This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Samuel Roberts: Demanding games

Based on Jarred's performance test for Assassin's Creed Origins, it doesn't look like the game plays nice with anything less than a GTX 1070 on medium settings, 1080p 60FPS, which is disappointing—particularly for AMD users. Maybe that's a reality of games as they are right now, but I had hoped it might scale a little better based on the system requirements

I guess this is just a wake-up call for people to upgrade, if they haven't already. Black Friday is coming up, after all. But I was really hoping to wait until the release of new graphics cards next year!

Tom Senior: Launch window

With Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Destiny 2 out this week, let’s spare a thought for all the games that are about to get dropped and overlooked in the thick of the release season. RIP Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, a game that I enjoyed for one weekend even though it traps you in an absurdly huge tutorial that I will never escape from.

There is one game in my library that might survive the big budget onslaught, however. I’m being drawn into Opus Magnum’s beautiful puzzles. The game invites you to build beautiful machines out of arms and pulleys to assemble molecules that look like delicious gems. It’s the sort of game you can play in your imagination even when you’re not sat at your PC, and you can even turn over the puzzles in your mind while playing other games. Any game you can mull over on the toilet is good by me.

Joe Donnelly: Density 

My goodness there are a lot of big games out just now. At the moment, I'm juggling Divinity: Original Sin 2, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Football Manager 2017 and Cuphead. I've also just started Destiny 2. And I've just received code for FM 2018 and Wolfenstein 2. I'm drowning in games, please send help.  

If only my Nintendo Switch hadn't arrived through the week, eh?

Tim Clark: An angry Twitch

This is less a low and more an example of my inability to let little things ride. I spend an inordinate amount of time watching Twitch, mostly for Hearthstone stuff because I treat it like my own talk radio while working. Just friendly voices babbling away in the background about cards all the livelong day. My low is that the Twitch app for iOS is absolute garbage. It freezes up frequently, and then to refresh the stream you have to leave that channel entirely. The desktop client is slightly better, but still has some really weird foibles. (Where’s the back button ffs?)

Anyway, I know no one else cares, and this is probably a dumb thing to have been annoyed about for this length of time, but hopefully someone at Twitch takes ten minutes to stop making sweet hoodies and shitty lootboxes and instead focuses on getting the basics right.

Tuan Nguyen: Console clinch

Destiny 2 is here and boy… I’m disappointed. Not so much by the gameplay—it’s a good game! But I’m disappointed in the graphics. It’s now nearly 2018, and I feel like we haven’t seen a leap in graphics realism in games for years. Our graphics cards keep improving, although not in giant leaps as a decade ago, but the fidelity of what we’re looking at has hit a ceiling.

I blame the consoles. All the big developers are focused on making console games first. This has impacted the PC making leaps and bounds in graphics realism since consoles are spec locked for years, and don’t have the raw power that PCs do. So developers have to make games for the lowest common denominator. Even with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, console CPUs are still holding us back.

Wes Fenlon: The realities of triple-A game development

Mandatory reading for the week: Jason Schreier over at Kotaku breaking down the complex demise of Visceral and its Star Wars game. It's not a story about some sensational disaster, some evil executive, or some colossal screw up. There were issues with management, with costs, with direction, with human beings working together. I wish EA had given Visceral the proper, realistic team it needed for such a big project from the start, but it's investigative articles like these that show us the reality is always more complicated than the official story.

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