Black & White 2

January 10, 2006

[i]Black and White[/i] is very similar to [i]Caesar[/i] or [i]Civilization[/i]. The game is all about a god (you!) who takes the path of good or evil to bring about salvation or destruction to the people who need help. God is given a creature to control or train, depending if you want a laborer on a command leash or a free-spirited pet on the freewill leash. Both you and your pet can learn spells and are able to cast them with just a flick of the mouse. You must build towns, armies and fields all while keeping your people happy. There are also optional quests which are usually just tutorials, puzzles or goals. You are also guided by your conscience, good and evil, but you can just as easily ignore them as you choose fit.

At first, this game is hard to understand as well as maneuver. If you had played the prequel, you would find the controls and atmosphere very similar. However, if one is used to most other PC games, some of the controls may seem awkward and take time to master completely. A good feature of this game is that it starts with a basic yet action-packed tutorial and gets harder as the game progresses, which is about the same pace that someone new to the game would improve. Once the player learns what all the buildings, features and creatures do, the game becomes a lot more fun.

The graphics are fairly improved from the prequel and look even snazzier with the graphic detail turned up to full. This game requires a fairly recent video card to even run, and as such I had to buy a new card. The detail is uncanny. One can zoom in until you are at the feet of a villager in your town, or go as high as a god might. Some buildings, such as the tavern, can even be explored right to the bartender serving the drinks to your thirsty villagers.

The music is not distracting, and I find it suiting to the game. Sound effects are also fun and not annoying. The weirdest sound is the word A

Karaoke Revolution Party

December 23, 2005

Bear with me, this is my first ever review. So let’s start off with what this game is about. This is a Karaoke game, a game in which you sing along to songs while reading the lyrics. But this game can be less forgiving to your “heartfelt” melody. The mic required for the game allows the Xbox to judge your singing, mostly the pitch (if you are sharp or flat) and the syncopation (are you hitting the correct rhythm of the words). You score more points for correct notes and beat. Now this may have turned you off right away… but fear not! There are modes! I keep mine on easy mode and it doesn’t judge you very hard… it allows more leeway, which makes you think you are totally awesome!

[i]Karaoke Revolution Party[/i] also has other fun features. You can purchase more mics (much to the delight of Microsoft) to allow for duets or competitive play. If you are insane, you can purchase or use an Xbox Dancepad and [i]DDR[/i] along with your song… yes. It has multiples of little arrows under the words. The game includes a playable demo for [i]DDR Ultramix 3[/i] (which is pretty neat as well). If you are really bored, you can play the mini games included: Beach Volleyball, and Crowdsurfing. Basically playing pong with your voice, or yelling out words to get the people to jump at the right time. Sounds neat, but this entertainment value is only trivial…cute…but the interest dwindles with the stupidity of it all.

It’s hard to rate this game because it’s not really an RTS or MMORPG or FPS… it’s…. karaoke. They spiced it up with character creations, which is really fun. You can decide what the body looks like with a unique system, then choose hair style, color, clothes, etc. As you play this game you unlock 5 more songs, trophies, and various fun outfits, such as a Tiger Mascot, Bathrobe, Devil outfit, and miscellaneous little pieces. Graphics are pretty cheesy, which makes me laugh. The characters dance…. badly, but they do their thing to the beat. They also lip-sync really well. But I like this feature because it gives your audience of friends (if you have any =D) something to laugh at and look at whilst you sing (this gets them away from hearing your voice! yay!) There are also various backgrounds from pitstop, to beach party, to music video. Each react to your performance; lights and action happen when your doing good, rain, or technical malfunctions happen if you suck.

On to the most important part… THE MUSIC. Okay… on the box it says “featuring classic favorites and chart-topping hits”. You probably won’t see your favorite song on here. Sorry. What you will find are oldies, ballads, rock, country, funk, etc. Quite various. This is good. You’ll find at least one or two songs that really appeal to your musical tastes. But that leaves the rest of the music kinda wasteful. I know I don’t sing half the songs on the game for that reason. However, there is a remedy for this lack of music problem; Xbox Live. If you have it, you can go online and download up to 100 more songs that may appeal to you more than the ones given.

Overall, this game is fun. No storyline, no career mode, just singing with your buds or perhaps just practicing your love song for a person you like.

There is pure karaoke mode with no judging, but where is the fun in that? If I missed some vital part of this review, ask away… I’m an addict, and I think it’s calling to me again…