Each Friday PC Gamer’s writers dash through the gunsmoke and hunker down in a crater to collect their thoughts…
Tim Clark: Mordor’s orcs are magic
As Leif detailed at length in his Shadow Of Mordor review, the ‘nemesis’ system really is a helluva thing. My jaw actually dropped the first time I got cubed by some orcs and then saw them gleefully levelling up their powers. It’s bad enough being killed by the bastards, but career advancement? Not on my watch. The brilliance of the idea is that it turns what might otherwise be routine combat encounters into brilliantly overwrought it’s-you-or-me-asshole duels.
Actually there’s nothing routine about the combat – it’s a gloriously solid spin on the counter-attacking style which the Batman games popularised. Check out Sam’s love letter to that here. The fact you can also avenge your Steam friends deaths against specific, invariably colourfully-named, orcs only amplifies Mordor’s fun further. I expect the system to be copied liberally by almost any game which would otherwise have featured a cast of unremarkable enemy fodder.
Evan Lahti: Turkey shoot
I’ve been a lifelong fan of de_rats style maps in Valve games—my favorite was “turkeyburgers” in Team Fortress Classic, which almost always devolved into a low-gravity battle between snipers and rocket-jumping soldiers over oversized bookshelves and soda cans. It was neat to see the lineage of oversized maps get extended a little with de_boiler, a novelty CS:GO level created by super-sizing de_inferno’s “boiler” hotspot.
In other map news, Tripwire rolled out a new Halloween event for Killing Floor, its latest serving of free content now five years after release. The support this game has gotten has been ridiculous, even as Tripwire nears an Early Access release for Killing Floor 2.
Tyler Wilde: Star Citizen looks lovely
Putting aside concerns about Star Citizen’s ‘buy now, play later’ business model and grumpiness over the long wait for the persistent universe, the latest gameplay footage has me giddy. It shows a pilot landing on a planet, walking around his ship, getting out, and wandering around a small urban area.
I’ve seen a few comments along the lines of, ‘So what, it’s an automated landing procedure and you can walk around on a planet, but you’re not really doing anything.’ No, it’s not Elite: Dangerous’ manual docking, which is also very cool, but that’s not the point for me. There’s value in just existing in a game’s world, of fidelity for fidelity’s sake. Landing on a planet could have just been a quick cutscene, and the shop he visits could have just been a menu. Instead, he goes through the motions of contacting landing control and being scanned by immigration—it’s mundane, really, but doing mundane things in incredible settings is one of my favorite things. Why did I decorate my house in Skyrim? Or insist that I walk like a normal person on Mass Effect’s Citadel instead of running everywhere? It makes the universe feel believable, like somewhere people live instead of a bunch of game logic.
I hope for more mundanity. I want to sit down in my ship and play a game of solitaire, or watch goofy future television, or get my character so drunk he can barely see the controls. Those are the kinds of things I think about when I imagine my future life as a space trucker, and I want to simulate that with my friends.
Samuel Roberts: Rogue on PC
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is coming to PC in 2015, shortly after Unity. There are too many Assassin’s Creed games, yes, and I won’t be playing through both of them this year—I still haven’t beaten Black Flag, and one a year was getting a bit much for me. I’m glad, though, that even if this year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity turns out to be a disappointing and half-realised reinterpretation of the series’ original conceit with a boring protagonist in an admittedly glorious Paris, there’s another one with pirates and a proven formula that might just be a lot better. Right now, only PC players get to have both this year, and that’s actually quite cool.
Tom Senior: Evil thoughts
I was cynical about The Evil Within's transparent attempt to recapture the glory Resident Evil. I feared a nostalgic diet re-run of Resi 4 trading on an obvious crop of cinema horror greats—Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ringu, Dawn of the Dead. But in spite of the crummy port, I found myself enjoying it enormously this week. There's a moment early in the game when you're told to fight through a town of cursed shamblers. It's a great environment, full of traps, hatchets, hidden goodies and matches—the best weapon in the game so far. When cursed citizens start to charge I shoot them once in the leg—gotta preserve ammo—and then casually drop a match on them as they slowly try to clamber back to their feet. The resulting immolation is both grotesque and satisfying. It's familiar horror, but startlingly effective.
Phil Savage: A confession
Hi everyone, I'm Phil, and I quite like Dragon Age 2.
I'm playing it for the first time, after recently replaying Origins. It is, without question, the subject of one of our more controversial reviews. Rich liked it a lot. Many people don't like it anywhere near as much. I, it turns out, am enjoying it. It's pretty good.
The caveat is I'm only about five hours in, and yet to deal with the infamous repeating scenery. I haven't even been to the cave yet, let alone the same cave over and over again. But the interplay between the characters is great, and I love the way the rivalry system works. It seems I'll never see eye-to-eye with Hawke's brother, Carver—we are destined to always be rivals. But while his sibling petulance is annoying, we share similar aims. We're uneasy allies, which makes for an interesting relationship. I look forward to where that's heading, even if much of it will take place in a cave.