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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS 

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James Davenport: Roughin' it

When I showed up to a Far Cry 5 event, the first where we'd get to play the game and capture footage on PC, I didn't expect to get trucked off to an actual farm to shoot crossbows and ride around in ATVs. I do not think this event was made for me. As someone that grew up in Western Montana, the area Far Cry 5 is set in, seeing a farm in California converted to represent a fictional county from Montana was a weirdly perverse experience.

People in tactical gear taught us how to shoot crossbows at foam wolves. We ran a small obstacle course to save a plushie dog. High school graduates decked in Monster gear (nice guys) whipped us around in ATVs and dropped us on top of a hill where we were instructed to shoot more foam animals. It was all in the name of fun, but man, I just wanted to play the game and get away from the weird corporate-sponsored refraction of my home. And yeah, I did get to play, which I'll be able to talk about soon. I can't say whether I liked it or not, but I'm definitely more OK with use of Montana as a digital setting for open world nonsense than I am with its use as an amusement park.

Tim Clark: Goodbye, old Chum

Doing my afternoon Hearthstone daily quests this week, which I justify in lieu of no longer taking smoking breaks, a thought struck me as my 9/6 buffed Grimscale Chum struck my opponent's face. This will soon be over. Not the game, that was already over. But the current era of Murlocs being a legitimate deck is, in Standard at least, almost done. When set rotation happens in the next couple of months, the Murloc tribe will lose tiny powerhouses like Vilefin Inquisitor, Hydrologist, Finja, and my beloved Chum. And, given the nerf to Warleader a while back, it's safe to say Blizzard will be pretty careful about the fish people it prints in future.

I for one will miss our amphibious overlords. I've gradually come around on aggro in card games, recognising the the rock, paper, scissors element of any healthy meta. I've also gradually come to hate pure control players who love to durdle around, slowly killing you in the kind of time it usually takes to watch a Russian silent film. There's a lot to be said for just jamming down a bunch of babbling little dudes and saying "get 'em". No doubt, whatever happens with the next expansion, there will be a strong aggressive deck. But it almost certainly won't be mrghlhling its way to wins. And that makes me sad.

Samuel Roberts: Burnout returns

If nothing else, Burnout Paradise Remastered ensures the online scene for that game will come back to life, which is pretty exciting. But particularly for PC players, I'm not entirely sure I need a remaster—it already looks pretty nice, and I probably wouldn't spend more than ten pounds to play it again. But hey, we'll see what enhancements it brings to PC, along with the expansions that have never come to PC before (which they could've just launched instead). 

These remasters just usually end up making more sense on consoles.

Joe Donnelly: Long Weekender

The only downside to last week's PC Gamer Weekender—the UK's biggest celebration of all things PC gaming, have we mentioned that before?—is the fact that we, obviously, need to host it. As such, today marks the UK team's 12th working day on the trot, which means I myself have just about run out of gas. The upside, of course, is that I have all weekend to relax and play videogames. I might finally jump into Kingdom Come: Deliverance and see what all the fuss is about, or take Metal Gear Survive for a spin. Maybe I'll try Age of Empires' Definitive Edition for size, or perhaps I'll return to Divinity: Original Sin. 

I don't want to spend all weekend grinding in GTA Online. Tell me I shouldn't spend all weekend grinding in GTA Online.

Andy Kelly: Survival horror

I'm currently playing through Metal Gear Survive for our review, and boy is it dull. After an interminably slow first hour, where great big spoonfuls of exposition are ladelled into your brain, you find yourself struggling for survival in the most uninspiring of brown deserts. Your hunger and thirst dwindle stupidly quickly, forcing you to constantly wander off and find some sheep to stab. Your character runs out of breath after a few steps, and their regular jogging speed is more like a fast walk. I'm finding the whole thing a joyless slog, but I'll be playing a lot more over the weekend. Maybe it'll perk up. Maybe it won't. God I hope it does.

Jarred Walton: Tipping the scales

I’ve been working on some additional performance analysis articles, and we figured hitting some of the most popular multiplayer games would be a good idea. After PUBG and Fortnite, next on the list is Rainbow Six Siege. Yes, it’s a few years old, but having a high fps can be beneficial for competitive players. Anyway, I completed all my testing… or so I thought.

When I started pulling in all the numbers for my charts, I noticed some really odd discrepancies. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but the default presets all enable temporal anti-aliasing. That’s not bad, but the way Rainbow Six Siege does T-AA is a bit odd. There’s an option to specify render scaling, which is exactly what it sounds like, and the default is apparently 50 percent.

I’m still not sure what happened, but half the cards I tested were run at 50 percent scaling—meaning, 1080p was actually rendering at 1358x764, 1440p is 1810x1018, etc. That’s not the end of the world, but unfortunately the other half of the cards got switched to 100 percent scaling. Eventually, I had to throw in the towel and retest everything to make sure my numbers are consistent and correct.

My big issue here is that the render scaling option is at the very bottom of the settings, and it’s not affected by the presets. It should be listed right next to the resolution, and anything less than 100 percent is technically upscaling and introducing some blurriness. I don’t like blurriness, but rendering half as many pixels does boost fps a lot. Welcome to the new 4k (which is really 2.7k)!

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