This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Joe Donnelly: Terry loves PC Gamer

This week I interviewed ex-NFL linebacker-turned-Hollywood actor-turned-PC gaming enthusiast Terry Crews. Despite this being relatively exciting in and of itself, Crews' positivity not only for building desktops but towards life in general is infectious, and it was a pleasure hearing tales of he and his son mucking around with VR hardware, and playing Battlefield 1 alongside Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx. 

I also appreciated Crews dispelling some of the enduring and misconstrued stereotypes tied to our hobby. Hearing him compare gaming to acting, painting and furniture making was nice. Oh, and he also said this: “I’m a big fan of PC Gamer, you guys are rocking.” Am I gushing here? Probably. Read the interview in full this-a-way and make up your own mind.    

Andy Kelly: Wolf at the door

This week I played an hour of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. But while I can’t talk about that right now, I can talk about what’s been shown of the game so far, mainly at this year’s E3. Specifically, I love what the developer is calling ‘Germericana’. A large chunk of the new game will be set in a Nazi-occupied United States, which makes for some striking imagery. MachineGames has taken idyllic scenes of American life in the 1960s and imagined how the Nazis would have perverted them for their own propaganda needs. There’s something compelling about seeing Main Street, U.S.A. draped in swastikas.

Blazkowicz is, of course, an American himself, which should make for a particularly bitter homecoming. But as if he didn’t love killin’ Nazis enough, seeing them stomping all over his beloved country will make him even more eager to decimate the Führer’s army. Bringing Wolfenstein to the United States for the first time is an inspired idea, and has given the writers even more scope to craft a wild, outrageous alternate history. What I’ve seen is even more out there than the previous game. You can read my full thoughts, and an interview with creative director Jens Matthies, here next Thursday.

Chris Livingston: Windows Ninety-Die

I took some time off, during which I didn't play any games at all—when I'm not working I like to expand my horizons by napping between Netflix binge sessions—and since I've been back I've only had time to play a single game. Luckily, it's a cool one: Kingsway, from developer Andrew Morrish and published by Adult Swim. It's a roguelike fantasy RPG as realized by a Windows 95-like operating system. 

Everything takes place in various windows and panes on your virtual desktop, from exploring to looting to tense and complex boss fights, and it all works wonderfully well. Quests arrive as emails, status effects appear in your taskbar, and there's lots of clicking, rearranging, and minimizing. In other words, if you've ever used an operating system, you already know how to play: no tutorial needed. It's only $10 on Steam—well worth it, I think.

James Davenport: Hearty Oats

As a college freshman, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 blew my mind. The special effects work still stands out among the blinding CGI most blockbusters choke on today. His later films, Chappie and Elysium, were horribly written, but still a lot of fun to look at, so I stopped worshipping at Blomkamp’s temple for a while. Now, he’s back with Oats Studios Volume 1, a collection of free short films. They’re not games, sure, but they’re available on Steam which is enough of a qualification for me. 

The big three—Firebase, Rakka, and Zygote—clock in at about 30 minutes long, and while they’re not going to win any awards for storytelling, each features some kind grotesque monster as the villain. The visual effects and design are unlike anything I’ve seen in modern popular film, so if you’re into movie monsters, I definitely recommend putting aside an hour or two to watch them all. Zygote feels like an especially easy recommendation for videogame people, starring a creature that feels like a creative, natural combination of The Thing and Dead Space. 

Tim Clark: There’s no need to shout 

Sometimes writing nice stuff about The Elder Scrolls: Legends feels like flipping coins into a wishing well. You want someone to be listening, but fear just getting a wet plop in return. I’m going to continue regardless, because I think the game is in great shape since the release of the Heroes of Skyrim set and the introduction of Twitch Drop giveaways. Skyrim’s Dragons, Shouts and Werewolves are super flavourful, and my beloved Midrange Archer and Sorcerer decks are both in good shape in this meta. With my other half away, I’ve been staying up late just to hop on my daily quest as soon as it refreshes. 

In fact I’ve been enjoying the game so much that I felt compelled to grind back up to legend this month, which is much less brutal than it is in Hearthstone thanks to the Serpent system which acts as a safety net below each rank. When I finally made it to legend, after back to back games in which a top-decked Cliff Racer saved my butt, I felt a great rush of relief and elation. My head also felt hot like a holiday resort on Mercury. God I love card games.

Jarred Walton: Threadripper and Tear

When it comes to pure gaming performance, Intel’s CPUs still hold the top marks in the vast majority of games. For non-gaming purposes, however, AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are closing the gap, and in terms of pure bang for the buck, they’re great processors. That’s why I’m excited to see Ryzen Threadripper in action, and we now have an official price and clockspeeds. The bad news is that the top 16-core/32-thread 1950X model will cost $999, and you can easily build a complete gaming PC for less than that. But the good news is clockspeeds will still top out at 4.0GHz, and you get 16 freaking cores and 60 PCIe lanes. Intel’s equivalently priced CPU is the i9-7900X, which ‘only’ has 10 cores. None of this will really matter for games, at least not anytime soon, but damn if I don’t want to do some video editing on this puppy!

PC Gamer

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