Perhaps I Need To Give Metro 2033 Another LookBest Video Games Of The Year lists are good for fomenting argument. But maybe they can also give an overlooked game another chance for attention. Here's one man sticking up for Metro 2033, and sticking up for it... interestingly.

Amid the Red Dead Redemption talk and Call of Duty conversation over at Slate.com's Gaming Club (I used to be a member, sob), here is writer Tom Bissell giving love to a game I ignored all year:

What I love about Metro 2033 is that it takes the power fantasy tropes of the first-person shooter and effectively Russianizes them. In Western shooters, typically, you progress through the game, unlocking deadlier and more accurate weapons and cooler and ever-more-neato technology. Metro 2033 says, To hell with all that. Your sniper rifle is pneumatic. You actually have to pump the thing up manually before firing it. Your bullets suck. Really good bullets are the gameworld's only currency; they're literally what you use to buy stuff. This means that, when you switch to the good bullets to fight, you're losing money. Ammunition's expensive in real life, of course, and this was the first shooter I've seen that tries to explore that fact. Also, you've got a miner's light on your helmet for use in the gameworld's underground Metros (where most of the action takes place), but the battery sucks, and it's constantly running out of juice, and, yet again, you have to manually pump a hand-held generator to brighten up the light again. This is a shooter imagined by the heirs of a resource-scarce culture, and as such it's a culturally revelatory experience. Metro blew me away.

I notice he's not saying the game is fun. Let us nevertheless all at least think about playing this game again, or, perhaps, for the first time.

The Gaming Club [Slate.com]

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

This week in the US Direct2Drive is offering sales on some of Atari's best games, including 75% off Kings Bounty and the superb Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. Meanwhile today's Games for Windows Marketplace deal is selling STALKER for 99 cents. Read on for details.

Here's a round up of the Atari deals that will be happening on Direct to Drive in the US this week.

Now - Star Trek Online, 50% off, $9.95
Later today - Test Drive Unlimited, 50% off, $9.95
Wednesday - Haunted House, 75% off, $4.95
Thursday - King's Bounty, 75% off, $7.50
Friday - The Chronicles of Riddick Assault on Dark Athena, 75% off, $9,95

Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena comes bundled with the superior Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Both offer plenty of well crafted action for budget price. The magical turn based kingdom builder, King's Bounty, is both a remake of the ancient predecessor to the classic Heroes of Might and Magic games, and a spiritual successor at the same time, spicing up the well worn old formula with a crazy sense of humour and a proper story.

On Games for Windows Marketplace the original STALKER: Shadow of Chenobryl is on sale for today only at the ridiculous price of 99 cents / 75p. Moody survival horror doesn't get much better than STALKER's post apocalyptic landscapes, and where the game once had a reputation for being one of the buggiest games around, a wealth of patches and an incredible modding scene have transformed it into a classic. At 99 cents, it's probably worth a look.

Shacknews - Xav de Matos
One of my favorite PC games could make its way to your gaming collection, if you're willing to part with a crisp George Washington. As today's Games for Windows "Daily Deal," the GSC Game World-developed shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl is available for 99 cents (or 80MS Points).

If you're planning on picking the game up--or own it and haven't fired it up in a while--make sure to download the "Complete" mod, which adds a slew of enhancements to the game. The latest S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Complete 2009 mod kit is available right now, for free, on FileShack.

The Games for Windows marketplace is offering a new title for 99 cents each day until December 8. Previously the sale featured Viva Pinata and Deus Ex, among others.

More post-nuclear fallout action is planned for the far-flung future, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 planned for release in 2012. The series' most recent entry, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, launched earlier this year.

Read More

PC Gamer

The new general units for each race in Dawn of War 2: Retribution's single player campaigns will also feature in multiplayer mode. Relic have revealed some of the special abilities that will be available to the Tyranid Swarmlord and the Eldar Autarch.

Tyranid Swarmlord

Once you've upgraded your base to tier 3 you'll be able to deploy a Tyranid Swarmlord to the battlefield. In single player the Swarmlord has a direct connection to the Hive Mind, and is responsible for gathering Tyranids together to spawn an army. In multiplayer the Swarmlord won't be able to spawn troops personally, but units near him will move faster, and fallen allies can be reinforced without having to flee back to base. In addition the Swarmlord's four bone sabers make him devastating in close combat.

Leech Essence
The Swarmlord drains the life from surrounding infantry units for a duration which increases his health regeneration.

Blade Flurry
Unleashes the full strength of the Swarmlord, heavily damaging and knocking back adjacent infantry.
Eldar Autarch

Unlike the Swarmlord, Eldar players won't be able to train and deploy the Autarch from base as with ordinary units. Instead the Autarch takes the form of a special ability that can be activated once enough kills have been made. Upon activating the Autarch the play gets to hand place the landing points for a volley of grenades. Once triggered the grenades will be called in from the sky, once they've gone off, the Autarch crash lands to clean up the aftermath. Once the Autarch's work is done, she vanishes from the battlefield, ready to be called upon again at a reduced cost.

Fleet of Foot
Greatly increases the unit’s speed but reduces the Autarch’s damage output for the duration of the ability.

Soar through the air and land at the targeted location. Upon landing the Autarch increases the speed, damage, health and of nearby infantry units.

There's more information about the different units that will be available in Dawn of War 2: Retribution on Relic's Dawn of War blog. If you're interested in exactly how the Swarmlord will work in the single player campaigns, check out our preview of the Tyranid campaign.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

GSC have launched a competition asking entrants to design their own mission for STALKER 2. The best entries will be forwarded to the game's lead developers, and might even make it into the full game as a playable mission.

The competition is being run from the STALKER Facebook page, and asks participants to send in a description of the mission in a standard font, in less than half a page of A4. Here's what they're after, and what you stand to win:

Each entry must contain:

Quest name and description;
Mission details (what happened, what needs to be done);

"Contest benefits: The names of the contest winners will be included in the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-2 credits. The best ideas from the contest may be implemented in the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game. This said, the developers retain the right to change the quest looks or implementation, while preserving the key author's idea."

There's a short list of rules on the Facebook page, asking players not to submit entries that "have nothing to do with the subject matter" and are "obviously impossible to implement", which quickly put pay to my "radioactive power plant that hides secret T-Rex" idea. In bonus bizzaro news, it looks as though GSC want to expand beyond their recently teased TV show, and break into fashion, with this clothing line. Is post apocalyptic chic the next big thing?


A Sudden New Appreciation For Metro 2033 A pair of models show off the sexier side to Metro 2033 at the World Exhibition Centre in Moscow during Game World 2010 earlier this month, as seen at English Russia.

Gameface is a photographic celebration of the people who make, play and love video games.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

The grim survival horror series, STALKER is getting its very own TV series. It's set in the Zone, and will feature many of the things that made STALKER great, like dark radioactive tunnels, deadly anomolies, and lots of angry men shouting at each other in Russian. You'll find the trailer embedded below.

The game was based on an Andrei Tarkovsky film, in turn based on an Arkady Strugatsky novel called Roadside Picnic, which makes this a TV show of a game of a film of a book. There aren't many mediums left for STALKER to conquer, but an opera set in the Zone seems like an obvious next step. For more information and a few images from the set, the STALKER teaser site is live. Meanwhile, here's the trailer.


Darksiders 2 Won't Tell A War StoryFans of the apocalyptic action-adventure Darksiders better get ready for a new hero to take the reins in the game's sequel, because it appears War will be taking a back seat next time.

According to a report from IGN, THQ core games guy Danny Bilson says that Darksiders 2, which is due sometime in 2012, will actually be set during the same time period as the original game and for a very good reason.

"It's a different character and takes place simultaneously to the [first game's] story," Bilson said at the IGDA Leadership Forum, "because there's only one apocalypse, and has new mechanics and features that differentiate it a lot and grow it from the first game."

While we dinged the first Darksiders for being a little too much like The Legend of Zelda, the sequel is said by its creators to be more along the lines of Darksiders. Can't wait to see how they pull that off.

Early Darksiders 2 Details [IGN]


The World May End Before We Get Darksiders 2Apocalypse simulator Darksiders was released in January 2010. The action/RPG game will be getting a sequel, but we hope you're willing to wait, because it might not be here until 2013.

Brian Farrell, CEO of the game's publisher THQ, said this morning during an earnings call that the sequel to one of 2010's sleeper hits (who could have guessed grown men would love a Zelda game that looks like World of Warcraft!) would be out in fiscal year 2013, which for THQ runs from April 2012 to March 2013. Even the best-case scenario of April 2012 is still a long way away.

Considering the first Darksiders was supposed to be out in 2009, that's a long wait for a sequel. Makes you wonder whether the game's relative success caught THQ off-guard, the publisher not originally planning to turn the thing into a series and having to get the ball rolling on a second game only after the first one hit shelves.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Valve
Updates to Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War II®have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The specific changes include:

Balance Changes
Plaguemarine Champion
- Breath of Nurgle heal increased from 140 to 190 for the Plaguemarine Champion and 45 to 55 for nearby allies
Chaos Lord
- Blood sacrifice duration increased from 10s to 25s
Chaos Predator Tank
- Speed increased from 5.7 to 6.0

Space Marines
Predator Tank
- Speed increased from 5.7 to 6.0

- Shuriken cannon upgrade cost lowered from 100/40 to 100/25
- Brightlance upgrade damage increased from 60 to 80
Fire Prism
- Speed increased from 5.0 to 5.5

Kommando Nob
- Extra equipment health regeneration rate increase lowered from 0.5 to 0.3
- Waaagh! banner cost increased from 75 to 75/10
- Big Shoota damage decreased from 37 to 33
- Shoota Nob shoota damage increased from 36 to 40
Looted Tank
- Speed increased from 5.5 to 6
- Nobs are no longer immune to knockback under the effect of Frenzy
- Frenzy cost increased from 50 to 75 Waaagh!

- Damage increased from 60 to 75
- Blast radius damage modifier increased from 0.4 to 0.6 at the edge of the radius

Bug Fixes
- Fixed several issues where units would wind up in a stance inappropriate to their current weapon
- Fixed an issue that would cause commanders to get stuck in retreat mode while at their base
- Fixed an issue that would require the Ork Mekboy to setup before teleporting when he was equipped with a beamy Deffgun or a Dakka Dakka Dakka
- Fixed an issue that caused units to stop displaying their energy bars after being upgraded with a sergeant
- Fixed several issues that would prevent units from cancelling the setup process

- Now saving rank and Last Stand data to the Steam cloud

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