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Updated: 6 min 38 sec ago

Nintendo is having another Nindies video showcase for Switch this week

32 min 3 sec ago

Nintendo is hosting another Nindies video showcase this Wednesday, March 20th, highlighting a new wave of indie games heading to Switch.

There's no clue as to what specific delights it might bring (although a release date for Retro City Rampage sequel Shakedown: Hawaii doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility, given that we're rapidly running out of its previously announced "Q1" launch window), but curious observers can tune in from 4pm in the UK / 9am PT. Here's a tweet telling you everything I've just told you but using considerably less words.

Those planning to watch can do so via YouTube or Nintendo's own website, although the latter is basically just a YouTube embed, so I don't suppose it matters either way.

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Categories: Video Games

Get Stellaris, Civilization 6 and more together for under £12 on Humble

1 hour 20 min ago

For the next eight days, you can nab a raft of big bad strategy games from as low as under a quid at the Humble Store, including cosmically vast titles Stellaris and Civilisation 6. This year's Humble Strategy 2019 bundle features the above titles and more for the princely sum of £11.33, or $15.

From the one dollar band, we have three games. Firstly, there's Niche - genetics survival game, which entails shaping your own species of beast and keeping them alive in the brutal wilds.

As you'd expect this includes different biomes and predators, plus flora and prey. As a bonus, the actual scientific mechanics of genetics are interwoven into the game - meaning you can learn as you play. As Niche is currently £13.59 on Steam, this makes for one top-tier deal too!

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Categories: Video Games

Meet the Fallout 76 player behind the Deathclaw maze, player oven and murder church

1 hour 29 min ago

If you've been on the Fallout 76 subreddit over the past few months, you've probably seen them. Huge, grandiose and utterly outrageous; these are player traps which seem to hoodwink dozens despite their sinister facades.

They're the work of Vault101manguy, also known as Mike: a Canadian Fallout 76 player who by day works in IT, but at night terrifies the citizens of Flatwoods. So far he's created three traps, including a murder church, player oven and his latest masterpiece: a Deathclaw maze.

The posts have gained significant traction on Reddit, even inviting comment from a Bethesda dev, and Mike has plans to make even more traps in future. I had a chat with Mike to ask him a bit about his work and the process behind constructing the devices. Oh - and how he got that Deathclaw into the maze.

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Categories: Video Games

Portal, Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek co-founds new co-op games studio

1 hour 53 min ago

Former Valve writer Chet Faliszek has co-founded new games studio Stray Bombay with Riot Games designer Kimberly Voll.

Faliszek is best known for his work on Valve classics such as Half-Life 2's episodes, Portal, Left 4 Dead and Portal 2 - several of which have a big focus on co-operative storytelling.

And it's this focus Stray Bombay will build upon as Faliszek and Voll seek to make games with shared experiences.

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Categories: Video Games

Bethesda's doing E3 this year

2 hours 17 min ago

Bethesda will have a media briefing at E3 2019, it's announced.

The company's E3 showcase is set for Monday, 10th June at 1.30am UK time. It'll be a late one!

So, what do we expect? Bethesda has said Doom Eternal will get an in-depth look, so that's guaranteed. But what else? How about something from Arkane, the developer of Dishonored and Prey, more on Wolfenstein: Youngblood, a big expansion for Fallout 76 and another glimpse at Bethesda Game Studio's Starfield?

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo Switch version of Startropics impossible to complete without secret code

3 hours 5 min ago

NES classic Startropics famously included a secret code hidden within its paper manual - one you need to enter to complete the game.

Unfortunately, as Reddit users have realised, the recently-released Nintendo Switch version of Startropics does not include it.

It feels like an oversight on Nintendo's part, after the Wii U Virtual Console port of the game included the code in its digital manual.

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Categories: Video Games

Get a PSVR set for just over £200

4 hours 23 min ago

You can pick up the latest PlayStation VR starter pack (2018 model) and experience mighty VR-O-Vision for a significantly reduced £209 at Amazon - saving you up to £80 on the price compared to the likes of Argos, Currys, AO and Very.

The set includes a headset, PlayStation Camera and a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds, the latter of which features five mini-experiences ranging from an ocean descent to a Danny Dyer-esque heist.

Meanwhile, the same set with a copy of Resident Evil VR and Now TV can be snagged for £239.99 at GAME.

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo Switch adult Mahjong game pulled due to poor censorship

5 hours 58 min ago

A Nintendo Switch version of Mahjong, the ancient Chinese tile game, has been pulled from the Japanese eShop for containing poorly-censored nudity.

Super Real Mahjong PV previously launched on the PC and Sega Saturn, and was designed to titillate players with 32-bit hentai as a reward for completing levels. Super real, it was not.

Back to 2019, where the game's eyebrow-raising reappearance on Switch in Japan includes a lazy attempt to cover up its characters. Light beams now censor parts of each image - making it look like you're staring at Microsoft Paint drawings of women in Japanese schoolgirl costumes, while someone shines a torch into your eyes to ask what on earth you think you're doing.

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Categories: Video Games

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 review - an accomplished sequel with an awful story

6 hours 6 min ago

There are a few things you can count on me to be embarrassed by on any given day - my beer gut, for example, or the time I called my teacher 'mum' when I was six. One of the things embarrassing me most at the moment is how much I like The Division 2, because it is a game that manages to be both great and repugnant.

Let's start with the good stuff - The Division 2 is a very well made cover shooter. The core experience introduced in the first game is still gripping, offering countless busy set pieces with just enough of a challenge to make its players feel like part of a well oiled machine.

Skills remain a big part of the game, offering a wide array of sophisticated, deadly and very often daft gadgets to help agents get an edge on their opponents. The range of core skills - and variants of those skills - has been greatly expanded for the sequel, which now boasts a drone that can fix your armour, chemical launchers that can stick people to the spot, and a silly device that zips around the screen attaching magnetic grenades to pre-selected targets before quite often flying into the nearest wall. The gear system has also undergone some changes. Items of gear now have manufacturers - effectively gear sets - adding a layer of complexity to your equipment loadout that can offer some useful perks. Weapon mods, meanwhile, now feature one negative trait along with a positive one, making customisation more of a challenge.

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The Division 2 physical launch sales just 20% of Division 1's

7 hours 47 min ago

The Division 2 sold far fewer physical copies during its launch week than the series' first entry, back in 2016.

Ubisoft's latest Tom Clancy-'em-up shifted just 20 per cent of the boxed copies of its predecessor. As ever, UK numbers do not include digital sales.

So why the huge plummet? Well, Division 1 launched on a Tuesday in the UK, compared to Division 2's Friday arrival. The first game had a little longer to rack up numbers.

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Categories: Video Games

Glorious pixel physics rule in Noita

10 hours 5 min ago

If this is mud that's falling from the cavern above, having pooled in divots and then lapped and slopped over the edges, then why does it settle on top of the water in this beautiful subterranean lake? And why is that guy with flames for hands and feet and flames for a head walking towards me?

Oh, it's not mud at all. It must be oil. Because now everything is ablaze, fire arcing over the surface of the lake, boiling the lake dry, racing upwards to the cavern above and the overflowing divots. Now I'm on fire. Now the ground's giving way. Now I'm landing in fresh green water. Except it's acid rather than water. At least I'm not on fire anymore!

At least I'm not on fire anymore. Noita - I think it's a Finnish word for 'witch' - is the kind of game that has you counting your blessings, however small. It's a 2D procedural exploration game in which you play a robed adventurer heading deep underground with a bundle of magic wands for company. You can aim in any direction and you can levitate for a bit and you can kick things around if they're light enough. Secrets and enemies lurk all about.

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Categories: Video Games

Here's what Star Wars Dark Forces looks like remade in Unreal Engine 4

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 19:53

A developer from Obsidian is remaking Star Wars Dark Forces in Unreal Engine 4.

Jason Lewis - who works as a professional senior environment artist at Obsidian - has been working on this passion project for a few years now, starting out with plans to simply recreate A New Hope's Mos Eisley spaceport as a Dark Forces "art project". Now, however, the project has expanded to a fan-made recreation of Dark Forces, complete with a newly released playable work-in-progress demo.

If you're too young to remember it the first time around (i.e. you're not as old as I am), Star Wars: Dark Forces was a 1995 first-person shooter developed by Lucasarts. Sadly, this remake doesn't feature any shootable bad dudes, but you can experiment with the blaster, take a tour of the Millennium Falcon, and spend some quality time with R2-D2.

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Categories: Video Games

BioWare tweaks Anthem's "loot drop rate"

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 19:04

EA has confirmed that it's made "some notable changes to the loot drop rate" in Anthem.

Whilst only divulging that the changes were coming to "specific scenarios", the short-n-sweet update on the official website confirmed the server-side update (which means you don't have to download or apply it to your local system) would immediately boost the chances of top-tier gear drops at the game's highest difficulty levels... as well as some improvements for the hardest enemies on any difficulty setting, too.

"In the latest server-side update, we've made some notable changes to the loot drop rate in specific scenarios, which will take effect immediately in a server-side tuning update," EA said. "These changes include: Masterwork & Legendary drop rates have been increased for Grandmaster 2 and Grandmaster 3 difficulty levels, and Masterwork & Legendary drop rates have been increased for harder enemies at all difficulty levels. This includes: Legendary Ancient Ash Titan, Elite Ancient Ash Titan, Legendary Fury, Legendary Ursix and Legendary Luminary."

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Categories: Video Games

This dataminer reckons they know what's coming up in The Division 2's all-new raid

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 18:24

A dataminer believes they've uncovered what's coming up in The Division 2's first eight-man raid, Operation Dark Hours.

In a post on reddit (thanks, PCGN), kevindavid40 believes they have "managed to decrypt the game asset file" and lists, in astonishing detail, what they believe the raid will include. While we often see nefarious attempts to convince players of false "leaks", kevindavid40's claims are interesting given the astonishing detail they provide.

"Morning Agents!" kevindavid40 said. "I managed to decrypt the game asset file, and got more interesting info on the upcoming Raid. I'm just going to say it looks true hardcore end-game activity based on the size of the map, and the objectives involved in this Raid."

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Categories: Video Games

A new Sonic game is in development

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 17:18

Takashi Iizuka has confirmed the next main Sonic game has "begun production".

Talking at the SXSW Sonic panel this weekend (thanks, PCGN), Team Sonic were keen to temper expectations - apparently, we're unlikely to see anything concrete about the new instalment until next year - but said the team "will be excited to share more news with you in the future, but for now, thank you for your patience until we have something to show".

The panel also revealed an all-new trailer for upcoming Team Sonic Racing, scheduled to drop on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 21st May, 2019. The teaser offered a peek at the new customisation options - albeit ones that stop short at full character creation, sadly - as well as a little glimpse of the game in action. Players are able to tweak pretty much everything about their vehicle, from handling and defence to acceleration and paint finishes, and even the sound of your horn. Here, take a look:

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Categories: Video Games

DF Retro: Killzone 2 ten years on - a PS3 showcase that still looks stunning today

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 16:00

The road to Killzone 2 was almost certainly a difficult one fraught with unrealistic expectations defined by its infamous E3 2005 pre-rendered trailer - but despite the odds, developer Guerrilla Games managed to produce one of the most visually striking games of the generation. Even today, Killzone 2 stands head and shoulders above most games released for PlayStation 3 in terms of both technical ambition and artistic vision. Revisit the game yourself and see what I mean - it still looks stunning.

The original Killzone released on PS2 in 2004 to average reviews, but there was a spark there that suggested the potential for something greater. The atmosphere was thick and the visuals ambitious for the platform, animation on weaponry was remarkably robust and the game even featured multiple playable characters. Unfortunately, Killzone is ultimately let down by a remarkably choppy frame-rate and often poor mission design, but for many, the Killzone name and Guerrilla Games itself only took centrestage at E3 2005 with the reveal of PlayStation 3.

This now infamous trailer showcased a level of detail and fidelity unlike anything we could imagine at the time and for good reason - the trailer was completely pre-rendered and, according to Guerrilla, was never intended to represent the final game. Indeed, some sources tell us it was never meant for public consumption. The Amsterdam-based studio barely had a single triangle displaying on PS3 devkits at the time, but thanks to a comment made by Sony exec, people were led to believe it was real. As a result, this trailer potentially made development of the game more difficult for the team with public expectations centered around a piece of media that simply wasn't representative of what could be achieved. It would be two years before we saw Killzone 2 again, and three-and-a-half years before the final game would emerge.

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Ian goes hands on with Audica, Harmonix's new rhythm shooter for VR

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 16:00

Beat Saber is an honest-to-goodness VR masterpiece that recently became one of the first VR games in the world to have sold over 1 million copies.

The core mechanic; chopping virtual blocks with virtual swords to a pumping soundtrack is as simple as it is brilliant and if I'm demoing VR to a newcomer, Beat Saber is always top of the pile. This is mainly due to how incredible it feels to play but also because it's just so easy to get to grips with. And I mean, come on, a game that lets you wield lightsabers like some kind of badass, drum 'n' bass Jedi? How could that not be the height of awesomeness?

Obviously the phenomenal success of Beat Saber was bound to spawn imitators sooner or later, so who better to try its hand at some VR rhythm action than Harmonix, the company behind Guitar Hero, Rockband and Dance Central.

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Categories: Video Games

EA ends 32-bit support for The Sims 4 but promises a Legacy Edition will release later this year

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 14:09

Electronic Arts has announced it is ending support for The Sims 4 on "non-metal Mac OS machines and PC 32-bit operating systems" from June 2019, but anyone affected by the changes and cannot upgrade will have a copy of The Sims 4: Legacy Edition "made available" to them.

"Apple has announced plans to phase out support for graphics processing technology called OpenGL and will be moving to a new technology known as Metal. Due to this change, we will upgrade The Sims 4 to work with Metal," wrote community manager, EA_Mai (thanks, PC Gamer). "For those that cannot upgrade to a Metal supporting OS, The Sims 4: Legacy Edition will be made available to you.

"This update will also retire support for 32-bit Operating Systems," they add. "We regularly evaluate our technologies, and to continue growing, improving, and optimizing the game, we have made the decision to retire 32-bit support."

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Categories: Video Games

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is playable on Google Earth right now

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 12:25

Jump onto Google Earth and you can play a special free version of Where in the World in Carmen Sandiego?

While not particularly lengthy, you can hunt down the international thief as she jumps around the globe on Google Earth (thanks, Rock Paper Shotgun). It plays just as you remember, and closes with the promise of more adventures to come.

Interestingly, despite the huge appeal of the Sandiego games - not to mention her Netflix series - historian Kate Willaert points out this is the only way to legally play an official Where in the World in Carmen Sandiego? Game.

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Categories: Video Games

Inside Tomb of Horrors, the hardest D&D module ever made

Sun, 17/03/2019 - 10:00

This article includes spoilers for the Tomb of Horrors D&D module.

The first thing you'll likely hear of Tomb of Horrors, a Dungeons and Dragons module devised by the game's creator Gary Gygax, is how it absolutely lives up to its name. Designed to be almost impossible to beat, Tomb of Horrors has sparked hot debates among players and dungeon masters for over 40 years since its inception, gaining the reputation of being a "meatgrinder" among other, much more unflattering things.

Yet Tomb of Horrors has stuck around since its inception in 1975 and subsequent publication in '78, with adaptations appearing for every new edition of D&D, because there's more to the module than one of gaming's most persistent git gud debates. It was certainly designed as a challenge, but the heart of the matter for most players is the question as to whether Tomb of Horrors is difficult or deliberately unfair, a distinction which immediately makes the discussion more about the design of the game itself, rather than the skill of its players. Players can only work with what the game, and by extension the Dungeon Master, gives them to work with, and so over the years DMs have analysed, and sometimes adapted, the tomb's many traps.

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Categories: Video Games