Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way up front. On a properly configured Vista machine with DirectX 10 hardware, Crysis is the best-looking game we've ever played. Its jungle environments are lush and realistic, with plenty of wide-open areas and just a handful of loading screens in the entire game. This incredible level of graphical detail is what PC gaming is all about.
I signed on with the 82nd Airborne because it promised that its new approach to fighting the war would be the best way to serve my country in this terrible crisis. It’s been a tough three years over here in Europe, but the Airborne has proved that it can take the good fight for freedom to new heights. Over the last six operations in my tour, I’ve really done my part to stop Jerry!
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Grin, the developer of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, took this adage to heart after the original GRAW’s abysmally poor squad AI and mediocre missions failed to woo PC gamers. Thankfully, the developer’s efforts are clearly noticeable in the sequel, which impresses with both its improved AI pathfinding and new tactically sound team controls.
As devoted PC gamers, we’re usually not very prone to console envy, but there are a few reasons to be jealous of our closed-platform counterparts. Chief among them are the exclusives games that Microsoft and Sony hook up with their fanboys. Gears of War made its debut a year ago to widespread acclaim, and we finally have the PC version of Epic’s gritty masterpiece. Five exclusive new single-player levels, new multiplayer maps, and high resolution visuals help the game stand the test of time and make the PC port the definitive version.
Just call it the anti-Crysis. If Crytek’s immersive next-gen messiah is suppose to usher in a revolutionary era of open-ended shooters, Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4
shows us why linear missions and wholly scripted gameplay aren’t ready
to be replaced yet. The shift in this series’ setting to modern day
brings more high-tension gunplay and explosive ambiance than any game
in recent memory. From furious firefights in Arab towns to nail-biting
infiltration missions under the dark of Russian night, we were absorbed
in more grandiose military heroics than any Michael Bay blockbuster.
And since the game’s goal is to take you along for an unabashed joy
ride, that’s actually a good thing.
If you’ve ever had that dream where all the awesome things you love are in one place, but everything is a little hazy and it all ends too soon when you wake up, you’ll have a good idea what playing Lost Planet is like. This ported Xbox 360 game is packed to the brim with enough giant insects, killer worms, armored mechs, and glorious explosions to enthrall any science-fiction geek. Its only major shortcoming is that all of this awesomeness is crammed into a package that’s all too brief—we completed the fantastic single-player campaign in just over six hours.
Thirteen years ago, a little game called X-COM: UFO Defense debuted, pitting players against alien invaders and charging them with creating a network of bases around the globe, shooting down UFOs, capturing and researching alien technology, and then using it against the aliens in turn-based tactical squad combat. That’s the formula UFO: Extraterrestrials follows almost to the letter, falling just short of being a direct remake of X-COM.
We were skeptical when Microsoft announced that Shadowrun would be the first game to support full cross-platform multiplay between PCs and Xbox 360s. Being staunch advocates of the keyboard and mouse in first-person shooters, we were worried that the developers at FASA would dumb down Shadowrun to even the playing field for our gamepad-wielding counterparts. Luckily, after several weeks of playing the game, we can report that it is not only fair and balanced for all players but also a truly innovative multiplayer experience that’s loads of fun.