Age of Mythology Mac Review.
You know I love the Mac, but if Mac has one huge drawback it has to be about the number of games that is offered on it. We have Age of Empires a hugely successful game on both Mac and PC, but after that we really don't have to much too pick from in terms of real time strategy games. True we also have Civilization, but that is more of a turn based game which doesn't really constitute as a RTS game.
In other games such as AOE (Age of Empires) you will get to pick from a number of different civilizations. However, with Age of Mythology you will only get to pick from three different civilizations; Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse. Now I know what you are thinking, that doesn't seem like many to choose from, but each civilization has a number of different traits which make them fun to play. It makes the game really deep and no two games are the same.
The Greeks are pretty straightforward as you gather, store, and use resources. They do have a number of surprise units that others cannot have. The Egyptians don't use wood at all when they build a building. Their main focus is collecting Gold, the Norse can't even build structures (for gathering). They will use ox carts which will lump a bunch of different resources together. It is really challenging to play as each of these unique civilizations.
Instead of having stone mining you will have a thing called favor. This is awesome because you want more favor in order to please your gods. For instance, the Greeks build temples in order to please their gods. The other two civilizations build up their favor in other ways; the Norse by killing. All make it a HIGHLY unique way to play the game. You do want to please the gods as they can be the deciding factor on if you prosper or fail.
This game really sets its self apart from AOE in terms that the gods are the main focus. Instead of having pikemen that counter cavalry and infantry that counter artillery there is a whole new focus where it makes it quite a bit more complex. You now have gods, hero’s, and mythical units. The sky is the limit when you are no longer just dealing with a number of types to deal with.
I have been playing AOE since the beginning of time and was a little hesitant to play this game at first, as I thought it might draw my attention away from Age of Empires (which I love). But, honestly this game is more than meets the eye. It is insanely deep with a 32 single player mission and a fully customizable multiplayer mode.
Throw in a ton of multiplayer maps and you got yourself a game! I would recommend this game to any RTS fan that has a knack for a good mythology game too. It is a great change in pace from AOE, a true classic.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the flagship character of Sega, and he's immediately recognizable to anyone who grew up with him as an icon. While his popularity and playability have waxed and waned, Sonic Generations 3DS is a solid entry into the many adventures that Sonic has had over the years. In fact, Sonic Generations is about as meta as a game can get.
What's It About?
Sonic games have, pretty much since their inception, dealt with the spiky blue hedgehog fighting against the twisted Doctor Robotnik and his bizarre schemes. In order to come out ahead Sonic has had to run, jump, spin and twist through the deadliest environments in order to come out ahead. In Sonic Generations for the Nintendo 3DS, Sonic is back in action teamed up with... Sonic.
Someone has opened up time holes, bringing the original Sonic into the world right alongside the Sonic that has changed and evolved with modern audiences and gameplay. The result is that players have to guide both Sonics as they spin up a blue streak, trying to avoid further complications while at the same time enjoying the platforming aspects of both the classic and the more modern versions of the games.
Sonic Generations for the 3DS is not the best Sonic the Hedgehog game ever made; that said, it is far from the worst that Sega has ever put on the market too. Sonic Generations puts players in the drivers seat of one of the fastest characters that Sega has ever produced, and the result is that they'll have to jump through every kind of hoop there is to avoid spike pits, death traps, evil robots and all of the other dangers that are inherently part of adventuring in the world of Sonic. However, in keeping with the theme of the game, players will have to deal with traditional side-scrolling platforming as well as the more complicated platforms in a three dimensional environment.
This is where the 3D elements of the Nintendo 3DS come into play. Not all players like the 3D part of the system, and not all games really require it to get the job done. When it comes to Sonic Generations though, the 3D mechanic is one of the more unique aspects of the game. It really adds something to the field and, once a player has adjusted to the different appearance it's just that much easier to see precisely where the hedgehog is in relation to where he needs to be going.
Is It Really a Different Sonic?
As with Mario games, Sonic tends to get a little dry over time. However, while Sonic Generations doesn't make an entirely new mold, it does follow the equations that have led to solid Sonic games in the past. So whether a gamer really enjoys the Sonic franchise, or they just really want to play a solid platform game that comes from a long line of platform games, Sonic Generations is a solid video game investment.
The Amazing Spider-Man breathed big screen life back into everyone's favorite wall-crawler as a reboot that was less gritty than it was creative and clever. Going back before Mary Jane, it was only a matter of time until the film launched a new series of video game titles. With The Amazing Spider-Man on the Nintendo 3DS, players can get back to web slinging and crime fighting with a new, rejuvenated hero, world and even mechanical gameplay package.
What Makes the 3DS Version Different?
If there was ever a hero made for a 3D game mechanic, it's Spider-Man. Taking its cue from previous games featuring the wall crawler, the game allows players to traverse vast environments through web-slinging. Using the most acrobatic moves a handheld game system could support, The Amazing Spider-Man gains depth and perspective from the 3D in ways that many other games that have been featured on the 3DS simply don't. However, with that said, there still aren't many differences between this version of the game and others that have been put onto handheld platforms.
A Rich, Comic Book World
For fans of both the movie and the comics, The Amazing Spider-Man picks up right where the credits left off. Peter Parker has grown into his role as the costumed crime fighter, and his rogues gallery is only getting bigger. What started with the Lizard only grows, featuring such classic villains as The Rhino and The Scorpion, all of whom are out for Spider-Man's blood. Players have to use all of the spider powers, as well as wall-crawling, web-slinging and unique combo moves to bring down the bigger, stronger enemies that are going to come their way. Of course it's all in a days work for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Adjusting to Handheld
While The Amazing Spider-Man was originally put out for full sized console gaming, the Nintendo 3DS version hasn't lost much in the way of gameplay. It does take a little bit of adjustment in controls and settings, but players that use the Nintendo 3DS are used to that by this point in the game (so to speak). Once players adjust to seeing Spidey in 3D, and they re-master all of the slick moves that The Amazing Spider-Man offers, it's just a matter of combinations and timing to get through some of the meanest, toughest streets in a New York positively infested with meta humans.
Worth the Cost of 3DS?
On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with the versions of The Amazing Spider-Man that don't have the 3DS technology. Those games are still fun and functional, and players can have a very good time with them. On the other hand, there's nothing quite like playing The Amazing Spider-Man in 3D. Even with the comic book plots, the epic fight scenes and the great plot, the game is at least partially about spectacle. Because of that, it just isn't the same to soar, dive, punch, kick and super hero your way across New York in 2D.
As portable game systems like the 3DS become more and more powerful, and developers want to keep game creation costs at an absolute minimum, porting home console games to handheld game systems will become more and more common, and while it can be fun to play the exact same game on the road that you play all the time at home, more often than not there can be some serious problems involved as well.
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed for the 3DS certainly falls into the "problems" category of these home console ports. What was a fantastic kart racing game on consoles has been ported to handhelds with very little modification whatsoever. When I first picked this game up, I was excited to play through all the tracks again and unlock all the characters... but then I had a run-in with the game's performance. To be blunt, the game's framerate is horrific and its graphics are terrifying. The game was clearly not scaled down enough to work properly on the 3DS, and it shows. You can squeeze a bit more performance out of it if you turn 3D down or even completely off, but if you're going to pick this up for 3DS, be prepared for an excruciatingly low framerate and extremely low quality graphics.
So how is the game itself? Still absolutely fantastic. Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed uses the entire SEGA back catalog (Even more obscure titles like Billy Hatcher) to create a wide variety of tracks and racers that are not only visually distinctive, but immediately recognizable as long as you are familiar with their source material, most of which is obvious.
Mechanically, the game is a kart racer through and through. There are items that hurt people both ahead of and behind you, there are boost pads, and perhaps most importantly, an absurd amount of drifting around corners.
The game's main addition to the existing formula of the previous Sonic game is its transformation mechanic. At specific points along the track, players pass through a ring that turns them into a more appropriate vehicle for the upcoming terrain. The three transformations (kart, boat, plane), all control more or less in the same way, with minor differences in how things like drifting handle.
This leads us to perhaps the biggest problem with the gameplay. Every kart feels more or less the same. While I applaud SEGA's efforts to try and allow players to play the character they like the most, every character can be turned into any other kart stats-wise thanks to the modifier system, making the unlocking of new characters ultimately meaningless.
As much as I love the core gameplay of All-Stars Racing Transformed, I cannot in good conscience recommend the 3DS version of the game. It's graphics are sub par compared to other 3DS games, and the framerate is just absolutely inexcusable. If SEGA only intended to make a half-hearted port of a console game, they should have at least made it playable.