PC Gamer
Adventure Time

Ancient Greece is great and all, but how does it stack up against the Candy Kingdom or the Nightosphere? For you Adventure Time fans, the time has come to find out. The Adventure Time collection of mods (by modder “The Man With The Eyebrows”) lets you play Civilization V as Finn the Human, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline, Ice King, Fire Princess, and even that guy who really smells like dog buns, the Earl of Lemongrab. Come on, grab your friends, and go to very hostile lands.

First off, these mods require Gods and Kings or Brave New World, or both. You can check the requirements on the collection page here. Also, don’t expect a major graphic or audio overhaul of the game, because there isn’t one. For instance, there’s no 3D representation of Finn's Tree Fort or Ice King's mountain, you won’t see Princess Bubblegum’s famous Banana Guard sacking enemy cities, and you won’t hear Lemongrab shriek “UNACCEPTABLE” as he’s invaded by the Ghandi’s war elephants. The changes are largely limited to the text panes, and the attributes of unique units, abilities, and buildings. So, it requires a little imagination (ironically, the one thing Finn himself is completely devoid of).

The weather? The usual. There's ice everywhere and it smells like penguins.

I decided to start as Ice King, sending my settlers (who, in my mind, are comprised of a bunch of penguins) to look for a nice frosty mountaintop to found the Ice Kingdom. I find a likely looking spot, surrounded by snow, cold ocean water, and imposing glaciers, and get to work.

I just hope this doesn't lead to another Great Mushroom War.

Once I’ve founded the kingdom, I send my warriors out to clear out a few nearby barbaric hordes and explore a bit, and I send my workers out to build farms. As Ice King, in possession of Ice Magic, you can treat frozen tundra like other civilizations treat grasslands, so I have my workers go out and build snow farms on every inch of available land.

I'm bombarding my enemies with arrows, but I'm pretending it's Ice Magic.

What the hell is a snow farm? I have no idea. But a massive collection of snow farms seems like something Ice King would want on his land, right? I can almost hear him in my head, trying to explain the logic of snow farms. “Ya know... snow fawwms! There’s little fawwmers made outta snow... they plant snow seeds, they grow into... snow vegetables. There’s little snow pigs and snow cows and the fawwmer’s wife, ohh, she’s an icy little numbah, heh heh. Oh, look, ovah there! Someone’s gettin’ hit in the boingaloings!”

I research animal husbandry, what with all the penguin weddings I'll probably be presiding over. I also study writing (something I should probably do in real life at some point) so Ice King can unlock his unique building, the Fan Fiction Workshop, which replaces Civ V’s coliseum. What with all the Fionna and Cake stories Ice King is going to be writing, he’ll need a place to write them, read them, and reenact them for all the penguin couples and captive princesses.

"Ice King is the hottest hottie, and I can't wait to marry him!" said Fionna.

Another perk of being Ice King is that you can treat ice the way other civilizations treat the ocean. So, when I invent boats and head out onto the sea, if I happen to run into glaciers (and there are tons of glaciers in the waters near my kingdom) I can just sail right through them. That’s some good Ice Magic! I also adopt the Goddess of Love, because I'm sure Ice King would be bonkers over her.

Everything is going pretty swimmingly for a good long while. I’ve got snow farms all over the damn place, churning out snow crops, and and I’ve even founded a second city, Snow Fields, and (mentally) put Gunter in charge of it. Then, Attila the Hun, that big bully, suddenly decides he doesn’t like me and invades. What’s his problem? It’s not like I abducted Hun Princess or anything. Though I probably would have if she existed and it was an option.

Fire! How did Attila guess the Ice King's one weakness?
Anyway, the Huns invade and pretty quickly destroy my armies and sack my cities. I do my best to hold them off, but while I've been dorking around sailing boats through glaciers and farming snow, Attila has been apparently churning out an algebraic amount of warriors. The Ice Kingdom is eventually taken and Gunter, over in Snow Fields, can do nothing but make a peace deal. Poor Ice King flaps his beard and floats away, misunderstood as ever.
I also played as Finn for a bit, because how can you not? Finn's Adventurer unit, which replaces the Warrior, gets a combat bonus in enemy territory and earns gold after killing an enemy, because the Tree Fort needs to be constantly stocked with riches that Finn, as far as I can tell, doesn't really care about. Finn also gets a bonus to City-State relationships, which degrade slower, because Finn is such a friendly, helpful guy. Finn's Tree Fort also gives a happiness bonus, and requires no maintenance.

This mod contains no Jake and no Cake. Bummer.
You can also create the Fire Kingdom and play as the volatile Flame Princess, which will let you raze cities in considerably less time (fire does tend to do that). Marceline, meanwhile, can build vampire armies who do extra damage against wounded enemies and partially heal themselves automatically upon making a kill. Princess Bubblegum’s unique ability gives her a healthy 20% boost to science, any pikemen she produces are replaced by the Banana Guard, who are cheaper and fight better close to home, and she can build a candy factory instead of a granary, which adds to the yield of sugar, bananas, and citrus.

Speaking of citrus, it wouldn't be Adventure Time without the Earl of Lemongrab. Due to his insane shrieking, Lemongrab does not do well in relationships with City-States; in fact, he cannot form relationships with them at all. He does get some production bonuses, however, possibly because he can just create new citizens in his Lemon Lab. That’s acceptable!
Installation: These mods are all on the Steam Workshop, so you can find them here, and subscribe to any/all you want to play with. Totally math!
Community Announcements - Kate.Galfriday
Check out the tweet here for your chance to win:
Community Announcements - BigDen
Hello all! This morning we are applying a small update to Civilization V that brings it up to This addresses a couple issues that we felt couldn’t wait until the Fall Balance Patch. What does it fix?

1. Tutorials – some of the tutorials were not functioning, which meant newer players seeking to learn how to play the game might run into a roadblock.
2. Modded text strings – Many mods were experiencing text keys that were not properly looking up their correct values, causing the keys to display instead of the actual text.

We do have a couple other fixes that are still in testing, including a bug that causes WorldBuilder to no longer load custom mods properly when designing maps. This will be released as soon as it clears QA.

Thanks so much for everyone’s continued input! We’ve got some great things in store for the Fall Balance Patch that we will be talking about soon, so stay tuned!
PC Gamer
06_sub_Image_Faction_Ezypt copy

Its all-caps studio name is constantly yelling, but XLGAMES has been quiet about one thing until now: Civilization Online, which it's developing under the command of veteran MMO designer Jake Song. Civ Online isn't a grand strategy board game MMO—according to the reveal at Massively, it's more similar to A Tale in the Desert. Players will control a single citizen in a procedurally-generated world and help one of four cultures achieve a Civilization-style victory over the course of a "session."

Civ Online's look reminds me of Disney's 1997 Hercules film—colorful and attractive, but more bubbly than expected to capture the grandeur of human history. That aside, the stories at MMORPG and Massively indicate (without a great number of specifics) an exciting sandbox in which players will collaborate to explore the world, acquire resources, craft new inventions, advance through tech eras, found cities, build Wonders, and wage PvP wars with other civilizations.

Exploration, according to Massively, involves a unique twist: it sounds like weekly map updates will add more land around each civ's main encampment until all four bump into each other. Players won't know the tech status of other civs until they meet.

And when cultures clash, they might enjoy a bit of stabbing each other, so PvP combat is certain. "We are expecting that most people will spend their time killing other people," Song told Massively. Starting cities will be safe, but others are up for grabs. Death will send a player all the way back to his or her city, or to an "advance outpost," so successful sieges will require a team effort.

Looks like AI units in an RTS with a totally dissimilar art style—is this from the right game?

The eras will include Ancient, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial, and Modern. After a victory condition is achieved by one civilization—world conquest and space race wins appear confirmed—the world will reset, though players will retain "some aspects" of their characters from session to session.

Now here's the most interesting bit from Massively's story:

"Leaders will also emerge from the citizenry of each civilization, as necessary roles like mayor and military commander must step up to help create order and achieve objectives. There will also be mechanisms in place for players to oust ineffective or bad leaders. A civilization could forego working together to just be every man for himself, but then it wouldn't progress and most likely would be conquered by another more organized civilization. Song called the game 'a big social experiment.'"

I would gladly have some of that. No release date has been announced for Civilization Online, though MMORPG says it's been in development since 2010. Last year, Take-Two announced that it's being developed for the Asian market, and according to Massively, Song says they are "inkling toward a free-to-play model."

We have contacted Take-Two/2K for comment. Check out Massively's story for more.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

I’ve founded religions, spied on my neighbours and sent a spaceship in search of a new home on a distant star. The promise of a Brave New World was enough to bring me crashing back down to Earth though, and I’ve been making new friends, meeting old enemies and creating great works of art. This latest expansion takes on the greatest challenge of all – injecting some meaningful activity into Civilization’s end-game. I’ve spent a week uncovering its charms and chores, and here’s wot I think.>


PC Gamer
Civ 5 robot

Robots are brilliant! There's almost no problem they can't fix. Whether it's your lack of a chilled beer, the continued non-eradication of human existence, or the finicky way Civilization V handles multiplayer match-ups. That last problem has been solved by Giant Multiplayer Robot, which is actually a website, not a robot. Although maybe it's a website run by a robot.

Currently in beta, the service aims to make Civ 5 multiplayer easier to organise, by removing the need for all players to be logged in at the same time. Instead, the client uses the game's hotseat mode, automatically swapping the save file between players. The app's creators (who, if you remember, may be robots) have made a video to show the system in use:

The service also offers other improvements to the hotseat mode, by allowing players to leave an in-progress game, customise the turn-timer, and even use mods. That Adventure Time-themed multiplayer campaign that I know you've been dreaming of? Totally possible.

You can check out Giant Multiplayer Robot, which has just been updated with Brave New World support, at the app's website.
PC Gamer
BNW banner

In addition to making the world Brave and New, Civ 5’s latest expansion can also make it a little confusing at first. With the huge changes to trade, culture, and diplomacy, you’ll probably want to know a few things before you start shepherding your next civilization to victory. Listen closely, my liege...
Trade Routes are your main source of income
Before Brave New World, the main way to boost your income for most of the game was with buildings and, sometimes, tile improvements. Now, the new trade route system is what will be filling the lion’s share of your coffers. If you want to get rich quick, research caravans (and later, cargo ships), and max out your trade route limit as early as possible.

Also keep in mind that trade routes are more profitable the more resources each partner has that the other doesn't. A wise Trade Prince will want to found cities on scarce luxuries for maximum profit. And don’t forget to protect your trade routes from pirates and barbarians with a decent army and navy.
Tourism is thine sword, Culture is thine shield
The new method of culture victory involves overpowering the Culture of all other civs with your Tourism. If you’re going for a Culture victory, this makes it important to get your culture train rolling as early as possible. But you were already doing that to stack those amazing policy bonuses, weren't you? Weren't you?!

If Culture victory sounds like your thing, be aware that you won’t be able to generate a lot of tourism early on. Do whatever you can to boost your rate of Great Person generation, and rush like mad for the wonders that can hold Great Works with excellent theming bonuses. You will need to do some trading to make the most of said bonuses, but be sure you don’t trade away something you’re going to need for another slot later.

Control the World Congress, control the end game
The World Congress becomes possibly the deciding factor for the rest of the game from the moment it’s founded. Other than enabling Diplomatic Victory, it allows you to cripple your rivals by non hostile means... though they can do the same to you. It can give you a leg up on other victory types with shared wonders and mandated research funding. Ignore it at your peril.

By extension, City-State allies are now even more important, as they come to represent a majority of the possible votes in the World Congress as the eras draw on. I haven’t played a single game of Brave New World in which I didn't end up taking the Patronage policy tree to exploit this. Be nice to the little guys, and their votes will lead you to dominance.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the new ideology system
Ideologies (Freedom, Order, and Autocracy) have changed a fair bit. You now have an incentive not to join the prevailing world ideology, as the first civ to choose each branch gets two, free policies. They also now tie into the tourism system. Civs with high Tourism can cause unrest in civs using a different ideology where their culture is popular.

Also beware power blocs with lots of city-state allies, as they can pass a resolution in the World Congress instating a “World Ideology,” making it very hard for anyone outside that ideology to get anything passed ever again. A similar resolution exists for World Religion.

With the above suggestions in mind, you should be prepared to face the Brave New World that awaits you. Oh yeah, and Alexander is still a huge jerk.

Read our review of Brave New World.
PC Gamer
Civ V Review 4

Civilization V was always the most fun just before the end of the Renaissance, with the experience sliding into a slog post industrialization. The new mechanics added in the previous expansion, Gods and Kings, grow less relevant, and you’re either well on your way to your chosen victory condition, or pretty far from it. Brave New World creates an endgame that is as varied, textured, and tense as the early and mid game already were. Overhauls to the cultural and diplomatic victories have made achieving either of these a more hands-on, aggressive process that will keep you making meaningful decisions and planning ahead.

The most noticeable chunk of these improvements comes in the form of the World Congress, an expansion of the United Nations that was (and still is) the path to diplomatic victory. Now coming into play in the late Renaissance/early Industrial era (when things used to bog down), the nations of the world and their city-state allies can vote on measures like banning nuclear weapons, building cooperative wonders, or embargoing a given civ—with truly devastating economic consequences, given the moneymaking potential of the new trade route system.

Whereas income was largely a matter of upgrading your cities before, Trade Routes are now the main means of generating gold. Following the expansion's theme of making passive game elements more active, you'll build caravans and cargo ships, then decide where to send them. You need to be trading with other civs or city-states to generate cash, which adds another interesting diplomatic layer. If you're a megalomaniacal conqueror hated by all, you'll find yourself without trading partners, and your economy will almost certainly crash.

It’s important to protect your trade routes with a strong navy, and some certifiably bad dudes on islands.

The other new mechanic is Tourism, a resource that opposes the culture value of other civs. If your Tourism outpaces their Culture, you can eventually become Influential among their people. Doing so with all remaining civs is the new means of achieving cultural victory. Tourism is generated by Great Works of Art, Writing, and Music, each created by a new or revised form of Great Person. The new systems take Culture Victory from probably the most boring way to end the game to one of the most active and engaging.

Of the nine new civilizations added for this expansion, I was especially captivated by Venice. Essentially a playable city-state that can never found or annex new cities, Venetians rely on the ability to build double the number of trade routes as anyone else, which becomes a licence to print money in the late game. It's probably the most out-of-the-box civ in the franchise’s history, and playing it is a whole new experience.

Firaxis has also thrown in a group of new historical scenarios: the lackluster American Civil War, and the Scramble for Africa. This latter option is a deep, extremely replayable map, featuring a randomly-generated, explorable interior for the continent and three different victory conditions. Each of the three groupings of civs—Europeans, North Africans, and Sub-Saharan Africans—have very different goals, and because the map is different each time, playing the same culture group twice doesn't diminish the scenario’s great sense of discovery. It stands alongside the likes of Fall of Rome as some of the most fun I’ve had with Civ V.

Discovering a new, randomly-generated landscape every time is what makes the Scramble for Africa scenario shine.

Comparing diplomats to pope hats, Brave New World isn't quite as much of a step forward as the Gods and Kings expansion. But the later eras are an entirely new affair, solving some of the game’s largest problems in novel and enjoyable ways. Brave New World’s additions to the already-excellent Civ V have resulted in the high point of the franchise, and one of history’s greatest turn-based strategy experiences.
PC Gamer
Thief The Dark Project

The picture - the header of our Thief review from 1999 - may be a bit of a giveaway, but why not? It's Friday, after all. We can indulge in a little bit of misty-eyed nostalgia without fear of our bosses asking us why we're staring wistfully into space and making bow and arrow and mimicking guard-clubbing animations over and over again. That's the sort of freedom only the weekend can bring. Here's what we're planning to play between now and Monday, but what will you indulge in?

We like to live on the cutting edge here at PC Gamer, so this weekend Phil will be playing a bright new thing from Looking Glass called Thief: The Dark Project. Apparently it has these things called polygons and features lots of emergent crime and - wait - it's not 1998? Oh well, that's okay, Phil's planning to modernise it with the NewDark patch, which should help it run on his fancy pants modern computer box (it's not even beige!). He likes stealth. He likes crime, but he's never played the original Thief, so it should be an interesting education. Will cudgelling those broad, sharp-shouldered guards prove as interesting in a post-Dishonored/Deus Ex: Human Revolution world? We'll see.

Rich, meanwhile, is still playing Rogue Legacy from last week, but is also planning to dip back into Dota 2 to relax. Okay, maybe not relax. to hone his sense of focus in a highly competitive arena, which is Rich's equivalent of a summer break, really. Dota 2 fans can look forward to a proper release for Dota 2 in the coming month or so. The release itself is largely symbolic given the number of invites swimming around players' Steam inboxes, but it might come with a significant update and new heroes. Beyond that, there's The International 3. I'm determined to learn enough about Dota 2 before then to understand what is going on. I'd like to get in on the cheers and excitement triggered by plays like these:

I was lucky enough to review Saints Row: The Third, and liked it very much indeed, which is why I'm excited that Chris is going to give it a go this weekend. He's played the (very funny) opening hours, but there's so much yet to discover, the laser-shooting VTOL jets, that whole section set inside a computer, the bit with the tiger. After just a few hours, you have more toys than Batman, and the city is yours to boss. It's a riotous little power fantasy, elevated by a lust for silliness and a sense of abandon that, for some reason, reminds me of Dead Rising. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a penis bat in Dead Rising, though. FOR SHAME.

Graham will spend the weekend peering over a fine glass of port, listening to Tchaikovsky and calmly taking over the world with art in Civilization V: Brave New World. The second expansion, due out next week, adds new cultural victory conditions, and lets you use great artists in more interesting ways. If he doesn't come back to work in a top hat and start lecturing us on renaissance values then I will be surprised, and just a little bit disappointed.

Apparently it's going to be gloriously sunny here over the weekend, to which I say NO. I demand RAIN and TRENCH COATS. Evocative sci-fi adventure game Gemini Rue will answer the call, giving my mouse pointer control over the fate and actions of a hardboiled space-detective and an imprisoned amnesiac. Will our jump-suited captive regain his memories? Will our coated friend escape the clutches of the sinister Boryokudan? Will I ever master the fiddly cover-based gun combat system? Don't look at me, I'm only a few hours in. I might just stand in one of those beautifully drawn streets and listen to the rain for a while instead.

That's us, but how do you plan to escape the sunshine this weekend?
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Almost three years after launch, Civilization V's promised Pitboss multiplayer mode is finally arriving today in a new patch. The update also brings an observer mode, support for custom maps in multiplayer, AI tweaks, new terrain art, bug fixes, and more, making everything spick-and-span for the launch of the Brave New World expansion next week.

Pitboss is, in the words of the patch notes, a mode "which allows players to connect, take their turn, disconnect, and come back later. Email notifications and steam notifications are built into the system." A more laid-back mode for people who don't want to sit and play a round for several hours straight, see.

At first Pitboss will require someone to act as server, but developer Firaxis plans to release a standalone server that doesn't require a Steam account, "once the system has received a healthy amount of feedback from the community"--ie it's ironed out bugs and niggles.

The patch brings loads of other fine changes, especially to multiplayer, so do check the notes. It's due out later today, and should update automatically through Steam.


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