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    • Thief 3 (PC) / PC Game / 53 Readings / 48 Ratings
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      29.09.2007 14:13
      Very helpful



      The best stealth-based game

      Thief: The Dark Project was the first stealth-based game I ever played and it really proved that stealth can have an important role in a game. This was the game which made me more interested in stealth games and also towards Hitman and the others. But for me, Thief was a little more interesting as it was set in a different and may be better background and with a more interesting character and plot. The beginning of the Thief series may be the one thing which made 1998 an interesting year for the gamers. The third game of the series seems to have revolutionized the game even more.

      Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003
      Intel Pentium IV 1.5 Ghz processor or AMD equivalent
      256 MB of System RAM or higher
      64mb 3D Video w/ PS 1.1
      DirectX 9.0 sound card
      EAX / Dolby Digital Sound Card recommended
      3.0 GB of minimum hard drive space plus additional space for save games
      4x CD ROM / DVD ROM Drive
      Keyboard and Mouse

      The master thief Garret makes the much needed return in this game and this time with some new looks and a better-looking world. Garrett is not only a master thief but also doesn't have anything to do with the other thieves or people which means that the player will be alone in this game. The player can also choose to wander around the city when not going through a mission. But the guards and the other thieves may not like a master thief roaming around the city. Garrett has to go through the dark corners of the city and remain undetected. But the thief also has his own unique ways of getting through the opponents.

      The game will have a number of quests having some objectives, most of them will be to steal something from somewhere, and there will also be extra objectives and also some restrictions like we should not kill some one and we will also be having some notes which will help us in the mission. As long as the player does not engage much of the opponents, especially moe than oe at a time, the game is going to be very easy. Stealth also plays a major role in this game because the guards can come at you as a group or even one guard can be sometimes hard to take care of, as Garrett doesn't have that much of a defence ad has got very less health points.

      The game does look great in the graphics department. The thief doesn't look too handsome, but he has been designed well, with one eye being a mechanical one and he seems to be more athletic in this game. He also has some scars and also seems to have got a bit thinner. The environment looks too good especially when we are in certain missions, and as most part of the game is dark and the player would also prefer dark areas as a thief, there is not much to complain about the large number of dark areas in the game. The sounds are also impressive as we can hear most of the people talking and this can even give us some clue for our mission. We can also listen to the foot steps of guard and the other characters so that we can hide or launch an attack on them undetected. The cutscenes are just fine.

      The game allows both first person and third person camera views, but most of the time third person may be more useful. There are four difficulty levels to choose from, and not only the enemies and their strength increases, but we will also have to get more loot and also will have mroe restrictions. The difficulty playing these types of games will be even more once we get detected atleast once by some one. Not only the defence is low, the one-hit kill weapons just does not exist in this game unless we attack from the darkness and do the stealth kill. The city is a good place to check your skills. Stealing and pickpocketing can be better with some practice in the city while you are doing some free roaming as the guards there may not be as good as the ones in missions.

      Garrett may not belong to the modern age, but he has got a very interesting weponry. He has a mechanical eye which allows him to zoom in and out of objects, as well as a climbing glove which helps him to climb to those higher areas in the absence of a ladder. There is also the dagger which can kill the opponents in one shot if he is unaware, and the blackjack which can make them unconsious and this one is effective only when the opponent is unaware and got his back turned. Moving slowly and through the shadows always helps. As there are sometimes switches for the lights and candles can be turned off too, this won't be too hard. The blackjacks are most effective when we are not supposed to kill in some missions. The enemy AI is also good, especially at the higher levels.

      There are also some explosive mines, gas grenades and flash bombs. The best thing comes in the form of the bow and arrow as there are fire, water, gas, moss, and noise maker arrows in the game. The fire arrows can set things on fire and and also finish off the undead who are only afraid of holy water if there is no fire. The water arrow allows us to exinguish those burning torches which stand in our way keeping the darkness away. We will have to use this one more frequently in the game. The gas arrows release some kind of gas and lets you get away fast. The moss arrow will provide you with a surface which makes very less sound, and it is very useful in noisy surfaces. The noise maker arrows are effective in distracting the guards and will be most helpful when we have to go through multiple enemies with no shadows to hide. Some items can be also effective when thrown, but only upto an extent.

      The tutorial will teach most of these things in detail including lockpicking which may look boring, but is actually one of the easiest things in the game. These stealth-based games seems to getting better every time, as we have seen in Blood Money and also in the Deadly Shadows itself. I would say that Thief 3 is a worthy sequel and for the people who are new to the Thief series, it may take some time to learn, but it is really worth it. Unlike Hitman, the Thief Garrett is not a killer eve if some people may play this game like psychopaths. Garrett is one of the most interesting characters to be in a PC game, and this game really deserves more than it has managed to get. The other game from Ion Storm, Deus Ex: Invisible War looks more like a game of the past as we compare it to this one.



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      • Civilization IV (PC) / PC Game / 38 Readings / 35 Ratings
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        23.09.2007 18:55
        Very helpful



        This one may be the best city building game

        Civilization 4 happens to be one of my all-time favourite strategy games. This game seems to be the closest to realistic city building and related activities. The game also have two pretty good expansions - Warlords and Beyond the Sword. There has already been lots of games related to empire building, like Caesar, Zeus, Pharaoh and Cleopatra, but none of them were as addictive as Civilization 4. This game seems to give the same importance to the combat aspects unlike the other games mentioned. This turn-based game can be termed as an all-round strategy game which has covered lots of aspects of various civilizations.

        Operating System: Windows 2000/XP
        Processor: 1.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon processor or equivalent
        Memory: 256 MB RAM (Windows 2000) / 512 MB RAM (Windows XP)
        Hard Disk Space: 1.7 GB of Free uncompressed space
        CD-ROM Drive: 4X Speed CD/DVD Drive
        Video: DirectX 9.0c-compatible 64 MB video card with Hardware T&L support
        GeForce 2/Radeon 7500 or better required
        Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
        DirectX: DirectX version 9.0c (included) or higher
        Input: Keyboard and Mouse

        Civilization 4 leads the player through ages, from 4000 BC to 2050 AD or until one of the victory conditions is satisfied. These victory conditions can vary from defeating all the opponents to controlling a major part of the map as well the world population or by being the first to construct a space ship to colonize a distant star, or three of the player's cities having legendary culture ratings and ofcourse there is the United Nations election. If these victory conditions are not met even after the time gets over, the civilization with the maximum score will win the game even if its a close game.

        The player will usually start with a Settler who builds a city. We have to make sure that the city is built on the right area, or it won't develop fast. The resources in the nearby tiles should be looked upon, and the Workers helps in increasing the yield in each of the tile by building farms, cottages, plantations, quarries, windmills, pastures, camps and more. There will also be Scouts who can be used to explore land faster, but they won't be able to conqer a city. Scouts will later be replaced Explorers.

        Then comes the basic combat unit of all civilizations, the Warrior followed by the Archers. The Axemen and spearmen follows them and then will come the Rifleman, Infantry and also tanks, helicopters, fighter planes, bombers and also very powerful nuclear weapons. Each will depend on some resources, like bombers needing oil and also the airport so that they can land after each attacks. There will be large number of naval units to be created, starting from the fragile Workship and Galleys to Battleships, Carriers and even Submarines. Some of the units may be only available to some civilizations.

        Coming to the civilizations, there are eighteen of them to choose from, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. The selection of leader also affects the game, as we have some of the most famous leaders in the history, like Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Asoka, Queen Isabella, Mahatma Gandhi, Genghis Khan, Montezuma, Augustus Caesar and more. The special units of civilizations vary like Phalanx for the Greece, Praetorian for Rome, Immortal for Arabs and Fast Worker for India. There seems to have been lots of research before making this game, as they have even got the various old and new city names accurate in the game.

        There are also lots of technologies in the game, and by researching some of them, we can enter the next era or discover a religion, like researching Theology discovers Christiany while researching Divine Right discovers Islam. The main religions in the game will be Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism and Taoism, but religions like Roman and Greek mythology will be available in some scenarios. The city where the religion has been found out will be the holy city for that religion and we will be able to build a religious wonder there. Religion also plays a major role in diplomacy of the CPU as the players of your religion will like you more, and if you convert to their religion, they may admire you. We can not only convert to a religion, but also send missionaries to spread a religion in a city.

        The selection of civics is another major part of the game as they can change the way you play due to the various differences each civic system can make. They can lead to low upkeep, happiness and also higher productivity in cities. These civic options are also related to the researches. Selling the researched the technologies is also a good option for making cash or just for earning the trust of opponents. Some opponents may not be friendly whatever we do, thus making it different in the case of every scenario and its settings. We can research a technology by building the Oracle or using a great person who appears at times in a city.

        The most interesting thing in the game may be the number of buildings which can be constructed. There are also some wonders like Hollywood, Statue of Liberty, The Broadway, Taj Mahal, The Pyramids, Eiffel Tower and more. The construction of a wonder can be time consuming which may leave your city useless until it is complete. The special resources in the game like iron, rice, uranium, ivory, stone, marble, oil etc also plays a mjor role in the game as some units needs it and some of them can speed up processes. Each city needs to be connected to eachother to make the most out of these resources, and for some extra resources we can always trade.

        The game also got some great graphics as we zoom in to see the units from very close without any blurring and we can also zoom out a lot. The zoom out feature is very effective as we can zoom out to see the whole planet earth which gives us the feeling that we are in some upper layer of atmosphere. The game looks great right from the main menu itself and the music and sound effects are just too good. They have even detailed the world leaders well, even if they look a bit funny, may be done like that intentionallly.

        Tha game also got a world builder which can be used to edit the map as we wish, and the game's multiplayer option means that this one can never be too boring. Even if the huge map can take lots of time to load in the less powerful systems, the loading time is worth it. If any one is looking a turn-based strategy game, this is the perfect choice. We can also get to know something about the ancient civilizations from these types of games :-)



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        • Diablo 2 (PC) / PC Game / 40 Readings / 41 Ratings
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          20.09.2007 06:32
          Very helpful



          Diablo is a bit old, but it still got the firepower

          Diablo 2 is the first RPG game I played, and the story of the evil Lord of Darkness continues from the first game, as he has teamed up with two of his brothers Mephisto and Baal and also supported by his old evil minions and even bigger monsters. The feel of the original Diablo continues in this game, as the hero is once again forced to fight a large number of enemies who keep coming, with lots of dungeons to explore. There is no news about a Diablo 3 yet, and it is a bit disappointing, but Diablo 2 is still worth playing after so many Role Playing games were released. The old warrior of Diablo still seems to be living among hardcore gamers, and Blizzard can be proud of that.

          Microsoft Windows 98/2000/ME/XP
          Pentium 233 or equivalent AMD processor
          32 MB of system RAM or more
          650 MB available hard drive space
          4X CD-ROM drive
          DirectX compatible video card
          Glide and Direct 3D supported
          Keyboard and Mouse
          Additional multiplayer system requirements:
          64 MB of system RAM
          950 MB available hard drive space
          28.8 Kbps or faster modem

          The game gives the player the option of choosing from a number of characters, each having their own abilities. The first one will be Amazon who uses javelin, spear or may be the bow and arrow. This agile female character is a good choice for those who try the hit and run policy or may be too interested in bow and arrow. The other female character sorceress uses magic as she scores with the lightning, fire and cold spells. But she may suffer from low defence as well as low hitpoints, thus proving to be easy prey for the bigger enemies, and thus it proves to be less suitable for the beginners to go on the journey with this character. She will be of use only if you fight from a certain distance and avoid melee atttacks from opponents.

          Necromancer is some kind of a dark wizard who can raise the dead as well as summon various creatures to fight with the player. His ability to curse can also prove as a boon at times. Necromancer can be very effective, if used in the correct manner. The most powerful character in the game is Barbarian, who not only looks huge, but also very strong and can hold two-handed swords with just one hand, and hold a shield on the other, thus increasing both the attack and defense in the same manner. He is the best in melee combat and can master lots of combat skills. Another type of character is the Paladin who is more of a holy knight or warrior who fight for the good. He looks the more balanced character with enough fighting abilities as well as some interesting spells.

          Diablo involves increasing the level of the player and thus increasing some selected attributes like strength, dexterity etc which can be necessary for using some weapons. Strength also determines the total damage you can deal with or without the weapons. There are lots of weapons in the game with vaiety level of attacks and special features and they can also be imbued. The imbued items can be very lethal if you imbue them in the right way. There are also a large number of inventory iems to help the player in his ultimate quest against the evil. Some weapons can be very effective against some enemies and same is the case with the armour.

          Diablo is a game which has a huge wold with a large variety of enemies which keep respawning if you quit and load the game again. This means that you will have to finish a game in one stretch all the time. There is no option to save as you can save only when you are quitting. Once you are dead, you will respawn in the nearby town, but all the weapons and armour will be left at the place where you had died. So it is always better to have some extra equipment with you, may be locked in your chest. The autosaving occurs very rarely in the game. As there are lots of portals and we can create lots of them with some scrolls, there won't be any problem of finding the way back to town. In the town, we can buy and sell items as well as talk to the people there for information or simply chat as well as get some new quests. Some of them will have a large story in store for you.

          The game got some good graphics and its too good for a game at that time. There are also some special effects especially during the fights and the levels like Arcane Sanctuary are nothing less than great. The sound effects are pretty good too. The cinematics are also ineteresting. The best feature of the game may be its aimplicity as you just have to click the left mouse button somewhere for moving, on an opponent for attacking and on an item for picking it up. It cannot be simpler than this. There are also some hotkeys which can reduce the use of mouse. But we will still have to use the mouse a lot in this game.

          Diablo could be termed as a very addictive game, and its multiplayer option also adds to it. The gamers who have played the similiar games like Dungeon Siege, Neverwinter Nights and Titan Quest may not want to go back to Diablo 2 as it is an older game, but it certainly scores above all. Titan Quest just seems to be an exact copy of Diablo with a mythological background added to it. Diablo can certainly be called the inspiration for a ll great Role Playing games. Because of its low requirements too, it is worth a try. The monsters inside this game are really rocking :-)



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          • More +
            15.09.2007 05:51
            Very helpful



            One of the biggest games with lots of options

            Oblivion is the best Role Playing game I have ever played. I considered it as just another game in the beginning, it was something more than that. I finished the game and played it even after finishing the game with a total of about 200 hours and more than 2000 save games. With the official plug-in Knights of the Nine and official expansion of the game Shivering Isles make the huge game even bigger. The Game of the year edition has been released including all these, but even without the expansion, Oblivion is a very big world.

            Microsoft Windows XP/2000
            512 MB of System RAM
            2.0 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
            8x DVD-ROM Drive
            4.6 GB free Hard Disk Space
            DirectX 9.0c (included in the CD/DVD)
            128 MB Direct 3D Compatible Video card
            DirectX 9.0 compatible driver
            DirectX 8.1 Compatible Sound Card
            Keyboard and Mouse

            The game begins with the player lying in the prison. But the player is lucky this time because the Emperor Uriel Septim VII is escaping from an attack by a group of assassins called the Mythic Dawn, and the secret passage to escape from the castle is in the player's cell. The emperor decides to take the prisoner with him, may be thinking that he can aid them in some way. They travel together through an underground tunnel through the sewers. But despite the best efforts from the soldiers as well as the player, the emperor fails to survive an ambush during the journey.

            The Emperor had given the player the Amulet of Kings and had told him to take it to a man named Jauffre. Later it is revealed that the Emperor had an illegitimate son named Martin Septim, and the player has to find him. But there are already a number of Oblivion gates opened through out the empire connecting hell and the empire. The player can choose to close all these gates by going through them and collect a sigil stone which lies in the centre, or just go by the main quest where the player can finally close the main gate and all other gates with it. Meanwhile completing the side quests can be helpful in many ways.

            The Shivering Isles expansion adds another main quest and a number of side quests. We will get informed about a strange door being opened and as we find and go through it, we enter the Realm of Madness where have to stop a phenoemenon known as the Greymarch which happens once a while and destroys the whole place. The whole place looks entirely different and gives you a new feel. Meanwhile Knights of the Nine only adds a faction and a few missions associated with this faction, until we are to slay a powerful sorcerer Umaril in both physical and spiritual world.

            Oblivion has got some amazing graphics. All the characters look great and player character look as good as you have worked on it at the beginning of the game. The weather changes and the environment, especially the water is another great part of the game. All these effects are more evident in the Shivering Isles. The voice acting of the characters including the opponents are also too good. The music and the sounds from the surroundings are very much effective during the game. As this is an RPG, the dialogues are a major part of the game.

            When the game starts, you get to design your character. You will select your race now, but the class and birthsign are to be selected later during the game. The selection of race affects the way you play the game, as different races have different abilities like Nords having resistance to cold, Argonians being able to breath underwater and britons having increased magika. Just like the usual RPG games, there are attributes like strength, intelligence, speed etc, which can increased as you increase in level as a result of increasing your major skills. These major skills vary according to the class, and there will be also a few minor skills.

            All these happen as a result of gaining experience by going through the game, as these skills include athletics which can be increased by walking, running or swimming while acrobatics by jumping. Meanwhile, most of the skills are improved by fighting itself. The way you kill the opponents is also significant as it affects the progress too. Defeating the enemies won't be too hard if you have some above average weapons and armour along with a proper knowledge about the spells and also use them effectively enough. Some regeneration spells as well as armour will help the cause.

            The game's replayability factor is higher because of the large number of factions in this game. The best of them would be the Arena itself, where you can fight a number of opponents to reach the final battle and then beat the champion to become the new Grand Champion of the arena. There are also the Thieves Guild, Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild, each giving some missions to prove your worth to reach the higher stages of the guild. There are also some others like the Dark Brotherhood involving some of the bloodiest missions in the game. This faction hs got some of the best storylines in the game. There are also some shrines of deadric princes who can give you some new quests if you can give you the right offering.

            The world of Oblivion is just too mesmerising. You can just fight some opponents around those oblivion gates or those creatures of the jungle, or just wander around the beautiful landscape discovering new places. Some of the places look too good that we may just want to take a screenshot instead of playing. If you have a good graphics card, you will enjoy the game, avoid the occasional crashes though. There will also be lots of user-made add-ons avaliable in the internet, which can bring interesting new elements.



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            • Unreal Tournament (PC) / PC Game / 47 Readings / 43 Ratings
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              14.09.2007 08:02
              Very helpful



              Unreal Tournament is one of the best First Person Shooters ever.

              Unreal Tournament is the first game I played online, and it was also my favourite then. It took me a few days to understand what it was about, but it was one of the simples games to understand. As long as the single player version is considered, it is not too hard, as the real challenge waits online. This is the only game which I continued playing even after I upgraded my PC and tried lots of new ones. This game just happens to be too addictive. Being one of the most popular online games ever, there are large variety of maps available for this game on the internet.

              Pentium 200 MHz Processor
              Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
              32 MB of system RAM
              600 MB of free Hard Disc Space
              4x or faster CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
              DirectX 7.0 Compatible Sound Card
              PCI Local Bus Video Card
              Internet: 28.8K minimum speed

              The game features a number of game modes.
              Deathmatch: This is the basic mode of Unreal Tournament. This involves the players killing eachother to earn frags. The player who is left with the maximum number of frags in a time limit or the one who meets a frag limit wins the game. The number of suicides will be subtracted from the number of kills to determine the total frags. Team Deathmatch is another variation of the usual deathmatch where people fight in teams and the team which meets the requirements first wins.

              Capture the Flag: This is a very popular game mode where the players are put into two teams with both having a base with a flag. The players have to take the opponent's flag and get it to their own base to win a point. The team with more points will win the game. This game mode will have less firepower usage as the players are more concerned about capturing the enemy flags and scoring points. Defending the flag is also very important in this game mode.

              Domination: This is my favourite game mode and it involves the player taking control of a number of control points in the map, and each second with these control points under our dominance will give us points until we reach the time or point limit. The most used Domination map would be the Tomb of Sesmar which is available with the demo version too. This would be a more tactical type of game mode compared to the others, but can depend more on the luck factor too.

              Assault: The very much innovative game mode in Unreal Torunament. This one is more about completing a number of objectives in a limited time. The first time will have to attack and complete these objectives and the opponents will have to defend. Then the whole thing is reversed, as the defenders will now have to attack and finish all those objectives faster than the other team. The team which finishes in less time is the winner. This game mode was removed in Unreal Tournmant 2003, but was brought back in Unreal Tournament 2004.

              The concept of the game is simple. It is another First Person Shooter and it is like "kill or be killed". Just keep moving around and shooting, and if you have a good eye hand co-ordination, you will win it quite easily. You will have lots of weapons ranging from the Chainsaw and Impact Hammer to Rocket Launcher, Flak cannon as well as the most powerful Redeemer which can kill anything which is in a large area including the player. There is also the classic sniper rifle and the minigun. There are also lots of characters to choose from.

              You can always try any of the available maps in the practice session, and the here the game can be fully customized including the number of bots and the time or frag limits. You can also add some mutators to the game which changes the game style upto an extent. The most popular one in this list would be InstaGib mode which allows a single-shot kill as we use another weapn, an enhanced shock rifle in the game. The others include low gravity, flak arena and chainsaw melee.

              The plot of the game takes us to the year 2291, and in an attempt to control violence among deep space miners, the earth government has legalised no holds barred fighting and Liandri corporation, a powerful entity of that time has managed to conduct some major tournaments which involved lots of fights with lots of gore. Some of the most skilled warriors from the different parts of the galaxy were selected to fight in this tournament and finally meet the tournament's current champion known as Xan.

              The game's graphics was among the best at that time. The characters were realistic and the level design was awesome, especially at the maps like Tomb of Sesmar, Morpheus and Phobos moon. The variety among levels is another important factor as we are to fight in trains, ancient ruins, castles, ships, space stations and on the roof of buildings. The sounds are also amazing, and the voices of the players also add to it. The game's gore level may be too high for some viewers, but it only increases the originality of the game. We can always track our records using the ngstatus option in the game.

              Unreal Tournament is a real great experience and even if there won't be many people who haven't tried it, I would recommend this to anyone. The game even got some additional modes like Jailbreak and Thievery which can be downloaded from the internet, and these can really change the whole game itself. Its low requirements makes it a great choice, and it certainly is one step ahead of Quake 3 Arena which was released at almost the same time. If you have good net connection, do check the munltiplayer too, instead of sticking to offline play. You may have to download some extra contents in some maps, but its fun.



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