The Steam Summer Sale is off to a good start this week. After good deals on The Wolf Among Us, Tomb Raider, and Skyrim over the weekend, a few more of our favorite PC games go on sale today.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
Games for Windows Live has been in a Schrödinger's service-style quandary since last year, when a (quickly deleted) Age of Empires Online support update claimed it would shut down this July 1st. Ever since, it's been suspended in an atmosphere of non-life: functional, yet dead—many of its games fleeing for the safety of a Steamworks alternative.
Lending credence to its demise was Microsoft's complete lack of follow-up statement. Their silence suggested that they'd rather forget about the existence of the client... and of the PC entirely. Now, though, just over a week before its apparent closure, Microsoft have rumbled into life—their new statement revealing a plan of "continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service".
Few people were happy when it was announced that Dark Souls would call Games For Windows Live home. Now that the service is scheduled to discontinue in July it's both a) vindicating and b) stressful, because what happens to Dark Souls now?
Obviously this new Dark Souls 2 trailer isn't an exhaustive round-up of the everything that wants to kill you, because, well, if it was, it would include everything. The sequel to the infamously gruelling third-person action-RPG will, at least, continue the tradition of creating imaginative and spectacularly designed enemies. Hopefully it's that sense of horrible wonder and intrigue that will keep you moving forward as some many-limbed monstrosity pounds you into oblivion.
An update to the Age of Empires Online support page revealed that Games for Windows Live will shut down July 1, 2014, and with it, at least some of AoE Online's features, if not the whole game. The announcement has been removed and replaced with the original text, but here's what it said...
Games for Windows Live users have been experiencing problems connecting to the service's servers, leaving some unable to access their online profiles. It's an unusual situation, because the much-loved GfW Live is normally so reliable, and definitely not something we recently described as "one of the most ill-conceived and poorly executed pieces of software it is possible to install on your PC."
...Is how I might begin this story if we were in a parallel universe. Instead, all I can do is offer a resigned shrug and urge publishers to stop putting the bloody thing in their games.
Graham, Chris and Marsh discuss Kentucky Route Zero, Dark Souls, Deus Ex and more in the latest episode of the PC Gamer UK podcast. Also featuring Increpare's Slave of God, NVidia Project Shield, Piston and your questions from Twitter.
Dark Souls is meant to be brutal and unforgiving, but the game's PC port may have taken that philosophy too far. The framerate cap and dodgy resolution rendering can be fixed with mods, but if you want to play co-op with a friend, things become even more complicated. That's because a combination of summoning rules, awkward P2P connections and counter-intuitive advice can make successful summoning a nightmare. Fortunately, a Steam user has collected together a complete guide to the dos and don'ts of network connection.
You know, you lot are alright. While the mood of the gaming masses is often mischaracterised by those who don’t know better - thanks to our shrillest, least rational voices, delinquent children and disgruntled petitionistas - we actually aren’t short of terrifically generous and talented people, labouring away quietly to make things better for everyone.
Dark Souls 2 was officially announced last night at the Spike Videogame Awards, but our friends over at the Edge magazine hive-mind have already been to see it. Indeed, it's on the cover of their next issue, out on December 20th.
According to the data readouts from the Edge Seeker Drone dispatched to assess progress on the sequel, a good deal of creative control has passed into the hands of new directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, while Hidetaka Miyazaki ascends to a higher plane of management. How this will change the series direction is a big question - already the sequel would have to deal with conflicting pressures: the need to replicate the potency of Dark Souls' challenge and the need to make itself more accessible.
In probably the best gaming prank since Street Fighter's Shen Long, Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki has revealed that the mysterious pendant starting item - that fans have been scratching their heads trying to figure out since the game's release - honestly has no function whatsoever. In an interview with IGN, Miyazaki revealed that "when it comes to the pendant, I actually had a little bit of an intention to play a prank."
Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki has been weighing up the pros and cons of an easy mode for From Software's rock solid RPG, Dark Souls. Dark Souls aficionados love that difficulty, they CRAVE it. Wouldn't an easy mode undermine the sanguine joy of overcoming a seemingly impossible challenge?
“I personally want my games to be described as satisfying rather than difficult," Miyazaki told Metro "As a matter of fact, I am aiming at giving players sense of accomplishment in the use of difficulty. Having said that, however, it is true that Dark Souls is rather difficult and a number of people may hesitate to play.”
The first Dark Souls mod is here! That didn't take long. The lock that holds the PC version to a muddy 1024x720 resolution has been broken with a tiny 80kb file. Eurogamer spotted the fix on NeoGaf where the mod's creator, Durante, has posted an overview of the tweak along with some before and after screenshots showing the improvement it makes. It's available to download on the meta class of nil blog.
Dark Souls will only improve as the community cleans up From Software's messy port. The game underneath the framerate lock and the muddy textures is already great. Find out more in our Dark Souls review.
UPDATE: An updated version has been released which fixes some of the problems people have been having with disappearing text and the like.
First, I’ll give you something Dark Souls never does: a warning. Brought to PC by From Software, this port of the Japanese fight-heavy action-RPG is just that: a port. A straight port.
It plays like someone took an Xbox 360, packaged it up small, and slid it into your PC when you weren’t looking. The HUD is huge, the textures muddy, and such luxuries as control over field of view and vsync are nonexistent.
Ask yourself how you pronounce ‘PC game’. If your emphasis is on the ‘PC’, then run. Run far from Dark Souls and don’t look back. There is nothing for you here.
There are many reasons to run. The twisted, shrouded, uneasy medieval fantasy land of Lordran stretches away like the darkest night. Go the wrong way, probe too deeply into the inky depths, and the things that lurk there will get you.
My best analogy: it reminds me of being six years old and hearing a noise downstairs in a dark house.
Eurogamer have conducted an illuminating interview with Dark Souls producer Daisuke Uchiyama at E3. Sadly, it’s not good news. Dark Souls PC will still suffer from the technical issues that plagued the console versions, including the serious frame rate issues that affected certain sections of the game.
Hugely-loved action RPG Dark Souls is coming to the PC. Woohoo! It might have Games for Windows Live. Boo! It definitely has a little gameplay footage and new screenshots. Woohoo! The gameplay footage and screenshots are also cursed.
The footage is in that traditional shaky-cam-with-silhouettes-moving-in-front-of-the-camera format so beloved of E3. It shows a new monster, a blue liony type thing with multiple accoutrements - wings, horns and a scorpion's tail. It looks like the kind of creature you'd make when you first installed Spore and didn't really understand it. Also, the hero dies. Funny that. See below for new screenshots.
Prepare to Die Edition. That's actually what it's called. Namco Bandai have announced that the PC version of Dark Souls - one of the most acclaimed console games of last year - will be available on August 24.
Aside from standard PC goodness like smooth framerates and extra resolutions, we're getting a PVP mode that'll make it easier to organise one-on-one battles and a new chapter of content. "Artorias of the Abyss" will bring new bosses, including a toothed hand, a disinterested dragon and a lion who's grown wings and horns. Oh, and Games for Windows Live - one of the most deadly fun-killers ever created by man - that'll also feature.