Jul 16, 18:00

Kotaku Sunday, July 16, 2023 11:14 AM

Microsoft and Sony have finally reached a deal for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation once the Activision Blizzard merger goes through. The surprise agreement comes after months of fighting between the two companies and is a sign the acquisition is all but inevitable.


PCGamesN Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:44 PM
     Honkai Star Rail 1.2 maintenance times mean free goodies galore

Honkai Star Rail is going offline to prepare for the Honkai Star Rail 1.2 release date, so you can look forward to free Stellar Jade as compensation for the downtime. The next major Honkai Star Rail update is almost here, but with the servers set to be down for an estimated five hours, you won't be able to play the turn-based anime game during this time, so make sure you plan ahead.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Honkai Star Rail review, Honkai Star Rail codes, Honkai Star Rail tier list

PCGamesN Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:05 PM
     A select few are playing Starfield already

Wish you were playing Starfield already? So do we, but there are a few people who've already got that privilege. While we count down the days to the Starfield release date, some fortunate people are already in the position to get their hands on the most anticipated space game of the year. As the months become weeks, the wait is almost over - but that doesn't mean we're not a little jealous of those playing Starfield right now.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Starfield release date, Starfield companions, Starfield system requirements

PCGamesN Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:01 PM
     Best Asus gaming laptops in 2023

What's the best Asus gaming laptop? That depends on your budget and needs, but we've tested the best Asus laptops for gamers – read on to find the best model for you. Asus has built a formidable reputation for creating bleeding-edge gaming laptops. From humble beginnings, the brand began boosting its cachet with collaborations, such as 2006's Lamborghini VX range. That same year, the company released its first dedicated gaming laptops, creating the Republic of Gamers (ROG) sub-brand that's become familiar to gamers worldwide.

Asus has quietly overhauled some of the big names in gaming to become one of the world's best gaming laptop vendors. Given the competitive nature of the market and the quality of competition from Alienware laptops, and brands like Acer, Dell, MSI, and Lenovo, that's impressive.

Asus gaming laptops are sleek, well-designed, high-performance devices offering a wide selection of options. From its high-end ROG (Republic of Gamers) devices that boast the latest gaming CPU and screen technology to the more keenly priced TUF (The Ultimate Force) machines that focus on quality internals rather than style, there's something for everyone within the Asus gaming range.

The key to choosing the right gaming laptop is understanding how you'll use it daily. Do you need killer battery life, or will you be plugged in most of the time? Will you be using external peripherals, like a gaming mouse, keyboard, or monitor? How important is sound to your experience?

So which of the latest Asus gaming laptop crop do we rate, and which are worthy of your consideration? We've rounded up our pick of the bunch below to help you get to grips with the wide range of options.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ review, Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming review, Best gaming motherboard

PCGamesN Sunday, July 16, 2023 11:00 AM
     Best Alienware laptops for gaming in 2023

Alienware has been a staple in the gaming laptop space since its first Area 51m released in 2002. Made by Dell, the best Alienware laptops are dedicated, high-end machines for gaming enthusiasts. They're not cheap by any means, but they are some of the best gaming laptops out there.

Alienware gaming laptops offer a massive amount of power and performance, cutting-edge tech and excellent designs. We've rounded up some of the best buys on the market today, from the 18-inch Alienware M18 to the compact Alienware X14 R1. Most machines can be specced to your liking, which allows you to tailor your purchase to your budget and needs.

When shopping for an Alienware laptop, it's best to avoid the very top-end specs if your budget is tight. Older Alienware laptops offer better value; the Alienware M17 certainly holds its own with its Ryzen 7 6800H CPU and RTX 3070 Ti CPU.

Of course, if you have deeper pockets then Alienware's latest and greatest generation of gaming laptops are sure to please. The M16 and M16 both feature RTX 4080s paired high-refresh 16:10 displays, while the Alienware X16 offers a premium experience and is predictably our most expensive option on show today.

Whether you want a laptop for esports, a graphic powerhouse or a light and thin laptop you can take with you when traveling, you'll find the best Alienware gaming laptops below.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Best graphics card, Best gaming PC, Best SSD for gaming

PCGamesN Sunday, July 16, 2023 10:46 AM
     Baldur's Gate 3 really wants you to toss your teammates

Baldur's Gate 3 is a phenomenally deep, rich RPG game that promises a huge amount of player freedom and creativity in how you approach encounters. But listening to the Baldur's Gate 3 lead developers at Larian Studios talk about it, you'd be forgiven for thinking they just want to bodily toss everyone around at the earliest opportunity. Discussing the various Baldur's Gate 3 playable races, the Larian team talk about what each brings to the table.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Baldur's Gate 3 release date, Baldur's Gate 3 races, Baldur's Gate 3 classes

Siliconera Sunday, July 16, 2023 3:00 PM

love spell written in the stars otome game 1

A lot of otome games end up dealing with outlandish situations, but then attempt to play it off as ordinary and approaching things seriously. With Love Spell: Written in the Stars, Great Gretuski Studios knows how silly the premise is. It embraces it by having an outspoken heroine who is a character all on her own, imperfect love interests, and a script that ends up filled with quick quips. Now that the Starlight update that brings it all to a new game engine is here, it makes for something of a definitive edition of an often entertaining story. However, since it can go so over-the-top, that might mean it isn't for everyone.

Luna's all alone during the most romantic time of the year, and she's had one of the worst days of her life. Her childhood best friend and first love, who she didn't end up with, is back home with his put together life and steady girlfriend. Her college professor keeps picking at her and singling her out, especially in front of the whole class. The new barista at her favorite coffee shop is so gorgeous and alluring, she can't get any work done there. Also, some rich jerk ran into her, blamed her for ruining his expensive suit, and seems to want her to pay for it. The one highlight was helping an old woman, who gave her an unusual notebook and pen as a gift to thank her.
[caption id="attachment_972407" align="alignnone" width="1200"]love spell written in the stars otome game 1 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]
However, it turns out that notebook was the romantic equivalent of the Death Note. The person whose name is written in it will fall in love with the owner until the next full moon. Luna's way of recovering from that mess of a day was to get blackout drunk, and she wrote in a name of one of the four men she encountered that day. As a result, players spend the rest of the otome game dealing with the aftermath of that decision.

The base Love Spell: Written in the Stars game includes four love interests. All of them are takes on various familiar character tropes in otome games. So Enix is the childhood friend, except he ended up with Luna's frenemy instead of her. Florian is the gorgeous teacher, but he's demanding and sadistic. Jamie is that guy who just looks so familiar and is fawned over, only with multiple secrets. Marcello is the mysterious and suspicious bad boy, except he's a jerk.
[caption id="attachment_972408" align="alignnone" width="1200"] love spell written in the stars otome game Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]
What's refreshing about Love Spell: Written in the Stars is that many of the characters aren't perfect. Characters like Florian and Marcello are good examples, and even the protagonist herself falls into this. It means we see their flaws throughout the routes, which lends itself to well to humorous and exaggerated situations. It also can make it easier to appreciate love interests' finer points, because we have the juxtaposition against them also being arrogant or insensitive. It keeps them all from being exactly what you'd expect, and I found that interesting.

It's also reassuring to see the additional work that went into the game. I came to Great Gretuski Studios' title following its Starlight update. This meant I could see the full vision of the game. The character designs are all great and distinct, and the new expression work serves them well. The UI is clear and easy to read, and it is also easy to save before important moments. I especially enjoyed the Extra Stories in the gallery, as it felt a little like the sort of content you'd get in a follow-up fan disc for an Otomate release.
[caption id="attachment_972409" align="alignnone" width="1200"]love spell written in the stars otome game 1 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]
I also was pleasantly surprised to see a whole accessibility menu. In addition to text to speech for self voicing and the ability to adjust the text display and font. Being able to turn off animations is a nice plus as well. The only issue here is a personal one. The Opendyslexic font option was difficult to read due to its design and the color of the text boxes and UI for me.

My only criticism is that sometimes Love Spell: Written in the Stars seems to include references and asides that might leave it feeling a bit dated or exclude some readers. It is absolutely a funny game with a humorous script and silly situations sometimes, but it can go overboard in the pursuit of that. Luna very much features a very outspoken and independent personality, rather than having some nuances left more vague to allow for self-insertion. She's a fun, outspoken character, but some of her interjections and responses made me cringe a bit despite being the target audience. The use of some memetic references and phrases in dialogue can come up so much that it may be off-putting to some. The fact that there are some wild and off-putting sound effects also lean into that. When unusual text effects and sound effects are happening regularly in routes, it can detract from the experience and make it less novel and entertaining for some readers.
[caption id="attachment_972410" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Image via   Great Gretuski Studios Image via
Great Gretuski Studios[/caption]
Love Spell: Written in the Stars is an otome game with a sense of humor. It's often a very lighthearted tale, though some routes can get more serious. In a way, I felt like it could get carried away with trying to be contemporary or funny, with Luna being a bit too exaggerated. But it's generally a lot of fun, and this Starlight update really makes it a story worth reading if you want a title that plays with character tropes.

Love Spell: Written in the Stars is available for PCs.

The post Review: Love Spell: Written in the Stars Is a More Humorous Otome Game appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:00 PM

Review Sticky Business Is a Pleasant Creative Outlet

I keep coming back to Sticky Business. I want to experiment with the restrictions to see what designs I can create. It's like one of those virtual paper doll creators I enjoyed in high school, only with a little bit of a simulation surrounding it. It is a little light on the actual "game" elements, but it's very good at establishing a cozy, creative vibe.

In Sticky Business, you start with a blank slate. After naming your storefront, something that really doesn't come up after that, you are plopped into a creator. You can use the "parts," divided into categories, to make a sticker. There are a handful of sizing options, occasionally you'll be able to change the color (if you paid for the extra color), you name it, and then you choose if it is a plain one or printed on a special kind of paper. This takes up a certain amount of the "day," if you are playing on a timed mode. Once you have stickers, you pay coins to print them after placing them on sheets. Orders come in, you fill them, and you ship them out. The downside is, it also doesn't really explain what some "game" like elements mean. Parts used in the stickers you sell earn experience, but I didn't really see how that influenced anything.

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There isn't any real "to-do" list. Once you come to the shop for the day, the first order of business is to basically pack any orders that came in. You can add extras like shredded paper grass, decorative tissue paper, or candy, with candy adding a percent increase to the money you earn from that order. You need to head to the mailbox after the whole lot is done. It might be worth printing more of certain stickers you are selling, if your stock is low. Maybe then you upgrade your offerings by increasing space for sticker designs, getting new sticker options, getting new colors, or picking up more sticker backings for the printer. If you run out of things to do or the day ends, you head to bed and wait for it all to start again. You never have any obligation.

There are some optional requests, if you pay attention. Some customers will tell you about their lives and situations when you place orders, but you don't have to listen. However, even though sometimes some would request I make stickers with a particular subject like rats, they would then… go on to not buy ones with those designs. (To be fair, one who requested a boba tea sticker and another with a "derpy face" did go on to buy that and advance their "storylines.") But this is largely a situation where there's no risk and all reward. In Sticky Business you will always earn hearts to acquire new sticker elements or money to expand your options and print more stickers. People will buy your stickers, regardless of the designs.

[gallery columns="1" size="full" ids="972849" link="file"]

Now, I realize that might sound a bit harsh. However, this in no way means Sticky Business is bad. I feel it's more like an outlet than anything. The number of available designs is rather limited. (For example, there are no humans to use in your sticker designs at all, with a lil' goblin being the only real humanoid figure.) I'd have loved if I could have changed the primary color in all stickers, rather than only some offering the ability to select a different one. But what is there is still pretty ample, and it affords a lit of creativity if you're willing to play around with elements and styles.

For example, because the color palette is a bit limited, you can work with that to adjust the way elements flow together. As such, I was able to give the goblin the frog part as a face, put a bowl in its hands, and make a lil' soup gremlin. (It is a very popular design.) The green of the potion liquid, tentacle, and frog head are all so similar that I made an iguana lounging. It's an incredibly delightful game to play when you feel inspired and like you need to take a minute to breathe, play around with the limited selection, and perhaps come up with something special.

[gallery columns="1" size="full" ids="972848" link="file"]

Likewise, the freedom also means you can turn this into a profitable "factory." The smaller the sticker, the more on the page. Which means the more money you can make from a single sheet. In turn, that means lower costs and more orders. Including a lot of different elements means if someone is keeping track of elements like animals or magic, those are represented.

As such, Sticky Business is genuinely a perfect outlet. While the sticker part options are a bit restricted and I hope DLC or updates add to the library, it's such a relaxing time sink. I had so much fun setting things up just so, knowing that no matter how it looked my virtual customers would love it. It's quite a relaxing and validating experience.

Anyways, look at my stickers!

[gallery size="full" link="file" ids="972853,972854,972855,972856,972857,972858,973048,973049,973050"]

Sticky Business will come to the PC via Steam on July 17, 2023.

The post Review: Sticky Business Is a Pleasant Creative Outlet appeared first on Siliconera.

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Sunday, July 16, 2023 5:23 PM

Microsoft previously offered Microsoft and Nintendo a 10-year deal to keep the high selling series on PlayStation

The post Microsoft and Sony Sign "Binding Agreement" to Keep Call of Duty Series on PlayStation appeared first on Gaming Instincts - Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism.

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Sunday, July 16, 2023 4:35 PM

Several fans of the series have reacted negatively to the news

The post Payday 3 Will Reportedly Be An Always Online Game appeared first on Gaming Instincts - Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism.

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Sunday, July 16, 2023 4:13 PM

This means that he will currently no longer be subjected to a guilty or not guilty verdict

The post The Grand Theft Auto 6 Leaker Has Been Deemed Psychiatrically Unfit to Stand Trial appeared first on Gaming Instincts - Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism.

Jul 16, 02:00

Rock Paper Shotgun Latest Articles Feed Saturday, July 15, 2023 6:58 PM

Dominions 6 is in development and is expected to release "at the end of the year." The low-key announcement was made on Steam's Dominions 5 discussion forum, with designer Kristoffer Osterman saying that the next iteration of the fantasy 4X would have "more changes than any previous version, both mechanics-wise and UI/QoL-wise."

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Rock Paper Shotgun Latest Articles Feed Saturday, July 15, 2023 6:13 PM

Clock Tower is a survival horror point-and-click adventure released in 1995, but only in Japan. Its availability is going to expand next year. WayForward, the studio responsible for the Shantae series and remastering the likes of DuckTales, are bringing the game westward in 2024 with an English translation and new animations.

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PC Invasion - FeedDDD Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:48 AM
     Halls Of Torment Shield Maiden Launching Projectile In Haunted CavernsHalls of Torment introduces players to a roster of unique characters, each one capable of navigating the horrific corridors with their own special approach. One of the last ones you're likely to unlock is the Shield Maiden, who is good at wading right into the thick of battle and enduring more abuse than her comparatively fragile cohorts. Here is our guide telling you how to unlock the Shield Maiden in Halls of Torment. Halls of Torment – how to unlock the Shield Maiden Most of the characters you unlock attack with projectile weapons of some sort, or they use a melee weapon (such as the starting Swordsman). The Shield Maiden, who also uses projectiles, nevertheless thrives during close-range combat. To unlock the Shield Maiden, defeat the Wraith Horseman in the Forgotten Viaduct region. Screenshot by PC Invasion The Forgotten Viaduct is the third stage in the game. It's also a point of interest when you want to figure out how to unlock the Sorceress. The ...

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Sunday, July 16, 2023 12:14 AM
     Halls Of Torment Warlock Unleashing Main Attack In Haunted CavernsHalls of Torment has a lineup of interesting characters with powerful attacks and skills. One of them, the Warlock, is especially interesting because his attacks have potential to tear through enemy lines without much direction on your part. Here is our guide telling you how to unlock the Warlock in Halls of Torment. Halls of Torment – how to unlock the Warlock The Warlock is one of the more difficult characters to unlock, as far as I'm concerned, because the stage where he appears can chew through your defenses. To unlock the Warlock, you must kill the Wyrm Queen boss near the end of the Ember Grounds area. Screenshot by PC Invasion The Ember Grounds stage is accessible early in the campaign. However, you may have to spend quite a lot of time to master it. The enemies are especially resistant to attacks that worked well in the Haunted Caverns area, and the Wyrm Queen in particular has strong armor that allows her to shrug off weaker attacks. To d...