This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Andy Kelly: Full English

This week I enjoyed playing the Forza Horizon 4 demo, which was recently released on the dreaded Microsoft Store. After the dazzlingly sunny Australian setting from the previous game, it's nice to see the green and pleasant, and occasionally overcast, United Kingdom playing a starring role now. The map feels smaller than I expected, but the shifting seasons should make up for it. It's just nice to see Yorkshire and Scotland in a videogame for once.

Forza Horizon is the perfect driving game for me. It's accessible and instantly entertaining, but with a layer of simulation you can make as simple or as complex as you want, depending on your tastes. And also, because I am a massive Bond nerd, the addition of classic 007 cars, complete with gadgets, has me thoroughly excited. I can't wait to take the Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights, with those daft retractable outriggers, for a spin.

Samuel Roberts: September scares

I feel like I never take time to check out cool free games on PC these days, since the games I've already spent money on tend to eat many of my spare hours. That's why I'm glad I put off starting Dishonored: Death of the Outsider this week and invested a mere five minutes checking out September 1999, a kind of found-footage horror game made by 98DEMAKE.

It's not a jumpy horror game, in case that's not your sort of thing, but it is spooky. I also really like that the game just ends after five minutes—it's enormously considerate, and does everything it needs to in that time. Play it during your next coffee break.

Wes Fenlon: GOOd enough for Andy

"Gamer" products are usually bad. Not mice and keyboards and such: I'm talking about sunglasses or gloves or energy drinks marketed to make you better, supposedly, at playing videogames. So I'm pretty sure it was mostly a joke when we told Andy Chalk to respond to an email about Gamer Goo, a questionably named substance for making your hands less sweaty in marathon gaming sessions. But Andy's a good sport, so he slathered Gamer Goo all over his hands. What happened next was a pleasant surprise

Joe Donnelly: Friday driver

This week I paid homage to the best car in the history of videogames: Grand Theft Auto's Bravado Banshee. From its 2001 debut in GTA 3, to its (my) wonderful incarnation in GTA Online (seriously, it's a beauty), I spoke about the Dodge-aping brief's evolution and the missions it's pulled me through over the years. I even included nods to the Banshee's spiritual forerunners—the original game's Beast GTS and GTA 2's Rumbler. I love 'em.

In real life, my 13-year-old, rustbucket Nissan Micra doesn't quite compare. It's got more scratches on it than a Tim Westwood record. And it seems my references are as outdated as my aging ride. Perhaps it's time for an upgrade. See you at 8-Ball’s Auto Shop!

Chris Livingston: Royale with Skis

I admit I sigh deeply every time a new battle royale game arrives and I have to jump in and check it out. I think it's an exciting genre and it's been great fun watching it grow and expand, and honestly a lot of the battle royale games out there right now are pretty good. At the same time, it takes an effort to get excited about Yet Another One that is still basically the same as The Last One.

So, I was pretty happy when I found myself really enjoying Ring of Elysium, Tencent's free-to-play BR offering on Steam. There's snowboards and snowmobiles and ziplines and hang gliders, which are all fun. Plus, the rescue chopper at the end seats four, so more than one person can win even in solo. Naturally, even when there are four people left at the end, they all keep trying to kill each other. I guess it's just habit: we all want to be the last one standing, even if there's room for four to sit.

Jarred Walton: Channeling my inner bard

It’s been an eventful week, what with the GeForce RTX launch, plus a big trip for all of Future US to our NYC offices—which included some good times hanging out with old friends from AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware, because we’re all one big family now! Since I was away from my hardware, I also got a chance to play games... on my aging laptop. Bo can attest that I spent way too long on Deep Sky Derelicts, which was sort of fun but has some clear flaws.

But my real high is that Bard’s Tale 4 is out, and I’ve now had a chance to play it. I suspect reviews will be mixed, and hopefully the already announced patches will improve things. Still, I’m enjoying the turn-based strategy and combat so far, and looking forward to exploring the dramatically updated world of Skara Brae. If only inXile had thought to include ray tracing, maybe the characters would look a bit more lifelike? [And just to be clear, that's a joke, because I've spent too much time on RTX of late.]