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Put on your hard hat and prepare for mindless destruction, because Red Faction: Guerrilla has officially made the transition from Games for Windows Live to Steam. Nordic Games has made good on its promise to save the instalment from imminent GFWL doom, but the new Steam Edition also ushers in a bunch additions and bug fixes.
Steam Trading Cards are in, while six new Wrecking Crew maps are bundled in including Ruins, Repercussion, Imperial, Expansion, Frost and Abandoned. Elsewhere there's a new Behemoth game mode as well as a bunch of tweaks to the online experience, including Steam hosted leaderboards, voice chat and host migration.
Full notes on Red: Faction Steam Edition can be found on Steam. It follows confirmation at the start of the year that Microsoft will indeed kill off Games For Windows Live, which absolutely no one was upset about. Many publishers have announced their intention to move their GFWL hosted games to other platforms, with Dark Souls being a notable example.
Each Friday PC Gamer s writers descend into the molten idea core and return with cooling fragments of what they have dubbed opiniononium . They re just like that.
Tom Marks: Grand Theft Auto V s PC port won t be a smash and grab What Rockstar is doing with the PC and next-gen versions of Grand Theft Auto V is downright admirable. Sure they are taking their sweet time doing it, but I much prefer a long wait to a slap-dash, press escape to instantly quit, port with more problems than new features. First they told us they are giving previous players a reason to come back, and now they confirm a first person mode and 4k resolution support. First person has been a rumored feature for a while, but the modeled vehicle interiors and suite of new animations are icing on the cake I wasn t expecting. A year after its initial release, Rockstar is still working hard to keep the latest version of GTA V feeling cutting edge, and at this rate the PC will be home to the definitive version.
Samuel Roberts: When systems come together I m late as hell to the Alien: Isolation party, but this week I ve been muddling through the game s colossal 20+ hour storyline in little chunks. I haven t found it especially scary, to be honest—tense, but not scary. In well-lit environments, I have adjusted to the sight and animation of the alien and no longer consider it an unseen threat. Last night, though, the systems of the game came together in a way that I found genuinely unsettling, as I manoeuvred through a strobe-lit environment and saw the alien drop out of nowhere, behind some fellow human survivors. I went straight for a locker and hid, hearing screams as the alien devoured them and then, a silence, until the locker tore open and the alien killed me, too. By itself, the alien s aura becomes undone the more you play, but the systems are smart enough to keep finding ways to make that creature scary. Brilliant game.
Chris Thursten: Endless Legend (and other space wizards) I liked the look of Endless Space more than I really found time to play it, but this week I decided to take a stab at Amplitude s fantasy follow-up: Endless Legend. Having been rather disappointed by Civilization: Beyond Earth, I m taken by just how many things Legend gets right. The combat system is an elegant improvement on Civ; empire development is involved and interesting; the UI is crisp and pleasant to use. The factions are varied, play very differently, and are beautifully presented.
It s the art and music that have really sold the game to me, though. Endless Legend s take on fantasy has a light sci-fi touch and the gentle pastel art reminds me of a Gene Wolfe book cover. This has been something of a trend recently—Destiny shows off many of the same influences. I ve been running a pen and paper campaign in Monte Cook s Numenera, lately, so there really couldn t be a better time to be surrounded by lovely hand-painted space wizards.
Andy Chalk: EFF seeks to legalize online DRM circumvention in abandoned games The EFF recently petitioned to legalize DRM circumvention in "abandoned" games, a move that, if successful, will make life a whole lot easier for retro gamers and preservationists. Older games reliant on matchmaking servers or online DRM checks are pretty much done in when remote servers go offline, and while cracks are always an option, they're often not a realistic choice. The process of legalizing this particular type of DRM circumvention is "burdensome and confusing," but if we're serious about preserving video games, both for posterity and playability, then this is a necessary step and hopefully one that will ultimately prove successful.
Phil Savage: Games for Windows Live is slightly more dead I love seeing bad things happen to bad people. Or in this case, to bad programs. Games for Windows: Live is undoubtedly a bad program, and I smile every time it comes closer to annihilation. This week, Nordic Games patched it out of Red Faction: Guerilla. This is surprising—despite their previous promise that it would happen. It's surprising because Guerilla was made by Volition for THQ—the former now with Deep Silver, the latter sadly deceased. Nordic acquired the rights to much of THQ's catalogue, but they didn't have anything to do with the game's creation; just its current distribution. To then go back in to remove the unwanted GfWL-wrapper is a step worth celebrating. Especially because Guerilla is such a great game.
Andy Chalk: Dawngate is dead EA pulled the plug on Dawngate at the start of the week, a particularly surprising move given that it's been in one form of beta testing or another for the past year and a half. I suppose this could actually be seen as a "high," since a willingness to shut it down at this stage in development is surely preferable to just shoving it out the door and hoping for the best, but it's unfortunate that something couldn't be done to salvage the game, especially since some players clearly seemed to be enjoying it. It's also obviously not good news for the people at developer Waystone Games, which is reportedly being disbanded.
Samuel Roberts: High prices It s hard to figure out what s happening with Ubisoft s holiday titles vanishing from Steam this week (and not appearing on the UK Steam store at all). While opening two clients to play one game is never ideal with both Steam and uPlay, having the option to buy the game on Steam is ideal for a lot of players, and not selling through Steam is a break of form for Ubisoft. Hopefully they ll return to Valve s service soon.
Phil Savage: Fallout 4 An obvious choice, and not even a particularly notable one. Of course the Fallout 4 trademark was a hoax. This happens constantly, to the point where I've long since stopped paying attention to trademark discoveries. It s always a hoax. And yet, yes, there's still a part of me that wanted it to be true. I'm ready to see what Bethesda will do next. An open-world post-apocalyptic RPG made with current-gen hardware in mind? Yeah, I'd like to see that happen.
Oh well, there's always next year.
Chris Thursten: Oh god where did the year go Endless Legend might be my favourite thing this week, but the circumstances in which I discovered it are quite the opposite. We ll be beginning the process of judging our Game of the Year soon, and that means going back and considering a lot of games that I might have missed when they came out. I ve heard a lot of people say that 2014 was a little weak, release-wise, but the staggering task ahead of me speaks to the opposite. I ve still not started Wasteland 2 and I d like to return to Divinity: Original Sin; I m half-way through my first Shadowrun Returns campaign and don t feel ready to move on to the Director s Cut of Dragonfall yet. That s just RPGs. I still need to finish Alien: Isolation and Shadow of Mordor and, oh wait! There s Legend of Grimrock 2. And Jazzpunk. And The Banner Saga. Maybe I should give Metal Gear Rising a look? What about Luftrausers?
And so on. And so on. And so on.
Tom Marks: The Glove is coming off The Black Glove s kickstarter is finally over, falling woefully short of its $550k target. Even the belated support of big names like Ken Levine couldn t save what looked like a unique and clever concept, striking many of the same chords with me as the first time I saw Psychonauts. Raising the $220k it managed to is an impressive feat in itself, certainly proving there is a not insignificant amount of interest in the game, but setting such a high bar on an all-or-nothing platform is a dangerous game to play with a brand new IP from a team with no stand out names. Their video proved to me that they had the chops to get the job done, and The Black Glove looks like a game I d love to try, so the thought that it may never see the light of day is a discouraging one.
[Update: Nordic has clarified that it's actually going to update Red Faction: Guerrilla to DirectX 11. "Instead of just abandoning DX10 we decided to bring it over to DX11," Nordic's Reinhard Pollice said. "With this implementation which will soon be available as beta via Steam we hope to deliver a great Red Faction Guerrilla experience for PC gamers especially on Windows 7 and Windows 8." The DX11 update went into beta yesterday and is expected to be ready for full release within a couple of weeks.]
Nordic Games said at the beginning of this year that it would strip the Games for Windows Live requirement from Red Faction: Guerrilla, which it picked up, along with the Red Faction franchise as a whole, following the collapse of original owner THQ. And now it's finally gotten around to doing it.
Executive Producer Reinhard Pollice made the announcement on Steam, where he revealed that a Games for Windows Live sign-in is no longer required to play the game. Matchmaking and multiplayer, along with leaderboards, voice chat, and achievements, are now handled entirely through Steam. The game also now uses the DirectX9 renderer by default, because "DX10 created a lot of problems and resulted in performance issues," and it will attempt to migrate saves from Games for Windows Live to the new system the first time it launches.
In a follow-up post, Pollice explained that while some fans might be disappointed by the decision to default to DX9 instead of making DX10 work properly, it's not actually going to make a noticeable difference. "The whole DX10 support from MS side is not good that's why we believed it's the safest to go for DX9 mode. This will run perfectly on any DX10 system as well," he wrote. "Seriously DX10 in Red Faction Guerrilla was just a marketing gag as there was no real advantage."
To ensure that all is working as it should, Nordic is running a beta version of the overhauled game, open to anyone who wishes to take part. Instructions for doing so are here, but you'll also need a couple of passwords, which can be found in Pollice's forum post.