The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer

Each week PC Gamer's poets in residence gather their thoughts on the previous seven days. Weirdly, it never seems to rhyme.

THE HIGHS

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to, as Activision states it will, find other ways to predict sales figures, and maybe one day unburden us of the outdated practice.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.

THE LOWS

Cory Banks: WoW subscriptions plummeting

Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I'm truly bummed to hear that World of Warcraft's subscriptions are half of what they were in 2010. The news comes from Activision Blizzard's earnings call, where the company stated that the MMO has 6.8 million active subscriptions. For reference, back in 2010, WoW had more than 12 million paying customers.

Why am I sad? After all, 6.8 million is a lot of people. But though I've had some issues with recent game changes, such as the level 90 character boosts , I'll always love WoW. And I'm super excited for Warlords of Draenor and the expanded content it will bring with it. I won't fool myself into thinking that one expansion will bring a resurgence of Warcraft love, but I hate to see a game I have such fond memories sliding away into oblivion.

Samuel Roberts: Steam update

Hear me out—I like that Valve has added more options to customise your Steam library , including the ability to hide games. I know this is a much-requested feature and Valve responding to that with upgraded functionality is only a good thing. What I can't quite grasp is the mentality that means people can't handle seeing the likes of Red Faction: Armageddon or The Amazing Spider-Man on a list of games they own. Every day I look at Armageddon nestled in my enormously unnecessary list of hundreds of purchases, but I can't say it bothers me—apparently the Installed tab wasn't enough to shield people from their shameful past purchases. If the option to hide games is good for you psychologically or you like to curate your Steam Library, it's all good. I am just slightly amused by the idea of someone freaking out because they're forced to look at something slightly lame they hoovered up for almost nothing in a sale.

Andy Kelly: Rally bad

Codemasters tried to get everyone excited by saying that classic off-road racer Colin McRae Rally was being released on PC. But, as it turns out, the game was little more than a high-res port of the mobile game, not the beloved original. The reaction was so strong, in fact, that Codies were offering refunds to jilted fans. I loved the McRae games back in the day and was a tiny bit excited when I first heard the announcement, but now I have a bitter taste in my mouth.

Tom Senior: Pining for Red Dead Redemption

I've been playing Red Dead Redemption recently. For PC gamers, it's Rockstar's lost gem. By accident or design it never quite made the leap to our machines, and probably never will.

That's a shame. Rockstar's open worlds are detailed pop culture collages that reflect deeply understood film and television genres. GTA pulls from Scarface and the Sopranos, and Red Dead pulls from Deadwood, The Shootist. Maybe I just prefer the source material, but Red Dead strikes a more mature tone than Rockstar's big crime blockbusters, especially in the contemplative spaces between the world's tiny townships. I like to ride a horse alone by the river at midnight and enjoy how bravely quiet the game is. If only PC players could enjoy the ambience of one of gaming's best wildernesses.

Wes Fenlon: Bye bye, Twitch archives: Twitch is getting rid of its vast archives of footage and eliminating its "save forever" option on videos . It's a move the company has to make, because it's paying to store petabytes of video that very few people are watching. But the inevitable spin Twitch put on the move rubbed me the wrong way, because it naturally tried to make this sound better for streamers. The company says that now videos will be backed up videos with more redundancy than before. Great! You definitely won't have to worry about your videos being corrupted...for the two months Twitch will store them. This is a strong reminder that any service you use on the Internet can (and eventually will) delete your content. If you want to make sure it's safe forever, you better back it up yourself. Now I've got some old Giant Bomb livestreams to catch up on.

Tyler Wilde: You've been chosen, but who cares?

BioWare seems to be teasing a network TV drama about teens with superpowers. That's probably not what “You've Been Chosen” is, because BioWare doesn't make teen dramas for network TV, but the live action teaser videos have done nothing to convince me I should be excited about next week's announcement . I'm not mad at BioWare for trying whatever it's trying—the game, which I assume is a game, might be interesting—but my eyes roll at any expensive marketing with that 'please go viral' vibe. And aping the style of TV teasers makes no sense: the premise of any game's story is the least interesting thing about it. I don't care if your game is about a magic space walrus—none of it matters if I can't do anything interesting with that magic space walrus. Someone at EA/BioWare has the wrong priorities.

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