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Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
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For me, first person shooters have always been reasonably similar in what they can offer in terms of realism, physics and gameplay as well as a whole host of other aspects. To some degree they have always been carbon copies of one another.
Not Call of Duty 4. For the first time since I discovered the wonders of Battlefield 2, I look forward to finishing university every day so that I can jump online and play some multiplayer.
This game needs a powerful machine to be able to fully enjoy the graphical delights that can be delivered to the user - don't make a mistake, they really are absolutely incredible. Shadows, rag doll physics (so that when you shoot somone they fall down properly and it looks like you killed them), HDR lighting, field of focus (so that when you are looking down your scope at something, things around you become more blurred, the same thing goes for if you are sniping and a blade of grass goes infront of your eyes.)
It is about as real as a game can be and it makes it all the more fun. When you shoot someone through the head you actually see a blast of blood hit the wall - divine.
The team tactics enduced by this game are fun, tense and incredibly professional. You can employ miliatary tactics and actually see them work - I recall several times myself and my best friend stormed building in order to neutralise the targets inside.
You do not hear it yourself, but when ever you do something that may directly influence another player around you, the clever COD4 engine makes your player shout it out. Examples include 'flash out!' for a flash grenade, so that if a player is near you he can turn himself around to prevent becoming equally blind and deaf. The best one however, is when you have a target in your sights and a team mate kills this target, you hear a 'target neutralised' which means you can relax for a minute.
The weapons are incredible. I thought that Battlefield 2 had gotten it right but COD4 shows weapons in a whole new light. Never before have I considered how much of a difference it can make to be using a silenced Mini-Uzi against an AK74u with no silencer or grip. Whilst the AF rifle has a longer range and does more damage, it shoots far slower and makes a heck of a noise. At close range, the Mini-Uzi is capable of ripping players in half and it is little considerations like this that make the game all the more enjoyable.
Shoot Through Walls! Yes, a whole new concept that has been implemented very sucessfully into COD4 is real material penetration. It works very well and makes the game so much more real. You can begin shooting before you enter a room in hope that you'll hit something but be careful, if they're already in the room and on the floor, they'll know you're coming!
The single player is short but equally fun. Providing an experience that only Call of Duty games have provided in terms of story line, it is superb, and the new graphics engine will make it seem all the better.
Buy it, please, for the sake of your own existence and if you cannot run it, please make a good PC your christmas present.
Just for reference my PCs specs are -Core 2 Duo E66002GB Dual Channel DDRII RAM300GB 7200RPM HDD2 x Nvidia 7900GT SLIAsus P5N32E-SLI Motherboard22" Samsung 1680x1050 Screen - I run the game at 1280 x 1024 - I get 14 fps on 1680x1050.
The Bourne Ultimatum
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The Bourne franchise is genre defining - that's a pretty hard feat as movies go, but in the 21st Century, it is almost impossible. Nevertheless, the Bourne trilogy manages it.
Not just an action film, and not quite a spy film, the trilogy has defined its own genre: that of the espionage thriller. In the computer games world, it can be most closely linked with titles such as Metal Gear Solid.
Each of the three films have particular elements that are always present: an epic car chase, an equal (in fighting and investigative skill) to Jason Bourne and a conspiritorial CIA agent. This formulaic approach combined with fresh and original camerwork, sound and editing is what makes the films some of the best ever.
Previous comments are absolutely correct, Jason Bourne has had a massive effect on the Bond genre. Due for a major re-branding anyway, the producers behind Casino Royal obviously looked to elements of the Bourne franchise in order to make the latest Bond more believable and more brutal. We often see Jason close up and in the nitty-gritty of a fight, sometimes coming very close to losing his life.
The character of Jason is believable and full of depth - we are presented with a character who genuinely hates to kill people, and as the trilogy develops, we see him kill fewer and fewer people.
In a world where movies can be conviniently (if not illegally) downloaded instead of going to the cinema, it would have been too easy for many to stay at home and watch it. Thankfully, the Bourne series has given me hope that, providing Hollywood can output a good film, people will still go to watch it at the cinema.
My verdict: Watch them even if just to hate it. If you have ever said 'I like action films', or have ever enjoyed one, these films are a must.
Watch them now.
Vanguard: Saga Of Heroes
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I owned Vanguard from the opening day, I had my preorder from Play.com weeks before the game was released and I was glad; for me, it was the first time that I had experienced the opening day of an MMO.
Vanguard is a second generation MMO. It is still tied down with previous ideals - there is nothing new to offer players with regards to playability, except the diplomacy system, which takes its form in other ways within competing MMOs.
For me this is why Vanguard gets an intital three stars. However, and this is a big however, the game is absolutely beautiful, it is by far and beyond the sexiest looking MMO in the world. Only Tabula Rasa can compete with the stunning visuals offered by this MMO - therefore I can safely assurt that Vanguard deserves a four star rating.
Unlike WoW, RF Online, Guild Wars or any other MMO for that matter (except Eve Online, which works a different way), where you can only see about thirty feet in front of you, Vanguard gives players access to the most visually impressive and beautiful landscapes you have ever seen.
I specifically remember how much more of an adventurer I felt when, topping the last major hill before I (according the the map) would be able to see the sea, it finally appeared miles in the distance. But what amazed me more was not that I could see the sea, and that it actually looked like a coast (I live in Brighton, UK) but that I could also see the rest of the coast into the horizon, with all the hills and landscapes beyond that - absolutely incredible.
Unfortunately, for every bonus there is usually a negative and mine was loading times. Vanguard works on a grid system, where the maps are split into segments and as you cross invisible boundaries, the next 'map is loaded'. Technically you should not notice it, but for the average user who is not running a RAID or a Raptor setup - the load times can hurt. I often found myself frustrated by having to wait up to ten seconds while the map un-lagged itself as the game tried to find the relevant information on my hard drive, within an 18GB+ file.
For me, Vanguard will always have a special place in my heart, it's big and it's sexy and it made my SLI setup work. Hey, I know, I'll go play some Vanguard.
World Of Warcraft
Wow, World of Warcraft, Night Elf Priest, Dwarf Hunter - all lingo that you will begin to pick up from the WoW experience within a few hours of playing.
The Massively Multiplayer Online market is saturated by games that are, by and large, all the same - grind, upgrade, grind, upgrade, finish and start all over again.
So what can WoW offer over the other MMOs? Well, for a start it is absolutely saturated by players. You will never, ever again be frustrated by having no other players to quest or converse with, the game is completely alive with constant chatter and raid groups taking place 24 hours a day.
Graphically, the game makes up for its older generation psychics (no HDR lighting or 3.0 pixel shading here) with an extremely vibrant environment with landscapes ranging from arid deserts to snow capped mountainous caverns to 'Red-Neck' style farmlands. Surprisingly, this works as an advantage in WoW, everyone can run it these days, meaning more players and no graphical lag. PC enthusiasts who have DX10 graphics cards, dual core processors and more gigabytes of ram than thumbs may find WoW dissapointing in the graphics department, but I am always pleasantly surprised by how clean it looks.
So, why choose WoW? Rarely do I struggle to find reasons to play something that I like. WoW is just WoW, you can only begin to understand if you actually play it. Every time I tell myself that 'this is it now, I'm not going back to WoW' I always find myself playing it again within a few months, if only for a one month subscription, there is something childishly enjoyable about beating up a seven foot tall ogre with a two foot tall dwarf warrior.
The community is eager, alive and helpful, rarely will a question go unanswered (unless you play outside of peak hours when the play levels go down) and I often find myself chatting eagerly away about one thing or another.
World of Warcraft is a game that every PC gamer should play to at least say that they have played it, and if they don't like it after that, then fair play; well done for trying.
Scab a tenner from your mum, buy the game, give the 10 day free trial code to your friend, and enter the world of Aseroth together as you enjoy the delights of World of Warcraft.
The Ultimate Bourne Collection (Steel Book) (3 Discs)
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