Doctor Who is looking for volunteers

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BBC’s time traveling Doctor has his own, free-to-play browser MMO that’s undergoing a bit of a preview. It’s certainly different from any other traditional MMO and it’s not because of the quirky Doctor.

The 2D art style and the puzzle-based gameplay set it apart from some of the more combat hungry F2P titles out there making it something of a mental game than a twitch based one. Though when you’re trying to solve things while on the clock, you might be twitching anyway from trying to beat it.

Right now, the only thing you need to sign up for it is an email address. Once that’s punched in, you’re briefed by Doctor in the TARDIS on what has to be done to keep space-time from unraveling, all presumably leading up to a spectacular climax.

I made it to the second mission where I was promptly mauled by living mannequins when my AI controlled teammates couldn’t unlock a door in time. One can always team up with other living people, though, for a better chance at survival.

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And everything is puzzle based from rewiring cables, unlocking doors, to combat which is handled through a Tetris-like mechanic. There are also levels earned to grow your character and even a bit of crafting to build new toys. It also looks like the game will use micro-transactions to purchase special “Chronos” points for in-game goodies like clothing or upgrades.

The points slowly generate themselves over time – think glacially slowly – making it tempting to splurge a few bucks to get a slight boost providing a look at how the game may finance itself in the long run. Or you can just stick to what it gives you for free and earn things the old fashioned way as you save the universe.

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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Assassin’s Creed 2 Site Teases Fans

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Assassin’s Creed fans will remember the Animus project and Ubisoft has put together a teaser site for the sequel based around the name, providing tantalizing hints as to what is going to be revealed later this month on the 16th in Game Informer. A few interesting images are shown in succession, providing plenty of da Vinci inspired sketches hinting that the next adventure may take place in Renaissance Italy.

Hopefully the next game will have more unique opportunities in exploring the world and less of the repetition, but any chance to head back into one of Ubisoft’s visually stunning sets is always something to look forward to.