Spelunky - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

I heard you don t like our podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. But have you listened to 76 hours of it yet? Honestly, mate, it opens up after that. The 76-hour mark, that s when it clicks . But I understand if you don t have the time. Just skip ahead to this week s episode, in which we re talking about games about which we changed our minds. Listen in for the platformers we prematurely pooh-poohed and the Souls games that sucked before they were super.

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DARK SOULS™ III - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dave Irwin)

It was inevitable that this would feature in a Have You Played article. Dark Souls III heralded the end of the wildly popular trilogy of punishing games, and it was the culmination of everything From Software learned over the Souls years. But of course, you probably knew that. You probably don’t know, however, that according to the deep and secret lore of Dark Souls 3, one of the giant crab enemies is called Carol.

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Half-Life 2

There is a saying in architecture that no building is unbuildable, only unbuilt. Structures may be impossible in the here and now, but have the potential to exist given enough time or technological development: a futuristic cityscape, a spacefaring megastructure, the ruins of an alien civilisation. However, there are also buildings that defy the physical laws of space. It is not an issue that they could not exist, but that they should not. Their forms bend and warp in unthinkable ways; dream-like structures that push spatial logic to its breaking point.

The Tomb of Porsena is a legendary monument built to house the body of an Etruscan king. 400 years after its construction, the Roman scholar Varro gave a detailed description of the ancient structure. A giant stone base rose 50 feet high, beneath it lay an "inextricable labyrinth", and atop it sat five pyramids. Above this was a brass sphere, four more pyramids, a platform and then a final five pyramids. The image painted by Varro, one of shapes stacked upon shapes, seems like a wild exaggeration. Despite this, Varro's fanciful description sparked the imaginations of countless architects over the centuries. The tomb was an enigma, and yet the difficulty in conceptualising it, and the vision behind it, was fascinating. On paper artists were free to realise its potential. If paper liberated minds, the screen can surely open up further possibilities. There's no shortage of visionary structures within the virtual spaces of video games. These are strange buildings that ask us to imagine worlds radically different to our own.

Whilst many impossible formulations are orientated towards the future, there are also plenty from the past. The castle in Ico is one example of this. During the Renaissance, Europe was obsessed, not with future utopias, but with ancient Greece and Rome. While the box art of Ico is famously inspired by Giorgio de Chirico, the long shadows and sun-bleached stone walls only make-up a portion of the game's mood. It is the etchings of Giovanni Piranesi that best capture what it's like to explore the castle's winding stairs and bridges. Piranesi's imaginary Roman reconstructions were absurdly big - so colossal you could get lost in just the foundations. In a similar way, Ico's castle is impossibly large, the camera zooming out in order to overwhelm you and build up the unfathomable mystery of its origin and purpose.

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Hollow Knight - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

I hope you didn t have anything planned this week, because speedrunning extravaganza Awesome Games Done Quick starts today at 4:30pm GMT.

If you ve never tuned in before, AGDQ is a weeklong, 24/7 marathon of games, all played as fast as possible, while streaming on Twitch and raising a whole shedload of cash for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. What s not to like?

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DARK SOULS™ II - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Giada Zavarise)

You might have heard of Berserk already. A few people have pointed out the similarities between Hidetaka Miyazaki s Souls series and the manga Berserk. Perhaps you ve even gotten curious, toyed with the idea of getting into it, but without a clear idea of where to start. Or perhaps you got the impression that Berserk is not for you.

You may have heard Berserk is filled with violence, sexual assault, gore, grim characters and questionable content. And for the most part, you would be right. But at its core, Berserk is about love.

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DARK SOULS™ III

I know I'm not the only one who thought the placement of bonfires—Dark Souls 3's take on checkpoints—was a little wonky, and now we might have an idea why. Dark Souls YouTuber Lance McDonald has built his reputation on uncovering all sorts of fascinating bosses, enemies, and systems that were removed from Dark Souls games prior to release. And in his latest video, Lance shows off a bizarre system he found hidden in an alpha version of Dark Souls 3 that allows him to sacrifice enemies and create bonfires just about anywhere he wants.

You should first watch the video above to see it all in action, but what Lance discovered is a massive insight into how Dark Souls 3 might've worked at one point in time. The idea is that sometimes slain enemies would emit an ominous glow the moment they died, indicating that these enemies suffered what's oddly called a "cult death." In the video, Lance can use the alpha version's debug menu to assign this parameter freely to enemies for the purposes of demonstrating what it can do. When enemies die a cult death, the player can then pick up their body and drag it anywhere in the world.

This system ties into another scrapped concept wherein players could "join a cult"—though Lance admits he doesn't know what that means or how to do it. Using a debug menu Lance can join one automatically, and there's seven to choose from that closely mirror the options players have when resting at a bonfire. When in a cult, like the one that allows you to level up, players can perform a "ceremony" on cult death bodies, which triggers an animation that essentially transforms the corpse into a bonfire.

The unfinished animation of the "ceremony."

The idea, I think, was that players could join a cult that would allow them to turn slain enemies into bonfires with limited usage. You might join a cult so that you can create your own bonfires to level up, or one that'll let you summon an NPC for aid.

But wait, there's more.

In the second half of the video, Lance demonstrates how these cult death enemies were also a key ingredient in a new way of invading other players. In the inventory menu, Lance discovered two "ceremony swords" that served an interesting purpose. One sword would let you invade another player's world, while the second sword eclipsed your world in darkness and opened you up to invasion from other players. PVP is obviously a big part of Darks Souls 3, and this system looks like one way players could've guaranteed themselves some PVP action.

Sadly, the system never made it into the game. But as Polygon rightly points out, it was obviously intended to be a proper feature considering a Dark Souls 3 statue first displayed at E3 2015 depicted the ceremony necessary to trigger the invasion. Oh well. You can see a video of the statue below.

Thanks, Polygon.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (The Dealer)

Is… is it over yet? Are the Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals finally finished? Just a couple more hours to go now, you can do it deals herald, you can get through this. You’ve got a week and a half holiday coming up soon, just get through the afternoon and then you can go and lie in a dark room and not dream about Cyber Monday graphics card deals you might have missed for the seventh night running.

Ahem. Sorry, I don’t know what came over me there. Probably the Cyber Monday PC gaming deals fatigue settling in, or the Black Friday fever dream I seem to have been living this past fortnight. But your deals herald is stronger than that. Nay, THE DEALER is stronger than that, and with a renewed sense of vigor that may in fact be frenzied despair, I thus present to you the final monolithic installment of our Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC deals bonanza. Gone are the deals swept away by the ever-grabbing hands of internet shoppers. All that’s left is the best of the best that are still up for grabs, from graphics cards and monitors to SSDs, gaming headsets, CPUs and mice and keyboards and more. If you’ve yet to do your Cyber Monday shopping, act fast, as these PC gaming deals won’t be around for long.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

I’m sure everyone’s feeling a bit of Black Friday fatigue by now (trust me, I want this all to be over just as much as you do), but in the interests of those after that one, last, final deal to end all deals, I present to you our newly refreshed Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals hub. I’ve cleared away all the deals that have been swept into oblivion by the almighty wave of discount-grabbers, leaving you with the best of the best PC gaming deals that are still available. Whether you’re after a new graphics card, monitor, SSD, gaming headset or even a new CPU, mouse and keyboard, your deals herald will provide. Here are all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals you can grab right now.

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HITMAN™ - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

Black Friday is almost over here in the UK, but the deals train is still going strong for all you folk over in the US. It seems like forever ago that I boarded at Deals Station Central, but there’s still a fair old time before we all reach our final destination that is the culmination of November’s online deals frenzy, Cyber Monday. Thus, it falls to me, your ever faithful deals herald to continue striving away at the deals-based coal face to bring you the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals around.

Now, I’m not saying you should just spend a load of money for the sake of it. Indeed, you should only really partake of Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals madness if you really need to upgrade to something. I ended up buying a laptop today, not because it was cheap (although that was certainly a factor), but because the battery on my current workhorse is practically bursting out from beneath my touchpad. Or at least I think it’s my battery. Either way, it’s getting on a bit and I could do with a new one. So, if you are> thinking about upgrading your PC, Black Friday and its accompanying deals jamboree Cyber Monday can be a great time to pick up some deals on the cheap, whether it’s a new graphics card, CPU, SSD, headset, or mouse and keyboard. So let’s dive straight in and see what bargains this year’s Black Friday has to offer.

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HITMAN™ - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

Can you taste the Black Friday deals turkey yet? (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way, to those celebrating) Can you smell those sweet, sweet discounts wafting through the cracks in your screen that tell you, yes, it is> time to buy a new gaming monitor, and maybe find a deal on a new graphics card, CPU, SSD and literally every other PC component under the sun? Yes, you say? Me too! And have I got the best PC gaming deals for you this fine Black Friday eve.

For I, your trusted deals herald, have been beavering away this past week (month, year, it seems so long ago) to bring you the best Black Friday deals the internet has to offer. You’ll find everything here for building a new PC, including all the best Black Friday graphics card deals, monitor deals, SSD deals, gaming laptop deals, CPU deals, headset deals and please send help because I actually can’t stop saying the word ‘deals’ (DEALS).

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