I haven’t been able to play any recent computer games in a long time. And when I say recent, I mean recent within the past five years or so. My PC was at least that old and starting to crap when performing regular tasks, even non-game programs like iTunes and Photoshop. Not playing games is one thing, but when you can’t do seemingly average things without waiting and crashing, it’s time for a change. So that’s just what I did.
I started researching for upgrade computer parts. I hadn’t built a computer in years and I quickly started to doubt my knowledge of what was good and bad anymore. There is so much out there from so many different places and reviews varied from what I could tell. So I recruited Big G to shop for me, and he delivered exactly on my budget with a great computer. So if you’re looking to build a new computer but don’t know what you need, talk to Big G. You can read our discussion in the Forum.
After a mere three days the computer came and after a Friday night of complete nerdiness I had a new PC. And it kicks ass.
It’s not the best of the best but far from shabby. With this computer I have returned to what I once had, a computer that could do anything I wanted without worry. From games to multimedia to design, it can handle it. There was a day when I could go on-line and download games one after another and play for days on end…that day has returned. One thing that computer gaming has over console gaming (still) is demos. I can still go on-line and download a demo for a computer game – for free – before I drop $50 on it. And most of the time, the demo is enough to keep you interested for a while. Hopefully consoles will get a clue and start doing the same thing. Since they’re now all on-line it shouldn’t be too hard.
So with a new PC behind me, I quickly found several games that are pretty fun and can capture your entertainment for at least 30 minutes.
Harvest: Massive Encounter – This is currently in free beta so get this one while you can if it sounds fun, or I can make it a download too. This game is a combination between Tower Defense, where you just put up towers to shoot bad guys as they walk by, and a resources-management game, like an RTS. It has its quirks and problems, but overall it is really fun and kept me playing for hours as I tried to pick a strategy that worked. The goal is just to survive as long as possible. My highest has been level 24.
You’ll like it if you like: Tower Defense, Starcraft
Defcon – I first saw this game a few months ago and tried it but my PC couldn’t handle it. Now with some muscle in my box there are no issues. When I first played this game I thought of Thee because this game is like a giant game of RISK. The goal is to wipe your opponent off the map, and there really is a map. This is a game of nuclear war complete with radars, silos, submarines, and aircraft carriers. It is a slow game but needs to be to allow for the proper placement and ordering of pieces. I highly recommend the tutorial first. A nice thing about the demo is it offers on-line play with other demo users, so you can go on-line and starting playing people right away. You can even be a spectator for games, where you can really learn a lot.
You’ll like it if you like: RISK, Stratego, Wargames
The Sim 2 – Jen has been playing The Sims in some form for years but I never had a computer that could play it, not even Sims 1. But now I’m hooked on designing and building houses. Not so much the “playing God” part of the game which seems to me to be way too much trouble. But building the houses is a heck of a lot of fun and a challenge all in one. You wouldn’t get this game just for the house-building, but since we already had the game it was worth it. And frankly, Sims 2 served as my graphics benchmark as it is a hefty game. So once I saw my PC could handle Sims 2 I knew it could handle most of the games I would want to play.
You’ll like it if you like: HGtv, Flip that House, Trading Spaces
Doom 3 – I know this is now considered an old game, but again, I couldn’t play it until now. Too bad I’m not impressed. I know it’s only the demo but I just couldn’t get into the game quick enough. Maybe I’m just “over” first-person shooters…and since I don’t have any inkling to play these games on-line there’s not much else in it. Just not my type of game anymore. But to it’s credit, it looks pretty good.
You’ll like it if you like: Complete darkness, nothing new
Age of Empires III – This is what I was waiting for. As a huge fan of AOE this was my first new computer game purchase in many years. We’ve been playing the AOE2 games for nearly 10 years now – and still enjoy it (along with Starcraft). AOE3 is your standard RTS game much like all the others but is set in the exploration age, compared to the medieval era of AOE2. Essentially the game plays the same with only a few minor changes. The graphics are now 3D – oooo, ahhhhh – but that honestly doesn’t lend much to the game experience. The sound got a wonderful boost and really adds a lot to how you play, maybe more so than the graphics update. Added to the game now are “cards” that you can use to have shipments sent to you for free. I think this is supposed to add more of a “traditional” table-top element to it…I’m not sure if it does, but it doesn’t throw off the game at all. So if we got 10+ years out of AOE2, then AOE3 should last quite some time.
You’ll like it if you like: AOE2, Starcraft, any modern RTS
*Now with more gaming power behind me expect more reviews and more playing. To keep things relatively interesting, extended game reviews may get moved to the Forum.