Every Friday the PC Gamer team huddle around a sputtering campfire and quietly reveal their favourite and worst bits. Of the week. What were you thinking?
Tom Senior: DLC in 'surprisingly-not-bad' shocker
This week I used the Steam sale to hoover up a bunch of DLC I've largely ignored, because deep in my brain I still carry a faint mistrust for the concept. Will I get enough entertainment out of a four-hour campaign to justify a £7 outlay? Won't it just be four hours of stuff I've already done for 20 hours in the main game? These worries were compounded by the Aveline DLC for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag—a series of brief platforming sections interspersed with plantation zones I've long since mastered in Black Flag's campaign. Not even the dynamic heroine's tricorne hat and spectacular competence with a machete could save it.
Perhaps I was right about DLC campaigns all along, I thought, until I played Black Flag's other DLC add-on, Freedom Cry. As Edward Kenway's right-hand man and former slave, Adéwalé, you liberate slaves in an oppressive French colony. I've only played it for an hour so far, but it's already been an interesting journey through a corner of history I know little about. Between Freedom Cry, Dishonored's superb story DLC (the Brigmore Witches especially ) and Bioshock's wild story DLC, there's great DLC out there, if you pick carefully.
Samuel Roberts: Clickbait
The trailer for Gatsby-era point-and-click adventure A Golden Wake is the nicest surprise I've seen this week—it's just over half a minute long, but the stylised-but-probably-authentic art direction is just so appealing to me. I'm such a fan of that backdrop, and I'll even defend Baz Luhrmann's $125 million adaptation of a story that's ironically about excess being meaningless. It's a timeframe rarely (if ever) explored in games, and just looks like a lot of fun. If A Golden Wake makes me question the fragile nature of the American Dream in a '20s setting while pumping me with smooth jazz, how can I not be on-board?
Phil Savage: Back on the point, dummkopf
Last week's update was the push I needed to rediscover my love of Team Fortress 2. I'm not even using the new items—although I've participated in my fair share of conga lines—but after a few hours of Scouting through koth_harvest, rocket-jumping across pl_goldrush and painting ctf_turbine with Jarate, I was comfortably back in Valve's world of cartoonish violence.
Seven years after its release, TF2 is in rude health. Log-in, and you're offered a server list filled with a huge variety of maps, modes and mods, in whatever configuration you prefer. It's a strong example of why giving over your game to a community can only make it stronger. With Titanfall already struggling to populate playlists containing its best modes, it's a lesson other developers desperately need to learn.
Andy Kelly: The vision for VR
Pretty soon, the entire games industry will be working for Oculus. Their latest acquisition is Carbon Design Group, the team who designed, among other things, the Xbox 360 controller. I've fondled a lot of gamepads in my time, but the X360 one is probably my favourite, so this bodes well for the actual physical design of the Rift and any peripherals they might release for it. If there's an official Rift controller, I can't think of a better team to design it. Comfort is also an issue with all the versions of the headset I've tried, so they might be able to use their expertise to make it easier to wear for long periods of time.
Tim Clark: Druid 4 LYF
Despite the distraction of my imminent move to our US office, my Hearthstone dependency shows no signs of abating. It's got to the point where I recently chose to watch two day's worth of streamed matches from Dreamhack Summer rather than the World Cup. Seeing the level of play as the pros duked it out, plus the prevalence of Druid decks running the double Force Of Nature/Savage Roar combo, inspired me to go back to the constructed ladder, and this week I finally made my goal of making it into single digits. (Rank 8, since you ask, which is small potatoes to those of you who hit Legend every season, but for me it's all about setting achievable goals. Next month I'm going to shoot for rank 5 or better, then go for Legend after that. Hopefully the new Naxx cards shake the metagame up so much that it'll be more of a free-for-all.
Chris Thursten: Reviewing the reviews
I'm glad that we've finally got our reviews policy online in a format that is available to everybody. We've run something similar in the magazine for years, and it's about time that we laid out our principles on the website, too. We've got pretty strong views about how reviews should be done and it's good to be able to put that forward in a context where we can discuss it with you guys. That's not to say that we've got a perfect track record, but hopefully publishing the review policy acts as a reminder that PCG is staffed by actual human beings (!) who think a great deal about what they do. Feel free to ask questions or provide feedback: we're all making an effort to involve ourselves a lot more in comments threads.