PC Gamer
Legend of Dungeon

Wander dungeon -> stab bat -> find chest -> profit! The legendary dungeon-crawler formula is as effective as ever as Legend of Dungeon demonstrates with a new demo that'll run in your browser right now. RPS note that the team have turned to Kickstarter to crowd fund the $5,000 they need to make the remaining tile sets, monsters, weapons and set up a dynamic music system.

Legend of Dungeon is being developed by husband and wife team, RobotLovesKitty, who make games in their treehouse. It's a roaming bat-punching beat-'em-up with a bit of permadeath for added spice. Dynamically lit sprites strike bring an anachronistic vibe to its randomised dungeons.

The Kickstarter campaign has almost hit its target, but there are many stretch goals left to unlock, including extra player classes and tamable pets. If you want to show LoD a bit of support, you can always drop them a vote on the Legend of Dungeon Steam Greenlight page as well.

Nov 21, 2012
PC Gamer
Gone Home

Gone Home is described as a non-combat exploration game in a non-fantastical setting, which is not the sort of language you'd have to use in classifying a book. In games, combat and fantasy are so dominant that their absence is a quirk. But as we've been shunting sawblades into alien zombies and shooting weaponised bees from our rupturing flesh, the worlds we've been doing it in have become rich, interesting places with stories of their own.

When Steve Gaynor, Karla Zimonja and Johnnemann Nordhagen were building the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2, they enjoyed working as a small team to tell a story through environmental details. So earlier this year, they left to form the Fullbright Company and make a game entirely about that.

Gone Home starts as you arrive back at your family home after a year abroad, only to find it conspicuously empty. It's a large, gloomy mansion on a dark and stormy night, so you're always half-expecting something to leap out at you. Even when you remind yourself it's not that kind of game, the edge it adds to the already ominous atmosphere is exactly the kind of irrational tension you feel exploring an empty house in real life.

After a few minutes of not being stabbed or shot, though, the details of the place you're in expand to fill your attention. You investigate it like a detective, deducing what's happened in the year you've been away. But while the atmosphere is spooky, most of what you discover is not. The notes, letters, diaries and visual clues that litter every room bring a whole family of characters to life.

Your teenage sister's story in particular is warm, funny and disarmingly tender - a smart girl on the cusp of discovering the mind-blowing scope of what the world has to offer her. The traces of her life are fleshed out with extraordinary richness, and bursting with clever, sweet, funny touches. Sam's the kind of girl to turn a homework assignment about the reproductive system into a World War II spy romance, and Gone Home is the kind of game to leave that entire three-page essay lying around for you to read.

If that's more detail than you want, it's easily skipped. Your progress through the mansion is a question of unlocking particular doors, and while the way forward is never signposted, it's obvious whether the clue you're looking at is relevant. The answer to getting into the library isn't going to be buried in Janice's forestry commission reports.

If you do read Janice's forestry commission reports, though, you might notice the scores she's given a colleague on their appraisal. You might recognise that name from another letter, and learn something interesting about her life that's never explicitly stated. The meat of the story is often between the lines, or in the connections between the clues you find. This half-written review of a stereo system isn't interesting, but the fact that Terry was writing it has a significance that's unveiled through other clues.

That's why Gone Home is a game and not a book. It can sketch a depth to these lives that would derail a linear narrative, and let you delve into it if and when your interest drives you.

It's due next year - keep an eye on it here.
PC Gamer
Aliens Colonial Marines

The latest Aliens: Colonial Marines trailer shows of Survivor mode, in which playable Xenomorphs face off against a team of human-controlled Marine meatbags. The Marines must stay alive long enough to secure a small area in the face of waves of Xenospawn. The trailer shows a few new alien types as well, including one that tears its own head open and then explodes, and one that mounts Marines and vomits acid into their faces. Shouting, screaming, shrieking and the white noise of endless machine gun fire await you in the video below.

PC Gamer

Crucial has announced a range of serious, performance RAM modules which barely stick their heads above the DIMM slots on your mobo. This is particularly useful in overclocked systems where that space is already in high demand: air coolers often impinge on the area around the CPU socket to the extent that the fans can interfere with the RAM slots on your motherboard.

If you’re into getting the most out of your PC through overclocking the chances are you’ve got some enthusiast memory installed, and chances are that enthusiast RAM has an unnecessarily large heatsink sat on top of it to make it look, well, kind of cool and angry. Those heatsinks are supposedly there to keep the RAM modules cool, but modern memory rarely needs such cooling and these attachments have largely become indicators of enthusiast-class sticks rather than having any real function. This is the niche area where low profile memory kits come in, like Crucial's Ballistix Tactical LP and the Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP.

The sticks come in 1,600MHz flavours with capacities of up to 8GB per module. That means you can pick up packs of between 4GB and a chunky 32GB of speedy DDR3 RAM. These low profile kits also combine that diminutive size as well as a lower power requirement - both sets come in at 1.35v compared with the traditional 1.5v or 1.6v you get with standard enthusiast modules.

You can pick up the new memory modules now, and I’ve got a couple sets about to land in my test rig soon.
PC Gamer
Game Music Bundle 4

Whether you're partial to the melancholy strains of Dear Esther, the thoughtful plinky plonky accompaniment to Indie Game: The Movie or the bluesy rawk of Shoot Many Robots, there's probably something in the latest Game Music Bundle to tickle your ears. You'll get the soundtracks mentioned above along with Spelunky and Retro City Rampage for any donation over a dollar.

If you pledge more than ten dollars you'll receive tier two of the bundle, which includes the "exclusive Joypad EP, featuring a never before heard preview from Zelda: Twilight Symphony." The excellent Hotline Miami EP, the Kanto Symphony EP, Peter Hollens and Lindsey Stirling's rendition of the Skyrim main theme, Adventures in Pixels by Ben Landis, Jottobots and Pop Methodology Experiment One OST.

That's a lot of notes for $10. You can listen to excerpts of all the tracks on offer and buy the bundle from the Game Music Bundle site now. The bundle will be available for another five and a half days.
PC Gamer
Super Hexagon

If you own an iWhatsit, then there's a good chance you've spent the last two months trying to beat Terry Cavanagh at his own game (his own game being the minimalist reflex test known as Super Hexagon). However, if you don't own an iWhatsit, you'll have had to make do with the original flash game, a clone, or watching the inside of a tumble dryer - until now. Cavanagh has just announced that Super Hexagon is coming to Steam next week.

Tuesday 27th November, to be exact, and for the pleasantly low price of $2.99 (the same price as the iOS game). Cavanagh's in talks with Valve to add a time-limited discount on top of that, but even at its RRP it seems like a bargain. Rather than merely port the game, he decided to take the hard road and rewrite the entire game in C++ (the original Flash version not performing to his satisfaction). As Cavanagh puts it, this new one "runs at a higher resolution than the iOS version, and runs fast and silky smooth on every machine I've been able to get my hands on." So while we've had to wait for it, it seems like we'll end up with the best version as a result. Score.

We haven't seen any images or videos of the PC (and Mac) game yet, so here's the original iOS trailer, complete with awesome chiptune soundtrack.

PC Gamer
Battlefield 3

EA Games VP Patrick Soderlund has been talking to OXM about the various projects underway at DICE right now, and it sounds like there's more going on beyond Battlefield 3 DLC and Battlefield 4. "The DICE guys are roughly 300 people in the Stockholm studio," said Soderlund. "Not all of them are working on Battlefield things, and that's intentional, because we don't want to become a Battlefield factory."

"The minute we start saying 'you're going to make a Battlefield game for the rest of your life', they're going to go some place else," he added. "So for them to make great Battlefield games there need to be other things for them to do as well. That's why we have people who move around quite a bit.

Update: Regarding those other projects, "Mirror's Edge 2 is in production at DICE," says former Battlefield producer Ben Cousins in a tweet spotted by PCGamesN, a fact that is supposedly "general knowledge in the Stockholm dev scene."

But what could those non-Battlefield things? My hopeful heart cries "Mirror's Edge 2!" but that's something it does every few minutes whatever the news (the update above gives me even more hope). The Frostbite engine is being used all over EA now, it's also possible that DICE's engineers are also working with the likes of Bioware and the Need for Speed team to help them get the most out of the new tech.

Battlefield 4 is due late next year/early 2014. If it's playing by BF3's model that'll be followed by a year of DLC leading up to Battlefield 5 or a new Bad Company, but it's impossible to know just yet. A year is a long time in FPS land.
PC Gamer
Metro Last Light sunlight

THQ's previously reported financial difficulties continue with the resignation of CFO Paul Pucino, who leaves no named successor in the wings. However, there are some glimmers of light on the horizon for the troubled publisher, which reports that it's in negotiations with an unidentified financial sponsor (expected to result in a "significant and material dilution to shareholders").

It's also established a "forbearance agreement" with the bank Wells Fargo, which essentially allows THQ extra time to catch up on its debts - until January 15 in this case.

"This agreement enables us to continue focusing on bringing our games in development to market," said THQ's CEO Brian Farrell. "Meanwhile, we are evaluating financial alternatives that will transition the company into its next phase."

With Company of Heroes 2 looking very special indeed, and other promising titles like Metro: Last Light trundling toward release, we're keeping our fingers crossed that THQ manages to climb out of this financial hole.
PC Gamer
Mass Effect Dragon Age

This painting by artist Andrew Ryan (not that one) re-imagines the cast of Mass Effect as a band of warriors, mages, knights and archers from Dragon Age. The Normandy is a high dragon ridden by Joker, Garrus is an awesome crossbow-wielding knight, Jack's a blood mage elf, EDI is a golem. It works quite brilliantly.

Kotaku received word from the artist that the work was finally complete. Each character was designed separately before being combined in the final diorama. According to his Deviant Art page, Ryan is a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Visual Arts and is "always looking for new and exciting art opportunities, primarily related to concept art/books illustration/ or card game art." Read on for more close ups of the individual characters. Which one is your favourite?

PC Gamer
portal 2 coop splitscreen

Caring, sharing types rejoice: Valve have released a patch which enables two-controller splitscreen play for Portal 2, making it all the easier to give your co-op buddy a purple nurple when they "accidentally" mis-time the placement of an Excursion Funnel. Again.

And you aren't restricted to squinting at a fraction of your desktop monitor, either: the update adds support for Big Picture mode, allowing you to bicker over who gets to hold the Discouragement Redirection Cube in the comfort of your own living room.

All you have to do to activate splitscreen is to press X on the second controller inside the first co-op menu, and then a whole new world of same-screen squabbling is available. We recommend you fuel your newfound fractious fellowship with our recent guide to the top 10 Portal 2 co-op maps.

The patch also fixes a couple of controller support glitches: previously the ‘quick ping’ button caused the player’s movement to stop and it was impossible to exit Robot Enrichment or Create Test Chambers menus using the controller alone. No longer!