The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Unreal Tournament Halloween update


James Davenport: We’re in a spook drought
Dang. It’s nearly October the 31st and I’ve yet to get spooked! Where my ghouls and goblins at? Only joshing. I know that halloween monsters and myths aren’t real, but I still want to get into the spooky spirit. Watching scary movies and playing scary games is a nice way to peek into the abyss. I can get chased by a demon and eviscerated, but then I can ‘unplug’ and engage with my friends and family back in the living world. This is the miracle of modern technology. But we’re low on spook juice this year, and I’m not sure who’s at fault. I played SOMA, but the sci-fi setting doesn’t quite rev the engines as something completely supernatural might. And I don’t mind revisiting an old horror game for a quick fix, but I’d rather explore something new to get truly surprised again.

The problem likely lies with me. I don’t have the time to dig for interesting games like I used to, and I’m already behind on my personal queue by some margin. So, if you’d like to recommend any horror games that I might have missed, please do. Big or small, just make sure one has a skeleton in it somewhere. I need to see a dang skeleton.

Tyler Wilde: A goodbye
Have you played Lone Survivor, James? I guess I could just ask you directly, but I don’t feel like tabbing away from this window. Anyway, you should check it out. But let’s see, what made me sad this week? Microtransactions, maybe. Something to do with framerates. Or maybe it’s that EVAN’S GONE!

Yes, our talented US editor-in-chief and great friend Evan Lahti has moved on to a new opportunity, and we’re all excited for him, but also sad to see him go. I’ve been working with Evan since 2011, and it’s been an inspiring four years. I have learned so much from his guidance (and not just the difference between a ‘clip’ and a ‘magazine,’ which I recall there being a long discussion about) and I will miss having his keen eyes on my articles and all the big ideas he brought to the group—like the PC Gaming Show at E3, which wouldn’t have happened without him. I know the rest of the PC Gamer team feels the same way, and we all wish him the best.

(If Evan were here, he would’ve edited out the part where I use all caps to indicate volume. Sniff.)

Mushroom 11 Slide

Tom Senior: Shroom for improvement
Mushroom 11 is a clever puzzle game set in a strange post-apocalyptic landscape. You manipulate a lump of living green snot by dissolving bits of its body. The glob always grows back to its original mass, so you move it by aggressively deleting one half so the other half swells and starts rolling. It’s a great idea, and smart levels force you to torture the blob in increasingly ingenious ways—splitting it in two to hit switches and take lifts, stretching it into a long thin bridge to cross spans of lava.

I admire it, but wish I could enjoy it as much as Edwin. The lump’s disobedience drives me mad. I can never quite predict how it will regrow, and in my impatience, my mouse sweeps threaten to erase it from existence entirely. One section asks you to move the blob over a flailing fire-spitting plant monster. The bolts of fire keep burning away bits of blob. I’m impatiently lopping off bits of blob, hoping it gets the hint and starts growing upwards a little more. Suddenly, there’s no blob left, and for a moment I’m alone in the wilderness. For a split second, I even miss it. I’ve never had such a love/hate relationship with a game avatar.

Tom Marks: Something’s a-buzz
Something is breaking inside my computer, and I don’t know what. Occasionally it’ll start making an oscillating buzz noise that will slowly build, and the only way I’ve found to fix it isn’t the best method: I hit my case until it stops. This method has worked so far, but the temporary ceasefire surely cannot last.

I am pretty sure it’s just a case fan dying, which (if I am correct) is a convenient problem to have because I just got a new case. I’ll be upgrading my motherboard, case, and CPU cooler this weekend, so we’ll see if that stops the buzzing. If it doesn’t, then it might be one of my harddrives, in which case… well, let’s hope it’s not that.

Rocket League Delorean Slide

Samuel Roberts: Future shock
Back To The Future Day was, as a colleague of mine melodramatically but accurately put it, the worst day in Twitter history. Every media node in the universe was looking for ways to arbitrarily tie their stupid vague ‘future’ stories to this key event in the movie series’ timeline—I saw tenuous posts about robot football managers, whether this pretend film predicted serious real-world events and even vaguely threatening government departments getting in on the action. The UK prime minister made the worst joke of all-time about it. My god. It was insufferably rubbish. Within an hour of me waking up, Back To The Future Day stopped being fun or novel and became an avalanche of horrible, grim #content.

As PCG’s Andy Kelly put it, the future of popular culture is about someone beating you around the head with nostalgia until you can’t take it anymore. That was Wednesday. Even the most patient people I know feel like that storm of piss on social media has spoiled Back To The Future for them. I agree. Cashing in so relentlessly on one day has ruined a perfectly good movie about time travel. Sadly, it’s also found a way to infect one of my favourite games, Rocket League, but the damage is much more long term. Initially I thought the idea of including the playable DeLorean was cool, and a strong match for a game about car football set in the future. Then, Back To The Future Day happened, and now everyone in the game is using it. Of course they are. The DeLorean makes that stupid noise when it hits high speed, which means you end up hearing it about 20 times a game; it’s like being battered around the head with nostalgia until you’re begging for it to stop.

I think the DeLorean is the most obnoxious and annoying addition to a game I’ve seen in some time. It’s like someone replacing the creeps in Dota 2 with the minions from Despicable Me, and there’s no way to switch it off. It’s garbage. If you enjoy it, great—I don’t want it in my game. I feel the need to ram players using them. There should be a way to switch it off in matchmaking. I’d pay Psyonix £5 to never have to look at that car again. Back To The Future Day was a very stupid 24 hours. People are going to drive that crap in Rocket League forever.

Andy Kelly: “Nice shot!”
I’m a fan of the text chat shortcuts in Rocket League generally. I regularly vent my frustration after conceding a goal or doing something stupid with the “!$%$!” one. But see people who use “Nice shot!” sarcastically? They’re the worst. We’ve all done it. Flipped idiotically at the ball and scored an own goal. It makes you feel terrible, and it’s massively frustrating. Which makes the smart-arse use of “Nice shot!” by the opposing team even more infuriating. I feel bad enough, pal. No need to rub it in. It’s amazing how annoying a single sentence can be in that game.

Bad sportsmanship is rife in Rocket League multiplayer. The other day, when his team let in a goal, a guy spammed the text chat with “NOOB TEAM” then quit, leaving his teammates in the lurch. What an absolute tool. I never rage quit. It’s extremely bad form, and you get a bonus for sticking a match out, so you might as well snap that up and make something of the loss. But, unfortunately, the carball fields are populated by babies who can’t stand it when things don’t turn out perfectly for them. They’re a disgrace to this noble sport of cars playing football.


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