Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mario and Sonic are ready for the London 2012 Olympics. You ?

With every second that ticks from the digital clock in Olympic square (when it's working anyway), anticipation of next year's sporting extravaganza grows. And you know the sight that the IOC loves to see most as Olympic fever grips the nation? That's right. Licensed merchandise. Hooray!
I jest, of course. But as the 2012 games approach, a slew of products branded with that rubbish logo will fill our lives, or at least petrol station tills and those stands they have at the front of Tesco.
Few, I doubt, will be as good, honest fun as Sega's video game tie-in Mario and Sonic at the London Olympics. Dropping two of gaming's most recognisable mascots into the world's biggest sporting event is commercial gold no matter the quality of the product, but when they invaded Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010, the games were genuinely fun. With a similar mix of eclectic events and Sega and Nintendo's bubbly video game verve, Mario and Sonic's visit to London is shaping up nicely too.
The setup is immediately familiar from the previous two games. Pit Mario, Sonic and a selection of their chums against each in sport themed mini-games. You can set up tournaments to see who wins the most gold medals, and the game gets funnier with every extra player you add.

At a recent hands-on event, five out of a possible 30 events for the Wii were available for testing, and a medley of mini-events allowed us to take a look at the 3DS version.
First up for the Wii was Equestrianism and, honestly, it was worth it just to see giant turtle king Bowser on a horse. The specific event was showjumping, guiding your nag around a simple course and leaping stripy hurdles. A steady shake of the Wii remote held sideways geed your steed into movement, while tilting the controller to either side pulled on the reins in order to steer. As you approach each obstacle, you are prompted to tap A at the right time to execute the perfect jump.
It's a pleasingly simple control setup, allowing you to concentrate on the important things. It's a familiar approach to control that is weaved through all the minigames. Badminton only assigns the swing of your racket, allowing you to aim your shots to the four corners of the court. If your opponent has swung too late and lofted the shuttlecock into the rafters, you can set yourself up for a smash shot. Each character has their own special move, Mario turns the shuttlecock into a fireball, while Sonic's smash turns into a blue blur of speed, vanishing from sight before hurtling back down to the court. The shots are still returnable, but can often knock you off your feet, leaving you open to an easy drop shot.
Rowing, meanwhile, has you dragging the remote downwards like an oar through water, trying to find a rhythm. The need for two players to match stroke timing in co-op leads to a silly to and fro, and was the event that offered up the most laughs out of the traditional events on offer.
The most interesting addition to the series this time around is the "Dream Events"; fantasy video game twists on Olympic disciplines. We were shown discus, in which your characters launch a giant discus from a cliff before hopping aboard. It's then a race to collect the most gold rings that spin in mid-air, as you fly through a slipstream that twists through rocky mountains (not in London anymore, Dorothy). You can also get a score boost at the end of the course by landing your discus on a giant target, bashing your opponents out of the way in order to hit the bullseye.
Then there's the long jump. As the competitors reach the end of the track, they hurtle themselves into the clouds. From there, you must bounce from cloud to cloud in a neat scrolling 2D platform game, knocking your opponents out of the way in order to record the longest jump. It's a lovely way of marrying the sport theme with the heritage of the heroes on the packaging.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't look like the Wii version will throw up too many surprises in its enjoyable family fun. However, the handheld 3DS version is looking rather more intriguing. The basic setup is the same as its home console partner, but the events are tailor made to the 3DS's various different features. We were shown a quick medley of events that used almost every part of the console. Canoeing has you madly swirling the circle pad in order to pick up speed, gymnastics uses the tilt control to keep balanced, judo is a button-based QTE scrap, swimming asks you to blow into the microphone to maintain breathing, while power walking uses the touchscreen asking you to sweep your stylus in time to music.
This was just five small events of a much larger number, and while the Wii version will no doubt be a lot of fun, it was the 3DS version's cute invention that won me over.
Mario & Sonic at the London Olympics then, is likely to be exactly what you expect. A fun, slightly daft way to enjoy the spirit of the Olympics in the company of familiar mascots. Sounds more appealing than the other inevitable "realistic" Olympics game that will form the great wave of merchandise, doesn't it? But how about a crossover? I've always wondered who would win a race between Sonic and Usain Bolt.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

If you look six years back in the video game history you will be surprised by the amount of World War II FPSs.
Someone without any special knowledge can tell that over 60% of games involved shooting Nazis in a creepy region in France.Back then the world started getting tired of this theme and this made the industry change its direction to Modern day Combat.

On the PC, however, one plucky multiplayer shooter never lost its sheen. Its obsession with realism and focus on the less trendy Eastern front kept it different and engaging. Meanwhile, its heart-in-mouth combat and dedication to the real soldier's experience truly made you feel like an active participant in a rubble-strewn nightmare. On some servers, the allure of World War II never quite faded.This game is named "Red Orchestra : Osfront 41-45" and it's getting a sequel.

" Heroes of Stalingrad " will be a more focused affair than Osfront 41-45. The crosshair falls upon close-knit battlefields in the Battle of Stalingrad , a set-to between the Germans and the Russians that stretched from July 1942 to February 1943.Within this battle various authentically recreated locations, like a wrecked train station and a vast grain elevator building, will see game modes like Territory (an attack/defend objective takeover mode, similar to what went before in RO1) and Countdown (a one-life-only timed assault on objectives) play out.

As for the general game mechanics the sequel remains a hardcore FPS with  locational damage, true ballistics, bullet-drop, accurate levels of scenery penetration and health that won't magically grow back (but bleeding can at least be stymied with a bandage).All of these factor into the realism mix.

Red Orchestra is a serious, bloody business, and it's exactly the sort of specialist and PC-dedicated shooter that the platform has been aching for. Tripwire was once a hero of the mod community, and Heroes of Stalingrad still has the delightful tang of the era when mod-teams would routinely blind-side you with dazzling new gameplay concepts and rule-sets. It's a proper PC shooter, then, with a proper PC shooter mentality.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is due to be released Q2 2011 on PC.



Tuesday, 17 May 2011

L.A Noire, an upcoming adventure game by Rockstar

Over the last five years Rockstar's titles have seen a subtle shift in tone. The publisher has always been known for creating fantastic experiences, but in the past, their titles provided an intoxicating mix of mature-themed content and boisterous fun. Their best games – most notably the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto series – allowed players free-run in brilliantly constructed worlds. They contained a great deal of violence, sure, but all of it was wrapped up in satirical humour and a cartoon-like veneer, which conspired the take the edge off.
This all changed with Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008, which saw Rockstar's open world environment presented as a living, breathing city which was better and more believably constructed than ever before. The game also boasted one of the best stories in any game that year, following Niko Bellic, ex-soldier from Eastern Europe, as he tried to make an honest living in his new chosen homeland, the United States. Bellic was a classic noir character; his quest for the American Dream was a starting point, but gradually, as he ran afoul of shady characters and desperate situations, he was forced to turn to the talents he'd learned in war to survive. As a result, hell opened up beneath his feet.
Bellic, it turned out, was one of the first of a series of fully-fleshed characters to star in a Rockstar title. Over the next few years, the publisher's GTA DLC and Red Dead Redemption releases presented players with a host of damaged characters; all of whom had violent pasts, all of whom were surrounded by antagonists and danger and all of whom were trying to make good in the worst possible circumstances. Rockstar's protagonists are no longer ciphers, like the silent Claude Speed in GTA III. They are complete, well rounded individuals that the player comes to care about.
This strong emphasis on character is more front and center than ever before in Rockstar's upcoming game, L.A. Noire. Set in 1947, the game follows the fortunes of one Cole Phelps, a soldier back from the war turned policeman on the means streets of Los Angeles. The post-war period setting instantly brings to mind classic noir entertainment such as Chinatown, The Big Sleep and L.A. Confidential; here, perhaps more so than in any Rockstar game before it, players find themselves walking in a world of shadows and intrigue. Phelps is a man set against the rules of his time; he's an honest cop trying to make good in an era of endemic police corruption and heightened racial tensions and in a city where everyone seems to be playing an angle.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Star Wars : The Leaked Republic

BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is still far, far away from being your hands, but lucky members of the game’s official community have been initiated into the first wave of closed game testing this past weekend. You know what that means, right? Cue the leaks.
Courtesy of Leakerz.net comes some short snippets of in-game action, a look the bounty hunter and trooper classes, and a bit of menu navigation, as well as a slew of character creation screenshots. Sure you’ve seen the game in action multiple times so far via fancy, officially released material and developer/publisher sanctioned demos, but this is the real deal. Now it’s in the hands of fans. Get them while they’re hot, because EA isn’t likely to let this stay up for long; other beta media from The Old Republic hit YouTube days earlier and were yanked within mere hours.
Star Wars: The Old Republic us currently pegged for spring 2011, and testing is expected to extend to additional players as the months progress.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The Witcher was a critical acclaimed PC game which was developed by the polish studio named CD Projekt.The sequel is coming on May 17th by the title ''Assasins of Kings".The first game had its flaws that come in the name of poor voice acting,lack of stable and exciting combat system but it had the power of a solid storyline and that's what made CD Projekt release the sequel which by the way looks like one of the best games coming this year.Well the news are "The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is coming in less than 24 hours and it's freaking hot ".

Assasins in the Ottoman Empire ? Think twice.

Rumors have been swirling for days about a new Assassin’s creed game but today Ubisoft has confirmed it. The new game will be called “Assassin’s creed: Revelations” and will again star Ezio Auditore. The game will take place in Constantinople and will have Ezio trying to uncover the secrets of the Templars and Assassins. The game will finish up the Ezio trilogy (which I never knew was supposed to be a trilogy) and give even more insight into the present day shenanigans of Desmond and crew. Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood ended with one hell of a cliffhanger so it’ll be good to see where things go from there.
Multiplayer also makes a return but does anyone actually care about that? Assassin’s creed is all about the story as far as I’m concerned. And that story will continue this fall when Assassin’s creed: Revelations is released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Terraria a new game coming to STEAM today !

The makers of Terraria (a minecraft inspired indie game) made clear that today is the big day of Terraria coming to STEAM.The game managed to gather fans before its official release because of the leak that spread across the internet the past week.In my opinion everyone in need of putting  his imagination in action should try this game.Also the modding possibilities are endless because the game implements a unique NPC system that is available only if you meet some requirements with the basic one been having a house.The game is truly a gem among these years generic FPS festival,I played the leaked version and I can say I enjoyed it a lot,so be sure to support the developers