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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

Discover the best of EGX Rezzed: great new indie games, insight from developers, community streams and more!

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Feature: Games for troubled times

Priceless Play – 28 March 2020

Right. Well. It's a bizarre situation we find ourselves in (and I do hope you are in), and I am here to provide you with your weekly dose of free games. I can't deny that it's rather surreal to turn on my video game machine (that's my computer) and behave as though everything is some semblance of normal. While this routine remains the same, so many other things do not.

The games below the cut are a mishmash of things -- games with peaceful meditations, games with poems, games to celebrate and bemoan being in isolation, and a rhythm game so difficult I might as well be Miles Teller in Whiplash.

Wherever you are, I hope you're well, safe, and taking care of each other.

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Bouncy mobile block-buster Holedown is worming its way onto Steam. Following brilliant, abstract kinda-sorta-RTS Rymdkapsel, Swedish developer Martin "Grapefrukt" Jonasson's 2018 puzzler is a deceptively smart little gem that has you shattering planets at the behest of an ever-present communist worm. Two years later, the worm's domain is spreading to PC - and this time, you can bring a friend.

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Watch the final day of Rezzed Digital here

Rezzed Digital, the livestreamed stand-in for EGX Rezzed, wraps up today with a final few hours of fun. All are invited to come watch streams of Gang Beasts and something named 'Animal Crossing' [? -ed.], even if they are hosted by non-us people. Do remember that you can still watch Thursday and Friday's archived streams, if you missed out on the sessions including Imogen talking about getting into writing about games as well as Jason Statham coming for Nate. Matt, Sin, and Alice Bee have looked at their favourite games that were due to be at Rezzed also, and the VidBuds played some nice ones too.

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As Rezzed Digital continues, I will continue to highlight some of the fine work being done by the VidBuds for Indies Uncovered. Usually a series of livestreams, the VidBuds have adapted to present circumstances by turning them into a series of lovely demo videos on the RPS YouTube channel.

Another one I'm keen to highlight is the demo of Wingspan, a digital version of a popular bird-based board game. VidBud Matthew has a lovely time with it (depending on your interpretation of lovely).

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Resident Evil 3's multiplayer horror mode was meant to have a free beta beginning today. Capcom say that "technical issues" have delayed the beta for PC and PS4 players but not Xbox One, interestingly. They've yet to give an update on when the beta will be available for PC players. Fortunately there's still the regular RE3 demo while we wait.

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Feature: One Off The List

The most satisfying physics in PC games

An obscenely rich teenager throws his VR controller across the room in a fit of blind panic while playing Half-Life: Alyx. It leaves the window of his bedroom at 5m/s. It falls 10m vertically and hits his neighbour’s greenhouse, smashing the glass. How many metres did the controller travel horizontally before coming to a stop in the tomatoes? Use a kinematic formula to determine your answer and show your wor--

UGH, physics. Here are 10 games where physics is not boring, but good.

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Summer Games Done Quick, the warmer branch of the biannual speedrunning and charity marathon, will be delaying until August 2020 because of the Covid-19 coronavirus. SGDQ's organisers explain that the event planned to take place in June is being pushed back by two months. Game submissions and volunteer applications are being wiped clean so that those who are still able to attend can submit information.

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We've no idea when the paid version of giant world sim Dwarf Fortress will finally be available, but in the meantime Bay 12 are showing off what the officially overhauled textures will look like. I imagine you've seen its original ASCII maps before. They're black screens with bright green, yellow, and cyan all over that hurt to look at. The new textures are much easier on the eyes, though I'm sure purists will staunchly stick to the original view.

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Things are plenty uncertain enough with many folks' actual housing situation as they find themselves out of work while the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads. While you've got bigger real life concerns, at least you won't need to spare a worry for your in game real estate. Final Fantasy XIV has canceled automated demolitions of unattended player houses for the foreseeable future.

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Feature: Cheap games, graphics cards, SSDs and more

Best PC gaming deals of the week – 27th March 2020

Ah, I do love a good bit of sunshine to go with my deals hunting and continued self-isolation - if only so I can bow down at the great PC gaming deals altar I've put together in my back garden, like the fine fellows up the top there. Indeed, the game deals bonanza continues this week, with loads of great discounts to help stave off that dreaded cabin fever while we're all in a corona-based lockdown. There's 40% off Metro Exodus, 70% off Assassin's Creed Odyssey and 30% off The Outer Worlds, plus loads more all vying for your wallet this week. So let's dispense with this chit-chat and get back to singing the praises of the deals gods, for they are our one true saviour in these strange, strange times. To the deals!

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Read our finest PC game reviews

RimWorld: Royalty review

Sycophants and Sick-o-'phants

29

Yes, Your Grace review

Can't stand the reign

22

ARK: Genesis review

Yabba dabba don't

40

In a new development video for Microsoft Flight Simulator, Asobo Studio explain that they've created a massive shared world for all pilots. That sounds pretty cool, unless you'd rather not be flying next to some yahoo doing barrel rolls in a 747. Fortunately, you'll be able to apply filters to online play so that you only see the folks playing how you are, whether that's flying by the rules or doing sillier stuff.

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Now, I'm not entirely sure why you'd want to bother using a pistol when Doom Eternal starts you off with a shotgun, but hey, there's one hidden in the game's files anyway if you fancy a go with it. It's a proper working weapon by the looks of things, just one that never made it into the final version of the game. You can get it by using console commands on your PC, though considering the rest of Doom Guy's arsenal, a little handgun seems a bit tame at this point.

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Feature: Funderlords

Wot I Think (now it’s left beta): Dota Underlords

I'm in a good place with Dota Underlords. We're long past that initial rush, those halcyon days where layers of the puzzle kept peeling away, one after the other. We're past the rough patch, too, when it seemed like we were over. That long plateau. We're comfortable, now. I can see the path that leads from here, the subtle ways I can improve.

So what if the spark's gone? I've settled for less.

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Four new guns are now up for grabs as drops in Call Of Duty: Warzone, thanks to last night's patch. These are the 725 Shotgun (a two-shot terror which dominated Modern Warfare for a while), MK2 Carbine marksman rifle (an olde lever-action rifle), the EBR-14 marksman rifle, and the .50 GS handgun (a Desert Eagle). Warzone and Modern Warfare also got a new premium operator, a fella named Talon who has a pet dog he calls in for finisher moves.

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Feature: Playing favourites

The 10 most exciting indie games from Rezzed Digital 2020

As you may have noticed, we've been throwing a Rezzed Digital party over the last few days, and were inundated with demo and preview builds for a whole plethora of interesting indie games. We weren't able to play them all - but we played a lot. As is our way, a few of us got together to share our pick of the bunch, which coincidentally turned out to be a nice round 10! We weren't even trying to do that.

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After seven years of waiting, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is finally almost here - and it'll actually be a little early. TaleWorlds Entertainment today announced they're bumping the sandbox warfare RPG's date up, shifting its early access launch from March 31st to March 30th. That's one whole extra day! But hey, each day feels about six years long right now.

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With its latest update, Mordhau has opened up a whole new castle for us to run around sticking swords into people. It's good, based on the ten minutes I've spent being cut to pieces so far, but that's not all that's new. The Mountain's Peak map has been expanded, ranked duels have left beta, there are new cosmetics, and the combat's been tightened up in a bunch of ways I don't understand. I think I'm feeling the impact of them, though. The swordplay's never been sharper.

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Feature: Panzer Corps 2 reconnoitred

The Flare Path: Unhexceptional

What do Slitherine's latest piece of hexiana and the coronavirus crisis have in common? They both invite comparisons with WW2, but, on close inspection, bear little resemblance to the 1939-45 conflict. Panzer Corps 2 is as stout as a Sturmtiger and perfectly capable of accelerating clock hands and monopolising cerebra, but loyalty to its predecessors means most of the time it feels more like a tough military puzzle game than an insightful simulation of mid-20th Century warfare.

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Unfortunately, Fallout 76 players are going to have to wait a tiny bit longer to meet its new human NPC residents, as the Wastelanders update has been pushed back by one week. Rather than coming on April 7th, the update will instead hit on the 14th, because Bethesda haven't been able to do some of the final testing it needs due to setbacks from Covid-19. It's not a very long delay though, and I think we can all cut the developers some slack seeing how weird the world is right now.

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Watch Rezzed Digital today for loads from us

EGX Rezzed may be delayed to July but we're doing our darnedest to plug the gap it left in the week using Rezzed Digital. On this second day we we shove those GamesIndustry.biz and Eurogamer chumps away from the camera so we can have more of the spotlight. On our streams we'll talk with one of the folks behind Desperados III (the return of the much-beloved real-time tactical cowboy 'em up), Imogen will gab about gamewords jobs, and Nate will give a fully true history of Jason Statham in video gaming. Plus those other nerks will still be doing other stuff, I guess. Read on for the schedule and streams.

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Don't miss our superb hardware coverage

The RPS Rig: Everything you need to play games for less than £1000

How to build a great 1080p gaming PC without breaking the bank

69

Oh, to float above the battlefield on a balsa-wood centipede. On many levels, survival MMO Last Oasis is nothing new - a world where humanity is back at the beginning, feuding tribes fighting over scarce resources. Only, Last Oasis imagines a world where the sole survivors of a devastating meteor-strike are artisan woodcarvers, fighting on the back of fantastical mechanical timber contraptions. That's one hell of a hook, and it's one you can try out now on Steam Early Access.

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Zombies, demons and... music? This week's free rotation on the Epic Games Store is an odd mix-up, that's for sure. You know the drill by now - from today until next Thursday, World War Z, Tormentor X Punisher and Figment are free to keep forever over on Epic. Once Thursday rolls by, it's back to full price they go, replaced in kind by Gone Home and Hob.

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American Truck Simulator is continuing its quest to digitally map America's highways, one state at a time. But before even bringing the great state of Idaho to completion, SCS Software have already announced their next addition to the expansive digital truck-a-thon. Get in gear, truckers, we're heading to Colorado. Land of the trees, home of the blazed, American Truck Simulator - Colorado's icy peaks and dusty valleys will be open for trucking by the end of the year.

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For a number of years, now, I have been investigating a field of knowledge so arcane and perilous that I had to pass off my studies as a joke, lest the truth of the matter prove too much for peoples' minds to handle. It was a programme of research I hoped to shield you all from, at least until such point as my inquiries had begun to suggest some form of defence against their object. But alas. We have reached a point, now, where I feel it is better for mankind to face its adversary armed with what scant learnings I have acquired, than to proceed in the safety of ignorance. Cometh the hour, they say, cometh the man. And I can tell you now, friends: the hour shall be 2pm GMT tomorrow, on Friday March 27th. And the man shall be Jason Statham. For I am going to impart onto you A Complete And True History Of Jason Statham In Videogames.

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Breaking onto Steam last year, Bright Memory looked impressive enough. A slick, sci-fi FPS that bridged a gap between Shadow Warrior and Devil May Cry with some serious technical chops. Coupled with the fact that the game was seemingly the work of a sole developer, one-man studio FYQD, and you've got an impressive piece of work on your hands. After an overwhelming start on early access, FYQD is ready to call this version finished, moving towards a more fully-featured vision in Bright Memory: Infinite.

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If you ever stared at the beautiful seas, lakes, and rivers around your cities in Cities: Skylines and thought "Surely I can monetise these as more than just dumping grounds for raw sewage?" you might want to check out the latest expansion. Launched today, Sunset Harbor adds new fishing industries to wring that wet silver from your waters. It has a grab bag of other new features too, and a new free update also arrived today with newness for all players.

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When you think about it, two years is a remarkably short timeframe for building a spaceship. Once scheduled for liftoff in 2018, Elite Dangerous' long-awaited fleet carriers are finally, almost, just about ready to take to the stars. Today, Frontier announced plans for beta sessions in the coming months, scheduled a full video deep-dive on April 2nd, and revealed just how much a nation-sized supercarrier will set you back.

Spoiler alert: they're not cheap.

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Feature: In league with yourself

How emotional investment in League Of Legends lets you be your best and worst self

Recently, the MOBA juggernaut League Of Legends introduced a new feature, called Eternals. Billed as a way to “highlight your accomplishments and prove your mastery”, they are essentially stat-trackers for individual champions that you play, allowing you to document both basic accomplishments such as your lifetime number of takedowns on your chosen character, as well as more champion-specific achievements, such as the number of kills secured using big boy Garen’s ultimate ability of calling down a massive sword from the skies.

As the more desirable, champion-specific Eternals are only available for real money and cannot be earned through in-game grind, it is easy to be cynical about this entire “highlight your accomplishments” thing. After all, the language of self-expression is often used by video game marketing teams to convince players that the real way they should be expressing themselves is through consumption. Capitalism, ho! It is never about you. It is always about your money.

But - but - that is not the full story. What if Riot Games actually care about your ability to express yourself? Really want you to be able to put your proud achievements on public display? What if League of Legends really is about letting you live out your dream of being your best self?

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