Stu­dio Spot­light

Let off a lit­tle Steam with these gems

Games Master - - RETRO MASTER -

3 Counter-Strike (PC – 2000)

Half-Life be­came a hugely pop­u­lar game within the mod­ding com­mu­nity, and Valve had an eye for nab­bing the best ta­lent and bring­ing them into the fold. Counter-Strike is one out­stand­ing ex­am­ple: a pop­u­lar mod that was brought in-house by Valve and led to one of the defin­ing mul­ti­player shoot­ers of the era, thanks to snappy gun­play and iconic maps.

1 Half-Life (PC – 1998)

Valve’s de­but game was a shot in the arm for the games in­dus­try, a clever, ex­hil­a­rat­ing rip­ping up of the rule books that trans­formed first-per­son shoot­ers – and was later out­done by its own se­quel. For mute sci­en­tist Gor­don Freeman, a bad day at the of­fice quickly evolved into Dooms­day, as alien crea­tures from the Xen di­men­sion poured through a worm­hole cre­ated at Black Mesa Re­search Fa­cil­ity.

4 The Or­ange Box (PC, PS3, 360 – 2007)

In­clud­ing this is a slight cheat as a third of it is cov­ered as our 58th Leg­end Of Gam­ing, but the great­est deal in games gave you (deep breath) Half-Life 2, plus fol­low-ups Episode One and Two, Por­tal, and Team Fortress 2. All classics that hugely in­flu­enced their gen­res (Over­watch es­pe­cially owes a debt to TF2), the only sour note was a slightly-bum-at-launch PS3 ver­sion.

2 Left 4 Dead (PC, 360 – 2008)

In yet an­other in­stance of Valve op­er­at­ing in a dif­fer­ent league to most, this zom­bie mas­sacre sim­u­la­tor was a near-per­fect co-op shooter that had an AI ‘di­rec­tor’ which would dy­nam­i­cally change lev­els as you played. The quick turn­around of the se­quel caught the ire of the in­ter­net for essen­tially ex­ist­ing too soon, but both of­fered some of the best-paced mul­ti­player ac­tion in the genre.

5 Dota 2 (PC – 2013)

Yep, Valve gets ahead of the game once again with its last re­leased game, which helped to hugely pop­u­larise MOBAs. Two teams of five bat­tle it out to de­stroy their op­po­nent’s An­cient (ba­si­cally their base) through a mix of real-time strat­egy and shout­ing at their team­mates to be bet­ter. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also one of the largest es­ports in the world.

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