The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Every Friday, the PC Gamer team reactivate their opinion circuits to bring you their best and worst moments from the week of digital entertainment. We’ll start with the good news…
At the start of the week, Valve updated the TF2 site with a countdown clock. It was enough to reignite my interest in the game, and fill its fans with a joyous sense of silliness and light-hearted conspiracy. There's an incredible circus that emerges around Valve's updates—they're events, because they're filled with the possibility that anything could happen. This time, the rumour was bread, and that meant a week of wheat-based humour that culminated in an epic, funny and surprising short film. It also resulted in an actual TF2 update, but we'll get to that on the next page...
Mr. Tom Senior introduced me to a handy website this week. It’s called Logical Increments and it’s amazing. This massively helpful resource is meant for those brave souls about to embark on custom PC construction, compiling all the parts they’ll ever need (motherboard, CPU, etc.) and ranking them in terms of price and power.
It was only late 2012 I splashed a few grand on the PC of my dreams. I went for the best of everything: 120hz monitor, Cyborg R.A.T. 7 mouse, dual GTX 680s, 16GB RAM, Astro A40 headset. According to Logical Increments, however, my PC is merely ‘exceptional’. That’s only one step above ‘outstanding’! Still, despite pouring my life savings into slightly more frames in Battlefield 3 (I wish that were a joke), I don’t regret a thing. Now excuse me while I weep into my cold soup.
The Steam Summer Sale is here! And we’re all in big trouble. I’ve set aside about £50/$80 for what feels like one of the most significant events in our calendar now, and I’m not sure exactly what I’m expecting out of it. I’m hoping to pick up Saints Row IV, Rust and maybe Wolfenstein at a reasonable price – not to mention a dozen more games that are likely to sit on my hard-drive unplayed for the next three years. It’s raw capitalism, baby. It’s not what people need—it’s what people want!
The Steam Sale is a great way to pick up some old classics you may not have played before, and the one I'd recommend just came back to Valve's service: Fallout. The early games in the series were absent from the service for six months, as Bethesda and Interplay argued over rights issues in court. That's all over, thanks to a $2 billion settlement, and now Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel are all back on Steam (and GOG, too). Even better: as I write this, you can buy all three games on Steam for $13.
Thank you, Valve, for adding buy orders to Steam. As someone who regularly sells trading cards, this will make all those tiny amounts of internet coins trickle into my imaginary wallet a lot faster. I made £5.60 this week by selling cards, enough to buy brilliant adventure game The Last Express. Free game! Sort of. Buy orders means Steam players can set up a standing order for a particular card or hat, and they’ll buy it as soon as it’s listed. This means I don’t have to put something on the market and wait patiently for one of these mysterious people who buy Steam cards to stumble upon my listing.
I've spent a good chunk of this week thinking about Pillars of Eternity. Sam and I both had a chance to see a demo of the game at E3, which I wrote a preview of here. The demo was short and sweet and left me wanting to know much more about the game than it told me. I have no idea how long its quest will be, or how its writing and story will measure up to its forbears. But I could tell that the engine Obsidian has built looks fantastic, a modern take on classic isometric 2D, and I've been imagining what that could mean for the next five years of RPGs. The upcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera is also using Obsidian's technology. Could we see a new gorgeous isometric RPG build on what Obsidian has started year after year?