This week, Mount & Blade 2 finally got a release date (well, for early access), Kickstarter unionised, and the Gothic Remake got the go-ahead. Read on for more of the week's PC gaming goings-on in our News Digest, and do also check out the Weekly Updates Update for the week's big patches.
Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity
Little house on the scary6
GeForce Now's streaming catalogue has shrunk even further since launch. Following Activision Blizzard's lead, now it appears Bethesda Softworks have backed away from Nvidia's cloud streaming service. All but one of the publisher's games on the service - from Doom to Dishonored - were pulled from GeForce now yesterday, leaving only Wolfenstein: Youngblood standing and streaming.
This week, The Witcher 3 let us take PC saves to Nintendo Switch, No Man's Sky added living spaceships, and Wolcen looted some fixes. Read on for more of the week’s PC gaming patches in The Weekly Updates Update.
I'll probably never get to play Devotion. A year on from the Taiwanese horror game's abrupt removal from Steam, there's still no sign of it returning to sale. That doesn't mean Red Candle Games' work needs to be lost to history forever, though. This month, the developers announced that Devotion - and predecessor Detention - will be preserved in the Harvard-Yenching Library collection at Harvard University.
Dang it, you've sunk my battleship. It's fine, it had a smaller boat inside it all along. No, that's definitely how the game Battleships work. I know what I'm talking about. Time was in EVE Online, losing your spaceship meant losing the fight. But CCP are mixing up intergalactic PVP by announcing new Frigate Escape Bays - getting you back in the fight by turning some of New Eden's biggest ships into starfaring matryoshka dolls.
Dreams? Never heard of it. Media Molecule's swish toolset might be locked down to PlayStation folks, but those rascals at Dutch indie collective Sokpop have already given us one better. The latest entry in their twice-monthly release catalogue is Sok-Worlds, a set-dressing toy for making and exploring 3D simple collages. Who needs modelling, scripting and animation tools when Google image search is sitting right there, anyway?
If you've been reading Priceless Play for a while, you know that I'm a PhD student. Here in the United States, a significant part of being a PhD student is being employed as a Teaching Assistant, or TA. TAs do a lot of important work to keep a university running smoothly: we grade assignments and papers, facilitate classes, give lectures, and act as a liaison between students and faculty. We hold office hours, plan lessons, attend lectures, and try to always stay a chapter ahead of our students' readings. We do all of this on top of our own research, our dissertation work, and (nearly obligatory) travel for academic conferences. It is rewarding work, but gosh is it tiring.
The TAs at University of California, Santa Cruz (or UCSC) have been on strike for the past week, demanding an adjustment to their wages to keep up with the high cost of living in the San Francisco area. In solidarity with striking student workers, I've put together a collection of games about community, labour, self-care, and surviving in the university system.
Woof, what a week. Most of the RPS gang came together for serious meetings and serious dinners, and it was lovely to see everyone - including many people I hadn't even met so far. It is a bit of a trek if you happen to live in Scotland, mind. And they have the heating up real high. And none of the tourist guides warn you that you can't drink the tap water down there. Poison. But lovely to see everyone.
What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on!
Microsoft Flight Simulator already looks wildly ambitious. Asobo Studio previously explained that you can fly anywhere in the world in their flight simulation. Anywhere? Anywhere. Naturally then they need to have airports everywhere. All the airports, even. So Microsoft Flight Simulator apparently features every airport in the world. A modest 37,000 of those have been manually edited by Asobo, they say in a new developer video.
When I see a game that seems to be chasing the coattails of another, it's hit or miss whether I'll be put off or captaining the ship. Here we have Population Zero that, when you watch the trailer down below, you'll immediately get the No Man's Sky environment design vibes mixed with the base-building and wildcard PvP of ARK. Seemed like a heavy miss for me, honestly. I dug in anyhow and found that apparently when Population Zero's early access begins in May it will actually reset (to a degree) every week. I don't know if I'm ready to stand by that as a good idea, but it's certainly a brave one.
Sony and Facebook have cancelled their appearances at the Game Developers Conference this year, both citing concerns about the new coronavirus. The yearly conference for game industry workers is typically a source of new information each year, with presentations about the development of influential games and interviews with studio members. Both Sony and Facebook are stepping back this year based on concerns for the health and safety of their workers.
First announced back in 2018, Othercide is back with a new trailer today. The mostly grey tactical RPG is full of horrific creatures with plague masks and spindly limbs mixed with splashes of red. Gives me somewhat Bloodborne vibes seeing those long hunter cloaks and broads fighting monsters in red pumps and scarves. Or maybe it was the organ playing in the trailer wot did it. Anyway, it's got grimdark vibes—the trailer bangs on things like "suffering" and severed hearts—and is coming this summer.
Bungie still haven't even revealed the name of the new Destiny 2 season starting in three weeks, let alone what's new in it, but they are opening up about what it'll do to the old meta. On top of the sword changes discussed a few weeks ago, they have big plans for weapons including sniper rifles, long-range fusion rifles, and the exotics Lord Of Wolves, Izanagi's Burden, and The Last Word. I'll be sorry to stow some current favourites in my vault but I am theoretically glad for the freshness of a new meta for a new season.
As Storm Dennis continue to wash half of the UK into the sea, so too does the deals flood continue to rage unabated as we wait for the February games drought to end. There are simply loads of great game deals going on this weekend, with big discounts on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, The Sims 4, every Assassin's Creed game under the sun, as well as No Man's Sky and all the Dishonored games. Plus, we've revamped our hardware deals so it's now even easier to find the best and cheapest components you need to upgrade your PC. So join us for this latest instalment of the best PC gaming deals of this very fine week, and settle in for some sweet, sweet discounts.
Currently I am working on building a home for Sin in The Sims 4, much like I built a home for Alice 0. This means I've been looking for a lot of plant and outdoor bits and pieces, because Alice O is well into plants, and for Sin's home I am taking a little inspiration from her natural Minecraft hermitage.
Unfortunately, the UK has been ravaged by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis for two consecutive weekends, so going outside to sit on a lounger is but a pipe dream. But a dream we can live out in The Sims 4, at least, thanks to this lovely wicker patio set by Peacemaker-ic
This week's free games on the Epic Store will have you murdering unsuspecting Englishmen and playing cards against your friends on a magical hex board. That's right, it's Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Faeria! I'll let you figure out which description goes with which game.
Earlier this week, Valve's Index VR set was still sold out almost entirely around the globe just a month away from their own upcoming VR-only Half-Life: Alyx. No official word had come from Valve on the cause for the short stock or any estimate on when more units would be available. Previously we were only able to speculate on the cause for the hangup. Valve have now confirmed that the ongoing coronavirus health crisis has put a spanner in production of the Index headsets.
If you couldn't tell from the title, The Suicide Of Rachel Foster makes sure you know it's about proper issues with one of them big content warning screens up front. Normally these feel a bit like grandstanding. There are sensible ways to deliver content warnings, and a game signposting that it is extremely serious business in massive white letters on a black background usually means that, in reality, the contents of it are pretty milquetoast.
I would have said that about The Suicide Of Rachel Foster too, at least based on the bulk of the game. It's a decent enough first person explorey mystery along the lines of Firewatch or Gone Home, but, you know, not as good as either of those. Then, in the last half hour or so, it goes properly off the rails and the content warning is proven necessary. Not in a good way.
Ever since Minecraft got us hooked on surviving its deadly nights and sinister, snickering foes over a decade ago, there have been wave upon wave of new survival games to scratch our deepest masochistic itches. Attempting to tackle them all at once, however, would probably lead to an early grave, so we've put together this list of the very best survival games on PC to help satisfy those cravings for Darwinian supremacy. Whether you love punching trees, surviving against the elements or simply stuffing your belly with as much grub as you can manage, there's a survival game with your name on it.
From today until Monday, Apex Legends is taking us back to Kings Canyon. Not just any version of Kings Canyon either, we're going all the way back to the Season 1 map, before those strange dino creatures started stomping across it.
It's weird to think about playing on that year-old map again - will muscle memory kick in helping us navigate the original layout? Will we remember all those old hiding spots Caustics would sit in to murder everyone? I don't know! But I'm real excited to find out.
There's big news in the draw pile for Hearthstone, apparently. The collectible card game's three-a-year expansion cycle tends to run from April to April, and if last year's timings are anything to go by, we can expect a reveal of the next year's theme, plus an idea of upcoming content, in the next week or so. What's making this a bigger deal than usual is the small army of streamers and the like Blizzard called to their big castle in Stormwind this week, for a "community summit" that left some big names - and some other chumps - tweeting serious hype. A certain amount of "this will blow your mind" is to expected from such events, but it certainly seems more intense than usual this time around.
Hearthstone's Year Of The Dragon, currently coming to a close, was pretty good. Blizzard pulled off their plan to link together three updates in a narrative sequence, and in the process knocked out not just three card sets that dragged the meta away from the polarised monotony it had been stuck in, but three single player expansions that had a lot of sticking power (even if they still weren't as good as the Kobolds & Catacombs dungeon run). There was a real sense - particularly by the time Descent of Dragons, the third expansion, dropped in December last year - that Blizzard's Team 5 had really turned the game up to eleven for the Year Of The Dragon, from the power level of the cards, right through to the weird, Warcraft-but-it's-a-Saturday-morning-cartoon vibe of the game's lore. So where is there to go from here? Here are my predictions:
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CD Projekt say The Witcher 3 has now sold enough on Steam to qualify for the biggest sales cut available on Valve's platform. Hitting $50 million (£38m) means Valve will only take 20% - which is still more than Epic take from all and any sales from any game. Congratulations to The Witcher for reaching that 80% cut, but it is wild that even a game this big has taken so long to score Steam's best deal.
A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories involving virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you know what the G stands for in TGV, or can put these three battles – Guam, Goose Green, Guadalajara – in chronological order, you should probably click where it says…
This week, Sea Of Thieves introduced some very angry treasure chests - appropriately named Chests Of Rage. These chests are pretty needy, if you don't pay attention to them they blow up, engulfing everything around them in fire, and letting out a hearty scream as they do so. As it turns out, that scream is the voice of none-other than the game's award-winning composer, Robin Beanland, and he's treated us Sea Of Thieves fans to a lovely video of one of his recording sessions.
It's literally just a recording of a dude yelling his head off.
The greasy realm of the videogame is not always the best place to look for good writing. For every Disco Elysium there are roughly 800 Detroit: Beyond Humans. But it is a good place to look for wondrous, over-the-top nonsense. I’m talking about character dialogue so flamboyant and exaggerated, you could insert some line breaks and it would instantly become a verse in a glam rock anthem. Here are the 12 most extravagant, exuberant, and intense lines of dialogue. In games, subtext is just whatever’s written on the side of the nuclear submarine.
Castle Crashers was, like predecessor Alien Hominid, a beautifully animated, arcady, 2D scrolling beat ‘em up by The Behemoth. It eventually made it to PCs in 2012, although it was out on console in 2008. Curiously, however, I know for sure that I played it in 2007 - I guess it must have been a demo, or something. But good grief, what a vivid memory I have of playing it. Yep, that’s right - prepare for another wild swerve off the road of talking about the actual game, and into the rugged backcountry of soul-rummaging reflection.
A series of Formula 1-y races are coming to GTA Online on February 27th, Rockstar announced today. I say 'Formula 1' because that's the one I know, but I suppose the upcoming Open Wheel Race Series could be inspired by F2, or IndyCar, or... look, it's those weird cars shaped like fighter jets, okay. While those races don't start until next Thursday, crimepeople do have the opportunity to win one of its new cars now. The Progen PR4 is the grand prize on the Diamond Casino's free-to-spin prize wheel this week, see, and that's the only official way to get it before the launch.
Just when you thought it was safe to take the plunge on a VR headset in time for Half-Life: Alyx, HTC have just gone and announced three new Vive Cosmos headsets to spice up your virtual window shopping. Dubbed the Vive Cosmos Elite, Vive Cosmos XR and Vive Cosmos Play, all three headsets will have the same 2880x1700 resolution display and overall design as the original Cosmos, but their level of tracking capability will vary depending on which headset you go for - presumably to make them more competitive against the Cosmos' cheaper, lower-end Oculus and more expensive, higher-end Index rivals. Here's everything you need to know.
The long-forgotten Borderlands film might actually be making some headway, as Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford tweeted that Eli Roth has joined the team to direct it. Roth is known for making a fair few horror flicks (as well as that one weird family film where Jack Black plays a warlock that saves the world), so, yeah, no idea what his link is with Borderlands really.
Pitchford deleted the tweet announcing all the new film stuff this almost immediately - but the internet never forgets, Randy.
There's nothing quite as unsettling as being shot at in Apex Legends by a character that's just a gun and a floating head. As someone who plays Mirage, seeing a character essentially steal my abilities is bang out of order. Bangalore-out of order, actually, because she's the character that whose body was kind of... disappearing when wearing certain skins.
This attempt to usurp Mirage players is nearly over though, as Respawn are working on a fix to make Bangalore fully visible again.
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