The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Star Wars Head

Every FridayPC Gamer's writersscavenge forcomponents, build a workbench,and craft theiropinions on PC gaming's latest happenings.


Samuel Roberts: The week in Star Wars
Star Wars has a big 2015 coming up, with JJ Abrams’ Episode VII and EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront landing at the back end of next year. After a ten-year absence (!) in Battlefront games, I think the world is ready for another large-scale Star Wars shooter, especially since enough time has passed since Star Wars games were a regular fixture on PC. Between that and the superb X-Wing/TIE Fighter appearing on with a bunch of older LucasArts titles, it’s a rare good week to be an enthusiast for the intergalactic saga. I’m ready to destroy the Ewoks’ way of life in a Frostbite-powered AT-ST—are you?

Andy Kelly: New Elite: Dangerous beta
I’ve spent some time with the latest beta of Elite: Dangerous, and the game gets better every time I play it. This is the closest it’s felt to a finished, ready-for-release game. I admit to being skeptical when Frontier first set up their Kickstarter, but how wrong I was. They’ve brought the space sim back from the dead in the best possible way, and I can’t wait to start exploring that massive 300 billion system galaxy. Not that I’ll ever get around to visiting all 2,500 stars in the beta, but you know what I mean. I’m not interested in combat or piracy. I just want to exist in that universe, living my life, doing jobs, making a living. The game’s scheduled for a nebulous ‘calendar year 2014’ release, so it shouldn’t be long now. See you in space.

Evolve Slide

Evan Lahti: Evolving
Evolve’s alpha unlocked today on PC—hopefully you were one of the 50,000 recipients of our key giveaway. I think Evolve is an interesting FPS, but I’d actually like to take a moment to celebrate that Turtle Rock and 2K did the right thing by delaying it by four months—it was originally meant to be out now. Asymmetrical competitive shooters take a ton of time and data to balance, but beyond that, at the time we’re writing this, the alpha’s experiencing some matchmaking issues on its first day. Better now than later, right?

Tyler Wilde: The Long Dark gets bigger
I really enjoyed playing survival sim The Long Dark earlier this month, and it’s just gotten a big Early Access update which has "more than doubled" the size of the world. There are also some welcome balance changes: I think it makes sense, for instance, for tools to decay more slowly, as previously they were falling apart at silly rates. Also, they’ve added rabbits! I love rabbits so much I have a tattoo of one, so I’m not sure how I’ll feel about killing them, but hey, I gotta eat.

What I like most about The Long Dark, though, is just experiencing the beauty of fearsome, lonely nature, and a big new area to explore is why I’ll go back. Even though it’s a fight for survival, I find it to be a meditative game, wonderful for the rainy days ahead in San Francisco. (Speaking of which, my non-gaming high was the wave of high-fives after the Giants won the World Series on Wednesday.)

Valkyria Slide

Tom Marks: “Squad 7, move out!” Valkyria Chronicles suddenly two weeks away
I played Valkyria Chronicles when it first released for PS3 back in 2008, and it quickly found a place among my favorite games. Nowadays, you have a lot of developers throwing around the term “genre-bending” when they usually mean “we swear it’s not just a MOBA,” but it’s actually impossible to describe Valkyria Chronicles with a simple genre tag. It’s a turn-based strategy, third-person real-time shooter, alternate-reality World War 2 JRPG, and somehow it works beautifully. It’s deep in strategy and large in scale, so I was excited to hear that not only is its PC release imminent, but it will only cost $20 and include all DLC available. The last piece to this puzzle is whether or not the port will be up to snuff, but Sega has given us reason to be cautiously optimistic in this regard.

Tim Clark: Seeing a (scaley) not-so-secret squirrel
At the start of the week, several of us got to sample a five-hour chunk of one of the biggest games left on this year’s release slate. An embargo means that in-depth impressions will have to wait until Monday, but I think I’m allowed to say that I came away hugely impressed by the game’s scope and polish without invoking any fiery repercussions. If I’m wrong, then avenge my death please.

We recommend