Sunday, November 27, 2011

The History of Mortal Kombat - Episodes 01 and 02

Mortal Kombat and its sequels were a game that really defined a lot of my late childhood to early teenage years. My friends and I were all playing it, wasting countless quarters against the cheap AI in arcades and local variety stores and obsessing over the home ports for both Arcade Ladder and Versus on Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo Game Boy.

Good times indeed, and now Mortal Kombat Secrets is creating a new web series entitled "The History of Mortal Kombat."

While there are other video retrospectives about the franchise out there, thus far Mortal Kombat Secret's videos are the most informative and comprehensive, and despite a few audio quarks and the artificial British narrator, I recommend you give them a watch.

The first two epsiodes can be viewed here and here or below, and I'll post additional episodes as they become available.

Watching these really makes me feel like a kid again. I remember those old commercials, and the live action commercial for Mortal Kombat II was exceptional in it's day. Also interesting to see the dessert that Reptile came out of in that ad looks a lot like Jade's Desert in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and I'm sure it served as an influence. Never made that connection before.

Oh, fond memories...

New World of Warcraft Ads

While I don't play World of Warcraft as I'm not a fan of MMO's, I do love their celebrity ads!

Blizzard Entertainment has released two more featuring Chuck Norris (he's looking old), and Aubrey Plaza, and you can check them out here and here or below.

Halo: Helljumper Trailer

No, it's not a new Halo game or even a novel, but rather a fan made film broken into episodes. Coming in January 2012, Halo: Helljumper is a fan made film based on the short story "Dirt" by Tobias S. Buckle and featured in Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe.

It tells the story of Gage Yevgenny, how he became an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, and his participation in humanity's loosing war against the Covenant. A well written story, and based on the trailer below, it's shaping up to be a great fan film.

Those are definitely some awesome costumes and props, and it'll be interesting to see how well the Covenant species look if they actually show them.

You can check out more about Halo: Helljumper on the official site right here.

Gears of War 3 Completed for the 2nd Time

Just under a week ago I completed Gears of War 3's Campaign for the second time, my first on Hardcore. It took me a little over a month simply because I was playing other games.

In truth, I wasn't very impressed.

The weak story and one dimensional characters didn't hold my attention and I'd go weeks at a time without playing. Hardcore difficulty was, in truth, a joke and far too easy with only the final boss providing an imbalanced challenge. I say imbalanced because she herself wasn't hard, it was the never ending spawning of Palace Guards surrounding you with dumb AI allies that was the problem.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, infinite spawns in almost all cases represents weak design and the developers' inability to craft a real challenge or better AI, which is sadly the hallmark of Gears of War 3: weak design.

I'm really disappointed with Gears of War 3. It could have been so much more, and while it's certainly a gorgeous looking game it's ultimately a dumbed down version of what's come before and that's not what I'm looking for with the trilogy's conclusion. The franchise has evolved so much over the last few years, yet it's core medium, the games themselves, have now taken several steps backwards.

At some point I suppose I'll give Insanity a run, but in truth with far better titles to play I'm not feeling motivated to do so. If Gears of War 3 didn't complete the actual trilogy itself, I'd have traded it in already, as it's redeeming qualities are really that few. In truth, I've been considering trading in my trilogy and clearing some shelf space; I'm that disappointed with Gears of War and Epic Games.

We'll see.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Halo: Glasslands Review

The Halo franchise has been around for over 10 years now and its core fiction is pretty fleshed out. The dynamics of the cultures and factions are very well established and generally speaking, people know what to expect when two opposing parties cross one another. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Karen Traviss this important little fact.

Halo: Glasslands is the first full novel set directly after the events of Halo 3, and it predominantly follows a special team created by the Office of Naval Intelligence who's sole purpose is to sow dissension and civil strife between the Elites. While the Elites and humanity technically have an alliance of sorts, Admiral Parangosky, the director of ONI, doesn't believe it will last or that the Arbiter will be able to keep control of his people. Already dissident Elite factions are springing up and ONI wants to see Elites fighting Elites as opposed to starting a war with humanity once again.

Now this is all well and good and without question the core story concept of Halo: Glasslands is solid. Reading about a highly skilled black ops team doing its thing is rather interesting and something not seen too often in the Halo franchise, and the story also broadens by continuing the tale of Dr. Halsey and the last few Spartans now trapped in a Dyson's Sphere in the remains of Onyx, as read at the end of the 2006 novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. That story arc grows larger and larger as the novel goes on and eventually intersects with the main plot.

All of this is well and good and is a solid formula for a wonderful tale of Halo-themed military sci-fi, but the final product is, sadly, lackluster. Why? How could Traviss, the master of character building and deep, military plots have dropped the ball? Because she got the dynamics of the characters and cultures all wrong.

Let me ask you something: When you think of Elites and Brutes, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Assuming you've been paying attention to the overall Halo story since 2004, you know they hate one another and now that the Covenant has fallen they want to wipe each other out. After the Prophets betrayed the Elites and used the Brutes to try and exterminate them, the Elites themselves have been on a campaign to purge the Brutes from the galaxy. According to Kevin Grace's short, "The Return" (featured in Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe) this campaign has been on-going for about seven years after the events of Halo 3.

Well Halo: Glasslands is set during the end of 2552 and leads into early 2553, and apparently there are some packs of Brutes loyal to Elites. Does that make any sense to you? Nope, I didn't think so. In fact when I first read this, since Traviss uses the actual Covenant species names instead of their human given names, I thought they meant another Covenant species and this was a typo but no, there are some packs of Brutes loyal to Elites. Not only that, but since Elites are so important to this novel's core story we see Sanghelios in detail for the first time, and not only are there loyal Brutes on the planet but some of them are actually landscapers.

Yes, you read correctly: Brute gardeners. What's next? Brutes amicably living alongside humans on a human world? Oh wait, Traviss does that to. See what I mean about messed up dynamics, and this really, really hurts what would otherwise have been a solid story. If you go and change key cultural relations without any prior reason like this, the story looses credibility since it fails to keep true to the heart of the franchise; to what we, the fans expect. And while retcon is always inevitable with growing properties, it should at least have a solid purpose that benefits the whole of the franchise, and what Traviss does fails to meet that requirement.

Traviss even manages to bungle the different UNSC personalities. The new ONI black ops team formed consists of some ODSTs and a Spartan-II amongst others, but is there any tension between them as the franchise has always shown? No, there isn't. In fact, in very short order the ODSTs are all buddy-buddy with the Spartan and a budding romance actually begins to surface, which just feels all manner of wrong.

The Spartans themselves, well, Traviss doesn't seem to understand that they're not traditional soldiers. The hardcore discipline of the Spartan-II's shown time and time again in all manner of media is really relaxed here, and Fred, Kelly, and Linda act very out of character throughout. In any potentially hostile territory they do not relax their guard, they always religiously respect the chain of command, and they would not be taking off their helmets and joking around yet this continually happens here. Traviss' rendition of the Spartan-II's simply doesn't feel like Spartans at all.

The Spartan-III's also don't feel right, and I'm really curious to know if Traviss even read Halo: Ghosts of Onyx or not to work out how these existing charatcer's personalities should be, and I'm really guessing she didn't.

Heck, at one point a civilian is briefly introduced and he begins swearing Gears of War style, clearly showing Traviss' influence from that universe. While yes, there is cursing in Halo, it's more controlled and, well, mature. The Gears of War story might be more violent and gory but it is juvenile compared to Halo and this is another intricacy that Traviss just doesn't seem to understand.

All of her characters, new and established ones from past fiction, feel forced, hollow, and wrong, and it's quite the shame as Halo: Glasslands had a significant amount of potential. While not a bad story on it's own merits, it doesn't feel "Halo" much at all, and I'm truly hoping that Traviss shapes up for the second novel in this series or that this series is deemed non-canon in short order.

Of all the Halo novels released over the last decade, I'd need to rank this one as the second worst simply due to all the unforgiving tampering and poorly done character and cultural dynamics. I also truly hope that the fiction represented in these pages is not a fine example of what we can expect in the upcoming Halo 4, as if it is, I have a feeling we'll all be very, very disappointed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition Video

Yesterday, BioWare released a video showcasing the unboxing of the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition. Like the Collector's Edition for Mass Effect 2 this one looks solid, and you can check the video out here or below.

I very rarely pre-order unless there's a pre-order bonus I want to take advantage of, or there's a pre-order discount (such as 800 Reward Zone Points from Best Buy, which is essentially $10.00 in-store credit), but I do plan on pre-ordering the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition soon.

Why? Well, assuming it's anything like the Collector's Editions seen in the franchise thus far, it truly will be limited and the odds of getting it on launch day will be next to nil. Better safe than sorry I say!

Update: Just pre-ordered it now. If you pre-order it online at Best here, you'll have $5.00 reduced from the purchase price, which ain't half bad.

Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow Achievements Revealed

Epic Games has unveiled the Achievements that you'll be able to earn through the "RAAM's Shadow" DLC coming on December 13th for Gears of War 3.

You can check out their official announcement with the full breakdown right here.

Interesting to see that there are some Multiplayer related Achievements for this Single Player add-on, which is a great way to keep things mixed for the community.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DLC Quest (Xbox 360) Trial Impressions

I don't sample Indie Games from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace very often, but recently a friend recommended one entitled DLC Quest.

Now, as you all know, I have a big issue with the current DLC market and what it's doing to the games industry. I personally consider DLC to be the single worst thing to happen to this generation of gaming and the kind of content that publishers now charge for is rather appalling. What's even sadder is that we, the consumer, support this practice as we keep buying the overpriced stuff!

It's gotten to the point where some games are no longer released in their completed state as DLC is expected to "finish" the gameplay experience, forcing us to pay more for a proper game. Or the kind of content that was once unlockable, such as additional character costumes, is now a premium item. Boils me up just thinking about it, but at least someone's decided to take a satirical shot as the milk market.

Developed by Going Loud Studios, DLC Quest is a simple platformer where the Bad Guy has taken the Princess and you need to rescue her and save the world. Sounds simple and fun, right? Well it just gets better.

Throughout the game world there are Gold Coins to collect and you'll need to spend those on "DLC" to progress further through the core game. Want your character and the world to actually have animations? Got to buy the DLC. Want to be able to jump so you can properly play this platforming game? Got to buy the DLC. Want to pause the game so you can access menus or take a leak? Yup, you've got to buy the DLC for that to.

You're only buying in-game "DLC" with in-game Gold, so you're not actually spending anymore money than the actual price of admission, but it's just hilarious as the state of the games industry isn't that far away from something like this becoming a reality!

One great laugh-out-loud moment was when some blacksmith tells you you'll need a sword and you need to make one by grinding the blade. It'll take about 100,000 grinds. After grinding for a minute, a pop-up occurs telling you that you can now by DLC to accelerate the grinding process by several times! Oh, too funny and too true.

There's also horse armour available for an outrageous gold cost, in case you were wondering.

Like all Indie Trials, the Trial for DLC Quest didn't last long, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in it. Months from now once I'm done with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and I'm looking for something to do, I fully expect I'll pick this little gem up at 80 Microsoft Points to help prepare me for the real milkage that's bound to come sooner or later.

The game's trailer is also great for a laugh, which you can check out here or below.

Halo Avatar Collection - November Update

The Halo Avatar Collection has once again been updated for the month of November. To see what new Halo-related items you can purchase for your Avatar, you can check out the trailer here or below.

I certainly love Halo as you all know, but these Avatar items are so ridiculously priced. My recommendation is to not buy them and wait for great pre-order bonuses or Avatar Awards or the like.

You can still go to the Avatar Marketplace and preview the items on your Avatar for free though!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim "The World of Skyrim" and "The Animation of Skyrim" Trailer

Released yesterday, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is finally available and it's absolutely amazing and epic.

If you haven't seen these yet, then just before launch Bethesda Softworks released two more trailers to wet your appetite.

The first is entitled "The World of Skyrim" and is simply stunning. You can view it here or below.

The second is entitled "The Animation of Skyrim" and can be viewed here or below.

I'm only about thirty minutes into the game, not even done the tutorial yet, and I'm already blown away! Such an immersive and inspiring opening!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) Review

There's no question that Gears of War 3 is Microsoft Studio's biggest exclusive launch of the year. Featuring a massive advertising campaign and a tremendous amount of hype, this sequel finishes off the journey of Delta Squad and their battle to save humanity against the Locust Horde and a newer, more terrifying threat, the Lambent.

Written by Karen Traviss, the author of the Gears of War novels, the Campaign is set about two years after Gears of War 2 and after all four novels. The Locust have been defeated but humanity is nearly extinct and the C.O.G. has disbanded. Hoffman leads one group of survivors to the old fortress of Anvil Gate, Prescott abandoned everybody, and Fenix and company are living on the Sovereign, one of the last Navy vessels sailing.

Now let's be honest, the Gears of War franchise isn't known for strong storytelling. It's always reminded me of an 80's action flick where muscle-bound soldiers run around and kill monsters through miraculous feats of bravado, but Traviss changed all that. Here novels are detailed and full of strong character moments and development, and with her actually penning the script for the game I honestly expected something more than what we've seen before: a solid, cohesive story and character moments in-game.

While playing you can certainly tell that that was the goal and a lot of novel-only stuff either appears or is at least hinted at, such as the play between Baird and Bernie, but really it all falls flat upon itself with poor execution. There are snatches of potential in there, particularly mid-way through Act 1 and at the end of Act III, but when all is said and done the Campaign's story is poorly implemented as a coherent narrative and the excessive swearing that the franchise is known for seems to be amped up this time around, feeling completely juvenile and out of place. Yes Fenix, you're angry. We get it.

Marcus, Dom, and Anya are around for the long haul but other key supporting characters are generally given smaller "screen time" which is a damn shame. So much was done with Cole, Baird, and Hoffman in the novels that they were done a complete disservice with the game. New characters come and go like crazy, barely giving you time to get to know them save for a very few exceptions (like Sam). I was sorely disappointed that Bernie, a great novel-character, only had a small cameo, and new characters like Griffin, voiced by Ice-T, were so stupid that it should have been laughable, however at that level of lame it just had me cringing.

To be perfectly blunt, this critically acclaimed Campaign story is worse than Gears of War 2 (though better than the original game's) and is a huge disappointment. If you haven't read the novels even the summary video courteously provided and narrated by Anya Stroud doesn't fill in everything you need to know, but again since the story's so weak you likely won't even notice. The story's implementation is so poor I often forget why I was leading Delta Squad to a particular location or trying to achieve a certain objective; it was just all muddled and derivative.

So basically stuff in Gears of War 3 just happens and you roll with it. Literally. At least the franchise's cover and combat are still sound, and while that's certainly enjoyable, it's honestly nothing new or revolutionary. You can do some cool things at the beginning of the game like pick up a Fire Extinguisher to put out fires, wear a baseball hat, and interact with world objects in such a way that it almost feel like your stepping into a Valve shooter, but then all that cool innovative design seems to be forgotten and it's back to basics. Throughout you can swap weapons with AI allies or instruct them to focus fire, but it's nothing overly crazy and the whole gameplay experience screams been-there-done-that. Sure, you also have Lambent to fight as another enemy faction now, the Gears of War universe's version of zombies, but they're so shoddily implemented that, for the most part, you might as well just be fighting the Locust themselves. Which of course you do later on.

The ever troublesome Emergence Holes are long gone, and the Locust rocket up from under the ground like reverse Orbital Drop Shock Troopers without their pods, which is plain stupid. Instead of the Locust having a massive troop funneling system to try and overwhelm the player and build gameplay tension, the Lambent now fill this roll and come out of Stalks that erupt from the ground and grow pods on them. Destroy the pods to stop the flood of Lambent which is actually far easier than closing Emergence Holes since any old firepower will do, no Grenades or specific weapons or tactics required.

This makes dealing with an infestation of Lambent, who fight almost exactly like their Locust counterparts with a few exceptions, far simpler, and when it comes down to it, Gears of War 3 is a very easy game to complete. Still hampered by the annoying Checkpoint system the franchise is known for, getting killed by lucky shots is how you'll most often die, as even on Hardcore the game simply isn't. Granted I haven't tried Insane yet and I hear there's challenge there, but I expected Hardcore to be up to the standards of Gears of War 2 at least.

The AI isn't horrible for both friend or foe but it's nothing to write home about. What is memorable is the game's boss encounters. Truly amazing, there are several massive boss battles that you'll encounter, all of which feature large enemies with great encounters that are very intense and cinematic. Such a shame the rest of the Campaign isn't up to this level. To try and split up the monotony of repetitive gameplay, Epic Games throws in some on-rails vehicle sequences now and then, seeing you take to vehicles both on land, in the air, and even at sea, but they're pretty basic and rather underwhelming once you get past their original novelty.

So yeah, as you can tell, I'm quite disappointed with Gears of War 3's single player content. Very hyped, very much a let down, and overall it honestly feels extremely rushed; rather ironic since the game was delayed by nearly half a year. Perhaps they were simply trying to cram in too much that they lost their sense of identity along the way, or perhaps it was all a mess from the start. Either way, the end result is underwhelming.

Where Gears of War 3 truly shines is in Multiplayer. Now, I've never been a fan of the franchise's Versus game modes and even with a few new modes, such as Capture the Leader, I still find it all more frustrating than fun. I just suck at Gears of War 3 Versus and that's alright, so I won't complain about it and I know there's many, many of you having a complete blast with it. If you want to find out more about the game's Versus mode you can check out my Beta Impressions post here, as not much has changed to any great degree, in my opinion.

For me, it's all about Horde, and Horde is back and better than ever. While not as drastic an upgrade to the original Horde as Firefight was for the Halo franchise in Halo: Reach, it still sees some great enhancements that really refreshes things.

Still set at 50 Waves max, players now start with a certain amount of money that can be spent on fortifications around the game world. These fortifications consist of fences, decoys, turrets, etc. that harm, distract, or kill Locust and Lambent allowing teams to really set up perimeters and defensive locations. You start a match by placing a Command Post which is your central spawn location. From here you can quickly begin building pre-determined defences, picking up scattered weapons or ammo (which now costs money, so do so wisely), or just digging in and saving your cash for later Waves.

This latter strategy seems the soundest as early Waves are simple, but every 10th Wave is now a Boss Wave. In addition to normal enemies, you'll also end up fighting a swarm of Reavers, perhaps two Lambent Berserkers, or even a Brumak, etc. These Waves tend to be challenging and require a good bit of team work to overcome, and getting past one is a huge achievement.

Thankfully you can boost things to your advantage even further by completing bonus objectives that pop up every several Waves, which grant special crates to spawn near your Command Post that contain power weapons or extra ammo. These bonus objectives can range from killing a certain amount of enemies with a certain weapon, or with melee, or with executions, etc. They're not essential, but really help to mix things up.

A new game mode introduced, rather the reverse of Horde, is Beast Mode. Here you play as the Locust Horde and must defeat human forces over a max of 12 Waves. Each Wave is on a timer, however, and if you fail when time runs out the Hammer of Dawn will strike and wipe out your entire team.

While proper coordination and team play is essential for surviving the later Waves of Horde, in Beast Mode, team work is a must right from the get-go. You begin with a set amount of cash and can choose to be a Wild Ticker, Ticker, Wretch, Feral Drone, or a Butcher. Each one plays different and each is essential for working together. Wild Tickers are great at taking down fortifications but are extremely fragile. Feral Drones, on the other hand, play like a standard character and start with a Retro Lancer. As you take out defences and kill humans you increase you time limit and also earn additional cash, which ultimately allows you to become more powerful forms of Locust.

In later Waves as well, human Hero units start spawning, such as Marcus and Dom, and while you can down them they can only be killed via an Execution. Beast Mode is a great addition and an interesting twist on a known gameplay style, but it still doesn't replace the great fun that is Horde. Thankfully, for both Horde and Beast Mode, matchmaking is featured so getting into a game is very easy. Just note that a lot of Public players like to quit mid-match which may ruin some of your fun and really, Private games are the way to go for these cooperative game modes.

Another thing Gears of War 3 did well is the game's graphics. Simply put, Gears of War 3 is the most beautiful Xbox 360 game I've ever played and the Unreal Engine is still the cream of the crop when it comes to this generation's graphic engines. Backgrounds and vistas look stunning, character models are rich with detail and fluid animation, and effects and gore flash, bang, and splatter good.

Audio wise, the voice acting is mainly what we've come to expect from the franchise, excessive swearing, grunting, and so on and so forth; nothing to write home about and it's a damn shame, as you can see Traviss tried. The music is definitely good, though not as epic or grand as what was featured in Gears of War 2. Sound effects are, as usual, top notch and I've got nothing to complain about with weapon sounds, monster howls, etc.

When all is said and done, Gears of War 3 is not a bad game despite my more negative tone in this review, but it's not a great game and it's definitely the worst of the trilogy. Lacking any real depth or innovation, it's the poster child for been-there-done-that, and Horde alone can't improve the quality of the whole product. I was really, really looking forward to a solid Campaign and the game just failed me here hard. Beast Mode is fun but won't last, and I'm not a Versus fan so really, Horde is all the game has going for me and the improvements aren't that huge over Gears of War 2 there.

But who am I kidding, like me, you've probably owned the game on launch day, so you already know what to expect and this review is moot. If you haven't and you're waiting to get it, I'd say pick it up to complete the trilogy in your collection, but wait for a price drop as there's nothing here you haven't seen before.

Centurion Review

Released a year and a half ago in the UK, I was unable to find a theatre showing Centurion, which was disappointing as I love Roman-inspired media and was curious to see the brutality the film had to offer. Having recently fired up a Netflix trial account, I was pleased to see it present as a new release and last night I finally gave it a watch.

Set in 117 AD, Centurion stars Michael Fassbender as Quintus Dias, the lone survivor of a Roman fortified camp successfully raided by Pict warriors. As the Roman Empire has conquered the province of Britain they are finding it difficult to further advance into Caledonia (modern Scotland), and Agricola (Paul Freeman) the governor of Britain, dispatches the Ninth Legion to deal with the Pict menace once and for all.

In reality, the fascination surrounding the Ninth Legion is that around this time, they simply disappeared. Roman records are quite thorough, and the Ninth simply disappears from these records leading many to speculate about their fate. Centurion looks at one possible circumstance, that the entire Legion was wiped out in Britain or Caledonia.

In the film, the Ninth is commanded by Legate Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West), and he is appointed a Pict scout named Etain (Olga Kurylenko) by Agricola to lead him in the quest to find the Pictish king, Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) and wipe him out. During the journey the Ninth Legion discovers Dias who escaped his Pict captors somehow, and they re-instate him as a Centurion of their legion.

As can be expected, the Ninth Legion marched into disaster and was all but wiped out by Pictish forces. Surviving once again, Dias must take command of the few men left and lead them on an attempt to rescue Virilus, who was taken alive.

Overall, Centurion isn't a bad B flick. It features some good action and excessive violence, which works well for the time period depicted, but the narrative is a bit rushed and while I generally got to know the key characters I admittedly didn't end up remembering most of their names. There are also a few odd plot devices, such as Dias escaping capture the first time which wasn't shown. One minute he was imprisoned in a Pict camp, the next he was running for his life. As I said, he escaped somehow.

The film also suffers during it's mid-section, lagging a bit as the remainder of the Ninth attempts to flee back to Roman territory and a budding romance springs up. The chase by Pictish hunters drags a bit, and the romance wasn't unwelcome but just wasn't properly developed. It felt midway that Centurion was struggling for it's narrative identity now that large scale infantry battles were out of the question, and as a result the overall product suffers.

I really enjoyed the costumes and props featured in the film, as they were very detailed and relatively historically accurate. The cinematographer was strong capturing the wonderful landscapes cleanly and crisply, and the sound track was inspired and worked well to heighten tension and to score other moments.

In truth the major issue was the film's pacing, as more character development and less rushing from point to point would have served to form a much stronger connection to both protagonists and antagonists. A more consistent tone to the plot and a bit of tightening in the middle would have done wonders, combined with enhanced character development, and we would have had a truly dramatic film.

While I would not recommend the film at full theatre price, as a rental or viewed off of Netflix it was an enjoyable time. No Gladiator, mind you, but certainly entertaining and to a point, historically informative.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim "Behind the Wall: The Making of Skyrim" Trailer and "The Sound of Skyrim" Trailer

Less than a week away now; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is almost here and from my associates who already have review copies I'm hearing great, great things!

Bethesda Softworks has released two new videos for the game. The first is entitled "Behind the Wall: The Making of Skyrim" and previews the bonus disc that comes with the game's collector's edition. You can check it out here or below.

The second is entitled "The Sound of Skyrim" and details the fantastic score native to the game as well as the voice acting and other audio bits. This video can be viewed here or below.

Very, very exciting. Such an amazing sound track and such a great scope for a game. Friday can't come fast enough!

BioShock Infinite "The People Behind Booker and Elizabeth Part 2"

The second video looking at the actors behind these key characters in BioShock Infinite is now up, and can be viewed here or below.

Very interesting. Not just the relationship between the director and his talent, but also the overall challenge needed to get the right amount of emotion into these lines.

Gears of War 3: Versus Booster Map Pack Announced

On November 24th, Epic Games and Microsoft Studios will release the "Versus Booster Map Pack" for Gears of War 3, and it'll be released for free.

The Map Pack will contain five maps for use in Public Matchmaking only. These are "Bulletmarsh" and "Clocktower" from Gears of War fame, as well as the three new maps recently released with the "Horde Command Pack."

While it is a shame that this free content will have very restricted use, at least it's free so mustn't complain.

You can read the full announcement here.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Launch Trailer

With just over a week away until launch, 343 Industries has released the launch trailer for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

You can check it out here or below: