H RT A N NO ERIC ION AM EDIT MOD
Elder Scrolls: Total War
REVIEWS SPECIAL! TOTAL WAR SAGA: THRONES OF BRITANNIA SEA OF THIEVES Far CRY 5 & more!
SUNLESS SKIES DISCO ELYSIUM CITIES: SKYLINES THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: SUMMERSET & MORE!
Two great games MEET IN MEDIEVAL II
Lara masters the jungle in Eidos Montrealâ€™s stealthy adventure
GO GREEN! Make your PC ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
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WELCOME # 3 0 6 J U LY 2 0 1 8
“You’ll find that Lara’s learned some new tricks”
PHIL SAVAGE Specialist in Stealth, quesadillas
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Stealth game expert Eidos Montreal is teaming up with Crystal Dynamics for Shadow of the Tomb Raider—the final entry in Lara Croft’s origin trilogy. It’s a familiar mix of platforming, combat, and puzzling, as players head to Mexico to prevent a pesky apocalypse. While there, you’ll find that Lara’s learned some new tricks. Expect a more capable Croft, who stalks through the jungle, striking fear in the hearts of her foes. See the full story on page 36.
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S a m u e l R o b er t s
Specialist in Shooters, arms
Specialist in Indie, metafiction
Specialist in Management, murder
This month Replayed the ambitious mess Trespasser so that you don’t have to.
This month Demonstrated we can also write about games that maybe don’t exist.
This month Became a father! Luckily, he has years of experience dealing with grouchy babies. (Or writers, as they’re also known.)
This month Somehow racked up a bodycount during our Cities: Skylines feature.
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08 THE TOP STORY 12 SPECIAL REPORT 14 IN FOCUS 16 INSIDE DEVELOPMENT
JULY 201 8
22 Sunless Skies 26 Rhythm Doctor 28 The Beast Inside 30 Disco Elysium 32 The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset
Features 36 Shadow of the Tomb Raider 44 Cities: Skylines 52 Studio Oleomingus
Reviews 60 Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia 66 Ni no Kuni II 68 Northgard 70 Far Cry 5 74 A Way Out 76 World of Tanks 78 Sea of Thieves 82 The Pillars of the Earth
86 NOW PLAYING 90 MOD SPOTLIGHT 92 DIARY 96 REINSTALL 100 WHY I LOVE 102 MUST PLAY
104 GROUP TEST 108 TECH REPORT 110 BUYER’S GUIDE 6
Phil talks to Eidos Montreal about how Lara’s jungle adventure will mean a stealthier Tomb Raider.
Fraser puts the Total War spin-off through its paces in our massive lead review.
Show off to your friends with a luxury PC case. Ed Chester gets opulent in our group test.
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MONITOR News | Opinion | Dev elopment
Shenmue is a sprawling epic, originally intended to span many sequels.
REVENGE IS SWEET Sega is re-releasing its cult martial arts adventure SHENMUE on PC
he first Shenmue—a martial arts revenge story that was, at the time, the most expensive videogame ever made—has only ever been playable on Dreamcast. It’s the reason I still have one under my TV, long after the console’s demise. But soon you’ll be able to play it and its sequel on PC, thanks to a long overdue re-release by Sega. The game tells the story of Ryo Hazuki, a teenager living in Japan in the ’80s who swears revenge on the man who killed his father. It’s part-fighting game, part-RPG, and set 8
in a richly detailed world. It’s also a weird, idiosyncratic game, and has been dividing critics since its release in 1999. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a masterpiece or a mess. I fall into the former camp. Sega says the re-release will “stay true to the originals, but with
Depending on who you ask, it’s either a masterpiece or a mess
modernized features including a fully scalable screen resolution, a choice of modern or classic controls, an updated interface, and the option to enjoy either the original Japanese or English voiceovers”. The promise of modernized controls is particularly exciting, as even the most fervent Shenmue fan will acknowledge that it’s an absolute pig to handle. This marks the first time western players will be able to easily experience the original voiceover, and not the famously robotic, stilted English voice acting. But, to be honest, the hilariously amateurish acting has become a much-loved part of the series’ peculiar charm.
S a s q u at c h S e a r c hin g
R a r a r a s p utin
O n the H ori z on
far cry 5
Forza Horizon 3
I was delighted to hear that grouos of Far Cry 5 players have dedicated themselves to finding Bigfoot. Clues indicate he might be out there. Or he’ll be added later as a DLC package. AK
I’m cautiously excited for Warmind as Rasputin—from the original game—was an interesting entity. We’re talking an AI which decides everything is hopeless and shuts down for ages. PW
I’m excited to see what’s in store. It’s likely we will know more soon: The head of Xbox in Spain and Portugal suggested to GameReactor that we will see more at this year’s E3 in June. PS
Highs & Lows
Highs Dragon Quest
We’re finally getting a slice of the JRPG series, with Dragon Quest XI set for release in September.
A new wave of next-gen GPUs is almost upon us, and framerates are about to get real high.
It’s nice to see Sam Fisher pop up in Wildlands, voiced by an appropriately weary Michael Ironside.
Elder Brother ABOVE, TOP: There are a huge number of martial arts moves to learn, and you will need them. ABOVE, BOTTOM: Ryo is a sulky, revenge-obsessed teen with a really cool jacket.
The first game is set in the city of Yokosuka, where Ryo searches for clues about the man who killed his father, and why he did it. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric setting, including a busy shopping district with an arcade full of classic Sega games you can play, and a dock where Ryo gets a job as a forklift driver, which you actually have to do, every day. The sequel takes Ryo to Hong Kong, which has a very different, busier feel to the sleepy, rain-soaked streets of Yokosuka and admittedly isn’t as good as the original. But it’s still great to have both games on PC, playable at resolutions greater than the Dreamcast’s paltry 720x480 pixels. And judging by the screenshots, the game has aged surprisingly well. Shenmue was a commercial failure and struggled to make back its then-record-breaking $50 million budget. But now the series has another chance at glory on PC with this HD remaster, not to mention an independentlydeveloped third game, which will see creator Yu Suzuki finally adding to the saga that he started all those years ago. No date for the HD version has been set yet, but expect it to be around the time Shenmue III is released at the end of this year. Andy Kelly
We’ve noticed a worrying trend of games forcing you into side missions to unlock more story. Just don’t.
Sega, we’re thankful for Shenmue, but can you please release the Yakuza series on PC?
If you prematurely quit a Rocket League match because your team is losing, you’re a bad person.
Special Report p c g i n v e s t i g at e s
Engare’s level select screen celebrates decorative geometric forms.
Caption goes in here x xx xx xx x xx x
Iranian Dev troubles
Why Mahdi Bahrami believes his beautiful puzzle game Engare might be taken down from Steam any day
n October last year, Mahdi Bahrami released Engare, a beautiful puzzle game about mathematics and geometry. But he was afraid. He was worried that it would be removed from Steam the next day. “I worked on this game for a few years, and it would be so painful if that happened,” he says. What if he’d never get the proceeds from its sales? What if no one would be able to play it? Bahrami is worried because he’s Iranian. He is technically unable to sell games on Steam because of trade sanctions the US has imposed on Iran since 1979. And he can’t officially be paid the money Engare has earned because most Iranian banks can’t interface with US ones. “The money is not directly coming to Iran, so from Steam’s point of view they are paying someone in the US,” Bahrami says. “I didn’t have any option, but I’m waiting for the day I receive an email saying that they discovered I’m in Iran and they remove it.” Engare is quite unlike any game you’ve played before. It’s part Spirograph-like art tool and part puzzle, and it 12
asks you to find patterns in movement. Levels present you with rotating circles and swinging joints which, when you plot a point on them, then draw out lines that build up into repeating geometric shapes as the components move. As a puzzle game, each level has you figuring out where to plot your point in order to draw a specific shape. “For Engare the puzzles were not about how I could make them complicated, it was more that I wanted to show an interesting idea to the player,” Bahrami says. It’s an exercise in observation and recognition, and when you get it right you’re rewarded with revelation as the shape iterates over and over, the lines you scribed translating into a beautiful pattern. It’s strange to think that in today’s massively connected world, in which you can send a message instantly through your phone to anyone on the globe, a game as imaginative and original as this could face such issues being made widely commercially available. But those are the realities of being Iranian, and Bahrami is used to it. He often finds Apple’s App Store will let him download apps on one day and won’t on the next. Every day the rules change, some
Why are sanctions imposed on Iran? In the Iranian Revolution of 1979, an uprising of Islamist, leftist, and student organizations overthrew the Shah government and replaced it with an anti-Western theocracy. The US feared that an existing nuclear programme might be used to develop nuclear weapons, so it began sanctions intended to encourage internal political change. They remain in force today, albeit in a relaxed form.
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