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The week's highs and lows in PC Gaming

The lows

Andy Kelly: Monster closet

With Resident Evil 4, Shinji Mikami reinvented the series in an awesome way. It retained the spirit of the early games, but in the form of brilliantly designed action-horror. Reinvention can be a great thing, and I'm glad Capcom are trying to give their series new life after the woeful Resi 6. But the more I see of Resi 7, the more I worry about it. It looks like another hide-from-a-monster-in-a-cupboard game, and there are plenty of those on PC.

But hey, one of my favourite games, Alien: Isolation, is about hiding in cupboards from monsters. Well, lockers. So maybe Resi 7 can pull it off. But so far I'm not convinced by the direction they're taking. I'll probably be proven wrong when it turns out to be brilliant, but nothing I've seen so far makes me think this'll be as successful a reboot as Mikami's. But that’s one of the greatest games ever made, so perhaps I’m being unfair.

Tom Senior: BTing a dead horse

I’m beefing with BT this week, for some reason. In fairness, they have suddenly decided to go after Valve and Steam, launching a lawsuit alleging that Steam infringes on BT’s “Gittins Patent”. I’m sure Valve, having by BT’s account “failed to even respond to any of BT’s correspondence”, are hard at work mounting a detailed comprehensive defence and not, say, ignoring the suit as one might ignore a fly. 

It will be interesting to see if they go to Delaware to slap this one down in the courts, but in the meantime This American Life’s When Patents Attack! may be of interest.

Evan Lahti: Ark under fire

Early Access continues to be a tricky, highly subjective label for unfinished games. This week Ark is catching flak for releasing its first paid update, Scorched Earth, while still being about 15 months into Early Access on Steam. The cave formations, lava rivers, and rock monsters shown in the trailer makes it look like a stupid amount of fun, honestly. I would like to ride a mantis into battle.

But the outcry against the DLC (mainly in the form of negative Steam reviews, the suggestion box of our time) is understandable: if Ark isn’t done, why is it getting a big, $20/£15 expansion with 50 new items, seven new biomes, and new features? In Wildcard Studio’s defense, I do think that some players forget that not everyone within a studio does the same job—when new skins are added to a game with a major bug, for example, that doesn’t mean the studio ignored the bug in order to release some paid content. This update doesn’t seem like a case of that—it’s a significant expansion to one of Steam’s most successful games, and I’d guess that the months it took to create could’ve gone toward taking Ark out of Early Access sooner. Then again, if it helps finance the completion of the base game earlier, who’s in the right?

Tuan Nguyen: On the bleeding edge

I love storage. At home I have a total of 480TB—yes, terabytes—of storage capacity. So when Seagate told me it was going to send me its new 10TB helium-based hard drive for me to test, I was naturally (or perhaps, unnaturally) excited. 10TB is the largest capacity you can get right now in a hard drive. It’s unbelievable how much data you can store on one of these babies. Or it would be, if mine worked.

Not to fault Seagate, but the 10TB drive just wouldn’t get recognized by my system. The motherboard would detect the drive, but the size was wrong, and Windows wouldn’t see it at all. It turns out, the drive’s capacity is so big, and the technology to get to that capacity so uncommon, that I needed BIOS support on the motherboard. Unfortunately, no  available BIOSes for 10TB drive support are available for my board. Sometimes being on the bleeding edge of technology means it won’t work with what you have. Maybe I’ll just stick to cutting edge.

Wes Fenlon: Ears of envy

This week Tuan published his latest round of headphone testing: months of work listening to music and gaming with headphones that cost between $300 and $7000. These are basically the best headphones that exist in the world. And while I like my Sennheiser 598s, and I don’t think I really have an especially discerning ear to begin with, I’m still pining for them. There’s something so compelling about that hunt for the perfect technology. Getting it will ultimately end up with me realizing my life hasn’t been changed, that I probably just enjoy music a little more than I did before. But dammit, I still want ‘em anyway.

Joe Donnelly: Metal Gear Grumble

This week, Konami finally addressed Metal Gear Solid 5’s contentious ending by essentially informing players: it’s done, move on. Although it didn’t use those exact words, via Twitter it did say it had no further plans to develop the now cancelled mission 51 of The Phantom Pain, a section of the game some players felt was originally in place to round up an otherwise “unfinished” story in their eyes. 

When Bioware tied up Mass Effect 3 a few years back there was a similar outcry from players—one which the developer eventually remedied by creating an entirely new conclusion. This, to me, is bad form as it smacks of player entitlement. Sure, I personally found MGS5’s ending a touch underwhelming, but there are other folk who liked it—such is the nature of art. Be it videogames, movies, TV, whatever, you’re more than welcome to voice criticism if you something doesn’t match your personal standards, but seeing players in their dozens challenge Konami again this week with regards to a game that’s now over a year old frustrates me. Let’s get over it. Then again, that’s just my opinion.