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Another Night in Moscow 2011

Another Night in Moscow 2011

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Action Games, Action/Adventure, Racing, Real Time Strategy, RPG, Shooter, Simulation, Space Sims, Strategy

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Another Night in Moscow 2011. It was my second time attending Russian game publisher 1C Company's fantastic annual event held at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. Founded in 1991, 1C Company is the largest publisher and distributor of video games in Eastern and Central Europe. On 7/7, I got to check out all of their latest and greatest titles, eat authenticate Russian food, and of course, drink a lot of vodka.

Ghost of Moscow: Death to Spies

Ghost of Moscow is the newest installment in 1C's stealth action series, Death to Spies. It will be released in Q4 2011 and is being developed by Haggard Games for the PC and 360. Ghost of Moscow introduces Captain Strogov from the Soviet Counterintelligence Service. The story has now progressed to 10 years after World War 2 finished deep in the Cold War. Players can manually switch between three different characters each with his or her own skills. Environments include North America, Cuba, and Europe. Ghost of Moscow uses a brand new engine and features a variety of gadgets, mini-games such as lock-picking, poisoning drinks, etc., and a spy sense to help make decisions. This is one I'm going to track with interest.

Royal Quest

Developed by Katauri Interactive, Royal Quest is an MMORPG releasing in 2011. The game takes place in a world called Aura and is filled with magic, alchemy, and technology that has a great steampunk aesthetic. When the kingdom becomes threatened by dark alchemists, the king seeks adventurers, offering titles, castles, and lands as rewards. I played an early version of the game and really enjoyed it even if it wasn't in English. In my experience, I explored, found many monsters featuring fantastic, colorful, detailed art, and clicked random buttons wondering what my skills did. It was good fun.

I was informed that there was a lot more to the game. You can capture castles to gain resources as well as obtain gardens, goldmines, or lakes as bonuses for more benefits. You'll need to defend you castles as well. When you defeat someone in PVP, you actually get some of their loot as a reward but will need to take it back to your guild to identify it. You can find cards on monsters and use them to upgrade items and enchant them with unique abilities. Elemental weapons add additional strategy: a strong fire sword won't help against a fire enemy while a weak frost sword will be great. Of course, what MMORPG would be complete without pets? Pets in Royal Quest follow you around, providing cosmetic and minor stat increases. They will need care and can weaken enemies and increase loot.

Royal Quest will be free to play but will be supported by microtransactions. After playing the game, I was heavily reminded of Ragnarok Online, but I saw bits of King's Bounty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and more. I think it's going to be a fun game, and I'm looking forward to the beta. If you want to see the gorgeous art for yourself, you might want to watch the trailer!

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Heroes of Stalingrad is a new FPS releasing in August 2011 and developed by Tripwire Interactive for the PC using Unreal Engine 3. The game focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad and related operations from July 1942 to February 1943. Its levels are based on actual locations using real photographs. The single player features both German and Russian campaigns as well as non-linear, non-scripted environments. The multiplayer features modes such as Firefight (Deathmatch), Countdown, and Territory. Heroes of Stalingrad also has an interesting feature called Heroes. Becoming a Hero online allows you to inspire nearby troops, cause fear in enemies, gain access to the best and rarest weapons, and become visually distinguished from non-Heroes.

Another interesting aspect of the game is realistic tank control. Rather than having you control the tank as if you actually were the tank like most games do, Heroes of Stalingrad puts you in the tank. You're actually inside the tank with a fully modeled interior and AI crew. There are even armor and damage systems to simulate driving an actual tank. The game features a cover system complete with the ability to peek out and blind fire. Of course, it also features online stat tracking and achievements.

Off-Road Drive

Developed by 1C-Avalon, Off-Road Drive is a racing / simulation game being released in Q4 2011 for PC. As the title suggests, it's about off-roading, but it has a very high attention to detail. For example, driving through the mud actually leaves ruts. These don't just look like tracks; they actually change the shape of the terrain and effect trucks that come behind you. The game features very realistic physics with trucks sinking in the dirt, mud sticking to tires, and stones getting thrown behind you, damaging other vehicles. Off-Road Drive will take players through swamps, rocks, snow and sand across Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Malaysia, USA (Northern California), and Australia. It features 42 (the ultimate number, you know) tracks, 20 customizable trucks, realistic truck damage, and LAN and Internet play for up to 4 players. I played Off-Road Drive last year at Another Night in Moscow 2010 and really enjoyed it both years. Luckily it's release isn't too long from now! Watch the trailer to see just how realistic the game is!

Star Wolves 3: Ashes of Victory

What's better than an RPG? An RPG in space of course! Ashes of Victory is the latest RPG / space-sim published by 1C and developed by Elite Games Team for the PC. Releasing in 2011, it features an in-depth storyline that advances the plot of the series as a stand-alone add-on to Star Wolves 3: Civil War. We've posted a trailer, so take a look to get a feel for the game! Ashes of Victory features multiple endings, free roaming, free mission selection, and free team forming. In short, you can do what you please! The game covers more than 110 star systems and has re-worked tactical and RPG systems. While I didn't get to spend as much time with this as I would have liked, I definitely liked what I did experience.

Men of War: Condemned Heroes

A lot of people know 1C for its Men of War series, and Condemned Heroes is the latest in that line. It's a strategy/action game for the PC developed by 1C-SoftClub set to release in Q1 of 2012. Condemned Heroes follows a Soviet penal battalion during World War 2 formed under Stalin's "No Step Back" order #227. After being court-martialed, soldiers were allowed to redeem themselves in a penal battalion where they were assigned the most dangerous tasks in the war. Who knew you could learn fascinating history from video games? Well, 1C knew this it seems.

Condemned Heroes features 4 campaigns consisting of 15 missions. Taking place from 1942 through 1945, it tells the truth about how these battalions really functioned. 1C used actual military consultants from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation! The game will include an encyclopedia giving more information about the operations. I had played games in the Men of War series previously, but I was especially impressed with the direction of Condemned Heroes.

Men of War: Assault Squad

Oh, you want more Men of War coverage? Sure thing! Two new DLC packs for Assault Squad developed by DMS/Best Way were shown off. The first, "MP Supply Pack Alpha" was released previously on April 25 and contains five new competitive multiplayer maps. The second, "Skirmish Pack - Not a step back!" will be released on July 14. It features five new skirmish missions, one for each faction (USA, Germany, Soviet Union, Commonwealth, and Japan). It also has new mission objectives such as defending strategic points against enemy waves until a counter-attack can be launched. Attacks vary each time, giving more replayability to the DLC. The DLC can be played alone or with up to eight players cooperatively.

Men of War: Vietnam

Okay, okay. One more Men of War title. Developed by 1C-SoftClub, Men of War: Vietnam was shown again this year. It's finally being released this Autumn, and I'm glad to see a game explore Vietnam. The game features two campaigns set in early 1968. In the US campaign, the focus is on elite spec-ops soldiers. Each has his own unique personality. Sometimes they're alone, and sometimes they have regular troops with them to help. The second campaign tells the story of two Soviet military consultants and soldiers of the North Vietnam Army who are the only survivors of a US ambush. Players are tasked with guiding them back to North Vietnam territory without radios or wheeled vehicles.

Men of War: Vietnam will explore the Ho Chi Minh trail ambush, the Mekong Delta, Cambodia and Laos raids, and even bridge defense. New weapons and units include the M-16, T-54, M-113, Patton III, M-60, AK-47, M-15, RPG-2, M-72 LAW, RPK, and more. Fighting the enemy and setting up ambushes was a lot of fun, but I think I had the most fun just setting the jungle on fire! Don't take my word for it; check out the trailer.

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