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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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The Game Awards are just around the corner, a week from today on December 12th. The show's host and producer, Geoff Keighley, is running an Ask Me Anything on Reddit today where he confirms that there are "around 10 new games/projects" being revealed at the show. To his knowledge, none of them have been leaked yet.

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The stylistically low-res game about snapping photos of little birds in your house has landed on itch.io today.  Toripon 鳥ポン may be tiny but it's packed in some personality in the form of a bird-based social network where fake folks comment on your lovely bird snaps with eloquent appreciation like "Yaaasss."

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Feature: Another block in the wall

Portraits of Roblox’s leading makers: the scale breakers

Roblox first launched just over 13 years ago. That’s 13 years of slapdash user-made trash populated by nine year-old trolls, right? Not quite. Roblox is also one of videogames’ most underestimated communities; it’s a huge and vibrant place of play and creation where fortunes and talent are being forged.

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Feature: Everything and kitchen (heat)sink

WD Black SN750 Heatsink review: Do you need a heatsink on your next gaming SSD?

When WD first announced they were redesigning their top-tier Black NVMe SSD to look more gamer-friendly earlier in the year, I must admit that I rolled my eyes a bit. After all, what could you possibly do to an SSD the size of a chewing gum stick that would make it look tangibly different to any other chewing gum stick-sized SSD? Well, in the case of WD's vanilla Black SN750, all it boiled down to was a slightly different sticker on the front. Its more upmarket heatsink version, though? I take it all back. This SSD is a thing of beauty. But is it really worth paying all that extra money for and is it a better SSD than our best gaming SSD champs? Here's wot I think.

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Feature: Roll 'em high

The 10 best board games on PC

Did you hear? Board games are cool again. In fact, they’re so cool that big hitters from the cardboard world are making their way over to the digital one on a more and more regular basis. To help you get your virtual collection of cardboard started, we’ve gathered the 10 best board games available on PC today, all in one handy list. You’ll find co-op hits, thinky strategy and everything in-between. The thing they all have in common is that they’re worth your time and precious pennies, so there’s no need to roll the dice, so to speak.

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Euro Truck Simulator 2—or as I, an American, call it: unafforable vacation simulator—has a new region dropping today. The next expansion available for one of few games to rival The Sims for number of DLCs is headed to eastern Europe with the Road To The Black Sea.

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Feature: But does it do enough to stand out from the crowd?

Speedlink’s Orios is a small mouse that plays a big RGB game

For a small, streamlined gaming mouse, the Speedlink Orios sure knows how to announce itself. Replete with RGBs around the side of the mouse, scroll wheel and rear logo, this rainbow infused clicker is almost as much a sight for the eyes as the holey Glorious Model O-. Indeed, with its slender frame and weight of 95g, the Speedlink Orios definitely leans more toward that Glorious school of ultralight gaming mouse than, say, Corsair's palm-hogging Glaive Pro RGB, but it does so without puncturing its chassis with a bunch of holes to really let those LEDs sing.

It's also quite a loud gaming mouse with a very distinct clicking sound, but its switches do at least feel firm and responsive in-game. It is worth considering over other small gaming mice, though? Here's wot I think.

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Feature: No chief? no grief.

5 reasons why Reach is the best Halo game

I can’t help but love Halo. It’s one of the few things that lodged firmly enough in my teenage heart to build itself a permanent nest there, and it still comes and goes freely, even though the iron gate of age has barred so much else from getting in. Ever since 2001, when I saved to buy an OG Xbox purely for the sake of playing Combat Evolved, I’ve gotten needlessly excited about playing each new release on launch day. I was also the guy Nate wrote this article about.

Over the last eighteen years, we’ve slugged through pretty much every new release in the series together, and they’ve burned a string of happy little plasma scars on my brain, each one a memorial anchor for a whole period of my life. A decision to join the army in my early twenties saw me playing Halo 3 in drafty barracks in Wales, about to be sent to Afghanistan. Despite feeling incredibly removed from normal life, just a few bars of the theme, or the familiar clatter of the battle rifle, would instantly transport me back to a sort of home.

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You! Are the Crystal Gems! You'll always save the day! And if you think you can't, you'll have to stump up £10.40 for one of the Steven Universe characters Brawlhalla just added. Last night's update to the platform fighting game also introduced a new mode where you punch the opposing team to trap them in bubbles, as is Steven's wont.

I haven't played much Brawlhalla because I can't get my fingers to understand I'm not playing Smash, but it's a neat, free, PC-based alternative. It's done plenty of crossover nonsense in the past, but Adventure Time means little to me while Steven Universe is a cartoon that's close to my heart.

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Nordic action-RPG Rune 2 released on November 12th. The next day, its developers Human Head Studios announced their closure and that all of its development team were offered new positions at a new studio with Bethesda. Apparently they failed to mention this crucial detail to Rune 2's publisher. Now Ragnarok Game are suing Human Head to regain control of the game's source code and assets.

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With Destiny 2 now in the final week of its Season Of The Undying, Bungie have shared a look at the what's next: a return to Mercury in the Season Of Dawn. The Cabal have big plans to rewrite history while our old pal Osiris has been fiddling with Vex tech to save legendary Titan hardarse Saint-14. Along with picking up story strands, the season will introduce a new six-player matchmade activity to replace the outgoing Vex Offensive, and Bungie showed a bit today in a livestream.

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Frog Detective 2 has a release date now. A very soon one, as well. The second in what's now a series of frog-led investigation games is coming to Steam next Monday, December 9th. This time, the amphibious detective is looking for an (allegedly) invisible wizard.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 is allegedly an action game about a gun-slingin' guy named Arthur Morgan but to many of us it's become an Old West simulator where we can live the simple life hunting game and looking at trees unbothered by society. Exploration is king in RDR2 but the one place we can't explore is a place we took for granted in the previous game: Mexico.

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Feature: Worth a thousand words

How Katana Zero brought action into cutscenes

When a game’s cutscene begins and the dialogue starts spooling, I can’t help it. My phone comes out and I’m scrolling. From being active I’ve suddenly become passive, and rather than stay engaged, my brain impulsively turns to Twitter, Reddit, anything, to feed its pathetic desire for reward through light interaction.

But I don’t during Katana Zero’s cutscenes. When this action game halts its razor-fine combat to tell you its story, I sit forward. That’s down to its interrupt system, which lets me choose whether I want to hear NPCs out, or whether I want to tell them to shut up. “I honestly hope more games adopt the interrupt system, if nothing else because it just feels like a much better way to tell stories,” developer Justin Stander tells me. “It’s less reading and more doing.”

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Have you ever looked at your computer table with its keyboard, mouse, monitor, gamepad, and mousemat and thought "These are some nice lumps of gaming plastic, but what if I had dozens more and they were tiny?" For you, reader dear, our corporate family at Gamer Network today formally launched Dicebreaker, a new site and YouTube channel dedicated to covering tables in slabs of cardboard, sheets of paper, dice, counters, and wee plastic people. Apparently they use these to play board games, RPGs, card games, and that? It's like they've never heard of Tabletop Simulator.

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You can be killed by many things in run 'n' stab roguelike Dead Cells. There are pirate captains, football-sized assassins and horrible worms. There are robots that summon corpse flies, and skeletons in hats that turn into knife tornadoes. If you spend $5 on Dead Cells' first whack of paid DLC this January, you can also be chucked at spiky walls by mushroom men.

They're part of the Bad Seeds DLC, which adds another route through the game filled with plants and pricks with blow pipes. I'm lucky enough to have already spent an afternoon being chucked at spiky walls, as well as the chance to ask new split-off studio Evil Empire why they're charging for the privilege.

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Oh lawd, I thought the deals were finally over, but those sneaky folks at Samsung have just gone and started another better-than-Black-Friday deal on their external Samsung T5 SSD. From now until December 25th in the UK, you can claim £90 cashback on the 2TB model of the T5, taking its usual price of £270 down to just £180 - which is a heck of a lot more tempting than its Black Friday deal price of £245. There's also £40 cashback to be had on the 1TB model as well, taking this normally £145 SSD down to another Black-Friday-beating price of £105.

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It is a sad day for pretend archaeology. Firewatch developers Campo Santo have placed In The Valley Of Gods on hold, instead choosing to work on Half-Life: Alyx, Dota Underlords, and other Valve projects. This follows their move to Valve last year, which John (RPS in peace) quizzed them on at length in 2018. That means we've got a weird, melancholy portal into when Campo were excited about what the move would mean for their new game.

Half-Life with a sprinkling of Firewatch sounds neat and all, but I was looking forward to filming pyramids.

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Feature: Behold the cheetahmen

Have You Played… Action 52?

I guess Action 52 is a PC game, in the same way that a furious drunk forcing a hand through your letterbox at 3am is a house guest. I mean, it was a game, of sorts, and I certainly played it on a PC, so that’ll do, right? Usually with these pieces, I’ll open up a couple of tabs in my browser and do some cursory research to make sure my memories of a game haven’t strayed too far from the truth, but in this case I’m not going to. I have so little respect for Action 52, I will simply scrape the contents of my mind onto the screen, like an inedible takeaway curry being slid into a bin.

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