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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Tekken 7 gets just that little bit weirder on February 28th, as live-streaming pugilist Julia Chang gets extremely online in the ring. Baseball-bat swinging warlord Negan from The Walking Dead makes the leap along with her. Together, they wrap up the second season of the Bandai Namco arcade fighter's DLC. In any other fighter these two would probably seem like oddballs, but Tekken 7's cast is plenty weird already, so they fit right in, or at least don't stand out. Take a peek at some of their moves (and Negan menacing Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada) in the trailer below.

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Feature: Bringing you the pick of the indies from Steam

Unknown Pleasures: A Winter’s Quail

I have cancelled February. Today, and tomorrow, and most of the next two weeks, do not exist. It has been that kind of month, and I don't think I'm the only one. Please purge responsibly, everyone. Don't guillotine anything I wouldn't guillotine.

Unknown Pleasures is running a little behind, not least because there were a truly ridiculous number of games to get through earlier this month, and almost several of them weren't about fighting rats. We'll get caught up, don't you worry. The upshot is a jolly fine selection of the best indie games on Steam, and that I might even get away with not buying any Winter clothes if I can hold out for a bit longer.

Glumly enduring the twilight of civilisation this week: riotous robots, crashy cars, and competent cops.

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All mathematics is devilry as far as I'm concerned, though numeric rituals are rarely as explicit as in The Devil's Calculator. Made by the fella behind word puzzler Synonymy, The Devil's Calculator is about solving equations backwards on a spoOoky graphing calculator to reach the number 666. The satan in the calculator has scrambled the functions of logical operators, see, so we need to... look, I live a chaste life free of algebra so I didn't even know the game's symbols were fake. These runes look as real to me as A† or ≜ or A⊗B or any other 'real' symbol I had to Google and must now flush out my brain with a neti pot of holy water.

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The game's director leaving to start his own studio may have sunk most DLC plans for Final Fantasy XV, but there's still one last story to be told. Due on March 26th, Episode Ardyn will put players in the shoes of the game's dapper arch-villain and lead him on a high powered rampage through the streets of the capital city. Still, Ardyn isn't Kefka, who mostly just burnt the world for shits and giggles - Square Enix want you to know his tragic backstory presented in the form of a free anime short. Below, twelve minutes of extreme melodrama followed by a trailer and spoilers.

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Feature: Going legit is more trouble than it's worth

The best fan-made Thief missions you can pilfer

Thief: The Dark Project still stands out as one of the most compelling stealth games twenty years after release. Huge levels packed with treasure and secrets, and no radars or sensors to help -- just your senses, intuition, and maybe a badly drawn map.

While later games in the series were a bit ropey, the first two Looking Glass-developed ones are still actively supported by the Through The Looking Glass forum community. Think of it as a metaphorical vault of riches to nab, except the riches are mods and the owner wants you to have them. Here's a choice handful of mods to get you playing Thief Gold and Thief 2: The Metal Age polished up, and padded out with some big new sneaky adventures.

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Last time on the BoC: A new migrant, Urist, declared herself mayor, leading to a power struggle with former expedition leader Lorbam. A lot of politically controversial artefacts were made, and wrestlin’ dad Id got blasted into the mince zone by a pack of dingos.

Late Winter, Y2

We return to the Basement of Curiosity at the bum end of winter, in the mildew-stinking, sand-walled cavern that serves as the fort’s hospital. Id ‘Snakebuster’ is convulsing on a palm wood table, his limbs mauled, and his chest so badly houndwrecked you can see his lungs. He’s the very image of a bloke who’s learned the problems inherent in wrestling wild dogs.

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Daybreak Game Company have delayed the launch of PlanetSide Arena for the second time since announcing it in December, doing sterling work to counter the unrealistic expectations of air travel efficiency fostered by other battle royale games. No, you don't queue for a plane for twenty seconds, take off on time, then land exactly where you want. You will, in reality, wait indefinitely to even see a plane, with each short-notice delay making you wonder more if you'll ever even get anywhere. Thank you, Daybreak, for delaying PlanetSide's battle royale spin-off until this summer and, in doing so, teaching kids that the real-world answer to "Where we dropping?" is "700 miles away from your luggage."

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A pilot in Elite Dangerous has been stranded in the deep black void beyond the known galaxy for months. The adventurous pilot, commander “Deluvian Reyes Cruz”, zoomed off the edge of the galactic disc in an attempt to set a new record and become the person who has travelled the furthest distance from Sol. But when he was nearing the point of no return, he sipped too greedily from his fuel tank. 42 days into his journey and he was now stranded, with not enough fuel to make the jump back. He's been floating out there since November last year.

But now, there's a rescue mission afoot. Five pilots of the Fuel Rats (a group dedicated to saving marooned commanders) have been heading out to the explorer on a 600-hour rescue mission. It's their most ambitious rescue yet, and they’re due to complete it this weekend.

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Feature: Info on Hot Zone, Supply Drops, Supply Ships, Loot Ticks, and more

Apex Legends loot – best loot in Apex Legends, Supply Bin locations, Loot Ticks, Legendary weapons

Apex Legends packs an enormous amount of stuff into the small map of King's Canyon, and key to survival (as with any battle royale) is knowing how to get your hands on the best loot the game has to offer each match. But if you're just starting out on your Apex Legends journey, there are some key things you need to know that the game won't tell you about.

Our Apex Legends loot guide will walk you through where to go to find all the best loot, from the Hot Zone to the periodically spawning Supply Ships and Supply Drops; and we'll also show you our map of all Supply Bin locations along with explanations of the various rare Loot Ticks hidden throughout King's Canyon. So let's get stuck in!

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The post-apocalyptic murderisland of Rust is one of those virtual lands I'm always interested in hearing good stories from, even if I'm unlikely to visit it myself (because it is a murderisland). The best I've heard in a while is a heist committed by YouTuber "Welyn", who set out on a revenge mission to sneak into a clan's heavily-fortified base and rob it blind all by himself. His edited highlights, with added commentary and some natty editing timed to the music, make for a cracking wee heist movie.

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What do you call a bunch of sixteen-year-olds skiving off school to play a tactical team-based shooter? G Siege-ees.

Wait, come back. I need to tell you about how the Rainbow Six Siege devs are invading Australia with Operation Burnt Horizon, the first event of Year Four. Early next month, you'll be running around a new map called Outback with two new aussie operators.

Ubisoft Montreal have also revealed how they're handling their next year of #content. As well as the expected eight new operators, we'll see three map redesigns, a newcomer queue to help ease in fresh players, and an anti-teamkilling system that makes would-be arseholes actually off themselves.

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The game you like isn't as good as the game I like. When you like the game you like, you are made to look a fool!

Find out why in this week's Steam Charts.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for playing too much Apex Legends. Have some people written about it in the best articles about video games from the past week? Or before that, because I read some good stuff while I was on holiday? Maybe. Maybe.

For Waypoint, Yussef Cole laid out the numerous problems with Fortnite's appropriation of dances from black artists. It's a context I wasn't entirely aware of, and should give anyone who says 'oh come on, they're just dances' pause for thought.

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Feature: Ah! Love! That Many Splendour'd Thing!

Priceless Play – 16 February 2019

I don't like Dream Daddy. There. I said it. A game that de-eroticises queer romance in some apolitical neoliberal mystery world isn't it, chief.* There's a lot to love there, but so much about its technically-indie-corporate-sheen marketing gay romance rubs me the wrong way. I'm glad the game is there for those who need it, I'm glad there's a game where queer folks seem pretty happy, but I'm not going to sing its praises from the rooftops just because the hype around a gay driven romance suggests that I should -- and the only way for things to get better is for queer folks to keep making games about them. I guess you could say I'm grumpy.

It should be pretty clear by now that I feel all sorts of ways about romance in games -- not just in Dream Daddy. Let's say that our relationship is... complicated. I want to have a complicated relationship with games! I think it is so so important to walk through life with a willingness and openness to have conversations about what does or doesn't work for you and why. I believe that this is true of all healthy relationships. You aren't going to always get along, your partner is going to make mistakes, and it's good to know how to apologise.

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What are we all playing this weekend?

Alice is on holiday, so this week it's me, Alice, filling in for Alice. We're deep in the trenches now, the game trenches, the February onslaught of releases. Metro is only just in our rear view mirror, and Brendan is almost a broken man. Anthem is in its bizarre week of early release for people who'll pay for EA's special version of Origins. Apelegs is taking the Battles Royales by storm. There is too much to do, so I might not remind people to send me what they're playing, just so I don't have to put it in this document, because I am busy playing some of the games that we have to play. I know, what a ridiculous thing to moan about, hey?

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

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Fear & Hunger is a horror dungeon crawler by Miro Haverinen that makes Darkest Dungeon look cheerful and forgiving. Originally launched in December and still growing, it flew under my radar until earlier this week. It's merciless stuff - you don't level up. You run, as the monsters can often kill you in one hit, or leave you mangled. Dismemberment is a threat for both you and your enemies, and save points aren't safe. It's rough around the edges, but it's rare that an RPG can leave me genuinely unsettled and hurt, but hungry for more. Grab the demo here or see the trailer and thoughts below.

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I know Apex Legends has shaken up the scene, but it feels a little bit on-the-nose that Fortnite Battle Royale is literally cracking up under the pressure. Epic's all-consuming last man standing shooter is gearing up for another season, starting on February 28th, which means there's changes coming to its ever-shifting battlefield. Such change has previously been brought about by weird inter-dimensional antics and a wandering glacier, but this one seems a little more mundane - earthquakes, shaking the entire map and leaving jagged tears in the ground.

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Anthem is out now, kinda-sorta - assuming you've got an Origin Access subscription. While the game fully debuts on February 22nd, subscribers can play now. Those with the cheap Basic subscription get a ten-hour trial, while Premier subscribers have been set loose on the full game. I'm also happy to say that some issues in the first hour or two aside, the servers appear to be holding up well for people playing the power-armoured loot n' shooter. BioWare have also partly unveiled their first major update for the game, including a big space-storm to wrangle.

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It's not uncommon for fighting games to make their way to PC these days, but I'm still a bit surprised to see SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy making the hop from consoles. It features most of the leading ladies from SNK's King Of Fighters, Samurai Showdown and Fatal Fury series's, plus Terry Bogard, who is apparently a girl now. It's a lighter, sillier affair than others in the genre, with as much focus in collecting invariably impractical outfits as fighting. The PC version was announced during the Evo Japan fighting tourney last night, and lands next Thursday, February 21st.

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Metro Exodus PC graphics performance: How to get the best settings

Once upon a time, there was an old saying in PC gaming spheres: 'But will it run Crysis?' Then the apocalypse happened, and civilisation retreated to the dark tunnels of its underground tube system, the phrase becoming lost and morphed in the intervening years. Now we say in hushed, hallowed tones, 'But will it run Metro?'

The toughest of tough guys on PC these days, Metro Exodus is an absolute beast of a game that puts even today's best graphics cards under strain, especially if you want all that juicy Nvidia RTX ray tracing and DLSS magic making everything look even prettier than it does already. Fortunately, help is at hand, as I've spent the last week testing practically every graphics card under sun to tell you exactly how to get the best settings on your PC, and how to get the latest instalment in the rather excellent Metro series running at a smooth 60fps.

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Podcast: Guns, guns, guns

Bang bang, listeners. This week we are talking about the greatest guns, the wackiest weapons, the most fabulous firearms, all in a serious and knowing fashion on the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. The pod squad are stocking a chest full of videogame firearms, like three frightening quartermasters. Matthew is sequestering a laser pointer from Gears of War, Alice wants the exploding teddy gun from Sunset Overdrive, and Brendan is taking Symmetra's energy gun from Overwatch. What are you taking?

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While Fortnite Battle Royale throws concerts and prepares for [block id="635651" title="Fortnite Season 8"], the lawsuits against developers Epic Games that claim they copied various dance for their unlockable emotes rumble on. One of the litigants has suffered a setback though, as Alfonso Ribeiro was denied copyright for the famous 'Carlton dance'. It doesn’t scupper anything entirely, but it does seem to throw a wrench in.

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Manga mash-up fighter Jump Force is out today, and I feel there's something almost uniquely off-putting about its aesthetic. Don't be me wrong - I've nothing against anime - but Spike Chunsoft appear to have carefully cultivated a look for their fighter that I can only describe as 'Doofing around in Garry's Mod'. Still, despite the bizarre look, it's apparently not an awful fighter, letting you pit superheroes and villains from Japan's Shonen Jump manga anthology (or your own mad creations) against each other in three-on-three tag fights. See the overly dramatic launch trailer below.

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Like everyone else and their irradiated mutant grandmother, I'll be playing Metro Exodus this weekend. I gave 4A's Stalkers-on-a-train opus a quick trial run this morning, but was immediately dismayed by a surfeit of malodorous fromage in its cod-Russian-accented English dialogue. It's not the worst I've heard by a long shot, but it's broad, broad, broad - enough so that it gently undermines the moody, murderous atmosphere.

For all I know, the Russian voice acting is even sillier, but to my heathen ears playing it with voices matching its Moscow setting, translated by English subtitles, makes for a vastly more atmospheric ride on the deathtrain. I wouldn't play Metro Exodus any other way.

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Neon bright open-world superpower shooter Crackdown 3 has smashed its way onto Windows today. Making games is hard, and suffice to say that Crackdown appears to have had its fair share of troubles to deal with. But it’s here! Terry Crews can finally appear inside your computer in all his glory, and in playable form at that. Here's a launch trailer showing off some pretty explosions.

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Feature: I get knocked down, but I get up again

Apex Legends Armor and Gear guide – Body Shields, Helmets, Knockdown Shields, Backpacks

The King's Canyon map in Apex Legends is absolutely packed with loot, from weapons and healing items to attachments and ammo. But just as important as any of these things is what the game calls "gear" - that is, armour items such as Body Shields, Helmets, and Knockdown Shields, as well as the Backpack, which allows you to carry more items with you as you carve a path of death and destruction across the island.

Our Apex Legends Armour and Gear guide will walk you through the stats and effects of each piece of gear in Apex Legends, including the rare Legendary gold-tier variants of each piece of equipment.

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Feature: Father, do you love me?

Reviews Roulette: The one with the monkey bird and daddy issues

There is no complaint more sure to induce eyerolls than ‘too many games’, but here we are. There are too many games! It’s not coming from a place of entitlement, but guilt: I’d love to give every Steam key we receive a proper chance, but time limits me to the familiar/most bribe packed.

That’s where Reviews Roulette steps in. It’s our new regular video ‘show’ (inverted commas to manage expectations that this is not some Netflix-quality extravaganza) where the RPS video department take the codes that arrive in our inbox, play them for ten minutes apiece and decide whether we’d like to see more of it. That’s the pitch, and this is the result…

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Far Cry New Dawn PC graphics performance: How to get the best settings

It doesn't seem like five minutes since we were last in Hope County, punching bears in the face and losing our minds to bliss-fuelled nightmare cults, but here we are again with Far Cry New Dawn, where hot pink is the new post-apocalyptic beige.

Its predecessor, Far Cry 5, wasn't too much of a faff to get running on PC, but a lot's changed since then, what with a bunch of new graphics cards coming out and the like, so I thought I'd put together this Far Cry New Dawn graphics performance guide to help you make the most of your return visit to Hope County. If you can't wait to double-jump into Hope County's newly acquired nuclear Northern Lights with an unhinged granny in tow, then read on.

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I refuse to play Resident Evil 2, because I am, proudly, a coward. But if you’re braver than me, there’s now more game, and you can get it for free. The Ghost Survivors takes players into a “what if” universe, offering alternate stories for three pre-existing characters as they try to escape from the biological disaster that befell Raccoon City. All of them are teased in this here trailer, which I watched at great peril but which happily had no jump scares.

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