Video shows (SPOILER) in Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Marvel Comics’ (FAMOUS SCARY GUY), will star as the final villain in Capcom’s “Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds,” assuming the very polished-looking gameplay in this video, after the jump, is real.

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Launch dates for SOCOM 4, Elder Scrolls V and more …

You want launch dates? We got launch dates.*

  • SOCOM 4 (Zipper Interactive), April 19 for PS3.
  • Brink (Splash Damage and Bethesda Softworks), May 17 for PC, PS3 and XBox 360.
  • Hunted: The Demon’s Forge (inXile Entertainment, Bethesda Softworks), June 1 for PC, PS3 and XBox 360
  • Rage (id Software, Bethesda Softworks), Sept. 13 for PC, PS3 and XBox 360
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios), Nov. 11for PC, PS3 and XBox 360

*All launch dates are for North America. “The greatest hemisphere on earth – the Western Hemisphere, the dancin-est hemisphere of them all!”

Sony reveals Next Generation Portable

Sony Computer Entertainment officially unveiled its Next Generation Portable (NGP) gaming system Thursday after weeks of speculation and leaks.

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The NGP news follows Nintendo’s recent announcement that its next portable, the 3DS will go on sale March 27 at the suggested retail price of $249.99.

The NGP’s price and exact release date went undisclosed when Sony announced the NGP in Tokyo. Here’s what the PlayStation makers did say, in addition to the system coming out near the end of this year:

  • Multi-touch 5-inch organic light emitting display (OLED) as the front display
  • Multi-touch pad on the rear of the device
  • Dual analog sticks
  • Two cameras (front and rear)
  • Software titles on small, dedicated flash memory-based cards
  • Three motion sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass
  • Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity
  • PlayStation Network access, including “”LiveArea”, “Near” and “Activity” log features Trophy Support
  • NGP will be able to play PSP titles, minis, PS one classics, video and comics from the PlayStation Store.

Players can also expect NGP releases in the Call of Duty, Uncharted, Hot Shots Golf, Resistance, Little Big Planet and other series.

Thus far, 2011 is shaping up to be an interesting one for portable gaming. The Associated Press points out that Nintendo and Sony are not only competing with each other, but smartphone makers like Apple for players’ attention and money.

The popularity of
smart phones including the iPhone is a potential threat to game machine
makers as more people play games, watch video, send e-mail and chat on
cell phones. People are also using other portable devices such as
Apple’s iPod and iPad to play games.


Sony’s
new machine, known for now by its code-name NGP, comes packed with
motion sensor and GPS location technology so that gamers can tilt and
sway the machine to play golf games, kill monsters and experience other
“virtual realities,” said Kazuo Hirai, who heads Sony Corp.’s gaming
section

Such features seem to be designed with the so-called “casual gamer” in mind, and this writer would be inclined to say the NGP buyer and person who Angry Birds on his or her iPhone may not be in the same target markets.

But this writer is not a Sony executive, and those who are seem to be intent on doubling down their bet in the gadget market. The much-hyped Sony Ericcson Xperia Play, AKA the PlayStation phone, is also said to be on the way to the marketplace and Engadget has peek at a prototype. Check it out.



Review: Fist of the North Star – Ken’s Rage

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Koei’s Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage is the kind of fanservice that is rarely seen outside of Japan. It’s also not the first time a developer tried to bring the martial-arts mashup to consoles if you remember “The Last Battle” on the Genesis or “Fist of the North Star” for the NES.

If you have no idea what the Fist of the North Star is, you might be better served by watching the anime or picking up the manga. Ken’s Rage doesn’t take a lot of time to explain itself other than being a force of violence through its wrecked landscape. Still, if you like Dynasty Warriors-like action or beat ‘em ups in general, you might find something to like within its pugilistic paradise. Just watch where you step. That might be someone’s guts over there.
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Rockstar Games announces “L.A. Noire” launch date

Rockstar Games’ next title, “L.A. Noire,” will be released May 17 for PS3 and XBox 360 platforms, the company announced today.

The European release is set for May 20.

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The ambitious-looking game puts players in the role of an LAPD detective assigned to protect and serve the people of the City of Angels – and devils. The game takes place in a postwar setting that should be instantly recognizable to fans of film noir and detective fiction. 

Rockstar mined the conventions and visuals of spaghetti westerns for 2010′s “Red Dead Redemption” and L.A. Noire’s aesthetic similarly resembles such films as “L.A. Confidential” and “Chinatown.”

The gaming media has thus far made much of Rockstar’s efforts to use new technology to capture facial movements to such a degree that players will be expected to determine whether NPC’s are telling the truth or not during the course of an investigation.

This looks to be one of the most anticipated games of the year and gamers around the world will want to see if the new tech works out as new gameplay mechanism or just makes the characters look cool. At the very least, it will be interesting to see how the company behind the Grand Theft Auto series interpret the world of law enforcement. 

The Dream Machine

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From Sweden comes this charming, Flash-based adventure game that you can play in your browser. It’s unique in that instead of using flashy graphics or fancy 3D to wow players, the creators instead used cardboard sets and claymation characters to dress it up giving it a special look reminiscent of Wallace & Gromit.

It’s also a finalist at the Independent Games Festival and feels as polished as any game that you might find on a shelf. The first chapter is free to play. After that, you have to pay to see the other episodes in this five chapter series. As for the story, it follows a couple who move into an apartment and later discover a secret that turns their world upside down. The puzzles aren’t difficult with one exception in the first chapter, but they’re fun and the characters are as entertaining to watch onscreen as their dialogue is to read.

As something that can be a negative to some prospective players out there, you also have to be online to play it since the whole series is designed to be played from your browser. On their development blog, they’ve stated that this was necessary to protect themselves from piracy seeing as they don’t have the kind of protection that a publisher could have provided them with. They’re just indies who want to make a good game, but it’s also clear that there are those out there that really don’t care as long as they can get their product for free.

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Because it’s all online, it uses its own cloud system for saves though you will have to create an account to make the most out of it. But this also plays into another reason for why they chose this delivery method: you can play the game from any machine that can support the site, whether it’s a Linux box, Windows, or a Mac.

So give this a shot if you’re hungry for something that’s a little different. And when you do, be sure to pick up everything that isn’t nailed down. There’s no telling when that hangar might be useful. Give it a try at their official site here.

Wha? “Duke Nukem Forever” gets launch date

I’m new to this blog and writing about video games in general, but given that today’s date is not April 1, I’m going to go ahead and act under the assumption that 2K Games is not joking today in its announcement of a May 3 launch date for “Duke Nukem Forever.”

That’s May 3 in North America. The rest of the world has to wait three additional days before getting a chance to pay actual money for what may indeed be an actual game. The game is set to be released for XBox 360, PS3 and PC.

Allegedly.

From the press release:

Put on your shades and prepare to step into the boots of Duke Nukem, whose
legend has reached epic proportions in the years since his last
adventure. The alien hordes are invading and only Duke can save the
world. Pig cops, alien shrink rays and enormous alien bosses can’t stop
our hero from accomplishing his one and only goal: to save the world,
save the babes and to be a bad-ass while doing it. The King arrives with
an arsenal of over-the-top weapons, non-stop action, and unprecedented
levels of interactivity. This game puts the pedal to the metal and
tongue firmly in cheek. Shoot hoops, lift weights, read adult magazines,
draw crude messages on whiteboards or ogle the many hot women that
occupy Duke’s life – that is if you can pull yourself away long enough
from destroying alien invaders. Duke Nukem was and will forever be a gaming icon, and this is his legend.

The long story of Duke Nukem Forever’s banishment to development hell – or perhaps more accurately, development purgatory, is in itself the stuff of near legend. Check the link if you want to read details, but it’s probably enough to note here that gamers are just now getting a launch date for a title that was first announced back in 1997.

The year 1997, for those who remember or care, was back when Bill Clinton was president, when Notorious B.I.G. was murdered and continued to rule MTV, when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” made its television debut, when “The Simpsons” was still funny and when this writer was still in high school. It was, in the parlance of those times, “back in the day.”

In video game time, 1997 was a year before the XBox console existed, a year when Sega still made consoles and the year when the Fallout, Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto and Age of Empires franchises made their debuts.

After more than a decade, 2K Games and Gearbox Software say Duke Nukem Forever will be out in May. There’s even a NSFW trailer with profanity, violence and blurred T & A.

Readers are supposed to be 18 to watch it. That means a baby born in 1997 would still have to wait four years to play the game, assuming strict observance of ESRB ratings.

Nintendo announces 3DS release date, price

Nintendo’s next portable, the Nintendo 3DS, is scheduled to be released March 27 at the suggested price of $249.99, the company announced today.

The 3DS’ coming release is not the only sign of rising competition between video game companies within the portable arena. Bloomberg reports that Sony is set to unveil a new PlayStation Portable as early as Jan. 27, with PlayStation smartphone to follow the next month.

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The 3DS is designed as a 3D gaming system that will not require players to wear special glasses to see three-dimensional images. The portable’s controls will include a “3D Depth Slider” to let players control the degree of 3D effects and a new “Circle Pad” controller that Nintendo asserts will allow for 360-degree controls within the 3-D environment.

Parents will be able to turn off the 3D feature altogether, Nintendo reported. Recent media reports have delved into a medical debate over whether 3D may harm young children’s developing eyeballs.

In addition the the 3D screen, the 3DS is also designed with a touch screen and stylus control similar to Nintendo’s current portable, the DS. Features also include motion and tilt controls in the fashion of smartphone gaming.

Other phone-like features are MP3 and AAC music playability, “Street Pass” and “Spot-Pass,” which are intended to let players transfer packets of game information directly to one another as they pass on the street or via Wi-Fi hotspots or home broadband connections.

More than 30 games will be released during a launch window of about three months, Nintendo reported. The most publicized of which seems to be “Kid Icarus: Uprising,” a title that brings back a flagship (?) NES character that has more or less vanished since the Game Boy era.

Other announced titles include “Pilotwings Resort,” “nintendogs + cats,” the underwater themed “Steel Diver,” remakes of Nintendo 64 titles “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and “Starfox 64″ and further releases in the Mario Kart and Paper Mario franchises.

Announced third-party titles include “Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition” and releases in the Madden NFL and Resident Evil series.

Report: Facebook apps get users’ phone numbers, addresses

From PC Mag.com, news that Facebook is allowing app designers to access users’ phone numbers and addresses:

Facebook recently announced that it is making user phone numbers and addresses available to developers, a move that a security expert said “could herald a new level of danger” for Facebook members.

Facebook isn’t just releasing this information into the wild; it’s
adding it to the company’s “User Graph object,” or the permissions
required to install an app.


“Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new
user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.”


Facebook said the permissions only provide access to a user’s address
and mobile phone number, not their friend’s addresses or mobile phone
numbers.

Facebook users have always had to give app developers permission to access profile information to install an app, such as “Which President Are You?” Whereas users once had some freedom to pick and choose which information they would share, Facebook switched to a one-size-fits-all permission system that required users to grant access to their name, friends’ names, gender, profile photos and other “basic information.”

The new system would require users to grant their explicit permission to let app developers access phone numbers and address systems. This writer recalls reading a comment on the AV Club (I’m not a hipster, FWIW) in which a reader remarked something to the extent that Facebook’s function as a social network is only incidental to its function as a data mining operation.

This latest news leaves this writer to wonder if Facebook and its founder,Time Person of the Year Mark Zuckerberg, have not so much revolutionized human communication as they have figured how to build a digital successor industry to direct mail and telemarketing,

Dangerous Hunts 2011 brings adventure, reviewer headache

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts

If you’re anxious to try out Cabela’s
Dangerous Hunts 2011, be prepared for a test of patience and
endurance. Who knew holding a plastic rifle and cocking your head to
the side to look into a scope could lead to shoulder pain and
migraines?

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In the single-player mode, you follow Rainesford Family’s men on a hunting trip. Hunting has been in your blood
for generations and your father’s incessant nagging about family
history and pride don’t stop for at least the first 10 minutes of the
game.

Your character, Cole Rainesford, begins
his adventure hunting elk in a snowy forest, where after his first
kill, he is given the honor of eat the heart of the elk you just shot
to celebrate the kill. Yummy!

After protecting your father from a
wild animal attack, you receive a tongue lashing since you only
wounded the animal that attacked him and did not kill it. The game
continues with Cole hunting one animal then hunting a large bear that
attacked and killed campers in your forest. You move slowly and
steadily though the map looking for signs or tracks with the aid of
“Hunter Sense,” a function that helps you locate tracks
throughout the map but ends up making you dizzy.

As you continue through the game, your
character follows a narrow predetermined path which leads him through
his perilous journey. You control your character with the use of the
plastic rifle called the “Top Shot Elite.” Moving your weapon
left, right, up or down can control the movement of your character.
Warning: the combination of the rifle and the scope can make you feel
sick.

The controls of the “Top Shot Elite,”
are easy to use but cumbersome in their placement. The right joystick
is used for movement within the game and is conveniently placed
behind the trigger, giving you a comfortable shooting grip. Buttons A
& B are located right beneath the right controller for quick
access. The Y button is designated for action and the X button is set
to cycle though the three weapons you have.

When first tested the rifle on my 46″
television, the rifle would not properly calibrate, which made moving
and shooting difficult. The first five minutes of play brought on the onset of a splitting headache. I powered though, but
less than 15 minutes later I was done.

The shooting galleries are a test of
skill as waves of different beasts and fowl challenge your aiming
abilities. The opening screen in the first gallery begins with just a
couple of elks, but soon they are popping out from behind every tree
and rock.

Remember, don’t shoot the does or
you’ll lose 500 points for each one. The gallery progresses to a number of other game, such as bighorn sheep, rhinos, wolves,
hyenas, hippos and more. A giant grizzly also appears, at times
dodging vegetation or rocks as it charges at you. Specially colored
animals are also worth more.

In between the volleys of beasts, the
fowl take flight. Switch to your shotgun before shooting the birds or
you’ll lose points. You don’t have to hit each and every bird, a
blast from the shotgun seems to take out several birds at a time.

Switching between the rifle and shotgun
can be a bit slow, if you needed to reload before you attempted to
switch.

You can take on the galleries in
single-player or multiplayer mode. You get three shots with the
rifle and two shots with the shotgun before you have to reload. At
each level, you can accumulate extras, such as ammo or glasses that
make that animals easier to see.

Passing around the
firearm among your friends can really throw off the calibration. The
game advises you to recalibrate each time you pass the weapon or
change seats. If you don’t, you’ll soon find it much tougher to zero
in on your targets.

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