games / Columns

Around The Gaming World 11.9.12

November 9, 2012 | Posted by Chris Ferrell

Hey everyone, welcome to the latest installment of Around The Gaming World. If this is your first time checking in I try to cover some of the major stories for each console in addition to news, which in my opinion, is the news of the week.

Perry Csonka • 6 days ago
I’m pretty wary of Halo 4. Anything that overhyped is going to get glowing reviews at release. Most recently MW3, every review was 8, 9, 10. There wasn’t a low score to be found on any of the bigger gaming sites. Then a couple months down the road you start seeing the articles that basically said nothing more than “you know, MW3 kinda sucks….”

That and most websites have little to no credibility for impartial reviews of big name titles. They aren’t going to give a bad review to something that generates hits for their site. They wouldn’t want to piss off the publisher and not get their early copies of the next game.

There was a really great article on I think kotaku a while back about just how shady the publisher/gaming site relationship is. Alot of free trips to tropical islands being given away to game reviewers on the big sites.

Perry, I understand your concern there. After playing the reviews I think the reviewers were pretty much spot on for Halo 4. I have really enjoyed the game so far. I’ve only dabbled in the multiplayer gameplay. But, the campaign is a lot of fun and the fights have been mixed up some. You can’t just rush into a fight and expect to survive. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the story. There seems to be a lot more focus on the story aspect of the game. 343 Industries did a great job in my book.

Ant-LOX • 6 days ago
GTA IV was good, but once I unlocked the third island, I ditched on the story and just went on daily crime sprees.

San Andreas was just huge. If they were to actually remake that with updated graphics, I wouldn’t mind.

Daily crime sprees are the best part of GTA!

Thanks for your feedback, and keep the comments coming!

Gears of War Is Popular – The Gears of War series has reached a new sales milestone. Microsoft revealed to Joystiq today that the third-person shooter franchise has now moved 19 million units life-to-date.

Microsoft did not break down sales figures for specific games, though it is known that Gears of War 3 managed to sell 3 million units during its first week on sale in September 2011.

Additionally, the first two Gears of War titles sold a combined 12 million units, suggesting Gears of War 3 has added an additional 3 million sales to its total, in line with former design director Cliff Bleszinski’s hopes.

Via: GameSpot

I’ve always enjoyed the Gears of War games. When Gears of War came out it was one of the first games to push the over the shoulder view in FPS games. At the time it was one of my favorite games. Of course, how could you not like a game where you had a gun with a chainsaw built into it? This is also an important milestone for Microsoft. Another Xbox exclusive series is putting up huge numbers, that’s a good way to keep gamers with your system when its time to upgrade.

Also, keep in mind there is still another game being added to the series. My guess is that will add even more to these numbers. Just how big will the Gears series end up being when all is said and done?

Devil May Cry Collection – The Devil May Cry HD Collection is available now in invisible, digital form via Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN, for $30 or 2400 MS Points. Devil May Cry HD Collection includes Devil May Cry 1, 2 and 3, leaving out 4 because playing as Nero once is quite enough, thank you. At least, we assume that’s why. It could also be because 4 is already an HD title.

Capcom suggests Devil May Cry HD Collection can hold fans over until DmC drops on January 15, in all of its own HD and neon-filtered glory.

Via: Joystiq

Full disclosure I have never been a big fan of this series. I do have friends that absolutly love Devil May Cry and they are pretty pumped about this game releasing. I’ve said before that I am a fan of doing HD releases of older games, and that continues with DMC. I like the idea of turning a younger generation on to a series from the previous generation of consoles. That makes it more likely you will see the franchise continue. Smart move by Capcom to release on both PSN and XBL as well. The earlier DMC games were Playstation 2 exclusive I believe.

Omega Returns – Omega, the biggest and most expensive DLC for Mass Effect 3 yet, will team players up with mobster Aria T’loak as well as Turian female mercenary leader Nyreen Kandros. Eurogamer took a tour through the eponymous space station with new alien allies and reported back on what Commander Shepards of all stripes can expect to see.
The new content takes place over about four hours, beginning with Aria in the Citadel’s Purgatory nightclub. The one-shot missions see Shepard accompanying Aria to fight for Omega without his or her squad or the Normandy for backup, and can be started any time after the battle for Palaven and before the game’s final sequence.

Aria shows her biotic prowess in combat against Omega’s Cerberus occupiers, more than making up for Shepard’s absent squadmates. Nyreen also busts out some new biotic abilities, aiding in the fight against familiar enemies as well as new flank-happy mechanized foes.

Players are able to explore a few familiar areas of Omega as well as new regions, with Aria’s bunker serving as a hub. Paragons, Renegades, and Shepards in between will choose whether to back Aria’s thirst for revenge or focus on retaking the station as a strategic resource in the war against the Reapers.

And no, you won’t be able to romance Nyreen (now we’ll never know who has the reach and flexibility). Or Aria, though you can end up with a “strong relationship” or quite the opposite depending on how you play it.

The pack costs $15 and will release on November 27 on Xbox 360 and PC, and November 28 on PlayStation 3

Via: Games Radar

Anyone who has read this column knows that I am a Mass Effect fanboy. I have never made an effort to hide that. In fact, I’ve embraced it. I would like to think I have not indulged in too many fanboy-ish behaviors regarding the franchise. Like many others, I had my reservations/complaints with the ending to Mass Effect 3. That being said BioWare has long had a solid plan when it comes to DLC add ons for their games. Lair of the Shadow Broker on Mass Effect 2 is a shining example of that. So far it looks like the Omega DLC might surpass LOTSB.

Four hours of new gameplay is something exciting to see. And, you get to play with two new squadmates. You might remember Aria as the ‘Queen’ of Omega and now she’s on your squad. Not to mention you also get a new Turian named Nyreen. For $15 bucks I’m all over this DLC. It should be fun as I wrap up my second playthrough of the game. I just can’t bring myself to replay my canon Shep, aka Space Jesus, again right now. His story is over. You guys getting this DLC?

Another Publication Bites the Dust – The publisher of PlayStation: The Official Magazine has confirmed to Game Informer that the Sony-minded periodical will board up its doors by year’s end. This isn’t the first gaming zine that publisher Future US has called it quits on this year — news of Nintendo Power’s closure broke this August. Just like the Nintendo-centric themed publication, the PlayStation mag’s last issue will be its holiday edition. However, unlike Newsweek’s leap to a purely digital existence, there’s no indication that the magazine could see life online.

Via: Engadget

I’ll be honest, I was surprised when Nintendo Power shut their doors earlier this year. If one of the mainstays in video game magazine would shut down who would be safe. Turns out the next magazine to shut down is PlayStation: The Official Magazine. At year end, the publication will be closing its doors. In a world where game news is dominated by the internet I think its hard for print publications to keep up. Instead of waiting for a monthly magazine to see a review on a game I can just fire up my Chrome browser and see multiple reviews. Print media suffered from the fact that news is so readily available nowadays. Of course all you readers know that as you’re reading about gaming news on the web.

This makes me wonder how much longer the Official Xbox Magazine will remain. The news is all online and the demos on the disc can usually be pulled off of Xbox Live. After all, if Nintendo Power can fold any of the game magazines are vulnerable.

Wii U Data Transfer – After spending some alone time with our Wii U review unit, we’ve flipped through the manual and learned exactly how you’ll be able to move all your precious Wii data over to a new Wii U.

The process is a bit complicated. An SD card (with at least 512MB of free space) must first be inserted into the Wii U, after which the system transfer option can be selected from the Wii U menu. The SD card is then moved to the Wii, where a “transfer application” is downloaded from the Wii Shop. Said app moves all of the Wii’s data (save for pre-installed software) to the SD card. Once that’s done, the card is popped back into the Wii U and, finally, the data is transferred to the new console.

Both the Wii and Wii U must be connected to the internet – presumably to verify the associated Wii user – and connected to a TV, meaning you’ll either have to swap TV inputs or swap cables during the process. Data transferred includes WiiWare and Virtual Console games, save data for all games, DLC, Wii Points and Miis.

Once the transfer is complete, that’s it. All data will be deleted from the Wii and moved to the Wii U, after which the data on the SD card is also erased. Data cannot be transferred from a Wii U to a Wii

Via: Joystiq

I had been unsure how difficult it would be to move Wii content to the Wii U. It looks as though Nintendo has a system in place. However, its open to debate how convenient the transfer would be. If the data is associated to an online ID, why not just force a download on the Wii U once you sign in for the first time? Luckily this seems to move all data such as save games, DLC, and Miis. Keep in mind once you transfer the data to the Wii U, there’s no going back to the original Wii.

Next Step: Xbox Surface? – Microsoft is building its own 7-inch gaming tablet. Multiple sources familiar with plans within Redmond have confirmed to The Verge that initial hardware planning for an Xbox Surface is underway. Specifications for an Xbox Surface 7-inch tablet computing device leaked back in June ahead of Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro announcement. We’re told that the initial specs were accurate and that the final implementation is being worked on.

The Xbox Surface will likely include a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks. We’re told these specifications could be altered to accommodate an unannounced Intel SoC and that the Xbox Surface is being developed independent of specific hardware architecture. Microsoft’s Xbox Surface won’t run a full version of Windows, rather this 7-inch tablet will run a custom Windows kernel. Messaging and other tablet functions may be supported, but the focus is on gaming.

Microsoft has developed a secret hardware production process for its Surface tablets that is separated from partners that traditionally manufacturer the company’s Xbox console. We’re told that the Xbox Surface will likely be manufactured in the same factory, but that any future “Xbox 720” console will be manufactured in mass quantities by companies like Pegatron or Foxconn.

We’ve learned that part of the Xbox Surface is being developed at Microsoft’s offices in Silicon Valley. The software giant recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings, limiting employee access to the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business division. The lock down is likely related to Microsoft’s increased testing of the tablet, providing a way for other parts of the Xbox team to build games and software for the device. Providing the project doesn’t get killed in favor of a full 7-inch Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier, expect to see the Xbox Surface debut ahead of Microsoft’s future Xbox console

Via: The Verge

This is interesting. Microsoft has gone all in on the tablet wars by introducing the Surface. Early reports say that the build quality is fantastic but it takes time to adapt to the Windows 8 experience. It has long been wondered if Microsoft would enter the portable gaming market to compete against the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PS Vita. Based on this report from The Verge it looks like the competition is coming.

I can’t help but worry a bit for Microsoft as they are entering two new marketplaces with both tablets and portable gaming. The thing that they are lacking in this arena is app developers, something that Android and iOS have plenty of. If Microsoft can bring a lot of developers on board this isn’t as daunting. That being said this is a long term hope at success. Both the tablet and portable gaming markets are being dominated by other companies right now. Part of me wants to poo-poo Microsoft’s chances here but a lot of people did that when they entered the console market. Now the Xbox 360 is considered by many to be the most popular console in North America. I’m curious to see how this gamble pays off for Microsoft in the future.

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Thanks for checking in for your weekly dose of gaming news. It should be interesting to see how some stories, such as the next version of the Xbox and PS3, progress over the next week. As always, please make use of the comments to let me know what you are thinking. Feedback is always welcomed.

If you find yourselves bored on Xbox Live, send me a message. I’m always looking to put together a good team to play Borderlands 2. The game is consuming my soul right now… but in a good way. Also, don’t forget Halo 4 is next week… I fully intend to do a legendary run so join on in.

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Chris Ferrell
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