Chris Livingston: Far high
Well I've played nothing this week except Far Cry 5, so even if it sucked I'd have to fit it in here somehow. Luckily, it doesn't suck: it's a good time filled with chaos and explosions and wingsuits and a buncha angry animals jumping on everyone, all the time, always. You can read my review of Far Cry 5 here, and perhaps more importantly, learn the pros and cons of impaling people and fighting bald eagles with shovels.
With the storyline complete (that part wasn't so good) I'm still playing every day, picking up the side-quests I missed, getting in random fights, and exploring the big open world for a potential sighting of Bigfoot. After 25 hours, I still feel like I've got plenty left to do.
James Davenport: Prison escapism
I’ve never been so delighted to see a prison. Like Chris, I’ve been playing Far Cry 5 all week and enjoying the bulk of my time spent. Despite some boring bad guys, the setting is one of my favorite in any open world ever, largely because of my personal ties to the area. I grew up in Deer Lodge, Montana, a small town in the western half of the state Far Cry 5 is based on, and it’s been a delight matching in-game locations with their real life inspirations. I might whip up a video on it at some point, but for now, let’s take a look at the Hope County Jail. Here’s an aerial view. And now here’s the Old Montana State Prison, a fortress nestled right on the edge of my hometown. Get a closer look in Google Maps if you’re curious.
Hope County Jail is clearly based on the place, even if it’s not one-to-one. My childhood is a goddamn videogame hub. The old prison was where I spent a good amount of my youth, either sneaking in after dark (shh), visiting my sister for free ice cream at the shop, helping out with the annual haunted house set inside, or watching a show put on by a local theater group in the same venue prisoners watched plays in. Experiencing some explosive videogame set pieces in a familiar space is something I don’t think I’ll ever know again. Anyway, go visit Montana, stop in Deer Lodge on your way to Glacier or something, and hit up the Elk Ridge Brewery. My dad will probably be there, a few deep. Talk him up and he might take you to a secret fishing spot. Unfortunately trout don’t sell for hundreds of dollars like they do in Far Cry 5, so beer’s on him.
Tom Senior: Dino crisis
Trespasser was dumb. Let’s just get that out of the way immediately. The floppy arms are hilarious and useless and oh god what were they thinking? But watching Andy’s videos earlier this week reminded me how codified gaming control systems have become. In 1998 control scheme norms weren’t quite so firmly established. You could do something extremely risky and weird with a big movie license and watch it flop gloriously. What if Trespasser had been better, would we be guiding wobbly limbs around our first person shooters today?
No, because it was simply too rubbish. However, Trespasser has left us with a happy legacy. When you’re shoving a vibrating limb into an open torso in Surgeon Simulator, you’re paying homage to Trespasser. The ragdoll flailing of digital limbs give us great joy in Sumatori Dreams, Gang Beasts, Octodad, Human Fall Flat, Goat Simulator and more. Here’s to comical ragdoll physics, and Trespasser’s bizarre legacy.
Samuel Roberts: Into Darkness
This week—not anymore, sadly—you could pick up 2011 FPS The Darkness 2 for absolutely nothing, which is a steal. If you did and you've never played it before, install it and play this weekend. It's by Warframe developer Digital Extremes, and it takes a very different approach to the (sadly console-only) Starbreeze original. It's basically a game about ripping dudes apart with tentacles as quickly as possible. The level of gore won't be for everyone, but it's the sort of scrappy mid-range game that it feels like publishers stopped making in the last five years.
There's also surprising depth to the story, where you're led to question whether everything going on in your mafia/demonic life is actually happening or not. An underrated favourite of mine.
Joe Donnelly: Heist hilarity
Listen. You must be sick of my GTA chatter in the highs portion of this column, but I've been consumed by San Andreas of late. First, let me apologise and assure you that I do have insight. Second, let me talk about last night's heist.
Under the guidance of heist parents Samuel and Phil (our crew’s grizzled GTA Online heist veterans), myself and PCG columnist Xalavier Nelson joined forces to break a chap named Rashkovsky out of Bolingbroke Penitentiary. This involved stealing prison busses, shooting coppers, haphazardly piloting choppers and crashing Sam's Vigilante—GTA's answer to the Batmobile—more times than its owner was comfortable with. “What are you doing?” asked distressed passenger Samuel at one point. “Don’t do that, Phil. DON’T DO THAT! Oh, it worked. I’m impressed.” Put Phil Savage behind the wheel of a novelty superhero car at your peril.
A few weeks back, our previous heist attempt ended in failure following some suspect connection issues. Last night's went without a hitch and was great fun. When you're not faffing about with matchmaking and load screens, GTA Online with friends is hard to beat.
Wes Fenlon: Casting pods
GDC is a rare chance to chat with game developers away from a big announcement or a marketing tour, which is what makes it my favorite event of the year. This year I managed to record three podcasts: a lengthy chat with Dwarf Fortress creator Tarn Adams, a look back at Divinity: Original Sin 2 with Larian head Swen Vincke, and a bigger chat with the team behind Into the Breach, Justin Ma and Matthew Davis, with writer Chris Avellone. Also, James had a chat with Amanita Design about an upcoming horror game, which is a weird and cool prospect for the developers of Samorost and Machinarium! Listen and enjoy. Please.