PC Gamer

Games Workshop have announced a new Space Hulk game. Built by developer Full Control, it'll be a turnbased strategy game designed to closely mimic the action of the boardgame itself, in which a team of heavily armoured Space Marines stomp through the infested carcass of an immense spaceship, ripping its chitinous inhabitants to shreds with mighty bolters or otherwise meeting a grisly fate themselves.

There's a teaser trailer within, but it's about as disappointingly scant on detail as any teaser trailer has ever been. However, a bullet-point list on the game's site reveals a few more exciting tidbits: there's cross-platform multiplayer with the Mac and iOS versions, a new co-op campaign against the Genestealer AI and a level editor.

As the trailer (barely) shows, you'll be playing as Blood Angels, romping through the ruins of the Sin of Damnation.

PC Gamer

After weeks of struggling to raise the needed $150,000, innovative indie compilation SPORTSFRIENDS has crept over its Kickstarter funding target with hours to spare. That means the collection of quirky competitive local multiplayer games will be making their way to PC (*mumble* and PS3) for public consumption.

The project includes J.S. Joust, a screenless party game in which players must protect their PS Move controllers from being jostled; Super Pole Riders, an updated version of Bennett "Jerk Who Made QWOP" Foddy's two player browser game; Barabariball, a lo-fi cross between Super Smash Bros and netball; and Hokra, a "minimalist digital sports game".

It's been a fantastic final push, achieving over half of its total in the final week. In fact, as of yesterday, it was still short around $20k.

There are now three hours left before the Kickstarter deadline. Which is probably a bit late for stretch goals.
PC Gamer
Viking Battle for Asgard review thumb

After four years aboard a longship from console land, Creative Assembly’s hack and slasher (and chopper and slicer) about Norse mythology and decapitation has finally landed on the PC’s shores.

In Viking: Battle for Asgard you play Skarin, who must liberate Midgard from the invading forces of Hel, Queen of the Underworld, in his role as champion of Freya, Goddess of Plot Advancement. Hel’s forces have captured three key islands, and your job is to travel across each one, dispatching her minions and freeing the soldiers they’ve imprisoned.

The combat is solid, if never spectacular: a collection of light and heavy attack combos, blocks, dodges and mana-bar-draining elemental weapon power-ups. But the repetition, of both the moment-to-moment fighting and the campaign structure, anaesthetises you from ever feeling truly excited about the on-screen action.

Skarin is constantly chopping off limbs in slow-mo finishing flourishes, to a point that feels gratuitous. You’ll see the same animations so many times against the handful of enemy types that it quickly becomes boring.

There’s a running theme of Viking paying lip-service to presentation, only for it to fall flat. The Nordic wrapping, for example, promises an entertaining world, but the unengaged voice acting quickly nixes any investment.

Friendly fire is off, right lads?

This leaves nothing to mask the dearth of substance. Viking is a game you play on autopilot. The slow tick towards completion, seeing red map icons turn blue and watching the colour saturate back into liberated areas, is compelling, but moments of genuine spectacle are rare.

The occasional stealth infiltration missions are jarringly terrible. As with all attempts to force stealth into an engine unsuited for it, it’s never entirely clear when enemies can see you. Being discovered causes a flood of enemies to charge, leading to a quick death and a frustrating respawn outside the base.

The other stand-out segment is far more impressive. Complete enough objectives on whichever island you’re working through, and you’re prompted to start an assault, leading an army of Vikings against the monsters. Now you’re scrapping in the midst of two warring armies, defeating champions and ordering dragons to attack strategic targets. They’re fun, look terrific, but only come after hours of mission churn.

Everything Viking does (stealth aside) is competently put together, but it lacks the flair and fluidity you want from a truly great hack-and-slash game. The same can be said of Hardlight’s porting, which is smooth and reliable, but comes burdened with awkward keyboard controls and a capped framerate.

Fortunately, Viking also comes to us with a four-year-old price tag. That means it’s is undeniably good value, even if the thrills are sparse.
PC Gamer
Seidon in LGA 2011

Cooler Master have decided it's now safe to get back into the water-cooling game and are releasing the new Seidon 120M onto the market this month. With a price tag of around £50 this closed-loop water cooler isn't sitting too high on the price spectrum, though I would expect Cooler Master to be releasing an £80-odd Seidon 240M with a double fan array and larger reservoir quite soon after.

The Seidon 120M is the now-classic style of liquid CPU chiller with a 120mm PWM fan attached to an equivalent-sized water reservoir, all linked up to a diminutive water block that sits atop your CPU. The fan can operate between 600 and 2,400RPM, so that PWM function ought to allow for the ability to balance performance and noise.

It should also be pretty versatile, with Cooler Master stating that it will come with an array of different fittings, ranging from Intel's top LGA 2011 socket (pictured) down to AMD's FM2 APU socket. That'll mean full compatibility then for the rest of the CPU line-ups, from Ivy Bridge to Piledriver.

Is this cool? Am I cool? How about now? Is that cool?

Back in the before times, long, long ago, Cooler Master claims to have invented the closed-loop CPU water cooler. The Aquagate Series was brought out in 2004 and Cooler Master is calling it the first ever all-in-one liquid cooler. We obviously can't verify those claims because there are no records from that long ago, but our oldest sources tell us that its Aquagate closed-loop coolers were among the first that didn't demand a degree in engineering to put together and mount in/on your machine.

Let's hope the same is true of its latest offering; I've got my sample en route as I type, but we'll all be able to pick up a Seidon 120M when they're launched sometime this December.

PC Gamer
Medieval RPG

During the Game Developers Session conference, which took place in Prague over the weekend, Warhorse Studios gave a presentation showing what was possible with the modified CryEngine 3 that the developer is using to power its upcoming unannounced medieval RPG.

This will be Warhorse's first release, but the team is being lead by Daniel Vavra, the creator of Mafia, along with developers who previously worked on Operation Flashpoint and Arma: Armed Assault.

By golly, it all looks rather picturesque. Flowers swaying in the breeze, individually grained planks of old wood, muddy puddles reflecting light and trees. On their Twitter account, the team stress that this was a demo of how they can achieve "next-gen" graphics, but that it was created specifically for GDS, and isn't taken from their game.

Very little is known about the project, except that it's being targeted for a rather vague 2014/15 release.

Thanks, Eurogamer.
PC Gamer
Bioshock Infinite cover thumb

Proving that people can get worked up about anything, the reveal of Bioshock Infinite's box art sparked apoplectic rage among fans. Speaking to Wired, Bioshock Infinite's creative director Ken Levine admitted he knew the cover would prove unpopular with gaming enthusiasts. "I understand that some of the fans are disappointed. We expected it. I know that may be hard to hear, but let me explain the thinking."

First though, the subject of the controversy:

I know, right? Doesn't just looking at it raise the hackles? One internet poster, Jimmy Fictitious, a person I almost certainly just made up, said, "I'll be buying the game digitally, so will never actually see that cover on anything I own. But the mere fact that it's out there made me so mad that I punched a spaniel."

Levine explains that the box art is designed to appeal to non-enthusiasts. "We went and did a tour… around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that. People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock? Not a single one of them had heard of it."

He then went on to make the single greatest analogy that anyone has made about anything. "Our gaming world, we sometimes forget, is so important to us, but... there are plenty of products that I buy that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. My salad dressing. If there’s a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I don’t read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business."

"I wanted the uninformed ... to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it."

So why do people care? The suggestion is that, despite all the claims and promises made by Irrational, the image they're putting front and centre conveys none of the themes they're talking up. It's a scowling man with a gun, raising fears that the game is more interested in mass-market pandering than providing something interesting and thought-provoking. If only there were a reassuring old phrase warning about the dangers of judging something by its box art.

While surprisingly fierce, the box art outcry only registers a seven out of ten on the Storm-in-a-Teacup controversy scale as, so far, no-one has created a petition. Personally I'm entirely happy for Irrational to use mercenary tactics to sneak a game that sounds so exciting into more homes. More importantly, I am now 100% committed to meeting the personalities of the salad dressing business.
PC Gamer
dark matter

Nothing good has ever happened on a spaceship. Nothing good will ever happen on a spaceship, so someone should probably stop Richard Branson before he dooms mankind to extinction via grisly alien parasites or a race of malevolent space-gods. Dark Matter is the latest game to offer proof of humanity's hubris. It's a sidescrolling survival horror/action/exploration game set - you guessed it - on a hulking piece of space-junk, populated by carnivorous aliens. It's due out next year, and InterWave Studios have just released its first gameplay video. You'll find it beneath the event horizon - but beware of a demonic Sam Neill.

If you were expecting action, you might want to adjust your expectations. This is a video that takes a few seconds out of its schedule to show off the light switches - but what lovely light switches they are. Technically, Dark Matter is looking pretty impressive, boasting a fairly impressive lighting engine, vital for that all-important atmosphere. The other thing to note is that CRAFTING. I have a feeling crafting will be in every game ever from now on - even Tetris - and it certainly seems a good fit for survival horror.

The website still says that Dark Matter is expected to be finished by the end of the year, but as IndieGames note, there isn't really much of 2012 left. A developer comment now puts the game down for 2013, which is shaping up to be a good year for dying horribly in space.

PC Gamer
Steam Linux

OMG! Ubuntu are reporting that Valve have started listing Linux system requirements on Steam's game pages, possibly hinting that the company is preparing for an official Steam Linux release.

While the listing's don't appear to be available on non-Linux operating systems, Techgage went rooting through the data for hints of what to expect. Unsurprisingly, the main requirement of many titles is Ubuntu. While the Linux community is spread over many distributions, Ubuntu is arguably the most user-friendly, thanks to its Unity desktop interface. But some games also offer support for other popular variants, with Amnesia: The Dark Descent working on both Mint and Fedora as well.

Linux compatibility is clearly becoming an increasingly important project for Valve, with the recently confirmed Steam Box likely to use it as its backbone. Still, the big sticking point remains the games. The current list of Linux's Steam titles shows 29 available, with the majority being indie games that already support the OS. Listings have also appeared for Valve's own first-party games, but the real test is surely going to be how easy for users to access other AAA releases through the client.

Thanks, Joystiq.
PC Gamer
Assassin's Creed 3 Washington thumb

According to Ubisoft, the first DLC pack for Assassin's Creed 3 takes place in an alternate reality. Which is cute, because it suggests they think their current tale of exploding suns, genetically coded tourist trips to the past and magic space wizards is the actual reality.

In the upcoming alternate-alternate reality tale, George Washington is recast as a power-mad tyrant who crowns himself king of the US. Hijinks ensue, likely in the form of Connor running up trees, sulking at people and stabbing a deer. Maybe there'll even be an assassination or two, although not on the basis of the few hours I've played of the main game so far.

Here's a trailer full of dramatically earnest narration.

I'm genuinely looking forward to finding out what justification they give for Desmond pursuing this line of history warping investigation.
PC Gamer
Swat 4 thumb

Over the past month, the multiplayer matchmaking service GameSpy has been closing down servers across a selection of games. Slashdot user OldTimeRadio reports that games such as Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, SWAT 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War and Star Wars: Battlefront will no longer let players search for, and in some cases host, online matches.

This move comes only months after GameSpy's acquisition by GLU Mobile, a publisher of "freemium" games across mobile, tablet and browsers, in August.

Rebellion, the developers of Sniper Elite, made an official announcement, explaining the situation to their community, in which they state that, "this decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control."

"We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year - far in excess of how much we were paying previously."

Rebellion go on to say that, because of the way the GameSpy middleware is integrated into the title, switching to a new multiplayer provider would involve a significant redevelopment that would also be too costly for the studio.

"While we are not happy about the situation, as an independent developer we simply do not have the resources to pay the massive costs of new servers along with redeveloping a seven-year-old game."

Over at their Facebook page, GameSpy have only been responding to questions about Battlefront's online support. "Lucas Arts no longer supports the title so we're obligated to disable the service per our Agreement with them."