Featured

Counter-Strike: GO launches Cologne 2014 Pick'Em Challenge ahead of ESL One

Phil Savage at

Pro Counter-Strike players are, like their job suggests, really good at Counter-Strike. They are better at Counter-Strike than, say, you (even though I'm sure you are really good). That's why, for the upcoming ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO Championship, Valve have arranged a system in which the pros get to play Counter-Strike, and you get to play with stickers.


Evolve gameplay footage shows the Kraken in action

Shaun Prescott at

If you're lucky enough to have access to the Evolve alpha then this video won't be of much interest, but to everyone else: here's over 20 minutes of raw footage from the forthcoming cooperative shooter. Watch as YouTube user jackfrags plays as a Kraken, trying his darndest to stay alive in the face of a four-strong human onslaught. Watch as he prevails against the odds.


Velvet Sundown review

Christopher Livingston at

I gain the trust of Boyle, the bartender, and lead him outside onto the deck of the yacht so we can speak privately. There, I press my taser into his neck, incapacitating him, then rifle through his pockets. Nothing. Boyle doesn't have the secret data I'm after, and he pops back up, furious at the betrayal and spitting profanity. I proclaim my innocence. "It was an electric eel," I calmly explain. He's not buying it. "It was an electric feel," he pouts.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Call of Duty: Ghosts

Ben Griffin at

Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

With the upcoming, stupidly pretty, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare pouting its lips and batting its eyes on the horizon, I decided to give the last one some love. I've contained my exploits to the first mission, but even that's plenty variety given CoD's penchant for catapulting players between ludicrous scenarios. Here I go from outrunning an orbital strike on San Diego to floating around the very space station responsible for it, all while dodging bullets from jetpacking terrorists.

GTA 4 mod lets you take selfies

Phil Savage at

GTA 4 modders do a good trade in bringing Rockstar's 6-year-old open world epic in line with its soon to be released on PC sequel. That and turning Niko into a horse. Here's another feature that the community have crowbarred back into the older game: selfies.


The Sims 4 gameplay video and hands-on impressions

PC Gamer at

I've been eager to get my hands on the Sims 4 since seeing the trailer revealed at E3 this year. Last week, I got a chance to play for a little more than five hours. I didn't find the new emotion system to be as exciting as Maxis is selling it to be, but there are a number of smaller, meaningful improvements to playability that I was really happy with. Watch the video for my full thoughts on the latest Sims installment.


Wasteland 2 release is "pretty likely" to slip into September

Phil Savage at

Here's a news story you'll be familiar with: an RPG is being delayed. This time, though, it's not a big-budget slip from The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but rather the Kickstarter funded Wasteland 2. The reason is a little different, too. The game is likely to be pushed back a few weeks so that InXile can fulfil the physical side of their long-awaited sequel's release.


Dominions 4 diary part two: war elephants, hurricanes and fallen gods

Tom Senior at

Last week my pretender god Balboa conquered a quarter of the world of Valanis despite spending most of the time asleep. It’s a good time to come out of hibernation: Lanka has two other nations ruled by competing wannabe deities.

Dominions gives you a vague summary of an army before it attacks, so I know about the wolves, harpies and maenads that are about to strike my river fortress at Dragon Pointe. It’s not until I see the replay of my 175-unit army meeting their 250-strong force on the field that I see the truth. Centaurs and satyrs line up alongside horned snakes that tower above the throng. Crocodiles waddle around the feet of ogres, minotaurs and centaur wizards. A couple of dryads hang near the back, casting spells under the protection of a flock of crows.

Saturday Crapshoot: Hell Cab

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, prepare to go on the ride of your life... or rather, death.

There are a few basic rules for safe tourism. If anyone offers you food claiming that it's a 'local delicacy', it's a trap. Don't drink the water; you're on holiday, be more adventurous. If the sign saying "Keep Off The Grass" also includes the words "By Order Of El Presidente" then for god's sake, stay off the grass, and should you find that your taxi cab is literally labelled "Hell Cab"... well, does it really need to be said? Apparently yes, it does. Because, it seems, there's always one idiot not paying attention.

The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Each week PC Gamer’s young knives gather in darknet chatroom to thrash out the key moments of the previous seven days. Then they write them down. In silence. Because videogames.


Pixel Boost: Sid Meier's Pirates!

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.

First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay—Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.

No coding required: How new designers are using GameMaker to create indie smash hits

PC Gamer at

In May 2013, Tom Francis opened preorders for his 2D stealth hacking game Gunpoint. By the time Gunpoint actually went on sale, a week later, Francis had already made enough money to quit his job at PC Gamer and focus on game development full-time. But for many people, the biggest surprise came not from the game's amazing performance three days after release, but rather the way it was made—that it was developed using a tool called GameMaker.

GameMaker: Studio, the latest version of the tool, has been developed by YoYoGames since 2006. Its goal is to break down the game development process into something approachable and easy to learn, shifting the main challenge facing game designers from technical knowledge to creative ability. But in part because of this ease-of-use, GameMaker has carried a stigma that it wasn't capable or worthy of powering high-quality, "professional" games. ("I can't believe you made this in GameMaker!" Francis recalls people saying. "That's so impressive!")


Firefall review in progress, part two: more missions, currency and crafting

Phil Savage at

Firefall, the free-to-play MMO shooter, is now available. As per PC Gamer's reviews policy, MMOs aren't scored until our reviewer has spent time with the public release. This, then, is part two of a review-in-progress, charting Phil's initial impressions with the game. You'll find part one here.

Things get off to an interesting start. I log in and head towards a new area, and the new campaign mission I've unlocked. As I make my way toward the mission flag, I'm alerted to some "seismic activity". The warning is coming from a resource node. Sensing it would be a bad idea, I blow it up anyway. Yes, it was a bad idea. An insectoid creature emerges from the ground, much higher than my current level. It's takes a few swipes from my health, but, with plenty of jetpack strafing, I manage to bring it down.

Three Lane Highway: surrender buttons, Gordian knots, and other thoughts on giving up

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

When someone describes something as a Gordian knot the presumption is that it's waiting for the sword. There's virtue associated with solving complicated problems quickly and decisively—the legend of Alexander and the knot expresses a cultural preoccupation with the notion that twisted impossible things are deserving of a direct and just and violent 'solution', normally at the hands of somebody with unusual power and perspective (read: some dude with a sword.) Anything else, it follows, is a waste of time.

Last chance: we're giving away a five-game Steam bundle, with Bundle Stars

PC Gamer at

Our five-week, five-million-key giveaway has come to an end. Here's the thing: we've still got some Steam keys left over. This, then, is Giveaway Redux. Over the next few days, you have one final chance to grab a bundle of five games. That's $40 of entertainment, for free. If you missed any of our featured games from the last five weeks—SpaceChem, Dino D-Day, Really Big Sky, Gun Monkeys or GTR Evolution—they're all now back, and available to claim just one last time. Head below for this final set of free Steam keys.


The best RPGs of all time

Cory Banks at

The role-playing game is the cornerstone of PC gaming. Long before shooters or real-time strategy, the earliest PC developers replicated their tabletop RPGs on the PC, building sprawling adventures filled with orcs and wizards and foul dungeons. Those early games slowly built on their tabletop origins, and RPGs eventually became so popular, their elements spread to other genres. Here are our 25 favorites: the RPGs we’d tell anyone to play right now.


The International 2014: Valve's SFM recreations of classic plays in webm form

Chris Thursten at

Remember the International? Twenty million people watched it, so chances are you do. I wrote a couple of things about it, too. But we missed something: one of the best bits of fan service to emerge from the entire event, particularly for people who have followed the pro Dota 2 scene for the last couple of years.


Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas interview: "We're keeping an eye on" Zoo

Tim Clark at

Tomorrow sees the second wing of Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas expansion opening its mouldering doors to players around the world. So now felt like the perfect time to talk to Blizzard about the current state of the game and what we can expect from the future. I nervously approached the giant ebony coffins of senior game designer Ben Brode and production director Jason Chayes and asked them about the new cards, how close they came to nerfing Leeroy, what's going to be done about the seemingly unstoppable Zoo onslaught, and whether we'll ever get more deck slots…


Gaming in 4K: the future is now, if you give up 60 frames per second

Wes Fenlon at

The future—aka 4K gaming—is made up of very, very small pixels. After spending the past two weeks checking out games on Samsung's U28D590D 4K monitor, I'm still going to call 4K gaming the near future rather than the present. Yes, you can play games at 3840x2160 pixels right now. Yes, 4K monitors are becoming more affordable. But are they worth it? After spending a couple weeks using one, I can comfortably say: no, not yet. Even for a high-end graphics card (or two), 4K is too demanding for max settings and high framerates. If you're willing to play at 30 frames per second, though, 4K is a different story.


Firefall review in progress, part one: arriving in New Eden

Phil Savage at

Firefall, the free-to-play MMO shooter, is now available. As per PC Gamer's reviews policy, MMOs aren't scored until our reviewer has spent time with the public release. Here, then, is a review-in-progress, charting Phil's initial impressions with the game.

Things get off to a bad start when, upon loading into the game, I recoil in horror at what my eyeballs are seeing. I'll cover Firefall's graphics later, but the tutorial map is perhaps the worst possible introduction to its aesthetic. The textures are blurry, the environments murky, and the characters flat and cartoonish. Compared to this year's other MMO releases, there's none of the vibrancy or charm of Wildstar, and none of the relatively higher-res textures of the otherwise visually bland (and oppressively foggy) TESO.