So 2015 is sort of a big year for Linux gaming isn’t it? Steam releases their long awaited Steam Controller, the steam, Humble, and GOG linux library are growing bigger than ever, and a couple of great new (old) tittles, some of them a great AAA tittles of yesteryear, saw a Linux port releases. My highlights were:
I’m a big fan of fighting games, and Skullgirls is a solid addition to Linux Fighting Game stable. Not too long a go, the state of linux port of Skullgirls was a complicated mess of blaming and finger pointing, since some of the backers were under the impression that linux support was part of the Kickstarter campaign’s goal, while the developers consider it to be something extra. This was sorted out when the guys at Humble jumped in and offered them help to develop and deliver the port. So if you want to add Skullgirls into your game library, buy it from Humble.
Skullgirls is a tag-team based 2D fighting game sporting beautifully drawn sprites. The roster is filled with horror-themed fighters reminiscent of Capcom’s Darkstalker Fighting Game series. You either select a single character with large amount of health point and deals more damage, or a group of 2 to 3 fighters that can recover their health when tagged out, and perform character assist attack. With proper gamepad support, Skullgirls plays beautifully on my Dualshock 4 equipped linux box.
Yes, if you’re fighting games aficionado, chances are, you’ve rocked all the games in this bundle to death, either in their original arcade format back in the 90s, or emulate them with MAME. Today, the Humble team went out of their way to help us wrap each game on an emulator and provide us with a proper, legal way to obtain the ROMs and play these games 😀 The NeoGeo Classics Complete Edition includes classics such as Metal Slug, Fatal Fury Special, and Samurai Shodown II, as well as something newer such as The Last Blade, and Garou: Mark of The Wolves. Obviously, since it’s a direct emulation of the original game, the graphics are bit (too) dated. But if you can get past that, you’re in for a tons of hour of fun gaming experience. Gamepad support is available, and my DualShock 4 works beautifully.
Spec Ops: The Line was originally released on Windows on 2012 and saw it Linux release in around May 2015. A story-driven third-person shooter, Spec Ops: The Line put you in the shoe of Captain Martin Walker, heading a three-man Delta Force team in a recon mission, against the Damned 33rd Infantry Battalion of U.S Army, which deserted following a relief mission in a sandstorm-ravaged Dubai.
Unfortunately it was developed with eON wrapper, the same stuff that made Linux port of The Witcher 2 barely playable. My GT750m powered Y510p barely play it in 1080p with major slow down in gameplay and choppiness in some cut scenes. Stepping down the resolution made it more tolerable.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor was a more recent tittle, which is 2014, that saw its’ linux release in July 2015. The linux and Mac release was developed Feral interactive, famous for the to go to developer for Mac ports. To run it on a GT750m I had to severely downgrade the resolution and the quality of the graphic. But it was playable nonetheless. One major point to consider is that, ME:SOM, along with other titles ported by Feral currently have no official support for AMD and Intel graphic adapters. Some of it might work, but Feral will not provide guarantee nor technical support.
Finally, a proper racing game for Linux. Also first released on other platform in 2014, and ported to linux (and mac) on December 2015. Like Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the port was also done by Feral Interactive and they did an ok job for this port. Performance could be better, but hey, it’s the first proper racing tittle for our beloved platform. Since it was developed by Feral, as of now, no AMD & Intel support.
Saint Row IV was released back in 2013 for Windows and other platforms, and finally saw a linux release at the end of 2015. I bought mine on Steam Winter Sale 😀 Being an older game, Saint Row IV runs smoothly at 1080p on my GT750m-opwered Y510P. It’s a great pick if after playing the unnecessarily depressing Spec Ops: The Line, you want something fun and light-hearted. Get it, you won’t be disappointed.
So what’s in store for 2016? Well, Capcom is working with Valve to release Street Fighter V to SteamOS/Linux, so I’m very excited about that. There’s also Firewatch, which will be released in February this year. And another tittle that I’m eagerly waiting for is Payday 2. I have it already on my Steam library, so I don’t have to repurchase it for linux.
A lot of new games that will be released on 2016 are Windows 10/DirectX 12 only, so playing these games on Wine/PlayonLinux will be next to impossible, since Wine has only managed to support a small aspects of DirectX 11 just recently. On the other hand, Vulkan, the successor of AMD Mantle will see its’ first release early this year and Steam is one of the major backers, so I really hope that it will be a major turning point in Linux gaming, and hopefully better support for AMD hardwares.
So, let’s hope that 2016 will be as good as, or even better than 2015 😀