This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


James Davenport: Epic builds

Epic’s affirmation this week that build-offs and shotguns shouldn’t be the most viable way to fight in Fortnite sure pissed off a lot of people who like nothing but build-offs and shotguns. But I agree with the team’s thinking here. It’s naive to read into the vague, short blog post and extract the idea that building is basically going away. That’s absurd. Epic wouldn’t clip Fortnite’s wings right before the first $100 million year of formal competition goes underway. 

I read the statement as Epic aiming to increase the variety of tactical options for everyone, while making building a more deliberate, focused system as opposed to the infinite race for highground it enables now. I don’t think big towers are going anywhere, but there should be a rhythm to building. A potentially smaller resource cap with a faster harvesting rate could decrease the time spent farming, and force players to eye the rest of their inventory before adding yet another story to their race into the sky. And hey, maybe they’re completely wrong. Fortnite has been nothing but fluid in its short lifespan, and I don’t think Epic will commit to anything that doesn’t work in the long run. Let’s be open minded and patient for the time being. 

Wes Fenlon: Dial it up

I started Ni No Kuni 2 a couple months back and enjoyed the opening hours, but stopped playing before I let its kingdom building systems really get their hooks in me. Combat, from what I'd played of it, was fun and breezy, but also remarkably easy unless I took on enemies way above my skill level. I'm excited to go back now that there's a new patch adding two higher difficulty options, fixing what our reviewer Austin called the game's biggest problem. Bring on the challenge!

Tom Senior: Discount me in

How is the Steam sale treating you? I realised that for some reason I didn’t own DOOM 2 on Steam, so I bought that for a pound. Granted, it ran like crap until I installed GZDoom, which fixes the framerate and gives you full control over, well, the controls. I had some glorious retro fun at lunchtime gliding through half-remembered levels. Damn, the super shotgun still feels good.

What next? I’ve got my eye on West of Loathing, because I always loved the humour of Kingdom of Loathing. There’s no excuse for me not to own Crypt of the Necrodancer for a few pennies, and for something chunkier I might invest in Ni No Kuni because everyone needs a gorgeous Ghibli-esque JRPG in their lives.

Jon Bolding: Copious Cardboards

We’re driving into the summer board game release season, which these days means that we’re getting news about all the digital versions that board game publishers are having made. I got back from Origins this week, it’s one of the US’s biggest board game conventions, and played a bunch of good games I can recommend to you. I’ve spent much of the week following up on that, listing out what I want to buy, and comparing that budget with what I’m spending on the Steam sale. 

Plus, the Song of Ice & Fire miniatures game was good, and that means I get to buy more miniatures. A week in which one feels justified in buying more little plastic people is a good week.

Andy Kelly: On the road again

Gaming is pretty exciting right now. A new RPG from CD Projekt RED, a new Hitman, a new From Software thing, Forza Horizon 4 coming to the greatest country in the world, Scotland. But my excitement levels for all of them were beat last night when, after playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for the first time in a while, I saw the police at the side of the road dealing with a collision. Something in almost a hundred hours of play I'd never seen before.

Random road events have been added to the game, with a slider you can drag up and down to determine their frequency. They litter the roadside with little immersion-boosting scenes, from the aforementioned fender bender, to emergency vehicles dealing with the aftermath of serious accidents. This won't sound like much if you don't play ETS2, but longtime players will love the fact that there's now something to see on those long, uneventful drives.

I love how ETS2 has been continually growing and evolving over the years, with features from American Truck Simulator occasionally trickling in too. It's a game I've been playing for years and I love that, even now, it can still surprise me. And if you haven’t played it yet, you can pick it up for a trivially low price on Steam right now thanks to the summer sale.

Joe Donnelly: Old dogs, new tricks  

The World Cup kicked off this week, and as such I've spent most of my free time screaming at grown men who are apparently incapable of staying on their feet for 30 seconds at a time without writhing about on the floor as if they've been shot. Deep breath.

Strangely, I've found solitude in Dark Souls Remastered—a haven free from the infuriating rule-breaking football players that live inside my telly. And while I've completed Dark Souls' Prepare to Die Edition umpteen times, it's been nice to revisit a familiar place with a fresh lick of paint. Speaking of which, how lovely does the Resident Evil 2 remake look? After its wonderful E3 showing, it launched some new in-game footage this week alongside its PC system requirements. I cannot wait for January 25, 2019. Itchy, tasty.  

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