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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Tim Clark: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack also be a bit of prick

Being the one nominally in charge enables me to take temporary leave of our policy on swearing and say that Jack Baker, and more specifically, the chainsaw battle with Jack Baker is a big ol’ bunch of fucking bullshit. Those paying attention will have seen that I cited Resi 7, and the series’ resurgence, as one of my three highs of the week. The mutated fly in that particular ointment, though, are Resi 7’s boss battles, of which the worst so far has also been the first. James Davenport wrote a guide in order to help you with it, but rest assured it’ll be a giant pain in the hole regardless.

My own advice would be don’t even bother attempting it unless you’ve already procured the shotgun. Which, unhelpfully, is not a prerequisite for starting the fight. Without any pump-action help, we struggled to do enough damage, once we’d worked out what it was the fight actually wanted from us in terms of timings. We, in this case being my other half and I. We like to find shareable games which we can take it in turns to play. But the constant tension of Resi 7, and the frustrations of this boss battle in particular, led to several nights of going to bed angry. With the game. With life. With Jack fucking Baker.

James Davenport: VRen’t invited

I already wrote about this at length, but I’m legitimately bummed that Resident Evil 7’s VR mode is so good. And I’m only bothered that it’s so good because it’s exclusive to PSVR for one year. I played the first three or so hours of it, and came away super impressed. VR sickness didn’t send me fetal, and I’m typically sensitive to VR games with detached body movement. But it was hard to ignore how damn ugly everything had to look in order to run on such weak hardware. On the PC with an Oculus or HTC Vive, Resi 7 has potential to be the best VR game available so far. Sure, it still has roots in traditional game design, but it’s the perfect middle ground experience for those looking to transpose the games they’re familiar with into a virtual space. 

Samuel Roberts: Avengers 2018

There still aren't enough good superhero games out there—the Arkham games, and to a slightly lesser degree, Injustice, are more or less it unless you go back to Spider-Man 2 on PS2. This week, Square Enix and Marvel announced the Avengers Project, a collaboration between Tomb Raider devs Crystal Dynamics and the Deus Ex team at Eidos Montreal. There's not loads more to know, but I think we can assume this is part of Marvel's efforts to muscle in on Warner's more credible superhero games—in the same way its PS4 Spider-Man game has more potential than the recent run of drymouth-inducing 5/10 efforts.

The only problem is, we won't hear more about The Avengers until 2018. That's so far away! 

Andy Kelly: Lost cause

This month several games have disappeared from Steam, GOG, and other online stores. Some are genuinely good, like GRID and DIRT 3. And others I'm not as bothered about, like Platinum's Turtles game. There are a number of reasons for this, chiefly licensing deals expiring, but it's a damn shame. What I love about Steam, and to a lesser extent services like Origin and Uplay, is how they're a time-defying archive of old games.

The Great Library of Alexandria for PC gaming, albeit a million times less historically important. There was a time when you'd have to dig through drawers filled with ancient 'compact discs' (whatever they are) to play an old game, but now you can probably find it on Steam or whatever for a couple of quid. And installing it's as easy as running a quick library search.

Some games that have vanished might come back one day, but it's still sad to see them go (even the rubbish ones, kinda), because it makes the library just that little bit less comprehensive. And in that sense, maybe discs are actually better, because no one can delete them from reality. You might lose them, or only have 15 of the 16 CD-ROMs that weird old X-Files FMV game came on, but at least they won't be completely erased from existence.

Tom Senior: Kojima's spaceship office

Hideo Kojima has built himself a glowing futuristic studio. The entrance hallway wouldn’t look out of place aboard the starship Enterprise, as long as you ignore the life-size statue of a helmeted spaceman that guards the door. On one wall there are brightly lit shelves full of awards. There is a huge kitchen area, and a motion capture studio.

It’s amazing, but at the moment it feels like a monument to nothing. Death Stranding is a logo, a few strange videos and a collection of cryptic statements from Koj. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll see him travelling the world, visiting studios, meeting designers, and posting a lot of pictures of Mads Mikkelsen. It will be exciting to see what he actually makes next, but there’s a strong whiff of hubris to the whole exercise right now. The studio and the Hollywood stars are all part of  a delirious display of excess. It’s pure performance. Entertaining to watch, but as substantial as a stale breeze. 

Wes Fenlon: Net Neutrality threatened

It's been a pretty rough week for America. I don't remember a week of my life when our government seemed this tumultuous, and I have no idea whether things will get better or worse. But one thing that's almost certain to affect PC gamers—and one thing that seems very, very likely to get worse—is the FCC's approach to net neutrality. New commissioner Ajit Pai (who was actually appointed by Obama to fill a conservative slot several years ago, but is now running the show) believes strongly in deregulation. If his policy proposals as commissioner follow his attitudes so far, expect ISPs to have more control over how you use the internet and what you pay for it. Bandwidth caps will stick around, "fast lanes" will likely treat data unequally (Comcast will prioritize its own video streams over Netflix's, for example). If you believe that deregulation is a good thing and will lead to thriving business and innovation, Pai's appointment may sound like good news for the internet. Perhaps it will be. But if not, I don't expect the FCC under his leadership to have our backs.