This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Phil Savage: Rage inducing

The live-action announcement trailer was intolerable—I'm yet to make it past the 30 second mark without my facial muscles cramping from the extreme cringe. BUT! The game itself could be something special. I am very here for the idea of Avalanche and id collaborating, and the follow-up trailer suggests an altogether more promising proposition. It feels a bit Borderlands, a bit Bulletstorm, and even a little bit Doom.

Avalanche is consistently great at crafting fun, zany toolsets that make it a joy to traverse an open world space. At the same time, I don't think the studio has made a truly great game since Just Cause 2. My hope is id's expertise at guns 'n tech will augment Avalanche's own strengths and result in something memorably absurd.

Philippa Warr: Clash mob

I’m really excited to play League of Legends’ tournament mode, Clash when it launches later this month (25th May). The idea with Clash is to provide a fortnightly tournament opportunity for you and four friends. You enroll, you lock in during the designated time and then you see how far you can get in a bracketed competition. For me the thing that makes this exciting is that the emphasis doesn’t appear to be on the top tier of players. I was initially thinking it would end up as a kind of bridge between top-tier amateurs and the pro scene. But Riot are keen for Clash to be a mode which supports teams even if they’re at the bottom rung of the ladder, or are playing just to see what it’s like rather than catching the eye of a scout.

My esports work took a bit of a back seat since joining PC Gamer magazine. It’s because esports is often super time-sensitive and the magazine is very much a thing we write weeks before it can pop up on shelves. The upshot is that playing those games has also been shunted down the priority list. I’ll write a longer piece next week about Clash and what Riot are doing, but this has the potential to be a regular knockabout with like-minded teammates which actually fits into my current gaming schedule!

Chris Livingston: Get in here, Stalker

Oh, Stalker 2 is being made? Oh, okay. Yeah. I'm down with that. It feels a little weird that the fourth Stalker game is called Stalker 2, but yeah, I'm okay with it. 2021? Okay, that's fine. No rush. It's being made, though, right? That's what you said? Okay. I'm good. I'm glad to hear this. I'm good with this. This is good.

Yeah, this is good.

Samuel Roberts: Upgrade time

If anyone else has been waiting to upgrade their PC for a while now, it's been a fraught few months, as graphics card demand spiralled out of control and the prices went up accordingly. Now, though, as things have settled down, it's looking like we're close to the next generation of Nvidia cards, with the 1180 rumoured to launch in July. The 1170, then—probably what I'll get—won't be far behind.

The idea of a significant upgrade is so exciting to me right now. It's been a while since I've been able to play modern games on ultra graphics settings—and a big, expensive upgrade will also be tied to a new monitor purchase. It's going to be a pricey few months, but at the end of it, I will be a happy man. 

Austin Wood: Magic and murder 

At any given moment, I either have no games to play or way too many games to play. Having precisely enough games to play is just a myth. I was already in the too many camp halfway through this week thanks to a spike in cool indie games, and more cool games have only come out since then. The good news is that, so far, I'm two for two. I was only able to spend a few hours with each, but both of the games I played this week were great, so I'll be playing more of both of them this weekend. 

Wizard of Legend was the first. You play as a young battlemage trying to prove himself in the magic world by defeating three elemental masters in a procedurally generated dungeon. The dungeons aren't as varied as the likes of Enter the Gungeon or The Binding of Isaac, but the isometric combat is immaculate. Stringing spells together looks, sounds, and feels fantastic, and I haven't even unlocked all six elements yet, let alone all 100 spells. 

Then came Omensight, a third-person action RPG that mixes time travel, murder mystery, and animal people. Basically, the world is going to end if you don't rewrite the day's events, so you rewind time and tag along with different characters to figure out what the hell went wrong and how to stop it. The combat is great here, too, but I find myself more and more engrossed in the story and the way it affects the world. You can change one character's route using knowledge gained from another character's, and it's satisfying seeing all the pieces fall into place. I'll probably finish this one first, then grind Wizard of Legend until I've cleared it a few times.

Jarred Walton: overclocking mayhem

I haven’t had a chance to write them up just yet, but I’ve got AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600 (the non-X variants) in for review, and I’ve completed all the benchmarks. At stock clocks, performance is a bit lower than the 2700X and 2600X, as you’d expect, but they’re still plenty fast. Overall, the 2700X beats the 2700 by 10-12 percent, while the 2600X leads the 2600 by just 6-7 percent. But what if I overclock all of the CPUs?

There’s still a small benefit for the X-series parts, about 100MHz, and you’ll definitely want a better cooler than the Wraith Spire — even the Wraith Prism on the 2700X will be hard pressed to keep thermals in check at 4.2GHz. But with a decent AIO cooler (I used the Enermax Liqmax II 240), all four CPUs hit stable overclocks of 4.1-4.2GHz on all cores. When looking at maximum overclocked performance, the non-X CPUs are only 1-3 percent slower.

Couple that with some stellar deals and the Ryzen 5 2600 is a very tempting bargain.

On the next page, check out this week's lows.