Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 15 News List

PC Game Reviews

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Publisher: Activision

Platform: PC, X-Box & PS2

Taiwan Release: Already available

Originally released for PC in late 2003, the console version of Activision's action packed World War II first person shooter, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, hit the game store shelves in Taiwan in early December.

The game gives X-Box and PS2 owners the chance to re-fight the historic global conflict from the perspectives of the Russian, British and American armies as they set out to crush the Axis powers in a series of three campaigns that take players through variety of settings and geographical locations.

As the Russian players cross the Volga River and enter the besieged city of Stalingrad, the British players campaign in the deserts of North Africa, and the US gamers get the chance to push through France, Belgium and finally into the German hinterland to capture the city of Aachen. With the exception of the British campaign, nearly all the action takes place in urban areas where house-to-house and sometimes hand-to-hand combat is the norm.

Like all good first-person-shooters, players are accompanied by AI-controlled comrades in arms, and while the nameless GIs, Tommies and Communist cadres often prove to be little more than cannon fodder, they are replaced throughout the missions. Along with taking on the role of an infantryman, players also get to drive tanks, strafe German troops with a heavy machine gun from the back of jeep and hone their skills with a sniper rifle.

Graphically the game is brilliant and the details on the uniforms, weapons and vehicles are as good as -- if not better than -- several of the other leading World War II shooters on the market. The enemy AI, although hamming up its death scenes, is unpredictable and will leave players seriously wondering where the next panzerfaust will come from or where the hidden sniper is located.

While gamers with a passion for World War II-era shooters will find Call of Duty: Finest Hour gripping and, for the most part, edge of the seat entertainment, the game is not without its flaws. Players have no real control over hand grenades: it's simply a case of lobbing them and like magic they hit the intended targets. The tank cannon is also a disappointment; like the grenades, no skill is required and shells hit the target all to easily.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: PC & X-Box

Taiwan Release: Late January

If you own an X-Box and can't get enough of television's Gil Grissom and his motley crew of crime-scene investigators as they tread the streets of Las Vegas solving murders and catching bad guys, then Ubisoft's recently released CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is the game for you.

Released for PC last year, the revamped X-Box version of the crime solving adventure games is a compilation of the two CSI PC games in one package -- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Dark Motives.

In both games players are new recruits to the Las Vegas crime lab and are tasked with solving a series of cases by collecting and processing evidence, interviewing witnesses and solving puzzles. Players are partnered with one of the show's cast of crime solving scientists at various stages of the investigations and they guide players through the cases. Neither case is very difficult, but they do make for entertaining play.

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