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Silent Storm

Game Info:

Platform: PC
Developer: Nival Entertainment
Publisher: JoWood Productions
Players: 1
Format: 2 CD-ROMs
Gallery:
Minimum Req.: 800MHz Pentium III or AMD equiv.
256MB RAM
2GB HDD space
32MB DX8 video card
Windows 98/2000/XP
Reviewer's Machine: AMD Athlon64 2.3GHz
1024MB PC3200 DDR RAM
74GB 10K-RPM Raptor
256MB GeForce 6800GT
Windows XP

Editor review

It's a storm all right, but it's far from silent

The little known strategy/RPG genre enjoyed a brief explosion of popularity during the mid to late 90's thanks to some amazing releases. With the introduction of Sir-Tech's revolutionary Jagged Alliance franchise and the beloved X-Com series from Microprose, it seemed that the genre was here to stay. This, however, was simply not the case. The PC side was kept alive by several sequels to the revered classics, but the genre failed to evolve on the PC; while the console strain became home to some of the best games the genre had to offer. At this point, even X-com couldn't hold a candle to Final Fantasy Tactics or Front Mission. Fortunately, there's light at the end of the tunnel and it is the next big thing in SRPGs for the PC. Very few people probably recognize the name JoWood or Nival Entertainment; probably because they operate mainly in Europe where their games are loved by the masses. Here in the U.S. they are known as a budget software company, only releasing games that are certain to generate a buzz, no matter the size. In this case, they have teamed up with Encore and brought over Silent Storm, one the creations of Nival.

Silent Storm has been hailed as the modern X-Com and Jagged Alliance; at least in the technology department because it takes place in World War II rather than the quasi-futuristic world of X-Com. You play as a special operative in charge of creating a band of soldiers and leading them into intelligence missions behind enemy lines. You'll have to comb the countrysides of Switzerland, Hannover, the Urals, and several other countries to collect information. Needless to say, your team will run into hostile units, but they should be short work for your seasoned squad.

Before you begin your game, you go through a brief tutorial scenario and once you finally get back to base, it is time to pick out your team. In order to remain relatively stealthy, you are only allowed a total of eight people, so it breaks down to seven different members and yourself. There are several classes to choose from; like medics, engineers, grenadiers, soldiers, scouts, etc. You must choose wisely if you want to survive a combat sortie; I know having seven snipers or machine gunners sounds like a good time, but it will make things harder for your later on. I recommend taking at least one medic and one scout; the rest is up to you, though I have found that snipers are more useful than soldiers, since a number of the missions involve long range targeting. Gun nuts will be glad to know that the game will have you using authentic WWII weaponry for both the Allied and Axis sides, from KAR98ks to Browning Automatics and Panzershrecks.

Though the game is very much like JA or X-com, there are several differences; the biggest being the lack of the economic system. In many previous SRPGs, managing your budget was the number one priority. After all, how can you maintain an effective fighting force if your base is falling apart or your equipment is faulty? In Silent Storm, your government pays for everything; from medical needs to ammunition. Though many purists may scoff at this omission, it simply allows the player to focus on the actual battlefield tactics rather than force them to micromanage every little aspect. You can either choose to play the Allied or the Axis side, but both campaigns are very similar. After you are done with your preparations, you can set out and visit locations around the neighboring territories. There is no time limit to the game, so feel free to get into as much random encounters as you wish. When a combat encounter ends, you can either continue to another area or head back to base to resupply.

The interface is VERY similar to Jagged Alliance; which is a good thing, since its winning formula is practically impossible to improve upon anyway. You can move your team members in real time, but once an enemy unit is detected, it slows things down by switching to turn-based mode. From here you can still move your personnel and issue them commands, but it will now cost Action Points. Each unit on the map has a certain number of AP depending on their stats and needless to say, each command will consume AP. This is where strategy comes into play. Unlike your typical RTS, each person can perform a number of different actions; from crouching to performing precision shots. If you're a couple of baby steps away from the enemy, why waste your AP by trying to aim your cumbersome rifle? Instead, you can pull out your pistol or SMG and let the bullets land where they may; after all, how can you possibly miss? On a personal note, I noticed that the shooting was more realistic in Silent Storm than in most games in the genre. If you go full-automatic on an enemy unit at point blank range, it is sure to kill them. In some games, like Fallout, I recall my frustration when I emptied my minigun belt on an enemy that was right in my face and still managed to survive the hellish hail of gunfire.

As your team members spend more time in combat, they will accrue experience. There are two types of experience in Silent Storm: skill experience and character experience. Skills such as Shooting, Throwing, Medical, Engineering, etc, can increase as you use them which leads to improved performance. When you've increased your skills enough, your character will level up and you are given an Ability Point that you can spend on special abilities, like skill boosts and better critical hits.

The graphics are probably the game's best feature next to the addicting gameplay. The engine can produce some truly impressive visuals that no SRPG fan has probably ever seen. The polygon counts are high, the modeling is superb, and the textures are incredible! It even uses some of the advanced features of today's modern systems such as pixel/vertex shading and it even uses a physics model, which makes for some amusing rag doll death animations. My only issue with the engine is that it appears to be poorly optimized. At 1024x768 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering, the engine would chug, often rendering the game unplayable when the view is pulled back. This can lead to frustration as it is necessary to view the entire map in order to spot enemies. My setup sports a GeForce 6800GT which at press time is nVidia's latest graphics solution, so there is no excuse for such slowdowns.

The sound, on the other hand, is basically perfect. The gun sounds are great, especially the big body count weaponry such as the BAR and Tommy Guns. Then there's the dialogue spoken by every character in the game. Often times your team mates will exchange insults, encouragements, quips, and jokes as they duke it out in combat. The accents are particularly amusing since it seems that the developers were aiming for more of a satiric approach rather than accuracy.

Other than the issues with the graphics engine, I have only a few nitpicks with Silent Storm. The physics engine is nice and it makes for some hilarious deaths, but I still prefer the pre-set death animations that can be seen in games like Jagged Alliance or Fallout. I want to see the gruesome effects of a head shot or a point-blank-with-BAR type of death. The physics engine also causes some problems with the proper ending of the turns. The enemy's turn will simply not end if there is an object that is still moving. Objects that drop from bodies can end up passing through the floor and getting stuck there, leaving physics engine still trying to calculate the motions for the fall. This leads to unexpected pauses and delays before or after your turn. Fortunately, I've never had it completely halt the game all together, even though I experienced these issues quite frequently.

It felt good going back to such a wonderful genre. I haven't played X-Com or Jagged Alliance in years and I almost felt that the genre had no future on the PC, but Silent Storm has proved that notion wrong.

Highs: Highly modernized, addicting, easy to get into
Lows: Gfx engine has issues, some clipping problems, lack of gruesome death animations
Bottom Line: The genre makes a triumphant return to a platform starved for attention.
Verdict:
 
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A mother who crashed her car into a tree fatally injuring her toddler daughter had taken cocaine just hours before getting behind the wheel, a court heard. Danielle Parsons was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving before her sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, West Midlands Police said. Her two-year-old little girl Esmee O'Reilly, who was on the car's back seat, died in hospital after the crash in Gibbins Road in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last year. Esmee O'Reilly died in hospital after the crash in Gibbins Road in Selly Oak Following what police described as a "complex" investigation, officers found out how the 23-year-old, of Castle Road, Weoley Castle, Birmingham had made the "grave mistake" of taking drugs before driving. A family friend was also seriously injured, but has since recovered. Parsons was also told at her sentencing on Thursday that she would serve two years in jail after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to run concurrently. She was also banned from driving for five-and-a-half years.pre bonded hair Sergeant Steve Newbury, from the force's collision investigation unit, said: "Parsons made the grave mistake of using cocaine that day and then put her family and friends in danger by driving under its influence with them as passengers. "Her young daughter suffered the ultimate consequence of that decision and lost her life and she will have to live with the knowledge that she caused her death. "This is the most graphic example that drug driving can kill and change people's lives forever." He added: "I would like to thank the hard work and determination of the collision investigation team to get to the truth and establish all the evidence which has led to this successful prosecution and the dedicated work of the family liaison team in their support of the family. "Our thoughts remain with them as they continue to come to terms with their loss." Speaking at the time of the crash, the little girl's uncle, Brendan O'Reilly, paid tribute to his "happy-go-lucky" niece. He said: "She was always smiling, and never stopped smiling - she was a happy-go-lucky little girl." Mr O'Reilly said he last saw his niece the night before the fatal crash on April 30, when she was her usual happy self. "She had beautiful blue eyes," he added. Following the crash, members of the public including a medical student tried tirelessly to resuscitate the little girl at the roadside, but all in vain. Danielle Parsons was jailed for five years after admitting causing the death of her passenger two-year-old daughter Esmee O'Reilly by dangerous driving (West Midlands Police/PA) Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.

She treated American television viewers to her bright and bubbly personality when she appeared on James Corden's The Late Late Show, on Wednesday night. But supermodel Cara Delevingne, 23, may have had bigger things on her mind as she continued to flash diamond ring on THAT finger amid rumours she is betrothed to singer St Vincent. The British model rocked a navy Puma tracksuit with white stripes and a plain lightweight top for her trip, ensuring she would fly in comfort. Scroll down for video Jetsetting: Cara Delevingne, 23, continued to sport a diamond ring on her engagement finger as she arrived at LAX after her appearance on James Corden's The Late Late Show on Wednesday night That's a Bobby Dazzler: She wore the huge rock on her engagement finger She wore matching footwear in the form of pristine white kicks and injected a splash of colour into the ensemble with a bright pink beanie. 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New movies: Cara was promoting Suicide Squad while Dave was pushing Nerve

She sparked rumours of an engagement back in February when she was apparently seen proposing to girlfriend St Vincent in Paris. And Cara Delevingne continued to fan the flames as she sported a giant diamond on her ring finger whilst promoting Sucide Squad on Monday. Sharing her co-star Jared Leto's snap on Instagram, the 23-year-old model turned actress made no reference to her dazzling bling, but pointedly posed with her hand the focus of the snap. Scroll down for video Tease: Cara Delevingne continued to fuel rumours she is engaged to St Vincent as she sported a giant diamond on her ring finger in an Instagram snap promoting Sucide Squad on Monday Clad in a navy jumper and baby blue trousers, the starlet was seen reclining on a private jet after attending Comic-Con on Saturday with Jared and Margot Robbie. Cara, who is believed to have begun dating St Vincent 16 months ago, has notoriously kept quiet about her love life, but previously credited the singer with making her 'so happy'. MailOnline have contacted a representative for Cara for comment. Cute couple: Cara, 23 , is believed to have begun dating St Vincent - real name Annie Clark - 16 months ago, and has notoriously kept quiet about her love life whilst continuing to fuel engagement rumours Gushing over her girlfriend - real name Annie Clark - Cara told Vogue: 'I think that being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I'm feeling so happy with who I am these days. 'And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle.'perruques cheveux naturels Speaking about coming out as bisexual she added: 'My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am.' Proposal in Paris?: Cara sparked engagement rumours earlier this year after she was seen getting down on one knee at the Eiffel Tower with St Vincent at her side Cara sparked engagement rumours earlier this year after she was seen getting down on one knee at the Eiffel Tower with St Vincent at her side. An eyewitness told The Sun: 'As my group got out of the lift I could see Cara on bended knee, clearly proposing to her girlfriend. 'It was really touching. Cara obviously likes to do things traditionally.' The tourist added it wasn't clear if Cara was joking or was serious, but St Vincent was seen flying back from France with a giant diamond ring. Jet set style: Cara's ring snap was taken after she jetted back from Comic Con in California with her Suicide Squad co-stars Jared Leto and Margot Robbie. She plays Enchantress in the upcoming movie

Cara's ring snap came after she attended Comic Con in California to discuss the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad - where she plays Enchantress. Clad in a navy cropped jumper with aquamarine stripes, the Vogue covergirl looked effortlessly glamorous whilst simultaneously flaunting her enviably toned abs. Ensuring her neverending legs were also on display, she donned a pair of baby blue trousers that aided in elongating her lithe limbs and hugging her pert posterior. Adding yet more height to her statuesque frame, she wore a pair of towering patent black stiletto heels as she teetered along the platform. Glamourzon: She decided to let her modelling career take a backseat to focus on acting. But Cara still looked every inch the pin up girl as she headed into Comic Con in California on Saturday Check her out! Cara - who plays Enchantress in the upcoming movie - certainly lived up to her character as she dazzled whilst making her way to the stage Leggy lady! Ensuring her neverending legs were also on display, she donned a pair of baby blue trousers, that aided in elongating her lithe limbs and hugging her pert posterior Terrifying: Cara portrays June Moone and her villainous alter ego Enchantress in the upcoming film Wearing her golden locks loose and tousled, the Paper Towns star oozed glamour, whilst her glossy tresses were styled in a centre parting to frame her pretty face. Keeping with her colour scheme, the blonde beauty also bore a slick of navy eye shadow that made her hazel coloured peepers pop. Ensuring her bold trousers were the main focus of her ensemble, she kept her accessories simple with just a myriad of silver rings acting as the glitz in her outfit. Ouch! While the outfit looked great, it seems Cara was suffering from some sort of reaction Can't hold her back" The model turned film star did not let her hives slow her down, with Cara making sure to sign as many autographs as possible While the outfit looked great, it seems Cara was suffering from some sort of allergic reaction. The cropped top revealed a number of angry, red welts all over her midsection. The model turned film star did not let her hives slow her down, with Cara making sure to sign as many autographs as possible. Signature looks: The oddball star pulled some classic Cara faces as she tried to throw a pen back to a fan The oddball star pulled some classic Cara faces as she tried to throw a pen back to a fan. The star clearly missed her target and looked horrified as she threw the pen up into the air. Cara portrays June Moone and her villainous alter ego Enchantress in the upcoming film.perruques cheveux Besties: Cara and Margot kept themselves very amused by posing up for silly selfies In a teaser clip released on Wednesday, showed the model looking virtually unrecognisable as she transformed into character. The 36-second clip released on Wednesday opened with June standing in a grey suit with her blonde hair in a bun as she whispers an incantation. June placed her milky hand on the desk and it was clasped by an emerging all-black hand that turned her watch and suit sleeve into dark tattoos and a chain bracelet. Dangerous driving: Cara found herself behind the wheel and put on an energetic display The transformation finished quickly as Enchantress dramatically looked up with her stringy jet black hair and burning red eyes. Suicide Squad stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as Joker and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. The Warner Bros Pictures film is due out on August 5 in the US and UK. Making the rounds: Cara ensured she spent some time with the adoring fans outside the event Trying to focus: The starlet couldn't keep a straight face as she signed comic books for fans

She impressed audiences with her gorgeous legs as she flirted with Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street. And Margot Robbie’s pins were on display as she strolled around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono, on Wednesday. The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective. Scroll down for video Stepping out: Margot Robbie’s trim pins were on display as she wafted around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono on Wednesday The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC. Leaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun. The Hollywood starlet’s complexion was characteristically flawless all over, but years in the Northern Hemisphere appeared to have erased her Australian tan. All smiles: Leaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun High fashion: The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective Good taste: The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC She enhanced her look with natural-look makeup and subtle pink lipstick and carried a small black leather handbag to run her errands. Margot had been at a fitting for the upcoming NYC premiere of her new film Suicide Squad on Monday night. Tinseltown is abuzz with rumours that the blonde beauty will appear in the next James Bond film as a Bond girl, following a long line of glamorous actresses. Flawles: The Hollywood starlet’s complexion was characteristically flawless all over, but years in the Northern Hemisphere appeared to have erased her Australian tan Going natural: She enhanced her look with natural-look makeup and subtle pink lipstick and carried a small black leather handbag to run her errands Looking her best: Margot had been at a fitting for the upcoming NYC premiere of her new film Suicide Squad on Monday night Online polls have revealed the 26-year-old stunner is at the strongest odds to fill the role, sitting at 12/1, while Emily Blunt sits at 16/1, according to Paddy Power. Others sitting at promising odds to star as the much-desired female character are American model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, who sits at 22/1, with Brit Emma Watson further down the line at 40/1. The Gold Coast girl found her big break in 2013 opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street as the feisty and seductive, Naomi. Plenty to smile about: Tinseltown is abuzz with rumours that the blonde beauty will appear in the next James Bond film as a Bond girl, following a long line of glamorous actresses Adoring fans: Margot caused a stir with passersby as she stepped out in NYC Well made: The beautiful garment had an elaborate rose pattern on its back More recently, she starred alongside Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend Of Tarzan as Jane.lace front wigs As well as the blockbuster, Margot has various other projects in the pipeline, including Suicide Squad, in which she plays Harley Quinn. Other females who have starred as the prestigious Bond girl include talented beauties Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike and Eva Green. Next big thing: Online polls have revealed the 26-year-old stunner is at the strongest odds to fill the Bond role, sitting at 12/1, while Emily Blunt sits at 16/1, according to Paddy Power . In demand actress: As well as the blockbuster, Margot has various other projects in the pipeline, including Suicide Squad, in which she plays Harley Quinn Following in footsteps: Other females who have starred as the prestigious Bond girl include talented beauties Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike and Eva Green Although the buzz around who will land the role of Bond girl is growing, the film is not expected to be released until at least 2018. Producer Barbara Broccoli has two other projects firmly underway and is said to be keen to tempt Daniel Craig into reprising his role as the titular character for the fifth time. Holding her own: Her breakout role was as DiCaprio's feisty wife, Naomi, on Wolf of Wall Street, which her portrayal earned her international acclaim - and showed off her gorgeous legs to the world

Next week will see the conclusion of the 12th season of The Bachelorette, as Joelle 'JoJo' Fletcher gets engaged to either Jordan Rodgers or Robby Hayes. And according to a new report, there's set to be a dramatic break-up ahead of the romantic proposal. Us Weekly claims that JoJo comes to the difficult decision of choosing between the two suitors after one of them makes a big mistake with her parents Joseph and Soraya. Family matters: Joelle 'JoJo' Fletcher apparently picks her fiance in next week's Bachelorette finale after one of the men makes a big mistake with her parents Who will it be?: Jordan Rodgers (L) and Robby Hayes are the two men left in the competition, and one of them allegedly gets sent packing after failing to ask JoJo's parents for her hand in marriage The runner-up gets dumped after failing to ask the 25-year-old's parents' for her hand in marriage, and during the emotional rejection, JoJo confesses that she wanted things to turn out differently. 'JoJo was sobbing,' a source told Us Weekly. 'She told him, “I wanted it to be you.”' The insider added: 'It was important to JoJo that the guys get her parents’ permission before proposing. JoJo viewed it as disrespectful that he didn’t.' Us Weekly claims that JoJo's family liked both of the finalists, but thought that the man she eventually picks was better suited to her. Favourite from the start: Jordan received the First Impression Rose and his relationship with JoJo has gone from strength to strength ever since Not true: The 27-year-old former quarterback has denied that he cheated on his last girlfriend 'Everyone thought he was husband material,' a source said. 'Later, they told JoJo that they liked the other man too, but they thought the second would be more loyal and a better fit.' And speaking about the family's meeting with the runner-up, the insider revealed: 'After he left, Soraya said she thought he was a player.' It seems that JoJo did make the right decision however, as she is apparently still very happily engaged to the winner. She likes what she sees: JoJo has also fallen in love with former competitive swimmer Robby, 27 Denying the rumours: Robby has refuted claims that he dumped his girlfriend to appear on the show Former quarterback Jordan, 27, has been a favourite to win the show from night one, when JoJo presented him with the First Impression Rose.cosplay wigs Show secrets: Us Weekly revealed details of the dramatic finale And while on Monday's episode of the show he was seen telling the real estate developer that asking her father's permission to propose would be very important to him, a clip for the finale showed JoJo asking if he is ready to get down on one knee. Both of the finalists have faced rumours about past relationships, with Jordan's ex Brittany Farrar claiming that they broke up because she cheated on him. He denied this to JoJo on the show. The footballer is estranged from his famous NFL star brother Aaron, whose girlfriend Olivia Munn is close pals with Jordan's ex-girlfriend. Aaron finally addressed his younger brother speaking about their fraught relationship on the show during an interview with WISN on Tuesday. 'As far as those kinds of things go, I've always found that it's a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I'm not going to speak on those things,' he said. 'But I wish him well in the competition.' Meanwhile a friend of Robby's ex-girlfriend Hope Higginbotham has claimed that he dumped her in order to go on The Bachelorette, something which he denied during last week's hometown dates. The Bachelorette finale followed by the After The Final Rose special will air on ABC on Monday. She made the right choice: JoJo is apparently still happily engaged to the winner, who popped the question in May. The finale airs on ABC on Monday