This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Tom Senior: Will it blend?

It’s been a tumultuous week in the UK for lots of non-gaming-related reasons, but I took solace in the simple pleasure of watching 10,000 zombies get mulched by a giant blender. These tech showcases tend to be more fun to watch than to play, but I like the idea of marching into that mob with a greatsword and enjoying the spray of gibs that result.

The video reminds me of a trend in PC gaming modding and map editing that I struggle to name exactly. Let’s just call it ‘doing shit for the sake of it’. The year is 2018 and our ever-improving CPUs and graphics cards can now render thousands of bodies on screen at the same time. Shall we create a civilization from their interactions? No: BLEND THEM. It’s like that time Chris made everything in Far Cry 4 fight everything else in Far Cry 4. Phil found even more nonsense in Far Cry 5. I remember when years ago people used to pile thousands of explosive barrels into a custom map and set them all off at once to see what would melt first: the map, or their PC. More of this sort of thing, please. 

Fraser Brown: Fortuna Son

Damn. This week I have had new games to play every day, but all I can think about is bloody Warframe. It wasn’t like this before I started working at PC Gamer, so I’m blaming my colleagues for this one. Fortuna saw the infinite sci-fi shooter at its busiest, with almost 132,000 people playing Warframe concurrently. I’ve actually barely touched the new stuff, honestly, because I keep getting distracted by the billion other things vying for my attention. It’s brilliant. 

Now I’m spreading the disease, roping more people into joining me on my relentless adventure. I guess this is just what I do now. Right, back to farming Warframes; I’ve got my eye on something new. Also, I’m incubating a dog on my ship now, apparently. I’m so busy...

James Davenport: A killer surprise

Killer7 is on Steam! Hooray! I've yet to play through the entire game, but Wes, Lucas (GamesRadar), and I started a communal playthrough a few years back that we never saw through. Mostly due to issues with lost save files, but I'll go ahead and shoulder some blame for being a Noncommital Lazy Guy xTreme™. But now we can play it without awkward (legal) emulation solutions and in high-res, baby. Also, I'm hoping the mouse controls are decent, because I'm no good with a stick, and Killer7 requires fast reflexes. Either way, I'm happy to have an easy way to finish up one of the strangest, silliest games I've ever played. 

Wes Fenlon: Monstrous choice

I'm up to my ears in things to do in Monster Hunter: World. November has an absolutely packed event schedule in the game, beginning with one of its biggest fights, continuing with a Devil May Cry tie-in event, and then rolling right into the debut of a new big bad Elder Dragon. All of these events are fun fights, made to be played more than once, with some special loot to be had. Monster Hunter is the rare game where everything's technically a grind, but the grind is always fun. No monster fight ever goes quite the same way twice, and you're always getting something for your efforts. And if doing the same event over and over starts to get stale, just pick a new weapon and it's all fresh again. My big problem now is finding the time to do them all.

Evan Lahti: All aboard

It was dumb of me to wait to play Return of the Obra Dinn. Papers, Please was a powerful lesson that a meaningful game can be made from any mundane topic. Despite this, I'd been slow to play Lucas Pope's new 1-bit maritime insurance assessor-'em-up. The monochrome look of it turned me off, initially. 

The game has been instant sustenance. I love that Pope's focus on faces and identification as a gameplay mechanic is retained, but more than that, it has that singular aura and mood that often only comes from a game made by a single person or very small team. The audio direction is morbid and immersive. Within minutes, I knew I was playing something unlike anything I'd played before—it's so refreshing to feel a new area of your brain being colonized by a novel experience like that. Pope achieves a lot just by rejecting a few of the conventions of how games are played—by displaying dialogue like a silent film, and by handing you a massive journal that both serves as a manual for how to play and as the way your progress in cataloguing the fates of the ship's ghostly inhabitants is literally recorded.