Feature

The PC Gamer Hearthstone tournament

PC Gamer at

Hearthstone gets its claws into you. Blizzard’s masterstroke is the way the game rewards you for a win—the shower of fireworks that springs from the screen every time you land a killing blow on the enemy hero.

The moment you start craving more of that experience, Hearthstone’s got you—as it got us. Tim is almost entirely lost to it, spending his early hours researching deck compositions. Chris played played 50 hours when he reviewed the game, before bowing out mumbling something about mages. Andy booted it up for the first time when asked to prepare for this tournament, hated it, and then saw the fireworks—and now he’s been sucked in, too.

The inaugural PC Gamer Hearthstone tournament gathers up all of that emotional and psychological investment, and pours it into a crucible of hot, middling competition. We can’t claim to be the best players in the world, but everybody here wants to win: and everybody who gets knocked out is doomed to spend at least 20 minutes sulking in a corner.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Tim Clark at

Every Friday the PC Gamer team thumbs through its Filofax, coldly picks out the key moments from the past week, then makes an excuse about having to return some videotapes…


Into the deep: it's time to learn how to play Dwarf Fortress

PC Gamer at

The above image may look like a cat walked all over an MS-DOS word processor. What it actually depicts, however, is unspeakable violence and brutality. A field strewn with spent arrows, severed limbs, and pools of blood leads to the trap-riddled narrow entrance of an underground fortress. Corpses of elves, goblins, trolls, humans, and even dogs rot in the open air, slain in attacks on peaceful trade caravans. The inhabitants of the fortress do not care. They got what they wanted from the wagons. Any outsiders who happened to be captured alive in the cage traps will soon be thrown screaming into the open magma pits several floors below.

This is Dwarf Fortress: an endlessly sprawling simulator of procedurally generated worlds awaiting dwarves brave enough to plunder their precious metals. Simple graphics interact with the imagination to reveal more detail than the most vivid high-polycount game—for anyone willing to learn Dwarf Fortress's notorious complexity. It's actually not as hard as you think, and 2014's Dwarf Fortress update dramatically expands Adventure mode to tell sprawling RPG adventures with the same depth as Fortress mode. It's the perfect time to learn, and we're here to help. You'll be pouring magma on goblins in no time.


The PC Gamer Show episode 2: Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, Divinity: Original Sin

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! Episode two is an RPGstravaganza with special guest Josh Sawyer, who stopped by to demo Obsidian's Infinity Engine throwback Pillars of Eternity. The PC Gamer US team also discussed the greatest RPGs of all time, played some co-op Divinity: Original Sin, and talked to Sawyer about his time as the director on Fallout: New Vegas.


EVE Online's new boss on the future of the game, accessibility, and the 'spreadsheets in space' label

Andy Kelly at

CCP’s massively multiplayer space sim has a new boss. Her name is Andie Nordgren, and she’ll be taking charge of not only the development of the game, but its long-term vision too. She was behind the game’s new update model, which sees ten smaller updates being released a year instead of two large expansions, and previously served as EVE’s senior producer. I talked to Nordgren about the future of the game and how she’s making the notoriously deep, intimidating MMO friendlier.


DayZ diary: the fishing trap

Christopher Livingston at

As DayZ slowly winds its way through alpha, we're finally beginning to see more updates to the early access zombie survival game, with new items and features being regularly added. Mechanics for hunting, fishing, crafting, and cooking means there are now new ways to thrive and survive in the post-apocalyptic landscape of Chernarus besides simply scrounging around in buildings for canned food or shooting and looting other players.

I thought I'd try surviving using some of these new tools. Instead of guns, I'd try to use a crossbow to take down some deer. Instead of peeling open canned tuna I'd try to pluck fish from ponds. No more cold beans: I'll cook my food over a roaring fire or gas-powered stove. Essentially, I'm going camping. Strap on a backpack and come along.


The problem with survival games

Andy Kelly at

Have you ever seen Survivorman? It’s a documentary series about a guy called Les Stroud who spends a week in the world’s most inhospitable places—deserts, rainforests, tundras—and survives with only the clothes on his back. Fakers like Bear Grylls have doctors on hand, camera crews, and cosy hotels to return to after filming, but Stroud does it all for real—and films everything himself. It’s really good TV, and I promise that after you watch the first episode you’ll be hooked.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Braid

Ben Griffin at

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

I know what you're thinking. Why, with all the visually incredible games around today, showcase an indie puzzle/platformer from half a decade ago? The answer is simple: this is a public service. Until now there's never been a single 4K shot of Braid - now there are 15. Think of me as a less skillful restorer of paintings. Here are 15 shots worthy of any museum—or failing that, your desktop wallpaper.

The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Every Friday we gaze into the PC Gamer palantír and seek out the key moments of the past week, both good and bad. These are those…


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?


The 15 best Arma 3 player-created solo missions

Andy Kelly at

The Arma series is famous for its massive multiplayer battles, but there’s still fun to be had on the war-torn islands of Stratis and Altis by yourself. These missions can all be played solo, with a focus on small squads, infantry, or infiltration. They’ve all been created by Arma players using the game’s powerful built-in editing tools, and some are as impressive as anything in Bohemia’s own campaign.


The PC Gamer Show episode 1: Killing Floor 2, Nidhogg, 4K gaming

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! For episode one, we talked to Tripwire Interactive about upcoming shooter Killing Floor 2, played a high stakes game of Nidhogg with serious embarrassment on the line, and got our hands on a new Samsung 4K monitor.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Phil Savage at

Every Friday, the PC Gamer team pile into the war room to fight over the best and worst of the last seven day's in gaming. Up first, the best bits. Read them quick, before the bombs fall...

What we want from Assassin's Creed Unity

Andy Kelly at

I’ve always had a soft spot for Assassin’s Creed. It’s a polarising series, and some of you probably bubble with hatred every time the name is mentioned. But the thing that has always attracted me to the games is being able to explore a well realised historical setting. Ubisoft have taken me from Renaissance Italy to the pirate-filled seas of the Caribbean, and although the series has varied wildly in terms of quality over the years, the world design has always been top notch.


PC classic commentary: Tyrian 2000 with Alexander Brandon

Wes Fenlon at

PC Gamer's classic commentaries are special interviews with the developers of some of our favorite games. Join us for an hour with a classic game and the inside stories of its creation.

Before he composed the music for Jazz Jackrabbit, or Unreal Tournament, or Deus Ex, Alexander Brandon helped design one of the PC's all-time great SHMUPs. That game was Tyrian, which Epic MegaGames published as shareware in 1995. Compared to most Japanese SHMUPs, Tyrian was utterly packed with features—a story mode and an arcade mode, tons of weapons and upgrades, secret levels, secret modes, multiple ships. And at the time, its smooth 2D parallax scrolling was a mini technical marvel. Brandon wrote music for Tyrian, but he also contributed to writing and design. Our hour-long chat is full of stories from the early days of Epic and the 1990s freeware scene.

Pixel Boost: Planescape: Torment at 1440p

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 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: the Nameless One lives (and dies) again.

Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity is, essentially, the reincarnation of late-90s Infinity Engine RPGs. Obsidian has captured the look of isometric cRPGs of the early 2000s as we remember them, and nothing drives that point home like playing Planescape: Torment today. It's as well-written and immense as you remember, but you may have to squint to read the UI or find your way around the environment. It takes some work to run Infinity Engine games on modern PCs, but thanks to the amazing fan community, there are great resources for these games more than a decade alter. If you have a hankering to return to the world of Planescape before Torment: Tides of Numenera, though, it can be done. Here's how.

Three Lane Highway: what it means when games become sport—and why you should care

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes serious, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. The image above is from the ESL Flickr account.

We've always had a complicated relationship with e-sports. By 'we' I mean not just PC Gamer but PC gamers: I think it's fair to say that the paradigm shift that e-sports represent hasn't always been widely understood or accepted. That makes sense—it's a form of gaming that the majority of gamers will never participate directly in, and this is a hobby that is defined by participation.

PlanetSide 2 is better than ever, it's time to return to Auraxis

PC Gamer at

PlanetSide 2 is two years old in November, and has changed a lot. In constant contact with the community, SOE have reformed the economy, restructured Auraxis' vast planetary bases, redesigned the UI, and even added entire continents, like the long-awaited Hossin swampland. PlanetSide has a proud legacy, but PS2 has evolved into something unique—a free-to-play game that supports multiplayer warfare on a startling scale. If you haven't played since launch, it's time for another visit.


What we want from Doom 4

Ian Birnbaum at

Ready to feel old? It’s been a decade since Doom 3 came out. Game design and technology has come a long, long way since the olden times of 2004, so we’re excited about the prospect of a new Doom taking the shooter world by surprise. Now that there’s finally confirmation that we’ll learn more about Doom 4 at this year’s Quakecon, here’s everything we’d like out of the long-awaited Doom 4.


Why Metal Gear Solid 5 belongs on PC

Andy Kelly at

I love Hideo Kojima. He understands games, and the way people play them, more than any other developer. He’s often accused of being a frustrated filmmaker using the medium to live out his directing fantasies, but only by people who haven’t played his games. His long, indulgent cutscenes are notorious, yes, but they’re only a small part of the whole, wonderful Kojima experience. He’s a game designer first and foremost, and his unique brand of magic and madness belongs on PC.