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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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Star Trek D-A-C

May 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the release of the highly anticipated new Star Trek film by J.J Abrams, it is clear it is not a continuation from the last Star Trek film Nemesis, which was the last voyage of the Next Generation crew, but instead a reboot of the franchise from the beginning. It will not try and remake classic Star Trek films like The Wrath of Khan, it is instead a Star Trek in an alternate reality.

So what does this have to do with games? Well, as most blockbuster action films come with video games so does the new Star Trek film, Star Trek D-A-C.

Star Trek D-A-C is simple top down space game based on J.J Abrams aforementioned movie reboot of the series. It pitches the Federation against the Romulan Empire. Star Trek D-A-C allows you to choose between three ships, each with its own unique abilities that can help turn the tide of war. On offer are nimble fighters, powerful bombers and the almighty flagships. The new, sleek looking U.S.S Enterprise is available to Starfleet commanders.

star trek dac cover 01 Star Trek D A C

The game features three modes of play, singleplayer, online multiplayer and online co-op. For each individual mode there are a further three more game types, Assault, Conquest and Team Deathmatch.

Star Trek D-A-C is not like most film-based video games. The film-based video games have a similarly “big budget” as there film counterparts do, though not usually the same scale. Film-based games try to have a side story to the film and try to enhance on what the film did in the theatre. Examples of these are the newly released X-Men Origins: Wolverine game and the upcoming Terminator Salvation game. Star Trek D-A-C is completely different. First off, Star Trek D-A-C is not available in stores but instead available for download through the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network services. Secondly, it looks to not have the budget these games tend to carry with them, which isn’t a bad thing. The top down 2d approach, similar in style to an RTS type game, works for Star Trek D-A-C. The not too fancy graphics also work, the lack of story to “complement” the film is also a good thing.

So your thinking there is nothing much too it then? Well yes, it is an incredibly simple game. Up to 6 people per side battle it out in a the depths of space. The game is classed as being 2D, but really it is played from a perspective that makes it look 2d. The game does, however, play on a 2D plane, which limits vertical movement, but in the background the developers have managed to create a sense of depth to the game, with lots of activity going on in the background. All the ships are rendered in 3D, and will even tilt when turning, other objects like space stations and asteroids are also in 3D.

star trek dac screen 01 Star Trek D A C

Star Trek D-A-C is not a master revision of any Star Trek games, mainly because there aren’t many good ones worth remaking, like the movie it comes from, nor is it a mastery revision of film-based video games. It is just a simple space combat shooter that takes influence from the new film, and so far it’s the only game where you can control the new U.S.S Enterprise! And that’s what makes it stand out from the rest. On a last note, Paramount Digital Entertainment have kept what the D-A-C stands for a tight secret and will announce what it means later. Have any guesses? Ours would be on the lines of the three game types, Deathmatch, Assault and Conquest, boring yes so lets hope it means something better!

Star Trek D-A-C is out this month initially for the Xbox 360 via the Live Arcade service, and will be released later for the PlayStation 3 via PSN and PC.

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Blazblue Arrives On Next Gen!

May 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Whilst 2D fighting games generally remain a thing of the past, they retain a cult status amongst gamers and remain widely loved by many fans. Whilst the Guilty Gear franchise continues to wave the flag for 2D fighters, they are certainly a dying breed. Recent games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Street Fighter IV are strictly 2D gameplay-wise, but the graphics aren't, and so they lack that classic look that many gamers are still in love with. This makes the news of upcoming 2D Beat em Up Blazblue a source of much excitement amongst fans.
Blazblue isn't actually a new game, rather it was an Arcade game that remained exclusive to amusements and is now finally being ported to the Next Gen consoles. The game has a reputation for being quite technical, and is favoured by veteren Beat em Up gamers. That being said, the opportunity to play it at home means that the general gaming public get a chance to practice for free rather than losing out on all their money at the arcades!
Blazble makes use of three onscreen bars at any given time. The first bar is obviously the health gauge, and we all know what that does. The second bar is the Barrier bar. When an opponent attacks you, it's possible to shield yourself, but as you do your Barrier meter runs down. When it is gone, you will be stunned, unable to protect yourself, and at the mercy of your enemy. The final, bottom-most bar is called the Offense Gauge. The Offense Gauge appears as a bar half red and half blue, and will spread to dominance of either colour depending on the rate and effectiveness of your attacks. Once you complete your colour, the opponent will be stunned and open to a flurry of attacks. These gauges are implemented to reward sharp, consistent attacks.
BlazBlue will be coming to thePlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 this summer, and certainly looks the part. Expect to see the usual set of single player and multiplayer options, and get prepared to hail the dominance (sort of) of 2D fighters!

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Dante’s Inferno: Poem to Game

May 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

To be honest we're suprised this videogame hasnt been made sooner, but Dante's Inferno is finally coming to a console near you. Based on the epic literary classic of the same name, the idea of adapting a poem into a game initially seems a bit strange, but consider the structure of the poem; the hero must journey through the various circles of hell in order to win his way into heaven. Sounds almost perfect for a game, right?

As you may expect, adapting a classic for the modern day gaming audience requires a certain amount of re-jigging. The quest begins with the titular hero confronting and defeating Death himself, in order to take his scythe. It's with Death's scythe that Dante is later able to overcome demons and other monstrosities that bar his way. As with the poem, Dante is fighting to find his love Beatrice, who resides in Heaven awaiting his return.

The gameplay is drawing paralells to Devil May Cry, with frenetic action grounded in the use of combos. However, Dante's Inferno looks to play a little slower than its counterpart, with more of an emphasis on longer, more devastating combos. There's a wide range of low, mid and high level attacks to string together in order to combat the increasingly monstrous enemies you'll encounter throughout the adventure.

Dante's Inferno also implements two further game mechanics worthy of note. Firstly, it is possible to attack and break enemy beasts into submission, thus providing you with a mount. These monstrous mounts can be used to bolster your strength in combat, and also to cover large travelling distances. Secondly, throughout your travels you will encounter Lost Souls that plead for absolution from their sins. It is your choice as a player to either absolve or punish them, and either outcome can be used to earn a form of currency which can be used to level up, augment weapons etc. Absolving or punishing Lost souls triggers a mini mission which needs to be completed, and choosing to absolve a sin will often prompt a more difficult mission.

Dante's Inferno is scheduled for release on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 sometime early next year. Will it be another Devil May Cry/ God of War clone, or could this game actually offer something original? Time will tell....

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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?

dc universe online image gr Can Anything Challenge Warcraft?

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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Fight Night: Round 4

April 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Interest and hype is growing around the next installment in the Fight Night series. Fight Night: Round 4 will mark the second installment for the franchise on next-gen consoles; the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The previous game was very well received on these platforms, and anyone with even a passing interest in boxing and games based upon it should definitely check out what's on offer. Electronic Arts' Vancouver studio have been putting extra effort into this title, building upon the sublime attention to detail which made the past installments such a hit. An increase in the frame rate also leads to this being the smoothest running boxing game to date, and it shows.

This amounts to great inter-connectivity between the gameplay, graphics and physics of the game. Details include sweat flinging through the air, boxers arms becoming tangled in struggles, and punches have an impact on specific areas of the opponents body. As for the controls, a couple of changes have been made to the overall scheme, but they're very slight. For example, there's less emphasis this time around on overpowered haymakers, and more on hooks and jabs. So in order to perform a haymaker the player executes a hook while at the same time holding the right controller trigger. This culminates to produce a more realistic fight that has the potential to last longer than before.

Blocking has also been redefined as well, since this time around punches aren't restricted to four areas, blocking has in turn been simplified to two options: high and low. Crucially, EA have reworked the parrying system. Previously it was possible to parry all your opponents attacks until their energy ran low, making for boring and predictable rounds. In this new title, parrying will only get you so far before attacks start to break through.

Add to this a reworked career system which results in a much more engaging and rewarding gaming experience, and you have undoubtedly the best in the series so far. The Fight Night games have grown to be a benchmark against which other sporting games are measured, and this trend looks set to continue into the future!

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Superhero Games: Best of the Bunch

April 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

One genre of games that you would expect to be more popular than they currently are are Superhero games. Since the earliest days of gaming the superhero topic has been continuously attempted, yet more often than not these games have been damp squibs. Anyone remember the early X Men game back on the NES? That game is famously regarded as one of the worst in gaming history. It seems that, simularly to movie adaptation games, most developers just can't capture the right ethos and mechanics when it comes to superhero games. Therefore, the few gems amonst the rough are to be treastured indeed, and here we present a list of what we feel to be the most accurate, fun and popular superhero games released in recent years;

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu: This game, released a few years ago on the Playstation 2, is actually a very popular cult classic and remains to be probably the best Batman game ever released. The story involves the villain Sin Tzu, who is utilizing tactics from Sun Tzu's book, Art of War, to steadily take over the city of Gotham. The animation perfectly mimics the classic Animated Batman style from the 90s and offers a host of characters to choose from, including Batman himself, Nightwing and Batgirl. The game mechanics are fairly simple, employing a kind of 3D Streets of Rage style of play, but suits the genre perfectly.

X-Men Legends: This game pleased a wide range of fans by offering a bit of everything; action, adventure and even role play as the player takes control of the famous mutants. As the game progresses more members of the mutant team are unlocked and you are able to organise you team as you see fit. This game was a huge hit when it was released, and paved the way for sequels: X-Men Legends II and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Ultimate Alliance features over 20 playable characters from the Marvel universe, all fan favourites.

Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction: This game is widely viewed to be one of the most faithful comic to game adaptations ever produced. Offering a highly inventive and crowd pleasing gameplay, the player is free to rampage through the city in a GTA style open world. There are missions to fulfill, but players are free to progress at their own pace. Unlike in past Hulk games, players are given a myriad of ways in which they can utilize their environment against enemies, with almost every object being destructible able to manipulate. Destroying power sources in cities puts out electricity, including lights, etc. When running, you can pick up enough momentum to run up buildings. What results is a pleasingly open game, with an aspect of freedom and interactivity which would act as a benchmark for superhero games, as this gameplay was manipulated in many later Spider-man titles, amongst others.

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Need For Speed: Shift

April 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Another year, another Need For Speed title. Electronic Arts have followed the trend of releasing a new game in the series almost annually, with new title 'Shift' fast approaching. Need for speed was once amongst the most seminal and popular racing titles, and indeed does remain well loved these days- if the game didn't sell the production of sequels wouldn't be called for. However, the workmanly nature of their gameplay and unenthusiastic approach means that their hasn't been a truly great title in the series since Wanted in 2005.

Shift looks to be trying to break away from the usual formula however, as the basics of the game are being reverted. Need For Speed has always been famed for the offroad or city races of the past, but in Shift the racing takes place on actual racetracks. It appears that there will be a host of different cars to race in, from some slightly modified models of your ordinary car to, eventually, the Le Mans Prototypes that can supposedly reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. It's good to see that the immense speeds the series is famed for look to remain intact.

Shift features a very impressive cockpit view, with a high level of attention to detail. Speeding up can send your head back against your seat, and braking will push your torso forward and up close to the windshield. These features may seem small, but in-game they serve to create the most realistic experience possible, adding a further dimension to the gameplay.

With a summer release in mind, EA are hoping that the name of Need For Speed is still enough to garner interest in their game. After years of unambitious releases, Need For Speed Shift does look to mix up the formula a little, adding a few new quirks into the, admittedly, tried and tested formula. Will this be enough for the fans? Probably. And then there's always next year!

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