Gamebytes and Bots
Gamebytes and Bots
GAMEBYTES AND BOTS
Far Cry 2 screenshot
THE BEST OF SINGLE PLAYER PC GAMING - NOW PLAYING:   FAR CRY 2
THE BEST OF SINGLE PLAYER PC GAMING - NOW PLAYING: FAR CRY 2
Far Cry 2 screenshot
THE BEST OF
SINGLE PLAYER
PC GAMING
NOW PLAYING
FAR CRY 2
FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER
RECENT POST-RELEASE REVIEWS - SEE FEATURES FOR BEST SINGLE PLAYER GAME REVIEWS
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SPLINTER CELL CHAOS THEORY
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THE WALKING DEAD
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MIRROR'S EDGE
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MARS WAR LOGS

THE FUTURE OF SINGLE PLAYER GAMES

Are single-player video games really dying? A few years ago all the so-called industry experts were predicting its death and the development of online-only multiplayer games surged. However, a few years later in retrospect, the poster-child failures of Evolve, and to a lesser degree Titanfall and Star Wars: Battlefront, points to a major disconnect between these developers and the people who play their games. Obviously, the creators did not expect their games to fail so quickly post release and given that these titles won all sorts of critical awards and received high praise in graphics and design, that leaves something vastly wrong with their assessment of what gamers really want. When you're talking millions of dollars in production costs, that's one serious miscalculation. Although the newest gen games can be very pretty to look at and use all the latest, greatest technology, eye candy is fleeting whereas the age-old aspects of what makes people tick is not. A sure fire formula for a quick demise is this trend toward lack of enough content on Triple AAA priced releases, price-gouging on DLC, lack of options, unstable servers and most importantly of all, failing to keep the player emotionally invested. As to advertised single-player modes, many of them are generally just challenge maps and not story-driven campaigns. Add to that list that although social networking plays a big role in today's gaming, to bet the farm on this one aspect is to turn a blind eye to many gamers who just don't want to be connected to other people day and night, nor play with total strangers in what is often a toxic environment.

Although some people would scoff at Call of Duty as an example of a winning formula that encompasses both modes, you can't argue with commercial success, although they too have been fumbling around with this in recent years. Single-player and multiplayer offer two very different emotional experiences and people want strong contenders in both modes. The typical argument has been that users don't play the single-player content and therefore it's a waste of resources to develop it. However, this assessment may be intentionally disingenuous or may not be based on good analyses. When primarily single-player games toss in under-developed multiplayer modes, they die quickly and perhaps the opposite is true. Multiplayer games with tacked on poor single-player modes, could result in the same effect and lead to the conclusion that people don't play these. There's also an underlying psychology to consumer mentality and perhaps the most glaring example of a failure to recognize this is a game called The Flock. It's premise of a world population that depletes until no one can play it was an unique idea that went horribly wrong. Every player death contributes to the reduction of a set number of spawns until the game dries up and becomes obsolete. One of the justifications for this premise was that most multiplayer games dry up anyway. Although it's no more than a statement of fact that most multiplayer games will eventually die, to hard code this into a game with a price tag was not wise and was doomed to fail. What's more worrisome is that the developers had zero understanding of the psychology behind planned obsolescence. Many consumers do not want to pay good money for games that don't give them the option of replaying them at some point down the road, or games that are unplayable if the servers are down, or worse, if they are officially shut down. It's immaterial whether gamers will play them or not, they want that option to remain open regardless.

Of course, as mentioned above, there are other factors besides the lack of a single player mode that will determine the success or failure of a game, but it's interesting that on this one point, Titanfall 2 and Battlefront 2 are slated to include single-player campaigns, which basically points to an admission that the developers didn't get it right the first time around. However, it remains to be seen just how much effort will be put into the mode. Additionally, as of July 7 2016, Evolve went Free To Play in an attempt to save the game. The next few years should prove interesting as developers and publishers try to figure out how to offer the best of both worlds. Fortunately, some in the industry recognize there is profitable room for diversity and the astonishing success of some single player games released in recent years prove that they won't be dying any time soon.

PLAYING MY PC GAMES BACKLOG: NOW PLAYING - FAR CRY 2

FAR CRY 2 close

There are two diametrically opposed opinions on this game; those who think it's the best Far Cry game ever and those who think it's the worst. I don't think it's either simply because it's a different animal than either Far Cry 1 or Far Cry 3 and beyond.

Far Cry 2 is a shooter through and through. There's only a meagre nod towards any kind of stealth and the thinnest thread on developing relationships with friendly NPCs. Every single AI in the game, other than your buddies and those who give you a mission, is hostile. In other words, outside of the gun-free areas, shoot first and ask questions later. You are continually dogged by those wanting to kill you, which is just about everybody, and will be chased and fired upon at every turn.

The game is open-world and between missions you are free to roam wherever you like. The areas are dotted with safe houses, enemy checkpoints, and collectibles in the form of diamonds, which is the currency for purchasing weapons and upgrades at gun shops.

Although your ultimate mission is to kill someone called "The Jackal", he will not figure prominently till the end game. Meantime, you have main missions for two factions as well as lots of side missions including weapon dealers, assassinations, buddy missions, and finding malaria pills in order to stay functional. Only main missions will progress the game story and as a mercenary for hire, you don't care which side you work for. In other words, there are not really any serious repercussions for your choices.

Criticisms revolve around long travelling distances between goals and it's one I agree with. Subsequent missions will often require you to travel all the way back to where you were recently. This brings up the other criticism, which is constantly respawning enemy checkpoints. However, I see Ubisoft's rationale for this. The game would be incredibly boring through these repeated trips if the enemy did not respawn. One positive feature is the intelligent AI, which saves this aspect from becoming a repetitive borefest. Each encounter will be somewhat different.

I suspect that those who really like this game do so because they are already first-person shooter fans. If you're looking for any fleshed out RPG elements or stealth options, you won't find them here, but as a shooter, you will probably quite enjoy this game.

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FAR CRY 2
UBISOFT MONTREAL - FPS
In 2006, Crytek sold all Far Cry rights to Ubisoft as well as a perpetual licence to use the CryEngine Far Cry edition. However, although based on this engine, Ubisoft developed their own engine for Far Cry 2 called the Dunia Engine. Crytek moved on to develop Crysis and had no involvement in further additions to the series.

Far Cry 2 retains very few similarities to the first game. Ubisoft wanted to take the game in a different direction and opted for a more realistic environment. A research team was sent to Africa to camp out in Kenya for two weeks, which resulted in some changes to the original game design.

Upon release, the game was praised for its sandbox mode which allows players to proceed at their own pace through open-world gameplay. It was also noted for its setting and intelligent AI, who actively hunt the player. Criticisms mainly came in the form of the long travelling distances between goals, constantly respawning enemies, and an uninspired story.

Far Cry 2 garnered high critical scores and sold moderately well, although users form a divide between loving it and hating it. Ubisoft went on to develop further games in the series, but none of them bear much resemblance to the highly regarded first Far Cry game, nor this one. Regardless, the franchise has become a very relevant part of Ubisoft's success. However, both their flagship IP Assassin's Creed and the Far Cry franchise have become too formulaic and due to player fatigue, we are unlikely to see new entries in 2017.

THE BEST OF SINGLE PLAYER PC GAMES

Of course everyone has their preferences, but I personally prefer single-player, story-driven games. As strictly a hobby site, the games featured and reviewed are geared to my tastes and are all ones that I personally own and have played to completion. In terms of approximately the 9,000 titles listed on Steam alone, it's a small collection, but it's also a good collection of the best single player PC games barring a few missteps. It's also dedicated to what some might call cheap gaming, but what I call affordable and still relevant gaming. Most of the top gaming sites will give you all the news on the latest and greatest games, but as they age, they quickly fall from the radar and current information on older games gets harder to find. And yet, SteamSpy, a site dedicated to Steam game statistics, shows that millions of PC gamers are still buying and playing these games.

So, I guess it's a pretty odd concept to have a current PC gaming site that deals with non-current games, but as a person on a limited budget, I count myself amongst the silent majority of bargain hunters. And as one of them, I want the latest information and updates on running those games. I don't like to forget the newbies either as I was once one of them, coming to PC gaming late and so the site also offers some advice and general information on the industry and the latest trends. There's also a section on understanding gaming system requirements, a section on how to install games and mods, and an often asked question regarding reputable distributors and third-party clients. As to the list of single player PC games in Features, for the most part, I can feel comfortable in recommending them. However, with literally thousands of available games, I only choose what I think will give me the best gaming experiences in their single player modes.

Each individual review page also provides screenshots, a trailer and lots of other information and quality links to issues like bug fixes, patches, other reviews, mods and which distributors are carrying the game. In addition to the hours spent playing, this all requires a lot of research, especially on older games where current information is often hard to find. That is why adding a review to the list takes time. Please check back often to see if a game you are interested in has been reviewed. This home page features a short preview commentary and screenshots of the next full game review that will be added to the Features list. You may also want to check that list for news on games you already own as any important game updates, such as remastered versions or announced sequels are bulleted and added to the end of the review. I try to update the site every two weeks with a new game, but sometimes life gets in the way and it could take a little longer.

ABOUT THE REVIEWS

Alan Wake screenshot
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Recommended: Alan Wake
Genre: Action, Horror
Modes: Single Player
PC Release: Feb 2012
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Steam Rating: Very Positive

You will find my reviews somewhat different than the mainstream as they concentrate on single-player, how the game looked and played for me, and what I enjoyed and didn't enjoy. They are based on complete playthroughs and targeted toward those who, like myself, just want to know if the game is relatively bug free, can be played on my system, and has a story or theme I like. Like books and movies, games we like are subject to personal tastes and all a reviewer can do is give you an idea if the game has features you might also like. Scores can take you only so far as they can be influenced by outside factors. The latest trend is to completely trash new releases on day-one before the game has been patched, resulting in very low scores that might never get reversed (although some of them deserve it). I usually play these games much later after most of the patches and improvements have been made. However, all game review pages include convenient links to a ton of information so that you can explore areas that are of interest to you such as system requirements, other reviews, forums, achievements or even mods and modding tools.

Another significant difference is that the mainstream reviews were done at the time of release, but GAB's reviews are written when played, which could be years after release. This impacts on how the older games look, feel, and run after technology has made vast strides in graphics and play. If you fine-tune your own gaming likes and dislikes, you will be less likely to be swayed by either hyped or overly negative reviews.

THE PC GAMING COMMUNITY

With the gaming industry constantly changing, Basics is an overview of the stuff every PC gamer should know about getting the best value
Visit  Install and learn how to download, install and uninstall your games, patches and mods. Install 2 will highlight an outstanding mod.
PC gamers are a community and actively interested in keeping it alive and healthy. In order to do this we need to help each other overcome problems that some may initially find intimidating. I have therefore included several tutorials that deal with the practical issues of PC gaming. Basics covers what you should know about gaming in general, and how to develop personal strategies that will avoid disappointments and give you the best bang for your buck. TechTalk explains the ins and outs of all the components listed for a PC game's system requirements, and Install shows how to install games or mods from discs or downloads. Features is a master list linking to individual game pages that provide a review, screenshots, specs and details about the game. In response to people asking about safe and reliable digital distributors and their client programs, a section has been added called GameClients that includes a short bio and how each site handles the downloads. The challenge in covering PC gaming lies in its versatility. Everyone's system is different and what works for some doesn't work for others. In conclusion, the more we assist each other, the better PC gaming will be! You've no doubt heard the expression that there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers and many gamers are quite happy to help.
With the gaming industry constantly changing, Basics covers what every gamer should know. Avoid errors, frustrations and disappointments
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