Entertainment
by loldi on February 6, 2012

Left 4 Dead
 

Left 4 Dead Series
Systems: Xbox 360; PlayStation 3; PC

These shooters from the creative minds at Valve (Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Portal) is set in pandemic-ravaged post-apocalyptic Pennsylvania (L4D) and Savannah, Georgia/New Orleans (L4D2). They consist of four survivors doing battle against endless hordes of infected zombies. Powered with the ever-pleasing Source engine, the single player features co-op for up to four players as you work your way across up to seven different “movies” containing four separate chapters each. The “Director,” perhaps one of the more elegant pieces of the Source engine, is a program that actively “directs” the course of the game. In short, it's an artificial intelligence system that controls the spawning of zombies, interactive items (gas and fuel tanks), and weapon placements. Why is this important? Well, it ensures that each gaming experience is unique for all players and provides for a rich replay-ability factor.

In addition to the countless number of “regular” infected freaks charging toward you in an attempt to rip your face off, there are a number “special” zombies that add to the fun. There are Hunters, which prowl along the rooftops waiting to pounce on you and tear into your flesh; Smokers, which are able to use their mutated tongues to strangle survivors; and, of course, the Tank. These are just a few of the uncommon infected, which are all playable characters in the online multiplayer Versus mode.

Alongside the 4-on-4 multiplayer Versus mode is online campaign mode, in which each team has an opportunity to play through the chapter, with the other team playing as special zombies attempting to incapacitate the survivors. Whichever team makes it the farthest without being stopped wins. There is also a recently added “Mutations” online game mode, which changes each week between such special game types as “Everyone Plays As a Tank” and “Last Gnome Standing.” Game modes are now available to be voted on by users.

Loaded with a decent arsenal of guns, melee weapons (including, as seen in the video above, samurai swords, baseball bats, and axes), and grenades, the L4D series provides gamers with an exciting fast-paced post-apocalyptic zombie thriller experience. With maps ranging from abandoned hospitals and airport terminals to amusement parks and creepy cornfields, players are in for hours of non-stop killing. If you like killing zombies, you must get this game.

Half Life 2


Half-Life 2
Systems: Xbox 360; PC

As far as apocalyptic thrillers go, Valve seems to have found the correct recipe. Half-Life is one of the most recognizable video games series of the past 15 years, and the second installment was hailed by some as the best game of the decade.

You play as Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist employed by the Black Mesa Research Facility to investigate the nature of a suspiciously crystal artifact. Through a series of unfortunate events, the scientists inadvertently rip existence a new crap hole in the form of a dimensional rift between our world and the alien world of Xen. In an attempt to cover up the mistake, a Marine Recon unit sent in to clean up the mess constantly hunt Gordon and the remaining survivors of the disaster.

A stocked arsenal of timely and futuristic weapons makes destroying your soon-to-be alien overlords that much more fun. The game is a linear story-based first-person shooter that comes with a terrifying array of enemies, from Headcrabs to Antlions. As on Left 4 Dead, Half-Life 2 is powered with the Source engine, which gives the game realistic physics to go along with the deadly alien and corrupt dystopian police onslaughts. One of the best reviewed games of all time, Half-Life 2 provides you with all of the glorious zombie-alien killing mayhem you could desire.

 

Fallout 3

Fallout 3
Systems: Xbox 360; PlayStation3; PC

Bethesda Studios, the masterminds behind the critically acclaimed phenomena known as Skyrim, brings to the table an apocalyptic RPG that is as customizable as it is unpredictable. In terms of playability, Fallout 3 is similar in almost all aspects of player control as one would have in Skyrim, Oblivion, or any other of Bethesda’s massive video game epics.

Equipped with the V.A.T.S. — Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System — players are presented with a visually stimulating H.U.D., which displays information regarding health, weapon ammo, and environment facts. The game is set in the year 2277, 200 years following a nuclear apocalypse that devastated the world as we know it. The cause of the war was increasingly hostile relations between America and China, which culminated in the nuclear destruction of humanity during the Sino-American War, in 2077.

Born in a Vault — an underground bunker where humanity attempts to survive — you are completely unaware of the conditions outside the metal walls. Upon your 18th birthday (about 15 minutes of gameplay) you are sent out into the world and left to explore its awesome, eerie mystery.

From groups of bandits to insane corrupt settlement leaders, you are constantly engaged in combat with somebody — or some thing. Weapons in the game are basically anything the player is able to pick up. Pieces of metal or wood can be used as weapons in addition to the scattered and make-shift guns lying around the map. The AI system is also entirely unique and non-restrictive to level. That means that the instant you leave the Vault and find a weapon, say, a gun, if you are able to kill an enemy with it, you’ve got yourself a gun. No waiting. In addition, the first-person combat system is built around a Havok physics engine (see video above), which provides for hours of entertainment.{pagebreak}

Resistance 3

Resistance 3
System: PlayStation3

Resistance is one of the top (in my humble opinion) PS3-exclusive franchises available today. With an incredibly detailed post-apocalyptic nightmare to play your way through, the PS3’s superior computing power makes for one hell of a fun first person shooter.

The game takes place in an “alternate” version of the 1950s, where the entire human species is on the verge of extinction at the hands of an invading alien civilization. Throughout the course of the three titles (Resistance: Fall of Man, Resistance 2, and 3) you fight as some of the remaining human military forces who attempt to defeat the Chimera. What started out as a small arrival of the species on an asteroid that impacted Earth, the Chimera expand their invasion by capturing humans and mutating them into super-jacked human being-murdering aliens.

Fret not, however, because the geniuses behind this game at the appropriately named Insomniac Studios are most noted for their use of both WWII-era and futuristic weapons (see above). Complete with a solid online multiplayer that allows for massive battles with up to 60 people, Resistance 3 is a totally awesome apocalyptic experience.
 

Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3
System: Xbox 360

While the Resistance series is one of the more recognizable game franchises for PS3, its competitor on Xbox, Gears of War, is perhaps one of the most recognizable game franchises of all time. Set on the fictional planet of Sera — which is eerily similar-looking to Earth — you play Marcus Fenix, a soldier (“Gear”) who leads the resistance against the Locust.

The game boasts an impressive array of futuristic weaponry, including the ever-popular Chainsaw Bayonet. With four available weapon sloths (pistol, grenade, primary, secondary) the player is free to choose the arsenal of guns with which he wants to decimate his enemies. The “active” reload policy even makes reloading a fun and deadly game. This third-person shooter emphasizes the importance of teamwork to successfully navigate through the chaos-riddled cities of the once-great civilization. The flesh-exploding head shots, coupled with the blood-tearing chainsaws make Gears of War among the top in the post-apocalyptic warfare genre.

In addition to an award-winning single player campaign, Gears of War 3 also features all of the established online multiplayer modes we have come to know and love. An upgraded ‘Horde’ gameplay mode (see video above) provides for an exciting and fast-paced survival game that utilizes all of the blood and gore GoW has to offer. A must-have for all 360 owners.

Prototype


Prototype
Systems: Xbox 360; PlayStation3; PC

Although these games are listed in no particular order, I have intentionally left my favorite, Prototype, for last. What?! It comes nowhere near close to the quality of Gears or Resistance, though! That is entirely true, but I said that it was my favorite, not everyone's. In terms of open-world free-roam games, Prototype is without a doubt one of the kings.

Taking place in modern-day Manhattan, Prototype follows the story of Alex Mercer (you) a scientist who once worked in — you guessed it — a secret military facility. The start of the game is a blur as you attempt to piece together your short-term memory while totally enjoying the massive set of powers you have just obtained. Honestly, at the start of this game, I found it difficult to care what the story mode was about, as I just wanted to sprint up buildings and glide through the air until I landed near some poor, unsuspecting souls. Completely open and free to explore a digital version of Manhattan, simply jetting around for hours makes Prototype one of the most fun games I have ever played.

In order to obtain certain upgrades, however, you must play through the game's story mode, which isn’t half bad either. As you progress, you become stronger, able to absorb experience from every person you kill — or consume. Your completely and totally adaptive new body allows you to transform into anyone you are able to consume (with all your abilities still intact) as well as mutate your body into giant claws, whips, or razor blades. Oh, did I forget to mention you can use machine guns and rocket launchers and can pilot tanks and helicopters? Because you can.

Prototype provides plenty of things to do around the city that make for hours of fun. Whether you are doing the story mode or just carrying unsuspecting souls to the top of the Empire State Building before throwing them off, there is always something to keep you entertained — and keep the apocalypse off for a few more hours. Get this game.

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