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PC gaming has been going through a renaissance of sorts over the past few years, clawing back the market share it lost to consoles in the last decade by offering a level of technology that is simply unattainable on the Xbox or Playstation. Granted, you need a nice computer to see these differences, but for those who have decent rigs, there really is no comparison.
2012 was an epic year for the PC, tilting the balance of power more and more in favor of the desktop method of gaming. Each of the following titles allowed the PC to thrive, and proved that if you want the best experience possible, grab a nice graphics card, bump up your RAM, and watch the fireworks.
First up is Borderlands 2, the hilarious and highly-polished FPS-RPG from Gearbox Software. Taking the role of a Vault Hunter, you must travel across a post-apocalyptic world in order to take down the megalomaniacal corporate overlord, Handsome Jack. This is not an easy road, with an army of widely varying beasts and crazy psychopaths in your way. Fortunately, you have an unlimited arsenal of unique weapons to mow down the hoards, along with special abilities gained from a tech-tree when you level your character up. With beautiful cel-shaded visuals and an unprecedented level of personality, this is one of the most enjoyable and humorous experiences you can have in gaming.
A surprise smash hit originating from serious pedigree, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, brought tactical, isometric strategy back to the mainstream by giving players a deep and satisfying gameplay experience that took notes from the original, while introducing revolutionary new options and methods of play. With a fully operational command center at your disposal, you decide earth
The DS is almost universally lauded by its user base. A handheld, it caters to younger gamers and relies less on visual and technological prowess in exchange for a focus on simple yet immersive fun.
As the shooters and modern games of today become browner and more formulaic, the DS is the playground of imaginative gamers who just want to be entertained with bright colors and innovative gameplay. Year in, and year out, the Nintendo DS accomplishes this goal by releasing a huge number of fantastically fun titles.
The first DS game on the list is a title that would not seem to work on a handheld, but succeeds in every aspect. That game is Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. A series known for huge open worlds that require some serious tech to generate, Chinatown Wars goes back to the GTA origin story and switch to the top-down perspective that helped make it a household name. The cel-shaded animations are gorgeous and produce an effect similar to that of a shiny new comic book, giving Liberty City a beautiful sheen that makes the experience a delight to behold. It is almost expected that Rockstar brings the heat in the gameplay department, and GTA:CW is no exception, giving players a highly-polished, eternally playable product that offers hours of entertainment.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is the lone strategy title on the list, with the player assuming the role of an army General pitted against an enemy force. You must either destroy all of the enemies units, or capture the all-important HQ. The turn-based gameplay is a perfect fit for the DS, using the dual screens masterfully, bringing both a macro and micro view to the action that no other system is capable of.
The strategy game is in a strange place at the moment. Highly demanding of the computers that power these games, developers understand that high development costs sometimes cannot justify the limited base of fans that can actually play these complex titles. This has reduced the number of strategy games in development to a handful, but that does not mean we no longer get the AAA-experiences that made the genre such an industry behemoth. Once the tech catches up, strategy titles will be right back at the top of the gaming hierarchy.
Even with a smaller user base, a few brave souls continue to push the limits of a genre that truly has unlimited potential. The top dog is certainly StarCraft, a futuristic space opera involving three equally dangerous factions duking it out for intergalactic supremacy. The first entry in the series continues to be a popular game, and is in fact one of the most popular spectator sports in South Korea. StarCraft 2, the long-awaited sequel, expands on the iconic title and adds updated visuals, beautiful cut-scenes and a better user experience, while developing the epic storylines of the Zerg, Protoss, and Terrans.
The fellas at Creative Assembly are strategy junkies, and the gaming community is truly thankful that they use this obsession to make the best games possible. The Total War series is the apex of quality strategy titles with a historical perspective. Take the role of a Caesar (Rome: Total War), a Japanese Daimyo (Shogun: Total War) or even Napoleon Bonaparte himself (naturally, Napoleon: Total War), and engage in skirmishes while creating a great society built on the blood, sweat, and tears of your loyal subjects. With the extremely ambitious Total War: Rome II releasing in late 2013, the Total War series is showing no signs of slowing down
A relatively new phenomenon, PlayStation Network has become one of Sony’s main selling point for its convenience and collection of high-quality titles for gamers to choose from.Many of these titles are independent, with only a small team working on its development, but as this niche evolves, we are seeing higher quality games making their way onto the network.
Let’s start with the big one: Journey. This game received more awards than the developer who created the title has employees. Immediately lauded for its atmosphere and beauty, Journey is a game of discovery, allowing players to traverse a visually arresting desert landscape filled with mystery and life that is yours for the taking. Join up with another player, or just lose yourself in the artistic environment for hours at a time. Journey fogo’s the handholding that has become commonplace in gaming and offers users the opportunity to create their own experience, and follow their preferred path, as opposed to one outlined by the makers. This is a truly liberating feeling and makes Journey a standout not only inside PSN, but within the game space as a whole.
Next up is the genius title, Guacamelee. An action-packed side-scrolling platformer starring an unlucky Mexican agave farmer-turned heroic luchadore named Juan Aquacate, Guacamelee is a title that is bursting with personality. Taking inspiration from the eternally interesting Mexican culture, this game is a tour-de-force of classic Latin American art and narrative. Swapping between the Living World and the Dead World, our hero must rescue the object of his affection by taking down countless waves of enemies while using his luchador skills to traverse the colourful and aesthetically pleasing landscape.
Asking what the best PC games are is a tall order to say the least. PC gaming is an institution and has so many great titles to choose from. Picking the best of these is somewhat futile, because everyone has their own opinion, but there are some games that are synonymous with the rise of the PC, and those are the titles we will focus on.
Where to start? Hmmm…okay, I got it: Half-Life. This Valve developed first-person-shooter will certainly go down in history as one of the best and most influential FPS titles of all time Whereas most shooters will engage in tunnel vision and require the player to go from Point A to Point B with little thought to the immersiveness of the environment, Half-Life flipped this common formula by creating a living narrative around the user. From the very start, the game places you right in the shoes of the silent protagonist, Gordon Freeman, as he prepares for another day of work at the ominous and impressive Black Mesa Research Facility.
The power of the ‘feeling of place’ that Valve is able to squeeze out of the Half-Life experience is still truly second to none, and other than the sequel (naturally), no game has been able to recreate this immediate sense of being transported into a fully-realized universe.
We are living in a world of loot, and we can thank Diablo 2 for this. The isometric dungeon-crawler series by the great developers at Blizzard Entertainment, Diablo 2 brought a new audience to the high-fantasy, action-rpg genre, and in doing so, helping usher in the “level up” mentality that is a mainstay in almost every major AAA-title released today. With the ability to pick up loot dropped from defeated enemies, customize your equipment and level up in power and skill, Diablo 2 continues to have a large audience still playing the game, even 13 years after it was first released.
Blizzard proved its pedigree with Diablo 2, but it was World of Warcraft that made Blizzard an industry behemoth. The game that made the MMORPG genre a mainstay, WoW allows friends (and strangers alike) to join forces and explore the vast and beautiful lands of Azeroth. Creating your own highly customized character from a series of badass archetypes, you start from the bottom and level up to reach the highest rungs of power and influence.
Many gamers consider themselves to be smart. Well, now you can prove that enormous intellect with Portal, the genius puzzle game by the genius developers at Valve. As a research test subject, you must use your brain, and your handy portal gun, to solve increasingly difficult puzzles, all while dealing with the most passive-aggressive AI ever created: GlaDOS. Funny and immersive, Portal has an amazing ability to make users think outside the box and in a way that forces them to use cerebral skills instead of twitch muscles in the thumb. If there is anyone who thinks games are dumb, unintelligent forms of entertainment, then they obviously have not played Portal.
BioWare has been a major industry player for years, and it was Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic that truly put them on the map. Sadly (or not, depends on how you look at it), the writing in KOTOR is mountains above that found in the underwhelming Star Wars prequel films. Smart, witty and thoughtful dialogue makes the impressive and entertaining storylines that much more memorable. This is the experience a Star Wars fan deserves, and BioWare hit it out of the park.
PC’s are the playground for strategy lovers two titles come to mind when considering the greatest of these: Civilization and StarCraft. Civilization, a turn-based title from the great mind of Sid Meier, is all about leading your nation to glory. Build armies, create timeless Wonders and institute smart political policies to either dominate your neighbours with an iron fist, or bring in a golden age of reason and peace. If you ever wanted to be a digital dictator, Civilization provides countless ways to become either a psychotic despot or benevolent ruler.
StarCraft brings the intensity of full-scale, real-time war to the user, allowing you to build and lead an army against your intergalactic enemies. Take the reins and command the Protoss, Zerg or Terran forces using quick-thinking and a killer instinct as you direct your infantry, cavalry and support units in a real-time battle. Fast-paced and unforgiving, StarCraft 2 takes immense skill to master, but the depth of play will guarantee that the ascension to the top of the ranks will be a seriously enjoyable one.
These titles have defined the first 30 years of PC gaming, and will certainly inspire the next 30 years. Considering the greatness of the games listed, we are in for
Video games never seem to get the respect they deserve. A quintessential art form, gaming is an audio-visual feast of visceral creativity. Those who don’t see games as art, need to look closer, because there is so much to see. But sometimes you don’t even need to look to understand the artistry involved in creating a great piece of interactive entertainment….all you have to do is listen.
One of the most criminally ignored aspects of gaming is the music. Not only does nearly every singles AAA-title include an original soundtrack, even small indie games have music to die for. Needing to engage the gaming to keep on playing, the score of the title must be catchy, emotional, relatable, and fun. With Austin Wintory (Journey) being the first ever video game composer to be nominated for a Grammy, it seems that mainstream culture is finally catching wind of the not commonly discussed aspect of gaming.
With that being said, we might as well start with Mr. Wintory himself. Journey was a gaming experience like no other, relying purely on atmosphere to compel the user to continue on this silent pilgrimage across a vast desert. While the visual draw the players in, and the puzzles keep them engage, it is the music that makes the experience so memorable. Longing sounds and soft voices, combined with emotional strings, bring a sense of wonder to the gamer, and encourage them to trek on and find all of the secrets contained within the endless landscape.
On the other side of the coin, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon brings the heat with a synth-heavy offering of catchy beats and dark tones. A retro title in every way, Blood Dragon is an homage to the 80’s action star, letting gamers take control of Sergeant Rex Power Colt, and the music is about as perfect as it can be for such an outrageous situation.
A hall of famer in the truest sense of the word,, The Legend of Zelda could cruise to gaming greatness on the fun of the game alone, but the sounds of the series were what truly helped catapult the mega-popular series into the pantheon of video game immortality. The title screen, the fairy fountain, the plains of Hyrule and everywhere in between is supplemented by music as endearing as the silent hero himself.
Electronic heavy soundtracks meet epic space opera in Mass Effect. The first game in the series also includes the best sounds and music from a now iconic audio experience. Bringing what one may call a “cyberpunk symphony” the soundtrack relies heavily on synth sounds and keyboards, while backing up the electronic foundation with traditional string and wind instruments. It is is mixture of high-tech and high-culture, making Mass Effect a top-quality title in every respect.
While we have mentioned some great examples of gaming audio, no video game soundtrack list will ever be complete without giving Nobuo Uematsu his propes. The composer behind the Final Fantasy series, Uematsu has consistently brought the highest-quality song-writing to his games since the first FF in 1987. If you listen closely, the evolution of his sound is readily apparent, and he proves to be in the masterclass when Final Fantasy 7 was released. In fact, it would not be too big of an assumption that the music was what has made FF7 such a lasting experience. While 7 and 8 are the best of Nobuo, the stretch from FF5 to FF9 will be considered his magnum opus, with all five being of the highest order.
If there’s one laptop that deserves to be called the most powerful, it’s the Alienware 18. Dell has done a great job with the construction and customization of this laptop. It’s made out of metal materials for durability. Everything from the chassis to the hinges is strong. You can open and close the lid up to 20,000 times before the hinge starts to wear out. The components and technology are powerful and advanced enough to keep you gaming for years.
With an 18-inch display, you’ll be able to see plenty of background when playing games and watching videos. There is also the option to connect the Alienware 18 to a larger display that has 3D capabilities.
All of your multimedia will run smoothly thanks to 4th Generation Intel processors (quad-core). They are made even faster with overclocked technology and turbo boost, which can get up to 4.3 GHz. The hyper-threading technology can handle up to 8-way multitasking so you can run more applications in the background without using too many system resources.
The AlienTouch provides you with plenty of touchpad customization. It is designed for virtual scrolling. Horizontal and vertical scrolling gestures can be customized by you. It’s up to you to decide how much sensitivity you want the touchpad to have.
How much memory would you like your dream laptop to have? This one can handle up to 32 GB (dual channel) at 1600 MHz. The base option is 8 GB, but you can go up to 16 or 32 if you need more.
As far as the graphics go on this laptop, you couldn’t ask for more. It comes with dual NVIDIA GeForce graphics.for gaming and 3D software. The dual graphics will be able to handle any game you throw at it, no matter how advanced and detailed the animation is.
The audio is just as advanced as the video technology. The laptop comes with standard HD 5.1 performance audio, and it can be upgraded to an even more advanced system.
If you plan on using this machine for a long time, you’ll need plenty of storage space. Think of all the games and other files you’ll be downloading and saving over the years. You can choose 1000 GB or 1500 GB SATA (7200 RPM). For the optical drive, you can go with a standard DVD writer or a Blu-Ray reader.
To put it simply, the Alienware 18 is the best laptop money can buy. Not only do you have some customization options, you can also personalize it thanks to the AlienFX system lighting technology. Apply dozens of different colors to different zones. There are so many color combinations available that your laptop is guaranteed to have a unique look. It comes with everything you need, and it’s engineered to last.
You’ll never find a better gaming laptop than this. You can find it at a low price online thanks to exclusive Alienware 18 discounts. Dell usually gives out promo codes to help online shoppers save on computer and accessories.
Nadav Snir operates a website which includes coupons and discounts for Dell laptops and desktops. To get those discounts, visit GripBuy.com. You can find more information about GripBuy.com on Google+.
Ronimo’s Kickstarter campaign for an expansion for their game Awesomenauts has closed with a pledge value of over $345,835! Fans could pledge to help the development of the expansion called Awesomenauts:Starstorm on both the Kickstarter site and on Ronimo’s own crowdfunding page.
The combined pledged value of both at the time of closing was $407,765. Ronimo’s own page will remain open for a short while longer, although all physical rewards have been removed.
Reaching 400k means several stretch goals have been met after funding the base 125k requirement within the first week. The new features that will be built are as follows:
– 4 new Awesomenauts and a map will be added to the game, tied together by the new Starstorm narrative.
– Full spectator mode and replay system. Players will be able to spectate any public matches that are currently going on, as well as watch replays later.
– Custom games setup, allowing private matches to be fully customisable.
– 2 awesome new songs will be created and added to the soundtrack.
And since Ronimo’s own crowdfunding page is still open (here: awesomenauts.com/Kickstarter) the next stretch goal might also be met. At 415k a 5th character and 3rd song will also be built!
Also, did you know:
-This campaign has been the highest grossing crowdfunding campaign from the Netherlands.
-This has been the first Kickstarter campaign for a game expansion.
As always progress on the game and the campaign can be followed at facebook.com/awesomenauts or twitter.com/RonimoGames
Blizzard has seen a small decline in subscribers in recent years, mainly due to the fact that many WoW players were disappointed in expansions – especially Cataclysm. Those who have been playing since the very beginning didn’t like some of the changes to their favorite zones and dungeons. However, that sentiment changed after the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. It’s been dubbed by some as the best expansion yet.
There were those who were skeptical about it. They groaned over the thought of the Pandaren race and didn’t understand what the Padarens had to do with Warcraft lore. What the naysayers didn’t realize was that Pandarens HAVE been mentioned in the lore before. Their continent, Pandaria, is even home to an evil race of trolls, the Zandalari.
The graphics and character animation is the best that Blizzard is offered yet. The new zones in Pandaria are stunning – particularly The Jade Forest. Some of the classic dungeons like Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery are now available in heroic mode for level 90s.
Those who don’t like the idea of the level cap being raised to 90 will be happy to know that the questing on the new continent is an enjoyable experience. The new dungeons and raids also offer a lot of fun. The Looking for Raid (LFR) and cross realms systems give people on low populated servers the chance to join in raid groups – something that they might not otherwise get the chance to do.
While there are critics of the new LFR and cross realms systems, most players seem to be happy with it. In fact, many former players who canceled their subscriptions after Cataclysm are coming back to give MoP another shot since raid groups are easier to get into now. Serious players who still prefer the old way of raiding can still do so.
The Pandaren is a playable race now. Monk is the newest class. It’s a hybrid class that offers a tanking spec, DPS spec, AND healing spec. Players who want to make a Panda character get to choose whether they want to be Horde or Alliance. Blizzard did a good job at designing the appearances and combat animations of male and female pandas. Monk is a playable class for any race – not just Pandaren.
Speaking of Horde and Alliance, the PVP system has gone through a few changes. It’s now easier for casual players to get decent PVP gear and weapons. While serious PVP players don’t like this, the fact is that most Blizzard subscribers are casual.
The patches are mostly Horde-centric, as the Warchief himself, Garrosh Hellscream, is set to be the final boss in this expansion. Even other Horde leaders are turning against him due to his tyranny.
Is World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria really the best expansion yet? A lot of people seem to think so. It is just as good as Burning Crusade, if nothing else. Unlike Cataclysm, there really aren’t many changes to the zones that players have come to love. The layout of the two main continents hasn’t been altered. Where the new expansion really shines is its end game content. It’s a lot more fun to be a level 90 now than it was to be a level 85 before MoP came out.
If you’re a returning player, get your new copy of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria at GameStop. Go ahead and give it a shot – you’ll be surprised at how good it actually is. If you’re a new player, you’ll need the original World of Warcraft game as well as this expansion. Keep in mind that you’ll need new copies since the pass code that each copy comes with can only be used once. GameStop offers the best deals by far.
About the author:
Nadav Snir operates a website which includes coupons and discounts for games for PC and other consoles. To get those discounts, visitGripBuy.com. You can find more information about GripBuy.com on Google+.
So Over the weekend we stumbled across this little fps web based game. It takes the bullet time genre and fps genre and spins it on it’s head. It’s probably the most elegant ways of killing people I’ve experience. Slipping through time and hitting that headshot in the stylistic manner of the games engine is incredibly satisfying.
It’s gained some notoriety in the gaming scene and has had rave reviews on the short demo/proof of concept game on their site. With your support we could have a fully fledged game. So check out the video and the game itself and support if this makes sends geek chills down your spine like it did us.
To Play the game go here http://superhotgame.com/