Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nintendo 3DS Pre-Order Madness Starts With Nary A Price Point In Sight (AND Your Kids WIll Go BLIND... Er, Maybe)...

I'm gathering that reports that the upcoming 3DS will carry a warning about use of its innovative 3D functionality being not recommended (or good, for that matter) for the eyesight of kids under six years old isn't going to stop anyone from putting down a fat deposit at Gamestop and posting copies their receipts online. Of course, those pre-ordering folk aren't six years old (and hopefully don't have kids coming up on that age they want to introduce to that sort of eye/brain strain) and heck, trying to stop early adopters from throwing packs of money around is sort of bad for the economy (which someone should tell those AGAINST alternative fuel sources).

Still, Nintendo really needs to play offense as well as defense here as they address this potential sales-killing (or class action lawsuit bringing) issue as more of the dopier media outlets (you know, the ones that ALWAYS take the "Video games will turn your kids into mass murdering sex fiends in three seconds!" approach to this sort of news) take this negative angle and run wild with it. I say, as long as parents can read the damn box (or have a clerk point this age limit out to them) BEFORE they buy it, it's all good. Now, about that price point... Guess we'll see by CES (my prediction: $249.99, but perhaps with a pack-in and maybe loaded with some cool stuff)

My REAL question is this: Why the hell do we keep seeing kid's movies arriving in theaters (then later on DVD or Blu-Ray) in 3D if kids under six shouldn't be able to watch them at all? Granted, you can sit around playing "normal" games for hours on end with only a few issues. 3D gaming has been headache-inducing since the 90's when there were something like two to four minute experiences along with a few other applications. I guess we'll see what happens after the 3DS ships and more folks can afford 3D televisions and those expensive glasses.

Still, I'm crazy that way. I can see myself playing a 3D game 'til I fall off the couch from dizziness, but I just can't imagine myself or someone else watching more than two 3D movies in a row before their butt tries to bite them for making them sit so long doing nothing...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: TRON Evolution

Platform: PS3 (also on Xbox 360, PC*)

Developer: Propaganda Games

Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios

# of Players: 1 (online 1 - 8)

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B

As licensed movie games go, TRON: Evolution does a pretty good job of bringing gamers into its world as a mostly enjoyable experience that while not a masterpiece, has some pretty cool elements going for it. It's not the usual licensed title that repeats the movie experience, but a bridge between the 1982 original and the new sequel (TRON: Legacy) that you may want to play BEFORE you see the movie. Enjoying the game fully requires a bit of knowledge (and yes, nostalgia) about the original's film's plot and characters, but you can complete it without knowing who's who. However, If you just want a new action game to play and go in cold with no intentions to see either film, the story might seem weak and hard to follow in spots. On the other hand, if you're a fan of the original and have seen (or plan to see) the new film, what's here does a solid job of updating and expanding while making you want more in the process. There's also the kernel of a great MMO experience here, should Disney decide to allow the developer to add to what's here and take the game further in future installments.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Plane Weaver Walkthrough Video

What? You haven't tried Plane Weaver yet? Er... well, my review is coming tomorrow, but I thought I'd post the walkthrough for this PAX 10 winner first, as the game can be a bit tricky in a few spots. Anyway, the game is a really cool platformer with puzzle and adventure elements, excellent graphics and sound all done by a small group of Danish students in a month. Go download it (click on the link above - it's free and only around 66MB), install and play it and when you get stuck (it'll happen eventually), watch this video and thank me later.

Yes, this does indeed contains spoilers (well, it IS a video of someone playing the game!).

Review: Plane Weaver

Platform: Windows PC

Developer: Blue Coral Studio

Publisher: DADIU

# of Players: 1

Official Site

ESRB Rating: None

Score: A-

Developed in one month (!) by a team of eleven students at The Danish Academy of Digital & Interactive Entertainment (DADIU), Plane Weaver is a marvelous mix of 3D platforming and puzzle elements that come off as more fresh and innovative than much of what constitutes "Game of the Year" material on consoles and PC. While it's not a supremely lengthy experience, it's visually striking, nicely challenging and genuinely rewarding as you're pulled into some excellently designed levels. The game lightly echoes elements of sleeper hits such as ICO and the upcoming Lost in Shadow, yet never feels too derivative or under-polished. At only 66MB and a free download (for now), it's an absolute must for anyone who craves originality and creativity in their games.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Gallery: Atari & Eden Want To Keep You Indoors For A While...

If you've never had the chance to play the original Test Drive Unlimited on the Xbox 360*, you missed out on one of the more addictive pure driving games on current generation consoles. While you could in tons of events in offline or through the innovative M.O.O.R. (Massively Open Online Racing) system, the real thrill (for me at least) came in hitting the road in any car and just driving around Oahu for hours. Uncovering every inch of highway for one of the tougher Achievements was a blast and it was pretty cool to see lots of people played the game in the same way. With Test Drive Unlimited 2 hitting PS3, PC and Xbox 360 on February 8, 2011, here's a look at some of Eden Games' nicely rendered cars from a few angles. I'll add older screens to this gallery sometime next week.

TDU2 takes place in Ibiza and an upgraded version of Oahu from the first game (accessible once you've "leveled" enough), so it's going to be a must-play for me, as I'm insanely curious to see what's new, what's changed and how well the overall game experience has turned out.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Didn't Get The Game You Want? Grab Tyrian 2000 For FREE From! is one of the greatest gamer gift-giving websites currently operating today thanks to their love for the PC classics and the means to get them up and running for sale as single or multiple pack deals at incredible prices. Part of their holiday promotion is releasing Tyrian 2000 (one of the best vertical scrolling arcade shooters ever made, I'd say) for FREE to any and all who have accounts (which are also FREE). All you need to do is drop on by, sign up and BOOM, the game is yours. the download is a tiny 10MB and you can also grab the soundtrack separately (an extra 128MB on your hard drive). I'm guessing that sound I hear is the servers collapsing thanks to the traffic I just sent there... or maybe not.

Hmmm... might have been Santa hitting the side of a building (oops)...

Random Holiday Greetings Roundup

Here's a few more of the e-cards or holiday-themed images that have ended up in my inbox (I don't drive, but thanks, Maserati!). I need to poke around and see what's ended up in the spam folder, as on occasion, a card or three turns up there as well. Click on that amusingly rustic card from CDProjeckt Red's The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for a trip to its pre-order page, as there's a rather spectacular bonus-packed deal on the upcoming title that's very hard to refuse. For some wonky reason, I can't even see the digital card Atlus USA sent out, but I'll try to upload and post it later.

Tecmo Koei's Q1 2011 Lineup: A Cast of Thousands In Three Games (Plus Two 3DS Titles)

Tecmo Koei is getting an early start on 2011 by announcing three upcoming console games for the first quarter of next year as well as two 3DS exclusives with release dates and more info on the portable games to be announced shortly - (at or around CES, I'm guessing). Here's what's on the way:

Trinity: Souls of Zill ‘Oll
(PS3 Exclusive) – February 8, 2011

Warriors: Legends of Troy (PS3/Xbox 360) – March 8, 2011
Dynasty Warriors 7 (PS3 and Xbox 360) – March 22, 2011
Dead or Alive Dimensions (3DS)
Samurai Warriors Chronicles

I'll run updated galleries for each game as new media comes in.

inFAMOUS 2 Behind the Scenes Video

SCEA and Sucker Punch's Holiday Cheer, part deux - check out this chunk of "making of" footage from inFAMOUS 2 and go kiss your PS3 for getting yet another great game in 2011. I'd say someone needs to build a time-stopping machine so we can all set aside enough of it to actually play ALL the great games coming next year for every system...

Sony Drops Some inFAMOUS 2 Holiday Cheer On Us All (BOOM!)

Yikes. Not one, not two, but three videos went up for inFAMOUS 2 a few hours ago, showing off gameplay, a behind the scenes peek and parts of the 2D comic cut scenes from Sucker Punch's 2011 action game. Here are the gameplay footage and 2D comic movies - the behind the scenes video gets a separate post just so i can ramble about it a bit more (if I want to). Yup, with all these first party exclusives coming left and right, it's going to be a REALLY good year for the PS3 (and you don't need a crystal ball to see that fact)...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ys I & II Chronicles "Hair Metal" Trailer + Soundtrack Bonus Prove A Point...

Ys I & II Chronicles is coming on February 15, 2011, but Xseed Games wants you to start the party NOW. Dig the rockin' trailer above and pre-order the limited edition "Hair Metal Pack" and get your head-bangin' on while those classic game tunes (you may or may not remember depending on your age) are wailing away. Awe-some! Yup, Xseed is adding a CD soundtrack packed full of classic Ys tunes to the RETAIL version of the game ONLY. Oh, SNAP. Take that, digital downloads! Go Xseed!! (and nope, I'm not being sarcastic... some things are just better in a big ol' box and CD case).

Stuff I'm Just Getting To Looking At: The Thor Trailer

Actually, I got to see a tiny bit of the game an some excellent concept art at this year's New York Comic-Con, but no pictures of the tiny sliver of game footage could be photographed or filmed. Yeah, yeah, you can make all the God of War jokes you care to, but hey, at least Thor isn't going the Superman game route. The God of Thunder has his powers intact and it looks like players won't be forced through hoops or rescuing kitties in what's looking to be a mighty fun experience. The game is definitely coming along nicely in my book (with a May 2011 launch planned) and between this and Captain America: Super Soldier, shows Sega is back on the right track as far as their Marvel Comics games go. Speaking of Cap, I actually DID write up a preview of THAT game, but it was one of the ones that vanished along with that USB drive I'm on the hunt for. Must have been the Red Skull at work, grrrr...

WIN FREE STUFF!!! Little Big Planet 2 Beta Code Giveaway (It's Baaaaaaack!)

EDIT: GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Thanks to all who signed up - MORE cool stuff to come (stick around)!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Save Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark? Turn On the Camera, Julie...

While I haven't been to a Broadway show in decades, you can't go twenty minutes or so here in NYC without hearing or reading some more awful news about the show's numerous problems. Forget my own opinions about bringing such a risky project to life at such a huge expense during tough economic times and the hugely inflated but highly creative egos behind the show's development. I'm more concerned about stopping this overblown train wreck before there's a death on stage or off. Given the history accidents in some preview performances and the fact that this is a live show of such length and scope with never-before seen wire effects taking place every night means it's only a matter of when and how a fatal incident occurs.

However, I think there's a way to "save" the show and possibly recoup some of the production costs while turning an actual profit... eventually.

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Coming to PSP

I still have ringing in my ears and a mild headache from all that Hyperdimension Neptunia(aaa*cough!*) stuff yesterday, so I missed running this nice cover art and screens from NISA's upcoming PSP strategy RPG. According to Amazon's listing, the game will feature "new story chapters, characters, items, better graphics, and a revamped user interface". In addition, the game is now "more user-friendly and packs more content for over 100 hours of game play". March 18, 2011 is the release date (unless something changes). With UMD games looking as if they're on the way out after next year, folks like me will be grabbing what great games we can, that's for sure.

While the official website for the game is still in the works, the cover art and four screens are here for your approval. There are a bunch more shots from the game over at Amazon (in case you didn't click that link above already), so go peek at those if this one's up your alley... Back in a bit - the post office is calling me...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hyperdimension Neptunia (aaaaaaaaaaaaa!) Official Trailer: Nippon Ichi Is At It Again...

Say it with me, folks (big voice, now): HYPERDIMENSION NEPTUNIA(AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!)

Yes, that name absolutely demands the echo chamber effect at the end. Grrrrrr... Why does Nippon Ichi continue to tempt me so? Yet another too cute for words RPG, this time on the PS3 from a whopping what, five studios? Lots of flashy battle effects, that snazzy Gust 2D artwork (I expect my usual ten layers of parallax scrolling backgrounds, thank you) mixed with 3D characters, randomly generated dungeon maps, eyeball-rolling town names (Gameindustri? ha bloody ha), ESRB T (Teen)-rated "partial nudity" and "sexual themes" should make this one a nicely niche hit. That is of course, provided the gameplay is solid and the story has the highs and lows genre fans expect plus whatever bells and whistles those random dungeons offer. Oh, and ALEX KIDD??? Holy cats, that's an instant buy just for the Janken mini-game flashback I had while typing this. The other Sega characters in the game will keep me playing just to see who else is hidden on the disc.

I'll take a dozen to go, please... with a copy of Prinny 2 on the side.

Unique Console Patron Units... Engage! sometime in Spring 2011, by the way.

SSX: Deadly Descents Divides (The Fanbase) and Conquers (Much of Their Sanity)...

Nice trailer... but, Holy Belfry, Batman! You'd think that EA drove over a an entire block full of little kids carrying baskets of newborn puppies while on the way to a church bake sale after visiting Grandma. Twice. Some of the responses I've seen to the SSX: Deadly Descents game trailer and new direction the formerly goofy and always exuberant fan fave are probably arrest-worthy and yes, completely unnecessary. Game History 105: Radical Entertainment (Prototype 2, among other cool games) and THQ tried out a mix of action movie and snowboarding on consumers "way" back in 2001 with a little game called Dark Summit. While it didn't exactly blow any sales doors off (or gain a huge enough following to warrant a sequel, for that matter), it received mixed (but mainly positive) reviews, was fun to play and manged to get in a bit of humor during the story. Hell, the whole game idea was pretty funny in a "Hey you kids, get off my secret government test area snow-covered lawn!" kinda way.

Lost & Found (And More Work, Too!)

Whee. After a big hard drive crash a few years back, I'd been storing articles in progress, reviews and a few interesting game or story ideas on either portable USB drives or SD cards, but of course, I managed to screw that otherwise reliable storage method up somehow. A few months back, one of the cards I was using for a LOT of DAF stuff suddenly failed to read (nooooo!) and I misplaced one of the USB sticks while traveling around (well, I couldn't find the darn thing no matter where I looked). Anyway, I'd kept that old card around a few days back, happened to pop it into my camera to see if there were any photos that could be recovered. *Boom!* no decent pics (well, some ebay items I'd sold off last year) but I DID see a load of text files now free from their digital prison. Looks like I'll be spending the holidays polishing up and posting some old to recent reviews. I'm still on the hunt for that USB drive as it has even MORE articles and ideas plus some PC game data I wasn't planning on losing (ha ha)...

Prototype 2 Xmas Card Is Mildly Creepy (Yet Also Subtly Hilarious)

While it's indeed a quiet holiday scene, there's a nicely lurking sense of impending dread in this card from Activision's PR department. I wonder what Alex Mercer's card looks like (er, provided he's even sending one out this year)... Prototype 2 is in development at Radical Entertainment and should hit stores sometime next year, barring incident.

Monday, December 20, 2010

MLB 11 The Show Announce Trailer (It's A Hit, For Sure)

As much as a non sports game fan as I am these days (a bit of personal burnout from the general overkill of 24-hour sports), I'll still have to give it up for SCEA's upcoming baseball game in terms of how spectacular it looks. Sony Santa Monica just may have a huge home run (without the steroids) when the game ships in 2011. Will it get me to pick up a controller again and swing for the fences? I guess we'll have to see, huh?

P.S. It's nice to see that a PS2 version is also on the way, Sony! Even though the bigger games are PS3 exclusive, it's great to see that the company STILL recognizes that not every single PlayStation owner has made the jump to the PS3.

Why Killzone 3 Will Be A Blast, No Matter HOW You Play It

Let's see now: so far, I've played demos of Killzone 3 in 3D with a Dual Shock 3, in regular HD with a Dual Shock 3, in HD with the Move/NaviCon combo and in HD with the upcoming Move Sharp Shooter peripheral and each time I'm floored by what Guerrilla can do with the PS3. Alright, Sony, you can stop now. I'm sold...AGAIN. Hell, I was sold months ago when I saw the E3 demo running in not quite fully optimized 3D because I "got" what the team at Guerrilla were trying to accomplish with the narrative (as well as all that wonderful tech they're wisely hoarding to themselves).

An updated demo of the game along with Sony's new Move Sharp Shooter attachment were drawing lots of attention at Sony's Holiday 2010 event last week and after watching a few editor types fumble away with the peripheral, I was wondering if this was yet another game that was going to be sunk by a well-intentioned but flawed one-use controller. Then I got the chance to try the thing out for myself and found out it's actually quite remarkable once you get a feel for the peripheral.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mass Effect 2 PS3 Hands-On: BioWare, Beautiful & Brilliant

PS3 owners may have missed out on the original Mass Effect, but the stellar sequel plus four DLC chapters and a little something extra (plus a LOT of something extra under the hood) is headed your way in a great standard edition pack that's bound to fly off store shelves faster than the new Normandy hits light speed. I had the opportunity to play a demo version of Mass Effect 2 and was immediately floored by the visual upgrade (thanks to what was recently revealed as the Mass Effect 3 engine), the tweaked puzzles and a few other niceties BioWare has seen fit to add. I'd have to safely say this is going to be the definitive console version of the game and even if you've played the Xbox 360 version, you might want to snap up a copy of this one, provided you also have a PS3 in the house.

Dead Space 2 Multiplayer Hands-On: A Visceral Experience, Indeed

As if the thrills, chills and very bloody spills of Issac Clarke's upcoming single player adventures in The Sprawl weren't enough, Visceral Games is tweaking Dead Space 2 with a rather interesting multiplayer component that can be somewhat accurately described as tactical run & gun meets Left 4 Dead. I'll admit to being initially skeptical that any sort of online multiplayer modes added to this decidedly story-driven horror action franchise would be nothing more than another excuse for loudmouthed losers to run around shooting each other in the head while yelling all sorts of M-rated insults. However, I'm indeed thankful to report that I was proven dead wrong.

At Sony's Holiday 2010 event last week, I got to go a few rounds with the multiplayer demo and was very impressed by the experience. What's here is fun, fast, frantic and frequently freakish, thanks to the back and forth player swapping that takes place during matches.

Playstation Move Heroes Hands-On Update - Nihilistic Aims For The Core

When last we saw Playstation Move Heroes (formerly known as Heroes on the Move) back in October, the demo build was indeed a lot of fun to play but there was obviously more coming in terms of levels, game modes and other features. Last week at Sony's Holiday 2010 event, Nihilistic's peppy Design Director Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow and SCEA's equally peppy Caley Roberts showed of the latest build which was more polished and quite packed to the rafters with many lovely and destructive things to do. Not content to shove out a simple Move-enabled mini-game cash-in for the younger set, Nihilistic is cooking up a solid, hugely fun (and funny) game any fans of Sony's mascot franchises will be proud to add to their collections.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: Earth Defense Force 2017

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Sandlot

Publisher: D3Publisher of America

# of Players: 1 - 2

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B+

One of those "cult classics" that, three years after its US release is still a hell of a lot more fun than certain bigger budgeted (and bigger hyped) games, Earth Defense Force 2017 is finally back on the Xbox 360, this time as a download only Games on Demand release. Whether you missed out on it the first time back in 2007 or you're replacing that copy you sold off on ebay, 2017 is still an absolute blast to play, mixing in dozens of hours of non-stop hardcore action with couch co-op and a grand, campy "B" movie aesthetic that permeates the game from start to finish. Sure, there's no online play, the character and vehicle controls are a tad quirky and the game isn't exactly "state of the art" in terms of presentation. On the other hand, the old school gameplay coupled with some truly and terrifyingly challenging levels go a long way in proving pure fun trumps innovation any damn day of the week. That twenty bucks might seem like a "premium" price for a game in these days of too many indie games going for a buck or few on XBLA, but trust me, you're getting easily three to four times that value in gameplay length alone.

Knights Contract Update: New Screens, Art, Release Date

Namco Bandai's rather surreal fantasy/horror/action game hybrid has been on my radar pretty since its initial announcement and now, the Game Republic-developed title finally has a release date. February 22, 2011 is when you'll want to be lurking around your favorite game retailer (or creeping in to pick up your pre-ordered copy). The single-player PS3 and Xbox 360 game features Heinrich, an immortal executioner and Gretchen, a resurrected witch who acts as Heinrich's AI partner. Namco Bandai hopes that the mix of fantasy elements, high action sequences and M-rated gore coupled with the game's bizarre menagerie of monsters might lift a few of those lingering holiday blahs right out of your system.

Speaking of bizarre-looking monsters, more nice concept art images and renders of two bosses, Straeggle and Trude are below the jump along with some new screens featuring the pair of beastly beauties in action.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge "The World of Hunted" Trailer

InXile's upcoming co-op focused action/RPG is looking to be one of the more memorable releases of 2011 whether you're a fan of the genre or not. Here's a look at a few of the different environments you'll be adventuring in and around - text below courtesy of Bethesda. Keep this one on your radars, folks...

Welcome to the World of Hunted.

Tempted by riches, the warrior Caddoc and huntress E'lara will travel through a sprawling empire beset by evil. As their path twists through the once thriving town of Dyfed and towards the mighty capital city of Llyr, they will face a corruption that is spreading across the land. The kingdom's ancient ruins have become overrun with foul creatures, and innocent villagers are being driven underground into dungeons. As they draw closer to the ruins of Kala Moor a dark army gathers, threatening everything in its path.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Dynasty Warriors 7 Screens (You KNOW You Want To Look...)

It's OK... admit it, you're a secret (or not so secret) Dynasty Warriors fan who's learned to ignore the harshly jaded critics out there and keeps buying and playing every game in the franchise (and its spin-offs) from start to finish because it's become the digital equivalent of mom's mac & cheese for you. Those long 60-plus hour campaigns with all those unlockable characters plowing through packs of enemies as kill counts are racked up in the thousands? Yeah, that's you, all bleary-eyed and smiling into your coffee on a Monday morning not bragging about hunkering down indoors for three days straight while your work buddies are babbling all about that Friday night hottie that gave them a kick to the groin after yet another bad pickup line. They fail and revel in it like the foolish lemmings they are, while you continue to win, win and win (and how!).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

thatgamecompany's Journey - An Online Experience Like No Other

Some games are so good, they just make me want to sing, so pardon me while I warble a bit before the actual preview...

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,

Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
to renew old memories...

OK, I'm done, the judges have spoken and I got unanimously booted off the island (without a boat or a paddle, mind you). You may remove that cotton from your ears and read on.

One of the biggest and best embargoed surprises at Sony's holiday event last week was thatgamecompany's Journey, a downloadable PS3 exclusive that just may be one of the most innovative online experiences ever created. Taking a cue from the beauty, simplicity and ease of play found in flOw, Flower and Cloud, the game combines open world exploration, platforming and puzzle elements in an elegantly simple, yet extremely lovely package. While the build on display was only playable by the two tgc staffers present, it was immediately clear what was on display just might rewrite the book on Internet play. In a way, tgc has created the safest online multiplayer game in the world... and a gorgeously rendered one at that.

Portal 2 Co-Op Trailer (Yes... and Yes)

Yes, it's the PAX 2010 trailer (I wasn't at PAX, so I'm seeing this for the first time) and Yes, Valve wants you to buy the game because they're working on it harder than you think. Hell, they've got my money as long as i can walk into a game shop and buy it on a disc.

L.A. Noire "The Technology Behind Performance" Video

Rockstar shows you how it's done in this excellent clip. As you can see, new tech is indeed a blast when the right folks get their hands on it. Note: If you somehow can't see the video, click the post title and BOOM - there you go.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River Game Site Goes Live

Codemasters' upcoming PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 military shooter looks to bring a more realistic take back to the FPS genre with this upcoming sequel. Last year's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, warts and all, was definitely an excellent challenge. Red River looks to top that with even better Ego Engine-powered visuals

My one worry here - content. Dated visuals aside, the original OpFlash on PC and Xbox still trump Dragon Rising in terms of allowing for user-created content and I'm hoping PC and console gamers get that chance with Red River at some point either as part of the main package or some sort of expansion pack/DLC. We'll see what happens as more news about Red River hits the inbox...

Oprah's Not Gay, But She May Be A Mutant...

How else does one explain her getting Wolverine to nearly kill himself without even lifting one of her very wealthy fingers? Poor (but very lucky) Hugh Jackman zip-lines right into a pole doing an opening for her show Down Under on Monday. I'm just getting to this now because I don't watch Oprah and someone sent me the link to a clip this morning. Yes, I laughed for a good ten minutes... after nearly poking an eye out facepalming (ouch)... Er, get well soon, Hugh!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BioWare & Treehouse Brand Stores Want You to WIN BIG!

Yup, ANOTHER awesome holiday giveaway, this time from Treehouse Brand Stores and BioWare. Click HERE to enter for your chance to win one of 100 very cool prizes including tricked out gaming PC's, headphones, hoodies and collector art packs! The contest ends in 12 days and if you've a Facebook or Twitter account (or both), you get even more chances to snag the swag!,

So get moving already! You guys are super lucky, as we poor media folk can't enter to snag one of those PC's (well, that WOULD be a bit unfair and a wee bit shifty, so it's all good)...

The Return of ROSE Online! (Well, It Didn't Actually REALLY Go Away)

Ah, Nostalgia! I reviewed the super-cute entry-level fantasy MMO ROSE Online about five or so years back for another gaming site that's long dead and found it to be very cool and quite a bit of fun at the time. Since then, Gravity has revamped the visuals a bit, retooled the game model from a per month fee to FREE to play and is looking to revive interest in it with a big media push. While my own time for MMO's is pretty much over and done with (way too many other projects cooking here!), don't let that stop you from giving ROSE a shot, particularly if you're not a total slave to the WoW juggernaut.

Game info and a few screens below the jump.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon 2011 Calendar Brings Warmth To The Holiday Season (and how!)

So... guess what showed up today courtesy of D3Publisher of America? Yow-za. Now, D3 just NEEDS to answer that musical question: "Will Pale Wing be in EDFIA?" All kidding aside, that "exclusive interview" cover teaser, has me HOPING she's added into the upcoming game as a playable character (and they've had Vicious Cycle use one of the lovely ladies in the calendar as a model for her). One can only hope!
Note to D3: the more fan service the better!
By the way... What, NO screen shots at all in the calendar? (Just kidding!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

DURARARA! Is Coming...

Yup, anime reviews are coming to DAF very shortly. Stick around for more interesting news on this and a few other surprises...

Holy Cats, It'll Be Raining GAMES in 2011!

Geez, it's a Manic Monday in reverse! Roll out of bed late, check the inbox and BOOM! there's an absolute bonanza of games news stuffed in there. Rather than do individual posts (although I'll run galleries and/or videos this week), I'll just hit you gently with a quick rundown (links included where applicable) of stuff that made me nearly fall off my chair:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (11.11.11!)
Resistance 3
Prototype 2
X-Men: Destiny
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (new trailer)
SSX: Deadly Descents (in development)

M-Rated trailers will appear on the DAF: Trailer's Gate blog, by the way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll Gameplay Footage x6

Here's what to expect from Koei Temco's upcoming PS3 exclusive Action/RPG. Each of these six videos shows off developer Omega Force's skills quite well, I'd say. Love the color palette, dynamic spells and what's looking like an easy to pick up and play combat system against the swarms of enemies on screen. Of course, the KT haters will be out in full force against this game's strengths, but we'll wait and see what the actual product plays like sometime next year. Will familiarity breed contempt... or just more sore thumbs and a blissed-out grin after too many hours of whittling down goblins and big-ass wolves? Again, We. Shall. See.

More footage below the jump, as usual.

MotorStorm Apocalypse Will Make You Want to Save Up For That 3D TV...

Yeah, I'm also saying that about Killzone 3, The Sly Collection and that absolutely lovely Ico/Shadow of The Colossus twofer coming your way (and the more the merrier, right?). However, of all the first-party PS3 games I've seen that use 3D enhancements, Evolution Studio's upcoming racer truly takes the cake and even eats the damn candles in terms of total WOW factor. The game screams along at a solid 30fps with nothing stopping the onscreen chaos, except perhaps that building, opponent or gaping crevasse you'll crash into thanks to the overwhelming visuals. Sitting down, popping on a pair of Sony 3D glasses and watching Game Director Matt Southern play through normal and 3D enhanced modes was a quite a thrilling experience (to say the least).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Actual Uncharted 3 Reveal Adds Even More Tease.

Heh... oops. Well, this longer trailer only packs in a few action shots near the end, but that longer shot of the plane wreckage has me intrigued, as does who that hand in the sand belongs to. Again, it's Sony's year to lose in 2011 (if you count your games in a competitive manner). Gotta love the first-party studios SCEA has - they're just cranking them out on a regular basis these days...

Etna Needs Your Help Getting In the Holiday Spirit!

Yup, that means yet another wacky yet cool Nippon Ichi Software America contest is afoot, folks. Click on that pic above and enter to win some cool prizes! Also, go reserve a copy of Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! while you're at it. As I've said before, ANY game with a name like that can't be passed up!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Uncharted 3 Teaser Makes Me Want A Second PS3


Naughty Dog's reliability is a TOTAL pain in the neck, isn't it? Just when you think they've done their best work... well, here they come again, very quietly promising to blow the doors off their last effort while making us all get the drool cups out. This supremely tease-y peek at Nathan Drake's new adventure shows nothing at all in terms of high action, yet quietly makes it look like one for the ages if you pick apart all the little details on that table. Hell, I may need to buy a new PS3 just in case my old launch model finally keels over as I'm installing the new game. Crap... I just jinxed myself... then again, I don't believe in curses, so there!

A Date With D3...

Heh. Got an email from UPS that says D3Publisher has sent me an Earth Defense Force Calendar... This should be really interesting (I need to take a pic of the huge fold-out Onechanbara calendar they sent back when those games were released and post it one day). Expect an update with pics around the 15th (the expected delivery date)... I do love the holidays!

In unrelated news, I'll be giving away some spectacular stuff this month, so watch this space for a big ol' announcement...

Review: The Guild 2: Renaissance

Platform: PC

Developer: RuneCraft

Publisher: DreamCatcher

# of Players: 1 (2 - 4 online)

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B-

As deep as the ocean and surprisingly addictive once you get into the intentionally slow pacing, The Guild 2: Renaissance is an intriguing mix of RTS, RPG and simulation gaming that's definitely not for the casual gamer. In fact, heavy experience with The Guild 2 is highly recommended, as this latest expansion lacks a tutorial mode (despite the manual stating there's one available, D'oh!). Once you get past that mind-boggling hurdle (the JoWood forums and YouTube are great helps, by the way), the game becomes a bit hard to stop playing as you guide your character's destiny in any way you choose. The amount of content and things to do here are staggering and despite the occasional bug, the game can really grow on you.

WIN FREE STUFF!!! Disney Epic Mickey Swag Up For Grabs!

Well, heeeeeeeere we go again! I'm in the holiday spirit, it is indeed the holidays and that means YOU want FREE stuff, right? From now until the end of the month, I'll be running Friday giveaways of game-related gear, mostly featuring items you won't find in stores. First up, a twofer: I've ONE Disney Epic Mickey Jacket (size XL) and ONE Disney Epic Mickey Oswald the Rabbit T-shirt (size XL, with a Epic Mickey Ears Cloisonne Pin) in need of two good homes!

Batman Arkham City Teaser (Yet Another Long Wait That's Going To Be Worth It)

Well, now we know it's next fall as far as the release date goes. WBIE may be stingy with revealing assets, but heck, that's not going to stop the game from being as good as (or even better than) the original...

Bastion Trailer: Supergiant Is One More Indie Dev To Watch...

Supergiant Games' upcoming Bastion is the sort of game I'd pay good money for if it came in a boxed retail version. Sadly, like far too many indie games this generation, this gorgeous, innovative RPG looks as if it'll only see the light of day as a digital download. Sure, that's absolutely peachy for folks who can go that easy, breezy DLC route on PC and console formats, but some games (and particularly great-looking games such as this) should be available for the masses in as many (legal) forms as possible (grrrr, end of non-rant). Anyway, ogle the trailer above and keep a eye peeled for what's looking to be one of 2011's indie games. My radar is pointed in your general direction, Bastion... don't let me down!

(Great, now I'm talking to as yet unreleased indie games...where's my medicine?!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll Screenshot Gallery

As promised, here's a look at some screens from Koei Tecmo's upcoming fantasy Action/RPG, set to hit the PS3 on February 8, 2011.
There's a decidedly rustic look to these images that I like - not over-polished at all, but still intriguing enough to get me interested in playing the final product. Check them out for yourself below the jump.

Sony Sure Knows How To Throw A Holiday Party...

There was a lot of stuff to cover at the event, but some of the nicer surprises are embargoed for a few days. Nope, there wasn't a PSP2 or PSPhone to be seen (or heard about) at the event, but throw a stone and you'd hit a great game surprise or someone playing something pretty damn cool. Media Molecule, Guerrilla Games and Evolution Studios folks are great to chat with and make me think of setting up forums on the site just to get their input. For now, my creatively constructive to creatively cranky comments on the industry show up on a few industry news sites where other developers and journalists post so as not to have too many rabid debates here.

Like the sweet Killzone 3 book? Sony was laser-burning whatever text attendees wanted into nice leather journals featuring some key 2011 titles and I chose Guerrilla's upcoming shooter as my pick for the DAF branding. Wish I had a dozen of each to give away on the site, but you'll have to do with ogling that photo for now.

Below the jump is a quick rundown* on what I can talk about images to come in a gallery update this weekend (*well, part one of a quick rundown, as I'm dead tired from a long day and am about to keel the hell over):

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Epic Dungeon

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Eyehook Games

Publisher: Microsoft

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: None

Official Site

Score: A+

In this year of huge-budgeted "Triple-A" releases that get massively hyped midnight launches, expensively overblown limited edition bundles and millions of juiced-up fans blowing each other away in online matches while ignoring the single-player aspect, Eyehook's brilliant (and brilliantly simple) Epic Dungeon crushes them all with its no-nonsense approach to challenge and pure fun. For a measly 80 Microsoft Points (one whole dollar!), you're getting a tough game with infinite replay value, a great "retro" look and overall, an absolute must-play for anyone who considers him or herself a true gamer. Easily worth twenty times its cost or more, don't let the cheap-ass price point fool you into thinking this is some play once and dump forever bit of fluff. A minor bug or two aside, nothing should stop you from finding out just how awesome and addictive this gem of a game is.

Decimation X3 Now Available Over Xbox Live

Xona Games wants to blow you away with their XBLA shooter, Decimation X3. This absolutely insane 2D shooter mixes a great retro visual vibe with an excellent soundtrack that's guaranteed to get you off the couch (provided you can dance and shoot simultaneously). Thankfully, the action is so frantic and exhilarating that actual dancing isn't remotely involved. What's even better is the game ONLY costs a measly 80 Microsoft Points, or a whole dollar if you're into that new math. BUY it, is my recommendation. Too bad Microsoft doesn't have a portable system, as DX3 and some of the other awesome games from the Indie Games Uprising would make PERFECT traveling companions (and no, I don't want a Windows Phone to play games on, grrrrr).

press release below the jump.

Lost in the Shadow Video Dev Diary 4: Pre-Launch Secrets

Some of you might be a tiny bit depressed that this year is rushing to a close too darn quickly, but for me, that just means that it's closer to seeing the final version of Hudson's Lost In Shadow hit retail on January 4, 2011. Here's the final developer diary, featuring a peek at some of the cool secrets to be found in this Wii exclusive - enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Koei Tecmo Announces Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll Coming to PS3 in 2011

Koei Tecmo has announced that its PS3 exclusive fantasy Action/RPG Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll will be hitting retail on February 8, 2011. Teaser trailer above, a second trailer below and screens to come shortly (as soon as I have time to sit down and grab 'em all). So far, I'm liking the nice Crimson Sea meets Dynasty Warriors vibe in the trailers and screens and it looks as if developer Omega Force is going all out in terms of the presentation and decent amount of enemies onscreen. We'll be keeping an eye peeled for updates as they wing this way, that's for sure...

Earth Defense Force 2017 Now Available On Xbox Live (Finally!)

I was wondering when D3Publisher was going to answer the call of the wild ones who either sold off or traded their copies, missed out on Sandlot's superior sleeper or just want to play what all the fuss is about. Having played and beat the disc version to death and beyond a few years back, I'll re-review the downloadable version shortly and see if it's still as addictive as ever. in addition to the Xbox Live Games On Demand relaunch, D3 is looking to draw in fans old and new by reviving the EDF 2017 website.

Sadly, there's no news of a PS3 port of 2017 any time soon, but I'm hoping D3 has plans to introduce western gamers to the two previous games in the series in the form of the PAL versions of the game (Monster Attack and Global Defence Force). While PSN would be the best format for some EDF fans, I'm also hoping (memo to D3: DO this for the fans!) the games are added to the Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Blu-Ray disc for those who don't yet have PSN accounts. Hell, there's more than enough space on that format to fit the localized versions, that's for sure...

In case you haven't played EDF before, it's a fantastic chunk of run 'n gun arcade action that's surprisingly deep and incredibly long in terms of netting the game's small amount of achievements. 53 levels, completely destructible structures in the outdoor maps, split-screen co-op (no online play, sorry!) Over 150 weapons to collect and some of the toughest difficulty spikes (in solo play particularly) you'll ever see await those daring with twenty bucks in hand. Trust me, the experience is worth twice the price, folks...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quickie TV Review: The Walking Dead "TS-19"

Talk about an explosive finale - the first season, short as it was, went out with a bang as CDC headquarters was obliterated in a nice fireball of non-nuclear but still blazing proportions (along with two more characters). There were a couple of tense moments inside the bunker including an interesting look at the virus cycle that causes otherwise dead folks to pop up and start chomping on the living and Shane's confrontation with Lori (the man needs a new fixation, pronto). While this one was superb from start to finish, the episode somehow felt too short for my tastes, as some old ground was retread (we get it - showers rock when you haven't had one in weeks) and it would have been interesting to see more of the doomed scientist as a character.

Nevertheless, AMC clearly has a major smash with the series and the long, long wait until October 2011 is going to be hugely unbearable yet highly exciting for those of us looking forward to more Dead. Brilliant stuff (and thank goodness for AMC Free On Demand, as I'll be haunting that channel for as long as they rerun episodes). Still... I'm wondering about the first season on DVD or Blu-Ray (whenever it hits), as a mere six episodes really isn't enough to justify shelling out for a box set unless it's packed to the rafters with bonus features... We shall see, I guess...

Score: A-
First Season Score: A

Review: Need For Speed Hot Pursuit

Platform: PS3 (also on Xbox 360, Wii, PC)

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

# of Players: 1 (online 2 - 8)

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 +)

Official Site

Score: A-

In Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Criterion Games' new Autolog feature is very much like a way too loyal robotic dog that lives on a diet of Red Bull-laced motor oil and rechargeable batteries, and that's a both a good and bad thing, boys and girls. If you absolutely THRIVE on competition, It's a good dog (Good dog! Goooood doggieeeeee!) because it keeps you on your toes, notifying you constantly that your formerly best times have been beaten, who beat you and yes, that you should drop everything and go get your record times back. Paradoxically, if you're a casual gamer who happens to plug into PSN or Xbox Live for some friendly competition (or a mere system update before playing the game) Autolog is a bad dog (bad dog! BAD! NO!), constantly interrupting your set racing schedule to let you know someone's peed or pooped all over your best times and how much of a LOSER you are for not going on ahead and racing every fool that's ready to take you down and leave the smell of virtual burnt rubber in your nostrils. Damn you, Autolog! Now go sit in your box... GO!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review: F1 2010

Platform: PS3 (also on Xbox 360)

Developer: Codemasters

Publisher: Codemasters

# of Players 1 (online 2 - 12)

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

Score: B-

With Codemasters at the helm and its aptly named EGO Engine powering the game, F1 2010 is a solid racer for fans of the sport or anyone interested in the F1 experience. While it's not quite the perfect blend of simulation and everyman entry-level introduction, it's a decent enough start that bodes well for the future, provided the dev team takes input from the hard core F1 fan in terms of what they want to see and play. Although the game has a novice setting, this definitely isn't one for the more impatient casual crowd nor anyone looking for a step-by-step driving simulator. Screaming sense of speed and mostly fine handling model aside, you're not going to be winning races left and right until you master the tracks, AI craftiness and nearly everything in between.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Pac-Man Party

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Developer: Namco Bandai

Publisher: Namco Bandai

# of Players: 1 - 4

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)

Official Site

Score: B+

30 years and counting on the video game scene still shows that Pac-Man's got legs (pun intended) and can stand up to pretty much whatever genre he's added to. Namco Bandai's latest Wii game featuring the character and his cohorts is a fun party game that's part Mario Party, part Dokapon Kingdom and all Pac-Man, offering up over 50 mini-games and a few arcade classics in a well-rounded package. Granted, this is a game that's very strictly geared toward the casual family market, so hardcore gamers "expecting" something resembling an actual challenge can slap their cranky sourpuss caps on as they bypass this in favor of the latest arcade shooter or ultra-violent action game. If you're in the mood for a consistently and intentionally silly game where actual gameplay is secondary and a pure sense of fun soaks the atmosphere, read on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Disney Epic Mickey Launch Event Photo Gallery

Hey, I'm no star-chasing paparazzi, folks - just an creaky old gamer with a crappy digital camera. I just point and shoot that crappy camera in the general direction of smiling people and try to get good enough shots to post. Submitted for your approval, perusal or whatever - here are a bunch of pics taken at the Times Square Disney Store during the Epic Mickey launch. I'll also note that Kyle Massey is pretty funny in person and both Warren Spector and Peter David are two of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, period.

P.S. Jennifer Grey is cute as a button and can probably fit into your coat pocket, but let's not tell her I said that!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sega Announces Binary Domain In Development For PS3 & 360

Sega's upcoming sci-fi themed squad-based shooter may be early, but it's looking pretty cool to me in these screens (there's a nice Terminator vibe going on). Click on that nice logo above to hit the official site - the press release is below the jump.