Windows 7 is cuter than Vista

Driving all the way out to a Windows 7 launch event in the wee hours of the morning was worth the effort if only for the chocolate muffins that they had ready for breakfast (the free software was a good incentive, too, but I wished they had included the 64-bit version).

So why care? Windows 7 is MS’ new operating system that promises to do everything that Vista does while being much friendlier and easier to use (among other things, better driver support, GUI enhancements, much fewer annoying messages asking if you “want to do this” or not because the UAC was tweaked after much feedback…). Does this mean that Vista is now obsolete? Of course not, but tech-addicted users may feel the urge to upgrade even harder to resist since it seems to be getting a much more positive response from the pros that have been playing with it.

Besides, how can you resist it after watching this?

Review: Raven Squad

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Simply advancing to the next generation of hardware doesn’t necessarily mean that everything else will improve alongside it. Terrible movies made with megabucks still get out to theaters, anyone without two notes to rub together can still market themselves on MySpace in the hopes of landing a contract, and awful games occasionally land on shelves before the eyes of an unsuspecting audience.

Raven Squad’s ideas sound good on the back of its box in blending both FPS and RTS elements together to create what could be a solid take on mercenary-led firepower in a hot zone. After all, that’s one of the things that made Rainbow Six such fun on the PC for many would-be commanders. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter would also get into the act with its Cross Com tactical overview and squad command system which made anyone feel like an operator sitting somewhere deep within Langley before switching into the head of one of their own in the field.

With that kind of history already out there, Raven Squad seemed like it would be built atop the shoulders of giants. The bad news is that Raven Squad would manage to break that formula on every level.
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Review: Spore Galactic Adventures

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Evolving my race into space was a threshold moment in Spore for me until I discovered that instead of a galaxy of fun, there was little to do once I had actually gotten there. Arriving at the center of the galaxy proved to be a temporary injection of excitement because afterwards, I found myself back to running the same spice routes and while drawing from the same, tiny glass of mind numbing activities.

So it was with some anticipation that I loaded up the expansion pack, Galactic Adventures, hoping to see if it could help reinvent what could have been the best part of the game. The good news is that it adds a fun wrinkle to the daily grind of spice running and planet hopping while allowing you to run wild with your own ideas. The bad news is that it also has a few holes in its heat shield..
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Bring Out Your Sims

The Sims 3 is selling like hotcakes on the PC, nearly doing more than twice the number of sales that Prototype did on the Xbox 360 in the same period according to Gamasutra, and you can bet that there are those that are more interested in finding out how many ways that their collection of simulated life can meet and greet the Grim Reaper as opposed to each other.

I’ll admit, I’ve done one or two of the things described in the video posted below such as removing the ladders on a pool. But I really did try to play the game as intended later on.

At one point, I had visited my brother during his internship and he had the game on a PC so I created a small house with a sim. Everything seemed to be going okay, so when we both left to get some Chinese, I left it running. When we came back an hour or so later, my sim was a pile of ashes and there were tombstones in the kitchen. I’m not sure what happened, but this time, it wasn’t my fault.

Anyway, aside from the immaculate neighborhoods with manicured lawns, knowing what might happen when a Sim mixes poor cooking skills with an oven have led to quite a few videos that cover the consequences. If you need a refresher course on what went on in the Sims 2 and what COULD happen again in the follow up, you might want to check out this next clip.

And here’s a little from the Sims 3.

Disclaimer: BTW, I take no responsibility for the consequences that may arise out from the significant others that may become upset at your own attempts to reproduce any of the above in their game without their knowledge. Like that will stop anyone.

Review: Call of Juarez – Bound in Blood

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Polish developer Techland’s Call of Juarez was a western-styled shooter filled with plenty of spaghetti-styled trappings and action that told of a story between outlaw-turned-preacher, Reverend McCall, and Billy Candle whose mixed Native American ancestry had made him something of an outsider on both sides of the fence in the Wild West. Centering around the legend of the treasure ransom paid by the Aztec Empire in the sixteenth century for Montezuma to Cortez, everyone was convinced that they would find it first…as long as they survived the standard curse that accompanies such vast amounts of loose change.

Bound in Blood is the prequel to the first game, telling the story of the three McCall brothers and how a crack shot and vicious bastard like Ray had turned to religion, although you needn’t have played the first to get an idea of what is going on here. Putting you in Ray’s shoes as a Confederate sergeant in 1864 defending a series of trenches against the Union army, it’s clear that Techland will be spinning as much of a western yarn as it will put six shooters and rifles into the player’s hands.
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Mechwarrior Returns

A few teaser videos have led up to an official announcement and interview on IGN that Piranha Games are developing a new Mechwarrior, unleashing howls of cautious joy among the FASA faithful. Jordan Weisman, one of the original co-founders of the Mechwarrior franchise and FASA’s RPG workshop, will be teaming up with Piranha on rebooting the mechanized series for newcomers. With over twenty five years of lore, Weisman and Piranha’s president, Russ Bullock, hope to ease players back into the world without having to rewrite it.

From Weisman’s take on the idea, you won’t have to know what the Third Succession War was, who the Clans are, or why the game takes place in 3015 to enjoy the feeling of piloting a walking war machine several stories high. Instead, the game takes place during a crisis point in Mechwarrior’s long and storied history at just the right time for new arrivals to get a crash course on how to survive the world around it. Sounds like fantastic stuff and to read the interview, Weisman sounds just as dedicated to keeping Mechwarrior exciting for both veterans and the current-gen of players who may have never picked up any of the series’ sourcebooks.

Anyway, here’s the trailer courtesy of Youtube. The wait is almost over.

Get your a** to Mars

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Volition has released a demo for their mega-demolition FPS, Red Faction: Guerilla, for the console crowd and being the curious sort, I downloaded the Xbox 360 version which proceeded to blow my expectations out of orbit with a mass driver. PC players have, so far, been left out of the goodness even though the game is coming out for that platform, too.

But the promises? They’re true. They really are. The whole destructibility thing is absolutely, without question, awesomely fun.
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Fallout 3′s Broken Steel Spread

Aside from the news that Obsidian and Bethesda have teamed up to create a new Fallout adventure, New Vegas, screenshots that drop off a few hints as to what fans can expect from the latest DLC for Fallout 3, Broken Steel, have also made it into the wild.

Along with the pics, more info concerning what players will have to look forward to have also been leaked:

  • Level cap moved from 20 to 30 with new perks added in
  • New weapons, including something called a “tri-laser” and the ominous Tesla Cannon
  • Battle across the DC Wasteland against the forces of the Enclave
  • New monsters including the Ghoul Reapers and a new Super Mutant

It sounds like there will be plenty to keep players busy over the four to five hours of estimated playthrough for the DLC and with new toys, quests, and perks, it could be a lot of fun.

The Pitt might have given me pause, but Broken Steel sounds like it could sweep the problems I had with it far behind me.

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More pics after the jump!
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Dead Rising 2

Capcom is in the works for a sequel to Dead Rising and partnering with Blue Castle Games from Canada.

“Dead Rising 2 is set several years after the infamous zombie invasion of Willamette. Unfortunately, the zombie virus was not contained at the conclusion of Dead Rising, spreading unchecked throughout the United States and Dead Rising 2 depicts a country where zombie outbreaks continue to strike.”

Expect Dead Rising 2 for the PS3, Xbox and for the PC. No dates of release yet but we’ll keep you posted. For now enjoy some gratuitous zombie violence to hold you over.

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