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The week's highs and lows in PC Gaming

THE LOWS

Tim Clark: As a serious Left 4 Deadhead, I was a little disappointed to find I didn't entirely love my hands-on with Evolve here at GDC. It ought to work. The idea of four-player extraterrestrial big game hunting, with another person controlling the monster, feels rich with promise. The weapon set and abilities all make sense, and the art design is fine, if a little cookie cutter sci-fi. (The current monster, called the Goliath, reminded me most of '90s creature features like The Relic.) And yet… There's something about having to chase around after an enormous beast with an equally monolithic health bar that feels unsatisfying. Perhaps that's no surprise: chipping energy away from tank characters or bosses is rarely satisfying in itself, and the core trap and track mechanic doesn't seem intrinsically fun enough to compensate. There's a logic to Turtle Rock's assertion that a human-controlled antagonist ought to trump an AI, but equally isn't that exactly the idea they set at out to disprove with the canny adaptive AI of Left 4 Dead, which had 'The Director' to drop in threats at the perfect moment?

Evan Lahti: Steam Controller. It made a rough first impression. It's also a bit concerning that Valve isn't showing a wider set of games with the controller, despite saying in the announcement that Valve had "fooled those older games into thinking they're being played with a keyboard and mouse." GDC was a perfect opportunity to showcase the flexibility of the controller on a wider set of the Steam library, but instead we got a point-and-click game, Portal 2, and a side-scrolling action game.

Cory Banks: I wouldn't say I was wildly excited about Goat Simulator when it was first announced. I don't particularly want to be a goat, and I'm not dying to be a goat farmer (though maybe I'd be great at it. Food for thought). But when I found out that Goat Simulator is little more than a joke physics game, I was pretty let down. The cool thing about our recent trend of mundane simulation games—Euro Truck Simulator 2, for instance—is that they highlight the complexity and challenge in tasks that we often take for granted in the real world. Once I found out that Goat Sim is a game where you toss goats, I started imagining how interesting a real Goat Simulator could be: maintaining farm land, balancing operational costs with revenue brought in from goat milking operations, deciding to start a petting zoo so Benny The Goat can entertain children in the town.

So maybe it doesn't sound fun on paper, but there's more game there than an Angry Birds clone. And it's not like hauling cargo across Germany was the most fun game pitch ever, either. But it worked. Taking a jokey concept and turning it into a full, complex game would have been quite a feat.

Tyler Wilde: Despite the $350 dollars I'm about to blow on an Oculus Rift DK2, I'm a little disappointed to hear that when CCP's VR dogfighting game EVE Valkyrie is released alongside the consumer model, it will be exclusive to the Oculus Rift on PC. The Rift may be the biggest VR headset right now, but there will be competitors (not counting Sony's Project Morpheus, though I expect someone will make PC drivers pretty quickly). I hope the industry agrees on some standards so that VR games can be made to work with as many VR headsets as possible, and I hope this Rift exclusivity doesn't continue past launch. I don't want to choose VR hardware for the games that work with it.

Chris Thursten: Honestly, this has been a pretty good week. I've not been especially enraged or disappointed by anything. In part, this is because I have been sat in a big empty office with Phil. My low point for this week is less a specific announcement, then, and more the general state of a particular game.

BioWare announced a form of player housing for Star Wars: The Old Republic this week - and it looks great. I got a huge amount out of SWToR during my time with it, and I'd love to see it succeed. Yet I'm all too aware of the way its haphazard transition to free-to-play drove players away and broke the back of a community I liked being part of. As much as I'm tempted to return, the way the game has been picked apart for monetisable bobbins makes it a world that I'm no longer really comfortable occupying. There's a parallel dimension where player housing is being announced after a long series of successful, story-extending expansions - the kind of thing the game desperately needed. I'd like to live in that dimension. Sadly, I don't.

Phil Savage: I'm starting to suspect there's a secret industry raffle, deciding the fate of beloved gaming franchises. "Sorry Dungeon Keeper, you're becoming a maligned mess of mobile microtransactions." "Congratulations Baldur's Gate, you'll get a competent series of Enhanced Editions, and a spiritual successor on Kickstarter." This week, it was RollerCoaster Tycoon's turn , and, on the basis of the mobile game's trailer , it's not a ride I'm planning to take. Atari also announced a "PC experience", but it's not just their refusal to use the word "game" that has me worried. Looking at the revenue report of a company recovering from bankruptcy, it's clear that their interests are in the "Mobile" and "Online" space. Given that, I doubt we'll be getting the sort of sequel that fans have been waiting nearly a decade for.