Monday, November 30, 2009

News: New Prince of Persia game announced

Ubisoft today announced a new title in the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time storyline, with Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Scheduled for a May 2010 release for consoles and handhelds, Ubisoft said in the press release that fans of the series will not only experience gameplay from the series, but new innovations as well. For more information, visit
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Feature: Mass Effect... "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

"We should be woo'd and we're not made to woo."
— A Midsummer Night's Dream, act II, scene I

This sums up my thoughts on Bioware's 2007 epic action RPG, Mass Effect. Mass Effect succeeded as a stand out RPG for many different reasons. Despite the wide range of opinions on what essential features are needed for a game to be a "true" RPG, Mass Effect delivers on a gaming experience that is still to this day, an epic space opera. But why does it succeed?

"What piece of work is man."
— Hamlet, act II, scene II

Mass Effect was not your typical RPG. Instead of displaced battles that separates the character from the virtual world that they are in (i.e. most JRPGs), Bioware focused on the action of a third-person shooter. The result was Mass Effect feeling less like a "true" RPG, instead being driven by its gameplay.

However, the game included some key mechanics to make the experience more comfortable to RPG dinosaurs.

One of those mechanics was the inclusion of the pause and play feature. Players could easily pause the gameplay in order to micromanage their squad member's abilities and actions. This is a feature that is used in both RTS and traditional RPGs. If the player decided that he or she would rather just run and gun, then they could set up pre-made strategies for their squad members to automatically adapt too within a given circumstance.

"To thine own self, be true."
— Hamlet, act I, scene III

Dear, Polonius, could not be more true.

For RPG veterans, nothing more separates their genre from frat-boy genres than the ability to micromanage their character's stats and abilities. Mass Effect allows for this by letting players not only level their characters, but administer skill points to a wide-range of abilities that are tailor-made for each squad member's archetype. That archetype, or class, is yet another defining feature of every harbinger of the RPG genre.

Aside from increasing whatever abilities a player sees fit, he or she can also modify and upgrade weapons and armor. Both of which can be outfitted with a range of improvements, as long as the player has looted or purchased it. Weapons, especially, can not only be modified to improve the range of a weapon's base stats, but the ammunition as well.

"If music be the food of love, play on."
— Twelfth Night, act I, scene I

What is a good RPG without a stunning soundtrack?

Composed and produced by Jack Wall and Sam Hulick, with additional music by Richard Jacques and David Kates, the OST to Mass Effect is nothing short of brilliant. Combining both classical themes with electronic counter points, the soundtrack gives players that epic feeling that accompanies fantasy RPGs, while still providing the mechanical tones to reinforce the space opera setting. Often compared to the soundtracks of Blade Runner and Dune, Mass Effect's tones and colors have even been emulated by Video Games Live.

"Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps."
— Much Ado About Nothing, act III, scene I

While RPGs contain a pre-determined story of interaction between the game's characters, Mass Effect gives the players the tools to decide how to handle the emotional connections between each of the characters. Reaching farther from just the obvious scenarios of love between Shepard and some of his crew, players can actively choose to shift how certain characters interact with each other in a non-sexual manner.

Depending on how the player chooses for Shepard to talk to people and crew members can greatly change key points in the game. There are at least four key plot points in particular that shape the way the story is told. While the player's destination for the end of the game is always the same, i.e. saving the galaxy, the manner in which the player does this and the lives he or she affects can differ to a surprising extreme, often times changing not only Shepard and his/her crew's motivations, but the player's emotional connection as well.

You may have saved the galaxy just like the gamer sitting next to you, but the manner in which you did it and the story that developed from your actions could paint a very different picture from the other player's experience.

"The quality of mercy is not strained."
— The Merchant Of Venice, act IV, scene I

Alliance Commander John Shepard is a character with a wide range of emotions and Bioware's title gives players countless chances to explore both Shepard's paragon and renegade tendencies. It is in this system that allows players to be enveloped in a dynamic and enriching story arc, something that RPG fans are usually not privy to.

Great stories are a dime a dozen in the genre. In fact, one could say that it is the story that defines a true RPG, not the gameplay. If that is the case, Mass Effect's ability to make a player's choices affect the flow and narration of the game put it at the top of the RPG echelon.

"To sleep, perchance to dream."
— Hamlet, act III, scene I

For an RPG fan who cut his teeth on the classics (Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior for the NES), I sincerely hope that the genre learns a thing or two from Bioware's Mass Effect. It has all the elements of what RPG dinosaurs, like myself, consider canon for the genre, as well as key innovations that make the experience vibrant and bold.

With the past couple of console generations, I have found it difficult to replay games. However, due to the depth of interaction and gameplay in Mass Effect, I am now enjoying my fifth romp through the Milky Way. Even more so, I've chosen the same archetype each time, soldier, effectively meaning that I still have five other ways to experience the game.

It is my dream that the genre follows suit. Bioware has shown that playing an RPG can be a true dynamic experience with the ability to tell a different tale through several playthroughs.

For me, personally, Mass Effect opened my eyes to what a science fantasy RPG could really be like. It has been the only game to ever make me forget about elves and dragons. And to be completely honest, Bioware's epic fantasy title, Dragon Age: Origins, is still sitting on my desk with the plastic still wrapped around it, so to speak. Yet, I'm still playing Mass Effect for the fifth time.

Perhaps one of these days I will feel like I've experienced all that the game has to offer. Perhaps by January 26, so the adventure can start all over.

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Preview: Mass Effect 2's Adept

How about a little Monday morning eye candy? While I am busy working on my feature about Mass Effect, hit the jump to see a new video for the anticipated sequel.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

WTF Japan: I swear I didn’t get this off the Onion

Sometimes stores have so much weird shit in them that no matter what you say people assume you are making things up. Trust me when I say, I am not that creative.

Nene Anegasaki and a man who goes by the online name Sal9000 were recently married last Sunday. Sadly, the man who is only named Sal9000 is NOT why this story is so weird. Nene Anegasaki is a character in a Nintendo DS Japanese “love simulator” game, Love Plus. The wedding ceremony was conducted by a real priest (not a virtual one), but said priests denomination was not listed. And while technically not a legal marriage, like I am technically not completely freaked out by this, pictures from (yes, that is the actual name of the web site) shows Sal9000 on his honeymoon with his digital bride.

I am really trying not to judge, but this is creating many questions which result in some mental images I really could have done without. I can sort of, in theory, understand falling in love with someone that you only met online. You hear stories all the time of people that meet in MMO’s or some other virtual setting, then getting together in real life, but this defies all logic. At least with the previous example there is actually a real person on the other end of the avatar. Marring a video game character, that character is always going to be virtual.

Stop the planet, I want to get off now.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Radio: ICP Live! Episode 27: "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gamer" Edition

Change of plans, mates. Instead of discussing franchises in video games, instead tonight's discussion will focus on our review of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Instant message us during tonight's show and let us know what you think. You can listen to ICP Live! tonight at 9 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio. On tonight's show:

• Blizzard may regained my attention with the latest Diablo 3 news.

• We run down some of the best Black Friday deals.

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

• We review New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

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?

"Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine."

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 27

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Make sure you check out DJ Kestral every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on UltraWorld Radio.

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News: The 'WAR' is over

While not a current subscriber, I still find myself in the uneasy position of being a Warhammer Online apologist. I've heavily criticized the game, but never prophesied its demise. Well, today is the day. The 'WAR' is over.

Yesterday, Community Manager Andy Belford confirmed that both the Dark Crag and Phoenix Throne servers are having free transfers for players to go to other servers. Adventurers of Phoenix Throne may choose between Iron Rock or Badlands, while Dark Crag refugees may go to either Gorfang or Volkmar.

Note: At no point does Belford state that the two servers are shutting down.

At one point, Phoenix Throne was the second highest populated server. It was also home for me and my guild, Ira Deorum, as well as the Twilight Alliance. Being that Phoenix Throne is also a roleplaying server, some community members have questioned the move. If Phoenix Throne does end up getting shut down, it will mark the end of the last roleplaying server for WAR.

Belford almost seems to contradict himself when he explains the move.

"For the past 14 months the Dark Crag and Phoenix Throne servers have been the home of two vibrant and passionate communities," writes Belford. "We have watched these servers with great interest as they have journeyed through some amazing accomplishments since the launch of WAR, such as the first ever king kill on a North American server."

However, none of that seems to really matter.

"And so, it is after careful evaluation and much discussion that we are announcing free character transfers off of the Dark Crag and Phoenix Throne servers," he writes next.

The transfers will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 2. As a bonus, the refugees will get a 20 percent bonus to experience and renown during the weeks following the open character transfers.

The announcement of additional mergers continues to indicate that WAR's population is declining. With a game centered around RvR, mergers were paramount and expected in the first year in order to balance population. However, here we are after the one year mark and mergers are still happening.

It's a sad state of affairs when a game with such a rich lore and pedigree in the RPG industry has trouble maintaining the needed subscriber base.

Mythic is traveling down rocky waters right now and it looks like the worst is yet to come.

UPDATE: On another thread, Belford writes, "We do not offer these free transfers lightly, nor are we happy that we are effectively discontinuing our RP and ORvR servers, however the overall greater good is what we ultimately had to take into account."

So, does that mean the servers are actually closing and free character transfers are really forced transfers? C'mon, Mythic, man up and give it to the community straight.

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Random: Half-Life 2 meets the classics

Sometimes you stumble upon things that just make you happy. Such as these two videos from, where the creator combines Half-Life 2 with Contra and Castlevania. I miss Contra. I miss Half-Life. /sigh

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Commentary: So much for a paradigm shift with The Old Republic

So 50 percent of the classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic are force-related and I couldn't be more displeased. After confirming that the leak was indeed true, Bioware has announced that the last two unknown classes are the Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor. This has all but taken all of the air out of my looking-forward-to-SWTOR balloon.

This is all probably for the best. I was, indeed, guilty of building this game up to unreal expectations.

Here's the run down:

The Galactic Empire will be made up of the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler and Trooper.

The Sith Empire will be comprised of the Sith Warrior, the Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent.

Fifty percent of the playable classes are all lightsaber-twirling, force-wielding characters.

I love Bioware. I think they are the benchmark of the RPG genre right now. What they're trying with SWTOR — a dynamic story that the player actually changes and participates in — is something that the MMORPG genre needs. World of Warcraft has stunted innovation in the genre. It's time for a stronger developer to step up.

But this news of the Consular and Inquisitor is a let down for me.

I wanted to see Bioware stretch the boundaries of their story-driven RPG. I wanted to see classes that weren't just mage and healer with different names.

Why didn't Bioware take a page from West End Studios' pencil & paper RPG? Instead of the same cookie-cutter RPG classes, we could have seen something different, such as the Explorer, Diplomat, Droid and Failed Jedi.

Instead, Bioware has given us the same ol' same ol'. We have the melee fighter on both sides and the ranged fighters on both sides, as well as the rogue.

Sure, it's easy to go with the more familiar MMORPG stereotypes out there, but wouldn't it have been something really special to have a developer place as much emphasis on character archetypes as a game's story?

Does this mean that SWTOR won't be good for the genre? I'm not saying that, but I guess we will have to continue to wait for a developer to completely break down the genre's box.

Paradigm shifts have never been easy to overcome and challenging conventional wisdom is a gamble in a monetary society that so few developers have the sands to do.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preview: Dark Void offering a new perspective

Capcom is looking to place gamers into a different perspective with their vertical cover shooter, Dark Void. Jet packs, the Bermuda Triangle and parallel universes, where do I sign up? It sounds like the Rocketeer just got a hell of a lot cooler. Hit the jump for a preview from Gametrailers, as well as a new combat montage.

Dark Void will release for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on Jan. 12.

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Preview: Crackdown 2 releases eye candy

Crackdown 2, the sequel to the 2007 Xbox 360 hit that blindsided gamers with its entertaining gameplay and sandbox environment, is inching closer to its 2010 launch. In anticipation, Ruffian Games and Microsoft Studios released some exciting new screenshots earlier this morning. Hit the jump to see the eye candy.

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Review: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

It's no surprise to anyone that I love me some retro gaming. So much that I am willing to fork out a thousand dollars to capture my childhood memories of the glory days of the arcades. As far as consoles, Nintendo has always been the company to keep me crawling back to old favorites such as Mario, Link and Samus. With the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, they've done it again.

NSMBW, not the best acronym, I know, is a game for not only the nostalgic gamer, but anyone who enjoys simple fun. However, don't read too much into that statement about it being simple. What I mean by "simple" is the game's execution. Make no mistake, NSMBW is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It's much more difficult than Super Mario Bros. 3.

The new propeller and penguin suits, as well as the ice flower power-up, had me forgetting about the raccoon tail, cape and tanooki suit in no time.

This is the game I have been waiting for. Sure, the 3d Mario games are great — except for Sunshine — but it is in the 2d platformers where Mario just feels right. And what has always been an enjoyable 2d experience has been enhanced through multiplayer.

Now, instead of jumping on koopa shells and goombas all by yourself, you can be joined with three friends as you make your way through the levels at the same time. What was once a calm and self-paced single-player experience turns into a chaotic speed run of epic proportions.

NSMBW stands alone as a single-player game, but it is most enjoyed with its multiplayer co-op. It not only adds to the game's difficulty, but in the enjoyment of passing the levels. The game's easy add/drop a player at almost any time makes it the most accessible co-op game I've ever played.

The game follows the same structure as SMB3, with players traversing a map that is not only filled with bonus stages for items, but roaming enemies as well.

All in all, there is a simple complexity to NSMBW. Several sections will test your platforming skills — especially in mutliplayer co-op with collision detection — but then other sections will almost cater to even the most unseasoned player.

It's a solid title worth of a playthrough from both newcomers to Mario in 2d and veterans. And if the co-op isn't enough, there's always the multiplayer coin battles and free-for-all scenarios.

With the abundance of secrets, New Super Mario Bros. Wii should keep any gamer entertained. It almost makes me question why games left 2d after all.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

News: Diablo 3 Skill Trees... What's going on!?

Last Friday (Nov. 20th) a tweet hit the Diablo 3 Twitter page that has stirred the anxiously awaiting player community. It seems that Blizzard has decided to pull the skill trees out of the game. Whether it will be a permanent change or just a temporary change due to a total revamp of the system is yet to be seen. Hit the jump for more info.

While there're not a lot of details to be found on the subject at this time, Blizzard is making it a point to draw attention to the change. They even felt it necessary to bring it up again this morning on Twitter just to push the interest level.

Here is the full text of the Twitter post:

# The skill system revision is in full force. Trees begone! I think it might be a winner. Jay says hi. 2:03 PM Nov 20th from web

Here is the another post from today:
# #DailyDiablo With our tweet Friday about the skill trees being removed/changed, what approach do you think we might be taking? about 3 hours ago from CoTweet

As interesting as this topic is, there are not yet any "blue" responses in the official forum thread that was started to discuss this change.

What do you think? Is Blizzard making the right choice in removing skill trees in D3? Do you think they are removing them for good? What other options are there in an ARPG for ability growth?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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News: Now that's what I call gangsta

Best of luck, Pandemic Studios. You made great games and we at Incoming Pull are pulling for all of you who lost your jobs. Kudos for making this sweet video, as well. Well played, good sirs, well played.

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News: Are you ready for the coming of the MMOZ?

Zombies seem to be the quintessential target of gamer angst. No matter what, gamers can always expect to have a nice stable of games that offer zombies for their crosshairs. MMO players are used to seeing Halloween-themed events involving zombies, but they may be in for a full-fledged brain smashing MMO in the future.

Industry veteran Jeff Strain, a founder of ArenaNet and lead programmer for World of Warcraft, announced today that he has opened a new studio in Seattle, Wash., titled Undead Labs.

The studio aims at developing a console-based zombie MMO.

"Undead Labs’ sole focus will be to create the definitive massively multiplayer online zombie game (MMOZ) for console gamers," according to the studio's press release.

MMOZ... Massively Multiplayer Online Zombie? Well, it includes zombies, so you have Incoming Pull's attention.

“Every time I see a good zombie movie with friends, we spend days debating our strategies for surviving the zombie apocalypse,” said Strain. “The police station or the supermarket? Garden rake or staple gun? Bach or The White Stripes? I’m a game developer, so I’d probably be useless for anything other than ghoul bait, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to build an MMOZ that lets us put those strategies to the test and find out for sure.”

Strain definitely has credentials behind him. World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo and Guild Wars are all games that grace his resume.

A persistent zombie MMO could definitely be something that could gain attention in the genre's already post-apocalyptic tendency. Games such as Dead Rising, House of the Dead, Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead have already shown that zombies are beloved by gamers.

And the best part of an MMOZ: infected versus non-infected PvP.

It's still early and no information on Undead Labs' game has been revealed.

More information about Undead Labs can be found at

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News: Want more Dragon Age: Origins?

So you've played 60 hours worth of Bioware's Dragon Age: Origins and you still want more? Last Thursday, Bioware announced that new DLC, titled "Return to Ostagar," will be available this holiday season.

This pack will allow players to "extract their revenge and embark on a quest for the mighty arms and armor of the once great King Cailan when they revisit Ostagar, the site of the Grey Wardens' darkest hour," according to the developer's press release.

"We are very proud of the phenomenal launch of Dragon Age: Origins and we’re pleased to announce the next installment of downloadable content that will be available to fans of the game,” said Ray Muzyka, Group General Manager, RPG/MMO Group of EA, and Co-Founder, BioWare. “The Return to Ostagar DLC pack is a prime example of BioWare’s commitment to give fans a game that continuously offers new experiences and further enriches a storyline that has already received critical acclaim and positive feedback from the players.”

Along with visiting the place where the Grey Wardens were nearly wiped out, players will also get to explore political intrigue as they discover King Cailan's top-secret agenda.

Return to Ostagar will be available for $4.99 on the PlayStation Store, for 400 BioWare Points on the PC and 400 Microsoft Points on the Xbox 360 in North America.

For more information, visit

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News: People are still playing Star Wars Galaxies

In an mmosphere, far, far away, there once thrived a pre-NGE virtual world of Star Wars Galaxies. And despite the cataclysm that was the New Game Enhancement, a number of players continue to trek across the galaxy. On Friday, Sony Online Entertainment celebrated the fact that more than three million user-generated quests have been created by the players since the Chronicle Master system launched a month ago.

Galaxies has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but one thing is for certain, the game is still holding with a dedicated player base. It seems the new Chronicle Master system has given players the chance to "create their own plot using iconic characters in the legendary setting of the Star Wars universe," according to the press release.

According to SOE, one individual has created more than 6,000 playable quests. Wow, just wow. That is a lot of Star Wars love.

Players who complete player-generated quests receive tokens that can be used to purchase unique items that are specifically created for the Chronicle Master system.

For more information, visit

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: Xbox 360 Add-ons

Microsoft has for the longest time said that they saw the Xbox 360 as more than a gaming machine. With the Xbox Live marketplace having: music, movie, games that are both small and large in terms of scope and scale, and other downloads, the 360 strives to be the media center of the family room. This role is now expanding with four separate applications.

First up is Twitter. I will be first to admit that I am always two days late and five dollars short when it comes to social aspects to the Internet. I only have had a Twitter account for less than six months, and that was mostly because I have a lot of free time at work and my iPod Touch has several apps that let me check in on random people. It’s mostly a time-killer than any real function I plan on using. That being said, Twitter on the 360 is functional. Typing can be a bit tricky if you don’t have the keypad attachment for the controller. So far there is no option to auto-tweet achievements or sending screenshots through Twitter, but I am sure at some point that will become an option. Right now it’s a novelty. The program is isolated in the sense you currently cannot do anything in game with Twitter.

Facebook is also added to the 360 system. Like Twitter, I am also very new to having an account. Mostly I signed up because a few online friends already had it and it was an easy way to keep up. Like Twitter, it’s completely separate from the gameplay. A quick 5MB download gets you, basically, Facebook-lite. Your friends lists show up like normal, and photo galleries load quickly and in full screen. On the whole the application runs well. Again, no direct game-Facebook interface, which is a good thing. I haven’t had much of a chance to work with it, mostly because I really don’t get into social networking sites, but I can see how this would appeal to some people. You can do in game screen shots and add them to your Facebook gallery, but I haven't had any luck getting that to work.

Next up is the revamp/update to the Xbox Live marketplace. Now it’s called the Zune marketplace. The entire video marketplace layout has been re-structured, so it might be a little harder to find things. The first thing I did notice was that something serious was changed on the Xbox Live architecture. Previously, when I downloaded a video from the marketplace, it took a lot longer than I thought it should. A 50MB file would take about 20-30 minutes to download. Now that same file download was almost instant. Before the change, Microsoft was talking about streaming HD, and that never made sense to me. The bandwidth requirements for something like that seemed beyond the current architecture. I was seriously wrong on that. I don’t have a Netflix account, so I don’t know if that speed translates to the movie service.

Last up, and certainly not least, is Last FM. This is an online music radio service. With a very large library of music, I was very impressed with this program. Music streamed quickly with very high quality and no buffering issues. I was able to switch from song to song with only a three to five second buffer before the next song launches. An option to turn photos on and off is included, which threw me at first. When you play music, the screen is filled with an image slideshow of the current band playing that is quite interesting. There is a musician search feature, and I was able to find more than a few bands I didn’t think I would. Last FM also has a matching feature, so it takes what you are listening to and has similar artists and/or sound styles to introduce you to bands you might not have heard of. I can see a big use for this feature. If you are in a party setting, instead of setting up a radio with endless commercials or trying to manage a stack of CDs to set up a playlist, you can just fire up Last FM and have the visual of the band slideshow along with the music playing.

The thing that really surprised me is that none of these features are automatic. I first thought there was something wrong with my 360 when I started it up and didn’t get the message of an update I needed to download. Every feature, even the Zune marketplace, is its own separate function that you have to get from a download individually. So if you don’t want and/or don’t have Twitter or Facebook, it’s not something you “have” to have on your system.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

News: Champions Online: Nemesis Confrontation Free-Play

To coincide with Thanksgiving and the release of the Nemesis Confrontation content patch for Champions Online, Cryptic Studios is offering yet another free play weekend.

According to the recent news release on the official Champions Online website:
Beginning November 24th, all UNITY heroes will be able to access this new 5-man Lair and attempt to defeat your Nemesis as well as your teammates' Nemeses, culminating in a final showdown against Shadow Destroyer himself.
And, if some fresh new content just isn't enough for you, Cryptic is also opening up the entire game for free play to all new players starting Nov. 26 and going through Nov. 30.

Here's the official trailer for the Nemesis Confrontation update for your viewing pleasure.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Preview: Army of Two — The 40th Day

Holy weapon customization, Batman! EA's Army of Two: The 40th Day just keeps looking better and better. If you aren't familiar with Army of Two, then you fail. But rest not, hit the jump 'cause school's in session.

Here's the newest trailer, released today:

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News: Supreme Commander 2 gets a soft release date

The anticipated sequel to the RTS game that makes your computer cry to its mommy -- Supreme Commander -- is set to have its massive battle simulator hit shelves this spring in Europe and other PAL territories, said Square Enix Ltd. in a press release earlier today.

No date for a North American release was revealed, but it's safe to assume that it will be in the spring as well.

Set 25 years after the Infinite War, Supreme Commander 2 boasts intense battles on a truly massive scale. I bet your computer is having frame rate issues just thinking about it.

“Supreme Commander 2 has already achieved fantastic recognition across media and the RTS community winning E3 Best Strategy Game 2009 from IGN, 1UP and GameSpot," said Larry Sparks, Vice President Brands PAL Region of Square Enix Ltd. "We’re thrilled to be working with Gas Powered Games to release a game that really pushes the genre’s gameplay and storyline expectations to a new level.”

The first title offered players a chance to wage war in real time like no other RTS had done before. Hopefully, the sequel will continue to build upon what made the first game such a critically-acclaimed success.

Features for Supreme Commander 2 include:

• Take on the role of three enigmatic commanders; former friends from each of the unique factions -- The United Earth Federation (UEF), The Illuminate and the Cybran Nation -- who get dragged into a conflict of galactic consequences

• Explore a rich, character-driven single-player game which spans over 18 missions and delivers a new level of emotional connection to the RTS genre, or take the battle online for an exhilarating multi-player experience

• Fight action-packed battles on a massive scale, waging war with enormous land, air and naval units in visually spectacular environments, brought to life by all-new rendering technology and a true evolution of RTS controls on both platforms

• Upgrade and customize armies with new weapons and technology and deploy them instantly on the battlefield, turning a base-level tank into a high-powered, multi-barreled, anti-aircraft-sporting multipurpose battle unit

• Deploy wild experimental war machines that can change the balance of power at any given moment.

• Experience a streamlined economy and redesigned UI that put the focus squarely on combat, battlefield tactics and high-level strategic decision making, and give improved player feedback in Strategic Zoom view.

Supreme Commander 2, which is developed by Gas Powered Games, will launch for the Xbox 360 and PC.

For more information about Supreme Commander 2, visit the official website at

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Radio: ICP Live! Episode 26: "There's Nothing Like A Good Blaster At Your Side" Edition

Luke Skywalker or Han Solo? The Grey Wardens or the crew from the Normandy? Light Warriors or Avalanche? The debate between sword & sorcery versus sci-fi is one that will rage on within the role-playing game genre for years to come. But where do you stand? Do you prefer the traditional sword and board or a good blaster and energy shield? Instant message us during tonight's show and let us know what you think. You can listen to ICP Live! tonight at 9 p.m. EST on UltraWorld Radio. On tonight's show:

• SEGA! Tonight's music brought to you with blast processing.

• More Modern Warfare 2 news.

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

• We discuss the paradigm shift in modern day RPGs.

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?

"It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue."

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 26

[Download The Podcast]

Make sure you check out DJ Kestral every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on UltraWorld Radio.

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WTF: Nintendo "Wiiwaa"

And you thought the Wii Vitality Sensor was the dumbest thing that could come out of Nintendo's camp. Enter: Wiiwaa (yes, we know Wiiwaa isn't an official Nintendo product. But you get the idea, right).

Developed by Zoink Games, Wiiwaa — which is a working title — utilizes a special plush toy puppet. The puppet has a special slot specifically for the Wii Remote to fit in. I'm not making this up.

According to today's press release, players will then play the game "simply by moving the puppet," which will then translate to the on-screen movements of a cute little Wiiwaa creature.

WTF Nintendo?

“Use your Wiiwaa puppet to control this little fellow just like a puppeteer would do," the release said. "Walk, jump, dance, do crazy somersaults — whatever you do with your Wiiwaa puppet directly affects the Wiiwaa in the game. This innovative control system makes it super intuitive to tell the creature where to go and what to do. I don't think there has ever been a simpler and more natural way to play a videogame."
Read that last sentence again. Isn't that the catch phrase for every peripheral that has ever been made? U-Force, anyone?

"Just pop in your controller and your Wiiwaa comes to life on the screen,” said Klaus Lyngeled, Creative Director at Zoink Entertainment and originator of the concept. “The Wiiwaa plush toy expands the game from the screen and into the living room. Your hero and friend is right there with you, and you can continue playing with him even after the game console has been switched off.”

Gameplay is defined by movement and rhythm and focuses on exploration and mini-games. And just like any modern digital pet, players will need to make sure their Wiiwaa is fed and is getting enough sleep.

“Wiiwaa is a game that transcends gender and age," said Lyngeled. "Kids will appreciate the simplicity of it and how natural it feels to play. With this game, parents provide non-violent, intelligent entertainment for their kids that even motivates them to exercise their physique and train their coordination skills. Grown-up gamers, too, will enjoy the action, the humor and the freshness of the experience."

A release date has yet to be announced, but I'm sure once Wiiwaa is out, we can find hours of endless entertainment with the deluge of YouTube videos poking fun at the idea.

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