PC Gamer

How's your face? It's not looking particularly warry, but I know of a way you can fix that. The Warface closed beta - sorry, the WARFACE closed beta - is now live. Simply sign up on the site for a chance to replace your face with a more war-hardened one. Also, to play a game of soldiers in an upcoming CryEngine3-powered online shooter.

The game has been playable in Russia for quite some time, where it's managed to garner around five million registered users - and that's despite boasting the worst/best name of all time. We published a guide on how to install and play the game outside of Russia a while ago, but as of...now that guide is moot. Now, all you have to do is head here and cross your fingers, while trying not to get distracted by the contemplative dude with the skull.
PC Gamer

I'd almost forgotten about Dragonborn, Skyrim's most recent piece of DLC that lets you ride dragons and return to Morrowind's wintry satellite Solstheim. That's what annoying Xbox-exclusivity periods will get you. However, with the Bethesblog's exciting news that Dragonborn is set to 'touch down' (that's 'touch down' like a flying dragon) at the start of February, I have suddenly remembered that it's a thing. Dragonborn will appear on Steam February 5th, then, giving you just enough time to order a seat from your local saddle fitter. (Just be sure to specify that it's for an animal slightly larger than a horse.)

If you'd rather be reminded of the expansion in video form, here's the Dragonborn trailer we got rather excited about in December, before it was kiboshed for PC players for a couple of months:

PC Gamer

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week - Bibleman! Bibleman! Does whatever a bible can! Reads a verse! Any size! Catches thieves! Was baptised! Look out! Here comes the Bibleman!

There's probably a reason why the end of the demo of this game specifically says "you can buy it at your local Christian retailer" rather than "at your local game store", and I'm not including "game stores being hives of scum and villainy", as true as that is. It's far from the worst of its kind - looking at you, Left Behind, and I'm sure you'll get your turn one week - but you won't find many goofier attempts to mix religion with gaming. It's... it's quite something, even by biblical superhero standards.

Wow, you're the worst shot ever.

I've never seen the show this game is based on, though in a world with YouTube, it's not hard to get the basic gist. As you'd expect, it's a bit of a biblical Batman - "Holy crimefighting!" indeed - with campy costumes and tongue-in-cheek threats like "The Cheater" and "Rapscalion P. Sinister." Bibleman is a regular man transformed into a superhero because (mumble) to defeat them with the power of heart, scripture, and also a lightsaber. Naughty Bibleman. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

From snippets on YouTube, it looks absolutely dreadful, though I've not looked into the politics behind it and don't really care to. It may be a great show with good moral lessons; it may have a finale where Bibleman punches the nearest atheist and both eats and shits out the Flying Spaghetti Monster. As ever when this kind of game comes up for Crap Shoot, this isn't meant as a political skewering based on the fact that it's a Christian game. It's because the game deserves it on its own merits/demerits.

Need proof? Well, then you fail - you should have faith! Still, check out its intro...

So, where to even begin? These are our heroes - Bibleman, the man in armour, Biblegirl, the girl, and Cypher, the black guy who for some reason apparently isn't allowed to use the white folks' fancy purple background without supervision - rendered in the finest animation that 1993 had to offer. Unfortunately, this game came out in 2005. It's bad enough that the three are stuck showing off fighting the air. It's so much worse that Biblegirl loses, and ends up having to start praying in a kind of "Oh, I meant to do that," after getting her gun blasted from her hand. Then there's that backflip. Oh, sweetie. Just... just no. Even that though is nothing compared to shamelessly re-using the same clips and slapping a mosaic filter on top because the music's longer than anyone can be bothered/afford to animate the characters for.

Also, is it my imagination, or does Bibleman end the intro by blowing a kiss?

Clearly, these three need a villain worthy of their skill - and they get one, as seen briefly at the end. Captain Planet, to compare with a similar kind of supposedly moral superhero, give or take the whole thing where the Planeteers keep the secrets of completely clean energy to themselves instead of sharing them with the world, fought radioactive supermen, hot mad scientists, rat people, powerful industrialists and alien overlords voiced by David Warner. Bibleman has to face... Dwayne Dibbley?

Oh, wait. Sorry. Instead of Red Dwarf's Duke of Dork, it's "The Wacky Protestor", and instead of those guys from the intro, it's these others who look absolutely nothing at all like them. Also, is it my imagination, or is the computer being voiced by SARAH the Smart House from Eureka? This gets all the more suspicious if you choose to play as Biblegirl, whose 'That hurt!' noises are very, very much like a man putting on a high-pitch, and don't sound at all like the actress in the FMV sequences. FMV sequences incidentally that are obviously spliced in from an episode of the show rather than produced for the game. Crappy as they are, they're far too high quality for this. Yes, I know what I just said.

Well, it wasn't likely to be 50 Shades Of Grey, was it?

The actual game is an isometric action affair - Crusader: Buyer's Remorse, if you will. At least, it's sort of an action game. Despite Bibleman's lightsaber, Cypher's hand-punchy things and Biblegirl's antimatter gun (yes, really), you don't actually attack enemies per se. The idea of Bibleman and friends just beating the shit out of their enemies apparently not having been deemed appropriate, combat is a case of waiting for an enemy to shoot at you, then turning their projectile back on them like a cheek with "F*** YOU" tattooed on the side. This does not seem like the most effective strategy, since if the enemies though for just one second, they'd realise that all they have to do is stop attacking and get on with their day.

Presumably this is what they mean by evil carrying the seeds of its own destruction.

Biblegirl seems to spend a lot of the demo FMV either looking sarcastic, or on the verge of corpsing.

The demo offers three levels, which take roughly five minutes to get through. The first is set the team's Biblecave - ahem - in a Matrix style training simulator. Here a Crime Computer that is very obviously an iMac sits in mockery of Bruce Wayne's Batcomputer, along with several Bibles that can be picked up to use in the fight. Sadly, using one just makes the nearest enemy vanish in a flash of light, wasting the opportunity for both literal bible bashing and throwing the book at them. Shameful.

The enemies in the training area are... somewhat odd. Of all the possible things they could shout at the heroes, they go with a very effeminate "Nice pirouette!" followed by "Oh, yours is nice as well!" So... Bibleman's idea of a good workout is to go into his own personal Matrix and beat up what can only be seen as attempts at gay stereotypes? No. No, that can't be it. One minute - research break.


Okay, it's even sillier. In the original DVD version of this turkey - yep, thought as much - there's a group of hoodlums who dance around as they prepare to burn bibles, and the game uses their sound-clips. Even in context, it's dumb, but at least we're just dealing with a poorly done comedy bit rather than anything more pointed, and Level 5 almost certainly won't be Bibleman joining the Klan or something.

Look, when your Biblecave only has to hold a couple of Macs, maybe consider a Biblerentedofficedesk

The first proper mission takes place in a warehouse, which as we all know is only a step up from a sewer level due to not being a sewer level. A group of the Wacky Protestor's henchmen are there to burn crates of bibles and repeatedly check their phones to see if Two Face has gotten back to them about their job applications. Since these are just regular guys, it rather seems the police would be better suited for this than a group of superheroes who aren't allowed to throw the first antimatter blast. Still, the situation is dealt with pretty quickly thanks to the enemies being too dumb to abuse this, leaving the way clear for the final demo mission. If you're using this to time a hard-boiled egg, you have two minutes left.

Also, back in the Biblecave, this happens:

You know, there are many questions that could be asked about this, not least "The shit?" The top one though probably has to be "Why has the head of a paramilitary Christian superhero team got not one, but two books clearly labelled with a menorah on his desk?" Maybe it's a later plot twist.

The result though is a dirt simple mission, in which the Bible Team just has to collect Bibles containing key bits of scripture - I'm no expert on this, but I thought the point was that they contained all of it by default - to assemble Bibleman's spiritual armour and let him begin his career of kicking arse for the Lord. The demo ends at that point though, so what happens next will have to remain a mystery - at least until you remember that this is a story about a man with a suit of power armour and a lightsaber going up against Jerry Lewis' nerdier brother. That's not so much a story as a bloody inevitability.

Hmm. I wonder if the full version had any cheat codes...

Gah! I was just asking! Never mind!
PC Gamer

Kotaku is reporting that "almost everyone" has been laid off at developer Gas Powered Games. That's from an anonymous source, but Chris Taylor, founder of GPG, later e-mailed Kotaku to confirm that layoffs have occurred, though not how many.

"We do have a layoff, and we'll be updating our Kickstarter as well with details as well very soon," wrote Taylor. "I'm way behind, so many wonderful people to talk to and share stories with, so it just takes time. It's actually been a fairly positive experience, because I run a very open company and everyone knows what's going on."

On Monday, GPG and Chris Taylor launched a $1.1M Kickstarter campaign for Action RPG/RTS Wildman, which we covered with a preview and interview.

The topic of layoffs actually came up during our chat with Taylor last week. His comments were part of a much larger conversation which was cut down--we expected to publish more of the interview later, but as it's immediately relevant, here's what Taylor said when asked if all of Gas Powered Games' staff will be working on Wildman, or if there are other projects:

"No, right now we have one other project that’s wrapping up, so when it comes to staffing and team sizes, unfortunately our headcount has to float with the revenue that can come in to pay for them. So, under the model of that wrapping up and this being modestly funded, we’re probably going to be a 20 person company. Right now we’re 50, last year we were 80, so there’s been a reduction. It’s sad to have to say goodbye to people, but they’re talented people and they get jobs, and they move on, and they do other exciting things.

"We just don’t know where the funding on this is going to land, if we’re so lucky as to get the funding. So if it comes in at the minimum, or it comes in at a multiple that allows us to have a greater team size, and frankly, to run the project for a longer period of time, add more features. So we don’t really know yet. There’s a lot of unknowns."
PC Gamer
NeoTokyo Fuchikoma

Query your cortical data node and you'll recall NeoTokyo was chosen along with 20 other titles for Steam Greenlight's second round of approvals back in October. The mod itself has been around for much longer, originally appearing in simple deathmatch form for Unreal Tournament 2004. Four years later it transitioned to the Source engine, where it languished without updates--until today, when developer Studio Radi-8 released a fresh version out of nowhere (which is apparently becoming a thing now), adding eight new maps and higher-quality weapon models.

The modes: deathmatch and Capture the Ghost (the latter, in a tip of the hat to NeoTokyo's inspiration from dystopian sci-fi anime classics such as Ghost in the Shell and Akira, replaces the flag with an android torso). The classes: Recon, Assault, and Support. Each brings special vision modes such as motion-tracking and infrared, and with the exception of the Support role, everyone can cloak for a short duration. Before each round, you select your primary weapon from an armory that grows as you gain rank from kills and victories. Think cyberpunk Counter-Strike.

It's quite the fun setup. The maps stick to the cyberpunk theme of dense city blocks, military installations, and industrial decay, with plenty of near-future gadgetry and set pieces of glowing computer interfaces and multi-legged tanks with scary-sounding Japanese names. Server selection is rather sparse at the moment, but it should hopefully jump up as word of the update spreads. You and your fellow operatives can get in the action by downloading NeoTokyo from its official website.
PC Gamer

Heya fellow nerd-ballers. Get your hotkeys ready, because you're about to drop into the first edition of What to Watch: The Week in eSports, a new column bringing you the latest news on tournaments, players, personalities, and apocalyptic balance patches for the world's premiere competitive PC games. This week, we highlight the big events to look for in 2013, where to start in building your own game knowledge to gosu levels, and what happens when the worlds of eSports and journalism collide. gl hf.

StarCraft II

2013 is about to kick into high gear for Blizzard's star-faring RTS, and the current undisputed king of real-time strategy eSports. With the Heart of the Swarm expansion (which you'll hear some more of my impressions on soon) less than two months away, the competitive scene is set to change in ways that only happen... well, once an expansion. At the same time, the community has been shaken up a bit by an dispute between journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau and leading North American team Evil Geniuses that begs the question: Does eSports understand journalism?

Upcoming Events:
The GSL (Global StarCraft II league) is in the middle of its first season of 2012. For the newcomers, eSports seasons typically aren't a once-a-calendar-year thing: the GSL alone has previously hosted as many as seven full seasons in one year. Organized by South Korea's GOMTV, it is widely considered the very apex of competition in StarCraft II. They have a somewhat Byzantine system of qualifications, but as a rule of thumb, someone who has qualified for a coveted "Code S" slot is an eSports god among men, and the Code S champion (who will be decided on March 28) is usually regarded as one of (if not the) best StarCraft II player in the world.

Watch it: GomTV.net

The seventh season of the Intel Extreme Masters league, sponsored by (you guessed it!) Intel, will be holding its championship in Katowice, Poland starting tonight, and running through the weekend. Some of the major players in attendance will be SK Telecom T1's PartinG of South Korea, who recently left team StarTale. LucifroN and VortiX of Spain, the real-life brothers who wound up facing off at last year's Blizzard World Championship might end up in a rematch. Australian champion mOOnGLaDe, former WarCraft III master Grubby from the Netherlands, Germany's Socke, and Norwegian Team Liquid newcomer, Snute, will also be fighting for the top spot

Watch it: ESL-World.net

Other Stuff:
Caster (and fellow Johson County, Kansas escapee) Sean "Day" Plott continues to produce quality StarCraft content every week in his long-running Day Daily series. This week marked the return of the fan favorite Funday Monday segment, in which he imposes a restriction on viewers (such as only being able to build certain units) and commentates replays they send in working under these constraints. Outright madness has been known to ensue.

MLG's new programming schedule includes nightly Monday-Friday content for the SC2 addicts among us. Rules of Engagement with caster/pro Nick "Axslav" Ranish is a fine place to start if you're looking to tighten up your ladder play. Each day of the week has a different theme, from specific tactics to fundamentals. My personal favorite is Wednesdays, which breaks down pro-level "cheesing"- using risky, unorthodox strategies that diverge wildly from the current metagame. This week's developing fundamentals show has some good tips for economy management, and deciding what your units should be doing at any given time.

If you're looking for more Heart of the Swarm action but your favorite streamers are asleep, eating, or have otherwise vanished from public view, MLG has also been running nightly show matches in the expansion beta. Tonight at 2 p.m. PST, Axslav and Total Biscuit will be hosting a King of the Hill event.

League of Legends

League of Legends had an exciting and somewhat controversy-heavy 2012, shattering records for eSports viewership and shifting the balance of power from European and North American dominance to Asian primacy. 2013 is set to get rolling, and it's poised to be a very influential year for Riot's MOBA.

Upcoming Events:
League will also have a presence at IEM Katowice this weekend, with eight teams competing for a $15,500 top prize. South Korean all-stars Azubu are sending both their teams—Frost and Blaze—to compete with the likes of Europe's SK Gaming and North American staple, Curse. The winning team will also automatically qualify for the IEM World Championship later this year.

Watch it: ESL-World.net

The Riot-sponsored Season 3 Championship Series is also set to kick off on the 25th, with the North American Offline Qualifiers. Curse Gaming EU, Fnatic, and some up-and-comers including Team Acer will compete for a spot in the European championship series. Sixteen teams will enter, but only five will move on.

Read More: The Path to Pro

Other Stuff:

The latest patch notes include some more changes to jungling, which has seen a major overhaul since Season 2. Also of note is a change to the way turrets prioritize targets.

MLG's new programming is also showing LoL newbies (or just those looking to learn new champs) some love. Thursdays and Fridays starting next week, League of Legends Champion Training will offer analysis of pro-level gameplay with different champs, with analysts and the players themselves pointing out useful tips and tactics.

Dota 2

As 2013 dawns, we're still all asking the question, "So, is the game, like... out yet?" Thankfully, we don't have to ask whether or not there are exciting competitions to watch. While Dota hasn't really reached the volume or publicity of live tournaments of its main competitors, the red-headed step-child of premiere eSports continues to bring us high-stakes online action like The Defense. They also keep sending me beta keys in batches of around a bajillion. So chances are, you know someone who can get you in at this point if you're at all interested.

Upcoming Events:
The Defense 3 online tournament is ongoing, with only two teams—Germay's Mousesports and Fnatic EU—remaining undefeated. They lead their respective groups, along with Sweden's No Tidehunter in Group C and a tie between Russian Team Empire and North American Team Dignitas in Group B.

Watch it: The-Defense.com

Other Stuff:
Are you bad at Dota 2? Do you want someone to validate your hatred of the totally overpowered, BS heroes your enemies crush you with in solo cue? Using MSPaint? YouTuber Pyrion Flax has you covered. He's put out a general guide to Dota 2 as well as videos for specific heroes (most recently Magnus and Faceless Void.)

That's it for this week, eSports faithful. Let us know in the comments where you go to get your weekly eSports fix, and we might throw you a shout-out in a future installment.

PC Gamer
WarZ 2013-01-17 17-44-01-81

We're a day away from The War Z's one-month anniversary of being removed from Steam. Throughout this time, it's been buyable and playable through The War Z's website. For several weeks, developer Hammerpoint Interactive has considered it fit enough to be labeled as version 1.0.

I'm in the process of playing The War Z for our review, but for now, I wanted to take a moment to point out a couple reasons why The War Z isn't a game that's worth your time, and certainly one that doesn't deserve to know your credit card information.

In the video, I mention Hammerpoint Interactive's just-published plan for addressing server hopping as an issue. You can read notes for next week's patch on the War Z forums.

Follow Evan and PC Gamer on Twitter.
PC Gamer

If Deus Ex's Adam Jensen shrank you to cell size before injecting you into his cyber-arm (I never asked for that mental imagery), you'd probably see something like Backspace. In the works by indie studio Megabot and due sometime this year, the glowy top-down shooter presents a different take on the computer hacking theme with multi-tiered spherical levels and utilitarian cargo.

Backspace's fundamentals stay true—swat down swarms of enemy programs with high-movement firepower—and the neon-hued, angular corridors upon each globe look satisfyingly crisp and defined. More exciting is the ability to teleport to different layers of the sphere, an awesome progression mechanic promising more complexity to all the pew-pew.

Puzzles, which look like a mix of alarm avoidance, timing, and toggle shooting, often require you to haul along a certain piece of cargo or powerup such as a retrievable explosive for the correct solution. I especially like this feature—any tool-based challenges warm my nanobot-infested-heart.

Read up on more Backspace info on Megabot's website, and thanks to RPS for the spot.
PC Gamer

From what we've gathered so far of Alexander Bruce's psychedelic puzzler Antichamber, a number of recurring terms pop up: Brain-bending. Escher-like. Non-Euclidean. WTF JUST HAPPENED ARGGHH. They all properly illustrate Antichamber's wonderful abandonment of logic, but as a certain bald Matrix freedom fighter intoned, true understanding arrives after "seeing it for yourself." That becomes a reality on January 31 when Antichamber becomes available on Steam for a yet-undetermined price.

Like riding the inner-city bus route, nothing is taken for granted in Antichamber. Seemingly impossible puzzles and unimaginable jumps dance beyond comprehension, but the trick is to join that dance by breaking down your brain's barriers governing problem-solving. You'll carry a gun with the power to change, add, and remove matter as needed, and solutions carry a Portal-like rush of epiphany.

Such a strong subversion of how the world works excites us. It terrifies us. It makes us want to ponder the perceptions of our reality under a cold shower. But we definitely look forward to finally playing Antichamber in full at the end of the month.
PC Gamer
SimCity mayor

Update: Aaaaaaand it's gone. EA yanked the video on copyright claims, but our suspicion of a marketing tactic still flows as strong as a properly laid sewer stream. Original story below.

Hmm. New SimCity footage has apparently been leaked (totally coincidentally, I'm sure) in the same window of time that EA's announced details on SimCity's beta. The video shows an 11-minute cut of the city-builder's tutorial guide from a closed beta version, one we saw ourselves when Maxis visited us last year.

Not much else is shown outside basic introductions to building, resource management, and a whole heap of reticulated splines, but the unedited gameplay definitely shows off the shiny GlassBox engine's chops. Take a look, and also watch us chatter away on SimCity's online requirement and other related topics.

I noticed that the video's submitter posted his footage to Reddit under a totally legitimate, freshly-created account named SimCityDude, which isn't exactly subtle. But then again, maybe he's just covering his tracks. The submitter does, though, go out of his way to link to the game's pre-order page. We still consider the footage to be worth your time, but our thought around the office right now is that EA intentionally released this under the guise of a leak. PC Gamer: always vigilant, always paranoid.