The week's highs and lows in PC Gaming

Alien Isolation

The Highs

Tom Senior: Alien Isolation is good Alien: Isolation is good. If Andy was here, he’d still be talking about how it nails the atmosphere of the films, how it realises the menace of that iconic, slobbery, terrifying creature. But we don’t need him for Highs & Lows, today. You can just read his Alien: Isolation review instead.

At PC Gamer we’ve always loved games that achieve their aims through game design rather than through film direction. The alien’s dynamic AI creates experiences through responsive systems rather than cutscenes, and manages to capture the essence of one of the best sci-fi films ever at the same time. It’s encouraging to see a big-budget project gamble on new technology and try to nail a concept few others have attempted. Quite an achievement. I can’t wait to play properly when it’s out next week.

Phil Savage: A little longer until Eternity

Pillars of Eternity has been delayed until next year and I couldn't be more thrilled. Before you kick me out of the website, let me explain. For one thing, there are just too many games coming out over the next few months. We already know that Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation are great, but what about Civ: Beyond Earth, Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Dragon Age: Inquisition? If even a couple of those are good, then it's going to be an unbelievably busy few months of gaming. And that's just the AAA stuff. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is imminent. I put 125 hours into the original.

More than that, though, I want Obsidian to get Pillars right. This is the big one: as a Baldur's Gate fan, I'm looking forward to more than perhaps any other crowdfunded RPG. If it needs extra time, it should get extra time. I'm happy to wait.

Sam Roberts: Shadow of Mordor is awesome, apparently

One of this week’s pleasant surprises came in the form of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which experiments with enemy AI systems in a number of curious ways and has even provoked discussion about the mistreatment of orcs (which is hilarious). I’m not sure many people were expecting Shadow of Mordor to be the definitive game set in that universe that doesn’t involve Lego or isn’t a text adventure, but I’m glad to hear it’s the closest we’ve got to date. Mordor also had the honour of being the first review on our brand new, beautiful site, which relaunched this week and is undoubtedly a triumph.

Shadow of Mordor

Tyler Wilde: Ryse: Son of Rome’s microtransactions

I’m not especially excited for Ryse: Son of Rome. I played a little of it (you can watch a video of that), and it’s a lot like the thing my console-owning friends shrugged at when it released on the Xbox One. I am happy, though, that Crytek decided against microtransactions for the PC version. I’m not against microtransactions in general—I like several free-to-play games—but after I buy a game I don’t love finding out that I can speed up multiplayer progression by spending more. The argument that I don’t have to pay doesn’t fly for me: if they’re there, my in-game accomplishments feel less valuable. Also, y’know, I already paid for the thing.

Wes Fenlon: Windows 10 is less than a year away

I've just realized this week, now that Microsoft has officially announced Windows 10, that I'm really, really excited for the next version of Windows. I've used 8.1 enough to know that I will never like the duality of the classic desktop and the Metro interface—Metro isn't terrible by itself, but switching between the two of them is just an incredibly poor user experience. But man, Windows 8.1 is fast, and it scales to 4K monitors wonderfully well, and has cool features like the expanded Task Manager. I want that stuff! And with Windows 10, Microsoft seems to be rolling those performance improvements into an OS that will actually work well on desktop PCs. Metro apps will open in a desktop window. Hopefully the rest of Microsoft's planned changes are as sensible and make Windows 10 a great successor to Windows 7.

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