Review: EA’s Dead Space 2 is the new gold standard in survival horror

49803-Dead Space 2 review lead image-thumb-480x270-49799.jpg

By Michael Sorba
Contributor

The original “Dead Space” breathed new life into the survival horror genre when the game hit consoles in 2008, and its briskly-paced sequel sacrifices none of the terrifying, unsettling atmosphere that made the original so special.

The developers at Visceral Games force the player to endure a constant struggle that is the  essence of survival horror. Playing “Dead Space 2,” I felt the same feelings I did while playing the first Resident Evil titles on the Playstation 1.

Playing “Dead Space 2″ is a stressful experience. It’s not for the faint of heart and will try one’s patience, but with Dead Space 2, Visceral Games now holds title to the finest survival horror franchise in gaming.

Continue reading

Dark Souls is scheming of new ways to hurt you

49795-darksouls_1-thumb-200x100-49794.jpg

Demon’s Souls on the PS3 was a surprise hit to Atlus, who imported and localized the game for the States, and to Japanese developer, From Software.

It was tough, unforgiving, harsh in its execution of the challenges it threw at players, but rewarding to those that took the time to learn its systems and eventually take the fight back to the enemy. It was an action RPG that didn’t handhold you as much as it killed you – though dying was a big part of the gameplay anyway.

Now we have Dark Souls on its way – which is basically Demon’s Souls with a few tweaks, though it’s really a “spiritual successor”. Sony owns the name to Demon’s Souls, and with Namco Bandai publishing this one instead, well, you know how things go. But even the creators are distancing this game from Demon’s Souls and it sounds as if they have plenty of reasons to. New story, tweaked mechanics, a “base” type approach to advancing through each area, and tougher difficulty.

Wait, tougher? That’s what Hidetaka Miyazaki, director for the game, has come out to confirm in an interview on Sony’s blog. I loved the first game and the tougher challenge has piqued my curiosity to see just how it plays out. Looking at this trailer, it certainly isn’t pulling any punches. Not that fans would want it to.

Dark Souls is expected to humble dungeon crawlers sometime this year.

Jets, prone, and Battlefield? Oh yes.

49792-bfbc2_1-thumb-200x112-49791.jpg

According to Battlefield’s official blog, those bits are officially in for EA’s Battlefield 3. Yeah, I know MAG can support 256 players in their game, but there’s always something special about a Battlefield title that makes having 64 players on the field even more exciting.

Unfortunately, that’s only if you have a PC. Still, I remember when Battlefield 1942 on the PC had modded servers allowing for up to 64 players. The default was 32, but with a few tweaks – and enough horsepower – modders found ways around that limitation.

Even without 64 players on consoles, players on each platform (Xbox 360, PS3, and PCs) will still get jets and the ability to actually go prone which was something of a criticism with the previous Bad Company games when it was taken out. Sneaky players will finally get something new to crow about when they shoot the ankles out from beneath their enemies.

There’s no firm date yet aside from this Fall setting it up to be another painful pounding on everyone’s wallets all over again.

Scenes from Capcom’s Fight Club in L.A.

Here are some photos from Capcom’s “Fight Club” event Thursday night at Club 740 in downtown Los Angeles.

Fans had a chance to try out Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and “Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. I’ll have a more detailed write-up as soon as I can take care of my non-polygon related duties for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and The Sun.

49764-Marvel women-thumb-480x360-49763.jpg

It wouldn’t be a Capcom party without cosplay. “Chun-Li,” “X-23″ and “Dark Phoenix” pose for the cameras.



More after the jump …
Continue reading

EA Games: Dragon Age II demo set for Feb. 22 release

RPG fans awaiting Dragon Age II will be able to get their hands on the title’s demo on Feb. 22, EA Games announced Thursday.

49724-image003-thumb-300x168-49723.jpg

The demo will give players a chance to sample Dragon Age II’s prologue, and those who complete the demo will get a chance to wield Hayder’s Razor, “an ancient dwarven blade which increases health, mana, and combat abilities” in the main game.

Dragon Age II is set for a March 8 release in North America for PC, PS3 and XBox 360.

The supervillain’s life: “DC Universe Online” reviewed

By Brittany Vincent
Contributor

Time constraints and an avalanche of games falling from my enormous backlog kept me out of the MMO fold for quite some time, but one title finally struck my fancy enough to bring my inner supervillain out of hiding: DC Universe Online.

I’d avoided MMOs for years, fearing the cost of addiction rearing its ugly head. But it’s 2011. It’s a new year, a fresh start, and I’m rockin’ shiny new spandex while l smear the good guys all over the pavement. It’s been about a month into my masquerading as a costumed supervillain, and I’m here to report back.

49685-avault_12-16_mettomorrowdistrict_006-thumb-300x168-49684.jpg

The verdict? DC Universe Online isn’t a game-changer, but it’s overall a decent
option to get casual players into test-running an MMO, especially for
gamers like me who have all but abandoned the genre. I can’t say it runs
particularly well for a console iteration, like say Final Fantasy XI, a
perennial favorite for me when the mood strikes for grinding, but it
certainly has its moments.

Continue reading

“First Strike” maps released for CoD: Black Ops

XBox Live players can buy five new multiplayer maps for “Call of Duty: Black Ops” (Activision, Treyarch) as of today’s release of the new “First Strike” DLC.

CoD fans who actually played Black Ops’ well-made, entertaining and insanely unrealistic* single-player campaign will remember most the game’s action taking place in Cold War scenarios such as the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and Laos. 

49676-Berlin Wall-thumb-300x168-49675.jpg

The new map pack continues the Free World vs. Commies theme with a map featuring fighting on both sides of the Berlin Wall. The remaining four maps are “Stadium,” the Antarctic setting of “Discovery,” the high-rise cityscape of “Kowloon” and “Ascension,” which is a new setting for players to shoot at zombie communists and monkeys.

“First Strike” retails for 1200 Microsoft Points on XBox Live.

*Had anything like half the missions in this game actually happened, World War III would have happened. (And let’s not talk about that plot twist.)