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Sunday, May 26th, 2024
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3:00 pm
What's on your bookshelf?: Syphilisation and The Quiet Sleep's Nikhil Murthy

Hello reader who is also a reader, and welcome back to Booked For The Week - our regular Sunday chat with a selection of cool industry folks about books! Of course, regular readers will know that 'book' was actually the name of the doctor, but that's beside the point. This week, it's Syphilisation and The Quiet Sleep developer and RPS contributor, Nikhil Murthy! Cheers Nikhil! Mind if we have a nose at your bookshelf?

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10:00 am
The Sunday Papers

Sundays are a day that arrives at the end of the week. Sometimes those weeks bring joy, and sometimes they bring uncertainity. That's fine. There's another one tommorow. Before that new week begins, let’s read this week’s best writing about games (and game related things!)

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Saturday, May 25th, 2024
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7:00 am
What are we all playing this weekend?

It's been a week. Possibly, a three-day weekend of rest and games will do us all some good. And maybe by the end of it, it'll be a new week. Here's what we'll be clicking on this bank holiday weekend.

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Friday, May 24th, 2024
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4:49 pm
Wuthering Waves plans to let you skip more scenes and improve combat as gacha RPG apologises for rocky launch

Wuthering Waves is the latest open-world RPG gacha game to follow in the wake of the likes of Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, but Kuro Games’ free-to-play offering has had to deal with a bit of a wobbly launch over the last couple of days, leading the studio to scramble to address login problems, detail additional upcoming improvements and offer players some in-game games as means of apology.

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4:16 pm
Animal Well creator plans to follow the superb Metroidvania with a game that shares its world but “may not be a direct sequel”

In a year already stacking up plates of delicious indie game dishes so fast they’re toppling over and crashing onto the floor, spilling splattered food over the carpet to be hoovered up by waiting dogs/cats/raccoons/mice, Animal Well is one of the most generous helpings yet. The captivating, combat-free Metroidvania is rich with a delectable buffet of challenges, puzzles and secrets to find even once you’ve seen the credits roll. Still, players have chewed their way through its more-ish platforming and puzzle-solving much faster than its solo developer intended, it turns out. Luckily for us all, creator Billy Basso is already looking ahead to a new game set in the moody zoo-niverse - even if that’s not a complete sequel.

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4:42 pm
Sims 4 devs assemble team to focus on fixing bugs and upping performance, updates to now land every two months

The Sims 4 is fast approaching its 10th birthday this September, a fact that genuinely instilled me with the crushing sense of time marching relentlessly on when I checked its release date a moment ago. That near-decade has brought a whole heap of additions, expansions, packs and updates to the enduring life sim game, to the degree that the underlying tech serving as the foundation for dozens of later mechanical and visual elements can sometimes look a bit wobbly these days.

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3:52 pm
One-of-a-kind strategy sim Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic gets 1.0 release next month

Slovak studio 3Division’s city-building strategy sim Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic will leave early access on 20th June 2024 – a welcome blast of no-nonsense, planned-economy Soviet realism in the wake of the decadent capitalist theatrics of Summer Games Fest. Here’s a triumphal trailer with many a joyful image of high-density housing and locomotives in the snow.

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2:19 pm
Fortnite's new season adds War Buses, rocket-propelled fists, and a lawless desert biome

We've known for some time that Fallout was coming to Fortnite, we just weren't entirely sure in what capacity. Well, now we know that this season's wasteland offerings take the form of a sort of Mad Max meets Fallout meets Borderlands- battle royale affair. There's a big emphasis on deserts and vehicles, basically, with highlights including: mechanical fists, turrets on cars, and the possibility of manning one of two War Buses that patrol the reworked map.

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2:11 pm
The opening hour of The Alters feels like 11 bit's first third-person narrative action game

Calling it now: this is the least intriguing article you will read about 11 bit's The Alters, a blend of Danny Boyle's Sunshine and Duncan Jones's Moon in which (deep breath) you are a marooned space engineer who must spawn different versions of himself by means of backstory-branching gadgetry in order to operate an enormous, rolling base and escape the apocalyptic rays of the local sun.

We're not going to talk about any of that hoity-toity quantum wheeling-and-dealing in this piece, however. We're going to talk about the fact that the opening stretch reminded me of Gears Of War and the many over-the-shoulder adventures it has influenced. I'm sorry. It's been a complicated week involving minimal sleep, and I no longer have the grey cells for branching timelines, though they are certainly the more fascinating aspect of this game.

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2:00 pm
If you happen to be a touch miffed at faceless corps, Mullet Mad Jack has the antidote

In one of the better gaming trends of the last few years, we appear to have entered a golden age for booting the crud out of doors. There’s Deathbulge of course, but also the upcoming Anger Foot, Abiotic Factor, and a load more I’m sure. There was also literally Door Kickers, but that was ages ago. Anyway, the latest game to put a hinge-disrespecting protagonist front and center is also my current obsession: the excellent Post Void/Hotline Miami-type beat, Mullet Mad Jack. It’s a very fast, very silly FPS about shooting robot billionaires that takes its aesthetic from 80’s anime and PC-98 games. I’m not sure what else you need, honestly.

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11:00 am
Besiege: The Splintered Sea review: a small vessel for expansive seafaring

I cannot compare my experience of writing a review for The Splintered Sea, the first paid expansion for dastardly clever physics puzzle builder Besiege, to that of a journaling sailor facing lethal storms on the horizon. Still, if we take for granted the idea that a review is only really valuable as an insight into the experience of the player: I haven’t been feeling especially great this week. That in mind: Splintered Sea is more Besiege, thoughtfully applied to its already expansive toolkit. More importantly, it's currently bringing me deep and deeply needed moments of untainted, childlike, vaguely-Orkish joy.

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10:48 am
Call Of Duty 2024 revealed as Call Of Duty: Black Ops 6, "a dark new chapter"

Activision have celebrated my birthday in the traditional manner by announcing a new Call Of Duty game. Said Call Of Duty game is Black Ops 6, "a dark new chapter" in the Treyarch-helmed FPS sub-series which is known for seedier and weirder, alt-historical or post-future stories featuring hallucinations and cybernetics and catchy period music.

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10:12 am
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is getting a sequel and Total War: Warhammer 3 is getting a big red dog

Skulls! You’ve got one. I’ve got one. Everybody has a lovely skull keeping their lovely face right where it should be. Warhammer is big, so it needs must have multiple of them, hence their yearly event Skulls, which collates a bunch of Games Workshop related announcements into a sort of bizzaro world Nintendo Direct if Yoshi was actually a parasitic corpse emperor. There’s usually at least a few game announcements in there, and this year was a bumper. The headline announcement being an upcoming sequel to well-loved space-pope turn-based strategy Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus. Yes, yes. I’m getting to the dog.

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10:27 am
Looks like the Asus ROG Ally X will get a honking great battery upgrade

The Asus ROG Ally X, a sort of semi-sequel to last year’s ROG Ally handheld PC, has had its specs spilled over at Videocardz. I’m usually a lot more suspicious of hardware leaks, which are often just out-of-date or otherwise inaccurate info, but I’ve also sat through enough mic-muted prebriefings to know an official slideshow when I see one, and that appears to be exactly what Videocardz got its hands on. Besides, these specs include a gigantic 80Whr battery upgrade (doubling the ROG Ally’s 40Whr capacity), so we can at least file this under "News James wants to be true."

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10:04 am
How Baldur's Gate 3 might have brought back Candlekeep, the library fortress where Baldur's Gate began

Videogames and especially role-playing games are chock-full of sheltered upbringings that go tits up. Innocent times and places like the prologue for Baldur's Gate, which unfolds in the vast, fortified monastery of Candlekeep (beware spoilers from this point on).

BioWare's first ever RPG opens with your unsuspecting Chosen One learning the ropes from the old sage Gorion. There are fetchquests that take you around the enormous citadel, bits of combat training to do, cosy formative chinwags to have with characters like your childhood friend Imoen. But it's not to last, of course: Gorion is murdered, and you must rove the Sword Coast in pursuit of his killer. When you return to Candlekeep later in the game, this once-proud bastion of learning has been filled with doppelgangers of Gorion and other acquaintances, a parade of chatbots waiting to stab you in the back.

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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
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2:53 pm
Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is less of a PC hardware-killer than it looks

While I’ve always thought the race towards graphical hyperrealism isn’t as pervasive as it's often perceived, Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is definitely one of those games. The kind that probably has twelve artists dedicated to the recreation of visible pores, that sort of thing. It’s so focused on looking pretty that it hasn’t even noticed the title and subtitle got mixed up.

Sure enough, Hellblade 2 is a harsh test for older hardware, with a heavy reliance on DLSS or FSR upscaling to keep performance sweet. That said, it’s no Dragons Dogma 2-style technical horrorshow either. A happy balance of visuals and smoothness is attainable on plush PCs and low-end laptops alike, while DLSS 3 frame generation can deliver an effective kick in the framerate pants on RTX 40 series GPUs.

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1:23 pm
'Don't worry! I'm a murderer!' - award-winning comedy Anthology of the Killer is out next week

In Anthology of the Killer you do not exit the game using a pause menu. You exit it by walking down a back alley into the quavering arms of two hungry bears. This is just one of many laughs your diaphragm will endure as you navigate "the escalating adventures of a girl trying to make zines in a town of giallo-style masked serial murderers". The horror comedy already won its creators the Nuovo Award at the Independent Games Festival this year, recognition that has been a long time coming for prolific creator Stephen "thecatamites" Gillmurphy. If you're unfamiliar with his work, you can get acquainted next week, when Anthology of the Killer gets its full release on Itch.io on May 28th. At which point you can explore its unsettling urban hell of shady corporations and cops who think they're cool. There's a trailer below.

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11:25 am
Wuthering Waves really, really doesn’t want to run on Steam Deck

Sometimes you gotta know when to fold, and trying to get new hotness RPG Wuthering Waves to play nice with the Steam Deck has got me creasing like an origami crane. While its Epic Games Store release can be worked around, and Proton GE will get the game’s own launcher running, no combination of software, compatibility tools, or installation folder deep-diving seems capable of actually booting the game proper.

As such, I’m accepting defeat. Obviously with apologies to any studious Steam Deck Academy readers.

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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
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5:14 pm
You’ll get Warner Bros brawler MultiVersus’ premium battle pass for free if you played the beta

Everything And Then The Licensed Kitchen Sink fighting game MultiVersus returns next week after an almost year-long self-imposed post-beta exile. With the decision to pull the game from sale and turn off its servers for months on end after allowing people to sink their real-life money into unlocking costumes and such (with no refunds), its developers are now looking to seemingly give something back in return.

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4:51 pm
Call of Duty is getting in the (Gundam) robot

The classic anime series Gundam examines the traumatic experience of war, particularly the unalterable effect it has on those young soldiers forced to participate in the horrors of fighting for their life while taking the lives of others using weapons of inhuman strength and devastation. Which clearly makes it the perfect fit for a bit of upcoming DLC for military-fetishising interactive gun range Call of Duty.

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