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Men Of War: Assault Squad
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Assault Squad is a Multiplayer expansion, although there are 16 Skirmish missions you can play single player, they are designed for Co Op play. There is no campaign.
The multiplayer aspect of the game has had a lot of attention, balancing the factions and fully incoporating the Japanese who are great fun to play with. Highlights are the mortar truck and kamikaze infantry. Frontlines has been streamlined and is now more fun although it is sometimes difficult to get a game started as Assault Zones is far more popular. In the latest patch (#2) DMS have added ranked servers and also a few more units including the Stug III. Each patch they have updated the tank models to high poly and resolution. The new Panther, Tiger and Shermans look awesome.
The Skirmish missions are set factions, so there are 3 for each side where you battle a pre set defending faction. This is not how alot of people percieve Skirmish, so for example one Mission is Battle of the Bulge, you are the USA and the AI is Germany. This can only be changed through a potential mod. Also the Skirmish missions dont give you access to the full range of units, however there are already mods changing this. Check out the DMS forums. There are 4 difficulty settings and if you are new to MoW, I strongly recommend starting on Easy. Even Normal can be tough to crack on your own. Hard should only be attempted with more seasoned players who work together and communicate. Mumble is a great piece of voice software which greatly aids Co Op gameplay. Overall whilst the Skirmish missions are similar in layout and units available, they offer hours of fun and Co Op is much more rewarding than playing on your own. On Hard 1 skirmish mission can take 2 hours + to complete. Heroic is another story.
Overall the support for Assault Squad since release has been amazing, adding new units, listening to the community feedback and really refining the online experience.
It is a shame that the frontend of the Multiplayer is not as user friendly as much of the community would like.
Its a tough game to master, but when you do it is a WW2 strategy experience like no other.
Keep a look out for Downloadable Content adding new Skirimish Missons, hopefully some defence based and also adding more units to the fray.
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A great workout or to improve on your dance moves! This is a really fun game and very well produced. Highly Recommended.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
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MP aside, SP for Modern Warfare 2 is stunning. The production quality of each mission is fantastic, sounds, visuals, voice acting and set pieces. The campaign is a roller coaster ride which does not disappoint in comparison to its predecessor and in many missions excels in adding new features.
OK so a lot of people have complained about the MP aspect of this game and if that is your sole reason for buying MW2, then maybe it is not a 5 star game, but on SP alone this is the best of gaming on PC or Console.
If I have one gripe, it is the lack of a lean function which I cannot understand the developers taking out. Hopefully with a patch or mod this will be quickly rectified.
Overall a very impressive addition to the Call of Duty series. Well done IW.
Men Of War
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Men of War is the third title from Best Way and 505 games. The same Russian developers that brought us Soldiers: Heroes of WW2 and Faces of War.
Men of War is an RTS game with the addition of Direct Control. This allows you to take control of a soldier, tank or any vehicle and drive and shoot the weapons. Company of Heroes are implementing this feature into the latest CoH title. Best way did it 6 years ago!
Men of War is a pretty hardcore WW2 strategy game. The campaign is awesome with varied missions during WW2 not often featured in other titles. Africa, Greece, Russia etc.The difficulty is tough. Your men are cut down as you would expect from bullets and tanks are real nightmares to overcome.
If you want a WW2 strategy title that offers a challenge, with great tactical and replay value, micromanging your soldiers and controlling the action at the pinnacle moment, Men of War is the game for you. The action is intense, explosive, never predictable and always making you think.
The cons are that the voice acting is terrible and the cutscenes feel a bit dated. The graphics are very good, but not amazing. This game is about scale not jaw dropping skirmishes. Overall Men of War improves on the previous 2 games to deliver a polished game with amazing depth and detail.
Not for the novice RTS player, but highly recommended.
Female Agents (aka: Les Femmes De L'Ombre) (2 Discs)
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A short review.
Very good pacing, excellent acting and tension between characters. Great fight scenes and good plot.
Why I don't give it 5 stars is because there is very little background to any of the agents and it feels slightly awkward the way they are recruited (slightly rushed). Also they receive minimal training. Maybe I missed something in the dialogue?
Overall ignore this and it is an emotional and exciting war film that is up there with the best.
Faces Of War
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I originally gave this game 3 stars and after playing soldiers: Heroes of ww2 (the original) was dissapointed with this game.
However! I have come back to it after 2 years and i think it is amazing and i cannot wait for men of war (the next in the series).
Faces of war is far from flawless. It is a little chaotic at times and the ui is a bit clumsy, the ai at times can be frustrating and on release it was a system hog.
But faces of war is not company of heroes, blitzkrieg or sudden strike. It sits somewhere in the middle very comfortable at pulling off direct control in a detailed and absorbing rts game. It is more linear than the first game, but there are still many ways to tackle most missions. The omaha beach mission and some of the russian missions are outstanding.
Men of war due out march 2009. See it on youtube
Brothers In Arms 3: Hell's Highway
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I think BiA is a game which has many great features, but for me it falls down on the overall level design and gameplay.
The core gameplay of BiA games is using cover and flanking with upto 2 squads whilst trying to avoid being flanked by the enemy. It worked reasonably well in the previous two games as it was a fresh approach on WW2 away from the Call of Duty series. It was also quiet tricky to play it as a FPS.
Why I give Hells Highway 3 stars is because whilst it excels in sound, visuals (mostly), atmosphere and cinema experience, the core gameplay is pretty simple and the level design does not improve this. The gameplay has been adapted to be more like a FPS, which imo has it downsides.
The levels feel forced. Each area feels like an arena where the Germans appear one side and you fight across a courtyard, a graveyard, a street, field etc. Within this arena the designers have put a variety of cover objects, i.e bails of hay, walls, barrels, boxes. Some levels are great, but in many I felt that the design was poor and unnatural. The AI is improved but again the Germans run for cover behind a wall and stay there until you take the offensive.
Overall BiA is a very good WW2 FPS experience, but I found the level design to be restrictive and dull/repetitive, esp tank missions. If this does not bother you then it is a great rival to the CoD series.
Far Cry 2 (With Exclusive Steelbook)
Alot of varied reviews for Far Cry 2, which seems to suggest this game is not the flawless masterpiece PCG would have you believe at 94%. I would turn that review score around.
I hope this is a balanced review.
If you are impressed with graphics, Far Cry 2 looks very good. perhaps not as good as Crysis, but it certainly runs much better on lower end PC's. The sounds are also of a very high standard, as is the lighting and day, night effects.
But for me graphics are secondary because we play games for the gameplay and if it looks damn good as well as being fun, then thats a bonus.
It is the gameplay that for me Far Cry 2 falls down on. I found it shallow, repetitive and boring. This game comprises of driving to places, shooting bad guys, then driving back to end the mission. In between the driving to places, you shoot more bad guys along the way. This is a simplisitic view of the game structure, and yes there is a story and side missions, but basically it is a very simple GTA in Africa with 1/3 of the options.
I love FPS, but this game is not rewarding. The AI is very slow to react, yet deadly accurate. They take inhuman amounts of bullets to die, yet only wear string vests. They run around like they have no idea to flank or even at times find you, but can see through wooden walls. As a result the combat is shallow and unrewarding. The weapons are very fun to fire, but the enemies are not fun to put down.
The game has tedious amounts of driving, in a very beautiful map, yet its largely a chore. Broken up with being chased by trigger happy mercs and checkpoints where no questions are asked, only guns fired - at first this is exhilierating, then it becomes repetitive and very dull.
To sum up
ProsPretty GraphicsGreat Sounds and AmbienceAttention to detail is very goodGreat variety of weaponsExcellent fire effectsGreat location
ConsPoor AIRepetitive DrivingSimple Mission structureRepetitive MissionsConsole find the diamond briefcases - tediousNot as open planned as you would thinkShallow gameplay
Overall 2/5 stars because whilst it is pretty and fun for a while, after 8 hours you will be convincing yourself you should play it rather than wanting to play it.
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
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The Enhanced Edition is basically what the developers originally wanted The Witcher to be. It isn't massively different but it does have a much polished and professional finish to the game. This includes voice acting, graphics and tweaks on the inventory + much more.
Most developers release a couple of patches that don't even fix all the bugs then statrt on an expansion or sequel. Not here, although patches were released as the original was quite buggy, they announced months ago that they intended to release this Enhanced Version.
And here it is, so credit to you CD Projekt because you have a loyal fanbase and one which will be avidly waiting for The Witcher 2. I think EA should take note!
An Awesome game and the content of this edition is well worth the extra pounds.
The Pale Horseman
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The Last Kingdom was 'the' book that got me back into reading. Since then I have read other books but I keep coming back to Cornwell.
Quite a break for me from reading The Last Kingdom, but I started this book and within a chapter I had reacquainted myself with Uhtred. The Pale Horseman is the second book in this series and is gripping. I don't think it is Cornwell at his best, but it is still very good.
Currently reading The Lords of the North (3rd book)