Dear Esther - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Today’s Humble Caffeine Bundle is chock full of very good games for very little money, but a little hard to categorise. United under the banner of Caffeine – a “social broadcasting platform for gaming”, not the life-giving stimulant – there’s eight games here, each one representing a wildly different genre. We’ve got the Metroidy Headlander, platform roguelike Gonner, party game tank shooter Treadnauts, a historical novel adaptation and even a ninja stealth sim all up in here. There’s only (in my opinion) one game that’s not immediately worth your attention. See the full lineup and trailers below.

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Tyranny - TheLetterZ

Two years has passed since we brought Tyranny to the land of Terratus where your choices would shape the fate of many. In celebration of this we're bringing a FREE update to all our players in form of two new portraits and some gear!

If you have yet to join the ranks of Kyros you can do so right now at 50% OFF in the Steam Weekend Deal:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/362960/Tyranny/?utm_source=stcom-owned&utm_medium=social-owned&utm_content=post&utm_campaign=tyra_tyra_20181108_ste_brpr

We will also be giving away some copies of the NEW Tyranny Gold Edition for free on our Anniversary stream starting RIGHT NOW: https://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive
Tyranny - TheLetterZ

Two years ago we set you on a journey were your choices would have world-altering effects. Join us in celebrating the two year anniversary or Tyranny TODAY at 19:00 CET at: https://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive/
Tyranny

Tyranny, the isometric RPG about being bad that's actually very good, is the latest addition to the lineup of free games being offered to Twitch Prime members. But you've only got until tomorrow to pick it up. 

Twitch Prime provides ad-free viewing, exclusive emotes and a chat badge, free channel subscription, and—as of March—free games every month. It's included with subscriptions to Amazon Prime, which offers free delivery on a huge range of products, access to Prime Video and Prime Music, and free ebooks via Prime Reading. Subscriptions recently went up from $100 to $120 a month (or $13 per month if you don't want to commit to a full year, but that'll end up costing you more in the long run), but it's still a pretty sweet deal if you're a regular Amazon user. 

Tyranny isn't the only free game on the table this month: Twitch is giving away a free game every day this month, and The Red Strings Club, Brutal Legend, The Bridge, Tacoma, Observer, Deponia Doomsday, and the SNK Bundle are all currently up for grabs, as are the Warframe: Prime Day and Trinity Prime bundles, a Call of Duty: WWII Ultimate Supply Drop pack, a Neverwinter: Purple Owlbear pack, and 500 bonus Bits. 

And in case you missed it, today is Prime Day, that most magical day of the year where we celebrate how wonderful Amazon is by giving it our money, and we've got an ongoing roundup of the best PC gaming deals right here

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Steam Spring Cleaning

I’m not sure if Valve’s latest promotional wotsit on Steam knows whether it’s coming or going. On one hand, it’s nice that the Spring Cleaning Event (running until Monday, 28th May) is nudging players into trying out games they may have bought in sales and never touched, but pairing that with nine simultaneous free weekend events does somewhat undermine the message.

Ah well, it’s an excuse to play videogames all weekend. Can’t grumble about that. Plus, there’s an actual free game giveaway running – take a peek within. Oh, and yesterday’s big Steam giveaway is still live until tomorrow, so try that too. Oh dear, there’s just too many games.

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Tyranny

EA has been quietly packing its paid subscription service, Origin Access, with a long list of excellent games over the past few months. It all started when it let third-party publishers in on the act, adding most of the Batman games.  Both The Witness and Wasteland 2 weren't far behind, and last month Mad Max, Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera all entered the fray. This month, it's the turn of relaxing underwater explorer Abzû and old-school RPG Tyranny, as well as seven others. They'll all be available to subscribers tomorrow.

Origin Access is a bit like Netflix for PC gaming: you pay $5/£4 a month, or $30/£20 for the whole year, and get unlimited access to the 100 or so games inside the "vault". Out of the nine new ones, I'm most looking forward to Tyranny, which has been on my list for a while. Steven said it had a great story with moral shades of grey, but that it was let down by a dud ending. Abzû was the 2016 game about a deep-sea diver that you probably saw screenshots of everywhere. It's both beautiful and relaxing.

Kingdom: New Lands looks interesting, too. It's the expanded and improved version of 2015 management game Kingdoms, which James thought was solid enough already.

Here's the full list of the nine new games: 

It's not as impressive a lineup as previous months, but it's a decent selection. If you want to sign up to Origin Access, you can do that here. Whatever you think about EA as a publisher, the service offers a lot of great games for a not-too-daunting subscription fee.

PC Gamer

Being evil in an RPG is no easy feat. Not only do you need the stomach for it, but developers aren't always the best at making evil choices feel as nuanced and satisfying as their morally righteous counterparts. It's rare for a game to present you with a decision so evil that it actually upsets you, but there is also an undeniable joy in being a monstrous jackass—even if your reason for detonating a dormant nuke in the middle of a small town is just for the lols.

That's why we forced some of our writers into the confession booth to finally fess up about their favorite evil decisions in PC gaming. It's some pretty dark stuff—from smothering babies to forcing someone to murder their lifelong best friend—but if you've got a kink for the chaotic, here are our picks for some of the most sinful choices we've made in games. 

Tyranny - Hush little baby 

To be fair, Tyranny is an RPG that has no real shortage of evil choices to be made—you do murder millions of people in the introduction alone, after all. But later in the story, Tyranny trades mass murder for one decision that is hauntingly terrible. See, to undo your overlord's Edicts that, like magical natural disasters, are tearing apart the land, your character must help fulfill certain contractual clauses. When you first venture to the Blade Sea, that clause is killing the last of its traitorous ruling family. At first this seems like a pretty easy task after you besiege the castle, corner the Regent Herodin and make ready to end his life. But after he is dead, the edict remains mysteriously intact. It's then revealed that there is another heir—a child born out of love between Herodin's son and the kidnapped daughter of your commander, Graven Ashe.

It's a hopelessly complicated situation made even more complicated by the fact that the mother, Amelia, will die to protect her child. But if the child lives, the Edict of Storms will continue. True to developer Obsidian's great storytelling lineage, there's a few different ways to handle the decision. But if you're the ruthlessly pragmatic type, you can simply kill Amelia and then smother her child in its crib. Or if you're a real monster, you can force one of your unwilling companions to do it for you, probably subjecting them to a lifetime of guilt and self-loathing. Whichever way you go about it (or however you might justify it) smothering babies isn't exactly heroic.— Steven Messner

Fallout 3 - The Big Bang

The big, obvious one from Fallout 3 is such a grand moment that it's almost impossible to resist. I blew up Megaton for two reasons: one, I wanted a nice apartment in Tenpenny Tower, where I could have a little break from the depressing nuclear post-apocalypse and chill with my robot butler. Secondly, the layout of Megaton is really annoying, and needlessly tricky to navigate compared to other locations in Fallout 3. It had to go, really. I activated the nuke and watched that baby go off. I regret nothing—it's still one of the most shocking and exciting moments from any game in the last ten years. — Samuel Roberts

Dishonored - Lust for vengeance 

Despite being an assassin, Dishonored rightly punishes wanton murder and instead encourages players to seek their vengeance through more creative means. Each kill pushes the city of Dunwall closer to complete chaos, so finding an alternative is necessary if you hope to ultimately rid the city of evil and corruption. Instead of murdering the pope, for instance, you can brand him with a mark of shame and force him to live out the rest of his life as a beggar. It's poetic justice at its finest—except in the case of Lady Boyle.

This capitalist is the financier behind many of Dishonored's villains and is rightly deserving of justice. But Dishonored's non-lethal way of dealing with her is pretty abhorrent. During the Lady Boyle's Last Party mission, Corvo can choose to simple murder Boyle (and her lookalike sisters) or instead deliver her into the hands of a creepy-ass stalker named Lord Brisby who, in addition to confessing his love for her, promises to make her disappear forever. While his suggestion is vague, it's just insidious enough to make me believe that handing Lady Boyle over is little more than human trafficking. That, by knocking her unconscious and letting Lord Brisby have her, I'd be condemning her to a life of sexual slavery at the hands of this creep. I mean, I get it, she's a terrible person and absolutely deserves punishment—but I think we can all agree that this is a bit much.— Steven Messner

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow - No questions asked  

Okay, obviously this isn’t an RPG, but I’ve pulled rank in order to include it because it’s such a juicy moral dilemma. What, dear reader, would you do if your boss ordered you to shoot someone—and only gave you a second to decide. Luckily for Steven, that’s not a situation I’m ever likely to be in. But for Sam Fisher, double-tapping a colleague is all in a day’s work. So it goes when midway through Pandora Tomorrow you step into one of those elevators with a mesh door. Suddenly you get a call from your handler, Lambert. “Fisher, we need Dahlia Tal dead. Kill her.” The elevator starts moving. “Don’t think, just do it.”

To this point as far as you’re aware Tal is an undercover agent in the Israeli secret police who’s been helping Fisher infiltrate a terrorist base, and has been portrayed as the kind of entirely sympathetic ‘goody’ NPC you expect from the series. The game barely gives you a second to make the call—I shot her, as did the guy in this video—and afterwards I remember feeling something close to actual actual shock.

If I’m being honest, there was also some exhilaration that the game had thrust such a horrendous decision on the player with zero foreshadowing. Brilliantly, at least in terms of design, if you kill Tal you don’t get any explanation as to why it was necessary. Whether or not I’d made the right decision was just about all I could think about for the rest of the game.

A quick trip to Wikia now reveals that Tal was in fact planning the ol’ switcheroo on Fisher, and had a team of snipers waiting to ambush him outside the facility. If you decide to let her live, Lambert gives you a bollocking and explains the deal with the double cross. It always disappointed me that although subsequent Splinter Cell games also came with tough decisions, none felt as startling as that murderous phone call. It’s also a pity that Pandora Tomorrow doesn’t appear to be on GoG or Steam currently. Time for a stern talk with Ubisoft.— Tim Clark

Knights of the Old Republic - Do as I command 

Playing the Dark Side in Knights of the Old Republic was way more fun, but this bit was twisted. Towards the end of the game, as you take on the mantle of the Sith and confront your party about their allegiances, things get pretty heated. The purehearted Mission Vao wants to redeem you, while her loyal wookiee friend Zaalbar is stuck in an impossible situation. He has a life debt to you, but loves Mission dearly. What's the most evil possible thing you can do, in this situation? Use Force Persuasion to convince Zaalbar to stab, strangle, or shoot Mission to death, while she shouts "It's me, Big Z! Noooo!" I don't think that's how the life debt is supposed to work.— Wes Fenlon

Planescape: Torment - I have no body and I must scream 

Planescape is full of potential bastardry, from selling your companions into slavery to, well, everything involving Deionarra. But in the Nine Hells of Baator there's an especially memorable moment. The Pillar of Skulls is where sage souls whose lies resulted in someone else's death are punished by being turned into chattering heads trapped in a column of flesh for eternity. The heads trade their knowledge for sacrifices, and know things you can't learn anywhere else. 

This is where you discover that one of your companions, a wisecracking floating skull named Morte, is an escapee of the pillar who has been trying to atone for his sin by serving you. Knowing this, you can put him back into the Pillar of Skulls in return for which it will answer one question. I don't know if shoving the first friend you make in the game back into a mass of bone and putrid flesh for eternity in trade for some information counts as Lawful Evil, Chaotic Evil, or Neutral Evil but whichever it is you are a dick for doing it.— Jody Macgregor

Fallout 2 - All is fair in love and war 

Fallout 2 was the first game I can recall where you could be truly evil—like, really, really evil. If you, like me, ended up sleeping with Miria (or her brother Daven), you'd be forced by her father into a shotgun marriage, straddling you with a completely useless companion. If you're truly evil, you can make the best of a bad situation and profit in the process. If you head over to The Hole or New Reno, you can pimp off your spouse for some extra caps or, if you encounter trappers, have Miria earn you some gecko skins by doing the dirty. That's probably not what her father intended to happen when he forced you to marry her.

Even worse, if you tire of any of your companions (and you don’t just let them get killed in a fight), you can sell them into slavery and be rid of them forever. ‘Losing’ Miriam to Metzger in The Den was my eventual choice, and when I happened to return to Modoc and mentioned what happened to her father, Grisham, the old geezer had a heart attack. RIP, dad, and thanks for the shotgun wedding.

— Jarred Walton

Tyranny - Valve
Save 66% on Tyranny during this week's Midweek Madness*!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Tyranny - TheLetterZ

Hey everyone! These are the patch-notes for our latest patch that will release in just about an hour!

The 1.2.1 patch addresses multiple issues, many of the more prevalent issues are listed below. Please note that many of these notes contain spoilers:
  • 'Sneak Attack' talent will no longer stack with itself when used repeatedly.
  • Passives removed from Respec'ing or upgrading to a higher talent are now properly removed from the character.
  • Weeping Whispers will no longer apply bleeding to allies that target the wearer with a buff. (This was resulting in allies turning against the party in some cases)
  • Loading a save from a previous patch will no longer get players stuck in World Map Events nor Ambushes.
  • Spell slots are now properly removed when the item/talent granting them are removed.
  • Updated Tooltip on maps that are inaccessible due to party members not being active in the party, to better convey why the map is locked.
  • Throwing knives and Javelins now properly received the accuracy bonus from the Duelist Talents.
  • Fixed an edge case where some Skill Checks could display a value of -1.
  • Heartseeker Base Damage no longer scales with character level.
  • Removed an errant sigil from Phaedrus's Store.
  • Re-added a missing string from Rixatrix's piglet.
  • Imported versions of Weeping Whispers now have the correct reputation strings.
  • Silvercore's Cumbersome ability description now lists itself only once in the recovery UI.
  • Recruit Selina now offers training in One Handed instead of Subterfuge.
  • Blood Mulch is now listed correctly for his lines in act 3.
  • Re-added some translated strings for unlocking spell notifications.
  • Rebounding Blade now uses the correct icon when targeting.
  • Re-added multiple missing strings to the base game.
  • Updated Weeping Whispers to more consistently affect Recovery Time.
  • Updated World Map Events UI to better display the reputation changes for Companions.
  • Circular Reasoning now displays its projectile correctly if imported to New Game+
  • Updated some visual and sound effects for Edicts in world map event scenes.
  • Updated the World Map Event UI to better display multiple reputation changes from a single choice.
  • VFX for the Edict for of Storms now appear correctly at the Sentinel Stand Outskirts
  • Improved the load time of the Title Screen.
  • Reputation changes in World Map Events now display the correct information for the change.
  • Fixed an edge case where the audio for the End Game Cutscene may mute the VO track.
  • Updating the Targeting UI in Bastard's Wound scenes to display more consistently.
  • Overwriting Paradox Clouds saves will now automatically flag the new save for syncing with the Paradox Cloud.
  • Updated Paradox Cloud save UI so new saves can have the Sync State picked before saving.
  • Updated Character Shadows in some Bastard's Wound Scenes.
  • Updated Title Screen News button to not clip with DLC banners when using localized text.
  • Fixed various typos.
Spoilers
  • Barik's Dialog no longer ends pre-maturely when speaking with him after completing Never Free
  • Tide Together now completes correctly when telling Wagstaff that the player let Phoibe go free but still giving him Phoibe's tome.
  • Knapping on the Job now completes correctly (and allows other quests to start) when telling Jaspos that Argaen is dead.
  • Characters will no longer path under the water in the Bastard's Wound.
  • Speaking to Basila for Knapping on the Job will now point the Fatebinder to
  • South Haven if the Forge-Bound have already left Lethian's Crossing.
  • Jaspos & Wagstaff will now speak with the Fatebinder at the end of Knapping on the Job/Tide Together, even if they are very upset with the Fatebinder for past decisions.
  • Eb and Lantry both react to the correct NPC being placed in charge of the Wound.
  • Updated the Chronicles from Truth and Reconciliation to no longer glow when loading a save that had already discovered that chronicle.
  • Jaspos & Wagstaff now direct the player to speak with Mell if they are at odds with the player (Leading to the start of the History of the Oldwalls quest)
  • Updated the end game slides to better match with Anarchist players who remain loyal to Kyros.
  • Updated the Berry Fields scene so that VO'd lines at the start of a dialog will correctly play the VO.
  • Reef-Talon now appears in the Wellspring Cascade if she stays in Bastard's Wound after the final decision is made for the area.
  • Updated Wagstaff dialog so that Eb will react correctly even if the Fatebinder killed Insipid Moniker before meeting Wagstaff.
  • Updated Berry bush second interaction to give resting bonuses upon completing the cut-scene.
  • Imperator's Oldwalls Regalia no longer grants armor at higher qualities.
  • Speaking to Lexeme after triggering the Lullaby Cut-Scene will not repeat the cut-scene.
Tyranny - TheLetterZ

This patch addresses issues that were preventing players from completing various quests after the 1.2.0 update. Below are a list of the specific fixes that are included in this update, please note that many of these notes contain spoilers for the DLC and end game content:
  • Companions wielding Penumbra can now be removed from the party without causing errors.
  • Fixed a rare case where players could no longer leave Bastard's Wound after completing the content there.
  • Armor values now correctly recalculate after loading a save for a character with a stance that affects armor.
  • Added localized text for several lines that were displaying English text.
  • Readded a missing line of Graven Ashe's Dialog.
    Spoilers
  • Locations within Bastard's Wound now unlock more consistently regardless of the order quests are completed in.
  • Teleporters in Bastard's Wound now correctly route to the locations.
  • Bleden Mark now correctly appears in Asheweald after dealing with the Voices of Nerat as part of 'The Third Degree' quest.
  • Final quest now triggers if Graven Ashe is the last Archon to submit to the Fatebinder, while the quest 'Never Free' is active.
  • 'Knapping on the Job' now updates correctly if the Forge-bound are no longer in Lethian's Crossing when the Fatebinder goes to speak with them.
  • 'The Weight of the Aegis' quest will now advance if Barik is brought to Lohara after getting Lohara to agree to examine Barik.
...

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