The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Every Friday the PC Gamer team scan their memory banks to identify the incontrovertibly best and worst moments of the last week. Then, when confronted with the sum total of human ecstasy and misery, they write about PC gaming instead...
Tyler Wilde: Not crying wolf
Episode four of The Wolf Among Us came out on Tuesday, and not only is it good, it arrived just a month and a half after episode three released. I hope Telltale sticks to this newly speedy schedule. Four months passed between the first and second episodes, which is way too much time for those of us who like keeping up with the series as it happens (and are as forgetful as I am). Waiting for the whole season and binging is nice, but playing episodes at release gives me the opportunity to discuss them with people who also just played, and that’s part of the fun for me.
Evan Lahti: Arma marks a million
Arma 3 quietly crossed the 1 million mark this week. Not to cheerlead for a franchise I love, but it’s a signal of PC gaming’s health that a game with a reputation for being impenetrable and graphically demanding has done this well in less than a year. When I say health, I don’t mean simply in terms of the number of PC gamers on the planet, but how open-minded and curious many of us are about new experiences. It certainly makes me want to write about Arma more. And try its silly new kart racing DLC.
Chris Thursten: Rising through the ranks
I've been playing Blade Symphony since it came out, but I've been having a great time with it this week. After an initial run of success I managed to totally tank my global ranking - down from 600 to about 22,000. In the last couple of days I've crawled back up, and I'm now sitting at 742. To get there I've had to totally rebuild how I play, how I respond to opponents, and how I make sure I'm in the right mindset to win my duels. As a fencing dork and someone who used to be obsessed with Jedi Knight, I'm in heaven. Providing that the community stays active, it's shaping up to be one of my games of the year.
Cory Banks: A welcome delay
It’s not often that I’m happy about a delay, but Valve pushing back the Steam Controller until 2015 is, honestly, a good thing. We have not been all that impressed by Valve’s controller prototypes—I thought the first one was okay, but Evan really disliked the second one. It’s good that Valve’s hearing that feedback (and the feedback of other users, too), because getting this right might be the single most important part of the company’s SteamOS initiative.
It does, unfortunately, mean that we likely won’t see the full launch of SteamOS this year, either. But I’d rather wait than have to suffer a crappy controller.
Andy Kelly: A new home for horror
I played two hours of The Evil Within this week, and it’s everything I hoped it would be. It’s no secret that I love Resident Evil 4, and as you can read in my hands-on preview, it feels like its spiritual successor. A lot of horror games on PC these days are little more than elaborate games of hide and seek, but Mikami’s game has systems to exploit and opportunities for creative play. Rather than go for cheap scares, the team at Tango Gameworks seem to be focusing on tension-building. Like the Resident Evil games did so well (the good ones, anyway), you always feel like you’re right on the edge of running out of ammo. If they can keep this up throughout the whole game, and it doesn’t do that thing where you suddenly become so powerful and overloaded with supplies that it’s no longer scary, it could be great.
Tom Senior: When hackers play hide and seek...
If you're going to nab ideas for your open world adventure game, Dark Souls is a good place to go. So I keep thinking as I experiment with Watch Dog's 1 vs 1, hacker vs. hacker multiplayer mode, which lets players invade other games for a round of hide and seek. You jump from manipulating predictable AI enemies to facing a living, thinking human being with hopes, dreams, and infuriatingly good hiding skills.
I found one opponent by wrecking up a crossroad. I dispersed the NPC crowds with some warning shots, hacked the traffic lights to create a traffic jam and then started scanning from car to car. I was 91% hacked when a sports car launched into reverse just metres ahead of me, and sped off into the distance. I tried to shoot out their tyres, but they successfully fled the scene. I got points for stopping the hack, my opponent got points for escaping. We both walked away with a story to tell—great stuff. This sort of encounter bodes well for games like The Division, with its strong multiplayer focus.