19 Feb 2011 | Author: Autumn | Category: Android

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In almost every location, frontiersmen tell tall tales of flying saucers and the sasquatch, and the truths you discover if you follow these leads make for an interesting thematic twist. Of course, the same is true of Europa Universalis III, which would make EUIV redundant were it not for the many welcome changes the latter makes to the series. While not the most significant change, the implementation of automation may be the most welcome, because it greatly improves gameplay while reducing your clicking work. Consider the act of improving relations with neighbors: in EUIII, the process involved selecting a country and giving the order to improve relations, sacrificing a diplomat for an incremental improvement in relations, and then repeating the process ad infinitum. Now, diplomats are permanent characters who remain in Vilna for as long as it takes to make the Lithuanians love you before returning home for their next assignment. Dreamy Luigi also changes up the battle system. Rather than the brothers fighting separately, Luigi's powers are absorbed into Mario's. A simple stomp turns into a shower of damage-inflicting Luigis. A hammer attack pounds the ground with multiple hammers, and is ideal for taking down the larger mobs that populate the dream world. Even cooler are the special attacks, which see you tilting the 3DS to build up a ball of Luigis Katamari-style and then launching them with an explosive kick. The tower stack is back too, only this time you build it up gradually by leaping onto separate groups of Luigis. Timing is crucial here, because each wonky landing causes the tower to become unstable and parts of it to collapse, resulting in a less powerful attack. The ground combat part of StarDrive is unsatisfying. By default, the AI controls your units, and this is probably for the best given that one wrong click can make your infantry attack one another. More problematic is that the ships transporting ground units are hard to intercept if other enemy craft are present. Thankfully, ground units don't require upkeep and automatically become troop transports when ordered to leave a planet, so you can just spam tons of units and send them off to defend threatened systems. Unfortunately, you have to be extremely precise when ordering space marines to exit a planet, because you have to right click on a ground unit to send it into orbit, and by default, right clicking anywhere else exits the colony view screen. Characters join and leave your party without so much as a goodbye. But you can't lament their loss for long; you must carry on. Switching between characters is necessary to complete stages because even the surest jumper cannot complete this journey alone. You may have to stack blocks to give a boost to a less athletic character, or pile the whole group on the back of the lone swimmer in your group. Different characters and obstacles do a great job of giving variety to the challenges that stand before you. Eventually, gravity becomes a suggestion rather than a law, spikes become as dangerous as the acidic water, and jet streams prove that blocks are not the slightest bit aerodynamic. If squares had toes, the characters would surely be kept on them. Getting down on the diamond lets you forget about some of these problems. MLB 13 plays a very good, very addictive game of baseball. Pitching and batting are very challenging and realistic. You have to work your pitches on the mound and pay close attention when in the batter's box. The pitcher-batter duel is uncannily realistic. You regularly get into wars, trying to fool batters with pitch type, placement, and speed. And then you get into the same battles on the other side of the equation, fighting off enemy hurlers doing the same thing to you when you're at bat. Ball physics are brilliantly realized. The ball always moves in a realistic fashion, whether coming off the bat, coming out of a shortstop's hand, or ricocheting off the pitcher's skull. Survivor mode hits similar notes, with four marines trying to simply stay alive for the allotted time before the xenomorph team can slaughter them. The other modes--Team Deathmatch and a capture-the-node variation called Extermination--are more mundane. No matter which mode you choose, however, you can't escape Colonial Marines' sloppier elements. You can skitter up walls and across ceilings as an alien, but there's no telling which surfaces you will stick to and which you won't. This can lead to awkward moments in which your plans falter because you have to mess with your positioning when you'd rather be messing up marines. Additionally, issues like screen stuttering when entering vents and when in spectator mode make online play feel unfinished. Infected with a fatal disease and cast into exile, you begin Miasmata washed up on the shores of the desolate island of Eden. Given your lack of food, water, or medicine, your situation seems bleak, but stumbling into a nearby abandoned settlement with remnants of a makeshift research facility offers a gl

Short ability cooldowns and the absence of an auto-attack get your fingers busy, while spirited animations and stirring sound effects make combat a pleasure. Not that the action is mechanically unusual: it boils down to the traditional hotkey presses/hotbar clicks that have long characterized the genre. But it remains consistently exciting once your hotbars fill up with a variety of skills. The vivid glow of lightsabers flashes across the screen, Jedi knights leap about like robed acrobats, and combat droids fire bright lasers as they swoop and whir around you. All of this preparation would be for naught if it didn't support a solid online offering. Thankfully, XIII does not repeat XII's mistakes. It offers an online experience that's smooth and stable, provided you find an opponent in the three-to-four green-bar range. If you fall below that, you'll encounter noticeable (though not unplayable) performance dips. When you finish, you can choose to save that match's replay for future viewing. While it's a nice touch, there is not a system in place for sharing or viewing other's replays. Sadly, Spectator mode is also absent in online play, which leads to a lot of bored players during group games. The only potential consequence of flubbing a scene is that you might receive a silver or bronze medal (or no medal at all) rather than a gold medal for your performance in that scenario. Still, these sequences are choreographed effectively and presented from dramatic, frequently shifting camera angles, making them fun to watch. The velociraptor chases, T. rex pursuits, and other deadly situations the characters find themselves in are suspenseful, with plenty of narrow escapes, and the characters are complex enough that, although you may not like all of them, you're interested enough in all of them to want to know what fate has in store. Adding insult to injury is the fact that multiplayer matches, where you're most likely to see Genesis' best assets in action, are very difficult to come by. Whether you seek a ranked match or browse for an unranked one, you're unlikely to find many rivals, if any at all. That leaves you with one-off AI matches and the campaign, neither of which makes good on the game's excellent premise. There are a fine number of maps to keep you busy if this distinctive brand of furtive scheming appeals to you, but the best strategy games suck you in, whereas this one fails to use its spark to light any fires--and may leave you feeling as cold as ice. Ridge Racer Unbounded is, as its name suggests, Ridge Racer without limits. Your cars are no longer simple drifting machines, but tools of destruction, and the fictitious, urban tracks of Shatter Bay are your calamitous playground. Cars leap, streets explode, and buildings crumble, all while your competitors are turned into fiery, slow-motion heaps of wreckage. This is no mere update to the series. It is a declaration of change, one that confidently throws out the tried-and-true but rapidly aging formula of Ridge Racer to create a blend of all-out destruction and high-speed racing that's tremendously exciting, if not entirely original. Fortunately, RAAM's Shadow delivers some solid novelty by letting you play as General RAAM and his burly Locust entourage. RAAM is shrouded in a small kryll swarm that protects him from bullets and obeys his commands, and sending your minions out to shred the Gears that oppose you is gory fun. Getting up close with his nasty knife or wielding the heavy flails of his guards in cooperative play also makes for some satisfyingly squishy moments, but the thrills are short lived. The slowness of the hulking Locust and the relative weakness of your human enemies make these sections feel like unstoppable murder romps rather than actual combat. You begin without context, a red-robed figure in a desert, and set out hiking towards the mountain on the horizon. Why? Initially, at least, just because it's there; instinctively you seek an objective and the mountain, topped with an unexplained bright light, is your only option. It's a straightforward but elegant kind of sig


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