8/31/2008

News : Grand Theft Auto IV PC version

There is one game in this world for which I am a complete sucker . It doesn't matter how many versions of it are released , I play them each time with utmost satisfaction . I present you Grand Theft Auto (GTA from now on) number 4 .

After a long wait , the boys from Rockstar finally announced when the PC version of this bestseller will be launched . Grand Theft Auto IV, it will be launched on PCon the date of November , 21 2008 .

Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games confirms. “We are very excited to be releasing the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV. The whole team is dedicated to bringing an amazing gaming experience to the PC. The game looks and plays beautifully on PC and we can’t wait for people to play it.”

As can you see on the official site , the game offers us : "a rich, immersive narrative experience; an original soundtrack highlighting the cultural eclecticism of Liberty City; and newly expanded multiplayer just for the PC." . Oh boy ! Many sleepless nights will soon follow ...

Launch date : 11/21/2008


News : Overlord II

The game is in full development at Triumph Studios and it will be launched in 2009 on PC, PS3 and Xbox360. At the same time 2 more expansions are on the way : Overlord: Dark Legend for Nintendo Wii and Overlord Minions for Nintendo DS.

Barry Jafrato, Senior Vice President of Brand,


Codemasters: "As a million-plus seller Overlord is now a significant brand in the ever-growing Codemasters portfolio. With specific titles published across major formats and download content available, Overlord has established a huge cult following and won widespread critical acclaim. We’re delighted to have the despot back for this three-game, five-format product line. With Triumph’s hugely impressive vision for Overlord II and bespoke titles for Wii and Nintendo DS, Overlord is set to dominate in 2009."

8/30/2008

Vision Over MMORPGs Part 2

Last week I begun a series of articles that are meant to analyze this new hype which are the massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG for short) .

In the first article of the series entitled Vision Over MMORPGs Part 1 we talked about how the genre begun and why it uses the RPG platform . This week is time too see what happens when you add tabletop games to the mix .


Tabletop Game

History lesson number 2:

The history of role-playing games begins with an earlier tradition of role-playing, which combined with the rulesets of fantasy wargames in the 1970s to give rise to the modern role-playing game. A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.

Role-playing games are substantially different from competitive games such as ball games and card games. This has led to confusion among some non-players about the nature of fantasy gaming. The game Dungeons & Dragons was a subject of controversy in the 1980s when well-publicized opponents claimed it caused negative spiritual and psychological effects. Academic research has discredited these claims.[1] Some educators support role-playing games as a healthy way to hone reading and arithmetic skills.[2] Though role-playing has been accepted by some,[3] a few religious conservatives continue to object.[4]

Media attention both increased sales and stigmatized certain games. In thirty years the genre has grown from a few hobbyists and boutique publishers to an economically significant part of the games industry, though grass-roots and small business involvement remains substantial. Games industry company Hasbro purchased fantasy game publisher Wizards of the Coast in 1998 for an estimated $325 million.

The first commercially available role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), was published in 1974 by Gygax's TSR. TSR marketed the game as a niche product. Gygax expected to sell about 50,000 copies.[10] After establishing itself in boutique stores it developed a cult following.

The game's growing success spawned cottage industries and a variety of peripheral products. In a few years other fantasy games appeared, some of which blatantly copied the look and feel of the original game (one of the earliest competitors was Tunnels and Trolls). Along with Dungeons & Dragons, early successes included Chivalry & Sorcery, Traveller, Space Opera and RuneQuest. Live-action groups such as dagorhir were started, and organized gaming conventions and publications such as Dragon Magazine catered to the growing hobby.

Dungeons and Dragons character

TSR launched Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) in the late seventies (retroactively renamed "AD&D 1st Edition" after the debut of AD&D 2nd Edition in 1989). This ambitious project expanded the rules to a small library of hardcover books, each hundreds of pages long. These covered such minutiae as the chance of finding a singing sword in a pile of loot or the odds of coaxing gossip from a tavern keeper. Optional modules in the form of small booklets offered prepared adventure settings. The first edition Dungeon Master's Guide published in 1979 included a recommended reading list of twenty-five authors.


Why is everyone into tabletop RPG ?

The answer is pretty straight forward and I believe many of you already sensed it . Tabletop RPG blends the single player RPG attributes (which I presented in the first post of the series) with cooperative aachivements . The fact that you can play with other people brings unlimited numbers of variables that change the gameplay radicaly . Now , the players must adapt to the game , and adapt to each-thers game play style . The fact that you can achieve great things and you can show them to the rest of the players makes the greatness of tabletop Rpg . The internet only made this interaction between players easier and faster . Today , not only 2-4 people play the game and interact with you , but 3000-6000 poeple . As you can see there are even more resons why people should play MMORPGs , this blend between single-playing Rpg and Tabletop Rpg .

Something that disturbes me is the fact that some people say that they are waiting for a game that will revolutionize the genre . I say that their waiting will be long and fruitles because this genre has 'all the sachels in the cart' and by this I ment to say that the genre already added all the features possible . The only things left now are to develop them even further and to blend them with features from other genres ( the hype our days seem to be the combination between RTS- real time strategy and Rpg , which I think it's a very sound mix that will give birth to many good games in the close future) .

This concludes the second part of the Vision Over MMORPGs series . For the next part I saved more goodys . We will talk about how companies are struggling to please as many types of players as possible and how many of them fail .




8/29/2008

News : Far Cry 2

I personally enjoyed Far Cry and I hope that I will enjoy even more the second part of this 'AAA' shooter .

Here are trailers and gameplay movies for you in order to form an opinion over what the game will probably offer :


PAX 08: Exclusive PAX Trailer



Gameplay Trailer


Exclusive Jackal Trailer

News : Divinity II

Divinity II it's a brand new RPG developed by Larian Studios fpr PC ┼či Xbox 360. The ideea of the game is interesting but it's not something I haven't heard of yet : "the freedom to specialize in certain types of skills and become the ultimate warrior, wizard or rogue, or choose to mix carefully, so as to gain mastery over a wide range of exciting talents." The game is dues for releaese in the second quarter of 2009 .

Here is a trailer in order to take a peek at what the game offers graphic wise .



8/27/2008

Preview : Majesty 2 - The fantasy Kingdom Sim

It's been eight years since the original Majesty appeared on the PC gaming scene with its own unique take on fantasy gaming. . The premise of the gameplay was simple, simultaneously original... and frustrating. You were the ruling monarch of a fantasy kingdom, and while you could set the tax rates, recruit heroes, and build whatever buildings you liked, you had no direct control over the actual citizens of your kingdom. Meeting their needs while persuading them to accomplish your goals was at various times challenging, hysterical, frustrating and fun.

The good news for fans who can still remember the original is that the license has changed hands and a sequel is on its way. Paradox Interactive and 1C are teaming up to update the franchise, starting from the ground up with all-new graphics but keeping the same feel as the original. Once more the trick will be to run your kingdom without direct control, although this time around representatives from Paradox say they're trying to give players a few more options for directly managing the action.

How's it work? Your Kingdom begins with an ornate fantasy castle representing your opulent seat of command. From there you can construct buildings, similar to any real-time strategy game. Building farmhouses for the peasants is a good way to generate incremental tax revenue, and guard towers will help defend your city by themselves and with the help of wandering guards. But to really get stuff done your kingdom is going to need heroes. Building guild halls will allow you to recruit adventurers to your kingdom, of which there are 10 different classes representing classic fantasy archetypes like Warrior, Mage, Paladin, Rogue, Ranger, Barbarian, and so on. Every hero starts out at level one with crappy equipment, something we can all relate to.



But once a hero enters your kingdom they're on their own -- you can't tell them what to do. And you quickly discover heroes are whiny little brats, a whole army of munchkin roleplayers. All they want is loot! Experience! Treasure! Equipment! They'll start roaming around your kingdom looking for monsters to fight.

You can support the efforts of your heroes by making sure they have amenities back home. That includes taverns to recover in, blacksmiths to buy weapons from, marketplaces to buy potions at, magic stores to enchant their equipment, and so in. Every time a hero drops some big money to buy a shiny new piece of equipment, you get a cut of the revenue -- that's how you benefit from your heroes and their adventures.

Once you've got enough money rolling in you can begin to try to manipulate the world a little more firsthand. In Majesty 2 you can spend money to directly cast spells in the game world, healing your allies or smiting monsters you don't like. But also, as in the original, you can set bounties on objectives. If you plant a flag on a troublesome troll that awards 500 gold to the adventurer who slays it, you can bet your royal butt that your greedy self-serving adventurers will flock to the scene.

Here at GameSpy we always thought the original Majesty was a real treat -- a little frustrating at times but uniquely different. Our brief demo of the game at Leipzig didn't reveal to us anything dramatically different about the new game, but that might not be a bad thing, as there's a whole new generation of gamers who never got a chance to play the original. One thing that we hope translates across to the new developers is the ridiculous sense of humor of the original game, whose lampooning of fantasy archetypes made the gameplay enjoyable even at its most frustrating. (You'll note that the trailer above is done totally "straight," which makes us worry the game will take itself too seriously.) Paradox is looking to publish the sequel in early 2009.

Preview : Castle Crashers

Preview is just theoretical because the game's launch date is : 08.27.2008 . Which , yes , it means that the game is launched for a couple of hours but because I could't buy the game , play it and then review it in this time , I will just make a short preview .

Did you ever felt bored ? Ever needed a fast paced game , with funny graphics , fully packed action and filled with content ? Well , Castle Crashers is a game perfect for those moments . It is so easy to learn the controls while mastering them is a total different thing . The game is a return of a retro-theme that was on it's peak 12 years ago . When I just started to loose faith in the video and computer game industry , Beowulf and Castle Crashers made my day . After seeing the clip that I attached to the article , I know that the first thing that I must do tomorrow is to order Castle Crashers . For the younger players , this game is like a good shake between Diablo III and Mario . So basicly you can play as a barbarian-plumber , amazon-with-mustache or fat-sorceress .

The game clearly guarantees hours and hours of fun together with the friends or against them . I really loved the level design which is varies from river , mountains, desert , tribal villages , barbaric settlement , battlefield etc . The background of the levels speaks for itself : like on the battlefield , in the background there are stylized troops with pikes that march . The enemies are varied : undead , chieftain , barbarians , animals , mechanical robots , mechanized weapons etc.

All in all , this game is perfect and I recommend it to anyone regardless of age .

8/26/2008

Preview : Sacred 2 - Fallen Angel

What will Sacred 2 be all about ? Here it goes :

There are goblins, a crap-load of items and a massive, seamless world that Ascaron says will take you more than six hours to run across. Frankly I never understood the purpose of the massive world in the first game because you would never explore more than 30% of it if you make all the quests .

There are six character classes to choose from - Shadow Warrior, Inquisitor, High Elf, Dryad, Temple Guardian and stiletto-wearing Seraphim ( who you may remember if you played the first game).

The sequel takes place a couple of thousand years before its predecessor, and features a story of civil war and a nasty magic plague called T-energy that's made the world and wildlife go a bit mental. That means lots of skeleton men to kill.

I'm also both delighted and disturbed that, in a game where your lead character can wield both a shield, sword and thong, that I actually like the art style. Sacred's world is colorful, (dare I say) charming and feels alive; wind rustles grass and trees and wildlife scatters around going about its business. I understand that their would be even bunnies . Gee ! (those that played Sacred know what I mean).

On the Xbox 360 meanwhile there's the promise of full Xbox Live support and a control scheme that has bugger all to do with clicking a mouse. I had a brief glimpse of how it's shaping up on the console and I'm pleased to say that it's looking great, with little visual drop from the rather pretty PC cousin.

650 side quests, 200,000 words of spoken dialogue and lord knows how much gameplay time; those Germans really do like their numbers and I'm already convinced Sacred 2 isn't going to disappoint Diablo fans.

It's definitely aimed a certain branch of gamer, but if it's your cup of tea you're bound to be impressed. With numbers like that, how couldn't you? Not to add that this game looks like the perfect 'time-sinking' option until all mighty Diablo III releases .



Launch date : 9/28/2008

Review : Guitar Hero III

Stretching my fingers and pulling the ..... mouse buttons .

First thing that impressed me at this game was the playlist which is very well built , containing songs from very well know guitarists and rock bands . Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, The Killers, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Rage Against the Machine, Muse, Black Sabbath , Metallica and Rhapsody of Fire are just a few of the bands included . As you figured out the songs are carefully selected to appeal to a vast majority of the audience .

It is true that not all the songs are original and many are re-recorded but they still sound good so it's impossible to feel the difference . There were songs which I really didn't enjoyed like the ones from Slipknot and Slayer , and there were damn hard also ( I must warn you that I pretty suck at this kind of games ) .

And now , toward the most important section of the article . It will contain a lot of professional therms from the artistic area .

The game is well synchronized with the song that is interpreted . „The musical notes” are coming on the way down on the „fretboard”, and you must press each corresponding key and sometimes the „strum”. It sounds harder than it is in reality , but the game is still hard to play especially on the "Normal" and "Hard" mode . The game is even easily with the guitar controller but I didn't had the money to buy one just to test the game .

„Hammer-on” and „Pull-off” are relatively hard to obtain but are essetial in many solos of the game . You can compare these combos with the ones like Tony Hawk or Underground which is relevant because they are made by the same company Neversoft. Thus , many options from these games are making their presence felt in this game : buying new songs , better cloths , guitars etc .

Final 'tunes'

The entire band reacts like in real life . Lypsync , drum singing and even the pesky little singer does his part by animating the crowd and showing them rock signs , jumping around , all on the song tune . The best part is that everything is made through motion-capture so it looks natural .

Guitar Hero is just a game and I , as an amator (real) guitar player I can tell you it has almost nothing to do with the real instrument . Still , as I said , it is a game , and a funny and enjoyable one so if you ever wan't to feel like a rock star don't hesitate to play it . You will be as close as possible to reality .


Controller

Rating 7.5


8/25/2008

Review : Beowulf

For those that never heard about this name , a small introduction is needed . Beowulf is the most known hero of the Nordic mithology . He is known for slaying sea monsters, dragons , trolls and other mighty beasts and he is also known for seducing beautiful women .

I must admit I was pretty impressed with this game when I first saw it . Why ? It's because this game was launched due to the latest released movie of the franchise . Because every game that is developed under this therms has thousands of bugs (because of the tight dead-lines) I thought that this one will have the same problems . I admit. I was wrong (yes , I said it ) . Ubisoft made the impossible and launched a bug-free game .

Gameplay : Barbarian Style

Like in any RPG the player will do quests , hunt monsters and enemies for precious loot and sometimes save the day . This one makes no exception and the player will be happy to see that the games offers plenty of each and even more . Our hero can receive companions , some times a good bunch of them . The hard part is not controlling them , but the casting of auras , shouts and chants that aids them in the struggle . Throwing you and you're group head on into the enemies won't be a good tactic . The enemies will usually swarm our hero but do not worry because he has all the keys to defeat them . An interesting addition , is the close combat situation , when our hero finds himself fighting with an opponent only using his body . This was already implemented in games like Jericho . By pressing the right keys at the right moment the player will be able to defeat the enemy or , in case of failure , the enemy will escape the fight for a moment in which he will grab his weapon back .



Graphics : Barbaric-bloody style

The graphics are good and are perfect for a violent game like this one . Our hero will decapitate , break bones , crush skulls , remove vertebral spines from his enemies and other nasty things . Blur , shadow and antialising effects that added with a respectable quantity of blood will make you cry of joy (I'm joking , true barbarians don't cry ! ) .


If you're stressed and feel like beating up someone try this game . Fun and violence are guaranteed . Not to add that you're smaller brother will be thankful that he escaped a good beat at least this time :P .

Game address : http://pc.gamezone.com/gamesell/p32641.htm Rating 8.1


News : Project Origin

Do you remember Alma ? The small girl from F.E.A.R. which seems to be inspired by the ghost from The Grudge movies . Well , I have good news for you , she is back . This time in the latest game created by the guys from Monolith : Project Origin . A predictable name concerning the fact that this was the item that concentrated the entire plot in F.E.A.R. What we can expect ? More weapons , different location , special skills and new enemies , which in my opinion are designed by a very wicked mind (please look at the trailers in order to understand what I mean ) . Also , they promise that the game will have the same intense horror action that consecrated the previous games .


The game begins a few moment before F.E.A.R. ends , when Alma unleashes a massive explosion over the town and summons untold horrors . An unlucky special ops team was unlucky enough to be in a mission in the town at that time . From now on , all bets are off and the action can begin !

Project Origin is promised for launch this Fall , until then you can watch two trailers that I added to the post .


8/24/2008

Review : Empire Earth III

The guys from Sierra insisted in giving us some new examples concerning game development and design . I was kind enough to gather them in one big pile of .... examples . Here it goes :

Example Number 1 : " Not like this ! "

First , I admit that I never really enjoyed playing the rest of the games from Empire Earth series because I felt sick only thinking at a game where half naked club-men fight with super high-tech combat plains . But , at that time I said nothing because I was thinking that gaming is all about taste . With the launch of Empire Earth III , things started to change .

Example Number 2 : " Terrible ! "

This guys from Sierra deserve no mercy . Come on people ! This guys wanna take our money with this so called game ?! First I tried to include the game in a historical context . My efforts proven useless because there is no such thing . Olmecs in Great Britain and elephants in Germany ??! What are they talking about ? Ok. Maybe if you are really ignorant or you just feel the incredible urge to continue to play the game you will soon find you're self in a bigger mess . There is no campaign in the game . Just a mini game , RISK like . After some hours of terrible gameplay you will be amazed seeing that you're medieval cavalry sits next to you're MIG plains and that you're enemy sends genetic modified soldiers to destroy you .Just take a moment and imagine the horror of the situation .

Example Number 3 : " Blind ! "

If you , my reader , still have the eyes to read the grotesque stupidity of the examples presented by this game , please continue onwards . Let's head to path-finding . I doubt sincerely that this is the right word for it , but I feel that I was partially transformed into a 'vegetable' after I played this game . So , the units path-finding is very unique . If you send one group of soldiers to a respective point three things will happen : First , some of them will block and take another route to that point , even tough there was no visible obstacle in their path . Second , many of the units will 'forget' the order you gave them 5 seconds ago and return to idle . Third , there are times when all of the above happen at the same time , repeatedly , for every command you issue . Think about how frustrating it is when you're enemy is on a straight path to destroy you .

Example Number 4 : " Use glasses (if not yet blind) ! "

The graphic engine it's different . So different that I'm not sure it is from this planet ! Maybe it was designed for a race that doesn't see in colors or that maybe has poor eye-sight because the colors and textures used are trash . The text can barely be read , and when you have a base to build , technologies to develop and units to train (units that never obey any commands) this turns into a headache .

I've done my part and tried to warn you . If you decide to buy the game , then I'm sorry for you . If you already bought it , then I'm very sorry for you .

Game adress : http://empireearth.com/splash/ Rating 4.8


8/23/2008

Preview : Fallout III

I feel strange seeing so many game titles that end with 2,3,4 etc . I'm somehow disappointed to see that originality and fresh new ideas aren't valued things in today's game industry . Partially I understand the Big Guys that rule this industry . After all , they have mouths to feed and investors to make happy , but still , there was a time when the pure passion of making games was pretty much enough .

Anyway , maybe it's just me feeling a bit depressed today .
* slaps himself two times*

We will talk about Fallout III , but not before we make a small trip back in time and look at this titles predecessors : Fallout and Fallout 2 , (Fallout Tactics = disappointment) . What can these games offer ? A lot of violence , many ways in which the player could liberate himself from stress , good story , great punch-lines and big honking weapons . It's the perfect recipe when you add everything with care and passion . How about Fallout III ?



Fallout III brings incredible graphics , a return to the characteristics that defined the franchise : violence , blood , mutant enemies , post nuclear war setting and great story . What are some players considering a minus ? The first person view . In my opinion I think that this is an interesting addition . Where you have huge automated machine guns , you should have a first person view . I don't understand why some people are so skeptic regarding this feature when Bethesda guaranteed that there will be a 3'rd person view also .

In the game you will behave like in any other RPG . Doing missions , errands , accumulating attribute points ( I don't know what will call them ) that can be spent in skills , abilities and characteristics . The adventurer and explorer type of player will be rewarded if he searches among the ruins of what Washington DC once was because they will find nice weapons and items . The combat is breath tacking (and I think that is mostly because of the first person camera) , the players having the ability to disable or cripple the enemies , not necesarely kill them (a nice feature especially when dealing with many enemies at the same time ) .



Bethesda also promised that the story will be as juicy as before , now with the addition that will be first-rate voiceovers and full lip-synching and that players will have the freedom to choose any path they wish for their alter-ego's (good or bad) each with their pros and cons .

Launch date : Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that its highly anticipated title, Fallout® 3, will be available on store shelves and online in North America on October 28, 2008 and in Europe on October 31, 2008.

As you can see , we still have time to train out fingers and prepare our gadgets before the game launches .

8/22/2008

Vision Over MMORPGs Part 1

This is a special topic dedicated to MMORPGs . I wont make reviews about MMORPG because I consider that are lots of blogs and a lot of advertising concerning them . Instead I will analyze the way this games behave player wise and economical wise .

History lesson number 1 :

T
he first game that could be played online and could sustain about 12 people was Mazewar , back in 1970s . The Realm Online appeared in 1995 and may be credited with bringing the genre to a wider player-base , but the father of MMORPG is considered Ultima Online (1997) fallowed by Ever Quest (1998).


Players interacting in Ultima Online

Why is everyone into it ?

F
irst , there is a chance that 'everyone' is not exactly correct . The reason why most of people dig MMORPG is because what they offer . There are people that have poor social skills , this genre encourage them to increase social skills . But most of the people are there because of the incredible immersion that this games create . The fact that you can join with you're friends some raid groups , instances (i.e. dungeon) and defeat mighty foes and ultimately receive great rewards is something unmatched by single player games of any kind . In fact , the most substantial difference between MMORPGs and the rest of the non-online games is the social factor . People play them because they wanna be the best , they want to see other people admiring them for what they achieved .

Why RPG ?

The RPG or role playing game is the cream of the games in my humble opinion . Why is that ? Simple . Role Playing covers all the basic needs of a player (casual or hardcore) :

1. Every man dreams to be a hero . RPGs are excelling in this feature .
2. Everyone is curious , wants to discover things , it's in our blood . A good RPG has plenty of places to explore , things to find and use .
3. The adventure and the odyseal voyage . Who doesn't dream to take matters in his own hands and go out into the world to meet new people , do tasks and finally become someone with a good renown ? RPG is again the answer .
4. The desire to fight , to be a hero , the adrenaline rush . From little children we played different games that mimic the eternal battle between good and evil . Now , as we are a 'little' older we enjoy the same feeling through the means of the computer , consoles .

As you can see the RPG is a perfect pack of pure 'mana' for the hart and mind .

This concludes the first part of the Vision Over MMORPGs series . In the next part , Vision Over MMORPGs Part II , we shall analyze how single player RPG meets cooperative table top games and together , by extending them on the net , they turn into MMORPGs as we know them .

8/21/2008

Preview : Diablo III

Ready your weapons , polish you're armor and throw some potions in the bag , because in 2009 all hell brakes loose . No , this is not a call to war , it's just an introduction for the God of all hack-and-slash games : Diablo III


'And the heavens shall tremble' - The background story

Two decades have passed since the demonic lords, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, set out across the world of Sanctuary on a vicious rampage, twisting humanity to their unholy will. Yet for those who battled the Prime Evils, the memory fades slowly.
When Deckard Cain returns to the ruins of Tristram Cathedral seeking clues to defeat new stirrings of evil, a fiery harbinger of doom falls from the heavens, striking the very ground where Diablo once entered the world. This fire from the sky reawakens ancient evils and calls the heroes of Sanctuary to defend the mortal world against the rising powers of the Burning Hells once again.

If anyone aspects a more complex story line , that means he hadn't played any of the Diablo games . Why read so many words when there are cool cinematics to show and thousands of monsters to slay , banish , torture , kill-revive-and-kill-again ?

'And the heavens shall tremble' - The characters

Once again Blizzard plays it cool by using many of the gameplay features that characterize Diablo games . Until now only 2 classes were made public : Barbarian (reminds me of whom... ) and the Witch Doctor ( combination between necromancer and sorcerer ) . This wasn't said anywhere but I believe that many of the classes in D3 will be combinations of the classes from D2 . Why I believe that ? First , Blizzard did the same with Warcraft III (combination of races from Starcraft) and secondly , the Witch Doctor is a hybrid class . It's obvious that the Barbarian is the demented hero , that puts all his muscles at work (the brain is not a muscle ) when it comes to share hits , shouts , whirlwinds and a lot of hate . The Witch Doctor on the other hand is tha guy that keeps it cool . Again he is able to use a wall , like the Necromancer did , but this time it's called zombie wall and it's not ment just to stand inert but also to attack . Fire bombs , spawning all sort of creatures and cursing is what he can do best .


'And the heavens shall tremble' - The Gameplay and Graphics

T
he gameplay is the same with minor exceptions . They added life spheres that randomly drop from slain monsters and as you take them you're life replenishes . There are some that say it's a bad addition , in my opinion I think it's a very good addition because gives the player the chance co concentrate on using the skills and contemplating the 'deadly' graphic effects . As you can see in this videos , the graphics are straight A and Blizzard promises that players will be able to use the environment in their favor : column that fall , destroying parts of bridges , crumbling walls and other related stuff .





'And the heavens shall tremble' - The Conclusion

B
lizzard will do it again and make this game close to perfection as they always do . D2 and D2 expansion sold together 19 Million copies . Will D3 beat this ? I doubt that it will even be close to this sum because times had changed and there are many competitors on the market , even tho none of them can rival Diablo franchise , yet .



Browser game : Travian

Travian is a browser-based massively multiplayer online real time strategy game (don't worry , it's a good thing :P ) , built by enthusiasts in Germany. At a first glance you would say that it looks a bit too childish , but in fac it's more of a "user friendly" game .



www.travian.com

Gameplay is based around short visits to the site a few times a day (usually once every few hours, but a lot more often if you're beginning to build up a new village or in the middle of a war), so it can be a pleasant distraction from whatever you're meant to be doing without in theory taking over your life. The problem is that the only way to do well in the game is to let it take over, to be constantly launching attacks and making sure that new building is lined up as soon as the old building is finished. Victory depends equally on skill and your willingness to sacrifice your real life. I've heard this is normal for MMORPGs, but this is the first time I've played in a game where this is true; and I didn't like it.

The game was most fun when I picked a fight with another player and tried to conquer their village. I spent a weekend calculating move and countermove, being bluffed and counterbluffed, and convincing his allies not to attack me. It was fun, and the slow speed of the action (it would take two hours for the units which could damage his defences and convince his citizens to switch sides to reach him) reminded me a little of news reports and made the unfolding fight much more immersive and involving. Most of the tactics ended up boiling down to maths (when do I have to send the powerful cavalry to get them to arrive just before the weak-but-vital catapults?), which I'm geeky enough to enjoy. But not many people are that geeky, and most people probably want to get out at some point during the weekend.

Because the game often boils down to being in the strongest most active alliance, you can spend a lot of time chatting to other players and trying to corall them into joining a plan. Many of the alliances are based around particular nations, particularly the smaller European nations. And Poland. I once accidently attacked someone without realising they'd joined a large Polish Alliance, and wrote to them with sympathetic noises about the UK's failure to achieve its main war aim in WW2 and the Molotov Ribbentrop pact. I don't remember a German or an English alliance, for which I'm very grateful. (Although there was a Yorkshire one. So if no-one was refighting WW2, there is still potential for the Wars of the Roses.) The software has several functions to support alliances - such as fora and listings of who is allied or at war with whom. Unfortunately, alliances are often too important - the sheer scale of the game often means that success or failure depends less on your tactical choices than on whether your alliance gets into a large war or not.

Unfortunately, this problem with the scale of the game overwhelms other chances for interesting decisions. The degenerate strategy is too obvious, and relies (notice a theme?) too much on sacrificing your real life. When the first game closed, the winner (simply the player with the most points) thanked the many people who had helped them, largely by pitching in and sharing the running of the account so that whilst one person is busy or sleeping, another is making sure that no move is missed.

As a piece of software, it is sometimes slow, and occasionally processing stops. But given that it's a large game funded entirely out of a few euros a month for optional extra features, I'm quite prepared to tolerate that level of faults. I didn't notice any bugs which affected game rules, and there was good communication on the forum between admins and players.

In my opinion the game is good enough to keep you busy for a while but nothing more . People that look for other gameplay options beside just attacking an opponent will be disappointed by the game . The reason why I dropped the game after 6 months is that the game has almost no protection for people smaller than their opponent . I had the bad luck to be spotted by someone larger than me and in a more powerful alliance than mine . The result was that I lost 6 months work in about 3 days .

Bottom-line , if you like a competitive game , with friendly interface and nice people , you should try Travian at least for a while .

8/20/2008

Browser game : Adventure Quest

Adventure Quest, or, Battle-On, is a classical RPG point and click game that you can play in you're browser using Shockwave Flash . This game was designed to play at dull or boring times of your life, like when you're at work or at home with nothing to do. Though it's a fun game, I usually play other games during my spare time. Should you become a member on this game, well, I think yes, you should, why, because it's almost impossible to log in and members have over eight tenths more of the game then non members, and its much more fun and exciting, also, its only a one time fee, and if you do, then you can join Dragon Fable which is made by the same people and is like 100 times better then this, well, lets get to rating the game!


www.battleon.com

Graphics 7/10 - Why do I rate it 7, well, they are not that good, there's really no leg movement, actually, it seems like the arms just move up and down and your whole body turns sideways when ever you attack someone . Anyway , concerning the fact that is a browser game made in 2002 , I guess you could accept them .

Sound 5/10: There's almost no music. And there are only a few sound effects that happen in rare moments, (though, the sound effects are good) . Sounds are easily supported by browser so this is no excuse for the developers .

Storyline 5/10: It's kind of hard to go along with the story. You're a paladin that waits until a war starts and then you fight on a certain side. Whenever a certain side wins the war , new cities and areas are unlocked and new weapons and stories are unlocked etc . And, after a while, it happens all over again. But each time it's a better story line, (they have started to connect the wars and events happening. Which is good, cause before it was utter confusion).

Overall 6/10: Overall, the graphics are not so great (with the current money rolling on the game , they could make them better or 3-D even ). There's almost no sound in the game except in a few rare moments. But the story line is getting better. I also like the battle system and the way you fight, which is turn by turn fighting, I think that is normal for a browser game . Well... mostly, this game is for anyone who likes the classic Hp, Mp, Magic, Skills, Levels, Gold, Monsters, Shops, Quests, and Turn by Turn Battle System, all the things a good classic RPG needs . Sadly, it's not an MMO-RPG like Rune Scape, Wow , its only single player, so most people who want multi-player won't fall for it easily .

8/19/2008

Games of Legend : Gothic II

Gothic 2 is a part of the Gothic franchise developed by Piranha Bites and published by Jowood . This game received lots of good reviews and such when it first appeared and for a good reason .


The graphic engine is the same that brought to life Gothic I , but has lots of improvements , many of these are visual or physical . The game brings a map two times larger that the map of it's predecessor , the map of the island of Khorinis . The attention for details is unmatched in any other game . Each object , building or NPC script has a spacial place in the game's big picture .

The player will find himself pretty much in the same position as he was at the begining of the first Gothic . But this time , Xardas is there to help you through the first hours of the game . In the game you will find the city of Khorinis which is the port city of the island . Everything that remains from the old settlements of the Valley Of Mines , is just the castle of the Old Camp which is now defended by a group of paladins and town militia .

The high grade of immersion that characterize the series is also present in Gothic 2 . During the day , merchants try to sell their goods , citizens talk about the latest news , master craftsmen work in their shops and guards patrol the streets or train in the barracks . In evening , people gather around camp fires , smoke , talk or cook some roasted meat . The colors , the sound and the natural way in which each NPC behaves offer an unprecedented feeling , like if you would be part of the game . Many NPC have names and are a part of the plot , because sooner or later they will give you quests . Another outstanding element of the game is the day-night circle , the weather system (sun , dynamic clouds , falling stars , rain , snow etc ) and the animal reign that behaves natural ( herbivores forage for grass or fruits , predators hunt , each animal is set in it's specific habitat ) .

The central idea in Gothic 2 is the dragon invasion , dragons that are served by ferocious lizardmen . On top of this terrible danger , the imminent orc conquest make things even worse .
The story is filed with unexpected events and flavored with action , thrill and a heap of adventure .

Even tho the game is from 2003 , the only thing that a true RPG fan could whine about are the graphics that aren't exactly Directx 10 , but regarding any other aspect the game is flawless .

Here are some pics from the game , in order for you to see the graphics .
















Rating 9.1

Boxhead Review

Today's browser game is Boxhead - made in Flash . A game designed and developed by Sean Cooper , a game industry veteran . The game is fully free (which means no fees at all , no membership options etc) .


http://www.games.seantcooper.com/

Thumb UP : - Sean took a can , threw in there some zombies , a lot of action and fun , shook it well and the result was Boxhead . The game has simple gameplay accessible to anyone and it is fast paced making it perfect for killing time when at work or when you are at home while verifying emails or blogging .

The player can choose from a variety of rooms each requiring a different strategy regarding zombie killing . After the room is selected the game starts without any delay . You will find you're self controlling a hero type character made from boxes which is armed with a normal pistol . Blood thirsty zombies made also by boxes will charge (I use this word as a figure of speech because in fact they are slow) at you're position . At first will be easy because the spawns aren't s o often and large but as the game progresses , you will have to defeat more and more opponents .
The good news is that you're small box-man won't be left without an impressive arsenal of weapons some of them bringing extreme firepower . By killing zombies the hero will receive lots of weapon and ammo upgrades that will aid him greatly in the struggle .

The game has no ending , the central idea is to survive as much as possible . Big time = many kills = a lot of score points which are ultimately stored under you're name . So yeah , another game where you can brag about you're achievements :P .

Thumbs Down : - There are some inconvenients like the fact that :
the game is not a persistent world ( you're actions will not influence anyone else actions) .
there is no real end so the satisfaction of wining over the legions of mindless zombies doesn't exist .
after a while it gets repetitive .
very few elements of multiplayer (only some rooms have cooperative maps and by cooperative I mean no more than 2 players ) .

Bottom-line ? A fun and simple game . In my opinion , if you like casual games , Boxhead is 'a must try' .