This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

 Tom Senior: Challenge accepted

Twitter was aflame this week, as garbage fires tend to be. Some think Sekiro is too hard and find the lack of an easy mode exclusionary. Some people think that you are not playing the game as intended if you add an easy mode. We waded in too because sometimes, in the shrieking rapids of modern social media discourse, you've gotta have a take. In the end, mods come to the rescue. Play the game however you like; that’s PC gaming.

There are so many better conversations to be having about Sekiro, though. I’ve been trying to piece together the game’s lore all week and there’s a lot going on. Death. Rebirth. Religion. Sad Apes. It’s big stuff, and I’m looking forward to seeing how people interpret Sekiro’s ambiguous moments when the furore has died down.

Andy Kelly: Royale with cheese

This week I played a few hours of Firestorm, Battlefield 5's battle royale mode, and man, this genre has really led game devs down a creative cul-de-sac, hasn't it? When open world games were the hot thing and everyone was trying to outdo each other, that at least forced studios to come up with a few new ideas—whether they worked well or not. But with these battle royale games, everyone seems to be just making slight variations on a theme. They're all basically the same game, even if they pretend they aren't, and it's boring me to death.

Samuel Roberts: Alan sleeps

We've known Alan Wake 2 was worked on in some form for years now, but this week a little more salt was rubbed in the wound on the matter, as Remedy discussed it a little in an interview. I always thought of it as a modest hit back at launch, buried as it was by Red Dead Redemption, which is a horrifying reminder that the game is now old enough to be considered retro. Hopefully, the universe will conspire in Alan's favour down the line, and we'll get a chance to hear more of his terrible but great book extracts.

Joanna Nelius: An obscene amount of cores for… why?

Intel recently unveiled a 56-core, 112-thread CPU, but of course that doesn’t translate over to gaming, just workstations. On the high side, this CPU gets clock speeds of 2.6GHz to 3.8GHz, and uses 400W TDP. If that clock speed looks a little low, you’re right. Generally, more cores equals lower clock speeds. 400W TDP is no small amount of power, either. But this CPU is nevertheless a Cascade Lake product. Maybe there will be a gaming equivalent in the future? I don’t know. There really isn’t a battle to be won in the great war of cores vs clock speeds.

Maybe someone out there needs a workstation with a 56-core, 112-thread CPU, though.

Tyler Wilde: Never fooled

I try not to be cynical about basically harmless things that other people enjoy, but do I ever hate April Fools Day. The jokes are so rarely funny, and when you're in the business of reporting news, every leak—Borderlands 3's release date leaked on Monday, as did a few details about the Valve Index—is treated as suspect. Even though I knew those leaks were legit, because there was no reason for either company to joke about them, everything is extra suspect on stupid April 1, and I feel like I have to add 'Yes, I checked, and this is not a joke' to every article. 

The rest of April is good, though, because NHL playoffs begin and then my birthday.

Chris Livingston: Grand Theft No-No

I thought, for some reason, maybe I'd try to jump into GTA Online the other night. It's been ages since I played, probably not since I tried hitchhiking across the map in 2015. Long story short, I don't think I'll be back playing it again anytime soon. It takes ages to join a session, putting every slow-loading battle royale game to shame, and when I did I was immediately bombarded by calls from NPCs, texts, emails, and on-screen notifications that pop up every few seconds informing me of some event or challenge or beginning or ending.

I know there's a way to turn most of this stuff off, but I stubbornly decided to just endure it and just basked in the overwhelmingly intrusive design of a game desperate to let you know how many things there are to do. There was also, naturally, a cheater flying around the map in a tank and bombarding me every time I spawned even when he was nowhere nearby. I had one nice moment, where a player was desperately trying to kill me while I ran around his car in circles, and he wound up shooting all his windows out before I finally convinced him to get out of his car. Then ran him over with a Blazer and then shot him dead when he got back in his car and began chasing me. Then I logged off, maybe forever.

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