Tim Clark: Hello, Sailor
Confession time: I don’t understand the frothing enthusiasm for Shenmue 3. That’s not to say I wish the game wasn’t happening. I’m not an entirely obsidian-hearted grinch, so I’m happy that people are excited they’re finally getting it. But… Why? The original game was remarkable for being—at the time—a crazily detailed attempt to recreate a young Japanese chap’s life, complete with banal forklift job at the docks, set against the backdrop of a pretty melodramatic revenge plot. I also recall the conversational stuff being so stilted that I wondered if it was actually designed to be intentionally wooden, as some kind of Lynchian nod. (It wasn’t.)
Was the story so good that you need to see it finished? Because even if the Kickstarter budget gets sailed past, and with Sony’s funding support, Shenmue 3 will surely only be an exercise in nostalgia. The idea that the game becomes open world if the $10m stretch goal gets hit seems bizarre. Surely that’s the sort of design decision that has to be factored in from the start. What would have been exciting to me is a new megabudget Shenmue that, like the original, tried to create a super detailed version of the Ryo’s life. But hey, there was a reason Shenmue was an expensive bomb the first time, and beyond superfans, it’s hard to imagine a wider audience in 2015 being any more receptive.
Wes Fenlon: Not furious enough
I really wanted AMD's Fury X graphics card to be revolutionary. Well, okay, I didn't expect revolutionary—but I hoped that, after two years of rehashed tech, AMD was really going to knock our socks off with high bandwidth memory and a graphics card that surpassed everything Nvidia's released over the past year. Instead, the Fury X is a powerful card that doesn't really exceed Nvidia's 980 Ti, and is short 2GB of VRAM by comparison. It also seems like the Fury X is held back by AMD's drivers. AMD is in a tough spot, because it doesn't have Nvidia's insane resources to put behind driver development, but the company needs to up its driver game for its cards to stay competitive.
James Davenport: Personal computing
This week I was reminded that our hobby doesn’t come without drawbacks. Having just moved to San Francisco from Montana, the first order of business on arriving at my new lodgings was booting up the PC. After assembling what might be the fourth particle wood desk in four years—a ubiquitous rite for those in their twenties—I slammed some wires into their respective sockets until the power button made a noise, only to have the bugger crash after landing on the desktop.
I ran through the entire gamut of troubleshooting steps without relief. With a steady, inferior California beer sweat coming on, I was close to giving up. I’ll spare the remaining diagnostic details for reasons of brevity and entertainment, but it turned out the CPU was overheating and the BIOS settings were entirely out of whack, probably from a frustrated keyboard slam. It wasn’t until 2AM or so that everything was working normally, but I celebrated in the only proper way: botching a fresh install of Fallout: New Vegas thanks to lazy, terrible modding experiments. PC gaming! Happy to be here, folks.
Samuel Roberts: Finish Batman, please
Batman: Arkham Knight is still sat on my harddrive, but I’m not touching it. I’ve downloaded the first of what is likely to be a series of patches for the game in the journey to Arkham Knight being finished on PC (because right now it’s totally not—and according to a report this week, publisher Warner apparently knew that was the case), but I want to wait until it’s a version I’m happy with. It’s an ongoing disappointment, but I think one of the worst parts about the wait is that it’s going to get harder for PC players to avoid spoilers from console players. The secrets of its main quest and side stories are so worth experiencing first hand. With a universe like Batman’s, story is everything—the longer it takes for Rocksteady, Iron Galaxy and Warner to finish Arkham Knight on PC, the more likely it is that some idiot on the internet is just going to spoil it for you.
Tom Senior: Seriously though, finish Batman
My low of the week is also Batman, and because it's such a severe low and I was on holiday last week and didn’t have a chance to complain, I'm going to double down on Sam's point. It's not just the game's poor performance—Arkham Knight actually runs okay streaming off my SSD with a GTX 970—but this week I was sad to discover that the PC version actually looks worse than the Playstation 4 version. Arkham Knight PC lacks the console version's gorgeous thick rain and mud effects, and doesn't have the sheen that gives Gotham its sodden, glistening texture on PS4. It's somehow worse knowing that the game behind the port is good—magnificent in places—but when a company outsources a job, they don't also outsource responsibility for that job. It's going to take a long time for WB & co. to earn trust back from customers on PC.
Chris Thursten: 2 HOT 2 DOTA
I didn’t really have any major gaming issues this week, so I’m going to do the British thing and moan about the frankly incredible weather we’ve had this week. I spent some time outside appreciating it, and then slightly more time inside rueing the fact that my PC is a heat-emitting monster that sounds like a dying Transformer when the temperature pushes summerwards. This meant that I had to drink more beer in order to stay cool, and then I wanted an ice cream, and long story short an hour later I looked at myself and saw a man in his pants playing Dota half-drunk in the dark and realised that I had nobody to blame but myself.