review

Light review

PC Gamer at

The title of minimalist sneak-'em-up Light describes several things. First, there's Project: Light, the shadowy initiative that's left you stripped of your memories and in the custody of a sinister corporation, which you must immediately escape. Then there's the central gameplay hook, in which the constant interplay of light and shadow establish lines of sight and offer clues about where it's safe to hide from roving guards. More disappointingly, "Light" also applies to its content: an anemic 12-level campaign that can easily be blown through in an hour or less.


Unturned review (Early Access)

Andy Kelly at

Unturned is a DayZ-style survival sim with a Minecraft-inspired art style. I don’t blame you if you’ve already tuned out. PC is awash with DayZ and Minecraft clones. But Unturned is notable in that it’s currently the fourth most-played game on Steam, beating Football Manager, Skyrim, and Garry’s Mod by many thousands of players—and it was developed by a sixteen year-old. It’s an amazing story—the kind only possible on PC—but is the game itself actually any good?


Wayward Manor review

Christopher Livingston at

If you love puzzle games and Neil Gaiman, I have some great news for you: there are a lot of great puzzle games and Neil Gaiman books out there for you to enjoy! I also have some bad news.

Wayward Manor sounds like fun: a creepy old mansion is full mean, tacky people, and it's your ghostly duty to haunt them until they flee in fright. Throw in a Neil Gaiman story and hand it to The Odd Gentlemen, the studio behind the highly enjoyable The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom, and it sounds like a great game. The only problem is: everything.


Sunless Sea review (Early Access)

Andy Kelly at

Welcome to the Unterzee, a vast underground body of water that was once the city of London. Plunged into eternal darkness, this colossal, shadowy sea is dotted with islands, filled with secrets, and swimming with unimaginable horrors—and as a ship captain, it’s your job to explore it.


Hack 'n' Slash review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg 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.

Hack ‘n’ Slash looks like a Zelda game, but it’s a deconstruction, not a tribute. Rather than asking you to figure out how to match your growing inventory of tools to new enemies, dungeons, and bosses, it pokes holes in game design itself, exposing the basic programming that makes the game world and enemies inside it function.

Planet Explorers review (Early Access)

Emanuel Maiberg 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.

Planet Explorers made me appreciate the genius of Minecraft’s basic building block: the simple, 16x16 pixel cube from which flows an entire universe of creativity. Planet Explorers tries expand on the genre Minecraft created by adding more options, more granularity—more everything. Its potential initially inspired me to explore and create, but eventually taught me that Minecraft’s simplicity and comparatively limited scope are some of its biggest assets.

Lichdom: Battlemage review (Early Access)

Patrick Carlson 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.

Lichdom: Battlemage starts with a death—my own. But it’s just the first of many. I can’t avoid death, just accept it. It’s the hammer and chisel I use to carve out my own vision of what a battlemage can be.

Spintires review

Andy Kelly at

Have you ever dreamed of driving an old truck through a rugged Russian wilderness? Then dream no more, because Spintires is here. It could only exist on PC—a simulator so niche it makes Munich Bus Simulator look mainstream—and sees you guiding an array of Soviet off-road vehicles across large stretches of unforgiving countryside. It’s a grueling battle against the elements as you navigate your lump of rusty metal around rickety wooden bridges, dense forests, and swollen rivers.


Xbox One controller review

Andy Kelly at

Like it or not, gamepads have become an important part of PC gaming. Can you imagine playing Super Meat Boy or Street Fighter IV without one? The 360 controller has been PC Gamer’s go-to for years now, but yesterday Microsoft finally released Windows drivers for the Xbox One pad. I've spent the morning testing it out on a variety of games, which is both an excuse to spend my Friday playing games and an opportunity to tell you if it’s worth upgrading or not. Everyone wins!


The Forest alpha review

Andy Kelly at

I’ve been playing The Forest today, and whenever anyone’s come over to my desk to watch I’ve been savaging an animal. Spearing fish with a stick, murderising turtles with an axe, and at one point I’d battered so many seagulls with a rock that the resulting pile of feathery bodies slowed the game down to a crawl. As I type this, it’s the second best-selling game on Steam. It would be the first, but a 75% sale on Injustice is getting in the way. Am I enjoying it? Yeah, but I think it’s important I tell you from the off that it’s incredibly janky and limited, even for an Early Access title. At this point in time it feels more like a proof of concept than a game, but what I’ve seen so far shows a lot of promise indeed.


Tesla Effect review

Richard Cobbett at

Well, this is a review I never thought I’d be writing. When we last saw Tex - a would-be Philip Marlowe, born a hundred years too late into a Blade Runner world where day is night and mutants are the latest minority - it was being unceremoniously shot in the cliffhanger ending of his last case, Overseer. Endings don’t get more agonising. With Kickstarter help though, the old-school PI is back, along with 3D environments that I’m still irritated so few other games have ever tried, and full-screen FMV sequences filmed against a greenscreen that may feel more dated than Tex’s insistence on owning a fax machine in 2050, but in the most charming possible way. Besides, it wouldn't be a Tex game without them.


Bound by Flame review

Tyler Wilde at

The first notes I jotted down as I played Bound by Flame were miserable: “What the hell is going on with the screen resolution? I wish my character would shut her dumb mouth. Oh cool, undead ice guys from the north. Never seen that in a popular fantasy novel or TV series ever.” The most positive thing I wrote was “I found leather under a rock.” Bound by Flame had to grow on me, and it did—but only just enough to keep me from tossing its Steam Trading Cards to the curb and changing the locks.


Fract OSC review

Cory Banks at

I love music. I love the way it makes me feel, how a few simple notes strung together in a pattern can fill me with joy. Move the notes in just the right way and that joy becomes sadness. It’s a kind of magic, one that should be fertile ground to explore in a game. That’s what Fract OSC attempts to do, and I really wanted it to succeed. But after spending some time in the game’s world, I don’t find myself feeling much of anything at all.


Life Goes On review

Tyler Wilde at

I love how death is such a versatile tool in games. It can mean failure, total defeat, or be the first of many; it can be tragic, it can reveal new information, it can be funny. In Life Goes On, collapsing into a heap of silly limbs is the only way forward. Using death as a puzzle solving tool is a smart and inventive subversion of the usual fail state, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen it done like this before. I'm also disappointed that it was executed so weakly.


War of the Vikings review

Ian Birnbaum at

There are few things as horrifying as a blood-covered Viking wielding an axe. The two Saxons closing in on me, though, aren’t as intimidated as I’d like. The three of us are the only fighters left alive, and I’m feeling lucky. I lunge and swing my axe sidearm at the first man. My wild strike hits high and decapitates him. I hop forward and bring my axe down to crush the skull of the second, but he spins around me, and I’m overexposed, off-balance. He rams his sword in my gut.


Smite review

Wes Fenlon at

"They have no idea I'm here," says GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan as he sneaks up behind two enemy gods in my lane. I'm casually killing minions in front of my tower in Conquest mode, Smite's take on the 5v5 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena codified by Dota and League of Legends. On a strategic level, Smite plays almost identically to League, but it tucks the camera in close behind the back of my character—a god pulled from the pages of Greek or Hindu or Egyptian mythology—and feels more like a third-person action game as I cast magical abilities with the keyboard and sling attacks with the left mouse button.


Cloudbuilt review

Emanuel Maiberg at

Cloudbuilt succeeds where Sonic The Hedgehog has failed for almost two decades. It’s a 3D platformer that challenges you to speed through levels, jumping, wall-running, and shooting enemies along the way. It’s a little ugly, but its short, devious levels are so much fun to beat, I fear for my wrists.


Age of Wonders 3 review

Richard Cobbett at

There's always been much to like about Age of Wonders, a fantastical fusion of strategy and tactics last seen back in 2002's Shadow Magic. But really, it doesn't get better than the penguins. Dire penguins, to be exact. Dedicated to evil, and summonable to join the armies of goblins and dragons and elves and magic. "These were no men," declares the in-game tome. "They were far more deadly. They were killer penguins." If this game had brought us nothing more than that quote, the wait would have been well worth it. Lucky for us, it did. A lot more.


The Elder Scrolls: Arena review — June 1994, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, reviews editor Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Bethesda's very first Elder Scrolls game is reviewed in the debut issue of PC Gamer US.

Oh, how fast things can change—no one says "FRP" to refer to fantasy role-playing games anymore, the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, which predated the first E3 by a year, was visited by Sierra On-Line, Interplay, and MicroProse, and had things gone a little differently, we might be playing Terminator Online instead of The Elder Scrolls Online.

Betrayer review

Tyler Wilde at

I wash ashore in 17th century America at the border of a desolated British colony. Water, sand, and forest are stark greyscale, shadows turned up to black and the sky washed of detail. Wind howls, then dies. I imagine it carries the scent of Virginia’s fir trees on the back of a foreboding chill, and then I swipe my knife at a wooden crate, collapsing it with a cartoonish bonk on the side.