Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let's Go To War Lads! Waaaaagh - Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

ifWarhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ for Microsoft Windows. It is the sequel to the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War video game series. Dawn of War II was released in North America on February 19, 2009.It retails for $39-$49.99 depending on where you shop.

- Pros: Most everything is subtitled, missions are fast and to the point, simplified controls.

- Cons: Side missions are slightly repetitive.

Presentation: The presentation of the game is actually very good and sets up the story nicely. The graphical theme is consistent to wrap most of the game and is visually pleasing to the act. The controls are explained well in the tutorial and gets you right into the action. I have found the game to be enjoyable overall with minimal hiccups. You can also get loot drops during the progression of the game that you can use to modify your different units. There is no base building and you only get to use a few units at a time which can be customized to suit each mission. I think it's a nice change in a real-time strategy game to have this feature.( 7of9 tails.)

Graphics: although the graphics are not the best I have seen in a real-time strategy game, they are above average and very similar to
Call of heroes graphical style. The character models are average in my opinion and could have been done better. I am not saying that the graphics are bad, they are actually good in most cases. There are lots of explosions and plenty of features to go around and make this an enjoyable graphical experience.(7of9 Tails.)

Sound: The sound is fairly well done and hitting for the atmosphere. There is plenty of sound effects and voice acting in this game which are above average from what I'm used to. They can get incredibly intense during battle and this makes you feel like you're in the middle of a massive firefight. I really think they did a good job in this department and I was pleased with how it sounded on my surround system.(8of9 tails.)

Controls: the game has very simplified controls that allow this game to be played using only the mouse. There are a few hotkeys that can be used but are not absolutely necessary to beat the game. There is not much more to say to this, other than that the controls are wonderful and simple.(9of9 tails.)

Replayability: after the single player campaign is over you can play online against your friends and other people you don't know. Unlike in the single player campaign, you can play as all three different factions to see which ones you like the best and compete against opponents over the Internet. Also you can play through the game again to try different strategies or the co-op mode that was implemented. It's a lot of fun with friends. I think you get your money's worth for this game.(8of9 tails.)

Accessibility: now for the most important part of the review, accessibility! From my time playing through the game the story elements and cut scenes had subtitles. The characters comments when issuing orders and when they were under attack did not have any subtitles. Although this should have been subtitled it will not take away from the game if you are deaf or hard of hearing. All the important parts are subtitled and sometimes I even turned off the sound so I would not get a headache. There is one minor flaw in the game if you happen to be colorblind, although this will not have much of an effect it should be noted. There are different types of cover you can take and they are signified by different colors when you hover over areas that you can take cover in. Although you can usually tell visually that a treaty is going to give you less protection than a broken wall. Just a minor flaw that does not take much away from the game if anything in my honest opinion. You can play this game in black and white and still have fun.

Since everything can be done with the mouse there is no real need for alternative configurations. You can adjust the sensitivity settings and you can also turn on sticky clicking. This makes it so that you can only click on your units and clicking on the ground will not constantly deselect your units if you happen to have any kind of coordination issues. I find this to be a highly accessible computer game. Definitely worth checking out if you like real-time strategy games or the Warhammer universe. I would venture as far to say 90% of the disabled can easily enjoy this game. (9of9 tails.)

Closing comments: Although it's not the greatest real-time strategy game ever made, it is a very fun game and should provide for at least a few weeks of entertainment. Everything can be done with only using a mouse and thankfully they kept the control simple and not ridiculously overdone. Definitely worth checking out this game if you want to be able to play a game casually as the missions are usually short and quick. You can also play this for a few hours at a time if you choose to do so and still have fun.(8of9 tails.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Killzone 2 - Time to Kick Quasi-Nazi Butt and Chew bubble gum.

The game starts off with the Helghast leader on a news broadcast just before the invasion begins. The graphics have a really nice flow and look absolutely amazing. The sound is also top-notch. The cut scenes are never to long or excessively long and progress the story at a quick, yet understandable pace. It does not matter if you have played the other games in the series. It pretty much explains what's going on and all that you really need to know. It's quite easy to figure out what's going on and character relations from the cut scenes. It has a very good pacing and excellent flow of stories. Overall this is a above average presentation and you can tell that hard work was put into this game. (9of9 tails.)

Graphics: The graphics looks absolutely amazing and the special effects are Hollywood grade. Most everything is nice to look at and pleasing to the eyes except for a couple things which are not really that noticeable. The two things that do not look good are when they use low-resolution textures and the animation of the flamethrower seem a little bit uninspired. Other than that this game looks wonderful and is one of the best looking first-person shooter games in a long time. There is tons of eye candy to go around, especially in the later levels. (9of9 tails.)

Sound: This game sounds absolutely amazing on my seven channel system and I think it is a seven channel game I would because all eight speakers have sound coming out of them. All the voices changed depending on the direction that I was facing and all the other sound effects were top-notch. This is a wonderful game to play turned up really loud. Everything sounds amazing and the way it should. This game has an excellent soundtrack/sound effect track. Definitely worth it to have a high-quality sound system for this game. (9of9 tails.)

Controls: This game has a few different control setups to use that accommodate most of the different styles of gamers, but not all. Precision aiming can be toggled by the press of a button and does not require you to hold it down. For some people the aiming speed might sluggish, but when I turned up the sensitivity it seemed to play just fine to me. The game also incorporates motion sensing for turning valves and planting C-4. To me and my friend who had to do these parts of the game for me found this to be gimmicky. It actually took away from the immersion which was the opposite of what they were trying to accomplish. It was executed nicely but still feels like a gimmick in a game like this. (7of9 tails.)

Replayability: This game has different kinds of ribbons that you can earn, ranks to achieve and multiplayer modes to keep you busy for many weeks after the single player campaign has been finished. The multiplayer have absolutely no lag issues for me and it was a blast to play online. If you strategy and stick together usually your team won't run into problems of constantly dying. The community seems to be mature for the most part and fun-loving which seems to be a rarity nowadays. Overall the game is worth purchasing and should keep you busy for at least a month. (9of9 tails.)

Accessibility: 95% of things in the game are subtitled in the other 5% are things that do not matter at all to the game. People who aren't able to hear can definitely still have a blast with this game. There is a good variation of control schemes that should be decently suitable for one-handed gamers, but it does not include any kind of key customization which is a negative in the accessibility department. One thing that makes this game highly unaccessible is the fact that you can not turn off the motion control for turning valves and planting C-4 explosives which requires the use of the use of this particular feature of the PlayStation three controller. I had to get a friend to do these parts for me and there was a huge negative for the single player campaign to not have an alternative way to do these parts. Currently I'm trying to talk to the developers at guerrilla games into into patching in an alternative to motion sensing for these parts. For most people that I have spoken to, even people with no physical disability find this to be a strange thing to overlook not being able to turn off the motion control parts. If they fix this issue this game will be a highly accessible first-person shooter.... in the meantime it is somewhat on accessible to people with physical limitations unless you have a dedicated friend who will do these parts for you. I think all games on the PlayStation three should always have an alternative to motion sensing when it is implemented in a game.(5of9 tails.)

Closing comments: This is an excellent game with amazing sound and visuals, an emphasis on the visual part. The controls are decent in my opinion , although they could be better in many ways. Custom key mapping and no alternative to using motion sensors for parts of the game that barely even total five minutes total of the game.. If even that hurt this game wills accessibility and overall enjoyment. If you have a friend who is willing to help you with the motion sensing parts, you should will at least rent this game. I have faith that the company will address these concerns about the motion sensing part and patch a fix for it soon. This article read updated in a couple weeks to reflect whether or not this issue was fixed.(8of9 Tails. poor accesibility design.)

Interactive crime movie and mindless mayhem! GTA4 Reviews

Interactive crime movie and mindless mayhem! GTA4

Grand theft auto four is an open world action game and has become one of the highest selling games. You can obtain this title for $30- $59 depending on where you shop. The game is developed by Rockstar North and is publishedby rockstar games. Grand theft auto four is basically a cinematic action game and is a wonderful game... although it does have a few noticeable faults.

  • Pros: Excellent graphics and sound, a fairly decent auto aim feature and a good selection of music.
  • Cons: Somewhat overly complicated controls(explained later.), freezes more then it should and cars handle poorly.
NOTE: GTA4 is a game rated M for mature. This means that you should not buy this game for your kid under 18 year old. I am for real parents, this is not a game for the little one!

Presentation: A lot of the game plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster film and has the voice talent to back up this particular comparison. The scenes flow nicely and progress the story at a decent pace. It feels like you are playing in a Hollywood crime movie. Overall the presentation was executed as well as can be expected for a game of this particular size.(9 of 9 tails)

Graphics: This game has excellent graphics and all kinds of little details you can easily miss while playing through the game. It really feels like and looks like a big city. Although the character models are not the greatest I have ever seen before, they still look nice and far with the overall graphical style. Some of the animations are pretty interesting and funny to watch. One example is if you're driving really really fast and crashed into something , sometimes you'll go through the windshield like a rag doll. Overall the graphics are excellent minus a few technical glitches here and there.(8 of 9 tails.)

Sound: I tested this game on a onkyo 9100 THX certified 7.1 channel system. The game sounds very nice and has many different sound effects that you would find in any large city. The sound effects come off as above average and pleasantly help to feel the mood of the game. If my memory serves me correctly there are close to 200 different music tracks in game. The game has just about every taste in music. Overall the audio is above average and varied in the music department. (9 of 9 tails.)

Controls: I did not particularly like the way rockstar did the controls in this rendition of grand theft auto. The fighting system is pretty good I must say and not too difficult to use. My main complaint is the fact that cars handle sluggishly like you're driving a large 18 wheeler. In my opinion they should not have made it where the pressure sensitive triggers determin whether or not you manually aim or automatically depending on how much pressure you put. Although you can turn off auto-aim to get around this, it leaves you without said feature. My friend who has no physical limitations also found this to be somewhat annoying. Although the controls are somewhat decent, it is still flawed in my opinion. (6 of 9 tails.)

Replayability: Even after you complete the story mode there are still other things for you to complete and keep yourself occupied with for many hours. There is a multiplayer feature that allows you to kill each other online and gain ranks, clothing and other rewards.The multiplayer is actually quite a bit of fun and more enjoyable than one might think. Overall there is plenty of stuff to do.(8 of 9 tails.)

Accessibility: First I will start with the bad points of the game. This game is very unfriendly to one-handed players who do not have a modified controller designed for use with one hand, mainly because of the button layouts. This game is also slightly unfriendly to players who use switch interfaces because in order to use precision aim you have to hold down the trigger half of the way. Otherwise you can only auto aim at various different enemies. The way it is now I have to pause the game and turn auto aim off and on depending on the mission . Most of the time this is okay but many times you need to use precision aiming to be effective. These appear to be the only issues that I could find that would negatively impact the disabled gamer.

The game does have some good things about it though for some disabled players! The auto aim feature usually works like a charm and allows you to take out multiple enemies without taking too much damage. I just wish you could switch this feature from auto aim to manual on-the-fly like in metal gear solid 4. The second feature is that a majority of the game is subtitled which is helpful for any of the deaf gamers out there. (7 of 9 tails.)

Closing comments: This is an excellent action game and as a boatload of fun. This is not the most friendly game to the disabled players that love video games. This game does have a couple things that are good for disabled players but could easily be improved on if they would take the time to listen to a few suggestions from the community of disabled gamers. Even though I cannot manually aim because of limitations of using halfway pressed triggers and the non-ability of being able to map the buttons.... I still managed to enjoy this game and have fun with it! I really think everybody should at least rent it to see if they can deal with the limited controls they may be forced to use. The two problemsI mentioned before could easily be alleviated by the developers.(8 of 9 tails.)

  • One-Handed Friendly: 40 Bad configurations.
  • Alt Control Schemes: 40 No controller customization, has 1 other configuration.
  • Close Captioned: .90 Just about everything is close captioned when turned on..
  • Colorblind: 90 markers can still be understood 90% of the time.
  • Tracking Needs: 50 Never felt overwhelming.