PC Gaming

Dragon Age: Origins The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC: PC/XBOX360 Game Review

I have already detailed my feelings about the epic role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins, stating in my review that “not only do I love nearly every aspect of the game, I also love how after finishing it a couple of times I am thoroughly enjoying a new play-through as I contemplate my actions and consequences from the prior runs.” After such praise, it is a pretty easy guess that I am a lock to get any and all new content for the game. There have already been several add-ons released, from the initial Return to Ostagar DLC to the much…


Greed – Black Border PC Game Review

Game reviewers play so many games across various platforms and genres that it is often easy to forget one important detail – we all got started with a love of games and a passion stoked by games we loved playing to the point that we began sharing our thoughts with others in written form. So when the sci-fi shooter action-RPG Greed – Black Border came along, it was right up my alley as a PC shooter and RPG fan … so I had already pre-ordered it even before the review version came along. That adds some benefits as you’ll see…


FastCrawl (2006, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

Got any plans for lunch hour? Let me show you one of the best dungeon crawlers you can start and finish before going back to work! It seemed that 2006 was the ‘year of the casual game’ … everyone was attributing the success of the DS and the allure of the Wii to the desire for quick, simple and fun gaming experiences. That isn’t a new thing, really – just ask anyone who has missed lunch playing Bejeweled or Zuma or Minesweeper. Now you can add FastCrawl to that list. FastCrawl is a simple concept – quick ‘dungeon crawling’. A…


Serious Sam Gold (1st & 2nd Encounter) (2001/2002, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

I was amazed in early 2002 when I came across a jewel-case FPS game at my local EBGames for $19.99 called ‘Serious Sam: The Second Encounter’. The images on the back looked quite nice and the description of a fast-paced action romp sounded like a complete blast – and somewhat of an anachronism. The funny thing is that when I first saw the Serious Sam games, I passed on buying them that day because they were on the ‘junk rack’. There was a four-sided rack of jewel-case games in that store, and they were pretty much universally either low budget…


Dragon Age Origins: PC/XBOX360/PS3 Game Review

The other night I was watching VH1’s ‘100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80’s’, and was thinking about Bioware and the whole ’spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate 2? thing surrounding Dragon Age: Origins. Baldur’s Gate 2 is the 2000 classic PC RPG that is not just one of the best RPGs ever but one of the greatest games in video game history. Not only that, it is one of those rare sequels that is better than the original – and the original itself is always on the ‘best video games ever’ lists! Put into that context, it is hard…


Mass Effect 2 (RPG, 2010): PC/XBOX360 Game Review

Way back in late 2007 (early 2008 on PC), Bioware released a game that was unique and interesting in several ways: it was their second game featuring all-new intellectual property (Jade Empire was first), a game designed from the start (or so we were told) as a trilogy, and the gameplay mechanic was a third-person squad-based shooter similar in some ways to Gears of War. The game was a tremendous commercial and critical success, thereby ensuring that the remainder of the trilogy would be produced, but there were some significant criticisms (even in the early 10/10 ‘bestest gaem EVAR’ reviews):…


Tron 2.0 (2003, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

As a long-time techno-geek I loved the Tron movie back in the early 80’s and pumped loads of quarters into both the Tron and particularly Discs of Tron arcade game a few years later. I have watched the movie on a couple of occasions over the decades, but never owned or rented a copy until late last year. Sharing it with my kids, I found that they enjoyed it – though some of the ‘inside the computer’ references were terribly antiquated and the kids had no frame of reference to get the jokes. More recently we’ve seen the Tron Legacy…


Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines: GearGames Retrospective

Hello, L.A., you’re up way past your bedtime, aren’t you? That is the line that greets you when you arrive at your apartment ‘haven’ in Santa Monica after a poorly done cutscene and wonderful tutorial, coming from a radio show that is just one of the many delicious undercurrents that make Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines one of the absolute best role-playing games of the past decade. It is hard to think that a mere five years ago releasing a product based on vampires would be considered a commercial liability, and that there hadn’t been a game released based on the…


Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (2003, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

The only thing better than playing a great game is getting a great deal on a great game. Heck, even a great deal on an average game is a pretty great thing! As I’ve said in the past, I came back to the RPG genre on the PC after a long absence in mid-2003, starting with Neverwinter Nights on the Mac and proceeding to Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic on the day it was release, then starting to ‘backfill’ with games like Gothic 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2. By engaging many folks on forums in discussions I got…


Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf … MMO Game?

Like many others, I joke with friends who regularly line up for the new edition of Madden NFL or NBA or NHL or whatever annual sports game they choose, that they are really just paying an annual subscription fee for roster updates and tweaks. Apparently EA Games was listening, and has released the dominant golf video game – Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf – as an online web browser-based game based on an annual subscription model. I have been playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf for many years across PC and (more recently) PSP, and was fortunate enough to participate…


Nox (2000, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

I really can’t even remember how I came across Nox at first, but I know it was in late 2004 when I bought the European release of Kult: Heretic Kingdoms. At the time I remarked that the games were similar – somewhat small in scope, but very successful in accomplishing what they try to do. Nox is an isometric action-RPG released in early 2000, which means that it was immediately labeled as a ‘Diablo Clone’. In many ways it fits that description – but it offers much more depth than any of the traditional action-RPG’s, making it more similar to…


Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004, FPStealth): The Netbook Gamer

One of the great things about doing the Netbook Gamer is revisiting games and memories from years past. The Thief franchise of first-person stealth-action games touches a couple of memories. I was given the first game as a Christmas gift when it came out in late 1998, at a time when having two children under two years old was pretty much all consuming and left scant time for computer games, most of which I spent on first person shooters. So a stealth game like Thief demanded me to change my basic approach to gaming.


Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Every now and then we come across something that brings us back to the origins of our love for a hobby. For me and computer games, my first real love was Castle Wolfenstein for the Apple ][ in 1981. I have related that story more than once now, since I have reviewed the iPhone version of Wolf 3D, the iPhone game Wolfenstein RPG, and last fall’s franchise reboot Wolfenstein for PC, X360 and PS3. In between all of that, Activision released Return to Castle Wolfenstein in late 2001. In this episode of The Netbook Gamer I see how the game…


Star Wars Dark Forces (1995, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

I now come to the conclusion of my reviews of the Jedi Knight series (see my Netbook Gamer reviews of the original Star Wars Jedi Knight, the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, and the Jedi Knight II and Jedi Academy sequels) with the game that started it all – 1995’s Star Wars Dark Forces.


The Two Things It Would Take for Me to Support UbiSoft’s New (draconian) PC Game DRM

Comic courtesy of Penny Arcade I have already talked about the new DRM system Ubisoft has implemented in their games starting with Assassin’s Creed 2 – basically even for single player offline games you need to be constantly connected to the internet or the game boots you out and you lose all progress since the last checkpoint. While I bristle at the thought of such a system, I do accept that publishers need to find a way to protect their property from improper use and outright theft. I started writing this with a few quick ideas about how to make…


Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Continuing my love affair with the Jedi Knight series (see my Netbook Gamer reviews of the original Star Wars Jedi Knight, the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, and the Jedi Knight II sequel), I now move to the last game in the series, after which I will return to the first game (Dark Forces) to complete my look at the life and times of Kyle Katarn! For now, let’s look at Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.


Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption (2000, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

Considering that I tend to be a very linear person, it is interesting that in terms of role-playing games pre-2004 I tended to play them all ‘out of order’. For example, after enjoying Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic, I asked around and was recommended to seek out Gothic 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2. I played and loved both of those and then sought out the original games in the series. The same was true with games based on White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade tabletop RPG – I played the 2004 Troika game Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines through…


Alienware m11x Gaming Laptop: First Impressions

… and as Alienware claims, this is NOT a netbook! Sitting side-by-side with my Lenovo s10 the Alienware m11x seems large, and given that it weighs twice as much as the Lenovo it also FEELS much bigger. But compared to my 15″ Macbook Pro or the HP Compaq 15″ laptop I use at work, it looks and feels quite small. That is exactly what Alienware was going for – a high performance system in a portable package. So while I have only had a short time with the system, here are a few initial thoughts about the m11x as a…


Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Since I have already expressed my love for the original Star Wars Jedi Knight and the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, it is only fitting that I move on to the sequel! Don’t worry, I will return to Dark Forces soon enough and have also recently completed Jedi Academy … so soon I’ll have reviewed the entire Kyle Katarn saga on the netbook for you! But for now, let’s look at Jedi Knight II.


Divinity 2: Ego Draconis PC Game Review

I have already done a Netbook Gamer for Divine Divinity, declaring it one of my all-time favorite games, so it was only a matter of time before I’d find myself immersed in the sequel, which was released in early January. So does it deliver on all of my hopes and dreams for a follow-up? Read on and find out!


Evil Islands (2001, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

If you are familiar with the PC RPG genre and think of games from Eastern European developers from early in the last decade, you will likely come up with thoughts of bug-ridden releases with loads of patches, poor translations, terrible dialogue, and overall sloppy games. Things have come a long way to the point of excellent games such as The Witcher and Drakensang and Divinity II, but it is still worth playing many of the earlier games because what they lack in polish they often make up for in original ideas and gameplay. Of course, sometimes they are junk. So…