This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

James Davenport: Glutton mashing

Bayonetta got a surprise release on PC this week and not only is the port quality great (it’s Durante approved!), it’s one of the best games I’ve played this year. Phil covered it all in his review, but I’ll recap here: The combat system is expressive and animated beautifully, the story is a dopey melodramatic comedy that relentlessly pokes fun at videogame tropes, and for the entirety of its playtime, Bayonetta miraculously continues to escalate. It’s difficult to believe this game released in 2009. And hey, it’s only $20, which is about one-third of what I’d gladly pay for it today. 

Tom Senior: Headstart

The start of the year used to be a real drought. A few games might slip from their planned Autumn release date and fall into the wastelands of February. This year is different. Check out our games of 2017 round up and you see outstanding Japanese hack ‘n slash RPG Nier: Automata; the best adventure game we’ve played in ages, Thimbleweed Park; and some engrossing space 4X in Stellaris. Plus, though it took its sweet time, Bayonetta is finally out on PC.

I hope this early rush of quality is a sign of things to come. As the major conferences—E3, Gamescom—continue to seem less worthwhile to publishers, we might see the industry’s traditional cycles—pre-E3 tease, E3 announce, hands-on Sept, release Oct—start to fragment. Outside of PC land the Legend of Zelda, Persona 5, Nioh and Horizon Zero Dawn have shown that—gasp—people like buying and playing cool games all year round. Here’s hoping for more great games in early 2018.

Evan Lahti: Ricky Rich

I'm quite glad that we happen to live in the dimension that gets multiple Rick and Morty videogames in the same month. Well, one was a Grand Theft Auto 5 mod, but the idea of mad scientist Rick invading Los Santos seems more than appropriate, given the amount of destruction and careless mayhem Rick brings to Earth throughout the show. I especially like the part in this video showcasing the mod where GTA's strippers are model-swapped for Rick. It's practically canon.

Virtual Rick-ality, on the other hand, seems like an even more ridiculous Job Simulator paired with some original voice work from Justin Roiland and hopefully a few others, which is more than enough to get me to strap on a VR headset again.

Chris Livingston: Space Evaders

Missile Cards is a single-player turn-based card game, in which you must protect your space base from falling threats like comets and bombs (as in Missile Command). Cards cycle through an airlock, one at a time, and you put them into play as defense (missiles, guns, lasers, and various power-ups) while threats inch closer and closer to your vulnerable base. I've been playing it here and there: a hand only takes a few minutes, so it's great to squeeze in during a break or a quick meal. Its retro look and soundtrack give it a nice feel, and its low system requirements make it perfect for a laptop as well. It's challenging—I feel like I rarely actually win a round—but enjoyable, and it's only a few bucks on Steam. Check it out.

Tom Marks: Land of the rising PC market

This week was Japanese PC Gaming Week here on PC Gamer, and our very own Wes Fenlon put together an absolute whirlwind of cool features. Durante did a great port analysis of Bayonetta, I got an excuse to write more about Valkyria Chronicles, and Chris played a weird jigsaw puzzle game with animated ladies. But my favorite piece was a look at the PC's recent rise in Japan, which was eye-opening to say the least. It's easy to write off the reasons for Japan's disinterest in the PC, but Wes had some surprising insights (like having to pay for Steam games at a 7-Eleven) that I simply never would have considered. I highly recommend you read what he has to say.

Tuan Nguyen: Subspace: Continuum

Sometime back in the year 2002 while visiting a friend’s house, I was shown a game called Subspace. It was this cute top-down space shooter game where you helmed a tiny little ship and went on a rampage on what seemed like an endless map. Lots of people were playing it, and I found it to be an awesome mix between Asteroids and AOL Instant Messenger—you can consider it one of the earliest MMOs.

I’d forgotten about the game after that, but throughout the years kept thinking back to the fun I had while playing it. Unfortunately, I forgot what that game was called. I kept asking my PC gaming pals if they’ve ever played this 'odd space shooter game that was top down and had walls in space.' No one was able to identify what I was referring to, until today. Apparently, it’s called Subspace: Continuum now, and is available on Steam. What an awesome throwback to my youth.