Free mod Download
Download Empires

Empires has consumed my life. I would probably compare it to a land-based version of Allegiance if I had to compare it to an existing game. Empires is a hybrid RTS and FPS, complete with classes, vehicles, a commander, and experience points. Two teams fight to capture flags as each teams commander builds bases and collects resources. I won’t bore you by detailing the many aspects of the game, but an excellent description of the game can be found over at Playthisthing.

Empires totally aces the RTS/FPS hybrid, but my favorite game aspect is how the game’s pace ranges from orderly to complete chaos in mere seconds. Forget about America’s Army, Empires provides the most realistic feeling of being in an actual warzone I have ever played. Most other FPSes do a fine job of providing you with chaos during firefights, but only Empires presents a very rigid command structure, where not following orders is a sure way to get killed repeatedly.

For instance, at the start of a game, I followed my squad leader over to an old set of ruins, as we were ordered by the commander to fortify the area. Most of my squad played as engineers, with the exception of one heavy machine gunner. We immediately began building structures that our commander had placed as soon as we came in range, while our lone machine gunner set up to face any enemies that might try to interrupt our fortifying.

Within a few minutes, my squad of four had constructed a full base, complete with defensive turrets and a spawnpoint. This may not seem that great, but the amazing thing about it was that we did not speak a word to each other while doing this. Knowing what needed to be done, we simply went about building a base as fast as possible. On the other side of the map, where our commander had sent another less organized squad, our forces were being slaughtered, and our base was destroyed. This squad did not follow the order given by the commander, and died as a result. In Empires a small, organized group can do a lot if everyone follows orders and does what they should. Empires takes teamwork to levels almost no other game has gone to before.

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Free Mod Download (Half-Life 2)
Download Battlegrounds

I was reading an article about some popular mods the other day, and wasn’t very interested in any of them. When the first entry in an article about mods is a mod enabling you to play Battlefield 2 as nothing but World of Warcraft characters, and everything else is a few years old, I tend to get bored.

One mod that caught my attention years ago, and still tends to suck me back in is Battlegrounds or BG. This is a Half-Like 1 and 2 mod that takes place during the American Revolution. The British and Americans fight to control points on the map. It’s pretty much like any team-based FPS, but guns take about 7.5 seconds to reload, and the majority of combat is done with bayonets.

This is, in my opinion, what sets BG aside from most FPS mods. Because the game relies heavily on melee combat, to really be any good at the game, you need to learn how to use a bayonet. Anybody with a mouse can point and click to shoot a person 50 feet away, but Battlegrounds has a bit of a learning curve in the fact that if you can’t melee, you don’t survive.

This mechanic presents an entirely different FPS experience, one where individual skill can easily outbalance team coordination. I have been in matches where a single person has held a capture point against 4 or 5 people, and come out unscathed. Combat in Battlegrounds is not a contest to see who can get the better shot, but usually a 1v1 test of melee skill.

I was never very good at Counterstrike or any of those shooting games, but I excelled at stabbing people in the face in Battlegrounds. My clan even won a couple of North American Championships. There are organized clans and league play in BG, and a pretty hardcore community centered around the game. There are even historical clans which get together and perform line battles using authentic military tactics for the time.

All in all, Battlegrounds is a welcome departure from your standard FPSes. It is a bit of a challenge to learn how to operate the bayonet properly, but definitely worth it. If you have Half-Life 2, or can use Half-Life 2 mods, this is arguably the best mod out there.