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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Lawyer ‘em up Ace Attorney isn’t technically a PC game yet, but it will be come April 9th, and in anticipation Capcom have been putting up blogs about various aspects of the point-and-shout games. Most recently, Janet Hsu from the localisation team has dug into the game’s famous (and often groan-worthy) puns, explaining how they get from Japanese wordplay to English witticisms.

It does include spoilers for the third game in the trilogy, Trials And Tribulations, so proceed with caution if you’re still waiting to be able to play them from your desktop.

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At GDC this week, Blizzard gave a talk discussing the endorsement system that they added to Overwatch last summer, claiming that it reduced bad behaviour in the first person shooter by 40%. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, even if we take Blizzard’s own numbers totally at face value, it’s that remaining 60% you’re actually going to notice playing the game and interacting with the community.

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Feature: WELL?

What are we all playing this weekend?

Now I respect the astronomical calendar as much as the next hippy, but it does feel strange to be celebrating the start of spring when six days ago I was swimming down a baltic river in a snowy forest. I suppose that was technically still winter? It was also only six days ago. I'd better revisit It's Spring Again if I'm to understand all this.

What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on!

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Spike Chunsoft have announced Killer7 director Goichi Suda (aka Suda 51) will be returning to an old haunt to pen new story DLC for wrestleman sim Fire Pro Wrestling World. I'm not normally much for wrestling games, but even I can appreciate this series, formerly by Human Entertainment. Snappy action, powerful character creation and a history of surprisingly heavy story modes. I'm expecting great, possibly unsettling things from new DLC 'The Vanishing', after the utterly bleak ending of Fire Pro Wrestling Special for the SNES, which I WILL SPOIL BELOW.

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I hold great respect for the Calvinball nonsense that is Mortal Kombat canon. Once a silhouetted joke fighter named after the developers, dark ninja Noob Saibot has grown into an actual character in the new trilogy. NetherRealm have just unveiled his latest incarnation in Mortal Kombat 11, and he looks as delightfully over-the-top as you'd expect. I'd almost be able to take him seriously, were it not for his amazingly goofy voice, sounding like a hybrid of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget and the hooded cultist from Harvester. Check out his shadow-clone fighting style below.

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I made a few vows in remembrance of our former Adam (RPS in peace): I will try to understand grand strategy games; I will sneak one single ciggy after the company AGM; I will post about the release of new baseball games. Such as Out Of The Park Baseball 20, the latest in the management sim series I know Adam had a soft spot for, which launched today. Oh Adam. I could almost swear I saw Adam playing a baseball game on ye olde RPS Steam account the other night. The mind sees what it wants to see.

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Why, yes, that is a polar bear about to saw an anime girl in half, because that's what happens when Zero Escape director Kotaro Uchikoshi is no longer restrained to the waking world. AI: The Somnium Files is his next game, developed by Spike Chunsoft, and now has a July 26th release date on PC. It's a sci-fi mystery that seems vaguely inspired by oddball Jennifer Lopez psycho-thriller The Cell, putting players in the shoes of a cyber-psychic detective investigating people's dreams as well as crime scenes. Below, a bizarre new trailer that I wouldn't try to make sense of yet.

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Denuvo, the folks behind the much-maligned DRM-strengthening software Denuvo Anti-Tamper, intend to block more shenanigans. On Wednesday they announced Denuvo Anti-Cheat, a new doodad for developers to tie into their games to bust cheats. They say it partially uses machine learning to detect cheaty behaviour--a trick used by others, including by Valve in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive--but don't say much about its efficacy or any developers who are using it. I'm just mentioning it now so when, in the future, you see Denuvo Anti-Cheat in a game you don't send me "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" e-mails.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is finally here, and even though it's a huge departure from the Souls series, it's still got plenty of complicated stuff and hard bosses that you may wish to know about. We're of course happy to oblige, even if it's just an excuse to play a highly anticipated game. So strap on your prosthetic hand, grab your katana, and let's get started.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has finally snuck onto PC. The latest game from Souls makers From Software, this gory slice-'em-up sees you tread softly softly in the silent shoes of The Wolf, a master shinobi with the curious ability to resurrect himself upon death, as you battle the humongous foes of feudal Japan.

The big question on everyone's lips, though, is whether this game will also murder your PC's frame rate? Find out below, where we detail Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice's PC requirements as well as how to get the best settings for the slickest graphics performance.

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Dice and EA have given a name and official rule-set to Star Wars: Battlefront 2's upcoming new mode. Capital Supremacy is due to roll out as a free update next Tuesday, March 26th and looks similar to the excellent Titan mode from the defunct Battlefield 2142. Large teams of mixed humans and bots work to hold points around a planetary battlefield. After holding territory long enough, a team can call in transports and ride them to the enemy capital ship where the attackers try to destroy it from within. While not exactly the same as Titan, it sounds similar enough to be exciting.

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The Italian men are shouting at me. I don’t understand what they’re yelling, but it’s clear from the rifles pointed at my torso that this is not a friendly chat. They’re upset. I’ve upset them. The Division 2 is a solid shoot ‘n’ loot, as I said in our review. Yes it has a few niggles (the crap story, the bugs) but the Dark Zone is one of its returning treats. This is the part of Washington DC where other players skulk in the alleyways. Sometimes they hide in the apartments, like scavenging rodents. Sometimes they sprint away the moment they see you, like a startled deer. And sometimes they point their assault rifles at your heart and shout at you in a romance language.

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Feature: Cheap games, graphics cards, SSDs and more

Best PC gaming deals of the week – 22nd March 2019

As the UK continues to slide further into the unending abyss, let's take comfort with some of the good things that happened this week, which of course includes the best PC gaming deals. I mean, who would have thought we'd see the announcement of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 this fine morning? Or have Oxenfree and Tacoma both available for absolutely nothing? What's more, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is out today, which good news for Souls fans, and even better news for Souls fans who like a few quid off, because your trusty deals herald has got just the thing for you.

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Feature: A Dutch day trip (Part 1)

The Flare Path: Beside the Zeeside

On behalf of Flare Path Sky Tours I'd like to welcome you aboard this Aerofly FS2 Learjet 45 and apologise for the out-of-the-way departure airport. Personally, I wanted to fly from Antwerp International or Ostend, but First Officer Roman has been reluctant to enter Belgium since leaving it in a hurry in 2003 so today's ramble along the Dutch coast will begin at Axel EZAC, an aerodrome with more buttercups than baggage carousels. In the seat pockets in front of you you will find a complimentary stroopwaffel, a barf bag, a safety booklet and a map showing our 230-mile itinerary. While smoking, vaping and discussing Brexit is not permitted on this aircraft, when the red overhead light is extinguished you are free to take snuff and hum the theme tune to Van der Valk.

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It has been two months since I set off to reach the centre of the galaxy. I’m happy to report that I made it. For those not following my adventures, I’m part of the Distant Worlds 2 expedition, a ragtag group of Elite Dangerous explorers who have set out to cross the galaxy and construct a new space station at its core, a safe haven for all those pilots who find themselves far from home. After innumerable jumps, my ship, the Roisin Dubh, has finally docked within the metal confines of that new station, the Explorer’s Anchorage. It’s still not wholly assembled, but I imagine it has that new car smell. The Tesco Gold coffee I was drinking in my last report has since been jettisoned out the airlock (I need to make my trips to the bins exciting somehow). So I treated myself to some proper ground coffee to celebrate my arrival at Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole in the centre of our galaxy, and was feeling pretty good about myself.

I was arrested shortly afterwards, but I’ll get to that.

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Standard-issue XCOM 2 is probably my least-favourite of the four different flavours of XCOM now available to us (i.e. including the Enemy Within and War Of The Chosen expansions), but that's a bit like saying I don't enjoy 29 degrees of heat quite as much as 26, 27 and 28 degrees. They're all great! Make it like that all the time, please. Only, y'know, without the heat-death of the planet. And, yeah, keep on releasing more XCOMs.

If you've avoided Firaxis' reimagining of The Greatest PC Game Of All Time (If You're An Old Man Like Me), XCOM 2 can be a rather full-on point of entry. On the other hand, it's currently free all weekend (and 75% off if you want to keep it forever), which is the easiest point of entry of all.

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Feature: You'll reach your step goal

Have You Played… The Painscreek Killings?

I’m super into murder mysteries and wandering around falsely idyllic towns, so The Painscreek Killings really spoke to me. There are red phone boxes but dollar signs, yet something about it still feels so quintessentially British. Little did I know that I would get so deep into this mystery that I would end up filling just over 10 A4 sides of paper, with notes scribbled everywhere from the margin to the edge of the pages. It’s safe to say this game ate me up whole.

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Feature: "This is the sequel you have been waiting for"

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is happening! It’s real!

Imagine, dear reader, my delight upon learning that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, a game about which I have said “...but it’ll never happen” several times, is, in fact, happening. More than that, I have seen, hands off, the first half an hour of it and have spoken to senior writer Cara Ellison (late of this RPS parish), as well as Hardsuit Labs co-founder Andy Kipling, and narrative lead Brian Mitsoda.

Bloodlines fans among you may recognise Brian Mitsoda as designer and writer for the original Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines. So not only is B. Mitsoda on board, when I met him he was wearing black fingerless leather gloves. This is exactly the sort of thing we need to see from a lead on Bloodlines 2.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is out now, almost a full day earlier than expected - fitting that FromSoftware's ninja soulsborne would stage a daring night-time infiltration. Earlier this evening, I checked Steam and it stated there was another twenty hours until the game unlocked; a cunning ninja ruse. I've just had my first ninja-run around Sengoku-era Japan, and can confirm that it looks great and runs silky smooth, at least on my semi-beefy laptop. Considering what I've seen of the console versions, us PC folk have the best version here. Below, an hour of RPS's video crew getting stabbed a lot.

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Talk about promo games normally make me think of high profile stuff like Carmen Sandiego invading Google Earth, so I've got to tip a weather-beaten stetson to IFC films for going low-fi with The Wind. They've tapped Airdorf, solo dev behind the Faith series of bible-quoting exorcise 'em ups to produce a short browser horror game based on their upcoming movie. It's only a few minutes long and playable in your browser here, but packs in some effective chills that have me interested in the film, so it did its job. If you'd rather just peek from behind the sofa, there's a trailer below.

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French revolutionary judge sim We. The Revolution (a clunky capitalisation I shall not use often, sorry devs Polyslash) is out now, sneaking up on me quiet as a guillotine blade. It's vaguely similar to Papers, Please, in that it's a game about being a political cog in a complex machine. Less similarly, this is about being one of the bigger cogs - a judge of some political influence - with your behaviour both in and out of court steering who will be in control of Paris when the fires burn out and the heads stop rolling. Below, a trailer looking at how the complex court cases work.

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Podcast: What we think of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (so far)

Slicey slicey, reader. Slice up and smell the coffee. Time to leave some baddies in your slice. Whoa, sorry, I’m getting the word “slice” mixed up with the word “wake” again. This is what happens when you play too much Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the new demi-Souls from those virtuasadists at From Software. It’s about being a dextrous ninja with a big sword and a grappling hook for an arm. Matthew and Brendan have played a few hours. Here’s what they think of it so far.

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Not every problem in games needs to be solved by shooting, stabbing or going very fast. Sometimes you just need to stop, listen and talk things over, like in Oxenfree and Tacoma, two lovely story-driven games that you can snag free right now and keep forever. Contemporary teen ghost story Oxenfree by Night School is the current fortnightly giveaway over on the Epic store, full of sass and supernatural weirdness. Sci-fi mystery Tacoma by Fullbright is a little more grounded and quiet, letting you explore the lives and recorded dialogues of a space station's crew after some manner of space-disaster. Grab them on Epic and Humble respectively today.

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The Division 2 is a "rock solid looty-shooty" according to our Brendan, and having now spent a fair amount of time playing it myself, I'd say I wholeheartedly agree. I've had a lot of fun swanning around Washington DC's sunny wildlife haven, and I much prefer it to the snowy, flaming bin-lined streets of the first game.

But it hasn't all been shooting up museums and iconic DC landmarks. I've also been testing The Division 2 with a wide range of today's best graphics cards to find out how to get the best settings on PC, and where you can cut corners if your graphics card isn't quite up to snuff. Thankfully, the good news is that The Division 2 runs like a well-oiled machine gun on PC, so even those with lower-end graphics cards should be able to get a stable 60fps without much trouble.

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Square Enix have kindly given way-advance notice of three dates you'll want to stock up on tissues for, announcing launch dates for the remaining three episodes of Life Is Strange 2. I don't have foreknowledge of what will happen to kiddywinkles on the lam with superpowers but, y'know, they are kiddywinkles on the lam - one way or another, you'll be getting sniffly. Better book that Tesco delivery for a family box of tissues today (other supermarkets are available).

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DICE appeared to drop the ball when they didn't call Battlefield V's upcoming battle royale offering 'Battlefield Royale'. They called it Firestorm instead, which sounds like a terrible Steven Seagal film you'd buy for 99p at a petrol station. Having now played the mode, due as a free update next Monday, I can see why they went with it. The titular blaze dominates the whole affair, looming on the horizon, chewing the map into tiny chunks of Frostbite engine and breathing its magma-hot breath down the back of your neck like some creep on the London underground. Here, why not watch it incinerate me in a handy impressions video...

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Feature: Bird's eye view

Roccat Kone Pure Owl-Eye review: Small yet mighty

Roccat may be about to be subsumed into the peripherals giant that is Turtle Beach, but for the time being their own gaming accessories are still very much alive and well, including their Kone Pure Owl-Eye gaming mouse, seen here in its recently refreshed white edition. I must say, this little tiddler is quite the sea change after the altogether heftier waistline of the Corsair Ironclaw RGB, but this small £35 / $45 mouse still has a lot to offer over its jumbo-sized competition. Is it best gaming mouse material, though? Here's wot I think.

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Capcom are laying a common grumble about Monster Hunter: World on PC to rest in a couple weeks, with the release of an optional HD texture pack. While the PC version of the game is the smoothest, nicest-looking way to play the enormous boss rush, eagle-eyed folks noticed that many textures in the PC release were slightly fuzzier up close than their console equivalents. Not a huge difference, but it was still visible. Capcom smoothed out some of this in last October's update for the game, but will soon offer players with extra space and VRAM the option to crank everything up further.

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"I just stumbled upon your jam-packed review page about Demi Lovato," began a letter that arrived in the RPS treehouse this morning. We were puzzled. Do we have any page about Demi Lovato, let alone a jam-packed review page? We (by which I mean I) have mentioned the singer a few times but... oh! I see.

When the letter asked if we'd write about Demi for their own site, Alec dismissed it as spam trying to wangle free work and advertising. Nope. I get it. This is sarky fan mail, complaining that we haven't posted enough Demi Lovato on RPS. Well, if you, the fans, demand it...

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2K Games have taken the curious and welcome step of explaining what data Civilization VI collects about you, your computer, and your play - and why. It's fairly common for games from big publishers to report back, but rare for publishers to say what it's doing and why. The license we have to agree to ostensibly gives them permission, after all. Most evidently don't think it's in their best interests to be open, which is unfortunate because it is in ours. Whether you're okay with how much data they collect, ah, that's up to you; at least now we can make a more-informed decision.

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