Best PC gaming deals of the week

Somehow, through sheer force of will, we’ve collectively managed to make it until the end of April. That means Prey is out next week and I can barely contain myself. It might not be as ‘gritty’ or ‘visceral’ as some other titles up there but I’ll take my Bioshock influenced horror games gladly. Anyways, we’ve got a whole new batch of the best PC gaming deals to take a look at, so let’s get started.

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Little Nightmares has crept onto PC to creep you out

“I’ve loved almost every minute of it,” our Adam said about Little Nightmares [official site] last week. Only you had no way to play it then, as it wasn’t out, so all you could do was stare at it through the shop window, face pressed up against the glass. Oh, how you longed to puzzle-o-sneak-a-platform past Tarsier Studios’ horrors! Good news: Little Nightmares is now out, launched last night. Here’s a launch trailer to prove it: Read the rest of this entry »

Expeditions: Viking out today, the raven will feast

Hey videogame folks. Expeditions: Viking [official site], the tactical Norse follow-up to historical plunder sim Expeditions: Conquistador, is out this very day. Thursday. Thor’s day. The day of thunder. The day of might. Axe-time draws forth, long the wolf howls. Out from the ground the Nithhogg sups at the ankles of warriors. Hel calls to you, wretched cravens, Valhalla awaits only the bloody, only the bold. The hammer blow comes, look high and see the ships above you. Your land is drowned beneath the worldserpent.

Whoa. Excuse me. Don’t know what came over me there. Expeditions: Vikings is out today and it is twenty five pounds.
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AMD’s not-really-new Radeon RX 500 graphics

And lo on the 18th day of the fourth month, verily did AMD wheel out its latest but not necessarily greatest new graphics cards. I give you the new AMD Radeon RX 580, 570, 560 and 550 – precision engineered to smite the evil Nvidia. Except they’re not really new. Instead, they’re basically dirty old re-badges of existing graphics cards. That doesn’t automatically mean they’re not of interest. But it does mean we’ll have to wait a little longer for something really revolutionary from AMD.
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Elite Dangerous mappers go on strike over ‘poor communication’ (but only for, like, three seconds)

A bunch of maps and tools for space sim Elite: Dangerous [official site] were shut down today by their creators as part of a protest over what they called a “lack of consistency from Frontier in effectively fostering third-party development”. The picket line of third-party tools was set to last until Sunday and included some very useful stuff for pilots like maps, trading databases and ship designers. The main complaint these folks had is that Frontier was not communicating with them well when it comes to updates (when a patch comes out the tools are often thrown into disarray without much warning, introducing new bugs and problems for the toolfolk). But spacetalks have already been held and most of the sites will be back up tonight, leaving me in the lurch with absolutely no drama. Disgraceful.
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For Honor season 2 adding Shinobi and Centurion in May

Shinobi and Centurions will join the historical battlefields of For Honor [official site] when season 2 kicks off on May 16th, Ubisoft announced today. The Samurai faction’s Shinobi is a nippy Assassin type armed with two sickles on chains (kusarigama, if you want to get technical), while the Centurion is a Vanguard/Assassin hybrid who fights for the Knights with a gladius. The update will also bring new maps, new gear, and a rebalancing of the gear stats system. Probably some other stuff too. Bits and bobs. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris: A utopian race of multicultural turtles, part 2

Last time in this diary on grand space strategy Stellaris, my species of sugary, democratic Tortals invited everyone to their space nation regardless of race, creed or culture. It was a burgeoning multicultural utopia called the Open Gates. Then a terrifying horde of transdimensional beings arrived and started to eat everyone like a rack of saucy ribs, which is against the rules.

The Tortals and their compatriots have now escaped in a flotilla of refugee ships to the Shell, a corner of space where they hope to be safe. They are far from the Unbidden, the aforementioned interdimensional gatecrashers, but now they have new neighbours in the form of of two very large despotic empires. And, as any cultured dictator knows, shells usually contain something tasty and soft inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Spec me up: Prey PC system requirements confirmed

If you’ve been cooing and making kissy faces through the window at the upcoming new Prey [official site], Arkane’s sci-fi remix of Dishonored, you might have heard a demo is out today. It’s not for us. No, the demo with the first hour-or-so of the game is only for consoles. Given how many big games launch with performance problems, it’s a shame we won’t get to have a crack on our own PCs. Publishers Bethesda have at least confirmed system requirements, which give… a vague indication of how it might potentially run? Check your spec: Read the rest of this entry »

Pizza and demakes win in Superhot fan game contest

The winners of a Superhot [official site] fan game contest are in and… no, that ↑ Superhot mod for Quake did not win but I couldn’t resist the screenshot. No, the actual grand prize winner was Peer-2-Pizza, a first-person obstacle course platformer about using slowmo powers to deliver pizza. Chasing that are two top-down demakes of Superhot, then- look, the precise placings of everything in the Make It Superhot contest don’t really matter. A load of games and mods and bits inspired by Superhot are out for free, and you might dig some of ’em. Read the rest of this entry »

Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind is scratching that itch

I have been cynical from afar, which is a polite way of saying I’ve been privately thinking ‘aargh, kill it with fire’ about The Elder Scrolls Online‘s [official site] massively multiplayer recreation of revered singleplayer roleplaying game Morrowind. I didn’t want to be a snob, but the pairing of an MMO hamster wheel with the high watermark of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series read to me a whole lot like adapting chess into a match-3 game.

Two days into the closed beta, and I’m cautiously eating my unspoken words. Which is a mild way of saying that I feel that itch. That itch to spend my every waking moment in it.
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Forza Horizon 3 going wacky with Hot Wheels expansion

TrackMania-style kooky racing is coming to Forza Horizon 3 [official site] in May with an expansion styled after Mattel’s Hot Wheels toy cars. Horizoneers will get to roll along walls and leap through fire on some delightfully unrealistic tracks in snazzy new cars. I am always in favour of these shenanigans in every single driving game. Even serious sims should add loop-de-loops and backflips so we can watch millions of Euros of car crash and burn.

Another patch is in the works too, bringing performance improvements and support for a wider range of steering wheel peripherals. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… X-COM: Interceptor

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

There was a time when I’d buy anything X-COM. I sometimes look at people who have an entire room dedicated to collectibles and tat based on a specific franchise and think, “there but for the grace of Gollop go I”. If there’d been X-COM cereal, I’d have bought it. Action figures, of course. Comics, watercolour paintings, boardgames, plushies, chocolate bars…the Saturday morning X-COM cartoon would have been a precious thing indeed. Actually, yes, I’d still like an X-COM cartoon.

As it turned out, I just ended up with a copy of X-COM: Interceptor. Enforcer too, but Interceptor is the one I remember best.

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Danger Zone is a spiritual successor to Burnout 3’s Crash Mode

A couple of Criterion founders abandoned the EA owned studio back in 2014 to go their own way, forming the unenigmatically named Three Fields Entertainment. So far they’ve released the wonky Dangerous Golf and the entirely unnoticed Lethal VR. But no one wanted those. What people want from anyone with the word “Criterion” in their resume is some more Burnout. And ideally, some more Burnout 3: Takedown. Hey, guess what Three Fields just announced is coming out next month? And they’re calling it Danger Zone [official site]. Read the rest of this entry »

PlantSims: A story of tragedy and romance

The Sims Plant Challenge

Checking in on The Sims 4 [official site] I realised it’s having a PlantSim challenge at the moment! PlantSim purists who remember the photosynthesising supernaturalness from previous games seem to be having mixed reactions (too casual/just right/hate it/it’s fine/love it/what did you expect from a free update/etc etc) but for me who missed all that I decided to hop in and see about collecting these magic seeds from my green-skinned residents. It… spiralled somewhat and there was at least one disaster. Read on (by clicking the arrow buttons or using the left and right cursor keys) for the whole sorry story…