The week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Phil Savage: On the clock

Time. Time is my low. I'm really not a fan of it at the moment.

There are 168 hours in a week, and from that, you've got to subtract sleep, work, dicking about on Twitter, and having pointlessly heated internet arguments with friends. Then, with what's left, you can squeeze in time for gaming.

Right now, in preparation for Dragon Age: Inquisition, I'm replaying Dragon Age: Origins, and will follow it with my first playthrough of Dragon Age 2. (What can I say, I'm interested. I hear it reviewed pretty well.) There's also Divinity: Original Sin, which I'm barely even started; Risen 3, which I'm mildly curious about; and Wasteland 2, which, from the few Early Access hours I've played, could be very good indeed. Then, at some point before next February, I'm going to have to do The Witcher 2, too.

So thanks a lot, time. You jerk.

Samuel Roberts: Pigeon romance has to wait

I've enjoyed every single showing of pigeon-based romance adventure Hatoful Boyfriend, mainly because unlike most of mankind, I think pigeons are quite entertaining and not just flying vermin. How can you not appreciate creatures that make themselves temporarily fat to woo a mate, or eat absolutely any filthy carbohydrate you drop for them on the floor? With that in mind, I'll have to wait another week before beginning my first semester at the well-regarded St. PigeoNation's school for birds.

Tim Clark: Left cold by the Mountain

I very much enjoyed Tyler's piece looking at why critics seem to love Mountain but the players don't. However, in this instance I have to come down on the side of the paying public. Having shelled out my own hard-earned, I was left pretty cold by the glorified spinning snow globe. And I say that as someone who considers himself a giant pseud who likes all manner of artsy interactive nonsense.

I dunno, if I wanted ambient gaming, I'd stand around outside the building in Hotline Miami. Maybe I'm getting old. Or my diet of AAA megabusters has rotted my brain. But basically I was bored after about two seconds and didn't see that changing anytime soon. Still, if nothing else Mountain can surely lay claim to having some of the most entertaining reviews on Steam.

Tom Marks: Indie before it was cool

I don't think anyone has told Activision what the term “indie” means. It's true that “indie game” is a concept not everyone agrees on the definition of, but I'm pretty sure most people would agree that resurrecting a studio with the intent of them being your ticket on to the indie bandwagon does not fall under that definition. “...I think it would be a miss if we didn't look at the indie movement as well,” said Sierra's MacLean Marshall, as he looked at the indie movement the way a cheetah looks at a gazelle.

Ben Griffin: The Witcher 3's gameplay demo

Not to be contrarian or anything, but the new half-hour gameplay demo meant to make me excited for The Witcher 3 actually did the opposite. I don't see a vast world brimming with possibility, but a job to do. A mountain to climb. “It's the biggest one yet,” they say. “See that thing in the distance? You can walk to it you can.” I don't know if I want to. Have I grown out of these epic, sweeping, lose-yourself RPGs?

Don't get me wrong. Obviously it's a tremendous feat - just one I want to appreciate from afar. When I think back to the 50 hours I sunk into the last one, how much do I really remember? How much fun did I really have compared to, say, Towerfall: Ascension, a game I played for 30 amazing minutes? A game I could pick up in five year's time and play for another amazing 30 minutes? When I've got access to dozens of games ready and waiting to give me the insta-jollies, I'm not sure there's room in my life for an experience defined by letting me walk to the horizon.

Cory Banks: Sacred 3 dev slags his own game

Okay, say you're a developer at a company hired to make a game. It's probably not your dream game, but you do your work and move on. No need to reopen the experience, right? Now imagine that game is Sacred 3, which has not been well received by Sacred fans because, well, it's apparently not really Sacred. Rather than move on, former Keen Games developer Sascha Wagentrotz decided to apologize to fans on Steam's forums for the final product—and then blame the publisher's marketing department .

I don't know if Sacred 3 is good or bad, since I haven't played it. But I don't think Wagentrotz helped matters with his post. Not that I don't appreciate his transparency—we need more of that in gaming. But it's the fingerpointing that worries me most. Games are complex products, and are rarely the sole creation of one person, or even one department at a company. There were likely some mistakes made during Sacred 3's development process, but I sincerely doubt that it's as simple of a problem as, “Marketing wanted our game to be a brawler.” Transparency in the development process works best when we have enough information to tell what's happening, and we don't have that here, even with the follow up information in the post.

On the plus side, Wagentrotz says that the new company he's working for is great, and he's excited about his next game. Hopefully he feels like he has more of a say in its direction than he did with Sacred.