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Battlefield 4 "Autumn Patch" sheds all the bugs; further improves netcode

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Battlefield 4 "Autumn Patch" sheds all the bugs; further improves netcode

It’s time for some spring autumn cleaning in Battlefield 4, and there’s hefty long patch notes to go with it. Most notable is the further improvement to the infamous netcode, which is now set automatically to high as default to all users. A slew of game modes are also being added to Obliteration Competitive sub-game mode. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper patch without weapon changes too.

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The Sims 4 review

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The Sims 4 review

The Sims 4 is a game in which you can get angry and do an angry poop into a toilet. It's a game in which, if you read a book about mischief for long enough, you can convince another person to streak through their neighbourhood. It's a game with an option to shower in such a way that your Sim comes out feeling "flirty". And if that's not a euphemism for giving yourself a soapy seeing to in the bathroom, I don't know what is.

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Titanfall map Zone 18 eliminates rooftop advantage to foster a pilots' massacre

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Titanfall map Zone 18 eliminates rooftop advantage to foster a pilots' massacre

Titanfall’s a game that pits squishy mech pilots against solid steel titan-class mechs. Often the best way to survive out of the cockpit is climb as high as you can and then shoot down on the mechs and pilots in the streets below. Zone 18, one of the new maps coming in the IMC Rising update, eliminates that tactic by making all the buildings a single story.

Limited rooftop cover means it’s going to be a massacre for anyone hoping to camp.

Zone 18’s all about keeping on the move.

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The Sims 4: I trapped a man in a box and forced him to learn to play the piano

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The Sims 4: I trapped a man in a box and forced him to learn to play the piano

The Sims 4 allows you to virtually recreate any human being, from their hair colour and whether they walk a bit funny, down to the beautiful nuances of their souls and how their skeleton tastes. The Sims you control can have skills and hobbies that they can practise and improve over time. Besides clicking on a postman over and over again until he has sex with you, improving these skills is one of the few things to do in the game.

But how quickly can you drag a sausage-fingered sim from amateur keyboard smasher to virtuoso pianist? I found out by locking one in a room and not letting him out until he'd learned to play. This is his story.

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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.

Battlefield Hardline is getting another beta before launch

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Battlefield Hardline is getting another beta before launch

We’re used to the beta as pre-order incentive - the forkfull of bolognaise stolen from the pan while it’s still cooking. So it was a surprise to us, and one suspects to Visceral Games, when the Battlefield Hardline beta turned out to be entirely necessary. A bit raw.

Hardline was delayed til 2015, and Visceral set to work incorporating ideas gleaned from their not-entirely-positive feedback. They’ve now penciled in another, hopefully triumphal beta closer to the game’s release.

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Maxis on the future of Sims: "If Sims 4 isn't successful, there won't be a Sims 5"

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Maxis on the future of Sims: "If Sims 4 isn't successful, there won't be a Sims 5"

The Sims 4 has been out for less than a week and Maxis has made it clear they’re entirely focused on the success of The Sims 4, before even thinking about the next game. On The Sims official forums, producer Grant Rodiek quelled suggestions for the next Sims game from fans with some definitive statements.

“We're not working on Sims 5. We're not thinking about Sims 5. If Sims 4 isn't successful, there won't be a Sims 5."

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Some thoughts on The Sims 4

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Some thoughts on The Sims 4

I'm waiting for my husband to die so I can focus on my career again. He's a good man, Deshawn. I was first attracted to his sensuous baritone voice — he has the bassiest voice in the entire game — but because of his hot-headed personality trait he's quick to anger and often kicks over my bins, distracting me from my work.

So I'm waiting for him to perish. There's probably an option to divorce him straight away, but I'd rather run down the clock and save the drama. I'm not sure how The Sim 4 handles divorces, so I'm not prepared to risk that bassy-throated bin-kicker getting his angry hands on half of my earnings.

He's old though. He'll be dead in a matter of days. RIP you stupid angry bastard.

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The man responsible for Starbucks' "fruit juice revolution" now does marketing for EA

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The man responsible for Starbucks' "fruit juice revolution" now does marketing for EA

EA’s first move in their drive to put Players First was capitalisation. Satisfied they’d conveyed the appropriate sense of import and urgency, their next was to hire on Chris Bruzzo as chief marketing officer.

Bruzzo is credited as the man who planted Starbucks' hooks in social media - but when asked to list his greatest achievements, recalls “leading the cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juice revolution". For which he will one day be tried at the Hague, obviously.

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EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

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EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

Shadow Realms is the first new IP we’ve seen from Bioware since they released Dragon Age: Origins back in 2010. It’s easy for a studio to get stuck releasing games in the same franchises, especially when under pressure from a major publisher like EA. While at Gamescom, James Ohlen, Shadow Realm’s creative director, explained to me how he got EA to take a chance on his 4v1 dungeon crawler and how he got the publisher to leave his team alone while they made it.

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You can pre-load The Sims 4 on Origin this week

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You can pre-load The Sims 4 on Origin this week

The appearance of a new Sims game is always an event in PC gaming. It’s especially so now, given that co-developers Maxis still have their thermonuclear SimCity launch fresh in the memory.

In an effort to prevent their servers from melting like candles, EA have enabled players who’ve pre-ordered The Sims 4 to prep for its imminent release.

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EA hope to make $1 billion from DLC this year

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EA hope to make $1 billion from DLC this year

As your newspaper-reading relatives have no doubt informed you by now, these videogames sure do make people a lot of money. And they do. But what your relatives don't know yet is how much the invisible bits tacked onto games make for those same people.

First, Black Ops II DLC make Activision as much money as they’d expect from a standalone, best-selling game. Now, EA expect to take $1 billion in DLC revenue from their 2014 roster of games.

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Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

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Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

For some reason (perhaps even the same reason) both EA and Ubisoft have recently stepped forwards to re-apologise for their recent treatment of us poor, downtrodden PC gamers. Here's EA saying they're rubbish listeners. And here's Ubisoft vowing to improve. How queer!

Both publishers are enthusiastically re-iterating their commitment to making playing their games on PC something other than a harrowing ordeal. Truthfully, I think they've been doing alright lately, with just the occasional monstrous balls-up marring an otherwise clean record of delivering a catalogue of fairly decent games about spies and space missions and tigers and assassins. And as a conglomerate of developers, of course they are undeniably behind some of the best PC games of all time.

But with EA and Ubisoft now simultaneously banging on our PC cases and demanding to be let back into our comforting embrace, to whom do we throw open our arms? We are, after all, only capable of loving one and hating the other. The only way to decide is to figure out once and for all who is the least worst at publishing games on PC. EA or Ubisoft?

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EA "haven't always been great listeners" but are "getting better"

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EA "haven't always been great listeners" but are "getting better"

It’s become community management 101 for the major publishers: tell the players that you’re listening; that you’re a pure conduit of feedback prepared to reshape games in accordance with comments on the internet.

EA in particular have committed themselves to the idea. They’ve said more than once that beta feedback for Battlefield Hardline was responsible for pushing the game back into next year. And CEO Andrew Wilson says the company is “getting better at listening".

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Respawn talk Titanfall's final DLC pack: IMC Rising

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Respawn talk Titanfall's final DLC pack: IMC Rising

Titanfall has nearly completed its tour of duty. No longer opening and closing trade show conferences with a salvo of announcements, the game nevertheless played its part in an EA GamesCom show defined by the noise and colour of Dragon Age, Shadow Realms and The Sims.

IMC Rising will be Titanfall’s third and last DLC release, and will constitute another three maps - bringing the game’s post-launch total to nine.

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BioWare's Shadow Realms is a 4 vs 1 "story-driven" action RPG from the SWTOR team

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BioWare's Shadow Realms is a 4 vs 1 "story-driven" action RPG from the SWTOR team

BioWare have finally let us in on what on Earth Shadow Realms is. It’s a co-operative online RPG inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs, from the Austin studio behind SWTOR.

And it is on Earth: set in both a fantasy realm and a demon-infused but contemporary real world populated by “heroes who wouldn’t look out of place in this room".

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Play four hours of SimCity for free in an oddly-timed trial

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Play four hours of SimCity for free in an oddly-timed trial

EA and Maxis have released a demo for the their contemporary city-builder, due out in, er, March 2013.

So it’s a bit late, but there’s now a free trial of SimCity to play around with. You get the run of the reboot’s single player feature-set, and four hours to make your mark on an otherwise unblighted stretch of green land.

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The Sims 4 will support mods and comes standard with mod directory

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The Sims 4 will support mods and comes standard with mod directory

While many of EA’s games ruthlessly oppose modders The Sims has thrived as a result of their endorsed support. For more than a decade there have been sites devoted to letting creators share new clothes and items for Maxis’ life simulator.

The same is true of the upcoming The Sims 4. EA are providing full documentation and support for mods.

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ArcheAge review in progress

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Train Simulator 2015 interview: “Oculus Rift is just perfect complementary technology for Train Simulator”

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The Sims 4 review

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The Watch_Dogs DLC Bad Blood plays better than the base game

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Clockwork Empires Early Access review

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The Sims 4: I trapped a man in a box and forced him to learn to play the piano

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The Sims 4: I trapped a man in a box and forced him to learn to play the piano

Dear Microsoft: about that Minecraft deal

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Destiny isn't on PC yet, but you can play all of these other games and pretend that it is

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Torturing the elderly in The Sims 4

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A fireside chat: Pillars of Eternity beta impressions

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A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

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EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

Shadow Realms

EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

Shadow Realms is Left 4 Dead by way of pen and paper RPGs

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