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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Borderlands 2 Sir Hammerlock DLC releases January 15, trailer shows sparkly teeth">Borderlands 2 Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt DLC







Borderlands 2's dapper gentleman hunter Sir Hammerlock was always around to aid the struggle against Handsome Jack from his remote safehouse, but now he's getting more involved by inviting the Vault Hunters on an expedition they can't refuse. Or maybe they can. If they do, they'll be skipping Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, the next DLC for Gearbox's loot-tastic RPG. It releases on January 15 for an expected price of $10/£6 or free for Season Pass holders.



The hunt promises "Danger! Excitement! Mustaches!" and the new swamp-filled continent of Aegrus on which to show the creatures of Pandora what for. The DLC also includes five story missions and 12 side-missions filled with new enemies, Seraph items, and the driveable Fanboat er, boat. The story, as the trailer suggests, seems to involve a jungle tribe of feral, Jack-worshipping psychos and a Stalker raid boss. At this point, I'm inclined to believe a day doesn't pass on Pandora without someone shooting something really big. Or just shooting anything.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Steam Holiday Sale now live">Steam Holiday Sale







Valve kicked off its epic Steam Holiday Sale today, offering heavy discounts, flash sales, and catalog clearances lasting until January 5. And before we start drifting dangerously into wallet-pun territory, know you'll be able vote for a select game every 12 hours to go on sale.



Here's a sampling of the sales and flash deals (if you can call a 15-hour timespan a "flash") available for purchase right now:



60% off Natural Selection 2 ($10/£6)

50% off War of the Roses ($15/£9)

50% off Borderlands 2 ($30/£18.50)



The current nominees for the Community's Choice sale are Limbo, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Braid. The winner gets 75 percent taken off its price. And if, by some small chance, a specific game deal you're seeking isn't there, Valve can notify you when it shows up if you add the title to your wishlist. Wonderful.



Ready to get shopping? Deep breath, and go.
Kotaku

Borderlands 2 Will Raise Its Level Cap Early Next YearIGN today reported that Borderlands 2's level cap, currently at 50, will rise sometime in the first three months of next year.



It's not going to come with Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, announced and previewed today. 2K Games told IGN that Gearbox Software still is considering whether to do it as part of a DLC extension or as a separate download.



The studio did both in the original Borderlands in 2010, raising the cap from 50 to 61 with The Secret Armory of General Knoxx and then raising it to 69 with a free update.



Additionally, 2K is said to be thrilled with Borderlands 2's sales performance, and is envisioning a second "season" of DLC after this one concludes. Big Game Hunt will be the third of four promised extensions.



Borderlands 2 Raising Level Cap Soon, More DLC Planned [IGN]


Kotaku

5 Things You Should Know About The Borderlands 2 DLC That Came Out Today[Editor's note: Below follows our impressions of Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, which releases today. I played the add-on content roughly a month ago, finishing all the main quests and a handful of side quests. This article has also been updated with the new launch trailer.]



We're up to our third campaign add-on for September's wonderfully colorful and gun-filled Borderlands 2. Like the previous two DLCs that focused on one personality—Captain Scarlett followed by Mr. Torgue—Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt leads you into various dangers thanks to one well-articulated individual: Sir Hammerlock.



What was meant to be your weekend shootout expedition with Hammerlock gets sidetracked by Hyperion's Professor Nakayama. See, he was a huge Handsome Jack supporter, and not too keen on the vault hunter(s) who defeated him. So before you can go hunt this new continent's biggest game, you'll have to stop the latest psycho Borderlands has introduced you to.



I've played a good chunk of Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, so I thought I'd share a few details before the newest content releases to the public. Here are some noteworthy highlights.



1. It's Actually Challenging


If you've already completed Borderlands 2's main game, the last two campaign DLCs might have felt like a breeze. They certainly did for me. But Gearbox took notice, and made Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt a hell of a lot tougher. It'll be an actual challenge to fight through mobs of enemies. In fact, you'll have to be at least level 30 just to tackle the thing.



5 Things You Should Know About The Borderlands 2 DLC That Came Out Today



2. New Enemies. More Importantly: A New Enemy Behavior


The more appropriate difficulty scale is partly to do with new enemies, specifically one new enemy type. In Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, you'll be exploring a new continent—called Aegrus—full of mountains and swamps. But Aegrus doesn't just bring a new aesthetic appeal; it's riddled with new enemies, too.







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The swampy greens and mountainous browns are overrun by savages. Savages are basically like bandits. They look like headdressed, tattooed, spear-and-shield-equipped bandits. They even evolve like bandits do when you don't kill them fast enough. Midgets still jump up behind you while squealing in that adorably terrifying way. You know the one.



But these tribes of savages doesn't behave exactly like bandits do. Because they've got a chief. Chiefs can heal their friends, themselves, and send out powerful attacks (fire or slag, for instance) to slash at your health bar.



5 Things You Should Know About The Borderlands 2 DLC That Came Out Today



Giving one enemy type this much power means one important difference for you: you'll have to focus all of your gunfire on this target first, unless you want to unload your clip into a bandit-style savage only to see his health bar reset thanks to these pesky witchdoctor-types. They'll buff their friends while debuffing you, which results in nasty effects like slowing you down.



Then there are big, flying things called Spores. They hover above you, dropping mini, kamikaze versions of themselves onto your head. Scaylions are Varkid-like, bug creatures. Together these new enemies make up what feels like a fresh Borderlands experience.



3. New Vehicle That You Can Paint With Lots Of Pretty Colors


I really wish I could tell you the new vehicle is the two-seater motorbike we saw in Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage. And I really wish I didn't have to tell you that the actual new vehicle is a fanboat. The fanboat is all too similar to the sand skiff we saw in Captain Scarlett and Pirate's Booty. Sure, it maneuvers seamlessly between all possible directions within the 360 degree span quite a bit smoother than the sand skiff. And sure, its got a flamethrower and a corrosive acid launcher. But it still controls quite a bit like the sand skiff.



Oh, and there are lots of customization skins for the fanboat that enemies will drop.



5 Things You Should Know About The Borderlands 2 DLC That Came Out Today



4. New Raid Boss. Plus, Bonus!: New...Rare Creatures?


Voracidous is the name of the seraph guardian raid boss that will be the cause of your furrowed eyebrows when you get your hands on Big Game Hunt next month. He's a Stalker, but, fitting with the theme, you'll have to fend off against the Chief that controls him, too. Which, as you can imagine, means there will be other groups of enemies you'll have to deal with.



Then there's Dexidous who will be the cause of one very long, sleepless night fighting through wave after wave of enemies. This "rare" creature will only be summoned after you supply various totems across Aegrus with a hefty ton of precious Eridium. Kill this Drifter and you can pick up Hammerlock-themed (aka hunting-themed) weapons.



5 Things You Should Know About The Borderlands 2 DLC That Came Out Today



5. Loot, Loot, Loot!


Hammerlock/hunting-themed weaponry aside, I found a ton of new weapons to replace my previous favorites. I get attached to my guns, even in a game like Borderlands that encourages you to constantly swap them out for new, shiny ones. But it's hard to argue with the insanely powerful pistols and assault rifles this new DLC throws at you. Did I mention these insanely powerful weapons are also insanely plentiful? By the end of Big Game Hunt, you'll have opened many, many loot chests. More than your feeble little backpack can handle.



Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt releases on January 15. It's covered in the Season Pass, or will be available individually for $9.99.


Kotaku

Borderlands 2 Gets So Much Right, But Gets One Thing Very WrongBorderlands 2 is funny, smart, and gorgeous. The controls are tight, hooking up with other players is a dream, and the PC port is one of the best I've ever seen. The Torgue campaign is hilarious and memorable, just like previous campaigns. It seems like the game's hitting all the right buttons.



My cursor hovers over the Borderlands 2 launcher, the word "Play" enticing me, but, for some reason, I glance at my desktop computer, wishing the hard drive hadn't started death-clicking on me. My Xbox 360, sitting on the shelf above, stares at me forlornly, begging me to return to Assassin's Creed's Constantinople.



I've got to play this, right? Most of my games are sitting on a hard drive I can't afford to replace, and I'm always in the mood for a shooter, so what's stopping me? Why do I feel like I'm obligated to play Gearbox's latest endeavor when I should be looking forward to the experience?



I've been struggling with Borderlands 2 for weeks.



At first, I thought that I might be in some sort of gaming funk. The past few weeks have been extraordinarily stressful for numerous reasons, and I haven't been able to take a break to deal with outstanding health concerns, which is generally the recipe for this kind of malaise. However, if that were true, and this was a funk, I wouldn't have spent two hours the other day playing Assassin's Creed Revelations, nor a few hours earlier in the week playing FTL. I'm enjoying games just fine—it's Borderlands 2 that seems to be the issue.



Humor isn't doing it for me today, and it hasn't been for a few weeks now, though the jokes themselves are often hilarious. Even a month ago, when I was nearing the end of Borderlands 2's Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC, the humor wasn't doing it for me. I'd sigh at yet another hilarious quest prompt, roll my eyes at the latest joke, no matter how funny, and dutifully head off to shoot more pirates.



Actually, I think that might be where the problem lies.



Borderlands 2 Gets So Much Right, But Gets One Thing Very Wrong



Ask anyone what a Borderlands game is about, and they'll tell you "guns." They'd be wrong. A Borderlands game is no more about the weapons it uses than any other game in its genre. See, while the two main games in the series are played in a first-person perspective, they borrow as much, if not more, from games like Diablo and Torchlight.



Borderlands isn't about guns, it's about loot. And that's a big problem. As I expressed earlier, in Stephen Totilo's wonderful piece on why we like to shoot, the first person perspective can be an incredible one if the game uses it to its strengths. If a shooter treats the game space like as if it's real, players are in for a diverse, intelligent experience.



Borderlands doesn't really do that.



Borderlands isn't about guns, it's about loot. And that's a big problem.

If anything, the game's quite simplistic. The enemy will see you, enter a combat state, and shoot or melee the user. Sometimes, they will take cover, but that's about as far as their intelligence goes. With Borderlands, you don't do much more than point at guys and make the red bars get smaller, which means, to paraphrase the classic GamePro advice, shooting them until they die. Most good shooters go beyond that. In FEAR, they call in reinforcements, flip over tables to create cover, distract you to allow their friends to flank, and it all feels right. In Halo, an Elite will make use of his grunts, turning them into meat shields when his shields pop. In Far Cry 2, putting a sniper round through a mercenary's kneecap will inevitably result in his allies coming to check on him.



These games treat their world as real and their inhabitants more so. They make use of the first-person perspective, of that idea of immersing the player within a world, and they take it as far as they can. Borderlands 2, on the other hand, treats its enemies in distinctly different terms. Its enemies are mobs to be aggroed while you blast them with AOE attacks and whatnot. They're not treated like people inhabiting a space; they're treated like concepts with legs, bipedal ideas given malicious form.

Shoot shoot, bang bang, visual effects. On to the next guy.



Borderlands 2 Gets So Much Right, But Gets One Thing Very Wrong



A good shooter should feel like a stew of sensory data, feedback, use of space, and artificial intelligence. Everything should fit together in a way that feels right—in a way that somewhat emulates actually being in a space, because that's really what first-person games are all about. It's not just a camera perspective, it's a way of creating a mindset. When a game's too gamified to matter, players feel a disconnect between purpose and place.



Of course, Gearbox could improve the AI, feedback, and level design, but that might not fix everything. The guns, for instance, are random. With any melee game, particularly an isometric title, like Diablo III, varying stats don't really matter all that much. They tend to determine how many numbers pop up when you click on a guy, and little more. With shooters, things are a bit more complex.



Borderlands 2 Gets So Much Right, But Gets One Thing Very Wrong



The best shooters not only treat space like it's real, but encourage players to explore that game space, thinking about where cover is, where enemies are, where gunfire is going, where their gunfire is going, how to game enemies into different space, and so on and so forth. Any first-person game is at its best when its focusing on movement just as much, if not more so, than combat. That games like Halo, Dishonored, and Mirror's Edge have an appeal is ample evidence of the importance of motion.



In a shooter, one of the best ways to facilitate and vary player movement is to arm the player in different ways. A combination of Halo's Needler and Shotgun will facilitate a distinctly different kind of movement through the game space than a loadout with the DMR and plasma rifle. With a Needler, players can utilize the age-old tactic of "spray and pray," focusing more on movement rather than accuracy, allowing the player to dodge enemy fire and get up close, finishing off stragglers with the shotgun. A player carrying a DMR and plasma rifle might use the latter to pop an Elite's shields, then swap to the DMR and finish it off with a headshot. Other factors, like AI, use of grenades, and line of sight will affect motion as well, but the guns, above everything else, affects the way the player navigates the game's space.



Generally, there's very little intelligence required of the player.

Borderlands doesn't really pay much attention to its guns, because of its devotion to a Diablo-esque combat system. It's too busy thinking about crits and elemental damage to focus on gunplay, so generally, there's very little intelligence required of the player. Just pick the right "build" of weapons (use acid weapons on just about everything), get into cover when your health bar is low, and just point at guys and click on them.

Nothing to it.



And that, I think, is the problem.



I want more out of a shooter, whether it's to toy with the AI and maps, as in Dishonored or Crysis, or to focus on the right weapon combinations and moment-to-moment movements, like Halo or FEAR. I want to have fun playing a shooter, and honestly, I think Borderlands is missing all the core details that make shooters good. The game's at its best when I'm playing with my friends, and given how hectic my schedule has been the past few weeks, that's been next to impossible.



So, here I am, sitting at my computer, finger ready, yet somehow restrained. Borderlands 2, as gorgeous, outrageously funny, and beautifully made as it is, just isn't doing it for me. I sigh, again, ready to click... when I realize I don't have to play it if I don't really want to. I'm not entirely out of love with Borderlands 2. It's pretty much the perfect online co-op game, after all. But for now, I think I'm done riding solo. So, instead, I grin, clicking FTL: Faster Than Light, and prepare to get killed by space pirates.



Rick Burford's childhood discovery that he could modify Microsoft Flight Simulator to allow behaviors the programmers hadn't intended spawned a life-long fascination with video games and their development. Now, he writes about video games and occasionally dabbles with making his own. His Twitter handle is @ForgetAmnesia.


Kotaku

Report: Borderlands 2's Next DLC Has Danger! Excitement! Mustaches!The folks at Gearbox are rarely slackers when it comes to downloadable content, and so far Borderlands 2 has mostly borne that out. We've known for a little bit that the next batch of DLC will be called "Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt" but beyond that, details have been scarce.



Reddit user MikeTheInfidel has dug deep into the latest update to Borderlands 2 to uncover what looks like a list of features from the "Hammerlock" DLC, including a whole new continent, new vehicle, and of course, new loot.



From the DLC description he uncovered:




Danger! Excitement! Mustaches! It's time for another episode of Vault Hunter Adventures, featuring Sir Hammerlock! In this week's tale, our hard-boiled heroes travel to the savage continent of Aegrus! Their goal? To uncover the most exotic creatures Pandora has to offer, and give 'em the old one-two!




That's a lot! Of exclamation! Marks!



MikeTheInfidel describes Aegrus as a "swamp/jungle continent," which sounds cool (I did enjoy the more tropical feel of some of the areas in the Captain Scarlett DLC), and says it will consist of 5 main story missions and 12 side missions, many of which doled out by Hammerlock himself.



Sounds good. I haven't had a chance to play any Borderlands 2 for a good while now, but it just might be time to head back in. For more info, check out MikeTheInfidel's full Reddit post.



The inside scoop on the upcoming DLC! (Spoilers inside.) [Reddit via OXM]


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Borderlands 2 Sir Hammerlock DLC rumoured, details emerge from the wild">Borderlands 2 2







"Danger! Excitement! Mustaches!" That's what's being rumoured for an upcoming Borderlands 2 DLC pack, titled Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt. Reddit user and suspected infidel 'MikeTheInfidel' - who previously unearthed details of the now released Campaign of Carnage DLC - has gone digging through PS3 update files to uncover info of a new adventure with the oddball hunter.



From the DLC's description: "It's time for another episode of Vault Hunter Adventures, featuring Sir Hammerlock! In this week's tale, our hard-boiled heroes travel to the savage continent of Aegrus! Their goal? To uncover the most exotic creatures Pandora has to offer, and give 'em the old one-two!"



In his Reddit post, MikeTheInfidel runs through the additions he found. According to him, the DLC will take place on a new swamp/jungle continent named Aegrus, and will contain five story missions and twelve side-missions. Additions include new enemies, new Seraph items and a new vehicle - the fanboat, which you'll get from Catch-a-Boat stations. It will also add a raid boss, the description of which says "Imagine, if you will, a Stalker the size of a small building. Now imagine yourself killing it." Because the invisible gits weren't bad enough at their regular size.



As for story, expect a "self-important but not-so-well-known" villain who is "super-pumped we're arch-enemies now". Whoever he is, he'll be leading a tribe of jungle savages. Assuming, that is, that this information isn't - as Sir Hammerlock might say - complete codswallop.



Thanks, OXM.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The 15 best co-op games of all time">coop header







Games get a bad rap for being a solitary, violence-obsessed form of entertainment. But they can also be a collaborative, violence-obsessed form of entertainment. Just ask the close-knit PC Gamer team.



Tom F: Co-op based games teach us the value of teamwork better than any kitten based motivational poster, by showing us how many more of our enemies we can crush if we can just learn to work together.



Graham: They’re not just violent either. We can build giant penis statues together in Minecraft. No, wait, that’s bad. We can control egotistical millionaires in FIFA! Oh God, no. Rich?



Rich: Well, Supreme Commander celebrates the pioneering spirit, by asking us to build a host of clanking deathbots... I got nothing. Chris?



Chris: Uh. Diablo III shows that hell is easier with other people? Hm. Senior? Bail me out?



Tom S: I can’t, I’m too busy shooting these damn zombies. Stop intro-ing and let’s go play together.







Portal 2 - 2 players, Online

 

How does it work? You and a friend play comedy robots in co-op-only test chambers.



Why is it good?



Tom F: The puzzles get magnificently complicated when designed for two. You can jump through each other’s portals, so you’re often setting up a jump that your partner will perform. And because every puzzle requires two players, you’ve got to figure out where to put four different portals, and coordinate your approach. It bent my brain in the same ridiculous ways that Portal 1 did.



Graham: I use my portals to make a corridor slick with gloopy paint. Tom places his at either end of the corridor, creating the world’s first infinite slip ’n’ slide. I run down it and build absurd momentum, and as I reach terminal velocity, Tom moves one of his portals so that when I exit, I’m flung out over a chasm filled with acid. Co-op Portal 2 means entwining not just your portals, but your brains.







Minecraft - 2 to many, online or LAN

 

How does it work? Join a server and collaborate with friends – or strangers – to build the biggest, best, and most phallic structures you can.



Why is it good?



Rich: Within minutes, I was building a spa. I don’t know why I was building a spa. No one had said “let’s build a spa” in the chat channel, but there it was, forming before us. Graham, now-departed Craig Pearson and I, had hollowed out an underground chamber, constructed a raised dais of glass, and diverted water to create a lovely jacuzzi pool. Our subterranean sauna was lit by lava, and we sat in it, content.



Graham: My first time was on a new, private server with a few folks from the PCG community. In three hours we dotted the landscape with giant Darwinians, and built an underground bunker with launch missiles, library and steam rooms to avoid a player who had built an ugly golden bridge around the world. It felt like I’d spent an afternoon building sandcastles with friends.







Fifa 12 - 2-5 players, local

 

How does it work? Two or more players join forces to defeat the nefarious forces of Computron, the dark lord of kicking.



Why is it good?



Rich: Football is incredibly frustrating. FIFA recreates that frustration perfectly: genius moves undone by idiot players. But in co-op, I managed to reduce that frustration through one simple method: blame someone else. I think I’m great at FIFA 12 at the best of times; when I’m playing in co-op, I’m flawless. Graham, on the other hand, is terrible.



Graham: And Rich smells bad. For a while, we were playing two-on-two, but then our fourth man lost interest. We started playing two-on-one. Here’s what we found: the player controlling a team on their own has the advantage. To work together in FIFA is to anticipate the other’s moves, making runs and pulling away defenders. If you do it right, you’re unstoppable. If you’re Rich and I, Rich smells bad.











Diablo 3 - Up to four, drop-in, drop-out co-op across the whole campaign

 

How does it work? Every player you add to a game of Diablo III boosts the health of your enemies, increasing the challenge – but far less than it did on launch, when damage increased as well. Otherwise, it’s just Diablo III with more people.



Why is it good?



Chris: D3’s normal difficulty is very easy, but it gains a lot of life if you’re doing it with friends. Experimenting with new skills adds a slapstick dimension to demonbashing that’s better with other people. It’s basically that bit from Lord of the Rings where Legolas and Gimli are competing to kill the most orcs, strung out over 15 hours.



Tom S: Having a friend or two around gives you more freedom to experiment with new abilities. If you’ve got a Barbarian chum to wave and shout and take punches to the face, you can sacrifice a defensive ability for that demonic ghost bat bombing run skill you’ve been dying to try. Few things amaze and terrify a co-op partner as effectively as an unannounced demonic ghost bat bombing run.



Chris: It used to be that co-op Diablo III didn’t work: it was too diffi cult, and actually reduced the amount of loot you seemed to get. Patches have since redressed the balance, and working together to crack Inferno is a satisfying challenge.







Alien Swarm - Up to 4 players, online



How does it work? It’s a top-down shooter where you control a squad of four marines shooting aliens in a scripted campaign.

 

Why is it good?



Rich: People love swarms. The swarms of aliens in Alien Swarm (clue’s in the name), are best dealt with by coordination: one of your group becomes point-man, clearing rooms with shotguns and flamethrowers. Another takes up the rear, machinegun blaring to dissuade any would-be alien pouncers. This coordination is the result of a kind of natural, happy trance that players fall into, rather than tiresome enforcement.



Tom F: I’m a Medic, which used to mean I was the sensible, cautious, team player. Until I realised I could take a chainsaw. It’s terrible. It’s a terrible weapon, don’t use it. You can’t just charge into alien hordes, blade revving. OK, just one more go.







Trine - Up to 3 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work? Each player can transform themselves into a thief, warrior or wizard at any time. In the mode we play, you can have two Thieves at once if you like.



Why is it good?



Tom F: It’s a physics-based platform puzzler, which in co-op means dropping heavy objects on each other for fun. The wizard can create boxes and levitate them, and your co-op partner can stand on them. Most of our solutions involved carting each other around on telekinetic elevators.



Graham: Trine’s best class is the grapple-hooking, arrow-firing thief, because of the arrow-fi ring but specifically because of the grapple-hooking. In the singleplayer game, you’re forced to switch away from the thief to navigate obstacles and fi ght larger enemies. In co-op, two thieves are better than one, and combined you’re able to spend more time as a swinging idiot. The best kind of idiot.







Left 4 Dead 2 - Up to 4 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work? - There are lots of game modes now, but the one we play most is still the campaign: four players against the AI-controlled zombie hordes.



Why is it good?



Tom S: I ran through Left 4 Dead 1’s campaign on its hardest diffi culty setting with a group of regulars. We played in the 4 6 5 same small room for many hot, panicked hours until our cries of fear overruled the rattling pistol fire coming out of our speakers. The defence events and climactic mission fi nales offered us a chance to take stock and plan, but the best moments happened when those plans disintegrated in the face of an unexpected Tank charge, or a perfectly placed Witch.



The AI director never quite offered the longevity that it promised, and the monsters lost their scare factor after a while, but Left 4 Dead is still a superb, if harrowing, co-op experience. Ever since Valve ported the fi rst game’s superior maps into the sequel, Left 4 Dead 2 has been the better choice of the pair.



Tom F: There’s an achievement for winning a garden gnome on the fairground level, and taking it all the way through the rest of that campaign. For me, that is the game. It takes both hands to carry the gnome, so whoever’s holding it can’t fi re their weapons. You can set it down and grab it later, but among huge crowds of zombies and charging Tanks, it tends to get kicked around with alarming force.



So you take it in turns to sacrifice your firepower and carry the precious cargo, relying completely on your friends to protect you and your porcelain companion when it’s your turn. If a zombie does get to you, all you can really do is bash him with the gnome.



The carnival finale, set in a huge stadium, was just too intense for any of us to survive it gunless. So when the helicopter finally arrived to bail us out, the real challenge was a frantic scavenger hunt for a chipped red hat among the seething infected. Finding him, grabbing him, and making it out alive was the most nail-biting co-op experience I’ve ever had with the game.











Half Life 2 - 2-10 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work? The Synergy mod enables two or more of you to jump straight into Half-Life 2, Episode One or Episode Two’s singleplayer campaign.



Why is it good?



Tom F: Half-Life 2 is a huge and amazing adventure. And while there are a lot of great co-op games, there aren’t many that are huge and amazing adventures. People don’t make long, varied, story-driven journeys through meticulously detailed and gorgeous places when they’re making a co-op campaign. So a mod that makes Half-Life 2 and its two episodic expansions work cooperatively is an amazing discovery. I don’t know how it works, but it does.



Graham: Tom and I played through the entire of Half-Life 2, and into Episode Two, over many happy lunchtimes. The best part is the Highway 17 segment in Half-Life 2. You’re both given your own buggy to drive across the countryside, and the solitary bungalows that dot the coast are perfect for cooperative assault: one person bursting through the front door while the other circles around the back. The Combine only seem to be expecting one of you, for some reason...







Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 - " players in campaign mode, 2-4 players in terrorist hunt, online or LAN

 

How does it work? We play Terrorist Hunt: you and the other players have to clear out a big, complex building in which a fixed number of terrorists run around and try to ambush you. It’s brilliant.



Why is it good?



Tom F: Terrorist Hunt is an immediately exciting concept, because it feels more like a simulation of a real armed-response firefight than any campaign level could be. You can’t be sure the level designer isn’t going to have the terrorists suddenly come from behind you, because the level designer doesn’t make that call: the terrorists do.



Graham: It’s doubly cool in co-op, because the challenge is so overwhelming. Even with the foresight of a snake camera under the door, it’s just tough to take out six terrorists in a room before any of them kill you. So you plan: I’ll take the left two... You throw a frag... I’ll come from the other door... You rope down to the window. And then you completely screw it up.







Mass Effect 3 - Up to 4 players online

 

How does it work? Fight to complete a mixture of objectives on small but open levels against randomised enemy forces. Level up characters and promote them into the singleplayer campaign to improve Shepard’s chances.



Why is it good?



Chris: ME3 multiplayer takes what is good about co-op survival modes – last-stand heroics and impromptu acts of daring – and adds incredibly varied races, classes and weapons that prevent it from ever becoming samey. Right now, I’m enjoying a Quarian infi ltrator that disintegrates enemies at close range with the Reegar Carbine, a gun we’ve come to call THE PLASMA HOSE. I’m just as happy charging around as a Krogan vanguard, or racking up headshots as a Turian sentinel carrying a Black Widow.



Tom S: New classes and bizarre new weapons are added regularly through free updates. You’re always holding out against waves of familiar enemies, but the variety of ways in which you can off these enemies expands every month. The N7 classes BioWare added recently push the boundaries of what the Mass Effect universe can sensibly contain. The Shadow can dart across the map and slash foes with a psychically infused katana, the Destroyer’s weighty carapace gives him the grounding to wield a rapid-fire grenade launcher with decent accuracy and the Slayer is a teleporting martial arts expert. With so many powerful abilities to choose from, playing with friends becomes more about showing off than anything else.



Chris: BioWare’s free updates to the game have been excellent and generous, particularly the new maps. They’ve drawn me back to the game and kept it feeling fresh, which is essential for co-op.



SCREENSHOT MISSING



Supreme Commander - 2-7 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work?



Start a multiplayer game, put all humans on team 1, and some nice tough AIs on team 2. Crush.



Why is it good?



Tom F: It’s not the first co-op game you think of, but playing it cooperatively is how we’ve had the most fun with it. It can be dauntingly complex, so it’s great to have friends in there to help out if you forget to build anti-air or crash your power economy. In theory. In practice what usually happens is we beaver away on our own bases in silence for seven minutes then one of us says “Shit, fuck, they’re dropping in my base and I forgot to build point defence again, have you got anything that can help?” and the other says...



Graham: No, soz :(



Tom F: It’s about hatching your own masterplans, surviving long enough to see them complete, then raining the giant robotic fruits of your labours down on the enemy at the same time. My giant laser spiders are ready! Your flying fortresses are ready? Let’s go! My towering Galactic Colossus is ready! Your swarm of invincible death bricks is ready? Let’s go!











Dawn of War: Last Stand - Up to 3 players online

 

How does it work? - Unlike the main game, Last Stand gives you only one hero each. You’ve got to fi ght off increasingly tough waves of enemies until you die (likely) or beat wave 20 (unlikely). After the match, you usually unlock new equipment for your character.



Why is it good?



Tom F: I didn’t really get Last Stand until I levelled up a few times. The fun is in discovering new builds, and the role they can play in your group. As the Ork, I thought I was the longrange damage dealer: my autocannon certainly works for that, and when enemies get close I use my teleporting armour to get away. The notion of using the much tougher set, the one that can’t teleport, seemed pretty ridiculous. Until I unlocked the knife. The knife doesn’t do much damage, but it regenerates your health. Add some armour bonus trinkets, a self-healing trait, and an item that stops me being knocked down, and I can turn myself into an unstoppable tank. Suddenly I’m the guy charging into a nest of Tyranids to keep them off my friends, and coming out at full health.



Tom S: In the grim darkness of the future, three dudes battle ridiculous odds in a small stone circle. The setup may seem contrived, but DoW2’s overlooked co-op mode does a much better job of realising the Warhammer 40K fantasy than the campaign. Absurdly powerful heroes dominate the fiction, so I got a kick out of levelling up my venerable Space Marine captain and testing him against the hordes.



Last Stand understands 40K’s scale as well. The final waves throw more foes into the arena than you’ll see in any of the singleplayer missions, so victory may seem impossible. After a few levels you can start combining your heroes’ most powerful abilities to create a maelstrom of death. The glorious slaughterfest that results is worthy of a Space Marine’s final heroic moments.







Killing Floor - Up to 6 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work? Fight together to fend off waves of mutants, then stock up on guns and ammo at a shop that’s never in the same place twice.



Why is it good?



Chris: Without its guns, Killing Floor would be the bleakest, muddiest depiction of Britain at the end of the world since a bunch of Romans said “let’s go home, it’s cold and everyone here is mental.” With its guns, it’s one of the most satisfying co-op shooters around. My favourite is the bolt-action rifl e, which takes mutant head-popping and turns it into an avant garde musical genre. Bang! Chunk. Click. Bang! Blargh! Splatter.



Rich: I like the dual desert eagles. They go ‘whump’, like a pie dropped down a hole. But a really big pie, one that kills anyone unlucky enough to be standing under it in a spray of arterial blood. And when it kills them, this pie, it makes everything slow motion for a while, so your team can marvel at your incredible pie-dropping-stroke-gun-shooting skills.



Chris: Definitely play it with voice chat, though. Partly so that you can coordinate properly and warn your friends when they’re about to be sawn in half, but mostly so that you can talk over the truly, deeply dreadful voice acting. I started playing it during the Portal 2 promo campaign, when all the shopkeepers were replaced by GlaDOS. It was a huge improvement.







Borderlands 2 - Up to 4 players, online or LAN

 

How does it work? The whole campaign is playable in drop-in, drop-out co-op.



Why is it good?



Tom F: Two reasons – for one, the different abilities of each class mix well in a team fight. It’s great to see your Siren pluck a boss up into the air, and into range of your Commando’s turret and your Gunzerker’s... gunzerk. Secondly, cooperative play is good for diffi culty spikes, and Borderlands 2 sure has those. Dealing with an inordinately tough boss is less frustrating when there’s a whole a bunch of you coming up with new ideas and tactics, and a wider variety of weapons to try.



Tom S: Almost anything can pop out of Borderlands 2’s unfolding robot boxes. It could be a revolver that shoots lightning grenades, it could be a glowing, five-foot-long sniper rifl e with an enormous bayonet on the end. Whatever you get, it’s always better to have friends there to go “WOAH” or “whaaaat” or “give me that immediately.” Borderlands 2’s batty enemies are more fun to fi ght in a team, a constant stream of new gadgets to crow over makes it feel like the best sort of trick or treat trip, the sort where you get bazookas instead of sweets.







Arma 2 - 2 to many, online or LAN

 

How does it work? Players can join and play custom missions with each other, or mess around in the weapon playground add-on pack, Private Military Academy.



Why is it good?



Rich: The first time I played an Arma 2 custom mission with Marsh and Owen, it ended with me rolling sideways up a hill and giggling like a maniac. The second time, we were shot before we realised what the ‘open backpack’ key was mapped to. The third time, we found ourselves on a hillside, standing next to a crumpled chopper. It was dark, but the sky was brightening slowly as the sun rose somewhere off in the east. It would’ve been idyllic, were it not for the crowd of ornery locals taking potshots at us.



Together, we made it into a nearby settlement, where our rendezvous chopper was settling down into the dust. We sprinted towards it, tracer fire whistling over our heads, as we howled fears for our safety down our microphones. We were silly men, but Arma 2 quickly made us feel like (mildly inept) soldiers.



Marsh: Most of the time, my Arma 2 experience seems to consist of dying instantly or getting stuck in rocks. But occasionally, you roll the incredibly-complex-emergent-behaviour dice and get a scene as gripping and fluidly dramatic as anything from Full Metal Jacket. I don’t mean the toilet-suicide sequence. Running for that chopper with a busted leg and three shots left in my pistol as the enemy tightened the noose was one of the most extensive workouts my heart has undergone in many years. And it wouldn’t have been half the experience without Owen and Rich bellowing, “COME ON! YOU CAN DO IT!” as I lurched the final few yards.
Product Update - Valve
PC 1.3.0

- Fixed the "use" description text on the HUD getting cut off prematurely when binding "use" to certain keys.
- Fixed a bug that could cause the critical hit bonus to inconsistently be included on the item card of weapons that modify this stat like Miss Moxxi's Bad Touch.
- Fixed a bug causing decals to not be displayed when the framerate was set to 30FPS Capped.
- Fixed a bug causing head customizations from the Mr. Torgue DLC to not unlock properly for Sirens and Mechromancers.
- Fixed a bug where profiles would refuse to save when they were already corrupted on startup.
- Fixed a bug where profile restoration code would sometimes trigger inappropriately.

Kotaku

A Borderlands 2 360 Patch Finally Fixes Rank Glitch, Lets You Redo ChallengesRemember back in September when Borderlands 2 players were experiencing a reset in their Badass ranks?



Well Gearbox finally released a chunky 360 patch to fix that, and many, many other issues. Your Badass tokens will be reissued to be spent as you choose.



A notable addition that comes with this patch is the ability to reset challenges (not tokens). Tokens earned from those challenges will still be retained, but you can get extras for a higher badass rank. The specifics:




Players can now reset all challenge progress for a character once they've completed 85% of all non-DLC, non-area-specific challenge levels. This will keep the player's current challenge bonuses and rank, but reset all challenge progress to 0 and allow challenges to be re-completed for additional ranks and bonuses. This option will appear as a tooltip at the bottom of the "challenges" screen within the status menu if the player has met the criteria.




G4 is also reporting that the patch landed them 10 shiny Golden Keys. This could be a gift in return for the glitch's hassles, or it could just be a coincidence. Let us know what you're experiencing.


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