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i s s u e 2 / vo l u m e 1 - AU G U S T 2 0 0 9

Evil is so Easy...

the minions return in Overlord II

Get in the Ring!

trading blows with Fight Night Round 4

Ghostbusters

busting heads (in a spiritual sense, of course...)


Inside

Inside 6 From the Editor On this month’s cover: 25 years on, the Ghostbusters video game bursts onto the PlayStation 3 platform. See the review on page 38.

8 Letters 10 News 14 Unstuck When is real too real? Jimmy Glue shares his views. 16 Geekology Games should be difficult, according to Matthew Vice. 18 Popcorn Munchers Games based on movies aren’t always bad. 22 Previews Take a look at these six upcoming games 30 PS Zealot Our new PlayStation column settles some firmware rumours 32 Xbox Beat Bryan Banfield thinks publishers should slow down a little 34 House of Mario The MotionPlus is the latest must-have Wii peripheral 36 Reviews 17 game reviews await 78 Hardware Take a look at our maiden tech-toy reviews 82 In the Lair July was a hot month for the Johannesburg LAN scene 84 Competitions There are lots of prizes to be won this month! 86 Showdown Which Tiger has the bigger bite?

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issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • contents

Previews

24 Need for Speed: SHIFT 25 Halo ODST 26 FIFA 10 27 Colin McRae: DiRT 2 28 GI Joe 29 Velvet Assassin 38 Ghostbusters: The Video Game 42 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 44 Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood 46 Fight Night Round 4 50 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 52 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

GAMECCA Volume 1 Issue 1 July 2009

54 The Conduit Editor: Walt Pretorius

56 Damnation

Writers: Walt Pretorius Matthew Vice Jimmy Glue Brian Murdoch Bryan Banfield Andre van der Westhuizen Dion Scotten

58 Overlord2 60 Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 62 Let’s Tap 64 Sacred 2

Reviews

Letters: letters@gamecca.co.za

66 Wii Sports Resort Competition entries: competitions@gamecca.co.za

68 Empire: Total War

Newsletter subscriptions: www.gamecca.co.za

72 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10

GAMECCA is published by 1337 Media GAMECCA is powered by ISSUU

74 Big Family Games 76 Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

Copyright © 1337 Media 2009

issue 2 • august 2009

5


gamecca • from the editor

Changes

W

by Walt Pretorius

6

ADD PAGES ADD BOOKMARKS

REFINE LAYOUT INSERT AUDIO

ADD REGULARS

INSERT VIDEO

elcome to the second issue of Gamecca Magazine. The gap between now and the last time I wrote this editor’s letter has been a very interesting one indeed, with more than a few surprises in store for me. The biggest surprise is the response that the first issue of Gamecca got. I expected the magazine to be received well, based on the fact that it is a good product, but the response we got was better than anyone had hoped for. We’re still in a ‘baby steps’ phase, but the toddler is walking a bit faster than anticipated. The response from within the video game industry as well as from readers has been awesome. Part of it has been a number of suggestions, some of which we have already implemented and some of which we are looking at implementing in the future. As you read through the magazine (and I sincerely hope you do read through the whole thing) you may notice a few changes between this issue and the last one. Some of the content we wanted to include last time couldn’t get to us before deadline, but smoothing up of operations mean that there are some new, regular sections provide us with a very effective tool for communicating with added to this issue, like the letters page, readers and giving them more of what they want. hardware reviews and the PlayStation column. A few presentation changes have also been made, particu- See, the readers are Gamecca’s strength, and the success larly to reviews and previews, to make things a little clearer of the magazine comes from the number of readers we and easier to find for the reader. And, of course, there’s the have, and the responses we get from them. Because the big jump in size… there are almost thirty more pages to this magazine is free, and will always be available for free online, we need to be able to show advertisers high numbers issue than the first one. in order to justify them giving us bucket-loads of cash. In Some other aspects that people have asked about, like order to achieve those high numbers, we need to consistthe inclusion of multimedia elements, are ones that will be ently deliver a top notch product, to keep readers added in the future. We coming back. But we also need those numbers to are working on adding “Readers are grow and, as part of that, I would ask that (if you things like audio and Gamecca’s strength, enjoy the magazine) please tell your friends about video, but this will take a and the success of it. It’s a bit tacky, I know, but the more readers we little bit of time. the magazine comes have, the better this magazine will become – which There are also some new can only be good for everyone involved. from the number of internet related features Before I finish, I would like to welcome our two new readers we have” available, like the fact contributors, Andre van der Westehuizen and Dion that you can now access Scotten. I look forward to seeing many more great the magazine directly from its Facebook page (www.facearticles from both of them. book.com/gamecca). And we have added a forum to the site… I hear some of you groan, but the forum will hopefully OK, enough from me… let’s get on with the show! g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • the inbox

Look, Letters... I must admit, I was rather surprises to get any letters at all. People generally don’t seem to want to bother with writing a letter these days, and so when the ones that did come through arrived, I was really pleased. So pleased, in fact, that I spoke to my good friends over at Megarom Interactive, and asked them if they would sponsor a prize for the best letter sent in every month. They said “sure thing’”, and so, from the next issue of Gamecca, we will be giving away a hot new game to the writer of the best letter we receive, thanks to Megarom Interactive. - ed

Quite by Chance... Ran across a link to your magazine somewhere on the internet and I must say I’m quite impressed. You ‘brag’ with your staff of experienced players and they certainly know what they are blabbing on about! The articles are insightful and come across as honest first hand experiences. I really hope Gamecca can kick off strongly enough from the ground to make it into the air! Will be waiting for the next issue impatiently, good luck (: glhf Flipi ‘alcardu’ I am very glad that you like what you see. We are trying hard to put the best quality magazine we can together, while listening to what readers want and keeping the whole thing at the best possible price (and that’s free, of course.) We hope to get bigger and better in the future (this issue has already had a big increase in page count) and we will keep refining the process to make sure that Gamecca stays good... no, make that great. ed

Where’s the PS3? Hey guys, great work on your first magazine, it is pretty thorough with the reviews and with a little humour as well. The only problem i had was that you had an E3 section for the XBOX and Wii but not for the PS3? Whats up with that?

The Best Price Great MAG and GREAT that it is FREE!!! I stopped buying other mags because their prices got a bit out of hand, and I can find all the info I want online in any case. Your MAG will be part of my online gaming reading ;-)

But nonetheless, great work and I am looking forward to next issue.

Frank I have heard lot of people saying that mags are getting expensive - not because their prices are necessarily increasing, but because people’s pockets aren’t as full these days as they should be. Gamecca is free because it can be. And it always will be available for free, online. Globally, the face of publishing is changing, and we firmly believe that this kind of delivery is where it’s going.

Thanks for the letter. In answer to your question, new projects often take a little time to get off of the ground properly. I know it sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true. And, to make things worse, this one was a last minute thing all in all, so certain elements just weren’t able to be delivered in time... including the PS3 column. You’ll be happy to know that it is now a regular feature. By the way, they weren’t E3 things as such... they’re columns that will be regularly published. It just so happens that the writers all decided to talk about E3...

ed

ed

8

Max Maw

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • news

news news news GH5 tracks Anyone who isn’t excited about Guitar Hero 5 is either dead, or just dead boring. Activision Blizzard have announced (through the good folks at Megarom) that the game will feature a staggering 85 tracks, playable right from the word go. Those tracks are, in no particular order: 3 Doors Down - “Kryptonite” Arctic Monkeys - “Brianstorm” Blink-182 - “The Rock Show” Dire Straits - “Sultans Of Swing” Jimmy Eat World - “Bleed American” Johnny Cash - “Ring Of Fire” Megadeth - “Sweating Bullets” Mötley Crüe - “Looks That Kill” Muse - “Plug In Baby” Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Queen & David Bowie - “Under Pressure” Stevie Wonder - “Superstition” The Killers - “All The Pretty Faces” The Raconteurs - “Steady As She Goes” TV On The Radio - “Wolf Like Me” A Perfect Circle - “Judith” AFI - “Medicate” Attack! Attack! UK - “You And Me” Band Of Horses - “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” Beastie Boys - “Gratitude” Beck - “Gamma Ray” Billy Idol - “Dancing With Myself” Billy Squier - “Lonely Is The Night” Blur - “Song 2” Bob Dylan - “All Along The Watchtower” Bon Jovi - “You Give Love A Bad Name” Brand New - “Sowing Season (Yeah)” The Bronx - “Six Days A Week” Bush - “Comedown” Children Of Bodom - “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing” Coldplay - “In My Place” Darker My Love - “Blue Day” Darkest Hour - “Demon(s)” David Bowie - “Fame” Deep Purple - “Woman From Tokyo (‘99 Remix)” The Derek Trucks Band - “Younk Funk” The Duke Spirit - “Send A Little Love Token” Duran Duran - “Hungry Like The Wolf” Eagles Of Death Metal - “Wannabe In L.A.” Elliott Smith - “L.A.” Elton John - “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” Face To Face - “Disconnected” Garbage - “Only Happy When It Rains”

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Gorillaz - “Feel Good Inc.” Gov’t Mule - “Streamline Woman” Grand Funk Railroad - “We’re An American Band” Iggy Pop - “Lust For Life (Live)” Iron Maiden - “2 Minutes To Midnight” Jeff Beck - “Scatterbrain (Live)” John Mellencamp - “Hurts So Good” Kaiser Chiefs - “Never Miss A Beat” King Crimson - “21st Century Schizoid Man” Kings Of Leon - “Sex On Fire” Kiss - “Shout It Out Loud” Love and Rockets - “Mirror People” My Morning Jacket - “One Big Holiday” Nirvana - “Lithium (Live)” No Doubt - “Ex-Girlfriend” Peter Frampton - “Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)” The Police - “So Lonely” Public Enemy Featuring Zakk Wylde - “Bring the Noise 20XX” Queens Of The Stone Age - “Make It Wit Chu” Rammstein – “Du Hast” The Rolling Stones - “Sympathy For The Devil” Rose Hill Drive “Sneak Out” Rush - “The Spirit Of Radio (Live)” Santana - “No One To Depend On (Live)” Scars On Broadway - “They Say” Screaming Trees - “Nearly Lost You” Smashing Pumpkins - “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” Sonic Youth - “Incinerate” Spacehog - “In The Meantime” Sublime - “What I Got” Sunny Day Real Estate - “Seven” T. Rex - “20th Century Boy” The Sword - “Maiden, Mother & Crone” Thin Lizzy - “Jailbreak” Thrice - “Deadbolt” Tom Petty - “Runnin’ Down A Dream” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - “American Girl” Vampire Weekend - “A-Punk” Weezer - “Why Bother?” The White Stripes - “Blue Orchid” Wild Cherry - “Play That Funky Music” Wolfmother - “Back Round”

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • news

news news news Prepare for more war You can’t keep a good game down. And Electronic Arts know that the Command & Conquer franchise are a whole bunch of good games. That’s part of the reason why they have announced Command & Conquer 4, which will ship sometime in 2010. “Command & Conquer is a powerful franchise with an amazing 15-year legacy. We are thrilled to bring the dramatic Tiberium saga to a conclusion in Command & Conquer 4. This game is designed to give fans all the answers they’ve been looking for,” said Mike Glosecki, Lead Producer of Command & Conquer 4 at EA Los Angeles. “With its objectivebased multiplayer mode, persistent player progression and all-in-one mobile base, players will experience Command & Conquer like never before.” The year is 2062 and humanity is at the brink of extinction. With only six years left until the mysterious crystalline structure Tiberium renders the earth entirely uninhabitable, the two opposing factions – Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod – inevitably find themselves in desperation for the same cause: to stop Tiberium from extinguishing mankind. The unthinkable becomes reality and Nod’s enigmatic leader Kane takes off for GDI headquarters. What is Kane planning in the heart of his enemies’ base? Command & Conquer 4 draws the epic conclusion to the beloved Tiberium universe, where fans will learn the fate of Earth, Nod, Tiberium, GDI and most importantly, Kane’s motivations behind his decade-long plan.

Forza the fans

Get NITRO

Fans of Forza Motorsport will be able to pick up a limited edition version of Forza Motorsport 3, which will feature a few extra rides. It will also give them a whole lot of community based kudos. The extra cars will be: • 2009 Aston Martin DBS • 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 • 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia • 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera • 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

November 17th, 2009, will see Need for Speed: NITRO hit retail shelves. This game is the first in the franchise that is built exclusive for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems. “Need for Speed NITRO offers fun and intense competition for every type of gamer,” said Joe Booth, Senior Producer, EA Montreal. “The varied track designs, deep controls, and intuitive drift and nitro mechanics give players something to come back to for months on end. We wanted to fuse together attitude with car culture and the best of arcade racing, to create a new and unique racing experience for the Wii and NDS this November.”

issue 2 • august 2009

11


gamecca • unstuck

Really, now...

C

by Jimmy Glue

orrect me if I’m wrong, but I surely can’t be the only person that’s under the impression that video games are meant to be fun. Don’t get me wrong, as a great deal of them are terribly entertaining to play, but once in a blue moon, a title comes along that will look you squarely in the face and laugh as you struggle to master it’s deceptive level of difficulty. The whole idea of video games started off as a form of relaxation and casual entertainment, but somewhere between planning and conception, a developer or two fell completely off the proverbial wagon. I don’t have a problem with game difficulty as much as I have a problem with the realism that comes with it. If a game is meant to be as true to life as possible, why don’t you just go outside and experience the real thing? In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, you have to factor in the saturation of the green after rain. If you forgot that it stopped raining 3 holes ago, your putt will come up well short, which will cause a lot of wild club swinging and possibly injure a virtual by-stander in the process. It’s mainly sports games that suffer from ‘realism complex’, and that increases the difficulty curve dramatically. I truly don’t understand why certain games need to be as difficult or as real as possible. I’m sure some gamers will crucify me for the comments, but it removes a degree of fun from the experience. Gaming is supposed to be fun, but I can’t enjoy a title if I have to think more than actually pressing buttons. (OK, you just shot yourself in the foot – ed) It’s fair to say that (obviously) you’ll need to use your noggin certain situations, and I’m one of them, but do they really in most games if you would like to get anywhere, need to as realistic as possible? Call me old-school or a but you have to draw a line wet blanket, but have we really somewhere. “As soon as I need to factor reached the point in gaming I can hear the emails in humidity, wind speed, where we can mesh reality flooding our servers, and I’m precipitation percentage and pixels and still say ‘It’s well aware of the fact that just a game’? Can we make you can set the difficulty level and grass length, that’s games as realistic as possible in most games, but in others when you lose me and not expect people to go on you simply can’t. I like to completely. ” a murderous rampage? (um, play my games on ‘Medium’ yes? - ed) difficulty, as I feel it presents Can you image playing Call Of Duty with the realism set me with a challenge, but as soon as I need to factor in to ‘Very High’? You will start the mission with your issued humidity, wind speed, precipitation percentage and grass weapon, 40-or-so rounds and a side arm. That will be it. length, that’s when you lose me completely. No health packs, no self-healing and you definitely won’t The racing game SBK 09 is not that difficult from the be able to carry 15 RPG’s by yourself. Starting the mission, start, but even the most hardened racer will find the you’ll turn a corner and fall straight into your coffin, as there ‘realistic’ difficulty a challenge. Now, for an inexperienced will be no alternative to ‘one shot, one kill’. racer like me, it’s virtually impossible. Not so much fun anymore, now is it? g I realise that gamers like to immerse themselves in

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issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • geekology

Too Little Effort, Too Little Reward

I

by Matthew Vice

don’t know how long this has been an issue in gaming, but it’s one I’ve noticed since about the middle of the last generation of consoles, which was roughly the time most people I know started to own consoles regardless of how into gaming they were. Some of them were hard cases, like me, who spend huge amounts of money and time on the hobby, and others were more casual. But one thing I heard them constantly discussing was the issue of effort and reward, especially the idea of how much a game should push gamers before giving them gratification for it. A viewpoint that was remarkably – or perhaps even worryingly – popular was the whole “I work ten hours a day, and the last thing I want is to come home and work even more on a difficult game” argument. The nods of agreement this opinion received sent shivers down my spine as I saw a vision of a future where, when gaming is even more commonplace than it is now, pen pushers crack the whip at cowering development teams, forcing them to give the consumers “what they want” – in this case, piss-easy pieces of software that show you everything cool within the first 45 minutes and leave the rest of the game bland and easy enough to get through so that the player will finish it and go after the next one. Now, I’ve been a gamer for a long, long time, and

“A viewpoint that was remarkably – or perhaps even worryingly – popular was the whole “I work ten hours a day, and the last thing I want is to come home and work even more on a difficult game” argument. ” 16

perhaps the reason I’m not jaded with it yet is because the industry evolved so quickly. I’ve seen entire genres evolve, dominate, and die before my very eyes; but through it all, I’ve never once thought of gaming as “work”... well, until I became a games journalist – but that’s different. What I’m talking about is feeling like a game is making me work harder than I should to, let’s say, unlock a super cool weapon, or get a better ending. I like a challenge, I like the feeling of refining my skills to meet the criteria required to improve. Isn’t that what games have always been about, even the ones that aren’t electronic? And don’t bring up the whole “well you play games for a living” argument. I liked challenging games when I still had a regular job and could only play games at night and on the weekends like everyone else. Let’s take something like... Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry might be easy enough for anyone to get through on the mid to lower difficult settings with average rankings, but the second you start playing for the highest rank, S rank, in every mission, well, that’s when you discover that Devil May Cry is made to chew you up and spit you out – to separate the men from the boys. And for this reason, it’s always occupied a special niche in the hearts of gamers everywhere, even those who aren’t particularly good at it. Would it be a good idea to make Devil May Cry a lot easier so that everyone can get S ranks and delude themselves into thinking they have some modicum of skill? Of course not, because then it wouldn’t be Devil May Cry any more. OK, so I guess the more casual gamers among us do have as much right to have games developed for them as us hard cases have to see challenging games developed for us. The thing which worries me is that casual gamers outnumber us hard cases by, um... a big number... and as casual gaming becomes more and more widespread – which is happening right now – the market might take shape to suit the demand: Casual games for casual gamers, with only a few bastions of old-school game development out there producing the odd title for the avid gamer. Yeah... let’s hope that doesn’t actually happen. g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • feature

Popcorn Munchers

Not all video games based on movies are bad...

V

ideo games based on movies have a rather bad reputation, but it’s not without reason. The phenomenon of rushing out games in support of a movie release started a few years ago, and quickly bloomed into a massive industry. While the rank and file would eat up these products, based on the same motivations that sell other kinds of movie merchandising, the more serious gamers quickly developed the opinion that games based on movies are less than perfect. In fact, a great many have been downright awful. The reasons for this have never been publicly declared, but there are a few conclusions that can be drawn from obvious patterns in the process. The games are rushed out, as stated before, which is never a good idea. It leads to problems that don’t just apply to the technical side of things, but also on the overall game dynamics. The games become formulaic and unimaginative. Another obvious fact is that these games are often given to inexperienced developers. The reason for this is

18

by Walt Pretorius

probably to get these teams a bit of experience. A few titles under the belt doesn’t hurt, even if they aren’t great titles. Another aspect is that these games are pretty much guaranteed to sell well. They are, after all, generally based on popular movies, and the general public doesn’t necessarily research titles before buying them. And so the reputation has stuck. However, new trends followed by video game publishers have resulted in a better grade of movie based game being released. As one particular publisher mentioned to a gathering of journalists a while back, these games are very valuable properties and, as casual gamers become more experienced, the games themselves need to be improved to take advantage of their value. The reputation is not entirely fair, either, because there have been some games released that have been really great. These games are the exception, rather than the rule, but they are out there. We have put together a bit of a list to share with you… six movie games that don’t suck. g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • feature

The Godfather The Godfather games have really shown that a little bit of thought put into the design of a game based on a classic movie property can go a long way. There have been two games, which have corresponded with the first two films in terms of setting and plot (to a degree - the second one took massive liberties with the plot that some purists didn’t like.) The games allow the player to work their way up through the ranks of the Corleone family - the second game has more management in it, and even allows the player to become the don of this action packed, free-roaming world.

The Chronicles of Riddick games were based on the universe created for the movies, rather than on the movies themselves. The two games supplemented the story of Riddick (and are the only source for more material, seeing as how the film franchise has been canned.) The first game, Escape from Butcher Bay, was the best of the two, with great action and lots to do. The second game, Assault on Dark Athena, felt a little dated at its release, and didn’t deliver according to expectations based on Butcher Bay. Still a good game, though...

The Chronicles of Riddick


gamecca • feature

Wolverine

Quantum of Solace

Specifically, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The game delivers better graphics and game dynamics than most titles based on high action movies. This is probably largely due to the fact that the development house behind the title was veteran crew Raven Software. Experience makes a world of difference, and it shows in this title. The player gets to play the eponymous character, doing all kinds of claw-based damage to enemies. It is well worth noting that this game is extremely violent, and most certainly not approproate for the kids.

The video game based on Quantum of Solace is not the best video game around, but it certainly makes a commendable effort. In addition, it is the best game based on the James Bond Universe that we have seen. The game slickly ties Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale together in an action packed first person shooter that is rather thrilling and very pretty to look at. On the downside, the game is very short and features a few things that might raise an eyebrow in terms of good game design. It’s a solid title, though.

Based on a short anime series of the same name, Afro Samurai is one of the finest games to ever be based on a movie or TV property. With graphics that look like they were lifted from the original, a ton of voice acting talent (including Samuel L Jackson) and a combat system that is brilliantly impressive, Afro Samurai is a stylish and engaging game that everyone should give a whirl. Well, maybe not the kids... it is a brutally violent game, and is crammed with foul language. What else would one expect from our man Sam?

OK, we admit, this one is a bit of a cop-out. It is based more on the Marvel comics than the films, but the video game franchise does rely on the movie properties heavily. They are very popular, and help to push sales of the games. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was a fun title, because it allowed the player to take on a more free role, deciding whether their version of Spider-Man would be a good guy or a nasty dude, or a little of both. It’s timing near the release of Spider-Man 3 wasn’t co-incidence...

Afro Samurai

Spider-Man

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issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • preview

Previews

New elements, bigger pictures and less waffling... our previews just got better! In this issue

24 Need for Speed: SHIFT More fast paced action awaits driving fans as EA releases it’s new driving simulator for the more powerful platforms. 25 Halo ODST An all new look at the Halo universe is in store for fans of this very popular Microsoft franchise. 26 FIFA 10 This game just keeps getting better and better as EA Sports refine the system year after year. 27 Colin McRae’s DiRT 2 There’s dust, mud and dirt aplenty waiting for rally driving enthusiasts in this follow-up title from Codemasters. 28 GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra Based on the movie of the same name, this game is sure to deliver lots of action, and a bit of nostalgia too. 29 Velvet Assassin Based on the life of a real World War II spy, Velvet Assassin takes the player far behind enemy lines, where stealth and guile are the most important weapons.

S

A B C D E F 22

good above average average below average

eptember sees the start of the big rush towards the end of the year. The third quarter of every year is generally crammed with lots of excellent releases, but it seems that publishers are getting the jump on things a little earlier in 2009. So we have a few interesting previews. These are by no means exhaustive... there will be more on shelf than what we look at in this issue. But, in the interests of growing at a sensible pace, we have selected six titles to tell you about. We have also shortened our preview text, and are using more pictures. It’s much better that way, you’ll see. Lastly, we have added an accessibility rating to both previews and reviews this month. This rating is a one to five scale that describes how hardcore or casual a game is (or is anticipated to be.) It’s pretty self explanatory, you’ll find. g

poor Hardcore < > Casual

terrible

Genre: What kind of game is it? Platforms: What can it be played on? Dev: Who is making it? Pub: Who will release it? Release Date: When will it hit shelves?

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • preview

Need for Speed: SHIFT

Shift up

The Need for Speed series returns with SHIFT, a new racer for the punchier platforms...

by Walt Pretorius

T

here is a new Need for Speed game blasting onto the market… however, the franchsie has been broken into three distinct sub-groups now. Need for Speed Nitro will be released to a more casual market, for the Wii and DS. Another Need for Speed version is destined to end up on an online server, with

Genre: Racing Platforms: X360, PS3, PC Dev: Slightly Mad Studios Pub: Electronic Arts Release Date: September 2009

24

multiplayer being the only option for it. The third one is the one we’re looking at right now – Need for Speed: SHIFT. There is little doubt that the game will deliver the goods, but after the slightly cool reception that Need for Speed: Undercover got, it will be very interesting to see how Electronic Arts presents the new game. One thing is for certain – the cars will be fast (and customisable) and the racing action will be plentiful. g

Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

issue 2 • august 2009

A


gamecca • preview

Halo ODST

Halo Again

Bungie’s smash hit returns with an all-new story and characters

by Walt Pretorius

A

Genre: First Person Shooter Platforms: X360 Dev: Bungie Pub: Microsoft Release Date: September 2009

n all new Halo game is coming to the Xbox 360. Developed by Bungie, Halo ODST places the player in the role of one of the UNSC’s finest warriors: Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. These warriors might not be as big or powerful as the famous Master Chief, but they are tenacious and more than capable of holding their own in any battle. The story takes place during the events that lead up to Master Chief’s return to New Mombasa, and will give the player a valuable and intriguing further look into the ever expanding Halo universe. Aside from the single player game, a massive and capable multiplayer mode will allow players around the world to partake in this latest instalment of one of video gaming’s most successful franchises. g

Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

issue 2 • august 2009

A

25


gamecca • preview

FIFA 10

Heads Up!

The FIFA franchise just keeps getting better because EA Sports listen to what fans want.

by Walt Pretorius

Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

A

Genre: Sports Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS Dev: EA Sports Pub: Electronic Arts Release Date: October 2009

26

E

A Sports have, year on year, delivered a better experience with their FIFA football simulation franchise. And the next instalment looks to be no different. FIFA 10 will feature a number of enhancements, including better spatial analysis, curved runs to stay on-side, more natural passing lanes, more variety in attacking options, defence position priority, improved slide tackles and better use of pressmarking. “We have benefited from 275 million games played online to refine FIFA 10 in a way that matters most to our fans,” said Andrew Wilson, Vice President & Executive Producer for the FIFA franchise. “We’ve listened and responded to their feedback to improve player control, responsiveness and intelligence and create what we believe is the world’s most authentic football videogame.” And there’s even more! More responsive goal keepers and an enhanced, true 360-degree dribbling system will add to the experience as well, among others. Fans will be sure to be happy with this release! g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • preview

Colin McRae: DiRT 2

Get Messy!

Colin McRae returns with more rally action in the form of DiRT 2...

by Walt Pretorius

C

olin McRae DiRT gave rally fans quite a game to enjoy. The action will continue soon, when DiRT 2 hits shelves. There are a number of improvements to the game, and players will be able to look forward to multiple off-road racing disciplines, all fuelled by the third generation of Codemasters’ EGO engine. Multi-car and solo events will be available for play on tracks around the world, including locations like the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Baja and Croatia, to name a few. Event types will include stadium events, canyon racing and even a race staged at the iconic Battersea Power Station in London. Players will have the freedom to choose their favourite vehicles for events, rather than having to make use of specific cars. These vehicles will be upgradable and tweakable for maximum power and performance. Naturally, they will be trashable, too… The single player game will be supported by a host of online functionality. g Genre: Racing Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS Dev: Codemasters Pub: Codemasters Release Date: September 2009

Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • preview

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

The Good Fight

They’re not revealing much about this game, but it should offer lots of action... and nostalgia...

by Walt Pretorius

I

t is hardly surprising that, with the upcoming release of the GI Joe movie, there will be a GI Joe video game, too. GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra will, one must assume, put the player in the role of one of the GI Joe characters, although the developers aren’t saying too much at the moment (probably because they’re not allowed to.) What we do know is that the game will be crammed full of unlockable content and collectables, including filecards, concept art and behind-thescenes production stuff. While this is a movie-based game, and movie-based games have a bad reputation for a reason, there are still those among us who have very fond memories of GI Joe, and who are doubtlessly hoping for the best from this one. I know I am. g

Genre: Action Platforms: X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, DS Dev: EA Games Pub: Electronic Arts Release Date: August 2009

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Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • preview

Velvet Assassin

Pretty Deadly

Velvet Assassin introduces the player to stealthy World War II action behind enemy lines...

by Walt Pretorius

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uring World War II, a near-legendary British secret agent named Violette Szabo worked deep inside enemy territory, proving invaluable to the British war effort. Now developers Replay Studios have created a game based on her life and exploits. Called Velvet Assassin, the game places the player in the role of Violette Summer, a crack agent using her wits and beauty to operate deep in the strongholds of the Third Reich. Unlike most World War II games, Velvet Assassin will allow the player to take on a very different role from the usual soldier – rather, stealth and guile will be necessary for survival, providing a breath of fresh air in an otherwise over-full genre. g

Genre: Action Platforms: X360, PC Dev: Replay Studios Pub: South Peak Interactive Release Date: August 2009

Anticipation: Hardcore < > Casual

issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • ps zealot

Firming Up the Rumours

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f there’s one thing that we PS3 Zealots love flooding forums with, it’s speculation about the features in the next firmware release. The latest firmware release is just around the corner and once again we have some fairly plausible (and a lot of outright ridiculous) predictions regarding what the next upgrade might hold for us. The firmware feature rumour mongering is usually a reflection of what PS3 owners would like to see in the next software update and this then gets projected as forum rumour banter. The process that follows plays out like Christmas when you where younger. After writing letters to Santa, you have to wait until Christmas eve to see if you got what you asked for and therein lies the fun of it all… For a (small) group of unpatriotic PS3 owners, the Xbots and Wii-mote touting Miis out there, there is nothing less exciting than a firmware upgrade. This is understandable; what rumbles my Duelshock 3 might not induce even a quiver from yours. As they say: different strokes for different folks. So for the Sony faithful out there, let’s take a look at some of the most asked for and rumoured features that we want to see after our beloved black box restarts on that fateful day, and then see what Sony’s Director of Network Operations, Eric Lempel, had to say about it in an interview with Game On’s Matt Peckham. We’ve got cross game texting thanks to a previous upgrade, now how about some cross game voice chat? You’ll be glad to hear that Sony is looking into this. Eric Lempel: “…we realize that a lot of people want that. It’s one of the most requested features, and it is something we’re looking into. It’s a very complex feature, but we are looking

by Andre van der Westhuizen

into it…” In my opinion this feature might not be in the next release, but I’m pretty sure it’s only one or two releases away. For the memory card scanning minority, who were rooting for a memory card search function, you’re going to be disappointed. Eric Lempel: “…That’s actually something we’re not working on right now, but it’s something we can look at. I have seen that requested a couple times, but I think when we look at the priority list, it’s not very high up there.…” Like Eric said, there are more important things to do, so off you go to search for that saved game you’ve misplaced, you ungrateful little worm! We’ve all pressed the PS button to check the time and there it is, the battery power display eclipsing the clock. A few impatient seconds later the battery display disappears and you can see how little time you have left before you have to go to work or school. Wouldn’t it be nice if Sony could fix that little annoyance? Eric Lempel: “…You know, I’ll tell you, I personally don’t like that either, and it’s something that’s definitely being corrected. You can put me in the angry camp…” Thanks to this correction you will now instantly know that it’s 05:15 in the morning and you have to be up for work in less than an hour… your life is now complete. Obviously there will be features that we will only know about once the press release for the firmware upgrade, along with the list of features, is made public. Until then, rest at ease, your presents from Sony are on their way. So sit back, relax and wait just a little while longer. Come to think of it, now that you have some time to kill, feed that Bluray disc to your black box and go trophy hunting for that elusive Platinum… happy hunting! g

This page is provided by PlayStation Gamer www.playstationgamer.co.za


gamecca • xbox beat

Too Fast, Too Furious

I

by Bryan Banfield

t is amazing how the games industry has changed I had parents that told me to stop playing games as they over the past few years. My days as a gamer started were a waste of time and that I could never make a living roughly around 1990. My dad was a technician on out of them (my parents have since repented). the old IBM mainframes and had come across a few These days, titles line our store shelves and sections of old machines that he brought home for us. stores are set aside for consumers looking for the latest My machine was an 8MHz releases, the hottest sellers and “ Studios are realizing XC in a Honeywell desktop newest expansions. that there is an ever case, 10MB double-device We hear and read stories HDD and 360KB doubleof game development studios increasing market of device floppy drive. I did have expanding in size and opening digital consumers, with one amazing plus and that statistics pointing to the new studios around the world (of was that I had a CGA screen course, we also hear of some fact that people would which meant that my monitor closing down.) All of these studios rather purchase new displayed 4 colours and, boy, are realizing that there is an games than spend time in ever increasing market of digital was that cool. Alley Cat and Sopwith were consumers, with statistics pointing the movie theatres.” the games of the day. We also to the fact that people would had a few text based adventure games but I didn’t really rather purchase new games than spend time in the movie have time for any of that. theatres. About a year later my brother, Christopher, and I were Unfortunately this has led to a change in the market. in the old Dions store in Tygervalley, Cape Town. While Those of us that have been around for years now are boredly following our parents as they browsed the shops seeing this phenomenon taking our industry by storm. Like we came across an 8 bit console that played the old The Nothing from The Never Ending Story, this infection is cartridges. A whopping 16 in one cartridge and the console poisoning our world. were on special. My brother and I took turns playing The I call it ‘Too Fast, Too Furious’… too many games Goonies (some of you might remember this one). So in launched too quickly. 1991 I joined the 8 bit wars with my little 8 bit console. The amount of ‘half finished’ titles released is increasing; Gaming was new to South Africa and these cartridges the need to patch games is very new to our industry. were hard to find, and extremely expensive if you did. We are losing basic and vital elements like gameplay, From there I moved onto the Sega Genesis. Some time replayability, storyline and, unfortunately, quality. passed and I find myself in 2009. We now have consoles We are losing these elements due to the fact that that can store gigabytes of data on HD discs (we could not shareholders require a return on investment at the end of imagine that amount of storage space back then). We also each financial year. find ourselves part of a multi-billion dollar industry. This cannot continue forever... I look forward to the day when we see the return of games like the ones we saw in years gone by. It has already started, with the release of The Curse of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Xbox Live Arcade. Some are calling this the rebirth of adventure gaming! I am willing to consider that we might be moving into the new norm of gaming. The age of “hurry up and finish it, a new one is already releasing.” g

This page is provided by Xbox Gamer www.xboxgamer.co.za


gamecca • the house of mario

Staying in Control

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nlike other platforms out there, I am already able to talk about the latest motion device for my platform. This is because I have played games that make use of the Wii MotionPlus. The Wii MotionPlus has been in South Africa for just over a month but there have been no great reviews on this add-on, mainly because Wii Sports Resort has not come out yet. This is a Nintendo first for me; not the lack of reviews but the fact that two 3rd party games were brought out before the 1st party game supporting the new hardware was released. Now don’t go blaming the fact that we live in South Africa on this, because all the items in question were internationally released at the same time. Another funny fact is that the 1st party game, Wii Sports Resort, has been finished for over a year now... When playing Wii Sports Resort, every game, even archery, requires the MotionPlus and the game pauses if you disconnect it. I say even archery because at the press event everyone (including the Core Group staff and promoters) was holding the remote wrong throughout the day. They all thought that the pointer was needed to aim and the nunchuk was pulled back for the shot. Firstly I don’t understand why no one saw this and realised that something was wrong with the playing position… every other game has you moving and standing in a way you would during the real-life activity. We looked like we were cutting fish instead of shooting a bow. The correct way is to hold the Wii remote in your right hand and nunchuk in your left, point the remote to the roof and hold “A” with your thumb. Pull back the nunchuk and hold “Z”, then release like you are releasing an arrow. The MotionPlus is a true improvement to the Wii and gives you a real 1:1 movement ratio when playing games. You see this when you play the new bowling in Wii Sports Resort. Compared to the old bowling in Wii Sports, ball control and spinning are much better. Everyone is asking why it was not included with the Wii in the beginning. That is the same as asking why they don’t include all the expansions to other games with the original game. Companies have ways of making money and this is one of them, although new technology could have been devised after the fact. If you look at the fact that only a few games make use of all the Wii remote features (and this is an upgrade to the control features) it’s hardly surprising that it is only coming out now. I must admit that I am smitten with glee when I play with the MotionPlus. The reaction that I get from games

by Brian Murdoch

is so very accurate. I don’t like golf that much and I really don’t like tennis, but even these games have me coming back for more and more. The one sad point about the Wii MotionPlus is the fact that it does not improve or even affect the older Wii titles. You even need to remove it when charging or trying to play games that require you to hold the remote horizontally; your thumb is just not long enough. There are currently only 3 games that support the Wii Motion Plus, being EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis, EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 10 and Wii Sports Resort. The MotionPlus is an optional bundle with Tennis and comes bundled with Wii Sports Resort. My advice to you is that you buy the Wii Sports Resort and get one bundled Wii MotionPlus. To get your second one buy the bundled Grand Slam Tennis. You really don’t need more than two now, because there are only a few functions in Tennis, and a few games in Resort, that you will need more than two for, and most of these allow you to share you remotes. May the MotionPlus be with you. g

“Two 3rd party games were brought out before the Nintendo games supporting the new hardware were released”

This page is provided by Nintendo Gamer www.nintendogamer.co.za


gamecca • review

Reviews

It’s review time... but things will look a little different this time around. Highlights 38 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Bustin’ makes me feel good! It’s the perfect game for fans of the movies. 42 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince It’s back to Hogwarts for lots of fun and exploration in this new Potter title. 46 Fight Night Round 4 Trading blows with heavyweights has never been more fun than now...

I

50 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 In trying to keep things dynamic and interesting, Golf + weather = realistic. And it’s a good reason to we have come up with a new idea - and it’s one throw your controller too. that hasn’t been seen too often before, so it’s even better! 54 The Conduit See, we believe that not only should games be The revolutionary first person shooter for the rated according to quality, but also according to how Nintendo Wii has arrived. accessible they are. “But wait,” I hear you cry. “Aren’t all games equally 58 Overlord II accessible?” The answer is an emphatic no. Some Being evil has never been so much fun - or so games are easier to play than others, and contain funny. Gotta love the minions! concepts that don’t necessarily only appeal to the hard-core crowd. It is easy to forget that there are people out there who love playing games but who aren’t super-dedicated gaming junkies. To these people, a Vitals: game can be intimidating. So we are trying to let them Game: The name of the game know that even if a game might look complex and Genre: What kind of game it is overly challenging, it might not be. That’s where our Platforms: Which machines it is made for Dev: Who made it Accessibility Rating comes in. Pub: Who sells it It works very simply, on a scale of one to five - or blue to Age Rating: Who should play it red, in this case. Blue is very easy to play - grandmothers and young infants could clock the game, and it doesn’t have a hard-core code in its body. Red means that even the hardest of the hardAwards: core would break a sweat trying to get good Glorious Game to grips with the controls, concepts and Star Award possibly even Eucladian geometry that Given to the above average the game demands. See, it’s easy. Red is cream of the video hard-core, blue is casual. gaming crop Naturally, this rating is, like all our other average ratings, rather subjective. Reviews are Editor’s ‘Right On’ Button supposed to be, otherwise they would be Given to those below average called ‘press releases.’ games that the Anyway, hope you like it. And hope you editor believes enjoy the reviews. g poor are really cool, although not Hardcore < > Casual necessarily the terrible best of the bunch.

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issue 2 • august 2009


Ghostbusters:The Video Game

Paranormal Pandemonium

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

by Walt Pretorius

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played the parts (namely Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, William Atherton and Annie Potts). The game features settings that are familiar too, like the Ghostbusters HQ, the New York Library and the Sedgewick Hotel. Support characters, like Slimer, the Librarian and the Stay-Puft incarnation of Gozer also feature. And to cap it all off, the script for the game was written by Aykroyd and Ramis, the men responsible for the two highly popular Ghostbusters movies. Add to that a bit of new voice talent, like Alyssa Milano, and you have all the ingredients for a game that will serve fans of the movies perfectly well. And that’s exactly what the video game does. It is important to keep in mind, though, that this is a game created for fans of the movies, as opposed to being made for fans of video gaming, necessarily. What that means is that, while it may not be a perfect video game, it is a perfect video game for Ghostbusters fans. It takes on the position of being the ‘third film’ in the series, and manages to complete the story and tie up a few loose ends that the films left laying about. What it might not have done right in terms of being a game, it did perfectly well in terms of being a part of the Ghostbusters legacy. OK, got that? On with the review… Ghostbusters: The Video Game puts the player in control of a character who is never given any kind of name beyond ‘Rookie’ or ‘Kid’ or ‘New Guy’. He joins the familiar team of Ray Stanz, Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore as something of an apprentice and guinea-pig for Spengler’s modifications to the proton Genre: Action pack that forms the basis of all the Ghostbusters Platforms: PS3, PS2, PSP activities. Dev: Terminal Reality Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe As the Rookie, the player will get to team up with Age Rating: 12+ the Ghostbusters in various combinations, and

ovie games are often maligned and are almost never taken seriously, but the people who make and publish these games are taking a very different approach to the whole deal – they are upping the bar on games based on movie properties, to a large degree. Add to that the fact that games not directly based on actual movies, but rather set in the universes created by movies, tend to be quite different. They are less rushed, more careful and generally better. We have seen it time and again, in fact, with games like the Godfather series, Scarface, Chronicles of Riddick and a few others. So when they started taking about a Ghostbusters video game, some twenty-five years after the original film was launched, it didn’t fall into the ‘hype’ category as much as the ‘fan’ category. And it made sense to do. But there are certain things that the makers of this particular kind of movie-based game need to do, and the most important part of that is consistency with the property on which the game is based. This consistency breaks down to numerous things, like recognisable characters, identifiable locations and an adherence to the themes of the movie. Obviously the folks behind the Ghostbusters video game knew all of that, and they took matters to the highest level they could. The end result is a game that features characters from the films, complete with voices provided by the actors that

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issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

hunt down paranormal threats that plague New York. And there are more than a few – thanks to a Gozer exhibit, a whole bunch of ghosts and ghouls have been unleashed on the city, all part of the nefarious architect and Gozer worshipper Ivo Shandor’s plan to unleash his god upon the world. He will also get to bust ghosts, as one would quite rightly presume, and part of that job is upgrading the proton pack with all kinds of goodies. The modifications of the proton pack result in four flavours of weapon, ranging from the standard proton stream right through to modified slime. Each kind of weapon has a secondary firing mode, with the slime even adding a level of environmental puzzle solving thanks to slime tethers, which shrink over time and pull things towards each other as a result. All the player’s equipment, including traps and the ever present PKE meter, can be upgraded. The game is presented in third person mode, and has no user-interface, as such. Everything the player needs to know, from health status through to which weapon is currently activated, can be seen on the proton pack. It’s a nice touch, and adds a level of believability

to the title. When the player activates the PKE meter (something which happens perhaps a little too often) the view turns to a first person mode. The meter can be used to track down enemies and objectives, and also leads the player to the numerous collectable artefacts that dot the world. It also doubles as the player’s menu. When the menu is activated, the PKE meter takes up the whole screen, and allows the player to do anything from peruse Tobin’s Spirit Guide and read about the artefacts he has collected, right

“While it may not be a perfect video game, it is a perfect video game for Ghostbusters fans” issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

through to buying equipment upgrades. The action within the game is non-stop, and a bit more challenging than I expected when considering the target market for the title. Catching ghosts can be very difficult indeed, even at the lowest settings, and the game gets a little unreasonable at times. Anyone who has had to deal with the stone angels near the end of the game will know what I am talking about – it verges on utterly unforgiving at this point, in fact, and will lead to a lot of frustrated reloading of the scene… the deaths in this section are entirely too cheap. Still, the game is fun, and the variety of weapons allow a player to deal with all manner of ghouls and ghosts in the way they prefer. Sure, some ghosts have weaknesses that others don’t, but the coolness of some of the weapon modes supersedes common sense for the

most part. And that’s really what this game comes down to. It’s cool, very, very cool. It’s cool that the characters sound just like they should, and that they say the kind of things they would have said in the movies. It’s cool that they look just right – the game is set a few years after the second film, so the actors have had more youthful version of themselves inserted in the game. It’s cool that the level of detail is near perfect, from the nooks and crannies in the Ghostbusters HQ down to the blemishes on the characters faces and the sound that Ecto-1’s siren makes. Hearing that theme music and knowing that you are, on some strange level, going to be involved, is coolest of all. It is most certainly not without problems – some of the voice lines are delivered a little off cue, for example, and sometimes the non-player characters can be incredibly annoying in the way that they get in the players way. Some of the continuity in the story is a bit skewed – Zeddemore claims to have a doctorate in the game, but that makes little sense in terms of the movies. The check-point system gets a bit much because it could have been more effective. The controls are simple enough, but sometimes they feel just a touch too sluggish. That kind of thing. So no, it’s not the perfect game. But it is, as I have said before, so very cool, and the mark, in terms of Ghostbusters fans, has been very securely hit by this product. It is a brilliant homage to the movies, crammed with references and jokes that fans will recognise and appreciate. If you like the Ghostbusters, then you should play this game. It’s that simple. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

B+

A fitting and enjoyable homage to the movies, the game is one for the fans. It offers everything that one would expect from it, including lots of laughs and property destruction... 40

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Pottering About

Another Potter movie, another Potter game... but wait, this one is rather good, considering...

by Walt Pretorius

name game these days, particularly if the movie in any way applies to kids – preferably of the age where nagging abilities are in their prime. No better guarantee to sell games than to make sure that the brats are gonna whine so loud the parents will buy the products just to get the little buggers to shut the hell up. But, as with the Harry Potter books, and presumably the movies, the audience for the video games is getting K Rowling is one smart lady, you have to give her older. That means the games need to be more than just that. Not only did she figure out how to get kids to Harry Potter flavoured… they have to smack of the ‘real read, providing them with top class entertainment thing’ until the last gaming morsel is consumed. In other and a very fully realised fantasy world, but she also words, they need to be, at very least, decent games to launched a franchising opportunity the like of which we satisfy the target market (and ensure sales for the next seldom see. And Harry Potter mania has not abated yet. In one, of course.) fact, every time it seems to get into a bit of a lull, there’s a This particular game, bearing the long winded title of new movie released. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is the best one OK, fair enough, they are making movies of all the books, they have released to date, and for many reasons. The but they are taking their time with it. If they’re not careful, at first reason – and you would be excused for thinking that the apparent rate the actors are aging, the last movie will this is a disadvantage – is that the game only really pays have to be named Harry Potter and the Zimmer Frame of lip-service to the plot of the film (and the book, yes, but Wonder. it’s based on the film, rather than the novel, so…) Instead Still have to hand it to her… Harry Potter was a brilliant of following the plot keystroke for keystroke, it uses it to idea. touch base every now and then, giving the chronology Naturally, every time there is a movie release, there is a of the game some meaning. It is more of a Harry Potter game release to go with it. It’s becoming more than just a adventure game than a Half-Blood Prince carbon copy, and fact of modern life… it is becoming a law of nature. Movie it allows players to experience the world of Hogwarts more hits, game follows. Or gets released just before. Or, on a intimately than before. rare occasion, in a massive, combined launch that never The magical school is beautifully realised in the game really works out properly. Whatever the case may be, a and, with Nearly Headless Nick as a guide, the player big name movie is almost always accompanied by a big will eventually be able to explore all of the school grounds. There are lots of collectable items scattered Genre: Adventure Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS around, which unlock various elements for use in the Dev: EA Games multiplayer game. Pub: Electronic Arts The action in the game is broken down into four Age Rating: 12+ major components: flying a broomstick, making

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issue 2 • august 2009


With a swish of his wand, Harry casts the ImpressivePRFishEyeLensScreenshotosa spell...

potions, duelling with spells and exploring Hogwarts. Each follows its own control scheme, for the most part, and the various activities will swing around again every so often. It can get a little tired after protracted periods of play, but the game is highly enjoyable in shorter bursts. Flying the broomstick – or ‘playing Quidditch’, if you’re going to believe what the game tells you – is an enjoyable matter of making sure that Harry is in the right part of the screen at the right time. The player will need to fly through various checkpoints, which increase his time limit, while the camera follows the snitch. It’s easy enough, although some obstacles may make things a little tight as the timer runs down. Duelling is great fun, because it is fairly simple. A number of intuitive spell controls have been created, using the analogue sticks. In addition to these, the player can dodge. It works out to who can throw spells the fastest, but it’s a lot

more fun than it seems. Making potions is the best fun of all. The player has to pour, heat and shake components in a complex game of Simon Says, trying to beat the clock to create the perfect potion. It’s even more fun in the Wii version, because it is so very visceral. In the end, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a movie game, yes, but it is a good one. Fans will certainly like the recognisable characters and settings (even if the voices are a bit off for some of them) and the overall experience serves as a great compliment to the film, rather than trying to recreate it. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

C+

The latest Harry Potter game is the best of the bunch, and offers the player a number of engaging activities to take part in. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

Blood Brothers

Tons of action in a Wild West setting that is as lawless as it should be...

F

or some reason, despite the obviously suitable subject matter, we just don’t get a lot of shooters with a Wild West theme. After the whole Doom craze started in the mid ‘90s, we thought it was only a matter of before we’d be shooting tobaccochewing yellow-bellies instead of fire-breathing demons... but no. It just didn’t happen. In fact, it took a long time before developers started making Wild West-themed shooters. One of the most prominent of those is the Call of Juarez series. The first game was relatively well-received and let players live out their fantasies of being a gun-slinging badass, and now the second game, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, is here to do the same thing, only better. After giving it a good play, I’ve found that few games capture the true spirit of the Wild West quite as well as Bound in Blood manages to. Throughout the game, players will be able to take on the role of one of two brothers, Ray or Thomas. Ray and Thomas were soldiers fighting on the side of

“Few games capture the true spirit of the Wild West quite as well as Bound in Blood manages to ”

Genre: First Person Shooter Platforms: X360, PS3, PC Dev: Techland Pub: Ubisoft Age Rating: 16+

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by Matthew Vice the Confederacy in the American Civil War. However, when they heard that their home was threatened, they abandoned their post to save their mother and their younger brother, William. Unfortunately, their commander, Barnsby, saw this as dereliction of duty, an offense punishable by death. Even after the war, he pursues them relentlessly. His goal? To see them hang like the cowardly deserters they are. Because of this, Ray and Thomas become drifters, wild men who move from town to town taking whatever they want as they try to stay one step ahead of their vengeful former commander. William tags along with them, and as a priest, he often tries to resolve his brothers’ conflicts without bloodshed... fruitlessly. If only there were some way for them to end this life of violence and paranoia. For the most part, Bound in Blood plays very much like any modern first person shooter. You can move and strafe and shoot – aiming through the iron sights of your weapon to shoot more accurately. They’ve implemented a cover system too, but it’s slightly different to what we’ve become accustomed to. Rather than tapping a button to make your character snap behind cover and then using another button to make them pop up so you can shoot, your character will automatically take cover behind any suitable surface. From there, gently moving forward or backward or strafing will make your character edge around the surface slowly. It feels more like you’re sliding, or slithering, around whatever you’re hiding behind rather than popping out. From time to time you’ll also have to engage in a bit of shooting on horseback or on a carriage, making those sections feel a little shooting-gallery-ish. Indeed, as a first person shooter, Bound in Blood does quite well, but that’s only the beginning. What sets Bound in Blood apart from a typical shooter is that Ray and Thomas each have special abilities and skills that make them play quite differently. Ray is the tougher of the two, and he favours close combat. He can wield two revolvers at once and use gattling guns and other heavier arms. He can also kick down doors and let loose a volley of twelve shots from his revolvers that can take out twelve foes instantly. Thomas, on the other hand,

issue 2 • august 2009


“Well, Ray, I guess you are jes’ ‘bout the ugliest varmint I ever done seen...”

prefers long-ranged combat and stealth. He can only use one gun at a time, but he’s far more accurate with rifles. He can also use throwing knives to take down foes silently, and can also use a bow for those long-ranged silent kills. His special ability allows him to pump the hammer of his revolver up and down rapidly to dispatch six foes on screen with accurate headshots in no time flat. He can also use his lasso to reach areas that Ray cannot. Usually these are part of some kind of low-key puzzle or they hide collectible items. From time to time players are also given the chance to engage in mini-games, like quick draw duels. These always a have a Wild West/Spaghetti Western tang to them and really make you feel like a gun-slinging honcho. The mandatory multiplayer modes are pretty decent too. When every shooter includes a multiplayer mode, whether they need one or not, you really have to decide whether or not you like the idea of shooting other players with the weapons on offer in that game. So if the idea of blasting your friends online with these weapons appeals to you, then it’s great. One interesting idea they did include is the bounty. You can rise through the ranks online faster by chasing and killing good players who have huge bounties on their heads from their extended killing sprees. Apart from a few graphical glitches, Call of Juarez is actually a gorgeous-looking game. The character models are highly detailed, and the environments are well designed. The effects are good looking too and the cinematic sequences are tightly directed. There are a few pop-up issues every here and there and the occasional screen tear, but it doesn’t happen often. The voice cast is

excellent too - they really give you the feeling of watching a cheesy old western. As a whole, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a good game. The problem is that there are so many good shooters available at the moment that it’s hard to think of any particular reason to choose this instead of another. I guess it all comes down to which theme appeals to you the most, and if you’re in the mood for some Wild West gunslinging, then they don’t come any better than this. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

B

Western shooters are rare creatures, but this one presents the player with exactly the right mix of action and story (and it’s a prequel to the previous game, by the way - ed) issue 2 • august 2009

45


gamecca • review

Fight Night Round 4

Hard-hitting Heavyweight

EA Sports’ brilliant boxing simulator is more than just a contender...

T

The first instalment in the Fight Night series from EA Sports brought a whole new, fresh idea to the world of boxing simulations. This idea was that certain punches take longer to throw, and that button mashing wasn’t an accurate representation of that fact. And so the game introduced a control system that tied all punches to the right analogue stick of a console controller (the PS2 controller, in those days.) It was a fresh and exciting idea, and one that made the game stand out in the crowd – not only as a boxing simulation, but as a sports simulation overall. Three instalments later, the idea still works, largely because EA Sports have refined it for Fight Night Round 4. Where previous games asked the player to modify between head and body shots by holding in a button on the controller, that is no longer the case. The game now allows a flurry of head and body shots to be thrown without that kind of modification, thanks to refined control ideas. The end result is a control scheme that feels incredibly visceral, and is based on sound boxing theory. See, jabs and straights to the head are quickest, while hooks and upper-cuts are fastest to the opponent’s body. So, flicking the stick slightly right and slightly left of straight up

46

by Walt Pretorius will produce jabs and hooks, while sideways flicking will produce body-aimed hooks, and downward flicking (once again slightly off to each side) will produce low connecting upper-cuts. To land a hook to the head, the player would need to push the stick out to the side, and sweep it round to the top, while uppercuts require the stick to be pushed down before being swept around. The difference works out to ten punches that can be thrown without modification, whereas previous games offered only six. It’s a new system, and it will take veterans a little while to get used to it, but it works really well. In fact, the whole game works very well, except for one or two very small niggles. The game allows players to jump into a quick match up between pre-created fighters in the ‘fight now’ mode (this includes fighters the player has created). For the first time ever in the series, this mode can be used to see the Genre: Sports Simulation Platforms: PS3, X360 Dev: EA Sports Pub: Electronic Arts Age Rating: 16+

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review results of a Tyson VS Ali match-up. It’s an interesting prospect to experiment with Ali’s speed and reach against Tyson’s brute strength and ability to take a pounding. Creating a fighter is a fairly long procedure. Although the game has a variety of basic faces to work from, they cannot be modified. Strapping a camera to the console and taking a snapshot of yourself allows for more modification, and is a nice touch. The facial detection software is solid, and a huge number of sliders and tweaks allow the user willing to put the time in to create themselves (although possibly with a better body.) It is a little disconcerting to see someone with your face get the stuffing knocked out of him in the ring, but it adds an extra level of player involvement that is rather sweet. In addition to the facial features, the game allows a number of different fighting styles to be used, and allows the player to trim the character towards their playing strength. Height and reach come into play, as well as whether the boxer is defensive, offensive, an in-fighter, a distance specialist, and a host of other factors, too. The game allows the player to custom build the kind of boxer they want, with very little limitation. Legacy mode is what they are calling the


gamecca • review career mode in this instalment, and it allows the player not only to become a champion, but to become the greatest of all time. This is done by booking fights (through a newly included calendar system), training in one of several disciplines (via mini-games that can be as challenging as a title fight) and, of course, beating opponents to a bloody and rather realistic pulp. It’s an excellent mode, and one that hold a lot of reward for the goal-oriented single player, but the time between fights takes quite a while to pass, as the game simulates all events on blank calendar days. In fact, the loading is one of only two issues I had with the game. There is a lot of it, and it does break the pace a little too much. The other issue, which I might as well get out of the way, is that it is very difficult to throw a haymaker… never mind landing one. Still, this is fairly realistic. No boxer is gonna stand around and let his opponent land a crashing blow, and the effort required to throw such a punch makes it, quite necessarily, a slow attack. The game offers a variety of difficulty levels, naturally. The easier levels will allow a player to get away with the Fight Night version of button mashing, but the incredibly smart AI becomes more adaptive at higher difficulty levels. This requires the player to approach fights with some strategy, which is exactly how it should be. It might seem like real world boxers just get in the ring and beat each other up, but the truth is that it is a very strategic and cerebral sport. That aspect comes into play beautifully in Fight Night Round 4. Simply throwing punches isn’t enough. Instead, the player needs to wear his opponent down, and needs to be very aware of the fact that flailing attacks could result in a lucky counter punch sending him to the canvas. Blocking, leaning and movement are as important as effective and accurate punching in a real boxing match, and the same counts here.

Speaking of going down for the count, the system for recovering from a knockdown is a little different this time around, too. And it’s tricky. The player needs to use the left stick to steady the boxer, and the right stick to make him stand up. The timing has to be right, though. Trying to stand when the boxer isn’t quite level will, predictably, send him back to the canvas. It’s a nice system, but getting back up after your second knock-down is really, really difficult. Fight Night Round 4 looks good and feels great. The visuals are excellent, complete with flying sweat and spit, and improved physics just add to the whole experience. The sound track is a little too hip-hop for my taste, but it does suit the game none the less. The commentary also gets a bit repetitive at times, but putting famous boxers in the ring reveals some interesting facts via the two commentators. If you are a boxing fan, or if you have played any of the other Fight Night titles, this is one that you should get hold of. It is most certainly the best of the series, in my opinion, and a game that will keep you busy for hours on end. Plus, there is the added benefit of getting photos of your friends, creating boxers that look like them, and beating them up when you’re annoyed with them... g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

A

With several refinements and an overall better feel, Fight Night Round 4 is a great game for those who want something more from a boxing sim than button mashing.


gamecca • review

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10

Hole in One!

There’s lots of inclement weather waiting for the player in this new version of Tiger Woods.

T

by Walt Pretorius

here is nothing quite like getting out in nature and enjoying a wonderfully refreshing stroll in beautiful surroundings. Golf has long been held as a perfectly good way to ruin such an experience but, in truth, it is a massively popular pass time that tons of people around the globe enjoy regularly. At least, tons of people that can afford the clubs, the green fees and the silly pants. I would love to play the game myself, but the money required to get the practice I would need to even be able to hit the ball is beyond the means of a video game journalist, believe me. So that leaves watching golf on TV which, if I must be very honest, is an awful activity. Some sports are fun to watch on the tube, but golf certainly isn’t one of them; not in my book, anyway. There is thankfully another option, and one that has been around for many years, thanks to EA Sports. That option is playing a round of golf (or two, if you like) using their Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 golf simulation. It’s not quite the real thing (although the Wii version, reviewed later in this issue, takes things a bit further) but it gets fairly close, on the theoretical side of things, at least. OK, just a quick aside, in case you all think I am a loon – it has been an option to play Tiger Woods PGA Tour for many years, but the option to play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, specifically, only came about this year. Good, I am glad I cleared that up. Reviewing the game as a whole is actually something of

“A golf ball doesn’t travel the same in wet weather as it does in dry”

Genre: Sports Platforms: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP Dev: EA Sports Pub:Electronic Arts Age Rating: 3+

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an exercise in futility, because the player already knows more or less what to expect. Unless you’re from Mars, you know about golf, and you know EA Sports, and putting the two together results in a fairly good idea of what to expect from the game. In fact, if you haven’t, at very least, seen this game being played, even as part of a store display, your geographical location in relation to a large rock is probably going to be a little suspect. But let’s give it a quick glossing over. It’s a golf simulator. Right, now let’s get on to the specifics and, in particular, the changes that have been made to this great game. Graphically, not too much has been tweaked in this new version. In fact, the graphics are still almost exactly the same as the previous version, which is a little sad. See, they’re good, but they look a little stylised. They’re not as hyper-realistic as they might be. However, there is one major thing that has been changed in the look of the game – it now has weather. Yep, no more guaranteed sunny skies for virtual golfers this time around. And the weather doesn’t only affect the look of the game, but also the game’s whole dynamic. A golf ball doesn’t travel the same in wet weather as it

issue 2 • august 2009


does in dry, so the dynamic weather that has been built into the system affects the whole thing quite drastically. And, just to add that extra bit of realism, a player connected to the internet can have the weather at their chosen course do exactly what it is doing, at that same time, in the real world. It’s a fantastic addition to the game, and just makes the experience all that much better. In fact, there are only two things in the game that I didn’t like. Well, ok, one that I didn’t like and one that I got used to. We’ll start there. Putting uses a new system that indicates suggested putting strength. It doesn’t take slope, elevation or moisture into account, though – it’s just how hard the shot would have to be played in perfect conditions. It takes a bit of

getting used to, and I initially spent many long moments swearing because of it. However, once you get used to the system, it is actually a marked improvement over previous putting in the game. The second thing that I didn’t like (and didn’t get used to) is the fact that they have removed the Tiger Challenges from the game, replacing them with great moments in golf that can be relived. It’s a bit of a cop-out, particularly for someone – like me – who couldn’t be bothered to watch the game on TV. But that’s a minor problem, and not one that damages the overall experience too much. They’ve also kept the better elements, like club tuning, from the previous game. Overall, fans of the series and golfing enthusiasts will find a lot to enjoy in this latest instalment in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise. It’s a very solid game, and great fun to play. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

B+

If you like your golf virtual because it keeps you out the wet weather, you’ve got another things coming. Dynamic weather and other changes add to this instalment’s realism.


gamecca • review

Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Mechanical Mayhem

It’s a decent movie tie-in, but leaves a number of things to be desired in terms of gaming...

F

by Jimmy Glue the same button. ans of the Transformers franchise rejoiced when In modern Xbox shooters, aiming is done with the left they learned that there would be another tie-in trigger, while firing with the right. In Transformers, the to a game adaption, as they would be able to resame is true, but one can’t shoot without aiming. Pressing create their favourite moments from the screen. to right trigger to shoot without aiming will result in your But sadly, it might only be the die-hard Transformers fan Transformer changing into a vehicle and back again, which that will find the Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen becomes very annoying after a while. (So stop trying to video game any good. shoot with your transform button? –ed) The game has been divided into two campaigns, At the beginning of every mission, you will be expected Autobots and Decepticons, and players will be able to to choose which Autobot, or Decepticon, you would like choose which one they would like to start the game with. to play with. Playable characters in the Autobot campaign The start of the Autobot campaign will throw players into include Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Ironhide and Bumblebee, battle as NEST Pilot Sgt. Epps reports Decepticons in while the Decepticon campaign includes Megatron, Shanghai, China. Starscream, Grindor and Long Haul. Before any real ass-kicking can take place, players will Each campaign has roughly 25 missions, so from a have to complete a short tutorial mission, and after a while it becomes evident that the control scheme is going to be a bit of a problem. The button configuration Genre: Action is unorthodox and it will result in the wrong buttons Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS being pressed on many occasions. The press-holdDev: Luxoflux Pub: Activision release formula doesn’t work too well, as driving Age Rating: 13+ forward and transforming into a vehicle is essentially


replay value, that’s 50 mission as your favourite Transformer. Not a lot of games can say that they have 50 missions, but some missions do only last a couple of minutes. The various missions will take place within 14 different zones, and as each zone is completed, a freeroam option within that zone will be activated. Depending on your level of success during the different missions, you will earn points which can be used to upgrade your Transformers team. The upgrades will range between various combat aspects like Max Health, Melee Damage and Weapon Cooldown. As with any action shooter, it’s always a good idea to upgrade you Max Health first. The menu where you can upgrade your team feels a bit cluttered and has small text, so you have to squint your eyes a bit to see what’s going on. The mission screen fairs no better, as the text doesn’t display well against the background and looks confusing. Developers Luxoflux should have rather opted for less information of the screen, thereby making it easier to read and decipher. After selecting you mission and your Transformer (if you have more than one to choose from, that is) you will be dropped into battle. Obviously each mission has an objective, but things become repetitive after a while. It will usually involve you defending something, or someone, while fighting off hordes of Decipticons. It becomes very monotonous and you will start to feel like a mechanical meat-grinder, shooting and punching anything that gets in your path. The graphics are also of a tolerable quality, but nothing eye-popping will attract your attention. You will often find that your character will be the best modelled thing on the screen, with the attacking Decepticons having generic and boring features. The level design and layout will also start to look generic and uneventful as the game draws on. The voice acting leaves a lot to be desired, often sounding stiff and forced. Many of the voice actors from the previous game agreed to work on this one, but most opted for different roles. Hugo Weaving, who voiced Megatron in both live action films, was replaced by Frank Welker. Megan Fox’ s character is voiced by an unknown, which is rather strange, since Fox actively promoted the game. One plus point is that rock band Julien-K supplied the musical score. For players looking for a bit of extra carnage for their buck, the game features an online multiplayer mode which

is sure to add more hours of mechanical mayhem. It’s always better to fight human companions than AI, so the multiplayer aspect could over-shadow the single player campaigns. For die-hard fans of the franchise, this title will be a welcome change to the first offering we had a couple of years ago, but sadly a lot needs to be done in order to make it an award-winning game. It’s essentially a game for fans only, as it certainly won’t interest the mechanicallychallenged. The game has its moments, and it can be mildly entertaining if taken in small doses, but it’s by no means a game that will keep you awake at night. As mentioned before, it’s a vast improvement on the first Transformers title, but it still lacks the awesomeness and the grandeur of the film. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

C

It’s a vast improvement on the first Transformers title, but it still lacks the awesomeness and the grandeur of the film. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

The Conduit

Conspiracy Theories...

The first real, proper, ‘make lots of things die with your gun’ FPS for Nintendo’s Wii...

A

n unusual weather system hovers over the whole east coast of the US, resulting in exceptionally high water levels in various rivers in the area. Then a strange flu-like illness, named the Bug, sweeps though Washington, D.C. The staff at government offices drops to a minimum to stop its spread. The Bug is found to be coming from an immunosuppressant chemical in the water supply. Citizens are urged to drink only bottled water. Senator Harriet Reimer is assassinated by a terrorist cell posing as members of her staff, but autopsies of all the bodies are declared classified. President Charles Thompson is almost killed by members in his own secret service detail, but an agent who was not a regular member of the President’s protection saves him.

“A great deal of effort and work must have gone into this game by the developers at High Voltage”

Genre: First Person Shooter Platforms: Wii Dev: High Voltage Pub: SEGA Age Rating: 16+

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by Brian Murdoch You play as Mr. Ford, in the middle of two conspiracies that soon prove true. When in Washington D.C, you are contacted by John Adams, the leader of a shadow organization known as The Trust. You have just saved the President, working as one of his Secret Service agents, and Mr. Adams would like you to do a job for him. After the right access codes are given, you begin unravel the twisted story of the game. During your adventures you find a strange ball called the ASE. The All-Seeing Eye is a great little item that helps you hack into systems, discover hidden messages and notifies of, and destroys, hidden traps. It is used to find the odd, invisible symbol on walls, needed to find hidden doors hiding a nice bonus weapon or two, health and ammo. The story comes with great twists and surprises and would make a great movie. After finishing the game you have an awsome sense of achievement and will go back again and again to the multiplayer, and maybe even give the single player game another play through. The controls are simple and straight forward; you use your Wii remote’s IR and point at the screen to look around and at the sides of the screen to turn. The “B” button is used to shoot, “A” is used to jump and interact with some objects. The “-“ button is used to reload your weapon or pick up new weapons. You can carry a maximum of two weapons at a time and use the right on your direction keys to change between them. Left on the direction keys is to swap between grenade types and down is used to zoom in with some weapons. “+” is used to activate the ASE. Thrusting the remote forward will execute a melee attack. Your Nunchuk provides standard movement with the control stick. “Z” is used to lock on targets and “C” to crouch. A gesture with the nunchuk throws a grenade. This is a Wii FPS. Most FPSs are delivered on the PC using a mouse for direction and keyboard for strafing, jumping, weapon selection and any other function that the game would need you to do. All of this has been put into the few buttons on a Wii controller. This game was advertised as the Wii game that beats Xbox 360’s graphics. The standard resolution does not do that - it looks like any normal Wii game in this mode, but the gameplay and fun is still there.

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review To have a truly great experience you need to play this on the higher resolution. That being said I don’t think it beats Xbox 360’s graphics, but is equal to them (in some weird dimension where specs don’t count, right? –ed). This in itself is a great achievement because the Wii console just does not have the power to bring out those graphics easily; a great deal of effort and work must have gone into this game by the developers at High Voltage. I thought that, because the game was pushing the graphical end, it would hold back on objects... but if this was done, it was done very well. I did not encounter problems, and I was looking for them. You can’t damage the walls and draw out your name with a crow bar, but you can interact with the objects that are around. There is a range of 13 different modes in the multiplayer, with 7 maps and 15 weapons. The game supports the Wii Speak add-on, so you can speak with your team or just taunt and shout at your friends while playing. With the great selection of game types comes a few of my favourites: “Three Strikes”, which gives you three “lives” and the winner is the last one standing; “ASE Football”; where you need to hold the ASE the longest by the end of the time limit; “Team Object”… it’s capture-theASE more than the other team. There are also some notso-nice modes, like “Team-Reaper” where your “lives” are shared by the team. There are many Wii shooting games, but The Conduit can be considered the first of its genre because of the style, story and the fact that it is targeted at a more mature

audience. Although you will play the story only once (with a possibility of playing it again for the good fun that it is) the multiplayer steps in and reminds you that you will be playing this game for a lot longer than any standard story title. It’s a real first for the Wii and the developers did a very good job on the title. I would bravely label it as a must buy and know that the hard-core gamer will enjoy it. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

A

The Conduit can be considered the first of its genre because of the style, story and the fact that it is targeted at a more mature audience. issue 2 • august 2009

55


Damnation

Oh, Hell No...

Who needs the real thing when you have Damnation? by Jimmy Glue

T

he mighty Wikipedia once wrote, “In some forms of Western Christian belief, damnation to hell is what humanity deserves for its sins, and only by the grace of God can one atone for their sins and escape damnation.” But it seems as though developers Blue Omega already beat us on the trip down to Hades, which is where this title belongs. Damnation was recently released amidst very little fan-fare, and the Steampunk pseudowestern still has a long way to go in terms of level planning, character development and storytelling. The game’s setting takes place on an alternate Earth, right after the American Civil War, where steam engines replaced combustible ones. You will play as Hamilton Rourke, the leader of a group of freedom fighters who desperately try to save the ravaged land from an evil dictator. Straight off the cuff, players are thrust into a short tutorial, after which they will get their first taste of battle. Fallen comrades can also be revived, which is very similar to the

recovery system used in Gears of War. Actually, there are a lot of similarities to Gears of War, including the fact that players can also only carry three weapons and pick up collectables scattered across the many levels. Speaking of fighting, the combat system is fairly simple as aiming and killing the nasties is as easy as making a pancake on a winter’s day. There is nothing complicated about the trusty aim-shoot-reload-shoot action, and enemies do seem to wait until you make the first move. Once you have figured out your way around the first level, you might start to notice that the control scheme isn’t as straight-forward as it seems to be. For left-handed players, re-assigning keys will seem to be as integral to the title as actually killing the bad guys. During one of the tutorial missions, you will be asked to jump from one pole to another, with the in-game hints telling you to press 0. Climbing the pole isn’t the problem; it’s the jumping that the key-mapping can’t figure out. By pressing 0, your character will do a mini dry-hump on the pole, but will refuse to jump. Only after resorting to the alternate key, will he actually attempt to make the aerial manoeuvre. Later during the mission, the same situation arises, but at this point it just isn’t funny anymore. A patch

“We’re not actually sure if they could see the bar, or if they knew there was one, but they certainly missed whatever they were aiming for.”

Genre: Action Platforms: X360, PS3, PC Dev: Blue Omega Pub: Codemasters Age Rating: 18+

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issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review “I’m-a gonna kill ya because ya got an ugly hat!”

was actually needed to resolve something so minor. The aiming is also weird, and it’s not very smooth. This factor is the same if you’re playing it on PC or Xbox, as the Xbox controller’s sticks are imprecisely implemented. The graphics are probably the only redeeming element for this shooter. They are crisp and clear, but that’s something that we have come to expect from games, so it’s actually not that surprising. It could have been a lot worse, but thankfully, it’s not. Once again, it reminds us all about that wonderful game called Gears of War. Granted, you couldn’t jump in Gears, but oh well… Voice acting is better left to the professionals, and in Damnation, there aren’t a lot of professionals to go around. It seems as though developers Blue Omega hired the janitor and his son, and only gave them one day to learn their lines. An online reviewer wrote that Damnation’s key is in its name. Codemasters have made some really awesome games in the past, with Dirt and GRID keeping gamers glued to their proverbial steering wheel, but after this, they should rather stick to kicking up the dust on the open road. The game was originally started as an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod, and was entered into Epic Games’ first Make Something Unreal contest... which is rather uncanny, since Epic Games were responsible for, you guessed it, Gears of War. Although it didn’t manage to get top honours, it did score second place for Total Conversion game modification. It would have been an awesome conversion, if they only left it at that. But the game fails as a stand-alone title, and it might hurt Blue Omega’s future endeavours. Although, if they just put a little more effort in next time, they might

actually produce a decent title. They had the right idea, but sadly it failed to reach the bar. We’re not actually sure if they could see the bar, or if they knew there was one, but they certainly missed whatever they were aiming for. So, in conclusion, and in Damnation’s defence, the graphics were great and it has some pretty scenery, which is always a plus point. Oh yes, and one of your female companions loses half her shirt somewhere during an earlier battle. But unfortunately, that is where the good points stop. The voice acting feels staged and stiff, while the controls simulate landing a space shuttle on a piece of cheese.g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

Damnation has been hailed as the little game that could, but it falls way short of being something that gamers will remember for some time. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

Overlord II

Evil Incarnate

Being nasty has never been as easy - or quite as funny - as it is in the Overlord sequel.

I

don’t know what it is about fantasy and black humour, but the two go so well together, like gin and tonic, or peanut butter and jam, or fish and chips. If you’re in the mood for a bit of fantasy gaming with some good humour, then you might want to check out the recently released Overlord II. A sequel to the highly-praised 2007 action game, Overlord, Overlord II is set quite some time after the end of the first game, and once again casts the player in the role of an evil lord commanding an army of minions to wreak havoc on the peace-loving inhabitants of the land. The previous Overlord (from the first game) has disappeared, and his minions have abandoned his tower until such time as a new candidate can be found. That candidate is you, a young orphaned boy with magic powers. As it turns out, a new Empire has risen to power and they’ve outlawed the use of magic. Now that you’re a fully grown evil lord, it’s time take revenge on the Empire for trying to execute you and the city folk who abandoned and gave you up to their judgement. Just as in the first game, you start out with a rather sparsely furnished bastion of evil, an underground fortress rather than the ominous tower of the last time. As you progress through the game you’ll find and purchase better items to make it more homely. At the start of the game, you have access to only Browns, the toughest minions, who are your hardiest fighters. You’ll need to find the hives of the Red, Green and Blue minions before you’re able to summon them. Once you have them all, effectively deploying and commanding your minions in combat is the key to being a successful evil leader. Browns are the best fighters, but they’re limited to bashing things. If you want to set things on fire or attack from a distance, you’ll want to deploy your Reds. They’re

frail and weak, but if you can keep them out of harm’s way, they’re incredibly useful. The Greens can let you bypass poison and render themselves invisible when immobile. They also have a vicious backstabbing attack which is even more effective than the brutish attacks of the Browns – if you can figure out a way to get them behind the enemy without them being seen, that is. The Blues are also quite weak when it comes to physical combat, but they can pass through water, dangerous magic clouds, and are the only ones capable of harming incorporeal beings like ghosts, spirits and wisps. As if this weren’t enough to keep in mind, it gets even more complicated when you learn that each minion type has access to a special type of mount which they can ride. These mounts give them even more unique abilities. For example, the Browns have access to wolves, which let them charge through enemy formations, and the Greens have Spiders which allow them to walk on walls to access otherwise unreachable areas. I don’t want to spoil too much of it, but there are also a few surprising elements in the game, such as stealth sections and a generous dose of naval combat. One thing’s for sure,

“You can be incredibly evil by, say, killing all of the peasants who tried to leave your land; or just moderately evil, disrupting their plans, but ultimately letting them off with a warning.”

Genre: Action Platforms: X360, PS3, PC Dev: Triumph Studios Pub: Codemasters Age Rating: 16+

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by Matthew Vice

issue 2 • august 2009


Triumph Studios decided to crank up the creativity a few notches for the sequel. Otherwise it’s pretty much business as usual for the Overlord. From your underground fortress you can travel to any land you’ve already discovered where you’ll find a plethora of quests to complete. These quests are quite varied and you’ll end up doing things like taking over a town, hunting down big monsters, or administering punishment to subjects who step out of line. Usually you’ll have a choice in how you go about this. You can be incredibly evil by, say, killing all of the peasants who tried to leave your land; or just moderately evil, disrupting their plans, but ultimately letting them off with a warning. From time to time one of your subjects will also enter your

fortress requesting an audience. From your seat on the throne, you’ll have the option of accepting or rejecting the grovelling knave’s offer, whatever it might be. Rejecting it is especially fun, since you open up a portal to the fiery hells right underneath their feet. Now this is what being an evil lord is all about. Overlord II is simply fantastic to look at. The consistent cartoony designs fit well with the game’s light-hearted black humour, and it’s interesting to see the designers’ fresh takes on age-old fantasy clichés. The elves for instance, are hilarious as Rastfarian, beanie-wearing, dreadlocked pretty-boys prancing around shouting things like “Begone, enemy of nature!” The voice acting is excellent, especially the dialogue of Gnarl, your decrepitly old minion advisor. Just like last time, he’s there to offer advice on tactical issues, to remind you of what needs doing, or just to interject with one of his own crass comments – and you won’t believe some of the things he says, they’re priceless. Your minion Jester, Quaver, is also still there, spewing insane verses at will. Essentially, Overlord II is more of the same. It follows a similar formula to the first game, and the actual play mechanics are relatively unchanged, but it adds in just the right amount of new ideas and features to make it an irresistible prospect to fans of the original. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

With lots of lands to conquer and hilarious minions to control, Overlord II effortlessly combines the perfect formula of fantasy action and black humour.

A

A face only a gamer could love...


gamecca • review

Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs

Freezing Good Fun

Prehistoric fun that won’t leave you as cold as you might think...

T

by Jimmy Glue

he lovable critters from Ice Age recently jumped, wiggled and growled their way onto our screens, and with the release of the Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs video game, it is bound to supply endless fun for the young at heart. The game roughly follows the film’s story line, but even if you haven’t seen the film, the whole plot is explained during the game, so it’s really a jump-in-and-play title. All the favourites are back, and although you will get the opportunity to play with most the of characters, the main action centres around Sid, Buck and the truly lost Scrat. Scrat is still going after his acorn, and on many occasions he comes fairly close to grasping it in his paws. As one might guess, his role in the game is more of a sub-plot, but it does make for some fast-paced levels. Most of the game is 3-dimensional, but Scrat’s sequences resemble a classic platformer. He needs to run from left to right to finish the level and some leaps will be required. Besides Scrat’s levels, the developers did a rather good job at varying the type of action presented. Playing as Manny the mammoth in a third person view, players will

Genre: Adventure Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS Dev: Eurocom Pub: Activision Age Rating: 7+

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have to run around and fend off dinosaurs while completing a given task. There is also a level with Diego the Sabre-toothed tiger, in which he needs to hunt down a deer. This is all done in a clean design style in which the player controls Diego, and navigates him through a course. In general, the controls are fairly easy, as it only involves running and jumping. As mentioned before, the bulk of the game focusses on Sid and Buck. Buck is a new character, injected into the lives of the hapless travellers as they cross from the Ice Age into the age of the dinosaurs. By nature, South Africans are born with no tolerance for Australian accents, but the fact that Buck hails from Down Under makes him even more adorable. He’s a prehistoric version of Indiana Jones, but instead of having the signature fedora, he brandishes a rudimentary eye patch. The whip is also there, but

“Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is truly a fun game, as it will appeal to both fans of the film and casual gamers looking for a quick fix. ”

issue 2 • august 2009


he had to substitute That big blue dinosaur leather for a piece of vine. The cleverwitted creature helps our furry friends out of a tight spot, and offer to assist them on their journey. From a third-person perspective, the player will be tasked with navigating him through rough terrain, which will include some nimble jumping and snappy whip work. A simple combat system ensures that even little hands will be able to tackle the nasties, although the title might not be entirely for the kids. On a couple of occasions, Buck just didn’t want to jump where he was supposed to, which can be rather frustrating. And there is an odd chance that the camera will be tracking a giant butterfly, instead of you. Buck will come to the rescue later on in the game, but before that can happen, Sid needs to make a journey through some icy caves. Again, it’s a combination of jumping and slapping the enemies. Slapping is more appropriate, as Sid executes a sort of spinning move, rather than actually fighting them. Upon ‘death’, the slain villains pop into a pile of leaves, which, again, makes it a child-friendly title. Apart from traversing icy caves, Sid will also find himself in some sticky situations, in which you will have to think fast. The sloth will be chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Sid literally needs to run for his life. It’s a bit trickier than it sounds, as you can only see a limited amount of what’s

in the background looks just like my high-school English teacher...

coming on the screen. See, Sid’s running from the top of the screen downwards, with the giant dino behind him. Avoiding Big Momma isn’t the problem, but rather the huge potholes into which Sid will fall. Once that happens, it’s game over and you’ll have to restart the level. Fortunately the game makes use of checkpoints, so not all will be lost if you wander into the abyss. Health is fairly easy to maintain, as fruits are scattered throughout all the levels, which will replace any lost life force. Various fruits will also give you different results. While pears and strawberries refill your health, cherries and apples will serve as a prehistoric form of currency. At the main menu and at selected points during the game, you will be able to spend some of your much-sough-after cherries, in exchange for coloured crystals, extra content, bigger projectiles and more health. Although Buck is the only character that can brandish a decent bazooka, it sure helps to hit your enemies with apples the size of a watermelon. Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is truly a fun game, as it will appeal to both fans of the film and casual gamers looking for a quick fix. It does have a couple of niggles, but that can be overlooked as the action, laughs and sheer pleasure never truly stops. Although it is aimed at the younger generation, they might find some aspects frustrating or difficult, which is why it will be wise to have an older brother or sister at hand to help out. It by no means detracts from the excitement, and as with any game adaptation, you will automatically feel a connection with the characters. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

B

The third instalment of Ice Age thawed into our laps recently, and although there are some glitches, it’s still a fun title. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

Let’s Tap

Who Needs Buttons?

Use your fingers to race friends, launch fireworks, soar through space and tap to the beat.

I

by Brian Murdoch

magine you are the game’s lead designer and you want to challenge a developer to make a game that only uses one button. The developer says: “give me a bit more to work with”. You respond: “ three buttons but, like before, no directional input is allowed”. Mmm... think of the possible games that you can come up with. ‘Let’s Tap’ only has one input with three different strengths, and produces 5 different excellent games. The games use a good mix of rhythm and timing to entertain the gamer. Your Wii remote is placed on a box. Tapping on the box sends vibrations into the Wii remote… and that is the only input for the game. The game does not come with a box, so you need to find a comfortable box to work with... or just flip the case that the title came in and play on that. It’s understandable that with only one tap input you need to rely on rhythm/timing to play the game well. The game does not make playing a task too easy or difficult, as there is some leeway to your tapping, but also some punishment. ‘Let’s Tap’ has a lightweight structure and quick, quirky visuals that are attractive. There are 5 mini games, each

“Multiplayer provides the main source of fun for this game; going through the mini games in single player does you no good. ”

Genre: Party Game Platforms: Wii Dev: Prope Pub: SEGA Age Rating: 3+

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having different modes and multiple stages. Before you rush into the games, take a special note of the beginning tutorial explaining the basics of the games and even how to navigate through the menus. Tap Runner: You control your runner by performing light taps. The faster you tap the faster he runs. There is also a boost run that can be achieved by a quick burst of tapping, but your runner gets a bit tired after this. The stage is one big obstacle course with obstacles like hurdles, electric balls, swings, pumping up balloons to get blown to the next platform, and my personal favourite, the slide where you have to kick your legs and jump just at the right time, or you will find yourself on your nose. It is a shame that there is no stage builder for this game, because I see a few more combinations than just the 16 stages that are given. Don’t get me wrong, these are re-playable and loads of social fun. Rhythm Tap: Tap, in time and the right strength, as

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

the circles move from right to left across the screen. The three different circles match up to three different strengths that you can tap at. The range of songs is not great and could have been better. The one problem I found with this was that accuracy is displayed in single player, but in multiplayer the only way you know you have hit the right note is if your streak increases. This mini game needed to be included into the set because it would have been missed, but its weakness comes through because of the abundance of other rhythm titles out there that do a better job. Silent Blocks: Starting with only red and blue blocks, you tap to select and then tap to remove the block like in

Jenga. When a block has been removed and three or more of a kind get together they compress into a different form; bronze, silver, gold, ruby, and so on. The tower is moved and destabilized by you removing blocks, so small careful taps or quick taps are required to keep your tower up. If the tower falls, you start from the beginning. The blocks continue to pile on from the top. There are three different modes to the game; Unlimited (rules like Jenga), Alchemist, and the Race. The game offers a good serving of addictive rewards. Bubble Voyager: Float through the mysterious unknown, tapping to navigate past obstacles in your way. Travel as far you can alone in an Endless Voyage, or fight against your friends in Battlefield. In the multiplayer mode you move around trying to avoid your friend’s fire, and firing on them. The game could have been made for two button control, but brings a different dimension when you can only tap to control your craft, and having to wait until your ship is facing the right direction to move can sometimes get you killed. Visualizer: Tap to enjoy a variety of different effects. Play freely (or without interruption) in a single stage, or set the order and duration in stage mode. This is similar to having the ability to touch your visualisation in Windows Media Player. This can’t really be called a mini game and is more of a bonus feature. Maybe it was just there to test the accuracy of the tapping during development. Multiplayer provides the main source of fun for this game; going through the mini games in single player does you no good. There is nothing to unlock, no extra content, and the only thing you will accomplish is improving your skills. Play the game with your friends and keep the boxes close to the floor (maybe even sitting on the floor) because you might fall off your chair laughing. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

‘Let’s Tap’ only has one input, with three different strengths, and features five different, excellent games. issue 2 • august 2009

B 63


gamecca • review

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

Endless Adventure

Sacred 2 offers the player an enjoyable - and very long adventure game on console platforms.

I

by Matthew Vice t’s unusual these days to see console games coming originally be wielded only by the Seraphim. However, from smaller studios. Most of the little guys seem to finding themselves unable to keep the peace in Ancaria on have been swallowed up in the wake of the larger their own, the Seraphim taught the secrets of the T-Energy developments, which have the budget and resources to the High Elves. This bred jealousy and distrust among to produce the kinds of games we expect nowadays. the various races, and soon wars erupted over command There still seem to be a few of them developing for the PC, of this immense power source – spreading it all over the though. Recently however, a small PC development team, world and creating hideous, mutated beasts. It is into this Ascaron, saw fit to try their hand at releasing a console mess that the player is thrust, to save Ancaria from itself, or version of their latest title, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, an doom it to destruction by adding to the chaos. action-RPG prequel to the PC cult hit, Sacred. Before starting the game, you first have to create a character to play with. There are six classes available The story for Sacred 2 manages to do a pretty decent this time round: The Seraph, an angel who uses magic, job of making itself seem unimportant, but that probably has something to do with the fact that the game doesn’t take itself seriously. Still, if you must know, Genre: RPG Platforms: X360, PS3 (PC) it is set in the fantastic world of Ancaria, a place Dev: Ascaron where technology and magic coexist in the same Pub: Deep Silver era. Both magic and technology are powered by Age Rating: 16+ an energy source called T-Energy, which could


gamecca • review technology, and melee skills; the High Elf, a powerful sorceress with access to elemental magic; the Shadow Warrior, an undead warrior who excels at close combat; the Temple Guardian, a artificial being who fights with archaic technology; the Dryad, a wild warrior who excels at ranged combat; and the Inquisitor, an evil missionary who uses both magic and melee skills in a brutal combination. Each class has fifteen unique combat arts for players to learn, and players can further customise each of these abilities as they learn them. Just like before, these abilities are creative and interesting, and they allow different players to use the same character class in different ways – even if they’ve chosen the same skill set. There are also a bunch of general skills that are accessible to most classes, like riding, bartering, armour usage, dual wield, and so on. Once you’ve got your character sorted out, you’re plonked in the middle of an unbelievably vast world and left to your own devices. For each character class, there is a Main Quest to follow – which tells the story of Sacred 2 from the good or evil perspective, depending on which you chose. There are also hundreds and hundreds of Side Quests scattered all over the world for players to complete or ignore as they see fit. We’d recommend doing quite a few of them, though, since they reward you with cash and experience and sometimes even cool items. Usually the Side Quests are short, one-shot endeavours, but some of them can involve quite a few stages. An interesting addition to the game is the inclusion of the Class Quest. For each character class, there is a unique quest which runs the length of the game (parallel to the Main Quest) and gives us more insight into the various character classes and

“There I was, riding a giant WTF into battle...” their motives and interests. Let’s just say that you won’t be running out of things to do in Sacred 2 for a very, very long time. Also, if you get bored of playing alone, you can get some friends to join in. Up to two players can play on one machine, and up to four can play together online. There have been some people complaining about Sacred 2’s visuals, which is hard to understand. Sure, when you look at each little item one by one, they don’t look so amazing, but when you take it all in at once, Sacred 2 is a visual feast. It might not be too technically impressive, but it’s not at all unpleasant or boring to look at. As you travel through the vast world, you’ll constantly see new and fantastic things. Architecture styles change, clothing changes, races change, and new monsters appear. If you can appreciate something on a deeper level than just how far it pushes your machine, you’ll find Sacred 2 to have some of the most pleasant fantasy visuals to grace a game in a while. And if you’re a metal fan, then Sacred 2 has one last treat to offer – a soundtrack created exclusively for the game by Blind Guardian. In particular, the title song, Sacred, is moving, operatic power-metal score as good as anything Blind Guardian has done before. If there’s only one deep criticism that can be levelled at Sacred 2, it’s that the interface is a little fiddly. Not all the information you need to make choices about changing equipment and spending skill points is displayed in a convenient place at once, leading to lots of flipping back and forth. Still, if you like the game enough you’ll get used to it, and when you do you’re in for your money’s worth of adventuring. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

C+

It may not be the prettiest game around, and it may have a few problems, but Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is an impressive achievement none the less. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

Wii Sports Resort

Fun in the Sun

Sports Resort offers more activities than you can shake a Wii remote at!

N

intendo’s pilot title, to show of the functions off the Wii MotionPlus, is here. Wii Sports Resort, the upgrade of Wii Sports, requires the Wii MotionPlus add-on, so much so that when you unplug it during a game it pauses until the unit is returned. This game does have a story of sorts. Your Mii has gone to a holiday resort island and there are fun activities all around the place. When you start the game for the first time, and happily only the first time, a 3 minute presentation on how to install the Wii MotionPlus is shown. I understand why they don’t let you skip through it, but I have seen it before, twice. After this wonderfully informative video, you get into Wii Sports Resort with an opening cinematic and game. You find yourself in a plane (and by yourself I mean the last Mii that you used on your console). You’re asked if you are ready and then jump from the plane and sky dive to the island. There are a few routines in the sky and you’ll be able to do it again and again in the sky diving game provided. The game does have a number of single player challenges, but these are enjoyed even more with other players involved. When playing archery holding the controls the right way up puts you in perfect form for drawing a bow. You guess the wind and distance, then loose your arrows at the target. When the targets start moving, guessing gets harder and more pressure is placed on the imaginary bow. Table tennis is an addictive joy and is a game tht appeals specially to the hard-core gamers. There has been many a competition held with us playing table tennis. There are accurate slice and spin shots added to the basic shots you can perform, as well as the ball cutting the edge of the table and dropping quickly to the floor. Golf and bowling make a more direct return from Wii Sports, but as you might expect, the MotionPlus improves

both dramatically. In bowling you can add real spin to the ball as it barrels down the lane. In the extra modes given you are forced to improve your spinning skills, with objects blocking the lane. Don’t expect Tiger Woods from the golf, but you can still have a good four-ball. Cycling left me with a confused expression on my face for a few moments: the controls are to riding a bicycle what waggling the Wii remote is to running. After I played the game with my 3 year old son

“The game does has a number of single player challenges, but these are enjoyed even more with other players involved. ”

Genre: Party Platforms: Wii Dev: Nintendo Pub: Nintendo Age Rating:3+

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by Brian Murdoch

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

and found that he was able to control the cyclist with ease, the game had more appeal. (Ha! Your son has better skillz than you! – ed) Basketball is a great improvement on other versions that don’t use the MotionPlus and I applaud the developers on this, but I am bad at basketball and I still don’t like it on the Wii. This is my fault completely and my height does not help when I keep hitting the Wii remote on my ceiling fan. Though I have described the previous games with great excitement, they still do not stand up to my favourite (and most hard-core gamers’ favourite)... Swordplay. You start off sparring with your opponent and learn to knock them off of the round platform arena and into the surrounding water, as done in Gladiators. After this has been done a few times you are able to race your friends in a speed cutting competition, where the fastest correct cut wins. Then the true gem comes through in Showdown mode. You only have three hit points and you have to defeat a mass group of computer Miis that run at you. Some are more skilled than others… you’ll notice them by their specific colour. With the precise handling that comes with the MotionPlus, slicing through computer opponents with a virtual sword makes you feel like a Jedi; all you need are force powers! You might even find yourself making a few light sabre noises, so watch out if there are others in the house… Youtube exposure would be embarrassing. I have left out a few of the games because some things need to be discovered for themselves, but they are all designed and included to show you the great possibilities that can be achieved with the MotionPlus. Every Wii owner has Wii Sports, but they do not have a complete experience without Wii Sports Resort. You should be able to walk into every home that has a Wii and the only excuse they can give you for not having this title is that the stores are out of stock. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

A

There’s tons to do in this one, and many, many ways to show off the new precision granted players by the addition of the MotionPlus add-on. issue 2 • august 2009

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Empire:Total War

Do Glorious Battle

Creative Assembly’s latest edition to the Total War series takes the fight even further

E

mpire: Total War is everything you would expect from the creators of arguably the greatest historical strategy game series ever made. The game’s release was in March 2009 and it’s safe to say that the hardcore fans of Total War have already picked up their copies and set about dominating the globe. New gamers, though, join the leagues of Total War fans every day and if you are a strategy fan, then it’s about time you join the ranks too, because this game is for you. Empire contains all the elements that made the Total War series famous but it’s not just a repeat of the same old stuff. Players of the series will be comfortably familiar with the controls and new players will find them easy to master. The game is set in the revolutionary age of the 18th century; new worlds were being discovered, new technologies researched, the introduction of gun powder and the birth of the modern world was changing everything. You get a chance to make it yours and maybe even change history the way you would have, had you been in control.

The strategy within Empire Total War is divided between a turn-based world map tactics viewpoint and a real-time battle management system. While in the world map section you have all the time you need to consider your moves and decisions before making them, with each end of turn representing 6 months having passed within the game. Diplomacy is essential to your success, so choose your enemies carefully and then make alliances with their enemies. Don’t break your alliances too soon either - being attacked on two fronts is not pretty and normally leads to the end of your faction’s plans, permanently. Leaping into battle at the first sign of an enemy is what I do anyway. If he’s made the effort to show up on my border (with an army), the least I can do is go out and greet him like a good neighbour. Make sure you take enough men with you though, and some cannons. (yeah, you love those cannons, don’t you? – ed) The planning of your economy is as important as the spreading of your religion and the research of new technology. All of these are controlled from the world map view but, most importantly, this is also where you expand your empire. You can build up armies and fleets by joining units together under the leadership of a general and move them across the map to attack enemy armies or besiege

“If he’s made the effort to show up on my border (with an army), the least I can do is go out and greet him like a good neighbour.”

Genre: Strategy Platforms: PC Dev: Creative Assembly Pub: SEGA Age Rating: 16+

68

by Dion Scotten

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review enemy settlements. Alternatively if you are waiting for resources, send in spies or assassins (war just isn’t the same without them) to gather intelligence or to simply kill a rival. On that note, failing to build your assassin up in rank before trying to kill an enemy general will get him dead, quickly. Research is also an added feature in Empire Total War and certain structures will require technology to be researched before they can be built. This is achieved by building centres of learning and then choosing a path of research towards the required technology. The real-time battle map is an awesomely detailed 3D environment, with the terrain depending on the origin of the battle from the world map view, making entry points into battle worth considering. The units that you formed into an army on the world map view are individually controllable here and you will have a chance to arrange them on the battlefield before commencing with the battle. Once the battle has started you will be able to give move and attack orders to your units until you have destroyed or broken the morale of all of the enemy units. Try to keep your general alive; he is no super human and will die as easily to gun fire as a normal trooper. If your general falls, the morale of your troops will fall with him as the word spreads and they will be more likely to break and run away. As with the past editions, high ground gives your troops

a serious advantage against other troops. However, with Empire’s addition of cannons, making yourself more visible might not always be the best option. Speaking of which, I love artillery. They have enormous range and do serious damage both physically and to the morale of the units hit. With three cannons per battery, I can’t get enough of them into an army. The battle maps themselves have surprising detail, from valleys to forests, hill top forts and farmlands. On the whole the graphics are fantastic, making this the most spectacular Total War edition by far. The units are detailed and unique, and the game featrues a close enough zoom option to give you the feeling of standing among the men on the battlefield. Grass waves in the wind and the scenery is beautiful, leaving you comforted that at least your men get a chance to enjoy the splendor before getting blown to pieces by enemy cannons. Don’t despair if you don’t have a serious system running, though, as there are enough graphic settings to make sure the game runs smoothly and is pretty enough on any fairly capable PC. The introduction of gunpowder is the most significant addition in Empire: Total War. While charging down peasants with cavalry in Medieval will always have a special place in my heart, nothing compares to every unit in my army having a gun. Charging with cavalry isn’t

69


the point and click solution to winning battles it was before and the standard line-infantry unit is more than up for target practice. Reloading does take a while and a well timed charge could turn the battle in your favour; however, time it wrong and your cavalry are dead, not even maybe. While the land battles are fantastic, the sea battles on their own make this game a huge step up from the previous editions. Instead of getting the old 2D “you are victorious” message after attacking enemy at sea, you are immersed into a detailed 3D map as with the land battles. The water and ship graphics are stunning but be warned, ship battles are a lot different to those on land. The movement of the ships is realistic and requires a different strategy from the land battles to be able to pull off a victory. Your ships have visible fire arcs on each of their sides and will automatically open fire when an enemy comes within range, turning its hull to get a better shot. This can mess with your plans if you consider that the ship is still moving and will have to turn around to shoot again. You also have the broadside and boarding options, with three different types of ammunition for your cannons, depending on your strategy - kill the crew, break the mast of the ship or blow holes in the hull (my personal favourite). Make no mistake… these battles will challenge you, but it just adds another strategic element to an already excellent game. Either play a standard campaign and choose from a number of nations ranging from India through Europe to the Americas as your faction or play the story campaign of America’s struggle for independence. If you purchase the special edition you’ll be given 14 extra Special Forces units that are

downloadable through Steam. There are a lot of new features that have improved on, or sorted out some annoying issues from the past games. Examples would be the removing of the limit on camera movement on the battle map and that damaged units do not need to be in a city to be replenished. These changes will be unnoticeable to new players but they are, for me, the way it should always have been and they make for smooth game play. It’s a game that is definitely for anyone who enjoys strategy and perfect for someone wants to test themselves as a general or even those who covet world domination from the comfort of their bedroom. What it will do is thoroughly entertain you while testing your ability to plan, strategise and overwhelm all who oppose you. Empire Total War delivers on what it promised and more, and allows us to experience the battle and the bloodshed personally, giving us a taste of what could have been. It is Steam activated, so an internet connection is required if you want to play this game. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

A+

An up-close and personal 18th century battlefield experience on land and sea, coupled with the building and steering of a nation’s destiny. 70

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10

The Real Swing

It’s all about the feel when Tiger steps up to the tee on the Wii.

I

am not one to advocate multiple reviews of the same game, on different platforms, in the same issue of a magazine. It’s a fairly pointless exercise, because the performances of the different platforms are very close to each other. Close enough for a reader to draw conclusions, anyway. The same cannot be said for Wii games, though, and especially not for the experience granted the player by the MotionPlus support that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 features. It may not have the graphics or the crowds of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, but what it lacks in looks in makes up for with its absolutely fantastic game mechanic. See, the MotionPlus allows the player to do something that they’ve never been able to before in a golf simulator: produce a realistic swing. Because the MotionPlus senses motion in all directions (which is a simplification, but anyway) the player can now tilt their club face, and

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

A

Genre: Sports Platforms: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP Dev: EA Sports Pub:Electronic Arts Age Rating: 3+

by Walt Pretorius

effectively draw and fade the ball. Well, with a little practice, of course. The downside is that, if you have a sucky golf swing in real life, you’re gonna have the same problem here. It might not be one hundred per cent accurate, but it’s as close as your going to get without putting on the funny pants and stalking throught the rough after the ball you managed to hit in there… again. The MotionPlus is adding so many new possibilities to the Wii’s capabilities, not least of which is this almost absolute realism. If you were to ask me if I preferred realistic graphics or a game that felt like the real deal, I would opt for feel every time. Games like this will help elevate the Wii’s standing among the hard-core crowd, who have had a rather snobbish attitude towards the more casual console. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 on the Wii is, in a word, fantastic. (Disclaimer: This is not a Wii screen shot. Couldn’t find any. – ed) g

The combination of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and the Wii MotionPlus makes for sweet, fun and realistic game dynamics. 72

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review

Big Family Games

Get ready to throw

There’s a little bit of everything - and a lot of throwing in THQ’s Big Family Games

B

by Brian Murdoch

ig Family Games is a follow on, with the same theme as Big Beach Sports. This is a big collection of sports and games that leave a big impression. The question you have to ask is, is this impression good or bad? The answer: a bit of both. You start off with a cartoony character creator. You can just use a standard character, or customise one to give your player a unique look. More glasses, shoes, clothes and even gloves are unlocked as you play in the single player mode. You start with almost nothing to choose from in the single player game, but in the multiplayer game there are a few more standard character options. In single player you can only play 15 of the games available. The others can only be played in multiplayer, though multiplayer has the option of only one person playing… not that I see the point of playing any of these games by yourself. Sure, running around alone with a water pistol in Water Wars is fun if you have a great imagination… and you’re 4 years old. Genre: Party Platforms: Wii Dev: Jet Black Games Pub: THQ Age Rating: 3+

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Almost all of the 30 games in the collection make use of a throwing motion; hold “B” down and releasing it after making the correct throwing gesture. The throwing system built into the game is very good. It reads distance and direction, added with the timing of when you release the “B” button. They also throw in some random deviation from the norm, though. I see this as a very important component to keep the competitive spirits up while playing this game with friends. In the game you also pick your standing location

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • review and direction of your throw just like in bowling in Wii Sports. If you could put this in the right spot and throw the same way every time, then you would have a sure win with every throw, and here is where the random deviation comes in to “spoil” things and keep your opponents hoping that you miss on that last try. The single player gameplay is very addictive and you’ll find yourself losing hours trying to beat your opponents in the challenges. This is where we insert a warning to strap your Wii remote on your wrist because the temptation to throw it at the TV, or just in any general direction, will be great. I was impressed with some of the game combinations that are present in the title. Americans are more difficult to figure out than women, so knowing if they actually play these games back home is difficult. What I do know is that we don’t have those types of games here. We see horse shoe throwing and battleships combine into Super Battleshoe. You stand on opposite jetties with unlimited horse shoes and a middle line between the two of you. You’ll have your ships closest to you with poles on them for the horse shoes to catch on to. To win the game you need to sink your opponent’s ships before they sink yours. And if you don’t throw hard enough you can sink your own. To sink a ship you don’t have to get a horse shoe on every pole… you just need to get enough hooked on to the ship to weigh it down. In another example, DartBall, you have a combination of lawn darts and baseball. There is a tyre swinging from a tree with a board on it. On the board are combinations of strike, single, double, triple and home run. You continue to throw until you have three outs - missing the tyre is an out - or you hit 10 home runs. There is some ‘in-game taunting’ with the arrow keys on your Wii remote. There is no effect to the throwing that I have noticed, but you still find yourself taunting the AI in case it actually helps them miss those shots.

To wrap things up, this mini game party title is only mediocre. I was personally expecting more from it. I think if you need to work out your throwing arm this would be the perfect game, but be warned, your muscles will be sore after a few hours. It has some great elements but not enough to spice up the soup. Some salt is needed. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

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Big Family Games offers a lot of variety, but most of that is taken care of by throwing motions... it’s fun, but it’s not fantastic. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • review

Company of Heroes:Tales of Valor

Back in the Action

The original Company of Heroes is augmented with three new episodes in this expansion pack

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by Jimmy Glue

he second Company of Heroes expansion pack hit our shelves in April, and while it is an expansion pack in the true sense of the word, it still brings some exciting elements to the table. Just to recap for those gamers who missed the original release way back in 2006. Company of Heroes is a real-time strategy game with a WWII theme. In the original campaign, players were thrust into some of the most exciting and decisive battles of the major American operations during the Battle of Normandy. The first expansion, Opposing Fronts, was released in 2007, and was also a stand-alone, meaning that players didn’t need to have the first title installed on their PC in order play it. As with any stand-alone expansion, the game is still playable, but certain original elements will be locked. Providing you don’t have the original game installed, Tales of Valor follows the same path, locking the original content. But it still allows players to use the Tales of Valor content in multiplayer matches and continue a short story mode. Tales of Valor is essentially a collection of eight supplementary missions, which have been divided into three separate episodes. Two out of the three episodes will see the player taking on the role of commanding German troops, which is rather exciting at times. In the first episode, Tiger Ace, players will take control of Tiger Tank Ace Hauptmann Voss’s Tigergruppen and will be expected to drive him to victory against the British 7th Armoured Division on D-Day.

The introductions and cut-scenes during the game aren’t anything to write home about, but the style in which they were done manages to certainly convey the message. The hand-drawn cut-scenes, with a solemn voice-over, are very effective in portraying the harshness and realities of war. The scenario presented in the first episode has also been based on actual accounts from the real Battle of Villers-Bocage. During the battle, German tank commander Michael Wittmann found himself surrounded by the 7th Armoured Division, and heavily outgunned. After a fierce fire fight, Wittmann managed to get credit for almost 30 kills, before he was forced to abandon his tank. He did, however, return with another Tiger tank to finish the job. Playing on Medium, the difficulty isn’t sweat-inducing, but some hair-raising moments will make you think twice before moving your troops. Luckily you will be supported by Tiger Ace Joseph Gunter Shultz during the mission, so not all the bullets will be zooming in your direction. In the first part, players will also get a chance to use the stealth mode in order to evade enemy troops. This will come in handy, not only for this mission, but

“Being an expansion pack, it adds more value to the original Company Of Heroes, but it’s more of the same thing, with the same units”

Genre: Strategy Platforms: PC Dev: Relic Pub: THQ Age Rating: 7+

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gamecca • review for later adventures as well, as a couple of MG nests hamper your progress. Causeway, the second episode, will see players take control of the US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, which primarily involved the legendary Able and Baker squads in the hours just after the notorious D-Day landings. The episode involves holding the causeway from Omaha Beach for the 8th Armoured Division to make their way inland. Once the causeway has been cleared the real fun starts, as the squads need to make their way across the landscape to capture the town of Point de Chef, and that side of the causeway as well. The progress is slow and is made especially difficult by a large company of Panzers. The last episode, Falaise Pocket, is certainly the most difficult episode that Tales of Valor throws at you. It is guaranteed to take a couple of tries before the missions will be complete, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent to the action. You will be given command of the SS Panzergrenadiers and Wehrmacht, and need to hold off the advancing US forces in the Falaise Pocket. The episode will start with a young German officer intercepting Allied radio broadcasts and learning that Chambois has fallen. He immediately alerts the German Luftwaffe and the rest of the Wehrmacht start erecting Flak-88 cannons. Knowing that the US forces are on their way, your Commanding Officer tasks you with protecting the panzers hidden in the shrubbery for a counter attack, until nightfall. Once the US attack starts, the action will be non-stop as they will be coming at you from all angles. You will have to hold them off for as long as possible, so that your CO can evacuate the hidden panzers and move them to Chambois, to destroy the Allied forces. After taking a breather from defending and holding Chambois and Thul, it will be a good idea to try your hand at some of the new scenarios that Relic inserted into the game play. Besides the additional campaign missions, also included are three Operations; new multiplayer maps consisting of Stone Wall, Assault and Panzerkrieg. Each scenario is unique and also a first for the franchise. Stone Wall, as the name implies, pits up to four players against 16 waves of Axis attacks, each one growing stronger and larger than the last. Out of the three extra

scenarios, Stone Wall is by far the most exciting and action-packed. Playing Tales of Valor is a bit of a catch-22 situation. Being an expansion pack, it adds more value to the original Company Of Heroes, but it’s more of the same thing, with the same units. And contributing only three episodes, it hardly seems worth it. On the other side of the coin, if you haven’t played the original, Tales Of Valor will be a great learning curve, although you won’t get the full experience. The graphics can seem to be a bit dated, but the fastpaced action quickly makes up for it. g

Reviewer’s Rating: Hardcore < > Casual

C

Being an expansion pack it has some credibility, but the action soon makes way for the same old thing. issue 2 • august 2009

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gamecca • hardware

LG Flatron W2261V Monitor

Go Wide

The need for a good monitor extends beyond the PC...

by Walt Pretorius

I

t would be very easy to review the LG Flatron W2261V monitor as purely a PC-based viewing device, but the truth is that this little device offers far more than just decent widescreen performance when hooked up to a computer. These days, the need for a portable screen extends beyond the PC... people don’t just go to LAN games with their computers anymore. The connectivity of modern consoles makes it important to have a good, reliable screen that is of a decent size and is quick to set up. See the picture up there? That’s the one. The W2261V delivers 22 inches of widescreen, with an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080. What that means is that it delivers very decent HD performance. When we had it plugged into the PS3, we had the resolution running at the desired 1080p with no hassles. But what really makes this monitor so sweet - and so

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versatile for gamers playing on more than one platform - is that it is easy to move and even easier to set up. Many a time people have been seen struggling to get the right kind of connectors to plug their console into a monitor, but this baby has a standard HDMI port at the back, to allow for easy and high quality data transfer from the console to the monitor. It also has a very handy, standard headphone jack plug built into the back. Some of the menu functions take a little while to access, so setting things like volume should be done when time isn’t too much of an issue. The monitor is light and not overly bulky. The stand feels a little flimsy, though, and only offers a limited degree of tilt. Still, the mobile console or PC gamer who wants a full HD wide-screen experience can do worse than this monitor. It carries a nice price tag, too... on the whole, it’s very decent value. g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • hardware

Microsoft Sidewinder X5 Mouse

Precise Control

The Sidewinder X5 may be a stripped down version of its predecessor, but it still delivers the goods.

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by Walt Pretorius

rmed with a 2000 DPI laser tracking engine, the Microsoft Sidewinder X5 Gaming Mouse is a sensitive and accurate input device. This sensitivity, when coupled with the mouse’s on-thefly DPI switching, means that it will deliver exactly the right kind of performance that the user requires. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that the sensitivity of the mouse can be adjusted. Sometimes quicker movements are needed, while others demand more precise tracking - this mouse offers that versatility. Its unusual shape is rather comfortable, although smaller hands may battle to access all of the buttons a little. It has two standard buttons, as well as a clickable scroll-wheel and two function buttons mounted overand-under on the right hand side. Three DPI preset buttons sit behind the scroll wheel, with a quick launch button to the rear of the mouse. This version is much lighter than the previous Sidewinder, and doesn’t feature some of the extra bells and whistles that its predecessor shipped with. Still, it delivers the goods, and is engineered for ruggedness as well as speed. Left handed users may as well look elsewhere, though, because this mouse isn’t built for anyone but a righty. The Sidewinder X5 delivers excellent performance at a reasonable price. It’s a good buy for those who want excellent PC gaming control. g

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gamecca • hardware

PlayStation 3 Bluetooth Headset

Get an Earful

PlayStation’s Bluetooth headset adds significantly to the online multiplayer experience.

by Walt Pretorius

W

ith Sony’s PlayStation Network being fully accessible from South Africa, the PlayStation 3 offers players a very decent and reliable way to get gaming online (provided they have a robust internet connection, of course.) Part of that experience is communicating verbally with other players. The need for a good headset is therefore obvious. Sony have produced a wonderful headset for just that purpose. The PlayStation 3 Bluetooth Headset offers the user effective wireless communication while playing games. The device can also be used, obviously, for games that require voice control or input. The headset comes with a handy recharge cradle that plugs into any of the PlayStation 3’s USB ports. The cradle naturally charges the battery for the estimated 8 hours of

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talk time to be delivered. The device also has a port to be plugged into the console via a wire, and when placed in the dock it works as a desktop microphone. The performance on the device is awesome. The noise reduction built into the microphone is excellent, and the speaker reception quality is top notch. In fact, there are only two hiccups associated with the device, and they are relatively minor. It is quite a large headset, which isn’t too much of a problem, but the earpiece is also bulky, which can get a little uncomfortable after a while. Additionally, some of the controls are rather small, making using them without actually looking at them a bit tricky. The PlayStation 3 Bluetooth Headset is a great quality product from Sony, and naturally performs very well in conjunction with the PS3 console. Every online PS3 gamer should have one of these, no question about it. g

issue 2 • august 2009


gamecca • in the lair

July LAN action

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espite the chilly weather, July was a hot month for LAN activity in and around Johannesburg. Two major LANs and an online tournament took place.

Liberty LAN: Liberty LAN took place on the 11th of July 2009. Friday night saw lines of gamers arriving to claim their booked tickets, as well as even longer lines of gamers who had not booked seats. The event filled up fast and more gamers continued to arrive. Saturday morning marked the start of the DotA tournament with 2 new teams joining the battle. After some varied battles, including some complete walkovers, we had team AT take the win. Throughout the rest of the event we saw a number of gamers playing COD4, DotA and Demigod. What was nice to see was a good group of gamers playing Command and Conquer: Generals – Zero Hour. We also had a number of people assisting in upgrading machines. This has come to be a common occurrence at the Liberty LAN… boxes on their side, panels removed and cables everywhere: a small hardware surgical theatre amongst some of the most powerful rigs in SA PC gaming. We had Intel and Asus there as event sponsors.

by thebanman

The Mayhem LAN The Mayhem LAN took place on the 25th of July 2009. Saturday was incredibly cold, so gamers arrived slowly in the morning, but by 11am the event was pumping and packed. We had a huge variety of games played, including some StarCraft 4v4 and some 2v2s. As was usually the case, we also had a ton of DotA and constantly-full servers of CS, CSS and COD4. The Lair had a few Hero’s of Newerth games running. Hero’s of Newerth is being developed by S2 Games and is incredibly similar to the custom map DotA that operates within the WarCraft III engine. The game is currently in BETA and is only available to play online. The full release will have LAN support. If you are a serious DotA fan be sure to follow this game, it’s beautiful. Yet again there was a large group of World of WarCraft players, so if this is your game of choice come join the clans and enjoy a dungeon run or two. On the Console side we had Wii Sports Resort, The Conduit and Overlord: Dark Legend on the Wii with Prototype, Wolverine and PES 2009 on the PS3. On the Xbox we had a ton of SoulCalibur IV. Be sure to catch us next month as we tour JHB, bringing you the best in LAN gaming. Until then, my friends... May the Inter-web be with you! g

Only Original Demigods Tournament: Wednesday the 22nd of July 2009 was the night of the online semi-finals, seeing Team Whatever vs. =pC= and Team Olaf vs. Team FT. These teams qualified at the LAN qualifiers held at the Mayhem, Liberty and FRAG LANs. Team Whatever took the win in their game, with Team FT taking the win in their competition. The finals are set to take place on Saturday the 26th of July 2009. The Winners will walk away with R3, 000.00 and the following 3 Asus graphics cards: EN9800GT MATRIX/ HTDI/512M, ENGTX260 MATRIX/HTDI/896MD3 and the EAH4850 MATRIX/HTDI/512M.

This page is provided by The Lair www.thelair.co.za


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Win! Win W Win! W Win! Win a copy of Stormrise!

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Wiin! Win! Win n! n! Win! Win W n Win n! Win! i Winners !

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Tell us, in an email, what the MotionPlus allows players to do with their clubs in this game, and you could win a copy of it for the Nintendo Wii! Prize courtesy of Electronic Arts South Africa.

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Guitar Hero: Metallica Hamper won by Warren Chong Red Faction: Guerilla won by Corné Oosthuizen


gamecca • showdown

Tiger tails

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etting a round of virtual golf in can be great fun, but players now have a bit of a choice to make. Do they trade good looks for great game dynamics? Is it even a competition? To try and help with the problem, we have managed (through a strange and pixelated spacial warp) to get two versions of the virtual Tiger Woods to come and debate the merits of eye-candy versus the absolute cool of realistic control.

now, are we? Look, man, I deliver as good an experience as you do, and I look a damn sight better doing it... Tiger W: But you just haven’t got that real feel, man. You don’t keep it real, with your fiddly little sticks and your pretty pictures. With me, people can feel like they’re really on the golf course, like they are really walking the fairways and taking those sweet chip shots onto the green. Tiger X: I can do chip shots! I can do chip shots!

Tiger X: Hi there. I am the virtual version of Tiger Woods, a living legend of... Tiger W: Well, so am I. You gotta share that ‘legend’ stuff a little around here, man! Tiger X: Yeah, right, ok. Let me try again. I am the high end, high resolution, damn-fine lookin’ Tiger that you will see on the X...

Tiger W: Yeah, but do they get that feeling of having really played the shot with you? I mean, do you think that fiddling their little thumb control can really compare to the whole experience of moving their bodies, of experiencing the Zen-like peace and tranquility of perfectly marrying the ball and club in a brief moment, to see the beautifully executed, perfect shot as a result. With a thumb thingy? Tiger X: Well, I...

Tiger W: I am the Tiger that will make you feel good. Tiger W: See, it isn’t about looks at all. It’s all about the feel, the motion...

Tiger X: [pause] I’m sorry, what? Tiger W: I said, I am the Tiger that will make you feel good. Tiger X: And how do you figure that out, exactly? Tiger W: Well, it’s simple. You might have the looks, but I have the feel. When people take a swing with me, they REALLY take a swing. In the end, it’s not really about looks. You’re all eye-candy, man. I got the substance here.

Tiger X: So what you’re telling me is that it’s more important to the player to deliver a swing than see awesome visuals. You’re telling me that it’s all in the way they feel the swing? Tiger W: Absolutley. Tiger X: What if they have a really crappy golf swing?

Tiger X: So you’re saying that because you allow people to take a real swing , you’re better than me? Is that right?

Tiger W: ... um. Well...

Tiger W: I would say that you got a hole in one with that statement.

Yet another inconclusive argument for our end of magazine Showdown. It seems that the whole thing once again comes down to taste... and whether you’ve got a decent golf swing or not! g

Tiger X: [pause] Oh, so we’re down to jargon and silly puns

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Gamecca Magazine August 2009