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After 20 years in the desert, Dune 2 is back on PC. Ported from an open-source version of the game, the pioneering RTS – which laid the foundations for games like Starcraft 2, Total War and Command and Conquer - has been faithfully recreated in HTML 5, so you can play it in your browser without handing over a single grain of spice. Or any real money.
I’m in The House of Chthon, the narrowest and most lava-filled level in Quake. It’s a one-on-one deathmatch, and my opponent—[FU]Frost—is trying to rocket-jump up to my position on the second level. I spam grenades, leaving a trail of bombs to slow his pursuit as I backpedal. A quad damage power-up appears at the far end of the map, on an island in the middle of the lava. It’s the ultimate worm-on-a-hook—he abandons his rocket-jumps and beelines it for the quad. But I stay put. I switch to my rocket launcher and pop a missile at the floating quad icon seconds before he gets there. As soon as he reaches the island, my rocket smacks his feet, careening his body into the liquid fire—instant death.
Before StarCraft came along, we all played Supreme Commander 2 at lunch. It's a great game with a dedicated development team who are committed to firing out updates and improvements months after release, even as their company at large is working on a new title. I returned to it yesterday after the recent patch, and I got to thinking – StarCraft 2 and Supreme Commander 2 are hugely entertaining RTS experiences with wildly different approaches to the genre. As you know, I hate diversity almost as much as I hate joy, so I started compiling a list of things that each game could learn from the other. Here are five things I reckon StarCraft 2 could learn from Supreme Commander 2. Update: Servo at Gas Powered Games offered some insights into how feasible these would be. Here's what he said:
More than 1.5 million people have voted in this year's Golden Joysticks, now it's finally time for the winners to be announced. The Golden Joystick awards 2010 are happening right now in London. Read on for the full list of categories and shortlisted games, and keep your finger near the refresh button, we'll be updating each category with the winners live as they're announced.
After 30 minutes with post-patch Diablo 3, Spyro the wizard is a new man. His new shoulder pads let him teleport back to town from the safety of an impenetrable energy bubble. The crotch slot of his new rare pants, called the "Bone Guard", is occupied by a radiant topaz that increases his intelligence. He'll be happiest with his new wand, though. The "Blackhand Key" boosts his arcane power, feeds him extra XP for every monster he melts, and looks like a glowing green animal spine. A coveted legendary spine, no less. Another juicy chunk of treasure, courtesy of the revamped loot system introduced by update 2.0.1. The patch is great. This major update revamps the core loot systems on which the entire game runs, rejigs skills for every class, redesigns boss fights and adds new stuff, like cursed shrines and nephalem glory globes. The reams of changes are contained in lengthy patch notes on Battle.net, but the takeaway is simple. Diablo 3 is a much faster and more rewarding game than it was a week ago.
As part of our ongoing celebration of all things StarCraft, we're hosting a Starcraft smörgåsbord, with a different theme for each of the days leading up to and the week following SC2's release. This article is a part of the "Everything We Know About StarCraft Day", the first of the bunch, and is an online release of our exclusive announcement of the game's existence way back in our August 2007 issue.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution starts, as you’ll know if you read Tom’s diary yesterday, with a mission to stop terrorists from stealing a prototype from one of Sarif Industries' labs. The difference is that where Tom decided to play as a psychopath - "play as" - I’m making my way through the game as a stealthy, non-lethal hacker. I sneak by enemies, and if I can’t sneak, I snipe them with my tranquiliser gun, and if I can’t snipe, I punch them so hard they go to bed. I’m basically roleplaying Batman.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, 80s B-movie horror has a new face. Though that's not exactly the first body part most of her devotees liked to focus on... "Elvira who?" you might be asking, rudely ruining the best "Doctor, doctor" joke in the world. Well, not without cause these days, especially outside the US. During the 80s though, TV hostess Elvira was infamous for two big things, and they weren't taste or subtlety. Nor were they the two British made adventures that both bear her name and proudly bare her... ah, soul. Nor the... Wait, why am I bothering with innuendo? Seems pointless when dealing with a character who once proudly hoped people would remember "I was more than just a great set of boobs. I was also an incredible pair of legs." Screw it then. She's Elvira. And these are her titular games.
This gets harder every year. Every year new games are released, old favourites are replayed, obscure indies capture our hearts, and games that we once knew are updated until they’re unrecognisable. We’re fickle, argumentative people in love with the most dynamic gaming platform on the planet, and we’re only allowed to pick 100 games? It should be the top 1,000, the top 10,000, to fit every single game we all love. But it’s not. As much as the games change, our task remains the same. Boil down decades of sims and shooters, roleplaying games and real-time strategies, into the top 100. The best games on PC. Those that you must play, now.
Welcome to our Guild Wars 2 review in progress. The three day head start for Guild Wars 2 pre-purchasers began on Saturday morning. Chris has been in the game (well, ish) from the start, and will be recording his impressions here over the course of next few days with a full review to follow.