Civilization, I’ll stay right here!

It’s been five years since we last saw a Civ title (three if you’re counting Civ 4’s Beyond the Sword). Five long years. The game that stays the same as the decades go ’round, Civilization V is the fifth installment to Sid Meier’s Civ series. A series in which any poor bastard can stumble upon and realize that you can literally lose the track of time because you’re having too much damn fun. Now, there’s been a lot of hub-bub surrounding Civ 5, namely amongst the new folk, so hopefully I can quell some of the things going around from the perspective of someone who played more than a couple hours of the game (yes, that was an obvious put-down). End Turn.

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Valve to market DotA: Does anyone care though?

So according to the water cooler chatter, super-giant Valve’s next title is to be based off of the community-heavy modification known as Defense of the Ancients. For those of you who don’t know what that is, then allow me to provide a brief (I promise it’s brief) overview. Defense of the Ancients, or DotA from henceforth, is a popular mod that any RTS that includes a map editor of sorts likes to sport. The objective of the game is to push around your units known as “heroes” that level up much like in an RPG-ish sort of way to destroy the opposing enemy’s base. There are two teams to the game and AI units that spawn periodically to help you in your attacks. Basically it’s Base Assault with player perks.

The first known documentation of the mod started in Starcraft, but its “true” mutation and concept is proclaimed to have stemmed from Warcraft III. Indeed, the mod was so popular within the WC3 community that it spurned numerous reiterations in everyone’s own vision of how the game should work. From this spawned a metric-ton of alternate game modes, with DotA Allstars prevailing above them all to what the norm should be for the genre.

Now, to anyone who doesn’t play WC3, very few people really care about the mod, especially considering it can be found in every walk of life in every other modern RTS out there today. However, that hasn’t stopped the popular mod from claiming a community that is hailed as one of the worst. Known for its brutal treatment of newbies, DotA quickly fell into a niche when years passed and everyone else realized some other RTS games besides WC3 had come out. Either way, it’s been a free mod for some years now. Which brings the most obvious question: who gives a shit?

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It’s for a Just Cause

A lot of games like to boast at a world of freedom. Titles from Bethesda and Rockstar Games are all about trying to sell you on this point of a “sandbox world” that you can explore at any time you like while also going on and doing what ever the hell you want. Hey, even Ubisoft got in on the craze with the Far Cry series. They might boast worlds as big as maybe 16 square miles, 30 square miles—the sorts of world sizes only some MMOs can dream to achieve in size. When it comes to Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive’s Just Cause 2, however, it takes a giant dump on the rest by boasting a 400 square mile playground. And that’s just for starters.

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Leave the gun, take the cannoli

I’ve always been wary of what I like to call “GTA clones,” but I have to say that labeling Mafia II under such a category is really an insult. An insult to the GTA series, I mean. An actual GTA clone would be a game that lasts longer than eight hours, has a game world bigger than GTA III, and actually has gameplay elements past running and shooting. You know, like Saints Row or True Crime. Mafia II, on the other hand, plays more like a straight shooter from 2000 with a cover system. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I haven’t played the first Mafia game, or maybe it’s because I didn’t have high expectations for the game considering it came for free with my recent video card purchase, but that’s beside the point that what ever niche Mafia II was trying to find, it fell flat on its face trying to burrow itself there. So let’s delve into why it does so, shall we?

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