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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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I am both surprised and not at all surprised. Star Wars Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy, a game from the year 2003, has recently been ported to the Nintendo Switch and PS4. That's all well and good but apparently players who've been mastering the blade for 17 years have found a way to worm into console players' multiplayer lobbies. You'll not be shocked to hear that they aren't delivering gifts when they do so. Aspyr Media say a fix against invading PC players is incoming.

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Sandboxes are made for playing in and it's no wonder players are eager to get their hands dirty. Half-Life: Alyx has some of the most satisfying physics, and the level-editing tools Valve had planned to release with the VR game are sure to inspire some creativity. The Hammer editor didn't launch with Alyx as intended, but a Valve member has shared that it's the team's next priority.

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June is typically a big month for gaming announcements but as with many other things, the Covid-19 coronavirus is putting a hold on that. Whether at E3 proper or in the week leading up to it, big publishers like Bethesda use the month to show off plans for the year. E3 is cancelled, as are many other gaming events, and according to Bethesda it won't be replacing their usual E3-concurrent presentation with a digital version.

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Silly ragdoll game Totally Reliable Delivery Service is arriving on the (digital) doorstep of anyone who wants it today. It's got the jello-like little humans similar to the goofs of Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat. Turns out delivering packages efficiently is nigh impossible when you're basically an invertebrate. For its first week in the wild, you can grab Totally Reliable Delivery Service free for keeps.

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Overwatch heroes all have googly eyes for April Fools

April Fools is not a day to scare or mislead people with mean tricks. April Fools is for lighthearted pranks, and silly jokes. April Fools is a day to stick googly eyes on all of your video game characters. If you load up Overwatch today, you might notice that Blizzard have done exactly that - it's not just the heroes that have received the googly eye treatment either, even Hanzo's dragons and the test dummies are joining in on the fun.

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Feature: Modern world

The modders creating accessibility modes for notoriously difficult games

Whether or not famously difficult games should have an optional easy mode has long been a point of contention. But many already do, albeit unofficially, thanks to modders taking things into their own hands.

Take the fella who goes by "n00bplatformer", for example. He recently created an “Assist Mode” for run 'n’ gun action game Cuphead. It makes simple tweaks to some of the game’s systems, like granting players six hitpoints instead of the usual three, and boosting weapon damage an extra 50% so that boss battles don’t drag on so long.

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Paradox Interactive are pitching in on Covid-19 coronavirus relief efforts with a sale on several of their big management games and RPGs until Friday, April 3rd. You can snag some mighty hefty discounts on things like Cities: Skylines, Pillars Of Eternity, and BattleTech. Paradox are committing proceeds from the sale to the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

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Big numbers are light yet refreshing, rarely leaving one full of knowledge but welcome as an effervescent sensation flowing over the lobes. Here's a new one for you to enjoy for a few seconds: 50,000, which is the number of permanent bans issued in Call Of Duty: Warzone for cheating so far. All big multiplayer games are in an endless arms race with cheatmakers, and cheaters will keep returning particularly to free-to-play games, but still: 50,000 cheatybans? That big number is a lovely tingle through the ol' skullgoop.

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Feature: Zombies: they came to town

Resident Evil 3’s fictional brands are more frightening than the monsters

As I wrote in my review of Resident Evil 3, one of my favourite things about the game is the level of detail that's gone into making Raccoon City feel like a real place, despite all but a few streets of it being mysterious blocked off by walls of rubble and trashed police cars. It's a strangely generic location, with that faint sense of white-label, delocalised Americana that often comes about when a Japanese production team sets something in the USA. If you had a dream set in "an American city", your mind would come up with something like this place. But just as in a dream, when you start to look at the details, things get a bit weird. I'm going to take you on a quick tour of Raccoon City's downtown, where the first act of RE3 is set, and show you some of my favourites. Keep up, or the bin bag man will get you.

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Humble have announced a special one-week bundle to help support organisations tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Dubbed the Conquer Covid-19 bundle, you'll get over $1000 worth of games, ebooks and comics for just £25.50 / $30, and all of the proceeds will go to charity. Here's what you get.

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A phalanx of heavily-armed bug fixes cut down a number of crashes in a new Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord patch released last night. The sandbox medieval warfare multi-hyphenate RPG entered early access on Monday but some players got off to a bumpy start. Enter this patch at 9pm, with fixes for over 18 crashes and soft-locks as well as some 'infinite loading' problems. I am so glad to see TaleWorlds don't mention anything about playing Bannerlord as a baby and I pray to god that this will remain in the game forever.

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Feature: VR is here to stay

The best VR games on PC

Virtual reality has had a bit of boom since the release of Half-Life: Alyx last month, so we've updated our list of best VR games to help reflect that. Indeed, whereas VR games used to be a wasteland of mini-games and glorified scenery wallpapers, there are now more great games than you'll ever have time to play. To help you sort through the good from the bad, have a read our best VR games list below.

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QuakeCon 2020 is cancelled

The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center will not ring with the detonation of rockets or chugging of Bawls this August, for QuakeCon 2020 has been cancelled. Id Software's 25th annual fragfest is called off due to the usual concerns and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. What began as a big ol' LAN party has grown into a big marketing event too, particularly after Bethesda bought the Quakelords at Id Software, though I suppose any announcements that Bethesda would've made at QuakeCon could be done online instead.

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A remastered version of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's campaign is hitting PC on April 30th, bringing improved audio and visuals to what's pretty widely considered one of COD's best singleplayer stories. Note that it is just the singleplayer campaign we're getting a remaster of - if you were expecting to be able to drop on some of your old favourite multiplayer maps like in 2016's MW Remastered, well, think again, as multiplayer and Spec-Ops missions aren't included.

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Feature: All your 2020 PC release dates in one handy list

New PC games coming out in 2020

After a pretty quiet start to the year, the new PC games train has finally picked up steam and is now hurtling towards us with lots of tasty treats in tow, which is just as well given we're all stuck inside at the moment and have lots of spare time on our hands. To help you keep track of all the biggest and best PC games coming out this year, we've created this giant new games list for the whole of 2020. Now updated for April, we've cleared away the games that came out in March and tidied up a bunch of games that have since been delayed as well.

Ordered by month, we're rounded up all of this year's new PC games so you can see exactly what's coming out and when. Of course, there are still plenty of games whose release dates are TBA at the moment, but we'll be updating this list regularly as and when they get confirmed. In the mean time, here's your complete guide to PC gaming in 2020.

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Feature: Blunted

Bleeding Edge review

Bleeding Edge is a third-person 4v4 brawler with a line-up that includes a woman who turns into a motorcycle, a snake who inhabits a zombie, and - soon to be introduced - a dolphin in a mechsuit. There's a feathery, mechanical raptor-lady. There's a fire-breathing goth. There's a grandma, who is also a witch, leashed to a mini hot air balloon. Most of the combatants are charming, inventive and memorable, but I never want to see any of their stupid faces again.

All the charm in the world couldn't stop the combat being pants.

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You've all sat through your Half-Life: Alyx VR maths lesson, right? Good. Time for a treat.

YouTuber "ChrisQuitsReality" has put together an impressive performance of bottle-tossing, plate-flipping, grenade-groping and chair-chucking, with the occasional use of Alyx's gravity gloves for added flair. He is a juggling wizard, and you will appreciate him. Unless you really want to avoid mild environment spoilers.

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Mega space economy simulator X4: Foundations has released its first major expansion, bringing the alien Split faction back into the series, along with a heap of ships and new areas to explore.

Developers Egosoft have also updated the base game, promising a litany of fixes and improvements, and additions including new ships, weapons, and a fresh storyline, whether you buy the expansion or not.

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As well as creating the Unreal Engine, making Fortnite, running their own games store, and publishing games, Epic Games apparently also own a group video chat programme named Houseparty? I too had missed their purchase announcement last year, until current events dragged it into headlines. Houseparty are currently offering a $1,000,000 (£790k) bounty if someone can prove "a paid commercial smear campaign" is behind recent rumours that the software is hacking other apps on people's phones. Everyone's getting on video party chat now, y'know, and the battle to dominate it might be a dirty one.

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Feature: All hands on deck

Premature Evaluation: For The Warp

Early access deck builder For The Warp doesn’t so much wear its FTL influences on its sleeve, as it does creep into FTL’s bedroom when it’s out to try on FTL’s lipstick and stare dead-eyed into a vanity mirror while muttering “I’m a very pretty spacefaring roguelike, yes I am”. If FTL ever goes missing while out for a late night jog, odds are that For The Warp has it trapped at the bottom of a big hole and is forcing it to moisturise. There is imitation, and then there is wearing the skin of the game you love and slow-dancing alone in your basement illuminated only by a low-hanging, buzzing incandescent bulb.

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GTFO's big free Infection update is out today, bringing new maps, weapons, enemies and objectives to the tense tactical survival-horror shooter. It's brought a whole new Rundown with it too, wiping away the old one to make room for a bunch of new levels.

If you've not had the chance to play GTFO yet, it's a super tense co-op experience where you and four friends play as prisoners dropped into a mysterious underground complex. You have to be pretty stealthy and extremely coordinated to get to your objectives, because there are some very angry zombie-things that demolish you in hordes if you don't.

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If you too are trying to do home workouts with bottles of water and bags of sugar for weights, this might get you pumped up: a mixtape from Destiny 2 combining throbbing beats with the motivational words of Lord Shaxx. The Shaxxercize tape is a wee Easter egg in one quest from the new season, hidden on a shelf in the office of Commander Zavala, and now Bungie have put it on YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Shaxx is the hornhatted fella who commentates PvP matches with Shakespearean boisterousness, our fightdad who's always proud of us but knows we can push just a little harder. And now he wants you to feel the burn.

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Feature: Banner performance

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord performance – how to get the best settings

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord has finally charged into early access, albeit with quite a number of technical issues in tow if Sin's early experience is anything to go by. I've yet to become mired in the same loading time issues and mission crashes as she has, so I'm afraid I can't offer any quick fixes for those unfortunately, but what I can talk about is how the game runs more generally, and how to make sense of its various graphics settings to help you get the best experience from Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, as well as the best performance. Onwards!

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Feature: Sea to shining sea

In Other Waters review

In Other Waters is a little game about a xenobiologist named Ellery Vas exploring an alien sea, and finding it (unexpectedly) teeming with life. You don't play the biologist, you play an artificial intelligence powering and controlling her advanced diving suit, but you are essential in helping Ellery to observe and classify these new species, to collect specimens, and to navigate the seabed. Despite what sound like similarities, In Other Waters is, as Nate pointed out, definitely not Subnautica.

It is really very good, though. It's very meditative. Calming. It's possibly exactly what you need right now.

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Feature: Chain reaction

The Fnatic React is a great, all-round gaming headset

Fnatic may be better known as an esports company, but as their excellent Fnatic Streak keyboards have shown, they're quite the dab hand at making top-notch gaming peripherals as well. The Streak and its compact tenkeyless miniStreak companion have been sitting atop my list ever since they came out, and their Flick 2 and Clutch 2 mice aren't half bad either. Now, Fnatic are completing the set with their React gaming headset. Here's wot I think.

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Almost everyone is stuck at home right now due the Covid-19 lockdown, and whether you're working or gaming, your internet bandwidth is likely being soaked up a lot more than normal. Steam is one of the worst offenders when it comes to devouring bandwidth, often using a bit more than its fair share. So to help out with how much it's using, Valve are rescheduling those pesky auto-updates for games you probably forgot you had, to free up some of that precious bandwidth at peak times. They've also given a handy reminder of a few options you can change yourself to further minimise your usage, too.

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Feature: The brute of all evil

Resident Evil 3 review

Honestly, I’m glad Resident Evil 3 is a short game, because it was really, really, stressful to play. After six hours of it, I was thoroughly jangled, and just wanted a break from things trying to messily dismantle me. Which, to be fair, means it did exactly what I wanted it to do. Before my nerves tattered and I evolved into a Strategy Dad, you see, I used to love a bit of survival horror. So I knew what boxes RE3 needed to tick - and it left great bloody claw marks through all of them.

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