How to avoid Vive’s VR subscription price hike

Viveport

For the five of you that own an HTC Vive, I’ve got some bad news for you. At the end of March, the price of HTC’s Viveport subscription service is going up. In the UK, £6.99/month will become £8.99/month on March 22nd, with a similar price increase taking place across all 60+ countries where Viveport’s available.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid it if you’ve yet to sign up to it. All you need to do is become a subscriber before March 22nd and HTC have promised you’ll be able to keep the £6.99 sub price for at least the rest of 2018. The same rule applies to all current Viveport subscribers too.

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CCP reveal plans to crack down on EVE Online botters

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Like a lot of online games, EVE Online has a problem with botters – players who create automated bots to slave away in the asteroid mines. That problem only got worse since the MMO introduced its free-to-play ‘Alpha Clone’ accounts. Pressure from fans has led to this recent update on the EVE Online blog, in which creators CCP outline the state of the botting problem, and what they’re doing about it. Short version: they’re getting harsher.

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Orwell’s second season to kick off later this month

Orwell season 2

John enjoyed his time snooping around dystopian surveillance game Orwell, and if the bug I planted under his lapel can be believed, he’d be keen to play something else in a similar vein. Well he’s in luck. The second season of Orwell, subtitled Ignorance is Strength, is set to kick off soon. Putting you in the role of an officially sanctioned cyber-snooper acting for the greater good, Osmotic Studios’ episodic original could hardly be more timely. Season two will tackle “the rise of fake news, social media echo chambers, and the displacement of truth”, making it the first game in my knowledge to really grapple with our Trumpian age.

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Have you played… Superflight?

superflight

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

A wingsuit sim/acrobatic challenge game with glorious scale and a breathtaking sense of speed. It flew under the radar last year – what doesn’t, these days? – but in these quieter weeks during the year’s cruellest months, now is very much the time to seek out Superflight‘s tangible, giddying escapism. Read the rest of this entry »

Mafia III studio Hanger 13 suffers massive layoffs

Mafia III

Hanger 13 gave the world open-ended crime caper Mafia III, a game that is at once a formulaic GTA-style action game, and an impressive slice of the American South in the 1960s (with a few fictionalised elements letting the team interpret New Orleans a little more loosely). It seemed to do pretty well sales-wise but today the chances of a Hanger 13-developed follow-up appear dim. The studio has been hit with substantial layoffs.

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Mechs V Kaijus has an awesome tower defence theme

MVKheader

I’m a Pacific Rim apologist. I describe it to people as “the best throwaway film I’ve ever seen”, largely because there’s a point in the middle where you can tell the writers said: “Ah, screw it” and embraced how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s this bit, in case you were wondering.

Anyway! I’ve fantasised about battling monsters in oversized mech suits ever since, which is neat because I’ve just spent half an hour doing exactly that in tower defence game Mechs V Kaijus. The full game will be out in March, say the developers, but there’s already a free demo. I’m not normally a big fan of tower defence, but I am a fan of feeling awesome. MVK’s premise is a quick and dirty way to generate that feeling, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to help.

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The Flare Path: PIAT fails and PITA whales

Three of the first four Close Combat games are now back in legal circulation thanks to GOG.com and current licence holders, Slitherine. For years I’ve been telling myself that prolonged exposure to Combat Mission and Graviteam Tactics would make a long-term relationship with Atomic’s top-down tussle series – a series I loved dearly in the late Nineties – difficult today. I now realise I was wrong. Twenty years on Close Combats 2 (aka Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far) and 3 still entertain as consummately as any of the tactics titles that followed them. Read the rest of this entry »

Where The Water Tastes Like Wine flows out February 28

Where The Water Tastes Like Wine

There are two things you should know about Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, the interactive fiction-ish anthology from Dim Bulb and Serenity Forge. One is that yer actual Sting is in it, supplying his dulcet tones to a hungry-looking wolfman who will narrate parts of the Americana odyssey. The second is that half of games journalism has written for it, including RPS escapees Cara Ellison and Leigh Alexander. Personally, Emily Short and Southern Monsters’ Kevin Snow are the names that make me particularly intrigued to play this. There’s a new trailer, seemingly narrated by Sting himself, which reveals WTWTLW’s release date – and, huh, it’s a lot sooner than I was expecting.

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Wot I Think: Fe

Fe is, I’m so pleased to report, utterly wonderful. I’ve no idea how to say it, whether it’s “Fee”, “Fey”, or maybe even “Iron”? It matters not. It is, perhaps, the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen. And playing it, swooping, running and leaping about in its world, has been a complete delight. And continues to be, even after I’ve ostensibly finished it. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Ring in the Lunar New Year with Steam’s latest sale

Steam Lunar New Year sale

If you go on Twitter, where every second image is of a dog being cuddled, rated, or dressed up as a Star Wars character, it’s a reasonable assumption that every year is the year of the dog – however Valve, not to mention the ancient Chinese zodiac, are here to tell you that’s not the case. As of today, it legitimately is the year of the dog, which is why Valve’s latest sale is adorned with images of famous game pups including Okami’s Amaterasu, Half-Life 2’s DOG, and I, er, don’t recognise any of the other doggos.

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Best PC gaming deals of the week

Spam spam spam spam

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, now comes the time to gorge on discounted chocolate. In addition to entire supermarket shops dedicated to picking up half-price Milk Trays, it just so happens that you can pick up a few gaming bargains, too. Everything from beat ’em ups to CPU coolers. Here’s a batch of the best PC gaming deals of the week, with some other fun stuff thrown in for good measure.

As usual, we’ve got deals that’ll work in the UK, deals that’ll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let’s get started.

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Farming Simulator 19 announced, with shiny new horses

Farming Simulator 19

Skipping a whole number for this year’s iteration of the popular farm-’em-up, Giants Software is looking to the future with Farming Simulator 19, which has just been announced for release this Autumn/Fall. By the sounds of it, it should be a  comprehensive update, with a “complete overhaul” of the graphics engine, new crops and farming activities, plenty of shiny tractors, and horses. You can hear a solitary neigh in the CGI reveal trailer, before a man opens a barn door and then that’s all she wrote.

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Tim Schafer to headline EGX Rezzed this April

Tim Schafer

You’re already attending this year’s EGX Rezzed, of course. But if you haven’t yet booked your ticket to That London so you can play all them lovely games, here’s a piece of news that should cause you to get on that, post-haste. Double Fine’s Tim Schafer – he of the simian islands and the tentacular days – is going to headline the event, taking part in a Q&A with Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh, along with meet-and-greet sessions throughout the three-day shindig. That interview’s happening at 12pm BST on Friday 13th April, and will also be streamed live on Twitch, if you can’t make it to Rezzed.

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Shroud of the Avatar leaves early access March 27th

Shroud of The Avatar

The past few years have been dense with reboots, remakes and Kickstarter-funded drives to return old franchises to life. When it was first announced, Shroud of The Avatar seemed like a relatively safe bet; the original mind behind the Ultima series, returning to not only dust off the singleplayer and story-driven side of the franchise, but blend it with the fondly remembered gameplay mechanics of Ultima Online.

We’ve not covered Shroud of The Avatar at all since November 2014. Now, almost five years since it first raised $2m on Kickstarter, and over three years since it first debuted on Early Access, Portalarium reckon it’s about ready for launch.

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Secret of Mana’s 3D remake is out now on Steam

Secret of Mana

Aah, Secret of Mana, middle game in one of the most confusingly named trilogies in gaming. Known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2 and barely known as anything in Europe due to a very small PAL print run. For those who could get it, it’s a fondly remembered if slightly awkward SNES action-RPG that skews a little more heavily towards the RPG side than most.

As of today, it’s back and looking downright fine; Square Enix’s 3D remake (first announced at Gamescom last year) is out today on Steam.

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Fear Effect returns next month, now isometric & tactical

Fear Effect Sedna

For those who grew up through the PlayStation 1 era, it was hard not to at least be vaguely aware of the Fear Effect series. Despite their genre roots lying in survival horror, awkward camera angles and all, their mix of stylish comic-style visuals, cornball sci-fi/supernatural espionage stories (with zombies, sometimes) and famously tacky ad campaigns helped the series stand out.

On March 6th, the series officially returns as Fear Effect Sedna, from Studio Sushee. Despite being a true sequel set four years after the PlayStation original, it’s metamorphosed into a real-time-with-pause squad tactics game somewhere along the way.

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Podcast: The toughest moral choices we’ve made

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All right, picture this. There’s five podcasts tied to a train track, and you’re on a train speeding toward them. On another track, there’s just one podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. Do you swap tracks and kill one podcast to save the other five? Or do you forge ahead? Take your time, it’s a difficult moral choice – exactly our topic this week. Think hard about it. No, listen, you should think about it very carefully. No, listen–

I know, but–

You can’t just p–

Ha ha, okay, stop the train. Joke’s over.

Stop the train.

STOP THE TRAIN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP THE TR– Read the rest of this entry »

Path of Exile’s upcoming Bestiary league adds zookeeping and blood-rituals to your repertoire

Bestiary

In The Fall of Oriath, you went to war with the gods themselves. In the Abyss, you fought ancient undead, led by a nameless lich-king and in the War For The Atlas, you set your sights on two almighty beings that create and destroy entire worlds on a whim. Now, Path of Exile‘s next league challenges you to… open a zoo? Well, that’s a bit different.

While not quite as ambitious as the expansions preceding it, the Bestiary league (due March 2nd) for Path of Exile looks to add a lot more flavour and tangential content to the popular free-to-play action RPG, designed to be accessible to all players from total beginners right up to endgame grind-fiends.

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Sea Of Thieves’ servers need plundering this weekend

Sea of Thieves

While I’ve not had the chance to find my sea legs yet, our Alec has greatly enjoyed his time thusfar with Rare’s upcoming co-op pirate sandbox adventure Sea of Thieves. Over the past month or two, beta testing events for the game have been stepping up, and now it’s in the final stretch of development. There’s just one thing left to do: Bracing for impact.

In order to help ensure that their servers don’t completely melt down on launch day, Rare are going to be running a series of Scale Testing beta weekends from now until release. The first of which is due to kick off tomorrow morning, 10am GMT, and end at the same time on Sunday morning.

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The original Devil May Cry trilogy gets the HD treatment on PC next month, plus a giveaway via Twitch Prime

Devil May Cry 3

It’s been a while since Capcom announced that the original Playstation 2 Devil May Cry trilogy would be making their way to PC, upscaled and polished up for modern machines. After going silent over the holidays, the Japanese publisher have finally piped up, and released a trailer for the updated bundle, along with a release date: March 13th.

Even though Dante’s iconic red duster never goes out of style, I feel that this debut on PC may be a little more than fashionably late. Even more strangely, Capcom may well torpedo their own launch plans by giving away the first of the three games to anyone subscribed to Amazon Prime as part of their Twitch perks package later this month.

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