Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Rockstar Games has today revealed the first artwork for the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V, as well as                   announcing the date at which the first trailer will be available. Below follows the first official image of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V, featuring the official logo and the date at which we can expect to see the first trailer from the game: 2nd November 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011


Deus Ex: Human Revolution is already one of my first true candidates for Game of the Year. It manages to do the unthinkable not just once, but multiple times: It didn’t suck. Here are 5 ways that Deus Ex lived up beyond my way too lofty expectations.
1. Truly multiple ways to play the game
I’m the kind of gamer that loves to deviate from the intended path. And when games start to put artificial barriers in front of me to funnel me down one path, it only serves to remind me of how limiting games are. This has always been the main reason why I love the Deus Ex series, because it’s been the one game that is relentless about giving you choices.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution constantly surprised me by allowing me to do things that were clearly not the intended path I was supposed to go down. There are parts of the game that have high level security locks that attempt to keep you on path, but if you chose, you can upgrade your hacking skills and explore all sorts of interesting places, and acquire advanced weapons. You can take on random side quests, which allow you to explore at a leisure pace, without a constant reminder to get back on track. Since been a long time since I last explored a game world and felt liberated in doing so.

2. A storyline that doesn’t need to be spoon fed to you
Too many games today feel like they’ve been written in a high school creative writing class. Dialogue that falls flat with such obvious lines like “I am going to take over the world, and you can’t stop me! HAR HAR HAR!” A storyline that mixes ninjas, zombies, and pirates, then thrown into a storyline concocted out of page 3 of the latest edition of Mad Libs… you know what I’m talking about.
Deus Ex has one of the most complex and juicy stories to digest in gaming, let alone any other medium I have ever seen. If you chose, you could read through all the random material scattered throughout the game, or just talk with people to hear with what they have to say. Everything adds color to a futuristic world that feels so fleshed out
you can only hope that a sequel is made just so you can explore it again (spoiler: your dreams just might come true).
3. True consequences for your actions
Few game designers give you the freedom to make dumb decisions and have you live with them. Bethesda has really nailed this, as both their Elder Scrolls and Fallout series allow you to kill important people, which can result in a hard life for you later in the game, and even make certain quests expendable. Deus Ex follows this same formula, and really makes it rewarding to know that your decisions can alter the way people interact with you. Save certain people, and they will help you later. Kill certain people, and you might have just limited your access to underground illegal weaponry. Not knowing whether I should save or kill someone adds real tension to the game, and always made me wonder how things would eventually play out. Few games have made me stop and think about my actions this way.

4. Making stealth fun
I never liked stealth games. The thought of deliberately tip toeing through a game is about as fun as sneaking into work 2 hours late each morning. Because of this, I never really enjoyed such games as Metal Gear Solid, or Hitman. But Deus Ex knows how to make stealth fun. The trick was that while the game rewards stealthy action, if you ever just feel like going on a killing rampage, you can, and you can quickly adjust back and forth with how you play. I was never stuck in a constant stealth mode which slows down the pace of a game to a turtle’s crawl. In addition, when you break stealth, you aren’t punished in a way that results in instant death from a massive swarm of enemies. The game provides enough room for you to run and hide, or to whip out some firepower to put enemies down. All stealth games need to take lessons here on how Deus Ex: Human Revolution has done it right.

5. Living up to the legacy
Let’s be real here. No one expected this game to live up to the legacy. The earlier Deus Ex games are often heralded as some of the best designed games of all time, and even if you play them today, they still compete with the best. There were so many ways this new version could have ended up falling far short of the original. The game series has been dormant for so long, that we all questioned whether the new devs had the chops to revive the series. Add in the crazy transition from Eidos to Square Enix, and then the constant delays of release, and you got some good reason to believe the the final product was gonna be questionable. I was almost going to resign myself to just going back and playing the original. Again. Man, I love when I’m proven wrong.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Arkham City Nightwing DLC Announced

From November 1st the “Nightwing Bundle Pack” for Batman: Arkham City will be available for 560 Microsoft points/equivalent.
But what does this pack do? It allows you to use Nightwing as a fully playable character across all challenge maps available. The pack also includes two new maps; Wayne Manor and Main Hall.
Nightwing has a host of new gadgets and special attacks and an “Animated Series Nightwing character skin”.
For those who do not know Nightwing, he is not as you may assume, from the Batman comics. In fact, he’s from the Superman series. Considered to be the Batman of the Superman world, the latest person to play Nightwing is in fact Clark Kents (Superman) son, Chris.
A similar pack will be released for Robin for the same price on November 22nd.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

7 Things You Didn't Know About Wii U

You've likely seen the big headlines by now and decided whether or not you're impressed by Nintendo's latest vision for the future of gaming. But how much do you really know about Wii U?

In an enormous 7000-word interview, published as part of Nintendo's essential Iwata Asks series, the Nintendo president has had a good old natter with his star employee Shigeru Miyamoto about all things Wii U.
It's a treasure trove of insight and trivia, and we've pulled out the seven most fascinating facts that you probably weren't aware of.
1. The original idea for Wii U was simply to have "a small monitor" to check the console's status.
Miyamoto: We started from the notion of, "It would be nice if there was a small monitor of sorts other than the TV, where we could always see the status of the Wii console".
The Wii console did have the blue illumination lamp to notify new messages, but the amount of information a lamp could get across was limited...
Iwata: It was only able to say whether there was new information or not, so it had limits on what it could do.
2. Nintendo decided on a tablet controller before anyone cared about tablets. (AKA: "We're not just copying Apple.")
Iwata: It's been just about three years since we started having meetings about [Wii U]. There was a lot of back and forth before reaching where we are now.
Miyamoto: Right, we did. We started from scratch many times.
Iwata: When we were first talking about this, tablet devices weren't very common. It's a classic controller with a screen.
But because people outside the company do not have an insight into our development process, when people see this for the first time in 2011 when this is revealed, they might think, "Oh, Nintendo is going to add a tablet to their console". I think that's how people may see it.
3. The way Wii U works was actually inspired by... Karaoke.
Miyamoto: In Japan, karaoke is very popular. It comes with a remote control, and on the larger screen (TV) it displays the information of the song that's currently playing, and the person who's up next is selecting the song on the screen of the remote. I think the same function exists with the new controller.
Iwata: It's very similar with how in karaoke, the information of the song that's playing now is being displayed on the bigger screen, while someone's choosing what to sing next in the palm of his or her hands.
Searching and selecting the next picture or video, reading text and then looking
for detailed information is easier to do
 on a handheld device, and sharing that with a group of people is better suited on a big screen. So including that structure, it's critical that this environment is available to everyone from the very beginning.

4. The potential for Mario in HD makes Miyamoto's heart pound.
Miyamoto: Um... I can't really talk about [Mario and Zelda Wii U] a whole lot yet, but Nintendo is finally entering a level of HD graphics, where we're now using shaders and such. In that way, it's more... How should I put it, I think people can expect to play more immersive game experiences than before.
And with Mario... Let's see. It's actually a little heart pounding for me when I test the landings after Mario makes a jump, because the graphics are finer than ever before.
I haven't really figured out the direction for this yet, in terms of whether it should be combined with the new controller, or using it as a sub-screen like in Ocarina of Time 3D, or whether it should be playable just with the new controller. With a Mario game, there are both possibilities.
5. If your eyesight's rubbish, Wii U makes watching TV easier.
Miyamoto: What I noticed as we were making it was that when I was watching something like the website on a larger screen, I couldn't see it very well with my eyesight!
Iwata: You end up getting closer to the screen anyways because you can't see! TVs in recent years usually have a programming guide display on the screen, but with my eyesight even that's pretty hard to see.
Miyamoto: I call it the magnifying glass feature: you're able to see it in any size you like on the screen of the new controller in your hands so you can easily read what it says, while everyone's enjoying the bigger picture on the big screen.
6. Wii U marks the end of clumsy text entry on Nintendo consoles.
Iwata: There were things [with the original Wii] that weren't suited to do [on a console]. Like when trying to enter text on Wii, even though we placed a lot of effort into it, I do not think we ever reached a point where we could proudly say that it was a stress-free experience. But this time, I feel that will change greatly.
Miyamoto: Yeah. It's more convenient to have things like a software keyboard at your fingertips.
7. Wii U could feature Kinect-like facial recognition.
Iwata: It certainly seems possible from an engineering standpoint that the camera will recognise you if you position the new controller to look at you. It would be much more accessible if all you have to do is to hold it, press a button and stand on the Wii Balance Board.
Miyamoto: I think so. I hope it turns out that way.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fallout: New Vegas -- Honest Hearts Review

During my time in the Mojave with Fallout: New Vegas there was one thing I'd hoped to learn more about: the Burned Man. If you don't remember hearing his story, the Burned Man was one of Caesar's (the founder and leader of Caesar's Legion) best men until he failed him in battle. As a punishment, Caesar sentenced him to a gruesome death: covered in pitch, lit on fire and tossed off the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. Rumors around the desert indicated that he somehow survived this brutal treatment, but nothing ever came of it. 

Luckily for me Honest Hearts -- the second piece of downloadable content available for Fallout: New Vegas -- sheds more light on the legend. This adventure is more typical "Fallout" than the last bit of content, Dead Money. You travel to Zion National Park in Utah with the Happy Trails Trading Group and deal with what's going on there. It's a familiar formula of exploration, choice, murder and a decent (but not entirely gripping) storyline. 

Some quick notes before you hit the road: you need to travel light. This means no companions (you'll have to tell them to go away yourself, they don't automatically leave you like they do in Dead Money) and 75 lbs of stuff on your back. There are ways to raise the poundage up to 100, but you'll need specific perks or skills to do so. If you're like me and prefer to have some backup, you'll be happy to know that you receive temporary companions during your stay at Zion.

The national park is a beautiful place filled with red cliffs, radiation-free water, plenty of plants to pick and stunning hand-painted murals on the bedrock. Although my feelings would differ if this happened in real life, I was pleasantly surprised when I got caught in a rainstorm. The addition of weather patterns is a really nice touch and at night the sky is bursting with stars. These details make Zion a really fun place to wander around in. Fast travel is also back (it wasn't possible in Dead Money) and that made me very happy.

There are two downsides to Honest Hearts -- the first is that the animals (a.k.a. target practice) aren't particularly interesting. The Cazador is still the most dangerous and annoying bug of all time (especially in its "Giant" variety here), while the geckos remain hilariously goofy. Basically, everything that can hurt you in the park is something you've seen before, and that's a little disappointing.

The storyline also lost steam after a couple of fetch quests and I eventually stopped caring about what was going on. Still, regardless of whether or not you give a damn, the ending forces you to make a moral choice that will decide the fate of the park and its inhabitants. There's no real black and white "good" or "bad" here, which I appreciate.

The icing on this cake is that downloading Honest Hearts boosts the level cap by five again, so you'll be able to kick even more ass in the wasteland. There's also some interesting loot to take back with you, including a Yao Guai gauntlet. Who doesn't want to run around with a mutated bear fist on their arm? That's what I thought.
When considering the $10 or 800 Microsoft point purchase, ask yourself these questions: Do I like Fallout, but need a new place to explore? Do I want a higher level cap? Do I want to know more about the Burned Man? If the answer to any of these is “yes”, then do yourself a favor and download Honest Hearts. It doesn’t change much of the Fallout formula, which is a good thing. The narrative could be stronger and there’s a lack of variety in terms of creatures occupying the park, but these are minor complaints about an otherwise enjoyable time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A look at Rare's canned Kameo 2

Images of Microsoft and Rare's canned Kameo sequel have appeared online, and it looks like they were planning a more realistic art direction for the 360 fantasy game.

CVG revealed in 2009 that the Kameo sequel was just one casualty of a Microsoft project cull at Rare, to make way for more Natal development.Images of Microsoft and Rare's canned Kameo sequel have appeared online, and it looks like they were planning a more realistic art direction for the 360 fantasy game.

CVG revealed back in 2009 that the Kameo sequel was just one casualty of a Microsoft project cull at Rare, to make way for more Natal development.

Now, Sergey Rakhmanov, who worked at Rare for 7 years as a Senior Graphic Engineer and is currently looking for a job, has posted some images of his past projects - released and canned - over on his blog.

The artwork shows the above bombshell Kameo 2 design, plus work on an unnamed fantasy game and a fitness title for Kinect, all of which have presumably been canned. There's even a video of Kameo in action here

Speaking to Edge last year Rare creative director George Andreas admitted that discussing Kameo is still "painful" for the developer, and that after moving a title about a fairy away from the family-friendly Nintendo audience towards the shooter-loving Xbox crowd, there was only one thing to do: Lie and say Kameo was an elf.

We're OK with fairies, Rare. And we want more. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gears of War 3 Beta Dates and Details

Beta unlockables carry over into retail version

Epic Games today announced the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta will begin on Apr. 25 and conclude three weeks later on May 15. Those who purchased the Bulletstorm: Epic Edition get into the beta one week earlier starting on Apr. 18. 

Over the course of the beta, three new competitive multiplayer modes and four maps will become available. Epic is also allowing players to unlock content in the beta that can be carried over into the full retail game when it launches on Sep. 20, 2011. 

Below is the list of challenges and items: 

Beta Tester Medal: Complete one match in the beta to unlock the Beta Tester medal, which will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game. The Beta Tester title will be featured in the "Gears 3" multiplayer lobby as well. 

Thrashball Cole: Complete 50 matches in any game type to unlock the Thrashball Cole character variant in the beta. Once unlocked, complete 10 matches as Thrashball Cole during the beta and the character will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game. 

Gold-Plated Retro Lancer: Show your ultimate "Gears of War" fandom by unlocking the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer. Complete 90 matches in any game type to unlock it for the beta, and score 100 kills with it once unlocked to carry the exclusive weapon skin over to your gamer profile in the final game. 

Flaming Hammerburst: Complete one match by Sunday, April 24 and unlock this weapon variant. 

Flaming Lancer: Complete one match during the week of April 25 and unlock this weapon variant. 

Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun: Complete one match during the week of May 2 to unlock this weapon variant. 

Flaming Gnasher Shotgun: Complete one match during the week of May 9 to unlock this weapon variant.