This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Joe Donnelly: Fright delight

I’m a little bit sad about my High entry this week because it marks the end of my The Evil Within replay. I wasn’t exactly taken by my first run of Shinji Mikami’s 2014 nightmarescape, however I decided to nevertheless return after watching the sequel’s E3 reveal trailer. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the twisted tale of protagonist Sebastian Castellanos and as such feel a wee bit lost now it’s done—something I’ve not felt from a game in quite some time. 

Not to worry, I’m hoping to get my hands on The Evil Within 2 at next month’s Gamescom. If I do I’ll report back the minute I’ve hauled myself from behind the couch. 

James Davenport: It’s a date

Bungie finally announced a date for the Destiny 2 PC beta, happening August 28 to 31. The full game releases on consoles a week later, which diminishes the excitement a bit, but it’ll be helpful for people who want to know how their rig handles Bungie’s first FPS on the PC since Halo 2. They also provided recommended and minimum specs for the beta, and chances are they won’t change dramatically between now and the full release on October 24. 

You can read our full thoughts on the PS4 beta before jumping in later next month, but we don’t expect Bungie to implement changes based on feedback until Destiny 2 is let loose. A nearly two-month delay might be a good thing for PC players in the end. The console gets the early growing pains and we get a cleaner version from the get-go—ideally. Whether or not the PC version stays up to date with other versions of Destiny 2 hasn’t really been outlined yet. Fingers crossed.

Tyler Wilde: Hot wheels

I've gotta go fast, and Descenders looks fast. The downhill freeriding game appeared this week with a debut trailer that, despite including no motors, shows an expression of speed that makes your average racing game look like a tug boat ride. It’s part excessive motion blur, true, but also the tracks: the point of reference isn’t a low-poly crowd stuffed into bleachers, but a tree half-an-inch from obliterating your eye socket. I want to play this game. Looks like it may not be long: the devs have set up a Discord channel for beta testers, and joining will earn you access at some undetermined time “later this year.” 

Tuan Nguyen: I thought 4K was good. Then 8K came.

I’ve been using dual 4K screens for a while now—probably for the last year or so. It’s been good. Plenty of screen real estate and enough pixels per inch where I could barely make out the individual pixels. Then it came.

Dell sent over its brand new 8K UP3218K display, which is a 32-inch whopper of a monitor boasting full 8K resolution, or an insane 6780x4320. Sure, it doesn’t have G-SYNC or FreeSync, and it doesn’t run at 144Hz, and it takes not one but two DisplayPort connections to drive, but man, does it look good. I can’t see the pixels on this monster at all. It’s so high resolution I’m considering going to a scaled resolution just to be able to read things. Dell has always produced excellent displays, and the UP3218K is the most impressive one yet.

Tom Senior: Easily Myst

I took a trip to the past this week when I installed Quern, a game that is as fun to play as the word ‘Quern’ is to say. It came out in November last year but harks back much further to the quiet, cerebral charms of Myst and its sequels. I wrote about Quern’s particular charms in this week’s Why I Love. It’s a pleasant puzzle game that isn’t especially difficult.

The fact that I found the game in the first place shows that Steam’s discovery system can work quite well. When Steam reviews aren’t being bombed over a single issue, they serve as a quick indication of whether a game works properly. Combined with the refund system, which effectively turns the first couple of hours of every game into a demo, Steam is gradually improving users’ ability to find cool new stuff.

Andy: Golden year

Blimey, it's been a good year for imaginative, weird, interesting games. So I thought I'd use this space to sing the praises of a few you might have missed. There's the wonderful (and deeply strange) Everything, a surreal philosophical sandbox that's unlike anything I've ever played before. Stories Untold is an atmospheric anthology of well-constructed horror stories with an irresistible retro aesthetic. And the magnificent What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the most emotionally affecting story-led games I've played in years.

Then there's Night in the Woods, a gorgeous coming of age story with genuinely funny dialogue and some of the most likeable characters I've encountered in a game. Or maybe you fancy a deep, complex RPG, in which case Torment: Tides of Numenera is worth a look, a game that whisks you away to one of the strangest, most vivid settings on PC. And there have even been some interesting ‘AAA’ blockbusters this year, with Resident Evil 7 shaking the series up in some really smart ways. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 has in store. 

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