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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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I like neat AI stuff. The prospect of making machines autonomously clever (whatever that means) is a fundamentally exciting concept to me, even though there are plenty of ways in which AI is being and will be used to make people's lives worse. I'm therefore a prime target for Two Minute Papers, a YouTube channel that takes interesting research papers and presents them with hyper-infectious enthusiasm.

One of their latest vids is about an AI someone's managed to trick into being really good at generating realistic basketball movements from a tiny amount of data. I don't understand how, but I don't particularly want or need to. This man just wrapped up his vid by whooping "what a time to be alive", and you know what? It is.

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We've got sitcoms based on game development, so hows about repaying the favour with a playable comedy series? That's the idea behind 3 Out Of 10, an interactive animated series from Mothergunship developers Terrible Posture Games. Debuting on the Epic Games Store today, each week should see the release of a new episode following the hijinks of a hapless gamedev studio trying to create their first half-decent hit.

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Feature: But please, call me Animal

Podcast episode 104: Mr Animal Peperami

This week's Electronic Wireless Show is a bit quick and dirty - like a spiced pork meat snack. We loved talking about baddies so much last time that we've done a bit of a lateral move, and have each brought our favourite 'bad' game to the pod-table. Because secretly, all games are good.

As ever, there is a healthy dose of chat along with our game talk. Nate's watery menagerie is multiplying at an alarming pace because all the animals are having sex, and he is also eating a lot of #BigOats, and basically Matthew and I want to talk about detectives again. Plus: weird old school adverts, KFC, and the return of the return of the Five Nights At Freddy's Book Club!

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An ominous shadow falls across the Earth, cast by a tentacled beast that reaches out to grasp the planet. Impostor Factory, the final game in the To The Moon series, is not effing around. Whatever journey the game will take you on, it involves the apocalypse, a time-travelling bathroom, and reliving lives. It is a “wholesome celebration of the bloody end of the world”, as the new trailer shows.

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It can be lonely being a Wargroove multiplayer fan. I hopped into Chucklefish’s Advance Wars-inspired strategy game the other day and there was only one game in the public lobby. I’m too shy to join such a game, so I left. But the latest patch might make that less of an issue, as it gathers up all the console versions and the PC and lets them play together.

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We're only a week away from our next dive into Cyberpunk 2077's neon-filled Night City, as CD Projekt Red have just announced their next Night City Wire showcase will be streamed on August 10th. The last one provided a nice little insight into some of the features we can expect to see in CD Projekt Red's upcoming RPG, and this one looks to be a similar affair. This time round they'll be taking a closer look at the game's character backgrounds, or "life paths", as well as showing the different types of weapons we'll be able to get our cybernetic hands on.

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As far as lockdown hobbies go, invasive surgery's a bit of a strange one. But if you insist on getting snappy with a scalpel, Surgeon Simulator 2 is opening the operating theatre a little early with a closed beta. Kicking off tomorrow, Bossa will give you a few days to get used to a stranger's insides before the medically-trainer hand-wobbler opens the hospital doors later this month.

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Drink More Glurp is a game about aliens who simply do not understand the Olympics. They think that it's all about paid sponsorships, and as a result, their sponsors have weirded-up all the events, making it so these poor aliens have to deal with increasingly bizarre competitions. Now, when I say aliens I mean you, because they're who you play as in this quirky party game. It's no small fry sports competition either, 'cos you can play it locally with up to 20 people. 20!

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Save $450 on this Asus RTX 2070 gaming laptop

Gaming laptops are expensive at the best of times, especially if you want one with a decent graphics chip inside it and isn't the size of a small vehicle. Happily, Newegg have chopped a massive $450 off Asus' ROG Strix Hero III laptop today, taking this normally $2000 gaming machine down to a much more appealing $1550. That's still a sizeable amount of cash, of course, but you do get an RTX 2070 graphics chip inside it, a Core i7 processor, a 144Hz display and a 512GB SSD.

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Feature: Look without to look within

What Fall Guys can teach us about the nature of humanity

What makeths a man? The finest minds of our generation have already pitted their wits against this most fundamental of questions, and you may (fairly!) scoff at any newcomer with the audacity to trample over established wisdom with his own. Nevertheless, that is exactly what I shall now endeavor to do, for I believe I have access to a vital cultural artifact my predecessors were temporally denied. As the enlightened among you will already know, it is our inestimable joy and good fortune to be born into the same epoch as Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, a battle royale game about squidgy jelly beans completing obstacle courses.

I believe this provides a lens through which our assumptions can, nay, must be overturned. Ask not what maketh a man. Ask what maketh a Fall Guy.

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In what might be considered an unsurprising move, Ninja was back on Twitch yesterday - if only for a brief couple of hours. He played a bit of Fortnite's new Joyride update with Dr Lupo in his first stream on the platform since he left for Microsoft's now-dead Mixer last year. The popular lad had managed to rack up 100,000 viewers when I caught part of the stream early on yesterday, so his audience is clearly still there, though it doesn't seem like he'll be pledging himself to Twitch again just yet.

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If you've been hankering for some more Dark Souls-like action after playing Mortal Shell's free open beta last month, you won't have to wait much longer, as developers Cold Symmetry have confirmed it's coming out in full on August 18th. This action-RPG is the very first game from Cold Symmetry, and it is truly a love letter to all things Soulsborne - gothic settings, huge freaky enemies and brilliantly bulky weapons with which to whack them with. I'm sold, tbh.

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My phone is not a phone. I message on it, I poke things on it, and I take photos of my cat with it. Phoning people is the last thing I want to do with it. I also used to chase after llamas on my snowboard on it, but now I can do that on the PC as Alto’s Adventure and Alto's Odyssey, two lovingly crafted endless runners, are now coming to the Epic Games Store as The Alto Collection, and they’ll be free for the first week.

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Feature: Broaden your horizons

Horizon Zero Dawn is properly lovely in ultrawide, most of the time

Guerrilla Games have really gone to town on the PC port of Horizon Zero Dawn. Not only have they unlocked the game's frame rate and added in shinier graphics presets to give it PS4-beating performance on relatively low-end hardware, but it's also one of 2020's big PC games to get 21:9 ultrawide support. The latter is something I've been particularly looking forward to after the superb ultrawide shenanigans of its Decima Engine-sharing stablemate Death Stranding, and so I thought I'd take a closer look at how Horizon Zero Dawn's 21:9 support works on PC, showing you what it looks like at 3440x1440 and how it deals with the game's cutscenes.

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The standard edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator costs £59, but like me trying to show my parents their house from a Airbus A320neo, we can go lower. A lot lower, as it turns out. Here’s how you can play (but not own) what’s looking to be the first game of the next, next, next-generation for as low as £1. And you get over 200 other games with it as well.

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It seems to be all go on Samsung deals this week, as Amazon have slashed the prices on two Samsung gaming monitors today as part of their wider Samsung sale event. Technically, they're different models of the same display, Samsung's CJG5. One is a curved 32in model, while the other is a curved 27in job, but the important thing is that both of these 144Hz, 2560x1440 screens are back down to the same price they were over last year's Black Friday period, making it a good time to pick them up.

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Feature: GROUND BEES

Grounded’s co-op is fantastic, if you can get it to work

I threw a spear at the first person to harm an ant. They were warned. But the lag meant I kept missing and it just got a bit embarassing, so we retrieved the spears and went back to scouting for dewdrops.

Grounded's multiplayer has captured something special. Even after several hours (which flew by for all of us), we found it hard to pin down exactly what about it was so... likeable. In its current state of development, I can't quite recommend it as wholeheartedly as I want to. We had too many technical problems. But if it can overcome those during its early access period, it may well be game of the year material.

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Samsung’s 970 Evo SSD is going cheap today

The Samsung 970 Evo may have been replaced by the 970 Evo Plus quite some time ago, but when the UK's BT Shop currently has the 500GB model for a very agreeable £78 versus the Plus' usual going price of over £100, this is one SSD deal that's definitely worth snapping up if you're in need of some new storage. They've also got the 1TB model for £138, which is a good £40 cheaper than its equivalent Plus model.

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Fornite’s cars have arrived

It's time to collect your driving licence, because Fortnite's Joyride update just added some shiny new vehicles for you to race around in. There are four cars/trucks for players to find across the battle royale now, each allowing you to pick up your buds, hang out the windows and cause some carnage. You can even stick on their radios for a little sing-along if you fancy.

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As Prison Architect proved, you can hide dark themes inside a cute wrapper and people will swallow it. It now looks like the ‘70s set Honey, I Joined A Cult is trying to pull off the same trick.

The upcoming cult management sim just got a shiny new trailer, and confirms it's coming to early access in 2021. The pitch is that you design a cult HQ and recruit acolytes to your ‘cause’ while dealing with the nosey press (ugh, hate those guys) and rival heretics. I’ve double-checked and the trailer contains no subliminal messages. Now join us, brothers and sisters! I mean, let’s watch the trailer. Ahahhahaa.

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If you've played as or against Valorant's explodey agent Raze, you'll know that her ultimate ability is pretty darn strong. It's basically a massive rocket launcher that fires off a single shot, but one so powerful it can instantly kill all enemies in a decent-sized blast radius. As you might expect, it can be pretty hard to avoid, so in yesterday's Act 2 patch Riot Games put in a small nerf for it. Except, something went very wrong with said nerf, because after the patch went live, she was able to fire multiple rockets at her poor unsuspecting foes.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance was released. 21 years ago, in fact. But to look at the work the people at X-Wing Alliance Upgrade are doing to the classic space dogfighting game you wouldn't think it was from the '90s. They’ve added dynamic cockpits, modern lighting, upgraded all the ship models, and have even ported it to VR. Below is a comparison between the original game and the updated version that’ll get your midi-chlorians flowing.

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The battle-royale-but-not-like-that videogame known as Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has exploded. In a good way. Everyone and their squishy cartoon dog has been playing it, to the point where developers Mediatonic had to repeatedly take down their servers for beefing purposes.

It's a game show in the vein of Total Wipeout, or possibly an extremely squidgy version of Takeshi's castle. Players are whittled down from 60 as they get eliminated via various mini-games, then whoever's left has to race up a hill, dodging obstacles in the hope of being the first to grab a crown. So far I've played two matches and wound up cackling in near constant delight - but for now I just want to show you some of the best Falls from the internet. I can virtually guarantee they will improve your Wednesday.

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Feature: Now bring me that horizon

Horizon Zero Dawn on PC comfortably outperforms PS4 in this brilliant port

Horizon Zero Dawn stomps onto PC in just two days time, and I've been playing an early build of Guerrilla Games' post-apocalyptic cyber dino-hunting adventure to see how it runs now that it's left the confines of its console box origins. The results, I'm pleased to say, are excellent. Not only is this the best-looking version of Horizon Zero Dawn, what with its extra graphics settings and ultrawide monitor support, but it's also the smoothest thanks to its uncapped frame rates.

I'll be taking a closer look at what kind of speeds you can expect from a variety of today's top graphics cards on Friday when the game comes out, but right now I thought I'd put Horizon Zero Dawn's recommended GTX 1060 spec through its paces to see what it's made of. Can it hold a candle to its engine-sharing stablemate Death Stranding? Let's find out.

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Feature: Robot t-rexstasy

The PC port is the best way to play Horizon Zero Dawn

Folks, the time has almost come. Yes, Horizon Zero Dawn's PC release is mere days away. Soon, Guerrilla Games' former Sony exclusive will be unleashed on a new segment of the game playing public like a big robot dinosaur set free in a water park.

We here at RPS are looking at HZD from several angles, so while Nate is down in the wordmines right this second, and hardware editor Katharine puts together more excellent hardware and performance focused analysis, myself and Matthew are here to bring you a delicious video review. The adventures of future post-apocalypse warrior Aloy are a sight to behold on PC. In fact, I'd go so far as to say this is probably the best version of Horizon Zero Dawn you can get your paws on.

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Blizzard have confirmed that they’ll be hosting BlizzCon as an online event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual celebration of their games and communities was cancelled this year, with a suggestion that they’ll be holding it virtually in 2021. During a recent earnings call, Blizzard’s president J. Allen Brack confirmed that it will be happening “early 2021”.

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Feature: She's got an insect to ride

Warframe: Heart Of Deimos is about mechs, insect surfing and a dash of kismet

You could accuse Digital Extremes of being a bit on the nose with their latest Warframe expansion. The world is in the grip of a pandemic and up they pop at their annual TennoCon convention (now streamed, for full social distancing) with Heart Of Deimos: a gooey, pulsating update revolving around a trip to a moon in the grip of a parasitic infestation. But unlike real life, on Deimos you can distract yourself from lockdown woes by riding a giant dragonfly. Imagine steering one of those bad boys to Durham Castle.

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Feature: Dog eggs

Have You Played… ARK: Survival Evolved?

I had a mate at university who got home pissed at 2am and decided to boil himself an egg. Great idea at the time. But he passed out on the floor, the saucepan boiled dry, and the egg began to combust. When my mate woke up, it was because his whole building was being evacuated because of the billows of rancid egg smoke from his kitchen. See that egg, in your mind's eye? That's ARK: Survival Evolved, that is.

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