This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE HIGHS

Tom Senior: Guardian angel

Holy crap is Destiny… good now? I always get swept up in the thrill of a new expansion and I’m stuck wondering if this feeling is real, or is this just another fleeting dalliance before I get distracted by something else. The story missions are lavish and expensive, the new enemies explode in cool new ways. The tangled shore is a bit plain but there’s the promise of an endgame rainbow city at the end of it. I even like the Gambit mode, which sounded gimmicky and confusing to me when it was revealed. Turns out it’s fun and confusing instead.

The weapon slot changes really upend the game, though. I’m using so many different weapon types now. Everyone will find their preferences and the community will eventually pin down the maths and settle on optimal loadouts, but for the moment it’s a great big gun holiday in space. Cayde-6 didn’t die in vain.

Joe Donnelly: An aye for an Eye

I really should be tackling my ever-increasing pile of shame, but this week I've had a hankering for adventure games. I really fancy Wadjet Eye's Unavowed but, having never finished the same dev's 2006 (reworked in 2013) point and clicker The Shivah, I've returned to that instead. And I'm loving it. It's smart and witty and funny and throws an unlikely protagonist into a story that's kept me guessing at every turn. I've spent as much time scratching my head and furiously scribbling notes into my pad as I have progressing its plot. I've had so much fun so far.

I'm most familiar with the developer's Blackwell series, and I'm so glad I gave this 'un another shot before hitting its more recent games. I quite fancy taking on Technobabylon next, followed by Shardlight, and by the time I actually get to Unavowed, Wadjet's next game will likely have arrived.

Tyler Wilde: Death by die

A few weeks ago, I spoke to Matthew Mercer and Taliesin Jaffe about how they handle player death in D&D, and Mercer's ideas for dealing with a party wipe got my imagination going. Designing or just thinking about tabletop roleplaying scenarios is my go to daydreaming activity—all the joy of my Divinity Engine 2 project without having to figure out how the hell to use Divinity Engine 2. If you're into tabletop roleplaying, check out the interview (warning: Critical Role spoilers), as Mercer and Jaffe have some great thoughts on how to keep consequences consistent while also keeping the game fun.

Chris Livingston: Heavy Mettle

There's no wrong way to play a game, and I love when a player ignores the typical rules and creates their own adventure. Sure, in this case, the adventure is spending hours at a time lying on the ground and eating, but this player trying to gain as much weight as possible in Scum is not just finding a new way to play but also performing a real test of how Scum's metabolism system works and what it's possible of doing. It's good to push games to their limits and see how far the simulation goes, and if that requires doing nothing but eating a few hundred thousand virtual calories, I'd say it's worth it.

Steven Messner: Prattle for Azeroth

Despite playing for years, I've never had a good circle of friends to play World of Warcraft with, forcing me to team up with strangers for all of its group activities. That hasn't bothered me too much, but with Battle for Azeroth out I managed to recruit a bud to play with me, which created a trickle-down effect that now means I have a few friends who all routinely play together. It's made an already great expansion even better and we even had to set up a separate group chat just to prattle on about WoW all day without disturbing our non-playing friends. 

Though my two teammates are decidedly more casual than I am, I'm having a great time showing them the ropes. After a weekend of running Heroic-difficulty dungeons (and dying a lot), they're finally ready to tackle the much tougher Mythic-difficulty versions. It'll probably be a disaster but I really don't care. Having to friends two suffer with makes the whole experience much more satisfying.