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Christine Love, creator of "dark visual novel" Analogue: A Hate Story, has been tweeting and tumbling about "Hate Plus" for months. Slight problem: it was never entirely clear exactly what it was. And while, as a deeply disorganised person, I wholly approve of the haphazard approach to game promotion, it's nice to get official word that Hate Plus will be a full sequel to Analogue, delving further into the history of the spaceship Mugunghwa.
It's a good thing the internet doesn't have a word limit, because Analogue: A Hate Story creator Christine Love has announced My Twin Brother Made Me Crossdress As Him And Now I Have To Deal With A Geeky Stalker And A Domme Beauty Who Want Me In A Bind!! Or, to give it its much-needed abridged title, Ladykiller in a Bind. Described as an "erotic visual novel about social manipulation and girls tying up other girls", the game will explore relationships in a way that highlights the importance of (kinky) sex.
How happy I was to learn that Hate Plus was no mere director's cut edition of visual novel-esque adventure game Analogue: A Hate Story, as its name suggested. Back in April, we confirmed that it's actually a full sequel filled with more hate than ever before, and we now know that it'll be here in exactly two weeks. Now, for the celebratory trailer.
The next issue of PC Gamer US features an exclusive hands-on with Neverwinter, modern successor to BioWare's classic RPG. We visited Cryptic Studios to get direct impressions on the ambitious free-to-play return of one of our favorite PC games. Look inside for a full reveal of the issue, and for a look at the four exclusive, collectible subscriber covers.
Join Tyler, Logan, Evan, and T.J. as they stab silence in the heart with talk of PlanetSide 2, KOTOR II modding heroes, Steam's dominance, Windows 8, and the possibility that Gabe Newell is a time traveler. Plus, T.J. breaks up with WoW, Evan explores the fun mechanics of Counter-Strike, and new voices join in for a special edition of DayZ storytime. PC Gamer US Podcast 323: Newell News
2012 bobs away on the rushing river of history, washing into the past a dozen Dunwall guard bark memes, at least one controversially-terminated space saga and a worryingly-exhilarating excess of animal slaughter. But what’s that on the horizon, surging through the frothy wake of the year just gone? It’s - surprise! - 2013. The next 12 pages detail nearly every reason to be excited about the 365 days to come, and the armada of delights they bring. There are more combat bows than you can shake a punctured elk at, an unholy host of horrors, genre-smashing interstellar epics, multiplayer mega-franchises, petrolhead-pleasers, reinvigorated point-and-clickers, Kickstarter darlings, Greenlight outliers and many, many more. Click on to discover why 2013 may just be the most exciting year for gamers yet.
Welcome to Now Playing, in which we recount our recent adventures in PC gaming. This week, Chris tries to hold together a rag-tag bunch of survivors in Zafehouse Diaries, a post-apocalypse sim communicated through entries in a blood-stained diary. Remember that old logic puzzle about taking a fox, a chicken, and a bag of feed across a river in a boat one at a time? The fox wants to eat the chicken, the chicken wants to eat the feed, and so on. Zafehouse Diaries reminds me of that puzzle, only the boat is broken, the fox is racist against the chicken, the chicken is uncomfortable around men, and there’s a rumor that the bag of feed directed a film popular among wealthy old women. Also, there are zombies. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? Got some food stocked up? A gas generator? Supplies of medicine? A bunch of guns? Most importantly, do you have a degree in psychology, or at least some expertise in leading group therapy sessions and resolving interpersonal conflicts? Because as we know by now, the zombies lurching around outside are bad, but the humans you’re trapped with inside are even worse.
This week's round-up would be awfully empty without the incredible Fuck This Jam, the game jam centred around strawberry, raspberry, and controversially even marmalade, which - oh. *Coughs*. It's about making a game in a genre you hate. Well, after playing some of these offerings, I'm thinking that perhaps The Beatles should reconsider their stance that 'love is all you need' - hate seems to be pretty inspirational too. Hate (or, in some cases, mild dislike or unfamiliarity) has resulted in a game about orc-punching, a real gem of a game, and a game with a very important message to get across. Read on for those things I just said, plus city-building and a larcenous ball of snot.
The interface for a sim that lets you run a country is always going to be daunting, but Democracy 3's fearsome array of orbs made me want to ALT-F4 and hurry to the kettle for a calming cup of something hot. That feeling lasted only minutes. After the briefest investigation, the quality of Democracy's interface becomes clear. It's a fine example of how thoughtful design can present complex data simply and allow complex strategies to be enacted with simple interactions, like the tug of a slider or the tick of a checkbox. It closely resembles Democracy 2's layout. Each blob represents a social issue. Hover your mouse over one and green and red spokes appear indicating all of the issues that positively or negatively affect your chosen subject. It takes two seconds to discover that the racial tension, alcohol and organised crime are fuelling violent crime, and that those are being countered by a combination of CCTV surveillance, a well funded police force, education and strict handgun laws. I can click on any of those contributing factors to access sliders that'll let me adjust taxation and alter the legislative strictness around problematic comsumables like booze. Tackling my nation's drinking habit would turn out to be the start of a long slippery slope.
Ever since I saw an Imp attack a Zombieman in the original Doom, I've been fascinated with NPCs fighting each other in games. (My recent attempt to review a Doom mod, which devolved into hours spent making Half-Life 2 and Doom entities fight each other, is a good example.) The Endless Warfare mod for Fallout: New Vegas allows you to easily spawn as many monsters and NPCs as your computer can handle, and watch them engage in pitched battles with each other in the Mojave Wasteland. If you feel like joining in, you can also spawn dozens of different companions to help you out. War never changes? Clearly you haven't met my army of loyal prostitutes.
Once more, our interns enter the arena to debate to the death on gaming's latest happenings for your entertainment. But first, the thrilling finale to our previous Intern Arena: Lucas stood victorious over Anthony's body. Anthony lay on the ground, a broken man, crimson blood dripping from his freshly-broken jaw. Lucas held his swordpoint to Anthony's throat, ready to deal the finishing slice that the fans were chanting for. But he hesitated, and instead hurled his sword into Josh Augustine’s chest, killing him instantly. "Are you not entertained?!" Lucas screamed, as Dan and Evan continued their work. "Is this not why you are here?!" In the shadows, Anthony fought through the pain and crawled to safety, his shattered arms barely able to pull his lacerated body. With a grimace, he turned back to look at Lucas with a cold, hateful stare. "This...isn't...over," he whispered.
Since the last time we checked in on Project Eternity, the upcoming Kickstarter-funded RPG from Obsidian, quite a bit has been revealed. Having already blown past several stretch goals and with just over a week left in the campaign, we've collected all the crunchy info that there is to collect on the game so far.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, prepare to enter a world of adventure where life is cheap, only cheaters prosper, and a few familiar faces are looking forward to saying hello. When I say that I hate the Myst series, I'm not being entirely fair. Oh, they are dreadful, don't get me wrong - the most fun I ever had with them was imagining that their backstories were a lie, and really the inhabitants of these pretty-but-boring worlds died out because some idiot locked their only toilet with a stupid puzzle that required them to demonstrate knowledge of local celestial movements before they got to take a bowel one. If you put me on a desert island with a computer and the entire series, I would snap one of the discs in half and use it to slice my own wrists open. Probably Riven. Really though, what I hate about them is what they did to adventures - convince people that no, we didn't want characters or plotting (and please, spare me the links to a wiki about the intricate backstory of the Stoneship Age) or puzzles with an actual reason to get in our way. Now, if you could render a vaguely pretty world and put some unmarked levers and dials on it, your job was done. In the entire history of Myst-type games, I can list maybe five I genuinely consider worth having given a chance. So when I now say that Zork: Grand Inquisitor was a wonderful surprise, I really mean it. FREE STUFF ALERT! Our friends at Good Old Games have given us 10 copies of Zork: Grand Inquisitor to give away. Check out the competition details at the end of this post.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. Today, a shooter that wore its heart on its sleeve. Somebody's heart, anyway. And their liver, lungs, and three different flavours of goo. Occasionally, old games resurface for a new era. At the moment, it's Shadow Warrior's turn. The original game is now free on Steam, with a reimagined version coming in a few months time. I've already done it though, so this week I thought we'd take a look at its undead sister game - one that will probably never see a similar treatment no matter how much fans demand it, simply because it's one of those games whose rights issues have firmly turned out to be wrongs. It's an interesting game though; like Shadow Warrior, a shooter that managed to do a lot with very little, without the painful comedy racism.
Is it worth the wait? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. How could any game possibly be worth waiting 14 years for, especially one that only ever aspired to be a low-brow comedy first-person shooter? There’s no reinvention of the genre here, no real attempt at grandeur. More than anything, Duke just wants to party like it’s 1997. Check unrealistic expectations at the door and forget the ancient, hyperbolic promises of self-deluded developers before you even consider buying this suddenly corporeal ghost of PC gaming history. The development-time-to-awesomeness ratio isn’t impressive. If you can do that, Duke Nukem Forever can at least mostly succeed in its aspiration. After all of its tumultuous history, it’s ended up as an entertaining FPS wrapped in juvenile, smut-laced humor. Its gameplay is a hybrid of old-school and new, and it won’t wow players with stunning visuals—its window of opportunity for that passed years ago—but it does put on a good show of alien ass-kicking by working what it’s got.
It’s surprisingly easy to play god in Civilization V. Creating a compelling and carefully balanced scenario can be almost as addictive as playing the game. The good news is, thanks to the slick world editor, making maps in Civilization V is surprisingly easy as well. You don’t need to know how to code, and you won’t need to sacrifice your firstborn to the cyber gods to create your first map. Follow these six easy steps and you could be playing Civilization on a planet of your own creation in no time at all.
The Witcher 2 is a game that shoots for the sun while its rivals are still lining up their sights on the moon. It's an AAA RPG with an indie soul, and a charged, exciting adventure you can really sink your teeth into, admire, and for the most part, love. From the raw technical wizardry of the engine, to tent walls rippling in the breeze and villagers running for cover when it rains, it's a game built with burning, red-raw passion and exactly one goal. To be the best RPG ever, whatever it takes. Ultimately, it falls short of that, but not without giving it a damn good go. Over its 20-30 hours of almost relentlessly superb moments, Witcher 2 raises almost every bar it can get its hands on. It's let down by only two things: an undercooked combat system, and a story resolution that it actually hurts to watch. The rest is simply amazing, from the beautiful writing to the gorgeous visuals, meaningful choices, and a world that feels like a real place that exists beyond the game's limitations.
It’s 1941 and Nazi Germany has just invaded the USSR, its erstwhile ally. SS counterintelligence soon detects a range of radio signals from communist and socialist sympathisers, embedded at all levels of European society. Since the SS call transmitters ‘piano’ and supervisors ‘conductors’, they name this nascent resistance network the Rote Kapelle – the Red Orchestra. Despite early successes, it is soon crushed. Jump forward 60 years. It’s now 2001 and indie development is dying. The big publishers are forcing more independent studios to sell up, small developers struggle to get their games on the shelves, and the new chain games stores are squeezing the PC out. The modding community has reached its high point with Quake and Half-Life, but even this growth is decelerating as indie teams struggle to convert their online popularity into full-time contracts. It’s a bad time for PC gaming all over. It’s in this harsh environment that Red Orchestra is born.
E3 is a reason to get excited every summer. It's not like GDC where we get to hear the insiders story on game development, or the day to day coverage of the industry. E3 is all about seeing. That's why E3 is the event where developers and publishers show off the most spectacular trailers and offer extensive demo footage of the next big titles you're going to be playing. E3 2011 was packed with video footage of some of the most exciting upcoming titles, from those just around the corner like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, to those still a long way off, such as Tomb Raider. Read on to find a round-up of the most impressive videos from this year's event.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, who want some Wang? What? Nobody? Dang. How do you follow a hit game like Duke Nukem 3D? Obviously, you scale everything up. People liked interactivity! More interactivity! Vehicles! Pachinko machines! RC cars! Everyone enjoyed the real world locations? There would be more! Streets! Towns! Restaurants! People made a fuss about the sexism! Hah! This time, we'll try comedy racism instead! What could possibly go wrong? Right?