This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Fraser Brown: Zombie chow

I’m rubbish at horror games, and it turns out playing Resident Evil 2 in 1998 has not made me any better at the 2019 version. It’s excellent, but so far my penchant for being easily spooked in dark corridors has proved to be a hurdle. It doesn’t help that the zombies all take 50 shots to the head before they die. What are their skulls made from!?

My initial strategy was unloading my gun in their face while screaming, running away and then getting grabbed. I eventually learned my lesson—I’m spending more time shooting limbs before running off—but I can’t help but imagine that the zombies are laughing behind my back. I don’t think Raccoon City is in great hands. 

James Davenport: RE2 Remake Demake

We can play a contemporary adaptation of Resident Evil 2 on PC, but there's still no easy way to play a remastered version of the original game on PC. To be clear, I don't see the RE2 Remake as a remake. It's an interpretation of what that original game felt like using more advanced technology and popular design practices of today. But the original game is still a valid unique thing that deserves preservation. And yet, I have to find old consoles or spend too much money on Ebay for old CDs that may or may not work on my PC. Come to think of it, I don't even have a CD drive. Who does? While I'm all for celebrating such a great adaptation, we shouldn't let the original work disappear. 

Tom Senior: Early retirement

Month by month, day by day, I can feel my PC sliding into obsolescence. Today’s Metro Exodus system specs may be a sign that, if you want all the fancy graphics features turned on, you’re going to suddenly need a much faster PC to do it. I thought the next leap would arrive alongside a new console generation in a year or two, but features like ray tracing have caused a bump. Metro games have always looked great, and we’ve often used them to benchmark hardware, so it’s a particularly intensive series. Still, there’s surely more like it coming down the pipe.

Samuel Roberts: Warning ticker

Earlier this week, as I pondered whether I'll ever play (or even want to play) the Deadpool game again, I came up with a new feature idea for Steam: a Netflix-style timer that tells you when games are going to vanish from sale, for licensing reasons or whatever it might be. Not all of the games that disappear from Steam are going to be gravely missed, but hey, we almost lost Alan Wake last year. 

Someone, in 20 years, will wish they'd bought Transformers: War for Cybertron when they had the chance. If only they'd known it was disappearing for good with some notice!

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Chris Livingston: Paths and Paths and Paths of Exile

Maybe I'll try a new game, I said. Maybe I'll check out Path of Exile, I said. Maybe I'll take a look at the skill tree, I said. Having looked at the skill tree, maybe I'll sit at my desk rocking back and forth whimpering for a while, I said. It's not the skill tree itself that's the low here, it's that I'm not a young man and surely I will expire long before I get a chance to explore all those avenues. I feel like I'd need to raise a child and pass my saved game onto them with instructions in my will to please finish unlocking everything. I mean, look at that thing. It's huge. I don't have the skill to acquire all those skills.

Tyler Wilde: Rental disagreement

We assumed that Battlefield 5 would get custom rental servers eventually, as we’re used to them being unavailable at launch and coming later. Now EA says they might not happen at all. As for why, community manager Dan Mitre says the decision—which hasn’t been made yet—is going to come down to the bottom line. “...We can't introduce a feature that ends up costing more to keep maintained than it returns (I know that statement will open up more debate, and I encourage that, but this is the reality of the situation),” he wrote.

I get where Mitre is coming from: I’ve had to try to justify features I want for in terms of how much they’re gonna cost and how much they’re gonna return, even when there’s no clear cut answer. (‘Make Tyler’s life easier’ is, apparently, not an argument finance folks care to hear.) It’s frustrating, though, that such an important feature—custom servers allow us to play only the maps we like with only the people and rules we like—is being treated like a luxury. I’m certain no one said, “Hm, should Battlefield 5 have guns in it? They cost a lot to develop. How much do they return?” Obviously custom servers aren’t as important to Battlefield games as guns, but they’re pretty vital in my view. I don’t know if they’ll increase sales, or retention, or whatever, but maybe they’ll generate goodwill, which isn’t immediately quantifiable with dollar signs. I hope EA sees it that way in the end.

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