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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Feature: The poisonous chalice

Steam Charts: Suspicious Mole Edition

Everything you thought you knew to be true has been undermined by the Great Revelation. Please read on to learn about your new role in society, and how this affects the games you will be allowed to play.

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You've just dropped into a warzone with 59 vicious murderers. But hold up, where's your trusty Wingman? What's this, a charge rifle? What does that do? Worse, both your teammates nicked your mains, and you're dropping as Caustic. Bloody hell, how does this gassy doctor play? Before you know it, you've been booted back to the main menu with a bang. Rubbish.

All that fuss will soon be left in the past. Apex Legends is gearing up to get you trained on every last gun, hero and piece of gear with new training mode Firing Range, coming later in Season 3.

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Turns out, bike modding is more than just sticking some paper on the back wheel to make it sound like a motorbike. After two years of steady downhill offerings, developers RageSquid want to breathe new life back into roguelike BMX 'em up Descenders by bringing official mod support into the fray. The Modding Update arrived last week with nearly a dozen new tricked out tracks, from two-dimensional remakes and small-screen shenanigans to vast, new mountainsides to skin your knees across.

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Minecraft's long overdue recognition of bees just became a bit more significant to the practical minded player. With the new 19w41A snapshot patch, the honey they produce can be agglomerated into usable blocks, whose unusual properties have been a boon for in-game builders, engineers, and even athletes.

The internet had already recognised the importance of bees, but with the possibilities honey blocks offer, Minecraft players have been busy all weekend.

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Feature: Danse Macabre

Felix The Reaper review

Felix The Reaper is a master of distraction. Instead of making him rush to move shadows about so he can set up elaborately fatal traps, all I want to do is watch this chubby lil' reaper bust endless moves to the beat of his Walkman. and I mean moves: it would be ridiculous to call these "idle animations", because this groovin' dealer of death simply never quits. He's a non-stop boogie machine, and watching him strut his stuff across the game's tiled puzzlescapes is easily the most charming part of it all.

But as I said, it's all a distraction: a cute but cunning smokescreen to hide what's otherwise a fairly mundane, and often frustrating, puzzle game. There are some great ideas here to be sure. Even so, readability issues, an over-reliance on harsh speedrun requirements to unlock later levels, and a general failure to build on the game's key puzzle elements in satisfying ways ultimately makes Felix feel more damned than divine.

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Whatever your feelings are on Quake II RTX, it looks like it won't be the only classic PC game getting Nvidia's fancy pants ray tracing treatment. A recently posted job ad for Nvidia's Lightspeed Studios has revealed a new "game remastering program" that aims to bring "some of the greatest titles from the past decades [...] into the ray tracing age". There's no word yet on exactly what games they're remastering at the moment, but the first will apparently be a game "you know and love".

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It's been a hard time for Starbreeze, with the gang behind Payday 2 and Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons facing a very real possibility they wouldn't survive another year. As they continue to try to recover from serious financial problems, they now foresee a bright and lucrative future led by one game: Payday 3. We should expect the latest in the really-quite-good cooperative heist FPS in 2022 or 2023, they've said in a new financial filing. Which seemed forever away until I realised it's almost 2020? As in, 2020 starts within three months? And then it's basically 2525? And we'll be living on the Moon? Time, eh.

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Update: The black hole has secrets. More below.

Fortnite: Battle Royale's ominous countdown has ended, and a rocket barrage fractured its (extremely pretty) skydome. Then all the players, the entire map, and even the long-suffering battle bus were hoovered up into oblivion. Now the entire game's been replaced by a mysterious (and occasionally horrifically flickering) black hole. A normal Sunday night.

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Screenshot Saturday! A day to take a look at some games that don’t yet exist, may become entirely different things at any moment, and yet still pique the interest for what they are right now. This week: one Halloween-y pooch, some extremely relaxing stargazing, and a semi-virtual dance off.

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Destiny 2: Shadowkeep review

Moon's still haunted.

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Wicky Wicky Wild Wild Hex

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Yes, Frankenstein is the doctor, but it’s nice that The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature is a little more neutral than calling his creation a monster. If you’re retelling Mary Shelley’s classic story, it’s probably best to get off on the right foot, instead of insulting your protagonist right out of the gate. And besides, anything that fits into these gorgeous landscapes so well surely can’t be a monster.

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Feature: Read more

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for figuring out what to do with yourself on your one, jet lag-addled free day during a press trip to LA. I've already visited The Getty. Suggestions are appreciated. Here's the best writing about videogames from the past week.

For The Verge, Lewis Gordon got twelve indie developers to talk candidly about how they finance games development. It doesn't exactly surprise me that the developers of (relatively) widely-known games still face financial hardship, but I still can't help but be taken aback with the details. Their situations vary, but they almost invariably sound exhausting.

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Grab your favourite co-op pal, your walkie-talkies, and your warmest coats and mittens to head back into a chilly castle for more cooperative puzzle-solving. Total Mayhem Games this week launched We Were Here Together, the third game in their first-person puzzler series after We Were Here and We Were Here Too. Once again, you and your pal will be split up and faced with puzzles you need the other's help and information to solve.

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas once took almost four hours to speedrun, even in the anything-goes Any% category. But that time’s been slashed down to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it 25 minutes thanks to a new trick discovered this week. It’s a breezy 40-step thing which includes instructions like “reset if no cop bike before 7:46,” “Avoid Vending Machines,” and “just get lucky loool.” Speedrunning is good. You can see the new record-setting run below.

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Feature: Spooky - not scary.

Priceless Play – 12 October 2019

These days I love horror. However, I haven't always been a fan of all things spooky, scary, and skeleton-related. There was a brief period of time (I call this time "childhood") where even catching so much as a glimpse of a horror film would give me nightmares. Then my older brother brought home the game Fatal Frame. As the neighbourhood kids and I watched him play, crowded around our cement block of a television set, our eyes wide with fear, I knew that I would never be the same. I didn't sleep for three nights, hysterical with fear.

And then I was cured. I had the fear burned right out of me. No piece of media has ever scared me so bad since, and I am effectively immune to horror. But I know that not everyone can handle being scared out of their wits! And that's okay. For those folks, Halloween can be a dicey time of year. Is it going to be scary or is it going to be spooky? Never fear, 'fraidy cats: All games listed here are spooky. Not scary.

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Update: Blitzchung has responded with a statement of his own. Details below.

Blizzard Entertainment have, after several days of silence, released a statement about this week’s chaos. It all began when they, by their admission, “reacted too quickly” to pro Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai saying “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!” during a post-match interview. It has escalated since then, with casters quitting, employees protesting, and players discussing protests at Blizzcon. I don’t think this statement will end that escalation.

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Fortnite's had a good run. Since an admittedly awkward 2017 launch, it's become this cultural behemoth, completely unparseable yet unstoppably popular. But it's acquired some bloat over those two years - Map locations have vanished, reappeared and warped in and out. Weapons and gimmicks have floated in and out of an interdimensional vault, a vault intimately tied to the battle royale's ongoing plot.

That's plenty of baggage for a game where 100 colourful weirdos parachute onto an island and murder each other. Perhaps it's time to wipe the slate clean. If recent leaks are to be believed, that may be just what Fortnite's about to get.

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Don't mess with secret worlds - they might just drag you into a song. Chorus, an adventure game from Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider might not look too extraordinary on the surface. A modern-fantasy RPG dealing with murderous plots and supernatural scheming? Vampire: The Masquerade, is that you?

But Chorus has something up its sleeve - something that, if it pays off, could make it very special indeed. Plenty of games have banging soundtracks. Chorus is gunning to be the first adventure game musical, giving you narrative control over every last tune.

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Feature: Does not commute

Unknown Pleasures: The Incredible Sulk

They're sending me to EGX next week. Playing games is one thing, but talking to people? Talking? With my mouth? The whole point of games is to stay indoors, damn it. I know how it'll go, they'll all be there playing proper games that normal people have heard of, and here's me going "eh um, have you played Bees vs Cops II? It sold almost several copies". Ridiculous.

Anyway. It's time for Unknown Pleasures, our regular, borderline masochistic dive into the depths of Steam's murky new releases, all in the name of retrieving shiny gamepearls for your, uh, play earrings.

Liberated from the clams this week: automata, wheeled acrobatics, and the ball of america.

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Feature: Level Cap

The best RPGs on PC in 2019

Look! A ranking of the 50 best RPGs on PC. I know, you never asked for this, but here it is. It is 100 percent correct, we double-checked. The RPG is a broad and deep sea and fishing out the best games from its characterful waters is no easy task. But we are capable fishers on the good ship RPS, and know when to humanely throw back a tiddler or fight to heave up a monster. Enough of this salty metaphor. Here are the 50 best RPGs you can play on PC today.

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This time next week, the lovely UK gaming public will be descending on London's ExCeL for EGX 2019, as will many mebers of the RPS Treehouse. As is now tradition, we're holding a party to celebrate: the RPS Mixer powered by Dead Good exists so you can come and chat, prattle and generally hang out after an action-packed day of show-going. The event happens on Friday, October 18th, at The Custom House Pub inside the ibis Hotel just across the road from the ExCel. Come, join us, and read on for details.

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Move over, GarageBand. Get outta here, Ableton. Final Fantasy XIV's jam sessions are getting a nice big update in Patch 5.1, bringing the MMORPG one step closer to being a legitimate piece of audio engineering software. This week, Square Enix detailed the new ensemble features arriving in Patch 5.1, that update wot has the Nier stuff in it.

While all those raiders go off to fight sad robots in the new endgame challenges, picking up an instrument and getting on stage with your pals is about to become easier than ever. Who needs gear, anyway? Performing is its own reward.

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Feature: Crawl me maybe

Ghames with Ghoastus: Nauticrawl

Ave, Citizens! As October sweeps onto the calendar, like a crowd of yokels breaking into a condemned theme park, the barrier between the human world and that of the Romans grows thin. With a rustle of laurel the veil is parted, and I, Ghoastus, manifest among you! Be not afraid, however, for Ghoastus is a friendly spirit. And this month, I aim to be more friendly than ever. My human friend Nate, you see, has been quite unwell, and while he recovers, he has ended up with a backlog of games which he quite liked, but has had no time to write about. Luckily, a Ghost Writer haunts his desk - and I intend to clear it for him!

First on my list of games, we have Nauticrawl. And it’s a hard one to describe. Let us imagine, citizen, that David Lynch, fresh from making Dune in 1984, decided to make a game. And that his premise for said game was a sort of escape room, controlled by a cantankerous virtual reimagining of the Steel Battalion controller. Intrigued, friend? You should be! Nauticrawl is utterly fascinating - and it needs to be, to motivate the player through some of the most gruelling trial-and-error play I’ve seen since Pluto held an athletics contest in Tartarus.

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Feature: Cheap games, graphics cards, monitors and more

Best PC gaming deals of the week – 11th October 2019

As we roll deeper and deeper into the month of October, it can sometimes feel like the deals gods are being right turds sometimes, what with Black Friday being just around the corner and all - a bit like those three ugly mugs up the top there, in fact. There they are, leering down at us with their stinking fire breath and tripping us up with their malformed talons when all we're trying to do is to save a few pennies on a new game and a graphics card. Is that so much to ask? The good news is that your trusted deals herald has been hurdling over and doing her best to dodge those aforementioned claws and ashen burp clouds to find you the very best PC gaming deals around this week - including some tasty discounts on Trine 4 and Devil May Cry 5. After all, if Dante can't help your deals herald beat the deal demons, no one can.

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Shmup shpecialists 10tons have announced a new top-down shoot 'em up, Tesla Force: United Scientists Army. It's a follow-up to 2018's Tesla Vs Lovecraft, pitting Tesla, Lovecraft, Curie, and Shelley against yet more spooky hordes in a "rogue-lite" way with procedurally-generated levels. I know, I know, it's not 2012 anymore, but 10tons know their shmup shtuff. They're also behind Crimsonland, Jydge, and other zappers that are quite zim-zam. Here, have a peek at Tesla Force in the announcement trailer.

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