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the mobile phone and gaming magazine














HTC Sensaon’s ‘Death Grip’ Codemasters hacked Nintendo stocks slump as Wii U announced

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Decepon Bioshock Infinite Call of Duty: Elite Prototype 2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Saints Row: The Third

STEVE CHAPLIN, VIRTUAL POOL 4 We go for a rack with the man behind pool’s best simulator


WHAT IF A phone as thin as paper? Possibly...


E3 2011 ROUNDUP All the news, views and gossip from gaming’s most presgious event


THE KEY TO SENNA’S GREATNESS Why was Senna so revered?


DUKE NUKEM FOREVER Is the Duke’s return really relevant in today’s gaming climate?


Samsung Galaxy Mini HTC Mozart Duke Nukem Forever Dirt 3 Mortal Kombat Operaon Flashpoint: Red River Need for Speed: Shi 2 Unleashed Brink Grey Maer

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Mobile Phones













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GETTING IT TOGETHER The joys of E3 mania, oh how we beamed like lile kiddies unwrapping presents. There was so much to be amazed with, so lile that disappointed and so many that brought the big guns out; aempng to outdo their rivals. As I wandered around like a first me kid to a candy store it felt like game publsihers and developers were launching their smulus packages for the gaming industry. We couldn’t help but share our star of the show…I’m gagging to tell you but won’t rob you the excitement of reading it yourself. This issue our Editor’s Choice Award goes to Dirt 3! Congrats to the Codemasters team on another game well developed. Well I’d stop now, since you’re probably on the verge of a breakdown from the anxiety of wanng to read on. (If you haven’t started reading ahead already!) Thanks for geng another great issue. Enjoy reading! Your Editor in Chief

Kevin Leonce



HTC SENSATION’S ‘DEATH GRIP’ As many of you remember, when the iPhone 4 was released last year, there were a lot of problems with the antenna, specifically when you held the phone in a certain way the metal strip around the phone caused the signal to decrease. Now Apple managed to fix this, by way of a soware update and a new batch of iPhones, but not before the rest of the manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and hyped the problem up, which gave an inevitable rise in sales for the rest. The manufacturer to arguably do best from the whole fiasco was HTC, who have enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in the last 3 or 4 years, offering high-end smartphones at reasonable prices, and are now the third largest smartphone maker in the world, beaten only by Samsung and Apple, as well as being named Device Manufacturer of the Year at the Mobile World Congress in February of this year. Unfortunately, it seems that HTC’s new Sensaon handset is suffering from the same so-called ‘death grip’ as the iPhone 4, but it affects the WiFi and


Bluetooth connecvity as well as 3G signal this me. It has been reported that it is the unibody rear cover that is causing this problem, but the problem has not been reported on any of the other HTC handsets that have the unibody cover so it must be something specifically wrong with the Sensaon’s back cover, which, as it turns out, is not truly unibody, and does have mulple secons to it, which is apparently the cause of the problem..

“IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT IT IS THE UNIBODY REAR COVER THAT IS CAUSING THIS PROBLEM” HTC have come out and denied there being a problem, suggesng that it is only what they call “a slight variaon in signal strength” under “normal circumstances” which, if true, is fine. Now the Sensaon looks like it could be a fantasc phone, and one of HTC’s best-sellers, if they can just combat this reported issue. It seems like it doesn’t happen with every handset either, it may just be the only way to see this problem, and whether it is indeed a problem, as HTC’s PR department have fervently denied, is to experience it for yourself!


Ma Foley


Another day, another case of a hacked games company. Last me it was Sony who were the vicms of a hack aack, forcing them to shut down their enre online industry while the issue was fixed, cosng them an esmated $100 million plus. Now, it looks like Codemasters – the team behind the Colin McRae Dirt series – are the next big videogame company to be hit. Codemasters have said that its customers’ personal details have been taken, including phone numbers, email addresses and encrypted passwords. In the wake of this aack, the publisher has contacted all of its customers to apologise for the intrusion, and has publicly stated that no payment details have been compromised. As of yet, the perpetrator(s) of this aack are unknown. In a message to their customers, Codemasters’ said, “Unfortunately, Codemasters is the latest vicm in

ongoing targeted aacks against numerous game companies. We assure you that we are doing everything within our legal means to track down the perpetrators and take acon to the full extent of the law. We apologise for this incident and regret any inconvenience caused. We are contacng all customers who may have been affected directly.”

“AS OF YET, THE PERPETRATOR(S) OF THIS ATTACK ARE UNKNOWN.” Following this message, all customers were advised by Codemasters to change their personal details, and as their website is currently down for maintenance – expected to be operaonal again within this year – all visitors are being re-addressed to Codemasters’ Facebook page.


Sco Tierney


NINTENDO STOCK DIPS IN WAKE OF WII U ANNOUNCEMENT 10% DROP ON TOKYO MARKET Despite the Wii U dominang the headlines at this year’s E3, Nintendo’s shareholders didn’t seem to hold the same enthusiasm with the games company’s latest piece of kit. As the much heralded Wii successor took to the stage in LA, shares in Tokyo dropped by a small yet dramac 5%, and then connued to fall to 10% a couple of days aer (at me of wring). Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, had this to say during an E3 interview: “Honestly speaking, the reacon to (the E3) presentaon and what I heard from people I met and the mood of the convenon did not chime at all with what happened in the stock market. It’s very strange.”

“THE REACTION TO (THE E3) PRESENTATION AND WHAT I HEARD FROM PEOPLE I MET AND THE MOOD OF THE CONVENTION DID NOT CHIME AT ALL WITH WHAT HAPPENED IN THE STOCK MARKET.” “In the end, it is easy to get the mistaken impression that this is just a game console with a tablet,” connued Iwata. “People who came to the presentaon and tried it out have understood very well that it opens up a lot of new possibilies. But people who have not tried it will find it hard to believe that this controller will change things.”


“REGARDLESS OF THESE ISSUES, THE FUTURE LOOKS PRETTY GOOD FOR THE WII U.” Although this lack of support - at least financially - from Nintendo’s investors is surprising, it’s nothing new, as the original Wii came under similar scruny during its 2006 release. Despite these issues, we’d sll expect the Wii U to be the top console when it comes to sales figures next year. Sure, when you strip it down, the Wii U is an updated Wii and not a next generaon console, and when Sony and Microso finally get around to building their Xbox 720s and PS4s, the Wii U will probably be blown out the water. But, for now, regardless of these issues, the future looks prey good for the Wii U.


Sco Tierney







“UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION LOOKS TO HAVE NAILED THAT SENSE OF WONDER, THAT SENSE OF FREEDOM, ADVENTURE AND ROMANCE.” MOVIE ON UP... While Indiana Jones has been showing the signs of a weary explorer who is merely waing for death to take his red soul, Nathan Drake - the protagonist of the riproaring Uncharted series - is showing no signs of slowing-up. From baling with yes, gunning down zombies, smooching the ladies and legging it from both tanks and helicopters, Drake is the new king of extreme archaeology – Tony Robinson and Bear Grills rolled into one. God bless him…now if he could only shoot straight and pick up ammo automacally, he’d be perfect. Well, in the third chapter of the series, it looks like the good chap may just have addressed these issues. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Decepon sees our heroic hero go on the trail of the Iram of the Pillars; the Atlans of the desert. Once again joined by his fellow mucker Victor Sullivan and on-off girlfriends Chloe Frazer and Elena Fis, Drake will get himself into situaons that only he could ever escape – sinking ships; hanging out the backs of airplanes; shootouts in London’s toughest bars; fleeing a burning building with a couple of helicopters on his tail…the usual Uncharted fare. As the Uncharted tles have always been rough diamonds - classic adventures that aren’t without

their technical issues – Naughty Dog have spent a lot of me refining the basics of Drake’s Decepon. Lile things like ammo being an automac pickup and the enemies having smarter AI, should make the overall game flow just that lile bit more smoothly. There’s also the ability to fight several opponents at once; an improvement to the plaorming called ‘enhanced backward climbing’ (isn’t that falling?) and stereoscopic 3D will also be supported. Co-op will also play a major part, with a friend now able to play along in your adventure, taking control of Victor. It’s fair to say that the preview footage of Uncharted 3 looks magnificent, with every effort being put in to make Decepon feel as epic and theatrical as possible. One parcular level involves Drake sneaking around a less than seaworthy ship, and aer he’s inadvertently blown a hole in the hull while playing dodge the bullet with the crew, he has to escape the sinking vessel, before he drowns. It looked staggering, with detail packed into every waterlogged corner. But what really stood out weren’t the visuals or the punchy soundtrack, or even the seamless transions between the acon and the cut-scenes, but rather the way in which Drake reacts to the level as you move him around. Rather than staring straight ahead like a robot, Drake looks around of his own free will, stepping back when he hears a noise, checking his balance when the foong gets tricky, and remarking on anything he happens to glance. It’s these lile details that add so much to the overall atmosphere of the levels: Drake’s not just your puppet; he’s a real character, as interested and unprepared for what’s around the next corner as you are. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Decepon, like all the tles in the series, looks to have nailed that sense of wonder, that sense of freedom, adventure and romance. It’s a playable movie at the end of the day, with a plot, seng and cast that wouldn’t feel out of place on the big screen. Of all the big tles due to come crashing down to gaming earth this year, Uncharted 3 looks the most excing, and when you consider the names that are around the corner – Gears 3, Batman 2, Modern Warfare 3 – that’s a prey big statement. God bless you Drake…now pick-up that ammo!


Sco Tierney



FROM THE DEPTHS TO THE SKIES Every now and then, we see something that truly takes our breath away. At Phonica we witness a lot of new games as they come parading onto the upcoming stage, teasing us with their llang trailers and sexy screenshots, showing a lile leg but never fully exposing their goodies to our baying eyes. Some are good, some are not so, but once in a while, there’s the truly extraordinary. Today, we had a glimpse at 2K’s new entry in the Bioshock series, and…we’ve never seen anything like it. If you’ve played the first two Bioshock tles, you’re probably expecng to spend this third adventure under the deep blue, going for another terrifying exploraon around the drowned 1940s city of Rapture. But, what Infinite promises is totally the opposite, as this me the acon takes place not under the sea, but over the clouds. Welcome to Columbia: the floang city of American slender. The story goes as follows: in 1900, the American Government commissioned and built a massive


balloon levitated city, which would act as a symbol of America’s prosperity and exceponalism. But, as expected, not everything went to plan, and when Columbia is discovered to be a massive, armed baleship rather than a peacefully utopia, it is disowned by the States, and thereaer, vanishes into myth and legend. In the years that follow, Columbia falls into disarray, with civil wars erupng between the inhabitants, sparked by racism and xenophobia. Twelve years later, you play as Booker DeWi, a disgraced agent who is employed by a mysterious company to find Columbia and rescue a woman by the name of Elizabeth. And from here the game starts, with Infinite bringing together the same mix of gunplay, terror and telepathic powers that ran throughout the original Bioshock games. Another major feature of Infinite are the me tears. Throughout the game – and probably when you least expect it – tears will appear in the fabric of me, changing the landscape and surroundings. Although there are no concrete details of which eras will pour into Infinite, a reference to the 1980s has been confirmed, with the Tears for Fears song Everybody


Wants to Rule the World appearing during one parcularly creepy scene. Whereas Bioshock 1 & 2 felt dark, grim and claustrophobic, Infinite comes across much brighter. In a way, it feels like a magical fairytale, with the surreal 19th century architecture and gorgeous summer sunshine making for a vibrant, melancholy adventure. It’s remarkably dreamlike, and far more colourful than its damp, soaked counterparts. But, as with Rapture, Columbia sll has that unmistakable undercurrent of twisted evil about it. The whole landscape creaks with tension, and although the Big Daddy’s have been resigned to the seabed, they have been replaced with equally as huge roboc baddies, insane gangs and also a vast flying robo-bird called Songbird. We are astonished with Bioshock Infinite, and we do genuinely mean astonished. From what we’ve seen, Infinite looks like nothing else currently available, and the explosion of fantascal colour and dark-Disney it promises will be a welcome change to the dreary, grey adventures that are currently swamping the market. To the skies! Sco Tierney PHONICA MAGAZINE UK




CALL OF DUTY: ELITE A NEW WAY OF USING CALL OF DUTY MULTIPLAYER ONLINE! Call of Duty was the main talking point at Acvision’s Pre-E3 event recently, but that was to be expected. We all thought it was just going to be about Modern Warfare 3, which will undoubtedly be one of the games of the year. How wrong we were! Of course, we did get to see some Modern Warfare 3, more on that later, but there was also a new piece of soware (I won’t call it a game, and I’ll explain why later), codenamed Project Beachhead. The actual name for this is Elite, and it’s been described as a ‘new connected service’ which is looking to ‘enrich the mulplayer experience’ of Call of Duty by collang all stascs to do with the users’ complete Call of Duty career and taking a deep look at it.

“THIS SHOULD SHAKE THE CALL OF DUTY GAMING WORLD TO ITS CORE” This process is split up into four different secons: (1) Career, which will take an in-depth look at your Call of Duty career, (2) Connect, which will incorporate social media elements, allow Facebook integraon, and have things like Groups of similar users, (3) Compete, which will be compeons to win prizes from badges and achievements in-game to games consoles and cars, and (4) Improve, which will give you ps on how to improve your game with level guides, weapon guides, the best weapon that you should use and much more. The part of this that surprised me the most was the weapon guides. Not

only will it tell you about the weapon, manufacturer and so on, but it will give you informaon on the damage potenal, range, accuracy, mobility and fire-rate, as well as professional video guides for every weapon in the game. We’re told that Elite is going to ship with Modern Warfare 3, and there will be a premium membership as well. Any further informaon on this is being held behind ght lipped, but we will update when Acvision nofies or someone give a slip (whichever comes first!). Elite will be available cross-plaorm, and in four different ways: on the web via a pc, on a mobile phone, on the television and in-game. Again, more informaon will be released when the product goes live. All in all, it seems that when the developers are saying that Elite will change the way Call of Duty mulplayer is played that they know exactly what they’re talking about. It is incredibly in-depth, more so than can be described here, and the kind of detailed stascs that it can tell you about your Call of Duty career are amazing. Things like your accuracy with every weapon, your kill/death rao, number of kills, number of mes killed by, your headshots, number of assists with every weapon and so forth. It really is something that needs to be experienced! This should shake the Call of Duty gaming world to its core (again), and, combined with Modern Warfare 3, could turn out to be the best first-person-shooter for years.


Ma Foley



BUILDING ON A POPULAR, IF FLAWED, ORIGINAL GAME BY MAKING IT BIGGER, BETTER, AND IRONING OUT THE CREASES. The original Prototype had it’s flaws, but it was widely recognised as one of the best games of 2009, having sold over 2 million copies worldwide. With Prototype 2, we see the stakes raised, and without giving too much away, we’ll see Alex Mercer move from the hero of the first game, to more of an antagonist, and the player will instead step into the shoes of Sergeant James Heller, a very asserve nave New Yorker who lost his family to the BLACKLIGHT virus, holds Alex Mercer personally responsible, and has to become everything he hates to seek vengeance. Heller is a different character to Mercer, and embraces his power, seeing them as a tool to gain the vengeance he seeks, contrasng Mercer’s incredibly powerful, over the top superhuman powers, but Mercer was really quite passive at mes. Fans of the original will be shocked to see that Mercer has changed quite a bit too. New York has changed massively too. It’s now 14 months aer the outbreak, and it’s no longer the recognisable New York of the original. You now find yourself in New York Zero, and it’s split up into three



zones – Manhaan is now the Red Zone, the Yellow Zone is what used to be the industrial and residenal areas, and is now the evacuaon zone, used mainly for triage, and the Green Zone is what used to be the affluent area of New York, and is now just heavily militarised.



Although the game is being shown on a larger scale in Prototype 2, what the developers have tried to do is calm this one down slightly, as it’s been largely accepted that the first was too chaoc. We’ll also experience the flexibility of the virus, with mutaons seen as perks of the infecon, and your character ever-changing and ever-improving. Prototype 2 could well upset some die-hard fans of the original, given that the main character has been a lile alienated. But this shouldn’t be the case, as the Prototype games have never been about one main character. If anything, the main character, the ever-present, is the virus itself. And that’s bigger and beer than ever! Ma Foley



TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION, EA GAMES DEVELOPER: HIGH MOON STUDIOS, BEHAVIOUR INTERACTIVE, EA MOBILE FORMAT: PS3, XBOX 360, PC, Wii, iPHONE, DS GENRE: OPEN-WORLD ACTION has been doing between the two films. Any more Honestly, I was scepcal of Transformers: details on the single player mode are being withheld, Dark of the Moon. Mainly because movie as we only got to play the mulplayer mode, e-in games are, more oen than not, Deathmatch at that. massively disappoinng. They’re normally ports of other games, with the characters different, and a concentraon more on “IT DOESN’T STICK PURELY realisc sengs from the film and scking TO THE PLOT OF THE FILM.” to the plot of the movie, with gameplay and enjoyability taking a back foot. Luckily, Gameplay is similar in style to that of Call of Duty, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is nothing albeit a third-person version, and the Deathmatch like this! mode is as expected: there are two sides, the It doesn’t sck purely to the plot of the film, instead tracking, amongst other things, how Megatron has become a much larger robot, and what Bumblebee


Autobots and the Decepcons, and you play one of 4 classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. My favourite was the heavy class, where you can use a tank, but all four of the characters I


“ALL IN ALL, FROM WHAT I SAW OF TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, IT COULD BE A VERY ENJOYABLE GAME. IT WON’T WIN ANY GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS, BUT IT COULD SELL VERY WELL.” played with were all enjoyable to use, with Bumblebee being the most recognisable. The transion between the driving and walking modes is seamless, and very quick, so you can jump, change into a plane mid-jump, fly over the map and switch back into walking mode mid-flight, dropping down onto your enemies with ease. Of course, with me, it didn’t work quite like that, and I ended up flying into a wall, falling to the ground and being shot! There’s also Stealth Mode, which is the mode

inbetween walking and driving, where you retain your vehicular state, but guns are available, and the driving is more precise. This is the mode I found myself in more oen than not, as it’s just easier to use. All in all, from what I saw of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it could be a very enjoyable game. It won’t win any Game of the Year awards, but it could sell very well.


Ma Foley







Whereas Grand The Auto is undoubtedly the king of the sandbox, Saints Row has always been the Prince Harry; the naughty, less-classy underling. Sure, Row has always provided plenty of da acon for your buck, but it’s never been what you could class as ‘clinical’. To be honest, Saints Row is a crude series, both due to its schoolboy humour, wham-bam ethics and iffy, buggy development. But, this new entry in the series, Saints Row: The Third, looks to have grown-up a bit…I say that; it sll dresses as a Nazi from me to me… Saints Row: The Third is set aer the events of the second game, with your gang, the Third Street Saints, now in total control of the city of Slwater. When your gang grows too big for their pimped-out boots PHONICA MAGAZINE UK

blood-bath fights take place in neon nightclubs rather than the dank underpasses of the second game. In a way, it looks a lot like Deus Ex 3, but obviously, much daer…and more purple….it’s like a punch-up in a Cadbury’s World…which is real place by the way, in Birmingham, just off the M5…I’ll stop now…


and tackles one heist too many, your character is locked away in prison, only to be broken out and smuggled away from the city by your team. During this me, you learn that an elite gang called the Syndicate have now taken full control of Slwater, so you set-up base in another nearby city, Steelport, and start to rebuild the strength and reputaon of your gang. Steelport is in a constant power-struggle between the Syndicate and three other gangs. The Morning are a group that deal in firearms and ladies of the night; The Luchadores sell drugs and dabble in illegal gambling; and The Deckers are a team of computer hackers who launder money. As the game progresses, a fourth group named the Special Taccal An-Gang (STAG) will arrive, who under the supervision of the government, will try to prevent any wars the gang acvates, while taking a lile slice of the acon for themselves. Saints Row: The Third looks to have adopted a style that is much more streamlined and cool than previous tles. Sure, the nods to rap extravagance and anarchic pantomime are sll there, but Row 3 feels like a more futurisc, classier tle, leng its

As in the previous Row tles, there’ll be the rampant mix of free-roaming fiscuffs and driving. As you take on the rival gangs and pinch their turf, you’ll be rewarded with experience points, which can be spent on improving the aributes of your in-game character, as well as splashing out on cars, clothes, weapons, and the occasional hooker. You can also buy upgrades to your vehicles and weapons, with an addion barrel being one such improvement to your shooter. Row 3 will also be opened-ended, with each decision you make not only changing the final outcome of the enre game, but also how rival gangs treat you and your team. Co-op is also available, so you can either aack missions as a pairing, or literally tear the town in two in an insane rampage. Although Saints Row: The Third sll looks like a dumbed-down version of the great GTA IV, it does seem to be an improvement over it’s predecessor. Row 3 has taken a different approach to Saints Row 2, serving up a fresh style and some impact-full alteraons to the gameplay, while sll preserving the OTT fanfare of the series. Will it topple Auto IV (or V)? Nope; not even remotely. But, Saints Row: The Third does look promising, and as the year draws to close and the big boys come out to play (Batman: Arkham City, Gears 3, Uncharted 3 etc) it may just have enough about it to hold its patch…unl GTA V, that is. Sco Tierney




VIRTUAL POOL 4 VP4 DEVELOPER TAKES US THROUGH THE DETAILS OF THE BEST HUSTLER IN THE BUSINESS Virtual Pool 3 - the most comprehensive pool and billiards simulator currently on the market - is one of those addicve lile games that you play on your break, quickly squeezing in another rack or two before the boss noces. With its unflinching realism and vast array of cue sports, including 9-Ball, 8-Ball, Snooker and 3 Cushion Billiards, VP3 is praccally unrivalled both on the PC and the iPad. But, that’s not to say it isn’t showing its age, and due out this year, Virtual Pool 4 will take you to the baize, hoping to connue its counterparts break. To see what Virtual Pool 4 has to offer, we sat down with its creator Steve Chaplin, and discussed everything from jump cues to backspins.


Phonica Magazine: Firstly, please give us a round-up of Virtual Pool 4, and the highlights of what we can expect. Steve Chaplin: VP4 is the 14th product in the Virtual Pool franchise. It will be released onto the PC first, with other plaorms TBA. The game is significantly upgraded in graphics, physics, games to play, hustler career mode and pro tour career mode. There are 4 Quick Play modes: Trick/Setup Shot, Pracce By Myself, Play Another Human, Play a Computer Opponent PM: Can you go into more detail regarding the career modes? What will be the central gameplay elements of both the Hustler and the Pro Tour? SC: The Hustler career is an enhancement of what was in VP3. The basic premise and path through the game rooms is the same. Added are tournament play,




break cues, and jump cues. The Pro Tour career is based on seasonal play on a tour. It includes qualifying, and advancement through season results. There are local, regional, naonal, and internaonal tours. The tour features real pro players and we will be using the GB9 UK Tour as one of the naonal tours.

PM: …I could never get the hang of the jump shot in VP3, so the new cues should help!

PM: From the preview material, the new cues look really interesng. How many designs will be available, will there be more available to download online, and can you produce your own custom cue artwork?

SC: Yes, they jump much easier - jumping with a playing cue is difficult: it’s hard to get the ball up quickly and hard to control speed, but in real life it’s like that too.

“VP4 POCKETS WILL NOT ACCEPT BALLS AS EASILY.” SC: There will be a lot of cues in the game. I don’t have an exact count at this point but it will be a combinaon of our own design and designs from real cue makers. We are going to have new cues available for download on VP4 Online. It will be possible to add other customs yourself for VP4 Offline. Besides break and jump cues we are also incorporang changeable shas on playing cues and will have aer market shas.


Break cues allow you to hit the break harder, just like real life. Jump cues can jump balls much easier and jump higher..

PM: How will these cues be available? Will you earn cash like in VP3, or will some of the cues act as rewards? SC: In the Hustler mode you will buy them. The playing cues will get you more acon - more players will offer to play you and they will bet more. In other play modes like Quick Play and Pro Tour, you can choose the equipment you like. PM: You’ve said that it has taken you over a year to get the remodelled physics for VP4 to a standard you are happy with. From playing VP3, they seemed prey good already, so what effects do these


alteraons have, and how will they improve the realism? SC: We are addressing a number of play issues. On VP3 the pockets played prey easy, that coupled with the fact that VP makes aiming easier than real life allowed players to cinch shots and not move the cue ball to more proper posions. VP4 pockets will not accept balls as easily, so cue ball movement will be more important. The physics model has also redone ball collisions, rail collisions, and results for beer realism.

teaching pub 8-ball (hp://, hp:// The video lessons were shot specifically for VP4 by Steve and the script was wrien for interacve lessons where a video clip is shown, then the player tries out and pracces the shot before connuing. PM: I think I’ve seen some of Steve’s trickshots before - the guy has some skills! SC: Yes, he is a great guy, and his presentaon is fantasc. PM: Will trickshots be available in VP4?

“WE GUARANTEE IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR REAL GAME! INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS WILL LEARN A LOT ABOUT MOVING THE CUE BALL BY PLAYING VP; ADVANCED PLAYERS WILL LEARN BY SETTING UP SHOT SITUATIONS.” PM: This may be a da queson, but you’ve menoned that there are going to be 8 different types of pool balls available, including TV balls. Can you explain each type of ball, and what’s the differences between each set are? SC: Not da at all. The ball differences are really cosmec. There are a lot of different looks and styles of balls. The TV balls are the same colour they use on TV which are great on the tournament blue table cloth. PM: Will a version of VP4 be available for the mobile market, such as Virtual Pool Online currently is? SC: That is TBA. But I do have mobile news for you! We are releasing Virtual Pool Mobile for Android very soon. It will support phones and tablets from Android 1.6 to Android 3.1. We have not decided on the price, that but it will probably be between $1.99 and $2.99 (UK price to be confirmed). I should tell you about one more major feature in VP4:. Video Lessons. We have Steve Daking, a chap from the UK, who is a trick shot arst, entertainer, and most importantly a pool coach. He has a number of websites, among them one for

SC: Yes, we have a full complement of both pool and billiard trick shots. Plus there is a Quick Play mode for seng up your own. PM: What is the single biggest progression from Virtual Pool 3, to Virtual Pool 4, and what has been the biggest challenge of the overall project? SC: The biggest challenge in VP4 is geng it done. Between the offline and online versions being developed simultaneously, this has been a difficult project. Plus we have stuck with the basic premise of our major PC releases, which is to improve the complete game including the play modes, graphics, physics, educaonal, etc. PM: Finally, with all the work you’ve put into VP4, you must be a prey decent player yourself by now! Has the game made you a beer player? Anything you’d like to brag about? SC: Yeah, I have a prey decent real pool game. We guarantee it will improve your real game! The reality of how it helps by skill level is: Novice players will learn how to aim beer by playing VP; intermediate players will learn a lot about moving the cue ball by playing VP; advanced players will learn by seng up shot situaons they have had or imagine new ones and figure out different ways to play them PM: Knowing the line the cue ball takes always helped me…although I’ll sck to the CPU version for now! Virtual Pool 4 is due out this year; with an online version following aerwards (we will be chang to Steve again regarding VP4 online closer to its release, as it is a massively stocked and complex tle.) For now, it’s back to smashing the racks on Virtual Pool 3…as long as the boss isn’t watching…


Sco Tierney





Recently it was announced that Canadian researchers have created a prototype flexible phone made of electronic paper. If you’re now thinking that you read that sentence wrong, go back and read it again, I did say a phone made out of paper.

fingerprint when you first buy the laptop, and have to put it on the reader every me you turn it on, if it doesn’t read your fingerprint you can’t use the laptop. So why not on a phone? It would be so much more secure than a password or a paern, and it takes seconds to read your fingerprint, so it’s a possibility.

The phone, imaginavely called the PaperPhone, is sll only in development, but the developers are calling it the world’s first flexible smartphone, and it can do all that a normal smartphone can do, including sending messages, playing music, and making and receiving calls, as well as being wrien on with a pen.

Obviously some people will make the counter-argument of what if you sell your phone, or give it to someone, but that’s why the phone will have a list of allowed users, where you register their fingerprint too, and they can use the phone as well. But, the main user of the phone, the creator of the Allowed List, decides what features they can use on the phone, in the same way you can do this if you’re the main user of a computer, which opens up the possibility of parental control, where a mother can let her young son use her phone, but he can only go on games and take photos, he can’t make calls or go on the internet. Again, this has been seen in a similar style in the past, where Samsung gave you the opon of password protecng every folder and sub-folder on the phone.

This got us thinking: what will your ideal phone be, if technology had no boundaries? What will you put into this phone of your dreams, however crazy and irraonal the idea might be?

“FOR YEARS, CONSUMERS HAVE BEGGED FOR ALL-IN-ONE COMPATIBILITY, AND IT’S BEEN IN THE PIPELINE FOR AGES.” Personally, I’d love to have a phone that you don’t need to touch at all. Building on Apple’s Voice Control technology for the iPhone, I’d like to be able to tell my phone what to do, and it does it automacally, whether that be reading out a text message for it to send to someone, or telling my phone to order a cab, and 5 minutes later the cab is at my door. (And I mean five minutes later!) I think most people will agree with me here when I say that I dislike people using my phone, especially when I’m not there. We’ve all seen it, you’re in the pub, go to the toilet, come back and someone’s updated your Facebook status, or sent a text to your aunty. So what if phones had opons so that they could be locked to the user. I’m not talking a 4-digit pass code or a swipe paern, we need something much more technical. What about a fingerprint reader, or some eye-recognion soware? We’ve seen the former in laptops, where you register your

For years, consumers have begged for all-in-one compability, and it’s been in the pipeline for ages. It’s finally coming to fruion with the ruling that all phones have to have micro-USB connecons built in, but an actual all-encompassing, one-size-fits-all phone? It will never happen, but imagine it, taking the best bits from Apple products, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and the rest, and pung them all into one phone, running off a completely new operang system. It will completely revamp the mobile phone market, and do away with the constant arguments that Android is beer than iOS, or Sony Ericsson beats Samsung, but will also make the market a monopoly and probably break several laws, so unfortunately this is one that definitely won’t happen. Phones nowadays are improving at such a fast rate that before we know, most of the technological advances we speak of in this arcle will be a reality in no me at all. They’re starng to replace our home computers, or at least certainly be used more oen, and there will be a me when, in my opinion at least, we won’t use computers any more because of our mobile phones, or possibly even tablets.


Ma Foley




E3 seems to get vaster and more illustrious with every passing year. What started life as a minor event in 1995 - acng as a hub for Sony’s new Playstaon, the ill-fated Sega Saturn and Nintendo’s illusive Ultra 64 - has now become a worldwide celebraon of videogaming. A lot has changed in those 16 years, with the event now geng it’s own extensive TV, online and social network coverage. But somethings never change, and the big names are sll present, with Sony, Nintendo and now Microso unveiling their future gizmos and games. So what’s the buzz from this year; what presentaon had our thumbs twitching in ancipaon; and what trinket or tle has been named best in show? Well, this year, U have.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of the best-selling games of 2009, holding the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Crically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever,’ so a sequel was always inevitable. And, from what’s been showcased at E3 this year, what a sequel! Every piece of informaon released about this next chapter, Batman: Arkham City, makes it look more

and more likely it’s going to be one of ‘the’ games of 2011, despite the enormous compeon it has at the end of the year. Rockstar presented a brief gameplay video at the event, and seeing the fully realized City of Arkham – featuring total freedom to explore it’s alleyways and rooops – was impressive to say the very least. It looked magnificent, with delicate changes to the scenery indicang which villain of the many inhabing the city – Joker, Penguin, Two Face, The Riddler and Hugo Strange have all been confirmed – is in the vicinity, up to mischief.

“SEEING THE FULLY REALIZED CITY OF ARKHAM WAS IMPRESSIVE TO SAY THE VERY LEAST.” City is much bigger than its predecessor – roughly 5 mes, with around 25 hours of gameplay, apparently – and there’s also going to be an alternave character to play with: Catwoman, who will be fully playable during segments, and it’s been reported that her character is integral to the plot, as she’ll have a completely different set of moves and abilies to those of Batman. All in all, Arkham City looks like it could be the game of the year. We’ll just have to wait and see though, as the caped one won’t have it easy. It’s set for an October release, on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.



THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD With the iconic adventure series celebrang its 25th year (we’ll be running an in-depth history of Zelda, in the next issue), things could not be busier for lile ‘ol Link. Not only is the past classic, Ocarina of Time, geng a re-boot on the Nintendo 3DS, but this year will also see the release of a fresh tle in the series: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The seng this me out is split between the land of Skylo -a realm of clouds that floats in the heavens above - and a dark, far more dangerous land below. Set before the events of Ocarina of Time, Link finds a sword (which for all you hardcore fans, morphs into the Master Sword at some point during the game), and uses it to travel around the land, defeang the evil he encounters.

“IT’S STRANGE THAT NINTENDO SHOULD CHOOSE TO RELEASE SKYWARD SWORD ONTO THE WII, JUST AS IT’S TAKEN FROM ITS PLINTH.” The main focus of Skyward Sword will be how the player can wield their bladed weapon. With the use of the Wii MoonPlus, you’ll have to alter the angles of your sword swipes to defeat the enemy, as they’ll defend themselves cleverly, making a lot of your


aacks void. There will also be the addion of a flying beetle, which can be controlled via the Wii Remote, and the classic bow and catapult will also make a welcome return. Due to be released onto the Wii before the year is out, Skyward Sword is set to squeeze the last drops of juice out of Nintendo’s deparng flagship console, before the new and improved Wii U comes along. Set to feature the classic Zelda gameplay – searching ruins, finding treasure, solving puzzles and defeang giant baddies – Skyward Sword will also be a much easier game to navigate, with all of the maps geng an overhaul. But, that’s not to say the Skyward Sword will be an easer tle, as representaves from Nintendo have said that this will be a much tougher Zelda to crack, requiring more thought and guile in nearly every department. It’s strange that Nintendo should choose to release Skyward Sword onto the Wii, just as it’s taken from its plinth and replaced with the Wii U. This could be seen as a mistake, as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, despite being an exceponal tle, was twixed in-between the rering Gamecube and the fronering Wii, leading to development issues and unnecessary re-releases. But, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword looks set to be a grand finale for the Wii, and one of the finest tles to be released at the end of this year.


PSVITA When I interviewed Nathan Vauer - Managing Director of Sony Ericsson UK & Ireland - a couple of issues ago, regarding the XPERIA Play, one of the first points he had to make was that it was not to be compared with the PS3, PSP or Sony’s up-and-coming NGP. At this point, as he menoned the next-generaon portable console that Sony was releasing as a successor to its well-received PSP, my eyes widened, but sadly he had nothing else to say. I thought that this would be the last we heard on the maer for a while, but then, Sony surprised us all at E3. It was here that Sony announced the console - no longer called the NGP, but rather the PSVita - will be released before the end of 2011! Vita apparently means life in Lan, and Sony will release two models: the Wi-Fi only model, and the 3G and Wi-Fi mode, with the price range being roughly $250-$300.

“IT SEEMS THAT THE PSVITA WILL BE A LOT MORE THAN JUST GAMING.” The PSVita will have a 5-inch touchscreen on the front, capable of mul-touch gestures, as well as a mul-touch pad on the reverse. Gamers will use both screens in unique “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” moons, as well as the standard dual analogue-scks as seen on the original PSP, and the obvious

Playstaon-specific direconal, acon, shoulder and Start and Select buons. It’s basically an updated PSP. It seems that the PSVita will be a lot more than just gaming though, incorporang a lot of social-media related features, including a pre-installed app which will tell users what other nearby gamers are playing, as well as game informaon, which doesn’t sound too dissimilar to a locaon-based informaon the PS3 has to offer about your friends. There’s also ‘Party’ which will allow users to chat, both through text and voice, in-game and whilst browsing the internet. Gaming will be the central focus of the PSVita, though, and it seems that in this respect it will be very successful, judging by the array of tles Sony had on display. Cross-plaorm gaming was announced (which, as anyone who read my XPERIA Play review will know, is one of the most excing announcements in recent mes in my opinion) and the list of games to come on the console already looks fantasc, with tles like Wipeout 2048, Street Fighter X Tekken, LileBigPlanet and, definitely my favourite, Uncharted: Golden Abyss! Will the PSVita be popular enough to compete with Nintendo’s 3DS? It’s debatable, as Nintendo have the handheld market well and truly sown-up. But, if Sony can implement the Vita correctly, it may stand a chance, as it’s a seriously top-end piece of kit, and the ideal device for the serious gamer on the go. Only me will tell…



ASSASSIN’S CREED: REVELATIONS Ubiso ’s roof-top-runner is back for another adventure, this me linking-up the stories of all three of the series’ characters: Altaïr ibn La-Ahad (Creed 1), Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Creed 2) and Desmond Miles (all tles). Revelaons will primarily take Ezio to the rosy-red city of Constannople (the Israel of today) in 1511 AD. When Ezio learns that Altaïr has hidden an artefact in the underground realms of the city, which has the power to end the war between the Assassins and the Templars, Ezio goes about tracking it down, all the while uncovering more about his families’ past. While this is going on, Desmond is trapped in a coma in the modern day, trying to piece together the fractures of his history via an interacve state known as the Black Room. Yep, it’s all rather confusing, but we have every confidence that Ubiso will have the skill to thread the intertwining stories together


For those familiar with the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed, you’ll know what to expect. Using a mix of stealth and cunning, you have to creep around the open world cies, incognito, assassinang unpleasant figures and in general staying under the radar of the historical fuzz. Revelaons looks a lot more energec than the previous tles, though, with the E3 presentaons demonstrang a parcularly explosive scene where your character blows-up a watchtower, and then flamethrows a dock-full of ships. The weapons and hand-to-hand combat also appear to have been cranked-up. A vast selecon of bombs have been added, which can either be used to blow a small army into the heavens, or pull-off a Batman-style smoke disappearance (during these secons, the enemies, blinded, appear on the screen as red, so they’re easy to target and tackle in the haze); and the fight sequences – an Achilles heel for the series – have also been refined.


JURASSIC PARK The original, ground-breaking film Jurassic Park, released in 1993 and based on Michael Crichton’s novel, spawned a game that I have fond memories of. Since then, though, the games have been...well, let’s just say they’ve not been up to the standard of the original. It seems, however, that this unfortunate trend will be bucked by the release of the upcoming Telltale Games adventure. Plot-wise, Jurassic Park is going to be a fresh start, with a whole new plot that’s set in the canon of the film, which will basically introduce new characters and e up loose ends that the Spielberg classic le open. There will also be a new dinosaur, called Troodon; the gameplay is reportedly similar to that of last year’s innovave game, Heavy Rain, and overall the acon promises to be very cinemac.


Online features similar to the previous tle, Brotherhood, have also been promised, with new locaons, characters, weapons, and a system where you can create your own guild, complete with crest. The ranking system and levelling-up has also been improved.


Jurassic Park will be available on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac, and is rumoured to come bundled with some form of downloadable content. More details will be released between now and the Autumn launch date.

All in all an impressive tle is in the works, and just for the staggeringly beauful city of Constannople, Assassin’s Creed: Revelaons looks more than worth a visit in November this year, via the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. PHONICA MAGAZINE UK


PHONICA’S STAR OF THE SHOW 2011 Wii U Nintendo’s successor to the GameCube, the Wii - the best-selling games console over a single month in the United States, ever - revoluonised gaming with its moon-based handheld contoller, the Wii Remote. But despite this, the Wii has always been seen as something of a juvenile console in the gaming market: enjoyed occasionally as a bit of a party console, but scorned by hardcore gamers. But, Nintendo have tried to get rid of this generalisaon with the heir to their gaming throne, the strangely-tled yet uerly fascinang, Wii U. Previously expected to be called the Wii HD, the Wii U looks to change the face of Nintendo gaming completely, losing the ‘cute’ factor that’s undermined so many of their consoles, and instead showing consumers that this console can be uered in the same sentences as the big gaming consoles; the so-called ‘superpowers’. The high-definion display is nothing short of beauful, with up to 1080p resoluon supported, an HDMI output, and a gaming catalogue which includes some impressive hard-hiers, showing that Nintendo are really trying to move away from the youth demographic, and make this console available to, well, everyone! More on that later though, as the U’s controller is undoubtedly what most people will be aracted to. The standard Wii controllers, namely the Wiimote and the nunchuk, were revoluonary in their design and how they played, and the new controller for the Wii U looks set to do exactly the same. At first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a tablet, albeit nothing like any tablet you’ve seen before. It’s got a 6 inch touchscreen, and is, in a word, huge! You need to hold it with both hands, as where your fingers fall you’ll find two analogue scks, a lot of buons (including back buons and shoulder buons) and a camera and microphone, which sll have the moon-sensivity of the original Wii. You’d almost expect it to be a console on its own! It’s completely



unlike any previous controller, losing the familiar joyscks of the PS3 and the Xbox 360 for something innovave and new. The Wii U will also support backwards compability with regards to the controllers, so you can sll use your Wiimotes if you wish. In fact, many games will require you to do exactly that, and there will be compability with Wii soware too, as well as opcal disks and downloadable content. Wii U games will include Ghost Recon, Assassin’s Creed, DiRT and Ninja Gaiden, with many more set to be announced before its 2012 release date, including some rumoured Zelda and Smash Bros tles. The Wii U will also support peripherals like the Wii Balance Board, so there’s no need to worry if you shelled out for one of those!

“THE WII U WILL ALSO SUPPORT BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY WITH REGARDS TO THE CONTROLLERS, SO YOU CAN STILL USE YOUR WIIMOTES IF YOU WISH.” Not much is known about the actual Wii U console in terms of appearance, so I can’t really explain anything on that; but I’m sure that the final design won’t be too dissimilar to an improved, refined Wii. Games will support all sorts of input, including the touch screen with a DS-like stylus, and if Nintendo can develop this so that games can be played between the controller and the screen (which, let’s be honest, they’re bound to do) then this will certainly be a market-changing console. Nintendo are going to change the gaming plaorm... again! PHONICA MAGAZINE UK


ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES The 2010 remake of Aliens vs. Predator was one of those games that, long in development, ulmately came as somewhat of a disappointment, given how fond I was of Aliens vs Predator 2 on the PC. AVP sll had the enjoyment factor of the original, but there were things about it that just didn’t seem right. Overall, it was just a bit ‘loose’. That’s why, when the announcement came that Colonial Marines was finally going to be released, aer 5 years in development, it was met with mainly ambivalence. Gearbox Soware knows they will have their work cut out to make Colonial Marines as popular as the films, but there’s no mistaking that this game is a proper Alien tle. The FPS gameplay and the style are reminiscent of James Cameron’s original Aliens, and the sounds will bring back the terror of the film.


In terms of a release, we’ll have to wait unl Spring of next year to get our hands on this intense looking shooter, but given that it’s been in development for 5 years, don’t be surprised if it’s put back again!

HITMAN ABSOLUTION Slapheads rejoice: a new Hitman tle is on the way! Although details and actual gameplay videos on Absoluon are about as rare as hen’s teeth - the E3 trailer showing us some nice renderings of the assassin known as 47, a few baddies geng decked in the dark, and a naked lady in a shower - there are a few pointers we can clarify.



According to the game’s creator Tore Blystad, Absoluon is aimed at giving the player a greater feeling of power. Whereas the previous tles have le the average gamer feeling mid - like they’re sneaking around their granny’s house in fear of being caught - this new stealther will make everything not easier, but more accessible. While playing as the unequalled 47, you should feel like a God, and with the inclusion of a new system called Insnct Mode – a tool that allows you to track the movements of the enemies via an x-ray style viewpoint (similar to Detecve Mode in Batman: Arkham Asylum) – even a lead-footed wimp can take down a rhino without being detected. Don’t worry though, as if you’re a proper hired killer, you can play without this ‘pathec’ aid. Hitman: Absoluon is due out in 2012, via the big three - PS3, 360 and PC. Oh, and if we see that 12 second trailer of 47 screwing on a silencer ONE MORE TIME!…

DMC DEVIL MAY CRY One of the biggest pieces of news from E3 2011 that you may have missed is that there’s a new reboot of Devil May Cry coming - named DmC Devil May Cry - and it has disappointed hardcore fans of the series, with the revamp of central character Dante. The trailer released at E3 suggests that, although Dante looks reworked – now taking the fashion of a naughty, slapable frat boy, rather than the vamp king of the originals - the style and acon of DmC seems much of the same third-person swordplay, which can’t be a bad thing, given how much fun the original and sequels were. Whether this ‘reboot’ will live up to the enjoyability of the originals remains to be seen, but Dante is a character that hasn’t been seen in a game for around 3 years now, and with no official release date for this DmC, who knows how long that trend could connue.



OTHER NINTENDO RELEASES As well as stealing this year’s E3 with their stunning Wii U and the glorious Zelda: Skyward Sword, Nintendo had plenty of other upcoming tles to showcase, most of which are set for release on the 3DS.

MARIO KART 3D welcomes the iconic party racer to the 3DS, bringing with it some new tricks such as underwater racing and hang gliders, as well as a vehicle customisaon opon. With the freedom to pick from a selecon of wheels, body shapes and accessories, you can now create the Kart that suites both your fashion and driving style, best. With the extra bonus of 3D - giving an impressive sensaon of depth and pace – Mario Kart 3D looks set to top the 3DS sales chart at the end of this year.

“MARIO 3D MAKES FULL USE OF THE 3DS’ DIMENSIONAL CAPABILITIES.” Mario is also set to make an appearance on the 3DS in SUPER MARIO 3D, which brings together the kind of top-notch gameplay seen in the recent Galaxy series, and the classic 2D goodness from the series’ golden period. From what we’ve seen, Mario 3D makes full use of the 3DS’ dimensional capabilies, providing levels that contain a flexing bridge of piano keys, cardboard cut-outs of baddies, and a welcome


return of the Tanooki Suit, which enables Mario to smash blocks and enemies with his racoon tail. Although no official dates have been set, Super Mario 3D should be available before the winter closes. Mario’s brother in arms was also at E3, with LUIGI’S MANSION 2 being confirmed for a 2012 release on the 3DS. This me around Luigi and his ghost-sucking vacuum cleaner will visit several haunted mansions – some classical spooky house, some based around Egypan tombs - in search for coins of gold and such treasures. Finally, fresh from the enchanng Kirby’s Epic Yarn, the pink one will be making a return proper on the Wii in the autumn of this year. From the E3 material released, KIRBY WII will be mostly 2D based, featuring a kaleidoscope of colourful levels – underwater seabeds, a luscious rainforest and a spooky webbed castle being just a few – and some fun 4-way co-op acon. As well as pulling-off his usual trick of taking an enemy’s weapon and using it against them - which this me around include Kirby donning a cowboy hat for some whipping, and turning to solid stone – Kirby will also have access to a massive Zelda-style sword, which has the power to wipe-out half a level. Cute barely does Kirby Wii jusce, and thanks to a more rounded visual style that’s similar to that of Donkey Kong Returns, we’ll be sure to be smiling as the evenings close in towards the end of the year.




BATTLEFIELD 3 Balefield 1942 was a great game: the single player was good, but the mulplayer was where the real fun was to be had. This is a trend that has encapsulated most, if not all, of the Balefield tles since, and it seems that Balefield 3 is going to connue with this paern. Not willing to sit back and let Modern Warfare 3 take all the buzz, there was a lot of pre-E3 hype about Balefield 3, mainly thanks to an impressive adversing campaign by EA, and the game is much of


the same for anyone who’s played any of the previous FPS war games instalments, but with a few neat tweaks. The first of these is more weapon-customisaon, and new stealth kills, which is now the only way for you to take an opposion player’s dog-tags, adding a lile bit to your stascs and no doubt offering an achievement or two. Balefield 3 will be released in October - craily just before the November release of Modern Warfare 3 - and it certainly seems that the two big-hiers of gaming-based army combat will go head to head again. It should be a very interesng end to the year…


FAR CRY 3 It could be argued that the third tle in the Far Cry series was the most impressive presentaon to come out of this year’s E3, or at least the most surprising considering its relave meagre compleon, compared to its rivals. Despite only showcasing an 8 minute gameplay video, Ubiso were praised highly for the standard of Far Cry 3’s acon, with it boasng some stupendous visuals, sublime cut-scene-to-gameplay blending, and an overall lushness that can only signal a high quality tle. What we do know is that Far Cry 3 will be set on a tropical island in South America, and your character has to the get his backside out of there undetected, as the local inhabitants are a bit on the mental side - they enjoy shoong prisoners in the head and chucking yours truly over a waterfall, so we get the

feeling, despite the sunshine and greenery, your me on this FPS paradise will be anything but serene. Expect plenty of the classic Far Cry goodness; a mix of sneaking, shoong and explosive shenanigans, with the odd vehicle chase and knife aack thrown in for good measure

“WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT FAR CRY 3 WILL BE SET ON A TROPICAL ISLAND IN SOUTH AMERICA, AND YOUR CHARACTER HAS TO THE GET HIS BACKSIDE OUT OF THERE UNDETECTED.” Far Cry looks set for a 2012 release, but if it connues to progress in the form of its E3 tease, it’ll be a fine tle, indeed.





HALO 4 November 15th, 2011. That’s when we’ve been told we’ll be receiving official details regarding Halo 4. Well, that isn’t strictly true - that’s when the anniversary edion of Halo: Combat Evolved is released, and we’re promised that the re-mastered, improved and radicalized plot of Evolved will unearth details about Halo 4, and what will happen next in the space-based series. With regards to Halo 4, here’s what we know so far. Foremost, Master Chief is back. Whether he will be user-controlled or not is another maer, but as far as we’re concerned, we’re back in the world of Master Chief and Cortana, and that is music to our ears! Halo 4 is going to push the Chief to completely new horizons, and is the start of a brand new trilogy, so who knows where the next games will go.

“HALO 4 IS GOING TO PUSH THE CHIEF TO COMPLETELY NEW HORIZONS, AND IS THE START OF A BRAND NEW TRILOGY, SO WHO KNOWS WHERE THE NEXT GAMES WILL GO.” The game looks stunning! I’ve had the trailer on repeat and, without going into too much detail and taking the fun away from watching it, it’s probably one of the best game trailers I’ve seen in a long me. Master Chief, backflipping in zero-g like a ninja turtle, looks beer than ever, and the vast ship that he’s on when the trailer begins is visually amazing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay that way for too long... they’ll be finding fragments of that ship in space for the next 100 years. And, other than that, we don’t really know much at all about Halo 4. As I said earlier, there’s a release date of “Holiday 2012,” but what that means could be anyone’s guess. All we do know is, in 18 months me we will have a brand new Halo game, where we’ll see Master Chief, and it will be the start of a brand new trilogy. Now we just wait for Halo Anniversary!

HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED ANNIVERSARY I don’t think any of our readers will need an introducon to Halo: Combat Evolved, but in case any of you have forgoen about it, Halo is a first-person shooter, released in 2001 as a launch tle for the Xbox, that has spawned as many as five sequels, and is widely-regarded as one of the best FPS tles of all me. In fact, it’s one of the best-selling games of all me, and the main reason why many people bought an Xbox in the first place, a trend which connued with Halo 3 and Xbox 360’s.

“HALO WILL BE RE-RELEASED AS A 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION WITH A COMPLETE VISUAL OVERHAUL.” Microso announced at the E3 2011 convenon that Halo will be re-released as a 10 year anniversary edion with a complete visual overhaul, but will not be developed by Bungie, as the original was. Instead, Halo will be re-made by 343 Industries and Saber Interacve, who, for those who don’t know, were responsible for the recent Bale: Los Angeles downloadable content for the PS3, and 2007’s opinion-dividing TimeShi, whilst 343 Industries have had experience with Halo downloadable content in the past. Though details of the actual game are viciously guarded, I suppose the plot will remain as enthralling and acon-packed as the original, seeing that it’s a re-release rather than a remake, but it has been reported that 343 and Saber will be adding to the plot rather than changing the gameplay, such is the original’s perceived perfecon. The piece of leaked informaon that grabbed our aenon and hasn’t let go yet, is the fact that not only will Combat Evolved add to the impressive story of the original, but it will also offer insights into the plot of Halo 4, which we currently know roughly nothing about. So any ny, small, insignificant detail on that will be eaten up in an instant! There’s a rumoured release date of November 15th of this year for the Anniversary edion, and I for one can’t wait!



SONIC GENERATIONS Sonic Colours on the Wii was one of our favourite tles of last year. Sega and the Sonic Team got the declining, rather flabby Sonic series, gave it a slap, got it on a treadmill and hey presto, the first decent Sonic adventure for nearly 10 years was released. And at E3 this year, Sega were on hand to promote their newest, spruced Sonic tle: Sonic Generaons.

“PAST AND PRESENT SONIC MEET AND TEAM UP, EACH BEING ABLE TO PLAY IN EITHER’S ZONES.” Sonic Generaons is set in three selecve me zones of the blue one’s history, with both Mega Drive era Sonic and HD modern day Sonic acng as playable characters. When an unknown evil causes splits to form in me, past and present Sonic meet and team


up, each being able to play in either’s zones. This basically means that old-school Sonic will play his levels from a classic 2D perspecve, with future Sonic going 3D, making full use of the controversial boost and enemy targeng abilies. It’s a clever idea, and the footage on show at E3 2011 was no less that staggering. The two main levels Sega displayed were a jazzed-up Green Hill, which had a fantasc depth – even for a 2D style - and dramac playable areas such as waterfalls and underground caves; and a reworked level that appeared on the Dreamcast tle, Sonic Adventures, called City Escape, which involves the hedgehog belng through a Manhaan-angled city, while being chased by a massive truck-monsterthingy. To be frank, we’ve never seen pace like it, with Sonic flashing from plaorm to plaorm like a housefly in a wind tunnel. Although a few of the classic characters of the original games will appear, Sega were adamant that


Sonic Generaons is expected in November this year, available on the PS3 (in full 3D) and Xbox 360, with a streamlined version also due on the 3DS.

humanly possible to keep up (at mes we felt like the couple in 101 Dalmaans, struggling to fully admire a fresh puppy before another one came along), so apologies if we’ve missed your favourite tle or gadget; we’ll surely revisit a lot of this year’s extravagance at some point in the near future.


Our star of E3 2011 is undoubtedly the Wii U, as although there were some truly spectacular tles on show this year, nothing beats a glimpse into the future, and that’s what Nintendo showcased with the Wii U. Honourable menons should also go out to the magnificence of Uncharted 3, the exhilarang speed of Sonic Generaons, the lusciousness of Far Cry 3, the flair of Halo 4 and the staggering detail of Batman: Arkham City. There wasn’t a bad game to be seen this year, but those tles really took the event by storm.

Generaons would be a sole player game, with the emphasis on the story rather than group play.

Phew, what an event! As usual, we’ve struggled to menon everything, as E3 2011 was churning out new tles and fresh trailers faster than it was

Well, unl next year…E3 2012…12 months rest is just what we need!


Ma Foley and Sco Tierney


THE KEY TO SENNA’S GREATNESS SURPRISINGLY, A VIDEOGAME HAS THE ANSWER. Why is Ayrton Senna revered as the greatest Formula 1 driver of all me? Some may say it’s was due to his phenomenal, raw speed, sighng his unsurpassed six wins at the presgious Monaco Grand Prix. Some may consider his ruthlessness as unequaled, as shown in the both the climac 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grand Prixs, where he ‘ collided’ with fierce rival, Alan Prost. Some may just point to the fact that his 65 pole posions and 41 wins speak for themselves. But, there was more to Senna’s worldwide appeal than just the stascs in a record book and the scratches on an armco… In 1992, Sega released Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II onto the Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear. As a follow-up to Super Monaco GP, this Formula 1 thrasher featured advanced for the me racing, all the tracks from the 1991 season, and a comprehensive career mode for the wanna-be World Champion. Super Monaco GP II also featured two tracks that were designed by Senna himself, and was produced under the guidance of the great Brazilian. Although Super Monaco GP II was not fully licensed - meaning it could not feature the actual names of the drivers or teams currently racing in F1 - it did create its own selecon of substute ficonal creaons, leading to rather humorous results. McLaren were renamed as Madonna, Tyrrell were Tyrant, Footwork ingeniously branded as Feet, and best of all, back markers Jordan tagged as Joke. That must have pleased Eddie Jordan, no end…


By today’s standards, of course, Super Monaco GP II is prey crude. Most of the corners are at right angles, meaning that a good hard turn is all that’s required to tackle them, and if you even consider touching the break you’ll lose a dozen places in the blink of an eye. But at the me it was fantasc, simply because the racing was so full-on and intense. If you entered the Master Mode of the World Championship (why don’t today’s games have such cracking names for difficulty?) you could select to compete against a rival team of your choice. If you finished 2-3 races ahead of your rival, you would then take a seat at that team for the following races, slowly working your way through the teams unl you reached the top: Madonna. From there, you had a real opportunity at compeng against and beang Senna. And that leads us onto why, not only was Super Monaco GP II a brilliant lile tle, but also the reason behind Senna’s undeniable charm.

“AS YOU CLIMB OUT OF YOUR COCKPIT, VICTORIOUS, SENNA WALKS UP TO YOU, AND OFFERS HIS HAND IN CONGRATULATION.” If you managed to win the World Championship of Super Monaco GP II, coming top of the standings aer 16 grueling races, you’d be greeted with a video of your pixel self pulling the car into the pits while


being cheered by your loyal pit crew. This scene would happen aer every race victory, but what made this championship winning version so memorable was the appearance of Senna himself. As you climb out of your cockpit, victorious, Senna walks up to you, and offers his hand in congratulaon. Upon accepng, he hoists your arm into the air and acknowledges you as the worthy World Champion: a mark of sportsmanship rarely seen in world sport. Despite this lile scene being clunky and a tad cheesy, it’s a genuinely moving moment, and it sums-up why Senna was such a loved driver: because of his raw humanity.

almost feel that warmth ebbing through the screen, as if Senna is playing alongside you: if it had been Alan Prost’s Super Monaco GP II, it wouldn’t have been quite the same… Senna was a legend, an icon, a symbol, and although there are far more arculate ways to present a case for his greatness than that of a cheesy ‘90s videogame (see the new Senna documentary in cinemas now), for this humble gamer, Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II will always be one of my favorite memories of the great man. Sco Tierney

There have arguably been beer drivers before and since Senna, and there have undoubtedly been beer racing games than Super Monaco GP II, but that’s not what’s important. Senna was an icon, because he had that human touch, He was courageous, spiritual, enigmac and personable; the total opposite of some of the stone-faced, professional drivers that shared the grid with him. With Super Monaco GP II, you can








Think back to 1997: Bill Clinton was elected for a second term as US President; Princess Diana was tragically killed in Paris; Titanic was packing them in at the cinemas, and Jacques Villeneuve lied the Formula 1 driver’s crown, despite being rammed by Michael Schumacher. In a videogaming sense, the 3rd E3 was held, Goldeneye was taking the Nintendo 64 by storm, and a cheap upstart of a PC tle, Grand The Auto, was making the headlines. So much has happened since. So, when you consider that Duke Nukem Forever was put into producon as DiCaprio hit the seabed, over 14 years ago, and is only now hing the shelves, you have to ask: why did it takes so long, and is Forever already out of date?

technologies had moved forward since 3D’s release, it was decided that Forever would be produced not with the current Build engine, but with the new Quake II engine. But, since 3D Realms did not receive the Quake II pack unl late in 1997, producon was delayed, and the teaser that appeared at 1998’s E3 was sub standard for the me. In the same year, Resident Evil 2 sent the zombie limbs ‘a flying.

DN Back in 1996, 3D Realms’ Duke Nukem 3D was being passed under school desks from student to student, each fascinated to know what naughness this notorious videogame had to offer. Nukem 3D was bad in every sense, producing FPS acon with exploding pig aliens, naked strippers, filthy language, outrageous for the me violence and of the course the Duke himself, always ready to fire out a coarse one-liner. It was uerly despicable, top shelf stuff, and for schoolboys who were used to inoffensive games such as Monkey Island and Mario Kart, Duke Nukem 3D - along with Grand The Auto and 1993’s Mortal Kombat - was as affecng as first-seen pornography. With Duke at the forefront, violent videogaming had truly begun.


Eager to cash in on Nukem 3D’s success, George Broussard and Sco Miller announced in 1997 that they were working on a follow-up to their hugely successful tle, with Duke Nukem Forever scheduled for a mid-1998 release. As the ever-advancing gaming


By 1999, as System Shock 2 scared the pants off the gaming world, previous work on Duke Nukem Forever had been scrapped. By this me, the Quake II engine was starng to show its age, and was being overshadowed by the fresher Unreal Engine from Epic Games. With Broussard shiing the project to Unreal, work had to effecvely start again, and with Broussard’s constant need to make changes, and staff unrest, Forever was starng to strain. But, in 2001, Duke Nukem Forever was the star of E3, with crics praising 3D Realms’ new trailer, and not even the news of Forever’s publishing company, Gathering of Developers, being absorbed by Take Two, could dampen the spirits. The drive-bys and prostuon of Grand The Auto III dominated the year’s headlines.


Into 2003, the year of the controversial Manhunt and Max Payne 2, and things weren’t looking so rosy. With only 18 people at 3D Realms now working on DNF, rumours of a switch to the Doom 3 engine, Broussard clashing with Take Two over funding, and a replacement of the Karma physics system with one designed by lile known Meqon, Duke Nukem Forever was starng to become a laughing stock. Even with Take Two renegoang a deal for Forever (which would see them lose over $1.5 million) and offering $500,000 if Forever was released before the end of 2006, the project connued to stall, with more staff walking away. Broussard’s overused phrase, “when it’s done”, was starng to grow resome. Elsewhere, gun-mounted chainsaws were spraying blood in Gears of War, Saint’s Row was courng controversy, and the era of the Wii had begun.


In late 2007, 3D Realms released a trailer showing the Duke in acon, which had been produced during a brief period of renaissance for the project. New staff had been hired, and Forever looked like it might actually be available within the near future. But, again, problems came apparent. Having spent over £20 million of their own money, Broussard and Miller asked Take Two for $6million in order to complete the now cash-starved project. According to the creators, Take Two inially agreed, but then changed the offer to $2.5million, with the publisher stang that a further 2.5million would be available on compleon of the game. Broussard rejected the offer, and in May 2009, as MadWorld flashed human darts and the pinnacle of bloodsports, Forever was suspended indefinitely.

3D Realms approached game developers Gearbox for assistance with the project, Gearbox provided funding, as well as seng up a deal wit 2K Games. Finally, in late 2010, Duke Nukem Forever was re-announced, with Gearbox stang that they now owned the project, with 2K having the rights to the series. In January 2011, it was officially announced that Forever would be released that year – the same me as Mortal Kombat 9 showed fighters being torn in half.


When Nukem 3D first hit, it was bloody, crude, brutal, but most importantly, fresh. Nothing like it had really been seen, and despite it not being the greatest game to ever grace the PC, it was sll a kick in the guts for a relavely innocent gaming generaon. 3D had a reputaon, a bad-boy notoriety, and a filthy stature that no other game of the me could match, but now, it’s comparavely tame. Gaming has moved on, with tles such as Grand The Auto IV, Manhunt, Gears of War, MadWorld and God of War to name but a few, serving-up the type of sex, drug abuse, obscenies and violence that makes Duke Nukem 3D look like an episode of Sesame Street. Sure, the recent TV adverts for Forever have shown extreme violence and lots of pixalated boobies, but do we really care anymore? Are we offended, shocked, or even bothered? Not really; those snogging strippers barely caused us to glance up from our iPads, and for the Duke himself…well…he’s a rebel out of me; a figurehead for an audience long sanised. If Duke Nukem Forever thinks it can gain success by shocking us in the same way it’s predecessor did, it’s sorely mistaken. Blowing a naked striper in half and saying ‘f**k’ just doesn’t cut it anymore!

NF For the next couple of years, Duke Nukem Forever as a game took a back seat while lawsuits became the central point of aenon. In 2009, Take-Two filed a lawsuit against 3D realms due to the lack of progress, claiming that they brought the publishing rights from Infogames for $12million. 3D Realms claimed that this deal was nothing to do with them, but rather a case between Take-Two and Infogames. Take-Two then demanded a restraining order and a preliminary injuncon, to ensure that 3D Realms maintained Forever’s assets: the court declined. And so, in 2010, it was announced that 3D Realms and Take-Two had seled the lawsuit and dismissed it with prejudice. To all intensive purposes, as Black Ops pulled in the millions of headshots heroes, Duke Nukem Forever was dead. Despite 3D Realms no longer working on Forever, throughout 2009, a small team connued to work on the project, later forming as Triptych Games. When

Well, what a story. Aer 14 long, arduous years, Duke Nukem Forever has finally seen the light of day, something that no one really believed would ever happen. But the queson remains: is Forever’s ‘outrageous’ gameplay, which made Duke Nukem 3D such a hit in its heyday, relevant or similarly shocking today?

It would be idioc to queson whether, aer 14 years, Duke Nukem Forever is worth the wait, as aer that amount of me, nothing ever is. But, what is worth quesoning is whether, aer 14 years, Duke Nukem Forever is sll relevant. That’s a queson we’ll have to answer shortly, but for now, it’s good to see the Old Man, however dated, tamed and craggy, back in the firing line!


Sco Tierney


SAMSUNG GALAXY MINI THE GALAXY’S SMALLER SIBLING, FOR INTRODUCTORY ANDROID USERS. The Samsung Galaxy was one of the best-selling Android handsets, and is sll selling very well for that maer. It’s very similar to the previously reviewed Samsung Galaxy Europa…but does it impress? In terms of specificaon, the Mini is exactly what you’d expect from a handset offering an introducon to Android, but sll offers quite a lot for it’s low price range. Here you’ll find a 3 megapixel camera, Android 2.2 (Froyo) with Samsung’s own TouchWiz plaorm running on top, a surprisingly fast 600MHz processor, as well as the standard 3-inch touch screen. All standard fare on a low-to-mid-spec smartphone, but all done surprisingly well on a fluid, well-rounded handset that won’t necessarily blow you away, but may certainly impress at mes. The phone doesn’t feel like the modest price suggests it might, and certainly isn’t as I expected in terms of appearance. It is all plasc, but it’s not a cheap build, like so many of its competors, and is reassuringly heavy in your hand, at 105 grams, with just the right


amount of buons and ports on it, so it doesn’t look sparse like the iPhone, but isn’t as clogged as, for example, the Alcatel OT-980. The handset only has the menu, back and home buons on the front, and the usual power/lock buon and the volume rocker present, as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB connecvity on the top of the handset, leaving no real surprises there.

“THE PHONE DOESN’T FEEL LIKE THE MODEST PRICE SUGGESTS.” TouchWiz shouldn’t be new to many people, as it’s fairly common these days, available on some 20 different handsets in different forms, including the Galaxy S, the Galaxy Tab, the Omnia, the Jet and even back as far as the Samsung Tocco, but for those that don’t know, it’s an interface developed by Samsung to run on the top of Android, in this case Froyo, or Android 2.2, and basically makes things run faster, smoother, and look more aracve. And the Galaxy Mini is no different, with all the usual Android-related features found here, just with a lile TouchWiz spice added, so things like the noficaon bar and the


“IN TERMS OF ACTUAL PHONE FUNCTIONS, THE GALAXY MINI DOES WELL.” menu opon will look a lile different to hardened Android users. In terms of actual phone funcons, the Galaxy Mini does well, the contacts secon is impressively in-depth, and allows you to call, text or email any of your contacts incredibly easily. There’s Exchange synchronisaon too, and the handset handles calls as well as you’d expect. Threaded messaging is available as standard, and Google Talk is used for the instant messaging, which works well. There’s not actually much ground-breaking features to be found on the Galaxy Mini, but Samsung weren’t aiming for a unique, market-changing handset here, and everything it does, it does well. The photo gallery is nice to use, and the Picasa synchronisaon is impressive, if not really that useful for me, as I’m not a Picasa user, and the video player had no problems, complaints or downme when watching films, with audio quality fairly high in both the video and the music players, Internet browsing is as fluid and enjoyable as on all

Android handsets, such is the performance of the always-impressive Android internet browser, and the minimalist interface is an ever-present. When you first visit a site, there’s nothing on the screen besides the page, and it’s only when you use the menu buon that more opons – refresh, new window, bookmark and so on – appear. This isn’t a new browser to Android, but it sll impresses me whenever I use it. The Galaxy Mini was never looking to outsell the big guns of the smartphone market, the iPhone, Galaxy S, or Desire to name a few. It’s target market was always entry-level users, those that had maybe been put off by touch screen devices, or weren’t too sure what Android was. This handset is ideal for those people, such is the value for money on offer from Samsung, and with the Galaxy Mini we find a mid-range specificaon handset for a low-spec price. Everyone’s looking for a bargain these days, and Samsung may well have released a perfect example of one. Ma Foley






HTC MOZART WINDOWS PHONE 7 IMPRESSES WHILST HTC DELIVERS As many of you will know, last issue’s review of the LG E900 was my first foray into Windows Phone 7, and I was impressed with what I saw. LG managed to create a well-rounded, high-performance handset that didn’t disappoint, and the operang system managed to shock me by actually being quite good. I was looking forward to my next experience of Windows Phone 7, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait! There’s been a massive influx of HTC handsets into the market in the past 12 months, and many people have struggled to keep up with all of them. The Mozart might have been one that slipped under your radar, as it was released around the same me as a couple of other HTC handsets, and is locked to the Orange network. The feature that sets this HTC apart from the majority of the compeon is its camera, which has an impressive 8 megapixels and a xenon flash, both of which are new to the Windows Phone 7 OS, at the release of this handset at least. Despite this superiority over most other smartphones in the market, in specificaon at least, the actual performance of the camera seems to leave a lile to be desired. The camera is quite good at what it does, but something about the picture quality didn’t feel right: the pictures weren’t sharp enough for an 8 megapixel camera, reminding me more of an impressive 3.2mp or an average 5mp, and the flash could be beer. There is HD video though, at 720p, and the video quality is good enough that the small failings of the camera can be overlooked. The Mozart has all the features you’d expect from a high-end smartphone: a 3.7 inch LDC touchscreen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor (which, for anyone who doesn’t know, means it’s very fast!,) 8gb internal storage and all the Windows Phone 7-related soware pieces, including Office, an impressive Facebook integraon, and an extensive applicaon

store called Marketplace. The screen is very impressive, with a very good angle of view, meaning that you can hold the phone in almost any posion and sll see what’s happening on-screen, and the operang system runs incredibly fluidly, not surprising given the processor.

“IT’S THE KIND OF HANDSET THAT WILL MAKE PEOPLE STOP AND STARE WHEN THEY SEE ITS ASYMMETRY.” Apperance-wise, the HTC really stands out from its compeon, but mainly on the reverse of the handset. The front of the handset is buon-less, only with a touch-sensive secon at the boom split up into the back, Windows and search buons, and on the sides we find the micro-USB port, the volume rocker and the camera buon, with the 3.5mm jack and the power/lock buon on the top. On the back of the handset, the first thing you noce is that there’s no removable back piece, only a small secon of what is being called the unibody exterior is removable, apparently doubling up as an antenna, and that’s where you’ll find the baery and the sim card slot. It is this unibody exterior that is most striking about the HTC Mozart, as it’s not symmetrical, as most phones are, and the baery cover is slanted in a prey innovave way, but it’s something you’ll need to see to truly appreciate such an innovave design. The HTC Mozart is a bit of an oddity in terms of mobile handsets: what it lacks in camera funconality, it more than makes up for in style, and reliability. It’s the kind of handset that will make people stop and stare when they see its asymmetry, and Windows Phone 7 runs very fast, efficient and fluidly, and all in all is an impressive WP7 handset which offers a very good alternave to Android or iOS smartphones. Ma Foley





(TOO) OLD SCHOOL In 1966, Beach Boy Brian Wilson started work on what was to be the follow-up to the band’s seminal album, Pet Sounds: Smile. It was intended to be glorious, marvellous; an iconic step forward for pop music, but due to resistance from record studio Capital Records and even his fellow band mates, the album was never truly realised, and as Wilson plunged into a lengthy period of debilitang depression, Smile faded away, its radiant grin never to be seen. It’s a sad story, and not dissimilar to that of videogame Duke Nukem Forever; the notoriously delayed, restrained and even cancelled sequel to the industry changing Duke Nukem 3D. So, which of these two stories – Smile’s exncon or Nukem’s ice age – has a happy ending? Set aer the events of the original 1996 shooter, Duke Nukem Forever finds the muscular anhero living the


charmed life in Vegas, surrounded by riches, self-portraits and horny lesbian twins. But when the aliens Duke defeated last me out return for another crack at humanity’s saviour, disrupng Nukem’s appearance on a major chat show, he ain’t best pleased. And so follows the insane acon, with you playing as his Dukeness; kicking more alien derriere in the way only a 90s videogame icon can: immaturely and offensively. On loading Duke Nukem Forever and playing its opening secon (which involves weeing into a toilet, throwing faeces around the bathroom (no joke!)...and taking down a massive monster, with a rocket launcher) one thing strikes immediately: the lacklustre visuals. For a game of this magnitude, Nukem looks remarkably dated, concocted of dreary looking levels, patchy animaons and some appalling frame-rate and loading me issues. If you were unaware that this was a new tle, you’d assume it was a re-release from the early 2000s; and in a way, it is.




For a game that has been in development for over 14 years, you’d imagine that within this me someone would have managed to think-up some new weapons, and even a few fresh enemies? Well, no, as the brush pigs and thumping shotguns from 3D make a return in Forever. If you assess Forever on a purely technical front, only focussing on the visuals, gameplay, controls, signposng, level design and so forth, it’s fair to say that the enre game is ten years out of date. For starters, the controls are numb - with the simple act of aiming being twitchy - not to menon the fact that reloading and interacng with an object both use the same buon, oen leading to fresh bullets rather than an open door. The art design of the levels is also dull, with a lack of detail and style leaving much to be desired. During one secon, a shrunken Duke has to pilot a radio controlled buggy around a war-torn casino floor. Aside from the buggy handling like a 15 stone baby in a lead pram, the level itself is both confusing and dreary, requiring you to spend ages searching for the next path while struggling to keep your vehicle in a straight line. This is bad enough the first me around, but when Duke gets to the end of the casino and re-sizes back to normal scale, you have to retrace the enre level again, on foot! Sadly, Forever’s gameplay is painfully dated, and it shows. Titles such as Half-life and Call of Duty have made FPS gaming an art form. What is essenally a series of successive, repeve gunfights, in the hands of Valve and Infinity Ward, is restructured into a capvang adventure, with each shootout having


its own themes, reason and excitement. But in Duke Nukem Forever, these fire-fights are just strung one aer the other, again and again and again. Take out a room-full of a grunts, move onto another room…full of grunts, etc. In this respect, Forever is very resome, and despite its occasional aempts at wringing the acon into some form of narrave context, you can’t help but feel that you and Forever are simply going through the moons, one room-full of grunts at a me. A brief menon should be made regarding Duke Nukem Forever’s mulplayer, which features the standard fare of deathmatch and Capture the Babe (a lady rather than a flag…seconds of endless fun). In short, it’s laggy and fun-free. OK, so we’ve established that Duke Nukem Forever is technically trash, and when compared to even the most FPSs of the decade, embarrassing; but maybe that’s not the point? Duke Nukem 3D wasn’t exactly a world beater in 1996: it was successful because of its crass notoriety. So, has Forever pulled off a similar trick, and does it at least make 21st century gamers LOL at it’s risqué humour? Honestly…I do hope not…



Here’s a lile test: read this paragraph of Nukem jocularity, and then score the amount of mes the Duke made you laugh. Here goes…beer brace those sides… When Duke first encounters some aliens, he quips “Looks like those alien b******s drank all my beer.”… Nukem also fires out the equally corking “I’m gonna rip your eye out and p**s on your brain, you alien dirtbag!”…“My job is to kick a**, not make small talk.” “Anybody mind if I... take off my pants?” (is your face soaked in tears yet?). When Duke picks up the poop during the opening level, he drops “A turd in the hand is worth two in the bush.”…and just to prove he’s an everyman – a character you’d want to play as – he not only looks in a mirror and remarks “You wanna touch it, don’t you?” but when signing an autograph for a young fan, boasts “you might grow up to be as awesome as me”… So, what did you score? If you laughed even once, frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself. In all seriousness, Duke Nukem Forever is painfully unfunny, as the blue humour it aempts is woefully outdated. Gamers have moved on, with the puerile humour Forever applies now the stuff of history. OK, so it’s not parcularly offensive, but it is demeaning when you are expected to find lazy swearing, piddle and nudity jokes, amusing. Duke Nukem Forever is a mess, a shambles, an embarrassment. Nukem doesn’t feel like a tle 14 years in the making, it feels like a tle 14 years OLD, and that’s the major issue. In a way we actually feel sorry for Forever, as aer 14 torturous years of

development, it’s a minor miracle it’s even been released, regardless of its deplorable standard. We don’t blame 3D Realms, as they built a game that was intended for a different me and generaon, but we do have a slight issue with current publisher 2K Games, who should really have spoed Forever’s enormous shortcomings, and addressed these issues pre-release. We can’t help but feel that they’ve cashed-in on Forever, and simply chosen to publish an outdated tle due to its hype rather than quality. In 2004, aer nearly 40 years, Brian Wilson finally released Smile, with it going on to receive enormous praise from both crics and fans alike, and also three Grammy nominaons, eventually winning Best Rock Instrumental Performance. It was a massive success, living up to every ounce of pressured ancipaon heaped upon it, but sadly, for the equally ancipated Duke Nukem Forever, it wasn’t the happy return we’d hopped for. Although we’ve waited paently for Duke Nukem, me has not…For the Duke, things have moved on, passed him by, and against the Halos and Call of Dutys, Nukem is an out-dated, flabby, redundant and ulmately embarrassing, relic. Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 10/20 STORY: 9/20 CONTROLS: 11/20 GAMEPLAY: 10/20 DURABILITY: 8/20









BACK OFF TRACK It’s fair to say that since the passing of the great Colin McRae, the Dirt series has gone a bit…American. What was originally a rugged, hardcore, frostbien trash through the damp and dusty rallies of the world, with Dirt 2, metamorphosized into a hippy and ‘rad’ track-based extravaganza. Out were the foggy mornings, in were the icelolly melng aernoons, complete with florescent decals and fireworks. Not that this was a bad thing, as Dirt 2 was arguably the finest tle in the formally-known-as-McRae series, but for the fans, it was as if the series had been watered down for the masses. So, is this third tle in the series back to the old ways? Sort of, sort of… Dirt 3 brings together a varying assortment of offroad-based challenges, all the way from the mucky rally, to the stadium pleasing gymkhana (more on this

shortly). It’s fast, detailed, in your face and always just the right side of out of control, making it one of the best off-road games you’re ever likely to play – full stop. So what’s new for the third? Well, your motorhome’s been binned for a start… This me around, you have to build you reputaon as a driver, compeng in as many different races as possible across four seasons. You’ll have a team to guide you in the right direcon as your career progresses, with an agent providing details on your sponsorship deals, a pitman telling you the ins and outs of the tracks, and some other hanger-on who does nothing but remark on just how blooming great you are. To be honest the whole career mime is a bit pointless, as you’re able to pick-up new cars easier than a cold in winter, and at no point do you really feel as if you’re going on a journey, such as you did in Dirt 2. There’s plenty to accomplish though, with carboot-fulls of experience points (XP) on offer during each race.



The racing takes place in Finland, Michigan, Norway, LA, Kenya, and Monaco, with plenty of tracks to keep you going. It’s a shame that London doesn’t make an appearance, as racing around the track at Baersea was a real highlight of Dirt 2. It’s not all bad though, as you now get to pick cars from eras as far back as the 60s. When compared to the 4WD beasts of today, these bygone machines are a handful to say the least, but in a way, a lot more fun. The major change to Dirt 3 is the inclusion of gymkhana, which is a bit like gymnascs, but with tuned-up cars. The challenges are designed to test your driving ability to the fullest, while all the while leaving room for interpretaon and style. To master gymkhana, you’ll have to learn how to do donuts, dri, jump, smash-down targets in an alloed me (similar to gatecrasher in the previous game) and most of all, mix all these disciplines together to create a show-stopping roune. There’s also a yard for you to pracce your skills, and if you look closely and explore, you’ll find a few hidden goodies. Although the gymkhana secons feel a bit out of synch with the rest of Dirt 3, they’re actually rather good fun, and thanks to the exceponal controls, easy to learn but tough to master. Speaking of difficulty, Dirt 3 is perfect for both the buer fingered and the iron fisted. From race to race, you can adjust both the difficulty of the events and the stabilisaon of your driving aids. So, if you cruise a rally by several seconds, you can take the difficulty up a notch, and even tune-down your ABS. Flashbacks also make a reappearance, meaning that if you plough into a lamppost, you can simply rewind



the acon and start again a few seconds before. You only get a few flashbacks per race though, and the more you use, the less experience points you’ll receive. Another new feature of Dirt 3 is the ability to upload videos directly to YouTube, simply with the single push of a buon. Sounds great? Well, apart from cluering-up YouTube with a trillion ‘BEST CRASH EVEEEEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!’ videos, the service is rather limited, as you can only upload a mere 30 second video. The replays, despite looking prisne, also can’t be saved in their enrety, making your best moments only available via word of mouth. Frustrangly, load-mes between each race take an age, also.

“AS A RALLYING SIMULATOR, YOU WON’T FIND A BETTER ONE THAN DIRT 3.” For the online, there’s tons of acon to be had, with mini-games such as capture the flag and various ‘tag’ games plenful. The lag me can be an issue, and there’s always the joker who thinks ramming you into a wall is hilarious, but overall it’s another excellent aspect to an already stocked tle. A special word should be menoned regarding Dirt 3’s controls, as they are the glue that keeps the game together. We recently reviewed EA’s Shi 2, and although it was an impressive enough racer, it was let down by handling not out of keeping with a

supermarket trolley at the boom of a canal. But in Dirt 3, this is not an issue, as every vehicle is a real pleasure to drive. Every twitch, every slide, every degree of wheel spin and every millimetre of dri can be both felt through your fingerps and controlled with precision. It’s such a rewarding experience to kiss an apex just so, and doubly rewarding that you can always knock-off an extra tenth aer each race. In Dirt 3, there’s no such thing as a perfect drive, so you’ll always be coming back for more. Dirt 3 is a peach of a racer. The acon is intense, the vehicles and tracks are outstanding, and as a rallying simulator, you won’t find a beer one than Dirt 3. But, is there sll the whiff of American-ness that plagued the previous tle. Well, it’s sll in the air, with the gymkhana being a tagged-on excursion, and the overly chummy agents being a waste of me. But, Dirt 3 is a far more serious, focused racer, all the way from the rallies in your eyes to the soundtrack in your ears. It’s sll not quite as rally-based as we’d like, but at least rallying is now the foremost event. Overall, Dirt 3 is just about as good as off-road gets on your console, and if you can tame the beasts and have paence with the online features, you’ll love it from lights to flag. Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 18/20 STORY: 15/20 CONTROLS: 20/20 GAMEPLAY: 19/20 DURABILITY: 18/20






BACK IN THE RED Fighters geng their heads (and spines) ripped out; losers geng sliced into salamithin wafers; vicms having their heads bien off; there was even one fishing move that resulted in the world itself being exploded. For a mid-ninees when videogame violence was making headlines, Mortal Kombat was the king of the ring, but in recent years, the fighter with the misplaced ‘K’ has paled rather than impaled, producing barely a thimble of claret in the last tle, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. But it looks like the old MK is back, with the ninth instalment in the series featuring decapitaon, puking and just about every other kind of fist-based debauchery’ you can imagine. Fan-bloody-tasc! Mortal Kombat (9) is a retelling of the original three games, although it features a rather clever twist. When the games starts, the acon takes place just at the end of the previous MK tle, Armageddon, with Kombat stalwart Raiden seconds way from a death-dealing blow by the hands of Shao Kahn. But, Raiden sends a message back to his earlier self, in the


form of a premonion, warning him of the future. This leads us back to the me of the original games, with Raiden now seeing the events unfold as before, but with a different outlook. Apart from being Slton cheesy, it’s actually a rather decent plot, and one that has been wrapped about the gameplay superbly well, making the transion from fight to movie to fight, seamless. As well as boasng a meaty campaign, Mortal Kombat is also extremely well stocked in every other department. There’s the standard quick fight opon for both on and offline scraps; there’s an online tournament mode with lots of DLC; tag-team fights for you and a buddy; an addicve challenge game that tests your skills (pull-off a series of moves, dodge aacks for several seconds, complete a fight with only your legs), and there’s the classic tower of contenders, arcade style. As you play you’ll also be rewarded with currency, which can be spent in a graveyard of goodies – that’s not a joke, all the hidden concept art and upgrades are buried in a vast yard of the deceased…beer get digging! In terms of gameplay, it’s just as you’d expect from your classic side-on, 2D fighter, and that can only


be a good thing. There’s a new inclusion such as the energy bar, X-Ray aacks (more on this in a ck) and even a smart tag-team system. The controls are just on the right side of ease, with a beginner learning quickly and a veteran having plenty to memorise. There’s a slight change to the MK controls we’re used to, with each of the four right-side buons (A, X, Y and B for the 360; square, cross, triangle and circle for the PS3) now controlling a limb (so punch, hard kick, etc). It has to be said that a standard controller is sll not ideal for a fighng game of MK’s speed, but overall it’s just about as good as it gets. Not quite as crisp as Street Fighter, but sll sharp enough.

“MORTAL KOMBAT IS A MUCH NEEDED SHOT IN THE ARM FOR THE SERIES.” And now we get to Mortal Kombat’s bread and bloody buer: gore. As well as featuring the completely rejuvenated fatalies - which include a fighter geng beaten to death by his own leg and another being torn in half unl his face splits while screaming – and some in-fight scarring, there’s also the inclusion of X-Ray mode. Once you’ve amounted enough energy during a fight, you can unleash it all

in one hit in the form of an X-Ray aack. With this you get a slow-mo sequence of your fighter leng rip with his custom aack – say a kneecap to the face – and the sight of your opponent’s skull fracturing on impact. Sweet. Mortal Kombat is a much needed shot in the arm for the series, mixing together not only fantasc fiscuffs, but also the trademark brutality that has been missing from the recent tles. There are a few niggles, like the occasional lagging during online play, some occasionally iffy visuals, the manner that the X-Ray aacks can lop-side a fight, and lets be fair, MK is not in the class of Street Fighter, but overall there’s more than enough to make up for these issues. Mortal Kombat has always been about the violence, and with this ninth tle, MK has perfectly nailed (to a wall with rusty nails, most likely) its X Factor. Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 17/20 STORY: 17/20 CONTROLS: 17/20 GAMEPLAY: 17/20 DURABILITY: 18/20








STAND BY YOUR RIVERBEDS Drink an 18 month out of date bole of Friji. Lick a dead mans fingers. Sit through every film Shia Labeouf has made while he gives me an audio commentary/lap dance. These are just a few of the things I would rather do than play an Operaon Flashpoint game. It’s not that I don’t respect the huge detail that each FPS tle posses, nor the immense taccal skill it takes to complete one of these hyper realisc war simulators, but what I detest is the lack of theatres. It’s a game with all the life sucked out of it; dour, soulless and grey. So, it’s with a weary sigh that I review another tle in the Flashpoint series: Red River, and hey, maybe this one will change


my overall opinion of the series. I can almost taste the Cookies and Cream mould now… Operaon Flashpoint: Red River takes place in a ficonal 2013, with your marine posted to an Afghanistan-like warzone in Tajikistan. With your team, Outlaw-2-Bravo, you have to retaliate against a terrorist force known as the ETIM, and essenally flush them out of the area, all the while neutralising enemy aacks in villages, airfields, and other local sites. But things turn a bit nasty when China rolls-up in the fight, and with your team slap-bang in the middle, you’ll have to have your wits about you in order to complete the mission, and survive.

“IT’S TOO SERIOUS, TOO BY THE BOOK, TOO WORKMANLIKE, TOO ORDERED, AND TO BE BLUNT, IT’S JUST TOO BORING.” To be honest, you’ll have to be fully wied-up for the enre game, such is the hyper realism of Red River. A single enemy bullet is enough to kill you, or at minimum leave you in worse shape than a waxwork in a sauna. Staying out of sight is the key, only peeking over a wall to take a shot when it is absolutely safe.


You’ll also have to be taccally cute, as your team of marines will hang on your every order, of which there are many (hold, aack, defend, reposion, follow, stand down etc). Sadly, the AI is comical, with your marines running around like headless chickens despite your repeated orders to stay covered, and the enemies - judging by the way they oen stand in the open - are red of living. Due to this, Red River is far beer when played online, as the co-op/online mode allows 2-3 friends to join in with the bale. As with every Operaon Flashpoint tle, realism is the key point. This is fine in the most part, with every fire fight being fierce but never overplayed, but Red River does tend to shoot itself in the foot at mes, taking its need for unparalleled simulaon too far. At the end of each mini mission, you’ll usually have to take a hummer ride to the next target, or even make the journey on foot. These interludes can become tedious beyond belief, as you sit in the back of a truck, bouncing across an uninspiring landscape, listening to your gruff commander fire out every curse word in the book. The tedium is occasional broken with a surprise aack, but for the most part it’s just 5 minutes of you, some mute mates and a swearing man for company. How did you shoot that scene, Shia?... Despite having a vast landscape, ripe for exploring, at no point do you really get to adventure forth into the

unknown, with the game punishing you with death if you leave the mission area. Actually, death would be a preferred choice at mes, because the contest ‘huurah’ing and American fist pumping is exhausng. When this ‘hell YEAH’ing first starts, you’d expect it to be a joke, ironic, but sadly it’s all dead-pan serious, leaving Red River feeling dumb, and worst of all, naïve. Operaon Flashpoint: Red River, despite its best attempts at producing a tle that is the thinking-man’s Call of Duty, is let down by some dumb decisions, mediocre visuals and patchy programming. The 5 minute rides between missions impede the pace, the acon is oen let down by da AI and a sense of unfairness (those terrorists are sneaky blighters), and overall, Red River just isn’t all that fun. It’s too serious, too by the book, too workmanlike, too ordered, and to be blunt, it’s just too boring. In the words of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, “Somebody throw a pie!” Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 14/20 STORY: 14/20 CONTROLS: 16/20 GAMEPLAY: 13/20 DURABILITY: 13/20







TRYING TO GET A HANDLE The ‘S’ curves at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan are amongst the most fearsome in the world, and have appeared in just about every racing game that has ever been conceived. A series of le-to-right-to-le-to-right-to-le corners that have to be driven with both finesse and vigour, they are a true test of both a driver and his machine. I don’t want to brag, but aer years of tackling them on tles such as F1 Grand Prix on the N64, Gran Turismo and Forza 3, I know how to tame these fearsome apexes. But, when I took to Suzuka’s tarmac in Shi 2 Unleashed, I was eang gravel before I’d even approached the ‘S’s. But whose fault was it: mine of the game’s? Shi 2 Unleashed is a racer that strides away from the standard Need for Speed fare, replacing the silly with the simulaon. With over 140 licensed vehicles, 36 real and ficonal tracks and a stocked career mode, Shi 2 aempts to go up against the big boys: Forza and Gran Turismo. Before we go any further, I may as well say that Shi 2 isn’t even on the same page as those aforemenoned icons, but that’s not to say that Shi 2 isn’t a decent tle in its own right, and if anything, it’s brasher than both Forza and Gran Turismo put together. Shi 2 Unleashed literally puts you in the driver’s seat, offering a simulaon that is uerly brutal. Not only is the difficulty surprisingly hard, but the racing


itself is not for the faint of heart. The other drivers will baer you; smoke, dust, rubber and oil will smear your windscreen; the noise is astonishing; the helmet cam – a viewpoint that moves and reacts to the acon as your eyes would – jolts you all over the place, and the night races, a defining feature of Shi 2, are truly scary. It’s a hell of an experience, and although the soundtrack of American pop is rubbish, Shi 2 really does serve up the excitement, even if it is a lile arcadey. That said, despite having the overall charm of a drunken prom queen with her skirt draped over her head, Shi 2 is actually a rather smart game. As you play through the career mode - which is very extensive and features several styles of racing (endurance, tracks races and me trials, although the driing is pish) - Shi 2 will keep track of your scores, best mes and records, charng them online for your buddies to see. Shi 2 will also update your XP (experience points) in real me, so as you race and perform, you can watch your XP climb. Lile in-race challenges also keep the game alive, such as scking to the racing line, topping the me sheets and having a clean race (not likely with the mental AI!) also adding to your overall XP. All very good then? A great racer? Well, no, because Shi 2 Unleashed has some of the worst vehicle handling we’ve ever come across, which for a racing game, is a sin. The cars understeer like a gravy boat in one corner, then snap out with oversteer in the next.


OK, aer a while you do tend to get used to these shortcomings, and with Shi 2’s hugely detailed vehicle upgrade system – which is beer than anything currently available, including both Forza and Gran- you can tune the handling issues out to a degree. But, the sloppy controls are a hindrance that is forever with you, always holding you back, and an issue that becomes even more evident when the difficulty increases and you do need to know whether your vehicle ACTUALLY HAS front wheels. Shi 2 Unleashed is a solid racing game, which despite falling way short of the big boys, is sll good enough to slot onto the second row. It’s just a shame that despite all the hard work that has been put in by EA and Slightly Mad, Shi 2 is ulmately let down by shoddy handling. Shi 2 can boast as many online features and fancy visuals effects as it likes, but if the cars won’t allow you to feel at one with your car what’s the point? It looks like it was the game’s fault for spinning me off in Suzuka aer all, and not yours truly. Like any good racing driver, I’ve got my excuses… Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 17/20 STORY: 17/20 CONTROLS: 12/20 GAMEPLAY: 16/20 DURABILITY: 17/20





TAKING YOU TO THE BRINK Although I’d never class myself as part of the Modern Warfare clan, rarely diving into vigorous online deathmatches at every opportunity, I sll have a deep-seeded love for mulplayer acon. From the very early days of the big PC hiers like, Doom, Quake and Unreal, to the four in a room late nighters with Goldeneye, to today’s globally dominang shin-shooters of Halo and COD, playing and slaying with chums has always been an integral part of my gaming. But, there’s an argument to be made that the mulplayer aspects of today’s videogames are overshadowing the tradional single player campaign, and that’s defiantly a case for this new group-based tle. I’ll come back to this point shortly, but for now, let’s take a peek at Brink, and see if this full-throle squaddie can topple the big boys of online warfare. Brink is set in a futurisc floang city called the Ark, which is now a muddied and turmoil-flooded refecon of its once proud, evergreen past. When the game starts, you have the opon to play as one of city’s two facons: Resistance or Security. While the Resistance see the Ark as a prison, using anarchy as a means of escaping, Security sees this floang world



as a temple for humanity that needs restoring, and will try to keep the peace by any means other than peacefully. Brink’s gameplay is enrely squad-based, meaning that you’ll have to work with your real or AI compatriots to accomplish your objecves. There are four interchangeable character classes to choose from - Soldier, Medic, Engineer, and Operave – with each class having their own skills, such as healing the wounded, planng bombs, repairing machinery and infiltrang the enemies’ ranks. The mobility of your character is also a consideraon, as while the solider has the agility of a housefly, the Engineer handles with the prowess of Texas. Mobility is a major part of Brink’s gameplay, as Splash Damage have incorporated free-running elements into the acon, allowing your character to vault, jump and wall-run across the levels with automac ease. This works for the most part, but an issue with inconsistency is a major one, with your character not always traversing an obstacle as required. The last thing you want when being gunned down by a small army is to have your character run straight into a wall, or be flummoxed by a single step… If you’re reasonably new to the type of squad-based gameplay Brink provides, you may find it all a lile overwhelming – I certainly did! During most missions there are numerous tasks to complete, changeable objecves, and all the while you’ll be shouted at by the AI to supply ammo, resuscitate a fallen comrade, plant a bomb, defend this, defend that, aack a command post, change character class, be on the lookout for spies – not to menon being shot at. Even for a season campaigner (if I don’t say so myself!), Brink is sll rather complex. There is a 20min+ tutorial video

to watch before you play, which talks you through all the taccs and gameplay elements you’ll need to be aware of, but to be honest it’s all too much for a single film to deliver. It’s in one ear, out the other, so an actual tutorial, in-built for the opening level, would have been handy. And when you go online with up to 16 other players, it’s always a bonus if you actually have a clue as to what you’re supposed to be doing. To give Brink credit, it goes all-out to pump the team-based genre with as many new ideas and opons as possible, and to a degree it’s a success. Online, the mulplayer acon is franc and vibrant, if a lile lagging and oen too detailed; but offline, Brink is prey poor. Both the friendly and enemy AI are BBC 3-braindead, and both of the single player campaigns are just a daisy chain of repeve mini-games – capture the flag, take the base, protect the agent, etc. It literally is a case of playing the online game, but offline, and that’s just not good enough. Brink is a disappoinng tle, as although it’s blessed with a wonderful art style, some clever ideas and plenty of buzzing online gameplay, it’s let down by a worthless single player campaign, frequent technical issues and a nagging feeling that Splash have overegged the pudding. It’s a solid shooter, but sadly, it’s le wanng in all the wrong places. Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 16/20 STORY: 9/20 CONTROLS: 16/20 GAMEPLAY: 14/20 DURABILITY: 13/20









Although a videogame is to all intents and purposes a challenge - a test of skill - it should never feel like hard work. We play games for fun, as a means of breaking away from reality for a few short hours, so we want to enjoy ourselves without feeling worked. The best games do this without us even nocing. Think of a good game as a piece of easy listening music: it’s totally effortless, as soothing as a moist towelet, and to quote Noel Gallagher, once you’re finished listening, you think “f**k me, that was easy!” So, is this new point and click adventure from Gabriel Knight creator Jane Jensen, Grey Maer, easy as a bank holiday or as hard as overme? To give you a clue, we’re not exactly dozing in a deckchair… Grey Maer takes place around the colleges of Oxford, with sassy central protagonist Samantha Evere – an American magician and street arst with half a Cadillac’s worth of chrome studded in her face leading the way. When Sam’s motorbike breaks down on the way to London, she is forced to spend a night sheltering in Dread Hill; a creepy mansion that is all but deserted. In the morning, while trying to sneak out undetected, she’s mistaken as the hired help for the mansion’s reclusive owner, Professor David Styles, and as a means to an end, Sam plays along and agrees to find six students in Oxford so the Prof can perform some weird experiments. This opening chapter takes up the first couple of hours of Grey Maer’s gameplay, and to be honest it’s a rather slow-paced start that drags along. But once the game gets going, the puzzles come at a much faster, finer rate.

“THINK OF A GOOD GAME AS A PIECE OF EASY LISTENING MUSIC: IT’S TOTALLY EFFORTLESS, AS SOOTHING AS A MOIST TOWELET.” Depending on which version you play – PC or Xbox 360 – Grey Maer’s interface will differ slightly. With the PC version it’s a very simple maer of poinng and clicking, with commands such as ‘pickup’, ‘talk to’ and ‘use’ automacally accruing depending on the situaon. It’s a similar case for the 360, although it’s

much more laboured. To select anything on screen, you have to hold down the right trigger to bring up the compass-like menu of selectables in the area, and rotate the le sck to select each one. It’s mighty hard work, and that’s not to menon the magic tricks Sam can perform. When needed, Sam can use her sleight of hand skills to aid with a task. For instance, if she needed to pinch someone’s videotape, she could perform a trick to take the tape covertly and swap it with another. To do this, you have to collate a series of tasks – move tape to le hand, pass tape to right pocket, swap tape with right hand etc – so the trick is performed correctly. This sounds easy in pracce, but in reality, especially with the hindrance of the Xbox 360 controller, each trick is a real grind.

“DEEP DOWN, WE WANT TO LOVE GREY MATTER, AS AT ITS CORE THERE’S A BRILLIANT ADVENTURE.” Grey Maer does have some good points though, such as the wonderful hand painted art style and chilled soundtrack. The general ambiance of the game is superb, with the shadowy streets of Oxford and the dreamy backing music blending together perfectly, making Grey Maer at least a treat for the ears and eyes. But for the fingers…well, they won’t be geng as much delight. Aer you’ve finished, they’ll probably need a holiday… Deep down, we want to love Grey Maer, as at its core there’s a brilliant adventure tle, packed with mystery, puzzles, atmosphere and intrigue. OK, Sam’s charmless, the pacing is far too slow and the whole of the cast have come straight out of ‘Dick van Dykes Guide to Englandshire’, but Grey Maer’s sense of magic and wonder is just about enough to pull it through. But, mainly due to the controls, tasks and pacing, Grey Maer is a hard, workmanlike, forced and resome slog, and as we said, games should never feel like hard work. Sco Tierney PRESENTATION: 16/20 STORY: 13/20 CONTROLS: 10/20 GAMEPLAY: 14/20 DURABILITY: 12/20









Size weight Frequency Screen Pixels camera resoluon memory/compability bluetooth GPRS WLAN Browser Java Messaging Radio Music downloadable games downloadable ringtones Baery talkme - mins (max) Baery standy - hours (up to) bluetooth carKit compable

Size weight Frequency Screen Pixels camera resoluon memory/compability bluetooth GPRS WLAN Browser Java Messaging Radio Music downloadable games downloadable ringtones Baery talkme - mins (max) Baery standy - hours (up to) bluetooth carKit compable


Nokia 7230

Nokia 6730

Nokia 5530

Nokia E75

Nokia 6210

98 x 48 x 14.8 mm 100 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 320 3.15 MP 45 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32 No Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

112 x 46 x 12.6 mm 83 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 320 3.15 MP 48 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32 No Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

104 x 49 x 13 mm 107 g Quad-band/3G 640 x 360 3.2 MP 70 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32/HSDPA Yes Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/AMS Yes

111.8 x 50 x 14.4 mm 139 g Quad-band/3G 320 x 240 3.2 MP 50 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32/HSDPA Yes Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

103 x 49 x 14.9 mm 117 g Tri-band 320 x 240 3.2 MP 120 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/miniUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32/HSDPA No Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes





Yes MP3 300 370 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 600 500 Yes

Yes MP3 340 264 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3/AAC 222 244 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3/AAC 294 351 Yes

Sony Ericsson Spiro

Sony Ericsson XPERIA

92 x 48 x 16.75 mm 90 g Dual band 240 x 320 2 MP

119 x 62 x 16 mm 175 g Quad-band/3G 854 x 480 5.1 MP


Sony Ericsson W395

Sony Ericsson C903

Sony Ericsson Aino

97 x 47 x 14.9 mm 96 g Quad-band 176 x 220 2 MP

97 x 49 x 16 mm 96 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 320 5 MP

104 x 50 x 15.5 mm 134 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 420 8.1 MP

5 MB/Micro SD

400 MB/Micro SD

10 MB/Memory Sck Micro

130 MB/Memory Sck Micro

60 MB/microSD

Yes/A2DP/Micro USB Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 10/HSDPA Yes WAP/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes



Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 10/HSDPA Yes WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes






Yes MP3 270 475 Yes

Yes MP3 505 425 Yes

Yes MP3/AAC 420 480 Yes

Yes MP3/AAC 600 400 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 270 360 Yes


Nokia E63

Nokia N97

Nokia 3720 classic

Nokia 5800 Xpress Music

Sony Ericsson Cedar

113 x 59 x 13 mm 126 g Quad-band 320 x 240 2 MP 110 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32 Yes Wap/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9 mm 150 g Quad-band/3G 640 x 360 5 MP 32 GB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32 Wi-Fi WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

115 x 47 x 15.3 mm 94 g Tri-band 320 x 240 2 MP 20 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 11 No WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm 109 g Quad-band 640 x 360 3.2 MP 81 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 32 Yes WAP/xHTML/HTML/WML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

111 x 49 x 15.5 mm 84 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 320 2 MP 280 MB/Micro SD Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 10/HSDPA No WAP/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes






Yes Polyphonic & MP3 660 432 Yes

Yes MP3 570 430 Yes

Yes Poly/MIDI/Real Tone/MP3 420 450 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 528 406 Yes

Yes MP3 750 420 Yes

Sony Ericsson Yari

Sony Ericsson Naite

Sony Ericsson C901

Sony Ericsson C510

HTC Desire

100 x 48 x 15.7 mm 115 g Quad-band/3G 240 x 320 5 MP

108 x 47 x 12.6 mm 84 g Quad-band 240 x 320 2 MP

105 x 45 x 13 mm 107 g Quad-band 240 x 320 5 MP

107 x 47 x 12.5 mm 92 g Quad-band 240 x 320 3.15 MP

119 x 60 x 11.9 mm 135 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 800 5 MP

60 MB/microSD

100 MB/microSD

120 MB/Memory Sck Micro

100 MB/Memory Sck Micro

ROM:512 MB/RAM:576 MB/microSD

Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/A2DP/USB Yes No WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 10/HSDPA Yes HMTL Yes,via 3rd party SMS/MMS/Email(Push)/IM Yes






Yes Poly/MP3/AAC 600 450 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3/AAC 564 380 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 570 430 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3/Aac 420 400 Yes

Yes MP3 400 360 Yes



Size weight Frequency Screen Pixels camera resoluon memory/compability bluetooth GPRS WLAN Browser Java Messaging Radio Music downloadable games downloadable ringtones Baery talkme - mins (max) Baery standy - hours (up to) bluetooth carKit compable

Size weight Frequency Screen Pixels camera resoluon memory/compability bluetooth GPRS WLAN Browser Java Messaging Radio Music downloadable games downloadable ringtones Baery talkme - mins (max) Baery standy - hours (up to) bluetooth carKit compable


Apple iPhone 3G S

Apple iPhone 3G

INQ Chat 3G

BlackBerry 8520

BlackBerry Bold 9000

11.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm 135 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 320 3.15 MP 16/32 GB (internal)

11.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm 133 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 320 2 MP 8/16 GB (internal)

114.5 x 61 x 12.8 mm 93 g Tri-band/3G 176 x 220 3.2 MP 120MB/Memory Sck Micro

109 x 60 x 13.9 mm 106 g Quad-band 320 x 240 2 MP 256 MB/MicroSD

114 x 66 x 14 mm 133 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 320 2MP 1GB/microSD






Yes/EDGE Wi-Fi HTML (Safari) No SMS/MMS/Email No

Yes/EDGE Yes HTML (Safari) No SMS/Email No

Yes Yes Net Front Yes SMS/MMS/Email No

Yes/EDGE Class 10 Yes HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM No

Yes/EDGE Class 10 Yes HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM No















720 300 Yes

600 300 Yes

480 170 Yes

270 408 Yes

300 310 Yes

Samsung B3310

Samsung Jet

LG GD510 Pop

LG GM750

Dell Streak

91 x 54 x 17 mm 101 g Quad-band 240 x 320 2 MP 40 MB/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

108 x 53.5 x 11.9 mm 110 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 800 5 MP 2/8 GB (internal)/microSD Yes/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 12/HSDPA Wi-Fi WAP/Dolphin Yes

97.8 x 49.5 x 11.2 mm 87 g Quad-band 240 x 400 3.15 MP 42 MB RAM/microSD Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes/EDGE Class 12 No WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

109.8 x 53.5 x 12.9 mm 120 g Quad-band 240 x 400 5 MP

152.9 x 79.1 x 10 mm 220 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 800 5 MP

128 MB RAM/256 MB ROM/microSD

16GB/512MB ROM/512MB RAM/microSD

Yes/A2DP/microUSB Yes Yes WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/A2DP/USB Yes/EDGE Class 12/HSDPA Yes HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email No MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA Yes MP3 580 400 Yes

SMS/MMS/Email/Vidoe/MS Exchange






Yes Poly/MP3/WAV 300 380 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3/WAV 492 422 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 200 360 Yes

Yes Poly/MP3 380 450 Yes


BlackBerry 8300 Curve

Samsung Galaxy S

Samsung Pixon 12

Samsung S5600V Blade Samsung Genio Touch

107 x 60 x 15.5 mm 111 g Quad-band 320 x 240 2MP 64MB/microSD

122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9 119 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 800 5 MP 8GB/16GB/microSD

108 x 53 x 13.8 mm 120 g 480 x 800 pixels 240 x 320 12 MP 150 MB/microSD

102.8 x 54.8 x 12.9 mm 92 g 240 x 320 pixels 240 x 320 3.15 MP 50 MB/microSD

103 x 56.5 x 12 mm 90 g Quad-band 240 x 320 2 MP 40 MB/microSD







Yes/EDGE Class 12/HSDPA Yes HTML Yes,via 3rd party SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes

Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

Yes/EDGE Class 12 No WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes

Yes/EDGE Class 10 No WAP/xHTML/HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email Yes
















240 408 Yes

803 750 Yes

180 250 Yes

120 250 Yes

480 730 Yes

HTC Desire HD 123 x 68 x 11.8 mm 164 g Quad-band/3G 480 x 800 8 MP 1.5 GB/Micro SD

Yes/A2DP/Micro USB Yes/EDGE Class 32/HSDPA Yes HTML Yes SMS/MMS/Email/IM Yes MP3/AAC+/WAV/WMA Yes Poly/MP3/Aac 550 420 Yes



Issue 21  
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