The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Each week PC Gamer’s young knives gather in darknet chatroom to thrash out the key moments of the previous seven days. Then they write them down. In silence. Because videogames.
We have a general, frowny, rule on PC Gamer about not running teasers which are too reliant on CG whizzbangery at the expense of any gameplay footage. (There are exceptions. Doom gets a pass because Doom.) The latest Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer also passes with flying colours. It’s all in-game, with a clear purpose—explaining the tactical combat system, which is done clearly and succinctly—and is no less exciting for the ‘just the facts, Jack’ approach. The only downer about it is that it triggered the following lunchtime exchange...
Me: Hey Evan, have you seen that Dragon Age trailer, it's really nicely done… [proceeds to witter on about the combat system]
Evan: [awkwardly] Yeah, it’s nice...
Wes: Tim, you remember Evan went to see the game and played it for a couple of hours only recently right?
Either this is the start of the breakdown or my brain need defragging. You’ll be able to read Evan’s cover feature in the next issue of PC Gamer, though, so don’t forget to subscribe to edition (UK or US) of your countrymen.
Ben Griffin: Angelic cops
Alan Partridge loves loves loves alliteration like I love a crowbarred comparison. Here’s one for you: LA Cops is like Hotline Miami meets XCOM In this stylish ‘70s-themed strategy game—if you can use the word stylish to describe a decade that popularised polyester jumpsuits—you infiltrate buildings and clear them of bad guys using co-op tactics and general machoness. Tell your partner to stand guard while you dart round the back, for instance, or rush in together with scenery-wrecking shotguns.
I love how each character is a walking, talking Beastie Boys' Sabotage-style cop cliché, with names like Borland, Kowalski and Murphy. Some have moustaches, some have aviators, many have shoulder-slung holsters made from fine leather. I can almost smell the walnut dashboards. LA Cops is on Steam Early Access right now for just £8.99. For another comparison: that’s like two pints worth of cash.
Andy Kelly: Elite is no longer elitist
The ‘standard beta’ of Elite: Dangerous was released this week, reducing that infamous £100+ price tag to a more reasonable, but still wallet-bothering, $75/£50. I’ve been playing the game since alpha, and multiplayer has always felt a bit empty, but now there are players buzzing all over the place. This has made the galaxy feel a lot more alive, and also increased the amount of idiots smashing into me when I’m trying to dock. Seriously, how did these guys ever get their space pilot’s licence?
The addition of missions has also given the game some much-needed structure and it runs a lot better on my PC. Now all I need is our Oculus Rift DK2 to arrive (we’re still waiting) so I can test out the VR features in HD. Our DK1 just isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m worried that once I plug myself into Elite with the Rift, I may never return to reality.
Wes Fenlon: Fortress of Dwarfitude
The insanity that is Dwarf Fortress is occupying a larger and larger portion of my brain. I still don't know what I'm doing. I don't know my way around its menus or know how to parse its basic ASCII graphics. But it's a game I'm determined to understand, and I'm excited about its continuous march towards being the most complex strategy simulation RPG citybuilder god sim ever made. How can you not be excited by patch notes like "lye stacks now produce the correct amount of potash?" I think there's a lot of buzz around Dwarf Fortress' latest major update, and I'm proud that we helped contribute to that with our guide to learning the game. It's time to learn Dwarf Fortress, dammit.
Cory Banks: So many RPGs
This week, we published our definitive list of the best RPGs of all time, the games we’re recommend to someone new to the RPG genre. The games we think everyone should play right now if they want to fight orcs, romance elves, or stare at character sheets. It’s a list that’s filled with some of my personal favorite games of all time, and I’m exceedingly proud of it. But now I want to replay every game on that list. Which means that, instead of spending my weekend soaring through space in Elite: Dangerous like Andy will, I’m probably going to reinstall a whole mess of games.
How do I decide which one to play? Do I mod up Fallout: New Vegas, or restart another playthrough of Ultima VII? Do I return to Divinity: Original Sin, or revisit Anachronox? Even as I type this, I want to play them all at the same time. This is the best problem ever, and it’s only going to get worse (read: better) later this year when Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity are both out. We’re in a golden age of classic computer RPGs, and I love it.
Evan Lahti: Arma war movies
I think all of us have a PC game that we’re so glad exists but will never, ever play. That’s EVE Online for me, and for a lot of other people, I sense, it’s Arma. And I think that’s totally fine: plenty of us don’t have the time or dexterity or hardware to run Bohemia’s military sim, but it’s neat that folks like Dslyecxi give a gateway into what it’s like to play the game at its best. This video that we highlighted this week was a perfect demonstration of Arma’s best qualities: camaraderie through adversity, and the experience that arises when dozens of people are invested in each other’s fun as much as their own.