Category: Game Reviews


Flash Review: Tennis Game!


This is a new feature i’m now doing, where i revew a flash game in which i have dedicated a part of my life to becoming a pro at; and maybe if you like the review, you might well join me!

Tennis Flash Game

Can be found: http://www.gamedesign.jp/flash/tennis/tennis.html

What a game. If you enjoy random flash games that burn 20 minutes, you really should try this game.

Tennis Flash Game is all about you trying to beat your opponent to 3 games with normal tennis rules.

Sound boring? I thought so till i played at; i was suprised at how addicting this game actually was.

There are 2 modes to this game; Single Player and Tournament. Single player allows you to choose your stats (forehand, backhand, serve, footwork) and your opponents stats; which means you can make everyone have an awful ground game, but awesome footwork. Makes for a pretty intense game….

A good challenge on single player is to set ALL your stats to 1, and all your opponents stats to 10, and see if you can win. Try and win 3-0, that should burn 20-30 minutes 😀

The tournament mode allows you to take control of a real life tennis player, with pre-set stats, to see if you can win the Tournament. This involves 4 games; Graf and Venus being the best players, and so if you want a ‘challenge’, be one of the worst players and see if you can win the tournament without dropping one game. Although playing single player with all your stats at one is much harder.

The controls in thes game are very easy to use; using the arrow keys to move and space to hit the ball. Thats all there is to it. No fancy tricks. Although you do use the arrow keys to choose where you want to hit the ball. Crazy stuff. Multi-tennis-tasking-ball-hitting skills right there.

The graphics in this game are unreal. The players have 2 arms and 2 legs and look like they are running on ice. So if you love high end games with realistic graphics, this game is totally for you. Best of the year so far. Trust me.

Overall this game is very enjoyable for 20 minutes of messing around. If you like this review (slightly less serious), then leave a comment and i’ll make more 😀

BenGaming.


I am not a fan of driving games, but TrackMania Nations really has me hooked.

Just to start, there is a full version of this game, called Trackmania United, which features more enviroments and cars, but i’m sticking to Nations forever 🙂

Trackmania Nations Forever is a competitive driving game, based mostly online. Due to being online you will obviously need internet access to get the most out of the game. The online side of the game is based on a ‘ladder’ format, where you get a certain amount of points for where you finish, based on your world rank compared to who you beat world ranks. This gives everyone in the game something to aim for, and also a challenge if they wish to pursue it 🙂

In game, all the cars are indentical, in acceleration, top speed, breaks etc, and so all driving skill is down to the driver and not buffing up your car with crazy engine add ons. This is nice as it keeps the game fair as well as very competitive which is great for online players. You can download different skins off Trackmania Carpark (google it), from awesome looking car skins to the road runner.

When driving, there are several different types of track/map you can drive. All of the maps have a majority of the same track parts, they just hav to be driven differently to get the fastest time possible. For example, fullspeed track contains loads of loops and speed boosts, unlike a tech track which can still have speed boosts, but much more ‘tech’nical turns, and complex turning sequences. Different types of track appeal to different people, so which ever type of track you enjoy driving the most you should drive, or you could build one. Yep you heard me.

TMN comes with a built in track builder, which allows you to design any track your imagination can come up with. The best part is that after you completed your beloved track, you can upload it online and people can use it on their servers, for everyone else to drive online 😀

Trackbuilding in TMN has a very nice layout, with all the different parts of track put into different sections so you can find the parts of the track you want easily. Another nice feature of the builder is that you actually build the track in the stadium that you’re going to drive in. This gives you a nice idea of the size of the track you’re making, as well as how it’s going to look to the people who are going to drive it. You can also set the time of day, and to change the lighting your track recieves as well as many other neat little options.

Graphics are a big thing to most gamers (i prefer gameplay over graphics, call me old school), so modern games have to have fine details linked with smooth gameplay. And i’m pretty sure Trackmania delivers with ease. To start off, the enviroment in which TM is staged is simple, yet has smooth shadow and blur effects, and well as very stand out colours. This helps the fast pace of the game integrate with the enviroment, with colours zooming past your eyes as well as you trying to concetrate on driving the track as well as you can. The water and grass effects are also nice, with induvidual blades of grass and realistic water effects, which you can skim your car on if you’re going fast enough (this effect is even used in some tracks).

For TM gameplay, there are several modes which you drive in, which gives added replayability also. The most common mode is time attack, in which you are given a certain amount of time (normally 5:00) to drive the fastest time you can on a certain track. This is a less pressured game mode as you aren’t pressured to drive consistently. The more pressured game mode is rounds, where you get one chance to drive one lap. The lap then resets after everyone has either finished, reset or left/gone to spectator, and you can try again next lap. This is commonly used during competitions between clans, as you need to be a much more consistent and a better drive to able to compete.

The controls in TM are generic driving controls, with the arrow keys used for direction. However, if you plan to drive as fast as you can, it is a lot more effective to move your break to left ctrl. This allows for easier power drifting (accelerating and breaking at the same time), which allows for much faster driving. You can also use a console for driving, such as a 360 controller, which allows for a finer degree for turning, which also allows you to drive faster (however the transition from driving with a keyboard to driving with a ‘pad’ takes a lot of time, be warned!).

Overall, Trackmania Nations Forever is a very fun game to play, from the people you meet online, to the intense races that you loose out on by 0.01 of a second (that can be frustrating). Trackmania is a game of drifting at the right moments (apart from fullspeed tracks xD), and so requires a hell of a lot of skill, as well as focus and training. Well up their with my favourite games of all time. TM forever.

BenGaming.

Portal 2 Review


Portal 2: (09/08/2011) — Valve

Who knew a portal gun could be so much fun.

Portal 2 is a new sequel to ‘Portal’; originally released on ‘The Orange Box’.

If you do not know what Portal is, it is a unique puzzle game, where you shoot 2 portals, and when you walk into one you appear out of the other. This presents a large array of puzzle challeges that a presented to you by GladoS (and others..), which can go from the very simple, to complicated, although you still over complicated every single level anyway (Its true).

The unique gameplay offers a 1st person view, where you are a human ‘tester’, who is supposed to complete an infinite string of challenges for GladoS, the AI controlling the facilities. The setup and controls are very easy to get used to (2 different mouse buttons, 2 different portals.. you get me?), and so if you haven’t already played Portal it won’t take much time to ease yourself in.

The graphics of Portal 2 are perfect for the game; not too over the top, but enough to allow for some visual pleasure. The gel and blue tube (hover tunnel thing) are nice effects in the game, as well as offer your character dynamic buffs to allow for special abilities needed to complete certain challenges. This is an effective way to keep you immersed in the game, as well as add a bit of diversity to the levels, so they aren’t all jumping and shooting portals 🙂

You are not limited to just ‘testing’ over and over throughout the entire game however, with varied enviroments, from GladoSs’ test chambers to running scared from Wheatley. This makes the game much less monotonous, as well as much more involving as it really gets you involved with Portal 2s’ storyline. The enviroment changes so much throughout the entire game, which is awesome as you’re always expecting something new (you can see some plot twists coming, others not so much). The transition from GladoS to other AIs’ changes your whole outlook on why you want to progress through the game; from completing tests for GladoS, to trying to get out of Apeture Science Labs.

On a side note, the AI keep the game incredibly entertaining. GlaoS with her ‘witty’ one liners, which can be mildy offensive at times (i nearly cried) to Wheatley with his lack of intelligence (i’m NOT an IDIOT!) will make you laugh as you attempt to complete this engrossing story. There are a few other minor characters along the way who will also add to the games story, but you will mostly be involved with the main 3 (GladoS, Wheatley and… just play the game..).

The puzzles. The main part of the game is using the portal gun to solve puzzles presented to you through the game. These get progressively harder; however you will be eased into Portal if you didn’t play the first game. Some levels will have more than one way of doing them (whether thats intentional i don’t know), but i do know that you will over complicate some levels that turn out to be so simple. Trust me haha.

As i said earlier, various items are used to help you complete some levels (i say help, but i mean complicate), such as repulsion gel (for jumping) or some sort of funky hover cylinder of blueness (which suprisingly, makes you hover). Spoiler alert just there. Is that too late? These expand the options you have in the game so far, and you will not always just use them for testing…

ALSO, this game even has a Co-op, for when you have finished the single player! When playing co-op there are 4 different portal colours and so you won’t get confused. The thing i personally like most about the co-op is that all the levels that you play are completely differnt to the single player, which gives the game a hell of a lot more playability, which i like.

Overall, Portal 2 is a really, really well designed puzzle game. It is ideal for casual gamers as well as induviduals who want to challenge their cognitive ability (you know you want to). I would reccommend this game to practically anyone, due to the awesome story as well as the unique gameplay which will keep bringing you back to play some more 😀

Portal 2: 9/10 — A very unique and perfectly designed game, its just a shame it had to end!


Crysis 2: (19/07/2011) Crytek Studios

Who hasn’t heard of the Crysis franchise? Crysis was one of the most demanding; CPU intensive games ever created, and even modern day PC’s still fear the ridiculous high graphics that will eat your GPU and spit it all over the floor. Crysis 2 however, i feel has not quite followed the same route.

Crysis is known for its insane graphics, and amazing in-game versatility; where if you want to snipe a guy from 100m you can, go right ahead, shoot his head clean off; or you can run in with your crazy suit and punch men 10m in the air. Who cares what you do, its still super cool. That’s what kept me going in Crysis; the sandbox. Whereas in Crysis 2, you lose that free rome feel to a point. This may be because of the new setting in a city, so closed streets and cars obstruct you, however i felt more limited.

This doesn’t mean to say however that Crysis 2 is not versatile. One minute you can be sniping a soldier from a distance, to then running in to the heat of battle with a HUGE turrent in your hands (those guns are badass, i tell you now). Also, the weapon selection was wide enough, with plenty of ammo and some exotic guns is enough to keep for pinned to the screen till my eyes won’t open properly. Running invisible with a sniper rifle will get you on the edge of your seat; it did for me, but my seat in tiny, so its down to you on that one.

Vehicles aren’t as plentiful, and the only ones i really used were the ones assigned to you for missions, however driving a huge truck with a massive gun is always fun so i’m not complaining :)

Furthermore, the graphics are still pretty amazing in high settings, however you will need a high spec PC to run this smoothly. I have a mid range PC and running it on medium works fine for me :) The visual effects of a broken New York are incredible, from shattered buildings to walking past the Statue of Liberties head (spoiler, kind of, it has no real relavance). This gives an immersing gaming experience for which you can really get to know your character, which in my opinion, i really like. Also, the feeling you get later in the game when you’re fighting to save humanity also makes you feel deeply involved with the game, and makes you cry when you see a soldier die. Ok, it doesn’t, i had something in my eye, ok?     Got out of that one….

Lastly, the gameplay itself is very smooth, with very little or no bugs, which allows for some epic firefights with humans and aliens alike. Enemy A.I is smart, and will run for cover and call in reinforcements when under heavy fire (seriously, get the turret gun), which will challenge even the best FPS players on a hard difficulty (normal difficulty FTW).

Overall, Crysis 2 is a sleek, well designed immersing game, which will keep you at your screen for hours. Even after completing the awesome single player, multiplayer is available and at this moment seems very popular and always has a good number of people online (i SUCK at multiplayer/ragequit). I would definately reccommend Crysis 2 to anyone who has already played Crysis 1, and also any FPS fan, as it offers a more diverse gameplay experience to that of something like CoD (i went there, i’m sorry).

Crysis 2 —– 8.5/10. New style of game, smooth, sleek, however not as free roam as i expected.


Civilisation V: (22/07/2011) Firaxis

The Civilisation Series is one of the best stratergy series ever made. No seriously, if you haven’t played these games you really should try.

Civilisation V brings to the table a whole new design compared to Civilisation IV. The main difference being the hexagonal shape tiles rather than square, which allows for different tactical options, such as more armies attacking.

To start off, Civ V is a very user friendly game. Tutorials and advice are available throughout the entire game, as well as having 6 ‘advisors’ whom give you tips when you request them. This is helpful to the newer Civilisation player; as well as the experienced player as information on the other players is also given.

The visuals in Civ V are very pleasing. The terrain is simple yet suits the game perfectly, from groups of mountains to the transition from pastures to barren deserts. The units are well designed. and can be easily told apart even without the symbol above their tile. Also, fighting animations (explosions etc) give the combat some depth, and is also aesthetically pleasing (nuke everything, its amazing).

Everything in this game is about upgrades. On marathon game length, it can take 1000’s to turns (a hell of a long time, trust me), to research all the technologies, which allows for a VERY tactic heavy game. This is amazing for RTS fanatics who love to spend hours planning what they’re going to do (me); although if you do not like drawn out games the length can be reduced to pretty much whatever you want. The technology tree works well also, with a very simple layout which displays what technologies you have and what is currently being researched.

There are several ways to win on Civ V, however some are overshadowed by others. Due to the overly aggressive AI, you will normally be pushed towards a military victory. This can be fun however seems to limit the game somewhat as there is no way to reduce the agro of the AI (bismark, i hate you). Other ways of victory include a Science victory, in which the first player to launch a rocket into space wins; cultural victory where you adopt a certain amount of policies to win; or the diplomatic victory (which is next to impossible i think, maybe i’m just a bad player..).

Combat help is displayed as you asses whom you want to attack. You are given a guideline of what the outcome will be (beware, this is not ALWAYS what will happen), which helps you decide on your tactics for battle. Ranged units attack other ranged units without them retaliating however, which i find quite strange (in my opinion, it makes sense for return fire. Maybe thats just me). Combat units are easily upgraded (done in home territory) which allows for a simple transition to the new tier of units without buying a whole new army all over again, which is nice.

The amount of options available for the type of game you want to play are immense. There are 7 or 8 difficulty levels, from easy to insane, and i promise you will find a difficulty level to challenge you. You can choose the way the land falls e.g. a pangea (a large land mass); or continents (where large islands are seperated by sea) etc. Also the amount of AI can be changed so you can decide how much space you want in between factions. Also the map size can be changed so if you want a close arms map then you can select it to be small; whereas if you prefer a huge map with loads of space to expand then you can select a large map type.

The AI throughout the game are easy to communicate with; when talking to a faction leader you go to a seperate screen and have several options which are simply presented. There are also many state capitals (the amount can be changed in the options) who you can ally with or declare war upon. This can give you a chance to share their resources or destroy their capital for extra expanding room (capitals tend to be easier to take than other faction cities). However BE WARNED, if you do this, many other factions will denounce you as you are picking on a weaker target (this seems to happen a lot no matter what you do. Don’t worry too much if you get denounced i just do it right back :D).

Overall Civilisation V is a very enjoyable and very addicting turn based stratergy game, with many different tactics and factions, as well as pleasing gameplay. The only niggle i have with this game is the aggressive AI who just want to destroy you even if you’re nice to them for 50 turns. As it turns out however, this just makes crushing thier empire that bit more pleasing.

Civilisation V: 9/10 — Very addicting game, prepare to lose a lot of sleep!