Friday, June 29, 2007

Overlord Demo Impressions

About a week ago I downloaded and tried out the demo for Overlord (Xbox 360), and I must say that I haven't had this much fun with a demo in quite some time.

Overlord is a tongue-in-cheek fantasy world in which you play the part of a newly resurrected evil overlord, and you have a growing horde of Goblin minions at your disposal. From the looks of things, your previous master got his butt whooped by a bunch of heroes, and your forces have been decimated and your Dark Tower is in ruins.

The Demo starts you off from the beginning as you learn how to control your minions and have them do all your dirty work. The minions themselves are hilarious with whoops of glee and fanatical joy as they tear things limb from limb, put pumpkins on their heads as helmets, and generally just destroy all you need them to.

You ultimately get to venture into the world and find yourself cowing the low brow peasants who are being oppressed by a bunch of Halflings. You also ultimately get a fireball spell, and lighting grass on fire to burn enemies alive is hilarious.

Aside from the fact that you're mainly controlling your minions instead of doing all the work yourself, the setting and... IQ of the villagers and enemies reminds me a lot of Fable: The Lost Chapters.

In short, I greatly enjoyed the Demo for Overlord. The game has now hit shelves and is getting average revues, so at the least, it's a must-rent title. Don't take my word for it though, download the Demo from the Xbox Live Marketplace and experience what it means to be cheesily evil!

Xbox Live Multiplayer Impressions

Last Weekend, I used the Xbox Live 2-Day Trial Card that came with my copy of Gears of War to play some Multiplayer games over Xbox Live for the first time in my life.

The trial card did not upgrade my Silver Membership to a Gold one, but rather allowed my Silver account two days of unrestricted access for playing Multiplayer games.

Once I used the trial card, the first thing I did was download the free bonus maps and content for some classic Xbox titles, such as Halo 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Doom 3.

The next thing I did was start some gaming, and of course, the first game I had to try was Doom. Since Doom is the forefather of all modern shooters and begin the online gaming phenomenon that we know today over a decade ago, I thought it fitting that this title would be my inaugural experience over Xbox Live.

Doom unto itself was just as fun as I remembered, and I still did well in the few games I played. I did, unfortunately, find it a bit tricky to find a match, either ranked or otherwise, however I expected that less people would be playing it on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The next title I tried was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, however at the time I was only ever able to get one match going, and my opponent was so above me in skill that the entire game lasted about a minute.

Lastly, I decided to try Gears of War itself, being the premiere Xbox 360 online title right now, and aside from the fact that I sucked at it, Gears of War was fun and something I'd like to play again. One of my jerk teammates was verbally unsupportive of his own team (though he was the most skilled of us), so I left him negative feedback, which gave me a chance to try that option out.

I did use the headset that came with Xbox 360, though I spoke sparingly, and with voice filtering I found the overall verbal quality to be garbled and low, but still intelligible.

Generally speaking, my experience with Xbox Live was good, though I'm undecided yet if it was good enough to pay a yearly fee that equals the cost of a regular new game. In a day or so I'll be using the free 1-Month card that Xbox Support gave me for all my trouble, and one thing I'll be doing is going through Gears of War Co-Op with the Staff. I'd also like to give Perfect Dark Zero a go.

Since I'm still playing through The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and with BioShock less than 2 months away, I figure I will hold off on a Gold Subscription since I'll mainly be re-focusing on Single Player after the trial card runs out, but it should be fun while it lasts.

StarCraft II - Protoss Colossus Info

Blizzard Entertainment has updated their official StarCraft II web site with details on the new Protoss unit, the Colossus.

You can check out it's details as well as screenshots, video, and concept art right here.

Mass Effect Krogan Species Overview - Part III

BioWare concludes their overview of the Krogan species from their upcoming Xbox 360 RPG, Mass Effect, by looking at one of your potential party members, the Krogan Battle Master Urdnot Wrex.

You can check out his bio right here.

Special Edition Halo Zune Pre-loaded Artwork

The folks over at TeamXbox have ripped all the preloaded artwork from their Special Edition Halo Zune. There's about 120 pieces of great artwork from concept, to marketing, to storyboards. Most of it is from Halo 3 and never before seen, and there's some pieces from Halo 2 and even Halo: Combat Evolved.

You can check it all out here.

BioShock Plasmid Videos, Sound Clips, and Screenshots

The Cult of Rapture has some videos up of various Plasmids in action, as well as a few different audio clips and an interview with the sounds designers of BioShock. You can check out the Plasmid videos here (on the right hand column), and the sound clips here.

TeamXbox also has a few new screenshots which you can view right here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360) Review

Two weeks ago, I completed my first play-through of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360), and now I am faced with the very difficult task of reviewing the game. Mind you, it won't be difficult at all to go on about what the game does right and wrong, but the sheer scope of this title warrants a lot of thought simply to keep the size of this review manageable. I suppose that to start, despite some shortcomings, it's safe to say that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is one of the most engrossing games I have ever played.

My love affair with The Elder Scrolls series started in the Spring of '06 when, looking for a good game to play, I decided to pick up The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition (Xbox). In short, it was the best game I never finished, and I was very disappointed with the ultimate lack of focus that it held. There was so much potential there, and yet I found it fell just short on delivery.

Flash forward a year later and I now own an Xbox 360. While looking for another engrossing title to play, I remembered fondly all that The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition could have been, and I decided to take a chance and pick up The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. First and foremost I'm happy to say that it "fixes" most of the issues I had with its predecessor.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion features proper Quest tracking, full dialogue, better combat controls, fast travel between locations, some amalgamated Skills, etc., and while many would certainly say the game has less options than The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (which is true), I say it takes out all the clutter and helps to lay things out more clearly for the player who doesn't have 8 hours a day to devote solely to playing the game.

And yes, like its predecessor, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is digital crack and will grind your social life to a halt; it's just that addictive. The game's story is classic dark fantasy fair and generally forgettable: A cult has assassinated the Emperor (Patrick Stewart) and daedra (demons) begin invading the land, and only you can find the heir to the throne and put a stop to the invasion. Again, we've seen it's like before, but what really stands out in the game is how alive the actual world is, and just how much there is to explore! The province of Cyrodiil where the game takes place is a marvel to behold. The game world is massive and you're free to travel pretty much anywhere within it that you wish, and every place you go is so beautifully detailed.

There are full fledged cities, towns, dungeons, ruins, camp sites, forests, rivers, streams, mines, mountains, plains, etc., and each region has it's own unique feel. As the player in this open ended title, you are free to pursue the Main Quest, or explore the world and do as you please, or a little of both. There are side Quests to do, Guilds to join, and countless ruins to explore for nice loot (which I found otherwise generally difficult to come by). The game also features a full day/night cycle and weather patterns, and I must say it's quite beautiful to stand high up in a mountain range and watch the sun set behind the Imperial City in the distance while a light snowfall is going on.

To explore the world, you can walk, run, and swim your way around, fast travel between known locations, or acquire a horse and race across the countryside. The addition of horses is really cool, and once you get a fast mount it is simply a joy to watch the insanely detailed world fly by as you gallop off, though there will be frame rate hick-ups as you do so. Too bad you can't fight while mounted though.

At the beginning of the game, you choose from several different races and character classes (or you can make your own class), and you can thoroughly customize how your character's face looks. I chose to be a Male Dunmer (Dark Elf) Scout (Combat focused), and to pursue the Main Quest as well as the Arena and to join the Fighter's Guild. I also took my time exploring much of the world (though certainly not all of it), and I ultimately took about 111 hours to reach Level 38 and complete all the Quests I wished to with this character.

The race you choose and the Guilds you join will affect how others deal with you in this living world, as there is racism and faction rivalries. The people of Cyrodiil also have lives of there own, going to work, to church, and into shops. Some will travel between cities, they'll start conversations with those around them, sit and eat, sleep, etc. Much of their idle conversation gets very repetitive quickly, the same voice actors are re-used constantly, and there's not a child to be found in the land, but given the vast scope of the world, such things are easily forgivable.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion does feature an odd leveling system, however, in the sense that when you level, every creature in the game levels around you. What this means is that if you don't level the right skills first, or come across some good items, you are going to have a hard time against certain enemies, as even basic bandits will sport Glass and Daedric armour and weapons as the game progresses. Generally, I found this odd leveling system made the mid-teen levels ridiculously difficult, but things improved vastly from that point once I really focused on leveling my Combat skills.

I do also wish that the games Misc. item section of your character's inventory was subdivided in further pages. The large amount of scrolls, keys, and gems simply cluttered that menu up so much, and the most useful item, Repair Hammers, were right down at the bottom of the list. Scrolling down for so long just to repair my armour got rather tiresome after a while, and I felt this little tedium could have been avoided with a slightly more streamlined menu design.

I also had the fortune of becoming a Vampire through the course of the game. Vampirism is a disease that can be cured early on like any other disease you can contract (with potions or praying at Chapels), however if left untreated for three days, you become a Vampire and must go on a lengthy Quest to acquire a cure. I found vampirism itself to be quite cool. Your character looks more aged and as the disease progresses you generally become stronger save for taking damage from the sun, which does get a bit annoying. What was a bit disappointing though was that the stages of vampirism you go through, based on the last time you fed on a sleeping victim, were somewhat buggy. I would feed to lessen the disease, take a nap, and bam, the disease worsens again, but if I go a week without sleeping, it never advances in stages at all. Granted, vampirism was still worth it for the Hunter's Sight ability.

When it's all said and done, however, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an amazing, deep, and rich play experience and in my opinion is a must have title. There is simply so much to do in the land of Cyrodiil, that you can not experience it all properly in one play through, and that single play through will certainly be a lengthy experience. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion offers a very rich world to explore, and is well worth the price of admission.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

StarCraft II - New Protoss Building Added

The official StarCraft II web site has been updated with a new Protoss building, the Stargate, which you can check out here.

I used to hate the sight of multiple Stargates in the original title; meant I had a lot of Scouts or Corsairs to deal with. Scouts + Corsairs = Bad.

Final Xbox Support Update

And so, the Saga comes to a close (I hope). As of this past Wednesday, I received my gift copy of Perfect Dark Zero, and thus Microsoft has fulfilled everything they said they would.

I'm gaming happily again, and I do hope my refurbished unit holds up well and that I won't have the need to go through Xbox Support again.

I'll also be using the 1 Month Free Xbox Live Gold Subscription I received beginning the middle of this week, and I'll really get to check out the Multiplayer options for some great titles like Gears of War.

Should be some good times!

McFarlane to Produce Halo 3 Figures and Vehicles for 2008

Todd McFarlane is officially working on several Halo 3 action figures and vehicles to be released in 2008.

In terms of collectible action figures, this is a great move for Bungie and McFarlane's figures are of the best quality out there.

You can check out the release here.

Damn that Master Chief figure looks good, I'll probably end up picking one up for myself.

Mass Effect Krogan Species Overview - Part II

BioWare has released the second part of their overview on the Krogan species from their upcoming RPG, Mass Effect.

In it, they discuss how the Krogan were used as soldiers two save Citadel space, and then crushed underfoot for their own rebellion.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Staff returns from Oblivion

We, the Staff (TM) thought we'd take a moment to announce that we have escaped the clutches of Oblivion. Namely, the game known as The Elder Scrolls IV. And we'd italicize that since Fearless Leader's an italicizing fancier, but Opera's being difficult.

Anywho, We, the Staff (TM) thought We'd share a little something that's been running around in our Oblivion-addled brains for the past couple months. See below.



"Bucka-buckaw, Bucka-buckaww, Bucka-buckawww, Bucka-buckawwww, bucka-buck."

That is all.

-The Staff

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Halo 3 Limited Edition Xbox 360 Controllers with Art and Figure by Todd McFarlane Announced

In September, Microsoft will release 2 limited edition Halo 3 themed Wireless Controllers for the Xbox 360. When I first heard of this, I was unimpressed, however I've just learned that the art is being designed by one of my favourite artists, Todd McFarlane.

There will be two controllers, one with a Master Chief theme, and the other with a Brute them. Each controller will also come with a collectible mini-figure, the two (and possibly only ones) shown thus far are the Master Chief with either an Assault Rifle or Shotgun.

These controllers may not be worth the cost, but McFarlane's involvement elevates them to a new level of cool. You can check out McFarlane's announcement, which features some shots of the mini-figures, right here.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Review

Much like the first sequel in the trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a film with great effects, but otherwise should never have been made. What's even sadder is that even the charm of Johnny Depp and the sex appeal of Keira Knightley couldn't save this sinking vessel.

I find it very difficult to review this film's plot, as there really isn't one, and what there is is rather pointless and confusing. After about 40 minutes I leaned over to my friend and asked him if he knew what the heck was going on, to which he replied "no." And it just... didn't... end... Clocking in at nearly 3 hours, sitting through Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End feels like you're at the end of the world (and yes, this lame joke is funner than most of the humour in the film).

Now let's see, as I recall from the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the Black Pearl were consumed by the giant Kraken, which is the pet of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) who captain's the near invincible vessel, the Flying Dutchman. Some snooty British officer, Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander), wants the chest of Davy Jones to gain control of him and the Dutchman to further Britain's hold over the seas, and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) wants to rescue his father (Stellan Skarsgard) while at the same time being heartbroken over the belief that his beloved Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) has the hots for Jack when she actually set Jack up to die. And in the very end, some crazy voodoo lady (Naomie Harris) is hanging out with Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) whom we saw die at the end of the first film.

All sad fare unto itself, but Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End goes off on a completely different tangent and really just hurts my head thinking about it. It seems that these pirates have a nasty and uncanny knowledge of life and death, and to a point how to come back from it, as well as having some vast organized society and council in which they have the power to trap ancient gods in mortal form. Yeah. Oh, and don't expect to be terrorized by that Kraken, such a major plot piece of the second film, who is conveniently taken care of this time around.

Oh, and it seems that the producer's were able to get Chow Yun-fat onto the cast, and decided to come up with his forgettable character after the fact.

The film does boast some excellent battle sequences, though I must admit those wooden ships can take quite a pounding and somehow manage to stay afloat.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl mixed humour and adventure with a great plot, and it was this simple charm that made that film such a huge success. The sequels, however, have been a clutter of junk thrown together to simply milk the franchise. The humour is re-hashed and half-baked, the characters bland and oft outright ridiculous, and even the sound track, something I loved in the first film, fails to inspire.

In short, Jack and crew should sail to the edge of the world and then off it, as you'll forget most of the film in a few days anyway.

Review Index in the Works

As you may have noticed, I've started compiling a Review Index on the right hand menu bar.

Since reviews are probably the most in-depth and useful info on Arbiter's Judgement, I decided we needed a quicker way for people to search for any review they wanted, and to allow new readers to see at a glance what we've covered.

Right now I've thrown up a link to every review done in 2005, and when I have the time, I'll add up 2006 and 2007, possibly as early as today.

Happy reading, and for no reason what-so-ever, here's an interesting image I came across while looking for pics of La Senza models. What?

Update: The Review Index is now complete. I further subdivided the categories since the complete list started getting really cluttered after adding about 20 items.

Let me know if you remember any reviews we featured that I might have missed.

Xbox Support Update

Last week, we left off with me re-filing my complaint with the Better Business Bureau on Sunday. On Monday, the same Microsoft rep who called me on Victoria Day contacted me again, however I was stuck at work for about 10 hours and didn't get to speak with him. He tried calling again on Tuesday, but I was chained to the office for 13 hours, so it was the same deal.

On Thursday, I contacted him before leaving for work and left him a voice mail, asking him to email me which he promptly did, and yes, I had totally fubed up his email address when I was trying to email him, which is unfortunate as that would have saved a lot of grief.

Anyway, my rep told me that the Xbox Support rep I spoke with last weekend was correct and that Perfect Dark Zero is not an eligible gift game in Canada. He apologies for his error, and since he works for Microsoft, he happened to have several copies on hand and he's personally sending me one.

I also discussed the issue with purchased content from Xbox Live no longer working while I'm offline, and he informed me that recently, Microsoft made an adjustment to their service where re-downloading the content will register it properly with the new console. This change was made after I had first tried around May 22nd it seems, and it worked. Save for the odd Gamer Picture I never use that's no longer available to re-download off of Xbox Live, I can now use all my themes and Xbox Live Arcade games in Offline mode, and I didn't loose any of my saved games or unlocked characters from re-downloading them.

All that's left now is to await my copy of Perfect Dark Zero, and hopefully I can put this whole experience behind me (thus the optimistic sexy pic).

Quake 4 (PC) Completed for the 4th Time

When my Xbox 360 went broke at the beginning of May, I started playing Quake 4 (PC) while waiting for my refurbished unit. Yesterday, I finished the game for the fourth and probably final time.

I still found Quake 4 great fun to play, but having gone through it this many times in a single year, parts of it did start to lag and get repetitive; too strong of a been there, done that feel.

That aside, the game packs some great classic style FPS moments, and my only major gripe (on Lieutenant, the Hard difficulty), is the lack of a quick kill weapon, and how Tactical Transfers, what you become, are so tough and dish out such quick death with the same weapons that you're using. Very frustrating.

Otherwise, you can pick Quake 4 up for only $19.99 now on both PC and Xbox 360, and it's well worth the cost.

StarCraft II Unit Update and Video

The official StarCraft II site has been updated with an additional Protoss unit, the Phoenix, as well as an interview on the making of the announcement cinematic.

You can check out the Phoenix here, and read the announcement cinematic making of interview here.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Limited Edition PlayStation 3 Contest

Sony presently has a Canadian contest going where you could win a limited edition Red PlayStation 3 console, and by limited, I mean there will only be 3 produced in the whole entire world and they are only available through this contest.

You can find out all the details, including the process of how this limited edition console is being made, as well as sign up to win, right here. Oh, and you could also win a limited edition t-shirt.

Now, I've often said that I have no interest in the PlayStation 3 and you all know me to be a die-hard Xbox 360 fan, so many of you are probably scratching your head wondering why I'm posting about and plugging a PlayStation 3 contest. The answer:

Do you remember how much these consoles were selling at launch on eBay!?!?!?!? Yeah, they were going for stupid, ridiculous prices. So if I win one of these, and there's only 3 in the whole entire world, do you know how much I could sell it for to some ridiculous fan boy? That's right, red PlayStation 3 = cash cow.

Half-Life 2 - Episode Two Release Date

For anyone who actually still cares, ActionTrip is reporting that Half-Life 2 - Episode Two will be released to the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on Oct. 9th, 2007.

I still remember when Valve released Half-Life 2 one week after Halo 2, and Halo 2 crushed it in terms of sales. Now Valve is releasing their next title in the series 2 weeks after Halo 3. Not very smart...

Free Copy of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360) on the Way!

Nope, this has nothing to do with the little drama I've been having with Xbox Support.

The partner company of that company I work for has its office in the same building as one of the Ubisoft offices, and one of my coworkers happens to know a few people in the right positions within that fine development company.

In short, she's been kind enough to secure me a free, complimentary copy of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360) for my second year company anniversary, and I should be getting it the week of July 16th.

That's great news and I'm very thankful to my coworker. While the first game wasn't perfect, I enjoyed the demo of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, and it should tide me over nicely until BioShock hits store shelves.

New Mass Effect Screenshots and Part 1 of the Krogan Species Overview

The official site for Mass Effect, BioWare's hugely anticipated RPG for the Xbox 360, has been updated with 14 new screenshots, as well as part one of an overview discussing the Krogan species, this section detailing their biology.

You can droll of the screenshots here, and then hit xenobiology class here.

Prince of Persia Classic (Xbox 360) Trial Version Impressions

My impressions of this recently released Xbox Live Arcade title are not bad at all. Not strong enough to rush out and purchase the full version, but certainly worth my attention and possibly a nice boredom killer down the road.

I never got into the Prince of Persia series or really played this classic title when I was a kid, so I have no nostalgic attachment like many other people do, but I do remember seeing it played and I love the updated graphics that UbiSoft has done for this version.

The demo starts you off in the dungeon, and you basically need to run and jump around, avoiding a few pit falls to recover a sword and then defeat a guard. Very simple, with some slight sluggishness on the controls, but still rather fun.

If you have a connection to Xbox Live, go download the Prince of Persia Classic Trial and check it out.

BioShock Site Update and New Videos

The official BioShock web site has been updated with a new section called the Gene Bank, which details some of the games Plasmids (spells), and Tonics (stat/ability augmentations). You can check them out here.

The Cult of Rapture is also reporting that GameSpot is hosting a video documentary going into the Big Daddy/Little Sister relationship, which you can view here.

The Cult of Rapture also has some final pics up of the Big Daddy figurine that will ship with the game's Collector's Edition here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Final Halo 3 Box Art?

I just noticed that the official Xbox web site, under their Upcoming Games section, has an official DVD case showing for Halo 3 (standard edition), and the Xbox Halo 3 site shows the same thing.

This may be the final Halo 3 box art.

Vampire Rain Demo Impressions

I remember when I watched the Halo 2 Documentary on the Collector's Edition bonus disc back in 2004 that one of the guys said that Bungie is the jaded crowd, that if a game doesn't entertain them in a matter of minutes, they drop it and start playing something else.

Well I think I'm more jaded than them.

I downloaded the Demo for Vampire Rain started up a game, and selected a level to play. I thought there were only supposed to be 2 Single Player levels available in the demo, but the main menu seemed to have 4, so I tried one of those and got in, but of course I wanted to start from the beginning.

I went to the in-game Pause menu to quit back to the main menu, and I could not find a quit option. Ultimately, I had to use the Guide Button to get back to the Dashboard.

I promptly deleted the demo from my HD as any game that doesn't have an exit option from the in-game menu, something that's very simple and a tried and true staple of basic design for the last billion years, is bound to have a gazillion design problems.

So in short, menu pissed me off, game then sucks.

Update: And no wonder. I'm trying to find an official web site link, and it's all in bloody Japanese again! I'm just linking to the official Xbox site, as all this "kekeke" crap hurts my brain.

Tenchu Z Demo Impressions

After seeing the banners on Xbox Live for Tenchu Z, I decided to download it's demo on a whim, simply because it has ninjas and ninjas are cool. I had never heard of the title before and went in with complete innocence.


The game is obviously being developed by a Japanese company, which unto itself is fine, but I must say it's really, really not my style. The game looks alright and has decent sound effects, but the demo was all subtitled and I found the controls weird (I'm just waiting for a character to go "kekeke").

After playing around for 10 minutes, I dropped out and nixed it. I'll stick with my North American game-base thanks, as I don't even like Japanamation.

The developers site is all in Japanese, but I think this might be the game's official site. Since it's all in Japanese to, I'm linking to the official Xbox site here in case you're interested in finding out about the game.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Xbox Support Screws Me... Again!

Well everyone, Xbox Support has screwed me over yet again. As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, the email address the Microsoft rep gave me for himself does not work (bounces back), and it's been three weeks and no Perfect Dark Zero.

I contacted Xbox Support just now, and the rep told me that Perfect Dark Zero is not an eligible gift game, and I had to choose between Kameo: Elements of Power and Project Gotham Racing 3.

Firstly, this is completely contradictory to what the Microsoft rep told me, as we went through the complete list of Microsoft Game Studios gift games (even Gears of War was on that list), and also different than what the Support rep told me last weekend.

Secondly, I don't play racing games and I already played through and sold Kameo: Elements of Power, so why would I want it again?

Thirdly, it's the principle of the thing! Xbox Support was screwing me over, so Perfect Dark Zero is my compensation for shoddy support. Now they're screwing me out of my compensation!

I've had enough of Microsoft/Xbox's complete lack of commitment to lack-luster customer support, and I've re-filed my complaint with the Better Business Bureau, updating them on the current situation.

More as it develops.

Halo 3 Campaign Info and Packaging Details

In this weeks Weekly Update, Bungie details the contents of the different editions of Halo 3, and also discusses some Campaign tidbits including Achievements and Legendary Difficulty.

Head right this way.

BioShock Box Art, Preview, Clips, and Screens

Earlier this week, The Cult of Rapture revealed what the standard retail edition of BioShock will look like, and you can check the box art out right here. Unless I suck down my pride and go to EB Games to get a copy of the Limited Collector's Edition, this is the version I'll be getting.

TeamXbox also has an extensive preview up discussing the first few hours of the game, as well as new clips and screens, all of which you can check out right here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Webdoc

This is older news, but I just noticed it now: The official site for the upcoming game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has the first Webdoc up, which is an interesting view on the evolution of the design of the game.

I still want a wookie superhero game...

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Trailer

This week, Lucasfilm released the first official trailer for their upcoming CG television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. At present, the trailer is only available on the official Star Wars site's main page here.

I must say that the trailer looks damn good. The animation is well done, and what's more, it's military sci-fi! I just wanna see the clone troopers kick some ass. What can I say, I'm a military sci-fi whore, so something like this has me psyched, especially now that I've seen it in motion.

A few days ago I found that my Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox) profile was corrupted on my Xbox 360, but I think I'm gonna go start it up again...

More Xbox Support Experiences

As I mentioned in my last update on the continuing saga that has you glued to your seat, I discovered that I could only used the content I purchased from the Xbox Live Marketplace if I was logged into Xbox Live, that I could not use it offline.

I decided to email the rep who called me a few weeks ago regarding this, only to have the email bounce back. I tried a few different variations on the spelling of his last name with no success. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt here and assume that I wrote his email address down wrong, however this means in the near future I'll need to call up Xbox Support *shudder* and see if they can do anything to help me out.

Speaking of Xbox Support, I called them yesterday in regards to that free copy of Perfect Dark Zero, which has yet to arrive. The rep placed me on hold, then once again confirmed my support reference number, and after a little stammering and stuttering told me that it should arrive within 3 to 5 business days, which is what the gent who called me told me when that order was first place 2 weeks ago.

English translation: We never bothered to send the thing yet. Go quality customer service!

Oh, and my DVD drive stuck on me when trying to open yesterday morning. That's the first time it happened since I started playing on the refurbished console, and if it only happens once every two weeks, I can deal unless it truly starts jamming.

Hour of Victory (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

The next and final demo I downloaded yesterday was Hour of Victory (Xbox 360), yet another World War II shooter.

In a word: Run.

The game let's you choose to be one of three different classes, a standard soldier, a sniper, or... um.. someone else. Anyway, I went with the regular solider guy, and while the game itself looks nice enough, I found the controls kind of junky, and it was just the same old carbon-copy shooter junk.

The first demo level was standard shooter stuff. Kill Nazis, defend command point.

The next level had you driving a tank, and while it was really cool to shoot shells at near-fully destructible buidlings, when my tank bumped the side of a wall, tipped over, and turned into a smoking ruin, I decided to stop right there and delete the demo from my HDD.

There are far better WWII shooters out there, so go play one of them and save yourself the headache. You'll thank me later.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

Nope, I haven't bothered to see the film yet, but I did download the demo from the Xbox Live Marketplace yesterday, and in short, the experience was generally bland.

Based on the demo, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Xbox 360) looks good, featured the film's soundtrack, but had lackluster, repetitive gameplay and shoddy voice acting.

The gameplay was standard action/adventure fair: move around, kill poor AI enemies, and navigate the general hazards of the map. This demo features the game's tutorial, where Capt. Jack Sparrow escapes from the prison we saw at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (I want to say Bargate Prison, but I'm guessing that's from something else).

Anyway, Jack can perform standard sword and punch combos, has his flintlock pistol, can go around ledges, use his sword to climb up walls, etc. It actually reminded me a lot of Treyarch's Spider-Man series of games, except there you have a lot more combat options and can actually swing around with style.

The end of the demo featured a few special duals, in which you needed to quickly react to block your opponent's thrusts and then issue counter attacks of your own. Overall I found the experience tedious, and the whole demo doesn't have much in the way of replay value.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End would be a rental at best.