Sometimes we miss genres considered long dead and fossilised. Why is there nothing new like Dungeon Keeper or classic 3D platfomers? Remakes, such as the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, are just remakes, retreading old ground and just adding a new layer of polish. If only there was something like it, but NEW and exciting… We have good news – there are spiritual successors that often do the job better than the originals!
You liked: Commandos
You’re going to love: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
The particular type of gameplay introduced by Commandos has never been excessively popular. You can easily list all games that represent it: Commandos 1-2, Desperados 1 and 2, Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood. That’s it. But this style has its fans, and they miss leading a team of stealth assassins far behind the enemy lines.
Fortunately, Mimimi, a small German studio, has revitalized the genre with Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. It’s basically upgraded Commandos set in beautifully designed medieval Japan. Being a long and challenging game, and one so well realized, it’s a mystery why it hasn’t become a major hit.
Also, Desperados 3 has just been announced, also by Mimimi, so more stealth-strategy goodness is on its way!
You liked: Baldur’s Gate
You’re going to love: Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2
RPGs aren’t what they used to be. Rarely can you find a game that combines tactical combat, extremely varied character builds, strong focus on story and managing party members relations. Nowadays the developers care more about the in-game world more than anything, making it huge and seamless, while back then, worlds were relatively small, seen from the top-down perspective, but filled with characters and possibilities. And Baldur’s Gate was the best example of this philosophy.
There are Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 remakes, but how many times can you play the same game? Fortunately, Pillars of Eternity, a spiritual successor of Baldur or Icewind Dale, was created by RPG veterans at Obsidian. It’s what you’d expect: top-down view, extremely complex mechanics, slower pace and tons of character moments.
Also worth checking out is Tyranny, a similar game from the same developer, but one where you play as the bad guy.
You liked: Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2
You’re going to love: Dungeons 3 (and 2, and 1)
Another forgotten sub-genre: strategy/sim seen from the perspective of the villain. Dungeon Keeper has always been a true gem: a one-of-its-kind game where you manage a hellish dungeon not unlike a farm or a company. And even though the series had made an attempt at resurrection – on mobiles – it was a total disasted and perhaps the worst implementation of pay-to-win in history.
Dungeons, however, have brought it back. The first part of the series had tried to distance it from Dungeon Keeper a bit, but the two that followed brought back many well-known mechanics. There’s also a sprinkle of Warcraft, with ground missions similar to classic RTS games, and all of it is presented in beautifully stylised graphics.
You liked: Banjo-Kazooie and other collectathon platformers
You’re going to love: Yooka-Laylee
In the late 90s, 3D platfomers were everpresent. Yet suddenly, they disappeared without a trace. If you miss N64 or PS1 titles such as Banjo-Kazooie or Spyro the Dragon – all featuring relatively open worlds and challenging you with finding a ton of hidden objects – you should definitely try out Yooka-Laylee.
Made by the team behind Banjo, the game looks cute, plays well, has huge levels that can be expanded, and perfectly channels the spirit of classics. Watch out, though: 100-percenting it is not an easy task!
You liked: Planescape: Torment
You’re going to love: Torment: Tides of Numenera
Planescape: Torment has gotten a lot of attention and fan love because it was… different. Set in a strange, otherworldly universe, with a protagonist who wasn’t falling into any standard category of RPG heroes. And, of course, with in-depth role-playing mechanics, allowing varied character builds despite the character itself being pre-set for the player.
Torment: Tides of Numenera isn’t a direct sequel, despite similarities in the title. Instead of Planescape, it was set in the universe of Numenera, an established pen-and-paper RPG series taking place in a future so distant that technology is indistinguishable from magic. It’s a vast, incredibly well written game with tons of dialogue and character interactions, and with a turn-based combat system. Don’t be surprised, however, if you go a good 5-10 hours without a single fight.
You liked: Left 4 Dead 1 and 2
You’re going to love: Warhammer: Vermintide 1 and 2
Left 4 Dead feels like a fluke. It’s a game made by accident, when its creators were dabbling in the Source engine and discovered it was able to generate hordes and hordes of enemies that acted like a herd. “Why not make a zombie shooter out of it?” they thought – and they did. Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 are one of the best cooperative FPS games of all time, and considering their incredible success, it’s a mystery why they’ve never got a sequel.
However, the core idea lives in Warhammer: Vermintide. It’s pretty much Left 4 Dead: four players against hordes of enemies in a series of relatively long linear stages. Here, however, the focus is on melee combat – but since this was the direction Left 4 Dead was testing in the second entry, we can almost call it L4D3.
You liked: Fallout 1 and 2
You’re going to love: Wasteland 2
Fallout 1 and 2 are one of the best RPGs ever, if not the best games of all time. The worldbuilding, the dialogue, the freedom, the complexity of characters, the way the gameplay changes depending on your character build, the inimitable atmosphere – it all simply works, and works brilliantly. Mostly due to the top-down view and turn-based combat.
Fallout 3 and 4, and especially New Vegas, are great, but they’ve taken a different approach, more action-focused. If you want a „true” Fallout 3, you should try Wasteland 2 – which is actually a sequel to Fallout’s direct predecessor, made by the same team. It’s all here: the postapocalyptic world, tactical combat, intricate dialogue system and a lot of quirky humor. If you liked the originals, you can’t go wrong with Wasteland.
Know other new games that feel like good old games? You can probably find them – and at low prices – on Kinguin.net.