Cities: Skylines Mass Transit expansion gets a release date

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On May 18 the Cities: Skylines gets more syklines in the Mass Transit expansion. Monorails, cable-cars, ferries and blimps are included in the $12.99 / £9.99 pack, which also adds new types of landmarks, and roads, and massive transport hubs to link all these things together. No mention of an Elon Musk style Hyperloop yet, though.

The update also includes new scenarios that challenge you to solve traffic problems. "Become an expert in traffic flow," says the blurb on the official Mass Transit update page, "use that knowledge to improve your city!" There are also new hats for Chirper the definitely-not-Twitter social media bird.

AMD Ryzen 5 smashes records at nearly 6GHz

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AMD this week announced its Ryzen 5 series of processors with fewer cores and lower prices than its Ryzen 7 lineup. Arguably the most intriguing one of the bunch is the Ryzen 5 1600X, a 6-core chip that is clocked the same as the Ryzen 7 1800X. Turns out it's also a pretty good overclocker, at least when liquid nitrogen is involved.

Renowned overclocker "Der8auer" was able to crank a Ryzen 5 1600X to just over 5.9GHz (5,905.64MHz, to be exact). He managed the feat without disabling any of the cores, and in the process set a record for the highest overclock on a 6-core part, beating out a Core i7-5820K for the top spot.

Other hardware involved the record-setting overclock included an Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero X370 motherboard, 2GB of G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 RAM, and a 128GB Samsung SSD. On the software side, he was running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

With a full pot of LN2, temps dropped to around -170C. Der8auer was then able to run the chip at a base clockspeed of 129.79MHz with a 45.5X multiplier. It is not clear what he set the voltage at.

While overclocked, Der8auer ran a few benchmarks, achieving record breaking scores in Cinebench (R15 and 11.5), GPU Pi, and Geekbench 3.

Check it out:

Crawl out of the dungeon while murdering your friends

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This review is coming later than it should, because Crawl has been around for quite a while already. If you're reading this and you're surfing Twitter often, there is a great chance you have heard of Crawl already, or at least you've seen some of it's wonderful pixel art and GIFs all over Twitter.

Crawl is that game you might remember having played a few months or years ago, with your friends, at some party or on some random night out. The game has been around in a pre-release state since 2014, but its "full release" version has been around for less than a week.

Crawl is a local multiplayer dungeon-crawler where you and your friends take turns playing as either the hero or the monsters. Not in a pass-the-controller-to-the-next-one kind of way, but in a kill-the-hero-and-become-him-and-then-try-not-to-get-killed-yourself kind of way.

The atmosphere in Crawl is filled with murder, betrayal and madness. After the narrator finishes his speech during the intro, the four human players are left to fight each other with knifes and clubs until only one emerges glorious from the fight. He will be the hero who will wander the dungeon alone.

As the hero, you do the same dungeon-crawler things you do in other games of this genre: explore rooms, dodge traps, loot gold which you can use to buy new equipment, spells, and items. You level up as you gain experience by defeating monsters, you can drink strange potions to get stronger, and you can do many other things that you can also find in other games of this genre.

But wait a bit. I said "four human players" earlier, but there is only one hero. Something is strange here. What happens to your three friends if you manage to beat them ? What happens to you if one of them beats you ? Well, you become a ghost.

Yes, you've read it well. You become a ghost. That's where Crawl overtakes the other games of this genre: while one of you and your friends becomes a hero, the others have to stop him from becoming stronger and from going deeper in the dungeon.

Ghosts can not directly harm the hero, as in hitting him, but they can do other things to do so. They can possess any random trap and trigger it at the right moment to harm the hero. Or they can haunt some random chair or pot to hurl at him. If you're the fighter kind, ghosts can possess summoning sigils found throughout the dungeon and reincarnate as a random monster predetermined by whatever deity you selected at the beginning. From a slimy slug to a fiery dragon, there are lots of creatures you can reincarnate as. Kill the hero and you will have your humanity restored. But, only if you deal the last hit.

This is what makes Crawl one of the best games to stay up late yelling at your friends. The constant rotation of your teammates as the monsters working together to bring the hero down and the competition to get that last hit, and then the mad hunt for the new hero.

In addition to the gold you gain while being a hero, there is a secondary currency in the game, called Wrath. You gain Wrath while playing as a monster, according to how much damage you dealt to the hero on every floor. You then use it to upgrade your monsters after the current floor ends. This way, the person who played as the hero the least will always have access to the strongest monsters, and the player who got an early lead as the hero will face hard times after the other players catch up and upgrade their monsters.

Each monster has two defining moves. They are usually some kind of direct attack combined with either a dodge move (bat demons will fly away, retreating, while slugs will dive into the earth and reappear elsewhere), or some kind of obstacle or hazard (pools of acid vomit, walls of flame, etc.).

The balance doesn't always seem right between the monsters, though, and that's something you might expect from a cast of 60+ creatures with unique skills. There are some monsters that are just too powerful and easy to use that they completely overshadow the others.

However, heroes are not completely powerless. The variety of weapons and items you can find and use is insane. Ranged weapons such as bows and slings can help against the most annoying monsters, at the cost of damage. Spells like floating lasers or cursed blades that summon giant swords from the sky can ruin a monster's day immediately. Yet, even some items seem underpowered compared to others.

All this fighting leads to the final confrontation: the boss fight. When a hero reaches level 10 or higher, they can activate a portal and face the boss in order to escape victorious from the dungeon. Or not.

The bosses in Crawl are giant creatures that can be controlled by each of the three ghosts. Or at least parts of them. One player will take control of an arm, a head, a tentacle or a giant eye and use it to bite, crush or burn the hero. Survivors who make it out will unlock extra items and evolutions for their monsters. Losers who have the courage to challenge the boss three times and still fail will have their humanity removed from them and their three-initial name deleted from the recorded history.

Even if you are playing alone, without your friends trying to kill you, you can still choose to play with A.I. players. The game allows for A.I. players and they do a great job at trying to make your run as hard as possible. There are challenge modes to unlock and compete for every monster, achievements to undertake, a massive vault of items and Easter Eggs to search for. Have you found the Gaben statue ? If you have the bad luck to be the hero and one ghosts decides to possess it, you're gonna have a bad time. Good luck killing him.

Good things take time, and so Crawl's full version did. After spending a long time in pre-release state, the results speak for themselves. Crawl is probably the best dungeon-crawler game to play with your friends if you want a competitive atmosphere, defined by betrayal and murder.

Name: Crawl
Developer: Powerhoof
Publisher: Powerhoof
Released: April 11, 2017
MSRP: $14.99

Bandai Namco teases new project with the tagline: 'Prepare to Dine'

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Bandai Namco has dropped a teaser trailer for an unnamed "new project" which flaunts the tagline: 'Prepare to Dine'.

As I'm sure most of you are aware, the Bandai Namco-published Dark Souls series' axiom is Prepare to Die, and the following animated short does echo the gothic architecture and towering adversaries of Hidetaka Miyazaki's twisted games. That said, Miyazaki has said the Souls series is finished for now and there is no mention of developer From Software here. It's most likely the use of this slogan is purposefully tongue-in-cheek, however what does could it mean?

"Enjoy this original animation inspired by a new title in development by Bandai Namco Entertainment," reads a statement on the Bandai Namco website, "due to be announced on April 20th, 2017".

There's no mention of platforms either—for whatever this mystery project may be—however here's the ultra-stylish animated teaser nevertheless:

The Long Dark launches countdown that probably relates to long-awaited Story Mode

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Open world survival game The Long Dark entered Steam's Early Access initiative in 2014. It first teased its much-anticipated Story Mode in late 2015, and set a provisional due date of spring 2016. That slipped, forcing Hinterland Studio to post a lengthy community update in December explaining it didn't want to rush something that wouldn't meet both it and players' expectations.

The developer has now launched a mysterious countdown which, at the time of writing, stands at 21 days, and 23 hours. Besides the game's logo and iconic axe moniker there's nothing else to go on beyond that, except the option to sign up for further updates.

The folks over at The Long Dark's corner of Reddit are convinced this is it, and, against the delays and Hinterland's previous updates, I struggle to imagine they're wrong. As part of the December update, Hinterland quoted Shigeru Miyamoto's philosophy on delayed games saying "a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."

Here's an excerpt from that update, posted by Raphael van Lierop:

"2016 has been a challenging year for me, and for Hinterland. We opened the year with the plan of launching Story Mode this past Spring, but I just didn’t feel good about where things were at, given the compromises I felt we were making to do that. I wanted to push further, do more, with the game, knowing that after all this time of you waiting for Story Mode, it would have to be something truly groundbreaking to really live up to your expectations. And to live up to our expectations."

"It’s been a constant balancing act between keeping our Sandbox players engaged and happy with updates, and also having the majority of the team working away on Story mode. Since it’s difficult to share Story progress without spoiling it, people sometimes feel as though we’re not working on it, which is frustrating for them, and for us. We deal with this by trying to stay focused on our launch and remember Miyamoto’s adage: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” We appreciate all of you who continue to support us patiently."

When The Long Dark's Story Mode finally arrives, it promises new regions which will serve to flesh out the background of the game's end-of-days scenario, and will let players see how the Aurora affects the world. New hazards are planned too, which we'll  have the chance to see in detail come May 4.

Smite now has a limited kart-racing mode

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Smite, the third-person MOBA which pits a motley crew of gods and deities against once another in brutal hand-to-hand combat, now has a cute kart-racing mode. Or at least, it does for a little while: Apollo's Racer Rumble is a limited game mode which is available from now until May 9.

As far as seasonal novelties go, it's a neat one, and as a palette cleanser it looks like a lot of fun. There are two tracks – one set on Elysium Beach and another in the doomy depths of Molten Pass – and the mode supports up to eight players online. Oh, and you won't have to press a button in order to accelerate, which is nice.

Each of the tracks is strewn with relics (or Mario Kart-esque powerups), so there will no doubt be lots of raging about "fairness" and "rubber banding".

Mass Effect: Andromeda update locks pirates out of eye-fixing patch

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Despite being protected by both its Origin platform and Denuvo, Mass Effect: Andromeda was cracked by pirates less than two weeks after its release. The space-faring role-player's latest patch—which, among other things, targets the vanilla game's questionable eye design—comes packing the newest version of Denuvo, which comes with its latest, as yet uncrackable anti-tamper tech.

As reported by DSO Gaming, Mass Effect: Andromeda's 1.05 update patch notes don't mention the newly installed version of Denuvo, however what this means is that those playing on illicit copies of the game won't benefit from last week's quality of life improvements.

DSO notes that evidence of the change can be found in the game's executable file which supposedly contains strings found in other games powered by the anti-tamper tech's most up-to-date iteration—a list which includes Nier: Automata, Dead Rising 4 and 2Dark.

Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age will take you back to the '80s

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Set in an '80s-inspired world where magic is commonplace, Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age is a bright, vibrant RPG, where people got magic powers thanks to a strange meteor that crashed thousands of years prior. Matters of magic are governed more or less by The Order, which also trains up-and-coming wizards like Phoban, the young protagonist, and his brother, Deimos.

The game ensues a save-the-world kind of adventure fit for a Saturday morning cartoon, with the goofy humour that goes with it. It's not deep nor innovative, it may have some pacing issues, but it's a whole lot of fun - and that's something I think devs often fail to give thanks to their rush to have their video games "taken seriously".

That sense of fun flows through the whole game, from its delightful synthpop soundtrack to its colourful and cartoony aesthetic, which will appeal a lot to the children of the '80s (or at least to people familia with the '80s pop culture). Just like Far Cry: Blood Dragon, Hotline Miami, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Megamagic celebrates that era, but with perhaps a bit more referential humour than some would like.

You start out in Grove Valley, a quiet little suburban town with a weird number of parked DeLoreans, and you are soon summoned by your scientist friend, Zemec. Your journey will take you through a Mad-Max inspired desert wasteland to Camp Miller, home to a clan of punks, and a clear homage to Tron. There you will encounter a swordsman who believes that you are his father's killer, and insists that you should prepare to die.

Armed with a staff, the ability to summon creatures called Grims, and a growing number of magic spells, you'll fight against zombies, rodents of unusual size, punks, temple guards and techno rangers, and the key to not getting torn to pieces is to never stop moving. Stand still and you'll soon get swarmed and die.

At the beginning you're armed with a simple projectile spell, but as the game advances, you will learn more things, which will open your tactical options dramatically: a black hole that sucks your enemies in; a cone of wind that knocks them back; a pool of mud that slows them, and exploding skulls that work as landmines.

There's a lot of synergy between your spells, and success in this game means learning to make the most of this synergy, in order to deal maximum damage. One very useful combo is using a black hole to trap enemies inside an electromagnetic field, while you are your army of Grims throw magic projectiles, while staying at a safe distance.

However, it is very easy to lose track of what's happening and get lost in the chaos. The respawn rates of your enemies are very fast, and you will often find yourself fighting multiple similar groups back to back. Sometimes enemies will even attack you from off-screen, so you should expect to die randomly and frequently - and this is just the Easy difficulty.

Even though the game is an RPG, it is fairly light, with no leveling or stat management to deal with. Instead, the game focuses on learning new spells, which involves finding scrolls with said spell somewhere in the world and then gathering the required magical items - dropped by enemies or found in chests - to craft it.

Summoning spells for Grims work differently - these spells mirror the monsters you'll encounter in the wild, and you need to kill a set amount of the enemy in question, while also witnessing all its special moves, all before you'll be able to craft it in the same manner as the standard spells.

Visually, Megamagic is stunning. The art style matches the ’80s theme very well. The colours are bright and pop out at you. The level design varies nicely; with bright blue cubic levels, to the dusty desert – there are plenty of beautiful and varying levels to stare at.

As well as the great visual style Megamagic has, you are treated to some great tunes to join you on your adventure. From Hotline Miami 2 and Kung Fury soundtrack composer, Mitch Murder, the soundtrack only magnifies the whole ‘80s experience.

While being a bit rough around the edges, the game is still charming and special nonetheless. It's a nostalgic trip through a magical '80s world, fueled by a wonderful soundtrack, bright colours, and great humour, that will certainly make you feel like being part of that era.

Name: Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age
Developer: BeautiFun Games
Publisher: BeautiFun Games
Released: April 20, 2016
MSRP: $9.99

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