Technology for gamers

Rating: NNNNN


World of Warcraft Platform: PC, $59.99 plus a $14.99 U.S. monthly fee. Rating: NNNNN

Remember how you used to sleep at night, spend time with the family, shower? Well, all of that is over. World Of Warcraft has shipped, and it’s every bit the game-crack it’s hyped to be. In Blizzard’s new MMOG, a massive online world, thousands of players adventure, trade and fight together over months and even years of gaming. In Blizzard’s fantasy world, made popular in the Warcraft series of RTS games, you play as a member of the Alliance or Horde, warring factions spread across two huge continents. Each faction contains four races and nine classes to choose from.

Blizzard’s attention to detail and distinctive graphical design reach new levels here, with varied, vast and beautiful environments and incredible character models and animations. The many quests are fun solo or in groups, and instanced dungeons create a copy of the dungeon just for your group – no more camping for the good loot.

Best of all, Blizzard has taken out most of the drudgery associated with MMOGs, making this a highly accessible, streamlined game without sacrificing depth of play. An amazing feat and one that gamers will be praising for years to come. Say goodbye to your free time.

CD

DOOM 3 Platform: PC. $59.99. Rating: NN

The fathers of the first-person shooter are back with another hellish trip to Mars in the third instalment of this decade-old franchise. Like most games from Id, the big news here isn’t the game as much as the cutting-edge engine that powers it. Once again they’ve delivered a groundbreaking piece of technology and jaw-dropping graphics. Doom 3 is easily the best looking game ever made, with stunning lighting and atmospheric effects. The fathers of the first-person shooter are back with another hellish trip to Mars in the third instalment of this decade-old franchise. Like most games from Id, the big news here isn’t the game as much as the cutting-edge engine that powers it. Once again they’ve delivered a groundbreaking piece of technology and jaw-dropping graphics. Doom 3 is easily the best looking game ever made, with stunning lighting and atmospheric effects.

Sadly, once the glamour of the imagery has worn off, there isn’t much of a game here. For every step forward in eye candy, the creators seem to have taken a step backwards in game design. It’s creepy and dark with some genuine scares, but most of the game comes down to walk into a room, step on a trigger, release a scary monster, kill it, repeat. It gets old fast. Sadly, once the glamour of the imagery has worn off, there isn’t much of a game here. For every step forward in eye candy, the creators seem to have taken a step backwards in game design. It’s creepy and dark with some genuine scares, but most of the game comes down to walk into a room, step on a trigger, release a scary monster, kill it, repeat. It gets old fast.

Fun for what it is and the best game around to show off your new $600 video card, Doom 3 is ultimately not much more than a demo of Id’s incredible new game engine.
Fun for what it is and the best game around to show off your new $600 video card, Doom 3 is ultimately not much more than a demo of Id’s incredible new game engine.

CD

HALO 2 Platform: Xbox, $59.99. Rating: NNNN

Picking up where the last game left off, the Master Chief is back in action against the alien Covenant as they bring the fight to Earth. Picking up where the last game left off, the Master Chief is back in action against the alien Covenant as they bring the fight to Earth. Picking up where the last game left off, the Master Chief is back in action against the alien Covenant as they bring the fight to Earth.

So what’s new? A few old weapons are gone, some have been improved, and new ones have been added, including the plasma sword – an alien melee weapon that spells instant death for anyone close by. Also, you can dual-wield now, adding some strategy to your selections. There’s new machinery to drive and fly, and the old machines have improved handling and a boost feature. Best of all, you can now jump onto moving vehicles and steal them. So what’s new? A few old weapons are gone, some have been improved, and new ones have been added, including the plasma sword – an alien melee weapon that spells instant death for anyone close by. Also, you can dual-wield now, adding some strategy to your selections. There’s new machinery to drive and fly, and the old machines have improved handling and a boost feature. Best of all, you can now jump onto moving vehicles and steal them. So what’s new? A few old weapons are gone, some have been improved, and new ones have been added, including the plasma sword – an alien melee weapon that spells instant death for anyone close by. Also, you can dual-wield now, adding some strategy to your selections. There’s new machinery to drive and fly, and the old machines have improved handling and a boost feature. Best of all, you can now jump onto moving vehicles and steal them.

The multi-player game is solid, with well-designed new levels and the addition of Xbox Live online capabilities. You’ll be fragging friends online long after you’ve beat the single-player campaign. This is a solid follow-up to a great game. Although it has nothing really new or revolutionary here, it delivers what a good sequel should – more of what made the original great: more weapons, more vehicles, more story, more ways to kick alien ass, plus online multi-player.
The multi-player game is solid, with well-designed new levels and the addition of Xbox Live online capabilities. You’ll be fragging friends online long after you’ve beat the single-player campaign. This is a solid follow-up to a great game. Although it has nothing really new or revolutionary here, it delivers what a good sequel should – more of what made the original great: more weapons, more vehicles, more story, more ways to kick alien ass, plus online multi-player.
The multi-player game is solid, with well-designed new levels and the addition of Xbox Live online capabilities. You’ll be fragging friends online long after you’ve beat the single-player campaign. This is a solid follow-up to a great game. Although it has nothing really new or revolutionary here, it delivers what a good sequel should – more of what made the original great: more weapons, more vehicles, more story, more ways to kick alien ass, plus online multi-player.

CD

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Platform: GameCube, $59.99. Rating: NNNNN

Once again, Princess Peach has been stolen away and Mario must go to her rescue. This time, however, it’s not with Bowser’s bower that blame lies. New players are in town, the X-naughts. Paper Mario’s cutesy look is deceiving – these well-crafted puzzles will challenge RPG fans and keep them glued with the game’s addictive and unique battle system. Once again, Princess Peach has been stolen away and Mario must go to her rescue. This time, however, it’s not with Bowser’s bower that blame lies. New players are in town, the X-naughts. Paper Mario’s cutesy look is deceiving – these well-crafted puzzles will challenge RPG fans and keep them glued with the game’s addictive and unique battle system. Once again, Princess Peach has been stolen away and Mario must go to her rescue. This time, however, it’s not with Bowser’s bower that blame lies. New players are in town, the X-naughts. Paper Mario’s cutesy look is deceiving – these well-crafted puzzles will challenge RPG fans and keep them glued with the game’s addictive and unique battle system. Once again, Princess Peach has been stolen away and Mario must go to her rescue. This time, however, it’s not with Bowser’s bower that blame lies. New players are in town, the X-naughts. Paper Mario’s cutesy look is deceiving – these well-crafted puzzles will challenge RPG fans and keep them glued with the game’s addictive and unique battle system.

Subplots pepper game play with multilevel humour and keep the story moving along. A clever world design sets the stage for Mario’s adventures in each of its distinctive chapters. Subplots pepper game play with multilevel humour and keep the story moving along. A clever world design sets the stage for Mario’s adventures in each of its distinctive chapters. Subplots pepper game play with multilevel humour and keep the story moving along. A clever world design sets the stage for Mario’s adventures in each of its distinctive chapters. Subplots pepper game play with multilevel humour and keep the story moving along. A clever world design sets the stage for Mario’s adventures in each of its distinctive chapters.

Like all Mario titles, plenty of star and coin collecting abound, but with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it’s been combined with great turn-based game play and a rich storyline that defines the RPG genre. This stellar title is the first Mario RPG on the GameCube, and like many of its predecessors, takes top honours in helping to define the console.
Like all Mario titles, plenty of star and coin collecting abound, but with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it’s been combined with great turn-based game play and a rich storyline that defines the RPG genre. This stellar title is the first Mario RPG on the GameCube, and like many of its predecessors, takes top honours in helping to define the console.
Like all Mario titles, plenty of star and coin collecting abound, but with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it’s been combined with great turn-based game play and a rich storyline that defines the RPG genre. This stellar title is the first Mario RPG on the GameCube, and like many of its predecessors, takes top honours in helping to define the console.
Like all Mario titles, plenty of star and coin collecting abound, but with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it’s been combined with great turn-based game play and a rich storyline that defines the RPG genre. This stellar title is the first Mario RPG on the GameCube, and like many of its predecessors, takes top honours in helping to define the console.

JC

Katamari Damacy Platform: PlayStation 2, $29.99. Rating: NNNN

Namco is well known for innovative game play, and Katamari Damacy easily exceeds the confines of even the most creative games. Namco is well known for innovative game play, and Katamari Damacy easily exceeds the confines of even the most creative games. Namco is well known for innovative game play, and Katamari Damacy easily exceeds the confines of even the most creative games. Namco is well known for innovative game play, and Katamari Damacy easily exceeds the confines of even the most creative games. Namco is well known for innovative game play, and Katamari Damacy easily exceeds the confines of even the most creative games.

You are the Prince of Cosmos, righting the wrongs of your father, who happens to have accidentally knocked the stars out of the sky. In short order, you’re sent to Earth to gather enough items to create a whole new set of stars. You’re given Katamari, a small sticky ball to roll around and collect… well, everything. You are the Prince of Cosmos, righting the wrongs of your father, who happens to have accidentally knocked the stars out of the sky. In short order, you’re sent to Earth to gather enough items to create a whole new set of stars. You’re given Katamari, a small sticky ball to roll around and collect… well, everything. You are the Prince of Cosmos, righting the wrongs of your father, who happens to have accidentally knocked the stars out of the sky. In short order, you’re sent to Earth to gather enough items to create a whole new set of stars. You’re given Katamari, a small sticky ball to roll around and collect… well, everything. You are the Prince of Cosmos, righting the wrongs of your father, who happens to have accidentally knocked the stars out of the sky. In short order, you’re sent to Earth to gather enough items to create a whole new set of stars. You’re given Katamari, a small sticky ball to roll around and collect… well, everything. You are the Prince of Cosmos, righting the wrongs of your father, who happens to have accidentally knocked the stars out of the sky. In short order, you’re sent to Earth to gather enough items to create a whole new set of stars. You’re given Katamari, a small sticky ball to roll around and collect… well, everything.

You roll and pick up thumbtacks, roll and add a stool, roll and grab a chair, roll some more and collect a cat, a table, people… even Godzilla. As long as your ball is big enough to add it to the mass, anything goes. You roll and pick up thumbtacks, roll and add a stool, roll and grab a chair, roll some more and collect a cat, a table, people… even Godzilla. As long as your ball is big enough to add it to the mass, anything goes. You roll and pick up thumbtacks, roll and add a stool, roll and grab a chair, roll some more and collect a cat, a table, people… even Godzilla. As long as your ball is big enough to add it to the mass, anything goes. You roll and pick up thumbtacks, roll and add a stool, roll and grab a chair, roll some more and collect a cat, a table, people… even Godzilla. As long as your ball is big enough to add it to the mass, anything goes. You roll and pick up thumbtacks, roll and add a stool, roll and grab a chair, roll some more and collect a cat, a table, people… even Godzilla. As long as your ball is big enough to add it to the mass, anything goes.

Exclusively played using the analog sticks, this game is equally easy to learn for everyone the trick is in controlling the movement of the ball as you pick up more items that affect the shape of your katamari and the way it moves. In a race with a ticking timer, you’ll find yourself rolling your day away to the game’s catchy tunes before you know it. Exclusively played using the analog sticks, this game is equally easy to learn for everyone the trick is in controlling the movement of the ball as you pick up more items that affect the shape of your katamari and the way it moves. In a race with a ticking timer, you’ll find yourself rolling your day away to the game’s catchy tunes before you know it. Exclusively played using the analog sticks, this game is equally easy to learn for everyone the trick is in controlling the movement of the ball as you pick up more items that affect the shape of your katamari and the way it moves. In a race with a ticking timer, you’ll find yourself rolling your day away to the game’s catchy tunes before you know it. Exclusively played using the analog sticks, this game is equally easy to learn for everyone the trick is in controlling the movement of the ball as you pick up more items that affect the shape of your katamari and the way it moves. In a race with a ticking timer, you’ll find yourself rolling your day away to the game’s catchy tunes before you know it. Exclusively played using the analog sticks, this game is equally easy to learn for everyone the trick is in controlling the movement of the ball as you pick up more items that affect the shape of your katamari and the way it moves. In a race with a ticking timer, you’ll find yourself rolling your day away to the game’s catchy tunes before you know it.

Released in late September, this title has been out on the market for a while, yet availability is scarce. Get it where you can find it. Released in late September, this title has been out on the market for a while, yet availability is scarce. Get it where you can find it. Released in late September, this title has been out on the market for a while, yet availability is scarce. Get it where you can find it. Released in late September, this title has been out on the market for a while, yet availability is scarce. Get it where you can find it. Released in late September, this title has been out on the market for a while, yet availability is scarce. Get it where you can find it.

JC

tech@nowtoronto.com

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