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Halo: Reach Dead Rising 2 H.A.W.X 2 R.U.S.E. Civilization V 2010 and more...

Back in Action Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2

Domination Civilization V

On the Move PS3’s Motion Controller is here!

Waking the Dead Dead Rising 2

The Last Stand Halo: Reach

Submission MMA enters the ring


Inside 6 From the Editor 8 Unstuck A little grace, please! 10 The Rat’s Nest Think like a loser 12 The New Contender Will EA’s MMA title score a knockout? 18 Previews Fifteen titles to look forward to 46 Move to HD... Motion gaming on the PlayStation 3 50 PS Zealot Big in Japan 52 Xbox Beat Who’s who... 54 House of Mario Are games making us brighter? 56 Reviews 17 essential gaming titles 104 Beginners Guide to Good Gaming Who are the gamers, exactly? 106 Essential Classics Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 108 Stateside More views from the USA... 110 Hardware Three products you need to get! 116 The Lair Multiplayer madness 118 From Space Apple crack...

THIS MONTH’S COVER EA Sports MMA is getting ready for a fight. See the feature on page 12.

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Competitions 25 Enslaved: Odyssey to the West 51 R.U.S.E 79 H.A.W.X 2

gamecca contents • issue 16 • October 2010


Previews

20 22 24 26 28 30 31 32 34 35 36 38 40 42 44

Reviews

58 62 68 72 74 76 80 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102

LittleBigPlanet 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Epic Mickey Tony Hawk’s Shred The Sims 3: Late Night LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars EA Sports Active 2.0 Apache Air Assault Create uDraw Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs Nail’d Goldeneye 007 Sports Island Freedom Pac Man Party

Halo: Reach Dead Rising 2 H.A.W.X. 2 F1 2010 R.U.S.E Sid Meier’s Civilization V Metroid: Other M Kung Fu Rider Metroid: Trilogy Sports Champions Start The Party! PokéPark: Pikachu’s Adventure Crackdown 2 NHL 11 Racket Sports Tetris Party EyePet Move Edition

GAMECCA Volume1Issue 8 February 2010 Editor: Walt Pretorius walt@gamecca.co.za Sub Editor: Jimmy Glue Writers: Alexia Pestana Brian Murdoch Bryan Banfield Dion Scotten Richard Bingham Suvesh Arumugam Corey Schon Letters: letters@gamecca.co.za Competition Entries: competitions@gamecca.co.za Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gamecca.co.za Design & Photography: 1337 Media Technical Support: Brian Murdoch Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@gamecca.co.za

Taking fun seriously! CREATED USING

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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 16 • October 2010

Copyright © 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2010

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A Little Sister From the Editor

by Author’s Name

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t’s a big month for the Gamecca Crew – or, more correctly, for the whole of 1337 Media (which is, of course, the company that publishes this magazine.) As we continue the inevitable headlong rush towards Christmas, noting that the big chain stores are already starting to sell decorations for the Festive Season, we are not only preparing for the large amount of titles that will be hitting shelves in the last days of 2010. We are also adding something new to our stable. This new offering comes in the form of a magazine called Gladget. This new publication, which will hit the virtual shelves on a monthly basis, around the middle of each month, stems from the excellent response we have had from hardware reviews that have been published in Gamecca. That’s pretty much what Gladget will be about… hardware, gadgets and technology. But where Gamecca can only really look at those kinds of products if they are

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related to gaming, Gladget will allow us to tell our valued readers about all kind of hardware. From motherboards to photo-viewers, cell phones to software. There will also be some informative how-to articles about how technology works, how it developed and what to do with it. Keep an eye out for it on the 15th of October, which is when the first issue will be published. We will send our subscribers a newsletter to remind them, or you can surf over to www. gladget.co.za to take a look. Only on the 15th, mind you… you’re not going to find anything there for the moment. Another exciting event was the arrival of the PlayStation 3 Move motion control system at the Gamecca offices. There was a lot of speculation going on about the device (about the Kinect too, for that matter) and now many of our questions have been answered, and our concerns addressed. We’ve got a feature article about the Move and

some of the upcoming software in this issue, as well as reviews of three of the launch titles for the device: Kung Fu Rider, Sports Champions and EyePet Move Edition. We will likely see many more of these reviews over the next few months, as everyone and their uncle get onto the new product band wagon. And then there’s Halo: Reach. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the success of this franchise. The irrepressible Richard Bingham was particularly excited about the release of the game (we didn’t make him beg too much to do the review) which marks one of the biggest releases of the year. It’s been pretty exciting thus far, what with the long awaited StarCraft II, Halo: Reach, and the announcement that Gearbox have bought the rights to Duke Nukem Forever, and the game will more than likely arrive fairly soon. And there’s still so much more to come from 2010… And, of course, there’s the fact that we’ve hit sixteen issues… each issue is a milestone for us and, while the magazine is still young, virtually every issue marks an evolution of some kind. You will notice a few tweaks in this issue, too, which we hope you like. Feel free to let us know – we love getting feedback from our readers. Any complaints or compliments can be directed to letters@gamecca.co.za. And if you have missed any issues, remember that our back-issues are available online, for browsing or download. Just visit www.gamecca.co.za for either option, or use the handy back-issues page in this issue, which links to each of the previous fifteen editions we have done. g

gamecca column • issue 16 • October 2010


Game Babies Unstuck

by Jimmy Glue

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here exists a phenomenon in gaming that can found throughout the world. It’s not something new, and surely won’t go away anytime soon, but at some point during a multiplayer session we have all encountered it. It can be found in strategy games or sports titles, but it’s more predominant in first-person shooters. I’m of course talking about the sore, bitter and bad loser. While playing Bad Company 2, we often hear someone over the squawk box going totally berserk because he was taken out by a sniper from half-way across the map. It’s not the sniper’s fault that he has a pretty steady aim, nor is it the fault of the game developers or map designers. Fact of the matter is that you were in a rubbish position and got punished for it. Often that same person will try to exact their revenge on you, and in the process gets nailed again. It’s a vicious cycle, and he would do everybody a favour by just accepting his defeat and carrying on with the game. If you are going to get anything from your experience, get educated - learn from your mistakes and improve on them. That’s what makes a better player. I will have more respect for a 10year old who gets nailed in the head every single time but graciously accepts his defeat, than the number one ranked player who throws a hissy-fit every time a bullet grazes his character. A friend made a very good point, by saying that gamers want their hobby to be recognised as a sport, but how is that possible if there is absolutely no sportsmanship?

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It’s just as important as the actual game itself, and it shows that you have the mental capacity to take in information, analyse it and use it to your advantage – instead of being oafish, coming after the offending party with a balled fist and a small tree stump. I have heard that some horror stories about online StarCraft 2 games, where everybody in the session acknowledged that it was a fairly good games – while one a-hole decided to shoot down the entire game by stating it was rubbish. You know what, pal? You are probably the one who made it rubbish. There is a fine line between being overly-competitive and being a plonker, and more often than not the two over-lap during a heated match, making you an over-plonker. Nobody likes that, but then again, some gamers don’t know what they are getting themselves into – much to their amazement and frustration. Some of my friends play StarCraft 2 religiously, while I don’t even know the difference between Zork and Terrain [oh, dear… - ed]. Hypothetically, if I started playing the game, there is no way that I would just jump into a session with them. I will have my bum handed to me on a mouse pad. I won’t be upset about it – sure I’ll be disappointed – but I know that I have very little chance of making an impact.

That also stems from gamers who think that they play a better game than what they actually do. Referring back to Bad Company 2, we enjoyed a glorious defeat on one map, and while the next one loaded, we heard the other team stating that they are the best. Well, my squad got the pin for the best squad in a match – four maps in a row. Were we better than them? Maybe. Did we have any preconceived delusions about our ability? Not so much. Did the other team think they could beat everybody and failed horribly? Absolutely. Moral of the story is that gamers should know where they stand (in terms of ability), and accept the fact that there are actually other gamers out there that will beat them in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t help if you throw a tantrum – it just makes you look like a big baby. g

gamecca column • issue 16 • October 2010


Think Like a Loser The Rat’s Nest

by Dion Scotten

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f there’s one thing my dad taught me it was how to lose. No matter what game we played, whether it was sport, board games or even made up games, he’d beat me most of the time. The old man’s secret – experience. He knew what was coming and I never really stood a chance… at least not in the beginning. But why teach me to do something that comes naturally, you ask? Well that’s the point really. Losing comes naturally to all of us but we forget this because we’re taught to “think like winners”. It’s bad to lose and good to win, right? The funny part is that there’s normally only one winner and always a whole bunch of losers. We can’t all win, which means most of us spend a lot of the time losing. Winning isn’t a given and no you don’t deserve to win just because you’re taking part. Nobody is going to let you win and it’s something you will have to work at. Ok, so we’ve heard this before, but what does it mean? Should we just play more games? Yeah, sure, practice, but we need to find out why we lost, too. The down side to winning is that most winners don’t analyse their game. Why should they, they’re winning right? Wrong. You have to watch yourself and your opponent and realise that even though you won, you may have lost if something specific had occurred. The fact is you won’t be winning for long if you don’t constantly improve. Good losers have an advantage in that they almost always ask “what did I do wrong?” They analyse their mistakes, change their game and gain an edge over the winner. Think about it, most social groups have a single

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player who wins almost all his games but stagnates over time because he doesn’t need to improve. This changes, though, when he takes part in competition and gets destroyed. How this guy handles this reality check is important, too, because it’s when we lose that people get to see the real us. Winning, after all, is why we play games, we like to win. Racing is about coming first, FPS is about being the last man standing and RTS is all about domination and control. Handling ourselves properly when we come out on top is a breeze and most of us win with a bit of grace. Losing with grace is a little hard for some and it gets really difficult to stay positive when you hit that inevitable bad stretch. The guys that can’t win gracefully though are the ones that haven’t

learnt to lose yet. We’ve probably all met one of these A-holes. They insult you the whole way through the game and you don’t even need to say a thing. Uncool, dudes. The sad part is that they are actually really good players but they’re caught up in their negative focus and forget how many wins they’ve racked up. Don’t be an A-hole, you’re not the only person playing the game. This is also normally the guy though that hides in the middle of a group and shouts “Yeah!” from behind the biggest guy. He may be safe for now but he should keep in mind that we hear him and it’s only a matter of time before we squish him. Weasel. Don’t get upset with what they say because they probably irritate themselves anyway, but don’t forget them. Where’s the fun in that? (Arcticman – Starcraft2) RIP. g

gamecca column • issue 16 • October 2010


Feature

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gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


gamecca • review

The New

Contender Who will the heavyweight title go to?

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here are numerous genres that are very competitive. Doing well, in terms of sales, is difficult for some, because the market is often flooded with numerous titles, ranging from poor to excellent in quality. This makes entering into a new genre a particularly challenging prospect for many game developers. It’s not something that seems to bother Electronic Arts, though… particularly not when it comes to sports simulations. Let’s face it – EA does a good job of dominating most sports simulation game genres. And where the monolithic publisher doesn’t dominate outright, gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

by Walt Pretorius

it gives the competition a good run for its money. In fact, the only sports simulation genres in which EA isn’t dominant are the disciplines that they are not yet addressing, or are not actively pursuing (like the Rugby and Cricket franchises that they used to produce, but no longer seem geared towards.) And, naturally, EA is always on the lookout for new and exciting sports disciplines to get involved in. Adding new franchises to their existing brands, like the FIFA football games, Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf sims, Fight Night boxing simulators and a bunch of others, is always

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Feature good for business, and invariably works out quite well for gamers, too. EA seem to have a policy that domination of these markets is best achieved by being… well, the best. With the new EA Sports MMA game, they will likely be looking to set up a franchise that at least rivals the very popular UFC: Undisputed titles. But EA aren’t entirely new to the idea. They were investigating it before, but apparently some disagreements regarding licensing caused them to put the project on a bit of a hold. The wait is

Bio: Murilo “Ninja” Rua Rua, a 5’11”, 184 pound, Brazilian mixed martial artist is the former and first-ever EliteXC middleweight champion. He has an extensive fight history with PRIDE and is known for his well-rounded fighting skills. Rua is also the older brother to Mauricio “Shoguon” Rua.

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almost over, though, and the publisher is getting primed to enter the ring with their own mixed martial arts title. Mixed martial arts competitions are sweeping the globe. It is a true phenomenon, and one that demands courage, strength, agility and high degrees of endurance from its real life competitors. Governed by a strict set of rules, the apparently brutal sport is a true test of fighting ability, and it is one that seems to grow more popular by the day.

Bio: Fabricio Werdum Werdum is a two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion. The 6’4”, 242 pound heavyweight was ranked as the #10 heavyweight in the world according to Sherdog.com (as of April 2010) and has competed in PRIDE, UFC and STRIKEFORCE. gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


Many aspire to competing in the ring, and the prevalence of martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have seen quite an increase thanks to the popularity of the sport. But for those who are a little reluctant to get actually, really physical, EA Sports MMA may provide an answer. As said before, this new franchise will enter direct

Bio: Kevin Randleman Randleman is a former UFC heavyweight champion and collegiate wrestler. He wrestled at 177 pounds and was a two-time NCAA Champion for Ohio State. Randleman, of Columbus, Ohio is a tremendous athlete with explosive power and currently holds a record of 17-14-0. At 5’10”, 205 pounds, Randleman has an extensive MMA background with fights in the UFC, PRIDE and STRIKEFORCE. gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

competition with UFC: Undispted, but it seems like EA are taking a slightly different approach to bringing the virtual version of the sport to life. It seems like the biggest difference will be in the controls. Many critics of the UFC franchise have stated

Bio: Alistair Overeem Overeem, the current STRIKEFORCE heavyweight champion holds a mixed martial arts career record of 32-11-0. Overeem, a 6’5”, 260 pound Dutch kickboxer made his long-awaited return to STRIKEFORCE and put his title on the line against Brett Rogers on May 15, 2010. He is currently riding a four fight win streak and has wins over notable mixed martial arts fighters including Vitor Belfort, Paul Buentello and Sergei Kharitonov.

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Feature controller. Seeing as how EA has done interesting things in the past in games like Fight Night and even Skate – using the analogue sticks – this Total Strike Control system looks to be quite promising. But while we know that this system will govern hand, elbow, knee and foot strikes, we’re still waiting to see what the game will do when you get your opponent on the ground. What we do know about grappling is that the control system will punish button mashers – always a welcome note in our book – and will require quite a lot of strategy on the part of the player.

Bio:Vitor Ribeiro Ribeiro is a 5’8”, 155 pound Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist who has a career record of 20-3-0. He is an accomplished grappler and has won the Brazilian JiuJitsu World Championship four times.

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EA Sports MMA will allow the player to choose from a large number of different martial arts disciplines, and will also allow them to build their own fighter from the ground up. Those who don’t want to take that route will be able to call on a vast roster of virtual versions of real world combatants (some of whom we have highlighted in the box outs on these pages.) Either way, the player will be able to launch a full, extensive career with their chosen fighter, which will be comprised of both competitions and training sessions. These training sessions will allow the player to

Bio: Andre Arlovski Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion and is considered to be one of the top ten ranked heavyweights by some MMA publications. The 6’4”, 240 pound Belarusian mixed martial artist has a current record of 15-7-0. gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


learn new techniques and skills, as well as improve various other aspects of their fighter. Character progress will be measured in belts, just like many martial arts styles. Naturally, MMA will also feature a host of online and multiplayer competition modes, including tournaments that players can arrange against their friends. It looks very exciting indeed, and if EA live up to their promises (which they most often do) we should see a technical, yet accessible title in the form of EA Sports MMA. How it will measure up to the competition remains

Bio: Lyle Beerbohm Hailing from Spokane, Washington this 5’10”, 170 pound professional MMA fighters has defeated 7 of his opponents by knockout and 5 by submission, at the time of writing. gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

to be seen. The UFC brand has been around for a while, and has many fans and adherents already. But EA’s reputation, particularly when it comes to sports games, is very good – it might be enough to tempt more than a few fans of the sport to give the title a spin. It looks like the battle on the store shelves will be almost exciting as the virtual bouts presented in the game. Time will tell, of course, but it will be quite interesting to see the kind of impact that a brand new EA Sports franchise will have on the gaming market. g

Bio: Roger Gracie Gracie holds a 2-0 career record and made his longawaited STRIKEFORCE and United States MMA debut on May 15 2010 against MMA legend Kevin Randleman. The 28-year-old Gracie, is a second degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and is a native of Brazil.

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Previews Highlights 20 LittleBigPlanet 2 More creativity!

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2 Ju ly

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24 Epic Mickey Paint the world

za

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game reviews! UFC Sims 3: Und Ambitio ispu ns Alph ted 2010 a Prot and Pure Foo ocol man tball y mor e...

Hap Bir py thd Gam ay! ec Back ca’s 1st Year Supe in S r Ma rio Gapace lax

Con y2 The Sims sol 3 he ading e B for ot o her pla un tform d! s

26 Tony Hawk’s Shred Let’s try this again

Expl Split osive! War Mac Second hine War Transfo for Cyb rmers s! ertron :

28 The Sims 3: Late Night More things to do 38 Nail’d Off-road racing action

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t’s so exciting, we could all just spit! The last quarter of 2010 has arrived and, as you all know, the games are going to start rolling in thick and fast. Our preview section will, naturally, give you great ideas for future gaming purchases. And then it’ll be 2011. Pretty soon you will start seeing games for next year showing up in our previews, as the yearly cycle starts again. We’re hoping for a strong start to next year, but time will tell. Thankfully, though, there should be enough great gaming left this year to keep us busy through any dry patches that might be coming up... g

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gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


LittleBigPlanet 2

The Creative Spark Making stuff is getting even better

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couple of years ago, PS3 owners were treated to a game that became something of a phenomenon. LittleBigPlanet took platform gaming ideas, applied realistic physics, added an adorable, customisable character, and made it possible for users to contribute to a vast online community by way of user generated content. The mix was brilliant, and new, user-built levels and contents got uploaded in massive amounts. Not only was it great fun to create levels with stuff that was unlocked as the player progressed, but the actual game dynamic itself was wonderfully addictive, allowing up to four players to take to complex, challenging and highly imaginative levels together. LittleBigPlanet provided a breath of fresh air in the platform market, and modernised

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by Walt Pretorius

the idea of side-scrolling adventure games in a way that was unique and alluring. It was, in short, a damn good game. But the developers didn’t rest on their laurels. They knew all too well that any sequel to this addictive, creative title would have to be even more awesome if it was going to even make it out of the starting gate. And so, in LittleBigPlanet 2, things are going to be bigger, bolder and generally better. The campaign will put the player back in control of Sackboy, who will need to save LittleBigPlanet. The player will guide him through numerous levels full of challenges and fun.

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Arguably the most fun, though, will come in the form of the simple yet powerful toolset that players will have access to. Now, instead of just creating levels, players will even be able to make up their own mini-games. From shooting games and racers through to… well, almost anything the player can imagine, LittleBigPlanet 2 will provide the player with the tools to make it. And when it comes to creating levels, the player will have even more at their disposal. One of the new level building elements will be Sackbots, AI controlled characters that the player can create and ‘program’ to help or hinder the player in their custom levels. The player will even be able to build intelligent machines for their levels, as well as vehicles and puzzles.

The creative types will even be able to produce cinematic cut scenes. Controller reassignment is even on the cards. Naturally, part of the fun will be having others experience all your hard work, or trying out the levels and mini-games built by others around the world. To this end, LittleBigPlanet 2 will have the expected strong online support that helped make the first game as successful as it was. There is little doubt, at this time, that LittleBigPlanet 2 will be a resounding success, and a fantastic game to boot. If the original title is anything to go on, we can be certain that LittleBigPlanet 2 will provide users with many hours – or rather, months… even years – of creative, challenging gaming. g

AT A GLANCE: Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor Entertainment gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010

TBC Platforms

LittleBigPlanet 2 promises to give the player even more creative inspiration than before.

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

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Harry has a lot of work to do…

by Jimmy Glue

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he Harry Potter franchise has grown into something that was virtually unimaginable seven years ago, when the boy wizard began creeping into the hearts and imaginations of many kids and young adults around the world. The franchise is in its closing years, with the last film being split into two parts and released over a period of two years. But that is a good thing – if fans are hoping for an accurate representation of novels. And with every excellent franchise, there is the chance to tap the market beyond the realms of the film – and that is where the second last game adaptation comes in. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: The Videogame not only ranks up as one of the longest video game titles, but as one would assume it follows the plot of the film with the same name. Developers Electronic Arts promises that this instalment will be the most challenging Harry Potter game yet, with action and heart-stopping combat around every turn. Without giving away too much, players will assume the role of Harry, and will be on the run from the opening sequence, fighting for survival on a desperate and dangerous quest to locate and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Not only that, but players will also have to fend for themselves against the muchfeared Death Eaters and Snatchers. It’s going to be the most epic we have seen Harry Potter and this time there is no more training – just a fight for survival. g

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AT A GLANCE: Closing in for the final battle, this instalment promises to be very exciting and challenging. Developer: EA Brighlight Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: Electronic Arts SA

Nov 2010 Platforms

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Final Fight

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Epic Mickey

Hero or Scrapper? Paint pirates and smack-talking cows

by Alexia Scotten

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AT A GLANCE: An action-adventure platforming game that sends Mickey Mouse on an epic journey of creativity and discovery Developer: Junction Point Studios Publisher: Disney Interactive Distributor: Prime Interactive

Nov 2010 Platforms

pic Mickey is part of an effort by the Walt Disney Company to re-brand the Mickey Mouse character we all know and love by moving away from his current squeaky clean image and reintroducing the mischievous side of his personality. In the game, Walt Disney is represented by the sorcerer Yen Sid, who created a pen-andpaper world for his forgotten and rejected creations. Mickey finds himself inside Yen Sid’s study after entering a mirror in his own house. He tries to create a model of himself and through a comedy of errors and paint thinners manages to turn it into a wasteland. Many years later, Mickey has forgotten about the incident, until the Phantom Blot enters his home through the same mirror and pulls him into the Cartoon Wasteland. Player actions can either have Mickey hailed as a Hero, or feared as a Scrapper – a term for being overly mischievous. These choices will open up different alliances, side-quests and power-ups, depending on the path taken. Mickey uses a magic paintbrush than can be used on enemies and painted portions of the environment. Mickey is also able to create objects from sketches, for example a clock to slow down time, or a TV to distract an enemy. To travel between sections of the Cartoon Wasteland, Mickey must traverse 2D sidescrolling levels based on his classic cartoon shorts such as Steamboat Willie and Clock Cleaners. Mickey received a character redesign in this game to give him a slightly more ‘retro’ look; this, combined with the animation engine, replicates the stretchy athleticism of the classic cartoons. Game designer Warren Spector has stated that Epic Mickey was planned as a trilogy. There you go, more for the mouseketeers. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


c om p eti t io n • c omp eti ti o n • com pe t ition • com pe tit ion • compe t it ion

Monkey Business

WIN A PS3 or Xbox 360 copy of

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Courtesy of Megarom & Ubisoft

TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gamecca.co.za. Tell us how the name of one of the main characters in Enslaved Tell us if you would Prefer a PS3 or Xbox 360 copy. Insert ‘Enslaved competition’ in the mail’s subject line. Subscribe to www.gamecca.co.za Competition closes 31 October 2010. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Hampers may not include a copy of the game. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, Ubisoft & Megarom Interactive The judges’ decision is final.


Tony Hawk: Shred

Asphalt and Snow Two for the price of one, sort of…

by Jimmy Glue

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AT A GLANCE: Using the same horrible peripheral, Tony Hawk is aiming for a much younger market. Developer: Robomodo Publisher: Activision Distributor: Megarom

Oct 2010 Platforms

ow, is it that time of the year already? No, it’s not time to break open the Christmas lights just yet, but it is time to dust off the virtual skateboard, as the ever-popular Tony Hawk will be releasing yet another (yes, another) instalment to the franchise. This time titled Shred, it will aim for a younger audience, a move that might not be as clever as one might think. Although kids also need to get enjoyment out of the franchise, the previous titles weren’t too hard – and the move might alienate hardcore fans. Anyhow, the game will once again use the disastrous skateboard peripheral from last year’s Tony Hawk: Ride – indicating that the local market might just not be ready to receive it. With the skateboard video game market becoming very saturated, with Skate 3 and Shaun White Skateboarding on the shelves, it seems as though the title is trying to distance itself from those by including snowboard action as well. It will also be the first time that a Tony Hawk game will be cell-shaded, further indicating that it wants to get away from the realistic feel that has made Skate 3 so popular. So in short, the game will look more like an arcade title, with a horrible peripheral and aimed at a very younger market with bright colours and settings. Only one question begs to be answered: Why? g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


The Sims 3: Late Night

The Night Life Party all night long

by Jimmy Glue

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AT A GLANCE: Taking the Sims into the night, anything can and will happen. Developer: EA Games Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

Q4 2010 Platforms

he Sims is one of the most successful brands since the dawn of the modern computer, and with the release of The Sims 3 a while back, the franchise has just exploded with possibilities. The third instalment has already seen two themed expansions, and now the Sims and their neighbours will need to get ready to party all night long. Being released as the third expansion, The Sims 3 Late Night will add a whole range of exciting and new features that is sure to put a virtual smile on every Sim’s face. Players’ Sims will be getting a bit of a social boost, as they will be able to party it up with celebrities at the hottest clubs – or just spend an evening relaxing with friends. The premise of the add-on pack is to give the Sims a bit of a more lively nightlife, as night-time in the game is fairly boring – with time usually being fast-forwarded. So, for all the night-owls, there will be parties, gatherings, friends playing video games, live concerts with rowdy band members and even a sexy vampire or two wandering the streets. But the Sims can also become the centre of attention. Players will be able to take their Sims into the bustling urban setting where they’ll be able to become a local celebrity, member of a music band, mixologist or even a director. As with all the Sims add-ons, this one should be tons of fun. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Forcing the issue?

by Walt Pretorius

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here never really was any doubt that Traveller’s Tales would revisit the Star Wars universe with another one in their series of filminspired, LEGO-based games. With the popularity of the first two LEGO Star Wars titles, it really was a no brainer. Luckily for Tt, the makers of Star Wars saw fit to produce an animated TV series telling the tale of the Clone Wars, which has provided the inspiration for the third LEGO Star Wars title. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will put the player in control of some of the best loved characters from the series. The addictive LEGO game play will naturally be present, complete with LEGO renditions of familiar characters and settings. But the developers have decided to give players something extra in the form of new battle modes. The unique head-to-head combat should prove to be fun, particularly if making use of user-generated content made with the upgraded level builder. The player will be able to make use of exciting new character abilities, too, including lightsaber jumps and long distance Jedi attacks, and will be able to play as either a Jedi or a Separatist. With a good track record and some exciting new ideas, it looks like the next instalment of LEGO Star Wars will be worth keeping a look-out for. g

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AT A GLANCE: With a few new ideas and tweaks, this one might just be the breath of fresh air the franchise needs. Developer: Traveller’s Tales Publisher: LucasArts Distributor: Megarom

Q4 2010 Platforms

LEGO Star Wars III:The Clone Wars

Another One

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


EA Sports Active 2.0

Feel the Burn! Now on HD consoles as well…

by Walt Pretorius

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gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010

AT A GLANCE: The new Active workout regime won’t be restricted to the Wii. Developer: EA Sports Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

Q4 2010 Platforms

he idea that video game consoles can help with physical fitness just keeps evolving. It’s a great idea, of course, and one that numerous companies are ascribing to. Electronic Arts is one of those companies, and with the great success that their rather strenuous EA Sports Active providing a thorough workout for many people around the globe (at least those with the discipline to stick to it) it’s no surprise that a sequel is on the way. If you can call it that, of course. These titles aren’t really games, per se. But it’s got a 2 in the title (2.0, in fact) so we’ll live with the word ‘sequel’. The good news is that EA have taken a few new approaches with this package. It will now also take advantage of the new motion controllers for both Xbox 360 and PS3, and will even include a heart rate monitor, as well as new arm and leg straps with motion sensors attached. If working out is your kind of thing, the strength and cardio routines promised by this title should be just up your alley… and you don’t have to be a Wii owner to take advantage of them anymore! g

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Apache Air Assault

Hovering Death Da Vinci should have known someone would strap guns onto it

By Dion Scotten

C

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AT A GLANCE: A military helicopter romp for all warfare flight simulation fans. Developer: Gaijin Entertainment Publisher: Activision Distributor: Megarom

Nov 2010 Platforms

ombat helicopter fans, this one’s coming in time for Christmas. Most warfare games don’t give helicopter combat enough time but Activision are about to set it straight. Not everyone is a ground slogging marine or fighter pilot… in fact there needs to be a group of guys who gets called when things get out of hand. Apache Air Assault, developed by Gaijin Entertainment, is being called a military helicopter flight simulator for the 360 and PS3 platforms and for all intents and purposes it will be one. Although you won’t be hooking up any sophisticated flight controls, the controller’s dual joysticks and triggers should give you a complex enough feel for the movement of a helicopter to think it’s a simulator. For non-purist players, though, the game promises to deliver hours of hovering strategy, big gun action and some unexpected combat encounters from the seat of one the most popular peacekeepers. Less focus will be placed on the storyline and more on getting the player into conflict situations filled with targets. Main mission objectives are predetermined, as usual, but a lot of the game will be following objectives that arise in-mission. Play arcade mode if you just want to get into the action and enjoy the destruction, or choose the “realistic” mode if you want to crash your Heli before you actually get shot down. Co-op play is included but players will share the same Heli as co-pilots, instead of a dual air assault. Who gets to fly and who gets to blow stuff up is up to you. Apache Air Assault won’t be for everyone but it’ll be great for helicopter fans who may feel it’s a little overdue. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Create

Finding Solutions Not everything has a quick-fix solution

by Jimmy Glue

G

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AT A GLANCE: Create aims to be a modernisation of The Incredible Machine. Let’s hope it is... Developer: EA Bright Light Studios Publisher: Electronic Arts Distributor: EA South Africa

Q4 2010 Platforms

oing back a good couple of years, The Incredible Machine was one of the hottest games on the PC. The object of the title was usually to get a truly inventive machine working by stringing together a wide variety of objects. Well, Electronic Arts will be revisiting the premise through Create, a game that will pit players against other objects and kinetic energy. The aim will be to create solutions for one object to safely make its way to the other side to the screen, using a variety of everyday items that interact with each other – just like The Incredible Machine. Very little is still known about the title, but it promises to be thoroughly entertaining. The teaser video on the game’s site also showed of the huge amount of detail that has gone into it… this might just be EA’s answer to LittleBigPlanet. Similar to the latter, players will also have the functionality to interact with the setting, which they can paint, add animation to objects, and decorate. Background object can also be dropped into the stage, just to give it a feeling of living art. The title will be released on just about every platform, and compatibility with PlayStation’s Move has already been confirmed – although there is no word on Microsoft’s Kinect. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


uDraw

Create to Play Wii gets artistic license…

by Alexia Pestana

A

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010

AT A GLANCE: Forget pen and paper, oils and acrylics. THQ’s peripheral for the Wii is all you need to create your own masterpiece. Developer: THQ Publisher: THQ Distributor: Ster Kinekor Entertainment

Nov 2010 Platforms

rt and gaming, two of the few big loves in my life. Never would I have thought that the two could be combined! After the launch of uDraw – THQ’s neat little game tablet – there might be room yet for art games on consoles. The peripheral itself seems sturdy, attractively designed, and opens up a whole new world on the Wii to explore. The device is powered by the Wii remote, which is placed into an opening on the tablet’s surface, allowing one to communicate using the console. The panel is 9 x 7 inches and comes with a tethered pen that can be used to draw pictures or play games. It is sold with an art based game that will come with tutorials, on-screen colouring pages and so on. There is a large selection of templates for the kids who are too young for the more complex drawing tools, grouped under fantasy, sci-fi and animal themes. Anything you create in uDraw can be exported as a Jpeg to an SD card, so you can share your work of art with your friends. It is also the sort of object that parents would applaud, as it lets their offspring do something on their Wiis that is actually productive: learning to draw and paint. THQ is also working on Dood’s Big Adventure and a digital version of Pictionary, both of which will utilise the uDraw’s potential for fun. Granted, it probably won’t satisfy the ‘real’ artists, but then professionals will have an actual drawing tablet that costs three or four times as much as the Wii, and a suite of Adobe tools run by a PC strong enough to decode the human genome. g

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The other Pokémon game

by Brian Murdoch

T

he Pokémon Ranger series, just like other Pokémon games, toys or any other Pokémon branded items, has become very popular. Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs is the third instalment and promises to be action packed, just like the first two. Pokémon Ranger games are often confused with being like the other Pokémon games, but players buying the game under these pretences are not disappointed when finding out their mistake. Pokémon Ranger has the player as a ranger protecting the Pokémon from Pokémon Pinchers, poaching and generally keeping the peace. Players will be required to catch Pokémon during their adventure by using the stylus to draw circles around the Pokémon and catching them in the “rope” drawn. As players advance in the game, the Pokémon became more difficult to capture but new abilities are given to the player’s capture stylus to help with this. Rangers will also be able draw ranger signs on the touch screen with the stylus to summon powerful Pokémon that they have befriended to help them with the challenges provided by the story. Some of the powerful Pokémon are the Legendary Pokémon Raikou, Entei and Suicune. In Guardian Signs the ranger will be paired with their partner, Ukulele Pichu, to protect the Pokémon in the Oblivia region. Ukulele is an energetic Pichu (baby version of Pikachu) and will be your main help in the beginning of the game. Just like the previous title, players will be able to group together over the Nintendo DS Local Wireless Connection and play through certain missions. This will require each player to have their own copy of the game. g

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AT A GLANCE: The third instalment to the enjoyable Pokémon Ranger series looks good as the extra and alternative Pokémon Game. Developer: Creatures Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Nov 2010 Platforms

Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs

The Stylus Lasso

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Nail’d

Extreme ATV Action Steeper drops than the 2009 stock markets

by Richard Bingham

W

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AT A GLANCE: A larger-than-life arcade extravaganza. This looks like it’ll be as fun as Burnout and more extreme than Tony Hawk. Developer: Techland Publisher: Deep Silver Distributor: TBC

Oct 2010 Platforms

e’re no strangers to ATV games. There aren’t many to choose from, but the few that are available can be fun, now and then. Each year we’re given a new MX vs ATV title, the newcomer always more absurd than its predecessor – monster trucks and buggies are even starting to feature – but there’s very little in the way of outright innovation. A while ago we also had Pure, from Disney (of all developers), which was a fresh take on quad-bike racing. Well, not really, but it was fun for a few months. Now, though, Nail’d promises to take the genre to new heights. Literally. The developers are talking up the game’s massive real world locations, with drops of more than 800 metres in certain areas. Apparently some of the inclines will be something silly like 70-degrees, which is impossible to scale in real life, but thanks to Awesome Video Game Physics™, Nail’d will bend the laws of reality and give gamers some fun. Players won’t have to muck about with tricky tuning settings or know about racing lines. Instead, it’s all about using a turbo boost button and getting as much air as you can, while trying to dodge trees and wind turbines on your way to a soft landing. Where this won’t depart from the norm is in the soundtrack. While no names have been mentioned, the marketing blurb mentions some tracks by “popular US rock-musicians” and “famous metal bands”. Which is fine by us, because Lady Gaga in our racing games just won’t do it. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Goldeneye 007

This is Just a Tribute A Nintento 64 classic brought back to life.

by Richard Bingham

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AT A GLANCE: With the pressure of being a remake of a really good classic, this has everything to lose. But things look promising, so far. Developer: Eurocom Publisher: Activision Distributor: Megarom

Dec 2010 Platforms

ho remembers the Nintendo 64? Hah! Yes! That’s right! Nobody does. Well, except a few gaming anoraks. The point is, we never got the much vaunted 64-bit console here in SA – not officially, anyway – and as such we were deprived of important bits of gaming canon. Super Mario 64. Wave Race 64. And, the game I’m supposed to be writing about in this preview, Goldeneye 007 64. This Wii exclusive is all new, though. It’s based on the likeness of the latest Bond, Daniel Craig, though it’s not certain how the recent demise of MGM (the studio that owns the Bond franchise) will affect the series and its licensed merchandise. Still, when this lands in December it should bring back fond memories of 4-player split-screen fun – something we haven’t really seen since TimeSplitters on the PS2. The developers are also making a song and dance about being able to “play your own way”. Wii gamers will be familiar with the motion controls, and the augmented (and stupidly named) Wii Zapper will also be supported. Fans of the original, who had to master the game using analogue sticks on a controller, will rejoice at the support for those controllers in this modern remake. And best you get comfortable with your controller of choice, because the 8-player online deathmatches are gonna be super competitive. Taking a cue from all the other modern shooters, Goldeneye will have an XP system and unlockable items to make its online experience that much more fun and rewarding. We can’t wait to blow people’s heads off with our laser watches. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Sports Island Freedom

In Control

Figure skating (with no controllers) in front of your TV. by Brian Murdoch

D

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AT A GLANCE: Sport with no strings, wires or controllers attached. Developer: Hudson Publisher: Hudson Distributor: Ster Kinekor Entertainment

Nov 2010 Platforms

eca Sports has had a good run on the Wii and DS, selling over 2.5 million copies. Seeing the opportunities on the Xbox 360, with the Kinect not requiring a controller, the developers have moved their focus there. The fitness aspect of the game will be greatly enhanced, thanks to the full-body sensing that the Kinect system will be able to perform. Hudson has made a move to be one of the first to use the Kinect’s feature of no controllers and full body movement. The new Deca Sports Freedom will have 10 sports to participate in. These include Tennis, Boxing, Archery, Paintball, Beach Volleyball, Dodge Ball, Kendo, Mogul Skiing, Snowball Cross, and even Figure Skating. It’s funny to watch people making ridiculous movements in front of their TV with Wii remotes in their hands, but how funny is it going to be to watch players Dodge, perform Archery and Figure Skating with no controller at all? People will be calling for those nice white jackets that make you hug yourself. Comedy aside, the full body scan and requirement for the player to move their body in the correct way for the game will possibly provide a great work out. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Pan-Man Party

Happy 30th Birthday! What, no power pellets?

by Alexia Pestana

M

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AT A GLANCE: With more than 45 exciting minigames, Pac-Man Party provides a rewarding and challenging social gaming experience. Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco Bandai Distributor: Megarom

Q4 2010 Platforms

arking the 30th birthday of its yellow mascot, Namco Bandai Games America announced PacMan Party, a new party game developed exclusively for the Wii. As with Nintendo’s long running party game series, this game is designed to offer approachable controls with the Wii remote, challenging players to use their skills and reflexes as they compete against each other on various virtual game boards. It features 45 different mini-games, including tie-based trials that have players rolling a giant snowball or knocking their friends off of a mountain top. Pac-Man Party also has four different modes of play. The story mode, which enables players to explore the worlds, mini-game mode, party mode, comprising the meat of the experience, and classic mode – with the original arcade version. Pac-Man Party has a full story line, including three new characters, as Pac-Man explores various islands and meets new people. All games can be varied by turning on or off Power Cookies, which can be picked up in various ways to modify play and allow the younger player to catch up. Tweaks to the Mario party formula include removing the turn based element. Instead, players roll the dice and move in unison, which helps games move quicker. The inclusion of the classic games like Galaga and Dig Dug is a nice addition for parents who might want to access the original games when their kids aren’t around. g

PC X360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2

gamecca preview • issue 16 • October 2010


Feature

Move to HD... The first volley in the next battle... 46

by Walt Pretorius gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


gamecca • review

O

ver the last few months, we have been treated to yet another battle in the long running fight for console domination between Microsoft and Sony. The subject of the latest bun-fight was, naturally, motion-controlled gaming (a battle which motion-veteran Nintendo watched with great interest and some bemusement, no doubt.) These battles have lasted for a good few years, quite often seeing Microsoft trumping Sony with earlier releases – the Xbox 360 hit shelves around a year before the PlayStation 3. But this time around, Sony have scored the early release win, with their motion peripheral – the Move – getting to market a few months before Microsoft’s Kinect system. Part of the battle was a lot of speculation from gamers and game journalists about the two systems. But that speculation – as far as the Move is concerned – can now be set aside. The peripheral is here, the games are getting released, and Sony is hoping for a mad rush of consumers snapping up the first HD console movement controlled gaming system. The basic system is comprised of a PlayStation Eye Camera, and a Move controller. The camera is one that you may be familiar with – it’s a high grade USB camera, complete with a microphone. The Move controller is a wand-style device, topped with a large white “ball”. This ball, made of a flexible, impact-resistant material, lights up when the user is playing a game. It shines is various colours, which allows the camera to track it more effectively. This helps the device deliver true 1:1 motion sensing, which naturally delivers a great gaming experience. The controller has nine buttons. The four traditional PlayStation face buttons, (triangle, circle, square and X) flank a large “Move” button, all

gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

EyePet Move Edition

Sports Champions

Kung Fu Rider

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Heavy Rain

Echochrome II

Hustle King

Start the Party!

Sports Champions

The Shoot

of which are easily accessible with the user’s thumb. A trigger is mounted on the bottom of the device, also within easy reach of the user’s index finger. Below the Move button is a PS button, for overall menu and power controls, and a Select and Start button are placed on the left and right sides of the unit, respectively. These are a little tougher to get to, and will (at times) require the user’s second hand to be used. The base of the unit has a USB interface jack (to allow the item to be recharged or connected to the PS3 via a USB cable) as well as an extension port, which will allow future peripherals to be plugged in to the device. It also

48

has a place to attach the ever-essential wrist strap. Using the system is very simple. Holding down the trigger allows for menu navigation, for example, and a little practice will have the user flying through menus like a pro in no time. The fact that the unit is rechargeable is also a massive win over existing motion-controlled systems (read as Nintendo Wii) and the fact that the system works with an HD console means better graphics for motion controlled games. The downside of the system (which is really the only one at the moment) is that there aren’t a lot of Move games available just yet. This will change quickly, no doubt, as

gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


Tumble

The Fight

TV Superstars both Sony and third-party developers have numerous titles on the way. Early announcements from Sony alone include Kung Fu Rider, Sports Champions, EyePet Move Edition, Heavy Rain, Echochrome II, Tumble, Hustle King, Start the Party, The Fight, The Shoot and TV Superstars. With the third-party games announced, the list grows significantly. Many of these will hit shelves within the latter part of 2010, meaning that the Move will enjoy a lot of product support relatively quickly. This counts for peripherals, too. The list is growing quite quickly, and includes everything from the navigation controller through to controller mods like guns and swords. Based on the initial games we have played, the Move is gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

a great system, with tons of potential. As always, when something new hits the market, it will take a while for developers to fully tap into the idea. That said, the idea of a controller-based motion gaming system has been around for a while, thanks to the Wii, and experience gained from working with that system will undoubtedly give developers the edge with the new gaming system. The Move offers a whole new approach to the PlayStation 3, which is a strong performer in the PS biased South African market. How gamers will react to the device is still unclear, but potentially Sony will be scoring a big hit with the device, as motion gaming makes the move to HD.g

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Big in Japan PS Zealot

by Suvesh Arumugam

T

he Tokyo Games Show is Asia’s biggest gaming showcase, and their answer to America’s E3 and Europe’s Gamescom. Like Gamescom, the annual event is both an insider’s peek into what’s in store for the gaming fraternity, and a public showcase to launch new titles, consoles and anything else related to gaming. This year’s show ran from the 16th of September to the 19th. At the time of writing, it seems that the big announcements are around new game titles for next year, with the major console and accessory developers having pretty much given us all there is to know in terms of hardware. So far, Electronic Arts have announced several must-have titles for next year, including the long awaited sequel Dead Space 2, which

should hit shelves in late January. A Limited Edition of the game will include Dead Space: Extraction (previously available only on Wii) and the game promises to be Move compatible. From what I’ve seen so far, this is a very cool title to add to the shopping list. EA have also announced a brand new title called “Shadow of the DAMNED”, where players will take the role of a demon hit man. Obviously, the game takes place in hell (where else would you find demons!). With claims that the game is Resident Evil with motorcycles, I’m quite interested to see if the final game (due in late 2011) will live up to the teasers I’ve seen so far. EA also gave a sneak peek into the latest incarnation of Medal of Honour, now being developed by DICE (who were responsible for the Battlefield series). While the series has traditionally taken place in World War II, the latest offering takes place in more modern times in Afghanistan. Japanese developer-giants Capcom have made some big revelations, probably the biggest of which is a new Devil May Cry title. The latest in the series is planned to be a reboot of sorts,

and will be developed in the US this time, in conjunction with Ninja Theory (makers of Heavenly Sword). We haven’t been told much else, but this series has such an impeccable reputation, you know it’s going to be one to look out for. Capcom are also planning to launch a brand new franchise called Asura, which so far looks like a very different third-person action game. What I’ve glimpsed so far seems pretty out there, god-like creatures fighting in space. So far, we’re being promised something we’ve never seen before. Other news which will please diehard PS fans is that Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are going to be re-released for the PS3. Following the footsteps of God of War, the PS2 cult classics will be upgraded to Full HD, to coincide with the release of the latest offering from Team Ico, The Last Guardian. Also action fans will soon be treated to a new James Bond title called Blood Stone. In the vein of Everything or Nothing, the game will have its own original story line, theme song and will be voiced by the cast of the most recent films, including Daniel Craig and Judi Dench. I really enjoyed Quantum of Solace, though it rarely went beyond a standard shoot-em up, but Activision promises to deliver more spy type intrigue, stealth and action, while also capturing the physicality of Daniel Craig’s Bond. If it can live up to Everything or Nothing’s intriguing story line, and exciting action with fights, cars, planes and tanks, I think this will keep me highly entertained! g

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


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

No Lies!

WIN A

PS3 copy of R.U.S.E, or a R.U.S.E branded SteelSeries mouse Courtesy of Megarom & Ubisoft TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gamecca.co.za. Tell us the name of the double agent in R.U.S.E. Tell us which prize you would prefer. Insert ‘RUSE competition’ in the mail’s subject line. Subscribe to www.gamecca.co.za Competition closes 31 October 2010. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Hampers may not include a copy of the game. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, Ubisoft & Megarom Interactive The judges’ decision is final.


Who’s Who Xbox Beat

by Bryan Banfield

I

n our Xbox world there are four people that work behind the scenes at Microsoft to help keep the wheels turning and the gamers happy. Lawrence “Larry” Hryb (Pronounced Herb) is Xbox’s Major Nelson and is the Director of Programming for Xbox Live. After joining the Xbox team in 2004, Hryb was instrumental in the development of the Xbox 360, Xbox Live and the “New Xbox Experience”. Larry was also part of the small team that assisted in the development of the concept of Xbox 360 Achievements. This feature is now one of the most popular features of the Xbox 360 platform. Major Nelson is also the producer of the weekly podcast “Major Nelson Radio”. On this podcast Major Nelson and his team discuss Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Kinect, Zune, gaming, technology and conduct interviews with various key developers working on Xbox 360 titles as well as Xbox Live Arcade titles. Stephen Toulouse is also know as Stepto

(Pronounced Step-toe). Stepto is the Director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement at Microsoft. Stepto and his team spend almost all their time discussing, reviewing, implementing, and re-reviewing the Xbox Live Policies regarding fair play, and so on. Stepto is passionate about protecting the experience of gamers on Xbox Live, making sure that a few do not ruin the experience for the rest of the gamers. Some of these tasks include reviewing gamers that use glitches in a game to gain an unfair advantage. Stepto has often shared some of the experiences he has had to deal with, especially when it comes to “keeping it clean” on the Xbox Live Vision Camera. Some of the stories also include explaining to parents why their son’s Xbox Live account has been banned due to bad language or racism. Eric Neustadter, also know as ‘e’, is the Xbox Live Operations Manager. E also has the shortest gamertag as well as being the oldest gamertag on the Xbox Live Service, having been created on the 13th of August 2002. Laura Massey is the only female on the team but is very capable of holding her own with the rest of the Major Nelson Radio team. Laura’s nickname and

gamertag is lollip0p. Lollip0p is responsible for making sure that all the changes and additional features added to the Xbox Live service are tested and working correctly. These deal with features like Netflix, the Xbox Live Avatars and Avatar accessories. She also acts as the architect of various services and looks after the Software Test Engineers. Lollip0p also runs and contributes to the blog that her team started to help those users who are keen to know how the Xbox Live service works. This blog can be read at http:// www.xbox.com/en-US/live/ engineeringblog/default.htm Often we don’t get to see the inner workings of certain platforms and system that we spend our time on but the Xbox team has done well to give the chance to get to know who these people are. For those of you keen to know more about the Xbox team, gain access to some inside info and listen to interviews that sometime only Microsoft has access to, try listening to the Major Nelson Podcast. You can download the podcast at http:// majornelson.com/default.aspx or you can subscribe to the podcast via

This page is provided by Xbox Gamer 42

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Getting Smarter? House of Mario

by Brian Murdoch

M

etroid: Other M and Metroid Prime Trilogy arrived at my door step this last month, at the same time, and bowled me over with the amount of Metroid gaming I was able to do. Fighting my principles of playing games in order I put Metroid Other M in first to give it a go. Playing through the latest great creation in the Metroid series was great, complete with the advanced control scheme of turning the Wii remote in different ways to control Samus Aran in different views. I also noticed the difficulty level and the fact that it is a bit harder than the last Metroid game that I played… Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. After a good session I put in the Collector’s edition of Metroid Prime Trilogy and really just wanted to see how they bundled up the three games into one and whether it would be a menu option or the older GameCube games would need to be installed onto the Wii, enabling me to play them without the disc. Sadly the disc was required but the three games were quite well placed. To catch up the non-Metroid fans so everyone can enjoy this train of thought, the two older GameCube games (Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes) were bundled up with the first Wii title (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption) into a single product: Metroid Prime Trilogy. The Wii can play the older GameCube versions, but will require a GameCube controller. This way the new Metroid fans will be able to enjoy the previous titles with a Wii remote and nunchuk. After playing more or less the same amount of time on Metroid Prime

(the first one) I found that I was well into the game and did not need to put much more effort in to get it finished. I had never played the first one before and also wondered if it was the prep from the latest one that helped me, but no. Games have become harder as the year go by. The children of today have a far greater challenge in games than the previous versions. A very good and well know example are the Mario games. The newer versions are epic-hard and easy instructional guide modes need to be added so that the newer players have something to help. Metroid Prime is basic and simple when place next to Metroid Other M or even Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. It’s a given that the human population will be smarter faster as the year go on, but it does not even start at school or as an adult… it starts with the children and their video games. Train them while they are young to be the best bounty hunter in all the galaxy and watch them out-strategize the high corporates in their jobs. This also brings to point the age restriction on the games. I’m not trying to fight the FPB on the age limits that they place but these are no guide line as to how old the child needs to be to be able to play the game. No indication of what skills are required. My 5 year old can control

almost anything now in a video game, but can’t read the instructions, so if they are not read to him in a dialog, then he is unsure of how to continue. The epic fail comes into play when the latest Ben 10, or Bagukan game comes out (that every child wants) but the dialogue needs to be read and includes monstrously big words that even adults battle to understand. Life would be grand if the age restriction and accurate content reasoning was accompanied with an indication of age and skills required to play the game. I’m not holding my breath for this to happen in South Africa but it would be good for review magazines and sites to include this useful information into the reviews. [Are you dropping hints? – ed] g

This page is provided by Nintendo Gamer 44

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wii care

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

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

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Reviews Highlights 58 Halo: Reach The best yet?

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62 Dead Rising 2 Creative mayhem

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Hap Bir py thd Gam ay! ec Back ca’s 1st Year Supe in S r Ma rio Gapace lax

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12 H.A.W.X 2 Back to the skies

Expl Split osive! War Mac Second hine War Transfo for Cyb rmers s! ertron :

18 F1 2010 Grand Prix Codies style! 38 Civilization V Build an empire one turn at a time

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eady, set, go! The fourth quarter of 2010 is officially here, bringing with it all the gaming goodness that we have come to expect from the Festive Season. But there aren’t just new games afoot... You may well notice that our reviews this month have a very motion-based flavour to them. That’s because, aside from our usual Wii reviews, we have five games in the line-up for the newly-released PlayStation Move. This awesome device has added all new dimensions to our PlayStation gaming. You will also notice that we have a few very big names in our review section. These are just the start as we prepare for a big end to an exciting gaming year. g

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gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010


Halo: Reach

Why, Halo Again We were promised that 3 would be the last. Thank goodness it is not.

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ho stood in line for Halo 3, back in 2008? I wasn’t there. No sir. Standing in line is for diehard fans and dorks. Me? I just walked into my local game shop at 10-past-midnight and asked for a copy of the game over the counter. You see, our South African gaming community is still young. It has been deprived of many good games and consoles, and the sense of camaraderie is not quite there, yet. In the US, gamers queue around the block. Here we’ll have 100 guys mobbing around the entrance of whichever store even dares open its doors for a midnight launch. Despite these things, Halo: Reach was still highly anticipated. I didn’t finish the first game. I had it on PC and hated the first ten minutes. Thankfully I didn’t have to review it. The second was given a skip and when I got an Xbox 360 I never thought I’d get into a Halo game. Yet I did. The hype around 3 was all I needed to get suckered in and my American friends on Xbox Live were very

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by Richard Bingham

accommodating when it came to explaining why it was so popular. Thankfully, Halo Reach might fill in some of the gaps in the Halo storyline. While the first, second and third games focused on the exploits of Master Chief, Reach is actually set before the events of the first game. It details the circumstances leading up to the Covenant invasion and the start of the interstellar war. Gamers take control of Noble 6, a faceless newcomer in Noble team, the Spartan outfit that were first to face the alien enemy. The story isn’t complicated and there aren’t any dramatic twists, but it’s emotive enough to engage even those who never played the first games. If you care about the Halo universe, the Reach story will leave you very satisfied. If you just want another action shooter, the fantastic campaign missions will more than make up for what you might be missing out on the plot front. Play it on heroic difficulty, the one Bungie says the

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game was design to be played on, and you’re in for a real fight. Remember, you’re not controlling Master Chief, the super-soldier. More powerful enemies can take you down in a single blow and a few grunts can really make your day a hassle. Sometimes Reach can be a run-andgun funstravaganza. Other times this approach, on heroic or legendary difficulty, will make you want to put a 360 controller through your TV. Slow things down, take a more calculated approach and find a flaw in the enemy’s attack plan. You will be rewarded. Since you’re part of a squad, you’ll often be helped by AI teammates. They can be really freaking dumb in situations where you need them the most, but for the most part they do their job, plus their presence makes more sense when you’re playing four-player co-op on Xbox Live. Another element enhancing the campaign experience is armour abilities. Previous Halo games had one-time-use pickups that

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

could be used to deploy a shield or drain power, but these have been replaced by reusable abilities in your armour. Each ability can be used to life-saving or enemykilling effect. One of them lets you sprint. Another will let you go into an armour lock for a few seconds - useful for absorbing big hits from tanks or powerful enemies. Another gives you active camo. Each has a drawback, but used cleverly they are effective against both enemies in campaign or humans in multiplayer. That is ultimately what a Halo game is all about, though. The multiplayer. Reach is, for lack of a more superlative term, the best multiplayer experience on any console, ever. Xbox Live has long been my favourite choice for gaming online, simply because it gave easy access to my friends and voice chat was ubiquitous. In comparison to Reach, the Xbox guide front-end seems archaic. Right there, from the main menu, Reach shows you which of your friends are online, and what they’re playing. You don’t go into a menu

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or anything – simply highlight their name and you can join their party, or drop into their campaign and help them in co-op. Multiplayer is more varied than ever, with FireFight – waves of AI against you and your mates – proving to be more polished than it was in ODST. Even the netcode has improved, but don’t expect a lag-free experience with your overseas friends. Most impressive in the multiplayer is Forge World. Bungie effectively added a rudimentary version of its level-editing tools to Halo Reach, and Forge World is a huge seven-part map that will make for the most epic multiplayer battles in gaming history. It’s so large, a sniper rifle at full zoom still leaves your enemy as just a speck on the screen. Zooming around in one of the flying vehicles really gives a sense of how large it is, and in edit mode there are a ton of objects to place, helping create great set pieces for online combat. It is very ambitious. But it works so well, it’s almost hard to believe. It is telling, then, that Reach makes the most of the Xbox’s capabilities. It is a truly gorgeous piece of interactive entertainment. Halo 3 was colourful and bright, with an art style that felt almost cartoony. Reach is dark and grim, befitting of the desperation conveyed by its fight-for-humanity plot. From the opening scenes, with the camera panning across bits of space, planets and landscapes, to the character models and the backdrops for the wide-open battlefields – everything is awe-inspiring. Bungie has gone all-out on this, its last Halo game, and some of the developer previews even mentioned how one of the rifle models in the game now has three times more polygons than the marine characters in Halo 3. That’s a lot of detail and hard work. The musical score is superb, too… a Halo tradition. Weapon sounds and effects have also been revised. Emptying a clip using the standard-issue assault rifle feels a lot more “bang bang” than “pew pew”. This is war, and you know all about it. In many ways this is Halo, and it’s great. But the ways in which it is a new kind of Halo are the best bits. The solid campaign, gorgeous graphics and slickest multiplayer ever make it a great last hurrah from Bungie. The next Halo game will be from 343 Industries, a new Microsoft division, while the now-independent Bungie moves on to new things. It has left its mark, though, and won’t soon be forgotten for its contributions. g

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gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010


Play it for the great campaign, but really invest in an Xbox Live account to get the most from Reach. Developer: Bungie Publisher: Microsoft Distributor: Microsoft

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

AT A GLANCE:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

95 61


Dead Rising 2

The Grind(er)

Surviving Fortune City, one zombie at a time

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huck Greene is in a bit of trouble. It’s not the kind of trouble where he can phone uncle Vito to help him out, and it’s definitely not something that he can sweep under the rug. Chuck is stuck in Fortune City, and it’s being overrun by flesh-eating zombies. To make matters worse in Dead Rising 2, Chuck is being framed for the zombie outbreak, and it’s now a race against time to not only save his daughter, but to save the whole city. A couple of things have changed since the last time gamers had a glimpse of Frank West in the original Dead Rising, and sticking to the right formula, the game provides the opportunity for some real creativity and hidden gems. One of the added bonuses – depending on which side you are rooting for – is the ability to combine weapons. This wasn’t possible in the first game, so it’s a welcome change to the sequel. Virtually any item can be

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by Jimmy Glue

combined with something else – with some truly horrific consequences. Some combinations are fairly tame in nature, but bear in mind they are all designed to kill zombies. For a temporary melee weapon, combining a battery and a rake will give you a rather long tazer, while combining boxing gloves with motor oil will give a flaming knock out. Some of the more vicious combinations include a baseball bat and a box of nails to give you a spiked bat, a bucket and a power drill to give a rather nasty headache, and joining boxing gloves with a bowie knife – or attaching a machete to a broomstick. There is one drawback to this however, in the sense that players will have to pick up a weapon’s Combo Card first, in order to see which weapons go with which items. It’s not a huge problem, as player can experiment to see which combinations work without picking up the cards, but that might be a bit time-consuming.

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And weapons can’t be combined on the fly – players will have to lug their desired pieces to a designated Maintenance Room, and only there will they be able to lay them on a table for assembling. Usually a whole array of parts can be found in the maintenance room itself, so to make a rudimentary weapon, player won’t have to wander too far. As far as the actual game play goes, besides killing and maiming zombies just for the fun of it, it’s actually very similar to the first one – which fans will find just as exciting. Chuck also has a wrist watch for time-keeping, as some missions are time-sensitive, and his daughter needs her medication between 7am and 8am every day. Similar to the first instalment, Chuck keeps in contact with the survivors by means of a two-way radio, but it was a little disappointing to see that the conversations were still text-based, instead of having voice actors read the lines.

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Just like the first, the bulk of Chuck’s time will be spent locating and helping other survivors make it back to the safe house. Some survivors are rather eager to follow Chuck, but a certain drunken dancer will take her sweet time, stopping occasionally to throw up on the floor. But it’s not all about saving survivors, as Chuck’s new found friend Stacey is always ready to point out where in the world trouble is brewing. These little missions can range from stopping a gang of looters at a pawn shop, to rescuing a couple on the casino floor. For every mission, and killing zombies, player will earn PP (Prestige Points), which acts as currency in order to level up. After each character level, Chuck will either gain more health slots, unlock new moves or get a larger inventory. But players need to be aware that certain weapons, like the spiked baseball bat, will actually remove some of the hard-earned PP. Another thing that players will experience is death – not

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in the zombie-killing way, but their own death. It is rather easy to forget to pick up that burger on the floor or the soda can on the counter, and it will leave gamers in a very precarious position once the last of the health bar starts flashing. One grab from a zombie and they will be toast… This brings us to another fundamentally important aspect from Dead Rising 2 – save often. The game doesn’t automatically save after each mission or conversation, so it’s up to the player to waddle through zombie guts to the nearest bathroom in order to do so. During certain missions, Chuck’s partner will stop at a bathroom and ask if he needs to answer the call of nature – which by default saves the game. Who would stop in the middle of a zombie outbreak to take a wee break is a discussion onto itself, though… One thing that is a first for the franchise, is multiplayer. This comes in two forms – co-op and Terror Is Reality. In the co-op mode, two gamers can join the same game to cause devastating tag-team damage on the infected, which is very entertaining to say the least. What is better than inflicting a gruesome death on a zombie?

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The Terror Is Reality mode is where gamers get to experience what Chuck does for a living – and that is racing a motorcycle with weapons strapped to it through hordes of zombies for the live television show. Up to four players can take part, and the more score you rake up, the better your chances of becoming a star. But the real star in this tale is the game itself. Developers Capcom and Blue Castle didn’t change too much to alienate the fans, but they kept it simple enough for newcomers to easily understand the controls and the story line. Capcom also listened to fans and fixed the previous issue where the text on standard definition televisions was too small. It’s a solid title, with better control and camera movements than the first, and although the setting and actions are pretty much the same as the previous title, fans will definitely get hours of fun out of the game. The replay value is a huge asset, and with the first DLC already released, Dead Rising 2 should definitely be on the shopping list. g

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010


With a lot of similarities to the first title, the sequel is just as fun and gruesome. Developer: Capcom and Blue Castle Publisher: Capcom Distributor: Nu Metro

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

AT A GLANCE:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

86 65


Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2

Dog-Fighter A bit more realistic

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hen the first version of Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X hit the shelves, it was met with quite a lot of excitement. It was the first time a title bearing the famous author’s name took to the skies, recreating modern and theoretical near future aerial combat. In addition, the Clancy name has grown to be associated with high quality games, and so the assumption that H.A.W.X was going to be a top-notch title was not particularly unfounded. However, the game met with quite a bit of criticism. It wasn’t, as it claimed, particularly authentic, and the game had a few niggles that some critics didn’t like. Still, it was a fun title, and it must have done well in terms of sales, because a sequel has hit the shelves. Pretty much any game that does even moderately well will get a sequel, no matter what the critics say. Just look at Kane & Lynch. In fact, many times the critics’ opinions don’t make a lick of difference to a well marketed game. And H.A.W.X was well marketed. As stated before, the game was fun to play, despite its

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by Walt Pretorius quirks and niggles. It placed the player in control of some truly awesome war-planes and let them do mind-boggling aerial stunts with them… stunts that would have real fighter pilots hurling in their helmets, and would have the planes ripped apart from all the G-forces in the real world. It didn’t matter, though, because it was like flying a plane in a Michael Bay film; tons of action, lots of explosions, and hordes of enemies to dispatch of in fiery balls of anger and smoking wreckage. It wasn’t authentic, realistic or any other kind of ‘ic’. But it was an enjoyable arcade flight sim experience. With the release of H.A.W.X 2, the developers dialled down the ‘Michael Bay’ feel of the title. In fact, it’s more ‘Michael Mann’, with a more serious thread and a more realistic feel to the combat. The story is not a follow on from the first game at all. In fact, the story feels very different from the first title. In the original, the player controlled a single pilot who was part of a powerful private military organisation, flying around the world doing missions for the highest bidder. This time around,

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the player flies as three different pilots, whose stories converge in the plot. As always, there is a faction pulling dirty moves on a global scale, and the player is part of the solution. It’s classic Clancy, at least in game story terms. While the story is enjoyable, the way it is told is one of H.A.W.X 2’s weaker points. The cut-scenes are not well handled at all, considering some of the other Clancy work we have seen. The graphics are sub-par, with nasty lipsynching and only passable voice acting. The game’s story does play second fiddle to the aerial combat, though, so most will be able to overlook this relatively minor flaw. It is in the skies, though, while at the controls of one of 35 different aircraft, that other flaws will become apparent to the player. Whether these are enough to ruin the game or not will wholly depend on whether the gamer is forgiving enough to let them slip. Graphically, the game looks great, with detailed models and impressive special effects. The surroundings are great too, once again based on Geo-Eye satellite photography. Whether the player is in the skies over Afghanistan or

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Cape Town (yes, there is a Mother City mission) the ground zooming by beneath them (or occasionally rushing up to meet them) looks the part. The sound is also pretty convincing, which helps immensely. Then again, these days, these two elements of games should be good. The action in H.A.W.X 2 is the kind of stuff a player would expect – lots of dog-fighting and ground attacks. For the most part, the game delivers fun in spades. But there are a few things that might rub some up the wrong way. The first comes in the form of the AI. It is a bit unbalanced. See, in the first games, enemies were a bit stupid, and the player could joyfully shoot them down in droves. This time around, they’re sharp as razors. Their dogged perseverance will have the player dodging, ducking and weaving for ages as they try to, with nearrobotic precision, blast him out of the sky. This, combined with a seemingly endless supply of decoy flares at times, makes them very tought to deal with. Getting a bad guy on your six means that you’re going to battle to shake him, let alone shoot him down. This would have been mitigated

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by a decent partner (or, more accurately, wingman) AI. But that’s where the imbalance comes in; allies in this game are a little dense. In fact, occasions when the player is desperately trying to evade a particularly persistent enemy while their allies are flying around the other side of the map in apparent sight-seeing formation occur just a little too often in the game. Sure, it’s great to feel like a hero and take out tons of enemies, but dying a lot and spending ages trying to work your way through a handful of bad guys water the achievement down a bit. And, while the removal of the insane stunts seen in the first game adds a bit of realism, it would be nice to do the aeronautical version of a hand-brake turn to get rid of these enemies, like we could before. The game also enjoys punishing the player from time to time. Dying in some places means a whole lot of stuff that needs to be repeated. The checkpoint saving system could have been a little more generous. Other more realistic elements have been added to the game. The camera, for example, now sits tight on the back of the player’s plane. While the player can move it around

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a bit, to check out the surroundings, the extreme range external camera of the first game, which took on a fixed position and let the player fly around in a non-third-person view is gone. Take-off and landing has also been added, with the occasional mid-mission refuelling and re-arming required by the game. There are even occasions when midair refuelling is required. The saving grace of this game is the four player co-op multiplayer mode. It’s the best thing to do in H.A.W.X 2, without a doubt. This is a fun title, and is a lot more realistic than the previous H.A.W.X game. But there are more than a few issues that players may find annoying. It doesn’t manage to ascend past the limits of arcade sim, either, even with the added realism. The game features some unreasonable difficulty spikes too, but offers many varied activities (including gunnery from a Goliath and stealthy UAV missions). In the end, this one will really come down to what the player wants to get out of it. Forgiving gamers who are looking for a good arcade sim will draw the most benefit from H.A.W.X 2. g

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010


Added realism doesn’t elevate this sometimes troubled game out of the realms of arcade sim. Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

AT A GLANCE:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

74 71


F1 2010

Formula Frustration Codemasters gives us its take on the world’s most popular race series.

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ans of racing games will know that Codemasters has an illustrious history of such games – especially those based on real-life race series. We had British touring cars in TOCA, WRC cars in Colin McRae, and all those things in various evolutions over the past ten years. More recently we had DiRT 2 and Race Driver Grid, each representing the most extreme take on rally and racetrack driving, respectively. Additionally, Codies has always been proud of its physics and damage engines. While the first Colin McRae Rally games had really lifelike physics and decent crash models, the last iterations turned up the crash realism, while trading off driving realism for an easier, more accessible version of game physics. So when Codemasters Birmingham was tasked with developing a Formula 1 game, fans of the sport weren’t holding their breath. Fortunately, there is plenty realism in F1 2010. The graphics are really good. When you’re seated in one of the 24 official and meticulously modelled race-cars from the 2010 season, it’s almost as good as being there. Probably just as well, since Ferrari won’t exactly let you in its current multimillion-dollar track toy. Where the realism really gets turned up to 11, though, is in the weather system and track behaviour. Start one of the 19 races making up the F1 calendar, and you’ll begin the weekend with some free practice. The track is “fresh” and not so grippy. As the weekend progresses, though, you’ll get faster. More rubber gets laid down in the corners with each lap, making the surface grippier. Racing off the line becomes very tricky, as marbles and debris collect there. And that’s before it starts raining. Apparently Codemasters set out to create the world’s most advanced weather system in a game, with F1 2010. Water puddles will accumulate in dips on the track surface. Overhanging trees will keep bits of the track drier than elsewhere. When it stops raining, the racing line

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by Richard Bingham

gradually dries up and causes your wet-weather tyres to overheat – requiring you to drive through puddles to cool them down. All I know is that it’s terrifying, driving down the straight at Monza, doing 350km/h in the rain. You can’t see anything, the droplets blur your vision and your car is incredibly skittish. Mission accomplished, I guess. Realism and pretty graphics aside, there are some problems with the game. At the time of writing there are several game-breaking bugs, in all versions. I didn’t experience any of them (some are easy to avoid) but if you don’t have access to an Internet connection for your PS3 or Xbox, you’ll be stuck with a broken game. A buggy pit-stop system, puncture-prone tyres and incorrectly modelled wet-weather grip (when using dry-weather slicks) are just some of the problems. Codemasters knows about the issues and will be issuing a patch, some time. Those problems can put a damper on the career mode, which has all the crash damage, tyre wear and dynamic weather turned on. You start your career with one of the three minnow teams, Virgin Racing, HRT Cosworth or Lotus Cosworth. You can sign up for a 3, 5 or 7-season career, throughout which your success determines your progress. Finish in the points a few times for a slower team and soon you’ll be racing for a big name. Race weekends can be as realistic as the weather. Prepare to spend three hours on a single race if you attempt to do a “full weekend”, which includes three practice sessions, three qualifying sessions and a race that is the actual length of the real version you watch on TV. You’d be a brave man to do so, because you’ll be come quite intimate with the one thing that makes F1 2010 so difficult to master: the driving model. Traditionally, racing games (and real cars) will let you push harder and harder, exploring the limits of your vehicle without dying in a tyre ggaammeec c caa r reevvi ei eww • • i si s suuee 1166 • • OOc ct toobbeer r 22001100


The difficulty curve is actually a cliff face. To help scale it, beginners can use climbing equipment such as “brake assist”, “traction control” and “automatic gearboxes”. Even driving with those assists requires dedication and attention. You’re not going to go in and win your first race. Or your second. Or the tenth. This is a time investment, but when you finally know all the tracks like the back of your hand, shaving off that final tenth of a second will be so very, very rewarding. g

AT A GLANCE: Patience is needed to realise this racer’s potential – don’t go in expecting to be Schumacher. Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters Distributor: Nu Metro

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

wall. You can start off slowly and work your way up to race pace, by which time you will know how fast your car is capable of going through certain corners. F1 2010 doesn’t give you that luxury. There is no way to “feel” what your car is doing. Instead, you have to learn by heart which gear to use for which corner, where to brake and how fast you can go through those corners. There is no inbetween, because going too slowly doesn’t use the car’s aerodynamics, causing you to slide off. You need to be fast to begin with, in order to get faster.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

79 73


R.U.S.E.

Don’t Be Fooled... Intel warfare – the battle behind the battlefield.

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ilitary intelligence is not an oxymoron. In fact the proper use of intel has been the way wars have been won for centuries all over the world. Enemy positions, unit numbers and types are important, of course, but there are other forms of Intel that are just as vital. Enemy objectives and supplies give your enemy’s dependencies and motivation for troop deployment. Allowing an enemy to achieve an objective could be to your benefit and cutting off his lifeblood in supplies can do more damage sometimes than a frontal assault. Enemy decisions, though, are the hinge factors of most battles. Superior numbers and massive firepower are always good to have and defensive placements that can’t be breached by any force are fine. Their effectiveness all depends on if they are in the right place and used in the right way. The most important aspect of warfare, then, is how your enemy makes his decisions but also how you make yours. You rely on intel as much as your enemy does. The knee jerk response is to kill his spies and block his surveillance, but that may not necessarily be the best course of action. Rather keep his intel flow in place and feed him the wrong information. The problem is, though, that he may be doing the same to you. Can you trust your intel? This is the essence of R.U.S.E, from Eugen Systems, and the cat and mouse game of military intel tactics. Set in WW2, Major Sheridan of the US Army leads his division across North Africa, through Europe and into Germany along with his European allies. The setting is perfect for epic strategy and the player will not only have control of the US Army units but also those of the British, Italian, French and even German forces. The storyline supports the intel war as it

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by Dion Scotten

portrays the inevitable battle between Sheridan and General Major Von Richter along with the hunt for the double agent known as “Prometheus”. A ruse is the game’s term for an “option” available to the player general for use during missions. Each ruse has a specific function and lasts for a limited time so players should use them wisely. The purpose of a ruse is to confuse the enemy through deception or to reveal his plans and actual locations on the map. The “radio silence” ruse allows troops to move undetected through enemy territory while the “decryption” ruse listens in on the enemy communication and reveals his movement orders. A ruse can only be deployed in a section of the map so the player will need to choose where and how to use each ruse, depending on the situation. A “decoy” army can be created, for example, to make the enemy believe you are attacking him from one side while attacking from another once he moves his units to face the other way.

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Light, medium and heavy tanks, standard and elite infantry and air support are all controlled by the player. The unit elements of the game are mostly represented as “chess pieces” moved around the table by the generals, even though there is a very present micro-management aspect to R.U.S.E. All apparent units in play are normally visible on the map but will appear as “heavy unit” or “infantry unit” until they move into sight range of one of the player controlled units. The spy plan ruse will reveal all unidentified units and buildings in an area of the map for what they really are. Multiplayer is available, featuring co-op mode for once off battles versus the AI and online PvP gameplay, with player rankings for more competitive players. Most players have played different types of strategy games at some point but almost all of them allowed the player to trust that what he sees is real. R.U.S.E. brings a refreshing new aspect to real time strategy from an intelligence warfare perspective. g

AT A GLANCE: A focus on military intelligence as a fresh angle on strategy warfare. Developer: Eugen Systems Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

The normal RTS perspective is kept, as expected, but the view allows for a full withdrawal out to a table top view, which is a nice touch. The majority of the game is played at medium view with markers representing unit types; the player can zoom in on any spot on the map to place certain units in cover or micro manage battles. In-map view gives an incredible view of the battlefield and objectives are clearly marked, along with enemy positions. Keep in mind, though, that what you think you see may or may not be real and an almost constant use of your ruses is required to keep your intel superior. The controls for console are easy to use and won’t impact on your ability to outmanoeuvre your enemy quickly. Selecting single and multiple units is not a problem with an area select option for choosing a group of specific units. Units are intelligent and will attack enemies that come into their sight and range automatically, removing the need for an attack-move command. All of the famous units from the WW2 era are available.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

73 75


Sid Meier’s Civilization V

Easy Does It Slowly-slowly, catchy monkey…

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equels are a very real element of the video game industry, and a major part of these is to deliver new, fresher experiences to gamers in a paradigm that they are already familiar with. In fact, sequels that lack the kind of advancements in graphics, game dynamics and other aspects that we have come to expect are looked down upon by gamers and game reviewers. But what if the previous game wasn’t problematic to begin with? Should a game be upgraded and changed just because the number after its name has increased by one? The answer to that really depends on which game we are talking about. Take the Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise, for example… the original game, released back in 1991, wasn’t particularly broken. In fact, although new tweaks and updated graphics were always present throughout the franchise’s new iterations, the core ideas and game dynamics remained largely unchanged. Not that the franchise is sequel crazy, mind you. Although the series has been around for almost twenty

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by Walt Pretorius years, there have only been four sequels. Sure, there were a few other games that bore Sid Meier’s name (like Alpha Centauri) but the core Civilization games don’t come out all that often. And that is probably a good thing, making the lack of unnecessary changes less noticeable. The tag line on the original game was “build an empire to stand the test of time” and, in a very real sense, that’s exactly what this franchise has done. Civilization V is not a game for everyone. Where the majority of gamers seem to prefer fast paced action and relentless pace, Civilization V is anything but. The game is a pedantic, detailed, turn-based strategy title that will have the player spending days – rather than minutes – on a single “mission.” Then again, when the mission is to build an empire spanning several thousand years, you can’t exactly expect it to be over in an afternoon. Play starts in around 3500 BC. The player’s fledgling tribe established their first settlement, and the quest to become the dominant nation begins. The player can choose their starting nation – or, more correctly, their

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leader, which represents a particular nation. Choices are varied, ranging from Alexander the Great to Elizabeth I, from Ghandi to Bismarck. Each nation has particular advantages and disadvantages, which may (or may not) have some impact on the game. It depends on how the player approached things. Building an empire is a turn-based process. Each turn, the player will be able to take any of a number of actions, depending on availability and other actions that were started before… most take several turns to accomplish and, in most cases, each element is allowed only one action at a time. These actions include moving units, founding new cities, research, building new facilities in existing cities, and diplomatic negotiations. While the average player will almost certainly be drawn to the idea of war, Civilization offers many more aspects to empire-building. The player will, naturally, need to take care of the military side of things, but science and culture also play massive parts in the game. Culture allows borders to expand, and science leads to inevitable

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

advances that place the player’s empire ahead of others. In fact, both of these aspects can also lead to victory – the player can win a game without ever firing an (offensive) shot in anger. Other aspects, like citizen happiness, general production and income, also need to be managed. This is done by improving tiles around the cities that the player establishes. While the temptation to set up hundreds of cities as quickly as possible exists, expanding too quickly will have a negative impact on the general happiness of the player’s population. Also, improvements need to be planned carefully, to maximise income and productivity within cities. It’s no good if the city makes a lot of money, but cannot produce buildings or units quickly enough. Civilization V is a careful balancing act, in the end, that requires a lot of micro-management. In fact, calling it a strategy game would be completely incorrect… it is a management title, first and foremost, with some strategy elements included. As such, it is a very slow paced game. This means that many people won’t feel it is their cup of

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man-made wonders during the course of the game. The Great Wall of China might end up surrounding London, or the Great Pyramid may be in the outskirts of Berlin. Map randomisation means that natural wonders also appear in places that may seem strange. Mt Fuji may overlook Athens. Old Faithful may be a tourist attraction near Stockholm. That’s the nature of Civilization V – each of these things brings its own advantages, and the player will need to be constantly on the lookout for advantage to be victorious. This relaxed, mentally stimulating game is in a class of its own. It is a breath of fresh air amidst all the fast paced, blow-stuff-up games out there, and presents a unique and well balanced challenge to players who want to take things easy, without losing any complexity (in truth, they get a whole lot more complexity than other games offer.) This franchise truly has stood the test of time – it is as good as it ever was, if not better, and will provide those who play it with many years of enjoyment. g

AT A GLANCE: A complex yet relaxed game, this is another triumph for the franchise. Developer: Firaxis Publisher: 2K Games Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ 78

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC Platforms

tea. It’s the kind of game you either love or hate. The pedantic, slow nature of the game is even brought across in the sound track, which features some great classical masterpieces. Graphically, Civilization V looks much better than its predecessors, with detailed environments and models. The zoom within the game is quite extreme, too, allowing the player to zoom in to individual units, or zoom far out for a good overview of their empire. Other improvements to the game include units that are more mobile, travelling over ocean sections independent of player-created navies. Also, the game makes use of hex tiles, instead of squares, which results in a better navigation and placement system. And the addition of independent city-states makes for an interesting change in overall diplomacy within the game. Cities themselves can also now bombard besieging enemies, without needing troops stationed in them. There are a few oddities that have always been part of the Civilization franchise. Because it represents a rewriting of history, the player will be able to build a number of

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

94

gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010


c om p eti t io n • c omp eti ti o n • com pe t ition • com pe tit ion • compe t it ion

Take to the skies

WIN A

PS3 copy of H.A.W.X 2

Courtesy of Megarom & Ubisoft

TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gamecca.co.za. Tell us how many aircraft are featured in H.A.W.X 2. Insert ‘HAWX2 competition’ in the mail’s subject line. Subscribe to www.gamecca.co.za

Competition closes 31 October 2010. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Hampers may not include a copy of the game. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, Ubisoft & Megarom Interactive The judges’ decision is final.


Metroid: Other M

Answers…

The other, other side of Metroid.

T

he Metroid franchise began as 2D games and there was a big fan base following them. Then came the brave and experimental step to move from this successful 2D platform onto a 3D platform and still hold on to the Metroid style. It paid off and the franchise continued to be successful and grow. Even more bold and brave was the idea to combine the two types of controls and make yet another Metroid game. Let’s explore the style of a classic Metroid game. Players play as Samus, a bounty hunter that always seems to find herself (yip, it’s a girl) on the edge of a battle that will decide the fate of the galaxy… if not, then just a lot of people. Then, in true heroin style, she single-handedly fights off this evil and if she fails they just load her from the previous check point to try again. The real kick in the pants are the puzzles…They don’t stand out like

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by Brian Murdoch in stop and solve, but a certain amount of thought or web searching will be required to find out how to use a particular weapon on this switch to move that door and run to get under it in time. Also Samus’s ability to curl up into a ball is often forgotten, and ‘oops I walked past that ball size hole so many times, why did I not see it?’ Then the random big monster or bad boss is in your way and a creative fight is all that can defeat this monstrosity before the player is allowed to continue. Take this and craft it around a gripping story line that never seems to disappoint and always keeps the player wanting more and that is what the Metroid games are about. Samus has always been full of secrets… we only found out that she was a woman far into the franchise. There have always been questions for those who stopped and thought about why she was doing what she was doing.

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mode is used to aim accurate power shots or use missiles and other tools. The best way in which this is used is in boss battles and a combination of the two is required to defeat them, dodging the attacks and then pointing to use a power shot or missile at the right time. Metroid: Other M is a very eye-pleasing game, with great cut-scenes and above average game graphics. The smooth handling of the game often goes unnoticed and that’s what players want… but only notice when it’s not there. There was a lot expected from Metroid: Other M and, with it coming out at the same time as the retrospective Metroid Trilogy, it’s a good idea to buy both and have a great amount of gaming to get through. It’s like going out to buy all the seasons of your favourite series and watching them all in a row, without delay. g

AT A GLANCE: A solid addition to the franchise, which answers more than a few questions. Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

Metroid Other M opens up and reveals all those secrets. While playing through yet another good story, she remembers events that have happened in her past, and people in the current story trigger memories and feelings that she shares freely. The controls in Metroid Other M seem, at first, to be taking a step backwards because only a Wii remote is required. In actual fact this brings a new dynamic to the way players can play Wii games. The Wii remote (excluding a Motion Plus) accurately picks up in what orientation the remote is in, horizontal or vertical. This is used to switch Samus from running movement mode to first person and back. By holding the Wii remote horizontally and using the number pad, 1 and 2 buttons, the player can move her around, jump and shoot at enemies. A quick flick of hand and the controller is pointing at the screen; first person

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

79 81


Kung Fu Rider

Repetition Defined Variety… who needs it?

W

hen a new technology hits the market, it always takes a little while for developers to get up to speed with it. The technology in question here is the PlayStation Move controller. Sure, there have been movement based controls for a while and, theoretically, developers should have a decent idea of how they should work, but not every developer has created Wii games. So, perhaps, a little forgiveness can be applied… Except, of course, where common sense has flown out the window, and plain bad design has held sway. And those two evil forces of the gaming industry had a lot of influence over Kung Fu Rider, one of the Move’s launch titles. Thankfully this isn’t the only launch title. The story behind Kung Fu Rider is… well, it’s a little mysterious actually. While press releases and the like have told us the tale, the game itself seems resolutely set against elaborating on the plot. It comes down to a private detective, Toby, and his assistant, Karin, fleeing from the mob. Why are they fleeing? Search me. Do they escape? I have no idea. See, the only part of the game that

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by Walt Pretorius explains the situation is told by the characters in the menu. And they always say the same thing. The story never progresses, and the basis for it is never fully explained. No mission ever advances the tale, either, and each one is preceded by a cinematic that is the same every single time. This won’t be a problem for those types that hammer a button to get past the story bits and into the action in any given game, of course, but those that like a plot – like myself – will be sorely disappointed. So, with no real plot to speak of, all that is left is the game itself. Kung Fu Rider requires the player to hurtle down a hill on an office chair. Or a vacuum cleaner. Or a baby-walker. Basically, the game offers a host of vehicles that have very little wheels. The player can do so as either Toby or Karin – the choice of character makes no real difference to the experience. Using the Move controller, the player has to navigate numerous obstacles, gather coins, fight off bad guys and pass through marked ‘gate’ areas. It sounds like fun, and it is. For the first five

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The player can only wipe out a limited number of times. That’s fair enough. But the game will have the player tripping up over the slightest obstacle, and the unresponsive controls will mean many cheap spills. And then, when the player has run out of spills, they have to start the same stage from the very beginning. Sure, the stages are very short, but that’s not the point. The frustration that this engenders is enormous. The only saving grace that this game has stems from the fact that the graphics are pretty good. The animations are amusing, and watching the character take a particularly rough tumble is worth a laugh, even if it is an ironic, bitter chuckle rather than a belly-laugh. As a launch title, Kung Fu Rider isn’t doing the Move any favours. Yes, it’s a great idea, and it is fun for a short while. But the poor implementation of the controls, combined with the lack of plot and the brutal repetition in the game dynamic pull this one way below par. g

AT A GLANCE: An ultimately frustrating and incredibly repetitive title. Developer: SCEJ Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

minutes or so. But the game has so many niggles that playing it for anything more than a few minutes gets to be quite frustrating. This is added to by the fact that the missions are all pretty much the same. Tracks are repeated endlessly, only with different obstacles. And the game dynamic never varies. The main problem with the game is that the controls are poorly implemented. The Move system itself is not at fault here – other games have shown that it is a very effective way to play games. Rather, it comes down to poor implementation on the part of the developers. To illustrate the issue; to speed up, the player needs to waggle the controller up and down. To jump, they need to make a sharp upwards motion. But the game often confuses the two leading to the player jumping instead of speeding up. And that’s when the controls are responsive. For the most part, though, turning feels sluggish, and many of the control inputs are inconsistent. This would be forgivable if the game was, itself, forgiving. But it is anything but.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

35 85


Metroid Prime Trilogy

A History Lesson It’s all about Samus

I

find it highly unlikely that you missed the House of Mario Column on page 56 and the Metroid Other M review on page 82, so you should know all about Metroid and what it is by now. After explaining the Metroid story and how far the games have come, explaining that Samus is a girl and showing how flexible she is that she can turn into a ball, it’s at this point that you realised how great it is to have a compilation like this. Metroid Prime Trilogy is just a compilation of the three games onto one Wii disc: Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes were both originally released for the GameCube and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was the franchise’s Wii debut. Most people that own a Wii also don’t know that it is an upgraded GameCube and buy putting your GameCube game in the front with GameCube controllers in the side, the first two Metroid Primes can

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by Brian Murdoch easily be playing on the Wii. But even gamers that have the older versions might be interested in this trilogy because now, instead of playing with a gamepad, the Wii remote and nunchuk can be used for great flexibility in game-play. There is also a large number of people that never had a GameCube. They bought a Wii when it came out and have been searching for every Nintendo designed Wii game they can get their hands on. They probably have Metroid Prime 3: Corruption… but the collection is still worth getting for the revamped versions of the previous two games. Here is a short summary of Metroid Prime. Samus has just come from a great fight, preventing the evil Space Pirates and Mother Brain from massing an army of Metroids on the planet Zebes. Now, on a derelict spaceship, Metroid Prime begins. She is battling the Space Pirates again, to stop them from using a powerful

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Samus is charged to destroy the Phazon seeds in the Galactic Federation computers and bring the planets back to order. After this the source of the Phazon is located and Samus battles (once again) the Dark Samus Metroid Prime. Having played through Corruption first and then coming back to play through the first two, I can say that the story is better playing it in order (who would have guessed? – ed). Playing through it the second time was more of an eye-opener and one understands now why the Dark Samus must die. Not knowing the story does not detract from the addictive and puzzle solving fun adventure that Metroid is, but it helps. Picking up Metroid Trilogy and Metroid Other M will give players hours upon hours of game-play on the Wii. g

AT A GLANCE: Three Metroid games on one disc, perfect for those who want to know the whole story. Developer: Retro Studios Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

radioactive substance known as Phazon. In Echoes, Samus is sent to investigate the planet Aether after a squad of Marines goes missing. Finding an evil race called Ing on the planet and trying to rescue the marines, she finds the planet is split into two dimensions. She discovers the planetary energy, the “Light of Aether”, putting an end to the Dark Aether and the Ing. Samus yet again fights the Metroid Prime (Dark Samus) which survived the previous encounter and has cloned and stolen her Phazon suit. This new Dark Samus is mutated and more powerful than the last fight, making for a very fun battle. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is more of a war, with the Space Pirates shutting down the Galactic Federation computer systems and fighting to spread the Phazon further around the galaxies. Large Phazon ships called Leviathans besiege planets and corrupt them with Phazon.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

80 87


Sports Champions

Be a Champ! Playing sports on the Move

B

y now gamers are already familiar with Playstation’s new Move peripheral, so it’s just a question of time before the floodgates will swing open and reveal all the fantastic games that will be available in the next couple of weeks. Trying to satisfy every possible gamer upon release, the Move’s launch titles are a varied and mixed bunch of games, with even Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5 released with Move support and Start The Party for the more young at heart. The health nuts and fitness freaks haven’t been forgotten either, and Sports Champions will have gamers throwing, swinging, bashing, shooting and spiking in the comfort of their lounge in no time at all. Sports Champions, which some gamers have unjustly called a copy of Wii Sports, features six different disciplines; namely table tennis, volleyball, Gladiator Duel, disc golf, bocce and archery. Before each game, the player will have to calibrate the Move controller with the camera, but thankfully this can

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by Jimmy Glue be done very quickly with a bit of speed and skill. It’s best to have about a 2m open space in front of the television, but most games can be playing while being seated. Each game in the collection has the same menu interface, which makes things easy, but it can also seem a bit bland. Nevertheless, players will have the option to enter either a tournament of varying difficulty or play a solo game. After selecting the type and level of competition, players will be presented with a panel of in-game characters who they can chose to represent them (kind of like an in-game avatar). There is no real difference in character strength or attributes, and selecting an avatar is more for aesthetic appeal than anything else. Table tennis is probably the game in the collection that uses the Move to the best of its abilities. Although the game is fairly uneventful to explain, the true 1:1 motion recognition is very evident, as the paddle will feel like it’s a part of your hand. Volleyball is a rather strange title to include, but it does

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highly frustrating after a couple minutes of missed opportunities. Disc Golf seems to be a very popular title for sports games, and in Sports Champions it simply works beautifully. The aim is to play golf with a Frisbee, with the same stroke rules applying to the game – first to the hole with the least amount of throws win. It sounds easier than what it actually is, and the first throw is often the best throw that gamers will be able to muster in the round. Things like wind speed and strength, and the huge tree in front of the Frisbee are all factors that need to be considered. And with the Move having 1:1 motion, slight tilting of the Frisbee just before release will cause it to veer heavily off course. As an initial release for Playstation Move, Sports Champions is about as good it’s going to get in terms of fun and the peripheral’s accuracy. The games represented are solid, and the overall experience is highly enjoyable. g

AT A GLANCE: The first sports game for the Move, it’s a fun, solid title. Developer: Zindagi Games Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

12+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

work in some instances. The player will be given a short run-down on the controls, and then it’s time to hit the beach. But don’t think for one second that this one can be played while sitting down... The player will have to raise both arms to launch the ball and serve, and then there is the furious jumping and spiking when going for a point – very tiring stuff. The game is also best played with a real partner, as opposed to AI, as the AI can still make errors in judgement. If a heart-pumping work-out is what gamers are after, the Gladiator Duel is sure to burn off a couple of calories. The game was initially touted as needing two controllers to work, but that has since turned out to not be the case. Anyway, the title puts the gamer in the proverbial sandals of a Roman gladiator, squaring off against another opponent. With wild swings and careful manoeuvring, the aim is to deplete the opponent’s health bar in order to win. The game might turn into a flailing contest, as the Move doesn’t always accurately pick up the wild swings and gestures for the shield – something that will become

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

77 89


Start The Party!

Party-Pooper

Starting this party is going to need a bit more effort

W

ith PlayStation’s Move already released, the console add-on had to hit the shelves with a couple of release titles. And as with any new piece of technology, the Move wouldn’t be complete without a party game - Start The Party! The title is essentially a collection of mini-games, all strung together under the pretence of gathering points to determine the overall winner at the end. Initially it is a great deal of fun, but in solo mode the action can become very boring after a while, as the games aren’t varied. Solo mode is just what the name implies – players will be playing by themselves against the clock. It’s rather disappointing to learn (after a couple of rounds), that solo mode only incorporates about 5 games from the whole collection – and those 5 games are always the same. But then again, Start The Party! isn’t supposed to be played solo. It’s a part game, and the more players involved the better it will become. At the moment, the Move is sold with only one motion controller, so for two or

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by Jimmy Glue

more people, the controller will have to be shared. That isn’t a huge issue, as there are virtually no mini games that will require both players to play at the same time. And it’s rather fun to sit back and watch as Player One tries to swat a couple of bugs flying across the virtual jungle. Like mentioned before, Group Mode is where the real fun lies. Unlike Solo Mode, players can actually select the length of their game, which is a nice touch, as it accommodates quick games and drawn-out battles alike. Originally called Move Party, players take turns in various activities. Depending on how well they do, they will be allocated stars at the end of each round. The rest of the math is rather simple, in the sense that the player with the most stars at the end of the game is the winner. The Move controller works well with most of the games, but there are some mini-games in which the camera doesn’t quite match up with the controller’s actions. In an underwater balloon popping game, players have to pop

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be added to the clock. When the clock runs out, the player who survived for the longest will top the leader board. It’s actually a great way to quickly explore all the minigames hidden in the title, as each mini-game will literally be played for maybe a minute before moving on to the next one. It can almost be described as a burst-fire mode, and hurried confusion is will most certainly rear its head. But with all that said and done, Start The Party! doesn’t really start any festive celebrations. It’s more of a title that you would pop in to kill some time before going out, or just to quickly show what the Move is all about. The mini-games are fun at times, but more variety would have been a welcome sight. Some of the mini-games are truly unique in nature, but they joy of shaving a head into mismatched shapes will wear off quickly. It’s a quick filler title, great for showing off the Move’s ability, but as far as long-term gameplay is concerned, there is virtually none. g

AT A GLANCE: Every console needs a party game, but this one struggles to get started. Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

balloons with a stabbing motion towards the camera. The camera doesn’t always accurately register what the player is trying to do, resulting in furious actions with no results. But the mini-games aren’t terribly difficult. As with most party games, it’s more a race against time than anything else – the more you do in the time given, the better your score. There is almost no skill involved, besides a hearty set of hand-eye co-ordination. Being motion-controlled, the mini-games will involve the player carrying out certain actions. Ranging from painting on a virtual canvas to revealing a hidden creature, shooting targets in the bellies of robots, to steering a helicopter on a rescue mission, the mini-games deliver enough variety in terms of action to warrant more than one play-though. Group Mode aside, one of the more fun solo modes, named Survival, will result in a flurry of one-man action that can become rather heated. The player will be given a certain amount of time to hurry through as many minigames as they can. For each correct action, more time will

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

67 91


PokéPark: Pikachu’s Adventure

Pokémon on the Wii Pika-Pika PikaCHU!

T

he Pokémon phenomenon is spreading onto the Wii this time, in the form of PokéPark. It seems that the Pokémon craze is being reborn again after a quiet period. There has been a slow, steady and continual stream of Pokémon that has continued to come out but the last year has seen a whole bunch of Pokémon games. PokéPark: Pikachu’s Adventure is the first Pokémon game on the Wii that does not require or interact with the DS Pokémon games... It’s a story and adventure all on its own. So for those hidden Pokémon fans (or open ones) that don’t have a DS but have a Wii, take a look here… The way that this title is named suggests that this will not be the only PokéPark title, just like the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series went through a list of different stories with the same game type. The standard theme of all Pokémon games and anything labelled Pokémon is that

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by Brian Murdoch Pokémon need to be collected in some way and Pokémon battles are fought as you progress in your trainer or ranger status. But PokéPark is different. Pikachu’s Adventure has the player controlling Pikachu throughout the story. Pikachu and his 3 friends, Piplup, Charmander and Chikorita, fall down a hole when investigating a sparkling rock that broke into pieces. They soon find out that this is part of the Sky Prism and that the safety of the whole PokéPark is at risk from this rock. Pikachu sets out to find all the pieces and to save the Park. Don’t get put off at the idea of controlling only one Pokémon throughout the game and not being a human collecting them, as the collection aspect comes in making friends. As you battle, fight, and help another Pokémon in the Park they will become your friend and can be used when playing in any of the mini-games and challenges.

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where the mini-game is located to play it. Another thing that I found not so user-friendly is that this is a game that requires a lot of reading. I understand that most of the other Pokémon games will require this skill to understand the attributes that each Pokémon has and battle with the right types but this game is nothing like that. My 5 year old son is on episode 100+ of Pokémon and loving it, but can’t read. All the games in PokéPark are easy enough for him to understand and play but there is no narration of what is happening. It’s a children’s RPG with no voice acting and rows and rows of text. Maybe the next version will have some narration. It’s different from the Pokémon games as a whole and really only has the Pokémon and their names in the story. Still, this is a fun addition to a Pokémon or Wii games collection and, because of the Pokémon label, we know it will be family friendly. g

AT A GLANCE: Not like other Pokémon games: it’s more story orientated with fun mini-games. Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

The challenges are quite an experience and very fun to do with different Pokémon. Rhyper’s Bumper Burn is a fight to push your opponent off the stage, a different type of Pokémon Battle. Bulbasaur’s Daring Dash is not so daring but more a test to see how fast you can shake the Wii remote to make the selected Pokémon run their bits off. Venusaur’s Vine Swing is a great test of timing more than force and is just like long jump, without the running. There is a long list of challenges and they are all found around PokéPark. After a short tutorial and a few conversations you find the first of 14 pieces of Sky Prism, and think this game is going to be short and easy. That is not the case and players can spend hours just on the mini games that are available. It would have been a nice feature to have the mini-games that player has unlocked available to play from the front menu but player will have to run to

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

79 93


Crackdown 2

Showing the Cracks Pacific City is getting a bit busy

T

he long-awaited sequel to Crackdown was finally released a while back, giving players more of the same sand-box style action. But although it took the developers a good couple of years to work on the sequel, sadly there isn’t anything new in the title besides the ‘2’ at the end of its name. In all fairness, there are a couple of things that were done differently for the sequel, but for all intents and purposes, it’s virtually a carbon-copy of the first title. Now, that can be approached as either a good thing or a bad thing. The good thing about it is that players will know exactly what they will be getting themselves into. They already known that they will be able to scale massive buildings with the help of agility orbs, take on huge amounts of enemies all in one go and they already known what graphics style to expect. Sadly, those elements can also work against the title. The furious hunts for hard-to-reach agility orbs are only as fun as long as you can reach them, and the obliteration of

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by Jimmy Glue large amounts of enemies is almost laughable – be it with a high-powered weapon or a sturdy vehicle. The graphics and style are virtually unchanged, which is also a major set-back for the title. One would expect the graphical quality to be bumped up just a notch, but we can’t always get what we want. It may be part of the game’s legacy, but a bit more detail and variety wouldn’t harm anybody. One aspect that remained unchanged – which was smart move on developer Ruffian’s part – is the control scheme. It remained just as simple as it was in the first iteration. It’s always a great thing when developers take in mind that gamers are used to a certain set of commands, and keeping those make the gamers feel like they haven’t missed much. But now for the major difference between the two titles – the plot (although the two games kind of tie in with one another). The player will once again take control of an agent (simply called Agent) working for The Agency in Pacific City, ten years after the events of the first title. But

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upgraded by carrying out certain actions. Agility and Renegade orbs increase agility; Firearms are boosted by killing anything that moves; Driving is pretty selfexplanatory; Explosives are upgraded by causing a small apocalypse; and upgrading Strength let the player pick up heavier items and objects. Online co-op multiplayer also makes its return, with up to four gamers killing off the infected and The Cell at the same time. Although the first game incorporated System Link, sadly the sequel opted not to make use of it. With all the new additions and plot devices in mind, that game doesn’t deliver much for returning players. Gamers who missed out on the first title won’t feel lost with the sequel, but that also works against fans of the original. All in all, it’s more of the same, with nothing feeling truly unique or exemplary. It’s a missable title, sadly going down in history as the game that really didn’t deliver much. g

AT A GLANCE: With more of the same action as the original, this title can be given a skip. Developer: Ruffian Games Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios Distributor: Microsoft

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

the city has undergone a bit of a population change, in the sense that the city has been thrown into chaos with the release of the Infected. These mutants stem from the research facility found in the first title, and it will be up to the player to restore law and order. Fighting the battle on a different front, the player will be faced with The Cell – a group of survivors who revolt against the mutants and The Agency. The bulk of the game will see Agent sabotaging key Cell structures and raiding the underground lairs of the mutants – who are most active during the night. Without giving away too much of the plot, players will also need to track down the origin of the mutant virus and stop it from spreading. In order to do that successfully, players will employ the returning features from the first game, enhancing their ability to jump higher, take more damage and improve their driving skills. As mention before, the agility orbs are back, as are Rooftop and Road checkpoint races. The player has five different skill sets that can be

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

69 95


NHL 11

Broken Sticks Hitting the ice harder

I

n sunny South Africa, ice hockey isn’t very high up on the public’s priority lists (although we do have a national team), which is rather a shame as the game is exciting, fast-paced and action-packed. Never the less, the latest iteration of the hugely popular NHL franchise was recently released and the game has made a couple of changes since its tenth instalment, which is generally a good thing. A new physics-based engine has been introduced, and what that does – in principle – is to ensure that all player interactions are completely unique. In the previous version, the body checks and interactions were all animated, which resulted in repeated movements. But the new engine adds to the realism of the game. It’s a small difference, but it will be noticed none the less. A few changes to the buttons were also implemented, meaning the strength of a pass or a slap shot is determined by how long the corresponding button is held in before release. This gives players the ability to perfectly

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by Jimmy Glue time their shots, while building up the strength. Speaking of perfectly timed shots, the face-off system has also been given a bit of an overhaul. Players will now have the ability to change grips on the stick and to push or block to opposing player from the face-off. Timing is crucial for the face-off, but luckily the game gives a short introduction tutorial on the mater. The control scheme stayed the same as the last title, with the player controlling body and movement with the left analogue stick, while shooting and passing is done by flicking the right analogue stick. For players not used to this combination, older control-schemes can be selected in the menu, like the Classic or NHL 94’s configuration. One thing that may take gamers by surprise is the ability for hockey sticks to break sporadically. Players might be happily skating along, when all of a sudden they realise that they won’t be able to control the puck. Upon closer inspection, and without warning, they will notice that they are stickless. But the problem is quickly solved by just

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sailing from there – play badly, and they get demoted to the second team. An included feature that made its first appearance in NHL 10 – and will also be available in FIFA 11 – is the ability to start a Be A Pro career as a goalie. It’s something different, but just as action-packed as being in the lines. But no game is perfect, and NHL 11 has it’s fair share of flaws. It’s not really a flaw, but players can set the CPU’s ability sliders before each match, which will drastically change the outcome, as the CPU’s shot strength and goalie reflexes can be dropped to zero. The camera is also a bit sticky at times, and not sure who it should focus on. As far as ice hockey games go, NHL 11 is definitely the best of the bunch, but then again, it’s hard to compare new games with old releases, as gamers expect a certain degree of improvement in quality. As a stand-alone title, the game is sure to bring hours of on-ice entertainment and nervous glances at the clock. g

AT A GLANCE: With improved graphics and added extras, this is the best one yet. Developer: EA Canada Publisher: EA Sports Distributor: Electronic Arts SA

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

10+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

skating over to the players’ box to grab another one. Graphically, there is a slight improvement, but most of the visual delight comes from the cut-scenes and pregame footage. The action is anyways so busy on the ice, that players will hardly notice the difference between NHL 10 and 11. NHL 11 is of course released by Electronic Arts, and it’s nice to see that they are starting to standardise their menus and in-game action. The menu and features are virtually identical to FIFA 10 and World Cup 2010, so at least gamer will know where to go. Another feature that is similar to the football franchise is the inclusion of the Be A Pro mode. In this mode, players will create their own skater, and duke it out for a place in the NHL Hall of Fame. Ok, it’s not that easy, but it is the ultimate prize. Starting off in the pre-season, players will have to play well in order for their coach to deem them good enough to be included in their chosen team’s A-side. But it’s no plain

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

84 97


Racket Sports

Having a Ball Even in badminton…

S

ports games have always been popular – it’s almost a pointless statement. But the idea of motion-based controls brought a new lustre into the idea of sports titles. And while the concept certainly does help with the more serious sports titles, it’s the family-fun, party-style games that have seen the biggest boom. If you don’t believe me, do a little research and see how many sports games of this kind have been released for the Nintendo Wii. From the very fun Wii Sports right through to the slightly more serious Grand Slam Tennis, the console has been very thoroughly exploited with this kind of game. Now that motion gaming is no longer restricted to the little white Nintendo console, you can rest assured that the HD consoles will have a similar onslaught. It’s already started, in fact… the PlayStation Move is still very fresh on the market, but games like Sports Champions and Racket Sports are arriving in droves. Perhaps it is the most logical application of motion gaming. When you think about playing something that has a lot of body movement involved, various sports are the first things that spring to mind. And, thanks to the style of

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by Walt Pretorius the Move controller, racquet based sports are pretty much top of the list. Racket Sports (complete with its lamentably Americanised spelling) builds on experience that Ubisoft gained with a similar title on the Wii, and brings five racquet based sports to the early adopters of the Move system. The sports in question are tennis, badminton, squash, beach tennis and table tennis. While this variety may seem to be a little limited, the approach in developing these games has resulted in five rather varied games, despite their similarities. In fact, playing the five different types of sports is quite a challenge. I found, for example, that tennis and badminton were the ones I was best at, while squash gave me the most trouble, in terms of playing winning shots. The dynamics of the games, in real life, are well implemented in this title… playing tennis is very different from table tennis, after all, and a slightly different approach is needed in the various games this title offers. While Wii veterans may roll their eyes at “yet another racquet based game”, it’s a new concept for Move players, and one that is lots of fun. The controls are fairly intuitive,

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small movements, while sitting on the couch (something that slightly defeats the purpose) or can leap around the lounge, making big movements (which will result in sore muscles, trust me.) Shots and movements can also be modified – the player can choose between two control styles, based on simple and advanced principles. Some of the ideas take a little getting used to – like the directional orientation of the Move controller affecting the in-game character’s movement – but the combination of the welldesigned Move controller and clever implementation by the developers of the title is a good one. As one of the first third-party games we have seen for the Move, Racket Sports is good. It’s solid in terms of performance and motion sensing, and offers an enjoyable, casual title for the whole family. There will probably be a whole bunch of games made for the Move system in this particular vein, but as an early offering, Racket Sports is great. g

AT A GLANCE: A fun family and party game for the PlayStation Move system. Developer: Asobo Publisher: Ubisoft Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

and players should have a lot of fun with this, whether in career mode or in multiplayer duels. The HD platform allows for great graphics, which are cute enough to appeal to the whole family, without skimping overly on things like animations and effects. As a family or party game, Racket Sports is great fun. It would have been nice to be able to design custom characters, though – there really is no reason, other than voice-over implications, why this could not have been included. The player unlocks different hairstyles, costumes and equipment while playing, which makes the lack of custom characters even more frustrating. Also, recalibrating the controller before every game is a bit of a pain, but it’s a quick process that can be equated to each player hitting a “ready” button. Neither of these issues are deal breakers, and the excellent implementation of the control scheme – read as “playing the game” – makes up for it. The controls are based on the direction and speed of motions, rather than on the size of movements. This means that the player can play the game with relatively

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

80 99


Tetris Party Deluxe

Blocked… Is there more to Tetris?

E

veryone knows what Tetris is, right? But do they? I met someone this month that did not know what Tetris was! I was stumped with the task of explaining what the game was about before I asked him to play with me. I often take the game I have to review into work and prey on the unlucky random person who I feel needs to come and try out the multiplayer with me. In Tetris Party Deluxe there is a basic assumption that the player already knows what Tetris is and starts by showing the wonderful list of new modes that they have come up with. If ever asked to explain the game of Tetris (or if you don’t know) read through the following before buying the game. A random sequence of tetrominoes (shapes composed of four square blocks) fall down the playing field (a rectangular vertical shaft) called the well or matrix. The

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by Brian Murdoch objective of the game is to manipulate these tetrominoes by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90 degree increments, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of blocks without gaps. So far, so good… I hope you are following. When a solid line is created, it disappears and any blocks above the deleted line will fall down. Simple, isn’t it? Then why do some people find themselves putting hours upon hours into this game? How do people come up with different variations of the game and compile them onto a new disc and sell them? In the Tetris Party Deluxe compilation for the Wii there are a good set of different play styles to experience. Playing the standard game in marathon, battle against the computer or a friend. There is Shadows, where the tetriminoes need to be placed in a shaded area, and

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a time and we are going for a party game here. My personal favourite and the one that will keep me adding this into my ‘Wii games to play with friends’ list is the Dual Spaces mode. This mode seems to make the player reverse their Tetris brain instincts as it required them to take up as much space in the game by making holes before the other player can. Players take turns to drop a tetrimino into the space. Players need to be interested in Tetris before getting a game like Tetris Party Deluxe. They need to have at least have played it once and like it or be happy to give it a try. The game truly is Tetris, Tetris and then, ooh yes, more

AT A GLANCE: It’s more Tetris with a range of different and interesting modes. Some modes ask the player to play Tetris in reverse. Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Distributor: Core Group

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Wii Platforms

Sprint, in which the winner is the first person to clear 40 lines. Master mode is a real pain as the tetriminoes are dropped instantly with only a few split seconds to pick a spot for them, and Bombliss mode allows blocks to be destroyed by bombs. In multi-player and single player there is a Field Climber mode, where a little man is placed on top of one of the points of your blocks and the player need to place tetriminoes carefully so he is able to continue climbing to the top. If he is trapped or squashed the game is lost. The balance board was added as a control for Marathon, battling the computer and a 3 Minute mode, but this just ruining the rubber on the balance board, rather than being a workout or adding any complexity to the game. Also a Wii can only take one balance board at

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

68 101


EyePet Move Edition

Virtual Animal Interaction And it won’t go on the rug…

Y

ears back – when many of us were younger and some of us didn’t exist yet – some ingenious (and quite possibly sadistic) guy came up with the idea of virtual pets. Originally, these Tamagotchis were small electronic devices that the owner would carry around and care for. If the thing got hungry, you ‘fed’ it with the push of a button. If it got dirty, you cleaned it. If it got bored, you played with it. The concept evolved, as they always do, to include things like those truly hideous Furby dolls, and more. And the amount of work that the player had to put into the virtual pet was more than one would put into a real pet. They were demanding, horrid things. The idea of virtual pets evolved even further, of course, resulting in pets that were kept as part of computer games. These pets were generally the theme of the game, of course, and a heightened degree of interaction, combined with the fact that they were much less demanding than the ones you carried in your pocket, made them very popular.

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by Walt Pretorius Sony’s EyePet was such a creature, and users the world over took to the game, training and playing with their creature (which looks a bit like a cat, a dog and a monkey rolled into one.) But things weren’t perfect with the first EyePet, as fun as the experience might have been. The release of the Move control system has made playing with an EyePet easier, thanks to the EyePet Move Edition. Additionally, the controller has added many new options for interaction, and the tracking that the necessary PS Eye camera does is much more accurate in this version (thanks to the big glowing ball atop the Move controller.) But, for purposes of this review, let’s assume that you are new to the whole EyePet thing… When the game starts up, the player is given careful instructions by a rather stereotypical professor-lookingguy (a live actor, that is) on setting up the environment for playing with an EyePet. The thoroughly cute intro is obviously aimed at a younger generation, but it does set the saccharine tone for the rest of the game. The

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player and the virtual creature grows quite strong. The graphics are great, although much of the screen is taken up by images captured by the camera. If the lighting is not spot on, these images look a bit iffy, unfortunately, but the funkiness of having the virtual creature running around on your carpet (on the TV screen, at least) is still pretty cool. The best part of the game, though, is the rather simple control scheme. Everything is achieved either through the Move controller, or the player’s hands. Sometimes things like patting the EyePet can be a bit tricky, but it’s fairly accurate for the most part. EyePet Move Edition will appeal to younger players, and more than likely more to girls than boys. Still, it’s a fun way to while away a few hours, even for older gamers. And, in terms of family friendly, you don’t get much more than this… the game is inoffensive, cute and stimulating. It’s a pity about the annoying professor-dude. g

AT A GLANCE: A fun activity for young and old, with improvements thanks to the new Move controller. Developer: SCEI Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

3+ gamecca review • issue 16 • October 2010

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

EyePet needs space on the floor, and fairly bright light. This enables the camera to pick up the surroundings, and create the illusion that the player is actually interacting with the as yet unhatched EyePet. It also means that the game is most effectively played during the day. Once the player has set up the space, an EyePet Egg is delivered. The player will, through a few mini-games, coax the curious-looking creature out of the egg. Once that’s done, the game pretty much starts. Calling it a game, though, is a bit inaccurate. EyePet would better be described as ‘an activity’. The player engages in a number of activities, all involving their EyePet. They can play with it, using several toys that are unlocked during the course of the game. They can groom it, giving it cute little outfits and changing its fur style and colours. They also need to feed and bathe it, of course. Most of these activities form part of goals that are set for the player. Each goal also teaches the player new ways to interact with their EyePet, and relationship between the

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS PS2

Score

76 103


s r e n n i Beg Beginners e to

Guid to Guide D O O GAMING GOOD G GAMING

Gamers

Investigated S

o who exactly play games? The media would have us believe that gamers are a bunch of sallow-skinned teenagers in darkened rooms, eating junk food and never socialising beyond the interaction they have with other gamers over the Internet. They would also have us believe that these anti-social individuals are outcasts and potentially violent malcontents who play games because they can find no other outlet for their misguided aggression and misshapen emotions. They would have us believe that these are the ones who have yet to mature beyond the realm of video-game playing, that the socially unacceptable pursuit of playing video games is a phase that they will grow out of when they miraculously, in true Hollywood style, suddenly discover a world beyond their consoles or PCs. Well, we have news for the media. Their misguided representation of gamers and gaming buys into a mindset that is fast being proven wrong, a mind-set that is perpetuated by people who don’t play games, and probably have never met a gamer. That is actually quite a feat of narrow-minded avoidance, if new statistics are taken into account. According to the US based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) 67% of US households play video games. That’s a staggering number of households, showing that the activity is far more common than some might initially assume. To further squash the idea of the teenage outcast, statistics show that the average US gamer is 34 years

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of age. That’s way beyond what we would be led to believe. In fact, according to the ESRB, 49% of gamers fall between the ages of 18 and 49, while 26% are over the age of 50. That means that only 25% of US gamers are under the age of 18… a far cry from the stereotype. In addition, the average adult gamer (who make up the vast majority) have been playing games for around 12 years… although the average gamer only spends 8 hours a week playing games (yet another big break from the stereotype.) Another potential surprise lies in the fact that almost half of American gamers are women. 40% of gamers are female, although the majority of them (80%) play the more casual Wii, while 11% play on the Xbox 360 and 9% the PlayStation 3. Men show far more diversity in their console choices, with 41% being Wii players, 38% Xbox 360 players, and 21% being PS3 players. With the effects of violent video games often being reported on, and states like California trying to pass new laws to regulate the sale of violent video games to minors, parental involvement in video game activities is always a highly-watched area. With the average age of video game buyers being 39, it is obvious that it is an older crowd buying the games. But what about at home? Well, parents in the US appear to be more responsible about their children’s video gaming habits than other forms of media. 83% of parents restrict the amount of time their kids spend playing games, which outstrips the limits imposed by parents on watching TV (78%), surfing

gamecca BGGG • issue 16 • October 2010


the Internet (75%) and watching movies (66%). Additionally, 93% of gamers’ parents are present at the time when games are purchased or rented, and children receive their parents permission to buy or rent games 86% of the time. 64% of parents believe that playing video games is beneficial to their children, while 48% play games with their kids on at least a weekly basis. According to Peter D Hart Research Associates, 35% of parents play video games, and of those numbers, 98% have kids who also play games. Parents also report monitoring their children’s gaming activities for 97% of the time spent gaming. Research into buying trends shows that 48% of games purchased are rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB, while 23% are rated T (Teen). 17% of games purchased are rated M (Mature) while 12+ are rated E +10. On the whole, video games on console platforms accounted for an earning of US$9.9 billion in 2009, while PC games sold copies to the value of US$0.5 billion. The industry as a whole turned

gamecca BGGG • issue 16 • October 2010

over US$10.5 billion in revenue in 2009. While these statistics are based on the US market, it is fairly safe to assume that the percentages shown can be applied to almost any territory in the world. At very least, they give a good idea of who it is that are playing all the games out there… not anti-social teenagers (or not exclusively anti-social teenagers.) Rather, the average gamer is a 34 year old male who, chances are, has a family that includes a new generation of gamers. This individual is responsible enough to monitor his children’s gaming habits, while not obsessing about the activity. This is a very different picture from the one that is painted in popular media, and one that should give anyone pause for thought… particularly those who have the wrong ideas about video gaming. g

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Essential Classics

Indiana Jones & the Fate of Atlantis Indy swings onto the PC...

W

ay back in 1981 a budding adventurer and archaeology professor set off into the unknown to find some great treasures, only to find a place in the hearts and minds of all the enduring fans. Indiana Jones had truly arrived on the scene, and every young boy wanted to be just like him. The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, paved the way for two more hugely successful films; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, but it was between 1989’s Last Crusade and the following The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series from 1992 that this month’s classic game was released. With the Indiana Jones franchise firmly cemented in Hollywood, early 1992 saw the release of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on PC. Developed by LucasArts,

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by Jimmy Glue

the adventure game took on the form of the popular pointand-click system of the time. As one might deduce, the game took place in the fictional Indiana Jones universe, and the plot took our intrepid hero in search of the fabled sunken city of Atlantis. But Indy didn’t venture into the unknown by himself, as his former colleague-turned-psychic Sophia Hapgood tagged along for the journey. In every good story there needs to be a villain, and more often than not in Indy lore it’s the Nazis. In this case, they are also in search of Atlantis, as they want to use its power for warfare. So, with that, the global race was on to find the city. The game made use of the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) story system, and provided gamers with three unique paths to select, influencing story gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010


gamecca • review

development, gameplay, and puzzles. Using the point-andclick system for navigation and actions, players had to click on Use, Open, Give or Talk (or any of the five other commands) in order to get reactions from NPC’s and Indy. The graphics for the time seemed good enough not to warrant complaints, but if the game had to be played today, it will seem like nothing more than an 8-bit title. The game’s sounds were sufficient, although they did come directly out of the PC’s internal speaker, and reading the entire dialog could become a bit tedious. A re-release in 1993 tried to rectify the problem, with LucasArts releasing an enhanced edition on CD-ROM with full voice acting and digitized sound effects. The enhanced edition was also part of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings and was made available as a Steam download in 2009. gamecca feature • issue 16 • October 2010

The game was filled with a lot of exciting and intense moments, and there arose some occasions where the hero could perish (something that was common in LucasArts games), but luckily these were designed to be easily recognisable. When thinking about classic games, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis will immediately come to mind for many gamers. The title went on to sell over a million units and was praised by game critics the world-over, and although two sequel were planned, Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix and Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny did not make it into production. Both, however, did make it in to separate four-part comic series, released between 1994 and 1995. g

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No Budget, Some Problems Stateside

by Corey Schon

A

s we find ourselves, collectively, in the slow days of… well, late September (it’s summer here, but the cliché doesn’t hold the same water on your side of the equator, does it?), only vaguely considering any real return to productivity (or am I wrong about that, too)… My point here is that this has been the lull time for games, where you’ve

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historically been best served to work through any backlogs you may have, purchase a game or two used, or – horror of horrors – find something else to do with your time. With that perception, it’s hard to imagine any devs would purposely aim toward this gap, when many gamers’ eyes are turned toward other pursuits. Still, though, there are some groups who release games during these spans,

hoping to attract a stray look or two their way. And really, it seems on the whole that a stray look or two is all that they might expect. Rarely ever are these games large enough to have marketing campaigns – they just sort of “happen”, in a sense. But, with the ever-increasing costs of game production, and the tendency of smaller companies in the industry to get folded into large companies (or simply being destroyed) when even one game of significant financial backing fails to meet expectations… how can a company like Krome Studios release Blade Kitten (yes, I know) without even encouraging journalists to take a look? It’s hard to try to make a judgment on whether that’s because they’re not especially proud of their work, or because they simply didn’t have the financial considerations. So more concisely, what I’m trying to ask is this: is there really a profit margin to be had, throwing a game out into the middle-of-theyear release schedule void? Maybe, sooner or later, publishers and developers will notice that their ever expanding profits are only really as seasonally dependent as they try to make them. And beyond that, I have to imagine that having a fuller release slate will induce more incidental sales of those smaller games – even if they don’t want to try to make the sales pitch themselves. It’ll also be nice when we won’t have to play Batman: Arkham Asylum for the sixth time while waiting for more new games to come out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Arkham isn’t going to lock itself back down… g

gamecca column • issue 16 • October 2010


logolink Essential surfing made easy


LG Flatron W2486L Monitor

Sleek

A real performer by Walt Pretorius

I

t wasn’t that long ago that a large monitor meant back-breaking weight. If you moved your computer around a lot (like, say, going to LAN games) or even at all (like, say, cleaning your desk) the luxury of a large monitor suddenly seemed not worth the muscle strains and potential hernias that went along with moving it. Times have, thankfully, changed, and now a large LCD monitor weighs in at less than a small old CRT. Now, size is a luxury that can be taken advantage of without all the weight and space considerations of before. Well, at least not all of them. See, there is such a thing as too big a monitor. The same goes for TVs. You more than likely don’t agree, but a lot of specialists have done a lot of work on getting these kinds of ideas right. The main principle is that too much head movement when looking at a screen defeats the purpose. Everything should fall neatly into the user’s field of view, without them needing to bob their head around in an attempt to see everything. And let’s not forget that very big monitors can still take

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up a lot of desk space, although not as much as before. This is one of the aspects that makes the LG Flatron W2486L such a great viewing device. It’s 24 inch size is generous, without being overwhelming, and the very flat design of the monitor (which measures around 20mm in depth) is great for getting a little more room out of one’s workspace. But that’s not all. The monitor is tiltable (although you’ll want to keep a hand on the base when tilting, because it isn’t the sturdiest) and has the now familiar touch interface for controls built into the front of it. In the rear, you’ll find an RGB, DVI and two HDMI inputs (making it great for multi-console gaming, if you play them at your desk) and an audio headphone output, which is used in conjunction with the HDMI inputs. It transcends the idea of a computer monitor, and enters the field of multimedia device, thanks to this. The environmentally conscious will also be pleased to know that the W2486L uses around 50% less energy than other monitors, and is mercury free. g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0


The real proof, though, is in the pudding. This monitor delivers clear, crisp visual performance, thanks to the LED technology that it employs. This technology is superior to standard LCD monitors in virtually every way, allowing for better brightness and contrast, clearer images and really quick response times. And it shows… we tested the W2486L with a variety of inputs, from PCs to Blu-Ray players, and the performance was always top notch. Seeing that LED technology is still fairly new and ‘in vogue’, you will find cheaper monitors than this one on the market. However, the versatility of this particular piece of equipment, combined with the excellent performance it delivers, makes it a winner on many fronts. Once you have made the move to LED, you’ll never look at a normal LCD monitor again – the difference is that marked, and the performance is that much better. Spending the extra cash on this one is almost a no-brainer (provided you can afford it.) If you are looking for top notch performance and a very versatile set of inputs in a 24 inch package, this is one of the best choices you could make. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0

AT A GLANCE: A great 24 inch option, with excellent clarity and lots of versatility

Score

88

Manufacturer: LG Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: TBC Tech Specs: • 2 000 000:1 contrast ratio • 1920 x 1080 resolution • RGB / DVI/ HDMI • LED

Pros: • 2 HDMI ports • Energy saving • Great performance Cons: • Base a bit flimsy

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Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710

Comfort is King With bonus good looks and performance

by Walt Pretorius

T

he importance of a good mouse and keyboard can never be understated. The obvious points all lead to effective input, but comfortable design is also an absolute necessity, particularly when you spend long times working at a computer. Added bonuses like improved functionality don’t hurt either. Logitech have long been leaders in providing excellent input devices, as well as great bundles. They have managed to set themselves up with a reputation for quality, reliability and great design. All of these can be seen in the Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710 bundle. While it doesn’t fall into the top of the range, the excellent design, comfortable functionality and good reliability makes this bundle a great option for those who want to keep their purchasing decisions simple. The first thing that we noticed is the extreme comfort in using this keyboard and mouse bundle. From the keyboard’s cushioned palm rest and awesome Incurve keys (which allow for a better hand position, and have rounded edges for a smoother typing experience) through

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to the beautifully contoured mouse, the MK710 bundle is great to use. The mouse is a little small, meaning that people with big hands may not like the feel, but it’s not so small as to exclude the majority from a comfortable hand position. The keyboard also features four and eight degree tilt options. The mouse further features five buttons, all easily accessible, as well as a tiltable, clickable scroll wheel that makes use of a hyper-fast scrolling system. A button just behind the wheel allows the user to change between traditional scrolling and this very handy, high speed scrolling mode. Being a wireless system, the issue of wire clutter doesn’t exist. However, the system is not rechargeable, meaning that the user will inevitably need to change batteries in both devices at some time. The battery life, though, is apparently very good. Logitech claim up to three years of battery life for the total of four AA batteries used. We haven’t had that long to review the products, obviously, but from what we’ve seen, this claim g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0


may well be highly attainable. An LCD screen at the top of the keyboard informs the user of battery life, as well as Caps Lock, Num Lock and so on. The whole system is unified by a tiny USB receiver, which makes use of Logitech’s Advanced 2.4GHz wireless technology. This means reliable performance, even when the receiver is obscured. In addition, while the set comes with software, it is essentially a plug-and-play device, making it much easier to use for those who don’t want to delve into the deeper functions of the bundle. On the downside, the key-travel on the keyboard is still quite long. While this can help reduce typos, the potentially quiet keyboard can become a bit loud (particularly if you hammer keys when you type, like I do.) It’s not really a massive problem, but it can prove to be a little annoying at times. On the whole, the solid performance of this bundle (across applications and games) as well as its attractive design and comfort, makes it a good choice as a desktop bundle. g g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0

AT A GLANCE: A good looking, comfortable and effective desktop bundle at a reasonable price.

Score

79

Manufacturer: Logitech Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: TBC Tech Specs: • 6 button muse • 2.4GHz wireless • 128 bit encryption • 848 nm mouse laser

Pros: • Comfortable • Nice aesthetic • Long battery life • Reliable Cons: • Long key travel • Slightly small mouse

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GMC X7 X-Station ATX Case

Chunky

It looks like it will eat you by Walt Pretorius

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g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0


A

computer case, for many, is more than just a box that holds all the important components that make a PC work – it can be an expression of individual style, too. And with the wide variety of cases available, picking the right one can be tricky. Let’s not forget that the choice needs to be tempered with good functionality, too. This box will be the environment in which your computer operates and, as such, needs to be able to not only look good, but keep your PC operating at desired temperatures. It’s no good having a great looking PC case that overheats every few hours. The Korean built GMC X7 X-Station provides a good solution as a chassis, as well as being fairly pocket friendly. Many of the high-performance cases will cost an arm and a leg, but the X7 will not break the bank. With it being aimed at the gaming market, the X7 looks very different from the generally subtle cases that GMC build. It is a chunky case, with numerous bulges and hard likes making it look almost predatory. The nooks and crannies that this design have resulted in keeping the exterior of the case clean a bit of a nightmare. The case comes with a few features that bear mentioning. Four front mounted USB ports and front audio ports are a bonus, and two power switches (one at the top and one on the front) add convenience and practicality – the user will always be able to easily access at least one of them, in theory. The front of the case also features a bright LCD display that monitors hard drive and fan activity, although only one fan is monitored. Still, it has a handy temperature display as well, which will help the user regulate heat to a degree. The front panel also features two orange reflectors, although we’re not too sure why. The first optical drive bay is fitted with an ‘external’ eject button, as the drive sits behind the face plate. Additional optical bays sit behind covers (three in total) which can easily be removed. The case’s side panel has two LED lights and a button to regulate fan speed. The manual isn’t very clear on the workings of this system, though. Some internet research g a m e c c a h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 1 6 • O c t o b e r 2 0 1 0

may be required. The interior of this standard ATX case is roomy, but the design is a little anachronistic. In an age where most cases have a smart approach to installing components, the X7 is a screw-based box. Additionally, drive bays are fixed in place, and cannot be tilted or removed for easier access. While it is not impossible to build a PC system into the X7, it isn’t as easy as it might be. There are also a few rough edges to look out for. The box allows for cooling with three fans; a front and rear mounted 120mm fan, as well as a side mounted 80mm fan. The built in thermometer and fan control are nice extras but, as said before, a little research will be required to get them working properly. The GMC X7 X-Station is a good effort at putting together an impressive gaming case. While some of the design decisions are a little strange, the price is good, and the cooling provided by the box is more than adequate. This is a good option for gamers on a budget. g

AT A GLANCE: A good choice for gamers on a budget

Score

70

Manufacturer: GMC Distributor: Pinnacle Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: TBC Tech Specs: • ATX • 7 Expansion slots • 2 x 120mm fans • 1 x 80mm fan • 7 Expansion slots • Fan controller • Thermometer

Pros: • 2 power switches • Thermometer • 4 front USB ports Cons: • Screw-based • Some strange design choices

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More LAN Action In the Lair

by thebanman

T

his month the guys at PolarfluKe had their hands full with 96 players in 16 pools of 6 players as each of them fought for the title of winner in last month’s PolarfluKe: Heaven’s Devils Starctaft II tournament. As this monthly tournament begins to set in as a monthly feature on the StarCraft II community calendar, the team at PolarfluKe has begun to become tighter on the rule-set regarding players not arriving online in time for their matches. Other that this hurdle the tournament ran smoothly with the top 4 places being awarded to: 1 - Ricahrd ‘AngryAfrican’ West 2 - Travis ‘Bvd`Shase’ Weedon 3 - Daniel ‘miNt-Spinks’ Viller 4 - Ruaan ‘Bakchiadai’ Nel The Prizes this month were sponsored by MyGaming – http://mygaming.co.za R700 cash for 1st R300 cash for 2nd. For more info regarding the next tournament please visit http://polarfluke.co.za On the LANning scene: Cape Town: Organised Chaos: Date: 19 October 2010 Venue: Bellville Velodrome Entrance Fee: R120 – R200 Depending on network connection Total Gamers: 800 Website: www.oc.co.za I have spent the last few days chatting with Dietmar, the organiser of the OC LAN, regarding his plans for the future and the future of OC. Dietmar has a few great ideas

regarding expanding OC around the country and I’m sure we will see a few news articles making their way to the media shortly. Durban: Frag LAN: Date: 1-3 October 2010 Venue: Kearsney College, Bothas Hill Entrance Fee: R100 – R130 (Book Online) Total Gamers: 250 Website: www.frag.co.za James and his team are again hard at work and ready to provide a fun, competitive yet social gaming environment. Johannesburg: The Mayhem LAN: Date: 16-17 October 2010 Venue: Mayhem Boksburg, Dayan street, Dayan Glen. Entrance Fee: R60 Total Gamers: 240 Website: www.mayhem.co.za Few LAN have managed to bring all gamers into one event. The Mayhem LAN has gamers from all over the Gauteng area travelling to enjoy video gaming as well as board games, card games and figure gaming. Liberty LAN: Date: 15 October 2010

Venue: 25 Van Wyk Road, Brentwood Park, Benoni Entrance Fee: R100 (Book online) Total Gamers: 400 Website: www.libertylan.co.za Shelby’s team is again descending on hallowed ground to bring you the Liberty LAN. Truly one of the most spiritual gaming event in the country. Pretoria: MPLD: Date: 8-10 October 2010 Venue: Kiepersol Community Centre, Cnr of Alan & De Hoewe, Eldoraigne, Centurion Entrance Fee: R80 Total Gamers: 180 Website: www.mpld.co.za FragArena: Date: 22-23 October 2010 Venue: Denis Adami Hall, Wren Road, Queenswood, Pretoria Entrance Fee: R80 Total Gamers: 160 Website: www.fragarena.co.za If there is one man that is passionate about his event it is noonbab from FragArena. He spends his time working tirelessly to make sure that the event is running smoothly and that the gamers at FragArena have an amazing time. g

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


Apple Crack From Space

by Columnist A

I

n last month’s column, I detailed my Minecraft adventures. I’ve since been cured of my digging addiction. Well, sort of. I still follow the game’s development and pop in now and then to add a few new things to my cubic empire, but a lot of my time has been taken up by my iPad. Yes, this here Apple fan went and got an iPad. I know what you’re thinking. And you’re wrong. Well, you’re probably right, but I’ll defend to the death my right to say that I bought it for work purposes. The battery lasts ages and Epic recently

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announced a game for Apple’s iOS platform. Sure, I already have an iPhone and it will happily run the beautiful Epic Citadel tech demo – I encourage you to check it out, if you have a compatible device – but the iPad has a bigger screen. And stuff. I have it to thank for curing my Minecraft addiction, though. Instead, I’ve replaced it with another addiction: touch-screen gaming. I’ve been jamming some Tetris Party Deluxe on the original touch-screen gaming platform, the Nintendo DS. As good as Tetris is at bringing out my very nasty competitive side, it doesn’t hold a candle to Harbour Master HD on the iPad. You know how a Friday afternoon at the office is usually spent playing some Flashbased game somebody found on “a website”? Well, Harbour Master is like that, times a million. A simple game where you lead boats into a dock has become the worst kind of crack. How can it be so bad? Well, for the same reasons

that it’s not as terrible as actual addictive substances. Come home with a handful of pills and nose full of booger sugar, and your family will intervene immediately. Show up playing Harbour Master, or any superaddictive game on your phone, and they dismiss it as “just a game”. Soon, “just a game” has caused you to miss lunch and dinner. Then “just a game” forgot to feed the pets. Shortly afterwards, “just a game” stops calling your friends on their birthdays and so long as you remember how to breath, it will ruin your life. Of course, there have been many addictive games in the past. Minecraft is one of them. And countless of Flash games can also be added to the list. But none have been so accessible as they are on Apple’s touch platforms. Earlier this afternoon, before I sat down to write this column, some friends came over to visit. They hijacked my iPad and got stuck into Harbour Master. Two hours later they realised they’d actually come to see me, but had to leave (now convinced they needed an iPad). They apologised for beating my high-score - how kind of them – but it goes to show just how intuitive simple finger-swiping can be, and how immersive basic games can be. Apple has actively pursued the gaming market with its iPod touch, even going so far as implementing Game Center. Sort of an Xbox Live for Apple devices. The newest touch is alot more powerful than the PSP or DS, with a better screen. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all thumbing screens and stuffing Apple’s coffers even more. g

gamecca column • issue 16 • October 2010


Get a new perspective on technology. 1337 Media, the publishers of Gamecca Magazine, are proud to announce the launch of a new publication, Gladget Magazine, scheduled to arrive on the 15th October 2010.

With Gladget Magazine’s guarantee that all reviews are generated locally from hands-on experience, readers will be able to rest assured, knowing that all hardware & software reviews showcase products that are available in SA. Published by

ISSUE ONE AVAILABLE 15.10.10

www.gladget.co.za Gladget, Simply Technology.

Copyright Š 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2010

Fun to read and invaluable in keeping up with technology & trends, Gladget Magazine will be focused on gadgets, tech-toys & hardware, offering readers access, through free subscription, to reviews, features & tons of interesting information every month.

Gladget Magazine will be published at www.gladget.co.za, fourteen days every month after its sister magazine Gamecca, which is available on the1st working day of every month at www.gamecca.co.za.

Gamecca Magazine October 2010  

Gamecca Magazine October 2010 (volume 2, issue 16)

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