This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Tyler Wilde: Battlefield's back (alright)

So far, I really like the changes made between the Battlefield 5 open beta and now. The planes feel better, and I can skip bleeding out at a decent clip if I'm obviously in a bad place to be revived. (I know I still wait the same amount of time, but I prefer looking at the map to lying on the ground next to a tank that will definitely kill anyone who tries to revive me.) Right now, I'm really enjoying playing support, which was never as fun for me in previous BFs. I spend a lot of my time building ammo boxes and fortifications to funnel vehicles into my AT mines—it's extremely satisfying to get a vehicle kill notification after migrating halfway across the map. Andy's enjoying it, too, and we'll have a full review next week.

Chris Livingston: Mutiny on the bounty

The lack of text chat in Fallout 76 sucks, though Bethesda tells me they're looking at adding it later (and they really should). On the plus side, I had a fun open mic encounter in the final day of the Fallout 76 beta. I was hunting a bounty—a player who had committed a crime—and the outlaw was down in the basement of a building. When I got close enough we traded a few shots, but then started chatting over the mic during the fight. He said his bounty was both unintentional and was a holdover from the previous beta session, and he was hoping to avoid being killed so he wouldn't lose his collection of junk (he wasn't concerned about losing caps).

Having received an unintentional bounty of my own once (I picked a door lock on a claimed public workshop: not a player-crafted lock, just a regular ol' lock) I stopped shooting and we hung out a while together. I even promised to be on his side if any other players came along trying to snuff him (none did). Once we reached his base and stored his junk, he asked me to go ahead and kill him to remove the bounty so he could get back to playing like normal. I did, I got my caps (his caps), and he saved his junk. Even outlaws can be cool.

Tom Senior: Good Fortunas

It’s a big week for Warframe. The huge Fortuna update went live and players are gleefully acquiring hoverboards and doing tricks all over the open world Orb Vallis zone. Steven and I have been enjoying the expansion a lot and you can expect a lot more guides and coverage over the next week or so as we unlock its secrets. For now, enjoy footage of a giant robot spider accidentally teleporting into the Fortuna safe zone. Lasers ensue.

One thing’s for sure, having seen the grind ahead I know I’m not getting Garuda anytime soon, but I am on the brink of the Second Dream quest, and everyone tells me that’s when shit gets real, lore-wise at least. A coherent sense of the universe is something I’m missing at the moment, so a bit of loreframe might give my grinding a bit more purpose. Or not. Maybe the second dream is an extended Tenno dance sequence. I’d be also be fine with that.

Fraser Brown: Dead Sea

I murdered some High Elves with an army of crustaceans last night. It was a mess. Total War: Warhammer 2’s Curse of the Vampire Coast is kind of gross. Warhammer’s undead bloodsuckers aren’t sexy Anne Rice lotharios and seductresses, and these pirates even less so. They probably smell like seaweed and despair. I’ve not once seen them put a glamour on anyone, but I have seen them command legions of rotting crabs and waterlogged corpses. 

They’re my favourite faction since the last one. Creative Assembly just keeps designing (and adapting) such brilliant armies, and I’ve yet to find one I wouldn’t finish a campaign with. I still need to properly dig into them, but I’m having a leisurely playthrough of the Vortex campaign first, hunting down pieces of eight and conducting “legitimate” business in many of the world’s ports. What I’m preparing for is my inevitable Mortal Empires campaign, pitting the salty vampires against everyone.

Samuel Roberts: Greatest Hitsman

I'm all about Hitman 2 this weekend. The thought of installing the game's gold edition and having all of the episodes from this game and the last in one package on Steam is very appealing. I almost wish I had fewer games to play this holiday season so I could waste more hours meticulously picking through the levels of this one.

I recommend reading Phil's review. He really is the authority when it comes to this series. How can you argue with a premise like this? "Your job as master assassin Agent 47 is to ensure a hit list of rich jerks meet a macabre end, preferably silently, with no witnesses or alarms. But—again, like its predecessor—Hitman 2 doesn't revel in its violence. It's not gruesome or gory. Your missions are more cerebral; a puzzle box where the win state is an arsehole being dead." Those last three words are magic to me. 

James Davenport: Little Devil

Diablo is an excellent mobile game. I was waiting for a bus the other day and I just pulled out my mobile version of Diablo, tore up some mobs and switched out some new gear. Made it downtown, no problem. The controls and concept are simple enough that a mobile version makes perfect sense. You just move a little person around and spam a few abilities for an endless stream of rewards. It's a condensed, simplified RPG that most people can pick up and master the basics of in a few minutes. There's plenty of depth in the endgame, but very little of it depends on player dexterity. Get the right gear, shore up your patience, master some essential ability synergies, and you're set. 

I'm talking about Diablo 3 on the Nintendo Switch, not to be confused with Diablo Immortal, the recently announced 'MMO' for phones, but it looks like good fun, too. And I'm sure Diablo 4, whenever that shows up, will also be especially great—that's kind of Blizzard's thing. More people playing Diablo on more platforms is only a good thing, in my eyes.