Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is this the end of physical formats?

The latest digital format to grab the world is the Blu-ray, and it marks a huge leap forward. A twin layer Blu-ray disc can hold around 50 gigabytes (GB) of data, which is more than enough room for a high-definition film, or even a 3D one.

But will it be enough for the 3D films of the future that don’t require 3D specs? The format saw off its HD DVD competitor back in 2008, but is another challenger lurking in the shadows? Perhaps Blu-ray will be the world’s last physical disc, as we begin to download films and games straight to our hard drives instead.
How times have changed

The Sony Walkman revolutionized portable, personal music and the iPod took it to another level. But in my opinion, this format is far from perfect. MP3 audio is so compressed that it lacks its original hi-fidelity, and you can’t lend an album to a friend like you could with vinyl.

Maps have taken a hammering in recent years, too. GPS has muscled its way onto mobile phones and cameras. And I can see the benefits. When you’re taking a trip it’s best to travel light. A road map of France is likely to hold more information than you’ll actually need driving all the way down to Nice.

Plus, GPS maps are more personalized. If you’re a vegetarian your GPS could direct you to a suitable restaurant, or if you’re a blues fan it might let you know of a little blues bar round the corner from your hotel. It might take the adventure out of traveling, but oh, the convenience!
Time to move onto ‘the cloud’?

But don’t be tricked into thinking that the digital stampede will end once it’s obliterated its analogue and physical counterparts. I don’t think people will be satisfied with emptying the VHS drawer beneath the TV – I can see them wanting to reclaim the space on their computers’ hard drives too.

In time people will still own the maps, songs, video games and news that they buy. But they won’t be able to touch them physically – or even see the space that they occupy on their multimedia tablet’s memory. Instead it’ll all live in ‘the cloud’ and be accessible over the web through any media portal of choice.

Core gamers will be all over Kinect

…says Rare’s Nick Burton.

Burton told Eurogamer in an interview that he believes that hardcore gamers will be all over it when it gets released, despite that they may be saying to the contrary on forums. I am not sure if he was just punting his own game when he explained that he expects Kinect Sports to be big with core gamers.

He confidently told the site, “You watch the Live leaderboards when these things come out, we’ll be there going, ‘How the hell have they gone that fast?’ or ‘How have they got that big score?’ That will be the hardcore doing that.”

Burton urges core gamers to try Kinect, saying that “until people play Kinect, and they play it for more than a couple of seconds, which is unfortunately practically what you get in the trade shows… But you know hardly any body’s getting a chance to play it”

Those be some bold statements Mr.Burton!

New Zealand Minister condemns MOH

New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, Wayne Mapp, has spoken out against Medal of Honor, which will allow players to control Taliban insurgents and fight against other players controlling coalition forces in its multiplayer mode.

"This game undermines the values of our nation, and the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform," said Mapp. “Terrorist acts have caused the deaths of several New Zealanders.

"Hundreds of New Zealand servicemen and women have put their lives on the line in Afghanistan to combat terrorism, and this month Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell died in action over there."

Mapp’s comments echo those of his English counterpart Liam Fox, who said to the BBC, "It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game.

"I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product," finished Fox.

The controversy around Medal of Honor is similar to the hysteria around Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, prior to its release late last year. That game included a level wherein players controlled a terrorist and could shoot civilians in an airport.

Medal of Honor is coming out on the 15th of October for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3.

It’s a great time to be a gamer

It’s the end of August and the weather is getting colder. It's time to pull out the sweaters and resist the pull to go out. While you may want to head out into the sun and enjoy the final days of summer it doesn't take much to get you to stay in. For Xbox owners your going to have some great excuses not to get off the couch. As I write this we are just weeks away from the final installment in Bungie’s control over the Halo franchise. Halo Reach is set to hit store shelves on September 14th, however a leak of the game this month may push that release date up. Microsoft has yet to comment on either.

The Halo franchise launched the original Xbox. Combined with Xbox Live, it changed the way people play on-line and the way video games are played. In some form or another people have been playing it in some form or another for nearly a decade. This is Bungie's final hurrah. After Reach, the intellectual property is moving to 343 Industries.

The story of Reach goes back wards instead of forward, focus on the battle that launched the very first Halo game. There promises to be plenty of nuggets for everyone who played through the entire story, and show off a fight that was discussed through the games but never seen.

Halo Reach from Bungie.

Halo Reach from Bungie.
Now if you don't have an Xbox you're in luck because Reach is just the first of many games players are drooling over. If your hands cramp up from all that multi-player mahem, with the new jet packs and hologram drops, you have the arrival of Fallout: New Vegas.

This is one of the games that I'm the most excited for. I loved Fallout 3 played the hell out of it, and all of it's DLC expansions. I have been looking for from moving from the ruins of D.C. to the Las Vegas strip for months. I have seen some videos of the new game, and it's getting pretty positive reviews overall, despite most testers only getting an hour or so with it. There is the promise of a deeper story, better partner AI, and the graphics have gotten an upgrade. Those are some of my biggest complaints about Fallout 3 since your partner was really just a walking repeating killing machine. I hated having to re-load a save because my loyal Ghoul side kick kept getting killed by a batch of RadScorpions. While there was some soft edges in Fallout 3 it looks like New Vegas cleans most of them up. Plus you can gamble, spending your scavenged caps on blackjack and roulette. It may just be me, but I'm itching to put my survival skills to the test in the new game. The raiders will never know what hit them.

So if you get tired of exploring the wastes and shooting giant lizards and super-mutants, there is the one more early Christmas present for players.

I'm talking about Call of Duty: Black Ops.

The Vietnam era is a new one for the franchise, and while there has been a lot of focus on the single player campaign, along the Huong River, with the addition of alot of stealth elements, it's the multiplayer that is going to make or break this game. Modern Warfare 2 was billed as the biggest game release ever. No matter what Black Ops does it will have that shadow cast over it. The question is if the people at Treyarch can produce their own title, taken out of the 50's and make it work. Either way no matter what your vice there is plenty to look forward to as we count down to 2011. The new year is making a name for itself with the promise of Gears of War 3.

Why Halo Reach Is Important To Non Halo Players

I have had the pleasure of buying and playing through every Halo game to date. I know gamers who absolutely adore it and I also know of those who despise the game. Personally as far as the game is concerned, I find it enjoyable for short periods of time. Online it is probably my worst game as far as skill goes. I am easily frustrated by the 10 year old teabaggers and the unbelievable no scope deaths from a sniper rifle (that I suck at using). The campaign is enjoyable yet I cannot regurgitate all of the storyline or give anyone intricate details on the planet names, characters etc.

Halo Reach is not important to just fans of the series however. The repercussions of the game "reach" far greater than the Halo fan base. Whether you like Halo the game or not, Bungie is a developer that should be a role model to other developers in the future.

The Web Factor: Heading over to will leave your eyes bleeding from all of the content and features that the Halo Website offers players. Check your game stats, achievements, learn everything about the Halo Universe, purchase merchandise and much more. Bungie has done a terrific job of staying in contact with their customers and providing loads of information in the form of Podcasts and Bungie Weekly Updates. Interacting and staying in contact with your fans is something other developers should take note of.

Ban Hammer: Leaderboards on most games are usually topped off with illegitimate stats and known glitchers and cheaters. Bungie is one of the few developers I have seen to take such drastic steps to ensure cheaters are perma-banned and glitches are almost obsolete. This is one game where you will never get messages from kids wanting money to boost your account. Cheaters ruin so many games online, and the majority of the time developers just turn a blind eye to the problem. Developers take note, you put in hundreds of hours creating your game - don't let some jackass ruin your work so they can be at the top of a leaderboard that means nothing. Halo Reach is going to take things to the next level and deal with those players who are chronic quitters when they start losing. Would love to see this implemented more in games!

Matchmaking: How many multiplayer games have you seen where all you want to do is play with your friends and you are left with frustration? The matchmaking in Halo is one of the best gamers can experience. Want to search games by skill? connection? Want to party up with strangers who seem cool after a game? Whether you have a party of 2, 4, 8 - doesn't matter. There is a playlist that you can enjoy the game with your friends on. The entire multiplayer experience is based off your interactions with other human beings. Why can't other developers learn that matchmaking is such a huge component of multiplayer games and learn from Bungie. On top of the matchmaking system lies the playlists that are constantly monitored and updated to kill unpopular playlists and add new ones with different variants to keep things fresh and feeling new. Halo Reach will be implementing a new matchmaking system for co-op campaign. Co-op FTW!!!

Theatre: How many times have you been playing a game and had a moment that you wish you could relive, or see how in the world your opponent was able to kill you? Maybe you had an unbelievable game and want to simply share it with your friends. The theatre feature in Halo lets players relive these moments in game and allows one to save and share these moments with their friends. This is a fantastic feature and it looks as though other games are starting to take notice. In a recent trailer from Call of Duty: Black Ops, they showed a screenshot that suggests Black Ops will also have a built in recorder functionality.

Forge World: Multiplayer can really only stay as fresh as the variety that a game can allow. Playing the same maps and game types day in and day out will eventually wear on the majority of the population. When Forge was introduced to Halo, it allowed gamers to take their imagination and run wild. Players can build their very own custom maps and game types by using very simple and easy to use tools. Designing a level has been taken from an office building and delivered into the homes of millions of gamers. Not only does Bungie allow users to create new maps and game modes, but players can also share those creations with their friends. Halo Reach is going to even incorporate some of these great creations in new playlists for the community. How much life could have been pumped into a game like Battlefield 2 if you were able to create your own maps by using a similar setup?

Without even talking about the in game mechanics, armor customizations, ranking system - at the end of the day, the bottom line is SUPPORT. Throughout the years, Bungie has supported the gamers and that's why so many gamers support Bungie. September 14th, I will be picking up Halo Reach and I know that I will be buying a game that will have support from its developers. Whether you are a Halo fan or not, let's hope that more game creators start paying attention to why certain games succeed and take notes on how to support their customers.

Coming Soon on PlayStation 3 (Winter 2010)

After May’s unrelenting pace of dishing out great new games for your PlayStation 3, it’s been good to get a break to catch up on some of the gems you might have missed. Now, looking to the future, with the PlayStation Move hitting your PS3 any day now; and another packed schedule heading this way, you’d be forgiven for forgetting one or two of the most anticipated titles of the season. But fear not, as PlayStation Future is here to put the best upcoming releases all in one place. Want more info on the latest PSN and PSP releases? Stay tuned for a follow-up article soon…

R.U.S.E. (UBISOFT) – 10th September

Another game with high hopes now – and that’s R.U.S.E. – a new real time strategy game set in World War II for PlayStation 3. The main thing about this game that you need to know is that it aims to make real time strategy games on consoles a lot less fiddly by introducing a better control scheme. You’ll also be able to manipulate the camera to view the battlefield as a whole, or to zoom in on individual soldiers. If that’s not enough, there’ll be full online multiplayer gameplay as well. Want to know more? Read our preview here.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (ACTIVISION) – 10th September

It’s safe to say that over the years, the endless stream of mediocre spider-man movie tie-in games has somewhat dampened the opinion of the franchise. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions aims to change that though, by creating a game separate from the movies, one that is already looking a lot better to play. You’ll be able to control four different ‘types’ of Spider-Man, each with a different fighting technique. Not only that, but the adventure will take you to places throughout time and space.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2 (UBISOFT) – 7th September

Ubisoft’s next addition to the Tom Clancy series is a sequel to the generally well received H.A.W.X. This time you’ll be flying around the Middle East in several aircraft including F-16, F-22 Raptor, AC-130, F-35 Lightning II and Su-37 Terminator. You’ll now be able to take-off and land your plane whilst the AI and damage system have all had an update. A new multiplayer section will be making its way in too, with four player co-op and eight player competitive modes.

Sports Champions (SONY) – 15th September

One of a possible three titles coming out at launch with the PlayStation Move, Sports Champions is a bit like Wii Sports, but all in HD. The sports on offer are: Disc Golf, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Gladiator Duel, Archery and Bocce (no, me neither – apparently it’s like boules). There will be three modes available with each sport, Free Play (no surprises to see here), Challenge Mode (playing in competitive tournaments) and Champion Cup (an olympic like tournament). Sony have also promised that DLC will be on the way, although exactly what it will comprise of, we’ve yet to know.
Start the Party (SONY) – 15th September

Ok. So we’ve got the generic sports game for the Move. Now for the generic party game, full to the brim with oodles of mini-games to play with your friends and family. Your PlayStation Eye will be constantly capturing video footage of you and displaying it on the screen, with the Move controller being replaced by something else on-screen to make it look like you’re wielding a weapon or tool, such as a tennis racket or a hammer.

F1 2010 (CODEMASTERS) – 24th September

The PS3 hasn’t received an F1 game in yonks – with the last F1 title being F1: Championship Edition way back in 2006, however it seems that F1 2010 really is going to make up for that long wait with one of the most complete and accurate simulations of the motorsport yet. There will be all different types of weather and you’ll have to choose when to pit in order to gain an advantage over your competitors, then you’ll have to meet team targets in order to rise through the ranks and become world champion. F1 2010 looks to be the best F1 game we’ve seen on a console to date. Read Pepsicoke’s recent preview here.
The Shoot (SONY) – September

The last in the Move launch line-up, The Shoot well, involves a lot of shooting. You’ll be using your PlayStation Move controller to aim at the screen and shoot down various targets in five Hollywood-style locations including Western, Sci-Fi and Horror Themes. The story revolves around you helping Hollywood to make action movies, therefore if you’re ‘shot’ you lose a ‘take’ rather than a ‘life’. Special moves requiring you to aim the Move at particular places will also feature and allow you to take out all enemies on the screen at once or dodge their attacks.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (NAMCO) – 8th October

Enslaved is the first post-apocalyptic entry to be released this autumn, but this version of post-apocalyptia is much greener than say Bethesda’s look on things, with lush plants taking over the once great cities. Unfortunately the robots, which caused all of this mess in the first place, are still around to get in your way. Enslaved is a platforming adventure with great graphics, and from the looks of things solid gameplay. PlayStation Future has high hopes for this game…
Heavy Rain: Move Edition (SONY) – 8th October

Don’t worry current holders of Heavy Rain. You won’t have to go out and buy your game again just to get Move compatibility, Sony will release a patch available to download free of charge for all users. Heavy Rain is all about the lives of four characters, each with their own set of problems and all of them to do with the Origami Killer. The game follows these four characters and the events leading up to the Origami Killer’s demise (or not). With multiple paths through the story and the addition of new Move controls, the way you play is up to you…
Medal of Honor (EA) – 15th October

It’s safe to say that this title has already caused a lot of controversy in the UK, much like Modern Warfare 2 had done this time last year. The reason? Medal of Honor takes place in the Middle East, and is all about the war in Afghanistan which to this day is still going on. EA and DICE have focussed on making the game as realistic as possible by featuring objectives that you would find yourself completing were you a soldier in Afghanistan right now. The multiplayer side of the game will allow players to fight as several factions, including as the Taliban.

Fallout: New Vegas (BETHESDA) – 22nd October

Fallout: New Vegas is the second post-apocalyptic title to be released this autumn, and we’ve moved on from the Capital Wasteland that featured so heavily in the brilliant Fallout 3. This semi-sequel to the game is set in Las Vegas, and is developed by Obsidian (the developers behind the original Fallout); you’ll be able to gamble at the tables, and there’s going to be a few extra additions to the game including extra modes. Sadly the graphics don’t seem to have updated too much from Fallout 3, but it’s the gameplay that counts, right?
EyePet: Move Edition (SONY) – October

Gone are the days of having to use that stupid pad to control your lovable ball of fur, or at least they will be soon when you’ll be able to use your Move controller to do everything you could before, without the burden of a ‘detection’ pad. As with Heavy Rain, current owners of the game have no reason to fret as the game will be updated at no cost to give it all of the features found in the Move edition. EyePet is all about having your own virtual pet and completing various tasks throughout the day in order to train, groom and make friends with your new pet.
Gran Turismo 5 (SONY) – 3rd November

And I thought that F1 2010 was a long time in the making! Gran Turismo 5 seems to have been in unending development over the past five years, but the guys at Polyphony Digital are finally ready to reveal the fruits of their excruciatingly detailed labour. Gran Turismo 5 will ship with around 1000 cars in its stock, with 70 different tracks to race them around and a physical and mechanical damage system to boot. All we can hope is that this one really will be worth the wait.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (ACTIVISION) – 9th November

With the Infinity Ward crisis earlier this year, Treyarch has been given the burden of keeping the hugely successful Call of Duty series alive and kicking. This instalment in the series takes place during the Cold War with a few extra unique weapons such as the crossbow. The multiplayer element will remain relatively unchanged from previous instalments of the series (retaining the XP and Reward systems) with the addition of the ability to video capture and a new four-player multiplayer mode.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (UBISOFT) – 19th November

It’s only been a year since Assassin’s Creed II wowed us on the PS3, but the game is already getting a sequel. No, this won’t continue the main storyline, but it is back with Ezio Auditore da Firenze, only this time you’ll be in Rome. Expect an adventure on a bigger scale in this instalment of the series, with bigger maps, bigger missions, and the addition of online gameplay. Just make sure you enjoy it all while it lasts, as rumour has it that Assassin’s Creed III won’t hit our consoles until 2012.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (EA) – 19th November

I think I speak for everyone when I say that the Need for Speed series has gone downhill in recent years. That’s why EA tasked Criterion Games (the developers of the highly successful Burnout series) to revamp the series, and this is what they came up with. Criterion have decided to allow you to play both as cops and ‘robbers’, with each faction having its own special weapons to gain a competitive edge. Criterion have also been hard at work on the online component of the game, which is said to include a feature likened to Facebook but for what your friends have been up to in NFS Online.
LittleBigPlanet 2 (SONY) – November

The sequel to the critically acclaimed LittleBigPlanet is just around the corner, and the series that changed the way we look at gaming is going to be bigger and better than ever before. LittleBigPlanet 2′s focus this time is about making whole new games rather than whole new levels. Feel like making a shooter? No problem. What about a cool puzzle? Knock yourself out. Even make an RPG? By all means. Not only that, but you can make your own music, add voice acting, even create chains of levels and make proper cutscenes. LittleBigPlanet 2 really is looking to be the best sequel to a game ever made.
The Sly Collection (SONY) – November

Created by the developers that made 2009′s smash-hit inFamous, Sly Cooper was a brilliant trilogy that appeared on the PS2 a few years back. Wait a minute, you wish you could play all three of those classics in HD? Well now you can with the Sly Collection! All three games have been ‘digitally remastered’ in HD for your pleasure, and there are even some extra mini-games made exclusively for use with the Move, top it all off with 3D capabilities and not one, not two, but three shiny Platinum trophies and I think it’s safe to say that we’re on to a winner here.

Final Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Universe Revealed

Rounding out this sweet package is a list of the voice actors who will be contributing to the new game. Each Spider-Man will be voiced by a different classic Spider-Man voice actor. This will add a definitely sheen of authenticity to the title.
The voice actors are:
- Josh Keaten will voice Ultimate Spider-Man. Josh is known for voicing Spider-man in the “Spectacular Spider-Man” animated series from 2008-2009 (originally premiering on KidsWB on CW then ending on Disney XD).
- Dan Gilvenez will voice Spider-Man 2099’s Miguel O’Hara Spider-Man. Dan is known as the classic voice of Spider-Man from the 80’s animated series, “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends”.
- Christopher Daniel will voice Spider-Man Noir. He is arguably the most recognizable voice of Spider-Man as the voice actor from the 90’s “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” TV show that ran on Fox Kids. This will always be the true Spidey voice in my mind….
- Neil Patrick Harris will voice the Amazing Spider-Man. Neil is known as the voice of Spider-Man in the short-lived CGI “Spider-Man: The New Animated Series” that ran on MTV in 2003.
As has been the case all along, this game just continues to impress. Here is the Comic-Con 2010 reveal trailer of Ultimate Spider-Man, the final world of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions!