BREAKING NEWS: Battlefield 3 Caspian Border Map Returns, High-Res Texture on Xbox 360

So the title pretty much says it all, but to clarify: for PC gamers, you have one more chance to play Caspian Border on Battlefield 3 before the beta ends. In this final weekend, Caspian Border will be available to play, no password-hunting required. The servers are up now (I’ve checked) so get on it!

 

More info after the bump!

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Death and Gaming: Yurt the Silent Chief in Demon’s Souls

Demons Souls Yurt

*Note: if you have not encountered Yurt the Silent Chief in Demon’s Souls, or if you do not know what his purpose in the game is, read this article at your own risk.

 

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so” –John Donne

 

We all die, and in video games, we all die a lot. It’s a given. But what if you knew exactly when you were going to die? How you were going to die? Who was going to kill you? Inevitable, mysterious death suddenly becomes tangible, something to rage and struggle against rather than resign oneself to.

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Top 5 Kevin Butler Ads

The Playstation 3 wasn’t always the hot item it is today. Back in the day, many people regarded the console as an overpriced shiny box that worked better as a Blu Ray player than it did as a videogame console (and some people still hold this belief). There was a variety of factors that contributed to the PS3 becoming it is what it is today: better games, a much needed price cut, and maybe, just maybe, the Kevin Butler Ads.

Undeniably one of the greatest videogame marketing campaigns, the Kevin Butler ads are hilarious—and more importantly a million times better than that near avant-garde crap Sony shoved down our throats. You know the ones: floating baby dolls that cry, black blobs that contort, and floating PS3s. It was ridiculous, it was awful, and it would have a hard time selling crack to a drug fiend.

So all hail Kevin Butler, king of Sony’s success. Today, we’re picking the top five Kevin Butler TV spots.

#5 Kevin Butler and Modnation Racers

This is a fun game, but the only thing better than a Little Big Planet kart racer is seeing Kevin Butler wearing an awesome ‘stache. Maybe he should sport this look all the time?

#4 Kevin Butler and Uncharted 2

Uncharted 2 sold consoles with its beautiful graphics, intense gameplay and intriguing storyline. I’m sure there’s been many a people who have sat down and watched the action, which is better than most of the crap on the Big Screen these days.

#3 Kevin Butler in the Future

Love the jab at Kinect’s red ball game, but one thing, KB. It’s almost the future, and I’m still not eating my meals through straws. Sony needs to get on this.

Check out after the bump for the top two Kevin Butler ads.

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Transformers War for Cybertron: Screw Voltron

Transformers War for Cyberton

The Transformers… more than meets the eye!

At its most basic, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a third-person shooter that outlines the events leading up to the Transformers’ exile from their home planet, Cybertron. Developed by High Moon Studios and published by the folks over at Activision, this game was released on June 22, 2010 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Before the game’s release, a multiplayer demo was released on June 10th for the Xbox 360, and allowed the player to take control of the “scout” or “soldier” character classes. This is the game that old school Transformers fans (like myself) have been waiting for the last two decades to be made.

War for Cyberton

From here, things look peaceful. On the planet’s surface? Not so much.

Transformers: War for Cybertron’s story starts off from the perspective of the Decepticons, led by Megatron, who are hunting down fragments of dark energon in order to fulfill their quest of annihilating the Autobots. The dark energon is being guarded by Starscream in his research station, who ends up betraying the Autobots, which allows Megatron to easily lay claim to the planet’s source of the dark energy. Near the conclusion of the Decepticon campaign, Megatron forces Omega Surpeme to open the passage to Cybertron’s core and travels there with his squadmates. Upon their arrival in the planet’s core, Megatron decides to infect the core of Cybertron with his newly acquired dark energon.

War for Cyberton Megatron

All hail Lord Megatron, leader of the Decepticons!

The second half of this game focuses on the Autobot’s story, where the original Autobot leader, Zeta Prime, has been slain and Optimus eagerly takes up the role of their leader. He starts by recruiting Ratchet and Bumblebee for the good cause in order to fight Megatron and the rest of his Decepticons. The Autobot campaign essentially kicks off in their home capital of Iacon, where they have to defend their way of life by activating Cyberton’s armaments. Near the end of the Autobot campaign, newly minted leader Optimus Prime orders the evacuation of all Autobot cities. As Autobot escape crafts are fleeing the planet’s surface, they are attacked by a large Decepticon, known only as Trypticon. Optimus Prime and his squad stick around to defeat this menacing foe, and after they do, they elect to defend Cybertron from Megatron and his allies as long as the escape crafts are leaving. At the game’s conclusion, Optimus Prime commissions a large ship to shuttle all remaining Autobots into the safety of deep space.

Optimus Prime

Autobots! Transform and roll out!!

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N3GAT1VE_CR33P Reviews: Mafia 2 Demo

Mafia 2 PS3

I sure as hell don't want to be on their bad side

The sequel to 2002’s Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, Mafia II was announced three years ago at the Leipzig Games Convention, and will be playable on the PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox 360. A ten minute playable demo of Mafia II was released on August 10, 2010 for all platforms and features a playable mission that was scrapped from the retail version. The full version of the game was released on August 24, 2010 in the United States, and will be released on August 27, 2010 in PAL regions.

Mafia 2 gangster

Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a gangster.

Mafia II is set in a fictitious take on a combination of New York City and San Francisco (with some architectural influences from Detroit and Chicago thrown in for good measure) called Empire Bay during the late 1940s to the late 1950s. Being an open world sandbox, Empire Bay is going to have nearly 10 square miles of area to explore, just about fifty era-specific vehicles to drive around in, and officially licensed music from the timeframe Mafia II is based upon. Also making a return from the original game are a good number of the weapons it featured – including the M1928 Thompson machine gun, the Colt 1911, and the pump action shotty. In addition to the returning list of weapons from the original Mafia game are a couple of WWII era-specific weapons – such as the M3 Grease gun, the MP28, the MG42, and the MP40.

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Batman Arkham Asylum: I Am The Darkness

Batman game review

The problem with making a superhero game is the same regardless of the figure. How do you 1) make the player feel super powerful, and 2) challenge the player? Every superhero video game represents a struggle to balance these too elements. As gamers, we don’t want to just press the A button over and over again—that’s what Final Fantasy 13 got wrong (ZING!). At the same time, we also don’t want to be playing as Batman and not feel like we’re playing as Batman.

Developer Rocksteady gets really close to the perfect balance between the two sides. Really, really close. There’s only a few problem that keeps this from being the perfect superhero game. As such, it is a fantastic game that offers some amazing fun, but don’t expect to be too challenged. See, maybe I was playing this game on too easy of a setting, but outside of the boss fights, I didn’t die. There’s a part of me that wants to think I didn’t die because I’m awesome, but I know that’s not completely the case. Arkham Asylum’s combat system is just too easy, I think. This doesn’t break the game, honestly, but it does make me feel not like Batman, but just someone controlling Batman.

Of course, I’m not Batman, but video games to me represent a way to become something you’re not. I want to feel like Batman because I’m not Batman in real life (or maybe I am, and I’m just trying to throw you off the trail of my secret identity). Arkham Asylum’s combat basically comes down to pressing the attack button and knowing when to counter attack. It’s a simple, streamlined system, but like most fighting games, the straightforwardness of the system made me neglect a lot of the things I could do. There’s no reason to get into the upgrade system when you’re basic punching attacks work well, and in fact, I didn’t; I invested all my upgrades into the health system, and once I maximized that, I went onto combat upgrades I rarely used.

Joker

It’s a problem inherent in any fighting game. Some games, like Too Human, reduce their combat system to nothing, while others try to make the enemy AI so punishing that you have to used advanced combos. In Batman, that latter option wasn’t available: Batman seldom fights just one grunt. Maybe one boss, but a game of just boss fights would be equally dumb. Regardless, I felt that the fights were just too easy. However, I do have to say, the fights themselves look awesome. Onlookers think you’re doing something amazing, even though you’re just pressing one button. I think that’s why more people don’t mention the easy combat system: it looks so damn cool, it’s easy to forgive.

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Blur Review

Blur game

Blur is a racing game which was created by the masterminds behind the Sega Dreamcast’s Metropolis Street Racer game, as well as the Project Gotham Racing series released on both the original Xbox and Xbox 360 – Bizarre Creations. They also happen to be the creators of one of my all-time favorite Xbox Live Arcade games, 2005’s Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. At its most basic, this is a racing game that’s built around vehicular combat while utilizing many different real life car makes and models. Some have likened this game to a Mario Kart on steroids racer, but in my humble opinion, it’s a thousand times more quick and chaotic than what I remember Mario Kart ever being. No offense aimed at the Mario Kart uber fanatics out there, but that’s just my humble opinion.

The first time that I played Blur was when the public beta was released on Xbox Live Marketplace, after it went live on April 6, 2010. Nothing much about the game in general has changed as far as looks and controls are concerned. Now that I’ve actually had the opportunity to play the PS3 version they look virtually identical. To be completely honest, it’s been just as much fun playing it months ago on my 360 as it’s been having played it recently on my PS3… and this is coming from a guy that vehemently swore off racing games many, many years ago.

Blur car

The first mode of the game that I immediately dove into was the career mode. You encounter and race against boss characters after completing certain demands – demands such as “evade three shock fields,” “complete two fan runs,” or “complete four fan targets,” etc. There is a wide variety of cars that can be driven in Blur, including the Ford Focus RS, Dodge Challenger SRT8, Nissan 350z NISMO S-tune, and even a classic like the Volkswagen Beetle. Once you best one of the boss characters, you unlock their vehicle and vehicle modification for your use. After getting past the first boss character Shannon I wound up unlocking her Renault R230 F1 Team R26 (try saying that five times fast) vehicle, as well as her “overbolt” mod, which grants its user with an extra bolt round every time a bolt power-up is picked up. In order to unlock the higher difficulty boss characters, primary goals need to be met (finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd), fan targets (the number of fans you gain) must be obtained, and fan runs (driving through marked gates on the track) need to be accomplished. Basically, when you complete more of these goals during a course, more playable content will be unlocked down the road (no pun intended).

Blur race

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