Sunday, September 30, 2012

Best Buy Reward Zone Gamers Club Halo 4 Contest

This past August, Best Buy's Reward Zone Gamers Club had a contest where members could enter for their chance to win one of two hundred Halo 4 t-shirts, and those entering were even allowed to specify the size of the shirt should they win.

Looks like I was one of those lucky two hundred.  This past Friday, a UPS package arrived at my door containing this shirt, and I must say it looks pretty cool:

For those interesting in signing up for Best Buy's Reward Zone, which allows you to earn points with almost every purchase in-store and online, head over here.

Once you sign up, you can then join their Gamers Club here, which traditionally nets you double the points on gaming related purchases and also entitles you to specific contests like the one above.

Mass Effect Trilogy Announced

This Fall, EA and BioWare will be releasing the Mass Effect Trilogy, the complete package of action role playing games to Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.

The Mass Effect Trilogy also marks the first time the original game will appear on the PlayStation 3, and for PlayStation 3 owners who already own Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect will be available as a digital download via the PlayStation Store.

The DLC for the franchise will not be included for the Xbox 360 version of this collection, though the Cerberus Network for Mass Effect 2 and the online pass for Mass Effect 3 will be present.  The PC version includes both DLC add-ons from Mass Effect as well as the Cerberus Network and online pass.  Information on PlayStation 3 DLC will be announced soon.

The Mass Effect Trilogy will launch on Nov. 6th and will retail for $59.99 (US).

For those who have yet to experience the story of Commander Shepard, this is a great package and in my opinion, worth every cent.  You can check out the full details right here.

Dead Space 3 "Eudora" Gameplay Walkthrough

In this video demo, Visceral Games' Creative Director and Senior Audio Artist guide us through over 15 minutes of Single Player gameplay from EA's upcoming horror survival shooter, Dead Space 3.

You can check out the video here or below.

It looks to me like they nailed the feel and pace of the franchise, and I'm extremely excited for this game.  Very cinematic and with the usual dim lighting and jump scares we've come to expect from Dead Space.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn "Squad" Trailer

The latest trailer from the upcoming live action series, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is entitled "Squad," and formally introduces us to the members of Hastati Squad.

You can check it out here or below.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, begins airing this Fri. Oct. 5th on Halo Waypoint and Machinima Prime.

Halo 4: Promethean Weapons Trailer

Rounding out the factions in Halo 4, 343 Industries has recently released a trailer showcasing the game's Promethean weapons, which you can view here or below:

Not bad, but in truth, I'd expect weapons that are radically different from modern weapons to come from the Forerunners.  These weapons all have current equivalents, and they're clearly just Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, etc.

I'm sure they feel a bit different and I know this kind of design is done for gameplay purposes, but really, it just doesn't seem right to me; not advanced or "alien" enough.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Collector's Edition Revealed

Odd that it's not on the game's official site, but thankfully the news is on their Facebook page.  The Collector's Edition for Injustice: Gods Among Us has been detailed, and the primary attraction is the stunning collectable statue of Wonder Woman versus Batman, which stands at 13" tall and is impeccably detailed.

In total, the Collector's Edition includes:

- Exclusive 13" DC Collectibles statue featuring iconic characters Batman and Wonder Woman, the Fortress of Solitude, and the Last Son of Krypton’s escape ship
- Special Collector's Edition of a brand new DC Comics series
- Digital download of DC Universe animated film Justice League: Doom
- Three exclusive skins based on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman from DC COMICS – THE NEW 52

The North American Collector's Edition of Injustice: Gods Among Us will release alongside the retail game this coming April for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it'll retail for $99.99 (US).

Halo 4 Screenshots and Renders

With Halo 4 releasing in a little over a month, the marketing machine is in full swing.  Recently released are even more screenshots and renders.

The new screenshots, showing images from Campaign, Wargames, and Spartan Ops, can be viewed here.

The new renders, showing heavy vehicles and assassinations, can be viewed here.

Be interesting to see if the Flood will make an appearance in Campaign.  I saw some footage of the "Flood" gametype, and it seems their mutated arm functions much like an Energy Sword.

Halo 4 UNSC Weapons

Released more than a month ago, I have no idea how I missed this video, but better late than never.  The following showcases the UNSC weapons that will be featured in Halo 4.

You can check the video out here or below.

All standard UNSC fare, for the most part, with a few new additions.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Official Trailer 2

The second official trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released, and you can watch it here or below:

I'm ecstatic to return to Middle-earth this Holiday, and I can hardly believe it's been over a decade since Peter Jackson first allowed us to set foot there.  While many are skeptical about the book being broken up into three films, I have faith in Jackson to deliver yet another stellar experience.

December 14th can't come fast enough!

Halo 4: Covenant Weapons

343 Industries has released a new trailer for Halo 4 showcasing several of the game's Covenant Weapons.  Fans of the franchise will recognize some old favourites returning to the game, some tried and true staples, and a new weapon as well.

You can check the trailer out here or below:

I'm personally quite happy to see the Covenant Carbine make a comeback.  While I certainly had no issue with the Needle Rifle, the Carbine has been a favourite of mine ever since its introduction almost eight years ago, and I'm sure I'll be spending a good amount of time with it once again.

New Halo 4 Screenshots and Renders

Halo Waypoint is hosting some great new screenshots and renders from Halo 4.

The screenshots feature shots from Campaign, War Games, and Spartan Ops, and you can check them all out here.

The renders feature both characters and enemies and weapons and vehicles, and you can check them out right here.

Overall the game is looking very slick, though I must confess, I'm not a fan of the Jackal redesign, particularly their stubby face.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn "Lecture" Trailer

Yet another trailer has been released for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.  Entitled "Lecture," it features a discussion between an instructor and UNSC students about the insurrection.

You can check out the trailer here or below.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Tokyo Game Show Trailer

NetherRealm Studios and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have released a new trailer at Tokyo Game Show 2012 for their upcoming fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.  You can check it out here or below:

To be completely honest, this looks absolutely great.  The gameplay looks very fluid, complex, and intense and the overall design is definitely heavily influenced by Mortal Kombat.  Very exciting!

Halo: Primordium (Trade Paperback) Announced

I received word from our friends at Tor Books that Greg Bear's second novel in his Forerunner Saga, Halo: Primordium, will be available in trade paperback on October 30th.

Here's the official word:

HALO: PRIMORDIUM is the second book in the New York Times bestselling Halo Forerunner Saga, written by legendary science fiction author Greg Bear. Halo: Primordium is also currently available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook. The first book of the Forerunner Saga, Halo: Cryptum (Book 1) is currently available in trade paperback, e-book, and audiobook.

In Halo: Cryptum, Greg Bear began a three-book arc set in the era of the Forerunners, the ancient and enigmatic creators and builders of the Halos, which continues in Halo: Primordium. The third book in the series, Halo: Silentium is due to release in Spring 2013.

For those who missed out on its hardcover run or were waiting for it to hit trade paperback, you won't have much longer to go.  I greatly enjoyed the novel (reviewed here) and I highly recommend it.  If you're getting set to experience Halo 4 this November, then you'll definitely want to read both books in the series first as they flesh out a lot of essential back story.

PlayStation Plus coming to PlayStation Vita this November

Sony has officially announced that PlayStation Plus is coming to the PlayStation Vita this November.  For those who already subscribe to Sony's premium service via your PlayStation 3, you're already covered.

PlayStation Plus on the PlayStation Vita will over subscribers the following services:

- Instant Game Collection.  The most attractive feature of this premium membership, subscribers will get free access to a library of games, updated regularly.
-  Discounts on the PlayStation Store.
- Cloud Storage, 1 GB worth.
- Automatic Updates for both System Software, Games, and even automatic demo downloads.
- Automatic Trophy sync.

A 12 month subscription to PlayStation Plus is $49.99 (US), and I actually know many who've taken advantage of the service on their PlayStation 3 consoles and are extremely pleased with it.  Depending on what games are offered via PlayStation Plus on the PlayStation Vita this November, I might actually subscribe to the service as it seems to be actually worth its cost.

You can read Sony's official announcement at the PlayStation Blog here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Halo 4: Return of the Forerunners ViDoc

The second ViDoc in the "Making of" Halo 4 series is also out, entitled "Return of the Forerunners."

It provides a lot of great details on the design and direction regarding the Forerunners and their Promethean warriors.

You can check this ViDoc out here or below:

Halo 4: A Hero Awakens ViDoc

Oddly, I missed posting this last weekend.  A "Making of" ViDoc series for Halo 4 is being rolled out, and the first video is entitled "A Hero Awakens."

This ViDoc is very in depth and features a lot of cool details, so don't miss it.

You can check it out here or below:

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn "Joyride" Trailer

The next trailer for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is out.  Entitled "Joyride," you can take a Warthog for a spin right here or below.

Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary Completed on Legendary Difficulty

This past week, a buddy and I teamed up and went through Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary's Campaign on Legendary.

We made very healthy use of the Bandana Skull, as well as Boom and Grunt Funeral, however the use of Skulls notwithstanding this is actually my first time completing Halo: Combat Evolved's Campaign on Legendary.

I also tackled both "The Pillar of Autumn" and "Assault on the Control Room" solo and went back and did "The Library" and "The Maw" on solo to earn "Speed Reader" and "Never Tell Me the Odds," respectively.

Thus, I've now earned all the Achievements the game has to offer.

I'm also still quite impressed with how well the gameplay has aged, and Halo: Combat Evolved is still just as much fun as it was almost eleven years ago.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn "Flag" Trailer

Another teaser trailer for Halo 4: Foward Unto Dawn is up.  Entitled "Flag," it discusses one of the franchises favourite game types.

You can check out the trailer here or below:

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

Set 8 years after the conclusion of 2008's blockbuster, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises is the final film in Christopher Nolan's masterful trilogy.  Thanks to Batman's (Christian Bale) sacrifice and the implementation of the Dent Act,  Gotham City is now free from major crime and Batman has retired from crime fighting, with Bruce Wayne himself becoming reclusive and hiding from the public eye.

Essentially in a state of depression and loss, Bruce still blames himself for Rachel's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) death and simply can't face both himself and the world, that is, until trouble starts for Gotham once more.  For those who are fans of the franchise, you'll certainly know of the character Bane (Tom Hardy), famous for breaking Batman's back in the comics.  As the primary antagonist of The Dark Knight Rises, Bane was once a member of the League of Shadows under Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and fully intends to finish the League's work.  With the on-again/off-again aid of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Bane slowly begins a reign of terror in Gotham, forcing Batman back into action.

I absolutely loved how much this final installment in the trilogy ties into the original film.  It most certainly makes many references to The Dark Knight, but Batman Begins is far more key to the core plot and there are enough twists, turns, and revelations that truly kept me on the edge of my seat.  In tandem with that, and along with a host of supporting characters, both old and new, The Dark Knight Rises does an excellent job of not becoming diluted or over saturated with all its characters.  Nolan really struck a great balance between screen time, character development, and action.

Now having said that, I personally found the action sequences from The Dark Knight Rises to be less spectacular than those found in The Dark Knight.  Sure, they're quite grand and generally flow well with the core plot, but they didn't steal the show for me; the character development did.

The whole tone of The Dark Knight Rises is very dark and as the movie progresses, it becomes more and more desperate.  I loved the play between Batman and Catwoman, who's dynamic I thought worked very well, and Bane was an exceptional antagonist.  I know many had issues with Bane's voice (as well as Batman's, of course), but I personally wasn't bothered by any of this and simply saw it as parts of the characters and of their very real flaws.  And yes, all of the characters are flawed and make simple, key mistakes throughout that have an overreaching effect on the whole film.

I personally got so attached to the characters that there were several moments where I did begin to get a little misty eyed.  Don't mistake me, the plot isn't perfect and there's certainly plot holes to be found (at a few points you really need to stretch your suspension of disbelief), but by movie's end I was still thoroughly entertained and greatly enjoyed myself.

By now, you already know that The Dark Knight Rises is the blockbuster film of the summer, and if you wanted to see it you've likely done so already.  If you're one of the few who haven't, provided you enjoyed Nolan's previous works with the franchise I strongly recommend you experience the film in theatres.  It's a great piece of entertainment filled with depth, heroism, and frail humanity, and it's a near three hour experience that you won't regret.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Halo 4: The Magic of Halo 4

First appearing on the Xbox 360 Dashboard, the video entitled "The Magic of Halo 4" is now available on Halo Waypoint and Halo Waypoint's YouTube Channel.

It essentially shows the team at 343 Industries working on creating the game, and has some cool footage present.

You can check it out here or below:

Halo 4 Controller Presets

In last week's Halo Bulletin, the Controller Presets shipping with Halo 4 were revealed.

Many classic configurations return and a new layout, entitled "Fishstick" (which might prove familiar to fans of other shooter franchises), has been included.

You can view the full list of Controller Presets here (scroll down to "Halo 4 Button Layouts").

Me, I'll be sticking with "Recon."  I've been using this general layout for almost five years now, so why bother changing.

Dead Space 3 Feeder Revealed

I missed this a few weeks back, and the official Dead Space 3 page was updated to showcase a brand new enemy.  Called Feeders, these Necromorphs are blind and hunt by sound and light, alone or in packs, cannibalizing any they come across.

You can read all about Feeders right here.

Halo 4: Foward Unto Dawn "Cryo" Trailer

The next trailer for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn has been released.  Entitled "Cryo," two cadets discuss what it's like to experience cryo sleep.

You can check the trailer out here or below:

The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire Announced

The next add-on is coming to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim this Tues. Sep. 4th, exclusively on Xbox LIVE.

Entitled "Hearthfire," this DLC allows you to buy a plot of land and build your own house.  No, I'm not joking, this is actually a premium DLC add-on.

Don't believe me, check out the official trailer here or below.

I can see how this would appeal to some players, but those players aren't me.  I can think of far better things to spend 400 Microsoft Points on.

I also think it very odd that you can adopt children but you can't actually "make" a baby with your spouse.  This is a Mature rated game, after all.