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  • DCEmu Games Reviews

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:17
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    Platform: Windows (XP or Vista) PC
    Developer: Stardock Entertainment (official game page)
    Publisher: Stardock Entertainment


    The Political Machine is a turn-based strategy game where the goal is to conquer the worl... become President of the United States. You do this by flying your candidate around the country, state to state, building country awareness of you and promoting yourself on various issues, such as Gas prices or the War on Terror, all over the course of 41 turns. At the same time you manage your funds, build Election Headquarters, belittle your opponent, kiss a few hands, shake a few babies and overall make the world a better place.

    The most obvious aspect of this game is the graphics. Bubble-head characters very similar to Nintendo's Mii's. The country is depicted in a 3D cartoon style and each state pops out of the country when highlighted. This adds a flavour of parody to the game and gives the impression that this game isn't going to take itself too seriously. The music of this game isn't noticeable. It's possible to play through the game without noticing music was even playing.

    When you begin the game it becomes apparent that there is no interactive tutorial to guide you on your first couple of weeks. There is a tutorial on the main menu and its purpose is to tell you what everything on the screen is and what buildings do. The opening help screen upon starting the game tells you how to move around and some general details. What neither assistance does is tell you what to do to actually win. Once you click past the opening help screen, you're on your own.

    The main screen gives the player options to display a plethora of information, little of which is defined or explained. You are given no help during the game in the way of strategies or tips and as a result a first time player will lose their first games badly whilst they work out, through trial and error, what it is they're supposed to do to win.

    At the end of the game each of the states lights up in turn in either Blue or Red to represent the candidate they vote for. This will create confusion to some players as many of the states they were most popular in voted for the opponent instead, this is because the popular vote and the electoral vote aren't the same. Americans should know this, non-American's won't.

    One of the most customisable areas of this game is the character creation. This allows you to create custom candidates, you could create yourself or go so far as to make a blue skinned eyeless alien. Choosing your appearance and position on topics is very easy to do. However knowing what these topics are will require reading through them, this will presumably affect an American player less as they will already have an understanding of the meaning of some these issues, such as Federal Government. A Foreign player however will need to read them carefully. Some of the issues are ambiguously named and you're left uncertain as to which side is 'For' and which is 'Against'. One important issue here is selecting your party of either Democrat or Republican, who both favour one side or the other of a topic. The player is left in the dark as to which party favours what viewpoint.

    Overall this game has a learning curve like a mountain, one which could have been avoided with giving the player more assistance. Calculating votes and popularity in states is very math heavy and although calculations are done for you, you still need to understand what the numbers mean and how to improve each in order to gain ground in a state. As the game is very heavily based upon American Politics and terminology, it's likely to alienate foreign players from even picking it up.

    The inclusion of custom characters gives the game a bit more of a foothold outside of the USA, as at the very least, a player can create themselves in the game as opposed to playing as Barack Obama or George Bush. Also the Quick-Play option, despite the very misleading name, allows the player to play a Custom Scenario in a comedy style Europe , Civil War USA or an alien planet whose denizens are hell bent on Galaxy Conquest. The alien planet is particularly amusing with their issues of alien destruction and artificial slaves and terror star building. I'm just disappointed I can't have Darth Vader as my Vice-President.

    The most important question to ask is: Is it fun?

    The answer is not really. It's a frustrating game to get to grips with, working out the maths is tedious and the only reason you'll keep playing is because you're stubborn enough to want to beat your opponent. After you beat him however, you realise you now ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:17
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    Fable: The Lost Chapters
    publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: Lionhead Studios
    Genre: Action RPG
    Players: 1
    System: Xbox Original

    Fable 2 is coming up, so it might be a good idea to do a "pastview", eh?

    Fable had promised gamers the world; or at least leader of lionhead Studios Peter Molyneux had promised it. One of the oddest surprises about the original Fable which had failed to deliver anywhere near the promises of peter M. was that it was still an absolutely fantastic game.(I wasn't really mainstream at the time, so wow, I could only imagine what he actually said was gonna be in the game at the time o_0) Fable still held its own in the gaming world for a few reasons; one, it had an intense magic and melee combat system. Two, it had a hugeopen world and lots to do. And three, you could be a hero in the game, or a villain, and the line wasn't drawn that clear either.Fable: The Lost Chapters was essentially Fable 1 with some the stuff that SHOULD have been in the original. This included more side missions, weapons, magic, and other things, but nothing truly warrenting a repurchase of the game. if you were like me, however, and never had the game in the first place, it was a spectacular deal.

    Fable had a pretty average combat system for its time; emphasis on melee without many different combo attacks, magic that was sweet but ran out too quickly, and a bow for ranged attacks. But the combat system was very fluid, and battles commenced in seamless real time on the overworld. Boss battles were grand and fun. The only problem was that the combat system wasn't very deep. Racking up combos then delivering finishers was fun with melee, but thats about as deep as it went. magic was pretty fun, but overall not as helpful as melee, and rendered pretty useless in comparison. the Extra skills that you could purchase at the Guild made things a little more interesting, but not by a huge amount. Overall, Fable had a very fluid and easy to use combat system, but it didn't contain the depth of such games as Ninja Gaiden and God of War. The control you have in battles and the overworld is spot-on. The controls don't stick, the camera isn't jumpy or messy, and it all around works well.

    What was probably the main selling point of the game was its twisting storyline. This was one of the few games where you have immemse amounts of decisions that truly affect how the rest of the game will be played out. And a lot of these decisions actually are decided by your moral standing.(A study once showed that only 5% of the players of Fable could actually stand to be bad all the way through. I know I ended up with a halo, though I wanted to be an assasin :/ )These choices don't just affect the story, they effect you and the people around you. If your bad, people will tend to avoid you or run away when they see you. If your good, people flock to you, and usually bug the crap out of you. but its not so black and white. You can be good or bad, or a mix of the two. Or closer to good then bad, or vice versa. Even the quests you complete at the Guild will decide how people veiw you, so much that if you don't actually do anything, people won't know you. on the other hand, if you take on many quests and emerge victorious each time, you'll get famous. If you drink too much booze you'll get a beer gut, if you work out enough you'll get buffer, and really many things effect your character in adverse ways. And best of all, the choice is up to you. It could even be called a 'benchmark in gaming interactivity', if you use the term loosely.

    With Fable 2 on the horizon, it may be a good idea to pick up Fable: TLC if you haven't already played it. Its selling for dirt cheap now, and its still a fun game today. Its backwards compatible with the 360 as well. So if you've run out of games to try and want a new experience for cheap, give it a go. Be sure to look out for our DCEmu Fable II review coming soon.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:17
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    Platform: Windows (98, ME, 2000, XP or Vista) PC
    Developer: Stardock Entertainment (official game page)
    Publisher: Kalypso Media
    Designer: Brad Wardell
    MSRP: £29.99
    Ratings: PEGI

    ESRB: Not rated (European Release, although all previous Galactic Civilizations II games received an E10)
    Note: This is a standalone version of the Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Arnor expansions to the original Galactic Civilizations 2.

    Short Overview: Planet/starship centered Turn Based Strategy game. Very mature due to it's lineage (second expansion to a second game in a series all made by the same core group). You can spend anywhere from a few hours to a few months on a single game. My favorite thing was most definetly the humor, which drives the gameplay and gives needed respite from the epic nature of the game. Only flaw is the absense of a number of features that make the game difficult to micromanage or macromanage.

    Overall Score:

    Click HERE to see the full review. ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 18:16
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    Fable II
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: Lionhead Studios
    Genre: Adventure RPG
    System: Xbox 360 (exclusive)

    The original Fable was quite a controversial game. The game's creator Peter Molyneux had promised the world to gamers, and much of that promise went unfulfilled in the first game. The strange thing about it, was that although many of the features that were said to be in the game weren't, it still proved to be a very fun game, and the features that were in it were very innovative. The opposite of the scandal is true with Fable 2. This time around, Peter Molyneux under promised, and over delivered. Whereas Fable was a good game, Fable 2 takes everything from Fable, entirely new concepts, and a world ten times larger the the original, and expands upon it in every way imaginable. Funny, thrilling, emotional, and entirely too short, Fable 2 is everything people wanted it to be and then some.

    Like the original, Fable 2 is all about its satirical nature, that is, its very very funny. What makes it stand out from other "funny" games is that its GENUINELY funny in its nature. While containing a very serious plot and story, everything from the people to the expressions, which are basically your way of communicating to people, to the things that the characters say, it has a unique charm and humor to it.( A bit of an understatement; this is one of the most unique game worlds ever created, in part due to its charming atmosphere.) This atmosphere of Fable sets it apart from the countless other fairy-tale style games, and it truly gives it its own image and personality as a game. This is by and large the most endearing aspect of the game, and what will have you coming back for more, even after you've completed all the quests and the story. And about the story...

    The original Fable had a rather weak story, although thats what in part made it so fun(Not many times had a game been made where you can choose which way a generic fairy tale will be told). Fable II's story, while by a good margin better, isn't great. What it boils down to is a rather generic story of a hero who must combine powers with 3 other heroes to save the world. Not so original. What makes it original, is how you can essentially choose the way the story is told.(For all I know you might be able to even kill the mains, I never tried.) Everything you do, even down to the small chores you did in the beginning of the game influence how the world is shaped for you and how the story and sub stories will play out. This also means you sometimes have to be careful as to what quests you don't do(For the most part, quests you do do won't mean the desolation of entire cities) Still, the story mode itself

    The graphical style for Fable 2 is one of those games that you could call art and not have Kojima slapping you across the face for it. If a game should have ever been called "art" due only on its visuals, Fable 2 is up there with Okami and Shadow of the Colossus. The bright and colorful vibrant shades during the daytime in such places as Bowerstone lake and Market make you entranced by the world as very few games have been able to accomplish before. Just as well, in contrast the dreary, dark and pale colors of such places as Wraithmarsh and The Bandit Coast give the game a true air of tense feeling. Its these great graphical styles that really suck you into the world, and make it a treat to just run through the roads and look at the world itself.

    The game isn't so much technically impressive as it is creative. The graphics are simple, as are the water effects and most of the game. The magic is positively striking, but the effects do have some negative effects on the game. For instance, most massive level 5 spells will cause the game to slowdown for a few seconds. Nothing major, but defineatly an annoyance. The thing is, as colorful and fun-filled as the graphics are, the sheer lack of technicality in this age of gaming is disappointing. Also, when night falls on the forest levels and other levels where the color attracts you to them, the levels appear very drab and boring.

    You can jump off this bridge, like most things.

    Animations are something that needs work as well. Stiff looking attack and magic animations, and enemies are no different. Expressions are well done. The characters movements pertaining to interaction with your character, such as fear, joy, admiration, and most actions on the parts of the villagers just feel fake and hollow. Despite this, your characters animations are fantastic when it comes to the customization you can do. Instead of the animations being absolutely terrible to fit with all the different clothing possibilities you'll have, the animations stay the same, even if the same does need a bit of work.

    Fable 2 has a very fun and repetitive combat system. That sentence about sums up what you'll be feeling by the combat. The thing about it is that it stays mostly fresh throughout the entire game. Its absolutely simple and has, as the creator pointed out, a one button combat system, yet the feeling of combat in the game doesn't get boring for a long while. This is due in part to the upgrades you can level up during the game. As you earn experience from killing enemies, you can use the experience to level up different areas of your character, such as power, skill, and will--or in other words, swords, guns, and magic. Each time you level these areas up, you gain a different skill in that area--whether its the ability to block an attack, zoom in on your gun, or get a far more powerful spell, the combat will stay fresh until you've unlocked everything that can be unlocked. Unfortunately, unlocking everything doesn't take a huge amount of time to do, so the combat may bore some people after a while. Its simple, which is a double edged blade in this case. Figuratively and literally. The control is responsive, though there are occasional hiccups during combat. Movement could be a little more fine tuned. But the choices for how you kill the enemy are still there. Tons of different weapons, both melee and range that have their own special attributes make it very fun to swap out weapons every so often and see how the battles will play out that way.

    Also, leveling up your character in these three aspects will produce physical changes on your characters appearance as well. Level up power and you'll get buffer. Skill and you'll grow taller. Will and blue magic lines(which I thought looked kickass) will start appearing on your skin. For the most part, these changes are appealing in the game. The problem is, if you don't want these changes to occur but still want the benefits of that certain level, your outta luck. For example, if your playing as a female character and actually care about appearance in the game, then your not going to want to level up power much or you'll start to look like a berserker from Gears of War(i.e. like a freak). Or, if you don't want to be a Goliath looking creature you'll probably refrain from upgrading skill.

    Thankfully, Lionhead seemed to come prepared for this. They split each group--skill,power,and will-- into 3 groups each. only one upgrade group within each group effects your characters appearance, and thats the group that determines the amount of damage they will do. And once you have legendary weapons with massive amounts of damage, you will no longer need those possibly-freaky enhancements. Just in case though, Lionhead made a feature where you can downgrade at any time, one of your upgrades. So if your extremely tall but want to be shorter again, simply downgrade that skill. Its simple.

    Undead. What RPG would be complete without them.

    Another feature that will effect your characters appearance is also one of the most innovative features in an RPG, that of the ability to choose your path in a non-linear fashion. Most of the actions you take in Albion will yeild you either Good or Bad karma. This can be anything from stealing random stuff from someones house or killing your spouse, to making a crowd of people upbeat by playing the lute to donating to the Temple of Light. The game lives up to its motto "For every action, a consequence. Who will you become?" But all these choices you make won't be for nothing, and many of them will certainly be very hard to make(especially if you plan on being good.) Depending on how evil or good you are, your physical appearance will change. You hair will become golden and you'll get a halo if your good. If your bad, your eyes will become red and you'll grow horns. There is also a more subtle layer of "good and evil", which is more of the grey area in between, called Purity and Corruption. Doing kind acts and eating good foods will give you purity points, which will make your character look attractive. Eating pies and meats all the time and charging your tenants massive rent will give you corruption, in turn making you fat and ugly. These features are where Fable 2 shines its brightest, and are one of the most fantastic innovations in an RPG in years.

    There is also the world around you that reacts to your actions. For instance, if you go on a crime spree in a town and kill people, then crime and panic will break loose in the town. The economy will drop, and it will become a miserable place to be. On other other hand, if you spend tons of money there and charge your tenants less in that area, it begins to flourish, and the economy will skyrocket. People will love you more, and more people will begin to appear there. Your ability to influence and change the world around you as well as yourself is, too, a fantastic innovation that Fable 2 introduces well. Oh, and yes, P.M. was telling the truth when he said that you can buy everything in the game world of Fable. Pretty much, everything.

    A good bit of the music is recycled from the original Fable with minor changes in what instruments seem to be used to play the song. Still, the music sounds like orchestral music, which fits the game's "epic fairy tale" premise well. Sound effects are nice and varied; different blades and guns yeild different sounds, as well as each different spell you cast. The sound also helps the world come alive to you, as this game plays fantastic in Dolby 5.1(Lets give a round of applause to Thomas, who let me test his surround sound to the point of almost breaking it. Sorry Tom.)

    The game also runs on some fantastic voice overs. Each NPC has some well written and executed lspeech they want to say to you, and the greatest thing about the VOs is that they are done comically, like the rest of the game. In fact, I'd be willing to go so far as to say that without the VOs being as funny as they are, the game simply would be far more boring. At least to your ears it would be.

    When a game manages to make hopping fences fun, you know its good. Fable II is good.

    The game's story takes about a mere 12 hours to finish. But to be perfectly honest, thats not what your gonna be doing most of the time anyway. After opening all the doors, buying all the property, spending a good while at the crucible and finishing most of the quests, I found that I had taken about 50 hours, give or take a few. That means, after basically finishing the game, it took a good deal of time to accomplish. This really isn't much in the way of Oblivion or a JRPG, but its fairly long.

    Co-op won't have you running back for more. Playing with a friend whos right beside you will end up being more funthen the online co-op. This is due to a number of reasons. First off, the joining player can't play as his character, only a premade one. Second, your Skill powers get flushed down the drain. Third, if your "friend" is bored, he can just as easily slaughter a very important character who you can never get back. And fourth is the lag. Lots of lag. Stupendous ammounts I have experianced in fact. If you can get over these issues, then you may yet have some fun here. Well....

    Closing Comments:
    In all honesty, I love this game to death now. Pretty much one of the only games I've really went back and did all the side quests after finishing the story mode. I bought this game with moderate expectaions, which made it a pleasent surprise to find out it was worth the money. But I won't lie; errors and glitches mess this game up badly. If you can get over those errors though, you'll find an experiance deeper then any RPG or JRPG you've played in the last ten years.

    Major Selling points:
    -Fantastic and colorful graphics
    -Addictive Combat system
    -Ability to play the game on your own path, and be as good or evil as you want to be.
    -Lots of cutomization and choices that reflect on your character
    -Wide, open freeroam world
    -Huge game; many quests and things to do

    Major Breaking Points:
    -Lots of technical hiccups
    -Co-op sucks
    -Story mode is a bit short

    Final Scoring:
    Graphics: 4.5
    Story: 4
    Gameplay: 5
    Sound: 4.5
    Replayability: 4

    Overall Score:

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:52
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    Published by: THQ
    Developed by: Volition
    Genre: Third Person Shooter / Open World
    RRP: £44.99

    Release: Jun 2009

    I was lucky enough to be able to grab a keycode for the new Red Faction Guerilla demo.

    *edit - the demo is now up for download by the general public - go try it!*

    I haven't played much of the first few games - I think I rented red faction 1 ages ago. I was impressed enough by it's Geomod(1.0) technology which allowed you to burrow holes in levels with rockets, create trenches, etc. However, it was limited back in the day and only so much damage could be done to a level before everything became un-destroyable.

    Now we have a handful of games which expand on how destructible scenery comes into play, such as Battlefield: Bad Company, and Mercenaries 2.

    Mercenaries 2 I felt was particularly underwhelming in this respect, it's graphics lacked polish (terrible water effects) and, whilst you could indeed destroy every building and structure in the game, there was again a lack of polish, and the feeling that quantity was prioritized over quality. For example, a building took a set amount of damage before it began to crumble and raise dust, and shortly after a standard pile of rubble was left. Of course, within minutes these buildings were magically reconstructed so as not to break gameplay.

    Battlefield Bad Company tried a more subtle approach, with a lot of fully destructible scenery, and buildings, which could be skeletonized, rather than completely demolished. It worked fairly well, though it could get annoying that you could destroy some things and not others.

    So, given that destructible scenery is one of Red Faction: Guerilla's major selling points, this is the first aspect I wished to investigate.

    What I can say for certain is that if you like breaking stuff, and seeing things destroyed in an overly gratuitous fashion, then you will not be disappointed. The buildings on Mars, from military installations to flimsy shacks, will shatter, splinter, explode, collapse, break, twist and fall. Pipes, bricks, bits of metal and concrete all break apart as you'd expect and secondary explosions caused by good old fashioned exploding barrels can really rack up the carnage.

    The smashing-up-of-things is the star of the show, no doubt, but a concern I had is one exemplefied by Battlefield: Bad Company's single player. This is the fact that in BF:BC, the enemy AI had trouble distinguishing between broken scenery, and untouched, solid walls. Red Faction: Guerilla's AI seems to handle it well enough, and at no point in the demo (although short) did I feel like the AI was being especially stupid.

    In fact, the AI worked better than I thought. In the open world of RF:G, there are friendly miners going about their business, not bothering anyone, and driving random cars and trucks about (which you can 'borrow').

    Then there are restricted areas, which, if you enter, the local guards will pop a cap in your ass, provided they see you. You can back up against walls, and crouch walk to avoid detection, and there's also a handy minimap to show nearby guard positions.

    Of course, being fairly open world means that you'll probably get spotted sooner or later and then the guards come - with re-enforcements depending on how much shit you are fecking up - cause too much mayhem and truckload after truckload of enemies will bail in, overwhelming you.

    Dealing with the enemies is fair enough too, there's usually accuracy issues in 3rd person shooters but enough has been done to eliminate frustration. For example, 3rd person melee attacking can tend to be a bit fiddly in most 3rd person games, but an auto lock on/lunge makes this a bit more satisfying. Though it could be cheap in multiplayer if the lunge distance is as it is in single player, I'd be annoyed if I got whacked by someone ten feet away, because the lunge auto-targets the nearest person. Still, works well in single player.

    The guns, in the demo at least, are intuitive to use and feel meaty in sound and effect, and the remote detonation mines - whilst a little inaccurate when thrown, are a hell of a lot of fun, and creative use of them can result in some crazy situations.

    So the actual mission in the demo is to first 'liberate' an Aliens-style mech loader from a garage which is in a restricted area. I had a few attempts at this. First, running in with guns and bombs was fairly effective, but as you raise more attention, you need to be on the ball or else you'll get swarmed by guards.

    The second attempt I used was stealth - carefully avoiding enemies where I could, and taking the less travelled path, this too proved to be a valid - if slightly more boring option.

    The third attempt I enjoyed the most. Hijacking a random truck which looked like a martian bin lorry, I proceeded to stick 4 remote mines all over the truck, after driving it to a secluded location. Once I had the explosives stuck to it, I began driving it straight at the enemy compound, jumped out whilst at full speed, and watched as it bore a truck-shaped hole through a major building, with girders and pipes crashing down in it's wake, and the enemies who were all about the building, naturally came to assess the damage and shoot at me through the gaping truck-shaped hole.

    Detonating the mines on the truck soon stopped their shenannigans and pretty much levelled half of the building, with the other half collapsing shortly after, due to a lack of wall support.

    So it's good to see different directions and tactics that you can use for the missions, it does scream replayability if you are free to approach all missions in the game like this.

    So we get to the garage containing the hulking power loader mech thing, and jump in. At this point, stealth and subtlety are smashed into a crumpled heap, along with anything or anyone else who has the misfortune to get in your path.

    The mech is a lot of fun to play with; the triggers on your controller swing the arms like windmills, mashing up guards, vehicles, and anything else. The bumper buttons do a left or right arm sweep, useful for smacking pesky trucks away.

    With the mech you gain a good bit of damage resistance, although turrets and guards in great number can wear you down eventually.

    You have to take your mech to a waiting truck, which parks outside the compound. I found the best way to get to it was to ignore any other enemies behind you, and walk in a straight line towards it - cutting through any buildings or vehicles like a hot knife through butter, destroying anything in your path - it's a lot of fun.

    Of course, it's not that easy, you have to stay clear of explosive things when ploughing through scenery, and if any turrets or heavy weapons are hassling you - you need to back track a bit to smack them about.

    Once at the waiting truck, your mech gets loaded on, and you hop out to man the vehicle's turret for some on rails shooter action. A brief chase ensues, with you pummelling any attacker who dares get too close to your cargo. This bit was perhaps the least fun part of the demo, but it was relieved by the crazy carnage that you could bring down on anything behind you.

    All in all, I'm cautiously optimistic about this game. It is definitely fun and the physics and Geomod2.0 powered destruction are very well realised and work with the gameplay wonderfully.

    A multiplayer demo would have been interesting, to see how they balance the powerful weapons to prevent one jerk flattening anything and everything on the map. It will be interesting to see if this is possible in the final build.

    Let's keep an eye on this one.

    - Bratman Du.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:51
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    Article Preview

    Published by: Twisted Pixel
    Developed by: Twisted Pixel
    Players: 1
    Price: 800


    Overview: A great looking game that came out of nowhere to amaze us all with its dazzling graphics and fluent animations, will this be the game to raise the bar for all XBLA games to come? or is this just a pretty picture, keep reading to find out!

    Gameplay: In The Maw you get to play as an alien who partners up with "The Maw" which would be like Kirby 2.0 since he not only gets the powers of the aliens he eats, but he also gets bigger as he eats more aliens. The goal of the game is to eat a certain amount of aliens so you can proceed to the next level; Sometimes you may have to puzzle solve, jump platforms, or attack both biotic and a biotic objects to get to the aliens that so willingly await their death.
    It is clear that the game was built for kids, aside from its visual style there also seems to be no way to die, in a certain level, your character doesn't even react to bluets at all. Something that doesn't make seance is that in some puzzles, the game literally gives you the answer, but in others it will leave you to think for a good while with no clues on what you are suppose to do next, this could frustrate younger gamers who are not well experienced with puzzle solving and leave them to stop playing. One thing I have to point out is that this game is a glitch waiting to happen, you can't jump as you slide down so i got stuck between a hill and some trees once, the clipping is horrible and there are plenty of invisible walls, objects rarely fall on top of each other but when they do its not a pretty sight. Another issue that should be pointed out is that sometimes the maw will be programed to do something as soon as its close enough to its target, lets say for example that the maw now has the ability to breathe fire and he can burn trees and bushes, trying to get him from one place to another could take more then it should, as your beloved maw stops at every bush to scorch it, this takes away time and replaces it with frustration.
    Overall aside from the second to last level the game keeps you doing different things at good enough paces to where you never really get too bored doing one specific action over and over again.
    Another thing I have to complain about is that towards the last levels, the maw get so big it takes up way too much space on your screen, it seriously gets ridiculous and zooming out only makes things worse.

    The Maw is the best when it comes to trowing food up in the air and catching it in his mouth.

    Graphics: What can I say other then great? there are minor shadowing issues here and there but they can easily be ignored, animations are as fluent and expressive as they come and there is something about the whole look and feel of it that reminds me of the good ole N64 days. This game is defiantly one of those games that people won't mind to watch as much; Environments are often entertaining enough to catch you eyes and every now and then there will be an alien so well built that you might even find yourself starring at it.

    Sound: As friendly and goofy as the game looks, sound effects are easy on the ears and will match up well with any a kid's show, but don't expect nothing too good, background songs are made of constant and repetitive loops that you won't even notice unless you listen for it.

    Replay Value: Its a 2 hour game at its best and with no extra features or bonus content aside from the achievements which you can easily.......achieve if you just take some extra time to burn or break useless things so u can get that extra gamer score boost you are pretty much looking at a one time play through type of game.

    Conclusion: Games this short normally have something great to it that makes it worth your cash like "Portal" but this game is nothing more then average with a price too high in my opinion, if you have money to freely spend then i say this could be a fun 2 hours for you, but if you are looking for a better value, then you might wanna look somewhere else.

    Final Score: ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:51
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    Puzzle Arcade
    Publisher: Eidos Interactive Limited
    Developer: Ctxm/Say Design
    Genre: Puzzle
    System: XBLA
    Price:800 MS Points

    Let's get right into it, this is a jig-saw game. Everything you do in this game is a type of jig-saw, either in the traditional sense, or with constraints placed on you in certain challenges, such as, having a minute to complete a jig-saw, a distorted image which becomes clearer the more pieces you get, and so on.

    There are varying degrees of difficulty, which affect things like, amount of pieces, whether or not the pieces are laid out in a mess, with some bits facing the wrong way, or you can have all the pieces facing the right way and even pre-rotated to the correct orientation.

    You can have the pieces separated into a menu of edges and colour groupings, allowing you to quickly find and select certain pieces.

    To start with, I did a few of the challenges. Picking a few at random, I found different twists on the 'put the pieces in the right place' type fun that this game promises.

    Twists such as bots who make frustrating attemps to complete the puzzle ahead of you. This is the equivalent of having 3 people over your shoulder, grabbing bits of your puzzle and moving them around, shouting - 'that bit goes there!'. Now, if I was actually doing a jig-saw puzzle, first of all, I'd have to be 80 and an old woman, and second; I'd be doing it to relax and have a bit of peace!

    So this being the case, the last thing I'd want when doing a jig-saw is other people annoying me, or even time constraints, or missing pieces, or any thing in fact.

    So after these challenges, I took to the main, 'just do a friggin regular jig-saw puzzle' mode. So here i thought I'd set up a puzzle, with the pieces not sorted - scattered about, upside down and six-ways from-Sunday, with the maximum amount of pieces (somewhere in the region of 1300).

    So I spent about two hours, slowly grabbing pieces, flipping them if needed, sorting the edges and corners to one side, and getting ready to tackle a large puzzle.

    Do you know what? It was actually quite relaxing, theraputic even! But after a couple of hours (at which point I hadn't even put two pieces together - I was still sorting edges!), I decided to take a break, and finish my monster puzzle later. It didn't allow me to save my progress. Gutted.

    After sorting that mess for two hours, I wasn't able to save my progress and resume later. How in the name of shitting-crikey are you supposed to finish a 1300+ piece puzzle in one sitting?

    I've given more than enough words out for this game so I'm going to get to the point - which is this - what's the point?

    Why? Why would you play this game, who would play it? How long would they play it for?

    Why would you play this game? I guess if you really like jig-saws, and think it's be cool taking pictures with the XBox Vision Camera and turning them into said puzzles, then yes, go for it. But who is going to want to do jig-saws on an XBox 360?

    The lack of a save function for some puzzles means that there really is no point starting a huge one, as you'd have to do it in one sitting. Although some do allow saving.

    The multiplayer aspect is a strange addition, and I guess it would work like the mode with the bots who keep grabbing bits of your jigsaw and moving them around (i.e. annoying). But I can't say for sure because I couldn't get an online match, ranked or otherwise, as presumably only someone with a very sad life would play online jigsaw puzzles at half ten on Saturday night. And as sad as my life is, I was reviewing it so I had an excuse and if I had found anyone playing this online I would have been interested to talk to them and possibly find out who they are and alert the authorities about a potential suicide risk.

    So I'd struggle to justify buying or even playing this game. If you really want a taste of last century (or the one before that even) then go for this, if you think jig-saws belong in the past along with ball-in-a-cup, ludo and slap-the-stepchild, then avoid.

    If you're that into jig-saws, then you probably aren't going to appreciate the extra factors and difficulties put into place by this game. You're better off with the real thing.

    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:51
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    2. PC News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Platform: Windows (XP or Vista) PC
    Developer: Haemimont Games (official US game page)
    Publisher: Kalypso Media
    MSRP: £29.99
    PEGI: 7+ (Based on box art, PEGI site has no info)
    ESRB: Rating Pending

    Scheduled for release on 09 March 09

    What they had to say about it:
    GRAND AGES ROME is the long awaited sequel to the best-selling strategy game "Imperium Romanum".

    You are a Governor of a Roman Province in the time-honoured Roman Empire, its fortune very much lies in your hands. Choose one of five Roman noble families such as Caesar's Julii with different abilities to accomplish the comprehensive missions.

    Defend yourself against barbarian tribes, trade with other cultures, build a wealthy economic environment and fullfil the needs of your people in a huge single player campaign or with up to 3 human players in the multiplayer mode!

    And remember - even Rome was not build in a day!

    What I have to say about it: click here ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:51
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    2. PS3 News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews
    Article Preview

    Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Developed by: Thatgamecompany (TGC)
    Genre: Miscellaneous
    Players: 1
    Price: $10


    Overview: I can personally say that the first time I saw a picture of this game I was stunned, this game in fact, was one of the reasons I bought my ps3. Even tho I didn't really know how it was played, I just knew I had to play it because it looked amazing and fresh, this "game" is another one of those games that are mostly pure art, you can have just as much fun watching someone play this amazing experience as you would actually playing it, that's right, I am going as far as saying this is an experience more then a game, and a great one at that.

    Gameplay: In fl0wer, you get to play as the wind who carries petals from flower to flower, the more petals you get the longer your stream of petals becomes, in the end it doesn't really matter how long you are but its nice to be able to do a few flips and see yourself moving like a colorful snake in the air. For the most part, all you will be doing here is touching a flower and then moving on to the next, its simple but somehow very entertaining in an odd way. Some flowers such as the blue ones DO trigger special events that will lead you to the end of the level, but you don't need to get all the flowers in order to finish the level, only the ones that trigger events which by the way, will leave your eyes wide open as most of the times it only spreads beauty around the field of grass by seemingly turning the grass greener and making flowers grow out of nowhere. This is something that will not get old quickly and a force that will pull you back to play the same level over and over again.

    Graphics: I don't think i need to explain myself when i say that this is one of the best looking games out there period, pictures can't really show how beautiful this game looks in motion on an HDTV, and even if you have a regular tv, you will still be able to enjoy this game's beauty. The way the grass looks and reacts to you is simply amazing and it is something that should be looked at closely in order to further appreciate it.

    Sound: There really isn't much sound to this game, you have a back ground song and a sound effect for whenever you pick certain flowers, aside from that you also of course, hear the sound of wind. This is not a bad thing at all since it only makes the game sound as pretty as it looks, it pulls you in deeper into the experience.

    Replay Value: Replay value in this game is very high which is a specially essential thing in this game since it only has six levels, that's right, only six levels and they aren't exactly twenty minutes long ether. You can play each level multiple times and not get bored of it due to the freedom you are given from the start, if you don't want to collect flowers then you are free to roam around wherever you please. There ARE invisible walls, but you really would not want to go beyond them most of the times, its just more of the same grass that you have INSIDE the walls but without the flowers.

    Conclusion: I am personally getting tired of developers making such great games so freaking short, "Portal" and "Weapon Of Choice" are two more examples of this. This one takes the stage by being only about an hour long plus the credits level which you could almost consider to be an extra level in itself. For $10 i can't really say i am disappointed, but i would feel more satisfied with my purchase if there was at least bonus levels available for download for a small extra charge. This game DOES have trophies, so those of you out there who enjoy spending your time trying to unlock them will appreciate their existence and will certainly be a little more satisfied with their purchase.

    Final Score:
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 17:51
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    2. PS3 News,
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    Article Preview

    Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Developed by: SCE Studios London
    Genre: Virtual Pet
    MSRP: $1.99

    Overview: When I first got my PLayStation Eye, I was eager to try out some games for it, after looking around I realized that unfortunately there weren't many at all, and even less of them were good if any. Being a fan of nature I decided to try out what many call a "Fish Wallpaper"

    Gameplay: There really is no gameplay here, you see fish and you can wave your arms around to attract or scare away the fish........that is about it, you can't feed them or anything. When you pres the "Start" button, a menu will pop up which will allow you to choose what fish you want to see and what fish you want gone, there are seven types of fish total. Having fish follow you around can be entertaining for a few seconds, in fact, as I am writing this review, I realize that this game CAN be a nice addition to your collection if you are found having to constantly wait for something for just a few minutes, this will keep you occupied for a very small period of time until your eyes start drifting away into more interesting things such as your walls or perhaps the floor beneath you.

    Graphics: Its hard to say whether this game has good or bad graphics, the fish look pretty realistic but honestly, the PS3 can easily do much better, then we hit the fact that this game only costs $1.99 and we start to see that for a $1.99 game, the graphics are pretty good, but for a PS3 game, the graphics could use some extra work, it all comes down to the way you see things. Now ignoring the price and the console this game is on, the graphics could honestly be better, when fish get up close too the camera you can easily see they are fake, not to mention often times they carry blocky animations with them, and they have no self awareness of other fish around them, it seems as if they were given a path to follow and any other fish around them don't matter, so every now and then they will swim towards each other to the point of collision and just keep swimming towards each other until one of them takes another direction.

    Sound: To be honest the only sound I ever hear is the sound of bubbles and the occasional "woosh" coming from the fish when they swim away quickly, a nice relaxing optional background song would have been nice. Even as you are scrolling through the menu you hear a bubble burst whenever you highlight a new option.

    Replay Value: Once you have seen the first few seconds of this game you have pretty much seen it all already, the fish swim around but they never really do anything interesting, like I said before, the most fun you will have with this is having the fish follow your hand around, then again I don't think this game was made to be fun, but relaxing, in which case it fails to be so as well.

    Conclusion: I honestly can not say that I am disappointed with my purchase, but only because I can see myself playing with this as I wait for a download to finish on my computer, or if I am playing "TF2" or "Gary's mod" and the new map download is taking a while, this would be the perfect thing to play. If you are lucky enough to not often have to wait a few minutes, I STRONGLY advice you look the other way because this game will serve no purpose to you. If you often find yourself with spare time and nothing to do, I can easily recommend this game to you.

    Final Score:
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