PC Gamer

A short, live-action film promoting Tomb Raider 3, thought lost, has recently been rediscovered. It was only shown once, at Tomb Raider 3's launch party in London's Natural History Museum. Having uncovered the original Digibeta tape (tape!), producer Janey de Nordwall passed it to Square Enix which has uploaded it for all to see.

It's quite, quite bizarre—all the '90s cheese without the exploding heads of Strafe. In that regard, I suppose it captures the early Lara Croft craze quite well. Full marks for effort, certainly, because there's eight minutes of the thing. I'll take this over a 20-second teaser trailer any day.

PC Gamer

Founded in 2007, GameChanger seeks to positively impact the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses through videogames, compassion and innovation. It provides games and toys to hospitals, hosts gaming events, awards financial aid and college scholarships, and offers meaningful services directly to patients and staff in hospitals. To date, it has donated over $200,000 to cancer research, according to its website, and provided more than 17,000 videogames to hospitals, children centers, partner charities, and families.

That sounds like a pretty good cause to get behind, but if you'd like a more pragmatic reason to throw money at it, Square Enix is offering Steam codes for the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot to anyone who donates at least $1. The deal is part of the publisher's 20th anniversary celebration of the release of the original Tomb Raider, which arrived on the PC, the PlayStation (no numbers) and something called the Sega Saturn all the way back in 1996.

You can go higher if you'd like. Donating $20 or more earns the game code plus an entry into a couple of draws, one for a Rise of the Tomb Raider Collector's Edition and a Crystal Dynamics swag bag, and the other for an Xbox One, plus games and accessories. Kicking in $50 or more nets a GameChanger Gratitude Package, a Tomb Raider poster (limited to the first 25 eligible donors), and all the stuff in the previous tiers.

The $1 Tomb Raider offer is live now and runs until April 5, or while supplies last. Details and donation links are up at tombraider20gamechanger.org.

PC Gamer

Games confront us with failure all the time. It could be the famous YOU DIED message of Dark Souls, or the unfavourable scorecard at the end of a hard-fought round of Rocket League. In the heat of the moment calm Vulcan exteriors can crack. Curses are uttered. Innocent controllers are thrown out of windows. Things can get intense.

Some games induce rage more than others. A long game of Dota 2 squandered by one error will understandably leave some participants furious, but when we started writing about the games that made us quit in anger some surprises turned up. Even a serene adventure like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or a strategy game like Civ can trigger a moment of total despair. Here is a collection of our ragequit stories. Share your own in the comments.

Rocket League and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Samuel Roberts

About ten years ago I used to break games, controllers and keyboards on a regular basis after losing at something (without going into it, losing my Ifrit card in Final Fantasy VIII s Triple Triad to the game s awful random rule ended up costing me 30). Then, in the last few years I thought I d mellowed out, sailing through much of my twenties with only a vanquished 360 controller (vanquished by my foot—I don t remember why) to show for it. Turns out, this was delusional and I m still furious all of the time. Usually when I m playing online.

Rocket League came out last year. I must ve reinstalled that game about five or six times after having bad games and deleting it from my Steam library, and it s always for the same reason—losing when I feel I didn t deserve to, either because my teammate was rubbish or because I was (usually the latter). The worst time was when I turned my computer off at the wall after, probably, an own goal. I am a tit. I m staying away from competitive games from now on, going back to my precious little bubble of mowing down NPCs in a bid to see the closing credits of story-based games because I m too much of a baby to compete with other humans. Wah! In a similar vein, I also wasn t massively keen on the time we lost an amateur match of Dota to a surprise team of experienced players, and my measured response was to never play Dota again.

I tend to have more moments of indescribable disappointment than ragequitting these days. This happened to me with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first-person adventure released in 2014. I was enjoying the feeling of being in that world a lot, and while I loved a few of the individual, weirder moments I encountered in that world, I didn t really like the story that much at all. I wandered into a mine, went down some stairs and a monster walked up to me and killed me without any explanation. I turned it off, uninstalled it and went to bed. It s a very mellow form of ragequitting.

Now, I ve been told there s a very easy way to get past this bit by PC Gamer s Tony Ellis, and I don t doubt it. But there was something so crushing about this seemingly random death in a game about walking through an environment and absorbing story that I just had to leave it. I didn t play games for an entire month after. I m sure it s not just Ethan Carter s fault, but I found that moment so oddly depressing that I needed a month off from the entire medium. Still, I very much enjoyed the trees and the tense atmosphere, and maybe one day I ll go back and activate the simple solution for getting past that monster. And then I ll take another month off playing games.

Nuclear Throne

Wes Fenlon

A lot of things explode in Nuclear Throne. Barrels. The grenades and rockets you fire out of very dangerous weapons. Worm things. Frog things. Cars. I ve died many times in Nuclear Throne, often due to one type of explosive or another. Usually that death comes swiftly and unexpectedly, and I sigh or go UGH and start up another round. But sometimes that death is annoying enough to make me mash the ESC key until I m back on my desktop to cool off. And man, nothing in Nuclear Throne has managed to piss me off more than a stupid exploding car.

The cars are just environmental hazards to avoid or use to your advantage. Shoot em and they can take out a good chunk of enemies. Stand near them when bullets are incoming, and you might be blown up yourself. Got it? Easy to understand. I never took damage from an exploding car. Until. UNTIL. Until I cleared out a level and the portal to the next level appeared near me with a boom, as it always does. Near me also happened to be near a car. And when a portal appears near a car with a boom, that car explodes. And when you re near a car and it explodes, even as you re being dragged helplessly into the portal that whisks you away to the next level, you take damage. And, in my case, die. And, also in my case, mash the ESC key so hard it will forever fear the touch of an index finger.

Fuck you, portal. Fuck you, car.

I relaunched Nuclear Throne three minutes later.

Tomb Raider

Angus Morrison

I ragequit a series. One of my favourite series, in fact, but despite knowing that I burn with the self-righteous anger of a fanboy, I won t go back to Tomb Raider. Each time I post about an impending Rise of the Tomb Raider release I secretly wish that Microsoft s exclusivity deal had been that little bit more exclusive. I retreat to a dark corner so as to escape the vile glow of other people s excitement.

I tolerated the new Tomb Raider, for a time. The blocky climbing frame formula of the previous games was ancient after all, and the series was due for a refresh, but Crystal Dynamics refreshed it so hard it became something else, namely an over-earnest story about a psychotic, angst-ridden gap year.

The open, choose-your-own-route environments had a dash of brilliance about them, but on every clifftop was a platoon to be mown down while teen Lara warbled about Bastards! in a comically bad British accent. And the actress is British! I got so sick of shooting things and failing QTEs that I left the main story in search of what I was led to believe would be a tomb to raid: The Tomb of the Lost Adventurer. It was in the name. What I got was a lone physics puzzle, but as I was willing to try anything to relive Lara s glory days at that point, I gave it a crack anyway.

The lone physics puzzle bugged. The body of a crashed plane I had to topple to make a bridge just hung in the air devoid of support. The sole remnant of Tomb Raider s heritage as a puzzler was inexplicably borked. I m done.

Super Hexagon

James Davenport

Sometimes I wonder what it would take for a video game to kill a person. During my senior year of college, I found Super Hexagon. I dabbled with the mobile version between classes, but didn t get serious until I could sit across from 50 inches of warping, pulsing, spiraling shapes on an obscene TV via my PC. Games rarely hold my attention for more than their running length or the first few times I hit a difficulty wall. There are just too many other interesting games to try out, and I get anxious about missing something special.

Super Hexagon consumed me. I spent hours and hours trying to beat my friends high scores on every level, and eventually unlocked the final stage, Superhexagonest. At first, it seemed impossible to survive for 60 seconds, the requirement to win a given stage. During a weekend visit back home, I ignored my family for a day, working to hit that sweet 60. Hours of attempts didn t even net a close run. Sleep was difficult that night.

Immediately after waking up, I booted up the game, still not entirely conscious. It was magic. Like some kind of sleepyboy superhuman, I hit 45 seconds with ease and kept going. Suddenly aware of my nearly perfect run, I started to wake up. 55 seconds, still going. My hands start shaking. 57 seconds and the sweat rolls in. 58 and I nearly cry out. 59 and I fuck it. Without a word, I got dressed, packed up the dogs into the pickup and drove up Elk Ridge, a mountainous forested area ten miles out of town. I brought headphones and set Boards of Canada on shuffle. My dogs were excited for the impromptu walk, and started peeing on every tree and bush they could. This was something I could control, something I could win. So I peed on their pee until my place in our little hierarchy was made clear. We walked for a while, spooked a black bear, sat on a log, and then went home. I didn t touch Super Hexagon for months.

Spelunky

Chris Livingston

Not only is Spelunky the rare game that makes me ragequit, it s the only game that always makes me ragequit. I never finish on a high note: if I have a good run but die, I always play again to try to best it. If I have a terrible run, I keep playing until I have a better one, but then after that better run, as I said, I keep pushing until I have another terrible one. It doesn t help that I ve never once successfully beat the game, which means every single session has ended in disappointment or frustration. And we re talking about over a thousand sessions.

What s more frustrating is that the rage is directed at myself rather than the game, as my deaths are pretty much always caused by a mistake, a stupid risk, or an error brought on by trying to be overly cautious due to a previous mistake or stupid risk. Spelunky is harsh but generally fair: I ve learned how everything works so there are no real surprises. I love it, but stink at it, and the only way I see not ragequitting it is to beat it, which I just can t seem to do. I hate you, Spelunky. Never change.

Civilization V

Tyler Wilde

When I was a kid, a friend mercilessly pummeled me at Street Fighter 2 and then said I was a gaylord, so I threw the controller at him and power-walked out of his house. They called me sensitive back then. I don t really get too mad in competitive games anymore, though. I ve spit angry half-words at Rocket League teammates here and there, because what are they even doing, but I do it with my mic off, because I m not a jerk. I ve never left in the middle of a match, except once when my roommate started uploading a YouTube video and my ping went to hell and so I had to go throw the controller at him.

What really gets to me is Civilization V. When I ve got a sweet little empire going, and I m just about to realize my master blueprint of roads and port towns and cozy, defensible foothill settlements, some bastard like Alexander the Great rolls up to my capital with a bunch of siege engines. I ve been tinkering with trade routes and figuring a military can come later, trying to make a pretty civilization before a toothy one, and Alexander just has to pop in and kick over my sandcastle. I play this way almost every time, even though I know better. I probably Alt-F4 half the time I play Civ these days. I wonder if I wouldn t prefer to play without any other civilizations. Just me, alone, slowly covering the world with little buildings.

Dark Souls

Tom Senior

Ragequit moments are deliberately built into Dark Souls. As you push into a new location you steal souls from hollowed corpses that Alt-F4 d out of existence long ago. With each new difficulty spike Dark Souls dares you join them. It's clever, but it doesn't make me feel any better when things go wrong.

In fact, knowing this only makes me angry about my own anger. I'm playing right into their hands. When the Four Kings' homing purple missiles of hot bullshit one-shot me, a noise like a strangled moped emerges from my throat. I throttle my pad and grimace like a Sith lord on the bog. Sometimes I say "whyyyyyy" out loud. It is very undignified.

The burning fury in my soul can only be resolved by blaming things. I blame my ageing Xbox 360 controller, with its stunted insensitive shoulder bumpers. I blame FromSoft, for everything. I blame the laws of chance, for some reason, even though damage in Dark Souls is metered out through blows and counter-blows without need for dice rolls. I blame the bus-wide butt-cheeks of the Demon Firesage for blocking the camera during a deadly area-of-effect attack. Screw it all. Turn it off.

I ve had a stuttering relationship with Dark Souls, then. I was left so exhausted by the descent through Blight Town that I stopped playing for a few months. I put it down after attempting the opening section of Anor Londo, which has you running up and down buttresses under heavy arrow fire that knocks you to your death. But looking back, it was a broadly positive experience. Dark Souls infuriating moments are matched by euphoric highs. Even in the throes of agonising frustration, at least Dark Souls made me feel something. Few games put me through the emotional wringer in such a way.

Fuck the Bed of Chaos forever, though.

PC Gamer
NOW PLAYING

In Now Playing PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today Tom tortures poor Winston, again.

I wonder what the elevator pitch was for Tomb Raider circa 1996. Indiana Jones with guns and a T-Rex , perhaps. Lara Croft travels all over the world quipping in the Queen's english, unraveling ancient mysteries and killing enough wildlife to incur the wrath of real-world animal rights organisations. She has the extraordinary ability to flip 12 feet into the air sideways and, like Indie, remains relaxed in the face ancient magic that melts people.

There would be little more to discover about Lara Croft in the early games if it wasn't for a humble tutorial mission set in her country mansion. We're supposed to believe that Indiana Jones spends his spare hours living a bookish existence lecturing Archaeology students in Connecticut. Lara Croft prefers to return to her heavily customised (and definitely haunted) mansion to train and entertain. The textures and geometry are primitive, but Lara's mansion is an early example of environmental storytelling that puts distance between Tomb Raider and its closest influences.

I immediately loved the mansion, because to an 11 year old the idea of having an assault course in your lounge is brilliant. Returning now, I appreciate Croft manor even more. The assault course has a practical use—teaching you the jumps and shimmies you need to survive booby-trapped tombs on expedition—but it also shows how dedicated Lara is to her chosen profession. Once you've explored this multi-storey expression of independent wealth you know that she's not raiding tombs for upkeep; she's in it for the excitement and prestige. In later games she even puts a few of these priceless artifacts on display in glass cases for visitors to admire.

The mansion seems quiet when you're exploring, but there are plenty of hints that point to Lara's life as a socialite and a thrill-seeker. She has an entertainment room with a grand piano, a harp, and a large carpeted space that could serve as a ballroom at a pinch. In Tomb Raider 2 Lara hides a switch inside a topiary maze. This opens up a secret passageway to a basement full of treasure she's stolen from dead people. In Tomb Raider 3 the maze becomes a gateway to a quad bike course. The mansion goes far beyond the detail needed to simply teach players the game. It's a playground that reflects Lara's personality in a series that, back then, devoted little time for dialogue, cut scenes and other character-building devices.

Croft Manor changes across the first three games. In Tomb Raider 2 the boxes that form some small jumping puzzles in TR1 can be found in the attic, and the assault course has been moved outside. Lara is attended by Winston the flatulent butler, truly a hero among butlers. He follows Lara everywhere. In the depths of the topiary maze you might hear his gurgling bowels from the other side of a hedge as he finds his way to your side. His slow pathfinding can famously be exploited to lock him in Lara's meat freezer. In Tomb Raider 3's mansion Winston comes prepared for more bullying, dressed in full survival combat gear. Winston's development was part of the ongoing dialogue between developers and fans in the first three games. In search of new secrets, players would always find new ways to break the latest iteration of Croft Manor, using glitches to reach rooftops, balconies, and the top of the outer walls.

The Tomb Raider games moved away from Croft Manor. It became Abbingdon Manor and was burned down in Tomb Raider: Underworld. The 2013 reboot opts for a desperate, survivalist tone and sets the game in a continuous environment far away from the British countryside—perhaps in rebellion against the stupidest excesses of Tomb Raider canon, which featured evil clones of Lara and other nonsense. There's no room for Croft Manor in Lara's new world, and there's no point in the series returning purely for nostalgia's sake. Still, I think it's worth taking a moment to celebrate the enduring memories I'm sure many of us have, of keenly searching for secrets in Lara's big old house. I'll find that ghost one day.

PC Gamer

Remember a couple years back, when Square Enix said it expected to suffer "an extraordinary loss" on the fiscal year because various games in its lineup, including the Tomb Raider reboot, sold far fewer copies than expected? It was bad enough to force the resignation of CEO Yoichi Wada and prompt a major restructuring of "development policy, organizational structure, [and] some business models." If you do happen to recall that particular uproar, you may be surprised to hear that developer Crystal Dynamics announced today that the 2013 edition of Tomb Raider is actually the best-selling game in the history of the franchise.

Tomb Raider went over well with critics and shifted 3.4 million copies in its first month of release, which sounds pretty good to me. But Square Enix said in this March 2013 financial results briefing (via Eurogamer) that it expected to sell between five and six million units and was "very disappointed to see that the high [Metacritic] scores did not translate into actual sales performance." That resulted in "substantial variance in operation profit/loss against the forecast"—business-speak for, "We made a lot less money than we thought we would."

Yet from there, we end up here: The reboot sold more than than 8.5 million units, a franchise record. It also set a Tomb Raider record for launch day sales, and first-month sales. "Tomb Raider ignited and expanded the fan base, pushing the series to a new level. The game s incredible sales success reflects the passionate response of players, Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher said in a statement. "Our studio is proud of what we accomplished with the game."

It was also enough of a success to earn a sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, which was announced last year as a timed exclusive for the Xbox One. After the appropriate "duration" has expired, we're betting it will be released for other platforms, including the PC, and so we took a closer look at where Lara's headed next right here.

PC Gamer

Welcome, dear reader, to the dumbest thing that has happened this week—in gaming news terms, at least.

A Microsoft marketing executive reaffirmed, on Twitter, that the enormo-corp will be publishing Rise of the Tomb Raider. It's almost as if Capcom's recent announcement that Street Fighter V would be exclusive to PC and PS4 caused the makers of the Xbox One to reiterate their own anticipated acquisitions. The console "wars" are nothing if not childish.

This tweet lead to fans, forums and news sites questioning whether this could harm RotTR's chances of a PC (and PS4, I guess) release. This is despite the fact that both Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome were published by Microsoft, and had timed Xbox One exclusivity. Both eventually crossed over to PC after the deal expired, and were self-published by their respective developers on Steam. This is also despite the fact that Microsoft previously admitted that the deal had a duration.

Despite this, people spent actual time chasing Square Enix and Microsoft for comment. Square Enix then told GameInformer the following:

"Our partnership with Microsoft on Rise of the Tomb Raider does have a duration, but we aren t discussing those details at this time and are focused on collaborating to deliver a great game on Xbox One and Xbox 360."

Like, yeah, obviously. If Microsoft had a full Xbone-only (Xbonly?) exclusivity deal with Rise of the Tomb Raider, they would state it unambiguously. That they never have is a sign that RotTR will probably spend around 6-12 months exclusively on that system before filtering its way on to PC at the very least, and possibly the PS4 as well.

Fun fact: the gaming industry is kind of ridiculous sometimes.

PC Gamer
Rise of the Tomb Raider


The big bombshell of Microsoft's Gamescom presser was the announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider the follow up to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot will be available "Holiday 2015, Exclusively on Xbox".

There's a reason I'm putting that line in quotes: I don't entirely know what it means. Microsoft spent the entire conference twisting the meaning of language itself to make its platform look more desirable. During an ID@Xbox section, they showed games like Space Engineers and Smite games already available on PC and used the misleading refrain "coming first to consoles on Xbox".* Admittedly, "exclusively on Xbox" is a more solid statement, but companies have long since stretched the word beyond understanding. Will it be a timed exclusive? A full exclusive? An exclusive exclusively for 'Holiday 2015'? We don't know, and neither the conference nor Crystal Dynamics follow-up statement make it particularly clear.

"As you may have seen, we ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox," writes Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher. "We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I d like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we re creating at the studio.

"Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

"This doesn t mean that we re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4."

What Gallagher seems to be saying is that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics think the way you put Tomb Raider "on top of action adventure gaming" is to prevent the majority of its fan base from playing it. However you try to spin it, exclusivity is not a positive. It doesn't help the people who own that console they would still be able to play the game if it was multi-platform and it definitely, obviously doesn't help those who now can't play a series they previously had access to. It is a move that goes directly against their fans, and one almost certainly motivated by Square Enix's financial issues over the last few years.

Hopefully, then, this will be one of those woolly, meaningless exclusives, and six months down the line we'll see Rise of the Tomb Raider arrive on PC. The alternative possibility that the true third-party platform exclusive is back as a viable option would be a big step back for gaming as a whole.

*"Coming first to consoles on Xbox" would appear to mean "of the consoles, it will be on Xbox first". But that's not what's being said. Including the phrase "first to consoles" is a deliberate attempt to nest the idea of exclusivity within an admission of none. It means the exact opposite of what the actual sentence is saying. This is the point we've reached in this increasingly desperate battle.
PC Gamer
samsung-4k-teaser


The future aka 4K gaming is made up of very, very small pixels. After spending the past two weeks checking out games on Samsung's U28D590D 4K monitor, I'm still going to call 4K gaming the near future rather than the present. Yes, you can play games at 3840x2160 pixels right now. Yes, 4K monitors are becoming more affordable. But are they worth it? After spending a couple weeks using one, I can comfortably say: no, not yet. Even for a high-end graphics card (or two), 4K is too demanding for max settings and high framerates. If you're willing to play at 30 frames per second, though, 4K is a different story.

If you want to skip straight to the 4K gameplay section, click here to jump to page 2.

The Samsung U28D590D and the basics of 4K
The Samsung U28D590D is a 28-inch, 3840x2160 monitor that has an MSRP of $700, though it's only $570 on Amazon as of this writing. The monitor has a 60Hz refresh rate, unlike some earlier 4K monitors, though you'll have to use DisplayPort for 60Hz. The current HDMI spec only supports 4K at 30Hz.

I gave a general overview of the U28D590D and the demands of 4K gaming in a segment of The PC Gamer Show, which you can watch here:



The monitor looks great and I never noticed any issues with refresh rate or response time, but I didn't perform in-depth testing to determine the actual response time (never trust the too-good-to-be-true listed response time. TFT Central offers a good primer on what those specs mean). Because it uses a faster, cheaper TN panel, response time comes at a cost: inferior viewing angles and color accuracy compared to IPS displays. The monitor stand is also disappointingly limited--it has no height adjustment, rotation, or VESA mount support.

Unfortunately, if you're still running Windows 7, 4K is a terrible experience, no matter what 4K monitor you're using. The OS isn't designed to scale to such a high resolution, and everything will be impossibly tiny unless you crank up DPI scaling to 125% or 150%. But that scaling is for text it doesn't properly resize other UI elements or affect some applications like Steam. Chrome doesn't scale its text properly, either. Windows 8 is much better about properly scaling, and requires no setup to scale text, UI elements like Windows Explorer, and applications to 4K resolution. Text in Steam and Chrome is noticeably fuzzier than system text, but everything is usable and legible without constantly squishing your face up against the monitor.

The Samsung's $570 may be cheap for a 4K monitor, but it's still expensive for a monitor, in general. What that money buys is an extremely pixel-dense display, and games really do look amazing on it. My standard monitor is a 27-inch, 2560x1440 display, which comes out to a pixel pitch rating of 108.79 PPI. That's way higher than, say, a 24-inch 1080p monitor (95.78 PPI) or a 50-inch 1080p TV (44.06 PPI).



At 3840x2160, the 28-inch Samsung U28D590D has a 157.35 PPI. As a result, games running at native resolution look sharp, even without anti-aliasing enabled. The pixel density really does make a difference. Remember, a 1920x1080 monitor creates an image out of 2,073,600 pixels. A 4K monitor displays 8,294,400 pixels. As a result, a graphics card has to push out four times as many pixels. Not even two Nvidia Titans, or a newer Titan Black, can handle refreshing eight million pixels 60 times per second.

On the next page: my gaming experiences with Metro: Last Light, Tomb Raider, and other games, with some gameplay footage captured with Nvidia Shadowplay (at the max capture resolution of 1440p).


Gaming at 4K
The first game I tested at 4K was the most graphically intensive game I could think of: Metro: Last Light. With settings cranked up to Ultra, Last Light had trouble cracking 20 frames per second. Mostly, it ran in the teens, and even lowering a few settings barely helped. The world isn't ready for Metro: Last Light at 4K. Luckily, most of the other games I tested ran better.

For the games listed below, I'm going to give a rating based on playability at 30 fps and 60 fps. While I did tweak some specific settings like antialiasing, depth of field, and tessellation, I didn't turn game settings down to medium or low just to see if they'd perform well. I'd rather play a game at high settings, with better textures, lighting, and particle effects, than sacrifice those graphics options for pure resolution.



Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite runs on a heavily customized Unreal Engine 3, but it's not a particularly demanding game I had no problem running it at 60 fps on an AMD 7870 at 1440p when it was released. At 4K on a Titan Black, with all settings on Ultra, it was playable, but the framerate fluctuated considerably. It only occasionally reached 60 frames per second, and mostly hovered in the low 40s. Not bad! Usually. I found that some particle effects and rapid animations like the carnival games in the plaza near the beginning of the game--sent the framerate plummeting down into the teens.



By switching Bioshock Infinite's settings down to "Very High," I was able to run it at a reliable 30+ fps. I also ran the Infinite benchmark utility on its highest setting: DX11 with Depth of Field enabled. It averaged an overall framerate of 37.01 fps.

Consistent 60 fps at 4K? No.
Consistent 30 fps at 4K? Yes.



Tomb Raider

When I played Tomb Raider on my (overclocked) AMD 7870 last year, I was shocked by how well-optimized it was. I ran the game at max settings, with TressFX enabled, and kept a solid 60 fps. It didn't fare as well at 4K. At first, I ran the game at Ultra on a Titan Black, with only TressFX disabled. Depth of Field was turned to high, and tessellation was enabled. On those settings, the game typically ran at 22-24 fps and peaked around 30 fps. That framerate, combined with the game's handheld-style shaky camera, made cutscenes uncomfortably twitchy to watch. In smaller enclosed spaces, the game ran better when I took Lara into an underground area, it actually ran at 55-60 fps.



Tweaking individual settings in Tomb Raider also makes a big difference. By disabling tessellation and turning down depth of field and SSAO to normal, the framerate hung steady in the mid-30 fps range, even in cutscenes and open environments. I didn't get to any of the game's dramatic action setpieces, but a little settings tuning should be enough to keep the game running over 30 fps at all times.

Consistent 60 fps at 4K? No.
Consistent 30 fps at 4K? Yes.



Sleeping Dogs

United Front Games' Sleeping Dogs has a gorgeous open world, but it relies on the rain-soaked neon of Hong Kong for its looks, not tessellation like Tomb Raider or the lighting and physics of Metro: Last Light. With all of Sleeping Dogs' settings cranked to Ultra (except anti-aliasing) and its high resolution textures installed, the game managed to run at an almost-but-not-quite solid 60 fps during gameplay. It sometimes dipped into the 50s, but still played extremely smoothly.



During cutscenes, the framerate dropped into the 40-50 fps range, but never dipped anywhere near 30 fps.When I ran the Sleeping Dogs benchmark utility (with AA enabled), it returned an average framerate of 56.5 fps, a maximum of 67.1 fps and a minimum of 39.2 fps. Not bad, Sleeping Dogs. Not bad. And you still look pretty good, too.

Consistent 60 fps at 4K? Very, very close.
Consistent 30 fps at 4K? Yes. Easily.



Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Surprise! A game running on the Source Engine runs putters along at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second just fine. On the Large Pixel Collider's three Titan setup, CS:GO blazed past 60 fps with max settings and showed no signs of dipping down below that threshold. Even on a weaker computer, Source engine games should be able to run at 60 fps no problem, especially with tweaking to settings like AA.

Consistent 60 fps at 4K? Yes.
Consistent 30 fps at 4K? Double yes.



Total War: Rome 2

The last game I tried, Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome 2, ran better than I expected. The Total War games are notoriously system intensive on both the CPU and GPU, but even on Ultra settings, the game ran well at 4K. At least, "well" by Total War standards. On the battlefield, zoomed out, the game consistently ran at more than 30 fps. Zoomed in, the framerate slowed to around 24 fps when there were dozens or hundreds of units on screen at once. But that feels normal for Total War, so the game didn't feel sluggish.



In fact, on a Titan Black, Total War: Rome 2 runs better at 4K than it did for me at launch on my AMD 7870 at 1440p. Creative Assembly has patched the game numerous times over the past year to fix bugs and increase performance, but overall Rome 2 ran better than I expected. Still nowhere near 60 fps, but that's hardly a surprise for a game rendering thousands of units at once.

Consistent 60 fps at 4K? No, but that's no surprise.
Consistent 30 fps at 4K? No, but closer than expected.
Wrapping up
The games above are just a small sample of how PC gaming fares at 4K resolution. Obviously performance will differ between systems not everyone has a Titan Black to play on, but a pair of overclocked SLI'd cards could handle these games even better, and even manage to keep framerates hovering around 60 fps. From my testing, though, I don't think 2014 is the year to invest in a 4K monitor. Even 30 fps at 4K is a struggle for some games, but it's doable with the right tweaking.

If you're accustomed to playing games at 30 frames per second already, chances are you don't have a graphics card capable of handling 4K. Buy a new GPU in 2014 or 2015, though, and 4K at 30 fps will be within your reach

For 60 fps, you'll need at least two Nvidia 780 TIs in SLI or an AMD R9 295X2, and neither of those cards will guarantee 60 fps in every game. Total cost for those cards? Between $1400 and $1500. Throw the cost of the 4K monitor in there, and, well...Unless you want to spend a whole lot of money, the 4K future is still a year or two away.
PC Gamer
steam sale day 7


We've now been living and breathing the Steam Summer Sale for a week, losing sleep for every flash sale, antsy with anticipation every time the new deals tick over. We're feverish from the savings, but it would be madness to stop saving now. Today's deals fuel our appetite for strategy, shooting, and launching valiant little green men into space on absurdly oversized rockets.

Don t forget to check out GOG s summer deals, too.

Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.
5 - The Banner Saga
50% off: $12.49 / 9.49 - Steam store page
One of the biggest artistic achievements in gaming this year. We love The Banner Saga s hand-drawn characters and how they animate on the battlefield, but we especially enjoy the way its detailed, Nordic landscapes parallax as your caravan of warriors and survivors march on. The Austin Wintory score is a cherry on the top.
4 - Kerbal Space Program
40% off: $16.19 / 11.99 - Steam store page
We ve murdered a lot of aliens in games, but only in KSP have we stranded little green guys in planetary orbit due to our grossly incompetent management of a budding space program. The Early Access rocket physics simulator is one of the best games still under development, and already has a large community of engineers sharing stories of harrowing space missions, ship designs, and mods. KSP has even made its way into classrooms.

Read Ian s five-part Kerbal Space Program chronicle to see how he learned rocket-building basics and launched a mission to the M n.
3 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
50% off: $7.49 / 5.99 - Steam store page
The best competitive FPS on PC owes a lot to its skill-based matchmaking format. At any skill level, five-on-five Counter-Strike narrows the range of tactical choices available to you and the time you have to make them, creating a wonderfully concentrated competitive mode. Otherwise, CS:GO is mainly a vehicle for microtransactions: beware the allure of $400 virtual knives.
2 - Tomb Raider
75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST
Lara Croft returns in a gorgeous action game heavily inspired by Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. This younger, rebooted Lara doesn't have her predecessor's confidence or predilection for interesting puzzles the only tombs in this game are disappointingly short and simple but the shooting is by far the best in the series. Exploring Tomb Raider's island and crafting survival gear is also fun, as Lara is a nimble climber and each area is packed with interesting treasures to hunt down. For a challenge, forgo the assault rifle and grenade launcher for Lara's incredibly satisfying (and silent!) bow.
1 - BioShock Triple Pack
83% off: $10.19 / 6.79 - Steam store page
If you haven t explored the ruins of Rapture, you re in for a treat. BioShock s world is a revelation, an under-the-sea society that s crumbled under its own weight, and exploring what remains of it and shooting its crazy inhabitants in the face with fireballs is a delight. BioShock 2 goes even further, changing your perspective and adding a surprising amount of depth with its own story. Irrational s swansong, BioShock Infinite, may still be polarizing, but Columbia is just as beautiful and terrifying as Rapture, and well worth exploring. All three are included here in a bundle that s too cheap to pass up.

Other great deals today
Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further later in the sale.

Bastion (40% off) $8.99 / 6.59
Killing Floor (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49
Mirror's Edge (75% off) $4.99 / 2.49
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (66% off) $6.79 / 5.09
PC Gamer
Steam Summer Sale day 4


Just when you thought you were out of the Steam sale racket, they pull you back in - today's crop boasting some delectable bargains across a variety of genres, including the pork-bunniest game of recent years.

Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal. Also, GOG.com are having their own, equally terrific summer sale at the moment, so be sure to check that out too.

5 - Lone Survivor
75% off: $3.74 / 2.74 - Steam store page | Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST
One of the best Silent Hill games you'll play - and a better Silent Hill game than Konami have published in the last ten or so years. The story is dreamlike and ambiguous in the best possible way, while the chunky pixel art and atmospheric soundtrack envelop you as soon as you switch the game on. If you're brave enough to face it - and you remembered to bring an energy drink - Lone Survivor is easily worth the price of a large cappuccino. Head here for the full PCG verdict.

4 - Metro Last Light
66% off: $6.79 / 6.79 - Steam store page | Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST
Some odd exchange-rating aside, this is still a good price for the mostly great Metro Last Light, which managed the heroic feat of rescuing the first game's abysmal stealth and turning it into something that works. In addition to being a solid shooter and stealth-'em-up, this is a pretty good atmospheric horror and action game too, although the plot is something that will largely pass you by (if you're lucky). You might want to wait for the remastered 'Redux' version of this and its predecessor, however - although there is a discount system in place should you want to upgrade at a later date.

3 - Sleeping Dogs
80% off: $3.99 / 2.99 - Steam store page | Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST
If Watch Dogs left you cold, you could always give the relatively silly (but still a bit nasty) Sleeping Dogs a try, which puts you in the role of an undercover cop in Hong Kong. Brawl with bad guys, eat pork buns by the truckload, and solve police cases on the side in a scrappy open world game that's never too ambitious, but manages to be a lot of fun anyway. We didn't think much of the "messy story and horrible characters" in our review, but we had time for the game's "scintillating open world city". 2.99 seems like a very fair price.

2 - Tomb Raider
75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page
Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot isn't without its problems - most of the cast are forgettable, and it's a more linear and shallow game than fans of the originals might have been expecting - but as fairground rides go, this is meticulously and gorgeously staged. Play it to prepare yourself for the recently announced Rise of the Tomb Raider, in which Lara's hopefully brought along a coat, as well as a flannel for all that blood she finds herself swimming through.

1 - The Wolf Among Us
66% off: $8.49 / 6.45 - Steam store page
Creaking engine aside, Telltale have come a long way since the days of their pretty good Sam and Max series, so it's a relief to see that their good work on The Walking Dead wasn't a one-off. The Wolf Among us, based on the Fables comics, is overall just as deftly written as the tale of Clementine and co, although Telltale have been a fair bit slower in putting them out. You probably shouldn't read our reviews if you want to remain unspoiled, but know that we've given the series a (very gruff) thumbs-up.

Other great deals today
Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further.

State of Decay (75% off) $4.99 / 3.74
Monaco (67% off) $4.94 / 3.95
To The Moon (70% off) $2.99 / 2.09
E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy (75% off) $2.49 / 1.74
Year Walk (50% off) $2.99 / 2.39
Deadly Premonition (75% off) $6.24 / 4.99
Legend of Grimrock (66% off) $5.09 / 4.07
Betrayer (80% off) $3.99 / 2.99
Outlast (75% off) $4.99 / 3.74
...

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