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Game Info:

East India Company: Pirate Bay
Developed by: Nitro Games
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: July 2009
Available on: PC
Genre: Strategy
Single Player
ESRB rating: Teen
Retail price: $7.99

System Requirements
• OS: Windows® XP, Vista
• CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel® Pentium® processor or equivalent AMD® Athlon™ processor
• RAM: 1 GB (2 GB recommended for Windows® Vista™)
• Video: 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c compatible or better video card with pixelshader 2.0
• Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
• Available Hard Disk Space: Approx. 6 GB
• DirectX®: 9.0c
• Other: 3-button Mouse, Keyboard and Speakers.
• East India Company

Thank you GamersGate for giving us this game to review.

East India Company: Pirate Bay is an expansion pack that allows you to play as a pirate. Your goal is to make as much money as possible in thirty years. They say it’s a twenty year campaign but if my math is correct, 1650-1680 is thirty years. To make money you will have to defeat and loot ships or raid ports. What’s unique about this expansion is that it’s extremely fast paced. You only have one fleet and if you lose it, it’s game over. There are no quick saves so it’s literally sink or swim.

When you start the game you have 20,000 gold and one ship in your fleet. You can have a maximum of four ships under your command. Needless to say, you’re at quite a disadvantage when you start. The ports in this game have good defenses, so raiding them will not be easy unless you have a lot of pirates with you. Be careful when you attack other fleets, they usually travel with several heavy duty ships. Once you get a good number of pirates on board and several warships in your fleet, there will be no stopping you. However, getting to that point is a challenge by not having the option to quick save. The only time the game can save for you is when you exit to Windows.

 

Highlights:

Strengths: Fast paced game play
Weaknesses: Limited game saves
Moral Warnings: Drinking & sexual references

The ship battles are a major component to this expansion so unlike the main East India Company campaign, you cannot have the AI auto resolve the battles for you. A similarity with the regular campaign is that you can upgrade your commander. You can add skills such as better targeting, harder to sink, trading bonuses, and more. Instead of missions being given to you, you’ll get tips when ships carrying valuable merchandise leave ports.

Other than the lack of quick saving, my other gripe with this expansion is getting it to run. When I first installed Pirate Bay, it would start to launch and then promptly crash to the desktop. In order to resolve the issue, I had to apply these patches in order: EIC Patch 3, Pirate Bay Patch 1 and then DC Patch 1.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Game Play: 14/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Interface: 4/5
Stability: 3/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphically this game looks just as good as the original game. The battles are in 3D and I like how the 3D port is now optional. When you win a battle or capture a port there is a little movie clip that you can watch or skip. The water effects look realistic and the moving flags on the map view adds a nice touch.

The sound effects get the job done. The voice acting is still the same so the pirates all have refined British accents. The background music is still the same as well.

From an appropriateness perspective this game isn\'t perfect. There are some battle scenes in the video clips when sinking a ship or capturing a port. When ordering a ship to sail to its home port the commander may say something like "Good, I\'ll be glad to go home to my wife". On the other hand when you sail to some foreign ports he\'ll say something like "I know a nice girl there" or "I know lots of girls there". The commander may also mention that he wants to grab a pint when you dock.

There’s a fair amount of re-playability with the pirate points and online top ten score chart. I like the fast paced feel but I’d rather have the ability to quick save. Pirate Bay only adds a single player campaign, there are no multiplayer enhancements. With a price tag of $7.99 it’s definitely worth considering. If you do not own East India Company, you can buy the collection for $29.95 and Pirate Bay comes bundled with it.
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Game Info:

Legio
Developed By: ICE Game Studios
Published by: Paradox Plaza
Released: May 2010
Genre: Turn based strategy
Single and Multiplayer
Available on: PC
ESRB: Not rated
Retail Price: $9.95


System Requirements
Operating system: Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista.
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or equal AMD.
Memory: 512 MB RAM.
Hard disk space: 200 MB.
Video: AMD 9600 or Nvidia Geforce FX.
Sound: Stereo sound card and DirectX®-compatible sound driver.
DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c.

Thank you GamersGate for giving us this game to review!

The kingdom of Bella Lagucia is rapidly deteriorating while being ruled by rivaling siblings King Lorenzo and Queen Florentia. They live in separate castle towers connected by a mighty drawbridge. The rulers are not the sharpest knives in the drawer and every disagreement between them, big or small, is settled by a game of Legio. The villagers are suffering from starvation and disease while these rulers are constantly playing this game.

Legio is relatively easy to play but difficult to master. When you start the game you have twenty five points you can spend towards building your army. The various characters have different costs and you are limited to how many times you can use them in the game. There are two rounds to play, and if a character is killed off in the first round, you can’t replace them. One neat thing is that the winner gets to bring their surviving units to the second round. They won’t regenerate health though. If it’s any consolation, the loser determines the battle ground for the second round.

Highlights:

Strengths: Original game play, funny animations and sound effects
Weaknesses: Loser gets the shaft on the second level
Moral Warnings: Swearing, blood and occult references

Legio is a turn based strategy game. The turns are based on the unit’s initiative rating. There are many different approaches to playing. You can play offensive or defensively. If you don’t want to move a unit, you can put them in a defensive stance to minimize damage they receive. Every move you make is vital; unfortunately you cannot take back a move once it’s made.

Here’s a breakdown of the units, their cost, and their special abilities:

  • Archer: costs 4 points, ranged attack
  • Assassin: costs 4 points, invisibility
  • Captain: costs 6 points, leadership-damage and defense bonus to nearby units
  • Giant: costs 6 points, area attack and lots of health
  • Magician: costs 6 points, low health, implosion effect damages multiple units
  • Priest: costs 5 points, can heal units
  • Toad: no attack ability, whomever kills the magician is turned into a toad
  • War Rabbit: costs 3 points, can leap over units in the way
  • Warrior: costs 3 points
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Stability: 5/5
Controls/Interface: 4/5

Morality Score - 58%
Violence-3.5/10
Language: 6/10
Sexual Content: 8.5/10
Occult/Magic: 1/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

If you position your characters around a captain their offensive and defense abilities are boosted. If the opposing team has a magician or a giant they can damage multiple units with one strike so it may be to your advantage to keep your units separate. Be warned that a Magician or a Giant will injure friendly units in the line of fire.

A winner is determined by wiping out all of the enemy forces. The second level is chosen by the loser and each team is awarded twenty five points to re-assemble their army. After each round a statistics table is shown and awards points to both sides. It’s neat to see how long each turn takes and the accuracy of the attacks. When a unit is attacked there is no way to defend against it. To attack an enemy unit, you have to click when the aiming reticule is lined up in the bull’s-eye.

The interface is mouse driven and fairly easy to use. At times it’s difficult to get the attack option to activate. This is a 3D puzzle game and the character models are definitely unique. I love the battle animations.

The background music changes tempo as the game gets more intense. To be honest I don’t really notice but that’s a reported feature of the game. The voice acting is pretty good, especially for the attacking units. The king and queen are a bit hard to understand at times. I am able to make out when they are cussing though.

Other than the cussing, there are violence and occult references. When a unit is attacked there’s some blood gushing. The magician has a pentacle symbol in his stats and that’s the symbol used for casting a spell on a unit. Lastly, even though the queen is very unattractive, she’s well endowed and jiggles a bit when she talks.

Moral issues aside, Legio is a fun puzzle/strategy game. With a price tag under $10 it’s a hard deal to pass up on. With the swearing and violence, I would not recommend this game for kids.
Comment (0) Hits: 4333
Game Info:

Twin Sector (PC)
Developed By: Headup Games
Published By: Got Game Entertainment
ESRB rating: E 10+
Available On: PC
Genre: Action/Adventure
Single Player
Retail Price: $29.99
Amazon affiliate link

Thank you GamersGate for supplying this game to us.

After what appears to be a post apocalyptic war, the remnant of humanity is in a cryogenic sleep. You are Ashley Simms, a triathlete who is woken up from your icey nap. A computer named OSCAR greets you with the news that the systems are failing and that without your help, the rest of humanity is doomed. You only have ten hours, and for some reason you were the only one who woke up. There appears to be traces of foul play, but who? Can you survive long enough to find out who is behind the sabotage?

Twin Sector has many similarities to Valve’s popular physics adventure game, Portal. In Portal you are guided by GladOS and OSCAR assists you in Twin Sector. GladOS has a much better voice, Oscar’s voice just doesn’t fit. Another similarity is that you have to use your surroundings to figure out how to proceed to the next area. The setting in Twin Sector is a space ship where as the setting in Portal is a laboratory. You have no weapons in Twin Sector, you are pretty much vulnerable. I can’t stand the feeling of helplessness. There are no guns and no portals to jump through. In this game your only weapons are a pair of gloves that pull objects towards you or push objects away from you.
Highlights:

Strengths: Neat gloves, I want a pair
Weaknesses: Annoying physics, frustrating puzzles, repetitive enemies and you’re helpless against them since you’re relying on the over sensitive physics
Moral Warnings: You can die and hurt yourself. You’re mainly fighting robot drones, lasers and turrets

Since this is a 3D physics adventure you’d expect the physics to be good right? Wrong! The Havok physics engine is used, but the object manipulation in this game is way too sensitive. For example, there are many deadly lasers and you can use metal barrels to deflect them. Trying to do a simple task like stacking metal barrels is frustratingly difficult.

The enemies in this game are few and far between. Other than the lasers, there are deadly turrets and robotic probes that will zap you. You’ll have to be resourceful and use your environment to your advantage. There are some helpful items that are conveniently dispensed nearby. For example one floor on the ship is on fire and nearby are water bottles that you can use to put the fires out. This is easier said than done. The water bottles are on a different level and you either have to use your gloves to throw them up or pull them up without breaking or causing them to leak. For those pyromaniacs out there, you’ll be happy to know that you get to play with exploding barrels and canisters.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score: 62%
Game Play: 8/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Stability: 5/5
Controls/Interface: 4/5

Morality Score: 88%
Violence: 9/10
Sexuality: 10/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Language: 5/10
Cultural\Ethical: 10/10

When solving these puzzles be sure to use the quick save feature. By default the game only saves by check points. Some chapters have multiple checkpoints but I wouldn’t bank on it. Overall, there are seventeen chapters to play through. In all honesty I got frustrated by chapter 8. I realized that I destroyed all three torrents when I was supposed to keep one active. Apparently not just helpful items continually respawn, there are some areas where the probes just keep on coming. I just don’t have the drive to re-do this save knowing that I’ll have to continuously dodge turrets and robot drones. This game quite bluntly is a chore to play.

Graphically this game does fine. The explosions and fire effects are good. The colors are bland but it’s fitting for the backdrop of this game. This isn’t exactly a cheery Mario world here. The loading screen background shows the main character in great detail. She looks very life like and has a lot of detail including her eyes and hair.
The sound department is a mixed bag. Ashley’s voice actress was good but OSCAR’s voice wasn’t very convincing. The background music is suspenseful and fits this game well. The sound effects and explosions were spot on.

I didn’t experience any crashes or stability issues but I do have a gripe about the controls. Visibly there’s not much difference between the standing and crouching point of view. For a while I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t jump. It was because my character was in a crouch position.

From an appropriateness standpoint this game is pretty tame. There’s no human violence, you’re just fighting robots, turrets, and dodging lasers. You can still die and get hurt though. I think Ashley said “Oh my God” once or twice. If I was under that much stress, I’m not sure what I would have said.

If you’re looking for a fun physics based adventure game, don’t bother with Twin Sector. Get Portal instead. Twin Sector sells for $30 and thankfully there’s a demo so you can try it before spending any money.
Comment (0) Hits: 3657
Game Info:

Solomon Says: Anything Goes
Developed By: Cloud 9 Games
Release Date: December 5th, 2005
Genre: Trivia
Single, Multiplayer same computer
ESRB: not rated
Retail Price: $19.95

System Requirements
Windows Vista/XP/2000/98, OS X
733 MHz, G3, G4 or G5
120MB HDD Space
128MB RAM
16MB Video RAM
CD-ROM

Thank you Cloud9Games for giving us this game to review!

Have you ever wanted to test your Bible knowledge? Do you think you know all of the answers? Solomon Says: Anything Goes has over 500 questions in five various categories. There are three difficulty levels and you can set the difficulty or make it random. The harder the difficulty, the more points you can earn. Some of the questions can be answered from the Bible but not all the questions have a verse reference. For example, do you know how many times the word “the” is found in the Bible? How about the amount of times “LORD” appears in the Bible? You can have up to three players sharing a keyboard. There’s even dance pad support if you prefer.

Here are the categories: (Anything Goes covers everything)

  • Anything Goes
  • Food and Wine
  • Signs and Wonders
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
Highlights:

Strengths: Fun and exciting game play, great knowledge tester
Weaknesses: Sharing a keyboard is a bummer
Moral Warnings: None!

This game is pretty fun and with the wise cracking announcer it’s similar to the “You Don’t Know Jack” series. Single player mode has a different feel than when you’re playing against someone else. The point system is completely different. In single player, after the question is asked, your total available points quickly decreases until you answer the question, so think fast! Another difference is that you are not penalized for wrong answers in single player mode. In multiplayer mode if you answer a question wrong you lose the amount the question was worth. There’s a random question multiplier that appears for a few seconds. If you press your action key in time, you can double or triple the question\'s value. This is essential if you want your name to be recorded in the hall of fame!

There are eight un-lockable characters available to you as you play the game. These are avatars that you can choose to represent you in the game. They make comments as you answer questions and you can use unique taunts to distract other players in multiplayer mode. Most of the un-lockables require all of the players in a multiplayer game to have a certain number of points to enable it.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score: 80%
Game Play 16/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls/Interface 5/5

Morality Score 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

When it comes to graphics, trivia games don’t need the latest and greatest 3D engine and this game is no exception. The graphics in Solomon Says are colorful and flashy; they fit the bill nicely. This game will run on many older systems just fine.

The sound effects and background music make you feel like you’re on a TV game show. The announcer’s voice sounds a bit nasal at times but it seems to fit. The game character voices are cute.

I didn’t experience any show stopping game crashes or glitches. I did see some repeat questions in the same round though.

Since this is a Christian bible based game, there are no appropriateness issues here. I highly recommend this game for all ages. Some of the questions may be a bit challenging for kids, though there is a Solomon Says that’s geared for children called Solomon Says: Amazing Animals.

If you’re looking for a fun way to test your Bible knowledge, look no further than Solomon Says: Anything Goes. It’s made by Cloud 9 Games and can be yours for $19.95.

Comment (0) Hits: 4084
Game Info:

Majesty 2: Kingmaker
Developed By: Cyberlore Studios
Published By: Paradox Interactive
ESRB Rating: Teen for blood and alcohol references
Multiplayer Support: 4 players using GameSpy
Retail Price: $14.95

System requirements
• Majesty 2
• Windows 2000/XP/Vista
• 2GHz dual core processor
• 1 GB RAM
• Videocard: 512 MB with PS 2.0, better than GeForce 6800 GTX
• 4 GB free hard disc space

Thank you Gamers Gate for giving us this game to review!

Up until now, things have been going smoothly since you\'ve been ruling over the kingdom of Ardania. Recently there have been reports of glowing eyes and jack-o-lanterns scaring away your loyal subjects. The goblins are taking over and you have to fight to re-claim your lands. There are many goblin villages that need to be destroyed along with their powerful mage. The Kingmaker expansion adds a map editor and eight new campaign missions, which are geared towards experienced players offering only advanced and expert difficulty levels. There is an option to randomize the enemy spawn points but the waves of enemies are bloody hard regardless of where they come from.

Just like Majesty 2, you do not have absolute control over your units; they have a mind of their own. Some units prefer to fight and others prefer to explore or protect things. To get things done you can put flags to explore, attack, defend, or avoid danger. Sometimes a unit will do things without you paying; however, most of the time you have to add a monetary incentive with your flag.

Highlights:

Strengths: Fun & unique game play, good graphics
Weaknesses: Extremely hard game play, no active servers to join
Moral Warnings: Violence, multiple deities, magic use

When you start a mission you have some money, your castle, a guard, a tax collector, and some peasants. The peasants will pay taxes and build the buildings for you. You can build guard towers that will come with a guard to help defend against nearby monsters, skeletons, and big sewer rats.

To earn income you can get a kickback on constructing a market, blacksmith, an inn, or a magic emporium. Before the blacksmith or market can sell anything, you have to research the items first. The Inns allow your heroes to rest and you can form battle parties there. The guilds pay taxes too and they each house three heroes. You can build more guilds, but each successive building will cost more money and each building has a separate research tree.

The guilds include rogues, rangers, warriors, clerics, mages, dwarves, and elves. Each guild has to be upgraded a couple of times to offer better attacks and spells. With every new guild you can research a power to aide your heroes. The mages guild offers a couple of spells that you can use to zap single or multiple enemies (for a price of course!). I especially liked the dwarven ability to reinforce structures to speed up the building or repairing process.
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score: 82%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8:10
Interface: 4/5
Stability: 5/5

Appropriateness score: 83%
-3 for violence
-3 for occult references
-2.5 for racism

After your castle has been upgraded a couple of times you can construct various temples in designated areas (Holy ground). The temples provide a couple of priests/priestesses and a powerful ability such as resurrection or being able to send a plague. If you don\'t have the ability to resurrect, the first time a hero dies, a cemetery will be constructed and you can resurrect them for a fee that increases with every level.

Most of the missions have optional quests that can be completed and they usually reward you with extra gold. With all the bribing, gold is what\'s needed the most to succeed. The multiplayer interface is powered by GameSpy. You can have up to four players or two teams in a battle for domination. Unfortunately I did not see any servers to join.

There is a built in store interface where you can download for free or purchase new missions, spells and abilities for your units. If you like modding, there\'s a map editor that\'s bundled with the expansion. The single player missions are all the same and mostly consist of defending the castle for a given amount of time. There\'s a challenging mission that pokes fun at Robin Hood.
Graphically this game is very appealing. The maps are very detailed and the 3D characters and buildings look great. The spells look pretty neat and the physics are spot on. The monsters look pretty scary and their animations are fitting.

I was very impressed with the background music in this game; it\'s very pretty and reminded me of Lord Of The Rings. The voice acting is pretty good; the adviser sounds like Sean Connery. The campaign missions were nicely narrated but the single player intros are text only; I\'m not sure why they didn\'t narrate those too. Another nitpick is that the elf voice is a little odd - it sounds like a child.

From an appropriateness standpoint there is fantasy violence but it\'s not really bloody or gory. You will be battling with demons and will be eliminating portals to hell so there are some occult themes. I was glad to see no real occult symbols used. Magic is used and cannot be avoided. There is mention of alcohol and some pub buildings. Lastly, elves and dwarves don\'t like each other so there\'s fantasy racism.

Overall, Majesty 2 Kingmaker is a nice expansion for only $15. I only recommend getting it if you like a challenge. With Majesty 2 I was able to edit my save files to give myself some more gold. I was shocked to see that the save files are now encrypted. I wound up using Cheat Engine to modify the memory addresses containing my amounts of gold. There is a trainer available for $30 that can do it for you. I only cheated in single player; I would not dare to do such a thing in a multiplayer game. Not that it matters since there is no one online to play against.
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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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