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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Gods Will Be Watching trailer promises tension, moral ambiguity">GWBW







"Is eating your friends the best way to stay alive, or just the easier?" That's one question posed in the description of this new Gods Will Be Watching launch trailer. It's a tough one to answer... that is, unless you're currently stood in a supermarket, or are within reaching distance of a snack. Gods Will Be Watching is a point 'n click puzzler based around such dilemmas, and the choices you make when faced with them.



For more, head on over to the game's site, where pre-orders are being taken for 10% off. Gods Will Be Watching is out 24 July.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review">walkingdead-s2e4-teaser







Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season. Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.



"I've seen you take care of yourself more than any three adults put together," a bitter Kenny says to Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 2's fourth episode Amid the Ruins. I've tried to convince Kenny that I need him--that the group needs him to survive after escaping, battered and exhausted, from Carver's compound. He's not buying it. And he shouldn't.



In my review of The Walking Dead's last episode, I wrote that Clementine seems more capable than most of the adults she travels with, far more capable than an 11-year-old should be. Episode three delivered some of the series' most dramatic moments by sacrificing some of Clementine's believability and what little freedom of exploration The Walking Dead has had. Episode four continues down that path, charting a straight course toward the end of the season by minimizing player control even further. Telltale clearly has a specific story to tell, and episode four tells it well it's just not very interesting to play.



Episode four of The Walking Dead finds Clementine's group scattered and barely surviving after the attack on Carver's hardware store. Most of the characters introduced in episodes one and two are dead, and the survivors soon have a new crisis to deal with: Rebecca's impending childbirth. Most of the episode revolves around pulling the group back together and finding supplies to help Rebecca give birth. Even moreso than in episode three, it's up to Clementine to do most of the work.







Episode four drops any pretense of having Clementine act coy or slyly maneuver her way through adult conversations. She's the driving force of the episode, heavily influencing decisions and physically saving other survivors when they're in trouble. In one of the episode's only scenes that lets you walk around and explore, she has to find supplies in an area that other survivors have already been searching for at least an hour. They're apparently very bad at scavenging.



Other than about five minutes of walking around and exploring, episode four is all dialogue and cutscenes and QTEs. While playing the previous episode, I was sometimes frustrated that Clementine seemed so capable while Telltale gave me so little control as a player. The episode made up for that with dramatic, unexpected story moments. Episode four, by contrast, mostly seems like it's on autopilot. Other than the brutality of its opening scene, none of the story beats are surprising or lead to particularly difficult decisions.



The most interesting dynamic of Amid the Ruins is the relationship between Clementine and Jane, a tough lone wolf who recognizes Clementine's own survival skills. I was hoping that the game would give Clementine the option to abandon the rest of her group and strike out with Jane. Unfortunately, after a few exchanges of dialogue and Jane teaching Clementine a few tricks to survive on her own--Jane starts spilling her backstory, which turns out to overtly parallel the events that take place in Amid the Ruins. It's a technique that gives weight to some of her actions throughout the episode, but you can also see it coming from a mile away. It's too convenient to be particularly effective.



I found it hard to be too invested in Amid the Ruins when its most dramatic moral choices centered around Sarah, who's been nothing but dead weight both as a character, and to the group the whole season. Telltale delivered two exhaustingly intense episodes in a row, and episode four seemed more like filler, moving the plot forward into what will be a bloody, painful finale.







Despite few opportunities to shape Clementine's character in episode four, I think this season of The Walking Dead will end strong. I may not find Clem's survival skills believable, but I still care about her and want to see where her story goes. I have a feeling that if she lives to see a season three, she'll be the Mad Max of the Walking Dead universe, more road-weary and scrappy than Lee ever was.



Verdict: A weaker episode than the two preceding it that fails to offer interesting character exploration or heartwrenching decisions.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The problem with survival games">1







Have you ever seen Survivorman? It s a documentary series about a guy called Les Stroud who spends a week in the world s most inhospitable places deserts, rainforests, tundras and survives with only the clothes on his back. Fakers like Bear Grylls have doctors on hand, camera crews, and cosy hotels to return to after filming, but Stroud does it all for real and films everything himself. It s really good TV, and I promise that after you watch the first episode you ll be hooked.



Anyway, what Survivorman shows us is that nature is terrifying, and doesn t care whether you live or die. These great, lonely expanses, whether it s the dense jungles of the Amazon or the icy plains of Alaska, are cruel, merciless places. Stroud is a seasoned survival expert, and even he struggles to find food or keep warm sometimes. Imagine if you were out there. You wouldn t last a day.



So why do survival games always have enemies in them? Zombies, cannibals, wild animals it s completely unnecessary. Nature has already done the hard work and designed the most formidable, intimidating, ruthless villain imaginable: itself. Survival sim developers seem to think they need to include some kind of threat to keep players interested, but that really isn t the case. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no food, no fire, and night closing in is scarier than any monster.



A survival game doesn t need conflict. There are other ways to keep a player engaged. There could be exploration elements; discovering abandoned camps or ruined buildings, and using them as makeshift shelters. There might be stories to discover, or clues to escaping the wilderness like an old map left behind by a hiker with a route scribbled on it. Or imagine finding something like Christopher McCandless bus, and reading his diary by a flickering campfire.







But for this hypothetical game to really work, a lot of love would have to be put into the atmosphere and design of the world. You d need realistic weather and lighting, and stunning natural beauty. That s another thing I love about Survivorman: Stroud is always in awe of the majesty of his surroundings, but also respectful, and occasionally fearful, of them. With a large, diverse, and beautiful environment to explore I d love somewhere like a rainy forest in the Pacific Northwest I d play the game just to wander the landscape and see what I could find before nightfall.



But let s say you re an indie developer making your dream realistic survival game, but the guy holding the cheque that ll decide whether the project lives or dies insists on some kind of danger. Well, in that case, you do it subtle. You make animal attacks rare, but possible. As you walk through the forest at night, you might hear a growl, or something stalking you. But it s unlikely it ll ever show itself; until that one, unexpected time when it does, and you have to run for your life. That would be infinitely more compelling than a million shambling zombies.



One survival game that almost gets it right is Miasmata. I love the realistic character movement, cartography system, and being able to forage for plants to craft medicines. But then that stupid monster turns up and I lose all interest. The Forest recently added a hidden enemy-free mode (type veganmode on the main menu), but it s clear the game was designed with the cannibal natives in mind, and it feels a bit empty and aimless without them. No developer I know of has been brave enough to design a survival game without any threat. Who ll be the first?
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review">walkingdead-s2e4-teaser







Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season. Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.



"I've seen you take care of yourself more than any three adults put together," a bitter Kenny says to Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 2's fourth episode Amid the Ruins. I've tried to convince Kenny that I need him--that the group needs him to survive after escaping, battered and exhausted, from Carver's compound. He's not buying it. And he shouldn't.



In my review of The Walking Dead's last episode, I wrote that Clementine seems more capable than most of the adults she travels with, far more capable than an 11-year-old should be. Episode three delivered some of the series' most dramatic moments by sacrificing some of Clementine's believability and what little freedom of exploration The Walking Dead has had. Episode four continues down that path, charting a straight course toward the end of the season by minimizing player control even further. Telltale clearly has a specific story to tell, and episode four tells it well it's just not very interesting to play.



Episode four of The Walking Dead finds Clementine's group scattered and barely surviving after the attack on Carver's hardware store. Most of the characters introduced in episodes one and two are dead, and the survivors soon have a new crisis to deal with: Rebecca's impending childbirth. Most of the episode revolves around pulling the group back together and finding supplies to help Rebecca give birth. Even moreso than in episode three, it's up to Clementine to do most of the work.







Episode four drops any pretense of having Clementine act coy or slyly maneuver her way through adult conversations. She's the driving force of the episode, heavily influencing decisions and physically saving other survivors when they're in trouble. In one of the episode's only scenes that lets you walk around and explore, she has to find supplies in an area that other survivors have already been searching for at least an hour. They're apparently very bad at scavenging.



Other than about five minutes of walking around and exploring, episode four is all dialogue and cutscenes and QTEs. While playing the previous episode, I was sometimes frustrated that Clementine seemed so capable while Telltale gave me so little control as a player. The episode made up for that with dramatic, unexpected story moments. Episode four, by contrast, mostly seems like it's on autopilot. Other than the brutality of its opening scene, none of the story beats are surprising or lead to particularly difficult decisions.



The most interesting dynamic of Amid the Ruins is the relationship between Clementine and Jane, a tough lone wolf who recognizes Clementine's own survival skills. I was hoping that the game would give Clementine the option to abandon the rest of her group and strike out with Jane. Unfortunately, after a few exchanges of dialogue and Jane teaching Clementine a few tricks to survive on her own--Jane starts spilling her backstory, which turns out to overtly parallel the events that take place in Amid the Ruins. It's a technique that gives weight to some of her actions throughout the episode, but you can also see it coming from a mile away. It's too convenient to be particularly effective.



I found it hard to be too invested in Amid the Ruins when its most dramatic moral choices centered around Sarah, who's been nothing but dead weight both as a character, and to the group the whole season. Telltale delivered two exhaustingly intense episodes in a row, and episode four seemed more like filler, moving the plot forward into what will be a bloody, painful finale.







Despite few opportunities to shape Clementine's character in episode four, I think this season of The Walking Dead will end strong. I may not find Clem's survival skills believable, but I still care about her and want to see where her story goes. I have a feeling that if she lives to see a season three, she'll be the Mad Max of the Walking Dead universe, more road-weary and scrappy than Lee ever was.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Wildstar trailer reveals Sabotage update, brings new PvP Battleground">Wildstar







What's next for Wildstar? After the bio-terror of the Strain update, Ultradrop 2: Sabotage is based more on the act of hitting fellow players with sharp weapons, or shooting fellow players with laser pistols... Or, as shown by the new DevSpeak video, exploding fellow players with sabotage-enabling bombs.







So listen up, 'cause you can't say nothing: Sabotage is the new Battleground a 15-a-side PvP map. The objective here is to destroy the enemy's core, done by capturing uplinks to call in airstrikes, or by planting bombs. Those bombs are transported by players, and so can just as easily be used on grouped up opponents anything detonated adds points to your team's total.



Don't worry if you're not into PvP, Carbine say the next content drop is designed for PvE players.



For more details, head to the Sabotage micro-site.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Guild Wars 2 trailer teases The Dragon’s Reach: Part 1">GW2 DR1







This was a long time coming. Guild Wars 2 is like all fantasy games are about dragons. One of the major complaints about the game's first season of story updates was the lack of anything to do with dragons. This might seem petty, but if you've got giant dragons tearing up the place, you might think they're more important than a local election. In the end, it was all a ruse: the story ended with the awakening of a new dragon. Now the effects of that awakening are being felt. Dragon stuff is happening, and will continue to happen in the upcoming update, The Dragon's Reach: Part 1.







If you've not been following this second season, you might be confused at the lack of dragon in that trailer. To which someone following the game's lore would point out that the tentacles are the dragon. A bit of it at least... the tentacle bit.



There's little information about what the update will introduce, although the game's Living World structure has been very different this year. Most of the non-story events have been centred around the new zone of Dry Top, but in addition, each release has included a multiple-part episode purely focused on new story. It's been a nice switch for the game: where many of the first season's releases were pretty farming heavy, this time, there's a clear path through the majority of an update's content.



Essentially, then, we can expect another few hours of extra story, and potentially some new areas and events. The trailer certainly hints at escalation: from Rytlock's return, to Ascalon shenanigans, it suggests the story is all leading to something. There's even what looks like an Ice/Plant monster hybrid thing, which hints at... something.



The Dragon's Reach: Part 1 will be the penultimate fortnightly Season 2 release before the Living World goes on a mid-season break.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Nvidia announces Shield Tablet and wireless controller, an 8-inch Android tablet focused on games">SHIELD_tablet_SHIELD_controller_War_Thunder







Written by Tom Marks



Last week Nvidia was rumored to be prepping the reveal of a new device running Android and capable of streaming games from your PC. Today, it revealed the Shield Tablet, an 8-inch tablet that uses Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip to do just that.



Starting at $299 for a 16GB-capacity version, the Shield Tablet has a full HD display and large (for a tablet) front-facing speakers on either side. It has built in Wi-Fi enabling you to stream games from your PC, but the $399 model has an optional LTE plan available for online games outside of wifi range. Even though the more expensive version has 32GB of storage, the space seems limited for a gaming device, but both models have a MicroSD card slot that can support another 128GB of memory. The Shield Tablet also sports a Mini-HDMI port and can be hooked up to a TV or external Monitor, capable of running in 1080p.



Nvidia has paired the release of the tablet with the Shield Wireless Controller, a gamepad connected by Wi-Fi Direct and designed to go with the device, but the two will be sold separately. At $59, the rechargeable controller has all the buttons and sticks you have come to expect, with the addition of a headphone/mic jack for audio streaming, volume controls, a button for voice control, and a small touchpad. The Shield tablet is being shown with a hard cover that folds back into a stand and will also be sold separately for $39.







One of the more impressive features is the tablet s integration with Nvidia s Shadowplay service. Shadowplay allows you to livestream whatever you are playing on the Shield Tablet to your Twitch channel, and its even equipped with a 5MP camera on the front for a face-cam in the corner. When paired with the LTE coverage, streamers would no longer be limited to the traditional desk and keyboard set ups we see. However, there is no word on how you will control your twitch stream settings or chat, done through the Twitch dashboard on a PC, and if it isn t made easy then I could see a lot of current streamers not being interested.



Our own Cory Banks has spent some time with the Shield Tablet and Controller that's his grubby paw in the controller photo and says the hardware feels good. The 8-inch screen looks gorgeous and the tablet feels good in your hands, while the controller's chunkiness is reminiscent of the design behind Nvidia's original Shield (now called Shield Portable). Feeling good isn't enough, however, and we're looking forward to more time with the setup so we can test how usable the Android-powered tablet will be for PC gamers and Twitch streamers.



The Shield Tablet, Cover, and Wireless Controller are all set to release on July 29th in the US & Canada, and August 14th in Europe.







PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Farming Simulator 15 screenshots remind us that simulators can be serious">Farming Simulator 15







An alert in my email inbox: new Farming Simulator 15 screenshots! Almost without thinking, I move the mouse towards the delete button. But then I pause... No. You know what? We are going to do this. In a world now full of wacky non-sims, we are going to instead give time to the game that earnestly and wholeheartedly wants to simulate the experience of driving and operating farm equipment.



We are going to look at nay, celebrate some Farming Simulator 15 screenshots, and by Jove we're going to do it unironically.







Tractors! They're heavy, slow, and useful for the day-to-day business of farming. They aren't silly, they're not powered by jetpacks, and they certainly don't subvert physics in humorous ways. Not intentionally, at least. Sim games can be pretty janky.







A combine harvester! I live in Somerset now, which means I've drunk cider while a Wurzels tribute band played I've Got A Brand New Combine Harvester. It was awful. Farming Simulator 15 has a Nordic setting and is a serious game. As such, it probably won't make any reference to the Wurzels.







Logging! That's one of the things new to this version, as revealed via this video teaser.







I'm just going to quote a chunk of the press release, because it is brilliant in the way it enthuses over the detail of FS15's recreation:



"You can now manage forested areas in the game environment using a range of new vehicles and machines designed specifically for this activity: harvesters, chain saws, chippers and even trailers.



"This additional equipment joins the long list of agricultural machinery that has been faithfully reproduced from the originals made by famous manufacturers such as Case IH, Deutz-Fahr and Lamborghini that are ready to be put to work. More prestigious brands in the sector are also available; New Holland and Ponsse among others!"



Prestigious brands! I'm venturing close to ironic enjoyment territory again, but then, I haven't played a Farming Simulator before. But, thanks to my experiences with Euro Truck Simulator 2, I'm well aware of how genuinely entertaining the best real simulators can be in part because of their insane detail and passion for the subject.



Farming Simulator 15 is out on PC this October.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Watch Dogs’ TheWorse Mod final version released">Watch Dogs 2







So much of the Watch Dogs discussion has been centred around its graphics. Maybe that can now be resolved with this: the final release of TheWorse Mod. Originally designed to enable the visual effects present in Ubisoft's E3 2012 demo of the game, it's since been expanded to offer a full compliment of graphical and performance related improvements. Maybe now we can't talking about what's really wrong with Watch Dogs: its total lack of dogs.



This 1.0 version is a pretty minor update over the previous release. It further tweaks the depth-of-field and bloom setting, and fixes a few of the mod's lingering problems. If you're yet to try the upgrades it offers, now's the perfect time to take a look the mod's as feature complete as it's going to get.



In addition to the main changes, there's also an optional "MaLDo texture" version, which incorporates an Ultra textures fix created by Crysis 2 modder MaLDo. With it, selecting "High" textures will instead provide their Ultra counterparts, but do so without the stuttering experienced by some GPUs with the base game.



I tried out the previous 0.99 version, and it offered a noticeable improvement. That said, the depth-of-field effects were also far stronger than anything I'd want if actually attempting to play the game, (rather than looking wistfully at ports). Still, it's worth checking out if you find yourself disappointed by the look and feel of Watch Dogs' world.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King DLC review">mural







The biggest criticism leveled at Dark Souls 2 was that it was too easy. Players who had spent hundreds of hours in the first game found that many of the same tactics worked in the sequel. Maybe you had to dodge left instead of right to get past the Pursuer s sweeping arc, but generally speaking, the old tricks still worked.



I thought about this as I died again while playing Crown of the Sunken King, the first part of From Software s three-piece downloadable content set. My old tricks failed time and time again, forcing me to relearn enemy patterns and try new tactics. For Dark Souls diehards, that s a good thing, though you ll have to slog through some drab environments.



Sunken King adds a new item to your inventory: a dragon claw with a cryptic clue in its description. That item should lead you to the new content area, grafted onto the Black Gulch, behind where players fight The Rotten. That means you can t get into Sunken King until Dark Souls 2 s halfway point, and even then, you might want to hold off until you have better gear. Use the dragon claw at the new altar beyond the Rotten s arena and you ll be brought to the new area. If you drop a summon sign here but don t own the DLC, you can still be summoned in as a phantom. Think of it as a demo.



That sinking feeling







The new content is split into three areas, starting with Shulva, the Sanctum City. I cross narrow ledges, activating platforms to reach areas, and spend more time jumping than in the base game. It never approaches platformer status, but I like the new emphasis on verticality. Enemies attack from above or below more frequently than before, and some of the best secrets in the early areas are discovered by trying to access rooms far above the ground. There are new environmental dangers here, too, and a better focus on puzzles and switches.



Sunken King s enemies are all brand new, too. The basic Sanctum Soldiers are so heavily-armored and tightly grouped that I quickly had to abandon my magic-based build for a sword-and-board approach so I could parry attacks and do more damage. There are insects that spit corrosive gas and are far easier to kill, and undead witches that are strong against dark damage. Massive, blind bipedal dragons guard a later bonfire, and take a tremendous amount of effort to kill. If I aggroed two at a time, one was guaranteed to chew on my bones.



Fighting these new enemies was genuinely difficult. Sanctum Knights start off incorporeal, immune to physical damage quick to hack through you with their dual blades. It wasn t until I discovered how to make them substantial that I could take one more than one at a time, and any time I heard a new phantom baddie, I was genuinely fearful for my stash of souls.



A few of the new knights have movesets remarkably close to your own. Dodging, parrying, and blocking these warriors felt more like PvP duels than cutting down mindless zombies.







Totally boss



Sunken King includes two new boss battles (three if you count an optional group of NPCs). Both are more creative than many of the basic game s guardians, who were often melee-based and easy to dodge in the early game. I won t spoil either fight, but I will point out that there are two NPC summons for each fight, which helps even the odds, and one battle takes place in front of one of the most beautiful areas From has ever designed.



Unfortunately, that s one of only a few standout landmarks in Sunken King. Most of the content is played against grey, monochrome environments that wear down on you after repeated deaths. Aside from a few key moments, the drabness of these areas makes pushing through a slog. Early on, I was concerned that I wouldn t even want to continue to the end. Dark Souls 2 has few moments that drag, but there were points in Sunken King where the momentum slows to a crawl.







But I pushed through, and when the final boss was down and the crown of the Sunken King sat upon my head I had played through ten solid, satisfying hours of new Dark Souls. For the devoted, that s a hell of a deal, and there are still two more chunks of content incoming, with even better-looking environments and a few new lore details. Sunken King won t do anything to convince you to play Dark Souls 2 if you don t already love it, but stays consistently challenging for even veteran players.



Details



Price: $10/ 8, $25/ 20 for Season Pass

Release date: Out now

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Developer: From Software

Multiplayer: Online co-op and PvP

Link: www.darksoulsii.com

...

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