Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GameStop pulling OnLive coupons from new boxes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

As a special surprise for purchasers of the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the game’s publisher Square Enix included a coupon for a free version of the game on OnLive, a cloud-based game platform that doesn’t have any hardware requirements, all you need is an internet connection.

A commenter on Joystiq warned potential customers not to buy the game from GameStop, as they instructed their employees to pull the coupon from new retail copies.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kanye West to headline Call of Duty XP

When Activision announced Call of Duty XP last month, they said they would reveal special guests as it got closer to the event. Today they announced their headliner, Kanye West, will perform on the Saturday of the two-day event taking place September 2-3. It is the rapper’s first appearance since releasing his collaboration album “Watch The Throne,” with fellow rapper Jay-Z.

This isn’t Activision’s first time booking a top-dollar music name. At their E3 party last year, Eminem performed with guest Rihanna. At past BlizzCon shows, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Ozzy Osbourne performed for the final night’s concert.

Tickets for Call of Duty XP are $150 each, which all goes to the Call of Duty Endowment charity that helps veterans transition back into normal life after their service. Activision expects an attendance of 6,000 for the event that will take place on a 12-acre compound in Los Angeles.

Those who attend will be able to play the co-op mode of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as well as the multi-player mode, which will be officially unveiled at the event. The convention will also host a $1 million Call of Duty: Black Ops tournament that players can qualify for at the convention, or at regional competitions leading up to the convention. Attendees will also receive a free copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition, which goes on sale November 8 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Jurassic Park coming November 15

Telltale Games announced yesterday that its forthcoming Jurassic Park game finally has a release date. Jurassic Park: The Game will release on November 15 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, and PC. In case you forgot, that is right amongst the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Need for Speed: The Run, and Saint’s Row: The Third.

In the past, Telltale released games an episode at a time on a scheduled basis, usually month-to-month. For Jurassic Park: The Game, players will be able to experience all five episodes continuously, as Telltale noted that the game’s five episodes will be released simultaneously.

PC players will be able to buy the game digitally from the Telltale Store, Steam, or other online stores, and PlayStation 3 players can purchase the game through the PlayStation Network. Xbox 360 players, however, will need to purchase the game as a retail disc in order to play. This probably has to do with the guidelines of Xbox Live Arcade and the terms of their recent licensing agreement with Microsoft.

Telltale also revealed that a planned iPad version of the game will come sometime after the initial November 15 release, though it will be released episodically, rather than all at the same time. You can read a preview of Jurassic Park: The Game here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The PC returns to the spotlight

It’s fair to say that in the last decade or so, consoles have been the top dog. For consumers, their relative low entry cost, guarantee to play games tailored for the system, and easy-to-use online multi-player functionality gave confidence for those looking for a dedicated gaming machine. But the rise of consoles left the PC behind in the dust. Games that begun as PC exclusives eventually became console exclusive, leaving anticipating PC gamers feeling betrayed and neglected. Even PC games that were developed along their console counter-parts often suffered from what is referred to as consolification, or designing the game in a way to meet the limitations of a console. However, games releasing this year are beginning to lean more towards accepting the PC as a viable platform instead of an after-thought.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 will use dedicated servers for PC

Activision announced today at Gamescom that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will use dedicated servers to handle multi-player on PCs. Infinity Ward's Creative Strategist Robert Bowling comfirmed the news via Twitter earlier today. The announcement comes as a relief to some who worried the latest iteration of Call of Duty would use IWNet, the system used in the previous Modern Warfare game.

The history of servers in Modern Warfare is a storied one. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare introduced dedicated servers for the first time in the series, offering players a chance to play on reliable and privatized servers. But with the ability to customize your own games also came the ability to hack and cheat. To counter this, Infinity Ward introduced IWNet for Modern Warfare 2, allowing players to jump on and find a game with console-style matchmaking. The loss of customization and lag brought on by host migration led to complaints and boycotts for some.

With Modern Warfare 3, Activision is returning to dedicated servers allowing players to set and enforce their own rules. Activision does have concerns that the openness of dedicated servers could conflict with their upcoming social network Call of Duty Elite. Their plans for official contests with big prizes may conflict when dealing with players who create rule-sets with the intent to go around the rules and gain an advantage over other players.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is set to launch on November 8 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Gabe Newell speaks up about EA games on Steam

In June, Electronic Arts pulled Crysis 2 from Steam, followed by Alice: Madnress Returns, citing new regulations regarding DLC as the reason. Alice eventually made it back, but Crysis 2 remains absent. Dragon Age 2 disappeared last month as well, just as its newest DLC, Legacy, arrived. Electronic Arts has been pretty vocal over the ongoing on-then-off-then-on-again presence of their games on Steam, but Valve has been quiet on the issue. In an interview with Develop, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell spoke about the cause and how it can be resolved.

“I don’t think Valve can pick just one thing and think the issue would go away if we fixed that,” he said, “We have to show EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we’re going to try to show them that.”

Newell noted that companies have to earn the right to install content on their customers' PCs on a regular basis, and Steam isn’t any different. “We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it’s to EA or Ubisoft or whoever. We really want to show there’s a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do.”

He added that Steam is continuing to improve and that those improvements will show companies like Electronic Arts that Steam is a platform where they can grow revenue, “I think at the end of the day we’re going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It’s our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don’t have a natural right to publish their games.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gamescom 2011 Trailers

While not technically the first day of Gamescom 2011 in Cologne, Germany, those attending took the opportunity to release new trailers for upcoming games releasing this year and into next. More information is sure to come as the show floor officially opens up tomorrow, but these visuals will hopefully tide you over until then.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive a go for 2012

Nearly seven years after the release of Counter-Strike: Source, Valve is once again returning to one of the most popular online action games in the world. In a press release, Valve announced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a downloadable game for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Aracde, and Steam.

Being slated for release in early 2012, the game will contain new maps, characters, and weapons and updated versions of classic Counter-Strike maps like de_dust. New gameplay modes are also being introduced along with matchmaking, leaderboards, and other features found in modern FPS games.

ESEA News has a hand-on write up about Counter-Srike: Global Offensive where they discuss some of the new features. “While old guns are being tweaked and re-evaluated, a few new weapons were added, including a new heavy machine gun rifle, new pistols, and a new shotgun, but I think the biggest addition was with the equipment. They added molotov cocktails, an expensive $850 item, which can be used to slow down opponents and re-route opponents through AOE damage.”

Being coined CS: GO, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be co-developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment, who developed Defense Grid and helped with Counter-Strike: Source. Rather than simply build on the current version of Counter-Strike: Source, the game is being built on an updated version of Valve’s Source Engine.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be playable at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle and at Eurogamer Expo in London.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Puzzle Agent 2 Review

Puzzle Agent 2
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Adventure Puzzle
Platforms: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, PSN

Puzzle Agent has been described as the American version of the Professor Layton series. Having never played a Professor Layton game, I can’t say how true that is. What I can say is that the game felt like mix between X-Files and the Coen brothers’ Fargo. But just like the main character, Nelson Tethers, players weren’t satisfied with just one visit to puzzle-obsessed town of Scoggins, Minnesota.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Comic-Con 2011: Darksiders 2 Preview

Darksiders was easily my underrated game of 2010. Bayonetta and Mass Effect 2 released the same month, leaving it in their dust. Despite this, Darksiders found its place among gamers with its mixture of God of War inspired combat and Zelda-like puzzles. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I had a chance to see what’s being added to the sequel, Darksiders 2, and how it’s becoming ever so close to an RPG.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Comic-Con 2011: The Walking Dead Preview

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Telltale game designer Jake Rodkin made it clear that The Walking Dead isn’t your normal zombie game. “The last shot of this game is probably not going to be a guy with two axes on top of a mile-high mountain of zombies,” he said.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Diablo III to include player-run auction house, but you shouldn't worry

Gabe Newell once said that games should be more of a service than a product, but it’s Blizzard Entertainment who is taking that mantra to heart. Blizzard released a flurry of details about their upcoming action-RPG game Diablo III. Among them was a required internet connection to play the game, similar to StarCraft II which released last year. The need for an internet connection is integrated into the game for Blizzard’s service, which can share data and friends lists between StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, and other Blizzard games. Another new addition to Diablo III is the restriction of player-made mods. The restriction is a change in stance from Diablo II, which allowed for free reign of customizability when rearranging the UI and other systems.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to the Future: The Game Wrap-Up Review

With all five of the Back to the Future: The Game episodes now released, we can take a look back to see how well this addition to the Back to the Future franchise fits with the films, as well as some of its high and low points.