Sep 09, 10:00

PCGamesN Saturday, September 9, 2023 9:06 AM
     Starfield's growing community patch already has 100 flagged issues

Starfield continues the tradition of players adding their own fixes, patches, mods, and changes to Bethesda RPG games, with plenty already available for you to enhance or change your experience. With more and more Starfield mods planned, the massive Community Patch project already has 100 reported issues, with more on the way.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Starfield review, Starfield companions, Starfield traits

PCGamesN Saturday, September 9, 2023 6:53 AM
     The best immersive sims are up to 90% off in a great Steam sale

The Deus Ex and Thief games are some of the best immersive sims ever made. Between the two series, you've got a slew of great stealth games that despite their age are still absolutely worth picking up today. Well, the good news is that these two series are in a great Steam sale right now, so you can nab any and all games from both for next to nothing.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Best cyberpunk games, The best RPG games, The best stealth games

PCGamesN Saturday, September 9, 2023 5:25 AM
     New Starfield HD texture rework on the way from Cyberpunk 2077 modder

Bethesda's Starfield already has modders working overtime. While Skyrim and Fallout still remain incredibly popular to this day for community content, Starfield mods have the genuine chance of being even more significant than previous Bethesda RPG games. There are already a lot of quality-of-life changes on offer, but now one of the most prolific Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher 3 modders that brought HD textures to those games has set their sights on Starfield.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Starfield review, Starfield companions, Starfield traits

Rock Paper Shotgun Latest Articles Feed Saturday, September 9, 2023 3:00 AM

I know I have been asking for a second summer, after Scotland had a glorious fortnight in June then gave up, but woof I did not expect this. Too hot! And when I have too little time to fully enjoy it. I should find a solution for that. In the meantime, what are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on!

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Siliconera Saturday, September 9, 2023 9:00 AM

Review Stray Gods The Roleplaying Musical

Musicals are transformative by nature. They require the audience to suspend their disbelief and immerse themselves in a world where people break out into song when their emotions become too strong to contain. Characters dance and sing in liminal spaces filled with the unreal and impossible to express their hopes, dreams, fears, and traumas. Then, a new truth is discovered about themselves. In Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical, our protagonist Grace finds herself transformed as she is suddenly gains the powers of a Greek goddess and is thrust into the world of the immortal Idols. Grace must uncover the mystery of the murder of the Last Muse through her power of song, or she will be sentenced to death.

Grace's world is changed forever when the role of the Last Muse is unexpectedly forced upon her through the death of Calliope, the previous Last Muse. Before her sudden ascension to godhood, Grace was living as a listless college dropout going through the motions of life. Unmoored like a ship cast out to sea without any guide, she has no real goals in life. After a terrible attempt at finding members to join the band she and her friends created, she finds herself alone and without hope in an empty auditorium. She does what anybody does in a musical: she sings. Grace performs an affecting solo called "Adrift," which really hones in on her feelings about her aimless path. As performs on stage, she meets Calliope. Calliope heard her singing through the doors of the auditorium, and turns Grace's solo into a duet, sharing their emotions with each other in a beautiful call-and-response.

[caption id="attachment_982240" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Stray Gods The Roleplaying Musical Review 2 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]

It is in "Adrift" that we are introduced to the core gameplay mechanics of Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. The game takes a unique spin on the visual novel genre, utilizing musical and dialogue segments to present its story to players. We are allowed to choose between three different personality traits: Charming, Kickass, and Clever. A Charming Grace strives to please others and do the right thing. A Kickass Grace is headstrong and will fight for answers. A Clever Grace—the path I chose to follow for my first playthrough—is keen-eyed and makes informed deductions. In every musical performance in the game, the player must choose the direction Grace will take the song, and each trait is represented by the options presented to the player. The music and lyrics change, shifting some tracks from soulful ballads to lively jazz performances. This completely transforms the tone of the song and the path of the story.

The three personality traits also influence the dialogue choices available to Grace in the non-musical segments of Stray Gods. There are regular dialogue choices the player can select, but sometimes there are choices that are influenced by each personality trait. Depending on what the player chose at the start of the game, it may lock them out from choosing a dialogue option that has a different trait from their chosen path. Some options are also blocked off if you did not fulfill certain character interactions or story beats in the game.

As Grace immerses herself in this new world of divinity and magic, she seeks out the truth behind Calliope's murder by using her powers of music to make people sing their deepest truths out to her. Grace can also become closer to these characters and develop friendships with them that drastically shape the story's direction by using her powers of music.

[caption id="attachment_982239" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Stray Gods The Roleplaying Musical Review 4 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]

Like many visual novels out there, the player can choose to develop romances with four major players in the story: Apollo, Freddie, Pan, and Persephone. Freddie, Grace's best friend, serves as her most staunch supporter throughout the game. Despite being human, she is a fount of knowledge when it comes to Greek gods, aiding Grace on her journey to discovering the mystery behind Calliope's death. Apollo, the god of the sun and prophecy, is haunted by his powers to divine the future. He seems both conflicted, yet interested, in helping Grace on her journey to proving her innocence. Pan, a hedonistic god who creates more questions than answers, finds creative ways to guide Grace onto various paths to discover the truth about the Idols. Persephone, the rightful queen to the underworld, is acerbic and doesn't trust easily, but slowly grows a kinship with Grace. I found myself wishing I could romance them all at the same time. Each character is charming in their own way, and they all have their own fears and complexities that made me want to learn as much as I could about them. The game is only about six hours and with plenty of different endings to achieve and different versions of the songs to hear, which is perfect for its replayability. I ended up romancing Pan and found myself completely enamored with the character by the end, despite having misgivings about the character at the beginning of the game. My second playthrough was where I struggled to decide on romancing Freddie or Persephone, so in the end I chose a path with no romance.

Despite enjoying the story of Stray Gods, there were some random glitches and inconsistencies that would take me out of the experience. There is a part in the game where the player has to go and meet the mythical being Medusa to question her about Calliope's murder. Depending on the choices the player makes earlier on, you can go to see Medusa with Pan, with Freddie, or with both of them. In my first playthrough, I ended up going to see Medusa with Pan as my backup, but after that segment of the story ended, Freddie randomly appears outside with Grace and Pan as though she were there the whole time. I don't know if it is because I had built up Freddie's romance, but didn't side with her in a certain segment earlier in the game, but it was definitely jarring. Also, in my first playthrough Grace immediately goes back to Pan's place after visiting Medusa's and gets into an argument with him as if she had not been with him just moments prior and had a similar conversation.

Another glitch I experienced was that sometimes when I would select a dialogue option, I would have to press the "A" button a few times or utilize the Switch's touch screen to select an option because the button wouldn't respond. It didn't happen all of the time, so I can only imagine it is a glitch and not just a weird quirk of the dialogue wheel.

As I progressed to the end of Act II and throughout Act III of Stray Gods, I began to experience frequent crashes as well. Usually I experienced these crashes when transitioning between events as the game attempted to pull data for the next event. Thankfully, the game has a great autosave feature, so I never lost more than maybe a few minutes of gameplay after these crashes.

[caption id="attachment_982237" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Stray Gods The Roleplaying Musical Review 3 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]

The game stands out, not just through its story, but also in its art direction. Stray Gods oozes style, having adopted a 2D comic book-esque look that reminds me a bit of the Saga comic series. Characters feel like they are always in motion despite most scenes being static due thanks to the expressive poses characters are illustrated to be in. By utilizing clean, yet distinct line work for the character art and and offsetting it with rich color palates in the backgrounds, everything pops and feels alive. It is a shame that the gorgeous art direction is ruined with poor rendering on the Nintendo Switch. I tested the game in both handheld and TV mode, and everything looked compressed and fuzzy. Also, despite being a 2D art style, Stray Gods utilizes flattened 3D models built in Unreal Engine 4 to render the backgrounds, and sometimes they would stand out against the 2D art in the foreground.

Besides the stellar art direction, the voice acting of Stray Gods is truly a marvel. With an all-star cast filled with industry veterans like Laura Bailey as Grace, Ashley Johnson as Calliope, and Troy Baker as Apollo, the story of Stray Gods feels elevated due to the amazing voice over work and singing performances. It is hard to imagine Pan's jazzy songs without Khary Payton's raspy voice or discovering Persephone's past without Mary Elizabeth McGlynn delivering some truly passionate reads of her lines. Sadly, the audio mixing in the game is bad on the Switch. Sometimes scenes are too quiet and then get too loud after a transition to a new one. Also, the background music comes in and out when voice over is playing, creating this constantly shifting volume level that can be distracting if you notice it. 

[caption id="attachment_982236" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Stray Gods The Roleplaying Musical Review 1 Screenshot by Siliconera[/caption]

Austin Wintory, best known for his work on Journey, took on the challenge of developing a the music for Stray Gods alongside musicians Montaigne and Tripod, but their efforts fall a bit flat. When I first started playing Stray Gods, I was extremely impressed by "Adrift", the first musical number performed by Laura Bailey and Ashley Johnson. The beautiful, haunting tone set the stage for what I hoped would be a game full of excellent songs, but what greeted me later on was something that sounded a bit awkward and unmemorable. Due to the varying directions songs can go based on the choices made by the player, the tone of a song can completely shift and create a dissonant sound that I felt harmed the quality of each musical number despite this being so woven into the identity of Stray Gods. The background music in this game is also a bit forgettable. There are a few standouts besides "Adrift" and its reprise in Act III, though. I really enjoyed the musical number when Grace attends the goddess of love Aphrodite's party in Act II and a duet between Persephone and Grace in Persephone's club.

Grace and the rest of the Greek pantheon in Stray Gods are brought to life by expert voice over performances, great art direction, and an affecting story that is intriguing from start to finish, and, but the game is brought down by its performance on the Nintendo Switch. The game tries to harmonize musical elements with choice-driven mechanics, and fails to hit that note well due to an awkward soundtrack. Nevertheless, I had a blast with Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical and visual novel fans looking for something unique will absolutely find this a charming game worth experiencing. 

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.

The post Review: Stray Gods Harmonizes Well, but Misses a Few Notes appeared first on Siliconera.

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Saturday, September 9, 2023 5:44 AM
     Starfield Phil Hill CloseupStarfield features many planets and moons, which provide ample room to tell all sorts of stories. While many of those tales focus on characters who feel larger than life, like smugglers and pirates and starship captains, others explore the common folk. These folk include brave settlers who are looking to find a new life for themselves, with a little help from less adventurous individuals such as Phil Hill. You can help them all. Here is our guide telling you how to sell Phill Hill survey data in Starfield. Starfield – how to sell Phil Hill survey data When you visit Cydonia on the planet Mars, you will find the city devotes most of its resources to mining. However, there are entrepreneurs with other projects. Phil Hill is one such individual. He wants survey data so he can help settlers find habitable planets and earn a commission. To sell Phil Hill survey data, strike up an acquaintance in the bar and then conduct surveys of habitable planets throughout the galaxy. ...

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Saturday, September 9, 2023 2:35 AM
     Starfield Two Ships Shooting At Each Other  Starfield will see us all involved in several situations that are, for lack of better words, less than desirable. I mean, joining criminal organizations, picking items from dead bodies, and mastering the art of deceitfulness certainly is not something that most of us would encounter on a normal day. In this game, however, it is part of the routine, and smuggling is also included in the menu. Here is how to add Shielded Cargo to your ship in Starfield. Where to find Shielded Cargo in Starfield? As said above, Shielded Cargo will help you smuggle any contraband or other illegal stuff into planets and cities that feature faction scanners. Don't worry, we know you are a criminal, and yes, all those stolen goods were planted, of course. Anyway, the most straightforward way to get a Shielded Cargo module is to get a ship with a pre-installed Shielded Cargo in it. You will have to board a Crimson Fleet ship, kill everyone on board, and take control of it in hopes that there is a ...

Pivotal Gamers Saturday, September 9, 2023 4:16 AM
     What's up all? We have another great offer from Giveaway Of The Day for Sprill: Aqua Adventures. Let's hear them out. Sprill: Aqua Adventures is available as a Giveaway of the day!You have limited time to download, install and register it. A few words about Sprill: Aqua Adventures Exclusive offer from Giveaway of the Day and ToomkyGames! No third-party advertising and browser add-ons! ...