This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Phil Savage: Hotter than Hell

Leif seemed to largely enjoy Hellblade, and, as a Team Ninja fan, I'm excited to give it a go. (DmC is secretly the best Devil May Cry. Don't @ me.) Unfortunately, its release prompted some insufferable hot taking about the game's threat to delete your progress if you die too many times. It sounds like a harsh punishment, but also interesting. I saw plenty of praise for how tense Hellblade's fights felt as a result. Plus it fits well with Hellblade's themes and story.

Some disagreed, though—even going as far as to paint such a system as 'anti-consumer'. Which, bluntly, is nonsense. I get that some might find such a feature off-putting, and that's... fine. It's OK. Just don't buy the game. Integral mechanics shouldn't be removed (or made optional) just because they're alienating. There are more games than anyone can realistically play, and refunds available to anyone who buys a game without realising that such a system exists. Let's all calm down and let developers try cool things. There will always be something else to play. (Note: I'm deliberately skipping over some of the later revelations about the exact nature of Hellblade's permadeath. Let's also not spoil cool mechanics just because Twitter is having a big 'discourse' about a save system.)

Joe Donnelly: Close, but no chicken dinner

I had a relatively pleasant week, so my Low is a short one. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in a very specific way with the aim of claiming a chicken dinner. Yesterday I ranked second and I’ve spent the last several hours lamenting what I might’ve done differently. If only I did this instead of that. If I’d just camped here instead of there. If I was good at this game and not, well, shit. Things could’ve been different. Look out for words on my exploits next week.  

Tom Senior: Criminal

My low of the week is hopefully a temporary one. The exciting arena shooter LawBreakers came out this week, but hasn’t broken the Steam most played list. This is a shame because Lawbreakers is a fast, high-skill shooter with a terrific sense of mobility. Perhaps a slow burn launch is part of the plan given that there wasn’t much fanfare around launch, but I worry that when worthy games like Titanfall struggle to sustain a community publishers may be tempted to turn away from them. I suspect the stunning success of Overwatch will prevent this, but I still like to see good games do well. If you’re getting into the game this week, check out Omri’s beginner’s tips.

Tyler Wilde: LawBreakers is good, I am bad

I swear I saw a controller icon next to my name for a brief moment in LawBreakers. I probably just witnessed some weird element of the generally muddled UI, but I wouldn't be all that surprised if Cliff Bleszinski were personally making fun of my K/D ratio. I've been coddled by Overwatch, which only celebrates positive stats at the end of a round, and now I'm being confronted with the truth that I'm not good at a videogame. LawBreakers, which I really like as of now (as does Evan), has no problem rubbing it in: rather than just featuring the winning team at the end, it ranks them from best to worst, and assigns a letter score to your performance. It also sticks an average grade on your profile. I have a C. If it drops to a D, do I have to print it out and have my parents sign it, Cliff? Is that what you want?

Chris Livingston: JasonUnknown's Campgrounds

The battle royale craze continues to grow on PC, though perhaps not always where it should. The makers of Friday the 13th are patching their multiplayer survival horror game so counsellors can't kill each other with weapons, because apparently that's what is constantly happening these days. I guess waiting for Jason to show up with a machete is just taking too long?

"While the mechanic’s intent is designed to promote life-or-death experiences into each and every game you play," said Gun Media, "the reality has turned into more of a Battle Royale scenario to a point our team feels a change needs to be made." See? If you don't play nice, you get your toys taken away (or nerfed, in this case). I know everyone wants a chicken dinner, but killing your camp-mates is no way to get one.

Wes Fenlon: Got a cold, cold, cold

I've got a cold, which started with a sore throat, moved on to a hot and fuzzy head, and is now closing out with a steady stream of snot. On the bright side, it's not the flu. My three day headache has kept me in more of a lazy TV mood than a gaming mood, but that's had its positive side: I watched the entire first season of Netflix's Glow, a wonderful show about women wrestlers and Marc Maron being a sad sack. Also, I've resolved to spend the weekend playing the lazily paced NetHack, whose dungeons I haven't braved in about a year. I will master its ASCII labyrinths and ascend victorious someday, dammit.

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