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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Tom Senior: It’s a card life

OK, it’s still expensive, but I reckon an upgrade from a GTX 970 to the RTX 2060 will give me a lot of extra performance for the money. Our RTX 2060 review suggests it should be easy to get 60+ fps out of almost every game (bar the troublesome Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey). The card should be future-proof too, for a while, because I can’t see myself upgrading to a 4K display any time soon. While I don’t care about ray tracing, if I manage to get hold of the card before it sells out everywhere, I’ll be installing Battlefield 5 to stick my face in some puddles. I’m more interesting in seeing how it looks in Remedy’s Control later this year.

It’s not quite an auto-buy. $350 for a 60-series still feels like a bit too much to me, particularly considering the 6GB of VRAM. Question is, can I wait for other prices to come down? Total War and Anthem are just round the corner, and I’d quite like to see both games at their best without spending the better part of a grand for the privilege. A 1070 Ti with the extra 2GB VRAM might be a better option, but that’s an extra chunk of cash. Decisions, decisions.

Fraser Brown: Paradox goes to prison

Paradox Interactive snatched up Prison Architect this week, and while the acquisition of a game that’s already a few years old isn’t very exciting, the publishers’ potential plans for future ‘Architect’ games definitely piqued my interest. With Cities: Skylines and Surviving Mars, Paradox already owns two of the better management romps released recently, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it does with another series. While Introversion did all they wanted to do with Prison Architect, Paradox hinted that it has some plans to develop it further, maybe with DLC? 

In the meantime, I’m having fun speculating about sequels. Starbase Architect springs to mind, which would tie in nicely with Stellaris, but how about something even more out-there? Paradox hasn’t done much with the White Wolf license, so maybe a Camarilla prince needs to build a new castle? There you go—two licenses taken care off in one game.  

Tyler Wilde: My games are gif’d

I knew of Gif Your Game from the watermarks I occasionally saw on clips of my friends’ Rocket League goals, but for a few months I assumed it was something I didn’t need. I have plenty of video capture and gif-making tools already. But I was wrong. GYG’s auto-capture function has made it so much easier to share my best shots, which are usually lost when I forget to save a replay. Never will beauts like this one go uncaptured again. 

Gif Your Game currently works with Rocket League, PUBG, League of Legends, and Fortnite—here’s the official site if you wanna try it.

Samuel Roberts: Catherine the great

Sega continued its pattern of surprise releases this week with Catherine Classic, the 2011 puzzle game from the creators of Persona. It joins Killer7 and Onimusha from just the last couple of months alone in making the leap from console to PC—and there are reasons to believe it's not the only Atlus title that'll come across. Could Persona 5 be next? I sure hope so. 

While it's not a perfect puzzle game, as a life sim about relationships and cheating it's really interesting—and given the price of just $20/£15, you've got a good excuse to check it out if you've never played it before. 

Chris Livingston: Feather armor

I've spent a good amount of time this past week meeting adorable birds in my garden and buying them tiny little hats. Tiny Bird Garden Deluxe is just what I need to start the new year: a cute, good-natured, and stress-free experience. I start it up in the morning, put some bird seed in the feeder, and check in periodically during the day to see which cute little birds are visiting and trying to figure out which little hat they'll like best. No matter how hectic my real-life day might be, it's always calm and peaceful in my virtual garden.

Bo Moore: Who won CES?

Nvidia and AMD were both out en force at CES this year, with each company unveiling a new GPU for us to salivate over. AMD took aim at the high-end with the $699 Radeon VII, intended to trade blows with Nvidia's RTX 2080. Meanwhile, Nvidia's RTX 2060 targets the new upper midrange, offering performance better than the GTX 2070 Ti for only $350. So who's the winner here? We are. Competition is a good thing. With AMD entering the high-end space, that puts pressure on Nvidia to competitively price its high-end offerings. Meanwhile, the RTX 2060 is rocking a fantastic price to performance ratio. So long as cryptocurrency doesn't muck things up again, we're looking at the start of a fantastic year for graphics.

Joanna Nelius: More than ray tracing

I’m starting to believe more in the power of the RTX 20-series. Sure, there aren’t that many ray-tracing games available just yet, but these graphics cards aren’t just about ray tracing; streamers, video editors, and animators alike could really benefit from the Turing architecture. I got to see firsthand how the RTX 20-series graphics cards work to offload that type processing strain from the CPU, allowing what’s on screen to render much faster. It’s like night and day. Bottlenecks could become a thing of the past. Will Turing architecture become the new gold-standard? Only time will tell, but what I saw at CES looked promising.