This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Highs Lows Fallout 4


Samuel Roberts: OMG Fallout is nearly here
This is an easy high. Four years I’ve been waiting for a new Bethesda RPG—five for a new Fallout. On Tuesday, I finally get to play Fallout 4. To be honest, I was more engaged with Fallout 3 than I think I’ve been with any other game. I know that it gets a bit of a divided response from fans of the original PC games, but what Bethesda accomplished in building that world, and fleshing it out with these interesting self-contained sci-fi stories was just so exciting to me. This promises to be more of that but in an all-new setting that represents eight years of progression in environmental design from Bethesda’s first post-apocalyptic effort.

Still, I can tell you that I’m sick to death of seeing Vault Boy’s cheerful little face, and it’s not really anything to do with the game itself, but the run-up to launch. Head onto the next page and you’ll find out why.

Tom Senior: Bullet hell yes
Cave has arrived on PC with the release of Mushihimesama on Steam. For too long the PC has lacked for bullet hell shooters, so the arrival of this classic is cause for celebration.

When games make the leap from console to PC, something is added. Sometimes it's mods, sometimes it's improved resolutions and faster frame rates. For bullet hell shooters, it's something much simpler. Go to the options menu, rotate the game, then rotate your monitor to enjoy glorious arcade-style 9:16 carnage. Bliss.

Batmobile Highs Lows

James Davenport: The Batmobile is Arkham Right
To my beloved PCG coworkers,

I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to work at PC Gamer. It’s been an invaluable five months, and I’ll never forget what I’ve learned or all the fun times we had together. But I need to get something off my chest. I really like the Batmobile in Arkham Knight. I’m aware of what this means for my immediate future—I’m packing my things, Tim—but, like Batman, I can’t tolerate injustice idly (and unlike Batman I’m not very tough and can’t punch my opinion into people).

When I’m surrounded by tank drones in the slick city streets of Gotham, and I’m dancing between their clearly communicated lines of fire, popping their chassis one after the other like a series of urban crime pimples—phew, my keyboard’s getting hot. It’s just fun is all. Anyway, I hate burning bridges, so let’s get this over with. I appreciate everything you’ve all done for me, but this might be it for us. I’ll still look for your signal in the sky, just don’t expect me to fly to your aid, PC Gamer. Look to the ground and listen for the treads, the treads of a better, more correct hot take.

Phil Savage: Conversion Kings
It's always nice to see a mod leave beta, because so often they don't. And Crusader Kings 2's Game of Thrones mod is one of the best around—assuming your idea of 'best' involves adding dragons and other fantasy elements to a complex simulation of medieval land distribution. The team have done some amazing work and, thanks to the many updates and new features added over the last three years, it's not really a surprise that they've finally 'finished'. That there's also a spoiler-free sub-mod for those still working their way through the books or TV show is a lovely touch.

If you haven't yet, it's absolutely worth a download—especially if you've grown dissatisfied with the game's many expansions. Much of Crusader Kings 2's DLC has been worthwhile, but this Total Conversion completely alters the experience in a significant way. It's much more than a reskin. If CK2 isn't your thing, you can still enjoy the mod, via either Rich McCormick's diaries from back in 2013, or Chris Livingston's from earlier this year.

Highs Lows Halo

Wes Fenlon: I’m playing Halo on PC again! (kind of)
I spent almost an entire summer playing Halo 1 on PC, or watching my best friend play it as we swapped seats in front of his brand new gaming PC. That was more than a decade ago, now, and I’ve never really had that Halo experience on PC again; when Halo 2 had its belated launched on Windows Vista, I was mostly playing Halo 3 on the Xbox 360. To this day I miss Halo 1’s beastly pistol matches with the accuracy of mouse aim, and the giant, sprawling community made maps that led to three-hour-long CTF matches. So it’s nice to be playing Halo on PC again, although I’m still waiting for all of that stuff: I’m playing Halo 5 via Microsoft’s new Xbox to PC streaming technology, and it’s been working surprisingly well.

Maybe not well enough for me to do it long-term, though. The video feed is more compressed than I’d like, and there’s some liveable, but noticeable, latency to each of my actions. And of course, there’s no keyboard/mouse controls or mod scene or FOV slider to be found. The game plays so damn well, though, I’m really hoping this is the one Microsoft brings to PC. I think it could have an actual esports scene with a little work and a PC fanbase.

Chris Livingston: Free to not play
This past weekend I got out of my desk chair, left the house, got on an airplane, and took a trip far, far away from my PC. The trip was to attend a wedding in a stunningly lovely part of Colorado. The wedding was great, the weather was beautiful, and for four straight days I didn't play a game. I didn't even think about games. I talked about games, once, briefly, when I told someone I met that I wrote about games for a living, but she responded "Oh" and didn't have any follow-up questions. That was it.

It's weird, I guess, but taking a break from things you enjoy can be refreshing. Especially now, at the start of November, with the crush of end-of-the-year games bearing down on us at near-light speed like a deranged Santa in his sleigh. For the next couple months we'll all be rooted in our seats, playing whatever we can get our hands on between stuffing ourselves with holiday meals and wondering how the hell could it be almost 2016 already. I'm happy to be back at my desk, but I enjoyed the calm before the storm.

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