Diablo 2Developer: Blizzard North
Though Diablo 2
claims itself to be an RPG, we reckon the linear skill-trees and rapid character progression make it more of a hack and slash. One thing’s for sure though and that’s that it’s proven one of the most popular games of the last ten years thanks to Battle.net integration and on-going content updates.
With randomly generated areas and items, it’s clear that Diablo 2
owes a lot to the old ASCII Rogue
likes, but it manages to improve endlessly on that formula thanks to a great story and streamlined control mechanism. Never has holding down the left mouse button felt so compelling and rewarding.
It’s not the control system or gothic artistry which earns Diablo 2
a place on this list though as, truth be told, the singleplayer game is actually a bit repetitive. The multiplayer on the other hand is endlessly replayable though and the still active Battle.net community will doubtlessly back us up on that. All that really remains to be seen is whether or not the sequel can measure up in the same way.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Really, any of the Half-Life
games could be placed on this list as all of them are titles which truly demand your attention and the series as a whole is definitely a must-play. We’ve singled out the latest instalment in the series though as Valve is a developer that’s learned a lot from the previous games and has used those lessons to make Episode Two
the most polished game in the series yet.
The latest chapter in the on-going Half-Life
series, Episode Two
is all about Gordon and Alyx attempting to regroup with the rest of the Human Resistance after the destruction of City 17. Carrying vital information that could turn the tide of the war, agile Alyx and her mute man-servant desperately need to reconnect with the rest of the Black Mesa alums.
As FPS games go, Episode Two
really has it all – huge setpieces, vehicle sections and a fiercely emotional ending that left fans shell-shocked. It also goes much further than previous games into explaining the mysterious G-man, which is reason enough to give it a look.
Quake 2Developer: id Software
may have been the first explorations into 3D, but it was Quake 2
which really took gamers to the bleeding edge. Coloured lighting, creative AI and a story that actually made sense – Quake 2
was the first ‘proper’ FPS for many.
Eschewing the demonic face of Doom
and the original Quake
, Quake 2
tells the usual tale of a space marine trapped behind enemy lines and who goes on to kill the alien leader, the cannon-headed Makron. The story would later be picked up in Quake 4
, creating an apparent tradition that only the even-numbered Quake
games are allowed a story, but Quake 2
is where it all began.
With a firmly established modding and multiplayer community that's still strangely active, Quake 2
was a huge for id Software and for gamers too. It's a testament to the quality of the game that there are still independent developers out there creating good-looking games based on the Quake 2
Oh, and just to be totally honest, there was a fair bit of arguing over whether Duke Nukem 3D
or Quake 2
got the nod. In the end though, we decided that mods and coloured lighting were far better than strippers...which probably explains a lot.