This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

Andy Kelly: City slicker

I love open-world cities, and those early exploratory hours when the map is a mystery and every location you visit is new. I haven't quite made my mind up about Mafia 3 yet (here are some early impressions), but I do love its setting, New Bordeaux.

I spent some time last night driving around at night, in the rain, and it was incredibly atmospheric. I drove from the skyscrapers of downtown, through the historic French Quarter, down to the dark swamps of the bayou, and I was impressed by the variety of scenery.

I still don't know the city well enough to navigate without a map, but I'm enjoying feeling like a stranger in a strange city. Eventually it'll feel smaller and I'll know where everything is, but for now I'm happy to just aimlessly drive around and take in the sights.

Samuel Roberts: Ghost tricks

If you've got a spare 13 minutes this weekend (maybe you're waiting for that Mafia 3 framerate unlock patch?), I recommend watching this excellent walkthrough of a mission in Ghost Recon Wildlands. You get to see a stealth co-op mission on a rainy night, and how it's looking more and more like a co-op version of MGSV every time they're showing it (and even a little bit like GTA Online). 

I enjoyed what I played at E3. Coordinating missions in a world of this size could be a lot of fun, and the prevalent use of interactive vehicles makes it feel a bit more like a traditional open world game than previous Ghost Recons have been.

Jarred Walton: Large Pixel Collider

Smartphones and laptops are fine, but sometimes you need something more. Sometimes you need to smash things together and see where the traces of subatomic particles go. Our LPC was inspired by the Large Hadron Collider, at a fraction of the cost, and it will smash pixels with the best PCs of the world. Except, like all things in the world of technology, the current LPC is outdated, with graphics cards and other parts that are now several years old. That means it’s time for upgrades, and we’ve cranked the dial to eleven.

We’re taking the best parts in the world, including a 10-core i7-6950X, dual Titan X cards, 128GB of memory, and several terabytes of solid-state storage, all in pursuit of gaming excellence. You want 4K ultra gaming? LPC will do that and more. We’re getting ready to sear our eyeballs with one of the most insane computers this side of Skynet.

Chris Livingston: Prime time

While I'm sure not everyone is happy about it, I was pretty pleased to see the arrival of Twitch Prime, which basically takes Twitch Turbo and makes it free if you already subscribe to Amazon Prime, which I do. I use Amazon Prime a lot and Twitch relatively rarely, so I get to save the few bucks a month I was spending on Turbo. It also lets me subscribe to one Twitch channel a month for free, and since I pretty much only watch one Twitch channel on a regular basis—the incomparable BreaK71—that works out pretty nicely.

For me, at least. I haven't taken the pulse of the community on Twitch Prime yet, so if you've got some thoughts on it, let me know in the comments.

Wes Fenlon: They see me trollin'

Steven wrote a great article this week about designing a card for the Runescape Chronicles card game. It's great for two reasons. It's educational, so you'll come away with insight into how tricky it can be to design a card that's fun to play with and fun to play against, relatively balanced, and original. And it's trolly: he figured out how to bring Runescape's oldest meme into the game. If you're going to learn something about card design, you might as well get to troll some people, too.

Tom Senior: Desk jockey

After a decade with the same crappy wooden desk, I have finally upgraded, and it is glorious. The new desk is wide, dark, clean, has proper cable management and a tiered shelf to hold my two 24" monitors. I replaced the huge 720p TV I was using as a second screen with an affordable monitor (ASUS VS248HR) to accompany my main gaming screen—an AOC G2460OG with GSync. I decided to stick with my Logitech G400s mouse because my hand has evolved to wrap around that shape now and not even the lightweight, futuristic charms of Razer's range will change that.

The upgrade also means a complete decluttering of my work/gaming space, which has had an interesting psychological effect. Games seem to demand more focus now, even with messaging software and Twitter on a second screen. This is good for games that I intend to savour slowly, such as Dishonored 2, but I reckon it might allow me to enjoy some games I've bounced off. Fallout 4's wasteland might grip me properly now it's not competing with a load of physical tat. Perhaps I'll finally make some leeway as the Chaos faction in Total War: Warhammer. I'll be experimenting with these as I wait for the winter rush of big releases to arrive.

PC Gamer

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