Near the beginning of Duke Nukem Forever, you make your way through a bona fide Duke Nukem museum. Statues, paintings, fourth-wall-shattering tributes to Duke’s greatest hits—the place nearly has it all. And we say “nearly” because one thing is missing from that perfume-scented love letter to Duke’s past: Duke Nukem Forever itself. Play for a bit longer, though, and it’s not hard to see why.
“Incredible.” “Horrendous.” “Wow. I can’t believe that just happened!” “Ugh, I can’t believe that just happened.” “Geralt, you cheeky bastard.” “Geralt, you worthless bastard.” These are all things we said while playing The Witcher 2. It’s an incredibly hot-and-cold game, to be sure. One moment it might wow you with brilliant writing, or a choice that makes BioWare’s fantasy behemoth Dragon Age look utterly toothless. The next it’ll have you spitting flames over frustrating, repetitive combat, and design decisions that simply boggle the mind. Ignore all that, though, because here’s what really counts: We couldn’t put it down.
Let’s get one thing straight right away: Portal 2 is not Portal 1. Don’t get us wrong: Portal 2 is still completely brilliant—just in entirely different ways. If Portal 1 was an incredibly witty one-liner, then Portal 2 is a whole night of stand-up. That is to say, it’s still smart, subversive, and riotously funny, but it does manage to drag in a couple areas—if only briefly.
Like Origins, Dragon Age II is a 50-plus-hour epic with a deep, complex combat system and a well-defined supporting cast. But it also wears its mythology proudly, confident in its goal of charting the rise of a complete and utter badass: you.
The first time you control Hawke—the hero—is in an opening flashback to your family’s escape from the Darkspawn attack on Lothering, which occurred in the first game. Dragon Age: Origins’ free battlefield camera is now gone, but at least the mouse-wheel scroll still grants the zoom you need to see the full field. Pausing, issuing a set of orders, then sitting back and watching the chaos unfold remains a joy that never gets old.
Bulletstorm is a big-armed, bigger-brained contradiction. On one hand, it’s about a band of hulking space pirates who can’t go two sentences without shouting some (admittedly hilarious) variation on a certain male organ. The game is juvenile and ridiculous, so it only makes sense that it’d have game mechanics to match, right? Wrong. Behind Bulletstorm’s barrel-chested bravado is a quiet brilliance—a reinvention of the FPS genre as we know it. It’s just a shame that—despite what its title may imply— Bulletstorm doesn’t quite manage to completely pull the trigger.
On the one hand, Adobe's platform has caused us a lot of grief--keeping it installed and updated is a pain, and even then the sheer number of security holes caused by flash is cringeworthy. It can be a system hog, too, and don't even get us started about how Flash single-handedly set UI design back 5 years.
But still, where would we be without Flash for free, addictive web games? There would be no Desktop TD, no Line Rider, and no Crush the Castle (and therefore no Angry Birds). So how can we waste our time with online games without having to deal with Flash? HTML5, that's how.
If you think there aren't any fun HTML5 games released yet, think again--we've prepared a gallery with links to 20 games you can play for free right now in any modern browser. Read on for more!
Homefront can best be summed up by its opening (which is nice, because that means you don’t have to play much of the game). You’re kidnapped and tossed aboard a bus, at which point you get to witness the ugly carnage of Korea’s invasion right in front of your face. Or maybe “in your face” is the more apt term, as the game immediately balks at the notion of subtlety. Senseless shootings. Dead bodies cluttering the streets. Parents brutally murdered as their child cries in terror. And this all happens within the first five minutes or so. It’s loud, it’s upsetting, and yet—somewhat shockingly— it’s incredibly difficult to care about.
You can take Crysis out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of Crysis. For those worried that Crysis 2’s city-slicking setting would turn it into a cramped corridor crawl, go ahead and activate strength mode, grab your fears, and ragdoll them 30 feet in the air. Crysis 2—while not quite as open as its predecessor—is subtly complex, brilliantly paced, and morbidly satisfying from start to finish. Sure, it’s far from revolutionary, but sometimes, you just want to put on a talking suit and shoot squid monsters, you know? OK, that made more sense in our heads. Allow us to explain.
It's happened to everyone at one point or another. You're playing your favorite FPS and minding your own business when your character finally succumbs to that pesky stream of bullets that's been bouncing off his face for the past two minutes. “Aw man,” you say aloud while a big, ominous Game Over screen stares you down. “Well, at least I can jump right back in and...” But you can't. Suddenly, you're 30 minutes away from where you kicked the bucket – your previous progress rotting at the bottom of some virtual wastebasket. “Well, at least I can vary up my tactics and see the game from a different angle this time.” Nope. So many invisible walls that you may as well be a mime. “Well, at least I can--” Nuh-uh. Can't do that either. So you pause to take a breather, but they immediately start suffocating you. Games For Windows logos. Everywhere. And then you wake up drenched in a cold sweat, safe in your own bed and free of the nightmare's cruel clutches. “It was just a dream, “ you mumble before dozing off again.
Or was it? PC gaming is far from dying, but not for a lack of effort on consoles' parts. Read on for our list our list of 12 ways that console gaming is hurting your favorite pastime.
If you're a PC gamer, you probably use Steam. Maybe originally it was because Steam was the only way to get at juicy morsels like Half Life 2, but these days Valve's online marketplace is pretty much the best thing going, with a huge library of titles, hyper-competitive pricing, and a strong set of social features. Keep reading for 13 tips, tricks, and addons that'll help you get the most out of your Steam games!