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Rock Paper Shotgun – PC Game Reviews, Previews, Subjectivity

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Today has brought the first of Fallout 76's Seasons, introducing one of those there season pass dealios with new items to unlock by levelling it up. Running until mid-September, Season One's pass is themed about a Captain Cosmos board game, with 100 levels of rewards including sci-fi outfits, skins, building blocks, and an actual useful item or two. Today's update also added Public Teams so you can easily group up with strangers around the world.

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Man alive, it is all go on the SSD deals front today. If Aria selling a 250GB Samsung 860 Evo for a mere £36 wasn't enough, then US folk will be glad to hear that for the next 16-odd hours, Amazon US have slashed 37% off the price of our very best SSD for gaming, the WD Blue SN550, taking the 250GB model down to an all-time low of just $44. If it wasn't disgustingly good value when it first came out, it sure is now.

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The president of the United States of America has been temporarily banned from video game streaming platform Twitch, is an actual event in the year of our Molyneux 2020. Donald Trump's official account had rebroadcast old campaign speeches, which Twitch moderators identify as containing "hateful conduct." So the account is on time-out to... think about what it's done? Of all the channels on Twitch, this seems the least likely to reform its behaviour. Somehow, 2020 still has the capacity to surprise me.

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If you're currently in the middle of building a new PC and have been looking at 16GB RAM kits like the one we recommend in our £1000 RPS Rig build, then do I have a deal for you. Indeed, you can currently get a 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX set (the same make and model recommended in our RPS Rig) clocked at a nippy 3200MHz over at Amazon UK at the moment for an all-time low of just £61, which is cheaper than it was over Black Friday.

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As outdoors continues to be called off, EGX has become the latest event to be cancelled and replaced with an online alternative. EGX Digital will team up with PAX Online, also organised by our corporate uncles, for nine days of 24-hour streams starting 12th September. Yes, nine days. Yes, all day and all night. That's a lot. And it's free. We here at RPS will be joining in to help fill that time, though I couldn't yet tell you what we'll be doing. Online things. About video games. If you bought tickets to EGX 2020, the London games show, you'll get a refund.

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Feature: The best 1TB SSD just got even better

Samsung 870 Qvo review: the best that SATA SSDs have to offer

When Samsung launched their 860 Qvo SSD back at the end of 2018, it finally brought high capacity SSDs down to a more affordable price. Why was the 860 Qvo suddenly so much cheaper than the 860 Evo? Well, it was mostly down to the type of storage tech Samsung used inside the Qvo - what's known as 4-bit MLC (multi-level cell) V-NAND technology, as opposed to the Evo's 3-bit MLC. Historically, 4-bit has been a bit slower than 3-bit, hence the lower price. But as the 860 Qvo quickly proved, there really wasn't a huge amount of difference between it and the 860 Evo, making the Qvo the de facto standard for anyone after 1TB or above.

Now, Samsung are back with the 870 Qvo, which uses their second generation 4-bit MLC tech and a new MKX controller that allows for capacities all the way up to 8TB in its slim 7mm chassis. Said 8TB SSD will still cost you a relative arm and a leg - £796 in the UK and a massive $900 in the US - but it's the entry-level 1TB model I've got on test here today, which comes in at a much more affordable £111 / $130. That's a still fraction more than the current 860 Qvo's price of £98 / $125, but with Samsung touting a speed increase of up to 13% and a sustained performance boost of up to 21%, let's see if it's worth the extra money.

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War, the crafty old bugger, has changed yet again. When you queue up for "quad" mode in Call Of Duty: Warzone, you'll now have to battle (royale) it out amongst 199 other players. That's 48 extra, and Warzone's map certainly seems big enough to accommodate them. The solo, duo and trio modes all still only go up to 150.

The "Season Four Reloaded" update has also chucked in a new contract, a sniper rifle, and a separate spotter's scope item that lets you peek at distant hills without having to worry about glint giving you away. There's an upcoming new mode where someone gets to have a go with a mini-gun and put on fancy "Juggernaut" pants, too. I think. These are some very confusing patch notes.

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Following a customary Covid-19 delay, Capcom have announced that Monster Hunter World: Iceborne's next big content update will launch on July 9th. Title Update 4 will let us hunt Alatreon, the elder dragon introduced back in Monster Hunter 3. Yes, of course, you'll get to turn this dragon into shoes and swords. Come meet the frightful beast in the trailer below.

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Ever since a pretty convincing video of apparent development footage leaked two years ago, there's been plenty of speculation about a rumored Harry Potter RPG in development by Avalanche Software. Warner Bros. still haven't officially announced or acknowledged the game's existence, but a new report by Bloomberg based on information from two people working on it claims that it "remains on track for next year."

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Middle child of the series Diablo 2 turns 20 today, prompting plenty of reminiscing about the landmark loot 'em up RPG. Blizzard are celebrating with merchandise, speedruns, and an in-game costume for Diablo 3. Unfortunately, an official Diablo 2 remaster rumored last week (which Blizzard quickly denied) doesn't appear to be in the cards. Ah well, thanks for the memories anyhow D2.

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It may be summer in Canada now, but The Long Dark is cooling things down in July with the Winter's Embrace update to their Canadian survival simulation. From June 29th until July 31st, Hinterland Studio are dropping the temperature in The Long Dark, meaning you'll need to work harder to survive. They're also permanently adding some new treats to celebrate Canada Day.

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The RPS crew have been eagerly following music-based action battler No Straight Roads for a while now. Alice L (RPS in pieces) talked with Metronomik at EGX Rezzed last year and resident Final Fantasy liker Katharine has been chomping to find out more about what Final Fantasy XV's lead game designer would be doing next. You can get your hands on a playable demo right now before No Straight Roads launches on August 25th.

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Following the launch of the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection earlier this month, EA have now slammed its soundtracks onto streaming services for your sonic satisfaction. Along with its remastered versions of the C&C and Red Alert soundtracks, they've put up an album of hard-rockin' new recordings from C&C composer Frank Klepacki and his band, The Tiberian Sons. Put a pep in your step on those morning runs with Hell March, why don't you.

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Good news, Graphics card deals hunters. Prices are dropping on Nvidia's RTX cards, with big discounts today on the RTX 2060, RTX 2060 Super, RTX 2070 and the RTX 2080 Super on both sides of the Atlantic. It's almost as if retailers are trying to clear the decks a bit before the as yet undated launch of this year's next-gen Nvidia Ampere cards... Sure, graphics card prices may not be quite back down to pre-pandemic levels just yet, but it certainly makes building a ray tracing capable PC that little bit more affordable.

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Feature: When life gives you no dragons, make a dragon

Modders are making ambitious things in Bannerlord, even without modding tools

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord has only been around for a few months, but that’s plenty of time for modders to have a good tinker. We’ve already been blessed with a bounty of minor Bannerlord mods: there are hundreds of ways to tweak, alter and optimise your experience, and the option to turn your character into a sword-swinging, death-dealing toddler is not to be sniffed at. But this is just a taste of what’s to come. After all, Mount and Blade is famous not for tweaks but for immense overhaul mods that completely transform the game, transporting us to our favourite fictional worlds and historical periods. There’s every reason to expect great things from its sequel: whereas Warband’s modders had to make do with a system not designed to be altered, Bannerlord is being built from the ground up with modding in mind.

The biggest mods are some way off, however. Modding a game that’s in early access is a bit like trying to ice a cake before its baked, and Bannerlord’s fans don’t even have a spatula – by which, of course, I mean official modding tools – to work with. Without these tools, not due until the game’s full release, there’s no easy way to access Bannerlord’s internal scripting language and make changes. In spite of this, many have decided to roll up their sleeves and just get started – tools be damned.

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In the endless war of cheat vs. anti-cheat, Valve are considering serious measures to lock down programs hooking into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The new measures, currently being put through their paces in an opt-in public beta testing, will not let you join VAC-enabled servers if you launch CS with incompatible files loaded. This is, to be clear, not any sort of kernel driver like Valorant's controversial Vanguard. The new anti-cheat feature is currently being tested in an opt-in public beta and seems a way away from launching properly, bringing crippling performance problems for some players right now.

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With stock levels and gaming monitor prices steadily returning to normal, pre-pandemic levels, we're staring to see more and more good Gaming monitor deals crop up. Case in point, Amazon have cut the price of three LG gaming displays today by a seemingly arbitrary 12-13%. Who knows why? The point is that they look like decent displays at reasonable prices, especially if you're in the market for a cheap ultrawide gaming monitor or a nice 2560x1440 number.

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Feature: A 60% keyboard that's great for games but not much else

Hands on with the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard

How small is too small for a gaming keyboard? Personally, I think my lower limit stops at tenkeyless jobs like the Logitech G915 TKL or my current best gaming keyboard champion, the Fnatic miniStreak. Losing a keyboard's number pad has never been an issue for me, but I can't say the same thing about losing my beloved arrow keys, which is the main thing that gets the chop when you move down to a 60% keyboard like HyperX's limited edition Ducky One 2 Mini collaboration. That is one step too far in my books, at least if you're planning on using it as a work keyboard as well as for playing games.

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Feature: Cock Of The Walk

Bulletstorm is best when it’s being offensively stupid, not stupidly offensive

2011's Bulletstorm feels like such an oasis of violence and childishness in these current times of nu-puritanism. As someone who was there at the era it harked back to, reviewing games in the late '90s, early 2000s, it feels odd to now be almost nostalgic for those days of wanton unpleasantness, when being rude had yet to be classified as a war crime under the Geneva Convention. At the time I was so damned sick of it, rolling my eyes at your Soldier Of Fortunes and feeling exhausted by the immature antics of self-declared "troublemakers" like Take-Two. As gaming was mired in that sort of second wave of misogyny, ultra-violence and sweary derring-don't, we were all desperate for something... nice.

I'm going to make the declaration: games are far too nice now. I'd like some more offensive games please.

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Hunt: Showdown has added a singleplayer PvE mode

If you wish to hunt monsters in the swamp without being hunted by other players, good news: Hunt: Showdown has launched a singleplayer PvE mode, Trials. This brings a set of challenges to the two maps in Crytek's monster-hunting FPS, letting your hone skills in sniper trials, parkour trials, and wave survival trials, or just explore the levels without getting murdered. They are very nice levels. Newness has come for multiplayer hunters too, with the new dual wielding feature letting you sling two guns at once.

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Feature: Improve your spelling

Best Noita mods

Every pixel is simulated in Noita. That means it can be dull or deadly, and react like its real-world counterpart (or, you know, its unreal-world counterpart). Throw in the OTT spells of your wizard, and the burning, electrified, or weird counter-spells of the enemies, and you have a perfect platform for mods.

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Feature: Steel horse

Have You Played… Deadliest Catch: The Game?

Hope you like chipped paint textures, and the colour grey. Because you'll be seeing a lot of them in Deadliest Catch: The Game. Oh, and crabs. Hundreds and hundreds of near-identical crabs, which you must sort by hand, examining each one in turn before either throwing it back in the sea, or condemning it to an icy hold to await its demise on the plate of a hungry businessman. Because DC:TG is a game about commercial crab fisheries, and while it's honestly quite rubbish, it's got a place in my heart.

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Your hopes are low - do you have any sources, or facts? This weekend, a very select group of FPS and action-RPG fans were elated to discover that Fable and Perfect Dark - two franchises that have gathered dust under Xbox's stewardship - may have been preparing for a comeback. Well, sorry team. Microsoft have stepped in to confirm that, no, you can't believe everything you read on Twitter.

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Whether it's making honest-to-god computers out of Minecraft redstone or constructing elaborate rube-goldberg machines in Garry's Mod, it seems unavoidable that any given sandbox game will eventually add complex mechanical systems. Well, now we can add Astroneer to that lineup with this week's Automation update, which lets you sit back on your space lawnchair and let the game do all the busywork for you.

Assuming, of course, you know how to piece together a fully-automated mining, processing, and power production setup.

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Screenshot Saturday Sundays! We've passed the midpoint of the year, readers, and while I'm sure this hellish 2020 still has plenty of garbage to throw our way, we can always count on this weekly dose of game dev screenshots to keep our spirits high each Sunday. This week: Dodging hoovers, a sickening forest, the cutest cyberpunk and crimes against fashion.

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After a few years back in dry-dock, Tales Of Monkey Island has returned to the open sea. Following Telltale Games' infamous scuttling back in 2018, many of the story-driven studio's works were taken off sale - going down with the ship, if you'll pardon. Slowly, tales of shamblers and caped crusaders have resurfaced, and now Guybrush Threepwood's 3D follow-up has found its way back onto Steam and GOG.

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