DEFCON - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now freshened up to include everything from 2017 and 2018. From intricate, global-scale wargames to the tight thrills of guerrilla squads, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best.

The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory® - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Tom Francis)

What Works And Why is a monthly column where Gunpoint and Heat Signature designer Tom Francis digs into the design of a game or mechanic and analyses what makes it good.>

Games about one player character against hundreds of enemies generally have to give you some kind of unfair advantage. In action games, it’s usually resilience: getting shot in Call of Duty covers you in jam for 3 seconds but leaves you otherwise unharmed, gunshots in Wolfenstein can be fixed with chicken dinners, and in Doom 2016 punching a demon feels so good it physically mends you.

Stealth games need a different solution, because the fun part is generally over by the time you get shot. That’s good – they don’t need jam vision or dinner magic. Instead they need a crutch that helps you before things get that bad. And in games about hiding from everyone, that’s usually intelligence. Information is power. To evade improbable odds, you need to know more than you reasonably should.

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Invisible, Inc.

It was Superhot that first made me think about the old writer's adage, that you do the slow stuff fast and the fast stuff slow. This is the thinking that powers Jack Reacher novels, for example - Lee Child talks about this trick often and with great clarity. If Reacher's doing a bunch of research, you whip through it in a couple of lines. Literary montage! If Reacher's outside a bar, though, and a horseshoe of bad'uns is forming around him, time slows until it forms a thick mineral goop that traps everyone within it. The next few seconds are going to involve the shattering of kneecaps and the bruising of aortas (if aortas are a thing that can be bruised - having typed it, I am unconvinced). The next few seconds are going to be violent and memorable. Crucially, the next few seconds are going to take eight or nine pages to play out, because every move will be examined in great forensic detail. We will count the separate sparks in the air, and be deafened by the clatter of a spent cartridge case rattling on the tarmac. We will be fully present and fully conscious in these terrible, glorious moments.

Is Superhot turn-based? Not really, but it's a unique kind of meter, certainly - the work of a ludic Dave Brubeck. It is strange, given the unprecedented control over the variables that make up the universe they afford, that many games are so uninterested in time. Sure, they shatter it into loops with the death and save systems. They may also slow it, Reacher-like, when the guns come out. But genuine inventions, such as Superhot's world in which time only moves when you do? These genuine inventions are quite rare.

I've been thinking of all this these past few weeks as I've been playing, by sheer coincidence, through a range of rather brilliant turn-based tactic games, some of which have come out and some of which are yet to be released. Turn-based tactic games are hardly inventive by this point, but they definitely force you to think about time, about how it is broken up, and about what happens when you can pause it and step outside of it and really ponder your actions. Specifically, the games I've been playing have made me think about the way that time affects storytelling, and I think I'm ready to present my findings. Turn-based games, I suspect, are uniquely suited to generating incredible stories. They are more cinematic in the narrative sense than the games that we lazily refer to as being cinematic. And I think this is because of time.

Read more…

Invisible, Inc. - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Invisible, Inc.!*

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

best-pc-games-ever

There are more wonderful games being released on PC each month than ever before. In such a time of plenty, it’s important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Thankfully, we’re here to help. What follows are our picks for the best PC games ever made. (more…)

HITMAN™ - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

"Hello dad, yeah it's all gone a bit murdery"

Oh no, you’ve tripped the alarm. Now the terrifying RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, knows you’re here. It’s going to hunt you down and force you to listen to it. Quick! Think of a way out of this, before you hear all about Adam becoming an accidental mass murderer in Dishonored, or John obsessively re-loading his way out of a bad situation. If you don’t escape, I’ll have to tell you about the time I threw a gun at someone’s head in Heat Signature, to absolutely no effect. This week, you see, we’re talking about Things Going Wrong. (more…)

Invisible, Inc. - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 70% on Invisible, Inc.!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Sunday at 10AM Pacific Time
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Aside from starting a new tradition of unusually-named Steam Awards, Valve have also pulled out their worn and adored bargain bucket and have begun to fill it with games you ll enthusiastically buy and probably never play. Yes, it’s their Autumn Sale. In the streets, the apocalyptic jockeying for TVs and blenders has started. The moon has turned blood red. And I looked and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Black Friday, and sales followed with him. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
Save up to 75% on select Klei titles as part of the Klei Entertainment Games Publisher Weekend*!

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

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