Friday, 10 December 2010

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Screenies

By Mark

Wow! This saturday at the VGA's Uncharted 3 will finally get a trailer and in the US the talk show host Jimmy Fallon will have the first live demo of the game on Monday so be sure to look for any videos here.

For now however we have these screenies to look at of Drake in the desert in a seemingly crappy situation, but it's Drake right? He'll hit a few wise cracks and be outta there in no time!

The Witcher Making Its Way to iPhone

By Mark

The Witcher looks to be set to appear on the iPhone with a title called 'The Witcher Versus', development will be headed by one2tribe and published by Chillingo.

The game is a turn based online affair allowing players to choose classes like: Witcher, Sorceress or Frightener you can also quest and level up with online leaderboards. It sounds like it could be pretty decent here's the trailer.

An Extended Deus Ex Trailer? Yes Please

By Mark

The Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer that came out all the way back in June has now been extended to a 5 minute fiasco of awesome. You've got 5 minutes to kill so watch this!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dragon Age 2 - Catch Hawke's Voice and Hear Thoughts of Bioware

By Mark

Bioware have put out a 'making of' diary talking through some of the more whackier ideas they had for Dragon Age II, including what stayed, what had to be toned down and what simply didn't make the cut.

It's an interesting video to see some of what they think and you also catch a small snippet of male Hawke's voice.

Video from x360achievements

Two New Ladies Announced for Marvel vs. Capcom 3

By Jonny

It's time for the ladies to take center stage as X-Men's Storm and Street Fighters Crimson Viper join the crew in Marvel vs. Capcom , bringing the total of revealed fighters up to 32.

If you've been following the reveals you'll know that with each new fighter comes a new trailer and here they are.


C. Viper

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds hits stores on February 15. Head over to IGN for a rundown of the entire roster so far -

New Wii Horror Game to Use Balance Board

By Mark

Some of you out there will have the Wii balance board and used it maybe 4 times and wonder why it's still around, well there may be a game that actually warrants breaking it out and using it...maybe.

Marvelous Entertainment are backing a horror game no less that utilises the balance board, how it'll play what game mechanics and whatnot will actually be in the game I have no idea, here's a video to see some of the game though.

Zelda and Link - Mosaic Style

By Mark

It's great when hardcore fans really go out of their way to create something awesome for a series they truly love, the guys over at Kay Circle have painstakingly made two fantastic mosaic images of Link and Zelda using every single Zelda game released. That's crazy, here's what they say:

"These mosaics have been created using various sprites and screenshots from every single Legend of Zelda game ever made. This includes the infamous CDi games such as The Wand of Gamelon and classics like A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time"

Now that the describings all done feast your eyes folks. Here's Link

And Zelda
For the full size images and release article get on down to Kay Circle.

Bomberman Live Battlefest Trailer

By Mark

I can't really believe Bomberman still has staying power. I'm sure we were all playing Bomberman back on the SNES and the franchise is going nowhere as the latest title 'Bomberman Live Battlefest' is upon us.

The launch trailer features a few things such as new power ups so here it is

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Two Worlds II Finally Dated for UK and North America

By Jonny

Two Worlds II has been officially dated for a UK and North American release in January 2011. Two Worlds II publisher SouthPeak have announced that TopWare Interactive (Who?) will be dishing out the marketing in the UK while SouthPeak will stick to North America allowing each publisher to solely focus on the game in their respective countries.

Managing director of TopWare Interactive, James Seaman released this statement "Both TopWare and SouthPeak want our game to get the attention it deserves. SouthPeak wants to give the North American market 100% of their attention, and we're happy we were able to take some of the weight off their shoulders. Two Worlds II really is a labour of love, and after seeing how far the game has come, the fans are going to be blown away in January!"

The Two Worlds Publishers have dated the UK and NA release just after the game has shipped more that one million units in Europe after some pretty impressive feedback from the European press.

Two Worlds II is set for a simultaneous release on January 25th, 2011 in both North America and the UK. Here's a trailer showing of some of the feedback relieved from European press and Reviewers.

Arkham City Teaser Trailer

By Mark

It's videos like this that I feel shouldn't be allowed, you get to see  a teeny tiny glimpse of what's on offer, here is the new 'teaser' for Batman Arkham City. Now seriously, don't look away even for a second or you'll miss it oh and don't expect gameplay!

<a href="" target="_new" title="Exclusive: Batman - Arkham City Teaser Trailer">Video: Exclusive: Batman - Arkham City Teaser Trailer</a>

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Trailer

By Mark

One of the most awesome DS titles on the way is this one for me, we had a link up showing you how to play a demo of the game in your browser to see if you'd agree and now here's a trailer as well. What do you folks think? If you haven't played the demo then go do so immediately and report back!

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Dev Diary

By Mark

Wanna geek out a litte? Then watch this dev diary from CD Projekt about The Witcher 2, they go into detail about what their new engine (the RED engine) is allowing them to do and also extensive details on the hardware capabilities and needs. The game hits next May.

Kratos Set to Join Mortal Kombat

By Mark

Sony's very own God of War Kratos is set to join the upcoming Mortal Kombat game and will (obviously) be exclusive to the PS3 version. He won't just be an extra skin either, Ed Boon and the team will be creating unique fatalities, move sets and even his own combat arena.

He won't be playable in the story mode of the game but will be available in all other game types, and it does make perfect sense really. Kratos is a man so built on anger he's gonna kill you just because it's thursday.

There's also no word on whether other platforms will recieve their own exclusive character but if any proof is out there we'll be sure to let you know.

Source - StickSkills

LittleBigPlanet 2 Recreates Wolfenstein 3D

By Mark

We've already seen some awesome stuff made in the LBP2 beta but we've not seen a proper FPS yet. That's not rectified as a creator has gone to efforts of recreating the old Wolfenstein 3D title, the game doesn't look amazing granted but it shows yet more potential of the overhauled creation mechanics Media Molecule have implemented.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns Review - Bananarama Fun

By Mark

Back and Ready for his Bananas

The original Donkey Kong County was released in 1994 for the SNES and it was an absolute smashing success for Nintendo, it featured the titular character and little Diddy Kong and the duo’s quest to reclaim their stolen bananas. The year is now 2010 and Donkey Kong Country Returns is upon us featuring the same duo and a strikingly similar quest, some banana theft has gone down and DK isn’t too happy.

With a game like this you don’t exactly expect a coherent or even sensible plot, yet you forgive those aspects as this is all about the ‘gameplay’ itself and Nintendo haven’t let themselves down with their latest foray into platforming action. You play Donkey Kong Country Returns (from here on DKCR) either holding the Wii remote on its side like a classic pad or you can play it with the Wii remote and nunchuck. I won’t say which to play with as that’s totally up to you I will however say I chose to use the classic style so any complaints I have with control are directed at that.

So with that said let me get the bad out of the way, in DKCR you definitely feel as though you’re playing as the huge gorilla you’re supposed to be and while that’s accurate to details it hinders controls somewhat. It may take a couple of minutes to nail down the speed, jump height and reflexes of DK as he can seem a little cumbersome to begin with. Another issue with controls comes with a feature that appears to only be in the game simply due to the fact that it’s on the Wii; the mechanic is that for certain actions like blowing out fire and slamming the ground you must waggle the controller up and down. It may not sound too bad but when you’re trying to navigate areas and avoid enemies it can hinder you and cause you to take damage which could be avoided if you had a button alternative. 

DKCR more than makes up for this however with its incredibly high calibre of level design, Donkey Kong’s latest adventure has a fantastic amount of variety when it comes to traversing the stages it sets before you. One moment you could be trying to avoid a tidal wave by just reaching cover and another you could be riding a mine cart flying up and down, jumping to avoid enemies and deathly gaps; there’s even parts where you get to ride an exploding rocket barrel. You may think while reading that ‘okay it has different types of stages, surely the actual platformer sections repeat sometimes or are a little dry’ and the answer is simply no. The team has gone to great lengths to keep the level of ‘unpredictability’ very high and consistent; you don’t really know what you’re going to be against next. The only time this falls apart is the boss battles as it’s your standard learn the pattern them dodge and jump on them, but the level of satisfaction is still high upon defeating them and you even get to punch an Ostrich in the face so what’s not to like. That point brings me to another positive and that’s the subtle deft humour used in the game, it’s not over the top or in your face but there are little touches that make you smile.

That might hurt a little
Other aspects of gameplay do involve the aforementioned Diddy Kong and he’s almost invaluable in this game, I said before that DK is a little heavy when you play and while true Diddy almost nullifies the problem. Upon coming across certain ‘DK’ barrels you get to have the little monkey sit on your back with a jetpack that allows for higher and longer jumps and precise landings. This makes things much easier when navigating the many jumps you’ll be undertaking. There’s also a shop element to the game where you may purchase extra life, a secret key among other things. It’s available in between levels and is standard fair procedure really.

One misconception with this game is that it looks a little childish or people may feel it’s a cakewalk aimed at the younger crowd, play DKCR and have your expectations turned on their head. The game is no walk in the park and you may even find yourself frustrated at times simply because you cannot make ‘that’ jump or get past ‘that’ enemy. It’s a welcome challenge though and as said before the satisfaction is high. There is a feature though that if you die enough times you are allowed to simply bypass the level by watching an old grey gorilla go do the work for you.

Riding a flying barrel avoiding an oversea train... Yeah..
Nothing is done to break the boundaries of graphics here, it’s a traditional 2D platformer and does the best it can with what it has, the visuals will provide that nostalgia buzz for older players while still providing pleasing eye candy for new comers. The soundtrack is also incredibly well done by resurrecting older tunes from the SNES era and implementing new ones, I had to tip my hat to them in that department as you find yourself humming along to some tunes whether you’re playing or not.

All in all Donkey Kong Country Returns is what the title honestly says and fetches Donkey Kong back to a 2D platforming environment with fantastic level design rather than innovation. It may not have the technical excellency of Super Mario Galaxy or the artistic charm of Kirby’s Epic Yarn but it is a great game in its own right and should be played by anyone willing to give the game a chance.

Donkey Kong Country Returns – 8

Fluidity/Hydroventure Footage

By Mark

Do you enjoy quirky platformer type games with a unique spin and have in your possession a Wii? Then it may be worth checking Fluidity as its known in the US or Hydroventure as it's going to be named in the UK. Here's a fairly lengthy video showing off the game and I gotta say it does look pretty fun, sort of like the games you find on the Appstore.

The game was released on Wiiware in the US yesterday and hits the UK on Christmas Eve of all days.

New Tomb Raider Details

By Mark

It was pretty surprising yesterday when Game Informer revealed the latest installment to the Tomb Raider series taking Lara back to her origins, we now have some details about the game courtesy of Playstation Informer.

Some of these are pretty shocking given what we've come to expect from Lara Croft game, but shocking in a good way here are the important parts:

- Lara is 21 in this game

- It’s not only a reboot of the franchise but a reboot of the entire brand. As a result there will be no “real” Lara model this time

- They’re doing performance capturing with this game

- There are brutal deaths in the game this time. One is described as a deranged man stabbing Lara in the chest and then closing her eyes after she’s dead. Another includes a boulder falling on her leg to trap her before another falls and crushes her head

- Crystal Dynamics won’t talk specifics on weapons but concept art shows a bow, shotgun and pistol

- The lock on targeting system is gone and it now has a free aim system. CD says that it can compete with any of their competitors

- “I think that the major difference between this game and the old is the concept of smoke and mirrors,” begins Darrell Gallagher, the studio head at Crystal Dynamics. “There was an illusion of freedom because of streaming and loading that would pop you out in a different location, but this is absolutely real. You can literally go any direction that you see and carve your own way to the finish line instead of being guide.”

- “It was important in the game to not only deliver the character arc of Lara Croft emotionally, but to deliver it in gameplay as well so the player gets to grow into a hardened survivor,” says experienced director Noah Hughes. As the game unfolds, Lara will scavenge new tools and gear that augment her abilities. Lara’s athletic prowess will also evolve. Some areas begin inaccessible due to physical limitations or scarce supplies. With the right skills and gear, however, the island is Lara’s for the taking

- There are base camps in the game. Here you can combine items to create something new and access a skill system to upgrade Lara’s abilities. You’ll also be able to use base camps to fast travel to different locations to minimize backtracking

- You’ll need to gather food and water in order to survive

- There are humans in the game, including some of the crew members from the shipwreck off the coast of the island

Reading those details it's sort of hard to not get at least a little excited, there's no visual proof that they will deliver on these yet but we can hope that Lara Croft may hit the big time once more with this reboot.

Source - Playstation Informer (scans of magazine over there so be sure to have a look)

Shogun 2 Music Dev Diary

By Mark

Shogun 2 is shaping up to be a really sweet title, taking Total War back to the era of all things Samurai is a step in the right direction to me. A dev diary has appeared that shows off how the team creates an authentic sounding score to fit the game.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops Patch on the Way

By Jonny

Treyarch are about to drop another patch for Black Ops in the next couple of weeks, including many game exploit and connection fixes. Here's a complete list of the latest fixes set to arrive in Black Ops' Title Update 4, from the CoD forums:

Issues Addressed:

* Resolved several issues with parties getting disbanded unexpectedly.
* Updated handling for UPnP-enabled routers to improve matchmaking conditions where users had strict or moderate NAT types. Also added in-game communications so that all players are aware of their NAT type in the Player Match party lobby.
* Addressed issue that prevented the “Load MP by Default” option from saving when other specific option combinations were set.
* Prevention of exploit that allowed players to keep custom classes and killstreaks after prestige.
* Addressed an issue where Flak Jacket Pro would not always protect against ground fires left by Napalm Strikes.
* Prevention of users losing their killstreak reward when switching classes at the start of a new round in round-based game modes.
* Addressed an issue where the incorrect perks would appear when spectating another player under certain circumstances.
* Added round start explosive delay to China Lake grenade launcher to give it the same round start limitations as other explosives.
* Contracts will now reset when the player Prestiges.
* Prevention of Valkyrie rocket exploding upon release under rare conditions.
* Prevention of Gunship failing to give player full control under rare conditions.
* Prevention of an issue where a player will get teleported outside the map boundaries under very specific circumstances.
* Additional security measures to enhance detection and banning capabilities.

Gameplay Tuning:

* Limit the ability to re-roll supply drops using Hardline Pro to Care Packages only, no other killstreak drops.
* Added a negative influencer to all spawn points to decrease the chances of spawning near an enemy. This will further improve spawning protection on top of previous updates.
* Additional sound mix tuning for Ninja Pro users – increased ranges and volume of enemy footsteps, and removed player footstep sounds on concrete material types.
* Increased headshot multipliers for sniper rifles. Sniper rifles with suppressors equipped will now always be ensured one-shot kill headshots.
* Subtle increase in sniper rifle accuracy when scoping in.
* Added a render delay to the red diamond player indicators that appear when controlling the Gunship, Valkyrie Rocket and Chopper Gunner. When a player first spawns, this will not appear for a period of time.
* Additional minor reductions in knife lunge.

Dead Space 2 Videos Show MP and Explain Scares

By Mark

Dead Space 2 is due for next January so while we twiddle our thumbs here are two videos featuring Art Director Ian Milham, the first video explains why the multiplayer is unique and the second explains some thought process behind the method of scaring you and how its had to change.

Videos by

New Tomb Raider Revealed - It's All About the Past

By Mark

Lara Croft used to be a really iconic character, these days she's less than so with the games centered around her just not matching the quality of what they once were although that downloadable title was pretty good just not the Lara Croft we know.

Anyway Game Informer have revealed that Crystal Dynamics are hard at work on an all new Lara adventure that will focus on her origins. The Tomb Raider before she was the leading lady for all things acrobatic while looking fine. the game will be entitled 'Tomb Raider' much like the Devil May Cry origin reboot 'DmC'. 

Little is known about what the game will feature and I really do mean little as the only details we have is what the head of Crystal Dynamics Darrell Gallagher had to say which is "forget everything you knew about Tomb Raider" and that the game is "an origins story that creates Lara Croft and takes her on a character defining journey like no other,"

And that really is it at the moment, we have those words and the cover above showing off Lara looking all ravaged. I'll hold any excitement for now until we see some form of gameplay but lets hope this will be an awesome title.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

By Mark

This November Treyarch had the opportunity to put aside the claims that they were the ‘second rate B-team’ of the Call of Duty franchise and show that they too can develop a blockbuster campaign and further refine the multiplayer action the series is known for. While this review may seem a little late, I’m here to give a straight up account of my time with the campaign and multiplayer since release so let’s get started.

The campaign element of Black Ops takes you through all sorts of twists and turns through all sorts of locations ranging from Cuba to secret locations upon snowy mountain ranges and even Vietnam. In terms of storytelling however it’s not as simple as traversing through each of these levels in a linear format, you see, as the game kicks off you control Alex Mason who wakes to find that he is strapped to a chair in a room that looks like it crawled out of the Saw films. Upon waking he is bombarded with questions about numbers, the past and all sorts of mystery; as the game progresses you play through sections of Mason’s memories the way he saw them and the way he recalls them. You do get the opportunity to play as others but these are a select few missions that help tie up the narrative.

It was clear Treyarch had to make this campaign explosive, thrilling and thoroughly entertaining for the masses however when playing the pacing is all over the place. So much so that you could almost say that instead of  having a pace it’s more like one adrenaline fuelled sprint to the finish, there’s simply no let up throughout the course of the 6 to 8 hours of the single player experience and while you could argue that this keeps you entertained it also doesn’t give you an opportunity to let much sink in. You are constantly being told names, details, places and events but never in a calm environment. For example there is one level set in Vietnam as you begin the level and gain control you are being told information about characters via Mason and the fellow who has been asking the questions; yet you have to deal with the actual gameplay and the characters in this memory yelling and shouting so it could be very easy to simply not hear the conversation. 

The other aspects such as voice work is generally pretty high in quality and the performances are delivered well and while Mason (voiced by Sam Worthington) doesn’t always sound like the American he’s meant to be he still puts in a good effort. Also with Gary Oldman reprising the role of Viktor Reznov you can’t help but be happy. Visually the game has improved in certain aspects and in particular the facial expressions and actions of the characters, this is due to the way Treyarch added motion capture performance more heavily in the same vain the Ninja Theory did with Enslaved, it makes the characters appear more natural and believable. It’s unfair to say that the campaign isn’t a fun experience as it is, but as a narrative it falls a little flat and while there is certainly room for a sequel I’d advise Treyarch work on a more coherent story. 

Reznov's Back and 400% awesome
Suffice to say however the single player is only one aspect in a three part bid to earn your affection so let’s talk multiplayer. If you’ve played any CoD game since the first Modern Warfare then you know what to expect here, it’s the same jump in easy to pick up game just more refined and tweaked. Certain changes were bigger than others, such as removing the perk ‘Stopping Power’ (increases bullet damage) which was an attempt to force people to vary up classes a little more and not let the online be filled with the same class setup everywhere. While this was a good idea I can’t help but feel it’s a bit like a double edged blade, while it does make you rethink how you play there are certain perks in this game that are clearly devastating and others that make you question why they’re in the game. 

For instance the perk ‘Ghost’ lets you become invisible on the radar meaning no one will even know where you are coming from allowing you to sneak around and play somewhat cheaply as there’s no way to level the playing field unless you use it yourself not to mention it looks ridiculous. While that perk may be very advantageous there are others like ‘Tactical Mask’ which reduces the effect of the Nova Gas grenade and while it could be helpful in rare occasions it’s much more sensible to use something like ‘Last Stand’ which allows you to survive a tad bit longer and bring your enemy down before dieing. 

Clan tags on weapons albeit not a good one
 Aside from those issues however the multiplayer still shines in its accessibility and its fun factor while playing, with additions to customising your player be it his weapon or emblem it’s all welcome. As is the ‘Theatre’ feature which players have been crying out for since CoD 4 and before, you can now save your games and replay them, take screenshots and upload clips for others to see. The way you progress through the ranks and unlock equipment has also been changed, while you still level up by playing and unlock certain weapons that doesn’t make them usable, you now have the added factor of CoD Points which act as currency for just about everything. You obtain them through playing normal match types or the new ‘Wager’ matches which allow you to take your points and lay them on the line for a bigger reward. So now let’s say at level 24 you unlock the ‘Enfield’ rifle, you would then have to spend x amount of points to actually obtain the weapon; this has been done so that you only have to buy what you want to suit how you play and it’s indeed a good idea.

The third and final aspect of Black Ops is the return of Zombie mode, and this time you can play as JFK, Nixon and a few other world leaders to fend off the hordes of the undead. There is one map available to you immediately and one unlocked upon the campaigns completion, the latter map being the far better one. Some work needs to be done on keeping you playing the mode as after a few rounds it becomes a little dry as there’s nothing new, although if Word at War was anything to go by you can expect a slew of DLC with new maps for both MP and Zombies.

Time for Zombies!
Black Ops offers three different ways to enjoy it and you’re almost certain to enjoy one at least. The campaign is fun yet inconsistent, the multiplayer is addictive yet frustrating at times and Zombies is what it was in WaW, Treyarch have definitely upped their game however and I look forward to what’s next for them as a studio.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - 8

10 Minutes of Killzone 3 Campaign Leaked

By Mark

Someone has let something fall through their fingers and it has given us the opportunity to see 10 mintues of the Killzone 3 campaign in action, I won't comment on whats in it and the quality is a little shakey but it's something. Now obviously if you don't want to know anything about the games narrative/campaign then keep clear for now.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Dead Space 2 Demo for Christmas Perhaps?

By Mark

There's a feature that runs on Dead Space 2's offcial Facebook page entitled 'Questions with Steve', who is this Steve you ask? It's Steve Papoutsis an executive producer on the game, why is this important? 

In the latest bout of questions someone asked if there was any chance of there being a demo for Isaac's next adventure as a christmas present of sorts for fans. He replied: "Great question. a lot of people are asking that question", "Gonna have to do some thinking about that but I would say stay on your toes, stick on the Facebook page, and (wink) you never know."

The man has gone on record previously saying that a demo is certainly possible and this is just fanning the flames, I'd sure as hell welcome it even if it's just to see if they've managed to retain some of the creepy factor and not ran away with the action too much.  Of course nothing's confirmed but it's something to think about, would you fine folks like a demo?