The best PC games of 2012
World of Darkness
Publisher: CCP Games
We still don’t know how badly CCP’s White Wolf MMO has been affected by the recent layoffs, but their senior producer Chris McDonough has reassured the community that it really is still happening. Honest. Pitched as a brutal take on the vampires ’n’ werewolves roleplaying setting, World of Darkness will feature the rather nasty sounding permadeath: but we’re not quite sure what that means when everyone has already died.
Infinity: The Quest of Earth
Publisher: I-Novae Studios
The dream of seamless spaceflight has been around as long as PC gaming. Infinity is incredibly ambitious: a freeform sci-fi MMO featuring everything from fighters to dreadnoughts, set in a vast randomly generated universe with full atmospheric flight. Few details are available, but as dreams go, we really, really want this one to come true.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Currently confirmed for Japan only, the sequel to Sega’s 2000 action MMO features new boss battles and a revamped combo system. The original game introduced a number of concepts – like hub areas with combat instances branching off them – that have since become part of the fabric of the MMO. Who knows – maybe the sequel will be just as forward-thinking.
Living After War
Publisher: Prosiebensat.1 Digital
Real-time strategy gets post-apocalyptic (read: mohicans) in this free-to-play title. Some 200 years after a nuclear war, humans return to find earth overrun with radioactive mutants. The blend of strategy and shooter sounds interesting, with players able to control mechs and tanks directly. However, surely we’re getting a little tired of the post-apocalyptic setting by now?
If the Mass Effect MMO never happens, I suppose we’ll have to make do with Otherland. Based on Tad Williams’ popular series of virtual-reality themed novels and running on Unreal Engine 3, it thankfully looks a tad more substantial than your average sci-fi opera MMO. Better than all that, it’s going to be free to play, too, so you won’t have to part with your cash if it turns out to be rubbish. But we’re sure it won’t be.
Marking 1C’s first venture into the world of MMOs, this comes complete with castles to capture and loot to gather. 1C have form in the fantasy genre: they published both King’s Bounty and Fantasy Wars, and this should put the game on a good footing in the bulging MMO market. Hopefully they’ll stick some IL-2 Sturmovik planes in there as well.
The Secret World
Ragnar Tørnquist’s story-driven MMO is set in a twisted take on the real world, where all conspiracies are true. Join one of three secret societies and battle dark Lovecraftian horrors while taking part in a grand ARG-style mystery that extends beyond the game itself. It’s a big year for MMO fans, and The Secret World is a serious, if quirky contender.
Cheap post-apocalyptic MMOs are usually greeted with a collective sigh in PC Gamer towers, but Sevencore does look a bit more interesting than most. Particularly because it features both dragons and motorbikes. But not dragons on motorbikes.
The Wizardry tabletop RPG games enjoyed huge success in Japan, leading to this MMO. It’s currently in beta testing, with an impressive trailer setting the scene. We hope that western audiences get a hilariously dodgy translation, too.
Lime Odyssey: The Chronicles of Orta
The lime of the title isn’t a fruit, it’s a mysterious artefact that will reunite Nisis’ ravaged realms in this MMORPG. It looks colourful and playful, with characters donning funky hats before milking cows.
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online
Publisher: Vigil Games
Last year’s E3 trailer confirms that while there is only war, ‘war’ can be broadly interpreted to include giant stompy Titan robots, motorcycles, and angry-looking shooty men. Good news!
World of Planes
Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
This just happens to also be a World War II air combat MMO. Locations have been painstakingly reconstructed from satellite imagery and contemporary maps, and the damage model boasts unprecedented levels of detail.
Bounty Hounds Online - Pro Pack
Publisher: Lace Mamba
A sci-fi MMO set on ‘Clear Sky Planet’, which is presumably a place and not a theme-park dedicated to the Stalker expansion. You’ll pick one of five mercenary classes and battle on behalf of your choice of faction. The £9.99 game client comes with £10 worth of in-game credit. It’s an interesting business model: ‘free to play’ with a mandatory initial payment.
Eligium - The Chosen One
Silly us – we assumed they’d just misspelt Belgium. Eligium is another free-to-play MMO promising five classes, a high degree of customisation, manifold dungeons and PvP action. And lightning. Apparently one player is “the chosen one”, which kind of defeats the point of it being an MMO. Maybe only one person will play it.
Age of Wulin - Legend of the Nine Scrolls
Age of Wulin – Snail Game’s latest MMO – certainly has a large budget, with astonishing graphics and proper human characters. It takes a skill-based approach to the genre, where your character picks up such Jesus-beating skills as running on water. Don’t write it off just because it’s relatively unknown.
There doesn’t seem to be any end to the Bethesda/Interplay interminable legal scuffle over Fallout Online. It makes the OJ Simpson trial look like an episode of Judge Judy it’s gone on so long. So far we know that humans and ghouls will be playable characters, and that the game will feature tough choices and quests with multiple solutions. Let’s hope it escapes the courts long enough for us to find out more.
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Set in a fantastical version of 17th century New England, Paradox’s MMO likes to do things differently. Rather than respawning, if your character dies they’re gone FOREVER. So all the items they’ve created with Salem’s alchemic crafting system can be collected by other players. It seems like a particularly masochistic take on the MMO, and it’ll be interesting just to see if it works.
Publisher: Ankama Games
A turn-based tactical follow-up to the wildly popular Flash MMO Dofus. It’s got a lovely hand-drawn art style with a self-consciously videogamey twist: something like Hayao Miyazaki drawing Scott Pilgrim. Deep crafting and an interesting take on online citizenship – where players can take roles as governors, guards and outlaws – round out the package and make Wakfu one to watch.
Publisher: En Masse Entertainment
If MMOs are growing up, Tera is a late-adolescent teen: slightly gawky but strikingly beautiful. (She’s over 16, honest.) It’s powered by Unreal Engine 3 which allows for some gorgeous visuals, and it adds shooter mechanics to the mix. Developers En Masse Entertainment say they’re tailoring it specifically for western gamers.
WildStar is billed as an attempt to create the ‘next great MMO’. It’ll feature varied challenges tailored to the player’s choice of faction, race, and class. It faces increasingly tough competition, however: not least from NCsoft stablemate Guild Wars 2.
Publisher: Cliffhanger Productions
Deadlands Online is an action- RPG from Pinnacle Games, based on a horror western setting. Cliffhanger are still looking for a publisher, so don’t hold your breath – but we’d certainly be happy to have it see the light of day.
Publisher: Cliffhanger Productions
Cliffhanger’s take on the legendary cyberpunk pen-and-paper franchise will be an online browser game. It’s about time this setting got a proper outing, but with no game details the jury is out on whether it’ll do it justice.
Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
A mass-multiplayer spaceship combat game, team-based with multiple modes and customisable ships. While it bills itself as an MMO, Star Conflict’s matchmaking and progression systems sound more like Battlefield than EVE.
Publisher: Perfect World
An action MMO, RaiderZ has been in development since 2006. It features acrobatic twitch combat and a bright, colourful design. This particular take on the multiplayer RPG hasn’t had much of a showing on PC, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Tags: Games of 2012,