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September 26, 2017

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Gods, kings and mad scientists: new PC games

BERLIN--Bored of your own life? This summer's PC games give you the chance to manage a sports team, rule your own people or become a second-generation physicist. And, if that's not enough, there's the option to become a vengeful god.

Many options this summer belong to the more classical genres, like Gods & Kings (a simulator), Resonance (a nostalgic point and click) or this season's official Tour de France game, where players once again have to lead a team to victory. But there are some new ideas, like in the 3D puzzler Quantum Conundrum.

Indie adventure Resonance hearkens, as it opens up, to classics like Monkey Island or the titles linked to the old Indiana Jones series. It even co-opts the pixilated style of these older games.

The backgrounds do enjoy much more detail, but gameplay returns to the classics. Solving the puzzles involves finding items, combining them and putting them to use.

But there is the innovation of adding long- and short-term memory. With long-term memory, three vital pieces of information can be stored and then used in dialogue with other characters.

Four of these characters are, at various points, played by you as you try to solve the mystery of a scientist who dies in mysterious circumstances shortly before a major breakthrough. The investigating team includes a mathematician, a journalist, a doctor and a policeman.

The game is only available as a PC download for about 10 euros (US$12.60) via platforms like Steam and or the website of the developer, Wadjet Eye Games.

A scientist also plays a pivotal role in Quantum Conundrum from Square Enix. A young boy heads out to seek Professor Quadwrangel in this colorful 3D puzzle game. The professor disappeared without a trace after an experiment.

The boy uses the inventions of the mad scientist to jump between dimensions. That can be helpful. If, for example, you need to move a sofa, just switch to the dimensions where it's light as a feather and can be moved without fuss.

Quantum Conundrum is available for about 14 euros over Steam.

With a new Tour de France comes a new PC game: Pro Cycling Manager Tour de France 2012 from dtp Entertainment. Along with the obligatory contract negotiations and financing questions, players can take advantage of the 3D engine to follow the race in detail, constantly giving their cyclist new directions.

Along with the Tour de France, other favorite tours from Italy and Spain are also depicted. There's also a new multiplayer option, with which up to 20 people can compete against one another online. The game, which has no age recommendations, costs about 34 euros.

Gods & Kings is an add-on to Civilization V from 2K Games. Civilization V has been out for almost two years, but now players can address questions of religion, opening up whole new features.

The new features allow civilizations to amass belief points, though not everyone gets them the same way. The Celts need forests, while the Mayas need temples. The temples free up bonuses and allow economic or military advantages. Players can even opt to send missionaries of their faith to other towns, hoping to sow unrest with the spread of their beliefs.

To really put that to use, Gods & Kings comes with a spy system, several new units and buildings, as well as a few until-now-unseen civilizations, including the Carthaginians and the Dutch.

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