Category Archives: Game Review

Video Poker Overview

Introduced in the 1970’s, video poker is an increasingly popular form of gambling both at land based casinos and online. If you are unfamiliar with the games, they are those machines with TV screens at the land based casinos. Of course in the online world, Video Poker thrives. The game is played fast, while involving a combination of skill and luck, video poker attracts players by providing hours of stimulating entertainment.

A typical video poker machine holds a strong resemblance to a regular slot machine, and can be found in either a tabletop form or an upright desktop unit.

The machines come in denominations of nickels, quarters, dollars and sometimes five dollars. The majority of video poker games are based on five-card draw poker. In five-card draw, players are originally dealt five cards and can throw away any of them to try to improve their hand. New cards are dealt to replace the discarded ones, and the final five cards decide.

The origin of the word poker is also well debated. Most of the dictionaries and game historians say that it comes from an eighteenth-century French game, poque. However, there are other references to pochspiel, which is a German game. In pochspiel, there is an element of bluffing, where players would indicate whether they wanted to pass or open by rapping on the table and saying, “Ich Poche!” Some say it may even have derived come the Hindu word, pukka.

The serious Video Poker player can find opportunities that give the player the advantage. As in any form of gambling, if attaining an advantage were easy then everybody would be doing it. It is a volatile game where the ups and downs in the short term require a strong stomach and a big bankroll. There are numerous variations of the game and each one requires its own strategy. The successful player must know what the best pay tables are for each game, where to find them, and how to play them. But it is true, that in Video Poker, the player can get the advantage, and means winnings!

Based on classic Five Card Stud, Video Poker challenges players to build the best possible five-card poker hand. The player is dealt five cards and has the option of discarding any or all of them. New cards are dealt to replace the discards. Payoffs are based on a scale, paying players for hands as low as a pair of tens or Jacks all the way up to a Royal Flush.

Like their cousin the slot machines, Video Poker machines are available in many denominations, with 25 cent and $1 machines being the most popular. Many land based casinos also offer progressive payoffs or bonuses for Royal Flushes or other special hands. Online Casinos offer games from Microgaming and Playtech, which are also progressive jackpots. Video Poker provides variety too, with versions ranging from Jacks Or Better to Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild. You can play free Video Poker, Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and Jokers Wild. All here at Top Casino Offers

Part 2: Xbox 360: Call of Duty 3

The fight continues through the streets and houses of the town and out into the open where you meet up with your squad. Now you must man a tank to ‘spot’ targets as the advance continues. If you can spare the seconds here to stop and look around from the tank turret the action that surrounds you rages on unabated. Buildings burn, machine gun nests rain down death from the highest part-destroyed buildings and your troops constantly scream orders and warnings back and forth. Welcome to the world of war!

Much of your time is now spent working your way through the rubble and streets, clearing out pockets of German resistance and keeping up with your ever updating objectives. Here the game will feel like a second home to anyone who has played the earlier versions. The familiar linearity to the plot is however sometimes a little stifling although in later missions the game offers different branches to take to achieve an objective. At regular points scripted actions take over as a level ends and one mission segues into the next. These scripted events also take place within the missions and serve to advance the story and put you under pressure still further.

One of the much heralded new in-game features is the so-called ‘battle actions’. At certain key trigger points you will enter a room and find yourself face to face with a German intent on finishing you off! Here the game descends into a simple version of street Fighter with trigger mashing and button pushing at set cues being required to disable and kill your aggressor. At first these attacks will surprise you and for a while slow down your progress as you tend to advance more slowly through a building expecting to be set-upon at every turn. Later in the game more ‘battle-actions’ are called  in to play, these range from planting and setting charges through to rowing a boat or even breaking your way into a boarded up building for cover. Whilst offering some variety in game play these actions can sometimes become tedious and interrupt the flow of the game, once you’ve set a few charges you might start to get bored of winding the joystick round and round, particularly as there is no sense of real urgency to these events because you are not under fire or in danger while you undertake them.

Xbox 360: Call of Duty 3

Technical Details

Title: Call of Duty 3
Publisher : Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Release Date (UK) : Friday 10th November 2006
Rating: 15

Reviewer : northerntrack
Review TV : 32″ Panasonic LCD
Sound used for review : 5.1 Dolby Digital
Reviewed in HD: Yes

Introduction

Does it really seem like a year since the fledgling Xbox 360 was brought into the gaming world? Back then a developer by the name of Infinity Ward stepped up with a title that was to go on and become one of the most successful launch games on the console. A game which is revered worldwide to this day and still ranks in the top ten of most Live games played. That game is Call of Duty 2. It’s a big shadow to climb out of for any developer and that onerous task has been laid squarely at the door of Treyarch Studios. Better known for producing some of the earlier iterations of the franchise, Treyarch was tasked with producing a sequel to this top selling launch title and advancing the series into the second wave of next generation titles. A tall order for a games developer to meet under any circumstances but in this instance the pressure was really on to deliver. So, have Treyarch managed to take the Call of Duty series to the next level?

Gameplay

Call of Duty 3 takes you on a journey through France after the Normandy landings. Whereas its predecessor skipped from country to country fighting along the way Treyarch has set out to achieve a more personal tight-knit narrative structure to their game. The campaign this time follows the fortunes of the British, American, Canadian and Polish armies as they take part in the battle to seal the Falaise gap in Northern France. Here in Chambois a pocket of heavy German resistance has broken through the Allied lines and is preventing there advance and liberation of Paris.

After your brief introduction to your weaponry it’s right into battle. Straight away the changes are evident. Treyarch has set out to reduce the ‘loading’ screens to a minimum and the cut scenes play out as the game is loaded, now that’s not to say you won’t ever see a loading screen, but the game flow is not unduly interrupted by interminable waiting at static screens while any of the levels load. The introductory scenes add some personality to the soldiers around you and give you a sense of inclusion in a close squad of men about to embark on another all-important mission.

As the cut scene fades you are offered a leg-up over the wall and on into battle in the graveyard at St Lo. The first time you lift your head over the wall the camera pauses and pans left and right allowing you to take in a battlefield scene of chaos and destruction. Everywhere you look bullets are flying, grenades exploding and men are dying. As you take your first tentative steps upon this new battlefield the sheer scale of action surrounding you is overwhelming. Treyarch have taken the series and added on another level of action and realism that simply cries out to be observed. No time for sightseeing though as you push on through the church, witnessing on the way some of the scripted actions as a plane slams into the church tower debris scattering all around. The resulting explosions will make you duck as their visual prominence and aural bombardment immerses you deeper into the battle.