Revista PC Gamer Março 2011
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    Revista PC Gamer Março 2011 Revista PC Gamer Março 2011 Document Transcript

    • COVER TITLE ARE CLICKA S BLE!PC GAMER MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • MARCH 2011 CLICKING A TITLE TAKES YOU DIRECTLY TO THE ARTICLE MONITOR BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2—VIETNAM 32 THE HUNT FOR INDIE GAMES 5 SUPER MEAT BOY 33 NEWS 6 LOCK ON: FLAMING CLIFFS 2 34 THE SPY 7 ARMA 2: PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY 34 STAR TREK ONLINE 8 EXTRA LIFE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS 9 REINSTALL: QUAKE 35 ALLODS ONLINE 9 DOWNLOADS 37 DEV MAN TALKING 10 HOW TO BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 38 IN SIMULATION 11 ALTERNATE LIVES 11 HARD STUFF TACTICAL ADVANTAGE 12 GPUS 39 BENCHMARKS 40 FACE-OFF 12 DEPARTMENTS PREVIEWS SHOGUN 2: TOTAL WAR 13 EDITOR’S NOTE 3 FIREFALL 14 LETTERS 4 DUNGEONS 15 BACKSPACE 41 ELEMENTAL: FALLEN ENCHANTRESS 15 RELEASE METER 16 FEATURES THE TOP 100 PC GAMES 17 PLEASE NOTE 2010 GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS 23 Screen shots and other artwork in this pdf have been downsampled and compressed. REVIEWS For the most accurate representation of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: CATACLYSM 28 game artwork please refer to your hard DEAD SPACE 2 31 copy of PC Gamer. ‹ BACKwww.downmagaz.com NEXT ›
    • MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 MARCH 2011 EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Logan Decker Senior Editor Evan Lahti Reviews Editor Dan Stapleton Associate Editor Josh Augustine Copy Editor Chris Comiskey Ultra good. When I was a kid, the movie Jason and Intern Michael QuachE PLAYLIST 1310 Contributors Al Bickham, Norman Chan, Richard Cobbett, Desslock, Tim Edwards, Tony Ellis, Ed Fenning, Aaryn Flynn, the Argonauts and the television show Tom Francis, Troy Goodfellow, Robert Hathorne, Chris Livingston, Andy Mahood, Candace McCarty, Ultraman were right at the top of my Rich McCormick, Craig Pearson, Chris Perry, Tom Senior, Graham Smith, Tim Stone, John Walker, Tyler Wilde List of Great. Today, Ultraman is only Producer/Project Manager Debra Guilfoyle Edit Squirrel Tabasco enjoyed in a wistful, ironic way. Jason ART 1310 and the Argonauts, on the other hand, P CG 1310 PCG1310 Lead Designer Dan Fitzpatrick Contributing Designer Christin Chi Photographers Mark Madeo, Samantha Berg remains an indisputable pillar of BUSINESS Publisher Kristen Salvatore ksalvatore@futureus.com Vice President, Games Kelley Corten 1310 Western culture—the climactic battle scene with the stop-motion animated kcorten@futureus.com Vice President, Sales and Marketing Rachelle Considine sword-wielding skeletons makes much rconsidine@futureus.com Executive Director Integrated Sales Nathan Hunt of today’s bland CGI extravaganzas look 415-269-5408, nhunt@futureus.com National Sales Manager Isaac Ugay like something you wouldn’t even feed to the dog. 714-381-3419, iugay@futureus.com Regional Sales Director Carol Gillard Technologies may improve and we might get caught up in exciting new trends, but 646-723-5476, cgillard@futureus.com Regonal Sales Manager Arthur St. Germain great games, just like television shows and movies, depend on neither. And that, of 650-238-2571, astgermain@futureus.com Detroit Consumer Manager Alan Dickinson 248-792-2408, alandmedia@comcast.net course, is what makes them so durable. That’s why PC Gamer called a special session Senior Marketing Manager Andrea Recio-Ang 650-238-2548, arecio-ang@futureus.com of its writers and editors on both sides of the Atlantic to revisit our list of the very best Marketing Coordinator Allyson Kardel akardel@futureus.com 100 games of all time (page 42). Advertising Coordinator Jose Urrutia jurrutia@futureus.com What we went looking for were those games that keep proving their genius year PRODUCTION after year while all the others quietly faded from memory, like my old favorite TV Production Director Michael Hollister Senior Production Coordinator Dan Mallory show. Print Order Coordinator Linh Chau-Ward CONSUMER MARKETING Now, the debate about what position any particular game should take over another Vice President, Consumer Marketing Rich McCarthy Circulation Director Stephanie Blake in our Top 100 list could—and most definitely will—go on forever. Not so with our Game Newsstand Director Bill Shewey Consumer Marketing Operations Director Lisa Radler of the Year awards for 2010 (page 57), in which we call out the towering achievements Renewal And Billing Manager Mike Hill Online Marketing Director Adam Whinston in a spectacular year that was as notable for dark horses and pleasant surprises— Customer Service Manager Mike Frassica FUTURE US, INC. including note-perfect sports and puzzle-adventure games, as 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400 South San Francisco, CA 94080 well as the phenomenon that is Minecraft—as it was for big www.futureus.com Tel 650-872-1642 names like StarCraft II. Fax 650-872-2207 President John Marcom And speaking of big names, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Vice President/CFO John Sutton just missed the deadline for our Game of the Year noms, Human Resources Director Nancy Durlester DuBois LOGAN DECKER SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES but as our review on page 68 indicates, we just may see EDITOR-IN-CHIEF To Subscribe: www.pcgamer.com/subscribe Customer Service: 800-898-7159, www.pcgamer.com/ customerservice, pcgcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com it at next year’s awards. Twitter: @arocklegend Future US, Inc. is part of Future plc. Future plc produces carefully targeted magazines, websites and events for people with a passion. We publish more than 180 WHODUNIT magazines, websites and events and we export or license our publications to 90 countries around the world. Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR). Future Plc 30 Monmouth St., Bath, Avon, Ba1 2bw, England www.futureplc.com Tel +44 (0) 1225 442244 (Bath) Tel +44 (0) 7042 4000 (London) Chief Executive Stevie Spring Non-executive Chairman Roger Parry Group Finance Director John Bowman His long, dark cape hung motionless from his broad shoulders as he Evan Lahti Dan Stapleton Tim Edwards Josh Augustine perched on the edge of the rooftop, staring intently at the cars moving Senior Editor Reviews Editor Editor (PC Gamer UK) Associate Editor slowly below. The night air was cold and still, but somewhere in Evan once killed a man for The babies attacked him first. Tim explains why there’s never New champions are on the way between the dull headlights and neon signs masked by smoke rising insulting Tribes. He threatened Find out why Dan is shooting been a better time to jump into for League of Legends, and Josh from the pavement was a sandwich. A long roast beef on rye with dijon to do so again if it didn’t make it babies in his Dead Space 2 World of Warcaft in his review of has played with ‘em all. See mustard and double pickles. Our hero must find it. Our hero must eat it. onto our Top 100 list (page 42). review (page 74). Catacylsm on page 68. what’s ahead on page 20. PC GAMER (ISSN 1080-4471) is published 13 times a year, monthly plus Holiday issue following December issue. Future US, Inc., 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080. Phone: (650) 872-1642. Fax (650) 872-2207. Website: www. futureus.com. Periodicals postage paid in South San Francisco, CA and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand distribution is handled by Time Warner Retail. Basic subscription rates: one year (12 issues + 12 CDs) US: $29.95; Canada: US$49.95. Foreign: US$69.95. Canadian and foreign orders must be prepaid, US funds only. Canadian price includes postage and GST #R128220688. PMA #40612608. Subscriptions do not include newsstand only specials. POSTMASTER: Send changes of address to PC Gamer, PO Box 5158, Harlan, IA 51593-0658. Standard Mail enclosed in the following edition: None. Ride-Along enclosed in the following editions: B1, C1, C2, C3, C4. Returns: Bleuchip International, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada. Future US, Inc. also publishes Maximum PC, Mac|Life, Nintendo Power, The Official Xbox Magazine, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, World of Warcraft Official Magazine, NVISION, Guitar World, Revolver, Guitar Aficionado, Windows: The Official Magazine, MOM, Crochet Today! and Pregnancy. Entire contents copyright 2010, Future US, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Future US, Inc. is not affiliated with the companies or products covered in PC Gamer. Reproduction on the Internet of the articles and pictures in this magazine is illegal without the prior written consent of PC Gamer. Products named in the pages of PC Gamer are trademarks of their respective companies. PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. www.pcgamer.com CUSTOMER SERVICE: PC Gamer Customer Care, PO Box 5158, Harlan, IA 51593-0658. Phone: 1-800-898-7159. Web: www.pcgamer.com/customerservice. Email: pcgcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com. Back issues can be purchased by calling 1-800-865-7240. ww REPRINTS: Reprint Management Service. Phone: 717-399-1900 x.100.mer.com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 5 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS NEXT ›
    • EMAIL letters@ Has Evan Lahti PRTSCN BACK CHATTER pcgamer.com TWITTER @PCGamer been secretly ■ I just noticed in monitoring my PC the December 2010 FACEBOOK facebook.com/ PCGamermagazine gaming activities? issue that you asked about BioShock Infinite: “What WRITE PC Gamer Letters 4000 Shoreline Ct, Suite 400 happens when they South San Francisco, CA 94080 flush the toilet?” I Anime augmentation think that someone I was floored to read your down below gets a Your emails, Facebooks, Twitters, and yes, we still get the occasional letter article on Deus Ex: Human Revolution when Tom Francis very nasty surprise, or it’s dumped mentioned it drawing creative somewhere in the ocean. Nikolai BACK CHATTER more missions, but lackluster ones, and the Terran influence from Blade Runner Johansen those are all from the campaign that came with SC2: and The Matrix. He obviously ■ I generally do a same faction and does Wings of Liberty is one of the doesn’t spend a lot of time ■ I don’t care what playthrough of Star not make up for the best-designed RTS experiences ever watching movies made outside PC Gamer says. Wars: Knights of the It bugs me (and Old Republic every fact that we’re paying made. And you’re not even of Hollywood—this game full price for only a factoring in the multiplayer in your might as well be named Ghost in When planning my recent wedding, I knew exactly what my groom’s cake impacts my buying year or two. That had to be. But my wonderful bride went the extra mile and got me a Portal decision) when game is awesome piece of a full game. math! PCG the Shell, and obviously draws games such as every time! Andrew Danny Morton influence from a rich host of cake and a Weighted Companion Cube cake! Alas, I still killed it and ate it for good measure! Jim Ingram Mass Effect 2 or Grindinger One step ahead incredible Japanese anime. Just Dragon Age: Origins ■ Torchlight for $5 If your definition of “a Has Evan Lahti been secretly trying to give credit where do not link their SHOW US YOURS Tell us your story with a great screenshot. Send it to letters@pcgamer.com and include on Steam FTW. Best full game” mandates a monitoring my PC gaming credit is due. Steve Karg PRTSCN in the subject line—you could win a sweet prize like Jim’s new copy of Super Meat Boy! achievements to money I’ve spent in campaign for each of activities? Hit with a minor my Live accounts. a long time. Steven Palmer Supreme Commander 2 has campaign the factions that are bout of nostalgia, I recently End of the road Who cares about an achievement that missions for all three factions. playable in multiplayer, downloaded and installed Everyone was grateful when doesn’t show up ■ Command & then you’re right: MechCommander Gold, relishing Bethesda released the Broken Unfinished Sin developers are reluctant to risk anywhere? Conquer: Red Fuzzy math there’s been a trend these past few every minute of “Mech-stompy Steel DLC for Fallout 3, which SiN Episodes: Emergence was their companies on a lesser-known Markus Egger Alert: great then, It seems like RTS publishers years to concentrate on fewer, goodness.” I am a huge fan of allows you to continue playing released in 2006, but then its brand that didn’t do well last time. great now! Philip are charging us full price for higher-quality campaigns. Games BattleTech, and I can say with BattleTech F3 after you finished the main developer, Ritual, went under, By contrast, what killed 3D Realms ■ Cheers on the Brazendale article on Dead half or one third of a game like Company of Heroes, confidence that Mech- quest. On New Vegas they made leaving the other two parts in was not a failure of the Duke fran- State in the January ■ I put in StarCraft: nowadays. This trend started Warhammer 40K: Dawn of Commander is one of the best the same mistake: the game the planned episode trilogy chise, but a failure of the developer issue. I had never Brood War just a when Atari charged $50 for Act II, War II and StarCraft II have BattleTech games ever made, ends after the last mission. I unfinished. Has any developer to actually produce a Duke heard of this game few weeks ago. It of War in 2005, and now we single lengthy campaigns for the second only to MechWarrior 2: find that stupid, intentional or stepped up to finish the trilogy? Nukem game before it ran out of felt a lot different before, but now I without some of have StarCraft II and RUSE “star” faction, leaving room for Mercenaries. So imagine how Mercenaries not. I reckon that Bethesda will With the recent news of money. Duke is still a much-loved have a new future the conveniences of with one third of a game for expansions. But they’re no more tickled I was when, exactly one go “Sorry ’bout that! We forgot Gearbox picking up Duke brand, making it an attractive release to add SC2—namely, unit full price. I mean is it just me, “one third of a game” than The week after punting the last to finish the game, but don’t Nukem Forever, why has this proposition for Gearbox. PCG to my top games pathfinding that or are we now paying between Empire Strikes Back is one third Smoke Jaguar trueborn worry—we will release an franchise been abandoned? to watch out for doesn’t suck. Ian Hafer $100 and $180 for a full game? of a film. Besides, we’d rather play halfway back to the Kerensky add-on for only $10.” They’re David Beyerle Beta boy list. Christopher Santine Yeah, I know that there are one great campaign than three Cluster in the campaign, your making their customers look In the Holiday issue Face Off ■ SC2 still hasn’t January issue hits the stands like plain idiots. After watching Ritual crash and column where Evan and Dan ■ Your mom. gone on sale! GRRR! Jared Adomeit THE HOT MAIL featuring MechCommander as the Reinstall article! Chester Medina burn trying to revive SiN (the original came out in 1998), other argued about playing games in beta, I agree with Dan: playing a Vincent Myers ■ Freelancer gets Now if only we could get We’re not expecting to see post- beta could leave the game better every time I Doughboys The marketing definitely some further news of Smith & main-quest DLC for Fallout: lacking fun due to bugs, glitches, WHERE WE PLAY play it. It really irritates me oversells it, but even the most Tinker’s MechWarrior reboot. New Vegas. Ending the game . crashes, etc. I have played betas Play on the Sampo Kaskia that games like elite soldiers with the best Eric Allen after the main quest is the price we of many MMOs since 2006, and official PC Gamer ■ I played ArmA II Modern Warfare 2 equipment in the pay for letting the player decide the two things I have learned from community servers for 12 hours—I cried and Medal of Honor try so hard world are still Oh, it’s no secret. That’s a nice shirt outcome of the plot. In order to let my experiences are this: don’t Team Fortress 2 with frustration and to convince us that these just frail you’ve got on today, by the way. you keep playing after you’ve expect everything to go right, 66.151.138.34:27015 confusion. I played characters are the humans in Evan driven Caesar’s Legion and/or the and unscheduled server mainte- ArmA II: Operation Even 14 acres of ArmA 2 Arrowhead for 12 biggest, baddest and funny hats when NCR from Nevada, every trace of nance can happen at any time. 75.102.38.3:2332 side-boob couldn’t minutes—I squealed toughest guys in the world, they get shot. What Shopping spree them would have to be wiped from make SiN: Episodes Justin Garland Counter-Strike with enjoyment and but then, when you get to makes them the best at Thanks a ton for the Team the map, and whoever takes over a success. Source delight. The best the actual gameplay, we what they do is their skill at Fortress 2 Polycount Pack review! would have to be put in their place. Sad Panda’s 207.210.252.63 game developers find that these “elite not getting shot. So when you The only things I bought were That would be a huge task (like always implement Correction Booth Ventrilo in-game what operatives” are just guys turn over the controls to someone the Sydney Sleeper, the designing the whole map a second (voice chat) they’ve learned with guns who die within who doesn’t know what he’s doing, Shortstop and the Holy time), and Obsidian would have to The caption for the RAT 7 mouse 75.102.27.133:8220 from player minutes of fighting! I would those Tier One Operators look like Mackerel. The rest I got from do it four times over to suit all the (98%, January 2011) was incorrectly feedback. Bohemia truly love to find a game that bumbling noobs—so really, it’s our the handy new trading system. endings. printed as “Our highest mouse score Interactive is a ever goes to this mean-looking proved the capabilities of the own fault if our super-soldier Man, is it satisfying to kill But there were a few lessons masterpiece.” It should have damn fine game developer, and it troopers. B. Worcester under-performs. PCG someone with a fish wrapped in learned from Fallout 3: in FNV, read “Our highest mouse score Our game servers are makes me proud newspaper and see the you’re warned when you’re at the ever goes to this mean-looking provided by Art of to know they’re A great letter deserves a great prize; that’s why we’re sending Mr. B. a copy of Super Meat “FISH KILL” point of no return, letting you opt mouseterpiece.” Thanks War Central, PCG’s independent and Boy in appreciation of his stellar correspondence. Look up top to see how you can get in on the death not to play the final battle and to James Grahn, otherwise staff-approved PC-exclusive. touch with PC Gamer and earn your chance to win next month’s PRIZE OF MYSTERY! known as @theLoneFuturist on notices! Mick wander endlessly instead—and the hosting service. Visit Connor Stone Twitter, for pointing out the error. artofwarcentral.com Enfield level cap is 30 by default. PCGom www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 8 MARCH 2011 Mack attack!www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 9 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • »18 Trek »20 Legends »26 Biplanes MONITOR TIGSource URL: www.tigsource.com Bookmark it because: It’s a community created and managed by indie devs themselves Y ou’ll find all the latest indie releases, interviews and other news you need on TIGSource, albeit at a slower trickle than other indie-focused sites. The real reasons to visit are off the The Hunt front page: the forum (where you’ll find a whole community sharing its thoughts and projects) and the excellent indie database. TIGdb (http://db.tigsource.com/) is the perfect tool for finding new games to play, no matter what you might be looking for. Want For Indie a new shooter to last you the evening? Easy. A shooter from 2010? No problem. An open-source, multiplayer shooter from 2010 for less than $10? If it exists, this is where you’ll find it. Games IndieDB URL: www.indiedb.com Bookmark it because: It has an amazing Top 100 list every year F A rom Sleep Is Death to Minecraft, many , s sister site to master modding database ModDB, of today’s finest indie games can’t be IndieDB is primarily a hub for people who want to make found on the beaten path of stores like indie games. On the main blog, you’ll find everything from first-look screenshots to big release announcements of Steam. To help you hunt them down, we’ve games the news sites might not have picked up on yet. It’s one of gathered a guide to the best blogs, forums and the surest ways to wintess the next big thing. Every December, the site runs an excellent Indie of the Year portals full of fun you never even knew existed. Award, where 100 of the best games fight it out for dominance. by Richard Cobbett This community-vetted list does a lot of the work of hunting and gathering for you—it shouldn’t be missed. Show Me The Games Kongregate URL: www.showmethegames.com URL: www.kongregate.com Bookmark it because: It’s a straightforward “give me the games” list Bookmark it because: It’s a bottomless bucket of free flash games— Indie in-person more than 35,000 of them Want to play the latest games first? S how Me The Games is all about simplicity. You won’t find F Visit one of these conventions. news, reviews, interviews, tutorials or lengthy ads for the lash is the perfect platform for filling a few empty minutes, games it covers, just quick and dirty descriptions and a little and there’s no better place to do it than Kongregate’s huge categorization. It’s the brainchild of UK developer Cliffski, and collection of free browser games. You can browse by built to help fellow developers get a bit more attention by focusing category, or simply ask to be shown the top-rated games, but much Game Developers Conference 2011 WHERE: San Francisco WHEN: Feb 28-Mar 4 on the best (mostly commercial) games around. The listings are of the fun comes from finding a diamond in the rough. WHO: Industry/students WEB: www.gdconf.com COST: $250 randomized so that nobody gets special treatment, and the site Kongregate backs all this up with a big community, achievement doesn’t get a cut if you buy something. If you already follow the indie market, chances are you’ll badges and online chat, but you can easily ignore all of this and just focus on finding new games. If the site feels too hectic, head over to G DC hosts the Independent Games Festival awards, which you can attend with an expo or student pass. Bear in mind that while this will get you into the public areas, you won’t be able to attend recognize most of the games currently listed, such as World of Goo, www.armorgames.com, a similar site without the social extras. keynotes, tutorials or other high-end content. Those tickets cost Puzzle Pirates and Mr. Robot. If not, it’s a great place to find hot $750-$1950. indie games that are finished and ready to buy. PAX East 2011 Indie Games: The Weblog WHERE: Boston WHEN: Mar 11-13 WHO: Everyone URL: www.indiegames.com/blog WEB: www.paxsite.com COST: $55 Bookmark it because: You’ll get a daily dose of indie games goodness P enny Arcade’s next convention hosts the Boston Indie Showcase, featuring kiosks and floor-space for selected games. It’s only for I ndie Games updates far more often than most, focusing on local developers with fewer than 15 employees, which guarantees short but sweet posts that get right to the point, serving up you’ll see lots of brand-new games if you head down. links to new and interesting releases, creator interviews, embedded trailers and news stories, from PETA’s Super Tofu Boy IndieCade parody to announcements of new bundle deals. WHERE: Los Angeles WHEN: Oct 6-9 WHO: Everyone It’s a particularly good site if you like to dabble in indie games, WEB: www.indiecade.com COST: TBD but don’t have a preferred genre or style, and just want to bounce from interesting browser game to Nethack alternative to visual I ndieCade is an annual three-day event scattered throughout galleries, theaters and cafes in Culver City. This year’s program has yet to be released, but last year’s involved family activities, game- novel. If you crave a little more depth, the regular “Indie Games Links” section takes you behind the scenes with many more walks and special awards for the year’s best indie games. interviews, full articles and reviews on other indie-friendly sites.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 12 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 13 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • MONITOR A new Elder DARK COMES TO LIGHT CLASSICS LONG-LOST DARK ENGINE SOURCE CODE APPEARS BY MAGIC Mass E ect 3 Scroll unfurls announced Good news for fans of Thief and System Shock: source code for the Dark engine—the engine most of Looking Glass’ games were built on—was recently rediscovered. Potentially, this means that updated versions of Thief, Thief II and Hear ye hear ye! The long-awaited sequel System Shock 2 could be made to run on modern PCs. There’s still a lot of work to be done to get it in The next chapter of BioWare’s sci-fi RPG to Oblivion will be released on 11/11/11 shape to run, but you can keep up with the brings the battle home to Earth discussion at http://bit.ly/darkengine. RM I A t’s been four years since The one, but in Oblivion it is actually the fter interminable hinting, BioWare has finally Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came Emperor who ends up saving the taken the wraps off of the last chapter in out, forever changing our world—you just serve as his Commander Shepard’s epic science fiction expectations for what an open- world roleplaying game should be. In bodyguard. It might be your turn to do the honors again this time. WOW: CATACLYSM SELLS BIG roleplaying trilogy. A teaser trailer shows a NEW RECORD EXPANSION IS THE the fifth year, the fifth game will Like every numbered Elder Scrolls nameless human sniper defending civilians from emerge. Bethesda now says that TES game, Skyrim will be a generational FASTEST-SELLING PC GAME EVER 5: Skyrim will arrive in November. jump forward, with an all-new World of Warcraft: Cataclysm sold 3.3 million alien attackers from his perch in a damaged Big The new chapter is set in the titular engine. Though the old Gamebryo copies in the 24 hours between December 7 Ben clocktower; then the camera pulls back to land of Skyrim, the chilly mountains engine was the foundation for several and December 8. To put that in perspective: the reveal a full-scale Reaper attack on Earth, with directly north of Oblivion’s stomping great games, plenty of gamers are previous expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, “only” ground of Cyrodiil. It’s home to the glad to see it go due to frequent managed 2.8 million in a full day, and Call of Duty: multiple sentient spaceships landing and deploying Viking-like Nords, and the plot glitches and bugs. Bethesda hasn’t Black Ops did 5.7 million ground forces to invade the ruined cities. Shepard isn’t revolves around an evil related to the given any technical details yet, but (but that was across all platforms). Assuming there, though—he/she has been dispatched into the demon invasion events of Oblivion, Skyrim has been in development for one that can only be stopped by the years, so if there isn’t something good $40 per copy (not galaxy to assemble an alliance of alien races to help Dragon-Born. The third game, to show for it in November they’ll factoring in collector’s Earth repel the invasion before it’s too late. Morrowind, casts you as the chosen likely all be grounded. ■ Tom Francis editions), Blizzard took in $132 million in No gameplay has been shown and no details have revenue on that day. CP been confirmed, but rumor has it that the third Mass Effect will include some form of multiplayer mode. Whether that will be a co-op mode for the campaign NOW PLAYING (potentially employing multiplayer quest design from AT THE PC GAMER WEB STORE BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic), a separate team- Spoiler alert! based shooter acting out the battle for Earth while Shepard Huge new games are being announced at such a dizzying rate that unless you start is away or nothing at all remains to be seen. downloading from www.pcgamer.com/ Mass Effect 3 is promised for Holiday season 2011, so it This calls for Shepard’s store right away, you’ll never have time to won’t be long before all questions are answered. ■ Dan Stapleton patented Look of Concern! play all of the recently released games that you meant to play before the next round hits! Just one of these RPGs can keep you busy for 100 hours, so you’ve got no time to waste. TRENDS Dead Space 2 GAME DEVELOPER PODCASTS Back to the Future BF: Bad Company 2—Vietnam Curious to hear what Irrational Behavior BlizzCast One of Swords Bejeweled 3 goes on at your favorite game developer’s office? 1 Hosted by Irrational Games’ Level Designer/Associate Producer Shawn Elliott and frequented by Creative Director Ken 2 Blizzard assembles a different cast of developers for each podcast, and it’s not updated too 3 Anchored by Activision’s Social Media Manager (and Official Xbox Magazine alumnus) Dan Fallout: New Vegas Try out a developer podcast; Levine, Irrational Behavior is arguably the often (averaging one show every Amrich, One of Swords thrives on they’re a great—and free— most highly regarded developer podcast out three months), but what it lacks in humor, amusing tangents and Great Scott! source of behind-the-scenes there. New episodes are released about once consistency it delivers in length: Activision news. It travels into anecdotes and insights. a month, and the latest episode is over two console-exclusive land here and There are many to choose discussions range hours. Past topics include explor- there, but there’s plenty of PC from gaming ing the five-year anniversary of gaming talk as well as loads of from (and more seem to crop big-name guests like screenwriter/ theory to the World of Warcraft, Q&A with the up every week), but these participants’ production team on the StarCraft II comic creator Hugh Sterbakov. three are great places to nerdiest secrets. beta and analyses of recent WoW New episodes are posted weekly. Hopefully Skyrim’s graphics will look start. Chris Comiskey http://bit.ly/irrbeh patches. http://bit.ly/blizcast http://bit.ly/1ofswords as good as the renders for Oblivion.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 14 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 15 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • BUT WHO WATCHES THE SPY? Leading the Zerg THE SPY The Spy and his faithful steed had to flee, crashing through a blacked-out window. The Spy grabbed a laptop on the way out. Back at the stables, Wogan and The Spy watched the first cut of the ending cinematic for Heart of the Swarm. Spoiler: the ending will feature a showdown between Arcturus Mengsk and Sarah horse is not a good means Kerrigan in her Zerg form, Queen of Blades. Jim of transportation for the Raynor and Kerrigan apparently kill Arcturus. It ends world’s leading games with Kerrigan delivering a speech: “The Zerg are free espionage agent, but as soon as The Spy laid eyes on now, slaves to no one—not even me. So whether they be Wogan cantering and whinnying in Mark Rein’s the bringers of life or the destroyers of worlds, I’ll help 12-acre, custom-built battle-horse training field, he them find the answer out there, amongst the stars.” knew that they were destined to be together. Wogan wiped The Spy’s single tear. That’s stirring Ever since, The Spy and Wogan have been on many stuff, and now you don’t have to wait years for it. Unless adventures, including hosting an ill-fated edgy late- the fact that people know this means they’ll change it. night chat show on public radio. Callers don’t often appreciate a horse sidekick butting in with subtle, So many shooters equestrian-based humor, but that’s how they roll. A place not so difficult to infiltrate is Sony Online. As There’s the day job as well, of course, and Wogan’s Wogan was attempting to open the front door with his proved more than capable of getting intel out of gaming fake arm, President John Smedley rushed out past him, companies. The cognitive dissonance of a talking horse wearing a false mustache and Beatles-style wig is usually enough to get people talking, so The Spy trotted confidently into Blizzard HQ wearing a Aliens: Colonial Marines is planned giant coat that also covered Wogan. “Hello, I am Chris Metzen. I am here to view the new cinematic. Here are my for a 2012 release. Blizzard credentials,” whinnied Wogan beneath the coat. The trick, readers, is to The Spy believes in ignore the screams of fear and head for the love at first sight. nearest elevator. The Spy made it to the screening room easily, but have you ever tried to sit down while wearing a horse? Wogan spoiled yelling about his plans to officially announce a sequel to their disguise after accidentally knocking off Bobby Planetside in March. Wogan whinnied in surprise, as it’s Kotick’s golden helmet and making eye contact when he one of the great, failed MMOs. A persistent, online apologized. You never make eye contact with Kotick. shooter full of dramatic airdrops and territorial control battles; it just wasn’t a particularly good shooter. There is one big “if” in all this: will the game be playable between consoles and the PC? That’s the way recent Sony MMOGs have gone. This neatly leads The Spy to Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines, another co-op shooter that was announced Marines years ago. We haven’t heard much since, and Sega has canceled Obsidian’s Alien RPG that was announced alongside it. It was thought that ACM might’ve been canceled too—after all, Gearbox has since released Borderlands and started work on a game codenamed “Z-Day,” on top of reanimating Duke Nukem Forever. The Spy deployed Wogan, who used to go to dressage with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford’s prime colt, Mimsy, to find out more. It’s good news: the word on the horse circuit is that the game is planned for 2012 release, following Duke Nukem Forever sometime earlier this Forever’s year. You can blame the just-average Aliens vs. Predator for the release date bump. But there is one game that suffered a mighty blow from the game-release guillotine: a conversion of the classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game was in development at Chair Entertainment. Chair is a small development studio that’s now owned by Epic. The Ender’s Game game apparently does not fit within Epic’s remit of big, sexy, explodey games. Wogan is upset—Ender’s Game upset— is his favorite book. Spy out. The Spycom www.pcgamer.com 16 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011
    • MONITOR Massive Attack Auto-fire is a big improvement to the already-fun space combat. STO Season 3: Now with more Vulcans. Stardate 2011 Are heaps of content enough to redeem STAR TREK ONLINE? by Chris Perry S tar Trek Online was a bit of a mess Terradome) have you fight, in order: the Second-class citizens at launch. Its stark lack of end- Borg, the Borg, the Borg and the Undine. At launch, the Klingon faction was little game content, a Klingon faction And while I support destroying the Borg as more than a repeatable PvP quest hub. Seeking out new sweet scenery that felt like an afterthought and a much as anyone, having to battle them Thankfully, a significant amount of PvE and new cool explosions. boring ground game sent players constantly gets old fast, especially when you content has been injected into the faction packing not long after they arrived. But over consider the extensive lineup of alien threats over the past year, but not enough to keep the past year, Cryptic’s combated the game’s in the ST universe we could be dealing with. Klingons from feeling like second-class shortcomings with a strong one-two punch The actual instances themselves are fun citizens to Federation players. All of the new of small weekly updates and less frequent, and challenging. Even if they don’t host content coming out, including the Feature hefty endgame content releases. particularly creative boss fights, they do Episodes and crafting systems, are being The small, frequent updates include new require players to be prepared with tactics released for both factions simultaneously, missions (Featured Episodes) every two and gear that can handle the fight. Infected but our honor-bound brethren still have weeks, which work together to tell a is a good example of the game’s typical access to significantly less content overall; continuing story, much like a multi-part straightforward-yet-still-fun design. In it, and the content that they do have relies episode of the television shows. Their strong you fight your way through an assimilated heavily on repeatable kill quests. Things are narrative (especially compared to the bland starbase, mostly by using plasma grenades to getting better (especially at the endgame), standard missions) makes them a real treat, mow down wave after wave of Borg soldiers but as it stands today, Klingons still get the giving players a compelling reason to login standing between you and the final boss: an short end of the Bat’leth. week after week. assimilated former Starfleet officer with a Crystalline Entities don’t My favorite so far, Night of the Comet, whole heap of hit points. It’s the small things like it when you get close. Kill the Borg on the ground... culminates with an epic voyage through Although some of the big changes made last time to meet two of the most important The pen is mightier year weren’t perfect, a lot of the smaller Spreading out your away team ...then steal their technology characters from the original television The Diplomacy system that was introduced updates were. Ship customization has been Build your own can add flanking damage. and use it to mod your ship. series, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy and back in July attempts to capture the true vastly improved by the addition of real Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. Picard experience: exploring the galaxy and interiors and Borg technology that can be adventure Together you fight to keep time-traveling seeking non-combat resolutions wherever grafted onto your ship for unique bonuses aliens from dragging an entire sector out of possible. In theory, it’s a great mode that fits and looks. The revamped Sector Space map The Foundry lets players create phase with reality. A true Trek crisis! perfectly in the Trek universe and could is incredibly detailed and sets the bar for all and play their own missions offer a great break from combat missions, future space-based games. Auto-fire is a big One of STO’s most exciting updates, The Foundry, We meet again, Borg but in practice Diplomacy falls short. A few improvement to the already-fun space launched into beta right before we went to press. A Not all of the updates have been as interesting missions manage to offer combat gameplay, and thanks to the episode mission-creator tool similar to City of Heroes’ Mission Architect, The Foundry lets players con- successful, though. For example, the four enlightening insight into the Star Trek replay feature, you can replay any missions struct their own custom missions, share them with repeatable Special Task Force (STF) universe, but most quickly devolve into you particularly enjoyed ad nauseum. friends and play other player-made missions. We’ll missions—five-player instances with a mix tedious memory games with NPC dialog STO still has some glaring problems, but keep a close eye on its progress and check back in with a full report soon! In the meantime, if you see of ground and space combat—that have trees. No number of cosmetic or fast-travel Cryptic’s well on its way to patching up the a mission revolving around Borgified Coconut been released since launch (Infected, The rewards earned from climbing the Diplom- breaches in the hull and setting this MMO Monkeys terrorizing the populace in the Foundry Cure, The Khitomer Accord and acy Corps ranks can make that fun. on a clear course. ■ beta, be sure to save our friend with no hands!com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 18 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 19 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • Massive Attack MONITOR Proving On its way BULLET TIME! FALLEN EARTH FREE AMMO FOR ALL Players now shoot for free in Fallen Earth! At grounds least while they’re shooting each other in the Blood Sport instanced arenas—FE’s session- More high-end content and fewer cash shop woes give based, team and free-for-all multiplayer shootout modes. In addition to saving that special ammo ALLODS ONLINE a fighting chance by Candace McCarty you’ve crafted, you no longer have to worry about I your weapons or armor decaying in the arenas. All f you’ve played and quit Allods, shop items that attach to your gear and in all, Blood A behind-the-scenes look at there’s only one question on your boost your stats. An adequate set of mid- Sports looks to be LEAGUE OF LEGENDS’ champion mind: did they fix the cash shop? level runes costs about $200. Alternatively, a more attractive casual option for The answer is “mostly.” Prices have you can spend months earning the amount design process by Josh Augustine dropped from ridiculous (it cost of in-game monies needed to buy them off players looking I double-digit dollars for a small inventory the auction house without real cash or for a fast bit of t’s so much better to hear someone states ranging from ready-for-release to expansion at launch) to reasonable, and complete surveys on the game’s official site fun. JA complain that you’re overpowered in barely implemented) and plenty of behind- Exclus players are no longer extorted for real for cash shop currency—neither of which person,” Game Designer Colt the-scenes stat tweaks currently being Champ ive money every time they die. are very tempting options. io “Ezreal” Hallam says, prepping me from over my shoulder for a round of tested for balance. Right now, I hope it’s imbalanced in my favor. Revea n l! There’s still a death penalty (although a much friendlier one) and the cash shop Content matters LEARNING SKILLS SCRAPPED League of Legends. It’s 5 p.m. at Riot’s Los I join the match as the living-tree cham- items used to ward against it (Holy The new content emerging is gorgeous, but EVE FREE SKILL POINTS GIVEN Angeles headquarters: time for the daily pion, Moakai (pictured below). In fact, I Charms), along with Incense buff items, questing is still just a long queue of straight- The first thing that any EVE Online developer playtest. All unfinished work is don’t even look like a tree—Moakai’s stats Jarvan IV are available for free via simple daily forward “kill this, collect that” tasks. beginner’s guide will tell you to do is invest pushed aside and the trash talk starts flying. and abilities inhabit the model of an Who: The badass quests. Anyone but the most casual of High-end raids don’t offer anything new to in your Learning skills. It was good for the long I know better than to make any bold pre- existing champion, because the modelers prince of Demacia players will still eventually drop some the genre, but are satisfying and provide term (every other skill would train faster dictions of victory; I’m going to get my butt haven’t built one for him yet. The “acorns” He will: Challenge opponents money into the cash shop, but resourceful room for real tactics and teamwork. afterwards), but boring in the short term. As part kicked. I’ll be playing a champion I’m that I lay like spider mines around the map to one-on-one fights; hurl flags gamers can get by on very little—most The Astral remains the game’s most of their continued efforts to make EVE easier to unfamiliar with—because it’s never been currently use tiny versions of yet another through chests cash shop items are traded on the auction unique feature, and is much improved get into, CCP’s removed Learning skills from the shown to anyone outside of Riot. champion’s model. The whole 5v5 match is Release: March 1 house for in-game currency. since launch. The space-like zone features game entirely. Instead, You see, this isn’t the LoL you and I play hilarious and punctuated with raucous Long-term players still have a hefty bigger bosses, more allods (chunks of land all players start with 12 “Everything he does should bleed epic.” additional skill points at home. This is the development build, cheering and lighthearted jeering, mostly —Ryan Scott, lead champion designer cover charge to pay before they can loaded with dungeons) and more PvP ele- in each attribute, and loaded up with four future champions (in due to the fact that no one knows for sure succeed in the endgame, however. Raiding ments; and the ships players fly there can current players will be and high-end PvP require Runes, cash finally have their appearance customized. ■ reimbursed all points what these works-in-progress are capable invested into Learning Incoming! Two more champions joining the League in early 2011 of in the current build. skills. JA Cthulhu’s lesser-known Afterwards—yes, I’m skipping the part younger brother, Choohu. where my team lost—everyone crowds into a conference room. One by one, they Moakai describe their experience and offer sug- gestions for how to improve what they just Word on Who: A tree hit with magic that became a hero He will: Plant acorn bombs; teleport on top of lightly armored enemies tested. A few of my opponents mention that my acorn spell did negligible damage the Block MINECRAFT BUILD OF THE MONTH Release: February 15 to them, but that my teleport rooting spell was very effective—perhaps too effective. Another chimes in, saying he couldn’t believe it when I accidentally (or hero- ically, as I tell it) intercepted Caitlyn’s Snipe (see left) and saved our healer’s life. Epic toga party, dude. Suddenly, a debate erupts: should it be possible to bodyguard-dive in front of the sniper’s shot? Should it pass through everyone it hits? Should it do diminishing Caitlyn damage as it progresses? Who: A western-style The team of artists, quality-assurance lady Batman with a grunts and development leads don’t reach sniper rifle a definitive answer, but they do reach an She will: Snipe your agreement on what to test next. This is healers; trap your tanks development by playing, and if something Release: January 3 doesn’t work, they’ll scrap it and try some- thing different. The Moakai I played today will almost definitely be an entirely Bad news: buccaneers invaded our server on this different beast from the Moakai you see gold-plated pirate ship. Good news: pigs ride for free! “That beard totally makes when he hits live servers in February— you look like a snail, Sarn.” Join the fun and build whatever you want on the PC that one will be much better. ■ Gamer Minecraft server! IP: 207.210.252.12:25566com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 20 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 21 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • THE NEW GENERATION OF GAMERS I gaming,” where they can play the same game (or at least DEV MAN TALKING aspects of it) no matter where they are. They’ll want games that overlay all aspects of their lives, like exercise and healthy eating. The “games” I play with my four year old to get him to eat his vegetables could very well continue for the rest of his life, with the aid of a com- puter or app. I bet my sons will get achievements for have two children, ages seven and four. filing their tax returns. Already, they play games on a variety of Most importantly, games are already a part of their platforms, including the PC, iPad, culture, and will remain so. I know this because I hear Nintendo DS, Wii and even my Blackberry. Sometimes my kids talk about games in two interesting ways. First, they play quietly by themselves, and other times they they talk about the experiences of playing games. My play loudly with each other or their friends. It’s so cool oldest son will talk to his friends about games in the to see, and not just because there’s a chance I can earn same way I talk about them—detailing amazing back their eventual college tuition from them one day. moments, his feelings of frustration and wondering Honestly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to share in their what comes next. joy as they experience happiness, learning and ultimately triumph. But along the way, I can’t help but make a few observations I bet my sons will get about what I think they’ll want in their games as they grow up, and what it could mean for our industry. First and foremost, this upcoming gen- eration will expect computers to be enter- tainment devices, rather than tools for achievements for filing work as I still do at the ripe old age of 36. I don’t think they’ll ever want something electronic that is incapable of playing a their tax returns. game. Even now, when devices are made that aren’t meant to play games, like Amazon’s Kindle, clever developers like the ones we However, even at seven years old, he also talks about have at EA put games on them, and people love them. games as a medium, outside of the games themselves! That’s not going away for this next generation. Recently he said to me, “Did you know Pokémon was a On top of that, they’ll grow up to have the most game before it was a TV show?” (“Yes, I was in college!” diverse set of expectations of any generation of gamers. was my somewhat-depressing reply.) Games are a pillar The next generation will want software to play across a of this generation’s popular culture, the equal of any wider spectrum than we can imagine today. HD games, other form of media or entertainment. More and more, social games and motion games—all largely invented in movies, music and TV shows will be intertwined with the past five or so years—will be “old hat” to this games. newest generation. I believe they’ll still be playing It’s self-fulfilling. As these children get older and games in those ways, but they’ll want and expect even bring their ubiquitous gaming culture into the work- more. The next generation will want “ubiquitous force, they’ll design and create the things they want: refrigerators and ovens that interface with their computers and devices. And Aaryn Flynn is the games will be a studio general medium that helps manager at BioWare them achieve that. in Edmonton, If everything goes Canada. He will go to his grave convinced as I think it will, it’s he has the all-time going to be a remark- high score for Out able time. I’m hopeful Run on the Sega that this generation Master System. will be the most tol- erant, thoughtful and enlightened group the world has ever seen, and I think the variety of games these children grew up playing and sharing will have How will the next generation design their own epic, fantasy RPG in 2020? played a big part in making that happen. ■com www.pcgamer.com 24 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • STELLAR PROPELLERS RISK AND REWARD I R several new aircraft, terrain maps and winter terrain “ willing to challenge those rules and take some chances ALTERNATE LIVES IN SIMULATION textures (for all maps), as well as graphical enhance- ments like HDR lighting and dynamic raindrops. More importantly, a new offline option was added. The future looked even brighter when Neoqb that benefit consumers, it deserves to be lauded. First- ly, it has created one of the best RPGs in recent years: The Witcher. It features intelligent roleplaying in a gritty, low-magic setting, and it refreshingly doesn’t announced an updated retail package that would shy away from adult content (even if some of that include every patch and update released to date and “mature” content, like the collectible nude cards, love it when a sim comes together. increase the flyable plane count to nine. Despite its ules are made to be broken” could more appropriately be characterized as adoles- My favorite WWI flight sim began its extra content, this standalone retail pack—rechristened is a maxim that has no cent). CD Projekt also showed tremendous respect and journey in early 2009, when a strangely Edition—would be fully compat- Rise of Flight: Iron Cross Edition application to most of the support for customers. Instead of abandoning The monikered Russian developer called Neoqb announced ible with the original version. gaming industry these days. The large gaming compa- Witcher after a perfunctory patch or two, CD Projekt Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War. The company’s nies that publish almost all major releases are predict- added in substantially more voice-acted dialog, some teaser YouTube videos—depicting intricate aerial dog- Flying a new banner ably conservative in their rigid adherence to conven- missing mature content and a couple of additional fights highlighted by amazing graphics and lighting That’s where 777 Studios (a new publisher headed up by tional wisdom. EA, for example, tried to kill innovative, adventures, all for free in the Enhanced Edition update effects—were quite mesmerizing, and seemed to herald former GoGamer.com principal Jason Williams) rule-breaking games, such as The Sims or Ultima Online for the English version. a worthy successor to Dynamix’s classic Red Baron 3D. entered the picture. In June of 2010—just before RoF: in the cradle because they strayed too far from estab- The Witcher’s 2011 sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Upon release—and at first glance—it appeared to ICE hit the market—the US company acquired exclu- lished genres; then, when those games became runaway Kings, is looking even more promising thanks to intel- deliver on that promise. The visuals successes despite publisher obstruction, the once-hesi- ligent marketing that highlights its nonlinearity and were absolutely stunning, and the tant publisher hurled endless resources into producing the roleplaying consequences of player choices. It also flight dynamics were as good as any- derivative knockoffs to try to replicate those successes. once again tackles mature themes and features nudity thing I’d ever seen in the niche WWI biplane sim genre. It wasn’t all sun- shine and roses, however: RoF was thin I’ve been enjoying Publishers endlessly chase yesterday’s winners, seem- ingly terrified of investing in innovative game designs. That conservatism is bad for gamers: we get largely and crass language. CD Projekt seems unconcerned about alienating console gamers looking for happy mushroom men and irate mice. on content, and the initial release also featured an insulting DRM copy-pro- tection scheme that mandated an RoF’s canvas-winged uninspired sequels. Almost as bad, gaming companies are so terrified of piracy that they adopt ham-handed and potentially damaging methods to combat it, such as Next up: the collector’s edition of The Witcher 2 actually gives meaning to the term. Even Lord British never packed so many tangible goodies with an RPG: uninterrupted online connection. Only four aircraft—the German Albatros D.Va and Fokker D.VII, and classics for months. there’s a soundtrack CD, strategy guide, paper figures, dice, stickers, cards, coins and a giant honking sculpture of lead French Nieuport 28 and SPAD XIII—shipped with the first retail version, and the gameplay options were sparse by sive rights to all RoF assets including the code, IP and CD Projekt deserves character Geralt’s noggin. Delivery difference combat flight sim standards. Neoqb offered additional planes via download—for a price—and responded to customer complaints by adding requested features (like development team. I’ve been enjoying RoF’s canvas-winged classics for several months now, and it’s heartening to know this to be lauded for Those aren’t the only rules CD Projekt is breaking: it also operates GOG.com, which sells DRM-free copies of older a quick mission editor, scripted campaigns and dogfight multiplayer modes). simulation has carved out a viable future for itself, and that support will continue—the original Neoqb crew, now flying the 777 Studios banner, has released three challenging the rules. games set up to work on modern itera- tions of Windows. You can nab RPG classics like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate for Long-term support updates since the June 2010 takeover. By the time you a few bucks. Incredibly, The Witcher 2 Andy Mahood The Russian development team worked tirelessly to read this, the 1.016 update—which introduces the twin- will be released DRM-free on GOG on has been flying Lock improve the sim in the year following its June 2009 engined Handley Page 0-400 bomber and adds floating delaying PC releases and/or loading them up with day one, which is virtually unprecedented for a On: Flaming Cliffs 2 launch. No less than 12 bug-quashing updates flew off clouds that cast shadows on the ground—will have hit. intrusive DRM. They’ve scaled production costs so modern major game’s initial release. and MS Flight Sim X the servers during this time, and Neoqb also added Over the next few months, 777 Studios plans to high and made the industry so dependent upon block- This company is breaking all of the generally while driving F1 2010 (patched), iRacing release a new career mode that’ll busters that creativity is considered risky, traditionally accepted rules for how to create and sell PC games, Desslock and rFactor. You can feature squadron management smaller genres have been abandoned and adult content and I hope PC gamers reward CD Projekt with great admires courage, email him at and increased flight planning that could restrict a game’s potential market is verboten. success for courage and an amazing customer-friendly and is currently insimulation@ control, as well as additional We’re inundated with overpriced DLC and collectors’ way of conducting business. ■ roleplaying a tough pcgamer.com. downloadable planes (including editions, pre-order items that guy in Fallout: New Vegas and Two two-seater recon and bomber obliterate game balance and Worlds 2. aircraft). There are also plans shorter, easier games—all to Email him at afoot to release an SDK to pilfer a few extra bucks from alternatelives@ entice more third-party content casual purchasers. The “rules” pcgamer.com and user-created mods. of the gaming industry, based If you’ve yet to take one of on the observed behavior of the these RoF birds up for a sortie, biggest companies, seem to be: you’re missing out on one of the don’t take any chances, make most enriching flight simulator and market your games for the experiences the PC currently lowest common denominator has to offer. Flying and dog- specimens of humanity and fighting with a pure stick-and- assume all potential customers rudder machine like the Fokker would rather steal from you. Dr.I delivers such a fluid and graceful sense of control that A welcome exception CD Projekt’s boldness is RoF is the best WWI aerial combat action game since Red Baron 3D. you may never go back to So any time a company like nothing short of heroic. modern jets. ■ Polish publisher CD Projekt iscom www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 26 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 27 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • SIREN’S SONG SINS OF THE PREQUEL I Does importing a saved mechanics. Such as the older guy who will only play TACTICAL ADVANTAGE FACE OFF turn-based games, RTS snobs who look down on the harvesting model or StarCraft II players that only play game wreck a sequel? skirmish mode. It seems that only RPGs can rival strategy games for number of permutations on what is, at its heart, a simple model—hit the other guy’s base with your dudes. don’t like science fiction games. Well, Teaching people strategy games can teach you a lot that’s not quite true—I like StarCraft II. about what’s important to them as individuals. I’ve been I love Sins of a Solar Empire. I want to trying to indoctrinate a friend into strategy gaming. I marry Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. But science fiction started with StarCraft II. She loves storytelling, but games don’t have an inherent pull for me. They can have great mechanics like Distant Worlds or great cus- SC2’s campaign turned her off completely despite my assurances that the skirmish game was miles better. No It strengthens the bond between tomer service like AI War, but eventually a me and my RPG characters. sci-fi game will have to appeal to something else inside me in order to convince me to invest the hours it takes to learn a whole new universe with new rules. Everyone’s a gamer; Yes It sabotages the story and it Legions of love I know I’m not alone in this. All gamers are drawn to or pushed away from some games they just don’t took Grunt away from me forever. based purely on the subject matter. PopCap’s tower-defense game Plants vs. Zombies would have been a much smaller hit if it had been necessarily know it. Plants vs. Aphids. Or Aztecs vs. Anybody. DAN: In any game where there are decisions for me to DAN: Grunt’s blood is on your hands now, because you I would have bought the Aztec game, make—particularly in roleplaying games—the bigger and were too impatient to mine a little Iridium. That makes though. My weakness is anything ancient or medieval, From where she sat, it was all the same from one more dramatic the consequences of those decisions are, you feel something that linear games can’t: regret. “If only Associate Editor preferably ancient. Give me a legion or a hoplite or any- mission to the next. (Experts will dispute this, but from the more important I feel. One of the tools developers I’d taken Grunt with me on that last mission!” Josh Augustine thing with Hannibal in it and I will play it for hours, no her newbie vantage point, it makes sense.) (primarily BioWare) have come up with for making does not negotiate matter how bad it is. My game collection has more Civilization V, however, was a hit. Every little decision choices feel important is to carry them over into a sequel JOSH: If importing my save file in the sequel means that with terrorists, and resents having to crappy Roman-themed games than it has excellent she made gave her a sense of ownership, and the game by importing a saved game. For example, whether my favorite crew member won’t appear, I won’t do it. The replay a game just to science fiction games. I start to lose interest in seemed like it could go in any direction at any moment. Shepard’s Krogan companion Wrex was alive or dead at importing system doesn’t have the intended result: I feel enjoy the sequel. Civilization once the rifles show up. Since her most recent strategy experience prior to this the end of Mass Effect had a direct impact on Mass Effect forced to replay the finale if I want to enjoy the company My pathology, though certainly not unique, is defi- had been a decade-old city builder, this ability to con- 2, which served both to reinforce the importance of my of my favorite characters in the next game. It’s made even nitely a minority position in strategy gaming today. If struct more than destroy was instantly appealing. She’s actions and to remind me of how freakin’ awesome the worse by the hidden “choices” that affect the finale, such as we assume that game developers are making games that still not fully converted, but at least she’s willing to give stuff I did in the last game was. the invisible timer that starts when the Array is unlocked they themselves want to play, it’s pretty easy to say that games like this a hearing now. and affects your crew’s survival chances. they’re completely obsessed with science fiction and JOSH: Sure, carrying over your save file extends the con- World War II settings; as gamers, we’re drawn into Find your grail sequences of our choices, but do we really want that? You DAN: Consider the alternative: your actions in the pre- those same settings over and over. I believe that everyone’s a gamer; they just don’t neces- may get a thrill when you see that your character starts vious game being wiped from the game’s timeline. If you sarily know it yet. Just as an excellent sci-fi game can with a crumpled wrapper in their pocket because you don’t import your ME saved game to ME2, it’s assumed Beyond theme pull me into a setting I’m not particularly excited about, chose to eat a candy bar at the end of the previous game, that Wrex is dead and Shepard had no relationship with More interesting than people like me that prefer spe- any number of strategy games can bring a new gamer but you’re just as likely to be missing a favorite crew Liara. If that wasn’t true of your history, there’s a discon- If Reviews Editor cific settings are the people that are pulled to specific into the fold if they find the one that’s right for them. member because he or she died at the end of the last nect between you and this character—he/she has a Dan Stapleton goes to the trouble of Of course, strategy game, and that’s not fun. different relationship with other characters. blowing up a planet, The more ancient, the better— games do require a he wants that planet at least in Troy’s games. little more buy-in DAN: That favorite character could’ve just as easily gone JOSH: It sounds better in theory than it works in prac- to stay blown up, than most genres; missing because the game’s writers decided they died at tice. How long can a developer continue to fragment sto- dammit. they have jargon the end of the game, no matter what choices you made. I rylines before the plots become so divergent that they and some delayed love the feeling of empowerment and control we have in can’t develop a single game that incorporates them all? Who do you agree with? Be heard at gratification in modern games. The finale of Mass Effect 2 was one of the The only way is to limit the choices you’re allowed to letters@pcgamer.com. favor of a big most spectacular I’ve ever played, and it was in part make in each game until they’re virtually meaningless. Troy Goodfellow payoff. because I knew that my decisions—not a written-in-stone blogs about strategy When you’re out script—would determine who would survive and appear DAN: That’s a very good point. But something being games at www. flashofsteel.com. there evangelizing in the sequel. I was on the edge of my seat. difficult doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be attempted. It’s Current toga-free for the best genre been confirmed, though, that Shepard’s story will end pastimes include in gaming, JOSH: Alright, no more beating around the bush—this is after the third game, so in BioWare’s opinion, the answer Blood Bowl: remember that personal for me. I was devastated when Grunt died to how long it can go on is three games. Legendary Edition and Cities XL: 2011. tastes are very during the finale in ME2. Why did he die? Because I Email Troy at personal. Each didn’t pay BioWare’s ransom demands for him. They put JOSH: And even that’s pushing it. ME2’s story already tacticaladvantage@ game sings a a gun to Grunt’s head and told me that if I wanted to see suffered from saved games carrying over: any companion pcgamer.com. different song to him in the next game, I’d better waste 10 hours grinding that could’ve died in the first played little-to-no role in every ear. Your their stupid mining minigame to purchase the ship and the second’s story. That’s a lot of lost potential from tune may vary. ■ gear upgrades needed to ensure his survival. those great characters.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 28 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 29 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • PREVIEWS Japan’s best spear delivery company. Their moms all made them their own banners. TOTAL WAR: SHOGUN 2 HANDS-ON Getting schooled by some ninja-like AI “No one tell him we painted his face while he slept.” M y first hands-on with designed to funnel troops according to the peasant and two samurai—standing at the Total War: Shogun 2 incumbent’s intent. We understand castles ramparts of the lowest tier, covering three Using the 100-foot-tall samurai is considered cheating. begins with a resounding as a way of delaying melee combat by quarters of the tier’s outer wall. I hover my (and deeply educational) keeping enemy troops out: these sublime ground troops, a mixture of spear and tactical failure. The AI has it in for me. constructions were about inviting the blade units, near the lower entrances in whether I should go out and moon him to The tactical nuance I encountered in this you’ve conquered. Clan leaders have the That’s not my paranoia talking—it has enemy in to fight on your terms. I learn this case the enemy tries to barge in. My foe prompt some activity, my advisor yells: “My siege isn’t Shogun 2’s only source of surprise. ability to place a waypoint on a region of the quite comprehensively taken me to the the hard way. deploys beyond my sight-range. I wait. Lord! Our general is in grave danger!” Err. Multiplayer is being shaken up significantly; map for fellow clan members to fight cleaners, and not because it has more Rain falls. One blade and six archer units Run that by me again? where Napoleon brought 1v1 campaigns toward. As provinces are conquered by indi- units, or better units, or can perform Dojo mojo march slowly out of the fog and straight at online, Shogun 2 widens the field to offer full vidual clan members, points are logged in more actions-per-minute than me. It’s My castle has three tiers. The first tier is my northernmost rampart, defended by Dishonorable cooperative campaigns. One of its headline that region to your clan. Up to 30 clans can creative. It’s clever. It’s devious. It’s low and wide, with two obvious gatehouse- just one of my archer units. I figure they’re I pan the camera west. The awful truth features is unit-sharing. If an ally enters a grapple for supremacy per game-world. At Godzilla with a Ph.D. and-ramp entry-points. The second level is pretty protected by the wooden roofing dawns. The AI tempted me into defending battle, he can designate certain units to be the end of each two-week period, the top The setting for this bludgeoning is smaller, again with two entry points. The that runs the length of the wall, but I one side of my castle so it could deliver a coup under your control, which reduces the three clans are promoted and the bottom one of Shogun 2’s beautifully-choreo- top tier is the keep, and here’s where my begin reorganizing my forces just in case de grace in the undefended west. Two units of thumb-twiddling that might otherwise be three are demoted. graphed feudal Japanese sieges, which, that blade unit makes a run to climb the blade and one set of spearmen have scaled experienced while waiting for a buddy to There’s a choice to make: do you follow mechanically, are far-removed from those of Total Wars past. The differ- The AI has it in for me. walls and bash my archers. Just as my troops are wheeling and relo- the ramparts and, with horror, I realize that they’re already mounting the top level of my finish a fight. Online, you’ll begin with ownership of the clan waypoint and aim to improve standing, or try to capture regions that ence lies in the struc- It’s Godzilla with a Ph.D. cating, a second force marches, at flank fort. The spearmen make short work of my one of the 65 land provinces of Japan (there improve your own army’s fighting ability? READ ME ture of the castles. speed, out of the mists and directly at my general’s honor guard. The AI takes the are 12 sea provinces too). As you acquire It’s complicated by the fact that clan PUBLISHER These aren’t the tow- general sits saddled in his warhorse, sur- eastern wall. It’s all cavalry, spear and castle keep, and it’s a wrap. “All warfare is more land, the matchmaking system members who do well for their clan can be Sega ering keeps built by veying the landscape. blade. Damn that AI general—his archers based on deception,” wrote Sun Tzu, which searches for other players to match you up awarded points to improve their armies. DEVELOPER Europe. The ram- I don’t have enough troops to cover every were a feint! I begin splitting my forces to makes this one well-read piece of AI. How it against, and a battle ensues. Key provinces Creative Assembly tells us that its play- Creative Assembly parts are low, but entrance. There’s simply too much square try to protect both approaches. fares on the strategic map, with diplomacy bring new unit types and technologies. testing has generated in-clan diplomacy LINK www.totalwar stacked and terraced footage across the tiers. But foolishly, I try The advance halts. We appear to have and so forth in the mix, we’ve yet to see, but If you’ve opted to create or join a multi- and, in some cases, skullduggery. ■ .com/shogun2 up over several tiers, to. I have five units of archers—three reached a stalemate. Just as I’m wondering in terms of battles, it’s dressed to impress. player clan, an overlay shows the regions Al Bickhamcom www.pcgamer.com Release www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 www 32 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 33 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • The art design strikes us as Borderlands with jetpacks. That’s absolutely OK. Tribes Universe, Planetside Next and Firefall are all due in 2011 . The Melding rendered most of Earth uninhabitable. FIREFALL NEW INFO An MMO of never-ending war on an alien world G orgeous graphics, FPS is basically our primary source of energy in into your weapon to change how it fires, controls and a persistent the world today, and so it has become the change the reload time, the accuracy or “You may actually see a Chosen be completely different. You may MMO world with dropships biggest currency. People trade in even its alt-fire mode.” attack on an outpost or you may see specialize in one area of the tech and jetpacks. Firefall’s specs Crystite—they buy upgrades for their humans fighting back and pushing tree, whereas my army specializes in may have you already reaching for Battleframe and Backpack [the bulky suit Night and day those Chosen back into the building. a completely different area.” your wallet, heading to the website and power supply] or their weapons in So there’s the depth to the character cre- We’re really trying to create this It’s undecided yet what will be free and looking for the pre-order button. Crystite, and it’s also what’s used to ation and combat that you’d expect from a dynamic world with lots of things and what will require microtransac- Whoa there. Save that lunch money: upgrade most of the tech the armies modern shooter. But for it to work, the happening and that’s driven by a tions. With a combat-based game Firefall will be free. retrieve.” MMO side of things needs to be just as variety of different factors, including there’s a temptation to allow players It’s a team-based shooter, a mashup Crystite: it’s both a currency and a well-defined. How will Red 5 mix the what players are doing.” to simply buy up skills, but Firefall is of FPS and MMO that wowed us resource. There’s an economy and there- action into the world? McCawley: “We At a higher level, all this can deliberately avoiding that game- when we first glimpsed it at the Penny fore a reason to fight. thought it would be really cool to have benefit your clan. Squads are tempo- unbalancing route. “We’re not going Arcade Expo last year: mercenaries Your class will depend on your own things happen based on time of day, time rary groups, but the clan is where to sell a weapon that does more strapped into jetpacks hopping in Battleframe’s configuration, as McCawley of week or even seasonally. So you’ll log on you’ll see real gains. You’ll have damage, something that just does a teams across a cartoonishly bright explains: “A character will have access to all in the middle of the night and see crea- access to shared resources and some mega amount of damage where landscape. You fight to protect the Battleframes, but you level up each tures that you won’t see during the day, but stats will be tied to your army’s you’re going to get an instant head- humanity from the evil Chosen as Battleframe independently—and this was a you may have NPCs that are going about growth. There’s even a mutual tech shot or instant kills,” McCawley part of a small squad pretty important design decision for us—in doing some covert operation that you tree to advance up, as McCawley states. READ ME of five, rolling around order to give you quick access to the dif- haven’t seen before. We want the world to describes: “We’ll have an army tech Instead you’ll probably be paying PUBLISHER the world looking for ferent classes depending on the situation change based on what players are doing tree that you can choose to advance for aesthetic changes to your avatar, TBD action, other players that you’re in.” and so it’s unpredictable. Based on what as a team. You’re making strategic or gender and name changes. Firefall DEVELOPER or Crystite. “You’ll be able to swap out your back- players have been participating in, the decisions on where you spend your is beginning to sound startlingly Red 5 Studios Firefall’s executive pack, pick different weapons and customize events players have chosen to do or what resources and where you spend your ambitious, particularly when you LINK firefallthegame. producer James what abilities you install in your backpack. missions they’re running and the time of time trying to advance your tech- consider it’ll be free to play. com McCawley: “Crystite You can actually install custom modules day, various things may be happening. nology, so each army actually may Craig Pearson 200 years in the future,com www.pcgamer.com Release Q1 2011 weapons are a bit ridiculous. www.pcgamer.com www 34 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 35 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • Capturing enemy pentagrams will expand your turf. MONITOR Even evil snot does its part to keep heroes at bay. “I went to preschool in this chasm, dammit—begone, Abeix!” DUNGEONS HANDS-ON Trap and torture your way into the dungeon lord hall of fame Three well-armed knights are bad odds for any dungeon lord. ELEMENTAL: FALLEN ENCHANTRESS E very so often, a game comes armories are designed to appeal to the core appears, however, the flaws of my dun- along that asks an important drives of a hero: fight monsters, access for- geon’s design become apparent. He easily question like “What is the bidden knowledge and win loot. Fulfill trounces the meager defenses and kicks my Abeix, starring in value of a human soul?” these drives and you’ll increase the hero’s maniacal teeth in. Had I built branching HANDS-ON She falls—can the game rise? “How the Worm Turns.” T Dungeons is such a game. An homage tasty soul energy upon death. paths and directed the knight’s interest in to Dungeon Keeper, it combines tower At first, things are going swimmingly. multiple directions, I would have stood a hough not quite as dramatic as change the direction, what’s the point?” the world and fix mechanics that needed defense, strategy and RPG elements Groups of heroes venture in and slowly fall better chance. being offered the helm of the A world builder himself (as the lead on the tweaking. The big new feature is the addi- to give a precisely-calculated answer: victim to my wererats and skeleton war- It’s a hard lesson, but Dungeons’ easy Titanic right after hitting an award-winning Fall from Heaven mod for Civ tion of wildland areas that are hostile to set- “35 soul energy, provided the person riors; I’m even able to send a few to the lair creation has me rebuilding a sprawl- iceberg, Stardock’s new design 4) Paxton was immediately drawn to the lore tlement. These wildlands will be the homes died in a good mood.” torture chamber where they’ll provide a ing necropolis in minutes. This time: lead on Elemental has a disaster to clean already in place. Fantasy gamers, he argues, of great monsters and Elemental Lords— That’s the kind of quirk you can trickle of soul energy for the duration of less skeletons, more sultry succubi. ■ up. The fantasy strategy game released need a strong backstory that’s linked to imagine the danger of setting up shop beside expect from Dungeons, where you their miserable lives. Once a knight Robert Hathorne in August 2010 felt more like half- game mechanics in key ways. “Game design godlike beings who’ve gone a little bit mad build increasingly elaborate under- finished fan fiction than a full game. can’t be driven by lore, but taking any after the world-rending cataclysm. ground lairs to lure plunder-hungry Stardock’s CEO, Brad Wardell, took chance we have to tie the game to the back- “Before you can civilize them, a condition heroes. But as Dungeon Lord, you Three easy steps to sapping a hero’s soul the blows and then sought someone to story is critical. Elemental has a really good must be met. The Bhindami Fissure, for actually want those heroes to be happy look at Elemental with fresh eyes. backstory—it just isn’t in the game.” example, is a wildland chasm that will spawn when they die in order to reap as Enter Derek Paxton. After bland factions, broken AI, poor monsters, demons and elementals that will much precious soul energy from them “I think there is a brilliant game in interface and meaningless tactical battles, harass you until you challenge Abeix, the as possible. The mechanic works a Elemental,” says Paxton. “I’m just one Stardock has made a peace offering to monster that lives beneath it.” Defeat Abeix little like fattening up guy, but there is a great team here. anyone who bought the game in its broken and you win prestige and treasure. READ ME a goose before you Together, we’re fig- state: The first two expansions will be Patches have already repaired some of PUBLISHER cook it. READ ME uring out what needs to released free to those early adopters. Fallen Elemental’s major flaws—especially its inter- Kalypso Media USA In sandbox mode, I PUBLISHER be cut, what needs to Enchantress will be the first step in that act of face. Fallen Enchantress will add magic DEVELOPER build a linear dun- Stardock be added, and putting goodwill, as well as Paxton’s chance to put weapons and interesting spells to further Realmforge geon with small DEVELOPER processes in place to his imprint on a world that was fractured in ground players in a world where the factions Studios rooms branching Stardock make sure that it more than its mythology. actually feel different. THRILL a trespassing hero with INDULGE the hero’s TORTURE that stupid LINK LINK www.dungeons off. These monster combat encounters. greedy side; lure them with loot. grin off his face. www.elemental happens.” He later There are no campaign details, but This is Stardock’s chance to get it right. ■ -game.com closets, libraries and game.com adds: “If you can’t Stardock promises new content to fill out Troy Goodfellowcom www.pcgamer.com Release Q1 2011 Release Q1 2011 www.pcgamer.com ww 36 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 37 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • 3 6 9 THE YEAR AHEAD RELEASE METER MONTHS AWAY MONTHS AWAY MONTHS AWAY CRYSIS 2 RED FACTION: THE ELDER It’s not NYC that needs saving: it’s the FPS genre, ARMAGEDDON SCROLLS V: SKYRIM A remarkably different, much The long-awaited follow-up which has been tilting toward ier Dead Spaceier game than its to The Elder Scrolls IV: a tightly scripted, barely play- predecessor, in Armageddon Oblivion, Skyrim will use a able slice of bad cinema you’ll actually be able to brand-new engine to continue lately. Help is on the way, repair structures in addition the open-world fantasy wearing a very sharp suit. to knocking them down. roleplaying series. Release MARCH 22 Release APRIL Release NOVEMER 11 DRAGON AGE 2 TORCHLIGHT II MASS EFFECT 3 A pirate queen, a streetsmart Diablo III isn’t the only action The Reapers are back and dwarf with a crossbow, and a RPG we’re waiting for. wrecking the joint all over twin sister with magical Torchlight’s addictive again. Enough. Marshall your tendencies—the more we find hack-and-slash magic ate a resources, gather your team, out about DA2’s unique good chunk of 2009, and yuk it up with Joker and hit on companions, the more eager Torchlight II threatens to take some aliens. This time, you’ll we become to join ’em. an even larger bite of 2011. need to save Earth itself. Release MARCH 15 Release Q2 Release Q4 DEUS EX: WARHAMMER 40K: DOTA 2 HUMAN REVOLUTION SPACE MARINE It’s the classic, hyper- competitive DotA formula Remember when your This great-looking sci-fi neighbors wouldn’t pipe action game will pit a single backed by Valve’s down? Didn’t you want to squad of heavily armed and development noodles, with punch through your wall and armored Space Marines plenty of intriguing social beat the crap out of them? against a entire planet full features wrapped around it. In DE:HR, you can. of bloodthirsty Orks. Oh yeah, we’ll be there. Release APRIL Release SUMMER Release TBD TOTAL WAR: DUKE NUKEM FOREVER DIABLO III SHOGUN 2 Our best guess places Duke’s return in the summer, well It’s been far too long since we’ve battled through Hell on Go watch the latest Shogun 2 battle report (www.totalwar. away from the triple-A a quest to murder the Devil com/videos) and be amazed shooters hitting in the early himself. Hey Blizzard! Enough by the apparent ease-of-play spring. It’s allegedly content- with the teasing—you’d better in this epic-scale battle sim. complete—Gearbox is just get this thing done before the Send in the samurai! polishing Duke’s shoes. year’s end. Release MARCH 15 Release TBD Release Q4 2011 BEST GUESS WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN ON YOUR RADAR THE TOP 13 MOST-ANTICPATED PC GAMES OF WAR III THQ confirmed that 1. DIABLO III “Why am I looking forward to Dragon 8. DEAD SPACE 2 it has plans for a third 40K RTS, even 2. STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC Age 2? More sex, more heavy metal 9. DUKE NUKEM FOREVER 3. GUILD WARS 2 ad trailers.” 10. LORD OF THE RINGS: hinting that it may —@mikeon, from Twitter WAR IN THE NORTH be free-to-play like 4. DRAGON AGE 2 uu its recent, excellent 5. PORTAL 2 11. F.E.A.R. 3 Company of Heroes “If I don’t see what happened to my Online. We’ll see it 6. FABLE III bastard child, I’ll kill you all.” 12. BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY sometime between 7. CRYSIS 2 —@edzitron, from Twitter 13. DC UNIVERSE ONLINE August 2012 and Source: Ipsos OTX GamePLan Insights. Top titles based on purchase intent are collected via a weekly tracking study of 1,000 active gamers in the US between the ages of 13-59. Source: Ipsos OTX GamePLan Insights. Top titles based on purchase intent are collected via a weekly tracking study of 1,000 active gamers in the US between the ages of 13-59. February 2013. Since launching in 2008, GamePlan has collected data on over 100,000 gamers across 2,500+ titles. Since launching in 2008, GamePlan has collected data on over 100,000 gamers across 2,500+ titles.com www.pcgamer.com 38 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • TOP the same breath, I changed my and admirable attempt to 100 Grand Theft Auto IV Release: 2008 assistant manager’s regis- tered name to “Wiggles,” and I brought in half of the Slova- 91 Mount & Blade Release: 2008 Evan: Oh, the joy of make a horror-adventure that’s both fun to play and true to Lovecraft’s spirit. Graham: I can’t kian national team. All turned archery in an open- stand Grand Theft Auto IV’s dull mis- sions. But thanks to out to be good decisions, and all explain why I love manag- ing football. ended RPG. I will never ever tire of swiveling in my saddle, pluck- 86 StarCraft Release: 1998 Dan: The quintes- a persistent modding commu- ing an arrow, and watching sential edge-of- nity turning the game into a giant toybox, that’s no longer 95 Audiosurf Release: 2008 as a mounted bandit topples from his steed. your-seat, fast- paced RTS. Mas- 100 true. Now, when I visit the city, Craig: Man up, every- 90 tering command of each of it’s packed with cars that can one. Favorite song to Mirror’s Edge StarCraft’s three wildly travel at infinite speed, and I’m surf? I’ll start: Girls Release: 2009 diverse, yet intricately bal- a superman who carries a grav- Aloud’s “Biology.” It Tom: There’s some- anced races is a challenge ity gun. The best way to enjoy makes a super-bouncy, fun thing unparalleled that few will ever achieve— this game has changed so track to dodge blocks to. about the rough and much two years after its Rich: I like the songs that no tumble of scram- but it’s sure fun to try. The panel 85 release; it’s a perfect example one else is cool enough to like. bling around these rooftops Sins of a Who voted for the of why PC gaming is great. Evan: Anything from the and offices. You see yourself Solar Empire PC Gamer Top 100 Minibosses, or the Super Meat roll with every fall, feel every 99 Release: 2008 Red Orchestra: Boy or VVVVVV soundtracks. clamber, hear every breath The Top 100 panel is comprised Dan: Commanding of PC gaming experts from Ostfront 41-45 Josh: The faster, the better. and footfall. Next to this big, Release: 2006 a fleet of hundreds around the world. I’ll toss in any punk rock I can bleached-clean city, you’re of starships has Andy Mahood Tim S: Quake III re- find. completely insignificant. rarely been as satis- Sim Columnist, PC Gamer imagined by Apparently that’s something I 94 fying or as manageable as it is Remarque or Sol- The Last Express want to feel. Chris Comiskey Evan: Running away like a in this game—or, for that zhenitsyn. An ecstasy Release: 1997 Copy Editor, PC Gamer of brutal fumbling, wild SMG coward has never been so matter, as fun to watch. And, Richard: Arguably Games of Craig Pearson fire and cold, 64-player elimi- exciting. as sins go, I’d say that bom- Prince of Persia cre- News Editor, PCG UK nation. What’s not to like? barding a planet from orbit, ator Jordan Mech- 89 killing all its inhabitants and Dan Stapleton ner’s magnum opus, Gothic II 98 recolonizing it with your own Reviews Editor, PC Gamer Ultima it’s one of the most atmo- Release: 2002 Desslock Underworld II Desslock: Gothic II people is a pretty good one. spheric games ever made, RPG Columnist, PC Gamer 84 Release: 1992 notable for its use of real- was the first open- All Time Tony: It wasn’t just world RPG in the 3D Silent Hunter III Ed Fenning time action and incredible Release: 2005 Community Editor, PCG UK the graphics. You attention to detail. age to feature NPCs could pick stuff up. that weren’t static, quest- Andy: The sub Evan Lahti 93 You could throw it. doling kiosks. These inhabit- sim genre Senior Editor, PC Gamer Splinter Cell: needed this one. You could cast spells, repair Chaos Theory ants had their own chores Graham Smith your armor and fly. You could and agendas, such as luring Ubisoft brought Deputy Editor, PCG UK Release: 2005 talk to the monsters. Wonder- gullible do-gooders into a in a new Romanian team to John Walker Craig: Chaos fully, richly, impossibly interac- mugging and smoking from redefine the WWII submariner Freelancer, PCG UK Theory’s wonderful, tive, UU2 was a game from the bongs. And there was no cute experience, and they nailed it. tactile co-op is still Josh Augustine future. It took history a long pet dog in this one. I experienced real fear the the best of its kind, Associate Editor, PC Gamer IF OUR CIVILIZATION WAS WIPED OUT— time to catch up. and its characterization of first time I crash-dove my 88 Logan Decker Sam is the best in the series: Dungeon Siege U-boat to escape the depth 97 Editor-in-Chief, PC Gamer say, by the miscalculation of a junior Max Payne the funny radio chatter he Release: 2002 charges of a relentless British Norman Chan Release: 2001 does with other characters Josh: My friends and destroyer—and that terror Freelancer, PC Gamer research associate at the Large Dan: It’s a testa- about lasers, Elvis and air- I spent an entire didn’t diminish one iota in the Richard Cobbett ment to the level strikes is the creamy humor weekend bashing ensuing 40-minute cat-and- Hadron Collider—these are the design and comic that bookends the tension. our way through mouse struggle. Even Das Freelancer, PC Gamer book-style storytell- Dungeon Siege’s zombies, spi- Boot: The Director’s Cut didn’t Richard McCormick 100 games, selected by the brain 92 ing that this is one of the few ders and other ickies. A paus- move me like this. Associate Editor, PCG UK Red Faction: games that has ever pulled Guerrilla able, party-based combat Tim Edwards trust of PC Gamer and PC Gamer UK, that we’d leave behind for off bullet time without it feel- ing tiresome by the end. Logan: The action was awe- Release: 2009 Tom S: I remember losing control of a system was a welcome addi- tion to the frantic clicking and character progression of 83 The Curse of Monkey Island Release: 1997 Editor, PCG UK Tim Stone Freelancer, PCG UK some. No doubt about that. vehicle, mounting a Diablo. Man, that pack mule Josh: Technology whatever horrific life-forms But what really got to me was curb, then mounting could kick some serious skele- finally caught up to Tom Francis Section Editor, PCG UK the story: a long, dark rabbit a nearby mountain, then sail- ton ass when it needed to. the comedy genius that were to follow us on this hole that led to a very evil ing off the mountain and into emerging from the Tom Senior 87 Freelancer, PCG UK rabbit. There was enough grit Call of Cthulhu: Monkey Island franchise, planet. They are the peaks in there to grind down the a gorge. I crashed nose-first into a building at the edge of Dark Corners allowing the developers and Tony Ellis Production Editor, PCG UK most optimistic among us. of the Earth Release: 2006 artists to craft a perfectly-fit- of PC gaming culture for a canyon. I got out of the car slowly, mindful of the creak- Tony: That desper- ting cartoon world that was Troy Goodfellow 96 Strategy Columnist, PC Gamer Football ate, fumbling escape brought to life by voice actors the study and enjoyment Manager 2011 ing noise coming from every- from your hotel and fueled with the same off- where. Then I delicately threw of mutants and budding Release: 2010 Rich: I went mad in a bomb at a nearby wall, set it room is reason enough to include this. There the-wall humor and irrever- ent plot lines that powered off and dove to safety as the young gamers alike. FM2011. I started insulting and prais- whole structure collapsed to are other great,scary parts, and behind the bugs and the first two games. And who can forget Murray, the lovably its doom. I have never felt so ing players in the invincible. clunkiness, there’s a genuine evil, demonic talking skull?com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 42 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 43 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • TOP 100 GAMES Craig: That turtle had one 82 MechCommander Release: 1998 day left ’til retirement. 73 Zuma’s Revenge! Release: 2009 69 Flight Simulator 2004 Release: 2003 65 Zeno Clash Release: 2009 Evan: MechCom- mander isn’t simply an RTS take on 77 Command & Conquer: Red Alert Release: 1996 Evan: Peggle for men. Rich: What is Peggle Andy: I still remem- ber trying to re-cre- ate Lindbergh’s Evan: You’re not just vaguely wandering a world filled with par- MechWarrior—it’s Dan: An opening for, then? Unstoppa- trans-Atlantic cross- rot-men, you’re bat- an incredible single-player cinematic that ble bionic hyper-men? ing in the Spirit of St. Louis tering them with elephant- process of salvaging robot Evan: Unicorn-loving billiards and marveling at his ability to femur swords and exploding begins with a time- parts and amassing a team players. In Zuma, you’re a keep that flying gas tank gangly, humanoid avocados traveling Albert of deathbots (and callsigned Aztec frog-gun that spits col- aloft. The third-party mod across a Labyrinth set. The Einstein whacking Hitler and men and women to pilot ored balls into a moving, community really adopted combat system really earns ends with the stirring “Hell them) that plays truer to the snaking line of more colored this chapter as its own, too, one of the titles we throw board game roots of the March” theme, cinematics star a sexy spy and Joseph balls to make matches. Nest- because there are still almost around too freely about franchise than FASA’s first- ling a ball just where it needs as many downloadable games: it’s actually visceral. person version. Stalin, attack dogs and some to be, in the nick of time, planes and scenery files for 64 of the best over-the-top matches the feeling I get from FS04 as there are for FSX. VVVVVV 81 King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow Release: 1992 superweapons ever to grace a fast-paced RTS make C&C: Red Alert one of the most a game-winning Counter- Strike headshot. 68 Dwarf Fortress Release: 2006 Release: 2010 Graham: A Com- modore 64-inspired 72 Josh: Shipwrecked memorable games ever. Wing Commander Troy: Yes, it is platformer in which on a beach; a night- Chris: The reason to keep III: Heart of the ASCII. Yes, it is you can’t jump, but ingale sings in a FMV alive. Hell, the cutscenes Tiger Release: 1994 punishingly hard instead flip your character’s tree; battles with a in Red Alert were better than Andy: I remember to pick up casually. But no gravity to move between minotaur in the labyrinth. If anything in the new Trans- being blown away other game in the last five floor and ceiling. Its level none of those spark a formers movies. I almost felt by this game’s years has led to as many design is immaculate, its deeply-rooted memory in bad for Stalin when Nadia demand for 30MB of interesting stories about characters are cute, its writing your game upbringing, you’ve poisoned him. Almost. hard disk space. 30 freaking what just happened to little is funny and its soundtrack is got grounds to sue your par- 76 megabytes! What were those computer people. All those so good I bought it and still ents for child neglect. KQVI Baldur’s Gate II: insane Origin developers memorable events and that listen to it regularly. was a pillar in early adven- Shadows of Amn thinking? I only had a 105MB elaborate history are often 63 ture games. Release: 2000 drive in my 386 to start with. just figments of our imagina- SimCity 2000 Troy: All the Mass 79 Once I got over my shock, I tion, giving meaning and plot Release: 1993 Galactic Effects and Dragon was lost in this space romp for to very simple AI action. After Evan: An evil ant Civilizations II Ages in the world Release: 2006 weeks. The cutscenes gave 10 hours of play, when my for- farm for disasters. can’t escape the Mark Hamill a much-needed tress flooded and my cheese- The crisp color of Tom: I was going to shadow of BioWare’s sprawl- say something career boost (such as it was) maker went insane and everything makes ing D&D epic. On the other 80 about the sense of and the space combat was as started biting everyone, I cities that much more fun to hand, it also gave birth to the addictive as crack. wasn’t frustrated. I laughed. wreck. Tornadoes are my adventure that now-de rigeur (and frequently favorite; I’d cheat my way to a 71 67 exploring an undiscovered annoying) relationship galaxy gives you, how GC2’s AI Spelunky Anchorhead five-minute metropolis, then mechanic, so I guess nothing’s Release: 2009 Release: 1998 deploy a twister to knock it all opponents feel as passionate perfect. about victory as you are, the Tom: Other Tony: Home down. In 1993—before phys- 75 way custom-building every games have ran- alone on rainy ics, before destructibility—this Sid Meier’s domly-gener- Sunday after- was the closest thing to ship in your fleet gives you Alpha Centauri extraordinary tactical flexibil- ated levels, but Spelunky is noons, my treat gaming havoc that we had. Release: 1999 Grim Fandango ity and a personal attach- the only one where the ran- to myself was to play this text ment to your empire. Then I got distracted by a graph. Tom S: Each of the faction leaders had their own curious domized elements are the ones that produce the puz- zles, hazards and mechanics adventure. Its low-key sense of gloom seeped out of the screen and into my bones. I 62 Left 4 Dead 2 Release: 2009 Evan: A series of 78 foibles. Lady Diedre of the game. Each one it gen- poked around its twisty judgment calls Crysis Release: 1998 Release: 2007 had that Mind Worm fetish, erates isn’t just aesthetically streets for so long it became a immersed in guts, Graham: There are Chairman Yang had a thing fresh, it’s something you have real place to me. And clue by wrapped in a foot Ed: Dark, funny and full of more class than Tom S: One wonderful scene in Vena Cava has you two reasons why for nerve-stapling his citizens to think about in a new way. A innocuous clue, I uncovered race. I adore the moments a classy cruise liner filled with first-class mumbling nonsense rhymes into a microphone in a room Crysis is great. One: it’s and Colonel Santiago wanted genuinely endless adventure. the horror lurking below. when common sense tells you cabins that host ‘round-the-clock classes full of dead beatniks. In many ways, Grim Fandango is like a smart. The suit to reinvent diplomacy by kill- to keep the safe-room door teaching the class system. Grim Fandango beat poem, drawing almost random elements together powers are a clever way to give you wonderful choices about how to approach the game, ing everyone who disagreed with her. They were all mad; it was a pleasure to meet them 70 League of Legends Release: 2009 66 Torchlight Release: 2009 Tom: It’s called the closed, but dumb heroics are telling you to sprint back into the crowd and save Coach. is set in a limbo world of the dead, yet is full of appreciation for the deeper concepts of life. It’s a tale that progresses so naturally and wonderfully and fashioning them into something strange and inspired. It opens with a tale of corporate dysfunction set in Aztec skyscrapers on the Mexican Day of the Dead, and goes on letting you play as a cloaked all and then annihilate them. Josh: LoL is still the Draining Epic Boar that by the end I was strangely moved, and ended up feel- to tell a story of love, corruption and posthumous redemp- killer, a speeding train or a human wrecking ball. Two: it’s so, so dumb. Crysis has the sub- 74 Burnout Paradise Release: 2009 only MOBA game that’s dared to inno- vate on DotA’s origi- Cannon of Venom, and it’s a gun I have enchanted, socketed, re- 61 Frontier: Elite 2 Release: 1993 Craig: What’s ing more at peace with myself. If you’re crap at adventure games, play it with a guide. Don’t rush through it too fast, though—take your time and allow yourself to soak up the tion in one of the most imaginative worlds I’ve ever encountered. Logan: PC games, just like all forms of culture, are sub- tlety of a Bruckheimer action Evan: Paradise nal formula, and it did so with enchanted, un-socketed, re- remarkable about story and atmosphere. ject to trends and fashions, and God knows adventure movie, but it’s unique in having doesn’t penalize you great success. The added socketed, re-enchanted, re- this space adven- Tom F: I’ll second that—using a walkthrough just lets games have been out of fashion for a very long time. the scale to match. for turning your fic- passive skills, persistent enchanted and re-enchanted. ture, where you’re you enjoy the characters, the mood of the place and the That’s why, if I earn the confidence of your votes and am Logan: Who gives a crap if it tional Ferrari into a meta-game, brush to juke Torchlight is as smart a pro- given no guidance on how to fantastic visual imagination. There’s really no sense tor- elected President of the United States, I will guarantee took an insane rig to play it? steel accordion—you instantly with and new champion skill gression of Diablo as Blizzard live in the 513,982,470 star turing yourself with the puzzles; they were never the point. every citizen unfettered access to Grim Fandango. That You need an insane rig to get a pristine, off-the-lot mechanics elevate the genre could manage, tailor-made systems, is its simplicity. The The amazing thing about Grim Fandango, apart from all will surely lead to a resurgence in the genre as people drive in NASCAR, too. And it’s clone when you crash. One of to a whole new level. And it for the loot obsessive who balancing act of living in EVE that, was that your journey ended up being four years of across our great country are reminded how, in the rights so worth it. the few racing games that embraced the most sensible wants that spectacular Online is a barrier that Frontier your life. You reach a dead end in your search for Meche, hands, adventure games can bring you into a story like no Dan: I threw a turtle at a lets you (and makes you want business model for the genre: weapon they love to stay doesn’t have. Five minutes to and suddenly it’s a year later and you’re running a swanky other genre can. This will, in turn, lead to the creation of chicken. to) just drive around. free-to-play. useful forever. learn; a lifetime of adventure. club. Something felt very real and personal about that. millions of jobs. Thank you. www.pcgamer.com wwwcom www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 44 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 45 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 ISSUE 211 PCGAMER.COM MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • TOP 100 GAMES right. My style was a subver- ballet of rockets and mid-air mixing an elephant’s scream 59 Anachronox Release: 2001 Tony: There’s sion of traditional multiplayer behavior. At the time, this was revolutionary; these days, miracle shots—points trying to connect lines with other points at high speed. with a car driving on a wet road, don’tcha know. I still maintain X-Wings are cooler, 43 Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Release: 2002 “unique,” and then team play is as important to because you get to say “lock Rich: The cradle of there’s Anachronox— a ramshackle game online FPSes as lethal mouse-skills—so I’m pinning 50 Neptune’s Pride Release: 2010 S-foils in attack position.” life for the modern FPS. Allied Assault 46 that doesn’t know whether the rise of objective-based Tom S: Neptune’s Supreme understands pacing it’s film-noir, sci-fi comedy, a shooters squarely on ET’s Pride somehow Commander: and the deployment of cine- JRPG or a superhero comic. proud Allied/evil Nazi chest. distills an elegant Forged Alliance matic moments better than Your gun has 250 million dif- and simple set of rules into Release: 2007 nearly any of its predecessors, ferent settings. One planet you visit gets cut in half, another shrinks and becomes 54 Thief II: The Metal Age Release: 2000 Craig: Garret is a pri- the perfect betrayal simula- tor. Attacks take days, defeat is a long and painful process Tom: FA takes care of the boring stuff for you: units defend and set the stage for the global takeover of the Call of Duty brand. I’m not sure your teammate. Why aren’t vate eye in a steam- and there’s no way to win whether that’s a good or bad themselves intelligently while there more games like this? punk world. Back without backstabbing your thing, but in 2002, this kind of moving, they organize them- when there were fellow players. It’s a dark work fresh, film-influenced, globe- 58 selves in optimal formations Day of The new genres to explore, Thief of brilliance that’s tested my trotting man-shoot was the and stay in them, come hell or Tentacle birthed the stealth game. I friendships as much as much pinnacle of shooting men. Release: 1993 high water. With three clicks, love the first, but Thief II has as my strategic ability. 41 you can tell hundreds of air John: Monkey Island more thievery in it, rooftops Doom Release: 1993 transports to ferry everything 2 can suck my tenta- cle. This is the best comedy adventure to explore, tortuously difficult mansions to vanish in. It’s the game that formed the way I 49 Battle of Britain II Release: 1999 Tim S: Dozens of each of your 10 factories pro- duces 40 kilometers across the map, avoiding that anti- Chris: For me, Doom was all about the sounds. The rocket of all time. Constantly inven- play pretty much every other WWII flight sims launcher’s foom-pa!, tive and hilarious, the puzzles air on the southern peninsula, the Baron of Hell’s game since: sitting in the dark, deliver thrilling, chal- then returning to pick up are better than anything pre- scoping for opportunity and lenging dogfights. growl, the unmistakable viously or since. anyone still needing a ride. noise of the Cyberdemon’s making decisive movements. Only one—this one—manages 45 to make those dogfights feel mechanical legs—this was 57 Dungeon Keeper Release: 1997 Tom S: The squig- 53 System Shock Release: 1994 Richard: The earth-shatteringly important. In the amazing, unscripted campaigns every downed The Sims 3 Release: 2009 Troy: Also known in the first game that I needed speakers and a decent sound- card to play. The Imp fireball’s gly unit sprites hold my house as The swoosh still gives me chills. System Shock series Dornier and savaged Stuka is Mistress Collection more personality doesn’t need a personal landmark, a than most RPG characters I’ve met. They were selfish, spoiled little brats, but modern technology to impress. It only needs SHODAN, its unforgettable step—a tiny step—towards British salvation. game. It’s often derided as a game about eating or peeing, but The Sims 40 Dragon Age: Origins Release: 2009 48 they were my brats. When I is really a game about Josh: DA:O took the villain, whose pitch-perfect Battlefield 2 saw my Bile Demons obliter- Release: 2005 humanity and how we choose core concepts of voice work will chill your spine ate a host of elves in a cloud to fill our time. The Sims cap- classic RPGs—com- as you poke around her deep- Norm: Thanks, BF2, of noxious farts, I couldn’t tures the ennui of life, the pelling stories influenced by space mausoleums to find for almost getting 60 help but feel a twinge of pride. thrill of love and the quest for player decisions, character and out just what the hell hap- me kicked out of col- Go get ’em, lads. pened. You pitiful insect, you… lege. You made me the right wallpaper. We mea- companion development, and care about game stats over sure our lives in coffee spoons, tactical combat—and cranked 56 Wurm Online Release: 2006 52 Star Control 2 my GPA—the only 4.0 average and frequency of woo-hoo. them all to 11. This is the pinna- cle of classic RPG design—uti- 44 Release: 1992 I wanted to maintain was my Graham: Over Desslock: A true kill/death ratio. The 71 first- Planetside lizing modern technology to a single month Release: 2003 realize more than we ever hybrid, Star Control 2 place gold medals I earned and 100 hours was an open-ended, are still a badge of honor in Rich: I used to fly could before, while still lever- of play, I helped settle a fan- interstellar adven- my online gaming career. escorts for the New aging our imagination. Counter-Strike: tasy world frontier. I built my ture with combat ripped out Craig: I never cared about my Conglomerate. I’d Rich: It’s really good, but the own house, assisted in build- of Asteriods. You could easily K/D ratio or gold medals or stand next to my beards are wonky. Mine ing a huge underground lose if you were tardy in unrav- badges of honor. I was too royal-blue Reaver gunship on doesn’t even connect at the tunnel, and watched as my eling its universe’s mysteries, busy running for the jets, my spawn island, noncha- cheeks. An RPG this weighty Source fellow villagers started creat- and yet the prospect of find- taking them high into the air lantly rifling through my should get the beards right. ing 3D models to plan a pro- ing a precious rainbow world and jumping out. Private inventory—a pilot for hire. A Release: 2004 posed village re-build. Play it with a good community and take down some bears. Click- or being berated by a new race of witty blobs tempted you to meander. “Human Missile” Pearson reporting for duty, sir! fat-bellied dropship would rumble by, jet engines super- heating the air directly below 39 The Longest Journey Release: 2000 Evan: I’ve caught myself jogging around cs_office alone, just breaking windows and that—CS was the foundational shooter experience of an entire generation—but nostalgia can’t account for all of its ing is always rewarded. 51 Quake III Arena 47 Star Wars: TIE Fighter it. “Anyone want to take a base?” I’d spit out my imagi- Logan: I was shocked at how hopping on desks. It’s one of the best-ever maps in a multiplayer shooter because it feels convincingly and cathartically con- die-hard popularity. The Source engine’s touch of paint is all CS needed to be played rabidly for another six years—and will continue so 55 Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Release: 2003 Release: 1999 Evan: Q3 reveres player movement Release: 1994 Dan: Face it: the Imperials’ fighters nary gum and hop into my cockpit, gun the engines and lift off. As the rest of the squad funky it looked when I fired it up recently. I was shocked because it didn’t temporary—every man that’s ever sat in a for at least double that. There’s so many good things that Rich: ET was never and marksmanship are just plain cooler dropped in on the target from align with the game I recalled cubicle has cultivated a detailed vision of arise from CS:S being feature-light that still don’t happen about the shooting. I more than any FPS— than the Rebels’. Need proof? the sky, I stayed above, bust- in my head, which was of a pinless frag grenades plunking off walls, or threading a in “modern” FPSes: dead spectators become a raucous played the Medic watch w3sp’s elegant speed- Just listen to the sounds that ing high-value tanks and lanc- dazzling, fully-realized world. 7.62mm round between stacks of 8.5x11” paper. peanut gallery; a moment of inspiring player skill isn’t class like a guardian runs (http://bit.ly/fJXUA5) each makes when they fly by. ing incoming troops with my But when I played it again, I And that’s CS:S—a barebones template of good guys shrouded by perks or bonuses; players refer to weapons’ angel, skipping through lines and be amazed at what the An X-Wing goes “whoooosh!” chaingun. When the job was quickly forgot about the reso- and bad guys trading bullets with the same weapons you reputations the same way they would a sports team. of bullets to nurse shot-up game makes possible by A TIE Fighter goes complete, I’d fall into forma- lution and textures and sank use in every game. It has no right being as compelling as it And god, that ragdoll. Every character is a bag of bones; teammates back to health. respecting the Y-axis as much “WRRRAAAAAAARWAR!” tion and deliver my allies back into the world, with its is, but hey, right now, more people are simultaneously watching a terrorist tumble over a guard rail and crumple When I did fire my SMG, it was as it does the X. Q3DM17, the Winner: TIE Fighter. home. My feet never touched representation of human playing it on Steam than anything else. Timing is part of into a pile of limbs is the best reward for a smart AK shot. to discourage, not to kill out- best map, is a trampolining Rich: They got the noise from the ground. I miss it terribly. struggles small and large..com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com ww 46 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 47 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COM NEXT ›
    • TOP 100 GAMES a CMBO turn ends just as the licensed Star Wars game, solar winds, battling for sur- Conquistadors, they had the 38 STALKER: Call of Pripyat Release: 2009 Churchill VII you’ve spent 10 minutes sneaking into posi- tion, fires its last AP shell at except the impressively emo- tional story (and the accom- panying music) is so brilliantly vival in a universe that’s thou- sands of times your size. Space combat doesn’t get bigger or mobility I needed to outflank my enemies—even the nigh- unstoppable Teutonic Craig: I love the the rear of a Tiger tank. If you done that it stands on its own. more terrifying than this. Knights. Screw those guys. world of STALKER, demand truth and drama Desslock: Atrociously over- the grim sci-fi and dark humor. My favorite tale from Call of Pripyat is about a from your military entertain- ment, this and its two sequels, are titles to be treasured. 31 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Release: 2003 looked when it was released, this is not merely masterpiece in its own genre, it’s also one 25 Mass Effect Release: 2008 Josh: When I fin- graphical glitch I encountered: Dan: George Lucas of the best-written PC games ished Mass Effect, I a shimmering effect that was warping a huge area, too big 34 BioShock Release: 2007 may have beaten the Star Wars fran- ever made. sat on my bed in post-mortem for at to be an in-game effect. It wouldn’t go away. I reinstalled my drivers, stuck an old graph- Dan: The reveal of the twist in this game stands alone chise to within an inch of its life with his abominable pre- quel trilogy, but Knights of the 27 Fallout 3 Release: 2008 Troy: Fallout’s least an hour, just taking in the incredible story I’d just watched unfold. The story of ics card in my machine, rein- as the best story sur- Old Republic’s epic story is a Washington, DC is a Shepard and her crew was so stalled the game. Then I prise of any game, ever. shining bright spot that dead world brought beautifully told and with such backed off far enough to see Maybe it’s because I’m such a proves there’s still some life to life, even if it is a gratifying combat that I was that it was an effect emanat- big fan of The Usual Suspects, left in that universe—and a very brown life. Interesting ready to be lost in it forever. ing from a massive gouge in but the way everything is sud- reason to call yourself a Star people with interesting prob- Norm: My favorite RPGs are the side of a hill, reaching into denly tied together, and one Wars fan. lems, and you can blow them the ones set in convincing the sky, all born from an of narrative gaming’s most apart with computer-aimed game worlds, and the lore- anomaly the size of a football. fundamental flaws is simul- taneously called out and 30 System Shock 2 Release: 1999 shots. The main story is just mostly OK, but dozens of entrenched universe of Mass Effect is one of the best in 37 Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge made integral to the plot, is simply jaw-dropping. Tom: I can’t be reserved Craig: There’s a trio of games that made me define myself as side-quests fill out a devas- tated city with peril and opportunity. It’s as much a gaming. It’s one of the few games were I actually read the companion novel before Release: 1991 about it—this is the best a PC gamer: Thief, shooter as an RPG, and playing the game to prepare Josh: The rare f#*&ing story-driven game Half-Life and System Shock 2. though Fallout 3 sort of fails myself for the experience. sequel that out- I’ve ever played. Everything Of the three, SS2 was the one at being great at either of Dan: ME’s slow opening level shines its predeces- short of the last five minutes that made me realize that those, it is a great mixture nearly lost me. Then things sor, MI2 easily had the best was a fascinating, creepy game worlds could change. that is worth revisiting over picked up, and its amazing writing of the series. I dare you pleasure to explore and fight There’s nothing more terrify- and over and over. story and fleshed-out uni- to name another game that through. I’d customized ing than a weapon degrading Dan: The gameplay of a Fall- verse so enraptured me that I lets you compete in a spitting myself into a creator of chaos, in a world of blood-scrawled out game is almost beside the forgave it its clumsy inventory contest (with slo-mo loogie setting everything in the walls, apparitions and zom- point. It’s about the explora- system and raced to the 42 camera shots), build voodoo world against each other with bies talking to themselves. tion, and Fallout 3 created a ending, eager to finish just so I dolls, cross dress to infiltrate decoys, hacks, pheromones world that you absolutely, could start all over again. mansion parties, and have your pants fall down after dig- ging up bones in a graveyard. and explosives. As I danced a sick ballet with plaster-cast dancers in Fort Frolic, blood- 29 Supreme Commander 2 Release: 2010 positively had to explore the hell out of. The fact that the main story mission is the 24 Unreal Tournament Graham: MI2 is in the Top ied wrench in hand and Tchai- Dan: SupCom 2 is all weakest part almost feels like Release: 1999 100. Monkey Island 1 is not. This kovsky blaring, I knew I was in about escalation a deliberate measure to get us Evan: Instagib and proves Tom is wrong and that love with a game. and spectacle. A to go off on our own, wander- the Flak Cannon. the sequel is better than the Mass Effect 2 simplified economy just ing the wastes and finding all Next question. original. In your face! Tom: This is definite proof 33 Braid Release: 2009 meant that I could spend less time counting metal beans sorts of amazing things. Tom: Next question: why are we picking UT over UT2004? I of your mother. Logan: Braid is heaven. Braid is why and more time building mega-dinosaurs, flying brains 26 Age of Empires II Release: 1999 didn’t pick it, but I’m curious. Chris: Because UT was the 36 Fallout Release: 1997 Dan: This was the I play games. You poke and prod and try this and try that, and and heavily armed snails, or launching robots half way across the map out of a giant Josh: No game’s ever dominated my sub- conscious like AoE2 first game to give you a porta- ble nuke-launcher, where you controlled the missile via a Dan: Possibly the best ending level (the Release: 2010 tims walking the streets with their eyes melted down their part before the giant Terminator) of any faces). There are times when circumstances in the game first game that every experiment rewards cannon like a futuristic flying did while I was in first-person camera. Best use: RPG ever. Maybe any game ever. For that don’t even afford you the satisfaction of knowing that you turned me loose in you with understanding, a circus act of destruction. And I school. The fold-out tech tree sprinting into a room filled achievement alone, ME2 deserves a place made the right decision one way or another, just as they an interesting world juicy little piece of a larger will never, ever get enough of included in the game box was with players and shooting it at on this list—all too often endings are didn’t when our government debated whether or not to and made me feel like I could puzzle which is in itself a zooming from a satellite’s- hidden in every textbook I your feet, vaporizing everyone, neglected (due to the high instance of adopt data gathered by Nazi scientists through medical do pretty much anything I piece of a larger puzzle. It’s eye-view down to a close-up brought to class, and build including yourself. players not finishing their games) and anti-climactic, experiments on Jewish captives. The lists goes on and on: wanted. Don’t like that guy? challenging without being of the smallest unit with a orders were more closely dragging the rest of the story down with them. colonialism, terrorism, the dubious concept that “the Shoot him in the groin. Want that guy’s gun? Steal it. Don’t punitive, and with those gooey colors and undulating flick of the mouse wheel. guarded than lunch money among my friends. Perfect 23 Starsiege: Tribes Release: 1998 Rich: It made you feel like you were assembling a ragtag bunch of the universe’s best and badassest despera- enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Interestingly, the only moral choice seemingly validated by the game out of pure want to fight? Talk your way out of trouble. And the story that comes with it is the best backgrounds, it’s also unusu- ally sensual for a PC game. 28 Freespace 2 Release: 1999 Tom S: Freespace 2 rock-paper-scissors balance, diverse civilization bonuses and taunting my best friend as Evan: Everybody loved Tribes’ jetpack athleticism—dis- does—and you were their leader. By this point in the series, my Shepard had a mythology and a defined moral com- pass: getting to imprint that on the deepest, most repetition is the pursuit of revenge, but even then the game doesn’t come full out and endorse the choice with cash and prizes; like the ancient Greeks, it simply and nuclear satire since Dr. Strangelove. 32 Homeworld Release: 1999 Dan: Homeworld’s lathers you up with a sequence of ordinary checkpoints and Huskarls rushed his base— these are true joys of youth. Dan: It obsessed me as well. I pensing explosive frisbees while high on the Y-axis makes you feel like a thought-out sci-fi galaxy in recent memory is a teenage dream come true. Logan: I was amazed at how deftly Mass Effect 2 forced boldly acknowledges that revenge can be a path toward equilibrium and peace. Tom S: The thing I remember about Mass Effect 2 is the 35 Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord Release: 2000 fully-3D space strat- egy action is pretty much exactly what sedated objectives. Then, just when you feel secure, two warring battleships come played with every one of AoE2’s huge number of fac- tions, but it wasn’t until The sci-fi god—but I adored its defensive game. Bases were cavernous floating for- you to reckon with some of the most horrific moral dilem- mas in human history. You have to deal with the same crises of conscience, for example, as the scientists, politi- M-920 Cain Nuke Launcher. I made that goddamn gun as soon as I could, and I carried it around on my back for the entire game, but never encountered anything large Tim S: TENSION n. goes on in my head whenever careering out of a nebula, Conquerers expansion that I tresses: you could spend an cians and military officers behind the Manhattan Project enough to warrant the ridiculous overkill of a nuclear (*ten*-shon). I watch a Star Wars movie swapping energy beams twice found one that suited me the entire match repairing your and the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan explosion. Then I saw that end boss. I whipped the Mental, emotional, battle scene. I’d be disap- the width of your ship. After best: the Spanish. With their base’s generator or control- (who may believe that they did the right thing, but still cannon off my back and one-shotted it in the goddamn or nervous strain caused when pointed that it wasn’t a that you’re just a gnat on the mounted Missionaries and ling an external turret. suffer when they read the news accounts of burned vic- eyeball. It was the best of days. www.pcgamer.com www.com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 48 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 49 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 ISSUE 211 PCGAMER.COM MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • TOP 100 GAMES (happiness and civics). It attention to detail of any RTS 22 19 7 12 X COM: The Elder Scrolls Planescape: remains one of the few strategy I’ve ever played—zooming in to Diablo 2 III: Morrowind Torment sequels to still seem com- watch a painstakingly-ani- Release: 2000 Release: 2002 Release: 1999 pletely fresh and original, even Evan: If you abstract mated machine gun crew Tom: You’re my kind Tony: The trouble all these years later. operate their weapon in a real- Diablo completely, it’s of gamer if you with fantasy RPGs? Dan: If there’s ever a more istic way makes you feel a a device that returns walked to Balmora. They’re not fantasti- an absurd amount of UFO Defense addictive strategy game cre- sense of attachment to your After strolling past a giant tick cal. They’re set in muddy, ated, it could be an extinction- output (levels, gore, monsters, troops—and even a pang of a in a sleepy fishing village, medieval kingdoms with level event for all humankind. treasure) for the input you put commander’s guilt when you you’re dispatched to the near- muddy, medieval stories about into it (clicks). From a gamer’s order them to charge an Release: 1994 est city to contact an agent of the Emperor. You can use the The Evil One. Planescape fixes this, taking us to a baroque 15 Left 4 Dead Release: 2008 entrenched enemy position. perspective, it’s the surest guarantee of a good return on 10 giant tick as fast travel, but alien world where streets can Tom S: I always mis- your invested time. Tim E: That a decade-plus-old turn- so you took acceptable losses and moved on to the next look at this place. Rolling hills, give birth, the locals in the bar Ultima VII: took Left 4 Dead for a based strategy game is still producing hilarious/terrifying stories of alien inva- sion, assault and experiments should battle against invading alien scum. The research and con- struction phases were perfectly integrated into a game whose individual elements have been copied many times, misty swamps, rippling water, enticing caves. I’d never played anything like it—a real country, are demons and succubi run brothels for the intellect. horror game. In fact, it’s pure comedy. Freak Tank charges, stealthy The Black Gate Release: 1992 Desslock: It’s as 6 Rome: Total War Release: 2004 Ed: This was the speak volumes. The latest drama: I sent my elite troop of PC Gamer writers into an alien-occupied farmhouse in the but whose charm has never been duplicated. Dan: X-COM’s turn-based tactical combat has more ten- sion and atmosphere than any fast-paced action game with no barriers or cop-outs or gaps. I wanted to see every inch of it. I fought worm-dogs 18 Counter-Strike Release: 1999 Norm: It’s hard to Boomers and friendly fire inci- dents are all punchlines in a riotous comedy of errors. Once much about espous- ing heroic virtues as slaying dragons. Turning flour game that let me see who would win in a three-way fight dead of night. Craig was shot dead. Graham panicked, could ever hope for. I only wish I could make myself forget against a hot pink sunset, and imagine that before into dough that could be between elephants, burning the horror of the charging dropping the grenade he had primed. It blew, and the I ever played it, so that I could then experience the terror when night fell, two alien plan- Counter-Strike, the undead hordes wears off, baked into bread and stuffed pigs and dogs. Turns out it was farmhouse caught fire. Tom and Tim died as the entire of first encountering a Chrysalid, the discovery of new ets rose like moons. Oblivion’s a concept of online tac- they’re some of the best down the mouths of your com- the pigs, though their victory floor collapsed. Stupid soldiers. Brilliant game. technologies, or the power-mad joy of launching a Blaster more playable game in some tical first-person shooters punching bags in gaming. panions is as rewarding as was bittersweet. And crispy. Troy: Everyone named their soldiers after their friends, Bomb into the control room of an alien battleship from ways, but it doesn’t have this didn’t exist. CS not only cre- thwarting the extra-dimen- and they always died bravely. Or stupidly. Most games use death as a signal that you should reload; X-COM made the death of your soldiers a part of the game. There was no across the map all over again. Or better yet, how about a real sequel? tinge of the strange. You’re a foreigner in this land, and you feel it at every moment. ated an entire genre of shooter, but was (and still is) one of the pillars of competitive gaming 14 Half-Life Release: 1998 Logan: I remember sional threat of the bellowing Guardian. You don’t wander Britannia; you live in it, and 5 Half-Life 2 Release: 2004 Dan: Without saying guarantee that things would go better next time around, as sport. Its purity as a techni- exactly when Half- being neighborly sometimes a word or appearing 21 Hitman: Blood Money Release: 2006 cal twitch-shooter aside, one of my favorite parts of the game is the in-game conversa- Life yanked me by the ‘nads for the first time. I’d run up against a stub- requires moving a farmer’s pumpkins or moving a cannon into smiting position. on screen, Gordon Freeman has become one of the most recognizable Tom: It’s about study- tions between dead players born clot of uniformed resis- characters in gaming. ing routines, planning quiet kills, then man- aging the situation when it waiting for round respawns. In the era of IRC and dial-up con- nections, this was where tance, so I casually tossed a grenade around the corner and checked my watch. Then 9 StarCraft II Release: 2010 Evan: I don’t play Evan: Every year I find another thing to appreciate. I like how HL2 lets you learn—while you’re inevitably explodes out of con- gaming communities were somebody tossed it back. I was StarCraft II anymore, unarmed—to hate the Combine trol. Unlike the previous games, formed. blown to pieces. I sat there in but my enthusiasm in the first few minutes. So few stunned silence for a while, shooters give you that emo- 17 you’re free to roam most of the for it couldn’t be levels undisguised. It gives you Minecraft thinking, “So that’s how it’s higher. I watch it. I’m a fan. tional basis for firing guns at Release: 2011 more space and time to plan a going to be?” Dan: I love the biological lifecy- dudes. Immersing you in City smart way into a restricted Evan: Good things cle of Zerg units and buildings, 17’s fascist wonderland makes area, end someone’s life, and get back out without detection. happen when you let players do what they want. Personal expe- 13 ArmA 2 Release: 2009 Evan: It’s M.A.S.H. and starting from a larvae. I love their aggressive, fast-expansion tactics. I love how they swarm stapling the Combines’ jiggling suits to a wall with hot rebar that much more of a payoff. riences happen. Giant hen 20 Band of Brothers—it’s 4 Half-Life 2: over an enemy base, tearing statues happen. Emergent the source of my most Team Fortress 2 Episode 2 gameplay happens—like fall- apart everything inside. I even serious gaming Release: 2007 Release: 2007 ing into a cave, stumbling on love the squishy gurgly noises moments and my most antics- they make when they die. There Norm: No game since Tony: I went on a randomly-generated monsters filled. I’ve led a 40-man night aren’t many games that can StarCraft has evolved geocaching date with and responding by building a raid on an insurgent airbase so much due to emer- a scientist’s totally hot waterslide that guides them to force you to make decisions with armor, recon and air sup- gent gameplay strate- daughter. Show me another a lethal lava pool. Go read our that go against your natural port teams. I’ve modded in gies developed over millions of game that does this. full affection in the GOTY strengths, but SC2 manages it. bomb-dropping Santa sleighs hours of collective gameplay. I Tom: I replayed the whole HL2 Awards on page 65. 8 (http://bit.ly/hLccsK). I’ve used don’t think any of us, Valve series recently, and this really is Portal included, could have imagined a compass, a map and my wits 16 the standout. The open air, the Release: 2007 Sid Meier’s to figure out where I am in a the Team Fortress 2 of today Hunters, the march of the Civilization IV 225km2 battlefield. I’ve com- Evan: Portal is gam- when the game was released Combine toward White Forest. Release: 2005 mandeered a passenger bus to ing’s best vignette. three years ago. If Valve’s M.O. is Even the antlion tunnels—I Troy: This is not only storm the front gate of a UN The laser focus of an iteration until perfection, I like love the steep shadows, the best strategy tank base. A massive piece of indie game with the to think that we’re all part of squelchy grubs, and the violent game ever made, but land, hundreds of guns, production quality and clever- TF2’s testing team. fizz of the acid blobs the work- a beautiful fusion of system 64-man co-op and unscripted ness that you’d expect from a Chris: And everyone has a dif- ers spit at you. analysis and character creation. gameplay make it possible. top developer like Valve. ferent opinion on which class is Dan: The proof of how great (Screw you, Montezuma.) I Logan: It’s a brilliant puzzle the most overpowered (The Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is in how badly it left us wanting Episode 3. If it had been just “good,” the expect more hours have been lost to the Civ series than any other single-player game, and 11 Company of Heroes Online Release: 2010 game embedded in a terrifying Spy) and which class consis- dream, like going to work at tently gets boned with each Starbucks and suddenly finding update (The Heavy). Few agonizing silence from Valve the fourth version was near Dan: CoH’s tacti- yourself in a life-and-death other games have created such for the past three years regard- perfect on arrival. Major sys- cal, environmentally-aware struggle inside a giant espresso personal connections between ing the resolution to the cliff- tems (corruption, govern- combat makes it every bit as machine as you are mercilessly player and character. If you hanger ending wouldn’t be so ments) were thrown out in intense as SupCom or StarCraft. pursued by Starbuck himself insult The Heavy, it’s like you’recom www.pcgamer.com unbearable. favor of something better It also has some of the finest waving a giant tamper. insulting me. MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com ww 50 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 51 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COM NEXT ›
    • TOP 100 GAMES 3 Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Release: 2006 1 Deus Ex Release: 2000 Logan: Deus Ex is a great sci- When you play Deus Ex obsessively over and over Everything I loved about PC games at the time, Tom S: I loved Fallout 3, and I at the sea in Anvil, or holding back the forces of ence-fiction noir on its first again, you gradually build up a kind of metaverse, Deus Ex seems to fold up into its universe. Everything loved Morrowind, but Oblivion disorder in Kvatch, City-Swimmer was stealing playthrough, with a classic high- stacking realities one on top of another where every- I’ve loved about PC games since, seems to have has stuck with me more than food to get by and living her own life. That’s stakes plot, tons of intrigue, a thing that could have happened did happen. This is sprung at least in part from Deus Ex’s example. both. A tour of its most recogniz- what Oblivion feels like: a collection of indepen- gigantic web of characters with really the holy grail of PC gaming, isn’t it? A strong Tony: Just when I thought it was starting to get able locations and the early dent but intertwined lives—a society—that the complex motivations, and narrative line that’s nonetheless flexible enough to stale, the doors opened and I was in Hong Kong. quests would be pretty uninspir- player joins. robots. It’s a mesmerizing accommodate choice and reward ingenuity. Hong-freaking-Kong. Chinese lanterns. Night mar- ing, but if you live in that world Josh: You could ask 100 people who beat Obliv- morality tale that shows you what happens when Deus Ex seems even more relevant to me now kets. Signs in neon kanji. Games didn’t do things like for a while, it has an incredible sense of place—it ion what their favorite moment in the game was flawed human beings achieve god-like powers. But I than it did then, as we see more and more triple-A Hong Kong. This was a real place. And it wasn’t just a really feels like living. The total freedom of what and not hear two even remotely similar stories. think its greatness as a game only comes through games restricting choice to the extent that they map or a level—it contained levels. The whole unfor- to specialize in, what goals to pursue, how to The experience I think back to most often was a after two, maybe three playthroughs. It’s these seem drawn from the same design document as gettable VersaLife complex is just one of many areas achieve them—none of those things are unique job I botched for the Dark Brotherhood (the repeated playings that illuminate the extent of your Dragon’s Lair. That Warren Spector believed that it embedded within its mini-world, along with canals, individually, but put them together and you have assassin’s guild). I missed my mark and alerted freedom throughout the game, and the dizzying was possible for a game to do what Deus Ex accom- luxury skyscraper apartment blocks, nightclubs and something that’s more of a world than a game. the guard; I had to escape the riled up town— options available to you. The consequences of your plishes was a triumph of the imagination, and the restaurants. And you can just walk around it, explor- Oblivion will continue to excite me more than fast. I knocked out the first guard that spotted decisions weren’t trivial; they weren’t for your mis- fact that so many games since have tried and failed ing at your own pace. The Hong Kong section rede- anything else in the genre until Skyrim comes me, jumped on his horse and tore through the sions, they weren’t for the fate of mankind, and they to replicate this feat is a testament to the creativity fined what games were capable of, and it’s every- along and (I hope) does it all again. market at breakneck speed with the entire definitely weren’t for Maggie Chow’s maid. of Ion Storm over a decade ago. thing that’s great about Deus Ex. Rich: I found City-Swimmer dead in Bravil after town’s law enforcement hot on my tail. I barely 60 hours of play. Her corpse was draped over the made it out alive by using a wandering bear to steps to a tavern, and the town’s inhabitants stall my pursuers in the forest. The Thieves were stepping over her lifeless form. I rifled Guild, Mages Guild, Fighters Guild—these side through her pockets and found the reason for factions gave genius quests designed to let you her murder: a pilfered loaf of bread. While I was create your own adventures. A lot of games off at the edge of the world in Bruma, or staring attempt that, but Oblivion mastered it. 2 World of Warcraft Release: 2004 Tim E: WoW leaves me in awe. I tains. Then, when I grew tired of that, I canceled look at its mechanics, newly my subscription and never went back. WoW revamped, and marvel at their grips some people for years, but you don’t have depth; classes interlock so per- to commit that much time to find a worthwhile fectly. I play its dungeons and experience. Don’t be daunted by your friends’ smile, thinking of the times I’ve playtime; jump in and play ‘til it stops being fun. shared with raidmates as we You’ll get your money’s worth. took on, and eventually bettered, some of the Josh: The true draw of WoW isn’t found in strangest and silliest bosses imaginable. I tinker mountains, game mechanics or pop-culture ref- with its fiercely competitive battlegrounds and erences. It has nothing to do with the game’s arenas and grimace a little; they’re as stressful content. Sure, Blizzard refined MMO design to as any FPS deathmatch. perfection and prepared the way for every MMO Most impressively, though, is the weird omni- that’ll follow after it. But the real reason it’s game that Blizzard’s created, which holds play- been so damn hard to put WoW down over the ers in so many different ways: through questing, past few years is that everyone you know is raiding, battlegrounds and arenas, even just playing it. Your friends, your family, that shy girl through lore. WoW is the best at what it does that sits behind you in science class: Azeroth is a because it’s the best at everything that it does. massive world filled with people you already Graham: I spent the first two months after know, and so many more eager to meet you. A release in love with WoW. I flew gryphons, I world where people occasionally hang out just explored forests, I fought monsters, I saved to catch up with friends. This is, without a doubt, towns, I chatted with friends. When I grew tired the biggest phenomenon in all of online of the quests, I just started running. I swam gaming—if you’re not here, you’re missing out.com www.pcgamer.com oceans and found islands and fell down moun- Rich: Nerds. www.pcgamer.com www MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 52 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com w w. www.pcgamer.com w w. MARCH 2011 53 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACKwww.downmagaz.com PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS ISSUE 211 PCGAMER.COM MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY PRIPYATPREDATOR • P ATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR • STALKER: CALL OF ENS VS. • WINGS OF DV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLADIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING EFFECT BORDERLANDS: MAD MEMORY UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDNAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS HOOK • 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MOXXI’S • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 20OMBIEONLINE •OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER•4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF AICARUS • THE SCOURG LODS ISLAND DRAGONICA MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • PLAIN SIGHT SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLTHE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN II: CHAOS RISING3: ABSOLUTE POWER • • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGOTARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR MAK • TROPICO • STAR TREK ONLINE SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERIGINS THE JONES 2 ••ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF P & MAX: AWAKENING STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTSOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICOSTOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2URSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPKANE & HUNTER 5 • METRO 2033POTTER: YEARSMAJOR LEAGUE SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONSILENT LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY • SETTLERS 7 • 1 4 • NEED FOR BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS TOD MAX: THE DEVIL’S CONVICTION • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUSARMA 2: BRITISHPROJECT •V • SPLINTER CELL: PLAYHOUSE • LEAGUE OF LEGENDS • PLAIN • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • • THE SCOURGE ARMED FOORTOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT••AVERNUM 6 •CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MAFIA II: JIMMY’S VENDETTA••LEAD AND GOLD:LA • KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BREAK STAR WARS: SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 MASS EFFECT 2: GHESIMS: LATE NIGHT •& MAX: THE PENAL ZONE UNLEASHED II • NYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 AUTO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY • ALPHA PROTOC E WILD WEST • SAM STAR WARS: THE FORCE • PLAIN SIGHT LOVE • GRAND THEFT • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WBLOOD STONE • CSI: FATAL • HAMLET • THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • THE BALL THE INVENTORY••TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM OPERATION ARROWHEAD CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT • SPLIT/SECOND PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D •ECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • HEROES OF NEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIENESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAXTOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD •HE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: THE ADVENTURE GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTA AGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DCOMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH ARMED FORCES DLC • FRONT MISSION EVOLVED • QUAKE LIVE • PUZZLE QUERTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME BIOSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONDIANA JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIANA ROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMAER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • DIVINITY WINGS OF PREY • NAPOLEON 17th AnnualRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING H DOME • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BBATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATT GAMEER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIB LOMACY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • • A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACAOS RISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RI AGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON A NCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • • STARGATE: RESISTAN VV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV N’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • of the EEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS E OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • OFF YEARMETRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • SILEK10 • THEATRE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUERAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLOPLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: C AMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 •NGS • MINECRAFT • PRISON BREAK • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • R: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BRE D AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE W AWARDS HE PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WIO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY • PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LARMA 2: OPERATION ARROWHEAD • EPISODES FROM LIBERTY : AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • TIGER ARMA 2: OPERATION ARROWH LINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: THE SECOND 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • HEROES OF NEWERTH • NBA 2K11 ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: TEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF APB • BLUR • HEROES OF NEW M & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE Each year, our staff plays hundreds of games as THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • A AK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER we separate the good from the bad and the great GODSLAYER • SAM & MAEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: from the good. Now, we separate the year’s truly TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TR SLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • exceptional from the rest, and crown our singular DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SP & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • Game of the Year. Drumroll please... REVENGE • TRANSFORMEHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: T : YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD by Logan Decker, Evan Lahti, Dan Stapleton, MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO ING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS Josh Augustine, Andy Mahood and Desslock LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 OR WHO: THE ADVENTURE GAME • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUEL 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WH OSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIAN• ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT • WINGS OF PAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • DIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BOR AD MOXXI’S • ZOMBIE DRIVER • • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF WARRIOR BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER NA JONES 2 UNDERDOME RIOT RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE DR. NED • • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYATPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACYRIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND CHAOS NED • BATTLEFIELD: ONLINE • BERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR II: OF DR. RISING • STAR TREK BAD COMRISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS • AWAKENING • PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE BOB CAME IN STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUSTOCKETKNIGHTS2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE • SILENT HUNTERGAM • VANCOUVER • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO 5 • NTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION V • PLAINONLINE • SILENT HUNTER 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • HAMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • INTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 5 • METRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 ND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE • GRAND THEFT AUTO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTYF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION V • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULCUNS•OF ICARUS • HAMLET • SECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • FOR KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD •OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN6 • SNIPER: GHOS NE SERIOUS SAM HD: THE THE SCOURGE PROJECT • KINGDOM HEROES OF NEWERTH • PRINCE PRISON BREAK • AVERNUM SANDS • AGE OF ITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY WILD WEST • SAM EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • SIGHT • LOVE • GRANDFUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE ISLAND 2 SPECIAL & MAX: THE PENAL ZONE • PLAINTRANSFORMERS: WAR FTRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 LIBERTY CITY • ALPHA PROTOCOL •THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: TUTO: EPISODES FROM • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC ARMA 2: OPERATION ARROWHEAD • HAMLET • THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SEC OODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • THE SECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • HEROES OF NEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOAGE OF CONAN:THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALLMAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MM FORTRESS 2: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SIALIEN BREED: IMPACTHONOR • BREED: DESCENT •HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASH NIVERSE • MEDAL OF • ALIEN NEED FOR SPEED: MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CY ‹ BACK CONTENTS NEXT ›T • SHANK • CALLSAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEPUZZLE AGENT • OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE •EED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: THE ADVENTURE GAME • R
    • EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY ENS VS. PREDATOR • D LINE • GLOBAL AGENDA DRAGON AGE: OR IGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 20 LIVE • GAMES of the YEART 2 • OLYMPIC GAMES SILENT HUNTER 5 METRO 2033 SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • THE SCOURG • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PNEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 RANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS TO StarCraft II: GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH ARMED FO UAKE LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MAFIA II: JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED II • NYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE • CSI: FATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • Wings of Liberty GAME OF THE YEAR REALTIME STRATEGY GAME OF THE YEAR Speech! Speech! Y What’s StarCraft II’s ears from now, PC gamers will remember 2010 first and foremost greatest contribution as the year that StarCraft finally returned. StarCraft II: Wings of to PC gaming? Liberty hasn’t just wowed the hardcore PC faithful, it’s a beacon “We’re honored to receive this recognition. Our approach has that’s drawn hordes of gamers back to their PCs, and reminded always been to make the them what they’ve always loved about the kind of gaming games that we want to play, experience you can only get here. with the hope being that if we Its accomplishments are dazzling. With outstanding and innovative enjoy them, then our players campaign mission design, and a meticulous, artful graphical update to its classic will as well. Winning PC factions and multiplayer battles, it’s revitalized and restored confidence in the Gamer’s Game of the Year traditional resource gathering, base building realtime strategy game formula. Award is inspiring to all of us. We’ve heard suspicions voiced over the years that this formula had become We think that StarCraft II’s outdated or in need of reinvention to be relevant, but StarCraft II has proven popularity reaffirms that gamers still want to play classic, that the old-school model didn’t abruptly become un-fun five years ago. economy-based, competitive What’s more, by applying the between-mission story mode (which harkens RTS games. It validates our back to classic PC games like X-Wing and Wing Commander), to realtime belief that compelling stories strategy, Blizzard has cracked a problem that has plagued the RTS genre since and memorable characters can its inception: making the characters who appear tiny on the battlefield feel like shine within the genre. And it larger-than-life heroes, and bringing us in close to immerse us in the universe shows that online play, and we usually only get to see from far above. building strong online commu- Finally, the spectacular multiplayer action is so exciting that it doesn’t even nities through platforms like need to be played to be enjoyed—StarCraft II has successfully introduced Battle.net, is the future of gamers to the idea that games can be enjoyable as a spectator sport. In just a gaming. We appreciate every- one’s support and thank all the few short months, the audience for commentated professional-level matches players out there for helping us and tournaments has exploded from a small and dedicated niche to a thriving make StarCraft II a worthy community of hundreds of thousands of viewers who regularly tune in to view successor to games on YouTube, GOMtv.net or Major League Gaming, and follow their the original.” favorite players. —Chris Sigaty, In those ways and more, StarCraft II is a monument to PC gaming. It’s a production game that can be enjoyed by everyone, from the newest and most inexperi- director, enced players to the gamer’s equivalent of the world-class athlete—and even and Dustin those who’d rather just sit back and watch. Browder, design PUBLISHER Blizzard Entertainment director DEVELOPER Blizzard Entertainment OSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT INGS OF PREY • NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • DIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COM• COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUSTAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE • SILENT HUNTER 5 • ETRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OFSCARIESTAFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION V •TOTALLY FREE GAME• SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • HAMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • BEST EXPANSION EXPLODINGEST BUFFALO WAR: GAME BIGGEST ROBOTS BEST ENDING BEST PLAIN SIGHT BEST SOUND BEST CO-OP NGDOM FOR KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE • GRAND THEFT AUTO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY C com WORLD OF WARCRAFT: 2: OPERATIONWORMS: RELOADED • HAMLET • THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • HEROES BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE wwwALPHA PROTOCOL • ARMACATACLYSM www.pcgamer.com ARROWHEAD AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT SUPREME COMMANDER 2 MASS EFFECT 2 ALIEN SWARM OF NEWERTH • PRINCE ARMA 2: OPERATION ARROWHEAD www.pcgamer.com OFONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR F MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011YBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: TDVENTURE GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS 2011 58 MARCH 2011 MARCH • ARMA 2: BRITISH 59RMED FORCES DLC • FRONT MISSION#211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER• MARCH 2011 LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • M EVOLVED 3 QUAKE JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAIR OF THE SHADOW BROKER • DARKSIDERS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASH ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COMNYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WAR BATTLEPACK • FINAL FANTASY XIV • DRAWN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE •ATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • www.downmagaz.com ISSUE 211 MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY ENS VS. PREDATOR • D LINE • GLOBAL AGENDA DRAGON AGE: OR IGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 20 LIVE • GAMES of the YEART 2 • OLYMPIC GAMES SILENT HUNTER 5 METRO 2033 SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • THE SCOURG • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PNEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 RANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS TO Call of Duty: Fallout: New Vegas GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH ARMED FO Puzzle Agent UAKE LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MAFIA II: JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED II • NYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE • CSI: FATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • Black Ops PUZZLE GAME OF THE YEAR T here’s more than one way to tell an adventure story—we just didn’t ROLEPLAYING GAME OF THE YEAR F realize it until Agent Nelson SHOOTER OF THE YEAR Tethers showed up with Puzzle Agent. Telltale replaced the usual allout: New Vegas shows us how great things T can be accomplished by standing on the he unrivaled control of our mice and keyboards demands pixel-hunting, inventory-management and object-combination shoulders of giants. It demonstrates that high-skill, athletic multiplayer experiences. Some of the PC’s puzzles found in adventure games (which all too often rely more on the defining characteristic of a great roleplaying finest multiplayer shooters (Tribes, Quake III, Team Fortress guesswork as to which items can be worn as hats than puzzle- game isn’t flashy, state-of-the-art graphics; Classic) earned our respect by offering brutally uncompromising solving techniques) with real brain scratchers. Whether we were success as an immersive adventure depends arenas that demand pixel-point accuracy and to-the-nanosecond bouncing Nelson’s snowmobile to safety, calculating the cargo much more on creating an irresistible, fantas- finesse. Anything less is a waste of the agility and precision that capacity of swallows or solving word problems, Puzzle Agent’s tical world, filling it with interesting charac- we’re able to manifest with these devices. puzzles added great gameplay to Tethers’ surprisingly edgy ters—and then letting us mess with it. Despite being designed as a cross-platform game, Call of Duty: saga and elevated a young genre—the puzzle-adventure. Obsidian’s writing sparkles with fasci- Black Ops created the kind of hyper-competitive itch that nating characters and quests that pay loving our trigger fingers love to scratch better than any PUBLISHER Telltale Games homage to the franchise’s PC roots at every other shooter this year. Its breakneck-paced, kill-or- DEVELOPER Telltale Games opportunity. Its main quest begins as a small-scale be-owned multiplayer modes have an arcade feel tale of personal revenge in the Mojave, but blossoms to them, but Treyarch’s rejiggering of CoD: into an opportunity to decide the outcome of a wide-open ’s Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer formula hooks us conflict that will upset the balance of power of an entire right in the competitive center of our brains. Being region. Nothing empowers us as players more than a successful player means summoning seeing the effects of our choices play out, and Fallout: every ounce of marksmanship skill New Vegas’ conflict can be resolved in so many ways and tactical battlefield awareness that it gives us a feeling of freedom and control vir- that you can muster while allowing tually unprecedented among modern games. physics and playful weapons, such Roleplaying games don’t get a whole lot better as an RC car bomb or a crossbow than this. with exploding bolts, balance that And while it’s a cross-platform game, Fallout: tension with entertaining doses of New Vegas reminds us why the PC is more often than not the best place to experience an open- dumb luck. world RPG like this one. It looks far better on Technologically, Black Ops’ inte- the PC than any other platform, and mods step grated video replay and sharing in afterward to unlock its full potential. Fallout: system sets a precedent in League of Legends New Vegas is truly our adventure. post-game enjoyment. Revisiting game-saving PUBLISHER Bethesda Softworks DEVELOPER Obsidian Entertainment headshots or how-did-that- possibly-kill-him Tomahawk FREE-TO-PLAY GAME OF THE YEAR 2 tosses in slow-mo with a free 010 saw games lining up around the block for camera grant the same the opportunity to entertain PC gamers for freedom that StarCraft II pro- free, but none could match League of Legends’ vides players to revisit, analyze steady stream of high-quality updates. The content and share your best moments. machine at Riot (see our behind-the-scenes look on We don’t forgive Black Ops’ page 20) churns out new champions every two weeks, botched launch or brain-dead along with new maps, items and meta-game systems. single-player campaign, but it cele- This year’s Season One update both opened up compet- Speech! Speech! brates a style of multiplayer that itive play for top-tier players and strengthened the tuto- What’s Fallout: New Vegas’ greatest contribution to PC gaming? belongs on the PC—a speedy death- rial elements for newcomers. LoL continues to prove that a dedicated “Fallout: New Vegas took the open-world environment core to the Fallout franchise and go-round we can’t get enough of. independent developer can make the free-to-play model shine. extended the open-world narrative for players to explore as well. The designers took care to make sure that character-builds and personalities of all types had a satisfying RPG experience, PUBLISHER Activision PUBLISHER THQ no matter how they explored the Mojave wasteland.”—Chris Avellone, creative director DEVELOPER Treyarch DEVELOPER Riot Games OSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT INGS OF PREY • NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • DIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COM• COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUSTAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE • SILENT HUNTER 5 • ETRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OFBEST KILL BEST MUSIC BEST STUNTS WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION V • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • HAMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • BEST GRAPHICS SHINIEST GAME FUNNIEST WRITING BEST REMAKE MOST ORIGINAL ART STYLE NGDOM FOR KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE • GRAND THEFT AUTO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CALPHA PROTOCOL • ARMA 2: OPERATIONJUST CAUSE 2 .com SUPER MEAT BOY www.pcgamer.com ARROWHEAD • HAMLET • THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • 2033 BLOODY GOOD TIME METRO TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM3HD: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • HEROES GOLDENEYE: SOURCE PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF BEJEWELED POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY OF NEWERTH • LOVE www.pcgamer.com wwONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR F MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011YBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: TDVENTURE GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS 2011 60 MARCH 2011 MARCH • ARMA 2: BRITISH 61RMED FORCES DLC • FRONT MISSION#211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER•3 MARCH 2011 LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • M EVOLVED QUAKE JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAIR OF THE SHADOW BROKER • DARKSIDERS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASH ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COMNYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WAR BATTLEPACK • FINAL FANTASY XIV • DRAWN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE •ATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • ISSUE 211 MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY ENS VS. PREDATOR • D LINE • GLOBAL AGENDA DRAGON AGE: OR IGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 20 LIVE • GAMES of the YEART 2 • OLYMPIC GAMES SILENT HUNTER 5 METRO 2033 SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • THE SCOURG • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PNEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 RANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS TO NBA 2K11 Civilization V GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH ARMED FO Monkey Island 2 SE: UAKE LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MAFIA II: JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED II • NYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE W LeChuck’s RevengeN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE • CSI: FATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • ACTION GAME OF THE YEAR S ports games saw a resurgence on the STRATEGY GAME OF THE YEAR ADVENTURE GAME OF THE YEAR I PC this year, defying the perception t’s no surprise that Civilization V wins A that great sports games show up only great joke never dies. this award—Civilization has been one on consoles. Leading the pack is NBA LucasArts proved that of the PC’s definitive names in turn- 2K11, a brilliant homage to basketball’s again by bringing based strategy for almost two decades, greatest hero, Michael Jordan. Its sharp AI Guybrush’s sophomore mix-up thanks to the deep, addictive turn-based and crisp visuals are good enough to fool with LeChuck into the modern experience that you just can’t get you—just for a moment—into thinking era gracefully with Monkey Island anywhere else. you’re watching and somehow controlling a 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s With Civ 5’s reinvention in particular, Speech! Speech! live game between the very best players in . Revenge. The artwork has been Firaxis has demonstrated that the What’s Civilization V’s basketball history. NBA 2K11 proves the reinvigorated, new voiceovers series—and the entire genre of turn- greatest contribution to PC’s strength as the most versatile of all give each character even based strategy—is teeming with new PC gaming? gaming platforms—the perfect place to more style, and the new “Civilization V is our most ideas. Its revamped tactical combat play any kind of game. interface is expertly tuned beautiful Civ game yet. Its addresses a long-standing weakness of PUBLISHER 2K Games for adventuring. The most the series and made the inevitable wars design was innovative and interesting new feature is opened up Civilization on PC DEVELOPER 2K Sports between nations more engaging; its the commentary by the the to new audiences, while colorful graphics and redesigned remaining faithful to a 20-year original creators (Ron Gilbert, Tim interface reach out to gamers intimi- legacy of “just one more turn” Schafer and Dave Grossman) who chat dated by complexity, grab them by gameplay. Credit goes to Sid’s casually with each other as you play. It’s their eyeballs and, before they realize design for still offering new the sort of fun behind-the-scenes look what’s happened, pull them into all- designers an incredible usually reserved for film, and it injects night gaming sessions that don’t end foundation an already great game with plenty of PUBLISHER LucasArts until one nation rules the world; and its to work with!” fresh hilarity and insight. DEVELOPER LucasArts in-game mod browser opens up the —Dennis Shirk, producer world of user-made content to gamers who would’ve otherwise never known where to look for it or how to install it. The Lord of the Rings Online Wherever the series goes next, we’ll be able to look back at Civilization V and say that it took us somewhere new and enthralling. MMO OF THE YEAR players browse Middle-earth and sample the content PUBLISHER: 2K Games A lot of MMOs thrived this year, but their success before deciding whether or not to open their wallets. It’s DEVELOPER: Firaxis was dampened by a lack of major updates or quickly redefining the way a successful subscriptionless innovation. When it came to keeping us enter- MMO is run. tained all year long with small updates, plus throwing The future’s looking good for LotRO—even with us the occasional party with huge loads of free this year’s huge additions, it’s wisely pacing itself to content, LotRO treated its fans the best. Two new avoid burning through the books’ story Epic Books’ worth of quests alongside the fran- content too quickly. There’s a long road chise’s memorable characters and two new ahead before we’re knocking on Mordor’s regions were added; character creation and door with the One Ring, and that road is starter regions were completely revamped, lined with good friends ( (LotRO’s community in-game events were expanded and UI ele- is one of the most friendly and enthusiastic ments were improved—and then the game around), excellent gameplay and free updates, and went free-to-play in September. at the rate Turbine is going, we’ll be enjoying Turbine’s signature hybrid free-to- the journey for years to come. play/subscription model proved to be a PUBLISHER Turbine great success, generously letting curious DEVELOPER Turbine OSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT INGS OF PREY • NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • DIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COM• COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUSTAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE • SILENT HUNTER 5 • ETRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALLGAME • THEATRE OFMOST SATISFYING ARCHERY• ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION V • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • HAMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • MOST COLLECTIBLE COLLECTIBLES BEST BROWSER 2K10 WAR: AFRICA 1943 BEST GEM-CLICKER ACHIEVEMENT IN CROSS-DRESSING BEST SONG PERFORMANCE BEST DLC BEST ARCADE RACER NGDOM FOR KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE PENAL ZONE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE • GRAND THEFT AUTO: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CALPHA PROTOCOL • ARMA 2: OPERATIONMIGHT & MAGIC: HEROES KINGDOMS THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • QUEST 2 WOODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER SOLUS (MASS EFFECTHEROES OF BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2—VIETNAM THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE www com LEGO UNIVERSE www.pcgamer.com ARROWHEAD • HAMLET • MOUNT & BLADE: WARBAND PUZZLE TIGER DEAD RISING 2 MORDIN • APB • BLUR • 2) NEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: www.pcgamer.com SPLIT/SECOND OFONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR F MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011YBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: TDVENTURE GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS 2011 62 MARCH 2011 MARCH • ARMA 2: BRITISH 63RMED FORCES DLC • FRONT MISSION EVOLVED • MARCH 2011 LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • M #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 QUAKE JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAIR OF THE SHADOW BROKER • DARKSIDERS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASH ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COMNYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WAR BATTLEPACK • FINAL FANTASY XIV • DRAWN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE •ATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • www.downmagaz.com ISSUE 211 MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 • COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY ENS VS. PREDATOR • D LINE • GLOBAL AGENDA DRAGON AGE: OR IGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUST CAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 20 LIVE • GAMES of the YEART 2 • OLYMPIC GAMES SILENT HUNTER 5 METRO 2033 SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OF WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • PLAIN SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • THE SCOURG • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BRERISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PNEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE OF CONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 RANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS TO Minecra GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS • ARMA 2: BRITISH ARMED FO UAKE LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • MAFIA II: JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED II • NYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE • CSI: FATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR A n unfinished, hyper-simple, low-fi The Ball independent game captured the Speech! Speech! imaginations of PC gamers more than anything else in 2010. But it isnt tech- What’s Minecraft’s nical excellence that makes Minecraft the greatest contribution to ACTION-ADVENTURE GAME OF THE YEAR PC’s brightest innovator (although theres PC gaming? plenty of that). Rather, its the way that it “Minecraft is a very social A game, with lots of players masterstroke of minimalism, The Ball was the best reveres players’ ideas. Minecraft doesn’t sharing what they’ve built gaming vignette of the year. There’s no dialog, provide any goal, story or explicit reward with other players, both online sweeping cinematics or tacked-on multiplayer mode to for digging in the earth. Instead, it allows and offline. There’s a lot of burden The Ball—just a lightweight, focused, gameplay-driven players to cultivate their own experiences videos about Minecraft on the short story. It benefited from this simplicity by giving us a out of the simple tasks of digging and net, and even a few streaming campaign that felt paced and personal. As you kick the multi-ton building, punctuated by a few monsters channels dedicated to it. marble around with your ancient Mexican gravity gun, it every now and then. Players approach the There’s also a lot of discussion, somehow makes the transition from object to character. You blank canvas in different ways: erecting and a couple of wikis all about develop this subtle but strong relationship with the object—it world-spanning railroads or waterfall Minecraft. I think this comes from the freedom and unique- doesn’t change or communicate, but it takes on the feeling of a wonders; strip-mining the ground for rare ness players experience when pet following you through lava-soaked corridors. ores; exploring dungeons; creating multi- playing. There’s enough PUBLISHER Tripwire Interactive player metropolises or hidden fortresses; random content and DEVELOPER Teotl Studios using in-game tools for bizarre science— complexity for truly emer- making each players experience necessarily gent gameplay to arise, so unique. even without a proper stated Minecraft also goal, it can feel rewarding.— Nehrim: demonstrates that Markus Lock On: word-of-mouth on Persson (aka the PC is still the “Notch”), lead At Fate’s Edge surest route to developer Flaming Cli s 2 indie success. Minecraft sold MOD OF THE YEAR more than 700,000 copies SIMULATION OF THE YEAR I t’s a total conversion for a four-year-old game (The in 2010 by way of A n expansion pack for a 2003 flight sim Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), but Nehrim is so impressive players sharing their might not seem like a slam dunk for that it was a contender not just for best mod, but for best creations and discov- Simulation of the Year honors, but RPG. Nehrim is massive, witty, occasionally vicious, eries on YouTube, Eagle Dynamics’ expertly crafted Lock On: incredibly ambitious and tremendously successful at injecting Reddit.com and forums. Flaming Cliffs 2 (see the review on page 82) is a new life into a game that many of us have already played so This remarkable popularity is only possible much that we could scarcely imagine seeing anything new on an open platform like the PC, where truly exceptional revival of an existing Minecraft creator “Notch” can deploy favorite. By taking a strong but dated-looking come out of it. Its world is wonderfully resolved— weekly updates to the game and collaborate sim and turbo-charging it with a modern settlements look sensibly planned, residents have directly with fans on content and bug fixes. engine, an impressive international collection purposeful vocations, forests are dense and geography While we wouldn’t expect Minecraft’s of warplanes, detailed cockpit renderings and looks natural. financial success to become commonplace, freshly upgraded terrain graphics, FC2 The dedication shown by the modders who took it opens up a new business model for self- delivers one of the best combat flight experi- Nehrim from concept to realization is astonishing. Only on employed developers: selling before official ences that sim fans have seen in years. the PC do gamers have such power to shape their experiences. release in order to finance development. PUBLISHER: Eagle Dynamics PUBLISHER sureai.de PUBLISHER: Mojang Specifications DEVELOPER: The Fighter Collection DEVELOPER n/a DEVELOPER: Mojang Specifications OSHOCK 2 • KING ARTHUR: THE ROLE PLAYING WARGAME • DARK VOID • TALES OF MONKEY ISLAND: RISE OF THE PIRATE GOD • LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 • ZOMBIE DRIVER • RISE OF FLIGHT • GYROMANCER • ROGUE WARRIOR • SUPREME COMMANDER 2 • STALKER: CALL OF PRIPYAT INGS OF PREY • NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • DIVINITY II: EGO DRACONIS • GRAPPLING HOOK • BORDERLANDS: MAD MOXXI’S UNDERDOME RIOT • BORDERLANDS: THE ZOMBIE ISLAND OF DR. NED • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COM• COMMAND & CONQUER 4: TIBERIAN TWILIGHT • SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: DIPLOMACY • ALIENS VS. PREDATOR • DAWN OF WAR II: CHAOS RISING • STAR TREK ONLINE • GLOBAL AGENDA • DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS AWAKENING • STARGATE: RESISTANCE • BOB CAME IN PIECES • JUSTAUSE 2 • VVVVVV • ZERO GEAR • FLOTILLA • ROCKETKNIGHTS • DIN’S CURSE • MASS EFFECT 2: KASUMI’S STOLEN MEMORY • SLEEP IS DEATH • VANCOUVER 2010: THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES • THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE • SILENT HUNTER 5 • ETRO 2033 • SETTLERS 7 • MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K10 • THEATRE OFBEST REWIND BUTTON BEST GHOSTBUSTING FINEST HATS WAR: AFRICA 1943 • ALLODS ONLINE • DRAGONICA • MUD TV • SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION • CIVILIZATION VLUNCHTIME SIGHT • SAIL SIMULATOR 2010 • GUNS OF ICARUS • HAMLET • THE SCOURGE PROJECT • BEST HACK-AND-SLASH BLOODBATH BEST CAMERA EFFECTS BEST • PLAIN FRAG NGDOM FOR KEFLINGS • BEAT HAZARD • PRISON BREAK • AVERNUM 6 • SNIPER: GHOST WARRIOR • FUTURE WARS • ARMADA 2526 • LEAD AND GOLD: GANGS OF THE WILD WEST • SAM & MAX: THE PENAL ZONEBEST CHILD OF THE ’80S FAN SERVICE • PLAIN SIGHT • LOVE • GRAND THEFT AUTO: CONQUEST OF EUROPE LIBERTY C BEST EPISODES FROMALPHA PROTOCOL AMBITIONS2: OPERATIONTEAM FORTRESS 2 • HAMLET • THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS • SPLIT/SECOND • TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR ONLINE • SERIOUS SAM HD: DOG DAYS .com THE SIMS 3: • ARMA www.pcgamer.com ARROWHEAD SINGULARITY DARKSIDERS KANE & LYNCH 2: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER • APB • BLUR • HEROES OF NEWERTH • PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS • AGE www QUAKE LIVE TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON www.pcgamer.com NAPOLEON: TOTAL WAR OFONAN: RISE OF THE GODSLAYER • SAM & MAX SEASON 3 EPISODE 2: THE TOMB OF SAMMUN MAK • TROPICO 3: ABSOLUTE POWER • SINGULARITY • ALIEN BREED: IMPACT • ALIEN BREED: DESCENT • MONKEY ISLAND 2 SPECIAL EDITION: LECHUCK’S REVENGE • TRANSFORMERS: WAR F MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011YBERTRON • PUZZLE AGENT • SAM & MAX: THEY STOLE MAX’S BRAIN • MAFIA 2 • BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN • KANE & LYNCH 2 • LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1 4 • NEED FOR SPEED WORLD • MAGIC THE GATHERING: DUELS OF THE PLANESWALKERS • TOY STORY 3 • DOCTOR WHO: TDVENTURE GAME • RUSE • DEAD RISING 2 • ELEMENTAL: WAR OF MAGIC • VICTORIA II • CITY OF HEROES: GOING ROGUE • WORMS RELOADED • SAM AND MAX: THE DEVIL’S PLAYHOUSE • AMNESIA: THE DARK DESCENT • COMMANDER: CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS 2011 64 MARCH 2011 MARCH • ARMA 2: BRITISH 65RMED FORCES DLC • FRONT MISSION#211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER• MARCH 2011 LIVE • PUZZLE QUEST 2 • FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS • F1 2011 • ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 • TEAM FORTRESS 2: THE POLYCOUNT PACK • THE BALL • TOP GUN • FIFA 11 • ALIEN BREED 2: ASSAULT • STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES • M EVOLVED 3 QUAKE JIMMY’S VENDETTA • MASS EFFECT 2: LAIR OF THE SHADOW BROKER • DARKSIDERS • LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT • LEGO UNIVERSE • MEDAL OF HONOR • NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT • LOST PLANET 2 • THE SIMS: LATE NIGHT • STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASH ‹ BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 CONTENTS PCGAMER.COMNYX QUEST • NBA 2K11 • DEATHSPANK • SUPREME COMMANDER 2: INFINITE WAR BATTLEPACK • FINAL FANTASY XIV • DRAWN: DARK FLIGHT • SHANK • CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS • VINDICTUS • TOM CLANCY’S HAWX 2 • BLOODY GOOD TIME • BRONZE • JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE •ATAL CONSPIRACY • BEJEWELED 3 • POKER NIGHT AT THE INVENTORY • PATRICIAN IV • NAIL’D • ISSUE 211 MARCH 2011 NEXT ›
    • reviews born again It’s the end of the world as we know it—and a new beginning in World of Warcraft: cataclysm by Tim Edwards Need to know i What is it? The third expansion pack to the t’s big. Oh God, it’s big. ious. Defeating ancient guardians in out, you can do a lot with that verb. swords-and-sorcery MMORPG World of Warcraft is the abandoned temples in teams of 10 or Use “explosives” on “mammoth” to World of Warcraft world’s most successful sub- 25 is brilliant. It’s just a shame you collect “meat.” Use “hot poker” on Influenced by scription MMO. It’s four had to play for a month to get there. “captive Alliance prisoner” to get Pop culture, games welded into one vast That’s the point of Cataclysm: to “information.” Use “robot suit” on Dragon Age: Origins whole: a multiplayer co-op role- deliver entertainment where there “harpy-infested forest” to collect Play it on World of Warcraft, WoW: The playing game. A competitive fantasy was filler between levels 1 and 60. “essential goblin supplies.” Burning Crusade, WoW: Wrath team battleground game. A 3v3 arena Designers often talk about game of The Lich King competitive ladder. And a 10- or interactions in terms of sentences. Quests on speed Alternatively 25-man dragon-bashing cooperative Actions are verbs, nouns are items. In The quests introduced in Cataclysm Lord of the Rings Online (83%) raiding thing. are brisk, fun and over in the blink of Copy protection Together, those elements create a Yes, Cataclysm is an eye. Quest hubs have five, maybe Subscription deep and terrifyingly compulsive mix. The trouble was that to get any- an extension of 10 quests max, and can be burned through in 10 minutes. Giant arrows where in the latter three games, you WoW—but it’s also on your map show you where to go. had to first go through the former. 80 levels of questing in WoW trans- a rescue package. Any objects you need to collect are marked with a twinkle. Any monsters lates to around a month of fairly solid old WoW, the only two verbs the that need to die are highlighted with play. And pre-Cataclysm, that was a engine could cope with were “kill” or red text. Hover your cursor over month of trawling through some of “collect.” With the previous expan- them, and the game will tell you how PC gaming’s most mind-numbingly sion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, many need to die, and why. The flow boring tasks. Ferrying packages WoW got a new verb: “use.” It turns never stops moving you around. And across continents. Crawling through if the game ever does resort to asking feces to find excreted seeds. you to kill 10 of something, it’ll pair Massacring leopards en route to Know your baddies that objective with something to do killing more leopards. along the way. Burn bales of hay, or The Cataclysm expansion is an Introducing World of rescue peons, or activate machines, extension of that. Five new levels Warcraft’s legion of pain or douse fires or [verb] [noun]. taking the cap to 85, new dungeons, At the back of your mind will be a extra professions, new races, blah nagging thought. “I’ll just find this blah. But it’s also a rescue package. thing then go to bed,” or “let me Cataclysm’s story—that of an angry finish this quest line, and I’ll do some dragon bursting out of the ground— work.” I’ve got some bad news: so is an excuse to rebuild the world. expertly are you breadcrumbed There were flashes of what WoW Cho’Gall around the world, teased with new Deathwing The point is could be back in 2004: defending a robot monkey in the jungle; tracking down criminals in the back alleys of Dragon. Former good Ogre. Two heads. guy, tormented by evil Bipolar wizard thing. Comedy villain. objectives, that you’re not going any- where. Not for a month, at least. You might think that WoW is for to deliver underground presence. Stormwind; getting a party together hardcore lore nerds, a kind of cartoon to kill a giant yeti. But it was mired in Lord of the Rings thing. Serious. entertainment grind. WoW has an incredible sense of place, and you want to explore it. Its fantasy combat mechanics—a mix Uptight. It’s really not. Blizzard isn’t working with heavily controlled intellectual properties like where there of spellcasting, avoiding damage, and healing, while holding an enemy’s Garrosh Varian Wrynn Warhammer, Star Trek or Batman. Their game ideas don’t need to be was filler. attention with an armored warrior/ magic paladin/angry bear—are fun- damentally fun. Assassinating Hellscream Orc. Angry. New Human. Also angry. New leader of the Alliance. approved. The writers are also big pop-culture fans. If they want to have spacefaring alien goats, they can. If leader of the Horde. gnome mages in PvP combat is hilar- they want to introduce vampires and.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 68 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 69 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • reviews Caption caption caption across the shark-infested lake. Stage a disappointment. The idea is that caption caption Choose a new you Race/Class combos three: we infiltrate. We cover our- you’re defending and eventually selves in horse dung and plant satchel repairing a giant tree, on the site of charges. Stage four: assassination— the culminating battle of Warcraft Shaman Warlock the leaders of the orc camp are III. It doesn’t work. Partly, I think it’s Paladin Warrior Hunter Knight Rogue Death Priest Mage Druid quietly dispatched. Any further pris- because you never get a sense of the oners of war are set free. Stage five: location—you hop between caverns, Blood Elf ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ detonation and escape. A gnome portals and points of interest too Goblin ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ heli-drops a tank into the zone, and quickly to really stop and look Rambo jumps onto the gun to gib around. Also, the zone feels upside- Forsaken ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ about a billion orcs. Stage six: the down. The quest flow directs you Orc ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ final showdown and heroic last stand down the mountain, but ascending with a very, very big and very, very for a final battle would’ve made more Tauren ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ bad boss. narrative sense. Finally, the story isn’t Troll ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ focused enough: it’s got a giant turtle, Patchy a passable interpretation of the Dwarf ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Cataclysm does have some dead spots. arcade game Joust, elementals, Draenei ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Often, the size of the old zones isn’t Twilight Council, this and that. “Then the slowly rotating compatible with WoW’s new designs. Everything is thrown at you, but stone rings killed us all.” Gnome ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ New WoW puts the quest-givers and nothing sticks, nor is there a memo- Human ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ monsters right next to each other. rable character. Compare that with Old WoW would spread them far the excellent quest line in Twilight Night Elf ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ apart. New WoW favors tight, Highlands, which covers some of the Worgen ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ compact zones. Old WoW rambles. same story beats, but does it with a There’s still too much flat open space funky new orc War Lady-person. in zones such as Durotar (the orc The new 80-85 dungeons, and werewolves, they can. What matters starting area) and the Barrens (the their matching heroic (hard) modes is the entertainment. Zones aren’t clue is in the name). And something are universally the best that Blizzard places to explore: they’re stories. has been lost with the new quest has ever made. They’re funny: it’s Orc shoulderpads are still Uldum is an Egyptian Indiana Jones approach: one of the thrills of old hard not to laugh as you fight a squid mind-bogglingly big. movie with giant cat people. Gilneas WoW was exploring, discovering the that bounces from head to head, is a Victorian-era Twilight. Kezan is world at your own pace. New WoW is turning each player into an infected It’s what’s on the inside that counts, like her loot. GTA: Goblin City. Westfall is CSI: a machine with a conveyor belt that water-spewing tyrant. They’re chal- Azeroth. Duskwood is a vampire you put time into, and it outputs a lenging: every class needs to use the story. Ashenvale is orcs vs. elves in level 85 goblin mage. full range of control abilities and the woods. In WoW today, entertain- But it’s captivating. New players interrupts—not just burn down the ment trumps everything. will think this is what all MMOs are target as quickly as possible. And The Redridge Mountains are a rel- like. The old players, once they’ve they’re entertaining: nothing can atively low-level zone. It’s a valley recovered from exploring the new, quite match the thrill of riding into It’s always fun to kill surrounded by orc camps, with one very top-tier zones, will be thrilled battle with a giant skeletal demon on worgen. Stupid furries. tiny Alliance village under constant with the changes. the back of a camel. threat in the far west. The story says Let’s look at that top tier in detail. It wouldn’t be a fantasy MMO the people of Redridge can’t expect The new zones are, mostly, very Health and efficiency without a “go kill wolves” quest. help from the vast Alliance armies of good. Uldum is the standout: a The new dungeons also introduce Stormwind. They’re on their own, comedy interpretation of Egyptian WoW’s new combat model—and it’s and they need adventurers, stat. legend that plays out brilliantly. a shock. The core concepts of WoW But you’re not good enough. What Deepholm is a vast underground are relatively simple. Players do you really need to do is convince the cavern that seems to stretch on damage to monsters, and they fall local cage fighter to help. He used to forever, and despite the claustro- over. Monsters do damage to players, be in the special forces. All his old phobia, it’s remarkably fun. Vash’jir, and that damage must be avoided, or Sauron only had an eye, but friends have been captured and tor- once you get over the fact you’re it must be healed. Over the last two Ragnaros gets a full face! tured. He’s a ball of rage, with no underwater the entire time, is smart, expansion packs to WoW, the damage outlet. He’s Rambo. He’s in the back although it seems to drag on (but output on both sides has rapidly room, fighting for kicks and cash. having a seahorse to swim around on increased, but players’ health pools The new 80-85 Stage one: infiltrate the orc camps helps). Twilight Hylands, the very haven’t. That’s sped the game up— dungeons are and put the fighter’s team of five last zone you enter, is ferociously and reduced the complexity. Healers back together. Some are in cages. story-focused; it isn’t as heavily play whack-a-mole with health bars, universally Others are strung up, hanging from themed as the other zones, but it does using their fastest spell to bring a the best that cave walls. Stage two: gather the introduce you to a new orc clan, and target up to full health, while forces, and stake out a new camp. provide background to the main damage-dealing classes and tanks Blizzard has The mage turns himself into a baddie: the dragon Deathwing. saw little reason to use their crowd- Yes, tauren are paladins now; ever made. rocket-powered motorboat to zip us That leaves Mount Hyjal, which is control abilities to minimize please stop the “holy cow” jokes.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 70 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 71 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • REVIEWS How to raid in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Avoid dying. Win. Collect loot. Has the tank pulled yet? No Yes Caption caption caption Dance with sexy caption caption Is everyone dead? Blood Elf priest. Yes No Has her raid leader No boyfriend kicked you yet? Is the monster hitting you? No Raise dead. Blame Yes Yes the healers. Yes Are you the tank? Are you the tank? Taunt! No Should have All he ever wanted was a farm One cow should never expected that. Yes No of his own, to nurture and love. have this much power. Are you You make You’ve over-aggroed. Drop standing in fire? Yes good team! threat. Go stand in the No Stop being bad. Worgen: not afraid to light themselves on fire. corner. 10 DKP minus. Are you a Are you a damage healer? dealing class? Is the tank injured? Are there any adds up? No Yes No Yes Kill the boss. Heal the tank. Tell the DPS Kill the Is the to bandage. adds. Yes boss dead? No Grim Batol is an evil Ironforge. Dispatch the uglies accordingly. Collect loot. Teabag dead guys. The orc army has repealed the “Don’t Axe, Don’t Smell” rule. incoming damage. It was a heal-or- just fine. But for the random pick-up zone: Tol Barad, a prison that can be die, zero-sum, game. groups I’ve played in since Cataclysm captured by Horde or Alliance, for a Now, player health pools are vast. launched, this new combat reality is chance to raid the bosses held Consider a newly minted tank at level taking time to sink in, and tempers within. Right now it vastly favors the 80—WotLK’s level cap allowed are flaring. It’s a far harder game, and defenders, and rarely flips. It’s a around 25,000 to 30,000 HP. In there’s no easy ride, but it’s a better, shame—open-world PvP is where Cataclysm, new level 85 players have more fun game for the change. A WoW feels most at war. But it’s still health pools of around 100,000 HP. dungeon-finder tool, introduced late good. And vast. Damage is slower to occur, but the in WotLK, makes finding a group It was always obvious that I was power of a healer’s spells hasn’t risen easy, from a pool of players country- going to enjoy Cataclysm: it’s an by the same proportion, nor have wide. But it doesn’t automatically extension of what I really like. What their mana pools expanded to cope make players better, or better able to surprised me was just how much I with more spells cast. cope with the change from easy- enjoyed the new old world—perhaps The healing game isn’t whack-a- mode Care Bear questing to hard- more than leveling through the new mole anymore: now it’s triage. mode face-palming. stuff, and gearing up for the raids to Healers are expected to pick their follow. Before, I used to warn people targets, and the spells they use, Getting personal away from them. Too much grind, according to priority: low-cost heal- Where the new combat model defi- too boring, no one to play with. Now over-time spells for those who just nitely improves WoW is in the PvP I recommend that my friends pick up need topping off; big heals landing at modes, battlegrounds and arenas. WoW try leveling a goblin, or a the point of impact for tanks taking Stretching combat out, rather than worgen (the two new races), just mega-hits; flash-heals for DPS letting players gib each other in an because it’s so much fun. classes that stand in fire or take unex- instant, makes face-offs more inter- Deathwing’s ascent hasn’t pected damage; group heals for panic esting and more dynamic. There’s destroyed Azeroth: it’s saved it from “Is this a popsicle I see before me?” stations. To help, all classes need to more chance to save each other, decline. In wreaking so much reduce the damage coming in by more chance to fire off an ability or destruction, he’s sowed the seeds of being aware of their situation, inter- improvise an escape. And the two WoW’s dominance of PC gaming for rupting abilities where possible, and new battlegrounds are very, very another six years. by crowd-controlling dangerous good: they’re remixes of traditional enemies in packs. capture-the-flag and capture-and- Smart groups of friends, playing hold favorites, but the change of over voice chat or with their guild, scenery is welcome. What doesn’t A triumph. Once you’re It’s a far harder game, 93 appear to be handling the changes work is the new open-world combat hooked it’s impossible to stop playing. Competitors Orcs are getting back to their Nice face, baldy. Shame You are entitled to say ◆ Price $40 plus $15/month subscription ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher Blizzard Entertainment beware: this is the best and there’s kill-everything about your teeth. roots. “Wheeeeeeeee!” ◆ Developer Blizzard Entertainment ◆ Multiplayer Massively ◆ Link http://bit.ly/9znCef ◆ ESRB T MMO in the world. no easy ride.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 72 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 73 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • REVIEWS When you die, the game really delights in ripping Isaac apart. REANIMATED DEAD SPACE 2 picks up the severed limbs where the first left off—and runs with them by Dan Stapleton T Evil space-baby attack! he “Previously, on Dead paign, Visceral does an expert job of chirping noise, and spun around to Need to know Space” video is a nice making you feel in constant peril, see a velociraptor-like creature No you idiot, don’t touch, though it reminds alternating between tingling your charging toward me. With a scream aim for the head! What is it? me how similar Dead spine with unsettling scenery and it smashed me to the floor, then A science-fiction horror Space 2’s premise and audio and trying to rip it out of your nimbly darted away, intelligently third-person shooter with gameplay are to the last one. This body by way of horrific monsters. using cover to escape before I could space zombies time Isaac Clarke awakens on a hit its legs. Then, more chirping— Influenced by facility on Saturn’s moon Titan, New blood and I realized I was surrounded. Aliens, Left 4 Dead three years after the rescue-mission- Fighting a Necro is different from Clever girl. Play it on gone-awry on the mining ship other videogame enemies, in that Most of the 15 stages have a Dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, Ishimura, and finds a very familiar shooting its head is like shooting a unique look to them (as unique as GeForce 8800 GT/ situation: Titan is overrun with space grizzly in the foot—it barely slows it possible given that they’re mostly Radeon HD 4850 zombies called Necromorphs that down, and just makes it angrier. metal corridors), from the wrecked Alternatively have set about the meticulous dis- Picking off limbs takes them down residential areas to the Necro- Left 4 Dead 2 (92%) memberment of everyone in sight— quicker, requiring multiple accurate worshiping Unitologist temple to the Copy protection and he’s still having hallucinations of shots per target—which makes the EarthGov zone, and they’re punctu- Disc check, EA.com his dead girlfriend. smooth controls greatly appreciated. ated by floaty zero-G areas. You account for multiplayer It also highlights that DS2 is a DS2 has a zoo’s worth of different have all the same tools as before— better sci-fi horror game, in a lot of varieties of spitting, charging, wall- the upgradable Rig suit is equipped subtle but important ways. While crawling nasties (including evil with time-slowing and telekinesis the plot is similar, the storytelling space-babies), and each puts up a hell powers—but the levels are designed technique has changed for the of a fight. The first time I was well and don’t overuse any one better—Isaac has recovered from a hunted by the new Stalkers was one gimmick. That includes enemies bout of Gordon Freeman Syndrome of the most frightening moments of that must be defeated by blasting (inexplicable muteness), and the the game—I caught a shadowy their glowing yellow bits. voice performances are excellent. But movement behind some crates out of The new multiplayer owes a lot to the real star is the environment: for the corner of my eye, but I found Left 4 Dead’s example: four human Stalkers are swift, agile pack the entirety of the eight-hour cam- nothing there. I heard a players fight their way through a hunters. Also, they’re jerks. gauntlet of objectives while four class-based Necro players and Health, ammo and video chats are holo-projected into the world. Necromorph dissection AI-controlled backup zombies assail them from all sides. It’s fun, and pro- duces some nail-biting finishes, but Head aside from making you unlock Legs Torso Useless equipment with experience (which I Shoot here— Meaty bullet- vestigial don’t personally care for), it doesn’t it hurts ‘em sponge organ do anything we haven’t seen before. and slows ‘em down Overall, besides retaining the irri- tation of having to seek out a save station to avoid losing progress when I want to quit, DS2 is a smartly improved version of the original. It’s The first time not a new experience, but it’s a hair- raiser nonetheless. ■ I was hunted by Stalkers Arms was one of Shoot here to An excellent action-horror do damage the most 87 sequel. Dead Space 2 doesn’t try to innovate, frightening ◆ Price $60 ◆ Release January 25 ◆ Publisher Electronic Arts but it’s a highly polished Stasis lets you take your time moments. ◆ Developer Visceral Games ◆ Multiplayer 8 players ◆ Link http://deadspace.ea.com ◆ ESRB M alien-rending experience. with dismemberment.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 74 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 75 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • REVIEWS Tanks have radios that Spiderholes and trenches blast era-accurate music. make for great ambushes. KING CONG BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 VIETNAM will make you wake up screaming with delight by Rich McCormick He was only n-n-n-nineteen. I f I was going to suffer a crip- confirmed his target, and dropped a plans were FUBAR, and I was Need to know pling psychological condition mortar strike through my skull. treated to the scarring image of from the horrors of war, I’d Vietnam’s maps are set up for three immolated men backpedaling What is it? want it to be from Vietnam. It modes identical to its parent game— as fast as possible. It was harrowing A set of Vietnam-themed had all the coolest music. Rush and Conquest modes return as in the best possible way. maps, weapons and After the hours I’ve spent the primary game types. In the This combat ethos is echoed in vehicles for Battlefield: crouched in foxholes in this first former, a team of attackers try to level design, and Vietnam asks Bad Company 2 expansion to DICE’s online shooter, destroy a set of objectives on a players to rethink class loadouts and Influenced by I’m as close as I’ll (hopefully) ever changing map. The latter is a more strategies on their way to the new Hollywood, get to suffering debilitating flash- Battlefield-standard capture-and- battleground. Where BC2’s locales the Vietnam War backs. In that, and many other ways, hold mode. were clinical and modern, Vietnam’s In war, the first casualties Watch where you’re Play it on Battlefield: Bad Company 2—Vietnam maps are mucky, messy and missing are the trees. pointing that thing! Battlefield: Bad is an unbridled success. Toasty a leg. Hill 137’s first set of objectives Company 2 Vietnam’s multiplayer-only warfare At long range, bursts of machine are plonked in the midst of a lush Alternatively is not modern. It’s ragged and gun fire rip through undergrowth, jungle, with tight architecture and a Battlefield: frantic, and despite a smaller weapon amber lines of fire that sensible lack of sightlines for snipers. The Vietnam (90%) pool than its daddy, more noisy and players avoid. But most fights happen second stage opens onto a smoking Copy protection lethal. I found no safe spots in the up close, with both parties firing abyss of fire and tree stumps, like EA.com account jungle or in open ground. from the hip and dying fast. some war poet’s vision of hell. It Everywhere I ran, I heard the pop The flamethrower is a terrifying completely changes the play style, and whizz of super-fast metal. When addition: less immediately lethal rewarding accuracy and planning. I did manage to settle into a sniper than you’d expect, it’s a psychological The classes themselves haven’t You guys go first. spot—in a bush defending an objec- game-changer. I was at the back of a changed much, beyond their tive, or up on a ridge in the superla- four-man squad in a trench as we Vietnamification: the Medic now has tive Hill 137 map—I’d find a few closed in on an objective. We a syringe instead of defibrillators, seconds of blessed silence...which was rounded a corner, sights raised, to be and the Assault class has a separate broken by explodey death, as a confronted by a six-foot jet of flame grenade launcher (with the most sat- counter-sniper on the opposing team attached to a skinny Vietnamese isfying thwunk! noise in gaming). brought his binoculars to his eyes, man. Immediately our meticulous There’s a slight problem with the Engineer at the moment, as the lack of a tracer dart and a general dearth Inspired by cinema of vehicles means he’s somewhat less Ooh, fireworks! “A commie earthworm!” useful than in BC2. Still, his era-spe- Your class choice explained in films cific SMGs are an accurate and fast- ENGINEER firing choice, potentially better ASSAULT You are Born on suited for close-up duels than any You are Full Metal Jacket the Fourth of July other kit selection. All have their This is your rifle. There You like explosives. A lot. place, and all kill well. are many like it, but You like explosives so this one got you an much you blew your own In 15 hours of combat in this eight-kill streak. legs off with them. online jungle, I’ve seen enough horror to scar my psyche for life. My RECON MEDIC instinctive reaction, though, is still You are Apocalypse Now You are Platoon to helicopter myself back in for This launcher another tour of duty. goes “pi-thonk.” You’ve seen the dark heart Idealistic and of war. Also, you like young, you went It’s the most dressing up as a tree to war to save and/ and wearing or stab people. Either satisfying mud. way, it’s all good. How DLC should be done. thwunk! 90 This is an expansion almost as substantial as noise in ◆ Price $15 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher Electronic Arts ◆ Developer DICE the parent game—for a gaming. ◆ Multiplayer 32 players ◆ Link www.battlefieldbadcompany2.com/vietnam ESRB M third of the price.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 78 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 79 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • REVIEWS Half-Life’s headcrab is among the 10-plus unlockable characters. PRIME CUT SUPER MEAT BOY is a delicious retro dish served on a silver platform by Tyler Wilde I magine a bouncing cube of raw conveyor belts, fans and portals is instantly scattered as rockets meat sliding into the teeth of a designed to fling you into them. The bombard the concrete floor. A few Need to know whirling saw blade. Spludge! only tools you have to avoid death slip through rocket-made holes, but Warp Zones transport Super Meat What is it? Now picture thousands are running and jumping. It’s more only one lonely survivor avoids the Boy to even-more-retro times. A ruthless 2D platformer more—as many as there are complex than it sounds. Precise con- spinning blade beneath. The solitary based on the popular letters printed on this page—all trols (this game was really made for a hero bolts across a receding bridge Newgrounds Flash game going splat and splot as they disinte- gamepad, but I got by with my trusty and reunites with his eternally kid- Influenced by grate into an ocean of juicy beef-stuff. keyboard) and clever levels will have napped love, Bandage Girl—but the Super Mario Bros., Gross. But your mental slaughter- you sweeping across the screen with reunion lasts only a moment before Donkey Kong house still has nothing on my Super the grace of an Olympic figure the evil Dr. Fetus steals her away Anti-gravity and buzz saw blades. Play it on Meat Boy death tally. I flung the skater over ice—until you’re splat- again. Next level! What could go wrong? 1.4GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, game’s lovable, protein-based hero to tered about like discarded leftovers. integrated graphics his demise over 3,000 times just to My replay of level 5-20, for Acquired taste He’s gonna make it! Alternatively beat the main levels of this relent- example, opens with about 100 Meat The levels instantly reset after each (He’s not.) VVVVVV (86%) lessly difficult 2D platformer. Include Boys (each reenacting one of my splat—often before the pulpy Copy protection the search for collectables, the retro- attempts to complete the level) remains of your previous body have Steam themed Warp Zones and the unlock- dashing off the starting line simulta- hit the ground—and this rapid-fire able “Dark World” levels, and the neously. Of those, 10 immediately repetition makes the most difficult number of exploded meat-bodies I’m slip into a pit of deadly salt and levels feel doable. With each failed responsible for is genocidal—but it’s explode into meat-mush. Only attempt you’ll learn a little more, and the fun kind of genocide. inches further, another dozen meaty by the time you reach Bandage Girl, avatars are messily devoured by the bulk of it will be muscle memory. Dead meat flying monsters. Above them, a If anything does stump you, Rockets can be duped into destroying Each of SMB’s 300-plus levels are small army is betrayed by disap- though, you can just skip any level concrete blocks rather than meat cubes. short-but-ruthless 2D gauntlets pearing platforms—they plummet (except boss stages). But that would filled with hazards like piles of hypo- into a pit of now-bloodied salt. The defeat the point. SMB was made with dermic needles, lava pits and meat- remaining Meat Brigade crosses the love for fans of hardcore 2D plat- seeking rockets, plus devices like divide and reaches a small room, but formers. It requires fierce trial and error, and getting your ass kicked a few (hundred) times is inevitable— By the numbers: 46 deaths in level 4 4 that’s what makes it so rewarding when you succeed. Full appreciation of all its charms requires that you have the platformer 2 3 background to pick up on the Castlevania and Mega Man refer- 4 ences, but even the uninitiated can 7 have their socks charmed off by the retro graphics, simple animations 9 and brilliant music. A few minor, yet- 6 8 to-be-patched bugs crawling in the meat can’t spoil its flavor; Super Meat 1 5 Boy is a delicacy to savor—when 5. Don’t jump too late. Deaths: 5 you’re not swearing at it. ■ 1. Lava is hot. Deaths: 11 6. Moving platform ejects you. Deaths: 5 Getting your 2. Flying molten rocks are also hot. Deaths: 7 7. Flying death blades. Deaths: 4 ass kicked a 3. Waterfalls are pretty, but this one is made of lava, which as you know, is hot. Deaths: 5 8. Moving platform strikes again. Deaths: 3 9. Reunited at last! But only for a moment— A delightfully challenging few (hundred) 90 4. Jumped too soon. Deaths: 6 damn you Dr. Fetus! Lonely hearts: 1 platformer with great art, sound and humor. It’s the times is ◆ Price $15 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher Team Meat ◆ Developer Team Meat ◆ Multiplayer None most fun you’ll have by Dr. Fetus has difficulty making friends. inevitable. ◆ Link www.supermeatboy.com ◆ ESRB T dying repeatedly..com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com ww 80 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 81 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • REVIEWS How we review Wherever possible, we finish every game before finalizing the review. We review each game on its own merits and match it to a reviewer who’s a passionate expert in the field. The primary aim of the reviews section is to help you make buying decisions. As such, we’ll review content Not bad for a game of all types in addition to the latest big-name made in 2003. releases. Our scoring system explained 0-30% Intolerable A crime against gaming. Whether it’s bugs or bad design, this should be shot on sight. 31-45% Weak Serious flaws ruin any chance this game has of A mission editor lets you There are six pages’ worth of offering sustained fun. Great balls of fire! build your own sorties. keyboard commands for this. 46-60% Mediocre This is what happens when you A very ordinary game, quickly forgotten. Think HIGH FLYER cut me off on my way to work. twice, even if you find it cheap. enhanced terrain graphics, which 61-75% Fair beautifully render the Black Sea’s GUN FOR HIRE A decent effort that, but for a little more polish, Crimean Peninsula. Expanded to coulda been a contender. include much of Georgia, the 76-89% Good add-on now shares the same map as Enjoyable, well-made and entertaining—just Black Shark (as well as the upcoming falling short of true greatness. New planes and a new engine boost LOCK ON: DCS: A-10C Warthog), allowing full ARMA II: PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY 90%+ Editor’s Choice FLAMING CLIFFS 2 to new heights by Andy Mahood multiplayer connectivity with both of Eagle’s showcase sims. FC2’s can’t hold up its end of the bargain by Evan Lahti A glowing example within its genre of excellence in design and execution. single-player content features seven S I potting a tempting, unpro- game isn’t quite a totally modern flight scripted campaigns and almost 100 ’m hunting for Russian tanks with an another assigns you the busywork of shooing A game scoring 80% or more tected Russian truck convoy sim, but it’s the next best thing. standalone missions, and whether AS50 anti-materiel rifle. They’re civilians away from a facility. ArmA II has is eligible to receive the PC Need to know Gamer Editor’s Choice award. in the distance, I line up my you’re playing as a Russian Su-25 guarding the dead forest that surrounds never been good at scripted sequences like The Editor’s personal seal of What is it? A-10A Thunderbolt for a Eagle eye for detail driver pushing NATO forces off the a nuclear site, idling over broken terrain these, and while the voice actors have approval means we think the An expansion pack upgrade low-altitude bombing run. With its Lock On: Flaming Cliffs 2’s imposing Crimean Peninsula or an American like fat, metal deer. I put my eye to my therm- improved, the lines they’re reading haven’t, recipient is a truly great example of its genre. for one of the PC’s top jet large wings and powerful turbofans, aircraft collection boasts the Sukhoi F-15 pilot dogfighting alongside al scope to find the hottest part of the tank and rigid facial animations make characters combat sims the Thunderbolt is a remarkably Su-25T Frogfoot anti-tank plane Georgian allies over the snowcapped (the engine) and poke a 12.7x99mm hole look more like Kevlar sock puppets than real- Play it on: compliant aircraft—maneuvering (with its authentic Shkval and Caucasus peaks, the ground attack between its pistons. My well-placed shot istic dramatic actors. PC Gamer’s 10 Dual-core CPU, 4GB RAM, to bring its 10 lethal weapons’ hard- Mercury targeting systems), a con- and aerial combat options are vast. blows off the last T-55’s steel lid, clearing the PMC’s new equipment also pales compared Latest and Greatest GeForce 8800/ points into an offensive strike posi- ventional Su-25, MiG4-29 Fulcrum New players may black out from way for my civilian team to inspect the to the previous DLC. There’s a speedy-but- Radeon HD 4850 Bloody Good Time (88%) tion proves quite effortless. Minutes (both A and C variants), Su-27 and excessive G’s trying to surmount facility. It’s exactly what an ArmA II mission unremarkable Ka-60 helicopter, a machine- February 2011 Influenced by later, the hapless transports are a Su-33 Flankers, as well as the FC2’s precipitous learning curve— should be: violent, unscripted problem- gunning UAV drone that’s good for harass- Su-27 Flanker NBA 2K11 (90%) burning, smoking pile of scrap American F-15C Eagle and afore- even with the “easy avionics” option solving with realistic military equipment. But ment and the AA-12 automatic shotgun, a January 2011 Alternatively metal, their light armor lustily mentioned A-10A Thunderbolt. that significantly simplifies things oddly, this is one of only three such open- weapon that’s rarely effective on ArmA II’s Falcon 4.0 Allied Force Fallout: New Vegas (92%) ripped apart by my Mk-20 Rockeye Each plane features authentic and for casual players—but returning ended missions in ArmA II: Private Military expansive battlefields. Holiday 2010 (88%) cluster bombs. Suh-weet! intricately detailed cockpit layouts Lock On fans will revel in the aircraft Company’s 11-mission campaign. The star of PMC is the new Proving Sid Meier’s Civilization V (93%) Copy protection The A-10A is the highlight of the with enough dials, switches, levers variety, cockpit fidelity, improved PMC puts its focus on storytelling, which Grounds map—it’s dotted with skeletonized November 2010 StarForce, online activation eight new aircraft that Flaming Cliffs and working gauges to earn hardcore terrain graphics, single-player remains a weakness of developer Bohemia trees and ruined shrubs; the bomb crater at StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (93%) 2 adds to the distinguished Lock On: simmer plaudits. You don’t get any of mission depth and Black Shark/ Interactive, and your role as a mercenary the middle of the eerie scrubland looks like November 2010 Modern Air Combat, Ubisoft’s 2003 those impressive clickable Black A-10C multiplayer connectivity. escort is hamstrung by awkward, on-rails the work of God’s spoon. Unfortunately, Monkey Island 2 SE (90%) big-budget survey flight sim. This Shark cockpits here—you’ll have to If you can’t appreciate that, I may missions that are at odds with ArmA II’s Bohemia didn’t produce any stand-alone mis- October 2010 seven-years-hence expansion—the memorize the keyboard shortcuts or just have to bomb your villages. ■ massive, wide-open landscapes. In the intro, sions for it with PMC, so you’ll have to make Sleep is Death (90%) second from Russian developer Eagle map controls to an appropriate you’re running aimlessly through a village your own (or download community-made July 2010 Dynamics—also updates the visuals HOTAS (hands-on throttle and trying to locate a contact while artillery shells ones) to fully enjoy it. There are LOVE (86%) with Eagle’s next-generation graphics stick) setup—but the detail is drop around you. In another, you man a too few new military toys or 69 July 2010 engine, which was recently featured remarkable nonetheless. Rich with depth, detail minigun mounted atop an AI-driven SUV, imaginative missions to make Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising (91%) 90 in DCS: Black Shark. The resulting One of FC2’s best features is its and variety, Flaming gunning down roadside ambushers. Yet PMC a must-download. ■ May 2010 Cliffs 2 is the finest survey sim package on Mass Effect 2 (90%) ◆ Price $30 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher The Fighter Collection ◆ Developer Eagle Dynamics today’s market. ◆ Price $10 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher IDEA Games ◆ Developer Bohemia Interactive March 2010 ◆ Multiplayer 32 players ◆ Link www.digitalcombatsimulator.com ◆ ESRB E ◆ Multiplayer 64 players ◆ Link www.arma2.com ◆ESRB Mcom www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 82 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 83 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • REINSTALL OF PC GAMING REVISITED CLASSICS Nobody messes with Chthon READ ME in his own house. RELEASE DATE June, 1996 PUBLISHER GT Interactive DEVELOPER REINSTALL id WHAT WE SAID THEN “[Quake] belongs on CLASSICS OF PC GAMING REVISITED the short list of the very best first-person shooters in PC gaming.” 90%, October 1996 GET IT Shamblers enjoy making $10, Steam lightning origami. “Quake’s level TRIVIA Quake was the first design shines, multiplayer shooter to use AI bots, even before Unreal even now.” Tournament. However, unlike UT, the bots were not included with original copies of the game. Instead—and in a nod to the user-friendly Quake engine—the bots were handcrafted by modders post- I release. ’m in The House of Chthon, the the liquid fire—instant death. Some Complex, emphasizes vertical ALL THE SECRETS FOR narrowest and most lava-filled text pops up on the screen: “[FU]Frost maneuvering and multiple escape ALL FOUR EPISODES http://bit.ly/hrjn76 level in Quake. It’s a one-on-one turned into hot slag.” These customized routes; you can also find every weapon http://bit.ly/hH2oEd deathmatch, and my opponent— phrases mock you after every death. in the game (except the Lightning Gun) http://bit.ly/fagU8w http://bit.ly/eCG48g [FU]Frost—is trying to rocket-jump up Earlier, when I backed up onto my own somewhere on it. And the gothic castle to my position on the second level. I grenade, I read: “Havoc tried to put the motif means plenty of high ledges and OUR FAVORITE WEAPON spam him with grenades, leaving a pin back in.” nooks to rain down death from above. trail of bombs to slow his pursuit as I Rocket-jumping existed before backpedal. A quad damage power-up Level-headed Quake—Doom technically had it—but appears at the far end of the map, on an Quake plays as a standard, early-’90s this game was the first that begged Grenade launcher island in the middle of the lava. It’s the FPS: collect keys, kill everything that players to exploit it. Blasting your way ultimate worm-on-a-hook—he moves, scour for health packs and up the columns across the Slipgate abandons his rocket-jumps and advance to the next stage; but its level courtyard and tossing down a hail of beelines it for the quad. But I stay put. design still shines in 2011. It might’ve rockets onto unsuspecting foes is I switch to my rocket launcher and pop been corner-cutting on id’s part, but euphoria. It’s equally entertaining a missile at the floating quad icon the fact that every single-player stage watching other players attempt the seconds before he gets there. As soon is also a multiplayer map generates same thing only to detonate them- as he reaches the island, my rocket some thrilling layouts. selves half-way up the columns with smacks his feet, careening his body into The first single-player level, Slipgate a poorly timed rocket. I load up the map with a friend online. My hallway. MINE. After routinely abusing the column trick, my opponent intercepts me with the business end of his Super Nail Gun (which shoots literal Nine Inch Nails ammo). I respawn, dodging and flailing my way to the Pentagram of Protection power-up. I pluck it from the rafters, but temporary invulnerability isn’t enough. I Quake want to humiliate my enemy. So I sprint to a wall across the hallway and blast it, opening a secret door to the quad damage. The other guy hears the door noises and comes to trap me, not real- My rocket izing I’m quadruple-powerful and invin- cible. As his ‘nades explode harmlessly smacks his feet, around me, I brandish my axe— careening his swinging quadruple pain into him with RIP DEMONS APART WITH QUAD-ROCKETS WHILE LISTENING TO NINE INCH NAILS by Chris Comiskey each chop as he gets stuck in a corner body into the trying to flee. liquid fire.amer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcg 84 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 85 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • REINSTALL CLASSICS OF PC GAMING REVISITED I need that ammo. I’ll just move OTHER 1996 you with my shotgun. GAMES WE  COMMAND & CONQUER: RED ALERT (91% December 1996) Evan: I loved gath- ering RA’s ore crys- tals to build my waves of Mammoth Tanks. The rainbow minerals looked like rock candy. TOMB RAIDER (95%, February 1997) Josh: Mirror’s Edge, Portal—look closely enough at TR, and you can see the template for a decade-plus of Axe vs. thorax. action-adventure games. The ogre: a cannibal with a chainsaw hand. THE NEVERHOOD (40%, December 1996) Logan: The Never- hood combined top- drawer claymation, a frisky Dixieland soundtrack and the checkpoints—if you botch a save, your old boxing glove-on- only option is to start the entire level a-spring gag into one wacky adventure over. It’s cruel, but the accomplishment game. For the first you feel in pushing past a level feels so and last time. Sigh. much more significant than, say, BioShock’s no-consequence Vita- OUR PC IN 1996 Singled out tips or dynamic balancing to make boss Chambers. Windows 95, 1 GB hard drive, integrated I go back to House of Chthon in single- fights a breeze. I load a secret level after videocard, 16MB RAM, Soundblaster player. There’s now a molten monster microwaving Chthon—Ziggurat Vertigo. Fix it ’til it’s broke 32 soundcard (ISA (Chthon himself) bathing in the lava, Trent Reznor’s grunge-electric Then again, lack of difficulty isn’t why slot), Intel Pentium lobbing globs of heat at me. Emptying soundtrack grinds in the background. I Quake’s modern versions (Quake 4/ 133MHz processor, 15-inch CRT monitor 40 rockets into his face (where a face ride an elevator and press a few runes, Enemy Territory) never caught on. These (800x600 reso- should be, at least) does nothing. hoping that they’ll open a door to a Ring sequels introduced things that didn’t lution), Labtech I die four times before trying another of Shadows. Nope—it’s a trap. make sense in Quake’s fiction— LCS150 stereo speakers. approach. I hop to the top level and trip Something resembling a blood- vehicular combat, little encouragement OUR FAVORITE THING a few switches. Two pillars descend into drenched Yeti materializes and deci- of player-acrobatics, generic “random Chthon’s pool, but they don’t do mates me from behind with heat- alien planet” level designs and the anything. I eat one of Chthon’s magma seeking lightning bolts. The death-text removal of secret areas. grenades and get knocked into the lava, reads: “Havoc was smashed by a Quake is better off for being created but I spot another button as I die. I Shambler.” I reload my game only to in a time where that stuff wasn’t Picking up the Ring of Shadows power-up restart, lower the columns again and realize I saved right after the Shambler possible. Instead, you simply discover to make yourself jump over to that third button and appeared. Oh god. the best weapons, rocket-jump and invisible, except for activate it. Volts surge through the Each time I reload, he wallops me, bunny hop through vast castles, seek your eyeballs. pillars, zapping the lava demon dead. over and over. Quake is old-school out the hidden power-ups and go Quake is punishing—there’s no tool- tough, and there’re no autosaves or bonkers spraying rockets from the hip. ■amer.com www.pcgamer.com 86 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • DOWNLOADS FREE GAMES STUFF FROM THE WEB Police brutality: now brought to you by Coca-Cola. 3 A bit wobbly A good Octodad would’ve kicked the ball at his son. FREEWARE BE A GOOD FISHY DAD IN OCTODAD I t’s hard to be a good lover and parent in tacle arms without messing today’s modern climate. You’ve got to work, everything up and flinging play with your kids, support your partner, avoid coffee cups at people or acci- the fury of an angry sushi chef and fit some dentally putting on makeup. me-time in there too. It’s even worse if you’re You control one faux limb secretly an octopus and your family can never at a time with the left and know that you’ve got tentacles instead of hands right mouse buttons, and feet. Take it from me. switching between arms and Octodad is the heroic tale of one man’s fight to legs with the spacebar. For be a great husband and dad. Technically, it’s the example, right mouse moves heroic tale of one cephalopod’s fight to be a man, around your right foot (which is actually two or jokes (like the “can opener in a can” in the fridge). and then to be a great husband and dad at the three tentacles bundled together), while the left This one’s definitely worth your bandwidth. JM same time. It’s also the heroic tale of one PC button can be held to move your left foot too. gamer’s fight to control his avatar’s wobbly ten- It’s a hilarious labor of love, filled with little SIZE 336MB LINK http://bit.ly/8YxQtE 5 WEBGAME FLING YOUR DEADLY SELF RAY ARDENT: SCIENCE NINJA RUNS FAR TOO FAST M y poor fingers. This horribly compelling little platformer is forcing my fingers into crab hands. It’s about this ninja scientist, see, and he has to accomplish Super models something to do with dinosaurs, 2 MAPS Only a ninja scientist could SURVIVE IN STYLE bust moves like that. TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE IN This takes ninja looting LEFT 4 DEAD 2 to a whole new level. MOD THE LATEST CINEMATIC MOD TRANSFORMS HALF-LIFE 2 Survival is where it’s at with L4D2 4 Compete for organs these days. We’ve been through F the campaigns so many times that we or five years, Juergen Vierheilig has been I usually call people over to my PC when I see really only play for the panic events. JM trying to replace Alyx Vance with Victoria’s something exciting, but with this mod, I’m not weird chemicals, some lady and who Secret model Adriana Lima. Maybe you sure my coworkers and I are on the same page. 4 Below Your helicopter crashes in knows what else. I’m sure there’s a think his sexified Alyx model is an improvement, “Look, you can see the cracks in this wallpaper!” the snow. The timer only FREEWARE MOTHER WANTED A BABY, NOT SIAMESE ENEMIES plot going on here somewhere, but maybe you don’t—but you will love his game- I yell at them. “Look, there’s an address on that A starts after you leave the all I care about are the well-crafted wide, high-fidelity textures and models. cardboard box, and a return address!” But they chopper’s perimeter, so you’ll have to find delightfully screwed up two-player expe- then suddenly change your movement to levels that ask you to run, jump, slide And HL2 could use the facelift. I recently just sigh and walk away. “Look, every supplies on the run. http://bit.ly/fRwL3Y rience. You’ll need to sit next to each other try to make it clip to your side first. and dash to collect spinny coins and replayed the entire trilogy of HL2 female in the game is a creepy Supermarket Funtimes and crouch over the same keyboard, but it Next up, the operating table. Organs are avoid saurian enemies. games and had my fond memories EVAN SAYS... Adriana Lima clone!” A small map set inside a works—you’re Siamese twins attached at sitting in two neat piles on either side Two devious features combine of a photo-realistic world shat- “It’s massive! That last one, at least, is an supermarket. Admittedly, the shoulder, forced to suffer the of your newly separated bodies. to keep you coming back. The first tered. The water is tiled. The 8GB download, optional alteration. You can they sell a lot of Molotovs, control inputs of the other. You’ve got to drag and sew as is that it times you and shows you gas cans and propane tanks here, but also JOSH SAYS... iconic Combine citadel is crisper but 20GB on switch any of the main cast’s new Your mother just gave birth to “I’ve got many as you can (taking from that time. Curse you, PC games! You the HD. I had orange juice! http://bit.ly/aO7fPc than the brick wall two feet models off at any time (which is you, and is outraged that there three livers your sibling’s pile if needed). play me like a fiddle! The second is to delete three and four lungs from Gordon Freeman’s bearded full games to just as well for some of them), but Stormy Outlook are more than one of you. She The first to hit “Done” gets a that you can equip different powers face. And all those wonderfully if you go with regular Alyx, she’ll One of the best-looking but no legs. At beforehand, and you’re never sure if make demands that you both leave least I can head start in the final phase, maps we’ve seen in a while. detailed faces you remember? it fit.” thankfully appear as her crisp until “it’s fixed.” So you race to breathe the “get home first” phase. you picked the best combination. Your shelter from a rain They were only around in Episode 2. Episode 2-self in all the games. storm includes a gun cabinet and a shed the hospital, collecting organs easy.” The more organs you have, It’s got some great campy voice The latest Cinematic Mod rebuilds Guns pack more punch, lighting is of the with a chainsaw. http://bit.ly/hF9dSL along the way. the less erratic your movement acting, too. Once you get the double City 17 to match your faulty memory with sharp- dramatic Left 4 Dead 2 flavor, and Vierheilig has You’re both controlling half a sprite, will be. If you weren’t fast about jump, you can turn into a shuriken Resort to Violence and kill dinosaurs with yourself. JM ened textures, altered lighting, remodeled cars even added a dynamic score that starts blaring From the comments: “I and any organs that you collect with your grabbing the only pair of legs in the and props and even altered mechanics for certain when you’re being chased. EL went through 16 Tanks with side help you out more than your sibling. There’s previous phase, well...good luck. JA SIZE Broswer-based weapons. Does the Gravity Gun need iron sights? no rescue. Very frustrating. a lot of virtual elbowing and sabotage as you LINK http://bit.ly/auiQSe Can someone fix this?” Yeah, the first 16 SIZE 2.5MB LINK http://bit.ly/boSOLs Probably not, but I’m happy to have the option! SIZE 8GB LINK http://bit.ly/asOPNf Tanks are tough. http://bit.ly/9Ex4vH work together to reach a kidney or a pair of lungs,gamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcga 88 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 89 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • REINSTALL HOW TO... HAVE MORE FUN WITH YOUR FAVORITE GAMES Be a smarter soldier on the frontline SKILLS KILL HELICOPTERS AS INFANTRY IN ARMA 2 GET STARTED RICH MCCORMICK MAKES YOU A BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 PRO USING BULLETS TO TAKE DOWN BIRDS W DIFFICULTY Medium e know Battlefield,, we PC Quite a bit, as it turns out. The but others are scarily innovative—a TIME Five hours gamers. The team-based latest game in the series allows portion of the internet’s evil genius VITAL LINKS war series was born on our sneaky, nefarious and downright evil has come up with such tactics as Wiki full of weaponry, gaming beasts. We’re up to date tactics. The tightly focused squad affixing a tracer dart to a friendly items and vehicles info. with all the tips and tricks, the setup—in which only four people can UAV and flying it into an enemy base http://bit.ly/gjnfPP tactics tried and tested across be in direct communication—means before letting rip with rockets Detailed statistics for almost a decade on the field of that finely honed tactics with a few targeted at their own machine. What a drag Tracer tong everyone on the planet. http://bit.ly/hN58OP battle. We already know you can buddies are more than possible. In the spirit of that kind of 7 See the Vital Links section for an invalu- 8 Tracer darts have been sped up since the Frighteningly useful sniping tutorial explained stick C4 on a jeep and drive it into baddies while you cackle; we did Since launch, tactics have been practiced, polished and perfected by advanced bastardry, here are the 12 best tips and secrets for getting able “dragshooting” lesson. Conventional wisdom says high-level rifles are better, but drag- game’s launch, making tagging helicopters and vehicles easier. Engineer weapons are weak, and 1 Get a machine gun We recommend the M249 SAW or the Russian PKM. Find a position by a relaxed Nordic man. that back in Battlefield 1942. What the planet’s best fake soldiers. ahead in Battlefield: Bad Company shooting needs a light, quick-firing gun—take the wasting a sidearm slot on a non-killy gun will only http://bit.ly/fvGAP8 that’s perpendicular to the heli and new stuff have you got for us, BC2? ? Some of their tactics are simple, 2 multiplayer modes. 2’s SV98 or the GOL and move fast around the map, hurt you more. Instead, the Medic should take the hit Z to go prone to steady your aim. taking potshots at fleeing enemies. If you’re caught tracer. His machine gun rarely runs out of ammo, and up close, take a shot and sprint away. Never spend he has time to sight and shoot vehicles from his safe, longer than a few seconds in your scoped mode. cushy position in the middle of the squad. 2 Your target: The helicopter’s tail rotor. Engage at a maximum of 350m. When you’re ready, double-tap and hold the right mouse button to go into scope or iron sights. Load bearing Objective lost Hey, that’s mine I Objectives are often placed inside rooms; learning which structures can be col- 2 If your goal is to destroy Rush mode’s MCOM stations and nothing else, take C4 3 It’s sneaky, but two well-stocked players can cut through objectives like soldier- lapsed is key. Concrete houses can be felled, but the tall, wooden building pictured above will stay up no and the explosives leg pouch specialization. Get close enough to the objective to lob your plastic butter by using this tactic. Take mines and the explosive leg pouches and sprint for MCOM sta- 9 Killer Carl The Carl Gustav rocket launcher is the best weapon in the Engineer’s arsenal. While I0 Hel-o there Helicopters, in classic Battlefield fashion, are tough to handle, but can be lethal in matter the barrage, forcing you to get in close. explosives at it. Keep going until you’re dry, then tions. Crouch as soon as you reach them, with both weaker against vehicles, it’s so useful in a scrape that the right hands. If you’re in an attack chopper—the Nelson Bay, for example, has stages with objective chuck a grenade against the station. If you’re feeling yourself and a friend hurling mines at the floor. firing an extra rocket isn’t that much of a hassle. The Havoc or the Apache—use the pilot’s missiles to points in both kinds of buildings. Hit the indestruc- tible one first to split the enemy’s defenses, then bring down the other with continuous fire. crazy, stick a friend’s C4 to your UAV and pilot it against the station. Detonate it up close to deal heavy damage to the target. Retreat to a safe distance (or don’t, to go down in a blaze of glory) and pop the mines with a bullet. They’ll eviscerate the station in one blast. Carl Gustav will kill a soldier with one shot, and fires so quickly that it’s viable at close range. It also takes attack armor from the rear while the bellygunner hunts infantry. Priority targets are anyone shooting 3 Open fire A successful hit will produce a “dust” effect on your target. In most situations, much less time to target than the other rockets, back up at you (obviously), but know where the 25 bullet hits will be enough to disable a making non-tracer ’copter shots possible. Ker-splode! Ker-splode level’s anti-air guns are and pop them first. tail rotor. Once the rotor’s inoperable, the chopper will enter an uncontrolled spin. SUPER SKILL GO FOR THE PILOT! Explosive assault Mismatch Eagle eye 4 The Assault class is misnamed. Used properly, they hang back and provide 5 You wouldn’t think of an Engineer as a sniper, or a shotgun as a long-range 6 Taking the Recon’s auto-spotting scope is pointless—hammer Q instead, and II Spawn on the move Transport helicopters are mobile spawn I2 Class act Utterly vital in all game modes—and the suppressing fire, launching endless grenades. Take weapon. But if you pick an auto-shotgun (the enemies will light up. If you’re tracking a moving points first and attack vehicles second. If thing that separates the elite Battlefielders The other way to take down an aircraft the grenade launcher attachment, find a safe Saiga is ideal) and the 12-gauge slug specialization, target, take the shot quickly—they might be dinged you’re piloting a Blackhawk, move and hold in from the rest—is kit switching. If your squad’s Medic in ArmA 2 is to aim for the cockpit. Any spot—up on Laguna Presa’s hills is a good one—and you’ve now got a rapid fire, long-range weapon up from another fight and an easy kill. When dealing random patterns, letting your gunners know when goes down, don’t let him respawn. Pop over, grab his small-arms weapon can penetrate the drop an ammo box. From there, plop explosions all that kills in two shots and doesn’t have a lengthy with a stationary enemy, take your time and aim you’re stopping. If you hear a tracer’s beep, get away gun, switch to the paddles and revive him. He’ll be canopy, so use your weapon of choice. over the map, closing off choke points with repeat sighting animation—it’ll even down UAVs. As an high. It’s better to miss with the first shot and pop fast and hole up before lugging your team back into dressed in your kit, but you’ll have saved a ticket. Remember: US pilots typically sit on the bombardments. If you take smoke grenades, they’ll Engineer, you can support the rear by sticking close the second in their head than to alert the foe and combat. All you need is a pilot and gunner—make Swapping kits like this means you can go for entire right side of transport choppers, Russian kill with an accurate close-range shot. to friendly armor and picking off enemies. have them disappear behind cover. the rest of your squad parachute down ASAP. maps without ever respawning. or Takistani pilots are usually on the left.gamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www.pcga 90 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 91 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COMwww.downmagaz.com
    • GET THE PC YOUR GAMES DESERVE TESTED Nvidia 1.5GB GeForce GTX 580 T he GTX 580 is a far more refined version of the GTX The fastest single-GPU videocard, 480, which had been the first card released based on and for $499, it had better be. the company’s “Fermi” architecture. So while the stream processors and texture units got bumped up along with the core and memory clocks, the overall power usage went down slightly, and everybody feels better. It’s much quieter than the rowdy hellraiser 480, and the fan has been Four Card Poker recessed slightly as well—an implementation I’d like to see more often with cards packed so closely together you practically need lube to get them seated. The card requires an eight-pin and a six-pin power connector, and sports dual DVI connectors and a mini-HDMI 1.4a out—but no DisplayPort. It’s no surprise that this top-shelf Cardasaurus Rex ran rings Are Nvidia and AMD’s new cards a good deal? by Logan Decker around the mid-range Radeon HD 6870; AMD retains the fastest card title, however, with the dual-GPU HD 5970, which you can find for an extra $150-$200. But unless you AMD 1GB Radeon HD 6870 intend to drive three or more displays, I’d say stick with the 580 or the HD 6870 and save 84 T your bucks for the next go-round. he Radeon HD 6870 is AMD’s second-generation, Not all is what it seems: the HD 6870 is actually a bit single-GPU DirectX 11-compatible videocard slower than the HD 5870. $499, www.nvidia.com (DX11, you’ll recall, allows developers to create 3D models with much finer details without drawing millions of additional triangles). AMD broke from its own convention, however, by introducing a new series with a mid- range jobber that’s actually lower-spec’d and a bit slower than Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 T the last generation’s single-GPU 5870, which is now being The GTX 570 nests snugly between phased out. That’s aggravating. he GTX 570 might have sank meekly in between the midrange and high-end. What’s not so aggravating is that the 6870 draws much less the high-end and budget cards here, but no—it power than the 5870, runs cooler (naturally), and is lots cheaper manages to bust out with just enough muscle to to boot. The card requires only two six-pin power plugs and stand out despite an elevated price tag for what includes dual DVI ports, dual mini-DisplayPorts, amounts to a mid-range card. You get almost 20 percent and HDMI 1.4a for 3D over HDMI. more oomph for 30 percent less cash compared to the 580, and Basically, there’s no reason to buy the 5870 while the 6870 is $110 less, the 570 makes up for it with major 88 over this zippy, up-to-date model—especially gains in the benchmarks in some cases. if you plan to run multiple monitors. Like the 580, you get twin DVI connectors and a mini- HDMI 1.4a connector, but the 570 requires only two six-pin $240, www.amd.com connectors for power. If, after all this, you’re still torn between this and the 6870 or 6850, go with AMD if you intend to run multiple monitors, especially three or more, and the 570 if you want extra power up front. Either way, you’ll be able to buy another card for peanuts six months AMD 1GB Radeon HD 6850 to a year from now and go turbo. 89 I $349, www.nvidia.com f you can afford it, I recommend going with the Radeon HD 6870, as the extra performance will carry you a bit further and ultimately justify the additional price. But if you’re on a Benchmarks budget, there’s absolutely no reason to do any hand- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. wringing about buying the 6850 instead. On the contrary, you’ll 3D Mark 11 Vantage Crysis* Dirt 2* Call of Pripyat* get about 15 percent more performance for 25 percent less cash. At nine inches long, the 6850 is also a less beastly card than the AMD 1GB Radeon HD 6870 P4077 P16132 51fps/43/25 90fps/81/60 63fps/52/31 ten-inch 6870, which is ideal for modestly-sized cases, and it also requires only a single six-pin power connector. The 6850 also AMD 1GB Radeon HD 6850 P3467 P13685 44fps/37/21 80fps/71/51 56fps/46/28 provides the same generous complement of connections as the 6870: dual DVIs, dual mini-DisplayPorts, and an HDMI 1.4a connector. This guy can’t wait to get Nvidia 1.5GB GeForce GTX 580 P5481 P28523 74fps/62/40 146fps/131/95 86fps/70/44 Slim, fast, and cheap, not unlike some celebrities. paired up in CrossFire down the line. $180, www.amd.com 86 Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 P4916 P25115 65fps/53/34 130fps/117/81 72fps/58/36 *Average frames per second. Games are run at 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600com www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com www 92 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.comwww.pcgamer.com MARCH 2011 93 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ CONTENTS2011 NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 BACK PC GAMER MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 MARCH MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 PCGAMER.COM
    • GET THE PC YOUR GAMES DESERVE 2011 Benchmarks Arrive The next generation of GPUs calls for new tests and next-gen hardware by Logan Decker I t’d been over two years since I last at a lower frequency than the “K” line, and 3DMark 11 revised the Hard Stuff benchmarks “T” parts are heavily power-optimized, I snatched up a copy of and test system, so I made a few calls running at a lower frequency still. Futuremark’s update to and hustled down in the frigid cold While I was tempted to choose the high- its dependable bench- to the docks at 4 a.m. to meet my end Core i7, I selected the 3.3GHz Core i5 mark suite, designed to sources. The meeting took place inside a 2500K instead, since the vast majority of test the performance of makeshift office, set up within a shipping the Hard Stuff benchmarks are intended DirectX 11-compatible crate stamped “Maersk Sealand.” The for videocards, and we don’t want the CPU GPUs. In addition to benchmark tools were presented to me to do too much heavy lifting. traditional graphics and physics bench- one-by-one, stored individually in actual marks, adds multi-level tessellation—a very wooden crates (who knew?), which I closely Intel DP67BG nice DX11 trick that allows developers to inspected to obtain the following cargo. Another crate held Intel’s DP67BG, with create much more detailed 3D models and the company’s new P67 chipset that’s tuned surfaces with a minimal performance Intel Core i5 for the new processors—the perfect match penalty—to its trials. You can download I was shown Intel’s new Core i3, i5 and i7 for my Core i5. Along with support for the single-test, Basic Edition of 3DMark 11 quad-core processors, codenamed Sandy Nvidia’s SLI and AMD’s CrossFire multi- for free at www.3dmark.com. $20 buys you Bridge, and was briefed on their fairly GPU technologies, the board also packs a the ad-free Advanced Edition with addi- complex naming scheme. Take the Core i7 handy POST code display as well as two tional presets and customization options. 2600K, for example: the USB 3.0 ports. Once the new mobo and “2” indicates that it’s a proc were safely ensconced in the lab, I Crysis Warhead second-generation Core built a new system around them with 6GB I recovered Warhead— processor, based on a of Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 RAM, a an optimized version of 32nm process. The 1200W PC Power and Cooling PSU, the legendary ball- “600” refers to the Western Digital’s 150GB, 10,000rpm buster Crysis—from a model number of the Raptor hard dusty pallet in the back. processor—the higher the drive and I’m running it at High number, the faster the proc. The Antec’s settings with 4x anti- letter after this number is a modifier; “K” open-air aliasing, 4x anisotropic filtering and at indicates that the processor is unlocked, Skeleton 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. while “S” indicates that the processor runs case. Colin McRae: Dirt 2 For a fair price I Hard Stuff Trinity acquired Dirt 2 for its built-in benchmark— accessible through the DREAM SYSTEM MID-RANGE ENTRY-LEVEL options menu—with CASE AND PSU Cooler Master Cosmos; CASE AND PSU Nzxt Alpha; CASE AND PSU Generic Case; performance tests from 850W PSU $300 Gamexstream 700W PSU $187 Corsair 450W PSU $161 DX9 through DX11. It’s also a visual work- PROCESSOR PROCESSOR out that can expose streaking in displays. PROCESSOR Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz $550 Intel Core i7-920 AMD Athlon X2 I’m running it at High settings with 4x 2.66GHz $256 6000+ 3.0GHz $57 antialiasing, 4x anisotropic filtering and at MOTHERBOARD MOTHERBOARD MOTHERBOARD 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. Asus P6T Deluxe V2 $262 Asus P6T $244 Asus M3A76-CM $68 STALKER: MEMORY Corsair 6GB DDR3-1600 $154 MEMORY Corsair 6GB DDR3-1333 $178 MEMORY Corsair 2GB DDR2-800 $58 Call of Pripyat I was offered t he Call of OPTICAL DRIVE OPTICAL DRIVE OPTICAL DRIVE Pripyat benchmark, but LG BD370 Blu-ray $174 LG GH22NP20 Sony DDU1681S $19 left the docks knowing $25 HARD DRIVE that I could get it free at HARD DRIVE HARD DRIVE Intel X25-M 80GB SSD; WD 500GB 7200RPM WD 250GB 7200RPM http://bit.ly/scopbench. WD 500GB 7200RPM $311 $50 $40 It’s got a ton of options SOUNDCARD Creative Labs X-Fi SOUNDCARD SOUNDCARD for visual quality and performance and Onboard Onboard Titanium $130 $0 $0 even allows you to compare your results VIDEOCARD VIDEOCARD VIDEOCARD with other gamers. I’m running it at High Radeon HD 5870 (2) $780 Radeon HD 5870 $399 GeForce GT 220 $65 settings with 4x antialiasing, 4x anisotropic filtering and at 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and TOTAL PRICE $2,661 TOTAL PRICE $1,339 TOTAL PRICE $468 2560x1600. ■com www.pcgamer.com 94 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011www.downmagaz.com
    • TOP SECRET REPORT ON CALL OF DUTY FLASHBACK SYNDROME [CODFLABS] SUBJECT: BLACK OPS AGENT ALEX MASON - QUERY: COLD WAR ACTIVITIES SUMMARY: Subject Alex Mason experienced vivid flashbacks related to Cold War Black Ops missions. These flashbacks have been officially classified by medical staff members as Call Of Duty Flashback Syndrome, or CODFLABS. CODFLABS can be triggered by stress, loading screens or severe and unrelenting torture. Especially torture. Hoo, boy. That stuff works like a charm. CONDITIONS: Subject Alex Mason was restrained and given electroshock treatment by Agent Blah Blahblah in an effort to determine the significance of a series of mysterious numbers being broadcast from an unknown location. Electroshock treatment was supplemented by Agent Blah Blahblahbl yelling a whole lot while using a voice modulator that made him sound like the guy from the Saw movies. Several computer monitors were placed in front of Mason, mostly for atmosphere. CODFLABS PRIMARY EFFECTS: Masons CODFLABS included quick, jarring glimpses of animated territory maps, classified top-secret documents, out-of-focus slides and newspaper headlines. Many flashbacks also included grainy stock footage of troops marching, large guns being fired and mysterious numbers floating around and blinking in his line of vision. Also, helicopters. Lots of helicopters. Occasionally, Masons " visions were accompanied by music, though oddly, only music found in Activisions Guitar Hero catalog, including CCRs Fortunate Son" which is now required by federal law for any Vietnam flashbacks. CODFLABS SIDE-EFFECTS: An unexpected effect was the appearance in Masons flashbacks of occasions and events which Mason was not even present for when they originally happened. Most common were black-and-white film images of political figures, such as presidents, dictators and other heads of state, signing documents or speaking into microphone banks. It is unknown at this time why Mason remembered so much public-domain footage when he never experienced the events first-hand. Our staff psychologist has suggested several possibilities, including genetic memory, collective unconscious or even psychic phenomena brought on by stress. Or, he may just be a fan of the History Channel. Under extreme conditions, flashbacks became so real that Mason felt as if he were actually reliving past events: combat during his missions in Cuba and Vietnam, or even the combat experiences of other individuals, including Russian agent Blah Blahblahbla, CIA operative Bla Blahbla and some guy who just fiddled with knobs on an SR-71 Blackbird. [When we determine his name we will include it in the revised report and then immediately obscure it with black marker.] TREATMENT AND RECOVERY: So far, treatment of Masons trauma after his induced flashbacks has been unsuccessful. It is common medical knowledge that soldiers with severe physical wounds can simply crouch behind a burned-out car or bullet-riddled concrete wall for a few seconds to heal torn flesh, broken bones, shrapnel wounds and the vision-inhibiting condition known as " Blood On The Eyeballs syndrome." However, attempts to replicate this approach with Masons psychological trauma were met with little success in the laboratory. Mason was instructed to crouch behind an empty oil drum for a full 48 hours while psychologists fired machine guns at him. He reported boredom and eventually hunger, but little to no improvement of his mental state. Psychologists had no further recommendation and were [redacted] with bullets to maintain secrecy. Cc: Director of Black Ops President of the United [redacted] Undersecretary of Marketing and Torture Wikileaks.org.com www.pcgamer.com 96 MARCH 2011 www.pcgamer.com www.pcgamer.com w w. www.p MARCH 2011 MARCH 2011 ‹ BACK NEXT › #211 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2011 CONTENTS MARCH 2011