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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls is a translated PC port of the Japanese game released in 2009.

Sir-Tech's original Wizardry games were among those that defined the entire RPG genre, particularly those concerned with sending a party into dungeons to kill everything. In 1991 they inspired a separate branch of spin-offs in Japan that continued long after the North American series petered out. This entry in that line finally came to English speaking PCs today.

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Sea Of Thieves' latest free update, Legends Of The Sea, arrives today, bringing with it an in-game easter egg hunt. You won't be hunting for actual eggs though, instead you'll be sent to search for some of those video game easter eggs, and in Sea Of Thieves these take the form of references to the game's most legendary players.

The references tend to be things like notes, paintings, carvings and the like, hidden in plain sight on islands throughout the ocean. You can earn new tattoos and commendations as rewards for finding them.

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I am watching Ninja stream Fortnite as Ninja and it is like being caught between two mirrors, except I am not looking at a void filled with my incrementally smaller versions of myself, I am looking at the endless reflections of a man, roughly my own age, and in each reflection he is more athletic, his hair is more blue, his hype is more real.

All I can see is a world where every game of Fortnite is a hundred little Ninjas, all killing each other, forever. Because today Fortnite announced they are doing something called the Icon Series, where they "bring the artistic vision, personality and attitude of our top creators to Fortnite." Starting with Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. Soon everyone will be Blevins.

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Feature: Turns out that standing still is pretty hard

The unknowable chaos of physics in Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

“A lot of fun stuff happens when you try to do stuff with physics,” says Wilhelm Nylund, head of Landfall Games, and the intelligent god behind Totally Accurate Battle Simulator’s legions of gangling warriors.

And yet physics has given him an enormous amount of grief over the course of TABS’ development - as well as all the other games he’s made at Landfall. Physics, after all, makes everything harder. “If you want to do something in the game, you need to figure out how to do it with physics instead of just doing it,” he tells me. And that’s why TABS, which is all about watching ridiculous parodies of extreme violence, is great.

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Last month, the hellishly cold city management game Frostpunk announced an upcoming DLC telling the story of civilisation just before the freeze. At the time, there was only an animated teaser trailer for The Last Autumn. This week, 11 Bit Studios are showing off gameplay from the new DLC with some of the elements you can expect from the prequel story.

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The party has started in Apex Legends as the Grand Soirée Arcade Event began last night. For the next two weeks, Respawn are treating us to seven different rotating game modes and pretty new skins to make sure each of the Legends (and even some of your guns) are dressed to impress.

I played a bit of Apex last night and jumped into the first game mode on offer, Gold Rush Duos. Nothing can describe the joy of seeing every single gun emitting that lovely golden glow, even knowing everyone else has got a gold gun, it's just quite nice not to have to scramble around to find attachments.

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Feature: Taking a stand against desk-hogging monitors

Samsung’s Space monitor is a revelation

Why aren't more gaming monitors like the Samsung Space monitor? If there's one thing I've come to loathe about some of our jumbo best gaming monitor picks, it's their desk-hogging stands. Some monitors I tested last year practically demanded their own table, their stands were so enormous, while others barely left enough room for my keyboard and mouse mat.

Not so with the Samsung Space. This 32in 4K monitor is an absolute beauty. Thanks to a clever clamp design that fixes the monitor to the very back of your desk, the Samsung Space can be pressed right up against the wall, giving you acres of room for your mouse and keyboard, or in my case, seven hundred graphics card boxes and various bits of testing equipment. And the best part? Its VA panel is practically perfect straight out of the box. Here's wot I think.

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Feature: Autobattle to the death

Dota Underlords and the autobattler genre is struggling to keep players

Few realised at the time, but last January we witnessed the birth of a genre. Dota Auto Chess shot to the top of Dota 2's custom games, enticing MOBA players with wizarding army management. The big names took notice. By June we had Riot's Teamfight Tactics and Valve's Dota Underlords, squaring off against each other. An unknown number of millions flocked to TFT, while Dunderlords hit 200,000 peak concurrent players.

Six months later, Teamfight Tactics seems relatively stable, while Dota Underlords is dropping fast. We normally don't pay player numbers much heed, but given autobattlers were last year's big new genre and Dota and League Of Legends are both long-term titans, it's hard not to ask the question: how come?

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In the middle of a relatively straightforward season of straightforward content, Destiny 2 has quietly snuck in a big puzzle that has sent players exploring the Corridors of Time. We last went through there to rescue our old pal Saint-14 from his fated death, and now I'm starting to wonder if changing history was the best idea. (Of course it was: he's a great mate.) Where does this lead to? Dunno! What will we earn? It's a secret! But it is quite fun for Destiny to get back to secret puzzles that aren't solved instantly. I'm enjoying seeing players working together to chase leads.

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Playerunknown's Battlegrounds new year action will see players getting to drop in on a brand new 64-player map, the island of Karakin. Set in a delightfully arid desert location, Karakin has completely destructible buildings thanks to an edgy new feature named Black Zone - a hazard that changes the map layout each match.

On top of this, players who enjoyed the Motor Glider featured on PUBG Labs last month will be thrilled to hear it hits live servers today. I'm sure it won't be long now until you're all swooping cinematically, dodging bullets and debris from all of those crumbling buildings.

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Feature: Whoever built Rome didn't have cheat codes

The Sims 4 Tiny Living got me to play The Sims again

When I was a kid I was really, really into The Sims. The first one came out around the same time that my big brother went to university, which meant I got to move into his room - the big room, which had the computer in it. I stayed up way past my bedtime making versions of the adult my 11-year-old self wished to be (a willowy, elegant type with red hair). I played with the lights off so that if I heard mum coming up the stairs I could turn the big CRT monitor off and leap back into bed, and trick her into thinking I'd been asleep the whole time. This did not work, because the tower made a noise like a helicopter taking off, but still.

It was a phenomenon that gripped most of my school that year. I remember clearly that I was told the 'motherlode' and 'rosebud' money cheats by a maths teacher. This continued well into The Sims 2 a few years later, which had some of the best expansion packs and build options. But The Sims 3 just... lost me, and by the time The Sims 4 came around, I'd forgotten what I loved about the series. Until the Tiny Living Stuff Pack was announced.

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Run! The rest of this news post is a trap. If you keep reading I've little doubt you will wind up Slay The Spire's spire once more, and your evenings will congeal into glorious ascent. The latest character has escaped the beta branch, and is ready to tackle the spire proper. The Watcher is a blind monk who weaves between rampant aggression and calm repose. I like her a lot.

Patch 2.0 also throws in some new potions and relics, so it's worth revisiting even if she isn't your cup of tea.

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Feature: Happy hiking

Have You Played… Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Do you know what awaits atop the mountain in Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy? Past all the nonsensical detritus, and after every snippet of Foddy's philosophical musing? I do. Not because I climbed it, obviously. I'm a coward who relies on the internet for answers.

If you're still convinced you're going to get there under your own steam one day, read no further.

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Feature: If you're tired of London...

Failbetter on the unlikely success of Fallen London’s first ten years

Last year, Failbetter Games moved to new offices near London Bridge. To the incautious, the building is a maze of identical white corridors and glass walled office rooms, punctuated by sleek break areas with helpfully labelled cupboards. I kept thinking it would be a terrible place to get stuck with a serial killer, especially because I only had a visitor pass and couldn't open most of the maglock doors. I was visiting to talk about the 10th anniversary of Fallen London, the studio's free-to-play browser game. It doubles as the 10th anniversary of the studio. Sort of. Within an acceptable tolerance, anyway.

It is a very modern office - the sort where each business based there has glass jars of mixed nuts, Smarties and Kit Kats, periodically refilled by the building managers. (Disclosure: I have eaten more than one of Failbetter's free Kit Kats). It seems at odds with the tone of Failbetter's games, which are all of a Victoriana, Steampunky persuasion. CEO Adam Myers restores that balance by saying "Do you have any interest in tea brewed in a pot?"

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Feature: The machine stumbles

MiniLAW: Ministry Of Law review

"I have ninety minutes to stop a nuclear bomb from going off, so I've given up on arresting and just started throwing people off buildings," I told the RPS hivemind. This was a half truth. I'd been trying to figure out how to throw people off buildings all day.

That is the problem with MiniLAW: Ministry of Law, the hectic dystopian action game from Lasso Games. It is very nearly excellent, but frequently undermines itself with terrible controls.

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Riot Games have announced the opening of Riot Tabletop, a brand new tabletop division currently working on a brand new board game, Tellstones: King's Gambit. This isn't the developer's first foray into the world of tabletop gaming, but now they finally have a dedicated team to get to work on all things board games.

"We’re gamers. That means more to us than just video games," Riot explain. "You can tell by the piles of board games, miniatures, and roleplaying books stashed around the office. So it was natural to explore what would happen if we brought the Riot perspective to tabletop games."

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Feature: Hot as hell

Premature Evaluation: Hades

Let’s take another look at Hades, the rogue-ish-action-hack-n-slash-n-chat-em-up by Supergiant Games, developers of Bastion and Transistor, in which you play Zagreus, the immortal son of the lord of the underworld on a quest to repeatedly run away from home. Home, in this case, is a giant-ass castle in helltown where the tortured souls of the deceased languish while they await processing, like an infernal waiting room or a less depressing version of Digbeth Coach Station. Yeah, that’s right Birmingham, your dumb coach station is whatever the building equivalent of abject misery is. The toilets cost 30p and they don’t give change. I once saw a rat eating a pigeon there.

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Today, Crystal Dynamics revealed that Marvel's Avengers will be delayed by four months, while Square Enix announced that the Final Fantasy VII Remake's PS4 release date is delayed by a month (though the game isn't yet confirmed for PC, it seems likely after its year of PS4 exclusivity ends).

The intended release date for Marvel's Avengers was initially set for the 15th of May, but has now been pushed all the way back to the 4th of September.

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This February, the videogame industry has conspired to give you the greatest gift of all: time. Time to clear your backlog, time to finish that needle felting project, time to reconnect with those old friends. That's because there are no huge games coming out that month. When did that last happen - and what will you play, while the game release factory sleeps?

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Feature: Faster sensors, new designs and more buttons

Razer’s Basilisk and Deathadder mice get new V2 models

Razer's Deathadder and Basilisk mice are some of the most popular gaming mice on the planet, and today Razer have unveiled V2 models of each one. Upgraded with flashier sensors, superior switches, more buttons and braided, shoelace-like cables, the Deathadder V2 and Basilisk V2 are primed and ready to compete with all of our best gaming mouse contenders from 2019. Here's wot I think.

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Epic confirmed today that they plan to keep on giving away a full game for free every week on the Epic Games Store throughout 2020. Previously they'd only confirmed freebies through to the end of 2019, a year they ended with a blowout of daily freebies, though they did quietly kept going when this year started. Epic say over 200 million free games have been claimed so far. I've largely been using this to heap yet more games onto my backlog but Epic have said they pay developers for the freebies so hey, I'm glad if my idle stockpiling gets devs paid.

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I'm going to level with you, I'm extremely late to the party with The Witcher. I never played the games or read the books, so the Netflix series is very much my entry point to all of its extensive lore. And from what I've seen so far, it demands a fair bit of prior knowledge to truly understand what's going on.

It's good then that Netflix have developed an interactive timeline for us, that describes a whole heap of events throughout The Witcher's history that are alluded to in the show.

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We always knew the wizards of Teamfight Tactics were too powerful to be contained on personal computers. Riot are planning on spreading League's autobattler to mobile telephones in mid-March, and will include cross-platform multiplayer. That's also when they'll kick off Set 3, and they've hinted at what that big update will include through the unholy medium of over-stressed puns.

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We rescued Rachel Walker from a sweatshop and recruited her to the cause. Safe in our hideout, she revealed a talent for using computers, carrying out simple scripting operations to defraud unwary internet users. After a few months of cracking corporate accounts, she uncovered a huge corruption scandal that rocked the judicial system, scoring our first major PR victory.

Her deft fingers also helped the Liberal Crime Squad break into multiple factories and offices. She smashed up machines, she took part in unlawful protests against the government. She killed eight people.

Rachel Walker is eleven years old.

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Just in time to launch Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, Rockstar announced their own game launcher for desktop. Despite having both Grand Theft Auto V and San Andreas available on the new digital storefront, Grand Theft Auto IV is still notably absent. Now it's been delisted from Steam as well, though it doesn't actually seem to be related to any grand plans Rockstar have for their own launcher.

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I imagine that running the switchboards for a live television show is difficult but I must not have imagined hard enough because Not For Broadcast makes it look even more hectic. The silly dystopian setting of an alternate 1980s is made up of a bunch of fake live action news sequences that remind me of the full-motion game scenes of yore like Tim Curry in Red Alert 3.

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