BitSnark

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Archive for January 2009

EA To Release FOUR Need For Speed Franchise Titles This Year

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Nope, that isn’t a typo. Word is coming out from Eurogamer that EA having completed a brand extension on their Need For Speed franchise, is intending to release not one NFS title this year as is the annual tradition, but instead FOUR, each one coming out on a selection of different platforms.

Apparently each title is being designed to cater for a different kind of audience.

Need for Speed: Shift (PC, 360, PS3, PSP)
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Need For Speed: Shift will apparently be the po-faced simulation title of the litter, being developed by Slightly Mad Studios of GT Legends and GTR 2 fame, with help from EA Black Box producer Michael Mann and EA Games Europe bigwig Patrick Soderlund.

One of the flashy features that was divulged was a flashy 3D HUD that mimics driver head movement. In addition to this, each car will have a virtual cockpit, allowing the user to look around the car as they are driving.

Sounds more than a bit like the Race Driver series to me, but to be honest, this is the direction the series needs to go in to establish some credibility as a serious force in the genre.

Need for Speed: Nitro (Wii, NDS)
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Described as a ‘fast and fun racer’, ‘Nitro’ apparently aims to ensnare the casual audience with accessible controls, eye catching graphics and exciting multiplayer modes. Cryptically, the title is not meant to be ‘anything like any other Need For Speed game that has come before’, but apparently is not a ‘Mario Kart clone either’.

Can you say ‘Hotwheels’ 🙂

Need for Speed: World Online: (PC)
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Need For Speed: World Online appears to take the micro-transaction ball and run with it, as the title is being billed as free to play, but you pay for whatever tracks, cars or upgrades you use in the game.

With a comprehensive selection of stuff to buy, EA are first trialling this one in Asia prior to a Western roll-out.

Given the relative animosity that most stingy Westerners approach DLC at the present, I don’t see a game being made *entirely* off DLC doing that well… do you?

Secret Black Box Developed NFS Title: (???)
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From the scarce few details that have popped up about this, what we do know is that this title will aim to continue the urban-racing lifestyle scenario that has characterised the series since Need For Speed: Underground, and well, all of The Fast And The Furious films…

Overall, the whole strategy sounds like a knee jerk reaction to the credit crunch, allowing consumers to pick and choose their favourite ‘bits’ as separate retail packages, rather than sticking with a single vision and developing it solidly.

Congratulations, now instead of one NFS title each year, we now get four.

The last thing we need is more shovelware, which unfortunately I see at least two of these titles being.

Written by bitsnark

January 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm

DLC Details/Date Announced For Prince Of Persia On PS3/360

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Breaking their silence on DLC for Prince Of Persia, Ubisoft have today confirmed what gamers can expect to see in ‘Epilogue’, a DLC pack which continues the adventures of the arrogant Prince and his friend, Elika.

The feature list includes:

New Region: The Underground Palace – A corrupted underground palace from which the Prince and Elika need to escape in a new epic journey.

New Power: Energize – Reconstruct destroyed areas of the environment to create a path and rush through it before it vanishes.

New high pace: The new trap challenge – The Prince and Elika will face more cunning foes, cleverer traps and level design, adding more to the difficulty level in over 3 hours of gameplay.

New Attack: Sprinting Clash – A duel move that lets you or the enemy trigger a sprint attack, charging towards each other, clashing your weapons fiercely.

New Unlockable Skins: Finish the game and unlock exclusively, from the early development of the game, the Prototype characters of the Prince and Elika.

The DLC is dated for February 26, 2009, with no price point yet announced.

Written by bitsnark

January 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Halo Wars Demo To Hit XBOX Live Marketplace On Feb 5th

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The headline says it all really.

It’ll be interesting to see if Ensemble can do the impossible (thus far) and replicate a decent RTS experience on a console.

Time will tell 🙂

Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Only Sells 140,000 US Copies By New Years Day

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While Fable II and Gears Of War 2 were raking in the christmas gold for Microsoft, it wasn’t commercial cheer for all of their first party offerings. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, has (at up until New Years Day), only sold 140,000 copies in the US (Worldwide figures have yet to come in but they are expected to be similarly meager) which is a disappointing figure to say the least.

Logic suggests that between the mainstream crowd who didn’t even know what Banjo Kazooie was in the first place, and die hard fans who abandoned the franchise when they saw what direction it was going in, such poor sales figures don’t come as a great surprise.

Innovation doesn’t quite translate into dosh it seems.

Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm

2009 – The Year Of Capcom Multiplatform Goodness – Dead Rising 2 and Lost Planet 2 Now Multiplatform

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Echoing Capcom’s claim that 2009 would be the year of multiplatform releases across both PS3 and 360, comes the announcement that Lost Planet 2 and Dead Rising 2 are both due out this year for release on 360 AND PS3.

Great news for Sony fans for sure and also for Microsoft fans too, as Capcom production head honcho Kenji Inafune, also confirmed that the 360 versions would have ‘special bonuses’ exclusive to the platform.

Everybody wins 🙂

Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Banjo-Tooie to hit XBLA in April

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Following on from the success of the original Banjo-Kazooie rerelease on XBLA back in November, Rare and Microsoft have announced that the sequel to Banjo-Kazooie that was released back in the day, Banjo-Tooie, will be hopping and pecking it’s way to XBLA this April.

As a side note, Developer 4J Studios will also be including a feature that developer Rare originally excluded from the Banjo-Kazooie known as “Stop ‘n’ Swop”. This previously cut feature will allow players to take items that they collected in the previous Banjo rerelease for use in it’s sequel.

Roll on April methinks.

Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

F.E.A.R 2 XBOX 360 Demo Impressions

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Upon loading up the F.E.A.R 2 demo, it becomes immediately apparent that Monolith are old hands with the horror FPS genre; competent though they may be at it, they are also seemingly stuck in 2005. Straight away the player finds themselves thrust into the post-apocalyptic landscape that was hinted at during the ending of the first F.E.A.R title (Monolith apparently seem keen to distance themselves canon-wise from the later released F.E.A.R Files expansion pack), stumbling around seeing fleeting ghostly images of Alma and more than a smattering of disturbing imagery.

When a gun is finally requisitioned (after some 5-10 minutes of hide and seek with spectral apparitions) the game finally starts properly, with the player encouraged to kill enemies using the slo-mo gameplay mechanic that has been a standard in the franchise since its inception.

Like so much of what the demo shows us, the mechanic just seems stale as seemingly every encounter results in a slowed down shoot fest that never truly makes the player feel they are in any kind of real peril, and more troublingly, is far too similar to previous F.E.A.R titles. The weapons themselves, while seemingly capable of abusing the enemy into physic defying spasms when they die, simply do not seem meaty enough and their resulting lack of effect on the surrounding environment serves to further detriment the meaty feeling that each weapon should possess.

For example, firing your SPAS-12 Combat Shotgun into an upright piece of wood should either shatter it completely, or (if the developers don’t want you getting past it) at least show some kind of visual degradation such as splinters flying etc.. But instead what we get is a generic bullet hole texture mapped onto whatever surface you happen to be firing at. Lame.

Other than this, graphically the title appears to more than hold its own with the various ghosts looking suitably creepy and the various particle effects all looking quite swish indeed. As well as these incidental effects, the game moves along at a smooth frame rate, and didn’t hitch once during any point in the demo.

The inescapable, nagging feeling that the demo gives you is that you have simply done all this before, you’ve done the slow-mo, you’ve done the jumping at ghosts and you’ve seen and killed the same faceless enemies a thousand times over.

Ultimately, it feels like more of a remake of the first title than a true sequel. Based on what I’ve seen in this demo, I would simply say to Monolith; go back to drawing board folks, as essentially reheating 2005’s leftover’s does not a good game make.

Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

Resident Evil 5 Demo for XBOX 360 Now Available On the Marketplace

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Why are you reading this?

Impressions as soon as.

(promise)

Written by bitsnark

January 26, 2009 at 11:30 am

GTA IV DLC: The Lost & Damned Dated And Priced

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The next chapter in the sprawling crime saga epic that is GTA IV, is due for release on April 29th for 1600 of your Microsoft Points.

By all accounts the DLC appears to offer a lot of bang for your buck, with a whole new story, missions, weapons and of course, achievement points.

Now, for the love of all that is holy I just need to finish GTA IV…

Written by bitsnark

January 23, 2009 at 9:32 am

Assassins Creed 2 Officially Confirmed For Q1 2010 Release

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Going on from the very well hidden footnote in Ubisoft’s financials that 2007 stealth hit Assassins Creed would be receiving a follow up, comes the official confirmation that Assassins Creed 2 would hit PS3, 360 and PC platforms in Q1 2010.

Obviously this is miles away and so details are non-existent at present.

But hey, at least we know it’s on the way.

More as and when folks (probably at E3).

Written by bitsnark

January 23, 2009 at 9:28 am

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