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  • Image for Claire De Lune won't light any fires, but it'll warm you up

    14 years on, it might say more about me than about games that I automatically want to reference Portal when I play a game like Claire De Lune. It's a bit unfair to compare everything in the first person physics puzzle subgenre to one of the best games ever made as a default.

    You have a zappy non-violent gun necessary for navigating a series of platforming challenges. That's... actually where the similarities end. Instead of the increasingly sinister laboratory and wry humour, Claire De Lune crashes you into an alien planet and asks you to reunite with your daughter while periodically getting a flash of sad backstory.

  • A female Sim, with dark skin, short cropped hair and wearing yellow dungaree shorts, brushes clean her llama. The llama looks incredibly happy.

    I grew up in the countryside and thus Cottagecore has always faintly amused me as a concept. My experience was more ThereIsAlwaysASpiderInTheBathcore. You may imagine that you spend your days picking letterbox-red strawberries from your garden, under the heady scent of roses, but in actual fact if you do not get to the strawberries within about 30 seconds of them ripening then they will be eaten by slugs. But I don't want to destroy anyone's dream, and if real-life cottage fantasy doesn't work out then there's always The Sims 4: Cottage Living.

    This latest expansion to EA's (already monstrously expanded) life sim allows you to live out the ultimate Cottagecore fantasy. Compliant hens, a Llama to joke with, the ability to commune with wild foxes and birds, and loads of cute wooden furniture. It's probably my favourite expansion in recent memory, maybe because Maxis appear to have embarked on a tactic of taking note of the most popular community mods and then making them. They should have just done that years ago. We'd have had official bunkbeds for ages.

  • Raz from Psychonauts 2 getting a new skill in a dark environment, with bright colours shooting out from behind him.

    I know these monthly lists often highlight the 10 games that you should keep an eye on over the next month, but I’ve bumped it up to 12 for August. Because, if you haven’t heard, video games are back, baby!... And they might disappear again at any moment, so please just let me celebrate the fact that there are more than 10 computer games coming out over the next four and a bit weeks.

  • A knight raises his sword against a purple beast in King's Bounty 2

    The original King's Bounty was a classic RPS game. A sort of janky but inventive tactical mash-up that took Alec Meer (RPS in peace) into a battle inside his own belt for the right to upgrade it. This small glimpse at the upcoming King's Bounty 2, along with Ed’s hands-on preview a few weeks ago, doesn’t really hint at the extreme options the 2008 offering had, but there are moments in there that suggest at alternative routes and game-altering decisions.

  • Image for EWS podcast episode 149: the best robots special

    EWS podcast episode 149: the best robots special

    Dead or alive, I'm feeding you soup

    This week The Electronic Wireless Show Podcast is all about the best robots in games, which is another one of those topics we might have done before. But we're doing it again because darn it, robots are cool. Obviously this means we have a short discussion on whether cyborgs count as robots (yes, probably, but not in all circumstances).

    As well as what I feel is actually a very productive chat about robots this week, we also talk about Miles Jupp and his thousands of children, Thomas The Tank Engine, and Matthew does a truly stunning Cavern Of Lies themed around Ace Attorney.

  • An image of The Ascent which shows the player chatting to an alien called Poon.

    Having previewed top-down cyberpunk shooty RPG The Ascent a little while back, I thought it was just all right at the time. But now that I've plugged myself into the mainframe for many hours, I see that it takes time for The Ascent's mechanical heart to get the blood pumping. After it's limbered up, this game is often a great time.

    I say "often" because The Ascent can veer from extremely fun to extremely infuriating in a matter of nano-seconds. There's a lot to like here, but the way it's wired means it frequently trips itself up. Remain patient enough to untangle the mess, though, and you're in for a real RGB romp.

  • Ghosts in a forest lunge at the camera in Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water

    Fatal Frame’s premise has always tickled me. It’s a survival horror series where you fight off ghosts by taking their picture. It feels like a commentary on paparazzi and celebrities as the spirits gurn and whack away at the lens, but it probably isn’t. It’s been a console series for a while, but this year's E3 saw the announcement of a PC remaster of the Wii U’s Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water. Now we've finally got a release date for it: October 28th.

  • Kena: Bridge Of Spirits - Kena hanging from a cliff

    Kena: Bridge Of Spirits has been delayed to September

    To give the devs time to polish the game

    Gorgeous forest adventure Kena: Bridge Of Spirits has been delayed again, moving from an August release date into September. This is the second time Kena has been delayed - originally it was supposed to come out in 2020. Alas, as with many games last year, the pandemic made sure that didn't happen. Thankfully, this new delay isn't a huge wait though, and the developers at Ember Labs say they just need more time to polish the game.

  • Image for The joy of playing Escape From Tarkov in single player

    Tarkov Interchange, Norvinsk Economic Zone, 1500 hours. As I made my way to the extraction zone after wading through the remnants of a Swedish furniture store - a venture which had cost me most of my ammunition and the use of my left leg - I spotted a figure scrounging for supplies 300 metres away. Aiming my rifle, I took a shot, the bullet’s echo so deafening that I could barely hear the Scav yelling Russian expletives at me.

    This is just a microcosm of the stories to tell about Battlestate Games’ online survival FPS Escape From Tarkov. In a genre that often either fails or doesn’t try to convey any type of legitimate emotional response, raids in Tarkov become these enigmatic tales of the senses. My stories differ from most because I play Escape From Tarkov single-player.

  • The Vale - A woman wearing armor and holding a sword and shield stands in the foreground of a valley that's colored red in sunset.

    Hear that? It's the approaching release date for audio-only action adventure The Vale. The accessible adventure about a blind princess challenges you to combat driven by audio cues and haptic feedback. Developers Falling Squirrel have announced that you'll be able to tackle the adventure yourself next month, although you can also take it for a spin right now in a demo.

  • A battle screen showing four warriors attack four monsters in the Final Fantasy II Pixel Remaster

    The Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters have launched today, bringing versions of the early Final Fantasy games to PC that we hoped would finally be prettier than the not so nice-looking mobile ports we'd been treated to in the past. They are prettier, indeed, and even have new music, but all that was slightly overshadowed by the frankly terrible interface font choice. Fortunately, fans work fast and there are already instructions for "fixing" the pixel remaster fonts just hours after launch.

  • Gabe Newell sat in front of a Valve Steam Deck

    Gabe Newell says gamers have never had a great mobile hardware option

    Presumably Valve are hoping Steam Deck is the answer

    Valve announced their portable PC gaming machine earlier this month and the interviews and details about the Steam Deck have been rolling in steadily since. Among them, courtesy of another IGN interview, are some of Steam Deck's origins. President and co-founder Gabe Newell says that the Deck began as a "natural conversation" about how Valve would contribute to PC gaming in the future, and also dished some of the early names from the Deck drawing board.

  • Image for Type long and prosper with 50% off Roccat's phenomenal Vulcan keyboard

    Deals: Type long and prosper with 50% off Roccat's phenomenal Vulcan keyboard

    This full-size UK mechanical normally costs £140, but is £70 today - a historic low.

    Roccat's excellent Vulcan 100 mechanical keyboard is 50% off at Amazon UK today, dropping from £140 to £70. That's an outstandingly good price for a full-size UK keyboard with an aluminium chassis, per-key RGB backlighting and tactile Titan switches.

  • a photo of a razer blade pro 17 laptop surrounded by a gaming chair, laptop backpack and laptop sleeve

    Deals: Get a top-tier Razer gaming laptop for £735 off, plus £700 of extras

    £1499 is pretty reasonable for a laptop worth £2235, a free £500 chair and two more freebies

    Razer's Blade laptops are expensive, especially when they're specced out with the best possible components - but wait a year, and they start to become more sensibly priced. That's the case now, as last year's Blade Pro 17 gaming laptop, once sold for £2235, is now retailing for £1499. That's a decent deal for a 17-in laptop with a 300Hz screen, RTX 2080 Super graphics card, 10th-gen Core i7 processor and 512GB of storage. What takes this to the next level are the free gifts you get with it - including £700 worth of Razer gear in all. Here's what you need to know.

  • Tribes Of Midgard - Several viking players stand with their backs to a central tree, defending it from encroaching enemies at night.

    Tribes Of Midgard could be the second smash hit co-op viking game this year

    Midgard's first day player count beat Valheim's early numbers

    Yet another viking adventure has set sail to some strong tail winds, proving that folks are still plenty hungry for more Norse adventures. Action slash 'em up, Tribes Of Midgard just launched yesterday and is already seeing concurrent viking numbers that rival the early days of explosive early access viking hit Valheim earlier this year. We could have another lodestone on our hands, judging by the 25,000 players already jumping in just on PC.

  • Halo Infinite - A player in red spartan armor is running and carries a red flag while a player in orange behind them holds a gun at the ready

    Halo Infinite's first multiplayer technical preview starts tomorrow

    Test your mettle against four levels of AI Spartans

    With its launch planned for the end of this year, Halo Infinite is now just about to put some Spartan boots on the ground. As we found out last weekend, 343 Industries are planning a technical test for parts of Infinite's free-to-play multiplayer. They'd initially said it could kick off as early as this weekend. Look at that, your weekend of Halo-ing begins tomorrow, in fact. The first technical preview for Halo Infinite begins this Thursday, July 29th.

  • Isaac the estoc mid-transformation animation in Boyfriend Dungeon

    Boyfriend Dungeon is half a dungeon-run action game where you clear levels of a "dunj" of monsters generated by your own subconscious, and half a dating sim where you can shack up with the very weapons you use in said dungeon runs. You may have heard of it already, because the concept is, just, incredible.

    However, I can sense some scepticism from you, reader, and that's natural. I have to confess, from my time with the first two hours of the game, its dungeons are probably the weaker part. But the dating bit is both absolutely joyous (each weapon gets an over-the-top, beautiful transformation video like off of anime) but also very interesting. I am not only invested in the romances, but I care about them more than with any other video game romance I've played. Not in spite of them being literal tools that I use, but because of it.

  • Image for The world flag samurai I'd pick as video game protagonists

    The other day I watched the women's peloton race at the Tokyo Olympics, and I understood precisely nothing. All I knew was that Anna Kiesenhofer, a total underdog, was on course for a gold medal. I stuck with it for ages, just to see her cross the line and crumple with happiness. God, I love it when the Olympics are on.

    And Japan's showing hasn't only brought emotional sporting moments to our screens, oh no. Athletes stormed into the opening ceremony to orchestral versions of video game classics, and now I've discovered that the world flags have been reimagined as samurai. This, in particular, is excellent and having had a good look at many of them, I'd say there's a few that would make some good video game protagonists.

  • A man stands in a war torn town in Hell Let Loose

    I delved into WW2 shooter Hell Let Loose a couple of months ago when I needed a break from Overwatch. I was in the mood to be an everyman soldier, just doing my job wherever the fighting was, seeking out anonymity amidst the carnage. So I fell into the trenches of Foy, and spent a few weeks shooting at pixels darting across huge, gorgeously rendered fields.

    As it happens, I was playing it on the cusp of its own victory. The multiplayer shooter has just been released from early access, with version 1.0 pushing onwards to the Eastern Front.

  • A man with a pig head in Weird West

    Feature: Immersive sim Weird West wants to say yes to your every whim

    Even if you just want to drag a dead wolf around

    Introducing a hands-off preview session of upcoming RPG Weird West the other day, creative director Raf Colantonio offered a short, sweet summary of its central design principle: "Say yes to the player". We were to expect no arbitrary canyons disguising linear levels here, he promised, nor quests designed to funnel us into binary decisions. Instead, we were to look forward to a literal wild west of open decision-making; a persistent world with its own internal rhythms, through which we would be free to mosey in whichever style we fancied.

    Inevitably, then, when the demo (played by game director Gael Giraudeau) got underway, I glossed over the bleak discovery of the player character's son, shot dead by eerie cowboys, and commanded Giraudeau to pick up a dead wolf. It seemed the right thing to do, given the whole "say yes to the player" thing. And to be fair to Giraudeau, he picked that wolf right up. He carried it around for a bit, dodging a tornado in the process, before finding an egg in a haystack, chucking it in the air, and shooting it with a gun. Not bad, Weird West. Not bad.

  • Two soldiers fight in A Total War Saga: Troy

    Professional porters Feral Interactive are no longer working on a native Linux port of A Total War Saga: Troy. Valve’s work on Proton, a game-specific compatibility layer that’ll power their Steam Deck portable, has created “generally less demand for native titles,” according to Feral, meaning the upcoming Steam release will rely on Proton, or other compatibility programs, to run instead.

  • A close-up of a female Commander Shepard in a white and red space suit in Mass Effect

    40% of you played the most boring class in Mass Effect Legendary Edition

    I refuse to believe people actually prefer shooty man to space wizard

    Last night, BioWare released a fun infographic with stats about player choices in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Most of it is pretty unsurprising, with players mostly choosing to be the good guys, opting into peace and Paragon points. But it also has info about what backgrounds and classes players chose. And I have to know, in a game where you're able to play as techno wizards and space sorcerers, why did 40% of you decide to play the class in which your only special skill is "has several guns"?

  • A plane flies over Egypt in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Though I’d prefer they added an airship, or at least a sofa with birthday balloons attached, I’m still very excited about Microsoft Flight Simulator’s new patch. The update brings some significant performance improvements that should bring higher frame rates, smooth out stuttering, and reduce strain on your whole system. Along with some exploration improvements and world map upgrades, it’s a very helpful patch.

  • Image for Activision Blizzard staff will walkout in protest on Wednesday

    Activision Blizzard staff will walkout in protest on Wednesday

    They're demanding executives work with them on four demands

    In a statement released today, Activison Blizzard employees announced plans to stop work from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday in protest against working conditions at the company. The announcement comes after the State Of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for alleged harassment and discrimination within the workplace, and after an open letter signed by over 2600 employees was released yesterday which condemned the "abhorrent" corporate response to the allegations.

    Today's walkout announcement includes a list of demands that the employees feel would "improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups."

  • Image for Facebook halt Oculus Quest 2 sales because it was causing skin irritation

    Facebook have halted sales of the Oculus Quest 2 after a small number of users reported skin irritation caused by its foam faceplate. They're offering a silicone cover for the faceplate to all existing Quest 2 owners, and the silicone cover will be included with every Quest 2 when sales resume on August 24th.

  • Image for HighFleet's atmospheric strategy is finally out

    I mean, who would trust Sin, honestly? I choose to half trust her. In our HighFleet review, she wrote that there was a brilliant game buried underneath its frustrations, and as RPS's chunky button hype man, I'm choosing to believe the "brilliant" bit only.

    Anyway, HighFleet is out today. Pick a side.