GAMEPLAY: 6.5/10 GRAPHICS: 6.5/10 OVERALL: 6.5/10
TEST DRIVE, FERRARI RACING LEGENDS
By Shaer Reaz
Ferrari. The name lends magic to the life of any car geek. So if you're a gearhead and a gamer, a simulation racer with nothing but Ferrari models is going to be insanely appealing. How good is it?
Its made by Atari, who knows a thing or two about racing games. They haven't done a proper simulation racing game yet though, so they had to borrow a few stuff (like the game engine) from people who've made simulation games before. Except they borrowed from people who aren't very good at it: Slightly Mad Studios, which developed the Need for Speed Shift games.
The driving is almost exactly the same as that of NFS Shift 2: Unleashed, which was a fine game until you tried to compare it with other sim racers. All the cars, no matter what type of car it is (GT, mid-engined supercar, classic racer, modern F1), insist on sliding at every opportunity. Like NFS: Shift 2, the cars feel weightless and float around, with every little input being amplified by several times. There is a cure, however: mess with the driving controls like steering and throttle deadzones/sensitivities and find the setup that suits your driving style. You still can't feel the weight of the car like you can in Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, but at least you can drive the car in peace.
You have 50 cars from Ferrari's illustrious history, everything from gorgeous GT road cars to the latest F1 racers. The car choices are great, and as usual there's no customization because Ferrari doesn't want you to mess with their precious cars, even in the virtual world. But who cares when you can drive a beee-autiful Ferrari P3 around Monza?
Speaking of, the circuits included in the game are the usual list of European thrillers like Nurburgring, Spa, Monaco, Silverstone, etc. The classic era races in campaign mode take place in suitably toned down and downsized versions of these tracks, if they were around in that particular era.
On to the visuals: you'll be disappointed by everything other than the car models. The drivers look like wooden figurines with moving hands, and the track details aren't very good. Spectators resemble thin cardboard props set in fixed places.
Despite the game being full of glitches and small niggles, overall, it's an okay game. Ferrari fanatics will be pleased, and it might even present a challenge to the casual gamers who aren't interested in cars as much.
By The Kopite
Metalheads are always awesome. Even when they're not. At least, that's what metalheads would want you to believe. Every day as they go to their usual haunts at RCC or some other equally dark and dangerous place, they would like you to think that what goes on inside those hallowed walls is too brutal for eyes untrained in the dark arts of metal. And that when they finally come out with dishevelled hair, clutching their necks victoriously, they would like you to think that they've conquered many-a demon inside and have come out unscathed.
The reality of the situation is far from this. What a metalhead really does is sit in stuffy rooms and headbang till their necks crack to a couple of stage-frozen performers. The most interaction they have with the performers is when they take their sweaty shirts off and throw it at the crowd, who promptly disperse to avoid it. This is the time when you wish that we had a band like Gwar in the country to turn it up a notch during live performances.
Formed in 1984, Gwar is one of those bands that can even put Pink Floyd to shame with their props and theatrics. Before you fully understand the awesomeness of this band, you need to know about their mythos. Eons ago, an elite group of warriors who ravaged the galaxies landed here on Earth and fell into a deep slumber. Their dormant sleep was rudely interrupted by the pollution as they thawed away and returned mightier than ever to destroy the human race with their brutal music. The five mighty warriors (who have changed from time to time) are called Oderus Urungus on the vocals, Balsac The Jaws of Death and Flattus Maximus on the guitar, Jizmak Da Gusha on the drums and Beefcake The Mighty on bass. I could list their real names here but it would be foolish to call these mighty warriors with any other name.
And if you thought that was cool enough to get your attention, wait till you see some of their live performances. Gwar belongs to a self-coined genre called 'shock rock', where there performances are as important as their music. In all of their epic performances, you are sure to see loads of fake blood, celebrities (read 'Enemies of Gwar') getting ripped to shreds and knights impaling dinosaurs. All this while the band dress up as intergalactic space warriors. Their more memorable performances include impaling George Bush and Barack Obama, while Snooki watches. Soon after, she meets the same fate while the frontman blares out 'Saddam a Go-Go'. Yea, that's shock enough.
Gwar openly call their fans Earth Maggots and take a satirical stance on issues ranging from politics to the environment in their songs. Although it's hard to take your eyes off their performances, it's to be stressed that the songs themselves are pretty good. Definite head-banging material for metal heads. I suggest Gwar videos and music on days when nothing's going right for you and you want to kick some butt.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SECOND ROUND, 16 LEFT
By That Guy
The first round saw the exit of the anti-football sporting defending champions and Arab money funded Manchester City. There are still nine previous winners in the running, and dark horses aplenty. The competition now moves to the knockouts, and this is where things get fun.
Galatasaray vs Schalke
Nobody cares. Huntelaar looks to be staying at Schalke for a bit longer, so we'll give this to ze Germans.
Celtic vs Juventus
The Bhoys from Scotland pulled off the impossible once already in the competition by beating the mighty Barcelona and Celtic Park is still an intimidating ground to go to, but Juventus are running away domestically and thrashed the defending champs 3-0 in the groups. Celtic's return to the European elite league will have to be short-lived but it'll be an entertaining encounter. And there's always the fact that Juve has Chuck Norris in their ranks.
Arsenal vs Bayern
Lukas Podolski is relishing a return and possible revenge against his former club where he failed so miserably. His former Bayern teammates are congratulating themselves on making it through to the quarter finals. Bayern are one of the top three teams in Europe. Arsenal have Gervinho. You do the math.
Shakhtar vs Dortmund
Free flowing football from both sides. This match up will be very, very open, and the one I'm most looking forward to. Expect ze Germans to go through though. The way they ripped open Madrid underlines their title credentials and they are THE dark horses this year.
AC Milan vs Barcelona
Milan after a disastrous opening to their season seemed to have found their feet, thanks to their newest sensation, Stephan El Sharaawy. Nicknamed the Pharaoh, and with possibly the greatest mohawk in the game, this kids oozes talent. And whilst he will single handedly try to drag Milan through, in their way is the best team in the world, starring the best player in the world. Leo Messi scores goals more often than Balotelli hits the headlines. And there's no reason to suggest his form will dip in the new year. I'm going for a high scoring affair.
Real Madrid vs Manchester United
The biggest match in the knockouts. Ronaldo vs Rooney. Mourinho vs Ferguson. RvP vs Pepe. These battles are all over the pitch and out of it too, and this will be an explosive affair. Mourinho knows how to get under Fergie's skin and the mindgames in the buildup will be just as entertaining as the matches. Van Persie might not look forward to going up against Pepe though, with the trauma of his near-death encounter at Swansea still playing on his mind. Ronaldo is back at Old Trafford and for once, the United faithful can't be too happy about that. Who's going through? We have no clue.
Valencia vs PSG
In a cruel act of divine irony, the poorest surviving team has been paired with the richest. PSG has the quality to win the damn thing, and with a January spending spree likely (and the addition of Lucas Moura imminent) they will be a force to be reckoned with. Keep an eye on them in the later rounds as the Zlatan powers them through.
Porto vs Malaga
Nobody cares. Malaga have reached this stage for the first time in their history and on top of that, they have to contend with bans and offloading players left, right and centre. It's a miracle that they are in this position. What's that saying about a cornered animal? Expect them to hound out a win against a Porto side badly missing Hulk.