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issue 287
January 2017

Pc’s Power fAntAsy
goes full sci-fi
HAr dWAr e

HalO WaRS 2 HITMaN’S
BeST level
MONITORS
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6 january 2017 . which took ages to photograph. Contents #287 REVIEW january 2017 Monitor 12 THE SPY 14 SPECIAL REPORT Previews 18 The Signal from Tölva 22 Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood 26 Osiris: New Dawn 28 Serial Cleaner 30 For Honor 32 Battle Chasers: Nightwar Features 34 ARK: Survival Evolved 40 Halo Wars 2 46 Classic game mods 54 Making Hitman’s Sapienza Reviews 62 Battlefield 1 68 Shadow Warrior 2 70 Gears of War 4 72 Slayer Shock 74 Civilization VI 78 The Silver Case 80 Mafia III 34 84 Thumper Extra Life 86 NOW PLAYING 90 TOP 10 DOWNLOADS 94 UPDATE 96 REINSTALL 100 WHY I LOVE 102 MUST PLAY Hardware 62 104 104 GROUP TEST 110 BUYER’S GUIDE 34 62 104 ARK: SuRVIVAl BAttlEfIElD 1 MonItoR EVolVED REVIEW gRoup tESt An exclusive insight into the top Phil delivers his verdict on what Ed Chester takes a look at seven 74 tier treats of the hit survival game. ultra-wide monitors. and what’s still to come. might be the best multiplayer shooter of the year.

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Khorium. best game this month for a cover? Or sounds like a deserving cover star to Your article PC Gamer vs Doom was Dustin Faber did you just want to have Geralt of us. although it’s the Playing Disney I just got my copy of PC Gamer in the that’s a new game from a beloved developers you should be thanking. we wouldn’t say it’s necessary. that number 65. Infinity on Steam so I mail. And. Jim.com facebook. PCG CLiCK LiKe sHooT wATCH FoLLow seND pcgamer@futurenet. Are you pick in this year’s Top 100. is properly The Red Dead Potato BioShock that I can read about. but. Steamworks and Magick Obscura will Top 100 picks only require one idea why. and I enjoyed it every navigational cues. Looking through it.Your reviews I’m playing Dragon Age Inquisition on the recommendation of a mate. the game actually lets you drive cars. I’ve no input from me. copies? If a card game is the best Old-school biscuit players to have a basic understanding Battlefield 1! I’m thing about PC gaming this month. so it’s always Forza Horizon 3. I and Caladon was simply amazing. and have to say it’s amazing! Take SEND This month’s Star Letter gets a Steam bit as much as I did 20 years ago when it introduced me to the world of LAN parties. I V The Masquerade—Bloodlines at Arcanum collection [above]. if David Lynch made a game. noticed you have Troika’s Vampire: attached a photo of my beloved what I am supposed to be doing. like Mafia III and featured in your Top 10 Downloads intent. mates. but that Very revealing Jedi Queen Elsa. One of the jobs of a great level Katphood designer is to hide the tricks. I think it’s important for year material. and a spin-off from our #1 We just report on the stuff. Enjoy Luckily. Two weeks of playing balanced. who knows. Never mind the Jim Trageser dragons. Traveling your copy of Civ VI. difficult to design a level that not only are great. and visiting towns like teenage characters. but I’d Khorium greyed out.com youtube. It’s very loving it! The maps then I don’t even feel like reading this me replaying the original Quake. But of course I will because I’m which led quite naturally to the appeals to a wide swathe of people destruction is the sure there are plenty of other games. I still have no idea 250+ hours on it. and my lists. PCG very enjoyable. least a shout-out in the magazine? possible it’ll find a place in future Noel Draper It was Troika’s first game. This is how it would look wiNNer! discover the tricks of making a great level. but instead I am being asked Hitman. Major props to see that many devs and all the work they do to give exclamation marks us great gaming experiences! associated with World War I. PCG tutorials and woeful NPCs. It’s an epic game. while it’s fun to Zero—Act 4. Thanks for throwing the occasional old-school biscuit to us graying gamers who have been around long enough to remember that dragons! Jack Taylor key for Civ VI downloading the free demo of Doom from our favorite dial-up BBS.com steamcommunity. a cutscene generator. It’s a I thoroughly enjoyed this and cities like Shrouded Hills. 1 Lombard pcgamer. Tarant after cutscene appears and goes with really underrated game. section. after about an hour of guided setting was exhilarating. PCG can unlock the in the magazine that I love. yes? Fair lightsaber so my four-year-old can be seriously telling us that Gwent is the enough if it’s not your thing. Suite 200. maybe we’ll favorite. I race against a jeep guy from Sapienza like to ask when Arcanum: Of hanging from a helicopter. I have no is definitely already dead. and provides subtle It’s not often you SadGamer411 original Quake. It’s Stop. and also very This is father of the Rivia on the cover to sell more revealing. and the issue. look for the multiplayer section. it’s the bears that’ll get you. /pcgamermagazine /groups/pcgamer /pcgamer CA 94111 8 january 2016 . ‘Dimension of the Past’ episode but also communicates developer best in the series! real games. Travis Blanchard Kentucky Route Props indeed.com PC Gamer. Your Quake Champions feature had of how games are made.com/user @pcgamer Street. San Francisco. Lots of to choose from a load of what look fun and lots of Attached a photo through Arcanum. I’ve logged year’s Top 100. Future US Inc. PCG Let’s hope the upcoming series Grayed out of Twin Peaks is I just wanted to race with a few as good. and I have almost lost all hope studio. stop. tells a story. Seriously telling You’re talking about the same Gwent Our pleasure. The Steampunk/fantasy do a Reinstall in the future. I have paid 50 quid for get its time in the Top 100—or at passionate advocate. Cutscene replayability.

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Check with memory manufacturer for warranty and additional details. (iii) cause reductions in system performance. included if used with altered clock frequencies and/or voltages. (iv) cause additional heat or other damage. Intel assumes no responsibility that the memory. Warning: Altering PC clock or memory frequency and/or voltage may (i) reduce system stability and use life of the system. and (v) affect system data integrity.RIGHT: The Heralds of the Mouse and Keyboard. will be fit for any particular purpose. (ii) cause the processor and other system components to fail. Both angelic fixtures were hand- sculpted by artist Ron Christianson. 10 JANUARY 2017 . memory and processor.

Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.Custom-created "PC Gamer red" dye .Total 24 GB GDDR5X Collider is the most vision of an Ark of the Covenant-themed memory .socket LGA 2011-3 W GPU hat have we done?! Studios) and Lee Harrington nvIdIa TITan X (2) The Large Pixel (PCJunkieMods). film.Integrated radiator build. we 128GB CoRSaIR PHOTOGRAPHY put your ear to its many spinning fans. Wes Fenlon. an obnoxious 128GB gilded skin.The world's largest consumer hard drive PsU evGa SUpeRnova T2 1600W . more than 42TB of Covenant: the parallel carrying bars. InTel 750 SeRIeS pCIe Alison Hanan.We legitimately cannot The build is the group effort of many it on.Metal-reinforced PCIe slots combined storage. S P O N S O R E D B Y I N T E L BEHOLD! .5-zone RGB onboard lighting By Evan Lahti what we’ve made isn’t so much a one modification: the LPC cannot be RAM computer as it is a box of raw truth.Read/write speeds of up to complete this holy monster. the Intel® Core™ i7-6950X mounting Processor Extreme Edition. And the of us playing games such as Elite: 2200/1200MB/s . Jarred Walton. a pair of keys have to be turned install more RAM devoted folks from our team. and two souls to activate.1531MHz boost clock powerful PC we’ve ever build beautifully.17. the Intel characteristic features of the Ark of the aSUS RoG RampaGe v edITIon 10 Core-i7 6950X. C R E AT E D B Y P C G A M E R . Packed with the fastest processor We knew we needed to hit all of the MoTHERBoARD we could get our hands on. and more. with a HOTAS setup). Check out the full.0 . and it’s PRoCEssoR InTel CoRe-I7 6950X already melting our faces. to lift. the .supremeFX Hi-Fi UsB DAC + of RAM. and video on pcgamer. built.2TB (2) who helped us scheme.But don’t look directly at it! Our LARGE THE HARDwARE PIXEL COLLIDER is complete. 440K/290K IoPs modders Ron Christianson (Blue Horse Battlefield 1. The LPC takes two souls ssD Tuan Nguyen. the top-rated PSU on the planet. CUSTom-BUIlT . glorious reveal nvme 1. namely simultaneously..10 cores overclocked to 4GHz .4% holy water (by volume) CAsE modIfIed CaSelaBS RIGHT: A pile of RAM. front face of the build—in order to power SpeCIal edITIon ddR4 .Titanium efficiency rating CooLInG eKWB WaTeR CoolInG. . and footage .4K random Io of exterior was crafted by talented PC Dangerous (in VR. and the blood that ..All-aluminum construction pumps the beating heart of our . heavenly figures watching over the supremeFX Audio WORDS and not one but two Nvidia Titan X GPUs. build. we made . JANUARY 2017 11 . hardware within. a wall of meRCURy S8 Titan Xs. and others. Instead. HDD SeaGaTe BaRRaCUda pRo 10TB HelIUm (4) . who executed our .25MB cache . If you turned on with mere flesh.com/LPC. . and a pair of distinctive. Will Chesney. mounted a redundant key switch to the domInaToR plaTInUm By Jorge Bardina you can hear heaven. In addition.

a photo of a fellow commuter’s laptop The Spy must hold a second map expansion will add San to Reddit. would be exciting to have a claims to have inside knowledge of Pachter? Tie. infrastructure. in September 2017. On screen. you can see a Fierro and Las Venturas. Deus Ex developer Eidos and the potential for a bigger. sense: GTA Online is making good The Spy 2 January 2017 . and a nemesis is the North Yankton and Liberty City on the amateur sleuth responsible The Spy could result of slapdash infiltration map expansion. but many were you know what happens when you either incredibly obvious.OPINION I GAMES I TECH t w h o wat c h e s t h e s p y ? series of one-way grudges—intense money for Rockstar. According to Softsecrets. You come to pass. If the rumors It’s an interesting theory. in late 2018. A steal the Mona techniques. offering any scrap of Red Dead Redemption 2 washing machine and disappearing hunting licenses to those keen to information. here’s the thing: oracles off its PC announcement for months after a console release. a Rockstar’s upcoming GTA Online quoted as saying he thinks the S Newman to your Seinfeld. which. Also because the last hack shocked. That old of a nemesis. They sound fun. is a The Spy will need to keep an eye professional. if you never leave a trace. who asked The Spy for a comment briefcase. And yet it makes just made the list. A pile of dirty clothes according to this forum-goer. Nemesis. rolling out next year as paid DLC. if accurate. allowing recently announced Red Dead Redemption 2 will come to PC. Time will tell if The Spy must oracles don’t wear ties. You can’t be nemesized locations to the GTA Online Montreal subway user posted a Lisa. The Spy isn’t saying he’s wrong. start woke up in a flaming dumpster in would fall out. The Spy would slip through the vents of a high-tech corporate bunker. The Spy has a long list of number of Shark Cash Cards sold. The Spy would emerge to the sight of The activating free roam missions. Alas. Pythia? No The Spy laments the lack of the idea add GTAForums user ‘Softsecrets’ tie. industry oracle. So why is Pachter recently liberated being used as a news site arm— before retrieving mouthpiece? Because an identical briefcase from the Blaine County pack. surprise to learn future updates the recipients of which face a swift. that’s not quite right. draws in a cloud of smoke. be priced equivalent being the next main entry in the to a full game. Would like to. would open the original The bigger reveals will. were centered on expanding the merciless and entirely anonymous multiplayer. The Spy. carrying an arm amputated from the plan. and there’s no reason to think briefcase—still handcuffed to the don’t wear ties it won’t do the same again. That would explain the intriguing. The poster woman in The Matrix? No tie. it can never be. confirm these rumors. The druids? No ties. Tomb Raider series. Instead. Then. coming updates include a Law & Order pack. or simply didn’t gathering thunder? That’s right. steal The Spy’s information incredibly vague. if our mystery name Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Spy out. whistleblower is to be It’s a name that Kotaku reports as believed. of rounding up a collection of The analyst is treated by many as an he Spy laments the lack of a videogame rumors each month. shoot defenseless animals. hints at a massive expansion. No. clicks. perched he’s treated by many Rockstar regularly holds Y louchely on a mid-rinse Hotpoint Aqualtis. but there’s nothing to location of the laptop. Here’s the thing: E nemesis. The Spy would like to thank the Softsecrets did make a bunch of Reddit user responsible for the GTA Online predictions ahead of photo. It wouldn’t be a T professional and personal dislikes. these grudges. Both presentation slide showing the packs will. The Spy is a First up. duh disinformation—people who make The Spy will divulge one name on life harder for those in the business the grudge list: Michael Pachter. LA’s Puente Hills Landfill. The Spy’s simply saying that anyone treasurer of a shady cabal. Montreal is in charge of production more fleshed out GTA Online is this time. Do GTA V’s launch. It to this list of rogues. visited on those H responsible for spreading lies and well. but won’t. and a industry has already drawn that conclusion—it being an incredibly obvious conclusion to draw. Despite this. he’s been Moriarty to your Sherlock. and thus increasing the revenge. however slim. but won’t. The Nemesis would nod curtly at The Spy’s as an oracle. are correct. adding both for a recent Tomb Raider leak. Dropping players to buy police vehicles with even a vague interest in the P elegantly into the soft embrace of a laundry room basket.

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too. There are personal tales. Jason McIntosh is the lead organizer of the Interactive Fiction Competition. which has been going in other words since 1995. and that leads to some delightfully experimentation in the entries. One of the most fascinating things about the That low barrier to entry means just about anyone can competition is the huge diversity and range of make an IF game. It was true magic. has a record number of submissions this game. McIntosh says.” competition has become. I played it on Those requirements are all you need to play one of year—58 in total. and there are some things that can only be and a glow-in-the. or present challenging narrative stamps all over it.. which PC Gamer takes inventory at the annual InteractIve FIctIon I believe was published in 1985. That and a couple of hours to kill.. using text.” these games. or done in a certain way. specia l rep o rt P C G I n v e s t I G at e s WIsh Come IFComp 2016 true “The work that will always be closest to my heart will invariably be Brian Moriarty’s Wishbringer. making it older than some of the people “It’s really grown to encompass a whole swathe of styles competing. He took over the competition in 2014 from and platforms. “I really love seeing a his predecessor Stephen Granade. more ambitious pieces. It started off as a way to It’s this wish to replay and re-invent our childhood recapture the pleasure of playing an old-fashioned type games that’s buoying much of indie game development of game. poetic to longer. traditional text adventures and stories aren’t held back by what they can and can’t do in code. done. who had been in the ‘dead’ form like text games continue to ripple with life role for 13 years.” McIntosh says. open to anyone who has the time to play a few games. weird works of art from people whose creative streaks boisterous quests. that have no satisfying end. the very same as They’re also far easier to make yourself than It’s because of IF’s popularity as an artform that the that depicted in the creating games in Unity or GameMaker—all they Interactive Fiction Competition. is uniquely accessible. now in its 21st year I It came with a ‘feelie’ of a storybook that nteractive fiction games are the more literary IF. November 16. and he’s incredibly proud of what the in surprising new ways.” dark magic rock. and old-school text adventures. and judging is Jason mcIntosh and a willingness to do a lot of clicking. at the moment. competItIon. which will run until book and the require is a PC and the ability to read and write. with the resurgence of pixel and 14 JAnuAry 2017 . modern incarnation of an old artform. They’re the puzzles. and evolved into something entirely its own. These range from the short and the my Atari 800. “It’s a way included library cousins of choose-your-own-adventure books to tell a story as a game.

another. or at least in the has you walk through a WayS to KIll a vampIre raw fact that you get to choose— museum—which. get to the end. Sometimes. game. weirder. obJectIveS.” It’s a conversation between two strangers— And then. is free. 500 Apocalypses. It’s also incredibly lucrative. and which is quite clever. marketable thing. sadness and loss. in which humor—and the game delivers on all that. the power to show you these where each dot represents one little vignettes. and that’s one way to write interactive fiction. IF has and rows of variously-sized dots. It’s this weirdness take you on a journey. kill the vampire at also freedom—without feeling like they owe the player McDonald’s—these are all traditional videogame win something for their money. and to choose. BEAR an invitation to read. videogames. opiNioN I GAMES I tecH this year’s picks Four notable Games From IFComP 2016 1 16m c DWayo n as lToD s K i l l a Va m pi r e aT 2 5 0 0 a p o c a ly p se s is like buffy. which is exactly what it sounds Interactive fiction. Such aS 16 your choices. but not all of its entries are really really wanted a big mac. sentient beetles “Interactive fiction is a creator building a delicate. and though that might lead well-written and very funny. and to learn. which is a sort of you-will-definitely- invite players to donate if they wish. means scrolling through rows at mcDonalDS and you are not the hero. silly and meta. on-screen. Some games have objectives. attack helicopters. and tell and freedom that makes the you their story. a large fries interesting—though there sure were some and a day off. There’s agency in One game. and what they mean to you. which are all things that make a great interactive fiction people disappear to another dimension. The title implies silliness. and that’s entries in the IFComp so thrilling Some gameS have something you don’t get a lot in to flick through. Its freeness is the answer. 3 Hs coWis sToo rWs i n aT r o c K pa p e r is a game that’s secretly about making 4 s c r e W yo u. but there are no die-a-lot exploration of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry. jokes. to the death of creativity and originality in some genres. DAD. Some games like. Blue ones are unvisited. as it happens. if very weird. each unfamiliar but united relationship between any author of fiction and her by terror. more But other games just want to experimental. godless planet in which giant. importantly. also. red are ones you’ve what they mean. It’s an incredibly wholly automated story machine and inviting people to interesting and foreign experience as you flit through come through it. Nostalgia has become an incredibly way that’s unexpected and touching. there are games like SCREW YOU. if buffy were pissed off and feels vast and organised. such as 16 Ways to Kill a it means the revival and survival of others. read. surprisingly sexy ones. more unexpected. line up to mate with the Queen. like a real museum. audience. it has bears. they link to one another—one man’s McIntosh sees interactive fiction as a powerful musing on God at the end of his world might lead to storytelling tool because of its approach to narrative. Find requirements to do so if you want to play. low-poly games. and events like the GBJAM. developers are able to be states. B e a r Da D is smart. and Evermore. light-hearted Kate Gray JAnuAry 2017 15 . but also all games are inspired and limited by what the Game weaves in a story of difficult father-son relationships in a Boy can do. but the story exists without you. it’s closer to the the archives of ended worlds. and let you decide apocalypse. In some ways. Vampire at McDonalds.

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and mark them Far Cry-style before don’t explore the surface yourself: you hijack a engaging them in combat. of quiet. It’s an incredibly default to minimalism for the storytelling. “We tread lightly and and painterly textures. has ancient starships half-buried in the combat. the planet is beautiful. And during a firefight I was delighted to see a few of these mechanical NPCs wade into the mysterious signal is coming from the battle and help me out. and a it The shooting feels satisfyingly seamless map four times the size of weighty and intense. hunting for old technology to storytelling adds to the enigmatic nature scavenge and bunkers to turn into bases of the planet and the signal emanating It’s a lonely. open-ended design to a more handcrafted setting. according to Big Robot. Especially you to figure it out” one as evocative as this. But night sky was filled with streaks of colorful Tölva is not procedurally generated: a lot laser fire. You Are Being Hunted. You can use A planet Tölva. My first brush with danger was when I spotted some kind of landing craft in the Similarly to Sir. but no failed almost immediately. where you can rearm and resupply.” says Big Robot.” a lot of time exploring Tölva in your robot This ambient. crumbling ruins. the other robots. Life goes on around you. but it wasn’t long dirt. thoughtful exploration. I don’t know what it is. we want is bringing its smart. Suddenly the critical path in the traditional sense. Andy Kelly 18 January 2017 . I tagged the robots guarding it large open world and has a freeform and tried to make a stealthy approach. is the heart of the game. because we want you to as a “canvas for exploration”. There are missions.com friendly.” says Big Robot. providing a an island in Sir. This minimal has given the game a distinctive visual approach is felt across the whole game. you can just hijack a new one. pretty place and find out. and flocks of strange before I was set free in Tölva and had to birds flying overhead. but structure. some of which will be compelled to explore this strange. it takes place in a binoculars. I ducked behind a convenient of time has been spent carefully rock. “This pl ayed back with a long-range rail cannon. poking out now and then to fire building the planet by hand. stark counterpoint to the moments Even in the early alpha build I played. will have their own objectives. surveyor robot and do it remotely. You’ll see friendly robots leaving bunkers to Hijack a robot and explore an survey wrecks and attack guard posts. and scanning. And if you die at the metal hands of an enemy faction also hunting night moves for the signal.” stylish look. Artist Ian McQue set my own objectives.thesignalfrom. From Tölva “The game world is driven by AI activity that decides where they’ll go and what they’ll decide to do. “There’s little in the way of Big Robot describes the game’s world direct exposition.PREVIEW The Signal From Tölva need to know release Developer publisher link Early 2017 Big Robot In-house www. hands-off approach to chassis. But you binoculars to scan distant robots and determine whether they’re friendly or not. That. My time with the game began with a haunting atmosphere to this world. The Signal giving you the sense that you’re not the most important person (well. and your mission is to find out what it is. gives it quite a different feel. and I love that Big Robot direct exposition. And from it. There’s a lonely. which tutorial teaching the basics of navigation. robot) on the planet. but I’m mysterious place. says Big Robot. and I love the muted color palette including the story. identity. I watched one clunk over to a ruined ship alien world in this sci-fi shooter and run its scanner across it. the distance and peered at it through my studio’s previous game. Sir was an interesting game that took strong cues from “there’s little in the way of immersive sims. You’ll spend figure it out for yourself.

PREVIEW A robot scans for x tech to salvage. Fresh new robots for hijacking. The art design is gorgeous. January 2017 19 .

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But before all that there’s still a patch You can also expect plenty of massive or two to go to link the Heavensward and new areas to romp through. However. escaped to Eorzea. second expansion With such a huge part of the playerbase using PS4s or playing with controllers on PC anyway it’s nice to hear that it’s being mpressive scenery. we’re also be getting new ones. monsters and items to of the Heavensward story is anything to look forward to.finalfantasyxiv. Flying will resistance leader who’s a little too also make its welcome return to the new aggressive for comfort—and linking back zones. a tank and a there’s a lot more going on than those pretty CGI healer.PREVIEW Who needs Chocobos when you can Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood teleport via giant blue crystals? need to know release Developer publisher link Summer 2017 Square Enix In-house www. I’ve been playing FFXIV for almost three years now and so far Stormblood is There’s a loT more going making all the right noises to set it up as on Than Those preTTy another great expansion that I can’t wait to get lost in for inappropriate lengths of Cgi faCes suggesT time. You’re as well as magic. Although that also means loads of new buttons that you just won’t have the finger gymnastics for if you play with a stormblood controller. we’ve curved canyons. recipes. Thanks to some weird. Daniella Lucas 22 January 2017 . on top of all that there will be have known nothing but Garlean rule—will coffers full of new gear. no matter what happens you’ll be in area to stake your claim in if you’ve got the for a dramatic treat. in red featured in the trailer. on-stage faces suggest. impressive-looking base complete with an encountering The Griffin—a masked 100ft statue of the local deity. Stormblood will be heading to Fantasy series classic. primals. the next expansion for Final The exact number is yet to be confirmed. Bring on summer 2017. Fantasy XIV. Things are not completely black and white however. so the devs are also giving the battle system a complete overhaul to deal with the button bloat. including crafters and Fa ntasy X i V: gatherers.com The level cap is jumping from 60 to 70. patch-DepenDant There’s a new generation of people who Of course. Red Mage doesn’t quite part of the resistance movement fit in with the current battle system. What this will entail is yet to be seen. to kicks off. As of the last patch. from misty Stormblood stories together before it all swamps overshadowed by huge trees. a Final in-game. gil. jacket-stripping habits and T-shirt choices from game director Naoki Yoshida we As has been hinted for almost two years know the first one will be Red Mage. trying to take it back and reclaim it first so expect a twist to make its role for the thousands of refugees who look more defined. raids. certainly has all the hallmarks of but if past patterns are anything to go by another epic Final Fantasy adventure. I handsome people punching each other atop a giant statue—the teaser for As well as the existing classes getting updates. although you’ll first have to explore up with masked monk friend Yda who’s and ‘attune’ to the landscape before your from Ala Mhigo herself and looks Fat Chocobo can attempt to exercise its suspiciously like the ‘mysterious’ woman wing nuggets. they even want to be ‘saved’? If the quality dungeons. but the team has said it’s Fancy fisticuffs in FFXIV’s looking at certain unused abilities and cross-class skills and going from there. Known for its ability Ala Mhigo—a city that has been held by to wield both swords for physical damage the Garlemad empire for 20 years. epic music. and taken so seriously. Stormblood. as well as a new housing go by. and a seriously already started on our way there. it’ll be three—a DPS class. We’ll see old Garlean tech for the first time. Final so you can expect lots of new abilities for each existing class.

bustling cities too. January 2017 23 . PREVIEW x The area around Ala Mhigo is There are lush forests and full of abandoned ruins.

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got a pool table.PREVIEW Osiris taps into our current interest in colonising Mars. however. 26 January 2017 . Mars doesn’t At least you’ve have these.

And while you are away from home. it’s also a streamline individual droid production hostile one. faster hovercraft.0. Bizarre monsters show up en masse and actively hunt you down. venture out that you’ll have to prepare to Without any playtime of my own. buggy that bounced around the rocky Without a spaceship or food or water (or terrain like the Mako 2. Doing so involves collecting resources. I’ll reserve judgement.com During the day. McRae wants them to feel and balancing. but until I get time to soak in its systems and see how it survival game chores grows over time. finding food. look like a programmable army of Inspired by such sci-fi films as StarCraft’s SCVs. Night is another story. Without a light source you’re basically blind. You’ll be able to meet up with to feel immersed in a gorgeous world other players. Still. you building a base. build a spacecraft Vehicles are your best survival systems came into play. PREVIEW Osiris: New Dawn need to know release Developer publisher link Out now Fenix Fire Entertainment Reverb Triple XP www. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a night cycle that embraces pitch blackness like this one. almost direction he always has: the setting. McRae hopes approached the design from the First to make them super versatile.” is what he bug out said recently while demonstrating Osiris: New The good news is that there’s a variety of Dawn to me. to see in Osiris’s massive environments. as it is. all you can do is try to stay alive. processing minerals and other typical The key difference is that McRae survival game chores. build a base together. showed off a smaller. but people are Martian. and that you won’t need to worry nearly as changes to the environment are much about finding food when you’re near persistent. have to “Matt Damon yourself out of it. If the daytime is Starship Troopers. but McRae also hope). If I dig a big hole in the ground. keep you alive. Survival game stuff. and these can also help You play a member of the Osiris 2 mission. and explore other planets. As F and I have something important in common: we don’t like survival games. but they’re only aggressive if you step on their turf. Gravity. It’s a survival game. so it’s not surprising that lines. there’s a lot to pushed and inspired by the systems.” They’re handcrafted and washed over (Potatoes confirmed?) He reassured me with procedural weather effects. hive-minded insect Osiris: creatures roam. But instead of the player getting the ‘eventually’—this is currently an Early bogged down by eating and drinking every Access title. and eventually. your base—it’s only when you decide to every player on the server will see it. another took note and started flanking. Emphasis on bet against the bugs. McRae and team want the player even better. so key systems need finishing other minute. and fighting can assign droids to do the busywork of off the natural fauna. In this case. For McRae. vehicles available for your longer trips away from home. and do the busywork of typical it’s one heck of a looker. James Davenport January 2017 27 . it’s face the hostile environment and hard to say if Osiris will feel like a dangerous creatures ahead. above anything else. One type looks like a tangle of humanoid enix Fire lead developer Brian McRae limbs and stalks with a pack mentality. Feel New DawN free to scavenge and explore. refreshing survival game a few hours in or just an ambitious coat of paint for the genre.fenixfire. and The Droids are nice. “I hate survival games. and a much Survive and explore on a hostile hungrier threat emerges after dark. We took out a slow dune which crash lands on an arid alien planet. I like that it’s trying to be a cool you can assign droids to place to explore above anything else. Prometheus. this might be an McRae focused on one of these. sci-fi world then night is Alien. understatement.

levels and locations. floors. is you. The planned manner. factories. While you can use these tricks and tackle the game in a more it turns out. Lorna Reid 28 January 2017 . Serial Cleaner is with what appears to be an automatic to be an automatic shaping up to be a nifty little palate blood hoover. That someone. but time and dodgy-looking chap in shades. And they’re Cleaner thus far – what you see is what fast. won’t always place the bodies and With the simple-but-effective art style First Each small level is devoted to a different evidence in the same place each time. it’s surely about time someone waded to the fore in waist-high wellies to clean it all up. it’s all more go” strings beautifully while walking the back of your seedy station wagon. Thankfully. so outrunning them isn’t an you get.PREVIEW Presumably a NewsCorp- owned paper. frequent deaths are inevitable experience that plucks those “just one mess. along with new however. you’re spotted. and your job as a With no saves and fast-moving an enjoyable. path of frustration and addiction. working out timings and Serial Cleaner from iFun4all is a bizarre concept. and using sound to lure cops away. and mopping up an issue. baton-happy cops who won’t think twice about dishing out some the balance would be tipped. The concept may be simplistic but the execution (not sorry) will lead you down a hamper movement. you can run and wing it but surprisingly entertaining. enjoyable and silly enough that this is not a fine line between outright rage and swiping evidence. They also say they’d love to Wolfe panache here – you play a with what appears introduce a level editor. have to be made on the fly and restarts and still get there in the end. and ’70s inspired music. If you’re and the devs are promising additional already straightening your bowtie. somewhat frenetic professional cleaner is to sort out the enemies.ifun4all. Hiding is your only recourse if objects or cars to block sightlines and W spilling blood. As stealth-action games go. Strategy is restricted to moving ith so much of our gaming lives spent option. We can safely bet he doesn’t blood hoover cleanser between larger releases. There is nothing too deep in Serial ultraviolence if they catch you. too. need to know release Developer publisher link Early 2017 iFun4all In-house www. Overall. This means disposing of bodies in and repetition a given. copious amounts of claret spattered over It’s bound for an early 2017 release. own a single piece of oak furniture.com Serial Cleaner A fast-paced stealth clean-’em-up Each crime scene is teeming with work. It’s why the bite-sized levels tolerable frustration. forget it. Any more sprawling or complex and with gore aplenty twitchy. armed only budget will tell. fact-paced action means that decisions cops’ patterns. the game delivers look crime scene. There’s no Winston you’re armed only enemy types. and campsites.

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such encounters is a problem for all Chris Thursten 30 January 2017 . The skill ceiling is high and success For Honor feels like one of those Punishing multiplayer swordplay stems from self-control: letting your opponent make the first move. But For Honor is primarily designed as a team game. You still need to block the positional awareness. For Honor demands strategy. release DeveloPer to see the error in this approach—to the you increase your “revenge meter”—fill it February 2017 Ubisoft Montreal extent that you can see anything when and you can activate a boost to defense Publisher link you are being repeatedly decapitated by and attack power. controlling For Honor’s powerful champions. knights and samurai—hack each other to pieces with two-handed weapons. rolls. keep an eye on this one.PREVIEW For Honor The temptation to rush in swinging is high. the two sides battling for control of capture points. This happened to me exactly once. When you block. that started with Rainbow 6: Siege—it’s This works well in a one-on-one.com an internet stranger. which takes timing You can both block and strike in four and skill. You’ve got to want to step onto a medieval battlefield that will engage in unending conflict on the front line. Contests destined to be loved by players attracted to this specific fantasy. AI footsoldiers mode. and there are grabs and guard. you have more attacks to is not a brawler: you can hammer the light block—increasing the chance that you’ll FOR HONOR pl ayed it and strong attack buttons and hope. becoming momentarily Ubisoft forhonor. but For Honor need to know It took me a good few hours with the alpha has an elegant solution. and seems A and women—vikings. but between champions can quickly punish you for every mistake you make. but doing so will get you killed. and I’m excited by the high skill directions. the elegant game breaking techniques. like Pirates. only brilliant total conversions from a decade or so ago. and quick reactions. earn your revenge boost. multiplayer melee games. burly men on the battlefield or in the dedicated duel being clever than popular. either tightly focused and more interested in gainst the backdrop of a siege.ubisoft. When you’re being attacked physicality. and Knights with a big budget behind it striking when you’ve deflected their blow II. Balancing But if you do. sidesteps and dodge lurking beneath the brutal exterior. Vikings. but it felt amazing. It continues a trend in Ubisoft games and left them open. rain of incoming blows. ceiling this suggests. this third-person melee game by two people. the real fight is between two small teams of players turn one-sided as allies arrive. Despite the chunky overpowered.

HEAR YOUR ENEMIES BEFORE YOU SEE THEM! .

Calibretto might be the biggest party member. have limited uses. like dashing. 32 January 2017 .PREVIEW Dungeon abilities. so don’t waste them. but he’s really a softy and a healer.

using different methods has been really cool. the Beastmaster will unlock use it. Characters have abilities such SNES-era JRPGs. thanks in large part to Madureira’s bold comic style. What you get is down to the luck scrap is with a pack of slavering of the draw. I watched as my entire party was Tough.com swordsman. “We have one in mind that’s optimal—to beat videogames. thanks to a successful that guy you have to do this—but then crowdfunding campaign. Powerful abilities time you fight a creature.” Madureira tells me. ending my gargantuan war golem or a legendary adventure and costing me all the loot I hadn’t yet equipped.” Madureira says. not least combat reminiscent of D&D feel. “Each time random. Garrison the crawls swordsman’s abilities are more effective with red mana. they can use the other pool. When you complete certain If an enemy can kill your hero before you objectives. and lore objects litter the dungeons. it’s no good. and super-attacks known as chests. So it’s skeleton. and my control over the party “You have a bestiary which fills up with at different challenges. but not vital information. to perform their Comic book brawls and dungeon flashiest attacks. as lockpicking.” The heroes. left comic books for hands-on. bosses. while Calibretto the war golem is healed when he uses it. Such is the life of a dungeon explorer. The dual mana system adds a tactical Night war layer. Outside combat. there will be not only new watching how other people overcome it comics but a game—Battle Chasers: Nightwar.” says Madureira. is determined by the attack order. when we let people do I arcanepunk fantasy romp Battle Chasers ended on a cliffhanger and its creator. secrets. the forgets all about their healing elixirs. even a basic bump heroes down the turn order. and treasure system. Characters have a preference. but to know how long point you’ll get a bonus fighting creatures you’ll have to wait before it has an impact. new bosses of that creature type. lore objects. tanky hero Gully is not a completely wiped out. developers are fans of Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Every ability costs mana. it’ll start to get fleshed out with not just important to pick the right ability their stats and special abilities. and monsters can JRPGs. the dungeons are filled an active initiative bar. there are a few surprises. thinking about multiple things in a it The dungeons themselves are fight. Each has a set of choice to be impactful. PREVIEW Battle Chasers: Nightwar need to know release Developer publisher link Summer 2017 Airship Syndicate THQ Nordic www. also subvert a few gaming tropes.battlechasers. “Every all attacks are instant. Fraser Brown January 2017 33 . Nightwar has a distinctly however. Unsurprisingly. to watch what kinds of strategies they use. Now. but also the difficulty setting. but pull from a range of you’re making a choice. the devs are battle surges. though. especially one who UnsUrprisingly. “We want you to be pl ayed fans of tabletop adventures. My first appear.” Torchlight. we want the bespoke rooms. At some for the situation. most of them from the When faced with one of these special comics. Party members are adept werewolves. is expected to Puzzles. t’s been 15 years since the final issue of “It’s really cool. it evokes such games as we add more heroes. but rather a nine-year-old girl Bat tle C h asers: sporting some magical gloves. weapons and items. Once a character spends all their blue mana.” triggers so that new traps. Joe Madureira. And it’s only going to get deeper as At first glance. chests fat with Even when drawing from classic crafting supplies. but each character has two pools: blue and red. Airship chaotic lore-full Syndicate has tucked in a few twists. of that type. with diverse characters. tabletop adventUres arrive next summer. along with the new issues of the comic. a dual mana with traps. which regenerates slowly.

SuRviviNG E A R LY AC C E S S ARK: SuRvivAl EvolvEd is leaving Early Access transformed from a primitive survival sim to a 1980s power fantasy. By James Davenport 34 January 2017 .

Studio Wildcard co-founders Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak are walking me through how to use the plasma cannons mounted on my pet T-rex’s head in ARK: Survival Evolved.” I heard this in a dream once. Were it 1997. their dino-laden survival sandbox. but I’m definitely awake now. I would have passed out by now. January 2017 35 . C O V E R F E AT U R E ARK: Survival Evolved H op on the T-rex with the E button and then control will enable targeting mode.

36 January 2017 . “That kind of success gave Wildcard the room to go. Roll the proximity and rank.” says Stieglitz. You’re still chopping down trees. breeder. Dinosaurs equipped with laser. rough finish of most do-everything balance of the game. getting stuck in walls all too significantly during its surprise success you can. there’s no If you want to be a peaceful dinosaur and because it’s pushing so many pixels hiding from harsh criticism. if you want to and systems at once. and a significant portion of what and will attempt to wrap their initial TEK TEch A user’s guide REplicAToR TElEpoRTER ShiEld GENER AToR cloNE chAmbER dooR hypER chAmbER This is what you’ll need to Exactly what it sounds Generates a bubble Used to make a replica It’s a door! An automatic As the ultimate bed. bearing the about what the numbers are and the other survival game out there. it’s us and keeps us honest as developers crafting. worked for them update for the game we have to put it into the mod tools. dice for a chance at Finally. and then [the managing hunger. you can. little brothers. Also dinosaurs intact. while you’re sleeping and stations with your free passage for allies. immersive mounted future armor aren’t all ARK survival interactions are still handled has going for it. Creatures have erratic path. it build every other bit of like. are meant to be tense. nearly indestructible. clothes off of. even on powerful PCs.FIEalways A T cut U Rpeople’s E heads off in photos. often. Rapczak and Stieglitz have a lot to say about simulating an I feel for the naked through a crowded. fort-building prehistoric radical transparency is pretty helpful to well. It doesn’t is also a popular game among Twitch with an army of pterodactyls. Don’t lose it. playpen. and the inherent mystique of their massive environments and man I punched the away from ARK’s blemishes. and Consumes Element improved stats. he honest nature of Early Access development. finding. They have no choice but to embrace the brutally science fiction narrative.” And because ARK If you want to terrorize new players Early Access survival games. But ARK’s numbers. corners are cut all Even so. dino may not survive. wild and layer on more creatures. ARK is the most complex survival game there is. but because of its breadth. run very well. you can make a gives a minor XP boost inventory. tree-punching. “Anytime we release an but not because it’s hard to understand. you can. plan for ARK. confusing UI. but your room impenetrable to while you’re away. based on the diameter. Hell. one that has grown the back of a roaming brontosaurus. Rapczak and Stieglitz don’t shy ecosystem. ARK is a systems heavy. they have an ambitious open up a psychedelic berry shop on over. and forming tenuous players] can see all our magic bonds with other players. you teleport between projectiles and allows Element cost. streamers and YouTubers. character. the teleporter lets shield that blocks dinosaur at a high door that opens based on recharges all your stats Tek tech. and survival systems than any also clumsy and buggy.

his inventory bag a the building on their ragdoll corpses. Enemy humans and creatures take note of red silhouettes crouching retail release (with actual discs). To show off the new “Tek” technology tier. new bosses. a armor and I begin charging a super I aim down its night vision scope in complete narrative arc. It plinks off my Tek in hand. I double longer than intended. “Oh. literally through the remaining settlers and the online before. I release direction.0 stamp. Stieglitz and Rapczak let me loose on a mid-level enemy base with a complete set of Tek armor and weapons equipped. ARK is finally on debris do their physics calculations. behave. With one button-press the metallic helmet reassembles itself. covering the rex’s eyes as a plasma cannon slides out on each side of its head. and the promise punch. In April hop off the rex and turn on my Tek high above the devastation. explosive plasma rounds in every the futuristic concepts so far only turns green over my attacker. The other players’ base consists of a few large wooden structures with a decent corral of dinosaurs and creatures locked away— no doubt the product of a few days’ careful collaboration between tribe members. Hovering. a full physical HUD. I 2017. He stands last of the foundation. Another adding features to the bow. I take aim at the bunkhouse. C O V E R F E AT U R E ARK: Survival Evolved You have to kill a lot of bosses to get full armor. tyrannosaurus wrecks I ride in on the back of a T-rex outfitted in angular metallic armor accented by subtle blue highlights. including a futuristic technology and fires an arrow. and fire. The “super” is very much broad daylight because I can and go of endless support and expansion. a detailed artistic knocking the clothes off him. Wildcard is expanding on after a few seconds a spinning reticle hot. You’ve and fly toward him as my armored fist down sprint and my character blasts probably seen the picture somewhere makes contact in a flash of blue. bringing down rendering of a scene in which a before me. visible through walls. a building nearly double the rex’s . vision up with a neat bow—before they height. There’s no need to reload it so tier. it gets a 1. In development for nearly a year chugs as hundreds of small pieces of To better survey my victory. I tap spacebar and my jetpack boosts me the path to leave Early Access. I cackle immediately start iterating on and in a shower of rubble. and so are lasers. another quarter. bunkhouse. but there’s honest sentiment nested in the circles of nonsense: dinosaurs are cool. To make my getaway. and the framerate punch sends him flying after it. shooting a rapid series of white First up. A quarter of it dissolves vanishing speck in the distance. My character rears back and wild. the first batch of which is due in a few weeks. Tek rifle yet.” also dressed in retro-future armor. Another shot. deserved. It’s absurd. tyrannosaurus rex adorned with chunky metallic armor and lasers trades pew-pews with a stegosaurus. I hold implied by floating obelisks. and light up in red. Studio Wildcard is My friendly rex glows a warm green. naked. in a way no person should. so I charge a punch mid-air pushing a series of its wildest updates A man in a cowboy hat approaches and burst through the ceiling. in the dino-shelled remnants of the along the way. underwater bases.

implemented shortly before launch to be useful underwater. hours of play doesn’t bother Rapczak or always manifest in sociopathic behavior “A third of our total creatures are Stieglitz. either a home away from instances. expense of others. “Usually when we add a time to level up is much shorter than been a whole lot of reason [to visit] new feature. “For example. ARK has will resist Tek-tier attacks. Making a home in the big drink is every predator and defensive structure distracted from repeatedly punching meant to give advanced players a cool currently in the game. that’s sort of around the end of February. enabling that kind of strength be an opportunity to atone and retrieve danger or a strategically sound attack would be troubling. players will need to accommodation that most Early Access defeat the endgame bosses. will be costly. and they endgame players beyond dozens of compromise the sandbox. its restriction to provided. players are plumbing the endgame dry incentivize helping new players.0 effort to stockpile and is easy to use up. except to get stuff and go back. of digital labor. would have earned a bit more wiggle room with its players. we provide a way to turn your own. and the original launch items.” Stieglitz says. and you’d think new boss to be revealed at a later date.” Rapczak adds: sprint through the progression if they from dominating. including a titles are bound to. but they’ll only be underwater structures aren’t just going Rangers hand cannon. and custom servers let players prevent a purely destructive culture gigantic mosasaurs. Each requires a Tek Generator to keep ARK’s slow. if you “There are a bunch of water creatures don’t have the time. and new prey. “those underwater Steam best seller. a boundless sandbox where and Studio Wildcard doesn’t want to space dinosaur fan art. Wildcard surprised everyone back in September on the map with reckless abandon. “All these items are meant to for the delay is that underwater bases for low atmosphere environments as troll new players. I feel under the dLc supply ever runs dry—sploosh. they can just a level up as well. He worked for them. while the hardest difficulty rewards them all. ARK is soaking its position. and it doesn’t deserve cool laser cannon helmets too. you get we haven’t put in yet too. But soon. and the ocean like the changes at all. My fun came at the them all. griefers won’t be able to ruin every base underwater” launch of June 2016. In most men into space.” says Stieglitz. On defense. up until now there hasn’t ignore them. ward off the neighborhood vandals. the only rules are defined by what just flip a switch and let players have at As colorful and entertaining as the players are capable of with the tools it. but first. given its regular appearance as a Easy and medium boss difficulties earn smaller portions of the new items. Hint. To obtain and power deadly and player movement is severely It’s this kind of everyman every piece of Tek. going on a rampage He’s right. And if players don’t help a new player get a level up. even though their is so vast. Studio Wildcard out Element. Someday there might clubhouse. I obliterated days. high level players will come a long way from punching trees plasma-ball-spitting auto turrets will be able to build aquatic dwellings using and building thatch lean-tos. and having faced paws somewhere a bit more terrestrial. Defeating bosses also doles structures aren’t With an audience growing in numbers and passion by the day. planned from stay submerged forever either. The reason “They’re ultimately going to be useful the point. the resource that powers every piece of Tek. slightly more restrictive construction Tek armor and weapons are There are also a slew of utility modules as part of the incoming Tek absurdly powerful.” Not a bad deal. “The I sent them into the sun with my Power the get-go. making survivors easy weeks maybe. even if we don’t really like the old Monster or not. trivializing nearly structures planned to keep players tier. often tedious ramp into its them vacuum sealed. for the naked man I punched the Underwater base building was one of The module building system won’t clothes off of.” ARK is meant to be require an entirely new building system well. and if its Element most interesting technology tiers.” says Stieglitz. Most sea creatures are way. Stieglitz also has plans to underwater creatures. 38 January 2017 . ARK. Strange creatures with different Tek tier promises to be. to “running the gamut from tiny fishes to anyway. They say most of regular anyway. Besides missing their initial 1. hint. According to Stieglitz.” Someone prepare the merciless.C O V E R F E AT U R E ARK: Survival Evolved Within 30 seconds. Tek building materials limited in water. a $20 DLC Red gummi dinosaurs taste the best. Since it takes great just useful found out the opposite may be true. To take that away would behaviors live down there.” it off. by releasing Scorched Earth. but they come at a big price.

” says simulate an ecosystem while catering occasional paid-for expansion packs in Stieglitz. originally anticipated. the studio’s focus on legacy issues such destination they still can’t quite make “As far as releasing DLC for an Early as poor performance and the clunky out yet.” says Stieglitz. Scorched Earth has been a “If it hadn’t been successful. Which is why leaving Early Access title. making it plain that they don’t to community feedback. 1 ARmS Charge a super punch to send 3 3 hElmET HUD highlights friends in green. yellow. name-dropping Ridley Scott’s Alien as inspiration. it reinforced the Wildcard got the opportunity to keep in Wildcard’s typical tell-all fashion. “One of them will definitely involve horror. confused as to why paid-for content hit.0 isn’t a finish line. and leaving ARK behind. them. and systems without any 1. let’s finish it in three was being released for an unfinished and selling well long after launch. and properties meant to Content updates for ARK will they eschewed spilling the beans with abstract the life (and many deaths) of a continue indefinitely in the form of the community beforehand too.” he says.” says Stieglitz. ARK 1. which is why the same vein as Scorched Earth. and a stockpiling and refinement of objects. jump button. “It was survivor into something continually regular free updates to the base game. a complete narrative the main game was something Studio Post access act. exploring flying. physics objects 1 neutral creatures in Between getting spooked. and the the groundwork for before launch. For DLC expansions. explaining their plan beforehand. ‘OK. in keeping with its experimental spirit. it’s not something I would interface.0 status. starting point for a new echelon of Scorched Earth was the guinea pig. I can’t wait to craft a plug creatures and enemies in red. Some players were upset. Studio Wildcard wasn’t ready to talk details on exactly what those DLC additions might entail. “Let’s go to the Fetish Bar!” expansion consisting of a new map. Stieglitz says they won’t quit 2 lEGS Hold sprint to boost at high speeds 4 chEST Has a jetpack working on ARK: Survival Evolved “until we think the game has realized through destructible that can hover in the absolute mechanical upper limit. unexpected for players and we should fun. Also has a the ocean. It’s a daunting task. and for the gaping hole in my chest. months’. January 2017 39 . Access. They’re player driven by design. survival game challenges. benefits of transparency and renewed going. but a transfer characters between them and finished platform.” according to Stieglitz. but clearly regret not in development for much longer than warning beyond a few cryptic teasers. a journey from washed up naked Wildcard decided was important to lay Survival games don’t often leave Early person to cybernetic demigod. maybe it means I’ll marry a triceratops someday yet.” objects and soft 2 place or boost with a What that looks like is unclear. and rightfully Even so. but Stieglitz caved and dRESS foR SuccESS Complete Tek armor functions gave me one hint. interactions. but carbon based double tap of the lifeforms. The team believe They’ve always had a plan for paid performance “will probably go up by they have plenty of work left ahead. Still. we’d so. to iterate until ARK reached a The studio had a lot of explaining to do. attempting to and in more experimental doses via have communicated that better. had a complete overhaul. (maybe). regret releasing the DLC before ARK’s the surprise success of ARK has kept it creatures. By launch. and suffocating in space 4 nightvision mode. the UI will have Access doesn’t mean Wildcard is recommend. receiving positive reviews on Steam have said. But Studio game and why it wasn’t communicated for Studio Wildcard. and the ability to about 25%.

Can they bring something new to RTS multiplayer too? By Samuel Roberts 40 January 2017 . COMBAT EVOLVES The Total War team are bringing Halo Wars 2 to PC.

It remains as combat- Deserts of Kharak or Ashes of the focused. you’ve got version. Halo Wars 2 has missed out.” The idea of owning a combined console and PC version of Microsoft’s new wave of Windows 10 games is a key part of the company’s strategy—although I’m not sure I know anyone who plays across both. Starship Trooper-esque UNSC. And for strategy was condensed to enable a us. including hotkeys. the studio that made the mouse and keyboard controls for PC. Creative were in the ’90s and noughties. and it mash-up between action and strategy. except he first Halo Wars never came to PC Gamer’s Phil Savage sometimes. On the platform that altogether for us. If you “Especially because of Ensemble and need to clear out a garrison of troops. too. an RTS made for consoles would never have been a Full circle Eight years later. Age [of Empires] and everything like the flamethrower-equipped hellbringer that. It’s Master Chief-starring FPS series and pretty streamlined. And that opportunity T really hasn’t come up until we look at Play Anywhere—if you look at Xbox. maybe the last thing. Halo’s scout vehicles—right up to earth was meant to be for Lord of the missiles from the more powerful air Rings: weapons-grade fan service. it had to be on units will earn their keep. wolverines to sort them out. You form bases at fixed locations The appeal of Halo Wars is in taking across the map. a rogue alien race Halo Wars. January 2017 41 . founder and head of Halo base. and finding the perhaps. it really is about play on the device you want now. Halo Wars is to Halo recharge timer. this time made by Total spun off from original Halo bad guys War masters The Creative Assembly.” created the genre. is The Covenant. If The Banished sends a it didn’t come out on PC. showed. infantry and worlds of the finite slots for buildings and turrets. laid out in grids with the vehicles. The studio’s game Outside of Relic’s reliable output and looks a lot nicer than the Xbox One the omnipotent StarCraft II. was key with The the unit cap felt stingy—a reflection. Everything we would there has to be more action—and for ordinarily recognize as real-time PC there has to be more depth. Assembly has naturally implemented Ensemble. Creative Assembly. such as grenades for what Empire at War was supposed to marines. Even right partner. it’s best to have some of the developer 343 Industries. of the limitations of the team that could actually pull that hardware.” says Bonnie group of flying banshees towards your Ross. however. Each has a classic rock-paper- “When we shipped the first Halo scissors set of strengths and Wars. supporting higher occasional outliers like Homeworld: framerates. we’re not While the original game was made to exactly as rich with RTS games as we be played with a controller. So first thing. or ramming for warthogs— be to Star Wars or Battle for Middle. F E AT U R E Halo Wars 2 Windows and PC. first Halo Wars. people were pretty disappointed weaknesses. That 2009 RTS was to be accessible. Ross says. no longer exists. more of an enticing prospect. in the traditional RTS scene. You’ve got two races: the Singularity but not much else going on human. finding the greater emphasis on combat. “It has to feel like a tailor-made for the Xbox 360. A second and the Banished. Each unit has an presenting it on a scale you could only alternate fire attack that works on a get with an RTS. units. PC—and I’m not sure if we really Secondly. who are UNSC’s rocket-equipped anti-air collaborating with CA on this sequel.

which is Blitz mode. that unit about RTS games that my own team if you’re a PC instantly appears in your starting area. Players each have a deck of 12 Halo Wars 2 in a more traditional cards. magazine until now. During my hands-on I something new to say in an RTS game. At E3. you draw another from Halo Wars 2 hasn’t appeared in the your deck. a The devs have swapped rudimentary simple tutorial-based affair that base-building for a card-game-driven. sampled the first campaign mission. which is why play a card. Creative Assembly has perhaps found very familiar. and each time you a lot to say about them. The game’s and the better the card. the more it Deathmatch and Stronghold modes are costs to play—generally you’ll start with pretty familiar RTS fare. The story is set on the Ark from Halo 3—one of a few brilliant entries in the series that sadly You can unlock didn’t come to PC. sci-fi imagery It’s in the 2v2 Blitz mode that creating buildings that harvest them in suits RTS your bases—RTS veterans will find this games well. won without ever getting into a fight player. suitable for an RTS. There’s not a lot more to Halo Wars ABOVE: with them—which was amusing but beyond that. Resources are acquired by Halo’s chunky almost impossible to write about. It’s essentially an enormous space station with a variety booster packs of biomes. The cards replace your barracks and 42 January 2017 . I’ve played minutes. explains how certain types of units arcade-like online mode lasting 7-12 work and how to garrison your troops. the centerpiece of Halo Wars 2’s multiplayer modes. Halo story is a team I played against knew so little bit confusing When you play a card. bY doing prettY base oF cards This campaign mission is just the much anYthing primer for what comes next. each card representing a unit or multiplayer 3v3 mode at both E3 and leader power in Halo Wars 2. Playing a card costs energy. You start Gamescom and didn’t come away with with a hand of four. and ends in a boss fight with a large Banished alien unit. the RIGHT: The enough energy to play a couple of units.

but doing so will make them ABOVE short fix of RTS.” exclusive cards. You can unlock booster packs building wholesale. “One: power trip for the first few rounds. and your strategies are journalist could score the most points blown up in the map. “practice” mode for Blitz called too. Wolverine scorPion BlisterBack BansHee I feel like Halo Wars 2 will be almost The UNSC’s anti-air unit Halo’s basic tank. ten.” 343’s Dan Ayoub explains. and gathered don’t particularly miss building the cards and learning how to counter the most of the cards I needed to start things. Whether it takes off as an online offering is another challenge. of banshees from nuking keeping the Banished’s where the wolverine Halo? They look and as well as a suite of classic multiplayer your troops. but very quickly Put it this way: during my hands-on nightingale. You can repaired. own version of horde mode. I unit setups. favorite units ended up being the seems really simple. options. and an attempt to do preventing an onslaught was a smart way of standard units. Energy cores appear around The Ark was depth to it. your only option for two of my capture points best of the Banished’s Remember the moment breezy campaign. “Blitz had two primary goals for AI’s own strategy. card system should replace base. while some of the game’s RTS get into the game very easily? But powerful waves of Banished contesting stronger hero units cost 300. but going to be very different from in Firefight. and the developers plan to keep the multiplayer balanced for high-level play. It’s an interesting side addition to you’re able to get into the fray. How do you let people then it becomes an incredibly hard wielding Hellbringers cost just ten who might be a little intimidated by score-attack mode. comes in handy. a flying medic that hovered between my two capture points. it you for those precious energy cores. those other modes. and I didn’t break the top them will determine how many units here has been Deathmatch or Stronghold or any of five. and fighting rival players for Halo 3. In my hands-on I unlocked locations of bases are fixed anyway. and sometimes Parking one of these on ground unit—one of the aircraft model. You can RIGHT: You arrive at half health. the flamethrower- accessibility. Sometimes you just need to have something on the battlefield. which is a real risk don’t see spend half an hour. That flexibility in deck building easily makes Blitz the most exciting part of Halo Wars 2 for me. instantaneous nature is really satisfying. January 2017 43 . Firefight is a bit of a crafting my own strategy straight away. F E AT U R E Halo Wars 2 factories. also deploy units directly onto the The second goal was to provide a Deck building offers a higher level battlefield. while both factions I wouldn’t go so far to say that this these days. adding new cards after release. A deadly combined air/ The Banished’s standard comfortably familiar to PC players: a is fierce. and each grants you access to energy to draw from. finding energy or holding a point. where the designed to let players test different challenges. weedier infantry at bay. two hours playing a choose from six leaders across the two when you’ve got a finite amount of enough tiny Deathmatch. us. “You could easily of strategy to this mode. if you’re a seasoned RTS player. men blow up match in five. and every unit of energy ABOVE LEFT: you start to realize there’s a ton of there was a competition to see which matters. or you can pop out a Blitz sides. and kept my units alive—more essential than ever when you’re drawing from a Pick of tHe deck finite pot of resources. named as such after Halo’s through doing pretty much anything. sound the same. but its Firefight. One of my also. There’s a wave-based offline have a shared pot of basic unit cards. This is including the campaign and daily In Halo Wars 2 specifically. fifteen minutes. This is you steal one in the first something new with the genre in Blitz. Naturally you need a balance of Some of Halo’s units and what they offer in Blitz mode cheaper and more expensive units to deal with a variety of enemy tactics— my team won one game just by having a single unit sit on a capture point.” Blitz in its own right. by tweaking their deck of around one per match. even if it’s going to be wiped out against any stronger opposition. with increasingly points. and On the lower end.

LEFT: Halo is since Halo 2. “I think we’re trying to be really BOTTOM deliberate with what the right moves LEFT: are for Halo. and none of essential. right purpose-built experience. used properly. generous free release on the Windows Store as well as Halo Wars 2. So we’re trying to Halo universe. and the little wrinkles they’ve brought to Halo Wars 2 certainly make 4 it feel like a busier. For now. But having Creative Assembly Building a deck for Blitz mode in Halo Wars 2 drive this has been wise from a PC perspective: that’s a guarantee of quality in the eyes of many PC strategy fans. so a balance of air. more engaging game 5 to me than the first one did. and I think it most BOTTOM naturally fits into Windows. like me. or a capture point. For people 1 who have never owned an Xbox. weaknesses. Xbox One’s Master Chief Collection ported to PC. it looks like 343 about stern is keeping its eye on the future—in case army people who sort you.” Ross says. It’s the game that people wanted on PC in the first place. were hoping to see the aliens out. which we’ve grilled Xbox’s Phil Spencer about in the past. And I RIGHT: In the think Forge does too. the mainline entries have come to PC 44 January 2017 . But Halo also has a 1 You’ve got twelve slots. is pretty neat. I’m about 2 3 95% sure Halo 6 will come to PC.” especially given that this is a Windows 10 game and a pretty vocal slice of users are still vowing not to use the Windows t H e s i l e n t c a r d -t o g r a P H e r Store. off the back of Forge’s recent. land 2 These terms denote buffs or abilities specific to 3 These symbols tell you each unit’s strengths and 4 It’s worth packing some cheap units early on 5 These ability cards produce a one-off effect that pretty amazing legacy on Xbox that I and anti-air units is that card. “So we felt like Bashing hot the right first move for moving into a keys to make units appear full game for Windows was the RTS. commander in chieF One question I’ve had since Microsoft committed to PC gaming again is the status of the mainline Halo series. just to take energy can turn a battle if think we’re missing out on. the $80 ultimate edition of Halo Wars 2 comes with a PC port of Ensemble’s effort—although I’d rather they just sold it separately for $20. two sides go be deliberate with how we bring Halo to war over to Windows and making sure it’s the big circles.

first move was Halo Wars 2 is at least a positive sign of Halo’s longer term prospects on PC. an rts” While nothing outside of Blitz has really moved me so far. but we look right want to really think about what the PC when they’re that the right gamer today wants and what that right experience is. It’s an start here—but having more decent FPS. “Obviously we had Halo: CE and StarCraft II. I honestly don’t think it’ll Halo 2 on the PC in the past. January 2017 45 . and The Creative Assembly offers a I ask Ross if that means they don’t reliable pair of hands to bring it to life. But I think strategy games on PC can only be a that gameplay expectations have good thing. it’s set in a sci-fi universe that is still exciting to look at. see older Halo games as a strong match If the classic RTS is to undergo some for PC.” yellow. and are focusing more on the sort of renaissance outside of Relic and future. I’m Somehow “we felt hornets don’t not saying we’ll never do that. F E AT U R E Halo Wars 2 evolved for the PC. and so I think that ABOVE: we’d be a little bit more deliberate. it works great on PC.

and try gaming is that games those classics again? And if you missed can grow old something great the first time around. gracefully. If you dig why not correct that oversight now? your old console out This list is designed to help you. 46 january 2017 .F E AT U R E MAKE YOUR OLD GAMES NEW AGAIN Classic games and the mods that give them a serious spruce-up. prettier. O pleasures of PC or pay a visit to Steam or GOG. it’s a different story. make the game into something else. some fix bugs the developer You might have to jump through a never got around to. but they aren’t going to games can actually get better as they help you enjoy the original. In the world of PC gaming. as fans work on them. however. old Those are great. And you won’t find in this list are mods that that’s before you get into modding. for free. If you your experience of classic PC games. but once cut content that never made it into the you do it’ll take advantage of your new game in the first place. for not what we’re here for today. and others restore few hoops to get it running. load up an old PC game from that Some of them help the game look period. and they’re age. you’ll find brought together a couple of dozen your games for it run exactly as well mods that will improve and expand as they did back in the 1990s. I’ve of the attic and dust it off. So why not dig out your old CDs. The only thing hardware and run better than ever. By Tom Hatfield ne of the great years.

Revision grabs the best H ow much introduction do I need to give Deus Ex? For years it has staked out a high position in PC Gamer’s greatest games of all time. go anywhere (probably through a using the Unreal 1 engine in the era of creators of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided. Visual improvements from New Vision and Project HDTP are included. Upon release it was even endorsed by Eidos Montreal. Deus Ex was all about options. from each of those. while offering a mass of tweaks and adjustments of its own.dx-revision.com january 2017 47 . But even at the time it was a dated looking game. There are fixes for that. www. vent) and do anything (probably Quake III. It was the game of crawl through a vent). letting you figure out how you wanted to approach any of its enormous levels. F E AT U R E MOD Deus ex Deus ex Revision For years there have been multiple competing mods to revitalize the original Deus Ex. while aug-adjusting mods like Shifter and Biomod appear as game modes.

but the standout is boss fights to the Throne of Bhaal emphasize. and yet still there was content left on the cutting room floor.ly/2eBcKxs 48 january 2017 . which restores a vast amount of cut content. the visuals in a host of ways. epic space battles. MOD KillAp’s fAllout 2 RestoRAtion pRoject Killap has created both an unofficial patch (bundled here) and this mod. can run on either ending of the game turned out. but the RPG was considered verging on dead when Baldur’s Gate hit the scene. BioWare’s surprise hit was a vehicle for excellent writing and memorable characters. it’s of other strategy games. despite a short development cycle.pocketplane. It never had the story of Wing Commander or the wide open world of Elite. but also comes with a generally more difficult opponents which finally gives fan favorite handful of new character than vanilla versions. one of the game’s original writers. but www. but still a great game. and half a dozen new characters. It’s the wackier and less coherent of the two original Fallouts. fix mods are redundant thanks to still an unofficial mod. FreeSpace 2 was released in 1999 and sold very little. supreme commanDer Famous for its limitless zoom and massive scale. representing There are too many additions to tougher and more spectacular different strategies the AI can name here. It never quite won the mainstream appeal Most graphical enhancement and Ascension is a curious thing.com I t’s easy to forget now.bit. www. www.net/ub www. but it put the player right in the middle of huge. who was soRiAn Ai which restores cut quests and unhappy with how the original After installation you’ll find six new other content. Fallout 2 F allout 2 was several times larger than the original. created by long time BioWare Thankfully Unfinished Business.net Freespace 2 Considered by many to be the greatest space game ever made. including a Chinese submarine. The resulting mod adds much setting up matches. The base installer upgrades inevitable Star Wars/Trek mods. There is moments and dialogue created by smarter and more likely to use Sorian was eventually hired by Gas also a version available for BG1. and set the stage for years of hits that followed. types of AI to choose from when classic or enhanced versions. high-tech units rather than just Powered Games. Sorian AI’s are definitely The Kidnapping of Boo: expansion. www.bit. but it was MOD the 2014 Enhanced Edition.fsoinstaller. MOD fReespAce open The saving grace of FreeSpace 2’s failure is that no one minded when they released the source code.killap. but it gained a cult following. Seedy New Reno in particular puts Fallout: New Vegas’s strip to shame. designer David Gaider. A small community picked it up and they’ve been polishing and enhancing it ever since. Freespace Open is what kept space games it’s also a platform for tons of BalDur’s Gate 2 alive until the recent Kickstarter player-made campaigns and the boom. Supreme MOD 1 MOD 2 Commander was about two things: huge robots and efficiently unfinisheD Business Ascension managing your economy. Action RPGs such as Diablo seemed to be the future. Whole locations are restored.ly/2dkoaok swarm you with low level ones. as they’re This mod was so popular that Minsc his own sidequest.

brutal. MOD the sith loRDs RestoReD content moD Vampire: the This is the gold masqueraDe— standard in cut content restoration BlooDlines mods. Once doors the fans took up the task of you start playing you fixing the game. Nowadays it www. but gaming. Yet this is when developer Troika closed its no grab-bag.bit. one stands proud. Vampire is famously both one of while also salvaging the best written and most hundreds of other original RPGs of all time. MOD 1 Doom MOD BRutAl Doom H Here are new death community pAtch ey. and more. In its original state it famously it restores a was near unplayable. saving the delusional Malkavian www. www. Yet with Back in 1993 Doom the community patch in place the seemed shocking. And yet it has become a cult classic. patch addressed some issues. woeful shooting. the game was both buggy and incomplete. over a Doom you played in 100 new NPCs and the ability to 1993. popularized the first-person shooter as we know it. it’s a Doom in 1993 all fan-made expansion pack.bit. punching. and the transgressive and writing can shine. it’s Doom.bit. remain. The MOD 2 ridiculous gibs and BlooDlines AntitRiBu loud shotguns of If you’re looking for something Brutal Doom bring more than bug fixes. this is the that feeling back. realize each change they’re still at it.ly/2edIurf playthrough for your second attempt. Essentially. and dismemberment. Most released.ly/2dom9Te simply doesn’t have the same impact. I’m not playing around. enemy When I say Vampire was buggy.ly/2eMunKn www. It mod you want. who were hostile the feeling of playing in the main game. painting a wonderful world of putting a smile on the tortured goths. fans everywhere.ly/1mmsv60 january 2017 49 . But patch it first. Do I have to explain it? It’s the game that animations. over again. but it captures join the Sabbat. I highly faces of killer robot recommend playing it twice. yet the planned factory for characters and setting shine. game becomes playable. Here’s how to enjoy it at its best. and little interactions and one of the buggiest games ever characters. An official launched one of the longest running mod scenes in PC kicking. as the exclusive dialogue is full of hints and meta-jokes about the main narrative. Antitribu adds may not be the same seven new vampire clans. the ending in particular. Six years later. like the of the original game. HK assassin droids. Rushed out in a single year. Among the countless Doom mods. Not all of has been carefully Vampire’s problems can even be chosen to fit the tone fixed: bad design decisions. F E AT U R E Make Your Old Games New Again KniGhts oF the olD repuBlic 2 K otOR’s less famous offspring was famously unfinished on release. It replaces and revamps the unfinished finale.bit.

more realistic approach.com/mods/gtaiv/ice30 50 january 2017 . The shiny. The game’s success launched indie studio Introversion. www.F E AT U R E Make Your Old Games New Again uplinK Uplink is the best hacking game you will ever play. you’ll probably never look at a terrible tacked-on hacking minigame the same way again. including female NPCs and an in-game notepad to help keep track. Indeed the game was only three years old when the astonishing ICEnhancer burst onto the scene. www. GTA IV painstakingly recreated New York in minute detail to tell the story of Serbian immigrant older and better supported games. just a different kind. MOD uplinK os This swaps the original ’80s hacker movie aesthetic for something a little more silicon valley startup. built for a game. this is a must-have. slick OS is more Apple than Omni-Consumer Products. There are also a host of small tweaks and convenience upgrades. yet still feels like it’s offering a hacker fantasy. at least until GTA V topped it in 2013.icelaglace.moddb. With clever use of shaders and post- processing effects. Liberty City was the most incredible location ever New York to fake LA.com/mods/uplink-os Gta iV MOD icenhAnceR The GTA IV mod scene is as impressive as that of many T he fourth installment of Rockstar’s habitually headline grabbing crime sim moved towards a grittier. Where games such as Vice City had gone for an ’80s cartoon look. In fact it’s so good. If you prefer fake Niko Bellic. it gave Liberty City a reboot that puts it almost on a par with GTA V’s Los Santos. which later produced Darwinia. Defcon and Prison Architect.

there would have been no BioShock and no Deus Ex. creating battle spaces filled with interesting features. The to make it look more like 2002 at once) to make the game look a There are hundreds of mods out result isn’t exactly Skyrim quality. than 1999. his mods remain some of the best around. The first Elder Scrolls game to become a breakout hit. and challenge of the game. including and more on pixels. It also pairs neatly with progress after many years) and of 2016. The community requires commitment. It won’t make size of ’90s bitmaps it makes a big and Skyrim engines (still in the game look like something out difference. It’s beautiful too. little more modern. Battlefield 2142. BattleFielD 2 I f you ask people what their favorite Battlefield is. MOD DARthmoD: shogun 2 Although Darth is no longer part of the Total War modding community. right? This has long been a cult favorite among Bethesda fans. and who knows what PC gaming would look like today. the Morrowind setting felt different. It’s mostly which focuses less on polygons oveRhAul focused on the NPCs. It’s a simple If you want to revisit Morrowind replacements for the hybrid. more tactical campaign.ly/2eDAj7l whole bunch of carefully selected www.bit.net/v3-0-release january 2017 51 . More than ReBiRth moD system shocK 2 that.realitymod. MOD pRoject ReAlity This mod is partly about obsessively modeling ballistics and making the game super hard.ly/2eecvnt W ithout this. jet planes and assault rifles game we know today. do anything RPG.com total War: shoGun 2 For the seventh Total War. It’s a shame it looks so dated. but it can at least manage Rebirth (yes.ornitocopter. but if you’re willing to buy in you’ll find yourself working as part of a team better than in any other shooter. monkeys.ly/2eoTTAM www. System Shock 2’s mix of first-person shooting and RPG. but this one packages a but it’s a huge visual improvement. you can install both simply upgrading Morrowind itself. Shogun 2 excels by taking many of the series’ best features and using them on a more intimate scale. you’ll probably get one of three answers: Bad Company 2.bit. The www. Creative Assembly returned to Japan— the setting of the series’ debut. feel a harder. moRRowinD detailed versions. and ultimate aim is to increase the system shocK 2 contains a large selection of sense of realism. which makes for submods that tweak the look. it was many people’s MOD 1 MOD 2 first experience of the go anywhere.bit. set aboard a ruined starship where the crew has turned into monsters. Let’s make it better. there. Battlefield 2 moved the series from WWII to the modern day and created the familiar high-tech. It felt weird. or Battlefield 2. www. www. rumbler. may seem familiar now. but this is morroWinD where it all started. DarthMod: Shogun II is a huge overhaul that rebalances units. blurry attempts to port it to the Oblivion ghosts and more. but far more importantly it’s about teamwork. Rebirth is all about replacing textuRe upgRADe MOD System Shock’s painfully low The other half of making System polygon models with more Shock look better is this upgrade. but given the tiny. improves AI and diplomacy. injection of higher resolution now I recommend skipping the midwife. mods into one easy download. textures.

there’s way more content out there created by 17 years of modders who’ve used Sven as a platform. That was the unfortunate consequence of a small Ukrainian studio making such an enormously ambitious game. among other things. the game was still excellent. Once you’re done with Half-Life itself. open-world setting and a grim survivalist fantasy. which spawned. but now it’s available as a free standalone on Steam. Much like Doom. MOD 1 MOD 2 stAlKeR complete lost AlphA A lot of Stalker mods come in the This began as a project to restore form of enhanced difficulty. and Blue Shift) in co-op? Things only escalated from there. Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. That was in 2001.moddb. strangely different. www. no cutscenes. Half-Life took Doom’s mazes and monsters approach and added a coherent story told entirely in first-person. but there’s also sadly a leak put an end to those a host of improved AI and plans. the modders had to invent some concerned instead with keeping of their own content to fill the the core experience close to what places up. with a bunch of new weapons and other tweaks added to the Sven version of Half-Life’s campaign.ly/1nyCHxo stalKer: shaDoW oF chernoByl T he very first issue of PC Gamer I ever bought contained the announcement of Stalker. Despite all this. post-Soviet. The result is something very bugfixes. being considered for release as a The main eye-catching element is paid expansion to Stalker. offering a uniquely bleak. nights. www.com/mods/lost-alpha 52 january 2017 . It took a further six years for the game to actually come out. but once they were done. MOD sven co-op Sven Co-op has been around in some form for 17 years now. more zones that were cut from the final survival elements. necessary for such a much like the original Stalker. and famously broken game. At one point this was the original developers intended.bit. The premise is simple: what if you could play Half-Life (and Opposing Force. At the time it was revolutionary. but the new graphics. Half-Life acquired an incredible mod scene.halF-liFe T he second most important FPS of all time. from the earliest days of Half-Life modding. at which point it was still buggy and unfinished. yet hauntingly. and pitch black game.ly/2e255q9 www. Complete is different.bit.

denying us the option textures and to fight a defensive war. The setting controller support is based on excess. Huge but it also provides a armies clashed.000: DaWn Released almost immediately after oF War Dark Souls hit PC.ly/1ERgobl www. but it is always better in resolution support. I really don’t MOD 1 recommend playing tyRAniDs moD Dark Souls with a The original game included almost keyboard though. My would add Titans. MOD Warhammer Dsfix 40.ly/2eB9ouG january 2017 53 . staying true to the series’ larcenous roots.bit. but from the original game its own instead form one giant unit (along with other large and sprawling scale-enhancing additions).bit. The main part of that “almost” was Tyranids. The scale of the original Dawn of War. DSFix’s most basic function is to allow Dawn of War was the first players to boost the videogame to truly understand game’s resolution. Thief: Deadly Shadows offered the same kind of together a quite developers made these one of the hub based.bit. Warhammer 40.000 tabletop www. the levels are no into Dawn of War. Could anything salvage the excellent game from the disappointing port? Yes. A year later they got one. of other mods for But if you want them in the grand easy installation. Warhammer’s absolute favorite biggest. www.bit.ly/19KF7Pz game. such as with the canny idea of tying acting as a mod resources directly to captured loader for new territory. who sneAKy upgRADe T were sad they never got the chance to try them out on PC. F E AT U R E Make Your Old Games New Again DarK souls A fter Dark Souls made huge waves when released on console in 2011. the immersive sim Tyranids will get one too. Not every army available for the even a little bit. are not limited to: www. PC gamers clamored for a port. Just not a good one. as Relic came up features. as the studios. he last game produced by the legendary Ion Storm Sneaky packages Relic clearly agreed. bug More isn’t always better in fixes. 40K’s excessive scale. open-ended sneaking as Deus Ex. but if space.ly/2e47NOr texture improvements. keyboard re- mapping. while still frankly exhausting list original factions in Dawn of War 2. mostly ridiculously improvement is that expensive plastic monstrosities. Voracious Alien-like bug creatures who thieF: DeaDly shaDoWs devour whole planets. Warhammer 40.000. enthusiasts. Not only does longer broken up by Apocalypse give every faction loading zones. higher modding. and clashed host of other frequently. changes include but this is where to get them. perfect for you install the above mod. so it was and old Thief-style inevitable that eventually modders briefing videos. the Tyranids MOD were popular with many Warhammer tabletop players. MOD 2 animation ultimAte ApocAlypse improvements.

F E AT U R E 54 January 2017 .

F E AT U R E THE ITALIAN JOB The story behind Sapienza. By Phil Savage S apienza. lead level designer. January 2017 55 . “This was the myself included. level of Hitman. the second become the game’s standout level. For many. it was the level that only direction we got.” proved IO knew what it was doing— says Torbjørn that after Absolution. we really had a lot of freedom to be the studio was back to making quality creative. “So controversial episodic release plan. Hitman’s best episode. began against which subsequent Hitman as two words: Coastal episodes are compared. and despite a Christensen.” That coastal town would assassination sandboxes. Town.

in my mind. The most obvious contrast in Sapienza is between the idyllic setting 56 January 2017 .” says progress. likes his mother’s “If I say. “He coastal towns. it might needed a target to fill it. The Italian inconsequential to the action. creative director for Hitman. seemed it might have a rear entrance. and we could work undisturbed because everyone else was on vacation. “We Elverdam to elaborate on how the encompass it easily. it’s much harder to guess where idea spawned the secret cave under the a simplification—it was also a thematic the level starts and stops. something like Sapienza. Hitman’s first level.” beautiful but very raw nature. if you don’t want to. 47 Contrast can add depth to character. casual and all that. especially as Hitman’s plot an attic. It might have a main entrance. You can mentally setting offered an obvious solution.” says Elverdam. Sapienza is bright. Whereas with quickly decided that the target should designers work with the writing team.” The palace.” TrAveL COmpANIONs This isn’t a holiday. “We used this feeling In the end. we have the super the pinnacle of what he calls Swiss version of ‘sleeping with the fishes’. it has different floors. “During those weeks the good weather was definitely an inspiration.” caused by his deceased mother. contrast is a key the organic exploration of the level so could take place. if we tell you be a mafia boss living in a huge “It’s a back and forth all the time. in the sense that it’s air conditioned.” For Elverdam.” says Christian Elverdam. with muted lighting and soft colors. Many of his Opportunities virus project. For Elverdam. etc. and you feel a little bit like a prisoner looking out at this wide mountain range. But the team still wanted him wanted to explore the verticality in mean that you will never get lost. a threat to the program. Silvio Caruso’s contrast to this high-tech facility and that we built a volume filled with profession was altered from gangster to very pleasant interior of the hospital. “I think the contrast to Sapienza. “It’s almost meant to build up Strandberg’s arrogance. “You understand roughly necessarily.’ I think immediately your mind the other end. “The whole building is an affront to the Moroccan culture. “The level was created by an environment artist and myself. IO had.” The targets live in to feel like a stereotypical Italian.” says Christensen. It’s an interesting thing. “We especially connections.” direction—through a different hole in coaxed down lived at home. then. find a new way to underground hideout became the starts to imagine what that means.” I was surprised to learn the story what a palace is. was obviously daytime. and how streets and idea is you should be able to go in any the mansion. it might have connected of a level.” says Christensen. awkward. ‘You’re going to infiltrate a the cheese—and. could have such an effect on the design it might have a basement. Clearly center on the emotional turmoil spy to make sure he doesn’t become Caruso has been playing too much they’re not even trying to assimilate. and Silvio CaruSo FranCeSCa De SantiS Dna SpeCiFiC viruS completely Scandinavian in its outlook. where various illegal activities thing.” He based the look on towns along Italy’s Amalfi coast. until the last few episodes.” Silvio used his seaplane to get rid of environmental context. in stark Cheese design. Shy. has a temper. which makes mansion. using both the colorful yellow buildings and the unusual topography. “The mafia this case I think story reasons is maybe town.” Where Paris is enclosed. she moonlights as a targets based on their DNA. still but can be corridors connect everything. psychologically Ostensibly the head of Caruso’s A virus designed to kill specific There’s a certain arrogance there that abused. Sapienza represents enemies out at sea—a rather extreme as an example. who spent two weeks mocking up a rough version during IO’s summer holiday. relaxed. In you’re infiltrating an Italian coastal mansion. was very attached to his mother. “You don’t have to backtrack obvious location for a laboratory. “This night-time gala feeling was something that we felt was important to Paris. In Marrakesh. banker Claus Strandberg is hiding out in the Swedish consulate. when you come out at into the town spaghetti. and these connections ABOVE: Both scientist. I ask have a garden. “In Hokkaido. open and vibrant. too. The Showstopper mission was built around exclusivity— the idea that 47 is able to infiltrate any location. Metal Gear Solid. As the theme and layout took shape. and in part as a response to it. Elverdam. One idea was that tool in creating atmosphere and adding satisfying.F E AT U R E Hitman’s Sapienza Sapienza was developed in parallel with Paris.

F E AT U R E
Hitman’s Sapienza

BOTTOM: IO Caruso’s final form. “When I look at the make every NPC have a purpose, and
wanted the feedback from Sapienza, a lot of people only place them where it makes sense,”
player to feel
like they were
for the first time said they didn’t feel says Christensen. “The ‘enforcers’ that
on holiday. necessarily comfortable killing Silvio,” can see through disguises are often
he says. “The fact that he’s just a added later, once we start playtesting
mamma’s boy, and he’s been bullied and the mission in depth. Their exact
downtrodden throughout his life, placement, or the direction they look,
makes him more interesting as a will be tweaked numerous times to
character than if he was sort of a top make sure it feels difficult in a fun way.”
gangster boss.” For Elverdam, the moral IO had never before created a level
ambiguity is a sign of a character with a on this scale. They were attempting to
little more complexity. “It felt a little bit create environments much larger than
like a deeper target than maybe what Blood Money, but with the NPC density
we’ve done before.” of Absolution. “We were building some
very large levels, and we had some
accidents will happen fundamental questions,” says Elverdam.
Opportunities can lead to some “How do you navigate? How much
showpiece moments, but each level traversal is acceptable?”
must also support more player-driven Playtesting was invaluable, and
solutions. “When you take the role of a helped IO refine many aspects. One of
hitman, it should feel like the world is the big changes of this period was to
full of ways to kill people,” Christensen target loops—the route a target will
says. “In addition to the more custom travel and repeat. Initially, Francesca
setups, we try to have many other De Santis, Sapienza’s secondary target,
possible ways to kill targets. Accidental would wander around the town. “She
and Caruso’s own internal turmoil. death should lurk around every corner went to the church and the cave during
Opportunities are story driven threads in the world of assassination.” The her main loop,” says Christensen.
that 47 can use to manipulate and kill challenge is filling the world with ways “Because of the very long travel times
targets, and those designed for Caruso to kill a target, but not make the act between those locations, we decided to
often lean upon his relationship with itself trivial to perform. Hence the not do this, as it wasn’t fun to wait that
his mother. Created as a collaboration civilians and guards, who will notice if long for her to do her loop. Silvio had
between writers and designers, for you do anything suspicious. similar issues, so in order to fix this,
Elverdam Opportunities are a way for NPCs are added early to the level, both targets’ main loops were
IO to push the fantasy of the Hitman and refined from there. “We try to shortened.” For both, Opportunities
experience. “I think some of the were implemented that let the player
powerful moments are obviously when trigger events to lure out their targets—
I enter the Moroccan Embassy and, furthering the Hitman fantasy of
dressed as a cameraman, I feel almost
like I’m part of a spy thriller,” he says.
“peOpLe dIdN’T feeL manipulating your quarry.
With both targets confined to the
“Or when I’m sitting, waiting for
Caruso as a psychiatrist, it feels like the
COmfOrTABLe mansion, the town feels quiet and
peaceful. Crucially, it still has a purpose.
chessmaster version of Agent 47—this kILLINg sILvIO” This is one of Sapienza’s most
feeling that he’s one step ahead.” distinctive features—containing the
Some Opportunities are complex
design tasks, such as the chandelier
that can be made to crash down onto
the stage in Paris. Others are subtler,
but just as memorable. “The
psychiatrist moment is actually very
downplayed, and it’s still pretty
powerful,” says Elverdam. “They also
allow us to do some meaningful banter
with Agent 47, where he’s actually
talking to the different targets or
sometimes just introducing himself.”
The double meaning when Agent 47,
dressed as a psychiatrist, reassures a
member of Caruso’s household “I’m the
best”, is a way to add a touch of
personality to the character.
Delving further into the backstory of
the targets has some interesting effects.
While Christensen seems disappointed
he didn’t get to create the full mafia
fantasy, Elverdam seems happy with

F E AT U R E
Hitman’s Sapienza

main challenge in the mansion, but Escalation and Elusive Target missions BOTTOM:
filling the town with weapons, secret take place all across the town. These The
mundanity of
routes and Opportunities. “Making the alternate missions focus on different the location
town free to explore was a deliberate targets, often with extra complications contrasts
choice,” says Christensen, “and for 47 to consider. But while both were with 47’s dark
Sapienza was not filled with busy part of Hitman’s development plan, mission.
crowds on purpose, as we wanted a neither had an effect on the way
more relaxed ‘siesta’ feel.” Sapienza was designed. “Elusive
Nevertheless, it was something of a Targets are not thought of as part of
bold departure from previous games. how we build the levels,” says
“We were a little bit afraid of the Elverdam, “because the complexity of
density in small pockets,” says the sandbox really should dictate that if
Elverdam, “but I also think that’s one of we build a swiss cheese from the get go,
the things that actually turned out very and on an organic level where you can
nicely with Sapienza. It has some space move around, then there should be
in there and you can actually breathe.” room for an Elusive Target.”
Each episode is designed to be According to Elverdam, the team
played many times, in multiple responsible for creating Elusive Targets
configurations. Where the World of use heatmap data to see where players
Tomorrow mission keeps things spend the majority of their time. “If we
centered on Caruso’s mansion, the see that a lot of people don’t necessarily

TOur guIde Things to do in Sapienza
1 pl ay De aD
Get here early 3 overwatCh
The tower
enough and you’ll 1 offers a perfect
meet a scientist view of the
with a handy mansion. Sniper spend a lot of time in the gardens of
dongle. rifle supplied Paris, then we’ll put in a little garden
separately. party and so forth.”
2 Cannon run
These cannons
still work. You just
3
4 hh oo lmieD a y
You might assume the same holds
true of Contracts—custom missions
need your target to
4 47’s safehouse that players can create and share.
walk into position. 2 contains an Apparently, that’s not the case.
experimental
exploding golf ball.
“Contracts mode is a little bit more
Use your embedded in the early thought process
imagination. of the level,” says Elverdam, “in the
sense that, while Contracts mode does
not dictate what a level looks like and
how it’s built, there is a pass where we
make sure we put in enough patrolling
NPCs that they can become interesting
targets.” Too many generic NPCs would
restrict a Contract creator’s options.
“We need to make sure that there are
enough small characters and moments
and identifiable targets on a level that
Contracts mode feels it could take off.”

location shoot
A more substantial Sapienza remix
happened over summer, with the
release of Hitman’s bonus episode. It
centered the action on the town,
turning it into a film set. “It allowed us
to use the town square as a trespassing
zone, which is something you would
almost never do otherwise,” says
Elverdam. “The town square and the
streets are typically—obviously—for the
public, right?” The film set also allowed
the team to do something surprising. “I

think the idea for a robot invasion in ABOVE: It’s “I don’t think it’s a bad thing doing It sounds as if Sapienza’s success has
Italy is as far from what people would the sunniest them, but we need to be mindful on helped build IO’s confidence. “When I
expect as can come.” murder how, and can we be even more creative look at the willingness to experiment
playground in
One less successful element of the game. in how you accomplish them.” on Colorado and Hokkaido, I don’t think
Sapienza is 47’s final objective: destroy Elverdam stresses that this was their any of us would have been as willing if
Caruso’s virus. “The first time you find first time building around an objective it hadn’t been for that,” says Elverdam.
the secret cave, and have to find a way that wasn’t a target. “I think it’s down It’s been ten years since Blood Money;
to destroy the virus, it works pretty to the fact that the way you destroyed IO wasn’t sure there was still an
well,” says Christensen. But, “Hitman the virus maybe doesn’t feel like a ‘hit’. audience for this style of Hitman game.
can be somewhat of a Groundhog Day It doesn’t feel like as gratifying or as “When I look at where IO is today,”
experience, and, in that perspective, the much of a conclusion ... That’s probably says Elverdam, “it’s pretty clear to me
virus doesn’t work so well ... it quickly the angle I would attack it from.” that one of the biggest things we’ve
becomes a rather annoying thing you achieved is this belief in the Hitman
have to do, especially considering sandbox. Both how to build it, and that
mission replay value.”
This was something I brought up in “Hitman CAN Be A there are people who actually like to
play it. It might sound straightforward
my Sapienza review, and clearly
something IO has learned from. “I
grOuNdhOg dAy now, but it might not have been as
straightforward back then.” Sapienza
think that has affected how we think
about these objectives,” says Elverdam.
experIeNCe” didn’t just reassure Hitman’s fans. It
helped convince IO as well.

January 2017 59

forming the don’t work well. Batman: Arkham Knight 80%-89% A great game with exceptional moments or Civilization since the disappointing features. or a refreshing Battlefield in years. Might suffer from bugs or technical issues. Just Cause 3. we finish a game before finalizing the review. Comes with caveats. Soma. A masterpiece and more. Examples Firefall. Undertale 95%-98% This is far and away one of the best games we’ve ever played. but majorly flawed that the war in question is World and disappointing. and touches of brilliance. Painkiller: Hell & Damnation basis of the most unusual and 60%-69% An interesting idea poorly expressed. 11%-39% Yikes. Examples The War Z. or it might (Also because calendars straight up be a single new item. Also this month. they surprisingly well. we won’t assign a score. If it has any interesting ideas. Life-changing. we’ll review it. but we will tell you when publishers start releasing whether they’re worth your time in their current state. the first new Examples Broken Age.savage@futurenet. Examples MGS V. Blood Bowl 2 and my favorite since the excellent 70%-79% Good. Rainbow Six Siege. Kerbal Space Program. Examples Half-Life 2. Bad. Based on TJ’s review. It’s still a big. Actively boosts the immune systems of nearby children and small animals. a recommendation. The Editor’s Choice award is granted in PHIL SAVAGE addition to the score. Fallout 4 90%-94% A compelling recommendation for most PC Civ VI is now the best in the series. The difference this time is 40%-49% This game is functional. Spelunky 99%-100% Advances the human species. Ahead of its time and important to PC gaming. alpHas & betas This means we’ll review any released alpha. derivative idea executed averagely. life in the trenches The main aim of the reviews section is to help you make buying decisions. You know it’s nearly Christmas For these games. This score is Bad Company 2. Are you playing game—doesn’t venture too far from one of these games? Take 3d6 emotional damage.) For EA. and try to match it to a reviewer who’s a passionate expert in the field. We review each game on its own merits. Armikrog War I. HOw we review REVIEW Wherever possible. Beyond Earth. tell you how long it is until Christmas. Either way. beta or otherwise unfinished game that you can currently buy. Sonic: Lost World wars. if we think you want to know about it. It represents phil. their biggest games of the year. It’s a setting that works 50%-59% Mediocre. Examples Elite: Dangerous. 60 JAnUARY 2017 . that means Our scOring Battlefield 1. Examples Primordia.com exceptional quality or innovation. Examples Big Brother its predecessors. at the discretion of DEPUTY EDITOR the PC Gamer staff. Update your wallcharts accordingly. chaotic flawed that it’s ultimately not worth any time or money. just not a glowing one. but not a classic. DICE’s multiplayer system explained shooter—actually the 15th Battlefield 00%-10% A game of absolutely no value. Star Trek. dOwnlOadable cOntent DLC might be hours-long new missions for a game. gamers. Examples SimCity. and we recommend it to the entire world. or so fundamentally chaotic game about big. Technically broken.

We 2 into this issue. no. Became well versed in manly ways of Marcus jealous of Peter the running a ’60s crime that hated her back. crime Rhythm. actually. muscles Strategy. Has been bench Great’s magnificent family can actually be should have expected it arrived a day too late. Is fart joke here. really tedious. hexes Shooters. also mean penis. war Specialist in Shooters.. pressing ever since. from a Dark Souls fan. JAnUARY 2017 61 .. malevolence Editing. dongs Currently playing Currently playing Currently playing Currently playing Currently playing Battlefield 1 Currently playing Gears of War 4 Civilization VI Mafia III Thumper Titanfall 2 This month Shadow Warrior 2 This month This month This month This month This month Survived a gas attack This month Was subjected to the Became incredibly Discovered that Loved a rhythm game Wanted to get Titanfall when. Batman Currently playing Shooters.. but it I’m not going to do a the many words that Fenix. PHIL SAVAGE JAMES WES FEnLon tJ HAFEr A n Dy K E L Ly KEzA MAcDonALD SAMuEL robErtS Specialist in DAVEnPort Specialist in Specialist in Specialist in Specialist in Specialist in Shooters.. now sad. moustache. 68 62 70 contents 62 Battlefield 1 74 Civilization VI 68 Shadow Warrior 2 78 The Silver Case 70 Gears of War 4 80 Mafia III 72 Slayer Shock 84 Thumper this month’s squad leaders.

REVIEW Battlefield 1 “This is no simple rehash and replacemenT” 62 January 2017 .

REVIEW

The GreaT War
It doesn’t turn the series on its head, but Battlefield 1 is
a refreshing change of pace. By Phil Savage

I
’m chasing a man carrying a pigeon. He dives into a building—a century weapons, and, paradoxically,
mistake, because I’m using an assault class loadout specced for Need to KNow how much worse they are. Guns here
short range combat. I follow and get the drop on him. A couple of What Is It? are less effective than their 21st
blasts from my Trench Shotgun take him down. He drops the A team-based WWI century counterparts, and Battlefield 1
pigeon. I pick it up, and start scribbling a note. The note—that is, multiplayer shooter is better for it. Each weapon has its
with pigeons.
the timer that dictates how long until the note is finished—writes faster strength, but its weaknesses are more
when I’m standing still. I crouch in the building, and my teammates EXPECt tO PaY notable. A sniper’s headshot is a
surround me. A gas grenade flies through the window. I tap ‘T’ to put on $60 guaranteed kill, but every rifle
my gas mask, and continue to scribble. Outside, I hear gunfire and DEVElOPER available to the scout class is bolt
shouting. When the note finishes, I sprint through the nearest door, round DICE action. If you miss, you waste
a corner and release the pigeon. The opposing team tries to shoot it, but it PublIshER precious seconds reloading the
flies free. Moments later, an artillery strike rains down. It’s carnage. EA chamber while your target is running
for cover.
REVIEWED On
War Pigeons is a new mode for roles. This is all stuff that, if you’ve Windows 10, 16GB RAM,
Battlefield 1. It’s not the best, or the played any Battlefield game, you have i5-6600K, GeForce sound bites
biggest, but it’s a handy example of already seen and done hundreds of GTX 1070 For me, it’s a change for the better. If
how DICE’s latest multiplayer FPS times before. The pace and style have MultIPlaYER I’m under fire, I appreciate the
handles its World War I setting. For both shifted, but only when judged Up to 64 chance to get away. If I’m sniping,
starters, it makes little sense. Why within the constraints of what a lInk
I’m too enamored with the
wouldn’t I write the message before Battlefield game is. www.battlefield.com satisfaction of using a bolt action rifle
finding a pigeon? Just the concept of Take, for instance, the destruction to mind that I’m working harder for
two armies running around fighting of buildings—a recurring feature in each kill. Once again, DICE’s sound
over a pigeon is inherently ridiculous. Battlefield. Once again, buildings are design is extraordinary. The sense of
As is the announcer, vulnerable to power implied by each weapon’s
and her repeated calls Buildings are explosions, be it tank audio and animation makes most
of “we have lost the fire, aerial bombings or guns a pleasure to use. I
pigeon.” It’s a mode
leveled beyond simple, old fashioned predominantly play medic, and the
that takes the seed of anything i’d dynamite. But as my selection of semi-automatic rifles feel
something historical— experienced in pigeon calls in an gratifyingly hefty, even as I struggle
that pigeons were used
to send messages in the
Battlefield 4 artillery strike, the
buildings are leveled
against their kick.
Audio has always been a big part
war—and warps it to beyond anything I’d of the series, and Battlefield 1 is no
absurdity in order to create an experienced in Battlefield 4. Only bits different. Particular sound cues
enjoyable multiplayer mode. of wall and staircase survive. In the become crucial for processing the
And yet, it’s also an effective thick of the action, Battlefield 1 feels carnage of war, from the scream of a
showcase of some of Battlefield 1’s chaotic, deadly and destructive. soldier in the middle of a bayonet
greatest strengths. When discussing It’s a better infantry game, too. charge, to the distinctive zip of a
what makes Battlefield 1 work, it’s The key to this is the early-20th sniper’s bullet narrowly missing your
worth knowing that, ultimately, this
is still Battlefield. It’s still a
multiplayer shooter about two teams,
fighting over a series of objectives— Scout’S HoNor
attacking, defending or capturing,
depending on the mode. How the sniper’s toolkit lets you troll your enemy
Soldiers charge over fields, tanks
roam the streets, and fighter planes
dive and spiral overhead. On the
micro level, squad leaders issue
orders, medics rush in to revive K Bullet SHield PeriScoPe flare GuN triPwire decoy
downed teammates, and snipers lay Armor piercing A big sheet of Safely peek over a Shoot this to blind miNe A fake sniper
bullet that does metal that ledge, marking nearby enemies Place near the head that reveals
prone in what they hope is an insignificant protects against enemies for your with its glaring door or stairs of enemies who
unnoticed spot. Teams win or lose damage to tanks. countersniping. team. light. your sniper nest. shoot at it.
based on their ability to work
t r o l l r a t i N G troll r atiNG troll r atiNG troll r atiNG troll r atiNG troll r atiNG
together, to push on the objective, to
fully utilize a broad spectrum of class

January 2017 63

REVIEW

head. It enables you to parse
important details invisibly, and makes
the game feel better to play. Whether o B j e c t i v e ly c o r r e c t
it’s the low rumble of a tank’s engine, The multiplayer modes of Battlefield 1
or the cacophony of a high-rate-of-
fire LMG, everything sounds
powerfully lethal in this world—
providing additional texture to the
onscreen action.
The reworked weapons have a
greater skill ceiling, and because of
that, your class choice and loadout
feel more important. Each role has a
coNqueSt ruSH domiNatioN team war PiGeoNS
stronger identity, and often excels at a Battlefield’s flagship Destroy enemy Capture flags, but de atHmatcH “Stop the pigeon,
different range. Even within those mode. Capture flags telegraph stations, this time there are no Shoot people while stop the pigeon, stop
categories, it’s possible to tailor for in a big, sandbox while avoiding tanks to force your pretending game is the pigeon, stop the
specific playstyles. The assault class warzone. artillery fire. retreat. suited to deathmatch. pigeon…”
can wield shotguns for the up-close-
and-personal touch, or submachine
guns for a slight increase to mid- problem, able to easily push forward tight, linear map with only three
range efficacy. The LMG of the a team’s front line. But lose a tank capture points. In a 64-player match,
support class is great for laying down carelessly and it could be some time things feel a little cramped.
suppressing fire, but some models before another one will spawn. The nine maps each offer a
have better hip-fire accuracy for a different set of challenges and
more mobile loadout. The armory bloody infantry considerations, whether it’s the
may not be as large, but you’re still The balance here feels pretty good. varied elevation of the mountainous
rewarded for finding the gun that Yes, tanks are a threat, but they Monte Grappa, the large, defendable
supports how you want to play. should be. From an infantry mansion of Ballroom Blitz, or the
The additional tools perspective, it adds to wide open expanses of Sinai Desert.
you carry feel more the chaos and panic. I’ve yet to get bored of any of them,
important, too. If you’re Tanks in Battlefield 1 something that’s helped by the
playing medic, you’ll The French and feel like they’re multitude of styles, and the way the
likely stick with the russians are designed to make boundaries are redrawn based on the
tried and tested
medibag and reviving
conspicuous by infantry combat more
exciting. Where
game mode. The strangest
consequence of these particular maps
syringe. But other their absence previous Battlefield is the armies they make available. In
classes have access to a games have been about multiplayer, you’ll play as British,
broad range of kit. The combined arms Germans, Austro-Hungarians,
assault has a variety of options for warfare, Battlefield 1 is focused more Italians, Ottomans, and Americans.
damaging vehicles. The scout is a on the infantry experience. Tanks and The French and Russians are
pure troll, able to carry everything planes are significant, but not conspicuous by their absence. The
from tripwire mines to a decoy head constant. Rather, they’re a frequent French are planned for a future
that reveals the location of any peak (or, depending on your side, a expansion, but it’s a strange decision
soldier shooting at it. Such options trough) along the timeline of a match to exclude them from the base game
open up a greater degree of that feels tailored around the given their major role in the real war
customization, allowing you to perspective of the ground troops. It’s that actually happened.
further define your actions and how possible, of course, that my Once again, Conquest and Rush
they work in conjunction with the perception of this is slightly off. One are the main multiplayer draws, with
team as a whole. of the major consequences of the Team Deathmatch, Domination and
Arguably the biggest change for vehicle spawn timers, and the way War Pigeons providing a secondary,
moment-to-moment play is the way they’re selected from the menu, is infantry-only experience. As usual,
vehicles interact with the battlefield that I rarely get the chance to Team Deathmatch feels out of place,
at large. Planes, tanks and horses (a experience a battle from the driver’s offering a simpler, objective-free
horse is a sort of vehicle, right?) are seat in this game. match type in a game that really
selected directly from the spawn Changing up the purpose and doesn’t support that style. Battlefield
menu, and vehicles feel less number of vehicles has an effect on is at its best when you’re working
numerous than in previous games. the scale of the war. The maps feel towards objectives, collaborating with
Part of that is likely down to the smaller than some of Battlefield 4’s your squad to sneakily back cap a
absence of shoulder-mounted rocket biggest and most open point or arm a telegraph station.
launchers, making it harder for environments—a possible casualty of In addition to War Pigeons,
infantry to take down a tank. In how most traversal is done on foot. Battlefield 1 offers another new
addition, drivers can now repair Despite this, map size still varies mode—this one significantly larger
tanks and planes (not horses) from greatly, based on both mode and and better. Operations are a multimap
inside the vehicle. The upshot is that concept. Conquest maps tend to offer combination of Rush and Conquest
a careful driver in a fully manned some of the biggest, but even here that challenge attacking teams to
heavy tank can be a significant you’ll encounter outliers like Suez—a liberate sectors. Attackers must

64 January 2017

REVIEW
Battlefield 1

This seems an inefficient
way to cook rations.

My on-horse survival
rate is about 30 seconds.

My in-plane survival rate
is about 40 seconds.

Tanks are weak versus
explosion magic.

Poignant or fun? The The crew of this Zeppelin are on a
campaign can’t decide. real Stairway to Heaven. (Dying.)

January 2017 65

REVIEW Battlefield 1 This Hindenburg cosplay is a bit on the nose. but by glass. I’m admiring this droplet effect. Die a little quieter. Greg. What could go wrong? the skies are often quiet. Work with your squad. Battlefield 1’s horses are worse than tanks. 66 January 2017 . Accurately. and points will pour in. surrounded Dogfighting is fun. In a huge balloon.

slow and Battlefield 1’s surprisingly robust have held steady. many) following a different person at a chapter. refine and perfect. bayonet out. at least have a bloody order? the thing down. Firstly. even at launch. In each same experiences as its (many. and a and approach. So many did not. While the internet is feel cheap when it does everyone up. letting DICE plan. they’re large. just a campaign. where they a large desert map containing three “We have lost the pigeon” TranslaTion: Man’s thirst for warfare corrupts all. to buy into the the tale. because the fourth unpredictable sandbox drama. but for Yet even within annoying. made ridiculous glitches. Battlefield 1’s BF4’s sense of better by its many possible approaches. be it driving competition of multiplayer. flying planes. a heightened sense of different combat style. I Performance is solid. and I countered by the immense That aside. ultimately. Called War Stories. repeated one time too many. In later revision is often the largest—an least outside of more hardcore missions we meet. well as a short. around that variation. action-packed adventure disastrous launch needn’t worry here. DICE has made an is most notable during As I wrote at the beginning. the War Stories fit can have a big impact. If they fail they makes for an awkward clash when an use up one of their three attempts. showing the it all a fourth time for good measure. a four. translated spawn with a ‘behemoth’—a massive. among others. over the map. and On the one hand. undoubtedly the main me. far behind in points. Battlefield is an excellent The prologue switches between learn. trained soldiers. The best TranslaTion: We have secured the enemy sector. around. I will write poetry about this day. This is the best it’s a fun. the only bugs I’ve significant power. and then do template for a multiplayer shooter. I stole a tank and dip below 80fps on Ultra at 1440p. in a rare better game action has frequent fixed by switching to my secondary move for the series. Two things mitigate different time and place in the war. destruction. responsible for some of Battlefield 1’s but it’s not much less either. It’s an interesting balance nearby water tower before moving in frames per second at 1080p on Ultra proposition. potentially fatal problem. no man’s land takes place during the Soldier shouts. and lived to tell of these is a giant airship that looms disbelief. That said. It offers many of the anthology collection. It requires major suspension of “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!” most spectacular moments. 89 somber exploration of the harrowing battle ready Battlefield 1 feels tragedy of a senseless war. things around for the losing team. a improvisational challenge that’s simulators such as Arma 3. January 2017 67 . Secondly. raining down explosive idea that a rookie tank driver is able fire with deadly accuracy. I’d love for future episodes to Battlefield 4’s sense of scale. With a GTX 1070. despite their i appreciate FPS sequence. a behemoth has rarely turned outpost secured. I made use of the other. survive. it plays at a steady 60 effective. for me. Then. I enjoyed the accept I will not always agree with my commanders. enjoyable. In all the games I’ve silently to take them down. Its to stealth kill entire camps full of “You got a plan. for instance. REVIEW capture all sectors. the tone particularly from the French or even often oscillates between two German perspective. An multiplayer is scale. game in the series since full of heroism and excitement. Each also uses a different suited to expansion. Even the birds spawn for whichever team slips too outposts that you have to liberate. an Italian spoiled by the repetition of systems simply. settings. the but in all instances the problem was draw. a Battlefield game is no bad special forces operative. On the next. it didn’t played. It’s no more ridiculous than a sole TranslaTion: I am running. drove directly into the next even during heavy artillery The upshot is it doesn’t checkpoint. Initially. redemption and airships. It’s a great already collecting a library of happen. Those who remember Battlefield 4’s renewed. yet. are tools for our killing. otherwise effective sequence through war cry but. TranslaTion: The military is not a democratic institution. You can do this in any order. middle of a Han-Solo-a-like’s tall tale deadly vehicle that’s different based of bravery. VERDICt extremes. and. At times. experienced involved my gun being inoperable after a revive. and a slower pace that tanks. I am become death. each mission aforementioned tank driver. marking guards from a GTX 970. Put roguish American pilot. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” on the map currently in play. while I appreciate framing device. behemoths are a tools from one can prove helpful for powerful and deadly presence. But then. quietly stabbing people in the hours. You that. multiple protagonists. this is the each short episode. blowing bombardment. If that is DICE’s replacement. Overall. Few games provide the same sense of impossible odds they face across the It’s a shame. engaging singleplayer Through Mud and Blood. protagonist winning an entire war. On a require multiple players to be stealth. or creeping the singleplayer lasts just five to six feels more deliberate and tactical. but the structure feels well This is no simple rehash and chest. don’t mind either approach. Should I Behemoths are a cool addition. the destroyer of pigeons. at breadth of a single battle. And cover other parts of the war— Battlefield 1 is the better of the two. at my foe. but it across multiple maps. but. entertaining little differences mean better infantry Each War Story focuses on a distraction away from the intense combat. in sequence. Battlefield 1’s Lawrence of Arabia. thing to be. on each subsequent attack. Battlefield 1 is still. Sergeant?” presence feels properly menacing. We shall honor their memory. it’s a respectfully By returning to the past. Behemoths can also My favorite section takes place across appear in Conquest. the main action loop is predecessors. it’s an chapter story following the Battlefield game. and the servers Bad Company 2. can I satisfaction that comes from bringing singleplayer a lot—brief though it is. This weapon and back. experiment with narrative styles. little differences Bedouin rebel under the command of Nevertheless. pacing problems.

Each can also slot three joyful and expressive FPS games of The ‘joke’ is the word genocide. Shotguns leave combination. shotgun (called the dedicated to it’s back to dick jokes. katanas can disarm flight.com the loot systems quickly lost their Boner) and shoot the making you fall Side Splitting allure. DEvElOPEr scaled stats. I swing colored as something Up to four players in a demon and robot massacre. wildly diverse weapons. crass humor above its acrobatic A wild looter shooter uniquely designed—elegant first-person shooting. Shadow Warrior 2 stays a rewarding eNormouS weapoNS The best tools for making a mess slapstick comedy thanks to its thrilling open-ended combat. however. As the halves fly out as transgender. procedurally generated levels. without reloading. If you can tolerate the dated humor. and an LMG work. movement place an every time a new item drops. Without pause. they designed to.rEviEW Packing heat Shadow warrior 2 nearly makes up for its bad jokes with its comically advanced gore system. action movie encounters. the chatty protagonist. Chainsawing the leg off a shooter comedy better than it’s ever shaped like a penis (surprise). There’s or blowing holes in bipedal Vulgarity and edgy humor aren’t even a button dedicated to making hammerhead shark demons in a inherently bad. environments and precision gore system. Shadow Warrior 2 takes every opportunity to elevate dick What is it? The 70 weapons available are all jokes and other aimless. It’s MultiPlaYEr still finding new methods for painting up. desire to be clever and edgy. pretty easy to ignore the RPG systems that slices and explodes enemies with a double jump and dash for long periods. But it’s The procedural gore emphasis on acrobatics. pointless historical slideshow to Devolver Digital prod halfway into my second In a rare moment of silence from conjure. But thematically. For fun. co-op As I developed my art. the guy. and Shadow than to make you feel like a swift Warrior 2 wants to make sure you know it. uses it without purpose. I swing mistakes Wang’s monologue about a GeForce GTX 980 Ti. with magic abilities (healing. and makes for plenty of backdrop of a cyberpunk metropolis. because systemically. With the ability to equip eight because the procedural levels are so gun-wielding demons (literally). an acidic looking conduits for combat. Some drop at specific $40 It’s a shame.shadow exploding mob after mob in a shower of gems. pesky back legs. let me nearly achieve in an authored shooter. force a chainsaw skyward and grind a woman inside him—a spirit in his Intel i7-5960X. undermined by tasteless. push. guns. the Flying Wild Hog gems that modify stats. but as good- nail guns do exactly what they’re between a chainsaw katana. midair massive mech against the neon been. They still the year. warrior. and open-ended four-player co-op campaign. By James Davenport T here’s this thing some people have called a penis. switching open and aimless. hilarious with procedural recreations of realistic firearms. 68 January 2017 . No matter how repetitive it gets. BoNer arm of orochi LumBerjacK’S raijiN vErDiCt This auto shotgun is great A special sword that sends careSS A gauss rifle that kicks so Shadow Warrior 2’s 78 for strategically creating a slicing projectile with A chainsaw with two hard it’ll dissolve any circular blades long gleefully expressive and holes in a demon’s chest every swing. quartering there’s even to be uneasy about. enemies from a safe enough to reach those varied combat is distance. It’s grotesque slapstick grenade launcher. but it’s a shame the excellent combat needs a caveat at all. then it’s an easy recommendation. and used in tandem Wang. Segment enemy it hits. repetitive writing. a character rEviEWED On playthrough. exactly where they’re hit is Shadow moveset that. but Shadow Warrior 2 you fall faster for no other reason craggy mountain village is good enough set-dressing for me. AoE shadow spike impalement) cyber ninja into two long vertical head who acts as a guide—as coming 16GB RAM combat is an empty canvas where I’m pieces. undermined by an irritating is a breeze. the rest as loot with Shadow Warrior 2 is one of the most I found a gun called the Genocider. There’s such a glut it becomes pieces out of the air faster The combat and a chore to navigate the clumsy menus like meat pigeons. Later on. It’s a PublishEr offer a ton of options to poke and kick it in the teeth. ammo and collectibles. and weapons at a time. I whip out an automatic a button (What year is it?) Then link www. when used in The level design is mushier than Warrior 2’s best joke. RPG-lite loot hooks. dated humor. horizontally. varnished brass steampunk EXPECt tO PaY contraptions. story beats. I want to mass murder of a race or nation. weapons made entirely from bones. Need to KNow interdimensional ninja. For instance. in large part gaping holes.

Friend or foe? Chainsaw him? Hyper mode. activate! Now Yakuza. now Do I half two? ya don’t. rEviEW Shadow Warrior 2 The cyberpunk levels are easy on the eyes. January 2017 69 . Amid the blood and frost a spider dies.

feel more dated? days. causing tension to crest and trough as the number Some new enemies add the least debris careening across advantage swings back and forth. but the result is that you spend Gears 4 needed bolder execution the most time with the least 2 froWN of its good new ideas to be an interesting guns. a remember it. way. DEvElOPEr you. MultiPlaYEr strength in numbers times before. and the boxes for Versus are purely cosmetic. at least. Maybe the real giveaway What is it? in years. Pull with great new modes.” builds on classic Gears firefight. By Wes Fenlon A round the time new hero JD Fenix rode along the spokes of they do show up they’re among the a ferris-wheel sized gear. muscular coverage. requiring creativity. In the multiplayer. but there’s frustratingly little opportunity. but don’t interesting outdoor battlefields.0 has a new class system. Hallway. The 10-player versus players bring the weapons to life. of the squad. vErDiCt Gears 4’s campaign is identical to the The by-the-numbers 4 Bicep 75 first three—and so many other Shrunken from “tree trunks” to campaign feels stuck in big-budget games made over the last “The Expendables 3-level 2006. 70 January 2017 . EXPECt tO PaY hammering the mouse absolutely $60 unloads it on whatever’s in front of This is Gears almost exactly as we lever to open next door. Gears 4 is just a newer. courtyard. We’ve seen everything in Gears of War 4 before. that release. Arms Race is way of strategic effect. AI to speak of. only a Losing a step there. The Overkill is a vicious was when I shot down a giant airplane while riding a A third-person shooter close-range shotgun that fires once motorcycle in the inevitable on-rails take-a-break-from-your. tougher Swarm will shrug off several 1 Beard and if the money Microsoft makes by Geralt did it first. firefight. but Marcus 1 2 sniper shots before they go down. Precision weapons are rare. maps free for all players. and variety. Firefight. chainsaw gun might have been the first tip-off. open courtyard. Thankfully the loot your Longshot sniper rifle. Door closes behind you. Vehicle intermission. With no real linear and deliberately great gametype for structured chaos. with meaty guns and on mouse press and once on mouse meaty characters. which sounds weird in a Remember that time Marcus 2016. 16GB RAM version of a game I’ve played a dozen firefight. interesting singleplayer shooter in fashioned. The new ideas Gears does present 4-player co-op. Even cooler is the Dropshot. world where the recent great shooter an iteration.rEviEW Cogs of War It’s fun but familiar. much prettier start generator. design. following the 2006 courtyard. Intel ground and detonates. and have to create and burn duplicates of cards to level up these Picking up an ammo crate won’t refill How the last 25 years have treated Marcus Horde abilities. or larger battlefields staged there are few opportunities to Horde 3. still manly. decade old. and it hurtles to the rEviEWED On that hope when the credits rolled.gearsofwar. repeat. Although now I think about it.com which grants you a respawn for every into extra nasty bug men called the Swarm. makes a strong showing for selling them justifies making DLC This has always been the Gears Beard of 2016. empty mag. campaign. It’s Arms Race. Binary path choice that Microsoft Hold the trigger and the charge keeps surprise me. i7-6700K. regularly-scheduled-carnage interlude. Multiplayer is likewise mostly smiled? Go on. Pop up. The in the beautiful co-op planet is ravaged by link best new modes are Dodgeball. Thing you shot The Coalition sort of rocket launcher that fires an template of big-budget shooter conveniently explodes and opens the PublishEr explosive charge in a straight line. It feels old Still there. aggressive human The Locust are back are underused. most time with that spawn roving arcs of lightning and send kill your team earns. fun tweaks to Wolfenstein. the type of use the weather to your advantage. don’t get enough exposure. Hallway. I was still clinging to soon sees you reunited with the rest flying. but multiplayer ten years. but battles are so Gears at its least traditional. I kept waiting for it to path forward. Specializations are locked behind Landing skull-shattering headshots ‘card’ loot boxes: you can buy card makes me want to slam a Jager bomb packs with in-game currency or real and high-five my bros. but when that improve your specialization. Marcus would have had a Perhaps because the structure of chainsaw attached to that. but here. so be it. I began to suspect that Gears of Need to KNoW most fun guns I’ve used in shooters War 4 might not be a subtle game. but it’s a questions. I can wait. Hallway. with a seriously slow grind required enemy I was shooting didn’t much Two of the new weapons also to level up and equip more abilities matter. release. which swaps your team’s deliver much in the guns an awesome graphical arsenal every three kills. fiGhtiNG fit money. Pull lever to GeForce GTX 980. When you’re in a tight spot. How can Gears. the campaigns were reboots of Doom and 3 shovel 4 variety of thoughtful. In the old 3 its modes kept me coming back. but mutated You spend the massive windstorms www.

January 2017 71 . the shotgun finally feels reliable online. rEviEW Gears of War 4 Multiplayer and Horde is where I ended up spending most of my time. At 60fps. this was a thing. So yeah.

with foes seemingly where the boss vampire is located. half-baked systems. crossbows. and to find out soaked romps. When they die.rEviEW Duffy Vampire slaying wears thin in the interesting but repetitive Slayer Shock. lot easier. tenser. exploding vamp. it just means they say something seasons mostly remain identical. and those not embarked Intel i5-3570K HusH free agents who go on their own upon heighten the threat in the area @3. I get back to my headquarters and local coffee shop Nebraska. dumb but dapper. On higher difficulties. you—after spending a MultiPlaYEr much feedback. Each mission. Buffy-inspired Slayer The episodic structure is similarly when coupled with the ability to slide Shock’s is a doozy. 8GB RAM. blood. Episodes and furniture. that my home has been burgled. kill Elite vampires.4GHz. k Now your VampS Slayer Shock has no dearth of interesting ideas. no loud noises.com stay out of the light—and patience. walking into walls or crates. Unfortunately. Slayer Shock missions. attend school. that’s not where his heart Need to kNow super soakers full of holy water. a hunt vampires in vampire hunting early. it’s hard not to feel as much of Then it’s back to your favorite coffee relics. Strictly speaking. represents a single episode. it just exams. the game’s link move slowly. and the foes become serious threats that send you running mentor and a couple of Occasionally a boss off to find a hiding spot. and an absence of replace them with someone else. When their morale is or random events. no surprises. There are no traps. smarter. upgrades. where DEvElOPEr into attacks. stake him in the head. becomes more of a stealth game. these guys. desolate places. gloomy. By Fraser Brown I sneak up on a vampire—he’s staring off into the distance—and to your prey. crouch. where they took place. you can just pitting you against the same foes. The missions themselves at least variety persists throughout the They merely exist to sell you manage to be entertaining. highlight: a few slices and all but the EXPECt tO PaY hardier vamps are done for. and loomed fair amount of vampire requires a bit of common sense— over by the specter of It’s hard not to dust. unfortunately marred by Slayer little of what they say or do actually or a friend won’t be around due to Shock’s ugly aesthetic and bland. unceremoniously. matters. the giant vampire pummels me and ends my evening of FPS-RPG where you and even the occasional werewolf. It Take the randomly generated NPCs: you’ve a badass as kill the boss vampires. You start with a weak better. 72 January 2017 . got your Giles-like Buffy herself Then you repeat the whole thing again. When they date. so being sneaky None repetitive. A season GeForce GTX 970. Aside means they sit at the same table until but there are few meaningful changes from the occasional box or rare bit of they break up. stake. shop. and repetitive missions. and repetitive Slayer Shock is. garlic is located. vErDiCt miNioN elite tarr are taboo boSS The fun concept and 55 Just your average Tougher and Huge. but appear in a mission just to harass you. feel as much of currency—locate and www. The swords are the where I am told. and Stay out of the blast The Elite of the vamp. but it does the job. but few of them are ever taken far. for the occasional Slayers. In-house a badass as Buffy herself. research their diverting combat don’t with a sharp bite. mixing an episode up a bit. Eventually. game. procedurally generated levels. the concludes when bare-bones UI doesn’t really provide reality is slight. pals who stand in for vampire will suddenly These bright interludes are the likes of Willow and Xander. And $20 As concepts go. After a bit of a A Buffy-inspired katanas make dispatching vampires. By night you patrol underutilized. forcing you to get right up close wandering at random—sometimes all grouped together in one location. where you hang out with your You can only start one mission per rEviEWED On very own Scooby Gang—ostensibly episode. or stomp on vampires from doling out justice to the undead. Minor Key Games windows. seasons. leaving it with only the solid combat. dance. leap through glass the streets of a Nebraskan town. becomes a very different. the maps are depressingly low. Enemy placement is no weapons. watch out prone to charge at radius of this Elite. or in interesting directions. and almighty drawn the attention of a lumbering behemoth. The Windows 10 Lamentably.slayershock. weaknesses to kill make up for how slight fireball. ugly. on other occasions spread out. the commotion has What is it? grenades. or search for PublishEr above. from the central A brief guide to the types of vampires found in Slayer Shock conceit to the NPC gang. you either rescue hapless hostages. and date. procedural generation. nail guns.

January 2017 73 . graphics don’t help. Those nails look The plasticky Same game. nicely Buffyed. rEviEW Slayer Shock Shouldn’t fire be dangerous to vampires? Nobody wants to get in the way of a charging Tarrare. different scenery.

Windows 10 64-bit. I never getting the most out of the game. The soaring towers. city planning became a huge somehow pleasing sprawl. out of a freemium network. with lasting weaknesses. 5 obviously ‘correct’ district or tucked between 1 improvement and call it a day. It’s critical to feel overwhelming at times. and industry. When I unlocked the ability to separate tech tree for civic and could tell how many citizen slots in build a Holy Site. and I focus. develop tiles. its changes shouldn’t trip up unique government. with. Terrain and tile types have always Civ game that’s already the same needed to pull up an been a factor but they’re at the heart had two or three overlay to see which of nearly everything in Civ VI. 3D leave me in no doubt that the series has crowned a new king. like when I fell 2 ShininG behind in culture because my only oaSiS 2 eligible tile for a theater was the one This blotch of desert turned out 4 I’d been saving to build a rocket to be the world’s launch site to clinch a science victory.com locations isn’t just enjoyable and features that it could you build will iron mines. to a whole Unworked fields lie barren.rEviEW Mapnificent Discovering. I have reservations about RAM. It feels like a revelation airport Established in the Eastern Linking the two sister cities for someone who’s been playing 4X Mostly used to bomb the Mountains to boost my with art. even series. The constant planning 74 January 2017 . The tech and challenge. EXPECt tO PaY representations of everyone from $60 Montezuma to that jerk Peter the While Civ VI is probably the most cultural progress that ties into a sort DEvElOPEr Great who thinks his moustache and transformative step forward for the of collectible card game for building a Firaxis his science bonus are so cool. You can still see There was never a time that I felt my first ever I could fill every tile with the most building. The latter has animated. rEviEWED On military units. and potential pyramid are so many new no two cities map itself. forcing difficult decisions at every bend in the river and making sure no 3 delhi-CalCut ta 4 Mt. local Hexistential all I needed. plop down an industrial district and 1 downtown enjoy a huge boost to my production. decoding. 16GB with the return of native language mirrored my memories of past Civs the map. What is it? trees and the leader interaction Forests and deserts and resource-rich tundra influence the Turn-based strategy screen were the only parts of the UI growth of my civilization. G andhi 5 delhi-CalCut ta two cities you build will ever look or international national parK urban Corridor feel the same. You still richness is welcome. or new new delhi My capital in the information age wait to clear out all the trees later on. to be honest. and hot seat Spending a lot of time staring at hills. It What binds everything together is Core i7-4770K. the map is the soul of every opportunity need to Know the bustle in the streets. It resembles a ever look or feel squares. Such feature PublishEr though they’re not and I’ve had longtime players too much. games since before I could see over a car dashboard. largest source of 3 It’s a fantastic. GeForce GTX 770 dialogue from Civ V. and being the most powerful perform specific tasks and spread my models and animations did that job tools I had to catapult myself toward cities out into an often messy but for me at a glance. learning. need for foresight is unending. a monument. There are always sacrifices. culture. challenging dynamics that emerge view. All the same. and against the board. They’re all very well voice acted. warfare. More than my commercial district were taken by ever in the series. By TJ Hafer C ivilization VI is the ultimate digital board game. there mobile game—but the valleys. richly realized way of aluminum. but I also worry 2K bombers in range of his second settle cities. however. and developing a living world in Civilization vi. I’m playing for. Russians. is more alive than ever. and its cities. for example. wage turn-based more casual strategy fans. closely enough that hints from the the art style—some of the military MultiPlaYEr in-game advisor were units could have fallen Up to 12 online. I had to ask myself if I wanted to nestle it among those forested hills to gain bonus faith. train about the game’s accessibility for largest city since the Atomic Age. and conduct diplomacy. victory. granting it boons and burdening it spanning all of human that hid my soaring cities from my history. link www. because the each. With expansions added on tiles were being districts and wonders taking up a tile top—from the new Districts that worked. and festival informative.civilization. civilization’s tourism. The glorious.

My teacher wouldn’t believe that Natural Wonders really Einstein was born in Calcutta in 1782. Buildings are no longer constrained to your city center. enhance the map. rEviEW Civilization VI Unexplored regions are Curved… swords?! pleasingly parchment-like. Look out! That skyscraper-sized truck is headed right for the cows! A proud monument to bloodsports. January 2017 75 .

My top agent. hoary wise men. Hopefully headed for a better Mountains: home to game than Beyond Earth. trying to find out why Peter is such a jerk. Unit stacking is more flexible now. make culture wonders. 76 January 2017 . Policy cards unlock powerful bonuses.rEviEW Civilization VI When the gods give you tundra.

the way I did much more several turns for a building or a unit catchy. If you’re example. Where I spawned predictable and repetitive in Civ V. In the event that hostilities do to sail a ship of the line made of break out. lends them a cup of sugar.000-year-old tile sped up my also gain the ability to farmland I’d had to bulldoze to place progress toward sailing. It also helps alleviate waiting Sogno di Volare. and beautiful as Baba Yetu. I and thus which ones I tended to go Christopher Tin’s new main theme. especially if you planning where it’s going to go from of him in these categories. The 3. rEviEW and trade-offs seem like how this series was always supposed to work. could tell you why I’d developed it for first. I meaningfully than “Because hills are to finish. and later you can add a third beside where my first settler had factories jumped me ahead in my to make an Army. lumber mill to create enough nature on each map had a significant effect Civ’s score breathes life into all for a national park. And that. Italian cathedral choir is why I’ll never need another Civ agendas (one public. And just three industrial districts with Corps. more than anything. don’t have all three. Dislikes anyone parks. England. Thus. chances are you’ve already destroyed all of the pristine nature required to set one up. technology and civic medium. beat him. These powerful versions of that unit that peaks that had protected my people advances are often tied to having only take up a single tile.000 li One late game civic (the cultural Gains bonus culture and Wants to be bros with Gets along great with Wants his civ to be the equivalent of a tech) unlocks national science from trade routes those who have a strong other civs who start on her most wonderful in the with civs ahead of him in military. which grant a massive culture civics and tech. ignoring haunting flute rendition of up where everything was going to go city-states and the benefits that Scarborough Fair. wants to kill all city states complex and epic as you progress most engrossing. The Civ pieces of music written for a the history of my civilization and my staples of war and diplomacy have videogame. though I suspect it won’t decisions accumulated and followed returned. enjoyed the way AI leaders now have its soaring. a city. When everything is fresh and new. instance. and even somewhat planning utility. you can aspirational. and I shaped it. must be uncovered) that make it asthmatic screech owl. This adds from marauding armies for room for specific districts. Every to find a happy their enemies. There’s a level of trial and error SeCretS of SuCCeSSful leaderS Understanding AI agendas that caused me some frustration in my first few races to the space age. In the The sprawl of the Delhi-Calcutta a city next to an ocean mid and late game. from continents where building the same wonder boost—but unless you’ve been likes civs that stay ahead He turns up his nose if you England does not yet have as him. For each valley. or contact with model of warfare that could get planted on the site of a former other civilizations. Founding conferences like a pikeman. he faith and culture output. I particularly because it’s more difficult to imitate stars. access to some new layers and tactics to a generations. where I could mock let that agenda guide you. Support units When I looked down upon has an associated mini Civ’s score such as medics and everything that I’d built as my Mars objective that will trigger a “Eureka” breathes life Great Generals can attach to and occupy colonists blasted off to barely snatch victory from Peter and his moment and pay off into all these the same tile as a moustachioed cronies. effort in the pantheon of the greatest shaped my empire. Sight. weSternizer buShido Sun never SetS wall of 10. on which techs I could get quickly. dislikes civs world. for a main theme that grows more make this the liveliest. steppe and oasis. where every civ has systems harmonize to Frederick Barbarossa of Germany. sound. every tile half the cost conflicts and regular combat unit struck me with a sense of history. you metroplex. and chances Age. I longed for some kind of city going for a very pacifist run. was the new forest I’d specific resources. however. The theoretically possible to stay on real magic happens past vErDiCt everyone’s good side if you’re willing the menu screen. all things English that made me want for being next to each other. is just as sweeping. By the Modern once I’d unlocked all the districts and courting them provide.” As the board pursuing a Eureka objective. these conflicts and conferences. Building combine two combat units into a an industrial-era wonder. and one that chorus without sounding like an game in my life besides this one. immediately. and and hates anyone who so much as through the ages. for rewarding 4X on Earth. it has exploded into an improvements. but also strong continent. you might not realize you’re plopping down a university campus in a place you should have waited to build a pe ter the Gre at hoJo toKiMune viCtoria Qin Shi huanG neighborhood several centuries later. which are more spawned. and 93 to jump through a lot of hoops. recognizable but honed to spawn as many memes—if only me right up to the threshold of the the sharpest edge. begins with a simple. Civ VI has split the crumpets through the walls of a eureka moment difference between V’s one unit per Spanish fort and unleash the redcoats The map also ties into the tech and tile and IV’s Clash of the Doomstacks to toss scalding tea into the faces of civics tree. especially considering are you won’t have pretzel-scented orchestral and choral celebration of some of them get adjacency bonuses warriors knocking down your door. January 2017 77 . It’s not all reinvention. at the foot of the soaring quest to embrace communism. 4000 BC. as I could always be predict it will join his previous Civ a good place for mines.

if all too often lost Get to know your new colleagues amid the ranting. Alas. fostering greater make its way over to the west. but it’s finally here in the form visual novel. the HCD. link first-person exploration view from mundane primer on the police force. of Suda51—that’s what The Silver Case is. The stories. informs its presentation. but serial killers.thesilvercase. on the other hand. Another flips the sit through a long and It’s a good fully formed. www.com horizontal to vertical. making her little rough around the ‘good cop’ to his buddy’s Hachisuka. the thing that it’s Morishima has an internal monologue. it’s fascinating. ten hours at least. a chain-smoking reporter Windows 10 FMV. poor life choices. in meandering discussions Transmission’s mute both the art and narrative. personal investment. and lots of friends and incoherent mystery edges and gives everyone ‘bad cop’. you play a silent also the branch that keeps the player much aside from hit space a lot while observer. is compelling. with very light and interruptions. is more None black and white. These they’ve been given answers. Though he’s a of a localized and remastered edition. Despite all this. protagonist. he makes transforms into a creep ensuring she gets invited that’s bogged down by a hard time. eccentric coppers attempt to solve presumably there’s conversation rEviEWED On crimes while the city is under siege going on. so In-house between chats with a pet turtle. adventure game. Even the mostly empty backgrounds change next you’re hunting not important back and forth from chapter to chapter. Insanity dialogue yourself. novel that also served as Goichi “Suda51” Suda’s first project Need To KNow goes to great lengths when it comes with his then recently formed studio. CG. It can be hard to keep up. there are two sets of Transmission is most like an meandering dialogue and surreal chapters. The second GeForce GTX 970. has become contagious. One case is game’s forcing you to Morishima. foul The youngest member of The lone wolf of the haChiSuKa vErDiCt mouthed veteran cop. unfiltered EXPECt tO PaY reporter rather than a detective. Placebo. TeTSuguro KuSabi Sumio Kodai KiyoShi moriK awa Chizuru A chain-smoking. generally a group of detectives from the ask you questions and proceed as if PublishEr involving reading and sending emails Heinous Crimes Unit. and Kusabi’s department. The constant experimentation and subversion. Transmission and Placebo. It’s a good thing. He’s also got Treats crime-solving as An intriguing but often 50 Kusabi is more than a partner. It’s taken the better part of two decades to A detective thriller and Morishima is. make for a on investigative styles and investigator isn’t. but you only ever read one Intel i5-3570K pulped fiction from a serial killer whose murderous side of it and never get to select any @3. One moment the called Tokio MultiPlaYEr often in quick succession.4GHz. explained at all. seemingly irrelevant details. and static images are all used. Anime. Grasshopper What is it? to revealing the type of man Manufacture. The game’s constantly shifting nature exploits are infecting people. Unfortunately. Characters will Manufacture are also the least interactive. Even the tone and muddled experience where any point philosophy. that it’s not important that separate but inextricably linked along with tiresome puzzles that you understand what’s going on.rEviEW Cop out The Silver CaSe is a weird trip back down Suda51’s timeline. And though it’s not between each branch. It’s long for a game that’s 90% dialogue. long-winded dialogue and terrible puzzles. constantly cursing cops and exhausting stakeout speeches. the strangeness is seductive—the chilling imagery and occasional descents into the The heiNouS CrimeS diviSioN fantastical. The Silver Case changes mechanics change as you hop or purpose is lost in a tsunami of gears a lot. following different protagonists in unfortunately repetitive exploration. 8GB of RAM. 78 JANUARY 2017 . and a lot of it is simply dull and highfalutin. too. By Fraser Brown T he Silver Case is a 16-year-old gaming artifact and loopy visual character. but with plenty of breaks for what’s going on distinct personality— he’s everything superficially so. $20 the pair. to all the parties. pulpy crime It’s a visual novel with a dash of cops around and occasionally doing Grasshopper romp. focusing on their work for them. It’s very odd. offering no sense of reading walls of text. The central mystery. perhaps. those chapters exploration and puzzles. mainly involve opening doors. It’s Silver Case doesn’t need you to do In Transmission. Sumio is the a bit of a crush on pure science. Placebo is the one that’s DEvElOPEr most like a hardboiled. roped into following some at a distance. down kidnappers and you understand conversations. and a Visually. There’s just so much of it. Raw. around her.

That sure is an interesting floor. It’s one of his many superpowers. We’re here to fix your clogged pipes. JANUARY 2017 79 . rEviEW The Silver Case I did not ask for this nickname.

a city that was GTA parody but I’m glad Hangar 13 own. and it’s a the bayou. Clay survives an attempt on his strong start. A feud between his adopted family—who are What is it? of the French Ward to the swampy members of the black mob—and a Haitian crime syndicate An open-world crime depths of Bayou Fantom. giving you a chance to kill him and incorporate his business into your burgeoning criminal empire. him to death before he This is when the racket system link and The Rolling alerted the cops. I was creeping into gang-controlled territory. not a game system like this. not zero by killing people. GeForce GTX 970. and didn’t realize it was PublishEr fades. only to find himself parody. and racially segregated in tackled it head-on with every racket that falls Clay gets the 1960s. drug New Bordeaux is an homage to New history reduced to a dealing. Stones—they must have The city is a It’s weird seeing one Clay has to bring down. The story is fast-paced segregated until the owner came over 2K Games life and embarks on a singleminded and cinematic. rackets run by rival gangs. which involves rEviEWED On jump backwards and forwards in colorful language. Then I realized. There’s a good amount of fighting another war on the streets of New Bordeaux. contraband smuggling. Racial slurs are cartoon rednecks Clay encounters. Intel conquering New Bordeaux district by time.mafiagame. It feels like they should be. Every racket has a dollar value. causing mischief. and suddenly his plans to leave his hometown story set in 1960s muted color palette and restrained Louisiana. and he made a dash for the MultiPlaYEr and influence to dethrone Italian tracks from The Beach Boys. straight-faced periodsmost of the shameful in American over. CassaNdRa Vito thoMas The rackets aren’t side missions The leader of the Haitian A veteran Italian mobster The boss of the Irish mob. To claim a district. and used with abandon. Jimi phone. $60 After an unexpected betrayal Clay’s violent homecoming and a While exploring I accidentally DEvElOPEr Mafia III begins to lose its way. wanting to test the limits of i5-6600K. PD can call them off. He’s been pulled art design make for a bland and into a brutal world of revenge and repercussions. them. And if you enter a “whites it’s a natural part of the setting. after completing countless variations of the same mission for several hours. 16GB RAM district until he has enough power evocative ’60s music. breaking stuff. and Hangar rather than tiptoeing closer to Marcano. Games to develop Mafia III—hasn’t such as the gang of yee-hawing hostile takeover shied away from this. exaggerated Grand Theft Auto-style the boss will be lured out of hiding. Befriend him and trouble with the cops. using stylish editing to and said as much. his new weapons and refill you can hire armed mole in the New Bordeaux but the game is actually built around your ammo in the field. www. confront you and call the police if you homage to New Orleans. slipping money into my pockets. arms dealer will deliver district. The more you Orleans. EXPECt tO PaY largely forgettable open world. from the colonial architecture Louisiana. Need to KNow variety. and analogue of New Orleans. Hendrix. only” establishment such as a bar or just for shock value. sneaking up on lieutenants and interrogating them. frequently aimed the racism feels like it’s there because your job is getting that number to at Clay. Elvis Presley. behind for a job in California are put on indefinite hold. By Andy Kelly L incoln Clay returns from Vietnam in 1968. the owner will angrily The city itself is a straight-faced locations scattered around the map. With a few exceptions. that this was the entire game. I refused to leave. but in more quest for vengeance. That includes the game. refuse to leave. reinforcing the setting with of course. the more money you’ll earn. but the turns bloody. Recruit her and her who runs the River Row When you inevitably get in leisure. then take spent a fortune on sountrack licensing. and daring bank heist are the focus of the stumbled into a bar on the edge of Hangar 13 the promise of those early hours first few hours of Mafia III. I had to grab him and choke None mob boss Sal Marcano. d R e a M t e a M Lincoln’s partners in crime When this was first introduced I enjoyed it. and stealing money at various restaurant. Complete enough and you’ll unlock the occasional story mission. not an When you’ve caused enough trouble. quietly stabbing people. 80 January 2017 . These include prostitution. other illegal activities.rEviEW GONE SOUTH Mafia iii is a bold new direction for the series that doesn’t quite pay off. muscle to back you up.com comes into play. you can dip in and out of at your mob. 13—a new studio formed by 2K around it.

angrier. pal. wiser. idea. small cabin. January 2017 81 . The city looks best at night. rEviEW Mafia III Vito is older. Take that. Praying for a Not a good better game.

Obligatory open-world sunset screenshot. so Cassandra. He probably deserved that. The retro driving interface is cool. 82 January 2017 . everyone smokes.rEviEW Mafia III Lincoln meets It’s the ’60s.

this New Orleans’ French Quarter. some of which are genuinely fun. activated. and solid voice your monitor’s native resolution. sure. or if much water from a very shallow well. the developers special services that can be used in limbs wildly flailing. which can established. despite the presence especially when it rains. The Marcano crime Clay grew up. each offering getting stuck on scenery and their the city they’ve built. aesthetic—is overpowering. You’ll clear a the field. but personality and enthusiasm. interesting than anything he actually The PC port is pretty bad too. killing the same series. to drive the value of the racket down. never doing its told its tropey mob story with some attempt to create a vintage ’60s unique setting justice. Playing astonishingly dumb. Vehicle support an entire game. The relentless revenge story that takes does or says in it. Once run by the area of marshlands is used by Lively and colorful. and wrapping its story slightly different backdrop. even with the vaguely more criticized by many for being too missions. And just when you think you’ve might not have bothered me as much and poorly designed. It draws too made some progress. rackets and extort unions. but Clay than people. but it’s fantastic world-building helping to them. and occasionally of Vito Scaletta as one of Clay’s the image quality and the fidelity are smashing or setting fire to something partners in crime. protagonist of Mafia II. This is one for Hangar 13. January 2017 83 . but a black war veteran in a segregated behaving more like confused robots it focused as much on their city is a compelling concept. mob and the choice to tackle a the same position. You can call up Cassandra’s the air after a minor shunt. subversive move— especially for a series with such an shameless filler. In fact. but I’d take that over this Mafia III just feels like busywork. engaging handling. In whose place in the world is more Port of call comparison. rEviEW B i G C i t Y The districts of New Bordeaux fReNCh waRd RiVeR Row dowNtowN delR aY hollow BaYou faNtoM A historical district based on A dockside district run by Vito The most built-up area of New The residential district where Located on the outskirts. and a story you care about. factory. The ’60s setting is mission in another of the game’s best nicely realized too. is frustratingly weightless aimless parade of dull any day. responsive “simulation” mode linear. Scaletta. And the AI is Mafia II had heart. but the around a territory system that just Most open-world games are firefights are about as generic as isn’t deep or entertaining enough to glorified checklists. and the tedium there were any interesting systems to repeating the same mission types far continues—but this time with a experiment with. The melee combat too often. Dixie Mafia to push heroin. The slick presentation. or strip club of mobile arms dealer if you’re low on sky rapidly shifting from light to dark. and the narrative slows to a crawl and slippery. between boring locations. but overall generic gangsters. considering the size of help run the empire. bribery rackets here. The vErDiCt performances fail to disguise the fact fact that you’ll need a GTX 1080 or Starts promisingly. repetitive the charm of Mafia II. repetitive job in the world. They somehow make running overshadowed by the lack of establish the era. in the next district. enemies to draw the boss out. It’s just a shame the game boring. The city then it’s back to the grind. Mafia III is a grim. even when set to facial animation. more open up if the game was more fun to play. which at least And the aggressive color grading—an grind. with enemies about murderous gangsters. friendship and camaraderie as it did is a deeply uninteresting character. and fairly behave more territory you choose which of the three gets was a bold. or It made me miss the robust physics return later to finish him off. with some game you’d ignore ideas. The repetitive mission structure attached to it is so rote. then ammo or need to buy new guns. has a satisfying crunch to it. Driving Mafia III barely feels like it’s part of can look spectacular at night. and the warehouse. goons will have hire some armed The shift away from the Italian respawned—often in heavies in a pinch. and moonshine production. passionate fanbase—and Honestly. It has none of second suggests poor optimization. He recruits three associates to It’s buggy too. with characters Amazingly. but now used by the the Marcanos for gun running with the sound of jazz music. It was a game after a promising opening act. a crime empire seem like the most imagination elsewhere. and the use Vito’s Italian mob connections to and visual sparkle of GTA V. It’s Enemies When you capture a difficult period in American history spectacularly lazy design. but the best ones cover-based shooters get. incredibly disappointing. impressive curiously blurry. it echoes He uses it to run smuggling family runs construction and black mob. Mafia II was hide it with variety. the ugly side of their profession. cars soaring into reuse some locations. textures are muddy and the image is itself far too seriously. unambitious. tiresome. if the robots than cause conflicts within in that sense I have a lot of respect rackets were a side people the group. but 54 that this is a wholly unoriginal and similar to maintain 60 frames per soon slips into a joyless revenge story. Bordeaux. like confused to run it.

your ears. It game is the atmosphere of doom and match for the visual style. Fail to turn. Thumper will beat you up. challenging. too. By Keza MacDonald Y ou are a chrome beetle. Intel 4770K approach: a state of total oneness and death is immediate. something about it booming shockwave. menacingly on the horizon as your MultiPlaYEr with your senses and the game. ears and reflexes. flaming skull hovers in the middle What is it? Thumper is forcing upon your eyes. DEvElOPEr physicality of playing it: it really feels deceptively simple one-button blooming colors. 84 January 2017 . I played it can totally do this. Their visuals are all shockwaves. sweaty elation as I conquered it. The music.thumper. In-house VR compatibility in November). hand-shaking. both in to memorize the pattern of obstacles that last try and you’re its simplicity and the through trial and error. EXPECt tO PaY referred to it as “rhythm violence”. Drool like being pummeled (especially in controls. levels are split into endless rail. Once you’ve stared boss explodes in into the abyss. Sometimes it will enclose you in a corridor with two shots at success horror game dominated by red and sharp turns that prevent you from but good lord. If I lost one life. know that Thumper looks visually arresting All this is no accident. relentless chrome beetle speeds down its None Playing it well feels like a mind-meld. It gave me both a creeping sense of dread and an mood These patterns are fine! I The beaT Is InsIde me. ever change the tempo: Thumper only rhythm games try to lull you into a presses into reverberating slows down for a split second. with tendrils and right-angles and result. A screaming. pretty lights. Developers rhythm game. banged out on the lid of a trashcan in sometimes. but it sense of flow. eyes and LeVeL proGreSS reflexes. but you’ll enjoy the process. the cacophony of visual and new section of track is not pleasant. This is a perfect lose the other within five seconds. The palette is -action purist in me. The immediately. and sounds like one. Thumper is unlike anything else I’ve encountered in this genre—and I have played a lot of rhythm games. keeps drawing you back. It is absolute sensory was enough to throw me. distance. sending debris down the track to end you. and the is a cardinal sin of rhythm games to malevolence it conjures. but one in which the Thumper beats you into a sense of PublishEr VR—PC Thumper will be patched for slightest lapse will finish you flow. the when you’re black.rEviEW slay ride Thumper is like a journey to Hell on bad amphetamines. It rh Y Thm SurVIVAL feels more like a survival-horror game when you’re actually playing it. bringing eyeballs are boss :( A total assault on with it devilish 82 overheating. is the same as games rEviEWED On change rails or smash barriers in time weird undulating shapes that recall GeForce GTX 780 Ti. bordering on monotonous. And speaking about to come up on a arresting visual style. hurtling unstoppably into a void. Bosses loom 16GB RAM. alongside everything else that It frequently sounds like it’s being and even obscures the screen Thumper throws into your path. Thumper’s nine long. If that A brutal. description reads like a nightmare. overload—there is no room for zooming through hellscapes on rails at grimace-inducing Need To KNow anything in your brain but what speed. taking the link short checkpointed form of fiery skulls or www. I do not remember a I feel like my time before this vErDiCt boss appears. I extreme adrenaline high.entities with mouths. I’d often What’s so interesting about the an echoey alley. It reminds me of seeing what’s coming up. geometric A couple of things annoy the rhythm stops short of true sadism by giving you like a survival. Most iconic beat transforms your feeble button.com sucker punch sections. but this one fires you headlong into the abyss. obsessively for a couple of days until am one wITh The beeTle. drum-patterns from hell. too. jump. The game it feels more abstract. like Rez achieve with their gentler with the grimly industrial soundtrack insectoid limbs. wall totally breaks my concentration. though. Most games have you fighting your way out of Marc Flury and Brian Gibson have danger. is brutal and audio feedback when you slam into a Suddenly you’re battling your nerves relentless. so you have feeling when you’re on playing it Devil Daggers. sharp. of errors. The emotional rollercoaster that is a typical Thumper level albeit at 100x the speed. The visuals are hellish. $20 which aptly communicates the This is a rhythm game with expanding and contracting shapes.

January 2017 85 . soon be over. rEviEW Thumper This isn’t one of those racing It’s like I’m inside games with nice scenery. my own coronary. Tendrils are never good. oh dear God Just head towards the what’s that? light.

it’s time for him to later every single adversary in the pub is predominantly stealthy approach. left for dead and knock him off-balance. pull out my crossbow. bloody minutes sort. Another guard lowers a sparing the High Overseer. “It’s the little details that other developers might overlook” Saying one last bloody goodbye to DISHONOrED ’ve played Dishonored aim a bolt at the neck of each I enough times to know CHRIS THURSTEN guardsman. as I return to the THIS MONTH assisted double jump. I blink behind him and slit “canon”—branding but otherwise Perhaps Corvo has simply had his throat. Betrayed by two successive pistol. grabbing the Kicked some guards in the Hound Pits pub in the tallboy’s pilot and skewering him nuts. A few exhilarating. Time can start to game the chaos system a ALSO PLAYED resumes as the tallboy and I crash to the little bit. So that’s what I do. I through a gap in his armor. means leaving most sword in the first place. in turn. penultimate chapter. of Dishonored’s most lethal gadgets and I sprint out of the apartments it’s time for corvo to techniques behind. a single tear in his eye. demonstrate why he bothers to carry a Which. this has meant taking a jumping puzzle. Yet at this late point opposite the pub and slide towards a in the game I know I could kill more or low wall with two guardsmen and a demonstrate why he bothers to less every corrupt guardsman patrolling tallboy walker on the other side. from the pub. Dota 2. Given that Arkane’s groups of conspirators. I dash. and slash his official version of Corvo is a merciful forced to reclaim his gear by doing a belly. letting Daud enough. gentlemen to have completed a run where I made amount of chaos you cause over the There’s a shout. game I love before the arrival of its much-anticipated sequel. and 86 January 2017 . both guardsmen yelping in perhaps final playthrough to see off a surprise as the bolts find their mark. ExTrA LIfE CONTINUED ADVENTURES IN GAMING Another guardsman condemned to the low-res earth. which is determined by the time. As I do I carry a sword in the first place the Hound Pits and have no impact on freeze time. I also wanted the ending. and a guard emerges all the decisions that I now know to be entire campaign. Thumper ground. Then I leap into a magic- that. and so on. go. I’ve undertaken this latest. slide beneath the shot.

which isn’t easy in mind. sword drawn. What I K aTHa RINE By RNE hadn’t banked on was the shop’s owner dead. January 2017 87 . I happen upon the perfect second between when an enemy has menu screen. are filing in thick and fast by this point. It certainly doesn’t help people I later learn are the teachers of is testament to Arkane’s talent—which I that legions of people are willing to shop this sorry establishment. is far too unsentimental for that. I’ve done this many times. I dash out written in praise of this game many Hitman (another Q slip might have been times. cried for help.” vital touches become. and the fact that Dishonored still Golem City’s cramped warren of homeless augs cowering upfront. during which they keyboard and the next thing I know homeless augs already taking shelter are vulnerable. and ALSO PLAYED With my cover blown. drawing more Traumatized the next anticlimax: the final guardsman patrols and more attention to herself as she generation of cyborg children. Seems he had dormant throws them off. Each new the frailty of organic matter against Eleven crumpled bodies later. nearby market disintegrate into a thinking “Sod it. my first instinct is to this innocent place hangs heavy on my that if something should work. but Dishonored is as good as it is because of the little details other developers might F Deus Ex: Mankind Divided never explains a vital lesson: never press Q in public. The last kill is almost an THIS MONTH getting stuck in a corner. I try to slide-tackle somebody in the balls and for a hiding place. The victims stop willingness to experiment. who’s to say?) and run through Dishonored that after all this time I’m the inevitable wave of bullets. Golem’s muscle guards are right-handed—particularly in OafTech buried in his robo crannies. I rush past two surprise and react. It’s or all its intricate tutorials. all thanks to the child’s play knocks them back. An old nursery at the end of a seen you and when they overcome their return to the mission. The key to waste of sandwich fillings. and interaction you discover increases your metal’s might? Either way. shadowy corridor. the stairwell. of sandwich fillings” Corrupting the next generation in DEuS Ex table until the wailing subsides. Frantically hunting minutes don’t fill me with hope. but at this point I’m The more I learn about game design. N O w P L AY I N g The games we love righT now Sorry about this. One by an enclosed space like a bar. Perhaps I’m too eager to hideout. it’s a terrible the creche is a crush. There is a split innocuous act of trying to back out of a Finally. Can I trust suppose is a fancy way of saying “it’s you. easy prey. but the shame of having sullied immersive sims like this is the notion Naturally. Guards still surprised by how well-built it is. Alas. but it’s a testament to involved. let’s show them what the more impressive these small but hundred pieces. and this can and dozens of gawping onlookers are in praying the creepy teddy bear décor be manipulated when you know that mass panic. Shots are fired. overlook. coming. rewards experimentation four years on passageways. Pressed Q again. Corvo’s tackles soon got him kicked off the pub soccer team. but sometimes a have them react accordingly”. Is that a metaphor for this Q key’s made of. dead-end shop. Sword swings collide Jensen floors an innocent bystander there and hole myself up in the back. I take refuge in a think of the children. Sliding feet-first into enemies learn the hard way. but a slip of the long. resetting the pesky search clock them to keep quiet? The last ten not a real immersive sim if you can’t every other second. cucumbers in the one they venture in. “It’s a terrible waste Sliding: the gentleman assassin’s way to make an entrance. crouching under the man’s gotta Q what a man’s gotta Q. it does hightail it out of there. And yet. with scenery appropriately. I and the pressure to find one last hiding spot is mounting. easy to fixate on the big things. there are still those work.

(His and am no longer in the mood to teach “bullshit”. week. don’t use freestyle moves against him around the ball at the wrong time that it because I’ve been drinking a lot of beer because he “has a full time job” and it’s begins to wear down my patience. it grabs Andrew accuses me of leaving out the fact you The aforementioned solo practice put immediately. At least he’s enjoying thought I’d give it a go. this means driving around something. friendly admonish him appropriately. He’s good. is basically the point. frequently “does an Andrew”. Andrew seems elated when he I’m now infamous within scores a goal. He’s not a good teacher. though. He experience of having me as his coach.) We eventually coin the term “doing Sam is to already be about as good at an Andrew”. in a rocket-powered car. It’s a miracle we’re still friends. and I’d argue. students simply because he despises understand the basics a bit more (I also children (and fair enough. but also possibly correct. possibly correct. He does have a habit of can double jump in Rocket League. I find this he took over. the PC Gamer team for throwing ALSO PLAYED although my overall experience of tantrums and/or salt when the game Soma. a similar capacity for patience. because i’ve enough and then he uninstalled it. because point. with my so exhausting that for me personally. The key to him. “Doing an Andrew” became car wears a top hat. better. and then crack on. I himself. just however. I then Friends Forever? the worst). says watching me play by myself helped “Being Samuel’s close friend requires. N O w P L AY I N g The games we love righT now Another thing I teach my students: decals just represent bad taste. children are need a break from certain failure). and has got so good at driving outrageous. its own fun game. because he isn’t involved. which is nice to watch. it’s friend Andrew staying over for a week. for which I scold anyone anything. which is an important skill. but also week’s adventure in Rocket League hitting it. “I’m now infamous within the PC Gamer team for throwing tantrums” Turning coach in rOckET LEAguE and doing the worst job possible knew going into Together. we gradually get better I coaching in Rocket SaMUEL ROBERTS and start winning. play a solo game where I’m more likely I’ve asked Andrew to describe his and a guest in my house for most of the to win. Hitting the ball. Like everyone trying car soccer for him learn a few more basics. the first time. no matter how appalling. apparently. In this case. Shadow Warrior teaching him up to this point has been suddenly turns against me. This He also has a bad habit of pissing about been drinking a lot of beer is the first time we’ve properly spoken at the back looking for boost when he’s since. and manage to League would be a THIS MONTH coordinate our crosses and shots a lot Drove a friendship to breaking disaster for me. me over the edge so I was grateful when missing the ball at key moments. to which I stepdad saying “that’s OK!” after every I decide to take a break from respond with a thoroughly unconvinced error. though. to being splitscreen cooperative play and leave “hmm” to let him know how that bastard of a teacher who yells at his him to experiment solo. even if he still I went from the patient. meant to be guarding the net. Our the ball at a crucial moment instead of i find this outrageous. so he can disappointed I am in his performance. the child is 28. I barely worth it. Still.” 88 January 2017 . Rocket League ended with him declaring he’d had players may recall.

Again. That’s raptor. and. I spawn and. I Failed to wear even a single current player count. Soon. I start a fire and craft a Jurassic Park. to my inventory. what’s that sound? It’s a It’s night. It’s nighttime. I also find a tree and punch it.. spat venomous goop into pick one to the west. A I explore a bit more. berries and wasn’t that the one that. I’m told it’s too hot. hatchet. but they keep up. goop into dennis nedry’s eyes? I spawn in the south. and wake up on a weapon and pickaxe. trousers. I know about them from Jurassic a dumb thing to think. there are dodos. Then it eats me. I get out my fibres. Then. the titanoboa multiplayer survival games would likely merely paralyzes me. no dinosaurs. jurassic pants game development works. This is Jurassic park. Sure. and it looks before a raptor runs up and eats me. ExTrA LIfE NOW PLAYING I DOwNLOADS I uPDATE I rEINSTALL I wHY I LOvE I MuST PLAY “Why is everything in the past so big? What is prehistory trying to prove?” Experiencing multiple mass extinction events in Ark: SurvIvAL EvOLvED ight now. my into my eyes. I pick myself me. any newer Early Access Instead of eating me. hold on. almost 32. By THIS MONTH Before I can do anything about that. After a little bit of familiar. best of all. off the ground and find myself face to gentle dinosaurs. Why is everything in the game on Steam. January 2017 89 . warm safety of trousers. and not at all how Park. it’s pair of trousers. Wasn’t that the one that. I’ve decided I exit to the menu. I jump into the water. Thumper overcompensate for? unfinished. and start swinging wildly. but remained. daytime server would at least enable progress. be even further from completion. It’s pitch black. I run. floating patch of ice. and wake R people are playing ARK: PHIL SaVaGE in a tropical biome. for sure an Early Access survival game. in I should try a different spawn point. for a change. I go back to the eastern I start the game. too.. I punch one face with a dinosaur. see beach. for a few seconds. as if any doubt megalodon is looking right at me. and fibres away from owning my first pair of Yes! It was! My suspicions are freezing to death. I’m naked. and a massive prehistoric shark. I’m dead. I wake to a temperate at random. Suddenly. figuring that if DayZ was still Forza Horizon 3. My health is still falling. A titanoboa eats me. figuring that a In a last-ditch attempt to make any to give ARK a chance. but it’s a start. I scavenging. but it’s too late. look down. does what I assume comes naturally to see nothing. I spend a moment Instead. I learn that a pack of compys—tiny carnivores that tapping E over bushes and rocks would be cute if they weren’t eating my rewards me with stones. Survival Evolved. confirmed when it spits venomous goop planning to swim to the mainland.000 I try spawning to the east. in bits. Score! admiring a brontosaurus up close. run into a giant snake with a goddamn the sixth most popular dinosaur face. I am this dodo’s I will never experience the extinction level event. and finally see the problem: start exploring the beach. it eats me. It health starts to drain. and its meat is added It’s a dilophosaurus. and chose a server me to see the creatures that are eating spawn point. I take Wood is added to my inventory. I’m still 25 Dennis Nedry’s eyes before eating him? tiny. I spin around. I’m killed. I I respawn in a different location. I’ve always dismissed ALSO PLAYED past so big? What is prehistory trying to it. spat venomous one down.

ly/SimPlanes3 a random culture. It’s like prejudices of the real world into that bit at the start of Dwarf Fortress.ly/SimPlanes2 to draw on for their assorted time. gods that will be present in your daredevil acrobatic plane troupe. using it to make cars.bit.ly/SimPlanes1 TOOL Reroll history with this Crusader Kings 2 mod istory can be a useful unique language to name the various Smoke trailS H asset when it comes characters. here’s a mod that no. Here are some of the best. perhaps understandably. the tool creates a DOWNLOAD AT www. any of your vehicles. kingdoms. none of that baggage. ck2 HiStory HiGHway SyStem 1 The world of SimplePlanes is.bit.bit.ly/CK2gen 90 January 2017 .bit. games where you sometimes just but for an epic medieval strategy game. preferably one actual in-game screen that you can slot into with an entirely new world that carries where the Stark family is totally fine. bringing all the politics and marriages. aircraft out of an assortment of handy “Duhrrevr”. “Ani Q S”—it’s parts. made with planes in mind. But it can also creating empires and dynasties. After generating www. and building. want a bit of escapism. and of be something of a hindrance. religions and It takes years of training to perform in a to strategy games. www. and across www. so here’s something useful for cars and such: an enormous network of roads linking Generator the various islands together. replacing (rudely) sitting there. but there will be different countries GPS maP This GPS system differs from most of the history for the world. and pretty much everything with wings or without. births and deaths. religions. and all the horrible the tool to generate a new history for physical object: not a UI overlay but an stuff that went on in humanity’s past CK2’s Westeros mod. The only constant is geography. conflict (and maybe a few minutes The generator goes on to spread where we all got on) for developers that culture across the map. adds fancy customizable smoke trails to your aircraft. morphing it in the process of factions and systems. so of course people have been not exactly JRR Tolkien. TOp 10 DOwnLOaDS free games stuff from the web by tom sykes 2 SimPlePlaneS veHicle PartS MODS Some nifty bits for the sandbox building game implePlanes is a game S about flying. You can also use minimaps you get in games in that it’s a countries. Here’s a tool for Crusader Kings 2 You’ll recognize the UK and the boot of that procedurally generates a fresh Italy. populating its history with wars. it doesn’t stop there. game—however. as this is CK2 we’re you’d rather just fake it. but if providing centuries. tanks. millennia of talking about.

you could always try moutH Sweet keyboard.ly/Supercontinent f you’ve ever worked in an I office.bit. presentation.bit.ly/MouthSweet numbers they’re meant to be. It’s a simple game of DOWNLOAD AT www. and dialling mechanic make the most of the game’s into a company. add HP the horrors of the galactic rim. or other game about pottery. but I couldn’t decipher which baffled by a landline will let you mimic any other DOWNLOAD AT www. Although initially 3 Phone home You also have a handy voice-manipulation tool that they posed more of a threat. generating a tale of cosmic horror that will probably throwing disasters in your path in not end happily for anyone. you conversations under all that. DOWNLOAD AT www. 1 and the invisible monsters of LoveGames’ Mouth Sweet. pleasingly. 2 FUTURe Shock You’re a 21st century hacker. you’ll recognize the drab environment. really. to your colony. contemplating enhance them even further. all three are pretty freaky. telephone. You do the dialing using your actual purposely limited scope. January 2017 91 . it’s the invisible creatures. passwords. a similarly cyberpunk FREEwaRE Dodge invisible uncover clues. EXTRa LIFE nOw pL aYInG I DOWNLOADS I UpDaTE I REInSTaLL I wHY I LOVE I MUST pL aY 3 lovecraft in rimworld MOD Inflict cosmic horror on your unwitting colonists imworld is a sci-fi colony HPL adds more frequent threats R sim where an emergent AI storyteller hovers. but the 5 I are asked to use an ancient telephone to crack your way premise. at which point it’s best to whip out your revolver and use your stereo 2 speakers to locate the sound.bit. the general air of despair.ly/RimCraft 4 SuPercontinent ltd FREEwaRE It’ll leave you hanging on the telephone n a cyberpunk future. To that adds the monsters. No. Lovecraft as storyteller. Just as well. although yes. hP Lovecraft. godlike. It’s not the dead bodies. a creepy adventure set in a shifting office block. murderous sandwiches or your weird boss you have to watch out for here. The order to generate the sort of stories mod’s creator also has a download you can only get from games. These novel combat sequences slot perfectly into Mouth Sweet’s ominous atmosphere—I just wish 1 YoUR nUmbeR’S UP This red scrawl on the window is presumably a clue. person. foes in a creepy adventure phone numbers that will draw you closer to your goal. Discover numbers Deconstructeam’s Zen and the Art of around the office and type them in to Transhumanism. When you’ve had your fill. and to your colonists’ sanity. you soon pick it up. over your game. 3 Your only clue that one is near is the telltale shuffle of footsteps.

status. giving you the chance to take connecting the recent game’s more advantage of the additional beds discrete tunnels into one giant dotted around the place. overworld locations.bit. you’ll be able to farm. which linked a number of populated with a ton of ghouls. have been mashed together into DOWNLOAD AT www. All this reakaway indie hit Stardew jobs for the local villagers online with offers a level of presence that many ‘walking simulators’ lack. or by a stretch of long grass. forwarded a port on your proper co-op experience many are router. DOWNLOAD AT www. and the structure. and other creatures you should probably best avoid.ly/VestigeGame do the same. TOp 10 DOwnLOaDS free games stuff from the web by tom sykes 6 fallout 4 Subway SyStem MOD Connect the game’s subways in vast underground network he heart of fallout 3’s one system. notes or puzzles. then convinced your friends to hoping for. they’ve also been T open environment was its metro system. along with separate skills and Instead. Modding API. without having to throw in and cheerful mod that will let you play other players will share that relationship gamey switches. so in the meantime here’s a cheap your buddies. but once interiors.bit. once killed they’ll stay for fallout 4 that reinstates this. particularly. the farming life sim with a few friends. but it’ll do in a pinch. it’s a virtual postcard you you’ve downloaded the Stardew inventories. Here’s a mod However.ly/StardewMulti 92 January 2017 . you hear the comforting sound of crickets.ly/FalloutSubway You can finally chop trees and harvest crops with friends. So it’s still some way off the can hop into for a moment’s respite. super mutants. There are some interesting caveats: if the host is in a relationship. Installation is a bit fiddly. You still get unique farmhouse There’s nothing to do. As you linger by the lush ruins. maybe for Fallout 5 we’ll While 90% of fallout 4’s stations get working metro trains. sow. cultivate NPC friendships. and do odd DOWNLOAD AT www. the MOD Reap. enjoy polyamorous relationships soft rustle of leaves. and echoes from a long-gone church choir. dead. its rich audio system piping in layers of background noise that subtly fade in and out as you explore. 7 veStiGe FREEwaRE Explore the ruins of an old cathedral his little showpiece T highlights how sound can be used to breathe life into a digital patch of 8 Stardew valley multiPlayer land. and one that aims to be new subway stations that have been more convenient—eventually.bit. all the real. and it’s a smart way to make a place feel more B Valley doesn’t have multiplayer (yet). inside the ominous cathedral. bolted onto the surface.

and and a fun new setting based on it’s been a particularly great year for detective comics from the early 20th choose-your-own adventures. Take on jobs. mainly a game about staring at the stars. shifty gentlemen. including probably exists H. Draculaland.bit. jazzy soundtrack. lo-fi charmer. why planet with Earth-like qualities. There are four separate cases to solve here. this takes Turians come knocking. but it’s Paradox. I wouldn’t say Here are three other games loosely www.O. with a lovely cRT filter effect. This vast game has you somewhere in the scanning the entire universe for another universe. www. but there are a E agree that alien life few that tackle the mystery. century. I didn’t find Earth when I 3 n o S ta r S .M.bit. and die a lot in a game that realizes the brutal indifference of space. a of the highlights of this year’s more interesting. reflects the futile heavy. allowing you to select each individual topping of your fine predecessor.bit.bit. which are chock-full of DOWNLOAD AT www. which.O. There are penises here.E. had its own game jam. shoot pirates. 10 detectiveland wEBGaME Play one of the highlights of this year’s IFComp obin Johnson’s branching duplicitous dames. Pick destinations for a blocky space vessel while its two pilots chatter and bicker. wonderfully. Detectiveland is one expands it with occasional images. and why won’t some time.ly/FermiJam2 ight out of ten scientists with the central theme.ly/FermiJam1 9 fermi Paradox Jam 2 marlowe’S PatH You basically play a computer terminal in this atmospheric. and as hasn’t it got in touch? Why haven’t the you can probably imagine.ly/FermiJam3 that many of the entries really grapple based on the paradox.ly/Detectiveland January 2017 93 . EXTRa LIFE nOw pL aYInG I DOWNLOADS I UpDaTE I REInSTaLL I wHY I LOVE I MUST pL aY fermi dynamics Three games about our place in the universe 1 Paradox A space sim from a top-down perspective. but if so. Interactive Fiction Competition. FREEwaRE Something sweet to spread on your paradoxical toast www.E. and irrelevant order. o n ly ET pick up the damn phone? That played it—and I’m not sure it’s even conStell ationS Robert Yang’s games tend to be fairly penis dilemma is at the heart of the Fermi there—but H. has just nature of our search remarkably well.M. R story takes the clever parser-meets-hypertext interaction system of its and even an absurdly fully featured pizza-making section.

regenerating to a more open-world approach. Instead the focus has shifted And that’s before we get to the or Road Captain can trigger the gang from co-op experiences with friends rampant cheating. Takes the 4 enfOrCer Drops body armor and can call in a squad of advantage can easily ruin a race for you by shunting your car off the lion’s share of the cut. u P D at e wHAT’s new in THe BiGGesT GAmes GTA Online A fun Sons of Anarchy roleplay session is marred by griefing and hacking. 94 January 2017 . Cunning Stunts. Each time you run hassle. health and repairing bikes through more adversarial modes. There’s plenty mission yet. Destroying someone else’s lesser gang members. Much like the CEO update When the community is constantly good time sadly also runs through before it. The big draw here is need TO knOw dartboard and optional bike stunt races on giant TrackMania-style customization shop. can’t all be winners. as such. Meanwhile the behind a wall of griefers. warehouse is at the mercy of the hardy davidsons This doesn’t seem to be Rockstar’s random number generator. I’ve encountered to ride in formation. because the simple bIg chunk of offering them the chance to destroy act of owning a motorcycle club and the update feels the supplies you’re hauling for a hanging out in it with friends is a lot small reward and the satisfaction of of fun. the President more. The theme of griefing ruining a comes in. hard to believe that Rockstar’s vision of a tense.rockstargames. It’s just a shame a big the heists with a band of friends. city raising money with stolen cars player trying to stock their and simple missions. cruising around the and a sticky bomb. The clubhouse in Souls existential threat. you can still chill with friends. and heard tales of invincible players the magic of looking like badasses. you purchase a business. semi-hostile open world is ever going to materialize on PC. with teleporting cars and modded vehicles. Even better. course rather than actually trying to win. GTA Online excels at these hIdden behInd a screwing you over. so much so that it’s difficult to get enough players for a regular non-stunt race anymore. Instead of one CEO and a heists have been added in the last 18 slow vehicles that are sitting ducks. release DeVelOPer April 2015 Rockstar North well-paying biker-themed missions There’s even an editor that lets spawn from a noticeboard menu on players construct their own. This is where the Biker update punting people over skyscrapers. complete with sassy bartender. It bunch of muscle. The PuBlIsHer lINK the wall. No new missions saddling them with large hierarchy. where any particular is a great customizable GTA Online’s other recent update: den. In cash required up front from the haven’t even tried the practice it’s a lot more frustrating President and greater rewards for first singleplayer than that. or jet or whizzing past with a sports car chunk of the update feels hidden just relaxing. The actual drug running is a community unsurprisingly loves Rockstar Games www. and the developers have makes drug running more infuriating appointed different roles (see Club implied we shouldn’t expect any than entertaining. A bunch of courses towering over Los Santos. But it’s 3 rOAd CAP TAin Can call in club vehicles. and I another player at any time. some One of the nicest features is the gang vision for the future. minor moments of camaraderie and wall of grIefers In theory this provides a Dark roleplaying. 6 PrOsPeCT Noobs don’t even get a picture on the wall. Molotov cocktails. It’s a shame. I’ve spent product can be achieved in seconds to enjoy even without venturing onto that time working my way through by players flying overhead in a Hydra a public server. out to other players in the session. By Tom Hatfield ’ve played over 100 mission can be interrupted by warehouse missions too. Together). it becomes apparent that It’s a shame a one of these missions. Unfortunately those teleporting Club TOGeTher The biker-gang chain of command cars and custom vehicles are even more of a problem here. and even those griefers without an unfair 1 PresidenT Whoever bought the clubhouse. a signal will go things aren’t working as intended. they 5 sA Te rAGremAsn T Drops ammo and lot of fun to drive.com significant improvement on the CEO them. sharing tips on how to run the game then run missions to buy supplies in empty public lobbies to avoid the (usually drugs). At least the new stock cars are a 2 ViCe PresidenT Can call in Bull Shark Testosterone. goons. with less I hours of GTA V. The heists haven’t gone anywhere. Look. GTA Online is still a great game. players can be months.

wouldn’t it be funny if our world stance to Riker. January 2017 95 . Malc is the caretaker of the Clubhouse. was just some kind of model too?” Cunning Stunts does strange things to Los Santos. Set meeting table “Heh. He’ll get you acquainted. eXtra lIFe NOW PlaYING I DOWNlOaDs I UPDATE I reINstall I WHY I lOVe I Must PlaY I shall sit here and contemplate my thirdness.

r e i n s ta l l Old games. new perspectives “Captain Titus is a man too big for the game he’s in” 96 January 2017 .

There are dozens block button. By tom senior that doesn’t matter. and the crunching impact of has a pistol the size of They charge the space marine with a lightning hammer against a ribcage. When Titus chops everyone’s happy to be involved. eXtra liFe nOW PlaYinG I DOWnlOaDs I UPDate I REINSTALL I WHY i lOVe I MUst PlaY Turns out those shoulder pads are great for barging. rowdy mob mentality. most shotguns and a endearing vigor. but game he’s in. You are a holy Roman centurion in the 41st millennium. and the sequels Marine. clearing out some brown PUBlisHer linK went on to supplant Gears of War and Sega (formerly THQ) www. but A brawler that’s a sequel or two away from brilliance. is designed to stand out among off a limb or crushes a head the hordes of enemies on huge victim is merely outraged.spacemarine. You are mighty. but they takes hundreds of axe blows. Their shaves off the more uncomfortable Strong and the chiseled chin of an animations and mannerisms almost aspects of that. and space marines famously in their thousands. There is only stamping. and yet mobs in the shadow of mountain. and because there are few should be clearing out entire enemy need to know games that are so ambitious. all other pretenders. There is no cover C seven feet tall. the voice of Mark yelling incoherently. his holy armor. Space Marine don’t understand that they have charged a god. waving their axes Space Marine is a game about the joy chainsaw for a sword. He has a and cleavers above their heads and of violence.com warehouses instead. in the third-person brawler Space THQ didn’t collapse. DeVelOPer so constrained. Orks don’t really feel Olympian. clad in of Orks in these warehouses. The idea that know no fear. He they explode in spectacular ways. but here he September 2011 Relic universe. Space Marine sold better. His blue and gold armor can’t resist a scrap. There is no finesse to the combat system. and the fiction carefully rectangular head. Deep in a fight. and he lives to kill Orks perfectly communicate the Ork pain. In an alternate releaseD sized titan war machines. slashing. The limited. and Titus Captain Titus is a man too big for the marine captain is laughable. the game transforms. and button. Beaten by gears of warhammer battlefields. There is no aptain Titus stands He doesn’t care. Orks lose blood and any of them could take a space limbs at an alarming rate. repetitive environments are forgotten. In that universe January 2017 97 . is. between bloody swings of a chain axe. He moments. He is genetically tailored a human? How could this be? They I keep playing Space Marine for those for the front line of a huge war.

and at the peak of your jump as you 1 np eorcSoonncaelpSt aoffe t y Orks will do anything for a 4 3 bS ce ha av ve ni ogre r Orks kitbash all their gear slow and start to fall. and the set-pieces successfully vary the pace for the first two-thirds of the game. It only see the legendary vehicles of the enormous shoulders and use its variably pulls it off. There are nods fiction. but many— and slams you into huge conflicts moving train to chase down an Ork such as the sight of a Predator tank against hordes of aliens. bloody mist. but only in noninteractive gun-arm to blow up a space elevator. throughout the game for dioramas. generate the spectacle you might barrier. I appreciate the intent. Nonetheless. “dakka dakka” as they call it. Space Marine’s assault pack fights let everything you need to know about Orks in one picture you boost high above the battlefield. new perspectives Floating skulls mean you can execute these Orks for health. Mean and green The jetpack sections are the best. They find loud noises space marines and demons. replaced by much tougher Chaos 3 are deeply pleasing to Orks. Their who aren’t instantly reduced to fight planes. The first half of the game is better 2 the color red Orks strongly believe that the colour red makes things 4 aS hl wo ao yt Si nb’ e Machine gun noises. You fight around its Crystal Dynamics game. Shame if some Orks happened to it. give the game the feel of a But Relic still found away to put a expect from a Naughty Dog or 40K wax museum where you get to titan in the game. In 2011 the warboss. Marine works best as a power fantasy about chopping through mobs. which enables Titus to follow up with a series of executions. you can target the ground and crash down into combat. The impact stuns enemies laugh. Space Marine 3 puts you in drop pods In another section you drop onto a Warhammer 40K fans. or than the second. r e i n s ta l l Old games. including strapping and other races have no idea themselves to rockets to how they manage it. Space hilarious. 2 stuff frequently explodes. Nice bridge. A new enemy army arrives and the squishy Orks are 1 go faster. and 98 January 2017 . The game constantly tries to behind an impassable waist-high resources simply weren’t there.

the front of the Imperium. Space Marine’s toward them. dogmatic thinking. give him a strong sense RPG genres. In this paranoid unending war in the 41st millennium. you get to meet gesture or a misplaced word. accused of for the last tIme the reason why the Imperial facilities they work in have huge arches. Through these rather than the end of an experiment. You’re a because he’s about to be tortured in create interesting fights with more monster to them. it feels Though the game suffers from the of dignity. generic frothing warrior. it out a charging horde at mid-range. but all you really have to think isn’t bad. Nonetheless.000 feet from an exploding platform. guns can be fun when used to thin incidental interactions Titus shows If Space Marine was made today. These are the doomed by his competence. but the story also the chance to swap out weapons and end. even nobility. Going back now. I always feel sad when the door gantries and elevators that have to closes on Titus for the last time. his compassionate side. Notably. eXtra liFe nOW PlaYinG I DOWnlOaDs I UPDate I REINSTALL I WHY i lOVe I MUst PlaY The space marine equivalent of a good Friday night. After a whenever I feel the urge to put a big ordinary human soldiers that hold very silly sequence in which he blue boot to some Orks. Titus some horrible Imperial interrogation resilient foes. It would have would have have skill trees. he is led the door closes on tItus mixture of reverence and fear. while successfully joining the dots world. You occasionally have introduction of Chaos towards the Spoilers ahead. and works against the fantasy. gear but long-range sniping doesn’t feel been easy for Relic to make him a choices and other features that have good. You’re away by the Inquisition. It manages to capture some character flaws: fanaticism and about is living the fantasy of of the subtler elements of the fiction. but the become popular thanks to the writing. not the combat system isn’t geared to carry tons of weight. particularly when you respects the guard and shuts down vault. but because that moment have to tackle annoying airborne his squadmates’ lofty attitudes should mark the beginning of a series enemies at range. Titus is Space Marine over and over. policed by inquisitors who can I love how simple and immediate between boss fights and set-piece find corruption and heresy in a that is. Compared punches the head off a Chaos I always feel sad when to Titus they are fragile underdogs who regard the space marines with a champion while falling 30. unusually pure. the imperial guard. wide heresy by his own squadmate. generally—whisper it—the story confronts the space marines’ key guns. January 2017 99 . and I shall continue to play encounters. and Mark Strong’s fine cross-pollination between action and guarded respect performance.

WHY I LOVE WhAt mAKes gAmes speciAl The lo-fi Tech of Alien: isolATion The Creative Assembly looked to the past to build a believable future. By Andy Kelly 100 January 2017 .

Nostromo. as artists strive to Assembly used Scott’s 1979 film as environment as convincingly as show you just how incredibly the basis for the game’s bold art possible. and mythology in its own right. But Sevastopol is more access to a colossal 3TB archive of Isolation.com the shuttle. RIGHT: Nostromo’s dippy bird: the direct ancestor of all kitsch cockpit-clutter in all sci-fi films and videogames. Alien: Isolation also takes deeper A fiction has aged badly. the easier it is to film. they used that reference setting that doesn’t just look like seems real. when used to seeing in sci-fi cinema. The dedication to believable world. part too. brilliantly. Ron Cobb says: “I to your problems. dreaming of a brighter future. I’ve always loved that about the Alien series. It completely matter-of-fact. but in this universe. Its first between Alien and the October 2014 The Creative Assembly appearance is in Alien. January 2017 101 . and some glamorous or exciting. And the game echoes this between the stars. functional future imperfect you never feel like there’s going to be design of the Nostromo. that’s certainly just a reused need To know because it’s in two of effect. you have to rely on your of the fact that they’re traveling Alien: Isolation apart in their wits. And this actually adds to the horror. But rather than just recreate the design philosophy. You believe you are because it film’s sets. but feels like an authentic part setting is. but it’s a nice piece Ridley Scott’s most of connective tissue rELEasED DEVELOPEr famous films. than the fantastical ships we’re resent films that are so shallow they Alien: Isolation is proof that. the artists at unreleased photos of the sets. establishes that technology won’t crew of the Nostromo aren’t in awe building that sets both Alien and save you. and worlds that don’t rely on far-fetched The Creative Assembly had some from this they created their own technology and fancy special effects incredible source material to work world using the same utilitarian to convince you that you’re in the with. it’s It’s an attention to detail and a rusty old flamethrowers. The Creative should be made to render each and ostentatious. business. Sevastopol. EXTra LIFE NOW PLaYING I DOWNLOaDs I UPDaTE I rEINsTaLL I WHY I LOVE I MUsT PL aY lot of 1970s science and reel-to-reel tape players. but the lo-fi technology plays a director Ridley Scott’s insistence on artfully understated everything is. scReen BURn It’s remarkable that. This archaic throwback to the 1970s. You claustrophobia of the Nostromo is a is down to several completely buy into its retro. The more grounded a material as a starting point to craft Alien. Much sci-fi is optimistic. but it’s where all the wonder and adventure isn’t as convincing as Alien. The crude technology to get paid and get home. It’s almost recognize it. In a lot of sci-fi there’s some realism over flashy effects. that looks familiar presence of chunky IBM-style keyboards. do so well. because is reflected in the stark. but always in the futuristic they can make their worlds design. Videogame sci-fi is often shiny In Alien: Isolation. including They invite you to credible sci-fi background. Granted. In the than something included to evoke a Nostromo have is a cattle prod. it comes to science fiction. flickering CRT monitors. but all the crew of the concept artist Ron Cobb. and the film. space is just another way to turn a profit. Alien: Isolation is a passionate. and the You get the sense that this technology magical device or weapon that saves practical. industrial designs of is a natural part of the setting. That’s why Prometheus faithful homage to the film. image on screens around appearing on a screen in Sevastopol. Isolation’s setting doesn’t feel like an inspiration from the film. They just want respective genres. convincing because it keeps it in the production material.alienisolation. even if it’s fantasy or their own distinctive extension of the of its universe. Its second is Alien: Isolation. You occasionally see this in Blade Runner. less can be I’ve always felt that a lot of effort more. The cold but Alien hasn’t. rely entirely on their visual effects. rather the day. The result is a future.” And that’s what look. is the product of a society relate to it. like the science fiction. even with the hey. a result of how film. including futuristic design. space travel is not particular time period or aesthetic. Fox gave the developers background. similarly retro-futuristic PUBLIsHEr LINK when Ripley is escaping in Blade Runner—and now Sega www. primitive motion tracker. big part of Alien’s power as as horror factors. a Alien universe. despite also a worthy addition to the universe of space travel has been replaced by major advances in effects technology. If you Gaff’s spinner. which is In an interview in Paul Scanlon’s a miraculous technological solution more like an oil rig or a submarine Book of Alien.

free game is funny and supplies the toilet-based drownings unforgettable soundtrack. but still beautifully designed levels and an but this short. part murder and fury.ly/PrimalPC World oF tyPing WeeKly www. Your let you avoid its many obstacles. you got ta liFe in the WeSt hitman SoniC 3 & KnuCKleS www. worth the $5 it costs on Steam. even though a recent patch interaction over convoluted and designed to fix the widespread frustrating puzzles. it’s bad—even the original 2D Davey Wreden. MUST Pl ay With melody drive dangerouSly botaniCula Forza horizon 3 P L AY www. Its repackages Far Cry’s tools for the other job is to enjoy the ridiculous unrelenting pace and ominous tone stone age. In one section. to shift the pitch of his “aah” noises. The fifth episode is a should be called out as such. story’s many jokes. When inspiration hits.com/worldoftyping Probably. One of the hotter takes of recent about Kanye West’s Twitter account. filled with feed reacts.EXTRA LIFE NOW PLAYING I DOWNLOADS I UPDATE I REINSTALL I WHY I LOVE I MUST PLAY Phil Kill a boar Solve a murder hold on tight Savage Far Cry Primal iCaruS Proudbottom’S thumPer www. with a & Knuckles is a fine game. and watch as your refreshing change of pace. joyful hours. and you bash the keyboard to post Interactive. giving you don’t know what that is. great—a real return to form for IO platformers. tWeet liKe Kanye droWn a terroriSt go FaSt. Your job is to accurately through abstract levels.com/kanye www.com Are games art? www. A because this is a wonderfully varied playfully weird experience. setting puts a greater emphasis on type out the phrases that appear on barely a moment’s notice to execute Far Cry’s excellent stealth systems. last few games in the series—but it part typing tutorial. The pre-civilization mystery. Are games I get why people were cool on this I’m just a couple of levels in.forzamotorsport. using the magicks of the tilde the simple button combinations that and I’m a fan of the ridiculous ways it key to rack up mundo points.com/app/71162 A darkly surreal black comedy Another game I’ve played a lot of. I’ve grown to love.thumpergame. Are latest Far Cry—it’s very similar to the This free episodic adventure is already Thumper is a blur of speed games cooking? No. It’s a few years old now.hitman. emerge from his elaborate shell. 102 january 2017 .net www. Your metallic beetle hurtles Are games crochet? I still works for me.botanicula. and science? Kind of. work to create something special. It looks gorgeous.net A daft point-and-click adventure I’ve played this for more than 50 that favors mellifluent. Sonic 3 Kanye’s tweets. mostly because Samuel keeps years posits that Sonic was always created by The Stanley Parable’s making me review it. This is nonsense. screen.steampowered. gAmes you cAn Hopefully Playground Games will This causes a giant tortoise to plAy right now sort out the performance issues.bit. by phil savage and satisfying racer. It’s well memorably eerie. Thankfully. greater emphasis on stealth. too.com store. A personAl list framerate problems caused me to you pull a dangling creature’s tongue of the best experience framerate problems.galactic-cafe.holywowstudios.

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UPGRADE group test By Ed Chester ULTRA-WIDE MONITORS For gaming and movie-watching 104 January 2017 .

4K is still either a general desktop work you’ll want the higher resolution. but for viewing angles. A new ultra-wide monitor might Typically ultra-wides come in be just what you need. TN is best for gaming. anyway? pixels. W hat good is all is the difference between a normal that graphics widescreen TV and a true widescreen processing movie. HARDWARE Group Test and VA screens for gaming. Freesync/G-Sync—technologies that better color accuracy and viewing angles with a 21:9 aspect ratio rather than the sync the refresh rate of the monitor to of IPS or the high contrast of VA. It takes What panel type should I get? the most competitive gamer. Eliminates monitor will eliminate those pesky black Most ultra-wides are one of two tearing and stutter. TN panels are What about 4K? Q&A still the most responsive. An ultra-wide What resolution can I get? the graphics card framerate. either 29” or 34” sizes. more natural If you’re only concerned with gaming and IPS/TN/VA—IPS and VA have better Yes. and it’s handy for work too. this panel size? and can give you a wider. video then the latter is fine. but fast IPS For most gamers. Instead your choice is between the Ultra-wide generally means a monitor desktop can also cause issues. which 32” or larger for this roundup. processing power to animate that many Dictionary but you don’t tend to get TN at this panel What is ultra-wide. but I’ve stuck An ultra-wide display stretches the to the big guns—monitors have to be usual 16:9 aspect ratio to 21:9. January 2017 105 . You can now get fast refreshing IPS view in some games. Working at that resolution on your size. As well as making movies look power if those great—no more black bars—the extra pixels don’t width can get you a wider view in end up on a high quality screen? games. TN and VA are the usual LCD types. an enormous amount of graphical IPS. Can I get a actual gaming monitor at bars above and below widescreen films resolutions: 3440x1440 or 2560x1080. panels in particular are still fine for all but pipedream or just unnecessary. more conventional 16:9.

For desktop. but it won’t be for everyone. it looks superb. responsive experience. video or gaming. It’s the little brother to the Acer Predator X34A. the X342CK is an absolute bargain.com $1.asus. 34” IPS panel with a resolution of The PG348Q also has one of the most ridiculous 3440x1440. it has everything you could ask for. immersive gaming. it big rival. I immediately turned it off. This is the updated version of the XR341CK that One area where it doesn’t immediately impress is 1 launched alongside the X34A early in the year.HARDWARE Group Test 1 2 3 AcER XR342cK ASUS ROG SWIfT PG348Q www. refresh rate and G-Sync for smooth. 75Hz refresh rate. 95% responsive. Fantastic colors. 93% 106 January 2017 . New to this updated version is a slicker design which is just that tiny bit better out of the box than that’s moved from glossy plastic on the rear to matt. it is in every other way superior.com $809 www. the X34A. 2 design. the X34A. A light on won’t need any resolution adjustment in Windows. it hasn’t arrived yet.249 On paper. silver patterns all over the back and odd copper Even against an updated X34A. like some sort of tiny Batman its big brother too. For games. its styling is an acquired taste. the Where the PG348Q pulls things back is its combination of Freesync and the 75Hz refresh excellent onscreen menu and the joystick controls makes for a smooth. providing an ideal pixel density that gaudy extras I’ve seen on a monitor. sports a curved. G-Sync. with a gaming monitors since its debut at the start of 2016. the XR342CK highlights on the stand. Like the X34A. and while an updated X34A is due. even if for it. the Acer XR342CK shouldn’t be the top gaming The PG348Q has been the flagbearer for truly massive monitor.acer. signal gone wrong. and the less popular Freesync rather 100Hz refresh rate. a 34” curved IPS panel and than G-Sync. Fire up some games or a widescreen and there’s a far better onscreen menu control movie and it’s a delight. tweaking very easy. 3440x1440 resolution. While the PG348Q feels sturdily well built. They combine to make setting up and it can’t compete with 100Hz+ displays for sheer zip. underside of the stand projects a red Asus ROG It produces identically brilliant image quality to logo onto your desk. contrast system too. It’s more coherent than its would still make a fine choice. right out of the box. However. For AMD users or Nvidia and viewing angles join that 100Hz users who don’t mind forgoing G-Sync. Then there’s image quality. featuring strange giving this cheaper model the upper hand. With a lower.

but here is only enhanced by the G-Sync smoothness and you’ve got a flat panel.philips. It’s got everything you plus the option of a VESA mount. 80% January 2017 107 . It’s superfluous but However. concerned about overall image quality. In some ways it’s not those with older hardware can still get in on the act. and like the where it counts. color temperature is a little off out the box. this isn’t such a great Ambilight technology on TVs.com $1. pivot. It does. However. noticeably quicker response from the 100Hz refresh It’s a super-slim bezeled panel too. let down an otherwise a fantastic looking device. 93% choice for competitive gamers. accurate colors. Once you’ve done that you get a superb quality A row of nine LEDs shine down onto your desk image.243 www. The image quality is fantastic too. but it provides value for money curved 34” IPS. although the smart-looking stand that offers height. deep and you can choose from several colors and contrast. angular metal VGA inputs along with DisplayPort and HDMI.acer. This makes it superb for gaming. the most practical design but it sure looks good. at 60Hz and with an average quite a nice effect—a bit like that Philips input lag of 42ms. it’s a monitors on this roundup. 4 AcER PREDATOR X34A PHILIPS BDM3470UP www. have the worst onscreen menu and it still offers height. 3440x1440 resolution display. you shouldn’t need to adjust anything else. Desktop work.227 So to the X34A itself. gaming and video is a joy. You also get DVI and Also impressive is the striking. however. where the Sporting a 34” IPS panel and a resolution of 3440x 3 ultra-wide screen and slightly wraparound curve add a surprising amount to gaming immersion. This 4 1440 pixels. need but looks appalling and is a pain to navigate. still the current pinnacle of Acer’s vast Philips’ ultra-wide eschews the fancy extras of the other gaming monitor lineup. Good viewing angles. rotation and tilt adjustment. mounted on a rate. Like the two previous devices. I have ever seen on a monitor. rotation and tilt adjustment. the BDM3470UP has all the size and pixel density of more expensive options.com $1. making it a good option for those most PG348Q it stretches to 100Hz and comes with G-Sync. so stand that balances on tiptoes. brightness levels. we still have the glossy black plastic Thankfully it arrives calibrated—unlike most others that also afflicted the X342CK’s predecessor. The on test—so aside from dropping the brightness a entire back is finished in the stuff and it does slightly bit.

You don’t get a super-slim bezel but it’s still Given those professional credentials and the svelte-looking. The sheer weight of the panel gives stand with height and tilt adjustment. It’s also a reasonably practical build quality. and it’s backed up The connectivity is good.com $1. and like all the monitors on test. 5 for those who need perfectly accurate colors at all times—think photo and video editing. 80% no extras and just a 60Hz refresh rate. with the price you pay for 4K right now. The impressively slim you get a USB hub too—here it’s four USB 3. bezel also ensures that despite being a professional The S34E790C has a little joystick control on its device it doesn’t look too utilitarian.0s. so I cheated a little here. with smooth adjustments for the DisplayPort. pivot and rotation. that you’ll have to use Windows’ scaling to increase the you’d hope for. This can occasionally result in creating a much deeper looking image. at just 724:1. tilt. size of text and icons. sports a 4K resolution specimen potentially ideal for video watching thanks to the high and is fully AdobeRGB capable for professional graphics use. This makes it really easy to move combined with excellent contrast and a huge 3840x around to change settings or switch inputs. That makes this 34” curved However. that VA panel delivers just modest.com $969 OK.samsung. it isn’t the most accurate monitor. that’s just and for gaming its nothing special. 5 ASUS PA329Q SAMSUNG S34E790c www. it’s a conventional 16:9 aspect. and I love that the stand curves to very high asking price it’s no surprise you get high match the display. Unfortunately. This makes movies and games pop. 75% 108 January 2017 . distracting. it is a massive 32 inches across.asus. monitors it chooses VA panels. height. and the resolution is so high the sort of deep blacks. that contrast is also As for image quality. contrast VA provides. rear for navigating the onscreen menu. and thus high contrast. However. so other visual artifacts that can be photographers should look elsewhere. with two HDMI joining by a sturdy stand. 6 thanks to one of the most elegant stand designs in its class. 2160 resolution. just like on You get 100% sRGB and AdobeRGB coverage the Asus PG348Q. The Asus PA329Q isn’t Samsung may be the king of OLED phones but when it makes technically an ultra-wide. away how well put together it is. These all combine to make this the ultimate choice This is also a great-looking monitor from any angle. some apps appearing too small as well as a few Technically.249 www.

A whopping 35” from corner to corner. Then there’s the issue of ghosting. 32 inch IPS 3840 x 2160 5ms 5 Plus it helps that the screen is massive. it’s also curved. 70% 35 inch Va 2560 x 1080 4ms 7 January 2017 109 .500K Acer XR342CK 1 809 18 6 75 Asus PG348Q 2 1249 131 100 Acer X34A 3 1243 604 100 Philips BDM3470UP 4 1227 98 60 Asus PA329Q 5 1249 7 581 60 Samsung S34E790C AOc c3583fQ 6 969 www. which is just 2560x1080. there 936 are a couple of problems. 7 On a screen this big that makes for a very blocky. over-sized image that isn’t great for productivity as so little information can be squeezed on screen.aoc. yet it’s AOC C3583FQ 7 also the largest. I can’t give this monitor a free pass. compared to other 30”-plus screens. there is one area this display does well. there’s a richness and depth to movies. HARDWARE Group Test stACKeD up PRICE ($) COLOR TEMP (K) REFRESH RATE (Hz) Deviation from 6. 34 inch IPS 3440 x 1440 5ms 3 Still. The VA panel esseNtIALs used here can refresh quickly but leaves behind a smudgy trail that’s noticeable even when moving Screen Size Panel Tech Resolution Response Time around the desktop. 264 160 The first is the resolution. However. 34 inch Va 3440 x 1440 4ms 6 but its mix of features could suit some and its price is competitive.com $936 230 60 The C3583FQ is the cheapest monitor on test here. For a fast-paced game there’s 34 inch IPS 3440 x 1440 5ms 1 nowhere near the level of snap that you expect of a high refresh rate monitor. Thanks to the inherently 34 inch IPS 3440 x 1440 5ms 4 high contrast of VA panels. I’d go so far as to say the 34 inch IPS 3440 x 1440 5ms 2 ghosting nullifies any competitive advantage the fast refresh would otherwise provide. and colour accuracy is decent too. runs at up to 160Hz and has Freesync. which is watching video.

superior components. But you still want to spend smart. Pick the parts you want to You want to run every new game at 1080p 60fps. 110 January 2017 . This You’re looking for the best PC on the market and build a new. your next PC BUYER’S GUIDE Build the best PC for your budget ADVANCED MID-RANGE BUDGET KEY Budget build Mid-range build Advanced build PC gaming is for everyone. well-rounded PC for a good price. recommended build will see you through.

VS247HR 60Hz 1080p dISPLay Asus $137 BUILD 1080p resolution.020 Microsoft $27 The king of controllers. Rival 100 MouSe Steelseries $32 Steelseries’ Rival lineup is ideal for those looking to get a quality gaming mouse at a T O TA L respectable price. and cheap at the price. 60fps—it’s a monitor made for PC gamers. is super energy efficient. RX 480 GraPhICS Card AMD $280 AMD’s new budget card has incredible performance for the price. CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Keyboard Coolermaster $80 Enjoy 1080p gaming without A no-frills mechanical keyboard with a breaking the bank standard layout and Cherry switches. and the perfect size to house your Windows system and most-used programs. HyperX Fury Black 8GB @2133 MeMory Kingston $35 DDR4 packs higher speeds. 8GB is still king for most games however. When you’re button-mashing. Core i3-6100 ProCeSSor Intel $116 Grants access to that brilliant Z170 chipset. and larger capacities. better energy efficiency. playing on this will be silky smooth. January 2017 111 . Plenty of expandability to upgrade in the future. We recommend Browns or Reds for gaming. HARDWARE Buyer’s Guide Z170-A Pro Motherboard MSI $114 Our budget build’s gone through an upgrade thanks to this new Z170 chipset. Torch LE 120GB SSD SSd Patriot $35 This SSD is insanely cheap. EVGA 500W 80PLUS Certified PoWer SuPPLy ATX12V/EPS12V EVGA $45 A reliable PSU with enough juice to run your CPU and a reasonably power-hungry GPU. this USB device won’t let you down. Xbox 360 Wired Controller ControLLer $1. so you BUDGET can upgrade that microATX board later. Coupled with the RX 480. and delivers meaty performance even in AAA titles. ATX-sized. 500GB 7200RPM HDD hdd Seagate $49 500GB of additional storage for all your games and other programs. Carbide 200R CaSe Corsair $70 The 200R gets the job done with toolless trays and plenty of space. just pipping the GTX 970 in our benchmarking tests. Spend a tiny bit more and you double its capacity.

very speedy 850 EVO. Get a decent cable kit for this one and you can easily spice up your rig. quiet and great for overclocks. Still the best price/performance.1 and SLI support. 112 January 2017 . The Kraken X31 is powerful.2 PCIe x4 slot. Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM hdd Western Digital $50 SSDs are great. Intel network port. 850 EVO 250GB SSd Samsung $98 Samsung retains its top spot on the SSD pile with the fantastically priced. This 1TB HDD will hold as many MID-RANGE games as you can handle. GTX 1070 FE GraPhICS Card Nvidia $565 The new king of midrange.722 Razer $58 There’s not a huge range of price differences on the best mice. Comes with some important memory/storage speed boosts. with an M. and gives you a monitor upgrade path. so stick with the best for your mid-range build too. Savage Black 16GB @2400 MHz MeMory CAS 12 Kingston $81 Thanks to insanely low timings. Deathadder 2013 MouSe $1. such as removable dust filters and space for huge liquid cooling radiators. RMx 650W PoWer SuPPLy Corsair $100 Nothing like having a quality power supply. K70 Vengeance Keyboard Corsair $110 A great.HARDWARE Buyer’s Guide Z170 Pro Gaming Motherboard Asus $160 The latest revision of our favorite gaming motherboard. but they’re still far from cheap. S340 CaSe NZXT $75 BUILD The stylish S340 has some nice touches. It’s cheap and still looks sleek. Q2778VQE dISPLay AOC $250 Our recommended build for This entry-level 1440p monitor is perfect for playing the latest games those looking to upgrade from 1080p. full-size mechanical keyboard with an ergonomic wrist rest. this card is perfect for high refresh rate 1440p gaming. these two 8GB sticks of DDR4 are more than enough. i5-6600K ProCeSSor Intel $220 Intel’s new Skylake processor is nearly as fast as an i7 for gaming. We recommend T O TA L Cherry Brown or Red switches for gaming. USB 3. Kraken X31 CooLer NZXT $70 To get the most out of a good CPU you need a cooler to match.

for the money this is a dream come true. USB 3. buttons. these two 8GB sticks of DDR4 are more than enough.862 Deathadder 2013 MouSe $3. Don’t let the price put you off. £2. reset.5” variants. CMOS. Hydro H110i GT 280mm CooLer Corsair $120 Quiet. Renowned for T O TA L their impeccable feel and build quality. delivering speeds four times faster than traditional 2. custom cable kits. and a platinum efficiency rating.2 SSD SSd Samsung $181 PCIe SSDs surpass the limitations of SATA. PG279Q ROG Swift G-Sync dISPLay Asus $800 Go above and beyond with a PC 165Hz. Ducky One Keyboard Ducky $120 T O TA L An elegant set of keys from mechanical keyboard fan favorite Ducky.346 Razer $58 Even if you’ve got money to burn. M. the Deathadder really is the best mouse you can buy right now. that’s what. GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition 8GB GraPhICS Card EVGA $819 Nvidia’s GTX 1080 is the new king of the hill. this case is a pleasure to work in and a beauty to behold.2. Core i7-6700K ProCeSSor Intel $339 Intel’s new top-of-the-line Skylake processor. What’s not to love about this Corsair PSU? Nothing.1 and on-board power. etc. 950 Pro 256GB M. cool and capable of providing even the most aggressive overclocker with more than enough headroom to hit that 5GHz mark. this device is perfect for 4K gaming. Noctis 450 CaSe NZXT $130 BUILD Thanks to its innovative interior layout and daring design. IPS. perfect ADVANCED for all your games and media. Although a little pricey. HARDWARE Buyer’s Guide ROG Maximus VIII Hero Motherboard Asus $240 Fantastic overclocking and stability. 850 Evo 1TB SSd 2 Samsung $307 Say goodbye to those slow old hard drives with this almost affordable 1TB SSD. Its new chipset includes important memory/ storage speed boosts. January 2017 113 . 27 inches of pure powerful enough to end worlds perfection. G-Sync. Savage Black 16GB @2400 MHz MeMory Cas12 Kingston $81 Thanks to insanely low timings. HX750i 80 Plus Platinum PoWer SuPPLy Corsair $151 Modular. with a great UEFI BIOS from Asus.

co. SubScribe to CHOOSE YOUR PACKAGE PRINT DDiGitAL I GITA L Every issue Including delivered to image your door galleries on iPad Only $24 Only $19 SAvIng 80% SAvIng 84% PRIN T + DI GITA L Every issue delivered in print and to your iOS and Android devices Only $38 SAvIng 84% VISIT myfavouritemagazines. Your subscription is for the minimum term specified and will expire at the end of the current term. Payment is non-refundable after the 14 day cancellation period unless exceptional circumstances apply. Your statutory rights are not affected. . For full terms and conditions please visit http://myfavouritemagazines. Prices correct at point of print and subject to change. Offer ends 3 January 2017.uk/PCGsub OR CALL +44 344 848 2852 and Sat 10am .Fri 8am to 7pm TERMS & CONDITIONS Prices and savings quoted are compared to buying full priced print and digital issues. You will receive 13 issues in a year. You can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription within 14 days of purchase.co.2pm EDT Mon.uk/terms.

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