This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

On Black Friday, all of PC Gamer's hot takes are available for 80% off the retail price.

The highs

Tom Marks: Symme-try again

Overwatch's Symmetra is getting a big rework, and I'm pretty happy about it. Not because I thought she was broken before or because these changes are particularly revelatory, but because it shows Blizzard isn't afraid to make big changes to pre-existing characters. That sort of flexibility will be important for Overwatch down the line—for example, there are few old League of Legends champions left that Riot Games hasn't touched up or revamped in some way, and LoL is better off for it. So while the effects of these specific Symmetra changes remain to be seen, I'm glad to see they are more than just some number tweaks.

Phil Savage: Deal me in

The common complaint to every new Steam sale is that it's not as good as it was in the past. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. I suspect a lot of that perception is down to the fact that, thanks to past sales, most long-term Steam users already own most of the older impulse buys. But if you're a newer PC gamer, this week is a bonanza. You can fill your library with excellent games—some of them relatively new—for mere pounds.

Here are a few of my highlights. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is 75% off. If you've not been convinced by our repeated claims that it's good, you should honestly give it a go. Mount & Blade: Warband is 70% off—offering potentially hundreds of hours of strategic role-playing (if you can get past its incredibly dated look). Mark of the Ninja is a great 2D stealth game, now 75% off. The cheerfully absurd Saints Row: The Third is less than £2. The complete Life Is Strange less than £4. There's even good deals on newer stuff, like Doom at 67% off and, over on Origin, the brilliant Titanfall 2 with 33% off.

Compare that to the consoles, where the digital sales are much smaller, because they're not operating from a decades long history. Here, we've got a richness of offers, from new releases, to old classics, to quirky cult favourites and experimental indie gems. For more of the latter, consider A Good Bundle, currently on offer at itch.io. It's a bundle of up to 151 games, all for $20—with almost 100 of those available at the $2 tier. That's a lot of weird and wonderful treats for an amazingly low price, and 100% of the money raised is being split between the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

Chris Livingston: Coasting

I'm happy Planet Coaster has arrived in full, because boy do I need it. Holidays are stressful, the internet is stressful, Twitter is more or less unreadable and Facebook is a living nightmare. While I've been enjoying a few multiplayer games lately, like Star Citizen, Ark, and Miscreated, I'm feeling a need to lock myself in a room and play something by myself long into the night. Managing an amusement park feels just about right, something soothing, relaxing, and not too taxing. Just laying down paths, building rides, designing coasters, downloading cool swag from the Steam Workshop, and maybe, just maybe, experimenting on the guests. When the real world gets to be too much, it's nice to dive into a game world for a while.

Samuel Roberts: YARR-ly access

I really enjoyed what I played of Rare's co-op pirate-'em-up Sea of Thieves at an otherwise dull Gamescom this year. In that form, it was a slight but immediately entertaining pirate ship deathmatch game, with the full thing described to me as a kind of living project, shaped by its community. How the finished thing will play, then, is a total mystery at this stage.

This week they're offering the chance to be part of some of the project's early test phases, which I personally think is worth doing if you, like me, believe people aren't making nearly enough pirate games.

James Davenport: Tom Marks made this

Presented without comment. LINK

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