January 18, 2012

Demo Report – The Darkness II

Demo Report The Darkness II 2
If you recall my lengthy diatribe on the matter of The Darkness, and the urgency with which it demands to be played, you might guess that The Darkness II is a subject in which I am greatly invested. I very much need for this title to deliver, and for that reason the question of whether Digital Extremes is equipped to succeed Starbreeze is a puzzle I have been pondering since the day of this title’s announcement.

The demo sets up the premise of the sequel and offers little else in the way of narrative—it provides a capable teaser, and then moves directly along to the matter of vicious tentacle murder.


December 21, 2010

Demo Report – Dead Space 2

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 7:01 pm

Dead Space 2
The demo for Dead Space 2 hits XBL and PSN today, and with it comes the opportunity to step back into the shoes of mentally imbalanced and hyper-lethal space engineer Isaac Clarke.

The demo opens with a few minutes of video covering the events of Dead Space: Extraction and Dead Space (Don’t play it if you haven’t finished Dead Space, it spoils the ending!) before dropping you onto the Sprawl, a massive space station. If you’re familiar with Dead Space, what follows is very much familiar: you’ll slink through the corridors warily, and sooner or later some monsters will explode from the walls to attack you. The dismemberment mechanic from the original is, of course, still present; careful aim can mean the difference between felling an enemy with two shots or six. Never fear, though: the demo isn’t all routine.


December 8, 2010

Dead Space 2 Demo Coming

Dead Space 2 Demo
EA sent word that we’ll be able to get a taste of Isaac Clarke’s trip through The Sprawl before the release on January 25, 2011, with a demo of Dead Space 2 hitting Xbox Live worldwide and the PlayStation Network in North America on December 21, 2010 – European PS3 owners have to wait one more day for a December 22nd release.

Additional word is that said demo offers a walk through the Church of Unitology, so maybe remember to say your prayers before playing, anything with religion involved is apt to be frightening.

October 26, 2010

Review – Costume Quest

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 7:23 pm

Costume Quest
I’m doing my very best to wear out the word nostalgia while writing reviews this month. Mind you, I’m not complaining that so many releases seem to be tapping visuals and controls that take me back to those earliest memories of clutching a controller in my hands – and began the era of my parents trying to wrench them away from it to occasionally get some fresh air.

While Costume Quest wants for the word nostalgia, the digital release hits a different pocket of memories with the childhood recollections of suburban existence. In time for Halloween, the game revolves around that one magical night each year when we stumbled from house to house collecting the candy needed to fuel a power fantasy preceding those offered by videogames, imagining ourselves to be the very characters we tried to mimic beneath an awkward mix of plastic and cardboard.


October 11, 2010

Review – Left 4 Dead 2: The Sacrifice

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:33 pm

This past week saw the release of “The Sacrifice,” Valve’s latest add-on for the Left 4 Dead games. This new campaign serves as a prequel to Valve’s previous DLC, “The Passing” which featured an appearance from the original survivors of Left 4 Dead—one man short. “The Sacrifice” gives players the opportunity to experience the events leading to “The Passing,” and the loss of one of their comrades—and not the kind of loss where you pick him up from a hero closet a few minutes later.

To avoid any confusion, “The Sacrifice” is available for both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2—but the package is slightly different. The version for the original L4D includes only the new campaign, “The Sacrifice,” played with the standard enemies and equipment of that game. Alternatively, the L4D2 version includes the new campaign and an updated version of the “No Mercy” campaign from the original game, with both taking advantage of L4D2’s expanded arsenal and enemies. Regardless of which game you play, you’ll be playing these campaigns as the original survivors.

Considering that the release of Left 4 Dead 2 was not universally supported by fans of the original game, the decision to release this add-on for both products was a pretty sound strategy, likely good for business while also appeasing those who were not supportive of the release of L4D2.


October 9, 2010

Review – Halo: Reach

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:44 am

It’s 2010 now, and at this stage in the videogame universe reviewing a Halo game seems largely unnecessary. You’ve played it. You know what it is. You know if you’re prepared to spend your sixty-dollars for it. Still, there are some things about Reach that deserve to be said, so we’re going to say them, regardless of the fact that you already bought the game on launch day.

When I reviewed StarCraft II I wrote that a level of perfection in the gameplay design allowed the original StarCraft to endure, without sequels, far longer than any game has a right to. The Halo franchise is characterized by a similar condition with opposite results; in this case, a string of fundamentally similar sequels have been produced, capitalizing on the natural strength of the core gameplay mechanic.


August 30, 2010

Your Xbox LIVE Price Increase

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , — Jamie Love @ 1:37 pm

Xbox Live
Reactions to word that LIVE users would be paying a price increase for subscriptions as of November 1, 2010 is already causing an expectantly vehement reaction around the Interwebz – if you need to check a bit of that out for yourself you can pay the Major’s post a visit.

It’s easy to have a kneejerk reaction to the announcement, there’s never a good time to ask gamers for more money – especially when the cost of gaming seems to offer the impression that many could be eventually priced right out of the industry. Coming up with an honest and appropriate cost breakdown of what LIVE offers takes a bit more time and depends entirely on whether individuals derive any use from the features Microsoft feels entitled to more money for providing.

And that’s really what should be emerging out of this news, questions about whether an increasingly wide breadth of features should be turned into packages tailored to different needs and priced accordingly as opposed to the one size fits all plan that has gotten us this far. For instance, if we’re being asked to pay for usage increases Kinect may cause, I might like the option to opt in or out – I don’t expect clarification or price plans of course given that a mass exodus from the service is highly unlikely.

For now you can catch the pricing details as they affect Canada, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom after the break, and as always let me know what you think about the news.


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