This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

Tyler Wilde: Our destiny is sealed

I'm going to take the place of (not very) secret Destiny fan Tim Clark—who I think is too busy fussing with a gallery of Hearthstone cards to write one of these—and celebrate Activision and Bungie's decision to bring Destiny 2 to PC. I haven't played Destiny. I have no idea if Destiny 2 will be good. But I do appreciate the occasional ‘event’ release because it, I hope, means a couple months of regular co-op sessions with friends. I’ll probably end up thinking Sniper Elite 4 is a better game, but I didn’t have ten people prodding me to play SE4 co-op with them when that came out earlier this year (which is really a shame, because it’s great), whereas when Overwatch launched the group invites flowed like Bastion POTGs. I’m sure Destiny 2 will be the same.

I realize, with some shame, that this means I’m looking forward to Destiny 2 primarily because of its broad appeal and heavy marketing. I just want to get lost in an ambitious world with friends who don’t have to be convinced to join in, to praise it or complain about it in disgusting detail—even if it sucks, there’s camaraderie to be had. The same thing happens when we’re all enamored with a game like Her Story, and all have experiences to compare. Except, y’know, the catalyst in this case will be too many trailers about a wisecrackin’ robot and the promise of many sci-fi guns instead of a sensitive, enigmatic story pieced together through a novel digital sleuthing system. Both are OK.

Oh, and I should link to the stuff Tim would’ve were he writing this: his breakdown of the Destiny 2 reveal trailer, and his list of qualities it’ll need to succeed on PC

Chris Livingston: Settling in

I guess I've been harping on this but I'll continue: after playing the Sim Settlements mod for Fallout 4, I think it's one of the best mods I've ever used. It allows your settlements to be built and grow on their own without the need for you to construct every last little building: your NPCs do it on their own. If you already enjoy the current settlement system, you can still use it: the mod doesn't disable the way things work, it just gives you an additional and—in my opinion—better and more immersive system. Do check it out

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Evan Lahti: Rural militia

Despite my best attempts to sell them on it over the past few years, I've had several friends who've bounced off Arma because they found it too complex or fiddly. Happily, most of these pals are now diving into Battlegrounds, Steam's latest hit, and it's been wonderful getting to play one of my favorite styles of games with them.

More than anything else, Battlegrounds puts me in situations where I get to protect my friends and play hero. If you've ever played paintball or airsoft with a group, you know what I'm talking about. The fractured chaos of calling out spotted enemies as you line up a shot. The spontaneous charges into danger, and the half-serious cries of anguish as when someone on your team gets hit. 

Games like CS:GO and Overwatch don't stimulate that feeling in nearly the same way for me because they're so structured and sport-like. I also love the way Battlegrounds promotes problem solving with friends: figuring out which route to take, when to ditch a vehicle, or where the gunshot you heard emanated from. It's a surprisingly social game, once you get comfortable with being in a 100-person bloodbath. 

Joe Donnelly: Rezzed, steady go

I’m swapping deepest darkest Glasgow for London this weekend, as I’m heading down to EGX Rezzed. I get down to the Big Smoke just enough to still enjoy visiting, and,having been to this particular event a couple of years in a row now, I always enjoy checking out the cool indie and experimental games which are always on show. Granted the likes of Dawn of War 3, Total War: Warhammer and Dean Hall’s newly announced project Stationeers are all on the show floor, but I’m most looking forward to the Leftfield Collection—which houses quirky ventures such as Gold Extra’s interactive documentary From Darkness, and Installation Required’s Operation board game-a-like Vaccination

If any of those or anything else catches my eye, expect the Hottest of Takes over the course of next week. 

Samuel Roberts: Coming battles

After a slow start to 2017 for big announcements—not to mention a pretty boring second half of 2016 which yielded the least interesting Gamescom I could possibly have imagined—this was the week that publishers remembered to reveal the stuff they're going to put out in 2017 and beyond. I'm excited about Destiny 2 and Total War: Warhammer 2, but the one I'm particularly curious about right now is Star Wars Battlefront 2, and how EA/DICE is going to address the original game's issues.

They were the lack of overall content, the simplicity of the combat and absence of meaty singleplayer options, generally speaking. These were symptoms of the game's relatively fast turnaround to hit Episode VII's release date. This time, a singleplayer component is confirmed—it's probably the thing I'm most excited about checking out in Battlefront 2. We'll hopefully get a first look at it when the game is revealed at Celebration later this month, but I'm hoping some of the original game's stuff makes the leap to the new version as well. Particularly the Rogue One DLC which arrived at the end of last year. I had no intention of buying that one without knowing what shape the active player base would be in, but hey, I'd be up for trying it this year.

Wes Fenlon: Clearing the air around emulators

I talked about emulation in my highs & lows last week, so why not keep it up? Off the back of last week's news that the Wii U emulator developers have made great progress with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I decided to take a deep dive into the ethics of emulation, which I think is often unfairly and shallowly conflated with piracy. Yes, of course the two have a connection, but they're not the same thing, and you can view emulators as an invaluable tool for preserving the history of games (and improving them) without supporting piracy. I also spoke with a lawyer about the intricacies of copyright law as it pertains to emulation, which was fascinating and also gave me a headache. I think I made it easier to understand. All for you, dear readers! 

PC Gamer

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