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Red Faction: Guerrilla (Windows)

By Grov on July 30th, 2012

Elven Legacy Collection (Windows)

By Grov on December 19th, 2011

Elemental: War of Magic (Windows)

By Grov on October 15th, 2010

Entropia Universe (Windows)

By Grov on October 20th, 2005

FlatOut (Windows)

By Grov on August 14th, 2005

Sid Meier's Pirates!: Live the Life (Windows)

By Grov on December 6th, 2004

Slicks 'n' Slide (DOS)

By Grov on December 1st, 2004

Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus (Windows)

By Grov on December 1st, 2004

SpellForce: The Order of Dawn (Windows)

For rabid RTS fans, RPG fans and everyone else stay away!

The Good
The graphics are pretty good, and so is the artwork.

Good idea to mix strategy and RPG.

The Bad
Where to start... Perhaps I should say that I didn't like the game at all, and that no other RPG gamer will like it either. They have taken the most boring elements of an RTS and added some RPG elements plus a lame story. I have a serious problem with RTS games, mainly because I have to build these stupid "workers" and hand out jobs to them. That's just pointless micromanagement, not gaming. So, while you just want the story to progress and your hero (or "avatar" as this game calls him/her) to level up, you have to produce these stupid workers and spend hours on building woodcutters huts.... sigh. And while in the middle of micromanagement, a band of goblins attack your "city", kill your workers, and you're back to square one. Great fun.

The RPG bit is very basic, some items here and there and some conversations with boring characters you meet. The interface doesn't make it easier. The icons used makes it impossible to understand what function they have.

There's also the cliché scantily-clad-female-with-weird-looking-armour art when you load a game (which takes about 1½ minute). Not even semi-naked girls can save this turkey though.

The Bottom Line
Don't play. Once you have familiarized yourself with the weird interface you're probably bored of the game. For those who think this RTS/RPG thing is something new, I suggest you check out "Rage of Mages" which is a much better game than this.

By Grov on November 27th, 2004

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (Windows)

By Grov on November 26th, 2004

Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War (Windows)

Not the best Warhammer 40k game, but still fun.

The Good
I found this game more enjoyable than Panzer General 2 (which it is built upon), but I'm a big fan of all warhammer 40,000 games so that makes me kind of biased I guess. Rites of War captures the Warhammer 40k universe in a nice way ; the graphics, music and the story together make this game addicting and fun to play. It actually reminds me a little of Fantasy General, which perhaps isn't so strange after all...

The artwork is excellent, as in all Warhammer games. The main menu must be one of the most beautiful ever made.

The music is good, but can become repetitive after a while.

The in-game encyclopedia is both useful and fun to read. All units in the game are described with a short story and some pictures, as well as with stats and abilities.

The Bad
The interface is somewhat weird. Some texts only shows partly and there's a lot of scrolling in tiny windows.

The story is weak, close to non existent. There's a guy called "The Farseer" who briefs you before each scenario and hands out objectives, but what he has to say is totally uninteresting. He shows you a map with a bunch of arrows that has no tactical value what so ever. The campaign is just a bunch of scenarios strung together, but the scenarios themselves are still fun to play.

I don't understand why they simplified the game from Panzer General 2. For example, you can't buy reinforcements during a scenario. And the deployment before each scenario is pretty pointless, as you can only change places of your units, not set them up in formations etc.

Some of the units movement sounds are borrowed from PG2, which seems kind of cheap.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to Warhammer 40k games, both Final Liberation and Chaos Gate are better. But Warhammer fans or just people who like turn based strategy might still enjoy it.

By Grov on November 24th, 2004

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate (Windows)

By Grov on April 22nd, 2004

Sacred (Windows)

By Grov on April 14th, 2004

Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome (Windows)

By Grov on April 14th, 2004

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII (Windows)

By Grov on April 14th, 2004

Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000 (Windows)

By Grov on April 13th, 2004

The Temple of Elemental Evil: A Classic Greyhawk Adventure (Windows)

By Grov on April 13th, 2004

Far Cry (Windows)

Good looking FPS

The Good
Of course, the graphics, It's nothing but really really beautiful. The view distance is nice, you can see the bad guys helicopter take off and come towards you from miles away, and when he's close enough you blast him with the rocket launcher and all bad guys fall out screaming into the water way below. It is for moments like that I'm a gamer....

I also like the simple gameplay in the first missions. Enemies are stupid and easy to kill, you just reload your sniper rifle and move on to the next pretty little island.

With the binoculars you can listen to the enemies conversations. This is a neat thing imo, and they're pretty fun to listen to.

One more thing : the ragdolls. When you kill someone, he sometimes ends up in hilarious positions (like sitting up, or standing against a door). I had many laughs from this.

The Bad
The story is bad. I don't even know why they bother, it would be ok with me if the story was just "this guy wanted to kill people and blow things up on a tropical island".

The game also becomes insanely difficult towards the end. The enemies become better at aiming and wear more armor. I guess this could be good for some, but I just want to kill and move on, not reload the autosave 37 times.

The Bottom Line
Buy this game, it's worth it. Everyone will be talking about it, you don't want to be left behind do you?

No doubt, this is the 2004 game of the year.

By Grov on April 13th, 2004

Master Rallye (Windows)

Not your average rally game, but something is wrong....

The Good
What makes this rally game stand out of the crowd are two things : Cars and tracks. The cars are Paris-Dakar kind of vehicles. That is buggys or trucks. The trucks are slower than the buggys, but still fun to drive. I really like the realism of how the cars behave when on the ground. I recommend a steering wheel or joystick though, they tend to want to skid around a lot.... The tracks are your average rally game tracks, but with one difference : you don't have to follow the road! Remember, these cars are off-road vehicles and are not much slower in the terrain than on the road. You can cut corners and sneak around small waterholes to gain a few seconds. Fun! The AI cars actually do this as well.

The graphics are nothing special, just ok.

The Bad
There's one big flaw with the physics in this game, and you'll notice this as soon as the car gets airborne (as it will sooner or later). The behaviour is very far from realistic, and tipping the car over is much harder than it should be. One thing is quite strange, and that is the fact that all damage your car receives during one stage is automagically repaired for the next stage. Perhaps this kind of rallying allows for more repair time, I don't know.... Still seems weird. The visual damage on the car looks ok, but wouldn't rolling the car over make it a bit more damaged than a dented bumper?

What I miss in all rally games are a realistic point awarding system and a career mode. The way it is now you have to race with the slower cars first to "unlock" the better cars, which makes you bored of the game once you get to the best cars. Also, the "time trial" option... Who plays it? Why is it there at all? Developers of rally games need a little more fantasy, this is getting old!

The most annoying thing is that the game feels unfinished. You sometimes crash into invisible objects, you can't turn off the in game music, the time trial signs are there all the time, and they make a sound when you pass them even if you are playing a single race and not time trial etc etc. Some more time spent on details and realistic physics would have made this MUCH better.

The Bottom Line
An ok rally game with some unique features, but after a while you find the flaws annoying enough to prevent you from playing.

By Grov on January 31st, 2004

Battlefield 1942 (Windows)

By Grov on December 31st, 2003

Neverwinter Nights (Windows)

By Grov on August 30th, 2003

Vietcong (Windows)

Very disappointing

The Good
I guess the music was ok. It wasn't that good, but the idea of using 60's style music is nice.

The Bad
The graphics are awful (Half-life did this years ago). You can take 100 bullets before you die, so there aint much realism to talk about. The missions are ridiculous and boring.

The Bottom Line
This is not the vietnam game you're looking for. In fact, there is no vietnam game to this date that is worth playing. This one is way too low budget to even get close to decent.

By Grov on August 30th, 2003

Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic (Windows)

Best fantasy TBS there is

The Good
I've been a big fan of all AoW games, and personally think they are the best turn based fantasy games ever created. Shadow magic is the best in the series.

The 2D graphics is great. The overland map and the units are all very detailed and beautiful. You really get the feeling you're in a fantasy world.

The Random map generator makes the game very replayable, and is also fun for MP games.

The simultaneous turn option is not new for Shadow magic, but still a great feature that no other TBS has. This option lets all players play their turn at the same time, and the next turn does not start until they all end their turn.

The campaign is fun, cutscenes are good looking and the story is ok. It does get quite hard at the end though...

One thing I've always liked with the AoW games is that they focus on strategy and tactics instead of hero developing. This actually makes the game more of a wargame than others in the genre (HoMM etc). The new tactical combat system (new since AoW2) is also very good. It allows lower level units to swarm good units and drain their movement points, and also allows ranged attack units to fire 3, 2 or 1 shots depending on how much they have moved that turn. During sieges, the defender is now allowed to move unlimited number of hexes within the city walls. The fun thing with tactical combat is that an army with a low number of units actually can defeat an army with better/more units if a good tactic is used. The combats are not predetermined in any way like they are in many other games (HoMM, Disciples etc).

The Shadow magic editor is great. You can import your own pictures for heroes and wizards, you can create all sorts of events and triggers and last but not least, you can create beautiful worlds of your own! The interface is simple and with just a little talent you can make very pretty maps. The events system allows for many different type of maps to be created, they can be focused on battle, quests, role playing etc. Your imagination is the limit really... The editor is a big part of why I like this game so much.

Mod support. You can access tools in the editor that lets you change most aspects of the game (unit stats, spells, city buildings etc.. There's also an ILB-editor included for those who wants to make new unit graphics.

The Bad
The music in AoW2 and Shadow magic is not very good if you ask me. Luckily you can make your own mp3 playlist, and I've converted the excellent AoW1 music into mp3's so that's not a very big problem.... :)

There's a campaign editor included in the normal editor. Unfortunately it has not been tested at all, and bugs are plentiful. It is close to unusable.

The AI has some problems, and the main problem is that he cannot build wizard towers. This can be annoying in some random generated maps where wizards start without towers.

The Bottom Line
If you like fantasy TBS this game will not disappoint you in any way. And once you get into map editing, you'll find there's not enough hours in the day...

By Grov on August 28th, 2003

Boarder Zone (Windows)

Pretty good for a snowboarding game, I guess.

The Good
I have to say I'm not a big fan of either snowboarding or snowboard games, but as a racing game against network opponents this game is quite fun. There's no realism what so ever, but I guess a realistic snowboard game would be boring. I've played it on a LAN and it works really fine, no problems connecting or anything like that.

The racing part is kind of fun in single player as well, you computer opponents are really fast and it takes some practise to beat them.

And graphics are good I guess, and so is the handling of your snowboarder. Just don't expect realistic physics.....

The Bad
The Big air competition and quarter/half pipe competitions are so boring I wont even mention them further.

As for the racing, there are 9 different tracks. But there are really only 3, as the lazy developers use the same track for the easy/medium/hard levels, only they put up signs and walls that tell you which way to go for the different levels. Unfortunately, you can end up on a not used track when racing, and then you'll never pass the finish line. This is most annoying in network games, when one player never finishes and the game has to be restarted.

Some of the environments are also quite ridiculous, or how about racing in a railroad tunnel with a train in it, a cave made of ice and on a paved road without snow? Or maybe that fits well with the "We smoke pot, have funny hairdos, snowbard in railroad tunnels and are sooo rebellious" kind of attitude that snowboarders are supposed to have....

And why does the game keep the CD spinning at maximum speed all the time? Even if you shut all music off, it keeps spinning....

The Bottom Line
Snowboarding games in general are quite boring, and this is no exception. Games that are made only to make money on some hype are never any good. But if you get this game cheap and have a network and some friends to play it with, you'll have fun with it.

By Grov on January 19th, 2003

Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne (Windows)

A great game, just as the first one.

The Good
This is pretty much the only game I play, just as AoW1 once was. When it comes to turn-based fantasy games, AoW2 is king. Some people claim that too much AoW-feeling was lost from the first game, and I see what they mean and agree to some extent. But if you look at AoW2 as a single game, you can't miss the true fantasy feeling and great gameplay.

The wizard concept is new and cool. You can cast spells within a certain area from your main character, the wizard, when he's in his wizard tower.

One major improvement from the first game is the editor. Maybe not as advanced as the HoMM editor, but still very capable of creating great looking fantasy worlds. There's an event system that can be used to trigger certain events like unit spawning, messages, gold rewards and much much more. This is also what makes the game replayable, the user made maps. Some artistic fans have created extremely beautiful an advanced maps with RPG type events and great stories.

The Simultaneous turns feature (available in AoW1 as well) is nice. Even I, who am a hardcore TBS gamer, have learned to appreciate it. It speeds the game up, both in single and multiplayer, without loosing too much TBS feeling.

Great graphics. Way prettier than all the other fantasy TBS games put together, including HoMM4.

The great website should also be mentioned. Even the developers hang out there and answer questions and responds to suggestions. There's also a huge map archive and many many hints and tips for both mapmakers and players.

The Bad
I didn't like the music much. Luckily, there's a built in mp3 player that lets you use your own playlist, and the fantastic music from AoW1 can be converted to mp3 with a Winamp plugin... :)

Some AoW felling was lost as the unit descriptions didn't make it from AoW1. Reading these little well written descriptions while your opponent was making his move was a nice feature in AoW1.

The editor could also have a few more portraits available for your custom made heroes, or maybe even the option to import your own pictures. Perhaps the upcoming expansion will have that feature (please).

The editor could use some more features as well, like more options for cities and spells. These are no major problems for the average player of AoW2, but those who decide to create their own maps might find it a bit annoying, as you can't limit the size of cities or set what spells are available for the AI.

This game is really fun to play in online MP matches. Unfortunately, not many other players are available. Several polls show that people rather play this game in single player mode or use the play by E-mail feature.

The Bottom Line
There is no better way to spend a few dollars than to buy this game. It provides hours and hours of gameplay, mostly because of the user made maps that are available.

The game might be hard at first, but as you play for a while you learn how the AI works. The developers added a "beginner" difficulty level in the 1.2 patch, which is recommended for players new to AoW.

By Grov on June 23rd, 2002

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