You will never find time for anything. If you want the time, you must make it.

You see things and say 'Why?'; but I dream things that never were and I say 'Why not?'

- George Bernard Shaw

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fifa 11

FIFA 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch with Personality+, an all-new feature that sees individual abilities reflected in game, enabling clear differentiation for every player.

With Personality+ a footballer’s abilities on the pitch is mirrored authentically in game, creating individual personalities. Players will be distinguished from one another through a sophisticated database that evaluates and grades each player’s skill-set over 36 attributes and 57 traits, compiled by 1700 scouts around the world. Real Madrid’s Kaka will deliver crisp, creative passes, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta will utilize tighter turns and close control to dribble through defenses, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney will hold off defenders and strike shots from distance with pace, and top-flight defenders like Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus will anticipate, predict and react to offensive players to win back possession.

Fifa 11 Goalkeepers have also been injected with Personality+. The real-life personality of the keeper, whether acrobatic or traditional, will dictate his style in game. Dive attributes will determine the keepers with the ability to reach for further shots while reflex attributes determine reaction times, so a keeper like Petr Cech of Chelsea FC will show be able to showcase world-class skills.
suggested Fifa 11 system requirements:

Dual Core 2.4 GHz, 1 GB RAM, graphic card 256 MB RAM (GeForce 8800 or better), Windows XP/Vista/7.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Vegas

f you take a look at some of the recent screen shots for Bethesda's newest entry in the Fallout series, you will probably notice that graphically, not much has changed since Fallout 3. This is due to the fact that the game runs on the same engine used in Fallout 3, and in many respects, the textures, artwork, and animations remain the same. This may upset some, as New Vegas could potentially have been released as an expansion for Fallout 3, as opposed to to a full priced standalone game, but development has changed hands in such a way that I will gladly pay up.

 The original Fallout games were developed by Black Isle Studios, and they allowed for much more freedom in both action and morals than the Bethesda developed Fallout 3 was able to provide. Fallout 3 was a great game, but it ended up feeling diluted and restrictive regarding matters of character choice. Interactions typically fell to combat, whereas in the first two Fallout games, you could use civilized conversation, infallible logic, proven science, or if absolutely necessary, a cheap shot to the groin. While Black Isle Studios was dissolved, many of its employees now work for developer Obsidian Entertainment. Backed by Bethesda, serving as producer this time around, Obsidian Entertainment has been given the Fallout 3 engine to do with what they will, and from what I have seen so far, every complaint I had about Fallout 3 has been addressed. 

 The V.A.T.S. targeting system has been revamped to not only include groin shots once again, but special weapon specific finishing moves as well. The diversity of character interaction has increased, and those that choose to specialize into the social aspects of their character will see much greater rewards than those offered in Fallout 3. Another issue I experienced with Fallout 3 was the overall dilution of my character as I approached max level. You ended up literally having every skill in the game, with the only real variance being in what order you chose to max them out. This has supposedly been fixed in New Vegas, with characters becoming very specialized depending on what skill route they choose.

 I can't wait until October 19th, when Fallout: New Vegas is released in North America, for I shall delve deep into the man cave and return enlightened by the developmental power of Obsidian Entertainment. If it does end up sucking however, you can call me out on it here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Civilization V

civilization v

Civilization V is the fifth offering in the multi-award winning Civilization strategy game series featuring the famous “just one more turn” addictive gameplay that has made it one of the greatest game series of all time.

In Civilization V, players strive to become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age, waging war, conducting diplomacy, discovering new technologies, going head-to-head with some of history’s greatest leaders and building the most powerful empire the world has ever known.
Believable World
More than just a strategy game - the expanded visuals and immersive audio invite would - be kings to take up the reigns of power and forge a mighty empire. Civilization V offers a limitless variety of vast, realistic and diverse landscapes for players to explore, battle over and claim as their own.
Inviting Presentation
An intuitive interface eases both new players and Civ veterans into the game. Guided by a set of trusted advisors who will explain game functionality and provide counsel for significant decisions, even first-time players will be confident in the choices they make.
Huge Battles
Combat is more exciting and engaging than ever before. Wars between empires feel massive with armies spreading across the landscape.The addition of ranged bombardment allows players to fire weapons from behind the front lines, challenging players to develop clever new strategies to guarantee victory on the battlefield.
Live History
Write your own epic story each time you play! Choose one of eighteen historical civilizations to lead from the stone-age to the space age on your quest to build the world’s most powerful empire.
system requirements:
Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, graphic card 256 MB (GeForce 7900 GS or better), 8 GB HDD, Windows XP/Vista/7.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Light: Tango Down

First person shooters have always been the Xbox 360’s forte; it’s undeniable. It’s the most successful genre over the last several years for Microsoft’s console; just look at games like Modern Warfare or Halo 3. It’s also the most crowded genre on the 360, thus releasing a new shooter requires a great deal of panache and originality to stand out from the pack. Yet the developer of Blacklight: Tango Down, Zombie, took the opposite approach and released one of the most cut and dry multiplayer first person shooters I’ve played in a while.

There is no single player campaign that comes with this $15 downloadable Xbox Live arcade shooter. It’s strictly adversarial multiplayer and co-op play. There are the standard deathmatch / team deathmatch modes, capture the flag, territory defense and a detonation mode that requires one team to blow up the enemy’s base. Co-op levels allow up to four players to take on 4 different levels with endless groups of enemies attacking you from all angles. Similar to games like Modern Warfare, Blacklight uses a leveling system with your online persona and his equipment. There’s a heavy emphasis on weapon customization and building up the speed, defense and offensive capabilities of your online soldier.

One glaring problem with the character building system is that players that have been playing for a while are matched up with brand new players. One player with upgraded stats and a higher class of weaponry can dominate a deathmatch of brand new players. It can be extremely frustrating to enter a match and get destroyed immediately by a supped up player that’s spending his time spawn camping. The game also reminds me of the early Unreal games in some sense, only because players are bunny hopping around the levels.

There is an interesting gameplay device called the Hyper Reality Visor, basically a way to isolate the enemy positions (as well as weapons / health) by using the visor’s ability to see through walls. But you aren’t allowed to shoot when using the visor and it has a recharge time as well. I liked how it sped up matches, but it almost seemed like cheating at times.

I had a heck of a time attempting to connect to matches, often taking up to 10 to 15 minutes before finding players. This leads be to believe that the amount of players who actually purchased this game is minimal or the developer did a terrible job of tying their multiplayer into Xbox Live. Both are dismal possibilities for an online only FPS. I also had a few dropped connection sessions; again, terrible for a FPS.

The co-op play is somewhat interesting, if not extremely challenging for less than 4 players. The developer didn’t scale the difficulty based on the number of players, thus taking on levels with just 1 or 2 player is a fruitless attempt. The four maps get pretty old though and bring little replay value to the table. The achievement set is geared toward climbing up the ladder in terms of character promotion as well as the standard “get a certain number of kills” tasks. It’s a solid set that requires many hours of play time though.


  • The visuals in Blacklight are pretty phenomenal for an Xbox Live Arcade title, somewhat on par with retail FPS games. The texture work is top notch and the character animations are smooth as well. While the level design caters more to campers that I would like it, there’s plenty of eye candy to look at while mowing down the enemy.

  • There are also cool visual effects that take over the screen based on character actions. Smoke grenades, for instance, create a field of vision that’s very difficult to traverse and often leads to adversaries blindly shooting without hitting a thing. The HRV effect is also well done in regards to lighting effects, even if the mode is tough to use all the time in a fast paced deathmatch.


  • The musical effects match the futuristic design of the game, but I wasn’t a fan. Sound effects are typically to any recent FPS and the light voiceover work is definitely helpful as well as easy to understand.


I’m not sure what Zombie was thinking when releasing this game on Xbox Live without spending time perfecting it. The execution of connecting into an actual match is so mind-numbingly long that you will wonder why the game cost this much. Plus you get the added bonuses of being destroyed by players that have leveled up far beyond your own character or dropped connections during a ranked match; that’s just some awesome programming... In addition, there’s nothing here that FPS players haven’t seen before time and time again since the days of Quake. There’s no reason to buy Blacklight: Tango Down with plenty of earlier, vastly superior FPS games like Battlefield: Bad Company are on the Xbox Live Marketplace for $5 more. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The First Templar

We take a peek at an early level from this action RPG based on the society of knights. If you’ve read our previous coverage on The First Templar, then you might already know that it’s a third-person action-RPG that focuses on the Knights Templar, or more specifically, one Templar and his quest to retrieve the Holy Grail. But during that quest, the game’s storyline will begin to raise moral questions--are men better of immortal or mortal? Did the Holy Grail come from the Devil to trick men?

In our new look at the game, we saw a pair of knights walking through the countryside of Cyrpus--once the headquarters of the Knights Templar and the very area our knights need to venture through to seek the Grand Master. It’s at this point that we’re reminded of the game’s cooperative play, which features drop-in and drop-out multiplayer as well as splitscreen. For the purposes of the demo, we’re just seeing single-player, but even in this mode you can switch between both characters at any given time whether you’re fighting or just walking around.
Since Cyrprus is meant to act as a tutorial area, we get a glimpse of combat in its most basic form--a series of training sessions with another knight who instructs you how to perform various attacks. There’s a basic attack that, when timed correctly, multiplies in damage with each successful, consecutive hit. We also learn about a feature called zeal that you accumulate when fighting. When zeal has reached a maximum level it fills an orb near the bottom of the screen. This means that you can then launch a special attack that inflicts special kinds of damage, such as knocking a shield from an enemy knight’s hand. Of course, you also have to learn blocking skills, which become quite invaluable later in the game as foes become much tougher and more aggressive.
We travel a bit more through Cyprus, reaching the Grand Master, before we jump to a different area. There are around 20 environments in The First Templar, some of which are quite different from others. In fact, members of the development told us that some environments function as dungeons with traps you have to dismantle. Some levels will have puzzle elements while others focus strictly on combat, which is the case for the dense forest level we were looking at during the end of the demo. This area had different enemy types (including dogs that your partner can knock off of you if they happen to take you down) as well as a large boss-like character. This is where both players (regardless of whether or not they’re both being controlled by people) have to work together. Thankfully, it appears that an AI controlled partner is fairly good at holding its own, but it’s not long before he’s lost all of his energy and we see the other knight run to his side to revive him. After a few more minutes of intense fighting, the battle ends with a slow-motion flourish and the nasty brute is defeated with a sword to the gut.

It’s worth mentioning that while much of what we saw in the demo follows much of the main storyline, there will also be plenty of side quests for players to consider. Some of these may involve taking a map and attempting to locate some sort of treasure while another might just involve helping someone asking for help. We’re eager to see how these missions tie into everything as well as getting a better glimpse of multiplayer co-op and the impressive looking skill tree that grants special powers and skills (both active and passive) to your knight. The First Templar is scheduled for release on PC and Xbox 360 early next year.

F1 2010- Fuck Yeah!

The dominant scent in the Lotus garage at the moment isn’t warm Bridgestones or posh deodorant – it’s defeat. Nine races into the 2010 season and the team have yet to score a point. By rights, their new driver, a Finn called Timo Stone, should be ready to throw in the towel. The fact that he isn’t says a lot about Codemasters refreshingly risqué take on F1.
A lazier licence-holder would simply have bolted some next-gen visuals onto a stock genre template, then swanned off to the bank. Codies, to their credit, have tried something far bolder. F1 2010’s career mode provides a fascinating glimpse of what it must be like to be a Lucas di Grassi or a Bruno Senna, a driver at the bottom of the pecking order, cursed with a car that is woefully uncompetitive.
For your first season (careers can span up to seven 19-race seasons) podium finishes are a preposterous pipedream. You are just battling to out-perform your teammate and to meet very modest team objectives. A twelfth place finish or qualifying on the seventh row can be enough to see your stock rise. Keep turning in solid performances and dealing with press questions, and eventually the offers from bigger teams should roll in.
Well, that’s the theory. Right now even meeting the demands of a minnow outfit is tricky. Whether this is down to difficulty levels, or inherent (realistic) car weaknesses, it’s hard to say, but demanding physics can’t be implicated.
Heavy rein
The handling models are an entertaining yet faintly patronising mix of the rigorous and the reined-in. Turn off all the driver aids and the steeds still feel a tad sedated. If you’re used to wrestling spirited SimBin and ISI open-wheelers, you may find yourself surprised at how surefooted the cars feel in corners, and how tolerant they are of violent wheel and throttle inputs. The top sims – rFactor, GTR Evo, iRacing – all provide more visual and aural motion cues, meaning driving on the ragged edge is a more intuitive and satisfying business than it is here.
F1’s rides are at their most mischievous when the heavens open mid-race and you’re caught improperly attyred. Dynamic weather can turn a grippy ribbon of tarmac into a perilous puddle-strewn skidpan in a matter of minutes. The camera and spray effects that accompany these downpours are superb. Hurtling through Monte Carlo’s winding streets or Spa’s forested vales with visor bejewelled, and world refracted and reflected, is an unforgettable experience.
AI drivers hold up their end of the illusion well too. They’ll jealously guard racing lines, dart through gaps and clash and run wide on occasions. Whether you’ve opted for the truncated versions of Grand Prix (usually around 10 laps) or the full marathons, you’ll invariably cross the line exhilarated, exhausted, and haunted by what-ifs. What if I’d chosen a faster but less stable setup? What if I’d pitted earlier? What if I hadn’t rear-ended Barrichello at La Rascasse and earned that brutal ten second stop-go penalty? Even with flag realism reduced, the marshals are a merciless lot.
Much work has obviously gone into capturing the sport’s technical and regulatory side. Recent rule changes all loom large in the race strategies that you either devise yourself or leave up to your team.
F1 2010 almost spins out on the final corner thanks to some low framerates on denser tracks, and excruciatingly poor savegame and replay facilities, but its core of solid racing thrills sees it through. If you like your speed duels redolent, gorgeous and glazed with glamour/ rain, this is a risk-free purchase.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Halo Reach requires hard drive to play in co-op mode, Microsoft working on this 'temporary issue'

Not Everyone Can Access Multiplayer On Bungie's New Halo Title
The Halo series has always been about addictive multiplayer experiences, so it's most disturbing to find out that campaign co-op gaming on the latest title is a non-starter for people without a hard drive attached to their 360. An issue has been identified by users of the 4GB Xbox 360, whereby attempts to team up on the baddies with your buddies -- whether locally or via Xbox Live -- is met with an error message saying that a HDD is "required for this game type." This affects both Halo: Reach and the earlier Halo: ODST. Adding extra memory via USB has been found to be ineffective, but at least Microsoft has stated that it's aware of the limitation and is "quickly working to resolve it." Standard multiplayer is predictably unaffected, so we suggest taking your rage out on some newbies while the MS techs figure out their caching algorithms.