Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mortal Kombat "Kenshi" Gameplay Trailer

The second DLC character for Mortal Kombat, "Kenshi" arrives on Tuesday July 5th, and a gameplay trailer has been released showing off his stylish moves.

You can check it out here or below.

Like Skarlet, he looks very, very cool, but there's just no way I can justify the 400 Microsoft Points for a single character.

The MKast "Skarlet" ViDoc

An interesting video detailing the design and creation of Skarlet, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat, has popped up, and you can check it out here or below.

It seems like the development team certainly but a lot of thought and creativity into her, but at 400 Microsoft Points ($5.80) I simply can't justify buying one single character, no matter how unique.

Bungie's 20th Anniversary

This upcoming Bungie Day, July 7th, 2011, Bungie will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. They'll also be handing off all things Halo completely to 343 Industries, and it's time to bid a fond farewell to one of gaming's leading developers influence on one of gaming's most prominent franchises.

In celebration, Bungie has several festivities planned, many of which are already in play. There are auctions, a Mobile App for iOS, Marathon for iPad, Bungie vs the World tournament where real steaks will be handed out (steak gift cards outside of the US), and blue flames for all.

Follow the instructions in the link above and you'll gain limited access to Blue Flames for your Spartan-III in Halo: Reach, as well as the Bungie nameplate until the end of Bungie Day.

You can check out the handy Red vs. Blue PSA here or below in case you have any more questions.

Thanks Bungie for being such a kick-ass developer that really knows how to keep your community going!

BioShock Infinite "Windows into Other Worlds" ViDoc

In the latest BioShock Infinite ViDoc, creative director Ken Levine discusses the windows into other worlds, alternate worlds and versions of Columbia that everyone will be able to see glimpses of, and that the character Elizabeth can interact with to create some very clever gameplay scenarios for the player.

Check it out here or below.

See kids, this is something we see very little of in gaming today. It's called innovation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Halo: A Fistfull of Arrows Fan Graphic Novel

I usually don't post about fan fiction, but this warrants an exception. Earlier today I stumbled across what I thought to be previews of the next upcoming Halo graphic novel, only to realize it's a fan-made graphic novel done by one extremely talented individual: Leviathan.

Entitled Halo: A Fistfull of Arrows, this amazing work of art details what happens to Jun after the fall of Reach, and digs deeper into his past. While not canon at all, it's still a fascinating read with exceptional art and the only con as of this typing is that it's incomplete; about 30 pages remain to be added.

The love that's gone into this piece, the detail found in every panel and the efforts Leviathan has gone to to really plumb the depths of the Halo universe are most impressive, and if you want to check it out you can do so by stepping this way.

I eagerly await the piece's completion through the course of this July.

Duke Nukem Forever Demo Impressions

This past Tuesday the Duke Nukem Forever demo was made available to all Xbox LIVE Gold members, and since I've been waiting for the game since it was announced back in 1997, I gave it a download and fired it up last night.

Wow, just wow; and not in a good way. The demo consists of two levels, the first of which is essentially a more grandiose re-envisioning of the final level of the retail game, Duke Nukem 3D.

It begins with Duke taking a leak at a urinal in first person perspective, and you can essentially choose to keep pissing by holding "RT" or to stop and flush by pressing "X." You'll then notice that Duke is in the locker room of a stadium and you quickly come across some Earth Defence Forces troops who are planning on how to take out the Cycloid Emperor above. Of course, their plans are pretty poor and they're getting mulched.

Duke then traverses the halls of the stadium to get a Devastator and takes an elevator up to the boss fight. The Cycloid Emperor is pretty simple (on Normal), and by strafing you can pound him with Devastator rounds. You annoyingly run out of ammo fast and have to wait for re-supply drops while dodging the Cycloid Emperor's missiles and charges, all of which is no challenge.

The level ends by allowing you to punt his eyeball for a field goal which then transitions to a scene of Duke playing the game with a modified Xbox 360 Controller; this whole level was a video game in the game that he was playing while apparently getting head from the game's version of the Olsen twins.

Now, I personally don't mind such base humour as to me, it fits the character. It worked a lot better back in the mid-'90's since back then FPS characters simply didn't have personalities or dialogue which made Duke unique. It also turned him into an identifiable gaming icon and that's fine by me. My problem was with the lackluster gameplay.

Sure, the entire level was very interactive: You could flush toilets and urinals, turn on faucets and hand dryers, pick up poop and throw it, etc. and while this is all well and good it's nothing overly exciting and doesn't really contribute to the core gameplay. The one-liners from Duke, as I mentioned above, don't bother me and his humour fits him, but I expected better from the other characters in the game. The EDF Captain was an idiot, for example, and instead of laughing I'd just role my eyes at anything he said.

You can draw on the white board they have there to "lay down some plans," and I simply drew a straight line underlining a word already written. The EDF Captain was blown away by how amazing that was and even though he said he couldn't understand any it, he knew that Duke knew what he was doing. Right.

The scripted sequences you come across in the stadium's hallways were alright, but nothing we haven't seen done to better effect elsewhere, and the boss battle itself was very basic.

The second level of the demo was a vehicle and classic combat sequence. You start by driving the single worst vehicle I've ever touched. Yes, it's worse than the Mako. Duke's truck accelerates by pressing "RT" and reverses by pressing "LT" and can boost with "A," but its handling with the Left Stick is horrendous. I actually came close to quitting the demo right there, but decided to plod along complaining about how they've clearly never driven a Warthog before.

Of course, as a friend pointed out, they probably designed this level and vehicle before the Warthog was invented.

After doing a jump across a cavern you run out of gas and have to travel into a mine to locate some more. You get to sample a Rail Gun here, Duke's sniper weapon, while capping some Pig Cops in getting to the mine and then there's a mini-boss battle against an alien ship that can only be damaged with Rockets.

In the mine itself you get to handle some of the game's basic puzzles by pushing and using mining carts to traverse the environment. This is nothing horrible, but again, nothing special.

Having re-read this post, I can safely say that I'm not putting a lot of heart into it, and that's just because of how underwhelmed I was with the demo. It was disappointing and to a word, mediocre. The purpose of any demo is to motivate me to buy the retail product and to leave me wanting more. The Duke Nukem Forever demo did anything but, and after completing it I promptly removed it from my HDD.

I can deal with the older graphics, the humour, and the long load times that appear to be par for the course, but for any game the gameplay is what it's all about and the demo simply didn't demonstrate anything to write home about. It did feel sloppy, which is sad given how long the game was in development for, and based on the demo alone there's no way I can recommend the retail game at full price.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gears of War 3 Horde 2.0 Briefing Video

Epic Games has released a new video narrated by Anya Stroud detailing the changes in Horde for their upcoming shooter Gears of War 3.

Entitled "Horde 2.0 Briefing," the video goes over the ability to earn and use cash to buy Fortifications, both offensive and defensive, and how you can now trade weapons and cash with your teammates. Every 10th wave is also a boss wave that will require teamwork to properly survive.

Check out the video here or below, and note that the linked article also has a nice little written summary of what you'll be able to expect in Horde 2.0.

Very exciting! Horde was amazing in Gears of War 2, and it looks to be more robust than ever now!

Robin Playable as Part of Batman: Arkham City Pre-Order Bonus

For those of you who pre-order Batman: Arkham City at Best Buy, you'll gain access to the exclusive Tim Drake Robin Pack.

Available in Challenge Mode, Robin features his own unique moves and gadgets and can be used in all Challenge Maps, as well as two unique maps exclusive to the pre-order bonus. These maps are entitled "Black Mask Hideout" and "Freight Train Escape."

The Tim Drake Robin Pack also comes with a bonus Red Robin character skin.

Pre-order bonuses are common fare these days, though it wouldn't surprise me to see this Pack offered as premium DLC sometime after launch.

You can read up on the pack on Best Buy's page here, and the Pack is also available for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

Mortal Kombat Season Pass Now Available

For those of you who own Mortal Kombat on the Xbox 360, you can now download a Season Pass for 1200 Microsoft Points ($17.40) which entitles you to all four DLC characters at no additional charge, as well as eight Klassic Costumes.

Available immediately is Skarlet and the Sektor and Cyrax Klassic Skin, and coming in July will be Kenshi and Rain with an as yet unannounced fourth DLC character coming later. Also in July, a Klassic Smoke and Klassic Noob Saibot skin will be available.

Individually, each DLC character will cost 400 Microsoft Points ($5.80), so with the Season Pass you're essentially getting one for free. The Season Pass is not available for the PlayStation 3 version of the game and Sony's customers will be required to buy each character at full price individually.

Personally I think 400 Microsoft Points is a rip off for a single character and even with the discount it's still priced too high for it's worth. Sektor and Cyrax's Klassic Skins are available for free to all, and Klassic Smoke is already in the retail game, just unselectable like some of the other rip-off Klassic skins. The Klassic Noob Saibot skin is also just a palette swap of the standard Klassic ninja, so there's nothing special there.

Very unimpressive overall, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Game Trailers' Interview and Gameplay Walkthrough

Some other E3 news I missed: Game Trailers has an interview with Craig Lafferty, the Lead Producer on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which discusses the game mechanics and shows off several clips of gameplay footage. You can check that out here or below.

While I'm very excited for the game, I must confess I'm not as impressed with the visuals as I was with Fallout 3 or previous titles developed by Bethesda Game Studios. I suppose that's because the game is being developed for 5.5 year old hardware and the Xbox 360 is really starting to show its age, but I fully expect the gameplay to be exceptional and that's what really counts, which leads me to the next video.

You can check out a full gameplay demonstration of the Xbox 360 version of the game narrated by Todd Howard here or below.

Oh, it's digital crack all over again!

Gears of War 3 Horde Mode Screenshots from E3 2011

Some old news I missed out on, but better late than never. Epic Games has released several screenshots from Horde in Gears of War 3, which you can feast your eyes on right here if you haven't already.

Next to the Campaign, Horde is the game type I'm most looking forward to in Gears of War 3, as my friends and I spent many long hours grinding through Horde in Gears of War 2.

BioShock: Rapture Excerpt

Our friends at Tor Books have once again sent along some great news, this time providing us an excerpt from the upcoming BioShock prequel novel entitled BioShock: Rapture.

I didn't even know a novel for the BioShock franchise was in the works, and I'm honestly not surprised as it's such a well fleshed out and mature universe that's just screaming for more exploration. In my opinion, the best time period to explore is around the founding of Rapture and the start of the civil war, and it looks like that's just what this novel's set to chronicle.

After reading the excerpt, which you can check out here, I'm quite excited for the book and I can guarantee that after reading it I'll want to fire up my copy of BioShock which I haven't touched in nearly three years (though I've been spending a lot of time with its sequel over the last year).

BioShock Infinite "Factions at War" ViDoc

Irrational Games has released a new ViDoc for BioShock: Infinite where Ken Levine discusses the two warring factions in Columbia and how their opposition came to be. You can check it out here or below.

I'm very, very excited for BioShock Infinite. It seems so rare these days that we get a game that has some honest creativity and innovation in it.

Mortal Kombat "Skarlet" Vignette and Klassic Sektor and Cyrax Skins

A new vignette outlining the backstory of the first upcoming Mortal Kombat DLC character, Skarlet, has been released and you can watch it here or below.

Skarlet will be available on Tues. Jun. 21st to kick off summer, and in case you haven't noticed, this lady in red is a fan of blood. Interestingly, however, I'm still not sure how much she'll cost, but I hear it'll be over 400 Microsoft Points (so over $5.80. My bet would be on 560 Microsoft Points, $8.12). If that's the case, then I'll likely pass on the content.

What I won't be passing on though is this bonus to fans: Klassic Sektor and Cyrax skins will be released for free to all, also on June 21st. You can check out their trailer here or below.

They still look like BMX racers, which is awesome!

Dragon Age: Asunder Announced

Our friends at Tor Books have sent word that the next novel in the Dragon Age series, entitled Dragon Age: Asunder, will be published late 2011 and once again be penned by David Gaider.

You can read the full press release below, followed by the BioWare Pulse announcement and author interview.

Tor Books announces new Dragon Age™ novel with BioWare Lead Writer David Gaider

In-game writer and bestselling author of Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne and Dragon Age: The Calling returns to the dark fantasy world of BioWare’s award-winning Dragon Age franchise

New York, NY – Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—and BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts, are excited to announce the third novel in the award-winning Dragon Age™ fantasy RPG franchise. David Gaider, lead writer at BioWare and author of two previous Dragon Age novels, will pen DRAGON AGE: ASUNDER for late 2011 publication.

The team at BioWare, responsible for such beloved classics as Baldur's Gate™, Neverwinter Nights™, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, and Mass Effect™, set a new Fantasy RPG storytelling standard with the Dragon Age franchise, which has won over 35 awards between the release of Dragon Age: Origins in 2009 and Dragon Age II in March 2011.

David Gaider’s previous two Dragon Age novels, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne (March 2009) and Dragon Age: The Calling (October 2009) were well-received by fans and did much to establish the dark, heroic nature and epic scale of the Dragon Age Universe. DRAGON AGE: ASUNDER builds directly on the story from the second game, expanding and illuminating new corners of the world Thedas.

A mystical killer stalks the halls of the White Spire, the heart of templar power in the mighty Orlesian Empire. To prove his innocence, Adrian reluctantly embarks on a journey into the western wastelands that will not only reveal much more than he bargained for but change the fate of his fellow mages forever.

The team at BioWare has passionately created a fantasy world like no othergorgeous and immersive, with unprecedented depth and scale. DRAGON AGE: ASUNDER is a sweeping, epic saga that will be sure to please the millions of fans of this revered franchise.

Fans of BioWare are invited to visit the official Dragon Age website at: http://dragonage.bioware.com, where they can preview and find additional information about Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, Dragon Age: The Calling and more.

About the Author

DAVID GAIDER lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and is a Senior Writer at BioWare’s Edmonton studio, where he has worked since 1999. He was the Lead Writer on Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, responsible for story and setting design, and prior to that worked on such titles as Baldur’s Gate™ 2, Baldur’s Gate™ 2: Throne of Bhaal, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, Neverwinter Nights™ and its expansions.

About BioWare

BioWare develops high quality console, PC and online role-playing games, focused on rich stories, unforgettable characters and vast worlds to discover. Since 1995, BioWare has created some of the world's most critically acclaimed titles, including Baldur's Gate™, Neverwinter Nights™, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, Jade Empire™, Mass Effect™ and Dragon Age. BioWare operates in Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), Montreal (Quebec), Austin (Texas), Fairfax (Virginia) and Galway (Ireland). Currently announced projects at BioWare include Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age II, and the story-driven massively multiplayer online game, Star Wars®: The Old Republic. In 2008, BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts, a leading global interactive entertainment publisher. For more information on BioWare, visit www.bioware.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/biofeed. To join the millions of fans already registered on our community, go to http://social.bioware.com.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.

About Tor Books

Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1980 and committed (although not limited) to SF and fantasy literature. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperback, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. Books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and for the last twenty-three years in a row the company has been named Best Publisher in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

Watch live streaming video from biowaretv at livestream.com

Aliens vs Predator (Xbox 360) Sold

Earlier last week I decided to give Aliens vs Predator (Xbox 360) a go again to see how it'd fair on the Hard difficulty. I fired up the Marine campaign and after nearly a dozen tries, I simply was unable to pass that first night club sequence.

I then decided to give the Alien campaign a whirl and I was able to pass two Chapters, but got my butt handed to me in the third. The overall problem was that, as the player character, you were made of paper and it was far too easy for the AI opponents to punish you again and again and again. I found this got frustrating and simply took away from the gruesome gore, violence, and fun the title's Single Player has to offer.

At this point I knew I wouldn't bother playing through the Campaign again on Normal difficulty, and with the Multiplayer community being pretty sparse, there was little value left for me to keep the title. Thus I decided to trade the game in at Best Buy.

I went and they offered to give me $5.00 in-store credit for it, which I agreed to. Seeing as how I paid $19.99 for it last November, a quarter of the cost back isn't too bad. It's not too good either, but hey, I'm really not complaining. For what's amounted to a $14.99 purchase with the aforementioned trade-in taken into account, I got my money's worth with my original 15 to 20 hour playthrough.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mass Effect 3 "Invasion" Trailer

A live action trailer for Mass Effect 3, entitled "Invasion," has been released by EA and you can check it out below.

Not bad. Decent production values though I found the acting rather cheesy. It was cool to briefly see live action Husks though.

The Halo Bulletin: Inaugural Frankie Edition

Halo Waypoint has posted up an interesting article entitled "The Halo Bulletin: Inaugural Frankie Edition" in which 343 Industries Franchise Director Frank O'Connor discusses the Halo franchise's announcements at this year's E3.

Not much is said regarding Halo 4, but a lot of information is given regarding Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. A few key points:

- The game will retail for $39.99 (US)
- The Back button will be used during Campaign to toggle between the new and original graphics
- The multiplayer will actually be Halo: Reach's Multiplayer, and it sounds like the seven maps shipping will essentially be a map pack for Halo: Reach (and thus I suspect it'll be made available as DLC for that game at some point)
- One of the maps will be a unique Firefight map which will do something never before seen in Firefight. I suspect it'll involve the Flood, but that's just my guess.
- The soundtrack has been rerecorded by the Skywalker Orchestra

I personally found this article a very interesting read, and you can check it out right here.

Mortal Kombat "Skarlet" Character Page

An official character page is now up for Skarlet, the first DLC character that will soon be released for Mortal Kombat.

You can read all about Shao Khan's lethal enforcer right here.

No word yet on a release date, pricing, and if the DLC will be accompanied by anything else.

Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Console and Controller Announced

An official Xbox 360 Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Console and Controller has been announced by Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games.

Releasing on September 20, 2011, the Xbox 360 Gears of War 3 Limited Edition console features an Xbox 360 S console with a red and black infected omen design, as well as a 320 GB HDD. Two Wireless Controllers sporting the same design as well as the transforming D-Pads will be bundled together, along with a retail copy of Gears of War 3. In addition, a wired headset and a downloadable token for the Infected Omen weapon pack and Adam Fenix Multiplayer Skin will also be included.

The console will retail for $399.99 (US), and the Controller can also be purchased seperately for $59.99 (US).

Full details along with screenshots can be found here

BioShock Infinite E3 2011 Media

At this year's E3, Irrational Games released a new teaser trailer for BioShock Infinite which you can view here or below. In addition, there's also a ViDoc entitled "About Skylanes" which explains this interesting mode of transportation around Columbia, and it can be viewed here or below.

Three new screenshots for the game are also available for viewing on the official site here.

Overall, very ambitious looking, as is any game that Ken Levine puts his hands on. Quite exciting!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Mass Effect 3 Site Launches, "Fall of Earth" Trailer, N7 Collector's Edition Revealed

The official site for Mass Effect 3 has officially launched, and a new trailer is available as well. Entitled "Fall of Earth," this action packed trailer shows some cool features and sets a nice tone for this dark third chapter in the franchise.

You can check the trailer out here or below.

Not only does it seem Shepard's Omni-Tool functions as a blade now, but was that a dodge/roll I saw Shepard do? Hopefully that's an actual maneuver and not a cinematic, as I've long felt the series needs a dodge option. There's obviously going to be some turret sequences, and Liara can be glimpsed briefly in the trailer as well.

And if the above wasn't cool enough, the Mass Effect 3: N7 Collector's Edition has also been announced! It will contain:

- A premium metal case (and Shepard looks very Renegade now)
- A hardbound art book
- A limited edition comic by Dark Horse Comics
- A fabric patch
- A lithographic 4x6 print
- Unique in-game content such as extra weapons, a robotic dog sidekick, and extra outfits
- The digital soundtrack
- A Normandy Avatar Prop (Xbox 360 Only)
- Forum badges, avatars, etc.

You can read the full details and check out the pic here.

If this Collector's Edition is truly limited as Mass Effect 2's was, you will want to pre-order this to guarantee your copy. I know I'll be doing so.

Mass Effect 3 will release on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 on March 6th, 2011.

Halo 4 Teaser Trailer

Also not a surprise but certainly welcome, Halo 4 has been announced at this year's E3.

Set for a 2012 release on the Xbox 360 and being developed by 343 Industries, Halo 4 sees the return of Master Chief John-117 and Cortana in the beginning of a new trilogy. Set after the events of Halo 3, John must face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the universe.

You can check out the teaser trailer here or below.

So, who wants to take bets on this ancient evil either being the Precursors or Forerunners and that this storyline will tie into the "Forerunner Saga" of novels being written by Greg Bear? I bet on the Precursors simply because ancient threats predictably never stay dead, and they're the most ancient species we know of in the Halo universe.

I also don't recall John going into cryo-sleep with a Jet Pack, so hopefully that was done for dramatic effect. Yes, I know, I'm nit-picking again.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Revealed at E3 2011

The long standing rumours are indeed true, 343 Industries is working on an HD remake of Halo: Combat Evolved for the Xbox 360.

Announced today at E3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will feature remastered HD graphics, Xbox LIVE functionality including online Co-Op, Achievements, and the ability to toggle back to the original release's graphics on-the-fly. It will also ship with seven of the most popular Multiplayer maps in Halo history, and considering that Halo: Combat Evolved shipped with thirteen maps total, I sense DLC milkage in this remake's future.

You can check out the trailer below or here, followed by a ViDoc with 343 Industries discussing the remastering of this classic and monumental shooter below or here. A screenshot gallery with comparison shots can also be viewed here.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will be released on the 10th anniversary of the original title, November 15th, 2011, and while Microsoft Game Studios is not talking cost yet, they've stated it will not be a full priced game. This was also said about Halo 3: ODST and that was a lie, so I won't take any talk of cost at face value until it's properly being advertised at retail.

For the trailer itself though, it looks very nice and it's great to see Halo: Combat Evolved in HD with better textures. It'll be interesting to see if 343 Industries really can keep the classic gameplay feel, something I feel is essential and goes beyond just keeping the Pistol very powerful.

A few things I wasn't keen on from the trailer though:

- Master Chief's Mark V armour. This rendition of it looks ugly to me; the visor is too stretched from top to bottom.
- The Assault Rifle. They should be using the MA5B variant, not the MA37 that the UNSC Army used during the Fall of Reach.
- It looks like they're using Army Troopers instead of Marines, which also doesn't add up.
- Ultra Elites. They aren't supposed to be here.

Yes, I know, I'm a purist about these sorts of things.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

BioShock 2: Minerva's Den Completed for the 3rd Time

Earlier this morning, I completed BioShock 2: Minerva's Den for the third time, and I'm as impressed with it now as I was the first time I fired it up. A lot of care went into this add-on and it certainly shows.

On this playthrough I resolved not to gather any Adam until I had finished all objectives in the first main level of the game. This made things both harder and easier in a way, since I was less powerful but I didn't have to contend with hordes of Spider Splicers early on which was always a big problem before.

While I did buy Tonics and Plasmid upgrades, I didn't buy any new Plasmids and relied on the core ones I found in the game, and I found myself mainly using the Ion Laser with support from the Spear Gun and Shotgun and later on, I began relying heavily on the Rivet Gun.

I also tried playing cautiously and strategically to avoid random deaths, looking to see how long I could survive for. This didn't work out so well when Security Command failed to distract a Turret in the first 15 minutes of my playthrough, which made me thankful for Vita Chambers as I wasn't saving as often as with other playthroughs.

Regardless, I still love the story and the well executed survival gameplay, and consider this the best single player DLC add-on I've yet experienced as the developers really go the atmosphere and tone down pat.

With the completion of this playthrough, which took about 8 hours, I'm likely done with BioShock 2 since I've played through it so much. For the franchise, I'm quite looking forward to what BioShock Infinite will be showing off this week at E3.

PlayStation Network Welcome Back Customer Appreciation Program Now Live

I'm pretty sure most of you are aware of what's been going on with the PlayStation Network by now and the lengthy service outages due to the service being hacked. I'm sure you're also aware that all of its users personal data was also stolen, and that said files were apparently unencrypted.

In brief, Sony dropped the ball big time and has a lot of making up to do with its customer base. After some weeks, the PlayStation Network has finally started coming back online, piece by piece.

With the PlayStation Store back online, Sony is now able to officially release their "Welcome Back Customer Appreciation Program." This is a very nice offering that includes free PlayStation 3 and PSP games, a free term for the PlayStation Plus subscription service, free Virtual Items, and free movie rentals.

The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games are available for 30 days, the PlayStation Plus free subscription is available for 30 days, and the limited selection of free movie rentals is this weekend only.

For full details, step right this way.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Batman: Arkham City "Catwoman" Gameplay Trailer

One of my most anticipated games of 2011, Batman: Arkham City is looking quite spectacular. Not only is Catwoman going to be featured in the game, but it looks like she's going to be playable.

This should certainly add a nice twist to the conventional gameplay, as not only will she sport her own unique Gadgets and Free Flow fighting style, but I'm hoping this means she'll also have some great missions suited to her character that Batman himself would never do.

You can check out the Catwoman Gameplay Trailer here or below.

Aside from the kiss on a thug, it looks like they're taking things in the right direction.

Duke Nukem Forever Launch Trailer

The impossible has happened. Not only has Duke Nukem Forever finally gone gold, but it will be available in stores on June 14th. That's about a week and a half away for one of the most infamously developed games in history to finally see the light of day.

The game's launch trailer has also been released, showing nudity in the form of polygonal breasts, so technically this one's not safe for work. Won't someone think of the children and other such nonsense.

You can check out the launch trailer here or below.

I still want to try a demo first, and I expect I'll be picking this one up after a price drop.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Teaser Trailer

Well this certainly stirs up some nostalgia. An official teaser trailer for the long delayed Aliens: Colonial Marines has finally surfaced, and you can view it here or below.

While the teaser doesn't show any gameplay and so one can't really form impressions of the game itself, it's quite nice to see that they're looking to preserve the retro '86 feel of the classic film.

Fable III (Xbox 360) Demo Now Available

A demo for the Xbox 360 version of Fable III has now been released and can be downloaded here.

No clue on what parts of the game it contains, but hey, if you're on the fence about the title you might as well give it a whirl.

As for me, I won't bother picking up Fable III until a significant price drop occurs (if at all) just like the previous entries in the franchise.

Fable's always been good, but not spectacular. Too much great innovation that's poorly executed.

Mortal Kombat "Skarlet" Gameplay Trailer

The first DLC character for Mortal Kombat has been revealed. Skarlet was a character rumoured since Mortal Kombat II, when a bug would have either Kitana or Mileena appear in game dressed in red.

Now, roughly 17 years later NetherRealm Studios has officially created her as a real character. You can check out her gameplay debut here or below.

Not bad, though no word on release date, cost, or if anything else will be bundled with the Skarlet DLC. I suspect we'll learn all of this at E3 next week.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Preview Page and Teaser Trailers

Blizzard Entertainment has posted up an official preview page for the first expansion to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, entitled StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

After having been stripped of the Zerg infestation at the end of the core game, Kerrigan seeks to reunite the Swarm under her. The preview page details the continuing story, characters, as well as some cool screenshots and concept art.

You can also check out the very cool but short Teaser Trailer here or below, as well as an official Gameplay Preview here or below.

Mortal Kombat: Legacy Episode 8

The 8th episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy is now up, the second part featuring Scorpion and Sub-Zero.

It was good, but more action oriented and I found I enjoyed it less than the previous episode.

You can check it out here or below.