Remember Me reviewed

Capcom's game has many memorable moments!

7.1 Surround Sound for the masses

Want cinematic sound quality? Then Mad Catz 720+ may be for you

DayZ: a new approach to survival horror

DayZ, a mod for Arma 2, is unlike any other horror game that came before

Best of the worst bad habits in gaming

Megabits of Gaming takes a look at five of its favourite gaming characters who have bad or slightly seedy habits.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another shooter...For a Few Dollars More

Co-blogger Ibwib recently tipped
western shooter Red Dead Redemption as potentially the most exciting title of 2010... As it comes from the stable of the Grand Theft Auto team, I'm almost inclined to agree with him. And it appears that all the Cowboys and Indians fans out there are going to be well provided for this year...

I'm talking about the release of Lead And Gold, a new third-person team based shooter due out soon. Think Team Fortress 2 but with a glut of Smith and Wessons and ten gallon hats. Featuring four classes (Blaster, Deputy, Gunslinger and Trapper) - all with varied attributes and flaws, six maps and plenty of game modes, this could be a huge hit methinks.

I could go on and outline all the features and so on, but why bother when Destructoid has done it so succinctly in this preview???

(Photo credit: Lead and Gold)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another 1,000G - Modern Warfare 2 veteran!

Leaving your laptop in a skip behind a burger joint is just plain careless if you ask me. But that's where I found my 45th piece of intel in Modern Warfare 2 last night - and picked up my final accolade for 1,000G.

It may not be the toughest game I've played by any stretch of the imagination but it has been one of the most enjoyable I've experienced for some time!

Everyone raves about the multiplayer aspect of Infinity Ward's latest creation, which admittedly does improve on its previous outing. And the solo campaign, although brief and pretty preposterous plot-wise, was also entertaining and showcased the graphical and aural clout of the current generation of consoles...

But for me, it's the Special Ops missions that really made this stand out from the crowd. Not only were they varied and fun - but the fact you could play through them online through co-op added a whole new dimension to it. I just hope that besides more maps being made available in future DLC, there will also be plenty more Special Ops. Ooh-Rah!

(Photo credit: bigdigo)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Golden era of gaming:Sony Playstation-Part II

I still like to dust off my old Playstation games and relive some of these great gaming moments. Despite being a poor student upon the release of the PS1, I'm still surprised by how I was able to splurge on new titles pretty regularly. Come to think of it, I did spend those few years feasting on a diet of pasta and beans! Well worth it though, I think.

The games library was immense and varied
- but after much deliberation, here are my final five highlights...

(Photo credit: MNgilen)

Yet another racing game, but this was a permanent fixture in my console for ages. Destruction Derby 2 was superb fun - not only a great little arcade racer but for the less talented drivers such as myself there was also the opportunity to plough into your rivals and cause unparalleled carnage!

Oddworld Abe's Oddysee
looked fantastic - but also perfectly blended comedy and humour with a great storyline. Help wiry looking Abe traverse a world of platforms and pitfalls in his bid for freedom. Was a great start to a series that unfortunately fell into obscurity.

was all about speed. Boy, was it fast - so much so that it had to be played in small doses as my eyes would quickly feel like they were bleeding after racing along just a few tracks. Bright and brash colours, a great electronica soundtrack and huge range of hovering vehicles to pilot ensured this would capture the imagination of many.

One of Peter Molyneux's finest, Syndicate Wars
remains a firm favourite of mine - it holds a lofty position in my all-time top ten! Control four drug-induced, gun-toting cyber agents and carry out countless missions - each of which inevitably ends in death and destruction. Atmospheric, moody and fun...

Before I became hooked on the likes of Football Manager, the Playstation's LMA Manager
was just the tonic. I owned this and Premier Manager for the PS1 - but LMA will always have a place in my heart for its crisp graphics and involving gameplay. In my eyes, it was the best example of a footy management game on any console at the time, giving you access and control over all the facets of a top manager's job!

Read part one.
Agree/disagree? Leave a comment...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Wii bit of exercise after lunch

There's nothing better than a Sunday roast dinner with a few friends... followed by a quick trip to the Wii Sports Resort to work off that excess flab!

And that's exactly how I spent my afternoon - getting to grips with a Wiimote and wafting it about the place as I tried my hand at frisbee golf, swordplay, archery and skydiving.

I'm really starting to understand why people have been falling over themselves to get their hands on Nintendo's little white box over the past couple of years.

I left my friends' home feeling slightly achy after my exertions, and a little sick after a substantial meal and lots of jumping about... I also left pretty determined to convince my other half that we had to buy a Wii of our own.

I'd had a great afternoon - and, on what must be only my fifth play on a Wii, came away with some pretty respectable scores and even won the odd event too. We had to have one!

As I walked in the door, however, and naturally migrated to my comfy spot on the sofa, it wasn't long before I'd reached for my much-loved Xbox controller. Within minutes I was back online, comfortably shooting and stabbing the Live community on Modern Warfare 2 in my attempt to finally reach Prestige level...

Who needs a Wii anyway? It would probably have been only a matter of time before it sat lonely and unused beneath my TV gathering dust, like those of so many millions of casual gamers out there.

Perhaps the Sports Resort is best left for when I next visit my friends. Saying that though, I'm now looking forward to Microsoft's Natal even more... Roll on November!

(Photo credit: politikill)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Achievements - 20,000G by the end of May!

Not so long ago I wrote an article for GamingBolt about my sordid achievement addiction. In it I mentioned the exploits of one Stallion83, who eventually wants to reach the grand old target of one million gamerscore on his Xbox 360...
...Some of us are a little more committed than others... Pity/admire Stallion83, for example, who currently has a whopping 408,000 gamerscore (I wonder how many RRODs he went through to get this?!) and is on course to reach his ambitious target of one million points. More to the point, by the end of May he wants to have reached the half way mark! Writing on his blog a few days ago, he calculated that to meet this challenge of 100,000G in 159 days, he'd need to gain about 5,000 each week!

I’ll be revisiting his blog in the coming months to see how he gets on – and am wondering just how he has so much time on his hands. As far as the majority of achievements go, they are by no means easy to obtain and are often pretty monotonous. Good luck to him.

It got me thinking... I'm gonna set myself a challenge too. My efforts pale into comparison to Stallion, with my paltry score only around 12,000G. And that's taken me about two years!

My next big landmark is the 20,000G level so that's my target. By the end of
May, I need another 8,000G! With work, family and blog commitments, I reckon this will be a fair old challenge but I'm going to give it a go. I'll post a few updates here on Megabits over the coming months and let you know how it's going... come on, leave a few comments and cheer me on!

Now where did I put Avatar...?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Video game timeline

Here's something for the more nostalgic amongst us, a timeline showcasing some of the most significant consoles and games ever, courtesy of Online Education (click on the image below to enlarge).

Think the Atari 5200 was the earliest console I ever played on - it's not listed below but replaced the 2600 a few years after its release in 1977. Man, I've been gaming for ages!

My favourite systems of all time? No doubt about it... Sega's Megadrive and the Sony Playstation!

Presented by Online Education
Video Game Timeline

Megabits of Gaming has pulled together it's very own timeline too - the Megabits Must-Play List - highlighting some of the top titles from years gone by...

(Photo credit: scalleja)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Golden era of gaming: Sony Playstation

I remember there were many eyebrows raised when Sony burst onto the console scene with its original Playstation. The Japanese upstart wanted to muscle its way onto Sega's and Nintendo's patch, but few thought that a company more associated with televisions and music systems would ever have much success. Nevertheless, it soon became apparent that Sony wasn't going to be a pushover!

The appearance of the Playstation (PS1) in 1994 certainly shook up the world of gaming and played no small part in killing off cartridges as the preferred medium. To this day, Sony's little grey box remains my favourite format and has given me more pleasure than any other.

While writing this list I realised just how many PS1 games feature among my all time favourites. Having to whittle them down to just 10 was by no means easy and I feel compelled to give those that missed out an honorable mention...

Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Time Crisis, Theme Hospital, Driver, Command & Conquer Red Alert: Retaliation, Parappa the Rapper, Crash Team Racing, ISS Pro Evolution... they all have a place in my heart but couldn't quite make my shortlist...

In fact, my final choices actually gave me a bit of a surprise; driving games feature pretty prominently despite perhaps being my least favourite genre!

(Photo credit: barite)

The original top-down Grand Theft Auto was absolutely inspired and certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons, whipping up a media frenzy. I'd personally never seen anything this controversial before - mowing down a procession of chanting Hare Krishnas was fantastic fun as was jacking cars and randomly assassinating passers-by!

Gorgeous looking mock-3D platformer Pandemonium was a real favorite of mine because if looked so lush and colourful. It grabbed a somewhat tired genre by the scruff of its 2D neck and gave it a long overdue makeover.

I think Tekken 2 was my first experience of a proper 3D fighting game - and I thought it looked absolutely amazing and way ahead of its time on the lowly PS1. Loads of characters, moves, combos, costumes and settings far superseded the original and helped to cement the Tekken series as one of the greatest in gaming history.

Frequent visitors to this blog will know my feelings about Rage Racer, which in my opinion is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable racers ever. It's pure arcade racing; forgiving to novices but deep enough for die-hard driving fans. Granted, it was slightly grey and dreary looking - but who cares when your whizzing about the winding streets at high speed!?

My first foray in to the shock horror genre, Resident Evil scared the living daylights out of me and gave me a taste for zombie slaying. I'll never forget playing this with the lights out and leaping out of my skin when a corpse on the floor grabbed my leg before salivating dogs leapt through the glass windows.

Agree/disagree? Leave a comment about your favourites...

Read part II...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gaming by numbers...

Everybody loves facts and figures, right? Well, I grabbed these nuggets of information about gaming from the Online Education website...

Turns out that the average age of today's gamer is 32 years old, and they spend a paltry 18 hours a week playing! Pah, lightweights!!!

Also worth a mention is the closely fought battle between the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii for the guys' affections, whereas the ladies love nothing more than the Wiimote in their sweaty little palms.

Nintendo, meanwhile, manages to steal all the Top 5 spots for the best selling games. And not only that, but it's mascot - the minuscule Italian plumber Mario - is apparently the most successful franchise in gaming history - with a staggering 225m game sales.

(Photo credit: mollycakes)

Videogame Statistics

Source: Online Education

Monday, January 18, 2010

Grappling with the Just Cause sequel

I was a little late to the whole Just Cause scene,
picking up a copy only recently - some three plus years after its release. Back then, sandbox games weren't ten a penny so this showed some really innovative ideas. Having invested quite a few hours in this over the past few weeks, I'm of the impression that it's stood the test of time pretty well.

Set on some fictional tropical islands spanning a staggering 400 square miles, you take on the role of Rico - your typical special agent type - who has to make his way about the place completing missions and taking on the local militia.

The graphics now look a little rough around the edges and more than a little reminiscent of those seen on the last generation of consoles but it's really not a big deal as the fun element of the game wins through. The controls are simple to grasp, the missions varied enough to keep you interested and the scope for exploration is enormous. All in all, I'd recommend anyone to get hold of a copy - especially as it's available for a paltry £5 if you look hard enough!

Aptly-named sequel Just Cause 2 promises to take this winning formula by the scruff of the neck and give it a much deserved makeover. Due for release March, it promises more of the same but looks awesome.

Thankfully, the parachuting element (more recently employed in the Grand Theft Auto DLC, the Ballad of Gay Tony) makes a welcome return and allows Rico to traverse huge areas in a single swoop. Besides his basejumping abilities, grapple hooks allow him to make some pretty impressive looking leaps of faith and grab hold of vehicles, buildings and bad guys.

As is the nature of the sandbox genre, players can tackle the various missions and objectives in pretty much any way they like - in any order and adopting a plethora of strategies. Scale the icy hills, patrol the lush rainforests, or venture into the towns and villages dotted about the map - it's entirely up to you.

Anyways, another trailer emerged recently that showcases some of this freedom... Any of you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy books where you reached the end of the page and then had to make a decision about your next move? Well those clever fellas behind Just Cause 2 have pulled together a rather nice video showing just that... watch the trailer and decide what you want to do next when prompted...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Army of Two gets a second chance

So, Salem and Rios have lumbered back onto our screens with their second outing, Army of Two: The 40th Day... and it appears to be far more explosive than their first - and more favourably reviewed!

Check out the comments in the latest Official Xbox Magazine.

The original third person shooter was billed as the ultimate co-op game - but fell wide of the mark according to most reviewers. Personally, I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was pretty brainless and swiped plenty of ideas from its predecessors but it did have a certain charm.

Rather than fighting the alien hordes a la Gears of War, it told the tale of a couple of mercenaries fighting their way the familiar battlegrounds of Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, China and the US.

Teamwork was core to the game and worked to a degree; one player would supply covering fire as the other rushed the enemy, or could lend a helping hand to negotiate a wall, for example. Slow-mo back to back moments were seen as an innovation but were pretty uninspiring as the player had no control over when or where they took place. Nevertheless it was another decent idea that appears to have made its way into the sequel.

The aggro meter is back too, as are the varied customisation options for your weapons and masks...

The latest edition takes place in China's metropolis, Shanghai - and looks bigger and badder, with explosions galore. Check out the video below.

(Photo credit: StarMama)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Natal attraction - new peripheral sounds promising

The BBC and a raft of other websites revealed last
week that Microsoft's Project Natal will finally see the light of day for the Xbox 360 in November, just in time to make everyone's Christmas lists.

As I've said before, I'm an advocate of simple controls - the fewer buttons to remember, the better in my humble opinion - so I must admit I'm intrigued by this new venture. However, there are lingering doubts about just how forgiving the new hardware will be and how it will be incorporated into the various games that are produced. A glance at the various forums suggests that many seem to share my fears, and just like the Wii this may prove to be an expensive gimmick that quickly loses its appeal.

Saying that though, if Microsoft could pull it off, it could be one of the biggest events in gaming since the internet hit the mainstream!

I've many friends that already make steering gestures when playing driving games such as Project Gotham Racing or Gran Turismo, so they'll be right at home with all this motion control. But what about the majority of us who would think it obtuse to waft our arms about wildly and accentuate our every move. And what of the die hard beat-em-up fans, or war game lovers? Will they be required to pull of some elaborate 20 part kick and punch combo in their living rooms to get a perfect takedown or take cover behind a coffee table before lobbing a frag grenade?

Just as an aside, I remember Nintendo receiving numerous complaints when the Wiimote hit the market as gamers overzealously gesticulated and chucked it through their TV
screens... but I'm sure Microsoft and its deep pockets can cover any similar insurance claims!

Despite my concerns, the potential of Natal is unfathomable. Imagine some of the greatest games of recent years being played not from the sofa with control pad in hand, but by acting out your every move. You don't just play the game, you actually BECOME the game.

One frequent visitor to this very blog, rabesandratan, has offered us a few observations about Natal and suggested that games like The Movies from gaming guru Peter Molyneux and Lionhead are being developed.

I emphasise that this is only conjecture, as far as I know, but his comments do throw up some interesting ideas about the future of the Xbox and its Live community.

For those not familiar with the 2005 game, it's more than a little reminiscent of management sims such as Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon, but you take on the role as head honcho at a film studio. Pick your g
enre, choose your stars and build your sets. Then, shout ACTION and wait for the accolades, reviews and cash to come rolling in.

Despite great reviews upon its release, it never quite lived up to the hype. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with all the options but an overly complicated director mode - which allowed you to actually produce and upload your very own creations to the internet - left me cold. It must have also left others pretty nonplussed too, as the whole idea never really seemed to take off.

According to our dedicated reader, however, a new version is on the cards and will not only harness the power of Natal but also incorporate roles for you and your friends' avatars instead of a "fictitious" cast of characters.

Shooting movies and post-production would be mainly handled through Natal, he suggests. Who knows, perhaps you'd be able to actually act out scenes... Completed masterpieces could then be uploaded and shared with others on Xbox Live. There's also plenty of potential for users to download new content to decorate the s

And what about using the community to host an awards event, he says, showcasing some of the better creations?

Over the past year we've seen gamers join one another to watch Sky events together, and the Xbox Live gameshow 1 versus 100 has proven so popular it's now in its second season. As a concept, this awards ceremony idea does sound feasible...

Thanks largely to rabesandratan's comments, I must admit I'm actually feeling a little more enthusiastic about the whole motion thing now. I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking that the advent of Natal would mean a glut of soul-less one dimensional childish titles that would attempt to lure youngsters and parents away from the Wii market... but if great games such as The Movies do get a new lease of life, I'm all for it. Roll on November.

From what I understand, the new gizmo echoes the technical wizardry of Nintendo's Wii, which features a discreet sensor bar that picks up movement from a controller. Of course, Microsoft has decided to do it bigger and better; its new peripheral incorporates cameras and sensors that capture the actual body movement of the user - propelling them into the game they're playing.

A recent New Scientist article says the motion capture camera gauges movement from 31 fixed points on the human body. On paper, at least, it's looks certain to trounce Nintendo's efforts. According to New Scientist:
"A player standing anywhere between 0.8 and 4 metres from Natal is illuminated with infrared light. A monochrome video camera records how much of that light they reflect, using the brightness of the signal to approximate their distance from the device and capture their movements in 3D."
As a result, it can apparently calculate the position of your hand even if you've placed it behind your back!

The more I read about Natal, the more I salivate at the prospect. I'm certain it can help to close the massive sales gap with the Wii and give Sony a good run for its money when it launches its own motion gadget.

(Photo credit: Jake of

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Top 5 with a twist.

Last week Bojeeva posted his Top 5 most anticipated games for 2010, and this week I’m posting mine, but to add a little interest, our Top 5s are going to go head to head. Essentially, we’ll be adding up the review scores from IGN, Eurogamer and Gamespot for each game, then adding the scores of all the games together. Whoever’s Top 5 scores the highest gets a couple of crisp notes.

Why? Well, for starters I’m sick of being on the losing end of our seasonal Arsenal/Utd bet, but also because it adds even greater weight of expectation to the games as we buy them, and turns the normally mundane experience of reading online reviews into something with a rooting interest akin to Fantasy Football. On top of that, it will tempt us to review the reviewers, and, of course, it has the potential for upsets and reversals.

Just to be fair, I’m leaving Bayonetta off my list. It would probably rank as one of my Top 5 most anticipated games of 2010, and its not out yet, but we all know already how highly it’s going to score, so including it in my list would be a cheap shot, and I like to save my cheap shots for when nobody is looking.

So, in reverse order, these are my most anticipated games of 2010...

5. Mass Effect 2
I’m among that small group of people who weren’t that impressed with Mass Effect. The story was great, as was the sense that your in game choices were having a sizeable effect on the plot and the broader game universe. On the other hand, the combat stank, the team mates were barely adequate bulletstoppers and there was no point in doing the dull, repetetive side missions. And couldn’t it bang on? And on. And on. It’s quite likely that Mass Effect 2 will also be all talk, but I can forgive that if Bioware makes good on it’s promise to tidy up the clunky cover and soporific shooting and make the galaxy worth exploring. Add to that the sense of a persistent universe created by Mass Effect 2’s promise to use your Mass Effect save file to bring the life changing decisions you made in the original into the sequel, and you’ve got a game that’s determined to build on it’s strengths and fix its weaknesses.

4. Heavy Rain
I’ve got an Xbox 360, a Wii, a Mac and a PC, and until I heard about Heavy Rain I’d never once regretted the absence of a PS3 from that list. Now though, I’ll either have to start saving or console borrowing, because I really fancy a bit of Quantic Dream’s conceptual thriller Following four characters linked by a serial killer, Heavy Rain has the potential to be a genuine step forward in gaming, one that puts narrative and character before action and interaction. Of course, it is possible that a game in which you have to brush your teeth and help dress your son for school might well turn out to be too close to everyday real life to be interesting. It is possible that a game that will continue to unfold its story regardless of whether you’ve managed to kill off one or more of your characters will consequently feel less like a game and more like a movie with button prompts. On the other hand, its also possible that the focus on human relationships and the finality of death will make Heavy Rain the most emotionally involving, high stakes game you’ve ever played. I’m choosing to be optimistic and expect a revolutionary gaming experience.

3. Alan Wake
I love a bit of survival horror, be it early Resident Evils and Silent Hills, neglected gems like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, or even grisly, action-packed versions of the genre like Dead Space, but it has to said that survival horror as a genre seems to be in trouble these days. Silent Hill is a laughable shadow of it’s old self, Resdient Evil has become a shooter, and Dead Space was a bit of a one-trick pony, and more focused on shocks than suspense. So why am I so sure that the oft-delayed Alan Wake will buck the genre’s downward trend? Er…I’m not. It might stink. The reason I’m so excited about Alan Wake is because at least half the articles that mention it have name checked Twin Peaks when trying to describe Alan Wake’s look and feel, and anything that can evoke the stratospheric high points of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s patchy but brilliant early 90s drama/murder mystery/soap opera pastiche has to be worth a look.

2. Crackdown 2
I was a late convert to the original Crackdown. Never a wholehearted believer in the wisdom of crowds, I tended to ignore the praise heaped on it from all quarters and instead trusted my own instincts, which suggested that the perfunctory, barely-there plot (three islands, three gangs, 21 gang leaders, go kill) would be too shallow and shapeless to provide the game with any sense of progression. So, I was wrong about that, eh? The urge to collect more orbs, to leap taller buildings, to drive cars faster, to aim sharper, to throw further, these ever improving attributes provided Crackdown with all the impetus normally granted by plot twists and changing environments, as well as making it completely addictive. To be honest, Crackdown 2 could be a simple retread of the original and I’d still be keen to play it, but the fact that it promises to add a day/night cycle that affects the type of enemies you face to existing template of running, jumping, kicking cars makes it a must have. It’s also the only game to appear on both my list and Bojeeva’s, making it the Wayne Rooney of videogame review fantasy football.

1. Red Dead Redemption
I can hardly tell you how much I’m looking forward to Red Dead Redemption. In fact, I can hardly tell you why I’m looking forward to Red Dead Redemption, but I am. Lets be honest, it’s predecessor, the slightly tongue-in-cheek Red Dead Revolver was good, but not stellar. The two Call of Juarez games were fun but felt a little like Call of Duty with a cowboy skin and some banjos, and much as I adored playing Gun back in the day, I can’t pretend that it was much more than a technicolour Saturday matinee of a western game with a slo-mo mechanic that was already starting to look unoriginal even back then. So why do I think Red Dead Redemption will buck the trend? For starters, it’s an open world game from Rockstar San Diego, the company (if not the particular division) responsible for open world gaming’s finest moments, The Grand Theft Auto series. In the best westerns the landscape becomes practically another character, so Rockstar’s ability to create living, breathing, endlessly fascinating open-world landscapes for you to explore looks likely to be a huge and fitting selling point for Red Dead Redemption. Add to that the good looks and evocative character designs currently on display in the trailer, what appears to be an intriguing plot concerning an outlaw becoming an unwilling agent for the law, and Rockstar’s promise of hitherto unseen naturalism in the integration of plot, side missions and environment, and you have my pick for the most exciting game of 2010.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Five ways to make Dead Rising 2 a dead cert

Zombie gorefest Dead Rising was the sole reason I bought an Xbox 360 all those years ago but I'm sad to say I'm feeling completely underwhelmed about the sequel.

I was a big fan of
George Romero's classic 1978 Dawn of the Dead movie so the idea of adopting the role of a survivor holed up in a shopping mall and fending off the zombie horde appealed somewhat. Now, a few years on, I can't help but feel that where the undead
are concerned, the whole concept is suffering from overkill right now.

Call of Duty: World at War saw countless map packs sporting the shuffling minions, while
Left4Dead and its fantastic follow up have given us a healthy dose of the undead too. Then there's Resident Evil 5 and the countless Indie and Arcade games that have emerged too. I ask you, have we had too much of a good thing?

Back in 2006, Dead Rising was billed as the ultimate survival horror sandbox game, boasting a unique storyline, great shopping mall setting, vast array of weaponary and hundreds of onscreen enemies at any one time. It showcased what could be achieved by the current crop of consoles- and I absolutely loved it.

Besides the infected, there were the psychopaths to fight and snivelling shoppers to rescue. I even grew quite fond of Otis the Janitor - despite his incessant phone calls with news updates and tips at the most inappropriate times!

The upcoming second incarnation boasts more of the same, but takes place in the glitzy gambling capital Las Vegas - sorry, I mean Fortune City. This time, however, photographer Frank West isn't involved - and instead players take the role of the intriguingly named Chuck Greene, a biker type, who thankfully won't be needing to stop every few minutes to take pictures to achieve experience points.

While this all sounds well and good, it's the multiplayer options that are most intriguing... In a recent interview that appeared on my Xbox dashboard, Capcom said that it was as yet undecided how many different modes there will be but the co-op element of the game would take place in the guise of a reality TV show.

For anyone that remembers the US and UK hit series Gladiators, the Atlaspheres (or giant hamster balls) will play a part in Dead Rising 2, as will other mini-games involving bike mounted chainsaws and razor sharp deer antler headgear.
Although welcome it doesn't quite seem to blend as seamlessly with the main game as the Special Ops section does on Modern Warfare 2, does it?

So, as the game is still a little way off, I'd like to offer the developers my five suggested improvements for the sequel...


(Photo credit: Vince Templement)

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year, new wishlist

Finished playing all those games you
got for Christmas? Want something else to look forward to?

Well, thanks to those guys over at the Guardian Gamesblog, here's a pretty comprehensive list of good-looking releases for the year ahead...The 50 most intriguing games of 2010:
part one and part two...

Those of you paying attention will have already read about the ones I'm most looking forward to...

I'd better get saving!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Noughtie but nice - gaming's best decade

So there you have it, another decade is over. Fairly obvious this, I suppose, but the noughties (as they are affectionately, albeit irritatingly) known, have been the most significant period for gaming EVER!

Interactive Computer Game Exhibition Opens At The Science Museum
Yeah, we saw the first real forays into gaming in the 1970s, the advent of the 8-bit home computer in the 80s and the rise of the humble console in the 90s. But it's the past 10 years - with its advanced graphics, powerful technology, authentic cinema-like sound quality, engrossing storylines and emphasis on co-op and family play - that has propelled gaming into the stratosphere and transformed it into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Nowadays, turnover for some games is comparable to the mega-bucks movies that emerge from Hollywood. Hell, even production costs are similar these days. Media types don't just talk about how successful an opening weekend has been for blockbuster films anymore - they also cast an eye towards the first few days of sales when a major game is launched.

Add to this the changing attitudes towards gaming over the years and it's clear to see it's no longer reserved for the nerds among us anymore.

Sony laid the groundwork for this mentality shift in 1995 when its stylish-looking Playstation hit the shelves. The Japanese major was the first to make a real dent in the Sega/Nintendo stranglehold that had been prevalent for years - and few could have predicted it would retain the mantle as top dog for years to come.
Tokyo Game Show 2004 Opens

But it was the "noughties" that truly saw Sony dominate the market with the launch of its rather ugly Playstation 2 back in 2000. The hefty black brick set a new standard for gaming and reigns as one of the biggest selling platforms in history. It not only boasted "revolutionary" graphics, great sound, and backwards compatibility with the PSone but it was even capable of playing your DVD and CD collection. Magic!

It sold by the bucketload and those Sony peeps had every right to be pretty pleased with themselves... until Mr Bill Gates, Microsoft head honcho, came along a year or so later and gatecrashed the party.

The Xbox marked a new era; the battles between Sega and Nintendo in the 1990s were history - this was the point that Sony and Microsoft started to fight it out for top spot... The Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube were sadly left in their wake.

Xbox Video Game
The original Xbox was even more aesthetically appalling than Sony's effort - but the lure of the first in the Halo and Project Gotham Racing series proved too tempting for some. It was a pretty powerful beast back then too - but although it had far more under the hood than Sony's offering it achieved only a fraction of the sales of the PSOne. Nevertheless, the foundations were laid...

Just a few years later,
their super powerful successors - the Xbox 360 (2005) and Playstation 3 (2006) - started slugging it out and fighting for sales with their heavily-hyped exclusives. Many observers and fanboys still argue over which is winning the war - but for the countless millions of owners out there, it doesn't really matter. Either way, they're experiencing some of the most exciting titles ever released and have plenty to look forward to in 2010 with some big triple-A titles scheduled.

New Xbox360 Game Machine Introduced In Japan
And what of Nintendo's Wii? Small in stature and compatible with the Gamecube, it's been massively successful in the sales charts - in fact, it's topping them! What the tiny little box lacks by way of next gen software and swanky graphics, it more than makes up for through its adoption of motion control and promise of increased interactivity. Waggling the controller - which is more than a little reminiscent of a traditional TV remote - to manipulate characters onscreen has proven revolutionary. I've spent many an afternoon waving my hands about as though boxing or swinging a tennis raquet, and watching my onscreen avatar imitate my every move.

This unique take on gaming lured many away from the more conventional consoles. It not only proved massively entertaining to the masses but Nintendo's shrewd marketing of the Wii as a useful addition to a fitness regime ensured strong sales. This cemented the notion that gaming could be a family pastime.

And I've not even touched on the battle of the handhelds, have I? Although Microsoft is yet to enter this theatre of war, Sony is duking it out with Nintendo with the PSP and DS, respectively. Just like their bigger brothers, the technical differences between the two are many and varied - with Sony again offering a more powerful version that hasn't sold quite as well as Nintendo's.

Next Generation Video Games Unveiled
But perhaps the greatest innovation of this past decade is the rapid growth of the internet and its uptake. Sony had never really grasped the potential with its massively popular PS2 so it's perhaps the original Xbox's greatest legacy that internet play was to add an entirely new dimension to the mix. Now, it's a major part of all three current gen consoles.The potential was, and still is, unfathomable.

Not only has the internet provided the option of playing like-minded people - or younger spottier versions of yourself - anywhere in the world... in real time... from the comfort of your own living room, but it has also meant that games can be frequently updated, extended through downloadable content and even customised through user generated maps or characters.

Add to this all the really exciting opportunities we started to see in 2009 with full price games and the latest movies available for download, and it's perhaps obvious why Microsoft don't feel so sore about losing the Blu-ray format war to Sony's PS3! Maybe the next decade could see the demise of the shiny DVD altogether?!

When I visited a friend's house 15+ years ago and saw a little black box - or modem - sticking out the back of his PC and we surfed some very limited and uninspiring websites, I never envisaged that the internet would be a staple part of every household a few years later.

But here I am, blogging, having spent the previous few nights glued to the screen playing Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox Live and racking up the kills against my global playmates.

The past decade has been littered with some absolutely astounding titles that have been truly genre defining. Just take a look at the Sims back in 2000. Although disliked by some of the hardcore, it played a considerable part in widening the appeal of gaming, attracting females and younger sorts. Similarly, Guitar Hero (2005) and Wii Sports (2006) opened entirely new avenues for those wanting a fairly faithful musical or sporting slant to their games.

Next Generation Video Games Unveiled

And what about the other big hitters of recent years, such as Halo (2001) , Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Half Life 2 (2004), World of Warcraft (2004), Resident Evil 4 (2005), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2007) and Fallout 3 (2008) to name but a few...?

It's certainly been an entertaining and exciting time...and I for one, can't wait to see what the next 10 years will bring!

Fancy reliving some more highlights of years gone by? Check these links out: