Reviews by thekman


Start of a good series. Not the best example of Adventure Gaming

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of Art of Murder: FBI Confidential

What this is: A Point and click Adventure game, in the style of the old classics, but without much of that old magic…

Graphics: For an adventure game, they’re ok, functional, not bad… mediocre.

Sound: Ha HA. Love the voices, they fit in with the game perfectly. They’re mediocre!

Multiplayer: Erm. Why did I leave this section in. Course not!

Singleplayer: Perhaps I should rename this section to single playthrough? I think it’s worthwhile playing and finishing, but it’s not overly challenging, I must of liked this though as I bought the rest of the series! Puzzles aren’t hard and as such it’s a fair introduction to the genre and it’s an interesting story.

Co-Op: Seriously need to take out some of these headings depending on genre!

Problems: Short, easy, not really problems, more design choices…

Summary: City Interactive specialise in short games that do the job. This is no exception. As an adventure game there are others that are better, as a story, ditto, but as a reasonably fun way to pass some time without taxing your brain too much it succeeds.

If you buy it, stick with it and check out the rest of the series (except The Secret Files that’s a Hidden Object game!)


Better than Medieval Total War 2 if you like the Battles...

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of XIII Century: Blood of Europe

What this is: XIII is the standalone addon to the original game in the series. Real-time tactical strategy game (please note the addition of the word Tactical…)

Don’t compare this to the Total War series, if you like the Medieval era of games then you need both, if you like big battles between huge armies, you still need both. If however you like the turn-based bits get the Total War game, not this.

Graphics: Good, better than Medieval Total War 2, but then this came out later, of course not as good as the later Total War games, but you won’t be disappointed.

Sound: Perfectly fine, it fits the battlefield and the battles well.

Multiplayer: It’s ok, LAN was fun.

Singleplayer: There are a lot of missions and campaigns here and the gameplay is much more strategic than Total War, elevation, flanking, terrain etc… have a huge effect on the battles and the maps are mostly well designed to give you a chance to use these different tactics.

Problems: A little rough around the edges perhaps, but no real problems.

Summary: This plays in a different way to Total War (I know I keep saying that, but it does!) and I prefer the Battles here, as you get a chance to do tactics that have big impacts on the Battles.

There’s a lot here to keep you amused and interested and I think this series has sadly been over-shadowed and over-looked.

Change that, buy it…


Fun, if you keep your expectations in check...

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of Operation Thunderstorm

What this is: Another budget FPS, but in my opinion that is no bad thing. I love games like this. They are bite-sized, usually cheap-priced and they’re fun…

Graphics: At the higher end of the budget FPS games, “last-generation” sure, but they are actually quite good.

Sound: If you can forgive the voices, it’s ok, adds to the atmosphere…

Multiplayer: Why do they bother with the multiplayer? Always the same with these type of games… no Bot options, very little fun to be had with this really.

Singleplayer: Short, but fun campaign. Don’t go expecting much in the way of AI in the enemy and you’ll enjoy it.

Co-Op: Erm. No.

Problems: Didn’t crash at all. Only problem for me is the lack of imagination in the multiplayer options…

Summary: If you like FPS’s and aren’t too spoiled with the newer Call of Duty’s and the like then you will have fun with this.

Enjoyable and recommended if very cheap…


Mediocre, but some fun to be had...

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of Greed: Black Border

What this is: An Alien Breed / Shadow Grounds clone with small RPG aspirations…

Graphics: They’re ok, they do the job and there isnt any major problems with them, except variety… there isnt much of it.

Sound: Erm. See above! Sounds are ok, nothing to write home about.

Multiplayer: Online and Local Multiplayer Co-op…

Singleplayer: It’s a reasonably fun experience, but it’s not something that will hook you and make you finish it.

Co-Op: Makes the game much better, you can have upto 3 people playing together, again tho, it’s something to play when you’ve finished the Alien Breed x3 and Shadow Grounds x 2

Summary: I don’t like calling games mediocre, but this really is. Fun, but more effort required really…

Don’t be put off completely tho, Co-Op eeks much more out of this game…


Big Ambitions, Great Graphics, in dire need of patching tho...

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover

What this is: The latest in the long line of Flight simulators in the IL2 series. Huge in scale with recognisable scenery, but in dire need of patching (If you’re reading this after it’s been patched then Buy it!)

Graphics: If your PC can handle this, the graphics are superb*. The best depiction of ground-based scenery ever. Cities are big and look good, ditto the planes (when you get close enough to actually look at them…)

You can turn the graphics down and it still looks great, but you’re missing a lot… *Have to say that the frame-rate has big issues all around though, no matter what you do.

Sound: Not a huge component of flight games as such, but what’s here is good and atmospheric.

Multiplayer: I had some problems with multiplayer (probably down to my PC?) so didn’t get to play much, but the scope is good and the options look fun.

Singleplayer: Two decent campaigns are here, mission objectives can be a bit murky and some easily missed, but it’s still great fun.

Summary: I’d like to recommend the game as is, but it really does need a big ol’ patch to fix many of the issues that are present here…

Once that’s done the game will be great, although I prefer Wings of Prey over this at the moment.


Napoleonic Warfare done right...

thekman | April 20, 2011 | Review of Napoleon: Total War

What this is: Napoleon is an entry in the Total War series of RTS’s / Turn based strategy games. It’s an evolution of Empire Total War, but is superior to that in setting and gameplay.

Graphics: The turn based part of the campaign was fun, graphically interesting in a Civilization way, but what I was really interested in were the battles and they were by far the best depiction of Napoleonic warfare ever. You can play from the zoomed-out view for strategic planning and then zoom right in to see the fighting close up.

Sound: Period music and great battle sounds add to the atmosphere and round out the battles nicely.

Multiplayer: As this is an entry in the best period strategy game series, the multiplayer is great.

Singleplayer: Several ways to play the game, from the whole Turn-based and RTS mix Campaign, to just cherry-picked battles or make your own army and fight on one of the many included maps. There are naval battles too, although minutely detailed, they didn’t really hold my attention.

Co-Op: Impressive Co-Op options here, allowing you to team up against the Computer in the battles, making the huge Battlefield and Armies much easier to control.

Summary: More polished than Empire, less scope, but it depicts Napoleonic Warfare in intricate detail and succeeds in capturing the chaos and fun of the huge battles with their utterly mad tactics of standing in lines and firing at each other.

Thoroughly recommended for Single Player and Co-Op multiplayer if this era of warfare in any way interests you…


Men Of War: Assault Squad

thekman | April 19, 2011 | Review of Men of War: Assault Squad [Playfire]

Men of War: Assault Squad is a big-scale RTS, allowing you to "buy" your army with points earned by your actions on each map. Playable from zoomed out on-high or over the shoulder close-up of each individual person, you can directly control any of your men, vehicles or guns at any point for finer aiming or path-finding. Each person under your control has their own inventory and you can plunder any dead troops for better weapons, kit and ammo. You can be the Japanese, the Americans, the Germans, the Japanese or the British, many troop types, tanks, guns and special units are included as well as "Hero" units which are nice additions.

Graphics: Intricate, detailed and hugely atmospheric doesnt even begin to describe them...

Sound: Sounds are well done, conveying the chaos of a battlefield, crank it up.

Multiplayer: Essentially why this game exists, playable on LAN or Online, this is where the game really shines. Several modes of play, some great, some middling, but all playable with lots of people.

Singleplayer: A great single-player experience, even though the campaign is only the 16 skirmish maps from multiplayer. One that you will keep coming back to, the AI is great, even on the lowest of the 5 difficulty levels.

Co-Op: Again, a mode where this game comes into it's own. The best co-op game of the year so far. You can team up on the Skirmish maps and fight against the AI, sharing resources.

Problems: A few crashes to desktop, but generally very stable. More maps would be nice. Could be accused of getting a bit samey sometimes.

Summary: My favourite game of the year so far, by a long way... Imagine having a huge box of soldiers and vehicles from when you were a child, remember the fun of playing with them, using your imagination to fill in the sounds and movement etc...? Well, times that by a 1000 and you'll still not be close to this.