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The real Dead Island experience revealed


Sep 07
// Nick Chester
As gaming enthusiasts, we'll never forget that initial reveal trailer for Dead Island. Gripping, emotional, and beautifully crafted, it was a haunting promo that put Techland's first-person role-playing game on almost everyo...
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Robot fighting flick Reel Steel getting XBLA, PSN game


Sep 07
// Nick Chester
The first time I saw the trailer for the upcoming film, Reel Steel, I was in a public theater. It was probably inappropriate for me to laugh out our at it, but there I was, cackling uncontrollably. The premise: an ex-fighter ...
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Trials dev's MotoHeroz hits WiiWare next week


Sep 07
// Nick Chester
RedLynx has announced that its WiiWare title, MotoHeroz, will be available September 12 for 1500 Wii Points.  This cute little racer packs a single-player campaign, leaderboards, as well as a four-player "party mode." I...
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Resistance 3 'Survival' DLC coming October 3


Sep 06
// Nick Chester
Resistance 3 hits PlayStation 3 today, and Sony's already on top of announcing the first DLC for Insomniac's first-person shooter. The "Survival" pack will be hitting the PlayStation Store on October 4, and will be bringing a...
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Get your Borderlands 2 gameplay shaky cam footage here


Sep 04
// Nick Chester
I had a chance to see Borderlands 2 during a behind-closed-doors presentation at PAX last week. My thoughts? Game looks kind of awesome. Okay, it looks really awesome.  But don't take my word for it, check it ou...
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Get Dead Island a few days early if you're lucky


Sep 04
// Nick Chester
While Dead Island is officially set to hit shelves this coming Tuesday, a few naughty retailers have started selling the game early.  Reader Spencer writes to us with photographic evidence of his purchase of Techland's z...
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Get Double XP with this Call of Duty XP Mountain Dew can


Sep 04
// Nick Chester
Call of Duty XP attendees not only had a chance to play Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer for the first time, but also to get bombarded with advertisements for products like Mountain Dew. But it's for a good cause: double XP ...
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Real life Call of Duty Burger Town is neat, pricey


Sep 03
// Nick Chester
Studies show that playing too much Call of Duty can make you hungry. So Activision has built up a real life Burger Town -- the phony fast food chain that has appeared in the games -- at its Call of Duty XP event in Los Angele...
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Activision funds sequel to Call of Duty fan film


Sep 02
// Nick Chester
Earlier this year, we posted a Call of Duty-inspired short film called Find Makarov. Despite it being an impressive production, it was done without Activision's knowledge or consent. But the mega-publisher wasn't upset, inst...

Call of Duty Elite 'Premium' gets priced at $49.99 a year

Sep 02 // Nick Chester
To sweeten the deal, Premium members will also get access to that DLC content earlier. While the standard model for Call of Duty DLC has been four content drops spread over the course of a year, Premium members will be drip-fed that new content monthly. According to Hirshberg, that new content won't simply be new multiplayer maps; players can also expect new Spec Ops maps, game modes, and more. Additionally, Premium members get access to daily competitions and events where they can snag prizes, both real and virtual. Activision is offering everything from in-game badges and trophies, to iPads and (no seriously) jeeps. "These aren't just competitions for pros," adds Hirshberg, "we're gonna have competitions tailored for players of all skill levels, and these competitions will be managed and refereed by real people, 24/7."Out of the box, all Modern Warfare 3 users will be able to use Elite to form and manage clans. But only premium members will get the benefits of leveling up their clans by participating in tournaments and competitions. "Everything you love about leveling up as an individual player, Premium Elite members can do as a clan," explains Hirschberg. "It's like your own fantasy football team inside Call of Duty Elite, except players you're counting on are your friends and teammates."Saving and uploading videos also gets a boost, as well, for Premium Elite members, with Activision offering eight times more video capacity for replays than standard members. Expert strategies and analysis is also being made to Elite players, with new content being added regularly. These "high production value" video clips designed by the "best players in the world" will give gamers a deeper insight into using weapons and navigating the game's maps.As if all of that weren't enough, Activision also has Hollywood talent on board to provide original content for something it's calling Elite TV. These episodic videos will be created using the Modern Warfare 3 engine, and while they're not ready to show any examples just yet, Hirshberg was willing to give some details on two Elite TV shows. "We've got a simple idea that brings real life rivals together in multiplayer to battle it out Call of Duty style," he says of the Tony and Ridley Scott-produced Friday Night Fights, "whether it's firemen versus cops, New York fans versus Boston fans, Democrats versus Republicans, football fans versus soccer fans, even a few famous celebrity rivals who play Call of Duty are gonna get involved." Will Arnett and Jason Bateman's production company, DumbDumb have a show in the works, as well. It's called Noob Toob, and the premise apparently seems to have Arnett and Bateman providing snarky smack-talking commentary on various player clips. Not up for shelling out $49.99 for all of the above perks? There's another way to get a full year of Premium Elite: it comes with the "Hardened Edition" of the upcoming shooter. Additionally, those who purchase the set will get lifetime Premium Elite "founders" status, which sounds good for bragging rights and not much else. Given everything that Activision is offering, it certainly does seem as if Premium Elite service is a sweet deal for Call of Duty diehards. While casual fans who are reluctant to buy add-on content for the shooter may not find value in the service, there's plenty here for those who purchase new map packs every few months. What do you think of what Activision is offering? Are you ready to go all in, or are the standard Elite services enough?
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While the core services of Activision's Call of Duty Elite will be free, players who invest in a "Premium" membership will be a bit more elite than your usual elite. Priced at $49.99 a year, Premium members will get access to...

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Elite brings Facebook, clan support to Modern Warfare 3


Sep 02
// Nick Chester
Back in May, we got our first look at Call of Duty Elite, a set of tools introduced by Activision to enrich the game experience. Introduced to players was in-depth stat tracking, video sharing, training tools based on your ga...
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Limited Edition Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 announced


Sep 02
// Nick Chester
At Call of Duty XP today, Microsoft and Activision announced the Limited Edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 bundle.Priced at $399.99, the bundle will ship with a custom "battle worn" Xbox 360 S console, as well a...

Review: Jetpack Joyride

Sep 01 // Nick Chester
Jetpack Joyride (iOS)Developer: HalfbrickReleased: September 1, 2011Price: 99 cents  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to play Jetpack Joyride, and that's half of its appeal. Like many iOS titles, its controls boil down to tapping the screen and occasionally, um, tapping the screen some more. You'll be doing so to initiate protagonist Barry Steakfries' machine gun jetpack, tapping (or holding) to make him hover in the air as you avoid lasers, missiles, and a maze of electric ropes. As you proceed further, the stakes get hire as Barry moves faster and faster, and the game's traps become trickier and trickier. While the machine gun jetpack may very well be the most awesome mode of transport ever in the history of forever, it's not the only vehicle in Barry's arsenal. Occasionally and randomly, additional vehicles can be picked up along the way. From the "Crazy Freaking Teleporter" to the Tiny Wings-inspired "Profit Bird" (which borrows sound effects from the popular, money-making iOS title), each vehicle will react to those same screen taps and holds, but responds a bit differently. For example, the "Crazy Ass Teleporter" will allow you to zap to new areas of the screen with a simple tap. The "Profit Bird" is one of the more slower vehicles, but can be made to fly with repeated screen taps, and I found it easier to navigate than many of the others. You'll come to find your favorites as you experiment and play, but given that they basically offer one free hit (i.e. mushrooms in Super Mario Bros.), you're going to want to grab 'em when you see 'em.Halfbrick has also thrown some additional random elements into the mix with bonus coins that appear periodically throughout your journey. These coins can be redeemed in a slot machine after a run (when you hit an electric fence, missile, etc.) and can offer a number of bonuses and perks. Some will even give you a second chance, letting you continue on to reach a higher score. In other instances, you might have a bomb dropped on you to give you some extra distance to reach even higher scores.  These basics and the very nature of wanting to best your own high scores (and your friends' via Game Center or OpenFeint) would be enough to keep you coming back for more. But Halfbrick has also integrated an impressive mission system that kept me playing this simple game for hours on end. At any given time, players have three goals to reach, ranging from hitting certain distances to near-missing X-number of missiles. Completing goals earns you stars, and as you rank up, missions roll over into a fresh set of objectives. There's always something to be striving for, whether it's topping the leaderboards or knocking another one of the game's missions off your list. There's also a ton of extras packed into Jetpack Joyride, most of them purchased with coins picked up during gameplay. While some of them are simply cosmetic (my Barry Streakfries looks like a zombie now; what's yours wearing?), others are more useful in gameplay. One-off items can be purchased, like second chances or distance-boosting bombs, or permanent upgrades like adding a coin magnet to the game's many vehicles.There are few criticisms that can be thrown at Jetpack Joyride, but I'd be lying if I said it was a completely perfect experience. For one, the very nature of having to tap the screen with your finger can lead to obstructing your view, and potentially a hazard that will cause your game to end. To the game's credit, you can tap anywhere on the screen, including a small area directly behind Barry. Your mileage with this may vary, but I never really found a place where my finger never seemed "in the way" at some point. There's also a lot of luck involved in Jetpack Joyride, at least when it comes to reaching the high end of the leaderboards, and this may frustrated some. True, the game is all about fast reflexes and being able to keep up with the blazing speeds that Barry can reach. Make no mistake, the touch screen on any iOS device can keep up with the game's controls, which are quick and responsive. But there's a bit of randomness involved, as well, particularly when using those bonus coins. My best run came from the sheer luck of getting multiple bomb bonuses and a heart, which earned me a chance to continue on further. Even still, the most skilled players will always have an edge, and will also have that element of luck on their side.  At a mere 99 cents, Jetpack Joyride is an insane value for what's offered. Let's put it this way: the in-game stats on my iPod tell me I've put six hours into the game; include my time playing on an iPad, and you're adding another two or three. To put that into perspective, I probably didn't have to play more than 30 minutes of this game to give it a proper review, the game is simply that straightforward. I simply was having so much fun, and I didn't want to stop. Speaking of which, I've said enough. I think I've got some more Jetpack Joyride to play. I'd suggest you get to doing the same. 
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With so many "runner" games on iOS, another one is certainly a hard sell. But there's a reason these games are so popular. It's a simple concept -- a character moves continuously from left to right at an ever-increasing speed...

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DO NOT engage Ridley mother effer in Metroid on 3DS


Sep 01
// Nick Chester
It seems that the Virtual Console version of the NES classic Metroid on 3DS (the one recently made available to "ambassadors") doesn't like your naughty language. It appears that entering the password "ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER F...
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Read this Dead Island comic book in your browser now


Sep 01
// Nick Chester
You'll have to wait a week before you explore the zombie-infested tropical paradise of Dead Island. But get a head start on the tale of a zombie virus that completely and totally messes s**t up by reading prequel comic book&h...
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Uncharted Dual Pack hits retail next week


Sep 01
// Nick Chester
If for some reason you own a PlayStation 3 and haven't played either of the Uncharted games… what's your deal!? Here's your chance: Sony is releasing an Uncharted Greatest Hits Dual Pack, and it's hitting shelves next ...
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Free Red Dead Redemption DLC hits September 13


Sep 01
// Nick Chester
Remember Red Dead Redemption? Free downloadable content for the game, the "Myths & Mavericks" bonus pack, will hit Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on September 13. The pack will feature new multiplayer characters, along...
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The Haunted: Hell's Reach hits PC this October


Aug 30
// Nick Chester
The winning title of 2010's "Make Something Unreal Contest" is getting a retail PC release, thanks to THQ's ValuSoft division. The Haunted: Hells Reach will be available on PC this October. The Haunted runs players through 3...
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THQ bringing WWE All Stars to Nintendo 3DS


Aug 30
// Nick Chester
THQ has announced today that its bringing its arcade-style take on sports entertainment, WWE All Stars, to the Nintendo 3DS. It doesn't sound like the game is taking a hit coming to the tiny screen, either. In addition to the...
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Atari publishing The Kore Gang, may actually come out


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
The Kore Gang, a game that started life on the original Xbox and then later resurfaced on the Wii, is finally seeing a release in North America soon. The Wii action platformer is being published by Atari, and is set for an O...
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Walmart's 360 price cut was an error, but will honor sale


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
You know that Xbox 360 price drop that Walmart advertised last week? You know, the one where the 4GB Kinect bundle went from $299.99 to $249.99. Yeah, well the retailer was just kidding. Joystiq is reporting that Walmart has ...
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High definition God of War Origins demo hitting PSN soon


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
Former PlayStation Portable-only God of War titles Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta look stellar as part of the PlayStation 3 God of War: Origins Collection. But don't take my word for it, see it for yourself: there's a ...
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Namco x Tecmo is a thing, but what kind of thing?


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
A website has been launched teasing an apparent Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei partnership. But what could it be? The site displays the words "Namco Bandai Games Inc x Tecmo Koei Games Co Limited," with a countdown clock pointin...
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Good news: Modern Warfare 3 PC will use Steamworks


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
To the cheers of PC gamers around the world, it's been confirmed today that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will support Steamworks. You should know what this means by now: auto-updating, achievements, and all of the other goo...
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Have two Max Payne 3 screenshots because it's Monday


Aug 29
// Nick Chester
Rockstar Games is doing some weird PR and marketing for its upcoming shooter, Max Payne 3. For starters, we've heard hide nor hair about the game in quite some time, the last major press push being an Edge cover story some ti...

Poor chickens: Hands-on with Choplifter HD

Aug 28 // Nick Chester
Built on the Unreal Engine, the first thing you'll note about Choplifter HD is that, well… it's high definition. The original flat, sprite-based chopper of the classic is replaced by fully rendered three-dimensional choppers. But despite the jump from 2D look to 3D world, Choplifter HD sticks to its side-scrolling roots.  Using the left analog stick, you can move the chopper up, down, left, or right. Choplifter HD will feature three aircraft types -- the light, fast Sparrow; the larger, slower Raven; and the Navajo. In the early demo inXile brought to PAX, only the Sparrow and the Raven were playable. Each had individual stats, strengths, and weaknesses, which made using them feel dramatically different. The Sparrow was quick, but small, only able to hold a handful of passengers. The Raven on the other hand was heavier, quite slower than the smaller chopper, yet had more than double the number of seats. Since you'll be facing resistance on your missions, it's fortunate that you've got a machine gun and missiles on your side. Aiming a laser sight with your right analog stick, you'll be able to take out enemies with a limited number of missiles and put holes into everything until your gun overheats. While you'd expect to take fire from the sides in the 2D-scrolling shooter, inXile has added enemies into the foreground, as well. Tapping the left or right bumpers on your controller, you can turn the chopper and fire into the frontline. While it was easy enough to move the chopper up, down, left, and right, this foreground shifting mechanic took a few moments to get used to. But once I got the hang of it, I was quickly turning my chopper in all directions, giving any opposition what for.  While the main goal of many missions is pick up and transport (yes, you can land on and kill passengers if you're not careful), inXile is switching up missions in a number of ways. In one, I had to drop off and then protect an agent as he ran into a building to plant explosives. After doing this in three key buildings, the location of hostages were revealed, opening up the second set of goals towards mission completion. Other mission variants could include timed objectives, and there's even something involving zombies that inXile isn't ready to tell us about just yet. In one of the three levels inXile brought to PAX, I ran into a familiar face: Duke Nukem. Landing next to Duke, I found that he wouldn't get in my helicopter. Apparently, it wasn't up to his standards. But Silva tells me that choosing the right chopper, Duke may hop in. Other videogame characters are set to make appearances, as well, including Super Meat Boy. Another thing to note: chickens are not safe in Choplifter HD. I landed my chopper in a crowd of chickens, causing them to startle and scatter. As they did, they got caught in the blades of the helicopter with expected results. (Yes, you'll get bonus points for this at the end of your missions.) Poor chickens.  Choplifter HD is scheduled for a fall release for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC. 
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It's been awhile since we've seen a game in the Choplifter series, about seven years if my calculations are correct, with the PlayStation 2 title Choplifter: Crisis Shield. So you're forgiven if you thought the classic series...

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Borderlands PC patch coming, brings Steamworks support


Aug 28
// Nick Chester
At its panel at PAX Prime today, Gearbox Software revealed that a patch will be hitting the PC version of Borderlands on September 9. The patch will not only add support for Steamworks (which will bring cloud saving to the tw...
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AC: Revelations answers some questions, leaves some open


Aug 28
// Nick Chester
As much as I adored Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the feeling of my stomach dropping as the game came to a close and offered up more questions than answers is unforgettable. Just one year later, Ubisoft hopes to make good on...

Lollipop Chainsaw: Shuffling zombies with pom-poms

Aug 27 // Nick Chester
Just last week, I fired up No More Heroes: Hero's Paradise for the PlayStation 3, so that game's third-person action is fresh in my mind. While Lollipop Chainsaw's combat can't be directly linked to that earlier Suda51 title, some similarities seem immediately obvious. Both titles for instance, feature combat that's designed in an attempt to minimize mindless button mashing. Lead Juliette won't let her years of cheerleading practice go to waste, with one of her attacks being the use of pom-poms. This light attack will do minor damage to undead, but that's not really their main function. Instead, this short ranged attack is used to shuffle zombies about an area, the idea being to herd them into massive clusters. Once they've been grouped, that's when the chainsaw comes in handy. Broken down into two attacks -- a sweeping high slash and a low jab -- the chainsaw will, as you'd expect, remove limbs from the undead. Take off an arm or two, and ghouls will still stumble in your direction trying to get a taste of your young (but over 18!) flesh. Remove the legs, and they'll fall to the floor, crawling in your direction, intent on their human meal. It's their heads you need to worry about: one nice, high swoop will decapitate a zombie, sending their craniums flying, splattering their blood on the screen, and… releasing a flood of rainbows and stars. The idea here is to not simply kill all of the zombies as quickly as possible -- it's to kill them in stylish ways, earning "zombie medals" for your efforts. Decapitating one zombie might be satisfying, but leaving gory neck stumps on three or more zombies at once will result in greater "zombie medal" rewards. Juliette also has a leap attack that can be used to not only get players to safety or help position the undead, but for more stylish kills. With the right timing, I was able to leapfrog over a zombie and quickly gut the ghoul with my chainsaw. In these instances, a quicktime event was triggered, like pressing in the direction of the chainsaw attack and repeatedly tapping a button to complete the kill. I couldn't help but be reminded somewhat of the light sword attacks from No More Heroes, sans motion controls. While Warner Bros. and Grasshopper aren't making it entirely clear how it will work, I was told that earning zombie medals is directly related to how the story will unfold and what parts of it will be accessible to the player. While it will be possible to hack and slash your way through the game and experience the main paths and points of the narrative, only players with patience and skill will see it all. How this plays out -- whether you'll spend the tokens to unlock new areas or if it automatically gives you access to new story bits -- is unknown. The second part of my playable demo was against the punk rock zombie that was detailed in our preview. This is the guy whose attacks consist mostly of shouting obscenities into a microphone, the sound waves and words knocking me backwards. (Think "Death Breath" from the classic NES title, Kid Niki.) I was being constantly bombarded by large, on-screen text of statements like "Cocksucker!" and "Cooze!" and "Bitch!". Suda51 is known for designing some insane, over-the-top boss battles; if this is where Lollipop Chainsaw is headed, our sensibilities are in trouble. And I mean that in the best way possible. Lollipop Chainsaw's "herding" combat is an interesting concept, and one that during my short hands-on time I didn't entirely get the hang of. The idea of thinking about how I'm going to dispatch zombies being directly tied with story rewards is interesting, for sure. I just hope Suda51 and coconspirator James Gunn can keep up the level of bizarre, profane, and quirk that I'm expecting. If that's the case, I'll be more than happy to take the time to perfect my cheerleading and zombie killing craft to see it all when the game ships next year.
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Great news: playing Grasshopper Manufacture's Lollipop Chainsaw is just as insane as watching it in action. Suda51's latest tale of a zombie slaughtering cheerleader is as quirky and demented as fans have come to expect. Whil...

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Gotham City Impostors 'Fumigation' mode revealed at PAX


Aug 26
// Nick Chester
I'd already gotten my hands on the standard team deathmatch mode for Monolith's Gotham City Impostors earlier this year. It's Bat on Joker action, with Dark Knight and Clown Prince knock-offs trying to take each other out wi...

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