Half-Life

Has it really been ten years since we last partnered with bespectacled scientist Gordon Freeman, and his daring sidekick Alyx Vance? It has! Which is why PCG UK 310 has that gorgeous luminous orange lambda scrawled over its cover. 

Inside The Half-Life Issue, Andy chats exclusively to the makers of third-party remake Black Mesa, and we celebrate Half-Life 2 with analysis, stories and jokes in our five-part retrospective. 

Elsewhere, you'll find the second half of our massive history of FPS games feature, and Steven gets to grips with the first MechWarrior campaign in 15 years. Previews this month include the new-to-PC Final Fantasy 15, Biomutant, Anno 1800 and more. And if that's not enough for you, this month's issue comes with free games: Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate, and a Sudden Strike 4 demo. 

Issue 310 is on shelves now and available on all your digital devices from Google Play, the App Store and Zinio (they may be slow to update—look for that glowing Half-Life logo on the front). You can also order direct from My Favourite Magazines or purchase a subscription to save yourself some cash, receive monthly deliveries and enjoy our exclusive subscriber covers. This month's is an absolute belter:

This month:

  • Andy gets exclusive access to Half-Life remake Black Mesa. 
  • We celebrate Half-Life 2 in our five-part retrospective.
  • Steven plays the first MechWarrior campaign in 15 years.
  • Part two of our colossal history of FPS games feature.
  • Tom recreates the PCG team for his review of XCOM 2's new expansion.
  • XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Rez Infinite, LawBreakers and more reviewed.
  • Final Fantasy 15, Biomutant, Anno 1800 and more previewed.
  • Our CPU cooler group test.
  • And much more!
Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rich McCormick)

tf-header

Update Night is a fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse.>

This is RPS, so let’s get literary. Team Fortress 2 is the game version of the Picture of Dorian Gray but in reverse. (more…)

Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

All social problems can be solved by data, any naive tech company can tell you, which is why Valve are attempting to solve Steam ‘review bombing’ by adding graphs to its player reviews. Review bombing is the practice of players organising to leave negative reviews that drive down a game’s rating in an attempt to punish or manipulate developers by damaging their future sales prospects. Games bombed over the past month range from Firewatch to Grand Theft Auto V. This is a known and old problem with Steam’s reviews, and one Valve aren’t happy with. So, to counterattack disproportionate bursts of negative reviews, Valve have added unusual activity warnings to Steam store pages with histograms tracking reviews over time. (more…)

Portal 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Hazel Monforton)

dishonoreddeath

When we meet the creators of fictional worlds, we often want to kill them. Whether its Bioshock’s Andrew Ryan and his deadly Rapture, GlaDOS and the sadistic test chambers of Portal, or Kirin Jindosh and the Clockwork Mansion. The urge to destroy these builders is partly down to the nature of their constructions – deathtraps and mazes that make the architect a cruel overseer – but there is perhaps more to it than that. With spoilers for the above, Hazel Monforton investigates the role (and the death) of the author in a medium that invites the audience into the action.>

(more…)

Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

After an initial wild burst of Dota 2 [official site] enthusiasm celebrating every holiday on the calendar with special events (who could forget 2013’s Urology Awareness Month minigame?), Valve have become quite bad at festivities. They’ve not celebrated Halloween (aka Diretide) or Crimble (Frostivus) properly since 2014, and their absence has been felt. Good news: Frostivus will return this year. Weird news: it’s returning through a contest asking players to create and submit modes. Unrelated news: the next big Dota 2 update, which will add two new heroes is still over a month away. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

This week we finally learn who the killer is, but will the answer provide more questions than solutions? Read on for this week’s hair-raising installment of… The Steam Charts. (more…)

Half-Life

In the spirit of "why the hell not", a group of five modders is recreating Half-Life 2 in the Half-Life engine. There may be practical reasons for using this mod – maybe you don't own a copy of Half-Life 2 but you do own a copy of Half-Life – but these demakes are usually done just to see if they're possible. 

So far, so good: the team has already completed the game's first chapter, but they need help – especially from programmers and modelers. The mod's demo is currently available on ModDB, where you can also follow its progress.

"You might be aware that this has already been attempted already, but none of these have actually panned out," the description reads. "With Half-Life 2 Classic, we hope to communicate more with the community, so that even if we don't manage to recreate the whole game, we can still release a substantial part of it, which can be continued by someone else in the future."

Meanwhile, whether the mod will be a deliberately retro-styled outing, or whether they'll try to match Half-Life 2's fidelity, is yet to be seen. "We're still debating if we should stick close to Half-Life 2's graphics, or if we should downgrade them on purpose, and if so, how much. We may even make optional high-res models for the hd model pack, while keeping the base game's models low-res. But it depends on what most people want."

Check out the mod in action below. Cheers, Kotaku.

Dota 2

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ unstoppable rise continues, with the game hitting yet another milestone today. The massively popular battle royale shooter has now broken Dota 2’s record for highest concurrent player count on Steam. 

Yes, Dota 2’s 1.29 million record has been shattered, with PUBG hitting 1.3 million concurrent players. That’s the most people playing at the same time any game on Steam has boasted. 

This is even more impressive given that PUBG is still in Early Access, and the previous record holder is a free-to-play game developed by Valve.

SteamSpy was charting the game’s growth, and spotted the moment when it beat Dota 2’s record today. The number continues to rise, however, with Steamcharts showing a peak of 1,305,536. 

The number might continue to rise, though, as more people jump in to see the new update. The September update adds a new town on the east coast, and more importantly, foggy weather. This new weather has a low probability to occur, but when it does, it changes the game entirely. You can barely see in front of you, so the already tense game becomes even more nerve-racking. 

Are you one of the 1.3 million?

Dota 2 - Ward


Just one month has passed since Team Liquid were crowned World Champions at The International, and already players, teams, and fans alike turn their attentions to the upcoming competitive season and the next chance to claim the Aegis of Champions in 2018.

On the road to the next championship stand 11 Majors and 16 Minors that comprise the Dota Pro Circuit, an eight-month season of tournaments held around the world that offer Qualifying Points used to determine the eight direct invites to The International.

As teams undertake the challenges of the new season, they can now bring another resource into the fight. This year, coaches will be allowed to remain with their players for the duration of the pre-game draft phase to discuss strategy and help determine picks and bans. Once the draft is complete, coaches will be required to depart the play area.

With the first two Minors and first Major set to take place next month, players and teams are now welcome to manage rosters via the Majors and Minors Registration hub.

Phase One of registration — during which managers can re-register previous teams, and players can accept invites or drop from previous teams — will end at 5:00 p.m. PDT on September 22. Phase Two — during which managers can register new teams and players can accept new invites — will end at 5:00 p.m. PDT on October 03. All rosters will be locked as final at the end of Phase Two.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

CSGO Lotto

The owners of a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling site, CSGOLotto, have been told by the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they must now “clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service”. The requirement is part of the settlement of an FTC complaint which alleged Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell deceptively endorsed CSGOLotto while failing to disclose that they jointly owned the company.

The FTC has also fired off warning letters to 21 influencers (who the commission had previously targetted with educational missives about disclosing endorsement) and added a heap more specific social media advice to its guidance document on the matter. (more…)

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