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Daily Deal - Outlast 2, 75% OffMar 16, 2019 - AnnouncementToday's Deal: Save 75% on Outlast 2 and 80% on Outlast !* Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are! *Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time Have You Played Outlast 2?Dec 6, 2018 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunHave You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. I will never understand why Outlast caused such a stir back in 2013, more so after playing its sequel. I suppose I get why folks liked it: playing a videogame version of all those found footage horror films you either love or hate or love to hate, is a pretty nifty thing. But there were so many valves to turn, jump scares and unsurprising plot twists. (more…) Outlast 2 s moon and the end of timeNov 13, 2018 - Rock, Paper, Shotgun RPS is having an Apocalypse Day! We’re celebrating the end of the world and games about it. Check back tomorrow, if we’re still all here. What’s your favourite moon in a game? The lipless satellite of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, perhaps? Overwatch’s rather cosy lunar map? Somebody asked me this a few weeks ago — genuinely, we’d been talking about First Man — and to my surprise I found myself thinking of Outlast 2. There is little about Red Barrels’ schlocky, prurient first-person horror outing that deserves real admiration, but you can’t deny the power of its moon. It’s a wonderful ambient device in a game that is otherwise one gigantic charnelpile, a glowing cavemouth amid the clouds which ices the surfaces of barren lakes and raises the skeletons of farmyards from foetid darkness. It’s also something of a timekeeper, waning and waxing as the story proceeds towards a possibly Biblical, possibly scientific apocalypse. (more…) Get 66 percent off Outlast 2 for a limited timeApr 5, 2018 - PC GamerWhen shopping for horror games, there are a number of things to consider. Does the game in question operate a first or third-person perspective? Are we fighting/pegging it from zombies, cultists, government soldiers, supernatural beings or all of the above? Does it let us walk across a charred baby pit—hang on, what? For me, Outlast 2's tone will be forever captured by Tim's striking post-E3 2016 preview headline, no matter how it dials back its difficulty and/or introduces less hostile story modes. If you fancy taking on the cult-battling, camcorder-flashing, hide-in-lockers horror venture yourself—you brave thing, you—know that it's on sale on the Humble Store for £7.81/your regional equivalent off until tomorrow. Here's an excerpt from James' 85-scored review, which speaks to the game's rather extreme ending: Long after the final minutes of Outlast 2, I felt queasy, uncertain that what I saw had actually happened. It’s one of the most bizarre ending sequences I’ve witnessed, tapping into a fear I’ve known since my first week at Sunday school. It's not a fear about being hunted, artistic viscera spills, or neatly arranged corpses on spikes (though there’s plenty of that stuff). It’s fear of the drastic measures people will take to ensure their salvation, the burden of guilt, and whether or not the big guy up top exists and gives a damn. Huge spoilers within, obviously, but James explores the above in greater detail over here. Humble's Outlast 2 sale runs now through tomorrow, April 6 at 10am PST/6pm BST. For extra reading, here's what horror game creators think about jump scares. Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. Outlast 2 is getting a more laid-back 'Story Mode'Mar 27, 2018 - PC GamerOutlast 2, aka the horror game which features a "charred baby pit", was notoriously hard at launch. Studio Red Barrels did end up dialing back the difficulty a few months after its early 2017 release date, and having played it since then, I can confirm it's not as bloody frustrating as it was at first. But for those who prefer story to nail-biting monstrosity evasion and, uh, dying, there's a Story Mode now. But unlike Soma's recent non-lethal playthrough option, you'll still be able to die in Outlast 2's story mode, and there will still be monsters. "It is still possible to die," the notes read, "but we’ve decreased the number of enemies and have lowered their speed, damage and perception." Changes have also been made to the pacing of the game, allowing more passive players to poke around the game's sinister environments. But more importantly, the update has also lead to the introduction of more grimness. "Also, we’ve taken the opportunity to reinsert some of the things we had to remove from the original game in order to get an M rating. These changes are not drastic in our opinion and do not impact gameplay, but they had to be made to avoid an Adult Only rating." Could this removed material be the reason Australia's classification board initially refused to classify the game? New patch: Story ModeMar 27, 2018 - Community AnnouncementsThe new Story Mode of Outlast 2 allows players to experience the game with minimal challenges, fewer enemy encounters and more breathing room to fully immerse yourself in the universe. It is still possible to die, but we’ve decreased the number of enemies and have lowered their speed, damage and perception. We’ve also made tweaks to the pacing of the game to make more room for exploration, instead of chases. Also, we’ve taken the opportunity to reinsert some of the things we had to remove from the original game in order to get an M rating. These changes are not drastic in our opinion and do not impact gameplay, but they had to be made to avoid an Adult Only rating. That’s it. Hope you enjoy! - the team at Red BarrelsFive in-game cults that are a far cry from Far Cry 5Mar 25, 2018 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunCults in games have a long, proud tradition of getting to go full wackadoo. Mostly, they’re a really nice device to lean on, especially in a game where you want to fill the world with collectibles and audio logs and you need some narrative to build that space. Also, they’re pretty easy in that, if you don’t give a flip about collectibles, you can generally parse that cults are evil and cultists deserve to die. I may have learned a few things about that the hard way this year. That said, Far Cry 5 releases this week and focuses on a cult in America that uses religion and being pretty crap people in general to take over an entire state. In preparation, we look back at some of the wackier cults to be featured in games’ proud lineage of brainwashing. (more…) What horror game creators think about jump scaresMar 7, 2018 - PC GamerJump scares are often considered cheap scares, and to some extent that reputation is justified. I've played games and seen films where the scares are exhausting rather than exciting, and they're not much more sophisticated than someone jumping out of a cupboard and shouting 'boo'. Context is everything, though—jump scares can be a valid device in horror if it doesn't feel like the only thing the creators are throwing at you. "If you don’t do the suspense correctly," said James Wan, director of movies like The Conjuring and Saw, back in 2016 , "then your jump scares are not going to work." The same principle applies to games. Fear tactics "They definitely have a place," says Dion Lay, who was lead writer on Alien: Isolation at Creative Assembly, when I ask about jump scares. "One of the reasons I love horror is because the genre is wide enough to be so many different things—slasher, ghost story, even comedy—and there are so many tools to use. Jump scares are one of the minor tools—more like a bit of spice you add to the main course—but used correctly they can help maintain pace and tension without exhausting the player. You can even use a dummy jump scare or fake out to signal to the player that they can relax a little—'you’ve had your scare for now, we'll let you take a breather.' They're good to contrast with the prolonged terror of the main threat, or the slow burn of the dread cultivated by the location and soundtrack." In 2014, we voted Alien: Isolation our game of the year. It's a sophisticated survival horror game where you're pursued by an unpredictable alien foe for most of the story's 20-hour lifespan. There's no shortage of what I would call jump scares, as the alien and android foes try to kill you, but they don't feel cheap because you have a lot of information about what's going on. If the alien is in the vent above, you'll see drool spilling out of it. The motion tracker gives you an idea of where enemies are at all times. And if an android's eyes are lit up, it'll probably come to life and grab you. You'll jump a lot, but the quality of the space station setting creates a consistent tension, and these peaks effectively break up a long game. Image taken by user HadAnd0426 "Jump scares are an ingredient," says Red Barrels co-founder Philippe Morin, developer of both Outlast games. "Throughout the development of Outlast 2, we’ve had people telling us the game doesn’t have enough jump scares and others who felt there were too many. Horror is incredibly subjective and good jump scares aren’t easy to do well because it’s all about what leads up to the big scream. You need to stretch the tension for the right amount of time, to the point that the player almost wants the jump scare to happen ...2017 Steam Award winners include PUBG, Cuphead WitcherJan 4, 2018 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunWe’ve already seen which games sold best on Steam last year, but a perhaps more meaningful insight into movin’ and a-shakin’ in PC-land is the games that people feel warmest and snuggliest about. To that end, Valve have announced the winners of the 2017 Steam Awards, a fully community-voted affair which names the most-loved games across categories including best post-launch support, most player agency, exceeding pre-release expectations and most head-messing-with. Vintage cartoon-themed reflex-tester Cuphead leads the charge with two gongs, but ol’ Plunkbat and The Witcher series also do rather well – as do a host of other games from 2017’s great and good. Full winners and runners-up below, with links to our previous coverage of each game if you’re so-minded. Plus: I reveal which game I’d have gone for in each category. (more…) Outlast 2 is half price until tomorrowNov 15, 2017 - PC Gamer"I walked across a charred baby pit in Outlast 2 and didn’t like it much," is an unusual headline but one that captures the grim tone of Red Barrels Studio's combat-less, duck-and-cover horror sequel. Those were Tim's words from E3 last year, which James affirmed in his review back in April. From now through Thursday November 16 at 10am PT/6pm GMT, Outlast 2 is half price on Steam, should you wish to experience its scares for yourself. Here's James' spoiler-free take on the game's ending in relation to the above: Long after the final minutes of Outlast 2, I felt queasy, uncertain that what I saw had actually happened. It’s one of the most bizarre ending sequences I’ve witnessed, tapping into a fear I’ve known since my first week at Sunday school. It's not a fear about being hunted, artistic viscera spills, or neatly arranged corpses on spikes (though there’s plenty of that stuff). It’s fear of the drastic measures people will take to ensure their salvation, the burden of guilt, and whether or not the big guy up top exists and gives a damn. And here's its launch trailer: At half price, Outlast 2 costs £11.49/$14.99. If you fancy spending a few quid more, the Outlast Trinity Bundle is also subject to a 68 percent discount—netting you the first game, its Whistleblower DLC, and Outlast 2 for £14.10/$18.69. While set in the same universe, both games are unrelated. Besides, you know, all that gut-churning horror. Daily Deal - Outlast 2, 50% OffNov 14, 2017 - AnnouncementToday's Deal: Save 50% on Outlast 2!* Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are! *Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time 《Outlast 2》现已推出简体中文版！尽情玩吧！May 10, 2017 - Community AnnouncementsOutlast 2 is now available in Simplified Chinese! Enjoy!Steam Charts: all I play each night is PreyMay 9, 2017 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunIn the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion checks to see which ten games sold best on Steam over the past week. He just can’t sleep until he knows whether Prey made it to number one or not. … Outlast 2 patch dials down the difficultyMay 6, 2017 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunHorror splatterfest Outlast 2 has been patched to reduce the difficulty and boost the measly battery life of the player s night vision camera two issues that Adam flagged up in his review. The camera is your main tool for seeing the game’s over-the-top gore through the shadows, and worrying about how much juice it has left can get in the way of exploring what is a technically brilliant setting. … Outlast 2 update dials back the difficultyMay 5, 2017 - PC GamerOutlast 2 is, by all reports, a very good horror game. We scored it an 85 in our review, calling it "a beautiful, brutal journey through extreme spiritual anxieties," while a friend of mine who's playing it expresses his appreciation in a somewhat more raw fashion, through long outbursts of frightened, "Gotta-get-away" obscenities. Some players are apparently struggling with it, however, and so today developer Red Barrels released an update that dials things back a bit for players who want the horror experience without the punishing gameplay. "Today's patch introduces some minor adjustments to the game’s difficulty in key areas and moments," the studio said on Steam. "On Normal difficulty this will offer players a more appropriately balanced experience while still maintaining higher levels of challenge on Hard and Nightmare difficulties." The update also makes "a number of bug fixes and small improvements" to the game, although the Simplified Chinese translation is still in the works and won't be ready until (hopefully) next week. The full patch notes are below—and for a little more help with the horror, be sure to catch James' list of seven things he wishes he'd known before he started playing, right here. * Global rebalancing of the game difficulty. * Microphone no longer uses extra batteries. * Increased the size of subtitles. * Fixed an issue on Intel HD 4000 cards where most dynamic lights were missing. * Fixed an issue where flickering black squares appear in the center of the screen at some specific resolutions. * Fixed an issue with alternate controller mappings and the camcorder UI. * Fixed an issue with double doors where one of them is locked. * Fixed an issue causing lost save games when Steam somehow fails to initialize. * Fixed some heretic sound effects. * Fixed multiple minor gameplay issues (collisions, crawling, tutorials, etc.); * Fixed multiple rare crashes. * Added a "-refreshrate 60" command-line parameter to specify a preferred refresh rate (replace 60 by the desired refresh rate). * Added a "-notexturelimit" command-line parameter to remove texture size limits based on VRAM amount. * Added a "-borderless" command-line parameter to use borderless fullscreen and not have to edit INI files. New patch just released!May 5, 2017 - Community AnnouncementsWhile the launch of Outlast 2 has been a commercial success we have kept a close eye on the feedback from countless community members, let's players, and reviews. Today's patch introduces some minor adjustments to the game’s difficulty in key areas and moments. On Normal difficulty this will offer players a more appropriately balanced experience while still maintaining higher levels of challenge on Hard and Nightmare difficulties. Of course we've also included a number of bug fixes and small improvements. The full patch notes are below. Enjoy! - the team at Red Barrels ---------------------------- Patch notes (05/05) - Global rebalancing of the game difficulty. - Microphone no longer uses extra batteries. - Increased the size of subtitles. - Fixed an issue on Intel HD 4000 cards where most dynamic lights were missing. - Fixed an issue where flickering black squares appear in the center of the screen at some specific resolutions. - Fixed an issue with alternate controller mappings and the camcorder UI. - Fixed an issue with double doors where one of them is locked. - Fixed an issue causing lost save games when Steam somehow fails to initialize. - Fixed some heretic sound effects. - Fixed multiple minor gameplay issues (collisions, crawling, tutorials, etc.) - Fixed multiple rare crashes. - Added a "-refreshrate 60" command-line parameter to specify a preferred refresh rate (replace 60 by the desired refresh rate). - Added a "-notexturelimit" command-line parameter to remove texture size limits based on VRAM amount. - Added a "-borderless" command-line parameter to use borderless fullscreen and not have to edit INI files. Note that this does not yet include the Simplified Chinese translation, we're still working on that part, it should be ready next week.Steam Charts: war dawnsMay 3, 2017 - Rock, Paper, ShotgunDid you know: the weekly Steam charts, in which we round-up the ten games which sold best on Steam over the previous week, are broadly the most-read articles on RPS these days? That means I can never stop. Never. Stop. … Listen to the best PC game music of the yearMay 2, 2017 - PC GamerWith thousands of games releasing each year, there's more head-bopping, heart-squeezing videogame music than we can keep track of. But we tried anyway, scraping through our libraries (and beyond) to find what we consider the best tunes of the year so far. Headphones and/or the subwoofers in your kid's car are definitely recommended. If you like the music, be sure to let the artist know—maybe buy a few records on vinyl, invite some friends and family over, get a cheeseboard way above your budget going, and let a track like Intentional Death and Dismemberment Plan direct the evening. Tooth and Tail Austin Wintory Listen here Tango and latin dance music may not strike you as the best fit for a game about feudal gangs of small animals at war, but Tooth and Tail manages to pull it off. Every song is played with 20th century Russian instruments that blend the dance tunes into something a bit more pastoral, and once the drunken barroom singing comes in, you'll want to start dancing again—just with a battle axe in the hand that isn't busy with beer. Destiny 2's Hive theme Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul Johnson Listen here Most of Destiny 2's music is fine. It's just fine. You get nice orchestral swells that imply drama and hope and a story much bigger than yourself. It's typical Big Game Stuff. But tucked away on Titan, a planet you aren't required to spend much time on, you'll find the creepy-crawly Hive enemies, and accompanying them is the best music in the game by far. With one foot in Quake's Nine Inch Nails lo-fi industrial noise and the other in the punched up, blown out orchestral sounds of a Marvel movie fight scene, the Hive themes in Destiny 2 narrate the action as much as they drive it, providing a stylish soundscape of scraped guitars steady percussion to pop alien heads to. Shame it's hidden away. Ruiner Various Artists Listen here Ruiner's somber synth beats feel like a direct response to Hotline Miami's retro club boomers. They're just as loud, have just as much bass, and the melodies are just as catchy, but Ruiner's soundtrack brings a sinister sadness right to the fore rather than bury it as subtext. In Ruiner's dystopian cyberpunk world, everything is awful and everyone knows it, but swaying and lazily bobbing your head is still a reliable way to tread the existential waters. Sonic Mania Tee Lopes Listen here OK, so Sonic is good again (let's not talk about Forces), but what would we think of Sonic Mania if it didn't get such an excellent soundtrack? It's a surprising return to great level design for the series, but the biggest contributor to what makes Mania so endearing is its flashy, confident style—and the vibrant, energetic, and diverse soundtrack is largely to thank for that. If you weren't in control of the blue blur of a hedgehog zipping across the screen, the temptati...Why horror games need to quit killing usMay 1, 2017 - PC GamerI really don’t want to die. Someday I will, though, and it will probably suck. I worry about drowning, being burned alive, bears having me for dinner (it happens where I’m from), or tripping and bashing my head open on a gumball machine—and most popular horror games are good at turning those fears, other than the gumball one, into palpable threats. But in focusing so much on depicting the act of dying, they ignore why I’m scared of dying. Games are good at delivering terror. They specialize in the apprehension that precedes an awful revelation. But once you’ve died, which is the horrific revelation part, suddenly there’s no longer anything to anticipate, and therefore nothing to be terrified of. Death becomes a certainty, and in traditional try-again games, it’s making the experience far less scary than it could be. In my review of Outlast 2 , I said that its “commitment to building such a disorienting horror simulation is as admirable as it is annoying.” Most scenes take about five deaths to figure out. Five deaths is enough to see a monster, learn its simple AI routine, and memorize your escape route as well as your walk home from work. Since you know that finishing the game requires staying alive until the end, the overarching narrative tension also loses strength. And because you can die and restart at the last checkpoint, those spooky punches lose more of their sting with each attempt. Sure, sometimes you’ll get a grisly animation, and if getting your dick split in half over and over can sustain your interest here into oblivion, great. But even Resident Evil 7, which starts off with some of the best innovations in horror game history, falls into the same shoot or hide or die death trap over time. Popular horror games in the same style know how to tap into fleeting dick-splitting fears and often confront deeper psychological fears in their overarching themes, but the threat of death and repetition is still the dull captain steering the tension. It’s about time they stop trying so hard to kill us. Death to death Death has always been games' most popular punishment. You can fail to perform a task and in the fiction of the world, die. Bummer! Back to the last checkpoint. Threatening the player with lost time through death is an easy way to build tension, but the tension is entirely detached from the fiction. There’s no time to focus on the monsters chasing us. During my second playthrough of Frictional Games' SOMA, I installed a mod called “Wuss Mode” that turns off predatory enemy AI. Instead of sneaking around the monsters, I got to know them—and yeah, I know what it sounds like . I watched them lumber around each environment like blind dogs. I didn’t feel physically threatened, but in observing the creatures, I started to sympathize with them. Like Frankenstein's monster, they were onl...Get a free copy of Outlast when you buy Outlast 2 from the Humble StoreApr 25, 2017 - PC GamerOn the off-chance you've been hiding behind the couch since watching the duo of Outlast 2 trailers that landed last week, let me remind you that Red Barrels' latest survival horror offering is out today. You might've caught James' review yesterday, or his words on how it has one of the most intense endings of any horror game ever. Then again, you might have avoided all that as you're yet to play the first game. If that's you, let me tell you the Humble Store is giving away a copy of the original Outlast free-of-charge with every purchase of Outlast 2 for as long as stocks last. As it stands, Miles Upshur's venture into the Mount Massive asylum costs £14.99/$19.99 via the retailer, so by parting with £22.99/$29.99 for its sequel, you stand to make a decent saving. For the sake of recapping, here's an extract from Chris' 2013 review: "With no weapons to fight off the lunatics, you can hide – inside lockers or under beds – and watch as your pursuers either stalk slowly past to look for you elsewhere, or suddenly spot you, drag you from your hiding place, and tear you to pieces. Or you can run: vault over obstacles, leap across broken staircases, pull yourself into vents, squeeze between obstructions, and yank doors open and then barricade them behind you, all which feels fluid and natural, like a nightmare version of Mirror's Edge. When you're not running or hiding, you'll be scouring the building for spare batteries for your camera, for keys to unlock doors, or for the nearest exit." And here's another look at Outlast's launch trailer: Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.