Steam has clumped THQ and Relic games together into great money-saving packs.
Admist all the E3 hype and fluff, Microsoft snuck out the latest of its Backward Compatibility updates, with some of the very best Xbox games ever made now fully compatible with the Xbox 360.
You've seen it a hundred times before: "the most authentic and realistic [insert topic] experience ever!" We all want that to be true, but know it's just a handy sound-bite to slap on the back of the box. Even with our cynic dials whacked up, we still hope that there's going to be gargantuan amounts of fun attached to all this realism.
Take the 2004 Full Spectrum Warrior; that was pitched in much the same way and came out as one of the most interesting and fun games of the year. Originally conceived as a military simulator for the US Army, Pandemic soon realised that it was actually a really entertaining little urban warfare concept that played out like a puzzle game, as opposed to your typical squad combat affair.
On the face of it, Ten Hammers is an incremental update to the original, sticking firmly to the successful formula with some control and AI tweaks. Once again, you're put in charge of arranging two squadrons of four men around various dangerous fictional Middle Eastern war zones. Like any war game, it's all about eliminating hostiles, taking out key installations, destroying tanks, calling in air strikes, rescuing key personnel, and generally staying alive - you know the drill. But, just as with the original Full Spectrum Warrior, it's very different from the strategic shooter herd. In this case, you never actually take direct control of individual men. You can't even fire a single bullet in anger yourself, but simply point a four-blob formation cursor (also used to good effect in Brother In Arms) to where you want the whole squad to stand, click it, and then sit back and watch them take position, take cover and await further orders. Sometimes you'll get it badly wrong and reel in horror as they all get picked off by a previously unseen sniper, but it's a game that challenges you to plan, cover all options and out-think your foes in ways that few games ever have before.
Although you could argue that Pandemic's first "Spectrum Warrior" title didn't exactly leave us "Full", you'd be hard pressed to convince me that it didn't give us something interesting to chew on. With the sequel, Ten Hammers, the developer has reacted to criticism and refined a number of elements that ought to make for a more enjoyable game - helped no doubt by its newfound distance from the core specification demanded by the US Army for the original training tool upon which FSW was based.