April 14, 2010 –
The latest issue of Game Informer included a batch of new information on the recently announced Bullet Storm, the new title from Epic Games being developed by the Polish studio People Can Fly. In the article we learn how the game’s skill shot system works along with some creative combat.
The main character Grayson Hunt is part of a group called Dead Echo that runs secret missions to maintain galactic peace. Through a number of plot twists, Grayson leaves the group and becomes a drunken space pirate who ends up crash landing on the planet Stygia. This former vacation destination is now a ruined utopia overrun by gangs and predatory plant life.
The combat is based around a “skillshot” system that awards players points for killing their targets creatively. The points are visible on screen, meaning that a headshot will cause a little “+50″ to float above the victim’s head after he’s been dispersed. The article describes numerous types of kill combinations using the environment and executions. Players spend their accumulated points to upgrade Grayson’s abilities.
Along with the guns, players have access to an energy whip that can be used to latch onto enemies and pull them closer, or it can be upgraded to slam into the ground and send helpless enemies into the air. Grayson also has a kick and a ground slide that also sends foes airborne. Each of these actions activates a bit of bullet-time that allows for more kills and more precise kills.
As for the guns, they can be upgraded using points as well, turning an average machine gun into something capable of firing 100 bullets in a single shot. The article also describes a “flail gun” which shoots two grenades tethered together by a chain. This odd projectile can wrap around cover, bind someone’s limbs, or simply blow them to hell.
Despite the main character Grayson Hunt having a cyborg side kick named Ishi Soto there won’t be co-op. People Can Fly has promised other online components that they aren’t talking about that just yet. The Game Informer article closes out by describing a boss battle with an enemy likened to a giant venus fly trap, in which the developers talk about shooting for a scale comparable to Uncharted 2.
We’ll have more on Bullet Storm as more details are revealed.
March 16, 2010 –
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment confirmed the Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year edition is coming to North America. This edition was previously announced for European territories.
Set for release on May 11 on Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3, this edition contains four extra challenge maps on the disc that were previously released as downloadable content. This edition also utilizes TriOviz 3D technology, allowing players to play the game entirely in 3D. This option is compatible with all standard and high-definition television sets.
Europe and Australasia versions are coming on March 26. No price details were announced.
April 14, 2010 –
Last week, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced F.E.A.R. 3, the third entry in the first-person shooter horror franchise. F.E.A.R. 3, developed by Day 1 Studios, will once again follow the horribly twisted Alma and her ill-fated sons. Although we knew that co-op would be introduced this time around, exact details were scarce — until now. The latest issue of Game Informer illuminates a number of gameplay mechanics and plot points that were previously unknown. And from the sound of things, F.E.A.R. 3 will have a mix of action and suspense that fans of the series have come to expect.
For those unfamiliar with the F.E.A.R. franchise, the games revolve around the psychically gifted Alma and her two sons: Paxton Fettel (who also possesses psychic abilities) and the mysterious soldier known as Point Man. Players take control of Point Man in the first game and ultimately kill Fettel. In F.E.A.R. 2, players control a different soldier, Michael Becket, who is eventually assaulted by Alma so that she can give birth to his child. Nine months later, Point Man returns — with the ghost of Fettel in tow — in order to stop his mother from birthing a nightmarish creature.
F.E.A.R. 3 introduces “divergent co-op,” which is the term that Day 1 Studios applies to the sort of adversarial co-op that’s being designed for the game. Players will be able to control either Point Man or Fettel, but Fettel is an enemy. He can assist Point Man, but his agenda is unclear and players can decide to go off on their own and play without directly assisting the other.
Fettel will have access to a number of intriguing powers, including stun blasts and the ability to possess virtually any enemy in the game. Once Fettel has occupied an opponent, he gains control over their powers and can turn them on other enemies. Point Man, alternatively, will still be a more straight-forward soldier type, though Day 1 Studios is developing a first-person cover system which will be of great value to Point Man during a fire fight.
The developers note that they appreciated the Left 4 Dead Director system, which constantly adjusted the gameplay experience on the fly to keep every playthrough feeling fresh. Day 1 is attempting to do something similar with F.E.A.R. 3, as well as implement a scoring system which will encourage players to come back and replay the game.
F.E.A.R. 3 will also boast a competitive multiplayer element, as well as a purely single-player campaign for those interested in fighting Alma alone. If players opt for the single-player mode, Fettel will not be controlled by the AI, instead appearing only in cutscenes.
F.E.A.R. 3 is scheduled to launch this fall.
April 12, 2010 –
Gears of War characters are going to invade Lost Planet 2. How did this happen? We went to the two people responsible for each universe, Gears of War Creator Cliff Bleszinski and Lost Planet mastermind Jun Takeuchi, to get the story behind this epic crossover.
But before we get to that, IGN has one bit of Lost Planet 2 news that Capcom fans are sure to get in a tizzy about. Frank West, the star of Dead Rising, will also be an unlockable character. Keep reading to find the hilarious screenshots confirming this second crossover.
IGN: I simply have to ask: Why a Gears of War / Lost Planet crossover?
Cliff Bleszinski: Why the heck not? Both are great third person shooters with memorable moments, it seems like a no-brainer. I’ve been a fan of Takeuchi-san and Capcom for years now so we leapt at the chance to do this. Who’s to say that Marcus and Dom couldn’t find themselves in this neck of the woods?
Jun Takeuchi: I had a chance to introduce the first LOST PLANET game to the Gears of War staffs at E3 2006. At the event sight, they asked me why we didn’t use the behind-the-shoulder camera style we used for Resident Evil 4.
I was really curious to hear their opinions again about the camera angles for this LOST PLANET 2 and was hoping for a chance to show them the game someday. Some camera angles of the LOST PLANET 2 resemble the ones used in Gears of War and I was inspired to feature Gears of War characters in the game. The Gears of War staffs showed a favorable response to this idea and they gave us a go.
Marcus? Dom? Lost Planet? Yes.IGN: Who approached who to get this idea going? How did it get started?
Cliff Bleszinski: Capcom approached us initially. At first I thought it was some sort of a prank or just a crazy idea, but I quickly realized that they were very serious about it. I found myself extremely excited by the debut trailer when Marcus and Dom come in to help out with the boss monster.
Jun Takeuchi: I needed to take steps to get back in touch with Gears of War staffs since few years have passed since last time we met at E3 2006. Contacting them suddenly after being out of touch for a long time for project deals like this can appear a bit abrupt (considering the Japanese custom). So I first decided to consult with Microsoft Japan.
Microsoft staffs were thrilled about the idea. I must say that this collaboration didn’t come without a great support of many staffs at Microsoft Japan. Microsoft staffs introduced the idea to EPIC and we got a prompt response from EPIC saying “Sounds very interesting. Please feel free to use them in LOST PLANET2!”. Our staffs were so happy to hear their response and everybody was cheering for this ambitious collaboration with EPIC. It was also our staffs’ question that why they were able to give us permission without having any issues. We later heard from Microsoft that EPIC commented “we are friends since E3 2006 and we don’t see any issue using Marcus and Dom in LOST PLANET game”. We were moved from the fact that they also remembered us from E3 2006 and we were strongly encouraged by their supportive comment.
IGN: Will the Gears of War costumes be unlockable in the game or will players have to purchase them through special editions or downloadable content?
Jun Takeuchi: Players are able to unlock additional contents in a rather conventional manner through game play. The unlocking conditions were proposed by EPIC and we really thank EPIC staff’s for their valuable inputs. I hope you all enjoy exploring the game to unlock these character skins.
Frank West has an…interesting backpack.IGN: Is there any story element in the game that explains Marcus and Dom’s presence?
Jun Takeuchi: Marcus and Dom will appear in the game as character skins in LOST PLANET 2. They are such awesome characters, however, I think that their great stories are to be told within their own unique settings in Gears of War. LOST PLANET 2 uses their images only without affecting their story.
IGN: Do Marcus and Dom have any special powers in Lost Planet 2, or is the skin purely cosmetic? Please tell me you can use the chainsaw.
Jun Takeuchi: I am hoping that these character skins would bring adrenaline rush to the players during game play. They are in fact just a character skins, but I am sure the players can go wild as soon as they unlock these cool characters from Gears of War.
IGN: Will there be any elements of the Lost Planet world crossing over into future Gears of War games?
Jun Takeuchi: Humans might migrate into different planets in the future and I think it is great to let the imaginative thoughts run wild by contrasting different ideas like that. However, we have not brought up the official plan of sharing further contents between the Gears of War and the LOST PLANET games as of now.
Cliff Bleszinski: Who knows what the future will hold. Maybe I’ll borrow their great grapple mechanic instead? Let me go talk to the team about that one…
IGN: Will the Marcus and Dom skins be playable in the adversarial multiplayer game as well as the co-op campaign?
Jun Takeuchi: They certainly are available for both online multiplayer game and co-op campaign. Many of our staffs loved them and tended to use Marcus and Dom for testing the game during our QA process. I sometimes had to limit their use of those characters and encourage them to use other skins for more balanced QA results.
April 5, 2010 -
A bunch of gaming outlets were sent USB drives with no return address today. The only information on the drive appears to be a MP3 file with a cryptic audio message and a text document. Little help?
When viewing the audio file in Microsoft Word, these lines of code are revealed.
00000000 00000210 00000825 000000000037474B 00000000 0016FDA0 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000TCON
A person on the audio file reads out the letters below:
MOD ZZZ JNQRYD3FRP
The separate word document also only has these six words posted.
The postage stamp says it came from Maryland. Could this be from Bethesda as a tease for Fallout: New Vegas?
Update: Ok, wow, monster updates here. Joystiq was able to put together a lot of the clues.
The code MOD ZZZ JNQRYD3FRP is deciphered into the website http://www.gknova6.com/.
The recorded message found on the website can be deciphered using the Baconian Cipher into APRIL WEEK TWO. You can also mess around with the TV dial to see nuclear imagery,
So it looks like something is coming next week.
Update: It appears the decrypted information sent to gaming outlets yesterday points to news surrounding Activision’s newest Call of Duty title or possibly Singularity.
First, a Bethesda representative confirmed to IGN this viral campaign “has nothing to do with us or anything we’re doing.” So we can rule out a Fallout: New Vegas tease.
User DaneORoo has also put together an impressive list of clues. The blinking light found on the television set is Morse code for the letters RAIS, which could stand for the four announced functions of the Time Manipulation Device found in Singularity: Revert, Age, Impulse, Stasis.
User MrNuclearGuy notes, however, it might not be so clear cut. The television set depicts images of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. “Singularity is set in the times of both 1950 and 2010. John Kennedy was not president until the early 60’s. In fact, at the time of the game (1950), he is only a member of the US House.”
“The video at gknova6.com shows the elements U-238 and U-235. Singularity focuses on the element Einsteinium (99 on the Table of Elements). Although in further research, Einsteinium is created from Plutonium-239, which itself is a product of U-235. So there might be a connection.”
It could also be the next Call of Duty developed by Treyarch. While not much information is known about the title, rumor and speculation point to the game set in Vietnam, which would fit the John F. Kennedy time line of the 1960s.
A Google Analytics search points to the domain being registered by Activision, so we can only guess this viral campaign deals with either of these two games.
Both the audio file and word document can be downloaded below. Let us know in the comments if you crack anything or send us an e-mail to let us know.
Mystery Audio File
Right click to save file (unless right click on mouse don’t work)
April 2, 2010 –
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners won’t need to worry about stretching before playing Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Activision confirmed the game will not support either the PlayStation Move controller or Microsoft’s Project Natal motion camera, both due out this fall.
Activision explained that while developer Beenox Studios explored the possibly of adding motion support to both versions, the team ultimately decided it was simply too late in the development cycle to add them effectively.
The publisher did say, however, that both Project Natal and PlayStation Move may be considered for future Spider-Man games. Activision noted the Wii version will utilize the Wii motion controller but did not give examples of how it will be worked into the game.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is currently set for release this September.
April 1, 2010 –
Hey everyone, Sparkster is back! What do you mean “Who the hell is Sparkster?” He’s only the greatest ass-kicking opossum to hit the Sega Genesis in the early to mid ’90s and now he’s coming back for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation network!
Back in the day every company on the block was making its own version of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sparkster was Konami’s. He’s got a sword, and a jetpack, and he likes to kill tons of wolves. He hasn’t been seen much since 1994, aside from some guest appearances in games like New International Track and Field.
Rocket Knight is actually the third game in the series and picks up where the Genesis games left off. Sparkster is enjoying the quiet life with his family, but when huge airships full of murderous wolf pirates invade, he dons the armor and becomes a rocket knight again.
More Rocket Knight News & PreviewsThere are 14 levels in the game and I’ve played seven of them so far. It’s a pretty standard platformer, feeling very similar to the original Genesis games, only in 2.5D this time (3D characters but sidescrolling gameplay). Sparkster has all the same moves as before like his jet pack dash, as well as a few new moves. Sparkster can shoot fireballs, break through walls, and hover, thanks to his jet pack.
One of my favorite parts of the game (the one thing that made it sort of stand out among all the Sonic clones of the day) was Sparkster’s ability to ricochet off of walls when he was boosting. That’s still in here and used pretty frequently. Powerups and collectibles will be scattered around in patterns that require the player to bounce between walls to get them. Sometimes there will be moving platforms that players have to time ricochets off of to reach higher areas.
Further grounding the game within the continuity is the return of Axel, Sparkster’s arch nemesis. He looks just like Sparkster, only dressed in red armor. Somehow Axel has become a “hero” to the city, but we know he’s totally a jerk and Sparkster is about to kick his marsupial ass when a giant robot built by the wolf army busts in, leading into a boss battle that was actually pretty intense and required well timed attacks. The wolf robot had huge blades for hands and would take out the platforms I was trying to stand on. He also shot missiles and dynamite. He’s totally badass, but no match for Sparkster. It was a pretty cool boss battle that used a lot of the moves I had just learned from the tutorial.
The other level I’ve played so far was an ice world. Due to the frigid temperatures, Sparkster’s fuel wasn’t refilling, requiring him to find fuel cells or get near sporadically placed flames. The level became a lot more strategic when I could blast around like a hyperactive child.
And of course there are the flying levels. every so often Sparkster will take to the air and the game switches from platformer to 2D shooter. The attack becomes a projectile fireball that can be charged up into a wicked laser beam. Along the way floating mines and flying wolves try to knock you out of the sky.
It’s weird for me to say I wish levels were harder, but there’s not a lot going on in the first couple flying levels. It looks cool with the wolves in hangliders flying in from the background to the foreground and trying to ram Sparkster. and in one level I got to take down one of the wolves’ airships by shooting out its turrets, so hopefully we get some more boss battles like that.
Rocket Knight is shaping up to be a cool little old school title. I’m hoping some of the later levels have more going on, since the first few tutorial levels were good, but not all that impressive. We’ve got a trailer for you to check out, and we’ll have the review for you when the game comes out in a few weeks.
March 24, 2010 –
Electronic Arts and Sweden-based game developer Starbreeze have announced the cancellation of one of two of its current, unannounced projects.
Starbreeze has been working on a licensed game based off the Jason Bourne character from author Robert Ludlum, which publisher EA secured the rights to last year. The studio was also focusing on Project RedLime, which was said to be a “reinventing” of an old EA franchise.
“We will continue to focus only on big productions together with EA,” said Starbreeze CEO Johan Kristiansson in a statement. “Our relationship with EA is stronger than ever, and the aim now is to spend more resources on the game that demonstrated the greatest potential. This game is already in full production.”
A spokesperson for Electronic Arts re-confirmed the project’s cancellation to IGN, but would not specify which of the two titles has been canned.
“This is correct. EA is focusing resource on fewer, bigger titles,” the company said. “We’re working with the team at Starbreeze to make a great game. We have nothing title-specific to announce today.”
March 31, 2010 –
No, it’s not a game about the alchemical transmutation of metals. Instead, Fatshark’s latest effort is a frantic third-person multiplayer shooter set in the Old West. The two elements feature prominently in the game — lead in the form of bullets, and gold in the form of coins. We’ve been playing around with this game for a few days now in anticipation of next week’s release and we’re encouraged by the Battlefield Heroes style simplicity and the appeal of the Wild West setting.
It’s true that the game is missing some of the setting stereotypes — there are no natives, no horses and no smallpox, for instance — but it does a good job of recasting the multiplayer shooter mechanics in this less familiar framework. Four standard classes and six familiar modes gives players a chance to jump into the game without much of a learning curve.
You can tell by his coal-dusted clothes and mining helmet that the Blaster normally works in the cramped confines of the mines. As such, he’s ideally suited for close combat. Armed with a coach gun (that’s a double-barrel shotgun to you), he can drop any target with a mere two shots, provided they’re standing within just a few feet. Of course, getting that close can be problematic, but many of the levels have enough confined spaces that the Blaster can really find ways to force the enemy to fight up close. For large groups, the Blaster can also toss out the dynamite that he normally carries as part of his profession.
The game modes might be familiar but the setting is a nice change of pace.The Gunslinger is another close-combat class, but he works a bit better at slightly longer ranges. His Negotiator pistol has a high rate of fire, so accuracy isn’t a particularly great problem. Throw in a fast reload and the Gunslinger is able to keep more bullets in the air than any other class in the game. For true volume of fire, however, the Gunslinger can activate a special fan shot that quickly shoots several bullets in a wide spread. It can be great both for taking down large groups at short range or simply chewing through a single enemy who’s made the mistake of getting too close.
My favorite class is the Deputy. Armed with a repeater carbine, he’s able to fight at the middle ranges that the levels seem to favor. His shots are very accurate and very damaging but his greatest asset is the carbine’s large magazine. Not having to reload as much as the other guy can definitely be the decisive factor in a firefight. His special ability allows him to tag enemy players and reveal their position to every other player in the match.
The Trapper is the typical sniper. Armed with a Buffalo Rifle and a saucy coonskin cap, she’s best positioned near some handy cover with a wide field of view. One lucky shot with the rifle will take down most players but she’s not able to make much use of the rifle in close quarters. To help protect herself, and her team’s objectives, she can lay traps that briefly incapacitate enemies.
When you carry the sack, you can’t shoot back.The classes also have unique synergies, which are powers and buffs that can be shared with nearby players. The Blaster, for example, will give a small defensive bonus to his allies, while the Gunslinger will boost all friendly accuracy. Since only one of any type of boost can be active at a time, it’s a nice way to encourage players of different classes to work together. If you combine the Trapper’s increased critical hit chance with the Deputy’s increased damage, you’ll be able to make short work of your enemies.
Right now, players level up during each match, but it’s not clear that there’s a persistent element to your character. So you gain XP regularly through the course of the match, and even level up from time to time, but there’s no way to track this across an entire career like you can in other online shooters.
Two of the modes, Robbery and Greed, require players to pick up sacks of gold and turn them in to score points. The cool thing about these modes is that players who are carrying the sacks of gold can’t run or shoot while holding them. So it’s up to the other players to make sure they’re safe while transporting money to the drop off point. Even if the other players aren’t particularly helpful, the carrier can always temporarily drop the load to fire off a few shots at any nearby attackers.
The same is true of the Powderkeg mode. In this mode, players have to use kegs of gunpowder to blow up certain objectives or open up new keg spawns closer to the action. The kegs work just like gold in that they prevent players from running or shooting while they’re being carried. The big difference is, if you set a keg down, other players can make it explode by shooting it, so you’ll need to be especially careful if you’re drawn into a firefight while carrying one of these.
One of the best ways to practice all this is to load up a Gold Fever match. This is essentially a Robbery mode for one or two players against waves of AI bots. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the classes in a slightly less intimidating environment and get a good feel for the basics of stealing gold and using powder kegs.
We’ve been having a lot of fun with the beta version these past few days, so look for our review after the game is released late next week.
March 31, 2010 –
Dreamworks has made some awesome animated movies — Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Over the Hedge, etc. — and now How to Train Your Dragon is in theaters and getting some good reviews. To accompany the motion picture, Activision is bringing How to Train Your Dragon to consoles around the world, but the results fall far short of the movie playing on the silver screen.
How to Train Your Dragon is lame in just about every way imaginable. It’s this mix of Pokemon, role-playing, and dragons that’s just too simple for its own good.
You’ll play as either Hiccup or Astrid and be dropped into the Viking world where you own dragons and take them into battle — battles that are one on one, fighting game-inspired bouts. By the end of the game, you’ll have a stable of four dragons that you’ll fight with and use in tournaments, but there’s a hefty bit of RPG-ness here. When you take a dragon into the game’s training modes, you earn experience points that go toward the dragon’s individual experience level. Bringing up a dragon’s experience level makes him tougher and more capable of dominating in the one-on-one fights.
This is how we do it.All of that might be interesting if it wasn’t for a couple of things. First, training is boring. It’s teaching you a few combos and making you repeat them over and over again on an opponent who rarely fights back. For some reason, there are timing issues with these combos as well. I fudged up these combo lessons a bunch of times because the game wasn’t reading my second button tap in a four-button move. Once I got my first dragon beefed up, I dreaded having to take one of my younger pups back to the dojo to repeat the same brain dead lessons.
Sadly, that lack of interest carries over to the real fights as well. You take your dragon into an arena, there’s another dragon across from you, and you brawl. I found that just mashing one button relentlessly won most fights for me, but it’s a slow and boring process. The opponents block a lot, so there are plenty of times where you’re just wailing on shielded opponents and waiting for them to open up and let your attacks land. When you do knock an opponent down, the opposing dragon cannot be hurt as it struggles back to its feet.
After each one of these tournaments, you’ll be kicked back to the Viking village and you get to wander around as your human character for a while. You can talk to people, but they all say meaningless stuff unless it’s time for a side quest. When you do get a side quest, it’s often times just the next step in getting to the next fight — stuff like finding all of the tools a worker needs to finish the bridge so you can get across to get some stuff for a different dude who lets you fight in the next competition.
You can collect chickens, plants, and more to feed to your dragon before fights to boost the beast’s stats — food, mood, trust and more — that act as its health in battle, and personalize the look of your animal. There are also mini-games such as using your dragon’s fire breath to carve ice sculptures as well as a two-player fighting mode, but they aren’t noteworthy. Well, you can assign attribute points and mess with your dragon’s talents in the local two-player fighting mode, which is kind of cool, but it’s the same ho-hum brawling.
Make him happy.As with many movie games, How to Train Your Dragon does little to explain what the hell is going on in this world and doesn’t really recap the movie. If you haven’t seen the flick, you won’t know what’s happening.
On a technical level, the loads seem to take just a bit too long and your character has a really ugly animation for jogging around the Viking town. Spin the camera, and you can see the framerate drop. When the dragon fights are going on, it’s like there’s this invisible barrier between the competitors. You’ll swing at an opponent and hit it, but there’s never really any contact. With one of the dragons with a really long neck, I was walking into its face without it reacting or even really appearing to touch it.
I know that I’m not the target audience for this game. I know it’s meant for kids, but How to Train Your Dragon is just so “bleh.” You can make a fun game for kids, but this isn’t one of them.
The fights are robotic and lack any impact, the third-person wandering is boring, and so on. It’s rare for a videogame to feel like a chore, but capturing 40 chickens and going through the same training missions again and again did it for me.
IGN Ratings for How to Train Your Dragon (X360)
out of 10
click here for ratings guide
The loads are too long and the menus lack polish.
When standing still things look OK, but in motion you have wonky animations, framerate dips, and collision issues.
There wasn’t that much dialogue recorded, so get ready for repetition.
You’re just mashing buttons or running around town to get to dragon fights.
The arcade mode sounds neat with its skill trees, but it’s not awesome in practice so I doubt you’ll stick around.
(out of 10)
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