Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Here's some multiplayer Capture the Flag screenshots from Halo 4
Microsoft Studios recently released some screenshots for Halo 4, developed by 343 Industries and releasing Nov. 6. Looking at the pictures below, the game looks very polished. Beating someone down with a flag should be a treat, too.
Plants vs. Zombies Pinball coming very soon to Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita
Zen Studios and PopCap have teamed up to create Plants vs. Zombies Pinball, coming next week as DLC for Zen Pinball 2 for the PS3 and PS Vita, and for Pinball FX 2 for the Xbox 360. The trailer shows a colorful table with a watermelon being tossed, smiling sunflowers and zombies popping up out of the table.
Like all the tables, it will cost $2.99 for PS3 and PS Vita, and 240 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360. Lucky for us pinball fans, we don't have to wait long either.
Borderlands 2 getting add-on content; Season Pass announced
No shocker, Borderlands 2 will be getting add-on content. 2K Games and Gearbox Software have announced that the much-anticipated sequel to Borderlands will be receiving four new campaigns following the game's release on Sept. 18. They will introduce new adventures, allies, enemies and environments.
Each campaign will cost $9.99 on PlayStation Network and PC, and 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live. But purchasing the Borderlands 2 Season Pass will save you some dough, costing $29.99 on PSN and PC, and 2,400 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live. All four campaigns are scheduled to be available by June 2013.
Season Passes are rising in popularity these days, offering gamers a chance to save money if they plan on buying all the DLC for a game. It's a risky transaction, though, since you're paying upfront for unknown content. It's all about trust. Borderlands had some fun DLC like The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. If you enjoyed the first game's extra servings, then this Season Pass may be right up your alley.
EA Sports' Madden NFL 13 breaks records in day-one retail sales and online usage
People still love Madden football. Madden NFL 13 got off to a hot start Tuesday, Aug. 28, breaking day-one retail sales and online usage, according to Electronic Arts. Sell-through was up 7 percent year-over-year with 900,000 units sold in the first 24 hours on HD platforms. Online usage for the franchise also scored a 28 percent jump in peak simultaneous users over last year's first day.
Cover boy and Detroit Lion superstar Calvin Johnson should be pleased.
It's football season again and that means one thing: Another Madden title. I've been playing the Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 13 for the past week and here are my thoughts on the game.
Gone are the traditional Superstar and online and offline franchise modes, now all mashed together in Connected Careers mode. You can create a coach or player, play as current ones, or start over from scratch the legends like John Madden, Jerry Rice and Barry Sanders. I decided to create a running back for the Detroit Lions, and was sitting on the bench my entire first season. Gaining XP to boost overall stats is a very slow process, and player progression is much slower than in past games.
The new Infinity Engine finally adds the realism that past Madden titles failed to achieve, but it's not without comedy. Players will constantly be flopping to the ground after plays and limbs will be flailing around.
For Xbox 360, the Kinect allows you to yell out audibles, call timeouts, challenge plays and more without having to use the controller. It's hit or miss, but the ability to use it is nice for those who prefer this method. I'll gladly stick with the controller.
Quick thoughts on Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]
I've been playing through Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] for the Nintendo 3DS, and here are my thoughts on the game so far.
Since Kingdom Hearts is one giant storyline, hardcore fans of the 10-year-old franchise will likely have a better understanding of what's going on than newcomers. As you make progress, summaries from the past games are unlocked. It helps some, but if you really want to know the story, just find it on the Internet.
There's a Pokemon and Nintendogs vibe going on in this one as more than 50 Dream Eaters called Spirits can be collected to fight alongside Sora and Riku. You can even play with them to help boost their levels. During battles they seemed to help for the most part, but sometimes my healer failed to cure me when I needed it.
The most interesting mechanic is the Drop system, which forces you to switch between Sora and Riku when a timer runs out. It feels weird at first, then natural afterward. The annoying thing is if you're in the middle of a boss fight and have to make the switch, you'll have to fight the boss from the beginning again. This happened to me once, but never again since I decided to make the Drop right before the battle, making things less stressful.
Who would win in a comical boxing match between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? Find out in VOTE!!! The Game
The race for the White House is heating up between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In a partnership with Rock the Vote, who encourage voter turnout, creators Chair Entertainment, best known for the award-winning Infinity Blade series, have released VOTE!!! The Game for the iPhone and iPad. This free app allows you to dress up Obama and Romney in all sorts of comical gear and have them duke it out for the presidency. If only it was like this in real life.
Unlockable weapons include the Ice Cream Cone, Sparkler, Microphone, The Constitution, Foam Hand and Balloon Justice, and costume accessories include the Baseball Cap, Clown Nose, Eye Patch, Sweet Mustache, Cool Shades and Top Hat. Obama and Romney can fight on the White House Lawn, Oval Office and Debate Stage. Their popular catchphrases are featured, too.
Of course, there are in-game app purchases, but that seems like a waste of money for something as silly as this. Now they have to make a Joe Biden and Paul Ryan version. I can think of one Joe Biden catchphrase that would be included.
Green Day teams up with Rovio to launch a musical episode for Angry Birds Friends on Facebook
American punk rock band Green Day has a new album coming out in September titled ¡Uno!, so how do you draw buzz for it besides being a band called Green Day? If you answered anything other than Angry Birds, you just don't know how to get publicity these days.
Sellouts? Maybe, but look how cute Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool look as Angry Birds pigs! The musical episode for Angry Birds Friends on Facebook features 10 new levels and specially created content, including Green Day's latest single "Oh Love" and the exclusive song "Troublemaker."
In a press release, Armstrong stated "We're all fans of Angry Birds. Go Team Green!" I'm a big fan of money, too. Go Team Money.
There will be updates this fall to the Green Day episode, including more levels and exclusive content. Why this fall? Green Day's next album, ¡Dos!, is expected to be released in November.
So when will we see the much-asked-for Nickelback-Angry Birds collaboration?
The good news? Plants Vs. Zombies 2 is coming. The bad news? It's late spring 2013
Plants Vs. Zombies 2 is finally coming, but sadly it won't be until late spring 2013, according to PopCap Games, the makers of such hits like Bejeweled, Peggle and, of course, Plants Vs. Zombies.
Screenshots from the first games
PopCap is promising new features, settings and situations. If you haven't played the game before, and shame on you for not, it involves setting up an arsenal of plant-like creatures with unique abilities to hold off a small army of ugly zombies also with crazy abilities. The first one is addicting as ever and I expect the sequel to be as just as fun, too.
New Grand Theft Auto V screenshots show 3 modes of transportation: car, bike and fighter jet
Rockstar has released three more screenshots for Grand Theft Auto V, in a posting titled "Transport." Here they show very, very likely three ways to get around the GTA world: car, bike and fighter jet. We've seen the fighter jet in the past, and I can't wait to hop back in it again.
Rayman Legends for the Wii U looks amazing, and I hope it's a multi-million seller
Ubisoft recently released some screenshots for Rayman Legends, which will release for the new Wii U console. The surreal art style looks amazing on this next-gen console. Rayman Origins was one of my favorite games last year, and I'm excited to play this new 2D platformer using the Wii U GamePad. I hope it sells a lot of copies, too, unlike what Rayman Origins did initially.
Detroit Lion's Calvin Johnson tops receivers rankings list in Madden NFL 13
EA has released the complete receivers ratings list for Madden NFL 13, and the cover boy and your Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson has topped the list with an overall ranking of 99. Megatron is the only receiver in the game to have this ranking. His Speed ranking is 95, Acceleration 94, Strength 78, Agility 96 and Catching 97.
Johnson is followed by Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans and Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers.
Other overall rankings for Lion receivers include:
Brandon Pettigrew at 84
Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler at 77
Titus Young at 75
Maurice Stovall at 68
Ryan Broyles at 65
Will Heller at 63
Stefan Logan at 63
Terrence Toliver at 61
Lance Long at 60
Nate Hughes at 59
Nathan Overbay at 56
Patrick Edwards at 55
Don Muhlbach at 54
Just Dance 4 will feature Carly Rae Jepsen's smash hit "Call Me Maybe," Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up"
Associated Press photoCarly Rae Jepsen's smash hit "Call Me Maybe" will be part of the Just Dance 4 track list.
Ubisoft has released the track list for Just Dance 4, which will be released Oct. 9 for PS3 with Move support, Xbox 360 with Kinect support, the Nintendo Wii, and Wii U when the console releases this holiday. Prepared to get Rick Rolled by "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley, and "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen will get stuck in our heads all over again. Ubisoft really pulled out all the stops for this one. Here is the full track list below.
1. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – “(I've Had) The Time of My Life” 2. Las Ketchup – “Asereje (The Ketchup Song)” 3. Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj – “Beauty and a Beat” 4. Panjabi MC – “Beware Of The Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke)” 5. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” 6. Boys Town Gang – “Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
7. Emma – “Cercavo Amore”
8. Army of Lovers – “Crucified”
9. Stefanie Heinzmann – “Diggin in the dirt”
10. Rihanna – “Disturbia”
11. Dancing Bros – “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”
12. Flo Rida – “Good Feeling”
13. Blu Cantrell – “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”
14. A.K.A – “Hot For Me”
15. The Blackout Allstars – “I Like It”
16. They Might Be Giants – “Istanbul”
17. Elvis Presley – “Jailhouse Rock”
18. Ricky Martin – “Livin' la Vida Loca”
19. Selena Gomez and the Scene – “Love You Like A Love Song”
20. Bunny Beatz – “Make The Party (Don't Stop)”
21. Nelly Furtado – “Maneater”
22. Sergio Mendes & The Black Eyed Peas – “Mas Que Nada”
23. Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera – “Moves Like Jagger”
24. Alexandra Stan – “Mr. Saxobeat”
25. Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”
26. Marina and The Diamonds – “Oh No!”
27. Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull – “On The Floor”
28. The Girly Team – “Oops!... I Dit It Again”
29. The B-52's – “Rock Lobster”
30. Skrillex – “Rock N' Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain)”
31. Kat DeLuna feat. Busta Rhymes – “Run The Show”
32. Anja – “Crazy Little Thing”
33. P!nk – “So What”
34. Sammy - “Some Catchin' Up To Do”
35. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
36. Stevie Wonder – “Superstition”
37. Europe – “The Final Countdown”
38. Halloween Thrills – “Time Warp”
39. 2 Unlimited – “Tribal Dance”
40. Hit The Electro Beat – “We No Speak Americano”
41. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
42. Will Smith – “Wild Wild West”
43. Barry White – “You're The First, The Last, My Everything”
44. Bunny Beatz – “Make The Party (Don't Stop)”
Wii U-exclusive tracks include:
The Girly Team – “Ain't No Other Man”
Cher Lloyd ft. Astro – “Want U Back”
Jessie J – “Domino”
Rihanna ft. JAY-Z – “Umbrella”
If you don't see something you like, I'm sure downloadable content will fix that problem if you're willing to pay extra.
Expect thousands of YouTube videos of USA Basketball's 1992 Dream Team and 2012 squad duking it out in NBA 2K13
The 2012 Summer Olympics are over with but the debate rages on about who would come out on top in a basketball match-up between USA Basketball's 1992 Dream Team and the 2012 squad. Of course, we'll never know since time machines don't exist, so all we got is talk of Michael Jordan versus LeBron James, and the rest of the crew.
Now 2K Sports is jumping into the debate, having announced that both the 1992 and 2012 teams will be featured in the upcoming NBA 2K13 game releasing Oct. 2. We can thank rapper Jay-Z, who serves as the executive producer, for making this become a reality. It's a smart move adding this feature to the game since it's a hot topic at the moment.
Don't be surprised to see thousands of recorded simulations on YouTube after the game's release, featuring victories on both sides. The debate will never die. By the way, the Dream Team would demolish the 2012 squad.
NBA 2K13 will be released for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PlayStation Portable (seriously?) and PC. A Wii U version is in the works, too.
Quick thoughts on New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS
I've been hopping my way through the worlds trying to save the Princess in New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS. Here are my thoughts on the game so far.
If you loved New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, then you'll love playing this sequel. It's got all the familiar Mario elements like classic platforming, secret passages and levels, and unique power-ups. The twist in this one is Nintendo wants you to collect a whole bunch of coins - a million to be exact. That's a lot, and it'll take a lot of grinding through the same levels to achieve that goal.
Each world offers fun environments that add challenge, even though you'll rack up extra lives in no time from collecting coins. Snow levels make movement slippy. Big fish will try and eat Mario up. Haunted houses are filled with non-linear paths that begged to be played again. Once again, Nintendo succeeds in level design.
Despite the new coin-collecting element, there's not a lot of innovation from the DS to the 3DS. The 3D effect isn't a big deal, even though I like the blurry background effect when it's turned on. Coin Rush mode does add replayability by trying to collect as many coins in quickest amount of time through different levels. Nintendo is promising DLC, which for the right price should be a good thing. But with New Super Mario Bros. Wii U coming out for Nintendo's new console this holiday, it's going to be an overload of 2D side-scrolling Mario. If Nintendo does make a third version for the handheld, changes will be needed to refresh the series.
Jeff Hoard is Assistant News Editor of the Michigan Regional Copy Desk for Digital First Media. Ever since he received the NES, he's been hooked on video games. Here he will share his thoughts on the video gaming world.