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DS Tokyo Beat Down 7.1
Xbox 360 Fracture 8.0
MOVIE The Unborn 0
PC Left 4 Dead 8.7
Xbox 360 Mirror's Edge 8.5
MOVIE Dead Space Downfall 3.5
MOVIE The Day the Earth Stood Still 0.5
PSP Super Stardust Portable 9.7  CHOICE PICK
PSP Need for Speed Undercover 2.8
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Special feature:Game genres

There are so many games in different genres, so how do we differentiate them? In this article, you will know.

::::: First Person Shooter (FPS) :::::
FPS games put a weapon (or sometimes, two weapons) into your hands and allow you the freedom to do anything with it. When playing the game, you look through the character's eyes, as if you are that person! This is what makes FPS games interesting. Look, you are in another world!

Recent releases: Farcry Instincts Predator, Metroid Prime: Hunters
Upcoming releases: Crysis, FEAR Extraction Point, Metroid Prime 3:Corruption

::::: Real Time Strategy (RTS) :::::
RTS games are played from a bird eye's view, where you have a look at a big portion of a landscape. As it name suggests, RTS games demand strategy and planning before making the next move to attack the enemy. You can pick from a wide range of units to build in RTS games. This is also one of the many reasons why RTS games attract. RTS games are mostly played on PC.

Recent releases: Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
Upcoming releases: Command and Conquer 3:Tiberium Wars, Supreme Commander

::::: Role-playing Game (RPG) :::::
RPGs are played from a third person point of view. RPGs are the games that are the most demanding of all genres, at least in terms of time. One game can take over dozens of hours to complete. There are many characters and unlockable items, making RPGs a seductive genre. Oh, do not forget the difficult boss battles seen in many RPGs. Your characters level up and become more powerful as you progress.

Recent releases: Elder Scrolls 4:Oblivion
Upcoming releases: Ninety-Nine Nights (N3)

::::: Mass Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) :::::
This genre is very similar to RPGs, save for the multiplayer feature. Make friends without even meeting them in MMORPGs. Popular MMORPGs include World of Warcraft and the Guild War series.

Recent releases: Guild War Factions
Upcoming releases: Final Fantasy 12

::::: Racing :::::
Ever wanted to go speeding in the city but never got the chance to? Then, racing games will suit you just nice. Beautiful cars are what racing games are known for. However, just one reminder: Gameplay can get terribly repetitive. That is no surprise, given the limited number of tracks you can race on. No, you don't have the whole world to yourself. Looks like the real world is better afterall!

Recent releases: Burnout Revenge, Full Auto, Motor GP 06
Upcoming releases: Grand Turismo 5, Ridge Racer 7

::::: Sports :::::
Like sports but never good at it? Do some sports in the virtual world then! A wide variety of sports is available. Soccer, basketball, rugby, boxing, wrestling, tennis, and almost everything! Most sports games receive yearly updates, like the ones from EA Big.

Recent releases: FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, Top Spin 2
Upcoming releases: NBA 2K7, WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007, Wii Sports

::::: Action :::::
Again, you play from a third person point of view, but it isn't any RPG. Like RTS games, Action games requires some strategy and planning. It looks like an FPS but does not offer the fast action of run-and-gun in FPS. It offers some puzzles to go with, but it is no puzzle game. Seems like a mix of all genres!

Recent releases: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, The Godfather
Upcoming releases: Splinter Cell Double Agent, Saint's Row

::::: Adventure :::::
Ah, the good old days! The 2D platformer. Adventure titles are now mostly seen on portable consoles. One famous character from this genre is Mario.

Recent releases: New Super Mario Bros.
Upcoming releases: Super Mario Galaxy

::::: Fighting :::::
Fighting simply means complex controls and many moves. Combo moves are the most beautiful. Recently, there has been a surge in female fighters in games.

Recent releases: Rumble Roses XX
Upcoming releases: Virtual Fighter 5

::::: Puzzle :::::
This genre of games are mostly seen on portable consoles, especially on Nintendo consoles. Recommended only for kids. Some innovative titles include Brain Age, Electroplankton, Whac-A-Mole.

Recent releases: Brain Age, Lumminies, Tetris DS
Upcoming releases: Big Brain Academy, Magnetica

I think that all genres of game are already covered. Anything else? Umh, I don't think so. If there is, feel free to post it in the comments section. Visit this blog again for the next special feature (The Art of Game Saving). Have a good read!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nintendo makes me go, "Wii!"

Judging from the recently held E3, an annual game exhibition, the Nintendo Wii suddenly seems to be a more attractive console purchase than Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3. With games like Super Mario Galaxy (image to the left), Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Red Steel, Metriod Prime 3:Corruption, Wii Sports and many more, Nintendo has all the right ingredients. These games have the ability to make anyone drool. Do not forget about the Wii's innovative controller, which will most probably change the way games are played. Yes, you can use it as a sword, you can use it as a tennis racket, and even as a operating instrument in a New Trauma Center game, where gamers play as a virtual surgeon. Instead of focusing on the hardware like what Sony did with the PS3, Nintendo betted heavily on the software, which is essentially the games. Even if the hardware is good, but if there is no good software, a console still will not survive. Sony PS3's is just too expensive at US$599 for the better version. How can a teenager like me afford it!?! Sure, the PS3 console has hardware excellence (the best of the 3 nect-gen consoles) but the price? PS3 games also do not seem to turn me on too. However, Nintendo has missed out on one important thing: The Wii cannot play higher-end games like those on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Too Human? Gears of War? Halo 3? Unheard of for the Wii, so to get the best thing, I suggest that you get both the Wii and Xbox 360. PS3? If you have the money, go ahead, but for a teen like me, I will try to get PS4 when I grow up (That's when I start earning money!). No PS3 for now; it's too expensive. Xbox 360 and I will consider the Wii when it arrives.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Game Review 14:Black

Arriving from the same developer as Burnout Revenge, you can expect to do lots of destruction in Black. You will find that you can destroy almost everything in the world of Black, from barrels to buildings to crates, so the next time you see a dead end, just lob a grenade over or blast it down with a rocket to proceed with the game. Along with the ability to destruct, comes the ever beautiful environments, where you will be waging war on the terrorists. The developer, Criterion, has also provided you with a huge arsenal of approximately 17 weapons to choose from, but you can only equip yourself with 2 at a time. However, for all the good points, Black does have some flaws here and there afterall. For example, there is no proper game saving system in this game. Sure, there are checkpoints that are very far away from each other, but if you switch off your console before completing a mission, the checkpoint progress will be erased too, forcing you to redo the entire same mission the next time you play Black. This can be quite fustrating if you die midway before reaching a checkpoint or accidentally switch off your console. The shooting system is marred by some glitches too, if you notice. When you see a terrorist, who may be far away from where you are, and if you are holding a rifle, do not even think of causing any injury to him. Yes, you are able to shoot the person, but he will not even twitch and there is absolutely no injury caused. The bullets will just vanish and you know you have just wasted precious ammo. The single-player content is also very lacking at only about 7 hours, which means that you can complete this game in a day! For gamers looking to extend gameplay through multiplayer, forget it because there is none. Just a kind reminder: Anger management is a must before you play Black. Black is slightly more difficult than most FPS games and the terrorists spawn into gameplay in waves, so the next time you see a clear area, do not just rush ahead. The terrorists will pop out all of a sudden. Otherwise, Black is just your standard FPS. Do not hesitate to get Black if you feel like doing some headshots or to kill time while waiting for some big titles.

Overall score: 8.4/10
Platform available: Xbox, PS2

Monday, May 08, 2006

Game Review 13:Guilty Gear Dust Strikers

I have been anticipating for Guilty Gear DS since its announcement last year and after a long wait, it has finally arrive on the DS! So the first question that comes to your mind is: How does it fare? To start with, I must say that Guilty Gear DS will be a minor let down to die-hard Guilty Gear fans. Note, it is only die-hard Guilty Gear fans. The DS version of Guilty Gear sees an introduction of an all new multilevel platform fighting system. Therefore, when you press the 'up' button on the D-pad, the character will proceed to the upper level instead of jumping into the air and vice versa, which is quite odd, compared to other traditional Guilty Gear games (e.g. Guilty Gear XX, Guilty Gear Isuka). To make matters worse, the gameplay also seems compressed because the characters look so small on screen, perhaps partly due to the fact that the DS screens are only 3-inches. Guilty Gear DS lacks the complexity of controls of other traditional Guilty games too. As far as I know, each of the 20 characters is only limited to 1 combo. Perhaps, innovation in Guilty Gear DS is doing more harm than good but, on the other hand, there are some good ones too. One of which utilises the touch screen. You may notice that there are several boxes scattered aross the screens during gameplay. Jump on them and you can use the items in them, ranging from bombs to lightning strikes. To my relief, the audio and graphics of Guilty Gear DS remain unchanged from the other Guilty Gear games. This is good news for you will be able to experience the atmosphere of playing Guilty Gear. Included with Guilty Gear DS are 7 basic mini games, like balancing acts and cleaning a yoyo. The scores that you achieve (must be 1st, 2nd or 3rd highest score) can be used to unlock special moves and sequences in Robo-Ky Factory, another new feature of the DS version of Guilty Gear. In Robo-Ky Factory, you can create your own characters with their own moves and opening game runs. Interesting? I do agree that after playing Guilty Gear for a week, you will realise that Guilty Gear DS is short in content and has a low replay value. However, the ability to play wirelessly with 3 other opponents compensates for this flaw. Overall, the developer, Majesco, must be credited for their good attempt at bringing Guilty Gear on to the portable consoles. Fan or no fan of Guilty Gear, go get this game for the fun and enjoyment that it dishes out but if you demand better quality Guilty Gear games, I suggest that you wait for the alternative: Guilty Gear Judgement for the PSP on May 30.

Overall score: 8.6/10
Platform: Nintendo DS
For screenshots, please click here.
Forthcoming reviews: Metroid Prime: Hunters, New Super Mario Bros.

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