This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS 

Samuel Roberts: Full Anthem

After what felt like a muted showing at EA's Play conference, this full 20-minute demo of BioWare's co-op shooter Anthem actually looks more impressive to me. They take the time to explain the different elements of the game, the action looks exciting and the robots are cool. I can see myself playing this with three friends.

With the dust on E3 settled, I think more games would benefit from putting demo footage out there and letting the audience in on in-depth details of the game. Maybe it's Cyberpunk 2077's turn next, eh?

Andy Kelly: Lucky dip

Sometimes the sheer wealth of games available to play on PC is overwhelming. Trying to keep on top of them all, even for someone who writes about PC games for a living, is basically an impossible task. But it does mean that there are hundreds of hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered, such as The Room. No, not that one.

This puzzle game was released four years ago by Fireproof Games, but it completely passed me by. Then I saw it on sale on Steam, at the absurd price of just 99p, and bought it on a whim. And I was delighted to discover an immensely clever, atmospheric, and beautifully designed game based around solving a series of intricate puzzle boxes.

I finished it in one three-hour sitting, using a guide only once, and it's one of the most absorbing and satisfying experiences I've had with a game in quite some time. And better yet, there's a sequel and some well-received mobile games, so I have more puzzling to enjoy. It's really satisfying plucking a game out at random and it turning out to be great.

Joe Donnelly: Gimme some Smough

Dark Souls mods are the best. And while I've a penchant for the ones that make this already bastard hard game more challenging, sometimes it's nice to enjoy those that do the opposite. Enter Datehacks' Age of Fire. 

Austin wrote about the long-term work in progress number last week, which added Executioner Smough this week. Watching the big lad throw his weight around the Undead Burg with his electrified hammer and Trample Charges and bum drops is a joy to behold. Seeing him two-shot Asylum Demon and brush off its Capra cousin is more entertaining still. Check that out over here. Check out Gwyn in motion here. And The Depths' Gaping Demon here. Ceaseless Discharge next, please. 

Phil Savage: Fast & Fabulous

Yes, the bulk of SGDQ happened last week, BUT! it didn't finish until Sunday, which technically makes it fair game for this week's round of hot takes. It was a great event—as always—and raised an amazing $2,122,449.20 for Doctors Without Borders. But, in addition to being a cool event that makes a positive difference, it's also just a really fascinating way to see how a game ticks. My favourite runs are the ones that break a game in really interesting ways—that expose how the sausage is made by revealing how many tricks and workarounds are holding our favourite games together. Check out this Deus Ex run for a particularly great example.

Chris Livingston: StayZ

After nearly four years away I've returned to DayZ, finding a lot that feels the same (in the experimental build, at least) but some nice new changes as well. Mostly, it's great to be back in a world that feels a bit like home: I put 250 hours into DayZ back in 2014. I know there are a great many concerns about the game getting finished, and why it's taking so long, and what that finished product will even look like at this point, but I'm enjoying exploring, looting, surviving, and yes, even occasionally being shot in the head simply because I waved to someone. That's the DayZ I remember.

James Davenport: Fortnite Fridays

I have a new Friday tradition, and as you might have guessed, it involves Fortnite. Friday Fortnite is a weekly tournament featuring professional Fortnite players and streamers. But without 100 participants available each week, the competition leverages the unique talent of most popular Fortnite players: obliterating average Joes/Janes for a hungry audience. 

Here's how each match works. Four players squad up to make two teams of two. The goal isn't to kill one another, but to rack up more kills than the other two players over a few matches. It works so well because you can watch the tournament through your favorite players, and they have more opportunities to show off when they're playing against a server full of average people. Tension comes from what team will kick more ass than the other, a bit more entertaining than watching a caster struggle to keep tabs on everyone in a given match.

Head to the next page for this week's lows in PC gaming...