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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Roll up, roll up, The Butcher's Circus is (about to be) in town. Merciless RPG Darkest Dungeon is set to launch its PVP mode later today, letting you pit your band of stressed out adventurers against those of a stressed out person in the real world. The new mode is completely separate to the singleplayer campaign, and comes with new trinkets and reworked Heroes.

The Dungeon's first free trial weekend also kicks off today, so you can get all cross without spending a penny.

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Atomicrops review

Atomicrops is not your granpappy’s pixel art farming sim. It’s not a farming sim at all, really, but more a twin stick bullet-hell-and-tarnation with some very light nods to life-sim elements through upgrades. It’s also moreish, dizzyingly vibrant, and full of more squirming veggies than when you threw up that carrot cake your mum tried to make look like a regular birthday cake by dumping a bucket of sprinkles and icing on top.

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Sea Of Thieves finally adds checkpoints to Tall Tales

The newest Sea Of Thieves update docked yesterday, and though it hasn't got quite as much big new stuff as last month's, Lost Treasures is bringing a whole heap of mini-events to earn bonus loot for your pirates. More importantly, there are also tons of quality of life changes being introduced, the first of which are the long-awaited checkpoints for Tall Tales.

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Have You Played… Thimbleweed Park?

I know as much as the next gal that classic adventure games aren't for everyone. But if you were thinking of dipping your toe in the genre, Thimbleweed Park is a great place to start - because you're starting at the finish, almost. The game was created by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, who worked on some of the most famous adventure games to come out of Lucasfilm (later LucasArts).

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I've played my fair share of MMOs over the years. Despite the excitement that used to come with an online world stuffed full of unknown people, I've started to feel some put too much "massive" in the MO. The next game by the folks known for the Shelter series—the ones about animal moms protecting their babies from hawks and rivers and such—is what they're calling a TMO, a tiny multiplayer online RPG. Every new image or video I see of Book Of Travels convinces me that I really want TMOs to be the next big (but small) thing.

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Over a decade after the last samurai game of the series, Samurai Shodown is getting a reboot. SNK have reimagined yon olde fighting game from 1993 for the current generation of button mashers. Shodown just got slapped with a launch date right around the corner on June 11th. A collection of past Shodown games will join it on the same day.

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June's not quite here but we're already being treated to a few digital showcases in the style of E3 presentations. Wholesome Direct rounded up a whole 55 indie games with varying styles of kindness and cuteness to show off in a 35-minute show. A few big names like town sim Ooblets and boat manager Spiritfarer showed up to join arms with some smaller but equally swell looking games you may not have heard of. You can rewatch the entire show below.

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Elite Dangerous needs to make its fleet carriers worthwhile

Elite Dangerous finished a second beta test for its new fleet carriers this week. The giant player-owned ships are scheduled to appear in the main game sometime in June.

I've been ruminating on it for a while now, and much as I like the idea, the reality so far has been distinctly underwhelming.

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If you've been debating whether to sign up to Humble's gaming subscription service Humble Choice recently, then now is absolutely the time to do it, as Humble have slashed the cost of a year's subscription by 40% off for new subscribers. Hurry, though, as this limited time offer will end tomorrow on May 28th at 11.59pm PT.

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Read our finest PC game reviews

Atomicrops review

Tough taters

5

Crucible Review

Trial by dire

14

Stoneshard early access review

Rogue rogue rogue your boat

43

Ah look! Summer's on, which means that both I and my wallet are about to start sweating. Me because of the oppressive humidity and my wallet because of my oppressive desire to own Dragon Age: Origins on five different storefronts for reasons I cannot explain. GOG have spun up their summer sale machine and would ya lookit that, Dragon Age: Origins—and many other RPGs and not-RPGs—are indeed on sale. Have at it 'till June 15th.

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Oh sure you've played Dark Souls with your Donkey Konga bongos and Untitled Goose Game with a goose costume, but this new weird controller mod could give you a serious workout. Someone has modded Grand Theft Auto V so you can ride its bicycles by pedalling your actual real bicycle, using one of those smart bike trainer kits with sensors. It's a bit like virtual races in Zwift except you'll race round fake Los Angeles instead of generic Yorkshire, plus you might get hit by a car.

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You, there, stop that. You've got new videogames to play. Good Old Games has just launched free demos for Desperados 3 and the System Shock remake, along with a handful of other upcoming games. I've already had a sneaky play of both tactical cowboys and cybernetic spaceship loners, so I can already tell you they're worth your time. Aren't I good.

This is also another chance to check out Carrion, a horror game where you are a horrible mass of sticky tentacles.

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Cities: Skylines continues to be one of the best management games around, but expanding your plans of urban domination can be a costly venture when there are so many DLC packs to dive into. Handy, then, that Humble have constructed their latest bundle all around Paradox's excellent city-builder, letting you grab the base game for just £1 / $1 and up to 11 DLC packs for a grand total of £14.50 / $18. Here's what's on offer.

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Crucible Review

I like some parts of Crucible, but the guns don't feel good. That's a deathblow to any hero shooter, even one that's been mashed into a MOBA, and I can't move past it. Great character design, sumptuous alien environments, and a handful of interesting ideas have all been squandered by the way firing hot lead feels like tossing soft mints.

That's galling. More galling still is that even if the shooting was as sharp as Battlefield's, I'd probably still chalk Crucible up as an interesting failure.

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Yesterday, I reported that Audi driver Daniel Abt had been suspended from his Formula E team, after getting someone else to race for him in a charity esports event. Well, now he's been straight up fired by Audi because of the incident. Last night, he posted a 14-minute video explaining the situation. Abt said that the reason he got pro sim racer, Lorenz Hoerzing, to drive for him was because they wanted to "create a funny story for the fans."

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I am going to become a battery chicken farmer in Stardew Valley

I am not a very good Stardew Valley farmer. Really experienced players, who take their farming seriously, they know what's up. They make their own almanacs, they intensively farm pumpkins or sunflowers to get the best yeilds, and they know how to place sprinklers for peak watering efficiency. I do not know any of those things.

My cruel predicament in Stardew is that really I would prefer not to be a farmer at all. Inasmuch as there can ever be a wrong way to play a game, I play Stardew Valley wrong, because I strive not for economic efficiency (thank god you don't have to do crop rotation) but efficiency of activity. To whit: I cannot be bothered to keep tilling and planting and so on. I haven't specialised my farm towards anything. You'd think I'd have given up on the farming dream by this point, wouldn't you? But last night I had an epiphany. A chicken based epiphany.

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The Fallout 76 clown car continued its strange journey this week, as the recently semi-redeemed MMO stumbled over another technical hitch.

The popular in-game event Fasnacht Day was expected to start on Monday, but was quickly stalled by a bug. Players reacted with great frustration as the event was taken down, depriving everyone of an hourly semi-charming, semi-creepy masked robot march. Bethesda report that all is now well, and the event restarts today.

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The game event cancellations are pushing even deeper into the year now, as Blizzard have announced BlizzCon 2020 is a no-go. The event usually takes right at the beginning of November, but due to ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic they've made the decision to cancel it.

"We've talked about different paths we could take, and how each one could be complicated by fluctuations in national and local health guidelines in the months ahead," they said. "Ultimately, after considering our options, we've come to the very difficult decision to not have BlizzCon this year."

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Don't miss our superb hardware coverage

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

19

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X review: the $120 Core i5 killer

An incredible gaming CPU for the money

9

While the Silent Hill series still seems basically dead, and maybe that's for the best, parts will return in Dead By Daylight. The 1v4 multiplayer horrorshow's next DLC pack will introduce Silent Hill, with Cheryl Mason as a playable survivor, Pyramid Head as a killer, and the school as a new map. DBD has long had guest characters out horror films, from Halloween to Scream, so this is fairly natural. Hell, it's better than Konami tend to treat Silent Hill.

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Feature: Holmes is where the heart is

Have You Played… Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

I am a particular fan of the title of this game, because it sounds like Holmes himself is the daughter in question. Like it was his nickname when he played rugby at school or something. Despite that, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter is a thoroughly enjoyable entry in Frogwares' saga of third-person detect 'em ups, notable for having good detecting elements, and also never having a version of Sherlock I wouldn't go to bed with. Look at 'em both up there, Holmes in his shirtsleeves and Watson with his fashion facial hair. What good lads.

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Ubisoft are revamping four vintage Anno games

Ubisoft today announced revamped rereleases of four vintage games from the colony-building strat-o-sim series Anno, due in June. The Anno History Collection will bring new versions of Anno 1602, Anno 1503, Anno 1701, and Anno 1404 will newfangled fanciness including 4K resolutions and multiplayer matchmaking, all while preserving save compatibility.

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Feature: Rogue rogue rogue your boat

Stoneshard early access review

Like any decent professional videogames journalist, I have spent the last ten years devaluing the term “roguelike” through overuse. Anything where a goblin politely waits for you to take your turn? Roguelike. Anything where a big slime can permanently murder you? You better believe that’s a roguelike. We would walk down the street with wheelbarrows full of roguelike. We burned piles of it just to keep warm. We introduced the word “roguelite” as a form of quantitative easing, but it failed to curb spiralling rogueflation. So now, faced with Stoneshard – a roguelike that’s really, very, incredibly, actually like Rogue – I’m left reaching for useful adjectives.

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"Skyrim Grandma" Shirley Curry has drastically cut back on her videos for the sake of her health and enjoyment of the game.

The 84 year old started sharing her Skyrim games in 2015, and her warm, joyful videos made her famous enough to get her own mod, and even a role in the next Elder Scrolls game. She's racked up over 800,000 subscribers on YouTube, but only a tiny percentage are active viewers, and the work and pressure involved are affecting her health.

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I have not seen the Captain Tsubasa anime nor read the manga, but I am very into what I've seen of Captain Tsubasa: Rise Of New Champions. A football game where players have extremely anime special moves sounds wild. Allow me to describe my favourite from this new trailer: after a player slides forwards on his bum, two lads launch off his outstretched feet and, holding hands, surge into the air to simultaneously kick a ball so hard it lights up with blue flame. Yes, please, thank you.

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Seeing as real-life racing has been suspended due the Covid-19 pandemic, Formula E started its very own series of virtual races in rFactor 2 to keep up the racing season online. The Race At Home Challenge features actual Formula E drivers as well as esports players, competing together to keep fans entertained and raise money for Unicef. But alas, one driver went ahead and tried to cheat the system, getting an imposter to drive in his place at this weekend's event.

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Minecraft Dungeons has a secret cow level

In homage to one of the all-time action-RPG greats, Minecraft Dungeons has a secret level where you can fight herds of murderous cattle. Mojang's own action-RPG launched this morning, and folks have already discovered a nod to Diablo's infamous cow level, where wizards will be sent to mow down hordes of mooing mobs sprouting mushrooms. Killing cows: a cornerstone of the genre.

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