Tag Archives: warcraft

2019 in Games

A quick glance over the 2018 post shows an almost complete failure to stick to the plan. I’ll just have a quick review of the few I did play from the list, then come up with a new list for 2019. I’m going to roll some forward, but still give it a refresh.


Played in 2018

1. Gears of War 4 – Xbox One

I think I’m slightly less than half way through this now, playing in co-op with my usual Gears & Halo buddy. Pretty sure we’ll wrap it up in 2019, and hopefully make a start on something else. Maybe Halo 3.

2. Skies of Arcadia Legends – Game Cube

I made a start on this, but wasn’t really in the mood. I’ve dropped it back into the ‘one day’ pile, and will consider it again at some point when I’m in the mood for an epic JRPG.

3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – PS4

Hurrah, a game from the list I played and completed during 2018! Loved it too. I think the next game, Wolfenstein: Young Blood, has the potential to be really good too, but I don’t expect I’ll get to it this year.


10 games for 2019

1. Super Metroid – Wii / SNES

One I’ve rolled forwards from last year. I think it was a bit soon after finishing Axiom Verge (and playing so much Castlevania for the podcast) to play this last year, but I think we’re getting there.

2. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – PC

Another one carried over from 2018’s list. I know I’ll be hooked once I make a start but I just need to be in the mood for an RTS. I did already buy the remastered original game though, so I’ve got that to look forward to as well at some point.

3. Riven – Saturn

I scrapped this from a previous list due to difficulties getting it to run well on PC. All the MYST games have recently been re-released digitally, and may well now run much smoother. However, I picked up a mouse for my Saturn last year, so I have scraped Myst III from the list for now, and reinstated the Saturn version of Riven. Excellent.

4. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow – GBA

Enough time has passed since the Castlevania episode, I think I’ll get to this soon. Good to have a handheld title on the list too.

5. Fable Anniversary

Picked this up a while ago and keep forgetting I’ve got it. I loved the second and third games but have somehow never played the original. This may be the year I sort that out!

6. Indigo Prophecy: Fahrenheit – PS4

Really intended to get to this last year, having bought the same game repeatedly and never played it.

7. Marvel’s Spider-man – PS4

The only game on my list that I don’t own already, I plan to buy this once I finish God of War. Hopefully won’t be too much longer on that. Comparisons between this Spider-man game and the Batman Arkham games are reassuring.

8. Quantum Break – Xbox One

Also from last year, I’m still looking forward to playing this.

9. The Last Express – PC

Last one on the list that I’ve brought with me from last year. Gotta have a train game!

10. The Witcher 3: Game of the Year – Xbox One

Only just picked this up during December. Not sure if I’ll take to it, but I plan on at least giving it a go during 2019.


2019 releases I’m looking forward too

This section was a bit of a washout last year, with only the Street Fighter Anniversary collection really catching my attention. Metro Exodus should be out in 2019 though, so I’ve kept it on the list for this year. Given the demise of Telltale, it’s unlikely Wolf Among Us 2 will ever appear.

1. Metro Exodus – PS4

I’m still worried that a shift to open world may ruin the tight experiences of the first two games, but I really like this world so I’m trying to be optimistic. Will keep an eye on the reviews before picking it up though.

2. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – PS4

I’m all in for this spiritual Castlevania sequel, hoping it lives up to the promise.

3. Doom Eternal – PS4

The previous game was a masterpiece, really looking forward to more of the same. Early footage has been promising.

4. Warcraft III: Reforged – PC

As you may imagine from my All-Time Top 5 RTS Games post, I’m pretty excited for this. I’m hoping to replay the full campaign again, and with a bit of luck, maybe play some multiplayer too.

5. Animal Crossing – Switch

Yeah I know. If one game can sell me a new Nintendo system though it’s a proper Animal Crossing game. Will see how the game looks when it comes out, but this is probably the only thing that could sell me a Switch at this point.

All-Time Top 5 Real Time Strategy (RTS) Games

Before I’d even had chance to finish my Top 5 Fighting games ; @swooper_d had managed to convince me I needed to do this list too. Depending on the kind of RTS games you’re used to, there are going to be plenty of notable absences here. My Top 5 are all of the ‘build base, smash opponent variety’ because that’s what I like.

The Top 5 are also all PC games, which is pretty much the only acceptable place to play RTS games, with a notable exception picked up in the ‘honourable mentions’ at the end.


5) Age of Empires 2

War Elephants. I had so much fun playing Age of Empires 2 online with friends, and most of that fun involved being Persia and creating War Elephants. Not sure I ever won any matches, but it was a great time. It got a bit of a ‘HD’ re-release on Steam a little while back. I almost convinced a few people to play but they took one look at the dated interface and gave up!

4) Red Alert 3

Possibly the most “over the top” of the series, I just find this game highly amusing to play. It doesn’t quite recapture the joy of the original Red Alert, but it holds up much better to play now. The presentation, audio and cut scenes are all so very slick and it has a great campaign for co-operative play with a buddy. Now my favourite Command & Conquer game.

3) StarCraft 2

I was late to the StarCraft party, never really played the original game outside of a few skirmishes, and at the time it felt very similar to a game I was also dabbling with, Dark Reign. StarCraft 2 though, came along when the RTS scene had become a bit stale. This game is stunning, and although I’ve barely touched the multiplayer (mostly out of fear) the single player campaign and story is superb.

2) Total Annihilation

The most satisying in scale RTS game I have ever played, battles on Total Annihilation always felt epic. Right down to having in game maps that were so big you needed 128mb of RAM (imagine it) just to play them. The scale was spiritually superceeded by the Supreme Commander and Plantetary Annihilation games, but none have really recaptured the actual fun of the original. I should also shout out the PC Zone cover discs that used to include user created content for games at the time. (Wasn’t quite so easy to just grab such things from the internet back then.) Extra maps and units for Total Annihilation were regular features and greatly added to the enjoyment of the game.

1) WarCraft 3

No surprise if you’ve read my top 5 games of all time post, but WarCraft 3 remains my favourite ever RTS. As per my original post, this is still the only RTS game where I completed the whole campaign. I even managed to complete the campaign from the expansion, The Frozen Throne. I’m now two thirds through StarCraft 2 though so as soon as I settle down to play Legacy of the Void, I’ll have managed to finish two, like some kind of superhuman. WarCraft 3 is both my favourite multiplayer RTS as well as my favourite campaign, and yes also responsible for the many years of my life that went into World of Warcraft. I patiently await a true WarCraft 4.


Honourable Mentions and also-rans:

Command & Conquer: Red Alert – PS1 & PC

The first RTS that made me really pay attention. The original Command & Conquer never really grabbed me in the same way as Red Alert did. Thankfully a Playstation mouse made the console version viable and with the use of a link cable many head to head skirmishes took place on there. It was still best on PC though, and I had many a late night playing 3 player LAN games.

Dawn of War II

While I definitely had fun playing co-op Dawn of War 2, the lack of base-building was a real disappointment for me. The small numbers of units were a bit underwhelming too. I think I would have got more out of it if I cared for the licence, but one space marine is much the same as another…

Empire Earth

Making up in scale what it lacked in polish, Empire Earth was an entertaining idea. With battles spanning 500,000 years, the battles were all about the arms race and choosing the right time to attack. Make a mistake and you could be sending your men armed with bow & arrows to fight robots with laser guns. The game was otherwise pretty clunky, and the sequels didn’t quite manage to become essential, but at it’s core this is a great RTS for a battle with friends.

Age of Mythology

I really loved the theme for this, and after playing so much Age of Empires 2 I thought it would be the new go-to. None of my AoE 2 friends picked it up though, and I bounced off the single player campaign. Oh what could have been… As with AoE 2 I have picked up the HD re-release on Steam, so maybe it’ll still get some love one day.

Total Annihilation: Kingdoms

Much like Age of Mythology, I was really looking forward to a follow up for Total Annihilation. However this came out, and I just couldn’t get on with it. No one else I knew bought it either, so it was forgotten.

Halo Wars

The premise of this really appealed to me, but I had no desire to play on console when it came out on Xbox 360. I did have some joy playing Command & Conquer 3 on there, but soon gave way to frustration a few missions in when you needed to do anything even slightly fiddly. However, as Halo Wars and it’s sequel are now available on Xbox One with “Play Anywhere” I intend to pick them up at some point to play on PC, properly.

Top 5 games 2016

Now seems as good a time as any to do a round up of the gaming year, and squeeze one more blog post into 2016.  Here we go for my Top 5 games of the year.  As usual its reverse order and I’ll throw a couple of ‘almost made it’ titles on at the end.

5) Doom

Surprisingly not the only first person shooter in the list, but the Doom reboot is superb.  Manages to play like all the great 90s FPS titles and not feel dated.  It’s brutal, but the campaign is a joy.  I haven’t touched the multiplayer, so can’t comment on that, but if you’re looking for a good single player shooter, definitely give it a go.  (I do find it interesting that some of the best single player shooters in recent years have been remakes of Wolfenstein, Doom and Shadow Warrior… maybe the sky isn’t falling?)

4) Forza Horizon 3

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that this title alone managed to shift a few Xbox One consoles. Most of what I said about Forza Horizon 2 in my 10 reasons I own an Xbox One post still applies here, but even more so.  It’s gorgeous to look at and a joy to play.  I’m still assured that the first game in the series is the best one, but until I get chance to go back and play it properly myself, I’m happy to state that Forza Horizon 3 is one of the best racing games I’ve ever played, and easily the first title I’d recommend to someone looking for a current generation racer.

3) World of Warcraft Legion

Although not so much a game as an expansion pack, I’ve played plenty of games with less content than this expansion.  This made my list this year as it has been my favourite expansion so far, with only Wrath of the Lich King coming close, and with Legion, World of Warcraft is the best it’s ever been.  (Yes I played Vanilla WoW too, shut up.)

2) Life is Strange

This is also a sort of cheat, as the individual episodes came out in 2015.  However, it got released as a complete retail edition in January this year and I didn’t play it till after that, so I’m including it anyway.  I loved Life is Strange, and am eagerly looking forward to the sequel.  It’s the best single player game I’ve played this year, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story (and great soundtrack) to their games. It’s also the best ‘Telltale’ style game I’ve played, which seems to have kind of spoiled me for their stuff, oops.

1) Overwatch 

Think this is top of a lot of people’s lists this year, and not without good reason. It’s just so much fun! My love for Blizzard is well known, and Overwatch just shows that they can just as easily turn their brand of developer magic to fresh new I.P. It looks lovely, the voice acting and sound design are excellent and it has entirely reawakened my love for multiplayer FPS in a time when Call of Duty and friends had pretty much run it into the ground.

The only criticism I have for Overwatch at all, is simply that I don’t manage to play as much as I’d like, so I’m not getting better.

Other mentions:

Worms WMD: This was really close to making the list, the best worms game since Armageddon and a complete return to form. Still hilarious, and still only has Bomberman as competition for best local multiplayer game.  (Mario Kart lingers in third place for me, looking nervously at Overcooked)

Street Fighter V: Before it came out, I really expected this to make the list. Where it counts, SFV is a fantastic game. Within the fights themselves, SFV is the best 1v1 I’ve ever played. It’s an absolute joy and I play with my buddy (and long term Street Fighter nemesis, the Ryu to my Ken) whenever we get chance . However, the shortage of single player content has been widely reported, and although we were happy with the streamlined package, the knock on effect in terms of sales have decimated the online scene.  Street Fighter IV was wildly popular, and as such it was quick to get a game online and there were plenty of opponents at all levels for matchmaking.  The limited sales of SFV however mean that it takes ages to get a game, and the only players to match with are the real hardcore, and it’s difficult to have fun if you can’t get evenly matched. Disappointing. If more of my friends would get Xbox Ones, I think I’d move over entirely to Killer Instinct.

 

 

All-time Top 5 Videogames

Hot on the heels of (13 months later than) my Top 5 Christmas songs, I’ve decided this format is a useful tool for inspiring blog posts.  This is still influenced by High Fidelity, but also because my friend Simon over at Red Parsley does it so well.

Maybe writing about my top 5 games of all time might give me pause to consider that I have the list right.  I’ll add a few ‘also rans’ to the end for those that either nearly made the list, or that may have been on there in the past.

In reverse order:

Number 5 – Saturn Bomberman – SEGA Saturn 1996

Bomberman is one of my favourite game series, and still my favourite local multi-player title.  I’ve been playing it since Dyna Blaster, and there have been some stand out titles along the way.  (Also plenty of dross spin-offs, but we’ll skip over them)  The Saturn edition is my favourite, partly because it’s on my favourite system of all time (oooh, I can feel another list coming on) but also because 10 player bomberman on a widescreen is still a thing of beauty, and a highlight of retro events for me.  I also enjoyed the single player campaign on this one, which I wouldn’t usually bother with.  Other releases in the series that I’ve really enjoyed are:

Bomberman Live: (This was Xbox 360, but essentially the same game came to Wii and PS3, I bought all 3 versions to play with different groups of friends online).  I adored it on the 360 and played it constantly.  Sadly my friends gradually stopped playing with me, apparently I’m a Bomberbully. 🙁

Wario Blast: One of my favourite games for the original Gameboy, and one of few I still own.  I remember playing through this in co-op with my best mate in high school on his Super Gameboy.  Perhaps that SNES had a use afterall… *chuckle*

Atomic Bomberman: Difficult to defend generally, I nonetheless had a lot of fun with this.  Supporting 10 players, I played a bunch of it online on PC way before the Xbox 360 was on the scene.  It also helped that I grabbed the ‘Sold Out Software’ release, for full RRP, £4.99.

The PSX, Mega Drive and PC Engine also have solid versions I would happily recommend. 

 

Number 4 – Warcraft 3 – PC 2002

My favourite ever RTS, and the reason I ended up losing thousands of hours to World of Warcraft…  Real Time Strategy is that one genre I like the idea of much more than the reality.  I think Warcraft 3 remains as the only RTS I completed the entire story mode for, and all the content from the expansion.  It’s also the only one I ever managed to win any games online against randoms (although probably still less than 1 in 10…)  I keep it installed now, and still fire up the occasional skirmish.

It’s all your fault, WC3!

Number 3 – Bubble Bobble – SEGA Master System 1991

There is admittedly a certain amount of sentimentality to this for me, but the game still holds up today and deserves its place here.  These days I play it on the SEGA Saturn double release with Rainbow Islands, but first time round this was a regular on my Master System (arguably the best home port of the game ever) I played it in co-op with one of my sisters, and it is a favourite gaming memory.  If I ever do a top 5 local co-op games list, I’m pretty sure this will be number 1.  Interestingly the ‘Match 3’ spin-off series Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble is my favourite game in that genre too, and I played a lot of that with the same sister when I first got my Saturn.  From a nostalgia point of view, Toejam & Earl holds a similar place in my heart to Bubble Bobble, as that was our game on the Mega Drive, but it doesn’t play quite so well today.

 

Number 2 – Quake – PC 1996

This was the game that made me really pay attention to the FPS genre.  One of my biggest (my views on Nintendo aside) ‘gamer crimes’ is not really liking Doom.  I just never really caught the hype, and although I had quite a bit of fun with Heretic, I didn’t really ‘get it’ until Quake came, and things were really 3D for the first time.  It also helped that I experienced DosQuake, then WinQuake, then GLQuake over a short period of time, each one blowing my mind afresh.  It was seriously close to taking my number one spot, and I replay at least the first few levels frequently (albeit with a nice new modern engine).  The single player game is glorious and the theme had me hooked.

The multi-player introduced me to deathmatches and led to those weekends of carrying your whole PC to a friend’s house for LAN parties.  It sparked a love affair with FPS multi-player which lasted a solid decade for me, and peaked with Q3A and UT99.  There have been great games since, but those are always the experiences I’m chasing when I play online now.

 

Number 1 and the greatest game of All-time! – TxK – 2014

Up until the release of TxK, this spot was occupied by Tempest 2000 on the Jaguar.  My views on Tempest 2000 can be applied to TxK pretty much as a copy & paste and still fit exactly.

TxK for me is the perfect game.  The visuals, sounds and gameplay all suit my tastes, and when I play it is gaming enjoyment at its finest.  This game alone would be enough to keep my Vita secure in its place as my favourite ever handheld (uh-oh…).  I also really love Space Giraffe (the game that caused me to buy an Xbox 360).

If you get the chance, Llamasoft attend a lot of games shows across the UK, and frequently have a version of TxK running on VR hardware with a custom built rotary controller.  This is the best way to experience the game, and I really wish it was in my house.

 

I could have been a contender…

These games almost made my list, and if I make top 5 lists based on platform or genre, I’d expect to see them there.

From the Master System: Fantasy Zone and Alex Kidd in Miracle World.  Both games massively sentimental for me, bathed in nostalgia.  I grew up with four older sisters who owned various micro computers.  My first gaming experiences were on the Texas Ti99, Commodore 16+4, Rubber-keyed speccy, but the first machine that was MINE was my Master System 2.  It had Alex Kidd built in, and it’ll forever be in my heart.  Fantasy Zone was probably bettered by its sequels, but the original still holds up.

Representing Nintendo (because I’m not a monster): Animal Crossing and Mario Kart.  These two series are generally the reason I buy Nintendo hardware.  Animal Crossing on the 3DS is probably my favourite, and Mario Kart Wii was stand-out because of how much I played it online.  Mario Kart DS at the height of the console’s popularity was sublime though, at one point I was playing this daily with 4 other people during lunchtime at work, including my boss.

Honourable mention: Myst – This was bundled with our first Windows 95 PC, a delightful P75 Compaq Presario.  It was SO pretty, and the music and sound fx were spot on.  I have been replaying it as ‘Real Myst’ on Steam recently, it gets a lot of grief, but it’s one of the best adventure games I’ve ever played, and one of the most atmospheric games of any genre.  (Also read the books, they’re excellent.)