This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Samuel Roberts: Phoenix delayed

I wasn't too surprised that Phoenix Point, the X-Com spiritual successor from Julian Gollop, get delayed to 2019 this week—nor does it worry me at all. Last week me and Tom played a bunch of the backer build and were impressed by its potential, but it felt super early, and the idea that the game would've been out within the next seven months seemed unlikely. Gollop's reasoning is sound enough: "I believe we can create a game with high production values that will make a huge splash on launch. In order to achieve this we need to continue to expand the team and maintain our focus on quality."

I love the idea of a detailed, complicated alternative to XCOM—and I'm prepared to wait for it. After all, XCOM is a genre now, and we have a whole bunch of similar games along the way.

Philippa Warr: Hotshot

I have spent this week getting progressively more furious. On the positive side I now have many MANY small Lows I could bring out for this, the PC Gamer Book Of Grudges, but nothing that provides a whole paragraph’s worth of words by itself. This is a shame because- WAIT. Wait. Okay. I want to talk to you about the GSkill Sniper X DDR4 memory series. We need to talk about the name, for a start. WHAT ARE YOU SNIPING? What is the concept here? I mean, you could maybe argue that the thing is somehow there to help you, a player, do some sniping, but if that was the case then why would the DDR4 be wearing one of three different camouflage designs? So the DDR4 must be the sniper in this analogy, lying on its tummy in your rig and taking out… mice?

Then we get to the idea of how camouflage would work inside a PC. I mean, your options here are “Classic Camo”, “Urban Camo” and “Digital Camo”. But unless the rest of your PC looks like a hillock or a town or a… chiptune album cover?... then it’s not got a background into which it can blend. Furthermore, you’d expect a PC to have RAM. Surely the best camouflage would be for it to sit in your rig in the RAM zone, being RAM. Then it could snipe all the megahertz it wanted. Although at that point surely it should just call itself “definitely not a sniper”. You can’t just wear camo and then loudly announce yourself as the sniper. It’s… I just… I can’t. I. Just. Can’t.

Chris Livingston: Lost Key

It's a shame Boss Key didn't make it: I thought Lawbreakers was fun (though, to be fair, I moved onto to other games pretty quickly and never went back) and I really thought Radical Heights could have a future as a goofy BR game, something to stand in contrast to the cold military simulation of PUBG and the dizzying building system of Fortnite. Of course, it's also a shame for anyone who bought a founders pack or cosmetics for Radical Heights, which will presumably go dark in the near future. It just sucks all around, for everybody.

Phil Savage: Divine, right?

Can a high ever be a low? Ponder that metaphysical conundrum while I tell you about Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition. It's a great thing: a free, major update that reworks the third chapter, improves a whole bunch 'o systems, and, perhaps most importantly of all, is completely rewriting the journal—something I found consistently awkward to use.

This is all good, right? Except I'm “only” 30 hours into my Original Sin 2 campaign, which I took a break from a few months ago because I have the attention span of a... where were we? Now I'm faced with a choice: plough on regardless, or wait for the Definitive Edition and—if the saves don't transfer to the new edition (as they didn't with the first game's Enhanced Edition)—start all over again. It's a tough call. Maybe I'll make a start on Pillars of Eternity II while I decide.

Jarred Walton: Barf Souls

Small confession: I’ve never played any of the Dark Souls games. But I decided to rectify that this week, in anticipation of the remastered version hitting PC later this month—I wanted to get a feel for what was, so I could say how much the new version improves the situation. If you’ve never played the original Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PC, especially without Durante’s DSfix mod, you’re not missing much.

I don’t get motion sick very easily, but trying to play Dark Souls with a keyboard and mouse definitely did the trick. Even with DSmod, K+M users are still in for some pain. I managed to beat the Asylum Demon, and made it to the Taurus Demon, before I finally caved and dusted off an old Xbox 360 controller. It’s not just a matter of ‘gitting gud,’ but the horrible user interface and clunky mouse controls actually made me ill. Now bring on the remaster.

Austin Wood: Add monitor 

I've slowly upgraded pieces of my PC over the past five years to delay buying and building a whole new system, but for reasons I honestly don't know myself, I've never touched one of the most important parts: my monitor. I've been gaming on a crappy old 1080p 60hz monitor for what feels like forever. This week, my trusty steed finally started to give out, which means I'm about to spend an eye-watering amount of money. The worst part is that my eyes are still watering from recently replacing my crappy old chair with our recommended chair, the Office Master OM5. It was totally worth it, don't get me wrong, and I'm sure a new monitor will be too, but this is shaping up to be a mighty low month for my checking account. 

I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for. I'm not ready for 4K but 1080p is so five years ago, so I reckon 1440p is the sweet spot for buying a new monitor today. At least, that's what our guide to the best gaming monitors tells me, and Bo and Jarred seemed like trustworthy dudes when we went out for pizza at GDC. I've been spoiled by 27-inch displays so there's no way I'm going any smaller, and this is upgrade is a long time coming so I want to at least double my refresh rate. I also want to get in on this G-Sync business, especially after upgrading to a 1070. Once again, our recommendation, the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, checks all the right boxes. Now it's just a matter of convincing myself to take the plunge. 

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.