24 July 2014

The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection... is free!

You may like or dislike this game, but it sure sold a LOT of copies during its 10 years of existence (more than 20 million by 2012, making it the best selling game ever!). Now Electronic Arts surprised us all when it released the game for FREE on its digital service Origin, as preparation for the upcoming The Sims 4.

To get your free copy: log into your Origin account (or download and sign up for it if you haven't already), go to Redeem product code and enter "I-LOVE-THE-SIMS" to get your free copy. That's all!

The Ultimate Collection contains all the Expansion packs (8 of them) and all the Stuff packs (10 packs). Quite a LOT for a free game.

I cannot even remember if I ever played it, I know I played The Sims for a few hours back in 2000, but it just wasn't a game for me. You might enjoy it, those tens of millions of people can't be that wrong, could they?

21 July 2014

Fargo Season 2 is coming!

You probably heard it elsewhere already, but who cares!? When Fargo ended I was hoping they wouldn't go for season 2 and actually leave the masterpiece as it is. A month later I feel different and I am glad they are going to do this. It will be a different story, different setting and all new cast. Or so they say. Thumbs up!

Also, and it's old news already, Turn is getting Season 2 as well! I'm glad that happened, I am sure that show has a lot to tell us in the upcoming episodes.

15 July 2014

Moonbase Commander (2002)

Game score: 75%
Platform: Steam, PC

I recently saw this game on Steam and I just had to buy it. I played it before... 10 years ago or so (it was released in 2002) and I remembered how much fun I had back then. Then I remembered I even wrote a review for it! So here it is, my 10 year old review of a game that is still as fun as it was back then. Enjoy it!

This game will probably go by unnoticed. Shame, since Moonbase Commander is one of the most original and most entertaining games lately! It might not have stunning graphics and sound, but if it’s fun that matters then this is one great game!

So, what’s the story of this game? It’s quite simple – four companies are fighting for domination of the Moon. That’s all! There are no more details of the story, you will not be briefed about the current situation on the field, nothing! As the single player “campaign” starts, you will play as Niceco Company, then move on to Dewolf, then to System 7 and finally complete the game as Alpha team. Each company offers 4 missions and if you play for about 2 hours per day you should be done in less than 4 days. And I was just beginning to completely enjoy my superior strategy…

The game plays as follows: you construct various structures such as air defense missiles, energy collectors and radar towers as well as fire missiles, bombs or crawlers. Each component can be constructed only in the hub. Hubs are the cores of each “base”. When you want to build a component, you need to select it, pay the price for construction, then aim and fire the component in the wanted direction. New component will be connected to the hub and will be destroyed if hub is destroyed. Hubs can also construct other hubs, but note if the main hub is destroyed so are all others and you have lost. Each component has its price of 1, 3 or 7 energy points. When you start the game you will be getting 7 energy points per turn, but finding energy sources and placing energy collectors gives you extra 3 energy points. Your goal is simple – destroy enemy main hub(s) or place an energy collector on a specific energy source and hold it for a set number of turns (you will be told about your goal).

There is total of 18 components and weapons that can be “fired”. Aside from previously mentioned hubs and energy collectors, you can also build air defense (protects you from various air attacks), towers (provide larger viewable area when fog of war is turned on), shield (protects an area from everything) and so on. On the other hand, guided missiles are great if you are not aiming well, EMP disables shields, hubs and other structures, bombs are dumb and you need to aim well and finally, crawlers are ultimate weapon of destruction… but the move real slow. There are other weapons and components but you need to find something on your own!

Once you complete the single player campaign, you can still play skirmishes versus up to three opponents or in team with a computer against other computers. There is a multiplayer game option but you can only play it online via GameSpy.

The graphics and sound are much below today’s standard but such game doesn't need them anyway. Although the game can only be played in 640x480, everything looks real sharp and nice. Sounds are limited to the usual set of beeping, booming, crashing and whistling, with a voice commentary from your superior’s computers.

Overall, the game is quite fun but it doesn't last long enough. After I was done with the campaign, I lost interest, as I never enjoy playing skirmishes (they just seem pointless to me).

07 July 2014

Ender's Game (2013)

If you don't want to read it all:
Score: 6/10
Verdict: Would have been better as TV series since it could explain some things better.

I've heard of this movie just because Harrison Ford was in it. That and futuristic space combat were enough to watch it. After watching it I read a bit about its origins and found out it was made after a book. Series of books actually. And that explained a lot because there was so much compressed into just two hours...

Ender's game takes place on future Earth that recently survived an attack from an alien species known as Formics, highly advanced ant-like creatures. Pure luck and bravery of a single pilot (think of the destruction of the Death Star) ended the war and drove Formics back to their home planet. Now, 50 years later, humanity is preparing for another invasion and is using a brand new tactics - recruiting and training of children with very high IQ and warfaring talent - to lead Earth Fleet and defeat Formics forever. Ender Wiggin is one such child and he is being sent to Combat School on a base in Earth's orbit under the supervision of Colonel Graff and Major Anderson.

Ender's Game seems like a two hour long trailer for a 10 hour movie. With mega spoliers. Well, spoilers that actually show all the major scenes, including the grand finale. Seriously, only after finding out it was made after a book I finally realized why everything was happening so fast. Poor little Ender goes from one school to another, from one combat team to another in a matter of minutes. Just imagine a season of Game of Thrones compressed into 60 minutes only! Some may like such a tempo, but I personally prefer a bit more depth.

Ender's game reminded me of other movies and computer games in many ways. Formic invasion and destruction reminded me of Independence Day and Star Wars. Formic tactics reminded me of... Starcraft and Zerg! Oh yeah, Protoss as well since both sides use carriers with hundreds of drones. Damn, I hated those Protoss carriers in Starcraft multiplayer. Harrison Ford reminded me of Malcolm McDowell in Wing Commander 3. The movie may have been influenced by those, but the book itself is older than all but Star Wars.

Overall, the movie isn't bad, but it's far, far from being a masterpiece. It's great if you like a movie that moves fast and doesn't take time to explain just about anything but those really crucial things (so you know what the hell is going on). Other than that... if they realize the true potential we could expect a reboot and a trilogy (at least) in a few years. Until then, I expect this movie to go by almost unnoticed.