This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

Phil Savage: Rez-urrected

Once upon a time, Rez was not available on PC. Now, suddenly, it is. I'm going to dig into why Rez is good (for the most part) in my review next week. For now: it is a cool curio of early-2000s consoles, and the sort of thing that a serious man in a wanky beret could wax on about for hours. It's an attempt to lift the mind into a state of synaesthesia, you know. (Long, pensive drag on a clove cigarette.) It is a recontextualised homage to the expressionist works of Kandinsky, you see. (Stares into the middle distance, wine glass untouched for three hours.) It is about the rise and fall of civilisations, the evolution of man, and the existential questions surrounding the creation of AI.

It's an on-rails shooter, basically, with a selection of early-naughties electro bangers. Most importantly, it's a cool bit of games history that now, finally, is available on PC. I'm a fan of this trend for definitive PC ports of console classics, because the platform has a longevity and stability beyond what any console can offer. My PS2 copy of Rez is effectively useless (what do you mean, "emulation"?) but my Steam copy will live on for at least the foreseeable future. The PC is ever expanding in all directions—new indie things, new weird mods, new AAA blockbusters, new densely complex strategies, and, yes, new eccentric console games from the turn of the millennium. All are welcome here.

Tom Senior: International love

This year’s Dota 2 International tournament concludes tomorrow. I have been following it all week and it has been consistently thrilling. I can’t claim to be anything like an expert in the Dota 2 meta and its progression in recent years, but this International in particular has regularly featured tense, climactic sieges, and extraordinary team fights waged across a huge spectrum of viable heroes. Even as we move into the endgame, great spectator heroes are getting consistent picks. Everyone loves a perfect Earthshaker echo slam. Expert Pucks are landing beautiful four-hero dream coils. I even saw a Broodmother or two webbing up the lanes in the group stages. The tournament has been a great showcase for the game, even for people like me who prefer to spectate rather than play.

The highlight of the tournament for me so far happened yesterday when Team Liquid faced Virtus Pro in an epic match that looked, for a while, as though it would never end. Dota 2 has hosted crazy long matches in the past, of course, but this one felt particularly dramatic. It was the story of a team’s fear of getting punished on the final push, even with a clear numbers advantage. I won’t spoil how it turned out for those catching up, but you’ll find it all on the Dota 2 International Twitch channel.

Chris Livingston: The Good, the Good, and the Good

Well, this is an easy one: stick-figure RPG West of Loathing has moseyed onto Steam. Yeehaw! My review is right here, but the short version is: it's fun, cleverly written, hilarious at times, and one of the most enjoyable games I've played in ages. I spent about 24 hours playing, and half of that came after I'd finished the main story quest because it's jam packed full of side-quests, puzzles, mysteries, and goofy weirdness. It's also on sale for a week on Steam, and even at full price it's a steal.

Joe Donnelly: Mixed bag

This week was a good one so far as Highs are concerned, so I'm going to overindulge and list more than one. In fact, I'm going to list three. Two of which are video-related for your laidback, couch-occupying weekend consumption. First, what about that Sonic Mania retro Archie comic-styled opening cinematic? As if the incoming reimagining of Sonic way back when wasn't already high on nostalgia feels, this video really took me back. As you'll spot in this now updated article, its PC iteration has been pushed slightly to August 29, but I can't wait to strap on my red running shoes when the time comes. 

Next, I spoke to Jamal Rashid—aka Razed—this week, creator of the outstanding visual overhaul mod GTA 5 NaturalVision Remastered. Read about its arduous creation here, and wonder at its pretty visuals. 

Lastly, I also discovered Kieran Merrilees' GTA 5 London Project—an ambitious and impressive work-in-progress mod that recreates famous London landmarks. However, he hopes to "eventually do a full map overhaul… with British textures [that] give it a London look." It's good, take a peek

Tyler Wilde: Pro Witcher

I'm keeping it simple this week: I saw a good gif. Look, sometimes a good gif is the best thing that happens to you in a week. It can't be helped. It's a really good one though. I might finally finish playing The Witcher 3 if I can shoe-skate the whole time.

Wes Fenlon: #trivia

One of my happiest memories of my misspent youth—which I misspent hanging around on video game forums and IRC chatrooms—was playing trivia with friends in the #trivia channel. When I realized Discord supported some pretty flexible and powerful bots, I was excited to try setting one up and running a new trivia channel of my own. It's been up for a week and proven a big hit with the PC Gamer Club members who hang out in our Discord channel, and that pleases me to no end. We already have tons of trivia categories, from games to Star Wars to Clash Royale (look, they came with the bot, okay?) and I've been editing other lists of trivia questions to add to the repertoire. If you join the Club, find me in Discord and we'll throw down in some trivia together. 

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