Bioshock 2 Multiplayer Unveiled

Mr. B, Mr. B....Big Sister doesn't want you playing with me.

Mr. B, Mr. B....Big Sister doesn't want you playing with me.

Apparently 2K heard that yesterday was my birthday…because they finally leaked out details of the closely guarded Bioshock 2 multiplayer component. Just for me! Aren’t you all grateful to me now? 😛

There had been speculation that players would be set upon each other as Big Daddies or Big Daddies vs. players or even a compliment to the single player story where the second player would take over control of the Little Sister (Super Mario Galaxy style). The reality is that none of those theories were true. Luckily for us, the truth is far more badass. At least if you’re as obsessed with learning as much about any fake society as I am.  Side note: I’d be perfectly content with an entire game that just let me explore the history and lore of any fantasy universe, completely sans action. Yes. I’m that sad.

In multiplayer mode, players will be transported back in time; to the very beginning of the end for Rapture. According to 2K:

…assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a premier provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city of Rapture that was first explored in the original BioShock. Players will need to use all the elements of the BioShock toolset to survive as the full depth of the BioShock experience is refined and transformed into a unique multiplayer experience that can only be found in Rapture.

Key features:

• Evolution of the genetically enhanced shooter– Earn experience points during gameplay to earn access to new Weapons, Plasmids and Tonics that can be used to create hundreds of different combinations, allowing players to develop a unique character that caters to their playing style.

• Extend the Rapture fiction– Players will step into the shoes of Rapture citizens and learn more about the fall of Rapture as they progress through the experience.

• See Rapture before the fall– Experience Rapture before it was reclaimed by the ocean and engage in combat over iconic environments in locations such as Kashmir Restaurant and Mercury Suites, all of which have been reworked from the ground up to deliver a fast-paced multiplayer experience.

• FPS veterans add their touch to the multiplayer experience– Digital Extremes brings more than 10 years of first person shooter experience including development of award-winning entries in the Unreal® and Unreal Tournament® franchise.

I get to play as a crazy, Adam addict? Fighting other crazy Adam addicts for space and supplies? In a fully functioning, non decrepit Rapture?! From the guys that did the Unreal Tournament franchise?! Glee!!

Best.

Birthday

Ever.


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PlayBoy Game Lets You “Manage” The Bunnies

“Lol what?”

That’s about the only response I can muster. Even faced with overwhelming evidence that this game is going to exist come summer; the official press release, the website complete with beta invites and a chance to win a free lifetime subscription to Playboy magazine, and a Twitter page…I still am having a hard time making my brain grasp the concept of a Playboy MMO.

That’s right. MMO. As in Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Er, my bad…an MCOG (Massively Casual Online Game). WTF is that, you ask? Me too. Let’s read the official announcement shall we? (BOLD is my peanut gallery comments).

“Jolt Online Gaming, the leading browser games publisher, is more than a little excited to announce the launch of Playboy Manager, the Massively Casual Online Game (MCOG) you can play on any Internet browser at any time. (Nekkid girls at work?)

In Playboy Manager, you play a crack talent agent managing the career of some of Playboy’s hottest up-and-coming models. Competing against thousands of other players, you will guide your model’s career toward her ultimate goal: Becoming a world-renowned Playmate with a permanent room in the Playboy Mansion!

“We’ve wanted to do a Playboy game forever,” exclaimed Dylan Collins, CEO of Jolt.“As enormous fans of the articles, (Just the articles too I’m sure)we jumped at the opportunity to bring the game online for a huge audience. Who hasn’t wanted to manage a Playboy model?” (I don’t think the Jolt team realizes that “manage” is supposed to be an euphemism)

“We are delighted to work with Jolt in offering our fans this great new way to experience and enjoy the World of Playboy,” said Scott Stephen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Playboy Digital.

Combining the best elements of trading card and turn-based gaming(Gotta Catch ’em all!), Playboy Manager is the only online game to feature exclusive content from Playboy, including videos and photos of breathtaking Playboy models. The game, to launch in Summer 2009, will be playable for free at www.playboymanager.com

If you pre-register right now at www.playboymanager.com, you could win one of several lifetime subscriptions to Playboy magazine– a prize offered only to pre-registered users!

Playboy Manager is a continuous game designed to be played in short bursts from any Internet browser at any time. Play it during a lecture, on your phone or even in the office (when the boss isn’t looking!) (Encourage insubordination. Rally against the man. Rabble, rabble, rabble!)Bookmark www.playboymanager.com now!

Acquire wealth, fame, and a bevy of beautiful models while you compete with thousands of other players — all of them after exactly the same things. Strive to drive the finest cars, throw the biggest parties, and encounter the world’s sexiest women– the luxurious Playboy lifestyle presented in an online game packed full of wit, style, and pictures which can only be described as titillating.”

Of course they forget to mention if you get to do what everyone reading this is wondering…which is sex up the ladies. No word, but since it’d be bad business practice (though probably really common) I’d guess not. Adding to this theory is the fact that on their website they call the girls “semi-naked”. What, no full frontal? What kind of Playboy game is this?

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Because “Mature” and “Nature” Are Mutually Exclusive

Quick post. I promise to do a real one soon, but this just struck me as amusing.

Earlier today, EA announced that EA Redwood Shores would be changing its name to Visceral Studios in order to “…reflect the studio’s culture, identity and focus on creating intense action-oriented intellectual properties. Visceral Games is focused on developing best-in-breed action games with state-of-the-art technology, visuals, audio, gameplay and a relentless focus on excellence that spawned the breakthrough, award-winning franchise Dead Space™. The studio is currently working on the highly anticipated games, Dante’s Inferno™ and Dead Space: Extraction, and two other unannounced titles.”

So I’m guessing the logic goes something like this; “Conjuring images like THESE

Giant Tree

…does not mesh well in the mind with games like THIS.”

OMG WTF?!

Lest you end up with something similar to this aberration. Sorry, but if I had to waste almost two minutes of my life, you get to too.

So, I can see why they’d want to change the name to better reflect the nightmares their developers are planning to wreak on my precious psyche. One can only hope that because, “..Visceral Games is located in Redwood Shores, California at the same site location as the EA corporate headquarters. The same location is also home to The Sims™ studio,” that I will have lots of fun and excruciatingly gruesome ways to kill off my Sims 3 families.


New Overlord II Trailer Released

Overlord II

Click Here For Official Site!

As a huge fan of the original game in this franchise, I can’t wait to hop back into my evil shoes and send my minions out to die horrible deaths in my name.  Codemasters decided to release of few more details on their game today, along with a new gameplay trailer. Let’s take a look, eh?

In Overlord II the Minions return stronger, smarter, deadlier (and funnier) and are ready to fight in epic battles that will see them squaring up to the Legions of a new enemy– the Glorious Empire. Their horde mentality is as wild and outrageous as ever and their loyalty to their Overlord has not changed– they’ll do anything and everything that’s commanded of them (and then a bit more) to aid their masters’ quest to destroy or dominate the land.

During the Overlord’s onslaught, the savage pack will gleefully destroy the towns of the Empire and decide the fate of their denizens. Given the right instruction, they’ll even gather voluptuous mistresses for the Overlord and infiltrate the very heart of the Glorious Empire’s army badly (but passably) disguised as diminutive soldiers.

Delivering a whole new level of Minion control, players can equip the Overlord’s devoted brown, green and red Minions with mounts, unique and deadly creatures ready to raise hell. Forming the Minion Cavalry division, brown Minions can ride and control packs of vicious wolves (“Aw, lovelies wolfies”). On wolf-back, the Minions can be swept into attacks and knock enemies off their feet through sheer force and then bite and gore opponents in lupine finishing moves.

Red Minions ride fire salamanders, which become living flamethrowers that shoot fireballs as a primary attack. Green Minions can mount giant spiders, enabling them to climb walls to get to places where no other Minion can get. Meanwhile, the blue Minions, the more ethereal and Zen-like of the tribes, wouldn’t be seen dead on a creature’s back; but they will keep their eyes on their Minion pals and, should they take a tumble or get injured, they’ll dash to the rescue and make use of their unique healing powers.

“The Minions are the stars of the show and we’ve brought them back with bigger personalities and with more abilities than before,” said Lennart Sas, Creative Director, Triumph Studios.“Hilariously supercharged, the Minions can tear down scenery and destroy buildings, ride mounts and operate powerful siege weapons in massive battles with the Empire. They became hugely popular from the first game, so we’re upping their profile, abilities and unique characteristics.”

Spider mounts? Fire breathing salamanders? Wenches? Is there anything this game doesn’t have? Oh yeah, the ability to SHOW us any of that…except the spiders. Oh well, the trailer still looks spot on. They seem to be keeping the formula that worked last time, only upping the graphic content and number of minions you’re allowed to have at once. See?

Still no word on whether they fix players’ biggest gripe; the lack of a map system. Nothing is worse than being all dressed up in intimidating plate armor with a horde of minions and then wandering around in a big circle for twenty minutes.

Overlord II is slated for a Xbox 360, PS3 and PC release on June 26th. For the MASTER!

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Oh, that crazy Stalin!

In reality, Stalin was a brutal man that slaughtered his own people. Nearly indiscriminately, save for the hoops in his mind that the populace had to jump through in order to remain among the living. But that Stalin is boring. So Mezmer games, along with BWF, Dreamlore and N-Game bring you a much happier (and over the top) version of history. Stalin vs. Martians!

Marketing the game as a real-time strategy for “actual people”, Stalin vs. Martians (by the way, the surreality of typing that doesn’t get any less surreal with repetition) is both masterfully trashy and absolutely over-the-top. Fun and accessible, it takes a simple arcade-like approach to the genre of real-time strategy. According to the official website:

— No city-building and technology trees. You can buy reinforcements and offmap special abilities. But no “build the barracks > buy the troops > upgrade the town hall”. The only resources you can find on the map are power-ups. They look like they should: like shiny rotating coins with bright colors.

Power-ups are left after the enemy unit dies. You can collect them. There are five types of coins:
– Money. You can buy reinforcements if you have sufficient funds.
– Armor upgrade. Armor upgrade!
– Attack power improvement. You can kill the bastards more easily.
– Speed up. Your units will move faster. Upgraded infantry can even run with a speed of a tank. Or a member of Kenya Olympic team.
– Meds. The pills make you feel better, even if you are, err, a howitzer. Heals your HP.

— So here’s the picture. Dead martians leave power-ups. Our unit can collect it and either bring us some money to buy reinforcements, or ugrade its stats. You can upgrade your guys several times, so it’s possible to make you tank run 150% faster. There is a limit for upgrades, for the games balance sake, but even 150% turns everything into a complete pandemonium. That’s fun.

As we already mentioned somewhere on this website, you can buy not only the new units, but offmap abilities. Like traditional air raids. And superabilities. You can’t even imagine them. Trust us – they will impress you.

Most of the units can use extra skills. The usually have only one, but you don’t need more. We try to keep everything simple. If you want to play a wargame, there’s plenty of them in the market.

One more thing. The martians leave spots on the map, plagued by the extraterrestial slimelike substance. That goo improves the enemy units’ stats the way power-ups improve ours. We need to clean the land out of this shit.

This means the learning curve for Stalin vs. Martians should be on par with most plebeian genres. Unlike other RTS’ses that force the player to have minor in Advanced Economics and Warfare in order to properly enjoy the experience.

We're being invaded by Toy Story squeaky toys...

We're being invaded by Toy Story squeaky toys...

...and Pikmin! Oh the humanity!

...and Pikmin! Oh the humanity!

And for those of you getting up in arms about turning a mad man from history into a world-saving hero, the creators’ have some words for you as well:

-We can talk for hours about Stalin and all the controversies that surround him. We’re Russians and we possibly know the subject better than you. But all this talk doesn’t make any sense, you know, at all. Accept Stalin vs. Martians as a montypythonesque humor or get out.

Basically, the game is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, B movie grade fun fest. Not to be taken seriously. I mean, the intense “plot” as it stands is, “Year 1942. Summer. The martians suddenly land somewhere in Siberia and attack the glorious people of Holy Mother Russia. It is a hard time for USSR as you might know from the history books if you ever attended school. The situation is really fucked up, so comrade Stalin takes the anti-ET military operation under his personal control. The operation is a top secret and virtually nobody knows about the fact of extraterrestial intervention.”

Besides, if you do well and play your cards right, you get to play as mecha Stalin. And who doesn’t want that?

Stalin mad. Stalin SMASH!

Stalin mad. Stalin SMASH!

Both the website and the press release were vague on whether or not the game will be for sale at local retailers (it can’t hurt to ask if for no other reason than to watch the saleperson’s face contort). But as of April 29th, you will be able to download it from Steam, Direct2Drive, GamersGate, and Impulse.

For a preview of what you’re getting yourself into, check out the official gameplay video; complete with Russian techno music!

Currently, Stalin vs. Martians is RP by the ERSB. I presume because they are mesmerized by the concept of such a heresy actually making it to “Gold” status.


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Block & Roll: LEGO Rock Band Confirmed

TTgames, makers of the LEGO video game franchise are teaming up with Harmonix and Warner Brothers to bring together a meeting of two cash cow meccas. That’s right kids. Now you too can play Rock Band without having your parents’ look on in chagrin as you sing the lyrics to “Dani California”. Designed as family friendly, LEGO Rock Band is set for a 2009 release across all current gen platforms save the PSP. Look for little Lego Rockers on your Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Nintendo DS before Christmas this year.

Some more information from the press release:

The unique family-friendly music experience is currently in development by TT Games in partnership with Harmonix, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game, which will allow families, tweens and teens to experience a wild journey to rock stardom where they can“Build a Band and Rock the Universe”, will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Wii™ home videogame console. LEGO Rock Band for Nintendo DS™ will be co-developed by TT Games and Harmonix in partnership with Backbone Entertainment, a Foundation 9 Entertainment studio. All versions are scheduled for 2009.

LEGO Rock Band combines the multiplayer music experience of Rock Band® with the fun, customization and humour of the LEGO videogame franchise packed with brilliant chart-topping songs and classic favourites suitable for younger audiences, including:

Blur:“Song 2”

Carl Douglas:“Kung Fu Fighting”

Europe:“The Final Countdown”

Good Charlotte:“Boys and Girls”

Pink:“So What”

Players will become rockers as they embark on a journey to stardom that the whole family can enjoy as they work their way through local venues, stadiums and fantasy locations on Earth and beyond, that mimic the imaginative settings that the LEGO world offers. Also continuing the LEGO“build-and-play” gaming experience, players will be able to create their own LEGO Rock Band style as they customize their minifigure avatars, band and entourage, including roadies, managers and crew. LEGO Rock Band supports Rock Band instruments, as well as other music game controllers.

“LEGO Rock Band combines two compelling properties and creates an experience that family members of all ages will enjoy playing together as a group,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games.“Harmonix and MTV Games are the world experts in music gameplay, and we’re genuinely thrilled to bring the unique and humour-filled LEGO experience to their Rock Band universe.”


Upsides as far as I see them:

LEGO universe – hilarious and self-deprecating.

Accessibility – Thankfully the higher ups realized that while charging an arm and a leg for The Beatles is one thing, people with small kids might not have as much disposable income. So making the game compatible with already existing software was awesome.

Music – Hell YES, Kung Fu Fighting!

Customization – As if the custom options of the original product weren’t enough, LEGO is upping the ante by letting you customize damn near everything in the game.

Downsides as far as I see them:

Internet Whining – The purist, the cynic and the childless will all be whining that this is a blatant attempt to cash in on a hot property and nothing more. Gamers with kids (or parents) will not care.

Backwards Compatibility – So far there has been no word on whether songs from Rock Band and Rock Band 2 will be playable on this new version. While that might not necessarily mean anything, it might mean the upper brass aren’t as smart as I just gave them credit for.

So as far as I’m concerned the positive (so far) outweighs the negative by a mile. But that’s just one blogger’s opinion. Feel free to leave your own, differing or like-minded, in the comments section.

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Avast Ye! Age of Pirates 2 Release Date Announced

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Yarrr, me mateys. Pirates might be losing steam to the upstart zombies, but never fear. Playlogic is here. (Good God, did I just make an Underdog inference? Yes, yes I did….) In a press release out of New York today, Age of Pirates 2 is set to sail on May12, 2009 for the PC market. According to their spokesman:

“This sequel to the popular Age of Pirates franchise reinvents itself with a larger playing field and exciting new content from a new combat system and trading options to numerous quests and character classes,” said Rogier Smit, executive vice president of Playlogic.“The game’s free-roaming options expand the storyline and challenge players with endless hours of adventure.”

Players courageous enough to delve into the dangerous world of Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships will discover treasure and adventure as they choose to go it alone and become the most feared pirate on the seven seas, or prove their loyalty and take the coin of one of four different navies; French, English, Spanish or Dutch. As players navigate their own route through the seas of the Caribbean they can explore strange new countries and undiscovered civilizations, plunder merchant ships and even raid fortified ports and cities– interacting with nearly every character and/or building along the way.

Game features include:

• Ship-to-ship combat and toe-to-toe clashes

• 3 diverse characters and 3 classes: Merchant, Corsair and Adventurer

• 4 main campaigns

• 40+ quests and 40+ quest generators allowing for an infinite amount of quests

• New combat system for faster fights

• 3 weapon classes: light, medium and heavy

• Advanced trading system

• Real-life historical characters such as Jamaican governors Colonel Thomas Lynch and Thomas Modyford

Almost everything can be adjusted to players’ wishes, making customization and resource management a key element to gameplay. Let this serve as a warning; in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships the dead do not sleep easy, and both myth and reality frequently intertwine.

The original Age of Pirates: Carribean Tales, released by Akella is 2006, had a bumpy go. It’s timing coincided with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the game became confused with the Disney property. Playing as one of two characters (the obligatory male and female avatars), players were charged with gallivanting through an open world RPG and becoming the most piratey of all pirates. But neither of those people were Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightly, so many people took a pass for the licensed property. More’s the pity. Gameplay was enjoyable, but the project was overly ambitious for the time, leaving even high end computers struggling to compensate. According to Gamespot’s review:  A countless number of rough edges and some major bugs sap just about all the potential for entertainment from this overambitious, underdeveloped game.

However patch 1.5 when combined with a player created Supermod smoothed out the glitches and slow downs for those heavily infested in the game.

In the interim years, and with a change of developer, hopefully Age of Pirates 2 can sidestep the pitfalls of its predecessor. So far, the trailer and screens look very promising. But I suppose we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to know for sure.

Above is the official trailer for Age of Pirates 2 and below is a gallery of in-game screenshots. Enjoy!

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