World of Warcraft
Platform: PC only
Taiwan release: Already available
Released late last year, the latest addition to Blizzard's award-winning Warcraft series is an online RPG game that anyone with a love for fantasy games will find a truly engrossing experience. Like countless other games in the multi-player online RPG mode, World of Warcraft allows gamers to create a unique online alter ego. Players first get to decide on the race, the class and the appearance of their character and then get to choose what side they wish to be on in the mythical online challenge -- the Horde or the Alliance.
This done, players enter the gaming zone and are tasked with completing a series of quests. Along the way gamers get to fight a wide array of imaginary monsters, explore dark and dank underworlds, manufacture items such as swords, join guilds, raid and level enemy townships and, of course, go head-to-head with other online gamers from around the world.
While the crux of each quest revolves around simply killing a certain number of monsters or enemy combatants and then returning to the safety of the castle with an object of value, the game's enthralling storyline and brilliant graphic and sound hubs ensure that boredom is never an option. Unlike some recent RPG games, in which getting lost is all to easy due to lame maps, gamers will find it almost, if not totally impossible, to lose their way in World of Warcraft, thanks to Blizzard's inclusion of colorful landmarks and easy to understand directions.
Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
Platform: PC, X-Box and PS2
Taiwan release: Mid-February
Did you ever wonder what it would be like if a World War II-based game was given third person overhead projection and a RPG look? The answer is simple -- as anyone who has bothered to play SouthPeak's Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers will tell you -- absolutely rubbish!
Set in a European theater of war, gamers get to control either an American paratrooper from the 101st or 82nd Airborne, or British paratroopers from the 1st Airborne. Each character has his own skills and as the game progresses gamers can earn merit points and skill levels increase depending on the number of Germans killed or missions accomplished.
Missions are short and to the point. There's no aimless running around trying to find the enemy and nor are there any quiet moments when its best to avoid the enemy. It will find you and once that's happened there's no time to pop off to make a nice cup of tea. The point of the game is simple -- find people and kill them; find a tank and blow it up; find an artillery piece and destroy it.
The amount of accompanying text and background information relative to each mission is so small and useless that it might as well not be there. While the aforementioned flaws don't apply to this game, the camera angles and inane manner in which gamers are supposed to find the Germans is even worse. Visibility is limited because of the way in which the camera view stays firmly affixed above the player's head. As such enemy troops have the upper hand from the start.
America's Army: Rise of a Soldier
Platform: PS2 and X-Box
Taiwan release: Mid-February
Since its release almost three years ago as a downloadable online shooter, America's Army has become one of the most widely played first person military games of all time. It could be played by both Apple and Microsoft users, it was visually stunning, regardless of one's operating system and, more importantly, it gave gamers a dose of realism that was lacking from many military-based shooters.