The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Jaws of Hakkon 7


Phil Savage: Avvar word
I'm relieved to hear that Chris likes Dragon Age: Inquisition – Jaws of Hakkon. DLC seems to be Bioware's most inconsistent output. You never know whether you're going to get a Citadel, or, god forbid, a Darkspawn Chronicles. Jaws of Hakkon may not be either, but a new zone with a strong through line is a fine thing to extend an already massive adventure. That it also ties into Inquisition's ace crafting system is no bad thing; and extra companion dialogue is an added bonus.

I do still hope at least some of Inquisition's future add-ons will more closely mirror the game's main missions. Its campaign quests are sumptuous things; each dramatically progressing the story and offering new and surprising objectives and plot progression. For now, Hakkon sounds like a strong start to Bioware's post-Inquisition plans.

Andy Kelly: Pillars of Nostalgia
Yesterday my review of Pillars of Eternity went live on the website. But while I often cast games aside once I’ve reviewed them, I’m still deep into this one. Now I can mop up all those side quests without worrying about a deadline looming over my shoulders.

There are a lot of obvious similarities between Pillars of Eternity and those Infinity Engine RPGs that inspired it, but one of the most pleasant, on a personal level, is that it’s reminding me of the time I spent playing Baldur’s Gate II. I was at school, and every evening I’d rush home to continue adventuring in Amn.

I’m getting the same feeling from Pillars’ setting, the Dyrwood. It’s a place I can put my headphones on and escape to. Fantasy is all about escapism, and Pillars of Eternity is the perfect way to unwind in the evening. Even though there’s a lot of fighting ogres and wolves, it’s a weirdly tranquil, relaxing game. Obsidian didn’t just nail the look and systems of the games that inspired them: they nailed the feeling too.

Killing Floor Slide

Tyler Wilde: A katana in Killing Floor 2
I got to play Killing Floor 2 earlier this week—watch Evan and Wes chat about it with Tripwire in the latest episode of our show—and it was delightfully gruesome. The highlight, for me, was finding a katana. Did it make me an asset to the team? Not really. My kill count was modest. But was it very, very fun to slice the heads off of rampaging monstrosities? Absolutely. Look for footage from a complete match on Saturday. I think you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off.

Samuel Roberts: Renegade, years later
Reading PC Gamer in the ‘90s, I grew up expecting Command & Conquer: Renegade to somehow transfer the scale of C&C to a ground-level, thrilling FPS, rather than being the pile of ass that we all tried to forget (I never bought it in the end, heeding the magazine’s advice: 47% is no endorsement). Here we are, years later, and a new beta for the free project Renegade X has launched along with a pretty amazing trailer that makes it look a lot like a decent Halo game.

Tim Clark: Life advice
This week I took a terrible beating. And I loved it. My punishment was inflicted by Snowchuggers rather than stilettos, and came from none other than Adrian ‘Lifecoach’ Koy, the ex-poker player turned Hearthstone pro currently who’s ranked number 1 in Europe by GosuGamers. I’d like to tell you it was a close fight, or that I misplayed out of excitement— between his lustrous beard and brilliant, if painstakingly methodical, brain, Lifecoach is one of my favourite players—but the truth is it was a total mismatch and my combo Druid got caned in seven turns. I shot him over a friend request afterwards, but he understandably ignored it because 1) he must get this all the time and 2) most Hearthstone friend requests come accompanied by an invitation to fight IRL or an exhortation that you get struck down by a debilitating illness. Anyway, GG Lifecoach. I’m pretty sure it was you. The username was definitely yours, and you still roped a couple of times even though you were miles ahead, which is surely all the evidence anyone needs.

Cities Skylines Slide

Chris Livingston: Support mod support
We know mods extend the life of a game by providing new content, new activities, and new tools so players can continue squeezing enjoyment out of games long after they might otherwise have moved on. But games that provide official mod support reap another benefit: free PR.

I have no doubt that people would still be playing Cities: Skylines even if it didn't have mod support: I played it for a week pre-release, before the Steam Workshop was filled with thousands of free player-made goodies, and I still enjoyed the hell out if it. But even if people were still playing it, they might not be talking and tweeting about it so much if not for the mods. I can barely go a day without finding some new mod or asset to tweet about, and I see tons of tweets about C:S mods every day. Often, those tweets pull me back into the game just to check them out (like the Stargate that works as a metro station pictured above). Games can drift out view quickly after release, but mods can bring them back into focus and keep people talking about the,

So, mod support is great for games. And supporting modders is great too, as we saw this week with Bohemia's Make Arma Not War contest results, where modders won actual some nice cash prizes for making mods. Half-Life 2 Update, a mod released today that brings improvements to the 2004 game, was supported by Valve, Origin PC, Nvidia, and others. And, Techland recently offered an invitation into a closed beta for modders to develop mod tools for Dying Light.

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