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To start off, let me specify my personal computer specs: Pentium 3.0 GHz processor, 2GB RAM and an ATI Raedeon X 850 with 256MB RAM. You might be wondering why; but this is very crucial to the observations below.
Flight Simulator X comes in 2 DVDs and is huge in terms of system requirements! It takes a solid 30 minutes to install it and once finished, there’s a few minutes of waiting before the menu finally show on screen. Apparently, Microsoft has programmed a code to optimize the Flight Simulator X’s settings in your computer. And after the screen has appeared there is a menu that looks like Flight Simulator 9, along with a sweeping music score straight from an Indiana Jones movie.
The Deluxe Edition includes 24 planes you can choose from. When you have chosen and your selection has loaded, you then see a cockpit. The game default places you in a virtual cockpit; however, you may still choose the 2D instrument view. The controls are rather simple, save for the frame rate. At this point, you may set your settings at medium-low. There is a chase plane view by pressing the S key – this view allows you to see outside the plane and the surroundings.
Next, you get a clearance from the Air Traffic Control to taxi into an active runway. The frame rate at this stage still isn’t good. I discovered that minimizing the graphic settings can improve this issue a little, but it’s still worse compared to FS9. And on this note, let me emphasize that FS9 runs on the highest settings in the PC I just described earlier, with no problem whatsoever when it comes to frame rates. This is why I still have my FS9 multiple third party add-on packs installed, to enhance several features such as weather, the cockpit, and other AI planes.
Much to my disappointment – and most likely yours, too when you get your hands on it – the so-called “new” graphics is not at all new but just the same as in FS9. There was nothing substantial that added or improved on the planes. Some changes are mostly on the effects, such as the cloud features and the water effects.
It occurred to me, though that this is probably because I have the settings in minimum; but that’s the only viable option. I have noted that if I set it at Ultra-high, the game turns into a slide show presentation. The minimum setting is the only way I can play the game on the PC that I have.
But I decided not to give up on FS X – yet; and still give it a chance. I went off to try missions. There are more than 50 missions in the game which includes rescue missions and cargo runs. Twenty of the 50 are beginner missions, 14 intermediate, 10 advanced and 7 for experts. The missions sound fun. And there are unique challenges that make the most seasoned pilot sweat. I have to warn you, when doing the missions, the frame rate still interferes.
So here’s the verdict for FS X. If you have a PC that is only at par with what I have described earlier, this is not a recommended game for you. The frame rate is going to be a real problem; and expect the graphics to be dull. I would recommend that you try FS 9: A Century of Flight, instead. For those who have high end PCs, however, install the game and play to your hearts’ content. The game’s strength lies on its mission and on the graphics when in ultra high settings.
If you have been ignoring the SOCOM series for years, then you might get pulled to the game this time, with the newest franchise, SOCOM: US NAVY SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3. Developed by Slant Six Games and Published by Sony Computer Entertainment, this first-person shooter game is definitely something to look out for in the PSP handheld.
Your character in this game is Wraith, a SEAL squad leader who recently put together a squad made of four men under an ultra hush-hush mission. The story seems to involve a U.S. operative behind Soviet lines and everyone that the government is sending to check on in with the mole never comes back and report. So, the SEALs are moving on their own to get to the bottom of the mystery that has been happening. Fireteam Bravo 3 puts the focus on action with the responsibility resting on your shoulders, which you probably hardly noticed in past SOCOM games.
The guys involved are on Black Ops mission so there is no HQ present, whispering instructions to their ear; no fancy intelligence using 3D; and no rescue boat around the corner. Before embarking on a mission, Wraith and company dwell upon an old map and some black and white photos, discussing their plan of attack. As things go wrong in the inside – a squad mate being held-hostage, for instance – the SEALs then react of their own volition and and move to attack almost impulsively. Another important factor that’s really quite challenging is you can choose how you and your squad may solve each situation.
Indeed, SOCOM absolutely excels in putting you (the player) in Wraith’s shoes. You can give orders to your squad, like tell them to hold their position and then run ahead to kill the patrolling guards stealthily; or you can also send your squad ahead of you and order them to fire at will to clear the path. You can also order them to kick open doors; to contact or toss flash bangs and kill just about everyone that get in your way. With this, you get the feeling that you really have your own team backing you up, as well as counting on you to lead. You get that amazing feeling of being looked up to with the guys taking orders from you and the fabulous sense of satisfaction of knowing that you are able to make your squad function like a very well-oiled machine, when you finally shut the system down.
Overall, the presentation of the game is superbly done. Every mission is presented with the right level of action and the game is also filled with exquisite cutscenes. The graphics also are very good in the sense that the environments and all the action really look good and realistic throughout the game, though one could do with more details on the in-game SEALs. The audio of the game is also nicely done with the great voiceovers and music. However, there are portions where sound drops out in some scenes, especially at the beginning. The gameplay unquestionably earns a thumbs-up; though you might wish that it was a bit harder, and the rocket/helicopter scene could have been totally dumped. You totally feel like a true SEAL when you play this game.
With all its fantastic features, this one is absolutely dream game to play.
Peace Walker is definitely one good game to play, especially if you’re the type to dig more action. This game surely has the right stuff that keeps you playing on and on for quite a while.
Red Dead Redemption is an impressive videogame that will take you to the Wild West. Developed by Rockstar, the name behind one of the most popular videogames GTA, Red Dead Redemption offers a quality that has been associated to the trademark of this game developer. From dialogue to presentation, the game approaches every gamer with enthusiasm and excitement.
The storyline of Red Dead Redemption puts you in the character of John Marston, a former outlaw who has travelled to a bizarre location to hunt down a man. The game begins with a train journey which provides a little introduction to the game, but once John Marston gets off the train, you’ll look forward to the adventure that awaits you in the vast Wild West. You’ll journey through broad cactus-filled plains and mountains of countryside that spans through the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Along your journey, you will get to meet a wonderful supporting cast. The characters present first-rate dialogue which makes you feel as if you’re part of the game. Other characters appear throughout the scene which offers a variety of storyline missions and events. Red Dead Redemption's environment of animals and plants is also one of the highlights in the game as it brings the whole setting into life.
The main story of the game is not that long, but because of dozens of missions, activities and events in the game, there is so much to do and you could spend hours in just doing one thing. These procedural events are the unsystematic events that happen in the game. You will have the chance to have duels, play poker, hunt down outlaws that terrorize towns, herding cattle, sharpshooting challenges and much more. These events allow you to have a lively feeling towards the game world. It keeps the flow of the game diverse and makes the game interesting. If you want a game that will serve as pastime for months, this is the game for you.
Red Dead Redemption gives you the freedom to stroll into the wilds and explore. This is where the game stands out. It offers an enhanced balance to the game in terms of main and secondary missions. It also offers an enjoyable understanding in developing your character. Though there is a legal system in Red Dead Redemption that will restrain the most ill-famed actions in check, you still have the choice whether you do moral or immoral things during any situation. A morality meter, together with a separate fame bar marks your actions and the citizens you meet in the game will begin to respond to your reputation.
Red Dead Redemption is a striking game with its fantastic concentration to detail. Its attention to color is also excellent. The geology of the land is one of the most impressive, making the hills and highlands come to life. The area you can travel around is very vast, dotted with ruins and towns. The game also features outstanding soundtrack that brings you more into the game.
For the multiplayer, the modes of the game are soundly crafted and more amusing especially when playing with your buddies. The multiplayer offers a wide array of missions for players to take on. The mode can reach up to 8 players, but 16 players can fill a lobby at once.
Red Dead Redemption is one of the most enjoyable and most dazzling games ever. There are occasional bugs but these are not enough to stop you from having fun. Red Dead Redemption’s single player and multiplayer modes are superb. There’s no doubt it will entertain you.
Nintendo has been very busy with their gaming. On November 25, 2008 they released Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force for Nintendo DS console. Elite Penguin Force or more commonly known in the game for its shortcut EPF is a cool spy agency that aims to keep Club Penguin safe; the very same Club Penguin of Walt Disney you’ve been playing online.
Club Penguin is an adventure where a single player plays as a covert member of one of the penguins in the Elite Penguin Force. Here, the gamer travels around an island and is supposed to assist other penguins; and needs to sometimes crack mysteries along the process. There are also confidential missions that the player has to finish. These missions are exclusive for Nintendo DS consoles.
Being a game that is more geared into the adventurous side, it heavily relies on the plot; and luckily, Club Penguin has an excellent one. Children would really love the game for all its humor and action packed adventures.
Club penguin offers mini games that include fishing, dancing, snowboarding and other touchscreen games that can be played over and over at any given time in any place during the game. This is a way to earn coins which are important for getting costumes and other add-ons.
Earning coins is vital in the game; and Club Penguin, being inspired from an online Disney game, has the ability to transfer earned coins from the Nintendo DS version to the online game through wireless connections as long as they are using the same account. How cool is that! Moreover, players can simultaneously play on the online community and get those special features the game has to offer, through the Nintendo DS. Awesome! You can also make your own three-dimensional avatars, build your own profile, talk with friends and enjoy sharing Club Penguin accessories. Using the same wireless connection also allows you to get newer missions and achieve in-game honors. This game just reeks of absolutely fantastic!
Well, okay, so not absolutely; the features have its slight drawbacks, too. They are made for the younger generation; which means the interface design is leaning on a much simpler side where children can easily move along in the game. Its simplicity can be a bit boring for some adults who are much more used to high-tech graphics; but they work wonders for the little gamers. The game also has its ambiguities that can be confusing to players, making it tougher to deal with the game at times. Getting stuck can be an agonizing ordeal. The game also entails lots of reading; lots and lots of them. The saving factor is they’re easy to read.
All in all this is a fabulous game; not only for little kids but for teens, too. They are simple but adventurous enough for kids to enjoy. The ability to use wireless connections to relate your Nintendo account to the original online game is a huge plus; and you can just constantly play without having to put your PC to tremendous wear and tear every time you play. Given that there are still very limited adventurous games on DS at the moment, this charming game can serve as a gateway for more challenging games of this genre in the DS console format.
With the success of the well-received and widely popular Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, it was just too good an opportunity to pass and not make a sequel; so after two years, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games was finally released. It still offers the players the same 27 events based on the core disciplines of the Olympic Games which features both classic and dream events. The once popular sprints and pole vaults however, are now replaced with snowboarding, hockey, skiing, skating, curling, and many more. What’s great in this new version is that you can choose which sport to play from the very start.
The game’s dream events filled with beautiful settings like rolling hills, gleaming snow, and clear blue skies makes this game interesting. The only downside to this is that each dream event mode requires unlocking done by single-player mode or multiplayer mode. What’s more annoying is that most of the events in the game are not worth the time it takes to unlock the different dream events. But what did you really expect? It would be such a bore if everything was simply handed down, right?
The one event in this game which really rocks is curling. Not many people know what this sport is but I guess once they get to know what it is they’ll get hooked. Curling is a mix of bocce ball, shuffleboard, and horseshoes. Simply put, the player who throws rocks closest to the target wins. It might seem ordinary but what makes this game fun is that the developers incorporate the actual game into how you control each throw. Speed, strength, and different ways of countering each throw can be controlled giving you full power of how it turns out. Say goodbye to blaming it all on the computer for your failure.
Working your way through the game can be such a bust when it becomes repetitive. Each event can be replayed until you reach the necessary skill level you wish to have. The tracks and courses are predetermined so once you have already played it; it won’t excite you as much as it did the first time around. The controls were also made to be user-friendly making it somewhat easy even for casual players. But hey, not everyone gets good at it that fast.
Besides the different events, Mario & Sonic also offer players a chance to some party games namely balloon popping and wheel spinning. These are strategically placed randomly before the start of each Olympic event.
This game might get you hooked right away but it will also bore you as fast as it enticed you. The whole package could have been put together better if it had been more exciting games and if the controls were as engaging as it hoped to be. It fails in comparison to the previous Olympic game in terms of graphics but it makes up for it in terms of being imaginative. Overall, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a disappointment. But if you are that type of person who enjoys unlocking levels and stages then this game is just enough to keep you distracted or busy for the moment since the events are really not that mind-blowing. Still, it will not stop anyone, both kids and those kids at heart, from enjoying it especially during gatherings.
Nintendo has again outdone itself by inventing a sequel to their 2007 Phantom Hourglass. The same hero, Link, now faces new challenges in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. The plot has its time set a century after the Phantom Hourglass; where Link is a train engineer who goes to Hyrule Castle for the royal blessing he needs to become a truly qualified engineer. Well, the plot thickens, of course and everything goes wrong; but unlike its predecessors, the princess isn’t kidnapped or locked away, instead she gives him a note informing him that the spirit tracks which run around Hyrule Castle is slowly disappearing. Throughout the game, Link and Princess Zelda travel around places to restore power to the Tracks and recover Zelda’s body from the Demon’s tower.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has retained most of its features but there are some new additions. You can still see Beedle marketing his merchandise; and you still encounter boulders and enemies to break and annihilate. But the game has now become more intense and exciting because of added features or characters like the hidden rabbits that you should find and capture, for instance. You can also bring items for trading and let commuters ride between stops; where the challenge is to follow the signs and stop accurately at platforms.
Another great new feature is Princess Zelda’s ability to alter her skill sets depending on what Phantom she possesses when inside the Tower of Spirits. Together, Link and Zelda become an awesome duo that can solve puzzles and destroy enemies. Having full control of the Phantom both manually or automatically likewise takes the game to a whole new level. There is minor setback when it comes to the automation of the Phantom, though. Their Path-finding isn’t that smart, so do expect small bloopers like falling into quicksand once in a while when there’s a completely good bridge; walking straight into walls and some other blunders. Using manual control to take charge may become a hindrance when you’re in a tight situation and you need a quick back-up. The ability to play different characters like Link and the Phantom is a great opportunity to cover each character’s weaknesses; thus, making the game more enjoyable and entertaining.
These new additions, however, does not avert the fact that there are also some glitches to this installment. First, it is undeniably longer than its predecessor, the Phantom Hourglass, with all its options for extensions. Second, there is a mix of confusing controls purportedly designed to make everything smoother; but when you get to a tight spot they can interfere with your strategy rather than help.
But these are just small drawbacks to this new Nintendo DS game. Link’s adventures in the new Legend of Zelda: Spirit tracks will definitely satisfy your craving for more of the sliding blocks and puzzles you love. They won’t have big surprises but you can definitely get new tricks from enhanced old stuff. It’s totally a blast for all Link and Zelda fans out there.
Assassins Creed 2 is a sequel that’s a lot better than its predecessor in many ways. Put about 2 years of intensive development and you get a game that is this good. It is most likely one of the best follow-ups to date. What’s good about this game is that they tried to tweak almost all the flaws of the previous one; and surprisingly, they succeeded.
You could control the main character from the moment he was born. You can track how his character builds up making you understand the character better. The creative team should be given special credit for this. You don’t get to use weapons for about a couple of minutes or so but that isn’t a total bust. The story is so good that you don’t even notice you haven’t even battled yet.
As the story builds up, so does your skill and the number of weapons you can use. There are similar games out there that have the same flow but what sets this game apart from the rest is that each one is carefully crafted and nothing feels rushed.
Ezio, the main character, and all the things you can make him do, are the portions where the game truly shines. In addition, he can now do more things both in the offense and defense. Obviously, it takes some practice but once you get the hang of things, it takes you to a whole new level. You pick up a close encounter of how it is to be an assassin. From the preparation and strategy to the actual assassination itself, everything is placed in your hands. When you’ve fully discovered what Ezio can do, won’t be much of a problem to you.
The game is well known for its killing theme and this sequel has accomplished that, so you definitely won’t get disappointed. It offers players a wide variety of ways to kill an enemy. Whether you want it at close range, from a distance, or a good hand to hand combat; everything’s possible in this game. Some attacks are so gory; the game shouldn’t be played by young kids. It’s not just your usual sword fights and throwing of grenade sort of fights. You can stick a spear onto your opponent and drag him around; eventually killing him. This is just an example but things become quite brutal in most cases. Then again, you are playing as an assassin so that is what you should expect.
The graphics however isn’t quite at par with most of its competitors. The quality of the visuals is good but could have been better and adjustments could have been done with a thing or two. But what they lack in graphics, they try to compensate in sound quality. The soundtrack gives you a fairly good feel of the setting. The rustling of the leaves, the sound of hitting swords, or the sound of a knife getting buried in the opponent’s body; all vividly captured and delivered brilliantly, making it sound so real.
Sequels are a disappointment most of the time and often just ruin the whole franchise. Luckily, Assassins Creed 2 didn’t fall under that category and took a better route instead. If you didn’t like the first one maybe this would turn things around and make you fall in love with the game.
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is the new Wii edition of the Rayman series. A few years back, Rayman was a hit. The limbless body jumping from side to side was cool, but as time went on, the character became dull and boring. However, the new evil Rabbids are its saving grace. They are worthy to be added to the Rayman series. They are well designed and are suitable for the comedic part of the game. The game developers had incorporated a fresh gameplay and tons of new mini games which are crazy, to say the least and at the maximum – really, really crazy. Total fun insured. The game uses the Wii Balance Board for a different result.
There is no escaping the fact that the novelty of each mini game wears thin and TV Party is expected to eventually have the same fate; but somehow it has managed to safe that at the moment. The sequel strictly embraces the proven formula of the past; yet TV Party is still a cut above, when compared to other games on Wii that are swarmed with mini games. The humor in the game is unique, and this time the emphasis is placed on the multiplayer mode. There are mini games that are compatible with four player-split screen contests - really fabulous fun games, don’t you think? And what’s more, it features an eight-player turn-based option.
The plot of the game goes something like this: Rayman is trapped and is coerced to watch a critter television. The shows here are actually the 50 mini games that make up the jokes and spoofs. The creators of the game have also chosen to present most of the cinematics in 2D style. Although the skits and the cinematics were fun, it leaves a feeling of something missing and would have been a lot better if it were shown in a different way. The gameplay is on 3D and it does not fit well with the cinematics on 2D. There was a noticeable amount of load screens between menus and mini-games with the occasional frame rate problems in the game.
But if you are looking for plain fun and a good deal of laughs, the game certainly has the capacity to give that to you. As you progress to the programs on TV, you encounter new challenges as you find yourself playing in skits and spoofs of movies and TV programs. The programs include reality shows and more.
I still feel that TV Party is better than Rabbids 2 in terms of mini-games; to be fair. The controls on Wii work well in games such as the spoof where a rabbid rides a bull down the mountain; or in another, where you play Godzilla. The Balance Board is basically used and although it’s debatable if it’s really engrossing enough, it sure is a novelty. In addition, this game extensively makes use of the Wii remote in nunchuk in. Fortunately, TV Party is back on track with spoofs rather than just shooting as many rabbids as possible. There heaps of more of fun in these games rather than just plain old shooting.
To sum it all up, Rabbids TV Party does not revolutionize the mini-game genre on Wii. It only adds a more fun situation in the game. And generally, the feel is just the same as the prequel. And just to reiterate, the issues on the 2D cinematics and the too many load screens are a definite nuisance. However, if you get past these issues, the game is undoubtedly fun. Thus if you liked the earlier Rabbids in the past, you’re going to love them this time.
In the video gaming world, it seems that LEGO games have been coming out endlessly, quipped with the fact that after a really good half-dozen major console releases and a variety of portable variants, the formula still stays the same. The latest release which is LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues has been available to major consoles but the PSP and Nintendo DS versions of the game are a bit different and offer an unfortunately worse and disappointing experience than on other platforms.
The general formula of the game is not new to us. You start a chapter of the story, then you break everything around you into pieces, then you answer some simple puzzles that oftentimes include moving objects around, then you collect a lot of LEGO pieces and go out to gather and buy new characters, cheats, and all the interesting stuff that are really cool. True to the game’s roots, the central gameplay of running around and breaking everything on the way makes you still entertained to a certain degree, but you might say to yourself that all these are not new to you.
What makes the portable version of LEGO Indy 2 different from its major console counterparts is that the story mainly revolves around the fourth film, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There are also flashbacks to the first three movies; though these parts are divided to one-off challenges, which constitute four from each four films that remind you of the classic scenes. They are not direct tributes, though. You may be on a scene where you collect rocks on a rocking boat, which is supposed to be a reversal to the opening of the movie, The Last Crusade per se. Rewards like golden hats are awarded to in these challenges, which is the game’s version of the usual golden treasure chests that are vital in unlocking more content.
The disappointing thing with LEGO Indy 2 on PSP and DS is simply the fact that it is boring and the controls seem to be very lopsided. The level design seems to be incredibly boxy, which makes milieu unexciting to travel through. Most of the areas are small, which means that there is only very few exploring to do. Though there are certain scenes where you may want to go back to and try again when you get specific characters that have certain functions, such as digging, climbing or cutting ropes, for example; it seems too much of a linear experience and you get the feeling that the everything is inching for you to even go to the next level.
The controls prove to be worse. The jumping isn’t that responsive as it should be and there seems to be a slight pause from when you press the button to the actual jump that the character does. This means that some platform sections are quite annoying. Another example is when you grab a rope and you use it to swing yourself. The action requires you to be really spot-on. All these really contribute to uneven controls of the game.
LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is equipped with interesting and fun factors but none of the entire experience is really that exciting. The main story is really rather boring and the controls are also very sloppy. It may be good to try this game but there are other far more interesting and exciting games on PSP and DS handheld consoles.
As the title says, this game is all about hunting monsters; there’s not much of a storyline, so don't expect one. Seriously, the storyline is non existent, but don't get me wrong the game is epic. You also get to play cooperative games. You will be experiencing quests, rewards, weapons, and crafts. You may get to think that this is an all adventure game but it has added extras like farming and animal culture. In other words, the game is somehow confusingly fun.
The farming part is very good, it gives you a lot of work to do which will keep you busy and prevent you from getting bored. You can also be playing cooperative with friends which is very enjoyable to do. But when you get to the part where you need to hunt down the monsters, this is where the action is. You will be doing fighting, combats and battles. But before you get in the hunting part, training will first be conducted. The things that you will be doing in the training are exactly what you will do in hunting part. So there really is sense of putting in the training part. Maybe this is just a way to lengthen the game. You will be going through quest and win over challenges like in every game. There are three quests that you need to get over; gathering, hunting and slaying. For the gathering quest, you will be getting herbs, mushrooms, or hides that can be collected from the flora and fauna of a given environment. In the hunting quest, you will be after a beast. And in the slaying quest, you will be killing several enemies. These will all have different challenges that you need to win over.
The graphics of the game is good. The audio and voice acting are also good. The presentation and plot are somehow misleading as you might get lost in the game if you really do not follow from scene to scene. The game play is a bit different but the difficulty and challenges are common. However, the farming and cooperative scenes are good and impressive.
All in all, Monster Hunter Freedom is fun and at the same time confusing, you really cannot identify the connection from hunting down to farming. But still, this is a good game to play especially with friends. The cooperative play is the best part of the game. If you love farming, you can just stay in the part where you will be dealing with the farm. It is still unique and gives us a fresher way to play games on your PSP. I have to repeat that you really NEED to play it with friends though; it is really at its best when enjoyed with your mates!
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