Mod of the Week: Tame the Beasts of Skyrim II

Christopher Livingston at

As an animal lover, it sometimes bothers me to have to slaughter so much wildlife in video games, particularly in Skyrim, where wolves, bears, deer, and mammoths often give you little choice. There's an alternative, however, that lets you put down your sword and pick up a leash. Charm creatures with magic, make them your companions, feed them treats, sell them for profit, and even breed them, with Tame The Beasts of Skyrim II.

The central feature of Tame the Beasts is the Pet Shop (or petshop as it’s called in the mod). There you’ll meet Roselia, the shop owner, who will teach you a new shout. Then, you just need to run around in the wild until you find the animal you’d like to adopt, or just settle for whatever random animal you find, because believe me, when you’re out deliberately looking for a bear, you will never find a bear.

The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Oh, so you like free games, do you? Here, have all the free games in the world. Or at least, quite a lot of them – this week's column has over 100 gratis goodies for your perusal. Read on for a non-dodgy game torrent, some very metal gear, a particularly frightful house, and two other things, the details of which have been withheld for reasons of intrigue. Are you suitably intrigued? Good, then I'll join you after the break.

Monaco's fourth and final free update is "brutally difficult", you'll be pleased to hear

Tom Sykes at

After years of development, and years of post-development, Pocketwatch Games have finally stopped tinkering with their stylish top-down heist-'em-up Monaco. The fourth and final free update, the aptly named Fin, adds a "brutally difficult" new eight-level campaign to the game, as announced on Steam a couple of days ago. To celebrate the end of a brilliantly heisty era, Monaco's price has been slashed by 75% for the next two days. If you'd rather experience the game over one beautiful weekend instead, it's also currently (temporarily) free.

Steam Greenlight approves 75 more games, including Catacomb Kids and Frontiers

Tom Sykes at

75 more games have been given the big green thumbs up that means they're allowed to be on Steam, as announced on, well, Steam a couple of days ago. It's a list that includes the recently announced (Frontiers) and the long-overdue (I Get This Call Every Day), while reminding me that Catacomb Kids is a thing that I need in my life. You can find the full list here.

Saturday Crapshoot: SimAnt

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, everyone had a big laugh over Goat Simulator. But as SimCity creator Will Wright once proved, not all animals have such a fun time of it.

Welcome to the battlefield in your back garden. For all our sakes, let's pray this isn't how ants ever actually manage their colonies, or I suspect we're all in deep trouble. In fact, that's the ultimate goal here - to not only use your army of black ants to obliterate the evil, possibly communist red ants, but empty the house of those pesky humans who counter your raids with Raid. Tsk. Talk about antagonistic.

The Elder Scrolls Online guide — 10 essential tips for your first character

PC Gamer at

The Elder Scrolls Online will feel familiar to both Elder Scrolls and MMO players, but not wholly—character building, for instance, uses a system adapted from both games. These tips will set you on a prosperous journey from level one to 10, with little time wasted and a character build you can be proud of.

PSA: Join PC Gamer's Minecraft servers

PC Gamer at

This is a friendly reminder that we have two lovely Minecraft servers—one based in the US, and another in the UK. You should join one! What have you to lose other than precious, precious time?

Nether Territory Wars update gives players some much needed structure

Emanuel Maiberg at

Urban Survival MMO Nether was in such an early state when I last played it a few months ago that it wasn’t even entirely clear what kind of game it was going to be. It nailed a desperate, post-apocalyptic mood, and had basic shooting and crafting systems in place, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Yesterday’s Territory Wars update hopes to alleviate that, giving Nether players some much needed structure.

Daylight delayed until April 29 so it can be scarier

Emanuel Maiberg at

The lead-up to Daylight has really managed to make it seem like more than just another first-person horror game. It’ll be one of the first major releases to use Unreal Engine 4, has procedurally generated levels, interesting Twitch integration (by way of meowing cats) and other interesting ideas. It’s also going to cost just $15 (or $10 if you pre-order), so it would have been easy to pick up out of curiosity alone. However, Zombie Studios announced that it has pushed the game's release date back to April 29 to add one thing it was missing: more scares.

The Elder Scrolls Online review in progress

Chris Thursten at

The Elder Scrolls Online launched today. Chris' review of the game will be published following at least a week of play on the game's live servers. This 'review in progress' will document his experiences with the game as they happen. Find the first part below, and check out page 2 for today's update. Check back every day at 8pm GMT for the latest impressions.

Level 1-4

My time in the live version of TESO begins a few hours later than I'd hoped. The PC that I use to test games in the office has a hard drive failure before I can start playing, so I rush home to play the game there. By the time I begin, it's midday on the day of the game's launch. If there were ever going to be a time when an MMO wasn't going to work properly, it'd be now—but to TESO's credit, I experience no problems getting connected.

Smite interview: Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris on competing MOBAs, F2P economics, and religious sensitivity

Wes Fenlon at

During the three-day launch tournament for Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' actiony third-person MOBA, I met Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris in the crowded halls of Atlanta's Center Stage Theater. When I found him, Harris was busy corralling a group of popular Youtubers into teams to face off in a just-for-fun showmatch before Sunday's grand finals. As Harris and I headed out of the hallway to find a quiet place to chat, fans kept stopping him, shaking his hand and asking for a card with an exclusive launch tournament skin. I thought it was a little odd, at first, that a COO would be so well-recognized. But Harris is a regular fixture of Hi-Rez's YouTube comedy series. He seems happy to make himself look silly on camera. After the grand finals, he'll get up on stage and proudly proclaim that while Smite isn't the number one MOBA, it is the third biggest. He grins as he briefly chants "Number three!" into the microphone.

The Week's Highs And Lows In PC Gaming

Phil Savage at

Each week the PC Gamer team stares into its swirling palantír and assesses the best and worst things to happen over the past seven days. As usual we kick off with the stuff that made us happy...

Goat Simulator review

Andy Kelly at

If Goat Simulator really was a goat simulator, you'd spend the whole game padding around a field eating grass and occasionally being milked, before ending up on a plate in some upmarket restaurant. But that would make for a rubbish game, so Coffee Stain Studios, the Swedish team behind the Sanctum series, have used artistic licence. Instead, you crash around a physics-enabled world knocking things over, headbutting people, dragging stuff around with your tongue, and generally being a pain in arse for points. Think Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but with a goat.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be available from April 8th

Dave James at

If you've made the move to Microsoft’s much-maligned operating system, Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be available on the 8th April. This is the update set to improve the OS and its interface for Microsoft’s core audience: us keyboard and mouse-using folk.

The big changes seem to revolve around the taskbar. With Update 1, it's possible to pin Modern UI apps to the taskbar—the Store icon is pinned there by default—and it will also appear within the Modern UI interface. This should give you a bit more consistency in your experience if you're moving between interfaces.

GameSpy multiplayer service shutting down next month

Phil Savage at

Online matchmaking client GameSpy is shutting down on May 31st, owners Glu Mobile have announced. On the upside, it means no more games trying to download the hideous GameSpy Comrade launcher. The downside is rather more significant: a lot of games' multiplayer segments are about to become non-functional. As with the upcoming Games for Windows Live shutdown, it's down to individual publishers as to whether they want to update their games with new server technology.

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.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls sells 2.7 million copies in first week

Ian Birnbaum at

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls has already sold 2.7 million copies in its first week, a strong showing for Diablo 3’s first expansion. Though much-maligned as it struggled under spotty server connections and always-online DRM, Diablo 3 itself managed to sell around 6.3 million in its first week. In that context, Reaper of Souls has done quite well indeed.

Anomaly Defenders announced, reverses "tower offense" gameplay

Emanuel Maiberg at

Anomaly: Warzone Earth launched in 2011 with a simple, novel idea. We were being flooded with tower defense games at the time so 11 Bit Studios made a “tower offense” game, where, rather than set up defenses, you played as the moving units trying to break through. It worked, and it was successful enough to warrant a sequel, Anomaly 2. Today, 11 Bit Studios announced the third and final installment in the series, Anomaly Defenders, which flips the script again.

Don't Starve's Reign Of Giants DLC stomps onto Steam, Klei says "beware of summer"

Tim Clark at

If, like me, you're an inveterate Don't Starveaholic with a 300+ day save game, then you probably won't see another screenshot more exciting this year than the one above, showing Webber, one of the new characters in the Reign Of Giants DLC, looking melancholy in a sowester. It's live now on Steam Early Access, entry to which will set you back $4.

Stalker: Lost Alpha mod leaked, April 26 release date announced

Emanuel Maiberg at

A couple of months ago we wrote about Stalker: Lost Alpha, a mod that aimed to revive an early version of the game teased prior to release, which included more, bigger areas, and other features that didn't make into Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. Yesterday, the Hungarian team behind the mod, Dez0wave announced that some testers leaked a beta build of the mod, and the mod makers are understandably pretty upset about it.