The games that we play (Part 1)
Looking for engaging
ways to see you through the dark wintry nights, or for a suitable games title
to bestow on a relative? PC Advisor’s GamePro colleagues offer their expertise
Whether you play on a PC, console, and smartphone or online,
gaming is increasingly popular. Thousands of titles launch each year, but not
all are destined to become classics. Similarly, not all graduate from one
platform to become firm favourites across all. In fact, some become emblems of
the particular gaming platform on which they run: Super Mario and Nintendo are
inextricably linked, even though iPhone and Android versions now exist.
If you’re buying a game for a dedicated games console, you can be
sure that the hardware is up to the job. With a PC game, that’s not necessarily
the case. Ultraportable and low-end laptops tend to run integrated graphics,
which are no good for playing the latest or most intensive games. However, even
budget desktop PCs are these days supplied with a dedicated graphics card and
at least 512MB of video RAM. Such machines are capable of playing all but the
most demanding of games, provided that you reduce the resolution a notch in
order to endure a smoother ride.
Over the following pages, we look at some of the very best games
titles for PC, Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation 3.
20 best PC games
PC has an extensive variety of terrific games, from massively multiplayer
online titles (MMOGs) to first-person shooters. The following games are all
deserving of a place in your games library.
The free-to-play Alien Swarm is a top-down shooter in which you
work with up to three other people to enter off-world colonies, cleanse them of
alien intruders and rescue their human inhabitants. With customisable weapons
and many items to find, Alien Swarm is a fun, old-school arcade blaster that
offers the additional benefit of running well on older computers. If you have
even the slightest interest in blowing away teeming hordes of aliens with a few
mates, you really have no reason not to play it.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Set in a haunted mansion, Amnesia is a single-player first-person
adventure that focuses on exploration. Staying alive and keeping your sanity is
the objective in this fright-test, which requires both puzzle solving and
sneaking around, avoiding confrontation with the deadly denizens. You’re
defenceless in a house full of monsters of which you almost never catch more
than a glimpse. With gory graphics and top-notch, atmospheric sound, this game
is one of the finest interactive horror experiences money can buy.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
The third Assassin’s Creed game, Brotherhood is set in Rome in
probably the deepest and most visually rich setting in the series so far. A
novel multiplayer mode pits players against one another: each receives a
contract on another player and must ferret out their quarry from the crowd
while trying to conceal their own identity from whoever is stalking them. The
plot might leave a few too many of the franchise’s mysteries unsolved but, as
far as gameplay goes, this assassin hits his mark.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
The Caped Crusader has a chequered past when it comes to video
games, but Arkham Asylum isn’t just one of the best Batman games, it’s one of
the best games of the past five years. The action is stealth-based:
Batman must sneak around, using his gadgets and his fists to get
the drop on foes. Featuring fluid combat that incorporates a large repertoire
of moves, and offering gameplay that favours lateral thinking over simple
twitch reactions, Arkham Asylum is a mature title that is rewarding and
The Battlefield series of military first-person shooters is well
regarded for its fun, intense multiplayer mode. Bad Company 2 includes unique
and varied situations and objectives, requiring players to contend with
challenges such as timing sniper shots to coincide with thunderclaps to mask
detection, or strategically placing explosions to collapse a building on
enemies. The squad-based online multiplayer mode is a great bonus.
Simple in concept but fiendishly addictive, the Bejeweled series
is a hugely successful puzzle-gaming franchise that has sold more than 75
million copies worldwide. Bejeweled 3 doesn’t mess with the colour-matching
formula, instead adding eight different game modes, a quest mode among them.
Not every one of the additions is a hit, but most introduce new goals and
mechanics that are just as captivating as the original title.
Set in a world torn apart by vicious monsters and sadistic
bandits, Borderlands is a first- person sci-fi shooter that blends action with
role-playing-style character development (you improve your skills based on the
experience you earn from completing quests and slaying baddies). With four
charctrs that you can tailor to suit your playing style, and millions of
weapons and tons of loot to discover as you traipse across the wasteland (or
tool around in weapon-bearing dune buggies). Borderlands is huge fun and
wonderful to look at.
Notorious for its foul-mouthed dialogue and cartoonish
ultra-violence, Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter that’s formulaic at its
heart. However, its terrific visuals and insane action take things to a whole
new level. The game rewards you for pulling off stylish kills, which is
satisfyingly easy thanks to the array of crazy weaponry you get. Definitely not
a game for children, Bulletstorm sets a new high (or low, depending on your
viewpoint) for over-the-top action.