Every Friday the PC Gamer team thumbs through its Filofax, coldly picks out the key moments from the past week, then makes an excuse about having to return some videotapes…
Chris Thursten: Dotage
Everybody is expecting me to say the International, so I'm going to say the International. I considered putting the final as my low for this week— it certainly wasn't the contest I was hoping for —but I still felt enormously lucky to be there. A disappointing International final is still the International final, and the event is quickly becoming the centre of my year. I care far more about it than I do about E3 or Gamescom or the rush of big releases before Christmas; e-sports are ultimately more about people than products and that's something I've come to appreciate in the last couple of years. The International made me excited and happy and sad and ready for the next year of Dota. So yes, I suppose, it gets to be my highlight of the week.
Tyler Wilde: Hardline release date goes soft
Delays are usually bemoaned, but I'm happy that EA has pushed Battlefield Hardline to 2015 . When I first played Hardline, it baffled me : here's a cops and robbers version of Battlefield 4, but I still feel like a Russian soldier. It might be scary to drop or redesign the things thought to make Battlefield fun—such as infinite parachuting—but I have no use for another Battlefield right now unless it tinkers with some of the foundational design. The law enforcement vs. criminals angle is Battlefield's biggest conceptual shift yet, and I want all the new design ideas that it implies. I hope we see a very different Hardline next year.
Samuel Roberts: Burn notice
I'm a latecomer to Titanfall, but it has become my go-to game after work. It's the sort of thing that's perfect for about three matches, before my reflexes begin to shut down in the fourth one and I just need to play something turn-based immediately (old, so old). I love the concept of burn cards as kind of temporary cheats, and news of Titanfall's impending black market can only serve to make these a stronger pillar of the game. (I suspect the idea of themed booster packs will encourage players to move out of their comfort zone cards and experiment a bit).
As promised by Respawn, too, no microtransactions will be involved—it'll all be based on credits within Titanfall's current systems. If you played Titanfall at launch then cooled on it a bit, as a couple of my fellow PCG staff have, put that mentality to one side and get more out of your purchase.
Tim Clark: Eggcellent update?
I was torn between making the release of Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas my high or low. As my write up indicated, I loved the single-player boss battles, (puzzles is probably a better word), even if Normal mode was comically easy to beat. The slow but steady influx of new cards should also revitalise the metagame, but… in trying to fix the Miracle Rogue problem, I fear Team 5 may have unleashed an even greater evil because right now the ladder feels something close to 70% Zoo. There is, quite literally, egg on everyone's faces. Hopefully the next four wings will restore some balance, or there's going to come a point when hearing “Put this apple on your head!”, the clarion call of the Knife Juggler , is just too triggery.
Cory Banks: Dark Souls 2 summons me back
I had finally stopped playing Dark Souls 2 just a few weeks ago, after spending a lot of time with the game's multiple PVP systems. “I'm done,” I thought to myself. “I've experienced everything I need here. Shut it down.” O f course, I'd forgotten about Crown of the Sunken King , the first of three new addons that From Software will release this summer. And I was a little rusty, forgetting what it was like to not know a part of Majula like the back of my hand. That's part of what made Sunken King so challenging—that and the stronger emphasis on puzzle design. But man, it was fun to play, and by the end I was obsessing over the new gear and co-op areas just as much as I did with the base game. I've played nightly ever since, and I may not stop for a long, long while.
Evan Lahti: Rift driftin'
We have no idea whether Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot is a game, or a “VR experience,” or what, but the idea of one of my favorite movies from the past few years teaming up in some form with the PC's most interesting new technology is exciting as hell. If anything, it's reassuring that Oculus is continuing to address the need for more content on its platform, and doing so in a way that isn't haphazard—Pacific Rim, after all, featured VR as a part of its plot.
Tim Clark: What if I suck?
It doesn't seem like the single-player Naxx stuff is going to be enough to lure me away from the Hearthstone ladder for long, and I'm still dealing with the weird anxiety I wrote about here . ( This Team Liquid StarCraft II page has been helpful, though.) But another worry has occurred to me: I'm pretty old now, what if I just suck? Like, I really want to play Gods Will Be Watching, which sounds fascinating in Richard's review , but clearly has some very stern moments. Two other colleagues who've been playing it this week have found it hard to the point of impossible. The word “demoralising” was used. Is that the kind of game that's right for me now? In my fragile mental state? Reader, you decide.
Tyler Wilde: PC elbow
I woke up this morning with a sore arm; the kind of soreness you feel after a long day of hiking and swimming. I have not been hiking or swimming in a long time. It took me a few minutes to figure it out: my arm is sore because I've been playing the incredibly demanding platformer Lovely Planet. The game is great (here's my review ), so it's not my low. My low is the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. When your triceps feel like mashed potatoes because you've been moving a mouse quite a bit, you start to suspect that your general health is on the decline. It's a beautiful day, and I think I'm going to go outside. Just one more Hearthstone match, and then I'll go outside. Oh look, Divinity: Original Sin finished downloading. Dammit.
Chris Thursten: Where are my dragons?
I've got mixed feelings about the Dragon Age: Inquisition delay, too. On one hand, delaying games for polish is something that EA need to get much better at, and Dragon Age 2 would certainly have benefited from it. On the other hand, I'm ready for a new BioWare RPG and that's an extra six weeks for me to spend fretting about what I'm going to call my Inquisitor. As for the potential reasons for a delay, I hope it's as they say—to ensure that an already-strong experience is as good as possible . I'm a bit worried that this is the first time cracks have appeared in the project, but I've decided not to think too hard about that right now.
Samuel Roberts: The owl controller
A revised version of the Steam controller design popped up this week, and I'm still super curious about Valve's attempt to make something living room-friendly that also has the capacity to overcome traditional controller issues with PC-specific genres. All that? Fantastic, even if Evan wasn't entirely convinced from his hands-on back at GDC. But it still looks like an owl. And now, in the image found on the Steam database this week, more like Nite Owl from Watchmen.
Andy Kelly: Sayonara, Spec Ops
This week Yager said there was 'no chance' of a Spec Ops sequel. Despite critical acclaim across the board, it didn't sell very well, and now 2K seem to have nixxed any chance of a follow-up. Boo. I don't think Spec Ops was an amazing game or anything. It was a pretty rote shooter, saved by a surprisingly brilliant riff on Apocalypse Now. What makes me sad about the lack of a sequel is that Yager won't get the chance to build on what they did in that game. With the skills they picked up making it, and a decent budget, they could have made another dark, story-led game in the same vein, and maybe made it a better shooter to boot. But they may never get the chance, and that's a damn shame. This industry, sometimes. Honestly.
Evan Lahti: What's a Yog again?
Yogtastrophe, Yogbacle, Yoglemma… upsetting details continue to trickle in about Yogscast and Winterkewl's failed Kickstarter. This week, backers of the project and the game's developer Winterkewl are all wondering: what happened to $150,000 that Yogscast demanded from Winterkewl when progress wasn't being made on the project? The past couple weeks have been an insightful look into what can go wrong when you overstate the scope of a project, then mismanage it thoroughly.