Nightdive, the studio behind remasters and rereleases of classic games like System Shock 2, Blood, Shadow Man, SiN, and Doom64, announced last year that it was working on an enhanced edition of 1996 first-person shooter PowerSlave alongside Throwback Entertainment. Now there's a trailer showing off its features and new name—PowerSlave was released as Exhumed in Europe, hence this version being called PowerSlave Exhumed.
PowerSlave was released on PlayStation and Sega Saturn as well as PC back in the day, with some significant differences in level layout between them, and the remaster will combine both console versions “to bring the best of both worlds”. It'll feature widescreen support, SMAA anti-aliasing, anisotropic texture filtering, and smooth object interpolation for high refresh rate monitors, as well as support for modern gamepads.
There's no release date yet, but the GOG page describes it as “coming soon”.
With Battlefield 2042 having kicked off its limited beta testing this week, which EA is billing as a “technical preview,” a number of videos, streamed segments, and screenshots began to show up online. The people who are in this beta, however, signed an NDA saying they won't share details or videos of the game. EA has now warned those folks that they may find themselves not just booted from the test, but kicked out of the game entirely, forever.
EA has taken rapid action to squash videos as they show up, but yesterday EA Studios Europe's lead community manager took to twitter about the test. Walsh detailed how the test is going, giving details on how many are playing and why EA holds tech tests like these. At the beginning of his thread and in the middle, however, Walsh reminded readers that they are “under NDA for this Playtest, so Videos, Screenshots and Streaming” would result in EA taking action against the posting channel. “Break the rules,” said Walsh, “expect to lose access to both the Technical Playtest, future EA Tests, and potentially access to 2042 itself when it releases.”
|6.| Break the rules, expect to lose access to both the Technical Playtest, future EA Tests, and potentially access to 2042 itself when it releases. We’ve already removed plenty of people from the Playtest in these past 48 hours, and they won’t be able to play this weekend. pic.twitter.com/EIWaIHIMT2August 13, 2021
Which I'm not sure anybody can really fault them for. Break the rules once and clearly EA's not going to keep you around to break them again. Still, it's entirely possible some of these people are those who just didn't really read what they'd signed. If so, then they may well be in for a rude awakening come launch on October 22nd.
Maybe the ray tracing in Control, Metro Exodus, or Minecraft RTX particularly blew you away. Maybe it was the the water in Sea of Thieves, the facial detail in Black Desert Online, or the horses in Red Dead Redemption 2. Maybe it was the entire planet Earth being recreated in Microsoft Flight Simulator, or standing in City 17 in Half-Life: Alyx. People who like cars have good things to say about the cars in each new Forza Horizon?
Mollie Taylor: It's not a new game, but I revisited Final Fantasy 13 a few months ago and was genuinely floored by how good it still looks. Say what you will about that game (and its shoddy PC port), but I've always been a fan and the graphics have held up fantastically over a decade later. Irritatingly, my external hard drive with all my capture packed up recently, because I ended up taking a butt-ton of gorgeous screenshots. Each character is so visually interesting and areas like the Sunleth Waterscape and Nautilus are still a joy to look at. Seriously, just go and look at how pretty it is!
Jacob Ridley: In recent memory, it has to be Assassin's Creed: Valhalla and Hunt: Showdown. I'm just a bit of a sucker for sunsets, and these two games do them incredibly well.
I will also say that I briefly played some of The Ascent and, like, damn. That game is gorgeous. I just haven't played enough of it yet to get the full wow factor, though.
Christopher Livingston: I was lucky enough to get a chance to play Dean Hall's upcoming survival game Icarus a few times before it goes into beta at the end of August, and it certainly is lovely in there. The landscapes are beautiful, the storms are terrifying, and when a lightning strike sets trees on fire the impulse isn't to run but to stand there staring at how awesome it looks. It's the sort of picturesque place where you want to settle down, build a cabin, do some fishing and hunting, and then rebuild your cabin because it caught on fire and burned down.
Morgan Park: Hunt is underrated for a lot of reasons, but maybe the biggest crime against this gem is the little recognition it gets for being so damn beautiful. These are the people that made Crysis, so I shouldn't be too surprised, but Crytek's commitment to the tiniest details across its 19th-century guns and 1km X 1km maps is unprecedented in this type of game. It's easy to forget to stop and smell the roses in competitive FPSes, but Hunt's thick vegetation, swaying trees, and shambling meat monsters demand your attention. This has never been more true than in the game's latest map, De Salle, which finally moves past the Louisiana bayou setting and into a rocky, Fall-soaked region ripe with burning oranges and larger compounds.
Jody Macgregor: I didn't notice how long the cutscenes were in Death Stranding because I spent so much time being impressed by the faces. Also because you can pause the cutscenes whenever you want and go make a cup of tea, but the face thing definitely contributed. I haven't seem videogame characters emote like that since L.A. Noire, and this time I didn't have to ignore the fact nobody's hat fit their head.
Death Stranding has great-looking ordinary stuff, like the rocks you see up close when you take another tumble down a hillside, and the real wild stuff looks amazing too, like when a death whale from another dimension breaks through the oil-slick veil separating realities. It's good shit.
Colif: Dune 2 on Mega drive… yes, it does look bad NOW but back then, it wasn't bad. I may be jaded. I am not impressed by graphics, its what game is like under surface that counts to me.
YOLO_So_PlayGames: HD Overhaul of She Will Punish Them! Definitely wow for the skin details and all other stuff!!
Brian Boru: Far Cry Primal. Ubisoft make great Far Cry & other worlds and wildlife, but Primal is special. The lighting, the human & animal expressive animations, the immersive gorgeous world—the most beautiful game I've played… and the bar is pretty high these days.
Whitelynx: 3 years ago I was really amused by heavily modded Risen.
DXCHASE: Red Dead Redemption 2. I had put off buying it until I got an RTX card capable of playing it well over 60fps at 1440p. When I did I was just blown away and spent a couple hours just riding my horse around in different terrain and weather and then immediately installed new mods that completely enhanced the game. I'm still amazed by it.
mainer: I won't buy a game based solely on graphics, as graphics are only a secondary concern for me (not that I don't appreciate astounding graphics), as games promoted on their graphics, often end up being a bit of a shallow experience (opinion). I usually buy a game based on the story, the interactions of the PC with others, of variable choices, gameplay, & combat. I'm pretty old-school when it comes to games, and I play a lot of older games, modded games, and remasters.
One game comes to mind that I bought at release (which I don't often do), was Greedfall. I was greatly impressed by the graphic fidelity that a such a small studio like Spiders could produce. It was a game that almost hit on all cylinders but not quite, though still a great experience.
McStabStab: I drool over games made on the Frostbite engine, and Battlefield V was the first game I played with ray tracing enabled. At the time I didn't have my 30 series card, but they released the driver for my 1080ti that unlocked the settings and I was able to try it out at around 30fps. Now that I have a 3070 I can run it much better and it looks incredible.
RedEyeOO7: I play FH4 and it's amazing, the graphics of drifting and driving is amazing.
Johnway: Recently it was Shadow Warrior 2. Zilla City to be exact. The large amount of Neon, the reflective surfaces, zen architecture and the many shop fronts in a rain slick environment was amazing. The tv station foyer was an impressive highlight to the entire area.
That said, the rest of Shadow Warrior 2's locations shouldn't be ignored as they were also amazing to hack and slash my way throughout.
XoRn: I think it was Battlefield 3. I was pulling a flank and as soon as I crested the hill the sun hit my face like a cream filled pie tin. Manfred Mann played in the background as I was gunned down by an army of not-blind enemies and I said, “Wow. The sun [email protected]#$ing sucks in this game.”
On a more serious note, I haven't been wowed by realism in games a long time now. If anything, I feel like graphically, games haven't gotten much better in the past five years.
What has gotten better though is the artistic design of games. Monster Hunter World's lush Ancient Forest and vibrant Coral Highlands are some of the most beautiful environments in games, and I would visit them more often if I didn't have to murder dopey lizard birds and puffy cats for marginal gear upgrades every time I went.
MrShadow: its got to be watching the latest released videos for Forza Horizon 5 on youtube, I was watching it on my big tv, and a support staff who was on with me and was most definitely not a gamer thought I was watching the news or something else on tv, I've caught her out before when watching drive club game play in 4k on youtube as well.
It did look very close to realism though I was wowed by it and almost in sheer euphoria but a sudden wave of sadness came over me, knowing my entry level gaming laptop will not be good enough to run it-here's hoping the third/biggest Steam Deck will run it as I do have a deposit down on one of them.
Zloth: Control. She's just standing there with over-done rays coming from the projector. Duuullll!
The way her hair shows up on the screen is nice, though. The way the floor is lit from the screen is also well done. The reflection in the left side window is very good! And there's another on the ceiling light! And another on the white board that is rougher, as is befitting for a white board reflection! Now I'm really impressed!
A shame she's just standing there while cliché science guy talks. (And a pity I didn't notice the white board until later – I could have swung the camera around.)
P.S. I haven't ever seen water done well unless it's flat. For whatever reason, waves always look wrong. Especially near the shore!
Face Hugger: Red Dead Redemption 2, 1440p, 75Hz, HDR, all settings ultra / highest. The environments and lighting look cooler and more vibrant than real life. And the biomes run the gamut from deserts to forest logging towns with streams running beneath main street. It's a joy just riding your horse across country as it changes from day to night, or sunny to windy or rainy. And that's all on top of how detailed all of the models are and how strong the animations are.
Pifanjr: It's been a while since I had a high end PC, so I haven't been able to enjoy any recent games on high resolution. I did get to switch from playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance on a laptop to playing it on a second hand PC, which did make it look a lot better.
Alm: I think it was probably Star Wars Battlefront 2. It wasn't quite a Wow, but I was impressed at how they made the Star Wars universe look.
Remedy has confirmed that their unannounced game project alongside Epic Games “has moved into full production.” This is the game that some believe to be Alan Wake 2, following Remedy's reacquisition of Alan Wake in 2019 and announcement last year that the next game in the “Remedy Connected Universe” was already in the works. Remedy said in the same message to investors that they are still in “full production mode” on their second, smaller-scale unannounced game.
Epic Games fully funded the project with Remedy, we learned last year, so that probably means Epic will be publishing the unannounced game, and therefore it'll very likely be a full-on Epic Games Store exclusive on PC. Remedy will retain complete ownership of the IP, however.
As part of the presentation, Remedy noted that Control had over 10 million players to-date. Remedy also reiterated that development on its 4-player cooperative game set in the Control universe was moving forward, and that “a future, bigger-budget Control game” was in “the early conception phase.”
The year's next Games Done Quick speedrunning event starts tomorrow, August 15th: Flame Fatales is GDQ's annual all-women charity event, where a team of select speedrunners go as fast as they can in their choice titles for charity donations. This year's Flame Fatales event benefits The Malala Fund, which works for a world where all girls can get a secondary education.
Of immediate, interesting note on the schedule for this coming week is a run of Celeste and a later run of Legend of Mana tomorrow, Immortals Fenyx Rising on Monday, Super Meat Boy on Tuesday, and Silent Hill 2 on Wednesday. A sprawling, hours-long run of Sonic games goes off on Thursday at about 7 p.m. UTC and runs until nearly 9 p.m. UTC. That's followed by a run of Axiom Verge, which is neat since the sequel just came out.
Boyfriend Dungeon is about dating and dungeon crawling with swords… that are also people. It had a surprise release on the 11th of August, and despite its goofy premise on the surface, its story explores some sensitive themes, as Rachel noted in her preview: “Dating for many women and queer folk in general is, unfortunately, a huge risk, and meeting in public, having a friend on hand, and checking out the place are just some of the many safety tips used when meeting dates the first time. For a game about smooching sharp weapons, it's great to see Boyfriend Dungeon acknowledge that.”
As you begin the game, there's currently a content warning that reads: “This game may include references to unwanted advances, stalking, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Play with care.” On Friday, some players took to Twitter to complain that this content warning felt inadequate. These elements are an integral and continuous part of the game's main storyline, rather than passing or background references.
Some also called for the storyline to be “opt-out”, in the same way as you can choose not to receive encouraging texts from “Mom” at the beginning of the game. This was a controversial suggestion, with critics and designers arguing that the content warning was the point where players could opt out of play, and that indie and LGBTQ+ art is often held to a different standard to the mainstream.
This afternoon, Kitfox Games sent out a tweet stating that the content warning would be updated to be “more accurate”.
The content warning for Boyfriend Dungeon inadequately describes the events of stalking and emotional manipulation that exist in the story. We’ll update the game next week with a more accurate CW. We apologize for any hurt inflicted by our mistake. Thank you for playing!August 14, 2021
The developer also apologized for “any hurt inflicted” by the original wording. It has not stated plans to alter the game in any other way.
Much of Boyfriend Dungeon really is about emotionally guarded daggers and facing your fears with lasersabers who are also K-pop stars. Prospective players who don't want to encounter stalking as a recurring theme, however, will presumably get a clearer heads up when the game is patched next week.
In an event called “Breaking the Bar”, the Half-Life community decided to rally together and get as many concurrent players together as possible. The rules were simple: starting at 3pm UTC, everyone who wanted to take part simply had to run (and ideally play) Half-Life 2, while prominent streamers would be playing the game to raise attention. The reasoning is maybe a little more ambiguous, but sometimes you simply have to rally behind something—and they did it, hitting a peak of 16,101 concurrent players at exactly 3.30pm, with an additional 8,630 viewers on Twitch.
An interesting detail here is that Half-Life 2 is, well, old. Released in 2004, it predates many of Steam's features, including the ability to track data like time spent in a game and concurrent players. The goal they had to beat was 6,882 concurrent players—which they more than doubled—but we can't actually know how many people played Half-Life 2 in 2004. Were there ever more than 7000 concurrent players before now? Add it to the life stats you get to be eternally curious about.
It's perhaps all the more impressive, then, that a community would get behind a game in such numbers sixteen years after its release. It's not the only such community effort, either: Half-Life 2: Remastered Collection was recently listed on SteamDB, and is an in-process mod from the same group as did the Half Life 2: Update mod.
It is the year 1990, before mobile phones or internet, and when a fire brings down the phone line between Maya and Devin, there's only one solution: rollerskates. Also the less retro transportation methods of 'car' and 'train', but either way, Maya sets out across the burning city to be with her person. It is also now, that Fire Tonight, the narrative puzzler about reuniting this couple, is out.
While Maya puzzles her way across the city, Devin gets to look at the keepsakes of their relationship—the trailer already shows us a walkman, and I hope there are mixtapes. It's the only thing I ever want from '90s-inspired media.
Publisher Way Down Deep specialises in non-violent games, so Fire Tonight is now part of portfolio of games that also includes Date Night Bowling. Bowling certainly sounds like a nicer idea for the star-crossed couple, for another evening, when the city is less on fire. That, or a roller rink.
Fire Tonight is available on Steam for $5.99/£4.49, with an additional launch discount of 20% until the 19th of August.
Firaxis Games, best known for making the Civilization series and XCOM, are currently looking for a slew of new hires—including, perhaps tellingly, a narrative lead with a “knowledge and passion for world history”. The listing doesn't mention which game it would be for, only that it would for the studio's “next AAA strategy title”. In addition to the narrative lead, Firaxis are also looking for several artists and programmers.
Civilization 6 seemed to definitely wrap up earlier this year, with the release of the Anthology Edition in June. The edition including both the major expansion packs of Gathering Storm and Rise and Fall, as well as the additional DLC content packs. With the knowledge that the most recent in the series of six likely isn't being worked on any further, it seems fair to speculate that Civilization 7 might be in the works, maybe. Or maybe we'll see an entirely other kind of historical strategy game, away from the Sid Meier name?
In the nearer future, at least we don't have to wait too long to see any kind of interesting historical strategy game, as Amplitude Studios' Humankind is imminently on the horizon. It comes out on August 17th, and in his preview Tyler considers it a smart competitor to the Civilization series.
Want to stay abreast of every PC hardware launch but don't have the time to dedicate to it? Don't worry, that's we here on the PC Gamer hardware team come in. We are sent the latest product announcements round the clock, leaving our inboxes in a state much like the Dursley's house with Harry Potter's Hogwarts admission letters. Yet for all the chaos, it also offers us the ability to relay the best PC gaming products to you lovely lot.
This week we've a mess of gaming keyboard accessories, graphics cards, projectors, and more to wet your whistle.
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Razer PBT keycap + coiled cable upgrade set | $49.99 | Available now
Coiled cables have long been a desirable accessory for keyboard enthusiasts like myself, so I'm glad to see Razer trying to spread the good word further afield. These coiled cables come in four colours: green, black, white, and pink. I'd usually expect a solo cable to cost up to $50, so the full set of PBT keycaps included in this set seem a decent bonus. Link.
Razer Phantom Keycap upgrade set | $34.99 | Available now
Following a bit of a trend in gaming keyboards as of late, Razer is releasing a set of pudding keycaps. For the unindoctrinated, pudding caps are like your regular keycap on top but come with a see-through base that allows per-key lighting to shine bright. They're pretty neat, too. If a little too gauche for me. Yeah, I'm a keyboard snob, what of it? Link.
Razer Ergonomic Wrist Rests | $19.99 | Available now
I've used the full-size wrist rest from Razer, gosh, probably a few years back now. I recall it was plenty comfy for a day's work. Anyways, this is likely to do what is says on the tin: a plush wrist rest for Mini and TKL keyboards. Link.
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AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT | $379.99 | Available now
A new graphics card arriving during a GPU drought—you'd think this story has already written itself. However, there's been a surprising level of stock for AMD's new card, it's just a shame its gaming performance isn't quite as convincing as we had hoped. Still, a half-decent price given the global GPU situation.
There's no reference design out of AMD this time around, so you'll want to pick up a model from one of AMD's board partners, such as the XFX model we reviewed. Read on: our AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT review.
Nvidia RTX A2000 | Available September
Packing a GPU that's not dissimilar from an RTX 3060, you'd expect Nvidia's new workstation card to fill a similar space in your PC. It does not. It's tiny. Like comedically small. It's tough to get a sense of scale until someone holds it in their hand, so follow the link for our original story and Nvidia's official announcement video. Link.
Steelseries Black Ice collection | Available now
In honour or Rainbow Six: Siege's Black Ice skin, Steelseries has put together a collection of products featuring an icy finish. There's a Prime mouse, a QCK Heavy mouse mat, and pair of KontrolFreek thumbsticks. Link.
HP X Series gaming monitors | $259.99 – $459.99 | Available now – October 2021
HP is releasing a mountain of new gaming monitors under the X Series moniker. Ranging from 27-inch to 34-inch, these monitors also range in curved VA panels (models marked 'c') and flat IPS ones. Three also come with HDR 400 capability, which isn't the highest by any means, coming in just a little over your usual brightness rating. All come with FreeSync Premium and 165Hz refresh rates, though. Link.
Logitech Pop Keys | Available this month (Taiwan only)
Now I've not heard word of the Logitech Pop Keys keyboard outside of Taiwan, but it caused such a split in opinion on the PCG hardware team that I thought it worth mentioning. It's essentially a wireless mechanical keyboard with interchangeable emoji keycaps. Yeah, emojis. It looks pretty neat though, even the switches under the keycaps are a match for the finished board, which comes in a range of colours. Something to look out for if it receives a wider release. Link.