Entries in pc (7)


Tera impressions - A slick, sexy, pervy action MMO romp

If there even exists such a thing as a “review” of the ever-changing beast that is an MMO, I shall not be the one to write it. My patience for repetition grows thin long before I’ve reached any level cap. I’ve never raided, nor participated in the elusive “endgame” that keeps so many hooked on these addictive treadmills. The MMO for me is a passing fling, a brief fulfillment of base urges to collect shiny loot and level up. 

Tera, I would guess, will turn out no differently. It always begins with grand ambitions. I always think this will be the time I find “the one” that sticks. Around the time I slaughter my forty-zillionth evil, spell-flinging walrus the magic wears off and I move on. Inevitably, the draw of spiffy virtual hats ceases to be compelling reason to go through the same tired combat routine again and again and again.

Surely Tera has repetition to spare. Its tedious “kill everything always” fetch quests make the rote drudgery of The Old Republic feel like a field trip, to say nothing of World of Warcraft’s spate of interesting excursions as of the Cataclysm revamp. The utterly forgettable story piles on the “taking a step backwards” bandwagon and provides plenty of incentive to quickly skip every boring text box in the game as fast as your index finger will let you. 

But the modern modus operandi when it comes to MMOs is one step forward for every step back, which brings me nicely to the reasons I started playing Tera in the first place. Tera is a genuinely gorgeous PC game with fun combat, two things near unheard of in the MMO space. 

Click to read more ...


Daily Contemplation: Dragon Age II on Macs on day one

The Mac version of Dragon Age II will be available right along with the PC version on the game's release date, March 8. Not only that, but it will come on a hybrid disc that includes both the PC and Mac versions.

This probably isn't news, but it's the first I've heard of it. I do wish more developers would do this. Blizzard in particular has long been good about supporting the forlorn Mac gamer, but few other studios have been. I realize those that play games on OS X are a small percentage of a PC game market that's not terrifically healthy to begin with these days, but Apple fans are a loyal bunch and certainly appreciate when they're thrown a juicy bone like this.

Plus, as Macs run on Intel processors these days, it's easier than ever to create a Mac version of a game. I'm sure it's still no cakewalk, but the OS X gaming situation is certainly better than it used to be. Apple is putting passable graphics cards in even lower end machines and, with the advent of Steam for Mac and other digital download services, it's easier than ever for Mac gamers to purchase games for their OS of choice.

Strangely, there's no sign of a Steam version of Dragon Age II for the Mac yet. This is especially disappointing as, in today's increasingly multiplatform, digital world, it's a pain to be forced to purchase separate versions of the same game just to use it on all of your capable devices. Steam's terrific service allows you to purchase a game and not only easily install it on any computer you own, but also gain access to either the PC or Mac versions of anything you buy. It's one of the most consumer-friendly places to purchase games, and it's sad that Dragon Age II won't be taking advantage of that on the Mac side, at least at first.

In any case, good on Bioware for throwing Mac users a bone. Hopefully they'll respond in kind and actually purchase the game so this kind of thing will continue to become more prevalent. 


Best of the Decade: Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead

Platforms: Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS X

Release Date: November 18, 2008 (360 and Windows)

Developer: Valve Corporation

Publisher: Valve Corporation

Few competitive games manage to grab my attention. While I may like the idea of hardcore competition on paper, it kind of falls apart in the long run if you don’t practice. I don’t tend to stick with single games that long, so my dalliances with competitive play tend to be either fleeting or relegated to more accessible multiplayer setups (read: Nintendo). 

In the early part of the decade, this meant I was out of luck for multiplayer. The gaming scene was competitive or nothing. So I had the occasional fling with Halo and mostly stuck to playing by myself.

What I yearned for was more opportunites to work with friends rather than against them. Beating your friends into the ground can be immensely satisfying, even I know that. I’ve played my share of Smash Bros. and Soulcalibur matches. Playing a game along with a friend can be just as gratifying however, and the Playstation 2 era seemed to forget this. I was thrown a bone every once in a while, such as with the surprisingly fun Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, but was mostly left wanting.

Luckily this problem has been thoroughly rectified with the most recent console generation. Developers are finally creating more and more fantastic ways to play along with your friends, instead of against them, and co-op is finally an expected feature rather than a rare bonus. 

I can now happily join friends in Halo matches, beat up Yoshi with them in Smash Bros., rock out with them in Rock Band, and, of course, shoot zombies with them in Left 4 Dead.

Click to read more ...


Best of the Decade: Portal


Platforms: Windows, Mac, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Release Date: October 9, 2007 (PC and 360 versions of The Orange Box)

Publisher: Valve Corporation

Developer: Valve Corporation

The phrase “short but sweet” isn’t often applied to video games. Most of the time there’s a perfectly good reason for this. Retail games tend to be expensive investments and most gamers expect a certain amount of length for their money. This doesn’t leave much room for those that wish to experiment with conciseness, but it’s an understandable concern. Spending $60 on a game that lasts two hours is rarely fun.

Portal slightly predates the downloadable game revolution that has made it possible for games such as Limbo and Costume Quest to experiment with providing less length for less money, but perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the movement.

Originally debuting as part of The Orange Box, Valve threw Portal into the mix as an experiment. Valve knew they had something good on their hands but didn’t know what to do with it. Downloadable games certainly existed at the time, but hadn’t quite proven themselves like they have in the last couple of years. They decided to stuff it into a compilation of proven successes as an added bonus and see what happened.

What happened was it turned into a verifiable phenomenon and solidified its place in the hearts of gamers everywhere.

Click to read more ...


A Windows Realization

Recently, as part of an effort to kick-start my PC gaming after a nice, long lull, I decided it was time to finally reinstall Windows on the iMac that serves as my meager but serviceable gaming computer.

Faced with the prospect of reinstalling and dealing with Windows XP again, I almost ended the project before it started.

Thankfully, I pressed onward.

Click to read more ...