On just about every other front, though, PES is an extremely solid soccer title. It may not have every team, every stadium, every tournament, and every player out there, but there's plenty enough in its gameplay to satisfy any video game soccer fan.
Sabtu, 16 Juni 2012
When it comes to soccer titles, really only two questions matter: how good is the game at recreating the feel of a soccer match, and has the game licensed the teams and players you want to play? Of the two primary soccer series, Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer on the one hand, and EA's FIFA on the other, PES has generally won the battle of the first question and lost the battle of the second. For better or for worse, PES 2012 trades a little of its dominance at smooth controls and soccer "feel," for a little bit more in the way of player and team licensing.
To be sure, PES 2012 is virtually the same game as PES 2011, so if you loved that game, you'll be glad to know that very little in the way of major changes have been made here. Controls are largely similar, although a new Teammate Control system allows you to rapidly swap to a player other than the one you're controlling during a set piece or other opportune moment so that you can direct where you want the key elements of your attack to be during critical stages. How often you will actually make use of this, though, is really a question of how in-depth you get with your sports games. Most of the more casual players will be content to let the AI keep handling many of the elements that it did in PES 2011, and it does an even better job of doing that this time around. Sure, there's the occasional controller lofting moment when John Terry suddenly decides he's had enough of playing defense that day and lets Ronaldo rip a shot right at your keeper, but for us Spurs fans, that's basically a win-win situation.
On the other hand, PES 2012 still has stronger gameplay than FIFA 2012, with more precise player controls and quicker responsiveness on inputs than its rival, although PES' advantage is now less pronounced than in previous iterations – not through any fault of PES, but because FIFA has gotten its act together recently. That said, PES has a very different feel and system from FIFA, and players used to that – or those sick of FIFA's approach – will like what they see in PES 2012. Free kicks are still a little wonky, but major bugs (like the defenders "catch-up" bug, in which attackers would be miraculously run down from behind by defenders on nearly every breakaway) have been squashed. That said, PES 2012's tweaks and upgrades don't include its graphics, which are decidedly unimpressive. Player models are often blocky, especially on close-ups, and colors feel washed out – disturbing considering everything is always on the same green background. I'm not sure if this is due to PES's graphical engine (which, as far as I can tell is the same one as PES 2011), or to its designers and artists not going the whole nine yards, but, compared to FIFA 2012, PES fails to impress.
On just about every other front, though, PES is an extremely solid soccer title. It may not have every team, every stadium, every tournament, and every player out there, but there's plenty enough in its gameplay to satisfy any video game soccer fan.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 20.35
Distilling the world's most popular sport into a video game isn't an easy task. Aside from capturing the atmosphere of the game--the satisfying thump of boot on football, the on-pitch dramas created between player and referee, and the ferocious roar of the crowd as the ball sails into the back of the net--there are other considerations too. Some players want to manage their teams. Others want to live out their dreams of football stardom. Still others want to put their skills to the test against the best in the world, all the while clamouring for as realistic an experience as possible. FIFA 12 lets you do all of these things and more. For the first time, the PC version uses the same engine as its high-def console counterparts. As a result, it not only looks the part, but also gives you access to the same excellent new features, such as the tactical defending system, player impact engine, and head-to-head seasons. It's the new EA Sports Football Club that's the real draw, though, bringing with it an addictive levelling system that pits you against the world's players, keeping track of your own progress and that of your favourite team too. Not only is FIFA 12 the best game in the series, it's also one of the most exciting, accurate, and complete sports games around.
If you're a longtime FIFA player, then the changes to defending in this year's game might come as a bit of a shock. A new tactical defending system has been implemented that drastically changes the way you play. In previous versions of FIFA, a common tactic when defending was to hold down the two "pressing" buttons, which sent players in to close down attackers and win the ball, requiring little in the way of skill. That tactic no longer works. Instead of rushing in to take the ball, your player now just tracks the attacker and remains a few feet away, keeping him held back. This system of containing the opposition requires more thought than simply sticking a leg in and hoping for the best. You have to actively time when to tackle or decide if it's better to simply hold a player back, rather than rush in for the ball, miss the tackle, and have the opposition pass.
If the opposition does get past, you now have the option of jostling them--that is, pulling on their shirt or using your player's arm to hold them back. This is a neat feature that brings the game closer to how the real-life sport is played, with new player animations making it look more realistic. Be warned, though; pull too many shirts, and the referee won't hesitate to throw a yellow, or even a red, card your way. Other improvements to the animation lie in the new player impact engine. This adds a physics system that simulates the impact between two players during tackles or other forms of contact. If you go in for a particularly aggressive tackle and slam into the player, the resulting animation is rarely the same twice, depending on the build and strength of the two players in question. Both or just one of you may end up in a heap on the pitch, while passing players leap over fallen bodies to get past. On the whole, the system works well, adding another layer of realism to the game. It's not infallible, though, and there are times when you see some comical rag-doll-physics-like animations as players flop over the pitch.
You can break out your newfound dribbling and defending skills in a number of modes, many of which have carried over from last year. These include Career mode, which lets you compete as a single player working through a 15-year career; as a player manager, where you manage your team's lineup and compete on the pitch; or as a manager, where you take a backseat to the on-pitch action and instead focus on tactics and building up your squad. There's something for everyone, and if you tire of one mode, you can easily switch between them at any time to mix things up. There's also an array of tournaments to play through, from the F.A. Cup through to custom leagues and knockout tournaments.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 20.26
When the Modern Warfare scion of the venerable Call of Duty franchise branched out four years ago, the electrifying campaign and addictive multiplayer cast a new mold for first-person shooters. In the years since, this formula has been consistently refined, shamelessly imitated, and widely adored, making it one of the defining franchises of this generation. Modern Warfare 3 stays the course, delivering an explosive campaign, breakneck competitive action, and challenging cooperative play. This is an exciting and rewarding game, but the series' signature thrills have lost some of their luster. Modern Warfare 3 iterates rather than innovates, so the fun you have is familiar. Fortunately, it's also utterly engrossing and immensely satisfying, giving fans another reason to rejoice in this busy shooter season.
The campaign picks up where Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 left off. Our heroes, Soap and Price, are in bad shape, and the villain, Makarov, is still at large. It doesn't take the pair long to get back in the hunt, and soon you're hopping the globe in pursuit of your quarry. You make a few forays into backwater outposts, but the most striking situations are when you take up arms in conflicts that consume entire cities. From New York City to London to Paris, no bastion of Western civilization is safe, and the destruction that has been visited on these iconic locations is visually stunning. As expected, PC players get the better end of the deal, with sharpness and clarity that outshine the console versions. The impressive scenery makes the action more impactful, and the campaign shuffles you around to different fronts within each city to make sure you can experience the battle from many different angles. Remote air support control, on-foot firefights, and tense vehicle sequences keep the campaign moving at a great clip in these urban environments, capturing the expert pacing that has made past Call of Duty campaigns so exhilarating.
As with its predecessors, the Modern Warfare 3 campaign has a few tricks up its sleeve aimed to shake you up or make you cry out with excitement. The latter are more successful than the former. A jet flight gone wrong and a chase through Parisian streets are highlights, using environmental upheaval to make you feel like you are struggling for control in an out-of-control situation. These sections are definitely exciting, but because Call of Duty has trained you to expect the unexpected, they lack the extra spark of surprise that kicks exciting up to thrilling. Modern Warfare 3 also takes a startlingly out-of-place shot at wrenching your heartstrings, but the outcome is so obvious from the moment the scene starts that you're left to watch dispassionately as the characters set up and fall victim to tragedy (opting to not see disturbing content at the outset of the campaign will likely spare you this unpleasantness). The game is more resonant when you encounter scenes of tragedy in the natural course of the campaign, but this is not an emotionally fraught campaign. It is, however, an engaging and superbly paced roller-coaster ride that brings the Modern Warfare story to a very satisfying conclusion.
If the five-hour campaign doesn't satisfy your thirst for AI blood, then the Special Ops mode almost certainly will. Returning after its debut in Modern Warfare 2, Spec Ops offers 16 one-off missions that complement the events of the campaign, letting you experience new facets of the global conflict in which you are embroiled. From stealthily escorting resistance fighters to slugging through a large enemy force in a Juggernaut suit, there's a lot of variety here. Though even the longest missions can be completed in under 10 minutes, the variable difficulty levels help Spec Ops missions provide hours' worth of challenging combat. Furthermore, you can now tackle almost every mission solo and make a bid for leaderboard glory. Depending on the quality of your connection, however, load times for online cooperative matches can stretch to over a minute long. It's a bummer when you have to wait so long to get into the action, but once things are under way, slowdown is infrequent.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 20.13
For more than a decade and a half, the Heroes of Might & Magic series has offered players the chance to adventure through fantastical worlds while training heroes, developing towns, and building armies to explore the realm and conquer their enemies. The turn-based titan returns in Might & Magic Heroes VI with the same engrossing and rewarding gameplay that its predecessors served up so well. New creatures, spells, and a lovely new faction help make this visually vibrant game feel fresh, while the restructured skill tree and new dynasty mechanic make hero development more flexible. Progressing through the five lengthy campaigns can drag at times, which is something the new quick combat feature both ameliorates and exacerbates. And the diverse tactical considerations can outpace the game's ability to explain them properly. But the addictive rhythm of building, fighting, and exploring is as powerful as ever, making Might & Magic Heroes VI another compelling entry in this storied series.
Whether you play one of the campaigns, a one-off game, or a multiplayer match, you must choose from one of the five factions. Each faction has a different town in which it can construct unique buildings and recruit seven faction-specific creature types. The medieval Haven, hellish Inferno, and ghoulish Necropolis factions will be instantly familiar to veterans of the series, as might the snarling Stronghold faction introduced in Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East. The Sanctuary faction, on the other hand, is entirely new and makes a great addition to the existing roster. The blue and green temples of a Sanctuary town feature the curved eaves of Japanese pagodas and sit atop flowing waterfalls. The creatures also draw on Eastern inspiration, including slithering, four-armed samurais (kenseis) and ethereal, kimono-clad water spirits (snow maidens).
Regardless of which faction you choose, the creatures are all richly detailed and appealing. Some examples include the hulking, skull-fisted jaguar warriors (Stronghold); the floating, feminine radiant glory (Haven); the corpulent, spike-limbed breeder (Inferno); and the desiccated, sphinxian lamasu (Necropolis). The creatures and buildings of a given faction share a strong artistic theme, creating a great sense of cohesion among the ranks and a strong visual opposition between rivals. This artistry also extends to neutral creatures, buildings, and environmental elements that litter each map. The lush forests of Sanctuary regions, the cavernous Inferno depths, and the gloomy plains of Necropolis territory all offer new visual treats for the intrepid explorer.
Into these realms you go, guiding one or more heroes down pathways littered with free-standing creatures, resources, artifacts, and buildings. Though there are only four types of resources (wood, coal, crystal, gold), the variety of artifacts and buildings continues to provide new sights, even hours into the game. Buildings can offer temporary or permanent attribute boosts for your hero, resource-producing mines, challenging arena fights, and a glimpse of distant lands, to name a few. These places can be visited by any hero, and mines can be claimed by a faction. However, rather than simply walking in and flagging a mine as you could previously, you must now control the surrounding area, which requires capturing the town or the fort that controls the region. Defending regions rather than individual mines is a much more logical and viable strategy, though your enemies can still disrupt your production by occupying or sabotaging your mines.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 19.55
The province of Skyrim might be frigid, but the role-playing game that takes place within it burns with a fire few games possess. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you take up arms against dragons, and your encounters with them are invariably exciting--yet depending on where your adventure takes you, such battles may not even represent the pinnacle of your experience. A side quest that starts as a momentary distraction may turn into a full-fledged tale that could form the entirety of a less ambitious game. Yes, Skyrim is another enormous fantasy RPG from a developer that specializes in them, and it could suck up hundreds of hours of your time as you inspect each nook and crevasse for the secrets to be found within. If you know Bethesda Softworks' previous games, you might be unsurprised that Skyrim is not a land without blemish, but rather harbors any number of technical glitches and frustrating idiosyncrasies that tear open the icy veil that blankets the land. Many of them are ones Elder Scrolls fans will probably see coming, but they're ultimately a low price to pay for the wonders of a game this sprawling and enthralling. Prepare for many sleepless nights to come.
Those nights traversing these lands are ones well spent. The game returns you to the continent of Tamriel, where you explore the northern realm called Skyrim, home to the Nord race. In these northern regions, snow flurries cloud your view, and platforms of ice float on the chilled waters. Nighttime often brings Tamriel's version of the aurora borealis, with its gorgeous blue and green ribbons stretching across the heavens. Skyrim's predecessor, Oblivion, featured prototypical fantasy environments--pretty but not quite evocative of the lore's darker undercurrents. Skyrim embraces its darker elements. You might feel an eerie chill as you glimpse a half-sunken ship through the mist, or watch as a dragon comes to life before your very eyes under the swirling firmament. Skyrim's atmospheric tone harks back to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, only the hazy dust storms of the earlier game have been replaced by glimmering snowfall and opaque fog.
These lovely vistas are best seen from a distance. Closer inspection reveals hard edges, plain painted-on textures, and other visual flaws that are conspicuous should you seek them out. But like many enormous games, Skyrim makes a fantastic impression not because its individual elements are sharply honed, but because they contribute to a grander whole. There's so much to do that your quest log becomes an embarrassment of pleasures, offering dozens of choices at any given time, each one as enticing as the next. You could follow the story, of course, which weaves a compelling tale that casts you as a dragonborn; that is, the soul of a dragon emanates from within you. As such, you are the key to discovering why dragons have returned to the land, terrorizing cities and potentially ending the known world. The tale has you facing dragons, of course, but also crashing fancy dress parties and scouring sewers in search of a key figure long assumed dead. It's a well-crafted tale that makes good use of those fearsome flying creatures that horrify the masses with roaring gusts of fire and ice.
As for standard spells, they come in the usual schools of magicka: destruction (zap skeletons with sparks!), conjuration (summon a giant frost atronach!), alteration (light the way ahead!), and so on. You can even dual-wield spells, going full-on mage, with a glowing ball of fire in one hand and a summon at the ready in the other. For that matter, you can dual-wield one-handed weapons, giving you more flexibility in how you form your character. When you create your character, you choose a race from the usual Elder Scrolls standbys (Dark Elf, Breton, Argonian, and so forth), but you don't choose a class. Rather, your skill level with certain types of weapons, magicka schools, speech, and so on is governed primarily by how you play. Wear heavy armor, and taking blows gradually increases your heavy armor proficiency. Swing two-handed weapons, and you get better at using them.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 19.43
Jumat, 15 Juni 2012
Even with all the talk surrounding the on-foot aspects in the upcoming game, Need for Speed: The Run, it's refreshing to get behind the wheels of some of the fastest cars in the world and see where the game is heading as we race across the United States. Of course, we know only bits and pieces behind the game's expansive story; we are expecting a game that puts players in the role of Jack as he races from San Francisco to New York against other competitors and from the mob. In our latest hands-on time with the game, we had the opportunity to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 in a stretch of desert highway in the game's Sprint Race mode.
The objective was simple: Complete the stretch of highway as fast as possible and overtake 10 cars to improve our overall in-game ranking. We drove a Porsche, and the stretch of highway offered what you'd expect with past NFS games: plenty of shortcuts, tight turns, and the necessity of avoiding incoming traffic. As far as we've been told, all courses in the game are based on actual real-life spots throughout the country, but some slight modifications have been made to incorporate the Frostbite 2 engine and to make it more appealing for racing fans. A new implantation being introduced in The Run is the rewind feature. Unlike other games where the rewind feature is available to use at anytime, here, it kicks in only in certain situations; specifically, those in which you crash and total your car. Now, rather than having to replay particular races all over again, you are taken back to the last-reached checkpoint and can attempt that particular spot again. The vehicles are put back in their same spots, and now you have the opportunity to fix the mistake that may have caused the first accident to occur.
While racing, we had to use the rewind feature twice, and both times, it was on the same particular stretch of highway. It was kind of nice to be able to try the same spot a couple of times because we got to see what we did wrong the first time. For the second attempt, we went in the complete opposite direction but still managed to destroy our ride. Although it's nice that you don't have to restart a particular race from the beginning, racers are still penalized for using this feature. While the number of rewinds resets after each race, your race timer does not, and this will factor into bragging rights. Also, depending on the game's difficulty, the number of times you can use this feature is limited. With the one course we raced, it would be highly unlikely that someone would use up all available rewinds, but we expect that later stages and more populated courses, such as city ones, may require numerous attempts.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 17.27
Even the greatest heroes can't live forever. And so it goes for Ezio Auditore di Firenze, who finally steps aside to make room for new champions in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. This is another quality entry in a quality series, and it unleashes you in a visually stunning re-creation of 16th-century Constantinople. Additions to the movement mechanics make exploring the city a joyous exercise in high-flying parkour, with you as Ezio leaping across rooftops and flinging yourself up exterior walls like a Renaissance superhero. Like many sequels, Revelations giveth, and Revelations taketh away, so you lose certain elements (horses) in favor of a slew of new ones (bomb crafting). Lots and lots of new ones. Assassin's Creed: Revelations is sometimes a lumpy Frankenstein's monster of a game, half-formed appendages stitched into place regardless of whether they belong there or not. Thankfully, when Revelations remembers to be an Assassin's Creed game, it soars into the Turkish skies, reminding fans why they fell in love with this freewheeling series.
Expectedly, Revelations isn't all Ezio's story. It's also Desmond's. You remember Desmond, the bartender-cum-assassin whose mind is probed to discover truths that could potentially prevent the earth's destruction. Desmond looks different than you might remember: faces have been redesigned, features elongated, making your old comrades-in-conspiracy feel a bit unfamiliar, as if they have had plastic surgery since you saw them last. In any case, Desmond's mind is a prisoner within the Animus, the machine that allows his associates to tap into his ancestral memories. This computerized sanctuary is presented as an island, where shimmering doors leading to who-knows-where punctuate a virtual seaside. Here, Desmond and the enigmatic Subject Sixteen explore the bartender's memories and regrets in long conversations that illuminate Desmond's former life.
In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Desmond was becoming a full-fledged assassin, and you guided him through dank caves and across rooftops as a sort of Ezio-lite. The character arc matched the gameplay arc: Desmond was gaining confidence, and this was reflected in his ever-improving abilities. Revelations tries a more thoughtful approach but falls short. Subject 16 starts as a mystery and remains one, making for an unsatisfactory replacement for the team with which Desmond has typically interacted. Meanwhile, Desmond passes through those shining portals and into his own memories. These memory levels are made of gray columns and tiled floors that glisten and undulate like digital rivers. You move through them in first-person view while Desmond talks himself through the pain of his past. This synthetic cyberspace makes for an effective backdrop, but the accompanying gameplay is anything but fun. You create blocks and ramps out of thin air to pass through these levels, but moving across them feels flat, and jumping is inexact. The flatness turns to frustration as you encounter gusts that move the blocks you create, and deal with energy fields that cause them to dissipate. These levels are one of Revelations' many attempts to force elements into a game that doesn't benefit from them.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 17.20
Kamis, 14 Juni 2012
In Half-Life 2, you once again assume the role of Gordon Freeman, the theoretical physicist and dimension-hopping commando who saved the world from an alien invasion at the end of Half-Life. Or did he? Half-Life 2 starts you off facing the infamous G-Man, the mysterious blue-suited character from the first game. At the end of Half-Life, the G-Man offered you a choice: work for him or die. Since there would be no sequel if you chose the latter, Half-Life 2 assumes you chose the former, and you start the game in a train entering City 17 for your introduction into this new world.
City 17 is a run-down urban center that's the equivalent of the Warsaw ghettos during World War II, but instead of Jews being rounded up to live in City 17, it's all the remnants of a defeated humanity. Half-Life 2 takes place an untold number of years after the Black Mesa incident, but it's clear that much has changed. A mysterious enemy known as the Combine has conquered the planet and installed a human puppet government to carry out its rule. Black-clad security forces patrol the streets, while propaganda blares endlessly from omnipresent video screens. If there's one thing that Valve does extremely well, it's capture a sense of atmosphere--this vision of a dystopian police state is chillingly effective. But you won't spend a lot of time soaking in the scene before you're thrust into the struggle to defeat the Combine and free humanity.
After you reach safety, Half-Life 2 settles into a more conventional and familiar style of play. Aside from a detour through a deserted town full of all sorts of booby traps, there are a lot of echoes of the original Half-Life in Half-Life 2--so many, in fact, that there's a strong sense of déjà vu at times. Still, it's hard to knock Valve for not wanting to tinker too much with a proven formula, and Half-Life 2 is as fast-paced and enjoyable as its predecessor.
Surprisingly, Half-Life 2's story is one of the most disappointing aspects of the game. The first half of the game feels a bit unfocused, while the second half seems rushed. Even worse, the story leaves behind a mess of unanswered questions, and it doesn't touch on any of the lingering questions left over from the first game. Valve likes to leave tantalizing hints and tidbits everywhere in the game, but few of these actually develop into anything interesting, and by the end you're left wondering what the game was all about. In many ways, Half-Life 2 feels like the middle chapter in a much larger story, and it suffers as a result.
Diposting oleh Raziq Ahmed di 19.13