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Big Sisters Appearing in Bioshock 2: Sea of Dreams

Whether you like the idea or not, Big Sisters will now be a threat in Bioshock 2. The upcoming April issue of Game Informer has an exclusive look into the new Bioshock game – which is currently slated for Q3, 2009.

The issue isn’t officially out yet, so details are scarce, but Game Informer does say the game will make a return to Rapture.

925262-gi_bioshock2jpg_superPreviously, 2K launched a teaser site Somethinginthesea.com which has, atleast for me, generated enough hype to keep me interested in the sequel. They seem to be putting a lot of work into the teaser site, having torn out newspaper articles about missing girls, questions about a weird “red glow” in the sea, and sightings of a “phantom sub”.

One thing I keep hearing about Bioshock 2 is whether it will live up to the original, or if it even needs a sequel. While I’ll admit I do wonder this myself, the teaser site alone gives me hope that Sea of Dreams will be an interesting game, no less.

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March 11, 2009 Posted by | News | 1 Comment

Diablo III Specs and Release Date Leaked?

diablo3According to Product Reviews, the system requirements and release date have been leaked by designers who are working on Diablo III. The system requirements are listed for both PC and Mac.

Said to be in development since 2005, this third installment of the Diablo franchise is highly anticipated world-wide. The details say that there will be a online multiplayer beta on September 11 of this year. Also listed is a release date for the actual game, December 24, 2009.

Lastly, the system requirements are listed below:

The Specs

PC:
Operating System: Windows XP/ Vista
Processor: 1.4GHz or higher CPU.
RAM: 1Gb or more.
Video: 128Mb video card Dx9
Hard Drive Space: 4-8GB

Mac:
Operating System: MacOS X 10.3 (Panther) or better.
Processor:1.6GHz or higher.
RAM: 1Gb or higher, DDR RAM recommended.
Video: 128mb ATI or NVIDIA video card
Hard Drive Space: 4-8 GB

I personally find this rumor hard to believe. Since this is a Blizzard game that was just announced in 2008,  I think December would be way to early for them to release a game that met their standards.

Blizzard has yet to confirm this information so we’ll all see in due time.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | News | 1 Comment

The Days of Arcade starts March 18th

I just wanna wash some dishes!

I just wanna wash some dishes!

Much like last years Summer of Arcade, the Days of Arcade will feature seven big Xbox Live Arcade releases over six weeks. Continue reading

March 5, 2009 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halo Wars Review

There has been a number of real-time strategy games coming out for the Xbox 360 lately, Red Alert 3, Tom Clancy’s End War, and Universe at War to name a few. All of these games have tried to make controls work for an RTS on the console. While some of them have been somewhat successful, there still isn’t a perfect control scheme and we’re left fumbling with the complicated controls. Halo Wars comes close to making it as easy as possible, but it’s still a little tough under intense conditions.

Halo Wars takes place 20 years before the Halo incident. You’ll join the crew of the Spirit of Fire and take the fight to the Covenant. Through the campaign you’ll play as the UNSC, taking command of hero units, building a bigger base and making an army. Halo Wars comes stocked with a campaign mode, skirmish, tutorial, multiplayer, and extras such as a Halo timeline and a service record.

Unfortunately, you won’t have very many options when it comes to the different modes. The campaign is limited to only the UNSC. As far as multiplayer goes, you’ll only have two options – standard and death match. Halo Wars is a good game but it could have been so much more.

Liked:

Simple Console RTS: The control scheme is easy to use and figure out. There isn’t much base building and very little micromanagement. When compared to other console RTS games, Halo Wars doesn’t feel like you’re playing with an alien controller, constantly trying to figure out and remember the controls.

Interesting Throughout: While it doesn’t have the most interesting story, it’s told well through gorgeous cutscenes. Some of the missions play out in neat ways and throw unexpected twists at you.

Disliked:

Ugly Visuals: When looked at up close the graphics aren’t very clear and are rather ugly. While the game does provide a nice mix of colors, that’s about the only thing that will catch your eye while playing.

Too Simple: It kind of seems that since they have such a simple control scheme, they needed to cut back on some of the things that make RTS games so complicated. No matter what side you’re playing as, you won’t have a big selection of units to pick from. There’s very little buildings to create, and most missions boil down to building units and then going to kill or destroy something.

Where’s The Rest?: It would make sense for the Covenant to have a playable campaign, but that’s not the case. The flood isn’t playable at all and there’s only two multiplayer modes. It just feels like there should be more to the game.

Final Word: What Halo Wars does have is good and fun but what it’s missing is a great fault. The game is recommended, but not at full price.

Originally posted on Endsights, March 2, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Review | , | Leave a comment

Onechanbara: Bikini Samuri Squad Review

How’s this for a game: girls in bikini’s chopping up hundreds of zombies with samurai swords. Sounds totally awesome, right? Well, unless you’re playing this game for your own reasons, Onechanbara is one of those really bad, yet kind of awesome games.

In a nutshell, zombies have invaded the city and it’s up to you to stop them, so, the whole point of the game is to kill hundreds of them. Along the 20 levels, you’ll encounter bosses, level up your characters, collect items, and complete quests. There really isn’t much to Onechanbara, just lots of derivative zombie killing with occasional boss fights. Besides story mode, there’s survival mode, free play, and practice. Other options are dress up and view mode, allowing you to change costumes and view profiles of characters.

Liked:

Brutal: Chopping up hordes of zombies is always satisfying. Body parts will fall off, along with pools of blood that will stain the ground and your character.

Guilty Pleasure: I’ll admit I’ve played through the game more than twice and had fun. There is some Japanese charm to Onechanbara, as English voice acting doesn’t even exist. Personally, I put it with Earth Defense Force: 2017, there’s just something about it that makes me want to play through it again and again.

Disliked:

Bad Value: Even while priced at $40, there really isn’t enough content to justify paying that much. Beating the game can take anywhere from three to five hours depending on how long you spend killing zombies in each level.

Bad Graphics: It should come as no surprise that the only good looking thing in the game are the main characters. Everything else looks bland, blurry, and sloppy.

Bad Level Design: Throughout the 20 levels you’ll revisit certain places multiple times, often running through the same areas repeatedly. To access new areas, a lot of the time you’ll be fighting or searching for a key. It doesn’t help that the mini-map is useless and the full-sized map often doesn’t indicate where you need to go.

Technically Flawed: I often got stuck on nothing near the edge of a level or by a wall. The controls feel fairly stiff. Awkward animations seem to be everywhere. The Motorcycle level feels like it tacked on at the last moment and does not play very well.

Final Word: Onechanbara is an OK game, if you’re into this sort of thing. If you plan on playing this game, just know what you’re getting into.

Originally posted on Endsights, February 20, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Review | , | Leave a comment

GTA IV: The Lost and Damned Review

The Lost and Damned is the first expansion episode to Rockstar’s hit game Grand Theft Auto IV. The Lost and Damned stars Johnny Klebitz, the vice-president of the Lost gang. This episode will take you through a wild and exciting journey that is sure to please fans of GTA IV.

When Rockstar said The Lost and Damned would be a “full game”, they weren’t kidding. It took me roughly 14 hours to beat the game, clocking in at 66% complete. The main storyline will take about 10 hours to complete, but it’s easy to get side-tracked by the number of new activities to take part in. A welcomed feature Rockstar added was the option to restart a failed mission right from your cell phone, and in some cases, missions have checkpoints so you won’t have to start from the beginning every time.

The Lost and Damned fits right in with GTA IV, as both stories intertwine. You’ll see a lot of familiar characters, hear familiar lines, and see a different side from the original story line from GTA IV. It’s easy to say that the Lost and Damned story doesn’t stand out as much as it did in GTA IV, but it’s still solid in just about everything it has to offer.

Liked:

Great Value: Priced at 1600 Microsoft points ($20), I have no problem saying it’s worth every penny. Not only will the story take about 10 hours to complete, there are a number of activities to take part in, such as new games to play with your buddies, new multiplayer modes, 50 seagulls to shoot, races where you can hit opponents with a bat, and gang wars to win.

Fits Right In: The Story will mix in with the GTA IV story in some neat ways. Not only will you be interacting with familiar characters, but you’ll be doing some of the same missions, just from a different perspective.

Good Story: It may not pull as much weight as the story in GTA IV, but for being DLC it’s surprisingly satisfying.

Disliked:

Repetitive Dialog: While playing through missions, you’re bound to hear the same one-liners repeated countless times. I also wouldn’t be able to count the number of times I heard “brothers” or “deadbeats”.

Final Word: The Lost and Damned is something that should not be missed. It’s a great value that is sure to please just about anyone.

Originally posted on Endsights, February 20, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Review | Leave a comment

Nintendo DSi Launching April 5 in U.S.

If you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of the Nintendo DS, or need yet to get one, chances are you’ve heard about the Nintendo DSi. Nintendo has put out a firm launch date for their latest release of the DS April 5, with a retail price of $169.99.

If you’re unfamiliar with what new features the DSi will have, it will come equipped with the Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. Nintendo says the most noticeable features of the slim DSi is its two cameras – one on the external body, and the other facing the user. This camera will be the first to be on a gaming handheld system, allowing you to interact and manipulate photos, claims Nintendo.

The DSi sound application will feature voice recording and be a music player, allowing users to “play” with their music. There will be a number of audio settings for the user to mess around with and then save to an SD card if they want.

The DSi store will have downloadable games and applications available for a fee. Similar to WiiWare games, games will be made with the hardware/software features in mind. Games and applications will cost 200 points on up.

Originally posted on Endsights, February 19, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | News | 1 Comment

E3 Welcoming Back “Glamour, Sizzle and Excitement”

The Entertainment Software Association said it’s ready to welcome back the “glamour, sizzle and excitement”of previous E3 events, such as 2005-2006.

Since the ESA is welcoming back what defined E3 as really the expo to be at, they’ve said that it still wont be the over-the-top show it use to be in years past.

“But is it going to be the over-the-top excess that you’ve seen in years past? No – but that goes back to learning what is manageable and what is sustainable, and hearing from attendees what it is they want, and creating something that meets their needs. It goes back to taking what was the best of the 2006 event, and what was good about 2007 and 2008, and creating something that has constituent elements,” said Dan Hewitt, senior director of communications at ESA.

Dan also goes on to say, “The E3 Expo is iconic, and everybody who’s anybody in this industry attends the event. It’s the one time when everyone’s eyes in North America – and really, those who shape computer games around the world – are on the newest and hottest titles that are going to be on the store shelves come the Holiday season.”

It sounds like E3 will return to its normal self for the most part. Personally, I can’t wait to see what E3 has in store for us.

Via GameIndustry.biz

Originally posted on Endsights, February 17, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | News | | Leave a comment

Rare to Restructure, Jobs May Be Lost

According to Microsoft, UK developer Rare is undergoing a review that may lead to job losses.

As part of the organizational refocus announced by Microsoft Game Studios in January, Rare will now have to focus on the following, according to a statement by Microsoft:

These are: “1) Expand the Xbox 360 customer base by delivering experiences that allow our customers to interact with our content in new and innovative ways”, “2) Better support efforts to extend the appeal of Xbox LIVE as a social entertainment network to drive greater adoption across the Xbox 360 customer base” and “3) Continue delivering AAA gaming experiences that excite both our current and future customers”.

It seems as though Rare is already helping Microsoft by bringing Banjo Kazooie to the Xbox 360 and designing the new avatar system for Live.

The statement also says: “As we restructure to successfully execute against our shared strategy within this framework, we will be implementing a new approach to current projects in the pipeline that could serve as an industry-wide model for how to achieve a more efficient and scalable development process. In order to achieve these goals, the company is reviewing the current composition of its development teams and there is the possibility that a small number of current positions could be lost as a result of these changes.”

Studio manager Mark Betteridge adds that the studio has also felt the need to restructure, saying “With four projects recently underway, now is the right time to make this change.”

Via Develop

Originally posted on Endsights, February 17, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Review

Monolith Productions is one of the best when it comes to making scary games. The original F.E.A.R. had a creepy atmosphere that gave you some good jumps. Now it seems they’ve taken what they learned from their previous games and applied that to F..E.A.R. 2, making yet another creepy atmospheric game that is well worth a playthrough.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin takes place right before the ending events of the original F.E.A.R. and continues the story. You’ll play as Michael Becket, a Delta Force operator whose ultimate goal is to stop Alma Wade. As you start the game, you’ll learn you’re part of a different F.E.A.R. team. Almost immediately you’ll encounter Alma and start to learn more about her and what’s been happening. A big thing about the first F.E.A.R. was the mystery of everything and not knowing what was going on. Project Origin still does that to a certain degree, but definitely addresses some questions along the way. You can also learn a bit more about what’s going on in the background by collecting and reading Intel found throughout the levels.

The level structure is very linear. You won’t need to do much exploring to progress through the game. A big issue people had with the first F.E.A.R. was too much of the game being in office type buildings. Project Origin addresses that by having you go outdoors a lot more and having more variety in the way of indoor areas. The environment has interactive cover scattered everywhere. Say you’re being shot at inside an office and you need cover, you find a table, flip it over and duck. The enemy AI is rather clever when it comes to cover, as they jump behind walls, pillars, knocking over tables, etc. It makes the experience that more pleasurable knowing that enemies will do whatever it takes to flush you out of your cover and make you move.

The overall story of the game has its ups and downs. The game starts off with a bang and ends with an even bigger one. In between the start and end the overall action and intensity dips down a bit as some of the levels seem somewhat stretched. Mech suit sequences help break up the on-foot action very well. The mechs are extremely powerful and are great to use, but if you’re not careful you’ll be forced to eject from the suit to let it repair. It’s nice to see something like this that works so well to break up the gameplay.

Liked:

Better Sequel: The original F.E.A.R. had its quality moments and delivered a pretty solid experience. F.E.A.R. 2 improves everything in the single-player side, starting the game big and ending it even bigger.

Highly Atmospheric and Intense: I wouldn’t necessarily call the game scary, but the atmosphere definitely can give you the chills. You’ll see dead soldiers laying around, blood on the floor and walls, and other spooky atmospheric effects. Enemies can come at you from every direction making certain low-light situations very intense.

Brutal: There is no shortage of blood in Project Origin. Whether you go into slow-motion or zoom in, buckets of blood will fly and go everywhere. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Great Ending: Without spoiling anything, the ending is really shocking and leaves it wide-open for a third installment. It left my mouth wide-open, wanting more. I also felt weird towards Alma, as my feelings weren’t all negative anymore.

Technically Proficient:
Everything about F.E.A.R. 2 looks and plays great. The graphics look sharp and very rarely does the frame rate dip down. Moving around and shooting the guns feel solid.

Disliked:

Still A Mystery: There’s still a lot of learn about the F.E.A.R. story. You do learn a lot about what was going on in the first game as well as some background elements. Unfortunately, Project Origin ends with another cliff-hanger.

Weak Multiplayer: The multiplayer modes don’t really stand out from other first-person shooters. The modes are pretty standard and play like you would expect them to. I didn’t have any trouble getting into matches, but nothing particularly stands out about the modes.

Final Word: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is an overall solid shooter. There’s plenty of spooky moments and violence to make this easy to recommend, if you’re of age of course.

Originally posted on Endsights, February 16, 2009

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Review | | Leave a comment