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Hearthstone Help: What I learned from playing with a professional coach

Tim Clark at

When a golfer has a wonky swing, the obvious solution is a visit to the club pro for a tune up. But there’s a big difference between a sport in which people think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on a new driver and a game like Hearthstone, where many players pride themselves on never paying for a single booster pack. So I was surprised to see an increasing number of pro players and popular streamers starting to offer coaching sessions. But could an hour’s worth of advice really improve my winrate?


Why critics love Mountain, but Steam users are calling it "worthless"

Tyler Wilde at

According to The Atlantic, Mountain “invites you to experience the chasm between your own subjectivity and the unfathomable experience of something else.” It “hypnotized” the Los Angeles Times, and The Verge called it "the only experience that has ever made me feel sad about a geological phenomenon." Meanwhile, on Steam, user reviewers are gushing: Mountain is “worthless,” “just a screensaver,” and “a fucking joke.”


10 essential Windows 7 applications

PC Gamer at

Windows 8.1 has been out since October 2013, but we still cling to our installs of Windows 7. We love its reliability, even if it's missing some of Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements. If you're also still using Windows 7, your gaming PC is probably loaded with years of accumulated software. But are you using the best? Our colleagues at TechRadar put together a list of the best free programs for Windows 7, and we've boiled that list down to the 10 programs we think are essentials. If you don't have these programs installed already, here's why you should download them.


Metro 2033 Redux review

PC Gamer at

For years Metro 2033 was used as a benchmark test for the latest graphics cards, so it feels strange to already be seeing a remastered version hit the digital shelves. It’s easy to be cynical and assume that Metro 2033 Redux is aimed squarely at the console market, whose under-TV boxes have only just caught up with Metro 2033’s full majesty. It’s finally a way for living-room dwellers to see what the game is like with all its video options switched on. But what’s the value for PC players?


Deus Ex with New Vision mod video: max settings at 2560x1440 on LPC

PC Gamer at

Augmentations activated. We took a break from playing today's most graphically demanding games on the Large Pixel Collider to run one of our favorites: the original Deus Ex. This isn't Deus Ex as it looked in 2000, though—this is Deus Ex running at 1440p, running the latest version of the New Vision mod. It's a complete retexturing of Deus Ex, designed for today's high resolutions. If you want to run Deus Ex like this yourself, check out Pixel Boost.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Thief

Ben Griffin at

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

Say what you will about the game itself, but Thief's setting is as evocative as they come. Known simply as The City, this moody hub is equal parts Victorian Gothic and supernatural steampunk, sporadically illuminated by the light leaking from clouded windows and drowning in low-hanging mist.

There's little respite from the blue-black colour scheme besides the seedy rouge decor in the House of Blossoms and warmer tones of the Baron's manor, but that's what makes it so oppressive: it's always night, and it's nearly always raining. I actually took 40 shots in all, so if you'd like to see the ones not linked below, click here.

LG's 34-inch 21:9 monitor has convinced me that ultrawide is better than 4K

Dave James at

Having spent a long time using 4K monitors I’ve become a bit jaded about next-gen gaming resolutions. They don't tangibly deliver anything above what you can get from a beautiful 27-inch IPS 1440p screen. The problem is, while 4K does deliver a huge upgrade in terms of pixel count, it doesn’t make a huge difference in games where the texture resolution hasn’t changed. All you’re really doing is shanking your frame rate in return for the possibility of being able to knock your anti-aliasing settings down a notch. If you want a dramatic upgrade of your gaming monitor you should have a good think about the new ultrawide 34-inch 21:9 screens trickling out of all good monitor manufacturers’ factories at the moment.


Mod of the Week: After the End, for Crusader Kings II

Christopher Livingston at

Crusader Kings II is the perfect game for creating alternate history, and full conversion mods (like those for Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones) are great for creating alternate fictional history. How about alternate future history? After the End is a mod for CKII set in North America in the year 2666, after an unspecified cataclysmic event has shattered the planet and humankind is desperately trying to pick up the pieces, regain control, and understand its own murky past.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Welcome to the blitmaze. It's a tetrachrome dungeon filled with noise and green—lots and lots of green—and it's joined this week by a game of light and bats and darkness, another reliably good Nifflas adventure, Planet of the Petunias and more. If that sounds like a pleasant way to spend your Saturday—spoiler: it does—stick around to sample this week's crop.


Saturday Crapshoot: Supreme Warrior

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, the classic controversy magnet Night Trap went to Kickstarter for a reboot, and hey, speaking of rubbish FMV games that should stay in the past... .

Yes, I'm not really sure what it is about Night Trap that's so far persuaded a few hundred donors to stump up over $20,000 for a remake of a game that wasn't even that interesting when it came out, but I guess there's no accounting for nostalgia. It's certainly the most talked about of the Digital Pictures games, which also included Double Switch, which was similar to Night Trap, Corpse Killer, an existential journey into pointlessness, Kids On Site, in which FMV games met heavy machinery without any of the CDs ending up in an industrial woodchopper for some reason, and a previous Crap Shoot subject, Game Over, which took FMV sequences from most of them and stitched them into a, cough, actual movie.

Most of them didn't end up on PC. But this martial arts one did. Gosh. Weren't we lucky?

How to set up Steam in-home streaming on your PC

Wes Fenlon at

Steam in-home streaming may be the future of PC gaming in the living room. Sure, you can build a powerful gaming machine for the living room. But that's expensive. You might be able to run an HDMI cable from your desktop to your big screen TV. But that's usually impractical. In-home streaming is the third option: you use an old PC, or build a low-power client box, to stream games over your home network. Valve's in-home streaming started as an exclusive beta feature in Steam, but now it's built right into the client and available to anyone. It only takes about five minutes to set up, and it works amazingly well.

If you're ready to try out in-home streaming yourself, I'll walk you through the whole process: how to enable streaming in Steam, what kind of host PC and client you'll need, how to make sure your home network is up to the task, and how to control your games once they're up and running.

Inside IndieBox, the startup bringing back the glory of 80s game packaging

Andy Chalk at

Consider the box. There was a time when the lowly construct of cardboard was more ubiquitous than Steam: If you wanted a game, you bought it in a box, complete with manual, reference card, promotional material for other games in the publisher's catalog, and, in many cases, “the stuff”: Supplemental reading material, perhaps, or a swanky poster, or a microscopic alien space fleet in a ziplock bag. And it was good. Browsing row upon row of brightly colored boxes of various sizes and shapes was exciting not just because you knew you'd be coming home with something, but because you could never be entirely certain what was inside. That mystery is an element of the game-buying experience that's just not possible with the "all things at all times" nature of digital distribution, and for some gamers that's a real loss.

IndieBox hopes to fill that void with a unique blind subscription service: an indie game delivered to your mailbox every month, along with specially crafted box art, a manual, and other goodies. You never know what you're going to get: You pays your dime, as they say, and you takes your chances. It is perhaps an odd way to do business, but as co-founder John Carter explained, there’s an odd kind of sense to it, too.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Phil Savage at

Each week PC Gamer’s writers gather around a seance table and ask the previous seven days to reveal themselves. Not like that.

Shadow Realms interview: BioWare sending out alpha invites next month

Wes Fenlon at

Shadow Realms will be playable sooner than anyone expected. BioWare only announced the 4v1 action RPG at Gamescom on Wednesday, but speaking after the EA press conference BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman revealed that alpha invites will be arriving in players’ inboxes next month. "I've never put a game into a player's hands as early as we're putting this game into players' hands," he told PC Gamer.

Pixel Boost: Deus Ex at 5K

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: Looking sharp, JC Denton. Real sharp.

It's one of the best RPGs ever made. It's one of the best games ever made, period. Deus Ex needs little introduction—since 2000, Ion Storm's first-person shooter/RPG has been the benchmark for open-ended game design. There's always a secret vent to crawl through, or a door to hack, or an NPC to persuade. Deus Ex's popularity endures to this day, and modders are still working to make the game look better every year. We decided to pay ol' JC Denton a visit on modern Windows and snap 33 5K screenshots. Here are the tools you can use to do the same.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor coming in November

Andy Chalk at

With some spectacular cinematic sequences, Blizzard has revealed the launch date for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.


PC gamers have to fight for PC gaming, and Metal Gear Solid V is a big win

Tyler Wilde at

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is releasing on PC, and that’s great news. Rise of the Tomb Raider isn’t releasing on PC, not right away, at least, and that’s not so great. But what it does mean is that console manufacturers see us as competition, and we’re doing pretty well. We attracted a massive game with MGSV, and we’re scary enough that Microsoft has gobbled up Tomb Raider for the Xbox.


Hearthstone Help: Top 10 new Naxxramas card combos

PC Gamer at

In this week's Hearthstone column our resident Legendary player is back to list his favorite combos enabled by the new Naxx cards. Because hey, who doesn't want to live the double Thaddius dream, right?


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes confirmed for PC [Updated]

Tyler Wilde at

According to a headline on Konami's official site, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes will release on Steam. It says exactly that: "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain And Ground Zeroes Coming To Steam." On the other side of the link is a 404 page, but we expect the announcement to be made during Konami's livestream in about 30 minutes (11 a.m. PDT, 2 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. BST).


The 4 best free image editing tools on PC for screenshots and gifs

PC Gamer at

At PC Gamer, our screenshots folders are constantly full to bursting with screens of whatever game we're currently playing. When it comes time to edit them, we usually use Photoshop—but sometimes there's a better piece of software out there for dealing with images that's lighter and faster and cheaper (read: free) than Photoshop. Our colleagues at TechRadar recently rounded up the best free image editing software, and we've listed the ones we like to use below. These are our favorite utilities for making gifs, batch editing tons of screenshots, and making simple, quick edits that don't need the power of Photoshop.