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Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot has a major problem when it comes to plot. You see, it's not the late 1980s anymore, so the rampant fear of Soviet Russia doesn't hang over us like a red curtain. So Rush'n Attack: Ex Patri...

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Bloody good Super Meat Boy gameplay montage


May 09
// Jonathan Holmes
Since Super Meat Boy was first announced, it's inspired two comic books, plenty of stuffed "animals", and an educational series of posts on game design, among other things. The US army even sent the game's developers a flag....
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Xbox 360 is the best girlfriend you'll ever have


Feb 23
// R3Y GUTI3RR3Z
I love my PlayStation 3 -- a lot more than I really should. My curvy, delicious, Japanese piece of hardware likes it when I set the lights low, turn the stereo up and play with her all night long. There's something particula...

Shining a light on Remedy's Alan Wake

Feb 18 // Ben Perlee
Alan Wake (Xbox 360)Developer: Remedy EntertainmentPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: May 18, 2010 Alan Wake is heavily inspired by the works of Stephen King and the TV shows Twin Peaks and The X-Files. Wake is with his wife visiting the small, idyllic woodland community of Bright Falls. It's a good resting place for him and his wife to work on their relationship, and maybe for resuming his writing career. After all, it has been two years since his last novel, and the writer's block is getting to him. Of course, crazy things start happening. Alan's wife disappears, and the weirdest thing of all, sheets of paper from a novel -- as if written by him -- are showing up wherever he goes. Alan will find them as they tell what has happened, or what will happen. The effect is a little trippy, thanks in part to the level design and how events are played out. For example, Alan will find a page of this novel, and it will describe his friend and the local sheriff crashing in a helicopter... just as he walks up to the wreckage, moments after it has happened. Now, a lot has been said about how Alan Wake is a survival horror game. I'm going to have to qualify these statements people have made, because I don't think Alan Wake is a horror game at all. It's thrilling and spooky, and maybe even startling, but I never got the impression that it is a scary game per se. Hell, Remedy is aiming for a Teen rating, so don't even expect much blood in Alan Wake. But thrilling it certainly is. From decrepit dams and silos to helicopter crashes, from spooky old women to the psychological creepiness of uncovering the truth through the pages of a novel, every element of Alan Wake has a certain uneasiness to it. You never know what's around the corner, though from my hands-on time with the game, you know that whatever it is, it'll be thrilling and exciting. The game is broken up in an episodic fashion, so after each chapter, you'll be shown a “Previously on Alan Wake...” cut-scene. While I wouldn't say it means much, it is a fun and neat little touch that makes the game feel more cinematic than you would initially believe. Before I had a chance to play, I was shown the introductory area of the game. Alan had just come to Bright Falls with his wife, and they entered the local cafe. Alan was able to walk through the cafe and interact with almost everything and everyone there. He headed to the back, and encountered a creepy old woman who handed him his key to the island lake cabin. This initial scene does a great job of setting up the game, and illustrates the contrast between the perceived normalcy of Bright Falls, and the insanity that goes on at night. My playthrough began with Alan waking up in his car, perched on the edge of a cliff. It's totaled, and to top it off, his wife is gone. He climbs out, grabs a flashlight, and notices a nearby gas station that should offer some safety. For the next twenty minutes, I worked Alan through the dark and foggy northwestern wilderness, witnessed the car plummet off the cliff, was attacked by ghostly lumberjacks and possessed earth movers, and was generally assaulted from all sides. Of course, it's only once you get to the gas station do you discover the first of what I'm sure will be many startling truths. I'll leave that for you to experience yourself. Now, other than running around trying to not get killed, you have a few offensive options. The enemies of Alan Wake are ghostly humans, shadowy birds, and large possessed items -- like massive coils of wire and vehicles. The only way to deal with them in Alan Wake is with light. Using a focused flashlight, Alan can freeze these shadows, and once weakened, they can be shot and killed. Should you and any NPCs you're fighting with have a problem, a flare can be fired for some momentary defense. A flare gun, in contrast, is purely offensive, obliterating any of these baddies with a well placed shot. Contextual lamps and spotlights work in a pinch, too. In a stressful way, this two-part system of taking out bad guys is actually pretty fun. Since you have to juggle batteries for your flashlight, ammo for your gun, and flares -- and make sure you don't die -- ammo management is really important. Reload speeds, too, tend to run on the long side, cementing the fact that Alan Wake isn't exactly your typical third-person shooter. Alan Wake is one of the most impressive looking games I have ever seen on the 360. I'm sure the fog and darkness helps out in some of the graphical trickery, but beyond that, it's a beautiful game. The textures are stunning, and the levels themselves are gorgeous. Being assaulted by a pile of two-ton logs has never looked so damn good. I'm really interested in what Remedy hopes to do with the game as a franchise. I asked about sequels, selling the game episodically, and the future of Alan Wake. I'm talking movies, TV shows, and even novels written from the perspective of Alan Wake. Crazy, but certainly a strong vision for the franchise. Alan Wake is very, very cool. From what I've played, I can say that the game is like nothing we have seen in a videogame before, especially with the themes and Remedy's cinematic approach. There is some really cool stuff going on here, and I, for one, cannot wait for May 18.
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Alan Wake has been a long time coming. Back in 2005, we were shown a game featuring a guy who looked like Johnny Depp in the film Secret Window. Which would make sense -- both are both about male writers dealing with writer's...

X10: Breaking things down with Crackdown 2

Feb 15 // Ben Perlee
Crackdown 2 (Xbox 360)Developer: Ruffian GamesPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: 2010 Fans of the original Crackdown are going to find themselves right at home in Crackdown 2...literally. Plot-wise, the game is ten years after the original, and things have not gone so well for Pacific City. Buildings that once stood tall are now piles of rubble, and even worse, the zombie-esque Freaks from the first game have now taken over the city. People wandering around are no longer a source of attacks, it's these Freaks that will remain your biggest problem. The opposing group, Cell, is still around causing problems, but these Freaks will keep things complicated. Considering they may only come out at night, there is a new day/night dynamic to keep you on your toes. So between these new primary enemies and a massive city in disrepair, there are some new vehicle options for the game. Helicopters can now take things to the skies, and they should offer new mission types for the game. Also new is some of the suit technologies. For example, one suit you could wear will allow you to jump off buildings and glide around to the ground. It reminded me very much of Prototype's gliding elements, where a quick tap of the button will send your character into a slower, more controlled free fall. For fans of jumping off buildings in sandbox games, this'll do. Graphically, the game is even more good looking than before. The bold lines return, and everything looks great. However, the draw distances have been boosted even more. Fly up in a helicopter, and the whole city will be on view for you. When playing 4-player co-op, what was really stunning is that you can see these little pixels bouncing around and shooting stuff way off in the distance. Considering those are the other players, Ruffian Games has done a good job making sure the whole game works and looks well, especially for co-op. Continuing with multiplayer, there is the 4-player co-op, as well as 16-player versus. Also added is a new party-system, which could be anything with regards to communication with other players. Finally, those collectible orbs are making a triumphant return to Crackdown 2. This time, other than the static ones ready for you to jump around and find, there are new “Renegade Orbs” which provide a different challenge. One that I saw was racing around a dockyard, and the only way to collect it if I wanted was to be in a high speed race and grab it with my car. Expect all sorts of these types of dynamic Orbs to make collecting them all that more interesting. By and large, I was impressed with what Ruffian Games has done here. It looks like the solid foundation of the original game has been great for this sequel. If Crackdown 2 is as much fun doing random things and boosting your skills, then there should be nothing to worry about when it launches later this year.
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Looking at Crackdown 2, it's pretty clear that developer Ruffian Games wants to make the game that much bigger and that much better than before. While that's all grand and good, Crackdown 2 is really aiming to take what was o...

X10: Hands-on with Toy Soldiers

Feb 15 // Ben Perlee
Toy Soldiers (XBLA)Developer: Signal StudiosPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: March 3, 2010 Toy Soldiers is a WWI-esque strategy game that Microsoft labels under the “Intense Action” genre. Genre specifics aside, the game looks pretty cool, with large levels evoking the trenches of war and the battlefields of Europe. However, since these units are all toys, off in the background can be found doors, desks, tables and lamps, reducing the scale of the battles to something that much smaller. There is a nice charm at play here, and everything is designed to look from just this period. The biggest impression I got from Toy Soldiers is that it covers a whole lot of gameplay genres, but each of those elements look like they are coming together nicely. Primarily is the tower defense portion of the game. Most of the units you can buy can only be placed on predetermined spots on the field. Some spots are large and can place all of the unit types, from massive cannons to machine guns. Some spots are smaller, only capable of holding smaller units like anti-air guns. The game can be played entirely this way, especially on easy, with the player focusing entirely on placing units, rebuilding them, and upgrading them as money comes in from defeating enemies. While that is a fine for the most part, as units will take care of themselves, it's going hands-on that it more fun. So say you've got your units stocked and upgraded, surrounded with barbed wire to make sure they last, what do you do? Well, every single unit that you control can be played from their perspective. So if the enemy team is dive bombing you with planes, hop in control of the anti-air guns, and shoot them down. Or even better, get in control of the red biplane just begging to be played, and shoot down the opposing side's incoming calvary. It's enjoyable to go from a tower defense style game to actually playing the units. Each unit type plays entirely different, and it mixes up the gameplay entirely. One of the most interesting elements with Toy Soldiers is the cross promotion with Facebook. That game is called Toy Soldiers: Match Defense, and players will be able to play that right now. Apparently  the two games are not going to synch up in any crazy manner, but if you have the Facebook game, expect some buffs in the XBLA title. In application, it doesn't seem like much, but could be a sign of much more exciting things in the future.
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March 3 is going to be a pretty exciting day for those who are into videogames. Microsoft has some interesting spring plans with Block Party, a sort of Summer of Arcade for the equinoctial crowd. Kicking things off on March 3...

X10: Going to the junkyard with Scrap Metal

Feb 15 // Ben Perlee
Scrap Metal (XBLA)Developer: Slick EntertainmentPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: March 2010 Starting out, the single player mode has more than 60 different missions, each which entail more than just simply navigating around a track. There's a Demolition Derby mode; a Survivor mode where you're chased by police; an Elimination mode; King of the Hill; and finally, bosses to defeat and new cars to unlock. These unlockable cars are important. You’ll have four you can use at any given time, and the bodies of each car will be unlocked or purchased through the game. They all have different characteristics that you can apply to the vehicle, and you can even customize the look of the machine.  For example, you’ll definitely want to get a monster truck for the derby, but you'll want to use a muscle car for some of the more brutal races. I really must say I like the aesthetic of Scrap Metal. It has a cool looking junkyard feel, and a slightly cartoony style with the bold lines that make it fun to watch. I also like the goofy addition of support for Anaglyph 3D glasses -- you know, those silly red and blue glasses. While it is not something you will spend a boat load of time using, it's certainly a fun feature. I had a good time with what I was shown, and it seems like a fairly solid entry entry for next month's Block Party. Even better, there is four player multiplayer across the modes. I’m concerned that the 1200 Microsoft points price tag might be high, but the game looks good and has some neat little tricks, including four multiplayer modes. Keep an eye out for Scrap Metal when it hits Xbox LIVE Arcade next month.
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By now you hopefully know that Microsoft has a big month of March planned for DLC and downloadable games. Actually, its spring "Block Party" is a flagship event, much like their Summer of Arcade.  This March we’ll ...

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No 250GB 360 hard drive planned outside of bundles


Feb 14
// Matthew Razak
While filling up your 360's hard drive is getting to be an easier and easier task thanks to the plethora of quality downloadable games and game demos on the system it doesn't seem that Microsoft will be releasing a 250GB hard...

X10: Taking things back with Perfect Dark

Feb 12 // Ben Perlee
Perfect Dark (XBLA)Developer: 4J StudiosPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: March 2010 I have to say two elements really made playing Perfect Dark better than playing any other N64 game on an emulator. First, my god, once we as gamers were free from the confines of four yellow c-buttons to control in first person and were liberated with modern control sticks, we could finally be playing a game instead of fighting it. Perfect Dark, no longer a clumsy and wonky FPS, is now a fast and accurate shooter. Damn. Other than a couple of dated control elements (weapon select is dumb), Perfect Dark controls lovely. I only played the one level, but the game is now so fast and accurate with the use of dual analog sticks, it's really easy. Almost too easy, considering the enemies have the A.I of a dead chipmunk. However, again, this is an old game. You wouldn't go in here with illusions of Modern Warfare. However, from my time with the game, I had fun, and it was actually enjoyable to have bad guys that go down with a shot in the balls and disappear leaving only a bloody fart stain on the walls. The second reason Perfect Dark is perfectly playable are the graphics. While the game still looks like ass in only that trademark '"N64 sort of way," the addition of HD textures has turned it into something I can look at without wanting to die. Sure, the game doesn't look "great" in many frames of reference, but it looks great for being exactly what it is: an N64 title. Actually, the texture improvements have made the game look like a Dreamcast title, honestly. Not too shabby! I wasn't able to play the multiplayer, but expect 4-player online and local play, as well. Eh, it's multiplayer. Ta-dah? Did you expect more? Coming away from this port of Perfect Dark, I'm actually impressed with it. It looks like something fans will like, and as far as games from this generation go, it will be the best looking title of that type. I think it looks like a perfectly fine addition to the spring Block Party line-up next to Toy Soldiers, Scrap Metal and Game Room, and for only 800 points, it isn't too bad.
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Back in 2000, when the original Perfect Dark came out, Rare was riding high. They had just come off the most successful console first-person shooter ever made, they and Nintendo were BFFs, and Perfect Dark was on everybody's ...

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X10: Going underground with L4D2's The Passing


Feb 12
// Ben Perlee
If you paid attention to all the X10 news that broke out yesterday, you'd notice Left 4 Dead (both of them!) is receiving all sorts of new updates. Between a comic book, an awesome-sounding return to the original game with ne...

X10: Going to the arcade with Game Room

Feb 12 // Ben Perlee
As you know, Game Room is coming to Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows Live later this March, bringing with it support of Avatars for the PC service. The only major update for the games is a rewind feature, which let's you rewind those games with every mistake you made (yet invalidates leaderboard scores once you do so). Makes them easier and more playable, in my humble opinion, considering old games are brutally hard and not very fun. (Or I'm not very good.) Everything else about each game is pure emulation courtesy of Chrome Studios from Brisbane, Australia. The pricing model for Game Room is a bit complicated. For 240 MS points, you can buy games for either Xbox 360 or Games for Windows. If you want to share the games across the two platforms, you have to buy it for 400 points. Thankfully, the upgrade fee is only 160 points, so you never get stiffed if you want more. However, you would be wise to buy the game day one of release. Doing so gets you get a nifty little icon/item from the game that will run around in your arcade. It's nothing too exciting, but it's one more thing out there that makes the purchases that much more attractive day one. Plus, it make the arcade seem more exciting, as these little icons buzz around like crazy. One thing I really do dislike about Game Room is how none of the games can be played online. Yeah, you can make high scores, challenge your friends, and have local multiplayer, but I feel like it's a stupid technicality that we don't get to take any of the multiplayer titles online. Another thing that I don't like is is how you cannot upgrade currently purchased games to Game Room. It's like Game Room is it's own closed marketplace, and if you want Pac Man: Championship Edition to hang out next to it's older brother, tough turd, it's never going to happen. Also, while there are medals you can win with the games, the whole experience feels like a glorified menu. Sure, the arcade is really nice looking and full of charm, but you cannot walk around, and until you fill it up a bit, it looks empty. And considering there is only a certain number of arcade cabinet slots, any more that you buy must be accessed through menus. Honestly, I personally do not see myself playing Game Room all that much. As someone who is gagged by retro goggles as opposed to charmed, I don't see myself going back to play games older than I, especially when they are games that have almost nothing updated about them. Sure, it's going to appeal to a niche audience, but I struggle to understand some of the weird arbitrary rules Microsoft has applied. I think Game Room could be a really cool way to access your games, and I mean all of them. Instead, it becomes just one more marketplace to buy even more games.
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When I walked into, well, Game Room, I honestly had the feeling that the thing I was about to experience was going to be a lot like PlayStation Home. You know, controlling your Avatar through a virtual space and all. However,...

X10: Hands-on with Dead Rising 2

Feb 12 // Ben Perlee
Dead Rising 2 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Blue Castle GamesPublisher: CapcomTo be released: August 31,2010 It is unfortunate that I was unable to play more than what I did of Dead Rising 2. You see, the game is damn fun, and running around the upper area of Fortune City was a real joy. Fat, old person zombies shamble alongside strippers, musicians, cops, and a whole gamut of undead types. Weapons are all over the place, and it looks like Blue Castle has done an amazing job of making them as insane as before. With 1,200 zombies in each area, it is positively loaded with fodder for your guitars, knives, carts, paddle saws, squirt guns, party beads, and much much more. It's a joy to just run around and kill. I have to say, having goals like killing a certain amount of zombies within a certain amount of time was actually kind of cool, and I hope that these objectives are common in the game. It's know that the camera system is long gone with Frank West, and it's been replaced with more things to earn PP, the game's experience point system. For example, living it up like only you could in a casino town, Chuck Greene can go into peep shows for $1000. Or create new weapons for outlandish kills to rack up those abilities. Money plays a role in this game for sure, so everything you do will certainly cost some loot. One of those costly things are the pawn shops. These are the are where you can buy many of the combination items used to design weapons, however they can also easily be made in the customization areas. Example: Metal rolling balls and rakes are easily electrified with a car batter attached. Super fun! I'm interested in seeing how many different combinations end up in the final game, but for less creative players, recipe cards can be found in the game to point you in the right direction. Also, outlandish costumes can be found, and I saw more than one player pointing Chuck to the nearest sex shop, and fitting him with assless chaps and matching leather vest. Kinky. I asked about the save system, and they would only go as far as to promise that fans would be pleased. You can still restart the game entirely if you die, and while the save system won't be as... "stupid" as it was in the original, it should still retain that element of stress and difficulty. Dead Rising 2 also looks incredible, a clear upgrade from the original title. In the section of The Strip I played in my demo, everything had an unnatural neon glow, a bluish tint that bathed everything in the surreal tint of the city's lights. What they have done with the lighting is pretty neat, and with the onslaught of ridiculous colors everywhere, this (surprisingly) may be one of the most colorful games I have ever played. While grainy in screenshots, the game has a surreal look that looks incredible in action, giving it the look of no other game that has come before it. Now, like I said, I'm sad to say I wasn't able to get as much time with the game as I would have liked. It looks to be a much better designed, much larger game than the original, and if it can tap into that bizarre and insane interpretation of America that the original glorified in, we'll be good to go. Dead Rising 2 ships on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on August 31.
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I loved the original Dead Rising, and it is a really wonderful thing to see that the game is making a solid return to gamer's minds with Dead Rising 2. Capcom and Blue Castle Games are clearly making a title that is going to ...

X10: A sandbox shooter and whole lot more: Halo: Reach

Feb 12 // Ben Perlee
Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)Developer: BungiePublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: Fall 2010 Halo: Reach, as Bungie was happy to point out, is probably the most ambitious title that it has ever made. While fans of Halo 3 might decry the nature of ODST, it looks like Halo: Reach is a proper prequel, a game that is going to take the series in a new direction, as opposed to keeping the same-old, same-old. The Plot, multiplayer, and the base engine are all brand new to the series. That's a big deal right there. Reach, as many of you know, is a prequel to the original series. It's 2552 on the planet of Reach, and it's the last line of defense against the covenant. You play as the latest recruit to Noble Team, an elite squad of Spartan 3s. While you are the newest member of the squad (replacing some dead guy), you get plenty of face time with the rest of the crew. It's a racial and gender mixed squad, right in line with the politically correct ambitions of the day. Here's the rough'n'gruff leader named Carter 259! Here's his second in command, a no-sh*t badass lady who probably spells her name (Kat 320) with a K! Here's the Asian sniper named Jun 266! Another girl! A burly guy who might be black! A crazy member of the team with a shadowy past! Oh Em Gee! As you can see, not being a fan of the Halo series, the plot here is not the thing that's exciting. It's inspired by The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, but... yawn. Can we expect a 12 year-old Spartan tactical genius next? I mean, let's take this idyllic '80s Saturday afternoon baloney all the way, m'kay? However, May 3 does actually excite me. This is the big beta launch for the game, so everything I was shown stands for what fans can look forward to playing in a couple of months. Many of your standard Halo modes will be coming, with levels like “Powerhouse,” a cliff-side level taking place on a hydroelectric center. While I was shown that one arena, it looks amazingly good, much better than even the recent ODST. The May beta will bring a bunch of these levels and modes, with a couple new ones players have never seen before. Multiplayer levels are now based more so on the single-player campaign. Insanely (and it was hard to understand how it's going to play out exactly) Halo: Reach is an effing sandbox game. I don't think anyone outside of Bungie has a clear idea how this is going to play out (and they're not letting on just yet) but there is a guy whose entire job is to be the sandbox designer (it's in his title). While details are slim, Bungie made it seem like there are going to be many different ways a player is able to approach a mission. Oddly, expect the triumphant return of health packs. Seems like the folks at Bungie like the idea of strategically placing them all over multiplayer maps. To this I'm completely nonchalant, and who the hell knows, it might be the groundbreaking thing they want it to be. Now, the biggest reason I am excited about Halo: Reach are the visuals. I will say it here: I have never been impressed with a Halo game before when it came to the looks. (Sorry, but personal opinion.) However, Bungie has rebuilt almost the entire Halo engine, and it effin' shows. This game is incredible in action. When some games this day and age struggle with textures, Halo: Reach has some of the most in-depth looking levels, terrain, and weapons I've ever seen on a 360 title. Even the facial animations of your squad mates has gone through the roof. While supposedly amazingly animated games like Assassin's Creed 2 (and a whole lot more) struggle with good looking facial animation, Halo: Reach rocks it in this department. Here's some numbers on what this game can do: There are four times the polygons of Halo 3 in Halo: Reach, for example. Halo 3 had no more than 100 colliding particles, and Halo: Reach has thousands. I'm not one for being a "graphics whore," but damn skippy, does this game look fine. Now, among other things, the Covenant Elite is going to make a comeback in a big way. There was also a new enemy called the Skirmisher, which looked like a kitty/doggy version of the covenant. Expect big teeth. Weapons, too, have been boosted with looks and handling. Besides looking a million times better over Halo 3, weapons like the Needler and the assault rifle look "Oh My God" good. Those graphical enhancements were applied to those weapons, and they look great. Crazily, the Needler is now white, and if you skewer a foe with three or four needles, there will be a nice explosion to reward you. Neat! Armor Abilities are also a new thing. Taking a note from Modern Warfare or Red Faction: Guerilla, these Armor Abilities will be persistent abilities that you can use as much as you'd like, and are determined before the match. This is stuff like speed boosts, and could be a real game changer for Halo fans. When looking at Halo: Reach, I'm going to leave you with this quote from the short documentary I was shown: “This is the definitive Halo by the people who made Halo.” You can better believe they look like they are backing this up. I've never been excited about these games, and you know what? I'm going to be online with the rest of you come May 3.
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I've never been a fan of Halo because I'm too cool for school, and popular games are hella lame, and no one cool likes what everyone likes. I also wear thick rimmed glasses and listen to pretentious music, so that makes me a ...

X10: Hands-off with Fable III

Feb 12 // Ben Perlee
Fable III (Xbox 360)Developer: Lionhead StudiosPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosTo be released: Holiday 2010 In Fable III, you'll play as the son (or daughter) of the main character from 2008's Fable II. All of the standard stuff you've come to expect from a Fable game is here: the good and the bad, the multiple plots paths, the dog, co-op -- everything. Even better, you can import your save from Fable II, and you will be able to gain some extra features, as well as influence the state of your new main character. Not much changes, but in a post-Mass Effect 2 world, it's a nice feature. What is not coming back is a health bar, or a HUD... period. This is the big news that Molyneux said was going to piss gamers off. Honestly, it's still hard to figure out how much health you have left, but there you go. In Peter we trust, I suppose. The game is heavily inspired by Charles Dickens and the Industrial Revolution in that Albion is now a heavily industrialized nation due to the actions of the corrupt king. Children as young as five-years-old are working in factories, and at least ten a day are dying. Everyone is sad, and it's up to you to make a change or keep things nasty as you progress through the game. Molyneux made it very clear that there is a new theme in Fable III: power. “Power” runs through the whole game, and you'll even become King or Queen by the story's mid-point. Considering the HUD is gone, and also considering that XP is now AWOL in a traditional sense (more on that later), being a powerful leader is very important. You'll be getting followers, and each action you take will cause you to gain or lose followers. Let's say you're the king. If you had promised to close the factories employing children, open schools, and turn towns into the idyllic places they once were -- and then you don't come through -- you will lose followers. If you divorce your wife, you will lose followers. If you marry a baroness, you will gain followers. There's a lot going on, and everything will fluctuate as you play. I've been told that the number of followers is pretty much the clearest manifestation of XP in Fable III. The game features two major updates to the Fable franchise. First, every weapon you use has an impact on you, the player. One of the complaints of Fable II was how even female characters would get really bulky. This changes with Fable III. Depending on the weapon type, you will bulk up or bulk down. A heavy hammer will "Conan you out," while using a gun will make you a pussy-footed weakling. Magic users will become more... magical (much like the iPad). A mixture of weapon uses will also offer a mixture of physical traits. Also, now characters have wings called “extreme expressions.” They pop out when you do attacks, and will align to your good and bad traits. This also ties to the weapons. Weapons initially start out weak and simple, and depending on what you do, the item will start to look and act different. If you kill a bunch of spiky Hobs and murder innocents, the weapon will be spiky and drip blood. If you kill a lot of another enemy, it'll start to pick up those traits. Even better, those weapons will be tied to your Gamertag, so your unique weapon will be called “Puffm@ster420's Blade of Blood,” or something similar depending on your chosen Xbox LIVE handle. Even when you trade it, that weapon will always be named after you. Molyneux also mentioned that the weapons are tied to your Gamerscore, but how those numbers translate into the game and with these weapons was made unclear. The next, and biggest, update of Fable is the inclusion of the “touch” feature. Heavily inspired by Ico, “touching” is done with the right trigger, and it is a contextual interaction with the characters in the game. You can discipline your daughter or pick her up, or hug your wife. As King, drag peons down to the dungeon, and more. The flagship animation here is holding hands. You can walk your daughter back home, or you can drag a hobo to be sold to a factory. It's supposedly designed to create more emotion, as well as man-on-man hand-holding, and looks like a core element of Fable III. Oddly, there was no confirmation of an episodic rollout; Molyneux was very diplomatic and indefinite. After the episodic release of Fable II, it seems like a good enough guess. An even more curious missing element was the lack of a mention of Project Natal. Or the support of Project Natal. Or something. See, while Molyneux was talking about the game, a representative was playing it. Almost every time a “touch” element of the game would happen, the player would move his right hand like he was holding hands with the character -- for example, lifting up the child. I even saw him do a finishing move like an overhead smash with his hand. Was there a hidden Natal camera somewhere? I have no idea, but I'm going to speculate that players without Natal are going to be able to play using just RT, and Natal payers will have support for some "waggle." If what I suspect regarding Natal is true, I'm not really impressed. Of course, we won't find out until E3, I'm sure, and I hope, Molyneux has some surprises in store that are better than what we've already seen with Wii motion. The graphics have been boosted quite a bit, as well. While the last game had smallish, cramped dungeons, Fable III's are more expansive. The general world is pretty nice and lush where it needs to be. It's obvious at a glance that this sequel looks much better than Fable II. Fable III certainly has some pretty interesting new features, and it's obvious that the game is going in some interesting directions. It's also obvious that there is a whole lot that Molyneux is keeping close to his chest. Let's see if the guy can follow through with all that he's promised, and maybe deliver on the Natal stuff he's hinted at. Fingers crossed.
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I hope you guys have been having a good time checking out the X10 information that has been flowing out like a stream of Microsoft-branded consciousness. Seriously, it's kicking the butts of everyone who is going, and I'm doi...

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X10: Here are some new Alan Wake screenshots


Feb 12
// Jim Sterling
To compliment the news that Alan Wake won't be coming to PC, here are some fresh screenshots that show off the "psychological action thriller thing" in action. The images are basically what we've come to expect from Alan Wake...
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X10: There will be no health bar in Fable III


Feb 11
// Brad Nicholson
Each new Fable brings fresh ideas and new mechanics to the table. Fable III is no exception -- but one in particular might just get you "super pissed."During the presentation for the upcoming title at Microsoft's media-only X...
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X10: Five things we think we learned about Fable III


Feb 11
// Brad Nicholson
[UPDATE]We've since seen the game in action and heard what Lionhead Studios had to spill about Fable III at this particular event. This little bit of humor and editorial is now available below the fold. And why is that, you d...
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X10: Our first look at Left 4 Dead 2's 'The Passing' DLC


Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
One of the many things that I found delightful about Left 4 Dead 2 was its use of daytime levels. It's not something you see done frequently when it comes to zombies, videogames or otherwise. That said, seeing these dark and ...
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X10: No plans for Dead Rising 2 prelude DLC on PS3


Feb 11
// Dale North
Earlier we told you a bit about Dead Rising 2's downloadable content, called Dead Rising: CASE ZERO. This playable prologue ties together the two games. We have a bit of new information on it, but one of the key points is tha...
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X10: Day-one Game Room purchases come with exclusive item


Feb 11
// Nick Chester
Microsoft's old-school gaming hub Game Room is coming to Xbox 360 this March, and it's already been confirmed to launch with 30 titles. But starting in April, expect somewhere between five and seven games a week to be added f...
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X10: Dead Rising 2's new screens have me squeeing


Feb 11
// Dale North
From Microsoft's X10 event today we learned that Dead Rising 2 is coming on August 31st. Nice. If you've ever done time at an anime convention, you know about squeeing. It's like a high-pitched squeal of delight that you'd ty...
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X10: Capcom reveals more Marcus and Dom in Lost Planet 2


Feb 11
// Brad Nicholson
The weather in San Francisco just isn't "warm" enough to warrant a Gears of War reveal, but that doesn't mean the ongoing Microsoft's media-only X10 event lacks Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago. A mere three images of the duo's ...
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X10: A closer look at Alan Wake Limited Edition, box art


Feb 11
// Nick Chester
So you know when Alan Wake hit store shelves -- May 19. You know what's inside the Limited Edition box, too. But when you go to the store, what should you be looking for?  This stuff, apparently. Microsoft and Remedy hav...
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X10: New Left 4 Dead DLC coming, also comic


Feb 11
// Dale North
That's the first Left 4 Dead, folks. New DLC for the older game, to kind of go alongside the new Left 4 Dead 2 DLC. Confused? There's two DLC packs coming, one for each game. They kind of tie together. First off, the L4D2 DLC...
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X10: Crackdown 2 looks hot, as does its box art


Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
With a slew of release dates being revealed at X10 and Crackdown 2 one of the few games not included, I was more than a little bummed out. But then, approximately five seconds later, a ton of new screenshots -- including the ...
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X10: Updates on Final Fantasy XIII bundle, also faceplate


Feb 11
// Dale North
Here's what the Final Fantasy XIII Xbox 360 faceplate looks like. Created by Square Enix designer Tetsuya Nomura, these plates are super limited in number. The are "only available promotionally in fixed quantities across sele...
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X10: Alan Wake date, trailer, and pre-order bonuses


Feb 11
// Joseph Leray
A few weeks ago, Microsoft talking head Aaron Greenberg promised we'd be seeing Alan Wake "in the first half of 2010." Those of you who haven't given up Alan Wake -- what with it's umpteen delays and all -- will be excited t...
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X10: Dead Rising 2 dated, exclusive 360 prologue content


Feb 11
// Brad Nicholson
If all parties involved continue to play nice and hit their respective milestones, it appears as if we'll be mowing zombies in Dead Rising 2 particularly soon. Word from Major Nelson via his oh-so-informative "10 things you n...
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X10: Perfect Dark, Game Room, and more coming this March


Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
The downloadable games scene for Xbox 360 is heating up this March. As announced at X10, Game Room, the virtual hub for old-school arcade titles, will be launching. Additionally, March will see the release of a number of Xbox...






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