|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
Counter-Strike came out in 1999 for PC. It was originally released as a mod for Valve’s Half-Life and was later bought by Valve and released for Windows as a stand-alone franchise. The game’s popularity rocketed because it was one the very first FPS games on PC and had unique and simple objectives. CS had and still has the following modes; Bomb-Defusal, Rescue the Hostages, Assassination, TDM and a Free-For-All DM. The players are divided into two teams, Counter-Terrorists and Terrorists, where CTs basically have to stop Terrorists from doing acts of terror. The game has retained its simplicity even after numerous new instalments in the franchise. The latest one being Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was released in the year 2012 was rated 9/10 on Steam and even after 7 years of its release it managed to retain its position as one of the most played games on Steam. Another game added to the series was Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies which even though was released two years after CS: GO, had the exact same graphics as CS 1.6 and didn’t get great reviews. The developers tried making something new but most probably lacked in capturing a decent amount of audience because of the dated graphics and monotonous game modes. Personally, I believe that it could have been much more successful if the graphics were similar to CS: GO. The company, however, does not solely depend upon Counter-Strike for the majority of the fan following. Valve other games like DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2 have hundreds and thousands of active players. Even though the company hasn’t released any games for over half a decade, it is believed (and we all do hope) that they are still working on new games. Team Fortress 2 is also pretty much abandoned by the developers by now, which was proved after they took 10 years to fix a major bug.
Grand Theft Auto
|The 4th Game in the Series|
Grand Theft Auto, most popularly known as the GTA series was released by Rockstar Games, the first one in the franchise was Grand Theft Auto which was initially available for Windows and MS-DOS in 1997 and later came out for Consoles like Game Boy and Play Station. It was an open-world game where you had to carry out certain missions given to you by certain characters. As GTA was released in the late ’90s, it had no cut-scenes and the conversation between characters was shown with the help of dialogue boxes and pixelated portraits of the character speaking. It sold over 150 million copies across all platforms and gave rise to Rockstar’s insanely popular GTA Franchise. Most of the people and critics disrelished the graphics but couldn’t deny the fact that overall the game was quite gripping and fun to play. Even though the game showed a top view of the player and the environment and not a third-person perspective, the game still managed to make it not feel odd because of the smooth camera following and movement. The series continued with 5 total games in the franchise and multiple spin-offs including San Andreas and Vice City. Vice City was also pretty much based on the famous 1983’s cult classic Scarface which has had a major influence on the pop culture ever since. The game developers have never till date, failed to impress everyone with new games in the GTA series. The latest one being Grand Theft Auto 5 has splendid graphics, amazing storyline, interesting characters (especially Trevor) and the developers have really worked on even the minute details that overall add to the beauty of the game. Surprisingly enough, the spin-offs like Vice City and San Andreas were extraordinarily popular and are still considered the best games in the series. The games although had basic 3D graphics were ahead of their time and had flawless plots and storylines. These games had touched upon the infamous 80’s drug wars and other gang wars which also sparked interest in these games. The sixth game is still under development and is said to take place in Vice City.
|A Screenshot from FarCry2|
Far Cry is another open-world game which was published in March of 2004 by Ubisoft. The series’ first entry, namely Far Cry, was not entirely an Open-World game. You were dropped on an island where you had to find a journalist who went missing when our boat was destroyed by mercenaries. This game had admirable graphics and had a potential for further sequels which would also become popular. The second entry; Far Cry 2, came out four years hence. Far Cry 2 was clearly ahead of its time with vast ready-to-explore maps and always provides you with different tasks so you’re never idle unless you choose to because the game offers complete freedom of doing anything anywhere when you’re not on a mission. There are multiple face-offs with patrol cars and could occur anywhere which adds a lot of action in the most unexpected places. The game received great reviews and is considered as one of the best among the whole series. Far Cry 3 is by far the best one in the whole franchise, the game has clear and polished graphics. The most appreciated factor in this game was the villain named Vaas Montenegro. Vaas is portrayed as a complete psychopath and even though was an antagonist, was loved by all. The 4 years gap between the release of the series’ debut and the second entry was filled in by 2 spin-offs; Far Cry: Instincts and Far Cry: Vengeance. Far Cry 4, arguably my favourite one in the series was released in 2014. It was mainly based on the Nepalese Civil War and had vast mountainous regions with snowy cliffs, lakes, rivers, caves and forests. The environment had a calm and soothing aura but was equally intense when on a mission or on a side task. You have stealth missions, typical face-offs. Another thing that made the game more realistic and more enjoyable was the wildlife, you had tigers, wolves, badgers, piranhas, deer and even grizzly bears. When in an enemy base, you could simply shoot and destroy the tiger or wolf’s cage which when released would attack all the nearby enemies. You could even ride Elephants to simply travel or to flip over cars and cause mass destruction. One flaw I noticed in this game was that there was no shadow of our character which even though isn’t easily noticeable, once seen cannot be unseen.
Need For Speed
|A Snap from Need For Speed: Payback’s Trailer|
Need for Speed is a car racing video game franchise. The series started off with the debut game in 1994 available across platforms like Sega Saturn, Play Station, MS-DOS, Windows. The game surprisingly had the First-Person Perspective from inside the car. There were traffic vehicles and Police chases and had fun gameplay. The game had a total of six tracks with different environments. The game was admired and thus led to the creation of the whole franchise. The second one came out three years later and never fails to make me feel nostalgic. I used to play this game when I was a bit older than a toddler and still remember the maps, cars, main menu, EVERYTHING! Even though it didn’t have the facility to play online, I used to compete against bots. I had the SE version of the game and my favourite ride was the Ferrari F50 and Ford Indigo which was unlocked from the very beginning in the SE version of the second Need for Speed. You could change the colour of the car, check out its engine specification and could even switch the transmission mode between Manual or Automatic. There were 3 modes Classic Single Race, Tournament and Knockout. The franchise went on developing over 27 games. According to many players, the developers have started focusing more on making money rather than making good games. Yet, there were quite a few games like Need for Speed Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted which received very positive reviews from players and critics alike. The latest entry in the series was Need for Speed” Payback which came out in 2017 and received mediocre reviews. The franchise has few games on every platform including Android OS. The trailer of the soon-to-be-released game named Need for Speed Heat is out on YouTube and although players don’t have high expectations, still have their fingers crossed for something that could bring back the good old NFS feels.
|Goro, from Mortal Kombat X|
Mortal Kombat is a game franchise by Midway, the first game released was in the year 1992. The game captured a lot of attention in arcades. It is a simple combat game with different characters and arenas. Most of the characters were quite queer with different appearances and fighting techniques. The game became popular due to many factors including; unique moves that only certain characters could perform which created a massive potential for unique combos and moves to whoop the other guy’s butt, the game had gory animations and moves which was termed as “Fatality”. Gory moves, storylines and the compatibility for being an arcade game, made this game super popular in a short period. The first Mortal Kombat had seven playable characters named, Kano, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, Liu Kang. Instead of using pixelated sprites, the designers decided to use images of a real person in the video-game character’s costume in all different poses that could possibly appear during a fight. This made the game look like it had the best graphics. The series has retained its position as one of the most renowned of all, even after multiple years and installation in the franchise. The latest game was released on 23rd of April in 2019 and was the eleventh instalment in the series. Due to the betterment in graphics and the tools used in building games the game has improved quite a bit. The gameplay has improved, new characters have been added, new moves have been introduced and due to the captivating graphics, the fatalities are crystal clear and you can see every single detail of all the gruesome animations. Another common strategy that MK used to gain popularity was to release games on all platforms, even on Android and iOS. Developers also attempted in breaking the monotony of the classic fighting game by sometimes introducing other modes that had included Kart racing with fatalities and a kind of “free roam” mode. This strategy is also seen to be followed by another Fighting series named Tekken which I personally prefer over Mortal Kombat.