Duke Nukem Forever trailer … seriously

Hell yeah.

Burnout Paradise demo

This is what’s been taking up my time … running around and slamming into things driving a car that I can’t afford. The demo hit PSN and Live recently. While I think it looks fantastic, I’m still getting used to the open-world nature of the game, as well as wondering where the crash modes and aftertouch features are. Jury is still out. Enjoy the video from GameTrailers.

Don King’s going to have a game? Really? A game? Really?

It’s no lie. Here’s the press release I got.

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New York, NY December 10, 2007 2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), today announced the spring 2008 release of Don King Presents: Prizefighter, the most realistic boxing video game simulation, for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendos Wii home video game console and Nintendos DS portable system. This in-depth, documentary-style title will provide the deepest, most authentic and entertaining experience ever seen in a boxing video game.

The combination of real-life fight scenarios, story-driven gameplay and photo-realistic graphics will set this title apart from the competition, said Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K. Our goal has always been to deliver the most engaging and realistic titles, and Don King Presents: Prizefighter will exceed these expectations. Based on the games innovative features and high-profile fighters, this title will be a must have for any sports gamer.

“In all my years working in professional boxing, I have never seen anything come as close to recreating the thrill, the intensity, the courage and the spectacle of the sport,” said legendary boxing promoter Don King. “Don King Presents: Prizefighter is more than a game — it is a glimpse at what life is like in and out of the ring for these incredible athletes.”

Developed by Venom Games, the 2K studio that brought Rocky and Rocky Legends to the Xbox and PlayStation 2, Don King Presents: Prizefighter will bring the realism of live action match-ups and the true tactics of the sweet science together for the first time. More than just a night at the fights – players will be responsible for building a career by overcoming adversity, avoiding temptation, and balancing their commitments to train and promote, all while focusing on the goal of ultimately winning and defending the title belt. The story will be told by a revolutionary sports documentary-style narrative never before seen in a video game.
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I want hyped-up press conferences with made-up words from Mr. King himself. Also, have you ever noticed that games always have stuff that’s “never been seen before?” I mean … I’ve seen a lot, haven’t i?

Quick review – Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

In the words of the immortal ex-coach Dennis Green, Ratchet and Clank Future, is what I thought it was. You’ll get a funny, well-crafted, Saturday morning cartoon of a game that demonstrates how fun games on the PS3 can be. However, what I played wasn’t quite enough to put it over games like Bioshock, Mass Effect or even God of War 2 as my personal game of the year.

As with every game in the series, I enjoyed the weapons and gadgets. I still like to let loose with the Groovitron, but I also got addicted to the Tornado Launcher and Predator Launcher. I enjoyed how the Sixaxis was used to control Ratchet through his traffic free-fall as well as help him fend off space pirates. The level design was impeccable — even from the start of the game, I was entranced by Emperor Tachyon’s forces assaulting Ratchet while dismembering the buildings around him.

So with all this praise, why isn’t it the game of the year? It’s mostly because I could say a lot of this stuff about all of the other games in the series. The other titles — even Assassin’s Creed — brought some new stuff to the table that made it stand apart from the others. This game didn’t quite do enough for me.

It’s been a while … time for holiday reviews.

My apologies for the long absence. With trying to move into a new house along with other things that life kicks in front of your way, updating has been put on the back burner. Until now. After having a few weeks to digest what’s been called one of the greatest months in gaming, here are some thoughts on the so-called triple-A titles that just came out.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: I actually considered this for my personal game of the year, and this was after the single-player experience. No doubt it’s short, it’s only about 4-6 hours, but it proved to be the most intense, i’m-gonna-die FPS I’ve played in years. It gave me a little bit of Black Hawk Down with a dash of Sum of All Fears (as my brother pointed out). I thought the AI was pretty solid, though I still worried about accidentally blowing a hole into one of my teammates running across my line of fire. I don’t really need to say much about the visuals, but the best examples were the “War Pig” mission at night as well as the “All Ghillied Up” flashback mission, where you have to crawl into the grass to avoid an enemy patrol. The only thing I really found lacking? No online co-op. That could have ended the GOTY discussion.

Mass Effect: OK, this gets my nod for game of the year, but it is NOT — repeat, NOT — one of the greatest stories of our time, as some have wanted to say. It’s not even the best story I’ve seen in the past six months. I enjoyed the story a lot, but it was because it evoked memories of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and other sci-fi story arcs. I don’t know … I don’t think the “greatest story of our time” would remind me of everything that came before it. So what if you can have sex with a blue alien girl? Captain Kirk was a pioneer of the intergalactic booty call! It’s charted territory! Leave it alone! Anyway, I enjoyed being able to create my own character. I’m actually going through the game a second time as a female Shepard — and the blue girl STILL wants some of the commander. What is WITH the asari? Are they the easiest species in the galaxy? All right, let’s move on. Graphically, the game was pretty stunning. I enjoyed marveling at the design of the Normandy (your starship) as well as exploring a lot of the different worlds, especially tackling all the side quests. The combat system wasn’t bad, as long as you don’t treat it like Gears or Call of Duty. It took me only 12-15 hours to blast through the main quest, but I’ve already put in 10 hours in my second career — and I’m not even off Feros and Noveria yet. I thought the save system could have been a little better, and I hated driving the Mako tank/space buggy. Of course, I liked the conversation system, especially when I beefed up my “Charm” and “Intimidate” attributes. I managed to talk Wrex out of getting himself killed, and I also bullied the poor clerk into surrendering the body of a soldier. I’m making this character a little more nasty, just because I think the responses are funnier. I’d put this as a must-play, if not a must-have.

Assassin’s Creed: This LOOKS like the game of the year, but it sure as hell didn’t execute like it sometimes. I had fun with this game. However, I played through it once, and I don’t think I’m going through it again. I thought the conversational dialogue and voice-acting was outstanding, the visuals were beautiful, and the free-running concept made the art of the escape come alive. The ending was confusing, but at least it made an attempt at a unique story. I can live with some confusion if it gets me wondering about the sequel. But there were a LOT of things that gave me a headache. If I hear the phrase, “You dare steal in my presence? That will cost you your life!!!” one more time, I’m assassinating someone for real. With a spring-loaded butter knife.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: I didn’t think too highly of this title at first. I’d played it some at E3, and I thought it would be a decent Tomb Raider/Prince of Persia mix, nothing more. Then the character of Nathan Drake kind of grew on me, as well as parts of the story around the search for the treasure of El Dorado. I thought the game handles it’s scenery well — Drake wasn’t bouncing across the world like Lara or Indy, but he found himself in some pretty elaborate locations within his little island. There was an old church, some temple ruins an old U-boat. A fun time. One problem I had dealt with the extremely resilient enemies that could take several rounds to the chest and keep on trucking. Plus, the game did that Stranglehold thing where hordes of enemies seem to pour out random doors or windows. Drake even asks himself sometimes, “Where the hell are these guys coming from?!”

I’m working on Ratchet and Clank Future right now, so I’ll share some thoughts on that when I get the chance. Till we meet again.