PC Gamer
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, it's alive! It's alive! Well, virtually speaking.

What made the 90s such a great decade for games? Many things, obviously, but high on the list was that while technology was good enough to leap forwards on a constant basis, there weren't as many rules, established ways of doing things, or games to simply clone. Experimenting with crazy ideas wasn't simply for indies or a lucky handful of people who probably didn't smoke anything like as much weird stuff as everyone suggested, because they weren't actually crazy. They were simply different.

And sometimes, as with Sentient, they didn't work out. Still, if you want to see an RPG that shot for the stars, you won't find many more ambitious examples. And if you don't? Well, don't ever let me catch you complaining that the latest mainstream hit is generic. That's officially your fault. Retroactively.

A time machine may or may not be brought in to facilitate this.

Sentient is unlike pretty much other RPG/adventure you've ever played, with its killer feature hinted at by the title - it doesn't just want to create a world, but life. Specifically, where most adventures will just have the characters standing around and waiting for you to grace them with their presence, here they're all kitted out with AI that lets them wander around, do their jobs, follow commands, and even track you down if they have a message. Elements of that have appeared in other games, like the Virtual Theatre system used in Lure of the Temptress, but this is the only RPG I ever remember playing where the difficulty settings have a slider to set how much of a dick the rest of the crew thinks you are.

Here's a quick clip - unfortunately of the Playstation version, which actually looks better than the PC one, at least running in DOSBox (which still isn't a fan of 3D acceleration, which might have been supported). This was a dark, topsy-turvy world for the One True Platform, as you can tell...


Plot-wise, the premise is simple... though like so much of the game, the actual story quickly gets bogged down. You're a medic, newly assigned to a space station about to be swallowed by a sun. If this is a surprise, bear in mind that said station is called "Icarus", making it second-only to the USS Blownupbyklingons in the obvious demise stakes. You arrive to be greeted not by a welcoming committee, but your shuttle crashing, only to find yourself in the middle of a race against time to save the station, and a mutiny involving the various factions on board. Also, it turns out that there are sentient god particles in the sun and trust me, you do not want to know how silly this gets by the end.

Your main benefit to everyone is that as an outsider, you have no political leanings and haven't been corrupted by anything. Of course, the downside of this is that nobody gives the faintest crap about you most of the time. Go up to someone and try to give them an order, and most of the time they just tell you to go suture your face to your own anus and pretend to be a human ringworm. Then they leave before you can give them a quick clarifying biology lesson, because they have better things to do with their time - like stand by a console or go flirt with someone. (If it helps, they don't ever seem to have much luck with this either, if all the bile they keep throwing at each other is anything to go by.)

It should be obvious that Sentient tries to bite off more than it can chew. To get an idea of exactly how much though, I would like to present the Guinness Burger. It costs $2000 and weighs almost 200 pounds, with a mound of bacon and enough cheese to turn a mouse lactose intolerant, if they weren't already. Got that? Sentient is a house-fly staring up at it and going "Lucky I skipped breakfast!"

It has a surprisingly good crack at it though, with AI characters capable of doing relatively complicated actions like leading you to a specific place and then resuming their duties, having conversations with each other, and taking part in real-time events such as gathering for a meeting. True, a lot of the time they flat-out refuse, or simply walk off instead of finishing the conversation, but that's just because they don't like you. In another game, that would be annoying. Here, it's advanced AI! (Kinda.)

Your own interactions with them are equally complex. Instead of dialogue trees or icons, every conversation option is built up from a series of blocks - "WHERE IS... THE CAPTAIN?" for instance, or "FIX... THE COMPUTER". It doesn't take long to work out why this method never took off, but it's an interesting break from the norm while it lasts - and one with a decent amount of flexibility. You can be told to piss off after flirting. You can be told to piss off after giving them an order. It's wide-open!

The illusion of life quickly falls apart when anyone opens their mouth though. Sentient has ambitions of being a great sci-fi epic, but its basic writing wouldn't hold up in a junior school creative writing project. It's almost adorable at times, like when you talk to a critically wounded engineer in a rapidly de-pressurising airlock and only get a polite "Right now, I could do with some help," from him. Hand him a medi-kit and, still face down, he politely adds "I'm indebted to you," before preventing his painful death.

Oh dearie me. And that's before you even get to the names. Oh, the names. There's a medic called "Dr. Luvey", just for starters, not to mention Scrabble scores in human skin like Garrilac and Lollie Downie. But even that is nothing compared to my personal favourite...

Sentient is a seriously tricky game to play, and not a pleasant one. Its environment is one of the dullest ever put into a game - a cramped, dark, claustrophobic place with very blocky objects masquerading as interesting stuff, and corridor after corridor mostly impossible to tell apart except for their numbers and colour-schemes. It's like being trapped in a particularly cheap Doctor Who episode - or a very expensive Blake's 7 one. Characters all seem to have had a nasty encounter with a shovel-wielding psychopath who really hated their faces. Finding the one thing that you actually need to proceed towards one of the multiple endings is about as much of a trawl as you'd expect - especially having to wade though lines like "Wow, you really are young aren't you and come back next week if there's no improvement!"

This isn't exactly the kind of writing you want telling a story like this.

As wonderful as it would be to be able to call Sentient a lost RPG gem, it really isn't. It's not much fun to play, and even its innovative elements are very flawed. It has far more than your average game though, and its core ideas... let's just say I wouldn't object to seeing them in a few more games. To get a better feel for it, here's a handy Let's Play - again of the Playstation version, but the two are essentially identical as far as the clever stuff goes. One day, maybe AI driven stories and real-time adventures will be the norm, and something like this will no longer seem special. Glancing at the games on the shelves right now though, it's going to be a long way off. And y'know, that really seems a little sad.


* DISCLAIMER: Sentient is not actually sentient. At least I hope not. I'd hate to think it felt pain as I deleted it from my hard drive, and prefer to assume that the screams coming from my tower case were merely the weeping death-knells of the little elves responsible for channelling electricity around the place through their assorted appendages. For whom I feel exactly nothing. And never, ever will.
PC Gamer

Talked this week: Super Monday Night Combat, Crysis 3, Dishonored, free-to-play weapon balancing, League of Legends' spectator mode, and horrific, hilarious EVE antics.

PC Gamer US Podcast 314: Super Monday Night Galactic Conquest

Have a question, comment, complaint or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to pcgamerpodcast@gmail.com.

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@elahti (Evan Lahti)
@jaugustine (Josh Augustine)
@tyler_wilde (Tyler Wilde)
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PC Gamer
EVE thumb
Jita is the most populated system in the entire galaxy of EVE Online. It is far from the dangers of null sec, an incredibly safe zone guarded by a deadly NPC police force with impeccable response time. Hundreds of billions of ISK move between players every day as the rich traders and industrial overlords manufacture the goods that fuel the entire game and trade them on the well-protected markets in Jita, the heart of the Empire.

That was before last night. Today, Jita is a chaotic mess, trapped in the middle of an anarchistic suicide bombardment months in the making. We talk to members of Goonswarm, the group behind the attack that's continuing all weekend, to try to find out what the crazy players of EVE Online are up to this time.

I talked with Goonswarm pilot and former CSM member Zastrow to get the full picture of Goonswarm's invasion (which the developers have said they will not interfere with). He starts off by telling me, "There's just something special about building 15,000 spaceships and loading their guns with 1 round of ammo to shoot. And doing it right in front of the police."

Goonswarm is an infamous alliance of corporations in EVE Online whose public purpose is to grief other players and generally try to break the game. For the past three months, they've been planning and building up a suicide squadron of fighters for their next campaign, called "Burn Jita." Zastrow explains the concept, "These ships were built for the express purpose of getting one shot off and then dying to the police, but killing the target in the process. They're fit with artillery that has a long reload time but does a lot of damage per shot.

It's an extremely unconventional tactic for an unconventional military campaign: the Goonswarm's goal is no less than invading the most protected and populated hub of industry in the galaxy and crushing it. Conquering the most populated system in the galaxy that's also guarded by the richest players and over-protective NPC police is not a small job. Zastrow tried to explain the scope of the operation to me, "We have hundreds of dudes each with different jobs. Some are cargo-scanning Freighters, looking for the best targets. Others are in the Battlecruiser fleet to blow up the chosen targets. Other fleets include a couple dozen smaller destroyers looking for small but valuable ships to pop, and yet another fleet is in regular combat ships. Instead of suicide-ganking, those ships are fighting off the player-organized fleets trying to stop us."

They launched that campaign last night with hundreds of suicide runs into the system. Their actions have brought complete chaos to the system, destroying millions and millions of ISK worth of ships and goods. "It's a pretty massively coordinated event," Zastrow tells me, "Literally thousands of people are involved and the single system has like two and a half thousand people in it, with more in the neighboring systems."

It sounds like chaos, but the Goonswarm is too organized to just be firing randomly. I reached out to Lazarus Telraven (in-game name), one of Goonswarm's main Fleet Commanders who I met at the EVE Online Fanfest in Iceland last month. He's in charge of coordinating tactics and movement of the fleet in the middle of combat, and I wanted to hear how things were going.

PCG: Last night, Goonswarm made a strong push into the heart of Empire space. Can you explain what that means and what the significance of that is for those not familiar with EVE?

Lazarus Telraven: In EVE there are 3 market hubs: Rens, Amarr, and Jita. Jita is the largest market/player meeting ground in the entire EVE universe, it typically has roughly 1,500 players in the system at any give time. And right now, a Coalition known as the Deklein Coalition that can field roughly 1,500 guys to cram into the Jita, the biggest market hub in the game to kill Freighters, JumpFreighters, Industrial Ships, Faction Battleships, and basically anything else they deem worthy of destroying.

are the people that stock the market with ships modules and other things. For them, it's as if you just ran this awesome raid instance in Rift or WoW and looted an awesome Bind on Equip purple item. You take it back to town to put it on the auction house, but 100 guys jump you as you walk into the front door and take your item, your clothes (or in this case ship), and send you on your way.

PCG: That's pretty brutal. So what prompted this attack, and what does Goonswarm hope to gain from it?

LT: The "Burn Jita" campaign has been in the works for roughly 4-5 months now. The idea originated with a member of Goonswarm directorate that goes by the name Aryth. Aryth is the guy that we in the Goons call a super-economist. His first major manipulation was the Oxygen Isotope collapse in which GSF (Goonswarm Federation) paid its members to kill anyone in EVE that was mining Oxygen isotopes (the most widely used isotope in the game), thereby cutting off the supply and causing the price to rise 5 times over, going from 450 a unit to 1500+ a unit.

Once we ended the Oxygen Isotope manipulation, our economists started looking at next viable targets and the "Burn Jita" Campaign is what came of that. The weekend of April the 28th was chosen as the official launch date for the campaign because it's the first weekend after CCP launched the first part of its Inferno expansion. Inside this first implementation, they changed the Drone Regions where NPC spawns dropped Alloys. Before Alloys were added to the game, the price of minerals was much, much higher. They've deprecated significantly since then, but change removed them from the game again, so the cost of ships, modules--practically everything--has just gone up.

With everything costing more to build and with Alloys out of the game, GSF has invaded Jita for the entire weekend to gank as many ships as possible to further drive the market into the ground. The members of GSF were told in advance about our plans and have all pre-purchased billions of ISK worth of minerals at the lower prices available before the patch and now the "Burn Jita" campaign. In other words, anyone that pre-bought minerals is going to make a lot of money off of the inflation caused by this invasion. Lastly, the locals or empire-dwellers are very, very frustrated with all of this which adds to the satisfaction

PCG: How many Goonswarm members showed up, and how did you sound the rallying call to get them all online and in system?

LT: Hundreds of people from Goonswarm Federation and the Deklein Coaltion will be in Jita for the entire weekend. We've also invited the other hostile entities in Null Sec to come take part in the burning of empire-dwellers. Fleets will be up 24 hours a day. In fact, at this very second we have three fleets up, each of which can hold up to 255 members. All of our allies are allowed onto the GSF Jabber voice-chat server, so we're able to send out mass notifications for players to log in when more are needed or when anything happens.

An example of the notifications we send out follows:
(3:17:02 PM) directorbot: We have some issues that need addressed now.
Op10 is currently for ganking of freighters
op9 is currently for ganking with thrashers
op8 is currently for ganking of shiny toys
Op7 is currently going to be for anyone that is -10 already and needs special help.

Also we need fleet commander types for op7 people please. If you know how -10 works (op10 does not) then help them gank everything.

SPECIAL RULES FOR THIS OP - If hostile alliances request to join you to jihad with you, they are allowed to join under Pax Conga rules. If a hostile joins a conga, you cannot blow him up. This rule for now applies to Burn Jita, so lets all burn empire together. Thanks :3:
*** This was a broadcast from dabigredboat to all-all, replies are not monitored ***

PCG: Who showed up to defend against you, and how strong of a fight did they put up?

LT: A number of empire entities have issued war declarations against us and have attempted to fight, but so far they've only really succeeded in losing their ships due to our sheer strength in numbers.

PCG: At the peak, how many ships were in the battle?

LT: Numbers vary depending on traffic control on the Jita node. So far we peaked at a little over 300 people ganking in Jita, and it's only Friday. Numbers will pick up on Saturday and Sunday when people are off work.

PCG: Time dilation (which dynamically slows the pace of combat to reduce the impact of lag) was introduced in the last major expansion and has done a pretty good job of keeping lag from spoiling large battles like this. How do you feel it worked in this fight?

Before time dialation, this would not be possible. Before TiDi, as it's called, these fights would've been black screens, where you can't do anything and you look back an hour later to find that you're dead. Now, everything works. TiDi is truly amazing and has changed EVE. At one point last night, we hit 10% TiDi—the lowest it is capable of going. Being at 10% TiDi in Jita causes pilots to take roughly 20 minutes to warp across the system, and generally manages the pace of the fight to give the servers time for all of the actions to process and go through.

PCG: How did the battle go, and is it still going on now?

LT: So far we've ganked roughly 100 billion ISK in freighters, haulers, and other ships. Today is just the first day. The guys attempting to stop us have lost quite a few ships totaling a few billion on its own. 100 billion ISK is roughly $3,600 US Dollars in PLEX, EVE's 30-day subscription cards that can be sold in-game for 500 million ISK each.

PCG: How many ships were lost, and was it worth it?

LT: So far we've killed 8-10 frieghters, 1 Jump Freighter, and countless other ships. Every Freighter or neutral ship that we kill causes every ship that fired on it to be killed by the NPC police called Concord. To give a rough estimate, one Freighter costs us 20-40 ships and a JumpFreighter costs us 35-70 suicide ships.

This video shows hostiles trying to kill one of our bait battleships. They warp right onto it and our pilot had 8 large Smartbombs onboard, which do massive damage to anything within 7.5km. What you see in the video is all of them exploding as he fires the Smartbombs.

If you want to watch the madness continue to unfold, you can follow the action on any number of livestreams going on over the weekend, and you can watch the kill boards to see just how many ships are being destroyed. And of course, it wouldn't be a big EVE Online event without someone threatening to stab someone in real life: .
PC Gamer
This weekend in deals: play Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer free on Steam, get 43% off The Old Republic, 34% off Mass Effect 3, and, on GOG, take 50% off EA games which involve both guns and spells. We've also collected discounts on Battlefield 3, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mount & Blade Collection, The Walking Dead, and more...

Modern Warfare 3 is Steam's big promotion this weekend -- from now until 1pm PST on Sunday, you can play the multiplayer free, and the full game is 33% off until April 30. See all of Steam's deals here.

33% off Call of Duty: Modern Wafare 3 - $39.99
66% off Serious Sam 3: BFE - $13.60
20% off Lone Survivor - $7.99

Last week's 33% off sale of The Old Republic ended and...came back stronger, this time at 43% off. And, again, that's it for Origin sales, unless you consider full-price pre-orders for Crysis 3 and SimCity deals.

43% off Star Wars: The Old Republic - $34.44

Amazon is offering its usual hodgepodge of deals, including MW3 for the same 33% discount as Steam, Crysis for $4.99, and discounts on the Dead Space series, Civilization V, and the just-released The Walking Dead.

33% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - $39.99
50% off Sid Meier's Civilization V - $14.99
10% off The Walking Dead - $22.49
75% off Crysis - $4.99
87% off Men of War: Assault Squad - $5.00
87% off Men of War: Vietnam - $5.00
25% off Dead Space - $14.97
22% off Dead Space 2 - $15.61
50% off Penumbra Collection - $5.00
50% off Final Fantasy XIV - $9.99
50% off Crusader Kings II - $19.99
57% off Mount & Blade: Warband - $11.45
50% off Tropico 4 - $19.99

Despite its cringe-inducing name, GameStop's "Indie Games Bundle" is a pretty good deal -- eight games, including And Yet It Moves, Gray Matter, and Really Big Sky, for $12.79. Other deals include Mass Effect 3 for $39.99 and Dragon Age: Origins/Dragon Age 2 bundled for $19.99. See all of Impulse's deals here.

34% off Mass Effect 3 - $39.99
50% off Dragon Age: Origins & Dragon Age 2 (bundled) - $19.99
50% off Mount & Blade Collection - $14.99
$127.92 off Indie Games Bundle - $12.79

GameFly's current deals aren't quite as high-profile as last week's Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur sales, but we won't complain about getting Sanctum for $3.74.

75% off Sanctum - $3.74
75% off Brink - $4.99
50% off Dungeons: The Dark Lord - $14.99

GamersGate is again targeting big titles, with 50% off Battlefield 3, 40% off Kingdoms of Amalur, 50% off Dragon Age II, and 20% off Mass Effect 3.

50% off Battlefield 3 - $29.98
40% off Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - $35.97
60% off Cities in Motion - $7.98
33% off Achtung Panzer: Operation Star - $13.37
20% off Mass Effect 3 - $47.96
66% off Spore - $6.78

This weekend GOG is offering a very specific set of deals: 50% off Electronic Arts games involving guns and spells, including Syndicate, Nox, and Magic Carpet.

66% off Crusader: No Regret - $2.99
66% off Crusader: No Remorse - $2.99
66% off Lands of Lore 1+2 - $2.99
66% off Magic Carpet - $2.99
66% off Nox - $2.99
66% off Syndicate - $2.99


Know of any more game deals this weekend? Drop them in the comments!
PC Gamer

There's already a spectator mode in League of Legends, but it's pretty bare bones and not many people use it currently. But all that's about to change with the official release of spectator mode, coming in the next patch, that adds a ton of new features and awesome ways to watch your buddies dominate in the Fields of Justice.

The four main features of the new system are outlined in the video above. My personal favorite is the ability to simply right-click someone's name on your friends list and click Spectate to immediately jump into their game and see how they're doing. Is Lucas really dominating as Anivia, or is he lying to cover his shame of being 0-21? I can see for myself, and also take a peek at how close he is to finishing so I know if I should wait for him or get a quick co-op match in before we play together. Once you're in, the TiVo-style time controls are going to be crazy fun to play with: slow-mo when Lucas traps Teemo behind an ice wall. Yes, squirm, you little yordle freak, squirm!

The most innovative element is probably the Directed camera mode that lets AI control what you're looking at and attempts to show you the best parts of the match at all time. This could be an amazing feature that lets you kick back and relax when you're watching games that aren't being shoutcasted. The AI will have to be pretty stupendous to keep it from becoming frustrating or semi-useless, though, so I'm eager to test this out. Combined with the launcher's new Top Games listing that directs you to the best LoLers duking it out at any given second, it sounds like the new spectator tools will be able to immediately put you in front of prime LoL esports entertainment.

As of now, you can only view live games and the tool will not support saving videos of matches or watching replays outside of moving inside of the live game you're currently viewing. However, Riot Games has consistently said that this spectator mode tool is laying the groundwork for replays, so I expect they've got a team working hard to make those a reality in the semi-near future.
PC Gamer
It's a bit of a quiet weekend for eSports, but DOTA 2 fans will at least be able to watch several games in the ProDOTA 2 Worldwide League. It's a new league, but a number of major eSports teams from the Americas, Europe, and Asia are already participating. It's divided into pro and amateur leagues, with the pros battling for a $20,000 season prize purse.

The action starts at 12 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, and you find the whole schedule here, and more information about this weekend's play over here. Casters TobiWan and Luminous will be calling the games for English-speaking audiences.

However, not to be outdone, the MLG had some big StarCraft and League of Legends-related announcements today.

Start with the big news first: the MLG Pro Circuit will now feature League of Legends, starting with the MLG Spring Championship in Anaheim (June 8 - 10). Eight teams will be invited to the Spring Championship, and another 12 will be able to sign up. At the moment, LoL will just be happening at MLG Championships, not the Arenas.

On top of that, the MLG also announced that Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be playable at the Spring Championship. A "large number" of demo stations will be available for people to try Heart of the Swarm's latest multiplayer build. This would probably be a good time to point you to where you can get a spectator pass.

Anything else going on this weekend that eSports fans should check out? Be sure to bring it up in the comments.
PC Gamer
Skyrim Alchemy
This article was originally published in PC Gamer UK 236.

Skyrim's alchemy system asks players to combine ingredients based on their statistic-altering properties. Once you've found out what ingredients do, you can make them into potions. The best way to find these properties is by jamming them into your gob, masticating for a while, and scribbling the results down in your poisoning journal.

My Skyrim character - a beardy Breton - was stood on an ice floe to the north of Winterhold when I decided to taste a few of the more exotic ingredients I'd picked on my travels. Imagine 90s semi-celebrity wine-taster Jilly Goolden, except six and a half foot tall, covered in hair and blood, and backed up by a monstrous ice-beast.

I chewed on some garlic to start. Not bad, but a bit pungent. I moved onto honeycomb. This was better, I was getting sweet notes of summer, sugar, and FORTIFY BLOCK. A handful of snowberries were slightly tart, but bursting with both flavour and a general feeling of FIRE RESIST. Histcarp gave a lovely fresh fish taste and the ability to breathe underwater, sashimi-ed with a side of aim-enhancing juniper. I munched on River Betties and Cyrodiilic Spadetails, wheat and whitecap mushrooms, each one delicious and stat-nourishing. I started to get careless, cramming anything and everything alchemical into my gullet.

Daedra heart. Bit chewy, but it's got to be full of iron. Iron's good for you, right? The statistics bore me out: daedra hearts 'RESTORE HEALTH'. Sure, they also cause 'FEAR', but what's a few minutes of panic compared to OH GOD WAS THAT A BEAR?

I kept clicking. Hawk beak. Always goes down smooth. Sabre cat tooth. Swallowed with only minor blood loss. A handful of pearls. Just call me Johnny Oysters. Spider egg. Wait, I don't want them hatching inside me. Vampire dust. I should stop now. A set of fully grown elk antlers. I'm going to need a running start.

Human flesh.

I clicked once, and immediately froze. My character did the same, staring silently out to the frozen sea. Somewhere in my imagination, a gob of man-muscle was worming its way down my character's oesophagus. Bits of person were caught between his teeth. I had stood in front of him, guiding foodstuffs into his mouth like a demented parent. Open wide for the bee thorax! Here comes the ectoplasm aeroplane! Eat this human flesh! My careless clicking had made my man a cannibal.

I continued to stand stock still, expecting to be overcome by a wave of revulsion. Instead, I got minuscule decreases in my red health bar, increases in my blue magicka bar, and a heightened desire to creep around in peoples' houses. I checked the forbidden meat's effects. Damage health, restore magicka, fortify sneak, and - wait a second - paralysis. Paralysis is one of Skyrim's most useful abilities. Once applied, you can smash away at enemies as they roll around on the floor like toppled statues. Few of the game's alchemical items bestow this property, and this meat was only the second guaranteed source I'd found.

I'd had my first taste of human flesh. Up at the top of the world, I resolved to get more. I needed it, after all, for my experiments.

More: Now Playing
PC Gamer
Guild Wars 2 Guardian
The big news this week was a surplus of information on Crysis 3 - but it's stealth action FPS Dishonored that creeped in and impressed us with its old-school open-ended sensibilities. Elsewhere, our hopes for STALKER 2 were finally and tragically squashed, but new tidbits of information just might have slipped out about Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

We also took a closer look at Sniper Elite: V2, Guild Wars 2, Microsoft Flight, and TERA. Read on for a full list of this week's biggest stories.

Gabe Newell maybe talked a bit about Half-Life 2: Episode 3, perhaps, by talking about Ricochet 2 instead.
Duncan Geere reviewed 1000 Amps.
Evan took a look at Crysis 3, and interviewed Crytek's senior creative director.
Tom Francis took Crytek to task over the Crysis series' unpopular extraterrestrials.
Henry Winchester previewed Sniper Elite V2, while Tyler took his best shot at the demo.
Steve Hogarty reviewed Microsoft Flight.
Josh played the first few levels with Guild Wars 2's Asura race, and Chris and Graham talked their way through 20 minutes of World vs. World PvP. You can also join our community in the beta weekend.
Josh went to war in TERA.
Chris got a good look at Dishonored, and interviewed designers Harvey Smith (Deus Ex) and Raf Colantonio (Dark Messiah).
STALKER 2's cancellation was finally confirmed, but hope is on the horizon.

If you had to talk about Half-Life 2: Episode 3 without actually talking about Half-Life 2: Episode 3, how would you talk about it? The most tortured analogy doesn't win a prize.
PC Gamer

Massively have pointed us to an interesting competition over in Champions Online. Cryptic are asking players to design them a new Supervillain, which will then be used as a ten-man boss in one of Champions' upcoming Alert missions.

Entering is simple process, you design your villain in the Champions costume creator, give him a power set and minion type and write a 250 word backstory. Maybe your character is neon pink assassin with the ability to read minds and breathe fire, or an impeccably suited brawler who alternates between throwing cars and flying on his home made rocket boots. These are just two of the patented ideas you'll have to defeat me in a game of Quake 3 to be legally able to use.

If you think you have what it takes to create the next Joker, Lex Luthor or Lady Stilt Man, just go over to the Champions Online forum and show them your idea. The winner gets to be a 10 man boss fight, but four runners up will also appear as supporting characters in future alerts. But if you're going to enter, please tell us in the thread, we'd love to see what you've come up with.
PC Gamer
Guild Wars 2 Red Team
The first Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event for pre-purchase players begins tonight at 8pm GMT (12pm PDT). European players are cordially invited to join the PC Gamer community in exploring the game for the first time.

The leader of our Guild Wars community, Archernick, has rallied the troops on the Desolation EU server. He's started a thread on the PC Gamer forum where you can find out more and share your contact details. There's also a thread on downloading the GW2 client if you've already got access.

The weekend will give players a chance to try out the human, norn and charr starting areas. Having played all three, I'd recommend the charr: the humans have the most impressive opening sequence, but Guild Wars 2's cat people get a tech-fantasy metropolis built around an enormous iron ball, affectionately nicknamed the 'Death Charr' by the developers. Their leader is voiced by Steve Blum, better known for playing Grunt in Mass Effect. They're basically adorable furry krogan. Who fight ghosts.

You'll also get to give Guild Wars 2's World vs. World PvP a try - check out our recent video for a first-hand look, or last month's preview for more information.