Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 14 News List

PC GAMES

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Need For Speed: Mist Wanted
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC, X-Box and PS2
Taiwan Release: Already Available

The latest in Electronic Arts' Need for Speed series hit game store shelves early last month and like its redecessors the action once again focuses heavily on illegal street racing.

The game comes with several standalone modes like "beat the clock" and "circuit challenge," but players will no doubt spend most of their time in the career mode. Here gamers take on the role of a mysterious driver, whose face we never see, who gets involved with a gang of road racers that goes by the moniker, The Blacklist.

The aim of the game is predictable enough; beat all 15 members of the gang in a series of one-on-one races, take their cars as reward, make one's way to the top of the list and become the game's "most wanted" road racer.

The storyline is stronger and easier to follow than that of previous games in the series, but is let down by the graphics. Instead of simply using computer generated representations of the game's leading characters EA has chosen to use full-motion video cut scenes featuring real actors.

It might sound pretty neat -- and indeed red-blooded males will find some of the characters' real-life "assets" pleasing to the eye -- but on the whole it falls rather flat. It makes the game seem kitsch and even cheap.

While road racing plays a large part in the game it is not the game's biggest draw. The police pursuit segments are much more fun. After all what could be more enjoyable than out-running hoards of cops? If EA focused solely on these police pursuits then they'd certainly be leading the pack in regards vehicular PC/console games. Unfortunately the company didn't and as a result Most Wanted is, in all fairness, little but an average driving simulation game.

Long considered to be one of the best strategy games of all times, Civilization recently got a makeover and is back with a fourth installment that boasts a myriad of exciting new gameplay options and even sharper graphics.

Like previous games in the Civilization series, gamers are tasked with controlling a fictitious world. The game begins in the Stone Age and takes players on a wondrous journey through time to the Space Age. Gamers are political leaders who have special traits that will help or influence their reign.

By automatically being able to opt for a leader who has special organizational skills it cuts down somewhat on the time needed to organize certain aspects of one's fiefdom, thus allowing gamers to concentrate on other more important matters such as war and trade.

While the battle sequences in previous games were often predictable affairs, Civilization IV offers far more realistic battles. You can't send a bunch of ill-trained spearmen out to take on an elite cavalry unit and expect to return home triumphant this time around.

Of course, one of the great things about Civilization is that you don't have to go to war. Diplomacy works well and helps in regard trade and technology. Now gamers are able to pit rival cities against each other, watch as they lay waste to each other and simply move in and take over after they've been wea-kened by war. It's not nice and certainly not sporting, but if you want to win Civilization IV then double-dealings and dodgy diplomacy are a must.

James Bond PC/console games got a new look last year when Electronic Arts finally did away with the annoying first-person shooter mode and allowed armchair Bond wannabe's to take on the role of Pierce Brosnan's Bond in third-person mode.

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