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I ve never seen anything quite as Warhammer 40k as the fire that rains from the sky when Relic s representative calls in orbital bombardment on an Eldar army. It s like the finger of an extremely angry god, a column of flame that can be dragged around the planet surface, disintegrating any unit that it touches. Eldar become brittle silhouettes, elevated by the white heat for a moment as if undergoing a warped Ascension, and then they crumble to ash. This is Dawn of War III [official site] and it’s hideous, awesome and garish.
Hello there. This week, I’m writing not just as an RPG columnist, but as president of the newly formed League Of Folks Who Don’t Really Play MOBAs But Are Bizarrely Hooked On All The Trappings. As far as I can tell, our membership is roughly a billion people and counting. That’s what happens when the likes of Blizzard and Riot spend literally tens> of dollars creating gorgeous videos to promote their worlds, yes, but it goes somewhat deeper than that. Have you ever watched a new character reveal for a game you know you’re never going to play? Then the sickness might have spread.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Saints Row 2 is my favourite of the series for sandbox crimes, and obviously Saints Row IV is the best superhero game ever made, but what about Saints Row: The Third [official site] there in the middle? Well, it suffers in comparison to either, but there are worse things to be than the third-best game in a cracker of a series.
Opinion is divided over the Darksiders games. There are those who wrongly don’t like them, while far better looking people recognise what a tip-top third-person action-adventure biff-me-do they truly are. And right now they’re 90% off on Steam. I’m not usually one to make a post because a single game is having a sale, but bloody hell, 4.50 for both of them?!
While talk of Dawn of War 3 remains but a murmur for now, the Necron will soon invade Dawn of War II – Retribution [official site]. A Necron Overlord will join Retribution’s co-op survival mode, The Last Stand, in celebration of the Retribution’s fifth birthday – the eighth playable character in its roster. As a present, you can get your hands on the new star free-of-charge between March 10 and March 15.
1) Passivity makes me fidgety. Even in a film, TV show, gig or novel I’m hugely enjoying, my mind will at some point drift to the clock, wondering how soon until it ends, how soon until I can stand up or talk or check something or eat something or go somewhere. Awful, I know. Games, broadly, need me to be doing something most of the time, and that is the greatest weapon I have against a propensity to boredom that I am not at all proud of. This is also why I start to go spare in something like StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, as it spends so much of its duration pummelling me with particularly low-grade passive storytelling, and my frustration that I have to watch this nonsense instead of do things for myself goes through the roof.
Back in 2010, when it was first announced, I was as excited about Grim Dawn [official site] as I was about any other game in production. It’s the work of Crate Entertainment, a studio made up of Iron Lore Entertainment veterans, and Iron Lore were the team behind one of my favourite ARPGs, Titan Quest. When the other kids were slaying demons in Blizzaro-Land, I was carving a path through myth and legend. Despite Grim Dawn’s availability in alpha form for some time now, I still haven’t played. The latest release, which adds a deity Devotion system and the first part of the final act, is awfully tempting though.
Can even the Four Horsemen survive an apocalyptic event? Nordic Games hope so. When THQ went down in flames, Nordic bought up Darksiders – but not its creators, Vigil Games – and (naturally) declared that the hack ‘n’ slash action-RPG was not dead. While some assumed this would mean a Darksiders III, Nordic were a little vague, and the first we saw of DS again was the revamped Deathinitive Edition of Darksiders II – which hit PC last week. Worry not, they do indeed want to make a third game, and hope this re-release will help them with that.
Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.
I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.