Sundays are for doing some guided meditation to wind down. Before you take a deep breath, let's read this week's best writing about games.
Sundays are for doing some guided meditation to wind down. Before you take a deep breath, let's read this week's best writing about games.
Why fly when there's a hatchback available?
Mod communities tend to follow predictable arcs, so it's often possible to predict what work users will create long before it exists. For that reason I thought to myself today: Microsoft Flight Simulator has been out for a while, I wonder if anyone has made a mod that lets you drive a car around its world yet.Bingo.
A quick, stylish, micro-RTS
I'm often too lazy and tired to learn full fat strategy games these days, but I still long to make tiny men do my bidding. Ed's too tall for me to get my kicks at work, so I turn to microstrategy games to scratch the itch.
Warpips seems to fit my needs. It's a tug-of-war strategy game that's just entered early access, in which you build a squad, spawn units, and push towards an enemy's base without much direct control over your units themselves. I've played it for half an hour and had a good time, and you can see it in action in a trailer below.
Los Santos has never looked so real - and real drab
Yesterday saw the release of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a remaster which used AI to upscale many of the original game's textures so they look better at 4K.
That's nothing compared to what Intel are working on, however. In a video called "Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement," embedded below, Intel show Grand Theft Auto 5 after it has been run through a neural net to make the streets of Los Santos look more photorealistic. It works.
A recent Fall Guys update on Steam included a bunch of files in a folder called "BackUpThisFolder_ButDontShipItWithYourGame". The folder, which is auto-generated by Unity, includes a bunch of source files. The files were removed the following day, but their leak is potentially bad news for devleopers Mediatonic and their efforts to stop cheating in Fall Guys.
Put the boy rabbits in stilettos, you cowards
It's Final Fantasy's Digital Fan Fest this weekend, and last night's streams brought a series of new details about Endwalker, Final Fantasy 14's next big expansion. Chief among them, the news that it will launch on November 23rd.
Hop below for an extremely melodramatic extended CG trailer.
I've started making a small pug dressed in a sailor outfit after several months not doing any crochet. In related news, carpet beetles got into my yarn stash, so now my living room smells of mothballs. I hope the weather this weekend is nice because otherwise it's going to be a long couple of days.
But in other news, happy kissing aliens weekend, everyone! Maybe if every single person in the world buys Mass Effect, it'll buy more runway for the devs doing Dragon Age 4! A Christmas miracle! That's how these things work, right?? But some of us are actually playing other things, it turns out.
The Cinci is calling
Cyberpunkdreams, as is the law for cyberpunk games, is set in a biggo futuristic city. Ah, but the city in question? No no, not future London. Not New York, or anywhere in California. Welcome to the cyberpunk midwest, everyone. This free, text-based RPG is set in the 2090s border city of Cincinnati. That's in Ohio, which is the middle of the United States, which you'll be forgiven for not knowing if you don't live two hours away from it. As of 2090, it's one of the hottest places to be, the biggest border city between the future states and the badlands, and the place where you'll make or break it.
Hell looks pretty lovely, actually
If you weren't familiar with 1980s sidescroller Getsu Fūma Den, that's likely becuase it was originally released on the Famicom in Japan. Not to worry though, you can get acquainted now, because Konami have resurrected it in a PC remake. The run-based Castlevania-ish action game sends the Getsu clan's 27th leader Fuma into Hell to battle demon lords and stop the cataclysm. GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon has launched on PC in early access so you can get to slashing baddies right now.
It's an even better day than usual to buy on Itch.io
The share of game sales that digital distributors keep has been somewhat of a hot topic lately thanks to the big legal fisticuffs between Epic Games and Apple. A sweeter take on the splitsies situation is indie storefront Itch.io having developers keep 100% of their sales revenue on games bought today. Itch are calling the event their first Creator Day and say they hope to make it a regular event in the future.
Hack and slash action in an orderly fashion
Capybara Games of Below and Super Time Force fame are at last bringing their latest to PCs this month. Their puzzle battler Grindstone is a combo-building puzzle board about hacking through creeps on your climb up Grindstone Mountain. Capy have just announced that the puzzle slasher is getting a PC release on May 20th, which will include all its past game updates, including today's new Fortune Grind update.
The sequel to the cutest space game will finally get good tutorials
Space knower and Iain M. Banks reader (check his bookshelf) Scott Manley says Kerbal Space Program is a "gateway drug to physics", which I sort of agree with. For me, the rocket sim was an education in things like "apoapsis" and "periapsis", and I felt slightly more informed for having played it. But it’s not a good teacher, really, which is one of the things Kerbal Space Program 2 hopes to remedy. The game will still be tough, the processes still hugely complex, but you’ll hopefully be able to play it without needing to consult a smart friend or a YouTube playlist.
Put me in coach, I'm ready to throw
Get off the bench, sporty game folks. Electronic Arts' upcoming competitive team dodgeball game Knockout City is coming up next week and they've gone and made it free to play for the first ten days after launch. A couple of the RPS crew have already had a decent time trying it earlier this year, so it may be one you'll want to jump in on. EA have queued up quite a few events during the free trial period, and are kicking off the first of KOC's seasons then too. They've just announced what all you can get up to starting on May 21st.
Ah yes, "reapers"
It's here! It's here! Put on your best space shoes, it's time to chat up some aliens. Mass Effect Legendary Edition is out right now, remastering Commander Shepard's trilogy of adventures, and bringing back all your extraterrestrial pals with some spruced-up graphics. It's been a long while since I last explored BioWare's epic sci-fi RPG series, and I can't tell you how excited I am to zoom off into the Milky Way again.
One thing video games have over most other mediums is that you can change the outcome. When cinemas properly open up again, and we all get to see big blockbusters on the massive telly, it's not like Major Fistipunch's fate will depend on whether or not you looked at his Gauntlets Of Hurtiness in the fourth scene.
So – shining a spotlight on one of the things that makes games special – this week's Mystery Steam Reviews revolves around video games that don't go the linear route and have multiple endings. Although, if you do want to watch a film that has multiple endings, you should check out Clue. You should watch Clue anyway, because it's tremendous.
The mine is still the absolute pits, though
It might be my secret super power, but I seem to be unusually good at avoiding spoilers. I just don't see 'em. Indeed, despite the fact that Resident Evil 7 came out four years ago now, the only thing I really knew about it before I started playing was a) it was set in the horrible Baker mansion, and b) the second half is a lot more action-focused than the first, which a lot of people don't seem to like. Until now, I never really understood why that was. In fairness, I still don't really get it if I'm being honest, because having finally waded through the end of Resident Evil 7 earlier this week, I'm here to tell you that I actually liked the second half of Resi 7, and I don't care who knows it. Time to rock some boats.
Skeleton army, you say?
I've come to regret trying to theme these posts, reader, but this week I have been listening to the audio book of Rotherweird as my bedtime listen. I keep falling asleep at "man is interviewed for weird teaching job" and waking up at 3am to "the weasel-man spoke to the hideous spider-woman in the magical mixing garden". So I wanted to find some horrible hybrid monsters for you this week. Alas, it seems that is a niche concern (either that or games about hybrid monsters are not tagged correctly on Itch, where I thought I'd find them).
Instead I found some games about dead monsters, more or less. I found some of them suprisingly cathartic, and at least one of them surprisingly difficult.
Plant grapes, make wine, and sell it on in this complex little number
There are many things other adults do that I have never gotten the hang of. I don’t go to pubs. I don’t bother with coffee or tea (tea is particularly terrible, what is wrong with you all?). And I don’t drink wine. I have tried. I’ve swooshed and slurped and spat. It always ends with me putting the glass down and backing warily out the room on the way to the nearest sink.
With that disclosed, I do like the look of Hundred Days, a genteel vineyard management game that just launched on Steam. There’s a lot of detailed work that goes into making wrong Ribena.
The add-on streams computer-generated audio clips for nearby landmarks
If you like to play Microsoft Flight Simulator as a tourist, I’d suggest hooking your game up to Bushtalk Radio. It’s a community generated landmark database that tracks where you are in-game. Get close to a registered landmark and the site will automatically start telling you all about it, just like my mum does when we're in the car ('Ooh, a red Volvo.'). Think of it as an audio tour for the entire world, one that covers everything from magnificent waterfalls to the world’s largest beaver dam.
The cute spin-off lets you squish blocky bugs on a square Earth
I couldn’t believe it when I searched the RPS tag system and didn’t find any mention of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers. I thought the site was doing that thing where it searches EDF-free universes again, but the IT department assures me that the multiverse toggle is off. It seems we just didn’t know that there was a cute spin-off of gaming’s greatest bug hunt, and that it was out very soon. This month, actually.
Our top wireless mice picks for all budgets
Wireless gaming mice are a great way to cut the clutter on your gaming desk, so to help you get the best wireless gaming mouse for your money, we've put together this list of our top recommendations. Wireless gaming mice can often be quite a bit more expensive than wired gaming mice, but we cover all budgets here, with our cheapest pick going for just £50 / $50. We've also got some top picks for those after the best ultralight wireless gaming mouse, as well as those after something a bit chunkier. Whatever you're looking for, we've got a wireless gaming mouse pick for you.
Time to talk about the birds and the freeze
If you've been waiting patiently for Subnautica: Below Zero to leave its early access adventure, then I have some good news for you: the icy explore-a-thon launched in full today. Set two years after the events of the first Subnautica, Below Zero plunges you into a frostbitten new region with new creatures to discover - such as terrifying penguins with beaks atop their heads.
Ready for more cyberparkour?
I hope you're ready for some more cyberpunk vibes over the next couple of years, because publisher 505 Games have announced Ghostrunner 2 is on the way. The sequel to the dystopian ninja-slicing, wall-running action game Ghostrunner is being made right now by developers One More Level. The first game had players dashing and slashing through a skyscraper, like Mirror's Edge but with swords.
Those chunky pixels have never looked so good
I understood polygons. You knit a bunch of triangles together, they make shapes, right. Now everytime I open Twitter there's someone posting an intricately detailed 3D model and writing "actually, this is just a sphere" above it, or posting a fully animated 3D character and saying, "this is really just a shader."
But today's graphics marvel is the voxel. I previously thought of them as betamax to polygon's VHS, but voxels have had a resurgence of late via various indie games. And I've never seen anything voxelly as intricately detailed as an in-development engine by a programmer called John Lin. Watch a video of it below.
£1000 is a genuinely good value in a sea of inflated CPU and GPU prices
Last week we posted about a rather excellent gaming PC deal, which bundled up an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card and AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor into a computer box with surprisingly solid components throughout, all for less than one thousand of your Earth pounds. Today, that deal makes a return of sorts, as UK system builders AWD-IT have a very similar prebuilt gaming PC, once again for a little less than £1000.
Does she need to pee?
Lost Ruins is a 2D sidescrolling action platformer in which you can mix-and-match abilities while fighting monsters, but I'd hesitate to put it in a box alongside Dead Cells. The rhythm of its combat, the weight of its movement, and its anime grimness places it alongside other games like Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight and maybe the more recent Skul: The Hero Slayer.
It's out now and there's a trailer below.
A hell of a fight
Tower defence and Total War are not, you might think, two tastes that go particularly well together. You’d be surprised. Last month, I got to play one of the set piece battles from Total War: Warhammer 3, which saw an army of furious fantasy Slavs, battling to fortify a toehold in their invasion of hell. There were barricades built, hoards of devil dogs wiped out by AI-controlled, magic-spaffing turrets, a gigantic polar bear made out of moss and dirt. You know, normal, reasonable things. And it was bloody wonderful.
It returns after having been delisted during its early access
Before We Leave is a citybuilder in which you form settlements on a planet and then blast off to find new homes across a solar system. It looks extremely chill, it has space whales, and it just launched after a spell in early access.
Fall Guys Season 4.5 is out, with 1v1 battles, a new arena, and crossplay
Battle royale stumble sim Fall Guys is refreshing things with a new update. The mid-season 4.5 patch brings a couple of arenas to the game, custom lobbies, console and PC matchmaking, and more. Let's have a look.
Including the Valhalla Season Pass for 25% off, plus up to 75% off the older games
Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major piece of DLC has been released, the Ireland-themed Wrath of the Druids, and now Ubisoft are discounting a whole bunch of Assassin's Creed content to celebrate over at the Ubisoft Store. As well as offering the AC Valhalla DLC Season Pass at 25% off - the first time it's been discounted - you can find significant savings on almost every entry in the long-running sneaky-stabbing franchise.