Wot I Think: Assassin’s Creed Origins

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A soft reboot four years in the making, Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one giant step back in time plus a smaller step forward in terms of world design, a stumble in terms of its levelling system, a sideways hop as regards combat and an exercise in jogging on the spot in terms of missions. This is exactly the kind of complex footwork that leads to messy accidents during parkour sequences, but somehow, the game keeps its balance throughout, though it’s not quite the revival I was hoping for.

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AMD Radeon RX 480 review: Graphics greatness you can actually afford?

AMD’s pixel pumping Radeon RX 480 is slightly old hat now. Despite its close competitor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, being alive and well and readily available to buy, the RX 480 has all but disappeared from online retailers – unless you want to pay massively over the odds for one, of course. That’s largely because it’s now been replaced by the newer RX 580, which shares the same GPU / chipset / thingy as the RX 480, but comes with a slightly higher clock speed, allowing it to run just a teeny bit faster compared to its 480 predecessor.

That said, until we’ve taken a closer look at said RX 580 to find out just how much better it is, you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like by reading my original thoughts on the RX 480. So how does it perform? Forget the benchmarks, let’s give the new RX 480 a good old grope.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: A big leap, but not quite a 4K slayer

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 is no longer top dog in its GPU family – that honour now goes the GTX 1080Ti and, of course, the frankly ridiculous Titan Xp. It has, however, come down quite dramatically in price since I first looked at it, arguably making it a better buy than ever before if you’re after a 4K-capable graphics card. The economically monikered MSI Gaming X 8GB Twin Frozr VI pictured above, for instance, cost a wallet-breaking £695 a year ago. Now you can pick up one like Gigabyte’s equally succinct GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo OC for as little as £489 from Scan. The 1080Ti, on the other hand, has remained at a steady £700 since launch.

A no-brainer, right? Not quite, as there’s also the GTX 1070Ti to think about as well, which costs even less at around £420 and promises near 1080 performance. We’ll be taking a look at the 1070Ti shortly, so we’ll update this page with our findings soon to let you know how we got on. For now, though, I’ll turn my attention back to the regular GTX 1080.

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Premature Evaluation: Sunless Skies

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This week’s Premature Evaluation sees Fraser hurtling through the cosmos inside a space-faring locomotive in Failbetter Games’ eccentric early access space sandbox, Sunless Skies.

Narrative-driven games aren’t normally a comfortable fit with piecemeal early access development – it’s harder to offer a compelling vertical slice of a story that’s meant to be viewed as a whole. This isn’t Failbetter Games’ first rodeo, however; the studio has already had one successful early access game in Sunless Sea. Like its predecessor, Sunless Skies has another advantage: it’s a game about making and experiencing your own story through evocative vignettes and quests, rather than following a prescribed narrative.

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Five alternative Halloween treats

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So you’re on the lookout for an Interactive Horror Experience™ to play this Halloween week, huh? But you’re not a fan of action horror; you’d rather you weren’t holding a gun in your shaking fingers. Or perhaps you prefer your horror games to be something a little more unusual. Something a little outside the box. But you don’t want comedy horror! You still want to be genuinely unsettled, disturbed even, but the likes of Resident Evil 7 and The Evil Within aren’t quite right for you. Well that’s fine. That’s okay. Gather round, kiddies, because boy do I have some cool Halloween week recommendations for you which (mostly) fit outside the box of traditional horror games. They’re all recent, all available right now, and even if you’re a fan of all things fearsome, there should be at least a couple of surprises.

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The 25 Best Horror Games On PC

To compile a list of the 25 best horror games on PC is to look into the void for so long that the void not only starts to look back, but shakes you by the hand and takes you out for coffee. It is to fight with monsters until you become a monster and then go on a European railtrip with the other monsters, and really bond over cocktails in Saint-Tropez.

It is also a great way to explore the wide range of possible experiences within horror fiction. Here, there is something for everyone, even the squeamish and the easily-startled. Yes, there are jumpscares, but there are also slow-burn psychological dramas and tongue-in-cheek splatterfests. There are uncanny things and real terrors, but there are smiles and smirks among the shocks.

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Doki Doki Literature Club is a hidden horror game for the internet age

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We players like to be in charge of our games. We save before boss battles. We watch how our choices change the story flow. Many of us know how to access game data if needed. Most of all, we like knowing we’ve out-smarted the game. And there’s no easier style of game to out-smart than a dating sim. Right?

Japanese-style dating games often stick to an aesthetic and tone that’s all but synonymous with the genre: bouncy anime blended with air-headed girls, all clamouring to get the attention of the male protagonist. Doki Doki Literature Club slips into that style seamlessly. Only one thing sets it apart – the tagline. “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.” Beyond that there are no hints in the game trailer, no secrets in the description.

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Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 review: The New 1440p King?

Welcome to part two of my leisurely stroll through the new GPU landscape. Last time around, it was the mighty Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080, which suddenly looks a lot less mighty thanks to the arrival of the Titan X. Today, however, we’re looking Nvidia’s new mid-range contender, the GTX 1060. As before, I shall be spurning objectivity, benchmarks and frame-rate counters for a what-does-it-actually-feel-like approach.

I call it a mid-range card, but it seems Nvidia is currently engaged in an attempt to realign the entire graphics market. The Titan X is $1,200 and the GTX 1080 is $600 (well, $700 for those ghastly ‘Founder’s Edition’ cards), but the GTX 1060 we’re dealing with today costs just $260/£250 – that is, if you’re looking at the 6GB version, of course, as since we tested the GTX 1060, Nvidia has also released a less powerful 3GB model.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: The 1440p Graphics Card Of Choice?

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 neatly occupies what is normally my favoured slot in the overall hierarchy of any given GPU family, namely one rung down from the top graphics chip that’s actually bought in much more significant volumes. Except, Nvidia’s Pascal family isn’t entirely normal. We’ve already touched base with the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1060, and the GTX 1070 inevitably slots in between.

Things get even more complicated when you take the recently announced GTX 1070Ti into account, which nestles between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. We’ve yet to test the 1070Ti, so it’s difficult to say exactly how it compares to the rest of Nvidia’s Pascal pack, but with prices currently hovering around the £420/$449 mark (and regular 1070 prices not that much lower), it could end up being a much better buy than its non-Ti counterpart, especially if you’re after a card that’s capable of super smooth 1,440p gaming. We’ll be updating this article with more thoughts on how the 1070 compares to the 1070Ti in the very near future, but for now, let’s focus on the 1070 proper. After all, when Nvidia claims it can outperform its £1,000 Titan X mega beast, that’s reason enough to sit up and take notice.

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Have You Played… Lone Survivor?

A demake is like a remake but with a retro vibe rather than a desire to update and refurbish. Lone Survivor [official site], Jasper Byrne’s modern classic, initially seems like it’s going to be little more than a Silent Hill demake of sorts. Then it becomes one of the few truly Lynchian games, and then it becomes something else entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

A guide to Destiny 2’s endgame

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So you’re done with Destiny 2’s story – which you either loved or hated – and are ready to enter the endgame. Luckily, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about how to minimise the grind and get yourself raid ready as quickly as possible.

In this guide, I’ll run you through how Power Levels work, what activities you can get up to and some specifics on how Engrams, Mods and Infusions work. Let’s get cracking!

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Have You Played… Line Rider?

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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.

Line Rider is a thing of beauty. A simple draw-your-own-sledding-slope game that became a phenomenon among the right kind of internet denizen. As simple to learn as doodling in MS Paint and yet difficult to manipulate with true mastery. What do you do, it asked the time-wealthy citizens of the information superhighway, when your canvas is beholden to a tiny, adorable boy with a sled? Well, answered the internet, you create a god damn masterpiece. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s machina: Our proudest Opus Magnum machines

I'm not even sure what this does. But it works.

The fever of alchemical engineering has descended on the RPS team like a dank fog. Opus Magnum is the new Zachtronics puzzler that asks you to make some hair gel out of salt and a hangover cure out of marbles. It’s really good. We’ve already shown you some mechanical marvels and talked about it on the podcast but since the game includes a “record GIF” button, we wanted to show off three of our own proudest creations. Come see the clockwork beauty of our well-oiled machines. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: Everything Old Is New Again Edition

In a week in which Assassin’s Creed Origins has managed to break the charts to such a degree that it somehow not only appears three times, but also stopped Feedly from being able to display the rest of the games in the correct order, we also see a few other new entries. But absolutely no new names. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

Alice is on holiday and she’s taken all the games with her. Luckily some developers released new games after she’d left, so the rest of us still have something to play. Our choices are below, but we want to know from you: what are you playing in this weekend of plenty?

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I love Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s skill trees

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The enormous open world is attractive and enticing, but it’s Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s skill trees that made me a believer in this historical RPG. Rather than providing mild improvements to sword-handling or stamina, the things you learn are traits that change the way your character interacts with the world and the people in it. It all suggests I’ll be creating a person with knowledge and foibles as I play rather than tweaking a sheet of stats.

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Making a green utopia in Cities: Skylines – Green Cities

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Cities: Skylines has always had an environmental bent – one of the first things you can build is a wind turbine – but with the Green Cities expansion, cleaning up polluted cities has become a major focus. There’s a slew of new buildings and policies that make it a little bit easier to keep your citizens from living under an oppressive layer of smog.

How easy, though? I’ve started up a new city to find out. My goal: a completely pollution-free utopia where everyone is happy and healthy. This is probably the nicest thing I’ve done in Skylines; certainly it’s nicer than the time I tried to flood my entire city in poo, or the time I turned off the heating to see how long it would take for everyone to freeze to death.

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Unknown Pleasures: the best new indie games on Steam

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Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly digest of hidden gems embedded into the vast mountain of new Steam releases over the past seven days.

This week: praying mantises gettin’ it on, 80s neon puzzling, obscure Russian Doom clones and the shmup where every enemy is your own past.

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Have You Played… Daley Thompson’s Decathlon?

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Contrary to conventional wisdom, games learned to run before they could walk. Predating all of the walking simulators by many many years, Daley Thompson’s Decathlon simulated the act of running rather fast perfectly, and it only needed two buttons. One for each leg. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Persian Potpourri

When is a bad game not a bad game? When it inadvertently nudges you towards a good game. I began this week playing a very weak HAWXlike coded in Tehran and, via some connected Wikipedia delving and Steam sifting, ended it playing a powerful adventure game set during the Iranian Revolution.

Squadron: Sky Guardians’ flight model resembles actual flight in the same way a vaulting horse resembles an actual horse. Read the rest of this entry »