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Xbox 360 Exclusive Trailers I Missed From E3 June 30, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Game News.
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Well, to continue with the series I got going on, here’s a smattering of some of the most noteworthy Xbox 360 exclusive games which released trailers during E3 which I was not able to upload or link while I was in Los Angeles.

Let’s get the big one out of the way first, this is Halo 4.

For a teaser, the fact that it’s pre-rendered doesn’t really bother me at all, and even though it was pre-rendered, you can tell just where they’re going with for this story.  They’re continuing to tell the story of SPARTAN-117, the Master Chief, and just what happened to him and Cortana following the cliffhanger events of Halo 3.

The tidbits I’ve heard about this game so far is that this will be the start of a new Halo Trilogy (yes that means there’s going to be a Halo 5 and Halo 6).  Also, there was a reference to just what was going on between Cortana and the Master Chief while he was in stasis if you watched the Halo Legends video.  The segments that detailed the history of the Halo Universe were told from Cortana’s perspective while the Chief was frozen, and she was starting to show signs of rampancy, which is common among AIs which have gone past their seven year life span.  Don’t know if they’re going to go deeper into that factor in the final game, but it is something to think about.  It’s coming in Holiday 2012.

And since we’re in a Halo mood, how about this Halo Anniversary Edition trailer?

People have been mulling for a few months now that this game would be coming and that has all been confirmed with this E3 reveal.  The game will have all the geometry  and features of the original Halo game, retweaked with the technology that powered the Halo Reach engine.  You will be able to swap back and forth between the original look of the game, as well as the newer updated look.

I’m just glad that they’re finally bringing this game in some form to a widescreen format, which is something I’ve been demanding from the Microsoft developers to do to the original game for some time now (if you remember my video about widescreen problems with older games on a modern HDTV, Halo 1 was a game I featured).  The game will also have updated multiplayer maps, full Xbox Live support, as well as co-op through Xbox Live.

This is coming in November.

I know a lot of people were kind of hoping that I’d include a Gears of War 3 trailer in here, but I already posted that trailer up when it came out, and I also wrote an entire preview of the game while I was in Los Angeles, so no reason to retouch it, although if you are new to the site and did miss it, feel free to check those out.

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Uncharted 3 Beta Giveaway Tomorrow June 30, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site News.
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Playstation Plus expire or just have no interest in signing up?  Don’t have a copy of inFamous 2 and want to get into the Uncharted 3 Beta test?  Maniac has got you covered.

At some point between 12 Midnight tonight and 12 Midnight tomorrow I will release a PSN key which will enable whoever redeems it first to have access to the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta, and all the fun that goes along with it.

The key will be valid for redemption until June 14th, but remember it will go to the first person who redeems it in the Playstation Store.  You will need a Playstation 3 with the latest firmware and a valid Playstation Network account to redeem the code.  Good luck to everyone!

Cross Platform Trailers I Missed From E3 June 28, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Game News.
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Now you guys know I traveled to E3 this year and got to see a lot of what was being shown over the course of the three day show.  The problem was my ability to modify and control the site remotely was extremely limited, and I tried my best to update it as much as I could while there and while operating alone, but one thing I was not able to do was to post up the E3 trailers released during the show.  I already took a look at the top games that will be Playstation 3 exclusives, now I wanted to show you some of my favorite trailers for games that will be cross platform.

First up, we have the E3 2011 trailer for Saints Row: The Third.  The only previous trailer released for this game was comprised of one single nut shot, this is…a step up, stylistically.

Although it is entirely prerendered with no actual gameplay, the trailer serves more to set the stage for the look and feel of the game instead of show you how it’s going to play.  Since this is only the second trailer released for the game, and the game isn’t going to be out until November, I’m going to let it slide this time.

The style looks fantastic.  You can see some of the new Saints in the game, and some of the new gangs they’ll be quarrelling with in the game.  You also see just what the Saints have become since the second game, wheras they had to build themselves up from nothing in the previous two games, this game looks like they’re on top of the world already and other gangs want a piece of that.  Also, who is flying those jets at the end of the trailer is not explained.  Could be Ultor, could be another gang, or could be government.

Next up, a game which I got to see demoed at E3 and had a pretty positive experience with.  Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum.

You’ve heard it here, and I got to see it, I can confirm this game will have playable Catwoman levels, but more than that, she will be playable in the main story, wheras in the PS3 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker was playable, it was only in challenge modes.  In the game, you will be able to swap out characters during gameplay, simply by finding a few kitties hanging out on a rooftop you’ll be able to select if you want to play as her while the in the campaign (and they show a switch happen in the trailer).

You can see here how she controls differently than Batman, with her own move setlist.  She also has one unique gameplay mechanic Batman does not, which is the ability to climb across ceilings (I guess her kitty claws keep her up there), which is perfect for being stealthy.

Not pictured in the trailer but something I can gurantee is in the game is the inclusion of the Penguin.  His voice actor sounded recognisable, but I don’t know for sure who it is.  I also think Two-Face looks great, kind of a mixture of his depiction in The Dark Knight and the comics, and for a guy half disfigured he looks great.

I do plan to look at some Xbox 360 exclusive trailers soon.  More multiplatform game trailers may be checked out as well.

Duke Nukem Forever Coming to Mac in August June 27, 2011

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The official 2K Games Twitter feed has confirmed that Duke Nukem Forever will get a Mac release in August with all the features and interactivity the game is known for. Aspyr is handling the port, and they have plenty of experience in porting popular PC games to the Mac.

Right now they’re offering 10% off preorders and free shipping via the USPS.

No word if Mac vs PC multiplayer is possible. There was no announcement the Mac version will ship with Steamworks integration, but that information would bring the answer. If the Mac version uses Steam, it will be PC compatible.  If there’s no Steamworks support it can’t since Steam is integrated into the PC version.

Duke Nukem Forever is coming to Mac in August, 2011.

Video Games Declared Free Speech by US Supreme Court June 27, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Game News.
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I may be a gaming journalist, but I’m a gamer first, I’ve been a gamer all of my life, and as a gamer I have to say that today is the proudest day I’ve ever had as a gamer, and in the United States, gamers everywhere have a good reason to celebrate.

We, as gamers, have had to endure so much for the past twenty years.  Angry ignorant parents, politicians who simply just want easy votes, and a media who was more than happy to endorse either of what those groups say as law.

For years, individual states, fed by these false prophets, have tried and tried to regulate what we love and restrict access to what everyone agrees is fantasy entertainment simply to make themselves look better to a public who would listen to them, even though these restrictions were clearly illegal since they were a clear violation of the highest laws of the land.  Every time these states were sued by various organizations, and in many cases these organizations were endorsed by other organizations which had nothing to do with gaming at all, but were champions of free speech.  Every state law was struck down, and it cost each state which passed these laws thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to cover legal expenses of fighting them.

But you couldn’t tell any of that to Yee of California or it’s Governor.  They were going to take their illegal law as far as they possibly could, to the highest court of the land, which, while it must protect the Constitution of the United States, has the ability to interpret it however they want and vote by majority decision.

Before he died, George Carlin did an interview about when he championed free speech decades earlier, and while his act about the “Seven Dirty Words” was clearly protected by the first amendment and won on a lower level, the Supreme Court didn’t agree and banned the use of the curse words on radio and broadcast television.  In the years since the decision has been made, the banned words have not been changed, and those policies are still in place.  Thankfully it hasn’t been updated to censor the use of those words online, which is one of many reasons I’m happy to be working in this new media outlet.

The cases were laid out months earlier.  Both sides were questioned heavily by the judges, and as I read the transcripts of the legal banter between the judges and the lawyers involved, I could get the sense that the judges actually knew what they were talking about.  They asked clear cut questions like, “Would you censor Grimm’s Fairy Tales?”  They also knew that their own staff played these games that these lawyers argued were bad (like Mortal Kombat) and I believe having known the people that played video games were just that, people, saw no connection between violent behavior and violent video games that the lawyers were arguing.

Well today, the decision was reached.  The California law was struck down by the highest court.  More than that, it sets a CLEAR legal precedent that laws like it are not acceptable in any other state that might have been interested in drafting it (or re-drafting it).

The best part about this is that this was NOT a partisan issue at all.  Both parties from the left and the right had people who both agreed and disagreed with the law.  One of the original proponents of tough government restrictions on video games was Senator Lieberman of CT (formerly D, now I) and one of the major opponents of this particular bill was conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who argued that this was just another form of government restriction, and those were unacceptable to him in every way.  The proponents of the bill in California included Leland Yee (D) and The Govenator (R).

So grab your games, gamers, and you enjoy them.  Enjoy them.  We’ve earned that right.

UPDATE:  Apparently losing on every single level has not humbled Leland Yee and he has continued to express his disappointment about this decision to the media.  Since he has been quoted in almost every media outlet already, I have decided not to reprint his quote here, and instead print my own counterquote that I encourage all media outlets who have been quoting Yee to please place right next to it, and I offer this for no charge at all.

The quote was spoken yesterday by my father.  My father is not a gamer, nor has he played a video game since the original NES version of Tetris was released.  When I told him about the court’s decision, he had these words for Yee.

I’m sure your parents worked very hard to get you all the freedom and opportunities that this country has provided you, and you have spent your entire career trying to take those rights and freedoms away from everyone else.

-Maniac’s Dad

Webmaster of Biggest Splatterhouse Site on Web Steps Down June 25, 2011

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The West Mansion has been considered by many to be the biggest Splatterhouse fan site on the web.  It was created ten years ago today by it’s webmaster, Rob, originally on GeoCities (anyone else remember that?), and then moved to GameSpy hosting until it got shut down in ’09.  Over ten years it provided tons of assets both official and unofficial about the game.  Things like artwork, fanfiction, concept art, and it all culminated with news over the highly anticipated Splaterhouse remake which released last year.

Well…we know what happened then, I’ve talked about it in the past.  After playing the new game myself I can assure everyone that the reviews of it were wrong, and while it was not perfect it was quite a fun experience.  This horrible trend of game reviewers not knowing a good game if it bit them on the ass and overrating games that were nothing special is something I don’t hope will continue, but you just have to look at the recent media fallout of Duke Nukem Forever to see the tumblers for that lock continue to fall into place.

After today, The West Mansion will be in read-only mode until further notice.  Rob has posted a retrospective about his experiences hosting the site, and I encourage everyone to read it.  He has also written what he believes to be the definitive history of Splatterhouse’s (the recent one) development, which has been very educational.

It’s always sad when a major staple of the Internet closes down, or fades out.  Even though everything on the internet can theoretically last forever, Rob has devoted ten years of his life to operating that site, which is a feat I cannot fathom!  I’ve only been running gameXcess.net for about a year and a half.  It’s one hell of an accomplishment, and I wish you well, Rob.  Take care.

Playstation 3 Trailers I missed from E3 June 24, 2011

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Before I got to LA, I tried my best to post up all the E3 trailers I could get my hands on before I left.  I did this beause I knew once I left for LA, I wouldn’t be able to get any E3 trailers for any games up on my site.  I didn’t have the tools to embed videos on the site, nor access the bandwith to be able to even watch them online.

When I was in Los Angeles I saw some pretty awesome trailers for the first time and since E3 has been almost two weeks ago, instead of posting them all up seperatly (espessially since in a lot of cases you’ve probably seen them before) I wanted to do this article where I take a look at my favorites and talk about them.

First up is the recently released inFamous 2.  Since the game launched at the exact same time as E3, it isn’t considered a work in progress.  While finished games have had demos at E3 in the past, I didn’t see any for inFamous 2 while I was at the Sony booth, although they were running this really awesome trailer on the Sony big screens overlooking the various demo kiosks.

This trailer did give a lot away, in paticular that Cole would be fighting alongside other superpowered people, and shows off just how big the enemies that Cole is going to face are going to get.  It’s a really epic final trailer for a game that has been recently released and it got plenty of attention whenever it showed up on Sony’s big screen.

Next up is the highly anticipated Uncharted 3.  Do I need to say anything more to set this up?

I would classify all of the previous trailers for Uncharted 3 to be simply teasers.  They succeeded in setting the stage for the player and giving them a hint on just what the story was going to be.  They also showed off some solid gameplay and later introduced our big baddie of the game.  But all of this was not done under context, and we had no idea if the rest of the Uncharted characters (the girls!) would be returning for this new game.  Now we know the answers to a lot of these questions, and it is glorious.  Chloe and Elena will be returning, and now we get to see just what it is that the Uncharted cast is after, and just what’s at stake.

And now on the final Playstation 3 exclusive trailer I wanted to get to, Resistance 3.  Their E3 2011 trailer has been dubbed simply, “The Road.”

I have to say that I’m slightly dissapointed by the lack of in-game footage in this trailer, espessially given the fact that the other two trailers were almost entirely in-game footage.  However, it does a great job to set up what state the world is at the beginning of the game and who our new protagonist is.

That having been said, tons of gameplay of this game was playable on the E3 show floor.  Single Player, Multiplayer, and even PS Move controls were demoed at E3, a lot of which I got to play.  My guess is that the developers felt that if you wanted to see gameplay then to actually make it playable.  Also, a Resistance 3 demo is being bundled with copies of the Blu-Ray Disc (BD) version of Battle: Los Angeles, similiar to how the God of War 3 E3 2009 demo was bundled with District 9’s Blu-Ray version.

Halo Reach Star Nameplate Giveaway June 23, 2011

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Update 3:  All nameplates claimed.  Congrats to everyone who got one.

Update 2: Okay, I think Bungie is doing something this week which is making my giveaway redundant. This week is leading up to Bungie Day (7/7) and because this is the last Bungie day with them in control of Halo, they’re going all out for Halo players giving out things like their blue flame helmet and the Bungie nameplate.

A person sent me a comment with his tag and before I could give him his star thanked me for getting it! (Thanks for the love, Ken, but I didn’t do that! I think Bungie did).

My guess is anyone who logs into their Bungie.net profiles to check to see if they have the star nameplate, that’s what’ll unlock them the star nameplate right now. Yeah I know it sucks I’m not the one giving it to you but if for any reason what I said didn’t work and you want the star post a comment and I’ll work my magic on it.

Update: Okay I’ve changed my mind, lets do this today, first four valid Reach connected gamertags to comment here get Star Nameplates!

Okay, after doing the PS3-user exclusive giveaway yesterday I want my Xbox 360 readers to know they have not been forgotten and I’m doing something special for all of them too. This giveaway will be a little different, and the giveaway in question will be for players of the game Halo Reach.

I will be giving away the super exclusive Star Nameplate, which will show up next to your gamertag in all Halo Reach activities as your badge of honor. While there are other nameplates possible for Halo Reach players to obtain, such as the various Halo logos for having played earlier Halo games on live (or registering a Halo 1 PC/Mac CD-Key), being a Bungie Pro member, or playing Marathon XBLA, the Star cannot be obtained right now unless you own an iOS device, and I’m sure there are plenty out there that don’t.

So here are the rules. In order to get the star, you’ll have to submit to me your valid Xbox Live gamertag as a comment in the giveaway thread. The first four people to submit valid tags will get the star unlocked, and they will find it selectable on their Bungie.net profiles.

Now, here’s the tricky part. You HAVE to be a Halo Reach player with a valid gamertag to get anything, and if you’ve never played Halo Reach while connected to Live before, regardless of how long you’ve had your Live account, I will not be able to unlock the star for you and I will give it to the next gamertag in line. Also, if you happen to give me a gamertag that is not connected to Live, but is the same as one that is and has played Reach, well you’re going to give your star to someone else.

So good luck!

Inktank.com is Back! June 22, 2011

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I guess my reports of its demise were a bit premature. Barry Smith has brought inktank.com back up after several months of being offline while redesigning and rebuilidng it in his spare time.

For those of you who don’t know the history, Barry Smith was the creator of several popular webcomics including Sorry, We’re Open, which was a series about people working in a rare collectables store, Weak End Warriors, which was about the people who worked and played at a paintball range, and of course Angst Technology, which was about the characters who worked at a game development studio, and all the hyjinks they got into.

While the characters were strict parodies, they succeeded in filling in all the archtypes of what a game studio would employ in the early millenium, and it was a lot of fun to read. The series was originally hosted by GameSpy.com back when it was in its golden age, but once they stopped hosting it, it already had enough loyal readership that Barry’s own site, inktank.com, became my daily destination.

Barry had originally hung up the pen back in 2005 and shut down Angst Technology and his website completely to do a blog site. Then in 2008, he relaunched inktank.com and created a new series (called InkTank) which was about his life. As the months progressed, he brought the Angst Tech characters back into his new series, and I was overjoyed.

Currently no new strips for the site have been posted yet, he’s currently taking the time to bring back the extremely large archive of over 2000 strips he’s done over the past ten years, and then he plans to start posting new strips. He has said he’s at no loss of ideas.

Welcome back Barry, your strip defined my High School years and even now as I go through your archive, every strip brings back another fond memory.

inFamous 2 Lightning Hook Code June 22, 2011

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Well guys, here it is, the code you’ve been waiting all day for.  Now remember, if you preordered inFamous 2 at GameStop or have the inFamous 2 Hero Edition, you already have the lightning hook, so there’s no need to redeem this.

The code can be redeemed by any valid Playstation Network Account in the Playstation Store redeem code section, located in the upper right corner of the store with a big 12.  It can only be redeemed once, so whoever gets it redeemed first gets it.  This code was made for the North American store so I have no idea if it will work overseas.

CODE REDEEMED

I only ask is for whoever does redeem this to please post a comment on the site or to my twitter feed it was redeemed so I can remove it or someone post a comment if the code has been marked already redeemed.

Since people are asking, tomorrow I plan to announce what my giveaway plans for Xbox 360 users will be.