E3 Video: Medal of Honor – Warfighter

EA’s selling point for their revived Medal of Honor series is that it’s set a lot closer to the modern world than “those other” shooters. That means taking you into hot spots like Somalia’s pirate infested coast to pursue your objectives and dealing with the grit that comes with that kind of work. And that’s also thanks to the Frostbyte 2 engine running underneath the hood, the same engine running EA’s Battlefield 3.

That’s where this gameplay reveal from EA’s press event goes, so be warned – it does get violent.

Review: Syndicate (X360)

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In 1993, Bullfrog Productions introduced the world to an isometric, future dystopia where augmented “Agents” were used by megacorporate empires to take the battle for market share out of the boardrooms and into the streets.

It was a tactical game spread across fifty cities across the world as you guided your team of four to cripple the competition by any means possible even if it meant using civilians as meat shields. The Atlantic Accelerator mission still gets a nod from me for its ruthless difficulty, and that was before the expansion pack made things even worse.

Since then, it’s become a cyberpunk classic so when EA and Starbreeze announced that Syndicate would reboot as an FPS, more than a few people were upset. For some, it reminded them of what FASA under Microsoft had done with Shadowrun. Even I had doubts. At the same time, it’s also easy to understand why. In a market dominated by Activision’s Modern Warfare, it’s a safe guess that they were trying to answer how to get an audience that may not have even played the original game to give this a shot.

And now after moonlighting as a new Agent, I can safely say that while it won’t knock your cybersocks off, it doesn’t quite leave the operating table littered with leftover body parts from the original, either. 
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Review: The Darkness 2 (Xbox 360)

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Jackie Estacado isn’t your typical Mafia Don. He’s young, brash, and possessed by a gut ripping terror from beyond known only as the Darkness. For him, the voices in his head are all too real.

In the last game, it was an unexpected birthday inheritance that put him at odds with the dark power passed down to him from his father. At the same time, it also allowed him to tear apart his gun toting enemies with ease in revenge for the death of his childhood sweetheart, Jenny.

Two years had passed since then and while Jackie still pines for her, life has gone on. And he has turned his back on the Darkness, suppressing it since then. That’s until someone tries to take him out, nearly killing him in the process forcing him to dip into the Darkness’ bloody well once again.
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Review: Rage (Xbox 360)

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id Software isn’t known for strong, single player storytelling. They usually leave that to others such as Raven Software. Anyone that has played their games knows that they’re more about eye candy and blistered trigger fingers replacing favorite fictional moments with tales of narrowly avoiding your best friend’s missile punch.

But Rage is different. At the very least, it’s very different for id.
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Modern Warfare 3 Leaked

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One of the most anticipated games this year, Activision’s Modern Warfare 3 joins its predecessors — Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 — in the pre-release piracy box. Modern Warfare 3 is due out in stores on November 8.

Dean Takahashi reports on Venture Beat that a thief had physically stolen one of the discs from the two-disc set from a distribution warehouse where copies are being stored. According to the story, it’s disc 2 of the set for the PC and apparently it’s started to circulate.

The story also reports that Activision is actively seeking the pirates with one posting on Craigslist on being forced to delete or destroy his copy of the game or face immediate fines. Apparently, Activision has stepped up its game on being able to track who has what if the posting is to be believed.

Gamespot had also commented on the report by pointing out that simply having the second disc isn’t enough to play the game somewhat mitigating fears over a rash of spoiler filled vids raining down from Youtube such as what followed Crysis 2.

Estimates can vary on how much of an impact this might have on sales, yet few doubt that MW3 will be a titanic windfall for Activision’s coffers when it hits. Piracy is still piracy, though it arguably did little to dent the record breaking numbers of copies sold for either Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops when they were released. However, an estimate on revenue lost due to the piracy of Black Ops reportedly tops $200 million that could have gone to Activision. Certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who has often been quoted in the gaming press for his forecasts on associated trends, has estimated that MW3 will sell “16 million units by the end of the fourth quarter” and “another 8 million next year”.

BF3 Beta impressions (Xbox 360)

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Playing the BF3 beta was a little confusing. The game is due out in a few weeks, so putting it into beta this close to release seemed bizarre.

It covers only one multiplayer map, Metro, which takes place in a subway tunnel in France along with a little above-ground action for plenty of close quarters shooting. It’s also objective based meaning players will be switching roles between defense and offense. It also means that it’s a map with no vehicles which can be a bit disappointing to some.

Technically, beta tests are handled a few months in advance of finalizing the code for release so that if anything critical crops up, it can be fixed before hitting retail. At least that’s how it’s ideally supposed to go. Though in today’s world of “0-day” patches and broadband speeds, that probably doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.

Likely, the “beta” for BF3 was to test multiplayer stress on the network to better prepare for when it goes prime time on October 25th. On that count, it seems to be doing okay even with the occasional  128-player hack floating around in PC Land.

I also hope that some of the other issues won’t show up in the final game such as prone clipping, or falling through the map and getting stuck leaving suicide the only escape. I was killed on one map by someone trapped this way because they were able to shoot me from below the objective I was attacking.

One thing that stuck with me was how familiar it felt. Coming off of Bad Company 2, BF3′s beta felt like I was heading back for more of the same with a new set of maps. That’s not entirely a bad thing, especially if you couldn’t get enough of the game. And I’ll admit that I had some fun while shooting through Metro’s wrecked venue.

The demo also cuts loose with a large number of unlocks and, from what I could see, no level ceiling, so if anything, it’s a nice, free multiplayer shooter. Some players have also really taken to it – I’ve seen a few leveled into their twenties and thirties already though I doubt any of that will carry over into the full game.

If I weren’t a fan of the series before I doubt this would have convinced me as much as the trailers had worked so well to, but I’m sure that the full game – with actual vehicles – will be a lot more exciting when everything comes together near the end of this month.

Rage is a big game

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So big that it’s going to require a little disc swapping on the Xbox 360 to see it all. The PS3 version comes on one blu-ray, but both versions allow installation of content on the consoles given that you have enough space to pack all of it down.

The PS3 version, for example, is an 8GB installation that will have players doing something else for the several minutes it will take to complete. And as an aside for the PC “Master Race”, installations are just par for the course other than in waiting for a service like Steam to unlock the game for its official debut on October 4th.

According to id’s own Tim Willits in an interview with Eurogamer, however, Xbox 360 players won’t have to install everything. They can get away with installing one of the discs (such as multiplayer which is on its own) and then uninstalling it to install another if they’re pressed on space though that sounds like more of a chore than in simply getting up and switching the disc.

We’ve come far since the days of installing multiple floppies and CDs on PCs even though the dreaded disc swap is still with us. Developers have also been getting a lot better in organizing the data to make sure that its as one-way as possible.

RPGs have been doing that with titles such as Lost Odyssey and FF13, though some players are still irritated at having to physically change the media regardless of whatever technical advances are made. For me, I see these as small breaks to do something else before diving back into the action – such as loading up on snacks before the next action packed run.

Review: Bodycount (X360)

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Bodycount carries itself as arcade-styled FPS that generically pits you against an enemy known only as ‘the Target’ in two major areas: a fictional country in West Africa and a city on the Chinese coast. Apparently, ‘the Target’ is supporting conflict throughout the world for some unknown reason and as a part of ‘the Network’, you are guided to stop them by a mysterious voice.

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BF3 MP Trailer from Gamescom

Gamescom, Europe’s version of E3 over in Germany, is having its pre-convention presser avalanche before Wednesday’s official opening. EA had theirs and one of the things that came out from it was this trailer showing off “64-player vehicle warfare” including jets. The “64-player” thing is only for PCs, though console players should still have a relatively solid 24-player count to play with.

Might need to upgrade my PC for this one when it comes out October 25th this year.


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