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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

X4: Foundations review

The emptiness of space

82

The RPS Advent Calendar 2018, Dec 10th

A long way to go, a long way back

4

Unknown Pleasures: Business Time

The best new indie games on Steam

16

Latest posts

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Feature: Watson, the game is a bit silly

Have You Played… Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments?

There is a moment in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments where the detective has to identify a brand of cigar. “This scent is familiar to me, but in order to recognise it, I must combine my associations into one picture,” he says. You find yourself swivelling a stink cloud, aligning its wafting lines into a hidden image. Problem is, Holmes’ nose deals in broad stereotypes - it locates the stogie as Mexican in origin by arranging the smell into a picture of a sombrero. That legendary sombrero smell that all Mexicans have. I believe this one comes from Conan Doyle’s beloved story, The Case Of The Horribly Misjudged Minigame.

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I'm starting to think that Beyond Good And Evil 2 might just pull it off. In their latest showcase video and lengthy developer stream, Ubisoft Montpellier give us our broadest, clearest look at their game of fanciful open-world bandes dessinées-styled space piracy. In what's starting to look a bit like Mass Effect but in a vastly more interesting setting, we get a peek at some early ground combat, space travel, puttering around on a hoverbike and even going for an orbital space-walk. There's an early look at co-op, crew recruitment systems and plenty of tasty little details. Take a peek below.

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It's Doom's 25th birthday, and Id's classic FPS has grown up along with me. While I've enjoyed modern iterations such as 2016's reboot, the original's ever-mutating open source foundation and lively mod scene just won't let me go. When John Romero announced he was releasing a nine-level Doom episode built to 1993 spec, I shrugged, because that pales in comparison to what the Doom community have built this year. Let's dig into the winners of the 2018 Cacowards, Doomworld's annual mod ceremony, including some standalone, freeware games - no Doom mod experience needed.

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It might be Doom's birthday today, but its enthusiastic young cousin Dusk is invited to the party, bunny-hopping out of early access today. They grow up so fast, and David Szymanski's shooter has grown another two episodes in size since its debut in August last year, introducing new monsters and places to kill them in, plus a remarkably fun (if twitchy) deathmatch mode. The game has technically been complete in early access for a few days now. I got to play the final few levels over the weekend and loved them to bits. A launch trailer and my quick thoughts on the full game are below.

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Players of esports darling Rainbow Six Siege can now swear to their hearts content, so long as they don't mind their messages being forwarded to a moderation team. In a small developer blog post today, Ubisoft announced that they were rolling back a potentially over-zealous automatic ban feature intended to curb community toxicity. As of today, messages that would have previously earned a player a temporary time-out won't be broadcast, and instead sent to be "reviewed for inappropriate conduct". As funny as some auto-bans could be, this is probably for the best.

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The thing I love most about the HP Omen Mindframe is its name. Say it with me. MINDFRAME. It's so ridiculous it's actually come full circle into pure, unbridled brilliance, and I doubt there will be another headset in the history of gaming headsets that even comes close to matching its mad, bonkers moniker.

The HP Omen Mindframe's name isn't the only thing that sets this headset apart, though. Through some sort of thermoelectric magic, each earcup also has their own dedicated ear cooler. That's right. If you're the type of person who regularly finds their ears getting a bit sweaty after playing games all afternoon, the Mindframe will halt those salty droplets in their tracks and keep your ears nice and chilly. And surprisingly, it really does work.

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Feature: Life, but not as we know it

How one Vilmonic player cracked the genome of artificial life

"I've discovered that sexual reproduction in Vilmonic is extremely difficult."

Victoria wasn't happy with her fungaloids. She'd combined the genes from two mushrooms, but the results were disappointing: no matter what she tried, the results were mostly "non-viable life forms." Little did Victoria know that the next day, not only would those fungi be flourishing - she'd have written her name in their D.N.A.

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Warhammer: Vermintide 2's second chunk of DLC - Back To Ubersreik - is out now, bringing players back to the besieged and rat-infested city from the first game. The heroes were dramatically driven out of town in the first Vermintide's last bit of free DLC, so it should be interesting to see the old stone walls given a fresh lick of paint, and some new rats to blat. Back To Ubersreik contains three remastered missions from the original game, though Fatshark tease that "There might be more content..." - curious. A not-too-ratty launch trailer scurries around below.

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Having just wrapped up their live stream just moments ago, there's been some exciting updates announced for Monster Hunter: World. While the console versions will be getting a large number of the free updates first, they have been confirmed as coming at a later date to the PC version. All of this will drop at some point in the coming year, before the main new expansion - Monster Hunter World: Iceborne - which was announced at the same time. This new expansion will include a slew of new monsters to slay, as well as a host of other goodies for you to craft and new moves for your weapons. This guide will go over all the details we know so far for Iceborne, as well as details for the free updates that are coming to PC for Monster Hunter: World.

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1v4 horrorshow Dead By Daylight will finally switch from player-hosted peer-to-peer matches to proper dedicated servers next year, developers Behaviour have announced. That should mean less lag, fewer connection interruptions, and the end of the laggy host psycho killers (qu'est qu'ils sont?) having an advantage. The devs expect to launch dedicated servers in summer 2019, which is a fair way away but a fair sign of long-term commitment to continuing to improve Dead By Daylight.

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Celebrating the 25th birthday of Doom's shareware episode today, Id Software co-founder and level design wizard John Romero has announced he's making a whole new episode for the seminal first-person shooter. Sigil is its name, and launching free in February 2019 is its game. Romero calls Sigil "the spiritual successor to the fourth episode of Doom," the one added in the Ultimate Doom expansion, saying it "picks up where the original left off." While Sigil will be free, it is getting paid physical releases too, with the fanciest including "a pewter statue of John Romero's head on a spike."

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Read our finest PC game reviews

X4: Foundations review

The emptiness of space

82

Katamari Damacy Reroll review

We are made of star-stuff

27

In a monster-sized newsblast, Capcom have announced that Monster Hunter: World will next year receive a full expansion named Iceborne, a crossover bring Geralt from The Witcher to Monster Hunter with new quests, and new mega-tough versions of some nasty raid beasties. A demo is coming this week too. Busy times in Monsterland. Mostly I'm excited to see Geralt encounter Palico catpals. Please give Geralt a Palico.

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Feature: Charts and graphs and STATISTICS

Steam Charts: Christmas Miracle Edition

I don't what is this? How many? Are we sure we're in the right charts? This is definitely the Steam Charts, where the mad-brained broken people just buy the same four games over and over and over? Because something is up. People have only bought the same three games over and over!

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If you're curious about BioWare's sci-fi shooter RPG Anthem but have no luck with closed alpha invitations, hey, chillax: a three-day open beta is coming in February. EA call this an "open demo" rather than the usual "open beta", but a demo isn't open for only three days several weeks before launch so I'll use the technically-incorrect-but-widely-known term thank you, much to the chagrin of software developers who take terminology seriously.

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After inventing indie games in the year of our Molyneux 2010 with Super Meat Boy, Meat Boy and Bandage Girl will return with Super Meat Boy Forever in April 2019. That's the news from Team Meat over the weekend, who also confirmed that the auto-running platformer sequel is yet another game that will debut exclusively on the Epic Games Store, the new digital shop from the folks behind Fortnite. A Steam release is planned too, but it'll come one year later - same as some other Epic scloosies.

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When they're not being used as central plot beats in books that endorse rose-tinted megalomania while ignoring the root causes of staggering societal inequality, Easter eggs can be pretty cool. They're at their best when you stumble across them yourself, of course, but after John's Just Cause 4 review I'm not touching it with a ten foot long grappling hook.

I'm glad some people are playing though, because it meant I got to see Rico Rodriguez walk into his very own Take On Me music video.

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Feature: The emptiness of space

X4: Foundations review

X4: Foundations is how I imagine Brian Cox imagines space. It’s big and impressive, because Brian Cox can grasp those two concepts just fine. But any actual fine detail is lost in sheer gawking wonder at just how big and amazing everything is. From minute one, the game offered me a lot of choices, but turned out as evasive as a buttered rat when it came time to convince me that any of those choices were worth caring about.

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Feature: *blip* and *zhroooom* mark the spot

Have You Played… Hidden Folks?

Hidden Folks *bling!* is a hidden object game that's *whooooosh!* immensely satisfying to play yourself *thwip!* but an absolute nightmare for anyone else to listen to *boing!*

That's because *pfftttt* as you may have guessed *thwap!* every single click results in a *plink!*, *zip!* and the occasional *dingalingaling!* as you poke and prod its giant Where's Wally canvas (or Waldo, for the yanks out there) to find its errant citizens, fruit, birds and (sometimes) monkeys. All right, I'll stop with the noises now.

*brrrring!*

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The third episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will finally arrive on January 15th, 2019, Skybound Games have announced. Episode three, 'Broken Toys', was initially due to launch on November 6th but it was somewhat held up by developers Telltale Games shutting down and all. Skybound, the owners of The Walking Dead, have rounded up some former Telltale folks under their own games division to finish the four-episode finale, and now they're rolling again.

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Feature: Read more

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for finding new people to play board games with, because your new housemates insist that anything beyond Anomia is "too much". You can read the best writing about videogames from the past week too, if you insist.

On Eurogamer, Wesley Yin-Poole spoke to the Fallout 76 roleplayers who are determined to wring fun out of a game that's been almost universally panned. They might actually be succeeding. Sort of.

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Conan's gamelords Funcom have announced that the barbarian's fantasy land is to host a real-time strategy game, Conan Unconquered, made by Petroglyph Games. Petroglyph the studio founded by several former Command & Conquer folks, who've since come on to make games including Grey Goo and Star Wars: Empire At War. Conan Unconquered sounds a curious one, with base-building and wall-raising and armies and all that... in service of surviving waves of enemy attackers. It's a wave-survival RTS. And it has two-player co-op. And you can summon honking great monsters like that ↑ bronze chap to help. Huh!

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Daybreak Game Company, the H1Z1 and PlanetSide 2 mob formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment, have laid off an unconfirmed number of staff. It's the second wave of layoffs at Daybreak this year, and a real tough time to be laid off. It's the usual "optimising our structure" sort of reason. Daybreak say they'll continue to run their current and are working on new games too.

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To celebrate Company Of Heroes 2's fifth birthday (its fifth birthday... six months ago?), Sega are giving Relic's World War 2 real-time strategy sequel away for free on Steam. Grab it by Monday and it's yours for keepsies. They did the same with its fourth birthday last year but it's still nice for people who didn't know CoH last year, or didn't know it well enough to be invited to its birthday party, leaving them in an awkward position when their pals start talking about antics from the party then go quiet when they remember you weren't invited. "It's fine," you said, "I don't know them that well." This year you do, my friend. This year you do. Get in.

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Feature: Christmas dating sims!

Priceless Play – 7 December 2018

It's December now, and I've already burned through a barrage of Netflix-original Christmas romantic comedies. To be fair, it's not just the holiday season that puts me into the romcom spirit but it is a good catalyst. Whether it's You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Groundhog Day or The Holiday and The Christmas Prince, hook me up to an IV and put the popcorn on. I am here for these questionable displays of romantic affection from men with chiseled jaws, dark hair, and other indistinguishable features.

If you, unlike me, don't have the time or mental bandwidth to consume romcoms en masse and ad nauseum (even I have my off days), perhaps some short dating sims are more your speed. They can pack the same punch -- and if you don't have the time to boot up a BioWare game, sometimes you can get there in 1/10th the time. Here are a few quick ones to get you into the lovey-dovey holiday spirit.

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Feature: WELL?

What are we all playing this weekend?

Christmas is coming! You haven't bought enough presents yet! The ones you have bought are rubbish! Your family are all going to say terrible things about you behind your back! Auntie Linda thinks you're even more despicable than Cousin Gertrude!

Pfft, leave those eggnags to their traditions. You? You deserve to wrap yourself up in a lovely warm videogame. But which one will you be playing this weekend? If it helps, these are ours.

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Feature: So many great games this year

The RPS Omnibus: A roundup of our features and reviews

The past week saw the start of the RPS Advent Calendar, our yearly celebration of the best PC games of the year. You can find those and more linked below, among a roundup of our week's features and reviews.

Oh, and if you'd like a newsletter version of something similar to this, then we've now got two of those for you. There's a daily which automatically sends you our most popular stories each day, and a weekly which we handcraft with links and witty insight (or drivel, depending on my mood). You can subscribe to one or both at this handy RPS newsletter page.

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Psychonauts 2 is looking exactly how a Psychonauts 2 should. Double Fine have kept the hype-engine on their Lucasartsian platform adventure sequel gently idling since their crowdfunding drive in 2016. Last night at the game awards they gave it a quick rev. Somehow, this is the first real trailer for the game - familiar, but with some exciting new sights, sounds and people to meet. Oh, and terrible puns being called out by its own characters, because it wouldn't be a Tim Schafer game otherwise. Open your mind's eye below.

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