The week's highs and lows in PC gaming
Phil Savage: Hobby-grade word jumble
When a new lane-pusher is announced, the PC Gamer team reacts variously with indifference, scepticism and uncontrollable screaming. But for me, the low point of the week wasn't the reveal of Gearbox’s Battleborn. Instead, it was what Randy Pitchford said about Battleborn.
“Battleborn is: FPS; hobby-grade coop campaign; genre-blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports; meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn Heroes!”
I don't know what half of that means, but I do know that “hobby-grade” makes me angry. The whole statement says nothing. It's a mash of meaningless buzzwords; a grab-bag of Zeitgeist-chasing non-entities that capture little of what a game is or means or can be.
Also, in Battleborn's press release, Pitchford called Borderlands 2 a “shooter-looter”. Randy Pitchford has broken words.
Samuel Roberts: Kinect for?
I am baffled by the $199/£159 price tag for Kinect 2.0 on Windows. To put it context, this is pretty much the same unit that Microsoft has made optional with Xbox One very recently, and is now being sold on eBay pre-owned for under £40. While I’m really looking forward to seeing what developers do with it on PC based on hacks of the original Kinect, I can’t help feeling like £100 would be a fairer price.
Cory Banks: Trolls kill Divinity: Original Sin’s global chat
I’ve played almost 60 hours of Larian’s fantastic Divinity: Original Sin, and I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near the end. But I’ve been stuck a few times, and it would have been nice to have a helping hand. Larian founder Swen Vincke, who I spoke to earlier this week, says the developer originally included a Global Chat feature in the game for just such a reason. But because people are awful to each other in chat rooms, Larian turned global chat off. After the surge of jerks dies down, the team may turn the feature back on, but right now it’s still off. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, trolls.
Wes Fenlon: Alien: Isolation's VR support is only a demo
The best thing I played at E3 2014 was probably Lucky's Tale, the charming Oculus Rift 3D platformer. The second best thing I played, though, was Alien: Isolation, which becomes even more frighteningly claustrophobic and tense with an Oculus Rift strapped to your head. Our recent preview of Alien: Isolation on the Rift conveys just how much physicality VR adds to the experience. After 10 minutes, I was convinced that was how I wanted to play the entire game. So I'm bummed to hear Sega say that right now, the VR build is just a prototype, and there are no plans to fully support the Oculus Rift for the final game. Maybe that's just because the consumer Oculus Rift headset will launch sometime after Alien: Isolation. When that headset is out, I hope Sega and Creative Assembly update the game to support it. This is how horror games are meant to be played.
Tom Senior: Clueless about Dwartress
I am my own low this week, for not knowing how to play Dwarf Fortress. It's probably one of the best games on PC, and therefore one of the best games in existence—a limitless story generator that simulates extraordinarily detailed fantasy worlds. It just takes a day or two to learn, and this week's update should make it more newb-friendly than ever, once the Starter Pack mods and applications have been updated to work with the 2014 build. I'm going to devote some time this weekend to finally learning how to play properly. Hopefully I'll be enjoying stories like this in no time.
Tyler Wilde: Potato Salad Simulator, anyone?
Crowds do weird things. For instance, a guy asked for $10 on Kickstarter to make a potato salad and raised $45,000 instead. And here’s another one: Goat Simulator is the number two bestseller on Steam at 40% off. Goat Simulator is fine, and cheap right now, but for a joke that is kind of funny for a bit, number two on Steam is pretty incredible.
I expect Potato Salad Simulator will be announced any time now. Or has the ‘Simulator’ joke run its course? What will the next thing be? I know I sound like an old man yelling at a cloud, or like I’m mad at other people’s success (maybe a little, sometimes), but ironic spending baffles me. If you want a cheap, funny game, grab Zork: Grand Inquisitor from GOG. You’ll feel better about it, trust me.