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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Since their introduction in 2016, citadels have defined the cut-throat politics of EVE Online. Wars are now centred on slugfests like the Battle for X47L-Q, as Keepstar citadels provide insurmountable defences against all but the most determined force. But developers CCP now reckon there are too many of these unassailable bastions floating about unguarded. With this week's Forsaken Fortress update, it's time to let these structures rot.

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Keeping track of Call Of Duty: Warzone squad sizes has been something of a nightmare. First there's trios, then trios are quads; but oh, folk liked trios, so trios are back. But quads can stay, and let's not forget solo players either. With the dust beginning to settle, Activision this week rounded out the lineup with a new duos mode, letting you drop into Verdansk with just your closest, most trustworthy comrade.

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Always acting, but never quite seen. It seems one of Destiny 2's most elusive antagonists is preparing to finally play its hand. Lurking in the shadows of Bungie's space-knight loot shooter, The Darkness have finally put voice to their long-awaited return by broadcasting an ominous hum on the Destiny 2 Twitter account. Whether as another season or as the game's next expansion, it may soon be time to work out what, exactly, The Traveller's been running away from all this time.

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Feature: The most wholesome unwholesome free games

Priceless Play – 30 May 2020

Ok. I'll bite. What's a "wholesome game"? I watched the Wholesome Direct a few days ago, which gave me 53 examples of wholesome games, and I'm still not quite sure I know what falls under the label. Here are a few components of my working definition: wholesome games are nonviolent, often star anthropomorphised animals, and are soundtracked by ukuleles or a delicate piano line. They're games which forefront feelings, often come from marginalised creators, and work with limited (typically pastel) colour palettes. As most genre-definitions go it's a pretty vague smattering of characteristics, but it's still managed to spark a lot of conversation on the ol' internet.

As I trawled through Twitter, trying to make sense of the drive behind "wholesome games," I kept coming across one pretty compelling idea: that "wholesome games" reject the popular narrative of gritty, first-person, hyper-realistic, super-violent games in favour of soft, gentle, and otherwise kind aesthetics. And so, in the interest of science, I set myself a task.

Here are the most wholesome unwholesome games I could find.

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Since the moment Half-Life: Alyx launched in VR, folks have been trying to detach it from its headset requirements. To be fair, I get it - that the first Half-Life game in a decade would be restricted to expensive tech felt a little demoralising. But this weekend, one modder brought that dream closer to reality by quietly releasing Pancake Base, a mod that aims to make Alyx play just like its older siblings by giving our leading lady the sturdy, first-person arms of Half-Life 2's Gordon Freeman.

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If you were an Xbox kid around my age, Halo 3 might be the first game you remember arriving with deafening levels of hype. The sole reason most folks picked up Crackdown. The Return Of The King in John Halo's ring-smashing quest, in fellowship with a squid-mouthed Keith David and that cigar-chewing lad from Aliens. Now, developers 343 Industries are preparing the trilogy closer's PC debut in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with select testing set to take place within the next few weeks.

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Feature: Well?

What are we all playing this weekend?

E3 season is almost upon us, and E3 is not here to greet us. Instead, it's sending a load of its mates out to distract and entertains us while it shouts down from its bedroom that it's almost ready, it'll be out soon, just another year. In the meantime, oh! E3's mate is about to perform his party trick.

What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on!

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Maybe it was the dragons that clued you in. There sure was a lot of fire breathing in that opening cinematic Larian Studios showed off for Baldur's Gate 3. Or maybe you've played Larian's last big RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2 in which every single fight has, in my personal experience, a 100% chance to turn into a giant inferno. Larian posted a short and hot new video today to begin the process of sharing BG3 news "throughout the month of June." Sandwiched between all the other quick clips is, yes, yer girl Shadowheart standing casually at the center of a a sea of flames.

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Guess who's creepin' out with a video game spinoff. No guesses? It's Goosebumps. Remember those spooky books on your primary school shelf with the weird covers where animals transformed into—oh heck that was Animorphs. Sorry, I literally only read fantasy as a kid and still do. Goosebumps are the horror ones, now spawning the "spooky first-person survival horror game" Goosebumps Dead of Night sometime this summer.

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Giant automated industry builder Satisfactory has been on the assembly line for a while already, first debuting on the Epic Games Store last year. The Factorio-but-3D builder has churned out new additions to its early access version since then, including giant trains and guns and vertical conveyors. The mammoth machines are reaching another milestone when Satisfactory launches on Steam—still in early access—on Monday, June 8th.

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Why did the truck cross the road? Because the bridge was out, obviously. Or at least it will be if you're as bad at the wacko physics puzzle game Poly Bridge 2 as I likely would be. If you are, the second installment, like the first, lets you call in help from Twitch viewers. Poly Bridge 2 is out now with some new juice under the hood over its predecessor.

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Feature: "Storytelling in a BR game is kind of our thing."

Respawn on storytelling, lore, and Season 11 of Apex Legends

Online multiplayer games aren't usually designed to tell stories. For the most part, they're built around their competitive nature, with titbits of lore to help establish a unique world for players to get invested in. However, the line between these online games and more story driven experiences is starting to blur, as games like Apex Legends begin to throw more narrative into the mix. Storytelling in a battle royale seems like a pretty tough balancing act, so I reached out to Respawn to find out about the challenges, and how it all fits into the future of Apex.

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Feature: Cheap games, graphics cards, SSDs and more

Best PC gaming deals of the week – 29th May 2020

It's another big PC gaming deals bonanza this week, as we've not only got GOG's Summer Sale going on, but Ubisoft's Legendary Sale is still going strong, as is Epic's month of mega deals. Let's not forget about Humble's Cities Skylines bundle, either, where you're able to grab the full game plus 11 DLC packs for under twenty quid. And that's before we've even got to all the other deals happening this week, where you'll find loads of Devolver games on sale, 10% off Monster Train, plus half price Yakuza, Civilization VI and a nice chuck off Disco Elysium. So let's not stand around gawping. There are a lot of deals to get through.

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This whimsical little seaside town builder is another project by Oskar Stålberg whose tiny planet and city builder projects RPS have marveled at in the past. Unlike his prior browser-based experiments, Townscaper is being treated to some extra polish and plans for a paid release. It's been on my mental wishlist since before it had a name, but now there's a handy page on the Steam store to help me not forget. Check out the trailer below for some extremely satisfying pips and pops as the rainbow cities spring from the sea.

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Feature: The peasants are rewarding

You will die in chaos – Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord multiplayer verdict

Brendan: Infantry! Ready your shields! Okay, move to-- hang on. Sin, why is your shield not readied? We are trying to play the multiplayer in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, so we can pass a substantial sneer or cheer in its direction, and you have not even readied your shield. It is wholly unreadied. Explain yourself!

Sin: ...what?

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Feature: Point and click your fingers

Use ‘brain’ with ‘ears’ in our adventure game music quiz

Can you tell your Monkey Island from your Broken Sword? I hope so, or you're going to waste a stupid amount of time trying to get George Stobbart to insult sword fight with Nico. If you pass this very low bar for adventure game knowledge you should probably take a swing at our new adventure game music quiz.

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Feature: A life aloft

The Flare Path Talks to a Test Pilot

Near the top of my ‘Things to do when lockdown ends’ list is ‘Visit my local public library’. Obviously I'm missing its extensive history and transport sections, and the profound feeling of well-being that comes from being surrounded by the printed word, but there are other draws too. You can meet very interesting people in libraries. People like John Williams.

I struck up a conversation with John when I spotted the book he was collecting from the request desk. Task for Coastal Command by Hector Bolitho is a pretty obscure tome – not the sort of book your average aviation enthusiast would seek out. As it turned out my fellow borrower was no ordinary aviation enthusiast. A flier with a long and unusual career in the Royal Navy behind him, Captain J.L.Williams, R.N. (Ret’d) flew an astonishing range of aircraft before hanging up his bone-dome in 2018. While today's interviewee isn't an ‘Atypical Simmer’ in the conventional sense I think what follows will interest anyone who has ever gripped a collective, thumped a round-down, ridden a thermal or reached for an ejection seat handle in Simulatia.

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Feature: The Sims 4 but make it fashion

The 20 best Sims 4 CC on PC

Listen, we're not having a pop at the base game version of The Sims 4, but you have to admit that it doesn't offer everything you might want. It would be impossible for it to service every whim and desire you asked of it for! But still, sometimes you'll be fooling around in build and buy mode, or Create A Sim, and just wish that you had more space gubbins to wear or cool plants for your kitchen. Or bunk beds! Lord almighty, if only there were bunkbeds.

Well, it just so happens that there are, if you know where to look. And that place is 'at custom content'. There are some amazing creators out there making simply fabulous cc sets to make every Sims game your best version of it. And cc is all free! How amazing is that? That's why we've rounded up all our favourite cc sets in one place, for ease of use to you the reader. Read on for more.

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If your reaction to the release of Intel’s new set of 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs is to celebrate the lower prices now available on 8th and 9th Gen Coffee Lake models, then this pair of Z390 motherboard deals from CCL might well be for you. One comes with a free SSD, while the other gets you some fairly generous cashback if you buy a CPU at the same time.

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You'd have thought people would have escaped from Tarkov by now, but they're still at it. Escape From Tarkov is a brutal, sandbox-ey shooter about scavenging for loot in a warzone where everyone has better guns than you - except for right now! A big update to the current early access build has brought a load of changes, but one of the most significant parts is the character wipe. Tarkov's central appeal lies in looting, and now (not for the first time) all your loot has gone. My friends say they're happy about this, and I still do not understand them.

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After teasing their new VR cybergoggles earlier this year, HP have now fully unveiled their new Reverb G2 headset, and it looks an awful lot like the Valve Index. That's probably because it's been designed in collaboration with Valve, and uses the same lenses and speakers that they created for the Index. However, HP's Reverb G2 takes things even further with a higher resolution display and even more tracking cameras. And the best thing about it is that it's not going to cost the earth to buy, either.

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Feature: We have one demand and one term

Podcast: our most wanted games this summer

The big physical summer expos all got cancelled, but instead we have a whole load of great digi-vents to replace them. Looking at the schedule, it seems the Summer Of Games is going on until approximately next January. We're in a bit of a hopeful mood for this week's podcast, so the gang discuss their most anticipated upcoming releases, as well as their most anticipated and/or hoped for reveals that might come from the 2020 digital events.

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Feature: One Off The List

The 9 most extreme sports in games

Football. Tennis. Conkers. What do these historic, reputable sports have in common, I ask you. That’s correct, they are not extreme enough. Please, quiet now. I am here to do the talking. Yes, there are sports videogames, your FIFAs and your Mario Tennises. But they do not fulfill the desire within all of us for the extreme, the radical, the pushing of it to the max. I will now demonstrate, through force of listicle, the 9 most extreme sports in PC games, from bone-breaking snowboarders to motorcycle Wipeout. And you, in your turn, shall be thankful to this website for providing such diversion. Now, read.

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It's been a little too easy to write off People Can Fly's upcoming "RPG shooter" Outriders. A particularly beefy Destiny 2, from what's been teased so far. The loot-shooter that's willing to show some heads exploding. But today saw the devs post their first in-depth look at Outriders in what intends to be a series of monthly broadcasts - and there's some fascinating depth behind all the exploding goons and burst heads.

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Localisation is a tough task, even when not considering languages English has tried its hardest to stamp out over the centuries. But today's 1.8 update for Dicey Dungeons brings developer Terry Cavanagh's dice-roller a little closer to home by adding full Irish language support, alongside proper gamepad controls, balance overhauls and two new baddies who've been waiting on the sidelines since launch.

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Break out the party poppers - Prey and Dishonored developers Arkane Studios turns 20 years old this year. Well, sort of. The studio may have been founded in '99, but who am I to ruin a party? To celebrate two decades of sneaking, stabbing, and all-round immersive sim'ing, Arkane are dusting off the oldest book on their shelf by giving away free copies of the studio's 2002 fantasy debut Arx Fatalis.

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So long, Civilization. The latest freebie over on the Epic Games Store is Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, a rather handsome pairing of two Borderlands games to blast your way through without dropping a penny. But Epic's feeling generous this week - today also marks the surprise release of grimy graffiti sandbox Sludge Life, and this filthy bonus is going free for quite a bit longer than a week.

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