The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Each week PC Gamer’s poets in residence gather their thoughts on the previous seven days. Weirdly, it never seems to rhyme.
Samuel Roberts: Resi remake on PC
A game I had assumed was trapped at the bottom of the ocean as part of the Nintendo/Capcom Five deal from over a decade ago, this week Capcom surprised everyone by announcing that Resident Evil’s stunning 2002 GameCube remake is being remastered on PC. This is a real get. Between this and the excellent Resi 4 HD port from earlier this year, we’re getting closer to having the full set on Steam (just 2, 3 and Code Veronica to go – RE2's port was pretty decent back in the day). Resident Evil’s remake is the pinnacle of what the survival horror series was in its previous incarnation, before Resi 4 revamped it as a groundbreaking third-person shooter and 5 proved to be a divisive extension of those ideas. It’s all scary audiovisual design, tricky puzzles and haunted houses, with some memorably messed up enemies—notably, the scariest shark that’s ever appeared in a game. What a treat to have this on PC in 2015, not long after The Evil Within and Alien Isolation attempt to reawaken big budget survival horror.
Tyler Wilde: Pre-orders are declining
Pre-orders, or pre-purchases, are really useful for publishers. Uncertainty is a business’ worst enemy (especially if it’s publicly traded), and pre-order numbers equal sweet, sweet data. But they don’t benefit consumers of PC games, except with pre-order bonuses, which only exist because they want us to pre-order. It’s good news, then, that Activision says pre-orders are declining industry-wide. I expect it’s mostly a console thing—more downloadable games means fewer people in line for midnight launches—but a decline in pre-orders would be good for all consumers. It would force publishers to, as Activision states it will, find other ways to predict sales figures, and maybe one day unburden us of the outdated practice. One day being a long ways off, to be sure. Until then, I never recommend buying something that no one has had an independent critical thought about, whether it’s us, or a friend, or a Steam user reviewer, or your sister, or Jaden Smith, or whoever.
Tom Senior: Time to get back into Source modding
As someone who spent far too many hours in Valve’s Hammer level editor trying to build Left 4 Dead maps, I was delighted by the new tools shipped with this week’s Dota 2 update. In the dark days of old, you’d build levels by tweaking a forest of wireframes on a three-part grid view. Now you can raise and lower terrain by painting it into a pane that renders the level in real-time. It’s designed to create maps that operate using Dota’s top-down perspective for now, but the new Hammer will hopefully be adapted for use with the rest of Valve’s catalogue.
On top of all that, the raft of Source 2 references that accompanied the Dota 2 workshop update this week serve as a reminder that Valve are still making things that aren’t Dota 2. I know! We’ll likely have to wait until next year to see what they’re cooking, unless they suddenly pop up to steal Gamescom next week.
Wes Fenlon: Cooperative Divinity
My post-work life for the past two weeks has been dominated by Divinity: Original Sin. I've been playing co-op with a friend who lives on the US east coast, and the three hour time difference means we don't have much time to jump into Cyseal in the evening. The deeper into the game we get, the happier I am that it's on our list of the best RPGs of all time. Divinity may only be a month old, but it's the kind of challenging RPG I didn't realize I was missing. Playing it with a co-op partner makes it even better: we talk about puzzles instead of fumbling around, win fights more quickly by specializing our heroes, and laugh when we run into characters like Alfie. If you haven't met Alfie yet, well, trust me: you've got another reason to play Divinity.
Andy Kelly: The Expendabros
Movie tie-ins and spin-offs are almost always rubbish, but adding ludicrous action film The Expendables to ludicrous action shooter Broforce was a stroke of genius. The free DLC is an example of how to do a marketing tie-in that doesn’t feel cynical or clumsily tacked-on. The beefcake stars of The Expendables feel right at home in the excellent run-and-gun action game, and although I’ll never, ever watch the films, I’ll happily blow pixely holes in things as Stallone, Lundgren, and co.
Cory Banks: Delays and corgis
I’m trying to be professional, so I’ll tell you that my High this week is that Turtle Rock and 2K’s delay for Evolve is a good thing. I want Evolve to be as fantastic as my PAX East experience was, and if that means I have to wait a few months for it, so be it. Polish is good, even if it means we have fewer games this holiday season. Take your time and get it right, guys.
Telling you all of that is a lie, though. The only thing that really matters this week in videogames is that we’re getting corgis in World of Warcraft. That’s it. Will I grind through endgame raids, play the revised Molten Core, and PVP through Southshore for a vanity pet that looks like an adorable dog? Bet your ass I will. But I won’t even have to, because anyone who logs in during WoW’s anniversary event will get one. Corgis. In videogames. This is the future. Slap an Oculus Rift on that puppy’s face and let’s do this.