Archive

Archive for April, 2007

30
Apr
2007

Command and Conquer 3 – Return of a Classic

candc3small.jpgThe Command and Conquer series of games have always been cherished, especially when they have been following the exploits and confrontations of the heroic GDI and infamous Nod terrorists in the Tibrium set of titles.

The Brotherhood of Nod leader Kane is back with a vengeance as he goes all out to destroy the GDI pockets of resistance. If that isn’t enough, an alien race called the Scrin, make up the new third faction to the game with their out of this world design and shield protection systems.

candc3large.jpg

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars is a very welcome return to the over the top video cut-scenes and traditional real-time strategy gameplay. If you like me loved the original Command and Conquer way back in 1995, then you will love this blast from the past, which has all the ingredients to be a success.

Graphically the game is stunning, but it is the Xbox 360 version (I as a reviewer for this platform) have to look at how (yes you guessed it) the keyboard and mouse are replaced with a gamepad controller. It has already been proven that it is possible, thanks to The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II, but can they build on this experience and really bring us that desire to play this kind of genre without the quickness and comfort of the mouse?

Well actually I believe they can, although PC purists will of course undoubtedly ignore the console offering, even though it comes with Live Vision Camera support (finally someone remembered we have these things!), but for those who have limited PC power still can enjoy this triumphant return of the series.

Link: Official Website
Shop: Command and Conquer 3 [PC]
Shop: Command and Conquer 3 [Xbox 360]

25
Apr
2007

My UEFA Champions League 2006 – 2007 Review

MSXbox-World have posted my review for this latest Xbox 360 football game from Electronic Arts:

Can you believe this is already the fourth football game from Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360? That would mean if you purchased every football game made by them for this console, you would be £160 out of pocket!

Just when you think Electronic Arts have exploited every possible tournament for their football series, they pop out another title to tempt you into parting with your all important cash. Just like the World Cup and European event counterparts, the UEFA Champions League is yet another reason to be concerned that the main FIFA games appearing every year are further being diminished by the cashing-in mentality of this series.

The FIFA games have always been the best buy as season play is far more satisfying than only tournaments, especially when you are expected to play them over and over again to feel rewarded after your expense, but can UEFA change this trend with some very novel additions? Quite a challenge and one this game must grab with both hands if EA are to come out of this with their heads held high.

Link: UEFA Champions League 2006 – 2007 Review

25
Apr
2007

My Return to PC Gaming! – Sitting Down?

sapphiregpu.jpgHaving for many years suffered under the nominal speed of my NVIDIA Geforce 5900XT graphics card, Windows Vista persuaded me through the use of its Aero interface to upgrade. The thought and indeed desire of having something faster for my new flashy desktop inspired me to ask around on my personal discussion forum for some advice and thanks to one of the members, I have now invested in a new swanky ATI card.

I have always purchased 3DFX (of course they don’t exist anymore!), then NVIDIA (their support for Vista wasn’t brilliant though and AGP forgotten) and now my first ATi card. Having only an AGP slot, I was not going to replace my motherboard and other components just for a faster PCI Express graphics card, so with this limitation and a budget to follow I opted for the ATI Sapphire X1950Pro 512MB DDR3 Dual DVI VIVO AGP.

atidemoscreen.jpg

The graphics are stunning and this has certainly had a surprising reaction for me. I used to be a very active PC gamer, but I was so fed up of drivers, incompatibilities and system crashes, I turned to console gaming in the shape of the Microsoft Xbox and now the Xbox 360. Now though I am having (at least a brief) return to PC gaming and will be meeting up with some old clan friends in the next few days who I haven’t spoken to in years!

Lately I have been enjoying Unreal Tournament 2004, Half Life 2, Call of Duty 2 and quite a few more. It is so nice to crank up the levels to maximum and have the ability to use full scene anti-aliasing (to get rid of those jaggies), with extremely good frame rates.

I will always be an avid supporter of the Xbox 360 platform, but it is nice to venture back into the PC realm once more and enjoy online multiplayer with a keyboard and mouse. I certainly miss Xbox Live though, it has to be said!

20
Apr
2007

Console Monster Podcast #6 – Virtua Tennis 3

In the latest Console Monster Podcast, I interview Toby Allen, Assistant Producer from Sumo Digital, who are behind the Xbox 360 port of Virtua Tennis 3.

Also featured is an interview with Max Freiert from Compete Blog [38:14], who discusses his two posts on ‘Xbox 360, Halo 3, and Gears of War: Violence breeds killer apps?‘ and ‘Xbox360 vs. Wii vs. PS3: Demand doesn’t lie‘.

The Virtua Tennis 3 interview includes the following topics:

  • Who are Sumo Digital?
  • Toby’s experience in gaming
  • Still enjoy the games you develop after release?
  • Developing for next generation systems
  • Difference in quality of development tools
  • Multi-platform gaming development
  • Creating games on lower spec systems
  • Played previous Virtua Tennis games?
  • What has changed in this latest incarnation?
  • What is all the fuss about 1080p?
  • Why does the Xbox 360 version have online multiplayer, but the PlayStation 3 does not?
  • What is the process involved when porting a game?
  • Any major/minor differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions?
  • What is involved with the single player experience?
  • Achievements spread
  • Favourite mini game?
  • Online spectator mode (VT:TV)
  • What Xbox Live features are included?
  • Any downloadable content in the future?
  • Possible patch update to fix a few minor issues?
  • Any game ideas that didn’t make the final version?
  • Any tips?
  • The under-arm serve technique
  • Will there ever be a Nintendo Wii version of Virtua Tennis 3?
20
Apr
2007

My Virtua Tennis 3 Review for Xbox 360

Here is my Virtua Tennis 3 review for the Xbox 360:

Now I hope you are ready for some tennis nostalgia as we set off in our little gaming time machine back to the good old SEGA Dreamcast, where the delights of two players, one net, two rackets and a few simple lines to create the outline of a court can inspire even the most bewildered sport fanatic.

Yes the game I am talking about is of course Virtua Tennis, which is the pinnacle sports title of the last few console generations. With its arcade styling’s and simple pick up and play attitude, this SEGA gem had been left in the shadows since the demise of the Dreamcast and only now has it appeared from behind the crowd to again take on the competitors.

I must say I have been quite addicted to this game for the last few weeks and I have also recently interviewed Toby Allen, Assistant Producer from Sumo Digital. They are behind the Xbox 360 port and offers insight into the process and the final game. This will be released as a podcast on 360monster.com in the next few days!

Note: On 360monster.com, the score is currently shown as an average of the scores I gave for graphics, gameplay etc as is coded within the content system, however on the new site design it will be an independent value. Average is 7.7 , but I am giving the game 8.5 (85%), which will be shown when the site re-launches! Confusing I know, but thats what happens between site designs.

Review: Virtua Tennis 3 Review for Xbox 360
Shop: Virtua Tennis 3 @ Play.com