I'm starting to think PC gaming might be dangerous to humanity's long-term survival. Hearing Renegade-X's soft-spoken AI announcer just gave me a nostalgic shiver of childhood days spent building tanks and targeting Ion Cannons. That's a powerful weakness for future robot armies to exploit in their inevitable campaign to enslave us all. Until that dark day arrives, we can at least busy ourselves with a free, tactical multiplayer shooter. The C&C inspired FPS has now entered open beta.
I get told off by the community every time I suggest that C&C Renegade wasn't a good game. Let's try this instead: C&C Renegade was a heaping pile of shipped software that was technically unable to match its conceptual ambition, instead providing a shonky singleplayer experience, and a multiplayer mode that, despite being reasonably entertaining, was largely forgettable. There, that should keep people happy.
Before you run over to the comments to call me a blithering idiot, take a peek at this new video for Renegade X, the fan-made C&C shooter that is due to be released next month. Formerly a UT3 mod, it's now a standalone game that will be freely available to anyone seeking a tactical multiplayer fix.
This article came together by accident. I was fighting through the backlog of games I had on my PC, when I realised that I'd played three amazing fan remakes in a row. Black Mesa, The Dark Mod, and Pioneer were all lined-up beside some of the year's biggest releases, and I barely even took stock of where they came from or how they came to be. They just seemed like great games and I wanted to play them. They are, and they're not alone: the PC's capacity to enable fans to engage with their favourite games in the most direct way possible has given us piles of amazing games to play, and here are ten of my favourites.
Starcraft fans have it easy. Four official games or expansions, all of which were great. Command & Conquer's supporters may have access to more games, but that hasn't always been a good thing. Between free-to-play cancellations, web browser abominations, and even some lacklustre sequels, the series isn't what it used to be. Arguably C&C's first major misstep was over a decade ago, when Westwood wondered what would happen if they made a first-person spin-off. The answer was "it would make a bad game", and that game was called Renegade.
But where Westwood failed, modders want to triumph. Formerly an Unreal Tournament 3 mod project, Renegade X is a first and third-person standalone shooter that takes the C&C concept in what, from the release date announcement trailer, looks to be an exciting direction.