This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS 

Samuel Roberts: Battlefront blues?

I didn't love the couple hours of the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 beta I sampled last weekend. Not necessarily because of the loot boxes—which I didn't really understand the format of, and, by the way, should've just been depicted as a life-size R2-D2 you physically crack open—but just the feeling of playing it. The revamped squads aside, an interesting decision that arguably adds more structure to firefights, none of it really felt essential to me. 

I wasn't sure why the Theed map had flying vehicles, for example, when it felt like there was so little room to actually fly the things around, or get into a good dogfight. I also agree with Omri's opinion that starfighter assault had a bit too much going on—it's the best-looking interpretation of a Star Wars space battle I've ever seen, but I sort of missed the pick-up-and-play simplicity of starfighter assault in the original game. I look forward to trying all of these modes in more detail at launch, particularly the 6v6 Strike mode, which seems to have the most potential, but I thought I'd be a bit more pumped for it at this stage. 

Andy Kelly: Bad crop

I spent my high celebrating the joy of Stardew Valley, but it occasionally triggers a crisis in me. As I'm dutifully watering my crops and feeding my chickens, I wonder if I should be using this time more wisely. Like maybe creating something. Making art, or a game, or something. But I can't stop watering, can't stop feeding. It's bewilderingly addictive.

All games are probably a waste of time, and I feel that more strongly playing Stardew Valley than others. But, really, is something I enjoy a waste of time? I mean, if we all just did stuff that was important our days would involve little more than eating and shitting. So while I do worry about the hours I spend on my imaginary farm, it's ultimately fun, so whatever.

Tom Senior: Mike drop

Farewell Mike Laidlaw, the design lead and creative director on the Dragon Age series, though he also worked on Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Bioware has a lot of fans at PC Gamer, and even though Andromeda was a misfire, Bioware’s studios have created outstanding story-driven games for decades. As a sci-fi fan, few games have served me as well as the Mass Effect trilogy, and I’ve greatly enjoyed the Dragon Age series. Yes, even the second one.

Mike Laidlaw’s departure is a loss to Bioware, but I can’t wait to see what he does next. These things are always bittersweet. I can empathise with his immediate plans though, “to spend my time reconnecting with all the amazing games and worlds that my peers have created”. Get on the Destiny 2 train Mike, we’ll see you in the EDZ.

Tyler Wilde: Modder's block

My passion for Divinity: Original Sin 2's mod tools has fully overtaken my passion for finishing the game, which I've accepted. But now that I've finally figured out how to make a roughly functional level, with scripted NPCs and everything (on my first attempt, I damned a poor townsperson to eternally sit down and stand up at the speed of a hummingbird wing, but I've figured it out now), I've run into a new problem. I have no idea what to make. 

I thought that, if I just learned how to use the tools, surely I could make something cool. But nope. As usual, the hardest part is having something to say, not figuring out how to say it. I did put a sweet condor in my level, though. It screeches sometimes.

Tuan Nguyen: Cuphead’s lack of 21:9

Cuphead’s a fantastic game—we loved it. The only problem is it doesn’t support 21:9 displays. Sure, I get it. Cuphead’s hand drawn artwork doesn’t lend itself easily to different aspect ratios, but that’s a shame because a game with such stellar artwork would look amazing on an ultra-wide display. But this is a more wide-spread issue: I want more games to take 21:9 seriously. Ultra-wide displays are becoming increasingly popular with gamers and while not everyone has the desktop space for them, games look great when properly supported. C’mon developers!

James Davenport: Cup half empty

I'm dying to play more Cuphead. It's on my computer, right there. Some data forming a little icon I can just click and poof, I'm jacked in. I finished the first island on my lonesome, then played it through again with Wes and Bo last Friday. It was so much better as a shared experienced. 

Screaming and strategizing out loud, sharing tips and decoding boss patterns, maintaining a revive chain on the edge of failure—it's the best buddy-buddy arcade experience I've had in recent memory. I'm not sure it's much easier either. An extra person on screen filling it with bullets is another layer of confusion to master. If anyone wants to come over and play, I'll buy pizza and beer.