GamerSciz Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:45:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GamerSciz 32 32 Building a Custom PC for the First Time Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:45:25 +0000 Building a custom PC for the first time can be a daunting task. There are so many things that you must buy beforehand. What most people do not realise is that PC gaming is very different from console gaming. For starters, PC gaming is very demanding. Whereas consoles generally retail for less than 500 GBP, good gaming PCs can cost upwards of a thousand GBP. Obviously, the appeal of building your own PC is what lures so many people in to PC gaming in the first place. However, before you start work on your custom PC for the first time, keep these things in mind:

Create a Checklist

Without a checklist, your PC building process will be an utter mess. You need to mention everything that you need on a paper, down to the wires and bus cables. Many people do not realize the importance of creating a checklist while building their PC. In reality, creating a checklist is an objective approach to PC building. Once you procure a component, you can then look for another in order of priority.

Use a Custom PC Builder

Building a PC for the first time can be quite overwhelming. Once you buy all of the components, you will have to fit them in the casing. Then, you will have to connect all the cables together and power it up. In many cases, something usually goes wrong in the first attempt. Why take the chance? Many companies now offer custom PC builders that you can use. For instance, the Chill Blast custom PC builder offers you the chance to create your gaming PC from the comforts of your home. Simply log on to the company website and select what you want from the drop- down menus.  You can also decide the software programs or games that you would want pre- installed in the computer.

Once you have created your custom PC, you can make the payment online. The company will build the PC for you and dispatch it to your desired destination within a few days. Obviously, these services come at a cost. However, by paying a slight premium, you can bypass all the hassle of building the PC yourself.

Set a Budget

Building a custom PC can be difficult. With so many things to keep track of, most people are often confused about what they need. The most important thing is to set up a budget for it. Before you look for options, decide what games you will play on the PC. If you want a more demanding computer, set a higher budget. If you are going to play a few RTS games or a couple of MOBAs only, you won’t need a lot of power. Setting up a budget is extremely important. You will be attracted to more powerful GPUs and greater RAM. Allot a specific amount for the GPU, CPU, RAM and HDD. This will ensure that you don’t spend too much on the PC.

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Gaming for All: Thank You Internet! Sat, 04 Apr 2015 19:46:52 +0000 Everyone loves gaming in their own way. It doesn’t have to be the kind of activity played by people in darkened rooms with empty cans of energy drink thrown around and scrunched up crisp bags everywhere but unfortunately that is the stereotype that it has been given. Millions of people around the world play games, both on and offline, yet that is the image that’s stuck.

Go to any student flat on a University campus and you’re almost certain to find some kind of gaming setup either in the front room or in one of the bedrooms (at least), with the FIFA football series proving to be the ideal way of entertaining each other between lectures (and parties); and something along the lines of a PlayStation, XBox, Wii or maybe even a specially designed gaming computer. Combine those with the developments in mobile gaming thanks to smartphone and tablet apps and the number of games available to download and it’s easy to see why people are always talking about the games they’re playing at the moment.

The likes of Angry Birds changed the game (no pun intended) in terms of mobile gaming, an industry that was relatively neglected until its release. The game became addictive and throwing birds at wooden structures became the most popular way of watching time slip away from you throughout the day (and night).

Games like Call of Duty have remained popular throughout the world and the Internet is right at the heart of the reasoning behind that. Of course, the game being so incredibly good played a significant role, but the ability to play with and against players who were either friends or strangers, located around the same village or city, even the country or further afield; made it popular because you always got a different experience and you had the chance to learn from and interact with other players while you sat alone in front of your screen.

Role playing games tend to appeal to a younger audience (over the age of 18 in most cases because of their content in the case of CoD), but the online form of gaming – both on laptops and mobile devices – has developed and captured a wide range of players of all ages both male and female. For example, people in Europe are now able to buy lottery tickets online from so that they can play the lottery in America; and if they want to play a bit of online bingo they can do so from anywhere with a WiFi or 3G (even 4G in some cases) connection available.

Gaming has evolved from something played by people categorised under the previously mentioned stereotype into something for everyone – all thanks to the increased availability of the Internet and the global phenomenon that are mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets have made it possible to play games while sitting in the park on your lunch break, waiting for the kids in the car outside the school and even on the bus or train going to and from work.

It’s even possible to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea in the evenings, relaxing in front of the television once the kids have gone to bed and to play a game on your tablet in peace without having to fight with the children to get them off the family computer (a regular incident in the majority of households…)

While Facebook are working on a project to bring the Internet to everyone around the world, games developers are working on new games and concepts designed to help people to relax and have fun without having to buy specialist equipment if they don’t want to. We can do so much on our mobile phones and tablets all thanks to the web and (hopefully – and there’s no reason why it won’t) things are only going to improve as we, and our devices, get smarter.

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Online Gaming, What’s the Big Deal? Sun, 22 Mar 2015 05:15:39 +0000 The digital world is filled with all kinds of amazing technologies that allow us to connect with the world seamlessly in a matter of seconds through video conferencing, social networking and instant messaging; and there are all of the other amazing advancements that have allowed businesses around the world to develop and flourish in niches that didn’t exist as little as ten years ago… Yet millions of us around the globe are fixated on using our computers, laptops and mobile devices for other forms of entertainment – namely gaming.

Online gaming is one of the most popular pastimes in the world, right up there with sporting activities, music, cinema and literature but for those on the outside trying to look in it’s a very “unusual” activity…why though? What’s unusual about playing games, people have been doing so ever since the first games consoles appeared in the late 80s and early 90s that revolutionized the gaming industry and sparked the passions that people hold so dearly today.

The relatively new industry of online bingo is a fantastic example. The game itself has dwindled in popularity over the years, with the number of people playing in the halls around the world plummeting to the point where they had little choice but to close the doors and tell the callers and staff to seek alternative employment because it just wasn’t sustainable anymore. However, thanks to the Internet there are bingo review sites like Sea Bingo and Two Big Ladies which are providing information to people and for example, helps people around the world looking to satisfy an insatiable craving for an online version of the game that we all thought was dying like fax machines…why?

The fact of the matter is, the kind of online games that lead ‘outsiders’ to believe they are played by ‘weird’ people in dark rooms with hundreds of empty energy drink cans and crisp packets all over the place; are actually some of the most social.

The likes of Call of Duty allow players to assume roles within the game, playing with other people through Internet-connected headsets, discussing the tasks and helping each other to complete the various stages. The same is true with bingo thanks to the online chat features and close links with mobile gaming and social networking, players can chat as they play even if they don’t leave the house yet we don’t tag these players with the same brush.

Online gaming gives people the chance to escape from reality for a few hours, letting their hair down after a tough day at work or unwinding after looking after the kids all evening. Gaming doesn’t have to just mean slotting a few funny shaped bricks into certain positions to make them all disappear, or throwing some particularly tetchy birds at wooden structures; it can be anything we want it to be thanks to modern technologies, and so can we. Even people with poor social skills in ‘real life’, can feel at home playing games like CoD online with people they may never meet in the flesh; and in the case of bingo it’s given the real life version a new lease of life – it’s brought bingo back into the public’s consciousness and it’s now thriving again.

So just why doesn’t online gaming get the credit it deserves for helping people to have fun and develop skills? You tell me, because without it, there are millions of people who would be left with significant holes in their lives.

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Dragonball Xenoxverse Moves Launch Date to February 24th Wed, 14 Jan 2015 23:17:27 +0000 With Dragonball Xenoverse, BANDAI NAMCO Games is striving to create one of the most ambitious Dragon Ball video game experiences ever; with an expansive online multiplayer world, a multitude of game modes, and for the first time ever… players can create their own fully customizable characters and actually play a part in rewriting the classic franchise’s history.

In order to ensure the highest possible gameplay experience for our fans; BANDAI NAMCO Games America will be moving the Dragonball Xenoverse launch date from February 17, 2015 to February 24, 2015.

Dragonball Xenoverse is rated T for Teen by the ESRB and will be available in the Americas on February 24, 2015 for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft. The STEAM for PC version of Dragonball Xenoverse will be available on February 27, 2015.

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Sniper Elite V2 Review Sat, 03 Jan 2015 07:57:46 +0000 Picture this. It’s 1945 and Nazi Germany are at the verge of defeat. However, according to the mission briefing I received, (and the title of the game), it appears the Nazis still have one more trick up their sleeve. I, have been tasked with the mission to sabotage the Germans’ V2 Rocket program amidst countless Nazi soldiers, and it seems I will be receiving no help in doing so. That’s right my friend, I will be venturing into Berlin alone. With nothing but my rifle, my wits and a dinky little pistol named the Welrod, I will soon learn that stealth and tactfully placing my shots at the enemy will be my only hope to successfully bi-pass most Nazi patrols without getting shot at in the process.

In this game, account for distance and windage, and you'll hit your mark

In this game, account for distance and windage, and you’ll hit your mark

This was the main impression I got after playing Rebellion’s Sniper Elite V2. Sniper Elite V2 at its core is a Sniper simulator set in World War II. With that being said, the game does a terrific job in making the player actually feel like a sniper covertly placed behind enemy lines. With the games magnificent ballistics engine, players will have to compensate for various sniper mechanics such as distance and windage. To appeal to a variety of players, Sniper Elite V2 also supports three difficulty settings including Cadet, Marksman and Sniper elite. After playing the game on marksman, which features simplified ballistic effects, it is safe to say that the hardest difficulty, Sniper Elite, will provide shooter fans who are looking for a challenge a run for their money.

Sniper Elite V2 also does a fantastic job in making you feel like you’ve earned every kill. Basically, the game rewards players by indirectly making them feel like a badass for every shot they take. While most games provide players with a death animation of their target, Sniper Elite V2 takes that satisfaction a step further by including a feedback system in addition to a very satisfying bullet cam cinematic just to sugar coat the very best of your shots. Trust me, nothing is more exciting than seeing the little text at the bottom of your screen confirming a MOVING headshot, 400 meters away. Combine this with the games bullet cam system, which cinematically follows your shot as it travels across the street to hit its mark, only adds to the excitement and accomplishment as you reload and aim your sites down your next victim to do it all over again.

Unfortunately, Sniper Elite V2 does not possess a compelling story line to tie the single-player experience together. While the visuals and design of the game’s various levels in war-torn Berlin look crisp and clean, the level design is rather repetitive and there is little freedom for you to choose how you wish to go about in completing your mission. That is not to say the missions are not exciting. From being tasked to defend a building with your life from an onslaught of armored vehicles and enemy soldiers, to providing covering fire for a VIP, much of the Sniper Elite V2 campaign will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wonder how you managed to overcome such odds. Certain levels also feature a unique sound back drop which may be used by players to mask the noise of their shots at certain intervals.

Protect your VIP with your...bullets!

Protect your VIP with your…bullets!

In addition, the game is well designed in that it forces players to heavily rely on their sniping skills by providing them with a limited supply of sub machine gun and pistol ammunition. With that being said, players are restrained from charging in guns a blazing and instead, are encouraged to stealthily approach the enemy and take them out from afar, which is really what a sniper is supposed to do anyways. To aid your attempt to complete the mission stealthily, Rebellion were kind enough to provide you with magical binoculars that are capable of tagging enemy targets, just so you know exactly where they are at all times.

Your journey in Berlin however will not be all that easy. Despite your superb sniping skills and magic binoculars, you will have to deal with a poor cover system, which may or may not get you killed. While the cover system does its job, it is certainly not as refined as it should be, and when stealth is one of the main elements of gameplay, having a solid cover system is vital. Often times I have encountered a wall which looks more than capable of concealing my medium sized body, but would not enable me to hide behind it. Either that, or I’m only able to shoot from cover at a certain angle such as the right side of cover or the left, rarely the top unless I’m behind a window. The lack of a smooth cover system certainly downplays the experience of Sniper Elite V2, where stealth and long range combat is such an emphasis to the game.

Aside from that, Sniper Elite V2 does what is set out to do. To provide players with an exhilarating stealth shooter experience with a high emphasis on sniper mechanics. To improve its replay value, the game features a variety of weapons that may be unlocked throughout the game each of which has their own feel and statistical performance. As far as multiplayer is concerned, not only may the entire single-player campaign be played co-operatively, unique game modes such as over-watch and kill tally to name a few, provide players with the opportunity to snipe with their buddies and engage in “friendly” competition to see who may rack up the most points from their kills. I found certain game modes such as over watch to be a fantastic experience as I engaged German forces on the ground while my friend supported me by providing me covering fire from afar. It’s almost like having a highly advanced AI aiding you by doing all the killing for you, it’s great.

The Verdict

Sniper Elite V2, while simple, possess key elements to make it a fun game. While certain mechanics such as its unpolished cover system and linear level design may degrade the experience, the game does a great job in keeping sniping at its core, and provides a plethora of features to emphasize this. The unique co-op missions and ability to support its single-player campaign co-operatively provides players with a great platform to enjoy sniping with a friend. Finally, the ability to unlock and equip the weapons you’ve found during your journey in Berlin is definitely a plus.

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Random Number Generators: Are They Good or Bad for Online Gaming? Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:40:31 +0000 Every game comes with an element of chance or luck. Many experts believe that games tend to be more interesting with such randomness. Some experts, though, are beginning to find evidence that games can be better when they are all about skill, rather than chance. When the element of randomness or chance is removed, game designers are forced to find new, better ways to make their games interesting.

The random number generator 

When chance events happen in a game, they are never actually random. Instead, they are artificially introduced through the use of inbuilt random number generators that are designed to mimic chance events.

To gamers who dedicate years to building up expertise at a game, these forced chance events are often seen as disruptions. The less amenable to skill a game is, the less interesting it tends to be to serious players. Randomness tends to be unwelcome in another way — when a player wins a gaming tournament, no one actually knows if he actually won through his skills. Winners are less respected than they otherwise might be. Yet, there are benefits.

 There’s endless novelty 

The ability to supply novelty is the main reason why gaming designers like random number generators. In a tabletop card game such as Solitaire Arena, for instance, the use of random number generators means that players get a different set of cards to open with each time they start. They have a new experience each time.

On the other hand, the fact that players get completely random opening hands each time also ends up meaning that players start from different positions of strength. Luck, rather than skill, dictates the outcome, at least in part.

There’s excitement 

When a player is behind in a game, randomly introduced breaks can take on the appearance of luck, and make gaming more exciting in that way. Random number generators are often used by gaming designers to engineer comebacks for those on losing streaks, for instance.

Yet, in the history of great online card game matches, the best feats have been true comebacks, and not ones generated by random number generators. While luck can be exciting, it tends to be cheap excitement that doesn’t offer satisfaction. Hard-won victories, on the other hand, do offer real satisfaction.

Randomness can help less skilled players compete 

In many online card games, highly skilled players are often unable to find players of equal level to compete with. When they match up with less skilled players for want of better choices, games use inbuilt randomness to level the playing field. In games that have thousands of players, though, such leveling is rarely needed.

Is randomness good for gaming? 

Over the past few years, research teams have attempted to create exciting games that involve no randomness at all. One game has been particularly successful. Named Prismata, it has thousands of dedicated players worldwide. The game’s creators have found that games are far more satisfying to players when they are designed without artificial randomness.

The bottom line is that programming for user engagement without randomness can be extremely challenging; yet, when it is possible, such designs tend to be very satisfying to players.

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Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies Review Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:11:26 +0000 Company of Heroes 2’s initial release brought us to a theatre of World War II we have never experienced before within the franchise…Soviet Russia! While this new take on the franchise gave us a fresh experience with the game in a completely new environment, some of us old (and new) Company of Heroes fans wonder how the franchise would fare should it return to its old western front roots. Luckily, Relic Entertainment were happy to provide us with an answer by providing us with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion which features two new playable factions including the U.S. Forces and Nazi Germany’s Oberkommando West.

The Content

Looking at its content, The Western Front Armies appears to supplement Company of Heroes 2’s multiplayer community by adding additional armies into the fray. The expansion itself features two new playable factions, as well as new maps, allowing the player to do battle with his/her army across Western Europe in iconic battlefields such as the historical Hürtgen Forest and the idyllic Vaux Farmlands. Armies and maps aside, the expansion does not contain any form of a campaign or theatre of war scenario, so players who are looking for a single-player/co-operative experience will be disappointed. At its core, The Western Front Armies is most definitely not a western replica of the original Company of Heroes 2, but rather, a supplement to players who are looking revitalize their multiplayer experience by picking up two new western factions. 

The Armies

The Western Front Armies’ two new factions make up the core of this expansion. After playing a few rounds with both factions, it is clear Relic entertainment have done a great job with making both factions feel unique and distinctive, something they had great success in with their past games.

U.S. Forces

To further emphasize their flexible nature, the U.S. Forces feature a unique set of structures known as “weapon racks”. These structures, after an upgrade, may provide basic infantry units with an assortment of weapons including bazookas and Browning Automatic Rifles. All the U.S. player has to do is simply send the desired squad to the weapon rack and click on the desired weapon he wishes to equip for his/her squad. With the Bazooka and BAR added into the arsenal, U.S. players may utilize their standard infantry units to easily adapt to the enemies choice of units. The new U.S. Forces army plays completely differently from the old US army featured in the original Company of Heroes game. Yet, the new USF army fulfills the same fantasy the original US army provided, an army that may bend but will not break. The Western Front Armies’ interpretation on the U.S. Forces brings us an army that is both robust and flexible. With a high emphasis on flexibility, the USF features a unique mechanic by which no buildings/structures need to be constructed in order to advance down the tech tree. Rather, every structure for every unit will be available to you at the start, and may only be accessed by recruiting the designated commissioned officer for each building. The higher ranking the C.O, the more advanced the unit may be recruited. This mechanic is quite interesting, and separates Company of Heroes 2’s USF from other armies by giving its players the option to pick which form of tech they wish to invest in without having to follow a distinct tech tree.


Figure 1 – Wait long enough, and you may have an M4A3 Sherman as your first unit, though I would not recommend this strategy

With flexibility in mind, Relic Entertainment have done a fantastic job with the design of each U.S. unit. While not the strongest, yet not he weakest of units, the U.S. Forces feature a wide variety of units which may fulfill a variety of roles including artillery, anti-armor and anti-infantry. U.S. army units on their own are not the strongest, but when combined with a versatile set of diverse units, together, as one army the USF is one force to be reckoned with.

Overall the U.S. army fulfills the fantasy of a flexible army by providing the player with options. This includes the ability to choose the tech they desire, in addition to supplementing their army with a diverse unit pool.


Figure 2-Yes, with Oberkommando West you can make the King Tiger

Oberkommando West

According to Relic Entertainment, Oberkommando West represents Germany at a time of economic collapse after sustaining a difficult war on two fronts. Yet despite this demeaning background, OKW provides players with some of the biggest and baddest individual units in the game, which more than makes up for their economic predicament.

With that being said, Relic entertainment have done a fantastic job in creating a German Army that is not analogous to the original Ostheer Wehrmacht from the original game. Oberkommando West features a faction whose army relies on the sheer might and strength of its expensive, yet powerful units, while having a slow economy to hold it back.

One of the key features to Oberkommando West is that they receive 66% of normal resource income. This is to represent Germany’s economic collapse, which affects the buildup time of this army in particular. To advance down the tech tree, supply half-trucks (which spawn on the map at a regular interval) are provided to the player which may be moved across the map and converted to one of three available buildings. These three buildings are unique in their own right. For example, the Schwerer Panzer Headquarters features a 3.7 cm Flak cannon, which may be used as a potent defensive structure. Want a sturdy defense on a key chokepoint of the map? No problem! Simply send your supply truck to a captured zone and convert it to the Schwerer Panzer Headquarters. Not only will this structure enable you to construct light and medium tanks, but will also enable you to utilize its cannon on the front lines as a bulwark against enemy units.

Figure 3-Utilize Oberkommando West's mobile Half-trucks to set up your structures in key areas of the map

Figure 3-Utilize Oberkommando West’s mobile Half-trucks to set up your structures in key areas of the map

The fact that these structures are constructed out of mobile half-trucks provides the Oberkommando West player with the option to craftily place their structures on key areas of the map to influence the flow of battle. As far as units are concerned, Oberkommando West features some of the strongest units Germany has to offer. From the mighty King Tiger to the elite Fallschirmjäger, the OKW possess units that do the best at what they do. Killing stuff. While at a costly price, each OKW unit is capable of carrying out its role with ease and often surpasses it’s counterparts from other armies through sheer performance. If destroying your opponent with mighty German armor and elite units is your kind of game, I am happy to say Relic entertainment has provided the army for you!

The Verdict

While this addition to the Company of Heroes 2 franchise does not feature any single-player/co-operative content at all, it does fulfill its goal in providing players with a greater variety of options for army choice. The game certainly brings Company of Heroes 2 fans back to the west and both armies provided by this standalone DLC are well designed. In addition, the fact that this addition is standalone, will give players the option to purchase this DLC and dive into the Company of Heroes 2 multiplayer action right away without having to own the original game. Overall, The Western Front Armies is a fantastic addition to Company of Heroes 2’s existing factions and will certainly provide greater and more exciting matchups within the games multiplayer setting.


*Review written and provided by contributor

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InnoGames Announces Strategic Fantasy Game Elvenar Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:51:15 +0000 New title focuses on building beautiful cities and fighting strategic 3D-battles online

InnoGames offers players the chance to explore an exotic fantasy world with their new city-builder game: Elvenar – The latest, strategy-MMO title was announced today with details about the game. The German developer is treading on uncommon ground with Elvenar as players have to create a flourishing city and choose between Elves or Humans as a starting race. The games’ focus lies on building and upgrading a city, but players also trade, explore the world map or have strategic turn-based fights on a 3D battlefield. Elvenar will start in the browser; mobile versions are planned. The game’s closed beta is expected to start in January 2015.

Elvenar is a city-building Strategy-MMO from InnoGames, set in an exotic fantasy world. Tasked with creating a flourishing city, players can choose between Elves or Humans as a starting race. The choice influences the way the players’ cities and inhabitants look and which technologies and units are at their disposal. Between managing resources, levelling up buildings and unlocking new perks, players should also pay attention to the multiplayer-map if they want to find valuable relics. Yet, players might have to fight numerous fantastic creatures for them. The world of Elvenar is filled with, fantastic buildings and units in colorful, lush environments. The game’s strategic battles are 3D-animated, with up to 20 different monster and unit types, which make each encounter unique.

The choice between Elves and Humans influences the way the players’ cities and inhabitants look and which technologies and units are at their disposal. The Elves live and breathe magic and exist in close harmony with nature, whereas Humans are ambitious and determined engineers. “You will see some of the elvish buildings really come alive with lots of fantastical beings, like ents and golems co-existing peacefully in their cities”, explains Ulrike Kunkel, Producer of Elvenar. “The Humans on the other hand are a more technologically determined society, they focus on engineering to prevail. Our goal was to create differences in visuals and play style that make players want to try out both races at some point”, Kunkel adds.

Between managing resources, levelling up buildings and unlocking new perks, players should also pay attention to the multiplayer map. There they can interact with neighbors, scout new provinces and unlock various powerful relics by fighting NPCs. Fights take place on various battlegrounds. The strategic battles are 3D-animated, with up to 20 different monsters and unit types, which make each encounter unique and tactically deep.


After many millennia, the ancient and untouched world of Elvenar is ready to be explored once again. A new era dawns for your small band of either elves or humans in the lush strategy game Elvenar. Both people rely on the vision and leadership of a new ruler.


  • Build up your city: Create a thriving elven or human city, build residences, workshops and military buildings and upgrade them multiple times. Depending on your choice of either elves or humans, your city will look widely different.
  • Play as Elves or Humans: The elvish race lives and breathes magic and exists in close harmony with nature, whereas humans are ambitious and determined engineers. Choose one of the races and see your city spring to life with magical creatures and buildings, or become an industrial powerhouse.
  • Produce and trade goods: Produce numerous goods and trade them with NPCs and other players. A dynamic marketplace allows you to make your community formidably rich and unlock mysterious technologies by acquiring the rarest of resources.
  • Find treasure on the world map: The vast and mythical world of Elvenar encourages you to explore the world map. The undiscovered regions surrounding your city hold map expansions and powerful relics to massively boost production goods. Trade them or fight powerful monsters to get your hand on the rarest of specimen.
  • Battles: 3D animated characters with unique strengths and skills fight each other on a hex field map. Lots of strategic options and numerous troops to choose from provide tactical depth.

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Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth Review Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:18:54 +0000 After many years of inventing the writing and defending civilization from the barbarians, Sid Meier finally allowed us to get out of our planet. Beyond Earth is a fresh start for humanity, so lets check if changes did good for the series.

New production of Firaxis studio enchants with an atmosphere, which many adventure games can be envy for. Maybe this can seem insignificant in strategy type of game, but don’t be deceived by appearances. Thanks to it specific mood and excellent audiovisual side this edition stand out from its precursors and long session are even more enjoyable. And losing a few hour more with this game is very easy. New Civilization draws exactly the same as the fifth part of the series, but veterans should not be afraid that this is some replay. Few more systems – with curious aliens at first place – are enough to prove old habits are time-barred.






From the moment we land on the new planet we can feel the unique atmosphere of the game. Instead of the usual pastiche of science fiction, authors created a world full of subtle philosophical thoughts and based on real achievements of science. Genuine passion to science can be seen everywhere. While we play, mystical mood is our companion all the time and sometimes it even hits the pessimistic tones, because reality in not candy-like. We know that humanity destroyed the Earth and foreign planet is our last hope.

As we go deeper into the game, we are more and more impressed by the graphics. Weird local fruits are grown on futuristic plantations, small colonies changes into spectacular metropolis and scouts efficiently operate modern equipment when exploring countryside. Off course sooner or later we get used to all those things, but event then we look with pleasure on work made by true artists. Also music is important here, which emphasizes not only pathetic character of this space exploration, but the mood on anxiety at the beginning.






Beyond Earth is a full-fledged Civilization so it works more or less on the same principles. Territory is still the most important thing, every field has its own characteristic, and by building improvements and leading the expansion we care about dynamic development of our colonies. However there is one thing that significantly changes the tale. Aliens that lives on the planet have equally strong influence on the gameplay at the beginning of the campaign as at the end of it. This world is full of nests, that will be defended by their hosts to the last drop of blood (or anything they got). If we stay away from those nests, aliens are rather neutral.

This does not change the fact, that the possibility of the development is limited. We dont have the whole planet to our disposal, so we need to carefully push the boundaries, because sometimes it is much better not to get under the skin of native inhabitants. You can feel a little hemmed in here, but in the end aliens are giving the game an interesting character. Thanks to them we give more respect to the lands we already own. every terrain expansion is a success and we pay more attention to our scouts. All those elements makes Civilization: Beyond Earth a game more about fighting with surrounding than rival civilizations. For some player local fauna probably will be an annoying obstacle, but for me it a natural part of the game, which brings an interesting dynamics to the game.

Along with the development of the military force you can deal with the problematic strangers, but there is nothing on the way to treat them as your neighbour. Both of this attitudes are associated with in-game doctrines.

Ecological farms or cybernetic implants?

Cleanliness is a doctrine that emphasizes the uniqueness of man – we come from Earth and we cannot forget this. Harmony is also an interesting attitude, according to which we can become something more if we will live in harmony with the alien globe. Supremacy is something for the fans of technology. This doctrine sees the future in machines and improvement of human. With these 3 ideas for gameplay, the creators not only spin interesting speculations regarding the future of mankind, but also bring additional layer of progress. Every doctrine has its own experience bar. Gaining higher levels unlocks various bonuses and special military forces and in the end leads to unique victory.

This division is also the primary thing that diversifies contacts with other human societies. Differences of ideas that at the end of the game conflicts and alliances are very tangible, and the appearance of cities and leader themselves are clearly different. However those are only details, because effect of the new system can be seen best in conjunction with technology network – quite nice refresh of well-known development trees.






Although in the earlier parts of the series we had to deal with linear system of scientific discoveries, in Beyond Earth technologies makes large and intricate network. Gameplay focuses on learning more than ever. For example, three wins directly linked to the doctrines not only require a few discoveries mentioned in the description, but also many experience points on account of the ideology. They are placed on different sides of technological network, which on the one hand forces us to more prudential planning of development and on the other allows for some freedom in choosing the order. There are no discoveries, which simply requires all prior inventions to get access to it. Network opens from the inside to outside, so according to the events on the map we can strategically select our long-term goals without fear, that it will stop us on our way to the victory.

Interesting thing about the technology is it’s… content. Civilization has always relied on the we known human discoveries, but here developers had to let their imagination run wild. Although I am happy that the most of the discoveries are based on the ideas that are under development process even today, or on simple thinking “what if?”. So we use in the game vertical farms, advanced mechatronics. Climate control or genetic experiments. Technology network seems to be very reliable an able to raise a real interest on the contained subjects.

When it comes to winning, we got some pretty nice ideas. Authors decided to have little fun with the form and for instance, one way to find the alien signal (victory through contact with the intelligent race) is to examine hidden ruins. This emphasise the more active aspect of the game, which is maneuvering scouts units on the map. Victory for Supremacy requires building a special portal and send a specific number of troops through it.






New Civilization has it’s own tasks system, which – from what developers say – supposed to be a carrier of information about the world. It is indeed, because the messages appearing from time to time are written in a rather interesting way and give some idea of the life in our colony. Completing quests is also some method for developing within one of the chosen doctrine. Getting the rewards (experience points or some resources) often requires completing a few steps. This can be for instance exploring the ruins , then decide what to do with the inhabitants and finally start trading with the newly formed station or destroy it. Tasks are organized in fairly transparent system that not imposes itself while enriching the game from time to time.

We can wonder, if new Civilization should consist some more changes, but in my opinion Beyond Earth, as a separated product looks really great. The foundations from fifth part guarantee great, addictive fun, and a whole new world with aliens forces the revisions of previously developed strategies. There is no revolution, but this game is filled to the brim with interesting content and so many ideas, that this is more than enough for me.


*Review written and provided by contributor

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Alien: Isolation Review Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:29:12 +0000 Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game based on Ridley Scott’s Alien. It is a direct sequel to the movie taking place 15 years later. You play as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, and she wants answers. Is the trip worth the risk or did Amanda get a lot more than she bargained for? Find out for the full review after the jump.

What We Liked

Alien: Isolation starts you off on your own ship the Torrens. However right away you take a leap of faith and head to the Sevastopol. From the beginning things go awry. In the beginning you don’t have to worry about the Alien. The “Working Joes”, androids on the ship, and fellow survivors are much more dangerous. This is because throughout the main campaign there is just one Alien chasing you the whole time. This Alien is very dangerous but it really is just one. Let me tell you though, if you don’t sneak almost everywhere, that one Alien will hear you, find you, and brutally murder you.


I saw this deadly hand entirely too much.


These “close calls” happen a lot which makes for a very scary game.

One thing I really liked was how immersive the gameplay was. In order to use a handle or throw a switch it was never just “hit x”. It was always “hit x, then use L2 and the analog stick to turn left/right”. This helped make you feel like you were in more control than you really were but it was a nice touch. Not to mention in order to hack consoles throughout the game you have to complete a number of mini games. Some are challenging later on but it makes you feel like you earned the right to use the console.


The mini games can be challenging but are quite fun and rewarding.

On top of all of this, the story is quite entertaining and has a few twists and turns. It takes a bit of time to really get going but once it does it makes you want to know more about what happened on that ship. Keep in mind, this is 15 years after Alien so the story itself it a sequel and it really feels connected to the first movie. So if you are a fan of the franchise, especially Ridley Scott’s Alien, than you will appreciate what this game is trying to do and the story it is trying to tell. It helps that the game itself is quite pretty and the ship is very large.


The game itself is graphically impressive and the ship is huge!


What We Disliked

At first you have next to nothing as far as weapons go at your disposal. This hurts the pacing quite a bit since it forces you to sneak everywhere to stay alive. Even though you get a wrench in the beginning the androids, “Working Joes”, practically laugh at the fact of you trying to kill them with it. Not to mention, the save points are few and far between and there are NO checkpoints, not in the traditional sense at least. Occasionally there are times you get to an automatic save point and if you die the game brings you back to the “start of the mission” but rarely is it ever useful. Also, even though the ship is huge and there are no “levels”, you tend to get lost pretty easily and back track through the same area of the ship, not once or twice but a good three or four times just to follow the story. Granted this is because after upgrading and getting more tools you can access other parts of the ship but for the most part this is mainly for collectibles and not progressing the story.

Even after getting tons of weapons, at one point you are forced to give them up. Pacing can be an issue.

Even after getting tons of weapons, at one point you are forced to give them up. Pacing can be an issue.

While the story itself is good the pacing is a large issue. The AI of the Alien is quite impressive and actually learns over time.

Instead of following a predetermined path, the artificial intelligence of the Alien has been programmed to actively hunt the player by sight, sound, and smell. Unlike most other video game adaptations of the Alien franchise, Alien: Isolation features a single Alien throughout the title’s duration that cannot be killed, requiring that you use stealth tactics in order to survive.

The tracker is useful but it could also mean your death.

The tracker is useful but it could also mean your death.

This makes for a fun yet very frustrating and slow game. If at any point you want to just sprint and try and get somewhere….you die. You can’t outrun the Alien and honestly you can outsmart it only sometimes. One neat aspect is if the Alien learns you like to hide a lot it will check the lockers and cabinets for you forcing you to hold your breath on queue by hitting “L2″. While this is a neat aspect to the gameplay, again it is frustrating as it’s a QTE more or less and it is quite fast at that. Oh and did I forget to mention that you do get a tracker which is really cool but if you use it when the Alien is around, he hears you, and comes to kill you. It’s not until later on in the game when you get some real firepower that you can ward off the Alien.

Final Verdict

Seriously the game is fun but even playing it on easy was hard in the beginning and the story went next to nowhere at first. After you finally get some weapons and utilities/tools to work with the game really starts to progress along with the story. The graphics, gameplay, and story are all good. It’s just unfortunate that it takes a good 5-6 hours of gameplay to get there. Not to mention, as of right now there is very little replay value but this game deserves at least one playthrough.


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*Reviewed on PS4. Review copy provided by SEGA.

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