Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

WWars-pic-2

Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel. Or even involve themselves in this business of wheels. Sometimes you need only grab a few universally beloved things and jam them together. If you had an arena multiplayer shooter that combined the best levels of Halo with the constant world-bending of Portal and added a dash of the best parts of Overwatch, well, that’s what Wormhole Wars looks like it wants to be. And that’s what I want it to be too.

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Left 4 Dead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Natalie Clayton)

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I d wager most folk around these parts devoured Left 4 Dead back in the day, just as I did. Valve s 28 Days Later with your friends infected my life for a good year, and a bigger, better sequel one year later only strengthened the disease. But as Valve haven t really been in the business of making games for a good few years – hopefully, that s about to change – and while it felt like Left 4 Dead was going to change the world back in (oh no) 2008, for a long time nothing filled the rotten hole where my heart used to be.

That is, until Fatshark s rowdy rat-smash, Vermintide. The four vs the world setup and the UI were highly reminiscent of Left 4 Dead, and what are Gutter Runners and Pack Masters if not reskinned Hunters and Smokers? But there was much more to that game than swapping out zombies for skaven. With both series now/still on their second games, let s look at how Vermintide ran with the legacy of Left 4 Dead, while managing to forge its own identity.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

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One of my favorite parts of getting a press release is getting a press release that doesn’t reveal any information about the game itself. You get a vague promise about a game that might happen someday if some people get together. Normally, I don’t give that much of my time. This announcement is different. There’s a new MMO and the folks behind it represent some of my favorite games in recent memory. I think you’ll be stoked on this too.

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Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

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Ready Up opens with a shot of the CS:GO grand finals at ESL One. The size of the stadium dwarfs the players on the stage, who all wear deadly serious expressions. There are thousands of people in the audience, many of them frantically waving inflatable tubes covered in sponsorship scrawls. A member of one team makes a clutch pistol play, and the room erupts in a roar of screaming and thunderous chanting. The player solemnly acknowledges the applause with a showboating chef kiss, but he doesn’t look like he’s having much fun.

Then, we change rooms. A few dozen people are sitting in front of a screen, watching their friends compete at a Team Fortress 2 LAN event. The players seem focused, yet relaxed. “Ah, I’m dead” says one of them, half-grinning at his misfortune. At the heart of the competitive TF2 scene, it transpires, is a community with bonds that transcend the tribalism you might see in other esports. I spoke to Alex “Dashner” Pylyshyn over email, who co-directed Ready Up alongside Ness Uberchain Delacroix, about the past, present and future of competitive TF2.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

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Folks, I think we’re going to have to let Half-Life go. It’s been over a decade since Valve did anything with the license (beyond cross-promotion deals), and the seemingly posthumous leak of the sequel’s planned story beats cemented the sense that the series wouldn’t be returning any time soon.

Seemingly disinterested in using it themselves, Valve have been approving the use of the Half-Life setting and assets (if not the name) for use in commercial fan-works, Hunt Down The Freeman feels like it might just be the last nail in the coffin for the series, if public response thusfar has been any indication.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A proper playable demo of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is coming next week, containing the RPG’s first chapter, following the recent benchmark tool. A demo! In this day and age! Bless their hearts. Square Enix have talked a lot about wanting to do the PC version right, mods and all, and they do seem to be going for it. They’re even teaming up with iconic PC chap Gordon Freeman, adding the Half-Life hero’s HEV suit, glasses, and crowbar to FFXV’s Steam version. Well, he’s not using them, is he? (more…)

Left 4 Dead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

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They lurk, they creep, they skulk and weep. Monsters in videogames can be as simple as a big spiky cyclops ball, or as unsettling as a sobbing woman in a rainy alleyway. This week on the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, the team is talking about their favourites, from flaming skulls to digitally possessed diving suits, and the clever ways in which game monsters inspire heebies, jeebies, creeps and sometimes even willies. (more…)

Portal 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

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It’s not the Portal follow-up we were expecting, but it’s the one we got. Bridge Constructor Portal is a crossover between Valve s comedy science puzzler and the strut-straddling engineering of the Bridge Constructor series. You re still making bridges that wobble from A to B, and sending small vehicles across your creations. However, you also have the distraction of portals, turrets, proulsion gel and catapults, as well as a passive aggressive computer that passes judgement on your techniques. It feels fruitless to review such a straightforward cocktail – it’s two flavours you may already know so let’s just see how they blend together. And the opening chapters are reassuring. This is a decent wee nugget of a puzzler. (more…)

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games.> But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.

Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.

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Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alyse Stanley)

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The Orange Box turned 10 years old this year, and by extension Portal celebrated its anniversary too. Sitting alongside continuations of well-loved games, the short puzzle adventure could have been quickly forgotten. Tacked on to bulk up the box. It was, however, a surprise hit, winning over players with its smart spatial puzzles and writing that fans continue to quote. And while I can list lines off with the best of them (don t even get me started on that cake), this classic s hold on my heart comes from a person who never speaks one.

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