The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

San Francisco recreated in Cities Skylines

San Francisco recreated in Cities: Skylines


Evan Lahti: I can see my house!
I love working at PC Gamer, but our home in the US, San Francisco, can be a bit frustrating to live in. We have the highest rent in the United States—the median price for a one-bedroom is an insane $3400—and there aren’t nearly enough new apartments and homes being built to accommodate everyone who wants to live here. It’s a popular, affluent peninsula, but public transit doesn’t stretch far enough to make it viable for people to live much further than Oakland and work downtown. There’s a lot to love about SF, but as someone who grew up in the Midwest, the constant competition for space in restaurants, parking areas, and grocery stores gets to me.

When I learned that someone had recreated a nearly authentic San Francisco in Cities: Skylines, I was ecstatic. I finally get to tinker with SF’s many housing, social, and economic issues myself. I know Skylines doesn't approach being an authentic simulation, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the SF map might teach me. If anything, it’ll be therapeutic to take out my frustration by ruining it altogether.

Andy Kelly: Space wars
I’m late to the party with this one, but after reading Tom’s review of Homeworld Remastered, I had to play it. And man, what a game. I never played the original, so it’s all new to me, and it’s one of the most enjoyable RTS single-player campaigns I’ve played in years. Watching hundreds of ships streak across the screen in the thick of a big battle is exhilarating stuff. I love the trails they leave behind them. I’m loving the story too, which is very Battlestar Galactica. I’m not much of an RTS player generally, but Gearbox’s redone interface for the remastered version is super intuitive, making it easy to play for a genre amateur like me. I love spaceships, and this is one of the most spaceshippy spaceship games ever.

Fortress Forever Slide

Chris Livingston: Fortress Forevermore
I remember feeling kinda awful for the modders behind Fortress Forever. After one of those interminable Valve delays, when a sequel to Team Fortress seemed like it would never come, a group of dedicated modders got busy making their own sequel. Unfortunately, only a month after they released Fortress Forever, Valve finally arrived with Team Fortress 2, and FF, for the most part, was overshadowed by the popular cartoony multiplayer shooter.

That's why it's nice to see that Fortress Forever is now finally on Steam. It's always had a dedicated community, which is great, but I'm hoping it'll now gain some new fans. You should check it out if you never have: it's got the same fast-paced action as Team Fortress Classic and none of the colorful hat obsession of TF2.

Tyler Wilde: Do I play hockey?
Well, I play air hockey, ball hockey, barn hockey, field hockey, floor hockey, ice hockey… OK, actually I don’t play any of those things. Except air hockey. But I would love to play virtual hockey on my personal computing system. Sports games are terribly underrepresented on the PC, and I get why, but it’s a shame. Evan and I may be the only hockey fans on the team (it’s no coincidence that we both come from around the Great Lakes), but I know there are lots of PC gamers who want to play pretend hockey.

And this week’s positive news is the release of Eastside Hockey Manager on Early Access. A management sim isn’t exactly what I’ve been hoping for, but hell, I’ll take it. I haven’t prodded around in it much, but with my team all but mathematically eliminated from the NHL postseason, I think I’ll try my hand at doing better. We’ll have some impressions up next week—so far, players seem to be liking it.

Tom Marks: Emperor under the Blackrock Mountain
Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure saw its first wing launch yesterday, and with it one of the most ridiculous cards in the game was unleashed upon the meta. Tim and I put our opinions in stone when the last of the cards were first revealed last week, and even before it was playable, Emperor Thaurissan was the obvious jaw-dropper. The effect is bafflingly strong, especially in the context of Blizzard having previously nerfed cards that allowed for insane from-the-hand wombo combos. Thaurissan allows those in every class now.

Still, this is my high of the week, because how cool is it?! Emperor Thaurissan, along with the massively less playable Majordomo Executus, represent an interesting and fun design space that Blizzard is exploring. They’re exciting and cool, even if they are possibly over and underpowered respectively. Regardless of if Thaurissan ends up getting nerfed—and Doc Boom still hasn’t been—the card is a shining beacon of how silly, in a good way, Hearthstone could become as more crazy cards are added.

Tom Senior: April Fools’ FTW
It's been a fairly good year for April Fools’ stunts in gaming. There's a lot of cynicism for the annual Day Of Lies, which also serves as a trial by fire for news writers. I like it because games companies get the chance to do something fun and slightly off-brand for their communities. We've always enjoyed Blizzard's gags—they take their world-building very seriously otherwise—and this week's Legacy of the Void keepsake doubles as a gentle, probably unintentional poke at Star Citizen.

Some devs have taken to creating novelty builds to celebrate the day. Normally we bundle April Fools gags into a round-up post, but we thought the SUPERHOT/Quake mashup deserved a post of its own. More of this sort of thing next year, please.

We recommend