Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review 09/03/2009

Proper big loud simple fun. Brilliant!

This game is basically exactly the same as the original launch title for the PS3 where every little detail has been enhanced and refined. This means to say there is nothing ground breaking here, but it is one giant explosion of crushed metal, broken bones, huge jumps, rugged rides, big fun, mud and chaos. It’s not a game that demands attention, has a plot etc, but when you simply want to pick up a controller, have a race and smash things there are few better alternatives. It’s basically big simple laughs. Whereas the first game was based in the rocky mountains and desert, the racing is now on a volcanic island covered in dense jungle, raging waterfalls and sheer cliff faces.

What’s good?

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The tracks are the most impressive thing here. They are ridiculous. They have stuck very firmly to the ideals of the original by creating big open tracks with many routes for all the different vehicles. Whereas in the first game there were only 6 tracks, there is now 16 in Pacific Rift, albeit only about 6 of them are memorable. You drive round erupting volcanoes, through breath taking waterfalls, smashing through dense jungle and jump cliff faces with drops that would result in absolute certain doom. It’s crazy. The key is still finding the best route for the particular vehicle you are in, and even when you have played all the tracks you still have a lot to learn. Some of the volcano levels are particularly impressive as dodging burning lava becomes part of the race. The tracks are split up into 4 different sections: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. I think you can guess what each one is going to be like, but the brilliant thing is that these are all different environments that will affect your car in different ways. Boosting near lava on a volcano level will of course heat up your vehicle quicker, which results in exploding, and driving through water will of course cool it down. This adds a slight tactical element to the race. I have a love for the ludicrous jumps, which makes the air levels my favourite, and believe me when I say some of the jumps are massive and you fall an extremely long way.

The visuals have been revamped very impressively. The different textures and surfaces from dried up volcanic rock to thick rainforest are incredibly detailed. The water effects are not the greatest (I’ve seen very few games whose graphics can master water effects???) but there is so much detail here you really don’t notice. Even the vehicles are very detailed as you can see each suspension spring and wheel spoke as it is ripped from your vehicle in an accident. When you have a particularly violent head on crash the metal crumples and distorts, just like those slow motion crash test dummy films. It is quite stunning.

The racing is much more aggressive and generally even more total and utter chaos than before. The computer AI is very aggressive and will often try and ram you off a cliff or something similar. There are extra attack buttons now included but they only work for the bikes and quads and are fairly useless. The key is to smash as many things as possible but not at a cost of your momentum, especially in the larger vehicles. In the lighter vehicles, bikes and quads etc, you are better off avoiding contact altogether. Your opponents are just as eager to kill each other as they are you, so don’t worry about the AI ganging up on you. You can never really escape the action as it does not matter how well you race or how little you crash, you will never be that far in front of your opponents. This adds to the adrenaline rush as most races will be won on the final few corners. I think its a very fine line to draw, but its been nailed perfectly in this game, as even if you crash a lot its never worth giving up, and if you race perfectly you can never afford to relax.

You will need to be a more skilful driver this time. In the original game it was basically floor the accelerator, turn right and left. Although entertaining it was a little monotonous. Now “Evolution Studios”demands more of you. You will have to use the brakes a lot more than you may expect and constantly adjust the angle of your vehicle when you fly over jumps or bumps, as messy landings will result in a wreck, or flying off a cliff face, or into some molten lava. Don’t worry though, it’s no “Gran Turismo”and still very arcade like.

The different vehicle classes are back. You can still choose from a bike, quad, buggy, rally car, racing truck, mudplugger, big rig, and now, monster trucks (more on the monster trucks later). Although there are more variations on the different paint jobs or models of vehicle, it makes no difference to their performance. Bikes are agile and fast but explode with a slight gust of wind, whereas the big rigs are practically indestructible, but a bit short on acceleration and handling. Although it’s not a new idea to have different vehicle types you really can notice the difference in all of these rides and none can be approached similarly. It basically adds to the element that racing needs more than anything: Unpredictability. Each vehicle feels very different and it is actually difficult to pick a favourite. I tend to go for the rally cars if I can help it but such a vehicle is useless on some tracks, so you really have to vary your racing skills. Different surfaces effect the different vehicles as well as mud and water will slow down the faster and lighter vehicles but the larger ones can plough through all surfaces. Again, it’s nothing new but what’s there works very well and adds to the unpredictability of the race.

There are more aims and objectives in the general racing this time. Although there is mostly your standard first to the chequered flag race, there is also time trials, wreck limits, eliminators and the incredibly frustrating check point events. These are used alongside normal racing to further unlock points, and therefore vehicles, paint jobs and races. Although nothing new, these elements add new aims and goals to stop you from getting bored as easily. For time trials you have to finish in the top 3 under a certain time, for wreck limits you must finish in the top 3 without crashing a certain amount of times and eliminators mean the guy in last is blown up every ten seconds or so, until only one driver is left. The check point races are very frustrating but it all adds to the lasting appeal and keep the interest up (more on them in a bit).

You can have multi player racing now, something that was surprisingly left out of the original. You can have up to four other players all racing on the same track (like a psychopathic Mario Kart) and is huge laughs for you and your mates. The online stuff is also good, if your into that sort of thing, and has all the usual races you would expect.

What’s bad?

I suppose the worst thing is often you will crash/flip over/get re-set for no reason whatsoever. Crashing is hugely important and entertaining part of the game but, basically you can be bowling along quite nicely, nobody is near you, and your car will suddenly flip over upside down and explode, or hit an invisible wall crumple up and explode, or simply get re-set as if you have crashed, but you didn’t. It doesn’t happen constantly, but often enough to be annoying. I’m guessing that its small rivets, bumps or contact zones in the tracks that have not been ironed out in development. You could argue that that is what off road racing would be like, but I don’t care. You cannot see or predict when said problems will occur so don’t punish me with a big demoralising slap of reality across the face. What part of this game could be deemed realistic anyway? It could have done with a bit more development on this aspect.

The computer AI is aggressive to the point of stupidity at some points. For example, on occasion I have come up behind an opponent and tried to ram him off the track, as you do, only for him to slam his breaks on and basically grind him and me to a halt. On a narrow track it becomes impossible to pass and you are forced to reset your vehicle. Surely you would be better to take evasive manoeuvres and try and get a few hits back? If you lock wheels with an opponent in a buggy, quad or monster truck (as they have exposed wheels) then your opponent will do everything in his power to keep you stranded stuck together unable to accelerate or steer. Again you have to reset your vehicle. You could be hammering over the dirt with no problems, when a computer opponent will hurtle in from the side with the suicidal intention of taking you and him out. They often succeed and are frequently more intent on removing you from the competition rather than winning themselves. I know its AI being told to be aggressive, and you can’t blame a game for doing what it’s told to do, but it’s sometimes just stupid and it doesn’t stop it from being annoying regardless (the online nerds are worse though).

The monster trucks are disappointing. This could be a result of me expecting too much (like Grand theft auto 4) but they simply failed to impress me. As soon as I unlocked them I was expecting to crush all my opponents beneath my mighty wheels and plough through any jungle or obstacle, like the big rigs do. However, the reality is that they are slow, surprisingly fragile, and very unstable and, despite being smaller, big rigs will eat them for breakfast. They have good grip, steering and can go through all surfaces without a loss of speed or traction, but as soon as a big rig touches you, all the wheels fall off and it flips over upside down and explodes. You can easily run over the smaller opponents, but instead of crushing them and moving on you are catapulted into the air, when your wheels make contact (even with bikes) in a huge bounce which ultimately slows you down or often stops you completely. They are very unstable as they like to turn upside down as often as possible, and it’s also far too easy to tangle wheels with your monster truck opponents as well. This results in a total loss of steering or traction and you will mostly only have the option of re-setting your vehicle. Or you flip upside down and explode. They are basically not nearly as good as you might expect and should have been a lot more satisfying than they were.

The check point races are not good. I like the idea of expanding on the basic racing but these check point races are far too overly complicated. They often do not even require you to race round the track normally and you will often have to make 180&#176 hand brake turns and go in the opposite direction to get the checkpoints. You will end up having a million goes before you are successful, and considering the most fun aspects of the race have been removed (actual racing, the opponents and ability to take different routes etc) I can’t see why this was included. A step too far I reckon.

The difficulty level goes too far towards the end. On the single player, as you get further to the end of completing all the races some of the tasks asked of you are too much. You don’t really realise this until you try them, for example, you are expected to complete a race in the top 3 under a certain time. I’m confident that some of them simply cannot be done as I have had a flawless race, boosting constantly, avoiding contact with the opponents, not one crash or loss of speed, come first by some margin and I’m 40 seconds over the time limit. 40 seconds! If it was 5 seconds I would persevere as I could easily shave a few seconds off here and there but 40! I really don’t think it can be done and I have given up completely with that particular time trial. There are several others that have defeated me also and I think they took things a little too far here. I’m not a particularly outstanding or talented gamer but I’m pretty confident even the most skilled drivers will struggle to achieve all that can be achieved here.

I’m pretty sure this is personal preference/”nit picking”but it just doesn’t feel fast enough. Burnout gives the ultimate perception of speed, and makes you feel like you are travelling at a million miles an hour, but this honestly feels sluggish to me. It doesn’t ruin the whole game but you can be boosting along in the fastest rally car (which is the fastest vehicle) and it just doesn’t give you the sensation of speed that you might expect. You can be at top revs flying up to the foot of a jump, boost button pressed through the controller, flames pouring out of the exhausts, you’re expecting to blast out of the game!!!………..and it just doesn’t happen. To be fair if you made the vehicles faster it may make the game unplayable, as there is already much opportunity for crashing and generally making a hash of things, but I would have liked more of a rush (personally).


In defence of Motorstorm, I am really clutching at straws with the downsides of this game as none of the flaws are important or influential enough to spoil the whole experience. Some are ironically as a result of attempts to improve things. The AI can be annoying, the monster trucks are surprisingly rubbish, it doesn’t give as much of a speed sensation as I would like, however, fortunately Evolution Studios seems to have realised that the difficult second album is not necessarily down to adding new things but simply improving and polishing what was already there. What we have here is the original Motorstorm that’s simply been enhanced and improved in every aspect. The tracks are huge and stunning to behold with many different routes for the many different types of vehicle. Its big action, big crashes, big explosions and, most importantly, big laughs. There’s nothing new or ground breaking here, it won’t win any “game of the year”awards but if you liked the first game or are just after some fun action packed racing in general there are many far worse things you can do with your cash. CA.


Is it user-friendly/easy to get into? – 9.0

Menus are simple and getting to a race is easy. Controls are as simple as. The new garage function for your vehicles speeds the selection up a hell of a lot – its all what you would expect.

Is the story any good? – 0.0

There isn’t one, but of course, it doesn’t need it.

How does it look? – 9.0

It’s a very good looking game. All environments, tracks and vehicles look brilliant with no glitches or flaws.

How does it sound? – 9.0

Again, I can’t fault the sound. The music selection is awsome and the SFX are all impressive. Increased wind speed when falling from a great height is particularly impressive.

Is it good to play? – 8.0

Nothing new or unfamiliar but solid and easy to use. Anyone can pick this up and play it. The different vehicles, tracks and chaos add to the unpredictability and therefore the excitement. Does get monotonous though.

When will I get bored? – 7.0

You will start to tire of the action after not too long, I’m afraid. Although it is really good fun its simplicity provokes monotony, and inevitably boredom will set in. Online stuff doesn’t really add anything, as you are always doing the same thing.


Review created by C. Armstrong.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Review 09/03/2009

It’s a quality game, but it will frustrate and annoy.

Two fairly big franchises are going to head to head at the moment: Midnight Club and Need for Speed. I’m a huge car freak/fan and have a deep love of racing games and customising cars I will never own in real life. In the past I’ve always gone straight to NFS games when I need my racing fix, as they churn so many out and the, now legendary, NFS: Underground games really impressed me. Recently though EA have made NFS: Undercover and, although I have not played it, it’s supposed to be pretty pants. The critics, never really fans of NFS games anyway, have slated it even more than other crap NFS games which must mean it is truly diabolical and I simply do not wish to waste my money. Luckily there is an alternative that has been around for a while, but generally sneaks under the radar of NFS fans like myself and its called Midnight Club: Los Angeles. The people that brought you the hugely overrated “Grand Theft Auto 4” have made a racing and tuning game, the second of this franchise, and I must state it’s pretty good. You have the whole of central LA to drive around in and around 30 cars to buy and customise. It’s good but it’s not fantastic however and I will endeavour to explain why. There is a story here but it is pointless me explaining it. You basically play a guy who’s new in town and wants to make a name and money for himself in the street racing scene in LA blah blah blah….. The more you win the bigger and better the opponents etc. There is really not any point on elaborating on it but, lets face it, who cares. It’s not why you play such games.

What’s good?

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The absolute best thing about this game is the sheer amount of racing to be had. There are so many races to go to, drivers to meet up with and challenges laid out to you, it will take a long time to get bored of it. The city is jammed full of other street racers and race meetings, all marked on the map, and you can simply drive around flash your lights at an opponent and the race is on. It’s that simple and you will never run out of competition or beat everyone as you can race anyone and everyone as often as you like. All tracks are based round the streets of LA but there is a hell of a lot of them and even if you race the same track twice it will not be the same as the traffic and light levels are always changing. You will also have different tasks to do, not just simple races, such as delivering other peoples cars in a time limit, smashing other cars off the road, time trials, etc. You also race for other cars and not just money all the time as well. It is a tiny bit overwhelming in parts but I much prefer a game that will take you a few months to do than a couple of weeks. I’m not big on online play (because I don’t like having my ass handed to me every time by a spotty nerd who lives in his parents basement, and has nothing to do all day except play online) and so many new games these days take focus off the one player, the core of gaming. Fortunately for those that disagree, this provides plenty for both opinions so either way you will never be bored.

You have the whole of Los Angeles to drive around in. The city of LA is impressive and detailed and you really get the feel that you are immersed in this city and making a living out of racing illegally. The city is also very life like and doesn’t feel empty or devoid of bustling city life at any point. The town is thriving with people walking the streets, plenty of other road users, all the famous landmarks are there and the fact that it fades to night and day really absorb you into the whole experience. I love the way that you zoom in and out of the city when you view maps showing just how detailed the city is, and its really a proper huge spaghetti of concrete highways, freeways and back streets, which of course means there is a lot to explore. It is so engaging and large it encourages you to just go driving around, meeting up with other racers, pissing off the police and generally exploring. Like I said, you will not be bored.

The customising is immense. A lot like the game play there is so much you can do with your various rides. The combinations of vinyls, paint and body kits is massive and no one design will ever be the same as another. You can change lights, hoods/bonnets, trunks/boots, spoilers, wheels, tyres, brake callipers, side skirts, ride heights, doors and the list goes on. That’s before we even get onto the inside where you can change steering wheels, seats, internal neon, dials and all sorts. It’s really deep and if you love customising, you can spend hours doing it here. It doesn’t offer anything like NFS’s excellent “Autosculpt”, but it’s not worse its just different and offers a few more options such as side exhausts and superchargers that stick out of the top of your bonnet/hood, like a 1950’s dragster. There’s lots of very cool small additions that anyone who likes customising will appreciate. Im not sure its better than NFS’s autosculpt, but it’s certainly on a par with it.

The racing is very much “edge of your seat” arcade style stuff. Even with the slower cars you hurtle down streets with traffic flashing past and it seriously gives you the sense of speed you desire. The way the cars handle is very arcade like and easy to get to grips with. The cars handle how you would expect them too and are very forgiving to an extent. You can just jump in and race and the learning curve is not savage. You can sling your car into a 90 degree bend at stupid speeds, slide round it, and come out fine on the other side. Although it is ridiculous, and nothing like Gran Turismo (obviously), it is very fun and rewarding. All cars handle differently as well, as a rear wheel drive heavy dodge challenger will feel completely different to a light on its feet front wheel drive Ford Focus ST. It’s detailed basically, and you can tell there is a depth in this, created by genuine car enthusiasts. If that wasn’t enough it also has motor bikes. There is only three options for the motorbikes but the fastest, the Kawasaki Ninja, is very very rapid and seems to heighten the ridiculous speeds as, because you can fall off them, there is more risk.

What’s bad?

The most obvious and worst thing is that this game is really really seriously infuriatingly difficult! I can guarantee you right now you are going to lose a hell of a lot if you play this. You are going to crash a lot. You are going to be “smack talked” by your opponents a lot. You are going to be arrested a lot. You are going to have victory snatched from you, on the last bend as a bus comes out of a blind side turning and stops you dead, as your opponents flash past, a lot. It is incredibly frustrating and heart breaking and I have never hurled my controller across the room as often as I did for this game. Ultimately, this does make it rewarding when you eventually win but it is a fine line to draw and Rockstar have gone slightly overboard with this one. It is just too hard for my liking and it is mainly due to several things. Firstly, your opponents are always much much better than you. It doesn’t matter how much NOS you have or how big your turbo charger is, your opponents will always be better than you. If you race someone on a “hard” difficulty they will simply drive away into the distance regardless of whether your in a Lamborghini Gallardo and they are in a Mitsubishi Evo. It feels totally futile a lot of the time. They also do not come under the same rules as you either, as I have seen an opponent slam into an oncoming vehicle and he just careers through it as though it was not there and boosts off into the distance. I know there are special abilities that allow your car to do this, but your opponents can’t use them. It really doesn’t give you a chance and I know you can try easier races, but then you win bugger all cash. Secondly, it’s just too overwhelming in places. There is so much traffic and things to avoid and be aware of you just cant react to all of them at once. You often blast round a corner and there is literally solid rush hour traffic, which you cant avoid. Your opponents always do however. And thirdly, the races are mostly check point races and it’s far to easy to miss a turning as you have to constantly keep one eye on the map in the right hand corner of the screen, which is far too hard considering what you are already having to concentrate on. There are few things more infuriating than having to stop and reverse back to a turning mid race. You are basically always one step behind and playing catch up the whole time and it does add to the frustration factor and is very unrewarding. Rockstar have compensated for the extreme difficulty by ensuring that everything you do in the game counts, as whether you lose or not you will earn money and “rep”. That doesn’t make it fun though and you are going to lose your rag a lot. Be warned.

The gear changes are appalling. Obviously I chose to have an auto gear box for all my cars, as there is far too much other stuff to worry about than changing gear, and it is ridiculous. It never seems to know what gear to put you in, and so often I have been on the rev limiter for about 4 or 5 seconds before the sodding thing actually changes gear! It is so annoying. Then, if you’re in 6th gear at high speed and need to break briefly, it will slam it into 1st gear and you will screech to a halt to simply crawl along whilst your engine screams with high revs for another 4 or 5 seconds. It’s maddening! It will change up when you are at low revs, it will change down when you’re at the rev limit and will generally drive you insane. It’s not even an infrequent occurrence as it happens most of the time. I know the answer to the problem is to switch to a manual gear box, but I simply do not have the time to learn its use or the skill level, and I’m fairly sure I’m not alone. It’s absolutely appalling and it’s not as if it’s not frustrating enough already.

The special abilities are crap. You can equip your ride with various special features that allow you to cheat in order to gain advantage. These are an EMP, for shutting down your opponent’s car, “Agro”, that allows your car to plough through anything oncoming for a limited time, “Zone”, an ability to slow down time to make tricky or tight turns, and “Roar” which sends out a blast to send your opponents flying. You can also slip stream someone and hit the “boost” button for a burst of speed. It is not so much a boost button, as a suicide button. Hit it and you will be sent flying at warp speed into anything that is oncoming, steering and braking become irrelevant. It’s only actually useful when your destination is a perfectly straight line away and there is nothing in front of you, which, coincidently, never ever happens. It is therefore utterly useless and one of the few things that gives you an advantage in the game is taken away from you. Furthermore, the EMP doesn’t really do anything, as it only very briefly and vaguely slows down your opponents but it also slows your car as well! The Agro ability does allow you plough through other cars on the road but it also sends your car flying as well and is impossible to control! The only actual useful one is the Zone but often you have already crashed before you need it, as there is no human on the planet that can react that quickly. You have to predict when you’re going to use it and how in the hell are you supposed to predict something you don’t do on purpose? They are awful. I have read that previous versions of this game always include these abilities, so it’s a kind of trademark but this game simply doesn’t need them and they are too much of a “gimmick” and useless for my liking. It is also yet more things you really don’t need for taking up your concentration.

The car line up is not fantastic. It’s good enough, but not great. The vehicle list is a little limited and (having seen the line up) it does not look as good as the one in NFS Undercover. It obviously depends on what you like but there are not a lot of options for those who prefer the exotics/super cars. I of course do. It’s not that I don’t like a dodge challenger, or Nissan Skyline GTR, I just prefer a Koenigsegg or Porsche Carrera GT. The most extreme thing in this game is the Saleen S7 and Lamborghini Murcielago. There’s also the Audi R8 (download only) and Aston Martin Vantage, but the quantity is not in the same super league as the Veyrons and McLaren Mercedes of NFS. Its mainly muscle cars and tuners, which again is fine, but I would have liked some Porsche’s, BMW’s and basically more choice at the extreme end of the vehicle scale. Who the hell wants to customise cars they could pimp in real life anyway, like VW Golf’s?

The customising is good and there is lots of choice for paint and vinyls, but it’s a little limited for the more extreme body customisations. You only get one wide body kit per car and they are all pretty hideous, plus you can’t add your own spoilers or exhausts to them, or do anything to them whatsoever. So you are left with simply changing bumpers, lights, side skirts etc if you actually want to customise but the choices are fairly limited to around 5 per component and, despite some neat additions, it’s not as good NFS’s auto sculpt or customising options in general.

The cops are very tough to shake. It’s easy to keep from being arrested, however it’s very very hard to lose the LAPD altogether. It’s easier to lose them on the highways, but I have been hacking around the city for ages trying to shake them and they stick to me like glue. You are supposed to be able to lose them once you are out of their sight, but I have been in situations where they are not even on my mini map but somehow they can still see me and are still chasing me. Eventually, a few times, I have given up as I got bored and wanted to go racing instead, so decided to pay the fine. The police are made visible to you by showing them as markers on the map and you have a radar device on your car that “bips” when one gets close. It is best to avoid them altogether, as occasionally I have been stationary and one will swing round and arrest me for no reason at all. You get a lame little scene, which looks like the film from a “Police Camera Action” TV show, and you can choose to drive off but it’s really not spectacular and pointless.

The bikes are better to drive to the extent that you will stop using the cars. The bikes are really rewarding, to the point that when you buy one you will eventually come to the conclusion that they are actually much more fun and easier to use than the cars. They also cost a fraction of the price to buy and tune and are faster and easier to drive than their same tier four wheeled counterparts. The chances are you won’t go back to the cars at all for the rest of the game once you have raced one. Every time you jump back into a car it feels sluggish and slow, so does that not defeat the point of the game? Why not make it about bikes and tuning if the game is better off that way, rather than cars? A car racing game that makes you not want to own the cars is very strange indeed.


The problem is, is that this is a good game, it’s just going to drive you mad. As much as there is too enjoy, there is to hate. I like the fact you have the whole of LA to race around in, I like the cars and especially the bikes. The visuals are pretty good, and once you get on a winning streak the racing is really fast and exhilarating. But the difficulty, the gear changes (in particular), the police, the limited customising etc really do test your will to play. Rockstar are clearly trying to muscle in on EA’s NFS franchise and they have done a good job, but not a great job. Considering how EA is slowly choking the NFS franchise game by game, each one crapper than the last, then you would expect this to blow NFS out of the water. But it just doesn’t. If you liked any of the previous Midnight club games then you will like it. If you love cars and customising, you will like it, although you won’t love it and it will drive you mental. If you are a diehard NFS fan, you will hate it. If you don’t like really challenging games, you will hate it. If you lose your temper easily, you will hate it. If you (like me) are 50/50 on NFS or MC, then you should probably rent both before making a decision or get neither, and wait for either franchise to make a better one. Take from that what you will. If you simply have to tune and race, and considering the current competition in the market, this is the game to buy. I personally however, would recommend “Race Driver: Grid” if you really want to race cars, as it is much better than NFS and MC. It doesn’t have street racing, free roam and customising as such but if you are an appreciator of cars and racing you will enjoy Grid a lot more. Either that or wait for what the future holds for racing games. CA.


Is it user-friendly/easy to get into? – 9.0

The city of LA is vast and detailed. The maps all look good, especially the zooming in and out of them, and in game menus are easily navigated. Controls and car handling is easy to “pick up and play” as well.

Is the story any good? – 5.0

The story is pretty pointless here, and adds nothing to the experience. None of the characters you meet are engaging and there is nothing to really grab your interest. It doesn’t really matter though as it’s not the reason for playing.

How does it look? – 7.5

Generally good quality. Occasional slow down, but all landmarks and cars are detailed and look how they should. Take a close look though, and you will see that details and quality are a bit bland.

How does it sound? – 9.0

You don’t really get a chance to notice the sound, but the tune line-up is excellent, and you can choose which songs are played and when. Vehicles all sound good and it really sounds like a bustling downtown LA.

Is it good to play? – 7.0

Cars are easy and fun to handle, but the difficulty, the gear changes, the relentless cops and crappy “special abilities” will drive you mental. This is not one for the intolerant.

When will I get bored? – 9.0

There is a huge amount to do, race and tune, and (if your dedicated enough) you should not tire of it quickly.


Review created by C. Armstrong.

Eve Online – One of the Largest Scams Ever pulled in a MMORPG

What Is Eve Online?

EVE is a massive multiplayer online game (MMOG) set in a science-fiction based, persistent world. Players take the role of spaceship pilots seeking fame, fortune, and adventure in a huge, complex, exciting, and sometimes hostile galaxy.

The Scam:

The following story covers one of most beautifully executed in-game scams in a MMORPG ever pulled. It breaks all previous world records for ‘virtual crime’.

In Eve Online, developers try to give their players as much freedom as possible, politics and espionage have become a part of the game.

The perpetrator of the heist was the Guiding Hand Social Club (GHSC) corporation (a corporation being similar to a clan in Eve); a freelance mercenary outfit who offers their services (which usually involves corp infiltration, theft and assassination) to the highest bidder. Over a year in planning, the GHSC infilitrated their target’s corporation with their own members and gained their trust, as well as access to the corp hangers. It all concluded in a perfectly timed climax, with a massive theft in multiple corp hangars synchronised with the in-game killing of the corporation’s CEO, the primary target of the contract.

What’s most interesting and impressive about this operation is that it was entirely ‘legal’ and within the game’s own rules, and the mastermind and his agents pulled it off together flawlessly, all the while staying in character. The estimated real-life value of the items stolen is, according to PC Gamer, $16,500 US. The in-game value of course is much, much higher as the things stolen would take years and years to aquire.

The following article was published in September 2005 PC Gamer and is a really good read. It goes into great detail about the scam and all involved. Here are the scans:

September 2005 PC Gamer Scans

Eve September 2005 PC Gamer Scans

Eve September 2005 PC Gamer Scans

Eve September 2005 PC Gamer Scans

Eve September 2005 PC Gamer Scans

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Eve Online Scammers Guide


[1] Introduction

[2] The Tricks

[3] Scenarios

[4] Social Engineering


[1] Introduction

When a person thinks of scamming, they think of deception; however in today’s EVE, most scams have already been tried out/done before, thus being convincing and sincere is what helps drives the most successful EVE scammers.

All of these conversations are based off of the Payout Scam, a guide on that will be posted later.


[2] The Tricks

The trick here is to convince others that what you are saying is true, thus being persistent and wordy can pay off; even on the most stubborn cookies.

1) Be prepared, have your photoshop open; have your game in windowed mode, have pre-fabricated
screenshots ready so you can just insert a timestamp.

2) Details, details, details; it’s good to put time into your pre-fab pictures, because these people are persistent.

3) Calm and collect; the two greatest virtues ever.

[3] Scenarios

Let’s take this into various scenarios, with the answers/responses below it.


Scenario A.


(The gullible person)

Victim – hi

You – Hello, how are you doing?

(Always be courteous and welcoming)

Victim – are you doing the offer still?

(This shows that the person believes what you are saying)

You – Yes I am, any amount of ISK sent will be doubled, and if you break the record (X amount) you will get 4x the ISK; please note it is one time per person.

(It’s good to have the one time per person thing; I find it helps increase the odds of getting larger funds)

Victim – okay, ISK sent

(Depending on how much they send, you can either take it or you can pay out; typically if it is a low amount (In this case I will make it 1,000,000 ISK) I will pay out, and offer them a chance to pay again for a higher amount, remember earn trust of the low-paying majority is key, however 10m up in some cases is keeper amount; however there have been times when I would pay 100m out.)

You – Okay, one moment

You – 2m ISK sent

Victim – wow thanks

You – Wait

Victim- ?

You – Tell you what, that was a really low number; I will give you an exclusive offer, so you can get more, I will give you a chance to send whatever amount, and I will double it, and as before; if you break the record of (X amount), I will 4x it, but this is your last one.

(It’s good to reinstate it, to show that you’re sincere and professional)

Victim – well… okay…

(Typically the person will send more than before, if it’s,the same amount, you can choose to take it or pay out, if it’s a small amount, paying out is the best option. In this scenario we will say he sent more.)

You – Alright, I am waiting

Victim – Sent 10 Million

You – Alright, let me check

Victim – K

(You can either choose to close the convo screen or you can continue; it really depends if you want hate mail or not.)

(Close convo screen )

Scenario B.

(The rebellious)

Victim- lol, are you serious?

You- About?

(This is a good idea to just use “?”, so it implies that you have no idea what they’re talking about, thus proclaiming innocence)

Victim- do people really fall for this scam?

You- I am sorry, I didn’t know it was a scam to pay people out…

(Play along on this comment, and this proclaims innocence)

Victim- yeh, you pay people out as your cronies or you just payout the lower payers, but you take the higher payers

You- Sorry mate, but for your information I have payed everyone out (and if there are people in Jita who are saying otherwise, say that didn’t pay you), the people in local are just trying to rip me off

Victim- yeh sure lol

You- Tell you what

You- You can try me out, however the same one time per person rule applies to you, but if I don’t pay; you can spam in Jita to your heart’s content.

(The spam to your heart’s content is a reverse bluff, because typically they won’t do it; if they do, you can claim photoshop)

Victim- lol nice try

You- Look, if you aren’t going to try me out, you really have no say in this matter whatsoever

(If you play them down like this, it should strike their curiosity)

Victim- (Will either respond to prove that you’re legit, that’s where the previous transactions with your alt who is the ‘record payer’ is taken in a screenshot from that person when you bring them in the channel or they will say “ISK sent” or they will say “No nice try”)

(If they ask for proof) – Bring your alt in to the conversation, it’s important that you act differently on your alt, be impatient and not too wordy/grammatical, and post the screenshot, also be quick/slow on the chat between you, your alt, and the person; just mix it up a bit. Be convincing, calm and collect; and you will come to one of the two scenarios, but remember keep trying and question/solve why they are suspicious, put yourself in their shoes.

(If they send ISK)- Depending on the amount sent, you can either take it or payout and offer for one more chance at the ‘deal’.

(If they say no)- Don’t reveal yourself, because they can use that in an SS; just close the convo window.

Scenario C.

(Requires an Alt or Cronies)

(The Disturbers)

You- Hello, How are you?

Victim- What do you want?

You- You are saying in chat that I am scammer, may I ask if you have evidence to prove this?

(It’s good to be straight up with the person to confront their initial fear)

Victim- It’s obvious you’re scamming, no need to…

You- Tell you what

You- You can try me out, and you can SS the WHOLE thing.

Victim- Why would I do that when I know you’re scamming?

You- Well, I do have a few people online whom I sent ISK to, I can bring one of them in if you want.

(The person is your alt or cronie, it’s good if they ‘sent’ more than 300m ISK)

Victim- Who is it?

You- NAME (don’t forget to link him/her)

You- He/She broke the record of ISK sent with (in this case we will use 400m) 400m ISK, and I sent her 1.6b.

Victim- How do I know she’s not an alt?

You- Well, trust is a limited thing on EVE, I trust that you do not believe so, besides I have others to back me up; and if that’s the case, how many alts do I have, like 20?

Victim- Well… fine, let me talk to her/him

You- Okay one moment, let me invite her

(It’s important to wait a minute or so – accept the invite, so it isn’t like you’re alt-tabbing to accept)

Alt- What?

You- Hey man, didn’t I send you 1.6b earlier today for you breaking the record?

(Now, when your alt talks, you want him or her to be talking as a different personality, i.e. if your main talks with correct punctuation and is rather timid; you want your alt to type with improper punctuation/grammar and is rather quick/impatient, so on and so forth)

Alt- yeh why?

Victim- Well… I wanted to do what (YOU) are offering but I am skeptical of a scam

You- I will let you two talk about this, I am going to grab a drink

(Do this so your alt and the victim can talk without you having to alt-tab)

Alt- yeh she sent me the isk, i mean how much aer you sending?

Victim- I want to break the record you set, so maybe 500 or 700m

Alt- if i had more money to send i would send it but i dont

Alt- If i were you, i would go with it

(It’s good to reinforce your intentions with your alt without being too suspicious)

You- Back!

(Now that you’ve made your point with your alt, it is time for your alts exit)

Alt- okay can i go now? I have stuff to do

You- o/

Victim- yeh

(Alt leaves)

You- So have you decided?

Victim- (Will either respond to prove that you’re legit, that’s where the previous transactions with your alt who is the ‘record payer’ is taken in a screenshot from that person when you bring them in the channel or they will say “ISK sent” or they will say “No nice try”)

(If they ask for more proof) – Bring your other alt or bring one of your cronies in to the conversation, it’s important that you act differently on your alt, be impatient and not too wordy/grammatical, and post the screenshot, also be quick/slow on the chat between you, your alt, and the person; just mix it up a bit. Be convincing, calm
and collect; and you will come to one of the two scenarios, but remember keep trying and question/solve why they are suspicious, put yourself in their shoes.

(If they send ISK)- Depending on the amount sent, you can either take it or payout and offer for one more chance at the ‘deal’.

(If they say no)- Don’t reveal yourself, just keep trying by rinsing and repeating the whole ‘bring a person in’ which can be another alt or another one of your cronies.


[4] Social Engineering

Quoting from:
Social Engineering (Security) – Wikipedia, edited for EVE uses.

Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
While similar to a confidence trick or simple fraud, the term typically applies to trickery or deception for the purpose
of information gathering, fraud or computer system access; in most cases the attacker never comes face-to-face
with the victim.

How this applies to us EVE Online scammers is that we want to earn the trust of our victims and for them to invest
in our scam.


Pretexting is the act of creating and using an invented scenario (the pretext) to persuade a targeted victim to
release information or perform an action and is typically done over the telephone. It is more than a simple lie as
it most often involves some prior research or set up and the use of pieces of known information (e.g. for
impersonation: fake convo, fake wallet screens, etc) to establish legitimacy in the mind of the target.

“Preparation is key, for that results in success”

This technique is often used to trick a corporation into providing you with a higher rank. The information can then
be used to establish even greater legitimacy under tougher questioning with a manager (e.g., to make certain transactions,
access to the corp vault, etc).

Pretexting can also be used to impersonate corp members, alliance members, investors, conversations or transactions – or any other individual/action that could have perceived authority or right-to-know in the mind of the targeted victim.
The pretexter must simply prepare answers to questions that might be asked by the victim. In some cases all that is
needed is a voice that sounds authoritative, an earnest tone, and an ability to think on one’s feet.

Applying Social Engineering

How to perform social engineering in a 2x Ponzi Scheme, you will need:

1) Fake Wallet screenshot

2) Fake Full Screen screenshot

3) An alibi, and/or some cronies/alts

Tricks/Tips for Social Engineering a 2x Ponzi Scheme:

1) Be assertive

2) Be confident

3) Never reveal yourself

4) Have confidants or people that can back you up, ALWAYS!

5) The older your character is, the better

6) As stated before, an alibi on why you’re doing the particular ‘giveaway’


Usually, a Victim will present you with three scenarios:

a) Can I talk to someone who has done a transaction with you?

(Typically the highest donation person will be the target, in other-words, your alt or cronies)

b) Can I see a Full Screenshot?

(You have shown them your wallet only screenshot, and by request, the Fullscreen)

c) Do you have any proof that you’re legit?

(As mentioned before, show them everything you go, remember: “Preparation is key”

Remember the three C’s:

C- Calm

C- Collect

C- Confident

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Eve Online Pirating / scamming, and everything else god has forbidden

This generally means letting other people make money, and you take it away from them the “easy” way, this includes scamming, pirating, gatecamping, etc.


One of my personal favorites. Im not gonna go into details about how I do it, but lets say I didnt exactly mine for that raven of mine. This basically means using the stupidity of others, I will tell you people some old scams though so you might think of your own way:

Selling shuttles for 10 million a piece, selling minerals for ridiculous prices, putting a condor named scorpion in the trade window (they used to look a like), etc.
Scamming is commonly done with alts, but this no longer works because people know alts are being used and won’t buy from them. Scammers can however expect to become outcasts and can expect to no longer be appreciated if this gets known to others. It can definitely be the most profitable thing to do, but it will get you on more blacklists then pirating itself will.

Ore theft:

Now I have to admit prior to making this guide I wanted to know what it was like, so I trained an alt to fly a small basic indy, within 2 days I was on the KOS (kill on sight) lists of at least 3 alliances. This is the most hated profession in the game, it makes about twice the profit mining normally does. You just basically get an indy, sit in 0.5 and grab the unsecured cans of poor miners (they can attack without police response as of yet). Sometimes they will attack you, with a nice explosion as a reward. Can flipping is often done by people in fast ships. You basically steal the ore from a miners can and put it in your own can then run away. That way when the miner goes to take it back they are effectively stealing it from you and will therefore be flagged as a criminal, allowing you to pop them legally!


Now the real forms of pirating would of course be killing miners/npc hunters and camping gates, most people see pirates attacking alliances, but I consider these people to be space vikings not real pirates (m0o for instance). This profession can be among the most profitable around, if you’re lucky (and any good) you can have people ejecting from their battleships to save their pods, and you can collect an easy 30 million from most smart pilots that desire to live. Unlike what most people think pirating is commonly done in 0.1 – 0.4, not 0.0, 0.0 is usually filled with groups of people, this usually ends up in a fleet battle, and not a fast miner holdup. To start the way of pirating described here you used to only need a blackbird, but since the nerf you need a little more, you also need to make sure friends are not to close, and you need to put pressure on people. however blowing them up is not much profit so negotiation is a must.

Corp theft:

Among these are the most famous, hated and richest people in eve. It means betraying friends you’ve been with for months, and often means being hunted to the end of the world. Some examples of these are agent shield (who corptheft after his corp let a corpthief join, dual corptheft). and Fallzone (who stole form the richest corporation at the time).
This is a profession most hated and it will not get you friends, even among pirates. But it will get you immense wealth, after which you can sell your account…

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Eve Online Trade Guide

Trade Runs

A friend of mine used to make 100s of mils a day with trade runs, its useful for new players but I wouldn’t suggest its the best way to make ISK, I haven’t done any recently myself and if anyone can send me some traderuns, i’ll expand this part of the tutorial. For now I can explain the basics:

You need an indy or another ship with descent cargo capacity, find a place where something is sold cheap, then try sell it at a higher price somewhere else, it requires a lot of planning and research and is therefore very time-intensive to start with. But of course there is the autopilot once thats all done.

“exploits”: This used to be a famous one, put up a large sell order for a “low” price, and a buy order (with an alt) somewhere else (a bit far out) once someone bought the stuff cancel the buy order and the money is all yours… This is harder now days though , and finding an item suited for this is difficult on its own.

Eve Online NPC hunting/chaining Guide

NPC hunting/chaining is quite profitable, but you will of course try and take your ability to the max because the the more money you will make. The most important thing here is to know your limits, dont try to take on spawns that are a lot higher then your own ship and ability, if you get killed this will ruin your profits for some time. Its better to take pirates a bit below your ability then take them to high, also chaining will mean they’ll instantly respawn, if you had any difficulty in the original spawn that problem might get duplicated when they spawn right after they die.

Commonly, chaining is the best way for making money, however some rumors say this will be removed in the future, still we will discuss the basics:
First you skim through belts trying to find one that suits your own power, then you’ll have to kill the entire spawn except for one pirate, this should be the weakest one, let him attack you constantly and dont let him get away. At first nothing will happen but after some time (can be anything from 5 minutes to an hour for the first respawn) the whole spawn will respawn, again you kill all but the one circling you, then after that it should respawn faster and faster and faster, until it will be nearly instant (right after you kill one he’ll be back).

You need to experiment what chains suit you and your setup, and sometimes you will have to learn the painful way, but eventually you’ll get good at it, or ask corpmates for advice about your abilities.

Another way would be going to a base, this is hard at first because there can be upto 30 pirates at once, but there usually only a few spawn points, and them spamming one at a time at a slow rate ( this rate cannot be increased ).

The biggest prize often comes in the loot cans the ships drop, but can also be their bountys, usually you alone will be enough to chain, unless you’re going to chain battleship pirates (0.0 space) then you might need a group, i’d also recommend shield transfer arrays for everyone in this case (with 4 medium arrays on one ship you will be invincible compared to the enemys, even if its the heaviest npc battleships). Profits killing NPC’s battleships arnt that high because of the group split, but sometimes the loot is very rewarding. A great way to increase your profits is to train up your salvaging skill and salvage the NPC wrecks. People pay a lot of money for salvaged parts as they are used in the construction of rigs and other special manufactured items.

NPC hunting is profitable but it is risky and knowing your own limits its a must. “exploits”: I wouldnt call it an exploit but officially chaining is one, can’t get banned for it though. Another one is when fighting heavy guristia, hide behind a asteroid, since they’re using missiles the missiles will not hit you, and since guristia like blasters, a big rock can hold them far enough not to use them.