Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Ollie Toms)

The battle royale game genre has been around for a good decade or so, but in the past year or two it has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity, thanks mostly to the mainstream success of Fortnite: Battle Royale. It’s no understatement to say that we haven’t seen a game enter the mainstream in this way since Minecraft – but it’s not the only battle royale out there, and the genre has never before seen such quantity nor such quality in its games.

We’re gonna go over a handful of our favourite battle royale games like Fortnite below. Each of these games has been picked out from the ever-expanding sea of battle royale games out there, because it takes the genre in a new direction or adds a particular feel or flavour to the genre that we haven’t found anywhere else. If you’re looking for Fortnite alternatives, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection than this.

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Portal 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Samuel Horti)

I reckon that when I was growing up I spent longer reading the manuals for games than I did playing them. The thicker the better (as the someone said to the etc.), and if it were up to me every game would come with a chunky instruction booklet. The standard these days is the in-game tutorial, and many of them feel like afterthoughts. Either they re too bare bones to properly teach you how to play, leaving you to scroll through Wikis, or they re so boring that you rush through them and then forget everything you re told.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

The long-delayed Xen chapters of Black Mesa – Crowbar Collective’s remake of the original Half-Life – feel tantalisingly close now. In a Steam blog post yesterday, the devs warn that “If you want the polished, complete Xen experience, you should wait. It won t be long!”, but if you’re ready for your first taste of their re-imagined alien world, you can try it now. The first three (of nineteen) maps are available to play as an opt-in beta, with the intent of testing how badly PCs buckle under the extensive changes they’ve made under the hood. Below, some thoughts on the new Xen.

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Portal 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jay Castello)

Speedrunning charity marathon Summer Games Done Quick is barrelling towards us at top speed, and it ll be here in just a few hours. Raising money for Doctors Without Borders, players will be rushing through more than a hundred games for a non-stop week. If you ve never seen a speedrun before, imagine how fast you could get through your favourite game. Now throw that idea away, because these people get weirder and glitchier than you could anticipate.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Defying all we thought we knew about Valve Time, the studio have just simultaneously titled and launched Dota Underlords. It’s Valve’s take on ultra-popular Dota 2 mod Auto Chess, which they had been teasing for a while now. While the game will eventually be free-to-play, with an open beta due in approximately a week, they’ve just opened the floodgates to anyone with a Dota 2 2019 Battle Pass. It supports eight players online and has AI bots to play against too. Below, a video from YouTuber “Kripparrian” giving it a quick peek.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Not only are Valve making a standalone version of mega-hit Dota 2 mod Dota Auto Chess, the mod’s creators yesterday announced they’re releasing a standalone Auto Chess on PC too. And this came mere hours after Riot Games announced an Auto Chess clone mode for League Of Legends. It’s rare to see a mod attempt to bloom into a full genre in real time.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Riot Games have announced a new League Of Legends mode named Teamfight Tactics, which is heavily inspired by Dota 2 mod Auto Chess. Y’know, the turn-based mod about buying and melding AI-controlled heroes, which has grown so popular that Valve are making an official standalone spin-off. Teamfight Tactics looks like that but in LoL and with a few tweaks to make it fresh and friendlier. It’ll first launch on June 24th. This seems the point that Auto Chess goes from a mod to a genericised mode, which I suppose is fitting considering MOBAs are a genre grown from autocannibalism.

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Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Half-Life 2 is nearly fifteen years old now, and despite Valve’s sequel plans seemingly fizzling out, it doesn’t look a day over ten thanks to the efforts of modders. Chances are that Half-Life 2 and its expansions have been gathering dust on your Steam account for years now, so here’s a quick refresher — mostly focused on the past five years — on what’s available, single player-wise. Want to turbo-charge the original game, or send Gordon Freeman on a whole new adventure? We’ve got you covered both ways, plus a trio of Silent Hill-inspired spookfests. Below, a hand-picked basket of goodies, and a crowbar to open it.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

While Valve work away on their own standalone version of Dota Auto Chess, they’re helping the original Dota 2 mod by making it one of the select few selling paid premium features in the game’s store. Launched over the weekend, the Auto Chess Pass gives a month of fancy cosmetic bits and bonus rewards for less than a quid. It’s mostly just fancybits, with the mod still free for everyone to play in full. This is pretty rare for Valve to do, especially given their caution following the Steam paid mods fiasco.

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

Valve are joining all those great internet thought-leaders and telling you to clean your room, or at the very least to play the games that you’ve bought on Steam. Running this weekend until May 28th, 6pm GMT, the Steam Spring Cleaning Event provides a front-page checklist of games to try or return to, and rewarding the diligent with goodies to decorate their account page with.

All fluff, really, but as good an excuse as any to dust off something you might have picked up a few sales back. Of course, undermining this push, there’s also a bunch of free weekend trials open on discounted games which also count towards your total. The list includes action RPG Grim Dawn, four-on-one competitive horror game Dead By Daylight and stylish 4X sci-fi strategy game Endless Space 2.

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