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Forever is no more

May 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Duke Nukem Forever has been literally forever in the making. For a long time it was like Guns N Roses long awaited album Chinese Democracy, considered to be never released or even just a myth. However, Chinese Democracy was released last year and expelled its own myth of never going to be released. So, is the fact that I am writing this mean Duke Nukem Forever is on the horizon for release? Erm…No.

3D Realms, the creator of Duke Nukem Forever, has sadly gone bust due to lack of funds, which can be attributed to the economic climate. 3D Realms had been in the games industry since 1987 and popularised Shareware games. Shareware games are what we now consider to be demos. They were a trial version of the game, usually just the first level of the game, for consumers to try out before they bought the game.

3D Realms also brought us the fabulous Wolfenstein 3D first-person shooter and the beloved Duke Nuken character. Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first first-person shooters to be developed and inspired one of the most defining first-person shooters and if not game of all time, Doom. Duke Nukem started out as a side-scrolling shooting game, but later transformed into a first-person shooter with the hilarious, gory and strange Duke Nukem 3D.

Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be the next generation follow up to the successful Duke Nukem 3D, however, at the turn of the millennium 3D Realms where left behind and development of Duke Nukem Forever slipped further and further behind. Screenshots of progress where released to the press but for years afterwards nothing was heard. Nearly a decade after being announced more screenshots were released, and they showed true promise that it was on the horizon.

Since this news hit, the likelihood of Duke Nukem Forever being released feels more and more like a no. Take Two planned to publish the game but split from 3D Realms because of the lack of progress with the title and due to the recent economic turmoil we see ourselves in who could blame them? This inevitably lead to 3D Realms going bust, and the possibility of Duke Nukem Forever becoming Duke Nukem Never.

It is a sad time as the prospect of losing another video games developer with true pedigree and a history of making great games. You never know, someone may take a gamble on them, but in this climate it is doubtful and the likelihood is we will probably never ever see the promising Duke Nukem Forever.

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Marvel Vs Capcom 2 remake!

May 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Marvel vs. Capcom 2is being remade for the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network! Similar to the Street Fighter 2 HD remix, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 will bring back the awesome classic fighting game into this generation. Revamped visuals will be the most predominant new feature in this remake, also a simplified control scheme has been created along with a few changes to the combos. Online support is also included.

High anticipation surrounds Marvel Vs Capcom 2, and for good reason – who does not want to play as Spider-man and beat-up notorious Capcom will M. Bison! Or even team Ryu up with Wolverine or even Iron Man! The possibilities of this game are so cool it warrants a purchase itself.

If you have never played the original two games, then this is a must for your XBLA or PSN collection. Its released in July this year.

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Can Anything Challenge Warcraft?

May 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (or MMORPGs) have been around for a while and have proven extremely popular with gamers. There are plenty of titles to choose from, however, one title has stood out the most, World of Warcraft. No other MMORPG has come close to getting the number of subscriptions Warcraft gets. Over 11 million people subscribe to play in the lands of Azeroth, that’s a greater population than Ireland! Simply put World of Warcraft is the game to beat when developing a new MMORPG.

Many have tried to knock Warcraft off its pedestal and have crashed and burned in the process. Movie properties have tried to beat Warcraft, such as Codemaster’s Lord of the Rings Online game, the popular war games franchise Warhammer has even created an MMORPG to tackle the might of Warcraft. While being popular in their own rights, usually with the fans f said franchises, they have never come close to the numbers Blizzard boast about when referring to Warcraft. Heck even Dungeon and Dragons created an MMO and they didn’t beat them and they basically are responsible for what we know as an RPG!

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The reason Warcraft succeeded where others haven’t is primarily down to the fact it can run on virtually any machine, be it a low spec PC, high spec super gaming PC or a Mac. If you have a computer you can more than likely play World of Warcraft. People have even managed to play it on their Netbooks! Warcraft can play on a variety of machines because of the graphical choice the developers Blizzard made. Instead of top notch, realistic, intensive environments, Warcraft has its on cartoonish, fantasy world and it works. The first steps you take in Azeroth you admire the beauty of the world.

Blizzard also made sure they catered for all types of players – from a young audience to a more mature audience and casual players to hardcore players. The two different factions show this the best. The Alliance faction has more ‘nicer’ races to choose from that may generally appeal to a younger audience who want to champion the good, where as the Horde side is much more darker and perceived as more evil, is mostly played by a more mature audience.

If your just a casual player in Warcraft, you and your friends can roam around completing quests, or tackle an instance or even have friendly duels. To satisfy the more adventurous type, Blizzard created battlegrounds, where the two apposing factions could battle it out to control certain points on a map or capture the oppositions flag and fifty man raids against bosses that require tactics and skill to defeat. Arenas were created to increase the amount of player versus player (PvP) experiences, where players fought in gladiatorial style events. Blizzard catered for everyone and this is testimony to why they have so many subscribers.

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Now there is a new breed of MMORPGs on the horizon. Comic giants DC are wading in on the MMORPG business with their new title DC Universe Online. But can this knock Warcraft from the top? Probably not. While the idea of the DC Universe being open to us to create our own super heroes or super villain is super cool, its been done before with NCSoft’s City of Heroes and City of Villains. Also, the reason people love DC is for their great, charismatic characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Catwoman. What is the point of a DC game if you can’t control these characters?

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Another contender is Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. Based thousands of years before the movies, The Old Republic charts the battle between the armies of the Sith and the Jedi’s in a time that is relatively uncharted in the Star Wars Universe. And this is what will make it a real contender, there will be no Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia being badly voice acted (to us Star Wars fans as nobody other than the actors and actresses who played the beloved characters can voice them properly) will be present. The creators have free reign over how the story and game is developed.

Now this isn’t the first Star Wars MMO to be developed. Star Wars Galaxies, the first MMO, was a success in retrospect and had a very loyal fan base. The developers made a difficult choice to leave out the Jedi class and instead opt for a difficult journey to become a Jedi. This was a great concept, as Jedi’s where limited in the time period (between New Hope and Empire). Due to outrage of the fact you had to work to become a Jedi a slue of updates was released and changed the game from the one that the fans loved.

sw old republic 01 Can Anything Challenge Warcraft?

With the time period chosen with The Old Republic, this can be easily avoided, Jedi’s and Sith alike are abundant and other classes can be chosen, like bounty hunter. And since World of Warcraft has nearly finished its lifetime, in terms of expansion packs and story progression, The Old Republic can come in and fill the void that will be left after Warcraft has ultimately finished.

These are only a couple of new MMORPGs that are being developed, many more like the Star Trek MMO have been announced, but since World of Warcraft is on its final journey with the Wrath of the Lich King and the many content updates that will come along in the next year or two that will lead up to the ultimate end fight with Arthas, a.k.a the Lich King, eleven million subscribers may need a new MMO to migrate to. There will be many choices for the gamers to choose from, but the one that will capture the market the way Warcraft did will ultimately by the game that succeeds.

Even if a new MMORPG comes in a takes the crown away from Warcraft after its end, Warcraft will still be perceived as the greatest massively multiplayer online roleplaying game ever. Until Blizzard release their new one that is…

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Movie adaptations to look out for!

May 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the time of the year when this years blockbuster movies come out in succession. It’s also the time when movie games, based on said movies, come out to coincide with the movie release. Video games based on films tend to sell very well, but don’t tend to be very good. This year, however, the games are looking fantastic. So what is in store for this summer?

61xv2V%2BABUL. SL75  Movie adaptations to look out for!X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Who wouldn’t like to control a regenerating, virtually indestructible, claw wielding superhero? Well, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine you get to do just that! Developed by Raven Software, Wolverine is the video game companion to Marvel’s summer blockbuster of the same name. The plot for the game is not directly related to the movie, but it does feature Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in both his likeness to the character and his voice.

For a Marvel video game it is quite a bloody affair. Wolverine’s claws rip through Weapon X security guards, leaving pools of blood and dismembered body parts all over the place. This is no surprise, since Raven Software created one of the most bloodiest game series ever, Soldier of Fortune. It seems Raven have took the idea of Wolverine having these claws and put them into context in the real world and in the real world sharp metal claws equals blood, blood and more blood!

xmen origins wolverine 01 Movie adaptations to look out for!

Graphics-wise Wolverine looks great, but this is to be expected. Movie video game tie-ins are expected to be as good looking as the films they represent. This usually has a unfortunate effect on the rest of the game as the developers focus on making it look like the movie and sacrifice gameplay, AI and other important aspects. However, in this case Raven Software have managed to not sacrifice the important aspects. The controls are fluid and intuitive with moves being mapped to only a few buttons and AI is generally good with the usual inclusion of cannon fodder.

In essence, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is just like its main protagonist, a raw, animalistic beast, and that’s what makes it so good. Wolverine is available on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

51YGTbI1CwL. SL75  Movie adaptations to look out for!Terminator: Salvation

The new Terminator Salvation movie looks awesome. Many people doubted whether another film should be done especially after Terminator 3. The same could be said for the games. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was a poor game at best with the only cool thing about it was it had terminators in it. Then again most movie based video games generally aren’t that great, but there are a few exceptions, and Terminator: Salvation is looking to be one of those games that will buck the trend.

The main reason for this is the inclusion of two-player co-operative play. While only limited to split screen, co-operative play has been a big hook since its inclusion in Gears of War. Not only that, GRIN the developers have put a lot of time and effort into creating a believable post-apocalyptic world and its shows.

In this post-apocalyptic world you, as John Conner, and your team carry out specific missions to take the fight to the machines. Conner can take cover behind various objects and trade fire whist behind them. But GRIN have designed the combat system to allow you to flank the enemy by exploiting the environment. This is a neat feature and adds another dynamic to the gameplay.

terminator salvation videog Movie adaptations to look out for!

The games story takes place two years before the film when John Connor is in the military. It follows you as John Connor on his missions before the events of the film and his development into the heroic leader most fans know him as in the first couple of films. GRIN seem to have nailed the post-apocalyptic world of the Terminator universe, co-operative play and have developed a combat system that allows for various ways of taking down the machines. Terminator: Salvation looks like a movie video game worthy of the attention. Terminator: Salvation will be available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 when released.

61ov 23H2%2BL. SL75  Movie adaptations to look out for!Ghostbusters:

Yes Ghostbusters was released in the 80’s but this is a game based on a movie franchise worth writing about. In essence the Ghostbusters game is the third film in the series (even though a third film has been announced). The story is written by the writers of the original film, Dan Acykroyd and Harold Ramis, so already it’s a must!

The original cast has been faithfully recreated to look almost identical to what they looked like in the two films. The game negates having a heads-up-display to show information, like health, and instead opts for a similar system to Dead Space, were your proton pack displays all you vital information.

Now about those proton packs, apart from crossing the streams, you need to also worry about overheating, luckily you don’t need to worry about ammo. The ghost-trapping gameplay works a treat, with you throwing out traps and slamming them with your proton beam, everything feels just as it should. The developers, Terminal Reality, have also managed to create an atmosphere that borders between scary and humorous. As you walk down spooky corridors you comrades start making fun of you or crack a joke of and occasionally shout out advice.

ghostbusters 01 Movie adaptations to look out for!

The graphics of Ghostbusters depends on which version you purchase, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions have very realistic, shiny graphics that the owners almost expect to see these days, where as the Wii version has a more cartoony look to it. This maybe due to the lack of powerful hardware in the Wii, but it the chosen graphics work extremely well. You could go as far as saying it makes it feel that more Ghostbusters-y. Rumours have been flying around about co-operative play being included then taken out. If this is the truth it would be the only negative in what looks to be a great game. Hopefully, there is co-operative play as there would be nothing better than playing this game with three of your friends.

Which ever version you pick up, Ghostbusters looks to be a video game treat. Many fans have been waiting for a Ghostbusters game like this, me included. Ghostbusters will be released 16/06/2009 for the DS, PS3, PC, Xbox 360 and Wii.

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Shadow of the Colossus Movie?

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, it seems Hollywood can’t keep their hands off video games still. After a string of video game titles in the early 00’s, which were largely criticised, some flopped after release and more went straight to DVD, the seminal Shadow of the Colossus is to be made into a film. Oh no…

Shadow of the Colossus was one of THE must have games of the PS2 era. There wasn’t much story to it, the basic story was to save what appeared to be a princess by slaying a range of Colossi in a mysterious land. Each Colossus had a certain tactic as to how to defeat it and this was one of the great appeals of the game. As well as this, the game had the most breathtaking graphics seen on the PS2 as well as one of the most detailed, the Colossi themselves where the most detailed characters in the game with details right down to the hair.

This is the main reason why there are so many reservations as to why some one would want to make Shadow of the Colossus into a film. The story present in the game was excellent, but it was simple, intriguing and in the end deceitful with its plot twist. But there isn’t much to go on to turn it into a film. Yes they have a beginning and an end, but the middle just consists of finding the particular Colossus, riding your horse there and then slaying the Colossus. That’s it.

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However, Justin Marks, who is adapting the story for the screen and wrote the new Chun-Li film, believes it can be turned into a Lord of the Rings style fantasy blockbuster, and will expand upon the minimalistic story.

Ideally, this game will never be made into a film, but like most great games out there, there seems to be a place in Hollywood for them, and Shadow of the Colossus will join a list of great games that are being made into films, like Gears of War, Halo and Metal Gear Solid. Lets hope they manage to pull it off and create a magnificent film.

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Silent Hill Remake

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Konami have announced that Silent Hill, originally released on the PlayStation, will be remade for the Wii, PS2 and the PSP and will go under the new name of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

The Wii has had many remakes from previous generation consoles and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is another one to add to the ever growing list. Developers seem to believe that the Wii’s advanced control system can reinvigorate new life into previously released games that if remade on the PS3 or Xbox 360 would just look more prettier. Is it a good idea? Well it seems to be working for Nintendo and it allows people to pick up games they may have missed and play them with a more intuitive control system.

Back to Silent Hill, Shattered Memories is not a direct port of the original, with approachable characters that respond differently and can be found in different places, and new clues and game paths can be found and followed, almost leading to a new experience for players. The Wii version will make full use of the WiiMote in really novel ways – the WiiMote takes the role of playing both your phone and torch, as well as being used to pick up, manipulate and examine items to solve puzzles. The WiiMote being used as a torch in the game is a master stroke and will add a level of tension when you are exploring around with Harry Mason, the lead character, until something unexpected happens and you have to change to a weapon!

It may be another remake, but Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, looks like it may be one of the best remakes to date, more so the Wii version. Look out for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories this Autumn and will be available for the Wii, PS2 and PSP.

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Xbox 360 Warranty Extended…

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If the Red Ring of Death (or RROD) was bad enough, reports flew around about an increase in the number of E74 errors. The E74 error is related to video problems, which can be caused by either a faulty AV connector or the more often loosened ANA/HANA scaling chip. When the E74 error occurs, the console will display ‘E74’ on the screen and can be associated with the 3 flashing red lights error on the Xbox console.

In wake of this, Microsoft have extended the Xbox 360 warranty, originally designated general hardware failure, to cover the E74 error and allow repair of the console when this error occurs. Microsoft will also refund customers for an out of warranty repair as it now classed as a general hardware failure.

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World of Warcraft – 3.1 Patch!

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Blizzard are releasing their first major content update patch for World of Warcraft, since the release of the Wrath of the Lich King. Patch number 3.1 will include some neat little updates to your characters. One is the ability to dual-spec your character. Instead of spending 50 gold whenever you want to change from raid spec to pvp spec, Blizzard have introduced a new spell, which when purchased, allows you to instantly respect your character they way you want them to be for the right situation. Obviously, there are limitations to where you can do this, like you can’t swap when in combat or when you are in an instance, as well as a cool down period once cast. Action bars and glyphs change as well so there is no need to redo them whenever you change.

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In addition to this cool addition, is a new end-game raid dungeon, Ulduar and expands upon the variable difficulty modes Blizzard have worked on. Ulduar will host 14 new bosses, 10 of which have an optional hard-mode, so the hardened guilds can get a more substantial challenge and once defeated, get some awesome items.

As with any World of Warcraft patch, more class balancing is at hand, as well as bug fixes and more user interface enhancements.

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Nintendo DSi

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The next incarnation of the hugely popular Nintendo DS is here. With an added vowel to the name, the Nintendo DSi brings with a host of new feature, such as the two DSi Cameras. As well as this Nintendo have created the Nintendo DSi Shop. Similar to the WiiWare shop for the Nintendo Wii and the App Shop for the iPhone, the DSiShop allows owners to buy DSiWare games and applications.

The main feature of the new DSi are its two new VGA 0.3 megapixel digital cameras. One on the outer casing and one pointing to the user on the internal hinge. To accompany the two cameras is an SD card slot, allowing you to save your photos and transport them onto a computer so they don’t clog the memory of your DSi.

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The Nintendo DSi also has multimedia capabilities. An SD card can be used not just for storing pictures, but for downloaded software from the DSiStore and to store AAC encoded music, which is played using the Nintendo DSi Sound feature and also acts as a voice recorder in conjunction with the microphone. The player also allows you to edit what ever audio is playing, by allowing you to add filters, adjust the pitch etc.

On the looks side, the DSi is pretty much the same apart from the accommodation of the two cameras and SD card. Nintendo have again managed to strip a bit more weight from the already thin previous model, the DS Lite. Specs-wise all is the same, apart from the increase in RAM – up from 4mb to 16mb. Storage can be increased by 32gb with the addition of an SD card. Lastly, the new DSi has upgradeable firmware, like the Wii and Sony’s PSP so any bugs found on release can be fixed as well as new features being incorporated as time goes on.

Overall the Nintendo DSi is a worthy update to the previous DS Lite. It incorporates new features that are natural in the DS’s evolution and will hopefully produce some new and interesting games, which use these features. IF you haven’t checked out the Nintendo DS yet, then this is a great entry point, and if you have a DS Lite, just think of all those new features and you’ll see why this is a must have!

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Happy 20th Birthday GameBoy!

April 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

This generation of consoles will be remembered for pushing the boundaries visually, redefining how games are played and also redefining who plays games, with the massive surge of casual gamers and the Wii.

However, this year it its the 20th birthday of the greatest ever handheld console time has ever seen, the Nintendo GameBoy. It has had the life of the underdog from its birth, with its technology being a decade out of date and with a woeful dot-matrix green screen. It optimized Nintendo's attitude of "just good enough". Compared to its rival of the time, the Lynx, it was pitiful. It was the late 80's version of David and Goliath, and David won again. The GameBoy sold tremendously as it was extremely cheap, thanks to it's low tech insides. Not only that, it shipped with an absolutely gem of a game, Tetris. The most popular, addictive game ever gave flight to one of the longest lasting consoles to date, reaching a staggering 14 years being on sale.

The GameBoy not only brought the revolution of handheld gaming to the masses, it saved Nintendo. Nintendo was doomed to go the way Sega ended up, publishing other people's games on other people's systems. The GameBoy managed to sustain Nintendo through the N64 years and the GameCube years and probably helped fund the Wii. The GameCube is just that good! It is the unsung hero of the gaming world and deserves a mention on its 20th birthday!

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