XCOM: Enemy Unknown Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com XCOM: Enemy Unknown RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network XCOM Chimera Squad Storms Onto Steam Very Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/o94wc/xcom-chimera-squad-storms-onto-steam-very-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/o94wc/xcom-chimera-squad-storms-onto-steam-very-soon Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:34:09 -0400 GS_Staff

XCOM Chimera Squad is a brand-new title set in the XCOM universe, but it’s not the exact same turn-based strategy game you might remember. While it employs tactics and strategy in a way that series fans will find familiar, it all falls under a new conceit. 

Instead of saving the world from an alien threat, you’ll take control of the eponymous Chimera Squad, a rag-tag group of aliens and humans set to protect City 31 following the events of XCOM 2. Of course, considering what happened in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2, not everyone is happy about the allegiance between extra-terrestrials and humans. 

To fight threats and keep the peace, Chimera Squad acts as a quasi-police force, taking on tactical operations throughout the city. These play out a little differently than typical XCOM encounters and feature a brand-new “breach mode,” the first step in any encounter. 

According to the gameplay overview video below, “this phase begins each encounter and allows you to choose Chimera Squad’s entry points and agent turn order.” Here, you decide how your team works — or doesn't work — together, taking steps that will affect the rest of the encounter. 

Turns, integral to any XCOM experience, also see a small tweak. Somewhat like Othercide’s timeline feature, Chimera Squad allows for certain agents to shuffle the turn order, jumping ahead of enemies and allies alike. Based on what we know about Othercide’s version of this type of system, it’s one that has the potentiality to stand out in the XCOM universe. 

Each agent has a unique ability that synergizes with other agents, and though you’ll want to keep all of your agents healthy, they won’t die if they go down in combat. Instead, agents are incapacitated, taking on scars and battle wounds that impact key stats. 

XCOM Chimera Squad is just around the corner, set to release on Steam for PC on April 24. Normally $19.99, the game will be discounted to $9.99 until May 1. You can pre-order the game over on Steam now

Though it’s an aesthetic departure from what’s typically seen in the XCOM series, and it shuffles up some of the franchise's key mechanics, it looks like most of XCOM's tactical and strategic elements remain. Chimera Squad doesn't seem as far of a departure from series' roots as, say, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Chimera Squad, including our upcoming review. 

Steam Summer Sale 2017: 5 Best Strategy Games Under $20 https://www.gameskinny.com/o9ecs/steam-summer-sale-2017-5-best-strategy-games-under-20 https://www.gameskinny.com/o9ecs/steam-summer-sale-2017-5-best-strategy-games-under-20 Thu, 29 Jun 2017 15:23:22 -0400 Valoryan


Civilization V

Standard Price: $29.99
Sale Price: $7.49

The Civilization series is known for being the quintessential turn-based strategy game. With the release of Civilization 6 earlier this year, predecessor Civilization 5 is a cheap buy. My friends and I have dumped hours into this game. It's really easy to pick up and play for hours on end. 


Get Civilization V on Steam




That wraps up our list! What are your favorite strategy games on Steam? Any others that you think should be included in the Summer Sale this year? Let me know down in the comments!



Standard Price: $39.99
Sale Price: $19.99

Stellaris is a grand strategy game and slow RTS with a system similar to Civilization 5. It takes place in space, and you send your fleets to conquer enemy galaxies and planets. You must also develop planets within the galaxies through settlements and space-based improvements. It has a slight learning curve, but it is definitely worth your time. 


Get Stellaris on Steam


XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2

Standard Price: $29.99 and $59.99
Sale Price: $7.49 and $19.79

Speaking of story-based strategy games, the XCOM series is a turn-based RTS where you navigate your units through a campaign. Both the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 are incredible. Earth has been taken over by an alien species and it us up to you to save it.


These games are known as some of the most unforgiving strategy games around -- but if you're looking for a challenge or just a relaxing turn by turn game, this is the series for you.


Get XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Steam


Get XCOM 2 on Steam


Medieval II: Total War

Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $4.99

Medieval II: Total War is another classic. It is arguably the best Total War game due to its modding capabilities and quirky bugs. This is a game you can play hundreds of times and never have the same experience.


If you're really into modding, this is a must-buy title. It also contains a really nice campaign for those who prefer story-based strategy games.


Get Medieval II: Total War on Steam


Age of Empires HD

Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $4.99

Age of Empires II HD is a classic RTS game brought to modern times. The HD edition has upgraded graphics and comes with a multiplayer mode attached to a really good, loyal community.


If you have never played AoE, you truly are missing out and should pick it up. If you have, it's time you get back into it. The DLCs add more civilizations, new maps, and new campaigns. The HD version also features a better AI and mod support. At 75% off during the sale, it's a necessary buy.


Get Age of Empires II HD on Steam


With the Steam Summer Sale in full swing, it can be hard to know which games you want to buy because they are good and which you want to buy because they're on sale. And when you're looking at a genre as over-saturated as the strategy genre, the distinction can become even more unclear.


There's a wide variety of strategy games on the market, from turn-based to real-time, historical to futuristic. Strategy games can go as far as the mind can imagine -- and there are some crazy games out there. That's why a lot of games in the genre are either amazing or absolutely horrible.


To help you avoid the horrible ones, here is a guide to the top five strategy games you should own by the end of this year's Steam Summer Sale.

9 Games with the Best Artificial Intelligence https://www.gameskinny.com/8zkeq/9-games-with-the-best-artificial-intelligence https://www.gameskinny.com/8zkeq/9-games-with-the-best-artificial-intelligence Sun, 05 Mar 2017 09:20:12 -0500 Sergey_3847




Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Release date: September 12, 2013
Platforms: PC


ARMA 3 is known for a super precise enemy AI. Ever heard of clear shots on 300 or 400 meter distances? Yep, that’s ARMA 3. But many people don’t know that the best thing about the AI in ARMA 3 is that it is fully customizable.


If you know how to edit “.ini” files, then you can easily set up the game’s AI to your liking. On the other hand, you could just download and install one of the many AI mods that are freely distributed for the game.


However, most players have adapted to the default settings, and show no mercy for their enemies.


What other games do you know of that possess a great AI? Share their titles and leave your opinions on why you think so in the comments.


Alien: Isolation


Developer: Creative Assembly
Release date: October 7, 2014
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One


You would think that the true star of the game is the main character, in this case Amanda Ripley… but no -- it’s the Xenomorph. This creepy alien and its constant, looming presence throughout the entire game makes it a particularly interesting case for an enemy AI study.


This kind of prolonged interaction between the protagonist and the antagonist is unprecedented in the world of gaming. It probably took a lot of effort to program the complex behavior of the creature that would jump out of the most unexpected places.


Clive Gratton, technical director on Alien: Isolation, said the following about the multi-layered AI system (read the full interview here):


“Our basic premise for the AI was ‘not to cheat’. The level is pre-processed to find interesting places for the Alien to search. We then drop it in with a few parameters to say how fast to search, where and what size radius. If the Alien hasn’t spotted the player then it’ll do a leisurely search of a large area. If you can hear the Alien in the vents close to you then there’s more chance that it can hear you and will come down. It is actually traversing through the vent network.”


StarCraft II


Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release date: July 27, 2010
Platforms: PC


Long-time SarCraft players may laugh at this suggestion, because even the Hard and Elite AI in StarCraft II is not too impressive. But again, this is the case if you’re an experienced player. However, if you’re just starting out in the StarCraft universe, playing against AI is your best option, and it is built exactly for that reason.


The AI in StarCraft II follows the same sequence every time, which is perfect for learning and developing your first strategy against it. Later, when you know what you’re doing, you can start playing against real players.


And the last cool thing to mention is the upcoming StarCraft II challenge offered by the British AI developer -- DeepMind. It’s the one that beat the Go world champion last year, and it would be really interesting to see how this intelligence will fair against Blizzard’s own AI sometime in 2017.


Far Cry 2


Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release date: October 21, 2008
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


It is a sad thing to say, but the Far Cry series doesn’t get any better with every new installment. Ubisoft tries to appeal to a more casual player these days, but at one point, Far Cry was one of the most unforgiving games ever made.


The first one was developed by Crytek, and then Ubisoft helmed the second one, and the rest of them followed. Far Cry 2 was so challenging that people went as far as calling it “sadistic”… and it was for a reason. The enemy AI was simply brutal, and there were no friendly NPCs -- everybody was hostile.


There was no real system to the AI’s behavior -- it was just incredibly chaotic and unpredictable. This alone made the game super hard, even for veteran gamers.


Halo: Reach


Developer: Bungie
Release date: September 14, 2010
Platforms: Xbox 360


Halo: Reach stands out from the rest of the games in the cult series from Microsoft due to its staggering AI. This statement regards the Elites, who are some of the smartest and most aggressive enemies you will ever encounter in a video game.


One could re-play the campaign over and over again without ever getting bored because the AI would behave differently every time. When the fans figured this out, they decided to push the AI in the game to its limits. And thus, in 2011, a team called “Termacious Trickocity” recorded more than 150 hours of gameplay in an attempt to show just how good the AI is in Halo: Reach.


The result can be seen in the video above, which is a 10-minute montage of the best moments from the entire Termacious Trickocity run. One of the members of the said team, Aaron Sekela, stated the following:


“Our hardest trick though would probably be the ‘Exodus Marine Collection.’ That’s the trick that starts around the 5:48 mark and ends at the 6:29 mark. We were in that game for 7 hours, getting the marines to cooperate was extremely annoying, we had to make sure they didn’t get killed by enemies or being launched over the river. Once over the river we need to drive 10 minute to get the marines, to the top of a huge mountain. We had to go back and forth about 4 or 5 times. Lack of check points didn’t help either.”


XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Developer: Firaxis Games
Release date: October 9, 2012
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360


Alien AI is the reason why the reboot of the XCOM series succeeded back in 2012. And the person responsible for that AI was Alex Cheng, who decided to make the AI not just distinctive, but also entertaining.

This effect was achieved “by means of a utility-based system -- a system that gave a measure of 'usefulness' to every possible action.” 


And this is what XCOM is known for: its limited system of movement that requires the AI to calculate the most efficient way of action for each of its turns. It would consider everything, such as the distance to the closest objective, proximity to other aliens, the number of enemies, the behavior of the enemies, and more.


This approach to AI is truly groundbreaking and should be taken into consideration by other aspiring video game developers.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist


Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Release date: August 20, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360


The objectives in all missions of Blacklist are basically the same -- avoid guards at all costs. You got it right -- it’s a hard stealth game. The guard AI is truly something here, and generally speaking, the AI in the Splinter Cell series has always been a subject of fascination.


It reminds me a lot of a chess game. You enter an area, detect all the guards, figure out the plan of evasion, and move forward to a complete execution of the mission. But it’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The guards are programmed to detect and react to the smallest things -- not just visual cues, but audible ones as well.


On top of that, they have dogs that prowl in the most unexpected corners, forcing you to reveal your position. It’s really something, and people have been writing entire essays on just how good the AI is in Splinter Cell: Blacklist -- you can read one of them here.


The Last of Us


Developer: Naughty Dog
Release date: June 14, 2013
Platforms: PS3


If you’re wondering what this game is doing here (since the enemy AI in TLOU isn’t much to write home about) it’s really not about enemies this time, but instead about a companion AI -- Ellie. The teenage girl, the key to the survival of all humanity, is the star of the game, and it’s mainly because of an excellent AI.


Did you know that the release of TLOU was initially delayed for five months? The director of the game decided to overwrite the entire companion AI from scratch. Well, it’s a good thing that he did, because Ellie has become a true friend and not just another burden on your hands.


Here’s what Naughty Dog's Max Dyckhoff said about Ellie’s AI at GDC 2014 (watch the full presentation here):


“Much of this was built on simple ideas, such as how to decide where Ellie should stand: the basic mechanics decide a zone she can inhabit, then draws a series of lines between her and Joel, the direction she's looking in, and where she could potentially move to. If any of those lines hit a wall or obstacle, then Ellie can't stand there.”




Developer: Monolith Productions
Release date: October 17, 2005
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360


If there was ever a good AI in any FPS game, it was definitely the one in F.E.A.R. The enemies would never act in the same way, but they would react to each other’s situations and would never repeat the same mistakes. This prompted players to constantly change tactics and never sit in the same position.


Here’s how the designers of the AI have described their approach to F.E.A.R. (read full statement):


“In F.E.A.R., A.I. use(s) cover more tactically, coordinating with squad members to lay suppression fire while others advance. A.I. only leave cover when threatened, and blind fire if they have no better position.”


On top of that, enemy AI always applies pressure -- at times, you don’t even have the time to heal. The harder the difficulty you choose to play, the better the AI behaves.


That's not to mention the weapons physics and movement animations in this game were groundbreaking for its time.


Many game developers intentionally make the AI in their games easy to deal with. Only a few choose the hard way and try to challenge their fanbase by making AI behave in more inventive ways than just duck, dodge, fire. 


And of course, every gamer has his or her own favorite titles, but these nine games are universally praised for offering something new in the department of artificial intelligence. Each case has its own peculiar approach, and each shows just how deep one can dive into the possibilities of machine psychology.


Different genres of games utilize different algorithms when it comes to programming AI. For example, FPS games implement the layered structure of the artificial intelligence system, while RTS games have several modules, such as effective path-finding, economic structuring, game map analysis, and more.


You will learn about all these different algorithms in the list that follows. Let's get started. 

Great Games at a Steal: Grab these discounts before they disappear! https://www.gameskinny.com/c7m4i/great-games-at-a-steal-grab-these-discounts-before-they-disappear https://www.gameskinny.com/c7m4i/great-games-at-a-steal-grab-these-discounts-before-they-disappear Thu, 01 Sep 2016 14:00:01 -0400 Kat De Shields

Buying video games can get pricey, so when a discount comes along it's always worth taking a look. Today, there's a pretty sweet line up for some recent releases and oldies but goodies. Get your collection up to speed or fill in the gaps of your game collection with these discounted titles. 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 

Normally priced at $59.99, save 18% when you purchase the latest title in the series. Adam Jensen is a real BAMF. 


Scoop up this title at 50% off normal price. At least the price is kind, the game is guaranteed to kick your ass. 

Rocket League 

Rocket League is a crazy popular game. if you haven't had the chance to play this one yet, buy it now at 40% off normal cost. 

Mafia II 

Even though the game is 6 years old, it's still a ton of fun to play. You can purchase a digital download at an 80% discount! 

Sword Art Online: Lost Song 

Explore the world of ALfheim Online at a 25% discount for PS4. 

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Let's be honest, we all wanted to try parkour after playing Mirror's Edge. If you're still not comfortable leaping from rooftops, pick up this game at a 25% discount. 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown 

Another 80% discount deal, pick up this award-winning game and save Earth from a horrifying alien invasion. 

Saint's Row IV

For $5 (an 83% discount) you can own the game and all the DLC. Wait are you waiting for?

BioShock 2

Now, you can be a Big Daddy for real as you travel through the city of Rapture. You don't have to have Big Daddy bucks though, as the game is available for purchase at an 80% discount. 

BioShock Infinite

More BioShock! More discounts! Pick up the latest game in the series for $6 smackaroos. 80% discounts are amazing. 

Sid Meier's Civilization V

If you don't have this game, you're a disgrace to mankind. Atone for your failings and purchase today for $10. You owe it to humanity.

* * *

I’m always looking for new awesome products, so please send me your favorites at commerce@LaunchMediaNetwork.com.

Goat Simulator and XCOM part of Xbox Games with Gold birthday celebrations https://www.gameskinny.com/407vt/goat-simulator-and-xcom-part-of-xbox-games-with-gold-birthday-celebrations https://www.gameskinny.com/407vt/goat-simulator-and-xcom-part-of-xbox-games-with-gold-birthday-celebrations Thu, 26 May 2016 05:48:01 -0400 HavenHeart36

Yesterday, Xbox announced that June marks the third birthday of their Games with Gold program. To celebrate, Xbox Live subscribers will be getting 4 great titles coming to Games with Gold. If you are an Xbox Live subscriber, you will get Goat Simulator, and The Crew on Xbox One. Also, because of backward compatibility, Xbox One and Xbox 360 Live subscribers will also get Super Meat Boy, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Goat Simulator will be added to the Games with gold line-up from June 1 - 30, on Xbox One. It will free to Xbox Live subscribers, with a normal price of $9.99. This game is all about destroying everything you can as a goat, a game you can play with friends.

Next, The Crew will be available from June 16 - July 15, also free to subscribers. The normal price for The Crew is $29.99. In this driving game, you can connect online and drive with your friends in an open-world of the United States.

Super Meat Boy will also be available from June 1 - 30, on Xbox 360 and Xbox One with backward compatibility. It will be free during the celebration, but normally costs $14.99. This is an Indie platformer game you won’t want to miss.

Finally, XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be joining the Games with Gold on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You can download XCOM: Enemy Unknown for free from June 16 - 30. XCOM: Enemy Unknown normally costs $39.99. In this turn based strategy, you will be challenged as you lead your squad to fight aliens.

Xbox Games with Gold has been around since June 2013, since they gave out their first game, Fable III, on Xbox 360. Defense Grid was the first game to come out on Xbox one, in the following month. Since Games with Gold started in June 2013, Xbox has given out 120 games to Xbox Live subscribers, according to this list on TekRevue.

Games with Gold third birthday celebration has some great games heading your way. With a combined retail value of over $94, June is going to be a good month for getting free games. All you have to do is be an Xbox Live subscriber, and you will be able to download these games on the dates listed. But they are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out!

Everything we know about XCOM 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/05662/everything-we-know-about-xcom-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/05662/everything-we-know-about-xcom-2 Tue, 26 Jan 2016 05:21:33 -0500 Sergey_3847

XCOM 2, the sequel to the highly successful reboot of XCOM - Enemy Unknown, will officially release on February 5, 2016. The game takes place 20 years after the events of the Enemy Unknown and continues the story of humanity, which was defeated by the aliens.

The new installment takes a leap forward in terms of storytelling and broadens the meaning of the campaign. This time around it’s not just an abstract set of missions, but a real narrative with strong characters.

The tutorial part of the game should not be skipped even if you consider yourself an expert, as it introduces you to a whole new set of important game mechanics and plot devices.

XCOM 2 is full of surprises, so it's essential that you know what to expect from it.

New strategic component

XCOM 2 Avenger

Aliens have succeeded – they colonized the Earth, set up a massive propaganda system and put everything under the banner of the organization called ADVENT.

What happened to XCOM? Now it’s a full-on resistance unit that plans to overthrow the alien regime. They reside in a former alien spaceship “Avenger.” The new mobile base can take XCOM wherever they desire and establish relations with other resistance groups.

XCOM will learn that the aliens have a secret project coming up – the Avatar. If aliens will make it work, it will be the end of the mission, so you have to take action immediately: destroy alien factories, kidnap key characters, steal equipment, etc.

At the same time, ADVENT will act against you and your allies. They will regularly ambush allied guerrilla bases in the type of missions resembling Terror Sites from Enemy Unknown. Additionally, aliens consistently work on new deadly weapons that will be effectively used against you.

So, as you see, from a strategic standpoint the main goal here is to increase your influence all over the world and do everything possible to prevent the aliens from bringing their secret project to life. The wider area of the map you can cover, the bigger chance you will have to succeed in your mission.

Of course, as you set up more contacts with an ever growing number of allies, the more you will have to travel and spend resources, but this networking is absolutely essential in XCOM 2.

New base and soldier management system

XCOM 2 soldiers

In the previous installment you had to dig up rooms in the underground base, but in XCOM 2 your directive is to clear up facilities on an alien ship. There are over a dozen of them, but the most important ones are Research, intended for new types of weapons and alien trophies, and Engineering, where all new equipment is being created.

In XCOM 2 you can’t simply hire a number of soldiers or scientists, this time you have to look for them and it’s not an easy task. There will be a lot of work on the base and every crew member will play an integral part in its life cycle. In case when you don’t have enough people on board, your development and research will stall.

There are five classes of soldiers in the game and no sub-classes. The names of the classes might have changed, but not their purposes. For example, Assault units are now called the Rangers, but they both specialize in close combat. Medical Support soldiers are now called the Specialists, who can also manipulate small drones.

However, there is one new class – the Psi Operative that specializes in psionic powers.

All types of soldiers have additional abilities that players can choose from and direct the development of their characters either in aggressive or supportive roles.

Tactical decision making is more varied

XCOM 2 destructibility

Destructibility now plays a huge role in your tactical gameplay. You can literally destroy any part of the building and create a real havoc inside. This gives you plenty of choices on how you want to approach your missions.

Architecture in general has become more complex and gives your characters more chances for hideouts and other tactical devices. The same goes to landscapes, so no more flat fields, but instead it looks like a guerrilla paradise with lots of opportunities to stealthily surround your enemies.

All this should be of no surprise, as XCOM 2 uses procedurally generated maps, so you won’t find two identical places in the whole game.

Another huge tactical element of the game is psionic abilities. They are used almost everywhere by the aliens showcasing all the charms of mind control. So, you will have to look for the ways how to play around it.

The last but not the least component is RNG. Yes, you still have to deal with inaccuracies during shootouts, but in XCOM 2 you have more choices. For example, you may choose a bigger chance of hitting an enemy, but with less damage, then take a risk and miss completely.

The level of difficulty

XCOM 2 global map

XCOM 2 is much harder than Enemy Unknown, which in comparison is a pretty laid-back game. However, it’s not as hard as the Long War mod, which at times was simply absurd. But you will see some of the elements of the modification in the new game, which inspired developers the most.

In the sequel you have to deal with so many things on the global map that sometimes it seems unbearable. On top of that, the game constantly reminds you that ADVENT’s progress is unstoppable and you have to do something about it right now.

This also plays a huge role in the replayability of the game. If you decide that things went the wrong way, you might want to start everything over again. The unpredictability of RNG and procedurally generated world guarantee that the new playthrough will be a completely different experience.

Some gamers will definitely appreciate this, but others may not do so. Anyhow, if aliens were easy to beat, they would never be able to conquer the whole planet.

Do you anticipate XCOM 2 to be the best game in the series? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

XCOM: Long War Modders introduce Terra Invicta and new studio https://www.gameskinny.com/mm0ra/xcom-long-war-modders-introduce-terra-invicta-and-new-studio https://www.gameskinny.com/mm0ra/xcom-long-war-modders-introduce-terra-invicta-and-new-studio Thu, 07 Jan 2016 04:21:09 -0500 Chan Moore

The team responsible for XCOM: Long Wars, the critically-acclaimed mod for Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unkown/Enemy Within titles, has recently formed a studio. It's rightfully called Long War Studios, paying homage to the massive success of their well-loved project, which was freely downloaded over 650,000 times in less than 3 years.

Following up behind their freshman effort is Terra Invicta. It's being called a "grand strategy game" in which the player fights for the very existence of the planet Earth during an alien invasion. It's their first standalone title, and is currenty in pre-Kickstarter developement.

In case you're not familiar with the game that inspired the mod, XCOM is a turn-based tactical experience, where you control "the best, of the best, of the best." These individuals make up a group of the most elite soldiers and scientists that Earth has to offer. From finances and troop operations to research and development, you call the shots -- the entire time keeping an ever watchful eye on our large brained adversaries. Take that alien tech and re-purpose it to even the odds and give us a fighting chance.

With Firaxis releasing XCOM 2 sometime in February of 2016, I'm excited to see what happens when they come face to face with the very hungry and formidable Long War Studios. Let the games begin!

Twelve games undeserving of their critical praise https://www.gameskinny.com/574ei/twelve-games-undeserving-of-their-critical-praise https://www.gameskinny.com/574ei/twelve-games-undeserving-of-their-critical-praise Sun, 16 Aug 2015 18:39:02 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

We’ve all been there before. We have been playing a game that was showered with critical acclaim, and while we don’t think the game may necessarily be bad, we wonder, “Why is this getting so much praise?” While this thought may not occur during playtime, the thought may have crossed your mind after the end credits roll.

To clarify, I am not claiming these games are awful; some of them are pretty good. This list is a collection of games that caused me to question their critical acclaim while playing them.  With that in mind, let’s get to the good stuff!


I have to give credit where credit is due: Bethesda is great at creating gigantic virtual sandboxes for players to muck about in. The problem is they rarely fill those sandboxes with anything interesting. While Oblivion had many of the same issues as Skyrim, I found Skyrim the more boring and uninteresting of the two. With constantly repeated dungeons, floaty combat, shallow game mechanics, and an overall boring world, Skyrim is more repetitive than the Dick and Jane book series.   

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I love a good turn-based strategy game; I’m slightly addicted to them. When I heard the venerable XCOM series was receiving a reboot, I was ecstatic. The original games have not aged well; so being able to play an XCOM game with modern design and sensibilities was a tantalizing prospect. While Enemy Unknown was not bad, it had several design issues and a lack of depth found in other turn-based strategy games.

The game can be easily completed by keeping your squad in a phalanx formation and simply abusing Overwatch like it's no one’s business. Once you get your soldiers promoted, they essentially become all-powerful demigods who laugh at the enemy invaders. A combination of individual classes can make most of the game a breeze. The lack of depth was also noticeable.

I celebrate a game becoming more accessible for newcomers, but there are ways to add depth for those who want it without alienating newer players. It’s far from a bad game. I like the veteran series being thrust into the limelight once again, and now we are getting more, but hopefully the forthcoming sequel will rectify some of the issues found in Enemy Unknown.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

To the time of writing this, I have completed nearly every game I have started. I rarely start a game I do not finish unless the game is awful or just drab in every way. Brotherhood is one of those games.

I endured the uneven first game due to the unique setting and experience (Middle East during Medieval times = awesome!), and Assassin’s Creed 2 improved upon the first game in so many ways, giving me what I enjoyed from the first game with less of what I didn’t. So why in the world was Brotherhood so boring? The game doesn’t introduce many new or interesting ideas; the story was snooze-worthy; and the game was just monotonous as a whole.

Uncharted 2

I debated including this one. However, after the lovely comments on my last piece where I dared accuse Uncharted 2 of not being as great as people think it is, I couldn’t help but include it here!

Yes, Uncharted 2 in NO way deserves the amount of critical acclaim it has received.

Half-Life 2

I’ve really lost it now, haven’t I? (I assure you I haven’t, or maybe I never had it.) Before you discount this thought, though, let’s talk. Half-Life 2 is a good game, but it is nowhere near the perfection people claim it to be. It’s a small game wrapped in a large tech demo. The game was a vehicle to show what the Source engine could do, and at the time of release, it was impressive. Now, though, not so much.

There are some great moments in the game. Ravenholm was tense and dripping with atmosphere. Experimenting with the gravity gun was satisfying. The upgraded gravity gun was even more satisfying. Between all of those moments, though, there is a lot of filler. The game is filled with a glut of boring vehicle sections, some tedious puzzles, and unnecessary fluff which the later episodic release rectified. It’s still a good game, but there’s a reason many fans are still talking about the original Half-Life over the sequel.

Bioshock Infinite

I’ve argued the case for Bioshock 2 before, but I still find people who think BioShock Infinite is the better game because they like to pretend Bioshock 2 does not exist. Bioshock 2 had large locales to explore, gripping combat, depth of gameplay, and was also fun to play. BioShock Infinite was a corridor shooter that quickly devolved into a monotonous slog towards the endgame.

I almost didn’t finish the game due to how boring and predictable the gameplay and design had become. The story was the only thing keeping me invested in any way.

At least it had great art design!

Fable III

The entire Fable series is built upon a foundation of unfulfilled promises and disappointed players. That said, the first two games managed to be enjoyable, even if they came nowhere near the heights they were projected to reach. With Fable III, Lionhead went one step forward and three large steps backwards.

The most egregious change was the abandonment of a menu system in favor of a hub-like area to access your inventory and such. The result was a confusing and ultimately unnecessary system. They also had a ridiculously simple and unfulfilling combat system that was as shallow as it was bland. A bevy of technical issues and a pointless section towards the end add up to one undeserving game.

Grand Theft Auto 4

It’s boring. Hmmm. Is that not enough? Alright, alright, here ya go!

GTA 4 is full of uninteresting characters populating a dull world with failed attempts at social critique, plagued by poor controls and gameplay. Just play Saints Row instead: the controls are better, it is far from pretentious, and it’s just plain fun to play - something the GTA series has yet to learn.

Arkham Knight

Honestly, this one is a matter of principle. Yes, Warner Bros. should NOT have knowingly released such an obviously unfinished PC port. They are completely at fault for pushing this sorry excuse for a game out the door. But why in the world was the game positively reviewed almost everywhere while an entire section of the playerbase couldn’t even play the damn game they bought?

The shady tactics of WB releasing the now infamous PC port should have affected scores overall. After all, Metacritic scores are one of the only ways to get these AAA publishers to pay attention, listen, and learn from their mistakes.

Telltale Games

I really enjoyed The Wolf Among Us. The Walking Dead: Season One affected me on an emotional level only two other games have. Tales from the Borderlands is shaping up to be a solid surprise too. So why are Telltale’s games on this list? Because of The Walking Dead: Season Two and Game of Thrones.

The Walking Dead: Season Two is the very definition of a disappointing sequel. With weaker writing and plot design coupled with brain-dead character decisions and forced confrontations, the game left a lot to be desired.

As a fan of the books who was interested to see what Telltale would do, I am disappointed Game of Thrones has such a poor design base and is just so uninteresting. So far the game has been extremely predictable and plagued with poor design. Now if they would only start from scratch…

Gears of War 3

Marcus and company land on this list with a, you guessed it, an insipid entry in the beefcake versus meat slabs series. While the entire series could be on this list, I managed to somewhat enjoy the first two titles and complete them. Gears of War 3 on the other hand, remains one of those games on my “Do not want to finish list.”

With minimal to no evolution in any way over previous entries, failed attempts at gravitas and drama, and lame firefights, the acclaim heaped onto GoW 3 is puzzling.


Checklist for a "meh" game:

  • Repetive gameplay and embodiment of a Skinner box: Check!
  • Bland and lackluster gameplay: Check!
  • Story that reads like a thousand chimps' attempt at a space opera: Check!
  • Inflated expectations due to misleading ads, coverage, and such: Check!
  • Greedy business practices and insuting comments from the devs: Double Check!

And so it goes.

No doubt you completely agree with my list. However, if by some small chance you do not agree with my choices, sound off in the comments! Have I missed a game that in no way deserves the critical acclaim it has received? Make your voice heard as well!

Now go play some better games!

Nine Things Next-Gen Multiplayer Needs to Succeed https://www.gameskinny.com/2tbct/nine-things-next-gen-multiplayer-needs-to-succeed https://www.gameskinny.com/2tbct/nine-things-next-gen-multiplayer-needs-to-succeed Sat, 18 Jul 2015 15:07:14 -0400 Elijah Beahm


Multiplayer has been a part of this industry from the start, and its impact can be felt across the spectrum of platforms we play on. Whether you like online gaming or not, we've come a long way, and have a even further journey ahead to travel. Here's hoping developers choose the right path for online gamers.


Encourage and Grow Your Communities


This last part is something only a few publishers and developers have done really well. For example, 2K Games managed what seemed almost impossible at the time, and bred a longstanding Bioshock 2 multiplayer community. Between offering assets for wikis, and porting the game out of pocket to Steamworks as Games for Windows Live began shutting down, 2K Games did good by their community.


They also repeatedly tried to do right by them in terms of DLC. When it seemed like Minerva's Den might not release, they gave out the Protector Trials for free on PC. When they found out they could port it over still, they did, and they kept the Trials DLC completely free regardless. They also gave Minerva's Den for free to anyone who had bought the original, Games for Windows Live version of the game. On top of that, they made all multiplayer DLC free for everyone, and decreased the grind in the progression system so members of the community could regain their ranks quickly in the new Steamworks version.


This is how you reward a loyal community. You don't treat them like EA did with Dead Space 2, where they never ported any of the DLC, and when it was found some was already on-disc, EA just quietly made a few items and armor sets unlocked for PC users. They never got the Severed DLC campaign (which reportedly never got past pre-Alpha on PC before being cancelled on that platform), nor did they get any of the multiplayer patches.


Publishers and developers both need to learn from these and other examples, and understand that you don't survive through game sales alone. You need that community who will stick it out years from now. Bioshock 2 is thriving and active on PC after five years. By contrast, no one is playing Dead Space 2 on PC anymore. Consider that fact.


Scoreboards Don't Count as Multiplayer


I would think this would go without saying, but judging by the number of games that have tried to use this as a placeholder for real multiplayer, it apparently does not. A scoreboard is fine on its own, but it does not make for great multiplayer. Most people don't care, and often times those who do are more interested in kill/death ratios in Call of Duty than how many Animus Fragments they've found in Assassin's Creed. Let's stop using this as a crutch.


We Need More User Generated Content


For a long time, it seemed like modifications were on the way out. Very few games supported mods during the last generation, save for a handful of shooters, and a number of strategy and RPG titles. That is changing though, thanks to a rebound in the focus on user generated content. Even if a game is a completely solo experience, you can play levels or experience new content made by other gamers.


User generated content is the lifeblood of many older games. Tron 2.0 and Skyrim both got fan expansion packs in the past three years, well after their publishers had moved on. Mods are free DLC that developers don't have to spend a dime on. Whether or not you think mods should be commercially released is another debate, but you can't deny the popularity of modding. Some developers even use mods as ways of finding the best new talent to hire for their next project.


As development tools become more user-friendly, and in-game toolsets get more powerful, it stands to reason that user generated content needs to be taken more seriously as a means of online content.




Let Cooperative and Competitive Multiplayer Blur


The fact cooperative and competitive multiplayer are beginning to blur is a great sign, but there are only a few games that have toyed with this. Dark Souls, DayZ and Watch_Dogs remain the only notable examples, and even this early on, they show promise. Dark Souls in particular has caused many anti-multiplayer gamers to reconsider their stance on the issue, because it put it in a new context.


Taking competitive play out of instanced matches and making it more like a boss fight puts it in clearer context for those who don't regularly go out and play Domination or Capture the Flag. With the addition of cooperative players helping each side during conflicts, Dark Souls lets the players define the battlefield.


Watch_Dogs took this a different direction by empowering players with a variety of play styles. Maybe you go and spy on someone or hack their phone in a one on one battle. If you prefer racing, you could take on mobile device users or enter street races. If you like team battles, those are available too. They aren't carted off in some alternate landscape, but instead are present in your game, and have tangible rewards for both offline and online play.


As we step forward, these types of integrated multiplayer could even tie into grander mechanics. Imagine a world where the Dark Souls invasion system and the Shadow of Mordor nemesis system are combined. The potential is tantalizing, to say the least.


Think Outside the Box For What Genres Can Have Multiplayer


A year doesn't go by when I don't hear someone say "[game] doesn't need multiplayer!" Except, did you ever ask yourself what kind of multiplayer that would be like? The XCOM: Enemy Unknown team asked themselves that, and what resulted is a surprisingly popular turn-based RPG style multiplayer that even got a wealth of new maps in the expansion pack Enemy Within.


The same happened with Mass Effect 3, and later Dragon Age: Inquisition. Perhaps its time we stop saying something shouldn't be done, and start more regularly asking "can this be done, and will it be fun?" Not only does this open the door to new multiplayer games, but it lets mechanics be handled in new ways. Assassin's Creed: Rogue's detection system wouldn't exist without Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer, and similar examples exist across many franchises.


So let's really push the envelope and see what works. If it fails, then go back to the drawing board; but if it succeeds, then help it grow.


Truly Dynamic Levels


Letting us level one building in Battlefield 4 was impressive back on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now though, with the hardware available to developers, we should be seeing a lot more dynamic elements in levels, and not just in shooters. If anything, more games need to look to some of Sony's more recent games for inspiration.


Take the airstrip level in Uncharted 3. When the level opens, one team is a plane that is preparing to take off. Meanwhile, the other team is on a set of moving trucks, chasing after it, guns blazing. This leads to some hilarious and awesome moments that only happen because of the players and the level both being equal participants.


Similarly, PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royal built itself around levels that would blend between two games. One minute you're in Pappa Rappa, but within minutes, Killzone invades with giant mechs firing on players. Every level did this, and would significantly impact the approach players would take to battles. That isn't even counting smaller dynamic elements players could use to their advantage, like setting off traps or knocking opponents into hazards.


We need more levels like this. While making a level flood or have half of the map become full of poison gas might seem impressive to some players, we could do so much more. Destiny's raids have randomized, dynamic elements as much as they do scripted ones. Syndicate had different enemy spawns and behavior based on difficulty levels. These are the sorts of things we should aspire to in future multiplayer titles.


Understand What We Want From Online Co-op


When I reviewed Sunset Overdrive, the game had an excellent open world that was begging for two player campaign co-op. Instead, it had one of the blandest eight player horde modes ever created. Too many games just tack on online cooperative multiplayer without any consideration of what the mode needs. This weird misunderstanding of what we want in co-op is increasing in frequency, as more and more cooperative games are made.


First off, we want to play together with like-minded players. This really is what developers should consider first when going forward. Halo: Reach had one of the best matchmaking filters by asking you several general but important questions about how you liked to play Halo This helped like minded gamers to team up easily.


This should be a default feature in co-op, especially when the co-op is in the main story campaign. If someone is just there for the action, then pair them up with other people there for action. If someone cares about the story, get equally considerate players on board with them.


We also need goals worth playing for. The point of cooperative multiplayer is that you are working together, towards some end. This is why co-op in campaigns works so well, and why standalone co-op modes that are barely connected with the main game fall apart. Some games like Halo 5: Guardians have been making strides to close the gap and integrate co-op into their stories, but we still have a lot further to go.


Still, making players work for a narrative goal might get them through once or twice, but we need consistent, enjoyable reasons to bring friends along. We need new tactical options to open up in cooperative shooters. We need new dialogue choices in cooperative RPGs. We need incentive to play in co-op that offers a different experience, without cutting players out of every option. The benefits should be realistic to the player count.


Online co-op has been evolving at a fast rate, ever since Halo 3 and Borderlands popularized it. Hopefully that means these growing pains can be passed through just as quickly.










More Content, Not Bigger Battles


This is another thing that has continually been happening, and is a big issue for multiplayer. Sony was able to get over two hundred players playing together in its game MAG. It was also so dry and visually bland a game that it could have been a PlayStation 2 title in pre-Alpha.


Some developers have caught on to the idea that more content is better than grander scale, but still are struggling with it. Titanfall offered over twenty maps at launch, and released a bunch of free content updates, but also tried to charge ten dollars for three packs of three new maps. This was a terrible idea, and the game benefitted greatly by just letting everyone have the new maps for free.


This shouldn't even be news to developers. For years older games like No One Lives Forever and Unreal Tournament offered free map packs and new game modes as updates, not something you had to pay the right to use. Splintering communities with pay walls is one of the worst things you could do in multiplayer.


If developers want to charge for something, then they should actually take a note from Batman: Arkham Origins and charge for new gear, or better yet, Battlefield 4's shortcuts. I know what you're thinking "but that stuff is the worst!" except, it really isn't. Think about it.


Consider a world where all content updates are free, so you continually have more and more game to play. Except, since publishers will still want to make something off of the game, they offer new players the ability to catch up in the progression system. They'll still be new to the game and unsure of what gear to use, meaning balance is maintained. All the meanwhile, you've got a consistent stream of new modes and maps to play on.


As compromises go, this one pays off way more for the core player base than the current model. It'd be awesome if we could just get the content for free, but not all publishers and developers will go for that approach. Still, anything that takes us out of the age of Sanctum and Call of Duty-style paid for DLC is a welcome move towards benefiting the player base.




Local Co-op


Yes, this is still a thing, contrary to so many games dropping support for it. Whether it's a desperate bid to optimize (like Halo 5: Guardians) or just cut due to rushed schedule (like Killzone: Shadow Fall), local co-op has been getting the short end of the stick between now and the end years of last-gen. That needs to stop.


We need local co-op games, and not just 2D games and indie titles. Halo was born on local multiplayer matches, and Star Wars: Battlefront let console gamers play together online without a hitch. Friends could play games together both online and offline, but more and more that feature is excluded, and it hurts consoles in general.


The more games you can play alongside a friend and enjoy, the more you'd want to have them on your own. It's just not the same experience, swapping the controller back and forth. Yes, you might have over a hundred players on a massive battlefield with AI opponents and amazing scripted moments, but you're failing the oldest mode of multiplayer in existence. Give us a reason to buy a second Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.


Multiplayer has gone from the only means of play, to a standby feature, and somehow made a huge jump back into "novelty" territory before finally getting its footing again. In the modern gaming era, multiplayer is a huge money maker across consoles, mobile, and PC. Yet, despite years of innovations and experience, the industry seems to have forgotten or failed to realize several things multiplayer gaming needs to really do well.

XCOM 2 gameplay video reveals enemies, tactics, and theatrics https://www.gameskinny.com/kautw/xcom-2-gameplay-video-reveals-enemies-tactics-and-theatrics https://www.gameskinny.com/kautw/xcom-2-gameplay-video-reveals-enemies-tactics-and-theatrics Thu, 25 Jun 2015 10:40:55 -0400 CallSignDriver

Last month's XCOM 2 reveal trailer showed us snakes, swords, and sneaking sectoids. Today's ten-minute video reveals gameplay from the E3 2015 demo, granting us a closer look at what cinematics have only teased.

The video showcases a single mission, the goal of which is to sabotage a pro-alien rally by destroying an ADVENT landmark. The playable unit of soldiers (codenamed "gate crasher" for this mission) arrives in secret, granting the option of stealth as soldiers push forward.

"Looks bigger on tv."

In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, moving a soldier to a specific point on the map would sometimes trigger a contextual event, revealing previously unseen structures or targets. When this happens in XCOM 2, the camera shifts to a more cinematic angle, presenting the triggered event like a miniature cutscene. In the video, soldiers triggering events like these weigh in with pieces of relevant dialogue, instead of just rattling off canned responses.

As the gate crashers prepare to engage their targets, the music builds in intensity, only coming to a peak as the first shot is fired. If this is a result of gameplay, then XCOM 2's sound design is looking very clever, but like the cinematic angles and soldier dialogue, it may very well be edited in for the sake of presentation.

Jesus Christ, how horrifying.

Partway into their assault, this horrifying snake creature exits the back of a van and slithers into my nightmares, using her tongue to "Scorpion Spear" one of the gate crashers from an insane distance. XCOM is good at making each new enemy it introduces fill me with crippling dread each time I see it, and they're getting an early start with this one.

Fortunately for us, it appears that this Cobra Commando is just as susceptible to being sliced in half with a katana as any other snake, but considering the snake soldier's insane range, have fun getting that close without losing people in the process. 

This is your turret? This is my turret.

We also get a closer look at XCOM 2's specialist class in action, as he can be seen here using his flying "gremlin" drone to hack into an enemy turret. It looks like the options available to you depend on your specialist's tech score, and how much of that bar he or she is able to fill. 

"What the hell is that?!"

In traditional XCOM style, just as things are starting to look good for the team, some new, ridiculous threat appears from out of nowhere--this time in the form of a giant, hulking beast and his robotic accompaniment. For the gate crashers, fighting is not an option, and the surviving soldiers are forced to flee.

As we saw teased at the end of the reveal trailer, your soldiers will be able to carry unconscious allies from the battlefield. Fortunately, carrying a person over your shoulder doesn't appear to impair movement speed that much, as we see one of the gate crashers sprint to a self-deployed evac zone placed just outside of the combat area. 

While XCOM 2 doesn't appear to have improved that much in graphical fidelity, it does seem to provide a number of exciting new options for players to fight back the alien occupation. Look for it to arrive in November of this year.

Is Single-player Dying? https://www.gameskinny.com/nncce/is-single-player-dying https://www.gameskinny.com/nncce/is-single-player-dying Sun, 07 Jun 2015 08:30:01 -0400 Elijah Beahm

Single-player. It is the original way we played games, and some would say it's the only way.. Now everyone seems to fear its sudden and immediate demise. (Dun dun duuuuunn.) Is this death of solo gaming true? Or are gamers just overreacting (not that that ever happens)?

The short answer is no. The long answer is more complicated.

If you look at it from the solo-only "I don't ever play online" perspective, there are certainly more games where multiplayer has been added. In none of those cases did the single-player die off or get diminished (in fact, often the opposite happened), but the shift is notable and sometimes had an impact on mechanics.

For instance, Dead Space 3's crafting system caused the series to drop its competitive multiplayer and instead be a co-op experience. Mass Effect 3 added new movement systems and a weight system to make it more active and fast-paced during combat. In other cases, the changes would appear in more surprising ways, such as Assassin's Creed: Rogue utilizing ideas from the series' multiplayer.

However, for some, the inclusion of multiplayer of any kind is seen as a downside. For instance, with the Tomb Raider 2013 reboot, all the downloadable content, save for one piece of DLC, was for the game's multiplayer (and even then it was only map packs).

There was no new single-player content planned, so the lack of genuine tombs and puzzles never got addressed. Square Enix went double-down on the experimental half of the game, and when Eidos Montreal failed to deliver, it blew up in their face hard. To the point that apparently, instead of having a competent multiplayer team make the multiplayer as fun as it could be, they dropped it entirely for Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Yet, that's not really the most constructive response either.

While fans were rightfully inflamed to complain about the ludicrous amounts of lag on console, and the terrible controls on PC, the inclusion of multiplayer was perfectly reasonable for Tomb Raider. Co-op even worked marvelously in Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light. If they'd more heavily emphasized the survival elements along with the traps and traversal mechanics, it would have been like The Last of Us' multiplayer 2.0.

Except we'll probably never get that, because fans not open to the multiplayer complained endlessly at its very inclusion.

You see, that's the other side of things.

Most multiplayer gamers didn't blink an eye when Battlefield 3 had single-player. Even reviewers barely took note, and kept looking to the multiplayer. There was no serious harm or foul, just some people who were severely underwhelmed at DICE's idea of a solo Battlefield experience.

You do not see this kind of "I'll just keep playing what I like" attitude whenever a single-player game adds multiplayer. Even when you later find the detractors liking the multiplayer, such as with The Last of Us and Mass Effect 3, they go right back to their stubbornness afterward. Even critics have a habit of doing this, sounding almost astonished when The Last of Us' multiplayer didn't somehow bore them to tears.

No matter what, they almost always use a predictable argument I've learned by heart now. Let's address it, very briefly here.

  • "Multiplayer takes away resources" -- This is, nine times out of ten, completely false. If there isn't a separate internal team to start with, there's an additional developer brought on board. And if you try to say "that's taking budget away", then you seem to have forgotten that the publisher is paying extra to include multiplayer. Unless we're talking about Microsoft and the Phantom Dust reboot, which is actually a case of demanding single-player in a multiplayer-only game. Also, don't forget that too many cooks can spoil a dish (hello, Assassin's Creed: Unity!)

  • "They'll water down the single-player" -- Generally, multiplayer requires an intense understanding of the game's mechanics. In fact, in the cases of Mass Effect 3 and Tomb Raider, multiplayer added new mechanics on top of the base ones. If it feels watered down, then that isn't the multiplayer's fault, but instead the developer going for wider audience appeal across the board.

  • "No one wants [insert game] with multiplayer" -- From a statistical standpoint, that is literally impossible. From a logical standpoint, you are generalizing and/or valuing your opinion over everyone else's. For example, Dead Space 2 added multiplayer because fans wanted it; not that anyone seems to remember that little fact. Other cases include Bioshock 2, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Don't Starve Togther. I'm afraid other people simply don't have your amazing gaming tastes.

And now that we've got those clichéd arguments over with, back to the topic at hand!

There's another angle to this, though. Addition of multiplayer is one thing, but there is growing concern that games are trying to remove any type of single-player mode entirely. The prime reasons for this are games like Titanfall, Evolve, Destiny, Diablo III, and fellow multiplayer-focused games - the argument being that, as multiplayer games continue to make the most money overall, publishers will keep pushing for online-only experiences. Right?

Not necessarily. Evolve and Diablo III can be played offline, and can also be counted alongside Destiny in having a modest (if not sizeable) amount of single-player content. Evolve has a full campaign mode with shifting variables, which still includes the game's lengthy progression system and numerous playable characters. Diablo III may only be offline on consoles, but at least that is an option now after fan outcry.

Some games, like Destiny, are built to be played either alone or together with friends. You can even play Destiny on PlayStation 4 without PlayStation Plus. You just can't party up with anyone, which clearly is not the concern of solo players. Still, it requires an internet connection, and that's a big problem for some gamers.

So, does that mean in the future, we won't be able to game without internet, even in single-player? Maybe... but maybe not.

The actual amount of games you can play offline has grown substantially. Between GOG.com and a number of franchises, there has actually been a growth in single-player games. And some games that used to have multiplayer are dropping it to focus on the single-player experience. Example: for the first time in franchise history, Wolfenstein: The New Order had no multiplayer. Dishonored also had no multiplayer. Neither did Deus Ex: Human Revolution. All were AAA first-person action games, the genre most frequently seen including multiplayer.

How did this madness occur? Well, there was a demand, publishers trusted their developers, and the games were made to fit that demand. Often we hear "the game industry is a business" used as an excuse, but we seem to forget that it also can be in our favor.

People wanted more solo games, so more solo games were greenlit. It's also in a publisher's best interest to not have every game be online-enabled, because that means fewer servers to pay for. Sure, they have more worry about used-game sales, but with digital copies being bought more often, that's becoming less of a concern.

So in the grand scheme of things, are single-player games incredibly at risk? Not really, but there are some things publishers are far too slow with on the uptake when it comes to what we, as their audience, want from them. The same could be said for some gamers though, who are focusing solely on their personal preferences rather than the big picture. None of this happens in a vacuum, and it's hard not to find a reason for most of the decisions and actions that have lead us here.

What do you think: is single-player doomed? Do you take a side in this argument? Or do you think everyone is missing something? Let us know in the comments below!

Is Steam's XCOM sale further reinforcement of a desktop-exclusive future for the series? https://www.gameskinny.com/9o3kp/is-steams-xcom-sale-further-reinforcement-of-a-desktop-exclusive-future-for-the-series https://www.gameskinny.com/9o3kp/is-steams-xcom-sale-further-reinforcement-of-a-desktop-exclusive-future-for-the-series Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:38:17 -0400 Jackson Ingram

2K and Firaxis Games recently announced that XCOM 2, the highly anticipated sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is planned as a Windows-based PC title, with Mac and Linux ports via Feral Interactive. The decision not to follow the game’s multiplatform roots came as a surprise to many players, considering the positive reception of Enemy Unknown’s console releases. GameRankings used a wide pool of reviews to calculate the PS3 and 360 editions to rest comfortably at 86.68% and 88.96% approval rates respectively, quick on the heels of the PC at 89.22%.

Promotional image released for XCOM 2.

In response to the upcoming sequel, Steam launched an XCOM: Enemy Unknown sale, slashing prices on the original game, its expansion, and a couple extras by as much as 75%. These are all for PC and Mac only, of course. Popularity of the entire bundle, priced enticingly low at $12.49, would predispose new players to XCOM’s desktop format by the time the sequel rolls around, while simultaneously encouraging console veterans to return to the battlefield and adapt to saving humanity with a mouse and keyboard.

Could this mean XCOM 2 is planning on staying desktop-exclusive, rather than releasing future console ports? And if 2K decides to continue the fight against alien invaders in subsequent installments, will they stray from the PC? Tell us any of your predictions, hopes, or fears for the future of XCOM.

2K May Be Hinting an Upcoming BioShock Reveal https://www.gameskinny.com/qpmf6/2k-may-be-hinting-an-upcoming-bioshock-reveal https://www.gameskinny.com/qpmf6/2k-may-be-hinting-an-upcoming-bioshock-reveal Tue, 26 May 2015 19:12:38 -0400 MarkL_TGG

Ever since the closure of Irrational Games back in 2014, the fate of the BioShock franchise has been up in the air. 2k Marin was set to helm the next title, but after the critical flop of X-COM: The Bureau Declassified, the developer fell silent.

Yesterday, on 2K's official Twitter, may have given glimpse of our next dystopian society. The account tweeted a video of what seems to be propaganda for a "city of tomorrow," which glitches, changing the welcoming message of "Move in today and start living in the World of Tomorrow" to something sinister:

Courtesy of 2K Games

Kicking off the viral advertising was www.adventfuture.org, a mock site for this supposed world of tomorrow which was created in April of this year. According to the website's hackers, not all is what it seems in ADVENT.

Should this be the next BioShock, it seems citizen uprising will remain a central theme; and one of the bigger questions that remains is what roll will the gamer play? To change things up, maybe we'll be treated to the other side of things and play a roll in the oppression rather than the uprising.

Of course, whether this actually is BioShock is up for debate. 2K also headlines the X-COM series, and ADVENT could easily be a city under extraterrestrial control. 

All we can do is simply wait it out and enjoy the string of viral marketing.

Ten Android Video Games That Are Worth Your Time https://www.gameskinny.com/77avu/ten-android-video-games-that-are-worth-your-time https://www.gameskinny.com/77avu/ten-android-video-games-that-are-worth-your-time Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:04:22 -0400 Game Oracle

Android games are a fun diversion for mobile gamers with a few minutes to kill. There are thousands of Android video games to play and dozens more in development around the world. Whether you love a vast RPG adventure, prefer to complete a few difficult puzzles, or to play your favorite sport, you can find a suitable game.

In order to help you find the best titles, I've compiled a list of ten Android games that are worth your time. Here are the ten games I think you'll find are some of the best Android video games you have experienced.

1. The Banner Saga


Just recently released, The Banner Saga is an action-strategy RPG, set in a fantasy realm inspired by Norse mythology.

You can buy this game on Google Play, and it's worth the price of admission.

With 25 playable characters in 7 different classes, each with different abilities and upgrades you can tailor to your playing style, this mobile game is one of the best.

The turn-based choices you make during your adventure decides your fate playing The Banner Saga. The story changes depending on where you travel, who you talk to, and decide to fight.

What does fate have in store for you?

You decide!

2. The Wolf Among Us


Part one of five episodes, The Wolf Among Us is the only free episode, which is a marketing trick that works with this title.

This immersive thriller is a mature game in which your decisions ultimately decide your fate and the outcome of the story. It's a Telltale Games title, so it's mostly narrative driven, but there are action scenes to keep you engaged.

You play Bigby Wolf, called the big bad wolf, as he hunts a murderer through the tough streets of Fabletown.  

A great Android game on a tablet, play The Wolf Among Us! 

You can find it on Google Play.

3. XCOM Enemy Unknown 


Ready for the end of the world!

XCOM Enemy Unknown is an action-strategy game that challenges gamers to save the world from an alien invasion. 

You play the commander of XCOM, controlling the forces of the global defense team fighting a terrifying alien invasion.

You must build a fully operational base, research alien technologies, plan combat missions and control soldier movements in battle to win.

This game isn't free to play, but is still at the top of my list of the best Android games to play. Give XCOM: Enemy Unknown a try, and leave me a comment.

4. Ridiculous Fishing


A unique Android game that adds guns, toasters and chainsaws to the act of fishing, Ridiculous Fishing is one of the most complete mobile games I have played.  

This game is the total package, with unique graphics and a rewarding upgrade system, displaying a skill in Android game development exhibited by few in the industry.

The fishing is ridiculous, but the gameplay and mechanics in Ridiculous Fishing is outstanding.

If you want to try a very unusual Android game that's also a treat to play and worth the price. Head out on the water playing Ridiculous FishingYou can find it on Google Play.

I think you'll find it as much fun as I did. Just remember to leave a comment, when you get back from your fishing trip.

5. The Walking Dead: Season One


Telltale Games The Walking Dead: Season One is the first episode of a five-part series set in the award-winning universe created by Robert Kirkman.

This episode is free to download, but you'll have to pay-to-play the rest of the parts in the series.

An immersive adventure in which gamers play the part of a convicted criminal, Lee Everett, given a second chance at life and redemption in a world gone crazy.  Battle zombies and other survivors as you protect a girl named Clementine from the dangers of a zombie apocalypse.

Check it out here.

6. Dots


A simple free Android game challenging players to connect as many of the same colored dots as possible within a time limit, Dots is a great game to play on your tablet as you travel on a plane or train. 

This game looks simple, but is surprisingly challenging, yet meditative and hard to put down. 

Check it out here.

This game kept me entertained during long trips and quiet moments. Give Dots a try, the next time you're sitting waiting for something to happen.

7. Super Hexagon


A simple game in design, Super Hexagon only uses two controls, rotate right and left, which allows players to navigate a spiraling, rotating maze sure to confound and challenge you. 

One of the hardest Android games I have ever played, this game is a brutal challenge that allows for no mistakes.

This title also has some of the best music around to listen to as your face turns red and you start to scream at the screen.

Check out Super Hexagon on Google Play.

It will confound and mesmerize you into submission.

8. Threes!


Candy Crush Saga move over!

Do you love playing with numbers? Threes! is a math adventure you can take the kids on to challenge and teach everyone a little about the universal language.

The 2014 Apple Design Award Winner, this game is a deep challenge that will expand your mind, and make you think. It's a joy to play for all and includes a heart-warming soundtrack, and I found it endlessly challenging and fun.  A deceptively simple mobile game to learn, Threes! is addictive and hard to put down. 

My pick for a game to reach the top of the Google Play charts.

9. Temple Run 2


With over a zillion total downloads, the Temple Run Android games have set the bar high for other titles.

Featuring wonderful graphics, vibrant environments and challenging obstacles, this mobile game is my pick for one of the best looking around. Run, jump, turn, and slide your way across dangerous cliffs and dark forests, playing one of the best endless runners available for Android devices. 

I play Temple Run 2 to take me back to my younger days.

Give it a try here and leave me a comment!

10. Football Manager Handheld 2015


The latest in the best-selling, award-winning series by Sega of America, this Android game allows you to manage your favorite football team to victory in the toughest soccer league in the world. 

One of my favorite mobile sports games, Football Manager Handheld 2015 puts you in the hot seat and turns up the pressure. If you have played the series on another platform, you'll discover the developers hardly left anything out. 

Take out your Android device and try it here!

The 10 AAA Game Franchises That Need to Come to PS Vita https://www.gameskinny.com/no59i/the-10-aaa-game-franchises-that-need-to-come-to-ps-vita https://www.gameskinny.com/no59i/the-10-aaa-game-franchises-that-need-to-come-to-ps-vita Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:15:09 -0400 Elijah Beahm


Resident Evil 4


Lastly, the game that's been ported to everything under the sun besides dedicated gaming handhelds (it's even available on iPhone and iPad): Resident Evil 4. I'm tempted to suggest bringing Resident Evil 5 over, but some of its set pieces and over-the-top moments might stress out the hardware too much. On the flipside, Resident Evil 4 is perfect for the PS Vita.


It's familiar, but still new to a number of players. It's compact, but has plenty of content. It's incredibly replayable and never leans on excessive grinding or any other cheap tactics used to keeping you from progressing. It looks great, but doesn't demand a lot from hardware.


While it's been re-released so many times that it's starting to get silly, I can't deny that Resident Evil 4 would be a welcome game on PS Vita. Just, maybe add in co-op for Mercenaries mode?


Diablo III: Reaper of Souls


Here's an oddity for you. Silent Hill: Book of Memories and Dungeon Hunter Alliance are available on the PS Vita, yet somehow Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is not? Why are we left only with a weird spin-off of a different franchise and a hack job rip-off instead of a port from the series that started it all?


There's not even much that needs to be said, it's just that sensible and reasonable. We know it can work, because two games just proved that the handheld can do the job. So let's bring Diablo III: Reaper of Souls to Vita, Blizzard.


Orcs Must Die!


It may have started out as a small-scale indie, but Robot Entertainment seems to be making their best effort to turn Orcs Must Die! into a AAA franchise. As such, let's bring the original two titles to the Vita. The cartoony visuals fit a handheld well, the AI for enemies is incredibly simple, so that takes a load off the CPU, allowing for greater amounts of hit processing and physics-based traps.


The game might need to shrink back the amount of traps and enemies that spawn, but the it would still be a rollicking good time on the handheld. It also works great for the Vita as the touch screens could be used to play traps and swap inventory selection instantly.




Given Sony and Valve's chummy relationship, I'm a bit surprised we haven't seen some version of Portal on the PS Vita. Fans have already gotten remakes of the game to work on PSP, Nintendo DS, and 3DS, so what's holding Valve back from making it official on a platform that could easily run the game?


Honestly, other than possible business reasons or lack of interest, I can't think of any. Plus imagine Portal 2 co-op, where one of you is playing on Vita while the other is on PS3. That would be pretty damn sweet, if I say so myself.


Splinter Cell


If CounterSpy taught me anything, it's that the PS Vita is a great platform for slick stealth games, and there should really be more of them. As such, let's bring over Splinter Cell. Whether it be remakes of the originals, a new spin-off, or a downgraded version of the more controversial past two entries, there should be a Splinter Cell game on Vita.


The touch screens and gyroscope make tons of sense for the gadgets that protagonist Sam Fischer is constantly using. The snap to cover, Mark and Execute, and free range of world navigation fit a handheld very well. The compact yet maze-like levels are just right for the Vita's processing power.


Classic Spies Vs. Mercs should work, but going beyond two versus two might stress the hardware, especially if Ubisoft were to push for high fidelity. Still, the title could make for a great co-op/single-player stealth game for handheld gamers who want meatier titles.




Also befitting the strategy genre, why isn't there an RTS or turn-based Killzone game on the Vita? Killzone: Mercenary is fine for shooting things up, but the universe is primed and ready for a strategy game. With the touchscreen capability and eye-in-the-sky view, it could even potentially be a cross-platform PS4/PS Vita game.


It would be in the vein of Advanced Wars and Command & Conquer, focusing on key battles instead of any kind of 4X strategy. The game could either span the original Killzone trilogy or it could offer Wing Commander-style missions where the story will branch based on your victory or defeat in certain scenarios.


On top of this, depending on how the levels work, we could see the first game besides Littlebig Planet Vita that would offer user-generated content. Imagine players sharing battlefields and scenarios between friend and foe alike, testing their mettle as the ISA and Helghast fight on and on. That certainly sounds like a good time to me.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Much like Bioshock, XCOM: Enemy Unknown (and its expansion Enemy Within) has done well on the iOS market. It seems only natural to consider bringing it to the PS Vita. Combining the touch screen controls with secondary the buttons should be easy, and remove any control issues you might have. The graphics scale down easily, and game is ideal for both quick play and long-term gaming on your handheld.




While Ken Levine's Bioshock strategy RPG may never come to be, it's already been proven that the original game can work well even on a tablet. So why haven't we brought the first two games in the award winning franchise to PS Vita?


Much like Dead Space, the Bioshock series is built on older tech, so optimization is less of an issue. On top of that, there's already the Ultimate Rapture Edition bundle combining the entire experience, so the only work that needs to be done is porting the two games over.


The biggest change would actually be to the multiplayer. Once again, it'd be good to have a game with solid and unique competitive PvP action on a handheld that's practically begging for it. Bioshock 2's multiplayer stood the test of time and still is active on current platforms, so the key thing would just be to scale things down. We might need to bring it down to twelve players total, but that's still another online option for Vita gamers.


Seriously, there's not that much else that would need changing. The games might need to be released on separate carts due to the size of each, but beyond that, it's just getting the games to run on it. And if 2K is willing to get the original running on an iPhone, they shouldn't have much trouble with a powerhouse like the VIta.


Dead Space


Dead Space is a series known for being deep and visceral, but there's one fact most people don't know -- it's built on the Godfather engine from the original Xbox. This is why the first two games run especially well on fairly old PCs.


If Dead Space 2 can run on an integrated graphics card with my laptop, I see no reason a slight visual downgrade couldn't bring at least the first four games (counting the light-gun Extraction spin-off and the mobile game) to PS Vita, either as a collection or separately. Even better, Dead Space: Extraction and Dead Space Mobile could actually be given a visual upgrade.


This also would be great for the Vita because Dead Space 2's multiplayer is so perfect for a handheld. A game of 4 vs 4 is not too extraneous for the Vita, and the multiplayer maps were also nicely compact with numerous paths, much like Killzone Mercenary. Toss in a few new maps and maybe a co-op version of Dead Space Mobile's survival mode, and we're good to go.


Realistically, if you broke them up into two packages, one holding Extraction and Dead Space, and the other holding Dead Space 2 and Mobile, you'd have two decent budget bundles.


Star Wars: Battlefront


Star Wars: Battlefront is making its triumphant return on consoles and PC later this year, and I see no reason for the series to pass on another mobile spin-off. It's been years since Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron graced the PSP, and with the power of the PS Vita, we could have a truly impressive Star Wars handheld game.


While the graphics might have to suffered a bit, Elite Squadron got sixteen player battles working on the PSP. Imagine that kind of optimization on the Vita. Battlefront might be able to offer us our first twenty-four player battles on the Vita, potentially with Elite Squadron's air-to-ground battle system and customizable classes.


Now, it would be separate from the console version of Battlefront, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be some cross-platform integration. Perhaps character progression could carry over between versions. Alternatively, playing each version could unlock extra missions and visual customization, similar to Assassin's Creed 3 and Assassin's Creed: Liberation. Either way, it would incentivize gamers and give them the option to play both at home and on the go, without either version hampering the other in scope or focus.


So we've discussed why you should totally keep your PS Vita. Now let's talk about something different entirely. Sony's support of the handheld has been lackluster of late, and the platform would really benefit from a few key titles arriving. To go along with Farrel's list, here are my picks for games that realistically could work on the PS Vita. From shooters to strategy games, these series totally should make the jump to Sony's handheld.

5 Best Native Linux Games https://www.gameskinny.com/xh8k4/5-best-native-linux-games https://www.gameskinny.com/xh8k4/5-best-native-linux-games Tue, 10 Mar 2015 06:00:55 -0400 thatzacdavis


Some Linux users might think that gaming on the platform needs defending, but these five games speak for themselves. 


Between the awards won and the hours played between this handful of Linux games and all of the other games available on the operating system, it looks like Linux gaming is alive and well and only getting better!


Shadowrun Returns: Linux, PC, Mac


Didn't think we'd have an RPG on this list? Think again.


Shadowrun Returns is a series reboot of sorts, based off a very deep game in a sci-fi setting (just like the last game on our list, XCOM: Enemy Unknown). Shadowrun was originally a fictional tabletop RPG game.


This turn-based sci-fi meets fantasy adventure set in 2054 is loads of fun, and is the perfect game for any Linux gamer.


You'll spend hours battling with and against elves and orcs while trying to stick it to the man in this post-apocalyptic world.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Linux, PC, Mac


This revival of the classic series was a hit with the critics when it came out in September 2012, winning a BAFTA for strategy and a VGX Award for best PC game.


For strategy gamers, XCOM: Enemy Unknown simply cannot be beaten. Who wouldn't enjoy defending the human race from a planetary invasion? Especially on their Linux box.


Borderlands 2: Linux, PC, Mac


A real, full-blown shooter? On Linux? It can't be! But it is. Gearbox Software brought Borderlands 2 to Linux with all the bells and whistles from every other platform.


If you're a fan of humor and shooters, this is your game. Enjoyable alone and all the way up to a party of four, Borderlands 2 can provide hours upon hours of fun.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO): Linux, PC, Mac


CS:GO is yet another game from Valve, and shows off the depth of talent within the company.


Not only is Valve maintaining and constantly updating Dota 2, but they are also doing the same thing with their first-person shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by not only creating an addictive game, but by also bringing it to Linux, not just Windows.


CS:GO is a fun to play, objective-based, infantry shooter. It takes the maps and modes from its predecessors and adds to them making a great game for players of all styles to enjoy. From ultra-competitive matchmaking to casual community-run modded servers, to fast-paced arms race and demolition modes, Global Offensive has something for everyone.


Dota 2: Linux, PC, Mac


Dota 2 is a sequel to the famous Warcraft III mod, and Valve has done a masterful job following in the footsteps of League of Legends by creating an addictive free-to-play MOBA with Dota 2 that is available on both Linux and Windows.


The game seems to have less balancing issues than League, and lets players choose between all of its champions (of which there are many) for absolutely nothing.


The only thing you'll ever pay anything for in this game are visual upgrades, but whether you pay $0 or $100, you'll still have loads of fun with this MOBA.


Linux might have a small market share, which it actually splits between many different flavors, but that hasn't stopped gamers from using it religiously and developers from creating games for it.


Here are the five best games that you can play on Linux without the help of WINE or a virtual machine.

Steam and GOG Both Giving Away Free Games This Weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/c0t5k/steam-and-gog-both-giving-away-free-games-this-weekend https://www.gameskinny.com/c0t5k/steam-and-gog-both-giving-away-free-games-this-weekend Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:02:39 -0400 Brian Crimmins

This weekend marks yet another Free Weekend on Steam. Valve has been doing these for a while, so what makes this particular weekend newsworthy? Scale. Usually, Steam makes a very small number of games free for its Free Weekends. From today until Sunday (10/16 - 10/19), the following ten games are free on Steam:

Also newsworthy is the timing. Earlier this week, GOG announced their own version of a free weekend. GOG is launching the beta for their multiplayer service, GOG Galaxy. To promote and test the service, GOG will be giving away Aliens Versus Predator Classic 2000 for free to those who sign up for Galaxy. This would currently be the only way for people to get the game.

A reaction to GOG Galaxy?

Taken together, we can guess why Steam chose this weekend for such a big free weekend. Until now, GOG and Steam have addressed different needs in the gaming community. While some of their libraries overlap, each generally serves their own purpose: Steam appeals to a general audience, while GOG caters to those who like older games. However, GOG Galaxy might cut into Steam's audience. The Free Weekend, although minor, might be a cutthroat way of pre-empting the impact Galaxy might have.

Pay What You Want: Bioshock, XCOM, and More in Humble 2K Bundle https://www.gameskinny.com/njh96/pay-what-you-want-bioshock-xcom-and-more-in-humble-2k-bundle https://www.gameskinny.com/njh96/pay-what-you-want-bioshock-xcom-and-more-in-humble-2k-bundle Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:02:17 -0400 Yasmin Curren

Is your bank account still crying out in pain from the Steam Summer Sale even though you're already craving new games? Have no fear, the Humble 2K Bundle has come to the rescue with one of Humble's most enticing game offers to date for pay-what-you-want.

Pay at least $1 and you'll recieve:

Pay over $7.39 for:

Finally, if you're feeling generous, pay over $20 for:

As always all of your money, be it $1 or $100, will be divided between the developer (2K), charities (American Red Cross and Action Against Hunger) and the humble tip jar under your choosing. Each of these games come with Steam-redeamable keys so don't worry, your achievements won't go unnoticed! 

I should probably add that Bioshock comes with a DRM-free version, so now you can kick back and enjoy Rapture in all its Splicer-filled glory without interruption! All of these games are available on Windows with a few available for Mac and Linux too. 

In my personal opinion bundles like this one don't come often, with such popular games being sold for the price of my daily coffee! I've always been intrigued by Darkness II, something about being able to ravage my enemies with supernatural Demon Arms really excites me... I'm already a massive Bioshock fan but there's no harm in having more than one copy right? If you already have it, you can gift it to a friend.

This bundle will be live until 22 July 2014 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Enjoy!

Old Franchises That Are Still Kicking https://www.gameskinny.com/otnvw/old-franchises-that-are-still-kicking https://www.gameskinny.com/otnvw/old-franchises-that-are-still-kicking Fri, 20 Jun 2014 14:26:20 -0400 Landon Sommer


I've never played this series, but it is instantly recognizable to nearly every gamer. The first game came out in 1987 and we have no less than fourteen direct titles in the series not to mention all the spin-off games such as Final Fantasy Tactics. Considering that the video game was considered the creators final attempt at making it a video game franchise, it turned out to be quite a success.


 What do you think? Are there franchises that should have lasted instead of these? Perhaps a classic that will never see an expansion "because of the market trends?"


The Elder Scrolls has seen plenty of change in each edition since 1994 and has been better for it every time. While Skyrim felt like a medieval Fallout 3, it still delivered the world in new and exciting ways. The series has come a long way since Arena and has led to Elder Scrolls Online getting plenty of attention.


The Total War franchise hasn't been around near as long as some of the others on this list, but it has delivered no less than nine titles and has done us the courtesy of revamping two titles, Shogun and Rome, with newer graphics and interface. Every Steam sale seems to offer up huge discounts on this franchise and it's worth it.


If you have never played before, ease yourself in with one title, before you spend loads on every last one. The interface from the original Rome and Medieval just doesn't age well compared to the improvements the series has seen. Expect to see these games to keep on for a long time, perhaps even compete with Civilization at some point for the title of best strategy game.


Possibly the greatest turn-based strategy game of all time, Civilization has expanded far beyond the V that was used on its last title. The game has been a constant success even after the creator, Sid Meier, moved it to his new company, Firaxis. Through that time the game spawned; Colonization, Alpha Centauri, Revolution, and the soon to be Beyond Earth. I expect to see versions of this game well past the age where I could even bother to play it anymore.


Heroes of Might and Magic is an excellent turn-based game that gave you control over magic-wielding heroes and the mystical creatures that would follow them. Each major hero type had its own special skill, like the necromancers bringing their dead back to life as skeleton soldiers.


The game could be infinitely re-playable. There were plenty of castle types to choose from and even more maps. The spells available added on another layer of variability.


Honestly, I still think about breaking this one out every once in a while. If only my computer knew how to run DOS. Fortunately, the newer versions still stay true to the original, almost to the point where it seems like you are playing the same game, just with newer graphics and some rules tweaks.


In 1981, Castle Wolfenstein first made an appearance playable on a Commodore 64, Apple II, and DOS. Wolfenstein has just seen it's newest incarnation just a short time ago with The New Order. If any game is to blame for immortalizing the idea that it's always okay to kill Nazis, this game is it. Thirty-three years later, it's still socially acceptable to kill Nazis in video games.


The Fallout franchise has been through a lot. Fallout dropped in 1997 and was voted best RPG of the year by the likes of GameSpot and Computer Gaming World. It frequently lands on lists for the "greatest games of all-time." It says something when the game survived the near death of its origin company to be resurrected by Bethesda. In 17 years, we are just now expecting a sixth incarnation of the game or seventh if you count the widely ignored Xbox version.


Let's face it, we have a few games hidden away, maybe still on diskettes that we love. Games that were awesome to us the first time and we still think about going back and playing one more time even though we know how bad they are compared to today's new standards. Thankfully, places like Steam and Good Old Games give us an opportunity to reach back to the earlier chapters of these franchises.


Are there franchises that should have lasted instead of these? Perhaps a classic that will never see an expansion "because of the market trends?"

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Complete Edition Detailed for PC https://www.gameskinny.com/k9zx6/xcom-enemy-unknown-complete-edition-detailed-for-pc https://www.gameskinny.com/k9zx6/xcom-enemy-unknown-complete-edition-detailed-for-pc Tue, 04 Feb 2014 11:47:34 -0500 Fathoms_4209

If you missed out on one of the most satisfying strategy experiences of the previous generation, we've got good news.

2K Games has announced an attractive, jam-packed new version of the critically acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's the Complete Edition and it's headed to PC on March 4th.

The publisher revealed the contents of this package to GameSpot:

  • The main game
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Elite Soldier Pack
  • Slingshot DLC
  • All Second Wave options

The reason why it's not coming to consoles is simple: This edition includes everything featured in the Commander Edition for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which is already available. PC gamers finally get a chance to have all the great content they've been missing!

If you're unfamiliar, Enemy Unknown was a well-received blend of strategy and action, which reminded me a little of Valkyria Chronicles (only with a sci-fi atmosphere). If you haven't tried it yet and this sounds like your cup of tea, give it a whirl.

Oh, and 2K Games also announced another new bundle: It's the Civilization V Complete Edition, which features the game, expansion packs Gods & Kings and Brave New World, as well as all add-on content released to date. Strategy lovers definitely have a few great options in the next month, don't they?

I wish I could be more enthusiastic. The only strategy I've ever liked is pure turn-based (ala Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea).