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Robots, orcs, dragons fight for gaming space on PCs

BERLIN--Robots, orcs and dragons are all fighting for gaming space on PCs this season.

“Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron” will help fulfill more than a few childhood fantasies as it lets gamers who used to play with Transformers figures guide them on a computer screen.

Released by Activision, it's based directly on the 2010 predecessor “The Battle for Cybertron.” Besides the titular heroes and the evil Decepticons, players can also choose to control Megabots, which are made up of up to five smaller robots. During gameplay, players take on the roles of multiple robots, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

A multiplayer mode also gives players the chance to build their own robot out of various components, including camouflage and flight elements. But little has changed in the way fighting is conducted: Players see their character from a shoulder perspective, fighting with either weapons or their fists, or converting into a vehicle when necessary.

The PC version will sell for about 50 euros (US$63) and is recommended for players aged 12 and up.

“Secret Files 3,” from Koch Media, requires characters Nina and Max to chase down one of the world's oldest mysteries, but the developer isn't saying which one.

There are changes — Nina and Max even get married this time. It's mostly played out in the present, though there are trips into ancient Egypt to clear up some of the background story. In the past, players take on the role of a master thief who steals an artifact that becomes important in the present.

Players will control five characters during the course of the game, sometimes two at once. Controls are point and click, with some enhancements, including a function that quickly makes it clear which objects are important and can be combined.

Less experienced players can opt for easier modes. Players' decisions affect the overall gameplay and lead to one of four possible endings. The game should sell for about 37 euros and is recommended for players aged 12 and up.

One of the industry's most beloved games will stage a revival with “Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.” The reworked version of this 1998 classic from Overhaul Games promises three new characters and one new playing realm where players can send their troop of heroes for a life-or-death arena battle.

The controls have also been simplified and the resolution improved for modern monitors. Along with a PC version, there will also be iPad, Mac and Android versions. A download version of the game is at www.baldursgate.com for US$20.

“F1 2012” should get motorsport fans excited when it comes on Sept. 21. All drivers and teams from the current year are represented, as are 25 courses.

There are some new additions, such as a Young Driver's Test, where beginners can test their skills. Developers have also promised a dynamic weather system that will have consequences for the race. “F1 2012” has no age limitations and will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, with the PC version costing 50 euros.

“Mists of Pandaria” from Blizzard Entertainment is the fourth expansion of the online role-playing game “World of Warcraft.” Due Sept. 25, orcs and humans encounter the previously undiscovered Asian continent of Pandaria. Players can take control of one of the bear-like Pandarians and create a new monk-class hero.

Additionally, there will be 18 new opponents and multiple new additions. Players' virtual pets can also be used in battle this time. The title is recommended for players aged 12 and up, and can be downloaded or purchased as a DVD for about 35 euros.

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