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?
This is the first ever Steam sale I haven't been excited by. Not that there aren't some brilliant deals—Far Cry 3 for less than the price of a pint of premium lager was pretty good—but because I just have too many games already. Years of Steam sales and Humble Bundles have left my games library bloated and overfed. By a rough count, I have almost 200 games I've either never played, or played for five minutes. And good games, too. Ones that deserve my attention. So I'm not taking part in the Steam sale this year. Even if there's a really, really good deal, I'm ignoring it. Because my library is getting out of control, and my pile of shame is more like a tower of shame. A ziggurat of shame. A temple of shame. But it's also quite nice not to have to feel that sting of guilt after spending spurious pounds on a game I probably won't get around to playing for a year. My wallet is safe this summer.
During E3, BioWare producer Cameron Lee told us that Dragon Age: Inquisition would have "40 major endings." It might have been an overstatement to say "major," though. This week, BioWare's Mark Darrah clarified that "major" doesn't mean "unique," and that the game will only have a few completely different endings. It's not a huge deal by any means, but I do think it's important for BioWare to not lead people astray on this point. Mass Effect fans are still (still!) angry about the cookie-cutter endings for their Shepards, and Inquisition is a nice opportunity for BioWare to make some amends. If I'm controlling a character and making choices, I want those choices to matter. It sounds like they still will, but overstate things.
I love TF2. I've played it for 300+ hours since Steam started tracking that sort of thing, and an unknowable period before then. It is, in no conceivable way , a 'low'. But when this week's Love & War update was released , I was filled with a sense of “is this it?” Yes, the new weapons are interesting, and yes, the new taunts have resulted in constant mid-battle conga lines—these are both good things. But I remember these updates were deserving of the effort the community put into celebrating them. New modes created new considerations for each class, new maps directed battles in unexpected ways, and new weapons had a clear purpose and class-focused theme. It's starting to seem as if Valve are better at the things around each update—the comics and films—than at knowing what to put in their game.
The amount of drama over the Watch Dogs 'E3 2012' rendering options locked away was kind of baffling—a load of people decided Ubisoft didn't include it in the finished product to spite PC players, but unlocking it, according to Ubisoft , creates a load of performance issues that puts the game into a less playable state. Watch Dogs undoubtedly shipped with its fair share of issues on PC—uPlay being my biggest bugbear—but I'm not convinced this instance warranted quite as many tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.
This is a bit off the beaten path, but I was sad to see a headline this week that Phantasy Star Online 2 has been brought down by a DDOS attack . The entire MMO is currently down, and it could be days before Sega is able to get it online again. That sucks for dedicated players, but it also reminds me that PSO2 has been conspicuously absent in the west for a good two years now. Sega said they were going to bring it over, and then...nothing. It's been more than a year since PSO2 was scheduled for a US release. What happened, Sega? Is an official western release ever happening?