News and reviews from the PC and console dimensions

August 2011 Archives

'Gears of War 3' near

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Gears of War 3 (screenshot above) is due out in September. Meanwhile, Epic Games and Microsoft Studios revealed the final of the game's 10 multiplayer maps.
The final map is Gridlock, which has been revamped from previous appearances in Gears of War and Gears of War 2.
Other maps include:
Checkout - inside an abandoned superstore
DryDock - a shipyard
Hotel - small island resorts battered by fierce weather
Mercy - a ruined town square
Old Town - isolated areas that for a time escaped the depredations of the invaders
Sandbar - a coastal observation post
Thrashball - a sports stadium
Trenches - mines and tunnels carved into the Seran Deadlands
Among the game's multiplayer modes will be a four-person cooperative mode.

In other news:

  • A website has gone live for The War of the Worlds (screenshot below), a 2D scroller from Other Ocean Interactive. The game will tell the story of Arthur Clarke, a man trapped during an alien invasion of London in the 1950s. Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame will be the narrator.
  • Warlock - Master of the Arcane will be a turn-based strategy game set in the fantasy world of Ardania, Paradox Interactive announced. Players will use magical powers to wage war.
  • YNK Interactive announced the first part of the Rise of the Elements expansion for R.O.H.A.N.: Blood Feud in the new PlayRohan Portal. For details, visit www.PlayRohan.com.
  • Field of Glory - Eternal Empire now is available for PC and MAC from Slitherine and Matrix Games. The game of ancient combat features 124 historical battles and some 1,235 different battle groups. Empire requires ownership of the original full Field of Glory game.

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A retail version of APB Reloaded is planned.
Interactive Gaming Software entered into a partnership with GamersFirst to distribute the now free-to-play online game.
APB Reloaded (see screenshots) is a reboot of the short-lived cops vs. robbers game APB.
The game now is in open beta.
According to the company, the game has drawn 700,000 gamers in its first three months.

In other news:

  • Trion Worlds and Petroglyph Studios announced that the online RTS End of Nations will be free-to-play. Battles will feature up to 50 players at a time.
  • Oct. 19 has been set as the release date for Dungeon Defenders from D3Publisher, Reverb Publishing and Trendy Entertainment. The game will be available through Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and for the PC. Defenders is described as an "action-RPG take on tower defense."
  • Speaking of release dates, Feb. 7 is when Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is expected from EA and 38 Studios. The fantasy title boasts creative talent including R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Ken Rolston.
  • Competitive PC gaming is headed to a casino. IGN Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment announced IPL 3: Origins, in which top StarCraft II players will compete for $100,000 in prize money. The tournament will be Oct. 6-9 at Caesars Atlantic City.



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An open beta is under way for Dawn of Fantasy from 505 Games.
Peace is no more in the world of Mythador. Instead, war has broken out after the leaders of each of three races vanish or are slain.
In the massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game, orcs, elves and humans struggle for survival. Pick a side.
Dawn of Fantasy (screenshot above) is due for the PC in September.

In other news:

  • A cool $1 million. That is what a team from Ukraine took home in prize money for winning the Dota 2 Championship last weekend at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Dota 2 from Valve will be available for the PC and Mac later this year.
  • NGames released more details for Immortal King webgame. The game is a Greek mythology inspired military RTS. Immortal King, set for a closed beta in September, involves heroes, city building and battles.
  • The makers of System Mechanic remind everyone that Sept. 12 is National Video Game Day. Is that a national holiday? Guess it should be. Anyway, System Mechanic says its two features, Memory Mechanic and Energy Booster, will do the job when it comes to keeping your PC in top gaming condition.
  • Thrash-metal gods Megadeth will offer an original track in NeverDead, due from Konami for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The band says the track, Never Dead, will be on its next CD as well.
  • An open beta for Tank Ace from GamesCampus.com will start Sept. 1. Register for the online game at http://tankace.gamescampus.com



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The MMO The Secret World is set to release for the PC in April 2012.
The Secret World (see screenshots) comes from Funcom and EA Partners, a division of Electronic Arts.
Before then, a series of betas are set to start Aug. 26. Players can register at www.thesecretworld.com.
The game promises a battle between secret societies featuring real-world locations.

In other news:

  • BioWare, a division of EA, announced Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes. The free-to-play game will feature player-vs.-player combat based on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. To sign up for the closed beta, visit www.wrathofheroes.com.
  • Wargaming.net, the folks behind World of Tanks, announced World of Battleships, a free-to-play naval action MMO. The company previously reported World of Planes was in the works.
  • Karma Online: Prisoners of the Dead, a free-to-play first-person shooter officially launched, Joymax announced. The World War II game features Axis, Allies and zombies.
  • Bastion, an action RPG from Warner Bros. Interactive and Supergiant Games, now is available for the PC through Steam for $14.99. A demo also is available.
  • Paradox Interactive and Fatshark revealed the existence of War of the Roses. The game set in 15th-century England will allow medieval multiplayer combat. Look for the game in 2012.



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Developer Doublesix says a new deep space arcade shooter is on its way.
Strike Suit Zero (screenshot above) is planned for digital release for the PC and game consoles in the first quarter of 2012.
The game will feature "Strike Suits" that transform from between fighter and robotic warrior at the flick of a button. There also will be huge capital ships and alien spacecraft.

In other news;

  • The second season of League of Legends from Riot Games will feature a prize pool of a record-setting, cool $5 million. LOL is a multiplayer online battle arena game. According to the company, more than 1.4 million players are doing battle every day.
  • LEGO Universe now is offering a Free to Play Zone in its brick-building online game. The free zone includes two adventure zones and a one-player property area to build virtual LEGO models.
  • SG Interactive announced new content for Dino Mode in its free-to-play FPS Project Blackout. The update sees Sting, a new predator, join the dinosaur ranks that already include Velociraptors and T Rex.
  • Come Sept. 3, PlayStation gamers will be able to test their assassination skills with a multiplayer beta of Assassin's Creed Revelations. The game itself is due Nov. 15 from Ubisoft.
  • Dragon Age Legends, the free-to-play dark fantasy RPG, now is available on Google +, BioWare and EA announced. It is among the first games on Google's new social networking site.
  • Coming from Sega and Platinum Games will be Anarchy Reigns (screenshot below). The multiplayer brawler promises a range of MP modes, including Tag Team and Battle Royal.

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Kalypso Media released screenshots for The Dark Eye - Demonicon (above).
The role-playing game is in development by Berlin-based Noumena Studios.
The game that takes place in The Shadow Lands, Aventuria, where demons and the undead roam unfettered.
The game is expected in 2012.

In other news:

  • Trion Worlds announced that End of Nations, an online real-time strategy game, will be free to play. The game is being developed by Petroglyph Games and will feature online battles with up to 50 players at a time. There also will be an optional monthly subscription fee.
  • Guns of Icarus Online by Muse Games will feature multiplayer airship combat in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. For more information, visit www.gunsoficarus.com.
  • Early 2012 looks to be the arrival date for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive from Valve. When released 12 years ago, Counter-Strike became one of the most popular online action games ever. CS:GO will be released via PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam (for PC and Mac).

Free 'Conan'

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As the newest Conan movie heads to theaters, Funcom reports that some 300,000 players have joined Age of Conan: Unchained in the first month since the title went free to play.
Conan (see screenshots above and below) is an MMORPG telling the tale of Robert E. Howard's fearsome barbarian adventurer.
The game originally launched in 2008.
Meanwhile, Conan the Barbarian will arrive in theaters Aug. 18. In conjunction with that release, Funcom plans a movie tie-in adventure pack called "Savage Coast of Turan."
To take part in the action, visit the game's official website.

In other news:

  • Nival announced beta testing is open for its turn-based social strategy game King's Bounty: Legions. In the game, playable on Facebook, players take the role of a young warlord commanding either Kingdom, Chaos or Beast forces.
  • Sega announced Rise of the Samurai, the first downloadable campaign for its strategy game Total War: Shogun 2. The expansion offers six new playable clans in both single-player and multiplayer modes in a campaign based on the Gempei War.
  • Registration is open for the beta testing of the MMO-RTS Dawn of Fantasy from Reverie World Studios and 505 Games. To sign up, visit http://dof.reverieworld.com/openbeta.php
  • A second English server is on the way Operation Gamma 41, a free-to-play MMORPG from Just A Game. The World War II strategy game pits Axis and Allies factions against an unknown faction.
  • A revamped and free to play Earth Eternal is now in open beta. The MMORPG from Outblaze and TurnOut Ventures in set in Europe thousands of years after the fall of both humankind and technology. Now, 12 different races vie for power in the land torn by war and magic.

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This summer's movie season appeared to be stuffed full of superhero films. Among them was Green Lantern, based on the DC comic.
Where there is a movie, there is often a game. Thus we have Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters from Warner Bros. Interactive.
The game comes with a pair of 3D glasses. So, if you are among the what I suspect is a very select group, you can actually play the game in 3D. That group, however, does not include me.
The game tells the story of Hal Jordan, an Earthman who finds the power of the Green Lantern Ring bestowed upon him. The Green Lanterns, for those of you who don't know, are a police force of superheroes tasked with keeping order in the galaxy.
The story starts with newbie Hal visiting Oa, the Guardian homeworld. Also on hand are Sinestro and Kilowog, two veteran Green Lanterns.
Suddenly, Oa is attacked by the Manhunters. These robots were an early attempt at a galactic police force.
With the power of the Green Lantern, Hal can create a variety of weapons, including a baseball bat, gatling gun, war hammer and others.
The game does a good job in putting these powers into play.
In the Construct menu, players can assign up to eight weapons at a time by associating one of the four control pad buttons with the right and left triggers on the controller.
Then, to deploy a particular weapon, pull the correct trigger and press the desired button.
It's a nifty control scheme.
One of the attacks I found most useful was the Grab Claw. Use it to grab enemies and toss them about.
Players need to keep track of Hal's health and his ring energy. Also, as he gains experience he can level up and get access to upgrades.
The Ring Surge, when full, delivers unlimited ring energy and grants Hal attack and defense bonuses.
Play consists of defeating numerous enemies and the occasional boss. A few puzzle elements also are tossed in.
Multiplayer consists of two-player cooperative mode, which is a nice touch.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters does boast voice acting by the movie's cast, including Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. The graphics and sound also are a cut above.
The gameplay could use a little more variety and a more creative roster of enemies.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is available for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS.



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Battlefield 3 (see screenshot above) from EA and DICE is due out Oct. 25. However, there will be two editions and unique pre-order items will be available through participating retailers.
First there will be the standard edition. A limited edition will include Back to Karkand, a post-launch digital expansion back. Karkand includes four popular maps from Battlefield 2.
Expansion can be purchased separately for $14.99.
Pre-order customers may receive:
Physical Warfare Pack, includes three exclusive weapons.
SPECACT Kit, features eight unique multiplayer skins.
Dog Tag Pack, five unique dog tags. In Battlefield 3, a players dog tags will be displayed when taking down an enemy or claiming an opponent's dog tags.

In other news:

  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad from Tripwire Interactive now is available for pre-order through Steam with a 10 percent discount. Also available will be a Steam Digital Deluxe Edition that will offer weapon unlocks for RO2, playable characters for Killing Floor, special in-game items for Team Fortress 2 and more.
  • Fans of Borderlands rejoice, 2K Games and Gearbox Software announced Borderlands 2 is in development.
  • Closed beta testing is under way for the fantasy MMORPG Scarlet Legacy from GamesCampus.com. For a chance to join the beta, visit www.ScarletLegacy.com.
  • An open beta will run through Aug. 16 for the World War II game Karma Online: Prisoners of the Dead from Joymax. In the game, prepare to battle enemy troops as well as the walking dead. Visit www.joymax.com/karma/.
  • Riot Games announced League of Legends: Dominion, a new capture-and-hold game mode for the online game. It also will feature a new map, the Crystal Scar, a war-torn mining village.
  • Bastion (see screenshot below), an award-winning action RPG, soon will be available for the PC, Warner Bros. Interactive and Supergiant Games announced. The game launched on Xbox Live Arcade.

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OK, I may be to dumb to use a smartphone, but I can play games.
That's why it turned out to be a pleasure to test drive the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play from Verizon Wireless.
It's an Android-based smartphone; it's a mobile gaming machine.
Now, as an Android smartphone, the Xperia Play comes with all the bells and whistles one would expect - apps, e-mail, text messaging, picture messaging, video messaging, Internet, a 5 megapixel camera and more.
It also supports Google mobile services.
What sets this "PlayStation certified smartphone" apart from others is it's set up to make playing games both doable and fun.
The back of the phone slides out to reveal the gaming controls.
On the left are four directional buttons. On the right are four buttons that correspond to what one finds on the right side of a PlayStation controller.
There also are right and left triggers on the top of the phone.
And when you slide out the control pad, the phone automatically displays the games that are available.
All of this plays out on a touchscreen that is 4 inches diagonally (3.5 by 2 inches).
One can't say enough about the color on the screen. The games look great.
The Xperia Play I tested came loaded with six games. Of course, you can purchase and download additional titles.
Available to me were: Asphalt 6 (racing), Bruce Lee (fighting), Crash Bandicoot, Madden NFL 11, Star Battalion (spaceship-themed combat) and Sims 3.
I found all the games worked well. Because the control scheme is similar to what one finds on a console (although obviously smaller), it was an easy thing to quickly launch a game and jump right into the action.
For myself, I thought the real test of gaming would be Madden NFL 2011. However, it, like the other games played pretty much to perfection.
The one drawback I did find was that when using the touchscreen in game at times it proved balky. I should add that I am in no way a master of using smartphone touchscreen controls.
Anyway, I was able to lead the SuperBowl champion Green Bay Packers to a victory over the Chicago Bears. Sorry, Bear fans.
The phone comes with a lithium ion battery, USB/wall charger, micro SD card and more. For pricing details, visit Verizon Wireless.
So, if you are stuck waiting for an airplane or waiting for the dentist, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play lets you take your game with you.



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Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the long-awaited follow-up to the critically acclaimed game from 2000, is set to arrive Aug. 23 in North American stores.
The game, from Square Enix and developer Eidos-Montreal, will be available for the PC, Xbox 360, Steam and OnLive.
The game is described as "an action RPG that offers open-ended hybrid gameplay.
Deux Ex: Human Revolution (screenshot above) tells the story of Adam Jensen. The hero, who has been cybernetically enhanced, finds himself at the center of a global conspiracy.
For more info, visit www.deusex.com.

In other news:

  • Valve announced The International, a Dota (Defense of the Ancients) 2 championship Aug. 17-21 at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Sixteen teams will compete for $1 million. The game itself, Dota 2, will be available for PC and Mac later this year.
  • Meanwhile, 32 teams will compete Aug. 7 in Britain to earn an all-expenses trip to the Call of Duty XP fan celebration Sept. 2-3 in Los Angeles. There, a $1 million Call of Duty tournament will be sponsored by Xbox 360.
  • Nuclear Dawn, a game that combines first-person shooter and real-time strategy elements, will be published by Viva Media in North America. The game is expected in September for the Mac and PC.
  • Riot Games reports that its League of Legends now has more than 15 million registered players. An average of 10 games of LOL start every second of every day.
  • The expansion pack, Dragon Age II Legacy, now is available from EA on Xbox Live, PC and Mac for 800 Microsoft Points, and through PlayStation Network for $9.99.
  • Wicked Interactive announced that its free-to-play Mission Against Terror launched commercially.
  • Screenshots for Confrontation (see below) were released by Cyanide and Focus Home Interactive. The game brings to the PC the fantasy miniatures game created by Rackham. Look for it in the fall.
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Shadows of the Damned takes players on a journey into a dark underworld where carnage goes hand in hand with a twisted sense of humor.
For starters, there is the hero named Garcia Hotspur and his talking skull companion/torch/weapon Johnson. Then there is the head honcho among the demons, a nasty fellow with the innocent-sounding name of Fleming.
Shadows is built for action and for laughs.
The game comes from an impressive list of creative minds: Suda 51 (No More Heroes), Shinji Mikani (Resident Evil) and Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill).
Players take the role of Hotspur, a demon hunter by trade. Fleming takes offense at Hotspur's slaughtering of his minions and sets out to extract his revenge by kidnapping Hotspur's girlfriend Paula.
Hotspur must venture into the City of the Damned to rescue his beloved and take on Fleming in a final battle.
The game unfolds in a series of puzzles, furious combats and tough boss battles.
While the humor in Shadows can be wicked, it also can be crude at times.
Hotspur can dispatch demons with weapons that call to mind certain parts of the male anatomy, which is probably one of the reasons the game comes with a "mature" rating.
Regardless of the names, the weapons perform like your typical arsenal. Most weapons also can be upgraded in terms of reload speed, ammunition amount and the damage they deal.
The Monocussioner can become the Skullcussioner, which shoots demon skulls. The Skullfest 9000 rips out four demon skulls at once. Finally, the Skullblaster lets loose a devastating rolling bomb.
When not being used as a weapon, Johnson plays another important function by serving as a Light Shot. It can repel darkness, activate lamps, freeze demons and reveal dark cores.
In certain areas, Hotspur will encounter darkness. In Shadows, it's not just any darkness; it saps Hotspur's health.
The remedy is to use the Light Shot to end the darkness, say by shooting and illuminating a goat head lamp.
At times, Hotspur will need to endure the darkness as it is the only way to complete a puzzle or task in order to advance in the game.
Among the foes to be encountered are dark demons, masked demons, armored demons, dominator demons, crawler demons, witchdog demons and ninja demons.
The trick is to learn their vulnerabilities and use the right weapon to exploit those weaknesses. Same goes for the boss battles.
Hotspur can help his cause by collecting colored gems, ammo, keys, soul boosters and drink. Gems can be be used to buy bigger and better weapons.
Shadows of the Damned makes its mark with buckets of blood and gore spiced with irreverent humor. The game, and the action, proves inventive and entertaining throughout with great voice acting and an impressive sound track.
Shadows of the Damned comes from Electronic Arts and Grasshopper Manufacture for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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