PC Game Reviews

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Sep 22, 2005 - Page 15

Burnout Revenge

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform: X-Box, PS2 and X-Box 360

Taiwan Release: Early October

For gamers who crave vehicular mayhem on a cinematic scale then Electronic Arts' dangerous driving simulation, Burnout Revenge is for you.

Burnout Revenge is not simply a follow up to last year's Burnout 3: Takedown, which took street racing to new levels by successfully combining a race game with a demolition derby. Instead Revenge takes the concept one almighty step further and will appeal to anyone with a sick sense of humor and morbid fascination with car wrecks.

Sure, winning the races will earn gamers bonus points and a few trophies, but the point of this game is to take out any vehicle on the road. The more collateral damage players cause the more points they earn and the more fun they'll have.

The game comes with a wide variety of events in which gamers can hone their homicidal driving skills. The "eliminator" event is one in which the last placed car is automatically eliminated every 30 seconds and in the "road rage" event players are tasked with taking out as many rival drivers as they can in a limited time.

The sickest, but certainly most enjoyable event, however, is the aptly named "traffic attack." There's only one goal here, and that is to bash, crash and smash through traffic causing as much mayhem and destruction as possible.

The circuits on which these events take place are graphically fantastic and so are the vehicles. There are numerous shortcuts and side roads to explore and utilize in order to get ahead of the pack. The bottom line is that Burnout Revenge is one of the best non-serious driving simulators on the market and has already been chosen as one of the first 20 games to be made available for the X-Box 360 when it hits the shelves in November.

Rainbow Six: Lockdown

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: X-Box, PS2 and PC

Taiwan release: Early October

"Ding" Chavez returns this month in the latest installment of the Rainbow Six series in which the Special Forces operative and his three- man team are once again tasked with taking on a group of terrorists who have stolen a virus that can wipe out entire cities.

While the plot might not be all that original, Lockdown remains on par with its predecessors in many respects. It is packed with breathtakingly realistic close-quarter firefights and in the moments before and after a firefight, creaking floorboards, whispers and the voices of hostages begging for their lives add to the predominantly violent ambiance.

In addition to the usual array of weaponry and gadgets Lockdown

features the all new "heartbeat sensor," which allows players to see through walls and find the position of live terrorists and hostages. It takes some of the fun out of the game, however, as one of the most compelling features of previous Rainbow Six games was never knowing what lay behind closed doors.

Players also get the chance to hone their sniping skills this time around. Instead of playing solely as Chavez, gamers can take on the role of the team's German sniper Dieter Weber. Here players are tasked with covering insertion points while the rest of the squad rushes into buildings with guns blazing. This aspect of the game is fun, but does take some getting used to as the enemy AI is smarter than most, and guys with RPGs can and do appear from nowhere.

Sadly it's not all good news for Rainbow Six fans, as Lockdown is not as graphically pleasing as the brilliant Rainbow Six: Black Arrow. The team looks different and instead of PC quality graphics the manufacturers have gone for a more generic arcade look.

While the game is graphically a step backwards, the AI is worthy of applause. Enemy combatants never appear in the same place twice and they now have the ability to plant mines and booby traps, run away from grenade attacks and on occasion attempt to outflank the Rainbow Six team.

The Sims 2: Nightlife

Publisher: EA Games

Platform: PC

Taiwan Release: Already available

Nightlife will please any Sims

gamer who has become weary of building homes and dressing up. The latest addition to the ever-increasing Sims titles adds more items and more animation to the basic game than ever before, and allows gamers to take their Sims out on the town.

The crux of Sims 2: Nightlife is the mini-dating game, but along with trying to meet the Sims woman or man of their dreams, players also get to interact with a wide array of other Sims in a heap of new and varied locales. The all-new downtown area includes dance clubs, shops, restaurants, lounges, bowling alleys and parks.

In order to make the Sims a big hit on the social scene EA has revamped the game's tried and tested interface. It now includes a myriad of new features like the ability to ask other Sims questions about themselves. This makes arranging parties, nights out at the bowling alley and of course dating a whole lot easier, well, in principle anyway.

Dates and outings involve inviting an individual or group of people out for the evening and then keeping them entertained. It might sound easy, especially if the gamer considers him or herself to be a bit of a socialite. Players will discover, however, that controlling the Sims' social scene is not as easy as controlling their own.

Keeping a group entertained is difficult and success depends on the personalities or relationships between the other members of the group.

Players can take their Sims out for a night on the town, get drunk and fight, but they won't score too many points for this. Alternately they can take large groups bowling and if the evening proves a success friendship points go up.

The most important part of the game is the new dating mode. Here gamers get to implement a heap of new actions, but before we go any further, full on sex is not one of them.

While players can interact with their dates, ask personal questions and prove a hit with the other party, the goal of the game is not to bed the date but to score the highest possible rating.

Evil Dead: Regeneration

Publisher: THQ

Platform: PS2, X-Box and PC

Taiwan Release: Late October

Evil Dead: Regeneration is a fun game to play, especially for gamers who happen to be fans of B-movie zombie flicks, but it is marred by a few bugs and at times some annoying

presentation.

The game begins with its hero, Ash, being attacked by hoards of the undead while resting up in a cabin. Predictably enough Ash manages to slay all the zombies and in turn expects to be rewarded for his efforts. The authorities, however, are none too pleased and pack him off to the Sunny Meadows asylum for the criminally insane.

It's here the game really begins, as Ash soon discovers that the asylum is in fact a front for the evil Doctor Vingo who is carrying out all kinds of morbid experiments with dead bodies. From this point on the story line disappears and the sole point of the game is to kill the scores of undead who have been unleashed by Doctor Vingo.