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Saturday Crapshoot: The Palace Of Deceit

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, as Cliff Bleszinski unveils his latest game plans, it's time for a quick round of Before They Were Famous. What happened before the 'overnight' success?

Of course, there's almost never any such thing - almost all success coming from much hard work, effort, a little bit of luck, and often less celebrated success. I for instance have been working on death rays for years, yet still write a weekly column on obscure games rather than composing lists of demands to world leaders. Game developers meanwhile often start with, unsurprisingly, games. They may not be great to begin with, they may have the spark of genius right from the very start, or be somewhere in the middle. All that matters is that when you dare to dream, you never know what might come next. Unless you're talking about the game Dare To Dream, in which case it's probably something really, really goofy.

But we'll get to that one soon enough. First, there's a much more obscure adventure to check out.

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.


Divinity: Original Sin review

Chris Thursten at

Blood conducts electricity. Of course it does. My supposedly single-target lightning spell arcs from mage to skeleton and on to the ground, where it touches the splattered byproduct of the ongoing melee. From there it reaches my rogue, my warrior, my archer. My entire party is electrocuted in a single moment's miscalculation, and I learn another hard lesson about Divinity: Original Sin's commitment to its own brand of realism.


Steelseries talk mouse design, sensors, weight and the wireless future

Wes Fenlon at

A good mouse is instantly forgotten. Whether you prefer a finger-grip or a flat-palm stance, once you've found a good mouse it seems to vanish from consideration the moment you touch it. It's just an extension of your will. A lot of work goes into the design and construction of the modern mouse to achieve this effect, so we asked Steelseries' chief technical officer, Tino Soelberg, what constructors consider when creating new designs, and to speculate a little on the future of these vital peripherals.


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...

Is silicon doomed? IBM invests billions in quest to find alternative

Dave James at

The days of silicon sitting inside our CPUs and GPUs are numbered, according to a recent announcement by chip giant, IBM. They’re betting a cool $3 billion dollars on being able to find a decent alternative before silicon starts to hinder hardware progress.


Shattered Planet review

Richard Cobbett at

What’s a roguelike? It’s getting harder to find an answer these days, with more and more games taking the basic idea of randomly generated worlds and adding enough of a spin that a single pseudo-genre can’t really cover it. Shattered Planet features most of the tropes, including randomised worlds full of painful death. You play as a series of disposable clones, sent down from a spaceship to Planet Hey, Isn’t This Bastion? to document wildlife and hunt for treasure on behalf of an occasionally generous employer. Where most roguelikes treat each life as a fresh, all-inclusive experience, here the currency found on each jaunt can be spent on permanent character upgrades. Does that disqualify it? Who knows. But it certainly helps when facing an army of killer aliens for the fiftieth time.


Divinity: Original Sin interview: how Larian built an RPG with no wrong choices, and details on its next update

Cory Banks at

Larian Studios launched the final version of Divinity: Original Sin on June 30, after a successful Kickstarter campaign and a long stint in Steam Early Access. The extended beta time paid off: Original Sin has been the top selling game on Steam since its launch. Speaking to PC Gamer on Tuesday, Larian founder and creative director Swen Vincke says the team is "very happy," and though I can tell he's tired, he's still incredibly excited to talk in detail about my progress through the game.

One would expect it's vacation time for the studio, but not yet—Vincke tells me that Larian has a major content update coming for the game, hopefully in the next week, and exclusively revealed plans for new companion AI. Our edited discussion is below, including a few clearly-marked spoilers on early parts of the game.


We have a million Steam keys for Really Big Sky to give away, with Bundle Stars

PC Gamer at

Update: the giveaway is back online! Grab your key below.

Psychedelic twin-stick shooter fans rejoice! This week we're giving away a million Steam keys for Really Big Sky, a quirky, sparkly shooter that pits your lone ship against the universe. You'll battle aliens, planets armed with laser batteries, black holes, wormholes and more, but there's a twist—every level is procedurally generated, from the swarming enemy waves to the appearance of intervening planets, which require you to activate your ship's drill so you can tunnel right through them at a thousand miles per hour. Grab your key below.

Hearthstone Help: Three Fun Decks To Try

Tim Clark at

Are you bored of facing the same endless queue of Handlocks, Miracle Rogues, Charge Druids and (ugh) Zoo? In this piece I pick out three fun new lists which I've enjoyed using on the ladder, and speak to their designers about their creative process.


Team Fortress 2 update introduces a new mode through beta maps

Phil Savage at

Valve took a three day run-up to its Love and War update, with daily teasers for what, in reality, amounted to some new taunts and weapons. You'd think, then, that the introduction of a new game mode would warrant something spectacular. Instead—perhaps fittingly for a game made by the company responsible for Steam—it's being launched into Early Access. Yesterday's TF2 update added two new "beta maps" to the game. They're rough, unbalanced, and, in some cases, untextured, but one of them is our first taste of the new Robot Destruction game type.


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.


You have one day to grab a free Steam key for Dino D-Day, new giveaway tomorrow

PC Gamer at

Our huge five-week multi-million Bundle Stars Steam key giveaway rumbles gloriously onwards. Tomorrow at 5PM BST we'll be giving away a new game, which gives you one last day to grab the amusing World War 2 dinosaurs vs. allied forces World War 2 shooter, Dino D-Day. You get to play as a T-Rex, or a velociraptor fighting on the side of axis forces. It's something you should experience at least once, so grab a free Steam key while you still can.


Smart puzzle roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative releasing on Steam next week

Tom Sykes at

The Nightmare Cooperative has come a long way since its clever browser-based prototype back in March. It's still clever, but now it's gorgeous too, boasting a lovely angular art style that fits the turn-based puzzling like a glove. This new version of the single-player co-op roguelike (I'll get to that in a moment) now has a trailer, along with a release date: Wednesday July 16th. Thoughts and moving images after the break.

Dwarf Fortress 0.40.01 released, in-game graphics now possible

Tom Sykes at

Yesterday, the monumental Dwarf Fortress received its first update in two years: update 0.40.01. The patch notes include various baffling and excellent sentences like "megabeasts/forgotten beasts can attack, destroy and then reside within world gen sites like dwarf fortresses" and "startled people climb up the walls of their homes a little too often"—you can find the full breakdown on the DF site. Perhaps the most interesting part of this latest development is what it more or less breaks—the in-game graphics that are now possible with the latest version of Stonesense, the Dwarf Fortress visualiser that until now has only been able to run alongside the game. Now this can be integrated into the main game proper, albeit more stably if you choose to use it on the older version of DF from 2012. Details below.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Project CARS

Ben Griffin at

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

Not to downplay my heroics or anything, but Project CARS isn't hard to make look nice. It's the Kate Moss of videogames. If it's not native 4K support or a bevvy of visual options making my job easier, then it's the incredibly useful hotkeys: ctrl + F triggers free cam, ctrl + P cycles through filters, and P stops time entirely. You can even put the AI in charge of your car with ctrl + I to free up your camera-clicking fingers.

Wings of Saint Nazaire is a retro space combat game, available to try in free open alpha

Phil Savage at

Thanks largely to Kickstarter's ability to capitalise on nostalgic desire, space combat sims are in a much healthier place than they were. From Star Citizen to Elite, the days of not pretending to be in space are nearly at an end. But if your desire for a successor to Wing Commander or X-Wing extends to aesthetics, as well as genre, then maybe you'll be interested in Wings of Saint Nazaire—a deliberately retro-styled shooter that's currently in open alpha.


Half-Life 2 review — November 2004, UK edition

PC Gamer at

Every week, we publish a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s. This week, Ben Griffin provides context and commentary followed by the full, original text of our Half-Life 2 review, published in the November 2004 issue of PC Gamer UK. More classic reviews here.

What more can be said about Half-Life 2? Jim Rossignol's words below still do a fine job of summing up just why the world got worked up over a singleplayer shooter. November 2004 was a standout month for PC gaming, and indeed PC Gamer.

Mod of the Week: Pilot Civilian Air Rescue, for ArmA 3

Christopher Livingston at

ArmA 3 is a challenging game to learn, especially so when it comes to piloting choppers. Enter the Pilot Civilian Air Rescue mod, which features a number of single-player Mohawk chopper missions, from insertion (transporting doctors to a combat zone), extraction (retrieving injured NPCs and delivering them to a hospital), and even search and rescue, in which you look for lost hikers or downed pilots and ferry them back to safety. It's a great way to hone your chopper flying skills offline while getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from helping NPCs in need.

The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

In honour of Glitch Jam, I've clipped through my floor and I'm currently hurtling into the void beneath the world. Luckily I thought to bring along my laptop for the journey, so I'm able to bring you a few highlights of the jam, mid-hurtle, including super-purple glitch tourism, buggy medieval dungeoneering, and some other stuff that isn't quite so messed up. Now that I've typed the word 'glitch' so much it's beginning to disassociate in my memory, let us begin.