Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

podcast-best-npcs-2

Ah, the non-player character. Stoic endurer of all our sadistic whims. It s time the monsters on the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, made tribute to these humble little robots, whether they re annoying companions, side characters, or disembodied human heads. Let s talk about some of our favourites. (more…)

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

TF2_Readysteadypan_header1

There’s a ‘this is the pinnacle of esports’ joke right there on the table, but I’m gonna say straight up that Ready Steady Pan is an absolute mess to spectate. But what a spectacularly daft mess it is.

This is 6v6 Team Fortress 2, where everyone is only allowed to attack with frying pans and food. And urine, for some reason. The community-run “semi-competitive tournament” is nearly done accepting sign-ups for its fourth annual competition, which kicks off at the start of next week. (more…)

Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Moondust

It strikes me as very silly that anyone is trying to declare VR a failure or a success, given that we’re still working out the most basic of control systems for it. Valve’s latest VR project is a new alternate controller for the HTC Vive called Knuckles, and by all accounts it’s a big step in the right direction, allowing complex finger motions to be tracked, on top of offering analogue sticks and buttons. To demo the new hardware, Valve put together Moondust, a Portal-themed minigame collection designed to put the new hardware through its paces.

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Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

TF2_trickjumping_header

I love discovering subcultures that occasionally spawn from videogames, and trickjumping is a wonderful example. Give Quake players the ability to propel themselves through the air by firing rockets at their feet and a momentum-building jumping bug, and what do they do? They make custom maps and challenge each other to perform feats of aerial ballet, of course. Delightfully, that scene is still going strong nearly 20 years on in Team Fortress 2.

The Beginnings 5 TF2 jumping competition began last week, and features three different events. There’s a speedrun competition on set maps, a trickjumping competition that involves doing something impressive on any map, and – perhaps most excitingly – a live race. (more…)

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

The best shooters endure. While the state of the art moves on in other genres and leaves old designs in the dust, it’s as fun to fire a well-made shotgun from an early 90s FPS as from one released today. For that reason, this list runs the gamut from genre classics to those released in the last year. There’s bound to be something for you inside.

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Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

WWars-pic-2

Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel. Or even involve themselves in this business of wheels. Sometimes you need only grab a few universally beloved things and jam them together. If you had an arena multiplayer shooter that combined the best levels of Halo with the constant world-bending of Portal and added a dash of the best parts of Overwatch, well, that’s what Wormhole Wars looks like it wants to be. And that’s what I want it to be too.

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Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

readyupheader1

Ready Up opens with a shot of the CS:GO grand finals at ESL One. The size of the stadium dwarfs the players on the stage, who all wear deadly serious expressions. There are thousands of people in the audience, many of them frantically waving inflatable tubes covered in sponsorship scrawls. A member of one team makes a clutch pistol play, and the room erupts in a roar of screaming and thunderous chanting. The player solemnly acknowledges the applause with a showboating chef kiss, but he doesn’t look like he’s having much fun.

Then, we change rooms. A few dozen people are sitting in front of a screen, watching their friends compete at a Team Fortress 2 LAN event. The players seem focused, yet relaxed. “Ah, I’m dead” says one of them, half-grinning at his misfortune. At the heart of the competitive TF2 scene, it transpires, is a community with bonds that transcend the tribalism you might see in other esports. I spoke to Alex “Dashner” Pylyshyn over email, who co-directed Ready Up alongside Ness Uberchain Delacroix, about the past, present and future of competitive TF2.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A proper playable demo of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is coming next week, containing the RPG’s first chapter, following the recent benchmark tool. A demo! In this day and age! Bless their hearts. Square Enix have talked a lot about wanting to do the PC version right, mods and all, and they do seem to be going for it. They’re even teaming up with iconic PC chap Gordon Freeman, adding the Half-Life hero’s HEV suit, glasses, and crowbar to FFXV’s Steam version. Well, he’s not using them, is he? (more…)

Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alyse Stanley)

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The Orange Box turned 10 years old this year, and by extension Portal celebrated its anniversary too. Sitting alongside continuations of well-loved games, the short puzzle adventure could have been quickly forgotten. Tacked on to bulk up the box. It was, however, a surprise hit, winning over players with its smart spatial puzzles and writing that fans continue to quote. And while I can list lines off with the best of them (don t even get me started on that cake), this classic s hold on my heart comes from a person who never speaks one.

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Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Life's a bridge

Here s an odd fusion. Portal is being mixed with the Bridge Constructor series to create a spin-off game about making fragile bridges that transport forklifts from one side of the Aperture Science facility to the other. In Bridge Constructor Portal we’ll see GLaDOS, the robot marm of the passive aggressive puzzler, return to torment the player with what I presume will be a characteristically snide voiceover, provided by Ellen McLain. Here s a brief teaser. (more…)

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