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The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

Total War: Attila


Tony Ellis: Attila the Hun
An all-conquering horde of merciless nomadic horsemen is rarely a good thing, and in the case of the newly announced Total War: Rome II expansion it's an absolute disaster. For me, anyway. Rome II has already devoured enough of my weekends. I don't want to lose 2015 too.

I can still remember when they released Barbarian Invasion for the original Rome: Total War, just when I was about to kick the habit. Attila promises the same irresistible setup that dragged me back all those years ago: take control of a crumbling, dissent-riven empire at precisely the moment it's delivered the hammerblow of invasion. Real-life Rome collapsed, tumbling Western civilisation back into a thousand years of ignorance and terrible plumbing. The challenge is, can you rewrite history? Can you do what the Roman leaders couldn't? Can you hold civilisation together, even as your cities burn and that bearded, funny-accented twat in the trailer jeers at you, and the hot ashes slip through your fingers? Oh God, listen to me. I'm going to buy it, aren't I?

Tom Senior: a weekend of treachery
Why can't everything just come out on PC? It'll happen eventually. Until that day comes I'm susceptible to the peer group pressures of an entire floor of game journalists who have been playing Destiny, talking about Destiny and thinking loudly about Destiny all week. At lunchtime I caved, walked into a shop, took a big PS4 bundle into my arms and waddled to the checkout. This Sunday I will sit down with a cup of tea and have lovely space adventures with my space wizard friends.

But I won't enjoy it. I have already scheduled in regular breaks to administer punishment via self-flagellation with a particularly savage Logitech G4 mouse cord. My tears will be collected into a cup and fed into the watercooling pipes of my PC so that it may feast on my misery until I return to its cold silicon bosom next week, or whenever Alien: Isolation comes out.

The Evil Within

Andy Chalk: The Evil Within wants what I haven’t got
Bethesda Softworks revealed the system requirements for The Evil Within this week, and they are what you might call "steep." The short version is that if you want to play it as Bethesda intends, you'll need a Core i7 CPU with at least four processor cores and a GeForce GTX-670 video card with 4GB of RAM. To clarify, this is the recommended spec, not the minimum, which Bethesda opted not to provide. "We do not have a list of minimum requirements for the game," it said. "If you’re trying to play with a rig with settings below these requirements (you should plan to have 4 GBs of VRAM regardless), we cannot guarantee optimal performance."

I can understand wanting a game to be the best it possibly can, but as someone with a PC that's not even close to that baseline, this is a problematic approach for Bethesda to take. Past experience leads me to think that The Evil Within will likely run reasonably well on my system, but if I'm wrong, I'm stuck, and for 60 bucks, that's not a bet I'm willing to take. By insisting on "My way or the highway," Bethesda is putting a big chunk of its potential audience in a tough spot: Providing minimum requirements might lead to some unrealistic expectations, but refusing to do so leaves gamers stumbling around in the dark. That's not a great way to sell games, and not a policy I want to see more of.

Phil Savage: Sick of the site
Look, I've been here for nearly two years, and it's about time I fessed up... I hate the design of this website. I'm not a fan of its blog-post style, the font is absurdly small, and would you just look at that video bar on the front page? What the hell is that all about?

Behind the scenes it's even worse. It's a creaky old mess, struggling to stay standing after four years of use, misuse, bugs, workarounds and fixes. Ah well, what can I do? I'll just have to keep dreaming that maybe, one day very soon, things will be different...

GTX 970

Wes Fenlon: The GTX 970 is so popular, nobody can buy one
This week we ran a review of Gigabyte’s GTX 970, which is a fantastic version of a fantastic card. It’s incredibly fast—when overclocked, nearly as fast as the reference GTX 980—and an insane bargain at under $400. So are similar versions of the GTX 970 from MSI, EVGA, etc. The card is so popular, it’s actually sold out pretty much everywhere. It’s hard to get, and it may stay that way for a few weeks. If you’re ready to upgrade, be patient. Keep an eye on Amazon and Newegg. And when they come back in stock, be ready to strike.

Tim Clark: We’re making a new website
Which is not conducive to me keeping up to date with the Hearthstone World Championship BlizzCon EU qualifiers. (Try saying that with a mouthful of marbles.) Okay, so I have got the stream on in the background. It’s been packed with upsets, comebacks and generally brilliant play. Plus the occasional hilarious misplay. You can see the remainder of the tournament tomorrow, with details on stream timings here. May the best player win! (So long as it’s Kolento.)

As an inveterate Hearthstone addict, Tim spends most of his time trying to explain why all Priest players are degenerates. The rest of his day is spent playing Destiny 2. Seriously, he's on it right now.