|The Best in free PC games and mods: January 2013|
|Posted: 04.02.2013 11:01 by Simonkey75||Comments: 6|
Now I'm not one to kick an ancient civilisation long after their demise, but, as 2013 is here and the world appears to be in a decidedly not-ended state, the Mayans were clearly rubbish at predicting the future. Which is good news for us, as we can get on with more important things like playing ace free games and modding the living daylights out of other titles.
First up, something wicked this way comes.
It’s been a quiet month so far on the free game upload front, but there’s still a small, unsettling gem to be found lurking on the Strategy Informer servers in the form of Mad Father. An English translation of the Japanese original by Sen of Miscreant’s Room, the developer behind the disturbingly dark freeware horror adventure game Misao, Mad Father uses the stylings of the traditional 16-bit JRPG to tell an unsettling tale.
Aya is a young girl struggling to deal with the death of her mother one year ago to the day, as well as her strained relationship with a father she idolises but who locks himself away in their basement conducting bizarre and bloody experiments. When Aya awakes in the middle of the night, she finds their mansion overrun by the ghoulish spirits of those who have suffered at his hands, come to claim a gruesome revenge. But the undead are the least of her worries...
Built using the Wolf RPG editor, Mad Father’s manga stylings and traditional 2D environments may feel familiar, but they’re the entrance into some pretty dark and uncomfortable psychological territory rarely covered in video games. If you’re a horror buff (and have a pretty strong stomach for issues of a sensitive nature), Mad Father is an unforgettable experience and . Let’s put it like this: it certainly gave me the willies, and I’m dead hard. Honest.
In fact, to prove my incredible manliness, I’m going to take out a whole host of near-future multiplayer enemies in a gorgeously atmospheric cyberpunk vision of Japan. Well, everything apart from the “taking out enemies” bit, as NeoTokyo is a tad unforgiving to newcomers and I’m a tad rubbish at it.
For those with the required multiplayer FPS skills though, and the time to learn the ins and outs of the game’s various classes, it’s well worth taking a look at this Half-Life 2 mod, not least because it is hands down one of the prettiest Source Engine games you’ll ever see. Unsurprisingly, it’s won a fair few awards from the modding community for the visuals, but NeoTokyo has also got quite a cool Ghost in the Shell vibe going on, some nicely laid out maps and kick ass special abilities and vision modes. The one thing it doesn’t have sadly is a massive community, so you may want to hook up with folks using the Steam NeoTokyo HQ group.
If you like your multiplayer action heavy on teamwork (and you’re not flat out rubbish at shooters like me) then it is certainly worth checking out, and
Half-Life 2: Wars:
Now real-time strategy is a genre that I’m at least half-way competitive in, which is handy as, staying in Source Engine mod territory, next up is Half-Life 2: Wars, an RTS makeover set in the same universe as Valve’s venerable masterpiece.
Half-Life 2: Wars has been in development for a fair few years now, but the latest 2.06 beta brings a whole host of graphical and gameplay improvements, allowing you to take control of Combine or Rebel forces, each with their own distinctive and familiar units and battle it out off- or online in Annihilation, Overrun and Sandbox modes.
There’s a few nods to Company of Heroes along the way - which is no bad thing - and fans of the Half-Life universe will certainly get a kick out of deploying Combine soldiers, Stalkers and Observers to get the human scum back in line. Quick note: you’ll need the free Steam game Alien Swarm installed as well as HL2 for this mod to work, but once that’s done
In other news:
The Need For Speed: Most Wanted Mods Collection 2013 adds a humungous range of highly desirable vehicles to the 2005 game of that name (i.e. not the Criterion one), crowbarring in enough horsepower to give Jeremy Clarkson heart palpitations.
As everyone knows, it is now a legal requirement that any vaguely-medieval-set PC title must get A Game of Thrones total conversion, and Crusader Kings II is the latest to experience the George R.R. Martin treatment. Plenty of thought has gone into both setting and tweaks to vanilla CK II though so it’ll be interesting to see how this develops in what is becoming a pretty crowded niche.
Just when I thought I was out, the Civilization IV community pull me back in. Their latest weapon is the Caveman2Cosmos 28 mega-mod from CivFanatics, a truly enormous wodge of add-ons (literally: the download is over a gigabyte alone). So looks like it’s goodbye to getting any sleep again, especially with the promise of 100+ hour individual games. I swear Civ IV should have a health warning on the packaging.
Your opinions wanted!
With it being the start of a new year and all, I thought I’d sound out you, the good readers of this column, for your opinions on what you’d like to see covered on the free games and mods front. Would you like to see round-ups of the best mods for individual games, ultimate pimping guides for certain titles, top tens of free games in different genres or interviews with the best talent in the modding community? Let me know in the comments section, and, as always, feel free to throw out your recommendations for the best free games and mods you’ve been playing this month.
Not had a chance to install this yet (I’m reinstalling my copy of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion as I write this) but, as some of you may have gathered from previous columns, I’m a wee bit of a Battlestar Galactica fan, so when I saw the Fall of Kobol add-on for the Sins of the Fallen SotSE mod I had to jam it in somehow.
With a full range of Colonial and Cylon ships - including Titanstars and Cylon Boomers, he typed in no way making a little squee noise - you can play as either faction in the wider Sins of the Fallen universe and follow a variety of doctrines reflecting the different political aims of the series.
That’s all for another month, folks. Hope you have fun trying out this little selection of freebie delights, and I’d like to make it clear that I can in no way be held responsible for any lasting psychological damage from playing Mad Father. If you do retain your sanity, for a constant stream of patches, demos, mods and free games, and I shall return with more hidden gems at the end of the next lunar cycle.