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Asphalt 6: Adrenaline is out of the shop and it’s firing on all cylinders

by Dave Loft

I had quite a few problems with Asphalt 6 when it first came out as I mentioned in my previous post. To summarize, it was too big at 1GB, took too much RAM at over 100MB, it had framerate issues, stability issues, control issues and achievements were not saved. To say the least, it was a complete mess. I had planned to write a review when it came out but instead I just ranted about how poorly done the Android port was.

Well here we are five weeks and two patches later and Gameloft has addressed all of my issues. It now uses less storage at just under 900MB and limits the download to 500MB compressed. It’s now down to 70MB of RAM, the framerate has improved, stability is great, control issues are gone and achievements are working. It is now in a state that I would consider release worthy and I am now going to give it a proper run through.

First and foremost it really is a great game and is easily the best Arcade Racer on Android. The physics on the cars feel a little off and fairly floaty but after a few hours with the game, that issue kind of fades away. Drifting is an absolute blast, once you get the rhythm down. Accelerometer steering is precise and feels just right and for anyone who prefers alternative methods of steering, you will be happy to see a few alternative options available.

The graphics are good, but look somewhat grainy, like it’s not taking advantage of the high res display on my phone. But then on some tracks this isn’t an issue at all. It appears to be the detailed textures used on some levels that have the issue and utilizing anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering would clear it up. Making up for the texture issues are the beautifully rendered cars, lush scenery, great filtering and weather effects. All of which come together to create a great visual presentation.

The game offers a number of ways to play. With Free Race you will be given an option of four modes; Normal Race, Beat ‘em All, Elimination and Collector. Beat ‘em All requires that you knock out a set number of opponents. Just smash your car against theirs and push them into the edge of the track will usually do the trick and is followed by a pleasing slow motion ‘Elimination’ animation. Get used to taking out racers this way as you will need to take out a few racers in each race to rank higher. In Elimination, races the last racer will be eliminated every 30 seconds till there is just three left. With Collector your goal is to collect the most special items and to win, you will need to get out first quickly. In Career you will have four additional modes; Dual, Time Attack, Drift and Under Pressure. Under Pressure is just like Beat ‘em All, except that you have limited respawns.

The game has 42 cars ranging from the Mini Cooper to the Bugatti Veyron, all of which can be customized with paint jobs, decals and performance enhancing parts.  The game provides 11 leagues, 55 events and 12 courses to sharpen your skills on. Then when your ready you can take them online and race with up to six people, locally or over the internet. This game does not disappoint in the value for dollar catagory.

This has been my go to game for the past week whenever I have had time to sink my teeth into it. It’s not the game I pickup when I have a couple minutes while waiting, as it takes too long to load into the game and get racing. But like many Gameloft games, it is the game I go to when I’m looking for a console like experience. The depth of gameplay is beyond most smartphone games and easily provides the same amount of content of a game ten times it’s price. If you like arcade racing games, then Asphalt 6 is a must buy.

Score: 9.0

Official Website: Gameloft.com

For those interested, the game is only for high end phones and must be purchased from Gameloft directly. Games can be paid with credit card or PayPal and with some carriers, carrier billing is an option. Any game purchased can be easily re-downloaded by heading to gameloft.com on your phone and selecting ‘My Downloads’ at the bottom of the page. Login with your email or phone number and any game purchased available for that model will appear. Gameloft games will occasionally check for updates when launched and download them automatically if needed. 

email:  android.support@gameloft.com
phone: 1-800-910-3186

Portal 2 Available Now!

I’m too busy playing the game right now to do anything more than a picture and a few sentences. I will definitely write up a review in the next week or too. Now back to Portal 2 and if you haven’t yet bought this game, what is wrong with you?

Guerrilla Bob is well dressed but doesn’t have anything to say

by Dave Loft

I’ve had Guerrilla Bob for about a month and while it’s easily one of the most polished games on the Android market, it just doesn’t posses the longevity to keep me interested. Now to be fair, that would describe most mobile phone games and is exactly why they’re typically priced below $5. I guess I’m just looking for a console experience on a phone and one I know can be done.

I love the graphics in the game and the visual style reminds me of TF2. The textures are clean, beautifully put together and they’re not very detailed. But it works within the style of the game. To go with the smooth graphics is an equally smooth framerate that makes Guerrilla Bob a joy to play.

Cross compatibility is a big part of the marketing behind Guerrilla Bob and is one feature few games have offered. It is unfortunately only local multiplayer and the lacks the essential online multiplayer required to keep me playing the game.

Controls are plentiful with options to auto-aim and multiple dual stick configurations to choose from. If your new to dual stick games, or just want a simpler experience on your mobile, auto-aim is a great place to start. Once you get good at the game you can set the difficulty to hard or just turn off auto-aim.

The game offers ten guns and four characters to choose from, but with only one to start the game. You will unlock more as you play and getting all the guns can take quite a while.

The game offers a few ways to play; arcade, survival and mercenary. Arcade and mercenary are the same game but it changes how weapons are unlocked. In arcade you need to find new weapons hidden throughout the level. While in mercenary mode, you make money by taking out enemies to spend on your weapon of choice. With these two modes your goal is to move to the end of the level and your only job is to shoot. Survivor is the same gameplay in an arena and your scored based on how long you can survive.

What you soon realize is that all of the options available are pretty much the same. I feel if your gonna do just a shooting game, your gonna need more than ten guns. If you want to make your game more than just a shooting game some extra gameplay elements would go a long way. Just steeling ideas from your standard fps will do wonders. Vehicles, mele combat, stealth, cover, defend here, attack this, find the key, disguise as an enemy, something, anything. It just won’t stand as long without another leg to use.

To be fair. this really is me just wanting more complexity from mobile games and that’s something many people don’t care for. Taking into consideration what type of game Angry Mob was aiming to create with Guerrilla Bob, they have definitely nailed the mechanics of the game. It’s when you compare Guerrilla Bob to other shooters available on the Android Market that it becomes a more compelling product. It may have nothing on games like Modern Combat, but it’s really not trying to either.

Guerrilla Bob is the shooter built for a touch screen phone and one that’s accessible to the masses. This is the style of shooter that will have the most success on mobile devices and Angry Mob has built the best of it’s kind. Hopefully they can take that success and return with a squeal that raises the bar well above the the competition, rather than just over.

Score: 8.0

Android Market Link: Guerrilla Bob
Official Website: angrymobgames.com

Epic’s Bulletstorm is out of control on PC

by Dave Loft

I had watched enough trailers, gameplay videos and reviews on this game to put on my Steam wanted list. Unfortunately with a price tag of $60 and no demo available to try I was obviously a bit apprehensive. But that changed on Monday when developer Epic Games made a demo available on Steam. I sat down after class on Tuesday to give it a first run through and boy do I hate it.

The controls in this game are some of the worst I have ever seen. Leave it to Epic to fuck up something so simple as a fps on a PC. The biggest issue is with the mouse and especially high DPI gaming mice. I had to turn the mouse sensitivity all the way down and it was still too much. So I then had to turn my mouse down from 5700 DPI to 800 DPI to get it to move at the right speed. But it still just didn’t feel right and was saddled with quite a bit of lag.

Then there was the menu navigation which had you moving around with W and S rather than the mouse. This is just lazy work on the developer’s part. It might make sense to have your move forward and back on the left stick to move around the menu, but it doesn’t work on a PC. Some menus would actually let you use the mouse (I hate inconsistency) but since I had to turn the mouse sensitivity way down, it felt way too slow in the menu.

The game is also very hollow, monotonous, repetitive and clunky. AI is very scripted lacking any sort of intelligence. Gameplay follows a strict guideline of kick, lasso then shoot. Sure you could just shoot, but the shooting is terrible and when you aim down the scope the sensitivity seems heightened making it more difficult to aim.

Bulletstorms clunkiness comes from the movement and ultimately derived from the controls. You hold space bar to slide, but also to jump over things. So if you slide to an object you can’t just hold space bar to jump over, you have to let go then press again. Not really that terrible, but what it sometimes chooses to jump over is really annoying. In my last game I slid to a barrier and pressed the space bar to jump over it only to have my character jump to the right. It was at this point that I realized my character had jumped into some kind of hole in the game. A hole I could no move, jump, slide, lasso, kick or shoot my way out of. After that I quit the demo, uninstalled it and removed the game from my wish list.

I really have grown to hate Epic in recent years and it mainly stems from their outspoken hatred of things I love. It’s clear from the games I’ve played in recent years that any of the talent they possessed in the past is long gone. Rather than complaining Epic should probably just stick to making Xbox 360 and iOS games where things are very predictable and their customers will buy anything.

Epic should also stop whining about how hard a platform is to develop for. It’s pathetic when a company with a history like Epics lashes out publicly against a platform they don’t like. I for one say good riddance and look forward to what a more capable and innovative competitor will do in their place. But I do want to thank Epic for making a demo available as it saved me from wasting my money on this big piece of EPIC fail.

Black Ops goes for $36

by Dave Loft

So if you check Direct2Drive or Steam you will see Call of Duty: Black Ops is on sale from $60 down to $45, wait what? Yes $45, but if you check Direct 2 Drive you will see that this weekend only they are offering 20% off all of their games and the discount even works on games on sale. Hence the $36 price tag. Just use the coupon code, marchmadness upon checkout to get the discount.

But maybe you don’t want to use Direct2Drive and like the convenience of Steam, no problem. After purchase you will be given a download link and a product key. You can take your product key without downloading anything from Direct2Drive and activate that key with Steam. Once activated you can actually download the game purchased from Direct2Drive through Steam. If you don’t like Steam and much prefer Direct2Drive you can download the game directly from them instead. But as soon as you go to install Black Ops, it will install into Steam anyways.

If your interested in Call of Duty: Black Ops I highly suggest picking it up this weekend. It will most likely never get this low again till the end of the year. For anyone who does have it already. You can find me on the battlefield under the name o4k3R and you may want to take note when I stab you in the back. Happy Fragging.

Crysis 2 Launch Trailer

by Dave Loft

I wish I could add something to this by sharing my experience with the game. But as I only played the multiplayer demo there’s not much more I can say than I already have.  After reading many reviews and watching quite a few videos, I can easily say this game is on the top of my wish list. But at $60 I will have to wait for one of Steam’s great sales. At least while I wait I can watch videos of the game, like this launch trailer.

Asphalt 6: Adrenaline sputters onto Android

by Dave Loft

I have been keeping an eye on a couple arcade racers on iOS and have been waiting for an Android port. The two games I have been looking forward to are Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Asphalt 6 Adrenaline and the latter was the first to hit Android. My current favorite arcade racer on Android is the games prequel, Asphalt 5. So I was very happy to see Asphalt listed on Gameloft’s site ready to buy for compatible Android devices. Unfortunately this game was pulled from the oven a bit too early and has a few major issues that need fixing before I can recommend this game.

The first issue is the storage requirements. While the game only takes 18MB of internal storage it requires 900MB of the SD card and over 100MB of free RAM to run. Larger games are where were heading but close to a GB just for a phone game will turn many people off. The other issue seems to steam from its heavy use of RAM. The put it bluntly, the game can’t handle multitasking. So if you get a phone call, text or email and stop mid game to answer one of those you may find your game auto closed by the time your ready to play again. If it hasn’t forced closed, it’s very likely to have graphics glitches once loaded back in. In my first race back from answering a text I noticed I could see through the cars and the roads textures. I can tell you seeing buildings and other items through the road is very disorienting.

The other major issue seems to be completely random. Sometimes when I load the game the controls don’t work. When I start a race the car just veers to the right as soon as it starts. There is no way to fix this other than changing control scheme from tilt controls or quiting the game. I’ve loaded the game a few times without issue then it comes back again and it’s very frustrating. An issue is made worse by the inevitable long load times.

The other minor issue I have with the game is the not so stellar frame rate. I’m getting around 30fps which is more than playable but is noticeable and not as enjoyable as Need for Speed Shift and Asphalt 5’s super smooth 60fps. Considering my Galaxy S has one of the fastest GPU’s on a phone I can’t see this game running well at all on any other model.

I do expect Gameloft to continually update the game and will eventually fix all the issues. Asphalt 5 was a little slow and had some issues when it first came out and it works perfectly now. Within the next month or so I will do a review of the game and hopefully by then it will have at least most of the issues I mentioned ironed out. If not it’s back to waiting for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit.

*Update* Asphalt 6 has been updated and it fixes just about everything I had issues with. Hit the link the check out my review.

Save 75% on Darksiders with Steam

Steam sales are fantastic. Several times a year Steam has big blowout sales on most of their games. Every week Steam has a mid week and weekend sale and Darksiders is part of their weekend deals. It’s regular price is $39.99, but is going for just $9.99 through the rest of the weekend.

Darksiders is a hack n slash third person action adventure game reminiscent but not quite as good as God of War. You will most likely want to pick up an Xbox 360 controller for Windows to play this game if you don’t already have one. The controls are straight forward and even display the key on screen you need to hit to accomplish a given task or finishing move. But it definitely lacks the depth of moves and combo action you can get from a game like Batman Arkham Asylum.

The one thing I really wish the game had was a co-op mode. You do play one of the four horseman of the apocalypse so why not bring the others into the game so you can play with friends. It seems to be an almost standard practice for developers to include co-op in their games these days. It’s not surprising as I spend most of my time playing games with friends online as apposed to on my own. So if your more of a social gamer, this may not be the best game for you. But for me I still enjoy playing this game when friends aren’t available. Once you start playing the game and understand the story Vigil Games wanted to tell you can see why it is only a single hero save the world kind of game.

Even with the few downsides I mentioned, Darksiders is just plain fun to play. It’s well rated and definitely worth checking out, especially at $10. The game even made number 11 on my favorite PC games of 2010. So if your interested hit up Steam to pick this game up.

Steam: Darksiders
Official website: darksiders.com

Stellar Escape on Android

by Dave Loft

I’m really impressed with the quality of Stellar Escape and the entertainment I’ve squeezed from this simple yet brilliantly executed game. Stellar Escape is a very straight forward game, literally. Your character always runs forward and you simply have to hit the right button to jump over or under the obstacles. But make three mistakes and your dead.

The graphics and animation are beautiful and the controls couldn’t be better. On the left you have two buttons, the top one grabs the bar above you and bottom one is for jumping down the tubes. On the right you have three buttons, jump over, dive between and slide under obstacles. The buttons icon clearly illustrates with what each does and was never a hindrance to my progression. See image below.

The game doesn’t have too much story and you won’t even be presented with one if you just choose ‘Play’ from the menu. But if you want the story, you can choose it by selecting ‘Story’ from the main menu. The story is presented with six still images with the story written on each page. You play Elliot Black who is ‘a courier in the infamous Beta Sector’. Upon delivering a package to Lord Gulasch, Elliott finds his evil plan to destroy Earth. Elliot is quick to act and grabbed the jewel from the package and begins running for his ship. The jewel was the last piece in Lord Gulasch’s super laser and taking it made Elliott ‘the most wanted person in the galaxy’.


Some may find the game too short with only 9 levels, something a better player than I could finish in an hour. But for anyone who does finish the game it provides an endless mode allowing you to push for a new high distance score. So at least there is something to do, even after you made it back to your ship. Some more levels and variation would definitely have made Stellar Escape just about the perfect game. But considering the quality of the game and a price tag of less than $1.50, there should be no hesitation in buying this game. *Update* Less than a week old and Orange Agenda has already released a major update with 6 more levels. Bringing the total level count up to 15. I don’t think anyone can argue the game is too short anymore.

I’m really pleased with Orange Agenda’s decision to release this game on both the iOS and Android platform at the same time. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that Orange Agenda is comprised of just two developers. I strongly recommend to anyone with an iOS or Android device to go out and buy this truly stellar game. You will not be disappointed with Stellar Escape.

Score: 9.0

Android Market Link: Stellar Escape
Official Website: orangeagenda.com

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