Portal Review

December 20, 2007

Portal Review
Overall Score: 9.6
Pros: Innovative puzzle playing, short and sweet
Cons: Limited plot, moaarrrr maps please?
Portal, originally developed by Valve as a bonus game for the Orange Box, has developed into a huge pop-culture phenomenon. The gaming world is humming with talk of the Orange Box and, as a surprise to Valve, much of it deals with Portal. It has even spawned a flash game created independently from Valve. It can be found here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/404612. And while it pales in comparison to the real thing, it operates on the same premise… and well..it’s free (sorry Valve). The plot of Portal is very simple. You are a test subject in an Aperture Science laboratory; and, you must complete a series of puzzles using a specialized gun that creates portals. Each level presents a new set of challenges. You must manipulate space-time by creating portals to get you to the end of the level. The catch is only some surfaces are conducive to portals. And, you must use a “Companion Cube” to press down strategically placed buttons which trigger doors that stand in your way. This game requires a keen mind and ingenuity to navigate through out all 18 levels. GLaDoS, the head of research at the factory, helps you through your first few levels and provides some comic relief. Let me just scream this, “Watch the end credits!” Sliding in at just over 4 hours for one play through Portal is short and sweet. The game offers some “bonus maps” once you beat the game. But, you can’t help but feel ripped off. Valve just has taken the same maps and altered them slightly making them harder by adding water, fewer boxes, timers, etc.
Bottomline: Simply a must play. You can NOT afford to pass up this game. At least play the flash game. It truly is mind bending.
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World in Conflict Review

December 15, 2007

World in Conflict Review

 

 

Overall: 9.1/10

 

Pros: Great Story, Directx 10, solid controls, outstanding multi-player

 

Cons: Shady AI movement, repetitive responses from NPC’s, story seemed a little short

 

World in Conflict(WiC) throws your right in to World War III; but, don’t start judging it right away. Sure, that’s a cliche genre for a video game. However, WiC has put a new spin on the story. It’s 1989, and instead of ending the cold war the Russians have invaded Seattle and started wreaking havoc on U.S. soil. It’s your job to fight them off to save the United States from the iron fist of communism. The control are basically the same in any type of RTS. You have several different types of vehicles, infantry, and air crafts each with its own special attacks. The developers made a smart move here and didn’t make any radical changes in controls. Therefore, the learning curve for WiC is very shallow. Anyone who has ever played an RTS will feel right at home. One of my biggest gripes is that whenever you click on a new unit it identifies itself. Now, that’s not a big deal, but I wanted to throw my mouse through the screen if I heard “Need a number 2 now!?” one more time. Also, when directing units, they seem to take the longest possible route to get to the destination, and they often get crammed up on one another in front of building, trees, and mountains. There are two different way to have the units move, but toggling this seems to yield the same results. Where WiC lacks in mediocre AI, it makes up in an action packed story. Each mission has a purpose, and there are very few missions with annoying time limits.  Missions mainly consist of destroying strategic points, occupying and holding positions, and of course killing commies. The story feels a little short at about 6-8 hrs, however, there’s no limit to how many hours you can log in online multi-player. Bottomline, if you are looking for a kick-ass/take names RTS title, pick up WiC now.