Friday, October 26, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Part 4

The fourth episode of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is now live, and you can check it out here or below:

Very action packed; I enjoyed it immensely.  Good to see John-117 in action, and I also like how they're displaying the Covenant: properly menacing yet still mysterious and alien.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn "Mid-Season Trailer"

To wet your appetite for the last two episodes of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a Mid-Season Trailer has been released.

You can give it a watch here or below:

Halo 4 Launch Trailer

The Launch Trailer for Halo 4 is out, and you can check it out here or below:

Not bad, though I liked the "Scanned" Trailer much better.

BioShock: Industrial Revolution Pre-Order Bonus

Those who pre-order BioShock Infinite will receive access to BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution, a separate puzzle game containing 60 puzzles that allow players to earn in-game items for the full retail game.

These items are unique and are not planned to be offered via any other means, nor is BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution planned to be offered through anything other than pre-orders.

For full details, you can check out the official FAQ here and you can read the announcement page here.

BioShock Infinite "Beast of America" Trailer

A new trailer for BioShock Infinite has been released, entitled "Beast of America."

Looks great, absolutely great, and you can check it out here or below:

That lighthouse can't be the one that leads to Rapture, as it wouldn't have been built yet, but it certainly is reminiscent of it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BioShock Infinite Ultimate Songbird Edition and Premium Edition Announced

Now this is a collector's edition!  The BioShock Infinite Premium Edition has been announced, and it contains a slew of bonus content and in-game items:

- A 3" keychain of a "Murder of Crows" bottle of vodka
- A 5x7 lithograph
- A 25mm Handyman miniture
- A mini artbook
- 3 in-game Gear Power Ups
- A digital soundtrack
- Avatar Costumes (for Xbox 360 versions) and themes (for PC and PlayStation 3 versions)

Got even more money to burn?  Well then you can pick up the Ultimate Songbird Edition, which contains everything the Premium Edition has plus a 9.5" Songbird statue.

The BioShock Infinite Premium Edition will retail for $79.99 (US) and the Ultimate Songbird Edition will retail for $149.99 (US).

You can check out the full details right here.

Dead Space 3 Limited Edition Revealed

The Limited Edition for Dead Space 3 has been revealed, though it's certainly pretty basic as far as collector's editions go.

Essentially, pre-order the game and you'll be upgraded to the "Limited Edition," which is simply two DLC packs containing two suits and two weapons.

That's certainly nothing too staggering, but considering pre-ordering costs nothing _and_ you get 800 Reward Zone Points at Best Buy for doing so, I suppose I should get on that.

There's also a trailer showing the Limited Edition items, which you can check out here or below.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Part 3

The third episode in the five part live action series, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, is now live, and you can check it out here or below:

That was awesome.  Great pacing, action, and a solid Halo feel.  Or to put it in the words of a buddy of mine: "Shit just got real."

Halo 4 "Scanned" Trailer

343 Industries has just released an extremely well done CG and live action trailer for Halo 4 entitled "Scanned."

You can check it out here or below:

Very, very cool, and Halo 4 is only two and a half weeks away!

Making Halo 4 Multiplayer ViDoc

343 Industries has released a new ViDoc detailing the development of Halo 4's Infinity Multiplayer.

The ViDoc is quite in-depth and you can check it out here or below:

Halo: Silentium's Release Date Updated

Our friends at Tor Books have sent word that the release date for Halo: Silentium has been updated.  You can check out the official release below:

Tor Books Updates Release Date of the Third Halo Novel by Legendary Science Fiction Author Greg Bear

The final installment in the New York Times bestselling Forerunner Saga

New York, NY – October 18, 2012 - Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—is thrilled to announce the final release date for the third novel in the New York Times bestselling Halo Forerunner Saga, HALO: SILENTIUM, written by legendary science fiction author Greg Bear. The first two books of the Forerunner Saga, Halo: Cryptum and Halo: Primordium are currently available in trade paperback, e-book, and audiobook.  This newest book in the series, HALO: SILENTIUM will release in hardcover from Tor on March 19, 2013 alongside simultaneous audio and e-book editions.

The New York Times bestselling Halo® series of novels, based on the hugely successful Halo videogame franchise, has sold millions of copies, and is part of a global phenomenon that has dominated the science fiction landscape over the last decade.

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 continued in Halo: Primordium. Now, in the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood—a horrifying shape-changing parasite—has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defenses.

Only the Didact and the Librarian—husband and wife pushed into desperate conflict—hold the keys to a solution. Facing the consequences of a mythic tragedy, one of them must now commit the greatest atrocity of all time—to prevent an unmatched evil from dominating the entire universe.
Tor Books has proudly partnered with Microsoft and 343 Industries to publish every book set in this iconic universe.  Along with the books of the Forerunner Saga, Tor also publishes another all-new Halo trilogy penned by New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss that explores the Halo Universe in the wake of the final events of Halo 3. Traviss’s first novel, Halo: Glasslands, came out in 2011, with Halo: The Thursday War out this month (October 2012).

The Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that have grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” for Xbox in 2001, the rich fiction of the franchise has since inspired a series of blockbuster Xbox and Xbox 360 video games, New York Times best-selling novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more. To date, the Halo franchise has sold more than 43 million copies to date, with franchise sales eclipsing $3 billion over its lifetime. Halo 4” marks the beginning of a new saga in the iconic franchise, as Master Chief returns to confront his own destiny and an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Developed by 343 Industries exclusively for Xbox 360, “Halo 4” will release on Nov. 6, 2012.

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-five years in a row the company has been named Best Publisher in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

About “Halo”
The “Halo” franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” (2001), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games has since inspired multiple New York Times bestselling novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more.

Published by Microsoft Studios, the “Halo” franchise of games is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. To date, more than 43 million copies of “Halo” games have been sold worldwide, driving more than 3.3 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox LIVE.

So it's delayed by about two months, which certainly isn't too bad at all.  Looking forward to the book and the conclusion of the trilogy!

Xbox 360 2012 Xbox LIVE Update now Live

This week Microsoft released the 2012 Xbox LIVE Update, which is a mandatory system update for the Xbox 360 console.

You can read the full details on Major Nelson's site here, but generally speaking:

- They cleaned up the horrible Dashboard layout introduced in last year's update and made it ever so slightly less horrible with more ads
- Internet Explorer for Xbox has been added, allowing you to surf the web from your console provided you have an Xbox LIVE Gold membership
- Different Channels now Recommend other products for you to buy; so essentially, even more ads.  Heck, even if you do a search via Bing, ads are in the results
- You can now Pin your most used games and aps to the Pin submenu on the Home Channel
- Zune Marketplace has been re-branded to Xbox Video
- The crappy Facebook and Twitter apps are gone

Personally, I find this all hugely underwhelming and generally just a continued screw up over what used to be a good interface (NXE).  The amount of ads, even for Gold members, is also pretty insulting.

Halo: Combat Evolved and Resistance: Burning Skies Sold

Earlier this week, I decided to sell a few games and clear a little space on my shelf.  Since I own Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary, I'm never going to touch Halo: Combat Evolved again, and so I took it to Deja Vu Discs and sold it to them for a really decent price for a ten year old title (also found a used copy of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks should I decide to pick that up later).

I then went to Best Buy and traded in my copy of Resistance: Burning Skies for half the cost I bought it for.  The game had its fun moments, but there's really no replay value and it was clunky enough where I know I'm not going to touch it again.  I'm also planning to snag a PlayStation Plus membership in the coming months, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't end up on their Instant Games list, so if I do get the urge I should be able to play it again there.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

Back in the early '90's when I first started getting into PC gaming, a buddy introduced me to what is still one of the most engaging and simply amazing games I've ever played, on any platform, in the history of ever.  That game was X-COM: UFO Defence.

X-COM: UFO Defence saw players take on the role of the head of the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit (X-COM) having you set up bases and managing soldiers, scientists, and engineers as you attempted to assess and stop a global alien invasion.  It was extremely detailed and complicated with a lots of logistics, and once you got on the ground for some combat against the alien invaders, it became a great turn-based strategy game.

 X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a modern day re-imagining of it, and surprisingly it's still a turn-based strategy game.  The Xbox 360 demo is pretty short and consists of two levels, basically what I suspect to be the tutorials for the full game.

The first has you leading a squad of four soldiers in Germany, learning how to move, take cover, attack, etc.  The controls take a little getting used to but are fairly intuitive and since the game is turn-based you can take your time figuring stuff out.  Gone are the Time Units found in the original and instead each soldier has two bars.  Moving uses one bar up to a certain distance, but go beyond it or dash and you use your second bar.  Managing the use of this bar is important as it allows them to react during the alien's turn and can be key to keeping your guys alive.

The second mission sees you leading another squad of four, but this time you get to choose to thwart an alien attack at one of two spots around the globe.  The country you assist will grant you a bonus, extra scientists or funding, but the one you neglect will be angry with you and your relationship with them will be damaged.  Thus, the choices you make are difficult and truly do matter, and you'll want to keep the larger strategic picture in mind.

Overall I found the gameplay very solid and a great spiritual successor to the original.  You really do want to take your time moving across a map, having your soldiers cover one another and take cover properly, and you'll specialize them into different roles (medics, heavy weapons, snipers, etc.)  Certain actions, like attacking an alien, now transition to a in-game cinematic which is flashy, though I personally felt unnecessary.  Something like that wasn't needed in the original, but I understand they did it to broaden the appeal to the more mainstream audience of today.

There wasn't much to tinker with for base management in the demo.  Your one base is already established and while you get to sample a bit of research and soldier management (promotions an such), you don't get to do much else other than moving around it.

Overall the demo took me about 45 minutes to complete, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  While I won't be picking up X-COM: Enemy Unknown right now simply due to time constraints, it's definitely on my radar.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Part 2

The second episode for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is out now, and you can watch it on Halo Waypoint, MachinimaPrime, or below:

I quite enjoyed this episode, more than the first.  It's building nicely and the character development got a bit stronger.  I also liked the cameo appearance of Frank O'Connor.

Mass Effect 3: Omega Announced

BioWare has officially announced the next Single Player DLC for Mass Effect 3.  Entitled "Omega," the add-on sees Aria enlisting the aid of Commander Shepard to take Omega back from Cerberus hands.

Releasing on November 27th for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3, the DLC will sell for 1200 Microsoft Points, 1200 BioWare Points, or $14.99 (US) respectively, depending on platform.

You can check out BioWare's official blog post announcing the add-on right here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Injustice: Gods Among Us Box Art and Three New Characters Revealed

The official box art for Injustice Gods: Among Us has been revealed on the official Facebook page here, and in addition, three new characters have been revealed:  Green Arrow, Joker, and Green Lantern have all been confirmed.

You can check out the announcement video for Green Arrow here or below:

Absolutely love that trailer; great style.  An official screenshot showing the Joker and Green Lantern has also been released here or below.

Pamela Horton, Playboy's Miss October 2012 Interview

Playboy's Miss October, the lovely Pamela Horton, not only has a sense of style and creativity, but she also loves a good video game.

While her work with Playboy clearly speaks for itself, I was quite curious about her gaming life.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to ask her several questions, available for your own reading pleasure below:

1) What first drew you into gaming as a hobby and a passion?
I've been a gamer since I was 5, when my dad introduced me to Legend of  Zelda: A Link to the Past.

2) You're of course well established in League of Legends, but are there other MMO's or genres that you enjoy?
I enjoy RPGS mostly. World of Warcraft and Diablo III, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Pokemon, that whole bag of chips. I do like puzzle and strategy games like Bust-A-Move (Bubble Bobble).

3) While PC gaming is always on the forefront of innovation, console gaming is huge.  Do you have a preferred console and what consoles have you owned in your lifetime?

I have always been a Nintendo Girl. All my original favorites were on the Super Nintendo. I do own all current systems though.

4) Is there an upcoming game that you're really excited for?

God of War: Ascension and Assassins Creed III!

5) It's often hotly debated as to whether games are considered art or not.  As both a gamer and an artist what are your thoughts on games as an art form?
To me, any creation is considered art. Whether you work with paints, words, computers, crafts, everything you create is your art. I agree completely with that.

6) Have you ever had the privilege to meet any big names from the games industry?  If not, is there a specific individual that you'd love to meet?

Almost every Nintendo fan would answer this the same: Shigeru Miyamoto. Either him or Nobuo Uematsu, the man who wrote the music for a lot of the Final Fantasy series.

7) If you had to describe your sex life with a game title, what would it be?
Infinite Undiscovery. Just the title, not the game of course. I am in a serious long term relationship with my soul mate, but every day I seem to learn something new and absolutely amazing.

8) Everyone has that one specific game they really remember fondly from yester-year.  What's yours?
Chrono Trigger or EarthBound.  Those games are classics that I will always love.

I'd like to thank Miss Horton for taking the time to answer my questions.  You can find out more about her art at her newly launched web site here, and you can check out her Playboy pictorial in the issue currently on newstands or via iPlayboy now.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Trial Impressions

About two weeks ago, I downloaded the Trial for LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and gave it a whirl on my GO trip in to work.  Outside of tinkering with LittleBigPlanet during Best Buy Gaming Invasion 08, I haven't truly experienced the franchise and wasn't sure what to expect, aside from the fact that I'd be controlling a well known character called Sackboy.

Well, the trial for LittleBigPlanet PS Vita starts off with style and humour where a wonderful British narrator takes you through the basics and outlines the gist of Sackboy's upcoming adventure in the world of Carnivalia, a place that once embodied joy and laughter but has become twisted by the evil Puppeteer.

Right away I was completely impressed by the game's colourful and lively art style, its use of music and creative humour to draw me in, and the sense of fun the title simply projected.  I enjoyed customizing my Sackboy and taking him through the well established tutorial and beginning the first levels of the Trial.

Of course being a PlayStation Vita title,  LittleBigPlanet PS Vita makes use of the handheld's touchscreen, allowing you to not only select items but to also place and resize stickers, move specific blocks and jump pads, twirls various platforms, and to interact with the various Side Levels available.  While in some PlayStation Vita games I found the use of the touchscreen to be very gimmicky, I didn't have that feeling at all with LittleBigPlanet PS Vita's Trial, and it seemed to me like the developers were actually using the touchscreen to compliment the gameplay instead of to dominate it.

I was also impressed with the length of the Trial. There are six levels to complete, including two Side Levels consisting of a whack-a-mole style mini game and a Tetris styled game, and you can go back and replay them as much as you like provided you don't actually exit the game or shut off your PlayStation Vita.  Sadly, being a Trial version, there's no way to actually save your progress, meaning that you need to play through the entire Trial in one sitting which took me nearly an hour and a half.  While the Trial's length is certainly great, it's a shame that without the ability to save your progress it doesn't really cater to the concept of portable gaming.

In truth though, that's the only con I found in my entire experience with LittleBigPlanet PS Vita's Trial.  It offered me a simple, fun, and intuitive platforming experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and would love to play more of.  While I might not pick the game up right away, as I'm expecting to get a PlayStation Plus membership in a month or so and want to see when it'll arrive to the Instant Game Collection, I fully intend to play through LittleBigPlanet PS Vita at some point.  Games showing this level of style and creativity don't come along too often anymore, and this is one experience I won't want to miss out on.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Resistance: Burning Skies (PlayStation Vita) Review

Last Spring, Sony Computer Entertainment made gaming history by publishing the first portable first person shooter to ever use dual analogue sticks.  Yes, I'm talking about the PlayStation Vita exclusive title, Resistance: Burning Skies, which boasts true console-style control in portable form.

The implications of this are completely huge.  While there's many shooters available on other portable platforms, such as iOS, many complain that the controls in these games simply aren't up to snuff, and the prospect of having a piece of hardware with native dual sticks to allow precision control is extremely appealing.  The PlayStation Vita also packs some solid internal hardware, allowing developers to craft a truly beautiful and immersive experience.

Resistance: Burning Skies features a full single player Campaign spread across six Chapters, as well as online Multiplayer via the PlayStation Network which supports up to eight Players over three different game modes.  This all adds up to the perfect recipe for a solid portable shooter and the inaugural portable title to use dual sticks, which leaves me with just one question:  What went wrong?

The game is set at the very beginning of the Chimeran invasion of the United States, and players take on the role of Tom Riley, a firefighter and national guardsman who gets caught up in the chaos while simply trying to protect his family.  Along the way, Tom ends up playing a major role in the beginnings of the resistance as he meets Ellie, a militia leader, and works with her and the Minutemen to aid other survivors and the military.  Overall this sounds like a pretty solid premise and the building blocks are all there, but at the end of the day Nihilistic Software makes some really odd design decisions that really hold the title back.

The big thing Resistance: Burning Skies has going for it is the controls, as the PlayStation Vita sports dual analogue sticks.  Overall, they get the job done well and the player can move and look around with ease, but there's other control hitches that keep the experience from being perfectly smooth.  The analogue sticks don't double up as buttons like on a console Controller, so Nihilistic Software had to find other methods of working all the standard controls in.  Basically, the breakdown is as follows:

- Left Stick = Move
- Right Stick = Look
- Right Bumper = Fire
- Left Bumper = Aim Down Sites/Zoom in with Scope
- Square = Reload
- Triangle = Swap Weapons/Bring up the Weapon Wheel (when held)
- X = Jump
- Circle = Crouch
- Select = Grey Tech
- Down on the D-Pad = Sprint (The player can also double tap the rear touch screen)
- Weapon Alternate Fire = Touch Screen (Motion varies by weapon)
- Melee = Touch Screen Button
- Frag Grenade = Touch Screen Button
- Hedgehog Grenade = Touch Screen Button

Just taking a look at the above, this all seems pretty straightforward and logical, but in actual practice it doesn't work as solidly as it should.  For example, adjust your grip on your PlayStation Vita and the game may recognize this as double tapping the rear Touch Pad, which will cause you to start Sprinting.  Die and load your last Checkpoint and the game conveniently forgets what you set as your secondary weapon, forcing you to hold Triangle and reselect from the weapon wheel which has a negative affect on the overall pacing of the Campaign.

The Touch Screen can also be extremely finicky.  The game has Intel Items scattered about the levels which you collect by holding them to pick them up, but if you accidentally just tap instead of actually holding, you'll use your weapon's Alternate Fire and waste some ammo.  You also open doors and pick up Ammo and Grey Tech by touching and holding them, which can lead to the same accidental Alternate Fire use if you're not careful.  While not the end of the world it added some needless aggravation to the game, and really, there's no reason you couldn't just pick up at least Ammo and Grey Tech by simply running over them.  This makes some of the game's Touchscreen use feel extremely gimmicky.

Another odd thing worth mentioning with Sprinting is that when Tom runs out of stamina (there's no metre to judge when this will happen), unlike every other shooter character out there who slows down to a walk Tom simply stops dead in his tracks, forcing you to release the Left Stick and re-press it upwards to keep moving.  If you're trying to run for your life or to get to cover this delay in fluid movement could see you loading your last Checkpoint.

Speaking of cover, the game does have a cover system but it's horribly clunky and unreliable.  You take cover by approaching a wall and moving into it, but this doesn't always work.  When it does you can aim around the cover or peak out as per normal, but the game features some odd clipping issues where shots can sometimes penetrate through the edges of cover (and I'm not talking about the Auger which is designed to do this) rendering it pretty useless to the point where I barely used it.

Visually, the game doesn't look as horrible as many pro-reviews have criticized it for, but it doesn't look jaw dropping either.  Some levels, textures, and character models look spot on, others look lower quality and faded.  Tom and his family look pretty good for a portable title, and Ellie and her resistance fighters look pretty solid as well, but random civilians tend to look less sharp and impressive.  The Chimera all look pretty solid though, and weapons and weapon effects look great.  Interestingly, while the PlayStation Vita can take screenshots at any time by pressing the PS Button and Start, Resistance: Burning Skies disables this handheld's feature.

The game's voice acting is okay, it gets the job done and isn't horrible but it's nothing to write home about.  The sound effects used in the game are very good and feel right, and the musical score is actually really, really nice when it's playing but there's long periods in the game which has no music at all, which I just found extremely odd.

In terms of the actual gameplay and enemy AI, to be perfectly honest it all felt extremely old school to me.  Most of the time Tom enters a room, several Chimera storm in, and you shoot them up pretty good allowing you to move to the next room and repeat.  The Chimera do take cover and move about, but not to any amazing extent.  Ellie also follows Tom around for much of the Campaign, and while she provides some decent fire support (she actually killed the Chapter 1 boss for me) her AI is really lackluster.  She'll often just stop and not catch up to you for a while, or she'll annoyingly rush ahead triggering a wave of enemies which is rather inconsistent and annoying.  Throughout most of the game, I actually felt like I was playing a late '90's shooter with early 2000's graphics, which isn't a horrible thing for a nostalgia trip but I'd expect better from a showcase piece like this.

It's a shame the game's save system wasn't solid and retro though.  Resistance: Burning Skies uses the single most annoying Checkpoint save system I've ever seen.  This is a portable shooter, meaning I might only be able to play it for about 20 minutes at a time, but the Checkpoint system clearly wasn't designed with this in mind.  The Campaign isn't long at only six Chapters, but it took me roughly double what it should have because it takes forever to reach an actual Checkpoint, and I had to abandon my game on many occasions before making it to one.  This means there were times when I played the same several battles a dozen times simply because I couldn't reach a save point, which was tedious and extremely frustrating.  What's ironic is the game saves ever time you pick up an Intel Item or Grey Tech or whatever, but it simply saves your character progress and not your actual place in the game.  Every time you boot up the game to you're also forced to watch the Chapters low compression quality cinematic as it loads the level, and while this is more interesting than a basic load screen with tips popping up, it got annoying seeing the same video dozens of times.  Clearly when designing much of the game Nihilistic Software failed to take into account how portable the platform is meant to be.

As I mentioned above, Resistance: Burning Skies features online Multiplayer for up to eight players in three game modes, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Survivor.  The first two modes are pretty self explanatory and Survivor is like Infection from the Halo franchise.  One person starts as a Chimera and every time he kills someone they respawn as Chimera.  You can also set up three different Loadouts to choose from and as you complete games and earn XP you level up, allowing you to get additional weapon upgrades and the like.

Sadly though, it takes a bit to find a game unless you use the "All Modes" option, giving you the broadest pool to try and find games in.  Most players left online have been playing for a while so new players will struggle as they get killed easily until they can finally start getting some decent upgrades.  When a match ends too the entire game seems to freeze for several seconds while it tabulates experience and score, which I also found annoying.

At the end of the day Resistance: Burning Skies isn't a horrible game, but it's not a great one either.  There's definitely some fun to be had here in either single or Multiplayer, but the game's design is extremely inconsistent and it really has a "rushed" feel to it.  To sum it up, it's a basic, mediocre shooter that shows us glimpses of what solid portable first person shooters could be like if they were developed with more care and polish.

There's no way I can recommend the game at full retail price, but as a bargain bin title (which I picked it up at), you'll get some fun out of it and you'll also boost your PlayStation Network Level very easily as all the game's Trophies can be earned in a single playthrough and one match of Multiplayer.  It's such as shame though as Resistance: Burning Skies could have been so much more, it really could have been the defining game for this fledgling platform, but instead it ends up being a pretty forgettable more-of-the-same shooter with flashes of greatness muddled by poor design decisions.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Part 1

Yesterday, the hugely anticipated live action series, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, premiered on both Halo Waypoint and MachinimaPrime, and it was well worth the wait.

Leading into Halo 4 itself, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn tells the story of Hastati Squad, a group of young UNSC cadets training to fight Insurrectionists just before the Human-Covenant War kicks off.

You can check out the first full episode here or below:

Very well done.  I absolutely love the costume and armour design, so authentic, and I really enjoyed the nods to the expanded universe.  Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is being told over five parts with a new episode airing each Friday leading right up to the launch of Halo 4.

Mass Effect 3: Retaliation Multiplayer DLC Announced

Earlier this week, BioWare and EA announced the next DLC add-on for Mass Effect 3.  Entitled "Retaliation," it features new weapons, characters, and enemies with the real highlight being the return of the Collectors.  It also adds environmental hazards to many existing maps, so we'll need to see how that all plays out.

The trailer for the new Multiplayer DLC can be viewed here or below:

This looks really cool, actually, and what's even cooler is that it's completely free.  Mass Effect 3: Retaliation launches this coming Tuesday on all platforms, and you can check out full details right here.

Playboy's Miss October Loves to Game

Who says cute girls don't play video games?  Earlier this week I received word that Playboy's Miss October, Pamela Horton, loves MMO's.  You can check out the official release below:


Wichita, Kansas’ own Pamela Horton, 24, is Playboy’s newest Playmate of the Month, and is also featured on the cover of the magazine’s October 2012 issue (on newsstands and now, with additional photos available at

The Japanese/German beauty is both a multimedia artist and experienced gamer.  “I’ve delved into everything—acrylics, pastels, sculpting and even glassblowing,” said Miss October.  “I’ve also always loved video games and comic books, so when I paint in oil, I start with something realistic, but it inevitably scoots off into cartoon territory.  I’m definitely prone to the fantastic!”

Pamela, a gaming aficionado, is an established League of Legends player, specializing with Teemo and Soraka Solo Queue.   She sells her art and handicrafts on and recently launched a new website,

As for her thoughts on being both the October issue’s Playmate of the Month and Cover Girl?  “I’ve had many blessings in my life, but this double whammy is the biggest of them all!”

Very cool, but wait, it gets even better!  I recently had the privilege to interview this lovely gamer and artist, and look for that to be posted up soon!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Dead Space: Catalyst Review

The second novel to be published in the Dead Space franchise, Dead Space: Catalyst focuses on the relationship between Istvan and Jensi Sato and how they ultimately end up involved with a Marker.

Growing up the brothers are inseparable, always getting into trouble, trouble usually started by Istvan.  While Jensi is the younger of the duo, Istvan has always had psychological issues and hears voices in his head, leaving him socially awkward amongst other children.  Obsessed with patterns and numbers, Istvan literally sees the world differently than most and acts out in strange ways, leaving Jensi to constantly shepherd him and pick up the pieces.

This all changes in their teens when the government has to put them in foster care and the two are separated, Jensi being placed in a good home and Istvan rejecting foster care completely and fleeing to be on his own.  With no one to watch over him and guide him, Istvan's isolation causes him to disconnect further with reality, allowing unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of him over time.

Istvan is tricked into doing a serious crime which sees him arrested and spirited away by the government.  Jensi spends years trying to find and help his brother, ultimately taking him on a journey to a penal colony on an isolated planet where the government just so happens to be experimenting with a Marker.  Fans of the Dead Space games will certainly be able to guess what ensues.

While it's not made perfectly clear when in the Dead Space timeline the novel is set, my guess would be leading up to and during the beginning of the first game, as Aegis VII is mentioned, as are other Marker sites.  While taking place in new locations, Dead Space: Catalyst certainly captures the feel of the games with dark, claustrophobic and remote locations, religious extremists, and science gone wrong; fans of the franchise will feel right at home with the book.

I personally really enjoyed how B. K. Evenson fleshed out the relationship between the two brothers, and it was quite captivating experiencing the world as Istvan does, with such a disconnect and innocence that seems like a mix of both dementia and autism, and how this condition gets even more twisted once the Marker enters the mix.

There are, of course, Unitologists, Earthgov officials, military personal, and other Dead Space staples and archetypes, and they all fit into the narrative in pretty established ways.  Evenson takes a solid amount of time fleshing out all of these supporting characters and weaving them nicely into the story, which makes for a very detailed and entertaining read that fans of the series are sure to enjoy.  Paced slowly at first during this character development, the novel picks up when the expected Necromorph outbreak occurs.  Another plus for fans of the series is we actually get to learn how Infectors are created, something the games themselves never truly explained.

Considering the amount of time and detail Evenson took to build everything up, I was actually rather surprised how quickly the novel wraps up.  There's definitely an opening for a continuation, which is always a good thing, but the last several chapters actual feel extremely rushed and to a point, even anti-climactic, which is rather a shame.  Many key supporting characters either meet their end quickly or are simply never touched upon again, which actually feels odd for the novel's detailed and meticulous character building earlier on.

Despite this, however, Dead Space: Catalyst is a very enjoyable read and one Dead Space fans will find quite entertaining.  The book is due to be published in October 2012, so keep your eyes peeled at your local retailer!