New Video Game Releases


Video Game Releases

The video game industry is continuously improving its techniques and strategies so that more and more appealing games can be offered to enthusiasts. This year 2012 us shaping up as impressively as in the past 2011. You can expect to see new entries in some of your favorite series like Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, and UFC Undisputed 3. And you will be introduced to tons of new games, new titles, including the downloadable ones. Following are some of the new video game releases that you can play on your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or your PC.

1. UFC Undisputed 3

This video game release date is February 14, 2012. This is about the world's biggest league of mixed martial arts. If you're a fight fan, there's nothing more you can ask for in this video game, which has the most accurate presentation of the sport of martial arts. 

2. Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal new video game release date is February 15, and it is back after a long hiatus, making a PlayStation 3 debut. This a hallmark car combat where action is handled with 4 players in split screen or 16 online. If gun multi-player and over-the-top missile fights are not your favorites, you are free to go solo with the game's character like Sweet Tooth.

3. Alan Wake's American Nightmare

This video game's release date is February 15. If you played the original Alan Wake game and loved it for your Xbox 360, you'll surely want to wait for the release of this new XBLA title. The Alan Wake game is 2/3 action and 1/3 story, where Alan finds himself in a route 66-inspired town, Night Springs. The town just happens to be included in an episode that the main character wrote for a TV show titled Night Springs.

4. Syndicate

Syndicate will be released February 21, 1012. This is a strategy game that gets some new look and new life. This is a first person shooter from the publisher, EA and Starbreeze Studios. The setting is year 2069, and the world is divided into areas being controlled by syndicates. You play as Miles Kilo, the bio-engineered agent of of EuroCorp Syndicate. You'll be ordered to infiltrate and battle the world's other syndicates on a revenge mission. What might possibly upset some diehard Syndicate fans is the change in genre. However, the style, look and game play of this new video game will have everone hooked.

5. Mass Effect 3

For release March 6, this video game is the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy. Shepart, the main character, has fought the Reapers and Collectors. After the fight, he will fight again to prevent the invasion of Earth. This is a fan favorite series and has changed a little over its short run. It brings with it multi-player mode and Kinect integration.

6. Silent Hill Downpour

This video game release date is March 6. This is the 8th title in the series. From what you'll see, it will be a moody take on a town that everyone will love to hate. In this game, a prison bus will have an accident, and its passengers will be freed into a place, the Silent Hill. Here, everything goes to hell. Murphy Pendelton, the main character, prefers to stay in the town rather than go back to jail. Care to know why?

7. Resident Evil

The game Resident Evil is due for release March 20. If you have loved the Resident Evil previous games, but got tired of the standard RE game play, you watch out for this new video game. It pits multiple players versus a group of zombies and under horrors of Umbrella Corporation. This game is a single player and promises to energize you in your play.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review


Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is an exceptional entry in the series, putting focus on multiplayer balance and accessibility as well as a slick campaign.

5 out of 5 stars

An early level aboard a Russian submarine leads directly onto one of the highest points in the series, a chase sequence that turns the tides of the war. Later on, infiltrating an African village adds a sense of quiet, oppressive tension. The team of Soap, Price, Frost, Burns and Yuri make their way through numerous action sequences, never staying in one place for long enough to tire it out, and in other hands this approach could have been patchy and disjointed, but here it serves as a flowing assault to the senses. It's quite a draining game, but in a hugely satisfying way.
The plot serves as a showcase for the spectacular setpieces, the excellent weapon balance, but also the futility of war. There are brief moments of reflection, the sense of loss and rage and futility conveyed surprisingly well for a game which is all about shooting people in the face. It doesn't hide the fact that in this context, it's making wargames fun, but never tries to glorify this either. The goal here seems not to shock but to impress, but the game isn't afraid to take the occasional time out to remind you that yes, war isn't very nice.
It's comfortably the best Call of Duty campaign yet, with consistent high points and none of the lows that have occasionally punctuated past games. And despite the quickfire nature of its scene or setpiece changes, it's around 8 hours long, the ideal length for a shooter of this ilk. Any Call of Duty developer has always had to tread a fine line to achieve the right balance, but here Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer walk this line with confidence, never faltering or putting a foot wrong. It's a remarkable balancing act, and one I can't praise enough.
The Spec Ops mode returns here too, in the form of Survival and Missions. Survival is a kind of Horde mode; waves of enemies roll up, each throwing something new into the mix, and weapons and support can be purchased either between waves or during a firefight. It's fast-paced, well conceived cooperative gameplay (although you can also play it alone) and Survival is divided up into four sets of four missions, with each set having a different theme in terms of enemy types.
Mission mode is a series of timed missions playable in coop or solo, either filling in timeline gaps in the campaign or providing an alternate take on events. These, too, are excellent; rapid arcade challenges that can be quite tricky but due to their brief nature, immensely satisfying. The Spec Ops mode is once again a great addition, fleshed out and to provide even more content.
Content and balance is an overarching theme for Modern Warfare 3. With a new entry comes a fairly significant improvement to the versus multiplayer also. While at heart it's still the same game which has proven so popular over the years, the teams have done so much to refine their formula to perfection that it's impossible to feel as if you're just playing the same game as last year. While the campaign is excellent, it's the multiplayer where CoD has always really shone, and in this department the game moves from excellent to phenomenal.
The most significant change to Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer is with the killstreaks, and they've had a major overhaul. In past entries, achieving set numbers of kills between deaths would reward you with bonuses, in the form of support drops or offensive capabilities. The killstreaks have always been great for those who can pull them off, but they never really rewarded multiple playing styles. With their transformation into pointstreaks, this has all changed. For starters, killing is no longer the only way to earn the rewards. Captured or completed objectives also count, and it's entirely possible to earn the highest killstreak reward without actually killing anybody. You still need to be a skilled player, of course, but it rewards skill in other areas as well.
On top of this, you can now choose from three 'strike packages'; Assault acts much the same as killstreaks did, allowing you to choose your rewards, earned between deaths for kills. Then there's the Support package. This package doesn't reset your pointstreak on death, but as such limits which rewards you can select. As the name suggests, they all take the form of support drops, things like UAVs or bulletproof vests or radar upgrades, giving your team a tactical advantage but never an offensive one. And then there's the Specialist package, which is basically the maverick option, in which pointstreaks award your character with additional perks, up to three, on top of the ones you set as part of your character customisation. Specialist pointstreaks also reset on death.
With these new additions, Modern Warfare 3 is the most accessible Call of Duty yet, but also the most tactical and in-depth, with the level of customisation meaning that not only are multiple play styles accommodated for, but clans or groups of players are able to strategise and plan their approach, striking a balance between Assault, Support and Specialist players. Death streaks also return, giving a small boost to anyone who's struggling too much. The effort that's gone into making sure absolutely every player is catered for and has a fair chance, while still rewarding skilled play, is immense.
Weapon customisation, too, has received some attention. Weapons level up the more you use them, gradually allowing you to unlock new attachments, camo and even weapon proficiencies. These perks take the form of things like recoil reduction or improved stability, and mean that more than ever you're able to tweak your loadout to perfection, but also rewards experimentation and risk with trying out new weapons.
Along with the new customisation options, pointstreaks and perks (these too allow you to adapt your playing style, with new additions like Assassin making you undetectable on radar, while Stalker increases your speed while scoping or iron-sighting), the two new public game modes are fantastic additions. Team Defender sees one team member grabbing a flag while the others defend them, and functions much like a VIP mode, but Kill Confirmed is the new star of the show. It's a form of Team Deathmatch, only upon death every player drops a dog tag. This can be collected by a member of the opposing team, which leads to a 'kill confirmed' or grabbed by a member of their own team, thus denying the enemy that kill. It's an excellent marriage of TDM and more tactical, objective-based gameplay, and soon descends into a tense, thoughtful game of risk and reward,
The Private matchtypes are numerous, too, and here a sense of fun shines through. Away from the frenzy of competitive play, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have cut loose and had a bit of fun. There are plenty of modes, favourites from Black Ops such as One In The Chamber and Gun Game return alongside modes such as Infection and Juggernaut, the latter of which tools one player up in hefty, mech-like combat armour and sets all the other players against them. What gives the Private match types the edge, though, is the mode editor.
Here, you can create your own gametypes using any of the modes as base, and you can customise pretty much every aspect of the setup. Weapons, damage, HUD appearance, modifiers, all can be tweaked and changed, allowing for hundreds of completely different gametypes to appear. Spending a couple hours trying to create the silliest or most unusual modes we could was as reminiscent of N64 Goldeneye as it was of CoD, and the ability to share your custom modes (here called 'recipes') with friends, adds a neat UGC element in.
There's a wide range of maps, clearly balanced to suit both large-scale competitive play and the smaller scale private matches. The sixteen maps are beautifully designed; winding corridors that open up into spacious battle zones, tense treks through crowded marketplaces. Each has high and low routes, multiple entry points, numerous ways to gain the advantage or to be completely overwhelmed by a more skilled team. Learning the maps is easier than it's ever been, not due to a lack of complexity but because of just how conducive they are to the different play styles and setups.
From the close quarters desert map Dome to the sprawling shopping district of Arkaden, the developers have taken care to accommodate all game modes and means of play. And it's impossible to stress enough just how well this has been achieved. There's an overall feeling, with Modern Warfare 3, that the developers have finally made the game they've been setting out to make all these years, and with the private matches and customisation have been allowed to have a little fun and freedom along the way. This is apparent in the overall design, but also in just how much care they've put into accommodating players. Facebook connectivity allows you to see if Facebook friends are online playing the game, and invite them in, and the in-game friends list can overrule the limit set by XBL or PSN. Everything has been tweaked, balanced or entirely re-envisioned to create the best CoD experience possible, and has been pulled off effortlessly.
Modern Warfare 3 is a shining example of refinement and improvement. It's familiar, sure, but here familiarity doesn't breed contempt, just respect and reward for those who've dedicated so much time to the series. And for new players, it's the perfect starting point, more accommodating and encompassing than ever. The series has always been renowned for elements like the excellent sound design, the gloss, polish and compulsion of its gameplay, but with Modern Warfare 3, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have created a game that not only lives up to the brand hype but exceeds it. A game where the mass appeal is justified, and the expectations are met. A game which is undoubtedly going to be played for a long, long time to come, and deservedly so.


y now, Ezio Auditore da Firenze has to be the hardest-working man in video games. At the age of 52 he is still committed to saving the world and unlocking the secrets of the universe, during an era where most men entered their autumn years at 45 and died at the age of 59.
Not only that, the sort of activities required by Ezio's world-saving efforts involve parkour, sword-fighting and climbing up towering structures with no safety line attached. In light of his spry athleticism, it almost seems unfair that NPCs comment as often as they do inAssassin's Creed: Revelations that: "You'd think that behaviour would be beneath him at his age!"
Mind you, the odd ageist crack is pretty small potatoes when you consider the big picture in Revelations. Ezio's quest ultimately plays a part in how a barman in the 21st century called Desmond winds up trapped in a high-tech machine, which allows humans to share the memories of their ancestors.
The game begins with Desmond adrift in the Animus, with questions surfacing about the state of his body in the real world. He runs into a sarcastic bloke called Subject 16, a disembodied consciousness who informs him that the memories of Ezio and Altair have become too intertwined with his own. If he returns to his body before he finishes exploring them, he'll go into mental arrest.
To that end, he needs to follow Ezio into Constantinople in 1511 AD, as he searches for decryption keys left behind by Altair, that will allow him to learn the whereabouts of an item that could end the war between the Assassins and the Templars.
As convoluted as all of that sounds, in practice it's pretty straightforward. Players control Ezio for the lion's share of the game, jumping in and out of Desmond's and Altair's storylines at certain stages.
Most of the action takes place in Constantinople at a time when the Ottoman Empire is on the rise, and as a venue for adventure it holds its own impressively against the Renaissance and Medieval environments featured in the earlier games.
Assassins Creed
The streets buzz with market sellers, town criers and guard squadrons who patrol the cobbles. Head up above street-level and majestic spires and sun-kissed domes jut out against the undulating concrete rooftops.
As with every other city in the series, Constantinople is a joy to explore and its map is filled to bursting with activities. Players can still buy shops and businesses, kit themselves out with weapons, armour and equipment, hunt for treasure chests and hire the odd band of thugs or Romany women (standing in for courtesans) to run interference.
It almost goes without saying, because this is an Assassin's Creed game, that everything looks historically accurate and absolutely gorgeous to boot.
However, while the graphics remain a series strong-point, wrinkles and blemishes are beginning to become a little more pronounced in other areas. Over the last four main games – leaving aside the titles that appeared on handhelds and on Facebook – the gameplay has been tinkered with and augmented somewhat, but key flaws still remain.
The free-running control system is still twitchy, meaning the segments involving parkour are never as free-flowing as they should be – a problem the series has had since the first instalment.
Climbing has been improved over time, but the routes up towers and buildings aren't always clear. Sometimes the player is required to hit the jump button in order for Ezio to reach a handhold above him, but it's never clear when this is the case.
Hit jump at the wrong moment and Ezio will kick off the building in the opposite direction and crash to the street below (although the introduction of parachutes in Revelations softens the landing somewhat).
Perhaps the most baffling aspect in Revelations is the fact that the developers have remapped some of the controls. It's a small consideration, certainly, but long-time fans of the series may be somewhat irked when they instinctively reach for the parry command in every second sword fight, only to find they've left themselves open to attack.
We also lost count of the number of times we accidentally fired Ezio's flintlock at the top of a tower by pressing Y, having become so used to associating that button with the panoramic View Point animations in all the other games of the series.
Still, not all the changes are bad. One of the first and best new additions in Revelations is the Hook Blade, which replaces one of Ezio's concealed blades from the last two games. In combat, it gives Ezio a couple of options aside from basic melee; it can be used to trip up opponents, or as part of an evasive move in which Ezio flips over their back and leaves them sprawling in the dust.
The Hook Blade also comes in handy in Ezio's rooftop travails. By hitting B mid-jump, the player can extend Ezio's reach, allowing him to jump over greater distances between rooftops, and reach ledges that are higher above him on vertical climbs.
There are also a number of ziplines throughout Constantinople and Ezio can slide down them using his Hook Blade, and even, if the player times it just right, leap off and assassinate any enemies Ezio is sliding above.
On top of that, Ezio now has the ability to craft a variety of explosive devices ranging from smoke bombs that detonate on impact, to bombs which shower the ground with fake coins when they explode, to good old fashioned stink bombs that leave opponents briefly dazed.
Players will find casings and ingredients for Ezio's bombs in shops and treasure chests dotted around the city, and in the pockets of guards they've killed. They can then make bombs at crafting tables at the local assassin's guild.
Ezio can still recruit assassins to his cause, as was possible in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood – and, once again, he can train them up to Master Assassin level by sending them out on missions in faraway lands. Ezio can also still deploy assassins as a distance attack, provided they're all not overseas poisoning someone.
It's worth levelling all Ezio's assassins up as Master Assassins can be put in charge of Guild Headquarters, which protects them from attack. This, of course, takes quite a bit of time to do, so in the meantime, players can prepare themselves for a series of tower-defence games.
Throughout Constantinople, there are towers that are under the control of the Templars, the Ottomans and the Byzantines. Not only does this make the areas around them rather dangerous, it prevents Ezio from buying up businesses and earning cash.
Assassins Creed
To seize control of these towers, Ezio has to identify the local leaders (or leaders), kill him (or them), and then set the tower on fire (in a manner very similar to the way he took control of the Borgia towers in Brotherhood).
At that point the tower becomes a Guild HQ, and until it has a Master Assassin installed it's vulnerable to attack. When this happens, players have to win a tower defence mini-game, in which they place blockades in the path of oncoming soldiers and place assassins on rooftops, who rain down arrows and musket balls. They also have a larger attack in the form of a cannon, which needs to recharge over time.
While the tower defence game is enjoyable for the most part, towards the end it starts to eat into the proceedings. Annoyingly, while it's presented as an optional side-quest, it's actually necessary to capture all the towers in order to progress through the game easier.
Players that don't bother with it face an uphill battle as without Guild HQ's, they can't recruit assassins, guards recognise them more often and businesses are locked away from them. After a while, the notification that a Guild is being attacked becomes irritating, as it usually interrupts a more fun and worthwhile activity – like picking the pockets of NPCs, for example.
Overall, it feels a lot like the multiplayer mode in that, while neither is bad, they do seem a little unnecessary in an open-world game, which is largely story-driven.
It's in the plot where Assassin's Creed: Revelations shines the brightest. It's story may be madder than a bag full of spanners, but it's populated by colourful characters, chock-full of interesting and amusing events and the way it unfurls overall is simply magical. And holding everything together at the centre is Ezio Auditore, one of the most engaging and best-written characters in gaming.
While Assassin's Creed is strictly speaking Desmond's story, and Altair featured before we made Ezio's acquaintance, players have spent more time with the Florentine noble than any other character in the series.
We've seen him evolve from a young Lothario into a stern man of action, shared his losses – both familial and social – and guided his blade in quests for both revenge and knowledge. Without giving too much away, his tale in Revelations is one of the series' best and certainly worth exploring.
In fact, Ezio Auditore is, simply put, the only reason one needs to pick up a copy of Assassin's Creed: Revelations. While it doesn't feel like the step forward for the franchise that its two predecessors did in their day, Revelations can confidently stand shoulder to shoulder with the better titles of 2011.

The 100 best PC games ever, part one


100. Starsiege: Tribes
YEAR 1998: It cared not a jot for the single-player, but for truly original green-hill ski fun and remarkably canny foresight into the teamplay required in the online shooters of tomorrow (well, today), Tribes is worthy of its place in this list. Vengeance delivered story, but the original provided that true jetpack glory. We miss you Tribes. Come back soon.

99. Need For Speed: Most Wanted
YEAR 2005: Finally emerging into the sunlight after the night-time races of Underground, Most Wanted was a brilliant blend of arcade racing, the obligatory 'pimp my ride' car customisation and car chases that put Smokey And The Bandit to shame. And dropping a giant donut onto a pursuing police car was so satisfying.

98. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
YEAR 2004: Escape From Butcher Bay is one of the best console-to-PC conversions ever. Vin Diesel was superb as the enigmatic see-in-the-dark Riddick, while the well-crafted story saw you exploring the universe's worst prison, chatting and swapping items with other inmates and enjoying first-person hand-to-hand combat that actually worked. Weapons could be anything from a guard's pistol to an improvised 'shiv' such as a shard of glass, and the stealth element allowed you to sneak up on enemies and push them into rock grinders or snap their necks like twigs. Also featured one of the best end-of-game levels ever. Shine on.

97. N
YEAR 2005: Fun and free Flash platform game featuring simple graphics and chucklesome ragdoll physics. Control a stick-figure ninja, as he jumps, slides and bounces around the levels, avoiding mines, missiles, electric fences and other nasties - fail and you'll usually end up as a pile of detached bloody limbs. Includes replays and online high scores. Unmissable.

96. Worms
YEAR 1995: "Incoming!" The original - and still the best - version of the seminal multiplayer tactical battle game from Yorkshire-based Team 17. Four teams of four worms take turns to fire a twisted assortment of weapons, including the Dragon punch, Uzi and Bazooka, to wipe out each other. Simple, addictive, hilarious and still great today.

95. NetHack
YEAR 1992: In NetHack, you play a @, fighting through dungeons with your trusty d(og). NetHack was ASCII adventuring - based on the 1980 game Rogue - at its finest, with gobsmackingly deep gameplay for a game you can find on your keyboard. You could win favour with gods, research dozens of scrolls and potions, even train your pet. Version 3.4.3 was released last year, and these days, you can use a graphical interface. If you're scared of capital 'D's, you big baby.

94. Hidden & Dangerous 2
YEAR 2003: "Bugged, but brilliant" was our assessment of this hardcore WWII tactical shooter back in issue 136. Created by Illusion Softworks (makers of gangster hit Mafia), H&D2's huge variety of unscripted levels - from stealth missions in the Burmese jungle to full-on assaults in the African desert - keeps it in our 101 best games list.

93. Hitman: Blood Money
YEAR 2006: One of the PC's great underachievers, the Hitman franchise finally spawned a classic. Easy to pick-up-and-play, with great level design, including a hugely-populated Mardi Gras. However, it was the accidental deaths that proved a stroke of genius, allowing you to drop targets into shark pools or set them on fire with barbecue fuel.

92. Grand Prix Legends
YEAR 1998: The Steve McQueen of racing titles, Grand Prix Legends captured the romantic feel of the 1967 season, complete with staunchly authentic detail such as the rocket-on-wheels cars and handlebar moustaches. Incredibly hardcore, but packed full of adrenalin rushes from a time when safety was a secondary concern for the organisers of the World Championship.

91. Splinter Cell
YEAR 2003: The Splinter Cell series, coupled with the Thief series, is one of the crowning jewels of the stealth genre. While later titles have brought even greater things to the table, the first was a genuine leap forward for PC gaming. Plus, with its 24-style narrative, gripping plot, Bond-beating gadgets and undeniably cool acrobatic moves, it's still brilliant fun to play today.

90. Silent Hunter III
YEAR 2005: "We all live in a WWII submarine," sing the jolly submerged Nazis, just before a depth charge condemns them to a watery grave. Silent Hunter IV is the kind of game that only the PC could champion - join the crew of a U-Boat in a tense and hardcore simulation. Das Boot-iful.

89. Sid Meier's Pirates!
YEAR 2004: An update of strategy king Sid Meier's 1987 classic Pirates!, this is a buccaneering adventure taking elements of role-playing, trading, naval warfare, stealth and even rhythm action romantic dalliances to create a charming whole. Wonderfully engaging and accessible with great humour, this is pure buried treasure. Thar be gold!

88. Supreme Commander
YEAR 2007: Big stompy mech robots destroying shit with lasers. Always good in our book - and Supreme Commander (created by Chris Taylor, the bloke behind Total Annihilation - see no.72) gives you the ultimate all-powerful walking turret to destroy your foes in this ambitious RTS. Humongous battlefields, tons of units and tech trees, exciting skirmishes and cracking multiplayer.

87. Grim Fandango
YEAR 1998: What's most memorable about Grim Fandango? The humour? The still-unique voodoo-tiki art direction? Or the fact that is was so hard that most people snapped in excess of 500 pencils before even getting to their car? Not hard like the obtuse nonsense that went on in the riddles of Discworld and the like. No, Grim Fandango had great logic. Which only made you feel even more stupid when you finally cheated. Which you did.

86. Cave Story
YEAR 2005: A Japanese freeware action-adventure platformer in the vein of Super Metroid or Castlevania with lovely old-school graphics, great level design and neat weapons. Escape from a complex underground cave network, while helping the cute rabbit-like inhabitants. Cave Story could easily be mistaken for a lost classic from the 16-bit era.

85. Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
YEAR 2004: Peter Molyneux created Theme Park. Chris Sawyer created Rollercoaster Tycoon. David Braben then drew the spiritual strings of both together in a neat bow to create Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. A game your kid-sister would play, it also had the depth required to capture your bitter heart too. The real-life manager of Alton Towers must be a happy man indeed.

84. Descent
YEAR 1995: "Which way up am I? Is this the ceiling? Maybe I'll just rotate around a bit... Argh! It's one of the rocket-y ones!" All these experiences and more were part of the Descent play experience - a 360-degree shooter of panoramic robot-induced terror. And occasionally nausea. Its like shall not be seen again...

83. Soldier of Fortune II
YEAR 2002: Notorious for its 'Ghoul II' technology that allowed for the gory blasting off of body parts, Soldier Of Fortune II was a brilliantly brutal shooter - especially in multiplayer. Whether real-life 'military consultant' and star John Mullins had ever crouched down and attacked a headless corpse with a knife while giggling is still unknown...

82. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
YEAR 1992: Everyone bangs on about story-telling these days, but so often it boils down to a witty line or a third act reversal where aliens turn out to be quite nice after all. The Fate Of Atlantis did so much for gaming so far before its time that no bugger seems to realise. Like Half-Life, it had a game introduction you played through before the game kicked off; like the best roleplayers, it had different story strands to follow; and like Half-Life 2, it had a female sidekick you felt genuinely in cahoots with. Plus, it had Nazis. What's not to like?

81. The Movies
YEAR 2005: It should have entertained so many more. The sheer joy of creating your own dumb cinematic masterpieces in The Movies has never been rivalled before or since. Single-player was a sideshow, admittedly, but with the mindblowing Stunts And Effects expansion in tow, your efforts, if not consummately professional, were never short of hilarious.

80. Clive Barker's Undying
YEAR 2001: Your favourite haunted house level extended over an entire game and punctuated by some of the creepiest sound effects rendered on CD, Undying was a relentless and brilliantly scripted affair. A first-person Alone In The Dark whose dank brilliance demanded a sequel, but instead got diddly squat.

79. F.E.A.R.
YEAR 2005: Spooky girl + paranormal special forces x slo-mo bullet effects/corridors = shitted trousers. F.E.A.R. is developer Monolith's most recent jaunt into the old ultra-violence, and managed to combine ridiculous gunplay with creeping unease and a handful of shocking moments. Japanese horror-movie-influenced and really rather proud of it.

78. Team Fortress Classic
YEAR 1999: It looked like Half-Life and sounded like Half-Life, yet had a taste and smell all of its own. Namely: 'teamy', 'tactic-ful' and 'absolutely raving bonkers'. With classes that fitted your personality in zodiac fashion, it's the little mod that could, would and then bloody well did. Roll on Team Fortress 2!

77. Frontier: Elite II
YEAR 1993: The enormity of space is oft-commented on, but has never been felt quite as acutely as it was here. Its progenitor may have cleaved its mark more firmly onto history, but with an increased roleplay feel to its trading, piracy, Viper-baiting and slave-shifting, as a mag we prefer Frontier. Plus: less silly 'ship in letterbox' docking procedures.

76. No One Lives Forever 2
YEAR 2002: Immaculately designed, bravely pioneering and with a cracking script: the demise of NOLF ranks as one of the highest tragedies in gaming. Seamlessly merging its '60s setting with its gameplay and putting as much emphasis on dainty footwork and stealth as on blasting - Cate Archer is sorely missed.

Top 50 games (Part 1)



YEAR 1998: While it may have been much the same as its predecessor, it was still impossible to ignore the sheer unadulterated entertainment value of Carmageddon II's unsubtle yet irresistible mix of high-speed driving, car-trashing and pedestrian-ramming. Politically incorrect in the extreme, it was also bloody good fun.

YEAR 1997: This shooter remains one of the finest examples of how to make a Star Wars FPS. Set in the aftermath of the second trilogy, you reprised your role as bearded pseud Kyle Katarn and battled an evil Sith lord in a Force power-packed intergalactic romp of blasting and lightsaber duelling. Genius!

YEAR 1993: One of Bullfrog's finest ever creations, you played as the director of a massively powerful global corporation who were hell-bent on annihilating your competitors and setting pedestrians on fire. Controlling four drug-fuelled soldiers in isometric battles, the action/strategy mix was a precursor to the likes of Command & Conquer and Commandos.

YEAR 2003: An unfairly overlooked adventure, Beyond Good & Evil is a jaunt of startling depth and character, in which you play photo-journalist Jade (who you fancy), who's accompanied by her piggy uncle (who you don't). Recruited to expose an alien conspiracy, its delightful puzzling and oddly Rastafarian rhino mechanics made it nigh-on unforgettable.

YEAR 2001: A flawed masterpiece it may be, but Black & White remains one of the most innovative and ambitious games of the new millennium. Playing as a god within a mystical world and aided by a giant creature you had to nurture from childhood to adulthood, you were charged with becoming the world's most powerful deity by any means at your disposal, be they good or evil. With your every action causing a reaction, both your creature and the world around you physically changed to represent your alignment, while the open-ended gameplay meant endless hours of freeform fun and villager torment.

YEAR 2001: A game of wondrous chills, this fright-fest made use of stunningly understated lighting and sound to generate genuine terror. Playing as a human (amazing!), a Predator (really good!) and an Alien (a bit confusing!), it also made for some of the tensest multiplayer action ever seen on PC. It's also the best film-licensed game money can buy.

YEAR 2001: This superb sequel remains one of the most taxing and entertaining strategy games of times past. Controlling a squad of four elite soldiers, you used their unique skills of sabotage and clothes-nicking to solve vexing puzzles while stealthing your way behind the sumptuous-looking enemy lines of Nazi Germany.

YEAR 1994: Long before the likes of Total War combined strategic maps with 3D battlefields came this superb tactical romp, in which you battled invading aliens. Split into two sections - a tactical map for troop movement and resource gathering, alongside a turn-based 3D battlefield - X-Com: UFO Defence was simply light years ahead of its time.

YEAR 1995: While not quite the first RTS, Conquer & Conquer was the game that turned the genre into a global phenomenon. Suddenly, turn-based gaming was a thing of the past as gamers across the world experienced the joys of real-time warfare. Packed with cool and imaginative hardware - most notably the still unsurpassed Mammoth tank - and driven forward by superbly acted FMVs and one the best RTS soundtracks ever, C&C heralded a new dawn in PC gaming and would go on to influence such classics as Company Of Heroes and the Total War series. Now that's what we call a legacy.

YEAR 1996: Having changed the world of PC gaming forever with the all-conquering likes of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, id Software then went and made it three hit series in a row with this stunning medieval-fantasy- meets-sci-fi blaster. A dearth of story was made up for with giant electrosloths, eerie murk and brutal multiplayer.

YEAR 1996: A woman shouldn't be alone in a bar like this. She's interested, that's for sure. No matter how fast you strafe around her, she's facing you. Your hopes raised, you try to catch her attention with a dollar bill. "Shake it, baby," you growl, before renting a porn movie and going home alone.

YEAR 2002: Two years before the freakish popularity of World Of Warcraft, there was the only slightly less freakish popularity of Warcraft III. Ushering in the Night Elf and Undead races, it fleshed out the world and packed it with more of that compulsive Blizzard gameplay.

YEAR 2006: Think non-combat flight sims are tedious? Then shut up. Microsoft have this genre sewn up, and even if MFS07 is, ahem, 'Vista Preferred', it still hurls more fun, technology and innovation into the genre than ever, with missions that even include spies. Still think it's for dads, eh? Even with spies?

YEAR 1993: The new games are great, but they wouldn't have been made if the LucasArts original hadn't earned an immortal sheen. The comic-book roots were clear - every click was a joke, and sophisticated enough to not even feel like it was trying that hard. The 'Bigfoot' storyline wasn't quite as memorable as that of Monkey Island, but some of its scenes will live forever: the Cone of Tragedy, Gator Golf, bungee jumping from the noses of Mt Rushmore... And did you know the world's largest ball of twine is actually in Wisconsin? Well it is. That's a true story.

YEAR 2005: Psychonauts was Tim 'Grim Fandango' Schafer's first departure from point-and-click games, and he managed to fill the world of platform puzzling with his rich comic imagination. Artistically beautiful without the modern cop-out of being state-of-the-art, Psychonauts has some of the most innovative level design around.

35. IL-2 STURMOVIK: 1946
YEAR 2006: When IL-2 Sturmovik was first released, it was already a great flight sim - perhaps the greatest. Since then, its creator Oleg Maddox has continued to update and expand IL-2 until it's damn near perfect. The new 1946 version is 100% refined pure flight-action goodness. Proof that history (not to mention flight sims) can be fun.

YEAR 2006: With goals creating the kind of rush previously reserved for non-prescription drugs, Konami's latest arcadey kickabout is still the pinnacle of the genre, however much FIFA is catching up. As in real football, however, violent disputes and foul language tend to follow it wherever it goes.

YEAR 2002: Get in tank, shoot something, get out of tank, run around, shoot something. That's the pleasure of Battlefield 1942, and why it's more instant fun than the strategically superior sequels. It not only invented a whole genre from scratch (Codename Eagle aside), but also made crashing into a hillside in a freshly taken-off plane seem hilarious.

32. GTR 2
YEAR 2006: While not for the novice (first-timers probably won't get round the first corner), SimBin's hardcore racer is quite simply the finest racing simulation on Earth. With force-feedback that's so realistic it gave our managing editor travel sickness, slick hi-res graphics and obsessively accurate recreations of famous tracks and exotic machinery, GTR2 is quite simply petrol-soaked delirium.

YEAR 1992: Boasting the first true free-roaming world, Ultima VII still hasn't been topped. It satirised Scientology, let you fish, mine and have sex; it also lay the foundations of the MMO, but you got to make a permanent impact on your world. Best of all, it's still playable via Exult (

YEAR 2004: Far Cry: punishing, intelligent, beautiful and shackled to a
hero with a distinctly odd sense of fashion. Developers Crytek may pour scorn on their Trigen creations these days, but for long-range, heart-stopping combat and remarkable outdoor level design, their tropical shooter remains a ground-breaking FPS experience. It's also, however, extremely bloody bastard-difficult to complete.

YEAR 1995: Beyond the orgy of million-dollar FMVs (this time abandoning blue screen for real sets) and the dumb thrill of having Luke Skywalker play your hero, WC4 offered high-impact space battles, the likes of which are curiously uncommon in this day and age. Come back soon, Wing Commander. Please!

YEAR 2004: Troubled development, bugged-filled release and the closure of the development company. That would spell the end of most games, but not Bloodlines. It was so stupidly good anyway that the fans resurrected it themselves. Three years and 2.4 versions later, we still don't know which 'sister' we'd rather sleep with.

YEAR 2002: Describe Mafia as a Grand Theft Auto clone and you honestly should be sleeping with the fishes. This superb mobster game boasted a fantastic storyline that saw you rising to inevitable Don-hood, along with a considered approach to car theft, gunfights that felt real and a gut-wrench of a final scene. We're in desperate need of a sequel.

YEAR 2004: It's the most popular online shooter ever, and the second place isn't even close. I mean, we know how to strafe around de_dust better than we know the route between the sofa and the bed in our own homes. Even if the recent introduction of market forces has rankled some players, the continued amount of love being pumped into the game from users and developers alike is remarkable. Will we ever tire of playing those same maps again and again, and being shot in the head from a mile off by someone whose skill infinitely outstrips our own? It's sadly doubtful.


25. Diablo II

YEAR 2000: The dungeon crawler par excellence, Diablo II is for many still untopped in the realms of fantasy hack-and-slash. There's no denying the repetitive gameplay, but the devil of Diablo was in the intricate character stats - the bigger, better weapons and the endless quest for self-improvement. Add random generation, high production values and the marvel that was and you get a game that may never be surpassed.

24. Call Of Duty
YEAR 2003: More Nazis? Oh go on then... From developers split from the MOH: Allied Assault team came another title to raise the WWII shooter bar into the stratosphere. From aerial insertion into France to a dread-filled river crossing before the smoking ruins of Stalingrad, the tension rarely relented - and when it did you'd usually been killed.

23. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows Of Amn
YEAR 2000: From the RPG masters at BioWare, BGII truly felt as if you were living an adventure through a real world. Romance, deceit, your own stronghold digs and weighty decision-making were just as important as stabbing vampires in the heart. There was so much detail that it just boggled the mind.

22. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
YEAR 2003: Here's what happens when RPG heroes BioWare raid George Lucas's cupboard: the best Star Wars game ever. Set thousands of years before Luke Skywalker was even a twinkle in Anakin's evil eyes, KOTOR was a sprawling RPG with fantastic characters (assassin droid HK-47 was unmissable) and genuinely intriguing missions. Persuade an escaped droid to return to the mourning widow who'd taken to humping him as a replacement for her dead husband, or tell her to stop being mental? The choice is yours! With a third act twist better than all the prequels combined, it was a meatbag-delighting work of art.

21. Fallout 
YEAR 1997: A candidate for 'brownest game ever' (along with Quake I and II), Fallout was also an intricately written jaunt through sex, violence, drug addiction and hulking green mutants in a world where the bomb has dropped. Gripping storyline, strong characters and even a few Monty Python references if you looked hard enough...

20. Eve Online 
YEAR 2003: Deep down, every MMO feels the same - grind, level, repeat, move on. But not EVE - the first high-gloss persistent game world to truly live beyond the minds of its creators. With player corporations constantly battling it out both via diplomacy and the occasional space fracas, it's more like the real world than any MMO. Plus it's teh pretty.

19. Quake III: Arena
YEAR 1999: id Software's greatest multiplayer frag-a-thon, yet to be matched in its sheer frenetic speed. Unreal Tournament's varied environments and alt-fire modes made many new fans, but to the hardcore shooter fraternity, nothing matched Quake III's unforgiving and brutal gameplay. Rule the railgun and rule the universe.

18. Operation Flashpoint
YEAR 2001: War isn't about pretty explosions, nor is it about regenerating health: it's about patience and getting killed from a very, very long way away. Like a grumpy-faced single-player Battlefield holding a tank manual, Flashpoint has trapped countless gamers in its cruel embrace. A legendary title.

17. Company Of Heroes
YEAR 2006: An epic WWII strategy game with incredible graphics, realistic physics and superb AI soldiers that find cover wherever they are in the dynamically destructive environments, Company Of Heroes is a rock-solid classic. When you've finally finished slaughtering the Nazi war machine in the story-driven single-player campaign, the multiplayer skirmish mode should keep you entrenched at your PC for months.

16. Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne
YEAR 2003: From the rewound whip sound bringing you back into real-time to the effortlessly cool film noir stylings and soundtrack, destruction has never been quite as satisfying as it was with Payne. A thrill-packed funhouse of violence and inventive design, it even contained a glimpse of Mona Sax's bare behind.

15. World of Warcraft
YEAR 2004: So, according to official figures, you've got almost eight-and-a-half-million players paying £8.99 per month. So that's, let's see, 77 million quid a month. Cripes! Luckily, the experience justifies the global obsession, as WOW is beautiful, addictive and a genuinely wholesome experience (in game terms, if not life terms). It's also the first MMO to funnel in players from the true mainstream - a remarkable feat.

14. Football Manager 2007
YEAR 2006: It may not have the eye-sizzling graphics of other titles, but few could deny a high-league placing for the addictive footy management series begun by the Collyers in 1992. Previously known as Championship Manager, FM is the closest most of us will get to being Jose Mourinho (thank god).

13. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
YEAR 2006: Held below Morrowind after a populist revolt in the PC ZONE offices due to qualms with the levelling system and an enduring love for its predecessor, Oblivion is nevertheless an outright triumph. Beautiful, bold and endlessly inventive, it's one of the greatest fantasy RPGs of all time. From its first moments, it makes you kiss goodbye to 
any other waking thought.

12. Unreal Tournament 2004
YEAR 2004: Featuring an arsenal of alt-fire weaponry (the Flak Cannon remains peerless), nimble vehicles, innovative multiplayer modes and excellent AI bots, UT2004 is a violently colourful gib-splattering FPS classic and Epic's most complete shooter experience - at least until UT3 lands on terra firma.

11. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
YEAR 2003: "It should be San Andreas!" "Bollocks - how about the original GTA?" "F*** off. The first 3D Grand Theft Auto is the most genre-defining." The GTA series caused more trials and tribulations than any other in our top 101 discussions, but we eventually settled on GTA: Vice City as our choice of free-roaming adult playground. Vice City enjoyed some hilarious missions (trying to photograph a congressman in congress with porn star Candy Suxxx, for instance), a cast of Hollywood legends (Dennis Hopper and Ray Liotta), plus an unforgettable 1980s setting and soundtrack. Plus it wasn't too big, it wasn't too small: it was just right.

10. The Secret Of Monkey Island
YEAR 1990: They don't make 'em like this any more. You see, Monkey Island was funny. Be it the hilarious insult swordfighting or Threepwood screaming "Elaine!" Graduate-style as his beloved was about to marry the evil LeChuck, barely a single gag fell flat. The puzzles were great too. None of this 'find rusty key put in rusty lock' rubbish. Add in a cast of unforgettable characters (not least Stan the dodgy owner of a used-ship dealership), and an ending that involved a heavily shaken can of grog, and you get a game whose innate lovability will last forever. Plus Guybrush could hold his breath for ten whole minutes: now that's impressive.

09. Battlefield 2
YEAR 2005: Are you an online FPS? "Sir, yes sir!" Are you a frag-infested representation of modern warfare packed with infantry and vehicular combat? "Sir, yes sir!" Do you have boot-and-shoot, instantly playable (well, sometimes instantly playable) 64-player online wars between gruff military types? "Sir, yes sir!" Well, that's nice. Seeing as you've taken the precedent set by BF1942, then added decent tactics and squad-play - and on a good server are the pinnacle of drive, crash and shoot gameplay - you're in the PCZ elite list. "Sir! Thank you Sir!" Good, now go and jump around on an assault course or something...

08. Doom
YEAR 1993: The opening chapter was free to download, and immediately it changed everything. It was single-minded, it was obsessed with keycards, it wouldn't let you look up and down. And yet it was absolutely bloody terrifying: the growl of a pinky, the distant flare of an imp readying a fireball. Doom provided the foundations of the shooter genre we know and love today, from its use of atmospheric sound and lighting all the way through to the omnipresent cult of the exploding barrel. As iconic today as ever it was, its success and its legions of fans have made it pretty much synonymous with the concept of PC gaming. Hooray for hell.

07. System Shock 2
YEAR 1999: "Where am I? Why are the crew's innards smeared into cryptic sentences over the walls? What's that alarm saying? Compartment? Depressurising? Evacuate? Shit, what do I do now?" System Shock 2 was packed with desperate moments like this. Masterfully designed, perfectly paced, fundamentally terrifying and, in Shodan, boasting the most ingeniously portrayed arch-villain ever to occupy a hard drive. System Shock 2 is the ultimate in abject, lidless terror. If you've never played it, then dear god track down an (unforgivably rare) copy of the game. You'll thank us. After a fashion...

06. Rome: Total War
YEAR 2004: From the mists they emerge, marching like one beating drum in columns of red and gold. Arrows streak down from the darkening sky. Siege towers roll towards crumbling walls, their creaking wheels thunderclaps of doom. Then, you fancy a cup of char, press escape and put the kettle on. Rome: Total War contains an inordinate amount of goodness - to label it as a mere military RTS would be an outright crime. 

History, technology, entertainment, unreliable drunken generals in your northern territories and heaps of bloody death make it the greatest PC game ever crafted in the British Isles. There's no strategically minded game studio that can currently match The Creative Assembly; Medieval II: Total War is good, but the grip of Rome will last as long as the civilisation it's based on. Or at least until the next game comes along.

05. Half-Life
YEAR 1998: Half-Life was infused with genius. Even if you were grumpy enough to dismiss the superb level design and robust combat, Valve created an unprecedented sense of immersion. Starting with that monorail ride, the lack of cut-scenes and indirect style of exposition made you feel like part of the storyline in a fashion that was both effective and understated. The illusion of intelligence was just as cunning; hearing the marines talking about what to do, seeing them do it, then getting flushed out by a grenade was superb, and created a feeling that was never quite equalled in the sequel. Just one thing; forget about the last level in Xen. Someone had been playing Crash Bandicoot and got carried away.

04. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
YEAR 2002: Ooh, aren't we controversial? Yes, but constant bickering among the PCZ team has left the Vvardenfell lobby victorious. The argument runs thusly: Morrowind is a better game than Oblivion, if only for the things that Bethesda sacrificed in their pursuit of making the latter that bit more action-orientated. Consider that moment three hours into the game when you realise you've covered only a minute fraction of the map - the sheer scope of Morrowind's world is breathtaking even by today's standards. It focused on creating a rich, deep back-story for every faction and race, and its lore and fantastically varied environments were more enjoyable to delve into than Oblivion's. 

You were also more attached to your character and his role in the story. More practically, the taxi-like Silt Striders were infinitely better for RPG gameplay than the adventure-impeding Fast Travel feature, while the levelling system made you feel like you were actually getting progressively stronger and pushing further into the game's wilderness. The absence of voice-acting allowed characters to move beyond the somewhat restrictive vocal talents of Oblivion's actors. In retrospect, the combat was pretty crap, but hell, we stuck with it regardless, and if that's not a measure of this game's brilliance we don't know what is.

03. Civilization IV
YEAR 2005: Looking deep inside the code of Civ IV would be the gaming equivalent of climbing inside the Total Perspective Vortex from The Hitchhiker's Guide - so vast, complex and limitless in potential that your mind would be mulched instantly. Thankfully then, Sid Meier saw fit to nestle a beauteous interface over his creation - letting it feel like you'd got raw history ticking away beneath it all, but keeping it manageable and non-terrifying. 

From the very first selection of a decent place to settle to the point at which you first dropped the nuke (and all the pointy-sword squabbling in between), Civilization was
so captivating that bedtime was always pushed into the wee small hours. You couldn't help but give human qualities to your AI opponents, analysing their movements and trying to see through their meaningless platitudes and offers of bananas in exchange for plutonium. 

There was just no other game that provided such feelings of glory or impending doom - all through one simple 'end turn' key-press to boot. And with Civ IV, well that's the iteration that just nailed everything: multiplayer, looks, religion, music, modding, engine, Leonard Nimoy... Everything.