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

Most battles may be fought royalley nowadays, but some still like to fight in the olden ways. Team Fortress 2 is alive, kicking, and hosting a 6v6 tournament explicitly for beginners. It’s called the Fresh Meat Challenge 2, it begins in a couple of weeks, and if you’ve ever thought about playing competitive TF2 then you should absolutely consider signing up. I dipped my toes into those waters many years ago, and it was wild.

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Left 4 Dead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Chet Faliszek, the former Valve fella best known for his work on Left 4 Dead and writing other good words for games, has joined forces with former Riot Games principal technical designer and AI bod Kimberly Voll to found a new studio. Stray Bombay Company is its name (as in Bombay cat), and drawing people closer through play is its game. They haven’t announced any specific game yet but do mutter about wanting to make games we can play over and over, where we get on as teams, and where AI shapes the whole thing. They basically described Left 4 Dead, though I wouldn’t assume that’s exactly what they’re making.

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Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Natalie Clayton)

I m not sure anyone at Respawn has properly busted their ass on the curb. It hurts. The last time I cracked my rear off the concrete in a moment of skating hubris, I was limping for days. Fortunately for the fifty million folks flying around in Apex Legends, a billowing cushion of air has turned what should be an embarrassing accident into the most compelling movement skill in years. There are, uh, a few> battle royale games. And each one has had to find its identity to stand out. PUBG has its impossibly large open fields and tense sniper standoffs. Fortnite requires you be a Minecraft building savant to change the level around you during battle. In Apex Legends, though? It s all about that need for speed.

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

A calamitous crossing of worlds has occurred in Two Point Hospital, the spiritual successor to Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital, with Half-Life headcrabs glomping onto heads and all manner of decorative doodads from Sega PC games scattering around hospitals. If you’ve not yet played the wacky hospital management sim, hey, you’re invited to try the whole thing for free this weekend on Steam. The trial weekend has just started, so hop to it. Well, don’t hop if you’re suffering from Hurty Leg, Premature Mummification, Night Fever, Lazy Bones, or Mucky Feet, in which case the doctor will see you now.

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Left 4 Dead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Turtle Rock Studios, the mob who created Left 4 Dead, are revisiting their cooperative zombie-shooting days in Back 4 Blood, a name which seems a clear a statement of intent. Expect to shoot a load of zombies together with your pals, though Turtle Rock are keen to stress that they want Back 4 Blood to be more than just Left 4 Dead with a new name. Today’s announcement is mighty vague, without even a logo to show for it, but they do hint that it’s got some new tricks. No, it’s not a battle royale game.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

Mars! What is he good for? Absolutely loads of wars.

Another hero has joined the ranks of Dota 2. He’s a spear-chucking, shield-wielding melee carry who is big into war, because he is literally the god of it. I bet you Legion Commander fancies him.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

I’m not big into numberwang. Vast numbers of people playing a game might indicate that it’s fun, or it might indicate that it’s Ark: Survival Evolved. (I haven’t played Ark and it could be amazing, this is irresponsible journalism and I will hand in my badge and gun shortly.) Point being, it’s more interesting to write about what has made a game popular than the fact that it is so.

Right. Now I have to convince you this animated graph of the most played Steam games from the past four years is fascinating.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rich McCormick)

Excuse me while I come to terms with the fact that I ve been playing de_dust2 for 18 years. If my playing Dust2 was a person, I realise, it could legally drink, vote, and join the army in the UK. My playing Dust2 could have its university picked out, could be settling into a career path. It could have moved out. I could have driven it, teary eyed, to its new home, where it would find its own way in life, maybe even find its own first-person shooter map that it could play for 18 years.

I m trying to say that I have been playing Dust2 for a very long time. And somehow, I m still not any fucking good at it>. Sheer bloody mindedness alone should ve seen me get incrementally better, but dipping back into the newly free-to-play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, I m still making the same mistakes I was in 2001. I m still rushing B too fast and getting mown down by a CT in the cracked wall. I m still hawking around the AWP corridor from the T spawn, getting my head taken off by a sniper shot for my troubles. I m still getting flashbanged by everyone, be they friend or foe. It s frustrating to still be this bad, to still not understand Counter-Strike s emphasis on precision and movement.

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

Battle royale games. For a long time the RPS treehouse was unable to comprehend these chaotic, destructive influences on society. Shooters, yes, we understand. Survival games, we get it. But 100-person death marches in a shrinking zone of hate? What s so good about that? Well, this week we ve got a young person* to help us decipher this most murderous of riddles.

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Dota 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

People have been making weird and wonderful custom Dota 2 games for years. With so much good stuff coming from outside the dota-sphere, that’s easy to forget – but not when a possible bug convinces the internet you’ve got more players than Grand Theft Auto V.

That seems have happened with Dota Auto Chess, a custom game where you pit teams of increasingly powerful wizards against seven opponents. Even with that bug in mind, it’s still throbbing with players – popularity made me notice it, but quality kept me playing. For half a game, at least, until I got crushed by the people who knew what they were doing.

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