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    Mar 3rd, 2008 at 19:48:33     -    Company of Heroes (PC)

    Company of Heroes
    Gamelog Part II

    GAMEPLAY:

    After successfully completing the tutorial missions, I moved into the single player campaign which was played through the allied side. Once done playing with the first two levels I got some insight as to how the RTS focuses on quick battle and shifting frontlines. The gameplay in Company of Heroes is all about frontline combat, and forces you to quickly explore the map. You typically start out with a headquarters and a squad of engineers, who can build structures and setup defenses. Maps are divided up into territories that all have a resource point in them, and the resources you'll need are manpower, munitions, and fuel. Infantry may capture neutral or enemy resource points, causing them to indefinitely contribute a flow of the given resource to your military efforts while also increasing the total number of units you can have in your army. Although all of these steps seem pretty remedial and easy going, to perfect the skills to build up a diverse army and hold off the repeated attacks from the German soldiers and tanks, it challenged me immensely and will challenge many veteran gamers.

    I liked the very historic battles and cut scenes that provided a very lifelike progression of events. The very first level/battle was the invasion of Normandy beaches and then shifts kind of backwards to the night before when Airborne troops are dropped behind enemy lines.(Although I havent finished the game, after this review I plan on going back to the single player to finish the campaign mode and hopefully try out the multiplayer game mode) Most of the missions are excellent and include objectives beyond the typical seek and destroy you find in so many RTS titles. Some missions will ask to capture and hold a road for a convoy while others charge with setting defenses against a German counterattack. Others still assign the duty of crushing lines of retreating Axis forces. Often times missions will begin with smaller objectives such as the capture of a forward base after which a mid-mission briefing will set up the action for the remainder of the level. Company of Heroes gameplay was addicting and fast paced and acted much more like a FPS rather than a slower RTS game. I can't wait to finish the game and perfect my attacking/defending/gathering skills in multiplayer mode.

    DESIGN:

    COH is one of the RTS games that have raised the bar for the genre. In terms of visuals and audio, COH is second to none. This advanced technical aspect of the game provides for a realistic and engulfing RTS that needs to be ported to other games in the futre.The truly amazing visuals in Company of Heroes demand a top-of-the-line system and a cutting-edge graphics card to get the most out of them. On more-modest systems, you can strip away a lot of the detail to improve the game's performance, but seeing the game in all its glory is truly a sight to behold especially its various types of explosions that fill the screen with fire, smoke, and debris.The detail that went into everything on the battlefield is extreme especially when taking the massive destruction into account.

    Another design aspect to the game which made the gameplay even more realistic was the game camera that was used to view the battlefield. The default camera perspective is optimal for gameplay, but you can zoom right in to clearly see each individual soldier and his gear, or how a tank, turning a tight corner through a city street, might take a chunk right out of the side of a building. This level of visual fidelity far exceeds what's previously been done in a strategy game. But it's not just for show, since the graphics' realism helps make the gameplay itself more engrossing and intuitive. Some of the scenes that were zoomed in actually looked more like scenes from a Saving Private Ryan than a real time strategy that I had to be controlling. Just these distinct features in an RTS makes it stand out more than other RTS games. Only other games in the future with DX10 and an amazing game developer like Relic will replicate the stunning visuals and audio that came with COH.

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    Mar 3rd, 2008 at 18:35:39     -    Company of Heroes (PC)

    Summary:

    Company of Heroes (CoH) is a real-time strategy (RTS) computer game developed for Microsoft Windows by Relic Entertainment. The game takes place in the Epic World War II battle theater and focuses on the Allies' invasion of German-occupied Normandy in 1944, specifically on close-quarters skirmishes between infantry and armor. Gamers will experience the journey of the brave soldiers of Able Company in a single-player campaign that begins with the invasion of Normandy through their fight across Europe.

    GAMEPLAY:

    Because of the games dynamic gameplay and intricate micromanagement of soldiers and vehicles, 40 minutes of playing only let me get through all of the various tutorial missions. The missions are classified by what types of abilities they teach you and were very helpful to introduce me to the specific rules and style of gameplay that COH requires. Company of Heroes trades a wide breadth of content for an extremely detailed look at WWII-era ground combat, and its action is so fast paced that it's best for veteran RTS focused gamers rather than the occasional Age of Empires player. Also, the gameplay and resource gathering was vastly different than other RTS.

    The tutorials taught me some of the basic resource gathering techniques, as well as some of the specific ways to move and control my army. Instead of simply grabbing generic resource points and constructing power generators,farms etc. players will capture points (to raise their population cap and rate that manpower pours in), gather ammunition, and boost fuel supplies. Those three resources are what keep an army functioning. The three resources can have pretty different applications: manpower is used in all unit and building construction, fuel is necessary to raise structures and purchase new vehicles, and ammunition is generally used to equip units with special weapons or activate special abilities on individual units like grenades or command tree abilities like air strikes. This focus on just capturing different strategic points shifts the focus from Macrolevel resource gathering and base building, to on-the-fly micromanagement of soldiers controlling, capturing and invading different points on the map. Because I'm used to LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth I and II, and the Age of Empire games, this was a huge learning curve for me. Instead of being a defensive player gathering resources and building defenses, then unleashing my growing and perfected army, I had to pro actively confront the enemy at control points around the campaign maps to gather resources and then spend the resources at my headquarters to build, accurate to history, tanks, soldiers, and vehicles for the allied forces. Although this was somewhat tedious to control each group of soldiers and vehicles constantly without any break to just gather resources, one of the great things about Company of Heroes is that, in spite of its somewhat glamorized portrayal of World War II, the game looks and behaves realistically. The sorts of tactical maneuvers that are central to the gameplay feel intuitive in practice. For example, you'll naturally want to avoid making your infantry rush a machine gun nest head-on, especially since the withering fire from a German MG42 will force your squad to drop prone, pinned down. After the tutorial I learned that pinned down soldiers were utterly ineffective and needed to get behind cover before acutally putting up a fight to the attacking forces. I did like this realism and the small details that went into the game making it much more believeable than other RTS's of the WWII genre.

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    Feb 18th, 2008 at 00:32:14     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    GAMELOG 4 PART 2

    GAMEPLAY:

    The more I got into playing the one player campaign mode, the more I became bored with playing the CPU. The single player campaign has little or no storyline and you are basically playing to unlock the characters and levels at different intervals throughout the game.I wished the number of stages and characters was a little higher. Including the hidden classic stage, there are a total of nine different fighting environments. Nintendo owns such a wealth of characters that even a handful more locations and stages would have added much more depth to the single player game aspect of Super Smash Brothers.Although the game features unique (and sometimes tough) bonus stages for each of the 12 characters as well as a few group battles against multiple enemies, the opponents' order of appearance never changes. Playing through the game with different characters turns into a routine act to unlock hidden stuff. Although all the single player made me very good at the different button combinations for the players attacks, the single player aspect was monotonous and never truly appealed as a dynamic fighting game.

    However, in contrast to the single player mode, the multiplayer aspect of this game is, of course, the game's main selling point. Thanks to the fixed viewpoint, Nintendo managed to create kicking four-player brawls that never seem to get old. Players either fight in a set time limit or until they get a certain number of "kills" and can even divide up in teams. Once you figure out the moves and the play controls, Smash Bros. quickly turns into one of the most addictive two-, three- and four-player N64 games out there. I was completely immersed in the game, much more than any other fighting game I'd ever experienced. The multiplayer was a fun introduction into the super smash brothers melee and brawl games. Which are the multiplayer hits of the current generation Wii and Gamecube. However this multiplayer part of the game introduced social multiplayer gaming to the console world.


    DESIGN:

    There are many innovative aspects to this game. The biggest and most influential aspect is the ability to have 4 players play together in a fluid and graphically rich environment with characters everyone knows relatively well. This dynamic is very social and paved the way for other bigger multiplayer games such as Rock Band, DDR, Melee, Brawl among others. Also, the differnce in this game as oppossed to other fighter games is the 3D environment in which the characters play in, however, the fighting itself is 2D. Although the graphics aren't up to Today's standards, this 3D/2D blend creates a unique look that defined the whole 3 Super Smash Brothers sequels. The overall tone of the gameworld is very upbeat and happy. The background music all reflects the different environments and the characters from their distinct games. For example, the background music for the Pokemon level is the pokemon theme music and so on. Also, even though the game is labeled a "fighting" game, the characters are hardly considered violent and lethal. Most of the attacks are very animated and unrealistic so I highly doubt kids will try to use mario's fireballs against other kids at school. Additionally, animations of the characters are very complex for the time. They are smooth and allow for a good progression of the game without and lagging on the audio and visuals.

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    Feb 17th, 2008 at 22:39:26     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    GAMELOG 4

    SUMMARY:

    If you took all the top-notch old-school Nintendo characters and tossed them all into one game, the result would be Super Smash Bros. A fighter that is easy enough for anyone to pick up, yet it has enough multiplayer appeal to stay interesting for a long time. What the single player lacks in length and storyline, the multiplayer more than makes up for.

    GAMEPLAY:

    Super Smash Brothers simply put, is a revolutionary fighting game that turns the fighting genre on it's head. There aren't dozens upon dozens of button combos to memorize to fight the other character ,but on the contrary there are quite limited fighting options. The game was very easy to pick up and start playing right away. Although the character selection screen was of some interest to me. It displays all of the 8 characters and you pick up a colored marker corresponding to your player number and then place the marker on the character you want to play in the game. I thought this was somewhat dynamic from other fighting games where you scroll through player pages to pick your character.

    The characters are, of course, what makes this game interesting. All of the 8 characters that are provided come from previous Nintendo made games and include such heros as Picachu, Mario, Link, and Donkey Kong. Obviously these characters are in the game because of Nintendo's licensing rights but it would have been nice to seem a bigger variety of characters to choose from other game developers. However the in-game fighting turned out to be quite simple and addicting given the limited number of in-game characters. The learning curve was a little steep but nothing compared to other Mortal Combat or Street Fighter games. Most of the pain I dished out was from the A and B buttons while the analog stick control the characters movements. The game's object is pretty simple. Each stage hangs in the middle of nowhere, and you must knock all the other characters off the level to win. But it's not as easy to knock the fighters off as you might think: The characters can double jump, and several have attacks that can also be used to shoot upward. Although this proved frustrating at times, the game is simple enough to be enjoyed by the masses and yet still provide a fun challenge for more mature gamers.

    What I liked, beyond the knocking other Nintendo characters into the cosmos, was the damage system. As you dish out punches and finishing hits, the victim's corresponding percentage on the bottom of the screen increases(showing the percentage of damage). As you may assume, the more damage you inflict on fighters, the easier it is to send them flying.

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    1Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC)Finished playing
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    4Super Smash Brothers (N64)Finished playing
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