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Ultimate General: Gettysburg Early Access review

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Blue coated Union forces face a victorious rebel army arrayed on the hills outside of Gettysburg.

It’s been about seventeen years since Sid Meier’s Gettysburg showed how you could do real-time tactical wargaming in a way that was both easy to learn and incredibly authentic and nuanced. For years it has been the gold standard for accessible battlefield command games, even as compatibility issues make it harder and harder to get working.

Fortunately, Ultimate General: Gettysburg has arrived on Early Access to fill this void and put a new spin on this most familiar of American Civil War battles. With lightning-quick pacing and a clever branching campaign, Ultimate General might do for battlefield wargames what Unity of Command did for the operational level.

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Behave: Riot is instantly banning toxic players in League of Legends today

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Riot banning toxic players

Riot’s running an experiment today in League of Legends. Any player in the MOBA who shows “toxicity” such as racism will instantly be banned for two weeks or permabanned. 

Social system lead designer, Jeffrey Lin, dropped the news on Twitter today, prompting a slew of questions due to its somewhat vague nature. Lin took to Reddit to clarify how this works and that it’s just a one-day experiment. 

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Super 3D Noah's Ark might be the best Christian game built on the Wolfenstein 3D engine

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Super 3D Noah's Ark

Wolfenstein is fairly violent. I’ve been faffing around in the latest incarnation, New Order, for a few hours and barely a moment goes by where I’m not shooting off limbs, slicing tendons or putting holes in faces. It’s progenitor, Wolfenstein 3D, didn’t skimp on the violence either. 

That’s why it was a tad unusual when, in 1994, it spawned Super 3D Noah’s Ark, a game showing the harsh realities of life on the mythological Noah’s Ark. And when I say harsh, I mean you have to feed a lot of animals. It’s been re-released, too. And, not at all surprisingly, it’s on Steam Greenlight

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NewBee wins the 2014 Dota 2 International

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2014 Dota 2 International Winners NewBee Aegis

NewBee have beaten ViCi Gaming in the Dota 2 International 2014 grand finals for a total of over $5 million dollars. The Chinese team have had a rollercoaster of a tournament: only last week they were fighting elimination from the playoffs. But since then they stormed through the brackets to secure their place in the grand final on day one of the main event.

The first place prize ensures that each player will receive at least one million dollars each, and automatically places them as the highest earning eSport players in the world.

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Slot up: Blizzard unveils Heroes of the Storm's artifacts system

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Heroes of the Storm artifacts

Last week, Blizzard revealed its already divisive plans for out-of-game levelling system in Heroes of the Storm. Today the developer has gone into the nitty gritty of one of these features: artifacts. The reaction from the community appears to be overwhelmingly negative. 

When you hit Player Level 15, you’ll unlock one of three artifact slots. Two further slots can be unlocked with gold. Gems, relics and trinkets can be placed into their specific slots, conferring bonuses to the heroes using them. It’s not unlike League of Legends’ rune system. 

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Maxis

Maxis Redwood working on new IP on top of The Sims 4; could be a F2P MMO

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Maxis new IP

Maxis hasn’t created a new IP since 2008, when it released the ambitious but ultimately disappointing Spore. Since then, the once venerable studio has spent most of its time churning out countless expansions for The Sims. Oh yeah, and there was SimCity. That went down well. 

But, while the Redwood studio is still working on the latest installment in the Sims series, it’s also spreading out. On EA Jobs, an advertisement has been posted for a senior designer for a new, unannounced IP. The listing is fat with details, name dropping the likes of Little Big Planet, Minecraft and Project Spark as titles applicants should have played and understood. 

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The myriad emotions of FIFA 15

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EA has just announced that the next FIFA game will introduce simulated player emotions, imbuing the tiny football men with every manner of mood and feeling known to science, transforming them from glassy eyed 3D automatons to living, breathing virtual creatures each with their own hopes and ambitions.

For example: one football man, upon doing an especially good kick, might feel "happy". Another, having witnessed a nice goal, might feel "humbled by the continuing spectacle of sport". It truly is an incredible time to be alive, and having now emulated the human condition down to the individual neuron, EA can finally create little football men capable of kicking the ball in a truly convincing manner.

But what emotions can we expect to see in FIFA 15, and what effects do they have on players? I'm glad you asked, because here they all are.

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Dark Souls 2 receives a meaty update ahead of tomorrow's Crown of the Sunken King launch

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Dark Souls 2 Crown of the Sunken King

Ahead of the launch of Dark Souls 2’s first slice of DLC, Crown of the Sunken King, which is due out tomorrow, From Software’s slapped a massive update on the game. Really bloody massive. Some of the changes are rather sweeping, such as health recovery items not longer being usable in PvP, tweaks to continuous attacks and corrections to damage. 

If you’re wondering if now is a good time to dip into the game, take a gander at my Dark Souls 2 review. Or I could just tell you right here that you should get it. 

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ESPN2's coverage of the Dota 2 International is just too much for some viewers

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Dota 2 International on ESPN 2

The growth of eSports, you could assume, has laid to rest the tired old arguments of what constitutes a sport and how Dota 2 or League of Legends don’t fit the bill. There are fewer and fewer things that separate traditional sports and eSports, and the latter becomes more like the former every year. 

It looks like there are still plenty of folk who aren’t ready for eSports to be considered real sports, however. And there are quite a few who are genuinely outraged, because outrage is a compelling hobby. The Dota 2 International has been airing on ESPN2, and people have taken to Twitter to express just how devastating this is. 

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

The Dota 2 International grand finals are tonight; final prize pool $10,931,105

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Dota 2 International Grand Finals

The Dota 2 International 2014 grand finals are here. Sixteen teams have battled over the past two weeks to have a shot at the Aegis of Champions, and with it a slice of just under $11 million dollars; the winner of which will take home over $5 million. The mammoth best of five is between two Chinese teams: ViCi Gaming and NewBee. It’ll mark the first International where fan favourites Na’Vi have not made it to the finals.

The broadcast is starting right now over on Twitch, and you won’t want to miss it for the world.

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Train Simulator 2015 will include trains from the future, of all things

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Train Simulator 2015

Dovetail Games, purveyor of sims, has become pretty prolific of late. After recently announcing Dovetail Games Fishing, a new Microsoft Flight Simulator and the studio’s acquisition of distribution rights for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, it’s only gone and announced new installment in its Train Simulator series. 

Train Simulator 2015 will put you behind the controls of trains that won’t even be in use until 2018 - time travel remains unconfirmed however - and Dovetail hopes that it will open the doors to new players with the TS Academy training area. 

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Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic: worthy of a bit of celebration.

Whatever it was that draws millions to Star Wars, many were unconvinced that The Old Republic had it. The feeling of adventure, heroism, mysticism and drama just wasn’t quite right. In the old days, SWTOR just didn’t feel “Star Wars-y” enough for core fans. It’s not an opinion I ever held, but I am an extremely patient person and SWTOR, in the early days, was tailored to a player like me. But I struggled to argue with the naysayers on a critical point, it was a poor MMO.

Over two years have passed since Star Wars: The Old Republic launched.  And it has changed almost beyond recognition.

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Visceral promise there won't be any "gravel voiced super soldiers" in Battlefield Hardline

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Battlefield Hardline: new money.

Battlefield Hardline creative director Ian Milham doesn’t want you to get him wrong.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he writes. “ Like all gamers, [Visceral] have enjoyed some great, linear, roller coaster style games in our day. We may have even made one or two. But these days we think gamers are looking for more tactical choice and depth in their games, not just whack-a-mole shooting galleries.”

The Battlefield Hardline beta might not have rang new - but Visceral say its single player relocation to the parking lots and precincts of Miami has allowed them to “fill [their] world with choices”.

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15 minutes of Brutal Doom v20 will do nicely in lieu of id's remake

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In Brutal Doom v20, the janitor is turned off by default. So it looks like this.

Our Tim’s first impressions of Doom from QuakeCon 2014 were that it’s gory. Players can rip open a demon’s jaws, or shoot all of its extraneous bits off until its torso looks like a wine gum. It’s fair to say that id have reclaimed the gib-factor that Brutal Doom made its headline feature.

But it’s worth remembering that the mod doesn’t just throw an extra pint of blood over an already-reddened engine. Rather, it imbues Doom 1 with some of the qualities modern developers would describe as visceral - though modder Sergeant Mark IV spends more time talking about actual viscera. 

Watch a 15-minute, work-in-progress demo of Brutal Doom's most recent version below.

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FIFA 15 to endow footballers with "emotional intelligence"

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FIFA 15: Ooo, I know this one. Ambivalence?

If you’re looking for emotion in football, you need only walk among the sensitive so-and-sos on the terraces.

“Foux du FIFA,” they chant, tears of team-specific support streaming down their faces. “Ah-ee-ah.”

That’s reflected in FIFA 15 in the dynamically-changing, club-distinguished cheers and chants of the crowd - and in the evolving relationships between players on the pitch.

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Areal escapes funding rut and finds Kickstarter success thanks to handful of generous backers

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Areal concept art, the likes of which West Games used to sell their idea.

After initial goodwill for West Games’ intended STALKER successor took its Kickstarter campaign beyond $30,000, the project seemed stuck fast in mud slung by former GSC Game World staffers - who called West Games' credentials into question.

But thanks to a couple of unusually generous backers - and an unlikely ally in apparent Areal supporter Vladimir Putin - the would-be survival shooter has more than met its target.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic made $165m in 2013, according to SuperData report

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Star Wars: The Old Republic: where no player ever really stands still for this long.

Despite Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, and its own efforts to split its playerbase into have-mounts and have-mount-nots, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains one of the best PC MMOs around. 

That’s reflected in the findings of SuperData Research, who report that SWTOR made $165m last year. They say BioWare’s first MMO accounts for 8% of the market for MMOs with subscription options.

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Meet Shadowmoon Valley: new Warlords of Draenor zone offers a "false sense of security"

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A riverbeast of Draenor, doing its best impersonation of a neutral NPC.

It’s like they say: never anger a riverbeast. Like heavily-armoured environmentalists on all fours, these rock-like hippoposters appear docile until their habitat is disturbed. After that, they appear as 4,000 pounds of fat and muscle charging headlong towards your avatar.

Level 90 or no, Shadowmoon Valley promises “countless hidden perils” for Warlords of Draenor first-timers once they’ve trudged through the Tanaan Jungle.

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Spotlight
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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

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