This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Mgs5 Big Boss


Andy Kelly: Invading snakes
I’m so excited about Metal Gear Solid V that I’m going to book some time off work to play it. But just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited, I saw this new gameplay demo showing off the game’s intriguing Mother Base and FOB modes.

Between missions you can build and manage your own base, filling it with soldiers captured in the field. But as well as your main Mother Base, which ties into the story, you can also build three secondary FOB, or Forward Operating Bases, which can be invaded at any time by other players, without warning, as you play the game.

You can build automated defences to repel them in your absence, or fly in and handle the threat yourself. It’s a fusion of base-building, stealth, and Dark Souls-style invasions, and it looks absolutely amazing. Just watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Samuel Roberts: Star Wars, son
Ever look at a picture of a spaceship and think: “everything’s gonna be okay”? I had that every time I saw a screenshot of the Millennium Falcon or a snippet of an A-Wing’s cockpit view this week. The recently-revealed Fighter Squadron combat in Star Wars Battlefront may end up being as simple and straightforward as the on-foot battles I sampled at E3, but I think it’s fair to say this is gunning more for a Star Wars-friendly audience rather than those into more specific kinds of competitive FPS games. I can fly an X-Wing that looks that good? This is the end of me. It’s all I want.

Dark Souls 3 Slide

James Davenport: Dark Souls Glee
Boy! Do I love sustained discomfort! Which is why I’m super, super jazzed about new Dark Souls III information. Wes wrote up his impressions of a small preview, we got a new trailer, and some screens.

The combat looks much more aggressive and quick than previous games, which I’m okay with. Bloodborne changed me. Mostly though, I’m excited to see the world of Dark Souls realized with more detail. I still revere the sparse, empty vibes of the first two—though I can’t help but want to see thicker embodiments of The Sad. This also means we’ll be getting better lighting, which will lend itself to atmosphere. With better lighting, we might see some straight up horror segments in Dark Souls III. What does it matter? I’m in anyway.

Evan Lahti: Heroic!
Blizzard is supporting the hell out of Heroes of the Storm. I’d put it down in favor of Rocket League and Dirty Bomb over the past few weeks, but I didn’t expect Gamescom to throw such a wave of new updates at us. We now know the next three, wait, four heroes hitting the game, and they all sound like interesting additions, especially Medic. There’s a new map coming. Ranked Play is getting renovated. A ton of skins are on the way. Blizzard’s following Riot’s lead by making a change to the way bundles work to avoid making players pay twice for the same item. Competitive games face a ton of competition, but Blizzard seems fully committed to keeping the HoTS flame hot.

Stellaris Slide

Tom Senior: Stellaris could be kingly
Crusader Kings 2 has a reputation for being more complicated than it is. Ostensibly it's a game about feudal family politics, succession wars and reams of stats and buttons. Really, though, it's a soap opera. Who will you marry? What will you do with your rogue children? Who will they marry to secure you vital allegiances abroad? That's the part I love. Forget tax rates and the hunt for cassus belli, it may as well be set in space for all I know about feudal politics.

Well, whaddayaknow. The designers of CK2 and Europa Universalis are making a new game called Stellaris set on the final frontier, where procedurally generated aliens stand ready to eat you, befriend you or sell you things. I'm not expecting it to match the format of CK2 and the EU series, but I love the idea of setting a game with CK2's complex storytelling in a science-fiction setting. You can also build your own spaceships, and it already looks fancier than Paradox' other strategy games.

Wes Fenlon: A cool Dota thing is happening?
I’m going to step in for Chris Thursten here for a second, which I only know how to do by shouting things like SECRET and TECHIES and BOOM, YOU’RE SPIDERS. I don’t play Dota or watch Dota or really understand Dota, even though I’ve dumped many hours of my life into other MOBAs like League of Legends and Smite. Dota’s simply on another level of complexity, which can make for an incredible competitive scene. Just following The International 5 from afar, Dota seems bigger and better this year than it’s ever been, and Chris’s coverage of the tournament has been interesting and informative. All I remember from last year is how disappointed everyone was by the finale. So far, it seems like TI5 has delivered at least a dozen incredible matches, and it’s still got two days to go.

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