S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is in development, but not due until 2021

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Good news for fans of uncompromisingly bleak and incomparably atmospheric Eastern European sandbox shooters: an official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequel is on the way, original devs GSC Game World have confirmed.

The less-good news is that we’re all going to have to continue playing mods for the original games for a while yet. According to the announcement, the game isn’t due until 2021. And for those itching to pass the time with the similarly-themed Metro Exodus, that’s slipped to next year.
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Overlordy: Turn 5

overlordyturn05a

What are those two cocky Cromwells up to? Where’s the British infantry? Why did the Stuart stop? Yesterday’s turn posed more questions than it answered. Surely the fleecy fog of uncertainty currently blanketing Caent can’t survive another sixty seconds of battlefield developments.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here) Read the rest of this entry »

Cinematic animated adventure Forgotton Anne out now

Forgotton Anne

We all lose socks from time to time. According to just-released adventure Forgotton Anne, it’s because they were spirited away to a magical world of forgotten things and granted sentience. Less great for our errant footwear; it must now work to earn its keep or risk having its very life-force stripped from its body by the human Enforcer of this strange land. You get to be this enforcer, if you hadn’t already guessed. It’s a little bit like if Studio Ghibli produced Blade Runner.

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Premature Evaluation: Medieval Shopkeeper Simulator

Medieval Shopkeeper Sim

Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s moonlighting as a grouchy stall owner in Medieval Shopkeeper Simulator, a first-person fantasy retail romp.

With the chaos of E3 fast approaching, I’m looking for a more sedate racket. No more of this videogame malarky, I’m going to sell rocks and sticks to the impoverished serfs of Medieval Shopkeeper Simulator. It will be the greatest rock and stick emporium in all the land, or at least this postcode. I used to work in retail, so I’m sure I’ll have a handle on it in no time.

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SteamVR Input aims to unify the fractured new frontier

SteamVR Input

With every mega-corporation and their mega-dog throwing fat sacks of cash at Virtual Reality right now, and a multitude of headsets available, it’s easy to forget that nobody really has any idea what they’re doing right now. While consensus on how to advance headset technology seems to be fairly universal, every company seems to have their own idea of how to control things in virtual space. Valve’s stopgap solution until folks can agree on stuff is SteamVR Input, a unified control-binding system for (quelle surprise) SteamVR.

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BenQ’s EX3203R monitor joins AMD’s FreeSync 2 HDR ranks

BenQ EX3203R

After much weeping and gnashing of teeth and disappointing first looks, proper, honest to goodness HDR finally looks like it’s about to become a reality on PC. We’ve already seen how AMD’s FreeSync 2 tech made the Samsung CHG90 one of the best monitors I’ve ever tested, and it’s shortly going to be joined by the rather stunning Nvidia G-Sync HDR-enabled Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ over the coming weeks as well.

I’ll have more words on those two Nvidia monitors in the next day or two, but those on the FreeSync side of the HDR fence need not fret about being left behind, as AMD have announced another new addition to their FreeSync 2 roster, this time in the form of the BenQ EX3203R.

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Wot I Think: Wizard Of Legend

Wizard of Legend

Ever since Avatar: The Last Airbender (the original cartoon, not the film) did the rounds on TV, the concept of magic as martial arts has been steadily rising in popularity. Who needs MP bars or long casting times when you can just use the elements as extensions of your body? Punch with the force of a boulder, leap like the wind and kick arcs of flame into people’s faces.

Wizard of Legend, Contingent99’s new action roguelike for one or two players (local only) builds stylishly on the concept, putting you in the swooshy cloak of a mage-in-training, invited to a festival of simulated dungeon-crawling/martial arts exhibition. No fate-of-the-world stuff here, just mystical showboating.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2’s Definitive encore happens this August

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition

If there’s one thing experience has taught me about prolific RPG powerhouse Larian Studios, it’s that they’re perfectionists. Early access really is just a foundational step, and even the ‘final’ retail release is just a dry run. As with their last several games, they’ve just announced that their RPG mega-hit Divinity: Original Sin 2 is getting a Definitive Edition re-release this August, presumably in an attempt to scoop up all the Best RPG Of 2018 awards on top of cleaning house last year.

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Bizarre blocky brawler Spartan Fist busts out today

Flaming Fists of Fury

When all you’ve got is a fist, every problem starts to look like a face to punch. And when those faces just happen to look as chunky and blocky as everything else in the world, well, why not punch them all? Weird little first-person brawler (fist-person?) Spartan Fist has launched today, promising roguelike structure, ’80s punk-aerobics aesthetics and scurrilous cats offering you sketchy under-the-table deals. Within, the punchily-paced launch trailer.

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Asus ROG Strix Flare review: A tasteful take on RGB

Asus ROG Strix Flare

Compared to Asus’ usual crop of PC peripherals, the ROG Strix Flare is a refreshing sight. Unlike the ROG Claymore, the ROG Strix X470F-Gaming motherboard or indeed anything else bearing the ROG moniker, the Flare doesn’t have a single bit of sci-fi / Aztec / cyber text pattern anywhere on its grey plastic chassis – and looks all the better for it. There is, admittedly, a tiny RGB ROG logo peeking out of a small, triangular cut-out in the top right corner (which can either be removed or swapped for your very own 3D printed something-or-other, according to Asus), but otherwise this is a decidedly plain – and dare I say even vaguely stylish? – mechanical keyboard.

Okay, so you’ve still got RGB LEDs up the wazoo, whether it’s the Cherry MX switches themselves, that aforementioned ROG logo, or – wait for it – its pair of underfloor RGB strips (yep, you heard me). Not everyone will be on board with all of that. But as mechanical keyboards go, the Flare does a pretty good job of making it all appear quite tasteful – and more importantly, doesn’t charge you extra for a number pad like its Claymore cousin.

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Time-bending action-adventure Omensight is out today, and today, and today

Omensight-header

Here is a list of reasons for why I’m strongly considering taking a break from a game I’m really enjoying, so that I can play Omensight (which just came out) instead.

  • It’s about re-living the day of the apocalypse and attempting to stop it by solving a murder.
  • You solve that murder by following different characters, manipulating them, then allying with or fighting them based on what you learn.
  • There’s time-bendy combat that reminds me of Transistor in all the right ways.
  • It’s got some cute mice in it.
  • It’s about re-living the day of the apocalypse and attempting to stop it by solving a murder.

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The Curious Expedition demo ventures forth

Say, have you played The Curious Expedition, the turn-based colonial-era exploration game which we declared our favourite roguelikelike of 2016? You can’t all have, as otherwise developers Maschinen-Mensch wouldn’t have released a demo today. It contains two expeditions. So whoever you missing-outers are, go on, get in, give it a go. You needn’t even download anything special to play, as the demo runs in your browser. Read the rest of this entry »

Undertale’s fan-game scene is alive, well, and has produced a full-length Team Fortress 2 crossover

The game's free, man

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two and a half years since Undertale was the talk of the town. While pangs of early nostalgia are still easy to feel, a recent return to the underground reminded me that yes, it really was every bit as good as the hype suggested. Possibly moreso, even – it’s a modern classic, which makes it quite unsurprising that its fans are still picking it apart and reassembling it in fun new ways.

Undertale’s fans continue to be an industrious and driven lot, using the game’s rich blend of gameplay systems and easily-written characters to piece together their own stories inspired by Toby Fox’s low-fi RPG opus. Among them, a full-length Team Fortress 2-themed retelling of the tale. Step inside for a tour of this and other great free games you could play today.

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Rage 2 gameplay trailer explodes out

Bethesda Softworks have blasted a ‘gameplay trailer’ for Rage 2, following yesterday’s terse announcement and unexpectedly colourful live-action music video doodad. This new vid is full of mutants, mechs, cars, guns, and giant throwable fidget spinners. The sequel to Id Software’s 2011 post-apocalyptic FPS is drafting help from Avalanche Studios, the mob behind Mad Max and Just Cause, which is a curious and exciting pairing. Avalanche do explosive open-world spectacle well, Id do first-person violence well, and together they’re making a game which looks a little something like this: Read the rest of this entry »

F1 2018 racing out in August

Codemasters today announced that F1 2018, the latest annual sequel in their series of competitive pootling games based piss-takingly loosely on the popular Top Gear segment ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’, will launch on August 24th. This year’s game will bring an old feature back to Career mode, add more classic cars, and… other stuff. Codies aren’t saying yet. They’re not even showing screenshots yet. But I will go out on a limb and guess that it’s broadly the same as last year’s game, looking a little fancier, updating liveries and tracks, and tweaking some bits. You know, annual sequel stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

Bigben buying Styx & Blood Bowl devs Cyanide Studio

French publishers Bigben Interactive are buying French developers Cyanide Studio, the mob behind games including Styx sneak ’em ups, the Blood Bowl adaptation, and the Game Of Thrones RPG. Cyanide’s games tend not to quite come together while being interesting or admirable in their ambition, mid-budget games of a sort we don’t see much any more – I’m always interested to see what they’re up to. Bigben are glad to be getting a development studio of their own, while Cyanide say this will help them expand and make better games. Read the rest of this entry »

Phoenix Point delayed until summer next year

phoenix-point-delayed

Delay time, gang. The sci-fi shellfish of XCOM bodysnatcher Phoenix Point won’t be scuttling out of the development ocean in December, as developer Snapshot Games once estimated. Instead, the crab-killing strategy game will now emerge in June 2019, says studio head Julian Gollop. This is so Snapshot can “expand the team and maintain our focus on quality”, as he explains in an announcement and in the video below. Read the rest of this entry »

League of Legends next hero is a vengeful ghostpirate

Best lag your timbers, as the next character/hero/champion/wizard coming to League Of Legends is Pyke, the Bloodharbor Ripper, a drowned pirate who’s returned from the dead for revenge. He’s a moody boy, and a stabby one at that. he’s lobbing bone harpoons, swimming into the ghostly ocean apparently unseen around us at all times, dropping drowned spirits, and growling things like “I remember the day I died… and those who betrayed me.” Mate, give over, you could be swimming in your ghostsea instead of doing all this sulky posturing. Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 4

overlordyturn04a

The sight of British armour beetling towards the central beach exit has prompted some hurried defensive reconfiguration from the Comment Commanders controlling German forces in this year’s communal Combat Mission game. When the clock stopped yesterday morning, the “unbuttoned” (hatches open) Stuart tank leading the exodus was seconds away from an encounter with a man armed with a scoped Kar98K rifle.

(For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here)

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Unknown Pleasures: Another Five Great Indie Games

Black fire girl magic

Healthy eating is for suckers. Here we are, at the height of a long overdue spring, and everyone here has a persistent cold. In May, no less. I’ve even been going outside, and just last night I ate a vegetable. Well, there’ll be no more of that. Instead, a steady diet of Unknown Pleasures will surely cure all ills.

Triumphantly returning to gorging on discounted pasties and cakes this week: nested heartbreak, non-awful high school comedy, and Argentinian dance-fights.

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