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D. Thompson "BigDave" (Bournemouth UK)

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Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC CD)
Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC CD)
Price: £9.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could be so much more, 8 Sep 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I have been playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for 2 or 3 weeks now and have enjoyed it a lot, but it could have been so much more.

The basic premise is quite simple, you drive trucks all over Europe and get paid accordingly. The drivable map covers the UK, Germany, most of France, northern Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, parts of Poland and a small part of the west of Slovakia.

The actual distances between places have been greatly shortened but to compensate, when you are driving, the in-game time is speeded up so an hour takes about 4-5 minutes. The graphics are very good when set to high. Although the distances are concertinaed it does feature some bits scenery that really exist, such as Sweethope Lough and the Scottish border post at Carter Bar which I know and recognise along with the A2 Medway Bridge. I assume this is true of the whole map, but I don't know the places well enough to be able to tell. The cities are a little strange at first, apart from a few places where there may be a well-known bridge or something, you are stuck with the industrial estates and factories on the outskirts. You can occasionally glimpse a landmark off in the distance, but don't expect to drive past too many.

At first, I found the controls rather difficult and did quite a bit of reorganising so that they were where I wanted them on my game pad. There are various options from keyboard only, keyboard and mouse, through joysticks and pads to wheels and peddles, if you have them. It would have been nice to have clickable controls in the cab, similar to flight sim.

You start by driving as a freelance to make money and `discovering' cities from which you can then be offered jobs. Once you have enough money, you can buy your own truck and start working for yourself. You are also given a one truck garage which you can locate in one of the discovered locations when you buy your first truck.

Driving also gains you experience points which you can use to increase your skills and payments in one of six categories,

ADR (flammable, explosive etc loads)

Long Distance, allows you to take jobs of greater ranges

High value cargo, gives you greater payment for carrying high value cargo

Fragile cargo, gives you greater payment for carrying fragile cargo

Just in-time deliveries, gives you access to more urgent jobs

Ecodriving, which reduces your fuel consumption.

There are a number of different trucks available from various manufacturer's showrooms which can be discovered in the cities you visit. These can then be repaired, upgraded and repainted for a price when you visit the workshops. Each city has a workshop where your truck can also be serviced and where it can be taken if you have a bad smash.

Each city also has a garage for sale. They start as 3 slot garages but can be upgraded to 5 slot garages. For each garage slot you can then buy another truck and hire a driver to work for you. The 5 slot upgrades also have fuel at a reduced price. Despite them being garages, there is no onsite workshop and you still have to take your truck to a separate workshop for maintenance and upgrading. An option to have an onsite workshop in your own garages with free or reduced maintenance would have been a good feature.

Your employees can be selected from recruitment agencies, which again you have to discover in cities. Potential employees range in skill and wage demands. Once you select an employee to drive for you, you allocate them to a garage slot with a truck and they will start taking on jobs and earning you money. You can set which skills your employees improve from the six above and you can move them from garage to garage and dismiss them but beyond that you have no control over what they do or where they go. It could have given this game a whole new second half if you could decide which jobs your employees take, making it almost into Euro Truck Manager. They could even have put in a managers desk option!

I have not played Euro Truck Driver 1, so cannot compare it. I have enjoyed playing Euro Truck Driver 2 but feel it could have been so much better with a little bit more thought.

Far Cry 3 (PC DVD)
Far Cry 3 (PC DVD)
Offered by BellaLuna
Price: £7.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Graphics - Disappointing Action, 1 Aug 2013
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Far Cry 3 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I have bought and played both FC1 and FC2 both of which I enjoyed so thought I would give FC3 a go. Firstly, this is a supposedly sandbox game but it's not really. In order to move the story along there is a very liniar bunch of missions that you have to do in a specific order - that's not sandbox. There are also points where you HAVE to do things the designer's way or it does not work. For example, one of the radio towers that you climb to reveal the map has a broken ladder. I drove a truck up to the broken ladder and climbed on top, clearly level with the ladder, could I climb it - no chance. The designers want you to use a zip wire and that is the only way you are getting up there - that's not sandbox. I see this game was designed in Canada where they may have a tradition of going out and shooting their wildlife but personally I'm not happy with a game that has me shooting endangered species such as tigers and leopards for no better reason than to make a rucksack! Speaking of shooting, even on easy mode the amount of ammo you have to pump into anything, human or animal is just simply ridiculous. Forget sniping, the first shot simply alerts the guards that you are there and you come under a hail of amazingly accurate fire. What are the players guns firing, rice?? Similarly with animals, a tiger takes a sustained burst of heavy machine gun fire to bring it down. It would be utterly useless to make anything from its skin other than a crude sieve! Finally the cut scenes are simply too many and too long. Guys, leave it for Far Cry the movie. Having said all that the graphics are great and it can be a lot of fun. I like the mad medical runs, hang gliding and the various boats, I just wish the action was a bit more realistic and the whole thing more sandbox.

Farming Simulator 2013 (PC and Mac DVD)
Farming Simulator 2013 (PC and Mac DVD)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good but not perfect, 6 July 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I bought Farming Sim 2013 on something of a whim. I have always liked sim type games and thought this would make an interesting change. It is a very good game, the graphics are very good although even with my very high end spec PC it does get slightly jerky when you come in sight of any of the animal enclosures with large numbers of animals in them. Being a city boy, I found the game fascinating and now find that if I go through the countryside by train, I am able to recognise a lot of the equipment I see in the fields. Anyone who, like me, used to play with Dinky or Corgi toys on the carpet will also love this, playing with tractors, mowers, diggers etc. The game also has a fantastic range of Mods available, some from the manufacturer and some from the surprisingly large community sites. The Game comes with one playing map but there are a lot of others along with loads of other equipment and tools to download.
There are some aspects which are not very realistic such as crops growing to maturity in 24 hours or less, but I guess this is ok to keep the game moving along. It also seems that, no matter how long you leave between sowing, all of your crops tend to come ripe at the same time meaning a mad dash to get them in before they go over ripe and wither. The in-game traffic on the roads can also be very irritating as they seem to drive suicidally in front of you at junctions and, despite the fact that you are driving heavy agricultural machinery, always seem to be going slower than you! My biggest bug-bear however is the hay and straw bales in the game. The physics is just all together wrong with them. You cannot stack them in without the stack exploding. Bales can get stuck together through the middle of each other which can lead to them hopping off across a field like they are alive and I have even had untouchable ghost bales hovering in mid-air with no support.
All in all, I would recommend Farming Sim 2013 as it has kept me entertained for several months now. If the manufacturers read this review, please sort out the hay/straw bale problem for the next incarnation and please, please could you include aerial spraying. That would be soooo cool!!

X3: Terran Conflict (PC DVD-ROM)
X3: Terran Conflict (PC DVD-ROM)
Offered by AllGoodDealz
Price: £8.68

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as PC games get, 5 Nov 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Having played space trading/combat games all the way from the original Elite(showing my age!), I would say this is as good as PC games get. The graphics are excellent, the storyline so far is good, but the joy of this game for me is in the complexity. Yes, it is a steep learning curve at first. This is a truly massive game with virtually unlimited different paths you can take. You can't finish this in hours, you can't even finish it in days, it will keep you busy for months or longer! It's not perfect, there are some minor bugs but updates are pretty regular and there is an excellent forum. If you are looking for a game that is not just blasting away, a game that creates a whole other universe then this is it.

Virtual Skipper 4 (PC CD)
Virtual Skipper 4 (PC CD)

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes me want to try sailing, 7 Aug 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I bought this program on a whim, having tried planes, cars and train sims I thought, why not try boats. The graphics are very good, especially on higher settings where you can see your crew doing your bidding changing sails and switching sides on the boat. The rendering of the sea and weather on higher settings is also very good. The tutor section takes you through most of the basics of the sim. The controls are very simple and easy to master. The game is based around sailing in races around the world in various weathers, sea conditions and boat types. I am yet to complete them all but so far they are very good. If I have one criticicm it would be that so far they are very short, 5 mins or less to complete, which I doubt is very realistic. There is also a build your own race section in the program. Overall a very good program and a nice change if you are tired of planes, cars and trains.

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