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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS

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Tim Clark: Good night, mother
If you’re a regular reader of this feature, or that guy who lives opposite my apartment, you’ll already know that I am partial to some The Elder Scrolls: Legends. So I was delighted to see the game finally leave open beta this week, and receive a bunch of news about its mobile versions, spectator mode, ‘Gauntlet’ in-game tournaments, and the card expansions to come, starting with The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood in April. You can read all the details in our post here, which was written by Christian ‘CVH’ Van Hoose, one of the best deckbuilders around.

Now we get to the “why is this a low, Tim?” part. Well, friend, because at the time we posted that piece, Bethesda inexplicably neglected to send over the images of the new cards. Gah! That’s the best bit! Anyway, I’ll post them here because, what the hell, maybe one of them will catch your eye enough to consider giving the game a go. And because I can’t wait to goof around trying to make The Night Mother actually work.

(My other low is from GDC last week, and is the great failing of American journalism: the compulsion to ask meandering multipart questions in QA sessions when there is clearly a queue of people waiting furiously behind you.)

Wes Fenlon: Missing Link
I'll be that guy who brings it up: the new Zelda game is amazing, and is the first Nintendo game in years I'm bummed I can't play on my PC. I've been totally absorbed playing it on my Wii U, and the art style is so good that it even upscales from its rendered 720p to my 4K TV pretty well. But lordy, what I wouldn't give to run it at a native 4K on my desktop. The tantalizing thing is that that's actually possible in the Wii U emulator Cemu right now, but with bugs and non-functioning features galore and a framerate that tends to hover around 15 frames per second. So close, and yet so far. Likewise, that's how I suddenly feel about most open world games. Nintendo's suddenly shown us how much more captivating they can be.

James Davenport: Ghosting
Boo! That’s what a ghost would say, were I able to find any during reconnaissance, but I’m coming up empty. It’s surprising, seeing that Ghost Recon Wildlands hit this week. Most surprising is how quickly I went from finding it fun in the closed beta to nearly intolerable in the open beta. Now that it’s out, I don’t feel anything at all because I’m not really playing it. I went gun hunting for bit, and took Phil’s tips to heart, but it’s as checklist-y as open world games get.

Most of the regions are variations of the same activities, and I could see myself enjoying them with a regular group of buddies, but I don’t know three people, let alone myself, who would want to sit down for some banal military shooting when so many existing open world games already do way more with their systems. I think we’re at a point where most big developers can create an open world that hits the fundamentals—cars, cliffs, and explosions—but those just aren’t enough anymore. I don’t want open worlds with checklists and basic physics, I want open worlds with curiosities and chemistry. Which is why I will also be that guy: Zelda is rad. PC Gamer? More like Portable Console Gamer, am I right?

Joe Donnelly: Videos nasty
It was hard to miss Doom's launch last year—what with all the screens and trailers and advertisements leading up to the reboot’s release. The same was the case for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Dishonored 2, whereby a single day barely passed without a new video showcasing repackaged features and mechanics we'd seen elsewhere from slightly different angles and perspectives being shovelled down our throats. 

The result? I found myself a lot less fired up come launch day and sadly, with just shy of two weeks still left on the clock, I'm starting to feel this way in relation to Mass Effect: Andromeda. Dishonored 2, for me, managed to rise above it in the end but I couldn't say the same for the others. I hope Andromeda follows the stealth 'em-up's lead, but I'd equally enjoy a touch less aggressive marketing.

Samuel Roberts: Ghosted
I played Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 at the PCG Weekender last month, and was surprisingly entertained by what I played—clearly they took a bit of inspiration from The Phantom Pain, which is no bad thing. It's essentially a sniper sandbox game, which is pretty cool, set in some nice CryEngine-powered environments. I killed some dudes, including someone driving a car. I enjoyed it. Then I was killed.

This week it was delayed—only by a few weeks, to April 25th, but I guess that counts as a 'low' since I'm looking forward to seeing what I can get out of it at release.

Andy Kelly: Ancient history
The PC Gamer office is being renovated, which means a clearout of head-spinning proportions. We share the space with a few other magazines, and the amount of stuff we’ve collectively amassed over the years means it’s basically a landfill with desks. So I’m looking forward to working somewhere a bit tidier, and with a carpet that isn’t quite so coffee-stained. Seriously, years of spilled drinks have made it look like a relief map of the Himalayas.

And in the process of clearing the place out I’ve been uncovering ancient relics like a shit Indiana Jones without a hat. I found a big, fat folder filled with asset discs, which is how games companies would send us screenshots and artwork before they realised the internet existed. There are hundreds of them, and they’re completely useless. So in the memory hole they go, along with other similarly archaic remnants of the way magazines used to be made.

And it’s kind of sad. I mean, the internet is great. I ordered a burger on it the other day and a man on a bicycle delivered it to my house in literally 12 minutes. But like some pathetic caveman refusing to let go of his chisel and stone tablet, I still have a special place in my heart for the printed word. And leafing through old copies of PC Gamer, with their yellowed paper and musty smell, I’ve been getting misty-eyed about the past. So that’s why I’ve written this, because any reminder of the merciless passage of time is automatically a low.

PC Gamer

Hey folks, beloved mascot Coconut Monkey here representing the collective PC Gamer editorial team, who worked together to write this article!