This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Steven Messner: Silencing the Anthem

If you've read my review of Anthem, you'll know I didn't care for it much. It was one of the hardest reviews I've had to write because, of anyone on the team (as I'm sure they'll tell you), I was the most optimistic and excited for Anthem. But BioWare's RPG shooter is just a mess—I would know because I've sunk over 40 hours into it since Friday, playing through everything including a chunk of its endgame for hours on end every day. That's a lot of time to spend on something that frustrates and disappoints you, so I'm excited to put Anthem down and not think about it for as many days as I can. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, BioWare will address the very negative response and lay out some plans for how things will improve. Until then, there's much better games to think about instead.

Jarred Walton: GTXodus

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is here, and it's a great midrange card. Priced at $280, it's technically cheaper than the GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition, which of course means all the 1060 cards have dropped in price and are on their way out. But if you're debating between a $200 1060 and a $280 1660 Ti, the newcomer definitely gets my vote. It's about 40 percent faster, so performance scales directly with price, and you get some potentially useful architectural updates as a bonus. Plus the GDDR6 memory overclocks really well. It's basically equal to the outgoing GTX 1070, which currently has a similar price if you can find one in stock, but who wants to pay for last year's tech when something new is equal or better?

The really interesting (or confusing if you prefer) bit is the naming and features of the GTX 1660 Ti. After ditching that brand last year and pushing RTX and ray tracing as the future, Nvidia is tacitly admitting that a lot of gamers—most gamers in fact—don't need or want to pay for the RTXtras. Which makes those high-priced GPUs feel more than a bit ahead of their time. When we eventually get a 7nm Nvidia GPU with the RTX features, that will probably be a better opportunity to make the switch. In the meantime, if you're sporting an older 600 or 700 series Nvidia graphics card, or an AMD R9 or earlier AMD card, $280 will get you a significant boost in performance.

Chris Livingston: Country roadmap

Hey, we finally have some sort of idea how the next year of Fallout 76's development will continue. We've gotten bits and pieces and a fair amount of bug-fixing over the past few months, but the Fallout 76 roadmap Bethesda released today, while still pretty incomplete, at least shows us some direction.

It doesn't exactly have me fired up to play again—I feel like I got my fill in the weeks after it launched—but a new main questline is being added, and that's definitely piqued my interest. I'm curious about the Nuclear Winter game mode, too. I guess we'll be filling in all the details over the next nine months, but the roadmap is definitely more exciting then the parade of minor tweaks we've been getting every week.

Samuel Roberts: Return to Vermintide

After living in the disappointing headspace of Anthem for a week, I'm excited about other games for the first time... well, since I finished Resident Evil 2. This weekend, me and the PC Gamer UK team are getting stuck into the weekly challenges for Vermintide 2, which began this week. They offer some more reasons to go back and play the levels we've already beat—which, to be fair, we planned on doing anyway. 

It's nice they're offering more stuff to get invested in for long-time players. 

Tim Clark: A Shattering experience

This week I soloed The Shattered Throne. Contrary to what one of our PC Gamer Club members suggested, this doesn’t involve staging a dirty protest in the bathroom. The Shattered Throne is Destiny 2’s brilliant dungeon activity. It takes place in the game’s gale-ravaged, monochromatic, Ascendant Realm—think Dark Souls’ Anor Londo but with alien snipers. Intended to be played as a tough three-person activity—we have a guide here—on your own it’s brutal, particularly the two bosses. Vorgeth, the Boundless Hunger, is a giant ogre and generally regarded as the hardest boss, but I actually struggled more with Dul Incaru, The Eternal Return. To beat her you have to down three big-ass knights and clear a shit ton of Psions before moving to a 30-second DPS phase. On Tuesday night I banged my head against the Throne for, oooh, six straight hours, before eventually heading to bed with a head that felt like a forest fire.

The day after I went back more out of stubborn fury rather than any real optimism. I’d tried all sorts of strats—Riskrunner to clear the adds, Sixth Coyote for double invisibility dodges, and even Legend of Acrius based on watching this guy do it. Eventually one run came together, thanks to using my Surrounded Spec shotgun from the Scourge of the Past raid to instamelt the knights, and then getting lucky with add placement for my tether. When I finally popped her with a volley of Whisper of the Worm sniper shots, the relief washed through me like a wave from an aftershave advert. My in-game prize? A cosmetic emblem, and I’m not even mad. In total it took nine hours, and I will not be trying for flawless, because I hate myself but not that much. 

Tom Senior: Encore

This week, after many hours in Anthem’s weird and busted universe, I have retreated to the cosy embrace of Destiny 2. It’s never been easier to get so-called ‘powerful gear’ that increases your power level and puts you in range of the game’s toughest challenges. It’s been a couple of months since I played, which is just long enough for the novelty of the Destiny universe to come back. There’s such a rich and varied suite of activities to pursue, and the next season is almost here. It'll give players the opportunity to take missions from the tentacle-faced salesman Xur and there’s going to be a “new Gambit experience”. Gambit is Destiny 2’s brilliant hybrid PvPvE mode that has two teams competing to kill enemies and bank motes of light.

I’m also looking forward to the Division 2 next month. Anthem reminds me that it’s fun to discover a new world with friends, even if that world turns out to be kinda broken. The Division 2 will probably be quite solid, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the sequel has learned from the first game. The Dark Zone always felt like a great idea that didn’t quite reach its potential.