Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
Difficulty/Learning Curve: Medium/30mins
Multiplayer Support: Internet and LAN
Estimated Gameplay Time: 8hrs (+)
Sound Providers Supported: EAX HD
Recommended Controller: Keyb/Mouse
System Requirements: Intel / AMD 1ghz, 128mb RAM, DX8 compliant
videocard GF3 Ti and above (except GF4 MX and Go cards), 2.5gb HD space
Gameplay: 9 -Excellent
-Cool new moves, traps
Sound: 8 -Well
Coding: 10 Cons:
Animation: 9 -Somewhat
Overall: 9.2 -So-so Storyline
|Fisher definitely has the moves!
Splinter Cell is yet another one of those action based stealth games
that has come to the PC. Pretty much like Hitman, Splinter Cell's gameplay core is focused more on hiding and peeking behind
walls rather than the usual run and waste ur clip on everything that is breathing besides urself (w/c most PC gamers love)
type of game. The sequel somewhat feels more like an expansion pack than a full game IMO but it deserves a lot of credit for
adding new things to an already excellent game.
This new version features a couple of new moves, weapon attachments
and booby traps w/c basically makes the new version worthy (at least for Ubi) to be called a sequel. The missions isn't as
stealth strict as it used to be on the first version, there are more number of mission here where u will be able to engage
ur enemies with deadly force. The story that backs the missions up is slightly better than the original, but still not 'that'
interesting nor original. U will still be involved on missions to operate, trace, track, hack computers/phones etc (sounds
familiar?). On the good side this version contains more FMV's in between mission than before w/c contains news clip and/or
story related vids.
The game's engine is one of the best I've seen yet in any action
game in terms of optimization and graphics quality. The graphics of this game is nothing short of amazing. The textures, lighting
effects, grass/leaves swaying/bending, etc all looks spectacular and doesn't put a huge toll on ur systems resources as much
as other games I've played before. But if I were to pick a negative point on the graphics, it's probably the brightness of
the game. It's so dark on most maps that u'll hardly have enough time to admire its graphics quality b'coz most of the time
u'll be playing the game in black and white mode (night-vision enabled). However the game focuses on realism and stealth,
so this kind of problem (if we can call it that) can be immediately understood.
Sound quality on the other hand is not as spectacular as the game's
graphics. Sure the music picks up automatically when u get detected or in a gun fight but ... I dunno ... there's nothing
in it that seemed to have improved from the past version. The game still have excellent sound positioning though, thanks to
its EAX HD support.
There are still a couple of problems that were used to be on the
first version that seemed to have carried on this one. Trying to shoot a light source for ex. is sometimes pretty tricky
and could waste a round of ur clip if u don't hit it at the right spot. The enemy AI still most of the time looks like they're
trying to avoid seeing even though there's a glowing neon green light on ur head and on ur back. The new move (forgot what
it's called) that makes u switch from wall to wall when there's a door (or opening) in between it also introduced another
AI weakness, the AI is not goin to spot u even though u moved between the gaps and the AI is looking straight on the gap.
All in all this game is still an excellent stealth based shooter,
excellent looking graphics, optimized game engine, improved storyline, cool new additions and features that is slightly pulled
down by quirky AI and so-so sound quality.
Call of Duty
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Infinity Ward
Difficulty/Learning Curve: Medium/30mins
Multiplayer Support: Internet and LAN
Estimated Gameplay Time: 8hrs (+/-)
Sound Providers Supported: Miles Fast 2D, EAX, EAX 2, EAX HD
Recommended Controller: Keyb/Mouse
Stability: Excellent (with a non-overclocked videocard)
System Requirements: PIII 600mhz (Win98/ME) / 700mhz (Win2000/XP) or
equivalent, 128mb RAM, 32mb DX9b compatible and T&L capable videocard, 1.4gb HD space
-Excellent Gameplay and Sound
-Well optimized graphics engine
Coding: 9 Cons:
Animation: 9 -Short
Overall: 8.6 -Weak Storyline
|there are lots of heavily defended artillerys in the game
The PC gaming arena is in no doubt in any shortage of World War
themed first-person shooters. However, there are only a couple of few games that have suceeded in trying to replicate the
World War feel, namely BF 1942 and MoHAA. Call of Duty is yet another entry to this already crowded WW themed genre.
Gameplay is this game's biggest asset. You start off on a training
camp wherein you will be taught the basic moves/actions needed to survive when you're already out on the field. After that,
the game basically opens up like many other fps games does, you will be given different orders/missions like disabling tanks,
bombing artillery's, sniping officers etc. Comparison to MoHAA is no doubt inevitable, but most of MoHAA's weaknesses where
fixed and/or enhanced by this game. You will have a better sense of being in a war than MoHAA. One of the best addition that
they probably added to this game to give you a better sense of being in an actual war is your squad mates (or whatever they
call it) who rarely dissappears on your side unless killed in action. That, with the addition of varying gameplay experience
and more realistic firefights makes this game a huge leap over MoHAA. Trying to wipe out a garrisoned building, driving a
tank, flanking an enemy bunker etc will all keep your adrenalin pumping due to smarter (but in no way perfect) enemy AI. The
enemy will force you to hide behind a wall to protect yourself unlike in other games wherein gun-ho tactics is the best approach.
The enemy will hide, crouch, throw grenades back at you etc which makes firefights more intense and realistic. Firefights
with multiple enemies that ends up in a couple of seconds after contact rarely happens on Call of Duty, you will be forced
to come up with different tactics depending on the given situation. This game probably has one of the best sniping accuracy
ever made on a PC game. Peeking on small wall holes works very well and I haven't seen any collision detection (between the bullet
and environment) problem unlike with other games I've played (ehem! MoHAA again?). It will also be very unlikely that
an enemy will survive a sniper rifle bullet which is pretty realistic addition IMO. The short in-game introductions of preparing
the troops to war in some missions are pretty fun to watch as well. Watching the faces of your scared troop-mates and
jumping off the boat you're in due to panic will either make you laugh or make you nervous on the battle ahead of you.
The game uses the tried and tested Q3 engine and pushed it
to the max to give us better looking graphics than most WW themed shooters out there currently in the market. The sound is
also excellent, the gunshots and 3d surround effects all add up to give you the feeling of being part of a war effort. All
of those sound and eye candy can be run smoothly on a system that has mid-end parts. The only gripe I have found with this
game is that the only way to set the textures on "extra" with acceptable frame rate is when you have a 256mb videocard, which
IMO is waay too demanding for the small graphical enhancement it provides. Other than that, the game will run well even on
high-res on a non-high end system.
The game will probably last for around 8hrs on higher difficulty
settings. All those 8hrs will be worth every minute though. The storyline is pretty weak and thin, you will only find yourself
reading diaries/notes from your current soldier (w/cever side your on).
Despite the short lifespan and high videocard requirement for max
texture details, this game is still IMO currently the best FPS out there in the market. You will find yourself continously
playing this one once you started playing it, and will surely ask for more and maybe even wish for an expansion when you're
done with it.
Need for Speed Underground
Publisher and Developer: EA
Difficulty/Learning Curve: Medium/30mins
Multiplayer Support: Internet (LAN via a downloadable unsupported 3rd party hack)
Estimated Gameplay Time: n/a
Sound Providers Supported: DirectSound
Recommended Controller: Wheel/Pedals, Stick
System Requirements: PIII 700mhz (or equivalent), 128mb RAM (256mb
for Win2000/XP; Multiplayer), DX9 compatible videocard (GF2 or higher), 2gb HD space
-Good looking graphics
Coding: 8 Cons:
-Unrealistic car physics / no damage effects / no replay
Overall: 7.8 -Catch up logic cannot be disabled in Underground Mode
|this game is all about "looking good"
EA has pretty much dominated the PC Sports gaming arena, the same
thing can also be said on the racing genre if not for the presense of a few worthy contenders like Nascar Racing, Colin McRae,
Midnight Club etc. Although the said racing games are probably focusing on a different racing crowd, it still helps to keep
the dominance crown out of EA's reach. Which I consider a good thing, why? Read on ...
I have been a huge fan of the NFS series since NFS 2. I have bought
every single sequel that was released after the previous. Every single sequel was an improvement to the last w/c IMO ended
when they released NFS Hot Pursuit 2. HP2 proved that EA's NFS franchise will still sell simply with b'coz of its "title"
alone. HP2 featured good looking graphics and less gameplay features w/c carried on to this latest installation to the series
NFS Underground. To be fair, NFSU is a fun game as long as you don't expect too much out of its so called "new features".
The game features different modes like circuit, knockout, drift, drag and the career mode called the Underground mode. Some
of the modes will be familiar to those who have already played the previous NFS title with the exclusion of drift, drag, and
underground mode. Drift mode doesn't have anything to do with reaching the finish line first. Your goal here is to powerslide
your car and earn yourself "style points" (ala kudos points of Proj. Gotham Racing). Hitting the wall however will make you
lose the style points that you are supposed to earn. Drag mode pertty much explains itself, you basically drive on a straight
line (or change line to avoid traffic/collisions) and time your gear changes to gain a speed boost. Perfect, Good, Short,
and Over Rev shifts are given depending on your timing, and the latter will give you the smallest or no speed gain/boost.
Underground mode is where you all those other modes are in, but
this is where most of you earnings and customizations to your favorite car will be made. It contains a total of 112 races composed
of drag, drift, knockout, sprint, and multiple challenge races. As good as it sounds, this is where most of the game
problems comes into view. Although the game enables you to earn cash, you only have the option to "trade-in" your car, and
not buy yourself another one w/c is probably ok since trading-in is pretty cheap and you can swap from different cars with
minimal money related problems. But swapping of cars for the reason of better handling, acceleration and top speed for you
to win isn't satisfactory (at best). Why? Because the game has enabled "catch-up" logic by default in Underground
mode, and there is no option to turn it off. I think EA's way of making their AI "look" smarter is by making them cheat
their way to victory. Although the effect is vice-versa, the advantage is often times on the AI's side. There is an option
to switch between 3 difficulty levels before starting any of the 111 races, why not disable it on the hardest difficulty?
EA is probably trying to come up with a way of keeping every single race a close call? W/c reminded me of their
sports games, and one of the reasons why I don't have that genre in this section. I don't think any of them is worth purchasing,
unless maybe Madden and Tiger Woods w/c I currently don't have.
You by now maybe wondering "why is this guy running
his mouth with tons of negative inputs but still recommended this game as his best played driving game?". That is
simply b'coz although there are tons of gameplay quirks and lack of features, the game is still fun to play. Playing against
with "dirty" computer controlled opponents will force you to play their kind of game and often times make a race satisfying
to win. The ability to customize your car from the body paint down to the color of the brake clippers will make folks like
me who can only own a cool car on a videogame drool (i really wish i have the money to mod my civic) and consume tons of their
time applying different types and levels of vinyl. Combine that with one of the best looking graphics I've seen on any racing
game and a soundtrack (composed of rock, techno, and rap) that will appeal to different types of folks pretty much makes
up for what the game lacks (realism, features, etc).
If only EA had paid more attention on realism, giving the car damage
effects, better car physics, and didn't remove their previous features like replay and cop pursuits. This game can easily
said to be the best driving game currently on the PC.
The Sims 2
Difficulty/Learning Curve: Easy/30mins
Multiplayer Support: n/a
Estimated Gameplay Time: n/a
Sound Providers Supported: (?)
Recommended Controller: Keyb/mouse
Stability: Very Good
System Requirements: 800mhz processor, 256mb RAM, 32mb T&L
capable videocard, 3.5gb HD space
Gameplay: 9 -Very
Graphics: 8 -Very good character builder
Sound: 9 -Long
Coding: 8 Cons:
Animation: 10 -Engine
performance could have been better
Overall: 8.9 -Minor probs on sim time
|Sofa's were not made for lounging purposes only!
The sequel to one of the most successful game ever released for the PC (and
console) has now finally arrived! A lot of people are wishing that this game will contain all of the features of the
previous version (with all of its expansion packs) and more! Well, some of u may be dissapointed b'coz sad to say ... it didn't
happen. But is it still any good? ...
Its tough to create a short review for a game like The Sims 2 simply b'coz there are just too
many things that u can do with this game, and if I'm going to mention them all ... I might end up creating a 5 page review
instead of a 5 paragraph like what I used to do. Basically, the game's core is the same with its predecessor. You create a
sim/s, place it on a pre-built or a house u built from scratch ... then take control of his/her life. You can do a lot of
things, from the basic eating, sleeping, taking a shower/piss, talking on the phone or with ur buddies (etc) ... to throwing
out a party, having a baby, going out of ur house, getting hired or kicked out from work etc etc! Those features from the
previous version and some from its expansion packs are all available, plus some few pretty cool new features!
Probably the first new feature u'r going to notice is the family or character builder. Here u
will be able to tweak a lot of things to make ur sim look as much as the person u want them to be. The in-game sim builder
works fine but I recommend using the Body Shop that can be acessed outside the game 'coz it contains a few additional face
building options that are not available on the in-game builder ... weirdly enough. You can also apply make up and change
ur characters clothes for diff occasions such as formal, undies, workout, etc. The only thing I found lacking is the inclusion
of accessories, body weight and height. In my opinion it is probably EA's way of leaving a door open for future expansion
packs. The last step on creating ur sim character contains yet another new feature ... the
sim's character "Aspiration". You can select from 5 different sim aspirations: fame, fortune, family, romance, and knowledge.
Selecting one of them will affect ur sims life since it will trigger different "wants" and "fears" while playing the game
(w/c I will discuss later).
Once ur done creating ur sim on the Body Shop, u can then choose among 3 already available neighborhoods
or if u want to start from scratch, u have the option to build one (if u created ur sim inside the game, u have already chosen
ur neighboorhood before hand). And juz like the previous release, u will have the option of buying an already
built house or start from scratch. Once the sim clock starts to run, u will slowly be presented with a host of new features
that this game has on offer. The most noticeable is the "wants" and "fears" list. It's basically a list of the things that
ur sim wants to achieve, and the things that ur sim hates the most. It ranges from the very simple "eat cereals" to the slightly
more difficult "get married" task. Both of them changes regularly, but the user has the option of locking on one of them to
prevent it from changing before u'r able to perform the task. Fulfilling the sim's "wants" will earn u a number of points
to buy urself "rewards" and boost his "Aspiration" meter w/c is yet another new feature of this game. Reward points will
enable u to buy different rewards like money bearing plants, thinking caps etc. All of w/c are very useful on helping ur sims
live a better life, though not all of them are applicable in every given situation. The aspiration meter on the other hand
have different ranges, negative and positive. All in turn has an effect on ur sim. Negative effect ranges from not having
any promotion from work, up to becoming a coo-coo. Positive on the other hand will enable u to use aspiration rewards, slow
down aging, getting promoted from work etc. This new features are great IMO since it gives the player more things to do while
playing the game. Hitting the fast fwd button trying to speed up time 'coz there's nothing left to do will be done on a minimum
on this new version.
Aging, as I mentioned earlier is another feature of this game. Living a better life slows it
down, while the other side of it speeds up aging. Old folks can no longer reproduce ... and speaking of reproduction, let
me tell u about Sim 2's "genetics" feature. This sequel will now make ur babies look a bit like their parents. The game basically
mixes the features of the parents to make ur baby look like ur own. Heck u can even have an alien kid in ur house if u pair
ur sim up with one lol! That is if picked the neighborhood with a crashed alien ship.
Going out and hanging on community spots juz like those featured on the first game's expansion
packs are also included on this game. U can ride a taxi and pick different spots: food, clothes, gaming, pool (etc) related
places are available, and u also have an option of bringing a friend with u on ur way there ... but I haven't seen an option
to give them a ride back to their own homes, u can leave them there though (how rude haha!).
The game is not going to graphically astound you, but the increase in details and smooth animation
is extremely noticeable. The sound, music, and voice acting (if we can call it that) are all good and matches the theme of
the game very well (the animation is on the cartoonish side though). Coding on the other hand could have been better, the
game runs smoothly on my system (AXP 2400+, 768mb RAM, GF4 Ti4200, SB Audigy) when I'm within the confines of my own sim home,
but if I take my sim on a community spot ... the decrease in performance is quite sickening.
Now for my gripes besides the Body Shop lacking some options. First is the problem with sim time
when u leave ur house. The game basically saves the current time in ur lot when u leave, so even if u left a community spot
late ... midnight for example, when u go back home ... the sun is still up (given of course that u left ur house when the
sun is still shining). The other sims besides the one ur controlling doesn't age, so in time ... u'll find ur sims looking
like a prune but all ur neighboors were as young as the first day u played the game. Another gripe that I found w/c is also
funny is seeing my sister (who left the house to go to work) on a community place chatting when she's supposed to be at work!
I dunno if that's part of the game's humour, but I doubt the possibility of that.
This game could have received a much higher score from me if it had a little bit more feature
and a better game engine. I still highly recommend this game to anyone simply b'coz there's just so many things u can do with
this one ... I haven't even mentioned half of them in this review. U can create ur own life story here, take pictures with
captions (called the family album) and even take videos! Combine all of those, then u will find urself playing this game for
Broken Sword: Sleeping Dragon
Publisher: Adventure Company
Developer: Revolution Software
Difficulty/Learning Curve: Easy to Medium/30mins
Multiplayer Support: n/a
Estimated Gameplay Time: 12hrs (+)
Sound Providers Supported: Unknown
Recommended Controller: Gamepad w/ analog stick
System Requirements: PIII 750mhz (or equivalent), 128mb RAM, DX8
compatible videocard, 2gb HD space
-Very good storyline
Coding: 6 Cons:
Animation: 9 -Minor
Overall: 8.5 -Sound related problems
|there are a few surprises on the late stages of the game
The adventure game genre is in a drought lately in the PC gaming
world. Adventure games is not PC's strong point since very few adventure games gets released, and fewer are worth playing.
Broken Sword - Sleeping Dragon is an adventure game that follows the old-school style of play and adding some gameplay elements
that fixes most other adventure games problem w/c makes this game a lot less frustrating.
Broken Sword SD is a game that follows the old-school style
of clue hunting/collecting and puzzle solving type adventure games. This however is not the usual point and click
and scratch every single pixel on the screen type of adventure game. Your character is controlled by movement buttons/stick,
and the clues are highlighted by a star. The combination of those two makes moving around the map searching for clues a lot
easier. You will no longer have to move your character and scratch every single pixel looking for clues, b'coz the game automatically
highlights objects that can be viewed, moved, picked, or searched for you. This may sound a bit too easy for a game that heavily
relies on clues to solve puzzles to progress, but it doesn't ruin its gameplay difficulty in any way. The only
gripe I have with its controls is that the character is too dependent on button executed moves, a button is needed to press
to climb a ladder? What is up with that?
The game has a very well balanced difficulty level that starts off
easy (maybe too easy for some) and gradually increasing the difficulty of the puzzles to solve as you progress thru the game.
The good thing is that most of the puzzles that you'll encounter makes sense and will sometimes surprise you how well thought
the puzzles were made. The story of the game is one of its strong points. The FMV's, cut-scenes, and in-game story all ties
up to the games plot. Half way thru the game you may find yourself saying "oh i see, so that's why....." b'coz the games story
had juz opened up a clue that answers the previously unsolved question and/or game mysteries. The story is pretty much like
a detective movie, it will keep you wondering who did this, what is that ... until the end of the film. There are two main
characters or shall we say detectives in this game, George and Nico. The player will have the chance of playing/controlling
both characters (but not a the same time), or one of the two characters alone. They will either help each other out or go
their separate ways in some situations, but often times trying to achieve the same goal.
The graphics quality of this game looks great, but there are times
where you will be presented by characters that doesn't look as good as George and Nico. The animation both the facial and
body are well done, Nico's front eherm! ... asset even moves when running. The sound quality is probably not as good as its
graphics but pretty respectable nonetheless. The music picks up when you come close to an enemy and gives off a magical/moody
tempo when you have discovered a clue of importance.
The game is plagued with both stability and sound related bugs though.
I am not able to run the game without crashing back to desktop when I set the resolution to 1024x768. And the background music
loops the first few seconds non-stop unless I decrease sound hardware acceleration down by 2 notches. They are aware of the
sound looping problem 'coz it is stated on the readme, but although the game has been out for a while, a patch is yet to be
This game will appeal greatly to old-school adventure lovers like
me, the combination of solid storyline, easy to navigate environments, and long lifespan makes this game a worthy purchase.
But although the game is really fun to play, I can't help but wonder why some game makers are too lazy to come up with a patch
even if they themselves admit that they released a game with a bug.
Other recommended games:
No One Lives Forever 2
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Max Payne 2
The Simpsons Hit and Run
Sims / Strategy:
Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4
Last Updated: 093004
Closed to Future Updates
***What do you
think about my Recommended Games section? Please sign my guestbook before leaving, it's the least you can do to thank me,
and the only way for me to know that someone did visit my site!
**The reviews posted here are all based on my opinions
and tested using my own system. The rating system follows my own formula: Gameplay (30%) deals
with the game's fun factor, playability, immersion, realism (if applicable), AI, and Originality; Graphics
(10%) deals with how good/bad the graphics look like (might it be technical or artistic) in comparison with its previous/older
version (if any) and to other game titles of approx the same release date; Sound (10%) deals with
the game sound/music quality, voice acting, immersion, and surround sound effectiveness (if applicable); Lifespan
(10%) deals with the game's length of gameplay and replay value; Storyline (15%) if applicable,
deals with the game's story, how interesting and original the story is, how good/bad it was executed and opened
up on the game; Coding (20%) how good/bad the game engine is, are the
system requirements too high for what it has to offer? is the game bug filled or bug free?; Animation
(5%) if applicable, how realistic and convincing the facial and body animations are.
*Email me if u have any other
comments, questions, and/or suggestions. Tnx!