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Aug 31, 2011

My spider-sense is tingling once again

Spider-Man 2
Game Category: Action - Third Person
Developer / Distributor: Fizz Factor / Activision
Release Date: 28 Jun 2004 
Rating: ESRB - Teen

Marvel Comics has seen the creation of thousands of superheroes (and super-villians) over the years that it sometimes make your mind boggle as they seek to introduce to us even more. No superhero other than Spider-Man, however comes across as being the most well-known, the most respected, and the most commercially successful.

It is truly a dream for Marvel Comics fans to be able to live in the era where we get to see movie versions of Spider-Man. Starring Tobey Maguire as the wall crawling superhero for the first three movies, this was a rich opportunity for Activision to license the creation of three PC video games based around the movie franchise.

What could have been a great game for the second movie has however been sullied by strange design decisions. I had expected more from the developers of the game -Fizz Factor. Unfortunately, the fact is that Spider-Man 2 is a game that features overly simplistic but repetitive game play, and it's capped off by lame sub-plots.

Read on for the full review of the game.

No doubt about it... I'm walking into spiderwebs

Aug 29, 2011

Relive Tolkien's vision in The Battle for Middle Earth

LOTR: The Battle for Middle Earth
Game Category: Strategy - Real Time
Developer / Distributor: EA Los Angeles / EA Games
Release Date: 6 Dec 2004 
Rating: ESRB - Teen

J.R.R. Tolkien would never have thought that his stories would live on in movies, music, board games, apparel, and even live-sized weapons. If he were alive today, I am pretty sure Tolkien would endorse this vision of his incredible world of high fantasy that features goblins, orcs, uruks, ents, elves, dwarves, humans, and (last but not least) the hobbits.

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth (BfME), is truly a wonderful piece of gaming development from Electronic Arts Los Angeles. It is a rich and realistically inviting real time strategy gaming experience that should be played by all gamers out there to experience some of the key events from the movie first hand. You will get to control all the main characters from the world of Middle Earth and also witness how some of the huge impressive (often computer generated) sets seen in Peter Jackson's movies have been translated into a real time strategy game.

If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings (both the movie and the book versions), then come along on this wonderful immersive journey. And as Tolkien buffs would say: The Road goes ever on and on, Out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, Let others follow it who can!

Beware! The Lidless Eye sees everything

Aug 24, 2011

Get yourself a green thumb in Plantasia

Game Category: Casual - Time Management
Developer / Distributor: Gamelab / Playfirst
Release Date: 13 Oct 2006 
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Note: This is my second review of a game coming from casual game developer Gamelabs - creators of Diner Dash. Head over here to read the first review - Egg vs Chicken.

Roses are red, violets are blue... and it is with these magical lines (often blurted during Valentine's Day) that I begin my review of Plantasia today.

Gamelabs have created an addictive and unique time management game that takes you on a horticulturist's journey planting seeds, harvesting flowers, and restoring fountains in fifty gardens. By the end of the game, you would have beautified enough gardens with such lovely blooming flowers that you should be proud of your achievement. And as the game developers say, you don't even need to have a green thumb to enjoy the game.

Plantasia, whose name seems to be a portmanteau of plant and fantasia, doesn't let you go once it gets its grip on you. Though you may think this may be a game for the ladies, well you are wrong; it's a great game for all, and should deservedly get more attention than it already has.

Jardins de Plantasia

Aug 21, 2011

Livin' Large Capsule Review

The Sims: Livin' Large
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Maxis / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 27 August 2000 
Rating: ESRB - Teen, PEGI 7+

Note: This is a continuing series of reviews of the expansion packs from The Sims franchise. Please read about The Sims here.

As first expansion packs go, I was totally thrilled by the new content found in this package. Maxis had squeezed in a number of new characters (most of them interesting additions), added in five new careers, and introduced a number of interesting new objects for furnishing and decorating the home. Most importantly for me would be the addition of new neighborhoods.

New neighborhoods
I was always frustrated by the limited number of homes available in The Sims. You could only have 10 homes and the finality of that brought logistical problems if I wanted to create more. Maxis obviously heard our wishes and whisked out four new neighborhoods. There is a new tab that allows you to select the neighborhoods at the upper left of the main screen. The original neighborhood is numbered 1 while the new ones are from 2 to 5. These neighborhoods are exact replicas of the original neighborhood but with them, I could now introduce even more Sims families and build lush homes for them.

Neighborhood #2 even comes with three new homes

Dimensity - It's probably a portmanteau of sorts

Game Category: RPG Strategy hybrid - Real Time
Developer / Distributor: Dagger Games / Strategy First
Release Date: 8 Dec 2008 
Rating: PEGI 12+

Imagine for a moment that someone proposed to take several game concepts from a role playing game and a real time strategy game. They then decided to mix it all together into one brilliant mashup of a game. Sounds good so far, right?

Wait a minute, what's that? It's been done before, you say?

Yes, you're right. Another game does come to mind when it comes to combining role playing with real time strategy, and that would be the Spellforce series. All would have been groovy if only Dimensity, tonight's game under review, had lived up to its expectations. The developers from Dagger Games could have been bold in implementing their vision and devoting just a little more time in play testing, but I somehow felt that not enough was done.

Not all is lost for Dimensity though, the end result may feel like an average attempt but at least there's enough content and eye candy to pave the way. So, if you don't mind the shortcomings that Dimensity throws at you, then I think you could possibly grow to be fond of what the game tries to accomplish. Read on and decide for yourself.

Rather frosty day for an adventure, no? 

Aug 15, 2011

Raw, visceral action awaits you in Enclave

Game Category: Action - Fighting
Developer / Distributor: Starbreeze Studios / Topware Interactive
Release Date: 29 Jul 2002 
Rating: ESRB - Mature

Back when I first laid my grubby hands on Rune, I had thought that there would be no game out there that would best it. I thought that Rune must be one of the best games of its kind... well, over the years, I realized I was wrong on two counts!

I will reveal the first Rune killer game tonight and keep mum about the second game until the next time. I am of course talking about Enclave, a little known game that was released with equally little global fanfare by Topware Interactive about nine years ago.

So what's so good about Enclave?

First and foremost, Enclave is a game that really knows how to throw you into the thick of action. Second, Enclave's story keeps things sweet and simple and moves things along at a breakneck pace. Third, you will be able to take control of several different characters in the game having different strengths and weaknesses. Finally, you will need all your mouse and button mashing skill to thwart the waves of enemies in beautifully crafted fantasy medieval levels.

Welcome to the world of Enclave

Aug 11, 2011

"Soo Soon" - That's Simlish for...

The Sims
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Maxis / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 31 Jan 2000
Rating: ESRB - Teen

I knew I just couldn't avoid a mention of The Sims on Daily PC Game Reviews... it's become so huge that it has spawned two more series in the franchise. Altogether now, the game has had 7 expansions for The Sims, eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs for The Sims 2, and another four expansion packs and four stuff packs for The Sims 3. And, the developers at Maxis don't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

To understand why The Sims series has become such a phenomenal success, we have to return to it's roots and uncover the very first series that started it all. That would be The Sims, a great game that was released way back in Feb 2000.

Over the next few nostalgic reviews, I will be covering The Sims and her seven expansion packs. It's going to be quite a journey as I lift up the hood of the game's simulation engine as well as cover each of the packs in some detail. I hope that somewhere in this journey, I will be able to reveal to you why this game has been so successful that it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide (as of March 2009).

PS - Please leave a comment to share your opinions at the end of this review as well as your experiences with the game. I will leave reviews of The Sims 2, and The Sims 3 franchises to another time in the future.

Starting up The Sims