PC Gamer
Diablo 3 PVP


If you've been anxiously awaiting Team Deathmatch mode in Diablo III, you should probably stop. In a blog update posted today by lead designer Jay Wilson, he confirms that the mode (which has been playable at past BlizzCons, even before Diablo III's release) is currently "not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect or that we feel you deserve" and that "we will be shelving it for now and exploring other options."

The good news is that simple PvP dueling is scheduled for inclusion in the 1.07 patch, which Wilson vaguely claims will "hit sometime after the new year." In other words, at least eight months after Diablo III's launch.

In regards to Team Deathmatch, Wilson bluntly says that the mode, in its current form, lacks depth. He explains that testers found that "simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly" and that most "didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours." He goes on to say that, though Team Deathmatch could still see be released "in some form," the team has gone back to the drawing board to look "at new modes that play up to the strengths of the character classes, focus on objectives beyond just defeating other players, and possibly even integrate PvE elements and rewards." Wilson also assures that whatever mode ultimately replaces Team Deathmatch will be released as a free update.

If you played Team Deathmatch at a past BlizzCon, do you agree with Blizzard's decision? And what kind of meatier mode would you like to see replace it?
PC Gamer
Humble-Indie-Bundle-7


Now there's even more reason to use that holiday cash Aunt Myrtle sent you on something charitable. The ongoing Humble Indie Bundle 7 has just expanded its indie game offerings to include The Basement Collection of Flash games, the action puzzle platformer Offspring Fling, and the retro 2D platformer Cave Story. The original bundle was packed with indie hits Snapshot, Closure, The Binding of Isaac and its Wrath of the Lamb DLC, Shank 2, Dungeon Defenders and its DLC, Legend of Grimrock, and the documentary Indie Game: The Movie. So, for the next six days, you can snatch up nine full games and one movie for a price that's absurdly close to free.

If you haven't done a Humble Bundle before, here's how it works: You can donate any amount of money and receive Snapshot, Closure, The Binding of Isaac, Shank 2, and Indie Game: The Movie. But if you pay more than the average ($6.41 as of this writing), you'll also get Dungeon Defenders, Legend of Grimrock, The Basement Collection, Offspring Fling, and Cave Story. The folks at Humble Bundle estimate the total value of this collection at $170. You can even choose how you'd like to have your payment divided between the developers and the two benefiting organizations, Child's Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

For more information on the games included in the bundle, check out the trailer for Humble Indie Bundle 7 here.
PC Gamer
day4_new


Christmas. Christmas never changes. Every day this week though, Fallout: New Vegas gets into the spirit of the season as a selection of mods make wishes come true… for better or worse. Today, when was the last time the Doctor arrived to find nothing going horribly wrong? Just saying...

Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3




Trespassers, hello! How strange! Better tell me your name. It's tougher to be a trespasser when everyone knows your name, and I'd know. Of course, that's me, and you're probably not me, because I think we'd have met.



They call me The Man With No Name.



How fascinating! They call me the Doctor. Some people, anyway; the smart people. Others, The Oncoming Storm, The Destroyer Of Worlds, The Lady of Pai- no, wait, that's a secret. Anyway, mustn't stop. Unless!



Unless what?



What? What's with all these questions? Have a Jelly Baby. Didn't think I liked them any more. Turns out I do, as you can see from my face. Not a red one! The red ones are my favourites. I bite the little toe off first. Going for the head is barbaric.



What is this place? Some kind of spaceship?



Ah! Half-right! Mostly right. Time and space, you see. It's my TARDIS, and it can take you anywhere and anywhen and anywha. You'll discover that. Well, usually. Right now, it's stuck to this wasteland, and changing time of day.



Does that mean you could teach me how to fly it?



A human? Please. Now, if you had a Time Lord brain perhaps, yes, but there is no way a regular person could handle this, except for any of the ones who can or if it starts flying itself. You though? Sorry, I just don't-





Well, I'll be. If that isn't the most wonderful, amazing contrivance I've seen in... oooh, five minutes. Be my guest then! Turns out it's actually as easy as picking a destination and pulling a lever. No problem at all.



Alright then, pardner. Reckon I'll set the co-ordinates for my suite at the Lucky 38. Cass, stand by. I'm pulling the lever. And... nothing happened. "Unable to land at these co-ordinates" it says. Doctor?



Well, you know TARDISes. Always buggier on the inside.



You do remember that we can teleport at will?



Sssh there, New Amy. Pond 2.0. Anothermy Pond. No. No, I won't be saying that again, definitely not. Try another destination if you like, or don't.



I know where. Something I been meaning to do, but for all them new Legion patrols in the Mojave. Someone I owe a debt to, and I just figured out how to best repay.





Hail Caesar.



That's 'Caes-.





NANOPROBES INSERTED! INITIALISING NEURAL TAKEOVER SUBROUTINE! I AM YOURS TO COMMAND!



Yeah, reckon that's more like it. You're coming with me.





...



FISTO ONLY WENT OUT FOR FIVE MINUTES. NOW FISTO ALONE.





You did what?



Made Caesar our new pack mule. Thought your back'd be happy.



That's not Caesar. Met Caesar once. Not as good with salads as you'd expect.



Okay, I can't take this any more. Let's say goodbye to our new friend here before things really start getting strange?



Leaving so soon? Did I mention you can explore the bowels of the TARDIS if you're in the mood for what I hear you people call 'adventure' times?



Thanking you kindly, sir, but I don't think we'll be poking round your bowels. What's say you drop us off in Freeside so we can continue our patrol?





Well, this all seems reassuringly quiet. So what's the plan, chief? Check in with the Kings? Go take a look at the Strip?



In a bit, Cass. First things first, want to see if there's any more of them magic books lying around. Got a bit of a taste for the old sparkly stuff, and you never know. Here. Like this one. This looks promising.





Necronomicon? Almost positive you shouldn't read that one, Caslon Antique. Let's just go hit the Atomic Wrangler, maybe check the blackjack tables. Bet someone's put naked ladies or something on the back of the cards.



Eh, what's the worst could happen?





THE ANSWER WAS ZOMBIES!





A LOT OF GODDAMN ZOMBIES!





Okay, so in retrospect, this may not've been my best idea. Probably not even in the top five or so, if I'm honest. Ideas?



NEVER TOUCH ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!



And in terms've ideas that might help right now?



We can't hold them back! There's no way House has enough Securitrons without dealing with the Platinum Chip thing, and somehow I don't see we've got time now. Doubt we'll get NCR or what's left of the Legion helping so much either.



Not seeing what choice we got, not 'less you want me to call the Enclave on this radio and beg them for help. Know you'd never want me doing that.



Are you kidding? Call them!



Ahem. Excuse me. Is that... is that the evil remnant of the US government? We seem to have us a bit of a zombie problem. In New Vegas. Look, this is awkward, but you know how you guys are the baddies and so have the best toys?



I dunno. Maybe 1/5 mutant, on my mother's side? Yeah, I know, but... look, it's you guys spent years taking order from a computer. And you heard your music? Who's the real freaks? Yeah, okay. Nightkin. Point taken. So anyway... hello?



Well? What did they say?









Why, I I believe we said "What the hell, it's Christmas."


Today's Mods: Frozen World, Female Caesar's Legion, Increased Legion Presence, Increased Wasteland Spawns, Cortex Scrambler, The TARDIS In The Wasteland, Electro-City, Zombie Mod, Enclave Commander,
Dec 27, 2012
PC Gamer
Rayman screenshot


Before party games with the Rabbids or co-op with Globox, Rayman was all about one dude: Rayman. No real plot, no gimmicks, no radical ‘tude? No problem. In a time when older PC gamers were going ballistic over Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, Rayman ($2.99 on GOG) reminded us that 2D gameplay and hand-drawn graphics were features to be cherished, not discarded. Without him, I might've never discovered my passion for a genre that had long been confined to consoles, and one that’s recently seen a resurrection.

Ray’s task in his first game is to rescue cute, spherical thingamajigs called Electoons from the clutches of the dastardly Mr. Dark, who has also made away with something called the Great Protoon. Where might such a subtly-diabolical villain call home? The frosting-filled, cake-covered Candy Chateau, of course.

On the way to Mr. Dark’s saccharine cathedral, you’ll need to beat up an anthropomorphic saxophone, navigate pitch-black corridors with a firefly on loan from Joe’s Diner, and use your helicopter hair to saw through ropes as thick as Hulk Hogan. As Rayman restores the balance, our golden-haired, ascot-wearing protagonist is helped by the magical fairy Betilla, who bestows powers like ledge-grabbing and a glide-enabling gyrocopter moptop.

The places you’ll go
 


Ubisoft’s imagination ran rampant during this first Rayman, and the payoff is a consistently engaging experience—one where players haven’t the slightest inkling as to what awaits them in the next stage. With nary a portly plumber or blue hedgehog in sight, Rayman sat down in the vacant throne that would rule over the majestic lands of DOS sidescrolling. It’s a game that encapsulates the essence of platformers: feeling bewildered by the challenges set before you, yet empowered and confident that you have what it takes to win.

The limbless, fist-chucking hero feels akin to a DOS-based ambassador, introducing younger generations to the wonderful world of twitch platforming and sporting sprite work that looks like a cartoon cel come to life.

And the music—oh my god, the music. Rayman’s soundtrack pumped jazzy ditties, pulse-quickening tribal drumming, and serene symphonies out of my dinky speakers in a time when CD-quality audio was still novel and a little alien. Back then, I wondered if my Sound Blaster was relaying transmissions from a higher power. Play any track for a Rayman veteran, and they’ll lose themselves to a tidal wave of nostalgia syrup. Betilla the Fairy’s soothing theme layers glimmering harps, bass, and flutes in a way that feels airy but grounded.

Back in my day
 


But for a platformer with a presentation and setting that’s so enchanting to children, the difficulty is beyond brutal. It’s a relic of arcade game restrictions that we’ve long left in the past, when saving your game was a privilege, not a right. Limited continues? Check. Enemies who are too small to hit but big enough to hurt you? Mmhmm. Blind jumps into instant-death spikes? Yup, plenty of them.

Rayman seems to force a kind of selective memory on those who play it: I have no recollection of the game’s finicky controls, minuscule field of view, or maddeningly-well-hidden Electoon cages—only of the beautiful backdrops, charming characters, and mesmerizing tunes. It’s a wonder how I didn’t doom myself to baldness after tearing my own youthful hair out over the raw frustration of Rayman’s pitfalls.

Something borrowed, something new
 


Though Rayman might've moved on to 3D pastures after his debut game (Rayman Origins notwithstanding), we still see shades of his original quest in highly praised run-’n’-jumps like Super Meat Boy and Dustforce. While it’s unlikely that Team Meat or Hitbox had the French-made, Muppet-looking hero in mind when designing their games, many of the modern games’ greatest strengths were already
present in Rayman. Much like SMB, Rayman’s classic boss fights revolve around pattern recognition, with a touch of twitch reactions mixed in. The level variety eclipses even the wildly-diverse SMB stages—who needs a Hospital or Salt Factory or buzzsaw-filled death caves when you’ve got the bongo-juggling monks of Gong Heights, or the spiked, bug-eyed Taijitu scattered around Picture City’s Eraser Plains?

Playing the game now, it’s no wonder that I never defeated Mr. Dark as a lad. Reaching the final boss means freeing every Electoon in every level of every stage. Without online FAQs to guide you through often-invisible, annoying backtracking sections, or knowledge of the infinite lives cheat (“RAYLIVES,” by the way), finishing the game is next to impossible. But the journey is far more important than the destination—and Rayman’s eye-pleasing, ear-caressing, and charming world will wash away most of the memories of the tough trials it puts you through.

Rayman’s found a revitalization via Origins, though he seems to have morphed from an cheery champion into a hyperactive Wisenheimer with a penchant for ogling buxom fairies. His true beginnings can be found at 640x480 resolution, and whether you’re discovering his escapades for the first time, or vaguely recall his treks through the Dream Forest and Band Land, Rayman’s domain is one that’s still worth visiting.

On the next page: More Rayman screenshots from our archive
 















PC Gamer
Ibb and Obb preview


This preview originally appeared in issue 248 of PC Gamer UK.

In a platform game, the screen is usually divided between solid land and empty space. The empty space is the fun bit – you can jump around in it, fight enemies, solve puzzles. Usually nothing very interesting happens inside the solid ground beneath your feet.

In Ibb and Obb, the solid ground becomes the empty space for another platformer, one that takes place upside-down. Portals in the ‘ground’ let you jump into that inverted world, and walk on the underside of the same floor you were walking on top of just a second ago. There are no blocks of solid ground anywhere, just a thin barrier between these two worlds.

It’s brilliant. It’s a co-op game, but both you and your partner are free to move between worlds – the challenge is to figure out where each of you should go to help the other through obstacles. Some of the portals work for both of you, but others are colour-coded to only let one of you travel through. Often, that gives one of you freedom to roam in both dimensions, while the other is stuck in one until you help them.

Ibb and Obb’s world is simple and elegant.

The puzzles start pleasingly simple, and slowly scale up in complexity until they’re as brain-bending as anything in Portal 2. In fact, Portal 2 is a good comparison: almost every puzzle in Ibb and Obb requires both of you to help each other, and the cerebral puzzling is mixed with some very satisfying momentum mechanics.

My favourite things in the game are the bounce pads. They don’t bounce you. All they do is transfer the momentum of any impact to the other side – and hence the other world.

So if one of you stands on top of a pad, the other can go into the upside-down world and jump onto the underside of it to send you flying. It’s a great feeling, and it serves as the foundation for some truly inspired puzzles.

I’ll take the high road.

Playing with Chris, I found a pad that seemed completely useless to me: it was on a raised platform, so I couldn’t get much height to jump on it, nor did I really need to be propelled into the air at that point by Chris jumping on the other side. But a raised platform in this world is a pit in the other – one too big for Chris, in the upside down world, to cross.

So I stood on the pad, Chris jumped onto its underside and sent me flying into the air. So far, no use. But when I landed, the impact sent Chris flying back up out of the chasm he was stuck in, letting him make it to the far side. I had essentially been a storage vessel for his momentum, borrowing it from him when he landed, then giving it back when I came down.

That’s a beautiful trick of physics. Generally, too, Ibb and Obb is beautiful. There’s a gorgeous elegance to its simple art style, and a perfect economy to the way it uses space, both above and below ground. It’s engrossing, clever and fun.
PC Gamer
Euro-Truck-Simulator-2 GOTY


Scary true story. A week after ETS2 reversed, beeping, into my life, I collected a friend from a house in the middle of nowhere. We’d driven about a mile down a winding country lane when the friend enquired “Er, shouldn’t you be on the other side of the road?” Days of whisking simulated cargoes along simulated continental highways had stealthily displaced a decade and a half of unsimulated British motoring experience. I veered to the left, and blurted a confession.

This long-distance lorry driving game is as mesmerising as the swish-swish of windscreen wipers in a rain-lashed traffic jam. It’s as rhythmic as motorway driving. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre, mirror signal, manoeuvre; dip headlights, undip headlights, dip headlights, undip headlights... As your haulage business grows and you explore more and more of the seamless European venue, the suspiciously unisex scenery and slightly timid truck audio seems less and less important. What matters is identifying the most lucrative contracts, then fulfilling those contracts as speedily and safely as possible.

2012 has given us more detailed and plausible vehicles than ETS2’s DAFs, Scanias and Volvos (the FSX and X-Plane add-on scene continues to spawn a steady stream of high-fidelity gems). It’s given us lovelier landscapes (AeroFly FS springs to mind). What it hasn’t managed to do is deliver a sim with more natural momentum, more innate randomness. Dynamic job offers, ever-changing traffic flows, and thousands of miles of hand-crafted tarmac are the ever-present rumble strips that keep Zen-like relaxation from turning into bleary-eyed boredom.

In a market awash with atrocious vehicle games masquerading as simulators, ETS2 risks being damned by association. “Budget price, unpromising theme? Think I’ll stick to the winged wonders I know and love.” All those who do cross the road to avoid this articulated outsider are missing out on a sim as singular as it is soothing, as hypnotising as it is terminally unhip.

Read More: Euro Truck Simulator 2 review.

Runners Up: AeroflyFS, X-Plane.
PC Gamer
burning-building GOTY


If I have to endure another level in which I must escape from a burning building on the verge of collapse, I'll set fire to my house. I'll collapse through the floor, tumble twelve feet onto my back, crawl at tedious pace through a low section, traverse a room that's entirely on fire apart from a narrow path of miraculously not-on-fire floorspace and then climb a series of conveniently collapsed roof beams to safety.

"Phew!" I'll think, "I'd have been in a spot of bother there if I hadn't played through pretty much the same section in Black Ops 2, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and twice in Assassin's Creed 3 this year."

It's not the fire that's annoying. Things tend to catch fire a lot in videogames. No, it's the feeling that there are mission designers worldwide calling their set-pieces from the same playbook. You could tear out the pages, laminate them and resell the package as an Action Adventure Videogame Construction Kit. Shuffle the cards and lay them out in a row for an instant framework.

Let's have a go with the modern military shooter edition: escape a burning building - sniper section - flee a helicopter - warehouse section - fire at pursuers from the back of a truck - breach and clear - press X to kill prominent antagonist.

This section felt particularly incongruous when it interrupted the terrific free-roaming violence of Far Cry 3, especially considering the fact that Far Cry 3 has a fantastic dynamic fire effects built into the engine. The "escape from burning building" sequences that emerge naturally from Far Cry 3's systems are much, much better than the scripted sequence written into their early story mission.

But not all games aspire to create a dynamic open world, and nor should they. But in a dedicated, scripted action game there's an even greater need for new set-pieces and fresh settings.

Take Bulletstorm, whose opening sections dramatically undersold its capacity for bonkers theatrics. Sure, it had a "fire at pursuers from the back of a truck" bit, but in Bulletstorm's case the pursuer was a colossal red doom-wheel that careered about the landscape blowing up pipelines and threatening to stomp the player into a smear at any moment. If action games are determined to be rollercoasters, we're sorely in need of some new twists.
PC Gamer
dark-souls GOTY


You know, you lot are alright. While the mood of the gaming masses is often mischaracterised by those who don’t know better - thanks to our shrillest, least rational voices, delinquent children and disgruntled petitionistas - we actually aren’t short of terrifically generous and talented people, labouring away quietly to make things better for everyone.

To name but a few: this year, Robin Scott has done great work with the Nexus sites, going above and beyond the duty of mod aggregation to build a network of unmatched quality content, collated and curated with authority. Then there’s James 'Lycerius' Moore, now famed for his decade long Civilization 2 campaign, who responded to his unexpected stardom with considerable magnaminty, releasing his saved game to the public and helping to forge the Eternal War subreddit, where players swap fiction and art based on his epic battle. Or you could rightly celebrate those responsible for The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod for KOTOR 2 - a humungous and protracted effort that saw its massive 1.8 release in July.

But this year’s award must go jointly to Durante and Nwks - the two modders who, within hours of Dark Souls’ crude port plopping onto PC, issued fixes for its resolution and framerate. They’re essentially responsible for making one of the greatest games of this year playable. Bravo.
Dec 27, 2012
PC Gamer
PCG249.rev_miner.pic5


Perhaps if I keep my fingers jammed on the fire and boost buttons, and my eyes fixed on that stunningly beautiful asteroid, I’ll stop noticing how disappointing this space sim is.

PEWPEWPEW! WHEEEEEE! OOOOOOOOH!

Nope. No good. Like the solar flares that periodically roll across its fetching mission spaces, Miner Wars’ flaws – bland combat, a crash-happy campaign, over-reliance on scripted tasks – can’t be ignored for long.

Pre- and post-release publicity made this crowdfunded curio sound like a cross between Descent, Worms, X3: Reunion and Mount & Blade. In fact, the inducements to excavate, and the opportunities for freelance exploration, alliance-forging and entrepreneurship, are severely limited. While you can visit new sectors to plunder asteroids and visit trade depots, most locations feel like deserted studio backlots waiting for their five minutes in the spotlight.



The 31 story missions have plenty of aggro and giddy interior aviation, but the rigid scripting and sparse checkpoints may leave you yearning for something sandboxier. With a truly dynamic solar system in which players developed drone-operated mines, and took on randomly-generated survey, escort and mercenary jobs, I suspect Miner Wars’ gravitational pull would have been far stronger.

Currently, the best thing about the game is its spectacular erodible topography. Jetting squid-like through the craggy coral of splintered moons and mine-riddled asteroids, it’s easy to picture moody Unreal Tournament-style duels. As it stands, the enemy AI is too crude and deathmatch options too few to realise the potential. The banks of deserted online arenas visible from the MP lobby tell their own story.

In the short term, Keen urgently need to send a repair crew down to the engine bay. In addition to the save-related crash that appears to have wrecked my latest campaign attempt, I’ve experienced slowdown and glimpsed distant starscapes through rock walls.



Can I bring up the annoying companion ships, nonexistent tutorials, and extremely naggy Nagging Nora at this point without driving a final coffin nail into what’s left of Miner Wars’ sparking cryo-chamber? Probably not, which is a shame, because if, like me, you’re a fan of Descent’s disorientating dogfights, for all its flaws this game does stir happy memories.

Haring down curving tunnels sprinkling mines in your wake... nervously peeping through hatches, missile launcher poised... speeding from self-destructing bases with MG rounds nipping at your fins... at times Miner Wars is the Descent IV we’ve been waiting for for the last decade. If Keen can take the criticism on the chin and repair and, maybe, refocus their creation, they could still carve out a snug little niche in gaming’s vast asteroid.

Expect to pay: $20 / £12
Release: Out now
Developer: Keen Software House
Publisher: Various
Multiplayer: Up to 16 players
Link: www.minerwars.com
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3: The Text Adventure


Ever wonder what the PC games of 2012 would be like if they were text adventures? Of course not, no one in their right mind would ever wonder that. In related news: I wondered that! So, rip out your GeForce GTX 680, plug in your dusty 10" CRT monitor, and stuff your programmable eight-button mouse in a stocking, because this week we're going to imagine five of this year's games the way all PC games used to be: as text adventures.

If you're looking at leafy tropical jungles, shimmering oceans, impressive motion-capture performances, and more off-mission activities than you can throw a knife at during a knife-throwing contest, you must be playing open-world shooter Far Cry 3. But wait... that tattoo that suddenly appeared on your arm... it looks like it says... Far Cry 3: The Text Adventure!








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