Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tiberian Sun + Firestorm Review

Just a couple of comments about the games which I've just finished:

Graphics and Art Direction
Comparing Firestorm and Tiberian Sun, I feel that Firestorm is actually more along the lines of what I felt Tiberian Sun should have been. The original Tiberian Sun suffered from brown and grey with only the occassional green, blue and orange Tiberian to brighten it up. Firestorm on the other hand introduces a variety Tiberium flora and fauna making the game more colourful, more organic and definitely gives that sense of just how alien Tiberian is and how its threatening the Earth.

Campaign and Storyline
One thing I liked about Tiberium Dawn and Red Alert was the fact that briefings made you feel like you were really a commander of your troops by placing you in the first person perspective. In Tiberian Sun however they removed that by having you play as Commander Mcneil, and the movies had you watching him do things. This change resulted in a loss of personal involvement. I'm happy that they reinstated this in Firestorm where they address you personally during briefings making your computer seem like a real battle console. I wouldn't mind however if they actually assigned you a name as it does seem somewhat strange in the briefings.

With regards to the plot, in Tiberian Sun, Kane and Slavic barely makes an appearance. Most of the time, it's just you receiving briefings from General Soloman similar to the first although Kane and Slavic are often talked about. You seem to only be chasing after them rather than battling them.

Also the GDI and Nod storylines intertwine but its hard to figure out where exactly on the overall time line you are on because the times they occur in can be different and you don't really see the same events from a different perspective. Instead you often play events that occur before or after the event in the other sides storyline.

I really like how in Firestorm that Cabal gets more involved in the GDI and Nod campaign. I particularly enjoyed his creepy mocking laughter as he launches cyborg attacks against you.

Gameplay & Interface
Still fairly fun as each side is different from the other. I do still feel that Nod still seems bit weaker than GDI even with the subterranean units. I guess the reason is Nod units are weaker and cost about the same or even more

Harvester AI remains a mess with harversters trying to return to refineries across the map. The only way around this is to have only one refinery.

Controlling Jumpset Infantry is more annoying than fun as you can't ask them to stay flying. They keep trying to land after eliminating one target.

I've also been trying to get the carryalls to automatically pick up harvesters and deposit them at the refinary but I can't see to do that which is a step back from Dune II

There are actualy a number of advanced options that you can set if you bother to read the manual including:
Patrol cycles
You can set up waypoints so units will automatically repair if damaged.

Overall, it's still worth playing now and there's no reason not to try it out now that it's free. Firestorm just seems more fun to me overall even though its shorter.

Don't forget, you can download the first three games in the Command and Conquer Universe here.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Syberia Collector's Edition Review

Amazing Artwork
Good plot
Good characters
Fairly good voicework

Syberia 1 itself was fairly short and you really need Syberia II for the story to finish it properly
Some puzzles are way to hard
Puzzles are uninteresting
Doesn't take advantage of the unique mechanical theme to deliver true mechanical puzzles.
Pixel hunting problems particularly
Kate can't 'teleport' to different locations

My overall impression:
I was very impressed with the artwork, character and plot which were all tightly woven into the story. Unfortunately what let me down was the actual gameplay/puzzle part. Puzzles are either very simple or just perplexing. When combined with the fact that some hot spots blend in a bit too well with the background art it make them rather poor. Why didn't they create some really cool self-contained mechanical puzzles like The Incredible Machine? I'm really not sure.

Also you can't skip to locations and have to slowly wait for Kate to run or walk back to where you want to go.

About the 'Collector's Edition'
Surprisingly there aren't many reviews on what the Collector's edition is. Well, the collector's edition itself combines the adventures on a single DVD and includes a making of video. That's it. The case itself is made of paper as well. Overall it just feels more like 'Syberia Budget Edition' rather than something to be called the 'Collector's Edition'. It is priced as a budget title but I was hoping for something more. Maybe a compilation of artwork or something or even just additional wallpapers on the DVD?

Personally, you may as well buy Syberia 1 and Syberia from because at the very least you can get some better extras like the soundtrack.

I do recommend that the adventure gamer buys it because it is still awesome story but the poor puzzles make me rate this entire adventure a 6.5/10.