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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Aspyr Media has announced that Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword for Mac has shipped to North American retail outlets. Released in partnership with 2K Games, a division of the 2K publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is the second expansion pack for the Sid Meier’s Civilization IV franchise.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword focuses on the late-game time periods and delivers 12 challenging and decidedly different scenarios created by the development team at Firaxis Games. Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword includes a variety of new units that will offer even more fun and exciting ways for players to expand their civilization’s power as they strive for world domination.
More “Civ™” Than Ever – With a massive increase of ten civilizations, 64 buildings, 16 leaders, five wonders, six technologies, corporations, brand new espionage system and expanded trade routes, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is a must-have expansion pack to the greatest strategy franchise of all time.
Scenarios: Expect the Unexpected – 11 additional scenarios include new worlds in Final Frontier, battling zombies in Afterworld, conquering medieval Western Europe in Charlemagne, and more.
Advanced Starts – For the first-time ever, launch a game in later eras with this new frontier that allows you to purchase units, roles, improvements and technologies to start your game.
Unstoppable Corporations – Found your own corporation and spread its influence as another tool to gain control over the world.
• Operating System: Mac OS X 10.4.7
• CPU Processor: PowerPC G5 or Intel
• CPU Speed: 1.8 GHz
• Memory: 512 MB
• Hard Disk Space: 3.5 GB free disk space
• Video Card (ATI): Radeon 9600-
• Video Card (NVidia): GeForce FX 6600-
• Video Memory (VRam): 128 MB
• Multiplayer:
- Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported.
- Internet play requires broadband connection.
• Media Required: DVD Drive

• Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5.6
• CPU Speed: 2.0 GHz
• Memory: 1 GB
• Video RAM: 128 MB

Apple original CPU’s only, CPU upgrades not supported.
-Supported Video cards:
NVIDIA GeForce 6600, 6800, 7300, 7800
ATI Radeon 9600, 9650, 9700, 9800, X600, X800, X1600, X1900
Intel integrated video chipsets (GMA 950, X3100) are not supported
Sid Meier’s Civilization IV Beyond the Sword requires the full version of Civilization IV for Mac OS X to play and costs $34.99. The title is rated “E10+” by the ESRB for Everyone 10 and older. For more information visit the site below.

Aspyr Media
Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword
Buy Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld recently published a new review of Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince. In the game players return to Hogwarts to help Harry survive his sixth year. They will have a chance to engage in wizard duels, mix and brew magical ingredients in Potions class and take to the air to lead the Gryffindor Quidditch team to victory. Macworld gave the game a score of 3.5 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

You control Harry as he explores Hogwarts, as he mixes potions, as he duels, and as he flies through the skies during Quidditch matches while looking for the golden snitch. The potion mini-game, while well integrated into the overall plot, is a frustrating redundant race against time to shake your beakers, stir your pot, or mix your ingredients. I imagine that with the Wii Remote controller the mixing actions are more fun (the game is available for the Nintendo Wii), but with the mouse the novelty just really isn’t compelling. The amount of time in the books and movies Harry spends on chemistry is minimal; it takes too much time in the game.

The Quidditch matches aren’t true to the chaotic freeform revelry of the movies, but are true to the underlying flaw of J.K. Rowling’s absurdly-designed game: only grabbing the golden snitch matters, the rest of the game is just for show. The game designers understood this and put Harry in scripted practice and match settings where he flies in a set path around the pitch. You control him with your mouse where he is on the screen, meanwhile trying to hit the colored stars and dummies you encounter to increase your speed and time. You’ll also want to bang into opposing seekers when they’re flying close to the ground or the stands. Though scripted, it was fun to see the entire stadium come alive—the crowds cheering, the announcer explaining the match’s progress, and the other players racing around inconsequentially around you.

Through the rest of the game you control Harry through various environments around England, including the large maze-like campus of Hogwarts. Unfortunately, aside from collecting crests and moving a few objects, you can’t really do much in the school. Aside from flying, mixing, and dueling in the various clubs, Hogwarts is a museum with exhibits that you can gaze at but cannot touch.
To read the full review click over to the link below.

Macworld: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince Review
Electronic Arts
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

Apple Games Features Civ IV: Beyond The Sword
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games has posted a new feature article showcasing the recently released Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. The third expansion for the popular Civ IV series features 10 new nations, six new leaders, and 11 unique scenarios for players to explore. Apple's article includes an overview of Beyond the Sword's gameplay as well as descriptions of the new nations, leaders, and scenarios.

Beyond the Sword focuses heavily — but not exclusively — on new technologies, units, and buildings meant for Civilization IV’s later stages, when most empires have abandoned swords and horses for guns and tanks. Send airships soaring on bombing runs and reconnaissance missions. Use Sid’s Sushi executives to establish franchises in new cities. Build Moai Statues, like the ones that dot Easter Island, and increase the likelihood of a Great Prophet appearing and adding bonuses to your production and gold supply.

Just when you think victory is within your grasp — or at least within the next few turns — one of the expansion pack’s dozens of special events, such as an earthquake or a diplomatic marriage, may knock your plans awry. They’re split into two types, occurrences and quests: the former consist of one-time incidents that you must react to immediately, while the latter give you goals that result in rewards if achieved. Multiple civilizations may receive the same quest, however, so only the first one to complete it earns the prize. You can disable events, if you want.

You can also choose to begin a new game with its civilizations further along their paths, although you won’t be able to attack any opponents for the first 10 turns. However, you’re free to try out Beyond the Sword’s espionage system, which allows you to undertake missions involving everything from gathering information about another civilization to sabotaging their infrastructure, inciting a revolt, or even stealing their technology.
Read the full article at the website below.

Apple Games: Civilization IV Beyond The Sword
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword
Buy Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword

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StarCraft II: Loss Of LAN, BNet 2.0, Piracy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments has posted a new article on the topic of Blizzard Entertainment's decision to remove LAN play from the upcoming StarCraft II in favor of requiring all players to sign on to the company's new Battlenet 2.0 service. The examination includes discussion of fan reaction to the announcement, possible features for Bnet 2.0, and whether or not piracy is a large enough problem to warrant the loss of LAN play.

Improved observation features in multi-player matches.
One of the new features in BNet 2.0 are improved observational multi-player games with dynamic in-game statistics, such as average APM, each player’s resources and army details, and technological progress. Although, this is not really a 2.0 feature, it is more of an in-game feature of StarCraft 2. There are also plans for sharing replays through BNet and viewing them together with friends/other players with rewinding capability.

Casual and professional Leagues
Bnet 2.0 will also have custom leagues, most likely what many will referred as the monetized part of BNet 2.0, and casual and professional leagues. What separates these two are different speed (normal and faster/fastest) and a separate map pool. The casual league will choose from a pool of maps where rushing is discouraged or hard to pull off whereas in the professional league, it’s the opposite, according to Dustin Browder.

Voice Chat Support
Voice over Internet Protocol, which is similar to Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, will be included in 2.0.

Smurfing Prevention
Lead StarCraft 2 designer Dustin Browder plans to implement an anti-smurfing to BNet accounts. "Smurfing" is when a top tier player re-creates an account and begins "noob-bashing" all the way to the top again with a near perfect record. He mentions how this creates an unfair advantage to casual/normal players who are having fun playing equally skilled players and out of nowhere, pro-gamers ruin their fun.
Check out the rest at the pages linked below. SC II LAN Controversy
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Mac Games News for Monday, July 27, 2009

Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Ships12:43 PM
Alien Shooter 2 Released6:00 AM
Super Laser Racer Comes To Macs6:00 AM
SW: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition Announced6:00 AM
WoW: Hunter Q&A6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 27, 2009 on one page

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