Rock, Paper, Shotgun
We all know the drill by now. Hard disk drives (or HDDs) are slow but cheap. SSDs are fast but expensive. We can often justify the latter if we’re getting a small, internal drive for installing things like Windows or a couple of games on, but once you’re into the realms of 2TB and above in SSD land, you’re going to need to start handing over a few body parts in addition those buckets of cold hard cash. They’re just too darn expensive for most of us, especially if you’re after an external SSD as well like our best gaming SSD champ Samsung’s T5 or its very close rival, WD’s My Passport.
That’s why external HDDs like WD’s new Black P10 drive are still vital bits of kit for those who regularly deal with large files on the go or, in my case, need to back up lots of games so they don’t clog up my PC’s internal drives. Indeed, why spend £269 / $300 on a 2TB Samsung T5 when you could pay a fraction of that price and get the £88 / $80 2TB Black P10 instead? Or the 5TB model for £144 / $150? Yes, its read and write times are a heck of a lot slower, but when it comes to value for money, WD’s Black P10 really does have it nailed.
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Release: Out now
From: Epic Games Store
For: £27.79, $30, €30
A grimly cheerful dystopia is one of the most popular game settings there is, beaten only by densely populated desert wastelands. (This is why grimly cheerful dystopias in densely populated desert wastelands are a sub-genre all on their own.) It’s not hard to see the appeal for developers: it’s loads of fun to write, it allows for levity in an otherwise thoroughly grimdark scenario, and it lets you demonstrate your ability to do “satire” without doing anything so uncouth as to be actually political. But it’s a fine line to walk, isn’t it? For every Void Bastards turning outer space into your local job centre, there’s a Fallout making its cheesy parody of corporate mascots into a fully-fledged corporate mascot.
Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory is a CRPG based on a classic tabletop RPG. In the tabletop game, as in the video game, you play a clone assigned as a “Troubleshooter”, making a squad of four. Each has a mutation, and a secret political affiliation. The game is about completing the tasks given to you by Friend Computer, an all powerful AI that is simultaneously a deity and a line manager, while also trying to drop the other party members in it and avoid getting caught yourself. Any attempts at satire during this fall flat.
Developer: Onion Games
Publisher: Onion Games
Release: Out now
On: Windows, Mac
Not liking a cute puzzler like Dandy Dungeon: Legend Of Brave Yamada is a bit like staring at a puppy with cold indifference. Puppies are great, conceptually. There is no other way to buy unconditional love. But puppies are flawed. Liking them means looking past their annoyances, finding their embarrassments endearing, and putting in a lot of hard work.
I find DD’s dungeons more dreary than dandy, but perhaps they’re built for people with more patience. Or at least people who like the jokes more.
Christmas is a time for giving. Such as when we when we reveal each day’s Advent calendar game and you give us feedback saying we’re wrong. But it can also be a time for nice giving, such as donating money to the first Rock Paper Shotgun Christmas Charity Stream. We’ve decided to put our magnetic personalities to good use and raise money for British Red Cross, who help make life easier for a lot of struggling people – especially relevant in these dark, cold winter months.
On the 16th December, the video team – with some help from the words team – will be hosting an all day streaming extravaganza. Think Comic Relief, but instead of the cast of EastEnders getting dunked in a gunge tank (or whatever), it’ll be some friendly dweebs sitting on a sofa and playing some games as the room grows stuffier by the minute. By the end of it sweat will pour from our faces as freely as dosh pours from your generous purse.
Last Wednesday, Rocket League did away with loot boxes. You’d think that would be cause for celebration, but developers Psyonix have replaced them with Blueprints that many players consider overpriced.
The short version is that yeah, they are, but it’s more important that this replaces an exploitative model that profits from obsessional gamblers doing themselves serious harm. For the longer version, we need to descend into the murky world of value propositions.
After the blurry blue delights of last month’s Sonic fest, those bundle fiends over at Humble have put together a brand new pack of game goodies for December, this time focusing on Paradox’s best management games to celebrate the early access launch of Surviving the Aftermath. Ironically, Surviving the Aftermath did not, in fact, survive the cut to get into the bundle itself, but Humble’s Paradox management bundle does include the most excellent Surviving Mars, Cities: Skylines and Prison Architect and all their various expansions for under $20.
If you’ve ever wanted to build a PC but don’t know what you should buy or which of our many bestest best components to put inside it, then help is at hand. Introducing The RPS Rig – our recommended PC build that covers everything you need to sit down and start playing your favourite PC games for less than £1000. It’s the complete package, including a monitor, headset, mouse and keyboard, so you can get straight to the action as quickly as possible.
Why £1000? Well, I reckon you don’t need to spend any more than this to get a great gaming PC, and the components I’ve picked will ensure you’ve got plenty of oomph for playing games at 60fps on max settings at 1080p, plus a bit of 1440p potential if you decide to upgrade your monitor further down the line, or you want to take advantage of our chosen monitor’s high refresh rate (and yes, it is possible to build a PC and pair it with a great 144Hz gaming monitor for less than £1000). Read on for the full spec.
Ever since the Master Chief Collection was announced for PC back in March, fans have been clamouring for the Xbox version’s classic split screen local co-op to be included in the PC port. But so far, it seems they’ve had no luck. In a Reddit AMA at the time, 343 Industries’ community director Brian “ske7ch” Jarrard said it was a “tricky” issue, and that 343 was still “looking at what can be supported”. Eight months later, the collection’s roll-out on PC has started with Halo: Reach – but there’s no split screen to be seen.
Luckily, however, I can reveal that Rock Paper Shotgun has secured answers to the local co-op question at last. Or at least, the answers to a local Co-op question. By which I mean, I can tell you how all the main characters in the Halo series would handle a trip to the local branch of Co-op, the UK’s beloved budget supermarket. I’ve got no idea about the split-screen thing. Here’s the information you were almost definitely looking for:
Do you want to feel like James Bond? I bet you want to feel like James Bond. The James Bond who spends all his time crawling through vents and blocking laser beams with key cards. Here, watch some of Unseen Diplomacy, featuring a man using a broom to break into the lair of an evil corporation before it can delete the internet.
Our old pal Osiris has once again done something daft in Destiny 2, so here we come to fix his time-travelling mess. Season Of Dawn, the second season since Shadowkeep, started today and it sends us to Mercury to deal with a giant weird Vex machine Osiris slapped together. He wanted to save his friend Saint-14 from the Infinite Forest, he accidentally gave the Cabal a time machine to win the war we ourselves won during the original campaign. Nice one, Osiris. Nailed it. Again. The fanciest parts of the new season are reserved for season pass owners, but newness is coming for everyone, even free-to-players.
The final Shovel Knight campaign launched today, letting us play as the dastardly King Knight in King Of Cards, and so did its battle mode Showdown. These are the final two big Kickstarter stretch goal features that developers Yacht Club Games have been ploughing through since first launching their rad retro-styled platformer in 2014. It’s taken longer than expected but damn, backers got a hell of a deal. Have a look in the trailers below.
Good news, Epic Store renouncers. You can now play Supergiant’s latest game without getting your fingers dirty, as Hades has landed on Steam and is no longer exclusive to Epic. The Hellenic action roguelike is still in early access, but it’s also still really good. It’s plenty polished, with swords that wallop and dodges that delight. I’ve played for dozens of hours already, and haven’t yet checked out all the new stuff in last week’s big update.
Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which Steve Hogarty explores the wilds of early access. This week, he’s doing orbital parkour in a proxy robot future war.
Release: Out now (early access)
For: Free to play
The year is something beginning with a three or maybe even a four. Brands have become omniscient beings of pure malevolent energy coursing through the planet’s fibre optic nervous system like a bad thought. Free speech is dead. Entertainment is king. Human flesh wars, as we primitive 21st centurions know them, have ended, replaced instead with proxy battles between sexy day-glo robots with narrow waists and lovely big metal thighs. Oh yes, you’d better believe it’s a weirdly convoluted backstory for a pretty straightforward free to play third-person arena battler. This is Overstep, and it’s in Early Access, which means it’s right here in my lap whether we wished for it or not.
Developer: Piranha Games
Publisher: Piranha Games
Release: Out now
I was not sold at first. The opening two hours of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries are, well, they’re fine. Standard tutorials, taking you through the controls and basic concepts, plus some entirely standard “oh no the baddies killed the man, grr” plot business. I was wary, fearing it would be a forgettable linear fairground ride about Corporal Jack Magnum (I honestly can’t remember my character’s name) getting revenge on the… guys, for killing his dad, who… existed.
Then it opened up some more, and got a bit better. More options appeared, more concepts were dropped in, and it got better again. That was how it went, over and over. Mechwarrior 5 started out fine and just kept getting better the more I played it. My complaints about it are mostly minor, and the big one is more of a lingering doubt than a real problem. Overall, it’s safe to say that, after a very long break (and discounting the underwhelming MechWarrior Online, the definitive stompy romp series is back.
Phoenix Point DLC & Roadmap – Blood and Titanium, Legacy of the Ancients, and Festering Skies explored
Phoenix Point DLC will be an exciting prospect for many, whether you love the game already or think (as many players do) that improvements are needed before it can realise its full potential. Our Phoenix Point DLC guide will explore Snapshot Games’s roadmap for this ambitious turn-based tactics game over the next year, with details on the first three major expansions: Blood and Titanium, Legacy of the Ancients, and Festering Skies.
After its moody and information-light announcement at E3 2018, I wasn’t sure what to make of Babylon’s Fall. I expect slick, stabby, and slightly silly action from PlatinumGames, the makers of Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Vanquish, and Nier: Automata. Yet here was this murky fantasy game being presented like Dark Souls? A new trailer today showed some of the game and oh mate, this absolutely is a Platinum action game. It’s got the lot: slow-mo, air combos, hookshot attacks, parrying a giant sword, and slaying a foe with their own weapon. All I need to see now is pert buttocks.
What is the true hallmark of a BioShock game? According to the press release about the new 2K-founded studio Cloud Chamber, wot is making a brand new BioShock, it’s “iconic, first-person shooter gameplay”. Before Binfinite came out, original series lead Ken Levine said in an interview that it’s the “incredibly detailed world” each game lets you explore. Or maybe it’s the PoLiTiCs? BioShock, famously, includes a pretty basic critique of the wet fart that is Objectivism, causing people either to argue it was a searing work of political genius, or be furious that it wasn’t a work of searing political genius. Perhaps it’s the settings? BioShock and BioShock 2 were set in an underwater city, and Infinite was set in a floating one. I can only assume the new one will just be about a normal city. But run on centrist principles. The most dystopian system of them all!
But of course, none of these things are really the hallmark of a BioShock game. What truly makes the series stand out is that you can shoot flying animals out of your hand, because of DNA. And I think we all know what that animal should be used as ammunition in the new BioShock.
Continuing their streak of redoing their vintage survival horror series for modern systems, Capcom today announced a “completely reimagined” Resident Evil 3. That’s the one from 1999, set during the fall of Raccoon City, where Jill Valentine is chased around by the clomping great mutated Nemesis. Whispers of a RE3 remake have been around for a while so today’s announcement isn’t a big surprise, but this part is: the game will include Resident Evil Resistance, the weird 4v1 multiplayer game announced earlier this year. Here, come see how fancy Jill’s adventures look now in the RE3 announcement trailer.