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Bioware's next RPG--the Xbox 360 title Mass Effect--has been getting some rave previews, and looks set to be another hit from the team that bought you Jade Empire and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Microsoft has long maintained that this RPG would reach Aussie shores this year, and today we've finally received confirmation of exactly when: Mass Effect is dated for Australian release on November 22.
Check out GameSpot's previous coverage by clicking here.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have a PS3, Sony's latest PS3 game—Warhawk—can be downloaded from the PlayStation Network Store. The game is available for $49.95 and weighs in at around 800mb.
If you don't like the idea of downloading the game, it will be available for purchase on Blu-ray on the 20th of September for $99.95 and is bundled with a Jabra Bluetooth headset. Warhawk is the first of many high profile releases for the PlayStation 3 from Sony, with Lair, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, Folklore and PAIN still to come. To see our recent review of Warhawk click here.
Other than the fact that you no longer take direct control of one character, SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Tactical Strike for the PSP is set to feature Aussie Special Forces in it. The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) will be one of the multinational Special Forces teams that players can choose to take into combat.
The SASR are Australia's premier Special Forces units who have fought in almost every conflict since its creation in 1957. The SASR have served in a host of recent high profile conflicts including East Timor, Somalia, Iraq and continue to operate in Afganistan.
Sadly there is no release date for SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Tactical Strike, but we'll leave you with a nifty picture of the virtual SASR in game.
If you've ever wondered who would win in a fight--an MMO player or a FPS player--your question is about to be answered. This weekend at a CPL event in Dallas, Texas, pro-gaming team Pandemic, who just won their latest World of Warcraft Arena comp in the World Series of Video Games, are about to face off against Flow Gaming, one of the worlds top FPS Clans, in a game of Fury.
Fury is the latest game to come out of Aussie developer Auran, and is the first MMORPG to come out of Australia. Fury is being tagged as the game that brings the speed of an FPS and the depth and character enhancement of an MMO together. Earlier this month it was announced that gamers had the ability to win up to 1 million dollars in prizes in the Fury Challenge before its October 18 release. Details of the Fury Challenge and where it can be downloaded from can be found here .
THQ's upcoming Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights has a nifty little system called driver DNA, which is essentially AI that records how real players perform at the game. This "DNA" can then be used by other players to race against--that means gamers can download the DNA of the world's best Juiced 2 players and race against them at any time.
One such driver who will have their DNA pre-built into the game is Australian drift racing champion Beau Yates. Yates will have his digital turbo-charged Toyota racing in the game, and players will have to compete against him in a Juiced 2 celebrity face-off. Players will have to take on Yates in three challenges--one set in a course in the Alps, one in London, and another set on a fictional track in the middle of our very own Sydney Harbour.
Check out the pic of Yates' Toyota below. And note the yellow NSW licence plate--NSW licence plates will be one of the customisable car options in-game. Juiced 2 is slated for release in September 2007.
EA's latest iteration of Medal of Honor franchise--Medal of Honor: Airborne--landed on Xbox Live late last week to mixed opinions. Here at the GameSpot AU office, we decided to overcome our fear of heights and see for ourselves what Medal of Honor: Airborne is really made of.
The demo--which will cost you 973MB in download--starts you off in an authentic WWII briefing room where you listen to your superior outlining the mission goals and objectives for Operation Husky, which is set in Italy. After that you are taken to the load out screen where you can select your weapons--the load out we choose was a Thompson sub-machine gun, M1 Grand and a colt .45. Then it's off to for another loading screen before jumping out of the plane.
There's a brief moment where you are sitting in the plane, being told about the drop zone, but that only lasts a minute. Interestingly, the parachuting mechanic is nothing new to the Medal of Honor franchise, as Medal of Honor Allied Assault: Spearhead featured a parachuting level. Once you jump out of the plane, it's a fairly easy decent, using the left analog stick to control your parachute. Although you can land anywhere on the map, it doesn't really make that much difference to how the level plays out. You still need to take out the AA guns on top of the mansion before moving on to the next objective.
The A.I. in Airborne is good, but nothing special. There seems to be an unlimited stream of enemies coming towards you, who are asking to be shot. The enemies will take cover accordingly, peek around the corner and return fire, but they don't seem to do a whole lot more. Once you kill enough of them, they will start to fall back moving into cover as they go. It would have been cool if after that they try to counter-attack you or out maneuver you, but instead they just run back and find more cover. Allied soldiers aren't a whole lot better. Though you can't control any of them, they do decent job of following you around. Occasionally you you'll hear a teammate yell out "follow Boyd" or "machine gun 12 o'clock. Again like the enemy A.I., your allies don't seem to be interested in moving the fight forward, instead they're just happy shooting at the enemy and waiting for you to push forward. When you start to run out of allies, more will just parachute out of the sky to help you.
Graphically the demo looks great, as it uses a modified version of the Unreal 3 engine. All of the weapons are beautifully rendered and the character animations are spot on. Unfortunately the environments aren't destructible or even damageable.
One thing, that Medal of Honor: Airborne has done well, is the cover system. When your crouched behind a an object, you can peek up form behind cover and shoot, by bringing up your iron sights. When you release the iron sights, Boyd goes back down behind cover. This is a great solution to the problem of using cover that many FPS games face.
The Medal of Honor: Airborne demo isn't bad, it's just uninspiring. The parachute mechanic is cool, but it lasts for no more than 30 seconds and isn't particularly challenging. The demo lasts for about 15 minutes and is available on Xbox Live now for both Gold and Silver users.
Another week, another gander at what Australia's peak games classification body--the Office of Film and Literature Classification--has been up to.
Call of Duty 4 leads the list of games given their official classification this week, with Activision's upcoming shooter getting slapped with an MA15+. CoD 4 (check out our multiplayer beta hands-on here) will be released down under on November 7.
While Sierra's upcoming TimeShift doesn't have an official release date down under yet, it has passed muster at the OLFC. The time-bending shooter will be rated MA 15+ when it eventually does come out in Australia.
MA 15+ was a popular rating this week, with Silent Hill: Origins for the PSP also receiving our country's most stringent classification for a game. Origins will start to creep out PSP owners when it's released here on November 17.
Last Sunday, GameSpot AU attended the World Cyber Games (WCG) Australian national finals, which were held at Luna Park in Sydney. Gamers from around the country came to compete in Counter-Strike 1.6, Warcraft III, Gears of War, and Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. Check out some of the pics below to get a feel for what the action was like on the day.
The event was organised around a boxing ring in the centre of the hall, which would later host some celebrity Forza Motorsport 2 action.
Gamers were given the chance to try EA's upcoming WWII shooter Medal of Honor: Airborne. Other companies who were displaying games included THQ, Ubisoft, Sega, 2K Games, and Microsoft.
A giant inflatable Master Chief Helmet played host to six Xbox 360 demo units. Pretty cool ey? And no, there wasn't any playable Halo 3 in there.
The Gears of War competitors were fenced by a metal wall so that nobody could distract them. At any one time, there were four games being played.
Booth babes were walking around giving out raffle tickets allowing attendees the chance to win a variety of prizes including MP3 players and computer hardware.
Altech were displaying their latest racing peripherals, designed to feel as real as possible.
Star Sydney Roosters player Anthony Minichiello gets set up before taking a Ferrari for a virtual spin around the track in Forza Motorsport 2.
Pro gaming team Sequential Gaming duke it out in the earlier rounds in Counter-Strike 1.6. The team had initial trouble with their monitors but were able to make a full recovery and win the tournament. Members of team Sequential include Miles "riZe" O'Connor, Michael "apoc" Aliferis, Otis Duncan "Pupajon", Soren "Soren" Larssen, and Daniel "messi" Anderson.
Sequential Gaming hold up their massive novelty plane ticket to Seattle for the WCG world finals. Winning just isn't the same without an oversized novelty ticket.
Fabain Baunmann--national champion of Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars--holds up his giant plane pass. We wonder if the airlines will accept it.
It's time to clean your rifle and get your ghillie suit out of the closet, as today Activision announced that an Xbox beta for Infinity Ward's highly anticipated shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will soon let Aussies join the battlefield. The beta, which is currently only running in North America on Xbox LIVE will be landing here in the not too distant future, with an official confirmation date to be announced shortly.
Details are still scarce, but if the US beta is any indication, Australian and New Zealand gamers will be able to play across one of three multiplayer maps, multiple character classes, and test out the new perks system which allows you to add silencers, bullet penetration, and faster run speed to your player. Once attaining the fourth rank, players can then build custom load-outs with the "create a class' option" letting you save your favourite weapon configurations for easy access.
Check back for details on the beta as they're announced, but in the meantime, more details are available on the official site www.charlieoscardelta.com
Earlier this week, GameSpot AU attended a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare multiplayer event held in Sydney. At the event, Activision showed off a multiplayer build similar to what gamers can expect when the beta is released--if it comes out locally, that is. Currently the beta has only been announced for North America.
We got to play through three multiplayer maps: Crash, which is set in a Middle Eastern town and reminiscent of the film Black Hawk Down; Overgrown, which is set in a Russian ghost town with plenty of growth to hide and snipe in; and Vacant, an abandoned office with side loading dock. Though other modes will be available when the game comes out, Activision only demoed Team Deathmatch.
Before jumping into the game we were encouraged to try out the "create a class" option that allows users to assign their own custom kit and perks to their character.
Although we could use "create a class" straight off the bat, when the game comes out it will be unlocked after you reach the rank of private. As mentioned earlier, Perks are extra abilities that the player can equip once they have earned enough experience points. For example, if you prefer to snipe (and once you have equipped a sniper rifle), you can assign up to three perks which can include deeper penetration of rounds through walls or increased damage inflict by your bullets. Fortunately, if customising your character isn't your thing, there are few default classes to choose from, all of which have preset weapons.
There were a host of weapons at our disposal—they were categorised into rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, sniper rifles and shotguns. Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) can also be equipped if you assign them as a Perk. Some of the weapons available include the M-16A4, M4, AK-47, M-21, Dragunov, M-249, PK, Scorpion, Uzi and MP-5 just to name a few. All of the guns are modelled beautifully, right down to the company logo on the side of the weapon. Just as much detail has also been put into the weapon animations--when laying down automatic fire you'll notice the extractor claw moving frantically to eject rounds, just as you would a real gun. The firearms are fully customisable, featuring the ability to add on scopes, silencers and a grip, which will reduce the recoil on your gun. You can also add on a custom camouflage pattern onto your weapon so that it matches the environment. This feature is particularly handy for snipers who like to hide in the shrub wearing a guile suit. All of the guns had different levels of recoil, depending on the calibre of the weapon. Unfortunately though, you are unable to utilise the tripod that's on some of the machine guns.
The action in COD4 is fast and frantic; you'll often find yourself in a situation where there are team mates falling and bullets buzzing all around you. Similar to previous COD games, your health is indicated by the amount of red that's on the outline on the screen. If your screen is clear, you're fine--if your screen is filled with red, you better take cover and wait for your character to heal. Each of the three maps allowed players to try out the different attributes of each weapon and class. Overgrown is an excellent map for snipers to try out the new guile suit as there is plenty of shrubbery and bushes to blend in with.
One cool thing we got to use was calling in air support. Air support comes in two variants--air strikes and helicopter attacks. Once you get more than five kills you're able to call in fighter jets to drop munitions on your enemy--just make sure you're not in the same vicinity, as the blast has a wide radius. What's even cooler is after you score seven kills in a row you unlock an attack helicopter. The chopper does a strafing run, unleashing a barrage of fire from its mini-guns. We were told it's possible to shoot it down, but no one came close to hitting it with an RPG.
Although we only got a brief taste of what's to come, COD4 is shaping up to be a really fun multiplayer game. The COD4 beta will be available to those in the US tomorrow and hopefully here in the not to distant future. Check out our previous previews by clicking here.
Here's a picture of Dan in the corner beating everyone at COD4!
You may have seen our Halo-fest of coverage last week when Bungie's Frank O'Connor and Lars Bakken dropped into town to spruik Halo 3 . For those of you who want more, here's a video interview GameSpot AU did with lead writer O'Connor last week. There are some great tidbits in there, including whether O'Connor thinks Halo 3 will live up to the hype, why they decided to include co-op, and what the Xbox 360 allowed them to do that they couldn't do previously. Enjoy!
You've played Guitar Hero, and you love the shredding, but you're sick of being tethered to your television set and wired guitar. Jam Sessions brings you all the things you love about playing the virtual guitar, without the wires. GameSpot AU recently caught up with Ben Taylor, product manager at Ubisoft Australia to discuss their brand new rhythm title Jam Sessions for the Nintendo DS.
GameSpot AU received a neat little suprise in the mail recently--a brand new Xbox 360 Elite. The Elite isn't due to hit Aussie shops until August 30, so in the meantime, check out some pictures we took of our new in-office unit.
Behold the Elite in its boxed state!
And from the rear. Mmmmmm, grey-ey black....
And these are the special "black" components you get inside the box--the console, a wireless controller, and a wired headset.
Check out the grey trim on the black controller.
Apart from the new colour, this is one of the things you're paying all that extra cash for when it comes to the Elite--a 120GB hard drive.
And here's the other--a HDMI port. A HDMI cable is included in the Elite box.
And now, the neat-looking Elite will have to find some space in the messy GameSpot AU games room. Time for a clean-up!
The tyranny of distance strikes again. Future owners of the upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 08 had a neat feature to look forward to--five-on-five online matches where each individual gamer takes control of one player for an entire match. Alas, that feature will not be available for anyone outside the US or Europe.
Check out the full story here , but in short, the reason Aussie gamers won't be able to play like this in FIFA 08 is lag and drop-outs--or at least, the possibility of lag and drop-outs. A local EA spokesman said bad connections to the server in FIFA 08 would result in all players--not just the laggy one--getting booted off a game. Alas, that means us.
Sony made some pretty exciting announcements overnight at the Leipzig Games Convention, including a new PVR-like service for the PS3 they've dubbed PlayTV. Unfortunately, only the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain were confirmed to be receving the service in early 2008--other PAL territories (including Australia) would follow in "due course", according to a Sony press release.
One Aussie-specific date Sony did announce was when Heavenly Sword would finally be making it to our shores. The PS3 action adventure title is now dated for September 20.Check out our full Leipzig coverage by clicking here .
Welcome back to another week of OFLC Watch, where we look at games that have been rated in the past week by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). Just in case you didn't read last week's entry, the OFLC are the body responsible for designating rating logos on the front of our games.
Australian developer Krome Studios has had their upcoming Xbox 360 game Viva Pinata: Party Animals rated this week. The game received a G rating, making it appropriate for all ages, and is the same rating given to the original. Viva Pinata: Party Animals will feature over 40 mini-games to play. Sadly, no official release date has been confirmed for the title down under, but we're keeping our little Pinata fingers crossed for a launch in time for a Christmas this year.
In racing news, it looks like a demo for THQ's Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is on the way, with a multiplatform demo disk for the street racing sim appearing on the OFLC website with a classification of PG. The title's description lists it containing mild gambling, and mild sexual references. Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is due for release this September on the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS, and PC. An Xbox 360 demo is available now on the Xbox Live marketplace. Bizarre Creations' Project Gotham 4 has also received the green light this week, receiving a G rating.
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, the suitably named sequel to Rayman Raving Rabbids best known for its crazy mini-games was given a PG rating late last week. Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is due to flail its way onto the Wii this November.
Well, that's it for another week of OFLC Watch. Keep checking Spot On! for all the latest release date news and info.
Xbox360Achievements has just added what they're claiming is a list of the 59 unlockable achievements in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero III. The figure also includes three as yet unconfirmed "secret achievements", none of which have any points associated yet. Judging from the achievements already listed, if they're secret, they're sure to be nigh on impossible.
While we've had no official confirmation of how many goals the game will feature in the final release, if this list is any indication, prepare to grind your fingers to the bone working for them. As you may have seen in our 9000 achievement points in 48 hours feature, there are a few games known for giving away easy points. If this list turns out to be even close to accurate, Guitar Hero III will definitely not be one of these titles. That said, while the Guitar Hero series does manage to pull some of the casual player crowd, YouTube is testament to the fact that it has more than its fair share of hardcore gamers playing.
We're going to take the list of achievements with a pinch of salt for the moment, but here's a couple of our favourites, even if they aren't real:
- Enlightened Guitarist -- Gold Star 20 songs on Expert.
For the uninitiated, a gold star is awarded for completing a song with 100 percent accuracy. Do it 19 more times for this badge.
- 100 Million?! Gulp?! -- Earn 100,000,000 points total in Career.
Start practising now, that's a lot of Knights of Cydonia!
- Hendrix Reborn -- Complete Career Lefty and Righty.
This one might not be as crazy as it sounds with plenty of practice. Of course, all the practice in the world won't make Expert mode guitar solos a cakewalk.
- Button Masher --Win 15 consecutive Ranked songs online using a standard controller.
Why you would do that when you have a perfectly good wireless guitar to play on is beyond us. Besides, even if you do manage to do this one--and you probably could in cahoots with a friend over Xbox LIVE--it's apparently worth a measly 5 achievement points.
- Enlightened Guitarist -- Gold Star 20 songs on Expert.
Less than two weeks since SingStar '90s went on sale down under on the 9th of this month, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has announced yet another addition to the already extended SingStar family for the PlayStation 2.
SingStar Rock Ballads marks the tenth release in the series, and what better way to celebrate double digits than to relive some of the immortal rock tunes of all time?
Even if you weren't around for them the first time, the lineup includes well-known riffs such as Boston's "More than a Feeling", Roxette's "Listen to your Heart", and the gut wrenching "Every Rose has its Thorn" by Poison.
Unlike SingStar '90s which featured several localised tracks for the Australian market, SingStar Rock Ballads will include an identical set of songs to our European friends. SingStar Rock Ballads will land this September carrying a A$49.95 RRP for the game, or A$99.95 for a copy of the game and two microphones.
The full tracklist is as follows:
Air Supply -- "All Out of Love"
Alannah Myles -- "Black Velvet"
Anastacia -- "Left Outside Alone"
Avril Lavigne -- "I'm With You"
Boston -- "More Than A Feeling"
Boy Meets Girl -- "Waiting For A Star To Fall"
Cutting Crew -- "I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight"
Cyndi Lauper -- "Time After Time"
Duran Duran -- "Ordinary World"
Europe -- "Carrie"
Heart -- "Alone"
Jon Secada -- "Just Another Day"
Lone Star -- "Amazed"
Marc Cohn -- "Walking In Memphis"
Meatloaf -- "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"
Mr Big -- "To Be With You"
Mr Mister -- "Broken Wings"
Mr Mister -- "Kyrie"
Nickelback -- "How You Remind Me"
Nilsson -- "Without You"
Poison -- "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Queen -- "The Show Must Go On"
Roxette -- "It Must Have Have Been Love"
Roxette -- "Listen To Your Heart"
Starship -- "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
Sugababes -- "Too Lost In You"
The Calling -- "Wherever You Will Go"
Tina Arena -- "Chains"
Toto -- "Africa"
T'Pau - "China In Your Hands"
We received an interesting promo poster from Vivendi Games for their upcoming title World in Conflict (WiC) today. For those who don't know, WiC is a real-time strategy game set in the 1980s which places you in control of US forces as they defend the homeland against Soviet invaders. Red Dawn anyone?
The poster we received is designed to look like old Communist propaganda, and features the tagline "War is coming home". It depicts a man holding a Soviet flag standing above the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Could this be the location for a possible sequel to WiC? We doubt it, but either way it's a cool poster.
And just in case you missed one of the several public betas for WiC earlier this year, yet another demo will be available for download on August 25. The demo includes a single-player mission, the ability to skirmish against the A.I., a multiplayer map, and full online support. For more information or to download the demo on the 25th, be sure to check out the World in Conflict gamespace .
2K Games, the Australian publisher of a title that needs very little introduction--BioShock, has just sent word that pre-order customers will be getting an extra little something in the box this Friday when the title goes on sale.
In addition to the already extensive goodies package comprising a behind-the-scenes making of DVD, replica Big Daddy figurine, and special packaging will be a three track audio EP. The bonus will feature art deco era 1940's and 1950's tunes remixed by artists Moby and Oscar the Punk to suit the game's creepy dystopian vibe. The three songs: Beyond the Sea, God Bless the Child, and Wild Little Sisters will make appearances throughout the single player campaign.
In other BioShock news, and following on from the roaring success of last week's Xbox 360 demo, 2K Games will be releasing a PC demo to whet a few more player's appetites. Eager fans will be able to grab it from 5am AEST tomorrow (Tuesday 21st), giving you a couple of days to bone up on your plasmid skills, and explore the city of Rapture before the game launches Friday.