Tomb Raider Store Now Open

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Square Enix studio Crystal Dynamics and Tree House Brands today unveiled the one stop shop for all things TOMB RAIDER – the official TOMB RAIDER online store www.tombraiderstore.com.

The store will offer a wide range of exclusive branded apparel and accessories, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and a range of limited edition prints inspired by the game’s themes of survival, exploration and resilience. In addition, the store will also sell the complete collection of TOMB RAIDER branded merchandise from all of its partners, including the official strategy guides & art books from Brady Games, the Official TOMB RAIDER Soundtrack from Sumthing Digital and the limited release TOMB RAIDER controller.

TOMB RAIDER will launch March 5, 2013 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Windows PC platforms. Look out for our review soon.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Headshots Gameplay Trailer

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CI Games, (aka City Interactive) has today released the new action-packed “Headshots” gameplay trailer for their upcoming modern military sniper experience game, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

Showcasing the power of a well-executed long-range takedown, the Headshots trailer gives players a glimpse into the unique and tactical gameplay they’ll experience while stalking their targets across in-game sites based on real world locations.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 sharpshoots itself onto the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in the UK starting March 15.

You can watch the Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Headshots gameplay trailer below:

Ubisoft Confirms Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Ubisoft have confirmed the next Assassin’s Creed title today – Black Flag. As previously reported it looks all set for the next installment in the franchise to be based around Pirates.

Check out the artwork below and expect a whole lot more information and a trailer on Monday. We are expecting to hear that the main characters name is Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3. Edward is known as a Privateer, Assassin and occasional pirate.

The games location is meant to be set in the Caribbean on multiple islands including Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas. The current game is running on the Xbox 360, but has plans for next generation console’s as well. Finally, Darby McDevitt is the lead script writer, with tie in’s from previous Assassin’s Creed games.

We’ll keep you posted on the facts this coming Monday.

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ThisisXbox Attends Gears of War: Judgment Day Event

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As many of you are probably aware, Microsoft held a small event in London recently showcasing some of their upcoming game Gears of war: Judgment. I was lucky enough to have been invited and get some time with the game hands-on, and on a far more personal level than I had before having only played two rounds at last year’s Eurogamer Expo being watched by crowds of people I don’t know. Within minutes it is easy to see that People Can Fly have paid a lot of attention to keeping the core elements of the Gears franchise we know and love in there, while adding a nice few tweaks to make the multiplayer and single player alike feel, well, a little different as opposed to essentially being a full price piece of DLC.

Thursday arrives and I make my way to Bond Street; I manage to arrive nice and early giving me extra time to have a hamburger and some fries from McDonald’s. It has to be said, Microsoft chose the right building for the job, from the tube station to the building of the event, shops, stalls, standard modern London buildings, then, nestled in between all of these, stands a Victorian building with two huge stone pillars outside and a very large wooden double door leading you in, the most “Sera-esque” building I’ve seen in a while, and I do live in London.

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I am let inside and led to the basement where the mood was instantly set. There I met some Twitter winners and some people from other Xbox news sites attending this special event, and had a brief wander around at the impressive setup and decor until we were all told to sit down for our introduction.

Led by none other than AceyBongos (XBOX EMEA Social Marketing Manager), we were all told we would be spending two hours with the game, 40 minutes on a single player level and the rest on multiplayer. We were given a small rundown of the campaign level and the multiplayer mode we would be playing, and off we went. I’ll treat this the same way we were treated and split this up into two parts, single player and multiplayer, so enough about my trip and what the place looked like, the important part, gameplay!

Campaign: Sadly, campaign was to be played alone which was a new experience for me, even as a fan of the franchise since Gears of War came out in 2006, I had never played campaign without a co-op buddy, but it did not matter. The scene was set with a lot of COGs gearing for war (heh, gearing… For war) and discussing a rumour of a high ranking officer becoming a war criminal in a matter of a week – Enter Baird and his squad being escorted from a Raven to what looks like a courthouse in a much less wore torn version of Sera we have ever seen without it being a flashback. This sets the tone for the mission, I can’t say the same for the rest of the game but the mission I played was entirely narrated by Baird while on trial giving a much more story-esque feel to everything. I have no intention of going into any detail of the story I witnessed, so I’ll focus on new gameplay elements that make campaign feel different as I previously mentioned.

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First thing you’ll notice is the Gears of War emblem spray-painted onto walls around Sera, you can get close and activate it! With this it’s time to switch things up; complete an area in a specific amount of time before Hammer of Dawn strikes hit, or work though an area only using Locust weapons – every emblem you activate has a different completion requirement that additionally gives you a nice score multiplier. Next and most important for replay-ability, is the new “SSS” or “smart spawn system” that is in place. I can’t say if it’s a rotation of different mixes or completely random every time as I only replayed and area once, but both times I was greeted by completely different classes of Grubs, along with different weapons and changing spawn points giving every area a new feel for at least a few playthroughs. A mini version of horde mode is also present in the campaign; you will be told to fortify and hold down a specific area for a while until help arrives or people are moved. You have the ability to pick up a few auto turrets lying around and you need to place them where you see fit, but rather than being destroyed through a wave these turrets will simply run out of ammo, giving you the chance to go and refill them or take on the horde without the help.

As impressive as the new additions to campaign are, as always with Gears, multiplayer is where it’s at. I believe the mode we were playing was called “Overrun”, this is what beast mode SHOULD have been back when Gears of War 3 was released. As usual, two teams, one COG one Locust. The COG team are tasked with defending a power generator, set up fences like in horde and hunker down. You’re using classes this time so no running to grab a weapon before everyone else. Each class has different weapons and class specific gadgets, from healing grenades and ammo boxes to repair tools, bear in mind though, repair tools cannot rebuild a broken fence or turret, it can only repair broken ones. COGs spawn with low ammo so a team-mate with an ammo box is a must. You will have about 5 or 6 minutes depending on the map to defend the generator, if you fail the round ends, or on some maps moves on to the next generator in a different area in a way that reminds me heavily of Battlefield’s “Rush” mode. On the Locust side of things it is basically beast mode with slightly less grubs to pick. No Berserkers which may upset some at first, but when the round is over and you’re running as a COG, you’ll be pleased. That isn’t to say the Locust don’t have some heavy hitters, I didn’t test them all out but I had a LOT of fun playing as a Corpser, which can even add a slight stealth element if you do it right, the burrow ability gives you the chance to get behind enemy lines, under fences and pop up to hit some weak points for massive damage. Maulers have a new “shield spin” ability though I can’t say I saw a specific use for it. As expected you have the Kantus as medic, Tickers for living bombs and Wretches to stun enemies and stop them from being able to fire for a couple of seconds giving your team mates an advantage.

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There are a few other classes, the ones you would expect like a Serepede and standard Drone, but I didn’t use them so I can’t talk much about them. All the firepower you get as a Locust may leave you wondering how the hell they manage to balance that out. Ammo guys being able to drop supply boxes at will and them having a Boomshot with potentially unlimited ammo really evens the odds, a medic near the said supply box to keep the healing grenades going and you have a force that even the most deadly Grub would be scared to face. The teams were mixed up every game (which usually consisted of two rounds, sometimes three) and my team never lost a single game taking the generator out within a minute and a half in one round as the Locust, while holding the horde off for the full time every round as COG, proving the combined strength of so many big, ugly locust can still be pushed back by a good team working together.

After a while the consoles were switched off and we were given our phones back to take some pictures now no screens were on (did I mention they took our phones away from us so we couldn’t sneakily record any footage? Well they did, I felt naked). Some photos of the setup and our surroundings were taken and were sent back outside to the cold streets of London, ever more hyped for next month when the world will finally be able to do what I’m sure many have wanted to do since beast mode was announced, play as some of the more dangerous Locust, and own some real people.

Get excited people. This is NOT to be seen as Gears of War 3.5 with a new campaign. Gears of War Judgment will make many Gears fans very happy.

Will Bungie’s Destiny Bring The MMO Genre To The Next Xbox?

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It really is an exciting time to be a console gamer. Not only has the Xbox seen a recent run of incredible games, the platform recently proved that gaming experiences that are slightly outside most people’s regular comfort zones such as the turn-based squad tactics in X-COM can actually succeed. Now, Bungie has revealed its next project – Destiny, a huge-in-scale MMOFPS that will bring the MMO experience to console in a far more accessible way than, say, Final Fantasy XI.

In a similar approach to developers designing titles for iOS that are actually tuned to a touch-screen gaming experience, Bungie are aiming to bring a full-bodied MMO experience to your Xbox console, whichever one you may be using by the time the game is released. While it’s likely that Destiny will blow the minds of many gamers, it may also open the floodgates to massively-multiplayer gaming as a regular part of the future Xbox line-up.

They may not all be MMOFPS titles, either – while the MMORPG tends to involve a considerable amount of buttons, it’s not entirely necessary – combinations of button-presses and the triggers potentially allowing you access to up to twelve face buttons for commands at once (and that’s before you count the bumpers), gamers need not reach for a USB keyboard any more. It’s a shame Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning never made it to MMORPG status, as its huge world and Fable-esque approachable control scheme made it the perfect basis for a console MMORPG.

The MMO genre is branching out on the PC currently, titles appearing that opt for massively-multiplayer real-time strategy, shooters, even purely social games. It’s also worth noting that Destiny isn’t alone in appearing as a console MMO in the near future – Defiance is also a shooter making tracks towards the Xbox and PS3. However, it’s also coming to PC, and given it’s a shooter, those without a mouse and keyboard may find themselves frustrated should they go up against those who are in possession of these superior FPS peripherals.

This is the problem with the approach of some developers who are bringing the MMO gamer back to consoles – that they’re targeting PC alongside the Xbox and Playstation platforms. The issues this causes are numerous: That either the controller isn’t enough, or the keyboard is underused. That the graphics won’t match between platforms. There are endless issues with facing off the PC and console crowds over a single game, and MMOs tuned for a specific platform will always outperform because neither side is lacking in their experience.

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(Photo courtesy of gameinformer.com)

Destiny also needs to prove its ability to operate subscription free, and to keep consoles clear of the free-to-play elements that have plagued people’s PC and iPhone game libraries as of late. Subscription fees tend to elicit much hissing and spitting when it comes to new MMOs, big releases like Star Wars: The Old Republic soon to include a free-to-play model to stop the game from failing completely, but unfortunately sabotaging itself by locking off many of its crucial features behind pay-walls.

None of these approaches will fly with console users. They’re used to a down payment at the start and that’s that. Now, DLC prices make them feel like they’re being milked for content that would’ve come as an expansion, or on the disc at release, ten years ago. Console MMOs will be no different – while expansions will keep the game financially solvent, any hint towards sucking extra money out of players in a “pay to win” environment may push a lot of gamers away from an otherwise fantastic game. Destiny has thrown the doors open to console-only MMO titles, but unless the other games walking through it are willing to adapt to a console environment, nothing may change.

 

David Thompson is a fresh and upcoming technology and entertainment blogger who enjoys the challenges of creativity and attention to detail. His specific areas of interest include film, gaming and the mobile industry, encompassing everything from manufacturer-specific news from Apple to industry announcements from the likes of O2.

Sacred Citadel: Level Up! Gear Up!

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Deep Silver today revealed more information about the RPG elements in Sacred Citadel. With these RPG elements plus unique weapon combinations, mounts, towns, a multitude of combat options and more aspects still to be revealed, Sacred Citadel offers unsurpassed depth in the genre of side-scrolling action brawlers.

Sacred Citadel offers a wealth of role-playing features that help to spice up this action brawler. Players can battle with up to three characters out of a total of four, and all of them can be leveled up during the progress of the game and acquire new skills. Since Sacred Citadel is also a unique co-op experience, the different ways you can develop a character plays an important role for the whole group. The four characters (consisting of the Khukuri Shaman, the Ancarian Ranger and the Safiri Warrior and a yet-to-be-revealed secret character) have their own skill sets that grant them stronger class attacks depending on their experience level, which come to life when used in conjunction with each other.

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Throughout the game the characters can pick up a host of new equipment: weapons that can be used to beef up their attack values or armor to improve their defense stats. Cannot decide between that sturdy mace that stuns your enemies so beautifully but also want to take that sharp sword with you to pierce your foes? No problem! Sacred Citadel allows for custom weapon combinations.

Bolster your character’s stash with the treasures that he finds on his mission and spend it at one of the many merchants in town. Players will also have a number of tasty potions that can be used at will, to regain health or refill the power meter to unleash devastating special attacks. All of this creates great depth, diversity, and most important of all, freedom, letting warriors approach the numerous challenges that they will encounter on their quest to defend the lands of Ancaria any way they wish.

Will your character be strong enough to take down the ultimate boss? It’s up to you to decide!

Sacred Citadel will be out in 2013 as a digital download title through Xbox LIVE Arcade and is being developed by Southend Interactive.

XBLA: NEXUIZ Servers Shut Down As Part of THQ Death

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Xbox LIVE Arcade game Nexuiz has been dealt a bitter blow as part of the THQ closure – tonight the servers on the Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game has been closed down.

Nexuiz was originally a 2005 PC title available for free and heavily based on the popular Quake games, but it was first announced as an Xbox LIVE Arcade digital download in 2010 when Crytek confirmed that they had licensed the Cryengine 3 for Nexuiz under development by Illfonic. This was not a direct port of the PC game for the current-gen console, instead it was a new modernised game with futuristic worlds, but keeping the same fast-paced-old-school action. Illfonic had created the best first-person-shooter that money can buy for just a mere 800 MS Points, and now if you never had the chance to play it – consider the Xbox 360 version DEAD!

We rated the game 8/10 in our review as part of the Xbox LIVE Arcade House Party Promotions around this time last year. The developers confirmed the XBLA loss on Facebook today:

As some of you know, the Xbox Servers are now offline. It was fun while it lasted on there and we are glad you guys enjoyed the game! Unfortunately, the Xbox Servers were controlled by THQ and in the current state, cannot be maintained anymore. Since the PC servers are different and can be controlled 100% by IllFonic, they will remain online and functional. Thanks!

Nexuiz by rights should be removed from the Xbox LIVE Arcade as it will now be a total waste of money!

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Outed

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According to Kotaku who has received leaked promo materials about the next iteration of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, you’re going to be a Pirate, and not the type that likes to download and sell copied material.

So t’ kick off this great news we be goin’ t’ talk like a pirate. Ubisoft hasn’t announced anythin’ just yet, but it’s not t’ first time t’ new title for this years AC game has been spotted. A traveler had spotted t’ AC4:Black Flag title on a presentation slide whilst on a flight, he was watchin’ t’ screen o’ t’ person seated in fore o’ him

Ok, enough of the pirate talk – Examiner on the other hook have obtained details surrounding some of the characters and plot as well as a screenshot.

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The main characters name is Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3. Edward is known as a Privateer, Assassin and occasional pirate. The games location is set in the Caribbean on multiple islands including Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas.

The current game is running on the Xbox 360, but has plans for next generation console’s as well. Finally, Darby McDevitt is the lead script writer, with tie in’s from previous Assassin’s Creed games.

When official announcements are in, we’ll keep you updated. We do know that Ubisoft are holding an event tomorrow at 5pm UK time on the next Assassins Creed – so expect more details tomorrow.

Via Kotaku and Examiner

Gears of War Judgment Season Pass Detailed

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The war for Sera ignites on March 19th with the highly anticipated release of “Gears of War: Judgment.” – and Epic Games has confirmed that the VIP Season Pass for “Judgment” will be available at launch for 1600 Microsoft points.

The Season Pass will provide gamers with around a 20 percent discount across a broad range of content, including six multiplayer maps, two new modes and nine exclusive unlocks.

The VIP Season Pass is the only way you can score a permanent double XP boost as well as a cache of exclusive armor and weapon skins, and it is your only chance to get a jump on the competition with exclusive, early access to all Game Add-on multiplayer maps.

With the VIP Season Pass you will get:

  • Two upcoming Game Add-on Packs that include six multiplayer maps, two new modes, and new weapon and armor skins
  • Early access to Game Add-on multiplayer maps so you can be the first to play
  • A permanent double XP boost to accelerate your ascent through the ranks
  • Five exclusive weapon skins and four exclusive armor skins

Thanks Epic Games