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H RT A N NO ERIC ION AM EDIT

HARDWARE BUYER’S GUIDE INSIDE!

TOP TIPS

WAR STORIES

Fortnite Mastered

How an obsession turned an EVE pilot into a war hero

The ultimate guide to EPIC’s Battle royale

EXCLUSIVE ACCESS

23 pages of REVIEWS

PILLARS OF ETERNITY II BATTLETECH FROSTPUNK & MORE!

ISSUE 307

THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON RETURNS WITH A FOCUS ON PC

MEMORY RATED

Get the best ram for your rig


WELCOME

“the long-running series aims to do right by PC gamers” Long term readers will know that PC Gamer hasn’t been a big Call of Duty advocate for over a decade now. So I was intrigued when Activision got in touch to tell us about Black Ops IIII—specifically, about how the latest in the longrunning series aims to do right by PC gamers.

PHIL SAVAGE Specialist in Voyeurism Twitter @Octaeder

Elsewhere, you’ll find another of Steven Messner’s fascinating EVE Online reports. For years CCP’s MMO has been entertaining players and casual observers alike. Long may these stories continue.

This month Took a break from watching writers craft copy to watch an AI play Crusader Kings II.

ta lk to PC GAMER

Have your say! Email us at letters@ pcgamer.com

PHIL SAVAGE EDITOR

phil.savage@futurenet.com

#307 AUGUST 2018 Future Publishing Ltd One Lombard Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94111 (650) Tel 01225 442244 Email pcgamer@futurenet.com Web www.pcgamer.com

Editorial Global Editor in Chief Tim Clark 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 Jonathan Bolding, Fraser Brown, Ed Chester, James Davenport, Kate Gray, Phil Iwaniuk, Chris Livingston, Daniella Lucas, Steven Messner, Jon Morcom, Xalavier Nelson Jr., Chris Schilling, Steven Strom, Chris Thursten, Rebekah Valentine Art Cliff Newman, 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 clare.dove@futurenet.com Advertising Director Tom Parkinson, tom.parkingson@futurenet.com 01888 888888 Account Director Jeff Jones jeff.jones@futurenet.com 01888 888888 Account Manager Kevin Stoddart kevin.stoddart@futurenet.com 01888 888888 International PC Gamer is available for licensing. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities International Licensing Director Matt Ellis, matt.ellis@futurenet.com Subscriptions Email enquiries contact@myfavouritemagazines.co.uk UK orderline & enquiries 0888 888 8888 Overseas order line and enquiries +44 (0)8888 888888 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 Management Managing Director Aaron Asadi Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Editorial Director Paul Newman Head of Art & Design Rodney Dive Group Editor in Chief, Games Tony Mott Senior Art Editor, Games Warren Brown Distributed by Curtis ISSN 1470169 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

The PC Gamer team

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.

PHILIPPA WARR

A N D Y K E LL Y

STEVEN MESSNER

F r a ser B r o wn

Specialist in Gatherings

Specialist in Engagement

Specialist in Compulsion

Specialist in Edicts

This month Wrote about games where you have to kill people at a party. This doesn’t bode well for our next office do.

This month Asked Activision difficult questions, like: “Does a shooter really need 50 types of grenade?”

This month Steven, a man who has written 14 features about EVE, has written a feature about obsession. In EVE.

This month Built an island full of people who didn’t like him. There’s probably a Twitter joke in this.

PC GAMER (ISSN 1080-4471) is published 13 times a year, monthly plus Holiday issue following December issue by Future US, Inc., One Lombard Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94111 (650) 872-1642. Phone: (650) 872-1642. Fax (650) 872-2207. Website: www.futureus.com. Periodicals postage paid in San Bruno, CA and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand distribution is handled by Curtis Circulation Company. Canadian and foreign orders must be prepaid, US funds only. Canadian price includes postage and GST #R128220688. PMA #40612608. Subscriptions do not include newsstand only specials. POSTMASTER: Send changes of address to PC Gamer, PO Box 2024, Langhorne PA, 19047. Standard Mail Enclosure in the following edition: None. Ride-Along Enclosure in the following editions: None. Returns: IMEX Global Solutions, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada. Future US, Inc. also publishes Mac|Life, Maximum PC, and The Official Xbox Magazine. Entire contents copyright 2015, Future US, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Future US, Inc. is not affiliated with the companies or products covered in PC Gamer. Reproduction on the Internet of the articles and pictures in this magazine is illegal without the prior written consent of PC Gamer. Products named in the pages of PC Gamer are trademarks of their respective companies. PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We encourage you to recycle this magazine, either through your usual household recyclable waste collection service or at a recycling site. SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE Future Publishing, P.O. Box 2024, Langhorne, PA 19047. Online: https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/contact-us/. Phone:+44 344 848 2852. Email: contact@ myfavouritemagazines.com. BACK ISSUES: https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-back-issues/ or by calling +44 344 848 2852. REPRINTS: Future US, Inc. One Lombard Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94111. Phone: (650) 872-1642. Fax (650) 872-2207. Website: www.futureus.com.

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AUGUST 2018

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Contents #307

REVIEW

Monitor

08 THE TOP STORY 12 SPECIAL REPORT 14 IN FOCUS 16 INSIDE DEVELOPMENT

AUGUST 2018

40

Previews

20 Tropico 6 24 Order of Magnitude 26 Two Point Hospital 30 Rend 34 SpyParty 36 Paladins: Realm Royale

Features 40 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 48 The making of Arcadia 54 An EVE Online obsession

Reviews 62 Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire 68 Frostpunk 70 Swords of Ditto 72 BattleTech 76 Monster Prom 78 Murderous Pursuits 80 Conan Exiles

104

Extra Life

84 NOW PLAYING 88 UPDATE 90 MOD SPOTLIGHT 92 HOW TO 94 DIARY 98 REINSTALL 102 WHY I LOVE

Hardware

104 GROUP TEST 108 TECH REPORT 110 BUYER’S GUIDE

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AUGUST 2018

62

40

62

104

Treyarch takes the reins for the latest Call of Duty, and this time the studio wants to focus on PC.

Andy sets sail on a quest to bring you the definitive verdict of Obsidian’s massive RPG sequel.

Strap in for a whirlwind tour of the best, fastest and hopefully cheapest RAM you can buy.

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4

PILLARS OF ETERNITY II

MEMORY group test


M ONI T O R News | Opinion | Dev elopment

Staff combat features thanks to “badass biker “ Shani (center).

SNAP HAPPY Ubisoft is fleshing out our knowledge of Beyond Good And Evil 2

B

eyond Good And Evil 2 has been bobbing around on the tides of game development for ages. Announced in 2008 and intermittently confirmed as definitely-not-cancelled over the following years, we only started seeing evidence that the project might emerge after Ubisoft offered up a cinematic trailer at E3 2017. Gameplay footage has been even harder to come by—until recently. Ubisoft has shared a smattering of pre-alpha footage, giving fans a peek at both combat and ship maneuvering. This is not 8

August 2018

only good news for those who want to know what this game might entail; it’s also an act of reassurance for people more accustomed to the game bumbling along in development hell. Beyond Good And Evil 2 is a prequel nowadays. It takes place a few generations before the events of

it looks to be a very different prospect to the original

the original, and is set to offer both singleplayer and online co-op. It’s a world of genetic hybridization, social injustice and piracy. The combat footage is staffcentric, which should please devotees of the original game. The leap in technology since the original came out in 2003, also means those twirls are now based on motion-capture data, so in-game actions are based on real-life expertize. “[It’s] a bit like the first BGE,” says creative manager Jean-Marc Geffroy of the staff combat, before talking about the character’s movements. “We are working on all the mechanics of locomotion, how the


time difference

e l e m e n tar y

PlatinumGames

Designer Hideki Kamiya says one of its new games will “turn the action genre on its head”. From anyone else it would sound like marketing speak, but I believe Kamiya when he says it. AK

t e mpt i n g f e t e

Superhot JP

The Good Life

Superhot is getting a spin-off. It’s the work of GameTomo, which will bring the shooter’s unique game design to samurai castles, karaoke bars, and bullet trains. JD

I’m glad The Good Life has been funded. It sounds the right amount of bizarre: a sandbox RPG in which you explore a village where, once a month, everyone turns into cats and dog. PS

Highs & Lows

Highs Campo Santo

Valve acquires Campo Santo and In the Valley of Gods. Go back and read about the game in issue 316.

Stardew Valley

2016’s best meandering farm RPG now lets you play with friends. Get ready to maximize your parsnip yield.

Graphics Cards

The absurd GPU prices are finally starting to stabilize as manufacture catches up with demand.

ABOVE, TOP: Human/animal hybrids are a source of slave labor in the game’s universe. ABOVE, BOTTOM: Matching the right crew to the right ship improves your stats.

character is moving. We have the jetpack—it’s a good way to move in 3D. Actually, you can also board the ship.”

get in formation

At this point we switch to footage of the player’s pirate character being able to leap from a mothership, boost over to their own smaller craft and zoom off. “You can jump and escape and maybe come back to pillage after this,” explains content director, Julien Chevallier. These ships seem pretty nippy—they apparently need to be to traverse the large spaces of the game. But the developers discovered their speed can make it harder to keep track of teammates if you’re playing multiplayer. With that in mind there’s an armada system where you can lock into formation behind a friend as you play, making it far easier to stay together in co-op situations. “The design of the game is pretty advanced now,” says Geffroy. “We know where we are going so we’re in this phase of prototyping a lot of things today.” Judging by the official blog, the team is scouting for fan feedback to help guide the game. That said, it looks to be a very different prospect to the original, so I’ll be interested to see how much the prequel actually ends up appealing to people who loved the first game. Philippa Warr

Deus Ex

Eidos Montreal confirms that the immersive sim series isn’t dead. For now, though, its on hiatus.

Dota 2

Valve is hoping to earn over $85 million from The International’s Battle Pass. $85 million! For hats!

Blockchains

“What if videogames, but blockchain,” is the subject of every third email sent to PC Gamer. Stop.

LOWS

August 2018

9


Special Report p c g i n ve s t i g a t e s

Look at me still talking when there’s science to do.

Caption goes in here x xx xx xx x xx x

IN TRANSIT

How players are searching for real exoplanets through EVE Online.

I

’m squinting at a luminosity graph, scoping it out for possible signs of exoplanets. Technically I’m playing EVE Online, following assignments doled out by the NPC Professor Michel Mayor and earning in-game rewards. But the data comes from the University of Geneva, Michel Mayor is also a real astrophysicist, and the work I’m doing is contributing to the actual search for exoplanets.

the form of a minigame where players identified and categorized parts of subcellular structures. In-game this was positioned as helping an NPC faction called the Sisters of EVE to research the DNA of another faction. As with the exoplanet research, one of the scientists from the real Human Protein Atlas—Emma Lundberg—was incorporated as an NPC.

Project Discovery is a collaboration between EVE developer CCP Games and the University of Geneva, which is facilitated by a company called Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS). MMOS want to make it possible to integrate scientific research tasks into existing games, and thus use their playerbases to conduct research. It’s a form of citizen science. Seeding research tasks into games taps into a volunteer workforce who can conduct types or volumes of analysis that aren’t possible with computers. One of the advantages of using games, say MMOS, is that a research project can take advantage of the game’s existing player retention systems to prevent high drop out rates after the first flush of curiosity passes. This isn’t EVE’s first foray into citizen science. Project Discovery’s first iteration tasked the game’s players with classifying images from the Human Protein Atlas. It took

Players embraced the challenge and contributed millions of classifications. Some even did their own research on the subject or took a course Lundberg offered via EVE University. Project Discovery was also responsible for identifying new examples of proteins which localize to subcellular structures called Rods & Rings. But while subcellular structures are interesting, exoplanets have an obvious affinity with the world and players of a space-themed MMO. In early July 2017, the second iteration of Project Discovery went live. In just two weeks players had submitted a staggering 13.2 million classifications. For perspective, MMOS notes that this total was “almost half of all the classifications submitted in the first Project Discovery over more than a year”. This time players see a light curve graph from one of the 160,000 stars monitored by the CoRoT telescope. The graph shows a star’s luminosity over time. By looking for

12

August 2018

strange new worlds

Getting technical MMOS connects researchers with players and devs, so they also provide an API. On one side, researchers upload metadata and data as well as any info on scientific embargoes. When a player requests a task, EVE sends a request through the CCP servers and the MMOS API hands out a job. The result is then submitted via the API.


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PC Gamer US 307 (Sampler)  

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