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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS

Wes Fenlon: Goodbye, social security numbers

A small percentage of Americans have apparently had some unimportant personal information leaked online. By "small," I mean 140 million people. And by "unimportant," I mean social security numbers, which are actually super important. You can use social security numbers to access bank accounts, credit card info, and commit identity fraud. Great going, Equifax. Real good job.

Tyler Wilde: Your sins won't be absolved

I met my first 'hacker' in Absolver, a person who could one-punch kill me. As much as I like One Punch Man, it's disappointing that cheaters are taking root in the game so soon. I don't know the exact method, but I suspect it has to do with taking advantage of Absolver's local save files. And if that's the case, it's especially frustrating. Absolver does a lot of the things we want games to do, the most relevant here being allowing offline play and carrying offline progress into online play. The developers have a responsibility to counter cheating (as well as fix Absolver's many, many bugs and connectivity issues, which are supposed to be helped by a patch today), but those taking advantage of something we like—offline play—to ruin the experience online are high level assholes. Cheating is the excuse a lot of bigger devs use to lock down modding or require an internet connection for singleplayer, and reinforcing their narrative (which is more about microtransactions than cheating) is stupid. And anyway, I can't understand why you'd want to play a fighting game where you always win.

Tom Senior: Underrated

Sometimes games don’t get the audience they deserve and it is hard to understand why. Is it a matter of marketing, the state of the market or just luck? Take Alien: Isolation, a bold attempt to bring the spirit of a movie classic to games. It looked beautiful, and it was terrifying, but it never seemed to find the millions of Alien fans out there. Likewise, Lawbreakers is a dynamic arena shooter that seems to be struggling to find traction right now.

On a related note I wrote about Titanfall 2 this week hoping to encourage more people to try it out. Increasingly I think the best thing games outlets like PC Gamer can do is signal boost good stuff, especially now when so many games are coming out. We can’t play ‘em all, but we can tell you what we like. In addition to reviewing as many games as we can, next week we’re putting together a list of smaller overlooked games that might take your fancy. 

Samuel Roberts: Where is my Destiny?

Destiny is just over a month away on PC, but this week it launched on consoles. I want to wait—I know it's the definitive version we're getting—but damn, everyone's talking about it (meanwhile, I'm messing about in the skies of Los Santos in GTA Online). My hope is that after Destiny 2's release, we'll see further expansions and sequels launch simultaneously. 

Based on Tim's impressions of the campaign, it sounds like we've got a lot to be excited about. It's just going to be huge on PC and I can't wait. 

Joe Donnelly: Virtual insanity 

This week, Rockstar announced it was taking its "first steps into virtual reality" with L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files. Exclusive to the HTC Vive, the spin-off will sample seven missions from the 2011 original in a bid to mix "breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience." Now, I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy Case Files or not, but I find the idea of VR games far less novel than I did 12 months ago. As such, I find myself unenthused by a self-contained virtual reality game, when we could just as easy be getting an enhanced edition of the original game—something our console cousins are definitely being treated to come November 14. 

And anyway, as much as I enjoyed L.A. Noire, surely a Red Dead Redemption remake would've made more sense that this?       

James Davenport: Fashion crisis

I, too, have been playing Destiny 2 on PS4—I’ll abandon for PC, don’t worry—and was disheartened to find out that cosmetic shaders are now single-use. You’ll often find them in stacks, but use one and it’s gone for good. In the first game, shaders were a permanent inventory item you could swap out at will, and most players did quite often. Dressing for the occasion became common practice, especially among close clan members. 

I’m not outraged that they’re consumables now, but, like a calm parent, I’m very disappointed. To boot, shaders only apply to one item at a time as opposed to the whole guardian. The extra layer of customization is nice, but if I want to go all in on a shader and don’t have enough, what then? I keep playing and pray for the right drop or pay for some Bright Engrams to expedite the grind? It’s not a completely awful decision, but one that could use some refinement. Maybe create a higher tier of shaders that have unlimited uses. Let me show off my accomplishments at will, not at the whim of time and money.