December 07, 2006

Console War- XBOX 360 vs Playstation 3

When it comes to the industry of gaming, the company that develops a gaming console with the biggest and baddest hardware will usually be declared the victor. However, in the recent years, two companies have leaped ahead of all the rest and have become the "kings" of the gaming industry. But, as everyone knows, there can be only one true "king". Those two competing kings are currently the companies of Sony and Microsoft. The Playstation 3 is Sony's weapon and the XBOX 360 is the weapon of Microsoft; and with their weapons, the two are going to battle in an all out war.

Many believe that the new Nintendo Wii should-be/is a valid participant in this gaming war, and no one can really blame them for that line of thinking. Although the Wii has some great innovation and has made a splash in the gaming industry, it has neither the firepower nor the fan base that the XBOX 360 or PS3 currently has. Therefore, it may creep into the battle once or twice with a good game, but it won't stand up to the big boys for very long.

Most gamers are familiar with this war and know that it is probably going to last quite a number of years. Although gamers claim to know much about this war, no one really knows what cards are going to be played next, by each company that is. Even though both companies have the "Great Game" card, which they pull out occasionally, both of them still have their own tricks and tactics to pull in more gamers. For instance, instead of the Sony just going with a normal controller for the PS3, they developed the Sixaxis controller; which happens to have motion sensing capability. It may not be as innovative as the Wii controller, but it adds something special to the PS3 experience.

Its obvious that the XBOX 360 has much more footing than the PS3 at the current time. The reason being: the XBOX 360 has been out for a little over a year, while the PS3 has only just been released (November 17th, 2006). That means anyone who wants an XBOX 360 either already has one or can go down to the store and get one within minutes. The Playstation 3, on the other hand, is still in the "list" phase, which means that it is near impossible to get one without actually being on a list. But, within a few months to a year, the PS3 will leave the list phase and be available to walk-in shoppers; allowing many more people to get their hands on the console system. The playing field will then become slightly more level for the two consoles.

From a visual point of view, the PS3 and XBOX 360 do not appear to differ all that much. Some would say that the PS3 graphics look a bit more detailed, and that may be true, but the difference is hardly noticeable. In terms of hardware, it seems the PS3 is packing more of a punch, which would account for its higher price. That is partly due to the fact that the PS3 has a built-in Blu-ray disc player that supports high-def resolution. The only problem with that is the fact that gamers want to play games, and the ability to play movies (whether they be DVDs or Blu-ray discs) is a bonus, rather than a necessity.

The XBOX 360 did not try to push its movie playing software onto it's fans (which is a HD-DVD player). The XBOX 360 did/does not come with the HD-DVD player. Thats because it is an add-on, which may be perceived as a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, making it an add-on has saved money for the people who didn't/don't care about watching movies on their gaming system. Many gamers believe that the same method should have been taken with the PS3, which would have allowed people to make their own decision about getting a Blu-ray disc player or saving some money.

As anyone could have guessed, this battle is not going to be won so easily. Each company is going to do whatever they can to pull ahead and get more fans. Whether gamers know it or not, this is actually a good thing for the gaming industry. Two competing, gaming companies will only strive to come up with more innovative and fun games for their fans. This means that consumers will see more games that are more fun, more frequently. It's true that these gaming titans might be fighting a never ending battle, but end or no end, it is still going to be one heck of a fight to the top.

December 02, 2006

Game Review: Gears of War- Online Play

A game has emerged for the XBOX 360 that has truly risen the bar for all games that are to come after it. That game is "Gears of War", and aside from its overwhelming excellent single player campaign, the game is even better when played with a friend. As every gamer knows, a single player campaign gets boring after awhile. You can only replay a game so many times before the game itself disgusts you and you have to move on to something new. Well luckily, thats where online play comes in, as it breaths new life into an otherwise dead concept. "Gears of War" is one of those titles that can be replayed over and over again on different difficulties and still be quite fun. But even "Gears of War" has a breaking point. Before you reach that point, it would be wise to try to have some fun playing online, via a broadband internet connection that is.

Each and every online match can have a maximum of 8 players, thats 4 players to each team. One side is made up of humans soldiers and the other is made up of Locust soldiers. There are no differences between the two sides, apart from the obvious visual appearance and the voices. So neither side has the upper hand during a match; its basically survival of the fittest.

The matches you participate in are not your standard frag matches either. When an opposing player kills you, you stay dead. That means you will not simply respawn every time you die; you will have to wait until the next round in order to play. Opinions often vary with this feature, as some like the idea of being careful and cunning on the battlefield, while others simply want to "run & gun" over and over. This "one life per round" feature means that you and your team must come up with a plan and coordinate with each other in order to win. You only have one chance to "Kill or be Killed" each round, so you have to make it count. Therefore, the team that says "Every man for himself!" is going to be brutally slaughtered by the team that says "Everybody, Stick together!"

A player can participate in three different types of online matches, which are Execution, Warzone, and Assassination. Each of the matches has the same basic guideline, which is "Kill 'em All!" Although, there are a few minor differences in each of the online matches:

Warzone is a rather simple concept to comprehend, and this has to be the most common match that players will come across. In Warzone, you simply kill every member of the opposing team to win. In this type of match, when a player drops to his knees (which is basically pre-death), an enemy can just keep shooting and that downed player will die quickly. Once every player on an opposing squad is killed, the round ends. The squad with the most "round wins" will win the overall match.

In an Execution match it is slightly different. When a player falls down in execution, he can not be killed simply by firing at him. To kill a downed player in Execution, you have to get up close and personal. The chainsaw bayonet is a great way to finish off a downed player, but that can take a little too long. Every second counts on a battlefield; so while you're cutting your enemy in half, another enemy might be getting ready to blow off your head with a shotgun. Most players stick with the curb stomp (X button on downed player), as it delivers a fast crushing blow to the head. Execution matches are much more strategic because they allow players to be easily revived by their allies. Even though a player may have downed you, it doesn't mean your going to die. Obviously, your not in good shape. However, that player still has to risk coming out from behind cover to finish the job, and thats always a risky proposition in "Gears of War". The good news is that you can actually revive yourself if no allies are nearby. If no enemy is aware of your "vulnerable" state, you can frantically tap the "A" button to keep your heart going. After a few seconds, you will be revived and ready to get back into the fray. As you might have guessed, Execution matches seem to be the most popular of the three.

Assassination is, without a doubt, the least popular of the online matches. In this match there will be 1 team leader and then 3 "grunts". The team leader has no extra damage potential, health, or special attributes, he is just the leader. It is rumored that the leader was a bit stronger than the others, but it was false and he is just as fragile as the rest of the squad. However, the leader can pick up different weapons throughout the map, while the rest of the squad can not. Once the leader dies, the round is over. The person who killed the opposing leader then becomes the leader for his/her team. Players rinse and repeat this for every round, then the team that won the most rounds wins the match.

As usual, there will be unranked and ranked matches. Those who like to shine up their record will play in ranked matches, where the competition seems to be much more fierce. Players who want a friendly match with not as much pressure will choose to play in unranked matches. Either way, you will still be going up against real live players who can think and switch up their game plan in the blink of an eye. So you'd better be a step ahead of your opponents if you want to survive.

You can expect the graphics & sounds to be the same as the campaign mode, simply amazing. But, its not easy to marvel over sounds and visuals when you are being fired upon, so only do that when you are safe and under cover. As for in-game lag, it doesn't seem to be that big of an issue. Obviously, it will vary from player to player and each match will have its share; but overall, the lag seems minimal.

If your tired of beating the campaign mode on insane for the 5th time in a row (which is no easy task), or you just need a break from the campaign mode, check out the online aspect of the game. It has lots of things to offer players and is simply fun, period. If you're an XBOX 360 owner, "Gears of War" is a must have title that you truly need to get your hands on. If you don't have the money, save it up then buy it some time in the near future. Its a great gaming investment!

December 01, 2006

Playstation 3 Game Review- "Resistance: Fall of Man" Multiplayer Mayhem

Every gamer knows that a game can only last so long before it gets boring. Sure, you can beat a game on all the different difficulty levels, but that still does not change the inevitable destination of boredom. Its not the games fault, as the game was fun at a time. Its just that you have beaten it and there really is nothing else to do with it. Or is there? Well, for some games there is another choice that can lead away from boredom. That choice is the multiplayer option, or online multiplayer to be more specific. More and more games are being released with online capability. Its really getting to the point that if a game does not have any online capabilities, gamers just move on to something else. Well, "Resistance: Fall of Man" is one of those great online multiplayer games; and those who own a Playstation 3 (as well as a copy of the game) can partake in the all out carnage that ensues during an online match.

As far as the overall gameplay goes, there is not a big difference from the campaign; its basically kill or be killed, with subtle variations in the matches of course. A great aspect of online play is that players can choose between being a human soldier or a Chimeran hybrid. Both races have different perks, which can often be used to turn the tide of a battle. You just have to figure out which advantages you find more useful.

The Chimeran hybrid can enter into a "berserker", or "rage", mode that will increase its damage, speed, and ability to withstand incoming fire. Not only that, but they can also see through walls when in this "rage" state. The downsides to hybrids are few, but they can make an impact on the battle field. For one, hybrids are big bulky creatures,; therefore, they are bigger targets and enemies can hit them more easily, if not under proper cover that is. The other big disadvantage is the loss of a radar, which can be a players best friend in hectic & dangerous situations. The humans aren't really anything special; just average soldiers with a hint of toughness. They can sprint from cover to cover quickly, plus they have a radar that reveals the location of both enemies and allies (huge advantage). But other than that, they are just typical soldiers with fancy weaponry.

Most gamers familiar with online first person shooters will automatically know what types of matches will be available in "Resistance: Fall of Man". Those matches are: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture-the-Flag, as well as a few other variations of common FPS matches; those of which will either be ranked or unranked games. Players will be able to participate in small to medium sized battles via their broadband internet connection. Smaller matches will contain about 8 players, while the slightly larger ones will contain about 16. However, this game offers a player the chance to battle with up to 39 other players. Thats 40 players in a single online match!

Many gamers would believe that 40 players in one match is too good to be true, as the lag would ruin those types of matches. Surprisingly, that is not the case. Its true, every match, big or small, will have its share of lag issues from time to time, but these 40 person matches have much less lag then a player would expect. Obviously, not everyone is going to be operating from the same high-speed connection as the player next to them; so results may vary from match to match. Either way, there definitely seems to have been some extra effort put into the lag issues.

As any gamer can see, "Resistance: Fall of Man" has it all, for a first person shooter anyways. Great single player story as well as fantastic online multiplayer capability. You truly can't go wrong with this title; its a must have!

PS3 Game Review - Resistance: Fall of Man

Anyone who has picked up a news paper or has seen a news broadcast in recent weeks knows that the Playstation 3 has arrived. With it has come a whole arsenal of new and remastered games for Playstation 3 fans to enjoy. The most anticipated title of the PS3 was/is undoubtedly "Resistance: Fall of Man", which is from the developers of the Ratchet & Clank series (Insomniac Games). Although they have not been known for their "realistic" looking games, Insomniac Games has always done its best to produce quality games. This time they have taken a new turn in gaming; and with this exclusive, action packed, first-person shooter for the PS3, they are sure to get lots of praise from gamers.

The setting and storyline of "Resistance: Fall of Man" seems to be an interesting one. Instead of World War II taking place, a strange alien species, known as the Chimera, has invaded and is slowly taking over the planet. They are vicious looking creatures and they will destroy and/or consume whatever is in their path. The reason they are spreading throughout Europe (which is where they supposedly originated) so fast, is the fact that the Chimera infect humans, who then become Chimera themselves.

Heres the deal: you are Nathan Hale, an American Soldier, and you have been sent over seas to support the defenses in Europe; more specifically the UK, as Europe has been almost entirely consumed by the Chimera. Not much is known about the origin and why these Chimera have risen, but as you progress through the game, you will learn more about the Chimera and where they truly came from. The strange thing about the storyline is that the narration and perspective of the War is not done by Hale, but by a female soldier who has encountered Hale in the UK. She will give you plenty of information and feedback on the situation, but many gamers would have preferred Hale to play a more "active" role in the narration. Overall, the story seems to be very well developed and is sure to entertain and excite Playstation 3 fans.

The control scheme for this game is your standard run-of-the-mill FPS (first person shooter) set-up. Analog sticks control movement and looking, while the other buttons let you fire, change weapons, and interact with the environment. The Sixaxis controller seems to have been implemented nicely as well. There will be times when some Chimera creatures will grab hold of you; this is when you begin shaking the controller in order to try to break free. It may not sound too thrilling in the description, but it can get pretty intense during gameplay when surrounded by those creatures. The feature won't be used around every corner; but when you do use it, you'll find yourself appreciating the game, as well as the PS3, much more.

The weapon choices seems to be pretty basic; pistols, shotguns, rifles, snipers, grenades, and, of course the big gun, the rocket launcher. Although they may be "basic" FPS guns, the detail of each one of them is quite astounding, as well as the visual presentation when each of them is fired. There are also a few special guns that you will find throughout "Resistance: Fear of Man"; not to mention a few advanced weapons that you can unlock once you have completed the game. The only non realistic thing in the weapons department is "weapon carrying". Most games today allow only a few weapons to be held, rather than an arsenal. However, "Resistance: Fear of Man" goes back to the roots of FPS gaming, where you can pick up any and all guns you come across. Now to some gamers, this is somewhat of a bad thing. They believe it is bad because any soldier carrying 5+ different heavy weapons is going to be slow and ineffective when it comes to fast paced combat; and therein lies the lack of realism. But, many people find that carrying many different weapons is a good thing; as they can change weapons instantly to better deal with the situation at hand. Therefore, that small lack of realism is easy to bare and people get used to it quite quickly.

In terms of performance and overall appearance, this game definitely gets an A+, and then some. The graphics and cut-scenes are excellently done, as well as the explosive special effects and character detail. The sound is of an exceptional quality also, which makes every shot fired that much more intense. As far as some of the visual displays and designs go, you may notice similarities to other big titles; but that will be left up to you to find.

"Resistance: Fall of Man" is sure to be a PS3 "Great One" for several months, and should always be remembered as one of the PS3's greatest launch titles. If you happen to have the honor of owning a Playstation 3, this game should, without a doubt, be in your game collection.

XBOX 360: Gears of War game Review

Every so often, a game emerges that puts all other games to shame. Well, "Gears of War" is one of those great games and it is exclusively for the XBOX 360. Not many titles excel in every gaming area, but "Gears of War" has proven to be an excellent gaming experience that no gamer should miss.

The storyline is a vital part of the game itself. Its true that games don't have to have detailed and immense storylines to be considered good, but the ones that do shine even more. "Gears of War" has an excellent story about a war between the COGs (Coalition of Organized Governments, which is the rest of humans) and a strange monstrous species known as the Locust. The Locust seem to have been buried deep beneath the ground and have risen to take control of Earth. You are given the role of a soldier named Marcus Fenix, a man considered to be a traitor (the game doesn't go into detail about that) but reinstated to active duty. Your squads primary assignment is to locate Alpha squad. They have a trinket in their possession that could possibly end the war once and for all.

"Gears of War" is not your standard first person-shooter. As a matter of fact, its not even a FPS (first-person shooter) as many people may think. You will play from a third-person point of view, which is actually a pleasant change for action packed shooters such as this. This game isn't "run & gun" either. Its more of a strategic shooter in which you must choose your shots and plan your movements. Taking cover is one of the biggest aspects of this game, and if you fail to do so, you will end up with quite a few bullet wounds; or worse, dead!

The mechanics of covering are easy to get use to; not to mention, performing a "take cover" move is really fun to watch. Fenix will do about 2 quick steps and literally smash his shoulder into the object in front of him. From there, you can then perform a "over the top" move and quickly scramble over the object (if it is waist high that is). You can also perform a quick side movement that will make you take cover behind another nearby object. Taking cover is not only the best way to avoid incoming enemy fire, but its the only way you can recover from damage. Like most next-gen games these days, "Gears of War" has ditched the old "health bar" and gone with the "duck & cover" health regeneration technique. That means when you're badly wounded during a fire fight, the only way to survive is to retreat to a safe area and take cover.

You will do the majority of your shooting from behind cover as well. Blind fire is useful for keeping charging enemies at bay, while popping your head up and taking aim is much more efficient for taking out enemies. However, you will not be the only soldier that takes cover. Both the Locust soldiers and your allies will also use cover when the situation arises. Just as you were protected from fire, they will be well protected also. Therefore, you must take well aimed shots to get the upper hand on the battlefield. The Locust soldiers are not stupid, they will react to their surroundings and switch up their game plan when the situation calls for it. Obviously, some of them will be cannon fodder and run into an array of incoming bullets, but the majority of Locust enemies will make you work for the kill.

A game doesn't have to have 100 hundreds of different enemy types to be fun, but it should certainly have more than one or two. Luckily, "Gears of War" does have a few different enemies that you can unload your ammo into. The most common enemies will be the human-sized Locusts that carry around shotguns and rifles, just like you. However, there will be small differences in some of them, such as weaponry and the sound of their voices & commands. The smaller ones are much less of a nuisance. Thats because they can be gunned down relatively quickly and without any clever planning. However, if a few of them get close, they can cause utter chaos amongst you and your squad. There are also a few bigger enemies that you will encounter and they will usually take much more time and ammunition to bring down. Also, a few of the enemies you come across will be invulnerable to your average weaponry and you must use a special weapon to take them out, but you'll find out more about that while playing.

As far as weaponry goes, you won't be shocked with your choices. You will comes across a few pistols, a shotgun, grenades, a sniper rifle, and your average automatic assault rifle, as well as a few other more "destructive" weapons. There will be one weapon that you will never want to get rid of, as it is your golden ticket to blood and gore. That weapon is called the "Lancer" and it comes fully equipped with a chainsaw bayonet, which you can use to saw enemies in half (vertically). The whole chainsaw scene is very gruesome, yet unbelievably entertaining. Doing it once, though, is not enough, as you will find yourself looking for many more opportunities to saw enemies in half.

Each of these weapons has a reloading feature that will allow you to reload it faster. However, doing this can also result in a weapon jam, causing it to take longer to reload; which could end in your demise if an enemy is charging. A perfect reload will actually give you a small damage boost for a few seconds, allowing you to drop more enemies even faster than usual. Of course, it takes some practice to get the hang of it in the heat of battle; but once you get it down, you will so much more dangerous.

All of this extraordinary gameplay would not be nearly as enjoyable in black & white or with just basic dull textures. However, that is not the case here. "Gears of War" has stunning visuals and textures, which is what each and every gamer has been waiting for. The frame rate is absolutely excellent, as there are very few visual glitches or out-of-place textures. The environment makes traveling and exploring all worth while, as the designs and overall look of each area has been excellently designed and crafted. Each detail is truly a work of art, but in an action packed shooter like this, it can be hard to appreciate the smaller things.

Above all else, "Gears of War" is definitely "Game of the Year" material and should be experienced by every gamer. Even though the XBOX 360 has been out a full year, this is the first, 100% true "next-generation" game.

November 30, 2006

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07- Review

Although golf may seem like a boring and "inactive" sport to some people, it couldn't be farther from the truth for gamers, whom own golf games that is. The "Tiger Woods" series has become increasingly popular these last few years; and with the newest addition of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07" on the Playstation 3, the series is, no doubt, going to get even more attention.

Right from the beginning, you will be amazed at the performance of the game. The loading will only be a few seconds and when it is done you are given a large amount of different options to choose from. The most noticeable option is that of Career Mode, in which you can create your own custom golfer and begin your own prosperous career as a pro-golfer. Some of the other modes include: match play, alternate shot, battle golf, best-ball, stroke play, skins, practice, etc. Each type of game match will have its own guidelines and rules, but there should still be something for everyone.

One of the best matches to play in "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07" is battle golf. Battle golf is basically match play with an entertaining twist. During this type of match, you will go about playing a golf game as you normally would, but after each and every hole the winner gets a special treat. That "special" treat is the removal of an opponents club; which means that any club he/she has in their set can be removed and he/she will no longer have access to it. Its an awesome feeling when your opponent has only a few clubs at his disposal, while you still have all of yours.

Creating and developing your own unique golfer is definitely one of the highlights of the game, as you get to design them to look like whatever you want. You are free to design him/her right down to the very last detail. Not only that, but you can actually choose what type of reactions they have on the course. Obviously, if all you got to do was design a character and just look at him/her, the game would quickly lose its appeal. Luckily, theres much more to do with your created character than just looking at him/her, and the best thing to do is to start a career.

Career mode allows you to take your character through many different tournaments and match-ups, allowing you to face-off with some of golfs most well known golfers, such as Tiger Woods, John Daly, Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, and many more. Of course, in order to compete with these pro-golfers and become the best, your going to need to create one heck of a great golfer. However, creating a superstar golfer is not that simple.

After all, Tiger Woods did not become a great golfer over night; he was born that way! But thats beside the point. The point is, you will need plenty of training and practice to reach your peak as a golfer. You will do that by taking your character through a few different mini games, which will develop your character's individual attributes. Your characters different attributes are: ball striking, driving accuracy, putting, recovery, power, power boost, approach, and spin. After each mini-game you participate in, some of those attributes may increase. However, that will depend on your overall performance during the game, as well as what the mini-game's main focus was on. Your starting character is going to suck, period; but with a few mini games played here and there, he will grow in talent and become an all-star golfer in no time.

Many people think they can just keep training then hit the campaign trail and blaze over the competition easily. Well, thats not the case. You will only be able to train a certain amount of times before each and every match. This makes it so you can't "beef" up and then "slaughter" each one of your opponents on the course.

Attributes are always great, but they can't replace the feeling of picking up and trying out new golf gear. And, thats exactly what your golfers can do from time to time. Simply stop by the pro-shop via the career menu and you can browse all the clothing and equipment that can be purchased. Its always nice to see the purchased equipment being used by, and displayed on, your character; but that is not the only reason equipment is worth buying. New equipment will also present your golfer with skill bonuses, which will give him/her an edge on the golf course. So even though it may just "look" great on your golfer, the equipment is actually working its magic behind-the-scenes to increase your golfer's attributes.

The PS3 console port of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07" not only has great single player modes, but players can challenge others online via an internet connection. If you ever get bored with career mode, then online play should be your next destination. The most common online matches will be those of stroke and match play games, but there will be many other game types as well; such as battle golf, alternate shot, three-hole golf, skins, etc. Players may either participate in unranked or ranked matches, which is now a common thing to see in most online games. If a gamer thinks they are "pro" material, they will go for ranked games to increase their record and stats. However, those who feel somewhat less confident in their skills will play unranked games, as there is much less pressure.

In terms of graphics, visuals, and sounds, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07" scores big. Each course looks absolutely amazing and the small touches (like the birds flying over head, waves crashing on the shoreline, and/or the fans running up and down the fairway trying to get a better view) really makes the game seem so much more realistic and intense. The details of all the characters are extremely well done also. It is a shame that there are only 12 courses on the PS3 version of this game, but each of them is quite breath taking, to say the least. Not to mention, the commentary seems to have been well implemented and pretty accurate with each individual play. So you can expect the announcers to praise you for good shots and criticize you for the poor ones.

No matter how you want to look at it, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07" for the Playstation 3 is a quality game. If your not a big fan of golf games, this might be the PS3 game that changes your outlook on them. With a large selection of match options, personalized character creation, outstanding visuals, excellent audio, beautiful courses, great online play, excellent control scheme, and so much more, What more could a golfing fan want?

November 29, 2006

PS3 Review- "Call of Duty 3"

The Playstation 3 has been a long awaited console, but now that it is here, gamers have to figure out which games are good and which games are not-so good. Luckily, that can be easily done through the readings of a food review. Most gamers know that there is an abundance of World War II games available to play. Among those WWII games is the Call of Duty (CoD) series, and with each CoD game, the aspect of fighting in World War II gets even more intense. Well, now with "Call of Duty 3" (which has been released for both the next-consoles of XBOX 360 and Playstation 3), gamers can relive and participate in one of the most graphic and action-packed wars ever known.

Those familiar with "Call of Duty 2" (especially that of the XBOX 360 port) know that "Call of Duty 3" is going to be nothing short of spectacular. As for the story, fans can expect the same scenario, which is fighting & killing the Germans on all fronts. The set-up of the story will remain the same; you take the role of a few different soldiers and fight in a couple different campaigns (America, Britain, Canada, and Poland). The setting of "Call of Duty 3" is in 1944 and you will be trying to drive the German forces out of France, during the Normandy Breakout. Unlike "Call of Duty 2", "Call of Duty 3" has more developed characters and there seems to be more of a background story for each of the soldiers; which you will find more about while playing.

As for the the combat, everything you would expect in a World War II game is there. The enemy AI seems to be pretty advanced (usually anyway). Enemies will go under cover whenever they are being fired upon, as well as quickly alert all others to nearby grenades. Its true they did those things in "Call of Duty 2", but it seems they have a much quicker reaction time to changing environments; which will also depend on the difficulty setting. To stay alive, you will need to find cover quickly while moving from place to place. Your allies will move with you, so its easy to tell when you need cover because a few of them will drop dead due to incoming enemy fire. Unfortunately, this game has no lean function. Most gamers would agree that it would be nice to get up against a wall, lean out, and then quickly snipe an incoming enemy. However, the "duck & cover" method seems to work nicely, which allows players to simply crouch then pop up and fire.

Most gamers know that the "Call of Duty" series is not just your average run & gun first person shooter (FPS). It actually leans more to the tactical side of FPS; due to the fact that you must choose your shots, as well as think about what your going to do next. Obviously, you may choose to run around with a Thompson SMG shooting wildly at enemies, but you will find you will not survive very long with that tactic. Therefore, you have to examine the surroundings of the battle field and then decide what to do next.

The Playstation 3 Sixaxis controller also has a few uses while playing through the game. One of those uses is when an enemy soldier sneaks up and grabs you and you must struggle to break free of him, which is done by tilting the controller rapidly. The whole scene is very intense, but unfortunately it does not happen too often. Another great aspect of the controller is that of driving vehicles. You will hold the controller like a steering wheel and tilt it in order to turn left and right. It may not sound very thrilling, but once you have tried it, you'll see how fun it really is.

The graphics and sound of "Call of Duty 3" are, as anyone could have guessed, wonderful. The XBOX 360 port of the game seems to have a slightly better frame rate and less visual glitches than that of the PS3. But, the PS3 port still has superb quality details and exceptional level design, as you will no doubt notice while playing. Then again, it might be hard to stop and appreciate all the beautifully designed scenery when bullets are whizzing over your head. The cut-scenes are also a thing to "oowww" and "aawww" over, as they have been excellent designed and implemented into each and every campaign.

Once you have finished up with the single player campaigns, which should take about 9-10 hours, you can move onto the real fun stuff; which is online play. As always, players may participate in the basic "Call of Duty" online matches, such as: team battle, battle, capture-the-flag, head-quarters, etc. There are also about 9 different multiplayer maps to choose from, ranging from large levels to smaller enclosed ones.

One big change is that of soldier classes. Instead of being an ordinary "grunt", players can choose to be a more specific type of soldier. For instance, you could choose to be a medic and revive fallen players on the spot, or you could be an anti-tank, whom specializes in taking out armored vehicles. There are 6 different classes in all, so there should be something for everyone. Another great aspect of online play is that of vehicles. Just like in campaign mode, there will be times when you can jump into a vehicle (with or without a gunner) and drive around. Obviously, different maps will have different vehicles to use, but expect to see tanks, jeeps, and motorcycles throughout online play.

The games online play is fun, exciting, and entertaining; so be sure to try it out as soon as possible!

"Call of Duty 3" is definitely a must have title for Playstation 3 owners. If your not a fan of the "Call of Duty" series, this game may just change your mind. If you are a fan, then odds are you already own a copy or are on your way to go get one. Whatever the case may be, "Call of Duty 3" is a fantastic game that will give you plenty of fun & entertainment.

October 07, 2006

Playstation 3 Pre-Order Madness

Every couple of years, new gaming software hits the market. Usually it hits the market right before Christmas, which is a nightmare for parents; as almost every kid on the planet is in a "receiving" mood rather than a giving one. This means that many kids will see the game console and their eyes will light up like fireworks. Well, the same thing is going to happen again this year. On November 17th, 2006, the Playstation 3 is going to hit stores everywhere. That means electronic stores all throughout the US are going to turn into madhouses. Why is that? Well, its a little thing called supply and demand. It wouldn't be that big a deal if there was plenty of Playstation 3s to go around, but sadly that is not the case and there is going to be far fewer console systems than people. A low amount of gaming systems and a high amount of needy customers always yields the same result, and that result is not good.

After all, the same thing happened with the XBOX 360 last November, short supply and high demand. Even though that system cost $400, it didn't stop people from getting in line to buy one. Even if that line was 2 to 3 blocks long. Well, the Playstation 3 is priced at $600 and there is no doubt that the same scenario will ensue, if not a worse one.

If you feel that you need to get a PS3, then you undoubtedly want to get on a pre-order list as fast as possible. However, there is a problem with that task. The Playstation 3 release is only about a month away from release, and since the release of this colossal gaming system has been known by gamers for several months now, it may be too late.

It "may" be too late because it is only a few weeks away from the release of the Playstation 3, which means many store pre-order lists are already going to be filled to the brim. Thats not to say you won't get a PS3 on November 17th, but getting one without being on a pre-order list is one heck of an accomplishment, and to some a nearly impossible feat. Besides that, every day that you waste just "thinking" about getting on a pre-order list means you're that much farther away from actually obtaining a Playstation 3. The faster you act, the more chances you have.

So what can be done to get on a list? Plenty! Just because there are lots of people who want a Playstation 3, does not mean that every pre-order list is going to be full. In order to get a PS3 on the release date, you are going to have to ask around at quite a few different stores. Obviously, your going to ask the basic questions, such as "Are you selling Playstation 3s?", "Do you have a Pre-order list?", "How many people are on the list before me?", etc. But, many people fail to ask the other important questions, like: "How many PS3s shipments are you going to receive this month? What about next month?" and "When is your next Playstation 3 shipment?". Yeah, its true that not all stores will give out that specific information, but there is going be plenty of stores that will gladly give you any and all information you need.

If you do get on a pre-order list, don't stop there. The more lists you are on, the more chance you have of obtaining a PS3 on release day, or before Christmas (which is the goal of most). Although, they are called "pre-order" lists, that doesn't necessarily mean that the lists will vanish after the release day. Most of these lists will last until Christmas, and/or usually a month or two after. If people drop off the list, or do not have the money to buy the PS3 when their "time" is called, they move down and you move up. Enough drop-outs on a list and you might even get a PS3 sooner than you expected.

Theres no doubt about it, its going to be a hectic day for stores and shoppers on November 17th, 2006. But if you take precautions and do a bit of research, the joys of a Playstation 3 will undoubtedly be yours on its launch date. Then again, you could always just wait 3-4 months and get one when the PS3 craze dies down; but thats up to you and how devoted of a PS3 fan you actually are.

September 08, 2006

XBOX 360 Game Review- Dead Rising

The XBOX 360 has been out for a full year and in that time owners of the console, and gamers everywhere, have seen many great games. Some of those games were released right after the console, while others game a bit later in 2006. "Dead Rising" was released in August of 2006 and is still as popular as ever. It may have lost a little steam since its release date, as that was months ago; but it is still plenty of fun. Since Christmas is right around the corner, many XBOX 360 games are being viewed as great Christmas gifts and "Dead Rising" is certainly one of them. However, to understand why it is a great gift, you have to understand why it is a great game.

Zombie games have always been quite popular. Its just the idea of killing reanimated corpses that brings a smile to a gamer's face. Not all zombie horror games have been hits though, and only a few of them have broken through as "great" zombie games. One of those franchises is "Resident Evil". "Resident Evil" had more of a dark and gloomy atmosphere with a very creepy tone, but "Dead Rising" has taken an entirely different approach to the zombie horror genre. Instead of exploring a dark city in which Zombies are few and far between, you will be in a mall that is jam packed with thousands of zombies. The mall you're in happens to be fully operational and accessible; the lights are on, the stores are open, and there are living people scattered throughout the mall. Aside from the overwhelming amount of zombies, the mall has a rather friendly atmosphere.

Okay, you now know the basic setting of the game, heres the story: You play the role of Frank West, a photojournalist who does primarily freelance work. You (Frank) have received some inside information about something strange happening in Willamette, Colorado. Being a photojournalist, you don't hesitate and immediately get a helicopter to fly you to the small town. From far up in the sky, it seems like an an ordinary town. However, with closer inspection you notice that military units are blocking off all roads into the town. Upon even further inspection, there appears to be many riots throughout the town; but strangely, there are no military units inside the town helping out. After seeing this carnage, and what looks to be "cannibalism" among the town folk, you instruct the pilot to take you to the local shopping mall; which is gigantic. After sharing a few words with the pilot, you learn that you only have 72 hours to get the scoop and get back to the rooftop for extraction. During the storyline of the game you will discover many different things and meet many different people, but your primary goal remains the same. Find the truth.

Unfortunately, that 72 hour time frame is not just for dramatic effect, it is actually part of the game play. The entire game is based on that 72 hour time frame, so everything you do matters and wastes time. Your main objective is to discover the truth about what has happened to the town, and that will be mapped out in a number of different case files. However, each mission will start at a certain time on a specific day. The case file will specify what you need to do and where you need to do it; so you don't have to worry about getting confused. But, there will be times when you have to wait to start the next mission. Therefore, you can complete a few side missions while you wait. Obviously, you don't have to complete any side missions if you don't want to; but just waiting for the main mission to start is boring. Luckily, there are bonuses for completing side missions, such as prestige points, which are basically experience points (explained later).

The problem with these sides missions is that there usually isn't much time to complete them. Sometimes it can take a long time to reach certain areas of the mall. Then by the time you do reach that area, you have to go back to the main mission because too much time has passed. You won't be able to do all the side missions (which mainly deal with rescuing survivors), but you should be able to complete a large number of them.

The concept of "time" in "Dead Rising" isn't necessarily bad, its just that things can get a little bit hectic when you're battling through hundreds of zombies, saving survivors, trying to uncover the truth, etc. all in a designated time frame. Since the save feature is just dreadfully horrible, this makes the whole time business even worse. You can't save on the fly; you have to locate a bathroom or place to rest in order to save. The problem is that the bathrooms and "rest areas" are spread out to far and getting to one when you are short on time is a big pain in the neck. The good news is that even with this "time frame" and "save" issue, the game is still incredibly fun and entertaining.

You (Frank) are a photojournalist, not a highly trained special forces soldier; so what does that mean for combat? Well, nothing. Although you may start off weak and with no special moves, that won't be the case for long. As stated earlier, you will receive prestige points for completing side missions, such as rescuing survivors, taking out a crazed clown, killing psychopaths, etc. Not only that, but you will also get points for killing zombies in "awesome" ways. Plus, when you reach a certain amount of zombie kills, you will get points (such as 500 or 1000 zombies killed). Taking pictures with your camera can also get you a substantial amount of points. "How many points" will depend on the type of picture you took, and sometimes how many zombies you captured in one picture. After accumulating these points, there will be times when you unlock a new special move (such as the zombie throw or round-house kick) or your attributes will increase (such as health, throwing distance, and/or speed). These new moves and attributes help you to take down zombies faster and survive even longer.

While you are traveling through the mall, you'll notice that zombies are usually going to be standing shoulder to shoulder in most areas. So, you will need to do a lot of killing in order to reach your destination. Although, since there are so many zombies in the mall, it is literally impossible to kill them all. Even if you manage to clear out an entire area, when you leave, the area will be populated with zombies once more. Instead of just killing every zombie you see (which would waste way too much time), you have to pick your battles and be more evasive then confrontational. However, when battle is the only option, thats when the fun really begins.

Combat is definitely the best part about this game. Aside from the special moves you can get, which is only a small part of the combat, there is a whole bunch of weapons and different items you can use throughout your 72-hour survival story. If you see it, you can use it; thats pretty much the philosophy of this game. Almost everything and anything is usable as a weapon. Shovels, 2x4's, bats, swords, umbrellas, golf-clubs, lead pipes, jack hammers, lawn mowers, hedge clippers, sledge hammers, mannequins (and all their body parts), benches, trash cans, soccer balls, shotguns, pistols, hangars, guitars, gum-ball machines, frying pans, stools, and so much more can be used to pummel and "re-kill" zombies.

Each item and weapon has a certain amount of uses. So once you over-use a weapon, it is dropped out of your inventory. Some of the larger weapons, like chainsaws must be held and can not simply be put in your "pocket" for later use. Food items are useful because they restore your health. You can even combine food and drink items to create unique drinks that will give "special" effects: such as invulnerability or increased speed. These drinks are usually created through the use of a blender or microwave. You should always try to carry some sort of food or drink with you, because you never know when you might run low on health.

The video and audio of "Dead Rising" is really impressive. The graphics aren't "out-of-this-world" or anything like that, but they are still quite excellent. It seems a lot of time and patience went into the details and textures of the environment; especially when it comes to the different stores you will come across. Although you will notice similarities between the zombies appearances, the game does an excellent job of spreading the zombies out and making them very diverse. One thing that usually doesn't get a lot of attention is the audio of the game. However, the audio in "Dead Rising" is perfect. Whether it be slashing an enemy with a samurai sword or beating him to death with a lead pipe, each sound effect is 100% realistic. Overall, the graphics and audio department get an A+.

"Dead Rising" is truly one of those great games that will be remembered for a long time. If you have not been impressed by this review, then try the game out yourself, for free. If you have an XBOX live account, log on and download it from the XBOX live marketplace on your XBOX 360. Once you have the game downloaded, try it out for yourself and you will see how awesome the game really is. "Dead Rising" brings new life into the zombie-horror genre, and gamers could not be happy with its unique quality. Its just a great game, period.