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Archive for December, 2007

Fall ‘07 Dashboard Update

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 by Zach Potts

Just as promised, Microsoft is finally approaching their dashboard update of the year that will include features that will totally enhance the experience of XBOX 360 owners out there. Here is the official press release from MS:

As promised, Microsoft is bringing some early gifts to your Xbox 360® just prior to the holiday season. Beginning at 0200 A.M. PST on December 4, 2007, the Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update will be available for all connected Xbox 360 consoles free of charge, bringing an array of new features and enhancements to the leading gaming and entertainment system.

Among the key new enhancements are the previously announced Xbox Originals game download service, Family Timer parental control feature, and expanded social networking experiences. Xbox 360 owners can also look forward to enhanced navigation, profile, and video features and Xbox LIVE® Arcade Hits.

This free update will be digitally distributed over Xbox LIVE to the more than eight million Xbox LIVE members worldwide (Xbox LIVE Silver and Gold) with no disc or hard drive required. If you don’t have an Xbox LIVE account, you can easily sign up for the free network by connecting your console to a broadband Internet connection. New features and enhancements include: (more…)

The New Gamers Platform Coming Soon

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

Gamers Platform is undergoing a makeover which will be done by the end of the year. Up until then, you’ll see improvements in the site everyday until we completely change the look and navigation of the site.

Please bare with us! Thanks!

Guitar Hero III Review

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

Guitar Hero III is another great guitar game in the series, which will have fans satisfied and newcomers challenged. This time, Guitar Hero III is being offered on all of the major consoles, but for this review, I will focus on the Wii version.

The first thing to talk about of course is the actual guitar you get with the game. For the Wii version, you are basically getting a shell, with which you plug your wiimote into. There is a cover on the back that snaps out and then you can plug in your wiimote directly to an attachment, similar to the nunchuck’s. It takes a bit to fit the wiimote in the holder, but once you figure it out it is not too bad and it fits very snugly in. Having the wiimote in the guitar itself offers many things. For one, the guitar does not have to have any addition sensors to key up star power, as the wiimote’s accelerometers take care of that. Also, the wiimote’s speaker and rumble are implemented. When you miss a note, a screeching sound will emit from the speaker, which is a nice little touch. Also, the rumble is used when you have gained star power to notify the player, and also during star power to give you the feeling of rocking out. Of course, the guitar is also wireless. Goody. (more…)

Bioshock Now In Retail Stores

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

The much awaited First Person Shooter game for the XBOX 360 is finally available in retail stores! Bioshock is an all new first person shooter game that will take you in an underwater adventure and discover the mysteries that surrounds it!

Bioshock is rated M for Mature and retails for $59.99 for the Regular Edition and $69.99 for the Limited Edition! We’ve recieved our copy a week early and we’re almost done with our review! Stay tuned in a couple of days for our review of this magnificent game ever made for the XBOX 360!

Official Wild ARMS 5 Launched!

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

The official website of XSeed’s upcoming RPG game for the Playstation 2, Wild ARMS 5 is finally launched! Upon entering that site, you’ll find tons of information about the game and the cameos from past Wild ARMS games!

Check out http://www.wildarms5.com for more!

Bioshock 360 Review

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

It has finally arrived, the long anticipated Bioshock for the XBOX 360. Is the game all it has been hyped up to be? With amazing graphics, awesome game play, and an extremely incredible story, you bet your sweet arse it is! Journey to the underwater city of Rapture in this astonishing next gen FPS.

Right when you pop Bioshock into your 360, you know you are going to be in for a great gaming experience. When the game starts you get a small taste of things to come, such as the amazing true next gen graphics, and great voice acting.

You would think that, since Bioshock is an FPS, that it would have mediocre story line. Well, if that is your line of thinking, you are dead wrong! Bioshocks story is one of the most immersive and well told stories I have ever played in a game. It rivals that of a RPGs story line, yet a lot easier to understand in most cases. It is 1960, and you play as the lone survivor of a mysterious plane crash that takes place over the Atlantic Ocean. As you swim away from the wreckage, you discover a building on what seems to be a light house isle. Once you enter the building, you find a small sub like device, and immediately set forth to the City of Rapture. Rapture is a under water city built by Andrew Ryan. It was built so that “Man would be entitled to the sweat from there brow, where the great would not be held back by the small”. Once you finally enter Rapture, you will see that a lot has taken place, Rapture is no longer an amazing city, but ruined remains of the great city it once was. Soon you will be thrown into a spiral of plot twists that alter the story greatly, and even moral conflicts that the player decides what to do!

Graphics or Game play? That is usually a question that many gamers find themselves asking. Well, in the case of Bioshock, no need to choice! You get amazing graphics, and extremely fun game play, all in one big package!

Once you take control of your character, you will immediately see how amazing the graphics are. After your plane crash, you see the incredible looking water, and the realistic fire right in front of you. Once you get further into the game, and discover the city of Rapture, you will be in for real eye candy. The first thing you see in Rapture is one of your many enemies known as a “Splicer”. When you get further into the game, you will see the awesome enemy designs of other things, such as the little sisters, and the already famous Big Daddies. The character design on this once human creature is amazingly detailed. Once you get to walk around, you will notice many things. Such as the indoor trees and water that look great, and more of the realistic fire. You can even look through windows to see outside the underwater city to see things you would expect. You can see fish swim by, and even a whale at times! The weapons you get also look amazing, from the classic revolver, old school Thompson machine gun, to the “chemical thrower”. All the designs are top notch.

As if graphics weren’t enough, you also get incredible sound! The soundtrack of the game is very mellow and unique, playing off the atmosphere of the area you are in. The sound effects are very well done from voice acting of all the characters, to the sounds your powers make, all the way to the sound of you kicking around a garbage can! The plasmids of the game are especially nice, from the sound of electricity flowing through your characters veins, all the way to the sound of fire floating at your finger tips.

The games combat system follows any normal FPS’ formula, but with a few twists. You have your basic weapons used to take down your foes, but with these weapons, you also have multiple ammo types. Each gun has three different ammo types, all of which can be effective against certain enemies. On top of all the weapons you get, you will also have Plasmids. Plasmids are the “powers” you get in the game due to using genetic altering materials known as ADAM. There are over ten different Plasmids you can use in the game, all of which can be upgraded to perform more devastating effects. There are also things called “Tonics” which will up your other skills, such as your strength (so you can do more damage with melee weapons), or even tonics that boost your ability to hack items. Hack items? That’s right! Hacking is a big part of the Bioshock world. When you hack something, you are thrown into a small mini game. This game consists of you making the correct pipe design to make a liquid flow from one area, to the designated exit area. If you’re a old school PC gamer, this may remind you of a old game known as “Pipe frenzy”. You can hack vending machines to get cheaper items, or even hack security robots to have them fight for you, rather than against you.

Game play is very much innovated. Everything reacts as it should, in a sometimes creepy realistic manor. Fire spreads on certain things, water amplifies electricity, and even enemies react like you would expect! An enemy that is on fire will run and jump into water (which can be fun if you know what to do after they are in the water) to put the fire out.

This is a game that no gamer should ever miss out on! Though the game only has a single player campaign, it is well worth getting. There are multiple endings, and multiple ways to deal with many situations. If you’re an achievement hound, there are 50 achievements that will require you to explore every area in Rapture to find certain things, and play through a second time to perform certain acts different from your first play through. My suggestion, go out and buy the game right now! Don’t shut down your computer, just go buy it now and prepare for an epic gaming experience. Prepared to be shocked by Bioshock.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Review

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by Zach Potts

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the final installment in the Prime trilogy which started on the Gamecube, but has it progressed through the years or does it just follow the formula?

The first obvious difference between the previous Prime games and Corruption is that Corruption is on the Wii, and unlike other Nintendo games, has been designed specifically for the platform. So the first major difference of course is the controls. You use both the nunchuk and Wiimote to play, using the Wiimotes IR to point and shoot. There are various control options that you can change, but I will describe the default options. Aside from the “A” “B” controls, there are also three different sensitivities to choose from: Basic, Standard, Advanced. As you move from Basic to Advanced, the center bounding box gets smaller, meaning it will take less to turn Samus, making things more sensitive and allowing you to turn quicker. The other new option is to have lock-on free aiming, which means you can lock on to an enemy, but still have control over your aiming. You can lock on using the Z button, which will allow you to strafe around the enemy, but still have access to aiming, which is very nice.

Another major change for convenience is the ability to jump in morphball form by simply flicking the wiimote up. Some hardcore players may complain that this takes away from the difficulty of bomb jumping, which it does, but if you are so apt, you can never use this feature and stick with the bombs.

The other nice addition to the game is the interactivity. There are many times in the game where you have to flip switches and turn dials which is performed via the Wiimote and the movements you perform with it, such as pulling towards or away from the screen and twisting it. You also have a grapple tool at your disposal which can be used to swing from place to place or grab shields away from enemies. This is one of the coolest tools in a game to date, as it really gets you actively involved in the game. Locking on to an enemy and thrusting your nunchuk forward and then ripping it back to take that shield out of his hands….always a good feeling.

Oh my god, that thing is just too friggin’ sweet.

The - button brings up a visor menu which is overlaid on the screen, so you can point to the visor you want, but still see the action. Holding the + button will put Samus into Hyper mode, where you can deal massive amounts of damage to enemies, but can also lead to your demise. Be sure not to use Hyper mode too much, or you will surely become……CORRUPTED!!!!!! dun dun dunnnnnnnn. Yeah.

Try not to stay in Hyper mode for too long though, for if you do, this will happen, and you will have to wildly press the A button to fire off rounds to remove the deadly phazon from your system. Do be quick, lest you suffer the consequences.

A nice thing about Corruption is from the beginning, you have all of your basic moves, including the ability to go into the morph ball and use bombs and you also have your charge beam and space/double jump so you do not have to worry about wasting a few hours finding those things. Of course, there are still plenty of other power-ups to collect along your journey, most of which are pretty ordinary, including a new visor or two and a few new missile types and beams. Also, when you gain your new beams or missiles, they are “stacked” on top of previous upgrades, so there is no need to change beams as you had to in previous installments, as they are all one now. Ice Missiles + enemies or liquid hot magma = awesome. You know what is even awesomer? When you freeze this one guy after he throws a boomerang at you, you dodge the weapon, and then it comes spiraling back at him, bursting said enemy into a million pieces; very cool.

A cool thing is that most of the weapons you gain have extra functions that can be used elsewhere, aside from fire fights. For instance, the fire beam can be used to weld circuits together.

Another very noticeable difference is the inclusion of voice acting. Of course, this does not include the heroine herself, but every other major character. There are always subtitles, but every word on screen is spoken by someone, bringing the player deeper into the game, as opposed to making him or her read. This includes the hint system in the game, where a computer or other entity will contact you and make you aware of peculiar happenings at certain areas.

The enemies and characters of the game are all very interesting and all new, for the most part. There are a few returning enemies in Corruption, but only a couple. Space pirates are of course back, but there are a variety of them, most of which have new armor or weapons that make battles more interesting. Retro has created a plethora of enemy types, with two separate form each, with new enemies for each planet, creating a nice variety. You also meet up with a few other bounty hunters and learn about their stories and see how they develop as characters which has not been shown in previous installments.

Of course, this is on a new platform, so there has been a graphical update of sorts. The Prime series has always been known for its luscious locals, and Corruption is no different, whether it be from its jungle-plant filled environments, to the fiery depths of another planet. Corruption takes place on multiple planets and various giant ships, so you must travel from place to place at your leisure, making back-tracking a little less tedious as it is not as necessary, although there is a fair share of going back to planets you have previously visited to get to a new area that was once inaccessible. However, again, with multiple landing sites on each planet, this does not incur a huge burden.

As you can see, there are various planets to explore and free from the corruption, more of which appear over time. This adds a greater sense of realism, as opposed to have four completely different environments on one small planet like in previous games.

What do you mean, multiple landing sites? Yeah, so you know have “control” of Samus’ ship. With help of the new Command Visor, you can order the ship to move from accessible site to accessible site, and go from planet to planet at your leisure. After getting certain upgrades, you can have your ship run bombing raids on locations as well, however, this is VERY limited and can only be used when necessary to the story, so you cannot be in the middle of a battle with fifty space pirates and order your ship to your aid, although something of that sort would have been awesome, so the inclusion of this aspect is not really that special, as it is used very linearly and heeds no creativity. It is cool though how you can go in your ship and mess with all the buttons and gadgets, some of which yield very interesting results…

One such gadget on your ship brings up your game status, which is always nice to see, while others give you a way to communicate to people…maybe even real people….

A very cool aspect of the Corruption is the inclusion of an achievement like proponent. Now, I am not a fan of Xbox’s achievement system, as there is absolutely no point to it, but the one used in Corruption is pretty sweet. You use the “tokens” to purchase extras, such as music, artwork, and even special items, including an awesome screen shot tool, which you can use to take pictures at anytime during the game with a simple click of up on the D-pad. The pictures are then sent to your dash board so you can send them to your friends.

One listing of extras. There are many more, so spend those tokens wisely.

The tokens come in four colors: red, green, blue, and yellow. Each one is awarded to the player for doing specific things. You get a red token for every or almost every new enemy you scan with your visor, a blue one for scanning lore, a yellow one for defeating certain enemies or clearing certain obstacles, and a green VOUCHER for doing special things, such as defeating enemies a certain way or finding a secret area. Now, you do not get green tokens directly from doing those certain things, but instead, vouchers that you can then give to your friends via WiFi. I think the ability to give your friends some tokens is a great idea and a nice touch, however, the fact is that you NEED green tokens to get anything good from the “store”, so if you do not have access to the internet on your Wii or just do not have any friends, then you are pretty much SOL, which is not cool. Retro should have given you all the tokens, with no vouchers, but still allowed you to give your friends some of your tokens if you wanted to.

However, the inclusion of the tokens is a nice addition, and leads gamers to try to get 100% in scans so they get all the tokens and all of the information in the game that one can get, which leads to the wonderful replay value.

Aside from trying to get 100% scans and all the tokens you can, you can also get 100% of the missile upgrades, which of course are scattered all over numerous planets and in every nook and cranny you can find. Fortunately for some, at least half if not 70% of the upgrades can be “found” right in front of your face, so there does not seem to be the need for as much exploration as before. There are of course multiple endings, each of which give you an extra glimpse into the psyche of Samus and other possible….happenings in the galaxy…

Once you beat the game in Normal difficulty, you can then go back and play it in Veteran mode, and of course when you beat the game once, you unlock a new Hyper difficulty. Oh, the excitement. Overall, the game will take you around 17 hours to beat the first time through, considerably longer if you wish to get all of the power-ups. If you wanted to, you could probably rush through the game in about 10 hours, if you knew what you were doing. The puzzles are a little confusing at first glance, as you may know what you need to do, but not exactly sure how to do it, but most of them are not too complicated and you will find yourself going from room to room with relative ease.

When Retro Studios started creating a 3-d Metroid game, many people thought it was the wrong move for the series, however, after playing the first Prime game, most were swayed to think otherwise. With Corruption, the series comes to a close, leaving many people satisfied with all that Prime had to offer. I am one such gamer. *On a side note, the last boss battle was super friggin’ lame and ridiculously easy and a horrible, IMO close to the series….like…WTF, how could it end like that? * But the game and series as a whole was/is amazing in almost every way. If you own a Wii, this is a no brainer, so if for some reason you still do not own this game, then go out and do yourself a favor and pick it up. You shan’t be disappointed.