Hi guys, I'm a big PC gamer and Its been a truly hellish few years for the industry. A lot of us don't like the direction new games are taking and because of that we are staying with the Dreamcast (and because the Dreamcast kicks ass and all). I built a PC a few years back to play Crysis at nearly the highest settings only to find out that no game since has surpassed it graphically and all we see are inferior ports of games I wouldn't even like to play in the first place. So I've shifted my focus to the independent gaming scene and have found a lot of happiness in some of the titles I'm about to list off. First of all, there is a mainstream indie scene (much like seen in music, when indie, somehow, became a genre when it actually refers to the developmental process and label) where we see games like Bastion (fucking abysmal in my opinion) heralded as great indie (made by Warner Brothers, not exactly a small company) treasures. I want to focus on the dev's that are really taking hits and taking chances, the people that do things differently and because of that aren't making a whole lot of money off their projects despite how great they've turned out. Here we go!
1. Super Laser Racer - New Star Games - Graphically it looks like geometry wars but in reality its a kart racer without any of the bullshit. Short tracks that require tight handling and really test your racing skills. And then there's the weapons! All while speeding through beautifully complex tracks that feature speed boosts and laser traps. Techno music isn't my thing but it works great here and there's plenty of it to last through the large number of tracks. There is an online mode but no one else plays the game (fucking sucks), fortunately the single player features great AI and even allows you to make and race your own tracks.
2. Swarm Arena - Dedication Games - Another geometry wars looking game, in fact when I bought the game I was expecting a geometry wars clone. What I got was about a million times cooler. Basically you play as an organism that has a core and a sphere of influence around it. Drones circle the playing field and if they enter your sphere of influence they buzz around your core and can be used either defensively or offensively. There are two weapon types that can be upgraded by power up pickups, shoot and circle. Shoot propels the drones in the direction you are moving and is insanely complicated to figure out but so rewarding once you master it. If you press fire while standing still the drones shoot out from all sides since the fire button causes them to propel in the direction they were originally traveling (in this case floating around your ship at random causes them to propel in what seems like a random pattern). Circle causes the drones to circle around your core in a clockwise motion allowing you to use them as a bludgeon or as a defensive barrier against shoot. Using your fire is dangerous however since the drones tend to leave your sphere of influence causing them to turn from green to white. When drones are white they can either be collected by your opponent or destroyed by your opponents drones (otherwise the drones trade, i.e. a drone hits a drone and both are owned by players then both drones disappear, in the case of a white drone only the white drone is destroyed and the controlled drone survives). The game is basically an arena style game where it is you versus an opponent core. What a long fucking description but this game truly deserves it. I didn't even get in to the A.I. that learns off of your play style and then can be used to battle other A.I.'s or opponents online or the online opponents own learned A.I.
3. Mount and Blade - TaleWorlds - This game actually developed a pretty huge cult following and a couple sequels/expansion packs. It is a medieval combat game where you can ride around on a horse and fuck people up. Or you can stand on foot with a big pole-arm and stab a horse in the face while it rides at you and then proceed to beat the rider to death as he attempts to recover from the fall. Or you can hide by a tree towards the back of the battle and shoot people with a bow and arrow or do it from a horse if you want. Basically, you can do anything and its all awesome. The sequel, Warband, features online play which is a lot of fun but the games main strength lies in its single player where there are lots of RPG elements such as leveling up and training and equipping your army as you see fit and story moments such as storming a castle (a hundred archers line the walls and your hundred man army has to set up a ladder and fit through a tiny hole full of people waiting to fucking murder you hoping your shield is big enough to keep you from getting shot in the crotch).
4. AI War - Arcen Games - I'm not a big RTS fan, in my opinion no RTS game could ever best Total Annihilation, UNTIL NOW! This game has so much depth, so many options and is so ungodly complicated that I haven't seen a tenth of what it has to offer. Really. The average game takes about 14 hours to play. Really. You are not fighting a standard opponent, you are fighting an AI which follows its own unique rule set and will not play like you. Really. There is no hard cap to your units and if you play correctly you can have 50k v 50k battles. Really. Well, that whole really bit was getting annoying but this game just blows my fucking mind. You chose the number of planets you want to play on which are all seeded randomly into a map with different connections between different planets. There are tons of AI personalities you can choose from which will dictate which units and strategies they favor or play a well rounded one. Some planets have special structures that you can capture from the AI and each planet you take allows you to mine knowledge allowing you to upgrade your units and increase their cap. Each planet you take also causes the AI progress to go up which makes the AI stronger and more aggressive. Basically, if you take every planet you will get buttfucked so you have to use an incredible amount of strategy to determine where you will place your troops and defensive structures, what you will take, and how to best get to the enemy's home and later murder the prick.
Well that's enough for now, these are my favorites and hopefully you guys check them out. I'm gonna grab a twelve pack and play AI wars, see everyone in 20 hours.