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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Feature: "Storytelling in a BR game is kind of our thing."

Respawn on storytelling, lore, and Season 11 of Apex Legends

Online multiplayer games aren't usually designed to tell stories. For the most part, they're built around their competitive nature, with titbits of lore to help establish a unique world for players to get invested in. However, the line between these online games and more story driven experiences is starting to blur, as games like Apex Legends begin to throw more narrative into the mix. Storytelling in a battle royale seems like a pretty tough balancing act, so I reached out to Respawn to find out about the challenges, and how it all fits into the future of Apex.

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Feature: Cheap games, graphics cards, SSDs and more

Best PC gaming deals of the week – 29th May 2020

It's another big PC gaming deals bonanza this week, as we've not only got GOG's Summer Sale going on, but Ubisoft's Legendary Sale is still going strong, as is Epic's month of mega deals. Let's not forget about Humble's Cities Skylines bundle, either, where you're able to grab the full game plus 11 DLC packs for under twenty quid. And that's before we've even got to all the other deals happening this week, where you'll find loads of Devolver games on sale, 10% off Monster Train, plus half price Yakuza, Civilization VI and a nice chuck off Disco Elysium. So let's not stand around gawping. There are a lot of deals to get through.

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This whimsical little seaside town builder is another project by Oskar Stålberg whose tiny planet and city builder projects RPS have marveled at in the past. Unlike his prior browser-based experiments, Townscaper is being treated to some extra polish and plans for a paid release. It's been on my mental wishlist since before it had a name, but now there's a handy page on the Steam store to help me not forget. Check out the trailer below for some extremely satisfying pips and pops as the rainbow cities spring from the sea.

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Feature: The peasants are rewarding

You will die in chaos – Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord multiplayer verdict

Brendan: Infantry! Ready your shields! Okay, move to-- hang on. Sin, why is your shield not readied? We are trying to play the multiplayer in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, so we can pass a substantial sneer or cheer in its direction, and you have not even readied your shield. It is wholly unreadied. Explain yourself!

Sin: ...what?

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Feature: Point and click your fingers

Use ‘brain’ with ‘ears’ in our adventure game music quiz

Can you tell your Monkey Island from your Broken Sword? I hope so, or you're going to waste a stupid amount of time trying to get George Stobbart to insult sword fight with Nico. If you pass this very low bar for adventure game knowledge you should probably take a swing at our new adventure game music quiz.

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Feature: A life aloft

The Flare Path Talks to a Test Pilot

Near the top of my ‘Things to do when lockdown ends’ list is ‘Visit my local public library’. Obviously I'm missing its extensive history and transport sections, and the profound feeling of well-being that comes from being surrounded by the printed word, but there are other draws too. You can meet very interesting people in libraries. People like John Williams.

I struck up a conversation with John when I spotted the book he was collecting from the request desk. Task for Coastal Command by Hector Bolitho is a pretty obscure tome – not the sort of book your average aviation enthusiast would seek out. As it turned out my fellow borrower was no ordinary aviation enthusiast. A flier with a long and unusual career in the Royal Navy behind him, Captain J.L.Williams, R.N. (Ret’d) flew an astonishing range of aircraft before hanging up his bone-dome in 2018. While today's interviewee isn't an ‘Atypical Simmer’ in the conventional sense I think what follows will interest anyone who has ever gripped a collective, thumped a round-down, ridden a thermal or reached for an ejection seat handle in Simulatia.

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Feature: The Sims 4 but make it fashion

The 20 best Sims 4 CC on PC

Listen, we're not having a pop at the base game version of The Sims 4, but you have to admit that it doesn't offer everything you might want. It would be impossible for it to service every whim and desire you asked of it for! But still, sometimes you'll be fooling around in build and buy mode, or Create A Sim, and just wish that you had more space gubbins to wear or cool plants for your kitchen. Or bunk beds! Lord almighty, if only there were bunkbeds.

Well, it just so happens that there are, if you know where to look. And that place is 'at custom content'. There are some amazing creators out there making simply fabulous cc sets to make every Sims game your best version of it. And cc is all free! How amazing is that? That's why we've rounded up all our favourite cc sets in one place, for ease of use to you the reader. Read on for more.

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If your reaction to the release of Intel’s new set of 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs is to celebrate the lower prices now available on 8th and 9th Gen Coffee Lake models, then this pair of Z390 motherboard deals from CCL might well be for you. One comes with a free SSD, while the other gets you some fairly generous cashback if you buy a CPU at the same time.

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You'd have thought people would have escaped from Tarkov by now, but they're still at it. Escape From Tarkov is a brutal, sandbox-ey shooter about scavenging for loot in a warzone where everyone has better guns than you - except for right now! A big update to the current early access build has brought a load of changes, but one of the most significant parts is the character wipe. Tarkov's central appeal lies in looting, and now (not for the first time) all your loot has gone. My friends say they're happy about this, and I still do not understand them.

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After teasing their new VR cybergoggles earlier this year, HP have now fully unveiled their new Reverb G2 headset, and it looks an awful lot like the Valve Index. That's probably because it's been designed in collaboration with Valve, and uses the same lenses and speakers that they created for the Index. However, HP's Reverb G2 takes things even further with a higher resolution display and even more tracking cameras. And the best thing about it is that it's not going to cost the earth to buy, either.

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Atomicrops review

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Stoneshard early access review

Rogue rogue rogue your boat

43
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Feature: We have one demand and one term

Podcast: our most wanted games this summer

The big physical summer expos all got cancelled, but instead we have a whole load of great digi-vents to replace them. Looking at the schedule, it seems the Summer Of Games is going on until approximately next January. We're in a bit of a hopeful mood for this week's podcast, so the gang discuss their most anticipated upcoming releases, as well as their most anticipated and/or hoped for reveals that might come from the 2020 digital events.

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Feature: One Off The List

The 9 most extreme sports in games

Football. Tennis. Conkers. What do these historic, reputable sports have in common, I ask you. That’s correct, they are not extreme enough. Please, quiet now. I am here to do the talking. Yes, there are sports videogames, your FIFAs and your Mario Tennises. But they do not fulfill the desire within all of us for the extreme, the radical, the pushing of it to the max. I will now demonstrate, through force of listicle, the 9 most extreme sports in PC games, from bone-breaking snowboarders to motorcycle Wipeout. And you, in your turn, shall be thankful to this website for providing such diversion. Now, read.

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It's been a little too easy to write off People Can Fly's upcoming "RPG shooter" Outriders. A particularly beefy Destiny 2, from what's been teased so far. The loot-shooter that's willing to show some heads exploding. But today saw the devs post their first in-depth look at Outriders in what intends to be a series of monthly broadcasts - and there's some fascinating depth behind all the exploding goons and burst heads.

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Localisation is a tough task, even when not considering languages English has tried its hardest to stamp out over the centuries. But today's 1.8 update for Dicey Dungeons brings developer Terry Cavanagh's dice-roller a little closer to home by adding full Irish language support, alongside proper gamepad controls, balance overhauls and two new baddies who've been waiting on the sidelines since launch.

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Break out the party poppers - Prey and Dishonored developers Arkane Studios turns 20 years old this year. Well, sort of. The studio may have been founded in '99, but who am I to ruin a party? To celebrate two decades of sneaking, stabbing, and all-round immersive sim'ing, Arkane are dusting off the oldest book on their shelf by giving away free copies of the studio's 2002 fantasy debut Arx Fatalis.

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So long, Civilization. The latest freebie over on the Epic Games Store is Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, a rather handsome pairing of two Borderlands games to blast your way through without dropping a penny. But Epic's feeling generous this week - today also marks the surprise release of grimy graffiti sandbox Sludge Life, and this filthy bonus is going free for quite a bit longer than a week.

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In the grim darkness of the near future, there is only De_dust2. But look further ahead and- oh! There it is! Only war. Now look back to the present and find the two have come together in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with new Warhammer 40,000 stickers now sold to slap on your virtual guns. CS's stickers have always been a bit 'teenager bunkbed' so frankly I can't think of a better match. It's only weird that AK-47's haven't had "WAAAGH!" stickers all along.

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It's been a rough start for GeForce Now. Since leaving beta back in February, we've watched publisher after publisher remove their games from Nvidia's fledgeling streaming service. In an attempt to bring a bit of stability back to their shelves, Nvidia are now asking developers to opt-in before adding GeForce Now support - making their catalogue a little more reliable by only offering streaming support to games that actually want it.

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Feature: Michael Collins? In The Hound Pits?

Arkane’s Harvey Smith on why the pub in Dishonored is a perfect rebel base

Dunwall is renowned for its striking dystopian aesthetic, blending blinding walls of light with spindly steampunk stilt walkers. But the most memorable part of gorgeous action-assassin hit Dishonored has, for me, always been the boozer where you hang out with your pals between missions: The Hound Pits.

It’s a lovely looking pub, for sure. But coming from Dublin, where subversive relics of independence like The Confession Box are open about the intertwining nature of pub culture and rebellion, my interest is rooted in more than just the aesthetic. It makes sense to me that The Hound Pits is where Corvo and co meet to discuss their next political assassination. So, I reached out to Arkane Studio's Harvey Smith, co-creative director for Dishonored, and chatted about the reasons why pubs make class revolutionary bases.

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Don't miss our superb hardware coverage

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Infants have long known the joys of shaking a bottle to watch its contents slosh and bubble, and now Half-Life: Alyx players can experience that joy too. Valve last night updated the VR explore-o-shooter with fancy new mock bottle fluids, and even as someone whose body wholly rejects VR I am captivated watching players play with bottles of booze. It's like a real beer, but it's not even there! Our Katharine hit the bar to shake and spin bottles like a virtual Tom Cruise, and enjoy what is perhaps the closest any of us can get to a quiet drink in the pub. Come watch!

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Feature: We don't talk about it anymore

What’s the state of DRM in 2020?

Back in the late 2000s, digital rights management - more commonly known as DRM - made itself difficult to ignore. CD copy protection programs such as SecuROM infamously limited the number of times players could install games like Bioshock on their PC, while Assassin’s Creed II required players to maintain a constant internet connection despite the fact it was a singleplayer game. At the time, this was a bit like asking people to play Assassin’s Creed II with a vase balanced on their head. Unless you’d invested in a highly stable, fibre-optic neck, at some point that vase was going to come crashing down.

Today, it’s easier for DRM to fly under the radar. Between the popularisation of digital stores and service-model games, and the fact that people today are generally a lot more online in their daily lives, anti-piracy solutions can be bound to games in a way players never notice or readily accept. But that doesn't mean that the issues surrounding DRM have been resolved - it only means we talk about them a lot less.

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The Dune-esque psychic warriors of RimWorld's Royalty expansion are great, but what if you want your spacewizards to not be dukes and lords but rather monks, hippies, or goths? The latest update has you covered. It revamps psychics by making them mediate to charge their wizardbrains, and different types of character will use different focuses. Sure, lords will still love their thrones and that, but maybe you'll have a tribal lot who love a big psychic Avatar tree, a spooky wizard who mediates around graves, or other weird wizzes.

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Windows 10’s new update adds DirectX 12 Ultimate

There's a new Windows 10 update out, which instils a tiny bit of fear into me because these updates tend to break at least one random piece of software on my PC. But, there are at least a few things to look forward to. Windows are rolling out the new DirectX 12 Ultimate, which will should help some of those lovely video games have nicer graphics. There's also a bunch of accessibility changes being introduced, and those quirky lil' kaomojis are now much easier to use ♪(^∇^*).

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Would your PC benefit from a shot in the PCI-e slot? For mid-range gaming PCs, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super is arguably the best Nvidia graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming at the moment, and the good news is that it's currently back down at its launch price of £220 over at Currys in the UK and $230 over in the US, which is the lowest price we've seen for this card in quite some time.

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Roll up, roll up, The Butcher's Circus is (about to be) in town. Merciless RPG Darkest Dungeon is set to launch its PVP mode later today, letting you pit your band of stressed out adventurers against those of a stressed out person in the real world. The new mode is completely separate to the singleplayer campaign, and comes with new trinkets and reworked Heroes.

The Dungeon's first free trial weekend also kicks off today, so you can get all cross without spending a penny.

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Feature: Tough taters

Atomicrops review

Atomicrops is not your granpappy’s pixel art farming sim. It’s not a farming sim at all, really, but more a twin stick bullet-hell-and-tarnation with some very light nods to life-sim elements through upgrades. It’s also moreish, dizzyingly vibrant, and full of more squirming veggies than when you threw up that carrot cake your mum tried to make look like a regular birthday cake by dumping a bucket of sprinkles and icing on top.

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The newest Sea Of Thieves update docked yesterday, and though it hasn't got quite as much big new stuff as last month's, Lost Treasures is bringing a whole heap of mini-events to earn bonus loot for your pirates. More importantly, there are also tons of quality of life changes being introduced, the first of which are the long-awaited checkpoints for Tall Tales.

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