Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Total War Pictures

To quench everyones anger because Barbarian Invasion isn't coming out today(Not because I forgt them yesterday) I have got some pics for you, enjoy:

Total War Special Coverage

Because the final total war game is coming out tomorrow I thought I would do a special on the total war series. It will, sadly, be the last total war game as it was a trilogy, but don't worry, there is a Total Warrior trilogy to come!

Shogun Total War
The first Total War game was Shogun Total War. It was released 14/6/00. It was published by Activision. It was revolutionary, getting numerous awards and enticing many players. The game was set in Japan in the 16th century where the country was at war. Although the total war games have changed allot over the series here lies the foundation. The campaign plays like risk, you do not have complete control over your army's, you can just move them province to province. The graphics were good at the time but now are measly compared to Rome Total War.

Medieval Total War
The second installment, Medieval Total War, is considered by many (but not me) to be the best Total War game. Combining the greater graphics with some of the classic and simplistic features such as limited army control of army's on the campaign map. It is also most people's favorite period of time. As advanced units are just starting but there is still lots of hand to hand combat. This game was released in 19/08/02 and also picked up a rake of awards. This game was also published by Activision and also had an expansion pack.

Rome Total War
The third and final installment was Rome Total War. Released 01/10/04 and also published by Activision. It gives you free control on the campaign map as well as revolutionizing the entire RTS market. Please see my review for full details.

Now you may be wondering why I keep mentioning who published the game. As you know, the Rome: Total War expansion pack is coming out tomorrow. Now you would expect it to be published by Activision. Oh no, it is published by *drum role* SEGA! I didn't even know Sega did publishing. They are also publishing the up coming Spartan: Total Warrior. Apparently, Sega out bid Activision for all of the up coming titles. It is isn't that surprising as Sega publishing probably have a nice new bank balance and saw where the money was. I don't care it is just interesting.

Barbarian Invasion
Although I have already done a preview for this game I have more information. I can confirm that the campaign map is bigger and will include Scotland. Also, if your commander has a night trait then you can choose whether you can attack at night in the campaign. Apart from it being dark, it means reinforcements can't join the battle unless their commander also has the night trait. This is great as before they could have 40 units and you 20. There is also, of course, a whole host of new traits and units and everything.

For all of you who are confused about my release date and what it says on shop.game.net, I have the same dilemma to. I will try to buy it tomorrow but I suspect that that is only in America :(. When it comes out I hereby proclaim it 'INTERNATIONAL TOTAL WAR DAY'. Every year you must only play total war games, or buy a copy of the game on that day. When this day becomes famous remember THK123.

I look forward to playing BI with much enthusiasm. I will not review for ages and will be eating tablets for food as will be playing it constantly and will not be able to click quit. My only hope is that you can run it off the expansion pack disk too so I can play multi player across the network. I doubt it though.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Age of Empires 3 Preview Update

I finally got my hands a demo of the forth coming Age of Empires 3. I can now give more details on the game.

Well, I don't know what to say. I was expecting breath taking graphics, there alright but everyone keeps saying they are amazing. All these people probably get a new computer everyday, my PC has, at time of posting, average computer abilities and the graphics come out like this:

And they claim to look like this:

There is a subtle difference.

Once you get past the average graphics the game is amazing. The gameplay is a massive improvement from AoE 2. Some of the major changes are:
1)Villagers don't have to go to and from drop off points to gather resources.
2)Home City - I will discuss this later.
3)Treasures are found across the map and will give you experience points, see later on.
4)AI much better, they actually attack you, not early on but they do at the end. Also they get angry and if you attack them they attack you. Furthermore they ask for your forgiveness when you start crushing them and they talk to you when key things happen.
5)Physics are included, if you shoot a tower a bit of it will come flying off!
6)Only 3 resources, wood, food and coin. Coin is gold and stone combined.

Home cities is the latest innovation in the world of Age of Empires, it is, as the name suggests, the city which you, the explorer(discussed later), come from. As you gather experience points for all of the things you can do, from collecting wood to building a building or discovering a hidden treasure you will receive experience points which will be added to the circle, at the bottom left of your screen. It is rather similar in appearance to the one in the LOTR games. When it fills up you may order one of your 'cards' from your home city. These can range from villagers to resources or even free flat back forts in a wagon! As you get more experience points your city will level up and for each level your city gains you can by one more card for your deck. Although you can have a maximum of 20 cards in your deck you may by many more and create custom decks to suit a particular strategies or map. SP and MP games count towards this.

The explorer is a hero style unit because he is far superior to any other warriors and has special abilities. He can never die, he will lie on the ground slowly recovering health. If your explorer gets captured by the enemy then you can try and batter him back. He can build town centers and trading posts. Trading posts are used to ally with the native Americans and to get experience points from trading routes. They can only be built in certain places.

There are of course many new units, army's and buildings. One of my favorites is the factory which is only available through your home city. It can be configured to create any one of the 3 resources or create heavy artillery. The resources are useful when in peace time and heavy artillery when preparing to attack. Although the resources it creates isn't enough to cover that resources, keep villagers collecting it too.

I am strongly looking forward to this game and is coming out 10/18/2005 and I will be getting it that week.

Coming up RTW BI(Rome Total War Barbarian Invasion) is coming out 27 September.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Blog Update

Wow, with the summer drawing to a close and school looming in we all know its that time of year when the summer holidays end. Ah well.

The weather might not have been that hot this year, but it has been a hot summer in the gaming preview area. 360, AoE 3, Rome Total War, Spartan Total Warrior, PSP for those in England, Gizmondo(yeah, huge amount of excitement there!) is just some of the stuff we have got to look forward to. I think what ever your bank balance, console or genre you have there will be somehting to buy in the autum and winter.

Well, of course I will have reviews of the games I get, wich will include AoE 3 and the expansion pack to Rome Total War. I have also recently got Rail Road Tycoon 3, so the review for that is under way. I hope to be starting my four part 'Next Gen Console Wars' Report soon so I have my work cut out. I will try to review halo 2 and Brothers in Arms, but may not get round to it.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and tell EVERYBODY about this blog. Now. Go. Tell.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Railroad Tycoon 3

Railroad Tycoon 3
Platform: PC
Rating: 3+
Type: Tycoon simulator
Graphics: 7/10
Story: 7/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Multiplayer: ?/10 (Will be updated as soon as I think I am good enough to get kicked by the people online, but it does have online)
Sound: 8/10
Overall: 8.5/10

As is the case with all tycoon games they are underpressed because they are not popular enough to be worthy of shop coverage. It came out 2003 and I am told by many sites that it was a highly anticipated game, the problem was its predecessor came out so long ago most people who wear waiting for it were either dead or not playing video games!

basically you are a tycoon out to make money. There are lots of different scenarios to play each with 3 levels of passing. You play from the begging of America right up 2100 where there are trains that are yet to be invented that travel 200+ mile's an hour. The game has unlimited complexity allowing you to delve into the stock market. Risking everything by buying on the margin, or just simply lay track and build a train and make a bit of money.

The graphics are said to be amazing, I think that is because compared to the last one they are amazing. Having said this the sunsets are quite mezmarizing and are nice to watch. It also does weather effects particular well, but water is a let down and it is only because of the reflection and the waves can you actually tell that is water. Some times when laying tracks it does something impossible, like the track going up at about 80 degrees and then goes into a tunnel 30cm from the top, still climbing! Apart from these minor flaws the graphics aren't stunning but they aren't bad, with of course complete 360 control over the camera.

The story in the campaign is based on real events that would really have involved train tycoons. The problem is that the story's aren't consecutive. It might be 1890 at the end of one scenario and then 1870 at the start of the next, I think this shows that the story is not an important part to this game.

Gameplay. Gameplay is great. The game can be as complicated or as simple as you like. First of all you set up a company, then you connect two cites and run a train between them. You have to choose which would be two good cities. From there you go about completing what ever task is in hand. Sometimes there will be two cities you have to connect or sometimes just make lots of money. One of this missions you have to pull 50 loads of oil. The mission variety is good and there are lots of them too. There is also a mode called sandbox mode where you have infinite money and no opponents, it is basically for messing about. I use it to build MASSIVE suspension bridges from Russia to Scotland and then running the fastest train back and forth. The one thing game play lacks is a mode where you still have money to worry about but no goals. You can create this effect with the scenario editor.

The scenario editor comes in two parts. One is called map builder where you just drag a rectangle over a map of the world and it creates a 'height map' and you can open these up in the other editor to make them proper maps. The problem is it takes way to long. There are so many cities to first of all name and then build all the different types of building's, from houses and churches to grocery stores and super markets. And as if that wasn't enough you have to define the value of every product in every city and or area(also user defined). So although this gives the user a great amount of control it does mean that if you want to whisk up a quick scenario you can't. Another flaw with it is to place buildings you have to start up a company. Which is strange because its an editor not a crazy scenario.

Multiplayer review coming soon, as I said before, when I think I won't get kicked to badly.

"All your base are belong to us"