Page 1

w w w. g a m e c c a . c o. z a I S S U E 3 2 / Vo l . 3 fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Super Mario 3D Land Resident Evil: Revelations Halo Combat Evolved Ultimate Marvel Vs capcom and more...

Jump!

Super Mario 3D Land

The True Way

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Don’t Die...

Resident Evil: Revelations

Cold Steel Hot action in Soulcalibur V


©CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. “2”, “PlayStation”, “PS3” and “À” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ô is a trademark of the same company. 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.


Inside 6 From the Editor 8 Unstuck NeXt? 10 Blade Play A brief history of Soulcalibur 16 Previews 9 games that are coming soon 32 The Soapbox Does technology promote piracy? 34 Console General Can’t we all just get along? 36 Reviews 12 games reviewed for you! 64 Essential Classics Frustration is... 66 Hardware

THIS MONTH’S COVER Soulcalibur has made a name as a great fighting option. Read our feature on page 10.

4

PC case round-up! 78 From Space Milking the profits

gamecca contents • issue 32 • February 2012


Previews

20

Anarchy Reigns

22

Binary Domain

24

Neverdead

26

Risen 2: Dark Waters

27

The Sims 3: Showtime

28

Sniper Elite V2

30

The Legends of Pegasus

32

Asura’s Wrath

33

X Rebirth

GAMECCA Vol. 3 Issue 32 February 2012 Editor: Walt Pretorius walt@gamecca.co.za Writers: Alex Scanlon Charlie Fripp Dylan Bouch Iwan Pienaar James Francis Lein Baart Rob Edwards Suvesh Arumugam

Reviews

Letters: letters@gamecca.co.za

40

Resident Evil: Revelations

Competition Entries: competitions@gamecca.co.za

42

Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gamecca.co.za

44

Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom

46

Design & Photography: 1337 Media

Super Mario 3D Land

48

Super Meat Boy

50

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call

52

Big City Adventures

53

Azada

54

Dawn of Fantasy

56

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

58

Move Fitness

60

Go Vacation

Technical Support: Brian Murdoch Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@gamecca.co.za

Taking fun seriously! CREATED USING

Adobe CS5

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 32 • February 2012

Copyright © 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2011

5


Taking Stock From the Editor

by Walt Pretorius

S

o we’re one month in for 2012, and the same question is on everyone’s lips... where the hell are all the games? It has been quiet, with very little appearing in the new section of the game stores. But lets remember that it is early in the year, and January is always a quiet month. Getting through it, doing what we do here at Gamecca, is a little like trying to walk through a swimming pool filled with old syrup. It’s extremely difficult, and slow. All that enthusiasm for the New Year evaporates pretty much as soon as the first day of work or school arrives, and most people spend more time trying to figure out how to compensate for the monetary excesses of the Festive Season than actually getting any work done. The

6

video game industry is no different, really. And the fact that everyone has pretty much turned their bank account into a barren wasteland means that releasing games would see them sitting on the shelves until the next payday rolls around. Even the news front has been fairly quiet... which leads me to a little thing I want to mention. The new Gamecca website has been very well received indeed, which makes me very happy. Thanks for that. We have been trimming and tweaking the site through the course of January, so it now offers news, a review archive and current issue contents, among other things. We’re pretty excited about where it is going, and we hope you feel the same way. Anyway, back to the dearth of

games. The good news is that the drought is almost over. In fact, we’re talking just a few days from now that the games will start flooding in again. We have a big February ahead, not least of which will be the release of the new PS Vita towards the end on the month. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what kinds of rabbits Sony will be pulling out of its hat for this device. Sure, I can go read a whole bunch of stuff about it and get a pretty good idea, but actually using one is what I am looking forward to. You will notice a few changes in the magazine this month, most notably the fact that our three dedicated console columns have now been melded into one, called Console General. Suvesh Arumugam will also be joining the columnist ranks as he jumps from one soap box to another. And, despite the games being rather thin on the ground (which always results in a thinner issue), we still have a dozen great reviews for you to check out. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to start mentally preparing for the games that are about to arrive. That, and try and figure out why my bank account looks so terribly empty... g

gamecca column • issue 32 • February 2012


X Marks the Spot Unstuck

by Charlie Fripp

T

he tech world has been abuzz with rumours of new consoles and next-generation gadgets, and none have driven them more than the gossip swirling around the announcement of the next Xbox from Microsoft. First we heard that they might be announcing a new console at E3 this year, then news filtered in that they won’t be releasing anything, and after much verbal ping-pong another report stated that Microsoft will have nothing new to show at E3. At this point it’s a bit of a guessing game as to if they will actually release something, but they are definitely playing the marketing machine very well. Personally I think they will be announcing the next Xbox, but it won’t be available for purchase until well into 2013. I honestly don’t hope that they will be calling it the Xbox 720, as it’s just a stupid name and goes against everything that the 360 stood for being 360 degrees of entertainment. The next Xbox currently has the project name of Loop, and I can already see the amount of jokes from South Africans regarding the name if they stick with it.

8

It won’t be such as bad thing if the decided to go with the Loop, as I can kind of see how that can work in their marketing favour. The loop could imply that it loops everything together in a seamless connection. I heard from a trusted source not too long ago that Microsoft will focus on making the Xbox a complete entertainment device, and not just focus on the gaming part of it. If that is true (which it more than likely is, considering the source) it seems as though they are going the route of PlayStation in terms of entertainment. I really wish that they will also change the video player on the Xbox, as it’s truly horrible. When I first got my console four years ago, I used only the Xbox to watch videos. But since I have the PlayStation 3, it’s the only device I use for movies, Blu-ray and audio, as the built-in player is just so much better on the PlayStation 3 than on the Xbox. Another thing that I wish they would change on the Xbox is the disc tray. Using a mechanical tray is so 2010, and it’s time that they switch over to a feeder tray. There have also been rumours that the next Xbox

might include Blu-ray capabilities, which just strengthens my hope for a feeder tray. Most of the breakages on the Xbox come from the tray - and it’s usually the first thing to go. From a business perspective, I don’t think it’s really necessary for Microsoft to release a new console just yet. Competition is good, and PlayStation already confirmed that they won’t announce the PlayStation 4 at E3. The Wii U is bound to be released later this year, but personally I don’t think it’s big enough to warrant Microsoft to announce a console just to stay ahead. Consumers do like to have new gadgets and toys, but they can wait another two years. After all, they have vehemently proclaimed that the Xbox has a 10 year cycle and it’s only in its fifth year. But with that said, the PlayStation 2 was still in its life cycle when Sony announced and released the PlayStation 3. So all this talk that it’s still got five years to go and all that jazz could technically be correct, as long as they continue to support the Xbox 360 through its life cycle while the next console is commercially available. But that also leave developers having to choose on which console they will develop. I guess all will be revealed at E3 this year, and the remainder of the year will truly be very interesting. It’s exciting to speculate and sift through all the rumours. Come to think of it, Sony said that they won’t announce PS4 at E3 - they never said anything about not making an announcement this year (and the Tokyo Game Show is still coming up). g

gamecca column • issue 32 • February 2012


Written by Paul Jenkins

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

18V

© 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.


Blade Play Feature

Soulcailbur at a glance...

10

gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012


by Walt Pretorius

I

n 1939, Bob Kane and Bill Finger created a new character in response to the popularity of Superman. National Publications made a request for more superhero titles, and so Kane and Finger went about delivering a new hero, taking a different approach. He would have no superpowers; instead, he was wealthy, and blessed with high intelligence. And he would be called Batman. Fighting games have always proven to be popular with gamers. It may be because they allow for direct skill comparison between two rivals. Or maybe it is because there is something sadistically satisfying about beating up a character that ‘belongs’ to a friend or family member. Whatever the case may be, side scrolling fighting games have been popular since Taito’s 1975 game Gun Fight, which was the first title to ever pit two humans against each other in open combat. The modern fighting game has a very particular feel to it. Generally two combatants face off in an arena, and take each other on using a variety of unarmed combat techniques and styles. There have been variations on the theme, with forays into three dimensional fighting areas, tag team matches and a host of other things. But, at the core, there are always two fighters, unarmed, staring each other in the face before the carnage begins. Maybe that’s the one single defining factor that sets the Soulcalibur series apart... the whole unarmed thing. While games like Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat rely on fists (even though the latter toyed with limited weapon usage at a stage) Soulcalibur has never thrown unarmed combatants into the ring. Rather, the fighters in these

gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012

11


Feature

12

gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012


games have relied on blades of all shapes and sizes to dominate the competition. And that is extremely apt, because the whole reason they are fighting is for a sword... Soul Edge. Soul Edge is a mystical blade that, over many centuries, absorbed the evil and hatred it was used for. It became a powerful force of evil, and the only thing that could stop it was a new sword created specifically for that purpose; the Soulcalibur. Since 1996, there have been eight entrants into the Soulcalibur franchise. The original game, released then, was called Soul Edge in arcades, and Soul Blade for the PlayStation platform. Nine characters were available for play in this version, all of them after the legendary evil blade. The game was very well received, with critical acclaim for its innovative approach to the genre. A year later the first game to carry the title Soulcalibur arrived. It served as a sequel to the original game, and was available in arcades and on the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast console. The new game retained much of what the previous title popular, but also introduced many innovative new ideas, like the 8-way Run, a movement system that allowed players to move away from the traditional 2D ideas presented in fighting games. In Soulcalibur II, released in 2002, players saw ‘guest characters’ for the first time; something that would become a staple of the series. The game was released for arcades as well as the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and original Xbox. Each version had its own special guest: The Legend of Zelda’s Link for GameCube, Tekken’s Heihachi Mishima on PS2 and comic hero Spawn on Xbox. In addition to this new idea, the game managed to gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012

13


Feature

14

gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012


build further on the technology used thus far in the franchise. The fourth instalment of the franchise was released in 2005, uncharacteristically as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, and with a new graphics engine. A true story mode was also included, which allowed the single player to impact the story with decisions that they made. In addition to the 42 selectable characters, the player could also create a character, which was also usable in a special adventure mode. In addition, the game allowed for destructible environment elements. When Soulcalibur IV arrived in 2008, it was the first game in the series to take combat online. It also introduced new guest characters, in the form of Darth Vader for PlayStation 3 and jedi master Yoda in the Xbox 360 version. Both characters could be unlocked and downloaded for the other console, though, via associated online services. A character creation system was also included. The following year saw the first hand held version of the game hit the shelves, in the form of Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. Kratos, from God of War, made a guest appearance, although many felt that his character was just too powerful. Within a few weeks, the latest instalment, Soulcalibur V will be available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360... and the guest star this time around will be Ezio Auditore, from Assassin’s Creed 2. Namco Bandai have managed to show that a new approach to the fighting genre, combined with compelling characters and ‘guest stars’, are what players are looking for. So prepare yourself for some more excellent fighting action, and we hope that you are the one doing all the humiliation in Soulcalibur V. g gamecca feature • issue 32 • February 2012

15


“2”, “PlayStation” and “À”are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “ ” is a trademark of the same company. All rights reserved. Wireless internet connection, PS Vita and PlayStation®Network Account required to access PS Vita games. PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®Network Account required to access PlayStation®Home items. Please see full details at za.playstation.com/pre-order. PlayStation®Network, PlayStation®Store and PlayStation®Home subject to terms of use and not available in all countries and languages (za.playstation.com/terms).Users are responsible for internet access fees. Charges apply for some content. Users must be 7 years or older and users under 18 require parental consent. Additional age restrictions may apply.

The Ultimate Portable Gaming Experience


Brand New Ways to Play Dual Analog Sticks Wi-Fi + 3G

Uncharted Golden Abyss

WipEout® 2048

Reality Fighters

ModNation™ Racers

LittleBigPlanet™

Little Deviants

5” OLED Touchscreen CrossPlay with PlayStation®3

Launching 22.02.12 Find out more at za.playstation.com/psvita


Previews Highlights 22 Binary Domain Fighting the machines 24 Neverdead payback can be hell 28 Sniper Elite V2 The pink mist... 33 X Rebirth Take to the stars...

A

h, yes. The good news is that 2012 is going to see a lot of really good games arriving. The better news is that they will be arriving... well, starting any minute now. The industry is kicking into a higher gear from February, so we’re pretty excited about all the great things that we have already heard about, as well as those we haven’t heard about just yet. I mean, really, they’re games. And we love games, right? So what is there not to get all giddy about? Take a look and see what some of the things we are looking forward to in the next few pages... g

18

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


16

16

Distributed Exclusively by Apex Interactive Tel: (011) 796 5040 www.apexint.co.za Email: sales@apexint.co.za All rights and trademarks and logos are copyright of their respective owners.

16

www.apexactive.co.za


Anarchy Reigns

Madness Defined Let’s get crazy!

A

s far as pedigrees are concerned in the gaming world, Platinum Games is as good as it gets. Comprised mostly of members of Capcom’s Clover Studio, the developers behind Viewtiful Joe and Okami, this is a studio that has consistently turned out high quality action titles, with emphasis on style and gameplay mechanics. Responsible for the development of Bayonetta and Vanquish, the studio also brought a taste of extreme and bloody violence to the family loving Wii with MadWorld. Now Platinum Games is set to unleash more over the top, brutal action in the form of Anarchy Reigns. Seldom has there been a game with a more appropriate title. From what little solid information has been released, this a clearly a game where chaos rules, pandemonium is

20

by Lein Baart the order of the day and all you can do is to keep on killing things. Anarchy Reigns is set to be a third person beat-’em up, and unusually for a Japanese development studio, will feature a massively-multiplayer element. A spiritual successor of sorts to MadWorld, Anarchy Reigns will have several characters from the game, such as Jack, the protagonist, and the Black Baron, a pimp with a “Super Sexy Fists of Fire” attack. The setting for the game, and the single player campaign, takes place in a post-apocalyptic city (no prizes for originality here). There’s not a lot of detail on offer for the story, which is rather unsurprising as the game’s main focus is clearly on its multiplayer, and it’s here that

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


Anarchy Reigns earns its name. There are currently eight characters on offer, apparently each with their own unique, yet balanced, fighting style. The premise is that each of the characters have embraced nano-augmentation in some manner, with some being human, others cyborgs and even one “cybrid.” Jack, for instance, sports twin chainsaws from his arms, while another character called Nikolai utilises Telsa Coils. Combat is a mix of heavy and light attacks combo-ed with grabs, raising concern that the sophistication evident in Platinum Games’ earlier titles will be absent, though there have been assurances this will not be the case. Thrown into this already volatile mix of gore and over the top action are power ups. There are the usual buffs, but

by far the most intriguing are the Action Trigger Events, or ATE’s. Simply put, ATE’s are designed to cause chaos. From Tsunamis, to black holes to outbreaks of mutants, they’re designed to turn everything on its head, plunging you further into the bedlam the game so eagerly strives to create. Despite the frustratingly vague details available, this is a title which seems to hold a lot of promise. Platinum Games’ experience in producing visually slick, frenzied action games will likely ensure that Anarchy Reigns lives up to its potential. However the question remains whether the madness that lies at heart of this title will be a help or hindrance to its success.. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Platinum Games Publisher: Sega Distributor: TBC gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012

July 2012 Platforms

A game that has the potential to be great, provided that it is structured enough to be coherent.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

21


Binary Domain

Fight the Machines Can robots feel emotion?

S

quad-based games have been around for a while, but none brought the genre to prominence like Brothers In Arms did. Players enjoy the thought of issuing orders to AI members of the squad, which brought with it the ability to control their movements and direct fire. Brothers In Arms almost revolutionised a genre, and Sega’s Binary Domain is hoping that it will do the same a bit later this year. But the squad-based third person shooter might have some scepticism to fight off, in the sense that it’s being developed by a newly-formed studio. The game is also being developed by Toshihiro Nagoshi,

22

by Charlie Fripp who created the Yakuza video game series - which could either be a good thing or a very bad move. The title plays off in Tokyo in 2080, in the middle of a huge robot invasion. Just like a typical anime story, the entire city has been overrun by machines and it’s up to the humans to fight for their city and ultimately their lives. The player will be in charge of an international squad of peacekeepers who have been tasked with eradicating the robots from the streets. But naturally thing don’t go according to plan and the group starts to question their leader and humanity’s resilience against the mechanical influence.

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


A major draw card for Binary Domain is the new Consequence System that has been built into the title. With the new system, the AI will judge the players, and each action will have consequences (naturally). If the player performs badly, the squad will start to doubt the player’s ability to lead, while good actions will earn their trust. The outcomes of the Consequence System will affect both the storyline and the gameplay. For issuing commands to the AI characters, players will be able to make use of the on-screen menu or by simple saying the command through a headset. The title has been tweaked with international players in mind, and will be able

to recognise up to six languages. The title should be fun for squad-based fans, but it could also turn out to be an incredibly Japanese-influenced title, which not everybody loves. While the Yakuza games are good in their own right, they’re not for everyone - and the same might be said for Binary Domain. Although, judging from the trailer that has been released, it will be an intense title with lots of drama and careful planning. It could be incredibly fun and though-provoking to see a modern squad-based title from and set in Japan, so we are keeping our eyes peeled for the release. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Yakuza Studio Publisher: Sega Distributor: Ster Kinekor gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012

Feb 2012 Platforms

Set in Japan in 2080, the title should provide a lot of action and drama.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

23


NeverDead

Vengeance is Mine... You’re either dead or neverdead...

by Dylan Bouch

A

fter losing a battle with the demon king, and the death of his wife, Bryce the demon hunter has been cursed with immortality. Playing as the lead character, the player will need to support his habit by taking the odd demon killing job… but why would you care? Revenge is sweeter than honey. You’ll be assisted by the not so immortal, good looking Acadia Maximille, an investigator hired by the NADA (National Anti Demon Agency) for her “outstanding physical capabilities”. The both of you would be like a

demon MIB team, keeping the underworld a secret from the peaceful city. How long can you keep the demons in the world they came from, and how can you get the most revenge out of it while doing your job, killing demons? With a title like this you’re going to need a soundtrack that’s just as brutal; Megadeath have recorded the featured song for this title, which will also appear on their 13th album. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Rebellion Software Publisher: Konami Digital Distributor: Ster Kinekor

24

Feb 2012 Platforms

Regenerate and be neverdead, cause there is never enough time for revenge.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


Risen 2: Dark Waters

Being Nameless At least you get to be a pirate…

by Lein Baart

T

he German studio Piranha Bytes is a name well known amongst hardcore RPG gamers. Creators behind the excellent, though buggy, Gothic series, they have a reputation for providing well written, immersive games that can be as tough as nails to get into. The same approach is clearly been taken with Risen 2: Dark Waters, though with a novel twist. In year that has turned every RPG fan into husks of barely contained anticipation, Risen 2 is moving away from the standard fantasy fluff and has you take on the role of a pirate. Set ten years after the original, Risen 2 has you play the Nameless Hero once again, though now he is a pessimistic drunk. Humanity is falling back under the

onslaught of the titans from the first game, and the only hope lies in a rumour that pirates have found a way to sail the seas safely. While little else is known about the plot, many familiar elements will be making a welcome return, such as the open class system, as well as the excellent dialogue that Piranha Bytes is known for. They’ve also stated that they’re toning down the learning curve, delivering the world in small pieces until you are able to handle yourself proficiently. There’s certainly potential for Risen 2 to make a name for itself amidst a year of huge releases, however much remains to be seen at this point, and hopefully Risen 2 will come without the bugs that plagued its predecessor. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Piranha Bytes Publisher: Deep Silver Distributor: Apex Interactive

26

April 2012 Platforms

Risen 2 looks promising, bringing core RPG mechanics to the world of pirating, and is one to watch out for.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


The Sims 3: Showtime

Fame!

And all that goes with it… by Walt Pretorius

F

ans of The Sims 3 have a new expansion pack to look forward to... and this one could propel their sim to fame and fortune. As might be obvious from the subtitle, Showtime, this expansion pack will allow the player to create a sim that follows a career path as a singer, acrobat, magician or DJ. These careers have pretty much been restricted to live stage performers, but there’s a reason for that. See, the player will be able to make use of a new game feature to have their sim perform in friends’ towns, or have friends’ sims come perform in their own town.

The game will also allow for live connections, with news stories about the player’s game going live without the need to leave it. In addition to this interesting new set of live features, there will also be a whole new world to explore, in the form of Starlight Shores. Also, players will have new sim creation tools, new ambitions and a new achievement system to work with. A good Sims 3 expansion is one that enhances the game dynamic... and this might just be one of those. We’ll know for sure in a few months. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Sims Studio Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012

Mar 2012 Platforms

Fame and stardom for your sims, and easier sharing too.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

27


Sniper Elite V2

Uncle Sam Wants You Now you can join the army, too.

H

ave you ever thought to yourself that being in the army would be fun? Well, not just fun, but a whole lot of other things, too, which could just have you heading home in a body bag. I mean, looking down the scope, seeing your enemy light a smoke in the early hours of the morning, feeling the cold wind send chills up your spin, covered in dirt, laying in the same place for hours , and then holding your breath and taking the shot… perfect. Well, if you have had a daydream similar to that while

28

by Dylan Bouch playing a FPS on your favourite console, Sniper Elite V2 will definitely be the game for you, particularly if you need that extra something in a game. This title is said to be the most realistic sniper game to date; the player will need to consider wind, distance, gravity, aim, bullet penetration, and advanced ballistics before taking the shot. All the action will be set in authentic WW2 locations… how many we don’t know just yet, but we’re looking forward to the authentic guns, vehicles and uniforms from that era, too.

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


A very cool feature that will reward patience and a great shot is the X-Ray Kill Cam. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to see the bullet enter and shatter the skull of Nazi enemy, now you can stop guessing. It won’t be just the skull, it could be the lung tearing, a leg bone shattering or even a bullet straight through the heart… all in slow motion and x-ray. When I first saw this slo-mo kill cam in action it put a smile on my face and I’m not just saying that because I like war games and slow motion kills in any game, but, because

seeing the human anatomy being displaced by a bullet in such a way is awesome. Gamers will also be able to play on-line as well in two player co-op missions, but whether you play on-line or off line, gamers will need to plan their mission as well as taking the perfect shot. The mission could require you to take out more than one target, so shooting recklessly could compromise the whole mission and send you home in that body bag. One bullet could be enough to change history. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Rebellion Software Publisher: 505 Games Distributor: Apex Interactive gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012

May 2012 Platforms

This might just be the last sniper game you’ll have to purchase.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

29


Legends of Pegasus

To the Stars! Starting a new world can be tough

by Charlie Fripp

L

overs of space exploration and expansion can look forward to Legend Of Pegasus a bit later in the year for the PC. The title uses the trusty method of 4X (eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation and eXtermination) to keep gamers gripped to the mouse as they set worth into the yonder. A small group of human survivors strives to recreate their lost empire, and it will be up to the player to build a new empire, through economic, diplomatic, scientific and militaristic means. But naturally there will be tons of enemies that will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening. While turn-based combat isn’t as popular today as it

was a couple of years ago, the title meshes turn-based and real-time gameplay to create an even flow of action and exploration. Gamers will also be spoiled for choice, as three races and 12 playable factions can be chosen. Players will be able to build up their empire to good proportions in single player, but with the help of a friend, gamers will be able to tackle the multiplayer aspect with force. From the released screenshot, the title looks to be a lot of fun, and it is sure to keep gamers busy for hours. There will also be a modding option, so players will be able to create their own additions. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Novacore Studios Publisher: Kalypso Media Distributor: TBC

30

Q1 2012 Platforms

Being a 4X science fiction title, it should keep gamers busy for hours.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


As the lines start to blur between man and machine, you must enter into 2080 Tokyo, fight your way through their robotic defence and find who is creating highly advanced humanoids that are beginning to infiltrate society undetected.

Turn the tide in battle by earning your squad’s trust.

24.02.12

Battle online in co-op and versus modes with up to 10 players.

www.binaRYDOMainGaME.COM www.sega.com ©SEGA. SEGA, the SEGA logo and BINARY DOMAIN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. All rights reserved. “2”, “PlayStation” , “PS3” and “À“ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ô is a trademark of the same company. All Rights Reserved. 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.


Asura’s Wrath

A Japanese Kratos? A tour through Eastern mythology…

by Dylan Bouch

A

fter returning home from war, the General of the Gods, Asura, is accused of a crime he did not commit: he is wanted by the imperial forces for the murder of the emperor. In a panic to save his family, Asura rushes home, only to find his daughter Mithra kidnapped and his wife murdered… Angered with the death of his wife, Asura seeks revenge and to find his daughter, who has been captured by the God Deus. Unable to defeat Deus, Asura falls but is not defeated. Millennia pass and Asura lay in hibernation until, he is a woken by prayers of a little girl, who he saves in return.

Now your journey as Asura begins as you battle the gods for your beloved daughter and to get revenge for the death of your wife. A story that we’ve all come to familiar with, this seems to be a Japanese amine version of God of War with a few differences, like Asian mythology. The title seems to have a few cinematic movies and quick time moves that need to be completed by the player to advance. Powered by the Unreal Engine 3 this title still looks like it took a chapter from Tekken and GOW. What the final product will look like is for time to tell, but fans of Japanese culture may well be thrilled. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: CyberConnect2 Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Ster Kinekor

32

Feb 2012 Platforms

Capcom’s attempt at what may be a God of War clone might hold a few surprises.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012


X Rebirth

Taking on the Galaxy This one has been made from dust

by Charlie Fripp

P

layers familiar with the X series of titles will be glad to learn that a brand new game is on its way, in the form of X Rebirth. The title acts as a sequel to X³: Terran Conflict, and should be hitting the shelves on PC later this year. While players of the previous titles might be familiar with the game mechanic and visual style, the series creators decided to change a few things for the next game. While it will still incorporate open-ended, or sandbox, style of play, it will feature a whole new user experience. The new experience will make it easier for new players to start with the

series, beginning with this title. The single-player space trading and combat game will revolve around a young man and his female friend who travel through the galaxy on an old space ship. The ship has a bit of a past, but that won’t stand in their way of fighting off an entire galaxy. X Rebirth will feature the most detailed X universe ever created and the galaxy will seem endless, with a multitude of exploration available. Fans of the series will definitely love the latest title, as it has been given a revamp that everyone will find enjoyable. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Egosoft Publisher: Deep Silver Distributor: Apex Interactive gamecca preview • issue 32 • February 2012

Q1 2012 Platforms

Serving as a follow-up but designed from scratch, fans of the series will love it.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS 3DS

33


Killing Stuff... The Soapbox

by Suvesh Arumugam

H

ome Taping is Killing Music” was the slogan of a 1980’s recording industry campaign against piracy. Big dollar amounts and statistics were cited to strike fear into the public that the entire system would collapse. Of course it didn’t, and record sales continued to grow. In fact, many artists launched their own campaigns to debunk anti-piracy rhetoric, like the Dead Kennedy’s release “In God We Trust” which had a blank side with the message “Home Taping is Killing Record Industry Profits! We left this side blank so you can do your part”. Aside from the various parodies, the anti-anti-piracy campaign raised a very real question: Could copyright laws stop the progress and popularity of technology? In this case it was the invention of the cassette and home dubbing technology. Consumers were flooded with products with double tape decks and hi-speed dubbing features, as well as improved blank cassettes that were chrome, then double chrome, and could record up to 120 minutes. While the companies producing the technology never directly advocated copyright infringement, there was clearly no other application in the mass market. The results of the antipiracy campaign were inconclusive, as the debate was settled by the introduction of new technology – the compact disc. While it could be copied onto tape the quality could not be replicated, and home taping effectively died. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are two pieces of legislation under consideration by the US Government. SOPA is focused on

34

the internet, providing powers to enforcement agencies to shut down websites and file sharing services that relate to copyright infringement, and prohibit and fine search engines and payment services linking to these sites. SOPA would extend enforcement of its provisions to foreign owned and hosted sites. PIPA deals with the distribution of illegally copied material and anti-digital rights management technology. The two acts propose to ensure that the right to publish, duplicate or distribute copyrighted material rests solely with the copyright holders. There have been victories and defeats on both sides. Supporters of the legislation believe that SOPA/ PIPA protects the rights, jobs and income of the music and film industries. They believe stronger measures are needed to block and discourage the rampant piracy online and through peer sharing, despite a worldwide agreement being signed in 1996 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. A huge victory for them was achieved through the shutting down of major sites like Swedish Pirate Bay in 2010, and, very recently, Hong Kong based MegaUpload. Opposers believe that such powers would limit freedom of speech, and effectively censor the Internet. SOPA would allow entire sites and domains to be blocked based on a single post or page. Simply removing the content would no longer be enough. Wikipedia and other prominent websites staged a blackout where their sites were taken down for a day, and replaced with a black page. In retaliation to MegaUpload’s shutdown, a hacker calling himself

Anonymous crashed the websites of the Department of Justice, FBI, and other agencies linked to SOPA. Many continue to criticise the shutdown of MegaUpload. One the one hand, German courts have ruled that policing the web for copyright infringement to the point where IP addresses and telephone records are exposed is an invasion of privacy. And no matter what laws are passed in the US & Europe, much of the music and film in countries like China is pirated! One the other hand, college students like Joel Tenenbaum are being sued for millions for songs downloaded without payment. Many artists are now releasing their songs digitally, for free, to avoid the slippery moral implications of pursuing downloaders, and relying on new business models like crowd funding, using the internet and social media to source income from fans. The cost and range of data storage products is becoming less expensive, with several terabytes available for just a few hundred rand. Open source software offers faster and more efficient compression for video and audio, as well as solutions to convert media from any format to any format. Already cloud storage facilities are becoming the norm to store online media, from software to photos to music. Would it simply be too expensive and logistically impossible to effectively enforce these laws, without randomly targeting an unlucky few? And let’s face it, just about everyone has some or other media stored somewhere which is technically illegal. If Peter Tosh were alive today, his comment might be “Even lawyers do it”. g

gamecca column • issue 32 • February 2012


Seriously? Console General

by Montgomery Patton

I

t seems odd for a gamer to advocate peaceful co-existence, if you take a quick glance at things. After all, we players of all things game generally get our kicks out of blasting seven kinds of crap out of pixelated opponents. And while some might say that this leads to a venting of aggression and, as a result, a calmer demeanour, I have thrown enough game controllers in my life to know that gaming can get one pretty damned tense. So, when a peaceful balance is suggested by a gamer, a person who is generally competitive by nature, it seems odd. But that is exactly what I wish for. I ask the question ‘can’t we all just get along’ several times a month. Not because I am some kind of tree-hugging pacifist, but because the biggest fight in video gaming is so thoroughly retarded that it gets me into a terribly bad mood. And the worst is that it is a manipulation brought about by e big players in the industry, tweaking the thoughts of the common man to serve their purposes. That fight is the console fight. The one that some people believe grants them the right to insult another person because they bought a different video game console. Seriously? Do they really believe that their opinion is so valid that they have the right to insult someone based on personal preference in entertainment? Who is the bigger moron, the guy who bought a different console, or the guy who lets the industry manipulate him into making derogatory statements based on the buying of something that you play games on?

36

“It’s going to be OK, man... this stupid war will be over as soon as the retards get over themselves...” Let’s get to the bottom of it, once and for all, and then we will hopefully never have to touch on it again. All the current consoles, whether hand held or not, are good. That’s why they sell millions of units. When you insult someone for differing with your opinion, you are effectively insulting millions of people. And that is pretty darn arrogant, if you ask me. The choice of console is one of personal preference, of opinion. And just because someone has a different opinion doesn’t mean they are wrong. It means they have the freedom to choose. And they get insulted for that? Wow, that’s really, really mature. I have a theory, and it’s a pretty weird one for someone who has made a living reviewing games for almost twenty years. When someone insults another person based on opinion, it is because that person is completely insecure with their own decision. So your friend bought a console you don’t like... so what? Are you that unsure of yourself that you have to justify your own decision by insulting him?

Personally, I love all the consoles. I have all of them. Sure, I have preferences, but I am well aware of the fact that those are based not on hard and fast truths, but rather on my own personal preferences, which may differ from the preferences of others. That is my right as a human being, and as a gamer. And it is everyone else’s right, too. So next time you are tempted to malign someone just because they have a different console, take a moment to ask yourself: does the fact that this other person made, for whatever reason, a decision that differs from you really matter? Does it really change the choices you made, or the way you feel? If you answer yes to these, you may need to be on medication. But if you are a stable, normal person, you will realise that the answer is always, without fail, no. And so stating your opinion in the form of an insult is not necessary. Truth: different strokes for different folks. Truth: all the consoles available are cool... the bad ones go away. Truth: opinion is not fact. And let’s leave it at that. g

gamecca column • issue 32 • February 2012


Reviews Highlights 40 Resident Evil: Revelations The ultimate ghost ship 46 Super Mario 3D Land So that’s what the 3D is for... 50 Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call The puzzling prequel 56 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword The best Wii game ever?

Y

ou may notice that there is a rather strong Nintendo flavour to the reviews in this issue. There are many reasons for that, not least of which is the fact that they have been pretty much the only publisher to release anything up until now, at least in 2012. It’s been oh so quiet... But even in the gloom of the January gaming drought, we have managed to review a dozen games for you to look at, across all platforms, as always. We hope you enjoy the show! g

38

gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012


Resident Evil: Revelations

Small Screen Scares Survival horror for the 3DS

S

ome games are mixed bags, we all know that. You often have to take the good with the bad when it comes to gaming, something which most people who spend more than a little time are used to, and those that don’t probably don’t notice. But when you get through to the other side and the good outshines the bad, that’s just awesome. The elements of the game that left you with a bad taste in your mouth are forgotten as you relive the greatness of the title you just experienced. Resident Evil: Revelations is that kind of game. Mostly set aboard a decrepit cruise ship called the Queen Zenobia, this title puts the player in the role of a sexy female protagonist, Jill Valentine, (suitably clad in skin tight stretchy stuff) who, along with her partner, is searching for some other lost operatives believed to be aboard the ship. The story is tense, although its pace is often interrupted by flashbacks and other bits of plot

40

by Walt Pretorius that yank you out of what you are really there for... to get frightened. To this end, the claustrophobic corridors of the Queen Zenobia are perfect. They are dark and cramped, and there is often a monster waiting around the next corner. The developers avoided zombies in this title and decided to rather make use of Ooze, amorphous monsters who can squeeze through nooks and crannies, often taking the player by surprise. There is a wide variety of things to kill or be killed by in this game, all with the common feature of being tough. The models for these monsters are great... in fact, these are probably some of the best graphics, as a whole, that we have ever seen on the 3DS. The environments are detailed in their creepiness, and the characters and effects are just plain awesome. Because the monsters can be so tough to kill, the scare value of the game rises. So does the frustration value,

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


These levels have generally been tweaked and changed a bit for this mode, though, so it’s not just a rehash of what’s been experienced before. In single player mode the player will almost always be accompanied by an AI sidekick, but these characters are generally more annoying than they are useful. In fact, the characters feel a little dull and lifeless in the game, which is sad because they could have gone a long way to improving the plot delivery. What we have here is a demonstration that Capcom not only understands what players want from the Resident Evil franchise (survival horror above all else) but also that they have a keen idea what a game on the 3DS should be like. The game does have its problems, but when everything is said and done, getting through it fills the player with a great sense of accomplishment, which is always a bonus. It is a tense and engrossing experience that shows off the platform and the rich franchise beautifully. g

AT A GLANCE: A good, if not mind-blowing, addition to the Resident Evil franchise and 3DS line-up. Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

3DS Platforms

as the controls may have been thought out a bit better. They’re by no means bad, but they do take some getting used to, which is not necessarily a good thing when you have a monster trying to kill you. As you may expect from a Resident Evil game, supplies like ammo are also tight, adding even more to the tension. Thankfully, a new scanning device, called the Genesis, has been included, which will not only gather useful information about monsters, but will also reveal hidden objects that are useful to the player. Although this can certainly be called one of the finer Resident Evil titles around, sometimes the story seems to give away too much, too soon. Still, it is an enjoyable experience working through the conspiracy behind the disappearance of the two operatives. There is no co-op mode for the main campaign, sadly, but players will be able to replay stages in Raid mode.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

85 41


Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Here We Go Again… Taking the fight back to the Covenant

T

he Halo franchise has been one of the most iconic and recognisable series of games for Microsoft since the first title was released in 2001. The games have sparked many debates, a lot of hours exploring the islands and served as inspiration for plenty of cosplay outfits. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first title, Microsoft released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary late last year, and while it’s essentially the same game as before, it features a number of additions that warrant a purchase from a die-hard Halo fan. While Halo might not be for everyone (let’s face it - it’s pretty stock-standard as far as shooters go) the extra goodies included on the disc makes for a compelling buy to a collector. While the original title was developed by Bungie, the anniversary released was created by 343 Industries.

42

by Charlie Fripp

The problem with remakes is that everybody has seen it before, and once you have experienced the gameplay, it’s often hard to top that with a follow-up if you are sticking to the script. So the major draw card for this released is the fact that it makes use of two separate engines. The original engine (developed by Bungie) is responsible for the gameplay, while 343 Industries and Saber crafted a brand-new engine to take care of all the graphical improvements that have been added to the title. With that said, the graphics have been given a significant bump, and players will instantly see the difference. While gamers will still be able to recognise the surroundings and playing field, a lot of effort has gone into detail and adding small textures to make the levels more on par of today’s console capabilities. As an added bonus, players will also be able to swap between the original graphics, and the super-improved

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


the Covenant alone. The system works for its intended purposes, but if would have been great if System Link was also supported. In terms of multilayer, the game supports the classic multiplayer modes which allow friends to take on the enemies in six reimagined maps from the original Halo and Halo 2, as well as the new Firefight map. The multiplayer is actually not as great as it could have been; an aspect that might leave some long-time gamers a bit disappointed. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a great addition to any Halo fan’s collection and for gamers who didn’t get to experience the title when it first came out. But as far as casual and modern gamers go, it’s by no means a mustbuy and title will feel old and stale. With that said, 343 Industries have done a great job with improving the graphics and remastering the sounds. g

AT A GLANCE: While the improvements are great, it still feels like the same old game Developer: 343 Industries/Bungie Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Distributor: Microsoft

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

ones. While it’s amazing to swap between the views and see the difference, it’s a bit of a waste to play in the original mode. If a gamer bought the anniversary edition, chances are good that he owns the original as well - so it seems a bit redundant to lug through poor quality graphics all over again. Staying with the graphics, the new engine also allows players to enter the combat arena in 3D mode, which has become a bit of a standard mode in most games released last year. While glasses are still need for some televisions, the technology has a long way to go, thus it’s more of a novelty that an actual necessity to play Halo in 3D. Besides for the graphical upgrade, another selling point (if any Halo title every needed one) is the fact that players will now be able to jump into the campaign with a fellow gamer. The remake is the first halo title to support online co-operative gameplay, so now nobody has to take on

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

81 43


Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3

The Greatest Battle

Non-stop action featuring your favourite heroes and villains

by Suvesh Arumugam

T

here are two types of fighters. Firstly, the technical style fighter that requires precision timing, and specific button combos to make any kind of impact, like the Tekken series. Secondly you get the button mashing type, like the Street Fighter series. The first relies on experience and generally has different moves and combos for each character, which means hours of gameplay are required before you can realistically challenge a friend online or in split screen. The second is more “pick up and play” orientated, where basic combos work for most of the characters, and even first time players can prevail with a little luck. The Marvel vs Capcom (being from the Street Fighter stable) is the latter type, allowing you to select from the Marvel Universe of X-Men, Spiderman, Avengers and other comics; and Capcom games such as Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Megaman, Dead Rising and more. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom is not so much a sequel as an update on Marvel vs Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds,

44

released in early 2011. The game features the same basic storyline: Dr Doom has created a rift between the two worlds, uniting with the villains of both to try and take them over. But as the heroes of the two universes unite in battle, a greater threat is revealed in the form of Galactus, the World Eater. Finishing the game in Arcade Mode with each of the characters, hero or villain, reveals more of the storyline and possible endings, which can all be viewed in the Gallery. Along with the usual Versus and Training modes, as well as online ranking matches, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 now also features a “Heroes vs Heralds” mode, which allows players to access ability cards which can equip special moves and powers during gameplay - as a hero defending Earth, or as a herald for Galctus. Although it is still the same gameplay, victories now earn character cards for additional characters, which feature power ups like increased speed or damage, and well as special abilities like invisibility(depending on which character card is equipped). Customising your licence

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


grants more damage, speed and resistance to attacks for a short time. 2011 was notably missing a good 3D fighter amongst a year of otherwise exciting releases. But with the release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 sometime this year, and Street Fighter X Tekken (and vice versa) release dates being announced soon, the competition in this genre is sure to heat up. Although the gameplay is fun and pretty easy, the game still seems to lack the extra features that would keep it in your console for several days as your “go to” game. While you unlock a few interesting story titbits, heaps of costumes and some pretty cool backgrounds - it’s short on videos and story modes, which would be interesting considering the characters and interweaving storylines. I guess we’ll have to wait for the fighter heavyweights to deliver that extra content, but Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is certainly good enough to keep you occupied until they arrive. g

AT A GLANCE: In the Street Fighter tradition, expect fast paced action, with mind blowing special moves and finishers. Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

card will let you set your default teams and ability cards to quickly select them at the menu. The gameplay is similar to Fate of Two Worlds, with mostly additional characters having been added like Hawkeye, Ghost Rider, Firebrand and more. Players select a team of three characters for combat, from either comic or game universe. Although it is essentially one on one combat, team members can assist or swop during gameplay. Unlike other fighters which feature multiple rounds and a single health meter, each character takes damage individually, and the entire team must be defeated to win or lose the match. The buttons represent light, medium, heavy or air launch attacks, while the shoulder buttons engage team members for assist or power moves. Each character has their own set of Hyper Combo moves which become available as combo chains are used to fill the Hyper Combo meter. Hyper Combos can be launched individually, or involving multiple characters with devastating effect. The X Factor is also available, which

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

81 45


Super Mario 3D Land

Let’s-a Go 3D Not just a gimmick…

W

hen the 3DS hit the market, there were more than a few people that felt it was little more than a gimmick employed by Nintendo to boost sales of yet another dual screen handheld device. Worse yet, it seems that some developers even bought into that idea, employing the 3D capabilities of the device as nothing beyond eye candy. The end result could have been disillusionment on the part of the consumer but, thankfully, developers have now been shown the way, and consumers have been given proof that this device is more than just pretty pictures... by Nintendo themselves. When new ideas are introduced to gaming, it often takes a while for developers to fully realise what can be done with them. But Nintendo have shortened that period with the release of Super Mario 3D Land, producing in it a title that demonstrates the difference between 3D enhancing looks and 3D enhancing game

46

by Walt Pretorius dynamics. At a glance, you would be excused for thinking that this is just another Mario platform game. It contains all the elements from the classics and previous titles, after all. In the game, Mario must once again rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of his evil nemesis, traversing several worlds that present the player with platform challenges, enemies, power-ups and coins to collect. However, even in the easier initial stages, it soon becomes apparent that the 3Dvisuals are more than just a visual enhancement; they are essential for getting through the game. In fact, there are some areas where the added depth of field granted the player by the 3D visuals is essential for timing jumps and movements just right... turning off the 3D would make them virtually impossible to get through. In addition to that, the visuals themselves are great, with an attention to details that adds beautifully to the

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


good. Rather, this title is a triumph for both the franchise and the platform. It legitimises the 3D aspect of the game by making it essential to use. It presents the player with a game that is very easy to pick up and get hooked on, yet is extremely challenging in later stages. And yet it manages to hold on to the core principles of what made Mario great from the very beginning, never compromising on what fans of the franchise would expect from such a game. Those elements combined are fantastic, and go a great way to show that even though Nintendo has grown to be a massive corporation, their ideas of bringing quality products to market still haven’t diminished. And for the consumer? Well, it’s a great game, no questions asked. Fun, exciting, and challenging, it is a high point for all things Mario. If you own a 3DS, there is no question you should be playing this game, even if just to see the potential of the platform. g

AT A GLANCE: When they created the 3DS, this is the kind of thing they had in mind… Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

3DS Platforms

experience. The graphics are naturally bright and vibrant, but there is more to them than meets the eye (yes, a terrible pun) and attentive players will love all the extra visual delights the game has on offer. Another important tweak made to the franchise in this version is the use of power-ups. They are not just something you find and use, and inevitably lose when an enemy hits you. Particularly later on, the player will need to make strategic use of the tailed Tanooki Suit (which enables Mario to float for short distances), Boomerang Mario (which adds a powerful ranged attack) or any of the other power-ups. The player can even switch between collected power-ups to a degree, which is great. And, of course, there are tons of things to discover and collect, including a Street Pass activated set of challenging Puzzle Boxes. O no, not just another Mario game, and certainly not just another game trying to make use of 3D graphics to look

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

94 47


Super Meat Boy

Rage Personified A game with some meat to it…

game so brutally demanding is its ingenious level design, requiring you to play at breakneck speed. You will die, and you will die often, but completing a level is its own reward, and seeing the replay of all your attempts played simultaneously is priceless. There’s an expert setting called Dark World (for the masochists), but a unique feature is the Warp Zones scattered across various levels. You either play in retro mode, complete with three lives and blocky graphics, or in character mode, where you play one of several indie platformer characters, unlocking them for the main game. This is a game that does exactly what it set out to do. It’s as tough as hell but you’ll love it nonetheless. It never takes itself seriously, and thus you can never stay angry at it. Backed by a brilliant soundtrack, its style and intelligence combine to make a title that is utterly unique and enduring. g

AT A GLANCE: Not for the casual gamer, Super Meat Boy is a brilliant title that pays homage to a classic genre in a unique way Developer: Team Meat Publisher: Lace Mamba Global Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ 48

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

O

ne warm summer’s day, a little Italian plumber called Mario was wondering around the countryside, eating ‘shrooms, vandalising property and killing wildlife. Suddenly he stumbled across the path of Satan, and thus Super Meat Boy was born. This is not the official version of SMB’s creation, but it should be. If there was ever title that could be called addictively sadistic, this is it. It will bring you to the brink of rage, with obscenities and controllers been flung around with abandon, then draw you straight back in. Done in the style of classic 2D platformers such as Mario Bros, SMB has you play the titular character, where your goal is to save your girlfriend Bandage Girl from the evil Dr Fetus. The pace is frenetic; the action never stops as you navigate the 300 plus levels, dodging sawblades, lasers and piles of salt. What makes this

by Lein Baart

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

83

gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012


Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call

Scratch, Scratch… Prepare to be puzzled

I

f you think that video games need to be all action and gore to be successful, think again. And if you need proof that there are tons of people out the that want a game to be something different, and challenging in a way that is less about reflexes and hand-eye coordination and more about brains, just check out what is going on with the Professor Layton franchise. And the fourth game in the series, titled Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call in our territory (also known as Professor Layton and the Last Specter) takes the ideas and formulas of the previous three games and develops them, building the experience to all-new heights. Not that this game tries anything really new. Instead, it takes the tried and tested Layton formula and builds on it, delivering a title that is essentially more of the same, but better. Spectre’s Call is not a sequel, though. Rather, its story

50

by Alex Scanlon takes place right at the beginning and shows, among other things, how the Professor and Luke first met. It takes place in the quaint and detailed town of Misthallery, which is plagued by a mysterious monster; a puzzle which the professor must naturally solve. And puzzling it is. While some of the brain-teasers that form the basis of the game may seem a bit familiar to veterans of the series, pretty much all of them will display a bit if a new spin. Players who enjoy using their brains will love the puzzles, which range from fairly easy right through to downright confounding. A wide variety of puzzles make up the more than 170 head-scratchers on offer, from visual puzzles through to logic and math problems. Like before, solving the puzzles first time around will give the player the best rewards. But, if you get stumped, there are always those handy hint coins to help you

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


predictability. It is the one thing that will keep the player coming back, as it grows more interesting and engrossing with every passing encounter. And that’s what sets this franchise apart from other puzzle collections; the puzzles have a function greater than just challenging the player. At times they even tie into the plot, which is a nice touch, although some of these ties are rather tenuous. Aside from the main game, there are also lots of little bonuses and extras for the player to unlock, try out and even download. This franchise is certainly a puzzler’s dream, and this latest iteration is the pinnacle of the series so far. With interesting characters, a good plot and puzzles of almost every variety, Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call is a fantastic hybrid between puzzle solving and point-and-click adventuring. And it will keep you busy for ages! g

AT A GLANCE: The pinnacle of the Professor’s tales brings more than 170 new puzzles to light… Developer: Level 5 Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

PG gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

DS Platforms

out. These, as well as other collectibles, can be found throughout Misthallery, simply by clicking on elements of the background. Seeing as how they could be hidden anywhere, you’ll probably find yourself ‘exploring’ settings for hours with the stylus pen. The Spectre’s Call also features details that make the other Layton games pale in comparison. And we mean this quite literally... the visual presentations of Misthallery are great, with tons to look at and explore. This is supported by a cast of whacky characters to meet and chat to, and while most of the interactions are text based, there are even a few cool, voiced cut scenes to enjoy. The graphics are presented in the same traditional, hand animated style that has become a hallmark of this series. The story itself is wonderfully paced and contains more than a few twists and turns in the plot. It is the best Layton tale so far, and manages to steer away from

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

80 51


Big City Adventure Collection

Virtual Tourism And a few lessons thrown in…

The Big City Adventure Collection has you explore both New York and Vancouver, with each location colourfully and cheerfully rendered. The soundtrack is simple and enjoyable, and fits the bright and airy atmosphere of the games well. In terms of actual game mechanics, these titles are pretty standard when it comes to hidden object games, with various mundane items (sometimes) craftily hidden amongst the scenery. There’s a mini-puzzle connecting each hidden object location coming in a variety of forms such matching pairs and mahjong. Nothing is particularly difficult, as these titles don’t aim to be a challenge but rather a way to relax. This is a simple pair of games, with no pretence of being anything else than a casual game. While probably more for the kids, anyone can learn a thing or two through these titles. g

AT A GLANCE: While by no means a must buy, if you enjoy your casual games this is a good one to look at. Developer: Jolly Bear Games Publisher: Avanquest Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ 52

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

E

very now and again you come across a title that doesn’t aim to be anything more than a game. No bank account destroying graphic requirements, or a story so convoluted it makes Freud seem reasonable. No over-the-top effects or awkward control schemes. It’s a game that doesn’t want to do more than entertain, and that’s exactly what the Big City Adventure series aims to do. The story is simple; it’s a family on vacation to a major city across the globe, exploring the sites and famous locations. It actually aims to teach you a thing or two about each city that you visit, with bite sized post cards with facts on each area. The game acts like a virtual tour guide framed in the form of a hidden object game, with puzzles thrown in for good measure between each location.

by Lein Baart

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

66

gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012


Azada

Classics Revisited Beware what books you buy

Azada, and only the “greatest” of puzzle masters can free him. What this translates to is a set of ten chapters with nine puzzles each, where you piece together the pages of Azada to slowly free Titus. Each page acts as a portal to a puzzle, and all nine pages must be completed in a certain time limit. Initially Azada is rather impressive. While graphically the game is dated, its nature means that this is not really a concern. Instead there are a large number of different puzzles available, which while not particularly challenging, do get more difficult as the game progresses. However in later chapters the puzzles are merely rehashes of earlier ones, making the game somewhat repetitive. Azada is also not particularly long, as each puzzle should last on average a minute or two. As casual games go though, this is certainly a title worth taking a look at. g

AT A GLANCE: A cleverly designed casual game, it’s well worth the buy but falters slightly towards the end. Developer: Big Fish Games Publisher: BlackLime Games Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

P

uzzle games, or at least puzzle elements in games, have become hugely popular since the rise of the casual game. It seems that almost every hidden object game nowadays is actually a hybrid of the two genres, with the puzzle elements used to break the monotony of staring at your screen trying to find senseless items. Azada though has taken a different approach, shifting the focus almost entirely onto puzzle solving. While billed as an adventure game, this is a misnomer, as the majority of the title has you solving some classic puzzles such as Mastermind, Simon and Towers, as well as the odd logic puzzle and entirely new ones designed specifically for the game. The premise of Azada is rather simple. You play an unnamed protagonist, teleported to the study of a magician named Titus. Titus has been trapped in the book

by Lein Baart

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

69 53


Dawn of Fantasy

Under Siege Can you get past the frustration

T

he world is full of great ideas that just don’t seem to work when they are manifested. I could list a few, but that’s not why we are here. Rather, that statement is relevant to what we actually need to talk about: Dawn of Fantasy. See, this game was pretty much destined to be a sprawling strategy title that concentrated on the assault and defence of castles. In the end, though, it turned out to be a buggy, dated-feeling exercise in frustration. The player takes to the battlefield as one of three races; humans, elves or orcs. They then have to plan and strategize their conquest of the realms using a system very much like that found in the excellent Total War games. Part of the game is played in real time battles, while the rest is spent with a map overview, plotting and planning. That’s all fine and well.

54

by Rob Edwards

While these elements do make the game seem somewhat derivative, it isna solid mechanic that has proven itself time and again. And it’s good to go with what works, right? Things don’t get any better after this brief overview, though. Right from the word go, the game does a whole bunch of things wrong. Like the lack of a decent tutorial. Dawn of Fantasy can be an extremely complex game, but the player will need to figure things out between the sparse manual and experience, rather than being able to rely on a solid set of instructions. One thing that the game does right, quote honestly, is the strategy part of the whole affair. It makes sense, and uses tried and tested ideas that the player can rely on to take their army to victory. That is, of course, if the game manages to run for long enough. See, one of the things that scuppers the experience

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


the visuals don’t look anything like they should in terms of detail and quality. On the whole, this just adds to the idea that Dawn of Fantasy feels like a game that should have come out many years before it did. With all that said, it is important to note that this game does have a few redeeming qualities, and the gamer that is patient (and willing to save often) will quite possibly draw an enjoyable, if not great, experience from Dawn of Fantasy. But the effort required to do that may be more than that required to actually play the game, and in a world where instant gratification and super-high quality are prized above all else when it comes to video games, it is highly unlikely that Dawn of Fantasy will achieve any status other than extremely niche cult classic. And, when you get right down to it, that’s pretty sad, because the ideas behind this title are really rather good. But good ideas aren’t enough to sell games these days. g

AT A GLANCE: If you can get past all the bugs and dated feel, it is a satisfying experience Developer: Reverie World Publisher: 505 Games Distributor: Apex Interactive

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

is the game’s tendency to crash at seemingly random times. If you’re fielding a massive army and have just done some kind of “select all, attack” manoeuvre, a crash is forgivable. And strategy fan will tell you to save before applying such a system-crushing move. But when the game just throws in the towel for laughs (as it appears to do fairly often) then it’s a completely different matter entirely. And even a while after release, this issue doesn’t seem to be addressed in any of the numerous patches that have been released for the title. Numerous other, less ruinous bugs also seem to be slipping through the cracks that the patches are meant to close up. Perhaps, given time, the developers will catch them all. What they can’t fix, however, are the clunky controls and dated graphics. The game feels extremely sluggish at times, which gets extremely frustrating. Additionally,

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

56 55


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

A New Link

A more mature adventure at 25…

W

hen Nintendo first designed the Wii console, they undoubtedly had numerous ideas and dreams about how cool games could be when played on it. But the last five years have been a mixed bag for the platform, with numerous good games mixed up with a whole lot of silly, lame or just plain pointless ones. If one were to go back to those initial discussions, one would probably be able to get a very clear picture of what Nintendo wanted to see happening with the console. And we’re pretty willing to bet that virtually every dream and idea spoken about would point towards a game that has finally realised much of the Wii’s potential... The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. But it goes further than just the Wii’s potential; this is the game that the Zelda franchise was always meant to be, too.

56

by Walt Pretorius

The plot is still fairly simple, but the storytelling transcends the apparent ‘save the princess’ staple that seems to be so common to Nintendo games. There is more depth here, and a far more interesting crop of characters for the player, who once again plays the part of Link, to meet. Sadly, there is still nowhere near enough voiced content within the game, but the tons of reading the player has to do is somewhat mitigated by a bunch of very elegant, even moving, cut scenes that help drive the narrative along. The true joy of this game, though, comes from other places. Collectively you could call it the game dynamic. First of all, there is the control scheme. It is as close to perfect as we have ever seen in a Wii title, with the Motion Plus support allowing the player to truly add nuances to their input. It never devolves to a waggle-fest; rather, the player needs to always be conscious of their movements,

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


free form game than any Zelda before. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a triumph for the franchise, and well timed for its 25th anniversary. It feels more mature and deeper, and provides the player with a compelling and engaging experience. Further, it manages to never delve into the cheap tricks that tempt so many Wii developers, staying true to itself and its core concepts throughout. This is, without a doubt, the finest Wii game ever released. It takes itself, and the platform, seriously, and delivers a brilliant experience. Even the most ardent Wii naysayer will find it difficult not to be impressed by this title. Sure, it has some problems - it sometimes feels a little too ambitious for its own good, which leads to issues - but none of these are enough to put a damper on the awesome experience Skyward Sword has to offer.. g

AT A GLANCE: If you’re a fan of either the Zelda franchise or the Wii, you should be playing this game. Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

and considerate of the strategy that such precision allows for. Secondly, there is the way that the player interacts with the world. Sure, previous Zelda titles have done a good job of this, but Skyward Sword takes matters to a whole new level. A lot of the tedium has been cut out of the game, thanks to a quick travel system. Even when quick travel is not an option, there is a lot going on to keep the player interested. Tons of side quests and activities await. And then there is the matter of level design. The thought that has gone into the levels, as well as the thought required from the player to traverse them, is fantastic. Repetitive actions have been set aside, and the player will now have to think - and apply their vast inventory - in a more mature way. The game will even have the player going back to previously visited locations from time to time, adding depth to the experience. It feels more like a

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

96 57


Move Fitness

Get Fit in Style!

Time to get off the couch (and save on gym fees)

O

ne of the biggest reasons that gaming consoles and accessories continued to grow in sales, while retail in general has been in recession, has been the advent of fitness and exercise games. Nintendo were the pioneers with Wii Fit, which almost single-handedly brought gaming consoles into the housewife and yuppie market; though nowadays fitness titles are aplenty on all gaming consoles. The combination of motion controlled natural movements, and virtual gyms and trainers that can be personalised and tailored to individual needs seems to have captured the world’s imagination. And it’s probably no small advantage that you can exercise while eating a deep fried snack in-between reps, or wear your favourite skin tight spandex gear without fear of humiliation. Announced at Gamescom late last year, Sony has been plugging Move Fitness quite aggressively over PlayStation Network. Now, there are a few elements that define a good fitness game. Customisation is

58

by Suvesh Arumugam

obviously key, you want to be able to do more of what you enjoy (that targets those problem areas), but you also want some variation. After all, it’s not just about burning calories, it’s also about having fun. The competition is pretty fierce with competing titles getting pretty serious like EA’s Sports Active 2 (that includes its own special wireless sensors and heart rate monitor) and UFC Personal Trainer (which uses real kickboxing and Muay Thai training), but Move Fitness seems to be aimed at the casual gamer, who may occasionally feel guilty that their only daily exercise is opening the fridge to grab some more Mountain Dew. While Sports Active includes a rigorous 30 day workout challenge, Move Fitness includes a more modest workout programme, with Goals which are more score based (classic motivation for gamers) than weight or fitness based. There is also the option to choose individual activities, and a multiplayer option to pit their skills (and endurance) against up to three friends. But don’t get me wrong, this is real exercise! Move

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


gruelling, so expect to sweat (like crazy!) and be prepared for some sore and stiff limbs for a few days. Compared to its more serious rivals, Move Fitness seems to fall short of the mark. With 70 or more activities offered in other titles, one would expect that it would be hard to make this a daily routine for too long. Also, the virtual gym and trainers are not very customisable, which is a pity. The workout programmes are also fixed like Beach Body or Stress Buster, and you pretty much have to choose between their preset routine or selecting single activities individually. While your virtual trainer collects a whole lot of your personal data for your profile, this doesn’t seem to have too much bearing on the mini games. The multiplayer option is fun though, and makes a game like this worthwhile. So even if you’re not serious about having abs of steel, you can still compete against a few friends and then reward yourself with a cold one! g

AT A GLANCE: A fun, easy way to get into shape and burn off some of those extra Christmas calories Developer: Coldwood Interactive Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

Fitness offers over 25 different exercises, each targeting different muscles and coordination skills through fun tasks like boxing, basketball and catching. Unlike many Move games, which use only one controller (which are easy to ‘fake out” while sitting down), Move Fitness can only be played using two motion controllers. The tracking is very accurate, and you pretty much need to be where the game tells you to be whether you are squatting, punching, throwing or jumping. After a quick tutorial, the timer starts and you have a short intense window to score as many points as possible. Punching the sweet spot or sinking consecutive baskets takes you into Overdrive, which scores you extra points – and more importantly burns more calories. The game takes into account how hard punches or throws are made, so intensity definitely counts in your favour. All the while your personal trainer eggs you on, and shows you how you should be doing the exercises. At the end of each activity, a graph shows you how many calories you burned (probably). The exercises, while simple, can be

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

78 59


Go Vacation

Jolly Holiday A mini-game island extravaganza

O

ne should never be surprised when new games feel a lot like old games. After all, copying what works is a fairly decent idea, particularly when aiming titles at a market that is possibly a little less discerning. And the casual gaming market is just that... a survey once done found that consumers buy Wii games simply because they are Wii games, and less because of what they are or what kind of experience they deliver. This wouldn’t fly with the more hard-core set, but with casual gamers - the market that Nintendo specifically wanted to address when they planned the console - it would work. The result of that was a bunch of games that either weren’t anywhere near good enough, as well as a bunch of games that copied the titles that actually were good. It was a sad state of affairs, and one that is changing, thanks to people becoming pickier with the products they

60

by Walt Pretorius

purchase. But that doesn’t mean that derivative titles aren’t released any more. In fact, one look at Go Vacation will bring back many memories of games like Wii Sports Resort. The thing is, though, that a derivative game can still deliver the goods, and even improve certain areas. In these cases, being a copycat doesn’t matter that much. In fact, it can be good. And it is into this category that Go Vacation falls. As the name implies, the player ‘visits’ a vacation resort in this game, and undertakes an adventure comprised almost completely of mini-game challenges. I say almost because there is an element to the game that adds more adventure, even if it doesn’t really impact on the core of the title; travelling around the island. See, the mini-games are spread around various locations

ggaam meeccccaa rreevviieew w •• iissssuuee 3127 •• FNeobvreumabr ey r 22001120


sensible controls that are easy to learn. And, as is always the case with titles like this, Go Vacation is better with friends. The mini-games serve well for competitive play, and this game can very easily become the life of any party that doesn’t involve cheese, wine and stuck-up attitudes. While Go Vacation is not the perfect mini-game collection, it certainly is a good one, and one of the better ones we have seen. It may be extremely derivative, but it makes all the right moves, if you will excuse the pun, an manages to combine a great variety of activities with a sense of adventure than hasn’t really been seen to this degree in this kind of game. It almost feels as though the player really is on vacation, thanks to the exploration it allows. It shows a step in the right direction for this kind of title, and will probably be a game that other developers derive ideas from before too long. g

AT A GLANCE: A great collection of mini-games. Derivative, but great. Developer: Namco Bandai Publisher: Namco Bandai Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

PG gamecca review • issue 32 • February 2012

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

on the island. Instead of just offering a quick-travel option, the game tasks the player with travelling to these locations. Sure, fast travel is available, but using any of a wide variety of vehicles to explore adds a sort of depth to the title that is seldom found in this kind of game. At times it can be more fun than the mini-games themselves. And it’s kid safe, too. As tempting as it is to go all evil and run down hordes of pedestrians while on the island, they simply bounce out of the way... not very realistic but, then again, that’s not what this title is about. Speaking of mini-games, there is a lot that can be done on the island. Activities and their associated controls are very varied, ranging from terrestrial pursuits like beach volleyball to loftier activities, like sky diving. Naturally, some if the games are better than others but, as an overall collection, Go Vacation does not disappoint. For the most part the mini-games are fun, and come equipped with

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

78 61


Essential Classics

Heart Of China

From Hong Kong to Paris, the adventure epic that failed to see the shift in the tide. By James Francis

64

gamecca regular • issue 32 • February 2012


I

GAME INFO. Heart Of China

Genre: Adventure Released: 1991 Find it on : www.abandonia.com Works on: Dosbox

gamecca regular • issue 32 • February 2012

t’s the 1930s and a down-on-his luck pilot, Jake “Lucky” Masters, finds himself blackmailed by a business tycoon to rescue the man’s daughter, a nurse who was kidnapped by a Chinese warlord. Lucky teams up with the ninja Chi to find the damsel in distress, kicking off perhaps one of the most interesting and infuriating adventure games released in the early Nineties, Dynamix’s Heart Of China. Old school gamers remember this studio, an off-shoot of Sierra, for Starsiege Tribes. It produced a lot of games in its seventeen year history, which ended in 2001, including two adventure games. The first, cyberpunk saga Rise Of The Dragon, drew more attention, but Heart Of China was the most ambitious. Hand-painted scenery, over 100 actors (most sourced from Dynamix staff, friends and family) and a interesting combination of cinematic flare and arcade action, placed Heart Of China ahead of its time. It took many ideas from adventure movies and novels, in particular a Tom Selleck romp called High Road To China. Lucky and Chi (who you can swap between) sneak into palaces, arm locals, connive with Lamas (the monk, not animal), steal tanks, get arrested, get blown up and so forth. Eventually Kate, the lady in peril, also becomes a character you control and while most of the story is seen through Jake’s eyes, it mixes things up with the other two. For its day Heart Of China was quite stunning, using the 256 colour palette to its full advantage with beautiful environments and vibrant characters. The soundtrack was also ground-breaking and the cinematic feel was a big step ahead for the genre. It even delivered multiple endings and threw in a few arcade action sequences (which are actually very difficult and could mercifully be skipped). In short, it was a big step forward for adventure games. So why have you not heard about it? By 1991 Lucasarts was polishing its crown as the new king of adventure, having published Monkey Island the year before. Its games were much more forgiving than what Sierra was putting out. Heart Of China did not help matters - it is arguably the most infuriating adventure game in Sierra’s stable after the second Phantasmagoria. For some reason Sierra thought gamers wanted to bleed for their pleasure and thus delivered games where one miss-step can cost you the whole thing. Forget an item, say the wrong thing or, sometimes, just take too long and Heart Of China punished you. It reduced hardened adventure gamers to tears and even today, with the help of a walkthrough, it’s pretty demanding. Yet Heart Of China is also quite epic and interesting to play. It was well-made, unfortunately the Lucasarts games just did things much better. A year later Fate Of Atlantis would write the book on epic pulp-inspired adventures. Dynamix never returned to the genre, apart from creating the iffy Space Quest 5 and Heart Of China would be one of Sierra’s last significant adventure games. g

65


Fractal Design Arc PC Case

Roomy And generally great

by Walt Pretorius

L

ooks can be deceiving. So often we see something that looks much plainer than what it really is... just like the Arc PC case by Fractal Design. And while the truth of the matter is that the looks of this particular case have very little to do with the components that the user puts inside it, the kind of user who would buy a case like this is the sort that would build a very powerful machine into its extra-roomy interior. The looks of this box are almost spartan. The minimal design has only a few elements that belie its true function, and they come in the form of massive mesh screens built into the front and top of the case. A large vented section of the side panel may also serve as a clue to what this case is meant for: massive amounts of cooling. This case is big, in terms of width. So wide, in fact, that there is plenty of room between the plate that holds the motherboard and the panel behind it, allowing

66

for cable routing and improved air-flow. It is wide enough to even allow for an extra, vertically placed expansion port slot, perfect for fan controllers and other expansion cards that do not need to plug into the motherboard. It also allows for water-cooling systems, and is wide enough to allow massive cooling systems to fit with ease. Seven slots for large fans (120 - 140mm) are scattered around the case (two in front, two at the top, one at the back, one in the base, one in the side), and a vent is built into the panel below where the bottom mounted PSU bracket is located. The case comes with three fans in place (top, front and back). The box has eight side mounted, individually removable hard drive brackets, as well as brackets for two optical drives. Discrete ports, including a USB 3.0 port, line the top front of the case, along with the power button. The entire front and top of the case are mesh vents, allowing heat dissipation and airflow to take place with almost no g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2


effort. All the vents, with the exception of the side panel, are fitted with dust filters. This case is designed with powerful systems that require extreme cooling in mind. There is no question about that. What is really surprising is that a case that is so obviously aimed at the gaming power user market looks very little like a gaming case. It has no flashy bling bits at all. It looks, as a result, deadly serious... if computer cases were movie characters, this one would be Bruce Willis in The Jackal. Nondescript, understated, yet capable of hiding a truly impressive PC set up. While any system can naturally be built into the Arc, if we were to recommend a case to a user who really wanted to go all out, and wanted to be secure in the knowledge that their system would be cool, easy to maintain and well protected, this would be the direction we would point them in. Well done, indeed. g

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

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Lots of space • Solid construction • Easy to work in

CONS: • Big

Manufacturer: Fractal Design Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R995

TECH SPECS: • 7 fan brackets • USB 3.0 • Bottom mounted PSU • Vertical expansion slot • 8 HDD brackets • 2 Optical brackets

Score

A big box for people wanting to make use of massive cooling options.

88 67


Cougar Evolution PC case

Hear me Roar! A case for serious gamers

by Walt Pretorius

G

amers are PC power users. Video games may have started from humble beginnings but, these days, if you see someone racking up a huge bill for a computer system, you can place a pretty safe bet on the fact that they are buying that system chiefly to play games on. And because they are power users, they have certain demands that need to be met in every piece of equipment they purchase... even their case. The Cougar Evolution screams “I am a gaming case” from the minute you clap eyes on it. The aesthetic of the box, which is made up mainly of matt black panels, mesh covers and a purely design-inspired girder trim, says that it means business. And it certainly does. The only solid panel on the whole thing is the one that sits behind the motherboard. The front panel is entirely made up of vents, and the back panel is also designed for maximum air-flow. The side panel features a Perspex window and a 140mm fan, while two 120mm fans can be

68

fitted to the front panel (one is supplied.) A single 140mm fan is provided in one of the two top panel fan brackets, and a further bracket is located in the base of the case, as well as a bent that sits directly underneath the bottommounted PSU bracket. The stylish and spacious black interior also has space for six optical drives, which is a little excessive, and four HDDs, all of which are side mounted in individually removable brackets. A trade off of less optical slots and more HDD brackets would have probably have been a better idea here, but four HDDs is still a good number. And, of course, all the slots and brackets are screwless. The roomy interior is trumped by the feature rich exterior, though. Mounted at the top front of the box is one will find audio jacks, two USB 2.0 and a great two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a power switch. This power switch is surrounded by a turnable knob for fan speed... multidirectional fans speed, that is. A great feature, really, g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2


even though it is so simple in concept. And here’s a really sweet thing... just behind those ports and switches is a small, sprung panel that tilts to reveal SATA plugs. Plugging in either a 2.5” or 3.5” hard drive is extremely quick and easy. A design feature like this is something that truly sets the Evolution apart, and helps it live up to its name. It doesn’t really look like a serious PC case, not in terms of business or office use. But it certainly looks serious when it comes to housing a powerful PC system. Even water cooling is welcome, with valved opening in the back panel to accommodate for that. You will be hard pressed to find a more versatile case for a PC gaming system. And it’s pretty sturdy, too, although you will want to avoid any hard knocks on the generous meshed areas. But if you are gaming with this box, it will probably be intimidating enough for that never to happen. It radiates attitude. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Impressive • Lots of options • Convenient features

CONS:

• Expensive • More HHD brackets would have been nice

Manufacturer: Cougar Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R1089

TECH SPECS: • 7 fan brackets • USB 3.0 • Four HDD brackets • Six optical brackets • Fan controller • Bottom mounted PSU

Score

An absolutely awesome PC case for gamers who want every option.

90 69


5 awesome PC case reviews

I S S U E 1 6 / Vo l . 2 Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

w w w. g l a d ge t m ag . c o m


www.gladgetmag.com Technically, playful !


GMC Scorpion PC Case

Stinger A sharp PC box…

by Walt Pretorius

A

s case makers, GMC have managed to produce some of the gaudier PC boxes we have ever seen. It seems that every now and then the company gets over-enthusiastic about the bling factor. Then again, we have seen some incredibly nice cases from them, too, and the Scorpion certainly falls into that category. In terms of looks, this box hardly appears to be a GMC case at all. It is understated, yet with strong lines and a generally stylish aesthetic. The front of the case is dominated by a metal mesh material, which is only broken up by a rather discrete, matt black panel which houses the power and reset buttons, as well as headphone jacks, an eSATA port and two USB 2.0 ports. The mesh look continues onto one of the side panels; rather than a Perspex window, the panel has an irregularly shaped mesh section, which may cause a bit of a dust problem for users. The panel also has no fan

72

bracket. That shouldn’t be a problem, though... the Scorpion has a lot of fans. A large 120mm sits at the bottom behind the front panel, while an 80mm fan is mounted high at the back. Two additional 80mm fans are fitted in the top, towards the rear of the box, and the bottom of the case features a large vent section for improved air flow. This unusual configuration goes further, with this case being one of the few to feature a bottom mounted PSU bracket. This is becoming far more common, though. The motherboard sits higher in the case, almost directly under the top mounted fans. The principle that hot air rises may worry some, thanks to that low PSU mount, but the air flow in this case is actually very good. The interior is the same matt black as the exterior, with red trim in the form of screwless mountings for components and drives. The inside of the case has minimal sharp edges and is spacious enough for easy building. None of the drive brackets can be removed, though, which g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2


may be a hassle for people who spend a lot of time fiddling with their computer. With generous venting and a decent airflow idea, the Scorpion should serve to keep almost any system cool. It also supports water-cooling, with a pair of valve-like openings in the rear panel. Good looks and practicality combine with a very nice price to make the Scorpion a fair bargain. Four HDD slots and four optical drive slots mean that the user should have enough space for all their drive whims, too. While it lacks a few of the fancier ideas, it is a well built and attractive option. The interior is fairly spacious, although there is a weird plastic plate about halfway up that is a bit of a mystery... unless it has to do with air-flow and heat isolation. This case would look equally at home in an office environment or on a gamer’s desk. And its sturdy construction means that the user can rest assured that their precious PC would not come to any undue harm. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Good looking • Great air flow

CONS:

• No removable HDD brackets

Manufacturer: GMC Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R679

TECH SPECS: • Bottom mounted PSU • Four HDD brackets • Four optical brackets • USB 2.0

Score

A good option for gamers wanting to make a muted statement.

80 73


Fractal Design Core 3000 PC Case

A Simpler Solution Bottom end isn’t always bottom end…

by Walt Pretorius

F

ractal Designs certainly seem to know what they are doing when it comes to building computer cases. In the other two reviews of Fractal Designs featured in this issue (the Define R3 and the Arc) the company demonstrates a clear understanding of what needs to be on offer when it comes to a PC box. And with this lower end offering they also show that prowess, delivering a case that may have less features, but still manages to be a box worth looking at. While this might be towards the lower end of their range, the Core 3000 is still not a particularly cheap PC case, and with good reason. Here we have a box that might not have all the features of its bigger brothers, but still remains an extremely good case. Right off the bat, they did not skimp on necessary features. The Core 3000 features as many fan slots as the other two, and comes with three fans already fitted. In fact, when looking at this case, it really just looks like

74

a smaller version of the Arc. It is similarly understated in looks, and though a bit narrower, still allows for excellent air-flow, thanks to a raised motherboard plate and generous vents. The front and back of the case are well vented, with the front allowing for two 140mm fans, and a 80mm in the back. The top also has place for two 140mm fans, with one slot provided for a bottom mount and one for a side panel mount. There is also a large vent below where the bottom mounted PSU bracket sits, but none of these vents have dust filters except for the front. It also offers fewer HDD bays, which number six in total. However, they are still side mounted and each bracket can be removed individually. The apparently standard two optical bays are still present here. And while the interior is not as roomy as the bigger Fractal Design cases, working in the Core 3000 is still comfortable, thanks to a screwless g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2


system and virtually no sharp edges. On the outside, the matt black finish and vented front looks impressive, if down-toned. The power switch is located at the top front of the case, along with audio ports and four USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0 here, sadly.) On the whole, this is a really nice case... it only looks a little bit like a downgrade when compared to the other Fractal Design boxes in this issue. If compared to any number of other boxes, it would look a bit like a Rolls Royce, and those looking for a case that offers good cooling (including water cooling support) as well as a sturdy design and serious looks would do well to consider the Core 3000. It’s a bit more of a casual box, though, not offering the more ‘extreme’ options delivered by the other two. That said, it is still a very fine computer case indeed. Three for three, Fractal Design have demonstrated their prowess at building wicked computer cases. We’re certainly adding their products to our wish lists. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 3 2 • Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Great looks • Good air flow • Practical

CONS:

• No dust filters • A little pricey

Manufacturer: Fractal Design Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R769

TECH SPECS: • • • • •

7 fan brackets USB 2.0 6 HDD brackets 2 optical brackets Bottom mounted PSU bracket

Score

A great option for someone looking for a simpler solution from the Fractal design range

79 75


Another Instalment From Space

by Author’s Name

H

asn’t modern gaming done us in, a little? Yes, there’s the obvious corporate gluttony associated with business, but they’ve started taking advantage of the fans, and we’re blind to it. Let’s open our eyes, folks. That map pack you bought for Call of Duty, the car pack you purchased for Forza Motorsport, and the additional campaign for Gears of War – all of this stuff used to be available as part of a bigger add-on pack, back in the days of PC gaming. It’s a distant memory, but I remember many games having add-on packs released for them, at around R150 a pop – half the price of a then-R300 game – and they added a really good amount of new content. Now we’re spending $10 (about R80) on a map pack with 5 new multiplayer arenas. Microsoft charges 560 MSPoints ($7) for a Forza Motorsport car pack containing 10 cars, and at launch six car packs were planned – that excludes any track packs or additional content that might show up. So a die-hard console race will spend an additional $42 just for the planned content, and at the time of writing the February car pack was announced as being not part of the original planned content – so that’s yet another $7 ($49 in total, and close to the game’s $60 shelf price in the US). To be fair, the developers did offer a “season pass” – a way to prepay for the planned content and get a discount. In Forza’s case this was $30 (or 2400 MSPoints). But the Feb car pack is excluded from this season pass, and you’d have to fork over more cash for that.

78

It’s all good and well getting more cars, maps, tracks, guns, and other gameplay content, and being expected to pay for it is fine by me, but the bit that makes me feel screwed over is that all the content I just paid for will be available “for free” in Forza Motorsport 5. Maybe I’m just bitter because back in the day some of this stuff would be free. We used to have a bustling community that would create fan-made content. Okay, this isn’t available on consoles, and there are still PC titles with mods and maps

being made for them, but the nickeland-diming is getting a bit much. We can only blame ourselves, and our addiction though. The content is only being offered because there is demand. However, it’s slowly turning into a something nasty: content will be available and produced during the game’s production cycle, and then be purposely withheld to sell to us at a later date. Soon we’ll be buying a full price game and paying for it in instalments just to see the end credits. g

gamecca column • issue 32 • February 2012


logolink Essential surfing made easy

become a fan!


Gamecca Magazine February 2012  

Gamecca Magazine February 2012 (Volume 3, issue 32)

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you