I don't want to get my hopes up, but it seems there is a PC gaming revival going down.
Or is it just that towards Christmas, the big ones come along for those of us who still cling to the idea that the PC offers gamers a good deal? PCs these days resemble fast agile creatures like the cheetah, the graphics cards on offer have impressive features and speeds with latest downsized circuitry and the broadband, multiplayer games, which are awesome fun.
But go into your average games store, and the PC games are down the back in a kind of pile with their covers looking frayed and you feel like an uncool dinosaur venturing into those parts when the hot new console games are being pored over by other shoppers, like Halo 3.
I see a UK firm t5 labs has just announced a new platform that enables people to play games via terrestrial set-top-boxes, Cable TV and TV over broadband. Operators would run PC games on the company's servers, which has software to allow the games to be streamed to TV sets in living rooms on an on-demand basis, either using a pay-to-play or subscription model.
Well, this might prevent piracy but it's just as much fun to go out and treat yourself to a new PC game for your computer, not your TV set. Or is it all the same thing these days?
And right now, there's no excuse.
Three new PC games just out - along with the recently reviewed Quake Wars: Enemy Territory show how much life there is in this area of gaming - and are all worth considering as your next PC gaming fix.
I'll be checking them out for you over this week.
Today, it's Hellgate London (EA: R16) and being like a combination of Doom3 styled visuals meets Constantine plot accompanied by the recent gameplay of third person Crackdown.
This RPG comes from Flagship Studios, formed by ex-employees from the company that made some of the classics: Starcraft and Diablo II.
It's London in 2038 and the world has fallen under the dominion of demons. Hellgate is the gate that's let them flow in from their endless traversal across the universe. You have to seek out oracles, and naturally enough kill as many of these evil beasts as you can and seek to get through the gate.
You are one of six classes; Templars who are on the offensive and can use two weapons at once; the more defensive Guardians, who can take on lots of demons at once: the Cabalist who know some demonic secrets themselves: the Evoker class who use magic spells; the Hunters who heavily utilise technology, the Marksmen who use sniper weapons, and the engineer who makes robots.
The story was great once you get past the long intro, the visuals are stark but pretty-looking and there is a good choice in levels. Typically, finding broken bits of those that have gone before is where you start your journey, however picking up bits and pieces of people is not the aim, anything that's moving that isn't human and is a target.
Combat starts out in a borrowed style from HellBoy where old clothes from the 40's and modern shields and broadswords are a total clash of technology. I love slicing up demons with swords. But a bit like the game Constantine, there are masses of demons and seldom enough stim packs for a let-up from the constant attack. Step in magic and nano enhancements to fill the gaps you so need to work on.
A smooth and lovely performer but only when it performs. The game kept crashing out for me which I thought was because I just put some more RAM in the PC - but a search through online forums shows everyone seems to be battling bugs, crashes and other technical glitches even after the patches.
It seems a potentially good game but perhaps was rolled out too quickly before a stable release came along. Nevertheless, a good game.
MadGamer 's rating: 8 / 10