It’s no secret that first-person shooters have changed dramatically over the last two decades. Whereas they once tossed players into labyrinthine levels and expected them to find the exit all by themselves, today they usually take a much more linear, cinematic approach in which exploration is discouraged and the story is force-fed. Even the recent DOOM reboot, as fantastic as it was, had some awfully straight-forward levels (especially compared to the ’93 original) and several unskippable cutscenes.
Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report that Overload never got the memo.
Every PC gamer who’s been around the block at least once or twice knows and respects id Software. From Wolfenstein to Doom to even Quake, this once tiny Texas-based developer has produced some of the most influential, ground breaking first person shooter franchises the PC platform has ever seen. For some, however, that all came crashing down in late 2004 when id Software released Doom 3. Despite its graphical prowess, the highly anticipated sequel to one of PC gaming’s most coveted franchises disappointed thousands of fans with its tedious, predictable gameplay and pitch black environments. It almost seemed as though id Software just no longer had that “magic” ability to produce one smash hit after another. Now, in 2011, id Software is making a comeback and taking a huge gamble by releasing their first in-house multiplatform retail game in seven years. And to beat it all, it’s based on a brand new IP. In comes Rage.
Despite being one of the most promising real-time strategy games in years, Act of Aggression has almost everything going against it. It’s in a genre that’s been barren for nearly a decade, it hasn’t been marketed worth a lick, it’s exclusive to PC, and it’s being released on September 2 alongside such juggernauts as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Mad Max. Whatever you do, though, please don’t let those things deter you; because if you’re a fan of strategy games, you absolutely must check out Eugen Systems’ latest offering. Here are five reasons why.
Let’s face it: these days, sports games suck. Not only are they completely devoid of personality, but they’re also bogged down in annual cycles that leave no room for innovation and guarantee that if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all. EA Sports’ Madden franchise is most guilty of this, but 2K Sports’ NBA 2K franchise isn’t much better. Believe it or not, however, there was once a time in which sports games were actually creative, innovative, and incredibly fun to play. Perhaps even more difficult to believe is that Electronic Arts pioneered such games with efforts like their sadly short-lived Mutant League sports franchise on the Sega Genesis.
Have you ever gone digging through your closet only to rediscover a classic game that you never really played or appreciated quite as much as you should have? I did just that a couple weeks ago, and since then I’ve been lost in pausable real-time strategy heaven. That’s right, pausable real-time strategy. Meet Rise of Nations, winner of multiple 2003 Game of the Year awards and one of the greatest, most sadly underappreciated and overlooked real-time strategy games of all time.
Since the Playstation Vita’s arrival in February of 2012, I’ve been woefully disappointed by its software, especially given the system’s design and capabilities. Sure, we’ve had some great games–Uncharted brought the console experience to a handheld and looked fantastic, Gravity Rush was an awesome, dizzying adventure, Killzone was by far the best shooter on a handheld yet, and Tearaway was a charming, creative title unlike any other. But as most of us know, the smash hits have been far and few between. Uncharted and Gravity Rush were available at or shortly after launch, for example, whereas Killzone and Tearaway didn’t release until late 2013, almost two years later.
The last time I completed Crysis was way back in 2007, just a couple days after it released. At the time, my PC — equipped with a dual-core AMD processor, two gigs of RAM, and an Nvidia 8800 GTX — struggled to maintain playable frame rates even at Medium settings across the board and at a paltry resolution of 1280×1024. Although I occasionally reinstalled Crysis to benchmark new hardware, I never once sat down to truly appreciate or invest much time into Crytek’s landmark shooter after my first playthrough. That all changed a couple weeks ago when an old Crysis thread on a forum I frequent was bumped, followed by a surge of activity. It was as if someone had awakened a sleeping giant. Excited by the prospect of finally being able to crank up the graphics and maintain playable frame rates, I dug through my closet, located (and dusted off) my boxed copy, then installed the game and fired it up for one last hurrah.
If you were around arcades throughout the 1990s, at one point in time you probably stumbled across at least one machine running NBA Jam, Midway’s fast-paced, ridiculously addictive 2-on-2 take on the NBA. There were almost no rules, players could leap and dunk from superhuman heights, and sometimes the ball itself would even catch fire. And who could forget the announcer and his crazy catchphrases? “Boomshakalaka!” If you go back and play the 1993 arcade version of NBA Jam, its roster might leave you scratching your head. You’ll see such 90s stars and as Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley, but amidst the heap of legends you’ll also see players whose names and faces are all but unrecognizable in today’s world of sports. I’ve scoured Wikipedia and its sources to discover exactly what these men are up to today and even when they retired and what they were known for throughout their illustrious careers. They were, after all, chosen in pairs of two to represent entire NBA teams for a reason.
It’s been 10 long years since the last Thief game, 2004’s Deadly Shadows, hit store shelves. For whatever reason, the franchise that pioneered and arguably reinvented the stealth genre more or less vanished in the mid 2000s as those like Hitman and Splinter Cell sprang up, then borrowed and capitalized on its formula. Thief fans have since had to resort to modding older games and playing The Dark Mod, a fan-made spiritual successor to the original 1998 game, to get a modern Thief experience. That is until now.