This week’s highs and lows in PC gaming – PC Gamer

The highs

Chris Thursten: Intergalactic, planetary, planetary, intergalactic

I started to feel it, this week. Y’know? That one-month-until-a-new-BioWare-game feeling. Mass Effect: Andromeda has been on my radar—of course it has—but I’m starting to let myself really look forward to it. I loved the original series to pieces and I admired what BioWare did with Dragon Age: Inquisition, despite its flaws. I’m excited to see what they’ve been able to do in the series’ half-decade absence (yes, it’s really been that long) and new technology.

I’m not actually in a position to offer a judgment on the most recent info. I have to confess to not having read Wes’ preview, because I’m now avoiding spoilers until the game launches. That said, I’ve heard positive rumblings around the office—enough to be excited.

Mass Effect 3 came out a few months after I started in PCG’s UK office, and I was terrified that my new job in games would lead to somebody spoiling it for me. As it happens, Andromeda is coming out two weeks after I leave PC Gamer: my career here has been bookended by Mass Effect games. That feels appropriate, somehow.

Tom Senior: Showstopper

Massive thanks to everyone who came to the PC Gamer Weekender in London last weekend, and to the thousands that tuned into our Twitch stream. Attendees had a chance to try Dawn of War 3, Halo Wars 2, Tekken 7 and loads of neat virtual reality demos that aren’t out yet. However, the surprise star of the show for me was Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast. We had five or six PCs set up on a LAN in the retro area, so I dueled PC Gamer mag editor Samuel Roberts in the depths of the Death Star. 

I couldn’t figure out how to switch out of the slow strong Darth Vader stance, but I did figure out how to flip sideways off walls. This formed the basis of my entire combat technique: flip, slash, flip, slash, throw. What followed was a bizarre but tense flailing lightsaber battle for the ages that saw us placed joint-fourth on the final scoreboard. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was incredible fun. I also saw a child cut down his father and shout “I KILLED YOU DADA,” which was an awesome dramatic recreation of an alternative ending to the original trilogy, and an indicator of the power of PC gaming—bringing families together to hit each other with laser swords in a galaxy far, far away. We’ll do it all again in 2018, I’m sure. Be sure to grab your ticket early.

Bo Moore: Tanks very much

Overwatch is getting a new hero soon, and I am so psyched. All signs point to the 24th character being a new tank of some kind, which is something the game sorely needs—especially if it’s a viable alternative to Reinhardt.

Even better, the rollout of the new character teases has been great. Unlike the super-long snoozefest of an ARG we suffered through leading up to Sombra, it’s been really nice getting a steady trickle of information about the upcoming hero—assuming it does in fact release sometime in the next week or two. Blizzard said it took to heart the very vocal community feedback on the Sombra ARG, and that seems to be true. If we’re met with a three-month countdown on Monday, though…

Wes Fenlon: That Mass Effect 1 feeling

I’ve written a lot about Mass Effect: Andromeda this week, so what’s one more paragraph? Of all my coverage this past week, my favorite is this meaty interview with lead designer Ian Frazier. After playing a couple hours of Andromeda I was overwhelmed with possible topics and questions, so we jumped all over the place, and Frazier had interesting answers for everything. The most promising thing to hear was that Mass Effect 1 served as Andromeda’s greatest sense of inspiration. There was so much untapped potential in that first optimistic stab at a galaxy-scale RPG. It felt bold and daring and different. I don’t know if Andromeda will recapture those feelings, but I’m glad Bioware’s at least trying.

Chris Livingston: Start, Citizen 

Something weird happened when I jumped into the latest Star Citizen alpha update: I got a decent framerate. Instead of the typical herky-jerky 10-20 fps I usually receive when spawning into Crusader’s space station, I was getting 40-50. It still dipped into PowerPoint presentation slide-show levels on the regular, but it felt like maybe the new patch had improved things a bit. Maybe it’s the multi-region servers added in 2.6.1 alpha, or perhaps I just had a spot of good luck, but it was a real pleasure to run and fly around smoothly for the first time ever, a hopeful glimpse of what the game might someday become. Now if only they’d add a freakin’ ‘Remember Me’ tickbox on their launcher so I wouldn’t have to keep resetting my password.

Joe Donnelly: At the drop of a (cop) hat

This week Mode 7 and SMAC Games’ Tokyo 42 dropped another lovely-looking trailer, which made me realise the incoming Syndicate-meets-Grand Theft Auto action game is now one of my most-anticipated games of 2017—assuming all goes to plan on the release front. Named Cop Drop, the latest in-game footage demonstrates how quickly the long arm of the law can catch up with criminals in this vibrant futuristic city, and, assuming you don’t comply (which you obviously won’t), also showcases the brutal lengths the boys and blue will go to in quashing your unscrupulous activity.

In waves akin to Grand Theft Auto’s wanted system, the enemy threat starts out small as the player is pursued by two cops with standard weapons. But things escalate quickly and before you know it snipers, shotgunners, shielded infantry, and robotic projectile-launching tanks are among the threat breathing down your neck. Compare this to last month’s stealthier approach trailer and it seems mastering Tokyo 42 will prove far more complicated that its simplistic aesthetic might suggest. Again, no concrete launch date just yet, but Tokyo 42 is expected this year. I for one can’t wait. 

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