Staff Editorials

The Best in free PC games and mods: April 2013
Posted: 15.05.2013 11:07 by Simonkey75 Comments: 8
So, what do we have here? You want me to tell you your future? Ah, your gaming future in fact. You want to know what the coming days hold for you in terms of amazing mods, hilarious adventure games and thought-provoking interactive fiction?

Okie dokie. Let me just lug my antique Mystic Ball of Moddery on to the table, and we’ll take a look deep into its hidden secrets. Ooh, the ectoplasmic mists are parting, my friends, to reveal:

Barely Floating

It’s been a quiet few months in the Full Games section of the Strategy Informer Downloads, but thankfully April saw things buck up with several interesting freebie titles, foremost of which was Barely Floating. Any game that opens with the line “I was drinking martinis and wooing foxy ladies when I got the call” is off to a pretty good start in my book, but this Adventure Game Studio-powered title only gets better from there, packing some genuinely funny writing, exemplified by an early curveball on who is actually the starring character.

Curmudgeonly Joseph Lancaster has to step up to the plate when pirates seize him and his rich companions from their luxury yacht in the waters off East Africa. From there, Joseph must extricate himself from his captors in classic adventure game style, combining available items in increasingly bizarre fashion, shuffling his decrepit self around the pirate ship Sea Krait and occasionally bopping some no-good nautical scum over the head with his cane.

It’s nice to see one of the older generation get to be the hero for once (even if Joseph spends half his time complaining about his medication) and the folks who make up development team Stemshock Interactive are to be congratulated both for creating that rarest of things - a laugh-out-loud game - and for pushing against the technical limits of AGS to craft a genuinely attractive game with bags of character. You can grab the 160MB installer here and take it for a spin yourself.

This Is Where I Want To Die

To the other end of the emotional spectrum now, with Marcel Weyers’ short but powerful interactive story This Is Where I Want To Die. In the final moments in a hospital bed, the narrator tries to piece together how the events of the previous night could have led to their demise. While not a game as such, with your involvement simply consisting of tapping the space bar to progress the narrative, it’s amazing how such a simple interaction can draw you in by putting control of the story’s pacing in your hands, which lends an added poignancy when it comes to a brutal conclusion. Not for everyone by any means, but for those whose interest has been piqued, the download can be found here.

Mod round-up:

Star Trek: Sacrifice of Angels II

Having managed to avoid mentioning a single science fiction and/or Sins of a Solar Empire mod last month, I’m totally falling off the wagon again with this follow-up to the classic Homeworld mod Sacrifice of Angels, not least because I’ve recently started rewatching The Next Generation right from the beginning. If you like your Trek on an epic scale (and you also have SoSE: Diplomacy) grab the 0.6D download here, then patch it up with the 0.6.1D update. Hell, while you’re at it, you can even grab the SoEII soundtrack right here to get you in the mood.

StarDrive: Tim’s Mod

And staying on a sci-fi tip: Joe Robinson may have only rated space “action 4X” title StarDrive a meh-ish 6.5 in the Strategy Informer review, but that hasn’t stopped the mods from flowing already, with this bundle of new weaponry, tech and research options (plus some balance tweaks) well worth bolting on to jazz up the vanilla game. Grab it here.

Endless Star Wars

No, not Disney’s plans for their newly acquired franchise but yet another in this month’s SF 4X mod trend. Basically, it turns Amplitude Studios’ accessible if a bit generic Endless Space into a full-blown Star Wars strategy experience. Which is obviously awesome. It’s still at v0.0.1 status, so expect a fair few updates to come. Oh, and it’s Mac-compatible as well as PC, which is nice. Download Endless Star Wars here. And I promise that’s it on the space front for, ooh, at least 30 days.

Saints Row the Third S$%tface Showcase 12

The follow up may have been saved from the burning embers of what was THQ by Deep Silver and heading our way in August, but there’s still life in Saints Row the Third, especially if you spice it up with this nifty mod compilation. Too many tweaks to weapons, balance and weather to begin to mention, and worth it alone for taking control of a giant dragon avatar and causing carnage. Also: loads more taunts, which is always a good thing. Download the mod here.

Victoria II: PoD

I covered the APD mod for Victoria II last month and lo and behold the community have already got an updated version out, now rechristened PoD, making it compatible with latest DLC Heart of Darkness. So if you’re Scrambling for Africa, you’ll want to grab the 1.02 installer from here.

Call of Duty 2: The REALITY of War

Once upon a time, before perks and killstreaks and voice acting from that bloke in the Lawyers4U adverts, Call of Duty was a rather entertaining WWII FPS and not particularly hated by loads of people on the internet. Nor was it all that realistic, which is where this mod compilation comes in, packing the usual makeover of new skins, weapons, A.I. modifications and a new improved HUD. The REALITY of War (don’t you love CAPSLOCKED mod names?) can be downloaded here.

Ah, sadly the visions grow dimmer and my mystic ball clouds over once more, or at least until next month when I shall return with more choice cuts from Strategy Informer’s ludicrously swollen archive of downloadable goodies. Until then, do go and have a good rummage around the Downloads section for more of the best in mods, maps, patches, demos, full games and so much more - you never know what you might find.


By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on May 15, 2013
Well I actually just finished TNG season 1 myself! Rewatching all of it O_o

Awesome timing man!
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 18, 2013
Thanks for the "Endless Star wars" mod, and I have played "Sacrifice of Angels" for "Diplomacy" and wawait the final version foir "Rebellion". Much more enjoying the "Star Trek" mod for "Nexus: The Jupiter Incident" though.
Have "Star Wars" and "Battlestar Galactica" mods for "Rebellion" and they keep me well and truly busy.
After watching the new "Star Trek Into Darkness" though, I'll be playing more of "Star Trek: Legacy" with the "Ultimate Universe" mega-mod, even though we don't have the marvellous ships that film has. Might watch "Voyager" again, after finishing with "Enterprise".

By the did you get a picture of me for the first game in the editorial?
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 18, 2013
PS> "Endless Star Wars" link is broken.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 18, 2013
More info Chosen?
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 19, 2013
Thanks mate, I will. The is also "StarDrive Extended", bringing much more including a massive array of new ship hulls, planets, ground troops, buildings etc.

By the way, the work on "Star Trek Armada 3", the megamod for "SoaSE: Rebellion" is fast surpassing anything like it seen before, and "Dawn of the Reapers", a "Mass Effect" mod overhaul for "Rebellion" is in it's final stages.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 19, 2013
"CK II"'s mod "A Game of Thrones" also has a new release version of "CK2:AGOT 0.4.3" to round things out:)