Ys: Book I & II|
Nihon Falcom is rightly considered one of the chief founders of the action RPG genre. While their early Dragon Slayer installments would probably come across as too old-fashioned today, the same can hardly be said of early Ys games. Yes, their "bumping" combat is almost comically simplistic, but some of us would prefer their incredibly fast-paced gameplay over the dragging routine of Japanese turn-based RPGs. Years before Diablo, Ys perfectly captured all the addictiveness of bare-bones dungeon-crawling action RPG without being afflicted by the curse of randomly generated locations, and combined it with the charm and warmth of Japanese RPG design. The PC Engine CD version was for the long time (until a late Windows remake came) the definitive version of these classics, with beautiful cutscenes, voice acting, and CD-quality music.
Nov 19, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Sabotain: Break the Rules
Aspiring to be a "Russian Deus Ex", Sabotain was panned by local critics and went by ignored and ultimately forgotten. While a comparison to Deus Ex is far-fetched, Sabotain is much more interesting and entertaining that critics made it out to be. Solid RPG system and a large, atmospheric, colorful world to explore make up for the so-so shooter mechanics. If ambitious concept and immersive environments help you forgive lack of smooth gameplay and polish, and if you have a soft spot for those weird, yet strangely appealing "post-Soviet" shooters, give Sabotain a chance. There are so few FPS / RPG hybrids out there that this effort by Russian developers merits attention.
Sep 30, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Age of Wonders
Age of Wonders is the definition of fun exploration in strategy games. Besides conquering cities, you can investigate caves, crypts and castle ruins for treasure, dungeons to save prisoners and find allies and use altars to unleash powerful magic upon your enemies. There are 12 races, each with its unique combat units and an incredible lore ornating them. Of course you'd want to know how you ended up fighting penguins or how is the Lady of Pain planning to keep you into submission!
The gameplay is what's really important. Besides the usual TBS elements, levelling up your heroes and choosing their abilities gives the game particular charm. In tactical combat, numerical superiority is of little importance, as long as you have the right unit for the right job. Try it and see why many think that Age of Wonders has surpassed both its inspirations and look-alikes.
Aug 31, 2012, submitted by TotalAnarchy (1811)
Mid-nineties were "Middle Ages" of sorts in the timeline of Western RPGs: the glory days of Ultima were over, and the revival of the genre by Fallout was yet to come. In that dark time, the modest Albion was like a beacon of light. This surprisingly deep and engrossing RPG stands firmly in the tradition of Serpent Isle, offering a rich, fascinating world to explore, at the same time following a tightly scripted story. Interesting tactical combat, plenty of intelligent and original gameplay features, and great attention to detail make Albion one of the top underdogs in RPG history.
Jul 31, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Even considering all those other great games Monolith released, TRON 2.0 stands out as one of their very finest offerings. Expert level design, unique visuals, and humor are just some of its strengths. To me personally, the game's main attraction was in its surprisingly strong RPG elements; it plays equally well as a simple FPS and as a game in which collecting items and micro-managing your character is one of the priorities.
What did you say? How well does it capture the spirit of the movie? No idea, I haven't even watched the movie. Reason more for all of you to try this game - it doesn't depend on the license to be great.
Jun 30, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Casual gaming can never be taken seriously, surely? There's just no way a game with actual purpose can exist for a target audience who just want to waste a few minutes. Apparently not so. In a change from writer Akihiro Hino's usual forte of high-concept role-playing, this tale of a man in a top hat and is young assistant of questionable history and their investigation into the entrapments of wealth would be all well and good on its own, but the real master stroke came from designer Akira Tago and his self-contained logic puzzles you can absorb however you feel, showing the industry that casual gamers can handle a complex storyline alongside their crossword.
May 31, 2012, submitted by CrankyStorming (2317)
The Orange Box
So you pay your £45 for a box with a compilation disc in it. How many full retail games would you expect it to have? Whilst you would expect to get a thoroughly normal 1 full, recent retail game on your nice new shiny disc, Valve took the seemingly unprecedented route of putting five (yes, five, cinco, cinq, fem or fünf, what ever you would like to call it), recent full retail games (Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episodes 1 & 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2) into a single package, thus making it the bargain of the decade.
And these games weren't a bunch of cheap games that had rushed development and promptly packaged together in the hope to making a quick chunk of money, these were top wrung, fully polished games of the highest caliber.
Valve were rightly praised for doing this, and gamers loved them for giving them so much for so relative little.
But unfortunately with the current economic climate, bargains such as this will probably never be seen again.
Apr 30, 2012, submitted by havoc of smeg (10840)
Think games have lost their way? Find games boring? Do you yearn for some old school gaming in a new school world of gaming?
If you have answered 'yes' to any of those questions, then by Jove, this is for you!
From the outset, Bulletstorm's creators People Can Fly designed it to be, well, bonkers. And boy do they succeed, giving the player the ability some of gamings' most likable well crafted characters, a very entertaining skill point system and a distinct lack of both seriousness and political correctness.
In a world of FPS grind's and online games filled with abuse hurling pre pubescent kids, Bulletstorm's single player campaign is a refreshing blast of retro gaming fun, and a contender for 2011's game of the year.
Mar 31, 2012, submitted by havoc of smeg (10840)
CyberMage: Darklight Awakening|
What happens if you take Doom, inject it with a bit of System Shock, and set it in a dark futuristic urban environment? Honestly, when I accidentally stumbled upon this game I simply could not believe it was a rather obscure and unknown title most people haven't heard about. Beautiful visuals, challenge, usage of supernatural powers along with a variety of weapons, an awesome RPG-like angle (your attributes may increase permanently after you kill an enemy) - this game is just one big pleasant surprise. Did I say Strife and Requiem were the two best FPSs you've never played? Well, make some place for the third member, guys.
Feb 29, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
After Xenus II Deep Shadows ventured into sci-fi territory, delivering an even more ambitious project: first-person shooter, RPG, driving, and a bit of space simulation in one game. If you liked the idea of Mass Effect but thought those games were too linear and limited, you should definitely check out Precursors. None of its components will blow you away if taken separately; but together, they result in an immersive, addictive experience. Unfortunately, the awful English translation severely damaged the game: the original Russian script is well-written, and voice acting more than adequate.
Deep Shadows continues to develop ambitious, fascinating games. Precursors is not perfect, but it is engrossing, daring and rewarding. People who like freedom and exploration in their shooters and RPGs should not miss this one.
Feb 01, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Boiling Point: Road to Hell
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. meets GTA in Latin America - that's Boiling Point in a nutshell. Beneath the rough exterior lies an immersive experience that has no equals in ambition and scope. Challenging and unforgiving, the game is not for the impatient; but once you learn how to play by its rules, you become addicted to it. The freedom, the detail, and the amount of non-obligatory missions is simply astounding. You become part of a fascinating world and gradually find your own place in it. This is open-world gaming at its best.
Buggy initial release prevented many players from properly enjoying this gem of a game. Don't miss it now - upgrade to version 2.0, and you'll find it hard to leave Realia.
Jan 01, 2012, submitted by YID YANG (162369)
Xenus II: White Gold
Boiling Point was a very interesting game plagued by many problems. The prequel gets rid of the bugs; pays more attention to balance; and, above all, offers a more detailed and interesting world to explore. Ukrainian developers know how to make good shooters, and they know how to combine them with free-roaming environments (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). Xenus II goes further: it has a much more developed RPG angle, driving, and surprisingly well-written (at least in the original Russian version), detailed conversations. Deep Shadows delivered a fun, immersive game here; while certainly not devoid of flaws, it impresses with its scope, ambition, and entertaining gameplay.
Dec 01, 2011, submitted by YID YANG (162369)