What's that lurking on my hard disk?
Every Christmas I take the opportunity to clean out my computer and get rid of all the accumulated review games of the past year. Of course I keep a place on my hard disk for the ones I still play, and it's here that I discovered something strange...
Although I am privileged to get copies of some of the most anticipated games of the year, it seems that some of my all time favorites are the ones from the bargain bin - or even out-and-out freebies. My wife speculates that it is my Scottish ancestry shining through, but I am not so sure.
Here is my list of games that prove big development budgets or big price tags don't necessarily mean a good game...
reviewed this early on in the year, and when I want a quick gaming fix it is still my go-to game. It's seen some content releases since the review (notably the release of the French Tanks), however the game still remains faithful to the concept of a first person shooter but in tanks.
The game relies on a freeconomy (yeah apparently this is the buzz word for these types of games) however the need to purchase better ammunition or experience credits to trick out your tank only kicks in after about tier 5 tanks. Me, I like to punt around in the lower grade battles (and not fork out real money) in my tricked out Russian boiler-plated tank, wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting. I'm not that good at it, but every game seems different and they are generally over in 6-8 minutes for me. Hoots mon! It's free, and you blow stuff up, so it has to be worth a bash.
ow I kicked the WoW addiction at the beginning of last year, however I still wanted an occasional fix of MMO-style play now and again. As mindless as the grind can be, if you are a long time player of the genre it can be quite relaxing. Forsaken Realms for me was a bit of a find.
A Perfect World title designed to appeal more to the Western culture, it has all that you would expect from an MMO fantasy title. The graphics are good, it packs in some solid quest lines, and has some interesting environments to explore. I guess I find it less stressful than some of the other titles and a good game to play when you just want to cruise.
cheap game that I picked up when on special, based on my earlier experiences with the first Sacred game. The best way to describe it is a sort of an outdoor Diabloesque game, with a huge amount of quests. There are some interesting concepts around character development and a huge array of items to loot or find.
I have yet to play the game right through to the end, however this is more a result of its size than anything else. I tend to have a heap of different character types on the go all at once and get bogged down with trying out different combinations and equipment. All in all, though, it's not too taxing on the brain and very easy on the eye with some good graphics.
It was released back in 2008, so you will be lucky to see it in shops these days but see it has made its way onto the Steam store (although, bizarrely, it's actually sold out there at the moment too).
have a lot of fond memories of this game series. If you have never come across the original classics UFO: Enemy Unknown and X-COM: Terror from the Deep, they were stunning turn-based strategy games that mixed strategy and small unit tactical combat.
Sadly, despite some brave efforts by the fans, neither game ever worked particularly well on later operating systems and - frankly - the graphics were quite dated. While there is - as seen in recent news - a complete remake of the first game in the works, I've found a way to play them now - sort of.
UFO Extraterrestrials Gold is like a poor mans remake - complete with updated graphics. At around $13.00 on Steam, it's a must-buy if you are into strategy games and can't wait for the new version (and have a wallet that rarely sees the light of day)
ere is a weird thing. A game that is very much a Diablo clone with a lot of depth, but done in a clever cartoon style. It's a blast to play. Strangely I have the Beta version of Diablo 3 but my fist choice if I'm looking for a bit of a dungeon crawl is Torchlight. Diablo 3 will need to be something special to blast this one off my list. Definitely a keeper for me.
Might & Magic clone, King's Bounty has a comprehensive set of quests and a great storyline - it's very easy to get into, and strangely addictive. There's nothing quite like laying waste to a peasant army with a unit of green dragons! Great graphics, with a chance to mess about on boats - or even plumb the depths of hell itself. It's a family favorite for us as it appeals to all ages. Not too taxing on the brain and just plain good entertainment. You can find this one, and it's sequels, on Steam.
So there you go, a bunch of games that have either lived a long time on my PC or have earned the "must keep" tag. Some of them are not what you call mainstream, but for me they are little gems that I can't bare to part with.
Outside of the big-named titles, what are the games you keep going back too? What are the obscure gems you have found that you can no longer part with? Whats your cheap thrill? Let us - and everyone else - know by posting in the comments; who knows, you might help someone find their new favorite game!