Bombshell - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Ion Maiden

Every cloud has a silver lining, and let’s be honest; isometric ARPG/shooter Bombshell was a pretty big (possibly mushroom-shaped) cloud. Originally planned as a Duke Nukem reboot, legal scuffles forced the game to re-brand, and it all turned out a bit pants anyway, leading developers Interceptor Entertainment to fold not long after.

The silver lining may be just what old-school shooter fans have been clamouring for, though. The Build-engine retro FPS now known as Ion Maiden was originally planned to be a promotional tie-in with Bombshell (and still shares a protagonist). It fell off the radar after Bombshell turned out a dud, but it seems that side-studio Voidpoint never stopped believing. Without warning, and under the (recently purchased) 3D Realms banner, Ion Maiden has launched direct to early access.

To everyone’s surprise, it may actually be really good.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alyse Stanley)

butterflysoup2header

Visual novels have been experiencing a cultural renaissance in recent years as developers continue to challenge genre conventions and tackle themes that AAA titles are hesitant to explore. Last year saw a flood of VNs capture the popular consciousness, but Butterfly Soup, in particular, charmed its way into players hearts and shot to the top of critics radars. Now there’s a sequel in development, due in the summer of 2019, and I’ve been speaking to developer Brianna Lei about how she hopes to continue the story.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Butterfly Soup 1.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

That cheery fella Gaunter O’Dimm is back with another dark pact for us to sign, this time for the new Arena mode added today to Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Arena mode bends the rules of Gwent, having players build decks from a random selection cards across all the different factions then fight through a gauntlet of opponents hoping to grab the biggest prize. It’s not quite the draft mode some expected, but it’s sorta close. Arena isn’t free to enter, requiring a ticket purchasable with the in-game currency of Ore or real cash. Developers CD Projekt Red are offering players three tickets for free to get started, at least. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Mutant Year Zero

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one: A duck, a boar and a lady walk into a bar… No, it’s not a joke, but the set-up for the reveal trailer to Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden, an upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG from The Bearded Ladies Consulting, a small Swedish outfit featuring talent from both Hitman and Payday’s development teams, and based on a well-regarded pen & paper RPG line.

Within, the trailer itself, introducing the trio of protagonists: Porcine powerhouse Bormin, waddling warrior Dux (the animal-folk of this post-nuclear world are clearly lousy at naming things) and Selma, who appears to be a mostly-normal human up until trouble comes knocking. Also, some high-res screenshots that you can click to embiggen.

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Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

blanka-slate-pt-2-1

Hello and welcome to Blanka Slate, a three-part series in which I pick up Street Fighter exactly where I left off decades ago mashing buttons as Blanka and losing badly. But I am older, wiser and better at taking screenshots than all those years ago, so perhaps there is a chance for redemption. This is day two of my Street Fighter V journey, and I will be facing three more foes, including a character I neither know nor understand.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

So long, Year of the Mammoth! Blizzard are flipping the Hearthstone calendar over to a new year, and this time we’re going goth for the Year of the Raven. Blizzard laid out their free-to-play card game’s plans for the next year on their DeadJournal, which include launching another three expansions while rotating others out of the Standard format, freshening Standard up further by shifting several powerful Classic cards (including Ice Block) to the Wild Format, making Quests quicker, and adding in-game support for running your own tournaments. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Byrne)

BenQ EL2870U

4K monitors have been around for a while now, but 4K monitors that also come with built-in HDR support are still few and far between, making BenQ’s brand-new EL2780U something of a rarity.

At 28in, this 4K HDR screen may not be the biggest Ultra HD monitor money can buy, but at just 329 / $500, it’s arguably one of the cheapest that does HDR. It’s not on sale yet in the UK, sadly, but should you be considering the BenQ EL2870U for games like Final Fantasy XV or Assassin’s Creed Origins over some of the other best monitors I’ve tested so far? Let’s find out. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Overwatch

We’ve had it teased on and off for the past few days, but it’s officially confirmed now: Brigitte Lindholm, Torbj rn’s eldest daughter, is going to be taking up flail and shield and wading out onto the increasingly crowded Overwatch front lines.

Within, we’ve got her official origin story, giving us a look at exactly who Brigitte is as a person, followed up by a developer update featuring director Jeff Kaplan detailing what exactly, she’ll be doing in the field.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Byrne)

ZEC tales

In these dark days of graphics card price hikes and crypto mining this and currency mining that, it’s easy to think that the powers that be have forgotten about us gaming folk and are simply concerning with making sure those pesky coin plunderers continue to line their respective pockets.

As it turns out, a new report from US data and marketing firm Jon Peddie Research suggests that gaming, not mining, is still the biggest market for the graphics card bigwigs, giving them plenty of incentive to meet the ever growing demand for more GPUs.

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Defiance - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Defiance

Defiance was an odd little thing. A solid enough Borderlands-esque MMO loot n’ shooter, tied in to a mostly-okay TV series. It came, it saw, it faded from the public eye and joined the ranks of a thousand other forgotten MMOs; still active but seldom talked about, supported by a skeleton crew of developers.

While Trion Worlds have done well to support Defiance over the years (including a respectably generous transition to a free-to-play model and a hefty expansion to its map later on) it’s always been held back by its engine, designed around the restrictions of PS3 hardware. Now, the game is getting a current-gen revamped re-release under the banner of Defiance 2050, and is accepting beta applications now.

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