The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for… watching the world cup? Is there a world cup thing? There’s bound to be a world cup thing. If not, at least there’s writing about video games.

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, who sometimes writes words for us, wrote some words for Eurogamer about Ubisoft’s attempts to sweep Tom Clancy’s politics under the rug by doing their best to avoid talking about them. Thirlwell argues that equates to an endorsement, to “politics by stealth” – and he’s not wrong. It’s an attempt to be anodyne that, in modern-day America, I can only hope is doomed to fail – so long as people pay attention to articles like this one. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

Alice is on holiday, which means it falls to me to tell you what the endlessly expanding RPS team are playing this weekend. It still falls to you to tell everyone what you’re playing, however. Let’s get started, because it’s going to take me ages to sort out all the fiddly HTML for all these new people.

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Excellent Descent successor Overload gets a level editor

Overload

Overload is one of the best retro FPS revivals out there. Simply put, it’s Descent 4 in all but name, developed by the original crew, complete with a soundtrack from the combined composers of the original three games. The only real complaint I had about it in my mini-review of it here was that it was a little on the short side, despite an excellent New Game+ mode. That became less of a problem this week, as developers Revival Productions released the level editor for it, along with a basic tutorial video within.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 existence on PC possibly leaked via LinkedIn

red dead PC

Tradition dictates that Rockstar may not discuss the PC version of any of its games, or even admit that they exist, until we’ve all given up any hope of seeing them. So while Red Dead Redemption 2 was unveiled for consoles a while back, there’s been no news for PC. With Rockstar keeping schtum, there was only one hope: LinkedIn. The Keeper of CVs. The Spiller of Secrets. So what say you, LinkedIn? Is Red Dead Redemption 2 doing what the original didn’t and coming to PC?

Supposedly. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday the 13th’s content update plans meet a grisly end

Friday the 13th

That Jason Voorhees fellow is a rather intimidating chap, I’ll give you that much, but you know what’s scarier? Lawyers. By all accounts, Friday the 13th: The Game was surprisingly fun when played with the right group, with room to grow as the developers released more maps, content and features. They’d been doing well up til’ now, even adding bots to play against late last year, but a legal dispute over who owns the original film rights has left developers IllFonic unable to continue, and today they admitted that they’ve moved on to new projects entirely.

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Police Stories is coming along nicely, but taking its time

When I last played Police Stories, I was pretty delighted by how much the two level alpha had to offer. So it was with somewhat mixed feelings that a year later I found myself playing a four level alpha – this feels like slow progress, albeit it with a graphical overhaul. And yet I am just as captured and occupied by the levels it has, and really impressed with the improvements made. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychological horror slasher Hellblade goes platinum

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

There’s something about the very concept of ‘a million’ that sticks in the mind. It’s one of those nice, round numbers that still remains hard to visualise due to its sheer enormity. For instance, if you were to print DVD cases for all one million copies sold (across PC, PS4 & Xbox One) of Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, you’d have a million DVD cases, and I cannot even begin to parse how much space that’d take up. Still, it’s a hell of a success, considering that the game itself was a gamble, both business-wise (making ‘AAA Indie’ a thing) and thematically.

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Black Mesa’s vision of Xen is bigger, bolder & nearly done

Xen

Sometimes, things just take time. When an amateur team remake an FPS classic up to AAA standards in a modern engine in their spare time? Yeah, that’ll take a while, but the patience seems to be paying off for fans of Black Mesa. While so so far the ambitious (and Valve-endorsed) Half-Life remake has mostly adhered to the structure of the original, developers Crowbar Collective reckon that they can do better with Xen. While the core concepts and story beats are still present, everything else is being re-designed from the ground up. It’s looking lovely, and nearing completion.

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How systemic games make you a master comedian

far-cry-5

The power fantasy of exploring new worlds or meeting strange alien races (and then shooting at both of those things) is the kind of thing that big-budget games tend to focus on. As far as humour is concerned, they’re at best ‘plus comedy’ experiences that deliver on their key points but also have some funny quips along the way. You’re never asked to participate in the humour, and if the jokes don’t land then there’s little you as the player can do about it. So why not equip the player with the systems to write their own jokes and tell their own stories? And how do you foster humour creation in games that don’t already have a pun-based name for every item? I spoke to the developers of four such games to find out how they utilise this approach in order to enable players to create their own fun.

One thing that became evident through the interviews was that each and every system available to the player has to be airtight if they are to get the most out of the experience. A poorly-implemented system can cause you to lose investment in the same way that a poorly delivered punchline might. Each developer wanted to encourage experimentation through their game’s systems in their own way. But which comes first; the design of the systems or the desire to create humour? Read the rest of this entry »

The formerly Wipeout-inspired Redout: Space Assault ditches racetracks for tactical space combat

Redout

Redout, the F-Zero and Wipeout-inspired racer, is returning next year, and it’s looking a little different. Redout: Space Assault ditches the fixed racetracks of yesterday’s future, and instead heads out into orbit for frenetic stellar battles between dogfighting spaceships.

Get a taste of the new direction by checking out the teaser, below.

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Summer Games Done Quick’s charity speedruns start Sunday – these are our picks

Summer Games Done Quick

Update: The show is live right now. Tune in for games being thrashed to within an inch of their lives.

The Summer Nerd Olympics are almost upon us. Every six months, the best and brightest in gaming assemble under the Games Done Quick banner to demolish games extra-fast and raise heaving sacks of cash for good causes. This Sunday, the speedster swarm will be descending on Bloomington, Minnesota to destroy games as you know it, all in the name of supporting Doctors Without Borders. As usual, the whole thing will be streamed live on Twitch (and archived on YouTube)  and runs for an entire week, 24/7.

Below, find some of our must-watch picks from the full schedule.

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Kassandra is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s main hero, but only in the book

odyssey canon

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will let us play as either Kassandra or Alexios, both Spartan warriors, but creative director Jonathan Dumont told Reddit that it’s the former who is considered the canon protagonist, at least in the upcoming official novelisation. It won’t affect the game, however, as whoever you play as will be treated as the one, true hero.

The game’s marketing, however, seems altogether Alexios-inclined…
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Playstyle Royale: Once, twice, three times a chicken

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This is Playstyle Royale, where I head into Playerunknown’s Battlergounds a battle royale game and try to win my chicken dinner while adhering to arbitrary rules. This time’s a bit different, because I’m more interested in becoming a chicken than winning one.

I’m playing Realm Royale, the battle royale spin off to Hi-Rez’s Paladins. One of its best ideas is that when you run out of health, instead of dying you get to run around as a defenceless chicken: survive for 30 seconds, and you’re reincarnated in human form. I’m going to get myself poultry-fied three times, then win a game. That is definitely absolutely what is going to happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Valve’s Steam Link box is just £2 right now

Steam Link

Valve’s Steam Link box (which lets you stream your PC library to another TV or monitor in a different room in your house) is cheap as chips right now, going for a mere £2 / $2.50 in the Steam Intergalactic Summer Sale. That’s a whopping 95% off. It would almost be rude not to, really.

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Punch the sun in Monster Prom’s new “F*ckin’ Hot” update

Monster_prom_header

Two things made me decide to check out Monster Prom’s free “F*ckin’ Hot” update this morning, despite not normally having an interest in the dating sim genre. First, the monsters. Second, the multiplayer. It’s a punchy set up: the prom is looming, and you and your friends have got three weeks to woo a 20-something college student. Who may well be a gorgon, or a psychopathic sky-princess.

How on earth does that work? What’s in that new update, other than some summer outfits and the opportunity to help a demon punch the sun? Can I get away with leaving f-bombs in that headline, and can Beautiful Glitch’s monsters melt my cold, non-dating sim-appreciating heart? The answers await below. Read the rest of this entry »

Unavowed: Wadjet Eye’s next game gets launch trailer

unavowed launch

Unavowed might be shaping up to be the most interesting thing to happen to adventure games in a long time. It still looks like a Wadjet Eye game – set in New York, designed in AGS, elevated by Ben Chandler’s gorgeous art – so you’ll immediately be reminded of the Blackwell series, but for his first new story in twelve years, Dave Gilbert seems to be trying to push the genre out of its comfort zone. You can get a hint of his ambitions in the new trailer, and come August, we’ll find out if Gilbert succeeded. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Football, Tactics & Glory

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This Wot I Think is destined to go down in RPS history. For the first time ever a review on this site will make use of VAR (Virtual Assistant Reviewer) technology. If I make a “clear and obvious error” while describing Football, Tactics & Glory’s features or extolling its myriad charms, a team of ancillary reviewers known colloquially as ‘commenters’ will notify me of my mistake almost instantly. Heed the following ruddy exhortation to discover whether this revolutionary experiment in game reviewing succeeds or fails. Read the rest of this entry »

Shadowrun Returns is free on the Humble store

shadowrun returns

If you’ve been following all of our Cyberpunk 2077 coverage and thinking it could really do with some Orcs, you’re in luck. No, CD Projekt Red isn’t injecting magic into their sci-fi RPG, but some magical cyberpunk is free on the Humble store right now. Shadowrun Returns can be yours for nothing at all, as long as you snatch it up in the next day. It’s not as good as its follow-ups, Dragonfall and Hong Kong, but it’s a great, if a bit brief, introduction to universe.

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Best PC gaming deals of the week

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Back once again like so many proverbial block-rocking beats, it’s the time where we can stop and take a look at some of the best PC gaming deals of the week. It’s all fun and games until we all spend far too much money in the Steam Summer Sale, so before that happens, have a look at what this week’s got to offer and see if you can spend your money elsewhere.

Then go ahead and gorge on the Steam sale.

As usual, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let’s get started.

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Discord’s new Game Tab seems handy, and also metal?

Discord

Steam and Discord seem to be butting heads a lot lately – Valve aren’t happy with just the lion’s share of the PC digital games market; they want Steam to be where players do their socialising and chatting, too. Discord’s latest shot across their rival’s bow is the Games Tab, currently rolling out to the games-focused chat software right now. Essentially, it turns Discord into a general gaming info and social hub which you can launch games from, join other people via, and even keep up on news feeds. It also has a very silly informational video within.

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