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The week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Chris Thursten: Despite what you might read in comments threads, I certainly didn't start playing The Elder Scrolls Online with a desire to have a bad time. I'm reviewing the game, and intend to play a lot of it. I want to enjoy that process. As I've pointed out above, I have enjoyed playing the game's PvP mode. But that's not what the bulk of the experience is comprised of. There's a monotony to questing, compounded by the slow pace of levelling, that I find very draining—and I'm somebody who usually likes MMOs. I'm starting to suspect that the Elder Scrolls setting simply doesn't 'reduce' very well—it needs spectacle, simulation and freedom to have an impact. Stripped of those things, the setting is exposed as something rather drab and lifeless. I'd never had said that about Morrowind—but here I am, and it's the best explanation I have for why I've found it so difficult to enjoy the game.

Andy Kelly: I love The Elder Scrolls. I love MMOs. So why don't I love The Elder Scrolls Online? I've tried to get into it. I really have. You should have seen me, wincing at the screen, trying my damndest to squeeze some enjoyment out of it. But it's so grey and lifeless and boring. How did they manage to make Tamriel boring? The limited draw distance makes it feel weirdly claustrophobic, which is a word rarely attributed to the Elder Scrolls games. You don't get that moment of gazing across a huge vista brimming with possibility. I've rolled a few characters, and tried all three factions, but it just isn't grabbing me. The writing is incredibly dull, and I don't care about anyone. I'm going to keep at it, though. I read in Chris' review-in-progress that the PVP in Cyrodiil is the best thing he's played in it so far, so I need to try that before I give up.

Phil Savage: Er, right, lows. Um. Looking back over the week, nothing stands out as having got my goat. Not even Goat Simulator, which is getting a free update —a positive move for a game so short on stuff. Maybe I'm becoming a more positive person, no longer annoyed by the industry's machinations. Maybe the industry itself has changed: doing away with cynicism and negativity, in place of an attitude that promotes fun, challenge and an advancement of the art. Or maybe it's because I've spent the last week house-hunting, a quest so tediously thankless, stressful and repetitive, that everything else seemed quite good in comparison.

Ben Griffin: I blame myself. So eager was I to tear into Dark Souls II's long-awaited PC port I forgot one thing: no one else is playing it. There are no humbly bowing invaders to scrap with, no buddies to invite for jolly co-operation. There aren't even any uplifting orange tips on the floor. I miss those the most, even if many a Dark Souls player got the better of me by writing 'try dropping down' before a bottomless pit. Dark Souls worked because, despite an insidious atmosphere, wretched difficulty and extended periods of isolation, you were never really alone. There was always a guiding light in the darkness, however dim. But for all Dark Souls II's brilliance—brilliance which I'm not technically allowed to write about because the game isn't out yet—it all feels a bit lonely at the moment.

Tim Clark: I'm a huge fan of EMA , and had quite the obsession with Past Life Martyred Saints . However, I'm not sure about the wisdom of wearing an Oculus Rift dev kit with a Photoshopped exterior on the cover of her new record, The Future's Void. Yes, the LP is thematically concerned with the dehumanising effects of technology and especially online culture, but, erm… Isn't that picture going to date quite badly, in a 'look kids, I just bought a Betamax' sort of way? It doesn't help, either, that one lyric uses the word 'interwebs'. I mean, honestly, who still says that? Oh well, at least she's rocking the Rift better than any of these bros .

Wes Fenlon: This may make me sound hypocritical since I just reviewed Smite and loved it, but my reaction to EA's Dawngate is "do we really need another MOBA?" Smite has won me over with its third-person camera, and it's been improving throughout a two year-long beta. Dawngate's just now going into open beta, and at this point the competition for top-down MOBAs is just silly. Maybe Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm has a shot at League of Legends or Dota 2, but it's hard for me to see Dawngate, Infinite Crisis , Guardians of Middle-earth, or Sins of a Dark Age doing anything but muddying the waters. My cynical side says they all went into development as League of Legends became absurdly popular, and now they're all coming out at the same time, and there's not much reason to play them.

As an inveterate Hearthstone addict, Tim spends most of his time trying to explain why all Priest players are degenerates. The rest of his day is spent playing Destiny 2. Seriously, he's on it right now.