This week’s highs and lows in PC gaming

Phil Savage: Rez-urrected

Once upon a time, Rez was not available on PC. Now, suddenly, it is. I’m going to dig into why Rez is good (for the most part) in my review next week. For now: it is a cool curio of early-2000s consoles, and the sort of thing that a serious man in a wanky beret could wax on about for hours. It’s an attempt to lift the mind into a state of synaesthesia, you know. (Long, pensive drag on a clove cigarette.) It is a recontextualised homage to the expressionist works of Kandinsky, you see. (Stares into the middle distance, wine glass untouched for three hours.) It is about the rise and fall of civilisations, the evolution of man, and the existential questions surrounding the creation of AI.

It’s an on-rails shooter, basically, with a selection of early-naughties electro bangers. Most importantly, it’s a cool bit of games history that now, finally, is available on PC. I’m a fan of this trend for definitive PC ports of console classics, because the platform has a longevity and stability beyond what any console can offer. My PS2 copy of Rez is effectively useless (what do you mean, “emulation”?) but my Steam copy will live on for at least the foreseeable future. The PC is ever expanding in all directions—new indie things, new weird mods, new AAA blockbusters, new densely complex strategies, and, yes, new eccentric console games from the turn of the millennium. All are welcome here.

Tom Senior: International love

This year’s Dota 2 International tournament concludes tomorrow. I have been following it all week and it has been consistently thrilling. I can’t claim to be anything like an expert in the Dota 2 meta and its progression in recent years, but this International in particular has regularly featured tense, climactic sieges, and extraordinary team fights waged across a huge spectrum of viable heroes. Even as we move into the endgame, great spectator heroes are getting consistent picks. Everyone loves a perfect Earthshaker echo slam. Expert Pucks are landing beautiful four-hero dream coils. I even saw a Broodmother or two webbing up the lanes in the group stages. The tournament has been a great showcase for the game, even for people like me who prefer to spectate rather than play.

The highlight of the tournament for me so far happened yesterday when Team Liquid faced Virtus Pro in an epic match that looked, for a while, as though it would never end. Dota 2 has hosted crazy long matches in the past, of course, but this one felt particularly dramatic. It was the story of a team’s fear of getting punished on the final push, even with a clear numbers advantage. I won’t spoil how it turned out for those catching up, but you’ll find it all on the Dota 2 International Twitch channel.