CIV REV 360 FOB AUS Seventeen years ago, back in 1991, a developer called Sid Meier (one of the founders of Microprose) created a little game called Civilization. It went on to become one of the most loved games of all time, winning the best strategy game of the year, and in 1996 was named #1 in a list of the top 150 games of all time published by Computer Gaming World. Each one of the sequels has been met with high critical acclaim – these include Civilization II, III, IV, and the brilliant Alpha Centurai. You can also play the board game (Highly recommended), and even download Civilization III onto your phone. This review is dedicated to those few poor souls who have not experienced the totally addictive – ‘…just gotta have one more turn before I go to bed’ gameplay which is a hallmark of all Civ games. Enjoy…

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topspin The battle for tennis videogame supremacy mirrors the real life rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Both the Top Spin and Virtua Tennis series are excellent in their own right. 2K Sports served up Top Spin 2 on the Xbox 360 in 2006, and like its predecessor was a highly playable and realistic tennis simulator. Sega returned with Virtua Tennis 3 in 2007, raising the bar in terms of next-gen graphics, and continuing in the arcade traditions of the series. Can Top Spin 3 hit a winner and take the victory spoils?

Top Spin 3 will be the first game in the series to be released on the PlayStation3, but this review covers the Xbox 360 version only. A Wii version also exists but is built on a different engine to the PS3/360 version.

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bfbc Battlefield: Bad Company (BFBC) the game is almost as turbulent an experience as the pre release scandals and media attention that it received for EA’s initial plans to sell weapons already on the disc as downloaded content. With that situation fixed, and the Beta well behind us, we are left with the final result of Dice’s first release on the current generation of consoles built from the ground up on the Frost Bite development engine. BFBC is set in the not very distant future and focuses on a rather rag tag group of soldier in the US army dubbed B Company aka Bad Company.

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Everybody’s Golf 2 also known as Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 in America, the family friendly golf game so called as ‘everybody’ can play it, even a complete novice golfer like myself. From the get go it looks much like its predecessor, cutesy big-headed characters playing tournaments across a variety of golfing greens to win more characters, new courses and items to soup up your golfer’s appearance.

The single player options include Challenge, Stroke Play, Minigame and Training modes. Stroke Play lets you play through any course of your choosing, to have a quick round of golf. Minigame is a simple but addictive task of hitting a hole-in-one, made much easier with three large holes to choose from, each hole worth a little more points than the other. While navigating through the menus at times the game can appear frozen as the transition between screens isn’t smooth and there is no sign to show that loading is taking place.

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cackw Kanes Wrath is a stand alone expansion but there is alot to offer. With the exsisting 3 factions GDI,Brotherhood of N.O.D. and the Alien scum race The Scin. There are now 2 extra side factions to coinside with each major faction.Each side faction specialises in certain areas much like Command and Conquer:Generals on PC .Example,The Black Hand of NOD specialise in flame so they are able to get a special napalm upgrade for their flame units . The introduction of mega units to each side is very much an awesome welcome to Kanes Wrath along with the new Control Stick (but i’ll get into that in a little bit).

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indy For those of you who don’t know, Lego Indiana Jones – The Original Adventures – is a game where all the characters, vehicles, and parts of the environments are made of every kids favourite building blocks – Lego.

A lot of us were first introduced to this concept with Lego – Star Wars, and the novel gameplay overlaid with the whole Lego thing provided a pleasant surprise to all but hardest of core gamers. I mean – we all love Lego right?

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grid Codemasters have a long list of reasonably well respected racing games. TOCA Touring Car Championship was released towards the end of 1997 and proved popular in territories like Australia where motorsports are very prolific. A number of sequels followed and the TOCA series was renamed V8 Supercars in Australia and New Zealand. 2006 saw Codemasters bring out TOCA Race Driver 3 which continued with the theme of ever expanding motorsports available to contest. Race Driver GRID is the evolution of the TOCA series, a mix between the arcade and simulation type racing games and is probably best described as a hybrid of the two.

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Update: We are now able to confirm the our earlier report, that EB Games will be purchasing the retail chain “The Gamesman“. ButtonMasher have it on good authority that the changeover at the retail level will happen on Monday 14 July, although it is unclear at this stage when the rebranding of stores will be occurring. Now would be an extremely good time to cash in any remaining Gamesman gift vouchers – there could be no guarantee that these will be valid at EB Games from 14 July onwards.

Also, the talk in the industry today is that The Gamesman’s online store (www.gamesman.co.nz) will remain open for business even after the acquisition of the retail stores. This will be of some relief to gamers who fear that this latest business takeover leaves little choice in the New Zealand gaming market from specialist stores. However this news will not be of any comfort to other competing webstores in New Zealand.

ButtonMasher has been told unofficially that New Zealand’s largest independent gaming store (“100% KIWI owned and managed”) is going to be bought out by retail giant EB Games. This follows the demise earlier this year of the GamesPlus stores, which were born from the failed Central Park Interactive.

First E“A” and now E“B”. Each engulfing smaller independent companies in their quest for global domination. While there remains a reasonable degree of competition from non-specialty stores, this latest news will basically mean that for most New Zealanders, a “gaming store” will become synonymous with “EB Games”. Will somebody please think of the children! (viz. future GTA gamers)

Our sources have been told that all 8 stores in Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch, will be rebranded and refitted as EB stores by late July. These centres all have current EB Games stores, but the official word (as presented to staff members) is that there will be no job losses. However as we all know, these can hardly be taken as reassurances. More than likely, EB stores will just not replace staff as they resign, and leave the downsizing until this has happened. And in areas where two stores are not justified, it is hard to see this not happening.

ButtonmMasher tip: Make sure that you cash in any remaining Gift Vouchers you might have.