This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Phil Savage: Manifesto Destiny

I tend to avoid places like the Destiny 2 subreddit, because science tells us that excessive salt consumption is bad for your heart. As such, I've little idea what these vocal pockets of Destiny 2 players think of Bungie's new 2018 roadmap, and whether it will solve their many complaints. Personally, though, I think there's a lot here that makes sense—not least the plans to make a faster, more lethal Crucible, reintroduce a Destiny 1-style 6v6 playlist, and tweak Nightfall scoring. These changes all directly target some of my main issues with the current game, and it's nice to see Bungie be more upfront with its plans.

Also, they've deployed a fix for Ikora's annoyingly persistent waypoint in the Tower, which at the very least makes the game playable again.

Joe Donnelly: Parklife-less

I was on holiday in Berlin this week, and only came back to work yesterday. As such I'm a wee bit out of sync with the Highs and Lows of PC gaming, so I'll instead talk about part of my trip—visiting an abandoned amusement park—and will tenuously tie it in with videogames. 

The history of Berlin's Spreepark is pretty fascinating. It was in operation both before and after the city's unification, it featured in the 2011 thriller Hanna, and its latter owner wound up in jail following a high-profile drug smuggling scandal. In-person, the park's ferris wheel still creaks in the wind and it's bloody terrifying. I spent the rest of the afternoon post-visit bending my girlfriend's ear, waxing lyrical about all the games that visit abandoned theme parks—such as Silent Hill 3, The Park, Fallout: New Vegas, and Nier: Automata. There's something eerie and exciting and wonderful about visiting these forgotten landmarks in digital form, which I appreciated even more after doing so in real life. I'll probably write about the experience at some point down the line, once I get over how creepy it all was. 

Tyler Wilde: Bees ate my knees

Despite my struggles to maintain a decent framerate, the Hunt: Showdown alpha has been a lot of fun. We got together and chatted about why earlier this week, but the short of it is that one time Evan and I were attacked by bee monsters and the bees ate me. That’s a pretty good game pitch on its own. Hunt’s monsters are properly horrific, voluminous and loud, full of squibs that blow blood and feathers(?) and other insides out. I’d really like to talk to the person (people?) who made all the gurgling noises, as well. Please get in touch if you went ‘ahwhamhhhbbllafg’ into a microphone to freak me the hell out. And whatever horse or person did the dying neigh that startled me every time deserves an award. I hope it was a real horse.

Tuan Nguyen: Everyone loves cheap hardware

We recommend a lot of hardware, and often times the cost can start racking up quickly, especially on brand name products. But as it turns out, people love cheap hardware—especially when said cheap hardware performs basically just as good as something five times the cost.

Such as this fine mouse with a ridiculously long name. It’s got all the specs of competitors many times its cost, but can be had for about 10 smackers. Adjustable DPI, optical tracking, six buttons, and even a wireless version—it’s a mouse that’s hard to pass up. Besides, 1500 positive Amazon reviews can’t be wrong.

Chris Livingston: A pirate's life for me

The Sea of Thieves beta is over, but I'm already looking forward to the game's full release. Rare's open world pirate game, at times, felt a bit lackluster in terms of official activities, but as a sandbox for making your own fun it might be just what I'm looking for. Plus, it's got the most beautiful water I've ever seen in a game. I played with friends, with strangers, and on my own, and had plenty of hearty fun in all instances. Can't wait to set sail again in March.

Jody Macgregor: Forgotten faeries

I've heard plenty about Dark Souls Remastered and Final Fantasy 12 Remastered, but nobody said a word about Faerie Solitaire Remastered, which apparently came out at the end of December. That's a terrible time to release a game but still, in a fair and just world this would be front-page news. Faerie Solitaire was my solitaire-with-a-twist game of choice, where cards might be frozen in ice or trapped in thorns until you free them, and you slowly fill a garden with magic items that give you card-related powers. Imagine if PopCap reinvented Solitaire, only with a story that's kind of rubbish. The game itself is killer though, a perfect reinvention of solitaire I dumped 20 hours into.

Faerie Solitaire is seven years old now so the new version is slicker and somehow even more coated in glitter, but the main improvement is the pets system. Underneath some cards are eggs that you hatch and then feed, slowly growing a menagerie of fantastical creatures that are irrelevant to the actual game. While present in the original they appeared rarely—the remaster is much more generous with them. Here goes another 20 hours of my life playing solitaire to free a bunch of trapped faeries.