Every so often, PC gamers want to step away from the desk and play some games in the living room. There's a comfy couch! And a big TV! While we'd never want to give up our trusty keyboard and mouse for Counter-Strike or Civilization, there are tons of great PC games—both multiplayer and singleplayer—that are ideally suited to a controller and a big TV. We've assembled a list of the 20 best PC games for the living room right now, from modern multiplayer classics (Towerfall! Nidhogg!) to sprawling adventures like Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, built with controllers in mind.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag
The holidays are a time for family gatherings, massive dinners, mildly disappointing presents, and visitations by ghosts who show you harrowing visions of what might have been. This year, the Ghost of Video Games Past showed me what the games of 2013 would have been like if graphics cards had never been invented! I have no idea why he did that. The Ghost of Video Games Past is a little weird.
Last year, Assassin's Creed III taught us something important about the story of the Assassins vs. the Templars: sailing around and ignoring that story is way better than that story. Let's set sail for a bounty of words with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The Text Adventure!
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag doesn’t really want to be an Assassin’s Creed game, and I don’t blame it. It seems keen to shrug off the oblique, convoluted lore surrounding the eon-long Assassins vs Templar power struggle, which managed to reach new peaks of ludicrousness even after that bit in the second game when you punch the Pope into unconsciousness in order to access an alien hologram. Black Flag stuffs all that into a box labelled ‘whoops’, throws it down a deep, dark hole and sends you on third-person free-running murder missions on the high seas instead. By Blackbeard’s bushy eyebrows, that is a welcome move.
You are Edward Kenway, a rogue who loves money enough to leave his girlfriend in port and sail to the West Indies in search of a vast fortune. In the opening scenes he steals an Assassin’s hooded garb and wristblades and accidentally falls in with a crowd of Templars, a team of comedy evil caricatures led by a bearded grand master and backed up by a plate armoured man-ogre who throws axes at people. They’re searching for the Observatory, an ancient device that enables its user to see the location of anyone in the world at any time. The Templars want it because it’ll make coups easier, the Assassins want it to stop the Templars, and Kenway wants it because it’s probably the most valuable thing on the planet.
Following the release of their tribute to the pirate life, a handful of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag developers took to Reddit and addressed a few burning questions from fans. They avoided touching on where Ubisoft would take the series post Black Flag, but that didn’t stop them from sharing where they thought the series wasn’t going.
Over the course of the last few months, Ubisoft have released what seems like every single scene from Assassin's Creed 4: Hooray for Pirates! in an unstoppable parade of trailers. Having run out of campaign chum to throw into the waters, they've turned to the multiplayer, providing a quick run down of its features, modes and customisation options.
The amount of videos Ubisoft has released for its latest tale of swashbuckling assassination is something of a running joke at this point. The publisher has offered new videos on an almost weekly basis, leading to an almost exhausting amount of information about the game. With Black Flag coming to current gen consoles next week (the PC version hits Nov. 19 in the US), The newest video stitches together the important bits of each trailer for your convenience.
The Assassin's Creed series has always had a knack for putting its imagined, simulated history at the center of its experience. It's taken us to the Near East, Italy, colonial America, and in the upcoming Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, to Blackbeard's Caribbean. But as we learn from an interview with AC4's game director Ashraf Ismail at Examiner, it now takes a small army of developers to craft just one of those game worlds.
More and more new games every year are sequels, so I guess the next logical step is enormous collections of previously released games. Bethesda announced at QuakeCon that every Elder Scrolls game would be available, and now Ubisoft is following suit with the Assassin’s Creed Heritage Collection. Available on November 8, the Heritage Collection will include Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Assassin’s Creed 3.
Assassin's Creed III featured some less-than-stellar missions, many of which involved little more than running between hotspots, triggering a cutscene or glitch or hearing Connor saying something monotone when you got there. It's interesting that Ubisoft has implemented a mission rating system into Assassin's Creed 4, then. In game, you'll be able to (optionally) rate each story mission out of five; the data will then anonymously be sent to Ubisoft to be analysed by their Ubi-boffins, hopefully resulting in better AC games in the future. Yep: AC4 is essentially one giant beta test for Assassin's Creed 5.
After months and months of uncomfortable silence and nebulous date ranges, Ubisoft has finally announced that the PC version of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will sail into view around the same time as its next-gen console versions on Nov. 19.
"Too much pirating, not enough assassinating," is one of the possible reactions to any of Assassin Creed IV: Black Flag's thirteen bajillion trailers so far. Not from me, of course, because I think high-seas looting sounds great. For those of a more stabby inclination, here's the video you've been waiting for. This multiplayer trailer is packed full of violence. And also the band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, for some inexplicable reason.
As multiplatform game development frees itself from the restrictions of the aging past generation of consoles, we’re going to start seeing some really cool stuff. Exhibit A: according to Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag’s huge open world will take half an hour to sail across.
Ubisoft has spent an exorbitant amount of time showing off Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's open world. We've seen video after video highlighting how much Black Flag has improved from its predecessor, to the point where we've sort of forgotten Black Flag has multiplayer. Luckily, we have some brand new screenshots to remind us of that fact.
Hoist the mainsail! Scuttle the jib! Other water-based activities! Stop doing them all, because a new Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag trailer has sailed into view, carrying a cargo of nautical narration on a sea of stabbing, shooting and shark attacks. Because in trailers, just as on the romanticised high-seas, it's customary to punctuate even the most solemn of speeches with random acts of violence.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag trailer reminds us that pirates are cool, claims to tell "true stories"
As much as I'd love to Eternal Sunshine my memories of the recent pirate craze (Arr! Avast! Topmast! Do ye want me to stop talking like this, ye scurvy dogs!?), I still love pirates. Pirates are great. Time has romanticized them (we tend to leave out the more horrible bits) into ruthless and cunning adventurers, profiteers free to live by their own code. The latest trailer for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag seeks to remind us of that.
Spring seems reluctant to arrive this year. Is it because of the increasingly erratic meteorological conditions resulting from climate change? Or is it because of FROST GIANTS?!?! We know what we think, and no vast body of evidence and scientific consensus is going to convince us otherwise - particularly not now that we've gone and featured such a mythic beast as the cover star of issue 251 of PC Gamer UK. He's one of the many gruesome gribblies you might encounter in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, to which we've dedicated a massive preview. There's lots more besides: we get on board with Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, voyage to the edge of known space in Wildstar and screech through the skies in Divinity: Dragon Commander.
All that AND the mag comes with £8 worth of PlanetSide 2 items!
Issue 251 should be on shelves today, but you can nab it from the App Store, Google Play and Zinio too. Of course, you could always subscribe and get each issue delivered to your door! Hit the jump to see the exclusive subs cover to fully appreciate the majesty of our new ice-dwelling overlord. Then discover what other treats await: news, previews, reviews, retrospectives, tech tests and much more!
I'm probably not alone in thinking pirates deserve more beyond thick accents, Johnny Depp, and one seriously overrated Disneyland ride. They're one-third of geekdom's holy trinity, after all, and Sid Meier's Pirates is perhaps their best adventure on the PC that doesn't dive too far overboard with swashbuckling stereotypes. Ubisoft wants to pull off the same thing in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, a naval-warfare-themed entry in the franchise born out of "clamor from the fans for a pirate game." Speaking to MCV, Lead Content Manager Carsten Myhill says Black Flag's goal is to "redefine piracy in entertainment."
As revealed earlier this week, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is a very real thing. Hot on the sails of the popular naval battles from Assassin's Creed 3, Black Flag charts the high-seas adventures of Connor's grand-sire Edward Kenway and his time moonlighting as a member of the assassin order while leading a pirate crew. Ubisoft's latest trove of screenshots shows more glimpses at plunder-prone tropical locales (including a couple concept art sketches), Kenway's totally non-compensating arsenal, and a frozen moment from a full broadside. We've also got more info and shots for all you landlubbers in our preview.
The first three Assassin's Creed games are about Desmond Miles. Oh, you don't remember? That's fine. It's easy to forget such a bubbling font of personality, even though we wouldn't have controlled his way cooler ancestors and their Templar-slaying skills if they hadn't sprung from the mind of the world's most vegetative assassin. He's no longer the center of attention in the upcoming Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, but Ubisoft isn't entirely ignoring Mr. Miles in the context of the franchise's meta-arc. In a self-published Q&A (via All Games Beta), Creative Director Jean Guesdon says the character remains "a very important legacy" for Black Flag and beyond.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag doesn't officially exist until sometime tomorrow, of course, but that hasn't stopped posters and boxart and now a trailer emerging ahead of time, falling from Ubisoft's leaky seafaring vessel like a belaboured pirate metaphor. The following trailer is the latest and probably the last thing to come out ahead of time, a sadly gameplay-free video which nevertheless confirms there will be pirates, rum, carefully disguised nudity, and a delinquent hoodie going around stabbing everyone.