News and reviews from the PC and console dimensions

February 2011 Archives



The fifth anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (see screenshots) has been marked by a content update by Turbine Inc.
According to Turbine, players will be invited to travel back to pirate-infested Smuggler's Rest, the first port visited by early travelers to Stormreach. There, they will assist Euphonia in a treasure map hunt. Successful serverwide completion of the first phase will unlock passage to Crystal Cove for a limited time.
Dungeons & Dragons Online Unlimited is a free-to-play MMORPG. Visit

In other news:

  • Pre-order incentives have been announced for Battlefield 3, coming this fall from the Electronic Arts studio DICE. Pre-orders will feature the multiplayer expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand. Among the items the pack will include are four maps from Battlefield 2 re-imagined with Frostbite 2 physics, destruction and visuals. Visit
  • A second world for Stronghold Kingdoms has been launched, Firefly Studios announced. The title is a free-to-play massively-multiplayer castle building game. Visit
  • Sept. 20 is the day to expect the hotly anticipated Gears of War 3 from Microsoft. The official multiplayer beta also is coming soon.
  • Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is making its way to the PC on March 18. The game will be available in four editions: Standard, Codex, Special and Digital Deluxe. Minimum PC system specs are: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.4 GHz; video card: Nvidia 7900 256 MB or ATI Radeon X1950 256 MB.
  • A digital download pack for Dead Space 2 from EA will be available March 1. Dead Space 2: Severed will feature two stand-alone single-player chapters. Cost will be $6.99 on the PlayStation Network or 560 MS points through Xbox Live Marketplace.
  • Aeria Games officially launched its latest free-to-play browser-based game, Heroes of Gaia: Rise of the Guilds. Check out the fantasy-themed strategy game at



Sega and Creative Assembly released new screenshots for the upcoming PC game Total War: Shogun 2.
The game is set for a March 15 release.
Meanwhile, Sega announced a demo for the game will be available Feb. 22 through Steam.
Also, those who pre-order the game through Best Buy or GameStop can tap into some exclusive in-game content.
Players who pre-order from GameStop (online or in-store) will unlock the Historic Battle of Kawagoe. In the 1545 action, the Hojo clan launched a nighttime attack on the besieging Uesugi forces.
By pre-ordering at Best Buy (online or in-store only), you unlock 1,000 Koku, game currency used to purchase new buildings and train new units.

In other news;

  • On March 1, a multiplayer demo for Crysis 2 for the PC will be available at and other sites. The demo offers six vs. six battles on two maps. The game is from EA and Crytek UK.

  • Deep Silver and Piranha Bytes announced a sequel to Risen. Risen 2: The Dark Waters will have a pirate theme. Look for the PC title later this year.

  • Also in March, the Defiant Map Pack for Halo: Reach will be available. The download will deliver three new multiplayer maps for 800 Microsoft points through Xbox Live.

  • A PC game will spawn a web series. EA announced Dragon Age: Redemption, a six-part series based on the Dragon Age world. The series by Felicia Day will premiere this summer.

A look at 'MLB 11 The Show'

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Sony has released a few trailers for MLB 11 The Show -- which ships March 8th for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation2.
The first trailer is a battle between San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.
The second trailer gives you a look at the sights and sounds of the various stadiums in the game.

'Breach,' a review

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It's a first-person shooter, and it's maybe a David vs. Goliath battle between developers.
Atomic Games, which has earned a fine reputation among wargamers for its Close Combat series, ventures into the online, multiplayer FPS genre with Breach.
And, in doing so, it is up against the big boys of FPS fame - Call of Duty, Battlefield and even the recent Medal of Honor.
While Breach may not outgun the competition, it does offer a new FPS experience at a modest price.
The game is online only; there is not a single-player campaign.
The two distinct elements Breach delivers are a cover system and destructible environments.
Through the cover system, players can get behind barricades, walls and columns. They then can peer around or over the object and fire at the enemy.
However, because much of the environment in Breach can be destroyed, no cover may last forever. Enemies can shoot it apart or blow it up.
Atomic points to the ability to destroy buildings, bridges and more as a way players creatively can eliminate enemies.
More often, it seems this ability was used during games to control the direction of an enemy's attacks by blowing up a bridge.
During each round, players earn experience points. Those points can be used to purchase weapon attachments, perks and gadgets. New weapons unlock automatically as a player progresses through the game.
While the experience system definitely is adequate, it can't compare to the massive and insanely addictive reward system that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 boasts.
Among the real-world gear Breach features are dragon skin armor, sticky bombs, motion sensors, M2 slam charges, an M79 pirate cannon (grenade launcher) and more.
There are five player classes: rifleman, gunner, sniper, support and recon. Recon unlocks when players max out two of the other classes.
Game types include infiltration (capture points), team deathmatch, sole survivor, retrieval (bring back a canister) and convoy.
The latter type, convoy, probably is the most interesting from a tactical standpoint.
One team must protect two slow-moving vehicles through a course. At times, the team must blow up an obstacle blocking the convoy's path. Team members also can man mounted machine guns on each vehicle.
The other team attempts to stop the convoy.
Since the game's release, Atomic announced a free demo offering up to 60 minutes of gameplay. Patches also have been released for both the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game.
A problem area I found was the process of joining a game (360 version). Search for an open game and then attempt to join. If for some reason you are unable to get into that game, then you have to search for games again.
This search process, and game load times, seem long.
As to actual gameplay, Breach deals a satisfying experience. One hopes the studio makes another effort in this highly competitive genre.
One element of Breach to be appreciated is that players respawn in something of a home area. It is a refreshing change from COD where you respawn and shortly get killed from behind.
Breach is available for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft points and for the PC for about $19.99.

On the reviewing table

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I have been trying a couple new titles lately and should have reviews ready shortly.
First of all, there is Breach, an online FPS from Atomic that is available for the PC and through Xbox Live Arcade.
Atomic made a name for itself among wargamers with its excellent Close Combat series. We will see how the team fares with its foray into first-person shooters.
Next, there is World of Tanks from
In this free online game (now in beta), players engage in armored combat of World War II. Playing earns you credits that can be used to upgrade your tank, purchase bigger and better tanks, improve crew quality and more.
Just getting started on Castle Crashers, a brawler available through Xbox Live Arcade, and Clones, a PC strategy game that involves guiding your clones through various environments. Quite amusing so far.
For various reasons, have not got back to Lord of the Rings Online recently. My dwarf champion Grimore probably is getting antsy and his ax blade rusty.
LOTR became free to play in recent months. If you haven't checked it out, and are interested in this sort of game, it is well worth downloading.
Kudos to Turbine, the developer.

Coming soon:

  • Fans will be able to strap on their six-shooters again as Ubisoft announced the development of Call of Juarez: The Cartel (see screenshots). The third game in the Western series is expected this summer.
  • A six-day open beta eventplanned for Rift will start Feb. 15. Register at
  • Brain Candy, a French developer, announced plans for Fray, a turn-based, multiplayer, real-time strategy game set in 2098 - a time when civilization is, of course, on the brink of collapse.
  • Expected in fall 2011 is The Darkness II, a sequel to the 2007 hit The Darkness. The game from 2K Games and Digital Extremes is based on the comic book series created by Top Cow Productions.
Out now:
  • WarFlow, a browser-based RTS from Lekool Inc., now is in open beta.
  • Dungeons from Kalypso USA has shipped to retail in North America. Players take the role of a Dungeon Lord who traps heroes in his custom-crafted habitat.
  • Fans of the TV series Battlestar Galactica now can get into the game with Battlestar Galactica Online from Bigpoint. The free-to-play game can be found at



Neonga announced details for two of its free-to-play titles.
A closed beta test started for the cross-platform MMORPG A Mystical Land (see screenshots).
To register for the next phase, visit
Meanwhile, pre-beta registration is under way for Dragon Soul, a fantasy-themed MMORPG. Register free at

Mount up
A new addition has been announced for the Mount & Blade series from Paradox Interactive and Taleworlds Entertainment.
Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword is expected for the PC in the second quarter of this year.
The latest installment will feature customizable troops, new siege options and new weapons. Firearms will be introduced into gameplay as well.
Multiplayer will offer a new Captain Mode, which allows players to control their own forces in online matches.
For more information, visit

In other news:

  • Paradox and Most Wanted Entertainment announced the development of Defenders of Ardania, a next-generation tower defense game. The title is being developed for the PC, iPad, PSN and XBLA.
  • Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland will join Paradox's stable of grand strategy games set during World War II. The game will allow players to occupy any of 15,000 provinces and guide one of 100 nations to victory.
  • Ubisoft announced the Feb. 25 release of Settlers 7: Paths to the Kingdom Gold Edition for both the Mac and PC. The game will include Paths plus all the content in three downloadable packs.

Pac fight.jpg

The Demo for EA Sports' Fight Night: Champion is available now for download on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

This is the first EA sports demo to feature head-to-head online play. You'll have two matches to choose from -- Mike Tyson vs. Muhammad Ali or Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto. The matches are up to three rounds and take place at the Boardwalk Hall.

Fight Night: Champion will be available on March 1st for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.


EA Sports did their annual Madden Super Bowl simulation and the result was the Pittsburgh Steelers knocking off the Green Bay Packers 24-20. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace on a 36-yard touchdown with 1:20 remaining in the game. Wallace won Super Bowl MVP with five catches for 111 yards.
You can see the box score and video recap below.

Box Score
Steelers - 7 3 7 7 - 24
Packers - 0 7 6 7 - 20

1st Quarter
· 12:37 PIT FG S. Suisham missed 41 Yd
· 7:58 PIT INT T. Polamalu, Intercepts ball on own 43
· 2:55 PIT TD R. Mendenhall, 2 Yd run (Suisham kick)
2nd Quarter
· 12:41 PIT FG S. Suisham, 32 Yd FG
· 8:46 GB FG M. Crosby missed 44 Yd FG
· 1:29 GB INT A.J. Hawk, Intercepts ball on Pittsburgh 39
· 0:26 GB TD G. Jennings, 12 Yd pass from A. Rodgers (M. Crosby kick)
3rd Quarter
· 8:59 PIT TD H. Ward, 17 Yd pass from B. Roethlisberger (Suisham kick)
· 5:10 GB FG M. Crosby, 49 Yd FG
· 1:16 GB FG M. Crosby, 38 Yd FG
4th Quarter
· 9:00 GB TD J. Jones, 9 Yd pass from A. Rodgers (M. Crosby kick)
· 1:20 PIT TD M. Wallace, 36 Yd pass from B. Roethlisberger (Suisham kick)
· 0:20 PIT INT R. Clark, Intercepts ball on own 20

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