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SHADOWSTRYK3R Blog

Game of the Year

This has been a pretty awesome year, hasn't it? So many great games and so little time to play them all. Highlights for me have been...

Guitar Hero II with its excellent soundtrack and endless hours of fun

BioShock with its breathtaking story and memorable characters

Halo 3 with its timeless multiplayer and fitting end to the trilogy

The Orange Box with its great value for money and the genius that is Portal

Mass Effect with its 'massive' replay value and beautiful design

Super Mario Galaxy with its groundbreaking level design and gameplay

Shocked

"We've heard an unsettling rumor today from an anonymous tipster that longtime game reviewer Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot has been let go. That wouldn't necessarily be newsworthy, but the conditions under which he was allegedly dismissed were. According to the source, Gerstmann was fired "on the spot" due to advertiser pressure for his review of Eidos' Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. A visit to Gamespot shows that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game has taken over the site very prominently, with backgrounds and multiple banner ads all pitching Kane & Lynch. Allegedly, publisher Eidos "took issue with the review and threatened to pull its ad campaign"

So...yeah...erm...WHAT?!!!!

Massive

I think I spent almost an hour creating my character in Mass Effect before I actually started playing the game. Crazy, huh?

This game is (excuse the pun) MASSIVE. Once I zoomed out of the Galaxy Map for the first time I realised just how big this game is. There's a wealth of information about the species, planets, and history in this game, its just incredible. You really get the feeling that you're part of a living, breathing world and you want to find out what's really going on. However there are some problems in Mass Effect:

*The tutorial in this game is practically non-existant. It didn't disrupt my experience of the game but it might annoy people who are new to RPGs.

* The menus feel a bit clunky and take some time getting used to

* Vehicle combat is quite poor, especially battles with the Thresher Maw

* Framerate can get pretty choppy sometimes

Mass Effect is still an amazing game despite all these issues and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys RPGs or a good story.

5 Games. One Box

Halo 3 is the only game I seem to play on my Xbox 360 at the moment. I keep saying to myself, "Hey, I'll play some Guitar Hero instead!" but somehow the Halo 3 disc slips into my hand like magic and I'm off fighting the Covenant instead of playing Sweet Child of Mine. Let's face it, Halo 3 is the only game Xbox 360 owners should be playing right now.

Still, its almost October and that means The Orange Box should be out soon here in the UK. I haven't played Half Life 2 in a loooong time! My copy for the PC doesn't seem to work anymore and I hate playing the Xbox version on the crappy Xbox 360 backwards compatability emulator.

Metroid Prime 3 is also released in October here in the UK which I also need to pre-order. Jeez...there are too many games coming out this year.

There's something about Halo

I can remember back in 2002 when I first heard about a little game called Halo: Combat Evolved. It was the reason to buy Microsoft's Xbox (a name which I thought was absurd at the time) Halo was a game that boasted an experience like no other but I wasn't convinced. One year later I'm over at a friend's house playing co-op on what I could only describe as the best game I had ever played. So several months later I buy an Xbox with a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved. Now the Xbox is the best thing since sliced bread.

Flash forward to 2004 and I'm waiting to get my hands on the highly anticipated sequel that will have the one thing that Halo lacked...online multiplayer. It's now Christmas 2004, I'm playing Halo 2 on Xbox Live for the first time and I'm blown away. Halo 2 has set the bar for the perfect Xbox Live multiplayer experience which won't be surpasssed until the third and final game in the series.

So I bid farewell to Halo 2, as it joins Halo: Combat Evolved on my shelf but I'll never get rid of it. Its given me so many memories and I have a certain amount of respect for it because of that. It wasn't a perfect game, nor was the previous installment but it was still a lot of fun. At the end of the day, that's what games are all about. Right?

Unlock the Frame rate!

So I've decided to play through BioShock a second time but with the framerate unlocked. Now, a lot of people aren't actually aware of this option, just pause the game and go to Options, then select 'Unlock frame rate'. Try it, and you'll see the difference. However this option does have its problems because you will notice that it degrades the graphics slighty during gameplay.

The 'Unlock frame rate' option was mentioned in GameSpot's interview with Ken Levine...

GS: One nice feature of the game is the "unlock frame rate" option. Why don't more games offer this? Was it terribly difficult to implement?

KL: You can't really throw almost anything on at the end of a game because there are so many unintended consequences coming out of everything. We have people saying, "How come you don't have this or that?" Some of the things we had, but the question is, "Can we implement it and can we test it for long enough to make sure you're not going to have huge problems?"

The notion of unlocking the frame rate came out of a PC-game background. As PC game developers and players, we're used to having a lot of options. I hate going into some of the Japanese console games and your options are a color border outline and stereo or mono music. I like big options screen because--and I'm sure you'll get to the widescreen question--I generally believe that gamers should be able to play the game the way they want to. And if we can support that, we will. So we were looking down the road a bit, and we have this frame rate here and some people don't mind the tearing and some people do--let's give people an option.

Click here to read the full interview

Rapture's Savior

Isn't BioShock a brilliant game? Seriously if you haven't tried it yet then I urge you to pick it up. Buy it, rent it, I don't care, you must play this game. I haven't been this impressed with an FPS since Half Life 2. In some ways its a lot like Half Life 2 but dare I say it...better? I can't decide.

There's just something about the setting of this game; its beautiful Art Deco architecture, the creepy music, the superb voice acting, the very intelligent A.I and the whole mystery of whats really going on in Rapture. There's so many plot twists and moments that make you jump that you can't help but play for hours and hours...

I completed the game yesterday and was just blown away. What an ending. Now I feel that I must return to Rapture but make different choices...

________________________________________________

So...Halo 3 has gone gold?

(Head Explodes)

Mass Effect Preview

Check out this exclusive look at the Character Creation and the new interface for the highly anticpated Mass Effect. I've heard that it won't be released over here in the UK until next year which I find incredibly annoying since America gets it in November.

Bioshock is out soon, I CAN'T WAIT. I've pre-ordered the Limited Edition which includes the soundtrack, Bonus DVD with "Making Of..." Videos and a Big Daddy Figurine which looks kinda cool...

*Update* I've just finished Marathon: Durandal and I'm exhausted! That game is LOOOOOONG! Still, it was great to get an idea of what Bungie did before Halo.

1 Million and counting...

REDMOND, Wash - Aug. 9, 2007 - As the countdown continues for the entertainment event of the year - the launch of "Halo 3" - the video game continues to set records and establish new precedents for an entertainment launch. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced that preorders in North America for the exclusive Xbox 360 title have exceeded the 1 million milestone.


HAIL TO THE CHIEF!

*Update* Check out this video for more information about Microsoft's plans for HALO 3 product and promotional tie ins.

It's confirmed!

"Not two player co-op. Not three-player co-op, but up to four player co-op. Online. On Xbox Live, or sure, System Link if you prefer"

:cry: These are tears of joy