Feb 292012
 

Positech Games and The Tiniest Shark have a game brewing that was announced today. The name is Redshirt and it appears to be a comedic game that pokes fun at both sci-fi culture and also social networking. Info on the game itself doesn’t seem to be readily available, but we do have this press release here…

Attention space station employee #3865B, we have important news…
Redshirt is the new comedy sci-fi sim about social networking aboard a space station, starring the station’s most ambitious low-ranking peon: you!
Navigate the professional and interpersonal politics of the ubiquitous “Spacebook” to curry favor among friends and colleagues. As intense intergalactic conflict rages around you, it’s up to you to accrue those all-important “likes” on your status updates! Whether you’re looking for love, opportunities for promotion, or even a chance to play Zero-G golf with the captain, you can schmooze your way through social circles and claw your way up the career ladder. Perhaps you too can finally achieve the dream of an off-station transfer, or even the Redshirt’s opportunity of a lifetime: being sent on an away-mission!
Redshirt is being developed for the PC and Mac by Tiniest Shark, and published by fellow UK indie developer Positech Games. Release is scheduled for ‘some time in 2012′ and interested recruits should keep an eye on the redshirt website at
As well as the official Redshirt facebook page at
We are certainly looking forward to hearing more about this game in the near future!
Feb 292012
 

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

None

Firefox

Contains: No Descriptors

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.


Metal Gear Solid 3 was my second favorite entry into the Metal Gear Solid Series, second only to the masterpiece that is Metal Gear Solid 4. While 4 was my favorite, 3 was a much more creative game by far. When I heard during last year’s e3 that there would be a 3DS port of the game, I was certainly eager to check it out.

So, what is new this time around? Honestly not too much. The game is about as direct of a port to the 3DS as you can possibly get. There are the new 3D graphics, which are cool, and a few Nintendo references in game as well but everything else is just the way you will remember it… if you have played this game before. Therein lies the beauty of Metal Gear Solid 3D, it’s a great experience for those that didn’t have the opportunity to experience the game on the Playstation 2 or have an interest in picking up the HD console collections. Plus, the damn game is portable and way better than Peace Walker and Portable Ops, which are both great games as well.

After picking up Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater, the first thing you will notice after the long opening cutscenes is that the game controls are a bit clunky. If that additional circle pad add-on was available in the US, it would be much more manageable but for now the controls operate like a puzzle. The ABXY buttons are used instead of a second analog stick, this creates a very block movement range when trying to aim or them navigating.  I had a hell of a time hitting the wasp nests during the Ocelot fight at the beginning of the game. The autoaim feature can help a bit with this but it unfortunately makes the game much more simplistic. After spending a few hours with the control scheme though, I was able to get the hang of it, for the most part…

The bottom screen functions as the menu for the most part, this is handy for quick access to inventory or your radio. I did have a few issues with the weapon system since I really liked the quick selection that was featured in the original. This time, it’s much slower and forces you to take a break in the action if you plan on changing gear or using items not equipped. It shouldn’t be bad for those who haven’t played through the original series, but those of us who have will find this to be unnecessary.

Now, here is the thing, the game is still the masterpiece that it was when it was on the PS2. It still has the amazing story and the awesome gameplay. Using Close Quarters Combat (CQC) still works as effectively as it did before as well. As many things that are wrong with this port, there are almost as many things right about it. The 3D mode functions quite effectively and the touch screen is handy for a few features as well. Even the graphics are impressive for a Nintendo handheld, I would have to say that is indeed a very solid release.

So, do you go with Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater or do you spring a few extra bucks and go for the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection? If you want a great Metal gear experience without having to be stuck in the house all day, MGS3D is for you. With that being said, the HD versions do have those ever so sought after trophies and achievements that so many gamers love to collect. It all comes down to a matter of preference. For me, since I try to get as much out of my 3DS as possible, I’ll roll with the MGS3D. It isn’t hard to say that this is the best port out of the selection of ports and remakes for the system. If you want to  get some time in with the 3DS, this is the game for you.

3DS

Graphics

95
 

Audio

95
 

Gameplay

70

Creativity

80
 

Execution

75
 

Offset

80
    

8.3

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • The same great game it was before
  • Nice touchscreen features
  • A good example of what the 3DS can do

Cons:

  • Clunky controls that take awhile to get used to
  • Battery breaks are… irritating
  • Nothing new for veterans of the series

 

Feb 292012
 

Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass is the latest point and click adventure game from Wadjet Eye Games, the folks that brought us The Blackwell series (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and Gemini Rue. With this track record of fun and clever adventure games, I was interested to see how Da New Guys turned out. The game seems to be ditching the classic look of past Wadjet games in favor of a more cartoon style, while putting a larger emphasis on humor and silliness. While I personally prefer games that strike a balance between taking themselves seriously and being funny, I did find myself having a good time with Da New Guys.

Da New Guys are a team of wrestlers that compete at “Wrestle Zone”. The team consists of three members; Brain, the egotistical, slightly incompetent one, Simon, the biggest and strongest of the bunch, but also sort of lazy, and Defender, the straight man of the group, and the one you spend the most amount of time playing as. The game begins with Brain having stumbling into a title win, and promptly being kidnapped, along with his title belt. Defender sets off to search for clues in hopes of finding Brain, and Simon later joins in to help him. While the plot is initially just trying to rescue Brain, more becomes of it as the game went, and overall the story was good enough to maintain my interest throughout the game, which took me around 5 hours to complete.

While the basic plot is decent, what really makes this game worth playing is the humor. This game does not take itself seriously in any way, and is definitely a comedy through and through. Luckily the writing is excellent and most of the jokes work. I found myself chuckling with frequency, and even laughing out loud every once in a while. The characters work well off each other, and they avoid getting into the “everyone is an idiot, IT’S FUNNY!” realm that a lot comedies (game or otherwise) resort to. The game keeps it’s humor fairly clean, and doesn’t get overly referential either (except for one pretty great Symphony of the Night reference), so really anyone can enjoy the story and humor in Da New Guys.

Da New Guys is 100% an adventure game, with really nothing new to add to the genre in terms of gameplay and design. This is the type of adventure game where you simply click everything you can, and you’ll also be picking up random objects that seem completely obscure and out of place, only to find some use for them later. The puzzles range from clever, to head scratchingly obscure. There were some puzzles that I was genuinely proud of myself for solving, while others were solved by simply trying to use every object in my inventory on a person or object until I found one that worked. I was a bit disappointed with the more obtuse puzzles in this game, given how natural and organic the puzzle solving felt in the Blackwell games; Da New Guys is a video game and it knows it. This is the type of adventure game where logic is sometimes your enemy, and when I stopped thinking too hard and just started trying to combine all my items or use every item I had on the environment, I usually found solutions that were eluding me. There a few points in the game that change up the gameplay a bit, like top down stealth section that almost resembles Metal Gear, and a late game car chase. These parts are very brief, and are a decent enough change of pace.

The graphics are definitely a departure from past Wadjet games, and I think this was a mistake. The classic adventure game look of prior games from the developer may not have been the most visually impressive, but it gave the games a distinctive and nostalgic look that fit perfectly with this classic genre. Da New Guys however, goes for a more cartoon animation look, but to put it bluntly, it looks like a browser based flash game. The animations aren’t really that great either, and there is really no getting around it; the visuals look cheap, which is really disappointing. I understand this game didn’t have the biggest budget, but if they had stuck with the more classic look of their other games, I think this game would have been better for it. That’s not to say it’s an awful looking game, but I really expected more.

Even though the visuals are disappointing, the other half of the presentation, audio, definitely impresses. The voice acting is outstanding, and is really the key to making the funny writing work. Though I found myself questioning exactly where this game is supposed to be taking place, given that half the characters have American accents and the other half have English accents (with a random Australian character thrown in). Despite that, pretty much every character is well acted, and honestly, that’s what I’ve come to expect from Wadjet Eye Games. I find it sort of funny that this small studio has consistently excellent voice acting, and many major big budget games launch with such bad voice performances. The music is also well done, and ultimately, the audio picks up the slack where the graphics fail to impress.

Though Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass falls a bit short of past offerings from Wadjet Eye Games, it is still a fun adventure game. It may not be the most original or unique adventure game, and it does fall into some classic adventure game traps, but ultimately the game part is there so you can experience the story and humor, which is the real star of the show. If you adjust your expectations and come into Da New Guys looking to laugh, knowing you’re going to be getting fairly standard adventure game as the delivery mechanism for the humor, you’ll definitely have a good time.

PC Game

Graphics

60
 

Audio

90
 

Gameplay

75

Creativity

70
 

Execution

85
 

Offset

85
    

7.8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Genuinely Funny Writing
  • Decent Length For The Price
  • Excellent Voice Acting

Cons:

  • Unimpressive Visuals
  • Some Puzzles Have Unintuitive Solutions
Feb 282012
 

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

The Simpsons Arcade Game

Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Contains: Suggestive Themes, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, Fantasy Violence

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.


Most people that can remember the days of vinyl records and VHS tapes likely recall that light blue cabinet with the 4 player arcade sticks that happened to feature America’s favorite animated family. I remember often going to parties at Showbiz Pizza or Chuck E Cheese and scouting out where the Simpsons Arcade Game was located, that way I could make sure I had a spot at the machine. Last year, I remarked on how I would have loved to see a release of this game on consoles. Now that it is finally here, 20 years after it first hit arcades, I’m sadly not so amused.

 

Now, before the lynch mob of arcade enthusiasts decends upon me, please understand that The Simpsons Arcade game is a faithful port and not a bad game. If anything, it may be an old game that has recieved one of the most faithful ports I have ever saw. Unfortunately, that means that the dated graphics, controls and sound effects come along for the ride as well.

The Simpsons Arcade Game offers 2 different graphic modes when playing, sharp and smooth. Sharp is the original, pixelated presentation that we all had the opportunity of playing back in the day. I honestly remember it looking a lot better in retrospect but that is nostalgia for you. Smooth is quite similar to the PS3′s upconverting abilities. The hard edges are slightly smoothed out so it appears that the graphics are a little cleaner. I found myself sticking to the sharp mode since I actually slightly enjoyed that original setup. There are also a few different unlockables, including the Japanese version of the game. This, like many other Japanese arcade versions, offers slightly tweaked AI, difficulty and item placements.

Gameplay is straightforward, beat the crap out of every single thing that moves until you can walk further to the right. There really isn’t an issue with this, but it is easy to notice almost immediately that brawlers have improved their hit detection since the early 90s. An old tactic I used to use in brawlers has always been to get above or below an enemy and walk into their hitbox, that way I could hit them before they usually hit me. The Simpsons Arcade Game requires the player to be on the same plane as the enemy, sometimes forcing you to walk right into an enemy attack. This gets a bit frustrating in the later levels, when there are more enemies that like to take advantage of the flinch your character does after getting hit. It’s not a broken feature, just an incredibly old one.


That is the amazing, yet equally disappointing thing about The Simpson’s Arcade Game, it’s success is completely based off the hype and love of the 20 and 30-somethings that enjoyed the original. I had fun playing the game but at the same time I found myself annoyed by controls and the music. When playing with other people, the gameplay did improve exponentially though, which is to be expected since the arcade game was meant to be played with others. Adding players into the game compensated for the clunky controls and odd hit boxes, plus the co-op attacks are fun to do as well.

Ultimately, The Simpsons Arcade Game was a fun trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, it’s the type of trip that you go on where you keep telling yourself “I remember this being better last time I was here”. After playing the game a few times through by myself and then a handful of times with friends, I haven’t had any sort of desire to pick this game back up. Sometimes it’s just better to remember the good times.

XBox 360

Graphics

35
 

Audio

30
 

Gameplay

60

Creativity

70
 

Execution

70
 

Offset

60
    

5.4

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Holy shit! It’s the Simpsons Arcade Game!
  • Co-op is quite enjoyable
  • A few decent unlockables

Cons:

  • Same game from 20 years ago
  • Sounds are horrible
  • Enjoyment is limited to a few dozen plays

 

Feb 282012
 

This week’s top 10 is the best/coolest video game weapons. Yes, I am aware that this list has been done to death, but I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and make a top 10 weapons list as well. Another reason for this rather cliché list is because last week was a special video edition, and next week will be the start of a month long Top 10 Tuesdays event, so I just needed something to fill this week. March is going to be Mass Effect Month here on Top 10 Tuesdays, with a different Mass Effect list each week in March to celebrate the launch of Mass Effect 3 on March 6. Next week I’ll kick it off with the “Top 10 Mass Effect Powers”, but in the meantime, enjoy my Top 10 Video Game Weapons.

10. Covenant Energy Sword (Halo Series)

The Energy Sword is no mere blade, it deadly weapon composed of superheated plasma. What makes the energy sword so awesome to use is its charge attack. The sword allows you to lock on to any enemy within a certain distance, and charge toward them for a one hit kill. Never bring a sword to a gunfight? Well, this sword will shred your enemies no matter how big their guns.

9. Bullseye (Resistance Series)

The Chimeran Bullseye is a weapon almost anyone could use. At first glance, it may appear to be a simple science fiction assault rifle, but it is so much more. By using the gun’s alternate fire, you can tag any enemy with a tracer round. Once they’re tagged, all you have to do is start unloading, and all your shots will hit. You can even curve bullets around corners or over cover, making the Bullseye deadly even when firing from a safe location.

8. Fat Man (Fallout Series)

When a simple rocket launcher isn’t enough, the Fat Man is the next logical choice. The Fat Man is a handheld nuclear bomb catapult, firing “mini nukes”, which inflict both explosive and radiation damage on their targets. Just be careful, failing to get enough arc on your shots can have some very dire consequences.

7. Groovatron (Ratchet and Clank Series)

So many weapons, so much death. Even the most unique weapons just boil down to different ways of inflicting death upon your enemies. Well, if you’ve been looking for a nicer way to defeat your enemies, look no further than the Groovatron. It’s one of the most effective weapons in the more recent Ratchet and Clank games, but it doesn’t kill, it infects your enemies with the power of funk. Why kill someone when you can just send the into and dancing frenzy and be on your merry way?

6. Hammer of Dawn (Gears of War Series)

The Lancer, with it’s chainsaw bayonet, may be the flashiest and most iconic of the Gears of War arsenal, but the Hammer of Dawn simply packs way more destructive power. To be able to simply point at an enemy, and summon a deadly pillar of immulsion based energy from the sky to rain down destruction is much more awesome than a simple chainsaw.

Feb 282012
 

Since its launch in 2010, HBO Go is on a variety of streaming hardware, but now the popular video service will have one more device to add to its compatibility list, the Xbox 360.

HBO co-President Eric Kessler made the announcement at an event in San Francisco yesterday evening.  Kessler also revealed that the release date for the app will be on April 1, which is conveniently set on the same day as the season two premiere for Game of Thrones.

The application for the Xbox 360 will be exclusively for US console owners with no news of additional countries on the list at this time.

For those who don’t know, HBO Go is a premium video service that streams HBO content to various devices.  Movies and full/current original programming can be watched, but you must be subscribed to the channel through your cable provider.

It’s video apps like this that turn my Xbox 360 from a primary game console, to a video watching medium, but caaaan’t resist more HBO.

Source: Strategy Informer

Feb 272012
 

Nintendo officially announced that Pokemon Black/White 2 are in production, scheduled to be released in the fall. There are 2 major Pokemon named Black Kyurem and White Kyurem that appear to the cover Pokemon for these new games. Here is the official release by Nintendo:

Coming off the record-breaking popularity of the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video games, Nintendo of America Inc. announced today that two new Pokémon titles, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, are coming to North America in 2012. Fans can anticipate plenty of new surprises when the games launch this fall.

Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 will be available for the Nintendo DS family of systems. The games can also be played in 2D on Nintendo 3DS systems. More game details will be announced throughout the year. For more information and a first look at new character art of Black Kyurem and White Kyurem from Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, visit www.pokemon.com.

Not much to go on so far but we will keep our readers up to date on any developments!

Feb 242012
 

In the last Megabite, I covered simple arrays – again, arrays are a huge deal and make coding and variable storing a much easier and more dynamic process.  One thing that an array lacks though is a searchability.  From an array, you can get the amount of entries or the values of individual entries, but you’d have to write a function to go through each thing one-by-one if you were looking for a specific entry or object.

This is where hashtables come in, and they are also wonderful.  Like an array, a hashtable holds both data and a key, but it does it in a little bit of a different format.  On the C# side, a hashtable is called a dictionary, and that’s a good way of looking at it – its an indexed, searchable variable holder.

Creating your first hashtable is easy:

var myHash : Hashtable;
myHash = new Hashtable();

This function is code-only as far as I know – it’s not something you can simply add via the inspector.  To start it off, we’re going to add a few strings into it with the Add function.  Something like this:

function Start() {
var myHash : Hashtable;
myHash = new Hashtable();
myHash.Add(1, "red");
myHash.Add(2, "blue");
myHash.Add(3, "green");
myHash.Add(4, "yellow");
}

What we have here will basically create these 4 entries into our dictionary when the script begins.  Like an array, we can access things by key like so:

print (myHash[1]);

This will output “red”, as expected.  You’ll notice that we don’t start at zero like an array would.  The “pages” of a hashtable work differently.  We actually don’t have to go in any kind of order (though you will most likely choose to anyway).

if you do go in order, you can use most functions just as you would with an array without much hassle.  If you’re overwriting an existing key that you’ve already add, you simply want to use the Remove() function on that key before adding a new entry.  Add() will not actually overwrite without an error.

The big advantage however is that a hashtable allows the use of ContainsValue() and ContansKey().  These functions will output a boolean true/false that works great with IF statements.  There are a multitude of reasons to use this type of functionality, but as you Add and Remove entries throughout your code, you can use these as triggers or safety nets.

if (myHash.ContainsValue("purple")) {
print ("Purple was found in the dictionary.");
DoSomeOtherThing();
}
if (!myHash.ContainsKey(6)) {
print("Page 6 is missing from the dictionary.");
}

Other functions for hashtables include Clear() and Count – doing something like: myHash.Clear(); will simply delete all entries within the hash, so it’s not something to use lightly.  Count will return the total number of “pages” in your hashtable in the same manner that myArray.Length would do.  Count is not a function though, so it would be used something like this:

print("myHash contains a total of " + myHash.Count + " entries.");

While this isn’t something that I expect everyone will have immediate need of, it’s one of those great things that come in handy when you want to want to use an array and have finer control or general search indexing available.  For myself, I know that this little addition has been a lifesaver in certain scenarios, and I hope you get the chance to use it for yourself.

As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Feb 232012
 

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

NeverDead

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.


Immortal characters are a staple of both supernatural and fantasy fiction, but there haven’t been any games, at least none that I know of, that put the player in control of a truly immortal character. There are games that get close, like any game featuring Superman or Wolverine, but these characters can be defeated in some manner. NeverDead, the newest game from Rebellion and Konami, is unique in that it features a completely immortal main character. With a concept like this, NeverDead could really stand out from other games. Unfortunately it misses the mark in almost every way, and fails to deliver on the potential of it’s premise.

You play as Bryce, a 500+ year old immortal demon hunter that works for a modern day demon hunting agency called NADA. Bryce became an immortal 500 years ago when he and his wife were fighting a powerful demon. His wife was killed, and he was cursed to live as an immortal forever. Bryce is partnered with Arcadia, a mortal NADA operative that accompanies you throughout the game. Arcadia, like most of the characters in the game, is a nothing but a cliché. She is your typical all business, confident career woman. She spurns Bryce’s advances at the start, but obviously his “charms” will win her over by the end. She is also dressed in an unnecessarily revealing way, and there several suspect camera angles during cutscenes throughout the game. Bryce is your typical valiant hero turned curmudgeonly old drunk, who still believes in good even if he doesn’t show it. The characters are nothing more than cardboard cut-out archetypes, and they aren’t helped by the writing.

The dialogue is painfully cheesy almost all the time, with tons of ridiculous puns and one liners making up the majority of the combat dialogue. The cutscene dialogue doesn’t fare much better, with several instances of painfully dry, extremely lazily delivered exposition. There is one point in the game where Arcadia explains Bryce’s back-story to another character, the annoyingly vapid pop star Nikki, and all the exposition is given while the two sit on couch, looking straight forward, with no animation, while you the player stand in front of them and listen to her speak. I actually laughed out loud at the how absurdly haphazardly this scene is composed. There could have been a much more elegant way of revealing this information (information I had already mostly inferred based on a lengthy CG flashback not 1 hour earlier), and this example is really indicative of most of the storytelling in the game. As for the plot, it is your typical “super powerful demon is being summoned, we have to stop it!” type plot, with twists I saw coming ten miles away, and a fairly unsatisfying resolution.

NeverDead is best described as a linear third person action game with both shooting and melee combat. The whole game is spent moving forward through fairly narrow levels, defeating enemies along the way, and usually fighting a boss at the end. The crux of the design is that you must destroy what are basically monster generators to stop the enemies from spawning so you can move on. This makes the game simply a chore to play. The fact that you have to hack away (or shoot at) monster generators before you can move forward is tedious and simply not fun. These things can sometimes go down easily if you exploit their weaknesses quickly or have environmental hazards nearby to use, but oftentimes they are left with only their armor remaining, which you can only slightly chip away at while enemies continue to pour out. The game has Zelda-style barriers that block the doors until all the enemies are dead, which is not inherently bad, but the fact that the enemies can keep spawning as long as just one generator remains makes the barriers all the more annoying. The enemies themselves are not very interesting, and there are only a handful of enemy types, with the first enemies you see still being the most common throughout the entire game. There are boss fights as well, which are typical “shoot the glowing part” fights. Some are okay, some less so, but they re-use the same fights multiple times, which feels lazy.

The combat itself certainly doesn’t help alleviate the tedious repetition of the level design. You have both guns and a sword, and neither are very fun to use. You are dual wielding guns at all times, with the left and right triggers controlling the guns individually. You can zoom in by clicking the right stick, but I never really found that to be much use. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll have access to a pretty standard array of guns; SMG, assault rifle, shotgun; the typical stuff. You can dual wield any of these guns, which is cool enough, but I find that all the guns, save for maybe the grenade launcher, share a common flaw; they feel weak and ineffectual. Every gun feels like a pea shooter, and are extremely unsatisfying to shoot. It’s a perfect combination of weak sounding effects, lack of controller vibration (or very minimal controller vibration in some cases), and low damage dealt that make all the guns feel like toys; they are simply not fun to fire.

The sword combat is not much better, with a needlessly complex and unintuitive control scheme. Instead of effortless switching between firearms and swords like Devil May Cry, you have to take out your sword, lock on to the enemies before you can even swing it, and then use poorly implemented analog controls with the right stick. Analog controls could have been cool if they were done right, but you actually feel like you have less control than you would by simply using a button (mostly because the only way I found to effectively use the sword with any kind of speed was to simply flail the stick back and forth), and even more confusingly, there was not one moment where the game demanded any kind of precise sword strikes. I got through the game fine by simply swinging wildly at enemies.

Feb 232012
 

Fans of the first person action franchise Tribes that are patiently waiting for Ascend to be released, this Friday, you’ll have the chance the test out the game in its beta form.

Staring on Friday at 5:00pm GMT, gamers will be able to sign up and play the open beta for Tribes: Ascend.  A closed beta is currently in progress, but according to sources, the open beta will improve and fix various issues that the title is currently having.

Several additions will be added to the open beta including four new maps, two new game modes, new items for the Solider class, and default suits for the Doombringer and Brute classes.

You can download the beta the Tribes: Ascend site here.  The free to play title is scheduled to be released sometime in early 2012 for the Windows operating system.

Source: Destructoid

 

Feb 232012
 

Arrays are an incredibly valuable method of storing variable data in the world of programming, and a great way of accessing that data in very useful ways.  In this article, I want to touch on the basic array options that Unity3d gives you access to, and also explain why you would want to use such things to make your life easier.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to store 5 separate pictures as textures.  You can easily make 5 different variables the old fashioned way:

var pic1 : Texture;
var pic2 : Texture;
var pic3 : Texture;
var pic4 : Texture;
var pic5 : Texture;

If you do something like this, however, accessing that data becomes difficult in certain scenarios.  You need to actually declare specific variables within your code, and to use the 5 pictures you end up with a big chunk of non-dynamic code.  For example, if I wanted to make a row out of these variables and they were each roughly 50px X 50px, I would have to do something like this:

function OnGUI() {
     GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,0,50,50), pic1);
     GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,50,50,50), pic2);
     GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,100,50,50), pic3);
     GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,150,50,50), pic4);
     GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,200,50,50), pic5);
}

For some scenarios, that might be perfect.  In everything, we want to consider the options available to us.  Consider for a minute though all the work that would go into doing something similar for a scope of maybe 20 pictures… or maybe even 100.  Very quickly something like this would get out of hand, and the code would be more susceptible to programming error.

With arrays, we can make one single variable that holds all of your data.  On top of that, we can actually access it dynamically through loops or fancy code.  Unity gives us 2 options when it comes to building arrays in javascript – one is the standard javascript method, and the other is to use the unity inspector to assign the data.  Heck, we can even change the type we choose on the fly to suit our needs, but we can get to that later.

First, we’ll use a built-in array.  This array will allow us to use the inspector for easy drag/drop assignment.  To make the variable, we simply use this:

var pic : Texture[];

That’s it?  Yep, pretty much.  After you save and compile the script, you end up with something like this in your inspector window.  The variable name “Pic” is there, and it has a size of 0 because we haven’t set that number yet.  Let’s set it to 5 and see what happens.

Once we set the size, we end up with neat little drag/drop spaces (or you can simply click on the spaces and select your pictures).  This makes it pretty easy to change the order of pictures or replace them on the fly while simply collapsing the variable with the arrow if you no longer need to mess with it.

But how do we use the data?  Well, an array variable is accessible through the key number that you see in the picture.  The first entry is 0, and it progresses upwards form there.  So Pic1-Pic5 from the first example effectively becomes Pic[0] – Pic[4].  Using those brackets is important – it tells unity that we’re dealing with an array.

To complete this picture example, I want to point out that the key number of an array is actually an integer when it comes to code.  That’s not the case if you just call a variable “Pic1″ – that number becomes a string in that regard.  In an array, we can use math to access the different portions of an array, and that’s uber-important when it comes to loops like this:

function OnGUI() {
   for (x=0; x < Pic.Length; x++) {
      GUI.DrawTexture(Rect(0,(x * 50), 50, 50), Pic[x]);
   }
}

While this might seem complicated (and it might be if you don’t fully understand the FOR loop), the important thing to notice is that the loop will actually run for the length of however many objects are in the “Pic” array.  This means your code will work fine with 5 pictures, but it would also work just as well for 5000 or 5,000,000 pictures.  We’ve made our code completely dynamic now, and the math allows it to expand as needed.

In some cases, we may not want to work with the inspector at all.  In that event, we may need to make an array on the fly and add to it with code alone.  Commonly this is the case with things such as Vector3s, integers, floats, or other variable types.

Making a blank array variable is easy:

var myArray = new Array();

Heck, we can even start it off with some values pretty easily:

var myArray = new Array(42, 38, 11, 14);

In the above case, myArray[0] would equal 42, myArray[1] = 38, and so on.

One important thing to note is the terminology.  This is commonly referred to as a javascript array.  The javascript array is the only type that can be altered in size through code.  If your array is visible in the inspector, you won’t easily be able to change the size and scope of the array without conversion.

The Unity Docs contain a lot of good stuff and examples in the world of js array manipulation, but the common commands to memorize should be:

  • Push
  • Pop
  • Shift
  • RemoveAt

Push is great, especially when you are first creating an array.  If you’ve just used the “new Array()” command, you can quickly fill it with 50 random numbers by doing something like this:

for (x=0; x<50; x++) {
myArray.Push(Random.Range(0,5000));
}

You’ll end up with an array where myArray[0] though myArray[49] exist, each with a random number between 0-5000.  You can use the Pop command to remove the last array entry completely

myArray.Pop();

if you did this, you have myArray[0] though myArray[48] now – the Pop command destroys the last entry in the series.  If you wish to destroy the very first number, tho one currently in the myArray[0] slot, you would use the Shift command:

myArray.Shift();

In doing this, you are deleting that first entry, but everything moves down to fill the space.  You still have one less entry, but the new first number in the array is the one that used to be at myArray[1].  Removing from arrays will always cause the index key to reorganize to fill the blank space.  This is important to realize when working with RemoveAt(), because if you choose to do something like this:

myArray.RemoveAt(39);

Then whatever was at myArray[39] would disappear and everything at 40 or higher would move down to fill the spot.

While for your own purposes you may use arrays to hold integers, you may find it useful to experiment how amazing they are with Transforms, GameObjects, Vector3s, and so forth.  Experimentation will lead you into places you never expected, but through mastery of the basic array, you should be able to perform some extremely dynamic and spectacular functions.

Feb 212012
 

A surprising post was made today by Andrew “Redigit” Spinks, the creator of Terraria:

The future of Terraria has been highly debated as of late, not just with the community, but for us as well. The last year has been a crazy ride! When I started on this game, I just had a few ideas of what I thought would make a fun game. I had no idea that it would receive so much attention. I want to thank all of you for supporting us and making this game’s success possible.

After a lot of internal debate, we have decided that it is time to move on. My wife and I are due to have another boy soon, and I want to spend some time getting to know him. I also want to spend the time recharging and bettering myself as both a programmer and game designer. I have learned a lot from working on Terraria and plan on using what I’ve learned, building upon it, and moving forward with another, even better project. However, we are still planning at least one more bug fix for Terraria.

For those that haven’t already heard, Finn “Tiy” Brice has moved on to form Chucklefish and is heavily at work on an exciting new game called “Starbound”. It’s looking to be a lot of fun, so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Thanks again for all your support, and I am very much looking forward to providing you with something much better than Terraria in the future!

As a site that covered Terraria from a time before it was even released, I found it fitting to make this post myself.  Andrew and the Re-Logic team have been a major inspiration not only for myself but I’m sure a number of others.  Gaming Irresponsibly wishes him well until he returns with what I’m sure will be another amazing title.

I would assume with a “final” version of the game out soon, we may see a rise in terraria mods and general user additions to the game from the wonderful community that has been established.  As such, we will leave our Terraria forums active until the point where they are no longer used.

Farewell for now, Redigit, and thanks for the awesome ride!

Feb 212012
 

Despite having never seen her face prior to the information surrounding the latest entry to the series, we now have a video totally dedicated to telling us more about our favourite, faceless handler, check out the video and what can be found within below. The new video is the first in a series of promotional material that we should see in coming months giving us some more back ground on whats been happening with The Original Assassin, coupled with the background on Diana Burnwood, we get to see some incredible comic artwork from artist Ben Oliver.

**Blood Money Spoilers** Even though it’s been out for years and you should have played it already, there is still a chance you haven’t got around to playing Agent 47′s most recently released adventure. If you plan on doing so be warned that the following analysis contains major spoilers regarding the ending of Blood Money. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

0.10 – Only ten seconds in and we have a history of Diana’s immediate family, we can see that her father, Sir Peter Lloyd Burnwood, has been dead since 1987, her mother has since remarried and is now Mrs. Nancy Berman. Diana also had a brother, Sir James Oliver, whose whereabouts are unknown even to the agency and that she also had a sister Emma Lucille who died in 2002. The whole sheet shown here gives the idea that Diana comes from a very well off yet mysterious family and is described herself as “A first-class mind in an upper class skull”.

0.11-0.20 – Throughout this section of the video we see a few slides giving details of Diana’s education with one note indicating her studies where interrupted by something the ICA have decided to censor, possibly medical as some slides seem to show a rib x-ray indicating one had been broken. It also mentions that her studies suffered little around the ytime of her fathers death.

0.21-0.49 – Here we see multiple slides, some of which are in foreign languages, which are case notes for some of 47′s most high profile hits. Nothing special but then…

0.51 – Stopping here and reading the half sheet that we can see seems to be giving us some information on the end of Blood Moeny, possible spoilers, an unknown man has been found dead ina stairwell from a gunshot wound to the head. It is said he appears to have been forewarned of the attack and that he has no identification on him but can supposedly be linked to the death of a Don. This link also fails to turn up any ID and the case has been closed.

0.52-1.04 – Here we are definitely seeing the end to Blood Money, Diana administering some kind of serum to 47 in order to get him out of harms way before kissing him at the funeral which inevitably leads to him waking up and, well, the rest is history.

1.05-1.10 – Now we see some promotional papers which detail Diana’s promotion of security clearance from Gamma to Tetra in mid 2009.

1.11-1.16 – The papers shown here seem to show more of 47′s work but then become totally censored and lead us to…

1.17-1.20 – Here we see Diana accessing her agency account and apparently, bang on 1.20 using it to delete multiple files from the system, by the time the computer is found by security, it is already too late, the process is complete and Diana is gone.

1.33-1.36 – The Agency knows what she’s done and frankly, they’re pissed. a kill order on Diana has been issued with immediate effect and she is viewed as a traitor having had her security clearance revoked.

1.38 – Agent 47 has been assigned to terminate Diana Burnwood

1.39 – The deed is done, the image shows us Diana lying how we last saw her in previous trailers, dead in her bathroom surronded by blood and broken glass.

1.43 onwards- Diana’s file is closed and fades away just like all the others, the logo appears and we see The Original Assassin shooting it up all over again. Once again having seen a new Hitman trailer, I’m hungry for more whilst being shocked and excited at the way the story is developing, roll on Hitman: Absolution.

 

Feb 212012
 

This week, I decided it was time to do a list that I knew I would eventually make. My personal Top 10 Favorite Games of All Time. With a list like this, I wasn’t content to simply write up an article, attach a few pictures, and be done with it. No, for a topic like this, being the most personal of all the Top 10′s I’ve done, I just had to do a video. Keep in mind, this my list, and while every list so far has been my opinion, this one is more so. If you disagree with my list, feel free to sound off with your own personal favorite games, in fact, I welcome it. So, enjoy the video.

Feb 212012
 

We all know that making the greatest games ever does not mean they will beome universal successes. We see that now with games such as Xenoblade (which you haven’t got, nyaah) and Soul Bubbles. Then we get angry when crap mini game collections sell well mainly because of mums.

But most mini game collections are actually failures. Many many collections simply flop because of a lack of publicity and quality. So it seems as if making a typical casual game isn’t the way to be a commercial hit, so how do you do it?

This man knows how!

Well firstly, you need to get your games in supermarkets. Yes, Wal-Mart is the key to success. Mums, who are they key to success nowadays, do not go into Gamestop or CEX. When they buy games, it will be while on the weekly shop. So the publisher needs to spend the money its on the shelf next to the cabbages.

It also needs to be original but familiar. Most mums will be on a tight budget, so if they buy something they are after something they are sure they’ll like, and remember they don’t and won’t do the research beforehand, so they have to judge on the back of the box. Will they buy anything unique? No, they’re not sure whether their kid, who they are buying the game for, will like it. But won’t they buy the same old thing though? Course not, have you ever bought a child under a ten a toy similar to something they already have? They will be mardy (Yorkshire slang translation: Upset) and act up. The mums won’t bother with that.

This child has already got Carnival Games, yet her mother has got her Game Party. She is underrreacting in my opinion.

Oh and remember that it has to be child friendly. Thanks to various awareness programs, parents are more aware of the age rating system. This will hopefully prevent parents from buying some uber violent game for their five year old, like what used to happen. Now, they will check it. Also, no way to realistic games, it has to be cartoony. Even semi cartoony things can sometimes make it in, but usually real life will not be bought.

The key thing however is price. As I’ve mentioned before mums are on a tight budget and will not want a game that will seriously bump up the bill at the tills. So that $60 blockbuster game? No way. But somehing half that, is much more appealing. This was the reason Just Dance was a success, it was cheap and looked good on the shelves.

It also sold because you can BOOGIE

But there has been many an original game that has been sold at a supermarket for a cheap price that is child friendly. I bought the excellent A Boy and his Blob for a bargain £8 from my local Morrisons. So is there anything extra? Well yes, something that publishers can’t control. Gossip.

While many will call me sexist for saying this, women enjoy to talk about stuff. They will give each other advice on make up, clothes and obviously relationships. Sometimes, and this will make some of you have a crisis I’m sure, they talk about video games. They will say its good and trust that opinion completely and buy it. And it goes on. Just Dance, Wii Fit and many others fed off this great marketing resource. Heck, Twitter and Facebook makes this even more prominent.

This bird is a wet dream for admen. Though they don't have a feather fetish unlike actors.

So you can have best publishing and developing team in the world making a game directly aimed at the whole family but if you don’t manage to get tongues wagging, the money men will be taking your stuff for repayment.

Feb 212012
 

The critically acclaimed yet underrated Dreamcast title, Seaman, is reportedly in the works for the Nintendo 3DS according to one insider.

The adventure, utterly bizarre title was hinted as a 3DS title when Nintendo spoke about reviving past publishers titles as a new strategy for the the handheld system.  Though no specifics were mentioned, Nintendo used Seaman as an example during the report.

This would not be the first time a 3DS port has been mentioned for Seaman.  In 2010, Seaman creator Yoot Saito hinted in an interview that gamers could see the title become a part of the 3DS library in the near future.

For those who are not familiar with Seaman, basically it’s an adventure title where players go through a fish’s life stages from egg to adult fish.  Players take care of the fish throughout its life with the help from narrator Leonard Nimoy (oddly playing himself).  The one notable feature that the specimen have a fish’s body, but a human face, making the game truly frightening.

Though the title was barely played by American audiences, the game ended up being one of the top selling Dreamcast games of all time in Japan.

Source: Andriansang

Feb 202012
 

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

SOULCALIBUR V

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.


Soulcalibur/Blade has been one of my most favorite 3D fighting franchises. I can remember the days of the interactive character endings and how the game was as much a quest to complete weapon collections as it was a fighting game. I started this series my freshman year of high school and have played every incarnation of the series since.

Soulcalibur V is visually the most attractive entry into the series, with retooled characters and amazing arenas to fight in. The detail of everything in the game is quite amazing, easily making Soulcalibur V the best looking fighting game to date. The music and voice acting is just as improved as well, which says a lot since the Soul series has easily had one of the best fighting game soundtracks (next to Guilty Gear, BlazBlue and Battle Arena Toshinden).

As excited as I was about this game, I was about as equally disappointed about it when I actually had some time to sit down and play it. This game follows a much different direction that the games prior. For starters, Story Mode consists of a 20 chapter story that tells the tale of Patroklos and Pyrrah, the children of series favorite Sophitia. I am going to go off on a tangent for a second, so please bare with me. Fans of the series will remember that Sophitia was tasked to destroy Soul Edge by the goddess Hephaestus and succeeded at the cost of being tainted by a fragment of the blade. There was a side story about how she struggled with this curse and how it could have been spread to her children, a son and a daughter. These 2 kids are the main characters of the new game, one representing Soulcalibur and the other the eventual wielder of Soul Edge. You play as the 2 characters, as well as Z.W.E.I., a hunted man that appears to harness the assistance of a spectral werewolf as well. Yes, story mode forces you to play exclusively with 3 characters.

This concept is where I have the major issue with this title, the Soul series has been known for the awesome stories that accompany every character in the game. Characters would have either a good ending where they usually harness Soulcalibur or a bad ending where they succumb to the evil of Soul Edge. It was always interesting to find out a bit about your character and then see what fate they had at the end of the game. Soulcalibur V has more characters than any of the other games, Soul Calibur V also lacks any form of story or ending outside of Patroklos’ story mode. This is very dissappointing since there are many questions that could be explored.

For example, Lizardman is now known as Aeon, which happened to be his name before he was turned into a monster. He also has some crazy new abilities. Did something happen that caused him to regain a portion of his former self? The game takes place 17 years after the events of Soulcalibur IV, Sophitia is dead and Cassandra and Taki are missing and presumed dead. Mitsurugi is still doing his samurai thing (albeit, much more raggedly) while Tira, Ivy, Volda and Maxi do not appear to have aged a day. What has happened here? Where are Talim and Rock? How come Kalik is a mimic character now? Why is Ezio Auditore da Firenze a combatant? Guest characters were explained in the other games! I loved the story of these games and while Story Mode itself isn’t bad at all, I just cannot understand how and why such an important feature is missing.

Soulcalibur V’s gameplay is another conversation in itself. Truthfully, combat is as balanced as it has been in other games. A good juggle with a few ground attacks can almost instantly end a fight but with 3 wins required to take a match, it’s a fool me once scenario. I never encountered any ragequit-worthy moments in the game where either the computer or another player online did anything that I could call BS on. The game still isn’t button masher friendly, which I am also totally cool with. Fights still are a mix of finesse and aggression, combos are just as important as the simple attacks that break them up. There were a few improvements to the system but it remains a solid aspect to the game.

Soulcalibur V doesn’t vary from the norm of the series with the multitude of game modes and features. While the modes range from survival and challenge modes to the typical VS and training modes, by far the most entertaining is the ability to create your own custom characters. While not necessarily brand new to the series, character creation hits a new level of customization. I’ve seen comic book characters, other characters from video games, tv shows and even historical figures. Hell, someone even asked “Why not Zoidberg” and someone else answered with a Zoidberg fighter. This has to be the most detailed character creation system ever in a fighter, hands down.

So when it is all said and done, Soul Calibur V is a solid and enjoyable game. At the same time, it also is way too arcadey for my tastes, the removal of character stories is a kiss of death. While some of the series regulars may feel a bit alienated by the new direction of the game, it does offer itself to a whole new market though. If you are looking for a game to play where you can kick a friend’s face in, you should check this one out. Just hope that down the road they decide to include a “Character Story Mode” DLC pack, because the game was so enjoyable that it is a disservice to not have one.

XBox 360

Graphics

90
 

Audio

95
 

Gameplay

80

Creativity

70
 

Execution

60
 

Offset

65
    

7.7

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Stunning graphics
  • Superb character creation options
  • Responsive controls
  • Large selection of fighters

Cons:

  • No Story Mode for anyone but Patroklos, Pyrrah and Z.W.E.I.
  • Character creation should have a in-game gallery online
  • Modes feel like an arcade experience
  • Soulcalibur misses some of what made it such a great game

 

Feb 192012
 

Twisted Metal is one of the most instantly recognizable series available for the PS3 and now we finally have a new installment to play around with. It looks as though David Jaffe and the rest of the team at Eat Sleep Play have done good because we waited, we got told it wouldn’t happen, we saw as it was confirmed and grew into the game it is and now it looks like it’s sold out in most stores. But what have everyone had to say so far? For the most part it’s looking good with the only criticism so far being constructive.

“The perfect party game. There is enough odd shit going on to keep the people waiting to play entertained and vehicle combat has never felt so good” – 12/15 – UGO

“The more you invest, the more it gives, providing a fulfilling sense of mayhem” – 8.1/10 – Game Trailers

“It saddens me that the campaign is so miserable, as its live-action story cutscenes and stylish, twist-in-the-tale storytelling are both fantastic” – 7/10 – Destructoid

“This isn’t a perfect Twisted Metal, but as comebacks go, it’s pretty strong” – 8/10 – Games Radar

“When Twisted Metal embraces the series traditions, it delivers the best action ever seen in the franchise” – 8.5/10 – Game Informer

“Whether it’s Diesel City’s impromptu rooftop scrambles, Metro Square’s ice rink, or Sunspring’s movie theater, every single level, even with paired down to smaller maps, is loaded with detail” – 9/10 – Digital Chumps

“The constant struggle of trying to take out enemies and keep your own rig in check is as entertaining today as it was when it was first introduced back in the mid ’90s” – 3.5/5 – Joystiq

“Your best bet is probably multiplayer, which offers plenty of options for both online and in-person combat – C – Entertainment Weekly

“Like its predecessor from more than 15 years ago, Twisted Metal celebrates an eccentric kind of action that shoves fun down the collective throat of the gaming masses” – 9/10 – IGN

“The developers were too busy making the game to teach you anything” – 3/5 – QuaterToThree.com

“No, it isn’t as iconic as Twisted Metal 2, but it still serves up a healthy dose of visceral fun” – 8/10 – Total Playstation

“Twisted Metal is just about blowing your opponents up, and that’s simply an enjoyable pastime” – 3.8/5 – Cheat Code Central

So now it’s time for you to get a hold of the game and see what you think yourself. Don’t forget to drop a comment at the bottom and let us know your own thoughts on Twisted Metal.

Feb 172012
 

 

Love is in the air this week but forget chocolate, flowers and a romantic meal for two, there’s no time for all that when the Reapers are coming. Mass Effect 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2012 and there isn’t long to wait till you can all get your hands on it. If you can’t wait for March you can download a quite pleasurable demo of the game that was released on tuesday Feb 14th by Bioware. The Mass Effect series has followed the story of one ruthless hero that goes by the name of Commander Shepard and the war against the Reapers. The third instalment of Mass Effect is the Final of Shepard’s story and is set to be one hell of a finale. With an intense story, new characters, an all new levelling system that now hits level 60 and all new ways to play. The first two games were originally Xbox 360 Exclusives and now gamers with an Xbox and Kinect have a new exclusive feature.

When I first bought my Kinect over a year ago I used it to play a couple of games, after a few months it just became an ornament on my TV unit. There just wasn’t and to be honest still aren’t games for the more mature gamer. After finding out last year that ME3 was to have Kinect integration my heart stopped at the thought of one of my favourite titles may be ruined by this. But after a demonstration at E3 I was optimistic. The demo allows you to play two sections of the game and even customise Shepard, but i’m here to give you Gaming Irresponsibly’s opinion on whether Kinect is a good addition or not.

 

First of all Kinect only brings voice recognition, so you’ll be happy to know you won’t be waving your arms about in battle. The voice commands come in handy when in combat, with the ability to command your comrades to move up and take cover, use special abilities like Warp, Throw and Singularity. Not only that you can also use the commands to uses Shepard’s abilities. Changing your weapon and healing team mates is easier than ever too, simply say, “First Aid” or your weapon of choice eg. “Assault Rifle” or “Heavy Pistol”  and hey presto it does exactly as you say. Also when you approach a door, need to salvage items, examine something or activate a switch commands like “Open” “Salvage” “Examine” and “Activate” are available. The combat commands are awesome and come in very handy, great for multi tasking when under attack from numerous enemies. Yes, girls this game allows guys to multi task, you aren’t the only ones anymore. When it comes to the opening of doors and activating things though it just seems pointless. Yes it adds a futuristic feel to opening a door with your voice (I mean wouldn’t that be awesome)  but when playing ME3 pressing “A” is easier, especially when sometimes Kinect doesn’t respond to your command and you’re sat there shouting “Open” at your TV.

Which brings me to how well Kinect responds to your voice, well from what I witnessed in the demo I must say it works very well. There were some sketchy moments like I said with doors and sometimes didn’t respond to me when in combat (I then died). Compared to another game that wasn’t made just for Kinect like Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Mass Effect 3 triumphs. Halo CE was unbelievably buggy and very annoying when playing with friends over Xbox Live, I would say to him “oh crap, I only have one plasma grenade left” and all of a sudden he now has a plasma grenade stuck to his back and BOOM! DEAD! Very frustrating. But saying that I haven’t been able to test Kinect’s features on the multiplayer due to internet problems so I may be wrong and the same problems may occur on Mass Effect.

Finally the main greatest use for Kinect on ME3 is conversations. Wow, I have never been so laid back and relaxed when having a conversation with someone on the game. Before in previous Mass Effect games you had to sit there twiddling your thumb to the option you want and pressing “A” a number of times. Now you can just sit back with a drink, place your controller down and have the conversation as if you were Shepard. One of the best uses for Kinect to date in my opinion. You aren’t just controlling Shepard anymore, you ARE Shepard.

Over all this addition to the Mass Effect series is a good move by Bioware. Kinect now adds a more realistic and social feel to ME3 and I would love to see these features added to future games like; the Fallout Series, Elder Scrolls (FUS RO DAH!!!!) and other RPG’s. Anyone who owns a Kinect should try this out at least once and see how you feel about it, if you don’t you can always revert back to the good old controller functions. Also If you want to take the story and gameplay seriously I recommend only using Kinect when alone though because I had a friend round when playing and he thought it would be hilarious to change my weapon every few seconds and choose dialogue I didn’t want to use.

Mass Effect 3 will be available on:

March 6th (US)

March 9th (Europe)

The battle is over, now its time to win the war!

Feb 172012
 

If there is one fictional series that takes everything cool and interesting about science fiction and puts it into a video game, it has to be Mass Effect.  The action RPG line of games has grown immensely in popularity since the first title’s release in 2007.  Finally, come March 6, the third installment will hit stores in the US (March 9 in Europe) giving reason once again for gamers to spend their free time indoors.  Bioware was kindly enough to offer a demo version of Mass Effect 3 on Tuesday, but because work has officially taken over my life and human spirit, I finally got a chance to test it out. The demo, which included two single player missions and a look at the multiplayer modes, gave an exciting look on what’s more to come for gamers.

The New and Improved Commander Shepherd

Before starting the first mission, players once again go through the long, yet hilarious process of creating their own character and back-story.  Of course, I have a save data file from Mass Effect 2, but for demo purposes, you need to create your own character once again.  This time around, I decided to go with the combination of Brian Peppers and Mr. Slave from South Park.  A man so ugly that it makes the Elephant Man look like Marilyn Monroe.  After creating your character’s past storyline, the opening cinematic begins.

We see Commander Shepherd stationed on Earth in the opening scene, staring out his window like a criminally insane person would.  Admiral Anderson quickly disrupts Shepherd’s daily window viewing, and warns his about possible Reaper activity that has hit the Moon.  While racing to the council room, Shepherd comes across Ashley, who managed to get an extreme makeover since we last saw her, and Ronnie from Jersey Shore.  As the council warns about a possible Reaper attack on Earth, all hell breaks loose as the Reapers finally hit Earth and unleash mass destruction.

Immediately after the cinematic, players take control of, Shepherd as Anderson and him race against time to reach the Normandy ship to warn the Alliance Council on the Citadel.  This first mission is simply a training one, introducing players to the updated controls as well as the cover system.  This section is more so meant to showcase the spectacle that is Mass Effect 3.  All around you, ships are exploding, buildings are falling.  We see that the Reapers mean business and human annihilation is their main objective.  The only hope for survival is to fight and judging by the Reaper threat, it will not be an easy one.  If there is one section of the game that is meant to foreshadow what’s to come in Mass Effect 3, Bioware did one hell of a job.  It isn’t till the second mission where we get a full glimpse of the gameplay.

And you thought things were bad in Syria...

The preceding section takes place around the middle of the game where we see Shepherd along with Urgnot Wrex and Garius as they make their way to a Salarian planet to rescue a female Krogan from a Salarian base.  Things go badly soon after their arrival with extremist group Cerberus reaching the base looking to exterminate the female Krogan.  This section is a bit more action oriented with players having the freedom to utilize not only your entire teammates’ firepower, but also their bionics.  Players will notice not only some old bionic powers, but new ones too like Garrius’ mine throwing skill that does some impressive damage to large groups of enemies.  Cerberus also has strengthened their elite soldiers, with a large variety of different types including ones that fly in on jetpacks and some that carry shields.  Not only is it satisfying to see some sort of change in enemy characters, but it brings a challenge to the table.  The mission concludes with a so-so boss fight against a Cerberus mecha-robot.  It was fairly simple and took mere minutes to defeat without little strategy.  However, knowing the epic boss fights from Mass Effect 2, I am sure there are more challenging ones to come.

Overall, I was impressed by what Mass Effect 3 had to offer.  Though the demo met my expectations, I would not say it blew me away, but that doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing.  My expectations are so high for Mass Effect 3 that after playing the demo; I have no doubt that that final product will be superb.  The graphics have improved as well as the cover control system and overall sound.  The RPG and conversation element has not changed, which is great because that is basically the foundation that series has been built upon.  There were minor issues I had including some graphical fumbles and gameplay issues (Anderson running through a wall), but then again it’s only a demo.  The wide selection of weapons and bionics is also something to note from the demo and I’m sure in the game’s final release, there will more to use in your quest.  All I know is that come March 6, I will put on hold all human interaction for several weeks and probably stop coming into work; I’ve got a galaxy to save.

Feb 172012
 

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the Mass Effect series. Mass Effect 2 is in my top 5 favorite games of all time, and needless to say, I am really looking forward to Mass Effect 3. However, the reason I love the series is because of the characters, the amazingly well realized setting and lore, and the compelling overarching story. The gameplay was decent in the first game, and greatly improved in the second; but if good third person shooter gameplay was all it took to win me over, then it would be Gears of War as one my all time favorite series, not Mass Effect. So obviously, I was skeptical of the co-op mode in Mass Effect 3, given that it is basically removing a lot of what I love about the series in favor of straight up action.

I say I was skeptical of the co-op in Mass Effect 3, but unlike some people, I am not necessarily against the idea. I have always praised Mass Effect 2 as having combat that is just as good as the top third person shooters. What really sets it apart is the rock/paper/scissors mechanic with the various types of powers and defenses. Some powers are only effective against unshielded opponents, while others excel at taking down shields, barriers, and armor. Luckily, this basic mechanic is maintained in Mass Effect 3, and overall I would have to say I have really enjoyed what I’ve played of the multiplayer.

The co-op mode in Mass Effect 3 is a wave based survival mode, and a good one at that. This type of mode has become very popular since Gears of War 2 kicked off the trend in 2008 with Horde Mode, and everyone has their favorite. In my opinion, Firefight in Halo Reach and Horde 2.0 in Gears of War 3 are the best examples of this mode, but I have to say I do like Mass Effect’s take on this mode. It works just like you’d expect, with each wave the enemies increase in numbers and difficulty, with the ultimate goal of surviving until your squad is extracted. The one twist is that every few waves, you will get objectives your team needs to complete in order to move on. These are usually time sensitive, and consist of things like holding a specific area, eliminating certain targets, and activating several nodes at various spots on the map. There are three difficulty levels, and let me tell you, the game doesn’t mess around. To have any chance of completing even the easiest difficulty, you basically need a squad of 4, or at the very least, a skilled squad of 3 all communicating. I was able to routinely complete the bronze difficulty level with squads of just 3 other random players, but I have yet to get much more than half way on silver. I’d imagine you would need a group of highly leveled characters to complete the higher difficulties.

Which brings us to a feature that really sets this mode apart from other similar modes, character progression and customization. The character leveling you’ve come to expect from the Mass Effect series is fully present in the multiplayer. All six Mass Effect classes are present in the co-op, and they remain mostly unchanged from Mass Effect 2. The Vanguard still has that awesome biotic charge, the infiltrator still has the cloak, and each class plays like you would expect them to. As you level up, you gain points to spend to unlock powers, with each character having 2 powers in addition to the specific class power. Obviously the game has to take place solely in real time, which is why you are limited to just three powers mapped to buttons, not having access to the power wheel. When you begin, you only have access to human characters, one for each class, with all the other races being locked from the get-go. To unlock them, you have to earn credits.

The way the unlocks work is actually really unique, and it brings some classic RPG style to the Call of Duty style unlock system. All your powers and passive health, damage, and shield upgrades are unlocked with points from leveling up, but all the weapons, items, mods, and characters require money to unlock. However, you don’t simply buy the items you want, instead you buy a box containing five items, with a random selection. You can choose to spend 5000 credits for 5 items, with a small chance of getting a rare. If you want to save up 20000 credits, you can buy a box of 5 items with a guarantee of getting at least one rare. Rares are basically the things you really want; weapons, characters, and mods. The non rare items are mostly one time use items like ammo for your rocket launcher, medi-gel (which allows to revive yourself if you go down as opposed to waiting for a teammate), and an other similar one time use items. I think the system is simply awesome. It can certainly get frustrating when you play for hours on end just trying to get a certain item or character, but every time I buy a box, I get those feelings of anticipation, like opening in a chest in a loot driven RPG. Maybe this is the time I get that awesome rare item!

As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s not as big of a leap as from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2, but there are definitely some improvements. The move set has been expanded, with human characters now being able to roll and jump between cover, bringing the game more in line with what you’d expect from a third person shooter. The other races handle a bit differently, though I’ve only unlocked 2 to this point. Turians can’t roll or slide between cover, but they do start with more shields than humans. Drell are the other race I’ve played as, and instead of the basic combat roll, you do cartwheels and back flips. Aside from the movement stuff, the only major change to gameplay is the addition of special melee attacks. Each class has their own heavy melee, which does more damage than a regular melee in addition to looking awesome. There are also several new powers spread out across the various classes and races, and they all seem to fit in well. The rock/paper/scissors style balance has maintained, though there have been slight changes to warp and overload, which I was at first against, but when I thought more about it, seemed to make sense. In Mass Effect 2, warp was effective against barriers, armor, and unarmored organics, while overload was effective against shields and synthetics. Now, overload works against barriers, shield, and synthetics, while warp works against armor and organics. This makes more sense from a balance perspective, even if not really from a fiction perspective.

Overall, the co-op in Mass Effect 3 seems like a nice feature for those that want it. Many people lost their minds when it was announced, proclaiming the end of Mass Effect, and cursing EA for “ruining the franchise”. I don’t think we will ever really know how much input EA actually has in the development of Bioware games, but whether Bioware would have done this on their own or not, I think it’s a pretty cool mode. Obviously, the core essence of Mass Effect could never be maintained in a wave based survival mode, but with the leveling, the classes, the powers, and the loot, there is enough RPG and enough Mass Effect in this mode to make this a nice diversion. When I finally get my hands on the final game, I will more than likely play through the single player multiple times before I ever boot up the co-op, but it’s nice to know it will be waiting for me once I’ve played the story a few times.

Feb 172012
 

This post is simply to serve as an update for my Megabite readers.  For those who might have missed it, our site here was attacked this past week by hackers, and I spent a majority of my free time fixing it, updating it, adding security measures, etc.

Long story short- I don’t have my full article this week as scheduled.  I will, however, not be skipping the week.  I anticipate a new, official Megabite within the next few days, and another this upcoming Friday as the schedule resumes.

I apologize to anyone who is disappointed by the news, but I didn’t want to hack out a half-assed article just to meet a deadline.

Thanks for your understanding :)

–Frank Moricz

Feb 162012
 

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

Scarygirl

Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Cartoon Violence, Use of Tobacco

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.


What do you get when you take 1 part old school platformer, 1 part storybook adventure and 1 part Tim Burton lucid dream? You get TikGames’ Scarygirl, a platformer adventure game that absolutely oozes with personality.

The eponymous hero Scarygirl runs, jumps, glides, swings and rolls across different locales and hazards while fighting her way through all sorts of cutsie enemies. The game feels very childish, but the gameplay itself is that of a hardcore platformer. The game in some ways reminds me a bit of games like Donkey Kong Country, sometimes putting the player into a situation of extreme peril to discover a secret or hidden item. Along the way, Scarygirl will collect gems that can purchase various power-ups and abilities to allow her to augment her abilities as well.

Scarygirl is based off of the graphic novel by Nathan Jurevicius and deals with her adventures throughout the world. The idea has been seen before but it is a fun game that both veteran gamers and young gamers can get themselves into. Combat is combo based button mashing while special movement style abilities and relegated to rolls and gliding through the air. Enjoyable concepts that will remind veteran gamers of Klonoa or the already mentioned Donkey Kong games and expose the newbies to these classic concepts.

While the game is filled with old school platforming nostalgia, Scarygirl is very vanilla when it comes to absolute variety. The game is enjoyable, but every level has it’s own “gimick”. Things like falling boulders, or hazards from the background falling into the playing area and even the typical water hazards are the type of things that you encounter while playing. It may not sound that bad, but I assure you, you have seen these things before and once you navigate past them once or twice, the honeymoon is over. Pairing that with creative, yet simplistic, combat will make many gamers find sessions to be shorter, since boredom can easily set in.

One of the larger issues that I encountered while playing also happened to be one of the things I liked the most on paper. Scarygirl offers a large amount of customization that shapes the way gameplay works. The thing is, many abilities and add-ons are not in a reasonable price range when you first encounter a use for them. Yes, this creates a reason to backtrack to levels you have been to already but it also come off as frustrating since you may already know what needs to be done but end up a handful of levels short of gems to purchase the upgrades you need. This form of carrot dangling would be acceptable if the awards were worth the work but they end up being little things like health add-ons. Megaman X did this feature the right way by rewarding backtracking by actually upgrading and enhancing abilities by finding these secrets, instead of vice-versa.

Now Scarygirl isn’t a bad game, if anything it shows how great a concept it is to create an old school platformer with new concepts. Unfortunately, it straddles a line between being an enjoyable experience and just an okay game, since I found myself just getting bored at times. The greatest thing about Scarygirl does absolutely have to be the game’s personality. To my son, the game was captivating and appealing, with surreal areas and colorful enemies. If that was what TikGames was aiming for when the game was made, they did a great job. There is a 2 player mode that we enjoyed a good bit, I was able o take on the major challenges while he just jumped around and enjoyed himself.

If you have kids, Scarygirl may be a game you would want to pick up. If you are pinning for an old school platformer, you will get your money out of it. If you are neither of the above, try the demo, see if you like it. Scarygirl a good game that just does not have something for everyone.

XBox 360

Graphics

75
 

Audio

75
 

Gameplay

65

Creativity

85
 

Execution

70
 

Offset

70
    

7.3

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • The game’s aesthetics are appealing
  • simplistic combat
  • music and narration are enjoyable
  • Co-op mode

Cons:

  • A bit too easy
  • A fair amount of backtracking for one item
  •  I found myself getting slightly bored after some gameplay
Feb 162012
 

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.


When Curt Schilling announced back in 2006 that he was opening up a video game studio, which would become 38 Studios, many people, including myself, were quite surprised. And while 38 Studios has yet to show their upcoming MMO, they have collaborated with Big Huge Games for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Reckoning is set in the same universe as the MMO, and it takes place in just one small part of the 10,000 year history of Amalur, crafted by well known fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore. Ken Rolston, lead designer on past Elder Scrolls games Morrowind and Oblivion, and Todd McFarlane, successful comic book artist and creator of Spawn, are also working on Reckoning. Reckoning clearly has a lot of talented people working on it, but is that enough to compete with the giant that is Skyrim?

Reckoning takes place in the Faelands, which is just one region within the greater land of Amalur. The Faelands are named as such because they are home to the Fae, an immortal race which is divided into two distinct factions, the Court of Winter, and the Court of Summer. Ten years before the start of the game, a splinter faction within the Winter Court, The Tuatha, rose to power and began a genocidal war against the mortal races, which include various species of Humans, Alfar (elves), and Gnomes.

The game begins with your character waking up on a pile of dead bodies, after having just been brought back to life in a resurrection research facility called the Well of Souls. You are the first mortal ever to be resurrected, and as such, you become fateless. Amalur is world that is very strictly governed by fate. It is accepted that everyone has a fate that they cannot change, and there are even some individuals, called fateweavers, that can read a persons fate, basically telling their future. However, after your resurrection, you become the first the first person ever, mortal or Fae, to exist outside of fate. What this means is that everything you do alters the established design. The fate of any individuals you come into contact with change, meaning you can save people fated to die, kill people fated to live, and most importantly, change the outcome of huge, world changing events, for good or for ill.

I really like this premise, and I think it really makes the story stand out from the typical fantasy game. Even though this is basically just another “Save the World” fantasy game, it is well written and well told, and the fate aspect is pretty unique. Just like most fantasy stories, your character is the center of everything, and the sole person who can defeat the evil and so on, but I buy it more in Reckoning. The Tuatha will succeed in their war against mortals, Fate has deemed it so, but because your character exists outside of fate, you are the only one with any chance to stop the war. The cool thing about the basic idea of the main character being fateless, is that it ties into everything you do as a player. Take Skyrim for example, your character is the Dragonborn, but that only really matter in the main quest. In Reckoning, all the faction quests and side quests are affected by your fatelessness. You are basically an agent of change where ever you go, and the game does a great job using this in most of the plot-lines, from the main quest down to 5 minute side quests.

Feb 142012
 

For me, Hitman was one of my first experiences with a game designed for adults and definitely my first experience with stealth based game play. So understandably I am immensely excited for Absolution which will be hitting shelves later this year, but what can we expect from the worlds favourite assassin? Will Square Enix be able to recapture the old magic as well as freshening up the series?

The Only Way To Make His Gun More Deadly? Venomous Snakes Of Course

Over the past few months there has been two juicy look in’s for agent 47′s next outing, the first came in the form of a nine minute. Idea showing off the game play of what appears to be a tutorial level. In the clip we find our bald protagonist making his way through What appears to be a public library. Here we see all the staples that we’ve come to expect from the series. As usual you are encouraged to play stealthy but this is not forced, you move quiet or bust out all guns blazing. There is one new feature which has been shown off which is a new way for 47 to analyse his surroundings and locate possible disturbances, the new look is shown the way that other game shave shown heat vision but rather than some kind of new gizmo, this new ability works purely from Mr. 47′s acute and enhanced senses.

Visually, from what we have seen of the new Glacier2 engine being used for Absolution, the game looks fantastic and what we have seen is from very early days so who knows what to expect when the game finally lands? Everything in the light looks polished and tidy, as if even the ignorable things like lamp shades or carpet pattern has been meticulously and lovingly designed. Once darkness falls on an area, the shadows seem to have real depth, Hitman environments have always looked great for their time but this seems to be something else.

While the game play video feeds an insatiable appetite rather well, there is still something missing from the whole display mainly the story. This is another area which the series has always excelled for me, while each mission’s hit had it’s own specific mini story, there has always been an underlying tale to be told and each game seems to have built more and more tension with main storyline’s which constantly and consistently impress more than the last. Well, IO Interactive and Square have us covered on this front thanks to the “A Personal Contract” trailer which has been doing the rounds. Here we seem to be given a taste of the man 47 has become, the same as he always has been, cold, calm yet somehow, even more of a honed killing machine than ever before. Throughout the trailer we see our man dispatch multiple opponents with ease using a variety of weapons, environmental advantages and his cunning intellect but the first few times of viewing there seems to be something missing, well there was for me.

The Original Assassin Can Even End You With A Vase

 

Following a recent press release from the studios what had been nagging in the back of my mind for sometime And finally watching the video carefully and thinking hard, coupled with the press release, it’s true that 47 has killed Diana and is doing one final mission for her, find an orphaned girl who is apparently hot property for at least one criminal organisation. This has left me for one with my jaw sat firmly on the floor, the loss of Diana from the series is a massive shock and while I am gutted to see her go, I am more excited with the massive amount of questions that are flying around in my head. Who will take over? Who and why was the hit put out by? What has become of The Agency? So many questions but hopefully we will be seeing some answers before we finally get our hands on the game because Square and IO have got another surprise for us.

All the big game series now come with extensions of the universe mostly in the form of novels and Hitman is no exception but the latest installment on paper rather than screen looks set to be something very special, if not integral, to the series. Hitman: Damnation sees the original assassin sent on various missions to take out high up political figures within the American government. Being set between Blood Money and Absolution, if the time line works in real time, leaves many years of our mans time to be explained but if released before the game, it would be the perfect time to lead into the new adventure and set us up for what is sure to be an incredible new chapter for all fans of the series.

As always, stay tuned to us for all the latest news on Hitman and while you’re waiting for the newest updates you should also stay tuned to Square’s fan site barcode-society.com who are also going to be running some pretty awesome competitions over the coming months.

The novel, Hitman: Damnation is set for release in summer 2012 in North America and other countries worldwide through publisher Del Ray and the game itself Hitman: Absolution is still TBA but set for a release some time later this year. Were you a fan of the movie? Check out why we think it shouldn’t have been made.

Feb 142012
 

The wait is over for Mass Effect fans, the demo for the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3 has gone live on the Xbox 360 for all users.

All Xbox 360 owners have access to the demo, which can be found in the game marketplace through the online network. This past weekend, only those with early access passes were able to download the trial version.

The demo features two single player stages with an introduction to the multiplayer aspect of the game.  Expect to make room on your Xbox 360 hard drive with the demo coming in at a file size of 1.76 GB.

The PC and PS3 demo will also be released sometime today, so be on the lookout for that.

Mass Effect 3 will be released on March 6 in the US and March 9 in Europe for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.  Keep on the lookout for my reactions to the demo hopefully in the coming days (damn you work!).

Source: VG247