By: Master Devwi
April 17th, 2012
The Halo 4 marketing effort is in full swing now. Microsoft and 343 Industries have followed up last week’s news that Neil Davidge will be scoring the highly anticipated game with an even bigger announcement: Halo 4 will be released on November 6, 2012.
If that date sounds familiar to US residents, that’s because it should. Tuesday, November 6 is also Election Day in the US, so today’s announcement has already spawned a number of 'Master Chief for president' jokes. The real release date humor, however, comes straight from the machinima masters at Rooster Teeth. The video (above) depicts the popular characters from Red vs. Blue humorously debating how they will keep the date fresh in their minds. Remember not to forget, folks.
With Halo 4 officially marking its fall release slot on the calendar, it’ll be interesting to see what the competition does. Call of Duty, for example, regularly comes out during the first or second week of November. Interestingly, this is the first Halo game to be released in the eleventh month of the year since Halo 2 in 2004. The last three titles, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo Reach, were released in mid-September.
By: Master Devwi
April 11th, 2012
The Halo series is known for its groundbreaking multiplayer, but it has also been widely recognized for its engaging story and emotional soundtrack. So it was with great fanfare that 343 Industries announced that Neil Davidge would be taking over the musical reins from Marty O’Donnell, the man responsible for giving Halo its iconic sound. Davidge is known for his work with Massive Attack, and his resume includes scores for film, television, and advertising.
Along with this announcement, 343 Industries has decided to give fans a preview of Halo 4’s music through a ViDoc and a soundtrack sample (available in both MP3 and video form). It already sounds fantastic, even though our initial impression is based solely off of these limited samples. O’Donnell will always be the man who created Halo’s classic score, but it sounds like Davidge was the perfect choice to succeed him. We highly recommend taking a listen.
April 9th, 2012
The ending to Mass Effect 3 is still one of the most talked about issues in the gaming world right now, and the people who have been actively campaigning for an alternate ending has sort of won through. This summer, there will be a free DLC that doesn't as much change the ending as expand on it. The ending being depressing and practically identical for everyone regardless of whether they've played this or that way aside, one of the major complaints was that the ending storyline makes no sense. Despite some &quot;evidence&quot; of it being foreshadowed, many players feel that too many previously unknown concepts were suddenly introduced in the last 15 minutes of a 100 hour game trilogy for it to be a valid ending to the story.
This is one way of &quot;fixing&quot; the ending that I've seen suggested by players, and perhaps the way of doing it that's the least likely to upset those who liked the ending. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with, and my biggest wish is that they make the ending more customized. Some cutscenes here and there that actually show the war assets you've collected, instead of the current system where you have 200 ways of increasing your war assets without any reason to do so beyond a certain (low, compared to maximum possible) number that unlocks 20 more seconds of video at the end.
Still though, I'm not sure if the extended cut will make me pick up single player again. I love ME3 multiplayer, but one of the absolute biggest problems with the ending as it is right now for me is that it makes me completely apathetic about what happens before that point in the story, and doesn't give me any reason to do anything but rush through it. That's quite a failure for a game that is at best average without the story, and I think a lot of people who don't understand the criticism towards the ending aren't seeing what it does to replay value for those who don't like it.
By: Master Devwi
April 3rd, 2012
The long-awaited Kinect Star Wars Xbox 360 bundle is every geek's dream, perfectly blending the fantastic hardware of the Xbox 360 S and the iconic imagery of R2-D2 and C-3PO. The special edition console was obviously created with the utmost care, going as far as to include some subtle Easter Eggs that should make Star Wars fans squeal with glee.
We decided to take one for the team--we couldn't have resisted, in all honesty--and pick up one of these special edition consoles for ourselves. In addition to the system itself, styled like R2-D2, the bundle comes with a gold metallic controller--obviously a homage to C-3PO--and a stark white Kinect sensor which evokes memories of Stormtroopers. The Kinect Star Wars game, the reason for the console in the first place, and the standard Kinect pack-in, Kinect Adventures, also come with the bundle. For the full details on what's included, check out our unboxing video.
By: Master Devwi
March 29th, 2012
Mass Effect 3 is one of the greatest games of all time. Unfortunately, it also has one of the most controversial endings to date. Fan reaction to the game’s final moments has been strong and ranges from unabashed love to a general acceptance and even a very strong dislike which left gamers with a bad taste in their collective mouths. Some fans in the latter category have even gone as far as to file frivolous lawsuits and submit complaints to the Better Business Bureau. But could BioWare have actually foreshadowed how the saga would end way back in 2008?
Players can explore a galaxy full of planets in the Mass Effect series, and each one comes with a Journal entry containing additional details about the fictitious world. Believe it or not, one of these in the original Mass Effect (2008) actually reveals the twist presented to players in the final moments of Mass Effect 3. WARNING: Spoilers to follow.
By: Master Devwi
March 23rd, 2012
When Microsoft announced Xbox LIVE Arcade’s House Party promotion back in January, we couldn’t help but wonder why some games, like Trials Evolution, weren’t included. The reason, as we now know, is that the Redmond software giant was holding them back for Arcade NEXT.
Arcade NEXT will feature another set of four fantastic games, comprised of Trials Evolution, Bloodforge, Fable: Heroes, and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. Trials Evolution (1200MSP) is the sequel to the amazingly addicting Trials HD; Bloodforge (1200MSP) is a dark, brutal fighting game; Fable: Heroes (800MSP) takes the hit franchise in a more fun, lighthearted direction; and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (1200MSP) brings the PC-hit to the console, complete with both four-player split-screen and Xbox LIVE multiplayer.
The fun starts on April 18th and will run up through May 9th. These four titles will also be the first to take advantage of Microsoft’s increased Gamerscore policy, serving up 400 Gamerscore and up to 30 different achievements.
March 17th, 2012
It's no secret that World of Warcraft has been losing subscribers in the last year or two. A lot of subscribers. I myself stopped playing in January as a result of some rather gameplay breaking issues with the 4.3 patch, and haven't really looked back. Yesterday I got a message from someone I used to play with who sent me a Scroll of Resurrection, Blizzard's inactive player version of recruit-a-friend. It basically gives both sides rewards if an active player brings back someone who canceled their account.
Blizzard has had such systems int he past, but the upgraded version of the scroll is definitely something else. The most eye catching reward is the new spectral mounts, a Griffin for Alliance and a Wind Rider for Horde. Anything that is shiny and glows is sought after in games, so having semi-transparent shiny new blue mounts is bound to make existing players think for a bit longer if they know anyone who might be interested. The mount is only awarded if the resurrected player subscribes for at least 30 days though.
To help convince the resurrected player to stay, Blizzard is throwing some nice things at them too. First off, you get 7 days of free game time, so you can come back for free and look around. You also get a free upgrade to Cataclysm if you don't have it, regardless of what version of the game you originally had. People who left in vanilla WoW can that way skip through TBC, WOTLC and right to Cataclysm for free. To make sure you're ready to play the new content, they're also letting you bump a character to lv 80, complete with some items, flying skill and so on. Finally, you get a free character transfer to your friend's realm and faction, so that you can play together.
Definitely a nice offer, and since this is a new version of the scroll that was released just 11 days ago, the cutoff limit for being eligible is as recent as March 4th. This means that in theory, people who have only been inactive for a little over two weeks are eligible for this, which should bump up the numbers quite nicely. I accepted my friend's request simply to go in and see how my new computer handled WoW, but I'm not sure if I'll bother staying. I was already in the same faction and realm, but had a lv 20 shaman I never bothered leveling that I could suddenly bump to 80. Based on that alone I'd be interested in leveling it up to 85, which again could make me extend the game time, proving that the rewards work. Just a few weeks before the new scroll was announced Blizzard also announced the availability of PayPal payments in Europe, which to me is a huge deal, so who knows.
In any case, it's hard not to see this as an indication of how bad the times are for WoW. Just this fall Blizzard had a deal where you could subscribe to WoW for a year and get Diablo III for free, another example of how the company is trying to keep subscribers. WoW is still massive and is likely very far away from not being profitable, but when you count loss of subscribers in hundreds of thousands per quarter that makes an impact.
By: Master Devwi
March 16th, 2012
It’s not a stretch to say that the next generation Xbox console is currently being developed in the most secret depths of Microsoft—really, the company would be foolish if it wasn’t working on Xbox vNext on at least some level—but don’t expect any sort of announcement at E3 in June. The Redmond software giant has confirmed that it will not be revealing its plans for the next generation console at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, despite the upcoming release of the Wii U from competitor Nintendo.
The reason why is simple: the Xbox 360 is currently at the top of its game, outselling the competition for fourteen months straight and sporting a lineup of critically acclaimed titles and entertainment apps. And with Kinect’s red-hot success, the seven-year-old console is doing quite well for itself. Announcing new hardware would only serve to harm current sales.
“For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360-and it's the best year ever for Xbox 360,” said a Microsoft representative. “The console is coming off its biggest year ever-a year in which Xbox outsold all other consoles worldwide. Xbox 360 didn't just outsell other consoles, it also outsold all other TV-connected devices like DVD players, as well as digital media receivers and home theatre systems. And in our seventh year, we sold more consoles than in any other year-defying convention.”
So what can we expect from Microsoft at this year’s E3 media briefing? Games, and lots of them. The company is also likely to announce new media apps, dashboard features/refinements, and additional details about Xbox LIVE on Windows 8. This should make for an exciting event, even without the presence of a new Xbox console.
March 10th, 2012
This post contains very heavy spoilers in regards to the Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect storyline, ending, as it is a commentary on it. Do not continue reading if you do not want spoilers.
March 8th, 2012
This week one of the biggest game releases of 2012 hit the stores: Mass Effect 3. The Mass Effect series is a science fiction RPG shooter that stands out among other games because of its extremely well written and dynamic story. The three games are linked as a trilogy, and choices you made all the way back in game 1 will affect how the story unfolds in the second and third games. One player might spend the entire game getting to know a character that another player got killed two games ago. On top of the dynamic story, the game also has a Galactic Readiness System that affects how the game ends. This is affected by things you do in single player as well as multiplayer and an iOS spinoff game, Mass Effect: Infiltrator. The game was released in the US a couple of days ago, and today I could pick up my copy here in Norway as well.