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PC Game Reviews

“Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath” review

by on Mar.23, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath
Developer: Electronic Arts

9 out of 10 turtles recommend Kane’s Wrath for all your RTS gaming needs …

Cynical gamers would probably agree with the statement that “the primary motivation for creating RTS game expansion packs is to capitalize on the fiscal success of an existing title.” After all, it’s a highly cost-effective method of garnering revenue at the expense of minimal effort. A developer merely whips up a dozen new missions using existing tools (if he’s particularly smart, he re-uses assets and maps from previous games,) hire’s some disinterested actors to feature in some “talk to the camera” cut-scenes and wraps it all up with a plot that makes you wonder if the Hollywood screenwriters are still on strike! The game mechanics remain the same, game-play issues remain unfixed and the publisher sits back with a Cheshire-cat mien and ponders how he can convince gamers to buy last year’s major sports titles with an incremented last digit in their titles.
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“TimeShift” review

by on Mar.23, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: TimeShift
Developer: Saber Interactive

Saber Interactive’s shooter looks suspiciously like Half-Life 2 … but without the good bits.

A glance at Saber Interactive’s contribution to PC games would suggest to the casual observer that they really like time travel. Their first creation, Will Rock, created in 2003, tossed a rather confused archaeologist into the past to battle a horde of malevolent creatures ripped straight out of Greek Mythology. It would also appear that the developers really like ripping off other more successful titles, given that the game was a bare-faced clone of Croteam’s infinitely more successful Serious Sam. Four years later and they’re at it again, this time in the form of TimeShift, their own unique homage to Valve Software’s Half-Life 2. Once again, an exceptional physicist stars as our unlikely hero but this time around he’s not wielding a crowbar!
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“Shadowgrounds: Survivor” review

by on Mar.23, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Shadowgrounds: Survivor
Developer: Frozenbyte

Doom 3 … as seen from an overhead perspective and minus the heavy system requirements.

Ever since iD Software introduced the gaming public to Wolfenstein 3D and Doom in the 1990’s, it’s safe to say that action shooter games have favoured the first-person perspective. The intensity and immersion of “being within the game world” has resulted in a fair share of gamers, white-knuckled and trembling, attempting to look around their monitors to see what might be lurking up the next corridor. Raven Software was one developer that leveraged the first-person shooter (FPS) for all it was worth; however they did develop one notable exception in the late 1990’s. Take No Prisoners was a 3-D action shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world that eschewed the first person perspective in favour of a top down point of view. It received good reviews from the gaming press, but didn’t set the gaming world afire. FPS titles were taking up most of game store shelf space and would continue to do so well into the 21st Century. It would be eight long years before another top-down title would appear in the form of Frozenbyte’s Shadowgrounds in 2005.
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“Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords” review

by on Mar.23, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
Developer: Infinite Interactive

Casual gaming meets high fantasy. We take a look at Infinite Interactive’s latest accomplishment …

When it comes to countries of the world, the now defunct U.S.S.R has got a lot to answer for. Although it is more commonly associated with sub-standard nuclear reactors, ethnic conflicts and vodka that can drop a horse at twenty paces, it’s also the birth place of Alexey Pajitnov, designer of the “match the coloured falling blocks” puzzle, Tetris. Since its inception in 1985, Alexey’s creation has mutated into numerous casual gaming formats ranging from PopCap’s Bejeweled and Bookworm series of games to Alexey’s own Hexic that was bundled with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game system.
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“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” review

by on Mar.22, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Developer: Infinity Ward

Another example of why Infinity Ward are the masters of the first-person shooter…

Any first-person shooter player worth his salt should be familiar with the Call of Duty (COD) gaming franchise and the intense game-play experiences they are invariably associated with. Unlike the rival Medal of Honor series of games, these releases eschewed the un-realistic “one man against the world” approach in favour of co-operative squad based scenarios where your actions are dynamically supported by intelligent comrades. Even without the additional complexity of a squad command system like Gearbox’s Brothers in Arms titles, COD has always managed to keep the action fast and furious and is arguably the most successful of the World War 2 shooter series to date!
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“Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars” review

by on Mar.22, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
Developer: Electronic Arts

We take an in-house look at the latest real-time strategy episode in the near-future Command and Conquer universe.

If you have ever played any of the previous titles in the Command and Conquer (CC) franchise you will have undoubtedly noticed the single common thread that binds this franchise together: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Over twelve years of games and expansions (including the Red Alert spin-off series), Westwood and Electronic Arts (EA) have managed to keep the changes in game-play to an absolute minimum, relying on the original “base-building and expansion” mechanics conceived in the early 1990’s with Dune 2. Focusing primarily on new unit types, over-acted full motion video cut scenes staring high profile Hollywood actors and extensive audio/visual enhancements, EA have managed to pump out a dozen block-buster’s whose sales figures clearly show that they know what CC fans want in their games. The only “fly in the ointment” was the last game in the series (Command and Conquer: Generals and its Zero Hour expansion) when the developers departed from the usual RTS mechanics used to such great success in the past. The game still had generally glowing reviews, but a large proportion of gamers didn’t fully appreciate the changes made. Now, four years after Generals, EA returns to the original CC universe following the original tried and true mechanics that have made this franchise the success story it is.
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“DevastationZone Troopers” review

by on Mar.19, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: DevastationZone Troopers
Developer: CGS Software

Mindless third-person shooter action on a distant world. We take a look at CGS Software’s DevastationZone Troopers.

While the major game publishers like Electronic Arts, Vivendi and their ilk have cornered most of the market on PC and console game sales, there are a growing number of software developers targeting their product at online only sales, whether its self-published or handled through smaller independent online stores. Those of us who persist in buying our warez (pun intended) only from retail outlets and mail order are doing ourselves a considerable disservice as there are a number of high-quality “download only” titles available online that are just as good (if not better) than many of the products pushed upon us by the major players. One such game is DevastationZone Troopers from CGS Software; a frenetic third-person shooter where the body count rapidly enters the thousands and everything on screen is completely destructible.
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“SiN Episodes: Emergence” review

by on Mar.19, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: SiN Episodes: Emergence
Developer: Ritual Entertainment

The world of SiN returns once more … this time in episodic format! Is Colonel John Blade still Ritual Entertainment’s answer to Duke Nukem?

It’s been eight years since we last heard from Colonel John Blade and HARDCORPS, his elite force of crime-fighting commandos in the original SiN first person shooter. Now, they’re back o­nce more; hot o­n the heels of their arch nemesis and CEO of SinTek Corporation, Elexis Sinclaire. Blade discovers that she and her henchmen have malevolent plans for humanity and it’s up to him and his mayhem inducing persona to discover what’s afoot. Of course, its going to take sometime to discover just what those machinations are because Ritual Entertainment have decided to release the entire story in episodic format via both commercial outlets and the Steam content delivery system, similar to the upcoming Half Life 2 episodes. It is envisaged that around nine episodes, released twice yearly will bring the entire story to a close; I suspect gamers are going to have a hard time waiting four years to discover the secrets behind Elexis’ scheming.
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“Fate” review

by on Mar.18, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Fate
Developer: WildGames
Game Patched to Version 1.21

I can’t believe it’s not Diablo … and after you play this addictive click-fest from developer WildGames you’ll probably feel the same way!

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” … and within twenty minutes of playing Fate, you are going to see just how true this expression is! Fate is, at its roots, a lighter and less gothic version of Blizzard’s astonishingly successful Diablo series of CRPGs, with all the stats and mouse-clicking action whilst eschewing pretty much anything in the way of a coherent storyline. Every useful feature of Diablo is mirrored perfectly within Fate, from the inventory management, quick item slots and function keys to the mini-map and click-driven interface. The diverse range of creatures you will face and the items and weapons that you will discover all draw upon the near flawless creations that the guys and gals at Blizzard spent years developing. In fact, o­ne would have to wonder if their legal department is asleep o­n the job given the comparisons between the two games! Be that as it may, it’s a safe assumption to make that anyone who enjoyed playing the former game will love Fate.
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“Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood” review

by on Mar.18, 2010, under PC Game Reviews

Game: Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
Developer: Gearbox Software

Less than a year has passed and a sequel to Gearbox Software’s WW2 tactical first person shooter is already out. We take a closer look at the evolution of this series.

There are certain things that are expected of game developers when they indulge in a sequel to o­ne of their critically acclaimed titles. Additional game-play features that build upon what made its predecessor such a hit. Perhaps some new tweaks or game engine enhancements. And, of course, the implementation of bug fixes and solutions for those original game quirks that aficionados ranted about ad-infinitum in o­nline forums. Alas, those of you expecting at least some of these improvements are going to be sorely disappointed because Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (EiB) can at best be described as a stand-alone expansion pack rather than a fresh gaming experience.
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