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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another gaming milestone - Megabits is one

A year is a long time in the world of gaming..but it doesn't half pass by quickly! And what a year it's been for this very blog... Megabits of Gaming is officially a year old today. Bet you haven't even got us a present, have you?

This time a year ago, people - myself included - were bemoaning the fact that few killer titles were hitting the shelves. This general air of indifference was compounded by the fact that triple A titles like Fable 3, Bayonetta, Heavy Rain and countless others weren't going to see the light of day until 2010. Thankfully, they're now starting to emerge and frankly its been worth the wait. In fact, there are now far too many great games coming out for my wallet's liking!

Even though the past year has been a little subdued regarding big releases, there's still been plenty to write about and we've mustered some 200 posts.

Among the blog's most read entries was our assessment on New Year's Day of how the gaming world has changed in the past decade.

For the more nostalgic among you, the Megabits Must Play List proved incredibly popular, as we looked at more than 100 classic games from decades past.

Our retrospective Golden Era of Gaming articles
also took us on a merry stroll down memory lane as we revisited some of the greatest consoles of all time and our pick of the top games. Our commentary on the top handhelds also seemed to grab your attention.

And we mustn't forget our inaugural Head2Head contest, which saw us eliminate numerous top titles in a bid to uncover the greatest game of all time. The winner seemed to raise a few eyebrows too...

Among our reviews, perhaps it's no coincidence in the run up to the World Cup that there's been plenty of interest in FIFA 10 and Football Manager. Bioshock and Assassin's Creed II have attracted plenty of visitors too - and a number of you readers took an unhealthy interest in our Tomb Raider Underworld review... but I wonder if that has something to do with the buxom looky-likey model that accompanies the article, eh?

The eagerness to check out some of our teasers and trailers also suggest you're looking forward to the likes of APB, Crackdown 2 and Brink in the coming months too.

And we've still got plenty lined up... Expect our Head2Head contest to make another appearance, pitting the crème de la crème of gaming's past and present against one another. Megabits will also be looking at which of our tips for top 2010 titles will triumph!

Thanks for supporting us - and keep coming back for more Megabits of Gaming.

[Contributors: Bojeeva (left), Ibwib (right), PhotoPuddle,
LovelyLara, thebuttonmushroom]

(Photo credit: Rob J Brooks)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: Split/Second: Velocity

Disney and Black Rock’s latest offering, Split/Second: Velocity, is an arcade racer, pure and simple. There’s no need to change your tyres, tune your engine or worry that your suspension is a little ropey. This is about good old fashioned racing – albeit punctuated with explosions and carnage.

Split/Second is all about adrenaline. And speed. Oh, and destruction. You can’t help but fall in love with the experience – or the fact that it stays with you even after you’ve put down your controller. Great to look at and instantly accessible, it wouldn’t look out of place in an arcade cabinet that eagerly guzzles your countless coinage. Get yourself comfy, play the first track and you’re immediately grabbed by the speed, graphics and desire to have another go, and another...

Set under the rather elaborate – but tried and tested – guise of a TV show, the developers have been given the freedom to combine complete carnage with a traditional racer, and it proves largely successful.

The premise is simple - play through 12 “episodes” of increasing difficulty – each split into races, elimination, survival and bonus rounds. Along the way, you unlock cars, tracks and game modes. The end result is a game that perfectly combines the likes of Burnout Paradise and Flatout: Ultimate Carnage with a Michael Bay film and cartoon classic Dick Dastardly’
s Wacky Races!

Although I enjoyed the demo, it almost deterred me from buying the full release. Although I was in awe as the scenery whizzed by, the gorgeous environs punctuated by the occasional explosion and an opponents’ tyre flying past my windshield… after a few playthroughs, I was left wondering whether I’d seen most of what the game had to offer. For those of you who, like me, were wavering on whether to make a purchase or not, I’d suggest you bite the bullet and go ahead. The full version of Split/Second does not disappoint.

Granted, it’s not deep or clever, and doesn’t require the player to have exhaustive knowledge of how best to tinker with their car to improve performance. The manual is revealingly slim. Instructions should read: insert disc, hold down accelerate and press the powerplay button to eliminate opponents.

All information, including position, lap and the aforementioned powerplay indicator, is depicted in a neat little HUD behind the car, freeing the screen from un-necessary clutter. By drifting round corners, drafting behind other cars, jumping or by narrowly avoiding an explosion, the powerplay gauge increases in stages until you can release merry hell on the track and your competitors. See a rival up ahead? Why not trigger an explosion at the side of the track and send a flaming bus into his vehicle? The range and scale of the devastation is unsurpassed and strategic detonations plays just as much importance as negotiating the multitude of twists and turns during a race. Save up your powerplays and an uber-powerful explosion will quickly become available, providing the option to manipulate the entire track and open up a new route. Careful however, mistiming this could lead to your untimely demise!

The game does have its flaws. Not being able to trigger an explosion behind you when you’re in the lead is a common source of frustration; clawing your way to the front of the pack often leaves you an open target and susceptible to some unscrupulous rival. The best way I found is not to take the lead until the last minute, and simply decelerate occasionally so you can linger behind another car to benefit from its slipstream before surging past.

Another issue is the drifting. It’s an important method of boosting your powerplay gauge that has an unfortunate habit of slowing the car considerably. As a result, it’s often far easier to go full pelt around a corner and smash into a barrier as it’s far les
s detrimental to your overall speed. This perhaps should have been tweaked before release – it’s far easier just to “draft” behind other cars to raise your power meter.

The only other grievance – besides the slightly easy difficulty settings – is the rubber band AI, which handily groups cars together. Although this maximises the benefits of the powerplays, it all too often sees you overtaken just as you are about to grab the winner’s medal.

And what of longevity? The tracks are many and varied – all with their own aesthetic and hidden hazards. During the course of the campaign you’ll race across airport runways, city centres, dockyards and canyons to name but a few.

However, after a few hours play the explosions and devastation are old news
, the cars appear extremely limited, the handling is sluggish, the AI increasingly frustrating and the tracks are all too familiar. But there’s something there that just keeps you coming back for more. When you’re done with the season mode and have dodged all the explosive barrel-spewing lorries and rocket-launching helicopters, the split screen and multiplayer options provide a nice tonic.

If you’re after a fun racer that you can dip in and out of, then Split\Second is for you. Overall, it’s highly recommended!

*To read the full review, visit GamingBolt.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First impressions compilation: Crackdown 2

Wallet alert! Crackdown 2 is coming in July and, judging from the hands-on previews popping up all over the internet, the third person shooter developed by Ruffian Games looks awesome!

Like its predecessor, players bound about the place as a super agent in a bid to get rid of the raft of gang members from the streets of Pacific City. This time though, there are some other locals to contend with. As night falls, mutants – lovingly dubbed Freaks – spill out onto the streets and mayhem ensues.

It’s summed up perfectly by

“Crackdown 2’s night time is now almost an entirely different game – a Dead Rising-style zombie-splatting marathon, with a city full of soft, mushy targets just begging to have anything and everything you’re packing tested out on them in their droves.”

Although the new story takes place in the same old city, there seems to be plenty of new stuff and weaponry to make this a worthwhile purchase. Why not hop into your shiny new helicopters and unload your rockets onto their sorry asses, or get into your machine gun-laden buggy?

Orb collection is still essential to upgrading your character so that they can leap tall buildings with ease or throw cars at onlookers. This time though, those humming orbs of goodness are a little harder to get – some actually move about, requiring you to give chase.

However, it’s clear that the main selling point is surely the four player co-op and 16-player online options – and I’m simply salivating at the prospect!

Sadly, judging from all the internet chatter, it doesn’t all bode well though… take heed of this comment from

“Visually, it wasn't just the character models that had me worried. The game as a whole seemed to have lost some of its charm on its way to becoming a sequel. Perhaps it was just me, but it didn't feel like the Crackdown I knew and loved. It was hard to put my finger on exactly how, but visually, the game was a disappointment.”

Ah well, can’t have everything – I personally loved the look of the original and wouldn’t be too fussed if it looked largely similar.

Check out these links for some early observations:

Crackdown 2 - Xbox 360 - First Look review (Pocket-lint)
Crackdown 2 Campaign Preview (IGN)
Crackdown 2 - hands on impressions (Guardian)
Crackdown 2 (NowGamer)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy 30th birthday, Pac-Man

Who'd have thought that a pizza could have had such an impact on gaming - but the innocuous foodstuff spawned one of the most iconic gam
ing characters ever... 30 years ago today! Happy birthday, Pac-Man.

The designer's inspiration for the cutesy yellow character came from a pizza with a slice missing. The rest, as they say, is history. On May 22, 1980, Pac-Man was born - along with his four ghostly pals, Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde!

He was originally called Puck Man but some shrewd guys decided a name change was needed in case unscrupulous types defaced the arcade cabinets and turned his name into something altogether a little more x-rated!

According to the Gamer's Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, Pac-Man was played some 250 million times in 1981 alone!

Search giant Google commemorated the anniversary yesterday by transforming its own logo into a playable Pac-Man game - with 255 levels and two player option. It no doubt helped many people get through a long work day.

The fact that this is the first time Google has ever done something like this just goes to show the impact the pill-munching blob has had on our culture and lives. Sadly, the change is only temporary - with the game only being available for 48 hours.

Here's to the next three decades!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Call of Duty vs Medal of Honor

Activision's well-publicized spat with Infinity Ward and the mass exodus of most of the Modern Warfare team has left the future of the series on a knife edge and many fans like myself wondering what the future holds.

Not that it should bother me too much, at least in the short term! You see, this year it's Treyarch's turn to take the mantle - and judging by how disappointed I was with its previous attempt Call of Duty: World at War (besides the great zombies maps), I don't think I'll be bothering with it. For the first time since the franchise burst onto our screens in 2003, I will be holding onto my cash in anticipation of an altogether better looking game...

And that, my friends, could come in the form of EA's Medal of Honor, another FPS that will be undergoing somewhat of a facelift in its next incarnation.

Just as Call of Duty took a leap of faith with a break from its Second World War beginnings, EA's effort is making its new game slightly more topical with the setting switching to the sandy, mountain-strewn landscape of Afghanistan.

Take a look at the trailers below. The first is for Call of Duty: Black Ops, developed by Treyarch. Am sure you'll admit that it looks decent enough... but compare and contrast with the Medal of Honor video below it.

I reckon Activision has a battle on its hands later this year!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The history of games controllers

Everyone's got their favourite controller, right? The one that fits the hand perfectly and allows you to completely pwn your opponents?

Gamespot has taken a trip down memory lane as part of its Video Game History Month and pulled together some of the best and worst of the vital peripherals. Everyone remembers the humble NES controller that revolutionised the gaming world with its simplicity but what about Sega's dismal foray into motion control with its Activator (Microsoft and Sony take note!)?

Also, why not check out these videos for a little nostalgia?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Top 50 Xbox 360 games list

This blog loves lists... and here's a great one that we stumbled upon earlier today. If you've finished all your beloved Xbox games and want to know what else to buy, you could do far worse than checking out the list of the console's Top 50, which has been lovingly pulled together by C&VG.

It's a stack of titles that any right-minded gamer would be proud to call their own - and Megabits found itself agreeing with the majority of them - perhaps there are a few in the wrong positions but maybe we'll do our very own version on these pages sometime soon...

Note how few of them are from the past year though - only Mass Effect 2 (2010) and Halo: ODST (2009) make an appearance... although I reckon the latter would not feature this high up if C&VG hadn't bundled it with the fantastic Halo 3 for the sake of the survey. ODST was really little more than an overpriced expansion anyway - a stop gap as fans waited for the awesome looking Halo: Reach...

The remainder certainly deserve to be featured but I reckon that there are so many great games scheduled in the coming months that this list will look very different by the end of the year.

The Top 10 are as follows:
  1. Mass Effect 2
  2. Halo 3/Halo: ODST
  3. Fallout 3
  4. The Orange Box
  5. Mass Effect
  6. Left 4 Dead
  7. Fable II
  8. Gears of War 2
  9. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  10. GTA IV
Check out the rest of the article (but don't forget to come back and visit Megabits of Gaming when you're done!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I really think I need a Wii

On several occasions of late I’ve been exceedingly tempted to splash out on a brand new Wii console. I haven't yet, largely through fear of what my wife would do to me if I added to the nest of cables that sits behind the television and the already huge drain on our power supply because of all my gadgetry.

Just in case my wife is reading this, let me be perfectly clear that I have no intention of actually following through with my aforementioned Nintendo lust. But here was the thinking behind it...

Besides the fact that I REALLY want what I can't have, I’ve recently become jealous of the ridiculously popular machine!

First of all, there's the fact that - thanks partly to writing so much about nostalgia and games from my youth on this very blog - I really want to revisit some of my old favourites. While Microsoft's Game Room is well intentioned, first impressions are disappointing to say the least.

Although I was already an avid gamer when many of these classic games appeared the first time round, many of them are pretty poor quality and of little appeal nowadays. I'd much rather be playing the likes of Donkey Kong Country or Toejam and Earl through the Wii's Virtual Console service.

I must admit that I only recently discovered that lucky Wii owners had access to such a great catalogue of downloadable games from consoles past. There’s plenty available to buy from the NES, SNES, N64, arcade, Commodore 64, NEO GEO, TurboGrafx and Sega’s Megadrive and Master System. Far more impressive than being able to play Centipede and Crystal Castles, eh?!?

But it’s not just the past that appeals to me… it’s the future too.

I’ve read plenty of articles on Microsoft’s Natal and Sony’s Move motion controllers in recent months and I’m positively salivating at the prospect. Natal, in particular, intrigues the hell out of me and frankly, despite plenty of moans and groans coming from many gamers out there, I really can’t wait to get hold of the discreet little camera and place it proudly atop my television. Until its launch, now thought to be in October, the Wii is the closest I can come to experiencing this new phenomena.

Buying a Wii would be no more than a temporary stopgap for my Natal craving and a quick fix for my nostalgic pangs. Because of this I can’t justify the outlay – much to the relief of my wife. Roll on October…

Nintendo To Replace Over 3 Million Wii Straps

Friday, May 14, 2010

Download Valve's Portal for free

The old adage that there's no such thing as a free lunch couldn't be further from the truth. For if you load up Steam right now on your humble PC, then you could come into possession of the rather fantastic Portal, courtesy of VALVE. Gratis!

The cracking puzzler - also available as part of The Orange Box (including FPS Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2) - has won countless awards... 76 according to Wikipedia, 37 of which were for Game Of The Year!

Better be quick though, the offer only runs until 24 May...

Thanks to fellow blogger Ibwib for pointing out this nugget of information!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review - Batman: Arkham Asylum

The joy of reviewing games as and when you play them rather than in a hurry for deadline is that you have time to actually finish the game completely (and there are a lot of reviewers that don’t), before sitting back, mulling it over, and finally saying exactly what you want to say.

The drawback of reviewing games as and when you play them is that the guys who wrote their reviews based on three lunch hours worth of play have already made all the good jokes, which is why I’m stuck with the choice between Burt Ward ‘Holy Score Whore’ puns, or a wandering apologia as the style for this review.

I’m going with the apology. Why? Well, I previewed Batman: Arkham Asylum several weeks before it came out, after spending a few hours at Eidos HQ in Wimbledon with a preview code. Guess what? I got it wrong! Not hugely wrong, just a little bit wrong. A smattering of minor wronglets dusted throughout my preview. But still, wrong. Now I could pretend that it never happened and just write a fresh review here that extols all the same virtues everyone else has already banged on about, but I thought it would be more interesting to write a review that contrasts the impression I had from a two-hour preview with the impressions I had when I finally finished the whole game.

In my original preview I described the faux infra-red ‘Detective Mode’ that you use to hunt for clues as being ‘...too useful to turn off, yet having it on all the time gets in the way of the gorgeous graphics.’ It was a gameplay mechanic that got between you and the game...except it wasn’t. The slightly Metroid Prime nature of Batman: Arkham Asylum means that you’re frequently returning to previously played areas to do new things. On a two hour play where you’re seeing each area for the first time you seem to be using the Detective Mode constantly. On a full 10 hour playthrough you’ll find that familiarity with the environments limits your need for the goggles, and you’ll get to just enjoy the rippling capes and neon-gothic environments in their full glory.

I also said that the game feels ‘strangely room-based’, as if it’s simply funnelling you down corridors to the next combat arena, essentially forcing you into the role of someone who has to play a series of mini beat-em-ups and has to commute to each one. Again, first impressions are totally misleading-sure, you walk through corridors to get to that initial brawl in the holding cell. Then you walk through corridors to get to the dust up in the Transfer Loop. You’d be forgiven for noticing that you’re wandering down linear pathways, emerging into broad areas full of people trying to kick your arse, then delving back into the corridors again. An uncharitable mind might feel like they’d been conned into playing a JRPG, albeit without the bumshots. But once you open up the whole island, once you’re fighting on rooftops, in sewer systems, atop guard towers and in greenhouses, graveyards and courtyard, that whole beat-em-up feel is replaced with an addictive mixture of exploration and combat.

Finally, in my preview, I predicted that the game was heading for three stars. The sort of score you give to a perfectly competent, enjoyable game that provides you with plenty of entertainment but doesn’t manage to get you in the guts, let alone take over your life the way the very best games do. Well, that’s where I was really wrong-Batman: Arkham Asylum is a five star game. Granted, not a top rung five star game the way Fallout 3 or Grand Theft Auto IV or Age of Empires II were, but I did find myself going to bed late and getting up early to squeeze extra game time in, and when a game makes you rearrange your time to make spare hours, that’s when it gets a five from me. Batman: Arkham Asylum not only made me rearrange my time, but it pulled off that rare coup-after I’d finished the main story, I put in an extra couple of hours to finish off the Riddler puzzles too.

So, what did I get right in my preview? Well, the combat is lively, fluid and animated with a wonderful degree of detail and variety, the set-pieces are marvellously inventive. The graphics and voice acting are great, the rain of achievements is perfectly pitched and there are a thousand tiny nods to all of Batman’s many incarnations in comics, films and on TV. Brilliant.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Red Dead Redemption is my most wanted

It's less than 10 days to go until the launch of Rockstar's GTA-beater Red Dead Redemption - arguably one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated games of the year.

No doubt, like me, you'll be spending the next few days contemplating which of the pre-order deals at your local stores will tempt you most (some offers include the Deadly Assassin Outfit, Golden Guns weapon pack or a faster, tougher horse!).

In the meantime, here are a couple of videos to keep you going...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Early 360 games still impress - NBA 2K7

Sandwiched between lengthy, eye-watering late night sessions playing Left 4 Dead 2 with a few friends, my weekend was punctuated with some rather enjoyable matches of NBA 2K7.

The basketball sim was one of the first games I simply had to get when I bought my Xbox all those years ago. I remember that reviewers at the time raving about the realistic sweat effects - an indication of just how far graphics had come since the previous generation of consoles.

Although I don't tend to buy games simply because its characters perspire with aplomb, I must admit that even now, it still manages to impress me. It may have since been bettered by Fight Night Round 4, but sweat effects back in 2006 were still really impressive! It's almost worth making your players run themselves ragged just to see those little beads of water drippin' off 'em.

I'd like to make it clear that these comments are by no means meant to be remotely pervy - I'm just pretty impressed by how great this game still looks after all these years. The arena looks excellent, movement is accurate and realistic - and apart from some really grotesque close-ups of players' faces - they apparently look fairly similar to their real life counterparts.

Add to that, the enjoyable gameplay, the fact that it is teeming with achievements that are actually really fun to get and the frequent appearances of the cheerleaders (now I'm perhaps being a little pervy), it's a thoroughly recommended title.

If you don't want to fork out for one of the obligatory annual updates, then this can probably be found in the bargain bins for an absolute steal (basketball terminology, geddit?).

Monday, May 10, 2010

DLC - expensive but worth it?

Just written another post for Is downloadable content great for gamers or just another cash cow for developers?

Having just forked out for a brand new game, it’s never too long before the gaming faithful like myself are faced with a dilemma… After handing over our hard-earned cash, should we then spend a small fortune on additional downloadable content (DLC)?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a fine example of this quandary. Not only had we paid a premium for Infinity Ward’s epic shooter compared with the cost of most games but we were then teased with a new map pack. Well, I say new – in fact, it contained only a few new maps, merely recycling two from the original Modern Warfare! It also proved to be some of the most expensive DLC released so far. The cheek of it.

It seems, however, that millions of us gamers were perfectly content to part with our hard-earned cash no matter what the price or content. To capitalise on its success, the word on the street is that Activision now plans to release a second batch of DLC later this year…

Suffice to say, games developers are a canny lot. They nurture their audience and get us hooked, teasing us with additional maps, costumes or missions. And we lap it up.

There have been plenty of stories on this very site in the past month announcing the release of fresh downloadable content for recent or upcoming releases...

Read the rest of the article at

Driving games drive me nuts!

Driving games are a popular genre across all consoles, and have been for years. The first one I played would have been Gran Turismo, I think, and TOCA Touring Cars not long afterwards. I was 11 or so when I first took the wheel/controller.

I remember that I always sucked at TOCA and was happy to finish the qualifiers in second-to-last place (although sometimes this was because a car had been destroyed and knocked out of the race by my awful driving on the track!).

Over the years I played more and more driving games, including those which are not focused on racing but still required good, precise driving skills, for example: Stuntman, Driver, Crazy Taxi, G
rand Theft Auto etc... I loved them so much that I invested in a steering wheel and pedals for my PlayStation and gradually became good enough at Ridge Racer Type 4 to win every race effortlessly.

Funny thing though, driving games. You can be an expert behind the controller, and a nightmare on the real roads or vice versa!

When I first started playing driving games I was well under the age to drive but there I was earning all the professional licences on Gran Turismo feeling like it was a real achievement. Yet there's no way I would be able to earn them in real life!

Well now I do drive for real and not too badly, if I may say so myself. I'm no pro o
n the roads, but I'm comfortable behind the wheel and find driving little more than a fun past-time and a useful way of getting from A to B. Do I race around the streets at well over 100mph, trying to escape the police or trying to pull off incredible death-defying stunts? Well ,no. So if I could once do these things on a video game and can now drive the real thing too, why is it that when I now return to driving games, I'm absolutely terrible at them?

Everything's reversed; I used to know how to win a race on a driving game but I wouldn't have been able to drive a real car. Now I can do the latter but can barely reverse in a straight line on my console!

I guess, like most things, practise makes perfect and also doing something often will help you improve. But for me, years of rust has set in so I am now terrible at driving games.

The answer is of course to get practising again and to dust off some of the titles I used to be quite good at. But you have to remember to draw the line between the real world and the virtual world because otherwise you'll find yourself driving like a maniac on the roads thinking "it doesn't matter if I crash/die/get caught as I just won't save!"

If you start thinking like this, you've been playing for too long!

Couple in a video store

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gaming is taking over the world

I've said on many occasions that gaming has taken over my life... here's proof that it's now taken over the world - well, New York to be exact.

Check out this fantastic short movie from Patrick Jean, bringing some 8-bit gaming classics back to life.

How many of the games do you recognise? I think the Pacman subway section (watch those stations disappear!) and the Tetris blocks destroying the buildings are particularly cool.

Red Dead Redemption tops my shopping list

It's a rare thing for me to look forward to a game so much but the imminent release of Rockstar's western, Red Dead Redemption, is the exception to the rule.

Clearly, it has a strong pedigree as it's from the stable of Grand Theft Auto but this open world sandbox game takes the action to the sparse world of the American frontier. Rather than GTA's Eastern European immigrant Nico Bellic, this time you
take the reigns of cowboy and former badboy/outlaw John Marston.

This is a game that certainly wants to stand out from the crowd. Unlike those classic movies we're all so used to, the twist in this tale is that it's set in the early part of the 20th century - giving Rockstar the ability to shed some of the old cliches associated with the Wild West. Saying that though, there are still plenty of opportunities to partake in bounty hunting, bank robberies, gunfights and all manner of other cowboy hijinks.

Rockstar has already announced some FREE downloadable content that will be available soon after launch.

According to the official website, the Outlaws to the End co-op pack offers six multiplayer missions for 2-4 players, including:
  • Walton’s Gold - Walton’s Gang have taken control of a mining camp rich with gold. Fight through the camp and load your mine cart with as much gold as you can carry and get out as fast as you can – Walton’s boys have rigged the place to blow!
  • The River - Ride a raft down river, taking out rebel encampments along the way until you reach the rebel stronghold of Nosalida and a final epic battle for the town’s massive weapons caches. Watch out for Gatling gun-equipped enemy rafts.
  • Ammunition - The Mexican Army has the town of Tesoro Azul under siege. Storm the gates under heavy cannon, Gatling gun and sniper fire to destroy the Mexican artillery placements.
The video below gives seven very valid reasons why this cowboy caper is going to be a surefire hit... Check it out in mid-May!

(Photo credit: Rockstar Games)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Bejeweled puts my idle hands to work

I’m clearly a bit late to the party regarding Bejeweled 2 from Popcap Games. Besides being constantly bombarded by Facebook messages telling me that my friends had achieved a new high score, I’d never even heard of the game. Until, that is, my iPod Touch became one of my most treasured possessions, giving me constant access to inexpensive but fun games on the go.

I’ve only been playing about a week – and find that the ultra portable nature of the iTouch allows me to grab a few moments of gaming at every available opportunity. Waiting for a train, a television programme to start, or food to be ready is no longer dead time, it’s Bejeweled time.

Previous favourite Angry Birds has been consigned to history now I’ve got this baby installed.
And the cost of this life-changing application? A measly £1.79. Eat that, Call of Duty!!!

Yeah, I’ve owned Gameboys and PSPs in the past but my games library has been somewhat limited by their extortionate cost. It’s criminal that handheld games often boast inferior graphics, sound, storylines, modes or longevity compared with their namesakes on the larger home-based consoles but cost just as much.

Anyway, I digress… until the other day I thought I was becoming quite a whizz at this gem-induced puzzler, racking up some seemingly impressive scores. Along the way, I was even managing to match plenty of identical jewels in four- and five-strong lines to trigger either satisfying explosions or the removal of a colour of my choosing.

Well, the efforts of a guy called Mike from California mean I’ve got some way to go… He’s racked up some 2,000 hours of gameplay (that’s a lot of dead time, eh?) and a mammoth 2,147,482,575 score (amassing 4.8m gems and reaching level 439 in the process, according to an article on Yahoo!)

And I thought the Asteroids record breaker the other week was mad!

(Photo credit: B twan)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Chime purchase helps two good causes

I think I'm now starting to get back on track with my ambitious achievement hunting challenge - thanks, in no small part, to a wonderfully therapeutic puzzle game on Xbox Live Arcade, Chime.

A friend recommended it to me the other day, saying it wasn't a bad way to spend a few hundred Microsoft points... It certainly has plenty of selling points:

a) it's a pretty decent game - relaxing but taxing at the same time (remember Lumines?)
b) it donates a chunk of the proceeds to charity when you buy it
c) it rewards the lucky owner with a 50G boost by way of a "thank you"

Man, I love being charitable!

Over 60% of the purchase price heads towards children's charities around the world... so come on people, delve deep into those pockets and do the right thing.

Here's a brief synopsis from the website...
Chime is all about placing shapes on a grid to make music. Gamers control a single shape at a time, and can move, rotate, and then place it on the grid. A beatline moves across the grid in time with the music, and sets off events when it hits placed shapes.

(Photo credit: Chime)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Alan Wake videos keep you in the dark

Xbox-exclusive thriller, Alan Wake, promises to be atmospheric and pretty good looking if nothing else. Here are two "prequel" videos to get you going before you hand over your hard earned cash when it's released mid-May.

The general gist seems to be that a writer, the aforementioned Alan, heads to the sleepy town of Bright Falls for some much-needed inspiration. Wouldn't you know it though, his wife Alice suddenly goes missing and all manner of weird stuff starts happening. It's something to do with the dark, apparently...

Sure, these videos don't make a whole lot of sense... but they do set the scene for a game that's been years and years and years in the making.

There are going to be six videos in total - only these two are available right now - but if you find them as baffling and strangely compelling as I do, keep checking to see the others over the coming weeks...

Oh, and the first instalment of DLC is going to be free too.

Natal and PS Move could finish me off!

Can't move. My back is agony. Must lie down. Need more painkillers!

Before this morning - when I woke up with backache to end all backache - I'd been counting down the days until E3 in June to find out what types of games Sony and Microsoft were planning to unleash on us with the launch of their respective motion control peripherals later this year.

E3 Gaming Conference Held In Los Angeles

I know diehard gamers deride the harmless looking Wii and it's effect on the gaming market, but all those millions out there can't be wrong, can they? The times I've played on the thing, I've really enjoyed myself and then gone through a phase of wanting to buy one. Quite whether I could justify yet another console nestling beside the television and its accompanying nest of cables, to the wife is unlikely.

Perhaps it's no bad thing though. Maybe it's a little like eating someone else's chips, craving some and buying a bag, only to be disappointed - they never taste as good when they're yours, do they!?

Anyhow, as I said, when I'd been fighting fit yesterday - before playing in adventure playground with my little girl - I thought the Playstation Move and Microsoft's Natal sounded like a breath of fresh air. Why not add another dimension to the console, and open up another avenue of gaming for you to share with the rest of the family?

Sitting here, typing - full of painkillers - I'm not so sure... If I'm feeling the effects of running round after my 18-month-old daughter, then how am I going to feel after any sustained period of motion-controlled gaming? Bloody achy, I imagine.

Despite my current predicament, I'm hoping my aches soon recede and my enthusiasm returns. There's still a little part of me that's excited about the next few months. Who knows, these new controllers could be as revolutionary as the introduction of the compact disc all those years ago, or using the internet to play your friends online. Yeah, they could be a major flop but the potential is huge.

I've never understood all the animosity towards them from the so-called diehard gamers, personally; if you don't want to buy a motion controller because it's only for families or "casual" gamers, then don't! Save your money and invest in yet another FPS.

Me? I love my Xbox and don't really want to splurge my cash on a Wii just to be able to play bowling or tennis with my daughter (when she's old enough), or niece and nephew when they're about. Playing a fun, truly interactive family-oriented game on my Xbox might make a refreshing change. And anything that stops me buying a Wii and getting moaned at by the wife could be well worth the outlay!