Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 19: "Cool Jazz" Edition

Locked deep within the recesses of UltraWorld Radio headquarters, we are currently shielding ourselves from the impending super flu that aims to bring about the zombie apocalypse that we've all been training for (well, at least some of us). You can listen to ICP Live tonight at 10 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio. On tonight's show:


• We preview some hip jazz remixes of some of your favorite video games.

• Are harder video games better?

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's best and worst power-ups.

• Funcom layoffs equals delays and OMG! SWTOR beta.

• We take a look at Left 4 Dead: Crash Course.


If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

"Buy somethin' will ya!"

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity. You can also subscribe to the ICP Live! podcast and be alerted when a new show is posted or even listen in on your iPod.





alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 19

[Download The Podcast]

Tune in next week. Same Time. Same Channel. On UltraWorldRadio.com.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Previews: Forza 3 and Brutal Legend demos

Two separate demo's dropped this week, and I had a chance to check out both. They are very different in terms of game play, but they also show a unique contrast in terms of games and what a demo can and should be.


Forza Motorsports 3
The first demo is Forza Motorsports 3. This is a racing game, and the demo is pretty good if a bit basic. You start out with one track and a small hand full of cars. You choose your car and do a two lap race on the track. More than a few things jumped out at me.


First off this game looks strong beyond good. Its near realistic in terms of its visuals. The cars are your typical high-end cars that you would never be able to own in real life, so I really can't give you a report on how accurate the cars were to drive. Although the Audi controlled completely differently than the Porsche 911.

There was also what I am calling the drive assist. On the track is a line that you need to follow for optimal driving. The line is a series of triangles that you follow and change color depending on how you drive. Green mean that all is good. If you are going too fast into a corner, then the line will change to yellow then red. If you go off the track the line changes to white. This is good if it's an option to turn on/off for training purposes. If it's something you can't turn off, then I will be disappointed because I hate having my hand held through game play.

All in all, I like this demo. It gives you a good sense of game play, a taste of the visuals, and leaves you wanting more. Having never played the previous game, I have no idea how the marketplace and car design mode works, but I love the idea. I am not an artist, but I really like the idea of creating art designs for cars. Games these days thrive on player-driven content, and on a console that is seriously lacking. Most games don't have any real way to do that. At least, none of the games I play have that setup. I would love to have a sandbox to setup Predator challenges in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Brutal Legend
The next demo is Brutal Legend, and I have to say I was both excited and disappointed. I was disappointed because in terms of game play I really don't think this game is going to break any new ground. It was your basic third-person button masher, with combos and teammate combo attacks. There was a driving section that I died in, which shocked me because I didn't see any kind of health or damage gauge on the screen. I am not sure if it's a function lacking in the demo, or they just don't want you to run into things with the car.


I am excited because I think this game could bring back humor that I find lacking in most games. The intro video alone was a riot. Jack Black is in his element being a musician upset with the current state of bands. The cut-scenes were a riot, and the music track list reads like a who's who in rock/metal bands. I have a feeling that the gameplay is going to take a back seat to the humor and music, which is a change for a non-music color matching game.

The game also has multiplayer, which apparently is awesome according to the people in the gaming industry that have played it. Sadly that wasn't available in the demo. And for 1.5 Gigs, the demo itself was rather short. Not that the game play really grabbed me, but I kept playing the game interested to see the next cut scene story element and have a good laugh.

I am not sure if I am going to pick up either game. I am not sure if Brutal Legend has enough replay value to warrant the purchase, and I am not much of a racing game player. But as demos go, they are at least worth checking out.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Preview: Is Epic Mickey on its way?

While there are a few great older Mickey Mouse titles, Disney showed that they could truly embrace more mature subject when it teamed up with Square Enix to bring Kingdom Hearts to the world. Now, it looks like Disney may be dreaming up the next iteration of that lovable mouse.

Disney Interactive Studios recently leaked that is is about to reveal an "iconic new title" on Oct. 28 in London.


Speculations abound, but many publications seem to think that this may be the Epic Mickey that was recently teased in some artwork a few months ago.

Epic Mickey, which is rumored to be worked on by Warren Spector, will feature Mickey in a new steampunk-style platforming adventure.

(introducing Clive Barker's Goofy)

Disney has already done what many people thought was impossible, mixing childhood icons with Final Fantasy, so the idea of a steampunk mouse adventure doesn't really seem that implausible, does it?


(it's a Disney World attraction gone horrible wrong)


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Preview: Crackdown 2, you have my interest now

One of the things I like about the evolution of video games is how the improvement in technology, and its implementation, is translated into video games. Physics engines, visual effects, and the game company themselves are always looking into ways to either improve the game or bring something new. The upcoming sequel to the video game Crackdown is a perfect example of this.

Now to be fair, I never played the first Crackdown game. When Crackdown came out, a lot of people were interested more in the access into the Halo 3 Beta than the game itself. Reviews of the game were good, and from what I hear the game itself was pretty good. I might have to pick up a copy of the game on Ebay and check it out before the sequel launches.

Now, as for the sequel itself, the video below is from IGN during the Tokyo Game Show. I haven’t been following the development of this game closely, so it was more out of a general interest in video games that I caught this video by chance. You can hear the developer talking about some new weapon, but since I never played the first game I don’t care about the weapons. The video itself is essentially a tech demo about what you can do in the game. The video has the developer attaching a gas tank to what looks like a magnetic grapple, then shooting the cap off the canister which causes the canister to fly around in place. Coding this, from a technical standpoint, can’t be that easy. So congratulations Crackdown 2, you officially have my interest.



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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Preview: Team Ico gives insight into The Last Guardian

Team Ico and Fumito Ueda has managed to enthrall gamers with titles such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The studio's newest project, The Last Guardian, looks to be developing in the same manner as its predecessors. To sum it up in one word: epic.


Not much is known about the game, except that it if focused around the relationship between a young boy and a creature named Trico. Much like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, gameplay will revolve around platforming and puzzle solving. Also, fans of Shadow of the Colossus will already be familiar with using an animal companion to solve puzzles and accomplish tasks.

The title will be released for the Playstation 3.


I'm just hoping that it doesn't turn out to be like Neverending Story. This scene ruined my childhood. I'm sincerely sorry for posting it and saddening your day:



Please, Team Ico, don't make me relive something like this again.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Preview: Red Steel 2 gets gritty with newest trailer

Stylized, simple and hip. That's what will make a studio's game stand apart on the Nintendo Wii from the stunning games that come out for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. What this means is that developers have to actually try harder to get their games recognized when launching on the Wii platform. Ubisoft is looking to bathe in the wake of No More Heroes and Mad World with their new iteration of of Red Steel.

Red Steel 2, which is set to launch in early 2010, promises to mix gun-play and sword fighting in a seamless first-person perspective. This was the promise of the original Red Steel, which just happened to be a Wii launch title.

Hopefully, Ubisoft will rid the sequel of the first game's shortcomings. The Wii MotionPlus — which will be bundled with the game — should help with the control problems of Red Steel.

Red Steel 2 — in pure spaghetti-Western sense — puts players in the role of The Swordsman as he sets out to avenge his fallen clan. Simple, enough. I don't need a story of Citizen Kane stature as long as the game is entertaining and stylish.

So far, Red Steel 2 looks to fit the bill.

Click below to watch the latest trailer out of the Tokyo Game Show:



Here is a developer walkthrough from earlier in the year:



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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Preview: Will Final Fantasy XIV be more of the same?

The Final Fantasy series is unmistakable for its beauty, but will the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV Online be nothing more than just the same kill 10 rats formula in a generic fantasy setting? If so, is there even a good reason to visit this stunningly beautiful world? Hit the jump for the latest video — which was shown at Tokyo Game Show 2009 — and share your thoughts in the comments section.


Was that a touch of the new battle music?

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News: Onyxia Reborn: WoW Patch 3.2.2 is Live

Well, in my opinion, we dropped the ball on this little tid bit of info in last nights news headlines, but maybe that goes to show how much we let WoW news just fall by the wayside these days.

Patch 3.2.2 was released this past Tuesday to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the release of World of Warcraft and with it, the Onyxia encounter has been forever retooled to be level 80 content. She will now drop level 80 gear (though the fight will mostly be identical to strategies past), she will be available as both a 10-man and 25-man instance, and if you keep your 4-leaf clover and rabbit's foot close enough, you might even get a chance to roll for the 310% speed mount, the Brood of Onyxia, which is modeled directly after Onyxia herself. I, for one, have wanted to have Onyxia as my flying mount since the release of TBC... maybe I'll actually be able to pull off that feat now.

You can read the full patch notes on the official site.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 18: "Yo-Yo of Death" Edition

I still feel pretty banged up from last week's show, but nonetheless, Incoming Pull is going live again tonight to bring you all of the past week's gaming news. You can listen to ICP Live tonight at 10 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio. Sprinkled amongst the potty humor and teenage girl-like giggling, you'll find hints of genius in at least the music that we play. On tonight's show:

• Video games can be more than just a tool for violence.

• We breathe new life into Rygar with tonight's musical selections.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's best and worst power-ups.

• Gamers are still waiting in a virtual bread line to play Aion.

• And I, once again, defend free speech as I set my sights on Evony.


If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

"Loose weight and ride the elevators."

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity. If you listen closely, you can hear Youngblood's wife make her first appearance on the air around 45:19.





alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 18

[Download The Podcast]

Tune in next week. Same Time. Same Channel. On UltraWorldRadio.com.

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News: Incoming Pull Live! Podcast

Since the first show aired back in May of 2009, we've worked diligently at providing you (our listeners and readers) with multiple options of partaking in our weekly live shows. This week, we've completed the setup of yet another way for you to get plugged in to ICP Live!

First suggested by one of our own writers, "Robert's Virtual Reality", we decided that we should advance our efforts of making the show more accessible by creating our own Gcast Podcast account. Now, not only can you read our stories here on the blog site and listen to us live every Wednesday night at 10PM EST on UltraWorldRadio.com, but you can take us wherever your iPod/iPhone might go.

Subscribe to the Incoming Pull Live! Podcast on Gcast.com and you'll be one of the first to know when the week's show gets posted to the web, even when you don't have time to listen in live.

Each of our show recordings contain the full broadcast in unedited and unabridged MP3 format. And don't worry; for those of you that don't have an iPod/iPhone(I don't have one either) but would still like to have a digital copy of the show recordings, we'll continue to make the files available for download so that you can put them on your portable media player of choice.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

News: Modern Warfare Bundle

When Halo 3 was released back in 2007 (hard to think of that game as 2 years old), Microsoft released a limited edition Halo 3 Xbox 360. I was one of those people who bought said system. Not because I cared that much about Halo 3. Truth be told I am not the biggest fan of twitch game FPS BOOM HEADSHOT!!!1! type of gaming.

What I was interested in was HDMI output, and at the time the base system did not have that output, and the 360 Elite was still too expensive for me to afford. Despite the fact that I wanted the bigger hard drive, I split the different and bought the Halo 3 system. Two years later, I am still happy with the purchase, but I do wish I had the 120G HD, or even the 60G that the base systems come with now.

I bring this up because there is a new Limited Edition of the 360 coming out, this time based on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game. This time, the bundle will come with a specially designed 360 with a massive 250G HD, two controllers, and the Modern Warfare game itself for $399 US. As bundles go, this is a really good deal. With games being $60 and controllers about the same, even without the massive hard drive the bundle is worth the money.

http://gear.ign.com/articles/102/1025215p1.html

Also, Microsoft confirmed that the 250G HD will not be sold separately, so if you want the larger HD for your 360 this is the only way to get it. No word on how “limited” the Limited Edition of the system is. Nor was there any comment on the 250G Forza 3 bundle spotted on Amazon Germany.

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/101/1019516p1.html

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

News: /shame Part 2

Ok, so a couple of weeks ago I talked about how the Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 game had a bizarre use for the basically useless functionality of six-axis control for the Playstation 3.

Well, now we have the first official viral/teaser trailer for the game.

Hit the jump to see it.





Seriously, WTF? When I first saw the news I thought that it was something that Team Ninja had put in the game as a joke that was accidentally release. It turns out that Team Ninja is -- in actuality -- a bunch of 14-year-old boys. And the same 14-year-old boys are now in charge of marketing.

How are we in the gaming community supposed to be taken seriously when things like this become part of the culture?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 17: "THAC0" Edition

Now that the dust has settled around the robot destruction that was Mega Man 2, we here at Incoming Pull Live can get back to business as usual. You can listen to ICP Live tonight at 10 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio.

On a related note, please refrain from voicing negative comments about how the Blue Bomber jumps. You wouldn't like him when he's mad. On tonight's show:



• You'll never believe how hardcore the Wii is. Boy, do Nate and I have a story for you.

• Also, World of Warcraft is too hard, but thankfully Blizzard is dumbing-down their next MMO. /sarcasm

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's best and worst power-ups.

• In this week's discussion, we geek it up and talk about Dungeons & Dragons Online.

• And lastly, change is good!

If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

"A Slime draws near! Command?"

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity.





alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 17

[Download The Podcast]

Tune in next week. Same Time. Same Channel. On UltraWorldRadio.com.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preview: Tornquist Talks The Secret World

Finally, it seems like some real information regarding Funcom's The Secret World is being released for gamers to really chew on. Incoming Pull has been doing what it can to provide these little morsels of conspiracy-ridden goodness.

Still hungry for more? Well, hit the jump for some more.






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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review: DDO Eberron Unlimited (First Impressions)

This past Wednesday, Dungeons & Dragons Online went free to play with the release of Eberron Unlimited. Of course, being the cheap bastard that I am, I just had to give it a try.

There are a great number of differences between the MMORPGs that I've played before and what DDO brings to the table. But what I liked right off the bat, is that it really feels like a traditional RPG.

While I've only spent a small amount of time playing the game thus far, I feel that I've experienced enough to give a solid first impressions look at what I think of my experience.

Before I ever got to log in and create a character, I was pleased to see something different. When selecting a download method for the game, I could choose a full download (either normal or high quality) or I could opt to let the downloader grab the game in small portions to allow me to jump in to the game much sooner than I would have if I were forced to wait on the entire client to download. I opted for the staged download. The first stage was right around 270Mb. In roughly 30 min, I was able to load up the client and start creating my first avatar.


The character creation was new and interesting for me, feeling much more like rolling a character in a pencil & paper RPG than a video game. It walks you through 5 different sets of choices to create your character. I. Style, lets you choose between Melee, Spells, or Specialist. I went with the Specialist. II. Class, lets you choose between 11 difference classes, though two of them (Monk and Favored Soul) must be unlocked with a store purchase. This was a tough one for me, but I went with a Ranger. It has the ability to dual wield blades as well as use a bow and arrows. III. Path, is where you select a specific focus of your class's abilities. Each of the 11 classes has 3 paths to choose from. I chose the Tempest path for my Ranger. IV. Race, strangely to me, you don't select your race until nearly the end of the character design process. I'm not sure it matters either way, but it was definitely a change from the Faction/Gender/Class selection options from the other MMORPGs that I've spent time in. The race choices are Human, Elf, Halfling, and Dwarf for free, and for an additional purchase you can choose either Warforged or Drow Elf. I went with an Elf. V. Look, lets you customize things like skin, hair, and eye color along with the type of eyes, eyebrows, lips, and facial details like scars and facial hair.

Once you've designed your character, you'll select a name and optional surname and finalize your avatar.


You're place in a tutorial zone right at the start, and there seems to be a fair amount of voice acting, which I like, but right away, I noticed a pretty steep learning curve of the UI and character controls. It's not unplayable, but if you're used to the EQ2/WoW type of controls, you might struggle a bit like I did. An couple of small things that I liked about the character control was that I could hold the left mouse button down and would continually swing my weapon whether targeting a mob or not, and when walking up to a rock or small ledge, your character actually climbs up vs. you hitting the spacebar to jump... sweet! It's the little things, right?


Like I said before, combat has a targeting feature like other MMORPGs, but it's not required... you can simply swing or fire your weapon in the direction of a mob and you will damage your target (sort of similar to FPS attacking). The essence of the d10 is also preserved during combat, in that a die is displayed on the screen that shows your "rolls" and damage.


The tutorial stage sticks you in a group of NPC characters, with voice acting, and sends you in to an instanced dungeon to basically get familiarized with all of the controls. There are also a couple of minor puzzles such as climbing up and dropping through a hole to throw a lever to raise a gate in the tunnel, and using the Search skill to look around and discover a "hidden" doorway to continue through the dungeon.

All and all, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars overall, and the only reasons it's not higher are the locked options in the character creation and the play control learning curve. I know, without a doubt, that your personal rating of the game would probably be higher if you were/are a pencil & paper D&D fan. I've never played any of the D&D pencil & paper games.

If you wanna give it a try, feel free to look me up in game as either Bunkai Blayde or Aethion Blayde on the Cannith server.

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News: Play Metal Gear Solid, Get out of Jail

So apparently Solid Snake's use of a cardboard box to elude enemies isn't as unbelievable as we once thought. This week in WTF, a suspect in a real life jail managed to escape by hiding in a cardboard box.



"Embarrassed officials were at a loss to explain how Jean-Pierre Treiber, 45, a double murder suspect, managed to elude detection in the box he had built himself at a workshop in the high security prison of Auxerre, Burgundy.

With its hidden human cargo, the box was loaded with dozens of others onto a lorry for delivery to the Yonne region, southeast of Paris.

During the 100-mile journey, he broke free and leapt from the lorry. The driver only realised there was a problem once he had reached his destination, when he spotted a hole in the tarpaulin covering the boxes, some of which were flattened."


Who knew that actually worked? Maybe smoking a cigarette at the time of imminent destruction grants you more time, too. Hideo Kojima, you genius!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Preview: PvP Details Emerge for The Secret World

In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ragnar Tørnquist revealed many of the mysteries surrounding Funcom's newest MMORPG project, The Secret World. Recently, the team at The Secret World has given gamers another trailer, the identities of the three player factions and an initiate test for beta.


In the RPS interview, Tørnquist explained that the different factions won't affect different advantages in PvP. Instead, the three factions will serve as a guideline for the type of quests and story arc the player experiences.

Tørnquist said that PvP will be prominent in a place called Hollow Earth, the mythical city of Agartha. This is rumored to be a lost city in the core of the planet Earth. Players will vie for control over this in order to gather a resource known as anima, which will be used in crafting and upgrading weapons.


Needless to say, the factions will be battling it out heavily in the lost city if they want to improve on their stock of weapons.

Hollow Earth will be comprised of cells, or control points. Much like guilds in Warhammer Online who can capture keeps, The Secret World will feature cabals who can capture cells. Once occupied, the cell can be equipped with turrets, traps, etc.


Hollow Earth proves to be more than just a simple mechanic for PvP. It's a vehicle of story and immersion. On the outside, all three factions are battling a common foe, evil. However, their pride and lust to be the one who stops evil is seen in their pursuit of anima, and the subsequent deaths of the other factions.

Tørnquist said the combat is fast-paced, with cooldowns only lasting a short time. There will be a classless system, where players level skills instead of grinding levels.

Tørnquist said players will be able to jump into PvP from the start if they choose to. However, veteran players will have gained access to more powerful abilities.


Tørnquist he added that respecs will be available in game, as well.

Things look to be shaping up for The Secret World with the recent secrets being revealed. This title might just be what wakes the MMO genre from its current state of mediocrity.

You can read the first interview about PvE and player advancement by RPS here.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feature: Top 10 Games I Would Pick if I Gad To (so glad I don't)

The discussion about only having 10 games to play in this week’s radio show got me thinking about all the games I have played over the course of my life. Coming up with only 10 out of all the games is tough, but it’s also a fun mental exercise as I remember games and all the fun I had with them.

It’s no real surprise that the higher up the list you go, the newer the game is. As much as I love nostalgia, games today have so much more to offer than 20 years ago, that it’s not even much of a contest.

10: X-Men 6 player Arcade Game

Side scrolling beat-em ups always have a special place in my heart, because those are the arcade games I cut my teeth on as a fledgling gamer. Dropping quarter after quarter into the machine in the mall after school was a staple of my childhood, and this game stood out from all the rest. First off having 6 players was an experience in itself. Second the game scaled based on the number of players in the game, so the more that played the harder it got. Third was it considered that each character was important, not like today where it’s “Wolverine” and everyone else.

9: Shogun: Total War

Combining turned based tactics and real time strategy is something that doesn’t get done very often, and the Total War series did it first and did it well. Upgrading your units was something that was very necessary, but it wasn’t something you could do endlessly, nor excessively. You almost always only got 1 aspect of your army (weapon, armor, etc) to upgrade each turn. Also, the upgrades didn’t automatically spread throughout your empire. So if you got the upgraded swords in one region, then only warriors from that region would get the bonus. All the warriors all over the place didn’t magically get the bonus. This made for some interesting situations where you could have 3 of the same unit with 3 different upgrades.

8: Starfox 64

This was the first game that really began to change the concept from a side scrolling shooter to a forward facing pseudo 3D shooting game. It followed the normal formula where your wingmen were rubbish and served no real point, but it was a good game none the less. The mechanics were basic, but they worked well as a whole.

7: Tron (arcade)

Tron was without a doubt one of my favorite sci-fi movies, and in my top 5 movie list. And when the game came out it exceeded all expectations by not sucking. The game was fast and furious, never ending, and quickly became a battle of attrition the longer it went on. The game play mechanics were simple, but that didn’t stop the game from quickly getting out of hand as to how challenging it was.

6: Homeworld

Probably the only game that actually used the 3rd dimension, Homeworld was a great space based RTS that really brought new meaning to Strategy to Real Time Strategy. No tech trees, no endless upgrading, no turtleing, just good old fashion move to a section, collect resources, build troops, and live. It also did a rare thing in that troops that you built stayed with you throughout the game. So there was a point to building that extra unit, you didn’t have to build it next round.

5: Halo

Now, I could care less about the whole Sony/Microsoft fan boy flame war. If I remember right, when the original xbox came out the PS2 was still in short supply. I do remember that there really wasn’t any game that I was eager to play. Halo grabbed my attention with its graphics, and held me how easy a shooter worked on a console. It wasn’t just a launch title for Microsoft’s console, it was THE launch title. Without Halo, the X-box would not be the console it is today.

4: Super Mario Brothers 3

Without a doubt, if you did a poll of old school gamers about side scrolling platformers, SMB 3 would be at the top of most of people’s lists. Nothing against Super Mario Brother World, but SMB 3 was a game I could get into unlike any game at the time. It had long levels, difficult jumps, a wide variety of power-ups, and an overall good game. It is simply one of those games where if you haven’t played it, then you won’t get it. It falls into the category of being “THE” game for a genre.

3: Soul Calibur

Along with side scrolling games, fighting games are also something that I grew up on. And the sadly short-lived Dreamcast game, we were given a great game in the form of Soul Calibur. Each fighter and fighting style felt unique and fit with the character. Beyond the fighting mechanics, the game itself had great graphics that raised the bar for what was considered good graphics at the time. And for the most part they hold up to this day over 10 years later. Probably my favorite part of the game, outside of the game itself, was the exhibition theaters. A way to show off the graphic engine, the exhibition theater also gave a sense that the game cared about the martial arts behind the fighting style of the characters.

2: Batman Arkham Asylum

Despite Tim’s “meh” attitude towards the game and thinking it’s overrated, this is without a doubt a very good game. It sort of reminds me of a buffet. It has a lot of little things: sneaky stealth, mass beat-em up fighting sections, puzzle solving, pseudo-open world exploration, and Easter eggs. Nothing done exceptionally well, but so many things done well that it makes the game experience enjoyable. The voice acting is probably my favorite part of the game. I love Kevin Conroy as Batman, and I love Mark Hamill even more as the Joker. And having both of those voices for hours upon hours of game play really draws me in. Do I wish the combat was better? Yes. But it’s supposed to be easy. You’re the Batman. Having the combat being a challenge is like having MMA fighter loses on Bully Beatdown.

1: Fallout 3

Fallout 3 has something that is so rare in games today, it has immersion. Even with the flow breaking of the VATS, the game is something in how it really brings you into a game world. You lose yourself in the vast wasteland and congested rubble strewn streets. All the DLC for the game expand the game without overpowering the game. While I would have liked more emoting from the game engine with the characters faces, there is a lot to see and do. Probably my favorite part is listening to audio tapes found throughout the world as I walk through just admiring the landscape. Hidden references to past games, that bizarre concept of retro sci-fi, it all just fits somehow.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 16: "It's To Die For" Edition

We have a slight correction from last week, GLaDOS has now informed us all that she will no longer enhance the truth and that you should listen to Incoming Pull Live tonight at 10 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio.

On a related note, the existence of cake has neither been proven nor denied. On tonight's show:




• We finish our journey with Mega Man in part 2 of our tribute to The Megas.

• Also, Microsoft is still greedy and how much would you pay to kick you WoW addiction.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases, as well as this week's best and worst power-ups.

• We discuss some of the games you should play before you die.

• And lastly, I hop on my soapbox to talk about why jumping in FPS titles needs to go away.

If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

"I feel asleep."

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity.





alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 16

[Download The Podcast]

Tune in next week. Same Time. Same Channel. On UltraWorldRadio.com.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Preview: Borderlands — Behind the Scenes

Question: What do you get when you mix Mad Max with a first-person shooter and Diablo-esque game elements?
Answer: Borderlands.
Need more proof that Gearbox Software's game will rock? Then check out the newest video after the jump.



Borderlands will launch for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on Oct. 20.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

News: WAR to Revamp Crowd Control

Besides the blatant nature of the zerg in Mythic's Warhammer Online, RvR combat is -- at it's root -- dependent on the amount of crowd control and area of effect abilities that are being activated by players. Of course, this isn't just a symptom of WAR. Basically, the outcome of any MMO with player vs. player combat is crowd control. But according to Nate Levy, production lead on WAR, some exciting changes are in store for players of realm vs. realm combat.

"Crowd control abilities are a vital part of helping to control the flow and pace of combat, but for a while, they cut too deeply into our gameplay (and especially so at the high end)," said Levy in a recent Dev Diary.

Levy said the team is tackling crowd control from two different directions.

"For starters, we did a comprehensive analysis of all crowd control abilities in the game and worked out some more reasonable guidelines for durations and allocation," he said. "What does this mean for you? The general result is that you'll see many CC effect durations being slightly reduced, as well as some CC abilities moving positions, which require more of an intentional focus to obtain."

Levy said this means that some AoE CC Morales may shift from ranks one and two to three and four. Also, CC abilities may be shifted in mastery trees, thus forcing players to make a conscious investment to obtain them.

However, it's the second direction by the team that seems the most promising.

"Another aspect of allocation that we're working towards as a long-term goal is to slowly shift the general distribution of crowd control to be more common on defensive careers -- such as tank archetypes -- and away from DPS-focused careers," said Levy. "One of the primary reasons for this is that, on a whole, DPS careers already have quite a lot to offer when it comes to RvR because they bring... well... the DPS."

This statement could prove to be a game changer if applied properly. Imagine being able to go into a fight and not have a bright wizard stun you and then AoE you into oblivion. It also makes defensive tanks a target, instead of just something blocking line of sight.

"This change isn't going to happen over night -- it's simply too large of a goal to fit into any one patch (or even two or three)," said Levy. "... we want to make this shift a gradual change instead of a sudden plummet."

The first of these changes will go live in patch 1.3.2.

The team is also looking at knockdown and stun abilities. Levy said the team wants players to not only use the abilities for offense, but defense as well. Unfortunately, there's not much information regarding how this will be addressed.

Aside from these changes, WAR is implementing a "stagger" system.

"When you stagger an enemy, they'll be briefly disabled and unable to move or take any actions, just like a stun or knockdown," said Levy, "but with the critical difference that the stagger will immediately break if they suffer any damage."

He said the team has gone through every class ability that is either a stun or knockdown and changed it to where they are now either knockdowns, which will work in an offensive sense, or staggers, which are generally ideal for defense.

"Generally speaking, anything that remains or becomes a knockdown will have a duration that is three seconds or less," said Levy. "While staggers typically have durations of up to nine to 12 seconds or so, assuming they're not broken early. You'll note that I don't mention 'stun' anywhere in there, and that's correct, since we're removing it as a vague middle ground."

What does all of this really mean

Taking away the ability of DPS careers to stun you and then DPS you down without much of a fight is a great step in the right direction. Even more so, if Mythic focuses more on making abilities staggers, instead of knockdowns, that could mean the end of the rampant AoEs that now litter the battlefields in WAR.

A game changer for the best, indeed. All of these crowd control changes have the possibility of greatly reshaping the landscape of WAR's RvR. However, the game still has to overcome its codependency on zerging, because no matter how much a single player's crowd control is changed, it will never be as noticeable as Mythic hopes it to be when survival in WAR is based solely on numbers and not sound tactics.

My two cents

Disable the mechanic to form warbands. Mythic needs to force players to work as small war parties of no more than six players. Aside from that, renown bonuses should be improved to help coax players into running small groups instead of warbands.

Warbands are fine, but they should only be allowed for fortress takes/defends and city sieges.

Even something as simple as doing away with the warband function, which at its most basic change only removes the warband UI, can change how players function in larger groups. Six-man groups will still travel with others groups, but removing the ability to see the stats and map positions of those outside party members could sway the game from the incessant zerging that it now is.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Preview: NMH2 -- This May Be Too Hip For You To Watch

Suda 51, the diabolical genius of Killer 7 and No More Heroes, revealed a new developer commentary on No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle at this year's PAX in Seattle. Click the jump to see the video. However, you may want to grab some toilet paper first. There's a first for everything.



Does it get any better than that? Simple controls that play smooth and are the void of the gimicky swordplay that we saw in Twilight Princess. Oh, and yes, Suda 51 was sitting in a dirty restroom. Yes, it's classic. Deal with it.

Even with the flaws in the first NMH, Suda 51 developed a title that stood apart from, not only other games on the Wii, but all games across all consoles.

Be warned: this game may be too hip for some gamers. Well, not gamers who visit Incoming Pull.

Part spaghetti-Western, part grindhouse, No More Heroes 2 looks to serve up another dose of progressive gaming.

NMH2 will hit store shelves in 2010.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

News: 'The Secret World' Features Templars In Newest Trailer

Funcom's The Secret World continues to release hypnotically haunting trailers. Fans have waited with bated breath since the milkshake trailer was released earlier this year for another glimpse into this Cthulhu-esque world. Well, wait no more.




Just like the first trailer, this one shows another person — notably of the Templar faction — being ambushed by a nightmarish demon. While the first trailer featured a member of the Dragon faction, both have done a great job of creating a suspenseful atmosphere that pulls the viewer into a different world.

MMO players have been staring at elves and orcs for far too long. It's about time someone gave us something more. Perhaps even something that makes us question whether the current MMO paradigm is even the real problem.

Now I guess it is time to hold our breath until we can see what the Illuminati bring to the table.

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News: /shame

As someone who works alone at night with a lot of time on my hands, it’s easy to keep up with most news. But I have to admit, this one took me a bit by surprise and I didn’t have anything to say outside of wait….what??



Watch this video from IGN and pay attention to the third news item about Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma. Go ahead, I will wait.


Seriously, did that just happen?

Now over the years I have been on Sony’s case for having great technology and doing nothing with it, but I have never understood what the point was for the six axis control system. And I seriously doubt that the breast waggling function was the purpose. How did that function make it into the game?

Wait, never mind, I don’t want to know.

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News: Closed Beta? Make It So, #1

Do you know someone who likes to speak in Klingon? Do they have a really bad Romulan haircut, which only hurts their chances at talking with women (talking in chat rooms doesn't count)? Do they often sketch alternate schematics for trans-dimensional warpcore relays? If you answered, "affirmative," to any of the above then be at ease. Now you can have that perfect place to store that superbly uber geek in your life. /nerdgasm


Star Trek Online — your one stop destination for nerd utopia — is now accepting closed beta applications. So please, move away from the keyboard and stop writing erotic fanfiction between Counselor Deanna Troi and Data. Seriously, stop already.

Interested uber nerds may apply here on the game's official site.

Of course, if you purchased a six-month subscription or a lifetime subscription to Cryptic's other recently released MMO, Champions Online, then you automatically get accepted into the closed beta. However, if you were one of the poor souls who did one of the two options, then you will — most assuredly — have to find something else to occupy your time until Star Trek's closed beta begins later this year.

Because let's face it, after a month of Champions Online, what more is there to do?

Other than fantasize about what you would do on a Holodeck with Deanna Troi. Seriously, didn't I tell you to stop it.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

News: Secrets Revealed for Funcom's 'The Secret World'

Of all of the games that are set to release in 2010, Funcom's The Secret World continues in its ambiguity and subtle overtones that there may, indeed, be more to the MMO genre than what we currently perceive.


Information regarding Ragnar Tornquist's latest project has been released slowly and in a cryptic manner since early 2009. Often times, it has been The Secret World community that has been able to piece the information together. Already, Funcom is challenging what gamers expect in a contemporary MMO.

Ever since the initial trailer came out — which made us all crave milkshakes — the shroud of suspicion enveloping this new title has been growing.



Fortunately for us, people who are not afraid to see the truth and welcome the other side of the looking glass can now form an allegiance with the game's three central factions: the Templars, the Illuminati or the Dragon. It is unknown at this time how the factions will be woven together in gameplay.

While the information is well enough, completing the Flash quiz on the game's Web site also serves as an application for the game's beta.

Incoming Pull will release more info on this conspiracy title as soon as more information is revealed.

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News: Valve Pwns Cheaters

Valve is scoring headshots on cheaters in Team Fortress 2, according to a recent post on the TF2 Official Blog. Press F5 to take a screenshot!


In a move which makes me support Valve even more than I already do, their newly-adopted zero tolerance policy towards cheaters makes them a company that should be applauded by all gamers.

According to the post, "Over the next few days we'll be removing all TF2 items that were earned using external idling applications. We're going to adopt a zero tolerance policy for external applications used to manipulate the persistent item system."

Now, the cheaters will have to put in the hours upon hours of random item acquisition like the rest of us.

The thing that makes all of this worth it is that Valve is reporting that only about 4.5 percent of TF2's playerbase partake in illegal activities. It speaks well when a developer wants to take aggressive maneuvers for such a small percentage of offenders.

Now if we could only get Valve to be as aggressive on getting Black Mesa released.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 15: "Blue Bomber" Edition

Here's the thing, GLaDOS has informed us all that you are not supposed to listen to Incoming Pull Live tonight at 10 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio. Doing so will, indeed, forfeit any promise of cake in your future. However, if you would like to disobey GLaDOS, then on tonight's show:




• We rock out and explore part 1 of 2 of The Megas' episodic adventure of Mega Man.

• Nate and I give our brutally honest review of Cryptic's Champions Online.

• We explore all of this past week's hottest gaming headlines and game releases.

• And, lastly, I hop on my soapbox to talk about censorship in video games.

If you have any questions or comments, post them on this story and we will try to get to them when we are on-air. You can also reach us on Yahoo instant messenger @ incomingpull or hit us up on any of the numerous ways to contact us (hint: you can see the list in the sidebar on the right).

Seriously, it's a LIVE show. Why not IM us and join in the conversation?

"Uh, oh. Somebody cut the cake. I told them to wait for you, but they cut it anyway. There is still some left, though, if you hurry back."

As always, you can stream the entire show in the player below, or you can click the download link under the player to save it to your hard drive for eternity.





alt: Incoming Pull Live: Episode 15

[Download The Podcast]

Tune in next week. Same Time. Same Channel. On UltraWorldRadio.com.

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Review: Batman — Arkham Asylum

It almost seems wrong to accolade Batman: Arkham Asylum the dubious honor of ‘Best Licensed Game’ when the game is, quite possibly, the best of 2009 so far. The presentation succeeds in recreating the gothic, yet camp tone of the Tim Burton films while delivering the gritty mood of more recent iterations of the franchise. All the while, the gameplay is varied and immensely satisfying.

Batman: Arkham Asylum opens as the Dark Knight is tasked with returning his arch-nemesis Joker to the dreary halls of the titular asylum. Notably, the voice cast from the animated series, featuring Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy make a return; forget the dreary tones of Christian Bale’s pseudo-hulk voice as Conroy’s depiction gives the character a new lease of life. Joker soon springs a trap which releases him and the inmates of Arkham, harboring numerous villains who were incarcerated at the hands of Batman.



The combat is deceptively rudimentary, yet surprisingly effective. The player can sequence attacks by pressing the X buttons, parry with Y and perform combos to gain more momentum. Stringing together hits as Batman glides from enemy to enemy can be exhilarating, with further gadgets added to the player's arsenal as the game progresses. Moves can be unlocked under Wayne Tech, although these seem fairly unnecessary. Despite this, other upgrades such as the double batarang and the various health add-ons do prove invaluable.

At times the player will become overpowered by a number of armed inmates, thus forcing them to use stealth to incapacitate them to continue further. There are a variety of creative ways to go about this, ranging from performing an ‘Inverted Takedown’ to hang them upside down to planting explosive gel on walls to scatter and mislead them to your apparent location. Observing as the inmates realize one of their number is missing, activating detective mode to monitor their heart rate as it soars in panic, and then surveying the room for your next isolated victim does a great job of immersing the player into the role of Batman.

The game is thoroughly enjoyable due to its variety and scope. Most sequences lead into one another in a fresh and compelling way, such as a combat sequence being followed by an investigation for clues or DNA prints leaving appropriate breaks in gameplay. Boss battles are satisfying, if at times rehashing the formula to be defeated. Most amount to a simple process of: duping the enemy into performing a charge, throwing a batarang, leaping out of the way and then attacking as it is stunned.

For a T-Rated title Arkham Asylum is surprisingly dark at times, with Joker’s henchmen sometimes alluding towards torturing or murdering Asylum staff in gruesome ways. Notably, Batman frequently stupors into poison gas induced nightmares thanks to Scarecrow and a side-scrolling platforming sequence occurs wherein he must avoid his line of sight by covering behind objects which obstruct his view. Often these manifest into the Dark Knight’s greatest fears, with one notable tremendous scripted sequence having a seemingly normal hall of Arkham transform into an endless dream-like alley flashback where Bruce’s parents were murdered.

There is a great deal of incentive for replay value, given the numerous Joker riddles, character bios as well as hidden digests by the Asylum’s founder Armadeus Archam scattered around the facility. Most of the Joker Riddles are insultingly easy, given that the clues provided are simply too obvious. Still, the bios and interview tapes give a great insight into Batman lore, with some containing a great deal of dark humour (‘what walks on 4 legs, then 2, then 3...a baby whose legs I’ve amputated, then gave it a crutch’).

Batman: Arkham Asylum is brilliant for the simple reason that Rocksteady Studios shun neither the source material nor the medium itself. There are sufficient nods and winks to Batman’s previous events from even the Detective Comics era to appease hardcore fans, while the game is great in immersing the player into the role of the Caped Crusader. Shed all your premonitions about the quality of licensed games, this one cannot go amiss.

In Mother Russia, Incoming Pull contribute to Tim! And update blog at http://syntax3rr0r.wordpress.com/

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

News: Blizzard's Sleeping Giant?

Does Blizzard have another sleeping giant in the works? Can lightning actually strike twice for this company? Arguably, innovation and Blizzard haven't been synonymous since the '90s, but they promise to take the genre in a brand new direction with their future MMO. But do they really have what it takes to do that anymore?


I don't want to steal the hard work of a fellow journalist, so below is a link to an interview by Tracey John over at Wired. John got a wonderful chance to sit down with Blizzard COO Paul Sams for a little Q&A regarding Blizzard's next venture in the MMOsphere.

Within this story are nuggets of information concerning Blizzard's direction with their newest monster in creation.

You can find John's Q&A session here.

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