Halfway review

Evan Lahti at

2014 has brought us a tiny surplus of indie, turn-based strategy games. And happily, they’ve all been thematically and mechanically different: The Banner Saga (an elegant Viking epic), Xenonauts (a spiritual sequel to old X-COM), Dead State (a Fallout-like zombie sandbox in Early Access). Halfway is less complex and sprawling than these games, which ends up as both a shortcoming and an asset.


New Watch Dogs patch addresses stuttering problems and other issues

Andy Chalk at

Ubisoft has released another update for the PC version of Watch Dogs that should "reduce" stuttering during gameplay, particularly at higher texture settings, and promised that more such fixes are still in the works.


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare story trailer reminds you that power corrupts

Andy Chalk at

In the world of the future—the world of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare—one private military corporation maintains the largest standing army in the world. It is beholden to no government; it suffers no check to its power. A power it wields judiciously in an endless, altruistic quest to uplift humanity and lead it into a better, more prosperous future for all. Right?


Firefall review in progress

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.

Stained developer halts Steam key distribution to Indie Royale buyers, wants them to re-buy it instead

Andy Chalk at

Stained developer RealAxis Software has decided not to distribute Steam keys to people who purchased last year's Indie Royale Debut 3 bundle, despite earlier promises to do so. In a message posted on the Steam forums, RealAxis said the game isn't selling and the studio is probably doomed, and encouraged fans to buy it again instead of expecting a Steam key from a cheap bundle.


Assassin's Creed Unity trailer introduces new character, presents CGI stabbings

Phil Savage at

To answer the most important question that surrounds any CGI trailer for the Assassin's Creed series: the song is The Golden Age by Woodkid. As for the video, it—via the medium of acrobatics and violence—introduces a new character: Elise. Described jointly as "an independent young noblewoman" and a "fiery Templar", she's rescued by Arno, Assassin's Creed Unity's lead character, for purposes unknown.


Survival gets serious in The Long Dark

Andy Kelly at

Last week I wrote about the problem with survival games. Some of you loved the idea of the hypothetical game I described—which sidelines monsters and overt danger for a more atmospheric battle against the elements—and some of you thought I was mental. After the article was published I was tweeted by Hinterland Games creative director Raphael van Lierop, who said that their game, The Long Dark, is exactly what I’m looking for. So, of course, I had to try it.


Watch Epic play the new Unreal Tournament's team deathmatch mode

Phil Savage at

The new Unreal Tournament keeps surprising me with how far along in development it is. Recently, for instance, we saw concept art that was, in fact, a fully rendered level. Now, we get to see the game's team deathmatch mode being played. No big deal, right? We've seen nu-UT deathmatch before. Only this time, the team say they've got all weapons working in the game.


Warcraft's story has been condensed into a 40 minute video

Phil Savage at

Here's something for every MMO player who likes to vacuum up quests without reading the mission text: a 40 minute video summarising the bulk of Warcraft's story. It covers the series' main timeline, from events depicted in the old RTS games, to the evolving lore of World of Warcraft. It's the perfect guide if you want to catch up ahead of Warlords of Draenor, or if you just want to know why you beat up a demon guy that one time.


Neon Struct is a "political thriller stealth game" from Eldritch devs

Tom Sykes at

Minor Key Games, developers of Lovecraftian procedural stealth roguelike Eldritch, are making another game. In and of itself, that's not exactly news—I've found that game developers will often make more than one—but when that game is a "political thriller stealth" title featuring heavy use of the word 'neon', they have succeeded in grabbing my attention. Neon Struct—formerly known by its much cooler, much less marketable title Die Augen der Welt—ditches procedural generation for handmade levels, like what people used to make before they put their faith in the goddamned machines.


LA Cops is a game about LA Cops. Also: handlebar moustaches, isometric action

Tom Sykes at

I just don't trust a cop without a handlebar moustache, a pair of shades to fend off the harsh Wolverhampton sun, and a bickering police buddy by their side. LA Cops gives us all of these things, except maybe the bickering and the references to Wolverhampton, but it's just so darn colourful I can forgive it that. It's an isometric action game set in '70s LA, and it's coming to Steam Early Access tomorrow.


Highlights from the Oculus Rift's Health and Safety guide

Phil Savage at

As part of the new SDK, Oculus VR has updated the Rift's "Health and Safety Warning" documentation, and it's pretty great. There's something about the clash of new technology and old legislation that I find deeply amusing. As such, I'm going to highlight some of the highlights—not in an attempt to over-exaggerate the dangers of VR, but rather to celebrate sentences like, "symptoms of virtual reality exposure can persist and become more apparent hours after use."

Virtual reality exposure is a thing now. A thing with symptoms. That's pretty cool.


Kerbal Space Program AMA reveals origin of Kerbals, plans for 1.0

Tom Sykes at

Miguel Piña, producer of Kerbal Space Program, took to Reddit yesterday to field questions about the cute yet massive space adventure, and while Redditors didn't manage to tease too much info about future updates or what their eventual next game might be, we did learn a few interesting titbits, including...the dark origin of the Kerbals. Well, OK, it's not that dark, but it does involve tinfoil and fireworks, two things that generally cause chaos when used together.


Borderlands Steam update removes SecuROM DRM, multiplayer set to return

Tom Sykes at

Of all the things affected by the GameSpy shutdown, Borderlands' now-hobbled multiplayer is perhaps the most egregious. Co-op is kind of the whole point there, so it's good to hear it will soon be making a return. A Steam update yesterday stripped all the nasty SecuROM DRM from the game and its expansions, as well as adding a "granting tool" capable of turning retail discs of Borderlands into Steam versions. Multiplayer isn't back yet, but you will find a "news ticker" on the main menu now, which will keep players' abreast of the effort to add Steamworks to the game.


The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will allow users to share game seeds

Shaun Prescott at

We still have no firm release date for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, but a bunch of new info was released earlier today. Most of it relates to the console editions, but there's some interesting details related to sharing game seeds. Each randomly generated run has its own seed name, which can be used to recreate a run for later play.


Doom II project offers up 32 new maps based on original names

Shaun Prescott at

Here's a fun mental game for you: imagine if Doom II never released. I know it hurts, but bear with me. Imagine if Doom II never released but somehow the engine, level editor and some map names were discovered. Now imagine what a community could cobble together based on this scant information.


Euro Truck Simulator 2 update adds three new cities and, finally, seat adjustment

Shaun Prescott at

Unironic truck driving game Euro Truck Simulator 2 now has three new European cities to drive to and away from. Venice, Graz and Klagenfurt are now feasible destinations thanks to update 1.11, which also introduces a range of other new features and fixes. For example: you can now adjust your seat. It’s possible to adjust your seat in real world trucks, so it’s about time this was reflected in Euro Truck Simulator 2.


Breach And Clear: DEADline is coming to Steam Early Access later this year

Shaun Prescott at

Breach & Clear was a reasonably well-received tactical strategy shooter released in 2013. Developed by Mighty Rabbit Studios and helmed by former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling, the series has already spawned a sequel in the form of Breach & Clear: DEADline. The game is set to hit Steam Early Access this fall (or spring in Australia) and will release for PC and Linux only, with the studio forgoing Android and iOS this time around.


The Elder Scrolls Online European megaserver migration happening tomorrow

Andy Chalk at

The Elder Scrolls Online European megaserver migration promised in May will take place on July 29—yes, that's tomorrow—and unfortunately for those who play on it, it's going to be an all-day process.


League of Legends' new champion Gnar teased by Riot

Andy Chalk at

A fearsome new League of Legends Champion known as Gnar has broken free from an icy tomb, but who—or what—is it?