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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Following a series of allegations of sexual harrassment and abuse against multiple Ubisoft employees at several studios, the company have laid out more of their plan to change.

"We have significant work to do to improve the ways in which we operate and collaborate, and I am personally committed to ensuring we make these fundamental changes," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. "They need to be profound, and we need to implement them quickly at all levels of the organisation."

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Ubisoft may be sliding in to the tail end of the summer FakE3 showcases, but they're not to be outdone. A new teaser trailer hints at which games we'll see during their upcoming Ubisoft Forward showcase on Sunday, July 12th. You probably won't be surprised by the names if you've kept up with this year's not-E3 but hey, here's your confirmation.

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Horizon Zero Dawn launches on PC August 7th

Alright folks, start up the post-apocalyptic phone tree. Horizon Zero Dawn now has a PC release date. Guerilla Games had previously announced plans for a summer release and then, to my equal parts joy and sadness, revealed a trailer for the sequel before gracing PC players with a date for the original. Well that's solved now. You'll be able to take Aloy on a good ol' fashioned robo dino hunt while uncovering the secrets of the apocalypse on August 7th.

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Squad up and suit up and then probably get shot up so that someone can rid you of Call Of Duty: Warzone's burly Juggernaut suit. Infinity Ward have added the new Juggernaut Royale mode to Warzone for this weekend in which teams of three will scuffle over the specialized armor and minigun. You can drop in for Juggernaut trios now through Tuesday, July 7th.

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Fighting game championship Evo has been cancelled this year following abuse allegations against Evo co-founder and CEO Joey "MrWizard" Cuellar. Evo are ejecting him from the company and replacing him as CEO. The makers of half the games in Evo's lineup had already pulled out of the event following the allegations, including Street Fighter gang Capcom and Mortal Kombat devs NetherRealm. Evo Online was due to run this weekend, one of the many virtual replacements for events called off due to the pandemic.

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Next-gen graphics card fever has gripped the internet hard over the last couple of months, with rumours flying this way and that about the upcoming Nvidia Ampere GPUs and the ray-tracing-capable AMD Navi cards. But the latest GPU gossip doing the rounds isn't anything to do with Nvidia's RTX 3000 series. Oh no. Instead, it would seem Nvidia are preparing yet another variant of their entry level GTX 1650 graphics card called the GTX 1650 Ultra according to a new product listing from a Chinese graphics card vendor. The real kicker of this story, though? Its GPU is apparently based on the same one that currently resides in the RTX 2070.

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Newegg may have some pretty good gaming laptop deals going on at the moment as part of their big 4th July celebrations, those looking to build a new PC on the cheap by buying individual components are actually better off looking elsewhere, as we've found several CPU and graphics card deals that are a lot better than what you'll find on Newegg.

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We don't really post about big numbers, but sometimes a game lots of us really like boasts about a really really big one. Three million people have bought Dead Cells since it came out on early access in 2017, which is frankly ridiculous. That's three times this many dots, except every dot is a human who chose to sacrifice precious money* so they could enjoy a videogame. And they were right to.

It's an excellent platforming roguelike that keeps getting more so. The "Update Of Plenty" update landed on Wednesday, bringing a big balance overhaul while reworking weapons and the economy with an eye to "open up a wider range of builds, while not sacrificing what made meta builds fun". Crossbows are two-handed now! Makes sense.

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Feature: Poundshop PC games

The Flare Path: Steam Snips

When I was teenager buying a budget computer game involved pedalling your penny-farthing along cobbled streets until you happened upon a branch of GAME, Electronics Boutique, WHSmith, or Woolworths, entering said store, selecting a hardback-sized box largely filled with air, and then handing a shop assistant a crumpled banknote with a picture of Florence Nightingale on one side. Today, my penny-farthing sits rusting in the shed, most of the local game emporiums are now nail bars or coffee shops, and a tenner buys ten golden oldies not one. Modern life is a curate's Cadbury Creme Egg and no mistake.

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If you just can’t get enough Warhammer, then boy do the folks at Fanatical have a good deal for you. As part of their latest Red Hot Sale, they've not only got a bunch of Warhammer games on sale, including 75% off Vermintide 2, but they've also put together a new eBook bundle from Black Library, letting you grab six Warhammer books for just £1. Alternatively, you can buy 26 of them for £18 instead of their usual price of *checks notes* £165, which, yes, I think officially qualifies as "a good deal".

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Feature: See you at Kitty Cat

People’s private names for Valorant map spots are delightful

Valorant is great, when it isn't making me sad. So goes my Valorant review. Friends are a key component of Riot's snazzy new wizard FPS, primarily because they won't (usually) swear at you when you do something stupid. A nice side benefit, though, is that you wind up with your own private and superior ways of describing parts of the map. These are important, because you often need to very quickly communicate where an enemy is.

It's the linguistic Wild West, and it delights me. Spawns become Oreos. Bombs get "defrosted". I asked Twitter for a peek into the private nomenclature of other friendship groups, and I'm very glad I did.

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Feature: One Off The List

The 9 worst scientists in PC games

Science, the most difficult of the arts. We are trained from toddlerhood to respect and fear the products of scientific advancement, such as the selfie sticks or mechanical pencil. The unsurpassed boffins who create such devices are worthy of admiration. But there is one realm in which science is not such a gentle guardian of the people. That’s right, it’s videogames. In games, scientists are treacherous, evil, stupid, murderous or some genetic concoction of all the above. Here are the 9 worst scientists in PC games.

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Feature: It's really not complicated

Have You Played… Arise: A Simple Story?

Arise: A Simple Story is a game about the three Ls. No, not Lemons, Lemons, Lemons (a small joke for RPS Vid Bud fans, there), but life, love, and loss. You know, the BIGGIES. In it, you're reliving the memories of a sweet old man as he journeys on to the after life, taking in everything from the breathless rush of childhood, where you're bounding across giant sunflowers in the wind and hitching rides on the back of bumblebees, to the first blush of romance and the heartache of later life. It is, as its title suggests, not a complicated story, but man alive does it go places.

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Bit on the nose, eh? Swords sharpened, muscles glistening, Conan Exiles was ready to make the jump to the Epic Games Store today, arriving with the fanfare of a spot in Epic's free game rotation. Pity, for the old warrior has been knocked back by a mighty blow. Funcom's sword-swinging survival sandbox has been pushed out of its new home indefinitely - and when it arrives, it won't be marching for free.

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Nudist tree-puncher Rust is feeling the need for speed. While Facepunch Studio's big ol' murder sandbox has so far let you locomote by foot, horseback or the miracle of flight, today's update has littered the wilderness with battered old motorcars. They're filthy, broken, knackered old lemons, but hey - there's a reason the devs didn't call the thing "factory-condition", isn't there?

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War never changes, but prestige TV sure can. Today, Bethesda announced that Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, creators of HBO's Westworld, are taking their cinematic lens to Fallout, working with Amazon Studios to create a post-apocalyptic telly show based on the long-running nuke 'em up RPG. Hold on, though - a darkly comic show about robot cowboys, deserts and conspiracies? Sounds quite a leap for the folks behind Westworld.

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I dread any ‘soulslike’ game arriving in my inbox, as it normally means having to make a video based on the first fight shot from different angles, as I couldn’t get any further. So it speaks to the appeal of Cold Symmetry's Mortal Shell that I persevered long enough to put together an entire video preview, and find a delightful lute to jam on in the middle of a swamp. Less loot, more lutes: the campaign starts here.

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After a week of mysterious tweets and a fake company website, Ubisoft have entered the battle royale ring with Hyper Scape. A "Technical Test" for the surprise BR landed in the hands of select streamers earlier today, with half a million viewers already tuning in to have a gander at Ubi's hectic urban battlefield - and to get their hands on the closed test themselves by way of Twitch drops.

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Amanita’s Creaks is finally coming this month

Amanita design, the makers of cute adventure games including Botanicula and Chuchel, today announced a July launch for their next game, Creaks. You know how sometimes in the dark of night, mundane objects in your room can look like monsters? Puzzle-platformer Creaks has that but for realsies, with a fella in a weird mansion beset by terrible creatures that turn into furniture when lights shine on them. Watch the new trailer to get the idea of how that premise builds into puzzles.

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Feature: Get your RTX cards at the ready

Here are all the confirmed ray tracing and DLSS games so far

It's been a long time coming, but Adobe Flash's drawn-out death spiral is coming to a close. This week, free browser game portal Kongregate announced that it'll no longer be accepting new submissions to the site, laying off several staff members as it pivots entirely towards developing and publishing games. While everything currently hosted on the site will remain there for the foreseeable, they're the last games Kongregate will ever host.

End of an era, that.

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Feature: But what is a monster, anyway?

How a comic tried to reimagine cult visual novel Song Of Saya

Seeing Song Of Saya (Saya no Uta) featured on Steam is like finding a dead body on the shore. It’s a terrific visual novel, this one, but one always recommended in whispers. A horror love story festooned in blood and gore, and with a list of content warnings longer than my games backlog. It can be completed in a single sitting, but will haunt you for years. Its presence on a mainstream storefront feels viscerally wrong, like something dark and rotten that should not have been brought to light.

And yet, this is not the first time Song Of Saya got introduced to a bigger audience. Because a decade ago, it got an American comic adaptation.

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We've still got two weeks to go until Kojima's post-apocalyptic deliver 'em up Death Stranding comes out on PC, but as my early performance tests showed yesterday, even GTX 1060 owners should be able to run the game at 60fps on max settings at 1080p. However, Nvidia have since confirmed that Death Stranding will also be getting DLSS 2.0 support when it comes out on July 14th, helping to boost those frame rates even higher if you own an RTX card - and from my own further testing, even an RTX 2060 will be able to hit a smooth 60fps at 4K with DLSS turned on.

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Continuing their remarkable expansion, Crusader Kings and Stellaris company Paradox Interactive today announced they've bought Playrion Game Studio, a French crew focused on mobile games. Maybe you know them from Airlines Manager? Paradox say that owning Playrion will help them bring more of their game worlds to mobile. No hints as to what might be next, mind.

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The UK government should regulate loot boxes in video games under gambling law as games of chance, and soon, a Select Committee of the House Of Lords have recommended. They also advised proactively future-proofing laws against other gambling-esque elements that might arise to replace loot boxes, so laws don't again end up years behind. Loot boxes have been around a good decade by now, after all, and UK laws still do nothing against them. Will the government act on this advice? Ahhh who knows.

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Feature: Ah dinnea ken if I can take any more, Captain

Ostranauts is a jaw-dropping space sim, trapped in a brutal interface

Based on its intensely confusing demo, I've concluded that I really like everything about Ostranauts, except for actually playing it. Admittedly that's a fairly significant obstacle, and it seems I'm not the only person facing it. But it also seems developers Blue Bottle Games are acutely aware of where the pain is coming from, and it looks like they're holding off on launching into early access until it's been alleviated a bit. I hope it goes well for them. Because beneath a UI that makes even the simplest task so onerous that it's not worth bothering with, this is a rich, fiercely imaginative simulation that I'm desperate to fall in love with.

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Dell have kicked off a huge ten-day sale across all sorts of different PC-related bits and bobs today, including up to 40% off gaming laptops, gaming desktops and their Alienware gaming monitors. There's a lot going on, but we've picked out our top Dell deals highlights below, including £100 off one of their officially certified G-Sync Compatible monitors, the AW2521HF, and a GTX 1660 Ti-powered G7 17 gaming laptop for under £1000.

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Feature: It's the system

Syscrusher is the most fun I’ve had in an FPS all year

I'm still drip feeding on the endless treasures from The Bundle. It's healthier than bingeing, and you get more out of it that way. And that's how I stumbled across Syscrusher, a tiny game about shooting robots.

I've installed and wearily deleted a dozen shooters in the last 8 months or so. I wish I could replace all their million unnecessary gigabytes with more of Syscrusher.

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