The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

Chris Livingston: Jump around

Nothing major for me this week. Oh, unless you count what I did in Ark: Survival Evolved, where I flew an eagle over a swamp and made it pick up a giant white toad which I flew back to the island I live on and then I tamed the toad by punching it unconscious and filling it with brontosaurus meat, and then I also followed a monkey around a jungle for twenty minutes while stuffing berries into it until it loved me and then I took it home and put a hat on it, so now I can ride the giant frog around while the hat-wearing monkey clings to my back and also I'm in my underpants.

Nothing major, though.

Wes Fenlon: A little Warcraft love

Warcraft 2 turned 21 years old today, and I booted it up to see if I could get it to play nice with Windows 10. Surprise surprise, I could! On a whim, I launched the first mission in the human campaign and sent my footman wandering around the map… and instantly remembered the placement of the orc grunt who came out of the shadows to attack me. It's probably been 15 years since I've played that mission, but I played it so many times as a kid, the memory hit me like a brick. I loved that game, and I suspect I could play it now for hours and still have a blast. It's been a really fun week digging into the history of Blizzard's games, like its canceled point-and-click adventure and the origins of Battle.net for the release of Diablo. Overwatch is the first new Blizzard game I've played much since Warcraft 3, but it's been an absolute blast to look back. 

Phil Savage: Hot dogs

James wasn't too impressed by Watch Dogs 2, and for some good reasons. And yet, despite his on point criticisms, I've been having a great time. I'm a big fan of its infiltration sections—not because of the stealth or combat, both of which are pretty basic, but because the magical hacking powers give you plenty of options for dealing with guards. The world is full of fun little side-jobs—the Driver: San Francisco missions offer some inventive twists on what could have been some pretty basic sidequests. More than that, it's just incredibly good humoured. After Watch Dogs 1's dour, lifeless protagonist, the Watch Dogs 2 squad come over as kind of sweet. They're fun to hang out with, and that makes it a pleasure to spend time in the world.

Also, it's incredibly silly. 

Samuel Roberts: ACIII for free

It's a slightly weird choice of Ubisoft to give Assassin's Creed III away for free this week. There's no arguing with the gesture, which I think is incredibly good of them. That particular Assassin's Creed game was just such an oddity, and probably the worst one since the first: it had the most gorgeous stretches of open world in the American wilderness, and yet it was so simple to interact with that you never truly felt like you were there. 

I wonder how many people will be led to revisit ACIII off the back of this giveaway. I retain some fondness for parts of its story—the protagonist, Connor, was definitely less interesting than his dad, which was a problem the game's arc never really overcomes. ACIII's story focuses on Connor Kenway's desire for vengeance against British mega-bastard Charles Lee, after the British set his village on fire. When Connor eventually confronts Lee, the game makes a real event of it, and as such it's the only ending of the series I can really recall in any detail. 

It's a flawed entry in a series with a lot of ups and downs, then, but for free, it's at least worth playing through the prologue and seeing if it grabs you.  

Tim Clark: Exact lethal 

I don’t bother Shadowplaying much stuff, but couldn’t resist saving this Hearthstone kill. I’ve been playing quite a bit of Dragon Priest since Mean Streets of Gadgetzan came out (here’s a decent list to try), and Drakonid Operative is proving to be absolutely busted, as was predicted. In the video above, my Operative has already snagged a Hellfire from the Renolock. With the board hotly contested I make the snap decision to steal Brann with my Potion of Madness for the double Blackwing Corrupter damage to his dome. And then… well, then I kinda panic, think I’ve miscounted, embarrassingly consider playing Technician, and eventually remember how Spell Damage works. Which for those of you who don’t play the game, all this might as well be typed in Tauren. But for fellow fans of the game, hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy my slightly innovative win (and my lack of command over basic mechanics, two years into playing the game).   

Joe Donnelly: Just when I thought I was out...

This week, I fired up my Dark Souls 3 NG+ save in order to 'quickly' check something from the game's beginning. I knew this was a risky move because not only do I love Dark Souls, but I've also only played its third installment through to the end once. Like many Souls players, I've lost count of the amount times I've completed and re-completed the original, that number is probably just shy of double figures for numero two, and I've even beaten its console cousins Demon Souls and Bloodborne a handful of times to boot. 

Three hours later and I was Great Swamp Ring-deep in a strength/pyro build—slaying hordes of hollows and setting Miyazaki's twisted Lothric world alight at will. I thought about it before I went to bed that evening, when I woke up the following morning, and haven't really stopped thinking about it since. I love these games, even if my ever-burgeoning pile of shame doesn't.