Menu Close

Author: SgtFiddler

We Review: National Geographic Challenge!

I was never terribly good at Geography. Being continuously scolded for my inability to pay attention by my Standard 7 teacher meant an early exit for me from the subject, and only confirmed my suspicions that I’m probably more a GPS kind of guy instead of a paper map reader. I’m a sucker for simplicity. Nevertheless, there are certain, perhaps more historical, aspects of it that even I find fascinating in small doses: the bizarre eating habits of an indigenous tribe somewhere in the Amazon, the religious furor a lunar eclipse would awaken in some bizarre cult residing in the Andes, or—and perhaps most fascinating of all—the mating habits of a porcupine. National Geographic Challenge!, a quiz game that is able to draw from the vast library of the National Geographic vault, only served to remind me that I may forever remain geographically challenged, even when it’s trying its darnedest to drill some knowledge into my, admittedly hibernating, noggin. My full review after the jump.

Read more

We Review: DiRT3

Codemasters has been pumping out quality racers like no other studio in recent memory. From Fuel to Grid to their fairly recently acquired F1-license, their racers are almost always met with universal aplomb, always delivering polished experiences for the motorheads out there, and the Colin McRae DiRT series is certainly no exception. Offering a symbiotic mix of compulsive progression, accessibilitym and diversity, its end result has never been anything less than pure unadulterated fun. DiRT3 continues this trend (sans the Colin McRae prefix) and while it’s more of a slight evolution than a revolution, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more instantly gratifying racer. Read my full review after the jump.

Read more

We Review: Operation Flashpoint Red River

War. What is it good for? Edwin Starr’s assertion of “absolutely nuthin’!” was perhaps a bit premature, and who could blame him? I doubt anyone back in the 70s could have predicted that video games based around all kinds of small and large-scale wars would become the preferred genre of choice for the dude-bro generation, and generally being good for lining the pockets of the publishing studios. While it’s widely accepted that the gritty, war-machine FPS genre is over-saturated, it’s certainly not stopping developers from churning out game after game, stacking them on a steadily rising pile that’s sure to come crumbling in on itself at some point (or perhaps it already has?)

Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint: Red River is the latest installment being added to this pile. Is it relevant? Does it warrant your hard-earned money, and is it worthy of your attention? If said attention span is fairly short, the answer’s probably not. Find out why after the jump.

Read more

We Review: Playstation Move Heroes

Three great Sony franchises featuring six of Sony’s most well-known characters. Jak, Ratchet, Sly, and their three respective side-kicks. When initially announced, I admit I was left feeling a little giddy with excitement. The idea of throwing these beloved platforming mascots together for all sorts of mayhem and the ensuing hijinks they would cause must surely be a recipe for sure-fire success. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, only everything. Read my full review of Sony’s Playstation Move Heroes (or as I call it, Ruined Potential), after the jump. Read more

We Review: Nintendo 3DS

So it’s finally here. The Nintendo 3DS is at last available for purchase locally, and with Nintendo already boasting about initial launch sales figures exceeding all their previous efforts, it seems the 3DS is off to a rollicking good start. Further to my very limited hands-on impressions at a recent pre-launch event, I decided to give in to my slightly frivolous and impatient nature to bite the bullet and shell out the recommended retail price for a shiny new Nintendo handheld. I have no idea why I always give in to purchasing new gaming consoles on launch day, but part of it is certainly the wonder and excitement of where gaming may be headed next, what are the innovations being brought to the table, and what place in gaming-history said console will take once the eventual successors are released. So having had the console for about a week now, my impressions of the hardware after the jump.

Read more

We Review: Homefront

First-person-shooter fatigue. It’s a not entirely uncommon syndrome, and I’m suffering from it. In an already overcrowded genre, with multiple development studios trying desperately to chip away at the market share owned by the Call of Dutys and Halos of this generation, I’ve recently become largely disinterested in anything that proffers the “first-person-shooter” moniker. Lately, I can stomach only so many variations of “Capture The Flag” or “Team Deathmatch” before I start losing interest faster than you can say “kill/death ratio”. After taking a break of sorts, purposely avoiding the genre for little more than a year, my self-imposed hiatus ceased with the recently released Killzone 3, and now (the purpose of this rather long-winded introduction) Kaos Studios’ Homefront. My full impressions after the jump.

Read more

We Get Touchy-Feely With The Nintendo 3DS

How do you replicate the success of the most popular handheld console since the beginning of time? With the current revolution in mobile gaming, is there still a place for a dedicated handheld games console? And how do you manage to create something innovative enough to, once again, attract instant, unabashed curiosity and interest from both core and casual gamers alike? No doubt these and many other questions were asked, dissected, and pondered over by Nintendo on the road to formulating a concept for the eventual successor the Nintendo DS. The answer to those deliberations will soon be lining shelves here in South Africa and contains Nintendo’s response to the aforementioned questions, which is quite simply, stereoscopic 3D…without the need to sport a pair of aesthetically poorly designed, over-priced glasses. There is of course much more to it than that, but without a doubt, the wow-factor here is rooted firmly in the realm of the 3rd dimension.

I’ve been privileged to attend the Nintendo 3DS pre-launch event on Thursday at Montecasino courtesy of Onelargeprawn and the Core  Group, where I’ve been able to finally get my hands on one of the most anticipated pieces of tech that doesn’t have the word “Apple” plastered over it. I’ve since done my utmost to try and separate my impressions of the device from the rather loud (and decidedly impressive) pomp and circumstance that accompanied the event, but subsequently found that my impressions have remained largely unchanged. In short, I want the 3DS and I want it now. Read my thoughts after the jump.

Read more

We Review: Test Drive Unlimited 2

It’s been four years since Eden Games essentially pioneered the M.O.O.R. (Massively Open Online Racing) genre with Test Drive Unlimited. The Test Drive series, which has been with us since the 8-bit era, has become all kinds of irrelevant and was in dire need of a massive engine overhaul and a shiny new paintjob. To an extent they succeeded. The game was moderately successful, and perhaps benefited from being launched when the Xbox 360 was still swaddled in diapers, and there simply weren’t many racers available in the “next-gen” market at the time. It certainly was a unique arcade-racer, with over 1,000 square kilometers to explore on the Oahu Island , jump-in competitive multiplayer racing, and a dollop of Sims-like management thrown in for good measure.

Fast forward to 2011, and TDU2 has finally been allowed to leave the starting grid after spending a sizeable amount of time in development hell. Will it pull away from the pack in a haze of burning rubber and receding tail-lights, or will it choke to a stuttering halt on the first straight?  Find out after the jump.

Read more

We Review: LittleBigPlanet 2

He’s baaack! He may be engineered from nothing more than a couple of buttons and a ball of yarn but the disturbingly cute (well, at least for a grown man) little Sony mascot returns to flop, flail, and flounder to the adoring squeals of fans all over the world. No, I did not personally squeal. I let loose a much more dignified “Awwww”, coupled with an ever-expanding grin and a pointed look from my wife that showed clear concern for me as an individual.

From the moment you fire up LittleBigPlanet 2, you’ll be hit with familiar waves of nostalgia as you guide your bouncy Sackboy through Media Molecule’s ingeniously designed levels. All the elements that made LBP such a fan-favourite are reassembled here for the sequel, but the assembly this time around is tighter, more polished, and generally a much more focused effort. Find out more after the jump.

Read more