This Week In Games 8.22.10
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will have a fancy collector's edition.
There will be a Resistance 3.
Mass Effect 2 is coming to PS3, but Mass Effect 1 is not. Bioware promises a smooth entry into the ME mythos.
The Dawn of War II DLC due out March 2011 will include an Orkz campaign!
Dawn of War III will follow 12 - 18 months after, and may be free-to-play.
PC Gamer talks with Valve about the new Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 campaign, "The Sacrifice." The super sweetener is that the L4D 1 campaign "No Mercy" will also make it to L4D 2.
Save a little of that Christmas money! Portal 2 will miss the holiday 2010 sweet spot, but will come out soon after - 2/9/2011.
Rumor: Some developers shown a PSP 2 prototype with touch controls ... on the back of the device.
Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain sold 4x its projected numbers in the US.
This Week In Games 7.31.10
Video game Art.
GLBT arcade opens in NYC ... 30 years ago.
Hardware manufacturer Foxconn closed for a period this week after 250 workers were hospitalized for pesticide poisoning.
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is confirmed for PC.
Nintendo announced the date they'll announce the release date and price of the 3DS. And it's news somehow.
StarCraft II campaign beaten in 16 hours. Way to savor, guy.
Oops, the DS really has hit its saturation point. Nintendo posts its first quarterly loss in 2 years.
But at least they're not Capcom - 90% drop in revenue over last year. Man.
What Did You Play This Weekend?
This weekend I got to play a little bit of Valve software's new freebee, Alien Swarm. Think the feel of Aliens meets the top-down look of Diablo, and you're close. Add up to 3 more players cooperating to wade through hordes of hostile alien bugs, and you're right on the money.
The game offers 4 different classes of character to play - officer, medic, tech, special weapons - and the brief session I had showed some real promise. There were only two of us playing, so getting the right combination to mitigate the missing classes took a couple of tries, but we managed to slog through, 3 or 4 tense moments aside, to the end of the first area. The bugs seemed to spawn the same way on every playthrough, so the challenge (at least in the level we played) came more from tactical placement and weapons loadout than from managing chaos.
Graphically and design-wise, the game feels pretty modern, and its designers have curated a nice collection of SF tropes both new and old. My favorite so far is the inclusion of an active reload system similar to the one in Gears of War. Hit reload once, and then a second time at the sweet spot in the cycle to reload significantly faster - screw up, and you're stuck waiting a bit longer than a normal reload.
While I did enjoy my time with the game, I've run into an issue where it periodically hangs for a few seconds (and sound like a skipping CD). This also holds up the other players, and is disruptive to play, so it has really let the air out of my balloon. Trimming back settings has only brought moderate improvement, and the game is barely playable for me right now. Fingers crossed that an update will save me. From what I'm reading, mine is not the average experience, so you should definitely give it a go, just bear in mind your mileage may vary.
Steam For Mac Offers Free Wormhole Simulator
Valve Software has been teasing a Mac version of the Steam gaming platform for a while now, and that day has finally arrived. Realizing that a free gaming platform upon which you own no games isn't the most exciting thing in the world, Valve has sweetened the pot a bit by giving away Portal on both Mac & PC through May 24th.
For the uninitiated, here's what you need to know. Portal is an absolute must. Quick synopsis: you are a test subject forced to traverse a series of (excellent) puzzle rooms. Your guide is a monstrously indifferent and possibly murderous AI named GLaDOS. There are wormholes (and a wormhole gun!). The cake is a ... bzzzt. End transmission.
Steam Your Apples
Any PC gamer who's been around the block lately knows at least two things about Valve's digital distribution service, Steam: 1) it's awesome, and 2) Apple users who want it are dual booting into Windows. Well, the awesome part is about to get awesomer, because the Apple barrier is about to fall. Valve recently announced it would extend the Steam platform and the Source engine to Intel based Apple OS X systems starting in April of this year. Even better, games purchased on one platform can be downloaded/played for free on the other, and save games for those titles will persist across environments. At the time of the announcement only Valve titles (Left 4 Dead 2, Portal, Half-Life 2, etc.) were included in the games list, but since Steam is such a large distribution channel we should see other publishers begin to follow suit in the near future.