SB Recommends Windows Games


More delicious recommendations from the selectbutton community!

The IBM-compatible personal computer has a long and storied history as a piece of gaming hardware. It is the bastion of North American game design, and its games historically reflect a less arcadey, more patient, approach. The PC is also the current hub of independent game development.

Steam has become an incredibly popular way to purchase (digital copies of) Windows-compatible software, often at exceptional prices. Good Old Games (GOG) has been releasing updated, digital, versions of DOS games compatible with modern systems, while emulators such as DOSBox, and ScummVM allow people to run their older copies of games.

For Linux users, Wine is generally incredibly good these days, with >90%+ compatibility with anything I've purchased from Steam (felix).

For controller users there should be some helpful info. in the hardware section. Generally games work just fine with 360+ and PS4 controllers.

  • Dark Age Iron Savior: An afternoon dedicated to browsing through the categories of your favorite genres as represented in pre-2003 years on Mobygames. This is a totally serious response because there is some shit in there that is amazing that you will have never heard of via this topic or most any other.
    Bring something to eat and drink, because when you take this ride, you're on it for a while.
  • 20XX
    • index-j: MMX the roguelike flexes such a shift's format strengths with strong ever-present choices / scaling / variation, while keeping the inspiration's tactile satisfaction and reinvigorating it by throwing out instakills. Little else could get away with “Start as if half-way through the game” for a difficulty mode as well as this does.
  • 8Bit Killer - download
    • The Blueberry Hill: A Doom-clone with a NES paintjob, and level design in a somewhat similar vein.
  • Ageod's American Civil War: The Blue and the Gray
    • T.: Sunk stupid amounts of time into this last summer, despite not being so crazy about unarmored warfare or the civil war. Huge scope of campaigns and amount of research as compared to any other game covering the period, and quite pretty too.
  • Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (also on: PS2)
    • Reed: Be Joan of Arc! Save France! Be Saladin! Take the Holy Land!
  • Alex Adventure - download
    • The Blueberry Hill: Sometimes it feels like a good version of a 90s shareware plaformer, perhaps it's the curious colour choices in some spots; often it feels more open than it is; and always it's my favourite PC member of the genre.
  • Alpha Protocol (also on: 360, PS3)
    • Tulpa: I played Alpha Protocol twice and had a riot of a time the second time through. I loved the first time through as a totally ridiculous game, but the second time showed me how versatile the game was.
    • space_jam: alpha protocol is a mess but it's a totally fucking amazing mess
    • costel: Alpha Protocol is at times, one of the most engaging games I've ever played. A purely stealth based character has been somewhat difficult to manage, but more than anything I find myself at odds with what to do regarding the characters I interact with. Faced with meaningful choices and consequences, is an experience that I was completely unprepared for.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It's a hideous buggy mess with some intriguing ideas buried inside. Maybe on PC it's had some of the technical shittiness patched/modded out.
    • CubaLibre: The more I think about Alpha Protocol the more I believe it is the shit. It's a criminally ignored and underappreciated version of the “choices & consequences” gameform that is completely narratively coherent and completely shits all over Bioware's inexplicably vastly more popular efforts.
    • Mr. Mechanical: Everyone should play Alpha Protocol. Always go for the “be a jerk” dialog option. Every time.
      • boojiboy7: PROTIP: Almost every dialogue option is “be a jerk”. It's just a matter of choosing what kind of jerk you want to be.
    • Tulpa: Alpha Protocol's pretty much the best kind of mess, the things it does good it really does better than any other game and the things it does bad are mediocre to bad but not so bad that you want to stop (unless you are a weenie)
    • scratchmonkey: Really, I have no arguments with anybody who suggests that Alpha Protocol is one of the great misunderstood games of our time.
    • Guillotine: Alpha Protocol is brilliant. The smallish-medium scale (for a videogame anyway) probably helps mantaining its strong cohesion, The are tons of variations and it really feels your choices matters - even if the story doesn't really change much, how you go along for the ride does significantly.
      I remember this little detail, sadly I'm a bit fuzzy about it: There's this big ex pro boxer guy, and in a dialogue your character will say something akin to “yeah? well I got first place in my college tournament”. Later you can fight him, and by defeating him unarmed just after the fact your character will briefly talk to himself: “…told you so…” or something to this effect.
      And yeah Mike is the best jerk.
  • Anachronox
    • GrimmSweeper: Damn good game. Pick it up if you haven't played to get basically a Western attempt on the console menu-driven RPG IN SPACE. Fights are quick, albeit a little too frequent. I stayed for the writing and the humour.
    • sync-swim: […] hardly even finished […]
    • starblood: I thought Anachronox was the best non-Ys RPG on the PC, at least it was on its release a decade ago. It is very inspired by the JRPG genre without the bad parts, it was great and fun while it lasted.
    • remote: Speaking of strange and uneven RPGs, I started playing a little bit of Anachronox today. It's every bit the weird, clunky, Chrono Trigger meets Blade Runner mess of clichés I always expected it to be, so far, but it's also kind of enjoyable as a fragment of that particular era of PC games (Half-Life, Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows, etc.) I'm only seeing for myself just now. Sometimes it actually looks surprisingly good! Mostly when the environments are simpler and there aren't too many polygonal humanoid blobs trundling about. I'm only up to the combat tutorial at the moment (maybe 20 or 30 minutes in (I have things to do today)), but battles are pretty tedious — reminiscent of Skies of Arcadia. Fortunately, I've heard there's not a terrible amount of combat and most of the game is spent just running around places and talking to people. Supposedly the environments become a lot more attractive, too.
    • Tulpa: Anachronox continues to be a mess but it drops cliches in favor of outré weirdness that's more reminiscent of Chrono Cross. You'll understand once you see Democratus.
    • Cossix: Anachronox is fucking awesome though. I'm so depressed that the game will never ever be finished because the whole way through it was just brilliant. Tom Hall always kind of knew what was going on with game design it seems, he just didn't know how to manage a team well and he got stuck working with Romero. Man, id alumni aren't doing too hot I guess. What is Paul Steed up to?
    • Cycle: The game is mostly about exploring, chatting to people for more information, and performing various tasks to progress. These can be investigating strange disappearances, distracting someone while another party member raids an office, dancing in a gay club, shooting down alien bugs in a Tailgunner-esque arcade game, etc. Really, this is like a JRPG crossed with a LucasArts adventure and almost all of the crap about each removed.
  • Another World / Out of this World (NA) / Outer World (JP) (also on: 360, 3DO, 3DS, Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, GBA, Mac, Mega Drive/CD, PS3, SNES, Vita, Wii U)
    • diplo: I don't know that it's that Another World is not all that fun to play. I just never could get ahold of anything except “it's cool that this was made by one guy and that it's 'cinematic?'” The look is delivered with clarity and purpose but it's a sterile and uninviting (not even in the “invitingly uninviting” way) graphic embodiment to me. Actually that's probably the main thing that just doesn't make me care: Another World is a game about a world, briskly and mysteriously experienced, but I just don't care about that world or what it suggests because the aesthetic filter is so…tidy and bald.
    • remote: Another World is still a wonderful distillation of videogame trial & error that never allows you to feel fully in control. It embraces the idea that you've been whisked off to some perilous alien world where you only learn what awaits on the next screen (or sequence of screens) by means of often gruelling repetition, and you survive only as you could in a videogame providing you with infinite lives/retries. And once you've figured out what to do, the game's cinematic flow comes into relief… always within the dynamic of a puzzle game in motion. It demands patience, precision (or as much as is allowed), and above all persistence, but its atmosphere is immensely rewarding. And like Bennett says, it just feels really good in 2011. The GOG-released version is awesome.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: These days it's more of a museum piece than a game most people are likely to enjoy at face value - unless they find grueling, repetitious trial-and-error and second-guessing of the game designer to be genuinely enthralling gameplay mechanics - but it is an intriguing and important museum piece nonetheless. Basically the first game ever to be truly “cinematic”, and nearly every subsequent game with comparable ambitions, from Resident Evil to Shadow of the Colossus to Uncharted, bears its creative DNA in some form.
    • misadventurous: i sincerely think that Another World is the closest games have ever gotten to emulating film. barring a few short moments & the opening/ending, the entire game tells the story simply through what happens to you – a fucking awesome sci-fi action thriller of a story, where the sense of death & danger is palpable and the tension rises & rises to an amazing climax. (and it's even roughly the length of a feature!) the style of the alien world & architecture is also sublime. of course the game is really just a string of puzzles that can only be solved a singular way, and consists of trial and error attempts to work them out; as such it doesn't hold up well on replay. that first playthrough is one hell of a ride, though.
  • Arcanum
    • Tulpa: The CRPG I replay every couple of years. Something about it makes it feel like a real place with characters that react to you and your actions. Flawed in a lot of ways but if you can overlook shoddy mechanics and some areas with an unfinished feel, you will find a lot to love.
    • Tulpa: You know how Fallout has that attitude of wandering around doing anything and building a reputation for yourself that effects how the world reacts to you? Arcanum does that too, and it's got followers with personalities that will just up and leave the party if you do enough things to piss them off and dialogue trees so deep and intertwined with your character and how you play them that there are conversations I have only seen once. It's been fan-patched so much that everything originally obnoxious about the game is gone (except the terrible combat system but you're playing a late-90s style CRPG, you're probably not playing for the combat.)
      The central conflict of the setting is a magic vs. technology thing where there is no Biowarean third-option-that-satisfies-everyone. The societies in the game are defined by shades of grey and you are at liberty to do anything you want. The game will not stop you from breaking the 'main quest' and you will still be able to continue even if the route to success becomes significantly less obvious.
  • Arx Fatalis - forum thread
    • Tulpa: Arx Fatalis is a fascinating spiritual successor to the Ultima Underworld games. The sound design is incredible. Instead of a soundtrack, the world is filled with triggers for looping drone sounds, so walking around the game gives you a relatively unique soundscape.
    • Dark Age Iron Savoir: play the demo
      if you are not convinced it is sweet when you get to the campfire by the stream and light a fire and fish, you will be convinced when you later find a burning guard post and bake a pie next to a dying man
    • CubaLibre: FYI dudes this game pretty much fucking rules. I figured out the whole treasure hunt by myself! (There is a treasure hunt.) I delved deep without advancing the story because I couldn't figure out how, turns out I just needed to actually pay attention to every line of dialogue in an important cutscene and then actually react to it like a thinking human would. That was a nice feeling.
  • Avernum series
    • hyouko: The art is kind of ugly, but Avernum 2 and Blades of Avernum remain some of my favorite RPGs to this day. They're apparently all the way up to Avernum 5 now — I'll take a look at it, though I remember being somewhat disappointed with how 4 looked and played.
    • Dark Age Iron Savior: unfortunately, Avernum — like Exile before it — wastes a lot of it's potential. Each game does a fair amount to set up it's concept (#1 - an extremely unfamiliar world inhabited by familiar things, #2 - a revelation which threatens to judge the new society and find it wanting, #3 - things are bad all over), but a few hours into the game you're past the cute talking spiders and the flavor text and it's just run of the mill low-ambition CRPG fun.
      What especially baffled me about Avernum was that it was a whole new set of graphics but essentially the same writing of the original game. Which had not aged well.
      I've meant to try the demos for the Avernum games which aren't remakes of Exile titles, but I have the sneaking suspicion that the writing hasn't improved despite the series being some 15 years old now…
    • dessgeega: stop him before he remakes the entire series again with even uglier graphics and an a title that means even less.
    • Cycle: I liked Avernum better when it was called Exile. Also, that ended as a trilogy like it should have.
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden (also on: Mac OS X) - forum thread demo's thread
    • Swimmy: this is so far the greatest vidcon I've played in my life. Surely the designers were all Japanese?
    • Ebrey: This is awesome. The dialogue is perfect.
    • Swimmy: this is undoubtedly the best vidcon ever created
    • IceTyger: Best game ever made
    • Sushi K: The humor and excellent RPG elements combine perfectly. Amazing.
    • Laurel Soup: dude, this is so good. The writing is perfect, and the battle system is just plain old fun!
    • Sushi K: The word 'Basketball' is never used in this game once; I think that is a major achievement in its self.
    • Gin: I love this game. So much.
    • CubaLibre: Game of the Decade. I can't say how seriously I mean this. Not only is it hilarious, with fantastic writing, and a love/mostly hate relationship with jrpg tropes, it is, mechanically speaking, a better jrpg than any released in the past ten years. Different subsets of mildly dexterity-based inputs for each character's main attack? GENIUS!
    • CubaLibre: It's tied for best JRPG of the decade with Mother 3.
    • spinach: oh my god this game is an inspiration to us all
    • spectralsound: the truckpump dialogue is based on actual forum posts from selectbutton and elsewhere. so far it's the only thing in a videogame that has literally made me laugh hysterically upon seeing it.
    • spectralsound: holy fuck this game is amazing.
    • misadventurous: Super Mario RPG crossed with Barkley, Shut Up and Jam & written by some seriously funny dudes. If you have ever known love for an RPG, go play this game. Now.
  • Bastion (also on: XBLA)
    • Kitten ClanClan: Magnificent Action-RPG that oozes style. The soundtrack is an excellent, if bizarre mix of bluegrass with more electronic music, and the result is something you'd be damned to miss out on. Game is notable for having a gruff, dynamic narrator that creates a unique experience. The difficulty has a few balancing issues, but it's largely negligible to the overall composure of the game, which is delightful.
    • Felix: A kitten dies every time some industry old-timer pours love and writing into an action RPG without sufficient depth (or co-op) to redeem it as an actual game and not just a spritely narrative.
    • misadventurous: All I know is that i could listen to a Tom Waits impersonator narrate my every move all damn day
  • Betrayal at Krondor
    • bleak: A turn-based RPG with a flat-rendered 3D world navigation system and an intensely difficult combat system. Under the hood you'll find enough numbers to satisfy the nerd within you, though they are by and large unnecessary to pay attention to. Explore a volatile fantasy world rife with disease, racism, and social unrest and get the crap kicked out of you! I have yet to beat this game but I have never regretted playing it.
  • Binary Domain (also on: 360, PS3) - forum thread
    • Felix: Sega made a cover shooter. That sums it up almost entirely. It's neat — a bit slower-paced than Vanquish, though I wish it weren't — and it has teammate-collaboration elements which are somewhat inexplicably straight out of Mass Effect 2. Save it for when you aren't bored of cover shooters.
    • Ketamine Kazoo: Multiplayer is where it really shines, and I imagine this was lost on people when the servers were saturated at launch to the point where you couldn't get your hands on any weapons without grafting yourself to item spawns. It's a traditional Quake deathmatch setup with 5 weapons, shields, health and quad damage- the player who wins is going to be the one who knows how to dominate resources, which puts special emphasis on mobility. Maps are intelligently designed to squeeze as much out of the grappling as they possibly could, bread and butter weapons are placed at specific heights so that a skilled player can grab them without losing any momentum, which is important because the floor is lava and touching it can be fatal. You can even grab items with your hook, so you can snag shit off platforms in freefall.
      When you really get a grip on the controls, the game takes on a kinesthetic flair that I haven't found in any other competitive game. It has a unique cat-and-mouse dynamic to it where the objective is to outmaneuver the other player, blindside and ground them so you can swoop down like a majestic predator hawk and eat them. At a high enough skill level, you can play and win without firing a single shot, but the weapons are effective and all have their place (except for the gimped grenade launcher which is only good for knocking people around).
    • Toups: I loved this game a lot after finally getting around to playing it last year. I really dug the boss fight against a huge mechanical worm thing. I felt it really was an awesome translation of bionic commando to 3D and was just underappreciated for whatever stupid reasons. Kind of like Blaster Master for PSX
    • cassievania: 3D Bionic Commando is one of my top favorite games from this generation.
    • The Blueberry Hill: I'm really enjoying swinging about in multiplayer, to the point where I wish there was a racing mode with no guns. I just want to swing forever~♥.
  • Braid (also on: PSN, XBLA) - forum thread
    • boojiboy7: An amazingly solid platformer with a wonderfully explored time-manipulation mechanic and beautiful artwork. Ignore all the text, though, for your own good.
    • gatotsu2501: That warning's no joke, incidentally. The sophomoric obnoxiousness of the writing pissed me off so much that I actually enjoyed the (fairly inspired) gameplay a lot less as a result. The dismissive label of “pretentiousness” is tossed around a lot these days, but Braid works itself ragged to earn it.
    • Kitten ClanClan: Seconding what Booji has already said, but offering a counter-opinion on the text: I found the game's plot to be very interesting. Its method of storytelling is one that I believe cleverly implores gaming mechanics to tell, and I also believe that the ending of the game is quite thought-provoking.
    • boojiboy7 (again): Man, if you think text blocks that could be written in any number of freshman level creative writing courses are a good way to tell a story, that is a problem. The game could've actually told the exact same story without those text dumps, and would've been much better for it.
    • Felix: everything down to the placement of those text dumps is clearly pretty thoughtful, which makes it even more frustrating that the prose itself is that bad.
  • Breath of Fire IV / Breath of Fire IV: The Unfading Ones (JP) (also on: PlayStation, PSN)
    • Dark Age Iron Savior: basically it doesn't feel the same as the previous three games or the fifth game but more like something that would happen if you took Xenogears, stripped it into it's component parts, and then tried to make a new game out of just the positive elements, but the only guiding principles you had are vague descriptions of the previous Breath of Fires and hours spent looking at screenshots of Chinese DOS & Windows RPGs on Mobygames. It is rigid, aimless, beautiful, chunky, mesmerizing, grating.
      It has great towns that are a pain to navigate and have cute NPCs, sometimes with their own unique little sprites just because they are a person being in a place.
      Every 5-20 minutes the game will delight you in some small and joyful little way and it will constantly endear you over every flaw you run into, but when you stop playing it for a while and someone mentions it or you otherwise think back to how it was, you'll kind of shrug and be all “it was okay I guess”. You may make fun of elements that seemed totally pleasant while you were playing, and struggle to recall what made you keep playing for as long as you did. But…something did make you keep playing…
      The game has two regular battle themes and two regular boss themes, and they change depending on whether you're in the more European-style Western countries or the more Oriental-style Eastern empire. Until a significant amount of progress has been made, these themes and areas are separated by two distinct storylines, and as the overarching plot develops, the player will begin to perceive the forces that cause these two fates to be intertwined.
      Also the song A Raging Emperor's Banquet (that's a final boss theme, though).
  • Bulletstorm (also on: 360, PS3)
    • Felix: Stylish, fast, cruncy, comically violent FPS with a grappling hook. I dig it but I get bored playing more than 30 minutes at a time, which is actually well within expectations for what I regard as a CliffyB side projct.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (also on: 360, PS3, Wii)
    • P1d40n3 : It's MW! A crunchy and well-paced campaign, enjoyable multiplayer…what's not to love? Consensus puts the best difficulty at Hardened; Veteran degenerates into memorization of enemy placement (no Halo style dynamic combat here; one mistake is death), and everything else is far to easy. That being said, Mile High Club (Epilogue mission) on Veteran is the providence of the Elite, and almost worth the price of admission.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (also on: 360, PS3)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (also on: 360, PS3)
  • Cave Story / Doukutsu Monogatari (JP) (Also on: 3DS, PSP, Wii, GP2X, Xbox)
    • robotdell: It's free. It's fantastic. It's Cave Story: a “metroidvania” with true purpose!
    • The Blueberry Hill: I find Cave Story to be over polished, and kind of weightless. Not so much mechanically—actually mechanically it's pretty ace!—but in regards to narrative and all that entails: you load the .EXE, play it a bit, it's over, you move on to the next time waster. There's nothing there for my brain to butt up against, or something. Kinda like Tumblr.
  • Cho Ren Sha 68k (Also on Sharp X68000)
    • Loki Laufeyson: Freeware shooting game that is excellent in every way.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (also on: 360, PS3)
  • Crimzon Clover: World Ignition - forum thread
    • notbov: Double Break Mode is the hypest shit conceived and placed in a vidcon and now I have to find a place to flip a display on it's side
    • The Blueberry Hill: A top-class, Cave-style shooter.
  • Crypt of the Necrodancer (also on: PS4, XBone, Vita, Switch)
    • index-j: That this didn't revolutionize roguelikes is one of the most tragic parts of that damned genre. Reliable behaviours / properties and simple execution pressure constantly combined in nasty ways seriously strengthens a turn-based format ever-weighed-down by spoilers and luck. Probably go beat the main three characters before installing the DLC, though.
  • Crysis (also on: PSN, XBLA)
    • gatotsu2501: Mashes up some of the best ideas from Halo and Metal Gear Solid 3, and sprinkles in a pinch of Half-Life 2 for good measure(and Far Cry, natch). Not as good as any of those games individually, but the combination and creative implementation of borrowed elements makes for a worthwhile experience. The last third of the game inexplicably does away with the wonderful open-endedness and tactical variety available up to that point and becomes a typical linear run-and-gun shooter. Unless your PC is a fucking powerhouse, you might be better off with one of the downloadable console versions.
  • Crysis 2 (also on: 360, PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: Crysis gets Call of Dutified so hard as to render it virtually unrecognizable as a sequel were it not for the familiar suit powers. That said, it's still an above average shooter on its own merits: the level designs may be corridors rather than open fields, but they're exceptionally large and winding corridors; the gameplay may be built around setpieces rather than emergent experiences, but they're setpieces that almost always allow you multiple means by which to tackle them. That's more flexibility than a good 99% of shooters in the CoD mold.
  • Darklands
    • Tulpa: Darklands is a really cool, overly detailed historical RPG, I'd recommend it. Doesn't really HAVE very much of a story but it is one of the most atmospheric games I've played.
  • Dark Sector (also on: PS3; 360)
    • Dracko: I like Dark Sector more than Gears of War. Think it got a bad rap since it came out around the same time. Contrariwise to CliffyB's power fantasy, it's got class and intrigue, and the close-quarters combat feels chaotic, gruesome and meaty as opposed to methodical. Reminds me a lot of Tsutomu Nihei's more organically inspired stuff (not to mention his [thing] for Eastern European architecture). Following that comparison, the body horror elements of the title resonate well with the character themes at play in a way that brings to mind Cronenberg and — I think this is the influence of the members of Epic responsible for Unreal — creatures appear strange and exotic instead of just plain horrid for the sake of it.
    • CubaLibre: […] it takes inspiration directly from RE4 and cuts out the whole Gears branch of design that's developed since then. It's probably even more RE4y than the next most RE4y game I can think of, Shadows of the Damned. Anyway Dark Sector has a pretty bog-standard story told extremely sparsely, which is a pretty nice change of pace. It doesn't have nearly as many weapons or customization options as RE4, I guess because the glaive (which is your superpower thingy) is supposed to make up for the difference. It only kind of does. The enemies also have a little too much health and there are probably a few too many of them, so the game feels like kind of a grind at times. Still, I enjoyed it well enough that I'm considering playing through again on the hardmode that unlocked after I beat it.
  • Dark Souls II (also on: 360, PS3)
    • CubaLibre: it adds some mechanical improvements at the expense of thematic depth. In other words they improved the stuff that I didn't really think needed improving at the expense of the one thing D'Souls did better than anyone. It's still a good game, it's just not a great game. You play it through once and you don't feel a whole lot of pull to experience it again.
    • mauve: DS2 is one step forwards two steps backwards. It does some things really well (the aforementioned mechanical issues, which are unfortunately marred by ridiculous hitbox issues and perhaps an over-nerf of sprinting), but the overall world is simply not as compelling and the level design has fewer moments of greatness. And soul memory is off-putting to playing characters for long periods of time, as you can't simply designate a cut-off point for your character anymore without becoming wildly outclassed in multiplayer.
      It's still a good game. It's just, well, it's not the Dark Souls 2 of Dark Souls, it's the Dark Souls 2 of Dark Souls 2. It's doing its own thing, and overall it is not as good for it.
  • Dawn of War
    • TORUMASUTA: Dawn of War will haunt me in my dreams, because I didn't include it, not even in the Honorable Mentions because I felt having Homeworld by Relic meant I shouldn't put in another Relic game. I've played more Dawn of War than any other RTS, and that's because it “makes sense” to me in a way no other RTS does; you're not fighting for gold mines, you're fighting for LOCATIONS ON A MAP, and instead of sacrificing units when they get to low health, you need to get those fuckers out of the fight and let them reinforce their squad or else you lose a hell of a lot of opportunity cost. The fact that there are Space Communists, Junk Metal Joke Faction Frat Boyz, and Nuns With Flamethrowers as just three of the awesome factions doesn't hurt, either.
    • Rudie: Looks like I need to man up and talk about DP here. It features one of the best characters in a game, FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan. That guy has the world's most perfect smirk! The game is half awesome Shenmue but set in Japan's version of the town from Twin Peaks and half limp wristed trudging survival horror. I strongly recommend you buy a copy of this game right now, even with how much of playing it made me groan. It looks like the world's best Dreamcast game + bloomlighting.
    • This Machine Kills Fascis: Man, I hate that all the positive reviews for Deadly Premonition reduce it to some kind of so-bad-it's-good midnight movie game.
      It's more like the sort of midnight movie that you see and you realize, “Oh wait, this is doing stuff I've never seen in a big studio movie. I mean, clearly they had no budget, but there's actually a spark of unbridled creativity and a thoughtfulness here.”
      I mean, at no point during Deadly Premonition did I feel like I was condescending to the game or its creators. Y'know, when I'm playing something like Gears of War I'm forced to try and enjoy the game's mechanics despite feeling like I'd avoid the people who made the game if I saw them at a party. I've said before that I don't want to play Mass Effect, because I don't want my “open world” choices constricted by the biases of developers who seem to have an outlook on the world that grosses me out. I don't want to climb into someone else's fucked up head. With Deadly Premonition, I didn't feel this same tension. It felt like a game made by people that are actually interested in exploring what kind of game they could get away with making.
      And, c'mon, you have to respect their chutzpah. They basically decided to make Shenmue with a thousandth of the budget and probably improved on the formula (offering a more obvious central story thread to focus on).
  • Deus Ex
    • Tulpa: How could we have a PC recommendations thread without Deus Ex? It has a lot of shortcomings and imperfections but it gets away by being one of the smartest games I've ever played.
  • Doom (also on: every machine John Carmack has ever touched)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: 20 years down the road, it's almost embarrassing how well this holds up as an action game, and I say that as someone with no nostalgia goggles to speak of.
    • Zodar: if you restrict Doom 1 to Knee Deep in the Dead, it's got tight, satisfying mechanics, appealing tone/aesthetics/music (skulls, blood, offkey Judas Priest songs, etc.) and downright inspired level design. Said level design starts dipping in the later Acts (Mt. Erebus ughghg) and completely plummets in Doom 2 (the “city” levels ughghgh), but KDITD is about as good as it gets.
      It's also free, with some cute reminders from ur-Romero and crew telling you to register the full game. To me, that counts as a feature.
  • Doom II (also on: everything that runs Doom)
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
    • CubaLibre: The first truly robust entry into Bethesda's famously free-form Elder Scrolls series. A little too big for its britches, but so brassy and full of verve that you'll forgive it. Totally inconsistent aesthetic makes it goofy and flamboyant. Curiously its primitive mouse-based first-person melee combat is superior to later, more technically advanced entries in the series.
    • misadventurous: quite probably the most sprawling, exploitable & buggy PC game ever created. a wonderful mess of a game
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
    • CubaLibre: Daggerfall all growed up. A much more serious game, but believably so, due in large part to the constricting of focus. Vvardenfall is a richly historied island dotted with the layered architectures of distinct, thankfully-non-Tolkienesque cultures. It's a bit plodding and the combat sort of C-grade but don't let that stop you.
    • Felix: One of the last enormously interesting western RPGs in quite some time; world design is (frustratingly) still unsurpassed. Combat is about a generation behind what it should be, but forgivable seeing as that's true of almost every aspect of Oblivion/Skyrim and just this one aspect of Morrowind. That said, the UI is really really bad, and the various mods that are supposed to modernize the game are really uneven and offer unbelievably bad performance on anything other than a top-of-the-line computer (considering that I originally played this on a Riva TNT).
  • Fallout
    • CubaLibre: Poster boy for the successfully executed free-form RPG, TES and Ultima be damned. Fallout 3 is a pathetic wreck; 2 is still a great game, and features some welcome refinements to the first game's engine, but is too grandiose and squanders its grimy post-apocalyptic atmosphere on setpieces and in-jokes. It also responds less well to player meddling in the world and offers him fewer solutions to most problems, making the first game superior.
  • Fallout 2
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (also on: PS3, PS4)
  • Fire King (also on: C64)
  • Forget-Me-Not (also on: iOS, Mac) - download
    • JChastain: Forget-Me-Not is really fucking good.
    • galaxyghost: iPhone game of the year for me.
    • the_blueberry_hill: Definitely recommended if you're into any of those new Pac-Man games.
  • Freedom Planet (also on: Linux, OSX, PS4, WiiU)
    • The Blueberry Hill: A top-notch Sonic-like. I think I've enjoyed it more than any Sonic game, actually.
  • Frogatto & Friends - download forum thread
    • Dark Age Iron Saviour: It's one of those independent games that is so good that you find yourself marvelling at how petty your complaints are. Every time I think of this game the boss theme gets stuck in my head. It helps that the first boss fight is sprung upon you so cleanly.
    • Take It Sleazy: The music is really spectacular. I played all the way through and I even kind of want to mess around with the Frogatto Markup Language to see if I can make something with this. This is the kind of game I've been waiting for, just a “full course” old-school platformer, informed by old-school design, with very little waste. It's charming and executed wonderfully. The ending is pretty neat as well. Probably my favorite PC game of the year so far.
    • Dracko: Frogatto is the most relatable platformer character in ages: He oversleeps, is unemployed and is a frog. :(
    • Broco: The physics also feel a little off (why do I need momentum to cling to a wall?), there are difficulty spikes, and as Touran points out there are too many attacks that dilute the core tongue mechanic. Dunno, the art here is great but I think the game design still needs a bit more polish and thinking through (which maybe it will get, since it looks still in active development).
    • glossolalia: I'm mostly just impressed with the graphics and music and enemy design I guess. At twenty minutes in I agree it feels like there are too many mechanics that were put in because they were cool in another platformer, not because they really add anything to this one. or at least the level design doesn't really do anything interesting with them so far. I feel like it could become/someone could do something really great with this though.
  • From Dust (also on: XBLA, PSN)
    • Kitten ClanClan: Eric Chahi, creator of Another World/Out of This World and Heart of Darkness created this God Sim masterpiece. While it's extraordinarily hard to recommend “in general,” fans of Populous and kids who grew up with a sandbox should consider this essential playing. The game is basically just moving dirt, water and lava around to sustain and protect a tribe you will eventually need to move to an objective, but it's gorgeous to behold and a delight to play. There's not really anything just like it.
    • Felix: I have not heard of a single other person who likes this as much as Kitten. Aesthetically sound for sure, but the mechanics are a little fiddly and the level structure is kind of blue-balling.
  • Frozen Synapse (also on: Android, iOS, Linux, OSX) - Usernames
    • Intentionally Wrong: Playing this feels more like I'm trying to overcome myself than my opponents, since I've noticed I tend to win any match where I spend at least 5 minutes simulating before I send in my orders, and only lose if I get careless and don't take the time that I need. Perpetual vigilance and attention to detail is rewarded.
    • JoeX111: I love the asynchronous multiplayer. It's like chess by mail with gunfire.
    • Dracko: You should be playing Frozen Synapse anyhow if you've got nothing better to do than completely miss the grotesque irony of a cyberpunk tale about violent corporate warfare using proxy soldiers.
    • Ymer: I think you might like it actually. It's XCOM style turn-based combat only both players turns take place at the same time after they've been planned and engaged. You can even simulate whatever move you think your opponent might make during the planning phase but you're of course in all likelihood gonna guess completely wrong about it. The multiplayer is also asynchronous similar to Words with friends/Wordfeud so you can have multiple games going at once and not have to make your move in any of them for days if you so wish.
      Also a campaign with a real weird GitS-like storyline or something.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Tight, turn-based tactical game. Really great as a play-it-when-you're ready asynchronous multi thing, with lots of options for your you people, and for simulating the behaviours of your opponents'.
  • Galshell: Blood Red Skies
    • Loki Laufeyson: Decent horizontally scrolling bullet hell shooter with beautiful graphics and music. Possibly not for the squeamish, though. Freeware.
  • Geneforge series
    • T.: speaking as someone who has [played through the whole series] 3 and 4 both can (and should, i'd say) be skipped. 3 has only two factions and is relatively linear and unmemorable and everything 4 does is done in 5 but better. and not to question your tenacity/patience or anything but this makes the task a bit more manageable because these games really are quite long, especially 5, which is of fairly monstrous scope/world-size (whereas the first two are fairly small and mysterious locations)
    • Tulpa: the Geneforge series is good particularly narrative-wise. Does the whole weird setting thing as well as Planescape Torment without any of the resources, and it's got the whole intra-faction conflict thing going on that I so love. Either play the first one or the fifth one, the other 3 aren't as good to start with.
    • T.: […] this is really my main qualm (though it's perhaps a silly one), it opens with your character having amnesia, so as to not require knowing all of the (rather extensive) background. but all of vogel's games are very good about being accessible to people entering the series with the latest installment. and honestly, it might even be for the best, because the area design of 5 is the most interesting in the series, and having not already seen similar ideas used in prior games will make it feel all the more new and alien (as it should!). the feeling of inhabiting this very extensively thought out and completely unprecedented world is one of the best features of the game
      all of the geneforge games are very good, though. as i'm writing this i'm wondering if i should recommend you play the first instead, though. not because it's required, but because it's a very different experience — based more around slowly uncovering the secrets of this world, as opposed to seeing it all as its on the edge of collapse (as in 5).
      though the second and the fifth have the most reactivity (again, bettering arcanum or fallout 2), as they have the most factions (based around ideological reactions towards shaping and the second class citizenship of the creations of the shapers) to side with (or side with none), all of which effect everything you do and are told. from around the mid-point and on in 5 everything you do in the game will be dramatically changing how the plot turns out
      i really like the series :o
  • Geneforge
    • Ronnoc: Man, everyone should play the first Geneforge.
  • Geneforge 5: Overthrow
    • T.: Vogel's masterpiece and easily on level with Arcanum (better combat and more reactivity, lesser writing and aesthetics, equal creativity and thoroughness of world design).
  • Glum Buster - forum thread
    • wourme: A charming and atmospheric indie exploration game.
  • Gravity Bone - download
    • Reed: This game's presentation — music, graphics, storytelling — is pure class. Free, brilliant, and criminally short.
  • Grow Home (also on: PS4)
    • Mikey: Grow Home is the first PS4 game I've played that has made me use the Share button. It's a game about moving a clumsy robot around, making a towering vine grow by connecting offshoots of the vine to floating islands. It's captures the simple joy of locomotion and has a really attractive, colorful, low-poly aesthetic. The robot's clumsiness also makes for some white-knuckle climbing/platforming which makes it a perfect antidote to a game like Shadow of Mordor where the climbing is semi-automatic and purely a means to an end, but manages to be a pain in the ass by way of dodgy geometry/controls.
      So yeah I've dropped that game and I'm just playing Grow Home now because it doesn't make me feel tired of video games.
      edit: Also it's kind of shocking that this came out of a Ubisoft studio but I guess it's probably one of those smaller companies that they snapped up and slapped a generic Ubi moniker on
    • Felix: fwiw Grow Home seriously scratched my Mario 64 platformer itch that I had no idea was there + Grow Home is fantastic. probably my favourite game of the year other than Her Story. I honestly don't think anyone's made an exploratory-style 3D platformer that well since 1996
    • Mr Mechanical: So Grow Home, […] is a pretty chill exploration/platformer thing featuring a cute robot with goofy procedural animation and really fun climbing. Like you can climb on everything and each of your two robot hands corresponds to a button on the controller so climbing around involves getting into a little rhythm and also you can grab objects this way as well and drag them around.
      There are crystals in each level that when you find enough they upgrade your abilities. I just unlocked a jetpack ability that's kind of weaksauce right now but I assume will get better with more upgrades. Also there are flower things you can get to float down from really tall heights and the whole game has kind of a floaty feel to it in general.
      I think it was some kind of small student project or something from a few people inside Ubisoft that miraculously got turned into a game. Basically each level has a certain plant you have to reach that has certain branches that you climb on and then grow them out to floating power sources that make the plant itself grow taller. The goal is to grow the plant up into space so your spaceship can reach it and take it back to earth.
      It's all kind of janky but it's also pretty cute and very relaxing in a way. I have a blast just climbing around the environment looking for crystals or dragging new plants/animals into the checkpoint spot to be scanned into the database. I think this one's a keeper.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Adding my voice to Mikey, Felix and Mr Mech in saying the Grow Home is really ace. One of the nicest feeling games I've played in ages, especially when plucking crystals (shame flowers kinda don't fully pluck). So far it's progressing really nicely and naturally: There was the having fun just climbing phase, the finding lots of surprising areas phase, and then the lets pick things up and throw them in the teleporter phase (they don't teleport, just get scanned).
      I really like the wobbly procedural animation (he feels alive!), and zooming the camera out (by clicking the right stick) makes it feel kinda Ico-y. Also the wobblyness and sound effects remind me of Vib-Ribbon. Dropping those two names made me think that something I like here is that I feel like I'm helping out this robot guy, rather than him being an avatar for me.
      Also it's fun to feel like a sperm when you're controlling the new plant offshots and guiding them towards power crytals/eggs.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: if you can ever figure out how to play it and get a friend to do the same. And it's like $15 now. It's probably a pretty amazing tribute to Herzog Zwei! I just always get overrun by the computer or occasionally some ridiculously good Japanese guy before the first round's even over. Still kind of boggles the mind that a Guilty Gear RTS was ever made.
    • death parade: This game is someone's dream game. Someone thought about making this game a long time. It's got elements of 2D fighting, elements of Herzog Zwei (if any game deserves to be considered Herzog Zwei's modern descendant… Herzog Trei? it is this game), elements of the dream Sonic game in your head (the run → drift mechanic) and elements of straight up brawler. Someone at ArcSys wanted to make this game so bad they didn't give a fuck about money or marketing or fighting game orthodoxy. Someone willed this shit to be, and it shines though. I like that, it's very charming.
      I guess what I'm saying is this — Guilty Gear [2] is a very, very, very SelectButton game. It's nowhere near perfect but it does a whole bunch of things excitingly and in a way that makes you feel nostalgic while you look ahead to a sparkling blue skies future of genre-bending.
    • notbov: GG2 is DOTA Warriors Reigns Coast 2 Coast.
  • Half-Life (also on: PS2) recommended mods
    • Tulpa: Whether or not you like it, this game transformed the shooter genre. Every shooter that has come out since has been a response to Half-Life. It also had the greatest mod scene (I should fill out the mod list with Half Life mods)
  • Half-Life 2 (also on: 360, Mac, PS3, XBox) - forum thread forum thread forum thread forum thread | mods
    • boojiboy7: While I don't like this game one bit (aside from a few small moments), what I don't like about it has forced me to think about what I do like in games. For that, it's a worthwhile game for even me to examine.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (also on: every Xbox)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: PC version comes with level editor and what was (until the Master Chief Collection) the only way to play Halo 1 multiplayer online.
  • Halo 2 (also on: Xbox, XB1)
  • Hammerfight - forum thread
    • Ronnoc: […] after Tetris, it is my favorite game.
    • antitype: The effect you get when you're swinging a hammer around and you slam an opponent into a wall, or they simply shatter on impact, the effect is actually pretty satisfying. I've scarcely played any games that provide such direct control over both the movement of your avatar (the little bucket-copter thing) and its weapon, particularly with the way they're joined in Hammerfight. (On that note, well, I don't own a Wii, so this is pretty novel to me.)
    • wourme: A friend of mine kept going on about how great it is […] my friend was right about how great it is. The game mostly consists of flying around in your steam-powered flying machine and rotating your mouse to swing hammers, swords, and various weapons on chains. It takes some practice to get used to the physics, and you have to adjust your technique based on weight and other factors. But it's a good design—you really feel the crunch when smashing things.
  • Hammerwatch
    • remote: Placing this a bit higher on my list than I might have otherwise simply because I've had some excellent times playing this online with lofi, offal, lenox/cactusfriend, and smithee. Lots of drunk voice chat, Linkin Park MIDIs (w/ lenox vox), piiissss!!! and dat fuckin coffee. Uh, nevermind about all that. It's basically a gauntletlike with some bullet hell qualities and it's not a perfect game, but with a group of buddies it's fun as all heck. And it looks really nice, too.
  • Hard Reset
    • CubaLibre: This game is pretty great. It's quite tough, and the end-of-level scoring system is kind of stupid, but you can just ignore it and poke around for all the secrets. Almost all the weapons are useful and the upgrades are meaningful. Pretty great run-n-gun, a rarity these days. Also it's cyberpunk and the plot is some eastern European unfollowable nonsense, so it gets points for that.
    • Mr. Mechanical: I've been taking my time with it because I don't want it to end.
    • eskaibo: man if Hero Core had an option to switch autofire off when you respawn it'd probably be the game of the decade
    • Broco: As far as I'm concerned, this is the best indie Metrovania (bulletvania? metroshmup?) yet. It's challenging without feeling cheap. All the boss battles have a dynamic, always-different quality, which is the gold standard for well-designed bosses. The exploration is bound mostly by your skill and character power instead of by arbitrary barriers. The plot is just enough to give the game its own distinctive character (it reminds me of Thexder) but is otherwise minimal — in general, I felt Hero Core values my time. The focus on precision targeting of enemy cores is refreshing — it adds a focus on actual shooting which has become unusual in modern bullet-hell shmups, which usually give you such a broad beam that you only need to think about dodging. And it just has some great ideas, like the final zone also acting as a Star World-style hub, and the random boss that hunts you.
    • CubaLibre: A kind of Metroid 2 without all the frustration, but still retaining a lot of the mystery. And also bullet hell.
    • Felix: Mechanically great as everyone has pointed out, but the minimalism saps a lot of the fun out of Metrovanias for me.
  • Hotline Miami (also on: PSN)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Overhead brawler loosely inspired by Nicholas Winding Refn's cult murderfest Drive. Few games interpret the notion of a “murder simulator” so literally, or so elegantly.
  • The Hunt (download)
    • spectralsound: kind of a lesser work compared to the developer's other games (All of Our Friends Are Dead, Au Sable, Gyossait; all of which are also fantastic and unsettling horror games), but The Hunt is unbelievably terrifying given its lo-fi nature. the first-person perspective adds a lot to the eerieness; you never quite shake the feeling that you're being watched, that you forgot a monster somewhere.
  • Hyperspeed
    • Bennett: Like SC2, only in 3D and better, and you get to go to the engine room and upgrade and repair your systems with rare and exotic components.
  • Jagged Alliance 2
    • Swarm: An awesome turn-based tactics game, one that you can easily sink hours into without realising. Has a fairly steep initial learning curve, but once you get over it you're treated to an incredibly satisfying gameplay loop: hiring mercenaries, taking over territory and mines, which gives you the money to train up militia, buy new weapons and gear, and hire more mercenaries to take on tougher territories. All the mercs are unique and each have a unique personality, I fell in love with all my lil' pixelated guys and girls. Flanking an enemy and having them run right into your line of fire then blowing them away is awesome and never gets old. Feels quite light-hearted in spite of the body count, like playing with toy soldiers in the yard as a kid. Stay away from the sequels/remakes.
    • RT-55J: This is my favorite game. Basically it's just Lode Runner with a jetpack, which makes it superior in just about every way imaginable (note: I have yet to play Lode Runner)
    • thesycophant: I played the ever-Christing shit out of this game when I was a kid. We only ever had the shareware version, and I constructed the one level I was allowed to save in the editor with the greatest love and care. If only I still had it!
  • Kamui
    • Deets: Kamui is a great game, yeah. If you like Rayforce, it's definitely in go go go buy buy buy territory.
    • kiken: Kamui is one of the single best doujin games available, bar none.
    • Rudie: Okay, maybe I am retarded for games set in East Asia. I still liked this game a lot more than either Gears. I think the level design is fantastic for encouraging co-op flanking maneuvers. It has two levels that I had been wanting to see in action movies forever. It is an excellent 5 hour affair that I have now replayed several times over, just because I enjoy it that much.
    • Broco: I got Dog Days on the recommendation of folks here, played for 10 minutes and was pretty meh about it. It certainly has a distinctive visual style — the title screen in particular is really cool — but that style collapses as soon as the camera starts tracking your character in the usual videogame way. Then it's just a pile of jerky and imprecise third-person shooting, and it doesn't help that the first mission feels like it's already padding for length with repetitive, story-irrelevant content. May not bother playing further unless someone tells me it really gets better. I think it's the kind of thing where you know in advance whether you really like the style and that makes you forgive the rest.
      • CubaLibre: I feel like you are way off the mark here. the guns are imprecise on purpose, none of the content is story-irrelevant (well; none of it is theme-irrelevant). it's one of the most coherent games I've ever played in terms of every single element being bent towards a singular emotional goal, as good or better than valve's best.
    • CubaLibre: The effect it's going for is to be as much like a shitty digital Youtube cam as possible while still allowing you to play a cover shooter. The fact that it's a playable cover shooter is very important, because the point of the game is that any protagonist of a cover shooter is a fucking maniac. it's taking the old “drake kills too many people” argument and putting it front and center.
      It's also a hellaciously tense and busy shooter, in part because the guns are fairly inaccurate. Lead is spraying everywhere and chewing through the scenery. getting up close is very dangerous but also rewarded in that you can hit things much easier. The game wouldn't work if it wasn't good, for obvious reasons (no game works if it isn't good). You get a kind of dull grinding feeling for lack of variety of weapons and attacks that's offset by some great variety in level design. And it's all extremely short, playable in one long sitting. Pretty delicious.
    • Dracko: The point is, the first level is significant. It's part of the story. So is the second, the third and so on. Every element of the game is purposeful, and not just from a story stand-point.
    • spectralsound: there is so much hidden depth to the aesthetics and presentation of Dog Days that it's frankly breathtaking, so much so that the fact that it also happens to be a pretty well-put-together game feels like just a neat bonus. it's an ugly game about ugly people, and i honestly consider it to be one of maybe only two or three games from this current console generation to be truly important to the future of the medium. the fact that games like Max Payne 3 and Spec Ops: The Line are doing gangbusters while this game languishes in obscurity frustrates me to no end.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: The more AAA shooters I play, especially those with a “gritty” aesthetic, the more I come to appreciate what makes Dog Days unique: it commits to an aesthetic as raw, bleak and stylistically ugly as its narrative warrants, and sticks with it to the end. It's refreshingly unconcerned with trying to make the player feel okay about shoo
    • Felix: It is overrated a little bit here, and both the rail shooter level in the late game and about 1/4 worth of the padding in the early game could stand to have been cut. That's a relatively minor complaint, as each chapter is good and significant, and the game is largely improved by not being more accommodating, but it has a bit of an attrition problem until the pacing ratchets up halfway through. In any case, it is indeed aesthetically and mechanically ugly in the best way, and at least a little more fun than that implies on its own.
    • Felix: Messy in every respect and very much by design, something that video games are seldom inclined towards. Pretty close to a selectbutton sacred cow for its fearlessness; basically the exact opposite of the Uncharted franchise. If the looseness of the action sequences seems underwhelming, remember what game you're playing.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Everything in this game is messy in the most sensible way: people look like real people (my favourite videogame people, I think), the camera shakes and looks JPEGy, gunplay and cover is imprecise. The whole thing feels like more and more and more shit is hitting the fan as you play through. And the 'undercover cop' multiplayer mode rules. The sound design is exceptional.
  • King of Dragon Pass
    • T.: tulpa will vouch. great variety of events and attention paid to the different possible outcomes/scenarios (and the lore) + lovely painted everything
  • La La Land (series) - download (via Auntie Pixelante)
  • Legend of Grimrock
    • Felix: The Scandinavians are really killing it with the swords and sorcery games lately. Nice, minimal, rock-solid old school dungeon crawling engine. Game takes a little too long to get going, which hurts literally every aspect of it: real-time combat feels forced when all you're able to do is trade blows and occasionally step backwards, dungeon puzzles are interesting but actual level design is far too unembellished to appreciate until they start throwing interesting setpieces at you, and stats break with D&D convention in some weird ways (str for bows, not dex) causing you to invest in the wrong aspects of your character initially. That said, it's quite good once it's good, and has really really high potential for modding.
  • Lemmings 2: The Tribes (also on: Acorn; Amiga; Atari ST; Game Boy; FM Towns; Mega Drive; SNES)
    • Bennett: It's a lot less repetitive than Lemmings, and it has more charm. A good sequel. Not sure which version to recommend, probably PC by 1993.
    • Felix: There's an Amiga emulator for Android that works pretty well, which is how I'm playing this for the first time. Nice to see how much it expands on the original, though it might not seem repetitive /enough/ initially if you only played the first game for twenty years.
  • Little Big Adventure 2 / Twinsen's Odyssey (also on: MSDOS)
    • HarveyQ: It's really imaginative and charming. A little bit clunky, but man! Getting your wizard diploma, going to the Moon, going to the alien planet… it has a real sense of adventure and scope. The first game is even clunkier but lovable for the same reasons.
  • Loom (also on: Amiga, FM-Towns, MSDOS, MacOS, ST, TG-CD)
    • gary oldman dwarfism: I finished Loom. I wish I'd played it as a kid, so I could really like it. Talking birds? An anvil city? No inventory? Puzzle design so spare that it's nearly impossible to get stuck? Short enough to finish in a day, switching off with my cousin? AND there's a spellbook of my very own to fill out? Sign 1995-me up! I would totally take this over King's Quest 7 or Mixed Up Mother Goose. But now, it's too linear, too simple, and over too fast. Well, and the ending that's nearly a giant TO BE CONTINUED….. sign, with no sequels. There also doesn't seem to be much reason to go through it again on other difficulty levels.
      It's still fairly beautiful, though more childishly cartoonish than I'd expect from LucasArts (Hetchel's portraits, mostly). I might grab some of the landscapes for backgrounds. Oh, and Chaos vaguely resembles the Head of the Navigator, especially those slight grins.
  • Magicka
    • Felix: Magic-oriented Swedish indie co-op brawler in which you need to enter long macro combinations of eight different elements (each mapped to a different key) on the fly in order to cast spells. Unencumbered by anything silly like MP or level-building. As you might expect, it's too complicated to really become skillful without resorting to a handful of mega-attacks, but it does so many things right that it really deserves a broader audience, and it's an absolute blast with two or three other people who are just-barely-winging the learning curve.
  • Machinarium (also on: iOS, PSN)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Tricky point-and-click adventure/puzzle title with one of the most gorgeous aesthetics in a game ever.
  • Mass Effect 3 (also on: 360, PS3, Wii U)
    • Felix: This game helped to remind me how little leeway there is in my personal evaluation spectrum between “not worth my time” and “pretty fantastic.” I ignored the first two thinking that they were shlocky, awkward Bioware pseudo-RPGs with wooden combat and dialogue, then after everyone got excited about the third I thought I'd give them a look. Turned out that I couldn't stand either, and I seem to be the only person who feels that way yet really likes the third game. Level design is way tightened up (no more nook-and-cranny upgrades and hacking minigames), pacing is better, combat finally feels like it'd be passable without an RPG attached to it, and the multiplayer is (bafflingly!) compelling and deep. It's still unmistakably Bioware, but it's successful, satisfying Bioware — like KotOR. Also, not a bad modern interpretation of Star Control 2 as a melodramatic cover shooter (and I mean that in the best possible way). For maximum enjoyment, I'd recommend spoilering the first two games for yourself, watching YouTube videos of some of their high points, and downloading an ME2 savefile that corresponds to the decisions you think you would've made to import into ME3.
  • Metal Slug X (also on: Arcade, Neo-Geo, PS, PS2, Wii)
    • Broco: don't bother with 2, X is better in every way. You'll hear from some quarters that 2 is better but I have no idea why anyone thinks that. X is worth it for the lag reduction alone, and there's also a ton of extra weapon and enemy variety.
  • Metal Slug 3 (also on: 360, Arcade, Neo-Geo, PS2, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, XBox, Wii)
    • Broco: Everything is a bullet sponge, even the first crab enemies in Stage 1. Most of the bosses don't give you any weapon drops so you need to kill them with the pistol if you die once.
      There sure is a lot of great artwork in it so it's worth playing once or twice for that. But Metal Slug X is definitely where the most fun is to be had in general.
    • Loki Laufeyson: 3 would be the best if the final stage wasn't such absolute bullshit
    • allensmithee: 3 is fucking tiresome but it has the most sights to see so i feel it is worth playing for that purpose. it gets really fucking ridiculous
  • Mirror's Edge (also on: 360, PS3) - forum thread
    • drobe: It's a game that really tries to convince you that you're running along a mile-long A4 drawing beautiful calligraphy with wallruns and rolls. At times it actually feels like that, but it usually ends up feeling a lot like riding a runaway train while being chased by an even larger, angrier runaway train. The construction site was quite fantastic, I think.
    • Felix: A prestige project that EA is unlikely to repeat. Really aesthetically impressive but fairly uneven; you can tell the director didn't escape committee meetings unscathed.
  • Mirrormoon EP (also on: Mac, Linux) - forum thread
    • The Blueberry Hill: It's great! I've been playing a bit today. I hadn't watched the trailer for a while, so bought it only knowing that I had filed it away in my head as 'something I would like', and being reminded by internisus' screenshots in my Steam feed—BTW avoid screenshots if you can. So I went in expecting something pretty and nice sounding and was surprised to be reminded of Noctis, though it's a bit friendlier and has well done, subtle, observation-based, puzzles.
    • Like Noctis most of the game involves locating and exploring planets, though here each planet is 'completable' (and some are over far too quickly) by finding an orb, usually revealed by puzzle completion.
    • Cubalibre: Noctis, but with things to do. It's like somebody out there is making games just for me.
  • Nimbus
    • Felix: A puzzle/racing game (one of my favourite hybrid genres) about a ship that has no means of self-propulsion. Notable for really successfully aping the non-platformer-Kirby (Canvas Curse, Dream Course) design/aesthetic. Biggest problem with the game is that a handful of the new mechanics introduced in later levels (e.g. accelerator pads that you have to nimbly retrace a few times in order to gain sufficient speed) are more tedious than fun. One of the only games I've seen which seems like it's optimized for the Intel x4500 (requires SM3.0, but doesn't have a particularly huge rendering load), so that oughta appeal to those of you who have pre-iGPU notebooks.
    • The Blueberry Hill: In Noctis you explore a procedurally generated universe (I think universe), wandering round planets, name and cataloguing, wandering. It's the best.
    • Zmann: Procedural generation is useful, too, when there can never be enough human resources to make the amount of content you want. For example, Noctis IV has a whole galaxy that's procedurally generated from a single seed. Each star can have one or more planets, and each planets can have moons. And on each planet or moon, you literally get to pick a pixel on the texture of the planet, and you can land on it and explore that sector. Everyone starts with the same seed, and you simply explore the galaxy and label or take screenshots of your findings. This game would not work without procedural generation, because there would never be a big enough team to make that much content.
    • ionustron: Noctis, while arguable that the game and the creator himself already did such, was far more reliant on the player to make it up as they went along. There was story there trying to explain why you're not a death god blasting planets (if you found one) into dust, but it's completely negligible, and if you're already reading the text document asking those questions from the start than go back to GoW or something. To play it expecting anything of Elite or anything modern won't get you anywhere because it is lonely game taken to the near-highest degree. It's creation, sort of like the odd things Ulililia would create, seemingly senseless, I find ultimately admirable because they tend to strike dead center in the void between the inside and the outside of design. Almost completely unique, almost completely followable, always takes more effort to get into like going to a good play.
      I gather it is remembered from the discussion that the Gamer's Quarter had devoting an entire episode of their short lived podcast to. Seriously go watch some Cosmos then play it. Realizing the context may make Noctis self-defeating, it's all about the ship of the imagination, just this case, as an existing bizarre meticulously done simulation.
    • Mr. Mechanical: You take on the role of a furry in a spaceship and just explore the vast galaxy. You can even land on planets and moons and sometimes they'll have animals walking around or plant life growing or ruins of ancient alien civilizations!
      But mostly it's just empty and full of stars.
  • Octodad - download
    • The Blueberry Hill: Doing goofy things for the family members at the beginning is a lot of fun, but once the chef shows up get ready to uninstall. Post basement the game goes from amusing and amusingly frustrating to torturous. It's a free download, and well worth it till then, though.
  • The Orange Box (also on: 360, PS3)
  • Oubliette (also on: C64)
    • T.: oubliette! huge variety of classes, monsters, spells. stupidly hard and broken. it's lovely!!
  • Pirates! Gold
    • tulpa: The best in 2011 way to play Pirates! is to go with the 1993 Pirates! Gold remake (probably run in Dosbox) which manages to be as soulful as the original while being much more accessible.
  • Plants vs. Zombies (also on: DSiWare, PSN, XBLA, iOS)
    • Kitten ClanClan: A charming take on the Tower Defense genre that managed to make me overcome my dislike of it. Plants vs. Zombies offers a startlingly large amount of content and a lengthy “story mode,” as well as simple, but addicting mechanics. Serious strategy enthusiasts might find themselves a little bored, however.
  • Pools of Darkness (also on: Mac; Amiga; PC98)
    • T.: absurdly difficult and unbalanced high-level 1e combat against the minions of bane fought in perfectly designed dungeons like the depths of the underdark and the sleeping body of a god. the genre's ruthless and stone-faced peak
  • Portal
  • Portal 2 (also on: 360, PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: New copies of PS3 version come with download code for PC version and are cross-compatible for co-op/achievements, so might as well get that if it's an option.
  • Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (also on: Mac; SNES)
    • Bennett: Didn't settle for just adding a world and a story to Prince of Persia. Some awesome twists and epiphanies. I love epiphanies in gaming, they are very rare.
  • Pyro II
  • Quest for Glory 2: Trial By Fire (also on: Amiga)
    • Renfrew: Go play the Quest for Glory 2 remake right now. It's gorgeous, character importing and exporting work, and I say without any hesitation it has be best sword fighting in any game.
  • Ragnorok / Valhalla (EU) - download
    • vamos: The first proper roguelike I ever played (ignoring TJ&E as I wouldn't realise that until years later) and the only one I've ever beaten. An intriguing game based on Norse mythology, which is a great introduction to roguelikes due to nice graphical interface, reasonable difficulty curve.
  • Realms of Arkania: Star Trail
    • Tulpa: A really incredible semi-open-world game. There's interesting things happening literally around every corner and I love the overworld travel system (in which you've got to set up camp and arrange who's on watch while everyone's sleeping, forage for food and other minutiae)
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale - forum thread
    • Loki Laufeyson: Charming and fun action rpg/haggling sim with a ton of post-game content, and characters that are actually cute, as opposed to the current trend of simpering, useless little girls currently plaguing Japanese cartoons and videogames.
  • Remember Me (also on: 360, PS3) - forum thread
    • Jaihson: Imagine the simpler hang and jump sections of a modern Prince of Persia game. Now add a giant yellow arrow pointing at every possible interactable surface within a certain distance of you at all times. Intersperse encounters that are pretty much a stripped down, less impactful version of the pattern recognition fighting in Rocksteady's Batman games. Defeat 90s movie Lawnmower Man at the end. That's pretty much it.
    • Talbain: From my experience, rather the concept art looks nice, and the game's a terrible mess. Weird lighting, visual discontinuity, and for some reason a fighting game when it could have been a pretty cool spy thing. And that combo system has to be the dumbest thing I've seen thought up in ages. Play the dumbest version of Simon Says, but only when Simon Says that you can play a certain version of Simon Says. Yeah. Radical.
    • meauxdal: this game does pretty much suck ass, yes. i've been trying to muster up the motivation to play more of it, but… nah
    • Mikey: I have to say I really like this. It's the sort of cyberpunk dystopia stuff I eat up. Playing this in French with subtitles is pretty great, too. The memory-remixing is way too paint-by-numbers, but the funky combo lab stuff is kinda fun. I don't mind the icons that show you where to climb as, honestly, it's not like most other games of this type don't make it absurdly easy to do that kind of stuff, anyway. Gonna keep playing.
    • Gironika: it's kinda like an Irem game, really.
      You just cannot honestly recommend it to anyone, because you need to have a certain amount of enthusiasm to ignore issues that can be dealbreakers for most people.
      It's like advising someone to buy a vintage car instead of a new one — like you'll pretty much have more problems running it, it's less safe, less powerful, hasn't got the bells'n'whistles of ipod connectivity bluetooth integration disc changers, you might not even get spare parts easily … can you seriously recommend buying such a car to anyone? Your 18 year old daughter that might break down with it at 1am in the morning?
      You need to be an enthusiast that can enjoy the moments when it works — this must be enough for you to put up with the rest. Are you such a person? Then yeah, go ahead and try it!
  • Resident Evil 6 (also on: 360, PS3) - forum thread
    • composerzane: RE6 has brilliance buried under a healthy layer of contemporary filth.
      What RE6 (particularly the PC version) does well, it does better than anyone else (legitimately and interestingly challenging TPS with a much heavier melee approach further enhanced by the variety and multitude of complementary enemy types and weapon categories). The things it does poorly, it does more poorly than anyone else (pacing, narrative interest, cutscene placement). Of course, icy doesn't care about story, so RE6 is right up his alley. Mechanically, the game is a fucking gem, though I recommend playing with a friend and on a harder difficulty, professional or no hope. Good luck having the patience to get to the good stuff, but if you do, it will be well worth it. the Lepotitsa fight in Leon's chapter in particular is phenomenal on no hope difficulty.
      It's an interesting/frustrating game in that most of the best stuff is gatekept (Mercenaries is better than ever here — in fact the game seems to be designed with Mercenaries-type situations in mind from the beginning) and the campaign is bloated and blighted by quite a few issues (unskippable cutscenes all over the place is one of the biggest grievances) that mean most people who play the game will never, ever see anything good in it, and that's a shame.
  • Rock of Ages
    • Felix: A combination of Marble Madness and tower defense from the guys who made Zeno Clash, rife with joyous historical anachronism. Replayability is sorta iffy, and I admit to a strong bias in favour of ball-rolling games, but this is so playable and inventive that I'd recommend it to absolutely anybody.
  • Severance: Blade of Darkness / Blade: The Edge of Darkness (ESP)
    • Laurel Soup: Blade of Darkness is Win98 American Dark Souls.
  • Sid Meier's Ace Patrol (also on: iOS)
    • The Blueberry Hill: The Ace Patrol games are compact little strategy games, based around aerial dog-fighting in scenarios based around events on WWI and WWII (depending on the game). You can take the role of one of several different countries, and thankfully the pilots are split evenly between male and female. It works really well!, and each round is quite brief. Tactics pertain mostly around movement and position, which are made much more interesting because of the variety of ways there are to move your planes: loops, banks, rolls, and so on. Well worth a few dollars! I prefer the first to the second, though they're not so different.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
    • Swarm: I can never get into the Civilisation games, but Alpha Centauri is something I can fuck with. Play as the hippie and build up a communist domain and send your captured mind-worms out to murder every polluting heathen on the planet, then transcend into a shared AI consciousness. The game has some real spirituality to it you hardly see in games, with some surprisingly touching quotes about our species' place in the universe that's way too pretty to be in a video game. A bunch of the cutscenes jack footage directly from Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka to give you an idea of the vibe this game is going for.
  • SimCity 2000
    • CubaLibre: Perfect marriage of complexity with manageability makes this still the best entry in the series. A sandbox classic. Also notable for its clean, hi-rez pixel presentation, a joy to look at even today.
  • SkyNET / The Terminator: SkyNET (EU)
    • CubaLibre: Bethesda's attempt at an FPS using the clunky Daggerfall engine, with a Terminator license. Also features vehicles, more or less a first in the genre. Strangely explorable, like the much later Unreal. Really imparts the dread of being hunted by relentless machines through an expansive postapocalyptic wasteland. A good candidate for how limited sprinkles of “sandbox” principles can liven up a more linear genre when used with restraint. Shooting itself is hella weird though.
  • SkyRoads
    • tulpa: This game is probably the most meditative platformer.
  • Sonic Generations (also on: 360, PS3)
    • Felix: I can't get over how decent this game is! Sonic Team is — finally, due to circumstances I can't explain — producing fast-paced blue skies games with solid physics and level design throughout.
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed (also on: 3DS, 360, PS3, Vita, WiiU) - forum thread
    • Felix: I can't get over how more-than-decent this game is, either! I think that promoting Nagoshi to head of creative design at Sega must have had some really, really positive effects, because this is unquestionably the best racing game I've played since F-Zero GX, and it's really nice to look at, too. Four player local multiplayer on PCs! The Panzer Dragoon stage pretty much obsoletes every arcade racer Sega has ever made.
  • Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (also on: Amiga; Mac; PC-98)
    • Take It Sleazy: Despite being a Sierra adventure game and thus, obtuse and unfair, the charm and wit really do make up for it. Sharp meta-humor, distinctive artwork, and the greatest voice acting of it's day.
    • dark steve: This game is not only a viable platform/arcade/roguelike hybrid, but it's gorgeous (screens online don't justify the full extent of visual detail) and the the level of fine tuning suggests a game that's been refined for years (even though the first release was only in December). Go play this right now.
    • alice: like 200 deaths in and this game still finds new ways to kill me.
    • Mr Peckerston: And yeah, this game is amazing. Everything interacts with everything else in such a roguelike-ish manner; are so many creative ways to set off those arrow traps, steal from shopkeepers, lure enemies into spiked totems and so on.
    • alice: wow, 350 deaths in and the game is still finding new ways to kill me.
    • vamos: The world definitely needs more games like this - short, massively replayable, and full of secrets.
    • L: Final appraisal: twice as good as Eternal Daughter.
  • Squad Battles: Soviet-Afghan War
    • T.: I own and adore all but one of the squad battles series. simple enough tb hex wargames pretty much as you'd expect from John Tiller, but that explore unusual and very cool settings and battles (such as this one, or the soviet invasion of Finland, the Spanish civil war, French colonialists in Vietnam, etc.)
  • Starseed Pilgrim
    • remote: Existential Kubrickian Tetris gardening. That barely says anything, I guess. You have to play it to see, and I loved this game before I understood how to play it as much as I did once I began to make discoveries. Such a thoughtful and neatly crafted game. Thanks, Droqen.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II (also on: PS2, Xbox)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: You're probably going to want to play this online, so PC version recommended because I'm pretty sure the 12-year-old Xbox and PS2 servers are no longer up.
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Yet another mid-nineties Doom clone, but one with its own engine, an expansive and ridiculously awesome arsenal (even moreso than Duke 3D), creative level design, and copious Star Wars fanservice. Also on PS1.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
    • Sniper Honeyviper: This time around, you've got a lightsaber and chunky Tomb Raider-style polygons. The levels are gigantic and open-ended, but kind of unfair in parts, and Force Jumping is floaty as hell. The only way to raise your “dark side” affinity is by killing innocents. Still a fun game, and I prefer it to its Raven-developed sequels (which came after Episode 1, coincidence?). There's some well-produced FMV cutscenes with real actors who actually know how to act. They could almost pass for a Star Wars TV special if spliced together.
  • Stonekeep - forum thread
    • bleak: An excellent real-time first person grid-based hack'n'slash dungeon crawler with full voice acting (rob paulsen is in there), decent puzzles, meaty yet optional RPG elements, lots of secrets to find, and a difficulty that delivers the goods without being overly pressing. Strategy and tactics are required. Has a sort of easy mode accessed through in-game means. Very considerate, tight, and satisfying dungeon adventure, and it maintains a great air of levity throughout.
  • Super Meat Boy (also on: XBLA) - forum thread
    • Rudie: 300 levels of delicious platforming! The only sad thing is it has the Newgrounds humor. The old game references, the bonus characters, and the physics make me forgive that though!
    • Kitten ClanClan: One of my top 15 games of all time, Super Meat Boy is an astoundingly well-designed, but challenging platformer focused intensely upon finishing levels as quickly and perfectly as possible. Homages many classic series and independent games without becoming derivative. Newground aesthetic felt initially off-putting, but became very charming over time.
    • Felix: It's the leaderboard-era platformer refined to (relative) perfection. I'm not crazy about these sorts of games (and I kind of prefer the Runman series to this one), but if you're among those who don't think this genre is dead, this game is totally on your side.
  • Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri
    • Tulpa: Tribes is very obviously indebted to this game. Heck, even today the landscapes are somewhat mesmerizing, using the austerity of early 3d to give a sense of monumental scale. It's pretty much where 'squad-based' shooters come from as a whole. I love this game.
  • Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers
    • The Blueberry Hill: It's a short, straight line, 3-D platformer, but the main mechanic involves slicing up the environment and moving the rubble round to make a path for yourself. It has that same sequence-breaking kind of feeling (as Metroid II), but it's kinda ruined by the game's structure. I'd love to see it applied to something more unwieldy. Especially if when carving bits off you end up making things impossible for yourself.
      It's often on sale on Steam for a dollar, and well worth that.
  • Trine 2 (also on: eShop, PSN, XBLA)
    • Felix: Finnish co-op action/puzzle/platformer heavily inspired by Lost Vikings, and covered in quite decent gemstone-coloured bloom. I initially wrote the game off for some slightly apathetic jumping physics, but in hindsight that's just about the only thing wrong with it. Puzzle solutions are nicely organic, stemming from the fact that the game lets you double (or triple) up on any of the characters at any given time, and the difficulty is surprisingly appropriate for three players taking the game semi-seriously. Plus there's a grappling hook.
  • Thief
    • Tulpa: Can you believe this came out the same month as Half Life? Here's a game with a great aesthetic, amazing sound design, powerful AI, and the best stealth mechanics ever.
  • Thief II: The Metal Age
    • JoeX111: Less undead monster nonsense and more breaking and entering and sneaking past guards, including an awesome level where you burglarize several homes as you hop across rooftops towards your REAL objective. Also: Steampunk robots.
    • Dracko: It's definitely worth playing [in addition to Thief. The first game wasn't entirely certain about itself being a stealth game whereas its sequel is totally confident and even has larger playgrounds to fool around in, as well as maintaining the same kind of creepy vibe the original had with its own moments of surrealism.
  • Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (also on: Amiga; Apple II; Atari; Atari ST; C64; FM Towns; MSX; Master System; NES; PC-88/98)
    • Bennett: still after 26 years, the only game with an interesting take on ethics. (and I do ethics for a living, so this is my professional opinion)
  • Ultima VII (use Exult emulator)
    • Bennett: Probably the best western RPG ever. Although it's true the combat is a weakness, this is true of all western RPGs, and it is completely made up for by the adventuring aspect. A world full of mystery and interactivity. This game stands so far above all the others of 1992, both then and now, that I'm not voting for anything else.
  • Umbrella Corps (also on: PS4) - forum thread
    • Drem: I wrote about Umbrella Corps last year when it came out and it really surprised me. It's definitely janky and low budget but it was one of the most fun I'd had with a shooter in a long time. It's got so many weird ideas, like the zombie repellent backpacks everyone wears that can be destroyed, to the emphasis on looking at noise on the radar to find enemies as opposed to seeing them clearly. You've got sickles with which to chop people's legs off but you can also do counters and instantly kill anyone who tries to melee you. You crawl at the speed of light. The maps are small but you zoom really fast so rounds typically last around 30 seconds at most. It's a fast paced shooter about teamwork, setplay, and reads. And no one plays it on PC.
  • Unreal
    • CubaLibre: The spiritual ancestor of Metroid Prime, this FPS features believably otherworldly environments sprinkled with texts left behind by previous occupants and explorers. It's also damn tight and has a great array of multifunctional weaponry, something that was refined in Unreal Tournament and its successors at the expense of leaving the compelling atmosphere of the single-player game behind. Unreal 2 is a piece of shit.
  • Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun (also on Mac)
    • Victoria: Revolutions (expansion)
      • T.: what is this my third paradox game listed lol
  • The Walking Dead (also on: 360, Android, iOS, PS3, Vita)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Basically a choose-your-own-adventure game peppered with QTEs and rudimentary “puzzles”. But unlike, say, Heavy Rain, the writing is actually good, and it turns out that makes all the difference in the world. Be sure to choose the “minimal” interface if you don't want the game obnoxiously signposting every plot-relevant choice.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Speedy, acrobatic, free-to-play, co-op, action game, with striking visual design. Maybe the only decent free-to-play model out there; only cosmetic stuff requires money, and there's a clunky trading post where you can sell items to players to earn the real money currency for free.
    • remote: Uuuugh. I want to love this game for its Nihei-style biomechanical sci-fi aesthetics and JohnWwoo parkour ninja action, but it's a constantly mutating mess of a F2P grind-machine and it just doesn't have the focus to be as great as I want it to be.
    • secret character: It has tons of potential (even just the game that exists in it, and not the things everyone comes into it thinking it will/should be) but wow does it have problems.
    • bza: Saved this one for last as I'm rather mixed on it. On one hand it's fun to sprint around shooting crazy weapons at enemies but on the other it's incredibly obtuse for new players to get into and the developers don't seem to realize this. Each update brings new bosses, weapons, enemies, and level sets but fails to address core issues with the game. I'm hopeful they'll get around to it but until then I can't really recommend Warframe unless you play with someone here who can walk you through the lack of cues/tooltips/whatever for new players.
  • Warhammer® 40,000® Space Marine
    • Ronnoc: Space Marine is awesome because it really looks like a beat-em-up and everything about it keeps telling you it's a beat-em-up, but then you play it and you realize it's a twin-stick shooter with sections of panic melee.
  • The Wheel Of Time
    • Swarm: I don't know why I like this game so much. Maybe it's the fact that this is some real, genuine 90's fantasy before those Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones adaptations came along and fucked it all up forever. Or maybe it's because you play as a squishy, plain-jane looking sorceress who kicks ass through a bunch of Unreal Engine 1 maps while blasting magic missile like a thousand times. You get to use magic in some strategic ways like crowd control and buffing. So yeah, just think the Thief games, but if they took out the stealth and replaced it with magic.
  • Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (also on: Mac; PlayStation)
    • The King: Wing Commander IV is one of the better games in the series (if not the best), and the DVD version really is a stunning improvement over the 4 CD version.
  • Wing Commander: Privateer
    • tulpa: Should be obvious, Like the halfway point between Elite and Star Control 2 but with Wing Commander physics.
  • The Witcher 2 (also on: 360)
    • Felix: There's probably an interesting story in here about how this is the only game that anyone has heard of out of Poland in a decade and how they're clearly spending their government subsidies a bit better than those Belgian shmucks at Tale of Tales, but the important thing is that this makes post-Morrowind Bethesda look like a bunch of mechanically entrenched assholes. I'd heard that the first was a little too shlocky and rough around the edges; this one is neither, though the visuals are admittedly inconsistent (they badly need to license someone else's face models, and license out their own lighting). Combat is obviously inspired by the Souls games, and quite good. Follows the time-honoured Matsuno example of budgeting for branching paths by making the potential Act 2's diverge before meeting up in a unified Act 3. All things being equal I don't think there's been another game that could be accurately and straightforwardly called an RPG that's impressed me this much in about a decade.
  • Worms: Armageddon (also on: Dreamcast, N64, GBC, PSX, BeOS)
    • zak: Armageddon is the best 2D Worms game, although you won't find much difference in basic gameplay mechanics if you compare it to Worms 2. It just has tons of new weapons to play with.
    • Felix: So obviously the pinnacle of the series that it's still being patched.
  • X-Com: UFO Defense - strategy
    • | BLUE | BLACK | PURPLE |: X-COM: UFO Defense is one of the best games I've ever played. Perhaps it's the best, perhaps it's in my top 3; it's kinda hard to tell when you get to that point. The thing is that it's so good you can't even compare it to anything else that's out there. Sure you can call it a turn-based squad thingamajig and that's a category that has other games in it. The experience of playing it is unique though. And I'm not even speaking nostalgically here. I played it for the first time around 6-8 months ago [so, 2011]. It's not a game you have to get used to or can only appreciate in the context of its release, “way back when.” It's like, hand a guy who's never played a videogame before a Gameboy with Tetris or a DOS PC with DOOM or Master of Orion and that shit's gonna work. The game's gonna work its magic.
    • L: It takes a concept that I can only find sparingly in other games — in this case, the deliberate refusal to establish the usual 'game patterns' by which the player's analytical mind can gain some purchase on the game world and its design, and the subtle, gradual sinisterness that results — and brings it to its apogee. I can't really think of any game that rebuffs the player's pattern and structure senses, while simultaneously possessing a bare, incomplete, uncanny semblance of structure that seems to perpetually fail to be completed or comprehended. (I refer not to the game's “collect effects” pattern that sits above the entire game world and provides the player with a meagre impetus to explore, but the many incomplete sub-patterns inside it.)
    • spectralsound: this is the game that made me decide that i didn't want to kill myself. it also happens to be an interesting test subject for character development through game environments.
  • Zeus: Master of Poseidon
    • Reed: Any of the Sierra city builders could go here (Caesar III being the main other candidate) but this one stands out for the implementation of Greek mythology and colonies.
 sb/recommended/windows.txt · Last modified: 2021/04/24 18:10 by alfred
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