The week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Andy Kelly: Duskers till dawn
Regular readers will be aware of my Alien obsession. Take this feature for example, in which I painstakingly compared the Nostromo from the film to Alien: Isolation’s recreation. A big part of why I love the first film, and Isolation, is the retro-futuristic, lo-fi sci-fi aesthetic. Particularly the computer interfaces. I always wanted to play a game that looked like those buzzing screens on the bridge of the Nostromo, and Duskers is the closest thing yet.

It’s a game about exploring derelict spaceships with drones, and the interface is heavily inspired by ‘70s and ‘80s science fiction. I wish I had a CRT monitor to play it on. I haven’t played much of the game yet—that’s my plan for tonight—but I’ve instantly fallen in love with the visual and sound design. It’s incredibly atmospheric, and when your motion scanner picks up a lifeform in the ship you’re exploring, a surprisingly effective horror game. There’s no music or voices; just the low, ominous rumble of your ship’s engines and the whirring and beeping of your drones.

Duskers left Early Access this week, and we’ll have a review up soon, but if you’re as much of a fan of the look and feel of ‘70s and ‘80s sci-fi as I am, you’ll probably love it purely for that. After Alien: Isolation I was sure we were going to see a lot of games using that retro-futuristic art style, but sadly not. As well as the review of Duskers, I’ll be talking to the people behind its unique art style about how it was designed and what inspired them, so look out for that.

Angus Morrison: Power overwhelming
I find it hard to get excited about hardware these days. That’s mostly because my bank account is a howling void—a consequence of reaching the age where your cash is meant to go on wedding presents and mini-breaks in the New Forest. But every so often, a piece of tech so outlandish appears that I turn to my girlfriend and say, “Sod the farmers’ market, dear; I have a GTX 1080 to save for.”

Incremental increases in megahertz, gigaflops and CUDA cores do nothing for me. Technological leaps and ludicrous stats do, and rigorous testing has it that one GTX 1080 is equivalent to two 980s in SLI, or a skipful of the sorry 780Ti powering my machine.

In our review, Jarred found just two things to complain about, chief of which was not being able to buy it yet. That’s a plus in my book, though—it’ll take a while to excavate £600 from the couch.

Tyler Wilde: Crafting orcs
I hurt my back recently (the medical term is 'jacked it up real bad') so I've been doped up on muscle relaxants for a few days. They make my back feel better but my head feel like a wet sponge, so I might have reacted a bit more emotionally than normal to this scene from the Warcraft movie. Something about goofy, reminiscing orcs and cyclobenzaprine really got to me, and it's put me in an optimistic mood—could Warcraft really be a great videogame movie? Maybe! 

My biggest fear right now is that too much CGI for too long will spoil it. I'm already a bit turned off by how the most real-looking things in that scene are what appear to be houseplants stationed to either side of Durotan and Orgrim, and I have trouble seeing how the orcs and world won’t look ridiculous next to human actors. I suppose any attempt to film an even remotely faithful recreation of the Warcraft universe would encounter the same problem, though, so I’m willing to be forgiving. I just hope I don’t spend the whole film noticing tiny but uncanny flaws.

Evan Lahti: Hit after hit
May has produced insane PC gaming riches. Stellaris, Doom, Battleborn, Total War: Warhammer, Overwatch, Salt & Sanctuary, the GTX 1080... and I’m told that Blood & Wine is out on the final day of the month. If that wasn’t enough, the rest of the gang is convincing me to play Hitman, if only to tap into the ephemeral intensity of its elusive target missions.

I’m not a third-person shooter guy, and I’m even less of a ‘slow, deliberate, and thoughtful third-person assassination guy,” but the notion of having One Shot™ at something before you lose yourself is super appealing. I love the idea of having to learn, improvise, and execute in the same moment, and I hope we’ll see more games build upon the idea of daily challenge-like modes.

Samuel Roberts: Resi revival
This is certainly an enticing rumour: Resident Evil is going for a back-to-basics horror approach in its next instalment. No idea if it’s true or not. But I hope it is, particularly the part about hiring Kojima Productions’ Jordan Amaro to work on the seventh entry in the series. We’ve seen a bunch of projects emerge that are inspired by PT, for better or worse, but none from the team that actually made it. 

Hopefully this is a sign of what Capcom has in mind for the series: something that’s basically just the forever unmade Silent Hills, but a bit sillier, because it has Chris Redfield’s big arms in it. 

Jarred Walton: 1080 hype train
After months of speculation and guesses, Pascal’s GP104 and the GTX 1080 have finally arrived. The new GPU is extremely impressive, easily beating the previous generation of $600+ graphics cards by 30 percent or more. And it does all this while using less power, with the result being a rapid drop in the pricing on previous generation hardware.

I love technology, and even though the GTX 1080 isn’t a massive change from what was here previously, it’s awesome to see the improvements come like clockwork, year after year. CPUs often struggle to improve by 10 percent each generation, but graphics chips are still improving by 30 percent or more. And if the GTX 1080 is too rich for your blood, the GTX 1070 is looking like a great ‘value’ alternative.

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