Munch004

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Le Tour de France 1903-2003 Centenary Edition

Published by Konami
Developed by DC Studios
Platform: PlayStation 2
Released – Out Now
Price : £39.99
It’s always great to review a title that is something completely different from what we have seen before. I have to be absolutely honest though and admit that I didn’t know it was the Centenary year of the Tour de France. Whilst cycling is a fantastically popular sport in continental Europe, particularly France and Italy, there is only mild interest here in the UK. Still the game of this 100 year old event promises to be something special so let’s take a look at what it has to offer.As you may have guessed, the game is based solely on the Tour de France. There is an arcade mode, a practice mode, a 2 player mode and a time trial mode but the heart of the game is the Tour de France mode, or TDF as it’s labeled on the games wonderful radial menus. The TDF mode is basically a Gran Turismo lite. You create a rider, take part in local races and gradually improve your bike and rider until you are ready to compete in the Tour de France.In TDF mode, which is basically a five year career, you have a choice of training, taking part in a local race which can earn you money and ranking points, resting to recover from damage taken, entering the bike shop to make improvements to your bike, finding sponsors and looking at the race schedule. Of course your first goal will be to improve your cyclist and bicycle. Your cyclist has six attributes (power, stamina, turning, braking, toughness and damage) that can be improved through training. It is important not to ignore the damage rating. Whatever damage your cyclist takes in training or races will remain until he has been rested to recover. If you go into a race already damaged falling from your bike even once could mean the end of the race, so it’s good to make sure that your cyclist recovers. Training and resting will take one month so you have to use your time wisely.

As well as your cyclist having attributes your bicycle has them too. They are acceleration, top speed, turning, braking and weight. To begin with your bicycle (and cyclist) will be quite poor and will not handle well at all. You can make modifications, at a price of course, to the frame type, wheels, tyres, pedals, gears etc. Doing so will of course increase your bicycle attributes. You can also unlock bicycle and wheel skins to change the look of your bicycle. It is important to look at the nature of your next race, to see whether it is a mountainous one or a sprint race, in order to set the bicycle up accordingly.

So far so good but once you begin the races you’ll end up being disappointed. The biggest disappointment of all is the graphics, which look poor. If this had been a first generation PlayStation 2 title then it wouldn’t have been so bad. The textures look very basic and the whole thing looks very angular. The locations in which you race also look pretty generic and repetitive. Get to the Tour de France and it doesn’t look too different from the local races at the start of the game. It all comes off as a bit of an anti-climax.

Your cyclist is pretty simple to control. Holding the X button performs a normal rate of pedaling whilst tapping the X button makes your cyclist stand up and perform a sprint pedal, which of course moves the bicycle along at a greater pace. Sprinting uses up your stamina much more quickly though and in order to replenish that stamina you’ll need to tap the triangle button in order to drink a bottle of water. You can’t sprint and drink water though so you’ll have to pick your moment to have a drink otherwise you’ll lose positions. Once you’ve drunk all your 5 or so bottles of water you’re allowed to request two more bottles (by pressing the L2 button) but that’s all you’ll get so you have to use them wisely. It’s a bit annoying how you always start a race in last position though. I won three races in a row and yet I still was starting in last position, which makes it feel more like an arcade game than a simulation.

There are no problems for deaf gamers with Le Tour de France. All information is shown visually either through text or symbols. A message appears when you are 1Km from the end of a race which is quite useful if you’ve got a few places to make up. Your stamina is show via a green bar on the bottom left of the screen. Damage is also show on this bar, in red and moves from left to right. The gear indication is also given by flashing the number frequently here on the top right part of the gaming zone. You can gear up with increasing speed and vice versa. Mostly during the toughest part of the road like climbing mountains, you need to gear down for getting better control over the bicycle. Your speed is also shown but you don’t really need to look at this as you can feel if you’re going too slow or fast. Force feedback is actually quite good which makes a change from the usual rumbles that you get in most racing games.

It’s fair to say that Le Tour de France could have been much more that it actually is. It’s not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination but it leaves you feeling that more could have been done. Graphically it needs much improvement and it would have been superb if it had looked like Gran Turismo 3, which is actually an old game now, but instead it looks marginally better than a PSone title. Still Tour de France enthusiasts might get some enjoyment out of it and let’s face it, it’s in a genre all by itself.

Overall Game Rating: 6.5/10
Could have been so much better but the poor graphics arcade nature of the game fail to create a lasting impression. Still the two player races are quite good and if you’re a fan of the Tour de France it’s a lot better than nothing.

Deaf Gamers comment:
All information is presented visually.

© Deaf Gamers.com 2000

 

Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris PC

Published by: Matrix Games
Developed by: VR Designs

It would be easy to look at the screenshots of Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris and come to the conclusion that this may be one of the more inviting wargames released to date. Certainly the cartoon drawings that have been used on the Unit Troops Tab would tend to imply that efforts have been made to make the game more appealing to those who aren’t bona fide grognards. Don’t let these cartoon drawings fool you however. Decisive Campaigns is a serious wargame that will require time to learn and far longer to master. It offers dynamic campaigns that should make the replay value good with subsequent attempts at the campaigns offering up a different experience each time. The game also has a few tricks up its sleeve to offer the seasoned grognard something different.

Decisive Campaigns, a hex-based and turn-based wargame, offers a total of five scenarios for you to tackle. You can play Case White, Case Yellow, and Operation Sea Lion as well as two mini-scenarios Bzura and Netherlands. The first three of these can be strung together in campaign mode with events from one campaign having a knock-on effect in the subsequent campaigns. The scenarios are enjoyable but it’s rather unfortunate that there are only a few of them. The game offers various assist settings, multiple difficulty levels and even supports Play by Email. Well, isn’t all this a lot similar to the features and assistance offered by the Bitcoin exchanges. All you have to do is sign up with a good exchange and then leave it to them float your money in the industry for best possible outcome. You can read my review here on the same and get more confidence to invest some money in Bitcoins.

One of VR Designs previous titles, Advanced Tactics: World War II, was particularly popular for providing both random map and scenario generators. These two features helped to ensure that the replay value of the game was incredibly high. It seems rather odd then that Decisive Campaigns has neither of these features and limits you to the included scenarios only. This seems like a rather bizarre decision and it definitely impacts on the replay value of the game and certainly at first glance Advanced Tactics appears to be better value for money if you don’t own either of the games.

Whilst the lack of campaigns, random map and scenario generators is disappointing, it has to be noted that the replay value isn’t as poor as you might think. This is mostly due to Action Cards in the game. When you begin a campaign you’ll have a certain amount of Political Points that can be used to purchase Action Cards. These cards all have different costs and can provide you with military intelligence, buy you more time to complete a scenario and call in favours that can swing the battle in your favour. All of the generals in the game come with their own Action Cards and can amass several of them through the course of a scenario. Some general will have penalties imposed on them too. Both the Action Cards (which can make a variety of actions happen) and the penalties help to make subsequent plays of the same scenario feel quite different from each other.

In regards to the game’s presentation, Decisive Campaigns is pretty standard for a wargame. Battle depictions are extremely simplistic but you can opt for an in-depth statistical view of them if you wish. The top-down visuals look clean and are easy on the eyes but they’re certainly nothing special. You can choose to use NATO symbols or silhouettes on the counters. There are three levels of zoom and when zoomed in completely you can display the stacked units separately and you can also view extra details on the counters and hexes too. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll see cartoon drawings on the Unit Troops Tab which appear when you click on a counter on the map. I don’t mind the look of these drawings but they do seem a little unusual for a PC wargame. The time taken to process a turn seems rather long and it can take more than a few minutes on the larger maps which some will find a little irritating.

Decisive Campaigns is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The game contains no speech and all information is given visually through the use of text, numbers and icons. All objectives are given in text and can be recalled at any time. The game’s tutorial is delivered exclusively via text and serves as a very brief introduction to the game. The only comment I would make about the tutorial is that I don’t feel it goes far enough in helping you to get to grips with the game. I do appreciate that Decisive Campaigns is in a genre where you are expected to read the game manual to gain a full understanding of the game but the tutorial should give you more information than simply the bare basics and sadly the one included here doesn’t do a good enough job.

Even the most seasoned grognard will find something to like in Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris. The inclusion of action cards helps to not only add variety to the scenarios but also a certain amount of unpredictability too. It could be argued that the game doesn’t provide enough scenarios however and this would be a fair criticism. The absence of an editor compounds this problem as it prevents you from creating your own scenarios and having a free supply of user created scenarios to download. Still, what’s here is enjoyable and fans of Advanced Tactics: World War II would do well to consider the game.(Click the letter or here for details

)

A New Scoring System

A New Scoring System

For over ten years now (first as deafgamers.co.uk and then as deafgamers.com) we’ve been putting numerical scores at the end of a review to indicate how good we think a specific game is. It’s always seemed an artificial way of rating games and despite its simplicity it’s misunderstood by a surprising amount of people. When you think about it a game scoring five out of ten is mediocre, it’s about as mediocre or as average as you can get and yet it’s often perceived as being a terrible mark. Most games publishers think a game is a failure unless it has an average Metacritic rating of eight out of ten (or 80%). It’s all rather silly.

From now on we are not going to put a numerical score at the end of our reviews. We could simply not put anything and let the reader make up their own mind judging by what we’ve written in the review.

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However, I appreciate there are some who simply want a definitive judgement so instead of using a number which is so often misinterpreted, we are going to use a single word. The possible ratings for a game from now on then are:

Benchmark – Quite simply the best, or as good as anything in its genre at the time of writing.

Impressive – Not quite the best in its genre but very impressive nevertheless and highly recommended.

Respectable – There’s nothing or very little here that you won’t have seen before but the game is absolutely fine and a solid example of what a good game should be.

Average – A completely run-of-the-mill game that may have some disappointing aspects but mostly does a decent job. Fans of the genre are more likely to be able to overlook any problems the game has.

Poor – The disappointing aspects of the game are outnumbering the good ones and whilst it’s possible to enjoy the game, you can’t help but feel disappointed with the game as a whole.

Unworthy – By unworthy we mean it’s not worthy of you hard-earned cash. The game has many problems and if you’re even thinking of a purchase we advise that you wait for this to hit the bargain bin which probably won’t take long.

Shocking – It’s not often we see a game that’s a complete shambles but if we do this is the rating the game will acquire. Avoid at all costs.

We have tried to use words that were self-explanatory and didn’t cause any confusion. For instance StarCraft 2 would be considered a Benchmark game, Heavy Rain would be considered Impressive, MagnaCarta 2 would be Respectable, Risen Average, Buzz! Brain of the UK would definitely be Poor, Prison Break: The Conspiracy has to be Unworthy and the tacky Lula 3D Shocking.

So there you have it. We’ve done away with the numbers and any possible confusion or misinterpretation of our verdict on a game.

 

 

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© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2010

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943 PC

Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Paradox Interactive

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943, as the title implies, takes place in Kharkov in the early part of 1943. It covers just a small portion of the Eastern Front action between Germany and the Soviet Union. The game offers six scenarios which cover the battles of Taranovka and Sokolovo. The shortest of these battles has only five turns whilst the longest contains fifteen. If World War II strategy games are your thing then there may be enough here to make the game an appealing option and the low asking price of just £14.99 is certainly inviting. However, there are a number of missteps that have been made which make the game not quite as impressive as it could have otherwise been.

A company-level tactical combat simulation, Achtung Panzer has two main modes. Operational mode, which is turn-based, is where you can move your forces on a grid-based map and arrange reinforcements and repair and refuel your vehicles. Tactical mode, which is played out in real-time, is where the action takes place and you get to engage the enemy in combat and it has to be said that the combat is quite enjoyable and fairly realistic. Both modes are interrelated as the results of the Tactical mode determine what you can do in the Operational mode.

What really makes Achtung Panzer worthwhile for grognards everywhere is that the expansive battlefields have been designed using archive documents and photos, along with modern day video footage, to make them as authentic as possible. This allows you to make the most of the terrain, and indeed be impeded by it, just as the real generals were during the actual battles on the Eastern Front. Even though the battles play out in real time, you are able to pause the action and make tactical decisions on the go which certainly helps to keep things manageable. This feature actually sounds like an echo of the functioning of the Bitcoins industry, there too you can take a break to analyse what is the latest trend in the market and make your next move accordingly. Navigate to this website and make up your mind to try some luck with Bitcoins for outstanding profits.

It immediately becomes apparent that Achtung Panzer is not as polished as it could be. The first thing you expect to encounter in a game like this is a tutorial. Sure most tutorials aren’t good enough but even a flimsy tutorial can help to put you on the right track. Achtung Panzer doesn’t have any tutorial whatsoever and that’s one hell of an omission. To be fair the game does a decent job of introducing the basics but it’s no substitute for have a proper interactive tutorial and it’s a poor state of affairs that there isn’t one.

The problems with Achtung Panzer don’t stop there however. There’s no ability to save your game mid-battle or to replay a battle that’s already taken place which means that should you make a mess of a battle, you’re stuck with its consequences until you’ve finished the scenario which can seem a little punishing. It’s also unfortunate that the game has no multiplayer options at all. This means of course that you can only battle against the AI but whilst it thankfully behaves in what I would consider to be a realistic fashion, for the most part, it’s no substitute for playing against human opposition. The game does provide an editor, and it works very nicely too, but it would have had far more value if you had the ability to play against human opposition using your custom scenarios rather than the AI.

The presentation of the game is absolutely fine. The quality of the graphics may not be the greatest but they are certainly good enough for a game of this type. I particularly like the effect of battles at night which you don’t often see in games such as this. The interface is absolutely fine and easy to use. On first playing the game I found it to be an absolute system resource hog but using the latest update has resulted in much better performance. The game uses a combination of text, numbers and icons to relay information and it won’t cause deaf gamers any problems. Briefings, which include Operational Status and Background Situation information, are exclusively in text and the text can be read at your own pace.

At its low price point, Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943 is a solid purchase for hardcore strategy fans. AI quirks and a complete absence of multiplayer options are unfortunate but there’s enough single-player content here to make it well worth the asking price. Those who don’t usually dabble in this genre would be wise to look elsewhere for a gentler introduction to the genre however. The absence of a tutorial and mid-battle save can make this feel like a punishing experience and whilst the manual does help you to get to grips with the game, it’s no substitute for a proper introduction to the game. Essentially then it’s a game that will satisfy its target audience but any future sequels should definitely have more thought put into them.

Overall Game Rating 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
(Click the letter or here for details)

 

 

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943

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© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2010

DGC Grade Table 2010

Click here for an explanation of the DGC Rating system.

Game Title
Publisher
Format
Rating
Subtitled
DGC
Army of Two: The 40th Day
EA
X360
7.0
N
D
Mass Effect 2
EA
X360
10
Y
B
MAG
Sony
PS3
8.0
N
D
Heavy Rain
Sony
PS3
8.5
Y
B
Dante’s Inferno
EA
PS3
7.5
Y
B
City Rain
Ovolo
PC
7.0
Y
B
Napoleon Total War
SEGA
PC
9.0
Y
B
BioShock 2
2K Games
X360
9.0
Y
B
Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce
Tecmo Koei
PS3
7.0
Y
B
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
EA
X360
9.0
Y
B
Machinarium
Amanita
PC
8.5
N/A
E
White Knight Chronicles
Sony
PS3
6.5
Y
B
Torchlight
JoWooD
PC
9.0
Y
C
God of War III
Sony
PS3
9.0
Y
B

Subtitled ratings are as follows:

N = Not subtitled.
Y = Subtitled.
N/A = Subtitles not needed.

Previous Years

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2010

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Fallout 3 PlayStation 3

Published by: Bethesda Softworks
Developed by: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: Out Now

War, war never changes but tastes and technology do and things have changed a great deal since Fallout 2 was released on the PC over a decade ago. For many fans of the series, there has been a lot of apprehension surrounding the development of Fallout 3. The original Fallout games were turn-based affairs, had a sense of humour unique to the time they were developed and a character quite unlike any other RPG that’s been made. If you were to ask me what I would have wanted from a Fallout sequel, I would probably have said that I wanted a similar game to the first two Fallout titles only with updated graphics. Of course this wouldn’t have appealed to many other than hardcore Fallout fans. Isometric turn-based RPG’s are an acquired taste and nowadays most people expect gorgeous 3D visuals and open worlds that you can explore at will amongst other things. Bethesda just couldn’t do Fallout 3 in the same vein as Fallout 2. They had to bring it into the twenty-first century whilst retaining the flavour of the original games and it’s something they have achieved in style with Fallout 3.

The story for Fallout 3 is set in the open wastes of post-apocalyptic Washington DC. The game begins in Vault 101 with your character (who can be male or female) being born and your mother passing away shortly after your birth. The early phase of the game acts a tutorial and you’ll play through a few key events in your character’s upbringing including a birthday party (in which you’re given your Pip-Boy, a device worn on the arm that has a myriad of functions) and an examination known as a G.O.A.T test where your answers will shape what kind of character you will be (you can make alterations if you’re not happy with the results). Things eventually go pear shaped however as you learn that your father has escaped Vault 101 and the Vault’s security forces are after your blood because the overseer of the Vault doesn’t like anyone leaving and he believes that you knew what your father was up to. The upshot of this is that you have to escape the Vault and it’s on leaving the Vault that the game truly opens up into a non-linear experience.

The main storyline in Fallout 3 is only a small part of the game. If you were to stick strictly to the storyline it’s possible that this could seem like a fairly short RPG. That’s probably not how most people will play the game however. During the course of the game there are many side quests to complete and it’s most likely that you won’t see all that the game has to offer in a single play through. There are quite a few ways to solve the quests in the game. You can go the good, evil, violent or peaceful route with many of the quests which is certainly pleasing and it also adds to the replay value because you’re going to want to play through again and take different actions just to see what the different consequences were.

One of the biggest reservations I had about Bethesda developing Fallout 3 was that their Elder Scrolls games featured real-time combat and I honestly didn’t want this in Fallout 3. Whilst there is real-time combat in Fallout 3, Bethesda have decided to include a system known as V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) which gives the combat a turn-based feel that’s rather similar to the combat system found in the original Fallout games. As soon as you are involved in a battle you can press the R2 button to activate the V.A.T.S. and then you’ll have action points (AP) to use. You can aim your attacks at various parts of the body such as the head, torso and limbs (you’re shown percentage rating for the chance of a successful hit for each body part). Once you’ve chosen your attack targets, you will see a slow-motion sequence of your attacks being carried out. Your action points replenish over time so should your initial attacks not kill the enemy you’ll have to wait a while before you can press the R2 button again to choose your attack manoeuvres once more. The V.A.T.S. combat system works really well and definitely works a lot better than the standard real-time combat which actually feels slightly disappointing. Throughout the game the combat remains quite challenging as the enemies appear to scale to your level meaning you’re always faced with challenging enemies, regardless of your character level.

During combat one thing will become immediately obvious, Fallout 3 is an extremely gory game. Shooting a character in the head usually results in decapitation and you’ll usually see limbs removed if you hit your enemies there. It can be quite a shock where you first see this and the blood fountains that accompany it. Still it is an 18 rated game and the use of profanity in the game, from certain characters, only reinforces this. Fallout 3 is a far grittier experience than Oblivion as a result of the violence and the gore but in many ways this is in keeping with the earlier Fallout games. There are no lush medieval style environments here. The landscapes are barren wastelands and the locations are either derelict buildings or essentially piles of scrap materials that have been used to concoct residences.

Fallout 3 is pretty much on a par with Oblivion in regards to its graphical quality. To a degree this is a little disappointing because Oblivion (at least on the PC and 360) is a few years old now. The PlayStation 3 version does suffer from some technical problems. The frame rate stutters on occasion and there are several glitches. Whilst exploring the wasteland I’ve seen textures fail to load for several moments leaving a horrible patchwork effect of coloured squares where the ground textures should be. I’ve also seen missing textures on character models too, which looks even more unsightly. There is no anti-aliasing in the PlayStation 3 giving the graphics much more of a jagged appearance.  The lighting effects also look rather basic at times. Animations are mostly look OK but the one real disappointment in this respect comes when you switch from a first person perspective to a third person perspective. As in Oblivion the animations of your character when changing to a third person view are very poor. This would be a problem except that it’s much more enjoyable to play the game from a first person perspective and most will never want to switch to a third person mode.

Thankfully, Fallout 3 is subtitled. As in Oblivion, there are Dialogue Subtitles and General Subtitles and by default only Dialogue Subtitles are enabled. Unfortunately Fallout 3 is also like Oblivion in that the introductory cutscene isn’t subtitled meaning you’ll miss out on the ‘War, war never changes’ dialogue that the series is famous for.  Other cutscenes in the game are subtitled (at least the ones I’ve encountered are and it’s worth pointing out that you’ll need to play through the game multiple times to see everything it has to offer). All important conversations in the game are subtitled. The subtitles are placed against a darkened background for maximum clarity. Occasionally there are some comments made whilst you are conversing with another character and these extraneous comments are not subtitled (which makes a lot of sense as it would become confusing). If you look at the door of a building which you shouldn’t enter, someone will usually comment that you shouldn’t even think about it and these comments are not subtitled. The dialogue from the radio channels on your Pip-Boy are not subtitled which is unfortunate and this does deny deaf gamers some of the game’s ambience. Objectives are given in text and can be recalled at any time from your Pip-Boy. Tutorial messages are also given in text. You are warned in text when enemies are close by (you’ll see red dots on your compass too). In fact the game uses red text to denote dangerous situations. There aren’t any captions to depict the approaching enemy sounds however and it’s possible that some enemies will spring a surprise attack on you during the game but for the most part you’ll be aware of their presence. If you attempt to enter a building that you shouldn’t or use items that you have no right to, the descriptive text for all of this will be red. In short then it’s not a perfect experience for deaf gamers but there aren’t any serious problems here.

Despite its shortcomings, Fallout 3 is arguably one of the best RPG’s on the PlayStation 3 to date. Some diehard Fallout fans won’t be happy with the game and will simply label it as a post-apocalyptic Oblivion rather than a true sequel to Fallout 2 and in some respects that’s a fairly convincing argument. The important thing to remember is that if you ignore the Fallout heritage for a moment and take the game for what it is, you have to admit that it’s actually a very impressive RPG. Some of the Fallout flavour has been retained thanks for the most part to the skills and perks used during the development of your character, the V.A.T.S. combat system, which is excellent, and the interface artwork but it’s still an Oblivion-like RPG. Same goes to any other field, be it something as important as investments made in Bitcoins. The whole feel created by the exchanges is brilliant and actually attracts the investors in the best possible way. One can also learn from news on Bitcoins to understand how well the interface has been drafted and presented. In some respects Fallout 3 is a more focused game but there’s plenty of room for doing your own thing and you’ll need to play through the game several times before you can say you’ve seen everything it has to offer. Fallout 3 on the PlayStation 3 has its share of problems but it’s still an RPG that most fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy and Bethesda have captured just enough of the series’ spirit to satisfy most fans of the Fallout series.

Overall Game Rating 9.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification C
(Click the letter or here for details)

 

 

Fallout 3Fallout 3

Fallout 3

Fallout 3

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© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2010

Conquest! Medieval Realms PC

Published by: Slitherine
Developed by: Illustrious Software

Sometimes simplicity can be a good thing. Conquest! Medieval Realms is for all intents and purposes a simple strategy game that’s easy to get to grips with and yet, like all good strategy games (be they board or computer games) it can be tricky to master. The basic idea is to try and claim 80% of the map’s territory (although you may be given other objectives on occasion). The game plays out just like a board game with you moving your pieces around the board in an attempt to claim as many hexes as you can. It’s an enjoyable game with a lot of content but it’s not as polished as it should be.

Conquest! Medieval Realms offers four campaigns based around the War of the Roses and the 100 Years War. In total there are over thirty scenarios spread across these campaigns and you’re given a briefing and some historical information (in text) for each of them. You can also jump into a skirmish battle if you choose with randomly generated maps, which gives you even more replay value. You can also try your hand at making your own scenarios and campaigns thanks to the map, scenario and campaign editors that have been included. When you’ve had enough of the AI, you can either play online or locally thanks to the inclusion of a Hotseat mode for up to eight players. There is no Play By Email option here though which does seem a little odd given the nature of the game.

There are three main types of units in the game and as you’d expect there’s a rock-paper-scissors relationship between the three. Cavalry are good against ranged units who are in turn are good against spear units and they are good against cavalry units. Each unit has three levels with levels two and three being more expensive. Until you’ve placed an archery range and stables you won’t be able to purchase anything other than spear units. You’ll have to keep an eye on your finances because should you be unable to afford the upkeep of your units you’ll, frustratingly, lose your entire army which can leave you up the proverbial stinky creek without a paddle. You can build markets and mines etc. to increase your income. Income producing buildings can be captured however. In fact splitting territories and reducing the income of your enemies is a sound strategy for victory, particularly when they have a large army to maintain.

As enjoyable as Conquest! Medieval Realms is, it has some stability problems at the time of writing and these are unfortunate. Attempting to change the screen resolution or attempting to go from full screen to windowed mode crashes the game. Even opening the pause menu and attempting to close it resulted in a back to desktop crash. Such instability is rather irritating to say the least. We played the game using the latest update at the time of writing (version 1.8) so hopefully future updates will remedy these problems but for now it’s all a bit of a mess. The game is also lacking an end of turn summary. On the bigger maps and against multiple opponents it can be really tricky keeping up with what your opponents have done during their turn.

The presentation of Conquest! Medieval Realms is simple but tasteful. The various units, which look like they’ve been taken from a medieval themed chess set, all look rather pleasing. The hex-based maps are rather plain in their design but they are easy on the eyes and it’s always easy to make out what the specific territory hexes are. The game doesn’t use any speech and all of the instructions are given in text. In fact all of the information in the game is given visually either through the use of colour-coding, text or numbers.  So basically if you follow these texts and understand the gaming, you will certainly be able to perform well. Just how you manage to excel in your investments made in Bitcoins. You can always try these out and find out more relevance between this game and Bitcoins to understand how excellence appears in real.  There isn’t an interactive tutorial, which is unfortunate as the game sorely needs one, but there are three tutorial screens that explain how to play the game and provide important pieces of information. Essentially then, Conquest! Medieval Realms is deaf gamer friendly.

Conquest! Medieval Realms is a game that will appeal to those who like their strategy games simple and addictive. You’re getting a lot of value for your money here with over thirty scenarios across four campaigns as well as the ability to have Internet and Hotseat multiplayer games. The lack of a Play By Email mode is disappointing however, as are the stability issues that are present in the current version (v1.8) of the game. Hopefully a future update will resolve the stability problems and make Conquest! Medieval Realms a game that strategy fans will want to purchase.

Overall Game Rating 6.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
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Conquest! Medieval Realms

Conquest! Medieval Realms

Conquest! Medieval Realms

Conquest! Medieval Realms

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© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2009

Elven Legacy PC DVD

Published by: 1C Company
Developed by: 1C: Ino-Co.

Elven Legacy is a hex-based, turn-based fantasy strategy game that offers a few single-player campaigns, an assortment of single-missions and a multiplayer mode supporting hotseat, LAN and Internet play. It also offers a couple of tutorials to get you up to speed with how the game plays (which, as we’ll see in a moment, aren’t that useful for deaf gamers). The non-linear campaigns are actually quite enjoyable, not because of the storyline which is poor to say the least but because of the challenging nature of the missions you’ll take part in. If anyone of you is Bitcoin followers and investors, you will surely understand how crucial good tutorials are to achieve your objective. It also makes your base strong and ultimately assist you to perform well in the market. Feel free to read more about this online or get in touch with an expert for more details on Bitcoins. The campaigns allows you to play as the Elves, Humans and Orcs. Initially you’ll begin by taking charge of an Elven commander called Lord Sagittel, an Elven sorceress called Gylven and their forces as they hunt for a runaway mage. You’ll run into countless enemies and play through a variety of missions that steadily increase in difficulty.

During the course of the campaign you’ll get to recruit a variety of different units and the game includes quite a good variety of units too. The game does a good job of introducing new units and abilities as the campaign unfolds meaning that you’re not overwhelmed with a ton of information in the early stages of the game. The game also encourages you to not be wasteful with your units as your units will gain experience, level-up and gain new perks. Additionally, there is always the possibility of your units finding artefacts, which can enhance their abilities, during the course of a mission. You’ll even get the opportunity to upgrade your units between missions although this can be expensive and gold isn’t exactly in plentiful supply in the game. You’ll want to keep your more experienced units, with all of their perks and abilities, because the missions really become tricky as you progress through the campaign and you’re not going to get very far if you’re constantly calling on raw recruits.

The game is fairly traditional in its approach, if a little light in some aspects such as resource management, and will appeal to fans of the genre but it’s also very accessible and won’t give newcomers too many problems. The game does have a couple of rough edges in its presentation that detract from the experience however. The translation to English wasn’t quite as good as it could have been and at times you’ll notice the dialogue seems a little awkward. Deaf gamers will notice that some sections of the tutorials are subtitled and some are not. Hearing gamers will notice that the parts of the tutorials that are subtitled are delivered in Russian and the parts that are not subtitled are in English. As far as we’re concerned it’s disappointing that sections of the tutorials are not subtitled but why only redo some of the voice work in English? It smacks of a rushed effort and it does hurt the general presentation of the game. The game’s storyline is rather poor, possibly another side effect of a poor translation, and this does damage the game’s appeal somewhat. It’s also a shame because there’s not much wrong with how the game plays and it really deserves a quality storyline. It’s also difficult to feel any attachment to the main hero characters in the game because they are just so sterile. They don’t have any charm or personality and whilst that’s by no means a requirement for games in this genre, it certainly helps to keep you interested.

Graphically, Elven Legacy can simply be regarded as looking good enough. The character designs are quite good although personally I think the Elven women are showing too much of their cleavage but I daresay some will regard that as a selling point. When zoomed out you’ll view your forces as a single character and when you zoom in you’ll see the individual units that make up your forces. You can also configure this to either permanently show the large single character or the individual units if you wish. The maps that you’ll play on look fairly decent but certainly aren’t as impressive as in some of the other games in the genre. The interface is well laid out and is about as user-friendly as it could be.

On the whole Elven Legacy doesn’t do a bad job of catering for deaf gamers but it could have been better. Part of the intro movie Isn’t subtitled, which is unfortunate as it means you’re missing out on some of the background to the game’s storyline. The tutorials, as we mentioned earlier, have significant chunks of them that are not subtitled and this makes their usefulness to deaf gamers questionable. The main game itself however fares better. All of the dialogue is subtitled and you can read the text at your own pace as you need to click the left mouse button to progress the conversation. All dialogues are accompanied by character portraits so you can see who is saying what at all times. Mission briefings and objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time. You are notified in text when a particular unit’s morale has been ‘broken’ and the game also does a good job of visually showing damage values that have been caused during a battle. The game makes it clear where you should be heading at all times and you’re notified when you’re coming close to the maximum number of turns that you can take to earn specific awards.

Fantasy turn-based strategy enthusiasts will definitely enjoy what Elven Legacy has to offer. The game-play mechanics are solid, there are no real AI or interface problems that could make the game frustrating in any way and there is definitely some replay value here thanks to the single-player campaign being a non-linear affair. The game is marred by an uninteresting storyline and a slightly awkward English translation however and it would definitely have helped if the main characters in the game had some sort of personality. Fans of the genre won’t be perturbed by those problems however and what they will find here is a game that’s well worth their time and effort.

Overall Game Rating 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification C
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© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2009

Deaf Gamers Classification Grade Table 2009

DGC Grade Table 2009
Game Title
Publisher
Format
Rating
DGC
100 Classic Book Collection
Nintendo
DS
8.0
B
Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge
Matrix Games
PC
6.0
C
Mirror’s Edge
EA
PC
7.0
C
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest
EA
PC
6.0
C
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest
EA
PS3
6.0
C
 

DGC Grade Table 2005

DGC Grade Table 2006

DGC Grade Table 2007

DGC Grade Table 2008

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Coming back to the rankings of the games,

© Deaf Gamers 2000 – 2008