Steam charts: it’s the end of the world

Wotcha gang. Your old chum Alice here for this week’s charts, as everyone else has been fired. Out of a cannon. Blown into a jillion little pieces. Hence the Apocalyptic yellow tone to the skies today. Hold your breath when outside, and hold your breath while we count down last week’s top ten of the top-selling games on Steam.

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Wot I Think – South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole [official site] is essentially the show’s greatest hits, with 20 years worth of call backs, characters and gags, all built around a LARP-inspired RPG that sees the town’s foul-mouthed kids beating the snot out of each other. If this sounds extremely familiar, that’s because I’ve also just described its predecessor, The Stick of Truth.

Crab People, magical farts, obsessively collecting social media pals, Morgan Freeman — they are all back. Only the switch from wizards and Elves to superheroes, something that could have been a superficial change, manages to keep it from feeling like watching a repeat.

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Have you played… Next Car Game: Wreckfest?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There was a time, before even rudimentary physics, when a football in a football game felt like it was glued to the feet of your players. Next Car Game: Wreckfest makes every other driving game feel as if the cars are stapled to the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Evil Within 2

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The Evil Within 2 begins by wearing its heart on its sleeve; here’s a burning house, and oh no, the protagonist’s daughter is inside it. From the outset, it yells in your face that this is going to be a Tragic Dad story, the most beloved of videogame narrative tropes. And it never really rises above this familiar narrative conceit as Sebastian Castellanos explores a horror world filled with bad science and twisted terrors in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter. It’s predictable. In other hands, it could’ve been trite. But The Evil Within 2 revels in its horror b-movieness. It embraces it, telling a surprisingly heartfelt and sincere tale of a man who just wants the best for his loved ones. Even if he has to descend into actual hell and face off against some of the most hideous monsters ever conceived in order to achieve this. Read the rest of this entry »

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for going to your first live football match in years. Ticket? Check. Prawn sandwiches? Check. Great writing about videogames from across the week? Check.

Has 2017 seen the second death of the immersive sim? Poor sales of Prey, Dishonored 2, Deus Ex Mankind Divided and Hitman suggest so, and Robert Yang writes about it very well while positing some ideas for third-wave immersive sims. (I also think all of the above games had real marketing problems and failed to effectively communicate what fantasy they were selling.) Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

With Halloween events and other spookies, the best season is really heating up. Like a cauldron over a fire. Like the opposite of cooling down like a grave, a cold thing. I don’t know anymore. It’s been a long week.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on. Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: 5 of the best new Steam releases

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Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures. Each week, we wade through the chin-deep river of new Steam releases to find five hidden gems that otherwise would have passed most of us by.

This week: Hadoukens & cherry blossoms, a The Flash game without The Flash, sinister bureaucracy and extremely charming elephants. Read the rest of this entry »

Playstyle Royale: You must go for every crate you see

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This is Playstyle Royale, where I head into Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] and try to win my chicken dinner while adhering to arbitrary rules. This week, I must hunt down every air drop I see.

Crates are a game player’s best friend. I love cracking them open and sucking out their loot-containing innards. The crates in Plunkbat offer even juicer innards than most, and contain weapons that can’t be found anywhere else in the game. They’re also death traps.

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Have You Played… Gravity Bone?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Super-cool micro-Hitman, getting on for a decade old but feeling as fresh as ever.

My memories of Gravity Bone [official site] turned out to have been a little scrubbed by those of its successor, the more stylish, showy and cut-up Thirty Flights Of Living. I’d forgotten that, unlike 30 Flights, Bone is a fairly involved affair – jumping puzzles and death-traps and target-hunting. It’s all very active – you are the agent, not a mere witness to events. Read the rest of this entry »

Total War’s free Mortal Empires DLC merges Warhammer 1 and 2

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Total War: Warhammer is a big game, and the recently released Total War: Warhammer II [official site] is even bigger. But in the eyes of the Creative Assembly, that still isn’t big enough. To remedy this, they’ve come up with the Mortal Empires DLC, a free download that will essentially merge the two games’ campaigns together in one huge map, letting players assume command of any of the eight races available in the series so far.

To find out why this is happening and how the Creative Assembly are going about it, we spoke to Game Director Ian Roxburgh and Lead Designer Jim Whitson.

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Best PC gaming deals of the week

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Can you hear that? That’s the sound of the upcoming deluge of video game releases hurtling towards us. Now that Shadow of Wardor is out and with Destiny 2 and Wolfenstein 2 headed our way in mere weeks, it’s time to buckle up, as it’ll be a game release filled couple of months.

None of that means the deals and discounts have stopped coming and we’re here to take a look at a bunch of those, so let’s get right to that, shall we? As usual, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let’s get started Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Dotted Lines

No simulated war this week. In memory of my great-grandfather who died a hundred years ago last Monday, this is a Flare Path free of faux conflict.

Private Thomas Bourlet was one of around 500 men of 2nd Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers, tasked with taking three objectives north of the Belgian village of Poelcappelle on the morning of October 9th, 1917. The attack began in pre-dawn gloom. At 05.20, to a deafening accompaniment of Allied artillery, 2nd Battalion left the relative safety of their trenches near Imbros House and began picking their way north-eastward through a cratered hellscape glutinous after days of heavy rain. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a free HD texture DLC for Shadow Of War (but you probably don’t need it)

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You may well already know this, but going on the basis that most of the RPS team weren’t aware of it, let’s put the word out anew. As if 65 gigabytes of PC Middle-earth: Shadow Of War weren’t enough, there’s also an optional extra, free 10Gb download, comprising what’s officially called a ‘High Resolution Texture Pack.’ In other words, it in theory makes the grime, squalor and butchered viscera of Mordor that little bit more grimy, squalid and visceral butchered viscera-y.

It’s not that simple. It’s never that simple. Join me as I investigate whether installing ten gig of ‘Ultra’ textures really makes a difference to your nemesising. Read the rest of this entry »

Intel’s Core i5-8400: the new go-to gaming CPU

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Intel’s new 8th Gen Core chips are out and there is much rejoicing. For the first time in about five years, Intel has made an unambiguous step forward with its mainstream CPUs. In short, they’ve bunged in an extra pair of cores across the board. Where once you had two cores or four cores, now you have four cores or six cores. Of course more cores don’t automatically translate into a better gaming experience. But I still think the new Core i5-8400 will become the chip of choice for gamers. Here’s why.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War shows that revenge is a dish best served re-heated

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Nothing does revenge quite like Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War [official site]. But more games really really should.

When Shadow Of Mordor came out in 2014, no one was really expecting it to be good. But it was great. And the greatest thing about it was its Nemesis system. Because your character is already dead, and possessed by a grey, grey ghost, getting killed by an enemy was not your end. Instead you woke up at a respawn tower, with vengeance on your mind. The orc that killed you would automatically be given a promotion, a ranking among the orc leadership in the area, and greater abilities. He’d also be given a personality, strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, a name. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Destiny 2, Steamworld Dig 2 and binge gaming

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Oh heavens look at you, you’ve been bingeing on videogames again. Pumping platformers into your veins and shoving shooters into your piehole. That’s fine, so have we. This week’s edition of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, is all about binge gaming. Alec joins us to talk about chomping down on numbers-go-up alien-zapper Destiny 2, which Adam has also been gorging on. Meanwhile, I’ve been happily dig-dugging my way through robotic metroidvania Steamworld Dig 2, which as far as I’m concerned is far healthier and wiser.
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Have You Played… Overwatch?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Overwatch is fun just to think about, which is handy because I spend more time thinking about it than I do playing it. Read the rest of this entry »

Together alone: a misanthrope’s guide to Destiny 2

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Destiny 2 [official site], Bungie’s game of unblinking science-fictional loot acquisition, is due on PC later this month, but it’s already enjoyed a few apparently very successful weeks of online robot-bothering and gun-collecting on console. The Destiny games are most heavily associated with players working together to take down big bosses and obtain the hardest-won loot, but there’s a certain sect of us who aren’t as comfortable communicating with strangers over a microphone. What does Destiny 2 have for us, the folk who like to think of ourselves as too-cool-for-school loners but are considered to be miserable, uncooperative gits by everyone else?

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How (not) to reach platinum ranking as a support in Overwatch

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When I play Overwatch [official site], my first priority is to do harm, abiding by a sort of anti-Hippocratic Oath. In fact, no matter what game I’m playing, I’ll pick the role that revolves around doing as much damage as I can as quickly as I can. I like mobile, assassin type characters, and playing Genji might be the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer shooter since my halcyon days with the Spy in Team Fortress 2.

I am not, and never have been, a person who plays healers. But, here I am, about to try and reach a platinum ranking in competitive Overwatch using only support heroes.

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Have You Played… Dragon Commander?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

It’s the one where you can marry a skeleton and until Divinity: Original Sin 2 came along, it was probably Larian’s strangest interpretation not just of the undead, but of the world they created as a setting for all things Divinity. Dragon Commander is very strange. Read the rest of this entry »