Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Holiday Gaming Potpourri

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i'll-take-that-for-one-thousand-alex dept.

PlayStation (Games) 202

Illness and Holidays conspire to keep even the best intentioned reviewers from their goals, and so today you're going to get a potpourri of gaming goodness. November was a big month for games, but most of the attention went to Microsoft's new console. Three titles in particular stand out for creativity, for fun, for addictiveness, and for their lack of 360ness. Some of them have been out for a little while now, but if you're looking for recent releases to put under the tree and either can't afford or can't find a 360 to gift, these titles may be just what you're looking for. Read on for my impressions of Soul Calibur III, The Movies, and Civilization IV.

  • Title: Soul Calibur III
  • Developer/Publisher: Namco
  • System:PS2
  • Score:8/10

It could be argued that 1999 was the finest year in gaming. Half-Life, Everquest, and a little console called the Dreamcast all made themselves known that year to an unsuspecting gaming public. The Dreamcast introduced the world to Soul Calibur, the sequel to Soul Edge and arguably the finest casual fighting game ever made. Soul Calibur III follows in its footsteps with familiar fighting action, beautiful presentation, and some new twists on the old formula.

Soul Calibur III (SC3), like 2003's Soul Calibur II, is more evolution on the core fighting game than revolution. A PS2 exclusive this time around, the goal seems to have been to introduce players to new styles of gameplay without mucking with the extremely popular fighting system. Feints, devastating combos, and block attacks have all been added to the game, adding an element of strategy while continuing to be a perfectly serviceable button-masher. Block attacks are particularly effective, allowing a blocking character who times it right to open up an attacker for a harsh retaliatory strike. The combat may feel a little stale to someone who's been playing Soul Calibur II for two years straight, but there's enough variety to remind fans of the series why the original worked so well. New characters have been added, and while some older characters may seem to be absent most of them are unlockable through story mode play. Both new and old characters have some highly varied fighting techniques, and certain characters that in the past operated quite similarly (such as Mi-na and Kilik) now have more differentiation in their attacks and movement.

For the first time, Soul Calibur III does not have a cousin sitting in arcades, and so there is no real 'arcade mode' available. You can still fight a string of enemies through a quick-play option, but the primary single-player game is story mode. As in previous games, story mode puts you in the shoes of a wandering warrior on a quest out in the world. Each character has their own personal demon to slay or gewgaw to retrieve, and as you complete stories you'll gain access to unlockable content like characters and costumes. Cutscenes now have a Resident Evil 4 element to them, with interaction moments requiring you to hit buttons to influence a scene's outcome. These interactions aren't vital; if you fail likely the worst that will happen is you'll start battle down a little bit of health. They do add some interest to what would otherwise be traditionally incomprehensible story elements.

SC3 also incorporates a brand new game mode that attempts to add a real-time strategy twist to the Soul Calibur mode. Chronicles of the Sword allows you to take control of a character you design, and put her through a grand adventure of her own. Unlike the story mode, there are elements of tactical movement and an almost RPG-like atmosphere to the gameplay. Unfortunately, the series' weak storytelling elements make this mode fall flat. Generic opponents (like 'Thief' or 'Warrior'), uninspiring and lengthy text-based storytelling, and simple strategy add up to a play mode that is better in concept than in execution. Character creation, too, sounds more interesting than it really is. There are a number of options, but all of them are somewhat plain and any resulting avatar won't hold a candle to the quality of the main cast of characters.

Soul Calibur III's confinement to the PS2 has also resulted in generationally adequate graphics and no online support. SC3 looks good, to be sure, but it looks as I expected it to be. Nothing surprised me about the graphical presentation or the audio environment at all. The game is probably the best looking fighting game on the PlayStation 2, though, so it's hard to fault it for hardware limitations. Sony's on-the-fence attitude about online participation has resulted in yet another title that is inexcusably offline. Given broadband penetration numbers nowadays, it's mind-boggling to me that this solid fighting game doesn't allow me the option of challenging friends online.

In the end, online or not, Soul Calibur III upholds the good name of the series with complex and well-tested fighting, a memorable cast of characters, and a unique storytelling voice. Anyone looking for a title complex enough to challenge the gamer in their life but approachable enough for the button-masher will be well pleased by what this title has to offer.

  • Title: The Movies
  • Developer: Lionhead Studios
  • Publisher:Activision
  • System: PC
  • Score: 6/10

Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios has become the industry name in sandbox-style gameplay. They turn from the heady power of a deity to the reality-controlling whims of the director in The Movies, and manage to come up with at least half of an interesting game.

The Movies is actually two titles wrapped up together in the same packaging. One title is a strategy game, where you fill the role of studio lead creating your own movie production company. Like with other strategy titles you purchase buildings, train mooks, and attempt to gather resources. In this case, mooks are hired to fulfill roles on the lot and your resources are gained by releasing films. The core of this aspect of the game is polished and attractive. The game does a fair amount of hand-holding, making sure that you understand what's involved in a film's production and forcing you to learn what it takes to keep the studio running before it sets you loose in the world. The title passes through several eras of film-making, and audience tastes vary with the times. This forces you, as studio lead, to pick and choose movie genres with care because not every genre will be popular in any given decade.

The actual process of making the movie is straightforward. You purchase or create a script, assign actors and a director, add a crew, and build sets. Once all the elements are in place the film's production is carried out by the game, allowing you to see to the studio. The only catch is that once you have a few movies under your belt, actors and directors have a tendency to flake out. You'll have to make efforts to keep them happy before they turn to sometimes embarrassing and destructive forms of entertainment, like pills and booze. The in-game timeline and character moods are what keeps the player thinking, always coming up with new ways to please the audience and their employees. Unfortunately, while these elements are the most interesting to think about they won't be what you spend most of your time doing. The strategy element of The Movies mostly centers around maintaining and expansion of the studio itself. If you can keep your actors and directors mostly happy, everything else runs almost on auto. As long as you keep building the latest sets, keep them looking nice, and pay for the newest building options, you'll be able to churn out good-looking shlock that the movie-going public will pay big bucks to see. Frustratingly realistic, isn't it?

The second game wrapped inside The Movies is much more interesting. As part of the strategy game you are allowed the opportunity to make your own scripts. In the script-creation mode you gain access to a sort of mini-video editing suite which offers up facial animations, moods, and actions. Using the suite you can put these all together, specify sets, change the lighting, add subtitles, and even (with a mic) dialogue. It's a powerful creative tool, and there have already been a number of notable machinima titles released by The Movies directors. Machinima.com has an entire The Movies channel for you to check out recent offerings. Some of them are quite profound despite the sometimes crude direction. A protest film made with the game about the French riots has received international media attention, a strong endorsement of the storytelling power of this title.

The problem is that, no matter how much effort you put into a title with the suite the game has no way of knowing whether it's actually good or not. The in-game audience judges it by artificial standards, and even something that could move a person to tears could get panned by the fickle virtual public. This results in a deep discontinuity between the strategy side and the sandbox side of the game. Despite the power of the suite there is no good in-game reason to expend effort with your own scripts. It's a better idea just to pay a lot for a pre-generated script, and concentrate your efforts on ensuring the studio can shoot it.

The Movies, then, is a powerful tool for creating original content wrapped inside a fairly mediocre strategy title. There are some clever elements to running your own studio, and if you're enamored with the movie industry you'll almost certainly get a kick out of the day-to-day activities you'll be monitoring. Otherwise, the strategy game is nothing more than a distraction from the real power of The Movies: the sandbox script creation mode. If you're looking for a powerful set of tools to express yourself, it's hard to recommend against The Movies for its sheer variety and flexibility. Take a pass on this one if all you're looking for is a strategy game, though.

  • Title: Civilization IV
  • Developer: Firaxis
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • System:PC
  • Score: 9/10

The addictive spawn of Firaxis Studios strikes again. I spent the better part of my days in college trying desperately to make the AI in Civilization III submit under my benevolent boot of order. That struggle began again with the release of Civilization IV (Civ IV). Civ IV is a turn-based strategy game, and the latest chapter in possibly one of the most popular franchises in the genre. Previous titles are often cited as all-time favorite PC titles, and the series (along with designer Sid Meier) has become an industry standard. Civ IV, then, has big shoes to fill. Luckily, it does so admirably. While Civ III was a refinement of the gameplay offered in Civ II, the fourth installment in the series makes some fundamental changes to the gameplay that results in a faster-paced game that still captures the epic feel of nation against nation combat.

The basics from previous games remain the same. Your goal in Civilization is to take a foundling nation-state and grow it into a world-girding superpower. Along the way you'll engage in diplomacy, develop technologies, and probably involve your country in some 'aggressive negotiation'. You begin by choosing which culture you'll be running. Each culture has an iconic leader, whose role you take on when interacting with other cultures. Every leader has a pair of characteristics which, to a degree, influence how your culture develops. Leaders are notable historical figures from the real-world culture, allowing you the chance to step into the shoes of Abraham Lincoln or Ghengis Khan, as you choose. There are many nations to choose from, far more than originally shipped with Civ III, and you're likely to find at least one culture in the game that will strike a cord.

Once you've chosen your culture you'll place your first city and begin your campaign to rule the world. You have several options on how exactly to go about that lofty goal. Cultural supremacy is a perfectly valid option. Unlike other strategy titles, focusing your energies away from combat is not a sure-fire way to lose. The Cultural win is far more quantified than it has been in the past. Every city produces a number of culture points each turn. These culture points can be increased by building new elements for the city. Features such as theatres, aqueducts, and courts all affect the happiness of the citizenry and the cultural sophistication of the city. Cities have an area of control, a swath of land around the settlement from which your cultural force is projected. By increasing the cultural output of a city, you increase the sphere of control. If an enemy city abuts that sphere of control, and your culture is impressive enough, they may abandon their original culture in favour of your more appealing nation-state. Cultural warfare was possible in previous games, but is transformed into a far more valid option via an important changeup in international relations. Border are no longer crossable by opposing units unless you agree to an open borders pact. While this can be frustrating if a nation is strategically placed, cutting you off from a portion of a continent, this means that the only way a nation can enter your lands without that pact is by declaring war. While this is sometimes not a deterrent to the occasionally bullying AI, at least you'll know they're coming.

Besides city features, religious affiliation is a factor in cultural dominance and the chance that a city could be swayed to your cause. Religions are a new feature in Civ IV, tied to technological developments, that open up another avenues for commonality between cities and cultures. Advancement up the tech tree opens up numerous city additions, military units, movement options, and seven religious movements. Though they're not a required part of the cultural strategy, one common religion can smooth the wheels of diplomacy and encourage your cities to act together. Alternatively, if you encourage several religions throughout your nation and develop the right technology, religious tolerance can be a boon as well.

While the faster pace offered by Civ IV isn't immediately obvious, advancing up the tech tree will quickly make you realize that Firaxis has stepped up the pace in this latest installment. The initial epoch of horse-riding, writing, and the alphabet flies by much more quickly than in previous titles. As much as I enjoyed eight hour marathons playing through one game in college, it's extremely gratifying to be able to tackle the world in a shorter timespan. While normal mode was fast enough for me, with a game lasting about three or four hours, there is an even faster mode available that could see you king of the world in as little as an hour. For traditionalists, there is an 'epic' mode that allows you the sedate pace of previous titles.

Epic would be an apt way to describe combat in Civilization IV, which has been streamlined and tweaked considerably from the third installment of the game. Military units, which previously had a somewhat murky relationship with one another, are now more clearly marked by their relative strength. Despite the inherent comedy, a spear-wielder can no longer take out a tank as more advanced military units are levels of magnitude stronger than their older counterparts. The mid-game is a frantic rush to gain gunpowder, as swordsmen will lose to musket-wielders in almost every encounter. Refreshingly, the AI has also been reeducated. Not only is it more varied in its tactics, but you are no longer subject to degenerate gameplay sometimes seen in previous titles. There are a number of ways to advance troops now, with each unit usually having more than one option to upgrade to a modern fighting force. In addition to upgrades, seasoned units have promotion possibilities open up. This allows for individually more powerful units within your overall army. Units of all types have been given a tweak, as workers now come equipped with a bevy of tools for improving your nation's infrastructure. Besides roads and irrigation, workers can deploy several types of mines, farmlands, and other civic improvements. A new type of unit has also been added to the game, the great leader. Great leaders come in several different flavours, and each are expendable to gain a useful cultural element. Some leaders create a powerful building within the city that houses them, while others allow you a free technological innovation. While leaders don't appear often they're a welcome rarity to spice up gameplay.

The most obvious change to Civilization IV is in the graphical presentation. While Civ III offered a semi-3D look, Civ IV is a true 3D experience. You can scroll in to get as close to the action as you like, or pull far back to get a good sense of the overall scope of your empire. Units and cities are handsomely displayed, with a surprising amount of personality offered up in the little characters that help you run your empire. Combat is much more emotive than in previous games, and you'll have no misunderstandings who is winning and who is losing when the bodies start hitting the dirt. The audio environment is outstanding, with an evocative soundtrack that draws heavily on African rhythms and nationalistic tempos. New tech advances are made just a little more exciting, too, by the addition of the vocal talents of Leonard Nimoy. When he tells you that you've developed a monarchy, you feel good about it.

Civilization IV is a triumphant return for the venerable series. With several careful decision they've breathed new life into this extraordinarily addictive game setting. 'One-more-turn' syndrome is a true danger when you get deep into a confrontation, and easily matches the draw of previous titles. Multiplayer is finally a viable option outside of play-by-email, thanks to the faster pace and variable speeds. Graphical improvements make the user experience more palatable while combat and diplomacy streamlining makes for more understandable moment-to-moment play. If you're at all interested in turn-based strategy titles, you will not be disappointed by Sid Meier's latest offering.

cancel ×

202 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sounds fun (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258255)

I think I'm gonna just keep on playing Animal Crossing, though.

OMG a Lovely Chair!!!

Re:Sounds fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258337)

Get back to work, you're not done til you have the holiday set AND the halloween set.

Re:Sounds fun (1, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258364)

I think I'm gonna just keep on playing Animal Crossing, though. OMG a Lovely Chair!!!
Fucking Shigeru Miyamoto is a fucking pussy. I'm going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking kill Nintendo!

*tosses chair*

1992 Called (1)

1992 Called (893858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258261)

Nintendo all the way fools!

Civ IV (2, Informative)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258270)

Civ IV is excellent. Great gameplay, AI and graphics. Only one crash so far (after many hours of play).

Re:Civ IV (1)

Ooter (741986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258343)

Only one crash so far (after many hours of play). It still amazes me that crashing is often considered acceptable in software these days. Software is the only "product" I can think of where its failure is not always considered unacceptable. Would you feel the same way if instead of your latest PC game crashing, it was your car breaking down, or your oven not turning on, or your bed frame falling apart?

Re:Civ IV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258469)

my bed frame takes a beating so if it crashes I can live with it. It's all part of the "fun"

My only complaint... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258393)

Is that Civ IV is too fast, even on epic mode. You never have a chance to play with the vast majority of military units. Technology advances far faster than production. It takes a couple turns to research a technology, so by the time you have a few knights, riflemen and machine guns are available.

Other than game speed it's awesome. I've only played Civ III before, though.

GTA made this possible. (0, Troll)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258271)

So so many people have bought game consoles only because they wanted to play GTA. So if Rockstar hadn't bundled such great soundtracks for the car radios, there would be less demand in the industry for new consoles and therefore less demand for softare companies to make games that strive to be as God-like as GTA.

Alls I'm trying to say is to take a few seconds and think, "Thank you, GTA people."

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258299)

I know I bought GTA and my PS2 at the same time. Didn't realize it was that common.

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

jshaw001 (857478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258301)

so should we thank microsoft and bungie for Halo and Halo 2?

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258455)

No idea, haven't played Halo; but you should thank your employer for enabling you to buy the thing.

That depends what generation you belong to. (5, Funny)

dstone (191334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258406)

So so many people have bought game consoles only because they wanted to play GTA.

I bought a game console because "PRESS PLAY ON TAPE" was getting old.

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258427)

I just wish more developers would use GTA as a model. In addition to being fun games, the GTA3 series games are fun *toys* in the sense you can turn them on and just wander about a virtual world that reacts to your actions. I probably spend more time exploring and testing the limits of the game's law enforcement personnel :) than on the actual missions. And Rockstar must have a team of people who just design the various neighborhoods the way you can wander down back alleys and find lots of details.

I want my RPGs, platformers and adventure games to be like this now: an endless world where there's no map screens with limited areas. I want the world to just go and go and go. Shadow Of The Colussus did this well. I know a lot of the online worlds are like this, but those seem to require more free time than I have. I need the console stuff where I can play a bit and save and come back days later.

Re:GTA made this possible. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258482)

er, you do realize that's totally absurd..?

but mod him up anyway, whatever. we apparently have practically college students writing slashdot reviews (seriously, zonk was still in college when civ3 came out? what the fuck?), and it's not like highly modded stupid comments are new either.

slashdot is sucking more and more.

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258566)

You're so full of shit. You go on like there haven't been great games before GTA. What about Final Fantasy? Zelda? Metal Gear? The Mario series? They did miles more for the gaming industry than bloody GTA. You need help, it appears your mouth and asshole have switched places.

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258865)

It also appears he doesn't know that GTA is for the PC as well, and two of the reviewed games are pc. Civ PC only in fact.

Oh well, what do you expect from a GTA player.

Re:GTA made this possible. (1)

Horatio_Hellpop (926706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258670)

For the life of me, I _still_ don't get the attraction of GTA ... why would you want to take on the persona of a complete asshat, running around blowing up people, stealing stuff, and being a general dicksnot? Whatever. Have fun with it, I guess.

Re:GTA made this possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258819)

why would you want to take on the persona of a complete asshat...and being a general dicksnot?

Because some of us are not asshats in Real Life(TM).

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258282)

Block attacks are particularly effective, allowing a blocking character who times it right to open up an attacker for a harsh retaliatory strike

Um, since when have they not been? Did you actually play any of the other versions?

Cool! (2, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258288)

Now I can reject my own scripts for a change!

SC III (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258308)

So does anyone know why Soul Calibre III was released solely on PS2 when, of all the platfoms, it sold, by far, the least of the Soul Calibre titles? Does that strike anyone else as counter-productive?

Re:SC III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258372)

Yea, but what you don't see is the huge amount of cash Sony paid for this right.

Re:SC III (1)

mrbaggs (864520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258450)

You shouldnt have modded parent down, he's right you know. Sony forked out a wad of cash for exclusivity, nothing else. Theres no other reason why Namco woulda backstabbed all the loyal fans with Xbox/GC that bought SC2 in huge numbers.

Re:SC III (2, Interesting)

itscolduphere (933449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258533)

You shouldnt have modded parent down, he's right you know. Sony forked out a wad of cash for exclusivity, nothing else. Theres no other reason why Namco woulda backstabbed all the loyal fans with Xbox/GC that bought SC2 in huge numbers.

I don't feel backstabbed...I'll just continue to enjoy SCII on my Cube. SCIII doesn't sound that amazing anyway, in comparison. The only ting I wonder is why would Sony bother to do such a thing? Isn't it a little late in the game to worry about moving PS2s?

Re:SC III (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258940)

I had this opinion that it might be ego. I mean, you could say the same thing about Resident Evil 4, why bother pressuring Capcom to port it?

Soul Calibur II was just obviously inferior on the Playstation II compared to its incarnation on the other two platforms, I imagine that didn't sit well with Sony. So, having Soul Calibur III come out as a Sony exclusive is a way for Sony to rectify that situation.

Re:SC III (1)

hector_uk (882132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258434)

no idea, i never got SC2, i played it at an EB and it did not feel nearly as fluid as soul caliber on my DC (i still play it :D)

someone needs to come out with an accessory that you plug into the controller port and into your pc/mac to be able to play and split screen game online, i'd love to deal out some mitsurugi ownage to someone, the AI is not good enough.

and seeing as i dont own a ps2 i wont buy SC3, i'll probably buy it for a friend then play it through on their ps2.

Re:SC III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258656)

Stop smoking pole.

Huh? (1)

Jack Johnson (836341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258831)

There are a few articles which showed the PS2 trailing behind the GC and XB immediately after release but the overall numbers show the XB in last place.

Though, no matter how you slice it, SC2 was not a huge seller with fewer than 2M units across all platforms. Therefore, developing for all 3 outmoded systems probably wouldn't be wise when they can release for the PS2 now (greatest sales potential by FAR) and develop for the next-gen around the corner.

Besides, these days, exclusive really doesn't mean anything unless it's a first-party title. For all we know, SC3 could be a time-limited exclusive and appear in glossy new form across the board this spring.

Civilization IV (5, Interesting)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258352)

One element of Civ 4 gameplay is missing from this review. It's BIG and SLOW.

Although the producers claim that it requires a minimum of 256M and recommended 512M [2kgames.com] the game, even with the recent 1.09 patch, regularly baloons up to over a gigabyte by the time I reach the Renaissance. With a mere 512M of RAM this leads to heavy swapping during regular play and several minutes of thrashing like a beached whale between turns.

After struggling along like that for a while the game will eventually just crash. Between the infrequenct auto-saves and painfully long loading times that can cost me anywhere up to a half hour of play time and generally destroys my interest in the game.

I hope that having more memory will at least lessen these problems as I have heard some glowing reviews of Civ 4 from other sources, but trying to play with the recommended system is just a little bit too painful for me.

Re:Civilization IV (2, Insightful)

Zonk (12082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258412)

I've heard many reports of this problem, but I didn't mention the problems in my review because I never experienced those issues.

I've got a gig of RAM in my box, though. It stinks that they list the recommended specs at 256 megs of memory. Is there any big commercial game made within the last two years or so that ran well on 256 megs of RAM?

More RAM should almost certainly take care of those issues, and if you like the genre the game will be 'worth' the hassle.

Re:Civilization IV (0, Redundant)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258554)

Hi Zonk!
I'll save you the trouble:

I've heard many reports of this problem, but I didn't mention the problems in my review because I never experienced those issues.

I've got a gig of RAM in my box, though. It stinks that they list the recommended specs at 256 megs of memory. Is there any big commercial game made within the last two years or so that ran well on 256 megs of RAM?

More RAM should almost certainly take care of those issues, and if you like the genre the game will be 'worth' the hassle.

There is a fan-made patch available... (5, Informative)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258473)

There is actually a fan-made patch in the form of a DLL that fixes a major memory leak in the game. It can be tweaked for systems with 512 or 1024 megs of ram in order to eliminate massive disk paging.

I can't get to the page where it's hosted because I'm at work, but if you go to apolyton.com [apolyton.com] and go to the general discussion for civ 4, the thread should be near the top.

I havn't had to mess with it, since I have a nice system with 2048 megs of ram. The only bugs I've encountered with the game were graphical glitches in 1.0 that were fixed by rolling back to a previous video card driver. There are a few other in-game usability annoyances, but on the whole, civ 4 is much more playable on release then civ 3 ever was, even after all of its patches and expansion packs.

Re:Civilization IV (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258527)

Looks like they really did mess up on the minimum requirements. I've been playing it on a 3.2GHz P4, 1GB ram and Nvidia 6800GT without any problems except slight slowdown on the AI turns in the very late portion of the game (which is to be expected).

Re:Civilization IV (1)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258597)

I've been playing it with a P4 1.8, a gig of ram and an ATi 9600 Pro and being in the modern era (1950s) it's unbearibly slow, even when I just launch my saved game. I assumed that this has something to do with the large amount of objects on the map, but I still have a bit better than the recommended specs and it crawls. Hopefully this will change once I put together my new rig with a 6800 gs.

Re:Civilization IV (1)

RobFrontier (550029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258654)

I had a Gig of RAM and saw crashed in the late game, I went to a gig and a half, and no more crashes

Re:Civilization IV (2, Informative)

mcb (5109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258807)

You can change the frequency of the autosaves from the config file. Open the shortcut '_Civ4Config' in your Civ4 folder and look for 'AutoSaveInterval'.

It really slows you down if you have to pass a lot of turns quickly though (like the beginning of a game on epic speed).

What about if you hated Civ3? (1)

Erioll (229536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258359)

I know I'm not the only one that was VERY disappointed with civ3. I could go into the details, but I'm sure others could do that as well as I. But the long-and-short of it is that I was a fan of Civ1, 2, SMAC, and even CTP (even though that wasn't made by Sid, it was still not bad IMO). But Civ3 was just a massive disappointment.

Does Civ4 redeem the series? Or at the least, does anyone know of a review that's by someone that EXPLICITLY says that they HATED civ3?

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (1)

aetherspoon (72997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258421)

Note: My favorite game of all time is SMAC.
Civ4 introduced a lot of SMAC elements in to Civ. For example, instead of government types, you have the social choices similar to how SMAC works.
As I've put it before, it is a great game from what I've played. Too bad the coders royally screwed it up with their showstopping bugs, extreme slowdowns, and bloated code. Seriously, when I see my VCard driver BSOD from playing Civ4, something is wrong. I refuse to run that thing again (luckily, I just borrowed it from my next door neighbor while he was playing Call of Duty 2 still) until I can be completely assured that it won't do that crap again.

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (0)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258470)

I thought Civ III was a piece of trash.

Civ 4, although tremendously resource-hogging, is glorious. It simply is what the game should be. No Elvis advisors, although Leonard Nimoy's comments occasionally get a bit tedious, but usually they add a bit of cute without being cheesy.

Other Celebrity sightings... (2, Funny)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258516)

No Elvis advisors, although Leonard Nimoy's comments occasionally get a bit tedious, but usually they add a bit of cute without being cheesy.

Actually, Elvis DOES make an appearance later in the game, as the great artist of the modern era. Also, a likeness of Al Gore is used for The Internet. :)

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (3, Funny)

Misch (158807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258548)

"Beep... beep... beep." - Sputnik I

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258479)

I hated Civ III and Civ IV does make up for the disappointment of the previous version.

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258563)

This is not Civ3 (Thank god!). From someone who played Civ3 for a game an a half then when back to AC, Civ 4 is not a reincarnation of civ 3

Re:What about if you hated Civ3? (1)

roguenine19 (901001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258575)

Civ 4 is Firaxis' way of redeeming itself for the disappointment that was Civ 3. While they kept culture in, it's been improved so that it actually works, and most of the things that made Civ 3 so annoying have been either scrapped or reworked. On the whole, it's just a better game in every way (if you have a system that can run it). So yes, Civ 4 is a huge improvement on the mediocrity that was Civ 3.

Alright, I'll bite... (1)

Flamerule (467257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258768)

I know I'm not the only one that was VERY disappointed with civ3. I could go into the details, but I'm sure others could do that as well as I. But the long-and-short of it is that I was a fan of Civ1, 2, SMAC, and even CTP (even though that wasn't made by Sid, it was still not bad IMO). But Civ3 was just a massive disappointment.
Huh. Could someone explain what Civ III did wrong? I've played many, many games of SMAC and Civ3, and I love them both. Can't really say that Civ3 is better, but still lots of fun.

Civ 4 is what Civ 3 should have been (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258872)

Civ4 is by leaps and bounds much better than Civ3 and finally makes a game by all qualifications better than Civ2.

* Tech tree more remniscent of Civ 2 -- Civ 3's tech tree was horribly shallow and game could be won or lost by a couple of advances. Civ 4's tech tree is more like Civ2 since there's more choices at any given point as to what to research and the greater diversity of research advances allows more strategic freedom -- like civ2

* Corruption was redone -- In Civ3, cities far from the capital were useless.

* Combat is the best yet -- Specialization makes it possible to play defensively or offensively based on unit production.

* Diplomacy is better -- Civ2 diplomacy was infexible. Civ3's had bugs. In Civ4, it's very clear why the AI will or won't allow certain deals

* Multiplayer finally ws done correctly -- Finally, you can play Civ with your friends without wanting to hurt yourself

All in all, I loved Civ2, was disappointed with Civ3 (but liked some of the improvements), but Civ4 I can say without reserve is an improvement.

You'll like Civ IV (2, Interesting)

Amonnil (874821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258975)

Civ IV is a great game. I am a big fan of Civ 1, 2, and SMAC. I personally thought Civ 3 was a deeply flawed game (although it had some interesting ideas), and is the worst in the series. But I love Civ IV--I've already played though it more than I did Civ. III.

Civ IV fixes a lot of problems I had with Civ III--no more corruption and buildings have no upkeep(so undeveloped cities aren't better than developed anymore). Also, the trade resources work a lot better. You might look at http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/info/ for some specifics about how things are fixed.

There are some things I miss about Civ II but they're mostly minor things, or unballanced things (like keeping a bunch of caravans handy to build wonders as soon as you have the technology). Really, I don't think I can go back.

So yes, Civ IV redeems the series.

Great innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258362)


the best the gaming "industry" can offer is sequel after sequel
good to know there is so much innovation and forward thinking, perhaps Hollywood should take a few ideas......oh wait

The Movies is not a sequel (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258547)

The Movies is not a sequel to anything. In some ways it builds on previous games Peter Molyneaux has worked on (i.e. Theme Park and Theme Hospital) but it also adds the complete tool set for making your own movies.

Obligatory Explanation (-1, Offtopic)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258374)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potpourri [wikipedia.org]

Potpourri is properly a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant material, used to provide a gentle natural scent in houses. It is usually placed in a decorative wooden bowl.

...

Most modern potpourri however consists of any decoratively shaped dried plant material (not specifically from scented plants) with strong synthetic perfumes (and also often strongly coloured dyes) added, with the scent bearing no relation to the plant material used.


http://www.answers.com/potpourri [answers.com]
  1. A combination of incongruous things: "In the minds of many, the real and imagined causes for Russia's defeats quickly mingled into a potpourri of terrible fears" (W. Bruce Lincoln).
  2. A miscellaneous anthology or collection: a potpourri of short stories and humorous verse.
  3. A mixture of dried flower petals and spices used to scent the air.
So... I'm not sure how this is a potpourri of gaming goodness, but I like Soul Caliber, so I forgive the submitter.

Re:Obligatory Explanation (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258507)

seems pretty obvious to me. especially since the answer is in your post:

"A miscellaneous anthology or collection"

That is, the selection of games isn't themed, so it's a miscellaneous collection.

Re:Obligatory Explanation (1)

fishybell (516991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258509)

So... I'm not sure how this is a potpourri of gaming goodness, but I like Soul Caliber, so I forgive the submitter.

I think you answerred your own question:

1. A combination of incongruous things: "In the minds of many, the real and imagined causes for Russia's defeats quickly mingled into a potpourri of terrible fears" (W. Bruce Lincoln).

Soul Caliber III, Civilization IV, and The Movies are just about as incongrous as you can get.

Re:Obligatory Explanation (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258785)

"Soul Caliber III, Civilization IV, and The Movies are just about as incongruous as you can get"

Oh yeah?

How about muffins, Kimodo dragons, and superconductors?

I'd say that's a way more incongruous set. ;)

Re:Obligatory Explanation (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258898)

How about Global Warming, Punky Brewster, and rayon?

Re:Obligatory Explanation (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258956)

" How about Global Warming, Punky Brewster, and rayon?"

I'm sure I could find the connection... I know Punky got hot when she got older, maybe she caused some Globule Warming in my rayon pants?

Silent Storm (0, Flamebait)

SunPin (596554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258377)

There is no other... unless you pay /. to hype the retread crap listed above.

Civ 4 for the Mac? (1, Offtopic)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258385)

Is anyone porting Civ 4 for the Mac? Would love to know if/when I can buy this title for my machine. --M

Re:Civ 4 for the Mac? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258522)

Fortunately for you, in the not too distant future, Apple will be producing a Macintosh capable of properly running Windows. Then, all the Mac fans out there can finally enjoy all the software the rest of the world has taken for granted for years. Since these new fangled wonder computers have yet to be released, you will likely have to wait until they are and then upgrade.

Peace out and flame on. :)

Well... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258623)

I'm not a Mac user but I feel I should point out that a large portion of "hit" PC games do get ported to the Mac. The ports tend to come out 6 months to a year after the PC version however. Some even later. Battlefield 1942 made it to the Mac only slightly before Battlefield 2 was released for the PC.
There is also almost no MMO support the one exception being World of Warcraft.
Big games like Civ 4 will wander over to the Mac eventually.

Coming for Mac in 2006 (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258573)

Per this announcement [firaxis.com] on the Firaxis Games site - Civ 4 will be released for the Mac in 2006.

Thanks a bunch! /nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258594)

. ..

Re:Civ 4 for the Mac? (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258574)

yes, a Mac version is coming, according to CivFanatics, via this [insidemacgames.com] source.

Re:Civ 4 for the Mac? (1)

loonyboi (101145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258583)

Yes, Aspyr announced they are porting the game to OS X. It'll be out sometime next year.

Re:Civ 4 for the Mac? (1)

BadMrMojo (767184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258610)

Aspyr is porting it. I just read a brief message from Brad Oliver mentioning that he'd just rolled the 1.9 (is that right?) patch code into the port.

No official word on when, yet - at least as far as I've heard.

Re:Civ 4 for the Mac? (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258680)

Yes, Aspyr Media is porting Civ IV to Mac [insidemacgames.com] . It's due in early 2006 and I can hardly wait. Strangely, they also just released Civilization III: Complete for Mac that includes the Conquests and Play the World expansions. I'd like the expansions for the gameplay improvements (especially smarter workers), but it hardly seems worth $50 when I already have the standard Civ III and all the PC gamers are playing Civ IV.

AlpineR

sciii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258388)

Is anyone else flat out pissed that SC3 doesn't have team battle? It is all I ever used (after i unlock everything). My buddy actually took his SC3 title back to wallyworld over this. I do love the gameplay, random creation in vs., and all my old fav. characters but its not the same game w/o team battle.

They forgot the SWG:Starter Kit (1)

Shakes268 (856460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258408)

Yea, this is more of a dig at SOE than anything else. "Move along...."

speaking of the lack of 360ness (0, Offtopic)

js3 (319268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258414)

I heard it bombed in japan where only 39% of their stock was sold, yet noone can find em to buy em around here.

Re:speaking of the lack of 360ness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258759)

It's somewhat off-topic, but the article did mention the subject, so, here you go:

CNN article on Japan XBox 360 release [cnn.com] .

That makes me think of an interesting poll possibility. Which will sell more in Japan in the first 90 days after release:

1. XBox 360
2. Soul Caliber III for the old Playstation
3. Civ IV for PC
4. "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle", Blu-Ray edition
5. "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle", HD-DVD edition
6. "CowboyNeal: The Untold Story" on regular DVD

Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258422)

As somebody who saw the sun come up more than a few times playing the original Civ, I have to laugh at Zonk reminiscing about playing Civ 3 like it was a way long time ago. I guess "Back in the Day" isn't so far back anymore.

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (1)

Zonk (12082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258440)

Hey, I played a fair amount of Civ, too. :)

And I'm not saying Civ 3 was all that long ago. Though, thinking back on when it was released reminds me painfully how long it's been since I graduated from college. *sigh*

4 years a painfully long time? (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258702)

Civ 3 came out in 2001. I started this job in 1999. I played Civ 1 over 14 years ago. Man, you are making me feel REALLY old.
Young whipper snappers don't even know that proper consoles have an artifical wood grain finish to match the paneling on your station wagon.

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (2, Funny)

Idealius (688975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258490)

Its like that story about the junior manager addressing a conference:

"..In all my years of management I have NEVER seen anything like this."

dumbfounded co-workers:

"You're only 24. How many years could you possibly have managed?"

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258512)

indeed, i lost many a good nights sleep to civ 1 on my amiga 1200

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (1)

ShaggyBOFH (694048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258659)

Addictive doesn't even discribe it...herion is addictive, Civ is beyond that. Civ II will keep you sober and make you piss your pants because you can't be bothered to get up from your pc. It's frickin' turn based for Christ's sake!!!

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (1)

xnderxnder (626189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258665)

I guess "Back in the Day" isn't so far back anymore.

No, it just means you're getting old.

Y'know, like me.. ;>

(as someone who played Civ1 on a B/W 13lb "laptop"..)

Re:Back in the Day....not so far Back Anymore (2, Funny)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258994)

Seriously, especially for those of us who remember stuff like M.U.L.E. [wikipedia.org] (more [eichberger.net] info [classicgaming.com] ), even the first Civilization wasn't "back in the day".

Best Civ IV advance (4, Funny)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258459)

New tech advances are made just a little more exciting, too, by the addition of the vocal talents of Leonard Nimoy. When he tells you that you've developed a monarchy, you feel good about it.
I don't think you can get much better than having science officer Spock on your side.

1999 ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258466)

It could be argued that 1999 was the finest year in gaming. Half-Life, Everquest, and a little console called the Dreamcast all made themselves known that year to an unsuspecting gaming public.

Actually, Half-Life came out in 1998, right?

And anyway, 2000 was clearly the finest year in gaming, because that's when Deus Ex was released. :-)

Maybe its a dead horse and a stick, but.. (0, Offtopic)

Morgalyn (605015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258478)

Three titles in particular stand out for creativity, for fun, for addictiveness, and for their lack of 360ness.

How about "Three titles in particular stand out for creativity, fun, addictiveness, and lack of 360ness." ? Did anyone else stumble over this (and other) weird sentence structure in this review? At least it was still in a parallel format (technically speaking).

You must be new here (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258964)

No actually I did not. Just as my handwriting has gone to hell with keyboard use, constant exposure to the internet has made me capable of reading past the most hideous grammar astrocities and commit themselves with laughing ease.

Future generations will probably have an english more like japanese where grammar is an optional extra and meaning must be derived entirely from the context or by beating your talking partner over the head until they make sense.

But Civ II is already destroying my free time (3, Informative)

yerdaddie (313155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258498)

Civ IV looks great and all, but with all the time Civ II is still consuming I think I won't dare buy it.

Civ II can be downloaded from abandonia here:

http://www.abandonia.com/games/en/99/Civilization2 .htm [abandonia.com]

Fire up your favorite windows emulator. Clear your calendar.

Re:But Civ II is already destroying my free time (1)

Kaimelar (121741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258675)

Civ II can be downloaded from abandonia here:

...

Fire up your favorite windows emulator. Clear your calendar.

Or try Freeciv [freeciv.org] -- versions available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. No emulators required!

Re:But Civ II is already destroying my free time (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258714)

Is it just me, or is the AI in freeciv too easy? I always play on hard or experimental, and it always gets trounced. It never builds up its cities, so whenever I conquer a city, even late game, it usually doesn't have much more than city walls and a coastal defense, with production=6 or so. It seems to play the entire game as though it was beginning-game.

Not that I don't really enjoy freeciv, mind you :) One of a surprising number of really good freeware linux games.

Civ 4 a huge step back! (3, Interesting)

Smegoid (585137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258510)

I keep seeing Civ 4 getting excellent reviews and I just can't fathom why. I find it a huge step back compared to Civ 3 (plus expansions). The civlopedia is a mess and near impossible to navigate (what happened to the links?). The technology advances now have no supporting historical text, which IMHO reduces tech advances to a mere pesky requirement for upgrading or building infrastructure. Since Civ 1, the great thing about Civ is that you can actually learn a few things about the inter-relationship between technology and cvilizations. Without any description of the technology (except for a quick sentence by Leanord Nimoy) you no longer have a sense of why it was so important to aquire it in the first place.

The 3D graphics add nothing to the game and actually make it more difficult to play (zooming out to a comfortable vantage makes the text blurry, and I'm playing at top res with a geforce 6800 ultra). All in all, I think it's a big step back from Civ 3, and certainly underserving of all the 90+ ratings it's getting. The game feels rushed and dumbed down. I think the only reason it's getting such great reviews, is there's nothing out like Civ (well... except for the other Civs).

Re:Civ 4 a huge step back! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258703)

Its obvious Civ4 game was rushed. 2kGames quickly bought it as soon as the game was released. After all the bugs that were found after Civ3 were released you'd think they would want to make sure Civ4 would go out the door a bit more cleaner. Unfortuantely not, since after install the game didn't even run if you had certain ATI video cards. Also, certain diplomacy cheats that existed in previous versions still weren't hardened: (e.g. 1 gold per turn to acquire technology and resources). I haven't even played it long enough to have it run out of memory for me, and I probably won't. One of the big selling points originally for Civ4 was the fact it was being written in Python, and everything could be customizible. So, did it SDK ship with the game? Of course not. It had to meet the shipping date so 2kGames would be happy.

A 6/10 for the Movies? Did Zonk even play the game?

The problem is that, no matter how much effort you put into a title with the suite the game has no way of knowing whether it's actually good or not.

Actually that's not completely true. There is a "reviews" option as part of the production house you can drag your movie to before you release it to see if its going to be any good or not. Also, during the game you obtain a Public-Relations house to hype up your movies before you start filming. This also allows you to gauge how much marketing you can spend on your film to make it a success.

Despite the power of the suite there is no good in-game reason to expend effort with your own scripts. It's a better idea just to pay a lot for a pre-generated script, and concentrate your efforts on ensuring the studio can shoot it.

Also not true. There are hidden weights and scores that gets assigned to your movies based on if your characters wear the same costume throughout the film, if scenes are in proper order (i.e someone dies in one scene but is alive later on in the film). Pre-generated scripts don't always max out your starting film score, so it is a good idea to send it to the custom script house to boost your score.

I'm so glad I don't use Slashdot as a barometer to buy games.

Nintendo DS for me (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258535)

Mario Kart [witendofi.com] + Animal Crossing [witendofi.com] + WiFi [witendofi.com] is all I need this holiday season.

Re:Nintendo DS for me (1)

kuzb (724081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258690)

So what you're telling us is that the DS only has one game worth playing?

Re:Nintendo DS for me (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258924)

I am not sure how you got that out of my previous statement. For this holiday season I am playing Mario Kart and Animal Crossing. Before those there are MANY games I have enjoyed on my DS. If you want a list I can name a few for you...

Civ IV (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258553)

We've been playing this a lot in the office, and although it's fun I'll warn you all that it's fairly buggy. The first patch is already out and does seem to help a little, but it still manages to crash back to Windows, and sometimes brings the whole machine down on various differently-specced PCs. Not sure if the patch has fixed this one, but there's also a tendency for graphical corruption on my home PC which persists even if I close and reload a saved game after the corruption has started.

Other than that, it's an excellent game. I'd never played any of the previous Civs but I'm having a good time with this one ;)

An accurate simulation (2, Insightful)

aftk2 (556992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258570)

The in-game audience judges it by artificial standards, and even something that could move a person to tears could get panned by the fickle virtual public...It's a better idea just to pay a lot for a pre-generated script, and concentrate your efforts on ensuring the studio can shoot it.

So, you're saying that this is actually a very accurate movie-making sim.

Soul Calibur 3 (2, Informative)

Puhase (911920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258586)

I remember getting SC2 for the PS2 and playing the heck out of it and loving every minute. Then I read scathing reviews and felt, what did these people not get out of the experience that I did? I simply couldn't understand it. Yet, SC2 is still one of the most beloved fighting games out there, partially due to the cross-platform release.
So now with SC3, I see people consistently criticizing the Create A Character mode as being gimmicky and mundane. This is ridiculous folks! How many of us fighting game peoplehave always wanted to put our own imagined characters into the game and see if they can cut it. The shear amount of customization is incredible, so with a little creativity, you can creat some simply amazing characters. It just takes a long time to unlock all of the items, as you have to unlock access to them in the store and then earn gold to buy them. So my guess is that these editors did not go through this process and simply based their reviews off of a shallow quick run through of the character edit. I wonder if they know that you can unlock main character's weapons styles for your created character classes? Ever wanted to have a small, puny, neko girl weilding Astaroth's Axe? Neither did I, but you can do it.
They essentially took the most well polished weapon fighting system here imaginable, and tuned it up, balanced the fighters more (darn that Ivy!), and then gave the player a window to be as inventive with the game as they wished. The reviewer here didn't even point out that the custom characters have their own ten seperate unique weapons/fighting styles that the main characters don't use.
I couldn't live without the jousting pole charge!

No such thing as "great leaders" in Civ4 (1)

JSR $FDED (410612) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258628)

You probably meant "great people".

There's only one leader in the game, and it's you. You might be a great person yourself, but let's get to know each other first.

Wait a tick... (4, Interesting)

ErMaC (131019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258641)

allowing you the chance to step into the shoes of Abraham Lincoln or Ghengis Khan, as you choose.

Gee, that's interesting, considering http://www.2kgames.com/civ4/home.htm [2kgames.com] Civ4 doesn't have Lincoln as a leader! (click Civilizations in the flash thingy, it's the first civ selected in the next screen).

Seriously, these reviews could be written after playing the games in question for an hour. It's spitting out the feature list of each game but devoting a paragraph to each feature.

How do the new characters in SC3 actually play? Do they fit in well? What about The Movies, what are some of the interesting scripts you come across? What are some of the genres you have access to? Are there any sort of ties between real movies and the fictional ones? Or are there actor stereotypes like the Arnold-ripoff or something like that? How well does Civ4 play now that it's 3D? (Answer: poorly)

BTW for my opinion on Civ4: 3 was a better game, and it ran a HELL of a lot faster. 4 is a dog, even on a 3GHz with Geforce6600GT. I ran Civ3 on a freaking 366MHz laptop, and it performed decently. Yes, 3D means you need more horsepower but the game runs rediculously slow even on modern PCs. I can't even use the numpad to move units around anymore because you have to hit the direction, wait for the unit to move, then hit it again, because moving the damn unit one square takes 3 seconds and the game will not queue up movement commands input via the keyboard! Does something that obvious make it into the review, though? No.

Thank heavens for unit strength fixes... (3, Funny)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258646)

Despite the inherent comedy, a spear-wielder can no longer take out a tank as more advanced military units are levels of magnitude stronger than their older counterparts.

Agreed. It's hilarious to see a lone spearman straggle against an army of musketeers. It's not so funny when the spearman wins, elite status or not. :-)

I didn't try the nuclear option on the spearman, however...

The Movies, not quite there (1)

prototype (242023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258769)

While The Movies is a more mogul type game, similar to The Sims 2 but more focused on the actual movie making process (script -> pre-production -> filming -> post-production -> promotion -> release) it fails on the part of offering a true "sandbox". You can enter a sandbox type mode in the game and build your studio, create scripts and even start at almost any decade with up to 100,000 million dollars. The problem is that a) you have to unlock the game in play mode before you are allowed to begin your studio say at the year 2000 (where you have cool technologies like CGI to add your films) and b) the sandbox mode still isn't sandbox because your actors and directors are still Simmish. They need TLC, need to be able to work together, need trailers to keep themselves occupied, etc. Sandbox mode should be sandbox mode where the only output is interesting movies you can make and release on the net. I think LH has a fantastic community out there that can become even bigger than The Sims with it's releases but there need to be more tools that we can use and the mode has to shift from part-play/part-sandbox to a true "screw-around-and-blow-10-million-dollars-on-a-fil m" mode.

My own "The Movies" review for the pc, Harsh mode (3, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258811)

First it is a console game. Now consoles may or may not be your thing. HOWEVER what most people agree upon is that a controller is not the same as a mouse and keyboard. First person shooters are an obvious victim on consoles who survive on, horror of horrors, aimbots.

The Movies is in many ways a The Sims game and controlling this with a gamepad would not be my first choice. Worse the designers seem to have made very few allowences for the PC port. In short the interface is a clutch and often frustating.

But first the game as this will explain why the interface just isn't up to it.

You start the game by creating creating a movie company choosing a company name, your name and a logo. Nice touch is that if you choose the pregenerated company name it actually can be spoken during the oscar awards. There are different ones and it is a nice touch. Pity all the logo's are so.... childish.

Once started you are presented with fixed size typical movie lot. Buzzling street outside the gate (actually a fairly big area with cars driving buy, very scenic but of no use) and 1 fixed building inside the gate where your first unemployed will be queing up. The year is 1920 and you have 150.000 dollars to make a movie empire.

The first fixed building allows you do hire from a que of nice rendered people standing actually in line on your property both builders and janitors. Female and male, white and black (No racism in this hollywood) and all equally crap. Management games are nothing new and usually you start by carefully examining your new empoyees stats to get the best for the price you can afford. None of that here. Just hire builders to build your soon be put up buildings and sets (and maintain them) and some janitors to keep the area clean.

Then start building the other buildings. If you got some experience you know that you got 3 kinds of buildings. Hire buildings wich allow you hire a type of staff, namely movie crew, scientist and actor/directors. Static buildings wich you only use sometimes like the makeover department, script writing building and your actuall movie making buildings namely the casting building and the sets themselves.

Experience will teach you that you can put most of the buildings off to one site and put the casting building at the center of a circle of sets. Your employees actually got to walk between the casting building and the sets so you want to optomize the distances involved. Space will be an issue so learn to optomize.

Your movie crew will all have the same useless stats so just hire some random ones again. Now it is time to select your stars.

There are five movie genre's (comedy/horror/sci-fi/romance/action) and your wannabe's will have some or no stats in either. Ignore it. What is more important is their personality. They got a stat in how they handle stress and how they handle boredom. Working creates stress and reduces boredom, resting reduces stress but increases boredom. Can you spot the conflict? Yes a stressfull and easily bored character will be impossible to keep happy. Work them and they will stressout, let them rest and they will get bored.

One thing must be said about the game and that is you can hire people from other ques for different proffesions, so if you don't like any of the wannabees you can make a janitor hopefull your next star. Just make them an extra first to get their stats to display and promote if needed. Oh and acters can also be used as directors and vice versa. Helps keeping them fresh when the audience gets bored with them I guess.

So you got your hopefulls. you got your buildings and a few sets. Lets make some magic. Drag your script writers over the part of the script building that has the genre you want and after a while a brand new max 1 star script will roll out. Yes it is 1920 and till much much later post ww2 in any case you will only be able to write crap scripts. No matter what you do. No way to improve. The quality of your script is determined by the level of the script building and that is it. You can get a 3star building with some hard work but it is big downer for me. These guys never heard of casablanca?

Anyway take your script, drag it over the casting building. Extra's (if needed) and movie crew will be assigned automatically leaving you to assing an actor and director. You will get bonusses depending on how happy your actor/director is, how well they get on with each other and how good they are in the genre. If they all are assigned rehearsel will start and when the bell sonds you can drag the script a little bit further to the "shoot it" part of the building and your people will run out and go to the first set. 1 star scripts usually have 3 shots usually the same one. Later on it can grow and you will have multiple sets and you will have actors going to their own trailers. So having all the sets close to each saves a lot of time.

Time is important because it determines the cost of the movie. Now comes the hard part. As the shooting goes on your cast gets stressed, this builds up quit fast and is very hard to get down. the first 2 movies are no problem but then it really starts to bite. Just letting them rest is no good because then their boredom will shoot up. You can drag them on some ornaments to do some stress relieving but it is here that the movies really starts to fail. You have to babysit your cast to an extent that makes the AI in The sims seem capable. It is not that your cast can't find things. They just are totally in capable of relieving their own stress/boredom. Even when you slam them in the bar they just keep walking away with their bars reduced barely a pixel. Doing it with a full studio is I think impossible. It is just no fun either. Constantly dragging your star on the basketball item to work of some stress and just not getting a result.

Once shooting has finished your movie zooms to the financial building were you can drag it onto the release slot. If you paid attention to my rambling you will have noticed something. You had to drag your script from the script building to the casting building. That is fair because the game does not know wich script I want to shoot next. But it also asks me to the drag the script from rehearsel to shooting AND that is just extra work. What else am I going to do? Just do it automatically. Same with releasing. Worse, after a movie has been released for a while it will stop loosing money. You can then archive it (bin it) and that too is a manual action. I mean why? Just do it automatically. It is not like I got a choice.

Anyway as you release a movie you are shown how much it cost to produce (not much) how well the crew performed (crap) how well your actors did (meh) and the final result (slightly better then crap. You can also watch your movie. Do not expect a cinametic masterpiece. Do not even expect sense. The scripts seem totally random with no matching up of scenes. Oh and same sex kisses is Okay in this hollywood.

Then you are shown how much your staff has improved and here the first shock comes. The improvements are miniscule. You can't hire a good movie crew and they are extremely slow learners. For the next couple of decades you will see in every end report of your newly crafted movies "Crew performance: poor" with NO way to improve it except grind movies. No crew school, no hiring better crews. Same with writers. Thank god the builders and janitors do not matter how good they are.

Now that you released your movie your stars will climb in status. Their "star rating" depends on how the movies they were in but also on their entourage (people you employe to walk behind them), their trailer, press exposure, relationships with other stars and salary.

First salary. They will demand higher salaries as they get more famous and this is a problem because as you advance your movies will become longer wich can quickly lead to a point where your movies cost to much to make. Do to well with the fame of your stars and you can reach grid lock.

The trailer is annoying because you get new ones so slowly and they take up a lot of space. If you got 8 actors/directors and entire wall will be lined with them

Entourage is even worse. You see this hollywood has some weird employement rules. You will reach the point in the game were your stars demand an entourage during the depression, you know that big stock market crash where millions lost their job. So in a piece of game logic that i have come to expect from Peter M. THERE ARE NO UNEMPLOYEED PEOPLE LEFT LOOKING FOR JOBS AT YOUR BULGING WITH CASE MOVIE EMPIRE. That's right. Your cue of unemplyed looking for a big salery has completly dried up. Not to be replaced. In the middle of the depression. Bulging with cash and no-one to spend it on. It is not just me, it is a frequent complaint on the game forums and a user made mod fixes it but still it is an amazing thing.

Anyway you got two choices, grind your teeth and convert some crew to entourage, restart hire everyone you can as builder then convert them as needed or cheat. if not your stars will become amazingly pissed off.

Press exposure. At the gate will be a number of reporters. The higher your studio rating the more there will be. There is no point as you only need one but this is a Peter M. game so perhaps there was a reason for it once. Now you can pick a reporter up and drag them next to a star BUT only if they are doing something intresting. Not like say shooting a movie, or sunbathing or eating lunch. No something like kissing. This is something that is hard to spot and it is a pain to then when it happens find the reporter drag him over only to then find that the moment is over. Even if you manage it the increase is pathetic.

The kissing, well they do this with other stars they like. How do you get them to like each other? Simple drag one over the other, wait and repeat about a gazillion times.

And that pretty much is it. Oh you can make your own movies but frankly while it is fun is not the game. If you want to make movies just get the unlock all cheat, give yourselve a pile of cash and go play in sandbox mode where you can concentrate on making a film and not spend endless hours micro managing it in crap interface.

Oh yeah the interface. To the left of the screen is a list of your actors with thumbnail, moodbar and star rating. When you get about 6-7 actors the thumbnail on some collapses to show only the mood and star rating. NOT oddly enough such a useles detail as name or wether they are an actor or director. Now the problem is that if you hover your mouse over one of the collapsed thumbnails is that it expands. Okay so far? Well no, it expands but so do some other others. Wich others seems random but it usually results that the actor you wanted is bumped up or down and you are hovering over the wrong one. Managing more then 8 stars is a pain. Even if could keep up with their needs.

then there is placing ornaments. Especially the trailers got to be pimped out and Peter M. loves cute things. So instead of simple click and drag you got to hover the mouse 1-2 secs over and object for an outline to appear and then "pull" the object you want to move. Pull has a cutsey animation of the object being distorted but it means that upgrading your 8 crap trailers to slightly less crap trailers is an excersise in tedium.

I think cheats tell you a lot about a game. This game has no cheats it has user mods. All the game statistics are in regular text files in .pak files and you can therefore simply extract the pak file, place the txt file in the proper directory and edit the game to your hearts content.

And users have done. Employee mods that actually give you people to hire later in the game. Experience mods that actually give new hires some skills and let work experience actually count (does it really take 20 yrs to learn how to handle a camera? It does in The Movies). Give ornaments a higher niceness rating so you don't have to pimp out your studio. Mood mods for your stars that reduce or even remove stress so you can concentrate on making movies and my favorite a relationship mod that make any pair isntantly fall in love at first sight.

The Movies "The game" element is intresting but it has for my the highest level of micromanagement of any tycoon game I ever played. It is not just a lot of work I doubt it can even be played out of the box. The employee problem can really ruin the mid game.

I remember Transport Tycoon that for some reason after while kept bugging you to replace your vehicles as they had become to old. If you had a big network this meant an awfull lot of boring work as you first had to find the vehicle, send it to a shed, delete it, buy a new one and recreate the old ones route. ARGH. The movies is this x10.

The game is remarkebly free of other bugs so I think something must have gone wrong where they shipped the finished game with the wrong game logic files or something. Maybe they removed the difficulty level selector at the last moment and everyone is playing on nightmare level (this actually happened with another game)

If you like micro management you will be in heaven. If not, first look at the forums for the mod info.

Now the other part of the game, the movie making. A lot of fun provided your are can handle the limitations. I made a couple of fun short movies and it is nice to do. Basically this part of the game is for The Sims players.

Soul Calibur III Selling Very Poorly in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258917)

It's worth noting that Soul Calibur III, in spite of its new options, only made the Top 10 sales chart in Japan for a single week (11/21/05) [gamesarefun.com] , with a grand total of 106,920 [gamesarefun.com] units sold during its initial release window. Since then, Soul Calibur III promptly dropped off the Top 10 and has not appeared since.

Games like Rockman EXE 6 and Animal Crossing have blown it out of the water in terms of overall performance, in the same span of time.

For the record, the following week saw a game with about 26,000 units sold achieve 10th place in the sales rankings, meaning Soul Calibur went from 100,000 to less than 26,000 units sold in the span of a single week. It's pretty clear that the exclusive license (1) damaged the selling potential of the title and (2) insured it will not even sniff the sales totals of its older relatives.

Being someone who despises exclusive licenses (see EA's NFL license as an example), I cannot help but feel some satisfaction knowing that, no matter what may have been paid to Namco, they hopefully learned a lesson about selling out potential sales for cash. I suppose it's possible Sony dumped a lot of green at them, but ... here's hoping.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>