|The Best in free PC games and Mods: December 2012|
|Posted: 11.01.2013 12:34 by Simonkey75||Comments: 10|
So Christmas and New Year have, like your uncle after one too many sherrys, staggered off into the dark night not to be seen again for another year. You’ve overspent on food, booze and presents and your bank statement is a fear-inducing thing.
Fear not, because thanks to the sheer all-round greatness of this hobby we call PC gaming, you can get whole heaps of video game pleasure for a grand total of zero pence, as well as stretch and expand the games you do already own in completely new directions. And have we got a cracker of a freebie for you first up:
Possibly not the best thing to play if you’re still nursing a hangover from all that festive socialising, Perspective is a remarkably accomplished experimental platformer that comes out of the Digipen Institute of Technology, which has a bit of a track record for innovative and mind-bending game concepts.
Perspective's tutorial at first appears to be a straight-up homage to classic '80s platforming, with a cool retro 8-bit vibe going on not just in the Tron-like neons of its presentation but the way each level is contained within an individual arcade machine that you can move between.
Things get weird though when you find that at any point you are able to change into a first person perspective, converting the level into a 3D world, and then change the angle of your point of view before switching back to 2D to guide your character through his now rearranged landscape. The core idea has a touch of XBLA indie platformer Fez about it, but Perspective possesses more than enough charm and head-scratching puzzles to stand on its own two feet.
Perspective is definitely the sort of thing that is better experienced than described, and with the full game being only a 97MB download , you’ve got absolutely zero excuse not to try it out for yourself.
Oh, and if you do, please explain to me how to complete The Hallway, because it has got me totally stumped.
The Age of Decadence:
More free game fun with a slight retro tinge, although this time in the roleplaying genre. Well, I say free, but The Age of Decadence Public Beta release 3.1 is more like a particularly chunky demo, though considering the full game has been in development since 2004 it’s nice to finally see something playable full stop.
What is presently on offer will have fans of the classic BioWare era of PC RPGs drooling. With it's pseudo-isometric camera (the game is actually fully 3D, built with the Torque Game Engine), lovingly detailed graphical touches and text-heavy conversations, The Age of Decadence feels like the perfect antidote to the first-and third-person shooters-masquerading-as-RPGs nonsense that has proliferated over the last decade.
It’s not short on ambition either, with the full game looking to pack in multiple classes, skill trees, crafting and alchemy systems and deep dialogue interaction designed for genuine character roleplaying. You’ll need to fully utilise the latter to talk yourself out of some of the hairier situations that arise, as AoD's combat doesn’t pull its punches, requiring some serious tactical acumen to make it out alive against even single opponents.
The single city included in the public beta underlines why it looks to be an immensely promising addition to the PC RPG ranks, bustling with life and the sort of authentic architectural layouts that so often are missing from other fantasy worlds in the genre as well as showing off the game’s interesting setting, a post-apocalyptic fantasy take on the last days of the Roman Empire. You . Now hurry up and finish the rest of the game, Iron Tower Studio, he said waving an imaginary admonishing finger in their direction.
The Texture Skyrim Senseless mod:
OK, it’s not actually called that - it’s actually the more mundane Skyrim HD - 2K Textures 1.5 - but I like my name for it better, because that is what these four mods are essentially designed to do. Bethesda might have released their own HD texture for PC Skyrimmers shortly after the game’s release, but that simply wasn’t good enough for The Elder Scrolls community in their eternal quest to make the northern wastes of Tamriel a damn sight prettier.
There's individual downloads for , , and good old and each of the included textures is in the 2-4K resolution range, roughly four to eight times higher than the texture files that originally shipped with the game and more than double Bethesda’s own HD collection. I suspect you’ll need to be packing a fair amount of RAM on your graphics card, but as the screenshot shows it’s totally worth it.
In other news:
If Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit hasn’t made you sick at a.) the 48fps or b.) the sheer money-grabbiness of dragging it out into a trilogy, and you have a copy of Age of Empires II: Conquerors hanging around on your hard drive, then Tales of Middle-Earth may very well be for you, as it is absolutely jam-packed with all things Tolkien, including 18 unique factions and a backdrop that spans from the Fall of Belerland to the War of the Ring itself.
We featured a fair few Warhammer related things last month, but I couldn’t let the Ultimate Apocalypse mod for W40K: Dawn of War Soulstorm pass unmentioned. For those who like their 40K battles on the extreme scale, with superweapons, nukes and giant Titan armies going hells bells at each others - and still managing to be balanced in the midst of all this grand carnage - this is a must-have mod.
If you’re not a fan of the GUI on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - and who is - then fortunately you can now tweak it to your heart’s content with the Graphical Interface Mod 1.1 from righT.Team.
Non-bonkers Doom III mod of the month
Zero insanity on the Doom III front AGAIN this month (I am disappoint, mod people) but I’m still smiling because Benjamin Pulido has released a demo featuring the first four levels of his Doom III RPG mod, due out later this year. The finished thing will contain all the missions and monsters from the original Doom RPGs 1 and 2, so go .
So that’s me done for another month. 2012 was good stuff on the modding front - hell, Black Mesa was released, something I thought I’d never live to see - but, judging by some of the projects being brewed up right now, 2013 will be even better. I shall see you next month for another round-up of tip top mods and free games. Till then, for all your patch, updates, mods and free full game needs.