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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Samuel Roberts: Platforming relic

Hitman is on hold. Mass Effect is rumoured to be on hold. Deus Ex is on hold. Bubsy has returned. Get me off of this planet immediately.

Wes Fenlon: X99 Confusion

Hardware naming conventions are rarely easy to follow, and I say this as someone tuned into the latest and greatest in the hardware world. I can't imagine how impenetrable they are for most people, but I've gotten a taste of that bitter fruit with Intel and AMD's latest processor chipsets. For Intel, new CPUs are coming to the X299 chipset, while AMD is launching its first enthusiast models in years with a new socket of its own: X399. DAMMIT. X79, X99, and X299 are all Intel chipsets, and a fairly traceable progression. But X399 being a wholly separate thing from AMD just confuses everything. I'm going to be mixing those up for the rest of the year, I just know it.

Bo Moore: Rustywatch

If you've been following along, I've been playing a lot of Heroes of the Storm lately, instead of my usual Overwatch. But Overwatch is having a double-XP weekend, so I hopped back into the game to maximize my lootbox acquisition. It's been a few weeks since I played regularly, and DAMN I am rusty. My first several games back did not go well—I'll definitely be sticking to quick play for a while before diving into competitive season five. In the meantime, at least we have this adorable video of the Overwatch voice cast performing their characters' dance emotes.

Chris Livingston: GTA 

Last night a pickup truck rammed a telephone pole a block from my house, then didn't stop (or even slow down) despite the truck leaving behind a tire and part of a bumper. My neighbors and I stood around like "What the hell" as the smashed-up truck sped down the road, its bare rim gouging a smoking path in the pavement.

I basically felt like an NPC in a GTA game as some player drove like a maniac without a single shit given, leaving behind a trail of destruction and a bunch of bewildered eyewitnesses. Luckily, the driver also left the truck's license plate lying in the street, which we pointed out to the arriving police. I don't expect a five-star wanted level for the asshole, but it shouldn't be too hard to track the driver down.

Phil Savage: Gat attack

Johnny Gat is coming to Agents of Mayhem. I don't fully get the appeal of Gat—I didn't get into the Saints Row series until the third game, and he was dead for most of that—but Volition often positions him as a fan favourite. His inclusion in Agents of Mayhem is, then, a fan-servicey attempt to draw interest from Saints Row's audience. And yeah, sure, fine. I have no problem with DLC as a rule, and Volition does have an absurd lore reason for his presence in the game. Fine.

The problem, simply, is that he's advertised as being available as an "exclusive" pre-order bonus. I probably don't have to tell you that pre-ordering is a bad idea, but it's one of those annoying industry obsessions that isn't going away, and will continue to be made more tempting via these supposedly time limited treats. (This is despite the fact that, in almost all cases, the bonus later makes its why onto Steam as a regular DLC pack.) Add to that that neither myself nor Wes were particularly impressed by our time with the game, and you've got yet another example of an aggravatingly common move that in no way benefits consumers. At least Steam has a refund policy these days.

Joe Donnelly: Burnt, but not burnt out

I've been in Greece all week which means I've very little to grumble about in the world of PC gaming. In real life, forgetting to reapply sunscreen throughout the day in 30°C/86F heat has left my pale Scottish skin sun burnt all over. After PUBG's twitch shooting caused me too much pain last night, I settled into to my replay of Pillars of Eternity. which has been lovely. 

I'm now looking forward to the sequel more than ever and, with my sunburn healing, am even more excited to report on all that's new coming out of E3. EA has its conference tomorrow, followed by Xbox and Bethesda's on Sunday, however The PC Gaming Show kicks off at 10am PST/6pm BST on Monday for all things PC gaming. Be sure to tune in and check the website for continuous updates.  

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