Finishing The Orange Box left us in a state of shock. It wasn’t
Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s requisite cliffhanger ending that floored us;
rather, it was the realization that Episode 2 is the low point of the
entire Orange Box package. Portal and Team Fortress 2 completely
eclipse what Valve bills as the “centerpiece” of the bundle.
Hellgate: London wishes it were a lot of things: Diablo III, an MMO, and fun, to name a few. However, the game is as related to Blizzard’s epic series as a soiled napkin is to the New Yorker. Hellgate isn’t an MMO either; Flagship Studios would love to upcharge you $10 a month for additional content (which is limited to a meager number of quests and items, as well as guild support and increased inventory space), but Hellgate’s core mechanics aren’t even on par with those of games that lack a monthly fee, such as Guild Wars.
This week, we present an all-listener-mail edition of the podcast! Join
Tom, Dave, Will, Gordon, and Jeremy as we tackle a load of tough tech
questions. Of course, we'll bring you Gordon's rant of the week as
I’ve played thousands of games since I stomped my first Koopa in Super Mario Brothers—way back in 1986. Since then, I’ve played text games, 2D adventures, first-person shooters, simulations of every sort, strategy games, and role-playing games. I even played a “cyberpunk thriller” once. Of all the games I’ve played in the last 21 years, none has evoked such powerful emotions as BioShock.
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.