Windows Vista or XP
1 GHZ processor
650 MB available hard disk space
32 MB 3-D video card
Windows XP: 512 MB RAM, Vista: 1 GB RAM
One available USB port
USB compatible guitar controller (included)
Mac OS X v.10.3 or later
1 GHZ processor
650 MB available hard disk space
512 MB RAM
One available USB port
USB compatible guitar controller (included)
Thanks to Digital Praise for giving us this game to review!
Music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been very successful and have quite a following. I have enjoyed playing those games and it’s refreshing to see a very good Christian alternative. I have gotten many flaming e-mails for my positive reviews on the Guitar Hero series and the music in Guitar Praise is indeed God honoring. If you don’t believe me, the lyrics are displayed as you are playing; though to be honest, I tend to focus more on the triangles whizzing by.
The basic game play goes as follows. You have five different colored fret bars on the guitar and when you see a colored note line up on the bottom you have to strum and press the corresponding colored fret bar. The easier difficulties don’t have you using all five frets. As you play a song, the triangles will sometimes come spinning at you; if you strum when they align, they will give you “Star Power” allowing you to get bonus points. To activate this power, you have to tilt your guitar up.
As you play the songs, you will earn talent points. You get more talent points for harder difficulties. When you collect enough talent points, you can buy other guitars. Each guitar or bass instrument has a different look and its own unique sound. After you complete a song, you can post your score online and see if you made the top twenty or not. The scores are sorted by lead guitar and bass players.
There are various sets of music and the next set becomes available after you complete three out of five from the current set. Completed songs will be marked with a black lead guitar or a purple bass guitar depending on what instrument was used.
The Song List is surprisingly good. There are many genres represented here. There was a blues song, some praise and worship, rap, alternative, and heavy metal; I even enjoyed the 80’s hair band songs. The artist selection is excellent too. Some of the artists include David Crowder Band, Relient K, Skillet, Petra, Kutless, tobyMac, dc talk, Thousand Foot Krutch, Hawk Nelson, Chris Tomlin, Newsboys, Caedmons Call and many more.
The music files sound great which is to be expected of a music based game. The different guitar sounds are good, though they seem to drown out the song a little. It’s a pretty neat concept though it can use a little more polish in my opinion. The announcer is the same voice used in the Dance Praise games, and he sounds very cheerful. You can disable him if you like.
The graphics are pretty good. The game engine seems like a modified Dance Praise engine, especially after seeing the same 3D backgrounds available. There are no animated band members like Guitar or Rockband has, so when you change guitars, only your fret changes color. One of the darker brown fret boards is a tad dark and makes it hard to see the red triangles.
The interface is decent; it takes a little getting used to. Some things are not that obvious and it takes a little fumbling around to figure it out. It took me a little while to realize what the actual health (rock) meter was. As it turns out, there’s a marquee that displays your name and difficulty on the upper left hand side. As you play, it either lights all the way up or down. Another example is that trading in talent points for different guitars, and selecting the guitars, are done on two separate menus. It would have been nice to simplify that process in my opinion.
From an appropriateness standpoint this game is God honoring and a great alternative to the secular offerings. The songs are well picked and safe for all ears as long as they don’t mind hard rock.
Guitar Praise is available for $99, and it comes bundled with a wireless Guitar and a USB dongle. The Guitar is very similar in make, feel, and quality to a Guitar Hero guitar. I like the built-in dongle storage compartment, that is a great idea! A secondary guitar can be purchased for $69. These guitars do work with the open source game Frets on Fire. I was not able to get my PS3 Rock Band guitar to work (though it works in Frets on Fire), so you do have to use the proprietary Guitar Praise guitar controllers.
So now the question remains, is this game worth the $99 price tag? Given that it comes with a great selection of songs, a good guitar, and lots of replay-ability with the online scoring system, I think that this game is worth it hands down. To the veteran guitar gamer, this game may be slightly easier than the other offerings available. I was able to comfortably play most of the songs on hard and I found expert to be very challenging…okay …fine….un-passable. To be fair, I play on medium to hard on Guitar Hero, so I don\'t claim to be an expert. I am happy to say that my name (Cheryl) is on many of the top player boards. Though I’m sure as this game gets more popular that won’t last…but it sure does offer incentive to keep playing it!
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (3.2 GHz for Vista), Intel Core 2.0 GHz (2.2 GHz for Vista), AMD Athlon 2800+ (3200+ for Vista) or better
RAM: 1GB (1.5GB on Windows Vista)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (Radeon X800 Pro for Vista) or better with 256MB or more of Graphics Memory
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
Optical Disk Drive: DVD-ROM
OS: Microsoft Windows XP or Vista
DirectX: DX9.0c or DX10
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4
On an island filled with a hostile army and infested with unknown aliens, you need to adapt, engage, and survive with the help of your nanosuit. In this game, you play Nomad, a Special Forces officer equipped with a nanosuit that grants you enhanced armor, strength, speed, or the ability to cloak. Your main objective is to rescue U.S. nationalists that have been taken hostage. The nationalists taken were archeologists; your secondary objective is to find out what they uncovered and why the Korean People’s Army (KPA) seized control of it. These are your main objectives, and you get several others throughout the game.
Crysis is not a sequel to FarCry; the storyline is completely new, so you don’t have to be familiar with FarCry to enjoy this game. The latest CryTek engine (CryEngine2) is used, but there is a price to pay: even the most powerful computers can be brought to their knees running this game at the highest settings. I have a quad core, with two 8800GTs running in SLI, and I felt my system struggle to deliver decent frames per second. As painful as this was, the game was still worth playing and upgrading for.
The Head’s Up Display (HUD) is pretty similar to the one in FarCry. There’s the enemy detection meter, which alerts you when you have been seen by your opponent. Your available ammunition, grenades and health are on the lower right hand side. If you have a scroll mouse, scrolling changes your weapons and pushing in on the scroll wheel brings up your nanosuit menu.
Some missions will have you download KPA intelligence from their computers. There are frequency jammers and anti-aircraft devices that will have to be deactivated as well. To get the job done you can use any weapon or vehicle you can get your hands on. Whatever was uncovered by the archaeologists wasn’t human, and it’s not friendly either. Your squad will be picked off one by one and you\'ll have to watch out for the KPA as well as the aliens.
The island is pretty big, and you can walk, drive, or fly around it. You can drive civilian vehicles as well as army jeeps and tanks. Some missions will require flying. Even though you\'re not a pilot you can find yourself in a helicopter or a carrier jet. Like you, the vehicles have hit points, so make sure you get out of it before the damage reaches 100%.
For weapons, there are pistols, sniper rifles, grenades, machine guns, shot guns, chain guns, rocket launchers, and more. You can install add-ons to many of the guns. For example you can add laser pointers, sniper scopes, and silencers. There are a couple of occasions when you get to laser paint a target with your binoculars and call in for an air strike. Needless to say, there are a lot of explosions to be seen. Finding weapons is easy; ammunition on the other hand can get tight at times. If you run out, you have your fists.
The soldier artificial intelligence is really smart. They will attack you from multiple fronts, and they will snipe you and communicate to others when you have been discovered. You’ll be called a variety of names when discovered. There’s a lot of foul language in this game. The alien AI isn’t that smart, but their lack of brains is made up for in brawn.
The graphics are dazzling if you have a powerful enough system to enjoy the highest settings. The landscape is gorgeous and the alien stronghold is breathtaking. The character models are very lifelike and believable. The physics in this game is great, too. You’ll actually feel like you’re there when there are earthquakes and avalanches. Rocks and debris will fall everywhere, so you have to keep on your toes.
When it comes to the sound effects, they are phenomenal. The weapons, explosions, and vehicles all sound realistic. The voice acting is great as well. The musical score is good too, as it adds mood without overdoing it. Perfect.
This game ran pretty stable for me. My only complaint is that it often started in windowed mode and I had to do an alt+enter to fix it. There are some patches available that I applied.
Multiplayer is available and there are plenty of servers online. It’s not too hard to find a populated server to join in the fray. There are two game modes. Instant Action is a deathmatch game that allows up to thirty two players. Power Struggle has you play as either the KPA or the US Special Forces. Whichever side you are on, you have to develop new weapons, retrieve alien technology and annihilate the headquarters of your opposition. In multiplayer modes, you have access to weapons not available in the single player game. These include mines, TAC launcher (nuclear warhead), nano disrupter grenade, repair torch and more.
Crysis is rated M for the violence, language and gore. When you find the remains of several of your squad mates, it’s not a pleasant sight to see. When being attacked, your enemies and comrades will use expletives. Every swear word in the book is used.
If you like first person shooter games, this is a title worth looking into. Just make sure you have a powerful enough system to handle it. This game is very fun and the story is good. Like many mature games, I don’t recommend playing this with young children nearby.
Mount & Blade (PC)
PC with 512 MB of RAM
Graphics card with at least 64 MB memory
700 MB of hard disk space
Role Playing Games are my favorite genre by far. Unfortunately, RPG\'s have long been tainted with magic and occult references, thus making it hard to find a good game to whole heartedly recommend.
Mount & Blade is breath of fresh air; it has no magic or religion references in it whatsoever. The game play is *completely* open ended and there is no storyline to follow but your own. When you start the game, you are asked some questions to help determine your character\'s story and starting attributes. From there, you are on your own. You can attack bandits, join them, pursue vassalage, become a merchant or a mercenary, be like Robin Hood, you decide. There are even tournaments if you want to pursue a gladiator career path.
Quests can be given to you by village elders, guild masters, Lords, their Ladies, and Kings. The quests vary from delivering a letter or cattle, being a champion to defend a lady\'s honor, doing spy work, kidnapping/escorting people, and more. When you complete quests, your relationship will improve with the person who assigned the task to you. The quests usually have to be completed within a certain time frame. They\'re usually pretty generous, unless you\'re being summoned for a military campaign. There\'s a handy journal to keep track of your quests; the people and towns involved are linked to a knowledge base to help you find them easily.
If you become a vassal for a king, he will award you with a fief for a town\'s taxes for revenue. You will have the option to make improvements such as adding a mill, a school, or a messenger post (faster enemy alerts). I lost my town to an enemy kingdom once, and I had to release my oath to the king and when I re-joined I got a different town. I was pleasantly surprised that when I was re-awarded with a town I previously had, my improvements were not lost. Castles have the option to garrison an army and you can also build a prisoner tower. You also gain rent from a castle from people resting there.
You don\'t have to fight alone; you can recruit a war party from taverns and villages. The party size depends on your charisma and leadership attributes. There are disposable party members and hero party members. The hero party members will not die in battle; they will only get knocked unconscious. These members have attributes, weapons, and armor that you can customize as they level up. It\'s pretty easy to adjust their skills and equipping them is pretty straight forward too. You can\'t equip them with items that they don\'t have skills for. They also have personalities that like certain hero characters and despise others. If your party is mismatched, you\'ll get bickering and your morale will be low and someone will eventually leave. If a hero party leaves, you can get them back at a random tavern.
Battles are quite fun and don\'t get tiresome. The scenery and loot varies depending on who and where you are fighting. The enemies are challenging too, especially if you are out numbered. You issue battle commands and if you want you have the option to send your army to fight without you. If you\'re in a real pickle, you can leave a few men behind to help you escape. That doesn\'t sit too well with some hero party members.
The graphics are unique as there are two different views. There\'s a world overview where you can see villages, castles, caravans and war parties moving. When you go into a battle, village, or castle you switch to a third person mode. The graphics engine is a little dated but it\'s easy to look past that. The battle scenes look pretty good; the game considers the time of day, location, and weather conditions, so the battles have some variety. There are many character types and classes and similar class types look identical.
The artificial intelligence is pretty decent, as they are good about honing in on the enemies and fighting them. Obstacle avoidance is pretty good, though many get stuck behind trees temporarily. The biggest annoyance is that they don\'t often find the best path. I often see NPC\'s trekking up a big hill or mountain when there was a much easier path available.
The background music is pleasant and adds the appropriate mood. The battle noises are very realistic and are well done. I like the way the party cheers after a victory. When you talk to people in the game, it\'s all text. I guess I\'m spoiled by Oblivion. :)
The controls are pretty intelligent. Q brings up your quest journal, I brings up your inventory, P brings up your party configuration screen. Standard WASD and mouse controls are used for battles and walking around towns and castles.
From an appropriateness standpoint this game is pretty good, but there are some things worth noting. There is violence, however blood can be disabled. There are some language issues such as da*n and being called a wench by some bandits. (I played as a female character). As I mentioned earlier, there are no religious or magic references anywhere.
There is an active community supporting this game. There are lots of unique mods and enhancements available. This review is based on version 1.0 from gamersgate.com. There is a version 1.03 out as of this review, but the saves are not backwards compatible. Fortunately, you can export/import your character. The try before you buy download is pretty nice. You can get the full version of the game for free, but there\'s a level cap unless you purchase it for $30. Mount & Blade is well worth it.