Gaming Steve

DS Archives - Page 1

April 28, 2008

Ubisoft Announces a New Prince of Persia Game

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In an unprecedented move, Ubisoft has announced another sequel in the Prince of Persia series, currently titled ... Prince of Persia. The rebellious move is expected to net Ubisoft lots of money and huge profits.

In another move by maverick Ubisoft, the game will be launch for not one, not two, but four platforms: the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and DS. Ubisoft believes the game will do what no game has done before and "rejuvenate the action-adventure genre." In perhaps their most unexpected move, the game will be on sale during the Holidays of 2008.

In all seriousness, a new Prince of Persia game isn't a bad thing. All three in the recent trilogy were fantastic games, despite some missteps in character and attitude. Ubisoft also announced that the game will have an "illustrative art style" that intrigues me. The upcoming movie also piques my interest: Bruckheimer may not be an artistic savant, be he made a theme park ride into a competent, enjoyable movie series, so Prince of Persia shouldn't be much trouble.

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 11:45 PM | Comments (4) | Posted to DS | PC | PlayStation 3 | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 24, 2008

Puzzle Quest Sequel Unveiled (Again): Galactrix

Galactrix

The sequel to last years surprise hit "puzzle RPG hardcore casual game", Puzzle Quest, was revealed last week as the Sci-Fi themed hexagonal puzzle RPG, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix.

The game was actually announced last year in April, but was today re-branded as part of the Puzzle Quest series. The game's basic puzzle combat has been tweaked beyond the implementation of the hexagonal shapes. Gravity will now play a part, meaning when orbit around a planet pieces will fall down, but in empty space pieces follow their momentum and will move wherever you send them.

Players can also look forward to building space ships and traversing solar systems (and perhaps entire galaxies) as well as another ... deeply involving plot. The game will be released later this year for Xbox 360, PC, and DS, but strangely has not confirmed for the PSP.

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | Posted to DS | PC | PSP | Wii | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 14, 2008

5 Things I Love About Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

In the first of a series of articles where I detail things I love about games in the form of some lists, I decided to take a look at Advance Wars: Days of Ruin for the Nintendo DS.

The game has split opinions in the industry, with some people saying it’s become too easy and doesn’t have as many features as its predecessor (Dual Strike) and others proclaiming it to be a huge leap forward for the series in terms of gameplay and it’s much more mature storyline.

Furthermore, the new online multiplayer has taken centre stage alongside the series’ iconic gameplay. Please remember that I am still fairly new to the series, so don’t bash me if I find something interesting that may have been in the series for a while.

Without further deliberation, here are my top 5 things I love about this game:

1. It is still Advance Wars. When it was first announced that Nintendo wanted to go with a darker and brooding theme for this sequel, I was scared that the gameplay was going to be impacted to compensate for the lack of cute, young characters. However, that same old rock-paper-scissor type of gameplay is still in place and working exceedingly well with the new additions to the game. Even the new units such as the bike snap right in place like Lego.

2. The cutscenes are skippable. The much lauded new story is so bad that it makes Ugly Betty look like Shakespeare. For the purpose of writing this article, I had to endure what can only be described as the most mind-numbing melodrama present in video games to date. Nintendo should realize that making a game’s storyline “dark” does not mean “emo”. Nearly every character you meet has a tale of woe where they reminisce about how they had to survive by hiding under a load of dead bodies, and this gets incredibly depressing after a short while with the game.

3. The online mode is brilliant. My Xbox 360 has fallen off this mortal coil once more due to the incurable red ring of death issue, so thus I have had to rely on this one single game to provide me with all my online needs (I could hardly rely on my Wii, and no one was currently playing online in Wipeout Pulse). This is a pioneering online title for the DS, showing the hardcore audience that the DS can cater to them just as well as the rest. I really enjoyed fighting random people across the vortex of time and space of which we call Earth. What I like about it is that it really thinks about past mistakes games have made in this area, with players that drop out losing points, and rounds are timed so someone can’t leave it for an hour before making a move, for example. Moreover, the map centre is a great addition, allowing you to upload and download custom maps from all over the community.

4. The new map designer. This is the single best innovation of the series, and is accomplished and feature complete to the fullest detail, whilst being a simpler and streamlined experience than the map designer in Dual Strike. Building the maps is a surprisingly therapeutic experience, and to see your creation crop up in the map centre to be played by others all over the world is liberating. Custom content is the future for online gaming, and Days of Ruin is really leading the charge with something so small and simple, yet hugely significant to players.

5. The music. When I initially picked this up, I didn’t expect to be playing to the sounds of an electric guitar coming out of my DS Lite’s little speakers. The DS has generally been detached from such escapades into modern rock, immense classical scores, and haunting melodies, so it is quite refreshing to hear something different. It seems Nintendo agrees with me on this, and thus created an enhanced music player within the options menu, where there are a total of 50 small midi songs to play.

Overall, it’s clear to see that Days of Ruin is an evolution rather than a revolution of the series, and even though the hardcore purists may moan about the lack of modes such as war room and survival, there is no doubt that new and inexperienced players will not feel their loss and make do with the plethora of things to do in the game. The hardcore can now just jump on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and fight each other, so you could say that is a replacement for the more obscure modes.

Posted by Chris Holmes at 4:30 PM | Comments (4) | Posted to DS | Feature |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 14, 2008

Is The Professor Layton Downloadable Content Broken?

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I've been immensely enjoying playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village on my DS, but I have yet been able to enjoy the weekly bonus puzzle. I've been trying to download this new content for days now and it always stops downloading around 3/4 of the way through. A quick search on the Nintendo Tech Support Forums and it appears that I'm not the only one experiencing this issue.

I even tried downloading bonus puzzle yesterday from the Nintendo World Store and it still "broke" after downloading about 3/4 of the way through. That is not a good sign....

Professor Layton is a fantastic game, but I know a lot of people who purchased this game specifically for the downloadable content (myself included). And to date Nintendo hasn't addressed this issue or released an update as to their progress on fixing this issue. If they don't do something soon I can already see the lawsuits start flying.

UPDATE: It appears that perhaps this content wasn't ready to be released as Nintendo "officially" announced the launch of the DLC content for Professor Layton via GoNintendo.com. Nintendo states, "The first in a series of free downloadable Professor Layton bonus puzzles is now live. Every Sunday at 4 a.m. PST, a new puzzle will go live and be available for download. The next puzzle will be posted on Feb. 24."

Sure enough the ability to download new puzzles appears to be now working.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:30 AM | Comments (5) | Posted to DS |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 12, 2008

When it Rains, it Spores – A Recap of Today's Spore Stories

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Wow. After months/years with little to no information on Will Wright's Spore we were treated to an explosion of new information in a matter of hours. With so much concrete information released it almost makes you believe something crazy ... like, you know, they might actually release the game in the near future!

For those who might have missed some of the Spore-related articles that suddenly appeared in the last 12 hours here's a quick recap:

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:30 PM | Comments (5) | Posted to DS | PC | Spore |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 12, 2008

Spore's Release Date Announced!

Spore

With no warning and little fanfare the release date for Spore has finally been announced – September 7, 2008 Spore will be released for PC, Mac, DS, and mobile phones.

To view the entire video announcement you can see it at the Spore website, and you can also read the official press release as well.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 12:40 PM | Comments (29) | Posted to DS | PC | Spore |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 16, 2008

Clayton's Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of the Next 3 Months

2007 was a fantastic year of gaming, one filled with games I still have yet to play. But 2008 is already looking like a another great year for gaming, one filled with many potential triple-A titles. I was prepared to write up a list of my 10 most anticipated games of the whole year but I quickly found 10 coming out before April that I'm dying to play.

10. Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360, Wii)
Bully: Scholarship EditionI have always appreciated Rockstar's ability to make interesting characters, witty dialog, and deep stories more than anything else they do. The Grand Theft Auto games always had an entertaining, well written story beneath all the prostitute killing and car jacking, so I'm really looking forward seeing what Rockstar did with Bully.

I missed Bully back on the PS2, so I'm happy for its re-release on the Xbox 360 and Wii, with added content and updated graphics. Mostly known for its media backlash before even being released, the original game focused on tough kid Jimmy Hopkins, who's been sent to Bullsworth Academy after being expelled from seven other schools.

Consisting of the sandbox style gameplay known from the GTA games, Bully takes you through high school culture using a wide variety of gameplay including schoolyard combat, bicycle riding, childhood crushes, and school pranks to name just a few. Jimmy interacts with five groups at the school, ranging from preps to jocks to nerds, while teachers and adults outside the school also give Jimmy missions to complete. While the gameplay looks varied, what I'm really looking forward too is the excellent voice acting, story, and interesting characters, something I wish more developers would spend time on.

Release Date: March 4, 2008

9. Devil May Cry 4 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Devil May Cry 4I'll have to admit right up front: I have yet to play any games in the Devil May Cry series. From what I have seen an heard about Devil May Cry 4, I know it's going to be my first. The game will let player use both the series star demon slayer Dante and new comer Nero, whom players will use for the majority of the game. Using his “demonically enhanced” right arm, Nero will be able use enemies as shields, tear them in half, or use it as a grappling hook in between combat.

Devil May Cry 4 promises to continue the story of the series (Devil May Cry 3 was a prequel), and at least on the PS3, the game allow players to watch a summary of the series story so far, while the game installs a cache onto the hard drive to eliminate all loading during game. Perhaps my favorite new feature is the addition of both a more balanced difficulty level and an actual tutorial to teach you the combat. With this and Ninja Gaiden 2, 2008 looks like a good year for action games.

Release Date: February 5, 2008

8. Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath (PC, Xbox 360)
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's WrathAnyone remember the previous Command & Conquer game, Generals? While an interesting diversion for the series, it didn't really find its place until the excellent expansion pack, Zero Hour. By dividing up each faction into three sub-factions led by specific generals with specific concentrations, the game really found its footing. This is what Kane's Wrath intends to do, by dividing up the three factions of Command & Conquer 3 into specialized sub-factions which will have unique special units, upgrades and support powers designed to cater to more distinct styles of play. Find yourself using NODs stealth abilities often? Then maybe you'll enjoy "The Marked of Kane" sub-division. Love GDI's incredible fire power? Then "The Steel Talons" are just for you!

In addition to their new regular units, each side will be getting unique hero-type “Epic Units”. The idea of hulking monstrosities that can single handedly “turn the tide of a battle”, from the Scrin's Eradicator to NOD's Redeemer, just fills me with joy. Of course, it also helps that the original Command & Conquer 3 was a fantastic game in it's own right, but with new units, abilities, and a Risk style “Conquer the World” campaign, where can you go wrong? And don't worry, there will be plenty more of the fantastic cut-scenes featuring Joseph Kucan as NODs messiah, Kane.

Release Date: March 13, 2008

7. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS)
Advance Wars: Days of RuinPerhaps my favorite DS game of all time, Advanced Wars: Dual Strike was a fantastic turn based strategy game with cartoony graphics and larger than life characters. Days of Ruin bucks the previous games style (and the annoying DS naming acronym Nintendo apparently forced on developers for the DS's first couple of years) in favor a darker and more serious tone.

An entire new cast of characters and therefore new CO powers means a fresh new set of strategies to try. CO powers have also been toned down and tag team powers eliminated so that the game can't be won in a single turn, something that greatly annoyed me during Dual Strike's campaign. The units have been rebalanced and some new ones have been added, but the biggest improvement is the Wi-Fi multiplayer. Players will be able to play games over Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection service, complete with voice chat and map sharing. Another added multiplayer feature that is conversely low tech is the ability to simply pass the DS each turn for local multiplayer, something every turn based game on a portable should have.

Release Date: January 21, 2008

6. Rez HD (Xbox 360 Live Arcade)
Rez HDI'll have to admit I never got the chance to play the original Rez, but hearing it on so many peoples top ten games of all time lists, I feel I need to at least give it a try. In the simplest terms, the game is an on rails shooter where your “weaponry” adds to the pulsing soundtrack. The game is said to put you in a trance and even give you a mild sense of synesthesia, meaning you “hear colors” and “see sounds”.

Perhaps I am looking at this game too pretentiously, but since I loved Lumines, a game also created by Rez's creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, I know that there is some real creative talent behind the game. Whether I like it or not, it's one of those games I feel I need to play for myself. Updated HD graphics and an 800 MS Point (10$) price tag only sweetens the deal. You'll also be able to use your extra Xbox 360 controllers as “Trance Vibrators” to... well... “enhance the experience”.

Release Date: January 2008

5. Burnout: Paradise (Xbox 360, PS3)
Burnout: ParadiseI'm not a big fan of racing games. Any time I play Gran Turismo I just end up turning my car around and trying to run head on into the competition. However, the Burnout series tapped into my inner need to smash cars together, making Burnout 3: Takedown one of my favorite PS2 games of all time. Burnout: Paradise looks to take the frenetic car crashing gameplay the series is known for into the current generation, while adding in an improved free roaming city in the style of Need for Speed: Underground 2.

What do I mean by an improved “free roaming city”? How about absolutely no front end. As in no menu screens or server lobbies to navigate through in order to find races or jump online. Just pull up to any stop light in the game and press accelerate and reverse at the same time to start an event. The game also allows players to join their friends in their own version of Paradise City to crash and compete all without stopping their driving, an impressive technical achievement in its own right. Gorgeous graphics and an extensive collection of super destructible cars will make this the racing game to beat in 2008. A demo is available on both consoles, and I highly recommend playing it online to see what makes that game so great.

Release Date: January 22, 2008

4. Condemned 2: Blood Shot (Xbox 360, PS3)
Condemned 2: Blood ShotThe sequel to the Xbox 360's best launch title, Condemned 2: Blood Shot will probably be the scariest game of the year. The original was a creepy, atmospheric First Person Shooter ... although "First Person Shooter" doesn't fully describe its gameplay. Using melee weapons found in the environment such as wrenches, locker doors, and fire axes, you used timing-based combat to attack and counter enemy attacks. Gunplay was extremely limited as you couldn't reload your guns, so it was literally "fire and forget". The close combat gameplay, limited ammo, and a deviously small flashlight beam combined to created an overwhelmingly tense feeling throughout the entire game – where a crazed hobo or junkie could jump out and attack you at any time.

Bloodshot looks to add to the melee combat with defensive and offensive moves, as well as extensive combo chains. More than 40 brutal finishing moves, and “upgrades” including brass knuckles and steel tipped boots (I can only imagine the carnage those will cause) have also been added. An interesting multiplayer option has also new the the sequel, with a “Hobo Fighting Arena” and traditional Death Match where you unlock more weapons after finding them in the single player game. The game will also continue the story of detective Ethan Thomas, one year after the mysterious events of the first game. Cool forensic investigations and paranormal occurrences from the original created one of the more interesting stories in an FPS in a while, one I look forward to continuing soon.

Release Date: March 11, 2008

3. Culdcept: Saga (Xbox 360)
Culdcept: SagaXbox Live demos are perhaps the best feature the service has to offer besides multiplayer gaming. Without them, I would never have found the inexplicable joy of the Monopoly and Collectible Card Game concoction that is Culdcept: Saga. With dice rolls, property upgrades, magic, and monsters, Culdcept: Saga is definitely not what you expect to be released on the Xbox 360.

Consisting of a game board made up of four distinct elements where you summon monsters to protect you territory, and a deck of magic, monster, and weapon cards you get to build, the gameplay is unlike anything else you might have seen on the console. You win the game by obtaining a set amount of gold, which you have to gain by moving around the board, capturing territory, and forcing your opponents to pay a toll when they land on your territory. However, instead of hotels and motels you collect rent using demons and dragons.

When one player lands on another's territory, battle commences where you use monsters and additional armor, weapon, and magic cards to avoid paying the toll (and steal their territory). With the added randomness of dice rolls, the gameplay takes on a very unique feel, where a game can be completely turned around by a lucky roll. And nothing is more satisfying that having you opponent land on your thrice upgraded territory and beaten down by your ax-wielding minotaur. Always wished you could do that in Monopoly, don't you?

Release Date: February 5, 2008

2. Sins of a Solar Empire (PC)
Sins of a Solar EmpireLove Homeworld 2? Also love Galactic Civilizations 2? Then have I found the dream game for your! Featuring epic real time space battles with extensive 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) style strategy, this game should be high up on any strategy gamers list. Being published by Stardock, makers of the excellent Galactic Civilizations series (think Sid Meier's Civilization series, only in space), and developed by new studio Ironclad Games, the game aims to let players control massive galactic civilizations spanning multiple planets and controlling numerous spaceship fleets.

With research trees, colony improvements, and diplomacy, everything you expect from turn based strategy games is to be found here, but lets not forget the giant spaceships are so awesome: the epic, cinematic, and explosive battles. Combat takes a page out of Homeworld 2's book and presents some interesting ideas, including Capitol ships that gain experience, battles taking place within the gravity wells of planets, and helpful AI that knows which ship to attack and which it has no chance against. This game has the chance to replace Homeworld 2 on my laptop hard drive.

Release date: February 4, 2008

1. Beyond the Red Line (PC, Mac)
Beyond the Red LineBeing the huge Battlestar Galactica fan that I am, I couldn't help but to list this one here, even if the release date is technically “when it's done”. And even if you aren't a fan of Battlestar Galactica, here's another reason to be on the lookout for this game: it's completely free. A stand alone total conversion for the PC space flight sim Freespace 2, Beyond the Red Line puts you right in the cockpit of the Viper Mk II, Viper Mk VII, Raider, and possibly more as the game nears release. Weaving in and in between the events of the excellent show, you'll be hunting down Scar, defending the Galactica from Cylons Basestars, and securing Tillium ore for the fleet.

While it doesn't have the exacting Newtonian physics from the show, it does have a pretty good alternative that allows you conserve your inertia for some tricky maneuvers. Oozing quality, from its excellent graphics, spoken dialog, and a soundtrack both from the show and originally composed, it's amazing that this game is just being given away. A demo is available with three single player missions and multiplayer mode and I've found it works really well with an Xbox 360 controller plugged into your PC.

Release Date: Pray to the Gods it is soon!

Honorable Mentions

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) – I never got into the previous games as much as my friends, and their being so much better than me makes it a pretty unfair (and unfun) fight. Maybe with Brawl I can concentrate my time into one character (Solid Snake!) and at least have a fighting chance.

Left 4 Dead (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) – I originally had this game in the list at number 3, since it had a tenuous Q1 2008 release date. I thought it was funny to point out how notorious Valve is for delaying games and I guess I just tempted fate: the game was pushed back to the summer before I finished my article.

Castle Crashers (Xbox Live Arcade) – A beautiful looking arcade games that has been delayed multiple times now, I just hope we can play it before the end of the year. Awesome looking multiplayer action from the people that brought you Alien Hominid, Rez HD faces stiff competition for my Microsoft Points.

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 10:30 AM | Comments (21) | Posted to DS | Feature | PC | PlayStation 3 | Preview | Wii | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 13, 2008

Assassin's Creed DS Details & Screens Emerge

Assassin's Creed DS

It's been known for quite some time now that Assassin's Creed was coming to the DS, but would it just be a port of the next-generation assassination game, or an all new game itself? Details have begun to emerge and it appears as if Assassin's Creed in handheld form will prove to be a somewhat new experience.

The game is being developed by Gameloft, a studio widely known for their mobile phone games. This version of Assassin's Creed is set prior to the console versions of the game, and will still include acrobatic moves, stealth assassinations, interrogations, sword fighting, and combos; all in a 3D environment. You'll also be able to use the stylus for interrogations ... whatever that means or entails (that should be interesting).

I personally was a huge fan of Assassin's Creed, and despite the repetitive gameplay, found it to be a great game. I hope the DS version of the game isn't too watered down and simply trying to sell based on the now-known Assassin's Creed name. Either way, I'm sure I'll be giving it a shot; how about you?

Posted by Steven Mills at 6:30 AM | Comments (3) | Posted to DS | Preview |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 13, 2008

Nintendo Power Reveals Bioware's New Sonic RPG

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

I think I actually had to read this one three times before it sunk in — the French gaming site JeuxFrance.com has early scans of the next issue of Nintendo Power and it appears that Bioware is developing a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG for the DS named Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. They write (translated from the original French via Babelfish):

"Nintendo Power has just diffused in its last edition the very first images of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (in the past Sonic RPG) developed by Bioware which one knows especially to have occupied of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect. The play thus seems to approach a style closer to the drawing animated Sonic while proposing engagements with the turn by turn in 3d with special blows with the Elite Beat Agents. It will be possible to compose a team of 4 on the 11 characters available whose Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, Rouge, Shadow or Big the Cat. Each one of these characters will have a particular ability, Tails for example will have the possibility of flying to the top of objects. With the manner of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the play will be controlled exclusively with the stylet, moreover it will not have there random combat since all your enemies will be visible with the screen. As very good RPG one finds of course the possibility of increasing level, its competences and to acquire new attacks. Concerning the history it will be a question this time of a removal of Knuckles and emeralds but Eggman will apparently not be the principal enemy here even if he will have a role to play. The play will make you pass between the usual world of Sonic and the world obscure. It will unfortunately be necessary still to wait to have a little more information on Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood envisaged on Nintendo DS."

You can view the rest of the images after the jump.

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Posted by Gaming Steve at 12:30 AM | Comments (17) | Posted to DS |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 3, 2008

Download Complete DS Games onto Your Wii?

DS Wii

With the Nintendo Wii outselling every console in existence at the moment and the Nintendo DS selling every handheld in existence, why not make the two a little more integrated with each other? Eric A. Taub of the New York Times recently caught up with Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's President and Chief Operating Officer, who certainly had good news for the future of the DS.

It would appear that Nintendo is going to release yet another DS model which will allow both complete as well as demo DS games to be downloaded to the Wii and then played on the DS via the built-in wireless service. Not only will this sort of service allow you to get the latest DS games without leaving your house, but popular games will (of course) become much easier to get.

Does anyone else hope this feature is actually utilized as opposed to announced and then hardly used? I'd like to see new titles as well as popular ones thrown up on the Wii Network, not just old and third-party games that are fun to play for about five minutes ... until you remembered how boring most older games used to be.

I know Mario Party DS was hard to come by this holiday season and this service would have made getting this game a lot easier. Of course, what do you actually "give" as the gift? A picture of the Mario Party DS and a little Wi-Fi antenna? Heh, I'm sure Nintendo will come up with something to alleviate this "problem".

Posted by Steven Mills at 1:00 PM | Comments (1) | Posted to DS | Rumor | Wii |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!