How Total War: Warhammer’s Mortal Empires engineers a world of unending war

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Total War: Warhammer’s Mortal Empires campaign [official site].

Mortal Empires is the logical conclusion of Total War: Warhammer. It asks this: what happens if all the races, factions, legendary lords and terrain of both Total War: Warhammer and its sequel were folded together into a single giant campaign? The answer was released in October as a free addition to owners of the two games, and it is, as game director Ian Roxborough tells me, “By far the biggest, most content-rich campaign that we’ve ever done in Total War.”

But how do you make games that are designed to be played both in discrete and distinctive smaller chunks, and also in huge and unified ones? How do you balance Warhammer’s strongly asymmetric races against each other while continually adding more? And how do you make a game as big as Mortal Empires comprehensible and playable at all? Read the rest of this entry »

Black Friday 2017: The best deals on graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

1080ti

The sale event to end all sale events is here. That’s right, folks, Black Friday 2017 is upon us, and this year’s sales frenzy is set to be bigger than ever as we head into the Christmas shopping period. In all honesty, they should just rename it Black November, as you’ll find deals happening literally RIGHT NOW in the run-up to Black Friday proper.

To save you trawling through the web in search of a good bargain, we’ve created this handy guide containing everything you need to know about Black Friday 2017. If you’re on the hunt for a new graphics card, a bigger and better monitor, splash out on a fast SSD or upgrade your gaming headset, this is the place to be. We’ll be updating this hub page on a regular basis as new deals get announced, too, so make sure to keep it in your bookmarks if you fancy grabbing yourself a bit of a bargain before Christmas. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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For Honor needs more than new warriors to stay alive

Ded

There goes my head again. Rolling along the ground like a wet turnip. The ahistorical three-sided war of For Honor has always been a tough battleground. During a recent free weekend, it became a conflict not only between Vikings, Samurai and Knights, but between practiced veterans and absolute newcomers. I’m somewhere in between. A mediocre warrior returning to the fighting pits after a long absence, a little slower and flabbier than before. Two new heroes were also added to the game recently – the bloodthirsty Shaman and sword-happy Aramusha – but, as with previous additions to the roster, they don’t feel like enough to save a game with a barrel of other flaws, whose player numbers have dropped significantly since launch. I marched back into the decapitating grounds to try the new maps, modes and murderers, and spoke to the game’s director about its problems.

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Say hello to Katharine Byrne, our hardware editor

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The hivemind grows stronger! After years of wishing we could expand our hardware coverage, we’ve finally found the perfect person to help us do it. Katharine Byrne joins us with years of experience and has already set about writing guides, reviews, and educating the RPS team about what all the bits of plastic inside their computer boxes do. Come and share your best welcomes in the comments below. Read the rest of this entry »

Kick doors with friends in Door Kickers: Action Squad

action squad

Door Kickers is a tense, precise tactics game that turns SWAT team interventions into real-time-with-pause puzzles. But what if it was more like Broforce? That’s Door Kickers: Action Squad — infiltrate buildings as part of a SWAT team, and then make everything explode. It’s on Steam early access now. Read the rest of this entry »

Tekken 7 is a brutal but brilliant intro to fighting games

A dramatic reconstruction of the events of yesterday evening

Against my better judgement, I have continued my battle to become a competent brawler in daft fighting game Tekken 7. In the realm of biffing games, Tekken is an angry, side-stepping maniac who likes to play dress-up before battering its victims into a pulpy mess. I like it very much. Last night, I accumulated eleven wins in a row, eight of which were against a single opponent who simply refused to give up, resulting in mixed feelings of accomplishment, pity, pride and bloodlust.

Punchgame enthusiasts will find nothing new or impressive in this short story, but as a newcomer, it’s interesting to discover the hidden language of fighters, not just in the ‘ring’ but also during the bits in-between, like the matchmaking itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Rainbow Six Siege’s third year will introduce 8 operators and a co-op event

outbreak

Slick tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege will soon enter its third year, and that means updates. New maps and a “map makeover” were announced by Ubisoft Montreal at the Pro League Finals in Brazil at the weekend, plus two new operators specialising in “biohazard situations”.

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Humble’s Fall Sale is now on, featuring literally thousands of games

Humble Fall Sale 2017

Ahead of what can only possibly be the impending financial doom of us all – Black Friday 2017 – Humble has launched its Fall Sale. It’s a fairly big sale range, too, featuring thousands of games with discounts on a selection from a varied selection of publishers. That includes Capcom, Focus Home Interactive, Rebellion, Konami, Rockstar, Adult Swim, THQ Nordic and many more. Read the rest of this entry »

Gunhead pits a pirate against derelict ships full of drones

gunhead

There’s no reason having a gun for a head would stop someone from becoming a concert pianist or a specialist on Assyrian antiquities, but let’s face it, they’re far more likely to be a space pirate, raiding floating tombs and shooting everything in sight. That’s certainly the case with Gunhead, an open-world FPS due out next year.

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Plunkbat tournament ends in a desperate standoff

pubginvitational

Over the weekend, 20 teams duked it out at IEM Oakland Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Invitational, fighting over cash and bragging rights. Most games were won by different teams, and places two to five were hotly contested, but by the end there was a clear winner with a sizeable lead. If you don’t want the tournament spoiled, I suggest not reading on.

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Turtle Beach Recon 150 review: A no-frills gaming headset for just £40

Turtle Beach Recon 150

As my quest for a comfy pair of headphones continues, today I’m looking at one of Turtle Beach’s entry-level headsets, the Recon 150. Available for just £40, the Recon 150 is about as straightforward as gaming headsets come. Unburdened by fancy surround sound features or active noise-cancelling technology, this is very much a plug in and play kind of headset that doesn’t require any additional setup, driver downloads or any of that other annoying faff that comes with buying further up the headphone food chain. Indeed, its regular old 3.5mm jack connection means it’s just as good a fit for PC gaming as it is for consoles, giving it a welcome bit of flexibility after Sennheiser’s rather fussy work around on its more upmarket GSP 350.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bit more from your headphones, of course, but if you’re looking to keep costs down or are simply after something simple for the kids, the Recon 150 is a great place to start. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: Clean Underwear Edition

Imagine what would happen if Plunkbat weren’t to be at number 1? Could anyone even cope any more? Has all of gaming started operating on this as a foundation, forgetting that it could, one day, not sell more copies than everything else? What if I’m writing this as a bluff because it’s not at number 1 this week? What if I just wrote that to imply the bluff even though there isn’t a bluff?! OH MY GOODNESS EVERYONE QUICKLY READ THIS NOW!

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RimWorld’s beta adds swamp biomes and ‘story combat’

rimworld

RimWorld has left its awkward alpha stage, blossoming into a beta with update 18. It’s called A World of Story, but the update really dabbles in everything, from crazy weather to orbital super weapons. Hitting beta also means that it’s in the final stretch, says developer Tynan Sylvester, and there won’t be any “major” new additions like entirely new systems before launch, though there will still be future updates.

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Opus Magnum player makes an alchemical computer

Does compute

By the laws of the game-o-sphere, a computer made from the marbles and metal of alchemy-based puzzler Opus Magnum almost seems like an inevitability. Alchemy and code fan Peer Backhaus has built a – ahem – “Brainfuck interpreter”, which is a real computing term and not something I expected to see in my emails when I came into work this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Trüberbrook’s hand-crafted miniature world is a wonder

Truberbrook

That, up there, is a screenshot. It’s okay to stare. Now consider that it looks just as good in motion, if not better. After seeing some footage of the hand-crafted world of Trüberbrook in action, it’s easy to forget that this is a point-and-click adventure, rather than an Aardman-rivalling work of hyper-detailed miniature animation. But it is, and it sounds rather brill.

A production of German art collective btf, Trüberbrook is their first game project, although they seem to have found some degree of fame over in Germany with a pair of late-night TV shows to their name. Production seems to be going smoothly, with the game already fully funded on Kickstarter after just a few days. Take a look at the trailer and pitch video (featuring some great production scenes) within.

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Iconoclasts is nearly here – see it in action

Iconoclasts

I’ve been writing about videogames going on about eight years now. For the majority of that time, I’ve had one eye firmly glued to Iconoclasts, an ambitious metroidvania by solo Swedish developer Joakim ‘Konjak’ Sandberg. It’s been in development over six years now, and is finally, tantalisingly close to release.

Word is that Iconoclasts is now effectively feature-complete and in the final stages of development (testing, bug-fixing and balancing) and I’ve heard some very positive sounding rumblings from playtesters. Come and check out a few minutes of fresh, mostly-uncut gameplay footage within.

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Guild Wars 2’s fourth season of new content begins soon

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

Guild Wars 2 might not be the talk of the town anymore, but the fast-paced MMO is still chugging along nicely, with a major new desert-themed expansion – Path of Fire – released just this September. It’s really rather good, bringing some satisfyingly weighty-feeling mounts to the game, making exploring feel fresh and fun again.

For those who bought Path of Fire and have already hammered your way through the main story arc, get ready to dust the game off again, perhaps sooner than expected. The fourth season of ‘Living World’ episodic content will begin this month. Read on for a teaser trailer and some info on what this will entail.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for writing The Sunday Papers – mostly. Another fortnight has gone by since I last did so however, for which I can only apologise. Let’s me make it up to you with… links to articles about games.

Yussef Cole at Unwinnable wrote about Cuphead and the racist legacy of the animation period it references. This is great criticism. Read the rest of this entry »