This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Tom Senior: Red’s dead

For a minute there we dared to dream that Red Dead Redemption 2 would see a simultaneous release alongside the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. We watched the anticlimactic reveal trailer end, hoping for a glimpse of the PC logo right at the end. It was not to be.

It’s disappointing but not unexpected, and it’s important to remember that almost all Rockstar games have come to PC, the only exceptions being Rockstar Table Tennis and, er, Read Dead Redemption 1. Hopefully that isn’t some sort of omen for the sequel, which ought to do perfectly well even though the original, it seems, will never reach our machines. Take small comfort in the fact that Red Dead is coming to Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, so we can get our fill of cowboy antics that way. Fingers crossed for a buffed-up PC version six months down the line, though I wonder how they will top GTA 5’s excellent first-person mode—horse-eye view?

Samuel Roberts: Cowboys and killjoys

I'm going to join chorus of disappointed Red Dead fans on PC Gamer, which at this point is pretty much everyone. That was this week's obvious low on PC, only because the game itself looks amazing, as deliberately uneventful as that first trailer is.

I'll also voice my disappointment about the continued lack of the first game being on PC—this week Rockstar and Sony announced the game was coming to the PlayStation Now streaming service, which you can access on PC. It's not the same, though, is it? And as likely as this Red Dead is to eventually come to PC, it'd be nice if Rockstar just confirmed it's coming later, rather than leaving it ambiguous. 

Chris Thursten: A Darth of effort

There's quite a bit to be sad about this week—the collapse of the Korean StarCraft II scene, worries about whether Red Dead Redemption 2 is ever coming to PC—but my low is a little more personal, and linked to my high.
Battlefield 1 has made me realise what it looks like when DICE make a good shooter. This has placed the amount of time I've spent playing last year's Battlefront in stark relief, because that game is not a good shooter. At all. It's pretty bad. I say this as a lifelong fan of Star Wars, too—I persist with it because of the setting, but it is simply not the best game they could have made.

I suspect that they were limited by the need to release a game in time for the new movie, and the need for accessibility imparted by the license. But Battlefield is hardly opaque, it's just much better at the things that matter: map design, weapon handling, the clarity of objectives and abilities. And after all, World War I and Star Wars aren't that far apart: rip the magazine off a Lewis gun and you've got a T-21 self-repeating blaster. Star Wars is just early 20th century warfare with lasers. It could have, and should have, worked like this.

Chris Livingston: Light speed

It wasn't long ago that Tuan essentially destroyed his own neighborhood so he could have have the fastest internet in the country. I was incredibly impressed with his dedication to acquiring Great Internet despite probably ruining his neighbor's lives for a week. But then I heard that Tuan's Great Internet isn't even that great compared to the Really, Really Great Internet that Nokia is testing in South Korea right now. Tuan is getting 2Gbps, while meanwhile Nokia is now giving people 52Gbps.

I'm completely disillusioned. It's like I've been idolizing a baseball player for hitting 70 home runs in a season, when suddenly  another player steps up and hits 8,750 home runs. (Please don't check my math.) How will Tuan ever earn back my respect? Like Indiana Jones' dad said to the Fish-Man from Waterworld in The Untouchables: What are you prepared to do now, Tuan? What are you prepared to do now?

Bo Moore: ARG? More like argh!

Is anyone else super tired of hearing about Sombra? The glacially forthcoming 23rd Overwatch hero is yet to be implemented, while the alternate reality game built to promote the character… well, it sucks. 

We wrote about how the Sombra ARG was infuriating players way back in August, when everything they had been working toward simply uncovered a way-too-long countdown timer. Now, two months later, that countdown finally reached its end, firing the ARG back up just long enough to make players wait all over again. The latest batch of clues came from intercepting some cryptic emails about a company in the Overwatch world's Mexico. But even then, the game screeched to a halt when Sombra addressed players directly, saying literally: "wait til next week for more."

The problem isn't even all the waiting. It wouldn’t be so bad if ARG participants were making actual progress toward a goal, uncovering information such as character designs or potential abilities. But no. In Blizzard's Sombra ARG, the players have no agency. When a secret website was discovered via a series of morse code beeps hidden in a level, it wasn't because players had taken that long to find it, it was because Blizzard only just now added that clue to the game. This means that nothing players do in the Sombra ARG will reveal Sombra to the public at any point other than when Blizzard decides. And if that's the case, what's the point in playing at all.  

Tyler Wilde: Counting my losses

I tried to move an old monitor from California to Maryland in checked luggage. That was a stupid idea. I mean I’m not totally stupid—I know that checked luggage gets beaten up—so I used a pretty rugged suitcase and dutifully wrapped my old Asus screen in bubble wrap, then padded the whole thing with clothes so it couldn’t move. The giant, padding-stuffed suitcase ended up weighing just over 50 lbs, which I discovered at the airport meant I had to give United another $100. (Just doing my part.) My other mistake was thinking that any amount of padding was gonna save this old boy from the rigors of air travel. So I wasted $100 to break a monitor. At least I can still see the score when I watch hockey.