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w w w. g a m e c c a . c o. z a I S S U E 3 0 / Vo l . 3 December 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Rise of Nightmares Saint’s Row:The Third Need for Speed:The Run Disney Universe and more...

End of the Road Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Shifting Sands

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Killshot!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

High Adventure The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


“2”, “PlayStation” and “KHJL” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ô is a trademark of the same company. “SONY” and “Ô” are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation. All rights reserved. Medieval Moves ©2011 Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC. Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Developed by Zindagi Games. All rights reserved.

master the

moves of battle

Grab your PlayStation Move controller and make every swing, slash and dodge count for real as you battle Morgrimm’s skeleton army. Medieval Moves. Only for PlayStation Move.

za.playstation.com


Inside 6 From the Editor 8 Unstuck Fanboys, again? 10 Building Legends How we got to skyrim... 16 Previews 9 titles for the New Year 34 PS Zealot Comebacks... 36 Xbox Beat An awesome update? 38 House of Mario Who’s tougher? 40 Reviews 25 titles for all tastes 100 Flashtastic A Mafia car boot sale... 102 Mobility A look at Blackberry 104 Essential Classics The start of the war 106 Hardware Some useful gear

THIS MONTH’S COVER Skyrim offers a world f adventure... Read our review on page 42.

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116 From Space Charity... it’s a good thing Competitions 99 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

gamecca contents • issue 30 • December 2011


Previews Reviews

18 20 22 24 26 27 28 30 32

Mass Effect 3 Soul Calibur V Inversion Ridge Racer: Unbounded Crusader Kings 2 Heroes of Ruin Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Jagged Alliance: Back in Action Syndicate

42 46 50 54 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations 007 Goldeneye: Reloaded Rise of Nightmares The Ball Start the Party: Save the World Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking Motion Sports: Adrenaline Saint’s Row: The Third Pirates of the Black Cove The Black Eyed Peas Experience Need for Speed: The Run Tetris Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Carnival Island After Hours Athletes Disney Universe Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 FIFA Manager 12 DanceStar Party Move Mind Benders Family Game Night 4: The Game Show

GAMECCA Vol. 3 Issue 30 December 2011 Editor: Walt Pretorius walt@gamecca.co.za Writers: Brian Murdoch Bryan Banfield Charlie Fripp Dylan Bouch Iwan Pienaar James Francis Lein Baart Suvesh Arumugam Letters: letters@gamecca.co.za Competition Entries: competitions@gamecca.co.za Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gamecca.co.za Design & Photography: 1337 Media Technical Support: Brian Murdoch Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@gamecca.co.za

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MASTER SUITE All rights reserved. No content may be reproduced, copied or transmitted without the express permission of the publishers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editors and publishers. All Trademarks and Registered Trademarks are the sole property of the respective owners.

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

gamecca contents • issue 30 • December 2011

Copyright © 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2011

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A Merry and a Happy... From the Editor

by Walt Pretorius

I

t seems, apparently, that we have survived November. I am still checking up on that, but it does appear that we made it through what is traditionally the busiest month on the video game calendar. And what a month it was, with some really major video game releases hitting the shelves. Now, we can relax a little, at least in terms of game reviews... we still have all that crazy shopping to get through for the festive season! That said, it looks like the January 2012 issue of Gamecca will still feature a lot of top notch games. The big releases are still coming through. And the first quarter of next year is looking extremely exciting, with some really big titles set to hit the shelves in January, February and

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March. It seems that the whole video game calendar is shifting, in terms of releases. Where the beginning of the year used to be quiet, it is now something of a big name game hotspot. Not that I am complaining, mind you... I love my job. And so another year draws to a close. With the holidays coming up soon, everyone is starting to think about all that wonderful family time they will get to experience. Game developers, apparently, are no different... a look at the number of co-op, family oriented and party games that are available at the moment all but confirms that. And there are far worse things to do at this time of year than to enjoy some gaming with friends and family...

Even those playing solo during the Festive Season will have lots to do, with some quality, long games available for play. In all, it is, yet again, a great time to be a gamer. And I bet that your well-deserved Christmas bonus will be, at least in part, spent on getting hold of some great gaming action. Well, enough talking about the good times and more spending time enjoying them. Please allow me to take this opportunity to wish you and your family all the best for the Festive Season, on behalf of myself and the Ganecca Crew. Thanks for experiencing gaming with us this year! And we look forward you bringing you all the great gaming that 2012 will be sure to offer. g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


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...So Suck It! Unstuck

by Charlie Fripp

I

really don’t get fanboys. There is nothing pretty about them and they like to make everybody else feel ugly. Just out of interest, what is the correct term when referring to a fanboy who happens to be a girl? The whole point of being in a gaming community is the fact that we can all stand together and enjoy the finer things in life. Although there are some pretty shady games out there, so how fine they are is probably entirely up to who plays them. While everything is all good and well in the shiny gamer land, a couple of kids come along and bad-mouth your new friend. Now that doesn’t sit well with everyone, and someone is bound to throw the first stone. That is when things get ugly. The whole purpose, mission, creed and motto, I guess, about being a fanboy is to say nasty things about the competition. Not necessarily the direct competition, but anybody or any game that remotely has similar elements to your chosen object of affection. While this nonsense is pretty much restricted to the kiddie’s playground, it does spill over into the virtual world, and it’s here where adults behave like little monsters. The usual banter is often tolerated like a bloated stomach, but it’s when the bile is spewed forth that trouble erupts. It’s healthy to have a favourite title, but it’s not healthy when other gamers are attacked for their views, beliefs or favourites. The most famous battle of the words has been going on for about as long as time itself, where Call of Duty is often punted as being supreme over the Battlefield franchise.

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I have been a fan of both franchises, and while I might on the odd occasion lean more towards the one than the other, I think that I have given both credit where it was due - and also called them out for their wrongs. In general, I guess I’m more of a Battlefield fan, but with the last iteration, they really did miss the boat. I realise its flaws and really wish they changed a couple of things, but I don’t jump onto the forums trying to explain why they did certain things, justifying their development planning - and I certainly won’t end the post by saying “…but Battlefield 3 rules. So suck it” Gamers make the industry successful, and while healthy competition is a good thing, there is no need to be nasty towards another title. After all, if a title didn’t have

any competition, they wouldn’t know what to change. So you are actually doing them a favour by pointing out the “horrible” bits. Keep that in mind next time, and think twice before you post those negative comments. If you praise a game (even though you don’t like it), the developer will think they have a fantastic product and won’t change anything, while you know you won’t contribute to their success - it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Bad-mouthing a game will get us nowhere and it’s about time that we stand together and give credit where it is due. I do realise it not a thing that will happen overnight, but a man can still dream. For reviewers, it’s a bit of a thinner line, with more shades of grey than a silent film. We walk a tight-rope, and we have to be very careful of what we say. We do have the power to influence a game, more so in the US than here in South Africa. But within that lies the problem that some reviewers are fanboys themselves, and it will be very hard to convince them to give an accurate review. I’m always suspicious of reviewers who give a game 100%, as no game is perfect. It’s physically impossible for a game to have no flaws, and that also makes one wonder if development studios don’t give review samples to selected reviewers because they know they will get a good review. g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


Feature

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gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011


Building Legends How we got to Skyrim

by Walt Pretorius

F

antasy role playing games are pretty much as old as the idea of playing games on a computer. And even though many of them may have their roots in traditional pencil-and-paper games like Dungeons & Dragons, they have developed a unique identity of their own. Additionally, many have broken away from other properties, to create their own mythologies and worlds, rather that relying on source material generated for other franchises. While one can certainly understand the appeal of relying on something that is already known, and possibly even well-loved, the idea od a whole new world to explore, complete with its own creatures, locations and legends, is extremely exciting. That’s what Bethesda Game Studios provided players in 1994, when they released the first title in what would become a definitive computer role playing game franchise. The Elder Scrolls series has become a benchmark in RPG titles, and with good reason. The effort put into creating immersive, compelling games is obvious - and Bethesda has always remained in tune with technology and advancements, allowing them to create a franchise that is not only engrossing, but also impressive. But that’s not where plans for the Elder Scrolls franchise started. Originally, the Elder Scrolls: Arena was meant to be a fighting game. The player was originally intended to take on the role of a leader of a band of fighters going from arena to arena in a bid to become champions of Tamriel. There were a few side quests thrown in to add a bit if a role playing element... but these soon grew to become the core of the game. A large possible influence on this decision was the fact that the core crew (Ted Peterson, Vijay Lakshman and Julian LeFay) were all fans of pencil-and-paper role playing, and the idea of a game that just featured arena combat didn’t seem to fit with them. The decision to produce a first person perspective game that was all about adventure and dungeon crawling didn’t fit with the project’s working title, Arena. It was Lakshman who came up with the name The Elder Scrolls. Although Peterson quipped that no one really knew what the name meant, it eventually came to refer to the vast collection of mystical tomes about Tamriel’s past, present and future. For some reason, the team opted to keep the word Arena in the title, too, and The Elder Scrolls: Arena hit store shelves in March 1994 for

gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011

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Feature

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gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011


PC systems. Arena was plagued by bugs and placed massive demands on players’ machines. Despite several negative reviews, it soon became a cult hit. Before that even happened, though, the team had already begun what would be a two year development cycle for the Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Originally subtitled Mournhold and set in Morrowind, the developers eventually relocated the action to High Rock and Hammerfell. Also, the developers moved away from the clichéd and rather linear plot presented in Arena, allowing for more player choices and multiple outcomes. Additionally, the game dynamic moved away from an simple system of awarding experience points for killing monsters, taking on the idea of rewarding players for role playing through a skill-based character advancement system. Character generation was also improved. Daggerfall was released in August of 1996, bringing a game world twice the size of Great Britain to eager gamers. It was, however, still plagued by numerous bugs, which left many consumers unhappy. The code was patchable, but the situation was still not ideal. The team decided to adopt a more cautious release schedule as a result. Bethesda were keenly aware of the fact that gamers wanted more games, more often. As a result, they began work on three separate, simultaneous developments for the Elder Scrolls franchise after Daggerfall; Battlespire, Redguard and Morrowind. The idea behind this was to provide gamers with new things to do within the Elder Scrolls paradigm. While Morrowind would follow the established ideas of the franchise, Battlespire and Redguard would offer players something new, and potentially start off sub-franchises. Battlespire was originally intended to be a Daggerfall expansion that would focus on what the developers believed was the best aspect of the series... dungeon crawling. With complex levels to conquer, the developers felt that this game would appeal greatly to gamers; so much so, if fact, that development of Morrowind was put on hold and development staff moved from that onto the Battlespire project. Additionally, the title would offer multiplayer in the form of PvP death matches (the first and only time this aspect was included in the franchise to date.) The developers were so keen on the project that the once expansion soon became a standalone project, entitled An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire. It was released in November 1997. The second title, in the form of Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard was released eleven months gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011

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Feature

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gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011


later. Aimed at the action adventure market, Redguard was to kick off the Adventures sub-franchise, which would focus more on action and less on character progression. In fact, players could not generate their own character in this title. Rather, they had to take on the role of the pre-generated Cyrus the Redguard. Neither Battlespire nor Redguard were well received by the public. Where once open areas we there to explore, gamers now were forced into confined environments, which did little to please them. In fact, sales in the elder Scrolls dropped so sharply that Bethesda faced serious financial trouble as a result of these two games. With Battlespire completed, focus shifted onto the third project: Morrowind. Where the previous two games had featured smaller, confined spaces, this game went back to the wide open areas that gamers apparently loved in other Elder Scrolls games. Even though the team decided to cut back a little on the scope of the game, gamers that picked it up when it was released in 2002 were greeted by a massive world to explore. And where previous Elder Scrolls games had received cool receptions at best from critics, Morrowind went down extremely well. Despite all the praise and some 60 awards - comment still arose regarding glitches and bugs... something that seemed to be destined to plague this series. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was exactly the hit that Bethesda needed. Naturally, when the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion hit shelves in 2006, there was much excitement. The generally good experiences had with Morrowind made gamers extremely hopeful for the title. Despite the ever present bugs and a few criticisms, the game did fantastically well, showing off great ambition and a brilliant understanding of cutting edge technology on the part of the developers. While Morrowind certainly changed the fortunes of the franchise, it was Oblivion that turned it into a massive hit with a wider gaming audience... so much so that the recently released Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (reviewed on page 42 of this issue) was one of the most anticipated titles of recent years. Despite games often plagued by bugs and a rocky start, the Elder Scrolls have carved a very solid niche for themselves in the video game market. Many have called the series definitive, stating that the Elder Scrolls deliver a computer role playing experience like no other. What is certain, though, is that this series’ strong reputation is set to carry it long into the future, and the progress seen through the titles is sure to continue. We will undoubtedly see many more Elder Scrolls games... and maybe even without bugs in the future. g gamecca feature • issue 22 • April 2011

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Previews Highlights 18 Mass Effect 3 The final fight 22 Inversion Upside down! 24 Ridge Racer: Unbounded Original or clone? 32 Syndicate Reboot the system

W

e have reached the end of another year, and part of the excitement we feel, as gamers, for the future stems from all those awesome game releases that the New Year holds. We don’t even know half of what to expect yet. What we do know is that 2012 will certainly be off to a great gaming start. The first few months hold a wealth of gaming goodness in store, and while we only look at a few upcoming titles in this issue, we are all fully aware that the end of year greatness will keep rolling into the New Year. And we’re very, very excited about that... g

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gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


activision.com Š 2011 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision, Call Of Duty and Modern Warfare are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.


Mass Effect 3

Shepard to the Sheep Reapers make for fun target practice

T

he Mass Effect franchise is one of the biggest we have seen in a while, and while the first game attracted a lot of gamers, the true magic came out in the sequel. Electronic Arts is gearing up the release the third game, and it looks to surpass the sequel in almost every way. Giving players once again the choice of playing as a male or female Commander Shepard, gamers will be tasked in defending earth from the vicious Reapers. They are a nasty bunch of alien pirates, who have seen it fit to

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by Charlie Fripp

destroy everything in their path. Earth is on its last legs, and it’s the player’s duty to stop the Reapers from totally annihilating everything they know. Although the same as the previous games, a couple of additions have made their way into the game’s development process. The title will have multiple endings, which will increase the replay value, which will be determined by choices and actions throughout the game. The plot of the title will also take place on many planets, while the large scale of enemies will make for smarter

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


opponents. Their intelligence has been tweaked a bit, so players will really have to think about their approach to combat. Just as with the previous games, the huge amount of weapons can be customised a bit more, and will include parts like scopes and barrels, while other unique attachments will also be made available. While the weapons can be customised, the player’s squad can also be given specific task to make the proficient killers from afar, or deadly assassins up close.

The title has also upgraded the radial menu system, making it easier for players to find the right tools. In terms of speech and conversation, Microsoft’s Kinect system has been integrated into the game to give players a bit more freedom to interact with other characters. It’s sure to be one of the best games to come out of 2012, and it will no doubt keep players busy for hours. With its updated graphics, new additions and a riveting plot, Mass Effect 3 is not to be missed. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Bioware Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: Electronic Arts SA gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011

Mar 2012 Platforms

It’s sure to be one of the best RPG shooters to come out of 2012.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

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Soul Calibur V

En Garde!

Blades, blades and more blades by Walt Pretorius

F

ighting games will just never get old, at least not as a genre. People love the idea of getting a little one-on-one beat-down time with their buddies, even if their buddies are button mashers... The Soul Calibur franchise has always been somewhat unique within the genre, because the combat it presents is weapons-based. Unlike the majority of fighting games out there, the characters in this franchise don’t like getting their hands dirty; rather, they rely on blades and a whole bunch of other interesting weapons. Soul Calibur V, the latest game in the series, will

expand on the growing saga. Set 17 years after the previous title, this game will see a number of new combatants joining the fight for the Soul Swords, as well as returning favourites. The game will feature 3D fighting mechanics, as well as a visual overhaul, expanded character creation and enhanced online modes. We’re pretty sure that fans of the franchise will be superexcited about this latest iteration. Soul Calibur has always been something of a niche game, but hopefully the newer edition will attract many more fans, allowing it to compete with things like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Namco Bandai Publisher: Namco Bandai Distributor: Megarom

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Jan 2012 Platforms

More weapon action for fans of this unusual fighting game frachise.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


Inversion

Upside Down

Playing with gravity could be dangerous by Charlie Fripp

I

t has been a while since a really good new IP came to the market and with games like Bulletstorm, there might just be a little bit of faith left in the industry. Inversion is new IP, and like Bulletstorm, it promises a lot of action and over-the-top fire fights. The title throws co-op players into a world of gravitywielding combat, zero gravity environments, vector changes, and a unique destructible cover system. The game will also feature an advanced cover system, which should be similar to Bulletstorm and Army Of Two, while being fully destructible. But the big draw card for Inversion is the fact that

players will be able to manipulate the environment in terms of gravitational fields, which will give players the edge over the enemy. A variety of in-game puzzles will also have to be completed in order to progress, but those shouldn’t be too challenging even for novice players. The concept of the game is one that could either go with the player, or work against it. It’s purely up to gamers on how they choose to approach it. Although little is known about it at this point, the title should make for a fun game, but we’ll have to wait until February to find out if it’s going to turn our worlds around. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Sabre Interactive Publisher: Namco Bandai Distributor: Megarom

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Feb 2012 Platforms

With the ability to change gravity, the game could be very cool

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


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Ridge Racer: Unbounded

Smashing? A fresh approach, or a clone?

by Walt Pretorius

H

ype... it can be a dangerous thing. It can build up a gamer’s expectations, only for that gamer to see them dashed on the rocks of reality. And it happens far more often than one would think. So we always take things with a shovel full of salt when it comes to very excited sounding press releases... like the ones that have been issued for Ridge Racer: Unbounded. Aside from the atrocious grammar in the name, we are wondering whether this game will deliver. The Ridge Racer franchise dates back to coin-ops many, many moons ago, but even though the series has been around for a really long time, it has been eclipsed

by other racing games over and over again. Sure, it’s an arcade racer, but so were a number of the others that showed it up. It has a name, but not necessarily a track record worth much... Still, we like to remain hopeful, if not stupidly optimistic. The developers are claiming that this latest Ridge Racer title will give the players an experience like none they’ve had before... complete with a free-roaming city, and racing based on destruction and domination. Sounds original... for the series, at least. Let’s hope it won’t be a Burnout clone. Time, as always, will tell. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Bugbear Publisher: Namco Bandai Distributor: Megarom

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Mar 2012 Platforms

Let’s hope this is new, and not just the franchise playing catch-up…

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


“2”, “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION”, “ ”, “PS3” and “ ” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “SONY” and “ ” are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation. “make.believe” is a trademark of the same company. TEKKEN™ Hybrid & © 2011 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. TEKKEN™ BLOOD VENGEANCE & © 2011 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT™ HD & © 1999 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT™ 2 PROLOGUE & © 2011 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.


Crusader Kings 2

Long Live the King! A return to the world of kings, swords and myths

by Lein Baart

P

aradox Interactive have built a livelihood on grand strategy games. The majority of their games are designed to run more as simulators than anything else, but all of them, such as the Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron and the Victoria series to name a few, have a scope and depth that near is unbelievable to behold. Crusader Kings 2, their up-coming title for early 2012, looks to be no different. It will be using the Clausewitz Engine, the same found in Europa Universalis 3, Victoria 2 and Hearts of Iron 3, so the game is bound to look good, considering the genre, but will likely require a beast of a machine to run smoothly.

Anyone who has played more than one title from this developer knows they love to share ideas between different games, so chances are you will feel right at home with Crusader Kings 2. As usual, their historical accuracy is destined to be flawless, and many of their diplomacy and dynasty mechanics will make a welcome return as you seek to take your nation through 400 years of medieval history. For those that love their games rich, deep and complex, Crusader Kings 2 is likely to be a must buy, as few other developers can match Paradox in this regard. For the rest though, this is probably going to be a title that will pass quietly by. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Paradox Interactive Publisher: Paradox Interactive Distributor: Apex Interactive

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Feb 2012 Platforms

Medieval history is never going to be so accurately captured as in Crusader Kings 2.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


Heroes of Ruin

Saving the Ruler Breaking the 3DS curse

by Charlie Fripp

W

hile adventure games, and games in general, are still trickling in for the Nintendo 3DS, n-Space has developed Heroes of Ruin, an adventure game that will keep players busy for hours. The action role-playing game will see players on a mission to find a cure for the ruler of the city of Nexus, who is dying from a curse. Players will take control of four mercenaries, who can either choose to form an alliance and fight together, or they can mission off on their own - but there will be many dangers on the road, so teaming up with other characters might not be such a bad idea.

Developer Square Enix said that the game combines elements from action adventure and action RPG games and that it borrowed some elements from other games. But yet the game has its own merits and aims to stand out of the crowd by being specifically developed for the 3DS. With games like The Adventures of Zelda taking the market by storm, this might just be the breath of fresh air that it needs. It promises to be very entertaining while making players think a bit about their actions. The title also promises to make use of the many social functions of the 3DS, so players will definitely not feel alone on their mission. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: n-Space Publisher: Square Enix Distributor: Ster Kinekor gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011

Q1 2012 Platforms

Being specifically developed for the 3DS, the title should be exciting and fun.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

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In terms of everything,it seems… by Lein Baart

2

012 is set to be a big year for RPGs. With both Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3 just round the corner, the first quarter of 2012 is going to be a by-word for quality...I pray! But for those that haven’t heard, there’s a third contender in the ring, one with an extremely impressive credits list, and it’s got the potential to stand toe to toe with the big boys. With Ken Rolston (designer of Morrowind and Oblivion), R.A. Salvatore (acclaimed fantasy author) and Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) at the helm, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is going to have a hard time being anything but a success. The game features a classless open world system (anyone surprised?), supported by an intriguing back-story and stunning

graphics, and a combat system somewhat similar to God of War. It promises to be lengthy as well, and the narrative draws from many sources, including lore on fae (think wingless fairies with attitude), and the concept of fate. The gameplay itself looks to be fast-paced and frantic due to a combo system that, for instance, allows you to juggle enemies. As standard RPG practice, side missions abound, but there are hints that even these have been paid an unusual amount of attention. And as the game is open world, the main story is there at your leisure. KoA:R is shaping up to be a momentous epic-fantasy RPG, and if the finished product is even half of what’s been promised, I’m already drooling with anticipation. g

AT A GLANCE: A title that should be a huge hit with RPG fans, I, for one, cannot wait! Developer: 38 Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

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Feb 2012 Platforms

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Massive

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


Written by Paul Jenkins

Master yOur DeMOns February 10th - 2012 www.embracethedarkness.com

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© 2011 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. The Darkness is © 2011 Top Cow Productions, Inc. ”The Darkness,” the Darkness logos, and the likeness of all featured characters are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Top Cow Productions, Inc. 2K Games, Take-Two Interactive Software, and their respective logos are all trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Developed by Digital Extremes. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. “2”, “PlayStation”, “PS3” , “Ô and “À” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved. All other marks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.


Overthrowing tyranny…

by Walt Pretorius

I

recall, many years ago, enjoying the rather unique tactical gaming offered by Jagged Alliance. Well, it’s making a return, so hopefully I (and other fans of the original) will be enjoying it again. What made Jagged Alliance such a fun game back then seems to be making a return in Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. The player will be in command of a ragtag group of rebels and mercenaries bent on deposing the ruthless dictator of the fictional country of Arulco. To do so, the player will have to develop the soldiers’ skills

and equipment, and command them in turn based strategy battles. While turn based games aren’t the most popular, the combination of turn based and real time strategy that this one will offer should be interesting. Additionally, the almost RPG element of soldier management is an interesting spin. It will be good to see the franchise making a return after so many years. Let’s hope it does the job well... g

AT A GLANCE: A relook at an old classic… let’s hope it’s great! Developer: Bitcomposer Publisher: Kalypso Distributor: Nu Metro

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Q1 2012 Platforms

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action

The Struggle

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


A ©2009-2011 Rovio Entertainment Ltd. Rio ©2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Publishing by Rovio Entertainment Ltd. Exclusively distributed by Apex Interactive in South Africa. All rights reserved.

www.apexactive.co.za


Syndicate

Breaching... Your mind is mine

by Lein Baart

S

yndicate is one of those games that make all the gamers who still remember DOS jump up and down with unconstrained glee. Originally released back in 1993 by Bullfrog (remember them?), Syndicate was an enormous success that was followed by an expansion and later a sequel. Played from an isometric perspective (remember that?), you controlled a four man squad in an effort to win global domination, whether by force or persuasion. You were ruthless, played to win, and it didn’t matter who got in your way. And the series reboot, Syndicate, looks set to continue in the same vein. Syndicate seems to follow the story of the original, where Eurocorp, the syndicate you work for, is engaged

in a war with other global corporations. This time though, you play through the eyes of one Miles Kilo, Eurocorp’s newest agent. Making Syndicate an FPS will undoubtedly anger some, but the screenshots and gameplay videos coming out are looking gorgeous, and brilliant, to say the least. Weapons are old-school in this title, where the real fun lies is the ability to hack, or breach, other systems in game on the fly, including anyone person who happens to have an implanted chip. This is a game that has high expectations, and it remains to be seen just how much the hype machine has got right this time. With pulse pounding action, an established dystopian setting and gorgeous graphics, it’s going to be one of the most anticipated titles for Q1 of 2012. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Starbreeze Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

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Feb 2011 Platforms

Syndicate seems to be well on its way to becoming a worthy, if different, heir to the original.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 30 • December 2011


Year of comebacks PS Zealot

by Suvesh Arumugam

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ith 2011 almost wrapped, it’s quite interesting to look back at the year as a whole. One thing which stands out for me is the amazing amount of franchises that have risen from the ashes to colour this year as The Year of Comebacks. Especially as we approached the end of the year, we were assaulted on all fronts by characters we hadn’t seen in ages, some of them stylishly and cleverly rebooted, and others not so much. Even the Rock and Triple H made a dramatic return to the wrestling world, which will no doubt feature in the next Raw vs Smackdown instalment. This year saw the dramatic return (in full 3D) of the Smurfs, from the classic 1980’s cartoon series. With a host of original voice cast members, and new additions like How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris, Katie Perry, and funny man George Lopez. Interestingly, the film was the first full live action/animated feature to be produced by Sony Pictures Animation, yet a game version was only developed for the Nintendo DS

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and Wii (Smurf Dance Party). Why Sony didn’t feel that PlayStation gamers would benefit from a romp with their favourite childhood characters, we may never know, but the movie (though slated by critics) was a box office hit, and is due for release on Blu-Ray very soon. Soon to hit our screens is another 80’s spawned gang of oddballs which has probably aged a little better. The Muppets is the first movie in over 12 years to re-ignite this children’s favourite, and is already receiving good ratings from its release overseas. Featuring a host of well known actors, and cameos from various Hollywood stars (including Neil Patrick Harris again), this will most likely be the biggest thing this Christmas. I hope that this will see a return of great Muppet video games like Muppet Party Cruise, which still ranks pretty high on my all-time most fun social games list. So far, nothing has been announced. Another great return is a mixed blessing. The long awaited sequel Batman: Arkham City is already a hot contender for the 2011’s Game

of the Year. But while the Dark Knight is set to delight console gamers for months to come (though it’s too early for talk of a sequel), the highly successful film franchise reboot, fronted by director Chris Nolan and actor Christian Bale has come to an end. Production on The Dark Knight Rises wrapped almost a week ago, with both Bale and Nolan confirming that this would be their last encounter with the famous cowl and cape. There is no doubt that Nolan’s vision of a darker, grittier Batman was a big inspiration to the successful game series, and hopefully someone equally inspiring will take over the creative reins as far as the caped detective is concerned. Other news in the PS world is that EA have announced, after much controversy (and a lawsuit) that gamers who purchased Battlefield 3 will now be able to download Battlefield 1943 as originally promised. The download should be available on PSN from mid-December. Those with an eye on the news will have noted the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) debate continues to rage on in America. This could have far reaching effects for gaming, especially games which allow you to share videos captured in gameplay over the net and on YouTube. We’ll watch that one closely and give you the full story. For now, we should remember that the Mayans predicted that 2011 would probably be our last Christmas, with 21 December 2012 possibly being the end of the world. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of games to finish before then! g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


Update Inbound! Xbox Beat

by Bryan Banfield

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arlier this year we had Microsoft announcing what they were terming “significant” updates to the service when referring to the Xbox 360’s dashboard and Xbox Live features. E3 2011 was hot with these announcements and speculation abounds. We are now sitting just a few days out and Microsoft have announced the date of December 6th as our Update Date. I am one the of platform’s biggest fans when it comes to dashboard updates, from the early days of the “blade” system to the New Xbox Experience. From Gamer pics to Avatars we have seen it all. I might not have all been amazing and I still feel my life would have continued without the need for avatars but if the good folks at Microsoft feel that we need to “keep up with trends” then who am I, this little gaming journalist, to complain? What is striking is the amount of content that is now being made available on the Xbox Live service. I could list it all but on this lowly little tip of Africa we will not be seeing any of it for aeons to come. Statistics are pointing to the fact that Xbox owners are now spending close to 40 per cent of their time on their Xboxes consuming content such as movies and music. Whether using the Xbox as a media extender or streaming content, there is not denying the move to a global video on demand model. Another of the interesting new innovations that is planned for this roll out is a feature dubbed a

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beacon. These beacons are set to be a notification system that will allow your friends to be able to know what games you are playing and if you are looking for co-op or multiplayer partners. Not to much more is known, so roll on the 6th of December. The next item is one that needs a chorus of hallelujahs and choirs of heavenly angels to accompany it! The Xbox is getting cloud storage! Yes, you heard it. That mythical place where the gods of the pantheon sit has just been refurbished to include a cloud server! Not too sure how Zeus feels about it but us mortals are elated! This will allow Xbox users to have their profile specific content synced to the cloud. Those players with Xbox Live Accounts will now be able to log onto any console, see their saved games, view their

friends, achievement and Microsoft Points. This will eliminate the need for anyone to ever use the gamertag recovery feature. Nothing has been released regarding licensing for content you have purchased but it’s a no-brainer that someone there has that one a to-do list. With a few images of the new dash already in circulation I can only speculate that Microsoft is getting everything nicely sorted out for integration into Windows 8. Any YouTube search of the topic will reveal that the interface looks similar. With this update I am also hoping to get a flashy little video clip that is sometimes played after these update. I feel like a little kid. I cannot wait to log in and get a message that there is an update waiting for me. g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


Tough Stuff House of Mario

by Brian Murdoch

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I have had an interesting few months in which I have had to repair my PlayStation 3 and my Xbox 360. The repairs, I have come to believe, were needed because I always take my consoles in to work to play games during lunch time. We have a nice “break area” at work with a 42” screen that I have left a HDMI cable, kettle cable and Wii video cable connected to. This way I only have to bring the console and the controllers needed to play whatever I need to play. I review games in my spare time. At night after the family has gone to bed there is sometimes not enough time and I get a constant one hour a day of gaming in at work during lunch time. This month has been the month of Zelda with Skyward Sword,with the Wii being in my bag each day. I have concluded three things from this and the experience of the last few months. One: things these days are only built to last just past their warranty period. My PlayStation 3 was the first to go. It was perfect during the Rugby World Cup when we played the Official game at work, with each player taking a team through the World Cup. Before we could finish I tried a Blu-Ray one night and it would not read, then it could not read some games and then the Rugby World Cup game would not load. Part Serve was contacted and my PlayStation3 was 4 months out of warranty! 4 months! So I paid R1368 to have it replaced. Two: carrying your console around can damage it faster than normal wear and tear. I put the console into my bag and carry it down to the car and put it in the boot. I then take

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the bag out, jump on the Gautrain and travel via train and bus to work. The console comes out at work, is used and then packed up for the same journey in reverse. My Xbox360 was replaced with a harder-thanbefore process… yes, I have done this 3 times now. It cost me R1104 to replace the unit. The Xbox disc drive has been going for a while now and I have had to install every game that I play. Which links in with my first point to take it back at the first signs of failure because it might still be under warranty. My Xbox360 was 6 months out of warranty. Three: the Wii is stronger than the Xbox360 and PlayStation3 combined! I take my Wii into work more than the other two combined because I write more reviews on Nintendo products

than the others. It’s my passion and I have most fun on a Nintendo console, hands down. On top of that if it had to break I can take it back the Nintendo warehouse for a paymentfree swap out. They have a 1% return ratio, which means as long as they are under that percentage they are more likely to just swap it out or help you if it’s out of warranty. There are two people that run the returns for Nintendo products in all of Africa, and they have a 48 hour turnaround time! PlayStation and Xbox360 have out-source companies that do their repairs. So if you want to get a gift that will last or at least be repaired or replaced with ease, then the Nintendo Wii is the perfect present for your family this year. g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


wii care

faq@nintendogamer.co.za ...for DS too

You won’t only find reviews, news and great community features at www.nintendogamer.co.za. You will also find extremely informative FAQs all about the Wii & DS platforms, and the games you can play on them. At www.nintedogamer.co.za, we want to make sure that the most accurate information & support is free and easy to find.

www.nintendogamer.co.za


Reviews Highlights 42 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Epic adventure 46 Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Into the desert 50 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 The next battle 54 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Ezio’s final adventure

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h, yes... long games. There just don’t seem to be enough of them about these days. And we don’t really care if it’s long single player campaigns, or chunky multiplayer offerings. We just want games that are going to give us value for money by way of really long replay values and campaign times. Well, this month’s reviews have all kinds of long games. Whether the long campaign on Skyrim, or the multiplayer of Modern Warfare 3, the brain stimulating challenge of Tetris, the long-time workouts of Your Shape or the plain old party fun replayability of a whole bunch of new Move titles, they’re all here in this month’s edition of Gamecca Magazine. Great gaming for all tastes! g

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gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Here Be Dragons! An alternate life

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ometimes anticipation is palpable; it hangs in the air like a tangible force, driven on by millions of people holding their collective breath as they await the arrival of something great. That’s what the gaming world felt like leading up to the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Gamers around the world keenly awaited it... even jaded gaming journalists were excited at the prospect of getting to grips with the long awaited sequel to Oblivion. Of course, there’s always the hype machine to consider in these cases... and there had been a hell of a lot of hype coming from Bethesda leading up to the release of this particular title. So, the natural thing to do is to wait for the inevitable disappointed outcry when all those super-excited fans learn that the game they

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by Walt Pretorius have been craving isn’t all it was promised to be. It’s sad but true... almost a given within the industry. But in the case of Skyrim, that never happened. In fact, the reaction was completely opposite to that. Everywhere you look, gamers are raving about Skyrim. And that is a really rare occurrence. Skyrim returns the player to Tamriel, the world of the Elder Scrolls series, some 200 years after the events that took place in Oblivion. Their adventures take place in the Skyrim region, a mountainous wilderness dotted with settlements and oddities, inhabited by a people strongly resembling the Nordic races of our own history. It is a massive place, with terrain ranging from ice-bound mountain peaks to windswept tundra and humid, ancient forests. The landscape is home to nine major towns, or

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holds, and also hosts ruined towers, deep caves, occupied fortresses and pretty much anything else one might expect to find in a lavishly populated fantasy realm. Skyrim is on the brink of war between Imperial forces and Stormcloak rebels who seek self-determination. And it into this full, intricate and charged environment that the player is thrust... This title is pretty much the closest that a video game can get to traditional, pencil-and-paper role playing. While it presents preset responses and the like, which are a given in video game RPGs, it also gives the player a degree of freedom that borders on astonishing. Most of this freedom comes in the form of the character and its development. The only things that are set are the player character’s race and sex. Ideas like class have

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

been left out, resulting in a game in which character development feels more natural than most. All characters have the potential for any skill in this game; it is up to the player whether they want to specialise in magic, weapon combat, stealth or whatever else is on offer. And that specialisation isn’t set, either... the player can spend some time working on their bow skills, then move on to destruction magic, and then concentrate on lock picking. Any combination of the available skills is possible, resulting in a character that grows organically, rather than being forced into a mould. This is part achieved by keeping things simple. The character only has three stats, and with each level one of these can be increased. A skill point is also awarded with each level, which can be spent in one of the game’s many

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skill-trees. Each point spent will give the player a new perk, related to the skill in question. The way characters gain more levels is also quite unique. Each skill is rated by level, and using skills increases these levels gradually. When the total of the character’s skill levels is high enough, a new overall level is awarded, with points to spend. It’s a clever yet simple idea that allows for maximum flexibility and customisation. Like every game in this franchise, Skyrim is a firstperson perspective game. This creates a higher level of immersion for the player as they explore the vast reaches of Skyrim. It also allows for excellent combat options. See, each hand is mapped to a button. A weapon or spell can be assigned to the character’s hands individually, so a character that swings a sword in their right hand and shoots jets of flame out of their left is entirely possible.

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This can’t be done with two handed weapons like bows and battle-axes, though, which makes sense. And it should be noted that, for a change, magic is a viable option in this game, even in the early stages. The clever control scheme also allows for fast access to items and equipment changes almost on the fly, thanks to a favourites system. Aside from the huge number of main and side quests on offer, there is tons to do in this game. The player can spend time arranging storage in their house, collecting ingredients in the wilderness, crafting potions, weapons, armour and enchanted items, or even cooking meals. The freedom the game affords the player allows it to become less of an action adventure and more of a virtual life, with lots of action thrown in. Quests will challenge the player with puzzles and combat. And exploration will constantly offer the player

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


they’re easy to forgive. Thankfully the game allows saving at any time on console, which helps mitigate possible problems. And saving often is a good idea, because the wilds of Skyrim hold many challenges. There is a lot more to be said about this title, but space simply won’t allow for it. Suffice to say, if you enjoy fantasy RPG games, Skyrim is without a doubt one of the best ever created. You will lose yourself in this virtual world, which is brimming with freedom and possibilities. It is a game that every fan of the genre cannot afford to miss because, despite a few little niggles, it does everything right, and offers the player a massive playground to explore... and tons of time to do it in. Skyrim is a great reminder of why we love playing video games. g

AT A GLANCE: A huge and immersive fantasy world awaits RPG fans Developer: Bethesda Publisher: Bethesda Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

new sights and opportunities. This is a game that is truly whatever you make it, and even if you just rush through the quests and don’t undertake any of the other activities, you will be playing Skyrim for a long time. It almost sounds too good to be true. Well, sadly, Skyrim is not a perfect game. There are numerous things that might irritate or frustrate the player with this title, much like Bethesda’s other huge franchise, Fallout. There are many bugs and little issues to be discovered. The player’s AI retainers sometimes have an issue with path finding, or just plain get in the way. Clipping gets to be a serious issue here and there, even to the extent of the player getting trapped inside of solid objects. And there is even the possibility of your console or PC hanging. But, truth be told, these are petty annoyances when compared to the overall splendour of the game, and

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

97 45


Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Uncover the Truth Nathan Drake returns in his biggest adventure yet

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ncharted 2: Among Thieves was one of the most successful games in console history, scooping multiple Game of the Year awards from the top magazines and websites, as well as Gamescom, E3 and other major gaming expos. Impressive for a PS3 only release! Its long awaited sequel, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, has some pretty big shoes to fill. As Naughty Dog’s development team have stated, the aim of a good sequel should be to give fans familiar elements, mixed with a healthy dose of new story and game play entertainment. Uncharted 3 promises exciting new locations, and a cutting edge game engine that will push the limits of what we’ve seen in gaming thus far, delivered in stereoscopic 3D. The game incidentally features the voice and motion capture talents of South

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by Suvesh Arumugam

African actor Gideon Emery, who was previously featured in God of War 3. As always, Uncharted 3 weaves a rich storyline based on well-known legends and popular movies. This time we are drawn into the world of Sir Francis Drake, the famous English sailor and pirate who was the favourite adventurer of Queen Elizabeth I. Drake had sailed the world extensively, capturing and trading West African slaves, and also raiding Spanish galleons. Hence he was a knighted hero in England, but considered a dangerous criminal by the Spanish court. Another well known personality who features prominently is John Dee, also a trusted friend of the Queen. A famous mathematician, Dee’s lifelong pursuit was to define the relationship between science and magic. Add the famous archaeologist and historical figure

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TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) to the mystery, and you have a very plausible combination of mystery, intrigue, puzzles and secret societies that defines the Uncharted series. We catch up with our hero, Nathan Drake, not far from where we left him. As with previous instalments, the story starts with Drake already in the thick of things, accompanied by his mentor and best friend Sully. Instead of flashing back to the beginning of the adventure, Uncharted 3 takes us all the way back to the beginning of Nate and Sully’s friendship. We discover that Nate, as a young boy, is fascinated with the voyages of Sir Francis Drake (we later discover that Nate was raised in an orphanage named after Drake, whose name he took as his own). While attempting to steal a precious artefact

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

from a Columbian museum, Nate is pursued by the leader of a mysterious society. Sully, whilst working for the leader, Marlowe, takes pity on young Nate and betrays his employers to save his life. And so begins their friendship and adventures. We return to the present, where Nate and Sully shadow Marlowe to the society’s secret lair underneath London. Examining documents in their library reveals that Queen Elizabeth, along with her advisor John Dee, had commissioned Sir Francis Drake to secretly voyage to the Middle East in pursuit of the mythical city of Ubar (also known as Iram of the Pillars or Atlantis of the Sands). Legend tells that the city contained untold riches and ancient knowledge. By solving some of the puzzles designed by Dee, Nate discovers that Lawrence too was seeking the city, following the voyages of Drake, and was

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murdered by the society to prevent him from completing his quest. However, it seems that Drake himself had covered all traces of his discovery and lied to Elizabeth and Dee about his findings, hence the title of the game. This starts Nate and his friends on an adventure that will take them through France, Syria, Yemen and finally the Rub ‘al Khali desert, rumoured to be the region where the mythical city existed. Along the way Nate finds himself pitted against the desert, pirates, flesh eating spiders, mind altering drugs, exploding airplanes and a host of ancient mysteries and riddles. From the very first moment of gameplay, we are introduced to some of the new features of the Uncharted 3. By far the most impressive is the hand to hand combat, which is far more detailed and intricate, now featuring

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contextual attacks. If there is a bottle or door at hand, Nate will use these to defeat his opponents or evade an attack. The game also features all sorts of counter attacks and stealth attacks, and it’s a choice between long range firearm attacks and sneaking up on enemies. Either way builds up stats for your trophy collection. Nate can now also attack multiple enemies, and counter one opponent while being held by another. The range of weapons Nate can use and pick-up is impressive, and there is no shortage of goons to try various approaches on. The hallmark of previous instalments has always been the impressive running sequences, and Uncharted 3 is no different. From evading rocket attacks, to sinking cruise ships and crumbling ruins, Nate must jump, dodge and hold on for dear life in some of the most breath-taking action

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


storyline, and it seemed that just when you thought it was all over, a new clue lead to a new layer of story and gameplay. The puzzles also became more intense and the final battle took more than a few tries to figure out and complete. Uncharted 3 offers a little under 8 hours of gameplay in total, and the story seems to end rather abruptly, and mysteries are only vaguely answered. While the end sequences are graphically impressive, they are not very challenging, and the puzzles seem to feature mostly in the first half of the game. I expected at least one puzzle to baffle me like the giant statue puzzle in 2, but nothing quite measured up. While Uncharted 3 may not quite scoop the awards as its predecessor did, it is still an impressive effort, and well worth a play (and a few replays). g

AT A GLANCE: Travel the globe searching for clues and battling secret societies in this year’s most anticipated sequel Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

sequences yet seen in a video game. One also expects intricate and expansive puzzles, which certainly feature. Uncharted 3 has also put more thought into multiplayer and co-op features, building on the multiplayer features from 2. In Mmultiplayer, players can go online and pit themselves with other players in the usual death match and free for all mini-games. Players can also play in split screen co-op mode, either playing story driven missions, or surviving waves of enemies to rank up and earn points to unlock various weapon and character bonuses, along with the hidden treasures found in campaign and multiplayer modes. While the game is visually stunning, and the gameplay is impressive, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed at the end of the game. Uncharted 2 had an engaging

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

92 49


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Back in Action Finishing off Makarov

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e have, with some amusement, watched the bun-fight between EA and Activision, leading up to the release of the year’s two big name modern shooters: Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Now both are here, and the ‘winner’ of this war can finally be decided. But it’s not really all that simple. See, what it ultimately comes down too – in reasonable, non-fan-boy terms – is a matter of taste and player-preference. Saying one is better than the other is an act that would show brand loyalty, rather than reasonable consideration. Where Battlefield 3’s single player campaign seems to lend itself towards a more measured, realistic experience, Modern Warfare 3 is all about massive

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by Walt Pretorius set-pieces and break-neck pace. The single player game delivers an experience that is full of guns, bullets, massive explosions and action that would make Michael Bay blush. The player will be surrounded by a situation that feels almost out of control in its scale, but will still feel like the hero of the battlefield. That’s Modern Warfare’s way of doing things – the game eschews true realism in favour of action that has a decidedly Hollywood flavour to it. And that’s just fine, because it is extremely exciting. That said, around half-way through the single player campaign, the game’s formula becomes a little too apparent for comfort. Each mission seems to follow a very similar template. In fact, series veterans may well notice this well before the half-way mark, because the single

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player campaign makes no great departures from the overall Modern warfare formula. It’s generally a case of infiltrate, kill, get-the-hell-out in every mission. Added to this is the fact that the story could have been told with a little more skill. Those that worry about plot will find that Modern Warfare 3, which continues the tale of the struggle against that nefarious Russian troublemaker Makarov, features a plot that feels disjointed and sometimes gets downright confusing. Sure, one could argue that the different characters the player gets to control don’t have the full picture of what’s going on, but that departs from the game’s big-budget-movie sentiments. It’s too realistic an idea to gel properly with the style of action that the game presents.

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Not that Modern Warfare 3 is unrealistic, at least in terms of video games (let’s face it, folks, hiding behind cover for a while to recover from multiple gunshot wounds and shrapnel damage is far from accurate). The weapons act and react like they’re supposed to, and there is a fair variety of them to wield as well. In the single player campaign, the player will be assigned weapons at the beginning of each mission, and can pick up new ones in the field… as usual. The AI also adds a bit of realism to the game, with enemies that will try to preserve themselves while trying to best the player and his team-mates… well, most of the time. Every now and then some brave (read as stupid) soul will risk life and limb to get to the player.

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And occasionally the AI team-mates will get in the player’s way, and then complain loudly about friendly fire. Still, not too bad at all. Even though Modern Warfare 3 relies on an older engine, the graphics still look as good as fans of the franchise would expect. They’re maybe not eye-popping, like those in id’s Rage, but they certainly deliver in terms of clarity and detail. And they are supported by excellent voice acting, delivered by the likes of Timothy Olyphant and Kevin McKidd. Further support is provided by a decent control set that will hold no surprises for veterans of the series. They’re solid and responsive and allow for very quick paced gaming. But the true value of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is

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not in the single player experience. The game’s strength, as before, arises from the multiplayer gaming it allows for. There is, admittedly, not a hell of a lot new for players to do I the multiplayer section of the game, and servers are already crammed with the general idiots that seem to flock to these kinds of games. The play online is fast and furious, and if you haven’t started yet, there is a lot of catching up to do, considering how well this title has sold since launch. One new idea in the multiplayer arena is that of dogtags. In certain game modes, just killing an opposing team member is not enough; you need to confirm the kill by snatching the dog-tags from the dead body. It might not seem like much, but strategies revolving around this concept are already pretty varied, and often very sneaky.

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


work, which is always nice in a game that is generally so focussed on competitive play. Sales of this title have, as mentioned before, been phenomenal. And with good reason... Modern Warfare 3 provides players with exactly what they want: more of the same. It has been accused of being a really expensive expansion pack, but that is not entirely fair. It might not be the freshest game on the market, but it does build on the reputation of the franchise, and delivers what is expected. And it seems, for now, that the Call of Duty series remains at the top of the modern simulation FPS pile. This often challenging title is well worth the effort, particularly for fans of the series and the genre. g

AT A GLANCE: The next instalment of the everpopular franchise delivers more of the same… Developer: Infinity Ward Publisher: Activision Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Aside from the single player campaign, players can also enjoy spec ops missions, either solo or in co-op mode. These missions tend to be short, time based challenges that elaborate on the main tale of the game. For example, there is a mission in the single player campaign in which the player must defend a plane from hijackers. One of the spec ops missions allows the players to take things from a different direction, playing as the hijackers trying to take over the plane. This can be done, as said before, either solo or in co-op, with scores uploaded to those ever important leader boards. Another great co-op option is survival mode. Rather than facing waves of zombies, players will face a variety of more realistic foes in a number of available maps. This mode is awesome fun, and requires careful team

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

91 53


Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

End of the Road Ezio’s adventures come to an end

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emories; we guard them, protect them and cherish them. We feel sad when they fade, and we miss them when they are gone. But for Desmond Miles, memories are so much more. Using a machine named the animus, he has accessed the memories of two ancestors, stored in his genes, to try and unravel an ages-old, earth shattering mystery before his enemies do. Through the Assassin’s Creed series we have experienced those memories, taken from the Arabic hero Altair in the first game, and from Renaissance Italian Ezio Auditore in Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Now, with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the tales of both Ezio and Altair draw to a close. After his defeat of the Borgia in Rome, Ezio undertakes

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by Walt Pretorius

a journey to discover a legendary library left behind by Altair. He journeys to the ruins of the ancient assassins’ stronghold of Masyaf, only to find that the Templars - the ‘ancestors of the modern day Abstergo, who Desmond is fitting against - have the same idea. He then travels to Constantinople to try and find five keys that not only unlock the door to the library, but also contain memories stored by Altair. Fans and veterans of the series will find a rather different feel to this last instalment of the Assassin’s Creed 2 line... it’s darker and more brooding. There are a few reasons for this. First off, Ezio is much older now. Seeing the protagonist with a well-developed grey beard is something of a shock, actually. The second reason is that, after the final moments of the last game (and if you didn’t finish it, we would suggest you go back and do so before

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taking on this new title), Desmond has fallen into a coma. His mind is trapped in the Animus and not only does he need to discover the truth of Altair’s library, but he also has to find a way back to his physical body. To reinforce this change, the entire presentation of the game has been altered. Where previously the menus were bright white affairs, they are now muddy and dark. The GUI looks different, too. It will take a bit of getting used to, for sure. Something else that will take a little getting used to is the fact that the developers saw fit to alter the controls slightly. While this is a pain in the beginning, the easier targeting and access to two weapons at a time makes for a much slicker, faster experience. During combat, for example, Ezio can now use a sword as well as throwing knives, giving the player a lot more variety.

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

The city of Constantinople is also rather different from the sprawl of Rome in the previous game. It’s mazelike and claustrophobic, pressing in on the player. It’s also much livelier, and offers many more options for free running. Extra moves have been added too, thanks to a new hook-blade, which allows for faster climbing, longer jumps, last minute ledge catches and zip-line use. However, the city also brings two factions that Ezio needs to dodge; the Byzantines and the Ottomans. The Ottomans aren’t too much of a problem, because they’re much like any guards from previous games. The Byzantines, on the other hand, are Templar agents, and as such will be far more aware of Ezio and his actions. It’s a lot easier to develop a bad reputation in this iteration of the game, and a lot more costly to get rid of it. Even unlocking new shops and landmarks (the game

55


follows a similar financial idea to Brotherhood) will earn the player reputation, which really is a bit of a pain. There are only two ways to get rid of it, too: witnesses and town criers. Witnesses re rare and often tough to take out, so the player will end up spending tons in bribes to heralds. Another returning aspect is the management of an assassin crew. This time round, it’s a little more complex. Assassins can be sent on missions to other cities, but those cities can also be taken over, which generates extra income. They can be improved and must be defended against Templar incursions. Further, much like the Borgia towers in Brotherhood, the player can take control of city regions by taking down Templar towers. Once control of these has been gained, they become assassin dens, which can be assigned to

56

senior assassins in the player’s crew. There’s a catch, though; should the player gather enough bad reputation, the Templars will launch an attack on one of the dens. This results in the player having to enter a new game mode that reminds one of tower defence style games. It’s a little clunky, but it can be fun as the player orders assassins into position and rains cannon fire down on his enemies. As part of the main plot, the player will uncover the Masyaf Keys, and will undertake five missions as Altair. These missions are not particularly tough, but they go a long way to expanding the story of the series - and this is one franchise where the story is paramount. The player will naturally also become embroiled in the

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


multiplayer options. But it is a good thing that the franchise will be moving off somewhere else in future - we have seen enough of Ezio, no matter how cool a hero he is. Ubisoft have managed to time it just right... this last game should be just that. There certainly will be a new Assassin’s Creed, but it will feature a new hero and a new setting. Revelations serves as a fond farewell to the two heroes that formed the franchise, and while it may not be a vast improvement on Brotherhood, it certainly is an excellent experience, and a fitting end to this chapter of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. We look forward to seeing where the developers take us next, and can rest assured that the fond memories we have of Ezio Auditore and Altair can always be revisited. g

AT A GLANCE: Ezio’s last adventure gives the player a lot to do, but feels very different at times. Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

struggle that is going on in Constantinople. And there’s even a bit of a love story as Ezio meets a new woman who helps him in his quest. In fact, this is possibly the most emotionally charged iteration of Assassin’s Creed ever... even the most heartless gamer will have a couple of moments “awww” moments. Aside from the thrilling tale of Ezio’s final missions, there is also a fun activity to undertake as Desmond, trapped in the Animus. As he recalls his past (very I testing for those after the full story) the player can undertake optional, first person puzzle levels that remind one just a little bit of Portal. They’re fun, but they’re not forced on you... which is cool. Believe it or not, there is even more to do in this instalment... and we’re not even including the improved

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

90 57


Goldeneye 007 Reloaded

Bond is Back And he’s looking better than ever

J

ames Bond has been an icon for many years when it comes to the ultimate spy. Although there have been many spies throughout history, none are as suave and thought-provoking as Ian Fleming’s character. And while many actors have portrayed the enigmatic British agent, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are arguably the best we have ever seen. So when Activision announced that they would be re-releasing Goldeneye 007 fully remastered with HD visuals, gaming and spy fans rejoiced. But there was a bit of a twist - although Pierce Brosnan played Bond in the feature film adaptation of the book, the game features Craig in the lead (just as with the Wii version), further solidifying his approval as one of the best Bond actors. Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is an adaptation from the Wii title, but since it was developed for next-gen consoles, the graphics were given a boost with the help of a new engine. The addition of Xbox achievements and

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by Charlie Fripp

PlayStation 3 trophies also adds to the excitement, while the single player features new Mi6 OPS Missions. The plot for the game hasn’t changed from the original Wii version, and takes place sometime after the events of Quantum of Solace. Bond is on a mission to find General Ourumov, voiced by Laurence Possa, and put a stop to the terrorist before he causes wide-spread destruction in Britain. In terms of graphics, the remastered HD visuals are a real treat compared to the Wii’s gameplay. Although the graphics are nowhere near those of Crysis or Modern Warfare, it sticks to the visual style of any Bond game - something that fans will be familiar with. It could have been a bit better, considering the developers used a new engine for it, but it’s by no means terrible. The gameplay and the title’s mechanics have pretty much been kept intact, with Bond using a smartphone to contact MI6 and to take pictures of certain objectives. Controlling Bond throughout the action is very simple,

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as the health indicator system is a bit flawed. When taking damage, the screen will turn red, and while other shooters clear indicate when the player is about to die, it’s not always as apparent in GoldenEye - causing some premature deaths as the player will think they have enough time to get away. Although the developers could have made slight changes, it is by no means a bad game. On the contrary, it’s actually a good game with lots of action and an accurate portrayal of the events from the film - with a few level changes here and there. Fans of the franchise will really enjoy this one, as it has everything that a Bond fan can ever imagine, or expect from the secret agent. The visuals have been beautifully remastered, the sound is superb in portraying the action, and the plot is as riveting as ever. Although the plot might be a bit old, it’s great for fans that didn’t get a chance to complete the game on the Wii. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s a great title for Bond fans who didn’t get their hands on the Wii version Developer: Eurocom Publisher: Activision Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

as the controller layout makes use of familiar button placement. It’s very easy to swap between weapons and reload. Bond can carry up to three different weapons at a time, and ammo is replenished simply by walking over guns. Targeting enemies has never been easier, as the title uses a snap-to system, where players will be able to target the closest enemies to the cursor simple by double tapping the aim button. In terms of sound, the title manages to produce the same feelings of excitement and exhilaration as the game progresses, with large orchestral movements adding to the tension and action-filled environments. The only criticism that can be levelled against the title is that the AI is very predictable. Users will often find that the enemies will follow the same path towards Bond, leaving the player to just wait for them to come on over. Players might also experience some cheap deaths,

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

81 59


Rise of Nightmares

Scary

But not perfect…

R

ise of Nightmares is a Kinect game for older gamers with a taste for horror, blood and a good story. The story isn’t the best, though, and neither are the motion controls but this title has a lot more to offer and is only the first game of its type, so this genre of games can only grow from here on out. As the game starts, the player will be playing the role of Josh (a drunk), trying to apologise to his wife after she finds him drinking again. He chases after her on a train while on a trip to Romania until the train derails and you find yourself in hell on earth. Trying to kill the undead and escape with your life while you find your wife… this could be the worst vacation ever. This title has enough blood and gore to satisfy any Quentin Tarantino film fan, and although the graphics are not the best they do well enough for this game. The blood does not look too realistic or behave as if it would

60

by Dylan Bouch in a movie or real life, but at least there is blood, and lots of it. With this title being story orientated there are a few cut scenes and those, too, are up to standard but not really mind blowing. With all the cuts scenes comes half decent voice acting; most of it doesn’t match the characters lips but the accents of the characters are still amusing… one can’t tell if they are great or fake, but they seem to fit the characters well. While travelling through the each stage you can’t help to notice that your character’s footsteps sound a lot like a galloping horse, but most of the other sound effects, like creaking doors and water drops all add to the scary horrorhouse effect. Controlling the game has its difficulties and its good side, too. To look left and right all you’ll need to do is turn your shoulders left or right and to start your character

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though. Overall the motion controls are good during menus and are okay in-game, although maybe a little too sensitive and I don’t think this will be the end of these sorts of titles. The story is a little weak but the game is good overall. The game length itself seems short, too, and feels as if most of this title is made up of short cut scenes. The difficulty settings could have been ramped up as well, because as soon as the player has perfected the controls (i.e. walking and turning) the game feels too easy. This title is fun to play - hacking the un-dead is a hobby I do enjoy - but once you have played through the story once the game is over. It might be fun to put it in again to show a friend, but replay value ends there. I just hope this will not be the last game we see like this, there is so much more game developers can do… and we hope they deliver. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s a really great idea, but not as scary as you’d hope it could be Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Distributor: Nu Metro

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

walking forward you need to stand with one foot forward… but to walk in a straight line is the most difficult part of the game. I don’t know if it is because Josh is a drunk and he’s still hung-over while you’re playing, but with practice this becomes much easier. If you can’t succeed with the walking, you can just hold your arm up in a specific position and then the character will automatically walk in the general correct direction. To open a door is as easy as opening a door… just open it. Duck or crouch… the same thing. But when it comes to attacking your opponents each weapon has specific movements for the best results. Hacking is the main movement, especially when using machetes or the bone saw. These weapons work best when trying to decapitate your opponent, even though cutting their limbs off is quite entertaining. That technique does slow your progress when you need to fend off a dozen or so zombie type creatures,

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

58 61


The Ball

Dropping the Ball It never quite gets rolling

sight to offer, and this is clearly the best part of the title. Backed up with good sound, The Ball is at first quite impressive. The Ball falls short in what should have been its best element: puzzle solving. The majority of the game is about pushing the Ball on to a button while you stand on its partner. The puzzles do become somewhat ingenious towards the end, but it’s too little too late, and repetitiveness is the order of the day. Combat is equally repetitious, with hordes of sprinting zombies sprinkled around the levels. While initially challenging, especially due to the Ball’s unwieldiness, the lack of variety in the enemies you face make it more a chore than anything else. The occasional boss battle is much more interesting and clever, but again, it’s too little to make The Ball a better game. g

AT A GLANCE: A lack of story, variety and ambition combine to prevent The Ball being the excellent game it could have been Developer: Teotl Studios Publisher: Tripwire Interactive Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

15+ 62

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

T

he Ball began life as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, coming second place in the Make Something Unreal competition, and was quickly picked up by Tripwire Interactive. Despite claims that the game is many times better than the original, hints of its indie roots still remain, mostly notably in its lack of ambition. The game wastes no time in throwing you into the thick of things. With a rather flimsy premise, you play an archaeologist who is forced to explore for an exit out of the ruins you’ve been excavating, within five minutes you’re introduced to the titular Ball, and it’s controlling “gun”. Meet Ball, your silent companion for the next six hours of your life. This is a rather beautiful game, with the developers making good use of the Unreal Engine to create some stunning vistas. Though the underground environments are a bit repetitive, each level has a new and impressive

by Lein Baart

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

60

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


za.playstation.com

“2”, “PlayStation” and “KHJL” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ô is a trademark of the same company. “SONY” and “Ô” are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation. All rights reserved. Additional controllers sold separately. Move Fitness™ ©2011 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Developed by Coldwood Interactive. “Move Fitness” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. All rights reserved.


Start the Party: Save the World

Earth Under Attack! Move’s most popular title is back!

E

verybody loves a good sequel, and this year’s announcement at E3 that there would be a follow up to Start the Party sparked its share of interest. The latest instalment is part of a host of Move games released by Sony, including Move Fitness, DanceStar Party, EyePet & Friends and more, as well as DLC for Little Big Planet 2 with Move updated functionality. Aside from a few combat titles like Medieval Moves, it seems like the Move has lost the hardcore gamer interest Sony had hoped for with Killzone 3 and Time Crisis, and they are now aiming they’re marketing squarely at the family and kids market. One expects developers of a sequel game to solve all the gripes from its predecessor, and include enough surprises and new elements to keep veterans interested, whilst still being fun for first time players. A game aimed at young kids is especially tricky, since fans will now be few years older. A tall order, but the folks at

64

by Suvesh Arumugam

Supermassive games seem to have done a pretty good job of reading their fans’ minds. Save the World delivers the same familiar format (even the theme music hasn’t strayed too far), a collection of mini-games in single play and group play modes, and also some improvements and extras that will have fans dusting off their Move controllers and inviting their friends over. The first new feature is that instead of simple colour frames to house your character’s face (from a Playstation Eye snapshot), players can now choose from colourful and cute characters, from little animal suits to sailor outfits, as you take on the evil Dr Terrible (who plans to destroy the world). The mini-games are set in brand new environments, including underwater and outer space. The mini-games themselves are mostly new, though some build on ideas from the previous version. The most interesting gameplay feature is the inclusion of DuoShock functionality, but in a very interesting way. While playing your game, you can

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there are only Free Play and Group Play modes to start with, even the credits are locked. Unlike the first Start the Party, there is no difficulty setting for each individual player, which made it possible for each player to set their challenge level, while still being fun for everyone. Save the World seems like a rushed release, and could have offered a little more. The mini-games require more skill than before, and Save the World lacks the wackiness and zany competition value of smashing, slicing and bouncing which appealed to younger audiences. Some of the games take a few tries to figure out; whilst the previous version required no practice or gaming skill, which was a huge part of its charm. Still, fans of the series will be glad to have an updated game, with a new set of challenges that are still fun and good for a few laughs. Let’s just hope that fixes, trophies and unlocks will come along soon in update. g

AT A GLANCE: New games and adorable new characters make this a fun choice for Christmas Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

have a friend control some of the game elements with the controller, to either aid or challenge your performance. For example, in the underwater rescue game, you can get a friend to move the divers closer to you, making them easier to rescue within the time limit. When competing against each other, this adds a fun new element, with hilarious results. Save the World is still pass and play, so players must go one at a time. So a 10 round group play is going to require a fair time commitment. Save the World now features a host of unlockable content, including Survivor mode in Single Play; whilst Group play unlocks Quickfire mode. The game starts with several key modes locked, including the Medium and Long versions of group play (which are the 8 and 10 round versions) which is more than annoying, particularly with no hints as to how these can be unlocked. Trophies have also been strangely omitted. While the game alludes to a story or campaign mode involving Dr Terrible,

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

72 65


Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest

Skin and Bone It’s essential to beat an aging wizard

M

edieval times have captivated many hearts and minds, and while there are many television shows that show the brutality of an era gone by, there aren’t too many video games for that time period. Well, at least Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest can fill that gap, to a degree. Medieval Moves is a cute little action adventure game where players will take on the role of the young prince Edmund, a soldier in the making, as he slashes his way through enemies and obstacles. Making use of the PlayStation Move peripheral, players can opt to make use of both Move controllers, or just one. It’s not a necessity to use two controllers, as the game has been designed in such a way that it compensate for the loss of controller. As with any Move-enabled game, combat is achieved through swinging the Move controller in all directions to hit the enemy. But with this one, the player’s moves will

66

by Charlie Fripp

directly translate onto the screen. If players go for a straight jab, so too will the on-screen hero. During the opening scenes of the title, players are thrown head-first into combat, with no explanation as to which way is up or how to wield a sword. It’s completely up to the player to figure out how to get to the top of the tower. But luckily gamers will suffer no loss of health, as it is only a tutorial after all. During the start of the campaign, players are given a more detailed lesson on how to wield all the different kinds of weapons, courtesy of one’s father. In true medieval style, it becomes clear that the title will make use of not only swords and shields, but also a bow and arrow. As mentioned before, players are shown how to wield the weapons, with different stances having different effects. The bow and arrow is drawn by simply reaching behind one’s head and making use of the B-button to let

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go with the fluffy nature of the plot. Without being too overly childish, the graphics are sufficient in their task to convey the message, while some parts could have benefitted from a bit of an upgrade. The title almost feels like a PlayStation 3 version of The Adventures of Zelda, and the graphics very much follow that thought. For sound, the action-packed soundtrack provides a fitting backdrop to the wonderful adventures. While not being overly fanciful, it conveys the feeling of being in a medieval showpiece, with knights’ armour clanking and swords hitting bare metal. Stopping short of being childlike, it creates a wonderful soundtrack. Fans looking for a light-hearted adventure into the wonderful world of knights and swords, Medieval Moves is a great title. It has all the elements of an innocent adventure, yet still manages to pose a formidable challenge. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s a highly-entertaining and fun game for fans of the medieval life, and a couple of skeletons. Developer: San Diego Studios Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

10+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

the arrow fly, while the sword is a bit self-explanatory. The range of controls and actions work well, but because the title utilises a lot of room in a living room in terms of moving space, it’s advised to play the game while standing up. The Move system is also a bit pedantic when it comes to lighting, as the controls might feel sluggish or off-centre if the lighting isn’t correct. For the plot, it’s the classic tale of good versus evil. Edmund finds himself on the receiving end of the evil skeleton wizard Morgrimm, who has turned all of Edmund’s countrymen into skeletons. Luckily Edmund is shielded from becoming a skeleton thrall through an amulet, which eventually gets destroyed. Putting the piece back together isn’t going to be easy, but Deadmund (since he’s a skeleton now) will stop at nothing to put an end to Morgrimm’s madness. In terms of graphics, the visuals are cutely designed to

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

80 67


Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking

Rabid Rabbits… A slap in time…

A

live and Kicking, the first Kinect instalment of the Rabbids franchise, will have the players doing everything possible to rid the city of the Rabbids. Rabbids is an on-going franchise, splintered off from the Rayman series, and with each new title comes a decent amount of mini games that are great for parties and having fun by slapping a Rabbid or two. The graphics are fun and colourful, but the great thing is that the player will not just be controlling some of the characters in the games, but will also be on screen for a part of the game. Watch yourself on screen as a Rabbid taunts you, freely slap him around, or even kick him while in the free mode. All of the mini games are very fun, colourful affairs int different parts of the city. The Rabbids are crazy-

68

by Dylan Bouch looking, with their beady eyes and two front teeth… this could be scary to some younger children. These Rabbids are insanely funny and do make the game what it is. Controlling this title is very easy and the Kinect motion sensing works very well. This title has some really physical mini games and lets you know how unfit you really are. From running to spinning, kicking, slapping, shaking and much more, the player will need to take breaks or play with a bunch of friends, just so that resting comes around more often. The games are fun but there are a few which seem impossible. My favourite was “headbuts”. The player, in this mini game, will have to head bang like a rocker… not to feel good but to bang your head and create a huge lump, which needs to measure up or else you fail the game.

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This game might offend some animal lovers but I guess no animals were harmed in this production, and the psycho bunnies you hunt down hardly quality as animals. This title will have a great replay value as there are up to 40 mini games and three different party game modes. One of the party games, “carrot juice”, has gamers playing party games at a spin of the wheel, and the player that looses need, to drink a glass of carrot juice (or a shot if you’re over 18). This party game can have between three and 16 players. In most of the other mini games, as well as party mode, you can have anything from solo play, one vs one or even 2-4 players co-op. The only thing I don’t like about this title is that the games are very short… otherwise this is a great game for the family, or even to challenge friends with. g

AT A GLANCE: This is a fun party game, with a lot of mini games but not great for a single players Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

7+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Another great game was “snot funny” in which you would have to hurl boogers from your face as far as you can. As soon as you have launched the bogey from your face you see a Rabbid riding the rocket until it hits the ground, then you’ll have an American football player run up and kick the Rabbid off of the screen. There is simple music throughout this title; not out of this world but it suits the game very well. There are cool sound effects during the mini games, as well as when you play in the free mode. Slapping or kicking the Rabbids are some of the better sound effects as they sound realistic, and the look on the Rabbid’s face as you slap or kick him is priceless. Some kicks could send the Rabbid flying across the room, smacking up against the screen; this is hilarious!

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

66 69


Motion Sports: Adrenaline

Motion Sickness… Extreme sports? Check. Fun game? Fail.

I wanted to know ye well. The single biggest failing of the game is not the lack of a training mode, but the poor Kinect responsiveness. If MotionSports were to be released a year ago, then I probably would have been more forgiving. There is always a risk with sports titles that if responsiveness is not immediate then it would quickly become a frustrating exercise. This is exactly the case with MotionSports. While the sport selection is great, my friends and I quickly became frustrated by the vagaries of trying to work around the Kinect delay in picking up our movements. I would not go so far as to say avoid at all costs, but be prepared for a lot of frustration in playing MotionSports Adrenaline. Maybe this will spur other developers to bring out something better. g

AT A GLANCE: Yet another promising title that falls apart by not getting the basics right. Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ 70

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

I

can assure you I am not a cynical bastard. I even think of myself as a semi-nice person even though my wife would probably disagree at times. Just keep that in mind when reading this review of Ubisoft’s MotionSports Adrenaline, an extreme sports title that could have been genre-defining. I was tempted to buy it when I first saw it at my local video game store. But I figured that our dear Ed would see it in his heart to send it to me for review. After all, I love the Kinect and have been having so much fun with the fitness games that an extreme sports one would just be a natural extension of that. With sports such as wingsuit, mountain bike, kayak, kitesurf, extreme ski, and rock climbing, this would certainly be one of my favourite holiday titles. Misquoting Shakespeare, alas poor MotionSports,

by Iwan Pienaar

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

44

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


Available 03.02.12. Pre-Order Now.

13V

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©2011 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. CHARACTER DESIGN: TETSUYA NOMURA. FINAL FANTASY, SQUARE ENIX and the SQUARE ENIX logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. KINECT, ” are trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. “ ”, “PlayStation”, “PS3”,and “


Saint’s Row:The Third

To the Streets That’s where we’re taking it…

W

hat would happen if a street gang became so powerful and prominent that they became celebrities? And what would happen if they lost it all because a multinational criminal organisation moved into their turf? These questions form the basis of the plot in Saint’s Row: The Third. This third instalment in the franchise places the player in control of the Saints, a powerful street gang fallen in hard times. And, as such, it is up to the player to take back control of the city by any means necessary... which generally includes buying businesses, breaking up rival gangs and causing as much mayhem as humanly possible. The tone of the game is not serious by any means. In fact, it is so over the top that one could imagine Vin Diesel playing the main role if they ever turned it into a movie. Just the opening few moments are enough to make James Bond scriptwriters envious, and the

72

by Walt Pretorius craziness doesn’t stop. But there’s a lot more to this game than just causing havoc. The developers knew that this series would get compared to the latter titles in the GTA series, and so they have tried add differences to it wherever that can. And one of those areas is in character customisation and development. There are, for example, a huge number of clothing options, all of which can be customised in terms of colour, and pretty much all of which are available right from the beginning, provided your character has the cash. Weapons and vehicles can also be upgraded, and any vehicle driven into a friendly garage will be added to the available pool. The character can also be upgraded, with various perks and abilities becoming available as the game progresses. An unusual aspect of this title is that very few things need to be unlocked. In fact, aside from missions,

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Much of the game’s off colour humour is delivered by way of the surprisingly good voice acting. Early on in the game there’s a scene with two characters singing along to a favourite song - it feels so natural that one cannot help but be impressed by the really good performances put in by the voice cast. Saint’s Row: The Third is, without a doubt, the best game in the series. That said, it is not without a few small faults. The vehicle handling, for example, isn’t great, and there are a few bugs that crop up every now and then. None of them are deal breakers, though, and if you are willing to put in the time to explore the environment, fiddle with outfits and tattoos and search out cool vehicles to snatch and deliver back to your crib, then you will have a fun experience with this really over-the-top title. Be warned, though, that it is very much an adults only title, complete with tons of violence and foul language. g

AT A GLANCE: This game takes crazy to a new level and offers tons to do. Developer: Volition Publisher: THQ Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

assassinations, special activities and the previously mentioned character upgrades, almost everything is available for the player to make use of...provided they’re willing to look for stuff. The town of Steelport, where the game is set, may not be the biggest game environment, but there is still a fair amount to find and do there. Aside from missions that drive the story along, the game provides the player with a relatively carefree playground to just fool around in, taking on other gangs, buying businesses and the like. That’s the real joy of this iteration of Saint’s Row; the freedom to just mess around. Graphically, the game tends towards a stylised, almost cartoon set of looks. It still looks good, but a little more detail would not have gone amiss. The player can customise their character to a huge degree, and then enjoy them in the environment, which is filled with a bunch of really skanky, nasty people.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

82 73


Pirates of Black Cove

AAAAR! As camp as they come

about all you’re going to do. That and collect pirates jokes. Pirates’ biggest problem is a lack of variety. For an RTS/RPG there’s a rather distinct lack of either element. Sea battles quickly devolve into you sailing in circles while letting rip with your cannons. Land fights are even more straight-forward: select everyone you can and throw them at everyone you see. It doesn’t matter that you get multiple unit types, the strategy remains the same. The game is ridiculously easy, to the point where saving becomes a non-issue, and its tediousness is only compounded by the long periods of waiting between fights. Other issues abound for Pirates, from terrible voiceacting to a ludicrous amount of bugs. While the game looks, sounds and feels charming (in the beginning at least), when you crash to your desktop for the tenth time in one day, love quickly turns to hate.g

AT A GLANCE: I kept waiting for Pirates to offer something great, but sadly no amount of humour can save it from being mediocre Developer: Nitro Games Publisher: Paradox Interactive Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ 74

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

C

haracter is an elusive and difficult to define concept. If a title has none, its soulless; if it has, its memorable. And if it’s been thrown at you to the point of suffocation, you’re playing Pirates of Black Cove. Pirates of Black Cove is as kitsch as a game could possibly be. Everything is a stereotype of some sort. While initially charming, the grins become strained, and you will hang your head in shame as one cheesy pirate joke is piled on top of the other. The game is a relatively simple one at heart. You choose one of three over-the-top characters to act as your captain, promptly instigate a mutiny, and you’re off to become a terror of the Caribbean. It’s your ultimate goal to unite the three pirate clans to face the fearsome Pirates of Black Cove, and you jump into the action with cannons blazing and cutlasses swinging...and that’s

by Lein Baart

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

61

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


AVAILABLE NOW

© 2011 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Rayman, Rayman Origins, the character of Rayman, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. KINECT, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. Wii and Nintendo 3DS are trademarks of Nintendo. © 2011 Nintendo


The Black Eyed Peas Experience

Boom Boom Pow Dancing with theP eas...

Y

et another dancing game for the Kinect, and this one is based on the group Black Eyed Peas. With 28 BEP songs to dance and sing to you’ll definitely get the full experience. Dance to the choreographed moves of the BEP as you pump it louder, louder! This dance game just isn’t about dancing and having a cool party; it also has a story mode where the player can create their own dancer which has to dance alongside the BEP. To advance through the game you’ll need to complete a dance routine from each song by performing a series of steps. You’ll learn the dance routine in three steps and then will have to complete all three steps in one dance routine to advance further in the game. Each song has a different choreographed routine, which is authentic to

76

by Dylan Bouch the BEP. The graphics are very well done and the Black Eyed Peas group members look very life like and authentic. The dancing takes place in various clubs and on stages around the world, which also have been captured very well. Your character, as well as the BEP characters, moves fluidly with no blocky movements or character limbs. The background graphics and dancers also look great and fit in well with the title. The menus are very funky, which suites the mood and creates the overall theme of the BEP experience. While dancing, the Kinect has no problem picking up the player and everything feels very natural when dancing, although you don’t actually see yourself on screen… just your character. You can still determine the timing of your routine and whether or not if you have strayed out of sync,

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well. While you dance your friend can sing along or you can even create your own choreographed routine and challenge your friends to your dance steps. Learning the steps in the career mode for each dance will help improve your game when it comes to the party play. With each song comes three steps to completing the routine, so the replay value for this game will be long lasting. It’s a fun, easy to play dance game. The moves are funky and easy enough for the whole family. There is nothing really wrong with this title besides the navigating of the menu. With so much to do, from career and creating your own character, as well as a party mode in which up to four players can join in, it adds a lot of fun to any party. It might be a little niche,though. g

AT A GLANCE: If you love dancing games or the BEP, this is the perfect title for you Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

though. In most dance games the choreography is quite difficult and hard to follow at times but not in this title. The dance routines are not easy but are shown to you in a simple way that you can’t really mess up. The routines are not vulgar or overly girly, which makes it a lot better for the guys to step in as the game is not gender selective on the moves. The only complaint I have about the controls is that, during the menus, the movement of the hand on screen feels blocky, and at most times it is quite difficult to select your option… otherwise this game runs smoothly with the Kinect sensor. The soundtrack features only Black Eyed Peas songs, but that is why you bought the game. With the 28 tracks that you dance too, there is a fair selection. And you can sing along to all the tracks as

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

75 77


Need For Speed:The Run

Run Along Now Running away is a good option

R

acing games probably have some of the most selective and nit-pickiest fans in the whole industry. There are so many elements that come into play that will make for a good game and equally, the fans will be very vocal when something doesn’t feel right. The car’s feel and mechanics need to be spot on, they need to handle in the same way that their real-life counter parts do, and naturally they need to look the same way, too. If any one of those elements is out of place, the game will get a lashing from the loyal gamers. In that sense, the Need For Speed franchise has had a bit of a mixed following - some of their games were great, while other received a bit of a mixed responses. Arguably, one of the better titles was Need For Speed Undercover, followed by the latest Hot Pursuit. But Underground was met with general negative comments, and sadly that it’s where they stayed. Electronic Arts’ latest Need For Speed, titled The Run,

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by Charlie Fripp isn’t faring much better in convincing the critics that it hasn’t lost its touch and started to decline. The concept for the game works great on the drawing board - players will take up the role of a driver who is locked in a cross-country race for $25-million, and the only way to survive the race is to complete it. Most of the NFS games had stories attached to them, so this is actually nothing new. But what EA decided to include was the ability to get out the car and actually run hence the Run part. But the system is a bit of false adverting, as the player will do no running of their own. The entire time when players get out of their car to hoof it around, is governed by quick-time events. While the actual QTE are action packed, a specific button will flash on the screen, prompting the player to press it. Miss the queue, and the game will reset back to the beginning of the sequence.

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Hitting a bump in the road and careening off the track will use up one reset. And while gamers will get a fairly wide selection of cars, it’s not very easy to swap between them. During a race, players will have to drive through a roadside garage in order to make the change - miss the garage and they are stuck with that car for the remained of the race. The elasticity of the AI is also a bit of the worry, as gamers can use nitros to their heart’s content, and the AI will just casually cruise by without using an inch of theirs. It’s doesn’t restore faith in the gamer that the game can actually be won, but crossing the finish line first does have a good feeling to it. In conclusion, the title works well on paper but a number of issues will spoil the fun for many. Fans of franchise should enjoy it, but it’s definitely not a title to get if it will be an introduction to the series. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s definitely not the best NFS game, but fans might be forgiving Developer: EA Black Box Publisher: EA Distributor: EA

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

10+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

But once players get the hang of it, it becomes second nature to keep one eye on the screen, and another on the button prompt. It’s not a great system and could have been reworked, but it’s not fatally flawed either. So with the running out of the way, it’s on to the part that gamers actually want to know about - the driving. Although the cars handle like a distinct Need For Speed game, there is something missing from the overall experience. The cars’ mechanics are off by a mile, and the slightest bump in the road will send them flying across the tarmac. The cross-country race takes place through 10 sections, with each section divided up in a number of races. For each race, drivers will get five resets, which will reset the driver back to the previous checkpoint along the track. Use up all five resets, then the game takes players back to the start of the race, which is really annoying.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

71 79


Tetris

Tetris is Tetris Multiplayer like COD?

when you move up the queue. Each player with even a small collection of 3DS games needs to have least one Tetris game in there and why not have the latest one? Well, at least one for every eight friends that you have. The download and play will support 7 other people with no game in their console. The process is faster (with no download) and can be taken online if you all have a copy of the game. On this point, Nintendo do need to work on their online offering to support games like this because we have been forced to use Xbox Live to talk to each other to join the game within the 30 second time limit from the host starting a game. The game is like COD because you always need the latest version. Tetris is Tetris and will always stay the same… one of the best games that has stood the test of time. g

AT A GLANCE: New modes, with the Nintendo 3DS 3D and AR cards. Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ 80

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

3DS Platforms

T

he latest Tetris is out and a question that is always asked is why another version of Tetris and how can this one be different? They, as always, include different modes; some that work in 3D and some that don’t. But it’s the multiplayer that’s the key. The wide range of different modes included in each iteration of Tetris are there just to make your mind think in different ways about the tetriminos. The list in this version is (big breath) Jigsaw, Shadow Wide, Fit, Tower Climber, Bombass Plus, Stage Racer Plus, Capture, Master Mode, and Sprint. That was just the Party modes… there are, of course, different modes for the standard Tetris game: Marathon, Computer Battle, Fever, and Survival. There are two extra thrown in to use the features of the 3DS with the AR card which is just a bit of fun while you play. Don’t forget your card

by Brian Murdoch

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

70

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


“2”, “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION”, “ ”, “PS3” and “ ” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “SONY” and “ ” are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation. “make.believe” is a trademark of the same company. ©2011 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (insert our address if on packagings). High Velocity Bowling™ ©2007-2011 Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC. Developed by SCEA San Diego Studios. “High Velocity Bowling” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Hustle Kings™ ©2009-2011 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Developed by VooFoo Studios. “Hustle Kings” is a trademark or a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Top Darts™ ©2010-2011 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Developed by Devil’s Details Ltd. “Top Darts” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. All rights reserved. PUMA® is a registered trademark of PUMA SE and any trademarks, tradenames, service marks, copyrights and or logos of PUMA contained herein shall remain the property of PUMA SE and its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

puma.com/social za.playstation.com

PG

Fitness and hydration levels mean nothing in the world of the After Hours Athlete. You count score, not calories. You revel in tenpin bowling, darts and pool so hit every strike, double-top and break with the precision of PlayStation®Move and in stunning stereoscopic 3D.

HERE’S TO THE AFTER HOURS ATHLETE


Ratchet &Clank: All 4 One

That Gang’s All Here Co-operation is key

R

atchet & Clank have been around for quite some time (with around end previous titles spanning PS2, PS3 and PSP), and their adventures have been a firm favourite with PS3-based action platformer fans. Actually, calling these games action platformers is a little inaccurate, and possibly even a little unfair. While the action certainly has the running-jumping-shooting feel of an action platformer, this series offers the player more to do than just cruising through levels. Even an element like weapon management and upgrading (a staple of the franchise) is an added bonus that sets Ratchet & Clank apart from the norm. This time, in their eleventh outing, the last Lombax and his robot companion have something a little different in store for fans and newcomers alike. When Dr Nefarious’ plot to get revenge on Qwark goes wrong, Ratchet, Clank, Qwark and Nefarious find themselves captured and trapped by a mysterious space-faring machine. The four characters must work together to escape their fate.

82

by Walt Pretorius The characters are transported to a variety of suitably weird and wonderful locations, each with its own challenges and oddities. These levels will present the players with a variety of action and puzzling, and well as the usual platforming type stuff. This is all playable as a single player, but the spirit of the game lends itself to coop play. When playing solo, the player will be joined by an AI controlled Clank, to help them get through those areas that require more than one character. The AI knows what it has to do, so there won’t be much frustration arising from that. But the real fun is to be had with up to three other players. The four players will each control one of the main characters. These characters all have their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a unique set of weapons. The importance of co-operation is made plain very early in the game. While players can cause all kinds of mayhem for each other, there are a great many instances when teamwork will smoothen the flow of the game... a case of

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popular. What has helped the Ratchet & Clank franchise in the past is the fact that the developers have always managed to strike a balance between familiarity and freshness. Any changes that have come into the picture over the series’ very long run have been gradual, with each iteration delivering just enough change to keep players interested. All 4 One is no different, although the inclusion of fourplayer co-op is one of the biggest changes we have seen in the franchise. With great graphics, awesomely constructed environments, high quality voice acting and an extremely addictive game dynamic, All 4 One offers a great experience for the whole family. It seems that co-op games of this nature are rather popular at the moment, and with good reason; with the holidays almost upon us, they make for excellent group entertainment. And this one certainly is no different. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s a fun co-op experience, which is a fresh idea for this franchise. Developer: Insomnic Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

7+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

many hands make light work, as it were. In fact, even in combat situations there is an added benefit to teamwork, above the patently obvious. The game will throw groups of big enemies at the players fairly often. Concentrating attacks on one of these opponents at a time not only adds the benefit of extra damage, but also increases the rate of weapon fire; the longer the players aim at the same bad guy, the quicker their guns fire. In addition, there are sections where players will have to hit switches simultaneously, or will need to leap-frog off of each other to cross treacherous terrain. As always with this particular franchise, the action is largely movement based. However, in keeping with what they have done before, developers Insomniac Games have added as much variety to that movement idea as possible. Not everything will be running and jumping as players explore the characters’ unusual prison. And, naturally, the game is crammed with the offbeat (and sometimes off colour) humour that helps make this franchise so very

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

79 83


Carnival Island

Hitting the bottle Shooting a bunny is encouraged

C

arnivals aren’t something that we really get to experience in South Africa. They are more a US thing, and it’s rather sad actually. The best that we get is when a circus comes to town, or when a rollercoaster company decides to set up shop for a week or two, before moving on. Well, Sony Computer Entertainment’s Carnival Island aims to change all that, by bringing the carnival right to gamers’ lounge. As expected, a whole host of games can be played, and making use of the PlayStation 3’s Move peripheral, gamers will be able to throw, shoot and spin their way to the prize collection booth. Players will have a choice to either play the Story Mode or the go directly to the single events. In Story Mode, players will be tasked to restore life to the four sections of the abandoned carnival grounds (Boardwalk,

84

by Charlie Fripp Shell Beach, Treehouse Way, and Ferris Park). It’s essentially a large collection of mini games grouped together under the carnival umbrella. The title boasts over 30 popular and familiar activities, such as rifle shooting, mini-bowling and basketball - and there won’t be one game that players have never heard of, or played themselves. All of the activities are extremely fun to play, but just as in real life, once players have had their fill there isn’t much else to do. But with that said, the title is great for younger players who have a couple of friends over for the afternoon. It will keep them busy for hours, and while it’s fun for the whole family, the adults certainly won’t get as much out of it as the youngsters. That doesn’t mean that it a bad game - on the contrary.

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and the many games alone, as there are a couple of stray animals wandering around the carnival. Once encountered, they will be at a player’s side throughout the rest of the games, cheering them one. The only problem is that the selection of the activities can be a little inconsistent at times, with the game giving players more of one activity while there are some that haven’t been attempted yet. The sound sometimes wasn’t up to scratch, with a missed beat here and there, but a patch should fix that quickly, and the load times between sections seemed a bit long. Carnival Island is a great game for the whole family, although it might start to lose its appeal with adults quicker than with the kids. The graphics are fantastic and really go the extra mile in conveying a genuine carnival theme. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s a great game for the whole family, and carnivals are awesome fun. Developer: Magic Pixel Games Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

The graphics are superb and it really tries hard to portray an accurate feeling of being at a carnival. Other titles on the market has tried to capture the candyfloss-in-the-hair feeling, but none got it as right as Carnival Island has. To make things a little bit more authentic, the carnival games will also produce tickets depending on how well the player fared, and those tickets can then be returned for bigger prizes and balloons. In terms of controls, players will be told beforehand how each activity works. It is here where the PS Move’s controls shine through. The controls are accurate and precise and players shouldn’t have any difficulty in hitting the milk bottles. Naturally, the controls will only work at their optimum if the conditions in the players’ lounge are good in terms of lighting. Players won’t have to brave the abandoned carnival

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

78 85


After Hours Athletes

Hustlers Unite A fun, family game for the PS3 Move

the pleasure of taking one’s time to line up a shot, and striking with precision. So be prepared for lengthy gaming sessions, and it’s probably a good idea to have plenty of beer and chips handy. The adaptation to Move is fairly accurate, though the skill required is minimal. It’s one of those games where it’s about who makes the most mistakes, not who outplays their opponents. While each game is fun, these are separate games loosely packaged on one disc. They operate completely independently, and there is no accumulation of points or trophies across the games. Another disappointing feature is that each game, once launched, must be quit entirely to start another game, and switching between sports is not possible. That considered, it is still a fun experience for all ages, and well worth having around with those family gettogethers that are just around the corner. g

AT A GLANCE: The perfect game for the couch potato sportsman, just add beer. Developer: XDev Studios Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ 86

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

xxx Platforms

A

dmit it we’ve all looked at snooker players and ten pin bowlers and thought “Is this a real sport?” Well Puma thinks differently. After launching a highly successful and award winning advertising campaign for their clothing and shoes aimed at “After Hours Athletes”, they’ve now moved their campaign in to the console realm. They have combined several older titles under this umbrella (namely Hustle Kings, High Velocity Bowling and Top Darts) and together with XDev studios packaged them for the Move, and in stereoscopic 3D. All three titles were previously available individually on PSN. Fitness, endurance and stamina have no bearing in this game. It’s all about timing, accuracy and a healthy dose of trash talk. This game is designed for those players who really don’t want to feel that forearm burn that is normally associated with social gaming, just

by Suvesh Arumugam

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

63

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


Disney Universe

Fun for All Work together, or not…

D

isney can do little wrong. Whether it be the classic hand animated films that they produced, including the first ever full length feature film in the form of Snow White, or the more modern computer animated stuff that they bring to the market these days, almost everything that long standing and well regarded studio produces is gold... at very least in box-office terms. So it is small wonder that their interactive division does well, and takes advantage of opportunities to celebrate the franchises owned by the entertainment giant. Disney Universe is such a celebration. When a Disney theme park that allows visitors to enact their favourite movie scenes in safety gets taken over by a malevolent computer program, it is up to the players to rectify the situation. This is done by conquering a handful of worlds based on Disney franchises. Players dress their characters up in costumes modelled on famous

88

by Walt Pretorius characters, ranging from Nemo to Jack Sparrow (yes, Pirates of the Caribbean is a Disney property) and do battle with the evil program’s minions in a puzzle-rich platform game that reminds one of the LEGO series of games, despite the lack of colourful bricks. A wide variety of puzzles and challenges await the player across the different worlds. We’ve been using the plural ‘players on purpose, because Disney Universe is best suited to co-operative play. While there is a single player option (basically the same levels with only one player, but it’s still an option) the game is much more enjoyable with more than one player enjoying the action. This is largely because extra players add to the mayhem; it gets pretty crazy, particularly when you consider that players can mess with each other. In fact, it’s even slyly encouraged that they do. As players progress through the often short levels, they will unlock new worlds and costumes to dress their

ggaammeec c caa r reevvi ei eww • • i si s suuee 3107 • • DNeoc veemmbbeer r 22001110


(or even other older players) in enjoying this title. It’s a great family title to enjoy over the holidays, and parents can rest assured that the low levels of violence and generally child-friendly content won’t upset the youngsters, while the game still remains appealing to older players, thanks to good graphics and a number of jokes that may go over kids’ heads. On the downside, it could have been a little longer. Still, it has decent replay value, so that’s not too bad. What is a little worse is that there isn’t much original in this title... save, perhaps, for the co-op idea. Veteran gamers will find many derivate elements in this game, which is not really surprising these days. Still, hope of originality does spring eternal... In the end, though, it’s a fun title, if not particularly revolutionary. At very least it will give families something fun to do on those rainy summer days... g

AT A GLANCE: A fun game for the whole family to enjoy together Developer: Disney Interactive Publisher: Disney Interactive Distributor: Prima Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

7+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

otherwise fairly nondescript in game person as in. Within levels they will also be able to unlock temporary powers that will grant them various advantages. And the levels themselves will provide a fair variety of activities, but none that are unusual in modern day action platform games. While it seems that the entire setting and spirit of the game is aimed at younger players, Disney Universe can be rather challenging. Sure, it’s a bit easier when played co-operatively (although tat co-operation is pretty much optional) but going it alone can get quite hair raising. This is largely due to the fact that the game will often get demanding in terms of stuff to do... like fighting off a horde of bad guys while still trying to extinguish fires. And the pace of it isn’t exactly sedate, either. And so the game hints at the fact that you need to be part of a team to best enjoy it. Thankfully the overall feel of the game is not too immature, and older players will be able to join youngsters

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

75 89


Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012

Shape Up or Ship Out Getting fit has never been so much fun

T

he fitness industry is worth billions. On the one hand you have gyms that normally get inundated with new memberships in August (people wanting to get rid of the winter fat) and January (people wanting to get rid of the summer fat). On the other, you have the home exercise nuts that have to buy the latest ‘get fit quick’ product they saw advertised on TV or that set of aerobic DVDs that hardly get used. Enter the Kinect and Your Shape Fitness Evolved. When it was launched last year, people were sceptical about how effective a gaming console would be to getting you fit. There were also concerns around how responsive the sensor would be in picking up your movements. While it was not perfect, it was a decent enough title that certainly got the energy levels up and it was a title I really enjoyed. However, I could not see myself using it

90

by Iwan Pienaar

as my primary method of getting fit. Well, the new version, creatively titled Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 might just change that. Featuring a redesigned menu interface with significant updates to the fitness modules in addition to new options, this might just be the one to get people exercising during the holidays. One of the big issues with the first version was that the floor exercises were difficult to pick up. That has been corrected and you can do sit-ups and press-ups to your heart’s content (or your heart’s willingness to keep pumping) without too many hassles. It is still a bit of a mission though to monitor your personal trainer on-screen while trying to do movements. For the ladies (I simply have no rhythm so it was wasted on me), 2012 has seen the introduction of new dance classes. From Latin, Hip-Hop, African, and Bollywood, there is sure to be something to get you going. Being one

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something that is a lot of fun. On the fun side of things, there is also a children’s area with a range of exercises designed for the younger ones. The intensity is not nearly as rough as you would expect and it is good fun to see them trying out some of the moves that should keep the family entertained for many sessions. There is also a section for Body Focus workouts that you can focus on different body parts and muscle groups. So if you are in the mood to do a bit of abs training, back training or just go about toning, then this is the game mode for you. So would I recommend buying the new version even if you only recently took the plunge on last year’s edition? Most definitely. You can import your statistics using the YourShapeCenter.com Web site and get training. So get up and get moving even if you only get the game to start training in January. g

AT A GLANCE: A great game gets even better with lots of updates to get you fit for the beach. Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

of the two left feet disposition, I could not even get the basic classes right but my wife took to it quickly enough. One of the features I really enjoyed was the Run the World option. Essentially it allows you to take a jog through the virtual streets of the likes of New York, Paris or London while watching your calories burn as you go along. At first, the tour guide voice-over is interesting but I can see that becoming a bit of an issue the more frequently you jog. However, there are more than enough challenges and maps to keep things exciting. Other game challenges see you boxing against giant robots or do a bit of warm-ups that are customised for football (the American type) and soccer which are quite good. Another new feature is the jump rope which on its own gives you a killer cardio workout. Naturally, you have to jump in rhythm but it helps with the game sending ground markers coming towards you to jump on. Still, this is

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

87 91


FIFA Manager 12

In Charge Football at your fingertips

S

imulators, by and large, tend to be a rather daunting experience for the average gamer. The general consensus seems to be that the more stats a title hurls at you, the better, especially when it comes to sports simulators. While this undeniably serves a purpose, it doesn’t make it any easier to get into these games, particularly for those not familiar with them. Too often they seem to suffer from a general elitist attitude, and can be trying for all but the most dedicated. FIFA Manager 12 is a mixed bag in this regard.It throws you into the thick of things, numbers flying, but offers only a measly attempt at helping you decipher what actually is going on. It’s not incomprehensible though, and with some patience you’ll soon realise the incredible versatility that the game has on show. As a manager, you have complete control over almost every aspect of your chosen club, from the basics such as training and transfers, to the clever, like handling sponsors, to the plain ridiculous like building

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by Lein Baart lodging for guests. In fact, there are a large number of completely unnecessary activities that you can do, and some, like choosing to have a family so you can watch your salary disappear, detracts rather than adds to the game. Thankfully, you can ease yourself into the game by delegating most of the work to your assistants, allowing you choose exactly what you want to handle. This is a blessing, as FIFA Manager 12 requires a lot of you, and mastering individual tasks is a necessity. FIFA Manager 12 is extremely stylish, both in presentation and sound. The game presents brilliantly right from the opening screen, and considering this is a game where charts and figures rule the day, your simulated desk, complete with a cell phone for messages, is graphically a treat. Once acquainted with the interface, any information you might need is at your fingertips, allowing you to make vital decisions with relative ease. The soundtrack is lively and somehow appropriate, and

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players represented, is incredibly easy to use, once you get used to it that is. You even have the ability to show interest in a player long before the actual purchase, hopefully allowing you to gain a more favourable deal, and the day of the auction plays out as a live bid for the player in question. Interaction between players on the team is nicely handled, with you able to give individual talks, set personal training goals, and give pre-match speeches. Sponsors are another clever aspect to the game, in which you rate them either as platinum, gold or silver, and can negotiate different deals depending on how valuable they are to your club. All in all, FIFA Manager 12 has far too many facets to cover in one review. Its incredible depth is marred by a lack of tutorial, and every so often the game can feel slightly soulless. Despite this, FIFA Manager 12 is both entertaining and challenging, and once you get a grip on things, addictive.g

AT A GLANCE: A well developed, challenging simulator, offering many hours of enjoyment to those willing to learn its ways. Developer: Bright Future Publisher: EA Sports Distributor: EA South Africa

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

combines to give atmosphere to what could be a very dry game. The weakest aspect of the whole experience is probably the 3D match simulation. While not terrible, it’s certainly not up to FIFA 12’s standard graphically, and fails to capture the thrill of a real-life game. The crowds in particular are poor, and the animation of your players can be poor at times. Additionally the referee seems to be in love with his cards, so much so that he can’t stop sharing them at nearly every tackle, and your players seem to suffer from random bouts of stupidity. It’s certainly not game breaking, as the title’s focus rest firmly on the management, but as a much touted feature it disappoints. Having the ability to change tactics on the fly through a simple pop up menu, as well as give direction to your players through sideline shouts, does go towards to redeeming this facet though. FIFA Manager 12 does have a couple of very solid and pleasing features. The transfer market, with over 40 000

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

74 93


DanceStar Party

Shake your Moneymaker!

Over 40 hit songs to dance to with your friends

want in on the action. Unlike other titles in this genre, Dancestar party plays the full music video during the dancing section, leaving the players to concentrate entirely on copying the moves on screen. And for good reason, the moves are much harder than previously seen in Just Dance and other titles, and require some concentration. Players can also choose sing along using a Singstar microphone, but this is strictly for advanced players. Once you’ve completed the song, you can watch your entire performance (not just a few snapshots) for analysis and embarrassing comments from the peanut gallery. You can also share your performance with friends, and even create your own dance routines to challenge each other. With a little bit for everyone, this is a fun title that will have you and your friends dancing till dawn. g

AT A GLANCE: Learn how to dance like the pro’s, or just out dance your friends to your favourite songs. Developer: SCEE Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ 94

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

F

rom the creators of SingStar, DanceStar party is one of Sony’s biggest social gaming releases for the festive season. A quick glance at your PSN newsfeed will reveal a free demo download, and a YouTube search will reveal an amusing trailer featuring none other that the Hoff, David Hasselhof, himself (try the keyword dancehoff). Launched earlier this year at E3, Sony have clearly made massive resources available, and convinced the cream of their record label artists to be a part of the game. With songs and full music videos from artists like Rihanna, Nicole Scherzinger, Deadmau5, Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada, Willow Smith, Usher and many more current chart favourites (including my niece’s favourite “Barbara Streisand”), as well as a few oldies like Barry White, Miami Sound Machine and Los Del Rios for the older generations that

by Suvesh Arumugam

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

74

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


Move Mind Benders

Moving your Mind Thinking isn’t such a bad thing

W

hile most video games aim to provide a bit of escapism from the real world, and transport us to a fiction reality where anything is possible, a couple of games also try to make our minds’ juices flow a bit. This couldn’t be more evident in Sony’s recentlyreleased Move Mind Benders. Three classic games have been grouped together on one disc, and they all have one thing in common - to make gamers think and strategize their next move. Starting off with Echochrome II, gamers will have to guide a little man to a door in order to exit the level, but this can only be done by changing the angle of the single light source on the map. The first couple of levels are fairly straight-forward, but as the game goes on, they will naturally become more difficult. Being a Move game, players get to change the angle of the light with the Move controller, which works rather

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by Charlie Fripp well. The only problem comes in when small movements need to be made, but it’s not the game’s fault for not being calibrated for minute gestures. Although it will definitely make gamers think on how to manipulate the shadows, the only thing that might drive players a bit off the wall is the lack of colour in the numerous levels, as well as the monotonous music which gets repeated over and over. The title has a couple of different modes, and all of them should be explored to get the most out of it, such as the online mode and a creation mode where gamers can download levels that others have created, as well as create their own. Also on the disc, Tumble tasks the player with building blocks as high as they can - almost like an electronic version of Jenga. Although not the only mode in the game, Build High is definitely the best mode. Players are required to build their tower as high as they can before it tumbles

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there are only a certain number of skills that can be used in each level. Here the Move controller does falter a bit, but it’s not enough to ruin the experience. Some of the little buggers move rather quickly, and if players don’t have a steady hand, it is likely that they will miss the Lemming in order to assign a skill to him. If players don’t have any of these games, Move Mind Benders is definitely worth a buy, even if it’s just for The Lemmings. Although it’s summer now in the Southern Hemisphere, these titles will work wonders on a winter or rainy day. Each game has its own strengths and weaknesses, but collectively the three games pack a punch that no PlayStation 3 gamer should be without. Too little emphasis is put on thinking and planning in games these day, and this bundle is exactly what the market needs. g

AT A GLANCE: Although the games are available separately, this is an awesome bundle. Developer: XDEV Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

over, but not all the blocks are the same shape, which makes things a bit tricky. In reverse, there is also a mode where players are required to blow up a block tower. Given a certain number of bombs, players will have to place these in strategic locations in order to blow the building blocks as far away from the main tower as possible. It’s a lot of fun, and players will continuously try until they better their previous score. Leaving the best-known and most-classic till last, Lemmings is sure to bring back a lot of childhood memories for many gamers. It’s great to see the old classic returning to next-gen consoles, making it available to the current generation to enjoy. Using the Move controller, players will have to navigate the little green Lemmings to safety by digging, building, stopping and parachuting to the end of the level. It’s important that players plan their moves ahead of time, as

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

84 97


Fun with Hasbro? Definitely - if you have masochistic tendencies. by Iwan Pienaar

E

very now and again, a game comes along that is a true gem in the rough. Something that draws you in from the start and is fun for the entire family. A game that you simply cannot put down and only notice four hours later that you are still playing it, trying to think of a good excuse to stop. Family Game Night 4: The Game Show is not that game. I wanted it to be good. Heck, I would even have settled for something that could keep the children entertained. But you know a game is bad when the young ones say they would rather you turn off the console than continue playing something that is so boring. I can tell you about the five mini-games that you can play in either game show mode or free form mode. I can

tell you about how to play them or how you could score points. I could even tell you about Mr Potato Head, who has more costume changes than Lady Gaga at a YMCA revival. But I will spare you the details. Family Game Night 4 is beset with poor graphics, mediocre sound, and truly terrible Kinect responsiveness. But these could almost be forgiven if the mini-games were fun. Sadly, the most fun I had was when I ejected the CD from the console tray. It is really disappointing to see EA put out a game that just does not feel like a finished product. But it gives me hope. If a game this bad can be released by one of the world’s biggest video game distributors, then I should start developing now. I could become a millionaire by the time I am 40. g

AT A GLANCE: Do your good deed for the year by buying this game and destroy it so the poor children can be spared the suffering. Developer: Hasbro Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ 98

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Family Game Night 4:The Game Show

Night of Pain

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

23

gamecca review • issue 30 • December 2011


c ompe t i t io n • c omp eti ti o n • com pe tit ion • com pe t ition • com pe t it ion

To the End!

WIN

PS3 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Courtesy of Megarom and Ubisoft TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gamecca.co.za. Tell us the name of the major city in this game. Insert ‘ACR competition’ in the mail’s subject line. Subscribe to www.gamecca.co.za Become a fan on Gamecca’s Facebook Page Competition closes 31 December 2011. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Games may be ‘white label’ products. Hampers may not include a copy of the game. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, Ubisoft and Megarom Interactive. The judges’ decision is final.


Flashtastic

Mixed Bag! You never know what you’ll get...

By James Francis

F

lash is a bit like a Mafia car boot sale: there are some terrible surprises, but you also never know what you might find. Just don’t leave owing anyone any favours. g

Running Men http://armorgames.com/play/12467/running-men The corporate world is a cutthroat place. When next bemoaning your cubicle job, remind yourself that at least you are not being forced through life-threatening trials, all towards someone’s professional development training. Well, not yet. For now you can experience it from the trainee’s side in this clever puzzle game. Get the poor employees to the other side without killing them. But if they do perish, there are always more. Still, management regards efficiency as a key ability, so don’t let too many die...

Undead Throne http://www.kongregate.com/games/changko/undeadthrone Somewhere in 2010 Zombie Knight made waves as a RPG/action game. It mainly involved arena combat - you went to an area and defeated the waves of enemies using your sword, shield, sidekicks and spells. Stats were upgraded by the items you wore. This is technically the sequel and it adds a lot more to the formula. There are more spells and items, a much larger world, as well as the new abilities to hire henchmen and craft items. If you like killing, but with a goal-orientated mindset, this might be for you.

100

gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011


Kit And The Octopod http://notdoppler.com/kitandtheoctopod.ph Bad Mood Bear is not a nice guy, which is why he kidnapped Octopod’s girlfriend. Thus Octo joins forces with Kit, a very able 2D side-scroll platformer and fighter, and go to rescue - yup - the girlfriend. The game’s plot is not original, but it is a nicely-polished platform game. The ability to run up vertical surfaces starts making it a bit tough, not helped by somewhat clunky controls. But it could also be a case of fat fingers, since you keep coming back to try again...

Culmination http://www.kongregate.com/games/danielsun/ culmination Half of awesomeness is being good. The other half is looking good. Culmination gets this completely. As a young sword fighter pursuing an evil lord, the side-scrolling action game pits you up against all kinds of monsters and foes. Moving with the directional keys, you fight with WAS and D, each a special sword attack and each (except A) requiring recharging by inflicting damage. It makes for a very creative show of violence. A great art style and detailed animation close the deal for a very cool game.

Binga http://www.kongregate.com/games/Ninjadoodle/ binga Mini games, best known as the staple of Wario - the Mario Bros character with a thing for loot - are all about manic finger-tapping. With its eyes no doubt set on a mobile phone version, Binga is a think-quick/ tap-quicker type of mini-game collection. Each scene is designed to last a few seconds, during which you have to solve the puzzle by clicking on objects. The puzzles are quite varied and not all of them have a time restriction. Also, if you fail you simply redo the current puzzle. gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011

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Mobility

In the Black… Games for the Playbook

by Charlie Fripp

M

Mobile games have always been associated with phones, but since the popularisation of tablets, and the huge success of Apple’s version, gaming has shifted onto tablets as well. While there is a magnitude

of devices available, for this month’s edition of Mobility we’ll be taking a look at some of the better games that is compatible with Blackberry’s Playbook. g

Simple Blackjack The name pretty much says it all, but with a shortage of decent Blackjack games on the market, this one is rather interesting. Naturally the game is Blackjack, and follows all the traditional rules, but with a rather tongue-in-cheek design. Being called Simple Blackjack, the names and scores are hand-written on pieces of paper. It’s still a great game, and will keep users busy for hours.

Machinarium Created by Amanita Design, Machinarium is the latest addition to the Blackberry App World. The game is a bit of a point-and-click in the traditional sense, and players will have to guide the little robot character, called Josef, through the world to save his girlfriend. The hand-drawn backgrounds are rich in details and it give off an almoststeampunk feel. It’s a great game, although it can be a challenging at times.

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gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011


DoodleBlast DoodleBlast is a great physics game, and although it has been released for other operating systems, it’s a must-have for Playbook owners. Players will be tasked to get the balls into the baskets, but with only a limited supply of ink. Although the game seems low in detail, it’s highly addictive and not as easy as it seems.

Moto X Mayhem Sticking to physics, motocross riders will find a lot of pleasure out of Moto X Mayhem. It’s similar to Trials HD on the Xbox, where players will have to race and drive the motorcycle across the terrain without falling off. It also seems easier than what it actually is, but gamers will find it challenging and fun. The graphics could have been slightly better, but they’re sufficient for the task.

The VisitorChronicles For those that like horror games, The Visitor will be perfect. The title is more correctly an interactive horror adventure, where players take control of a little alien that creates chaos on everyone. Players move around the world by getting the pre-determined moves right (kind of like quick-time events), but it’s a lot of fun. Stealth is a large part of the fun, and there is a lot of cartoon violence and gore.

gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011

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Essential Classics

Call of Duty Where it all started…

by Walt Pretorius

A

game doesn’t need to be as old as the hills to be a classic in our books. Rather, we look for influential titles in the past - recent or long ago - that made us sit up and take notice when they were released. Some of them may have influenced more modern games. Some of them, like our pick for this month, may have spawned incredibly successful franchises. All of them are worth playing, even now. It was around eight years ago that Activision released the first Call of Duty game. In gaming terms, eight years is a very long time, thanks to the fast march of technology and constant stream of games. In fact, here have been

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seven game releases since that first title, making it a very full and very popular franchise indeed. But back then, it was all new, and no one knew exactly what to expect from this new World War II shooter. The title offered three campaigns: American, British and Soviet. Few who played it will ever forget the opening moments of the Soviet Campaign storming German soldiers with no rifle and watching soldiers die all around. In fact, that was one of the game’s strengths... much of its realism came from the fact that it seemed so dynamic and real. There was virtually no ambient noise or sound effects. If you heard a gun fired somewhere in the level, that meant gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011


a gun was fired somewhere in the level. This, combined with real world settings and a basis on actual events, made the game seem more real than any other title that had been seen before. This degree of realism combined with graphics that were, at the time, astounding. Call of Duty presented a wholly believable experience, one that would take the gamer through many emotions, including fear and elation. Sharp controls and a variety of authentic weapons went even further to heighten the experience, making Call of Duty probably the finest first person shooter of its time. Whether you would agree with that or not is a matter of gamecca regular • issue 30 • December 2011

opinion, of course, but the impact that this title had on the video game industry is undeniable. The number of titles in the franchise alone, both in World War II and modern settings, is high, considering the time that the series has been around, and the reception that these titles receive these days is excellent. And all of this can be traced back to ideas and levels of quality set by that very first game, eight years ago. It’s doubtful whether anyone could have predicted the success of the franchise, but we’re pretty sure that they’re glad they took the time and effort that they did to lay such a solid foundation. g

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MSI R6850 Cyclone IGD5 Power Edition

Wind Storm

With a fan like that, it can only be cool! by Walt Pretorius

L

ast month we featured a really monstrous video card option from MSI. But not everyone can afford a really bug spec graphics card, particularly when you consider that these things have a limited shelf life. OK, so the bigger ones have a longer viable life so an, yes, but you get what we’re saying. This month we take a look at a more affordable Radeon option from MSI that is still very capable and even has a monstrous feature. When you take the R6850 Cyclone IGD5 Power Edition out of the box, you will notice a few things about it right off the bat; it is a bit shorter than many of the options on the market today, and it doesn’t have an external casing. The card is, for want of a better term, naked. But both those observations will play second fiddle to the absolutely huge heat dissipation array that the card sports. This heat dissipation system is comprised of three main parts; a larger than usual fan, a large number

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of aluminium fins and dual heat pipes to carry the heat to them. The whole thing is designed for improved air flow, too, and the result is significantly cooler operation. Surprisingly, this set up is also fairly quiet. Under strain there is a bit of noise, but two preset fan speed profiles mean that you can either have it going all blazes when using demanding software, or set it to silent mode for less noise when cooling isn’t as important. Armed with a Radeon HD 6850 chipset and 1GB of GDDR5 memory, it will handle most tasks asked of it well. And if the user wants a little more, the usual MSI Afterburner software makes over locking easy. This combines with the chipset’s 6+1 Phase Power System, which provides a better power management system and, as a result, better and more reliable overclocking. As with all MSI graphics car these days, this one comes with Military Class II components. Those include tantalum core Hi-Caps, aluminium core solid capacitor and super ferrite chokes. g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1


The end result; increased stability, longer life, better performance under strain, less noise and no chance of explosions. That last one always amuses us, but a component explosion really is no laughing matter. With all that said, this card is still in a price range that doesn’t qualify it as being too of the line. And while it features most of the bells and whistles one would expect from a Radeon chipset these days, they’re not quite as impressive as those of some of its stable-mates. For example, it has Eyefinity functionality, but only supports up to three screens, rather than the five we see with other cards. Outputs come in the form of two DVI ports, as well as one Displayport and one HDMI port. If you have little or no reason to go for a top of the line graphics card, this MSI solution should take care of your needs quite nicely. It is Crossfire compatible, too, so putting a few of these guys together will be a good option, particularly when you consider the effective cooling that each one will have. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Very cool • Good performance

CONS:

• Only 1GB RAM

Manufacturer: MSI Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R2199

TECH SPECS: • Radeon 6580 HD chipst • 1GB GDDR5 RAM • 1 Displayport • 1 HDMI port • 2 DVI ports

Score

A smaller graphics offering with a huge cooling system…

80 107


Logitech H600 Wireless Headset

Audio on the Move Free yourself from wires!

by Walt Pretorius

F

reedom from wires is something that may seem like a luxury, but once you have experienced it, going back to the restrictive tethers that wired devices are is difficult. Being able to enjoy a freer environment is great, and Logitech are well aware of this. They have produced wireless devices for quite some time, but their move into wireless headphones has been a little more recent. A few months ago we looked at their F540 headset, specifically designed for gamers who want wireless sound via multiple platforms. This time around, though, we look at a headset designed for PC users, whether desktop or laptop based. The Logitech H600 Wireless Headset uses a tiny USB nano-receiver, similar to those used with their wireless mouse and keyboard products. This tiny device plugs into a USB port and transmits to the wireless headset. It also marks the only real weakness with this product... it needs to be used with a computer. That said, the setup is extremely simple... just plug it in.

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He foldable headset is not as bulky as one might expect. Despite fairly generous ear cups and a few controls, the unit is quite small, and very light weight, which helps for comfort during extended use. The ear cups are covered with a breathable foam and sit rather lightly on the ears another comfort plus. The right hand ear cup houses a power switch, mute button (for the adjustable microphone, also situated on the right) and a mini USB port for recharging. A battery life of around six hours is claimed, which appears to be accurate, depending on usage, of course. On the left, there is a socket to store the nano-receiver. What is missing is any form of volume control. This would have been handy, but probably would have resulted in a larger, heavier headset. Still, the convenience of being able to move up to ten meters away from the nano-receiver and still get good sound is lessened by the fact that you will need to control volume from the PC in question. g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1


Not a disaster, but still a little bit of a tether... As far as audio quality goes, this headset delivers excellent sound. We have come to expect that from Logitech products, but the company still seems to be getting better and better in terms of audio delivery... a very good thing. Their laser tuning of drivers certainly seems to get the job right; the audio quality from this unit is crisp and clear. While it may lack the versatility of some other headsets, it is perfect for those who need personal audio solutions for their PC, combined with the freedom to move around. If, for example, you are a habitual music-listener, it’s great to be able to get up to make a cup of coffee without having to take a break from your tunes. The battery life is decent, and the unit can still be used while it recharges via the USB cable. Overall, this headset lives up to the high standard of quality that we have come to expect from Logitech... it’s great. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• USB dependant

CONS:

• Great sound • Light • Mobility!

TECH SPECS: • • • • •

Nano-receiver Wireless Rechargeable Microphone Foldable

Manufacturer: Logitech Distributor: Logitech Online: www.logitech.com RRP: R699

Score

Great sound for those who need PC based headphones.

89 109


Apacer AH350 USB Flash Drive

Bigger

A handy size all round by Rob Edwards

T

he USB flash drive has got to be one of the handiest peripheral devices around. Before these marvellous little sticks showed up, transporting large amounts of data was something of a pain. But, as our computers have become more powerful, the need for larger capacity USB flash drives has arisen. Apacer’s AH350 offers the user a fairly generous 16GB storage capacity, combined with the speed of USB 3.0 technology. This means that data transfers are about as fast as they are going to get in a USB compatible format. The drive is made out of tough plastic, and features that handy, retractable idea that keeps the USB interface safe. To side the USB plug out requires a bit of pressure to be placed on the slide lock at the side of the unit, so it won’t open up accidentally, either. And, of course, Apacer’s track record with solid state memory devices is very good, meaning that the user can carry the AH350 with confidence that the data it is storing will be safe. In addition, the price is rather nice, too! g

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AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Handy • Nice size • Slider

CONS:

• Slider lock can stick a bit

TECH SPECS: • 16GB • USB 3.0 • Slider design

Manufacturer: Apacer Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R269

Score

A handy, fast flash drive.

78

g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1


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Apacer AE700 Embedded Card Reader

Built In

Never lose your card reader again by Alex Scanlon

M

emory cards come in all shapes and sizes these days, and add a lot of versatility to a wide variety of devices. Quite often, though, those cards may need to interface with a PC... to shift files around, or whatever. That means the devices need to come with cables, and generally one of two things happens. Either the cable gets lost, or the user ends up with a mess of wires and spends far too much time trying to sort through them while trying to find the right one. The obvious solution, of course, is to buy a card reader... this is particularly true if you make use of many different types of memory cards. But there is still the issue of losing the card reader, or the cable it needs. And if you’re anything like me, you’re bound to lose it at one time or another... Apacer has a solution to all of these problems, in the

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form of the Apacer AE700 Embedded Card Reader. Losing this device would be quite a feat, because it doesn’t just plug into the PC via a USB port. Rather, it is permanently fitted, using up a floppy drive slot on the front of the PC’s case. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem; most cases still have these slots, even though the associated drives aren’t in common use anymore. In fact, it almost makes one feel like the case is being properly utilised... On the downside, the reader is essentially still a USB device, which means that it needs to interface with one of the front side USB pin clusters on your motherboard. To mitigate the potential loss of a front side USB port, the reader also provides a place to plug USB devices in, though. This is in addition to the wide array of cards that the reader already interfaces with: compact flash, microdrive, g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1


MS, MS Pro, M2, xD, MMC, SD and microSD cards can all be plugged into this convenient device. The device also has two LEDs mounted on the front, to indicate power and access. In short, it’s extremely handy. There is one little rub, though... it’s fixed to one machine. In that, it is only ever as portable as your PC case is. Additionally, it cannot be swapped between computers. Once it’s in, it’s in. That said, if you do your computer work at a desk-top and don’t need to carry a card reader around, or if you’re looking for a convenient additional card reader that you stand no chance of misplacing, the AE700 is an excellent bet. It’s only USB 2.0, but that’s not too shabby when it comes to transferring data off of memory cards. And the convenience of having a card reader built into the front of your desk top case, particularly if you work with cards a lot, cannot be understated. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 0 • D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Never lose it • Excellent support • No wires

CONS:

• USB 2.0 • Not portable

TECH SPECS: • Multi-format support • USB port • USB 2.0

Manufacturer: Apacer Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R99

Score

A handy device for people who don’t move around a lot.

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A Big Fan

MSI R6850 Cyclone IGD5 Power Edition

Superior Audio

Hands On! Tablet computers are here to stay!

Beats by Dr Dre

I S S U E 1 4 / Vo l . 2 December 2011

w w w. g l a d ge t . c o. z a


www.gladget.co.za Technically, playful !


‘Tis the Season From Space

by Christo van Gemert

E

minem had that song, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”. In it he airs his dirty laundry, emotional baggage gets shed and he apologises to his mother a lot. I’m not here to talk about that song, but I thought its name perfectly describes what I got up to this morning. I cleaned out the closet. Except I did it literally, because I don’t have a messy metaphorical cupboard. See, as somebody who works in the industry and gets a couple of games to review through the year, things tend to pile up. I know our editor, Walt, has a massive library of games he proudly displays in his lounge, but I honestly don’t need to keep last year’s FIFA title, 2009’s WWE game and 2008’s Tiger Woods game. On top of those annual refreshes there are other games that are, well,

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rubbish. I’m never going to play them again, and just because I think they suck doesn’t mean somebody else won’t appreciate a free game. So that’s what I did. I took stock of the 100-strong Xbox game collection on the top shelf of my storage cupboard and separated the wheat from the chaff. The Vampire Rains from the Forzas. The Wii games from the real console games. Since they’re review samples it would be unethical to sell them, so I gave them away. Some people are more avid gamers than I am and will give anything a shot. Those JRPGs that have been piling up now have a loving new home. And I’m here to urge you to do the same. I know there are games you’ll want to keep, even though your PS2 or Sega Mega Drive is in storage. Don’t get rid of them. I understand

that things can have sentimental value. But take a serious look at your collection and find a game that is totally not worth keeping, and won’t attain “classic” status any time soon. Give it to a poorer gamer. A family member or a little kid who can’t afford expensive games (just make sure it’s not age-restricted content). Gamer charity is the best, because you’re spreading the love within your hobby, maybe even indirectly helping stop piracy. Sure, you could trade the bad games in and get a good one, but trade-in values are terrible: R30 – R50 on a trade-in, versus a smile on a kid’s face. Big retailers would do well to take notice. Offer shoppers incentives. Dump an old game in a bin and get a discount on a new game. Or something like that. I’m not a business-minded person but there are financial geniuses who can do the hard work. Giving a charity a bunch of stuff is the kind of publicity you can’t really spend money on, anyway. This Christmas, clean out your closet. And learn from me: rather listen to Boney M while you’re doing it. g

gamecca column • issue 30 • December 2011


Gamecca Magazine December 2011  

Gamecca Magazine December 2011 (Volume 3, Issue 30)