This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The Lows

Phil Savage: Wait, are they actually calling it...

Battlefield 1?

Seriously? That is not how numbers work. 

Angus Morrison:  War economy 

The best Call of Duty is being remastered. This is marvellous. The remaster of the best Call of Duty will be inseparably bundled with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. This, to me, is indicative of a lack of stones.

I don’t have anything against Infinite Warfare. I actually quite enjoyed the trailer—even the Bowie cover. Can’t say fairer than explosive space nonsense. However, it bothers me that Activision doesn’t have the confidence to sell it on its own merits. It surely knows that Modern Warfare is the fan favourite, and it knows that a remaster will sell like the dickens. It also can’t help but be aware that Call of Duty sales, though still monstrous, have been sliding.

Modern Warfare Remastered feels like a crutch on which the unproven Infinite Warfare is leaning: a guaranteed sales booster whatever the state of the main event. And that’s not prejudice—Infinite Warfare really could be great—but I’m not sure Activision is giving it the chance it deserves. 

Tom Marks: How the Mighty have fallen

Mighty No. 9 has supposedly “gone gold” and now has a final, for-realzies-this-time release date of June 21st, and I don’t really care anymore. The problem is, I used to care. In fact, I cared quite a lot. And while I am usually in favor of devs taking the time they need to really finish a game and make it good, even if that means delays, the bizarre clownshow that has been Mighty No. 9 has succeeded in killing all excitement I had for the game.

Part of this is because the game just doesn’t look very good, and even after a huge number of delays, it’s hard to see any marked improvement. It’s possible that time went towards working on the copious amount of features promised through the Kickstarter’s stretch goals, and I’m nervous that over promising might have been what’s dragged the developement down from the very start. Whatever the reason, I’m bummed out that I don’t care about Mighty No. 9. I can still remember how exciting the prospect of it was when the Kickstarter launched. It’s been a long, sad road since then. 

Chris Livingston: Worst Buy

It’s no secret the VR-infused future isn’t rocketing toward us at the speed of light, but instead slowly shuffling in our direction with one foot caught in a bear trap. Both Oculus and Vive have had issues getting their hardware shipped to customers, which is no doubt incredibly frustrating for those eager to be early adopters.

Worse, we learned Oculus is going to be sold in Best Buy before many customers have received their pre-orders. What the hell is a pre-order, then? Sure, you can try to buy one at Best Buy and then cancel the order you’ve been awaiting, but you’ll have to be quick to snag one before some other walk-in customer nabs it. Here’s a hot tip: when customers want your product so badly they order it sight-unseen, don’t make it a giant pain in the ass for them to actually receive it, and definitely don’t sell it to someone else first. 

Samuel Roberts: Hitman server woes

This week I set aside some time to blast through Hitman’s gorgeous Sapienza level, but not until I waited ten whole minutes for the game not to connect to Io Interactive’s servers. Hitman’s only-online focus has been a very frustrating element of an otherwise great episodic sandbox game, and it’s crazy that it can be this unreliable yet still exist as a key feature in the game. 

I don’t see why it’s absolutely necessary, or why the developers are convinced that the headaches it causes for the user are worth the benefits it provides. I still think it would be wise to patch it out in time for the next episode—or at least demonstrate to the player a good reason why they should put up with it. 

Alex Campbell: Bad time for building

It’s great that new parts architectures like AMD’s Polaris and Zen, Intel’s Broadwell-E, and Nvidia’s Pascal will make their way into consumer parts soon. For those who don’t need to be on the bleeding edge, it will mean cheaper current-gen parts. But there’s a downside to all of this.

If you’re a person who wants the latest and greatest in an X99-based rig, it won’t make sense to build a new PC right now. Haswell-E is a fine platform, but it’s likely that Broadwell-E will outperform a lower-tiered Haswell-E system (if not in clock speed, then in core count and cache). It’s also not the best time to invest in a pricey video card like the GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, or Titan X, since Pascal aims to surpass the GPUs in these cards as well. That advice goes for budget-minded builders looking for a deal too: prices will fall further once the new architectures hit consumer parts. By buying now, you’ll probably be missing out on savings. If you’re not dying for a new card, I’d hold out on such a major purchase for a few months.