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Game

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – Is it Enough of an Expansion to Make it a Worthy Purchase?

It’s fair to say if there is one thing that Blizzard Entertainment gets right it’s creating games that garner a dedicated fanbase. We’ve seen that in the Diablo series of game, World of Warcraft and StarCraft. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty may be around three years old now but fans have always known that there were two more instalments coming, even if somewhat annoyed that it felt as if the games was separated into three parts.

StarCraft: Heart of the Swarm now concentrates on the insectoid Zerg troops and their leader Sarah Kerrigan the hybrid human and Zerg Queen who in the first part of the game lost her memory but looks to reclaim it before leading her troops onwards. Fans will of course want to know just how the story continues, but also what multi-player elements have been added. Also, just as importantly is it worth the extra money after all this time?

Storyline
As mentioned above where Wings of Liberty focused on the Terran (humanoid) troops we now look to the Zerg forces to continue the story. Sarah Kerrigan, although at the end of the first game was left without her memories of being the Queen of the Blades at the start of the game in the tutorial missions. This is so that battles can recommence with her in full command once more. This means to rebuild the swarm and focus on defeating Arcturus Mengsk the Terran dictator, and lets not forget the Protoss of course.

Gameplay
In the game you take control of Kerrigan and her forces with the aim of collecting resources, scouting the surrounding area, building up forces and preparing for battles which inevitably come as the enemies swarm your bases. The Zerg strategy during warfare is to build up strength in troops as their organic method of production means that they can build basic battalions relatively easily as long as you have the resources to provide the required materials. It’s pretty standard RTS style gameplay in true StarCraft 2 style already cemented in place in Wings of Liberty. With a few refinements to the user interface and AI though and fans will no doubt notice subtle improvements.

Single-player
It’s arguable that the weakness of Wings of Liberty was the single player mode and little can be said to have changed here. Some of the missions are quite linear in style but with a new perspective to fighting as the Zergs have a different way of entering the battles and managing their troops. The single-player missions will continue the story side of the game, but it will always be the multi-player side that is the strength of StarCraft 2.

Multi-player
The single-player missions in StarCraft 2 are never said to be a focus of long term gameplay, most players will likely rush through it so they can get back to playing against their friends, or foes. New units that have been made available liven things up in gameplay and after three years this is only to be expected if they are to liven up the game. Each team (Terrans, Zergs and Protoss) have new units and weaponry to play with including the Zergs Viper, Terrans Widow Mines and the Protos Oracle Units.

The ranking system for multi-player games has also gone through an upgrade to not only keep the seasoned players happy but also help newer players to find their place in a multi-player world that has had a few years to form. Players will find that they aren’t pushed into unfair battles with people way above their level.

Verdict
After three years there are obviously going to be questions as to just what improvements have been made in the game. For the hardened fan expecting big things they may feel disappointed, but for fans looking for something to just refresh StarCraft 2 for them it may be enough. Then of course there will be the new fans who will also have to buy a copy of the first StarCraft 2 game too (as this is being sold as an expansion) who will just enjoy the overall experience. So to sum up for StarCraft 2 it’s a worthy expansion but one that could have gone a little further. Now just to see how long it takes until the final part of the game is released, which will of course also mean even more money will have to be spent.

Categories
Computer Phone

Sylvania Android Tablet Reviews

The Sylvania Android Tablet PCs are not as popular as other big brands from North America and Europe. In fact the products are very cheap just like the Chinese products with very limited features but very decent for a cheap product with low price tags. Let us therefore, have a look at some of the Sylvania tablets that you can acquire if you are looking for a cheap tablet to carry while travelling long distances reducing the risk of losing an expansive tablet like iPad mini or something like that while being on the run.

Sylvania SYTAB10ST
This is a 10 inch tablet device that has a Linux 1GHz AMD processor with just 0.5 GB RAM. It has the maximum screen resolution of1024x600 pixels with an impressive 6 hours battery life. Very decent Wi-Fi connectivity with a decent touch screen sensibility. However, many users have complained this device to suddenly shut down or freeze while using for a long time. But it can be said that the overall performance of this product have been better than any Chinese tablet device that can be bought at the same rate.

Rating: 3/5

Sylvania SYTAB7MX
A good 7 inch tab to be acquired cheaply to perform some basic functions. It has a slim and lightweight structure that would enable anybody who is travelling to carry the device comfortably while working with some basic multimedia features like listening to movies, watching movies and browsing the internet. However, it has a very short battery life where multi-tasking may be difficult as well. The good thing about this tab is that it has an HDMI port unlike any budget 7 inch tabs where the users can transfer screen images to HDTV.

Rating: 3.2/5

Sylvania SYNET 7LP
Another Sylvania 7 inch tablet to perform basic functions at a very low cost. This product cost as low as $99 with pretty moderate functionality and features to offer. It has an ARM 11.1 GHz Intel Pentium M processor with 256 MB of memory. It has a longer battery life than the other 7 inch tab from Sylvania where multi-tasking can be moderately performed although the top proficiency may not be expected. Moreover, on the outside this tablet looks pretty good with a decent design where some basic functions can be performed like browsing the internet, checking mails and reading ebooks. Certainly, one cannot expacta to device to perform better than this by just spending $99.

Rating: 3.2/5

Sylvania SYTABA848C-DB
Probably the most expansive Sylvania tablet which is available in the size of 8.4 inch but the features that are included in the devices may not be worth the money. It maybe expansive in terms of a Sylvania device where it is still very cheap compared to the 8 inch tabs from other brands. It has a Linux 1 GHz AMD Processor which I moderately fast and smooth for something that can be bought for $200. It has a very low RAM of 512 mb which is not at all good for today’s standard. However, the good thing about this device is that it has good mutli-touch screen with smooth functionality and also very comfortable to play games and watch movies on with a decent graphics and screen resolution.

Rating: 3.3/5

Categories
Game

WWE ’13 One of the Best Wrestling Game in Years

Now that WWE ’13 has been released in America and will be released in the UK tomorrow and I’ve had chance to play and fully test out some of the modes it’s to give it a more in depth review based on the actual gameplay and how the new modes work. In the preview I looked at the much advertised “Attitude” mode, and mention how the WWE Universe mode is also available as well as customisable settings now is the time to give my view on just how fun it is.

THQ release these games yearly and sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. A lot of tweaks go on behind the scenes, like this time for example the Predator Technology 2.0 promises plenty of changes to improve the experience to create a more fluid and fun experience. Now it’s time to see if in my opinion as a fan it lives up to the hype.

Bringing Back the Attitude

It’s fair to say that when the words “WWE Attitude Era” was mentioned it caught a lot of fans eyes. This was a popular time for wrestling and is seen as a time that many miss, it was more about attitude than the more family friendly variety wrestling the WWE provide today. The question is can the game fully give the “Attitude” experience that people will expect? The answer is yes and no.

The Attitude Era is the main story mode for the game, working around using actual historical matches giving the player tasks they must perform during that fight. This means things such as you must hit the opponent with a chair when their health is at critical, or you must deliver your finisher and pin them before a certain amount of time. Fans of wrestling who remember the matches will wait in anticipation for the expected cut scenes which do come and add to the excitement and it really works.

One weird part though is blood, in the game there is a lack of it. This caused quite an issue when the included “First Blood” match was changed to Last Man Standing (the opponent must remain unconscious for a ten count for you to win). This was fine in the game itself but in the next fight it was commented on as being the First Blood fight. This is just a little issue of course, but in story terms it is quite confusing. Also confusing is the fact that at the “Attitude Era” time the WWE were in fact known as the WWF, and as the game appears to be using vocal work taken from the actual commentary of the time there is constant usage of “WW…” the F is cut off which you do get used to but again, sounds quite strange. You do tend to get used to it though.

The Attitude Era is a fun mode, and nostalgic for actual wrestling fans. It includes many historic matches that went a long way to making WWE what it is today. In playing terms, for newcomers this will work as a good story mode, for fans of the era itself it’s like a trip to the past. It’s quite fun and addictive if a little hard at times but still fun.

The WWE Universe

The WWE Universe is less restrictive on your style and uses the more modern fighters. You get to choose which fights you want to influence, giving you the ability to shape the way stories for the wrestlers will go. This is less of a story mode and more of a managerial type style, though the only managing you can actually do is to take over the fight and make sure the wrestler you want winning will win. This includes for the most part skipping quite a few matches till you see a fighter you like and then taking part. It’s fun but can be quite repetitive at times as wrestlers tend to fight each other quite a few times (which replicates how the WWE shows themselves are run). For the most part it’s not as addictive as the Attitude Era, but still offers plenty of chances to beat people up.

Features

It is possible to take part in Exhibition style fights, and choose from the quite large selection of fights. These includes Last Man Standing, I Quite, Ladder Matches, TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs), Cage matches and of course the Hell in a Cell matches among others. The Hell in a Cell match is a huge cage that surrounds the ring, but the beauty of it is that the structure itself can be climbed and fights can take place on the top. This means that you can throw wrestlers off the cage and even send them through the ceiling to the ring inside. Over the years with past game releases the modes like Ladder matches, TLC and Hell in a Cell have gone through quite a few changes. Some years these modes have been annoying and the controls have been badly thought out, I was pleased to see that in WWE ’13 they definitely got it right.

A good example of this is the new Hell in a Cell approach, it’s easy to get onto the top and easy to throw people off and throw them through it, which means it’s fun. In previous years this has been toughened up to make it harder to do but the developers have gone back to the easier style with this and decided to bring back the fun. It does feel that a lot of work has gone into getting the controls right this year to work for the gamer instead of the game itself and this is a very welcome approach.

Added to all of this is of course the custom mode where you can create your own wrestler, their moves, style and even what they wear. This is fun if you have the time to put into it and you’ll find you can build any wrestler to your own personal taste. This mode has always been popular with fans of the game and it keeps up the standard in what they can achieve.

Verdict

The WWE shows are meant to be about “experience” about supporting a wrestler in a scripted fight and enjoying the story they tell. In WWE ’13 work has been done to really get back to the fun that the wrestling environment can be and bring it back to the gamer. Sometimes things don’t work, you’ll find yourself repeating moves a few times and the learning curve for newer players may be a little steep at times but after a few hours the comfort begins to push in and you’ll be pulling off all types of moves.

The wrestlers themselves and the arenas the fights take part in are well rendered on the screen with the wrestlers characteristics definitely giving the authentic feel that fans look for. There is also plenty of downloadable content promised in the future to keep fans happy, this includes added wrestlers so gamers will be playing this one for a while. WWE ‘13 is probably the best wrestling game THQ have released in a while, there are plenty of things that can still be worked on but for fans of the games this is probably a must buy.