Monday, January 2, 2012

Move over Need For Speed

With huge racing titles being released regularly it's no wonder some of the gems get left behind. FlatOut 3, a more graphically intense version of FlatOut 2, is a high octane racer which in my opinion is far superior to the more recent Need for Speed games we're seeing. The main reason for this is that the game in no way wants to take itself seriously.

Once in a while, gamers just want to sit back, relax and just blow things up. You might be thinking, "that doesn't sound like a racing game", but in FlatOut 3 it becomes a major objective. Want to get a speed boost? Well then, you better start slamming into other cars in an attempt to wreck them or better yet, drive through some gas stations at unimaginable speeds and watch them go up in flames as your boost bar steadily rises. Don't like the look of that shopping center or restaurant? Then drive right in and watch as furniture and other objects go flying through the air.

If this all sounds a bit intense you can try your luck in stunt mode which involves launching your driver our of a super car in a series of events, and there are a whole lot to choose from. Stunts include high jump, bowling, ski jump, curling, stone-skipping,  ring of fire, field goal, royal flush, basketball, darts, baseball and finally, soccer. Whilst launching your driver out of a car repeatedly might sound tedious and boring, the variety of stunt modes makes it extremely fun, especially if you're playing with friends. Flinging a driver through multiple flaming hoops is extremely amusing and I guarantee will hold your attention for a solid period of time.

The final game mode that FlatOut 3 offers is a demolition derby mode where the last man standing is the winner. Slamming into other cars and objects will again supply you with boost which is vital for wrecking your opponents. In this mode your screen will be filled with huge explosions and so much debris flying through the air it's hard not to feel absorbed into the game. You'll often find yourself on the edge of your seat as you and your final opponent battle it out for first place.

If your concerned that the game won't offer car customization, think again. Winning races in the single player campaign earns you money to buy new cars and upgrade the cars you already own. There are 35 cars up for offer which of course you can unlock as you work though the single player campaign. Each car is distinctly different from one another however the developers seem to have put in the time to balance each car out nicely.

The soundtrack is pretty alternative, but that is to be expected for this kind of racing game. I found myself getting into bands that I had never heard of or considered listening to before. The soundtrack of course is upbeat and helps to immerse the player into the game.

The bottom line is, this game delivers. If you're getting sick and tired of your standard racing games them you should definitely check this one out. Each mode offers tonnes of content, all of which is beautiful to look at and extremely fun to destroy. Of course, the game offers online play for each mode so that you can play with your friends however the lack of LAN may turn you away. If this is the case, I'd suggest grabbing a copy of FlatOut 2 which is essentially the same game with slightly older graphics.

Happy gaming!


What would happen if Borderlands and Mirrors Edge had a baby? The answer is Brink. Brink is a title that comes from Splash Damage and Bethesda Softworks, same developers that bought you, QUAKE Wars, Oblivion and Fallout 3. With titles like these under their belt I'm getting pretty hyped up about this. Seems like the hype will have to go on for quite some time though as the game comes out early next year.

Brink takes place on the Ark:

"Built in the near-future as part of a contemporary green vision, the Ark was a model for sustainable living. The massive man-made floating city became a home to the scientists and thinkers focused on making the vision a reality, while its wealthy patrons built a recreational paradise.

But soon the threat of a global environmental crisis became real: glaciers melted, sea levels rose, and the very survival of humanity was threatened. Thousands from around the globe fled to the Ark as a last hope. Refugees clung to survival however they could, while the original founders and their descendants struggled to maintain the island.

Now, the Ark has lost contact with what remained of the mainland and exists in total isolation. As the Ark's supposedly renewable resources dwindle, the balance of power threatens to unravel and throw competing social factions into a horrific conflict.
With tensions growing, Security and Resistance forces are locked in a heated battle for control of the Ark. Which side will you choose?"

The story here seems pretty good, which is to be expected as their previous game titles have outstanding story lines. However, the thing that really stands out about this game though is the SMART system they have developed.

SMART stands for "Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain" and as you can see from the trailer, it is going to change the way fps gamers play games. This game is like Mirrors Edge on steroids. The gun play in Mirrors edge felt clumsy, mainly because they focused on the free running aspects of the game. This game focuses on both and by the looks of things they've nailed it. I cant wait to be running across walls while shooting my confused enemies. By the looks of things, this system is going to mean less camping in multiplayer games and more hectic close range gun battles.

I really hope the developers stick to their promises. If they can manage to produce a final product where almost every part of each map is accessible, this game is going to be amazing. Mirrors edge is one of my favorite games of all time and I've been waiting for a sequel for ages. If this can fill the gap, it's going to be one awesome ride.

Happy gaming!

Spawn more Overlords

If you've purchased Starcraft 2 already *highfives* for you. If you haven't, run to your nearest gaming store NOW. To sum this game up in one word the only thing that comes to mind is "Amazing". You'll be saying it over and over as you smash through the single player campaign which is littered with beautiful cut-scenes, amazing graphics, plenty of mission variety to hold your short attention span, fitting soundtrack and above all, a top-notch story.

For all you die-hard multiplayer fanatics you'll be stoked. Starcraft 2 delivers a solid multiplayer experience. Like the first game, the units are all balanced and no race is "better" than the other. The match making system is brilliant and gives new players the option of playing in a practice league for 50 matches. Although practice league is good for new players to learn about units and build strategies I'd steer clear of this if you've played the original game. The maps in this league are constructed to avoid early rushes and each game comes down to how many end game units each player has. When you're thrown out into ranked matches everything you learned in practice league becomes pretty irrelevant as people will be rushing early game. To put this in perspective, I had a 2v2 match which lasted 58 minutes while I was in practice league. Most ranked games after practice league will last for around 10-20 minutes.

Did someone say achievements? That's right boys and girls, Starcraft 2 has an achievement system. Unlocking achievements will see you rewarded with new avatars and decals. Achievement hunters will be extremely happy with this new feature.

There is one thing that lets this game down and that is the lack of LAN. Apparently Blizzard took the feature out to combat against pirating. Let’s face it, this was an extremely bad move on Blizzards behalf. People are going to pirate the game no matter what and LAN is a feature that is needed in such a popular game like Starcraft. However, I've heard that if you hook everyone up to the same router you should all be able to play on Bnet with no lag.

All up, this is a solid game. Every aspect of Starcraft 2 is polished to the point of perfection. If you can look past the lack of LAN and the hefty price tag ($100 AUD) this game is a must have. I'm onto day 4 and I must say it's holding my attention extremely well. Whether you're a new or veteran RTS gamer or haven't had the chance to play the original game, Starcraft 2 will not disappoint.

Happy gaming!

Creating Generative Value

A recent news article posted on IGN reported that the new Kirby game, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was just released in Japan, failed to keep up with the sales of Pokemon Black and White which is now moving into its 5th week in the market.

For those of you who haven’t seen the two games here are some trailers:

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Pokemon black/white

Both of these games look pretty solid, however it bugs me that the new Pokemon game is doing so well in comparison to Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The gap is quite huge in terms of sales with Kirby only selling 92,000 units while Pokemon sold 168,541 units in its 5th week.

The main reason this article is getting to me is that Kirby’s Epic Yarn is presenting something new and different. Unlike the old Kirby games where you’d suck up enemies and spit them out, this game allows you to transform into a number of different forms to help you complete certain puzzles and defeat certain enemies. As well as this, the graphics are very unique. I don’t recall seeing a game similar to this and I think the concept is great. The game received extremely high praise from reviewers because of its originality and I think that originality is something that is missing in today’s gaming market which is flooded with first person shooters and MMORPGs.

Pokemon Black and White on the other hand is not all that original. Despite the fact that the game uses a new graphics engine which allows for 2.5D graphics, the game looks like all of the previous titles. Of course the older Pokemon games were classics, but I’m starting to feel that they’ve had their time in the gaming market. They’re really starting to recycle old game play and when they add in a few more pokemon, which look extremely similar to the old ones, they call it a new game.

I hope that people will come to realise that it’s creativity and originality that make good games. People need to realise that the new Pokemon games are basically exactly the same as their predecessors and that graphics don’t make a game. While it might look prettier, the core mechanics are still there. So do yourselves a favour and go and pick up a copy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and experience something new.

Narrating Personal Interest

Gaming has always been a part of my life. I remember the first game I played was at my grandma’s house when I was about 10 years old. It was a bar style shooting game where robbers would throw plates at you and you would have to shoot them before they hit you. After each level was a duel between the leader of the robbers and yourself. If you won, the next level would be faster and harder to complete. I remember spending hours sitting around with my sister trying to beat each other’s high score.

In primary school gaming was huge. In early primary school all of my friends had digimon. We’d all sit around at lunch time and battle to see who the best in our class was. We also had competitions to see who could get the best creatures.

It wasn’t until around year 6 that I discovered the world of MMORPG’s. Runescape was the first one I played and to this day is probably still the most memorable. Every day after school my whole class would log in to Runescape and we’d run around completing quests and exploring the world. The next day at school we’d talk about what we’d done and what we planned on doing the next night. It was great fun and I believe it really bought our class together. Even the “popular” girls would play, which as I learned later, wouldn’t last forever.

Around the same time I remember playing a lot of Age of Empires with my dad. We’d sit down for hours building up a strong empire to defeat our enemy. As well as this, my sister and I played a lot of Playstation together and I think it bought us closer.

When I hit high school my gaming habits dropped until the end of year 12. I was still playing single player games, just less frequently, as I was concentrating on my studies. At the end of year 12 I found an MMORPG called Ragnarok Online. I met some great people on there, including my girl friend. After my friends and I grew tired of Ragnarok, I began game jumping.

I always try to convince myself that I’m going to stick with the next game I play only to find out that there is something bigger and better coming out soon. I love pushing my hardware to play the latest games, even if it’s just to see if my computer can handle it. This, mixed in with my short attention span, is what makes me a game jumper.

Introducing Your Topic

In today’s technologically savvy world, the gaming industry is booming. Each week, new games are being released both in stores and online. Many MMORPG companies are now branching out into free to play styles of gaming where they earn revenue from in-game advertising and cash shops where people can buy items that aren’t available for in game currency. It has never been easier to jump online and download a game to play with your friends. This overload of games and information can be quite overwhelming so it only seems logical to create a space where people can browse the latest games, look at reviews and recommendations, and overall, find a game to play.

One of the major issues that has risen from this huge increase in games is game jumping. People are finding it harder than ever to stick with games. The main problem is that once they’ve started a game there is always a newer and “better game” coming out the next week or even next day. People are becoming obsessed with the concept that better graphics equals a better game, when in reality it is the game play and community that will keep them coming back for more. However, newer games are being released using more advanced and more complex graphics engines. These graphic updates only fuel game jumping, as people always want to test out their gaming rigs and play the most realistic looking games.

To understand the amount of games being released on a daily basis you only have to look at a couple of the biggest gaming websites: - IGN contains all things to do with video games. It covers all consoles and also contains reviews, information on upcoming releases, game guides and cheats. - GameSpot is a great source for all things gaming. It contains reviews, trailers, previews, a huge games list and a great community following. Their work covers all consoles so it’s a fantastic source of information.

By looking at these websites you can see the magnitude by which games are being released. Creating a blog where people can come and discuss the latest PC games, their computer hardware and what they’re currently playing only seems logical.

About Me

Hello world, my name is James and I am a “Gameoholic”. Like many other gamers I suffer from what could be called “Game jumping” or “A.D.D. gaming”. I constantly find myself getting hyped up for new releases, playing them for a couple days, and then moving on to the next one.

Gaming seemed to be easier when I was younger. Now, at the age of 22, the stories and epic battles that would keep me engaged for weeks or months seem to bore me. However, I can’t stop. Gaming is a part of my life.