Samuel Roberts: DLC troubles
I’ve seen a mixed reaction to Bethesda’s DLC news this week for Fallout 4. Personally I think that’s a little unfair—no-one hates arbitrary DLC bolted on for $10/£7 that lasts for an hour more than me (related: I’m currently playing through Arkham Knight’s season pass content). But I think Bethesda deserves a little more credit than most for how they’ve traditionally released DLC. Mothership Zeta aside, I thought all of Fallout 3’s DLC was legit and worth the time invested. The final thing I did in that game was jump off the lighthouse in Point Lookout—it was fantastic. Hearthfire’s unconvincing house-building stuff aside, I feel the same about Skyrim’s DLC.
It remains to be seen how this DLC will shake out—we’ll be right here to review all of it. But I don’t see any reason to be that pessimistic, either, based on the developer’s track record with these kinds of add-ons.
Andy Kelly: Rise above
I was really into Rise of the Tomb Raider for a good 7-8 hours, but then I just suddenly lost all interest. I went from looking forward to playing it to not even thinking about it, almost instantaneously. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is, and I think it’s a few things. First, the story. Like the last game it’s disappointingly bland, and I wasn’t engaged by it at all. Lifeless characters, a hokey backstory, and a cartoon villain have sucked all the life out of the game for me. Without an interesting narrative driving me on, I feel no urge to continue.
Then there’s how videogamey it feels. When I enter an area and notice that it’s littered with empty bottles to craft Molotovs from and waist-high bits of concrete to take cover behind, I know before it’s happened that I’m in for yet another boring shooting section. Some games are good at hiding their systems through clever world-building and level design, but in Rise I can almost see a designer placing the things I’m supposed to interact with and the flags that’ll send a group of enemies rushing in. There’s an artifice to it all that I find quite off-putting. It’s a shame, because it’s an incredibly pretty game. But I doubt I’ll ever see it through to the end.
Angus Morrison: Quantum conundrum
Gamey, live action-y cross-over Quantum Break is coming to PC. Hooray! All the signs point to gamey, live-action-y cross-over Quantum Break being Windows 10-exclusive. Boooo.
Speaking on the Major Nelson podcast, Xbox marketing guru Adam Greenberg said that “Quantum Break on Windows 10 is a Windows Store exclusive.” Now that’s corpro-speak if I’ve ever heard it, every word in the sentence selected with careful consideration of its implications and the ample room to backtrack it provides. Does it leave room for a Quantum Break on other operating systems available from other storefronts? Technically, yes. Does that seem likely given that Microsoft, purveyor of Windows 10, is Quantum Break’s publishers. Nope.
I’m not averse to Windows 10 specifically—I can get a free upgrade, after all. It’s more an instinctive revulsion for exclusivity deals on PC, exacerbated by the apparent reversal of Microsoft’s line that it didn’t plan to compete with Steam. Pervasive little pop-ups keep telling me that Windows 10 has been installed on 200 million devices worldwide. Isn’t that enough?
Chris Livingston: Split List
I feel like a lot of games are suddenly breaking themselves into pieces and being sold separately. H1Z1, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, and so on. Splitting a game isn't necessarily a bad thing, in some cases it actually could be an excellent idea, and each should be judged independently. I'm just a little wary of it becoming the New Thing To Do. For instance, day-one DLC, microtransaction stores, always-online requirements, pre-order bonuses, these are things that turn into bandwagons, with tons of publishers and developers jumping on board whether it makes sense for the game and their customers or not. I'm hoping this won't be the case with game splitting, but as Han Solo famously said: "I have a feeling about this, and I would describe it as a not-good one."
Tim Clark: An x-ceptional ending
XCOM 2 is over! Well, I mean, it’s never over over. There are higher difficulties to experience (erm, in my case, all of them), and different squads to create, nurture, and then see buried in unmarked graves. But my first playthrough is done and I feel bereft. That last mission (no spoilers) was so good, so intense, and dare I say it so perfectly executed by my battle-scarred resistance heroes/terrorists, that I’m probably going to take a break before diving back in. By the time I’m ready there should be some unusual mods to tinker with too. You can see the best here. For now, I strongly recommend Capnbubs accessories. His berets truly are exceptional. Oh, and if any of you have videos or GIFs of particularly strong turns that use the Serial ability, please send them this way marked ‘NSFW snipe pron’.
Wes Fenlon: PC building woe: a tale of conquest
At 5 PM this Wednesday, I decided it was a good time to build a PC. Why not? It’d been awhile! James and I set about using some last-gen Haswell parts to cobble together a good gaming rig in a nice NZXT case. We wrestled with the Hyper 212 EVO, did some nice cable management, threw in an extra fan, and an hour and a half later we had a finished PC. I plugged it in, hit the power button...and it immediately turned itself off. Fuck. Everything seemed fine. Discouraged, I went home, and the weather—suddenly rainy, windy and brutally cold—matched my mood.
On Thursday, I figured a little tinkering would result in an easy fix. But no. PSU checked out. RAM checked out. Reseating the CPU did nothing. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM? Assuming the worst, I ripped out the entire motherboard, replaced it with another one, plugged everything back in...and it booted flawlessly. I’m still mad at that motherboard, but mostly feel like a conquering hero of technology for overcoming it. You can’t keep me down, you mobo!