For the next six days, take advantage of huge savings throughout the Steam store on thousands of titles. Plus, discover new and recommended games on your personalized Exploration Sale page here. Check back each day for new Daily Deals.
It's The PC Gamer Show! Episode two is an RPGstravaganza with special guest Josh Sawyer, who stopped by to demo Obsidian's Infinity Engine throwback Pillars of Eternity. The PC Gamer US team also discussed the greatest RPGs of all time, played some co-op Divinity: Original Sin, and talked to Sawyer about his time as the director on Fallout: New Vegas.
In this episode...
Act I: Wes, Cory and Tyler talk about what makes a great RPG as Cory prepares the PC Gamer list of the 25 Best RPGs. Will action-RPGs make the cut? Act II: Cory and Obsidian's Josh Sawyer talk about Fallout: New Vegas, including how the game drew from Black Isle's canceled Fallout 3 "Van Buren" project and the inspiration behind Sawyer's challenging JSawyer mod. Act III: Cory shows Wes the basics in co-op RPG Divinity: Original Sin after playing it for 50 hours in a single week. Cory likes Divinity: Original Sin a lot. Act IV: Josh Sawyer walks us through a new demo of Pillars of Eternity, showing off character creation, scripted interactions, and combat.
The PC Gamer Show is a new and evolving project for us, and we want your feedback to help make it better. What kind of segments do you want to see? What games should we play and talk about? Who should we have on as guests? What's coming up next?
Shout at us in the comments below, or shoot us an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're listening. And we'll see you in two weeks.
It s another good day to be a PC gamer (isn t every day, though, really?) with a new set of Steam Summer Sale deals to pad your library for the long hot days of hiding inside ahead. If nothing has caught your eye yet, there s still another weekend to go, but we re pretty happy with today s selection they re not all brand new, but between the heartfelt Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and the vast wasteland of Fallout New Vegas, there's a few hundred hours of amazing and diverse gaming at a deep discount.
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 - Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons 80% off: $2.99 / 2.19 - Steam store page There are a lot of great stories in games, but few are as affecting as the one here, a story about two brothers traveling a dangerous world to save their father. The characters you meet are painted in broad strokes, but each one has an endearing quality the scene with the ogres is just delightful. It s not just a great story, though: the puzzles in Brothers, and how you solve them by controlling both siblings at the same time, are a joy to solve, even if they re not particularly difficult. It s not a long game, but it s a great four-hour journey for the money. 4 - The Blackwell Bundle 90% off: $1.99 / 1.49 Steam store page Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST This is an absurdly good price for the first four Blackwell games a series of noir adventures about a psychic detective and her decidedly dead partner. What makes the series worth experiencing is its refusal to fall back on traditional adventure puzzles. Progress is rarely about what you've picked up, but rather what you know. Information is a tool to be used, and investigation reveals new leads and ways to overcome your problems. Beyond that, there's a dramatic story played out between likeable characters; a story that slowly escalates in impact up to the (non-bundled and less discounted) fifth and final game. You can grab Blackwell Epiphany for 40% off. 3 - Torchlight II 75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page Let s celebrate choice: Diablo III has improved a lot since launch (the Auction House closes today, by the way), but here s one of our other favorite action RPGs, and you can currently buy eight copies of it for the price of one Diablo III. We don t know why you would do that, but hey, Steam gifts are a lovely way to show a friend you care. 2 - Metro Last Light Complete 66% off: $6.79 / 6.79 - Steam store page Metro: Last Light is still one of the best-looking games on PC, and it s our go-to game any time we want to see how well a PC runs. But it s also a great shooter, with a few stealth sections that work better than you d expect. It s also surprisingly sad: it s not often that a first-person shooter will move you as much as post-apocalyptic Moscow does. This Complete edition also adds all of the released DLC for the game, including the single-player focused Chronicles pack. 1 - Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition 66% off: $6.79 / 5.09 - Steam store page Wandering the wasteland is one of the best parts of any Fallout game, and New Vegas collected edition here gives you a lot of wasteland to cover. The base game feel more like an open, living world than Bethesda s version of a post-apocalyptic D.C., but the collection of add-ons five in all makes that world even denser. Factor in the thriving mod community on Steam Workshop and you could be living in that wasteland for a long time.
Other great deals today Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further later in the sale.
Nidhogg (66% off) $5.09 / 3.73 Gone Home (75% off) $4.99 / 3.74 Spec Ops: The Line (67% off) $9.89 / 6.59 Syberia Bundle (90% off) $1.49 / 1.09
In the Fallout universe, The Enclave -- deservedly -- have a bit of a bad reputation. On the other hand, they have cool armor and they're always landing vertibirds all over the place like total badasses, and while that doesn't make me like them, it at least makes me think they're kinda cool. That's why For The Enclave, which recently released its final version, is the Fallout New Vegas mod for anyone who's always wanted to join the Enclave.
The modders behind For the Enclave know the best thing about the Enclave is their mode of transport, and starts their mod off in the perfect fashion. Rather than just have some schmuck courier run up to you, or simply add a quest marker to your Pip-Boy journal, they bring in a vertibird to locate you in dramatic fashion. A chopper landing just for you on any occasion is always awesome, but a vertibird touching down in front of you in the post-apocalypse? Double-awesome.
Aw yeah. Picking you up in style.
It seems an Enclave general has noticed your badassery and perhaps has gotten a bit tired of being on the receiving end of it. You're invited to an underground bunker, the Enclave's version of a Vault, really. You can travel there on your own time or climb into the chopper that's just landed. Personally, I chose to take the ride. Why the hell wouldn't you? You've got something better to do than ride a chopper?
Hey, a map. Every mod should have one of these.
The Enclave bunker is big and sprawling, with hangers, barracks, a command HQ, an armory, and several levels of corridors, which is why its so nice that the modders took the time to place maps all over the place, mounted on the walls. Let's face it, it's no fun running around in circles, repeatedly opening the same doors and climbing the same stairs as you try to find your way out of a facility, which was a problem even in the vanilla game.
Don't I know you from a box cover or something?
Despite your reputation and the fact that the Enclave went looking to hire you, you still have to start at the bottom of the food chain and work your way up. There's a couple small, fairly routine tasks you'll need to perform before you get into some serious Enclave business, but it won't be long before you're strapping on power armor and doing some heavy lifting for your new crew.
Ghouls. Why did it have to be ghouls.
One early mission will have you investigating a gloomy underground laboratory. It may seem like a spoiler, showing that picture of ghouls, but trust me, you will know there are ghouls around the second you walk into the lab the because you can hear them. Constantly. Screeching. It just takes a while for them to, like, actually show up. Maybe it's just me and the fact that I always found Fallout's ghouls completely unsettling, but this entire mission was creep-tastic.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Wait, I joined 'em! Why do I still have to beat 'em?
It also turns out that things in the Enclave are not super stable, and the militaristic faction has itself split into sub-factions. There's a splinter branch of the Enclave, and they're not super happy that you're pitching in to help. Hopefully you've already got on your new power armor, because this other Enclave is no picnic to deal with.
I'm wearing stealth armor but using a grenade machine gun. I'm sending mixed messages.
Soon you're in all-out war with the splinter Enclave group, and sent on a mission that's part stealth and recon, and part massive military conflict. Best of all, you get a chance to see more vertibirds swoop across the sky, touch down on the earth, discharge a bunch of Enclave troops -- and they've arrived to help you, not kill you. How sweet it is.
Oh man, I'm boned. Er, no, wait! They're on my side! I'm saved!
I don't want to blab about the entire mod, but there's a lengthy and challenging multi-part main quest, and a handful of side quests you can complete for some of the mod's new characters. You'll eventually unlock custom living quarters in the new bunker, and there's also a new companion that becomes available when you've progressed through some of the missions. There will be some new random encounters as well based on certain choices you've made during the main quest.
So can I play Threes! on this thing or what
There are often waits of a few days between new missions in the mod, meaning this is a good mod to mix in with other activities or quests: when the Enclave has a new task for you, you can trust them to come and find you. There's some custom voice work in the mod, though it's mostly kept to a minimum, which is genuinely refreshing. Sometimes mod makers, when creating dialogue, create quite a lot of it, but here the talking is sparse and to the point.
This mod has been in development for a good long while, and earlier versions have been released in the past, but this appears to be the final version and is definitely worth your time.
Installation: You can download the mod right here. Just make sure you've checked both the .esm and .esp file in your data files when you launch the game as both are needed. You'll also need to be at least Level 15 for the quest to activate. There are also some addition files for improving performance and adding new Enclave uniforms, read the "Installation" section on this page to learn more.
Mark Morgan may not be as "instantly recognizable" as composers like Jeremy Soule, Jack Wall or Jesper Kyd, to name just a few, but to a certain subset of gamer nerd-dom he's easily the equal of any of them. He has more than a dozen titles to his credit in a career that began in 1995 with Dark Seed II, but there are three in particular--Fallout, Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment--that established him as one of the most unique and memorable talents in the business.
And yet Morgan's work in videogames represents only a slice of what has been a remarkably varied and successful career in television, film and even as a member of the band Starship. "In the mid-nineties, I was working mainly in television when an agent friend, Bob Rice, heard the score I was doing for a network show called Prey," Morgan recently told me. "He thought that vibe might translate to videogames and introduced me to a few developers. After doing a couple of games, I discovered that the medium offered a great opportunity for me to explore my goal of writing a score that was minimal, immersive and put the player emotionally inside the game."
His soundtracks for Fallout and Planescape are particularly distinctive because the developers specifically wanted to avoid a conventional orchestral score. "Although Planescape: Torment had some orchestral elements, it still came from an ambient place in order to tell the story, whereas Fallout was simply a very dark ambient game," Morgan said. "The developers knew they liked the ambient vibe, so based on some of my prior work they approached me to explore the possibilities for these games. With Planescape: Torment it was a conscious decision to be more thematic but keep it ambient."
Yet after 1999, the year in which his work appeared in both Planescape and Civilization: Call to Power, Morgan effectively fell off the face of the Earth, at least as far as gamers are concerned. He provided some music for the Giants: Citizen Kabuto soundtrack but otherwise appeared to have moved on to other things. It would be ten years before he returned to games with EA's 2009 release Need for Speed: Shift.
"During that decade, I found myself writing music for television again. Then out of the blue, Charles Deenan, who I had worked with at Interplay and was now at Electronic Arts, asked me to contribute some tracks for Need for Speed: Shift. I had always wanted to do that genre of game, so I jumped at his offer. Soon after, I was offered Prey 2, which I co-wrote with a fellow composer, Jason Graves," Morgan said. "The experience rekindled my love of writing for games. And luckily, soon thereafter I got a call from Brian Fargo, for whom I had worked when he was CEO of Interplay. He was now running inXile, and asked if I wanted to work on Wasteland 2, followed by Torment: Tides of Numenera. Since I had worked on what were essentially the prequels to both of those games, I was thrilled to revisit them."
Morgan said his approach to creating game soundtracks is "collaborative" but the specifics of the process depends on the individual game. He cites Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Trent Reznor as some of his many influences, and added that architecture, specifically the Minimalist and Modernist movements, has played a huge role in his work and "profoundly influenced" how he writes music.
"I am moved by the simplicity in modern architecture. With its space and restraint, you can see it all without being detoured or interrupted by things that don t matter," he explained. "To borrow a quote, 'Subtle enough to not intrude, but bold enough to not become irrelevant.' That s kind of my goal. As this relates to games, I want to effect the player in subliminal ways by keeping them in the moment."
He also allowed that his rather sudden re-entry into the field is driven in part by the emergence of a strengthened indie sector, which has rekindled his interest in gaming. "With the advent of crowd-funding, smaller independent developers can make the style of games that avid gamers want to play. Without the constraints of 'corporate-think,' this freedom translates to the music as well," he said. That gamer sensibility is reflected in his participation in a third game, Stasis, a far more modest Kickstarter project he asked to take part in simply because he thought it looked cool.
"When I first saw the visuals I was hooked. The creators of Stasis, Chris Bischoff and his brother Nic, have such a passion for their game it was infectious," he said. "After seeing their teaser on Kickstarter, I emailed Chris to see if they had a composer. He emailed me back that they didn t, so I talked him into letting me do it."
Despite his early association with the franchise, Morgan said he hasn't been asked to take part in the next Fallout game, although he'd "love to do it" if he could. Neither is he aware of the status of Prey 2, which he is no longer actively involved with. "I don t have any idea of how the gameplay was working out but visually it seemed really cool. I loved working on it, but for me personally I felt I hadn t quite found the sound of the game yet. Before we delivered the final score I had always planned on reworking almost all of my tracks and adding the vibe I thought was missing, but I never got a chance. There were also quite a lot of time gaps between portions of the writing which, to be fair, does happen in many games, but I wish the process could have been shorter and more focused. That said, I think if you played Jason Graves' tracks and mine as a whole score, it had the makings of an interesting soundtrack."
As for the future, Morgan said he's never really sure what it holds, but he sounds happy about his recent resurgence in games. "A lot of the music I m asked to do style-wise is a departure from what I do in TV, so it s really satisfying from a creative point of view," he said. "I also love the fact that, at least with the games I m working on at present, I'm asked, 'Can you make it even darker?' That always works for me."
So far it's worked pretty well for us, too. Of the three game projects Morgan currently has on the go, Wasteland 2 is expected first; no release date has been announced, but it's well into beta testing. Stasis should come next, nearer the end of the year, while Torment: Tides of Numenera is slated to arrive in 2015. To find out more about Mark Morgan and his music, hit up markmorganmusic.com.
School can be a drag, especially when a bunch of atomic bombs have turned your classmates into flesh-eating ghouls. This week, however, class is back in session in the Afterschool Special mod for Fallout: New Vegas, which lets you take an abandoned, decaying schoolhouse and transform it into an awesome high-tech base of operations, with a lab, a crafting center, a health station, and best of all, the CIMS: an awesome computer that can sort, organize, and store all of your worldly possessions at the touch of a button.
(Please note, the picture above of me decapitating a Fiend's attack dog with a laser rifle doesn't specifically have anything to do with the mod. It's just more exciting to look at than a picture of a schoolhouse.)
Afterschool Special (originally released a while back but recently updated with some new tweaks and features) takes place in Springvale, which is based on an actual town in Nevada, and focuses on Springvale School, which is based on an actual school in Springvale, Nevada. The in-game school isn't much to look at: just another rotting, dilapidated building in a world full of them.
Hopefully the interior of the real school is a bit nicer. That is, until you come along. Poke around in the rubble until you find a scribbled journal entry, and you'll discover that a fellow named Paul Edgecomb had some plans to renovate the school, but the guy he hired has since gone missing. Paul lives nearby in a small repair shop with his Ghoul buddy Dean, and offers you the chance to take over the renovations and inhabit the school yourself. It's also worth noting that the custom voice work done on Paul is incredibly well done: it feels authentic and fits perfectly into the game.
This isn't simply a matter of Paul handing over the keys to the school: you've actually got to roll up your sleeves and get to work. First, you ll need to empty out the junk that litters the school floor: busted wood, desks, chairs, and other odds and ends. Being something of a jerk, I decided to dump it all in my neighbor's yard, and was a little disappointed when the desks and chairs, instead of falling into a big messy pile, just hung motionless in the air for some reason. Then I realized that a bunch of desks floating in your yard would probably be even more annoying then a pile of them. That made me feel better.
Why are these desks hovering in mid-air? Just another mystery of the Wastelands. Once the place is cleared out, it's time to mop the floors. Two notes about mopping the floors. First, you'll be happy to know you don't actually have to mop the floors, you just have to press a button and the mod tells you that you've mopped the floors. Second, I am actually disappointed that I didn't get to literally mop the floors. Something about mopping the floor in Fallout, I dunno, it just seemed like it might be fun. How often do you get to mop in a video game? Not terribly often. The next step is to gather some of the goodies for your new pad, like toolboxes, lockers, and other items. They will become part of the centerpiece of the restored school, the CIMS, or Computer Inventory Management System (more on this in a bit). Paul is nice enough to give you some clues as to where to look for the items you'll need, and you'll also wind up doing some random scavenging and visiting traders to fill your order. Or, you might just root through people's houses and hope they don't get too upset.
It's not what it looks like! I just killed this guy so I could steal his stuff! Okay, it is what it looks like. Once the interior of the school is in good shape, you'll need to restore the building's electricity to power the lights and computer system. The mod is actually quite detailed in this respect, and I wouldn't be surprised if the mod s creator was an actual electrician. In additional to gathering some electrical components and batteries, you'll need to find a spare solar panel, which means another trip out into the world to hunt down the gear you need.
Surely they'll never miss it if I take just ONE of these. You think this place looks high-tech? Well, wait until you see my setup:
Even in the post-apocalypse, it's nice to be eco-friendly. Once you've gotten the power running, you can finally use the new CIMS, and discover what a great time-saving device it is. Typically, when my inventory is full, I'll waddle over to some container in my house and start dropping things into it, being careful not to store things I want to keep on me at all times. This isn't difficult or anything, but it tends to take a while, requiring a lot of scrolling and clicking and thinking, and then retrieving items out of the box, which is stuffed with a bunch of everything, also takes more thinking.
Punch a button on that computer, and your belongings are all neatly sorted into those lockers. With the CIMS, you just walk up to the computer and ask it to sort any category you want. If I want to unload all my crafting supplies, I just tell the computer, and boop, all my crafting supplies are neatly stored in one location. Do I have a bunch of extra sets of armor or clothing? Beep. Same deal. Do I have 28 different guns I'd like to keep but not carry with me? Do I want to figure out which to sell and which to save, but I don't want to do it right this second? Click.
Want to empty your pockets into neat, labelled collections? There's an app for that. When I want to do some crafting or peruse weapons or whatever, it's just a matter of opening the correct labeled storage spot. Couldn't be easier. Once you ve got your CIMS set up, you can also purchase other improvements for the school: a healing station, a crafting oven, a science lab, and a workbench. You don t have to stop there: further quests can lead you to repair the old, busted fence outside and add a garden and picnic area, essentially turning the schoolhouse into a schoolhome. As you can tell, this isn't a massive, dramatic, or even particularly dangerous mod (unless you run into some random enemies while scouring the world for parts). It is, however, a great add-on, good for those who have run out of things to do, or providing something enjoyable to work on while taking a break from other, more strenuous quests. The end result is a comfy and extremely useful base of operations in Springvale, with the inventory management system, an extraordinarily comfy bed that gives you the well-rested perk after just an hour s sleep, and a custom map marker for easy travel. There s even a switch on the outside of the building that, when flipped, toggles between the school's vanilla version and modded version. And, like I said, the voice work is surprisingly great.
The best kind of school: one with no annoying kids in it! Installation: Download the latest version here. Drop the contents in your FNV data folder and make sure the mod is checked when you begin. Then head to the schoolhouse and find the note in the rubble. The only issue I noticed was the CIMS occasionally couldn't sort items that were added by other mods.