This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Phil Savage: Forza stalls

Forza Horizon 3 is one of my favourite games of this year. Alas, the recent patch actually caused me to suffer the framerate issues that some players have been dealing with since launch. It's bearable—especially if you've got a G-Sync monitor—but, in conjunction with the micro-stuttering issues also affecting the game, casts a long shadow over a PC release that should be a cause for celebration.

Hopefully Playground Games is working on a fix—this wouldn't be the first AAA game to launch with performance issues. The worrying thing is how silent Playground has been on the issue. Performance problems are listed on the Known Issues page of the Forza forums, but there's been no statement about when a patch is due—or even if it's something the developers are actively working to fix. For now, as mentioned in the review, it's a good idea to wait until that post-launch demo is released.

James Davenport: Forzaken 

In your cars Forzaken meWith all the new games on the horizon, I’ve left a particular one behind for now, and it hurts. Like Phil, Forza Horizon 3 is easily one of my favorite games this year, both an intense competitive arcade-sim racer and an open world playground for over 300 different vehicles. Playing Forza relaxes me immediately if I’m driving on my lonesome, and if friends join pop into my world, it morphs into a playful social hub without issue. As excited as I am to play Battlefield 1, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, finish Thumper, and get angry at Gonner, I definitely feel like there’s a car-shaped hole in my heart these days. The only way to fix this flat is with Forza. Soon.

Joe Donnelly: Mod divided

Nothing seriously rocked my world in the realm of videogames this week, but I did really like this Witcher 3 mod that, although designed to improve the game's already stellar visuals, also lets you downgrade its textures and resolution. The result is a vibrant cartoony, Dragon Quest-like slant on Novigrad and beyond. 

If I really liked it, then why have I included in this week's low column, I hear you ask. Well it seems while some of you felt the same as me, a fair wad of you guys really didn't like it. "Article should be titled, 'Mod makes Witcher 3 look awful'", said one of you. "Oh they ported the Console version to PC?" said another. And my favourite: "I dream of making all of my PC games look just like they do on my iPad! #saidnooneever." 

Folks, you've made me sad :( 

Chris Livingston: UI-ay-ay

I really like Nvidia's Shadowplay—or what used to be called Shadowplay. Whatever it's called now, if it even has a name, is great for recording gameplay, and especially useful for recording gameplay that happened when you weren't recording gameplay: a simple tap of the keys saves the last five minutes of whatever happened on your screen.

But the UI for the new GeForce Experience is weird and clunky and awful. A tiny settings icon that shows your settings but doesn't let you change them, a tiny "Share your greatest gaming moments" icon to open your actual options, and then a massive semi-transparent overlay that covers your screen instead of just being a part of the client. And, while it's huge, one of the menus is truncated so you still need to scroll down through it. It's terrible, one of those things where it seems like even if you were trying to deliberately design something difficult and confusing to use, you would still come up with something better.

Bo Moore: Halloween Terr-ible

Overwatch launched its "Halloween Terror" holiday update this week, bringing with it jack-o'-lantern loot boxes filled with spooky cosmetics, a few minor balance tweaks, and the "Junkenstein's Revenge" brawl, a PvE horde mode where a team of four must defend oncoming waves of zombified Omnics. And I have to say, I'm underwhelmed. 

Junkenstein's Revenge is fun enough, but ultimately a fairly shallow experience. As Evan pointed out earlier this week, it's more of a multiplayer carnival game than a fleshed-out, standalone mode. Having said that, the mode's bespoke voice lines are entertaining—but Overwatch always had great audio.

My real disappointment with the event comes from the slate of new character skins. I'll admit, the four legendary costumes for Reaper, Junkrat, Roadhog, and Mercy are pretty choice, but 10 characters didn't get a Halloween skin, and the other eight just feel like spooky recolors. I wanted more skins that feel like actual costumes, not like they stopped off at Hot Topic on the way to the party.

Tim Clark: He should be so Luckey

Palmer, Palmer, wherefore art thou, Palmer? It’s quite a thing when it’s become too awkward for you to attend your own event. Not so long ago, Palmer Luckey was the rosy-cheeked face of VR’s future, gracing organs as August as Time—which to be honest was the first warning that awkwardness was going to be a recurring theme—and of course our very own magazine. Now, without wishing to embroil myself in the political specifics of his perceived mess up (it’s Friday, after all), Luckey seems to have shut himself in the attic voluntarily, like Oculus’s own mad aunt. Fair enough, I suppose. I’m sure most of us have wanted to do something similar at one point. But I worry about him up there. Should we send Steam codes? Man cannot live on memes alone.

PC Gamer

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