The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Every Friday, the PC Gamer team pile into the war room to fight over the best and worst of the last seven day's in gaming. Up first, the best bits. Read them quick, before the bombs fall...
Tom Senior: Cutting the nonsense out of Assassin’s Creed
Assassin's Creed is a series based on an ancient war between Templars and Assassins, relived through a magic machine that lets you run around in genetic memory imprints stabbing historical figures and having coda chats with them in a digital void. That's an acceptable level of strange if I still get to run around beautifully rendered bits of history, but after that great big guff-pill I'm invited to swallow a parallel plot involving a precursor race of powerful mega-beings destroyed by an ancient solar flare. It’s too much. I am all guffed out.
Thankfully, Assassin’s Creed: Unity will take another run at the modern-era metafiction bits that have haphazardly tied the series together since game one. Assassin's Creed 3 brought an ignominious close to Desmond's tale, and Black Flag, which I loved, revisited the modern world with a series of first-person sections that were at least short and intermittent. As much as I’d quite like them gone altogether, I’m glad Ubi are trying to reset the series and refine their ideas. Hopefully similar pruning will be applied to climbing and the Assassins’ mostly-redundant combat actions.
Wes Fenlon: Grim Fandango remastered is coming to PC
We knew it was coming—there was just no way Double Fine's re-release of PC classic Grim Fandango would stay a Sony exclusive. Still, there was no better news this week than the confirmation that the remastered Grim Fandango is, absolutely, definitely, for sure coming out on PC. Even if Double Fine didn't touch up anything about the game, I'd be happy to see it pop up on Steam. eBay is currently the only way to buy the game, and it's not cheap. But it sounds like Double Fine plans to remaster the game to some extent. I say all it needs is support for higher resolutions and less awkward keyboard controls. Maybe they'll even throw in mouse support, like modders did a few months back. Then Grim Fandango really will be the greatest point-and-click adventure ever made.
Tyler Wilde: Humble 2K Bundle is nutty
For $20, you can get BioShock, BioShock 2, BioShock Infinite, Mafia II, Spec Ops: The Line, The Darkness II, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Oh, and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. You get that, too. Way to one-up the Steam Summer Sale.
Phil Savage: Diving deeper into Dota
I've been watching The International. In itself, that isn't particularly notable, but this year I've been understanding The International too. Valve now run a newcomer's stream, and for those like me with only a passing understanding of the game, it's proven to be an invaluable resource.
Previously, all I knew about Dota 2’s e-sports scene was that when a player activated the ghost boat, it made me happy. Now I know that Kunkka's Ghost Ship is an ultimate skill that not only deals damage, but also provides a rum buff to allies. And I know that its speed makes it difficult to land. And I know that Kunkka pairs well with Shadow Demon, because Disruption complements the Admiral's casting delays. It's given me a deeper appreciation of the game, which further compliments the surface pleasure of seeing a ghost boat sailing across the screen. DIGITAL SPORTS!
Samuel Roberts: Alien resurrection
The news that Alien: Isolation will feature two additional episodes based on the 1979 movie is, I think, the only DLC announcement of the past year that has made (most) people genuinely excited. Reuniting key members of the cast, including Sigourney Weaver (!) who actually seems pretty impressed by the story Creative Assembly has created, it makes me wish the entire film could be adapted into Alien: Isolation’s run-and-hide paradigm. Either way, with both episodes confirmed to be on-sale after release, whether you pre-order or not, the idea behind this shows Creative Assembly is on the right track in pleasing the film’s massive audience.
Cory Banks: Microsoft Flight Sim and X-Plane coming to Steam
One of my first PC games was surprisingly realistic: playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on my uncle’s blazing-fast 386. It was inscrutable: how do you turn the plane on? How do you make it go forward? He had a giant manual sitting on the desk, and I searched for every keyboard shortcut needed to finally get a Cessna up in the air. And then I crashed both the plane and the PC.
So it’s a blast from the past to have Dovetail bring MS Flight Sim X to Steam. And even better for true flight sim fans, X-Plane 10, the newer, better flight simulation, will also land on Valve’s service. The timing is perfect, since the recent surge in space combat sims has more and more PC gamers thinking about new flight sticks. I don’t know if I’ll ever master actually landing a plane, but I’ll definitely spend a weekend trying.