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Metro: Last Light Review

Metro: Last Light Review

The Metro series is set some years after nuclear war has ruined the surface of the Earth and put an end to civilization as we know it. In Russia, survivors have retreated to the Metro, re-forging a bleak semi-existence in the tunnels beneath the city. This is the sort of game that mentions, in its opening cinematic, the very real possibility that God is dead.

Last Light assumes that players got the "bad ending" in Metro 2033 and took the option to blast the entire population of "Dark Ones" into oblivion. The subsequent discovery of a single surviving Dark One sets the plot of Last Light in motion.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon review: Retro shooter goodness

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon review: Retro shooter goodness

"The game is stupid," Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans proudly proclaimed during a recent press event — not foolish pride, but pride in foolishness. Ubisoft has done great and terrible things with the game engine, transforming it into a nightmare world, where wild boars roam the purple plains, backs covered with neon graffiti.

Blood Dragon's story unfolds through a series of 2D cutscenes that wouldn't be out-of-place in an NES-era adventure. And when those scenes end, it's into a day-glo nightmare from the early days of MTV.

Stardock: PC gaming is about to break free of 'poisonous' decade-old standards

Stardock: PC gaming is about to break free of 'poisonous' decade-old standards

Game developers have been stuck with DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory for the past decade. While this hasn’t harmed first person shooters (they only have to manage a handful of objects at once), it has been poisonous to other genres. Next time you’re playing an RPG in first person with no party you can refer to DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory as a big reason for that.

Razer Edge Gaming Tablet Review: A full-blown PC trapped inside a tablet

Razer Edge Gaming Tablet Review: A full-blown PC trapped inside a tablet

Like many PC gamers, I've often wished a machine capable of putting the power of a gaming rig in a portable device. Gaming laptops are lovely and have their place, but that place is often on top of a desk. After a week with Razer's new Edge gaming tablet, I realize what I really wanted was to play Bioshock Infinite in the bathroom without burning my thighs. All hail Razer, deliverer of dreams.

Razer's only review guidelines before sending along a Razer Edge loaner was that I not tell them I used it in the bathroom. I am a review guideline freedom fighter, deep in the trenches, pants around my ankles, balancing a $1,499 gaming tablet on the side of the tub before redeploying to less secluded front. And why not? I don't have to stop playing until the batteries run out.

BioShock Infinite Review: The Perfect Sequel?

BioShock Infinite Review: The Perfect Sequel?

BioShock Infinite isn't just a worthy sequel to a much-loved predecessor. It also manages to be about America - touching on its past, present and possibilities — in a way that makes it a must.

You haven't been to a place like this before. The fictional floating city where Infinite is set is all clockwork platforms and brass gears, its many sections populated with hucksters, strivers, lovers and schoolchildren. One minute, you're walking past a sheer drop, the next a park swings down into the open space.

The past and present of isometric graphics in games

The past and present of isometric graphics in games

Games with isometric graphics—a slightly rotated view with a top-down perspective—were a big deal several years ago. Static, isometric maps, mostly used in strategy and role-playing games, allowed the developers to create spectacular, detailed visuals, and most of them have…
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Review

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Review

When you're not building and recruiting, you're following arrows and doing what the game tells you to do. There are optional side-quests, yes, but they're almost always marked on your mini-map, and they're way too easy to find and finish.

But it's still StarCraft. It's still a joy to go through the now-familiar ritual of training and killing, and even the easiest missions are designed with the attention to detail that we've grown to expect from this series. And even the easier moments exercise your mind in the way that only a real-time strategy game can.

SimCity Review: Real or Simulated Disaster?

SimCity Review: Real or Simulated Disaster?

To many fans of the original city building simulation series, the idea of an online multiplayer game that required even solo players to be connected to the internet at all times seemed like a recipe for disaster.

Maxis' latest creation is easily the most compelling SimCity I've played since the 1989 original. It's also a disaster.

The Best PC Game Mods 2013

The Best PC Game Mods 2013

The real joy of playing a game on PC is that, thanks to mods, your entire experience can be improved by the work of dedicated fans.

Because some mods are so extensive, transforming almost everything about the source title, we felt it was only fair to list 12 of the best of them here, since they may as well count as their own new games.

Culture Smash: Why Is PC Gaming in Japan So Niche?

Culture Smash: Why Is PC Gaming in Japan So Niche?

Cold rain drizzles outside. Inside, everything is pink, round, and frilly. The first floor of this otaku (geek) retailer is plastered with release info for new PC games—adult PC games. The shop is located in Den-Den Town, Osaka's geek and gaming district, on a street known as "Ota Road", short for "otaku road". It's easy to stumble into shops like this and find an array of dating games, some of which are erotic.

The vast majority of these games are not exactly mainstream in Japan, but their presence is palpable in a geek neighborhood like this. But what Western gamers think of PC games—the games from developers like Valve and Blizzard—aren't. It's not that those Western PC games don't exist; they just don't smack you in the face.

Gaming GIFs of 2012

Gaming GIFs of 2012

It's been a heck of a year for games. We've had our highs and we've had our lows, but more importantly, we've all turned those highs and lows into animated GIFs for the rest of the internet to behold.

With that in mind, let's see what the best ones were.
We'll start with a few of our favorites.

Editorial: My PC is my Next-Gen Console

Editorial: My PC is my Next-Gen Console

There was a moment on Sunday when I thought the PC gamers had been hiding something from me. They'd been telling me that PC gaming wasn't the complicated hobby that it used to be, that it was more streamlined and less of a pain. They'd told me that I didn't need to be an auto mechanic if I didn't want to be, that I could just drive without ever flipping up the hood.

And yet there I was trying to be a PC gamer on Sunday and having a tough time of it. I was feeling stymied yet again. I was having what I now hope are my last doubts, because today I've just about run out of excuses to fear PC gaming.

Highlight Reel: The Best PC Game Mods of 2012

Highlight Reel: The Best PC Game Mods of 2012

They are, beyond control schemes and visuals, the single best reason to play games on a PC. Mods can, at their laziest, tweak a game so its settings or features behave more to your liking. At their most ambitious, they can transform your entire experience, leaving you with something that feels like an all-new game.

This year was a big one for PC mods, with two - DayZ and Black Mesa - rivalling commercial products for public awareness and, perhaps more importantly, quality. But they weren't the only great mods released this year, here's a shortlist of the best mods released during 2012.

Far Cry 3 Review: An open-world shooter through and through

Far Cry 3 Review: An open-world shooter through and through

Far Cry 3 is an open-world shooter through and through. The setup is simple: You're set loose on a massive island and tasked with gradually conquering it, one dead pirate/tiger/shark at a time. Here's a gun. Have fun.

There's a story you can play through, but it's in the balance between the "story parts" and the "non-story parts" that Far Cry 3 finds success. The story parts are a long series of mostly linear, welcomely varied adventures Jason undertakes in service of this rescue/revenge plot. The non-story parts are the emergent action that happens all over the island between missions. As with many of the best open-world games, the story parts are fun, but the non-story parts are what make Far Cry 3 special.

Hitman: Absolution Review - Agent 47 is Back for a Little Killing

Hitman: Absolution Review - Agent 47 is Back for a Little Killing

Hitman: Absolution is a wickedly smart, darkly enjoyable video game, one that's as generous to players as its protagonist is merciless to his victims. You'll stab, strangle and shoot your way through level after level, sometimes grimacing, sometimes scowling, sometimes laughing.

Absolution picks up the Hitman story where the last game in the series, 2006's Blood Money, left off. That's a long time between sequels, even in the relatively slow-moving video game world. But that extended time in development likely accounts for a lot of what makes Hitman such a sprawling, interesting game.

Wii U Review: Nintendo's Latest Is Out the Door

Wii U Review: Nintendo's Latest Is Out the Door

The Wii U is a capable machine. For once, we have a Nintendo console that doesn't feel like it is pocked with omissions. Gone is the era of GameCube controllers with three shoulder buttons when the competition has four. Gone is the era of the Wii that couldn't send HD graphics to an HD TV.

The Wii U meets the standards of modern console gaming, while also supporting Wii Remotes and therefore serving as an HD version of the Wii. It does all of these things and introduces some well-realized new features to modern console gaming.

Halo 4 Review: Master Chief is Back

Halo 4 Review: Master Chief is Back

People, especially gamers, seem to be afraid of change. That's understandable when it comes to the Halo franchise. Halo is a legacy. When Bungie introduced the sci-fi, FPS franchise over a decade ago, it wowed fans with a perfect formula of alien creatures and versatile weapons. It became a household name, and for good reason.

So change seems like it would be scary. Like it might ruin the integrity of something that's formed such an impressive community. Fortunately hardcore Halo fans can rest assured that 343 has stayed true to the core of Halo, and I urge them to keep an open mind when confronted by its new skin. Because that skin is beautiful.

Medal of Honor (MoH) Warfighter Review

Medal of Honor (MoH) Warfighter Review

Warfighter is a first-person military shooter developed by Danger Close and published by EA. The Medal of Honor series has become, in most every respect, a flagrant imitation of Activision's much ballyhooed Call of Duty series. You play the game from the first-person perspective. You hold a machine gun and shoot bad guys, almost exclusively foreigners. That's about all there is to it.

The game has the dubious distinction of being the Ultimate Brown Military Shooter Of All Time. It's so brazenly unremarkable, its storytelling so amateurish, its action so rote, that it feels like a master class in middling modern warfare.

Razer Blade Gaming Laptop: Quick Review

Razer Blade Gaming Laptop: Quick Review

Appreciating the original Razer Blade required a dramatic shift in the way I thought about portable gaming machines. Form factor always took a back seat to performance. The second generation Razer Blade is not quite a high performance gaming laptop, but it's getting better.

Guild Wars 2 Review

Guild Wars 2 Review

With a mix of familiar MMORPG tropes and new, modern approaches to delivering them, Guild Wars 2 is an excellent, welcoming take on the genre.

During a full month playing Guild Wars 2, I recorded impressions in a series of logs. The first was where I discovered an insatiable need to explore. In the second, I marveled at how easy it was to get off the beaten path, how unnecessary it seemed to be to form a party, and how generally amiable the community was. Part three was where I discovered crafting, and in log four I hopped into world vs world PvP and fell off rather a lot of cliffs.

OnLive rebooted: What went wrong?

OnLive rebooted: What went wrong?

I remember the first time I saw OnLive demoed for me. Three years ago, I was ushered into a conference room on Manhattan's Midtown East neighborhood and saw Crysis running of the cloud gaming service's network. It looked impressive, sure,…