PC Gamer
Frozen Synapse RED
"Owen. You killed Davis!" Alas, poor Davis, the VIP Owen and Tom F were supposed to protect lay dead, victim of a grenade throw gone bad. Who could have imagined that a convoluted plan to bounce a grenade off a fellow soldier's riot shield through a window could possibly go awry. Such was lunchtime in the PC Gamer office today when we tried out the New Red expansion for our strategy game of 2011, Frozen Synapse. Find out exactly what went down in Tom's account.

It already looks as though the co-op mode will prove to be the highlight of the update, but the Red expansion comes with a clutch of neat new features. There's a new riot shield unit that can deploy a silver barrier when standing still to repel enemy fire and deflect incoming grenades.The expansion also adds a 15 mission single player campaign and 10 challenge missions with additional rule mutators to add extra challenge.

It also adds red mode. What does that do? "IT MAKES THINGS RED" say Mode 7 in the Frozen Synapse Red trailer. The expansion is available to buy now for $9.99 from the Mode 7 site and Steam.


Full co-op for the single player campaign and all new single player content
A new unit (riot shield)
A new multiplayer game mode (“Upload”)
15 mission single player campaign
10 single player challenge missions
Three mutators (gameplay modifiers for advanced users)
6 additional music tracks by nervous_testpilot (2 previously available in the Humble Indie Bundle)
MP3 and FLAC download of all Frozen Synapse: Red music
Original music tracks “Deeper” and “Focus” unlocked during gameplay
“Impeccable Micro” - a chiptune album from _ensnare_ (MP3 and FLAC)
The infamous “Red Mode”…

 
PC Gamer
fifa13-featured
EA have punted a set of new Fifa 13 screenshots over the internet crossbar, to land squarely in our laps in the writing-about-games crowd. Here we are, passing them back to you for an informational throw-in. Read on for Gary Neville-style analysis, albeit with less sexualised groaning.


French team Lyon, here. Enduring Championship Manager legend Kimmy Källström still plays for them, and has a hell of a left peg. Hopefully he'll be able to use it to take the ball around players in Fifa 13's promised upgrade to player dribbling.



First touch is the big change this year: deft players like Fabregas will be able to snap the ball back and forth between defenders' legs; lumbering donkeys will have a tough time bringing a trickling pass under control without hoofing it out of touch. Bonus thing: Xabi Alonso looks a hell of a lot like Mark Wahlberg



I assumed PSG were still mediocre, but I've just checked and they finished second in Ligue 1 this year – making them acceptable candidates to showcase Fifa 13's new unpredictability in this shot. But to stop frustration in an unreliable back line, line producer Nick Channon told us, the game will be "predictable unpredictable". Somewhere, that logical fallacy has exploded a robot.



Frank Lampard, stop watching Kalou's foot! There's more important things to deal with, like the threat of an imminent, leg mangling tackle. Fifa 12's impact engine gave birth to fantastically improbable scenarios where tackled players jiggled, fell, and backflipped into each other. Sadly, Fifa 13 promises to fix such weirdness. It's probably for the best.


An alternate reality where Bayern Munich's Neuer saved Drogba's last-minute game tier-upper in the Champion's League final. Or, just a game someone's started between Chelseas and Bayern Munich with nothing on the line. Either way, EA want to highlight how specific players can lean further on their specific talents: Messi's dribbling, the Drog's towering strength, for example.



Roberto Soldado - or Bobby Sol, as I've known him as ever since he was my star forward in Fifa 09's Ultimate Team mode - is an inveterate goal poacher. He's not the fastest or dribbliest of players, but give him a touch of the ball and he'll stab it past most keepers. Here's hoping Fifa 13's new accurate touch system makes him as much of a weapon as he was in previous games.



It doesn't look world's away from Fifa 12, to be honest. But that's Fifa's curse: having clambered over footballing (Americans: "soccer") cold war rivals Pro Evo a few years ago, vast changes are not only unnecessary, but could upset the delicate balance of excellence that's meant myself and Graham have crammed two games of Fifa 12 in at lunchtimes for the last four months. Fun fact: Badstuber has a saintly twin named Goodstuber.



I'm running out of Fifa 13 features to tie into the screenshots released, so I'll just tell you about my theory that Aaron Ramsey - pictured getting a head on the ball here - is the clone of late footballing star Alf Ramsey. I'm assuming Aaron's creators had a plan to call subsequent clones Ben, Chris, Dave, and so on all the way up the alphabet should their prototypes fail, but nailed it on their first try. Good going, science/football boffins!
PC Gamer
Magicka The Other Side of the Coin
Magicka's hypreractive wizards caused too much collateral damage to accurately fit the "good guys" label, but most of the time their menacing array of lasers and magic mines were pointing at evildoers. In Magicka's new expansion, The Other Side of the Coin, you'll have license to cause as much havoc as you want. You play either as the vampire Alucart, or one of his necromancer entourage on a mission to blow up the elves in their homeland.

The Other Side of the Coin will land in just a couple of weeks on June 14 and will cost $4.99. It'll add a story challenge, four challenge maps and let you play as a necromancer in Magicka's hilarious player vs. player mode. Grab the full feature list below.

Features:

Play as Alucart the Vampire and his henchmen, the Necromancers
One exciting new story challenge set among beautiful new elven architecture
4 new challenge maps playing as necromancers: World's End, Volcano Hideout, OSOTC Arena and the Mirror Crystal Cavern Hideout.
Necromancer introduced to PvP
New achivements
Innovative and dynamic spellcasting system with thousands of possible combinations
Up to four player co-op in all game modes as well as single player option
Experience the parody and satire of a cliché fantasy world

 
PC Gamer
BIIIIIIG PINEAPPLE FTW!


Let’s get one thing straight: Big Pineapple is a great name for Diablo 3. In fact, if I wasn’t interested in search traffic, I would Find and Replace "Diablo 3" for "Big Pineapple" across the entire website. Sadly, I can't do that.

As reported on techinasia, Diablo 3 is currently in China’s video game review process. That means online retailers are unable to sell the game under its official name until it’s cleared by the government. It sounds a lot more restrictive than Tom's Diablo 3 review process, which he documented here.

To compensate, vendors have opted to rename Blizzard's smash hit "dà bōluó" - words which sound a bit like “Diablo” and directly translate to “Big Pineapple.”

Even better, they’re using an image of a Pineapple to help cover their tracks. It’s a flawless plan, and one which appears to have government officials stumped, at least for the short term. Hooray for fruit!
PC Gamer
BIIIIIIG PINEAPPLE FTW!
Let’s get one thing straight: Big Pineapple is a great name for Diablo 3. In fact, if I wasn’t interested in search traffic, I would Find and Replace "Diablo 3" for "Big Pineapple" across the entire website. Sadly, I can't do that.

As reported on techinasia, Diablo 3 is currently in China’s video game review process. That means online retailers are unable to sell the game under its official name until it’s cleared by the government. It sounds a lot more restrictive than Tom's Diablo 3 review process, which he documented here.

To compensate, vendors have opted to rename Blizzard's smash hit "dà bōluó" - words which sound a bit like “Diablo” and directly translate to “Big Pineapple.”

Even better, they’re using an image of a Pineapple to help cover their tracks. It’s a flawless plan, and one which appears to have government officials stumped, at least for the short term. Hooray for fruit!
PC Gamer
Mass Effect 3 giant electro-whip
A Mass Effect 3 patch landed yesterday allongside the free Rebellion multiplayer DLC that we saw trailered earlier. It fixes a few fairly significant problems that players have been experiencing every now and then. Holes in the map that could see you or enemies trapped under the world have been patched up, and issue we've seen a few times when weapons would appear to be firing all the time has also been corrected, performance hitches at the start of waves have been fixed, along with memory leaks in the menu system.

Basically, everything is going to work slightly better after this patch, the main issue for some will be the exploits that Bioware have removed. An "issue where a player could enter a state when completing cover interactions near a ladder which could lead them to becoming invulnerable" is gone. Geth Primes and Harvesters no longer take headshot damage and Atlases show in the visor with a penetration weapon will no longer take double damage.

No mention of the bug that would cause Banshees to become confused and immobile when confronted with friendly turrets though. SHHHH, don't tell Bioware. Here are the patch notes.


Fixed an issue where sometimes facial movement would not match the voice over if a hitch occurred
Fixed an issue where taking cover in a certain area of Cure the Genophage mission would cause players to become blocked from progress
Fixed Action mode so it will now respect difficulty if set in the main menu
Fixed an issue where the player would always be walking forward instead of towards objective in The Return mission
Fixed the Ultralight Materials SMG weapon mod in multiplayer so it correctly affects weapon recharge
Fixed a rare case where the reinforcement pack purchases could fail and take currency without giving cards
Fixed the issue where users logged off/disconnected during multiplayer gameplay would not log back in properly until their game is rebooted
Fixed the issue that multiplayer Geth sentry turret flamethrower would endlessly repeat audio SFX
Fixed various multiplay maps where a player could fall through the map during multiplayer gameplay
Fixed the issue that using an ops survival pack consumable immediately before death could have no effect. It now works as intended
Fixed the issue so the Falcon weapon in multiplayer no longer sometimes fire blanks
Fixed the issue where enemies who were detonated with a biotic power while in stasis would become invulnerable
Fixed the issue where Banshees who got hit with a rocket launcher would not play the correct death animation
Fixed the issue where joining a match in progress while a Geth prime turret is active leaves the turret there for the remainder of the game. It now disappears.
Fixed the issue when joining a match in progress while the host is performing a combat roll would play firing animation on the client for the host character, for the duration of the match
Fixed an issue so Vanguards who are charging as they die are no longer being routed to the ground
Fixed Host migration that would sometimes cause players to start on an incorrect wave
Fixed the issue when a client quitting a match during deep bleedout causes muted/ducked audio to persist into next match
Fixed the issue that when being revived at the same time as being executed would leave players in an T-Pose state
Fixed the issue that when a Banshee takes enough damage to stop her charge state, her normal state is not immediately returned
Fixed the issue where a player could enter a state when completing cover interactions near a ladder which could lead them to becoming invulnerable and unable to deal damage
Fixed game hitching of 1-2 seconds at start of waves
Fixed clients occasionally seeing nonstop firing visual effects
Fixed evaded projectiles having an erratic course
Fixed an issue where selecting resume after death could occasionally cause henchmen to not spawn properly
Fixed weapon recoil that could become reversed with a Turian when stability mod and passive power present
Fixed the cover slot in Meet the Diplomats mission would cause a player to become stuck
Fixed Geth prime and harvesters taking headshot bonus damage when they shouldn't
Fixed shooting the atlas in the cockpit with a penetration weapon doing double damage
Fixed the Kishock Sniper Rifle that would hit head bone (critical hit) on enemies that should not be possible, such as the Brute, Banshee and Ravager
Fixed an issue where clients in cover cannot do any damage to targets at wide angles relative to the cover
Fixed an issue where player can glitch their melee combo to only perform cover lean melee animations
Fixed an issue where while dying in multiplayer, if the player pressed the prolong life button too quickly they could erroneously die
Fixed an issue so Drell Adept Reave audio plays at full volume for all players
Fixed an issue that an interrupt could sometimes fail to prevent a Cerberus engineer from building a turret
Fixed a crash in conversations after Investigate Sanctuary mission
Fixed an issue where gear items from the Rebellion DLC would unequip at the end of each match.
Fixed an issue so ammo consumables, such as cyro ammo, would not replicated from host to clients
Fixed the Memory Leak going in and out of Multiplayer Menus
Added feature to remove AFK players after a set amount of inactivity
Added a cooldown to Ops Survial consumable
Made ammo consumables insta-reload and damage bonus
Fixed an issue where the Online Pass Activation screen would appear for users despite PC not having a need for an online pass
Fixed the Galaxy Map search and rescue asset GUI not appearing when using eyefinity
Fixed an issue where users could not scan on galaxy map when right-click is rebound
Fixed an issue where having the PC hud (heads up display) (left shift) up when a player dies in multiplayer and revived would cause player unable to move and the hud to remain active

 
PC Gamer
World of Warplanes
Wargaming.net's airborne follow up to World of Tanks will be playable on the show floor at E3 next week. Attendees will be able to take seat at one of 28 booths and take part in World of Warplanes multiplayer matches for a chance to rack up points and take home prizes at the end of the event. There will also be a series of exhibition matches throughout E3 which will be livestreamed from the Twitch TV World of Tanks stream.

Not many players have had a chence to take Warplanes out for a test flight yet. It's been in closed alpha for a short while, and is set to move into invite-only closed beta testing tomorrow. You can sign up for a chance of grabbing a spot on the World of tanks site. For more on World of Warplanes, check out Wargaming.net's recent video showing heavy fighters in action.

Graham and Evan are limbering up for E3 right now. We'll have lots and lots of coverage of World of Warplanes and all the other big games of the show.
PC Gamer
Frozen Synapse Co-op
Frozen Synapse's new DLC adds co-op play and a new shield unit. Owen and I tried out both at lunchtime, with disastrous results. Our 20 minutes of planning resulted in the 33 seconds of catastrophe below, so I should explain what the hell we were planning.



Our objective was to defend the NPC (cyan coloured) from incoming attackers, so I said I'd hold the north (I'm in green) and Owen (yellow) would hold the south.

My plan was solid: my machinegunner would provide overwatch from behind cover, my shield unit would block the only north entrance, then drop her shield a second before the turn ends, so my grenade guy could fire past her to flush out anyone who was hiding from my gunner.

It didn't go well. My shield unit put her shield back up at the end of the turn, ricocheting the grenade back at us. It didn't blow, but in my next turn, I have a very large and explosive problem at my feet.

Meanwhile, Owen was taken by surprise when an enemy shotgunner ran right up to the south wall, hugging it so he could peek in and blast us at close range. Shotgunners beat everything at close range, so Owen had to do something inventive. He moved both his shield and grenade units away from the windows, and had the grenade one shoot at the shield, angling it to ricochet out of the window and blow up the shotgunner. I was impressed with his guile.

What I didn't realise was that he hadn't simulated this. You can share your plan in co-op, so you can see how it'll play out, but only for the next five seconds. The grenade didn't land in that time, but I assumed Owen had seen from the trajectory that it would sail clear out of the window.

It did not.

It tinked pathetically off the shield and fell at its owner's feet. So in the same turn, both of us had to escape deadly blasts of our own creation, while enemies flooded in.

The difference was that my blast didn't kill the NPC we were here to protect.

What I love about the video is that it looks like Owen's two units disagree: the grenadier wants to do the shield-bounce, and the shield lady is having none of it. My guys manage to survive by dashing round a corner and huddling behind their shield, but it's no help: the mission was the NPC, and we killed the NPC.

The new DLC is called Red, and it's $10 if you own Frozen Synapse. If not, you can buy both together for $27. They're also both on Steam.
PC Gamer
Core i7 at 7ghz
Hardware hacker Hicookie has taken Intel's latest high end processor to speeds in excess of 7GHz, according to overclocking rankings website Hwbot. Processor speed records change rapidly and aren't usually all that newsworthy, but what's interesting about this achievement is that the new record for Ivy Bridge is almost a full GHz faster than the one for older Sandy Bridge chips.

There's been a minor controversy around Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors over the last few weeks regarding their heat dissipation and suitability for home overclocking. In the world of extreme hardware abuse, however, Ivy Bridge looks to be a clear winner over its predecessor.

Of course, if you don't have a few flasks of liquid nitrogen to hand you may not achieve the same results.

Some sites, and a lot of comments on this blog, have raised concerns about Ivy Bridge's performance at high speeds, which have been put down to two factors. The tiny 22nm process means less surface area to dissipate heat over, and that's not helped by the warmth generated by a more complex graphics core. There's also been concerns raised about current leakage on the small pathways.

Personally, my experience of Ivy Bridge so far has been good in this regard – all the unlocked chips I've tried have been able to hit their maximum clock on air cooling, but it's something I am planning to go back to and investigate further next week.



In the meantime, Hicookie used LN2 cooling to make the most of the new tri-gate transistors Intel has packed into Ivy Bridge and proved that with help they're pretty damn nippy. According to screenshots posted on Hwbot, he was using a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H motherboard and an engineering sample (stepping 9 – the same as retail chips) of the i7 3770K.

Hicookie is the same enthusiast who hit 8GHz with AMD's FX chips last year.

PC Gamer
Allods Online top
The latest update to free to play MMO Allods Online aims to connect new players to some of Allods' most experienced adventurers. When you reach level six, you'll be slotted into a mentor queue and assigned a top level mentor. They can then show you the ropes in return for a commission on the money and loot you earn. The longer you maintain the mentor/student pact, the greater the rewards. You can opt out, if you like, but if you're looking for a guide to the floating islands of Allods Online, there are few better candidates than the experienced level 30 warriors raiding the endgame.

The Astral Storm update adds new challenges for experienced players as well. AO's endgame involves building a huge space galleon and sailing into the nebulous realms of astral space that separate each floating island. A new zone will offer new treasures that will scale depending on the number of galleons in the region, but the more players there are, the greater the chance of attack from one of Allod's colossal Astral demons. Find out more on the Allods Online site, and check out five new screenshots of the update below.









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