The Best Cheap PC Gaming: A Year

5. Gotham City Impostors

Were it not for the existence of a certain other FPS that’s higher up this list, Gotham City Impostors would be closer to number one in this top ten. GCI was one of the more pleasant surprises recently, in that it turned out better than I had originally wanted it to when I first heard about it. What looked like a fun class-based FPS turned out to be a remarkable, hilarious and customisation-heavy class-based FPS (that’s three more adjectives, so it must be better).

The action is fast paced and features gadgets, which are modes of transport for getting around the maps – from glider kits and rollerskates, spring-boots to grappling hooks, every player has one of seven and the chaos that ensues attacks from all angles. Centred around a gang war between the Bats and the Jokerz in Gotham, the gangs use patched together weaponry to battle it out whilst Batman is AFK. I rarely have this much fun from a first person perspective (at least in games). The other day, I amassed an eight kill killstreak in quick succession and found myself gasping at how quickly I was reacting to enemies. The mark of a good FPS is how involved you get and right at that moment the game was flowing through my veins.

Official SiteSteamOriginCPCG

4. Diablo 2

Released in 2000, Diablo 2 is the oldest game on this list and the oldest game I’ve ever covered in CPCG. A sequel to the 1996 Diablo, Diablo 2 was a critically acclaimed action RPG from Blizzard back when Warcraft was still a strategy game and has had its fans waiting for a sequel ever since. With the release of Diablo 3 looming on the horizon (currently set to release on May 15th) it’s perhaps an excellent time to delve into D2. The series created a genre you may be familiar with – Diablo-likes persist still, Torchlight and Dungeon Hunter being the obvious examples.

Filled with an interesting storyline, CGI cutscenes that almost stand up even today, and more loot than you will ever see, it’s pretty much perfection distilled into action RPG form. Diablo 2 is one of my favourite games of all time. I’ve sunk more time into it than any other game I can think of over the years and I’m sorely tempted to go and play it right now. There’s little else I can say. It’s £10 from Battle.net, plus another £10 for the expansion, but you can get them for half that in PC World if you’re lucky.

Battle.netCPCG

3. Orcs Must Die

[drop2]What’s better than shooting orcs with an automatic crossbow? Setting traps for them to get caught in – it’s incredibly entertaining to watch an orc wander into the path of an arrow wall and watch as it decimates him. And that’s Orcs Must Die – placing traps and shooting orcs. It’s brilliant fun, whether you just like watching orcs get crushed by falling ceilings, or you enjoy fine-tuning the best possible layout for your traps, or you just love shooting orcs in the face, Orcs Must Die has it all and I struggle to find any reason not to buy it.

OMD can get a little difficult further into the game if you’re not careful with your traps, as you quickly unlock more traps than you can have ‘equipped’ for use in a level. The best tip I can give is to look around the level before choosing the traps you want – if there are pits, consider using something that can knock them into said pits. I usually like to find or manufacture a bottleneck and barrage them with arrows as they try and get through tar pits, but there are so many approaches you’re bound to differ slightly at least. The game is £12 on Steam and OnLive, however OnLive has a sale on at the time of publication, bringing it all the way down to £3.

Official WebsiteSteamOriginOnLiveCPCG

2. Terraria

Ah, Terraria. This is the third time I’ve mentioned Terraria in CPCG, with it being the only game to be covered twice. It was originally likened to Minecraft due to you spawning on a randomly generated world and tasked with surviving. The games are remarkably different if you bother to investigate further, however, with Terraria having considerably more content and more drive to access all that content. Whilst there are similarities, such as tiers of weaponry/armour, different areas that house different enemies, caves, mining, etc, Terraria actually seems to be deeper (pun unintended), if less user-friendly.

Again, I’ve covered this twice before, if you have somehow avoided the articles the links are below. I’ll just update those who aren’t up to speed since the second article. Terraria devs Re-Logic have actually announced the game finished and discontinued development, with Tiy and Blue moving onto other, separate, projects. Sad, yes, but considering the content that has been added for free over the last year, possibly doubling what was originally in the game, there’s easily more than enough for you to entertain yourself with. Whether you like building houses, fighting monsters or sweet, sweet loot, it’s all here and it’s only £6 from Steam. It’s also inexplicably available as a physical product for £13.49 that comes with a few extra trinkets and a flying, in-game rabbit. No, really, they’re hopping mad (that pun was intentional and terrible).

Official SiteSteamAmazonCPCG 1 – CPCG 2

1. Tribes: Ascend

If anything, I’ve actually grown to like Tribes: Ascend even more since I covered it four weeks ago. I’ve been playing the game on and off between CPCGs and Mass Effect (all of them) and I’m having difficulty pulling myself away every time I open it. It’s just meticulous in its brilliance. There are nine classes, three in each armour type, either heavy, medium or light. The heavier classes are perfect for defense due to more health, dealing more damage and generally being difficult to kill, with the trade-off being their slower movement speed. The light classes are much faster and, as such, excellent for attacking. Their specific abilities give them the necessary means to work their way into the enemy base, whether it’s the infiltrator’s cloaking system or the pathfinder’s insane speeds when skiing. The medium classes are, as you might expect, in between.

What’s most interesting, however, is that the versatility and limited customisability for each class can open them up to filling other roles. An effective infiltrator can defend his team’s generator every bit as effectively as he can attack the enemy’s, whilst a juggernaut let loose in the enemy base can raise all kinds of hell. Other than skiing and the focus on speed, it’s how the classes are tailored that makes Tribes so special. They are each clearly suited towards specific roles, but the roles themselves are open-ended. The pathfinder can reach the highest speeds and that is clearly its biggest strength, but that strength doesn’t necessarily make it geared specifically to capturing the enemy flag, it can also be used to chase down enemies who have grabbed its own, or to cut through enemy defences into their generator room

I’ve been experimenting with the infiltrator and I’ve found that he’s every bit as effective at defending as he is at attacking, that cloak is a killer asset in both roles. Whether you’re sneaking past enemy defences and destroying their generator or cloaking in wait for an enemy at your own, both can end with that fantastic feeling you get when you covertly ruin someone else’s day, and isn’t that what multiplayer is really all about? I can not recommend Tribes: Ascend more, it’s my favourite game of the moment and it’s free to play. Unless your PC can’t run it you have no excuse not to try the game if you’re even slightly interested in what is probably the best multiplayer FPS to release for a long time.

Official SiteCPCG

There we have it, the top ten of all the games I’ve covered so far. It was difficult narrowing the list down and I feel there are some that require at least a mention, such as Towns, Nitronic Rush and, as ever, Minecraft. All of the games I’ve covered in CPCG are worth playing, that’s why I covered them, but these right here – this collection of ten games? They’re the cream of the crop and absolutely deserve your attention.

Next Wednesday we will return to our regularly scheduled CPCG. See you there?

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8 Comments

  1. 5) Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity-(£12 on Steam, a steal at that price)
    4) World in Conflict-bought a pre owned copy for £1 recently, and there’s plenty of very cheap deals on this now: if you have a few quid spare and are looking for a good story in an RTS , this is your port of call.
    3) Dungeon Defenders (seriously, how has this NOT had a mention?!?!?! So many TSA’ers play this!)-only £10 on Steam, perfect blend of a Tower Defense with RPG elements, give this a buy guys!
    2) Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War Dark Crusade: currently a weekly meet for this going on at the moment, you can pick up a cheap physical copy for under a fiver at places and a steam one for £10. You need the original Dawn of War to access all the races in multiplayer but it’s definitely worth the money: such a fun RTS.
    1) Any Total War game: They’re all (minus Rise of the Samurai, which only came out a couple of weeks ago) available for under a tenner if you shop around for a physical copy now, I seriously cannot tell you how much value for money you get out of these games, they’re truly brilliant and the love of my gaming life. Just make sure you get a new physical copy of anything from Empire onwards, they use a one use code to activate which is then locked to that account so pre owned copys are completely useless.
    That’s my (admittedly strategy heavy) list right there. Be sure to at least give them a look! :)

    • I haven’t covered Dungeon Defenders yet because it’s heavily coop oriented and I have nobody to play it with :-(

      • Why haven’t you said something when we’re online? I have spanked Dungeon Defenders’ arse red raw, fella! Join in! :-)

      • … and the support from TrendyNet has been utterly superb! (re: patches, DLC, news, etc).

    • My bad, I meant FALL of the Samurai, got mixed up a little there.
      Join us anytime dude, username on Steam is yogdog :)

  2. I like this feature, I can actually run some of them.
    Although I can’t say I’ve seen something better than Dungeons of Dredmor pop up on this list though.
    My own personal favourite PC game surprise.

  3. Everyone should try Realm of the Mad God, its free to play, u can get it on steam or there own site. Its simple, yet really fun and it can be quite addictive.

  4. Diablo 2 is one my favourite games of all time. My brother and I play it loads! Also If you have a decent enough PC try buying Total War: Shogun 2 its only about £7 now.

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