Battlefield 1’s final DLC, Apocalypse, thunders in next month

Battlefield 1

All good things must come to an end. Not to imply that World War 1 was good in the slightest, but the fanciful and oft-spectacular playground of historical inaccuracy that is Battlefield 1 is finally reaching the end of its extended development cycle.

Battlefield 1’s final DLC pack, Apocalypse, will launch in February. Set in the closing months of WW1, it brings the usual bundle of guns, vehicles, gimmicks and new features you’d expect from a Battlefield expansion, as well as an aerial-only playmode and five maps, although that number might seem a little cheeky if put under closer scrutiny.

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Final Fantasy XIV’s next update gets down with the clown on a ghost train

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV‘s update trailers continue to surprise and impress me. To call these ‘patches’ sells them short. Every few months in-between major expansions, the revived and highly successful story-driven MMO receives a good slab of episodic content continuing both the main plot arc, as well as expanding outwards into various side-stories and crossover events.

The next such episodic adventure, entitled Rise Of a New Sun (officially ‘patch 4.2’) is due at the end of the month, and looks set to be a nostalgic trip for Final Fantasy 6’s fans, as you can see in the video after the jump.

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Ys VIII delayed on PC again to fix performance problems

For a second time, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has been delayed mere days before it was due to launch on PC. Nihon Falcom’s JRPG had been due in September 2017 but was delayed one day before launch, and this new delay comes eleven days before the latest launch date. This time, publishers NIS America are being quite open: it’s delayed again because the game runs poorly and they haven’t managed to improve performance as much as they hoped, so they will hand the port to another developer, and they’re so sorry for all of this. They go into a surprising amount of detail with the technical problems, if you’re curious. Read the rest of this entry »

Total War: Warhammer 2 powering up Bretonnia when Tomb Kings arrive

The big news on the Total War: Warhammer II scene next week is the launch of its first expansion, Rise of the Tomb Kings (read our review of it), but there’s good news for an older faction too. Recognising that Bretonnia were a little left out when others were powered up for Twarhammer 2, developers Creative Assembly are buffing the fantasy Frenglishmen in the update launching alongside Tomb Kings. They’ll receive new tech and abilities, including tools to better combat the sequel’s new factions. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

I realise it’s trite to talk about the weather but we had a great bit of snow this week. I live off a main road it’s common to hear drunk people walking past talking, singing, or shouting in the middle of the night – but snow magically calmed some this week. 2am, two people spend a while going on outside my window, one of those halfhearted drunk arguments, but when they suddenly go quiet I worry something has happened. I poke my head out the window and… they’re building a snowman. They’re rolling snowballs around, snapping stickarms off Christmas trees out by the bins, and very quietly building a metre-tall snowman. Eventually they left, and took the snowman with them in their arms. Magical. Thanks, snow. Anyway, something something video games?

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on.

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Genital Jousting’s final cut thrusts into the limelight with story mode

Genital Jousting

Everyone loves a good dick joke, but Broforce studio Free Lives’ Genital Jousting is something else. It’s bizarrely visceral and meaty in a way that comedy schlongs rarely are. It feels a world away from the twirling phalluses of Mount Your Friends, with meat slapping against meat with uncanny gusto, accompanied by some quite unsettling Foley work.

Free Lives realize this, to some degree, and have attempted to put fears to rest and defuse some difficult questions with an extensive Q&A. It’s a complex, thorny thing and one I’m not especially willing to deep-dive into. What’s less complex is that the game has left early access and properly launched, including a solo story mode, as unusual as that sounds.

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We Happy Few to offer early access refunds after another delay

As development of swingin’ 60s survival game We Happy Few takes even longer than anticipated, and with no more updates due until the game fully launches, developers Compulsion Games have announced plans to temporarily pull the game from sale and offer refunds to everyone. Complusion are not abandoning development, to be clear, but they are delaying the full launch again – until summer 2018. That’ll be about a year after its last update, so they worry that people buying it won’t be satisfied with that as an early access experience. So they’re taking it off sale until it’s done, and offering refunds to those who want ’em. Read the rest of this entry »

Rusty Lake talk Rusty Lake, Twin Peaks,
and making money from properly free games

The Rusty Lake universe absolutely fascinates me. Consisting of nine free room escape oddities, and three longer premium puzzling adventures, each adds clues and confusion to a deeply creepy and unsettling mystery surrounding the eponymous lake. With the recent release of the superb Rusty Lake Paradise, I wanted to speak to the two-man development team to find out how it got started, where it’s going, and how they’ve managed to keep going while making so many properly free games. So I did.

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Dreamy flying game InnerSpace is Abzu’s awkward cousin

innerspace-pc

There are two games in recent memory which left me with an immediate thirst for more. Not in terms of story answers or glitzier sequels – it was simply that I wanted more of the same experience. I’d play a second Inside in a heartbeat – just more strings of strange and blackly comic scenes with well-judged, lethal puzzling. And I’d leap at the chance to swim in more of Abzu‘s gorgeous oceans, fish-watching anew. In lieu of that, InnerSpace looked like the next best thing – flying a spectral plane over land and undersea, gawping at fantasy fishies, revelling in glorious freedom of movement and a wash of colours, enduring no pressure other than that which I imposed upon myself.

InnerSpace isn’t that, despite appearances and more than a few similarities. InnerSpace is far too scared that I might get bored. And so there is smashing, and strafing, and chatty demi-gods aplenty.

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Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB and MM800c RGB Polaris review: The ultimate rainbow lightshow

Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB

When I first saw Corsair’s Scimitar mouse a couple of years ago, I thought it was the most bonkers-looking thing I’d ever seen. Just like its equally mad successor, the Scimitar Pro RGB I’ve got here, it had 12 mechanical buttons on the side. Twelve! This is a calculator, not a mouse, I thought to myself at the time. How could anyone possibly need 12 individual mouse buttons?

Of course, both the Scimitar and the Scimitar Pro RGB are often trailed by the words “MOBA” and MMO”, and I’m sure there’s a handful of such players who might find this kind of thing useful. Admittedly, neither genre is my particular forte, so I’m largely going to be looking at the Scimitar Pro RGB in the context of an ordinary gaming mouse. And just in case its four RGB lighting zones weren’t enough for you, I’ve also got Corsair’s MM800c RGB Polaris mouse mat here as well, which has – wait for it – FIFTEEN RGB lighting zones that can sync with the same theme on your Scimitar Pro for the ultimate desk-side rainbow show.

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Smashing shooter Crimsonland is free to play this weekend

crimsonland

This weekend, why not spend some time surrounded by creeping death that approaches from all sides in the form of horrid aliens and giant spiders? Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? What if I told you that you don’t even have to leave your house and that it won’t cost you a penny? SOLD, you’d say, and I’d patiently restate that you don’t need to pay anything at all.

Crimsonland, the top-down shooter that inexplicably doesn’t have a sequel (more on that shortly), is free to play via Steam right now and for the rest of the weekend. Hurrah! It’s great and you should definitely try it if you’re not allergic to Smash TV, monsters or the killing of monsters.

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Unknown Pleasures: The best five unsung games on Steam this week

Which new games on Steam have the most bestness?

Studies say that this week is the best week of the year to move house for gillionth time, attempt the thirteenth Herculean task of speaking to the one human in a Royal Mail call centre, then injure your back. Anti-frustration, then, would be a perfect theme for this week’s Unknown Pleasures.

Washing down an inadequate course of ibuprofen this week: artificial mortality, shotgun-based exploration, and zero gravity monster-dodging.

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PSA: mystery roadtrip game Hitchiker is currently free

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote with some appreciation of Hitchiker – First Ride, the initial chapter of a game about catching lifts across an uncanny America with a series of oddball strangers. They tell you their stories, and as, as they do, you become embroiled in a wider mystery – and the landscape shifts and drifts into weirdness too. It pulls from Lynch and the Cohens, and it’s perhaps a little to blunt about that, but its best trick is to evoke both the pleasant tedium of a long journey and the awkward getting-to-know-you conversations with a perfect stranger.

The big problem? Well, it was a Humble exclusive, bound up in their monthly subscription package – too tall an order for a purely curious mind. More ideal? Making this first chunk of the game free to all comers. Which is exactly what they’ve done, though only for the next few weeks.
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Have You Played… Wunderdoktor?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Pulling worms out of eye sockets, popping eyeballs back into those sockets, then retrieving the ghosts from inside someone’s skull might sound like a grisly business, but Wunderdoktor finds the fun in fungal infections. We’re talking actual toadstools growing where toadstools should not grow. Or bits of coral, or little dancing spikes, or whatever the heck else the denizens of Wunderdoktor’s strange and macabre world have managed to get lodged in their flesh.

There’s more to this delightful game than cute-gross visuals though. It’s brill. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think- Total War: Warhammer 2 – Rise of the Tomb Kings DLC

why the long, skinless face?

I can sympathise, at least a little, with the ancient Egyptian-themed undead known as the Tomb Kings, and who are Total War: Warhammer 2’s newest faction. A decade ago, I was trapped underneath the Great Pyramid of Giza for a mere 20 minutes while another tourist had a claustrophobia-induced panic attack. Waking up inside a pyramid and discovering that your innards are full of embalming fluid and you have only rags to hide your desiccated shame would, I imagine, be a little bit more unpleasant. No wonder they want to murder all the living.

With a chip on their bony shoulders and an appetite for power and conquest, the Tomb Kings are comfortable fit for Total War, even more so than their multitude of warlike adversaries. They’re an unceasing military machine that has yet to discover a problem that it can’t fling an infinite number of disposable animated corpses at, over and over again. This new faction is, however, something of an acquired taste, with some uneven integration into the campaign – but nonetheless the Tomb Kings are a surprisingly forgiving starting point for newcomers.

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The Flare Path: Catch of the Day

Not an easy week to be a wargame and simulation correspondent. If I bite my lip and try really hard I think I’ll be able to rattle off today’s column without mentioning the lovely DUSK, but I know I won’t be able to get through without acknowledging that cetacean in the room, Nantucket. Released yesterday, Picaresque’s piquant and pacy whaling RPG is far too close to that Age of Sail game we’ve been discussing for years to pass unhailed. I hope it hasn’t arrived too late to influence HMS, Every Single Soldier’s cutaway captaincy title. Read the rest of this entry »

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds reworks blue circle pace

The blue circle of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is a mysterious god. We cannot predict its whims, only hope that it favours us – then we thank it for its benevolence. Inside the circle is life, outside is death. Some say the circle gives the game structure by forcing us closer together, but I don’t think the circle cares or even knows we’re there. The-closing wall of electrodeath’s whims and motives will soon change again, as the developers are now testing changes to its speed and movements.

The devs are also gabbing about cheats, saying they’re preparing to wipe out another 100,000 cheaters they’ve found – and warning that if you’re fuming thinking you’ve spotted a cheater in a replay, it might just be a bug. Read the rest of this entry »

Best PC gaming deals of the week

dead-cells-art

The internet is currently aflame with hundreds of takes of varying heat levels based on Nintendo’s cardboard gaming venture, but that doesn’t concern us – unless, of course, some hardware company is working on something that involves stuffing your keyboard into a papercraft robot. This doesn’t mean there aren’t gadgets and games aplenty to salivate over in our little corner of the internet, though.

As always, we’ve gathered a batch of the best PC gaming deals of the week (UK, US and other places too) so far. This week: free Carmageddon, cheap Civ 6, gaming laptops, speedy SSDs and our 2017 GOTY.

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Age of Empires: Definitive Edition enters the Ultra HD era this February

Age Of Empires: Definitive Edition

The quiet success of Age of Empires II HD was a reminder that while they’ve fallen out of vogue somewhat, there’s an audience hungry for the twitchy-yet-cerebral thrills of the classic RTS genre. A revamp of the first game was due to follow that last year until it hit a last-minute delay, but now I’m happy to say that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition has both a release date and price tag, and both seem quite reasonable.

The only concerning element of this news is the mention that the game will be coming to ‘Windows 10 PCs’, implying that this will be yet another title exiled to exclusivity on Microsoft’s OS-tied storefront.

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Wot I Think: Nantucket

nantucketheader

My rotten sloop is wheezing into port, the decks slick with blubber and blood, and still it isn’t enough. The sea teems with life and before this day is done, I swear I will silence all of it. From our home port to the distant shores of Europe and Africa, the water will run red.

This is Nantucket, a strategic-RPG about the golden age of whaling. I’m hunting for Moby Dick but it’s a long voyage from lowly captain to vengeance and fate personified. Mostly, my time is spent stabbing tiny baby whales until they turn into piles of money and food.

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