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8 Games in 2000
Feature Column by Erich Becker
August 9, 2000


ESC Magazine version 4 has been launched, and we are back in the groove. I took a break from my regular editorialized column to give my opinion on the eight games you must own this year. The long vacation is over, and it is time to start playing those games. Are we hardcore or what?

1Warcraft III
Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard

No matter when this game comes out, this November or next year, you know that you are going to buy the game no matter what. This is one of those games that you have been looking forward to since the day Blizzard announced the development of the game. From the information, and teaser movie, that the Blizz has released, we can see that this will be one hell of a game. Combined with the first "real 3D Warcraft game," and the rich storyline, character development, and sweet multiplayer game this will be a major contender for Game of the Year. (Update: Warcraft III is going to be a no-show for the 2000 holiday season.)

2Diablo II
Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard

Diablo II has already shipped, and stunned the minds of gamers everywhere for two reasons. First, this game is awesome. It isn’t just your run of the mill action RPG; this game has everything that makes games fun. Intriguing storyline, excellent characters, great spells and weapons, and gameplay that will keep you coming back long after the already dated graphics become a memory. The second reason that Diablo II stunned us was that Blizzard actually released a game that wasn’t bug free. Diablo II was riddled with bugs, some more serious than others. Users of nVidia based TNT2 cards (like me) couldn’t get the thing to run in 3D acceleration (I, for one, still can’t play the game with all the pretty effects turned on). Still, even after three patches and some lukewarm reviews, the game sells continuously. Lucky enough to grab the Collector’s Edition, and you are in for a great treat. There is no doubt about it, you must own Diablo II. (See the review here!)

3The Sims
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Maxis

This game has been out for a little over six months, and if you don’t own it yet, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick it up as soon as possible. The game gives you complete control over virtual people, and you can do as you wish with them. There seems to be no limit — well ok, some limit — as to what you can do to them, but you do have complete freedom. If you are sick and demented, as was PCXL, then you can entrap your Sims and watch them expire, or you can create a Sim who is a true reflection of yourself, without having your wife/girlfriend/mother yell at you for days on end to pick up that Ruffles bag you put on the floor two days ago. Play God, but beware: Angry people revolt against bad gods. (See the review here!)

4Black and White
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Lionhead Studios

Another great god game, that has the potential to take gaming to the next level, comes from one the master game designers in the business, Peter Molyneux. The game gives you control of a gigantic creature that is evolved depending on your actions. The game boasts, without a doubt, some of the best gameplay and graphical elements to be seen on the PC in a long time. If you decided to pass up The Sims (shame on you), then you shouldn’t pass this one up. Gamers just finishing up The Sims should feel right at home settling into this game. Don’t know if it will make it out this year yet though keep them fingers crossed!

5Tribes 2
Publisher: Sierra/Havas Interactive
Developer: Dynamix

Remember Tribes? Thought so. Tribes 2 is the sequel to the awesome squad based online shooter, Starsiege Tribes. The game is now boasting more character classes, more weapons, better graphics, better sound, and better net play. This isn’t a rehash of the same old stuff, its new stuff mixed in. Having seen some movies of the game, it looks absolutely stunning. The graphics could give Black and White a run for its money when they are released. Fans of Tribes will definitely want to buy this, and Tribes 2 may just bring in many more players to the game, and the genre itself. But the game may also scare them away with the questionable soundtrack. Come on Motley Crue? Gimme a break.

6Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Bioware

The best RPG of last year is getting the sequel treatment, and what a treatment it is. BGII will now support 3D acceleration, improved interface, and better everything. Besides now supporting acceleration, the game ill let you run in a maximum of 800x600 resolution, so you can get better graphics out of the game. Based on the AD&D rule set, the game is looking to kick some major ass when it is released later this year. RPG fans that were appalled by Final Fantasy VIII can now stop holding their breath. Am I the only one who wishes Squaresoft would curl up and die?

7Deus Ex
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Ion Storm

Some may laugh at my seventh choice, but the truth is I still have faith in ION Storm. Sure, Daikatana was a disappointment to say the least, the dog should have been put down. Yet when I look at what another team at ION is doing with the Unreal Engine and everything it has to offer, it makes me wonder whether we should not judge the whole company based on one game. Deus Ex has renewed my faith. The game looks great, has some great ideas, and a real plus, it has one great storyline. From what I have seen so far it looks like a great game, and that is why it makes my list.

8Halo
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie Software

Someone needs to buy the latest issue of PC Gamer to watch the 150 meg, 10 minute E3 movie that shows off tons of gameplay, lots of pretty graphics, great sound, and an all around game that will have you reaching for a napkin. Still somewhere wondering if the game would actually come out for the PC and Mac after the buyout of Bungie by Microsoft, but it is for sure coming out for the two computer platforms as well as Xbox (supposedly). Not much can be said about this game, you need to see it to believe it. Do yourselves a favor and see the movie on the PCG CD. It is worth the price of the magazine.

 

Games that didn’t quite make the list, but shouldn’t be missed:

  • The Sims: Livin’ Large
  • Quake III Arena Expansion Pack
  • Midtown Madness 2
  • Motorcross Madness 2
  • Homeworld: Cataclysm
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (drool…Quake III engine…)
  • SimMars
  • Hitman: Code 47
  • IGI — I’m Going In
  • Starlancer

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