The Week's Highs And Lows In PC Gaming

The Lows

Andy Kelly: Although it was released a few weeks ago, I've only just got 'round to playing Deus Ex: The Fall, Square Enix's PC port of their mobile Human Revolution spin-off – and it sucks. I detail my reasons why in the review, which you can read in the next issue, but all it did was make me hungry for another proper Deus Ex. This Deus Ex Universe thing has me slightly worried, but only because series have a habit of ruining themselves. Apparently it's an 'umbrella' title for a bunch of linked Deus Ex games, and I really hope one of those will be the sequel we're all asking for, not just a bunch of mobile games or MOBAs or whatever. GIVE ME MORE DEUS EX. But the good kind.

Wes Fenlon: It's a sad week for the legacy of PC gaming with GameSpy shutting down . Technically the legendary online multiplayer service isn't dead quite yet, but the end is near: it's shutting down on May 31. We were all happy to see Games for Windows Live shutting down, and many developers have taken steps to transition GFWL services over to Steamworks. Many of the PC games that use GameSpy for matchmaking are too old to see the same treatment. With dedicated PC communities, there are always workarounds, but it bums me out how fragile and impermanent gaming's history can be.

Samuel Roberts : Any gaming April Fool's stories released this week. Except Blizzards', which were all brilliant and admirably elaborate.

Phil Savage : Sam's being a grumpy old man, albeit a sickeningly youthful one. There were plenty of great April Fool's jokes this year , and not just from Blizzard. There were also, inevitably, missteps, the biggest of which came from the Frostbite Engine's Twitter account . I don't care that the now deleted tweets— which you can read here —were making fun of the WiiU, even if the tone was strangely mean-spirited. It's that they also made a joke of DICE's inability to fix their own game.

“Good news, we have finally fixed and optimized our 'netcode'. Uses quantum entanglement for Zero Latency connections. Exclusively on #WiiU,” they wrote, while pretending Nintendo's latest console is the most powerful machine known to man. Haha, good one guys, people still can't reliably play a game they bought! The punchline arrived the next day, when DICE detailed a problem with “rubber-banding”, admitted that they were “unhappy with [their] server performance,” and claimed that “reducing lag for these players is absolutely a TOP priority”. ROFL.

Tyler Wilde: I'm disappointed by Betrayer. As I say with many more words in my review , it's full of great ideas, but most of its four-to-six hour running time is filled with rote combat and walking through empty woods. I can see how that happened. I can't speak for its developer, Blackpowder Games, but in my experience, being in love with good ideas can blind me to flaws in their execution. This is such an interesting topic , I'll think, but when I hand my article off to someone else to read, they tell me I'm trying to communicate too much, that it's meandering and unfocused, that I never fully realize any of my ideas. Oh, the ideas are good, sure, but what I made with them isn't. That's a very frustrating criticism to face, and I imagine the team at Blackpowder must feel a little disheartened by Betrayer's reviews. I hope they aren't discouraged, though. Their first draft shows a smartness that is going to result in something great.

Cory Banks: It's really not cool when your testers leak your game. That's what happened to the creators of Stalker: Lost Alpha , who had worked so hard to secure a commercial release with Stalker's original publisher, CSG Game World. Now that a build of the mod is out in the wild, the deal is off. Luckily, Dez0wave has at least decided to release an official version of the mod on April 26, but it'd be so much cooler if the team could get paid for its hard work.