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Proper fancy 'pootle around space with your spacepals' online multiplayer will arrive in No Man's Sky with the 'Next' update on Tuesday, we've known for a while, and I'm surprised to hear developers Hello Games already talking about what's next after Next. They have planned a season of "weekly content and community events" to start "a little while after" Next's launch, they say. They don't say more about what those plans are but coo, go on, more spacestuff, I'll take that.

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Feature: For those on a shoestring budget

BenQ GW2480 review: A cheap, no-frills monitor

As much as I love the Acer Predator XB241H, I appreciate that not everyone has close to £400 / $400 to spend on a 24in 1920x1080 gaming monitor. Fortunately, there are plenty of other 24in screens out there that cost a heck of a lot less. Case in point: BenQ's GW2480 goes for just £123 / $150. What's more, it also looks way less 'gamery' than a lot of the other top dogs in our best gaming monitor rankings. Let's find out if it's any good.

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Codemasters have laid off a large number of people from their studio behind rough 'n' tumble racer Onrush, the team formerly known as Evolution, according to a Eurogamer report. A PC version of Onrush was due to follow after June's console launch, but its fate is unclear given the big changes at the studio. The scale of the damage isn't public yet but Eurogamer's sources whisper that the studio have been "decapitated", with Onrush director Paul Rustchynsky gone, multiple senior developers fired or re-interviewing for new positions, and some junior staff lost too.

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I won't lie. When HP announced a string of new Omen peripherals at this year's Computex show in Taiwan, the thing that really caught my eye was its supposed ear-cooling gaming headset. It even had a cool-sounding name and everything. The HP Omen MINDFRAME. Sadly, that was the one thing missing from the HP Omen demo day I went to last week. I did, however, get to prod their new Sequencer keyboard and Reactor mouse, and let me tell you, the Sequencer (pictured above) may have the nicest volume slider in the history of keyboards. Let's take a look.

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The beginning of the beginning of the end for darling Clementine begins with the first episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season in August, but what about the beginning of the beginning of the beginning of the end? If you're impatient, eager, carefree, or just a bit bored, you can now watch the first fifteen minutes of Episode 1 in a gameplay video Telltale debuted at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. Please don't make me explain that this 16-minute video of the start of the game reveals much of what happens within the first 16 minutes of the game.

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MercurySteam's four-player cooperative (and sometimes 4v1) shoot-o-brawler Raiders Of The Broken Planet will relaunch as fully free-to-play in August under the new name of Spacelords, the Spanish studio announced today. Since its 2017 launch, Raiders has run under a shareware-ish model of giving the starter campaign away free then charging a tenner for each extra campaign (three so far). Game director Enric Álvarez says they hoped this "would open it up to a large number of users, but it didn't work as we planned." And so, F2P.

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“If your enemy logs off, make sure they can’t log on.” - Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese general and fan of Eve Online.

Yes, the space warfare MMO is once again full of exploding spaceships thanks to a new war between two large blocs of corporate murder fans. It’s as convoluted as any other conflict in this game of moneymaking and military skulduggery, but basically: a huge battle broke out last week between two massive superfleets, and now hundreds of pilots from one of those fleets are trapped, besieged by a worrying number of Goonswarm hyenas thirsting for shipwrecks.

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Walking into Mordor used to be fairly simple, but the way in was guarded by the dragon of commercial necessity. Now that Middle-earth: Shadow Of War finally has a demo--nine months after launch--that dragon will turn a blind eye if you want to slip into Núrn for free. He's probably hoping you'll come back and pay £15/$20 to stroll around the rest of Mordor before the 66%-off sale ends this evening, but that's up to you.

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20 mercenaries will land on a pretty planet to complete quests, tussle with alien wildlife, and maybe murder each other a bit across 20-minute rounds in The Cycle, a new multiplayer FPS coming from Spec Ops: The Line and Dreadnought studio Yager. "OH IS THAT BATTLE ROYALE?" you started typing before even finishing reading the preceding sentence, you little scamp, and nnno it doesn't sound like it? Influenced by the new hotness, probably, but we're starting to move beyond straight Plunkbuts and more into games running with little threads of the genre - see Crytek's Hunt: Showdown too. The Cycle is due later this year so, for now, come watch this pretty announcement trailer.

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Sign up to the RPS Supporter Program and get 4 free games

The RPS Supporter Program has grown up. As of last week, signing up for a six or twelve month stint as one of our favourite readers gets you an officially ads-free version of the website alongside extra articles and free stuff. You can read more and sign up over here, but this article is specifically about the free stuff you'll get. Things like: 4 free games, 1 God, 1 hat, and 1 frosty horse. Read on for more details.

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Feature: Read more

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for resorting to crowdsourced suggestions about what Sundays are for. Hugging puppies and reading about video games, apparently. PC Gamer's Wes Fenlon has been WASDing wrong his whole life, and was nice enough to write about it so we can all laugh at him. Um, I mean, so we can all bond over the 'anything goes' configurability of PC control schemes. (But mostly so we can all put our hands on our keyboards in ways that feel unnatural and go 'waaaah!'.)

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Feature: He slimed me

Free games of the week – July 21st 2018

Want to challenge a demonic possession to see if you can help free a town from the horrors that lurk in the dark? Or maybe bond with your enemy as you make the long journey to his death? You could also embark on an adventure to save an already established friend from a previously vanquished villain, or take on the world alone with just your trusty sword against waves and waves of enemies. If fighting and questing isn’t what you want to do this week, maybe you’ll enjoy chilling out in a forest of slimes, watching them bounce around. There’s always a lot to do in the world of free video games.

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Ah, hello there! Happy weekend to you. "Alice!" you shout in reply. "What does WPAPWPAPWAPPWA look like now RPS has a snazzy new redesign?" Well! A whole lot like I have once again copy/pasted layout code from elsewhere on the site to create something functional-ish is what. It's practical. Recycling. A keystroke saved is a keystroke earned. What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on!

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Here's a weird one to start your weekend on. I've been following The Miskatonic since its earliest concept drafts as a platform shooter. After a successful Kickstarter, it's somehow mutated into a grim, grimy and all-too-cheerful visual novel about the students and staff of Arkham's infamously evil Miskatonic University, and their place in a strange post-Cthulhu world. It's also out right now.

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Paizo's pen and paper RPG Pathfinder may not be Dungeons & Dragons, but it's as close as you can get to it while still being legally distinct, which makes it perfect source material for a Baldur's Gate-esque old school RPG. Successfully Kickstarted a year ago, Pathfinder: Kingmaker now has a release date - September 25th - and a very fancy new trailer below to accompany the announcement.

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Adventure Time remains one of my favourite cartoons ever, but so far none of the games based on it have done its weird and wonderful world and characters justice. Pirates Of The Enchiridion looks to be closest to the mark so far - a seafaring RPG with turn-based combat, released today. Below, an authentic-looking launch trailer featuring the full TV voice cast.

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Feature: "The International 2022 will be won by bots"

AI wizard Mike Cook wants OpenAI’s Dota bots to teach him, not beat him

In a little over four weeks, five AI bots will play a team of pro players at The International. OpenAI's bots have learnt to play Dota 2 almost from scratch, building up an understanding of the game using one of the most advanced reinforcement learning techniques AI researchers have yet devised. It's an impressive achievement, regardless of whether the bots manage to crush their flesh and blood opponents. But don't get too carried away. Last week I told you about Mike Cook's blog post, where he highlighted both the technical and conceptual limitations surrounding OpenAI's bots. Mike is best known for Angelina, the game making AI that he's been tinkering with for the past eight years - but no AI problem can escape his expert gaze. So I called him up and asked if he could explain some more.

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Feature: Happy hunting

Razer Huntsman review: Opto-mechanical goodness

If you like your clacky keyboards, Razer's new Huntsman is going to be right up your street. This thing is LOUD. Much louder, I'd say, than any other keyboard I've tested so far, and I'd probably even go as far as saying it's clickier and clackier than the Cherry MX blue switches found in mechanical keyboards like the Fnatic Streak and HyperX Alloy Elite. This won't be a problem if you actually prefer the soothing sound of rapid finger-tapping while playing your favourite games, but for those whose PCs happen to live within ten feet of another human being, the Huntsman probably isn't going to be the keyboard for you. Even with my office door closed, my husband and fellow RPS video person Matthew could still just about hear me clacking away from our downstairs living room, so you're either going to need some very understanding partners/family members if you buy this keyboard, or risk watching your relationships explode in a furious rage. In this case, though, I'm fully prepared for any potential divorce proceedings, because boy does the Huntsman feel good to type on.

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What goes around comes back stronger, and goodness me it's nice to have qrth-phyl come back. Last seen by us in 2012, the arcade Snake-o-dotgobbler from the glowing mind behind Leave Home has returned to us through a Steam release with new modes and online leaderboards. I have bought it, downloaded it, loaded it, burnt a few lives, then closed it because mate this is a bit much for me in the dying hours of my working week. Still pleasant, still colourful, still getting mighty tricky as your snake grows longer and longer coiling over and inside 3D objects.

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Overwatch's diminutive Swedish engineer Torbjörn is set to get a few whacks from Blizzard's tuning wrench. Similar to Symmetra's massive rework recently, Overwatch lead designer Geoff Goodman told VG247 of tentative plans to rebuild the stubborn Swede into a more aggressive character capable of deploying self-upgrading turrets on the go. It also seems likely that his ultimate ability - Molten Core - is to be replaced entirely.

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Feature: Get the firearms out

The cramped horror of GTFO hopes to bond people

The monsters are sleeping. They stand around in dark corners, obscured by a thick dust that hangs in the air. Our squad creeps through the doorway, crouching and tense and heavily armed. Then: a single gunshot. The monsters are awake. They scream, they run at us, they flail and strike with fleshy, twisted limbs, and call out for more of their brothers (sisters?) who come scampering through the cavern toward the noise and gunfire that follows. Eventually, the squad fights them all off, things calm down, the last of the fleshy creatures is killed. All right, asks one of the team playing GTFO with me. Who fired that shot? “Yeah, sorry,” I say. “That was me.”

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You'll be able to play relaxing farm life sim Stardew Valley with up to three friends this August 1st. The long-awaited multiplayer mode has been available as an opt-in open beta since late April, but the developers reckon it's finally ready for prime-time. The multiplayer update includes some new additions to the world, online or off, including new quests, heart events and (most importantly) hats for horses, as detailed in the (tentative) patch notes here. Below, a trailer giving us a peek at what communal farming looks like in action.

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Clicker Heroes 2 marks the point that clicker games - y'know, the ones all about making numbers go ever-higher with a minimum of interaction - encroach so far into action-RPG territory that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to play a Diablolike again. The illusion is shattered; the pretence that I play hacker-slashers for any reason beyond numerical embiggening ripped away. Clicker Heroes 2 is master of dopamine, overlord of loot-hunger, god-emperor of unputdownable nothingness. Until, unexpectedly soon, it isn't.

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Staying true to their name, Big Robot are sending more yet big robots to get us in their third game. The makers of The Signal From Tölva and Sir, You Are Being Hunted today announced The Light Keeps Us Safe, a stealth game creeping through the apocalypse while robots are out to get you and your path is filled with traps. A bit like a visit to Dixons. The Light Keeps Us Safe is due to hit early access in October ahead of a launch in early 2019, and for now you peek through your fingers at the announcement trailer below.

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Today's forecast for Erangel is spicy with outbreaks of banter and light showers of armoured vehicles, as the 'Metal Rain' event mode returned to Playerunknown's Battlegrounds this morning. Running for three short days, it features eight-player teams and lets us find flare guns to call in supply planes dropping either a family size care package or an armoured UAZ. As for other newness, remember that everyone can now create Custom Matches on the main client, tinkering with settings or playing Zombie mode.

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Dust off your fashionable frog mask, fabsolvers. Martial arts biff-em-up Absolver is getting a new dungeon-diving mode and a fifth fighting style modeled after Bruce Lee's twitchy fists and kicky feet. We knew this free expansion was on the way but now we know it's due out some day in September. And there are other details about what you'll be punching in the new ‘Downfall' mode, which sees players descending into two new areas – the mines and temples of the fighting game's crumbling world.

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The Clan Of The Snake DLC is out for Northgard, and yep, they're bastards. For £4, you can now make the viking-starvation RTS even more miserable for your opponents by stealing their lore and burning their homes. Classy stuff, Snake clan. This first dose of DLC from Shiro Games arrives alongside a hefty free update, which adds a new stealthy military unit and some sweeping balance changes. They've made colonising tiles use up even more food, the monsters.

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Although a person with long-term experience of just one rudder set really isn't equipped to review PC plane pedals, in a pinch he can probably be trusted to dash off a passable preview. Next Monday Thrustmaster release a 7kg, £450 lump of strikingly unorthodox engineering that will, I suspect, end up supporting the soles of many a serious flight simmer. Last week this hardware dilettante rested his plates of meat on said device and spoke to some of the people responsible for marketing and testing it.

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