The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Brokenage Main

THE LOWS

Andy Kelly: Broken Age
Broken Age episode 2 isn’t here yet. It’s coming on April 28 according to Double Fine. But that’s, like, not now. I’m not playing it right now. I want it. NOW. To tide me over I’ve been watching the excellent ‘making of’ documentary on their YouTube channel, which makes Double Fine look like a really fun, creative, exciting place to work. But if I don’t get closure for that cliffhanger at the end of episode one soon, I’m going to snap. Give it to me. GIVE IT TO ME.

Samuel Roberts: Discount zombies
Resident Evil 5 made it to Steam this week, escaping its previous home at the bottom of the ocean, trapped in GFWL. This is a good thing! Also joining it on PC is the excellent DLC that the console version received years ago, including the two chunky story chapters Lost In Nightmares and Desperate Escape, which tap into different elements of Resi’s history—survival horror and relentless action respectively—proving to be valuable add-ons. This is also fine news. That’s a nice gesture, and Capcom didn’t have to bring it to PC at all. The price is the only negative thing, for me.

If you’re releasing DLC for a game that came out in 2010 (or 2009 on consoles), maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing to give existing owners of the game some kind of discount. Right now, all of Resi 5’s DLC is on-sale for $15/£12, only a few dollars or pounds short of the excellent Resident Evil 4 HD port released last year. I’m glad to see the complete version of Resi 5 make it to Steam, but I’d rather not pay a load more money for something I bought on Xbox Live for a similar price years and years ago. I think half off if you already own the game isn’t too much to ask for a limited time.

Phil Savage: Good work GOG
GOG is displaying its refund and customer service policies proudly for all to see. And why not? Well done them for offering excellent (and consistent) post-sale support to all of their customers worldwide. My low isn't that—that would be absurd—it's that we feel it necessary to celebrate a company doing what should be basic consumer protection.

PC's biggest digital distributor doesn't do this. In fact, Steam requires EU customers waive their legal right to a 14-day refund period whenever they buy a game. Let's not mess about: that's shit. It's an appalling way to treat the people are ensuring your place at the top of PC-game-buying pile. Sure, refunds can be abused—but they can also save people from dishonest marketing. If distributors want people to buy into ideas like 'Early Access', it seems important to offer protection from those that would exploit that generosity.

Pillars of Eternity Slide

Chris Livingston: Ask Me About My Bear
I've started playing Pillars of Eternity. I chose to play as a human ranger, which is probably not the most creative or interesting choice, but to make up for it I chose to make her animal companion a bear, because bears.

I don't know about you, but even if I lived in a fantasy world where there were ghosts and monsters and magic and weird-headed beings, if I ran into someone who was being followed by a bear, I'd probably say something about it. I'd probably say something like "Look out, there's a bear after you!" unless I'd determined the bear was their companion, in which case I'd probably say "Hey, cool bear!" At the very least, after a few opening pleasantries, the exchange of rumors, or the offer to trade goods, I'd cautiously ask: "Sooooo. What's with the bear?"

No one has mentioned my bear in the game, yet. I've talked to villagers and guards and tavern-keepers and villains. There has not been a single question, remark, or even acknowledgement of the giant bear standing behind me at all times. I had a long discussion with an elf who had a number of things to say before joining my party, and none of his observations or questions were bear-related. I even ran into someone who owned a cat, and I was given a dialogue option to ask them about their cat. Yet no one has asked me about my bear!

I don't think it's unreasonable to be annoyed at people completely ignoring my bear. Frankly, it's immersion shattering. If you disagree, take into consideration the fact that while I was playing, my wife walked into the room, peered at the screen for a few seconds, and then immediately asked: "Is that a bear following you?" It's a logical, human question. Asking about bears is what sets us apart from the animals.

Tyler Wilde: Halo, goodbye
For a second there, I thought we were getting a PC exclusive Halo game. I mean, we are, but only if ‘we’ refers to ‘the people of Earth.’ Halo Online will launch in Russia, and at least for now, only in Russia. "Any expansion outside of Russia would have to go through region-specific changes to address player expectations," they say. Like, it not being in Russian, I guess? Just run it through Google Translate or something. That’s how that works, right?

Shadows of Mordor Slide

Tim Clark: Moar Mordor
I’m going to invoke Savage’s Law, first formulated by Phil, which enables the ol’ switcheroo when it comes to highs and lows. Just as my high involved something bad happening to me, so my low is something I’ve been enjoying. Deal with it, as the guy who got fired from Microsoft a day later definitely shouldn’t have said.

This week I’ve been back in Mordor, because, essentially, I’m an idiot. I gave up on Shadow Of Mordor too swiftly the first time, writing it off as an admittedly excellent combat engine with a cute gimmick in the Nemesis System and not much else beyond racking up monster combos. Tony Hawk’s with swords, kinda. I ventured back because I wanted to play something pretty on my new PC, (now named The Black Knight), and found there’s considerably more meat than I remember. Partly, I just had to get over the five-hour hump where you’ll still bedding in abilities. But where once I was skulking around between messed up urk assassinations, now I bestride the landscape like, well, still like Tony Hawk’s with a sword, but also with a shitton of new tricks. It really is an excellent game and I’m curious to say where the series goes next. Readers, what game do you fear you might have given up on too soon?