Unlike the other gaming platforms we’ve been evaluating here at the end of the year, the PC’s been around for decades. Recently, the PC’s long legacy of openness and customization has come into conflict with a mainstream that’s finally—finally—realized just how big of a deal PC gaming actually is. By and large, the PC is in a great place in 2015.
With Legacy of the Void, StarCraft II multiplayer is in a better place than it’s ever been. Competitive matches are faster and more interesting. The new co-op mode is an unexpected delight. There appear to be balance issues but this is a living game that will be patched and updated for years to come. Amid new ideas and changes it's clear that Blizzard is not afraid to experiment.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes us to Victorian London in 1868. The historical setting mixes painstakingly accurate architectural renderings with entertainingly campy and counterfactual cameos from figures like Darwin and Dickens. Interactively and narratively Syndicate is a mixed bag. But it's also the best entry in years for a series that's seen some high profile misfires.
As Steam has expanded over the years it’s also taken on an infernal-machine-like quality; it’s become this cacophonous conglomerate of bells and whistles, many of which are buried under other bells and whistles. It’s hard to know everything it is capable of, so here are a few lesser-known Steam features I’ve come across.
The thing about Rocket League that keeps me coming back to it so often, is how it’s a multiplayer game, but it’s not a multiplayer game. I normally avoid traditionally multiplayer titles; the last thing I want to deal with when playing video games is the grating sound and erratic behaviour of other human beings. But with Rocket League, it just doesn’t matter.
Thanks to the rapid rate of change in video games, both my job and the industry I cover are practically unrecognisable after a decade. There have been hundreds of significant changes, big and small, technological and cultural. Here are the 10 things I believe are the most important in this decade of transformation.
If you want to understand Massive Chalice, you need to understand XCOM. Double Fine’s Massive Chalice has been hugely influenced by Julian Gallop’s seminal 1994 strategy game. Massive Chalice focuses on up-close tactical gameplay and big-picture strategy. It handles the former exceptionally well, far better than it handles the latter.
Blizzard defines Heroes of the Storm as a “hero brawler.” But really, it’s a MOBA—an idiosyncratic and sparsely populated genre that mixes together bits and pieces of real-time strategy and fighting games in fiercely competitive matches. The game pits two teams of fantastical creatures against each other to see who can destroy the other’s base first.
Silly fanboys. All these years arguing over things you thought were important, like specs, and games, and controllers. Not once have you considered the most crucial thing about a video game console: how good it looks. Over the past four decades, there have been some plain consoles, sometimes even some ugly consoles, but we don’t care about them today. Today, we celebrate the best-looking video game consoles (no handhelds) of all time.
This is a next-generation Mortal Kombat in more ways than one. It features new characters, some of whom are the sons and daughters of classic Kombatants like Johnny Cage and Jax Briggs. More gore, but also more emotional plot points. You get the sense that Netherrealm is trying to infuse fresh blood into their franchise while simultaneously courting acclaim from the world of hyper-competent pro-competition players. Mostly, the ambition pays off.
Last summer, I finished building and fine-tuning a new gaming PC. I had a lot of fun, but the process could also be pretty annoying. Today, I'm going to list the ten worst things about building a new gaming PC. Bitterness! Negativity! Complaining! Here we go.
Before I joined Gearbox Software, I worked at Destructoid as a features editor, highlighting indie games and spewing vitriol at big-budget games I didn't like. I played their games, I found them wanting, and I felt like I had a pretty good idea of where and why things had gone wrong. I may not have ever made a game myself but I basically knew what game development was about, right? Wrong. It turns out there were a shitload of things I didn't know about.
Games are forever changing. If you played a shooter from 1999 and then a shooter from 2015, you'd notice the differences immediately, not just in how they looked but how they played, how smartly they were designed. Homeworld was released in 1999. Play its remastered edition in 2015, though, and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a brand new video game. Almost everything about it — and I'm not talking about its new visuals — feels fresh.