The International 2014: must-watch games from day two

Chris Thursten at

If you missed yesterday's list, you can find it here.

Almost nothing today went as expected. Well, some things. As far as day two's competitive matches went, however, extraordinary upsets and out-of-left-field performances were the rule. Today saw the fall of former champions and the continued rise of teams that almost everybody had counted out. While the matches I've chosen below reflect the best of the day, this was one of those essential runs that bears watching in full and analysing after the fact.

The International 2014: Techies revealed in All Star match

Chris Thursten at

It might have been rumoured for a while, but it's still unprecedented. Tonight at the International Valve took the lid off Techies, a DotA hero with a cult following due to his continued absence from Dota 2. Like Valve's other great unfinished projects - Ricochet 2, Portal 5 - Techies have become an event so long-awaited that it seemed like it'd never happen at all.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

In an unusual twist, this week's Best Games don't appear to be have been created with a game jam in mind – but that doesn't mean I don't have some hot, sticky, viscous game jam news to relay: Game Jolt now allows users to set up their own game jams using a seemingly easy-to-use set of tools. Before the Jampocalypse begins in earnest, let's stop to appreciate a handful of games operating under their own specific themes, each with something bold and new to impart. Read on for a splash of colour, a sweary Scotsman, a modern-day maze, an interactive short story and touchy-feely bomb-defusal. Enjoy!


Darkwood interactive trailer asks whether you'll fight or flee

Tom Sykes at

Darkwood is a top-down, roguelikey, randomised horror, and one that (based on trailers at least) appears to have an atmosphere you could cut with a rusty machete. We mentioned that it was coming to Steam Early Access back in April, but it turns out that "coming soon" meant "coming in a few months". A new interactive trailer reveals that Darkwood's now pitching camp in the Early Access wilderness on July 24th, a date which couldn't be more next week if it tried.

The Crew closed beta now deploying a little earlier, here's what to expect

Tom Sykes at

The Crew's closed beta will be arriving a little earlier than its original July 23rd deploy date, perhaps due to opportune driving conditions, or clement weather - we just don't know. We do know, however, that the beta will now be waiting outside your house, keys in hand on July 21st, giving you a whole working week of slightly buggy open world driving fun before you have to take it back to the rental place. If you haven't signed up yet, you can still do that here, but be warned: you will need a uPlay account. You'll find details of the closed beta after the break.


Saturday Crapshoot: Corporation

Richard Cobbett at

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, as a few lucky people get a glimpse of the new Doom, a look back to one of the forgotten games that preceded it.

Very few genres start with their most famous game. In the case of shooters, Doom set the template that everyone would first wisely try to build on as far as style, design, deathmatching and feel, but it wasn't even close to being the first FPS. Nor was its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D. Even without looking at other companies, id Software had two before either of them - fantasy-themed Wolf 3D predecessor Catacomb 3D (not the "Catacomb Abyss" series that used the same engine but was made elsewhere, as well as featuring the most eye-gouging wall textures ever inflicted on an unsuspecting world), and the super-miminalistic Hovertank 3D back in 1991, which had simple coloured boxes for levels and turned heads less for its complexity as its speed - something that Wolfenstein 3D would later weaponise.

But before that? Let's check in with Core Design, years before striking gold with Lara Croft...

The International 2014: must-watch games from day one

Chris Thursten at

Day one is over. Even though none of the teams in the upper bracket faced elimination today, success at this stage meant securing vast proportions of the prize pool in advance of the rest of the tournament. For the team that managed to earn their place in the grand final, it meant a guaranteed place in history as contenders for the single biggest reward ever offered in competitive gaming.


Abyss Odyssey review

Emanuel Maiberg at

A skull-faced demon who plays the violin, tree monsters, and a winged lion with a mouthful of eyeballs spout from the nightmares of a warlock sleeping deep beneath the Chilean capital of Santiago. Much like ACE Team’s Zeno Clash and Rock of Ages, Abyss Odyssey takes its imaginative setting and character design to the edge of madness and creates a world that is a pleasure to be weirded out by. But unlike those games, where the presentation was matched with equally creative gameplay, Abyss Odyssey feels like an ill-conceived mishmash of better fighting and platforming games.


Endless Legend review (Early Access)

Wes Fenlon at

Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.

Hexagons have never looked this good. Endless Legend paints a watercolor fantasy across its 4X strategy grid, and the pieces that fill those hexagons—distinct warring factions, indigenous races, fire trees and magical orbs and mysterious ruins—build a rich and deeply complex game world. Complexity is typically expected from 4X strategy games, but playing them before they're complete is not. And Endless Legend is definitely not complete.

Cult of the Wind creator: "It was a surprise when all that hype amounted to nothing"

Tyler Wilde at

Yesterday, I wrote that I'm disappointed by Cult of the Wind—not because it's a bad game, but because I can't play it to find out if it's a good game. It runs fine, but I didn't see anyone in the single official server all day. I was surprised: Cult of the Wind generated a lot of excitement on Steam Greenlight, so where are all the players? In an e-mail correspondence, creator Alex Allen tells me he's also surprised, and expresses concern about the effects of Greenlight and Early Access.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Every Friday we gaze into the PC Gamer palantír and seek out the key moments of the past week, both good and bad. These are those…


EVE: Valkyrie producer explains why VR is good for flight sims but not FPSes

Andy Chalk at

The space combat sim EVE: Valkyrie is a particularly exciting addition to the genre because it's being built from the ground-up to use the Oculus Rift VR headset. Assuming it lives up to the hype, that will make it one of the most uniquely immersive gaming experiences available, as players will have complete freedom of view through their cockpit windows as they yank-and-bank across the galaxy. But despite that great potential, executive producer Owen O'Brien doesn't believe it will herald a new generation of similarly engaging FPSes.


Doom was revealed to counter fears of trouble at id Software, public reveal unlikely this year

Tyler Wilde at

Speaking to PC Gamer about yesterday’s Doom reveal at QuakeCon, Bethesda Softworks VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines explained that the livestream cut out because Doom isn’t ready for a “formal announcement." Only QuakeCon attendees in the room were allowed to see the gameplay demonstration, and unless video of it leaks, we probably won’t see anything else about Doom until next year.


Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers review

Tom Senior at

What have they done? For years the Duels of the Planeswalker series has produced limited but satisfactory versions of the classic card duelling game, Magic: The Gathering. The ballooning success of Hearthstone makes this a great time to introduce new players to the complex, highly competitive king of the genre. Instead we get Magic 2015, a clunky, under-featured sequel compromised by microtransactions.


Crytek's principal graphics engineer departs for id Software

Andy Chalk at

Tiago Sousa, a longtime Crytek employee who served as the R&D Principal Graphics Engineer in the company's Frankfurt studio, has announced that he's left the company to become the Lead Rendering Programmer at Doom developer id Software.


Quake 4 mod False Dawn released just in time for QuakeCon

Andy Chalk at

Released yesterday to commemorate the start of QuakeCon 2014, the Quake 4 mod False Dawn is a non-linear, multiple-goal mission with up-to-date graphics, overhauled health and damage systems and even a story that actually has some meat on the bone.


Rainbow Six Siege gameplay video shows two full multiplayer matches

Evan Lahti at

Rainbow Six Siege looked incredible at E3—good enough to be our favorite game of the show. Awkwardly, though, the footage that Ubisoft had released of the game was pretty choreographed to showcase mechanics and features. That was the case until yesterday, when Ubisoft livestreamed two matches of Rainbow Six Siege—the same demo I played at E3. It was the first live, public demonstration of the multiplayer shooter.

Valve responds to open letter on Steam security concerns, says its system is "robust"

Andy Chalk at

In response to an open letter written by a group of developers and "concerned citizens" criticizing the company for its inconsistent handling of security issues on Steam, Valve has created a new security web page explaining its processes for handling reports but says there are no plans to introduce a "bug bounty program."


Giveaway: Win a SteelSeries Rival Dota 2 Edition Mouse and SteelSeries Siberia V2 Dota 2 Edition Headset

PC Gamer at

This weekend, the world's best Dota 2 teams will gather to compete for the biggest award in e-sports' history. While that life-changing prize is out of reach to all but the most talented of players, we can soften the blow with a chance to win some quality gaming peripherals and exclusive Dota 2 items. We're giving away three sets of SteelSeries goodies, containing the SteelSeries Rival Dota 2 Edition Mouse and Hell's Glare weapon, and the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Dota 2 Edition Headset and Scythe of Vyse weapon.


Areal developers post "early prototype" footage, sceptics still not satisfied

Phil Savage at

Previously on the Areal saga, all this happened. To summarise: Areal turns up on Kickstarter, claiming to be a game "from the developers of the cult hit STALKER". People—including the ex-Stalker devs of Vostock Games—were unhappy that, in their pitch video, West Games used footage taken from Stalker and various off-the-shelf Unity assets, without clearly mentioning that neither are reflective of the product they're creating. The scepticism surrounding Areal hasn't dissipated—culminating most recently with a Reddit AMA in which many users accused West Games of avoiding their questions. Now, still short of their $50,000 goal, the team are instead trying the one thing that might help their PR problem: releasing game footage. It hasn't worked.