@redswirl It’s hard to say what the quintessential cyberpunk game is…I’d say Deus Ex belongs to a clutch of titles that showcase the styling of this beloved geek-chic subset. Don’t forget the incredible Dreamweb from way back. I’d put that up there as a much more pure cyberpunk experience – taking its cues from the defining authors much more heavily. But, you’re right that Deus Ex is steeped in the thematics and aesthetics of cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk fiction and ideas.
For me, the top three would be the original System Shock, Dreamweb, Syndicate and Deus Ex. A shortlist would include Uplink, Hacker Evolution, a slightly tenuous Omikron: The Nomad Soul and a little-known Aussie-made sandbox RPG called The Creed – think an open-ended RPG-lite Syndicate Wars – one that shipped with an incredibly deep mission creator; user-generated NPC logic chains and parameters, dialog options, the works. It’s existed on the PC in certain titles henceforth, but The Creed certainly blew my young idiotic mind back in 1998.
Certainly looking forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
In regards to @angryjedi‘s always-enjoyable Whatchyabeenplayin’, let me throw down.
Frozen Synapse @mjpilon and myself opened fire on each other for the first round of the tourney and by some stroke of luck, the deciding round had two bazookas on each team. Luckily, my rockets found some masonry to detonate against and bathed opponents in the warm wash of a high-explosive shockwave. HOWEVER, I must duck out of the tourney due to continued internet woes – woes that will now be fixed via the installation of fresh, faultless, flawless fabulous fibre-optics on the 20th of August. Thus, my worthy opponent, I had thee the baton and encourage you to make wurst from your bested opponents. Godspeed, @mjpilon.
Alpha Protocol Oh how I wish I had the time to marathon games like the old days. Alpha Protocol would be done and dusted by now, but for what it’s worth, still enjoying it immensely. Rather janky in places, and certain areas feature some of the most pedestrian level design and furnishings I’ve seen in the modern gaming era, but you play for the conversations, and that’s what I’m enjoying most. And when the action sequences are this unreliable in terms of stealth mechanics (enemies either oblivious, or somehow they know you’re there from a mile away), I eschewed the stealth agent run and got busy with the Assault rifle proficiencies. Having a blast. I’ll keep the stealth antics for a more reliable system…like DE:HR or something. Or….
Hitman Blood Money Doing another run on this in anticipation of the SoS mission. You really cannot beat Io Interactive for urban flavour. They craft the darkest and most delightful missions and scenarios. Looking forward to reading/hearing Squaddies’ thoughts on the game who’ve never played it prior. Contracts still reigns supreme for me, but Blood Money is definitely the most inventive and varied.
Men of War: Assault Squad / RUSE Always going back and forth between these two. Nabbed the DLC packs for RUSE over the Steam Sales, so nuclear artillery, the Japanese faction and a nice selection of maps are now things to play with. Sad to see only one Pacific map, but the game at its heart really isn’t a grognardian RTS…it’s a beautiful real-time boardgame. Men of War…well…you know how I feel about that glorious RTT experience. Outside of the incredible physics and sheer danger enemies present, nothing beats taking direct control of an infantry flamethrower and flanking around a barn to hose a nest of German artillery with Yankee chilli-sauce. @beige and @bowlisimo, I do hope you fellows end up owning this one down the line. It’s great fun and terrific co-op.
Supreme Commander 2 And finally, ol’ SupCom2. After fighting and besting an aggravating problem involving my Mobility Radeon and for some reason, it turning off geometry instancing (hideous graphical glitching thereafter), I’ve been continually enjoying just skirmishing against the computer. There are so many wonderful units and options within. Going back to what @bowlisimo said about the Chris Taylor titles being quite soulless, I’m in complete agreement…right up until SupCom2. I REMAIN IN A CONSTANT EROTIC TRYST WITH THIS TITLE. It’s a military science-fiction hardware lover’s wet dream. Dropships on automated deployment runs loading freshly-constructed ground units in batches of fifty, ferrying them to the front from the designated marshalling yards. Mobile shield generators flaring with every enemy shot made. Gargantuan experimental units thundering up out from their construction scaffolds and beginning their lumbering trek towards their rally point. Artillery raining down in salvoes of hundreds of shells, leaving the shattered hulks of quadruped gun platforms smoking and blackened. And need I remind the reader of an entire naval force crawling up the beach on newly-researched legs, their cannons brought to bear on the defenders?
What’s more, SupCom2 has one of the best strategic zooms this side of AI Wars or, to a lesser extent (perhaps, more aptly, to a different extent), RUSE.
It might look like a Michael Bay effort compared to the nuanced subtleties of Starcraft, but I would argue it’s as enjoyable and deep in its own way – just on a much grander scale. Amazing options in the tech tree to really direct what kind of force you’d like to build. More enjoyable for me, at least. Here’s a rather finely-soundtracked 4v4 video that sums it all up perfectly.
How I wish these were marathon sessions, but home duties and scribble sessions dig into the gaming time. So, a mission here, a quarter-skirmish there, you know how it goes.
I shall leave it there. I’ll be offline at home until the 20th, but will browse via phone and hopefully drop a few comments when I’m at work. Keep it up, Squaddies.