Have You Played… Dark Souls 2?

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

Dark Souls > Bloodborne > Dark Souls 3 > Demon’s Souls > Dark Souls 2.

But if you like the rest, you should still play number 2. It’s good. Being good just isn’t quite enough when you’re born into a family of geniuses. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: The Someday Papers Edition

Some Monday mornings, as I plonk myself down at my desk at 6.50am and load the RSS feed for the Steam Charts, I think to myself: you know what? There are so many other things I’d like to write about today. Anyway, here are the top ten games on Steam from the last week.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for change. They’re for taking a long, hard look at a popular column and ushering in a fresh, unique voice to pick out the best writing about games. They’re for reinventing yourself and the world along with you, for tearing up the old guard’s playbook and re-imagining what can be done with a weekly round-up of interesting articles.

Just kidding.

Philippa “never heard of her” Warr tried to raise a child for PC Gamer in the Sims 4, and her documentation of that task is every bit as brilliant as you might expect. There’s hardly a paragraph here that didn’t make me laugh.

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Free games of the week


This weekend brings another set of different, awesome games for you to check out! If you’re into platformers where you must touch all of the blocks quickly and have different game modes and challenges, the first game is definitely for you! Repairing ships has never been so straight forward – as long as you can make the jumps. If you’re not so into ship repair – I also have some adventures after all the adults have left, a game about controlling the mafia, one about shopping at your local supermarket, and an abstract game about the meaning of love. Plenty of games to sink your teeth into over the weekend! Read on… Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

Fright of the navigator – Into The Breach’s most powerful but most cowardly mech pilot

One thing I didn’t say much about in my starry-eyed review of the sublimely elegant turn-based strategy game Into The Breach was its metagame.

A campaign takes an hour or less, but the business of earning new types of mech and new pilots to drive, fly or teleport them will last you months. I’m a long way off unlocking everything, though I do have a bit of a head start from beta builds, but already I’ve found the pilot I will spend the rest of my life with. Isaac Jones, you complete me. Or rather, your game-changing ability does. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best of Final Fantasy


A group of Final Fantasy fans divided against themselves cannot cast fire. Or so the saying goes. For too long we’ve been at war about which is “the best”. Sliding roman numerals around on a table until one of us gets upset and starts using bad language. Let’s end this, here, today. Let’s look at each other, earnestly, with open minds and opener hearts, and regard one another as friends, allies in a world that doesn’t understand us. Let’s look not to the past, but to the future!

And also at this definitive list of Final Fantasy games available on PC ranked in perfect order.

Don’t worry, there’s only nine of them.

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Wot I Think: Pit People


Equal parts absolutely delightful and absolutely infuriating, turn-based strategy-RPG/surreal cartoon Pit People probably couldn’t have a chosen a worse time to lumber out of early access. The reason for that is Into The Breach. I came to Pit People straight off the back of my Into The Breach review, which means I’d just experienced a revelation in how brisk and elegant the age-old formula of taking turns to shuffle a small force of units across a set of tiles to bash or shoot enemies can be.

Because of that, it’s hard to forgive Pit People’s drawn-out, slow-motion wars of attrition. But it’s even harder to put it down, because it’s such a firehose of ideas, visual gags and spoken comedy outside of its cold and chewy tactical meat and potatoes.

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Exploring the gardens of Dishonored


When you think of Dishonored, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Rats, blades, haunted hearts and clockwork mansions? Perhaps it’s cramped streets, a bleeding whale, or an arterial river. For many of us, it’s a city. We asked Rob Dwiar, a garden designer, landscape architect, horticulturist and writer, to look at a specific aspect of those cities. The gardens. There’s a whole lot of meaning locked in the green.

Across two (and a half) games, Dishonored has created an immersive world, rich with intriguing lore, place-specific atmospheres and a believable society. All of that is wrapped in brilliant, believably-designed environments, where a distinct sense of place is always present. Whether you’re exploring palaces or cramped city blocks, navigating mansions or slums, each area has a sense of authenticity as a lived-in space, and the effect is not entirely aesthetic. By looking at the gardens scattered throughout the Isles, we can see how their layered and meaningful design elevates their importance from pleasant environments to important displayers of in-game themes, reflectors of in-game characters and exaggerators of underlying narratives.

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Have you played… Talisman?

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

Talisman, in either boardgame or videogame form, is a stupid game. It might even be a fundamentally broken game. Man, I love it. And I hate it. But also, I love it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for A7V action

WWI armour sims are such rare creatures, I can’t bring myself to say anything negative about 79p work-in-progress Cry of War. Currently boasting one tiny cosy map and three tank types (the A7V, Mark IV, and Renault FT), the game combines amateurish quirky presentation and crude forgiving movement physics with surprisingly sophisticated ballistics (shells can ricochet… system damage is determined by post-penetration trajectories) and the best ‘tip’ ever to appear on a military game loading screen. Disarmingly honest developer ShanghaiWindy will be coding around his university commitments, hence the 3-4 year Early Access period. Read the rest of this entry »

Best PC gaming deals of the week


Is it time for the weekly deals roundup of the best PC gaming deals this week has had to offer, or is it really just another excuse for me to write about Vampire: The Masquerade? There’s only one way to find out! What a journey we will go on, dear reader.

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.

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Wot I Think: Metal Gear Survive


There was a point early on in Metal Gear Survive where I thought that, despite its annoyances, Konami’s zombie spin-off was actually going to be quite good. It came about an hour in when I had to sneak into a base packed with shambling horrors, using stealth and distraction to outwit the hordes. It was tense. It was exciting.

That didn’t last long.

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Blanka Slate: The fancy footwork finale


Hi there, pain fans. This is Blanka Slate, a three-part series where I pick up in Street Fighter where I left off as a pre-teen – button-bashing as Blanka and getting summarily knocked out. This is the ultimate day of my journey into the shiny world of Street Fighter V. So far I have been roughed-up by Rashid and razzle-dazzled by Ryu. I’ve lost two out of three fights every day. But maybe my final foes will be so kind as to accept my raw, untrained strikes with an open mind, allowing me to break this streak. Or maybe they’ll just throw me into a sarcophagus and walk away laughing. Let’s find out.

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Beyond hard & easy: Assassin’s Creed’s Discovery Tour and Soma’s Safe Mode


From a publisher as huge as Ubisoft, and in a series as chart-dominating as Assassin’s Creed’s Discovery Tour represents an unusual and welcome ambition. The mode, available as free DLC for Assassin’s Creed Origins or as a standalone game, strips out all the combat, levelling-up and collectibles in favour of a promised educational experience. It takes the strongest facet of Origins – its detailed and enormous depiction of Ancient Egypt – and adapts it into something almost entirely new.

Ubisoft isn’t alone in remixing its games in this way, however. The Discovery mode for Origins follows in the squelchy footsteps of Frictional’s Soma, which added a ‘Safe Mode’ last December that removes any mechanical threat from its monsters. Traditionally, the concept of ‘games’ has been closely tied with that of ‘challenge’, but these modes sidestep that. And in doing so, they remove a barrier to entry for less experienced players who want to explore their worlds. Even if the execution doesn’t necessarily match the idea, this is a good thing.

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How to set up three monitors for super ultrawide gaming

How to setup three monitors header

Curved monitors like the Acer Predator Z35p and AOC AG352UCG are all well and good for making you feel more immersed in a game, what with those ultrawide edges supposedly wrapping themselves closer round your eyeballs like some kind of pixelated caress on your peripheral vision, but let’s face it. Curved monitors are hideously expensive and any bend they do possess is often so tiny that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve actually bought a flat screen by mistake.

No, the only way to get truly suckered into a game is to go multi-monitor. I’m not talking two monitors, either. I’m talking about creating a THREE-sided boxed-in bezel palace that shuts off all notion of the outside world. Here, there are only games stretching, quite literally, as far as the eye can see. And I’m going to tell you how to set it all up in five easy steps.

Step One: Don’t try and fit three 27in monitors on a desk that can barely hold two of them without one hanging dangerously off the edge.

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Podcast: Is bad weather spectacular or just annoying?


The blizzards of Siberia have gone on holiday to the United Kingdom this week. But the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, doesn’t do snow days. The pod squad have trekked hard through the whiteout (from their bedrooms to their computers) to gather on their respective microphones. To what end? Well, to talk about the weather. Blizzards, thunderclouds, sandstorms and, er, night-time? In videogames, it all counts.

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Have You Played… Cottage Of Doom?

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

The winner of TIGSource’s B-game competition, Cottage of Doom places you in a cabin surrounded by zombies and challenges you to survive against the hordes. Read the rest of this entry »

Developer of indie hit Butterfly Soup talks sequel plans


Visual novels have been experiencing a cultural renaissance in recent years as developers continue to challenge genre conventions and tackle themes that AAA titles are hesitant to explore. Last year saw a flood of VNs capture the popular consciousness, but Butterfly Soup, in particular, charmed its way into players’ hearts and shot to the top of critics’ radars. Now there’s a sequel in development, due in the summer of 2019, and I’ve been speaking to developer Brianna Lei about how she hopes to continue the story.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Butterfly Soup 1.

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Blanka Slate: Another loss is coming your way


Hello and welcome to Blanka Slate, a three-part series in which I pick up Street Fighter exactly where I left off decades ago – mashing buttons as Blanka and losing badly. But I am older, wiser and better at taking screenshots than all those years ago, so perhaps there is a chance for redemption. This is day two of my Street Fighter V journey, and I will be facing three more foes, including a character I neither know nor understand.

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