This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

This week’s takes look like they have tired faces.

The highs

No Man's Sky screenshot by Andy Kelly.

Samuel Roberts: Sky renaissance

No Man's Sky has found something of a second wind with the patch released this week. It's been nice seeing people (like PC Gamer's Andy Kelly) use its photo mode to capture the beauty of the game, usually by leaving out the game's wonky-ass looking creatures and just focusing on landscapes or planetary shots. This is probably the level of attention that No Man's Sky should've started out with—a few thousand people enjoying its sights while the developers keep finding ways to build upon the core game.

A lot of people will never want to go back, and that's fair. But this second wave of appreciation has been positive enough for me to pick the game up in the recent sale, to see if I can get anything more out of it than I did when I sampled it at launch.

Joe Donnelly: Wealth of fun, stealthing none

This week I dived into Ghost Recon Wildlands' online multiplayer component with Phil, Samuel and Andy for something that'll appear in the next magazine issue (how's that for a shameless plug?). I've had a Wildlands key sitting in my inbox since last week, and while it was my aim to finally give it go this weekend, I wasn't particularly excited having read Phil's middling review. Phil praised the co-op features, but I wasn't expecting to have quite as much fun as I did while haphazardly darting around military bases, getting repeatedly shot at, blowing up helicopters and planes (our enemy's and our own), and generally being the worst ghost ever.

It's pure, daft fun and while Phil assures me this level of entertainment is exclusive to multiplayer, I'm nevertheless looking forward to Wildlands more now than I was. Then again, I've also now got Nier: Automata in my inbox which may well fill my Highs entry in next week's column.

Phil Savage: It finally happened

There's a new issue of PC Gamer on the shelves in the UK right now, and on March 28 in the US. It's got Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord on the cover, and getting to see an hour's playthrough of TaleWorld's excellent looking sandbox RPG sequel could easily be my high. That it isn't is because this is the issue that we were finally able to give PC Gamer magazine the *ahem* opening spread that it deserved.

James Davenport: Quaking in my boots

Last weekend, Jessica Famularo spent some time playing Quake Champions at PAX East and came away feeling like it’s still Quake, more or less. When Champions was announced at TK last year and the news that it would have ability-based classes trickled out, I got worried. Rightfully so—Quake is undistilled pointing and clicking, a shooter that depends on mastery of a few mechanics in order to edge out the competition. Jessica says the new abilities are additive and don’t subvert skillful players entirely. They function more as a wrinkle in how players can move about the map and form offensive and defensive strategies.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Nyx, a character than can turn invisible and invincible for a short period of time, but that’s just because invisibility abilities are the worst. They work in Halo alone, maybe. Tom Marks has my back here. He’ll yell about this shit.

Chris Livingston: Settle down

I've done precious little actual gaming this week, owing to a couple days off, but I spied this creative Fallout 4 mod that completely changes the way settlements work and I'm itching to dive in and try it. Sim Settlements essentially turns settlement creation into a SimCity-like affair: rather than building everything yourself, you simply stake out zones for residential buildings, commercial, industrial, and farmland. Then the NPCs in your settlements go to work, building everything themselves.

I like it because despite overhauling the settlement system, it makes perfect sense: why wouldn't your settlers pitch in and build their homes and place their own beds? I also like it because my settlements always look like crap. Now, if I don't like how they turn out, at least I can blame the NPCs instead of myself.

Tim Clark: Keep on Scrollin’

After playing the game for seven months, including grinding to legend three times, I finally cranked out my review of The Elder Scrolls: Legends earlier today. The biggest testament to how much I like the game is that I’ve played it almost constantly since getting access to the closed beta. In many ways, I think the mechanics are straight up better than Hearthstone, which is inherently limited by the fact you can’t interact on your opponent’s turn in any meaningful way. 

You certainly feel the same endorphin rush after winning a marathon game against the odds. Where I think developer Dire Wolf Digital could make improvements are largely on the aesthetics—not of the cards themselves, but the actual interactions and effects. Perhaps we’ll see some of that in the forthcoming The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood expansion, which will inject 40 cards and some new PVE missions. Anyway, hopefully some of you will give the game a spin. This is a high because I now no longer need to worry about what to score it.