PC Gamer
PC Gamer

We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! We ve partnered with the bargainmeisters at TechBargains to bring you a weekly list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.

Some highlights this week: The Steam Holiday Sale is a go and has too many deals to round up here! The Dell UltraSharp U2412 monitor is down to $320 on Dell's official site and comes with a $100 Dell giftcard. Separate from the Steam sale, GreenManGaming is having a huge amount of sales on a bunch of games, but a lot of them are short lived. And not one to be left out of the party, Amazon is also heavily discounting digital games, including our  Game of the YearAlien: Isolation for only $25.

— Amazon is having a huge holiday digital games sale, including Command & Conquer Ultimate Collection for $5, Skyrim for $5, Grand Theft Auto 4 for $3, Dead space 3 for $4, Alien: Isolation for $25, and a lot more.

— GreenManGaming has a set of 24 hour deals including Fallout, the Valve Complete Pack, Tropico, and more for 75% off, and you can take another 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— GreenManGaming also has a bunch 48 hour deals including DMC, Dead Rising 3, Duke Nukem 3D, and more which you can also get an additional 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— GreenManGaming, not short on deals, is also having a Deals from the Deep sale on deadly games like Typing of the Dead, Left4Dead, Soul Reaver, Dishonored, and more which you can also get an additional 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— The entire Mass Effect Trilogy is on $13.50 on Amazon.

— And, lest we forget, the Steam Holiday Sale is in full force with more deals then we can possibly list here.

— The Lenovo Helix Convertible Laptop is down to $949.99 on Lenovo s site with the code USPHLX33U128

— The Corsair Carbide Series 500R ATX Mid Tower computer case is $79.99 on Newegg after a $20 rebate and with the code EMCWHWA35

— The Gigabyte GV-N75TOC-2GI GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics card is $114.99 on Newegg after a $30 rebate, and comes with $50 of in-game currency for Strife, War Thunder, and Infinite Crisis.

— The Corsair RM Series RM650 650W Full Modular Power Supply (80PLUS GOLD) is $79.99 on Newegg after a $20 rebate.

— The Dell UltraSharp U2412 24in 1920x1200 monitor is $319.99 on Dell s site and comes with a $100 Dell gift card. To see the deal, click "click here for pricing" then small business.

— The Dell S2715H 27in LED LCD Monitor is $299.99 on Dell s site and comes with a $100 Dell gift card. To see the deal, click "click here for pricing" then small business.

— The Crucial M550 512GB SSD is $209.99 on Newegg with the code EMCWHHH25

For more tech deals, visit techbargains.com.

A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.

PC Gamer

Think of the poor survivors stranded aboard the Sevastopol. Do they know it's Christmas? Just when they thought the nightmare was over, the first piece of DLC for our game of the year, Alien: Isolation, turned their carols to screams. Join the terror by claiming one of the ten thousand Corporate Lockdown keys we're giving away this weekend.

The Corporate Lockdown DLC adds three new maps for Survivor mode set between the corporate penthouse and the medlabs, and includes a new playable character called Ransome who will "give you the firepower to take the fight to your enemies". It's worth worth 5.59 / $7.99, and requires a copy of Alien: Isolation to play. Corporate Lockdown is the first in a long series of DLC releases for Alien: Isolation, which are all included in the 20 / $30 season pass.

For a chance to win a key, enter your email address in the widget below. On Wednesday, ten thousand winners will be randomly selected, and receive a Steam key by email. Don't worry if you don't get a key, we're giving them away free in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which you can buy digitally for just 2.99 / $5, and also includes our in-depth feature on the making of Alien: Isolation.

PC Gamer

Check out our game of the year awards 2014 page to find out how the awards were decided.

Andy Kelly: Finally, someone made an Alien game based on the right film. The Creative Assembly obsessively broke Ridley Scott s 1979 original down and used its component parts one terrifying creature, a struggle for survival, a dark, claustrophobic setting to make the best Alien game ever, and one of the best horror games ever. It s probably the bravest, most subversive AAA game of the year, and I m really glad Sega took a gamble on it. 

When I first heard about Isolation, I wondered if they d be able to rest an entire game on that premise of a single alien stalker. But thanks to careful, considered pacing, and mixing up Amanda s circumstances, it never outstayed its welcome, even after 25 hours. In one section the motion tracker is useless, in another you re free to fire your weapons without alerting the beast. Little changes like this keep the game feeling varied, as does that reactive AI. I ve played through the game twice now, and the alien still surprises and scares me. 

It s also one of the few games I actually felt compelled to seek out an art book for. In terms of design and craft, this is one of the best games, artistically, since Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which had a similar approach to its world design. Like the film, it s a world that s chunky and functional, rather than fancily futuristic.

Evan Lahti: After so many Alien games, it s fascinating that it ends up being The Creative Assembly a studio known for Total War, a series that couldn t be much further away from a stealth FPS that does something novel with a franchise that the industry has essentially banged its head against for the past decade. That s one of the things we re celebrating with this award, I think: that Isolation s creative success could encourage others to take more deliberate attempts at adapting beloved source material, rather than just shoehorning licences into an action game.

Samuel Roberts: I went through the 25-hour story waiting for the moment when The Creative Assembly ran out of novel ways to use the alien s extraordinary AI, but it never does. This could ve been a six hour story that didn t risk outstaying its welcome instead, we got a sprawling epic where every interesting set piece you could imagine is explored, in a well-judged arc that demonstrates real skill with structure. And yeah, the fact that a studio with a strong legacy in strategy games pulled this off is one of the weirder things about Alien: Isolation, but that makes the story of its success all the more compelling.

Tony Ellis: Actually, I d quibble your dark, claustrophobic setting , Andy. Maybe I just didn t have my gamma settings down low enough, but the thing I really liked about Isolation was how effectively it showed us the alien in bright, unwavering light. Turning the lights off in horror films and games is a time-honoured practice, I know, and it s a good one as far as it goes. We re already afraid of the dark hide your monster in it, half-glimpsed, lurking, and you capture the murky menace of a bad dream. But isn t it more frightening if the lights are all on, you re clearly not dreaming, and the monster is still there?

Giger s creation is incongruous against such a backdrop, but that s very much to the point. Alien is a film about a medieval altarpiece demon intruding into the sterile, moulded-plastic world of a science-fiction future, and refusing to go away. Massive yet sinuous, animated by an unguessable intelligence, Creative Assembly s monster is scary enough and plausible enough to show us what that looks like.

Chris Thursten: Agreed: this is a philosophical victory for the source material as well as a practical one. And by philosophical victory I mean they have successfully realised the experience of being hunted through a submarine by an angry space penis . Survival horror isn t supposed to work this way: this is a genre defined by canned scares and set-pieces. Isolation is about the fear of being hunted by a system, a set of game mechanics that don t care if you have a nice time. It s a game that pushes up against the boundaries of what might be considered entertainment, because playing it can be a stressful, unpleasant experience. That s a great and laudable risk to have taken, the total opposite of Aliens: Colonial Marines infantilisation of the series.

To the extent that we seek to send a message with our game of the year awards, do this again is the takeaway here. Alien: Isolation picks up the threads left hanging by indie horror AI monsters, little to no combat and applies the resources and time afforded to mainstream development to solving them. Imagine if that could happen to the shooter, or the open-world game. Basically: imagine if all that time and money wasn t locked to a template. That s what we should be celebrating here.

For our full verdict on Alien, read our Alien: Isolation review.    

It's Christmas. Would you like a free game? Of course you would! Thanks to our friends at Playfire, you can get a free Steam key right now. Follow the link for full details.

PC Gamer

You find us in an energetic mood at PCG Towers. Why? Partly because we've spent the last week mainlining non-specific energy drinks in an attempt to fill the website with a Christmas-break's worth of juicy content. Also, it's because we're still fired up from our official Game of the Year argument discussion. To properly visualise this vibrant state of mind, we've put a high-kicking cartoon lady on our cover—courtesy of Overwatch.

Yes, this month its our Best Games of 2014 issue. Maybe you'll agree, maybe you won't, and maybe you'll think "that's all very well and good, but what else is in this month's magazine?"

How about some free DLC? This month, we're giving away Alien Isolation's Corporate Lockdown add-on, worth over  5 out in the wild. The issue, which is in shops now, can be ordered through My Favourite Magazines. Digitally, you'll find it on the App Store, Google Play, and Zinio, and you can subscribe to get issues delivered directly to your door. Read on for a look at the subs cover, and a round-up of the features to be found in issue 274.

This month we...

  • Go hands-on with Blizzard's FPS to explore their first new universe for 17 years.
  • Meet Creative Assembly for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the game.
  • Have a big argument, settle down and then calmly decide the PCG Game of 2014.
  • Give our picks for the 20 best total conversion mods of all time.
  • Preview Dying Light, Skyforge, else Heart.Break(), Armored Warfare, Galak-Z and Chroma Squad.
  • Review Far Cry 4, This War of Mine, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, Football Manager 2015, Farming Simulator 15, Assassin's Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Lords of the Fallen, Valkyria Chronicles, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, CoH2: Ardennes Assault, Crusader Kings 2: Charlemagne and Warlock 2: Wrath of the Nagas.
  • Round up the best monitors you can buy right now.
  • Return to Titanfall to see if anyone's still around.
  • Reinstall Gears of War for a fresh look at the chunky cover shooter.

And more besides. Until next month!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

A game about Alien rather than a game about Aliens. A game about fleeing and hiding rather than running and gunning. A game that uses a license as effectively as any in the history of the medium. Alien: Isolation is a worthy successor to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic.>

Adam: We’re not using the X word.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Andy Kelly: Finally, someone made an Alien game based on the right film. The Creative Assembly obsessively broke Ridley Scott s 1979 original down and used its component parts one terrifying creature, a struggle for survival, a dark, claustrophobic setting to make the best Alien game ever, and one of the best horror games ever. It s probably the bravest, most subversive AAA game of the year, and I m really glad Sega took a gamble on it. 

When I first heard about Isolation, I wondered if they d be able to rest an entire game on that premise of a single alien stalker. But thanks to careful, considered pacing, and mixing up Amanda s circumstances, it never outstayed its welcome, even after 25 hours. In one section the motion tracker is useless, in another you re free to fire your weapons without alerting the beast. Little changes like this keep the game feeling varied, as does that reactive AI. I ve played through the game twice now, and the alien still surprises and scares me. 

It s also one of the few games I actually felt compelled to seek out an art book for. In terms of design and craft, this is one of the best games, artistically, since Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which had a similar approach to its world design. Like the film, it s a world that s chunky and functional, rather than fancily futuristic.

Evan Lahti: After so many Alien games, it s fascinating that it ends up being The Creative Assembly a studio known for Total War, a series that couldn t be much further away from a stealth FPS that does something novel with a franchise that the industry has essentially banged its head against for the past decade. That s one of the things we re celebrating with this award, I think: that Isolation s creative success could encourage others to take more deliberate attempts at adapting beloved source material, rather than just shoehorning licences into an action game.

Samuel Roberts: I went through the 25-hour story waiting for the moment when The Creative Assembly ran out of novel ways to use the alien s extraordinary AI, but it never does. This could ve been a six hour story that didn t risk outstaying its welcome instead, we got a sprawling epic where every interesting set piece you could imagine is explored, in a well-judged arc that demonstrates real skill with structure. And yeah, the fact that a studio with a strong legacy in strategy games pulled this off is one of the weirder things about Alien: Isolation, but that makes the story of its success all the more compelling.

Tony Ellis: Actually, I d quibble your dark, claustrophobic setting , Andy. Maybe I just didn t have my gamma settings down low enough, but the thing I really liked about Isolation was how effectively it showed us the alien in bright, unwavering light. Turning the lights off in horror films and games is a time-honoured practice, I know, and it s a good one as far as it goes. We re already afraid of the dark hide your monster in it, half-glimpsed, lurking, and you capture the murky menace of a bad dream. But isn t it more frightening if the lights are all on, you re clearly not dreaming, and the monster is still there?

Giger s creation is incongruous against such a backdrop, but that s very much to the point. Alien is a film about a medieval altarpiece demon intruding into the sterile, moulded-plastic world of a science-fiction future, and refusing to go away. Massive yet sinuous, animated by an unguessable intelligence, Creative Assembly s monster is scary enough and plausible enough to show us what that looks like.

Chris Thursten: Agreed: this is a philosophical victory for the source material as well as a practical one. And by philosophical victory I mean they have successfully realised the experience of being hunted through a submarine by an angry space penis . Survival horror isn t supposed to work this way: this is a genre defined by canned scares and set-pieces. Isolation is about the fear of being hunted by a system, a set of game mechanics that don t care if you have a nice time. It s a game that pushes up against the boundaries of what might be considered entertainment, because playing it can be a stressful, unpleasant experience. That s a great and laudable risk to have taken, the total opposite of Aliens: Colonial Marines infantilisation of the series.

To the extent that we seek to send a message with our game of the year awards, do this again is the takeaway here. Alien: Isolation picks up the threads left hanging by indie horror AI monsters, little to no combat and applies the resources and time afforded to mainstream development to solving them. Imagine if that could happen to the shooter, or the open-world game. Basically: imagine if all that time and money wasn t locked to a template. That s what we should be celebrating here.

Stay tuned as we reveal more of our Game of the Year awards throughout the week.

     

It's Christmas. Would you like a free game? Of course you would! Thanks to our friends at Playfire, you can get a free Steam key right now. Follow the link for full details.

PC Gamer

Alien: Isolation may get a sequel, according to comments made by Creative Assembly lead game designer Gary Napper. Speaking to AvPGalaxy, Napper spoke a bit about how the team could handle the plot of a hypothetical sequel. Which means, naturally, that some pretty glaring spoilers are contained below. 

"The plot for a sequel is a daily topic in the studio sometimes," Napper said. "People have their own ideas for where it should go, our writers have some solid concepts and yes, we do have a great opportunity to continue her story. I personally think that Amanda did not get infected in the hive, as when she wakes, the closest egg remains closed…"

Napper went on to say that the tense, horror experience of Isolation is core to the series' DNA, indicating that the studio is unlikely to produce a more fast-paced affair. "I think the action oriented 'Aliens' style game is very different from what Isolation is," he said.

"If we made a sequel I would like to stick to the same terrifying single Alien approach but do more with the environment and interactivity within it."

If you've finished the unbearably gruelling survival horror title on hard, then it's time to put your heart to the test again: Alien: Isolation now has a Nightmare mode.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Baby.

Xenomorphs? You eat ‘em for breakfast. Scraping out its carapace with a spoon, between mouthfuls of acidic meatgoop you try to launch a lecture on how actually “xenomorph” isn’t its name. That’s just how tough you are. For you, dear friend, I have a treat. Alien: Isolation has added two new difficulty modes, including one aimed at making everything a whole lot tougher.

Alternatively, if you’ve steered clear of Isolation because the very idea of it send a chill down your spine and sets your skin a-crawling, the other mode makes it all easier so you can more freely tour and world and follow the story. You’re never wholly safe, though.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The trouble with making videogames is that it's very difficult to keep everyone happy. Take Alien: Isolation, for example. Some players want to explore without having to constantly worry about their face being chewed off; others feel like anything short of relentless punishment is a waste of time. The update released today tries to do something for both camps by adding two new difficulty levels at opposite ends of the spectrum: Nightmare and Novice. 

Nightmare mode saddles players with a busted motion detector and more limited resources; the map systems are offline, and survivors and synthetics will behave more aggressively and dangerously. The Alien will be tougher as well, with heightened senses and "upgraded AI" that will make it more quickly adaptive to your tactics.

Novice mode, obviously, takes things in the opposite direction, providing "more time and breathing space with which to explore Sevastopol." Resources will be relatively plentiful, and the alien will be "more forgiving, more easily distracted, and less aggressive in his hunting style."

Creative Assembly also released a couple of downloadable posters, one for Novice and one for Nightmare, styled after sci-fi movie posters from the 70s. They're both very cool, but for my money the description of the "Ultimate Alien" makes the Nightmare poster the clear winner: "More aggressive. Adapts faster. No second chances."

The update containing both new game modes is available now, and it's free.

...

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