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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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ElimiNation Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Independent game developers Phelios and Tycoon Games have released a new strategy war game for Mac and PC called ElimiNation. The title is a turn-based, strategy war game that puts the player in charge as an army commander controlling a wide variety of soldiers and assault vehicles with the ultimate goal of eliminating enemy forces to become the ruler of an empire. ElimiNation also allows players to buy resources and harvest enemy resources.

Pick a faction to play three of five campaign maps controlling Dark Brigade, Green Wings and Tech Empire. Each faction has its own unique units and characteristics. Maps include special events (reinforcements, resources, bonuses) and have their own specific victory conditions, some by turn number, others, for example, by conquering a region.

Play a Quick Battle to become acquainted with the game before moving on to Campaign Mode. Key pointers: Resources as well as strategy play vital roles in ElimiNation. The game urges players to carefully choose who to attack by analyzing their defenses and units. Players are able to purchase new units or powerful cards during deployment phase to give them additional strategic advantages.
A free trial version demo of ElimiNation is available at the sites below. The full version is available to purchase for $19.99 (USD) and requires a 3D OpenGL Video card, 64MB Video Ram, and 1024 MB RAM.

Tycoon Games

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Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Macworld has published a new review of Beyond the Sword, an expansion for the popular Civilization IV. The game focuses on the late-game time periods and also offers 12 challenging and different scenarios created by the development team at Firaxis Games. Macworld gave the game a score of 3.5 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

The most obvious new features to the game happen later, when you’re in the modern eras. You’ll be introduced to the corporation feature of the game, an element that behaves much like the “religion” aspect. Players can create corporations that specialize in certain resources and need to be spread throughout the world. You need a specific technology, resource, and Great Person to found a corporation’s headquarters and then the company itself. Your company can be spread via executive emissaries to other cities (even foreign ones) and each branch will net the player additional gold.

Espionage is introduced earlier in the game, allowing the player to spy on and disrupt foreign countries during earlier time periods of history. The spy unit will evolve from being a masked person of mystery to a James Bond-esque agent later in the game. Yet I still found the espionage system clunky and not as well integrated as some other elements. I like that having your spy get caught will negatively affect diplomatic relations, but the spies seem so limited in their abilities. You can sabotage production, poison the water, steal, gather intel and ferment unrest, but I want the ability to assassinate units, raze buildings, and detonate nuclear weapons. How much fun would it be to send in a spy to detonate the tactical nuke your enemy has been keeping in his capital?

The game also re-introduces the “random events” element of the original Civilization game. You can discover new resources, engage in diplomatic marriages, or recover from terrible natural disasters. These provide some moments of chaos and can tip the outcomes of close games, but generally they can be regarded as amusing distractions that help make the highly-formuliazed game seem more random.
Head over to the link below to read the full review.

Macworld: Civ IV Beyond The Sword Review
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword
Buy Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword

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Dungeon Crawling By Torchlight
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

EuroGamer has posted a new interview with Runic Games' Max Schaefer about the company's upcoming action RPG, Torchlight. The game will feature an easy to use interface for players of all skill levels and a level randomizer to ensure each adventure has its own unique blend of monsters, traps, and puzzles.

Torchlight is a ramshackle mining town, where prospectors have hit a mother-lode of the magical resource Ember. As unlikely characters flood in from everywhere, hoping to make their fortunes with picks and shovels or steal them at gunpoint, events take an unusual turn. A discovery is made beneath Torchlight's mines when the ruins of a handful of ancient cultures who had stumbled across this particular seam of Ember in the past are unearthed. All appear to have died out while trying to harvest it. "It's a windfall, but there's something wrong with the set-up," says Schaefer. "There's something corrupting down there that likes to finish off civilisations, and the player has to uncover the truth."

What this translates to is a joyously traditional dungeon-crawler with plentiful quests, stripped-back point-and-click controls that will be second nature to fans of the genre, and three basic classes (Destroyer, Alchemist and Vanquisher - loosely translating to a melee brawler, spellcaster and weapons user, expert in both ranged and close-quarters attacks). Classes direct the way you approach the game, but they don't limit your playing style as much as you might expect. "We don't have class-specific items, so if you find a bow, for example, you'll be able to use it whoever you are," says Baldree. "That said, the right class using the right item will have special perks."

While the town of Torchlight is a fixed hub where you can interact with NPCs and purchase new equipment, the mines beneath it are procedurally generated. "It's kind of the structure of Diablo 1, where there's this one location, and then we have lots of dungeons spreading off from that," says Schaefer. "We've been doing a lot of work on the randomisation stuff. A lot of us worked on the Diablo series prior to Hellgate, so we've done it every which way for the last twelve years.

"What we've come up with is making larger sections of games than we used to. A whole level will be broken down into eight big chunks, and we make several versions of each room so the game can randomly lay it out. But we're still able to architect specific elements within that. It means you can have really well-scripted events with secret rooms and levers and puzzles, while still retaining the randomisation that keeps it fresh. And even within scripted parts, you can set up random things, so that half the time a particular shrine will appear and half the time it won't."
A Mac version of Torchlight is in the works with no specific release date yet available. Follow the link below for the rest of the interview.

EuroGamer: Torchlight Hands On
Runic Games
Buy Torchlight

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World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Games32 recently posted a new preview of upcoming features in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next expansion pack for Blizzard Entertainment's MMO. The expansion will allow players to adventure as two new playable races, bring their characters to level 85, take on challenging quests and dungeons in all-new zones, and experience dramatic changes to familiar aspects of the game in the wake of a world-shattering disaster.

Archaeology will be introduced as a fourth profession available to anyone, along fishing, cooking and first aid. This addition is in strict correlation with the new Path of the Titans leveling up method, introduced for the max level players. Yes, even if you find yourself at level 85, there is still some way to go as you will be able to improve stats or pick up interestingly enough talents through a new - let's call it advancement system for a more appropriate term.

Depending on your affiliation to a certain Titan, this Path will vary. You will be able to respect as always, but these things tend to have advantages for everyone.

Along with a handful of new instances available at high levels, yet another surprise is in store for you: heroic Deathmines and Shadowfang Keep.

One of the highest anticipated PVP features will also be made available in this new expansion pack: rated battlegrounds - a breath of fresh air for those many arena haters out there, and their chance to grab the same item level gear as their highly competitive counterparts.

A stats simplification is also in store for you, merging attack power with agility for melee dps classes, spell power with intellect for caster dps, removing defense on tanks, spirit on dps gear, intellect from hunters (replaced with focus, a new resource), and these are only the beginning of the ground breaking changes Cataclysm has in store for your poorly unsuspecting level 80.

And if you always complained you just can't pick up those "fun" talents and must go for that 5% dps boost skill instead, there's also good news for you. As it turns out, most of the passive bonuses a tree has to offer are given to you depending on how many points you invest in it, allowing you more flexibility to pick those quick PvP escape skills, or just whatever you want really.
Visit the page linked below to read the full article.

Games32: WoW Cataclysm Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Mac Games News for Monday, September 14, 2009

Discussing StarCraft II's Storyline6:00 AM
EVE Online: Dealing With Engine Bugs6:00 AM
Out Of The Park Baseball 10 Reviewed6:00 AM
The Making Of Deus Ex6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 14, 2009 on one page

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