Here's what the PC Gamer forum got excited about this week

This week in the PC Gamer forums, Half-Life: Alyx releases to high praise, the community tells their 'try-hard' truths, a prospective Skyrim player needs advice about running the beasty RPG on their computer, NPCs that deserve their time in the spotlight, and the best video game prequels and sequels. 

If you're looking for something to do with your time then check out the PC Gamer Folding@home team where a group of our community members are helping researchers hopefully discover a cure for the coronavirus. The team is growing every week, so head on over to the thread if you're interested in helping out, or are just curious about what the Folding@home initiative is. 

If you haven't checked out the PC Gamer forums then go have a look around. You don't need to sign in to have a gander at our threads and discussions, although if you have a burning comment you want to post then you'll need to sign up. There are a number of different threads that cover everything about PC gaming. 

Here's what the forum has been up to this week:

Half-Life: Alyx

A brand new Half-Life game is finally here in the form of Half-Life: Alyx. Although we'll have to wait longer for Half-Life 3, Alyx blew us away. Valve has taken the series into the realms of VR and some fans were side-eyeing this decision, but reviews have flooded in saying that Alyx it's not only a great VR game, it's also a great Half-Life game.

In our Half-Life: Alyx review, Chris says, "I didn't have much doubt Half-Life: Alyx would be a great VR experience—Valve makes its own VR headset and software, after all. But I was skeptical it could also be a great, proper Half-Life game, and I was thrilled to discover it really is." Alyx is set to be one of the best games of 2020 with moments of unsettling horror, action-packed scenes, and an ending that we just couldn't wait to discuss (spoilers ahoy!).

In our Aorus gaming monitor competition asking what game the community is looking forward to the most this year, Half-Life: Alyx was an overwhelming answer. The forum has also been chatting about how its the perfect time to escape into VR now that everyone is in quarantine. What do you think about Half-Life: Alyx? Let us know.

I am rather happy half life alyx is out. Been playing the crap out of that. I also went ahead and bought Beat Saber at @sward suggestion, those two are my excuse to stay inside, but not necessarily miss out on all my exercise.MaddMan

Here's the thread.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Try hard - are you one?

OsaX Nymloth asked the community their opinions on 'try-harding' and where you sit on the scale, from really competitive to casual player. Do you always want the best scores, best gear, and best possible rankings? Or are you laid back and chill when it comes to gaming? Many people in the thread have said that it differs from game to game, with multiplayer being the main instigator of turning them into try hards. 

I would say I am between both worlds. While some people may point at me and say "you got master 1 rank in StarCraft 2, that's like top 1% of the server, you must be try hard!", I would say that I didn't really "try hard". Making my own builds and goofy strategies that are neither optimized nor even good in themselves is not really "try harding" and any semi-decent player can crash me rather easily, not to even mention people who can get to 6K MMR by chilling and just playing. These people scare me man.OsaX Nymloth

Filthy Casual through and through. Sure I tend to like a little challenge in games. I rarely play games on 'story' mode and usually go for 'normal' difficulty, or harder depending on the game. But Permadeath in games doesn't interest me, mostly due to the stress but also as what I like is building up a character and losing that would take away the fun for me.—Oussebon

Here's a link to the thread

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Interested in trying Skyrim

User K8xp has posted in the forum asking for advice about running Skyrim on their computer, and explaining that they would like to expand their game choices into games with more depth. Although Skyrim released a few years ago, it's difficult to know if such a beasty game will run on your computer, especially if you want to dive into hundreds of the best Skyrim mods. If you have any advice for K8xp about hardware or other games with depth then jump into the thread.

I used to play Skyrim on an old and pretty bad PC (AMD A3620 with 512mb of VRAM) and it ran pretty decent, so I think, but don't quote me on that, that your laptop should be able to run the original edition of Skyrim. Just to mention: I feel like it tends to be buggier than the SE too.Inspireless Llama

As for an adult-oriented game tip, I would recommend Fallout 3: New Vegas. A post-apocalyptic RPG game with good stories, atmosphere, DLC and interesting perks&weapons to choose from. Take a gander at some gameplay videos and see how you like the setting.Frindis 

Here's the thread

(Image credit: The Irregular Corporation)

Hardware trouble

The PCG forums are a great place to post if you're having trouble with your computer hardware and two threads this week highlight that our community is always one to offer help. 

Manixchang is currently having issues with games crashing on their newly built PC, and they've listed their specs and what steps they're taken so far but to no prevail. Another user Qwyc. is having a problem with VRAM and has noticed their FPS dropping a lot. They are asking if anyone knows how to get their VRAM storage to drop down. 

If you think you can help out, make sure you sign up to the forums and check out the threads here and here. Any help is appreciated!

(Image credit: Valve)

What's the best video game sequel (or prequel)?

Chris' mid-week question asks what gaming sequel or prequel is the best and why. Games mentioned so far have been Total War Shogun II, Half-Life 2, Baldur's Gate 2, Portal 2, Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Doom 2016. There are plenty of sequels and prequels to get into, and if you have a game in mind then make sure to head on over and comment. 

With no doubts Baldur's Gate 2. This game was a huge step forward when you compare it to the first one. It has better storytelling, better character progression system, more memorable and talkative companions. It involves less wilderness exploring than BG1, but the locations are more polished and include better content overall.—Sarafan

If you want my safe, mainstream answer then you can pick a Valve game with "2" in the title and you're pretty much set. Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and DOTA 2. They may not be able to count to three, but I'll be damned if they don't consistently make the best sequels on the market.XoRn

Here's the thread.

(Image credit: Solaire of Astora)

Which NPC deserves their own game?

In light of Half-Life: Alyx being released, Jody's weekend question asks the forum which NPC deserves their own game. If a side-kick, boss character, or casual NPC that springs to mind, bring them into the spotlight in this thread.  

I'm convinced that a spin-off featuring Solaire of Astora from Dark Souls would be very popular, if done well.—Pifanjr

Diana Burnwood. Like a Hitman management sim to some extent, but you also get to roam around the ICA offices talking to people either to glean information from them or manipulating them into doing something for you. Maybe even break into an office or two to bug a phone or steal files from a computer. You also have to manage resources for your agents in the field so they can complete their contracts. Agent 47 doesn't do all the work ya know.I Will Haunt You

Here's a link to the thread.

(Image credit: Capcom)

Community Thread Showcase

Our community managers have been keeping an eye on all the interesting threads of the month and have created a new Community Contributors Thread Showcase to highlight the best threads in March. Once again, Matt Knott has put them all the threads into one post for everyone to have a browse. 

Games we would love to see remastered By @OsaX Nymloth
Remasters are in vogue at the moment and more to the point, a lot of them are damn good. Three of my big purchases for April, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Tales of Mana and (PS4 but it's my childhood!) Final Fantasy 7 are remakes or remasters. OsaX has a great thread for sharing those golden oldies that need a fresh lick of paint.- Matt Knott

What games demos did you play from the GDC/Steam festival? By @Dinokaiser
A great resource for demos and experiences with demos released on Steam for the Game Developers Conference. Dinokaiser put a lot of time into trying these and sharing his thoughts, well worth checking out.- Matt Knott

Here's the announcement post. 

Top threads this week

Here's a quick list of the forum's top threads:

What was the first video game you remember playing?
Can real-time strategy come back from the brink of death?
Help, I can't finish RPGs anymore
What was the specs of your very first gaming PC?
What's your favourite cRPG?

Rachel Watts

Rachel had been bouncing around different gaming websites as a freelancer and staff writer for three years before settling at PC Gamer back in 2019. She mainly writes reviews, previews, and features, but on rare occasions will switch it up with news and guides. When she's not taking hundreds of screenshots of the latest indie darling, you can find her nurturing her parsnip empire in Stardew Valley and planning an axolotl uprising in Minecraft. She loves 'stop and smell the roses' games—her proudest gaming moment being the one time she kept her virtual potted plants alive for over a year.