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Heavy Fire: Afghanistan releasing in November


Oct 19
// Kyle MacGregor
It's disappointing that games Medal of Honor and Six Days in Fallujah get punished for authenticity, yet things like Heavy Fire: Afghanistan are allowed to exist. We may never see that tasteful, yet horrifying depic...
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Heavy Fire Afghanistan coming to Kinect, PS3, Wii


Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
Did you want more "hardcore" Kinect games? Prepare to regret that request, my friends. Just check out that trailer (actually using the Wii version, oddly) and be stunned. This is Heavy Fire Afghanistan, a game that may very ...
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Study: Violent videogames can help stop nightmares


Mar 08
// Jim Sterling
It's not every day that one gets to promote a positive study about videogames, so it's with pleasure that I bring you this slice of happiness -- videogames may help some people to cope with nightmares.  Jayne Gackenbach ...
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Military bases still boycotting Medal of Honor


Oct 06
// Jim Sterling
Despite Electronic Arts bowing to the minority and "removing" the Taliban from Medal of Honor, military base stores still plan to boycott the war-themed shooter on the grounds that it would still be disrespectful to sell the ...

Preview: Apache: Air Assault

Sep 21 // Ben Perlee
Apache: Air Assault (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Develop: Gaijin EntertainmentPublisher: ActivisionTo be released: November 16, 2010 To be clear, usually these sorts of titles appeal to a specific fanbase. While military simulations are always popular, they have a tendency to alienate more casual users by not offering the right sort of experience to appeal to everyone. Thankfully, publisher Activision and Gaijin Entertainment have added variations of difficulty to make the game more enjoyable to different audiences. For those who would rather get in the chopper and not worry about technical maneuvers or careful flight techniques, there is the Training Mode. While it restricts you from performing certain helicopter actions, it does let players go through the entire campaign without too much difficulty. For a greater challenge, there is Realistic Mode, in which players have only three lives. For players who really love helicopter action, there is finally Veteran Mode, offering only one life and finite ammo.  The helicopters themselves are all Apache brand choppers: the Apache AH-64D Longbow, Apache AH-1, Apache AH-64X Experimental Prototype, MQ-8B Fire Scout, and Mi-35 Hind. While only major helicopter nerds will know the variations by name alone, players will find that each one controls and functions differently. Compared to airplanes, these machines need a wider turning radius, can obviously hover, and generally function in a manner very different from other flight simulators. Helicopters unsurprisingly have special abilities, and Apache pilots will be able to maneuver these machines vertically and nearly upside down, for example. These abilities range from hovering to shooting techniques. Dodging missiles is as easy as dropping altitude, yet to gain speed, the player must dive the Apache downward then swing up, much like a glider. There is a lot of flexibility with these vehicles, and it's going to require a minor learning curve even for those players who are comfortable with flight simulators. One impressive feature is how the helicopters handle variations of damage, such as flying with a damaged engine at the expense of mobility. However, certain parts, like the rotor blades, cannot be taken out without bad things happening. You get my drift. While flight simulators don't exactly offer in-depth plots, Apache: Air Assault tells the story of three different Apache crews working for a fictional UN military organization fighting insurgents across the world. I suppose it'll get the job done, but let's admit it, no one will be playing this game for the plot. However, missions themselves are rather dynamic. Objectives will change on the fly, and goals never take more than a few minutes to perform. The first level I was shown, taking place over the plains of Africa, guided us across bluffs and dusty roads while we took out insurgent vehicles. After reducing one insurgent town to rubble (hey, it was filled with no one but guerrilla terrorists, alright?), our Apache had to defend a fellow downed helicopter in a much larger city as insurgents attacked both us and the soldiers on the ground waiting for airlift. Success in this mission involved locking the Apache into a hover position, then switching over to a shooting mode, alternating between a tactical black-and-white vision cam that highlights enemy vehicles and an infrared cam that highlights enemy soldiers as solid white against a field of black. It looks pretty great, and once the rescue crew showed up, the mission became an escort mission. Within 15 minutes, missions varied from taking out targets, defensive aerial battles, and escort challenges. If the whole game can keep up with the variety, fans of flight simulators will have a lot to like. If not, they'll appreciate the free flight mode, with a whole set of variables to keep the gameplay dynamic. With regards to multiplayer, Gaijin Entertainment is taking a cooperative approach. Apache: Air Assault offers 13 multiplayer-exclusive modes with up to four players acting as a squadron to work through more team-based missions. Though online only, the main campaign can be completed as a co-operative team with one player acting as the pilot and the other as the gunner. Coming away from the game, it's clear that fans of air combat games and flight simulators will find a lot to appreciate and enjoy. Clearly, it's not for everyone, but it's a niche title for a niche audience. However, there seems to be a strong amount of polish and focus on making a helicopter title that works. It also helps that it is a great looking game with very lush and realistic geography and a solid draw distance. Hopefully, Gaijin Entertainment and Activision can keep things together and release a quality Apache helicopter simulator when Apache: Air Assault launches this November.
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Apache: Air Assault is a special beast. While it might be considered a helicopter version of Gaijin Entertainment's IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a military aerial simulator released in 2009, it is clearly a differ...

Impressions: Shogun 2: Total War

Sep 02 // Ben Perlee
Shogun 2: Total War (PC)Developer: The Creative AssemblyPublisher: SegaTo be released: March 2011 Since this is a shogun game, taking place in 16th century Japan, the idea of Samurai is really important. Players will be asked to lead one of twelve fiefdoms in the quest for Japanese Samurai glory and control of the nation. Starting off in 1545 AD, players will be tasked to guide Japanese culture through wars, the influx of Western nations, Christianity, gunpowder, cultural strife, and more. All of these features, as well as the turn-based elements of the game, build around the core of the game: the real-time battles. These battles are huge in scope and very tactical. Troops are organized by social and military types, and, interestingly, the enemy AI typically responds like traditional Japanese soldiers would. That is, they fight with a certain code of honor in which unit types fight like unit types, and there is no variation from that. Of course, you're allowed to ignore those honor codes, which is always fun, screwing with different cultural norms. Controlling the units is as simple as clicking a group and dragging them to the selected spot. Since these units can only walk, run, or ride horses, they don't move terribly fast, which creates a feeling of impending force. This a slow, powerful feeling RTS. And boy, there are a lot of units. From noble samurai to lowly peasants, to archers and ninjas, there are over 30 different types of Japanese military units to use. These will change over time, as the change in culture and influx of Western influences will influence the state of the battlefield. There's a lot to keep track of, and the way units are used and upgraded make a big impact on the field. One of the biggest impacts is the morale of the units. As units charge across the field, they have a morale meter that indicates how they are feeling on the field. If they face a particularly powerful unit, and their morale may drop enough for them to run away in shame. There is actually a couple ways to win these real time matches, and one of them is to weaken enemy morale by out manning them, taking over their fortresses, or to defeat their general. The generals play a big role in the battles, as a general-less army is severely weakened. When the general is around, he'll often make a speech to his troops, and these can range from epic poetry to odd words about squirrels and the moon. Depending on what they say, the troops can respond differently, both good and bad. Either way, it's good to have a general, as they have extra strength in the battle field, will often charge ahead, and can boost morale. However, is they die, troops morale will drop heavily, so it's best to keep him around as long as possible. Most of the matches are just battles on a battle field. However, other battles use the new naval battleships to blur the line between units. Shogun-era naval units were like giant floating fortresses, perfect for moving units along the shallow bays and rivers of Japan. Many of the battles will entail sending units from a ship to attack and overtake a Japanese fortress. These buildings have a staggered affect, in which units move from court yard to courtyard fighting. All of these elements will be in play for the epic battles. The battles that I was shown featured some impressive bits of tech. Shogun 2 is capable of supporting around 56,000 troops on one screen. Up close, sure, they look a little jaggy, but considering each and every one of them are taking part in individualized fights, this is more than impressive. Considering Kendo martial artists did all the mocap for the game, coupled with artists and musicians who spent a year and a to get everything right for the game, there is a very high standard for accuracy here. The team at The Creative Assembly used primary and secondary sources as inspiration for all the elements of the game, as well as the assistance of Japanese and Western scholars to make to make this as accurate as possible. All the voice acting and terminology uses the proper romaji and Japanese language, and real steps have been made to making this the best representation of Shogun Japan as possible. Over all, I'm pretty impressed with what The Creative Assembly has done. Even in pre-alpha, there are some pretty fantastic bits of tech here (hell, water runs off the roofs in a realistic manner during a rain storm, for example). Moving troops is a simple and thoughtful affair, and it looks like a very realistic take on ordering your troops about and lining them up. Coupled with the turn-based, Civilization-esque elements that I am not yet allowed to talk about, I think Shogun 2: Total War could very well be a major title for RTS PC gamers.
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Recently Sega invited me over to its San Francisco offices to take a peek at the latest game in the Total War series: Shogun 2. As a return to the original Total War game Shogun: Total War, Shogun 2 is the latest in the real ...

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Soldier: Medal of Honor is 'war profiteering'


Aug 19
// Jim Sterling
We've heard the opinions of gamers, we've heard the opinions of pundits, and now we have some opinions from people who have more of a personal connection to Medal of Honor than anybody else -- real soldiers. A number of soldi...
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New Operation Flashpoint confirmed


Aug 01
// Matthew Razak
It looks like realistic warfare (read: dying over and over) is coming back once again to gaming as The Official Xbox Magazine has confirmed that another game in the Operation Flashpoint series is coming out. The game is title...

Play as Al-Qaeda? I canít support the new Medal of Honor

Jul 23 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Yeah, it’s just a videogame -- but for me, it’s more than that. It just hits too close to home. This is an organization that’s terrorized Afghanistan, America and numerous other parts of the world for decades now. To me, playing as Al-Qaeda means I’m helping the bad guys win. I’ve never been to Afghanistan, but I have family living there. I know how they’ve been affected during the Taliban’s rule. Anyone who’s read a newspaper in the last ten years knows of their injustices and crimes against humanity -- crimes committed under the guise of a view of Islam warped to fit their own twisted needs. It wasn’t until the US invasion in 2001 that things seemed to get better. It’s not puppies and rainbows for the country -- far from it -- but it’s better than it was under the extremist rule, at least.  Beyond my Afghan heritage, I cannot bring myself to play a representation of a group of people responsible for the events of September 11. I still remember, clear as day, seeing the second plane crash into the tower live on the news. The footage was so shocking that what I had actually witnessed didn’t even register to me until the following day. I will defend Electronic Arts’ right to make this game, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The one saving grace is perhaps the single-player mode, where you play as American forces. Like I said in my preview, playing Medal of Honor will let me get a nerd’s revenge against their bullshit organization. Game aside, these people are very real, and the fact that they are explicitly named is the key distinction as to why I’m so upset by this game. Other terrorist-driven war games, like Modern Warfare 2, don’t cross that line -- they dance around as fantasy extremist groups at best. I’m sure many of my friends will support this game, and I won’t preach against it. I’m just expressing my personal feelings for the game and what it may mean to someone of my similar heritage. Though I’m technically Asian, I won’t be giving the Vietnamese or American soldiers a second thought in Call of Duty: Black Ops, but I’m sure there will be some Vietnamese and American people who will have issues with it, as it will be more than just a game to them. Does that make me a bad guy? Insensitive? I don’t think it does. People of all nationalities have their chords, and this game happens to hit mine. At the end of the day, this is a personal issue that most won’t consider because the average consumer won’t be in my shoes. I hope you can respect where I’m coming from. Still, the question begs: Is this fun? Is it art? Better question -- Is this necessary? I don’t think it is. For example, the America’s Army games chose to take a different approach. The US Army developed the PC shooter to help train their soldiers. Seeing as this was a training simulator, they didn’t want fellow soldiers to shoot other soldiers. Nor did they want them to play as the enemy. So the solution was that everyone played as the US military but they would see enemies with a made-up foreign military skin. It’s one good solution, one that I wouldn’t mind see put into Medal of Honor. It may not be right for the brand, but it’s an example of one creative idea. The worst part about all this is that I'm in the middle of an FPS drought until Halo: Reach now. I’ve been off the Modern Warfare 2 horse too long to get back into that and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 just wasn’t able to hold my attention for very long. Perhaps I could still play Medal of Honor, but I’ll just end up griefing the Al-Qaeda team when I’m forced to play as them... Well at the very least, it’s good to know that I haven’t been completely desensitized by violent videogames. With all the time I spend shooting at your moms in Teh Halos, I was starting to get a bit worried I’d lost a little humanity.
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[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as ...

Sundays with Sagat: What's in a name?

Jul 14 // Jonathan Holmes
Sundays with Sagat: What's a videogame for? Sundays with Sagat: Mario 64 Vs. Mario Galaxy Sundays with Sagat: The Hardcore/Comedy Conundrum Sundays with Sagat: Uncharted 2 Sundays with Sagat: Redefining "Hardcore Vs. Casual" Sundays with Sagat: Guest Starring Birdie
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[Sundays with Sagat is a video series where a man named Sagat talks to you about videogames. This is serious business.] [WARNING] This video has swears. Also, the intro is loud, and the rest of the video is not (though we ...

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THQ sends us creepy Homefront viral


Jun 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
It's the year 2027 and the nuclear powered Korean People's Army have taken over the United States of America. Yes, America is Korea's bitch in THQ's Homefront, but the occupiers are at least thoughtful. They've released a pam...
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1C Company brings screenshots of Theatre of War 2: Korea


Jun 07
// Ben Perlee
You know, it's true, for every ten titles of World War II, there is maybe a couple modern fictional military shooters, four "pseudo-realistic" future titles, maybe a Desert Storm game, and if a publisher is feeling particular...
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This is how they game in Afghanistan


May 22
// Matthew Razak
Photojournalist Iason Athanasiadis has documented something amazing. It's an arcade in Kabul, Afganhistan, and for the kids and young adults who go there to play it's one of their only escapes. Most of the children who show u...
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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier pushed back to 2011


May 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ubisoft has announced that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will now be coming out in early 2011. The game was slated for a Christmas release but pushed back due to a "very competitive environment" according to Ubisoft CEO, Yves ...
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Medal of Honor 'not necessarily pushing the genre forward'


Mar 11
// Samit Sarkar
You’d think that EA would be doing its best to separate Medal of Honor from the pack in a very crowded first-person shooter market. The team at EA Los Angeles is, indeed, working to make the game stand out, but the expe...
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Experience the war effort from all sides in Medal of Honor


Mar 11
// Samit Sarkar
When I saw a demo of the single-player campaign from EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor reboot last week, it instantly brought back memories of some of the early entries in the franchise, such as Allied Assault and Frontline....
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Late, but appreciated: Napoleon: Total War demo out now


Mar 10
// Jordan Devore
Almost let this one slip past me, to be frank. I know a portion of you guys are way into the Total War games, and with the demo for Napoleon recently going up on Steam (grab it here), there's a reason for the rest of us to be...
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Rumor: Six Days in Fallujah finished, ready for 2010


Mar 03
// Jim Sterling
According to a mysterious source, Atomic Games' controversial Six Days in Fallujah has been finished and is ready for release this year. This source has promised that the game will be released as well. Now, if only they could...
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New Command & Conquer 4 trailer brings on the cinematics


Feb 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The latest trailer for Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight has been released and it shows off some of the cinematic scenes. The planet is all but doomed, but Kane has a plan to save humanity. His plan works and life i...
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Lack of facial hair in new Medal of Honor screens troubling


Feb 18
// Nick Chester
Electronic Arts has released some previously-print-only Medal of Honor screens to us Internet folk, and something's missing. Where's the facial hair? The box art for this re-booted, modern Medal of Honor brought promise of gr...
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Sniper Elite coming to the Wii in Europe


Feb 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
During the last console generation, Sniper Elite came out of nowhere and wowed everyone that got their hands on it. It was the most realistic sniping experience on the market at the time but it was extremely hard to find a co...
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Saudis use videogames to reintegrate terrorists


Feb 07
// Matthew Razak
Here's an interesting little fact that doesn't have that much to do with videogames, but just enough to be posted. Saudi Arabia uses videogames as part of its program to reintegrate terrorists in to society. It seems the exac...
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Team Fortress 2 War Report: Day 2


Dec 12
// Aerox
The kill tally updated again last night -- you'll be glad to hear the soldiers are still ahead. We've managed to expand our lead to a 126,167 kill advantage, but I have a feeling it's going to be neck-and-neck all the way to ...
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Team Fortress 2 War Report: Day 1


Dec 11
// Aerox
The first day's kill totals are out, and as you can see above, the soldier is currently ahead by 99,209 kills. GOOD JOB MEN. Overall, there have been 2,681,005 kills between these two classes ALONE in the last 16 hours. Every...
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Study: Videogames allow you to commit war crimes


Nov 23
// Jim Sterling
Videogames: The create murderers. They breed rapists. They warp our children. Now they violate international law and allow gamers to commit heinous war crimes. That's the assertion of two human rights organizations, in any ca...
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NPR talks about the Six Days In Fallujah controversy


Jul 29
// Aerox
If you talk to me regularly, you probably know that I'm a big fan of NPR and listen almost every day. You should too, particularly because they've been seriously discussing video games more and more in the past few months. Ye...
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New Darksiders trailer may be generic, but it gets my vote


May 20
// Joseph Leray
Poor Darksiders: Wrath of War just can't catch a break -- the game's no where near being released (it's slated for August 25), and the general around the internet seems to be that it's just too generic to stand out. After all...
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Six Days of Falluja dev asks if we're just making toys


May 02
// Matthew Razak
The whole cancellation of Six Days in Fallujah has got me immensely pissed off and made me want to rant my head off about how games should be more then just random shooting and should really try to approach real life issues a...

Preview: Six Days in Fallujah

Apr 13 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Six Days in Fallujah (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Atomic GamesPublisher: KonamiTo be released: 2010 Next, we were shown a video of various Marines talking about their experiences in Iraq as a montage of real war footage was shown. At the end of the footage, the Marines in the video stated that they wanted this game to be made. They want people to see what they went through and hear their stories from the conflict. And that’s what we’re getting with Six Days in Fallujah. The team from Atomic Games talked to Marines who were at Fallujah to help create an accurate game. The team got the reports, photos and videos from the Marines to ensure that gamers see what happened. Atomic Games worked closely with the Marines in order to nail down the AI for the Marines in the game. They’ll be moving and using tactics that Marines use in real life to help deliver a legitimate experience. The team also talked to insurgents and Iraqi citizens so they could have all sides covered when telling the tale in this game. Six Days looked like a Ghost Recon-type game where you’re moving around in third-person with a squad of soldiers backing you up. It wasn’t made clear if you’ll have any sort of squad commands, though. The game is still a year away, so visually it was nothing particularly special. The game was also very brown, which makes sense with the Iraq setting. Still, the environment looked very stale due to all the "brownness." There were a few firefights, and it looked like your standard third-person shooter affair. The game has the regenerative health system in place, rather than the health bar system some lady was saying it would have. One of the big things Six Days in Fallujah has going for it is the promise of fully destructible environments. They created a new game engine called the "Atomic Engine" from scratch in order to create the fully destructible maps. We were shown a couple of examples of how the player can plant charges on walls in order to flush out enemy insurgents hiding inside houses. It remains to be seen just on what level the destructibility will be. Is it going to be in the style of Red Faction, where EVERYTHING is destructible, or will it be like Battlefield: Bad Company, where everything but the frame of the building can be blown up? It’s hard to say if Six Days in Fallujah will live up to all of its promises this early on. Ben PerLee, who was at the event with me, noted that a number of people at the event felt uncomfortable with the game. If you’ve never had any issues with any other war game, movie or book before, then you have no right to say that this game is wrong in any way. Actual Marines who were in Iraq are behind this game and they just want people to see what it was like. On a related note, go watch Generation Kill. It does a great job of showing what Marines went through during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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One of the last games Konami showed during the opening presentation at their Gamer's Night was Six Days in Fallujah. The game has gained a lot of attention already due to it being set during the early days of the invasion of ...







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