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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Feature: GROUND BEES

Grounded’s co-op is fantastic, if you can get it to work

I threw a spear at the first person to harm an ant. They were warned. But the lag meant I kept missing and it just got a bit embarassing, so we retrieved the spears and went back to scouting for dewdrops.

Grounded's multiplayer has captured something special. Even after several hours (which flew by for all of us), we found it hard to pin down exactly what about it was so... likeable. In its current state of development, I can't quite recommend it as wholeheartedly as I want to. We had too many technical problems. But if it can overcome those during its early access period, it may well be game of the year material.

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Samsung’s 970 Evo SSD is going cheap today

The Samsung 970 Evo may have been replaced by the 970 Evo Plus quite some time ago, but when the UK's BT Shop currently has the 500GB model for a very agreeable £78 versus the Plus' usual going price of over £100, this is one SSD deal that's definitely worth snapping up if you're in need of some new storage. They've also got the 1TB model for £138, which is a good £40 cheaper than its equivalent Plus model.

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Fornite’s cars have arrived

It's time to collect your driving licence, because Fortnite's Joyride update just added some shiny new vehicles for you to race around in. There are four cars/trucks for players to find across the battle royale now, each allowing you to pick up your buds, hang out the windows and cause some carnage. You can even stick on their radios for a little sing-along if you fancy.

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As Prison Architect proved, you can hide dark themes inside a cute wrapper and people will swallow it. It now looks like the ‘70s set Honey, I Joined A Cult is trying to pull off the same trick.

The upcoming cult management sim just got a shiny new trailer, and confirms it's coming to early access in 2021. The pitch is that you design a cult HQ and recruit acolytes to your ‘cause’ while dealing with the nosey press (ugh, hate those guys) and rival heretics. I’ve double-checked and the trailer contains no subliminal messages. Now join us, brothers and sisters! I mean, let’s watch the trailer. Ahahhahaa.

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If you've played as or against Valorant's explodey agent Raze, you'll know that her ultimate ability is pretty darn strong. It's basically a massive rocket launcher that fires off a single shot, but one so powerful it can instantly kill all enemies in a decent-sized blast radius. As you might expect, it can be pretty hard to avoid, so in yesterday's Act 2 patch Riot Games put in a small nerf for it. Except, something went very wrong with said nerf, because after the patch went live, she was able to fire multiple rockets at her poor unsuspecting foes.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance was released. 21 years ago, in fact. But to look at the work the people at X-Wing Alliance Upgrade are doing to the classic space dogfighting game you wouldn't think it was from the '90s. They’ve added dynamic cockpits, modern lighting, upgraded all the ship models, and have even ported it to VR. Below is a comparison between the original game and the updated version that’ll get your midi-chlorians flowing.

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The battle-royale-but-not-like-that videogame known as Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has exploded. In a good way. Everyone and their squishy cartoon dog has been playing it, to the point where developers Mediatonic had to repeatedly take down their servers for beefing purposes.

It's a game show in the vein of Total Wipeout, or possibly an extremely squidgy version of Takeshi's castle. Players are whittled down from 60 as they get eliminated via various mini-games, then whoever's left has to race up a hill, dodging obstacles in the hope of being the first to grab a crown. So far I've played two matches and wound up cackling in near constant delight - but for now I just want to show you some of the best Falls from the internet. I can virtually guarantee they will improve your Wednesday.

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Feature: Now bring me that horizon

Horizon Zero Dawn on PC comfortably outperforms PS4 in this brilliant port

Horizon Zero Dawn stomps onto PC in just two days time, and I've been playing an early build of Guerrilla Games' post-apocalyptic cyber dino-hunting adventure to see how it runs now that it's left the confines of its console box origins. The results, I'm pleased to say, are excellent. Not only is this the best-looking version of Horizon Zero Dawn, what with its extra graphics settings and ultrawide monitor support, but it's also the smoothest thanks to its uncapped frame rates.

I'll be taking a closer look at what kind of speeds you can expect from a variety of today's top graphics cards on Friday when the game comes out, but right now I thought I'd put Horizon Zero Dawn's recommended GTX 1060 spec through its paces to see what it's made of. Can it hold a candle to its engine-sharing stablemate Death Stranding? Let's find out.

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Feature: Robot t-rexstasy

The PC port is the best way to play Horizon Zero Dawn

Folks, the time has almost come. Yes, Horizon Zero Dawn's PC release is mere days away. Soon, Guerrilla Games' former Sony exclusive will be unleashed on a new segment of the game playing public like a big robot dinosaur set free in a water park.

We here at RPS are looking at HZD from several angles, so while Nate is down in the wordmines right this second, and hardware editor Katharine puts together more excellent hardware and performance focused analysis, myself and Matthew are here to bring you a delicious video review. The adventures of future post-apocalypse warrior Aloy are a sight to behold on PC. In fact, I'd go so far as to say this is probably the best version of Horizon Zero Dawn you can get your paws on.

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Blizzard have confirmed that they’ll be hosting BlizzCon as an online event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual celebration of their games and communities was cancelled this year, with a suggestion that they’ll be holding it virtually in 2021. During a recent earnings call, Blizzard’s president J. Allen Brack confirmed that it will be happening “early 2021”.

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Feature: She's got an insect to ride

Warframe: Heart Of Deimos is about mechs, insect surfing and a dash of kismet

You could accuse Digital Extremes of being a bit on the nose with their latest Warframe expansion. The world is in the grip of a pandemic and up they pop at their annual TennoCon convention (now streamed, for full social distancing) with Heart Of Deimos: a gooey, pulsating update revolving around a trip to a moon in the grip of a parasitic infestation. But unlike real life, on Deimos you can distract yourself from lockdown woes by riding a giant dragonfly. Imagine steering one of those bad boys to Durham Castle.

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Featured post

Feature: Dog eggs

Have You Played… ARK: Survival Evolved?

I had a mate at university who got home pissed at 2am and decided to boil himself an egg. Great idea at the time. But he passed out on the floor, the saucepan boiled dry, and the egg began to combust. When my mate woke up, it was because his whole building was being evacuated because of the billows of rancid egg smoke from his kitchen. See that egg, in your mind's eye? That's ARK: Survival Evolved, that is.

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Why did the game developer cross the road? To make a living, probably, but after traversing dozens of mobile highways it's about time to look to the stars. Announced earlier today, Tombstar sees Crossy Road developer Andy Sum team up with designer Marcus Grambau in ditching the sidewalk to pick up a sci-fi six-shooter sometime this year. Let's just hope his aim's as good as his traffic-dodging gymnastics, eh?

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That wasn't a terrible first lap, Formula Fusion, but it could've gone better. So, off you pop into the pit lane for a fresh coat of paint, a rebranding, and we'll take another shot at this whole release thing. Going by the much snappier Pacer moniker, R8 Games reckon their tuned-up sci-fi racer is finally ready to leave the garage, bringing it back to Steam on September 17th.

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It's summer! Scotland might've missed the memo (my soaked jeans can attest to that), but at least Overwatch is willing and able to have some fun in the virtual sun. The Summer Games have returned to Blizzard's hero shooter, bringing in a fresh collection of hot beach looks - whether you're chilling by the pool or pushing that dang payload.

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It's Quakecon At Home this weekend, and to celebrate this year's socially distanced Bethesda fest, GOG and Green Man Gaming are holding a huge sale with lots of tasty game deals. Chief among them is 56% off Doom Eternal over at GMG, and 75% off Prey for would-be GOG-ers, so read on below for our pick of the very best deals from each sale.

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Feature: Always attack with owls on Tuesdays

Fae Tactics is a fiddly homage to Final Fantasy Tactics

Fae Tactics is turn-based wizard whacking in the same vein as the much-beloved Final Fantasy Tactics series, which is one of the few classic FF spin-offs that has somehow managed to bypass coming to PC throughout its long, if slightly spotty history. It's effectively to Final Fantasy Tactics what Wargroove was to aggrieved Advance Wars fans - a game which scratches that nostalgic, pixellated tactics itch while bringing it up to date for modern PC players.

As a result, Fae Tactics taps into a very specific brand of tactical role-playing, and it does loads of interesting things that I'm very much on board with. Sadly, it's also one that I don't have a lot patience for. It's not just that its fights are a little too long and maybe a touch too repetitive for my tastes. It's also because I've tripped over so many rules during my time with it that I feel like I'm being asked to perform ballet in the toy-strewn debris of a toddler's bedroom.

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Cosplayer Zibartas is someone who will never run out of light. His latest creation is Mercy’s wings from Overwatch. They’re built out of steel and aluminium, glow with the perfect amount of heavenly light, and unfurl like he’s just activated an ultimate. There are very few moments of true beauty in the world at the moment, but I'd argue that seeing these snake out like a visit from an angel is one of them. I'd hug him if it weren't physically impossible.

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Feature: Style over substance, bay-bee

Cyberpunk 2077’s gangsters are all graphic design afficionados

Following on from the recent release of The World Of Cyberpunk 2077 last week (it's a big fancy book revealing some delicious Cyberpunky secrets prior to Cyberpunk 2077's release in November), CD Projekt has spaffed a load of Gangs Of Night City posters onto Displate. New merch isn't the sort of thing I pay much attention to, normally. But in this case, it's given us some more details of the gangs you'll run into when making your first-person-action-RPG way around Night City.

More importantly, in my mind at least, it has laid out their wares in a way that lets me decide which ones I am clearly going to support, and which ones I will terminate with extreme prejudice. These decisions are based entirely on their logos, but they are correct decisions nonetheless.

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When Assassin's Creed Valhalla releases this November, it will put players in the shoes of Eivor - a big, tough Viking assassin, fully prepared to slaughter the English. Now, if that's not quite the selling point you were after, it might please you to know that this burly warrior will also be able to pet and snuggle all the cats they come across on their journey, too.

Well, it certainly isn't going to make me any less likely to buy the game.

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Don't dust off your swords or wizardly staves just yet, adventurers. Today, developers Larian announced that Baldur's Gate 3 will no longer be setting forth on its early access adventure this month. A new release date will instead be announced during a livestream in two weeks time, one that'll be also drag omnipresent videogames man Goeff Keighley on screen for some "big news" regarding the dungeon-crawling threequel.

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It's a rotten day out, and amphibious as they may be, no frog should have to suffer a bare head in this weather. If you must play Frog Fractions: Game Of The Decade Edition, you owe it to poor Hop to pitch in for a swish beanie. See, Hop's Iconic Cap isn't just a sweet piece of froggy fashion - nestled in that hat is an entirely new, fourth(?) entry in the Frog Fractions extended universe.

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The Games And Online Harassment Hotline is a new service for anyone in the games industry to use if they want to talk to someone about abuse, burnout, depression, or other issues they might be facing. It's free and anonymous, and it's designed to encourage people to seek help when they need it. Headed by Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian, the idea for the hotline was born during the #MeToo movement the games industry experienced in August last year. The movement has continued in 2020, most prominently in accusations about Ubisoft's company culture.

"When we started seeing this in August many of us were like, 'okay, we've got to do something about it'," Sarkeesian tells me.

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Season five of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone is out tomorrow, so here’s a release trailer to make your fingers itch. Imogen went over all of the operators and guns last week, but Warzone in particular is my jam so I’m focusing on that.

Yep, there’s a train coming to Verdansk, and I’m already making space on my hard-drive for this rolling stock of death. The trailer also gives us a look inside the stadium, and has the surprise inclusion of what appears to be a raven assassination.

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Rainbow Six Siege is getting in on some 80s sci-fi action with its new limited time event, M.U.T.E. Protocol, kicking off today. Ubisoft's tactical FPS has cyberpunked-up one of its Secure Area game mode maps, dropping players in as all manner of funky neon robots to attack or defend a Comm Tower. It's not just cosmetic, though, as players will be able to use special futuristic powers to warp themselves through their tech, too.

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New storylines, new bosses, new NPCs, New Game+, new areas and even a new dog you can pet are what await you today in Blasphemous, because the Stir Of Dawn DLC has arrived. The Game Kitchen's excellent gothic metroidvania has absolutely tons of new stuff to get your hands on today, and it's all part of a free update that's available to download right now.

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The latest twist on the ‘royale’ genre, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, is out today. I had a quick run around it to write this post because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was dragged into a colourful, bizarre obstacle course with 59 other people. The brief time I spent with it was more of a last-place simulator, sadly. I was humiliated.

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As we draw closer to the release date of Crusader Kings 3 on September 1, Paradox has started a series of videos to get you up to speed with their grand strategy game. First up is a look at how characteristics shape your regal avatar. It begins with the story of Erik the Heathen, a greedy, brave, and zealous Viking. Despite ruling Sweden, he is not chill.

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