Ah, irony. A couple months ago we were celebrating breakthroughs in hyper-realistic video games. Now paying $60 seems extravagant for a single blockbuster title. But what about enjoying 10 downloadable alternatives for the same price? Faster connections, increasingly intuitive interfaces and ballooning value-priced software catalogues haven't just made digital game purchasing fiscally wise. They've also rendered it addictively simple.
For sentimental types—or just those needing a break from the corporate treadmill—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali are reason enough to cheer. But for gamers overwhelmed by the year-end tsunami of new titles, we're declaring a new national holiday: December. Even 31 days isn't enough to work your way through all the new releases. So to make the most of your month (or however much time you can get free) we recommend starting with these five games that blend the high tech with high adrenaline.
Shots ring out. Sirens split the air. Sunlight streaming on the city's rooftops, you race towards freedom, breath exploding in your lungs, footsteps pounding on the concrete. Suddenly, you've nowhere left to run. Without thinking, you leap. And for the first time ever, in 3D adventure Mirror's Edge (PC/PS3/Xbox 360), you'll discover how the gymnastic maneuver pans out directly through its heroine's eyes.
Like most savvy sci-fi gaming fans, I spent the past weekend channeling my inner Mad Max with a new copy of Fallout, clearing its stunning post-apocalyptic wastelands of ravenous mutant and bloodthirsty raider alike. I'm not talking about the newly released third series installment for computers and next-gen consoles. Rather, thanks to new online distribution service Good Old Games, I've been revisiting the original desktop legend instead.
Talk about moving mountains. Many of today's most sophisticated shooters trumpet destructible environments that let you splinter walls or pulverize pillars into powder with a well-placed salvo. But none offer the freedom or flexibility to reshape the world around you like LucasArts' new futuristic blaster Fracture ($60, PS3/Xbox 360). You must morph terrain in real-time to tunnel a way forward or stop bullets from dinging your bionic rear-end.
Rrrrriiiiiing! That's the sound of irony calling. Despite ongoing efforts to market the iPhone 3G to business customers, insiders know the handset does its best work moonlighting as an overgrown Nintendo DS.
I am hunter, warrior, slayer of Jedi. I am Darth Vader's secret apprentice in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which hits shelves for the first time today. ($60, PS3/Xbox 360).
Thanks to Euphoria artificial intelligence, which simulates every quaking adversary's nervous and muscular systems (they convincingly dive and cower when the explosive crates and invisible energy waves start flying), the galaxy trembles before my wrath. Molecular Matter software emulates realistic material breakage, causing metal to warp and wood to splinter along the grain according to the point of impact. Unlike rival games' predictable battles, each neon-tinted firefight and lightsaber duel promises singular mayhem every time you hoist the controller.
Certain moments, a man never forgets: graduations, weddings, the birth of his first slavering Scuzzraptor. Electronic Arts' Spore, a 3D Petri dish that allows evolution of custom-made creatures from unicellular microbe to space-faring conqueror, does for Darwinism what Super Mario Bros. did for magic mushrooms. When connected online, the game silently uploads and catalogues personalized beasts, buildings, and vehicles in a central database. It then grants creators virtual immortality by using the creations to populate fellow players' worlds.
A pair of soar winners from Capcom lets gamers fly like never before
By Steve MorgensternPosted 06.23.2008 at 1:55 pm 2 Comments
I recently got my first look at two very different games from Capcom that share one interesting trait –your on-screen character will fly through the air with the greatest of ease (although not getting shot and landing without killing yourself prove pretty challenging).
DarkVoid was first to catch my eye.
You can shoot ’em up on any console, but a DIY world is hard to find
By Steve MorgensternPosted 06.16.2008 at 2:57 pm 2 Comments
The hearts of PlayStation 3 fans are beating a little faster right now, with the release of Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots exclusively for Sony's system. This is more than the final chapter in a fan-favorite series, though; It's probably the last blockbuster title—other than Sony's own creations—we'll see released by a third-party publisher exclusively for PS3.