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Ace social deduction survival murder sim Project Winter adds new roles and systems

The plots thicken

Project Winter is one of the best social deduction games you can play on your PC. You could uncharitably call it the grumpy rules lawer uncle of Among Us, smothering the raw thrill of lies and accusation beneath a blanket of systems and complexities. I had an absolute blast with it a few years ago, though, and for my money the highs absolutely make that blanket worth snuggling under.

I get to tell you about it again because the Power Balance: Vol 2 Update came out last week, adding a couple more roles and new systems that give traitors more strategies to turn to.

A quick primer: every round starts with everyone gathered around a cabin, which provides warmth and cooking facilities in the middle of an arctic wilderness. Most players are survivors, who must fix generators and gather macguffins until they can escape on a helicopter. Some players are traitors, who must ensure that they do not. Shenanigans include poisoning pies, eavesdropping on radios, and luring people into bears. It's a hoot.

Onto the new stuff. Developers Other Ocean Interactive have added two new roles, though sadly one of them is only available if you've got the Blackout DLC. That's the Necromancer, a traitor who can revive dead players and recruit them to their side, which sounds OP but also very fun. The new free role is the "Immune", who isn't effected by events (e.g.snowstorms, mass-hallucinations that turn everyone into anonymous bunnies) and so seems bland in comparison.

The new systems all hand more power or information to the traitors, including stat buffs for laying traps or committing sabotage and a peek at the health and role of any players they stay next to for a while. I'm already giggling at the idea of giving survivors cause to suspect anyone who stays too near them for too long, even in a big group.

Traitors can also now sabotage the cabin map board and, grimly, make knocked down players bleed to death four times faster. There are a bunch of balance changes and bug fixes, too, all detailed in the patch notes.

It's been nearly three years since I murdered Brendy (RPS in peace) while he kindly inquired about my broken collarbone, and I am asking myself if I might find all the updates since then overwhelming. Just the first instalment of the Power Balance update alone, which added items like disguise kits and footprint obscuring shoes, presents a hurdle. It's hard to figure out who wants to kill you when you can't keep track of what tricks might be up traitorous sleeves, and it sucks to get given away by systems you either wern't aware of or don't understand.

I wouldn't recommend venturing in alone, where you'll be torn to pieces by the small community with years of experience. I still absolutely do recommend picking it up alongside four or more friends, though. You can nab it from Steam for £7/$10/€8.

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Matt Cox

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