Wes Fenlon: Ahoy!
Our frequent contributor Lauren Morton wrote a story this week that, after weeks of work, I'm quite proud of: How fans helped 11-year-old MMO Pirates of the Burning Sea stay alive. Stories about PC gaming's small, passionate communities playing mostly-forgotten games are absolutely my favorite, and this is a good one. Pirates of the Burning Sea's developer kept shrinking and shrinking until there was only one left, and man, that is some dedication. I love that the community banded together to donate enough money to keep the game running. And there's a happy ending: Or, rather, there isn't an ending yet. PotBS has recently transferred server hosts and gotten a bit more support, and things are looking up for the pirate life.
Tom Senior: High-calibre Anno
In the UK we’re heading into a long sunny four-day Easter weekend which means it’s time to hang out with family and friends and start building an ambitious, industrial revolution powerhouse in Anno 1800. We gave it a score of 84 this week in our Anno 1800 review and declared it to be the best entry in the series yet. I’m particularly drawn to the beautiful artistic treatment of the era’s buildings. I love the satisfaction of watching a little town grow in a city-building sim, and Anno even has bonus RTS elements and AI competition to give expansion plans some extra urgency. Even with those extra stressors, it should be a nice change of pace from Devil May Cry 5 and Sekiro.
Samuel Roberts: Ashina is dead
Sekiro is the first From Software game I've ever played properly. And by that I mean I haven't thrown a tantrum at it yet, like I did with Bloodborne a couple of years ago. I'm not doing too badly: Lady Butterfly and Genichiro Ashina are both dead, and I understand they represent the first major difficulty bumps in the road in Sekiro.
Two key things happened this week: the game stopped making me angry when I failed, and instead just made me more determined to learn how to deal with these bastards. That, I understand, is the real essence of these games, and not an angry teenager with too much time on their hands barking 'git gud' at you on Twitter. Sekiro is my GOTY so far. It's going to take a lot to surpass it.
Sarah James: It's all about balance
An incredibly busy week means that I haven't had much of a chance to jump into World of Warcraft to continue levelling my druid while I look for a good raiding guild, ready for patch 8.2. This might not seem like a 'high', but the fact that we're at the start of a long, Easter weekend and have zero plans means I'll get to catch up on all the goings-on in Azeroth and give my level 86 night elf some much-needed attention.
I find it funny that WoW can still surprise me; I've been playing (on and off) since the Cataclysm expansion and this is the first time that I've ever attempted to play balance druid. Couple that with the fact that I'm levelling as Alliance rather than Horde and it almost feels like a whole new game.
Chris Livingston: Happy Max
I was in the mood to drive recklessly this week, and after looking at the price tags on Dirt Rally 2.0 and Wreckfest I thought: hey, there's always Mad Max. I haven't played Avalanche's open world driving and fighting RPG since I reviewed in 2015, but it still looks great and the post-apocalyptic demolition derby is still fun as hell. I've been jumping in for about an hour in the evenings, starting over from the beginning and slowly assembling my Magnum Opus while chasing convoys through the dusty desert.
I doubt I'll play all the way through it again—already, the sheer number of icons on the map and some of the repetitive tasks are starting to take their toll. But for spending an hour in the evenings racing around in my rusty car with Chumbucket manning the harpoon and blasting head-on into the grills of Warboys and Buzzards, Mad Max is just about perfect.
James Davenport: Cult Killer
I left Assassin's Creed: Odyssey with 50 hours of playtime. And when I returned this week, I was surprised to find that I hadn't finished the game like I thought. There were two branches to wrap: the family story and the cult murder spree. Odyssey was such a fulfilling videogame meal when I first played it that my brain totally filed it away as finished, but with the DLC piling up I thought I'd hop back in and poke around.
Another 15 hours later, I've finished Kassandra's family story and the cult is nearly gone. I haven't even touched the DLC. What a fantastic, gargantuan thing. With the early release season essentially wrapped, the summertime lull is the perfect time to return to the biggest, cleanest b-movie game there ever was. Meet me in Atlantis.