RTS

December 16, 2012

Coming next year: Games to look forward to

Upcoming games image for 2013

Christmas is coming and if you’re anything like me some of that time that I get off work is going to be spent totally submerged in gaming – I’m already looking forward to it. What I’m also looking forward to are the titles that are coming up in 2013, these are the ones that we’ve seen at events like E3 and Gamescom this year. I’m particularly interested in seeing The Elder Scrolls Online when it comes out next year, The Elder Scrolls goes from single-player to MMO, I have a feeling it’s going to be good.

Dead Space 3

Developed by Visceral Games this title is the highly anticipated sequel to Dead Space 2, a survival horror third-person shooter, Dead Space 3 sees Isaac Clarke pitted against the Necromorphs in a struggle to end the scourge forever. You will also be able to fight in co-op mode now or run solo, which is even easier with the drop in drop out functionality, so you can team up with a partner at any checkpoint in the game.

– Release date: 8th February 2013
http://www.deadspace.com/

Aliens: Colonial Marines

They’re back! Developed by Gearbox Software this first-person shooter is cross-platform and is set after the events of the film Aliens 3. The game employs drop-in/drop-out co-op for up to 4 players online or 2 players locally. If the recent prequel in the Aliens series has peaked your interest this will be one not to miss next year.

– Release date: February 2013
http://www.sega.co.uk/alienscolonialmarines

Crysis 3

In this, the third installment of the Crysis series, take on the aliens in New York City’s Nanodrome where you become the hunter. Crysis 3 will be utilising the CryEngine 3 game engine giving you stunning graphics and an amazing gameplay experience.

– Release date: February 2013
http://www.crysis.com/us/crysis-3

Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Carmageddon is back, this time more gory than ever! This game was covered a lot over the course of this year and if there’s a more exciting vehicle combat game waiting in the wings I’d like to know about it. This game is the fourth in the series following Carmageddon, Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now and Carmageddon: TDR 2000.

– Release date: Febrary 2013
http://www.carmageddon.com/reincarnation

Company of Heroes 2

If real-time strategy games are your thing, why not try this WW2 sequel coming next year. You are in command of the Soviet Red Army, your goal to free Russia from the Nazi threat of 1941 on the Eastern Front. The game runs on the Essence 3.0 game engine, which the publisher THQ claims will bring “new technological advancements” to the game.

– Release date: April/May 2013
http://www.companyofheroes.com/

Remember Me

Capcom’s cyberpunk release for 2013. Interesting concept here, the game uses ‘memory remixing’ which is entering and rearranging a target’s memories to manipulate them. By doing this you can then change the target’s memory of the outcome of any event. You play Nilin whose memories have been erased and the aim is to retrieve those memories and find out why.

– Release date: May 2013
http://www.capcom-europe.com/

The Elder Scrolls Online

One of my favourites for next year, The Elder Scrolls is going MMORPG! The game will be set on the fictional continent of Tamriel a millennium before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and it will have a storyline that is not connected to any of the previous games. After a lengthy development period it will be great to see what this game brings to the MMO market.

– Release date: 2013
http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/

December 26, 2011

Command & Conquer: Red Alert– an iOS Game Done Right.

Hardcore games are not hard to find on any smartphone platform, Apple’s iOS included. With most of these titles, the hardcore gamer demographic generally has a universal complaint: controls. Shooters, platformers, action games and RPGs all prove to be substantially more challenging and off-putting because of the lack of tactile feedback from a touchscreen interface. One game genre, however, doesn’t have this hangup: Real Time Strategy. As a matter of fact, RTS games seem tailor-made for a touchscreen interface. That being said, I was skeptical when I first saw an official Command and Conquer franchise port to iOS– and got even more nervous when it turned out to be an extension of one of my favorite C&C series: Red Alert. Thank God I gave it a shot.

Not often will I pay for an app of any kind, but after trying the free demo, I bought the full version of Red Alert the very same day, and then later bought it for a friend so we could play together. I not only bought this game, I bought it twice, and it was worth every penny. The fact of the matter is that RTS is perhaps the only style of hardcore game that will ever be perfectly executed on a touchscreen, which is an insane bargain for its $.99 price tag.

The first concern for many gamers when looking at a hardcore mobile game is controls. Rest assured, the controls for this game, while they have a small learning curve, are completely sensible. Even with grouping different units together for an attack force, the onscreen controls are fast and intuitive. One draw back, however, is that you only get 3 hotkey slots for these groups. As seen on the right, the Apocalypse Tanks are back. In this screenshot, they are collectively following attack orders as group 1– hence the top group slot being highlighted in red. While at first the idea of only 3 unit groups is off-putting, it really doesn’t present much of a tactical issue. This sort of scaling back is fairly common throughout all aspects of the game, but sort of makes sense for the smaller nature of the iOS platform. One would hope, though, that the game would have a much larger unit cap with better hardware on later iDevices. Perhaps if there is a subsequent Command & Conquer title for iOS, we could even hope to see larger multiplayer functionality. In a perfect world, this would include support for more than two participants in any given skirmish or multiplayer match, and support for online play. Though all in all, it’s hard to complain too loudly about the first attempt at an official iOS C&C.

Now, the game is good as is when you download it from the App Store, and well worth a buck. I will say, however, that I also bought both available expansions, which were also worth every last penny (twice). The first is the map pack. Even if you’re content with only two factions, two stock skirmish maps is a little harder to defend. For an additional dollar, you get all the maps seen on the right in addition to the two the game comes with. This is a massive improvement for only costing a buck. And if you really wanna make the game seem bigger, The Empire of the Rising Sun expansion adds a complete third playable faction, and its own campaign– all for $2.99. While the compounded cost may scare away a few players, this is a lot of game for your money, and one with a nearly indestructible replay value. Besides, all that said, and you’re still only in it for $3.98. That’s a ridiculously low price for a quality game. Don’t believe me? Try the free demo. If you’re a fellow C&C fan, you’ll probably buy it just like I did.

December 26, 2011

Command & Conquer: Red Alert– an iOS Game Done Right.

Hardcore games are not hard to find on any smartphone platform, Apple’s iOS included. With most of these titles, the hardcore gamer demographic generally has a universal complaint: controls. Shooters, platformers, action games and RPGs all prove to be substantially more challenging and off-putting because of the lack of tactile feedback from a touchscreen interface. One game genre, however, doesn’t have this hangup: Real Time Strategy. As a matter of fact, RTS games seem tailor-made for a touchscreen interface. That being said, I was skeptical when I first saw an official Command and Conquer franchise port to iOS– and got even more nervous when it turned out to be an extension of one of my favorite C&C series: Red Alert. Thank God I gave it a shot.

Not often will I pay for an app of any kind, but after trying the free demo, I bought the full version of Red Alert the very same day, and then later bought it for a friend so we could play together. I not only bought this game, I bought it twice, and it was worth every penny. The fact of the matter is that RTS is perhaps the only style of hardcore game that will ever be perfectly executed on a touchscreen, which is an insane bargain for its $.99 price tag.

The first concern for many gamers when looking at a hardcore mobile game is controls. Rest assured, the controls for this game, while they have a small learning curve, are completely sensible. Even with grouping different units together for an attack force, the onscreen controls are fast and intuitive. One draw back, however, is that you only get 3 hotkey slots for these groups. As seen on the right, the Apocalypse Tanks are back. In this screenshot, they are collectively following attack orders as group 1– hence the top group slot being highlighted in red. While at first the idea of only 3 unit groups is off-putting, it really doesn’t present much of a tactical issue. This sort of scaling back is fairly common throughout all aspects of the game, but sort of makes sense for the smaller nature of the iOS platform. One would hope, though, that the game would have a much larger unit cap with better hardware on later iDevices. Perhaps if there is a subsequent Command & Conquer title for iOS, we could even hope to see larger multiplayer functionality. In a perfect world, this would include support for more than two participants in any given skirmish or multiplayer match, and support for online play. Though all in all, it’s hard to complain too loudly about the first attempt at an official iOS C&C.

Now, the game is good as is when you download it from the App Store, and well worth a buck. I will say, however, that I also bought both available expansions, which were also worth every last penny (twice). The first is the map pack. Even if you’re content with only two factions, two stock skirmish maps is a little harder to defend. For an additional dollar, you get all the maps seen on the right in addition to the two the game comes with. This is a massive improvement for only costing a buck. And if you really wanna make the game seem bigger, The Empire of the Rising Sun expansion adds a complete third playable faction, and its own campaign– all for $2.99. While the compounded cost may scare away a few players, this is a lot of game for your money, and one with a nearly indestructible replay value. Besides, all that said, and you’re still only in it for $3.98. That’s a ridiculously low price for a quality game. Don’t believe me? Try the free demo. If you’re a fellow C&C fan, you’ll probably buy it just like I did.

August 5, 2010

Starcraft II Review

The time is finally upon us, after ten long years Starcraft II is now in stores and in our hands.  Starcraft II may well be one of the most anticipated games ever in the fact that it had almost 1 million preorders and it’s the fastest selling RTS in history.   There has been a lot of criticism about Starcraft II and the removal of several key features that were in the original such LAN support, and the separating of the title into three separate games and to ice the cake charging $60 which is $10 more than your average PC admission price.  Do these things really hold back the game? 

Having played through the single player campaign I can honestly say Starcraft II is one of the best single player RTS to date.  In addition to everything you’d expect from a classic RTS like Starcraft it adds several pleasing additions to the single player game such as being able to roam aboard the Hyperion (your command ship), the ability to interact with characters within the ship and to purchase upgrades for your units.  These additions help to create a much more in depth and personal universe and also allow you to add another layer of customization into how you approach the battlefield.  The original Starcraft was about 30 missions in length and this spread across 3 races so approximately 10 missions a piece.  In Starcraft II you play across about 30 missions almost all Terran and a couple of Protoss missions for good measure.  The campaign is good for about 12 – 15 hours and there are achievements even after you’ve beaten it.  Those worried about getting skimped on the single player campaign can put their fears at rest.

Starcraft II is a beauty to behold and while the game doesn’t take advantage of DX10/11 it still looks gorgeous and a lot of attention has gone into details.  The battles are pretty and if you have ADD you will be staring at them while your base falls apart around you.  There are simple details from the armor suits to the effects of lasers bouncing off the shields of Protoss carriers that really help enhance the universe of Starcraft.  Unlike its predecessor Starcraft II does a much better job in immersing you.  While the Starcraft did have cutscenes it didn’t really do much in progressing the story.  Starcraft II’s cutscenes really do help make a story for you to follow and enjoy.

Multiplayer is just what you’d expect from Starcraft and in all honesty it’s very similar to the original in many respects.  There are some units missing from multiplayer that are in the single player campaign and while this is disappointing in some respects it definitely isn’t a deal breaker.  The addition of difficulty settings in Starcraft II is a welcome surprise as in the original you had a once size fits all approach which was ok but didn’t really help once you got down the computer tactics.  Starcraft II will have you playing with and screaming at your friends until late hours of the morning. 

To summarize I’ve had a blast playing the newest edition of the Starcraft franchise.  There are some would tell you to hold out on the game until LAN play is returned, Real ID is removed and Starcraft II is made into one title.  I’m here to say if you’re holding on because of those small problems then you an idiot.  Starcraft II is a excellent game that improves on almost every aspect of the original and then throws in a crisp, exciting and well done campaign to boot.   Having said all this, my only grip will come with the expansions.  If the expansions bear a $60 admission price I will be quite disappointed.  I suspect that they will only be about $30, add another 15 hour campaign and some new multiplayer units.

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