FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION

Final Fantasy 15 on PC looks good. Actually, that's a lie. Final Fantasy 15 on PC looks great.

And it's been a long time coming. In March last year, game director Hajime Tabata acknowledged the "big call" he and his team faced regarding a potential PC port of their then console-exclusive Final Fantasy 15. A month ahead of its console debut, the Crisis Core mastermind then suggested it could take upwards of 12 months for his latest work to land on desktops—if it were to arrive at all. An impressive tech demo powered by Square Enix's Luminous Studio Pro engine and Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti aired this year, suggesting Noctis et al might debut on PC sooner rather than later—and today the latter unveiled Final Fantasy 15's Windows Edition as something that's definitely happening.  

"This is not a tech demo. This is a proper game," said Tabata on stage, before showing off the following.

Having spent an hour wandering around a small section of the game's Lucis kingdom—a single, interconnected landmass you'll explore on foot, by car, or on the back of one of the series' iconic flightless Chocobos—I can confirm that Final Fantasy 15 on PC is a proper game. At this early stage, it's also a very pretty one, assuming you're being propped up by an i7 6700 processor, a GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, and 4K resolution, such were the specs of the top-end system I got to grips with shortly after Nvidia's stage showing. 

This isn't to say Noctis and his ragtag bunch of monster-bashing, tune-whistling, recipe-crafting followers won't look nice on less powerful setups—for what it's worth, I'm nowhere near these lofty settings on my home PC—it's just that getting either Nvidia or Square Enix to pass comment on FF15's minimum and/or recommended PC specifications proved more difficult than I'd hoped.   

"Gameplay-wise, it’s the same game," Raio Mitsuno, the game's global brand manager, tells me. "Obviously we’re using a lot of tech from Gameworks so from a visual standpoint and a technology standpoint it’s the highest end version of Final Fantasy 15, but the gameplay experience is no different from console versions. 

We can say now that FF15 on PC supports native 4K and also up to 8K, as well as HDR 10.

Raio Mitsuno

"We can say now that FF15 on PC supports native 4K and also up to 8K, as well as HDR 10. But we haven’t really revealed anything like minimum specs yet because we’re developing at such a high end which means we can’t really define it with current standards now. At some point we will publish the recommended and minimum specs, but we can’t say exactly what they are at the moment."

Akio Ofuji, FF15's global brand director, adds (as translated by Mitsuno): "Obviously when developing for PC we have to keep in mind the demographic and players that play on PC and what they’re looking for. From from a technological standpoint, we’re trying to meet their standards and obviously when we think about PC gamers we put in a first-person camera mode in the PC version. 

"We’re doing stuff to cater to the PC audience and we hope that by appealing to what they’re used to, that’ll bring them into the franchise and make them into fans of Final Fantasy."

It's worth noting that I myself am already a fan of Final Fantasy. Like many western players, I was first captured by 1997's Final Fantasy 7, and thereafter tackled its forerunners in retrospect. I've played every main series instalment since and, crucially, have sunk close to 80 hours into its fifteenth entry on PlayStation 4. Needless to say, I'm already sold on FF15 and while it's by no means perfect, it appears Square Enix has made a great job of the JRPG's much-anticipated PC port that's due at some stage in "early 2018." 

As the footage above suggests, Lucis' vibrant pastoral landscapes look gorgeous, facial animations look incredibly sharp, and enemy run-ins sparkle as you tear your adversaries apart with a succession of timely blows, bursts of magic, and cooperative takedowns.

Against my wholesome console tally, it’s also worth noting that an hour-long demo, as you might expect, barely scratches the surface of what a game like this has to offer. My time today kicked off with protagonist Noctis Lucis Caelum—the Crown Prince and heir to the realm’s throne—positioned at a hearty experience level 27, alongside his similarly vital chums Ignis, Prompto and Gladious. Foes in the surrounding area tended to plateau at level 15, which made for some exciting if one-sided showdowns, and on the off-chance we got caught on the back foot our off-roading Regalia Type D truck was at hand to whip us off to safety.

Final Fantasy 15 already feels well at home on PC.

I may've been retracing old ground, but from the demo’s opening sun-kissed highway—that serves to underscore the scale of the game's overworld—to my trek to the far-flung Disc of Cauthess meteor impact site; from my trip to Wiz's Chocobo Farm, to getting lost in the wilderness and facing off against (and quickly hightailing it from) a level 30 Iron Giant and four level 25 Reapers—Final Fantasy 15 already feels well at home on PC. You'll of course create your own stories, however my short time today reflected everything that made my first FF15 experience so enjoyable.   

Combine this with FF15's unabashed deference to nostalgia by way of familiar theme tunes, retro sprites when assigning newly purchased armour, and teammates singing the instantly recognisable 'victory' melody in the wake successful battles, and those keen on the Final Fantasy formula should already be excited. I may have spent 3.3 real life days touring its highways, traversing its mountain ranges and being driven near crazy by colleague Prompto’s unreasonably irritating quips and bursts of song, but I'm looking forward to doing it all again, hardware permitting.  

That last part is crucial, so much so that Final Fantasy 15's Windows Edition will live or die by its performance on lower spec hardware. It's all very well dazzling on top of the range equipment, but the average PC player doesn't necessarily have access to a 4K screen, 1080 Ti, and i7 processor combined. I'll press game director Hajime Tabata on this point when I speak with him later this week. I'm certain the success of his latest venture depends on it. 

Borderlands 2

Damage dealing is the most selfish of gaming roles. It's not about mending the wounds of your buddies or taunting off the bullies attempting to harm them in the first place; it's about the ecstasy of climbing to the peaks of damage meters and watching ever-larger numbers splash the screen. If gaming in general is a power fantasy, a strong DPS build is the wet dream.

And sometimes they gets out of hand. Some builds are so powerful that developers pull the plug, worried that they're damaging the game itself. This is a celebration of those builds that have achieved or come near those marks: the most famous, powerful, interesting builds that disrupt a game's conventions as violently as the power chords of an Amon Amarth riff at a Chopin recital.

We know we've barely scratched the list of great builds here—almost every game has one! If there's one you think we should have included, tell us about it! 

Skyrim: Sneak Archer with Slow Time (2011)

Subtlety isn't really the first thing that comes to mind upon a first glance at Skyrim—after all, it's largely a game about some rando shouting dragons to death. But for years nothing struck fear into the hearts of giant flying reptiles and creepy Reachmen quite like Skyrim's Sneaky Archer build. It's still quite beastly, but YouTuber ESO describes it in its most broken form.

The build's cornerstone was the Slow Time shout, which you could extend by 20 percent with an Amulet of Talos and up to 40 percent by visiting a Shrine of Talos. Slap some Fortify Alteration enchantments on your ring and swig a Fortify Alteration potion, and you could push that over a minute. That's longer than the shout's cooldown. Pick up the Quiet Casting perk in the Illusion line, and you could wipe out a whole band of Stormcloaks before they even knew you were there.

Combine that with plenty of points in the Sneak line, Fortify Archery enchantments on every bit of gear, and paralysis or fear enchantments on your weapons, and you might be tempted to ask the fur-clad denizens to worship you in place of Talos. Unfortunately, Bethesda killed the fun with last year's Special Edition. Slow Time now slows down time for you as well. But even without it a Sneak Archer remains a force to be reckoned with.

The Witcher 3: Alchemy and Combat build

Most crazy damage builds feel as though they're breaking with the lore of their parent games, but The Witcher 3's combination alchemy and combat builds tap into the very essence of what it's mean to work in Geralt's profession. You're a badass swordsman thanks to 36 points in Combat, and 38 points in the Alchemy line see you chugging potions and decoctions along with making sure you're using the right oil for the right monster.

YouTuber Ditronus detailed the best incarnation of this monster setup, which focuses on stacking everything that gives you both critical hit chance and critical hit damage. Ditronus claims he can get hits that strike for 120,000 damage for the build at Level 80 and on New Game+. 

The tools? Pick up the steel Belhaven Blade for its crit potential and the Excalibur-like Aerondight silver sword for its damage multiplier. Use some other crit-focused gear along with two key pieces of the Blood and Wine expansion's alchemy-focused Manticore set and use consumables such as the Ekhidna Decoction. Toss in a few key mutagens and frequently use the "Whirl" sword technique, and Geralt becomes the spinning avatar of Death herself. It's bewitching.

World of Warcraft: Paladin Reckoning Bomb (2005) 

World of Warcraft has seen some crazy damage builds over the course of its 13-year history, but none has reached the legendary status of the Paladin class' "Reckoning bomb" of WoW's first "vanilla" years. It wasn't officially a damage setup, but rather an exploit of the Reckoning talent from the tank line that some Retribution (damage) Paladins would pick up. Originally, Reckoning gave you a charge for a free attack whenever you were the victim of a critical hit, and in 2005, you could stack this to infinity and unleash them all at once for your next attack. Build enough stacks, and you could one-shot other players in PvP.So how imba was this? In May 2005 a Paladin named Karmerr from the guild PiaS (Poop in a Shoe, if you must know) got his rogue friend Sindri to attack him for three whole hours while he was sitting down, guaranteeing critical hits, until the stacks reached a staggering 1,816. Their mission? The Alliance server first kill of Lord Kazzak, one of WoW's first 40-man raid bosses. Knowing their plan was controversial, PiaS asked a Blizzard Game Master for permission, and the GM claimed it couldn't be done. But Karmerr popped his invincibility bubble and, boom, killed Kazzak in a single shot. Alone. The devastation was so intense that it locked up Karmerr's PC for 10 seconds and the system was so unprepared by the 1,816 attacks it could only register the blow in second-long ticks until Kazzak died. PiaS posted a video, and within 24 hours Blizzard nerfed Reckoning from a 100 percent chance to a mere 10 percent chance and limited the stacks to five.

Diablo 2: Hammerdin 

Overpowered Paladins are something of a Blizzard tradition. One of the most infamous overpowered DPS builds of all time is the so-called "Hammerdin" from Diablo 2. The Blessed Hammer skill was the heart of the build, which shot out a spinning floating hammer that smacked any monsters foolish enough to get near. 

Hammerdins had been around in various incarnations for months, but the build came into its own in 2003 with the introduction of synergies. With Blessed Aim, Paladins could increase their attack rating; and with Vigor, they could boost their speed, stamina, and recovery. Damage, too, got a boost with Concentration Aura. But nothing made the build so broken as the Enigma Runeword, which sent the Paladin immediately teleporting into huddles of nearby enemies and clobbering them for up to 20,000 points of damage each. Watching it in action looks a little like watching a bugged game.

The catch? Almost everything needed to complete the build was outrageously expensive. But as the obscene number of Hammerdins dominating Diablo 2 came to show, that was never much of a deterrent.

Borderlands 2: Salvador

Forget specific builds for a second: Borderlands 2's Salvador is kind of broken by default. His class ability—"Gunzerking"—lets him fire off two weapons and reap their benefits at once, all while taking less damage and constantly regenerating ammo. Nor does this kind of destructive divinity come with any real challenge. If you've got the right weapons equipped, all you really need to do is sit still and fire away. Dragon's Dogma had the right of it: divinity can get kind of boring.

The right weapons push this already preposterous setup to absurdity. Pick up the Grog Nozzle pistol from the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep DLC, which heals Salvador for 65 percent of all the damage he deals out. In the other hand, equip a double-penetrating Unkempt Harold pistol, which hits enemies as though seven bullets had hit them twice. Then pick up the Yippie Ki Yay talent that extends Gunzerking's duration for 3 seconds for each kill and "Get Some," which reduces Gunzerking's cooldown after each kill, and you'll always be firing, always be healing, all the time.

Elder Scrolls Online: Magicka Dragonknight Vampire (2014)

Ever wanted to be a raid boss in an MMORPG? You could in 2014, not long after the launch of Elder Scrolls Online, if you were a magicka-focused Dragonknight who'd become a vampire. You were both DPS and tank, able to take on dozens of players in PvP at once and kill most of them as well.

The root of the problem was the vampire tree's morphed "ultimate" ability, Devouring Swarm, which sent a swarm of bats down on everyone else in melee range while also healing you for everyone hit. But every class who became a vampire had access to that.

Dragonknights, though, could also use their Dark Talons skill to root all those players in melee range while roasting them with fire damage at the same time. A huge magicka pool made it even deadlier. Then a passive ability called Battle Roar factored in, allowing the Dragonknight to replenish health, magicka, and stamina based on the cost of casting Devouring Swarm. And it gets crazier. If you were wearing the Akaviri Dragonguard Set, you enjoyed a 15 percent deduction in ultimate ability costs, essentially allowing you to spam Devouring Swarm.

This was already hellish with regular Dragonknights, but players who earned the "Emperor" title in PvP might as well have been Daedric lords. Being the current emperor granted buffs like 200 percent ultimate and resource generation, leading to situations like the one in the video above. 

The easy way to stop this nonsense was always just to stay out of range (although the DK's charge ability from the Sword and Shield line complicated that). Within a month, though, ZeniMax Online nerfed it to hell.

Diablo 3: Inarius Necromancer 

How do you bring interest in your four-year-old dungeon crawler back from the dead? With a Necromancer class, obviously! At least that's what Blizzard Entertainment was apparently thinking when it introduced the class to Diablo 3 in June 2017.

That makes the Necromancer the "youngest" entry on this list, but it's no less deserving of the honor. The damage Necromancers have been dishing out this summer is so crazy that the "best" broken builds change every few weeks. Not long ago the top dog was the Bones of Rathma build, which basically let the Necromancer kick back while an army of skeletons and undead mages did all the hard work. 

Nowadays it's the Grace of Inarius build (which YouTuber Rhykker calls the "Bonestorm" build), which centers on the set's six-piece "Bone Armor" bonus that smacks enemies who get too close with 750 percent weapon damage and boosts the damage they take from the Necro by 2,750 percent. Then the Necro goes around whacking everything with his Cursed Scythe skill with the help of another bonus that reduces his damage taken. Choose the right complementary skills and weapons, you'll soon be tromping through Level 107 Greater Rifts as easily as a katana slicing through yarn. Getting the set pieces will take a bit of grinding, of course, but it's worth it for the payoff. Until, you know, Blizzard nerfs it.

PC Gamer

Nidhogg 2 is horrible. Which isn’t to say that the graceful austerity of the first game has been stamped into mush by this sequel, but that its new art style is quite disgusting. The response to its unveiling suggests the new look isn’t for everyone, but while some of the original’s slapstick simplicity has been lost, it’s memorably grotesque. 

If you spliced misshapen clay men with Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, you’d get something close to Toby Dixon’s squishy, messy, delightfully grisly art. One stage has a room with two meat grinders and pink, fleshy smears on the walls—another sees you passing through both ends of what looks like an annelid relative of the Nidhogg, before the eponymous worm (now more fearsomely ugly than ever) arrives to gobble you up once you’ve reached your goal. The very best multiplayer games are those that prompt the most spontaneous exclamations during play—involuntary cheers, yelps, laughs, expletives—and that’s still true of Nidhogg 2. But now you can add ‘eww!’ to the list. 

Otherwise, not an awful lot has changed, certainly little to compromise the core that made us all fall so hard for the first game. Nidhogg was always the perfect example of ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’, working small miracles in squeezing depth and nuance from a two-button (one to jump, one to attack) control scheme. You could throw your sword—and, indeed, use your own to deflect one heading your way. You could jump and dive kick, or slide into your opponent. Tapping up or down let you change your stance and your sword’s position, allowing you to jab your rival in the face or, well, somewhere a little lower—or even to disarm them.

That’s all still here. Once your opponent is down, you’ll still race off, following the large arrow pointing you towards your destination. They’ll still respawn after a few seconds of sprinting headlong into their territory, and you’ll still have to defeat them again and again to win, though you’ve got a little further to travel before you do this time. It still feels like a weird, beautiful hybrid of fencing and tug-of-war.  

If Nidhogg 2 was to have a subtitle, it should be Nidhogger—it’s basically Nidhogg, only there’s more of it. There’s more variety in the weapons, for starters: alongside a standard rapier, there’s a quick, stabby and highly throwable dagger, a heavier but rangier broadsword variant, and a slow-firing bow, which is a great option when there’s a bit of distance between you and your opponent, but rather less so when they’re right in your face. Arrows can be returned to sender with a well-timed swipe, though you can return the favour in kind, which can lead to the odd silly arrow-tennis interlude. 

If Messhof got on the phone to Matt Groening, they could easily reskin this as an Itchy and Scratchy-themed fighter that would surely print money.

The environments, too, are different, and not simply because they’re much richer and more detailed than the spartan settings of the first. Pyroclastic flow and conveyer belts change your momentum, forcing you to readjust your tactics on the fly, there’s high ground and low ground, tunnels that see you fighting in silhouette, and rooms within rooms where doors become a factor. Bursting through to give your opponent a poke in the eye is great fun; even better is seeing an arrow thunk harmlessly into the wood as it shuts behind you and you peg it as fast as your bug-eyed fighter’s legs will carry them. 

Even if you didn’t take to the new aesthetic at first, you might well warm to it as you play. The extra detail sometimes makes the action a little less crisply readable than the original—and the colour you choose for your avatar can be a factor on some stages—but it lends a cartoonish character to the battles that makes them more amusing to watch. Stomping on a grounded opponent until they’re nothing more than a puddle of brightly-coloured goop is just the right level of gross to be funny, and the expressiveness of the animation sells it as a desperate fight to the death between two idiots. If Messhof got on the phone to Matt Groening, they could quite easily reskin this as an Itchy and Scratchy-themed fighter that would surely print money.  

It’s such a brilliant local multiplayer game that it almost doesn’t matter that its single-player component is a bit rubbish, and that its online still suffers from intermittent lag. In the case of the former, it’s just a straight run through each of the 10 stages against an AI opponent that seems to oscillate between bewildering stupidity and bullshit-unfair clairvoyance. The latter’s an improvement on the first game, but still slightly annoying for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have a friend or family member regularly available for a scrap. 

But if you do—god, what a game. Given the original is still readily available and hasn’t got any less wonderful over the last three years, you could argue that Nidhogg 2 is an unnecessary sequel. Then again, if you loved Nidhogg, it’s a borderline mandatory purchase.

Surviving Mars

Earth’s a bit rotten these days, so why not consider relocating to Mars? Haemimont and Paradox have put together a new in-game trailer for martian management game Surviving Mars, and it continues to look promising. 

The trailer offers glimpses of the different stages of a colony, from its first moment, where unmanned rovers set everything up, to a burgeoning city of connected domes, full of colonists with their own desires, needs and personalities. 

Chris and I got to see it in action last May, and it boasts some novel ideas. Colonists, for instance, come with their own skills and agendas, and may even be driven mad by the harsh red planet. Or they might not be too happy with the way you’re running things and attempt to get in the way of your plans.

Here’s everything we know about Surviving Mars so far.

It’s due out next year.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Even though it’s still to launch on Xbox One, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has already sold over 8 million copies. Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene announced the figure at Microsoft’s Gamescom briefing. Today also sees the game receive Nvidia Shadowplay Highlights support. 

Battlegrounds launched on Steam Early Access in March. After only four months, it already boasted over 5 million players, and a couple of weeks ago it hit a whopping 500,000 concurrent players. It’s got the concurrent player record for any non-Valve game on Steam. 

An update today adds Shadowplay Highlights support, so you can capture and share clips of your misadventures. Show off your chicken dinners, car chases and that time you ran naked through a red zone just for the hell of it. 

If you’re one of the millions of chicken dinner hunters who play Battlegrounds, we want your craziest, best stories. Tell us all about your best and worst moments. 

Life is Strange - Episode 1

The first episode of the Life is Strange prequel is out on August 31, which makes this Gamescom launch trailer a little premature. Still, we get a dose of the hazy coming-of-age teen drama vibe and some angst from Chloe, who was angry long before the events of the first series. In fairness she could have used those time travelling powers more than Max.

Playing as a more brash, rebellious character does sound fun though. James has played a bit of episode one: "during a 10-minute hands-on preview, I managed to steal money, smoke a ‘J’ (that’s weed, dad), drink beer, mosh, and get into a fight." 

Teenage troublemaking aside, the series seems to focus on Chloe's relationships with her stepdad, David, and the mysterious Rachel Amber. Expect adolescent nihilism, raging arguments, woozy guitar soundtracks and "feels." I'm normally allergic to high school dramas, but I'm halfway through the first series and enjoying it a lot. Max can unbearably earnest, though, so I'm all for a switch to her more adventurous pal.

Assassin's Creed® Origins

Here's a new Assassin's Creed: Origins video, showcasing the game's setting and mood to the tune of Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker. As you'll have gathered by now, this installment is set in Ancient Egypt, and while Ubisoft has rejigged the series' format quite dramatically by all reports, you can be safely assured that much stabbing and killing will still take place.

The trailer was aired during the Xbox / Microsoft Gamescom press conference earlier today. Assassin's Creed: Origins will release this October, and according to James Davenport it'll be well worth the wait. After playing the game at E3, he highlighted some of the major changes over here.

Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™

Orcs aren't the only nasties roaming Middle Earth, and in Shadow of War you're going to have to confront some real brutes. The latest video shows hero Talion face up to a fiery Balrog (you know, of the famous 'You Shall Not Pass' scene from the films), a tree spirit and what looks like an armoured, camouflaged Caragor.

To defeat them you're going to need more firepower that just a sword, and Talion has just the thing. The trailer shows him riding on the backs of two dragons as well as on the shoulders of a huge ice troll that can freeze orcs in a single breath.

There's no actual gameplay, which is a shame, but it all looks suitably impressive. The orcs are going to be the focus of the game but it won't hurt to throw in some larger enemies now and again, I reckon. What do you think? 

Watch the trailer, first shown during Microsoft's Gamescom presentation, below:

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Last weekend we asked for you to share your craziest stories from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Surprisingly, few of the best stories had anything to do with people winning. Instead the comments section quickly filled with hilarious tales of strategies gone wrong, absurd shenanigans gone right, and the overall kind of insanity that we'd expect from our readers. And if you missed the opportunity to share your story last week, feel free to add yours to the comments below.

Enjoy our selection of your best stories from Battlegrounds.

Naked Snake 

I have a pretty tough time getting second place in Battlegrounds fully equipped, so the fact that an entire squad somehow managed to pull it off completely naked is very upsetting to me. But Anthony comes with video evidence to support his wild story and it's definitely worth a watch—especially the final few minutes.

Commenter: Anthony Lake

So me and my mates were bored so we made up this amazing challenge.

No guns. No armour. No clothes. And we came second.

Check it out on our YouTube:

Jumping on a grenade 

Battlegrounds leaves little room for friendship unless you're playing with a squad. It's directly against the rules to ally with players while solo queuing. But Charlie Parson's story about the kindness of one stranger is just too cute. It's a 'fate will bring us together' type romance like Sleepless in Seattle or Serendipity, but with guns.

Commenter: Charlie Parsons

I started playing PUBG about the second week after it was released. In one of my early games I was playing solo, and I never realised that you could toggle your in-game microphone back then, so I played this game while talking out loud to myself. About halfway through the game I came to the four houses along the road leading to Saverny. As soon as I got close to the houses I was under heavy gunfire. 

From the sudden scare, I ran into a house and was in a standoff between me and another player who also had his game chat toggled on. After releasing all our ammunition onto each other, I called out and asked if we can stop killing each other and meet each other at the end of the game to see who wins if we still get to the finish. Remarkably I was able to get down to the last two players alive out of all 100 players who desperately tried to win. And funny enough, it really was me and the player I ran into before. We were the only ones left laying down in a field of wheat hiding from each other. 

Not knowing we had run into each other again, I spoke out and said "If you're the enemy from earlier, stand up." And so he did. He stood up and said, "Eh, you can win, I'm good for second place." After saying that I was ready to blow him away with my Scar-L but before I could he grabbed his last grenade and threw it below his own feet, and blew himself up, giving me my first ever Chicken dinner and a bounty of 1000 points. This was my first-ever win and it was one of the very rare experiences I've had in a game to come across another player who is as kind and not cold-hearted as I am. If I ever play a game with him again I will surely return the favor. I hope he sees this message, thank you.

Here comes the cavalry 

I never play in a squad with strangers because I'd rather not risk them being terrible, but this story restores my faith. Just when you think it's all over, a stranger can come flying out of nowhere and save your life.

Commenter: CitricBloodBath

Me and a random were playing duos, and we were down to about eight people left. We were in a house hiding out and waiting for the circle move to what ended up being the last circle of the game. We luckily had good rifles and I had a 4x scope. We popped off at least two just from shooting out the window. We were getting pretty excited about being this close to the end of the game, and I guess we both lost a little focus. The blue circle was fairly close behind the house, we didn't realize it was beginning to move. It was basically right on top of us when I noticed, and I was able to jump off the second story and run. 

My teammate, however, decided to take the long way down the stairs. I really don't know how he survived through the death wall, but I got to the white circle and instantly noticed two guys proning near a tree. I glanced at the player number. FOUR. It was just us! I take aim and, stupid me, emptied an entire clip into one of them with an UMP and a 2x scope. He went down, but his friend quickly hid behind the tree. I started to reload, but there was no cover. "Well, I'm dead." The opponent stepped out from behind the tree as I hear the explosion from a buggy being boosted. The opponent takes a couple shots at me but starts shooting over my shoulder. I prone and look behind me for my teammate. 

My squadmate had gotten a vehicle from near the house and flew by me, boosting the whole way and laughing maniacally. He hit a rock and half side flipped right onto the guy, crushing him with the side of the buggy. Up pops the Chicken Dinner. It was my first win in duo, and his first win at all, and we starting cheering and I'm pretty sure he was tearing up. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I could have almost sworn I heard patriotic music playing in the background. We didn't add each other, and I haven't seen him again. One day, JavatheButt, we will meet again.

Do a barrel roll 

Much has been said about Battlegrounds' hilariously awful car physics. But, man, these videos never cease to make me laugh.

Commenter: Kilborn

Driving in this game has some problems, I have no idea how to describe this but things go bad very quickly for us.

Winner, winner, potato dinner 

Someone get this guy a medal.

Commenter: KadooblerEnchilada

I won a duo game with a mate playing on a Macbook Pro with around 10fps. He even got the winning kill, top that!

Beep, beep, I'm a jeep

A car horn can communicate a lot of things like, "Hey, watch where you're going" or "Hold still while I mercilessly murder this person for you." This story has a little bit of both.

Commenter: Ryan Harvey

I was playing solo and driving a jeep to my next looting spot. Suddenly another driver, also in a jeep pulled in front of me on the road. I rammed his car, preparing for a fight. Instead of hopping out, the player stopped their car for a moment and honked. I honked back. He started driving and I followed, honking back and forth. After driving for some time, we went our separate ways. I was driving near a field some time later when I suddenly came under fire. I jumped from the car to shoot back but was hit badly in the process. Suddenly I hear a vehicle pulling up near me. It's the jeep guy. Despite having a clear and unobstructed view of me, he accelerates and barrels across the field, crushing my assailant and honking his horn the whole time. I jump back in my jeep and drive to him as he loots the body. We look at each other for a moment, I give him a honk of thanks, and we part ways for good. I don't know what became of him in the end but it was nice to see some humanity out on the battlegrounds.

Beep, beep, grenade in the jeep 

But not every story about jeeps is wholesome.

Commenter: Legios

A story about a squad game.

About an epic car chase, how our jeep got stolen with two squad members inside and the glorious sacrifice of a team member.

It's a touching story about love, teamwork, hardship, and tons of laughs.

Dr. Disrespect 

We've all had a bad game or two in our lifetime. You know, the kind of match where you screw up and feel your face flush with shame. Well, if I was the victim in Randy's story, I'd probably be a few weeks before I mustered up the courage to play again.

Commenter: Randy

Today, I'm here to regale you with a tale of utmost disrespect. Imagine, for a second, your average Mylta Power plane route. If you put in the pumps, you can make it to the radio tower on the hill of the island. I land, I looted, and I found nothing more potent than a new set of gloves. Determined to make something out of the run, I decided to run west down the hill towards gunshots. I see this man, armed with a scar and a pump shotgun, and decide it's time for some sick strats.

This man had no aim. And I mean that, no aim. He must have been new, and the Arma-style controls didn't click with him. Every shot he took missed and he didn't seem to know he could swap to full auto. I take advantage of that and zig-zag to the nearest building, but alas, no guns. Only a backpack. Not entirely clueless, the man had ascended a nearby guard tower, and I sat and watched him from behind a wall. Eventually, he descends, and I wait for him to head towards me and, immediately, the disrespect begins. He has his pump out, trying to hit me as I circle him. Finally, five shots are down, and he starts walking away from me while reloading. I take the opportunity to run at him full force and superman punch the poor man's skull. Blood on my hands and the biggest grin on my face, I take the loot he didn't deserve to have. Then I subsequently get shot trying to cross the bridge near Mylta. There is no doubt in my mind that if that was this guy's first round, he immediately uninstalled and refunded the game.

These were just a few of the great stories our commenters told us. For the rest, be sure to check out the comment thread from last week.

Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th players will be drowning in free updates very soon: there's a brand new map, a new Jason and smaller versions of current maps to facilitate faster rounds waiting in the wings.

IllFonic, developer of the asymmetric multiplayer slasher game, yesterday laid out its plans for the next wave of content without actually setting a date for when any of it will arrive. It was coy on details of the new map, only saying that it will arrive "sooner than you might think" and will be "ripped straight from the films". Interesting—any ideas? 

No unmasking of the new playable Jason either, we just know that he exists. 

There is more detail on the reworked maps, though. I like the idea: players will get smaller versions of Higgins, Packanack and Crystal Lake designed for a faster pace of play. So, perfect for those who find the current rounds too long, or simply want to switch it up. 

IllFonic is at pains to say it "didn’t simply shrink the maps and call it a day"—it's changed spawn and item locations, for example. They too are coming "soon".

There's free 'Emote DLC' incoming that will add eight emotes to help players communicate with their teammates. A thumbs up, saying no by waving your hands—the usual. (On a side note, I'm not 100% sure on where the line lies between free DLC and just, you know, a thing that's in the game. I don't know whether this will be downloaded automatically or you'll have to do it yourself. We'll have to wait and see.)

There's full patch notes for the next update in that Steam post as well, detailing bug fixes (plus a new site for reporting future bugs), map changes and gameplay tweaks.

I've saved the most expensive for last, because there's a $4 ($2 with a launch discount) DLC package called the Spring Break 1984 swimsuit clothing pack on the way. Expect bright bikinis and budgie smugglers. 

If you haven't played Friday the 13th yet and don't know if you should, then why not check out Tyler's review?

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