Spore is a different style game than most games. In the beginning stage of the game, called the cell stage, you are a microorganism. You spend your time swimming and eating in the primordial ooze from a top down view.
At the start of this stage what you can eat is based on your choice of herbivore or carnivore. The herbivore cannot kill anything until you have found parts to mutate with. The carnivore can kill and eat flesh right from the beginning. Using the mating call, you can change your creature. As you eat, whether it is animal or vegetable, you gain DNA points to spend on the available body parts. The body parts allow you to swim faster, turn quicker, defend yourself, or attack. All of these improve your species’ chance to survive. Once your creature has eaten enough, he move on to the creature stage.
Using the body parts you have collected, then adding legs and arms, you leave the sea. You can skip legs and arms and even eyes if you want a real challenge. All body parts give you a different ability. Some allow you to jump, others to attack, and some even allow you to fly. In this phase of the game, it is about survival. Here is where you define the basics of your species. What does it look like? How does it move? What does it eat? All of these things are defined in the creature stage. All of these things are important to survive this stage in Spore. Again, using the mating call allows you to spend the DNA earned to improve you creature. And you can kill or befriend other creatures. Once you have advanced enough in DNA, you are then sent on to the tribal stage. Beware sometimes there are giant species on this phase.
In the tribe stage you are no longer worried about DNA. Your species is now locked into the creature you created. To progress in the tribe stage in Spore, you need to conquer or befriend all other tribes. You also have to keep your tribe from starving. In this stage it is all about the accessories. If you have the better equipment, then the other tribes are easier to conquer or befriend. It is also easier to gather food, the better equipped you are. As if the other tribes and giant creatures roaming around were not enough trouble, sometimes a more advances alien species wanders by and abducts your fellow tribesman for some nefarious reason. After combining your tribes through conquest or sweet-talking, you move on to the civilization stage.
Civilization is the pinnacle of any species. Here your tribe has built a city. Now the dominant species on the planet, you must unify all the cities on the planet under one rule. Here you must gather spice, which acts as currency, to build your city and build troops in Spore. You no longer are an individual but the collective whole of the city. Troops conquer spice nodes and other cities and once you have conquered all, by any means available, the planet is yours. There are several different ways to take cities and each can be used or combined with others to take the planet. Once you have taken the planet it is time to move on to the space stage.
Space, the final, oh sorry wrong game. After building a space ship, it is time to explore. There are hundreds of solar systems with several planets on each. Moving around the map is as simple as point and click. You can explore the planets, finding items that allow you to alter the worlds’ look. You can also go on quests from several friendly species that are scattered throughout the Spore galaxy. Some of these are gathering quests, using your spaceship to grab things from other the planets. Some of them require going to war with another species. As you progress in the game, you will inevitably run across a darker menace that threatens everyone. What would a good space game be without a dark horde to fight against?This is a great game that has a huge variety of content. Add to it the online content which makes every game different. If you also get the add-on packs such as Creepy amp; Cute or Galactic Adventures, you will have even longer play time and more variety with this game.
Check out my review of Spore Creepy amp; Cute
Sometime between five and six months ago, a few friends and I had a long conversation about what we would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. We discussed weapons, vehicles, hideouts, and the like. Good times were had, but when we found that we would soon be able to live out those dreams of mowing down hordes of flesh-eating automatons with a pump-action shotgun, we could barely contain our excitement.
Just watching Left 4 Dead would cause an avid zombie fan to salivate. The “common infected” rush at the team of four survivors with every intent to rip them to shreds while the “special infected” loom in the background, readying an ambush. In the midst of a firefight, the screeching and screaming of the hordes of infected can often drown out teammates’ cries for help, or even the sound of other threats nearby. The game implements a special visual filter that creates “film grain” to emulate that “old zombie movie” feeling. Light is also a vital tool that the developers placed within maps to guide the players through streets, sewers, airports, apartment buildings, hospitals, and various other structures and areas.
There are a total of four campaigns in Left 4 Dead, with each consisting of five individual levels. The fifth level of each campaign is a “stand-off” where the survivors attempt to defend a lightly fortified location from an onslaught of hundreds of infected, as well as the supporting special infected.
The special infected are quite a treat to fans of the zombie survival genre. Working in the vein of favorites such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill, Left 4 Dead features five special infected, four of which are playable. The first is the Boomer, which is a highly-effective special infected that requires the survivors to re-think the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. In addition to the “Boomer Bile” attack where the Boomer vomits on survivors, attracting new hordes of zombies, the overweight baddie also explodes on impact. This means that if one survivor shoots the Boomer while he is close to the others, a blinding green goo will splatter all nearby humans, attracting even more infected. The second special infected is the Smoker, which is a deadly long-range infected that has the ability to grab survivors from hundreds of feet away with its tongue and drag them towards it. When the smoker is killed, it explodes into a cloud of smoke, blinding the survivors as well. The third of the five infected is the hunter, which is the “ninja” of zombies. This hooded abomination can jump from rooftops, walls, and other obstacles and pounce survivors, rendering them defenseless until assisted by fellow team members. There are also two more infected, one of which is the only infected that is not playable. This is the witch. She is one ugly, menacing monster and will take out any survivor in one hit when provoked. The other special infected is the Tank, which is an unstoppable force that can take bullets as if they were marshmallows, and can knock over cars and other objects.
These playable “special infected” can all be accessed via the Steam online multiplayer versus mode, where players take turns being survivor and infected on each level. While all four campaigns may be played with friends, only two of them may be played in versus mode. However, it is reasonable to assume that the other two campaigns, as well as some new ones, will later be added into the game.
While Left 4 Dead can be an intense, atmospheric experience, it is not without its flaws. Occasionally an exploit is found and used by teams to give an unfair advantage in versus mode, such as walk-through doors, climbable walls, and other things. Fortunately, those are normally addressed immediately by the game developers. Also, when placed up against a team of four friends who have practiced and grown skilled together, a thrown-together team of random strangers generally will not stand a chance. This flaw could easily be remedied by some sort of match-making system, but for now, the game will get by.
Left 4 Dead is a masterpiece of its time, and while facing criticism from many picky gamers, it stays true to the style and atmosphere of the Zombie Culture while still being an enjoyable and fast-paced FPS. Kudos to you, Valve.
Before any of the intricacies of the game are touched upon in this review a certain number of things must be said about the same that managed to provide monumental tilt in the game’s favor. Besides being the best looking PlayStation 3 game to date, MotorStorm has also has the capability to suck you out of the real world and completely destroy your social life. The online multiplayer is immeasurably fun and should ruin any semblance of social skills you’ve acquired over the course of your life and have your friends wondering what happened to you for the past however many days or weeks. Capable online multiplayer is a must for games and can either make or break a title depending upon how well it is executed. Never has the case been more evident than with MotorStorm.
MotorStorm was one of the most hyped games for the PlayStation 3 that were to be released early in 2007 and for the most part the game succeeds. It is one of the most stunning visual achievements on next-gen systems by any margin. The terrain of tracks, the vehicles, the carnage of the crashes, everything is beautifully crafted and is worth of recognition to the highest degree. The games graphical supremacy on the PlayStation 3 is likely to remain unchallenged until the heavyweights start to emerge later in 2007 (Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy 13, etc.).
The tracks in MotorStorm are stellar. Depending upon the vehicle you choose you’ll be better suited to take a particular path in any given track, as they all branch out differently. Muddier paths that are harder to control are geared towards the bigger vehicles while smooth sailing terrain should be used for smaller vehicles that handle jumps well. Don’t expect the tracks to be smooth sailing either, carnage was mentioned for a reason. Unless you just want to see how many ways you roll off a cliff, crash into racers or anything else, you’ll want to be exceptionally careful because one wrong move can send your plummeting to your … respawn.
The vehicles handle well once you get used to the physics of the game and you’ll find yourself making all of the insane, death-defying jumps in no time. However, the extra vehicles that you can unlock really just serve as new skins without any statistical skews of any sort. This is a bit disappointing because it means if you’ve raced with one there’s no point in exploring another. Unless you like that paint job just that much more.
As mentioned before the pinnacle of the game is racing online with different people and friends, however this also means that the single player suffers significantly. If you’re not planning to play online you won’t get much mileage out of the title since there are only a handful of tracks available at the moment. The single player will leave you clamoring for more as the unlockables aren’t really worth all that much unlocking. So unless you’re a massive fan of repetition and increasingly tactical AI, you might want to just head to online play.
The very nature of the tracks, however limited, is what truly makes the online experience engrossing. Being able to deter someone from that critical jump so they go crashing is one of the most riveting experiences in the game and it’s perfectly legal. While the larger vehicles don’t carry the frenetic pace of the smaller ones, going through the mud and trying to get the lead is exponentially more fun when you know that there’s someone right there trying to make you mess up on the next turn. Without the online feature, MotorStorm would have fallen flat on its proverbial face.
What it truly comes down to is this: are you looking forward a balls-to-the-wall arcade racing experiences? If yes, then MotorStorm is for you. It’s one of the most beautiful video games ever to be released and will undoubtedly have you gawking from now until three months in the future when you see someone knocked off of their bike and go tumbling on the hard dirt. Everything works together to provide an amazing aesthetical experience that is amazing online, which makes up for a lackluster single player mode. Overall 8.1/10