The world’s n u mber o ne P C g ames mag a zine
The decade’s best shooter returns
ANNO 1800 / Sekiro Mount & Blade II Devil May Cry 5 & MORE!
Master the supernatural in remedy’s uncanny shooter
World of Warcraft Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Two Point Hospital Donut County & More!
GAMING MICE the perfect mouse for any budget
WELCOME #323 NOVEMBER 201 8
“PC gaming will be exciting and vibrant for years to come”
Future Publishing Ltd Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA Tel 01225 442244 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web www.pcgamer.com
Editorial Global Editor in Chief Evan Lahti Editor in Chief Samuel Roberts Editor Phil Savage Deputy Editor Philippa Warr Art Editor John Strike Production Editor Drew Sleep Web Editor Tom Senior Section Editor Andy Kelly Staff Writer Joe Donnelly Contributors Writing Kimberley Ballard, Ian Birnbaum, Fraser Brown, Ed Chester, James Davenport, Emma Davies, Phil Iwaniuk, Chris Livingston, Daniella Lucas, Steven Messner, Xalavier Nelson Jr., Lewis Packwood, Tom Sykes, Chris Thursten, Tyler Wilde Art David Lyttleton PHOTOGRAPHY Future Photography Studio: Neil Godwin All copyrights and trademarks are recognised and respected Advertising Media packs are available on request Commercial Director Clare Dove email@example.com Advertising Director Tom Parkinson, firstname.lastname@example.org Account Director Jeff Jones email@example.com Account Manager Kevin Stoddart firstname.lastname@example.org International PC Gamer is available for licensing. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities International Licensing Director Matt Ellis, email@example.com Subscriptions Email enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org UK orderline & enquiries 0344 848 2852 Overseas order line and enquiries +44 (0)344 848 2852 Online orders & enquiries www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk Head of subscriptions Sharon Todd Circulation Head of Newstrade Tim Mathers
Production Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Production Project Manager Clare Scott Advertising Production Manager Joanne Crosby Digital Editions Controller Jason Hudson Production Manager Fran Twentyman Editorial Operations Assistant Steve Wright
Specialist in Quality Control by Jurassic 5
Management Managing Director Aaron Asadi Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Editorial Director Paul Newman Head of Art & Design Rodney Dive Brand Director, Games Tony Mott Editorial Director, PC Gamer & GamesRadar+ Tim Clark Senior Art Editor, Games Warren Brown Distributed by Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU www.marketforce.co.uk Tel: 0203 787 9060
Twitter @Octaeder This month Forced the team to play Fortnite, ostensibly for research. (I just wanted people to play with.)
Control was one of the most exciting games I saw at E3. It wasn’t the most innovative – it’s a third-person action game – but what captured my imagination was what it represents. Playing Quantum Break, it felt like Remedy had been shackled by Microsoft’s desire to make a game that was also a TV show. Now Remedy is free, and once again making weird, captivating worlds. Control may be its strangest yet. I can’t wait. Control isn’t the only game that should be on your radar. Whether it’s Mount & Blade II, Doom Eternal or Transmission, this issue is full of reasons why PC gaming will be exciting and vibrant for years to come.
ta lk to PC GAMER
We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill holds full FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and accreditation All contents © 2018 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.
Have your say! Email us at letters@ pcgamer.com
PHIL SAVAGE EDITOR
The PC Gamer team
NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: October 18
Amember of theAudit Bureau of Circulations
15,259 January-December 2017
Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR) www.futureplc.com
Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
A N D Y K E LL Y
P hi l ipp a W a rr
C H R I S L I V I N G S TO N
T o m S eni o r
Specialist in She’s Lost Control by Joy Division
Specialist in Standing in the Way of Control by Gossip
Specialist in Out of Control by Hoobastank
Specialist in Y Control by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
This month Experienced the extreme highs of The International finals, and the extreme lows of trying to find enjoyment in Spore.
This month Braved the fires of Hell to see Doom Eternal. Wait, not Hell… Texas.
This month Somersaulted through Gamescom in order to play My Friend Pedro.
This month Nearly lost control after spending an hour in the presence of Sam Lake.
Subscribe to Check out our digital bundle! See p54
08 THE TOP STORY
A surprising win at The International.
The month ahead in PC gaming.
12 THE SPY
What are Microsoft up to now?
14 IN FOCUS
The art of Unavowed.
16 INSIDE DEVELOPMENT
How to make a great detective game.
22 Anno 1800 26 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey 28 Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord 30 Winter Hall 32 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 36 Doom Eternal 40 Transmission 42 Devil May Cry 5 44 My Friend Pedro
Features 48 Control
Andy heads to Remedy to get the latest info on its strangest game yet.
56 Genesis LPMud
Can you bring a text-based MMO back from the brink of death?
Ubisoft’s city-building series sets sail for the Industrial Revolution. Andy follows closely behind.
The best shooter of the decade is back, and this time it’s bringing a, er, meat hook? Lovely.
After the disappointing Quantum Break, Andy is excited to find that Remedy is weird again.
64 World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth 70 Phantom Doctrine 72 F1 2018 74 Strange Brigade 76 Two Point Hospital 80 Donut County 81 State of Mind 82 Planet Alpha 84 We Happy Few 86 Shenmue I & II Free GAMES 90 Cyberpet Graveyard 91 Cashbags 91 Chogue THEY’RE BACK 92 theHunter Classic 93 Silent Hunter III 93 Spacechem 93 Cart Life 93 Stealth Bastard Deluxe
96 GROUP TEST 100 REVIEWS 102 TECH REPORT 104 BUYER’S GUIDE
108 NOW PLAYING
Demanding worship in The Sims 4.
Stardew Valley multiplayer.
114 MOD SPOTLIGHT A new campaign for Red Alert 2.
116 HOW TO
Genesis LPMud Text-based MMO Genesis nearly died in the wake of World of Warcraft. Here’s how it came back.
WOW: BATTLE FOR AZEROTH Steven returns from his quest to write the definitive review of Blizzard’s MMO expansion.
Find a new favourite game with our helpful guide.
118 AFTER ACTION REPORT
The PC Gamer team plays a little game called Fortnite.
Gaming mice rated
After months of meditation, Ed Chester can judge mouse movements by the millimetre.
128 MUST PLAY
Going back to Spore.
126 WHY I LOVE
Baba Yaga in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Phil picks out a selection of his PC gaming favourites.
M O N I TO R News | Opinion | Dev elopment
OG examine the Aegis of Champions.
OG’s journey to the top prize in Dota 2
he International 2018 – Valve’s Dota 2 mega-tournament – combined a Relocate from Seattle to Vancouver (a little Io joke for those of you paying attention to the current meta) with spectacular pro gaming and dramatic storylines for one of its best years yet. The stars of the show this year were OG, whose journey to the $11m USD prize forms one of those amazing esports fairytale narratives. The last day began with the lower bracket finals where PSG.LGD (a Chinese squad which has partnered 8
with Paris-Saint Germain’s esports wing) took on Evil Geniuses. Both teams ended up in the lower bracket after tussling with OG, so whoever won here would earn a rematch. A little backstory: Evil Geniuses won The International in 2015. No organisation has ever lifted the
The International acted as a proving ground for former allies
trophy twice so EG represented this year’s only remaining chance at finally seeing a repeat win. The last remaining player from that 2015 lineup, Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan, and Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson would be the first players to hoist the trophy a second time (s4 was part of the 2013 winning team, Alliance). Filling out the remainder of EG’s 2018 lineup were Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev, Andreas ‘Cr1t-’ Nielsen and Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik. Fly, Cr1t- and s4 used to play for OG – Fly was actually a cofounder of that team along with Johan ‘BigDaddyN0tail’ Sundstein. While Cr1t- departed back in 2016, Fly and s4 quit just before a Major
N e ws
D e e p di v e
De v e l opm ent
R i s in g f u n
Unknown Worlds has announced a companion piece to its ace underwater survival adventure, Subnautica. Below Zero will be an expandalone set in an ice-bound region of the original game’s ocean planet. Thermal management is part of the survival challenge this time. pw
Footage of Spelunky 2 has emerged, and I am very excited. It highlights lots of specifics: animals you can ride, a gun that shoots cats, and more realistic liquid physics. I can’t wait to see how these combine to enhance Spelunky’s trademark intricate chaos. ps
Capcom’s Onimusha series is Resident Evil with samurai, and the first game, Warlords, is being re-released on PC early next year with slightly nicer graphics. It’s a fun game, and I’m keen to replay it, but more excitingly, it means the far superior sequels might eventually come to PC as well. ak
Highs & Lows
Highs Fallout 76
Bethesda has revealed griefers get a bounty on their head that’s paid out of their own pocket.
Divinity: Original Sin II A free update to our 2017 GOTY brings you the Definitive Edition.
Regardless of whether Nvidia’s next-gen RTX graphics cards change gaming, learning about light rendering has been fascinating.
ABOVE, TOP: Sometimes dogs happen because, well, esports. ABOVE, BOTTOM: With so much on the line, The International has amazing highs and devastating lows.
event which OG were forced to drop out of as they scrambled for replacements. The International thus acted as a proving ground for former allies. To get a sense of the atmosphere between the teams, just take a look at YouTube clips showing the moment where Fly and N0tail shake hands post-match, or the fan speculation over whether Cr1t- shoulder-checking N0tail backstage was on purpose or by accident. But EG had to make do with third place (and $2.6m).
fight to the finish
The grand final pitted OG against LGD – the organisation which ended OG’s run last year. OG won the first game of the best-of-five but LGD dominated the next two. OG fans have watched the team choke at previous Internationals so this seemed worryingly familiar. But the fourth game was spectacular. OG turned what looked like a comprehensive bodying into an actionpacked win. LGD went down in a cloud of Phantom Lancer illusions and Axe dunks. Game five sealed the deal. LGD seemed to have the upper hand, only for OG to rip them apart in a pivotal fight around the Roshan pit. In the end it took just 36 minutes for OG (and captain N0tail) to finally secure the Aegis. Philippa Warr
Riot apologised after Kotaku’s report on its toxic culture. Its actions will be more important in effecting change.
Dice’s military FPS is delayed by five weeks, from October 19 to November 20.
The Gamescom poo
That Epic even had to deny a tale about a Fortnite fan pooing in a bag to stay in a queue is worrying.
N e ws
Incoming TUE 25
2 5 S ept
2 8 - 3 0 S ept
5 - 7 O ct
Valkyria Chronicles 4
A week after the UK’s EGX expo takes place in Birmingham, its new sister event, EGX Berlin, takes place in the German capital.
Take a break and check out this tabletop design challenge. Cram rules, a setting and a scenario into just 200 words.
5 O ct
Forza Horizon 4
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Ignore the realities of driving in the United Kingdom (pulling into a hedge to let a tractor slowly trundle past, spending an entire bank holiday Monday parked on the M25, getting into a screaming row with someone over a parking spot) and revel in gorgeous seasons and speedy vehicles. Or take a hovercraft across the Cotswolds. TUE 9
De v e l opm en t
2 O ct
Already out in Japan, Sega now brings its fantasy WW2 strategy game to the rest of the world. MON 1 (OCT)
Opi n ion
Game jam Event Game release Esports PC Gamer
T h e m o n th a h e a d i n P C g a m i n g
MON 24 (SEP)
Building on Origins’ systems, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has the potential to offer the best combat of the franchise to date. Expect flaming swords, spear-based stealth, and powerful kicks in Ancient Greek locations, along with the usual Abstergo/present day gubbins. WED 10
1 O ct - 3 N o v
1 2 O ct
League of Legends World Championship
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Call of Duty’s annual release sees Black Ops back in the limelight. It’s bringing with it Blackout, a large-scale battle royale mode (this is 2018 after all), as well as the usual zombie fare. What’s not included? A conventional singleplayer campaign. Instead the tale will be woven into the popular multiplayer side of things.
Worlds is heading back to South Korea for its 2018 esports mega tournament, hopping between Seoul, Busan, Gwangju and Incheon. Fingers crossed for games like the Samsung Galaxy vs SKT back-and-forths of the last few years, rather than a repeat of the lopsided 2014 grand final! MON 15
1 5 O ct - 1 5 D ec
1 8 O ct
1 9 O ct
Tomb Raider Jam
It’s the 25th anniversary of PC Gamer. In addition to patting ourselves on the back, we’ll be talking to CD Projekt Red about its upcoming RPG.
A relaxed, non-competitive game jam where the only instruction is to make something inspired by Tomb Raider. MON 22
The melodramatic beat-’em-up makes its PC debut. And Geralt of Rivia brings his swords into the fray. FRI 26
N e ws
The Spy is like a shark: they must keep chasing Jason Statham.
Opi n ion
De v e l opm ent
developments – particularly when it comes to games – to attempt to entrench the Xbox as a service, rather than as a singular platform.
B U T W HO W A TCH E S TH E S P Y ?
f the Spy was a fish, the Spy would be one of those little opportunistic smaller fish that follows a whale shark around waiting for bits of food to fall out of its mouth. These are the smartest fish, clearly, because they are capable of identifying that a bigger gob means bigger leftovers. The Spy is very smart.
Increasingly, however, the games industry’s various whales and sharks are getting better at keeping their mouths shut. It’s almost like they know there are rumour-mongers lurking in their wake, waiting for a scrap of release date or a morsel of industrial discontent to break free. This isn’t the Spy’s fault, clearly. The Spy is entirely discrete most of the time. It’s probably YouTube’s fault. It’s usually YouTube’s fault. In any case, this month’s messy eater is Microsoft, whose sprawling bulk can’t help but shed scraps for intrepid scavengers who know where to look. Many of these are concerned with the software giant’s plans for the coming year, particularly with regards to gaming. Now, a caveat – lots of these rumours are, on paper, more to do with the Xbox brand than anything you’d typically consider PC-related. That said, Microsoft has been steadily trying to merge the two for years. Both the Xbox One and Windows 10 enjoy (cough) considerable areas of overlap, and you should expect any future
Rumours abound, for example, that it is soon going to be launching a subscription service for Xbox consoles and games called ‘Xbox All Access’ that includes console hardware, an Xbox Game Pass and a Live subscription. This gels with an entirely different set of rumours, which suggest that the next Xbox hardware – codenamed ‘Scarlett’, scheduled for 2020 – is actually a range of devices including both a traditional console and a cloud-based game streaming device. This seems like the likely endpoint for the Microsoft Store idea, effectively eliminating the distinction between Xbox and Windows PC and establishing both as two ways of accessing the exact same set of games. It’s probably a good idea at this point to remind you that Microsoft has never successfully built a games-as-service environment that people actually like, but hey: umpteenth time’s the charm, right? It also wouldn’t be Microsoft if there weren’t competing sets of rumours pointing in totally different directions. For example, while all of the rest of this was happening, THQ Nordic quietly signed a distribution deal allowing them to sell a handful of previously exclusive Microsoft Studios games on Steam. There aren’t too many big hitters in the list – Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection is probably the most notable – but it reveals a few cracks in Microsoft’s determination to only let you get its games through the Microsoft Store. In other words, it is keeping its options open. Which is eminently sensible when, as noted, you’ve never built a PC games store that people actually like using. To be fair to Microsoft, then, the Spy would like to point out that it does make gamepads that people like using. Good news, then: there’s probably going to be a new Xbox Elite controller coming along in October. Perfect for Steam Big Picture mode! Just don’t tell Microsoft that. Spy out. The Spy
This seems like the likely endpoint for the Microsoft Store idea
This month in… 2008 ISSUE 193, November 2008
on the cover Far Cry 2
IN THE CHARTS The Promise – Girls Aloud
Look, we would never suggest that the PC Gamer team of 2008 phoned it in, but consider that issue 193 contains absolutely zero features. Instead, the cover is awarded to Far Cry 2, which receives a glowing 94% score from Tim Edwards. Tim praises the open world shooter’s freedom, saying he’s now “unable to go back to straight and simple first-person shooters”.
There’s a fun spread in Extra Life, in which science and maths are used to work out Azeroth’s laws of physics. Extra Life was weird before the issue 201 redesign.
Previews this issue include Empire: Total War, which didn’t live up to its potential, and Borderlands, a game that massively exceeded expectations. While Gearbox’s shooter, as described by Ross Atherton, sounds a lot like the Borderlands we ended up with, the screenshots are from the game’s original graphical style – so very brown and generic. What a difference an art direction shift makes.
You can subscribe to this magazine @ www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk