mod-can-have-damaging-effect-on-gameplay-says-ubisoft/">caused an uproar</a>, Assassin's Creed: Unity's parity between consoles has people furious, and many who took part in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew/">The Crew</a>'s beta were frustrated that the racer was locked at 30 frames per second. Everyone is very angry about this. </p><p>It looks like Ubisoft is trying its best to support 60 frames per second on PC, according to a recent <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/ubisoft-says-the-crew-is-definitely-en-route-to-hit-60fps-on-pc-1269150">TechRadar interview</a> with Lead designer Serkan Hassan. "Ultimately the performance and the frame rate will be down to the players hardware," he said.&nbsp;</p><p>"A few people in the closed beta found ways of unlocking the frame rate. My understanding at this moment is that we'll be allowing players to do that come the full version as well, unless some other issue comes to light which would block that in any way."</p><p>It follows comments made by Assassin's Creed world designer Nicolas Guérin that the industry is dropping 60fps as a standard, specifically for action adventure games. Creative Director Alex Amancio told <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/viva-la-resoluci-n-assassin-s-creed-dev-thinks-industry-is-dropping-60-fps-standard-1268241">TechRadar</a> that while 30 is a goal for Assassin's Creed and games of its ilk, 60 frames per second is ideal for a shooter. So it's no surprise that Rainbow Six: Siege has been <a href="https://twitter.com/Rainbow6Game/status/520647842176983040">confirmed</a> to run at 60fps on all platforms.&nbsp;</p> AMD R9 290X prices dip below $350 in reaction to the Nvidia GTX 970http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-r9-290x-prices-dip-below-350-in-reaction-to-the-nvidia-gtx-970/It’s a great time to pick up a discounted graphics card.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:41:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-r9-290x-prices-dip-below-350-in-reaction-to-the-nvidia-gtx-970/AMDgraphics cardHardwareNewsNvidia <a href="/amd-r9-290x-prices-dip-below-350-in-reaction-to-the-nvidia-gtx-970/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mBijCmVCEnpW.780x349.dMfJ77cM.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Qnphzs9YRJ6U.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mBijCmVCEnpW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AMD Radeon R9 290X"></p><p>With the recent introduction of Nvidia’s latest GTX 900 series graphics cards we were bound to see a price drop on the AMD’s GPU. <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8616/video-card-tuesday-370-r9-290x-borderlands-tps-now-shipping">Anandtech reports</a> the R9 290X prices have leveled out to around $370 (about £230) in reaction in the weeks following the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-gtx-980-and-gtx-970-maxwell-graphics-cards-for-550-and-329-here-are-their-new-features/">announcement of the Nvidia GTX 980 and GTX 970</a>.</p><p>Sure enough, a quick look around NewEgg and Tiger Direct reveals some of these AMD cards are currently going for as little as $338 (about £210). The price of Radeon cards was bound to go down eventually but we saw the the R9 290X hold its own against the more expensive $550 (about £341) Nvidia GTX 980. <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814132034&amp;nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC&amp;cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC-_-pla-_-Desktop+Graphics+Cards-_-N82E16814132034&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw2f2hBRCdg76qqNXfkCsSJABYAycPjHLrPQqjzU6iPhSJyNNkR4pNGg5tGbWLNCeGOtj60xoCuW_w_wcB">In our benchmark tests</a> the AMD GPU was able to keep up with the Nvidia GTX 980 in most games except for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metro-last-light-pc-review/">Metro: Last Light</a>.</p><p>One theory that <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8616/video-card-tuesday-370-r9-290x-borderlands-tps-now-shipping">Anandtech</a> puts forth is AMD is positioning the R9 290X against the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/review/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/">Nvidia GTX 970</a> as an even more capable card for a relative bargain. At the same time the Sunnyvale-based chip maker continues to provide a <a href="http://sites.amd.com/us/promo/never-settle/Pages/never-settle.aspx">Never Settle Forever</a> bundle of games with every GPU.</p><p>Without new graphics cards of its own on the horizon, AMD is trying hard to sway gamers its way in light of Nvidia’s latest GPU launch. But that's good news for gamers: right now competition is great for graphics card prices. The R9 290X may not be as fast or as quiet as the GTX 980, but $338 is a great price for the card.</p> Yager shows off Dreadnought gameplay in new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/yager-shows-off-dreadnought-gameplay-in-new-trailer/Big spaceships make for big explosions.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/yager-shows-off-dreadnought-gameplay-in-new-trailer/ActionDreadnoughtNewsYager Development <a href="/yager-shows-off-dreadnought-gameplay-in-new-trailer/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UTKiuD56qibG.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OsJ71jVp3JU?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/spec-ops-the-line/">Spec Ops: The Line</a> is one of the most memorable shooters of recent years, and so when it came time for a follow-up, the assumption was that Yager Development would go back for more. Instead, it announced <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dreadnought/">Dreadnought</a>, a sort of tactical action game featuring fleets of giant spaceships blasting each other into smithereens. I won't deny that I was disappointed, but after watching the new six-minute Dreadnought gameplay trailer, I'm feeling a bit better about things.</p><p>A more detailed look at Dreadnought may be had by way of our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dreadnought-hands-on-a-multiplayer-slugfest-with-really-big-spaceships/">hands-on preview</a> from PAX, but the short version is that it's like the great naval battles of old, but with massive spaceships instead of frigates and ironclads. And while it's a bit unfortunate that all the action appears to take place just above a planet's surface rather than in deep space where fleets could really maneuver, the pyrotechnics on display are undeniably spectacular.</p><p>It also seems to have a meaningful tactical angle to it, with different types and classes of ships taking on specific roles within a fleet. Positioning is very important: Shortly after the third minute, an enemy dreadnought becomes cut off from the rest of its fleet and is brought down in short order. </p><p>The game will include a single-player campaign, but the five-on-five multiplayer component seems ideally suited for competitive play and as Tyler Wilde noted in his preview, that's probably where the focus will be. The lack of locational damage is still a sticking point, but I like what I see here; in many ways, it conjures images of a (much) bigger-budget version of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gratuitous-space-battles-2/">Gratuitous Space Battles</a>. (And that, for the record, is a good thing,)</p><p>Dreadnought is slated to come out sometime in 2015.</p> League of Legends Worlds 2014 — a primer to the grand finalshttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-2014-world-championship-grand-finals-a-primer/The League of Legends World Championship Finals are this weekend, here's everything you need to know.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-2014-world-championship-grand-finals-a-primer/E-sportsLeague of LegendsLeague of Legends World Championship 2014MOBARiot Games <a href="/league-of-legends-2014-world-championship-grand-finals-a-primer/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cT0LJ0fP6LjK.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7jZ57i7dRUu1.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eys4gMxJhx7Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="10406637 10202651383061213 3967000205337554480 N"><em style="background-color: initial;">Written by James Chen, photos from lolesports.com</em></p><p> The all-China semifinals between team OMG and Star Horn Royal Club commanded the full duration of the best-of-five set – a back-and-forth trade of triumphs as Royal Club wrestled for a means to keep OMG's top laner and captain Gogoing from building to ominous strength, and OMG in turn struggled in the face of Korean expatriate and jungler InSec's maverick picks and plays, never knowing what he was going to choose or how he was going to play.</p><p> In the end, only one team advanced – and only one player got to claim the title of back-to-back world championship finalist.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TR0toPSKQbK7.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sv_uY_k63eUx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Uzi4 0"></p><h2>Uzi the Kid</h2> <br> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Star Horn Royal Club</h5> <p> <strong>Top Lane&nbsp;</strong>&mdash;&nbsp;Cola <br> <strong>Jungler</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; inSec <br> <strong>Mid Lane</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; corn <br> <strong>AD Carry</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; Uzi <br> <strong>Support</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; Zero </p> </div><p> Jian "Uzi" Zihao might be suffering from&nbsp;a bad case of deja vu right now. His team's changed sponsors and swapped out four players since last year, but here he is again: standing over a defeated OMG, headed to a world championship grand finals against a heavily favored Korean team. But last time,&nbsp;the&nbsp;dream ended in a nightmare.</p><p> For most teams and players, being able to stand as finalists at the most prestigious tournament of the year would've been a victory in itself&mdash;a career highlight to round out a year of hard work. Royal Club's&nbsp;humiliation from a total defeat in the finals, however, outweighed those sentiments and lead to the dramatic dissolution of the prior squad. In their place, a new team was formed around Uzi, with the high-profile recruitment of former Korean KT Rolster star InSec playing a significant role.&nbsp;While the language barrier would make for a rough start&mdash;as evidenced by Star Horn Royal Club's dismal regular season performance&mdash;their potential growth promised to be a lot higher with InSec,&nbsp;once known as the most dominant jungler in the world.</p><p> It played out&nbsp;much like it did the year before: a perfectly timed peak coinciding with OMG's plateauing and struggles to maintain a lead. Uzi almost didn't have to show up for work&mdash;though his multi-kills throughout the series against OMG were crucial in breaking their will, they were effectively hand-fed to him by InSec's unorthodox Champion&nbsp;mastery and dominance, playing champions that were considered irrelevant to the global metagame for months, if not years.</p><p> But the question remains: is it enough this time? Though the non-Korean teams appear to have improved this year, the evidence&nbsp;of Korean dominance still&nbsp;remains.&nbsp;White's clean 3-0 sweep against sibling team Samsung Blue ominously threatens a repeat of last year's anticlimatic finish for Star Horn.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yZwiPUDlQWq_.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MblpKwAEwyXr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ssw1"></p><h2>White-Out</h2> <br> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Samsung White</h5> <p> <strong>Top Lane</strong>&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;Looper <br> <strong>Jungler</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; DanDy <br> <strong>Mid Lane</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; PawN <br> <strong>AD Carry</strong>&nbsp;&mdash; imp <br> <strong>Support&nbsp;</strong>&mdash; Mata </p> </div><p> Unfortunately for them, Star Horn Royal Club might have preferred to face any other Korean team in the finals: Star Horn's strengths are largely shared, and thus neutralized, by their counterparts on Samsung White. The clearest example would be in the jungle: InSec, former ace for the KT Rolster Bullets, was once known as the single most dominant player in the position, but lost that title a year ago when he decided to switch to top lane, and subsequently fell out of relevance.</p><p> To his favor, this year's semifinal set against OMG demonstrated a return to strength, showing the same combination of outright skill and unexpected plays that made him famous in the first place. Unlike his prior career as a Korean jungler, however, he has peers this time. His contemporary, DanDy, might be less willing to surprise his own team with a Fiddlesticks pick out of nowhere, but is as adroit as InSec was at his prime, and has an unmatched understanding of the map-wide pressure his position is capable of exerting.</p><p> Meanwhile, Uzi has found a true peer in Imp, White's mad dog of the bottom lane. While it'll take a head-to-head match to see which of the two infamously hot-headed AD carries truly reigns supreme, what <em>is </em>known is that Mata, Imp's support, needs to be nerfed. He's continued the legacy of play-making Korean&nbsp;supports like CJ Entus's Madlife&mdash;an incredibly strong play-maker with a talent for exploiting his opponent's slightest mistakes and forcing through even&nbsp;the best-laid defenses.</p><p> The games will ultimately be decided by&nbsp;a single position: mid lane, where PawN seems to be unstoppable. As nominal successor and historical kryptonite to&nbsp;last year's mid lane world champion, Faker, PawN has been yet unmatched by his world rivals. Corn has been a competent piece in Star Horn's strategies, but he's lacked that certain grace and dominance that PawN so easily exerted&nbsp;over the course of the preceding weeks. The man that's taken up the mantle of Samsung Blue's leader, Dade, is White's ace in the hole.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C7ILL5daTfa7.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cT0LJ0fP6LjK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shrcvsssw"></p><h2>Amid the Spotlights</h2> <br> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Finals times</h5> <p> <strong>PST</strong> &mdash; Sat 18th,&nbsp;11:30 PM <br> <strong>EST</strong>&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;Sun 19th,&nbsp;2:30 AM <br> <strong>UTC</strong> &mdash; Sun 19th, 06:30 </p> </div><p> Seoul's World Cup stadium&mdash;host of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the subsequent home for South Korea's biggest concerts&mdash;has space for over 66,000 attendees,&nbsp;and it will be jammed to capacity as China and Korea once again butt heads&nbsp;on their quest for the world title. It looks to be another record-setter for League of Legends,&nbsp;but the community is loudly worried about a repeat of the 2013 finals, which were held in Los Angeles's Staples Center.</p><p> While it's not uncommon for the grand finals of any competitive event to be a disappointment, the Korean dominance in League of Legends is contextualized by&nbsp;their predecessors in the StarCraft scene, where "foreigner" is now commonly used as a term for <em>all</em> competitors not originating from Korea itself. Another 3-0 victory over their Chinese rivals, commonly considered the second-strongest region in the world, would cement this sentiment for the young League of Legends community as well&mdash;a prospect that sits poorly with Uzi and company. As tens of thousands settle upon the World Cup stadium and the spotlights light up the field, the pressure mounts on the 17 year old savant and his team to realize the hopes and wishes of China's massive player base&mdash;and stop the South Korean juggernaut in its tracks.</p> Here’s MSI’s latest all-in-ones rocking the Nvidia GTX 980M and 970Mhttp://www.pcgamer.com/heres-msis-latest-all-in-ones-rocking-the-nvidia-gtx-980m-and-970m/The first all-in-one desktops with Nvidia’s latest Maxwell architecture are here.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 21:21:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-msis-latest-all-in-ones-rocking-the-nvidia-gtx-980m-and-970m/desktopHardwareMSINews <a href="/heres-msis-latest-all-in-ones-rocking-the-nvidia-gtx-980m-and-970m/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2tBvFJjb8Bjw.780x349.ze_RxCgi.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><em><br></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2gG8lgdXTI2r.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2tBvFJjb8Bjw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Msi 980m All In One"></p><p><em>Article by Kevin Lee</em></p><p>Nvidia latest mobile graphics cards, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-970m-and-980m-maxwell-mobile-gpus/">the GTX 980M and GTX 970M</a>, are still slowly trickling into the latest gaming laptops. Now&nbsp;<a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/206355/msi-launches-gaming-aio-desktops-with-gtx-980m-and-gtx-970m-gpus.html">MSI has announced</a> the two very first all-in-one desktops to come with the new mobile GPUs with the AG270 2QE and AG270 2QC.</p><p>The two desktops come with a 27-inch touchscreen that’s bigger and heavier than any laptop a mobile gamer would be comfortable carrying. Although the display is 1080p, it comes with a few features to reduce the strain on your eyes. These include an anti-glare coating plus other MSI display tweaks which reduce screen flicker and the amount of vision-destroying blue light (basically any light between the 380 to 500 nanometer wavelength) coming out of the monitor. The all-in-ones can also rock out with some amped up sound piping though the Yamaha 5-watt speakers, each of which is equipped with its own subwoofer.</p><p>Both the AG270 2QE and 2QC come equipped with a base 2.4GHz Intel® Core i7-4860HQ processor but users will be able to upgrade to a higher clock speed CPU and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM. Meanwhile, a top-end AG270 2QE specced with an Intel Core i7-4870HQ, NVIDIA Geforce GTX 980M graphics card, 16GB of RAM plus two 128GB SSD drives setup in RAID and a 2TB (7200 rpm) drive costs $2,699 (about £1,680.30).</p><p>Over $2,500 is a hefty price to pay for what is essentially a high-end gaming laptop with a 27-inch, but the MSI AG270 series could be the good solution for PC gamers without room for anything other than a monitor. Alternatively, the gaming all-in-one or laptop route is great for those without the time to spec and build their own machine, which is always going to be cheaper and more powerful.</p> Killing Floor's Halloween Horror Double Feature update brings out the Zedshttp://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floors-halloween-horror-double-feature-update-brings-out-the-zeds/The free seasonal update adds a new map, a new mode, and the Halloween Zeds.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:58:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floors-halloween-horror-double-feature-update-brings-out-the-zeds/FPSKilling FloorNewsTripwire Interactive <a href="/killing-floors-halloween-horror-double-feature-update-brings-out-the-zeds/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YNQdbZ4avr-S.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VWsznGaHoF0?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"></iframe><p> The co-op survival-horror FPS <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor/">Killing Floor</a> has been around for since 2009, and yet somehow it's still going strong. In fact, it was just this past May that developer Tripwire Interactive revealed that players had fired more than 400 billion bullets over the past half-decade, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/weve-killed-20-billion-zeds-since-killing-floor-launched-five-years-ago/">killing more than 20 billion Zeds</a> in the process. The studio is now hard at work on Killing Floor 2, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor-2-exclusive-first-look-co-op-fps-horror-with-the-most-advanced-gore-system-ever/">revealed here</a> this past May, but it's not neglecting the game that started it all: With Halloween just around the corner, the Killing Floor Halloween Horror Double Feature is now live on Steam.</p><p> Looking for something to do on Halloween? Check out Club Clandestine, a new map in an underground club packed with everything you need for a hot night out. If demonic possession is more your thing, perhaps you'll enjoy a journey to the Devil's Dollhouse, included in the update as part of the Toy Master Mod. And Zeds! You thought Zed was dead, baby, but they're back, along with all their achievements and unlockable characters.</p><p> Best of all, the Halloween Horror Double Feature update is completely free to all owners of Killing Floor. And if you don't happen to be one of them, this is a good time to change your ways: The game is <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/1250/">on sale until the end of the month</a> for five bucks, or as part of the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/sub/52870/">Killing Floor Bundle</a>, which includes a ridiculous mess of DLC, for a little under $20. (Steam's new Canadian pricing makes it hard to say precisely what games cost in real money.) And if you can't spare the fiver, you can still leap into the action, at least for a couple days: Killing Floor is part of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-free-weekend-will-have-ten-free-games-starting-tomorrow/">Steam Free Weekend</a> that's currently underway.&nbsp;</p> Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video demonstrates upgraded Scorestreakshttp://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-video-demonstrates-upgraded-scorestreaks/Scorestreaks will be customizable and fully integrated into the Pick 13 system.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:14:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-video-demonstrates-upgraded-scorestreaks/Call of Duty: Advanced WarfareFPSNewsSledgehammer Games <a href="/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-video-demonstrates-upgraded-scorestreaks/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TBOOfzeBUpRH.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/m3lRz9x-kYU?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"></iframe><p> Introduced in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/black-ops-2/">Call of Duty: Black Ops 2</a>, Scorestreaks function very similarly to Killstreaks, but award perks for reaching a certain score in a single life, rather than for&nbsp;a specific kill count. They're undergoing some big changes for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare/">Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</a>, as explained by&nbsp;Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey explains in the video embedded above.&nbsp;</p><p>Scorestreaks are now fully integrated into the game's Pick 13 system, and can be customized to suit specific styles of play.&nbsp;Advanced Warfare will enable players to select up to four Scorestreaks at once, or to pass on them completely in order to save points. They&nbsp;are also now customizable with purchasable modules that "layer in additional functionality."</p><p> The video shows how the UAV can be upgraded with as many as three modules that, in this particular instance, provide information on enemy locations and award points for supporting fellow players. Care packages can also be customized with modules including one that will increase the odds of giving it a better Scorestreak.</p><p> "Customizable Scorestreaks in our new Pick 13 system add an unprecedented variety of unique upgrades and customizations that allow you to fine-tune your MP experience," Condrey says in the video.</p><p> Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare comes out on November 4.</p> Satellite Reign: tactical action in a cyberpunk cityhttp://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign-tactical-action-in-a-cyberpunk-city/Lead devMike Diskett on rain, trenchcoats, katanas and brain-hacking.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign-tactical-action-in-a-cyberpunk-city/5 Lives StudiosRPGSatellite ReignStrategySyndicate Wars <a href="/satellite-reign-tactical-action-in-a-cyberpunk-city/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ijcfah-RDvBP.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/31PN4uRJR461.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c0KsQ4UOCp2c.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Satellite Reign 1"></p><p> "The environment artist is having a field day," says Satellite Reign lead, Mike Diskett, and it's no wonder. Satellite Reign is described by its 5&nbsp;Lives as the&nbsp;"spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars," a tactical, squad-based RPG set in a dystopian futuristic city ruled by warring corporations. It's a city of eternal rain, streetlights, noodle bars and augmented rogues that draws inspiration from Blade Runner, Neuromancer and the the cyberpunk canon.&nbsp;</p><p> It also has an exciting, open-ended structure. "It's like the whole game is sidequests," says Diskett, "but with a storyline that is revealed through emails that you encounter, and the data you get to access throughout the game."&nbsp;As you go about your business doing deals for shady black market weapons dealers and dodgy backstreet surgeons, you gradually uncover an underlying narrative that puts your team in competition with the sinister ruling corporation. Diskett was lead programmer and producer on Syndicate Wars, and has worked on open worlds for Rockstar North and Mucky Foot. His passion for open environments and&nbsp;emergent narrative is hardwired into the project.</p><blockquote> It's a city of eternal rain, streetlights, noodle bars and augmented rogues </blockquote><p> "One of the things I really hate about computer games is when they're linear, and when they're scripted. When you can tell that you've just walked into a bounding volume and you've triggered an event and it's going to happen every time you do that, and everybody's playthrough is going to be exactly the same," he says. He describes the pleasure of avoiding missions in GTA to wreak havoc instead. "That's what I like to do in Satellite Reign. In creating the whole world, you're creating systems that can interact, and that the player can interact with."</p><p> Those systems are centred around VIPs&mdash;characters that&nbsp;have the&nbsp;knowledge or access that you need to complete a mission you've found. In a dark future full of hackers, militarised clones and organised crime, there are various ways to convince these marks to help your cause.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_Kw0ruzLrYw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> "There's a hijack thing where you can hijack into their neural networks and take control of them. You might take control of someone and walk them in and get them to return their keycard so you can use their keycard to enter a secure facility, or you can blackmail them. There's bribery, and there's threatening them.&nbsp;</p><p> "Blackmail requires that you have some blackmail material. Threatening them can involve directly threatening them with a weapon, or having the ability to threaten them through a third person, like finding a character's wife and holding them hostage."</p><p> Here Satellite Reign's ambitions surpass Syndicate's. Violence was your best weapon in the 1997 game, which resulted in what Diskett describes as a "kind of&nbsp;flat" experience. "All you can really do is kill people. We want to give more ability to interact with people in the world. That's why the classes got introduced, to give you more variation in what you do in the world, and how you interact with everybody and how you go through and complete your objectives."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DdAobN7STPW_.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ToTeOFLWhlgS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Satellite Reign 2"></p><p> You control a squad of four clones that can be upgraded as your reputation grows. If they're melted by bank security or meet the wrong end of a gangster's club they can be resleeved in a new body. Fortunately, their unique skills survive that process, which means your soldier will retain&nbsp;his competence with firearms, and your assassin can still become invisible and dispatch guards with his blade.</p><p> As classes level, their roles diverge and overlap.&nbsp;Your supporting medic can deploy shields and attack drones, and your assassin can become a sniper. You deploy this tailored ability set against well-guarded facilities full of roaming guards and camera systems, which your hacker can burrow into, of course. A secondary vision mode highlights hackable machines and their respective terminals to allow for non-violent infiltration.</p><p> VIPs, mission-givers and objectives are spread throughout four large city sectors, heavily guarded by the city's corporations. You earn access to each sector gradually as you grow more powerful, but Diskett is keen to make sure that progression doesn't straight-jacket players.&nbsp;"In terms of mission design, I'm really bored of playing missions when everything's spoon-fed you," he says.&nbsp;"It's like 'go kill someone' or 'go get the briefcase' and you're told explicitly what to do. We're making it much more that the missions are in the city to be found."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nD_k1JPHQTuK.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CB4cMf-B6TU7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Satellite Reign 3"></p><p>It's this that interests me most. The promising early videos show a world I want to investigate, complete with wavering streetlight reflections and neon storefronts. The team used prototype builds of Satellite Reign to produce its early promotional shots for its successful Kickstarter charge. Diskett sounds only slightly disappointed that the playable build "can only manage about ten thousand" rain particles in a given moment. It's a big test for the&nbsp;Unity engine, especially considering Satellite Reign's open-ended structure, but it's also a chance for Diskett and 5&nbsp;Lives to return to the 1997 game he worked on and bring it closer to Bullfrog's original vision. "What we were trying to do with Syndicate was create a Blade Runner game, a Blade Runner <em style="background-color: initial;">universe</em>, and we're still very much trying to recreate that world with that detail."</p><p> Playable alpha builds are just around the corner for backers, and we'll have some hands-on impressions for you soon.</p> Three Lane Highway: reflecting on ESL One New Yorkhttp://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-reflecting-on-esl-one-new-york/Thoughts on the first major tournament of Dota's new era.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-reflecting-on-esl-one-new-york/Dota 2E-sportsMOBAThree Lane HighwayValve <a href="/three-lane-highway-reflecting-on-esl-one-new-york/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BuPu2A9a6p90.780x349.7DvWRBvg.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pzUsr8szTdW_.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q3N8T-r6UKA3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ESL One NY EG"> </p> <p> <em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">Three Lane Highway</a> is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.</em> </p> <p> Watching ESL One New York last weekend made me realise just how long ago The International was. I mean, sure, technically it's only been three months. You <em>could</em> say that, if you were going to be <em>that guy</em>. The guy <em>with a calendar</em>. In Dota time, though, three months is forever. This was one of the first major tournaments of the 6.82b (now 6.82c) era, and the first high-profile LAN in the west since the team shuffle process began after TI4. That great switcheroo is still ongoing, but for me this was the first time the game has felt anything close to stable in its new identity. </p> <p> It was like watching a different Dota. Not simply because of the patch or the players but the effect that the two have in combination. Dota feels fresh again, a welcome sensation after the deathball doldrums that set in during the latter months of 6.81. This is in spite of a spate of embarrassing technical issues that riddled the tournament with interruptions. Maybe they helped, in fact: you've got plenty of time&nbsp;to ponder the state of the game when it's paused for two minutes out of every twenty. </p> <p> Spoilers follow, naturally. </p> <p> <strong>The long war</strong> </p> <p> The best sets of the series– <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU_W9Kia65E&amp;list=UU0G2qz-hoaCswQNgoWU_LTw">Alliance vs. EG</a> in the quarter finals,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN9FehDjG1I">EG vs. Vici</a> in the grand final–were defined by games that the casters simply couldn't call until deep into the midgame. This was extraordinarily rare in the previous patch, and demonstrates that the update has been successful in holding off the '8 minute GG' issue (at least for the time being). Longer, closer games mean that greater emphasis is placed on super-lategame carries, as demonstrated by Loda in Alliance vs. EG game two. Vici's Black^ said afterwards that this patch was going to be about three-core strategies with a single farming hard carry, and TobiWan put it a different way when he described Vici's winning strategy as "four-create-space-for-one" (a twist on "four-protect-one"). </p> <p> What was striking about this change for me, however, was that matches haven't become&nbsp;more passive as they've gotten longer. In some cases the early game is less active than it used to be–it certainly doesn't outright the determine the rest of the game as it sometimes used to–but we're seeing more brilliant, close teamfights in the midgame as teams wrestle to claim map control. There's something to be said for game-determining teamfights–and&nbsp;they still happen–but I appreciate the number of close trades we saw, particularly in the final. It's funny that the solution to a game that was losing some of its drama was to effectively curtail the long-term signficance of certain engagements, but it really works for me. More fighting is better fighting, after all. </p> <p> <strong>The age of the support</strong> </p> <p> This general shift has interesting implications for support players. I've seen the argument made that 6.82's lategame focus makes supports less relevant as fewer matches are decided by early rotations, but I don't think that's quite right. A combination of interesting Aghanim's Scepter upgrades and more gold going to supports in general means more interesting plays coming out of position four and five later in the game. Vici Gaming more or less won the tournament on this basis, whether that's fy's Skywrath Mage saving Super's Ember Spirit with an Ethereal Blade or the same player picking up Diffusal Blade on Sand King in two separate matches to counter Omniknight's Repel. I'd probably argue that Vici Gaming won the tournament because of fy in general, but there you go. </p> <p> It's great to see lategame supports being given more to do than 'get your ult off' and 'don't die'. There seems to have&nbsp;been an increase in the skill ceiling of the role in general, and I love that many of the biggest plays are coming out of heroes with no gold in their pockets. It will, inevitably, take a long time for this line of thinking to filter down into pub play–if it ever does. But with the rise of Omniknight as a ranked matchmaking 'win' button and Jakiro's steady shift from support to core, there's a rethink coming that should hopefully impact how people perceive these characters and their importance to the game. </p> <p> Despite this, many people will still first-pick Faceless Void. </p> <p> <strong>Size isn't everything</strong> </p> <p> In terms of the game itself, then, ESL One NY convinced me that the next couple of months are going to be really exciting. The heroes that have clung to their top-tier positions from one patch to the next–Brewmaster in particular–are generally the ones that are the most entertaining to watch, and I'm happy to see Razor and Death Prophet (slowly) make their way back into the box of spares. </p> <p> On the other hand,&nbsp;the tournament highlighted a few things about the growth of the sport in general that aren't entirely positive–and I'm not just talking about the technical issues. The choice of venue is a sticking point for me. E-sports have always chased the old-media legitimacy that comes with being on TV or occupying a famous venue, but I'm not convinced that 'old-media legitimacy' is something that anybody actually wants. Going for Madison Square garden might have got Dota into the New York Times, but is that the real measure for success here? When high ticket prices and limited spaces are the consequence of a high-profile venue, I'm not sure it's the best thing for the game. </p> <p> As Dota grows I hope organisations like ESL see the importance of balancing prestige venues with locations that support the volume of people who want to see Dota live–and who want to do so affordably. The Commerzbank Arena where ESL One Frankfurt was held was actually a good balance of the two, in that regard. It's possible to have both, but I believe that the entertainment value of Dota is substantial enough that it doesn't need the extra flare all of the time. It's natural for a new form of entertainment, particularly such a generational one, to look to adopt the trappings of the things that preceded it. Traditional sport established our model for what success looks like. But because this is a new and generational medium it is an opportunity to challenge a few paradigms–and high ticket prices are one of them. </p> <p> Which is not to say that Dota hasn't earned its place in Madison Square Garden, nor does it undermine the effort expended to get it there (and to&nbsp;make everything work, most of the time.) There is a real opportunity here, however, to serve the Dota community with events that lots of people can get to–to the point where live Dota is a natural part of the hobby, and not an exceptional extravagance available only to the fortunate. </p> <p> <em>To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em> </p> Payday: The Heist is free on Steam for the next 24 hourshttp://www.pcgamer.com/payday-the-heist-will-be-free-on-steam-later-this-week-but-only-for-one-day/Overkill is giving the game away to mark three years of Payday.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/payday-the-heist-will-be-free-on-steam-later-this-week-but-only-for-one-day/ActionNewsOverkill SoftwarePayday: The Heist <a href="/payday-the-heist-will-be-free-on-steam-later-this-week-but-only-for-one-day/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EM8UTCtiK-RA.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5YExKJrGRoGG.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EM8UTCtiK-RA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Payday: The Heist"></p><p><strong>Update: </strong>The promotion has started.&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/24240/" target="_blank">Head here to grab your free copy of Payday: The Heist</a>. You'll be able to add it to your Steam account, for nothing, until 10am PDT tomorrow, October 17.</p><p><strong>Original:&nbsp;</strong>To celebrate three years of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/payday-2/">Payday</a> franchise, developer Overkill Software is making the original Payday: The Heist free&mdash;but only for a day.</p><p>The third anniversary freebies have included a Golden AK, the Old Hoxton character pack DLC, and a mask from Bain. For those of you who don't already have Payday: The Heist, however, the reward for hitting 1.05 million members in the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/218620">Payday 2 Steam Group</a> is the most significant, because it means the game will be completely <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/24240/">free on Steam</a>, for a 24-hour period beginning at 10 am PDT on October 16.</p><p>"This was going to happen on the 18th originally but since you guys did such an awesome job we want to give you the reward as soon as possible," Overkill Producer Almir Listo <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/218620/announcements/detail/220999919816458756">wrote</a>. "Tell your friends and family that they can download Payday: The Heist for free on Thursday morning of October 16th at 10AM Pacific. We'll give out clear instructions on how to download it come Thursday."</p><p>That's the big news from a practical perspective, but that's not all: Reaching 1.5 million members in the Payday 2 Steam group means that Secret Stuff, represented by a winking smiley, has also been unlocked. Overkill is keeping the final unlock a secret but it will "completely overkill," according to the <a href="http://www.overkillsoftware.com/crimefest/">CrimeFest chart</a>, and free to all members of the community when it's ready.</p> Galactic Civilizations III update adds trade, diplomacy, and a new racehttp://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-iii-update-adds-trade-diplomacy-and-a-new-race/It's finally time to give peace a chance.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:58:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-iii-update-adds-trade-diplomacy-and-a-new-race/4XGalactic Civilizations 3NewsStardock Entertainment <a href="/galactic-civilizations-iii-update-adds-trade-diplomacy-and-a-new-race/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SwAq3jKZ5GTe.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rCdSp-XBRI2N.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SwAq3jKZ5GTe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Galactic Civilizations III"></p><p>Our Early Access review of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-iii-review-early-access/">Galactic Civilizations III</a> was quite positive overall, although it noted that "there's still a long way to go" before its release next year, in large part because it was missing major features like diplomacy and trade. Well, they've hopefully fixed that for you.&nbsp;The Beta 2 version released today brings both to the game, along with a new race and a pile of other features and fixes.</p><p>The Beta 2 update will install automatically through <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/226860/).">Steam</a>, after which players will be able to enter into diplomatic relations with other races, establish trade routes to other planets and trade credits, tech, ships, and other resources, set fleet rally points, and earn victory through a number of new conditions. The United Planets, essentially an intergalactic version of the United Nations, is now in the game, as are the Krynn, who will bring a more aggressive approach to their relations with others than they've previously been known for.</p><p>On the less-spectacular-but-still-significant side of the coin, the new beta adds a number of interface changes, punches up the AI, fixes a bunch of bugs, and makes "too many balance changes to mention." </p><p>The full list of additions and changes in the Beta 2 release is up on the <a href="http://forums.galciv3.com/458426">Galactic Civilizations III forum</a>. The game is currently available as an Early Access release on Steam, and is slated for a full launch in early 2015.</p> InnerSpace is an exploration game about flyinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/innerspace-is-an-exploration-game-about-flying/Explore an inverted planet, blast open new routes.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/innerspace-is-an-exploration-game-about-flying/InnerSpaceNews <a href="/innerspace-is-an-exploration-game-about-flying/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fNW5EoEvchJU.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oZ9zpGUnbzo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Want to see a trailer for&nbsp;a nice game about nice&nbsp;things?&nbsp;Hopefully this one,&nbsp;for InnerSpace, can&nbsp;fit the bill. It's an exploration-based adventure that, rather than the traditional focus on ambulation, is instead about flying through&nbsp;a pretty, inverted world.</p><p>"Set in a world where physics are inverted," explains the trailer's description,&nbsp;"the player flies in a spherical world surrounded by water, where gravity falls away from the center.&nbsp;Take the role of an unnamed cartographer to explore the various bubble-worlds, collect relics, and encounter each bubble’s unique patron deity, in order to discover more about the universe, its history, and its future."</p><p>Lest anyone is tempted to grab their "Not A Game" placard, you can use guns to open new paths through the destructible scenery. Navigating obstacles will also be important&mdash;with your craft&nbsp;utilising&nbsp;stalls and air-brakes&nbsp;to&nbsp;manoeuvre&nbsp;through the&nbsp;environment.</p><p>InnerSpace is due out summer next year. You can find more details on the game's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.indiedb.com/games/innerspace" target="_blank">IndieDB page</a>.</p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/168675277&amp;color=ff5500"></iframe><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OfaxbiC_TUCi.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7URvuAiUrY9j.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="InnerSpace Underwater"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bTjrR2rhSimG.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fNW5EoEvchJU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="InnerSpace 2"></p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/16/innerspace/" target="_blank">RPS</a>.</p> Mount & Blade: Warband expansion announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mount-blade-warband-expansion-announced/The 2010 RPG gets a Viking invasion.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:04:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mount-blade-warband-expansion-announced/Mount & Blade: WarbandNewsRPGTaleworlds <a href="/mount-blade-warband-expansion-announced/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZKHe_tbj07uB.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p>Nope, don't worry, you haven't slipped back through a time portal to four years ago. Or, at least, if you have, it isn't because of this news. The 2010 strategy RPG Mount &amp; Blade: Warband is getting another DLC expansion. Viking Conquest is set around&nbsp;Britain, Norway and Denmark, and features a single-player storyline, the traditional sandbox mode and new multiplayer game types.</p><p>If you're worried that this will further extend the agonising wait until the release of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mount-and-blade-2-trailer-details-powerful-editor-features-maximum-pan-pipes/" target="_blank">Mount &amp; Blade 2: Bannerlords</a>, rest easy. The DLC is being tackled by the makers of M&amp;B: Warband's superb&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/brytenwalda" target="_blank">Brytenwalda mod</a>&mdash;leaving TaleWorlds to continue working away at the sequel.</p><p>The expansion&nbsp;will be releasing into early access "soon". There's little in the way of additional details, but you can see some seafaring screenshots below.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Doc0QBtBTtie.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q7TMIa3xt0PV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mount and Blade 1"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RleiF3IzQku8.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/891bRDCv6qFG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mount and Blade 2"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/135QSM8HTA-a.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ln3XYMgj2uPf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mount and Blade 3"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/otoDdzpZQRWg.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bR4i3hWRkwwT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mount and Blade 4"></p> The Witcher 3 opening cinematic to debut at Golden Joystickshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-opening-cinematic-to-debut-at-golden-joysticks/See the opener first at the show.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-opening-cinematic-to-debut-at-golden-joysticks/Golden JoysticksNewsRPGThe Witcher 3 <a href="/the-witcher-3-opening-cinematic-to-debut-at-golden-joysticks/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wJaw9-I83WLM.780x349.rEJ54mX2.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3OoYeRqwTL2I.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sC6MgUIhtAyu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3"></p><p>Want to see the opening cinematic to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Sure, you could wait until 24 February when CD Projekt RED's RPG sequel is released. Or, you can see it next week. The developer has announced that they'll be unveiling the opener at the Golden Joystick awards, on 24 October at 3:45pm BST.</p><p>Should you miss the live reveal, you'll be able to see it later on the game's&nbsp;<a href="http://thewitcher.com/thetrail" target="_blank">mysterious new web page</a>.</p><p>The Witcher 3 has been nominated in the Golden Joystick's "Most Wanted" category. You can vote for your Golden Joystick picks at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/homepage.php" target="_blank">award's voting page</a>. Do so and you'll nab yourself a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/" target="_blank">free copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown</a>.</p> Dungeon of the Endless leaving early access later this monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dungeon-of-the-endless-leaves-early-access-later-this-month/The tower defence roguelike will soon be ready to go.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:44:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dungeon-of-the-endless-leaves-early-access-later-this-month/Amplitude StudiosDungeon of the EndlessNewsRoguelike <a href="/dungeon-of-the-endless-leaves-early-access-later-this-month/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nF8ceV93JO_2.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HhGINvWZQ_6h.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b5fagJrHioAb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dungeon of the Endless 2"></p><p>Another game is about to burst forth, all&nbsp;slimy and wriggling, from the womb of early access. Too graphic an analogy? Sorry. Another game is about to, er, be released, all digital and like a functional software product, from the pre-release designation of early access.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dungeon-of-the-endless/" target="_blank">Dungeon of the Endless</a> is the game, and its release date has been set for 27 October.</p><p>"DotE was launched on Steam Early Access on December 11th, 2013," writes Amplitude Studios&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/249050/announcements/detail/251399438925914378" target="_blank">in an update</a>,&nbsp;"and has been greatly improved thanks to your feedback, suggestions, design discussions, bug reports, but also forum contests, brainstorms, surveys, GAMES2GETHER votes and so on. With your awesome participation, we were able to create unique content for the game such as heroes, spaceships, modules, events or Steam achievements. Thank you all for participating in this Early Access."</p><p>This is the next part of Amplitude's unusual semi-crossover series; the last part being the recently released&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/endless-legend-review/" target="_blank">Endless Legend</a>. Dungeon of the Endless is a prequel of sorts&mdash;not that the connection has much impact on the game's genre blending mix of&nbsp;roguelike and&nbsp;tower defence.</p><p>To mark the occassion, the developers have released this video&mdash;half of which is a pretty looking pixel short; the other half a scrolling list of names.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sGJuViaIdfA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Kerbal Space Program to enter 'beta' with next patchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-to-enter-beta-with-next-patch/Will start focusing on improvements to existing systems.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:52:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-to-enter-beta-with-next-patch/Kerbal Space ProgramNewssimSquad <a href="/kerbal-space-program-to-enter-beta-with-next-patch/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JUwUPWe0zVhQ.780x349.nAwXmg9B.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-2hjzPbJQ_Kg.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2oggcjkWB708.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kerbal"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program/" target="_blank">Kerbal Space Program</a>'s&nbsp;next update will be an important milestone along its development path. Not because of what it contains (we don't really know yet), but because of what it represents. In a post on the game's forum, SQUAD's&nbsp;Felipe Falanghe explains that, after more than&nbsp;three years of alpha development, KSP is almost ready to be in&nbsp;'beta'.</p><p>"The next update will mark a big milestone for us at Squad,"&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/content/313-Beta-Than-Ever-The-Future-of-KSP" target="_blank">Falanghe&nbsp;writes</a>,&nbsp;"as it is the last update focused on Career Mode. After the next release, Kerbal Space Program will reach an internal milestone we call 'Scope Complete'.</p><p>"It means KSP now has all the features we considered vital to be in the game that we designed so many years ago. It doesn’t mean the game has everything we want it to have, it means everything we considered necessary for it to be Kerbal Space Program exists, even if only in a minimal form."</p><p>After the update, which will be numbered 0.90.0 to mark the beta transition, the game's development will shift to improving and further implementing the game's existing features and systems. Two desired improvements have already been revealed: more realistic aerodynamics, and deep space refueling.</p><p>For more, head to&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/content/313-Beta-Than-Ever-The-Future-of-KSP" target="_blank">Falanghe's forum post</a>, where he includes an FAQ on the beta transition.</p> Major Wasteland 2 update ushers in huge range of features and bug fixeshttp://www.pcgamer.com/major-wasteland-2-update-ushers-in-huge-range-of-features-and-bug-fixes/The wasteland is being tamed in all the right ways.Thu, 16 Oct 2014 02:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/major-wasteland-2-update-ushers-in-huge-range-of-features-and-bug-fixes/NewsPatch notesRPGWasteland 2 <a href="/major-wasteland-2-update-ushers-in-huge-range-of-features-and-bug-fixes/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zm48ySWrLE0s.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/suCmDUAbSoKa.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zm48ySWrLE0s.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wasteland 2 screenshots"></p><p>A major <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wasteland-2/">Wasteland 2</a> update has just rolled out on Steam, bringing a "large amount" of memory optimizations, the ability to tab out of the game while it's loading and, most excitingly, 50 loading screen tips. The list is longer than most adult legs and addresses most aspects of gameplay, though InXile has been kind enough to provide a list of highlights, which includes all of the above as well as the ability to toggle travel speed on the world map and new support for "very large" text.</p><p>The update will roll out on GOG.com, Glyph and Origin shortly. Here are the highlights, taken from the <a href="http://wastelandrpg.tumblr.com/post/99930440396/wasteland-2-patch-2-58347-release-notes">full patch notes</a>.</p><p>- Large amount of memory optimizations, particularly with audio, to improve performance and stability on lower-spec systems and 32-bit operating systems.<br>- Fixed enemy “unlimited AP” movement bug that allowed them to sometimes move much farther than intended.<br>- Extensive improvements and fixes to California questlines, particularly in Hollywood and Griffith Park. May require you to load an older save file before Hollywood to fully benefit.<br>- Added a travel speed toggle to the world map, allowing you to zip and zoom around if you so please (doesn’t affect encounters, only travel speed).<br>- Custom portraits will now work correctly when Windows account username contains non-English characters.<br>- Added support for “Very Large” text.<br>- Added 50 messages to load screens containing gameplay hints and tips.<br>- Loading now continues when the game is tabbed out, and pauses after finishing.<br>- Further UI fixes and improvements, such as new and correctly used icons.<br>- Many localization updates and bug fixes across all languages.</p><p>Wasteland 2 released last month and former PC Gamer scribe Cory Banks quite enjoyed it, describing it as "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wasteland-2-review/">an excellent RPG despite its glitches, with combat and writing as good as its predecessors</a>".</p> Steam Free Weekend will have ten free games starting tomorrow http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-free-weekend-will-have-ten-free-games-starting-tomorrow/Play XCOM, Grid 2 and PayDay 2 for nothing. Wed, 15 Oct 2014 23:28:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-free-weekend-will-have-ten-free-games-starting-tomorrow/AwesomenautsBlade SymphonyCompany of Heroes 2Don't StarveGRID 2InjusticeKilling FloorNewsPayday 2SteamSteam Free Weekendsteam salesTrine 2 <a href="/steam-free-weekend-will-have-ten-free-games-starting-tomorrow/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3l8kU_E37-AE.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7FXyN-2mQlqZ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3l8kU_E37-AE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="XCOM Enemy Unknown"></p><p>If for some reason you budget your video game spending by the weekend, then here's good news: you can spend that money on something else. May I suggest: nicer food. A new pair of shoes. A trip to the nearest theme park.&nbsp;</p><p>The reason is, Steam is making ten games free this weekend as part of its aptly titled Free Weekend promotions. The games include <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2-review/">Company of Heroes 2</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-enemy-unknown-review-2/">XCOM: Enemy Unknown</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/255-grid-2-review/">Grid 2</a>. You'll have over 48 hours to play them, as they unlock 10am Pacific time on Thursday, October 16. After that you'll need to pay for them, with the promise of substantial discounts.</p><p>Here's the list:</p><p>Awesomenauts <br>Blade Symphony <br>Company of Heroes 2 <br>Don't Starve <br>Grid 2 <br>Injustice <br>Killing Floor <br>Payday 2 <br>Trine 2 <br>XCOM: Enemy Unknown</p><p>It's a good week for free games: GOG.com is <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-versus-predator-classic-is-free-on-gog-this-week/">giving away Alien versus Predator Classic this week</a> as part of a GOG Galaxy test run. </p> Lichdom: Battlemage makes life easier for newbies with first major patchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/lichdom-battlemage-makes-life-easier-for-newbies-with-first-major-patch/The Smart Crafting Interface will simplify life for apprentice mages.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:16:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lichdom-battlemage-makes-life-easier-for-newbies-with-first-major-patch/Lichdom: BattlemageNewsRPGXaviant <a href="/lichdom-battlemage-makes-life-easier-for-newbies-with-first-major-patch/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y68FDW5YTSD8.780x349.eAAv7CCW.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U23KxNW7QsO6.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y68FDW5YTSD8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LichdomBattlemage02"></p><p>The action-RPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lichdom-battlemage/">Lichdom: Battlemage</a> fared not too badly in our August&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lichdom-battlemage-review/">review</a>, but developer Xaviant has continued to work on it since. Today the studio announced the release of the game's first major patch, which adds a new "Smart Crafting Interface" designed to help new players successfully immerse themselves in the game's combat.</p><p>"Within each of Lichdom's eight magic schools&mdash;called Sigils&mdash;players can craft spells from components collected on the battlefield that focus their arcane arts in one of three areas: a targeted range attack, a defensive magical shield, and an area-of-effect spell," <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lichdom-battlemage-review/">the review explains</a>. "Inside each of these subgroups is an additional layer of specialization&mdash;destruction, control, and mastery... The various Sigils interact with each other in mysterious and surprising ways that reward experimentation and risk-taking."</p><p>It sounds intriguing, but also potentially intimidating. That's where the new Smart Crafting Interface comes into play: It will automatically upgrade spell components, craft new spells, and deconstruct old ones based on the equipment the player is currently using. The new interface prompts players to upgrade any eligible components when they access their inventory, and also shows which current spells can be improved; new spells may then be previewed and compared before the upgrade is completed.</p><p>The intent is to make the game more manageable for newcomers, but the studio said that experienced players are making good use of it too, writing, "We’ve found through testing that many veteran players appreciate this streamlined approach to inventory management that gets back into the thick of combat as quickly as possible." The interface also adds new tutorial videos explaining how Sigils worth with Attunements, and can be toggled on and off at will.</p><p>The patch features other changes, including to the pacing and composition of enemy encounters in the first act, the addition of a new Pitlurker boss to help players get a better handle on Mastery, better controller support, fixes to the UI and Necromancy Sigil, and various bug fixes and bits of polish. The substantial (6.4GB) update is live now on <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/261760/announcements/detail/233384570851129393">Steam</a>; full details are up on the <a href="https://boards.xaviant.com/t/lichdom-battlemage-patch-1-1-release-notes/234">Xaviant forums</a>.</p> Halo: Spartan Strike brings twin-stick Covenant shooting back to the PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/halo-spartan-strike-brings-twin-stick-covenant-shooting-back-to-the-pc/Spartan Strike is the spiritual successor to last year's Halo: Spartan Assault.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:12:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/halo-spartan-strike-brings-twin-stick-covenant-shooting-back-to-the-pc/343 IndustriesActionHaloHalo: Spartan StrikeNews <a href="/halo-spartan-strike-brings-twin-stick-covenant-shooting-back-to-the-pc/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zBUvmcL_aCdT.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4cOU-ud3RsGS.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zBUvmcL_aCdT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Halo: Spartan Strike"></p><p>It's fair to say that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/halo-spartan-assault/">Halo: Spartan Assault</a> isn't the most popular entry in Microsoft's long-running series, but it does have the distinction of being one of the few that's actually available on the PC. It was also apparently successful enough to warrant a follow-up, Halo: Spartan Strike, which will be out in December.</p><p>Spartan Strike, according to <a href="http://ca.ign.com/articles/2014/10/15/halo-spartan-strike-announced-for-windows-devices-and-steam-ign-first?watch">IGN</a>, is a "spiritual successor" to Spartan Assault rather than a straight sequel. Much like its predecessor, it will be a top-down, twin-stick shooter, but it will feature a number of improvements over Spartan Assault as well. Strike will be a slightly longer game, clocking in at an estimated four to five hours, and feature more vehicles with improved controls, including the Warthog and the Kestrel VTOL. </p><p>The game is being developed for all Windows 8 platforms and will also be released on Steam, and both platforms will offer their own separate achievements. Microtransactions, meanwhile, have been dropped completely: Items and upgrades will still be available for purchase, but only with currency earned in the game.</p><p>It's a far cry from a PC version of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-halo-the-master-chief-collection-belongs-on-pc/">Master Chief Collection</a>, but it will hopefully at least be a step up from Spartan Assault. That's something, right? Halo: Spartan Strike&mdash;which, by the way, is going to sell for a whopping $6&mdash;comes out on December 12</p> What’s next for Hearthstone?http://www.pcgamer.com/whats-next-for-hearthstone/The new featuresBlizzard's card battler is likelyto rollout next (and in the distant future)Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/whats-next-for-hearthstone/BlizzardBlizzconCard GameE-sportsHearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft <a href="/whats-next-for-hearthstone/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TdBe2khCAdGK.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JFyhWIUQRD2c.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TdBe2khCAdGK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cabal Shadow Priest, Hearthstone"></p><p>It feels like the Hearthstone scene is currently drifting along, enjoying a period of relative stability. Behind us lies the Naxxramas rollout, the Leeroy/Buzzard nerf, and the turbulent effect those events had on the metagame. Ahead of us is the biggest tournament yet, in the shape of <a href="http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/13665270/">BlizzCon</a>, when it’s hoped we might also hear more about the next card expansion. So, now seems like a good time to take stock of what lies in store for the game. Here, I use my own version of Tracking (Google plus common sense, essentially) to try to pick what features might come next, based on likelihood and desirability, starting with extra deck slots. Joke, we’re never getting new deck slots. </p><h3>Guaranteed to arrive soon-ish</h3><h4>A lot of new cards</h4><p>Duh. It’s a CCG. There will be more cards. We will pay or grind for them. But here’s what we can say about the next expansion for sure: The set will feature <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-production-director-teases-100-card-expansion-news-very-soon/">more than 100 cards</a>, and it will have a theme of some sort, although it won’t be delivered via a Naxxramas-style single-player expansion. Instead, the cards will be sold through a new kind of Booster pack, separate from the existing Expert ones. What we don’t know: whether the set will launch this year. However, with Team 5’s production director Jason Chayes suggesting we should expect news “very soon”, it makes sense to think an announcement might be made at BlizzCon in early November. My guess is Blizzard will want to cash in on the holiday period by getting them out before Christmas.</p><p>The other critical piece of information that remains unclear is whether you’ll be allowed to use the dust, which players are currently accruing from disenchanting their duplicate Expert cards, to craft cards in the new set. This seems a critical question to me, because if the old dust can’t be be used to create the new cards, then players with mostly complete collections would be better off hoarding gold rather than dust to put towards the next set. I’ve tried bugging senior designer Ben Brode on this, but to no avail. It may be that, as with the Naxxramas pricing, a final decision won’t be made until closer to launch.</p><h4>Spectator mode</h4><p>Blizzard reps&mdash;including producer Yong Woo, <a href="http://www.icy-veins.com/forums/topic/6827-gamescom-interview-hearthstone-observer-mode-coming-soon/">speaking here</a> at Gamescom earlier this year&mdash;have stated multiple times that an in-game spectator mode is in active development with a view to improving the tournament experience for fans. From listening to Brode talk on the <a href="http://amove.tv/tacblog/2014/8/12/41-the-angry-chicken-always-probably-ok">Angry Chicken podcast</a>, it sounded like the feature was top of the priority list, so my expectation was that it would probably be in place in time for BlizzCon. Now that November 7th doesn’t feel so far away I’m less sure, but still fairly confident.</p><p>With no official announcement, it’s impossible to know what functionality to expect, but reading Woo’s interview again it sounds like Blizzard wants to implement some form of chat functionality&mdash;but likely only between friends, to prevent the inevitable donger-based copy-pasterino unpleasantries of anonymous Twitch chat. Whether you’ll actually be able to see the competing players via webcam also remains unclear. Certainly the experience would lose something without being able to see an Assassin’s Blade-wielding Rogue’s live reaction to a top-decked Harrison Jones. (Go to the 40-minute mark <a href="http://www.viagame.com/channels/hearthstone-championship/405779">here</a> and watch the exact moment Realz’ heart breaks. No wonder he <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-hire-hearthstone-pro-to-help-design-hearthstone/">quit</a> the pro scene.) </p><p>What doesn’t sound likely to be included, though, is any sort of replay system. “This is something that we think is really cool,” said Woo, “but it is not quite in the top tier list. There are various ways we could do replays that are more expensive or less expensive, in terms of development cost, and we still need to figure that out.” Which seems slightly odd, given the obvious potential for re-watching classic matches, or saving and sharing your own favourite moments. But I suppose at least my opponent won’t be able to beam me missing lethal around various social networks.</p><h3>Good ideas (they’ll get to eventually)</h3><h4>More deck slots</h4><p>No, but seriously Blizz. When it’s got to the point that obsessives like me are using a <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dcEdl9AFdi2oEU3YgGnRve1g7gSlDHBXggKnUNAgcQs/edit#gid=1107542833">10-tab Google doc</a> to manage their deck archive, surely it’s time for a compromise. Whilst I grudgingly accept that there is logic to Brode’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-curse-of-naxxramas-blizzard-interview/#page-3">view</a> that less is sometimes more&mdash;and can see that Team 5 don’t want to scare the casuals&mdash;surely Blizzard’s UI team is smart enough to design a system that allows for a little more flexibility. Think how many Druid archetypes there are: Watcher, Token, Ramp, Combo and, of course, Murloc. Having a separate page for each class wouldn’t be so confusing, and would allow players to keep a few more of their old favourites backed up without having to rely on third-party software solutions. I imagine we’ll get the option to expand the number of slots at a later date, but wouldn’t rule out having to pay for it either.</p><h5>Next page: more&nbsp;nice ideas and some decreasingly likely ones</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bxHJM7VkSJ6I.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PV4fMkqeRTdw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hearthstone"></p><h3>Good ideas (they’ll get to eventually)&hellip; cont.</h3><h4>New game boards and customisation options</h4><p>That the Naxxramas board has now moved into rotation for standard Play mode matches suggests Blizzard will keep refreshing the lineup. Given that the next set of cards is said to be themed, I would expect a couple of new boards based on whatever that&nbsp;theme is to be added at the same time. (Here’s hoping for Icecrown.) I also wouldn’t rule out additional ways to customise your own play area. Think different coloured mana crystals. Also think: more microtransactions.</p><h4>Co-op mode</h4><p>The idea of some sort of two-player cooperative mode was first hinted at in November last year, as part of a <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-25-hearthstone-survey-hints-at-potential-new-features">poll of possible new features</a> conducted at BlizzCon.&nbsp;That particular&nbsp;option in the poll also mentioned “raids” and “boss battles”, which makes me think it eventually led to what would become the Naxx content. However, the idea of two-player teams&nbsp;continues to crop up in interviews. Woo <a href="http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/08/15/hearthstone-producer-yong-woo-talks-observer-mode-and-more.aspx">told</a> Game Informer: “We have a list of things we want to do with Hearthstone and we think they are all awesome. Co-op is one of them. I think a double-headed dragon could be really cool.” I get the impression it’s not a live project yet, but it sounds like it might be quite high up on the to-do list given Team 5’s enthusiasm for the social side of Hearthstone, as evidenced by the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-offering-freebie-to-hearthstone-players-who-meet-up-irl/">Fireside Gathering programme</a>.</p><h4>Expanded Arena and new Tournament mode</h4><p> Blizzard’s devs have also spoken enthusiastically about the&nbsp;<a href="http://wiki.teamliquid.net/hearthstone/Lord_of_the_Arena_2">Lord of the Arena tournament</a>, which has been run twice by Tempo Storm. The format involves pro players <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiMmHBn1Oro&amp;list=PLt7BpA26_tiThGxZvSAdnd-0UUNfKWxrw">drafting</a> decks, as per a normal Arena run, and then battling each other in a typical knockout structure. However, the current deck building restrictions in Play mode mean you can never pick more than two of the same card, limiting the fun somewhat. I expect Blizzard to give players the freedom to create Arena-style decks to use against friends at some point.</p><p> I also think, given the increasing vibrancy of the competitive scene, that organising and joining tournaments using the game client is likely to become a thing eventually. Imagine if that spare button slot on the main menu page became a new ‘tournaments’ section. Here you could either create your own competition with a bracket builder and invite system, or pay gold and/or real money to enter an existing one and then compete for a share of the winnings. (With Blizzard taking a cut off the top, of course.)</p><h4>More off- the-wall modes</h4><p> Why stop there, though? How about a completely unrestricted mode which lets you pick any number of any card, with no class restrictions. Would 20 Soulfires, 5 innervates and 5 Ragnaroses work? No, probably not. But it'd be fun trying. Or how about 60-card decks? Or 5-card decks in which the game starts on 5 mana and with your hero on 15 health. These quickfire matches would be like little Hearthstone haikus. I actually think some turbo-charged variants of the standard&nbsp;game would be enormously popular. So long as this sort of stuff is treated the same way as&nbsp;Casual mode, then there’s really no reason not to let players set their own match parameters and experiment with formats. It’d certainly add some new life for those of us who can’t face another month of grinding on the ladder.</p><h3>Might happen, but won’t be for years</h3><h4>New Hero classes</h4><p> Yes, yes, we’ve all seen Amaz’s <a href="http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/463593-amazs-death-knight-class-concept">Death Knight</a> and <a href="http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/467568-amazs-monk-class-concept">Monk</a> class concepts, yes they’re really fun, yes it would be exciting to have another Hero to try&hellip; But it ain’t happening anytime soon chums. According to game director Eric Dodds, speaking <a href="http://hearthstone.blizzpro.com/2014/08/17/hearthstone-developer-interview-eric-dodds-ben-thompson-mike-donais-and-christina-sims/">here</a> with BlizzPro, the idea isn’t even currently in discussion. And when you consider that&nbsp;there was a four-year gap between World of Warcraft’s launch and the arrival of the Death Knight class, that’s probably no great surprise. Blizzard aren’t ones to rush, and clearly see Hearthstone as a very long term project. There will be plenty of time, and other extra features, before we get a new class. What we may get, though, is the option to use alternate heroes for the existing classes. Bored of Garrosh? Just switch to Grommash. For a price.</p><h3>Never going to happen</h3><h4>Card trading</h4><p> Look, Blizzard didn’t get rich like Gadgetzan Auctioneers at a magic convention by allowing you to just swap cards with your friends. Tsk. The very thought of it. (Although wouldn’t it be cool if once a month you were able to trade, say, one card for a card of equivalent rarity with someone on your friends list?) But nope, it’ll be a cold day in&nbsp;<a href="http://hearthstone.gamepedia.com/Baron_Geddon">Baron Geddon</a>’s sauna when that comes to pass.</p><p>What do you think? Agree with my picks, or do you expect to see the game go in different directions? Let me know below.</p> Farming Simulator 15's folksy trailer opened our hearts to the joy of farm lifehttp://www.pcgamer.com/farming-simulator-15s-folksy-trailer-opened-our-hearts-to-the-joy-of-farm-life/Beautiful skylines intercut with fields of wheat andhuge, nature destroying trucks.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:36:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/farming-simulator-15s-folksy-trailer-opened-our-hearts-to-the-joy-of-farm-life/Farming Simulator 15Focus Home InteractiveGiants SoftwareNewssim <a href="/farming-simulator-15s-folksy-trailer-opened-our-hearts-to-the-joy-of-farm-life/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/l7RFBm1VlkQf.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JMMHlMuZyKc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> Take a deep breath. Feel the warm breeze on your face while you enjoy the smell of fresh cut pine in the air. The latest trailer for Farming Simulator 15, titled “A Day on the Farm,” really wants you to feel what it’s like to toil in heavy machinery on a digital farm all day. Beautiful skylines are intercut with huge, nature-destroying trucks, happy farm animals, and a tractor not pulling aside to let the ever-growing line of cars behind it pass. Seriously dude, they’re honking.</p><p>The trailer’s song sets the tone, and I can’t quite figure out if the video is making fun of itself, or us. Part of me thinks developer Giants Software is trying to be the Andy Kaufman of game studios, presenting a game about meticulously controlling every minutia of a virtual farm as though it were like any other video game.&nbsp;Is the trailer a brilliant joke? And if it is, are they actually in on it?</p><p>I can't tell. But&nbsp;either way, it's got our attention, and&nbsp;this is the funniest (and perhaps most wonderfully earnest) game trailer in months.&nbsp;As the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.farming-simulator.com/index.php?lang=en">official site</a> says, you’ll be able to “discover the freedom of woodcutting” when the game launches for PC first on October 30th at $30/£25.</p> The Crew gameplay trailer teases a wealth of customization optionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew-gameplay-trailer-teases-a-wealth-of-customization-options/Victory begins in the garage.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:54:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew-gameplay-trailer-teases-a-wealth-of-customization-options/NewsRacingThe CrewUbisoft <a href="/the-crew-gameplay-trailer-teases-a-wealth-of-customization-options/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gNr-cCxejNI2.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dbLOoPTWZWc?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"></iframe><p>You're cruising the streets of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew/">The Crew</a> in your reasonably quick, off-the-lot Mustang, listening to your favorite Sammy Hagar cover band, when suddenly, from out of nowhere, you get smoked by some jerkwagon in a tuner. What's a self-respecting pony rider to do? Don't get mad: Get even. Get <em>customized</em>.</p><p>In truth this latest&nbsp;trailer doesn't dig into the nuts and bolts of The Crew's customization system, but it does illustrate the wide range of options available to digital gearheads. As usual, it's all about the right tools for the job, and taking a street racing machine onto a dirt track clearly isn't the best idea anyone's ever had. Fortunately, the 'Stang is a very flexible machine, and when you're done playing in the dirt you can even kit it out for the pro racing circuit.</p><p>Absence of detail notwithstanding, it makes the point: If you want to succeed on the street, you're going to have to spend some time in the garage. The Crew, Ubisoft's persistent world multiplayer racing game, comes out on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-crew-skids-into-december/">December 2</a>.</p> Styx: Master of Shadows reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/styx-master-of-shadows-review/An entertaining Grimm-like yarn in and around twenty hours-worth of furtive fun.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/styx-master-of-shadows-review/CyanideFocus InteractiveReviewsStealthStyx: Master of Shadows <a href="/styx-master-of-shadows-review/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ql1fVVthw5pl.780x349.JOoRYyws.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong><br> A third person stealth game with modest RPG elements set in a wonderfully vertical environment and where F5 is your friend.<br> <strong>Play it on:</strong>&nbsp;AMD/Intel dual-core 2.4 GHz, AMD Radeon HD 5850, Nvidia GEForce GTX 560 or higher<br> <strong>Alternatively:</strong>&nbsp;Dishonored, 92%<br> <strong>Copy protection:</strong> Steam<br> <strong>Expect to pay:</strong> £25/$30<br> <strong>Release:&nbsp;</strong>Out now<br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Cyanide Studio<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Focus Home Interactive<br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> None<br> <strong>Link:</strong> <a href="http://www.styx-thegame.com/">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> <em>By Jon Morcom.</em></p><p> Styx: Master of Shadows announced its arrival as the follow-up and prequel to 2012’s Of Orcs and Men with little fanfare but boasting of its hardcore stealth credentials. Set in a gloomy fantasy world within the soaring Tower of Akenash, the titular Styx is a goblin who for pecuniary reasons wants to steal the heart of the mighty World Tree, the source of a magical nectar called Amber which is to the Tower’s inhabitants what Adam is to the denizens of Rapture. However, our cantankerous protagonist’s parlous mental state hints that there will be more to his journey than simply rocking up to the Antiques Roadshow with the heart for a valuation should he manage to get hold of it.</p><p>As you would hope from its setting, the levels in this game offer a lot of verticality and plenty of high road/low road routes through some fantastically open environments. Styx’s movement is for the most part fluid and the mouse and keyboard controls work well; however, his parkour skills are not as precisely calibrated as those found in say Assassin’s Creed games. Unless you’re scaling the game’s obvious cruciform climb points, ledge-grabbing and jumping can be a lottery with Styx destined to die a number of comical deaths.</p><p>The sneaking is satisfying and can find you switching tempo in the blink of an eye. One moment you’ll be in a good rhythm, methodically clearing an area full of guards but then you might just as easily find yourself hiding in a cupboard for some minutes, waiting to make your next move. Styx has no non-lethal takedown option, just a ‘muffled kill’ move that leaves him vulnerable for five seconds or a swift, noisy kill that immediately turns him into a guard magnet. In addition to gathering up consumables like Vials of Health, Amber (manna for your special skills) and throwing knives spread around each map, you can use Amber Vision to identify alternative routes and glyphs on the walls that point the way to secret hiding places.</p><p>Collecting tokens, rare relics and completing primary and secondary mission tasks earns you points that can be used to augment seven skill sets. But crucially this skill-buffing can only take place when you reach your hideout at the end of each chapter. The most dynamic of these abilities is Cloning. Styx can puke up a clone of himself who, for a short time, can pass through locked gates, work mechanisms, create diversions or even hide in cupboards and bump-off pesky guards for you. Invisibility is also possible for brief periods but it expends a lot of Amber and, frankly, feels like cheating.</p><p>With S:MoS’s emphasis firmly on stealth, combat is very much a last resort and its mechanics here are so perfunctory, it’s as if the developers have made it deliberately dull to push players down the less confrontational path. Taking flight <em>is</em> sometimes possible through repeated mashing of the roll and jump keys but more often than not you’ll be locked into a one-on-one with the guard; parry his sword blows successfully a few times with your trusty knife and you’ll get a ‘kill’ prompt so you can finish him off. But unless you’ve isolated that one guard, others will soon be upon you until you’re overwhelmed. By the middle of the game there are hundreds of guards to whack or bypass, not all of whom can be eliminated quietly so you need to make good use of all you see in the environment. Frequent quick saving is essential throughout but the balance of the game is such that even when you’re crouched under a table, staring at some guard’s groin and you’re down to your last drops of health or Amber, there is always a way out.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q7aZT2rmSpaK.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ef5lEwJel8wx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Styx 1"></p><p>A stealth game will usually stand or fall by the quality of its AI and when they’re not inadvertently frotting the scenery or each other, S:MoS’s guards demonstrate admirable levels of general alertness but they are also seemingly afflicted with some debilitating form of myopia. Bump into a chair or toggle Styx out of crouch mode and his footsteps will bring a band of strangely foul-mouthed sentries rushing your way in quick time. On the other hand, the guards’ seeming lack of any peripheral vision means you can often literally get away with murder.</p><p>For all its openness, there were a few points in the game where I felt I was being funneled and perhaps the most disappointing aspect was the re-visiting and re-population of some areas, these levels being augmented with non-human enemies; the advent of the latter feels like gratuitous hurdle placement and the asset recycling in general gives the impression the game has been padded out. But those gripes aside, S:MoS weaves an entertaining Grimm-like yarn in and around twenty hours-worth of furtive fun.</p> Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell gets a new trailer and a nearer launch datehttp://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-gets-a-new-trailer-and-a-nearer-launch-date/ Johnny Gat will go to Hell a little sooner than planned.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:05:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-gets-a-new-trailer-and-a-nearer-launch-date/ActionDeep SilverNewsSaints Row: Gat Out of HellVolition <a href="/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-gets-a-new-trailer-and-a-nearer-launch-date/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KRLtThcywtXy.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4NUorYvZS9Sy.jpeg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KRLtThcywtXy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Johnny Gat"></p><p>Good news, fans of comedy ultraviolence and puns involving the word gat.&nbsp;Deep Silver has announced that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell/">Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell</a> will be released a week earlier than originally planned. The "standalone expansion" was slated to arrive on January 27, 2015, but the official <a href="https://twitter.com/SaintsRow">Saints Row Twitter</a> account revealed&nbsp;it will actually be out on January 20 instead. Gat's magic!</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p> Gat Out of Hell will be released a week earlier, now on Jan 20 in the US and Jan 23 for Europe, on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4! </p><p> &mdash; Saints Row (@SaintsRow) <a href="https://twitter.com/SaintsRow/status/522410053979348992">October 15, 2014</a> </p></blockquote><p> Inevitably, there's a new trailer too. In it, we learn that&nbsp;Johnny Gat is an "exceptional" chap, but even he falls victim to the seven deadly sins at times. In fact, judging by this latest trailer, he's doing a pretty terrible job of resisting them.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yZ1v9Wzqs1U?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" height="343" width="610" frameborder="0"> </iframe><p> The best thing about it is the way that, one way or another, all the sins are made&nbsp;to fit&nbsp;killing stuff. Wrath is an obvious fit, but sloth? It's actually pretty easy when your hero can charge into battle from the comfort of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-trailer-features-angry-armchair-gun-that-fires-a-plague-of-locusts/">Armchair-A-Geddon</a>. Lust is a little less murderous, perhaps, but also a whole lot creepier, so I'd say the scales remain balanced.</p> Planet Centauri is a 2D sandbox RPG, seeks funding on IndieGoGohttp://www.pcgamer.com/planet-centauri-is-a-2d-sandbox-rpg-seeks-funding-on-indiegogo/Promises custom armour, weapon and magic creation, as well as monster taming.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:47:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/planet-centauri-is-a-2d-sandbox-rpg-seeks-funding-on-indiegogo/indiegogoNews <a href="/planet-centauri-is-a-2d-sandbox-rpg-seeks-funding-on-indiegogo/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2YyG8TG4Tr_J.780x349.cRxfD_zU.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w9e_Bf3pZXw?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Between Terraria and Starbound, we're not exactly short of 2D creative RPGs. Nevertheless, take a look at this trailer for Planet Centauri. Beyond the initial reaction&mdash;"oh hey, it's like Terraria and Starbound"&mdash;it's got a few twists that could make it an interesting departure.</p><p>In addition to the regular fight, loot and upgrade loop, players will be able to craft their own spells, and tame the world's monsters.</p><p>"Discover the secrets that lurk through more than twenty biomes,"&nbsp;<a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/planet-centauri-2d-procedural-sandbox-game--2" target="_blank">explains the IndieGoGo campaign page</a>.&nbsp;"tame monsters and make them your allies, save the Chloriniens from the Night Walkers, create a community and protect it, create your own weapons, your own armor, your own magic and make the planet Centauri the cradle of a new civilization or your tomb!"</p><p>The campaign is hoping to raise&nbsp;€8,000 over the next 60 days, and is already well on the way. Head over to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/planet-centauri-2d-procedural-sandbox-game--2" target="_blank">campaign page</a> for more information.</p> Why I love: counter-attacking in Batman: Arkham Asylumhttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-counterattacking-in-batman-arkham-asylum/It's good to be bats.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:35:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-counterattacking-in-batman-arkham-asylum/ActionBatman: Arkham AsylumBatman: Arkham CityWhy I Love <a href="/why-i-love-counterattacking-in-batman-arkham-asylum/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k5QLP78l7S0W.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wce14yxzR_2D.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O_PaqzVZ5bUu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman 2"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">WHY I LOVE</h5> <p> In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Sam celebrates the crunchy counterattacking of the Batman Arkham games. </p> </div><p> Arkham Asylum was, miraculously, the second game that Rocksteady had ever created. It was the first game in over ten years that let you be Batman without the drawback of being otherwise quite shit. Yet it was developed with the confidence of a much larger and much more experienced team, a complete package of stealth, exploration and melee combat that borrowed from a number of sources but had an original angle in the way each was presented. Better still, the logic of each dovetailed perfectly with Batman’s fictional crimefighting methods: sneaking about, cool gadgets, gliding and beating on criminals to the extent that they’ll definitely never be able to walk again.</p><p> And yet at the time, I remember playing Asylum and wondering why there was just one button to attack&mdash;why wasn’t there a kick command, or something? One button combat seemed like it would get kind of old, and I feared it having the original Assassin’s Creed’s utter dearth of long-term fighting progression. But then Arkham wasn’t trying to be Devil May Cry&mdash;this fighting system was almost entirely original, based more on counterattacking, timing and strategic crowd control rather than thumb-blistering button combos.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x-2lrsDRTYGp.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k5QLP78l7S0W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman Arkham Asylum"></p><p> A flash appears above a goon’s head when he’s about to hit Batman in any mano-a-mano encounter. Hitting the counter button in time will have the Dark Knight stop the guy in his tracks, give him a Bat-slap then push him back as the fight continues. I think it’s the centrepiece of the Arkham combat system, making defence part of the player’s arsenal and changing the pace of melee encounters so it’s more engaging than button mashing.</p><blockquote> A flash appears above a goon’s head when he’s about to hit Batman in any mano-a-mano encounter. </blockquote><p> It’s no surprise a load of third-person action adventure games from Sleeping Dogs to the recent Shadow of Mordor blatantly copied it&mdash;you might as well take from the best. In each case, they replicate the counterattacking from Arkham with a varying degree of success, and I think it’s fair to say Mordor has got it better than anyone (maybe sharing a publisher in Warner helped there). But Rocksteady’s still the best at melee combat by far for my tastes. That’s because it was tailor made to capture the Caped Crusader's methods. They crafted a system that was designed specifically for that character, one that’s worthy of Batman as an enduring pop culture icon as well as providing an essential sense of empowerment for the player.</p><p> Counterattacking is the best part of that, for me, because it magnifies a few of the different ways that Rocksteady understands what’s cool about being Batman. Batman can confidently stride into a room, be ambushed by a team of goons and immediately fly across the room, with a swoosh of the cape animation, to elbow a guy in the face while disarming him. It’s uncannily close to the Dark Knight’s modus operandi,&nbsp;and this form of countering just happens to be a brilliant idea in game design terms, too. What a double win to pull off in your second ever game as a studio.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6UNR_Zz_Soqa.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/d5TVAM107lxD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman 3"></p><p> And of course, Arkham City built upon that, allowing for triple counters with each successive button press that result in absurdly satisfying animations where Bats will kick two dudes in the face while punching another at the same time. Rocksteady’s animators were crucial in bringing that system to life, in the variety and quantity of contextual moves that keep that combo meter flowing.</p><p> I have a theory that the basis of Arkham’s combat and stealth systems stems entirely from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmdWPv5R_J8">this one scene</a> in Batman Begins&mdash;the first where the character appears in-costume. Within that, you can see Batman stalking the higher levels of some shipping containers, very much like the predator sections from the games, then dropping down into a crowd of goons where he’s fighting in the open. In those moments, you can see where Arkham’s combat system might’ve come from&mdash;Batman is within a circle of enemies, beating the shit out of them in a 360 degree radius. That’s what Rocksteady recreated in Arkham Asylum. Just as the filmmakers behind Batman Begins successfully captured the essence of the Dark Knight on-screen on their own terms, so too did this London-based team in a videogame.</p> Anita Sarkeesian cancels talk after school shooting threathttp://www.pcgamer.com/anita-sarkeesian-cancels-university-talk-after-school-shooting-threat/Anonymous email threatens the "the deadliest school shooting in American history".Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/anita-sarkeesian-cancels-university-talk-after-school-shooting-threat/Anita SarkeesianNews <a href="/anita-sarkeesian-cancels-university-talk-after-school-shooting-threat/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hwN1lq-VegCu.780x349.8rbVx_q3.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> Pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has cancelled a planned presentation at the Utah State University after an anonymous email, sent to university staff, threatened "the deadliest school shooting in University history".</p><p> Sarkeesian, the creator of Feminist Frequency's&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn4ob_5_ttEaA_vc8F3fjzE62esf9yP61" target="_blank">Tropes vs Women in Video Games</a> video series,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/522204937178976257" target="_blank">tweeted to say</a> she had cancelled the talk because&mdash;in accordance with Utah's open carry law&mdash;police "wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event".</p><p> The University's news page confirmed the threat, saying, "a number of personnel at Utah State University received an email regarding the scheduled presentation by Anita Sarkeesian tomorrow, October 15, 2014, at USU's Taggart Student Center. The email contained threats to Sarkeesian and those who attend her presentation."</p><p> Specifically, the email claimed that, if the event wasn't cancelled, there would be a " <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_massacre" target="_blank">Montreal Massacre</a> style attack" made against the university. "I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the email said. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and&nbsp;I'm&nbsp;giving you a chance to stop it.&nbsp;You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk."</p><p> Sarkeesian later tweeted about "multiple specific threats" made&nbsp;towards her and feminists at the university,&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/522218152071925760" target="_blank">and wrote that</a> one claimed affiliation with GamerGate. For those unaware, GamerGate is ostensibly a hashtag protesting unethical practices in games journalism. In reality, it is a noxious and confused movement that has been directly responsible for the&nbsp;harassment&nbsp;of multiple industry and media&nbsp;figures, the majority of which have been women.</p><p> Two months ago, Sarkeesian was&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games-creator-driven-from-her-home-by-online-threats-and-abuse/" target="_blank">driven from her home</a> after sexually violent&nbsp;death&nbsp;threats followed the release of&nbsp;her most recent video. Sarkeesian has said that, despite this latest incident, she will continue her work.</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> I’m safe. I will continue my work. I will continue speaking out. The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women. &mdash; Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) <a href="https://twitter.com/femfreq/status/522218963778809856">October 15, 2014</a> </blockquote> Reinstall: Hellgate Londonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall-hellgate-london/Jon Morcom takes revenge on the swarming demons of Hellgate: London.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall-hellgate-london/Hellgate: LondonHorrorMMOReinstall <a href="/reinstall-hellgate-london/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YgcQRoR4mmCs.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BbcLl7z0Rs2i.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v6Z88yl48WD0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hellgate 1"> </p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">REINSTALL</h5> <p> Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. Today, Jon Morcom revisits the gritty demon-ridden streets of Hellgate: London. </p> </div> <p> The seemingly rushed release of Hellgate: London, to coincide with Halloween 2007, was arguably a Pyrrhic victory for opportunistic marketing over what with hindsight might have been a more measured launch strategy. The mixed reviews the game received at the time suggested that Namco Bandai/EA’s hopes for a spooky season cashin had come at the expense of fully developed ideas and a varied experience. The procedurallygenerated levels were too samey, they said, the quests were repetitive errandboy stuff, and the combat lacked excitement. Living in the English capital as I do, I was curious and kind of determined to like Hellgate: London, but the general consensus was that it was more trick than treat.&nbsp; </p> <p> Now defunct, Flagship Studios’ only full release purported to be an actionRPG imbued with a more pronounced FPS feel. Alas, the shooting wasn’t that great and the roleplaying elements were limited. However, with a number of Diablo old hands driving things,&nbsp;it was no surprise that amassing loot and agonising over skill and item stats would feature prominently. That might not sound enticing to hardcore shootists, but it was invitation enough for an inveterate tweaker like me. </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/h-TJh9_0S8eN.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TKJBvhN1zNrh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hellgate 2"> </p> <p> It’s 2038 and demons intent on obliterating mankind are pouring in through Hellrifts spread throughout the capital. Enlisted to assist gaming’s perennial ‘goto’ faction, the Templars, in their crusade to eradicate the threat, you’re headed for the Hellgate inside St Paul’s Cathedral, through which you must pass to confront the final boss Sydonai. </p> <p> Starting at Russell Square, your journey takes you across the London Underground, using a number of key stations as havens where the quests are dispensed by a cast of foppish dandies, intense bearded types and cheeky Cockneys. These hubs are beautifully&nbsp;detailed with their futuristic forges, handy gear lockers and bountiful shops run by a succession of wisecracking merchants; each contains a number of portals through which you must pass into tube tunnels or the streets above to tackle a huge variety of beasts and ghouls, most of whom upon expiry surrender some lovely Palladium, valuable hardware or a satisfying combination of both. </p> <blockquote> It’s 2038 and demons intent on obliterating mankind are pouring in through Hellrifts spread throughout the capital. </blockquote> <p> Unfortunately, most of the weapons in Hellgate have the ballistic impact of a squirt of deodorant, but with less lethal results. But this is where the game can get its claws into you. Keeping your character competitive with the demons you’re fighting as you level up means acquiring a severe gear habit and getting to grips with the excellent crafting system. It’s all about collecting guns and swords, breaking these and other high-yield items down for their scrap metal,&nbsp;tech and rare shards, all of which can be used at nanoforges to upgrade your weapons and armour. Additionally, you can buff an item with coins at any Augmentrex 3000 machine. </p> <p> There’s infinite joy to be had in sifting through loot drops and strangely ubiquitous crates for killer mods that will complement and amplify the kind of damage your weapons are dealing. Inventory management becomes crucial with so much... stuff to gather up, sell or cannibalise; nudging those weapon and armour stats higher becomes an obsession, if not an outright necessity. Hellgate’s underlying precept is ‘always be modifying’. </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XhLJxJqrSSKm.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IespAz2bx0sm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hellgate 4"> </p> <p> London Underground aficionados will know that from the game’s starting station, Holborn, it’s only two stops on the Central Line to St Paul’s, where the final battle takes place. However, you’ll be taking the scenic route through 200 story and sidequests that play out in around 115 locations. Given the numbers involved, I can forgive Flagship for repeating a few of the dozen or so generic environments. Wide, abandoned streets, pokey alleys, dank train tunnels, cloistered courtyards and subterranean necropolises provide a somewhat impressionistic (if sometimes accurate) interpretation of London, although Flagship had a decent stab at recreating reallife locations like St Paul’s and Covent Garden Market. </p> <p> A notable exception to the many fetch quests is a mission that places you inside&nbsp;the head of Techsmith 314, exploring the winding synapses of his mind, looking for the Limit of Imagination. Another dispatches you to the Tower of London to kill the massive Beast of Abbadon. A boss with piledriver hands and a fiery breath attack, the Beast has been interrupting Templar communications. This fight requires you to first catch him in the crossed beams of two light cannons, shrinking him temporarily, at which point he spawns a dozen electricallycharged Fellbore minions. This leaves the Beast’s hitbox – about the size and location of a posing pouch – briefly vulnerable so you can pepper it with ‘nut shots’; it’s about the toughest fight in the game. </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H7xwnBsERWyo.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/akzq_Kw9oIGH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hellgate 5"> </p> <p> Flagship’s vision of a London that has been destroyed by The Burn and overrun by demons is a fair attempt at creating the chaos such circumstances might bring, and anyone who has spent the Saturday before Christmas shopping on Oxford Street will recognise it immediately. I love that the art style is so crisp, with a colour palette that’s not quite as drab as you might expect. The street levels are littered with abandoned police cars, burntout black cabs and upended phoneboxes. Lava erupts through the walls and the pavements are not populated with NPCs taking flight but, more entertainingly, with another gaming staple – combustible barrels. This knowing, gratuitous placement of things that go ‘boom’ and the comical way in which the cast of British eccentrics deliver&nbsp;the few lines they have is admirable; Hellgate never takes itself too seriously. </p> <p> I think it was the 18th century writer Dr Johnson who once said that when a man is tired of Hellgate: London, he is tired of life. Alright, I admit that’s overstating things a bit&mdash;maybe the game missed some opportunities, but whether you go through it as a guntoting Marksman or a fairydust flinging Evoker, it’s an engaging experience and a bold attempt to bridge the gulf between genres. Mind the gap. </p> Here's our pick of the Golden Joystick Awards 2014http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-our-pick-of-the-golden-joystick-awards-2014/Help make this the best year for PC at the Golden Joystick Awards 2014.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-our-pick-of-the-golden-joystick-awards-2014/Golden Joysticks <a href="/heres-our-pick-of-the-golden-joystick-awards-2014/"> <img width="590" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LlzOJHY17Bfq.780x349.W_9tEmQe.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FPmITGFPTouJ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LlzOJHY17Bfq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Golden Joystick Collage"> </p> <p> The Golden Joystick Awards are almost upon us. The awards themselves will be given out next week, 24 October, and you've got until 20 October to vote for the winners. </p> <p> So let's engage in some cheeky&nbsp;platform advocacy. Here are our picks for the best (and most PC) games in each relevant&nbsp;category. Time to show the console gamers what they're missing. </p> <p> Remember, if you vote in the Golden Joysticks, you'll be able to nab yourself a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/free-xcom-games-now-being-dispatched/" target="_blank">free copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown</a>&mdash;while stocks last. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=original" target="_blank">Best Original Game</a></h3> </p> <p> The PC is <em>the </em>breeding ground for new ideas, and that's reflected in the Best Original Game nominations.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/broken-age-act-1-review/" target="_blank">Broken Age</a> not only features a clever protagonist-switching story, but sparked a Kickstarter revolution&mdash;making the crowdfunding site the de facto home of struggling and long-missed genre titles. </p> <p> Then there's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/day-z/" target="_blank">DayZ</a>, Bohemia's unique, player-driven take on zombie survival. Or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nidhogg-review/" target="_blank">Nidhogg</a>, the lo-fi local multiplayer game that perfects its simple, competitive combat. Finally, what about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stanley-parable-review/" target="_blank">The Stanley Parable</a>. It's meta-narrative of stories within a story promises plenty of secrets and surprises&mdash;all while being unbelievably funny. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=wanted" target="_blank">Most Wanted</a></h3> </p> <p> Look deep into you heart. What do you desire the most? Is it The Witcher 3? It is according to 2013's Most Wanted award. It's back again this year, thanks to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delayed-now-due-february-2015/" target="_blank">that delay</a>, but has some stiff competition.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-hands-on-fine-fantasy/" target="_blank">Dragon Age: Inquisition</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4-hands-on-roaming-free-in-kyrat/" target="_blank">Far Cry 4</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/evolve-demo-interview/" target="_blank">Evolve</a> are all ones to watch, but, if you want a truly PC-focused experience,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/" target="_blank">Elite: Dangerous</a> is one of the most exciting games around. We've already had&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-pleasure-of-space-trucking-in-elite-dangerous/" target="_blank">plenty of adventures</a> with the beta, but the full release promises a whole galaxy&nbsp;full of possibilities. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=indie" target="_blank">Best Indie Game</a></h3> </p> <p> There are so many great PC games here that it's hard to know where to begin. Broken Age? DayZ? Don't Starve? Nidhogg? Shovel Knight? The Stanley Parable? Towerfall Ascension? All are great choices. </p> <p> Then there's Jazzpunk, which is currently holds the second highest score we've awarded this year. In Phil's 92%&nbsp;review, he called it a "remarkable, unique and lasting" comedy. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=visual" target="_blank">Best Visual Design</a></h3> </p> <p> A strong category here, with plenty of fantastic and memorable aesthetics on show.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/south-park-pc-review/" target="_blank">South Park: The Stick of Truth</a> managed to precisely capture the look of the show. In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/transistor-review/" target="_blank">Transistor</a>, Supergiant Games created a striking world, filled with beautiful detail. And then there's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-review/" target="_blank">Hearthstone</a>. Blizzard's card game oozes charm&mdash;with a board that longs to be touched and played with. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=multiplayer" target="_blank">Best Multiplayer</a></h3> </p> <p> The consoles have a lot of presence here, but there are still plenty of PC options. If you're playing locally, there's little that can beat Nidhogg or Towefall: Ascension. If not, Watch Dogs multiplayer managed to provide some clever Dark Souls-like invasion panic to elevate an otherwise average game. Titanfall, meanwhile, was a quality modern shooter with both excellent parkour action&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/now-playing-titanfall/" target="_blank">and giant robots</a>. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=audio" target="_blank">Best Audio</a></h3> </p> <p> If it's soundtracks you love, the Banner Saga and Transistor are strong choices. Austin Wintory and Darren Korb have both&nbsp;made scores that add immense texture to their respective worlds. As for sound design, for all of Battlefield 4's problems, DICE's audio skills are unmatched in the FPS space. And, of course, we'd be remiss in not sending some praise to Assassin's Creed: Black Flag's enjoyable sea shanties. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=moment" target="_blank">Best Gaming Moment</a></h3> </p> <p> Another chance to praise Assassin's Creed 4's sea shanties. Seriously, that game&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9KsYy0WgbM" target="_blank">gave great shanty</a>. What else? Wolfenstein's "timeline choice" added an extra layer to an amazing story-based&nbsp;shooter. Or there was the pure adrenaline thrill of calling in a Titan to instantly&nbsp;turn the tables of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-review/" target="_blank">Titanfall</a> match. And, of course, Watch Dogs invasions&mdash;arguably the best and most interestingly systemic part of that game. </p> <p> For something less conflict-centred, there's always the pure, child-like joy of Rayman Legends'&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5QoFmYaQaQ" target="_blank">excellent music levels</a>. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=story" target="_blank">Best Storytelling</a></h3> </p> <p> As previously pointed out, The Stanley Parable did something genuinely unique&mdash;making a story about a storyteller, and giving you the opportunity to rebel against his tale. In response, the story warped and shifted, and at times became thoroughly dark and unnerving. </p> <p> For something more traditional, Broken Age managed to take two seemingly disparate stories, and connect them via distinct themes of childhood, duty and otherness. Or there's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-wolf-among-us-season-one-review/" target="_blank">The Wolf Among Us</a>; the continuation of Telltale's reinvention, and an excellent take on the Fables comic. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=online" target="_blank">Best Online Game</a></h3> </p> <p> The PC's traditional area of dominance again comes through with a strong showing. This last year has given us plenty of great games in the online space, from the player-driven tension of DayZ, to the more defined polish of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wildstar-review/" target="_blank">WildStar</a>. Blizzard offered an extremely satisfying take on the CCG in Hearthstone, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/war-thunder-review/" target="_blank">War Thunder</a> showed that free-to-play mechanics can happily support a dedicated community of online pilots. Even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-14-a-realm-reborn-review/" target="_blank">Final Fantasy XIV</a> was reborn&mdash;shedding off its many problems to become an MMO with something to offer. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=studio" target="_blank">Studio of the Year</a></h3> </p> <p> A tricky one. Blizzard gave us Hearthstone, laid the foundation for Heroes of the Storm, prepared for the launch of Warlords of Draenor and even pulled out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/april-fools-round-up/" target="_blank">some great April Fools</a>. Bohemia continued their work on DayZ, and further supported Arma 3 with the brilliant (and free) Zeus DLC. Frontier? They continued to make one of the most exciting looking space sims of recent years&mdash;relaunching the classic Elite as a modern game more than capable of capturing widespread interest. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=innovation" target="_blank">Innovation of the Year</a></h3> </p> <p> Look, all we're going to say is that the Oculus Rift DK2 is laying the foundation for one of the most exciting revolutions in gaming. And that Twitch has completely changed the way games are viewed as both a hobby and as a sport. And that maybe both of these things are therefore more innovative than the Playstation 4's control pad, which is, when all is said and done, just a control pad. </p> <p> <h3><a href="http://www.computerandvideogames.com/joystick/category.php?id=goty" target="_blank">Game of the Year</a></h3> </p> <p> It's the big one, and so we're going to recommend... nothing. You're more than capable of deciding the best of the year&mdash;and should that game be a PC game, then that's all the better.&nbsp; </p> <p> If you do need some help, keep an eye out next week for a series of streams for each of the Game of the Year contenders. </p> F1 2014 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2014-review/Codies' latest F1 game, served lukewarm without the trimmings.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2014-review/CodemastersRacingReviewssim <a href="/f1-2014-review/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5L8mSEqI6oex.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong><br> Another yearly update to Codemaster’s officially licensed F1 series. <br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> i7 2.67 GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, GeForce GT 640<br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong> i7 2600K CPU 5.00 GHZ, 4GB GeForce GTX 680 GPU, 8GB RAM<br> <strong>Alternatively:</strong> F1 2013<br> <strong>DRM:</strong> Steam<br> <strong>Price:</strong> £30/$50&nbsp;<br> <strong>Release:</strong>&nbsp;Oct 17 2014<br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Codemasters<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> In-house<br> <strong>Link:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.formula1-game.com/us/home">Official site</a><br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> Local or online<br> </p> </div><p> <em>By&nbsp;Phil Iwaniuk.</em></p><p> Autumn of 2008: Ferrari and McLaren are locked in a championship battle that will go right down to the wire. While other teams cease development of their current car and instead look ahead to next season and its significant rule changes, these two teams are forced to bring package updates to every remaining race of this season in a bid to secure the driver’s championship for Massa or Hamilton. 2009 rolls in, and both teams are floundering while the likes of Brawn GP and its blown rear diffuser blitz past.</p><p> F1 2014 is very much the floundering old guard in what I’m only now revealing as an indulgent opening analogy. Earlier in the year its developer Codemasters announced it was working on two F1 titles&mdash;one for old-gen consoles and PC, and a later revamped game for newer hardware. The obvious conclusion to jump to is that F1 2014’s limited by its concessions to dusty old consoles, and that like the leaden Ferrari and McLaren of ’09 it hasn’t been given the time or resources to make meaningful changes. This game’s very first job, then, is to allay your concerns that it’s little more than a dancing monkey to hold your attention until the <em>proper</em> game is ready.</p><p>On the back of F1 2014’s box under ‘new features,’ there may as well be a picture of a man shrugging apologetically. Classic cars and tracks, which debuted last year, have disappeared into the ether. In place of the young driver test, which previously began your journey into career mode via a few quick tutorials and challenges, there’s now a single lap of Monza and some brusque congratulations for completing it before you’re chucked into a strikingly familiar main menu.</p><p>There is one genuinely new feature, actually: you can now start a career driving for any team, rather than having to work your way up through the slower teams as in previous editions. Like the bafflingly offhand Monza intro, it’s designed with accessibility in mind. Those without the time or inclination to spend two seasons sucking exhausts in a Sauber can now hop right in a Mercedes and win everything right away. But where does that leave those of us who <em>do</em> have the inclination to ascend the ranks? Those of us who made sure we got all the gold medals in F1 2013’s young driver test to better our chances of a Ferrari seat in years to come?</p><p>Well, we could just select a minnow team ourselves of course, but it’d feel a bit hollow knowing Toto Wolff and Christian Horner were just as happy for you to sign on the dotted line for them. Think back to F1 2010, with its interactive press conferences and emphasis on ‘being the driver.’ Codemasters has made an about-turn on that creative direction and that&nbsp;leaves F1 2014 without a sense of career progression. There’s little incentive to play the game for over an hour, because everything’s handed to you on a plate.</p><p>As if it even needs mentioning, all the cars and tracks from the current season are present and correct (albeit with a modified version of the hooch-promoting Williams livery). So in the name of authenticity, cars do sound like 200mph vacuum cleaners now and a Mercedes one-two is as assured as day turning to night. They also feel underpowered, which is of course accurate if underwhelming to actually play. Tires are more robust, as in the real sport. Austria and Russia are present and correct on the calendar. Essentially the things you do&mdash;and should&mdash;take for granted in any annualised sports franchise are here, smiling politely.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t5TkypKFR_yN.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PXTpH5hPFiwI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F1 10"></p><p>The underlying machinery of the game too is working well, as it has been for four years now. AI drivers are just fighty enough to present challenge but not injustice or frustration, adopting defensive lines when appropriate and occasionally making ‘human’ errors. The handling, although ostensibly tweaked for easier pad control, feels very much as it has for a couple of years. Still a bit too forgiving for the hardcore to get on with, still lacking the detailed force feedback of serious racing sims for wheel users, still lively enough for everyone else. Scenario and Season Challenge modes work exactly as they have previously, offering a quick fix of racing and condensed career mode respectively.</p><p>These were among the lynchpins that made last year’s F1 outing a real pleasure. So if they were good before, and they’re unchanged now, why is F1 2014 such a disappointing game? It’s the fact that these lynchpins represent the game’s entirety now, not the underlying parts of a complete package. Never before has Codemasters delivered something so closely resembling a free download from a community modding site.</p><p>One question remains; one ray of hope. If F1 2014 is the lacklustre McLaren MP4-24 from 2009, hamstrung by a need to focus on yesterday’s hardware, will the next Codemasters F1 game be akin to the Brawn BGP-001, light years ahead of its competition? We can but hope.</p> Civilization: Beyond Earth trailer shows opening cinematichttp://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-trailer-shows-opening-cinematic/Here's what you'll see whenyou load into the sci-fi Civ.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-trailer-shows-opening-cinematic/2K4XCivilization: Beyond EarthFiraxisNews <a href="/civilization-beyond-earth-trailer-shows-opening-cinematic/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EqSlOLtSHmwo.780x349.lLU2Cj0y.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hbTfLeBsu8Q?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Here's the opening cinematic to the future-set&nbsp;4X strategy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth/" target="_blank">Civilization: Beyond Earth</a>. You may as well watch it now, because, in game, you'll only see it for the few seconds it takes to hit Escape and get to the menu. While Civ's&nbsp;historical intros were geared towards&nbsp;the grandiose&mdash;of the permanence of legacy and the weight of rule&mdash;this sci-fi cinematic is more about the hope of a better tomorrow.</p><p>Of course, that tomorrow&nbsp;could <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-trailer-runs-through-all-you-need-to-know/" target="_blank">potentially</a> be about an&nbsp;augmented machine-man race that goes back to invade Earth. But don't let that detract from the&nbsp;poignancy&nbsp;of the&nbsp;video.</p><p>Civilization: Beyond Earth is out next week, on 24 October. For more, check out our hands-on impressions, either in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-gameplay-video-and-hands-on-impressions/" target="_blank">video</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-hands-on-aliens-ate-my-colony/" target="_blank">written word</a> format.</p> Blade Symphony update to add control point capture modehttp://www.pcgamer.com/blade-symphony-update-to-add-control-point-capture-mode/An entirely new mode is imminent, bringing new and faster fighting.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:40:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blade-symphony-update-to-add-control-point-capture-mode/ActionBlade SymphonyNews <a href="/blade-symphony-update-to-add-control-point-capture-mode/"> <img width="590" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U2RvHCLCjN6H.780x349.1z9FGTi2.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FCY4PjCURnSP.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U2RvHCLCjN6H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Blade Symphony"></p><p> Blade Symphony developer Puny Human plan to&nbsp;slice up their game, only to&nbsp;stitch it back together with a new mode attached. The "Control Point Update" is due out later this week, and will add a team-based capture mode to the duelling sword-'em-up. The update is detailed in a new video.</p><iframe width="600" height="340" src="http://www.moddb.com/media/iframe/1186434" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>The new mode works much like Battlefield's&nbsp;ticket system. You'll lose tickets if the opposing team holds more points, or if someone on your team is&nbsp;killed. The first team to shed all their tickets will lose the match.</p><p> Three control point maps will be released, with one, Sequence, requiring points be captured sequentially. Players will also be able to create their own maps.</p><p> Puny Human says the mode is being treated like a&nbsp;new game unto itself, with different fighting balance than that found&nbsp;in the standard&nbsp;duel mode. Fights are designed to be faster, and all attacks will&nbsp;do 50% more damage.</p><p> It sounds like a fun aside to the main meat of duelling. I doubt control point&nbsp;will&nbsp;become the community's main mode, but as a free addition, it should nicely bolster the options of&nbsp;an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blade-symphony-review/" target="_blank">already great game</a>.</p> Alien versus Predator Classic is free on GOG this weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/alien-versus-predator-classic-is-free-on-gog-this-week/Free for 48 hours to help test the new Galaxy online services.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-versus-predator-classic-is-free-on-gog-this-week/Aliens vs PredatorFPSGOG.comNews <a href="/alien-versus-predator-classic-is-free-on-gog-this-week/"> <img width="590" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2CG93i-duIGv.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W-eYbRywS8ap.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2CG93i-duIGv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alienvpredator"></p><p> If the tension of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation/">Alien: Isolation</a> is too much for you, and you'd prefer to shoot at aliens rather than hide from them, then this is timely news:&nbsp;Alien Versus Predator Classic 2000 is now free on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/" target="_blank">GOG.com</a>. You've got 48 hours to download the game&mdash;that's until 10am GMT on the 17th October.</p><p> Why is GOG.com giving away games willy nilly? There's a reason. The retailer wants to test the infrastructure that will backbone its forthcoming multiplayer client <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-com-announces-galaxy-drm-free-online-gaming-platform/">GOG Galaxy</a>, and to do so it needs you to play multiplayer. To get the game, you need to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/galaxy" target="_blank">sign up to the next Galaxy beta</a>. You'll be emailed a AVP code within the next few days.</p><p> GOG also announced yesterday&nbsp;that its Linux library has now passed the 100 titles mark, with new games including Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape: Torment added to the service for Linux.</p> Older World of Warcraft expansion content now free with Iron Tide updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/older-world-of-warcraft-expansion-content-now-free-with-iron-tide-update/Everything up to and including Mists of Pandaria now free for all.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 02:55:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/older-world-of-warcraft-expansion-content-now-free-with-iron-tide-update/MMONewsRPGWorld of Warcraft <a href="/older-world-of-warcraft-expansion-content-now-free-with-iron-tide-update/"> <img width="590" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AU2cpaaB1Z8C.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L02k2_TiQMCz.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AU2cpaaB1Z8C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria"></p><p>Here's a sweet bonus we almost missed among all the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-the-iron-tide-patch-lands-this-week/">Iron Tide update</a> notes: all World of Warcraft expansion packs up to and including Mists of Pandaria are now free. That means that all expansion content, with the exception of the forthcoming Warlords of Draenor pack, is available at no extra cost to subscribers. This includes access to Azeroth, Outland, Northend, The Elemental Planes and Pandaria. </p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-the-iron-tide-patch-lands-this-week/">Iron Tide update</a> is rolling out this week, ushering the new character model updates, as well as a wealth of new content, tweaks and fixes. It's release comes in preparation for the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor/">Warlords of Draenor</a> expansion, which hits November 13. Blizzard must be happy: subscribers have <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-subs-on-the-rise-ahead-of-warlords-of-draenor-expansion/">risen</a> for the first time since the Mists of Pandaria release back in 2012, and the new expansion isn't even out yet. </p> The Evil Within gameplay video — first impressionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-gameplay-video-first-impressions/Tim and Tom play through the first half hour of The Evil Within in our continued effort to make Tom terrified.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 02:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-gameplay-video-first-impressions/ActionBethesdaHorrorLPCShinji MIkamiTango GameworksThe Evil Within <a href="/the-evil-within-gameplay-video-first-impressions/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CZZox1Wf-Qu6.780x349.EXEEXCKu.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Y9qABf4k6fQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> We'll have our full&nbsp;review of The Evil Within up later this week, but for now&nbsp;we wanted to give you our first impressions of&nbsp;the beginning&nbsp;of the game. Tim and I jumped on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lpc/" target="_blank">the LPC</a>, cranked all the settings to max, and dove head first into the latest horror-filled world from the mind of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/Shinji-Mikami/" target="_blank">Shinji Mikami</a>. As I explained when Tyler and I played through&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-gameplay-video-the-first-hour/" target="_blank">Alien: Isolation</a>, I get a bit nervous when playing horror games, and The Evil Within did not go easy on me.</p> Far Cry 4 hands-on: roaming free in Kyrat http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4-hands-on-roaming-free-in-kyrat/A carefree rampage through Ubisoft's new open world paradise.Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:55:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4-hands-on-roaming-free-in-kyrat/Far Cry 4FPSPreviewsRPGUbisoft <a href="/far-cry-4-hands-on-roaming-free-in-kyrat/"> <img width="590" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4JzyE9Uiv6GL.780x349.cZOq262i.jpg" /> </a> <br/> <br/> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QwHPSa88TRuv.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4JzyE9Uiv6GL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="FC4 Screen GLA87 Explosion Preview"></p><p><em>Following Ben Griffin's </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-with-elephants-in-far-cry-4/">hands-on with Far Cry 4</a><em> focusing on the game's single player and cooperative components, Shaun Prescott takes a look at the open world, and mostly gets killed by wild animals.</em></p><p>Here I am in sunny Kyrat and I’ve been invited to "do whatever I want”. I have a bow and arrow, a handgun, a couple of molotov cocktails and binoculars. I have no desire to play <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4/">Far Cry 4</a>'s story missions, so I mostly avoid them. The plot (seemingly) concerns a regular guy roped in to help some desperate people, even though all he wants to do is throw some ashes at some hills (the Himalayas).</p><p>There’s an outpost metres from where I’ve spawned, so I take my binoculars out and start marking enemies from the safety of a nearby shrub. At first I plan to quietly tease the baddies out of their nooks before driving my knife through their necks. They’ll never know what hit them. But just as these plans are starting to come together my binoculars fall upon a feature I hadn’t noticed before.</p><p>It’s an elephant. Given the option between a) sneaking around sensibly and quietly or b) stomping everyone to death via elephant, it’s difficult to resist the latter. I’d go as far to say that if your immediate instinct isn’t to plow in guns blazing atop an elephant then you’re either a) dead inside or b) an unusually nice person. </p><p>Here’s the thing though: once you’ve had your fun with the elephant you’ll probably not want to ride it again. Or else, you’ll resort to the elephant only in worst case scenarios. The reason for this is because Far Cry was, and still is, an incredible stealth game. It’s not as mechanically deep as <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-human-revolution-review/">Deus Ex: Human Revolution</a> or <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middleearth-shadow-of-mordor-review/">Shadow of Mordor</a>, but plotting out the death of whole factions of baddies from atop a nearby hill is still a barrel of laughs. The elephant may be a novel idea, but in practice it’s kinda awkward. Weaponized elephants are fine, but motorized elephants would be better.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xSrDYEE3SMS-.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SnGY7g6Ke3lC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="FC4 Screen Coop Elephant Outpost Preview"></p><p>I spent the bulk of my time with Far Cry 4 running from tigers, unlocking new parts of the map (achieved here by scaling clock towers rather than radio towers) and, most memorably, flying the Buzzer around. The Buzzer is a primitive one-man helicopter which operates kinda like a motorised air scooter. It’s underpowered and incapable of reaching high altitudes, but it’s a surprisingly useful tactical tool, as enemies remained oblivious to me from certain distances. I spent about half-an-hour flying through Kyrat like this, shooting lazily at passing enemies and taking in the view. I was the laziest renegade / mass murderer there ever has been.</p><p>The landscape on the south-east side of Kyrat isn’t as mountainous as some of the terrain shown in Ubisoft’s promotional material: that will presumably come with further exploration of the map. Off in the distance spiky white mountains promise new regions to come, but the green region I explored was nestled between huge mountains and cliffs, cut through by a network of wide waterbeds and dotted with the usual shacks, caves, shrines and points of interest.&nbsp;</p><p>You won’t get far in this world without finding something to kill, because hostage situations and random enemy encounters seem to occur more frequently than they did in Far Cry 3. It may have just been my experience, but Far Cry 4 feels much less tranquil than its predecessor. There are more humans around waiting to take a chunk out of you.</p><p>The wildlife is more aggressive too. In fact, the wolves in certain areas of the map are relentless, often compromising my silent approach by forcing me to take them out with a machine gun round. I quickly learned that it’s best to suss out an area for wolves (or tigers) before choosing an approach, or better still, to use the wolves to your advantage. In the end though, there’s nothing you can do to quell the beasts and that’s one of the series’ strengths: best laid plans can turn sour fast.</p><p>Counter-intuitively, the most threatening wildlife are the sniffer dogs. New to Far Cry 4, you’ll want to lure these nasties out quick smart as they’ll sniff you out of cover if you get too close. On two occasions I was hidden inside a shack as I watched the glowing silhouettes of my marked foes, only to be suddenly chewed to death by a canine. You can always swipe at them with a knife but by then your stealth plans are ruined.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1wASeLAPQY-f.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9YXtR-TkgTq4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="FC4 Screen C4 Preview"></p><p>Outposts are generally a bit bigger than they were in Far Cry 3 (the better to march weaponized elephants into) but the trick to taking them out is still the same: remove snipers first, switch off the alarm system and then finish off the rest with stealth takedowns or, um, rocket launchers. Securing outposts was one of the most satisfying aspects of Far Cry 3, and like everything else in Far Cry 4 the ways to do so are not dramatically different to its predecessor. </p><p>Far Cry 4 is full of the usual Ubisoft open world cliches but its mix of busywork and unique campaign scenarios is more satisfying than it is in say, Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs. This is because Far Cry’s openworld busywork is a lot more fun. In fact, the two campaign missions I played were a bit of a chore in the way they prescribed certain approaches to play. I was forced to be a rough and ready explosives-wielding monster instead of the silent killer I’d much prefer to be. Far Cry 4, like Far Cry 3 before it, is at its best when it’s a stealth sandbox.</p><p>That balance between cinematic bombast and quiet, emergent gameplay was Far Cry 3’s drawcard. You'll get that again here, but don't be under the impression that Far Cry 4 will reinvent the series again, or even mix things up dramatically. That was Far Cry 3’s task, and on the evidence of my time with its follow-up the studio is sticking with the template for a little while longer, because it works. Except now there's elephants.</p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FqlrgIBswrw?list=UU0KU8F9jJqSLS11LRXvFWmg" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>