Modern PC Gaming

The high end PC gaming market began with the Alienware computer. These systems while highly priced, offered gamers a top of the line system that could play the latest PC games at the highest settings. Since then the PC gaming market exploded until more games became playable on older systems, that and the saturation of the market. Here you will find more modern PC game reviews that required these higher end systems.

Darkspore

My overall impression of the game is mixed. On one hand, the combat is crisp and fun, especially when you’re cooperating with friends. The abilities are satisfyingly destructive and the heroes that I played all felt unique. It’s like playing league of legends in action RPG flavor, in that you only have a handful of spells available at one time, but a ton of different characters to choose from. There’s a good mix of enemy types with various special abilities you’ll need to adjust to. On the other hand, there are aspects of the game that worry me. [...]

Wasteland 2 Review

Every location and they way you interact with the people in those locations affects the world in a large or limited way, depending on how relevant they are to the storyline of the game. Much like Fallout 2, this game is also filled with easter eggs, pop culture jokes, and inside jokes. Exploration is encouraged as the game will reward you with rare items which usually don’t seem useful but they may be useful to a character that you might meet after 10-20 hours of gameplay later. It’s this kind of depth that makes Wasteland 2 as enjoyable as playing all the RPGs I mentioned previously. [...]

The Night of the Rabbit

These are not a technical achievement by any means, but sometimes visuals simply resonate with you. The art style here is bright, colorful and shows incredible style and detail. The animations are quite good, especially for the lead character Jerry Hazelnut, a twelve year boy reaching the end of his summer. It is not going to tax out anyone’s video cards, and that is a good thing in this instance as I was able to just settle in on my laptop and run it very smoothly from my bedroom. [...]

Game of Thrones

The story is excellent. Fans of the series will not be disappointed on that front. Both of your main characters are well-written and very different protagonists who have very distinct roles in this twisting story. At first their paths are completely disparate, but by the time you reach the last portions of the game, they are interwoven very nicely. There is also a good deal of freedom of choice and some of these decisions do nothing more than change conversation branches, but most seem to have some tangible impact on things like whether or not a character will be around to talk to later in the game. [...]

Metro: Last Light

This is a dark game and definitely not for the young gamers, with the ‘M’ rating truly being earned. Killing bad guys with a gun is your typical shooter fare, but taking someone out stealthily gives many different variations of executions with your knife. These are all brutal, but some can seem extra disturbing. Plunging a knife downward into the back of a bad guys neck, knowing you just severed his spinal cord, is a pretty effective way to take someone out, but very graphic in nature. [...]

Frozen Synapse

Essentially you are in command of a number of soldiers, who have different weapon types. You move them to specific locations, set them up with options like hiding behind shorter barriers, guarding windows or trying to control intersections by positioning and aiming them. You make these choices without knowing what your opponent has planned. Then both sides ‘go’ and move through their commands, and the sides engage in firefights if they call into each others’ cones of vision. [...]

TRINE 2

The graphics for the game are some of the best looking graphics for a downloadable title to date. The level details and landscapes are crafted to make the game strikingly beautiful. Puzzle and level design give you the sense that much thought was given to their creation. Some puzzles can be solved in different ways, and it is the level of detail that adds to this design. A few glitches here and there may force you to restart a checkpoint or two, but it’s not a game breaker to say the least. [...]

War of the Roses

Swinging a weapon though, can be a slightly awkward affair. You press the mouse button to swing and then swipe your mouse to swing your weapon in that direction. It works well enough when you get used to it, and these combat mechanics are touched on in the tutorial. That said, I think that this could have been handled in interesting fashion with say, a second analog stick on a game controller as well. [...]

Elven Legacy

One returning feature I am not particularly a fan of is the time-based gold/silver/bronze system, where you have a certain number of turns to meet your objective, and it seems like gold in several of these is virtually impossible. When you try to rush to complete objectives, you tend to lose more units and overlook things you might have found if you took the time to scour the map a bit, which is a shame. Still, the rewards for gold completion are usually quite nice – solid gold earning, usually a free troop and it unlocks a parallel mission that does not really affect the outcome, but is interesting all the same. [...]

Dungeons

Do you know what one of my favorite feelings in all of gaming is? Sure, there are a handful of correct answers here – like an emotionally satisfying story, finding an Easter egg, beating a friend in multiplayer and becoming lost in a graphically amazing moment are all among them. However, I really, really love stumbling onto a great game that I had low to moderate expectations for. Dungeons unfortunately is not one of those feeling-inducing games. [...]

The Wolf Among Us

This is a story driven game that uses its surroundings and language to give the gamer a true feel for each character they encounter. While episode one is a little on the short side, it’s still long enough to introduce several key characters, and even re-writes one well known childhood story. That’s not a bad thing either. The story will give you many choices, and will remember each answer you give. Characters will take note of your responses, and their future interactions will reflect your previous approach to the game. [...]

Rage

In each city there will be a shop of sorts where you can purchase upgrades and ammunition. All of the strange items you may find along your way can be sold at these shops. Be careful what you sell though, as some of these items can be used to make helpful items. While shoes can’t be used for anything other than cash, there are plenty of other things that can be used to make useful items. A bunch of rags can be used along with some antiseptic for a nice little health boost, and those are always handy. [...]

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Jedi Academy captures the excitement of lightsaber combat perfectly and not to far into the game allows the player to select between single, dual or a staff lightsaber. The problem with Jedi Outcast was the amount of tedious levels you had to play before you got your lightsaber, in this game you have it from the start and can customize it to your liking. I tend to favor dual lightsabers in green and purple, I have no idea why. After completing the single player I was actually surprised when I logged into multiplayer to find servers still running and being played online. [...]

The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day

For the most part my complaints with the game are few. There were a few audio stutters and blips during the dialogue, but it wasn’t consistent enough to really hinder my experience. However one of the most glaring issues wasn’t technical at all. There is a section of the game where a character doesn’t know how to put batteries into a radio, or what kind of batteries it could possibly ever need. This really serves to undermine the believability of that character and to shatter the player’s suspension of disbelief. This wouldn’t have been something to point out in a bad game, but The Walking Dead is otherwise intelligent and well conceived. [...]

Warhammer 40k: Fire Warrior

The problems with Fire Warrior, you see, are firmly rooted in its dirty console past. The game sports an incredibly annoying auto-save/checkpoints feature that forces you to replay levels again and again (only to be killed seconds before beating them), has pretty clumsy controls, very poor AI, astonishingly few tweaking options and an obviously tacked-on online multiplayer side. Then, it doesn’t even try to add anything new to the genre and its sole innovation is a rather failed copy of HALO’s shield system. And don’t get me started on the extreme linearity of the thing or the truly archaic need to collect color-coded keys… [...]

Homefront

Though Homefront is not really an adaptation to the interactive medium of writer John Milius’ previous work (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn), you can see their ehem influence throughout the game’s story and setting. The world is intricately and brutally realized and I was itching to join the fight. In short order, my bus was rammed by a Resistance cell in order to secure me, the all-important pilot, for their mission. Unfortunately, the the game’s mechanics immediately got in my way. [...]

Bodycount

The story for the game is fairly generic. You play as Jackson. A former US soldier who is now an agent for an organization called The Network. It is your job to find solutions to problems that governments can’t handle. Genocide in Africa? No problem. Grab a few weapons and grenades and wipe out the genocidal horde. Want to end a civil war? Take out the leaders and their forces. While on these missions, you’ll run across some enemies that don’t belong, and it’s up to you to find out who is really behind the civil unrest in both Africa and Asia. The story isn’t exactly gripping, but it’s not thrown in as an afterthought either. There was some thought put into it, but the bottom line for Bodycount is the gameplay. [...]

Hector: Badge of Carnage: Episode 1

Hector, you see, the eponymous Badge of Carnage protagonist is a (shockingly and spontaneously anti-authoritarian) cop in what can only be described as Britain’s most run-down town. His moral compass is all over the place, his remarks biting, his humour dark and his pants struggling. He’s also more than willing to negotiate with terrorists, as this game’s full title is none other than Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorist, in which Hector seems hell-bent on fulfilling the ultra-conservative, yet at times rather sensible, demands of a deeply frustrated and particularly murderous terrorist. [...]

Two Worlds II

Gameplay is along the lines of a good hack-n-slash. Where TW II sets itself apart from other games is in the weapons upgrading system and looting system. As you travel around killing, maiming, and destroying, you’ll find items that you can pick up and take with you. There are chests you can loot from, and some of these require a lockpick. Most of the items can be broken down into their elemental parts and these parts, in turn, can then be used to upgrade your weapons and armor. [...]

Torchlight

While crawling through these dungeons you are welcomed with a beautiful score. This is no surprise because the lead on music is none other than Matt Uelman the composer for both Diablo and Diablo II. The soundtrack of Torchlight has a gentile quality about it. The music does not get in the way of the game but brings out a mystical feeling. When eerie music is playing, there are enemies nearby, building up what little suspense there is because soon you are in a fight. While fighting, the music does not get loud and obnoxious. It still plays gently in the background waiting for you to finish. [...]

Lost Planet 2

The episode environments are varied but you’ll end up doing basically the same thing in every one. While the game tells you that the objective is to take control of a train or cause a mining drill to spin out of control it always comes down the same thing: taking control points. The T-ENG data-posts from the original game seem to be the most important thing on EDN III. These points are apparently the only control scheme on the planet so every mission has you capturing all of the posts on the map while shooting waves of faceless goons. [...]

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale

The game itself is a pure hack-and-slash affair sporting some great combat mechanics, deeper character customization than one would expect and -impressively- some lovely and pretty varied graphics. What’s more, the thing is properly entertaining and really addictive, meaning that, yes, Daggerdale did manage to endear itself. At heart it’s a great action-RPG with some good ideas and an apparently powerful engine behind it. Even the lack of a proper save function doesn’t completely destroy the experience, despite it being incredibly frustrating. [...]

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Primary and secondary weapon slots do not have any requirements. This means you can equip two axes, a scepter and longbow, or any possible combination of the several weapon classes to tailor to your play style. A unique “Fate” system allows you to personalize your skills even further. You are allotted points at each level-up to apply towards any of 3 ability trees; Might, Sorcery, and Finesse. After a certain amount of points have been invested in the trees, new fates open up which grant special bonuses that correlate with your most buffed abilities. [...]

The Walking Dead: Episodes 1-5

Much like previous Telltale Games, you use a four tied conversation tree that corresponds with each direction of your control pad. Unlike previous titles, however, in The Walking Dead all of your choices are timed (and some you only have mere seconds to make). There is absolutely zero backtracking to see different options or outcomes. This gives each of the choices a weight that just didn’t exist in similar point and click adventure games; once you make a decision, you are stuck with it unless you restart the entire chapter. [...]

The Book of Unwritten Tales

We are not talking Tolkien, Martin and Moorcock here, we are talking Terry Pratchett. We are talking light-hearted fantasy with more than a few humorous touches, that is neither satire nor farce. The Book of Unwritten Tales, you see, is set in a more or less proper fantasy world. There are mages, there are trolls, there are gnomes (yay!), there are knights and castles, there are undead, there are hidden artifacts, there are heroes, there are elves, there are dragons and there’s a battle between good and evil going on. On the other hand, everything feels like it’s taking place in some sort of tongue-in-cheek version of a standard MMORPG setting. [...]

Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries

Basically in this game you run a startup mercenary company that was sponsored by one of the big mercenary companies such as Wolf’s Dragoons. You can pick different sponsors and will get perks throughout the game based on who your boss is. Wolf’s Dragoons, for instance, give you access to Clan technology all throughout the game. The game consists of you managing your mercs in between you doing missions. You have to manage the nubmer of mechs, pilots, weapons you have, and everything costs money to run. All damage taken in missions takes time and money to fix so you have to keep extra mechs so when your best mechs are damaged you get to use your backups while repairs happen. [...]

From Russia With Love

A lot of cut-scenes. Well done, and a lot re-created from the original film. The music is perfect. Again, taken from the Bond films and gets your blood pumping throughout the game. Controls, especially with the auto-lock, are done well. The fun-factor is off the charts, a Bond fan or just one of the action-adventure genre. [...]

Bastion

When I sat down to play this game, I figured I would do so and be done with it, not necessarily because I heard anything about this game other than seeing it came out, but rather because I bought a bunch of games on sale on Steam for Christmas. It was late on a Wednesday and I figured I’d play a quick game, beat it fast, and go to bed. By the time I thought it was 10:30 PM that maybe I should go eat something it was in reality 2:30 AM and my body was screaming at me that I was starving. This game is quite a lot of fun since action RPGs generally are that way. [...]

Youda Fisherman

Youda’s Fisherman game is about you taking control of a failing fishing company and turning it around. The game is kind of silly as you have to control your fishing boats, while managing the selling and trading resources to keep your company afloat, while you battle pirates (Nigeria anyone?) and mother nature (sharks, whales, and storms). The game is a lot of fun because it requires so much micromanagement that it won’t even let you look away. There’s pretty much always something for you to activate or ship, while the computer attacks you. You have to complete different maps/levels which all have a time limit. You can either get a gold, silver, or bronze medal and the better the medal the more the rewards you’ll get from completing that map. [...]

Virtua Tennis 4

The first think I liked about VT4 was the visuals. The look and feel of the menus to the courts and players are very well done. Also, for those use to a console experience, the game flows just like it would on a 360 or PS3 easily moving from screen to screen and match to match. [...]

Resident Evil 4

The thing not only plays but looks decidedly shite and doesn’t even bother to provide a way to exit the game without going for the ol’ ctrl-alt-del trick.The graphics themselves are a travesty, which could a) have been easily avoided b) really wouldn’t be so important if they hadn’t removed daylight, night and fog effects in a brilliant attempt to strip away any sense of atmosphere. Then again, instantly disappearing characters have been added, thus succesfuly adding to the hilarity of the whole affair. [...]

DiRT 3

Replayability will mainly come in the form of Multiplayer. I have a feeling that eventually if you want to keep playing and having fun you will need to start buying some of the DLC, especially new tracks and cars. The game comes with what I consider to be a very limited selection of tracks. Sure, the reverse of the tracks is available but even DiRT 2 had more tracks. I really don’t like any DLC especially since this game pretty much just came out and they’re already trying to get your money. To me that’s like releasing an incomplete game and then charging people for patches and updates. Replayability gets a score of 7 out of 10. [...]

The Lord of the Rings Online Shadows of Angmar

Truth is, I could go on and ramble about a thousand other little things, you know, if only to come up with the mother of all blog-based reviews, and I wouldn’t have even managed to scratch the surface of what a magnificent beast LotRO is. Things like the recent Solstice Festival, the raising difficulty of quest as one progresses eastward, destiny points, the amazingly detailed beginner’s quests (instanced) & areas, the sheer number of available emotes, the immensely helpful community are all there for you to discover, but -as expected- not all is perfect. LotRO is still very young by MMORPG terms. [...]

Sensible Soccer: 2006

Sensi 2006 is played in the traditional 16bit bird’s eye view, just like its revered daddy, only slightly zoomed in, a bit angled and with a quite more dynamic camera. In case you were wondering, that’s totally unlike the FIFA/PES viewpoints and definitely a good thing, as the player can see a much greater part of the field, thus having a chance to get imaginative with his passing, pull through smart long balls, deep crosses, or even score a 40 metre goal. [...]

Lula 3D

Being of course cheap isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Lula 3D does have a certain charm, in the way Plan 9 from Outer Space, Dungeons and Dragons the Movie and Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer do. It’s so unbelievably bad it is almost interesting and enjoyable. Mind you, it’s not funny per se. The funny thing is that people decided to sell this kind of crap and I decided to buy it. And there is no such thing as a Bouncing Boobs technology. [...]

Telltale Texas Hold’ Em

Telltale Texas Hold’Em is not on TV, it’s on the PC instead. It was actually the first game released by the (hopefully) adventure maestros of Telltale, and has been around for quite some time. It is apparently a poker game. Of the Texas Hold’Em variety. This of course is neither a serious gambler’s tutoring software instructor, nor a hardcore/ultra-powerful simulation. Even though Telltale Texas Hold’em does play a decent and varied poker game, its great appeal is the atmosphere and the characters. Characters and atmosphere in a poker game I hear you say? [...]

Medieval II: Total War

And now for the more impressive feat of Medieval II Total War: the graphics. Well, they are bloody amazing, and unfortunately to fully appreciate them you might need a slightly up-to-date PC. The game, you see, builds heavily on Rome’s engine, updating the strategic level’s visuals and making sure the 3D RTS parts are jaw-dropping, by adding tons of special effects, shadows and quite a few thousands of polygons. The greatest improvement though, is that each unit on the battlefield is no longer a stiffly animated group of clones, but more of a proper unit consisting of individual -thus quite different to each other- soldiers, fighting in an animated way that puts Dawn of War to shame. Yes, it’s that good, really. [...]

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None

Other problems include a constantly repeating and quite annoying musical theme, the inability to skip dialog (and there are tons of it), horrible 3d character models and a few glitches/bugs. On the other hand And Then There Were None is quite enjoyable and atmospheric (for the duration of the 10 to 15 hours you’ll spend beating it). Environmental graphics are okay and with some decent weather effects, the original material is excellent, the voice-overs almost perfect and if you buy the game in the U.S. you will also get the original book as a gift (or so I hear). The manual is also a nice addition, with its decent oldskool booky feel, and you might also appreciate the multiple endings, which also include the original. [...]

Star Wars Battlefront II

SWBFII is such an improvement over its predecessor it totally surprised me and reminded me how fond of Star Wars games (TIE Fighter is what I am actually referring to) I once used to be. There are lots of excellent maps, vastly improved game mechanics, four different factions, many weapons and classes to choose from, playable characters (Darth Vader and co.) that can be used in multiplayer battles, a decent single player campaign, driveable vehicles and even a small but interesting strategic mode called Galactic Conquest (unfortunately only for the single player mode). By far though, the most interesting new feature is the inclusion of space battles. X-Wings, B-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters and the rest are all there in a highly enjoyable space flight sim in the style of X-Wing versus TIE Fighter. [...]

Civilization IV

Beside the three (3) aforementioned weirdos, the rest of the world should be happy to know that moving on to Civ 4 is definitely worth it. This seems to be the best Civ ever, even though no one can be absolutely sure unless two or three more years pass. Civ 4 sports a brand new 3d engine that can run decently on almost any modern PC or Notebook. It also features a new simpler but more tactical combat system, a never seen before government system, new religions that actually play a role (monasteries, prophets and missionaries are included), a faster game engine, decent (playable) multiplayer, new Wonders, Great People (something like wonders… but… ahem… in the guise of people) [...]

Tron Evolution

Tron Evolution takes place in between the first Tron movie and the upcoming Tron Legacy. You take the role of a program written by Flynn to help manage and investigate the activities that have been going on in The Grid (the name of the Tron world). Basically, the regular programs are now known as Basics and a new kind of program life form that started being generated by The Grid called ISOs, which are I guess a trend towards self-generating AIs and a natural phenomenon in computing. Simply put, there is racial tension growing between the Basics and the ISOs with terrorist acts, activism, and the now recurrence of a virus that converts programs to mindless killers (although I found them to be particularly weak). [...]

Alpha Protocol

The game uses the UT3 engine but I found the performance laggy at times. Most of the time the performance is fine but when it lag-spikes, it’s really god-awful and that sometimes ends up getting you killed. I found this happens a lot when there is some crazy action about to happen and then some character talks to you especially one over the headset (such as the mission handler). The graphics look nice and they get a score of 7 out of 10. Not the best but not too bad either. There were parts that you could see a character that was trying to walk through a door, like in Thief: The Dark Project. [...]

Mafia 2

The graphics looked really nice, especially the character models. I was surprised by one of the hookers that had actual real looking breasts rather than cookie-cutter breasts like a character in a super-hero comic book. Kudos for that realism. Graphics I give a score of 8 out of 10. As far as performance goes, with my typical 1024×768 on my 2007 Windows XP gaming PC the game ran fine except when I needed it to, which was when I was trying to drive fast or complete some fast maneuvers in a car (like when they are chasing you drilling you with tommy guns). I guess I can’t expect my PC to last forever but I have played other new games on higher settings that run faster. I give performance a score of 6 out of 10. [...]

The Saboteur

There are main story missions and side-missions. When you complete a key objective, such as blowing up a special Nazi weapon or killing a key Nazi, that specific section of the city gets liberated from the Nazi oppression. The advantage of doing that is that it makes it easier for you to escape the Nazis when they are after you. Without spoiling the storyline, unless the game is too hard for you, you can just ignore those side-missions but completing them can sometimes liberate a part of the city, making it easier to escape the Nazis. [...]

Machinarium

Like I mentioned before, the game takes place in a cyberpunk setting although it’s extremely “cute”, which might seem strange to some. Although it is cute, the setting does remind you well of the urban sprawl, especially since every kind of robot in this society fulfills a specific kind of role. There’s poor neighborhoods filled with artists. A special detail is a church with schedules for specific robots to go pray and complete specific functions until the end of time. With it being a clever graphic adventure game, it tells the story through a comic like style of having characters talk in comic balloon dialogue popups drawn in a style that look as if a kid had drawn them but using symbols so that anybody in any country can understand what’s being said. [...]