This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS 

James Davenport: Goodnite

Less than a week into Fortnite Season 4 and I've already finished the first set of challenges. While that's not a major mark of skill, it's a personal best for me. I can't remember the last time I played a multiplayer shooter with this kind of consistency. While I'm no Fortnite pro, I can feel myself getting better all the time. Hell, I got my first solos Victory Royale of the season just a few matches in. But I don't really expect to win most matches, and I don't mind the sustained failure that the battle royale genre nearly guarantees. As long as my building or aim or harvest speed is a touch better than before, I'm cool with going out early. 

It doesn't hurt that Season 4 added consumable space rocks that make you float, or that the new cosmetics and Battle Pass challenges are as exciting to chase as ever. Fortnite's island is something of an amusement park this season. With craters and jump drugs and subterranean superhero labs hidden all over the map. The promise of something new to see or do each week is enough to keep me logging in for the next few months. If you've been sleeping on it, now's the time to give it a shot. I'll help you out. Hit me up (Epic ID: Soundoutside) and we'll get a squad going. Maybe read our Fortnite building tips beforehand, though. 

Joe Donnelly: Free (to try) for all

If you're anything like me, the first weekend post-payday is a tough one. You've still got a sizeable chunk of last month's wage in the bank, but have another three weeks before your next cheque. In that time, you've still got phone bills, insurance payments, rent, and that money you borrowed from your pal to buy Fortnite skins to repay. Can you afford to splash out on the latest game with all that to worry about? If you have to ask, the answer is probably no. 

What you can afford is free trial periods, and this weekend both For Honor and Offworld Trading Company are free to try on Steam. The former boasts some gorgeous, if historically inaccurate, action battles between samurai soldiers, medieval knights and burly vikings. The latter tasks players with conquering an RTS Martian market with money over muscle. Both are pretty good—check out our reviews here and here—and are subject to substantial limited-time discounts, should you like what you see thereafter. (And since writing all of that, I understand XCOM 2 is also free to sample this weekend!) 

Samuel Roberts: Staffs and spaceships

If you, like me, forgot that they announced Beyond Good & Evil 2 as an actual computer game you can one day buy with money, this week's development update is pretty exciting stuff, including pre-alpha footage of spaceships in flight and melee combat. It's nice that they're going out of their way to keep players in the loop, rather than going radio silent until another splashy E3 showing, which I'm sure we'll get this year too.

That's the sort of thing a long-awaited sequel like this needs: reassurances that it's very much a thing being worked on, and that you'll hopefully be able to play before the sun blinks out. The idea of hopping in and out of spaceships while journeying around with friends is really appealing to me, even if it doesn't resemble the original game much. 

Tom Senior: Command & Bonkers

I want more new RTS games in my life. BattleTech is great, but I miss the feeling of bossing around a massive army. Total War: Thrones of Britannia will scratch the itch to an extent, but I want something with robots and explosions, but also ancient Romans, and ancient Greeks. 

What I want is Command Age: War Conquer, an RTS that we all collectively invented this week. Using a thorough and highly scientific survey we isolated the core elements a great RTS requires, which apparently include a futuristic setting, historically accurate warriors and a unit cap that melts your PC. Good job everybody.

Chris Livingston: Faces Loaded

I've been playing Super Mega Baseball 2 (we'll have a review up on the site soon) and it's a ton of fun. Naturally I created a team (called The Computers) based on the PC Gamer staff. In the image above you can see James Davenport grin after striking someone out, and that's Wes looking happy in the background, probably because he's thinking about anime. If a sports game doesn't have licensed superstars, just add your own!

Unfortunately, the PC Gamer staff suck at baseball, though that's mostly my fault because I'm the one actually controlling them. The Computers are 2-3 on the season so far, which isn't great, though Tyler and Phil, both pitchers, are among the league leaders in strikeouts thrown per nine innings, Austin hit two homers in the same game, and Samuel has more extra base hits than anyone in the division. I'm on the team, too, as a starting pitcher, and while I threw nine strikeouts in my first five innings, I then promptly gave up three (of what would eventually become an embarrassing 16) runs. It's fun having my coworkers on my team, but it kinda sucks having to bench myself.

Tyler Wilde: Hearthstone by phone

I have started playing Hearthstone again. It’s been so long that when I logged in, I was notified of my rank for the October 2015 season. I guess we really fell out hard when we fell out, eh? No problem, I’m actually enjoying the card mining again, and because my internet’s been out for a several days despite my frequent phone calls requesting a technician (ISPs are bad, everyone), it ended up being an opportune time to go back, as I can play with my phone connection without racking up obscene data charges. It’s been a pleasant break from my usual competitive game, Rocket League, in that I can play Hearthstone while also lazily reading something, or listening to the play-by-play of a hockey game. 

I’m also surprised by how quickly I picked up the current meta and all the lingo associated with it. These things feel so foreign when others talk about them and you’re not in the know, but it was really only a couple days before I was cursing Quest Rogues and barking about what needs to be nerfed right along with Tim Clark and the rest of the card collecting gang. Maybe the next time I take a Hearthstone interview (though, sadly, it won’t be with Ben Brode again), I won’t have to speak Tim’s pre-written questions at the developer—full of words I don’t know the meaning of—as if I’m a FaceTime screen. It’s good to be back. Now to see how long before I burn out and refuse to play it for another three years.