This week's best free PC games
Have you completed Skyrim yet? Ha! Still, if you fancy a bit of a break, there are a couple of older Elder Scrolls games to revisit for absolutely no coins at all. If that doesn't float your boat, then how about high-speed racing, collapsing environments, and small blob-creatures that enjoy dismembering themselves? You can have them all in this week's best free PC games...
The Elder Scrolls: Arena / The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
These aren't new additions to Bethesda's website, but in a week where I'm sure most of us have enjoyed a stay in the snowy climes of Skyrim it seems only fair to list the series' origins here. 1994's The Elder Scrolls: Arena and its follow-up, Daggerfall, are the pre-Morrowind titles that I'd wager few people have played. Why not change that?
The games are blocky and dated, certainly, and you'll need to grab a DOS emulator to run them. But it's still worth returning to the roots of The Elder Scrolls. Instead of being meticulously hand-crafted, the vastness of Arena and Daggerfall was generated on the fly, meaning these are two of the most gigantic game worlds you'll ever explore.
It's also interesting to see how the story began. Snippets of information you may have glossed over, or been confused by, in more recent offerings turn out to be central plot points in Arena and Daggerfall. And you begin to see some recurrent themes, too. In Arena, the story focuses on the Emperor, who's been kidnapped and taken to another dimension. You don't need to read too closely between the lines to realise it's talking about Oblivion.
It's a toss-up between Skyrim and Morrowind for my favourite Elder Scrolls games, but these - especially considering they're more than a decade and a half old - are definitely worth a look.
DigiPen. Download it from the official website.
Nitronic Rush is not your average racing game. It features vehicles and tracks, yes, but it also features environmental obstacles, horrendous traps and the necessity to flip gravity - all played out at a lightning-quick pace.
It's designed for an Xbox 360 controller, through which you can feel the rumble of the vehicles and more precisely move them about. The things fly along at a furious speed. It's all mightily impressive, and equally brutally challenging.
The game also looks spectacular in all its neon glory, the environment blurring as you race along. A relatively big download at 500mb, it's well worth it for this quality of design.
Pursuit of Hat
BigDingo. Play it on Kongregate.
This puzzle-platformer looks unassuming when you first glance at it. A game with a pleasant visual style, you play as a strange limbed blob thing. The first twist arrives when you realise quite how literal the title is: your cute little blog loses his hat at the start of each level, and you must figure out how to get it back.
The second twist is a bigger one: in order to solve many of these puzzles, you must tear off an arm. Or a leg. Or one of each, or both of both. Maybe you should remove your entire body, in fact, and just become a rolling head that can access the tiniest of crevices.
It's all very silly, which the music seems to understand, its brass instruments parping along amusingly as they do. And the puzzles ramp up to a decent difficulty, too, with physics obstacles quickly cropping up and body parts quickly splattered all over the level. Bizarre, but strangely endearing.
Riley Adams. Download it from the Ludum Dare website.
Developed in just 48 hours, Fragmentation is a much better effort than its creator, Adam Riley, makes out ("This one didn't go as planned," he says. "It's playable-ish."). It's a few-button running game in which your aim is to escape a world that's falling apart behind you, evading obstacles along the way.
The longer you evade these obstacles, the faster things get. Quickly you'll be jumping, crouching and flipping gravity at impressive paces as the little blue and yellow blocks start to disappear from your rear-view camera.
It's exciting stuff, despite a couple of minor bugs. The developer should give himself more credit.
PCGamer.com’s Best Free PC Games Features are brought to you in association with Virgin Media 50 Mb Broadband. Get ultrafast broadband now at virginmedia.com/gaming or call 0800 052 0273