PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 2013 Independent Games Festival main competition finalists announced">IGF







The shortlist for the 15th IGF award finalists has been revealed. There were more than 580 entries this year, across an incredibly diverse range of genres, requiring the attention of some 200 judges to help pare down the games into seven award categories, with five nominees apiece.



Contenders for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize are as follows:



80s-video-nasty-inspired, bloody, top-down actioner, Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

Unforgiving, calamity-prone spaceship survival sim, FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Socially astute mundane-job sim-cum-arcade game, Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Meta-critical toy-burning casual-game satire, Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Gorgeous magic-realist adventure, Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)



Meanwhile, honourable mentions went to Gone Home (The Fullbright Company); Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games); The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe); Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh); Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth).



Head over to the IGF site to see the full list of nominees each of the categories - visual art, narrative, technical excellence, design, audio and the Nuovo award for "abstract and unconventional game development". The winners will be announced as part of the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, on Wednesday 27 March.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Strategy Game of the Year 2012: XCOM: Enemy Unknown">XCOM GOTY







I knew the moment the tide had turned. It was 15 hours into my first XCOM: Enemy Unknown campaign, and I’d just outfitted my squad’s psychic soldier with psi armour. I’d only discovered Major Tom’s latent mindbending abilities a few missions before, but he’d already proved himself a devastating anti-alien defence in the field. Kitted out in this gear, he was near unstoppable.



Earlier in the game, I’d hung back. I’d waited it out, luring aliens into laser crossfire, overlapping vision cones and overwatch orders, patiently, eventually clearing out XCOM’s alien infestations. Now, I could sprint psychic Tom out into the open, call out those unknown enemies in droves, and melt their puny brains. I revelled in it. I started talking at the screen. “You think you can run, you horrible bug? I’ll make you eat your friends. I’ll make you stand in the open, rip your disgusting body open with hot plasma. I’ll make you die. I’ll make all of you die.” Then I’d start cackling.



I’d invented a fiction. My soldiers were my action figures, I’d made them run and hide and shoot and watch their friends die, and I imbued them with the heroism and pathos of those events. Graham Smith had been impetuous and aggressive. He died when he strayed too close to a burning – later exploding – car. Owen Hill, once carefree and cheerful, was calcified by his death. He became a dead-eye sniper, silent and stoic, and able to lance a Muton through the eyes with a snapshot from half a map away.



Marsh Davies was relentlessly helpful. My team medic never missed a mission, and reinvigorated everyone else when their resolve slipped or their blood drained out. He never once panicked. Richard Cobbett was insane: a close-range monster, he’d hurtle into combat, heavy alloy cannon acting as far-future shotgun and drawing enemies out for easy shooting. He somehow survived the entire campaign.



Until the turning point, I imagined my women and men daunted by the task of saving humanity. After, with the psychic in their midst, I imagined them standing in XCOM’s home base, grinning. They had it in the bag. They were too powerful, too well-equipped, knew too much about their enemy. Enemy known, now.



I’d led them all the way, but I didn’t feel like it was my victory. It was theirs as much as mine. These action figures were alive. XCOM: Enemy Unknown seduces players with attachment, making you know and care for your soldiers. When they die, a tiny part of me dies. Sometimes they live. I love it when they live.

Without that attachment, XCOM is merely a mechanically superb turn-based strategy game that I’d suggest everyone plays. With it, XCOM elevates itself even further, forging player memories that’ll live as long as you play and care about games.



Read More: XCOM review.



Runners Up: FTL, Sins of a Solar Empire.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Short-form Game of the Year 2012: FTL">FTL GOTY







The fact that FTL lets me command a craft called The Space Badger with Don Draper at the helm isn’t the main reason I love it (although it is a factor). Ever since I saw Firefly, I’ve been eager to take charge of a crew and lead them to almost certain death. FTL lets me do that, over and over again.



Your primary objective is to outrun the rebel fleet, which advances like a red wave across every sector. Dozens of jump points form an explorable web in each system. You can encounter anything from a drone guarding treasure to a planetary distress signal or a secret space shop. These quick interludes offer a short list of choices, which may result in a fight, a reward, or nothing at all.



For the first few playthroughs, these little choices formed the narrative of my ship’s journey, but that novelty began to wear off as I saw the same choices repeating. Then I started to game the system. I would always ruthlessly destroy pirates even if they tried to surrender, knowing that the more resources I earned from early sectors, the better my long term chances would be. It soon became obvious that FTL isn’t a game about canned stories or alien encounters, it’s about survival.



Then the important decisions came to the fore. Should I spend precious resources on upgrading my energy drive? Should I repair? Should I buy fuel? FTL’s upgrade systems present a fascinating ongoing conflict between the need to keep the vessel ship shape and a desire to make it better.



It helps that FTL’s most devastating weapons are a joy to use. They let you sketch streaks of laser death across the hulls of your enemies. They can teleport bombs right into your enemy’s engine room. They let you order drones to surgically slice up your enemy’s oxygen supply. You can even see the doors on their ship opening and closing frantically as the crew dash to repair what remains of their vital systems.



Everything you can do, however, can also be done to you. FTL’s campaigns are often tales of continuous, worsening crisis. Like the hero of a hardboiled detective novel, your ship becomes more battered and bruised with every encounter, limping towards the distant final boss with a naïve sense of hope.



FTL’s finely balanced systems deliver great strategy, but it’s in the slow demise of your craft that the game finds its drama. That it manages to do so much in such short bursts of time is remarkable.



Read More: Our FTL review and Tom F's FTL Diary.



Runners Up: Hotline Miami and Thirty Flights of Loving
Product Update - Valve
FTL Version 1.03.1

Changes:
-Colorblind mode (available in options) makes many color pallette changes and adds additional symbols to help out our colorblind players.
I apologize for the delay in getting this into the game!
-Hotkeys added for many actions in the game, customizable from within the Options menu -Indicator for when the enemy is attempting to jump away (and if it's able to) -Cloaking will automatically cooldown in non-danger situations -You can now pause using the middle mouse button -Orange room borders for very low O2 have been replaced with hazard stripes on the floor
-Ctrl+click (customizable in Options) when aiming will allow you to
specify a single weapon to auto-fire (or not auto-fire if auto-fire button is toggled) -Minor balance change: System Repair drones power requirement reduced to 1

Major Bugs:
-Cloaking will provide the +60 evasion even if you don't have a pilot -Beams will correctly damage crew (and start fires if the Fire Beam) -Odd numbered Shield Systems will now properly repower after ionization -Tough Little Ship, Astronomically Low Odds, and all of the Crystal Cruiser achievements fixed -Repair/Anti-Personel Drones will always properly disappear whenever unequipped (or sold) - this will let you unequip them to make room for repair men if you system is destroyed -Potential fix for rare crash when selecting weapons

Minor Bugs:
-Fixed: Zoltan Bonus power wouldn't update while paused for drones -Federation Cruiser Artillery cooldown imagery properly updates during pause
-Fixed: Sometimes incorrectly displays the teleporter/shuttle text when your crew dies after battle -All enemies (including boarders) will now have names -Tooltips will properly clear when events/sub-windows open -System limits/effects caused by events (or nebulas) update upon arrival, not after the event -Cloaking system glow fixed -Zoltan Trade hub event fixed - blue option will actually do something now
-Fixed: Quest beacon tooltips were sometimes innacurate -More Typos/Grammar Fixes
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The PC Gamer 2012 Game of the Year nominees">PC Gamer GOTY Nominees







At the end of each year we hand out awards to honor the experiences that live in our best memories of the preceding months—the games that moved us with their ambition, quality, and pioneering spirit. None of the decisions are ever easy, and there's no secret formula: we pit opinion against opinion with straightforward, old-fashioned arguing until one winner is left standing in the GOTY battle cage. Look below for the first landmark of that exciting week-long debate: a list of our eligible winners in 11 categories, including Game of the Year.



Beyond recognizing what games we loved most this year, though, it’s crucial to call attention to a truth that connects them all: PC gaming is exploding. Our hobby is many-tentacled and unbridled—practically every niche, genre, and business model mutated in a meaningful way this year. Two shooters built on new, PC-only technology released (PlanetSide 2 and Natural Selection 2). Dota 2 grew into its adolescence. League of Legends’ Season 2 Championship drew an audience of 8.2 million—the most ever for an eSports event. Modders resurrected content that was thought to be lost. So many remakes and spiritual successors to old school PC games got crowdfunded that we're sure we’d miss some if we tried to list them all.



That said, the following list marks the peaks of this mountainous year, and you'll find out which games won in the next issue of PC Gamer, and here on the web soon.







Dota 2

Dishonored

Mass Effect 3

PlanetSide 2

The Walking Dead

Tribes: Ascend

XCOM: Enemy Unknown







Crusader Kings II

FTL: Faster Than Light

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

XCOM: Enemy Unknown







Guild Wars 2

PlanetSide 2

Rift: Storm Legion

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria







Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

Diablo III

Mass Effect 3

Torchlight II







Borderlands 2

Dishonored

Far Cry 3

Max Payne 3

Spec Ops: The Line







Hawken

Natural Selection 2

PlanetSide 2

Tribes: Ascend







Dota 2

League of Legends

StarCraft II









Black Mesa: Source

Crusader Kings II: A Game of Thrones

DayZ

The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod







Lone Survivor

The Walking Dead

Thirty Flights of Loving

Resonance









FTL: Faster Than Light

Hotline Miami

Legend of Grimrock

Thirty Flights of Loving







Euro Truck Simulator 2

aeroflyFS

XPlane

Football Manager 2013

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hotline Miami is 50% off this weekend, FTL also cheap!">Hotline Miami thumb







Super Hexagon may have become our fast, frantic and brilliantly soundtracked game of choice, but Hotline Miami remains an excellent acid trip of revenge, violence and talking owl masks. It makes the 80s look cool, which is an impressive achievement in itself.



If you've yet to experience Dennaton Games' brutal top-down murder-ballet, now's the time to take a look. Steam have gone and chopped its price in half, cutting it down to a criminally cheap £3.49/$5.



The store have also got a 40% deal on the marvellous FTL, dropping its price to £4.19/$6. It's a decidedly more strategic affair than Hotline's hyper-kinetic ode to viscera, but still a panic-inducing experience in its own right.



Both sales will run until Monday.



That's enough exceptionally cheap indie games, now let's have an ultimately pointless argument about which song from Hotline's amazing soundtrack is the best. My vote's for El Huervo's Turf. Or maybe Sun Araw's Deep Cover. Ah, they're all good.
Announcement - Valve
Save 40% on FTL: Faster Than Light as part of this week's Weekend Deal*!

In FTL you experience the atmosphere of running a spaceship trying to save the galaxy. It's a dangerous mission, with every encounter presenting a unique challenge with multiple solutions.
This "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" allows you to take your ship and crew on an adventure through a randomly generated galaxy filled with glory and bitter defeat.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

That headline doesn’t refer to the times when games break and throw up oddball bugs for our amusement, but rather when games throw so many problems at the player that they become a sort of jeopardy-based experience in crisis-juggling. Earlier today I was running through my game collection and thinking about what I might like to play. It wasn’t Dishonored. Three things other stood out: Day Z, FTL, and X-Com. I began to think about what those had in common which, and what that said about my enjoyment of this year’s immersive masterpiece.

And I realised it was this: peril>. (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to FTL mods video round-up: fly ships from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly">FTL-star-destroyer-web







Spaceship management roguelike FTL is one of this year's standout games, and also one of the first Kickstarted projects to result in a playable product. Its modding scene centers around new ships, tweaked mechanics, and updated graphics. We've picked out three ship replacement mods by hellcatv, with art in the case of Serenity and the Enterprise provided by MattsterT. Each of these mods swaps out one of the default ships with a new model complete with new equipment and a custom load-out.



Download links can be found below. Check out our FTL review for more on the game.









Grognak's Mod Manager

USS Enterprise ship mod (replaces Kestrel)

Star Destroyer ship mod (replaces Engi ship)

Serenity ship mod (replaces Kestrel)

PC Gamer






Tyler, Omri, and T.J. discuss what a wonderful time it is for PC genres that were once considered forgotten. Dishonored brings back stealth simulation, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a sleep-depriving boardgame, Star Citizen asks why resource-intensive PC space sims ever left us, and Project Eternity takes a pre-rendered isometric point-of-view on the whole modern RPG situation.



All that in PC Gamer Podcast 332: Yo genre so old...



(Plus more weird tangents. Like Garfield.)



Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to pcgamerpodcast@gmail.com.



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Follow us on Twitter:

@tyler_wilde (Tyler Wilde)

@omripetitte (Omri Petitte)

@AsaTJ (T.J. Hafer)

@belsaas (Erik Belsaas, podcast producer)
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