This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Tom Senior: Tracer fire

In our analysis of Battlefield 5’s ray tracing performance Jarred was right to point out that you really want performance first in a multiplayer shooter. Taxing reflection details seem like a needless luxury when you’re trying to keep your squad alive. 

I love shiny new graphics technology, but there’s a difference between useless features like special Nvidia hair physics (remember that?) and effects that can be widely adopted, that don’t suck up so many frames. In this regard the PC is still tied to the power of the current console generation. If the lounge boxes can’t run it, it might seem like an unnecessary feature for developers trying to hit every platform. Perhaps one day ray tracing will become standard, but it may take years.

Fraser Brown: Beige boxes

A PC version of the classic miniature console fad doesn’t seem like a very comfortable fit. While consoles come and go, the PC remains, along with much of its old library of games. I can’t get nostalgic about old desktops, either, because they’re hideous and look like they belong in an office cubicle. So the pitch for Unit-e’s PC Classic lost me straight away, and the brief demonstration didn’t exactly reel me back in. 

Unit-e’s announcement video, presumably filled inside an air conditioning unit, included some footage of Doom being played. Doom, the game that you can play on just about everything, from your PC to your phone. And it was being played with a gamepad, of all things, because, while peripherals like a mouse and keyboard might be included, this is still a console. And Doom’s not even been officially announced. All the games, if there are any licensing deals so far, are being kept under wraps. I’m more than willing to get swept up in nostalgia, but this ain’t doing it for me.  

James Davenport: Aim higher

I get that game development is difficult and complicated, and I understand that a years-old PC port might not get top-tier treatment, but why are games still releasing with mouse aim tied to virtual joysticks in 2018? It was easier to deal with in Monster Hunter: World, but Sunset Overdrive is a shooter. I've been wanting to play it for years now, and recent rumors of a PC release got me excited about the idea of smooth mouse control with such an acrobatic game. Not so. The mouse controls are terrible. Yeah, a fix could show up and add raw mouse input, but why make such a bad first impression? 

Evan Lahti: Say it ain't so

Cliff Bleszinski is a brash, opinionated person who, like plenty of well-known creators, sometimes tweets too often for their own good. But as he proclaimed this week that he would never make another videogame, I can't help but think that the internet's effort to make his last major game into one of 2017's biggest punching bags might've driven him away.

It downright sucks that harassing developers on social media has become normalized, that social media and platforms like Reddit are, increasingly, a performance in how mean, angry, or destructively clever you can be in order to earn fake internet points. Whatever you think of Cliff's dialogue on social media, we should want people like him in our industry—people that not only defined multiple generations of shooters, but that by all accounts was a studio head who went above and beyond to take care of his employees. A top person at Boss Key told me that all of the developers there were made aware of the studio's impending closure six months beforehand. Compare this to the sudden layoff of 200-some Telltale employees with no severance, and you wonder if the people leaving sarcastic comments under tweets like ours really get what they're doing when they direct snide bullshit at the people who make games.

Lawbreakers was a good game. RIP.

Lawbreakers was a good game. RIP.

Wes Fenlon: Blue in the face

I don't like MMOs. I don't like MMOs. I don't like MMOs. I have to remind myself of this today, after seeing the news that Final Fantasy 14 is getting a new job class ahead of its next expansion: the blue mage. In the Final Fantasy series, blue mages learn abilities by absorbing them from enemies, which I always found really tantalizing. They got skills no one else could use, but you really had to work for them. They were fun to hunt down—there was always that moment of wondering what ability you'll get from what monster, going back to old areas to fill in your list, and hoping a random battle would spit out the rare, elusive baddie you were looking for.

The idea of an MMO integrating that system, which will definitely live outside its typical combat, is really cool. But I have to stay strong and remember that I find everything else about Final Fantasy 14 painfully boring. I'll just have to live vicariously through Steven.

PC Gamer

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