Author Archive

Warhammer 40k Inquisitor ARPG adds a story at last

40k-inquisitor

1) Burn Heretics 2) one of your own turns out to be a Heretic 3) burn them. Such is the traditional Warhammer 40,000 videogame plot. It’s too soon to know if Warhammer 40,000 Diablolike Inquisitor – Martyr will ultimately sing that age-old tune too, but at least it’s now made its first moves into having a story.

Its first six months in early access were plot free, relying instead on unlinked and similar missions, but its January update adds in the first chapter of a story-led singleplayer campaign, as well as a third character class. Will this be enough to salvage a game our own John ‘Sanguinius’ Walker deemed to be “the clunkiest festival of clunk since Professor David Clunkington invented his Clunkatron 3000?”

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None shall stand – Transformers games removed from Steam as Hasbro/Activision deal expires

you can't die

Oh, how it pains me to say this. If you felt you could have waited an eternity to get around to playing Fall of Cybertron, War For Cybertron or Devastation, that trypticon of broadly well-received, Activision-published Transformers third-person shooters, I’ve got bad news.

Here’s a hint: they’ve been removed from Steam, plus all other digital marketplaces – as have subsequent and worse sequels. This is bad comedy.
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Have you played… Borderlands?

borderlands-1

Strange now, when Borderlands is as big as it is and as synonymous as it is with bug-eyed shrieking, to think back to the transformative and ambitious promises of the first few times we glimpsed it. The idea of an FPS with the mentality of Diablo was ahead of its time, and at the time seemed thrilling rather than, as is the case now, the most lucrative business model. And that cel-shaded look in the era of Gears of War? Woof-woof. Read the rest of this entry »

Up-res the sun! Dark Souls: Remastered prepares to live

dark-souls-remastered-pc

Whatever Dark Souls maestros From Software have planned for their next game proper is an only slightly-teased mystery, but here’s some fine news to make our own souls ache less during that wait. Dark Souls, the original and greatest in the series (Bloodborne excepted) and also one of the best PC games ever, sez us, is getting a remastered edition.

Update: confirmed for PC on May 25 via Steam, with 60FPS 4K support. Hurrah!
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Cel-shaded PUBG, ’70s Truck Sim and zinester Assassin’s Creed with new Nvidia tool

pubg

Post-processing tools for games aren’t new – hello Reshade and SweetFX – but the world of dramatically altering a PC game’s appearance with what could loosely be described as real-time Instragram filters has always been a scrappy wild west. Nvidia have this week built themselves a governor’s mansion on this new frontier, introducing a feature called ‘Freestyle‘ to the GeForce Experience suite of game optimisation, streaming and screenshotting tools. It might lack the open source and community-driven scope of ReShade, but it’s easier and slicker to use on the games that support it – and the results can be dramatic. Gimmicky, sure, but making a game you’re otherwise tiring of into a neon fever-dream can be a real shot in the arm.

Presenting for your wide-eyed delectation and howling disapproval – Plunkbat: The Animated Series, Assassin’s Creed Oranges: Vice City and American Truck Simulator: Grindhouse Edition.
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CPUmageddon part 2: the unpatchening

this Superman 3 scene gave me nightmares for decades. Maybe doing this will purge me of the trauma

2018 in PC-land has been dominated by a lot of nervous sideways glances about whether or not the security flaw affecting pretty much every processor going is a clear and present danger or just Millennium Bug 2.0. Katherine has written us a good explainer for the CPU exploits known as Meltdown and Spectre, and the industry at large has been fast-tracking patches.

Sadly these bring with them a theoretical performance hit, although this seems negligible if not non-existent when it comes to games specifically. Rather more problematic is that Microsoft’s official fix for Windows has itself been causing chaos – to the point that it’s been hastily withdrawn for the clutch of AMD processors it’s been causing BSODs and bootloops on. Oops.

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Hitchhiker: a purgatorial roadtrip through a place both wonderful and strange

hitchhiker-game-review

Hitchiker: the colours of Firewatch, the zen roadtrip calm of Truck Simulator, the addled homespun wisdom of that sarsaparilla-loving barfly from The Big Lebowski and the abstract underworld uncertainty of Twin Peaks’ supernatural side. Also, an awful lot of raisins. Basically, it’s somehow identified all the aesthetics that most please me (raisins excepted) and bundled them together into a cars’n’conversation odyssey that is equal parts charming and terrifying.

The first of several planned parts, each of which sees you hitching a ride with a different driver, is out today. Your travelling companion for this first ride, still officially deemed a prototype but available as a Humble Original right now, is a honey-voiced raisin farmer in no hurry to get anywhere but with a whole lot of secrets to share. It’s rather special, despite a few shortcomings.

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The truck of nightmares

nightmare truck

I want you to do three things before you watch the below. First, I want you to reassure anyone else in your household or workplace that they are perfectly safe, no matter what they might hear. Then I want you to turn your volume up very loud indeed. Finally, I want you to imagine yourself not as the driver of the truck you will see, but as the driver of the small, cream-coloured car in front of it.

A lonely freeway, late at night. No sound but the thrum of your engine. And then.
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2017 Steam Award winners include PUBG, Cuphead & Witcher

We’ve already seen which games sold best on Steam last year, but a perhaps more meaningful insight into movin’ and a-shakin’ in PC-land is the games that people feel warmest and snuggliest about. To that end, Valve have announced the winners of the 2017 Steam Awards, a fully community-voted affair which names the most-loved games across categories including best post-launch support, most player agency, exceeding pre-release expectations and most head-messing-with. Vintage cartoon-themed reflex-tester Cuphead leads the charge with two gongs, but ol’ Plunkbat and The Witcher series also do rather well – as do a host of other games from 2017’s great and good.

Full winners and runners-up below, with links to our previous coverage of each game if you’re so-minded. Plus: I reveal which game I’d have gone for in each category.
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Getting Over It, Night In The Woods, Baba Is You & Into The Breach lead IGF 2018 finalists

igf-2018-finalists

It’s that time again already – 2018’s Independent Games Festival hands out its best-in-indie gongs on March 21 (as part of the Game Developers Conference), and these are the games in line for a prize. And, more importantly, a big shot at success thanks to the profile, although it should be noted that a fair few of these have done rather well for themselves already.

Scooping the most nods at 4 is veritable brain-frying, rule-rewriting puzzler Baba Is You, while the singular, surreal climbing game Getting Over It… With Bennett Foddy and charming, cups-on-ears narrative adventure Night In The Woods both boast a respectable three, followed by FTL follow-up Into The Breach with 2. There are many more lovely, lovely things on the full list of finalists below.

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Dungeon of dicks: The Binding Of Isaac’s most hateful enemies

Actually, Ultra-Greed has yet to ever kill me, but it's a more exciting screenshot to open the post than, say, a single bastard spider

The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth (plus Afterbirth add-ons) is very much my jam right now. It’s been in my life for a while, but December (and now January) was when I fully committed to it. By which I mean ‘it took over almost my entire life.’ I’ve seen so much, I’ve killed so much, and I’ve been killed by so much. I have a degree of skill at the game I never believed possible (and which, clearly, pales into insignificance against that of longer-term players), but even so, there are certain enemies that always, always give me grief, even as I am able to face down far great horrors.

I say enemies. I mean dicks. Absolute, total dicks who have humiliatingly cost me victory on more occasions than I could ever admit to. These are those dicks.

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These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.

Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.

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Wot we played on our holidays

2018

Welcome back, gentle human bean, to another year of PC gaming thrills, spills and ambient anxiety about the correct deployment of the term ‘roguelite’ here on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. As our beleaguered forms struggle to cope with the sudden shift away from Chocolate Oranges for breakfast, now is the time for our time-lost minds to reflect upon how we occupied ourselves over the past ten days.

To wit: what videogames did we play, when time, relatives, bloating and demanding pets allowed?

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The long cable of the law: L.A. Noire VR is out now

la-noir-vr

It’s an odd feeling, in a way, that ‘Rockstar releases VR game’ isn’t the biggest news in the world. One of the most successful games companies in history embracing what we were told was gaming tech’s most significant leap forwards in generations, and, well, there it is. L.A. Noire VR is out now, y’know. Deck the halls?
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Hand of Fate 2’s best character becomes semi-playable in free DLC

hand-of-fate-2-dlc

Hand Of Fate 2 is a nail-on-the-head sequel (and one of our 2018 GOTYs), hanging onto what made the first game’s card game/roguelite/brawling combo so compelling while expanding in smart ways that save it from repetition. However, one thing it arguably didn’t do was make the best of HOF’s excellent sneering narrator/nemesis figure The Dealer, who in HOF2 has an altogether more chillaxed thing going on.

The good news is that the game’s first DLC, due out tomorrow and which is also free, is very much Dealer-centric. The news I genuinely don’t know what to make of is that he’s being cast in a new and very different role from before.
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Unknown Pleasures: 5 great new Steam games you might have missed

best-new-steam-games-december

Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly round-up of hidden gems released with little-to-no fanfare on Steam over the past seven days.

This week: cowboy vs space-whale, voxel swordplay, deft Gameboy throwback and 6 degrees of freedom space-racing.
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Tokyo 42 only somewhat reluctantly fixes its biggest flaw

Hey-o. Very pretty isometric assassination game Tokyo 42 has just put out an update that aims to resolve one of the more common complaints about it – that its rather rigid camera was one of the main causes of death and/or frustration. Things’ll be different from hereon out.

Publishers Mode 7, of Frozen Synapse fame, have also explained exactly why, seven months on, they’ve kowtowed to feedback from whingey, bad-at-games hacks like me at this late stage – and why they didn’t until now.
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Fallout 4 VR is huge, technically impressive, and gimmicky

fallout-4-vr

Fallout 4 VR is almost exactly what the phrase ‘Fallout 4 VR’ implies. Which is to say, the entirety of Fallout 4 rendered in giant-scale gogglevision. It’s funny – for some time there was this expectation that VR needed a full-fat mainstream game to truly get its wings, but now that’s finally happened, it just feels like the most normal thing in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Logitech G903 & Powerplay review: A wireless gaming mouse recharged by its own mat

logitech-powerplay-review-1

I’ve already reviewed the Logitech G603, which for me was the perfect, non-ridiculous wireless gaming mouse but for some facepalmy design that made it too uncomfortable to use without brutal modification. Today I’ve got its bigger, also wireless brother, the Logitech G903 to look at.

The G903 has similar but improved innards, a different, tweakable design, a fancier scrollwheel and buttons and, the headline feature, an extra-purchase mousemat that wirelessly recharges the mouse’s battery while you use the bally thing (i.e.: never worry about running out of charge while you’re mid-way through sticking a sword through something’s tummy ever again). WITCHCRAFT.

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And now it’s Star Citizen vs Crytek

GARY CONCERNEDMAN

It wouldn’t be 2012-2018 (and who knows how much longer) without a Star Citizen controversy. Chris Robert’s mega-crowdfunded space-everything game has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny about what it’s spent its half-decade and its $173 million dollars on, but a brand new curveball is that his studios Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries are being sued by Crysis and CryEngine makers Crytek.

Up until last year, Star Citizen was built using CryEngine, but now Crytek are arguing there’s been a breach of contract and copyright infringement. They’re after an injunction which, if successful, wouldn’t mean good things for that release date we’ve been holding out for.
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