PC Gamer

Each week PC Gamer probes the previous seven days to scientifically establish what rocked our world and made us despair for its future. As usual, we begin with the good stuff


Tyler Wilde: It s my birthday as I write this, so that s nice. Or is it? I m never sure whether or not I m supposed to enjoy getting older. I did enjoy playing Watch Dogs recently. I m disappointed by the fidelity-breaking parts of the world (the dumb pedestrians, the lack of consequences for terrorizing Chicago), and by the lack of experimentation in the story missions I played but where it s open-ended, where I can choose my own plan of attack (or plan of sneaking), and where hacking is a real tool for survival, I m happy to say that Watch Dogs diverges from GTA and leans in the direction of Far Cry. I m most surprised that I m looking forward to the story. I can t tell if Ubisoft wants Aiden Pearce to come off as a badass, or if he s supposed to be the way I see him: a loser who messed up his life and his family by running around in a trench coat acting like a big time tough guy when he d be better off at home watching Hackers again. I like my goober version of Aiden, so I m sticking to it.

Wes Fenlon: We're two weeks into our Dark Souls 2 coverage, and I'm still over the moon with the work that modder Durante has done for us. First, he analyzed the Dark Souls 2 PC port. Then he wrote a tweak guide for the average user to make the game look better. And now he's debuted a brand new tool with us that he calls GeDoSaTo that enables downsampling, texture modding, and other graphical enhancements in Dark Souls 2 and other DirectX games. It's still a work-in-progress tool, but I can't wait to start taking 8K screenshots with GeDoSaTo on the Large Pixel Collider. And the fact that he's helping gamers mod Dark Souls 2 the very minute the game launches on PC that's just too cool. I'm glad we can help spread the word.

Evan Lahti: Hell yes, Rising Storm got a big update. The indie-developed WWII FPS is one of our favorite games over the past few years, but it could certainly benefit from a larger playerbase. It s great to see Tripwire pouring more content into it in addition to making its sibling game Red Orchestra 2 temporarily free earlier this week.

Tim Clark: It s entirely improper for someone of my age to get excited about box art, but Dragon Age: Inquisition is delivering almost Frank Frazetta amounts of epic here. Luckily, we ve had plenty more to go on that just the box art this week. Like Chris s huge interview with the game s executive producer, info on the game s digital edition bonus content, and this very saucy looking gameplay trailer. Although it s of course right to remain cautious given that not everyone thought Dragon Age 2 was an unalloyed triumph, but the delay to The Witcher 3, and the fact Bethesda will surely revisit Fallout before doing another Elder Scrolls game, means Inquisition effectively has the high fantasy field to itself.

Andy Kelly: FRACT OSC is a first-person exploration game that sees you wandering around a bizarre, abstract world that shifts and pulses with music as you solve puzzles. It s initially confusing and a bit aimless, but as you feel your way around its surreal, vivid world, it starts making a weird kind of sense. It doesn t hold your hand at all, which demonstrates a trust in the player I wish more developers would have. As you solve puzzles you unlock different parts of a giant step synthesizer. You can create bass lines, pads, and synth leads, tweaking volume, tone, filters, and pretty much everything you d expect from a VST, but represented in 3D. I know nothing about the developers behind this, but they already have my attention. If you like exploratory games, music, and puzzle-solving, it s pretty much a must play.

Tom Senior: My game library shrank drastically last week thanks to a severely throttled internet connection (more on this later), but Dark Souls somehow worked, even with its cumbersome Games for Windows Live wrapping. I'm glad. My abortive first attempt ended in frustration, and not because of the game's oft-mentioned difficulty. It's easy to play it wrong. The bonfires scattered throughout the world offer comfort and replenish your health flasks, but bring nearby monsters back to life. I would run and re-run an area to amass souls and level up, locking myself into a cycle of boredom. I was trying to game Dark Souls as an RPG, when I should have been mastering Dark Souls as a combat game.

Now, with light armour and a fire-enchanted club I dodge under each enemy's thrusts and swings, and deliver crunchy critical hits to their exposed spines. I'm moving through each area at a satisfying pace, and can finally admire how the world has been intricately knotted together. I've been locked into the game by a scuppered connection, so perhaps this the Stockholm syndrome talking, but now I love the mystery and melancholy vibes of Lordran. I hope Dark Souls 2 can capture that too.


Andy Kelly: The image of an in-game rendered soldier from a presentation slide at GDC was used this week to run teaser stories about the next Call Of Duty game. Yes, that s right, the next CoD will contain soldiers. I don t have anything against Activision s world-conquering series. I don t play it, but people like it, so whatever. But it says everything about the paucity of the series ambition that a close-up of the hyper-realistic pores of a face is considered newsworthy.

Before Ghosts came out, they wouldn t shut up about that dog and its fur. Now maybe they ll do a series of elaborate making of documentaries about that guy s pores, and how you can make out individual blackheads if you look really closely at his nose. Call of Duty is formulaic because Activision won t dare mess with the formula. It s the gaming equivalent of a Marvel film. A dumb, flashy distraction. But I really wish they d make some attempt to innovate beyond frivolous visual details.

Wes Fenlon: I'm afraid that the dream of net neutrality is dead. The Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC soon plans to introduce new regulations that would allow Internet Service Providers to charge different prices for the data they're carrying. This is doomsday scenario I outlined a few months ago when I wrote about how net neutrality affects PC gamers. Companies like Comcast could charge Netflix or Valve more money for a faster connection to their end users, since their services require vast amounts of data. Those kinds of costs will likely end up being passed down to people like us.

And it's not just about the money. If the Internet isn't open and equal, ISPs could charge us more for access to certain sites, or block services entirely to promote their own stuff. Comcast's Video on Demand vs. Netflix, for example. I think something like that happening is less likely, but I'm still worried about it, and unless some good news comes out of the FCC soon, things aren't looking great for the Internet as we know it.

Evan Lahti: CS:GO has been my main game for four months, and it s wonderful. What it s made me unhappy about, though, is how absurdly few shooters we have on PC that feature competitive matchmaking. Across the other genres, StarCraft II, Dota 2, Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Smite all offer skill-based matchmaking. Can you name another FPS with a smart matchmaking mode? I love dedicated servers, but CS:GO s five-on-five, structured, carefully-balanced competitive mode is so reliably tough and fair (save for the handful instances where I ve been matched with hackers) that it s the only thing I play. It makes me long for the return of arena shooters. I m hoping something like Extraction will help fill this near-void.

Tyler Wilde: I spent the beginning of the week getting over a flu I picked up at PAX. It was horrific. If you ever go to PAX, douse your entire body in hand sanitizer every two hours. Drink a bit of it, too. I m also very disappointed, as I touched on in my From The Archives column over the weekend, that I can t play along with the NHL playoffs on my PC. I m not mad at EA and 2K for focusing their sporting efforts on the consoles a few years ago, I d probably have made the same decision but I do hope someone plugs the gap. On PC, where modding and customization reign, it doesn t even matter to me whether or not sports games are licensed by the NHL, NBA, MLB, or whatever. It would be convenient to have the rosters and stats built in, but if not, I ll figure out how to get 2001 02 Evgeni Nabokov in his number 35 solid black jersey into the game, don t worry about that.

Tim Clark: While I m delighted with our first guide article for Hearthstone, which details the decks that are dominating the current metagame and explains why they re so effective, I m also conscious of the fact we ve probably just helped unleash even more Zoo Warlocks onto the server. Which, as shown here, is unfortunate. However, next week our expert will be showing you how to build your own killer deck, so perhaps a PC Gamer reader will come up with a perfect countermeasure for all those Zoos. (Other than fire, obviously.) To help the process, we ll also be listing our 40 favourite cards soon. I d be curious to know which ones you think are must haves in your decks. Hit me up here with suggestions. Job done.

Tom Senior: My internet router has existed in a state of near-death for a week now, allowing only the faintest breath of data to reach Steam's authentication servers. At times like this I'm reminded that my digital library is a transient thing, reliant on systems that may one day fail, or fall to market forces. Will Steam last forever? Gamespy's shutdown has inspired some quick action from 2K, but what will happen when Games for Windows Live meets its maker? Dedicated fans have been known to set up their own servers to save games from the scrapheap, but often it's down to publishers to maintain a game's online infrastructure, and that may not always be in their financial interests. Physical media is hardly infallible I've lost a few golden oldies to dust and disk scratches but the death of third-party authentication systems threaten to take relatively recent games out of circulation. I can only hope Dark Souls survives the GfWL cull.
PC Gamer

The Call of Duty series has become somewhat infamous for hiding the bulk of its additional content inside paid-for DLC. A new PC patch for Call of Duty: Ghosts contains the rare bonus of a new, and entirely free, game mode. Chaos has been added to Extinction co-op multiplayer, providing a variation of the game type last seen as part of Modern Warfare 3's Spec-Ops mode.

In it, players battle never-ending waves of enemies. So far, so every co-op mode released since Gears of War, but the twist comes in the additional bonuses. By chaining together kills, players unlock power-ups to help them battle on. It certainly sounds like a chaotic variant of Extinction. As opposed to the orderly, subdued extinctions we're so used to.

Want to see a big ol' dump of patch notes? You're in luck:

Weapon Balance

MTAR-X: Reduced head-shot damage multiplier.


Restrict DLC weapons for clan v clan & esports mode.


Fixes dock exploit area in Whiteout.
Fixed map exploit on Freight so deployable boxes no longer stick to the gate.
Fixed map exploit on Warhawk so deployables no longer stick to the fence.
Overall anti-cheat improvements.

Additional Fixes

Adjusted Domination spawn logic to make it less likely for defenders to spawn near a flag if it is being captured.
Fix for 4096 error.
Fix for wiretap perk to work properly in Hardcore modes.
Fixed issue that classified non-sliding kills as sliding kills if the user died mid-slide.
Fix to default killstreak highlight to last one selected.
Fixed issue that allowed the user to navigate menus while accepting a clan invite.
Fixed flare audio after player leaves helo gunner.
Fixed hardcore audio alias for kill confirmed.
Added proper friendly alias for blitz friendly scoring.
Fix to properly show a popup dialog if a user tries to join on someone from the recently met player list that is a blocked user.
Added killcam for Night Owl deaths.
Fixed character scene offset causing misalignment of some characters.

New Features

"Chaos Mode" for Extinction.


Stability and performance improvements.
Fixed challenges that were providing more than one skill point.
Casual mode does not write to leaderboards.
Fixed issue where player models could appear stuck when taking large amounts of damage at once.
Improvements to drill placement logic.
Armor is now invulnerable when the Tank Class skill is active.


Late joining, spectating and players in Last Stand will now be teleported to the final Breeder fight if triggered without them.
Fixed case where players could prevent the Breeder from spawning on Nightfall.


Improved alien navigation and pathing.
Improved wall and ceiling navigation for aliens.
Updated Kraken smash and cool down logic.
Fixed ingredient issue where some combinations prevented creation.
Fixed cases where players could not turn a Rhino into a pet when using a Relic.
Improvements to clipping to prevent players from getting to undesirable locations.
Improvements to the Tesla Traps behavior.
Improved clipping to prevent players from placing the drill in undesirable locations.
MAAWS stability and tracking improvements.
Drill cannot be removed from the Drillbot after being placed.
Replaced the Drill waypoint icon after completing the defend from afar sequence.
Late joining, spectating players and players in Last Stand will now be teleported to the Kraken fight if triggered without them.
Improvements to pillage locations.
Deployed items in the lower portion of the ship are removed allowing for new item placement on the top deck of Mayday.
Friendly Seeder Turrets no longer prevent the gas sequence from triggering.
Intel audio snippets now play in game after being collected.
EMP effect from the Kraken no longer impacts skill point menu access.
Fixed crafting scoring exploit where players would mistakenly receive funds when canceling crafting.

PC Specific Update

Fixed rare crash.
Fixed invites not being processed properly during a loading screen in Multiplayer.
Fix to return user to the barracks after leaving clan through clan details.

The patch is out now for PC, and will download automatically through Steam.

Ta, CVG.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

This is not a joke. This is real.

But maybe it is also still a joke.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
Call of Duty Predator

The Devastation map pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts will include four multiplayer maps and part two of the increasingly mad Extinction mode. The co-op players vs. NPC aliens aside is set on a "high-tech ghost ship" besieged by a "skyscraper-sized" sea monster and infested with dog-like alien creatures. The trailer also teases the inclusion of the Predator. The actual Predator, from the films. I haven't paid attention to Call of Duty in a while, so it feels like returning to a familiar old house I thought I knew, to find it full of dinosaurs.

The shooting will be familiar enough, I'm sure, even with the addition of the "Ripper 2-in-1 SMG/AR", pronounced "Ripper two-in-one Smgaargh". Multiplayer maps include Behemoth, set on the walkways of a vast mining machine, Ruins, set in a Mexican jungle near an erupting volcano, Unearthed, a map "inspired by" Modern Warfare 3's Dome, and Collision, set on a cargo ship that's crashed into a New York bridge.

The Predator's a tease. Is he playable in a new mode? Is there a map-specific killstreak that sends him after the enemy team? XBox live players will find out on April 3. PC players will probably get it a month later. It'll cost $15 / 10. Find out more on the Call of Duty site, and get a look at the new maps, and the famous monster, in this trailer.

Product Release - Valve
Call of Duty: Ghosts - Gold Edition is Now Available on Steam!

Call of Duty®: Ghosts Gold Edition, includes the full game download for Call of Duty: Ghosts as well as Onslaught, the first DLC pack for Ghosts. Onslaught features four new multiplayer maps, The Maverick, an all new dual-purpose Assault Rifle/Sniper Rifle and Extinction Episode 1: Nightfall, the first of a four part episodic series. As an added bonus, you also get The Wolf, a character skin that transforms your multiplayer Guard Dog killstreak into a Wolf. All for one great low price.

PC Gamer
Call of Duty

Why do Call of Duty characters hate each other so much? Yes, they're at war - that I can understand - but the lengths they'll go to annihilate their enemy is almost sadistic. In Ruins, one of the four maps added through the Devastation DLC, somebody has gone through the time, danger and expense of rigging a volcano to explode on command. It's as if Infinity Ward have created an fiction in which every person is a Bond villain.

Other deathtraps include the standard military issue aliens, and some weird device called "helicopters". Whatever will they think of next?

In addition to the four maps, players will also get the second episode of "the Extinction saga" co-op campaign, and a new gun. It's called the Ripper, and can switch between SMG and an Assault Rifle modes.

All this will be available sometime after April 3rd, which is the date when the Xbox lot start their exclusive access period. It's annoying, sure, but if they don't get first dibs, they'll spend the rest of the year saying even meaner things about your mums.
Product Release - Valve
Call of Duty®: Ghosts - Onslaught, all new content for Call of Duty®: Ghosts is Now Available on Steam!

Welcome to Onslaught, the first downloadable content pack for Call of Duty®: Ghosts, featuring four unique Multiplayer Maps, an all-new dual purpose Assault Rifle/Sniper Rifle, and the first installment in Extinction’s four-part episodic narrative.

Complementing the fun, fast-paced multiplayer experience that gamers have come to expect, Onslaught delivers four classically designed Call of Duty® multiplayer maps, each with their own distinct environments, scale, and gameplay variety.

Announcement - Valve
Play Call of Duty®: Ghosts for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Call of Duty®: Ghosts at 50% off the regular price!*

If you already have Steam installed, click here to install or play Call of Duty®: Ghosts. If you don't have Steam, you can download it here.

Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outmatched.

Call of Duty®: Ghosts is an extraordinary step forward for one of the largest entertainment franchises of all-time. This new chapter in the Call of Duty® franchise features a new dynamic where players are on the side of a crippled nation fighting not for freedom, or liberty, but simply to survive.

Fueling this all new Call of Duty experience, the franchise's new next-gen engine delivers stunning levels of immersion and performance, all while maintaining the speed and fluidity of 60 frames-per-second across all platforms.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer

Just because we weren't the biggest fans of Call of Duty: Ghosts doesn't mean it isn't still immensely popular. It has a huge, highly competitive following, big enough to serve as a primary attraction to Major League Gaming's eSports streaming service, MLG.TV. Those players care passionately about details in the game the average player won't even notice, which would explain why Infinity Ward's latest update focuses on eSports and balancing.

As the only first-person shooter in MLG's 2014 season, it's also a big opportunity for Call of Duty to claim a spot in the growing business of eSports, currently dominated by MOBAs like League of Legends, Dota 2, and real-time strategy with StarCraft 2.

Some of the patch notes specific to eSports and MLG in this latest update include:

Improvements to MLG Broadcast mode for highlighted players.
Prevent eSports players (except COD Caster) from switching to 3rd Person Spectate cam.
Better team identification in the MLG hud.
Added killstreak count to eSports scoreboard.
Added team names to in-game scoreboard for Broadcast mode.
Restrict Ghillie Suits when eSports rules enabled (replaces with different game models).
Add a kill feed to Broadcaster mode.

Improvements that non-pro players might care about include five new prestige ranks in Extinction mode, the addition of "Create a soldier" to Extinction mode, the return of the Gun Game mode to multiplayer, and many (many) other little balancing and performance tweaks.

The patch came out shortly after Infinity Ward announced what it will include in Onslaught, the first of four DLC packs for the game. It has yet to announce when the DLC will be available on PC.

You can read further details on fixes and additions in this latest patch on the official Call of Duty: Ghosts forums.

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