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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,…
Quantum Conundrum: A Portal-Like Puzzle Shooter - Reviewed

Quantum Conundrum: A Portal-Like Puzzle Shooter - Reviewed

Let's just get this out of the way: Yes, Quantum Conundrum is a first-person puzzler, just like Portal. Yes, it was designed by Kim Swift, the project lead on Portal. And yes, it shares some of Portal's core traits: there's a physics-altering arm device, a goofy omniscient narrator, and an alarming number of buttons that need to be pushed.

But Quantum Conundrum crawls out from its spiritual predecessor's mighty shadow and stands, triumphant, as a game that's unique, raw, and brilliant in many ways. Finally, Portal has a worthy rival.

Nintendo's new 3DS XL: a new, bigger 3DS

Nintendo's new 3DS XL: a new, bigger 3DS

The screen is 90 percent bigger, with larger bottom and top screens. It's called the Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan and the Nintendo 3DS XL in the West. The top screen measures at 4.88 inches and is 90 percent bigger,…
In Paris: A few things I learned about video games

In Paris: A few things I learned about video games

I went to Paris last weekend, which is an extravagant thing to do if you live in New York and should probably be making shorter weekend commutes. But I had a rare chance to go and so off I went. I wasn't supposed to be working, but I can't shut off the video-game-reporter part of my brain. While on vacation I did a little work. For your benefit!

Commodore founder, tech pioneer Jack Tramiel dies at 83

Commodore founder, tech pioneer Jack Tramiel dies at 83

That day we brought home a Commodore 64, my first ever video game system, the device which first kindled my lifelong passion for video games and which, ultimately, has led to who I am and where I am today. So it's sad to learn today that Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International, has passed away at the age of 83.

Mass Effect 3 Review: The Sequel We've Been Waiting For

Mass Effect 3 Review: The Sequel We've Been Waiting For

Here are the real questions everyone has: did my favorite feature from Mass Effect come back? Does my favorite skill from Mass Effect 2 carry over? And what about the romantic relationship I chose, or my favorite companion, or that great gun? Is it my Normandy, my Citadel, my galaxy? Do my choices matter?

Is this, in short, truly the Mass Effect title for which we have all been waiting for so very many interminable months? Yes. Yes it is.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Game) Review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Game) Review

The tantalizingly brief Skyrim teaser trailer debuted by Bethesda Softworks late last year filled my mind with visions of titanic battles between man and beast; of shining steel bathed in ancient flames; of a champion rising from humble origins, prepared to sacrifice everything for the fate of the world.

After 60+ hours with the game those visions have been fully realized — and rendered largely inconsequential.It's the sort of tale that fuels ancient epics and trashy fantasy novel trilogies alike. This is not your average role-playing game. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, this titanic tale is merely a framing device for a much larger story. My story.