Gaming Enthusiast http://www.gamingenthusiast.net Wed, 17 Sep 2014 03:05:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Top 10 Reissued And Remastered Classics On GOGcom http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-reissued-remastered-classics-gogcom/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-reissued-remastered-classics-gogcom/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:59:30 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19498 CD Projekt RED seems to have netted a few new juicy contracts, with a succession of classic games coming out for GOGcom. This is my…

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CD Projekt RED seems to have netted a few new juicy contracts, with a succession of classic games coming out for GOGcom. This is my personal recommendations list for the top 10 remastered, remade, or just plain reissued classics on GOGcom. We’re also stretching this a bit to include games with an old school aesthetic, and at least one straight up sequel.

Defender of the Crown  Cinemaware has finally signed up with GOGcom, and their initial salvo is the flagship title that made the companies’ name. In Defender of the Crown, you lead a group of Saxon knights in a quest to unite England and take it back from those terrible Normans and their giant castles. Cinemaware has gone the extra mile and is offering both the DOS and (in every way superior) Amiga versions of the game. Defender of the Crown raised the bar on presentation in strategy games and PC games in general, and today the game still holds up well.  Buy Here Now

DROD 4: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder Did the first few DROD games seem too intimidating? This is the game you need to play first. It serves as the prequel to the series, but also offers a smoother, lower barrier to entry. Get acquainted with DROD’s intimidating mechanics as Beethro Budkin narrates the tale of the first dungeon conquering smitemaster, his grandfather Gunthro.  Buy Here Now

Shadowgate Special Edition Shadowgate is a classic for Mac and Nintendo gamers alike. Between the NES, Mac, Game Boy Color, Windows, and N64, millions worldwide have endured and enjoyed this punishing, often puzzling, adventure. One Kickstarter later and the game has been revamped for modern systems. Along with the enhanced graphics is a more reasonable difficulty curve and remade tunes, but a lot of the same familiar elements and tropes that make Shadowgate what it is. If you’ve never entered this realm, this is the best way to experience the game today.  Buy Here Now

Reprisal Universe Reprisal Universe is a stylish, well designed retake on the Populous series, and itself a remake of a freeware RTS. The pixelated graphics, along with the unique tilt shift style  presentation, make this one a worthy play for old and new gamers alike. You are Thallos, a fallen demi-god working to gather his people, as well as the ten lost amulets of his tribes. You control nature’s elements, with 20 totem powers to collect, as well as 32 planets to explore. Buy Here Now

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition  OK, so this game isn’t even out yet (releasing October 15), but at a small discount for preorder, it comes highly recommended. One of the most critically acclaimed adventure games ever made has been reimagined and remade in high resolution 3D. The eponymous Gabriel Knight investigates a series of voodoo killings, and along the way, discovers the Gabriel family’s roots, as well as his ultimate destiny. The original developer, Jane Jensen, has brought back her baby for modern gamers, adding new scenes and puzzles to boot. Jane’s Pinkerton Road also commissioned the original composer, Robert Holmes, to remake the soundtrack. Buy Here Now

Hogs of War This humorous RTS may be mostly forgotten today, but it is a game worth coming back to for its rare parodic design, as well as for the comic styling of its voice actor, the late Rik Mayall. Take charge of one of six pig nations squabbling over the islands of Saustralasia. These nations, each a parody of a major country involved in World War I, are fighting to take control of swill, the life blood of pigs. Arm your grunts with upgrades to their classes, arms, even earning vehicles like tanks, and play across 25 regions. Hogs of War has not received the graphical upgrades the other games on this list have, but it definitely has a charm of its own. Buy Here Now

Sacred 2 Gold If you haven’t experienced the world of Sacred, GOGcom once again offers the best deal you can find for it anywhere. Bundling Sacred 2 Fallen Angel and its expansion, Sacred 2 Ice and Blood. The world of Ancaria is in disarray due to the disruption of a new energy source. While the Seraphim and Inquisitors squabble for control, the energy spreads and mutates the world’s inhabitants. Ice and Blood adds two regions as well as a new playable character. Overall, Sacred is know for straightforward hack and slash fun, and while it always stands under the shadow of Diablo, Sacred 2 is fun enough to acquire a dedicated fanbase on its own. Buy Here Now

AI War Collection A grand RTS series, this bundles AI War: Fleet Command and all six expansions for hours upon hours of gameplay. You are a human commander, grossly outnumbered by AI armies that have taken root throughout the galaxy. You and you 3,000 unit strong army takes on the AI’s 50,000, in a grand battle to take it all back. Of course, the big draw here is the game’s brilliant and unique algorithms, which will make you want to play over and over. AI War is one of the finest 4X games in existence.  Buy Here Now

Wasteland 2 Digital Deluxe Don’t run away from this bundle looking at the price, because it is offering incredible value. Get Wasteland 2 Digital Deluxe and you also get gift codes for the original Wasteland, as well as for The Bard’s Tale. Wasteland 2 itself is a spiritual predecessor to the Fallout series, and was given the grand modernization treatment it deserves. The classic turn based combat with RPG progression remains, but updated to fit modern sensibilities. Of course, the game’s presentation has received updates all around as well. Buy Here Now

realMyst Masterpiece Edition We end with one of many special editions and versions you can get of Myst. Released to celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary, RMME allows you to move real time in 3D as you would in modern FPP adventure games like Gone Home. If you would prefer OG point and click controls, that is in here too. Sweeping graphical and audio enhancements, including numerous environmental effects, make this the version to play for new gamers discovering the genre, and its progenitor, for the first time.  Buy Here Now

 

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Microsoft and Mojang Enter Partnership http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/microsoft-mojang-enter-partnership/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/microsoft-mojang-enter-partnership/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:02:36 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=19486 Recent rumors had surfaced that Microsoft and Minecraft developer, Mojang, were in talks of a potential partnership. There were mixed feelings from the gaming community…

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Recent rumors had surfaced that Microsoft and Minecraft developer, Mojang, were in talks of a potential partnership. There were mixed feelings from the gaming community on what this might mean for future development and support of the game, but it seems as though the announcement should ease some of those concerns.

There wasn’t much news other than the inclinations that the company might enter exclusivity with the giant of the business. Now, those rumors have been confirmed via the Microsoft Facebook and details via the Xbox blog page.

Our relationship with Mojang began when we initially talked to the team about bringing Minecraft to the console. Minecraft quickly became the top online game on Xbox Live, with over two billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the last two years. That working relationship set the ground work for other opportunities. We’ve long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft.

At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.

The quote above is probably the biggest mouthful for gamers to swallow. There was potential loss for console owners that are not Microsoft branded. If you look at the previous history of Mojang, it seems reassuring that they will indeed continue to support the game across all platforms–even the Sony PlayStation.

Check out the video below as the infamous Phil Spencer delivers news in regards to the partnership and thoughts on the success of Minecraft.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.

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The Capcom Steam Sale Steals the Deals http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/capcom-steam-sale-steals-deals/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/capcom-steam-sale-steals-deals/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:16:31 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=19481   Forget that the Steam Summer Sale was just a few months ago. If you didn’t delve into your wallet and snag some major deals,…

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Forget that the Steam Summer Sale was just a few months ago. If you didn’t delve into your wallet and snag some major deals, look no further than the Capcom Steam Sale. It runs from Sept. 11-15 and will offer some major discounts on games under the Capcom umbrella. There’s an Umbrella Corp. joke in there somewhere for those wanting to venture down that path.

Games offered on the sale will range from 50-80% off. So, if you were looking for something like the Capcom All-Star pack, it will run you $24.99, a 72% discount, and nab you the following:

  • Dead Rising 2
  • Devil May Cry 4
  • RE6 / BH6: Onslaught Mode
  • RE6 / BH6: Predator Mode
  • RE6 / BH6: Siege Mode
  • RE6 / BH6: Survivors Mode
  • Resident Evil 6 / Biohazard 6
  • Resident Evil 6 Wallpaper

Other games featured include DmC: Devil May Cry and other Resident Evil titles. Click here for the full listing of content.

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10 Great Female Video Game Characters http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/10-great-female-video-game-characters/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/10-great-female-video-game-characters/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:03:01 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19443 I would be the first to agree that the fairer sex has not always been fairly represented in the video game world. In recent years,…

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I would be the first to agree that the fairer sex has not always been fairly represented in the video game world. In recent years, it seems the balance between male and female characters has become a little more even, but all too often, and especially in gaming’s earlier days, female characters have simply been depicted as absurdly one-dimensional characters whose only purpose is to give teenage boys something to ogle. It’s no wonder women can find gaming to be an off-putting place — and if gaming wants to be as respected as films, television, and books, it needs to work hard to show that the days of female warriors wearing metal bikinis are behind it.

I believe that, whilst there seems to be an over abundance of male video game characters on the surface, there are also plenty of female video game characters who are every bit as cool, confident, interesting, and bad-ass as the their male counterparts. I think that in the last decade or so gaming has made some hugely progressive strides in equality, and gaming is often right on the forefront these days when it comes to not just gender equality, but also racial equality and same-sex relationships. Just look at the criticism gamers fired at Nintendo when they said there would be no same-sex marriage in the recent life simulator game Tomodachi Life.

With all this in mind, here’s a selection of female video game characters I believe are every bit as awesome as the best male video game characters. When choosing my selection, I had a few criteria in mind. First, they can’t spend the entire game dressed in a skimpy outfit for no practical reason. If I were a woman going up against say, a dragon, I wouldn’t choose to do it in an armour bikini that showed off my perfectly flat stomach.

Second, they don’t make this list just because they’re female. Don’t get me wrong: the early Tomb Raider games were great, but at the end of the day, Lara Croft was really just a rich English woman who spent her free time swiping artefacts and blowing up ancient temples. I imagine the local tribes all run for the hills when they hear that Lara is headed to their remote neck of the woods. Lara isn’t exactly a role model and that’s another important factor here. These ladies don’t need to just kick ass, they need to be fleshed out and have personalities and motives that allow them to kick ass for a reason you can understand and identify with rather than just because they can. These characters are the sort of heroines you’d want your daughter to grow up admiring not just because they’re female or because they’re in a popular game, but because they are awesome, complex characters you’ll remember long after you’ve finished the credits have rolled. So without further ado, here’s this author’s top ten female characters in gaming. (Warning! Here there be spoilers!)

10. Farah – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

In the early 2000s, Ubisoft decided to totally reboot the Prince of Persia video game series and boy, did they succeed. 2003’s The Sands of Time was one of the best games released that year and one of the best PS2 games of all time. Many more games were released after its success, but we’re going to stick with The Sands of Time because that game featured the mysterious Princess Farah who aided our hero, the Prince, and proved to be an essential ally.

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The Sands of Time put us in the pantaloons of the wall-running Prince. After his father invaded a city and discovered the infamous Sands of Time, the King’s evil Vizier tricked him and the Prince into unleashing the sands, which in turn wrecked the city and transformed everyone it touched into bloodthirsty sand monsters. Realising the part he played in unleashing the ravaging sands, our Prince gained the Dagger of Time, which had the useful ability to rewind time, and embarked on a quest to undo the destruction he helped cause.

Not long into his mission, the Prince encountered Farah, the daughter of the King whose city the Prince and his father not only conquered but unwittingly doomed. Initially and understandably, Farah was hostile towards the Prince, but once she realised they share a common enemy, Farah put her grievances aside and used her knowledge of the city and her keen skills with a bow to aid the Prince and help him take down the Vizier.

The writing team behind The Sands of Time deserved some serious credit. Not only was the game a fantastic action-adventure game, it’s a unique story that revolves around two characters you really come to care about. The story was paced perfectly and the characters dialogue was relatable, as well as humorous. Farah was not a dim-witted damsel in distress who fell for our Prince at first sight; in fact, she pretty much despised our Prince at first and he wasn’t thrilled to be stuck with her, either.

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Another feature that made Farah a great character was the effect she has on the Prince. Initially, the Prince was cocky and over confident from a life of luxury. He often gave little thought to the people around him and many of his actions were based on instinct, despite any warnings his brain might have been sending him. He’s not a bad guy by any means, but his easy life had certainly left him ignorant. Although he seemed to be full of bravado and had an answer for everything, you could tell he’s just a young guy who’s suddenly not feeling as secure as he once did.

Farah, on the other hand, was a smart, cautious woman who understood that rushing in wasn’t always the best option. Her words obviously resonated with the Prince and had him reevaluating some of his actions. It’s clear by the end of the game that, after some wise words and a few arguments, Farah’s influence had a lasting effect on the Prince. What made the relationship between the Prince and Farah so great was how believable it is. They’re both young and confident and, rather than being all soppy and stupid, they bantered their way across the ruined city, taking shots at each other and pushing each other’s skills. Farah never let the Prince outdo her and many times, it was only by her help that he was able to get to the next point in their quest.

9. Dr Clark, a.k.a., Para-Medic – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

No one can dispute the fact that Metal Gear Solid 3 was a fantastic game. It had beautiful graphics, innovative gameplay, and a detailed story filled with memorable characters. One of these characters was a member of Snake’s support team who could be called via the codec to provide information, as well as the opportunity to save the game. Dr Clark, or Para-Medic as she was more commonly known, provided Snake with radio support in aspects that related to medicine and advice on the local flora and fauna that Snake could use to his advantage.

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Para-Medic not only gave us advice on how to stay alive as we explored the jungles of Russia, but she also provided some relief from the often gritty and deep story that Metal Gear Solid 3 told. After saving your game, Para-Medic often talked to Snake about topics unrelated to his mission and would nearly always told him about films he needed to check out and chastised him for his complete lack of awareness when it came to popular culture. Putting these humorous interactions at the end of saving your game was a stroke of genius by the developers. When you saved your game, it was often because you were done playing for the day, after going through the emotional journey that was Metal Gear Solid 3, these funny conversations were a great way to clear your emotional palette and resume your day. They also served to add more detail to the characters and allowed you to learn more about them which really brings them to life. Considering you only interact with your support team via your codec, the developers did a great job at making you care as much about them as you did the characters you physically encountered.

Despite her humour, Para-Medic also knew her facts when it came to Snake’s health and the wildlife he would encounter whilst on his mission. Calling Para-Medic would get her to give Snake advice based on the situation he was currently in and could prove life saving during boss fights. She would give Snake tips on the best way to treat his wounds whether they be burns, broken bones, poison, or gunshot wounds. As well as medical support, Para-Medic also provided Snake with information on the flora and fauna that inhabited the jungle which could be used by Snake to eat, use as medicine, or distract guards with. Upon capturing, let’s say, a Reticulated Python, you can give Para-Medic a call and she’ll give you information regarding the creature, as well as letting you know if it’s worth eating to restore you stamina. You can learn more about any animals or plants you find in the game from Para-Medic and she’ll also give Snake advice on the different climates and locations he finds himself in, whether it be swamplands or the cold mountains.

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Not only did Para-Medic help Snake when it came his health and the nature around him, but her wit and humour also provided Snake with a respite from the intense challenges that faced him at every turn. Her positive can-do attitude was also a great help to us gamers as we made our way through the gritty but fantastic game that was Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

8. Samantha Byrne – Gears of War 3
The first two Gears of War games were massive testosterone-fueled sausage fests that only allowed players to fight as big burly men. If you wanted to kick ass as the fairer sex, you were out of luck. Fortunately, this changed in Gears of War 3 when Epic games added several new female characters you could shoot down monsters with. One of these women, Private Sam Byrne, also featured heavily in the story missions.

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There were other female characters, such as the love interest, Anya Stroud, but what makes Sam a better character was the fact she was treated more like one of the guys in Delta Squad rather than a love interest for one of the male characters. Sam had been a soldier for a long time and I was glad the writers made her an equally respected Gear rather than some damsel in distress they constantly had to save. She’s every bit as tough and bad-ass as the men and they treated her as such. The camaraderie between her and her squadmates was great and I particularly enjoyed her constant sibling-like bickering with Damon Baird.

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When it all hit the fan and enemies started shooting at you, Sam was every bit as deadly a fighter as Marcus, Dom, or even Cole. In multiplayer. you can choose to play as Sam, and her one-liners as she reacted to various situations made her one of my favourite characters to go into battle with. Curb-stomping an enemy player and having her shout, “Eat shit and die!” was a great way to let your enemy know they just got owned.

7. The Lost Sinner – Dark Souls 2

This one might come as a surprise to some readers, not only because The Lost Sinner was an enemy boss in Dark Souls 2, but also because many of us were far too busy having our asses kicked to realise “he” was actually a “she.” According to what little Dark Souls lore we are sure of, The Lost Sinner was the most infamous inmate of the Sinner’s Rise and was first encountered by the player in a room that seemed to have been specifically designed to keep her locked in. The room was dark and full of chains and, on the other side of the room, sat The Lost Sinner. She was skinny to the point of starving and wore rotting rags and a dark mask that covered her face. Given her appearance, it’s not hard to see why some players didn’t realise she was a woman.

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What terrible crime The Lost Sinner committed to be locked away in darkness was never explicitly stated, but it’s clear that she was deemed dangerous enough to be locked away in the heart of Sinner’s Rise, unable to escape until you unwittingly opened the door to her large cell and granted her a chance for escape. Upon seeing the player, The Lost Sinner will rise up, draw her longsword, and prepare to attack the player. She can’t be that bad, I thought when I first saw her. After all, her hands are tied together. That ought to restrict her skills with a sword, right?

It turned out that, even with her hands cuffed, The Lost Sinner was still without question the best swords(wo)man in the entire game. She was devastatingly fast and relentlessly rained attacks down on you. Your blocks and rolls better be perfect if you’ve any hope of avoiding her blade. Ranged attackers will have an even harder time taking her down, as her speed meant you’re not likely to have time to line up a shot before she’s onto you.

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As a player who liked to use swords in Dark Souls 2, I found The Lost Sinner to be a hugely enjoyable boss. If you can take her down without taking a hit, you’re certainly a skilled warrior. The sheer ferocity of her attacks meant that just one mistake can be the death of you. The Lost Sinner was a tragic but undeniably bad-ass character and despite being an enemy, she certainly gained my respect.

6. Lara Croft – Tomb Raider (2013 reboot)

Ah ha! Got you there, didn’t I? After all my previous talk about how I didn’t much care for Lara Croft, I bet you weren’t expecting her to turn up here, were you? Whilst I may not be a big fan of yesteryear’s Lara Croft, I am in fact a fan of Lara as she appears today after the franchise was rebooted and given a complete overhaul. Lara had always felt a little shallow to me, but upon playing through the 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider, I was really impressed with how fleshed out this new Lara was. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Lara was not just some bad-ass with a gun, but was a far more realistic young woman who was a huge nerd for archaeology and had no interest in gunning down rare animals or blowing up sacred tombs. This time around, Lara was far more relatable and her growth as a character was believable and real.

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After all hell broke loose and Lara and her friends were captured by crazy guys with guns, Lara reacted how many of us would act — by crying, screaming, and generally completely losing her cool. Upon managing to get away, Lara realised that, if she wanted to save herself and her friends, it was up to her. From there, Lara grew from a scared young girl into a survivor. The first time Lara killed someone, she was horrified and disturbed rather than completely okay with it and her reactions to the crazy things that happen throughout the game were more or less the same as ours would be.

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What’s great about Lara’s realistic reactions to intense situations was that it helped us as players relate and care about her. As I played, I wanted her to survive and stay out of harm’s way and every time I accidentally had her leap to her death or got her riddled with bullets, I felt like I’d let her down. When the game was over, Lara really had come a long way since her journey started and I felt okay with letting her go, as I knew she was a much tougher cookie than the young girl I’d met at the beginning. At E3 earlier this year, the sequel to the 2013 reboot was announced and I, for one, can’t wait to embark on more adventures as Lara in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

5. Coco Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

Any gamer who was around in the 90s remembers how awesome the Crash Bandicoot games were. For many gamers, the franchise fills them with nostalgia and the lack of recent Crash Bandicoot games has left a notable void in the gaming world. The most famous, and arguably best, Crash game was 1998’s Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. The game allowed you to spin your way through most levels as the crazy Crash, but some levels required you to play as his tough-as-nails sister, Coco Bandicoot. Coco wasn’t just there for show, either; her levels were among some of my favourites from the game. One level in particular had you racing across the Great Wall of China upon your trusty pet tiger, Pura.

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Although I wanted to pick out more recent female characters in this list, I thought Coco deserved a spot not just because she’s a great female character, but also because she was the first female character I ever played as. If you think games can be misogynistic now, you know how dumb they could be back in gaming’s earlier days. Coco represented a female character who wasn’t just there to be a damsel and in fact, proved that female characters could be every bit as cool as the boys. After Warped, Coco went on to become an iconic character in the Crash franchise and was playable in many of the following games, such as Crash Team Racing, Crash Bash, and Crash: Mind over Mutant.

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4. Liara T’Soni – Mass Effect Trilogy

We were first introduced to Liara T’Soni in the first Mass Effect game, where she was an important member of your crew and a potential love interest. Since then, Liara has appeared in every Mass Effect game to date and is one of the most recognizable characters in the franchise. She was a member of the alien race known as the Asari whose average lifespan was around a thousand years. When the player first met Liara, she revealed herself to be “only” one hundred and six, making her young and inexperienced in the eyes of her fellow Asari. Despite her youth, Liara had spent over fifty years studying the galaxy and her incredible knowledge made up for her inexperience.

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The Mass Effect games were well known for being superbly written and, as an RPG, they allowed you to interact and talk with characters as you please. The different dialogue options in the game allowed you to move the conversations wherever you wished them to go. This, along with the superb voice acting and facial animations, meant that the relationships you formed with characters were meaningful and, unless you had a heart of stone, you found yourself genuinely caring about each member of your crew.

When you embarked on missions, you could also choose a couple of squadmates to go with you and knowing they had your back in a fire fight only helped cement your connection with them. Once you were familiar enough with a character, you may have found that romantic options become open to you and following these options could result in a romantic relationship. Almost every crew member could be romanced, including Liara, but regardless of romance, she was still a great character. The fact she appeared in all three Mass Effect games really allowed her character to be fleshed out. In the first game, she was young and inexperienced but eager to learn more about the galaxy. She may not have been a great warrior but her knowledge could be vital and she certainly wasn’t useless when it came to combat.

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Whilst she wasn’t a main character in Mass Effect 2, the DLC, Lair of the Shadow Broker, saw her return and her experiences from the first game were certainly apparent. Liara was more mature and not as naive as she was in the first game. In Mass Effect 3, Liara was back as a member of your crew and played a huge role in helping you save the galaxy. The great thing about the Mass Effect games was that each new installment reads your saves from previous games to see what choices you made. As a result, characters reacted accordingly in each game depending on what your relationship with them was like in the last game. If you romanced Liara since game one, by Mass Effect 3, you and her will have a very close bond. If, on the other hand, you only ever went out of your way to annoy her, she may not have cared much for you.

This level of immersion was what made the franchise so great and why the characters are so loved. In my opinion, though, Liara was not only a great female character but probably the best Mass Effect character. Her knowledge and wisdom made her an indispensable ally and your quest to save the galaxy would have been impossible without her.

3. Bonnie MacFarlane – Red Dead Redemption

Have I ever told you how much I love Red Dead Redemption? It’s one of my favourite games of all time; it’s one of the few games that has ever lived up to my unreasonable expectations and the story was so brilliant that, whenever I replay it, I find myself welling up with manly tears when I reach the end. I could write a book about all the things I loved about Red Dead Redemption, and maybe one day, I will, but for now, let’s talk about Bonnie MacFarlane.

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Just one of the many things that made Redemption one of the best games of all time was its host of colourful, believable, and fantastically voice-acted characters. From the protagonist John Marston to the villain Bill Williamson to the sick treasure hunter Seth, Redemption had every sort of character you’d want in a story about the Wild West. One great character in particular was the tough but honest rancher, Bonnie MacFarlane.

Players first encountered Bonnie early on in the game, when she saved John Marston’s life after he was shot down and left for dead by the outlaws he’s hunting. John woke up to find himself at the Macfarlane ranch, which was run by Bonnie and her father. The ranch acted as a tutorial section, where Bonnie showed you how to do things, like lasso animals, herd cattle, shoot, play gambling mini-games, and generally every skill you’d need to survive in the West. The MacFarlane ranch was also the first safe house, where you can save your game and get some rest after a hard day’s bounty-hunting.

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Set in 1911, Bonnie is a woman living in a world ruled by men — most of whom are corrupt — but Bonnie is not the type to let men tread all over her. Life as a rancher had made her capable, enduring, brave, and loyal — she’s also a seriously good shot with a rifle, too. She’s every bit as good as any male rancher, if not better, and she knew it. Although she’s wary of John at first, the two became close allies and by the end of the game, it’s clear that they had a genuine respect for one another. To many characters in the game, John Marston was nothing but a dying breed whose time had past. Bonnie, however, saw the potential in John and recognized his honest attempt at redemption for the mistakes he hadmade. John, in turn, saw Bonnie as a beacon of hope and decency in a land filled with lawlessness and corruption. Bonnie was a great example of the hard-working American who carved out a living for themselves in America’s early years. I tip my cowboy hat to you, Miss MacFarlane.

2. Ellie – The Last of Us

The Last of Us was arguably the best game of the last generation and, as a PlayStation exclusive, it was the perfect swansong for the PS3. Developed by Naughty Dog, the same folks who brought us the swashbuckling Uncharted games, The Last of Us proved that Naughty Dog were capable of creating a game that not only featured excellent gameplay and beautiful graphics but also delivered a heartbreaking story filled with characters we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, The Last of Us told the story of Joel, a middle-aged man haunted by the loss of his daughter, as he and a young girl he’s been charged with protecting called Ellie traveled across the United States.

The-Last-of-Us-Ellie-1

Ellie was born and raised well after the apocalypse hit and has never known what society was like before it all collapsed. This had made Ellie into a true survivor and what she lacked in experience and strength she more than made up for in courage, loyalty, resolve, and intelligence. Joel suffered some serious losses, but Ellie endured her fair share of pain, too. Her mother died within a day of giving birth to her and as a result, she had little stability — it’s implied she had also lost friends since. Although Joel and Ellie were distant towards one another at first, their journey and hardships formed a bond between the two as close as a father and daughter. What’s fascinating about the relationship was that neither one of them wanted to get close, since they were both so scared of the pain that came with losing someone.

Despite lacking Joel’s size and strength, Ellie fought tooth-and-nail when it hit the fan and more than once, she saved me from a game over when she hurled a rock at an infected about to rip my throat out or provided covering fire when I was pinned down by hunters. Naughty Dog had me caring a lot about Joel and Ellie fairly soon into the start of their journey, but one chapter in the game really expanded Ellie as a character and gave you a deeper insight into the pain she hadendured and the will that kept her going. Those who have played The Last of Us will know I’m of course talking about the chapter, Winter.

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The chapter began after Joel had taken a serious wound to the abdomen and was on death’s door. Ellie had been taking care of Joel as best she could, but things weren’t looking good. Leaving Joel in an abandoned house, she entered a snowy forest in an attempt to hunt some deer. This chapter was great, not only because it focused more on Ellie, but because it allowed us to play as her, too. Naughty Dog had never said she’d be a playable character, so it was a nice change of pace.

When playing as Ellie, you could look in her backpack and inspect some of the items she carries around with her. One item include a letter her mother wrote to her before she passed away, which delivered a serious sucker punch to the player. In terms of story, the Winter section was probably the darkest and most intense part and the fact it’s all happening around a teenage girl only made it more terrifying. The chapter put Ellie right through the grinder, but it’s to Naughty Dog’s credit that she believably handled the situation whilst at the same time demonstrating what a tough survivor she was. Even when things seemed impossible, Ellie showed guts, bravery, resourcefulness and determination and that is rarely seen in even the most iconic of “tough guys.”

1. The Boss – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Before writing this article, I did a bit of research regarding the topic, read some other writers’ lists, and talked to people online about who they would consider when presenting the greatest female video game characters. You know what surprised me? The majority of people made no mention of Metal Gear Solid 3‘s The Boss. Okay, she was only featured in one Metal Gear, but what a memorable character she was. She mentored the most iconic character in the series, taught him everything he knew, and allowed her world to be destroyed because she was loyal to her mission and was a true patriot.

THEBOSS

The Boss, also known as The Joy and The Mother of Special Forces, was quite possibly the greatest soldier in the Metal Gear Solid universe. She was the spark that ignited the entire story behind the Metal Gear franchise and her legacy had left lasting impressions upon many characters in the franchise. Born in 1922, The Boss was groomed from birth to be a legendary soldier. She was one of the founding members of the SAS and during World War 2, she played a huge role in turning the war to the Allies’ favour by completing many high-risk missions. In the Metal Gear universe, the SAS motto — “Who dares wins” — was a tribute to The Boss.

During this time, The Boss formed a unit known as The Cobras, who each held the code name of the emotion they carried into battle. The Boss was The Joy and, along with The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, and her lover, The Sorrow, she participated in countless missions. Despite being pregnant with The Sorrow’s child, The Boss led a mission with The Cobras during the D-Day landing in Normandy. She took a bullet and was forced to give birth on the battlefield; the Caesarean section left a large snake-like scar across her torso and shortly afterwards, her child was taken from her.

The Cobras disbanded at the end of World War 2 and The Boss went on to assist in the atomic bomb tests in the Nevada desert, where she became infertile due to the radiation exposure. Around this time, she encountered a young man named John, whom she spent a decade with, training him and developing a close quarters fighting style called CQC. The Boss and John became extremely close, but she was forced to abandon him after being assigned a top-secret mission in Russia. She was later the first American to be sent into space during an experiment to see how well the human body could cope under such conditions. The flight was initially successful, but upon re-entry, her rocket crashed into the ocean and she sustained severe wounds. Although she survived, the whole event was covered up and no one would ever know she was the first American in space.

As The Boss recovered from her injuries, the Russians successfully sent their own man into space and took credit for being the first nation to send a human into orbit. As a result, the government resented her for her “failure” and she was sent to Russia to eliminate an American spy who had defected. The Sorrow was sent by the Soviets to stop her and here, they were forced to decide who would have to die, as they both knew that their child would be killed if they both survived. The Sorrow told The Boss to kill him, which she reluctantly did. Shortly afterwards, she was contacted by a former SAS comrade, Major Zero, who invited her to establish the CIA special missions unit, FOX.

The_Boss_and_Colonel_Volgin

So began the series of events depicted in Snake Eater. She was assigned to act as a spy and gain the trust of the brutal Volgin in order to find out where he was hiding a huge sum of money known as The Philosopher’s Legacy. In order to gain his trust, The Boss recaptured a Russian scientist who had escaped from Volgin, made it appear to everyone that she had defected to the Soviet Union, and gave Volgin two portable nuclear warheads. Once she had located the Philosopher’s Legacy, she was to bring the information back to the CIA. Then, something happened that no one could have predicted: Volgin used one of the portable nuclear warheads to destroy a Russian base being used by his enemies. The warheads were of American design and so, America had to prove their innocence in the attack in order to prevent the Cold War from going nuclear. The CIA then came up with a plan called Operation Snake Eater, which involved The Boss being killed by her most loyal apprentice, John, a.k.a., Naked Snake.

Snake was unaware that The Boss was actually innocent of her supposed defection and as he embarked on his mission, she subtly aided Snake’s mission whilst at the same time appearing to be the villain and maintaining Volgin’s trust. As Snake defeated The Cobras, who had reformed to help The Boss, she eventually met him in a large field for her final stand. Before the battle commenced, she reminded Snake of his duties as a soldier and told him about her life leading up to that point, though she still didn’t tell him that she was secretly just following orders from the CIA. After Snake defeated her, she handed him a microfilm containing The Philosopher’s Legacy and then told him to kill her and complete his mission.

The only person that she told the truth of her mission to was the spy Eva, who helped Snake on his mission. Eva then left Snake a tape recording that explained the truth of the matter, that The Boss had sacrificed herself to save the world from a nuclear war and that she had never betrayed America. The Boss was a true patriot who sacrificed everything for her country, but history would remember her as a war criminal who almost ignited the Cold War. She was buried in an unmarked soldier’s grave where only Snake would go to pay his respects.

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The legacy of The Boss was what gives Snake the belief that soldiers should be united and allowed to fight for what they believe in rather than the whims of their government. This idea was what led him to form Militaires Sans Frontières (Soldiers Without Borders). Despite being given the code name Big Boss after defeating The Boss, it took years before Snake considered himself worthy of the title and killing his mentor haunted him for the rest of his life.

I believe The Boss deserves the number one spot on this list not only because she’s a bad-ass when it comes to action, but also because she posses a stoicism and fortitude not seen in any other video game character I can think of, male or female. The Boss stayed true to her mission, despite the overwhelming pressure that would crush most people. She sacrificed everything for a higher cause, despite being betrayed by the country she was helping. Her ideals on war and soldiering were noble and her dream of a better world for those who live on the battlefield was one that carries on decades after her death. I can’t think of a single video game character who could match The Boss in either her wisdom or her combat skills. The Boss may not just be the best female video game character, but perhaps one of the best video game characters of all time.

So there we go, ten female game characters that kick ass. I think this list proves that there are plenty of female game characters for women to look up to. Still not convinced? There are still plenty of great characters that didn’t make my personal top ten, but are still much loved. I’m sure I will get plenty of messages telling me what a fool I am to have forgotten characters like Samus from the Metroid series, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Catwoman from Arkham City, Yorda from Ico, Fetch from Infamous: Second Son, Miranda from Mass Effect 2, Elena from Uncharted — you get the idea!

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Resident Evil Revelations 2 will be ‘Episodic’ with a Retail Release to Follow http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/resident-evil-revelations-2-will-episodic-retail-release-follow/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/resident-evil-revelations-2-will-episodic-retail-release-follow/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 01:49:11 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=19475 There is no doubt that Resident Evil: Revelations left fans intrigued by its story direction. The dark corridors of the swaying cargo brig set the…

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There is no doubt that Resident Evil: Revelations left fans intrigued by its story direction. The dark corridors of the swaying cargo brig set the stage for an eerie tale on the open sea, and the game housed a surprisingly lengthy story. The title first launched on the Nintendo 3DS and then made its way to all prior-gen consoles. However, there are two things different about Resident Evil Revelations 2 that differ this time around.

At this point it looks like the Capcom produced title will skip all Nintendo platforms, which is a disappointment to some. Choosing to go a completely different route altogether, the game will be episodic at first and followed by a physical retail release towards the last episode. The game will be split similarly to the chapter format of Resident Evil Revelations, broken into four episodes in total. Each will cost $5.99. The season can be purchased in total for $24.99.

Details for the physical disc will vary “…(pricing dependent to the specific retailer).”

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is slated to launch early 2015 on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It looks like a PC release via Steam is also planned. Click here for the Resident Evil Facebook page and here for the official site.

Check out the teaser trailer below:

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Top 10 Games To Watch For In GOGcom’s 6th Birthday Promo Below $ 10 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-games-watch-gogcoms-6th-birthday-promo-10/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-games-watch-gogcoms-6th-birthday-promo-10/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:22:04 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19469 In case you hadn’t heard, GOGcom is celebrating their 6th birthday with a Year Two promo. The games up on offer are time limited, so…

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In case you hadn’t heard, GOGcom is celebrating their 6th birthday with a Year Two promo. The games up on offer are time limited, so you will need to check everyday to see what they will offer.

This list features the top rated games on the service as of right now. Of course, there will be a lot of 5 star games on GOGcom, so I’ve handpicked classics that are priced below $ 10, and tried to provide some variety as well. Chances are high that you’ll be seeing these games come up for $ 5 or even less.

If you feel there are any great classics that were woefully omitted here that are available in GOGcom, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Deus EX GOTY

Warren Spector’s original masterpiece remains relevant and very, very playable, As JC Denton, a nanotech augmented UNATCO agent, you are tasked with taking down terrorist group NSF. When the game hits you with that dramatic twist, however, you will find yourself investigating a conspiracy that goes deep, and working to stop a global epidemic. The game’s nonlinear storyline and freedom to  take action will immerse you in a way modern shooters are unable to evoke. This Game of the Year Edition comes with multiple bonuses, including the soundtrack, manual, newspaper handouts, and more. Buy Here Now

System Shock 2 

This is basically one of those must play games, so it will always come up in lists like these. You are a UNN soldier on board the  starship Von Braun. In classic sci-fi horror fashion, the Von Braun comes to answer a distress call from Tau Ceti V, only to find no humans and no threat. On the way back, however, you learn that an intergalactic threat has come on board, one that has been laying dormant for some  time, but is aching for a return to power. Few people know this, but System Shock 2 can be played by two cooperatively, so you don’t need to take on this threat on your own.  Buy Here Now

Total Annihilation Commander Pack 

Total Annihilation is the game that made the name of one Chris Taylor, one of the most influential game designers of all time. This RTS  may be remembered by many as the one that couldn’t compete with Warcraft/Starcraft, but it does not have to be like that. Total Annihilation is also one of the most awarded games of all time, and for good reason, as the combination of visual spectacle and peerless mechanics makes this one of the best games you may have never played. It also boasted more nuances than Blizzard’s more famous RTS IPs, including introducing radar, unlimited resource gathering, physics, and more This bundle includes both the original game and its two expansions, The Core Contingency and Battle Tactics. Buy Here Now

Star Control 1 & 2

You have seen this title in my lists before, and you will see it again and again. Star Control 2, in particular, is often considered the finest PC game ever made. This full fledged adventure game included exploration, diplomacy, resource gathering, strategy, and intense shoot-em-up elements. The original is also a worthy game, a strategy/space battle game.  Buy Here Now

Defender of the Crown

Cinemaware’s glorious debut on GOGcom is their flagship title. King Richard has been murdered, and you are in a position to unite England and lay waste to those who would see it burn to seize power. This is the strategy game with Robin Hood in it, but instead of playing as him, you play one of three Saxon leaders allied with him. Back then reviewers were wowed by the game’s amazing presentation on the Amiga, and that still holds up today. GOGcom and Cinemaware offer both the award winning Amiga, and inferior, but also highly popular, DOS version, now playable on modern computers. Buy Here Now

The Longest Journey

The game that preceded Dreamfall is a worthy tale all of its own. Once again you travel between two worlds, Stark and Arcadia, through the eyes of April Ryan, an 18 year old art student. Behind the veil of sleep lies Arcadia, a world of magic and chaos. April is pulled between the two worlds and compelled by fate to unite them. Buy Here Now

Sanitarium

Sanitarium is a unique game in the horror genre, and something you need to experience at least once. You enter a bizarre playground in an isometric view, with bizarre, dreamlike aberrations, gods, and ghosts. You are a patient in an asylum, and drifting between your time in the asylum and asleep, you unlock the mystery of why you are there, and if you are really insane. Buy Here Now

Another World 20th Anniversary Edition

Another World is a truly unique item in the world of video games. Eric Chahi’s groundbreaking adventure game broke free from the conventions of platformers, and told a truly unique, at times obtuse, narrative. A young physicist gets transported into an alien landscape, and has to plan his escape from this world, as well as the oppressive creatures who hunt him down.Eric had been porting Another World for every generation of platforms, but with this 20th Anniversary Edition, he has made a truly worthy play for modern gamers. Buy Here Now

Thief Gold

Thief: The Dark Age is the progenitor of the stealth genre, and still one of the most intense, enjoyable games of its type today (Unfortunately partly due to the botched remake). Unlike its contemporary Metal Gear, Thief  employed a first person perspective, and also offered lighting and audio mechanics to give your sneaking around extra depth. Beyond that, Thief had a certain ambience that you could use to your advantage.

Gogcom offers the Thief Gold special edition of the game. Thief Gold improves on the original 12 missions and adds three more. Below $ 10, it’s a tremendous value.  Buy Here Now

IL-2 Sturmovik 1946

Flight simulators have become scarce in recent years, but that is not because they were bad games. On the contrary, they may just have been waiting for the tech to catch up, and with the Star Citizen Hangar Module, it might be due for a revival very soon.

In the meantime, however, you could not do bad playing Il-2 Sturmovik. The real life Sturmovik was dubbed by the Germans as the Black Death, and the Russians as a flying tank. In this game, you take to the skies as a Russian pilot, taking down Nazi forces in the air and on the ground. This is the near definitive version of the game, with the four add on packs and 300 planes. Buy Here Now

 

 

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Top 10 Activision Adventures on GOGcom http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-ea-simulation-games-gogcom/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-ea-simulation-games-gogcom/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:17:05 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19396 Today, we’re putting the spotlight on ten of Activision’s finest adventure games, including family friendly fare, as well as the darkest horror games you can…

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Today, we’re putting the spotlight on ten of Activision’s finest adventure games, including family friendly fare, as well as the darkest horror games you can imagine.

King’s Quest 1+2+3

The King’s Quest series bring players to an immersive (for its time) sprite based animated fantasy land. These games combine colorful graphics, oddball characters, and humor to create a game world that is still worth revisiting. They also happen to have laid the groundwork for the genre.

King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown and King’s Quest 2: Romancing the Throne retell the story of Sir Graham, the bravest knight in Daventry who would go on to become King. King’s Quest 3: To Heir Is Human switches protagonists to Gwydion, a wizard’s servant with a secret royal lineage. Buy Here Now

King’s Quest 4+5+6

With these three followup King’s Quest games, Sierra would push the franchise forward in terms of technology and storyline.

King’s Quest 4: The Perils of Rosella is the first major adventure game with a female protagonist. Rosella, King Graham’s daughter quests to save his father from a mysterious disease. This is also one of the first games to support sound cards, and the only King’s Quest in real time.

King’s Quest 5: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! connects  King’s Quest 3 to the rest of the series. King Graham’s family and castle are kidnapped by Mordack, the brother of Mannanan the villain of King’s Quest 3. Graham quests in Serenia to gather the tools and information he needs to save his family. King’s Quest 5 was available in VGA as well as EGA graphics, and would later come in CD-ROM format with full voice acting.

King’s Quest 6 is the first game to drop the text parser for true point and click gameplay. Graham’s son, Prince Alexander, is haunted by memories of Princess Cassima, introduced in King’s Quest 5, and travels through the Land of the Green Isles to find her, and eventually, save her. Buy Here Now

King’s Quest 7+8

King’s Quest 7 and 8 deviate from the formula’s tropes in dramatic ways, and are completely different even from each other.

King’s Quest 7 is the first King’s Quest to have multiple playable characters (Queen Valanice and her daughter Rosella), the first King’s Quest to have a smart pointer (lights up when hovering on a clickable object), and the first to lay out the story in chapters. Valanice and Rosella have the talk (the one about marriage), when Rosella is suddenly damseled by the troll king, as part of an elaborate plan by Malicia to take over Etheria. You switch between Valanice and Rosella in a bid to stop the marriage and thwart Malicia.

King’s Quest 8, also known as King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity, takes the series to 3D, and with it, introduces combat and RPG elements. This time, the hero of Daventry is a common tanner turned knight; Connor. Connor has no direct relation to Graham, but shares similar origins. Daventry’s Kingdom is turned to stone by the evil wizard Lucretio, and it is Connor’s destiny to defeat him. Buy Here Now

 

Torin’s Passage 

Torin’s Passage has the unusual distinction of being a family friendly game designed by Al Lowe, creator of the Leisure Suit Larry series. In fact, Al wrote it so he could have a game to play with his daughter. The pseudonymous Torin is a mere young farmboy, until his family is kidnapped by the sorceress Lycentia. He quest to rescue his parents, but along the way, will learn his true origins. Torin’s Passage boasts of an inventory system, a hint system, and an item morphing mechanic using Torin’s friend, the catlike Boogle. Buy Here Now
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

Gabriel Knight is the brainchild of Jane Jensen, who had previously been a developer for the King’s Quest series. Gabriel is a struggling New Orleans author, who learns he is destined to become the Schattenjäger, or Shadow Hunter. The game focuses on supernatural mysteries, and is particularly famous for deliberately obfuscating gameplay with a dumb pointer. The pointer does not highlight what items are relevant to your quest, so that you can experience the sense of discovery for yourself.

For the first game, he is drawn into investigating the Voodoo Murders, and finds connections between them and beautiful New Orleans socialite Malia Gedde. Along the way, he also discovers his origins as a  Schattenjäger.  Buy Here Now

Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within

In The Beast Within, Gabriel and his assistant, Grace Nakamura, travel to his ancestral home in Bavaria, Germany. There, he investigates the murder of a young girl by a wolf. You switch between Gabriel and Grace, who learns the case’s connections to King Ludwig II and Richard Wagner, and eventually uncovers the danger to Gabriel himself. The Beast Within had extensive use of both full motion video and a 3D rendering engine. Buy Here Now
Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned

Gabriel Knight 3 caps off the series with an epic story that brings together voodoo, zombies, the Priory of Sion, the Templars, and the Freemasons. This game also brings together FMV, CG, and even rotoscoping, and would prove to be a significant influence in game design. Buy Here Now
Phantasmagoria 

Basically a horror film in videogame form, Phantasmagoria attracted controversy from day one due to graphic depictions of violence, including rape. A paperback writer, Adrienne Delaney, and her photographer husband, Donald Gordon, rent a haunted house, not realizing the evil that lay within. This game originally came in an epic seven CDs, mostly to accomodate the amount of video it needed. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is for the classic horror and gaming fan. Buy Here Now

Phantasmagoria 2 

Also known as Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh, Phantasmagoria 2 ups the ante on sexual content. Curtis Craig, a 26 year old pharmaceutical employee, who was recently released from a mental hospital, struggles with disturbing visions and is drawn to investigate a string of murders of the people around him. Gameplay is standard point and click, taking a backseat to a truly disturbing, engrossing storyline. Buy Here Now

Quest for Glory 1-5

Originally called Hero’s Quest, the Quest for Glory series has you playing different characters in different worlds, on their way to becoming heroes. The first four games are a hybrid of adventure games and RPGs, with the last one being a full adventure RPG. All the games featured nonlinear quests, humor, classes, attributes, and puzzles. The games also had an import system, allowing you to move your character from one game to the other. It really would not make sense to not get these games as a pack, which is how Activision sells it today. Buy Here Now

 

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Top 10 Casual Games To Play On Your PC http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-casual-games-play-pc/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/top-10-casual-games-play-pc/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 22:41:31 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19433 Today we are taking a break from the big MMOs and GOGcom classics to put the spotlight on some casual games. Sometimes, you need to just…

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Today we are taking a break from the big MMOs and GOGcom classics to put the spotlight on some casual games. Sometimes, you need to just sit back, relax, and play some smaller games, even if just for a few minutes. We’re covering mostly puzzle games here, but if you have a favorite we didn’t cover, feel free to share it in the comments.

Burger Shop 2

With Burger Shop 2, you manage a literal assembly line of food, as customers rush to order items. Thankfully, the BurgerTron 2000 is quick at dispensing plates and food, as fast as your customers can order them. Your job is to serve out those orders exactly as the customers ask them. This is a restaurant tycoon game built for speedruns, so crack those knuckles and stretch out your fingers for this dexterity challenge. Play Now

Jewel Quest

Jewel Quest is a match three tile game with a Mesoamerican theme. Match three or more tiles adjacent to each other so that they will be removed and replaced from the well. The variation here is that each space can be turned to gold, if you move the tiles on it enough times. Your real goal isn’t to reach a high score, but to get all turn all the tiles in the well into gold before the timer runs out. You might think you have this game licked, but it will get progressively harder to turn some of those isolated tiles at the bottom into gold, so don’t dilly dally with those tiles if you don’t want your game to end! Play Now

Luxor

Luxor is an exciting action puzzler with an Egyptian theme. Armed with a Scarab shooter that shoots balls, you face a train of colored balls that moves quickly across a winding tube. You must stop those balls from hitting the bottom by shooting your own balls in. When you create a line of three or more balls, they disappear, and the balls move back. If you miss your target, the balls you shoot in will join the train. It can make the game harder, but you can also use this to your advantage by planning for a high score. Play Now

Mahjongg

Mahjongg is one of the most popular and oldest matching games in the world, although it is best known and most popular today in video game form. 144 tiles from the four player game of mahjongg are arranged in a pyramid. The outermost tiles are considered loose, and you pair loose tiles to remove the from the pyramid, starting from the top and the edges. The goal is to wear down the pyramid completely, but watch out; your choice of what tiles to eliminate first affects whether you can even finish the game or not.

Play Now

Vegasworld

Vegasworld is the quintessential casino game. Start out by creating your virtual avatar, and then step into a virtual Las Vegas, where you can play the slot machines, poker, blackjack, bingo, solitaire, and fringo. Vegasworld is attractive, easy to get into, but above all else, it’s light and relaxing. It may interest you to know that there was once a real Vegas World in the Las Vegas Strip, also known for its quirkiness. Play Now

Hexic

Arguably the greatest game Alexei Pakitnov has created since Tetris, Hexic finds you manipulating hexagons arranged as if in a honeycomb in an ever replenishing well. You can rotate these hexagons, and placing three of them adjacent to each other makes them disappear. You can spend hours just making hexagons disappear, but watch out for bombs!
Diner Dash

You are Flo, entrepeneur and buttkicking single lady, on a quest to make your restaurant the biggest and most successful it can be. To get there, you will need to master managing the queue of customers and patrons, seating them, taking their orders, serving them, and washing up the dishes when you’re done. The trick to getting high tips is matching customers to seats of the same color. The longer you play, the longer the lines get, and the more frantic gameplay becomes, but you also get chances to get higher scores. Spawning multiple imitators, the original Diner Dash remains as charming and addictive as ever.

Collapse

Collapse is one of those games which you will understand at a glance but will not be able to put down. You face a well filled with multicolored tiles, and you can click on them to get rid of them. Eliminate larger groups of tiles together for more points, and use bombs to strategically delete some colored tiles for more points. When the tiles get jumbled up, it becomes a matter of choosing what tile colors to eliminate and in what order.
Plants vs Zombies

We are only describing this game here as a formality, since it is not possible for you to have found our site and not know about this game. Plants vs Zombies was George Fan’s brilliant attempt to bring casual and hardcore gamers together, and brilliantly, it worked. Under the veneer of colorful, cartoony, goofy characters is an approachable, but complex tower defense, that demands you sit down and use your brain, and rewards you for it with a fun experience, and the perennial trap of constant unlockables.

Mozaki Blocks

We’re ending this list with another worthy Pajitnov classic. Surprisingly, Mozaki qualifies as a hidden gem among casual games, but don’t let that turn you off on this Tetris variant from the original creator himself.

Instead of a well, you play on a grid, and must place pieces in such a way that you create a line from the center to one of the four walls of the same color. You will have to contend with some orphaned pieces, but multicolored pieces will help you clear the screen. The more lines you create, the higher the score, but make sure you get those lines done before the timer runs out!

 

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Interstellar Marines Early Access Hands-On Impressions http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/preview/interstellar-marines-steam-early-access-impressions/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/preview/interstellar-marines-steam-early-access-impressions/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:53:29 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=preview&p=19408 The glitz and glam of the first-person shooter realm has become something bigger than itself. With high-ball engines that seem like only Hollywood could produce,…

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The glitz and glam of the first-person shooter realm has become something bigger than itself. With high-ball engines that seem like only Hollywood could produce, there’s something empty about the experience as a whole. However, many would argue this is where the creative reins are grasped by the developers pouring their time into Early Access titles on Steam. The company known as Zero Point Software is looking to bring a little something different to the table.

“We’re a small team pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into delivering an FPS that merges the best from tactical shooters with believable science fiction and role-playing — think Half-Life meets System Shock, giving birth to Rainbow Six in space!” — Interstellar Marines Development Team

Title: Interstellar Marines
Platform: PC via Steam
Developer: Zero Point Software
Publisher: Zero Point Software
Release Date: Out now (Steam Early Access)
Price Point: $18.99 (Early Access), $24.99 to upgrade to the ‘Spearhead Edition’, $43.99 (all future game content and more*)

At its core, Interstellar Marines is a modest FPS with team-oriented gameplay. The arena-style maps span from extremely close quarters to seemingly open-air terrain. All of the matches take place in a training style facility found just below the surface of Earth. Even though the facility is a subterranean base below the state of Nevada, it doesn’t skimp on the environmental challenges a soldier may face in the future. Heck, you may encounter a walking shark or two. What better way to show off your moves by jumping in guns-a-blazin’? That is, if you can join the ranks and become an Interstellar Marine.

The map content for the game is diverse and keeps the online multiplayer realm heavily in mind. For example, on Stronghold, the newest map to be added with the update, consists of metallic corridors, stairs, chambered office-like space, and forests to line outside. To accompany the forested areas, the sprinklers located on the ceiling sputter rainfall, leaving watermarks on your mask. If the dynamic light of the map has changed, complete darkness may be upon you. At this point, there are free-standing industrial lights whose bulbs can be shot out. This plays into the tactical portion of the game. Players can either choose to fumble in the dark and fire at silhouettes or dawn their beams and be seen by the enemy.

Are those water spots on your HUD, or are you just happy to see me?

Are those water spots on your HUD or are you just happy to see me?

These are small details that should be mentioned, considering all of the other environmental factors that take part in the game.

Other memorable maps include that of Elevation, in which the environment moves up or down with the sounds of sirens for warning. If you were taking cover behind a small cubicle or set of walls, that set could no longer be there in a few seconds’ time. This ever-changing scenery offers more substance to the game instead of flooding the players with overpowering assault rifles/grenades/shotguns.

The guns in the game are limited at the current time. There is a light machine gun that fires most similarly to the basic assault rifles with holographic sights seen in games like Battlefield or Medal of Honor. Something you will notice right away is the forgiving assets that it’s already received, having a holographic scope built in. The red highlighted target quadrants on the scope I could simply do without, but the red dot sight is something longed for when starting a new FPS game.

The other gun, the AR 03, fires like the battle rifle seen in the Halo series, more specifically Halo: Reach. However, in Interstellar Marines, the kick is present and there is also a noticeable pop when it comes to cracking off a few rounds, which will presumably force you to time your shots accordingly. The zoom on the gun can be useful for enemies that are further across the map and is easily a good swap-to weapon when running out of ammo with your primary.

The game modes are currently pretty sparse. It wouldn’t necessarily be fair to deliver a full review on an Early Access title at this time, more specifically Interstellar Marines, being that new game modes are being added. Next in the update to the game is a co-op feature. This is particularly interesting to me, as the games in which I have mostly entered are often unbalanced. This would be a nifty feature for those teaming up with a friend via Steam or simply looking for a more counter-balanced approach to each map.

Left: The start of the transition on the map, Right: towards the end.  Both from the upper level view.

Left: The start of the transition on the map. Right: Towards the end. Both from the upper level view.

The most common game mode that you will find for multiplayer is Deadlock. During the ten-minute time period, players are tasked with holding seven different locations throughout the map. Once taken, the opposing team will then attempt to neutralize these areas. This also means there will be no hesitation in gunning you down in the process. The team that eliminates all of the other players and gains control of the waypoints or kills off the whole team will win the match. Leveling up is also part of the experience. Captures and kills account for points, working towards your next skill level. This becomes challenging when respawns are delayed and you are simply waiting to get back into the action, thus learning to play the game more skillfully in a sense.

On the other hand, when you are the last Marine standing, you are then tasked with capturing a waypoint or killing an enemy in order to respawn a teammate. Being the last person standing can often lead to tense moments as there is no radar used other than the icons listed in your mask. There are also no hit markers when firing on opponents, delivering more challenge to the shooter than meets the eye.

Final Thoughts:

Interstellar Marines is surprisingly addictive and fun, considering that there is still more content promised and more features to be desired. I would like to know more background, item classifications and specifics in terms of weaponry. Most of these sought-after features can be seen in the image scroll bar for the game if you visit the Steam page. I wouldn’t normally consider the price-point of a game to be a deciding factor, but for this title, it should. The development team should consider pricing in the sense that it could lead more consumers to pick it up. At this rate, it is foreseeable that the game will can only grow in value as new features are added.

At this time, I would say that having an $18.99 Early Access price point is rather high. Having the full game along with additional content will put you in the $43.99 ballpark. Based on the gameplay itself being quite fun, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pass up this shooter or simply hold out for a destined purchase.

The following is what you can expect if you drop the $43.99 in Steam cash:

  • Early Access to Interstellar Marines including all future updates and expansions.
  • Join the Spearhead unit (unique honorary game profile).
  • Your username in the Hall of Honor and your name in the credits of the game.
  • Digital download of the Interstellar Marines: The Beginning soundtrack and all future soundtracks.
  • Digital download of art book when it’s ready.
  • Get 1 extra Interstellar Marines Steam Key to gift to a friend.

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10 Last Chance Special GOGcom Games You Can’t Miss Out On http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/10-last-chance-special-gogcom-games-cant-miss/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/10-last-chance-special-gogcom-games-cant-miss/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:55:07 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?p=19404 GOGcom made a slew of amazing announcements today, but among them is the shocker that they were removing 35 of their classic titles off the…

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GOGcom made a slew of amazing announcements today, but among them is the shocker that they were removing 35 of their classic titles off the library. If you’ve had your eye on a few of these titles, you need to get them before they are gone forever!

If you don’t know what you could be missing out on, however, we’ll list down the top 10 franchises for your perusal. Yes, that means some items in this list refer to multiple games. You can decide  for yourself which ones you want to get.

Painkiller Black Edition

Released in the same year as Postal 2 and Doom 3, Painkiller might have been lost in the shuffle, but it deserves your attention now.

The story of a man stuck in hell, forced to take down Satan and his generals to make his way to heaven, is a little on the light side, but that’s deliberate. Painkiller is all about taking down hordes of hell’s soldiers, no fetch quests or key hunting. Just kill everything in your sight and move forward.

Painkiller Black Edition brings together the original game, as well as its first expansion, Battle Out of Hell. Buy Here Now

Freedom Force vs the Third Reich

While Gogcom only offers the sequel, you do not need to have played the original to understand or enjoy this. Freedom Force and their villains go back in time, all the way to World War 2, in a bid to stop Blitzkrieg from using time travel to take over the world. Along the way, they discover the grey area they must traverse to keep America, and the world, safe.

 

Freedom Force vs the Third Reich’s gameplay is the same familiar RTS / RPG mix, requiring planning, coordination, and methodical playing. It’s an addictive mix of mechanics, welded with a compelling story to make an irresistible combination.  Buy Here Now

Desperados

GOGcom is offering Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive and Desperados: Cooper’s Revenge. If you are curious about this game at all, you may as well get them together.

Both games see you commanding a gang of gunslingers in a Wild West setting, led by John Cooper. Whether taking down the notorious bandit El Diablo, or seeking out revenge for the murder of John’s brother, both Desperado games feature stories with surprise twists and turns, and Commandos-style stealth real time tactics gameplay. If you’ve read bad reviews of Cooper’s Revenge, don’t fret; the GOGcom version fixes the bugs.

Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive Buy Here Now

Desperados: Cooper’s Revenge Buy Here Now

SpellForce

Admittedly, the SpellForce games are a bit of a mixed bag, so why would you want to get these games?

In spite of its issues, SpellForce represents a conscious effort to effectively and seamlessly bring together the world of RTS and RPG games. Playing as the Runewarrior in the original or the Shaikan in the sequel, you will be immersed in the deep lore of a fantasy world tainted by war and the struggles for power.

If you had to choose between the games, SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars improves on everything the original SpellForce  built on, and Dragon Storm is the more worthy sequel to SF2, over Demons of the Past. Ultimately, however, if you want to follow the story all the way through, you should play them all in order. You also should note that SpellForce: The Order of Dawn, the original game, is bundled with its expansions, Breath of Winter and Shadow of the Phoenix for a high value package in SpellForce Platinum.

With all four games deeply discounted, this should not be a hard choice to make.

SpellForce Platinum Buy Here Now

SpellForce 2:  Shadow Wars Buy Here Now

SpellForce 2:  Dragon Storm Buy Here Now

SpellForce 2:  Demons of the Past Buy Here Now

Silver

Silver has a cult following, but is definitely not for everyone. If you know nothing about this game, however, you owe it to yourself to at least read on and find out if it’s worth your consideration.

Silver is the villain and despot of the game world of Verrah, and you play David, a young warrior out to save your damseled wife from Silver. What distinguishes this game from the pack is its JRPG inspired aesthetic, and real time combat. The game also uses distinct control schemes, using both pie menus and mouse gestures.

If theres any reason to pick Silver now, it would be that the original 1999 disc is incompatible with modern computers. This GOGcom version is playable on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 without additional patches.

Buy Here Now

The Black Mirror

Again another divisive franchise, The Black Mirror games are a suspenseful trek into madness and survival horror. While the games have been criticized for the rigid, sometimes inconsistent, story elements, other fans embrace these same elements as part of their appeal.

Few will argue that both games are effective at building atmosphere, thanks to high quality background graphics, audio, and animation. There is merit in criticisms of the English dub, but these are in no way deal breakers. If you’re curious how European devs handle the touch and click interactive horror genre, these are the games you are looking for.

The Black Mirror Buy Here Now

Black Mirror 2 Buy Here Now

AquaNox

Now here is a truly unique treat. The AquaNox games are 6DOF action games placing you in a mercenary sub, facing off against sea monsters, marine armies, and other mercenaries. In essence, these are flight simulators trading the skies for the seas, demanding mastery of real 6DOF controls. The Aquanox games also hold up well visually and story wise. These games may not be perfect, but they are unique, and you do not want to miss out on the chance to get them cheap and DRM-free.

AquaNox  Buy Here Now

AquaNox 2: Revelation Buy Here Now

Alien Nations

The Alien Nation games cannot match up to the likes of Civilization or Empire Earth in terms of complexity or depth, but that’s precisely the point. These games swing to the opposite end of difficulty in the usually harsh RTS genre. Easy to pick up and play, you do not hold direct control over your creatures, but give orders like a god. Each of your creatures have unique personalities, and you will have to respect that, and work to cultivate their best traits to get them to do what you want. These games are engineered not to challenge, but to delight, and are a great gift for your kids or younger relatives and friends.

Alien Nation Buy Here Now

The Nations / Alien Nation 2 Buy Here Now

Panzer Elite Special Edition

Have you never played a tank sim before? You can’t go wrong starting with Panzer Elite. This game is widely regarded as the gold standard in its genre. Its system takes into account every imaginable variable possible, including gravity, wind, muzzle velocity, shell rotation, etc. The original game by Wings Simulation suffered from numerous bugs, but thanks to the core Panzer Elite community, the Special Edition is a much improved experience.

The extreme realism comes with the drawback of a steep learning curve, and even in its time, the game’s graphics engine was already dated, but even with these issues Panzer Elite Special Edition is a must buy for the tank sim fan, especially now that the game is in its going away sale.

Buy Here Now

Neighbours From Hell Compilation

We end this feature with a slapstick cartoon come to life. The original Neighbours From Hell features you setting traps and playing tricks on the hated Neighbour in his home, and its sequel, Neighbours from Hell 2: On Vacation, has you following the Neighbour throughout the world, and using his mom and dream girl against him. These games are simply straightforward devilish fun, and they’re worth getting now before they’re gone forever.

Buy Here Now

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