This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Tom Senior: Buddy system

I found the Battlefield 5 trailer to be really confusing and impossible to unpack. The series is going back to World War 2, but it seemingly has a knowing action movie tone, terrible overwrought Oliver Twist accents (please stop doing these. I’m looking at you, Tracer) and a cricket bat wrapped in barbed wire. It was weird.

I have no idea what this will end up looking like in the game proper, but I was encouraged by the detailed improvements DICE outlined this week. The squad system has felt off to me since Battlefield 4, and that’s a big reason why I stopped playing. I love Battlefield’s spectacle, and sense of scale, but without coherent squads too much of the game involves running to the action. The class changes—particularly the decision to give everyone medic skills—is curious as well. Hopefully we’ll see more at E3.

Joe Donnelly: I’m a Souls man

Glasgow is in the middle of heatwave, so I naturally plan to spend the long weekend ahead poking around in Blighttown, the Tomb of Giants and New Londo Ruins. Yes, Dark Souls: Remastered is now with us, and while I really should be doing other things—like sunning myself in the searing 23 °C heat outside—I'm unashamedly looking forward to jumping back into a repopulated version of my favourite game world. I know, I know, mods have probably elevated the lacklustre 2012 PC port beyond what this reworking offers, but I'm a sucker for Dark Souls, what can I say? 

This post from Souls person Illusorywall speaks to a pretty trivial addition to the remaster, but I now can't wait to hear it in my own game.

Tim Clark: De-escalation Protocol

Hey, so you know how sometimes we sneakily write a low which is actually just another high? Will this time my high is sort of also a low. Last night I had an amazing time playing the Escalation Protocol event that's part of Destiny 2's new Warmind expansion. For the first time I lucked into a group of eight other high-level guardians, and together we creamed all seven levels of swarming Hive enemies and the vast health pool bosses. I didn't get amazing loot, but I did manage to chalk off the third part of the Nascent Dawn quest. The real joy was the chaos as we went ham with our supers at once. It was only afterwards that the problems started.

In text chat: "Hey Clark, get out of the area so we can bring our buddy in." I explained I didn't want to leave, I wanted to grind for the sniper rifle, and that it's supposed to be a public event. From there things degenerated fast. First they surrounded me and started punching me. Then several of them started calling me a fag (because it's always that) and saying I was ugly. And let me tell you I was wearing a beautifully coordinated outfit. I went to make a cup of tea, took the dog for a piss, and when I came back they were still at it. Begrudgingly I left. None of this will be a huge shock to anyone who's played games on the internet, but it is a problem largely of Bungie's own making. Had they made it easier for groups greater than three to group up, this would be a non-issue. 

Yesterday, designer Jacob Benton addressed the lack of matchmaking for Escalation Protocol in the This Week at Bungie blog, arguing that the activity has been balanced around three players and it'll get easier as more people hit the level cap. That hasn't washed though, seeing as three of the best PvE players in the world recently struggled for 8 hours to beat it without additional help and they were all max level. For all the great strides Warmind has made, it's bizarre how hard Bungie has made it for players to enjoy one of the best parts of the DLC. Bizarre, but at this point not surprising.

Wes Fenlon: Reconsiderate

Games don't sit still anymore. So many of the PC's biggest games, which would've once spawned sequel after sequel, now simply grow and change, morphing almost beyond recognition over the years. For players, it's great, but it does cause one wrinkle for us: a review of a game like, Warframe, is barely applicable two or four years after it's written. So we decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary this week: we've re-reviewed some of the PC's biggest games, focusing on the ones where we felt like there was something significantly new to say. We've also left the original reviews up, so you can compare our earlier thoughts to our fresh 2018 takes. 

Chris Livingston: Bases loaded (image)

We had a recent discussion about which games are just too damn long, and for me it was baseball games on PC (rare as they are). I've always wanted to play a full season, 162 games, but I have always run out of steam at some point and given up. 162 games is a lot of damn games. Too many.

With Super Mega Baseball 2, I decided to compromise: I set my season length at 54 games, a third of a full season. I still gave up: I've been playing one game per day, but midway through the season I realized I wasn't going to make it, and just simulated the last 20 or so games. Why is this a high? Because my team—which I customized to look (sort of) like the PC Gamer writers—still made the playoffs. World Series, here we come. The playoffs are three best-of-five rounds, and that I definitely have the patience for.

Andy Kelly: Tanks a lot

I've been getting back into Overwatch lately, on a purely casual basis, and I only want to play as Orisa. There's something about her combination of support and tank that I find really satisfying. I love being able to take and dish out a good amount of damage, while popping shields to protect my teammates. It's a fun way to play, and perfect for someone like me who's useless in a straight fight.

But it's her Halt ability that I really love. This orb, which can be activated mid-flight, pulls players towards it and slows them. It's great for yanking pesky snipers from high ground or bunching groups of enemies up and making them an easy target for my cannon. She's slow and massive, making her a sitting duck at times, but playing as her is the most fun I've had online in ages.