Author Archives: Rob Jones

Crysis 2 DX 11 support is in the pipeline, Crytek say

Crysis 2In a short and to the point post on the official forums for the game, Tom Ebsworth of Crytek announced support of Direct X 11 is coming to the game:

We would like to announce that there will be a DX11 patch released for Crysis 2. We are working to get the best out of DX11, so we’ll wait to announce the features until a little closer to release.

That’s literally all the details included in the announcement so suffice to say there’s no release schedule for the patch available as of yet.

Previously, rumours of a patch containing DX 11 support were flatly denied by the developer. The most recent patch for the game was released on April 4 and targeted cheaters using exploits in the multiplayer version of the game.

Related:
Buy Crysis 2 (PC Download)
Crysis 2 patch addresses online cheating
Crytek dismiss DX11 patch rumour

New game releases for the coming week April 4 – April 11

Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops After a huge amount of releases last week, it’s kind of slim pickings this week. One that might be interesting is Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops for the PC – a tactical action game set in conflict zones of the future. It’s developed by Black Lion and set for release on April 5.

PC
Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops – April 5
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – April 5
Adam’s Venture 2: Solomon’s Secret – April 8
Anomaly: Warzone Earth – April 8
Dino D-Day – April 8
Hoard – April 4
Spiral Knights – April 4
The Egyptian Trilogy – April 5
Fintastic Fishdom Collection – April 5
Vampire 2 Pack – April 6
Mole Control – April 5
Police Simulator – April 8
German Truck Simulator – April 8
UK Truck Simulator – April 8
Euro Truck Simulator Gold – April 8
Around the World in 70 Flights Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Wellington Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
MCR Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Hawker Heroes Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Discover the USA Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simualator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Pole to Pole Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Discover Europe Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Discover Great Britain Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Lancaster Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS 2004 and FSX – April 8
Early Years of Flight Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Mig-29 Fulcrum Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
UAV Watchkeeper Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Eurofighter V2 Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Stuka V Hurricane Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Discover Arabia Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Tornado Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Sunderland Flying Boat Add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 and FSX – April 8
Amazing Adventures: Around The World – April 6

Xbox 360
Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do – April 5
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile – April 6

PS3
StarDrone – April 5

Wii
Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2 – April 5
Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2 Bundle – April 5
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – April 5

Nintendo DS/3DS
(3DS)Rabbids Travel in Time – April 10
Match 3 Madness – April 5
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D – April 10
100 Classic Games – April 7
A Fairy Tale – April 4
Absolute Baseball – April 8

Blizzard intro’s Crabby, the spiritual heir to Microsoft’s Mr Clippy

Mister Crabby WoW

Load up WoW today (April 1) and you’ll be greeted with the news that a new ‘feature’ called Crabby has been added to game, to pop up every second minute offering tips. According to Blizzard, Crabby is a great listener and a good friend, who you can trust with all your problems. He also knows every last detail about every boss and encounter in the game and will pop up at all times with helpful tips.

Even more handy, the ability to remove Crabby from your screen has been disabled so you’re never without his useful advice:

Crabby is able to tell you exactly what’s going on and what you should do. His many useful tips will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen, where he hangs out, ever patiently, waiting for you to need his help. Of course, whether you follow his advice or not is entirely up to you; Crabby may possess an advanced level of artificial intelligence, but we’re reasonably sure he doesn’t have any feelings you could hurt. Reasonably sure. But just in case, the ability to remove Crabby has been disabled for now.

Full details on the new helper can be found here.

Related:
Blizzard invite players to get creative in video contest
Blizzard founders get misty-eyed, thank fans for support
Blizzard unload 4.7 million copies of WoW Cataclysm in first month
Cataclysm claims fastest selling PC game of all time title

Team Fortress 2 raises 300k for Japan

TF2 Japan Relief AidOn the 23rd of March, TF2 was patched with a set of Japan Charity Bundle Items which players could buy and the proceeds of which would go to the American Red Cross’s Japanese disaster relief fund.

Now in an update on the offical Team Fortress 2 blog, it’s been announced a massive $300,000 has been raised for the charity. The items are available until April the 6th so the final total raised for the charity will be even more:

Take a BOW, TF2 community — because that is an incredible, frankly astounding, amount of money from a dedicated number of gamers, to one heck of a lot of people in some real need right now. Anytime someone gives you guff about something negative in gaming, you go ahead and point them to this post, because here’s some late-breaking damn news: they are wrong and gamers are generous and awesome.

TF2 Official Blog: Hats For Help – Via Bluesnews

Related:
Valve going full Steam ahead with earthquake relief
New TF2 flavoured movie trailer hits YouTube
My Liege! Monty Python Team Fortress 2 Vid
New Team Fortress 2 Community Map Pack

Crysis 2 patch going live within hours

Crysis 2EA have posted details of a patch for the PC version of Crysis 2 which will be going live in the next few hours.

There’s no mention of Direct X 11 in the details, rumours of which kicked off the other day, but were flatly denied by a Crytek rep.

· Fix for Chatlog doesn’t disappear after kill cam

· Fixed occasional login issues

· Changed VOIP defaults

· Fixed some UI aspect issues on multiple monitors

· Added option for crouch toggle in MP & SP

Crysis 2 PC Patch Coming Soon

Related:
Crytek dismiss DX11 patch rumour
Buy Crysis 2 (PC Download)
Crysis 2 in crisis
Crytek founder wants to make Crysis 3
The Witcher 2 hardware specs revealed
EVGA announce GTX 590 ‘Hydro Copper Edition’

New game releases for the coming week March 28 – April 4

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The MastersAmong a slew of games released this week, some standouts include: WWE All Stars and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters for consoles and handhelds. Two pieces of DLC for Castlevania: Lord of Shadow are also set for release on Mar 29 and April 1. Mass Effect: Arrival, a new DLC for the original game, will also be released on Mar 29.

PC
Shift 2 – Unleashed – Limited Edition – Mar 29
Vacation Quest: The Hawaiian Islands – Mar 29
Mahjong Escape: Ancient China – Mar 29
Mole Control – April 1
SpellForce 2: Platinum Edition – April 1
ARGO Online – Mar 31
Cargo! – Mar 31
Yars’ Revenge – Mar 31
Aikasea – Mar 31
War Inc. Battle Zone – Mar 31
A Mystical Land – Mar 31
Path of Exile - Mar 31
Asylum – Mar 31
Auto Club Revolution – Mar 31
Aida Arenas – Mar 31
Sky Legends – Mar 31
Operation Checkmate – Mar 31
Bomb Squad: NY – Mar 31
Lucha Fury – Mar 31
Planet Crashers – Mar 31
Caraqua - Mar 31
Night Watcher – Mar 31
Blitz & Massive – Mar 31
OilRush – Mar 31
Hunted – Mar 31
Realm of the Titans – Mar 31
Magicka: Vietnam – Mar 31
Pockie Ninja – Mar 31
Deep Black – Mar 31
Man vs. Wild – Mar 31
MKZ - Mar 31
Nuclear Dawn – Mar 31
Swarm – Mar 30
Darkspore – Limited Edition – Mar 29
Hoyle Puzzle and Board Game 2011 – Mar 29
Mass Effect Arrival – Mar 29
Darkest Hour – Mar 29

Xbox 360
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters – Mar 29
NASCAR The Game 2011 – Mar 29
Shift 2 – Unleashed – Limited Edition – Mar 29
WWE All Stars – Mar 29
Dynasty Warriors 7 – Mar 29
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Reverie – Mar 29
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Resurrection – April 1
Squeeballs Party – April 1
Dungeon Defenders – Mar 31
Pandora Saga – Mar 31
Outland – Mar 31
Arcana Heart 3 – Mar 31
Crazy Machines Elements – Mar 31
Boulder Dash-XL – Mar 31
Nexuis – Mar 31
Sega Bass Fishing - Mar 31
Wildlife: Forest Survival – Mar 31
Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale – Mar 31
The Gunstringer – Mar 31
Islands of Wakfu – Mar 30
Seisou Kouki Strania – Mar 30
Sequence – Mar 30
Rush’N Attack Ex-Patriot – Mar 29
Mass Effect Arrival – Mar 29
WRC: FIA World Rally Championship – Mar 29
Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament – Mar 29

PS3
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters – Mar 29
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: Collectors Edition – Mar 29
NASCAR The Game 2011 – Mar 29
Shift 2 – Unleashed – Limited Edition – Mar 29
Dynasty Warriors 7 – Mar 29
WWE All Stars – Mar 29
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Resurrection – April 1
Wildlife: Forest Survival – Mar 31
Space Channel 5 Part 2 – Mar 31
The Fancy Pants Adventures – Mar 31
Test Drive Unlimited 2: Casino Online – Mar 31
Nexuis – Mar 31
Puzzle Agent – Mar 31
Sega Bass Fishing - Mar 31
OilRush – Mar 31
Sideway – Mar 31
Chime Super Deluxe – Mar 31
Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale – Mar 31
Rush’N Attack Ex-Patriot – Mar 30
Mass Effect Arrival – Mar 29
Free Realms – Mar 29
Moon Diver – Mar 29
Winter Sports 2010: The Great Tournament – Mar 29
Back to the Future: The Game – Episode II: Get Tannen! – Mar 29

PS2
WWE All Stars – Mar 29

Wii
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters – Mar 29
Country Dance Wii – Mar 29
WWE All Stars – Mar 29
Maximum Racing: Crash Car Racer – Mar 29
Maximum Racing: Rally Racer – Mar 29
Jerry Rice and Nitus’ Dog Football – Mar 31
Zany Golf
TNT Racers – Mar 31
MotoHeroz – Mar 31
Soccer Up! – Mar 31
Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis – Mar 29

Nintendo DS/3DS
LEGO Battles Ninjago – April 1
Zhu Zhu Puppies with Exclusive Freckles Zhu Zhu Puppy Toy – Mar 29
Hop: The Movie Game – Mar 29
Pinkalicious DS With Stylus and Cleaner – Mar 29
Johnny Test – Mar 29
Lost Identities – Mar 29
Montessori Music – Mar 29
ATV Wild Ride – Mar 30
(3DS)Reel Fishing Paradise 3D – Mar 31
Corto Maltese – The Fable of Venice – Mar 31
(3DS)Hollywood 61 – Mar 31
Zooloretto – Mar 31
Zoonies – Escape From Makatu – Mar 31
Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis – Mar 29
Faceez: Monsters! – Mar 28
Nanda’s Island – Mar 28

PSP
The 3rd Birthday – Mar 29
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky – Mar 29
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Limited Edition – Mar 29
WWE All Stars – Mar 29
Speedball 2 Evolution – Mar 31
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier -  Mar 31
Lucha Libre AAA Heroes del Ring – Mar 31

Millions download latest version of Firefox – Why?

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox - a relic of a bygone age?

The latest version of Firefox was released yesterday and the BBC reports millions have downloaded or upgraded, although tellingly, its market share is going down.

As one of the early adopters of Mozilla’s browser, back when it was called Phoenix, I quickly jumped ship to Opera because it was plain to me the Mozilla browser was heavily overloaded and was a drain on my processor power. I stuck with Opera for many years until Google released their Chrome browser. I gave it a shot and, sorry to say, my loyalty to Opera went out the window. The Chrome browser is what the developers at Google use on a day to day basis. It’s designed to be lightweight and fast and that shines through when you use it.

Firefox increasingly seems like a relic of a bygone age, of an ‘open source’ alternative to Internet Explorer. But times have changed and it’s no longer stylish just to be open source for the sake of it. Google’s own browser can also claim that title.

I recently loaded up Firefox for some reason I can’t remember and it was like waiting for an operating system to load, it was that slow. As a user not interested in the under the hood mechanics of the different browsers, my feeling is the time has come and gone for the Firefox browser. It was basically based on an ‘anything but Internet Explorer’ ideology when it was launched, but the developers have stood still on the end user experience and I predict their share of the market will decline more and more.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Give me your honest opinion as an end user when you compare Firefox with the Chrome browser.

Related:
Firefox 4 hits the web early
Firefox 4 out of beta, first release candidate available
Internet Explorer 9 goes live

New game releases for the coming week March 21 – March 28

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood for PCThis week sees the U.S release of the Nintendo 3DS next Sunday, and a slew of release day titles are lined up, including The Sims 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D and a selection of Nintendogs titles.

Also released this week are Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars on all platforms, as well as Crysis 2 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on the 22nd. PC gamers can also pick up the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood when it’s released on the 22nd.

PC
The Sims Medieval – Limited Edition – Mar 22
Crysis 2 – Limited Edition – Mar 22
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
Arcania – Fall of Setariff – Mar 25
Theatre of War 3 Korea – Mar 24
Samurai II: Vengeance – Mar 24
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – Mar 23
Europa Universalis III Chronicles – Mar 22
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Mar 22
IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover – Mar 22

Xbox 360
Crysis 2 – Limited Edition – Mar 22
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
Mayhem 3D – Mar 22
Arcania – Fall of Setariff – Mar 25
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – Mar 23
Swarm – Mar 23

PS3
Crysis 2 – Limited Edition – Mar 22
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
Tomb Raider Trilogy – Mar 22
PlayStation Move Heroes – Mar 22
Mayhem 3D – Mar 22
Arcania – Fall of Setariff – Mar 25
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – Mar 23
Swarm – Mar 22
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD – Mar 22

Wii
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
Raving Rabbids Party Collection – Mar 22
TrackMania: Build to Race – Mar 22
Arcade Essentials – Mar 21
Natsume Championship Wrestling – Mar 21

Nintendo DS / 3DS
(3DS)Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition – Mar 27
(3DS)Pilotwings Resort – Mar 27
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
(3DS)LEGO Star Wars III The Clone Wars 3D – Mar 27
(3DS)Rayman 3D – Mar 22
(3DS)Ridge Racer 3DS – Mar 22
(3DS)Steel Diver – Mar 27
(3DS)Super Monkey Ball 3D – Mar 27
(3DS)Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever and New Friends – Mar 27
(3DS)Samurai Warriors Chronicles – Mar 27
(3DS)Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars – Mar 27
(3DS)Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle and New Friends – Mar 27
(3DS)Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog and New Friends – Mar 27
(3DS)Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D – Mar 27
(3DS)Bust-a-Move Universe – Mar 27
(3DS)Madden NFL Football 3DS – Mar 27
(3DS)The Sims 3 – Mar 27
(3DS)Asphalt 3D – Mar 22
(3DS)Combat of Giants Dinosaurs – Mar 27
Chainz Galaxy – Mar 22
G.G. Series: D-Tank – Mar 21

PSP
Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy – Mar 22
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – Mar 22
Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive – Mar 22
Hoard – Mar 22
Jikandia: The Timeless Land – Mar 22

Blizzard invite players to get creative in video contest

Blizzard Entertainment 20th Year AnniversaryBlizzard have announced a video contest to mark the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding. They’re asking their player base to submit their favourite memory of playing Blizzard’s games in the form of a video, and are offering an all-expenses trip to Blizzcon and other assorted goodies to whoever sends in the best one:

Unleash your creativity and capture your favorite Blizzard game-related memory on video.

How you do it is up to you; your favorite moment can be heartwarming, hilarious, or truly epic. Your video can be live action, animated, or something in-between — what’s important is the memory you share with us. If your video gets us misty-eyed or makes us stand up and cheer, it could be chosen as one of the winning entries. You can earn countless accolades, untold fame, universal admiration…and legendary prizes

The movies should be in either the .wmv, avi or mov formats, not exceed 100MB in size and should be 3 minutes long or less. Check out the full rules here.

Memories of Blizzard Video Contest Blizzard’s 20th Anniversary Portal

Related:
Pre-order Diablo III from Amazon

Blizzard founders get misty-eyed, thank fans for support
Blizzard unload 4.7 million copies of WoW Cataclysm in first month
Cataclysm claims fastest selling PC game of all time title

Dragon Age 2 unlock details added to Facebook game

Just before Dragon Age 2 was released, EA opened the Facebook tie-in game Dragon Age Legends to the public at large with a beta test, with 5 unlockable Dragon Age 2 items offered as an incentive to check it out.

Dragon Age Legends DA2 unlocksThe game has since been updated with exactly what to do to unlock the items:

  • Evra’s Might: Learn how to build your castle in the tutorial.
  • Evra’s Trophy Belt: Reach Freylen’s Peak and complete the quest Vantage Point.
  • Air of Confidence: Complete the quest Secure Fort Elim.
  • Ivo Family Crest: Defeat Raspin and complete the quest The Rascal Raspin.
  • Details on how to unlock the last item, Dura’s Blue Flame is listed as coming soon.

Obviously you need to link your EA account to DA: Legends to avail of the unlockables, it’s a straightforward enough process when you begin to play Legends. If you want to get all possible bonus items, BioWare have also posted up a handy list of all the unlockables available for the game here along with what you need to do to get them.

As a big fan of Dragon Age Origins I liked what I saw in the DA2 demo and plan to buy the game next week or so, but I’ve heard some bad things from a friend who has played. Likening the confined area maps to BioWare’s lukewarm RPG Jade Empire, he called it essentially a ‘hollow cash in’ of the first game. I was kind of disappointed to hear a bad review, and indeed I’ve heard nothing but good things since it was released, including a solid 84% rating on Metacritic.

If you’ve played DA2 yourself let me know what it’s like in the comments below.

Related:
Bioware release beta patch for Dragon Age II (PC)
Dragon Age II High Resolution Texture Pack Available
Play the Dragon Age Facebook game ahead of DA2 launch
Buy Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age: Origins hardcover game guide
Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition compiles all DLC and expansion
Stainless steel Dragon Age swords up for auction

New game releases for the coming week March 14 – March 21

Total War Shogun 2 Limited EditionThis week sees the release of Total War: Shogun 2, over ten years after the original game was released. The PC strategy game hits the shelves on Tuesday the 15th and early reviews on Metacritic are unanimously glowing, with an aggregate score of 91%.

Also of note this week is the new first person shooter Homefront for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The story for Homefront was written by the screenwriter behind Apocalypse Now and takes place in a near-future USA after an invasion by a United Korea under the rule of North Korea.

PC
Total War: Shogun 2 Limited Edition – Mar 15
Homefront – Mar 15
Crazy Machines 2 Complete – Mar 15
Sega Genesis Collection – Gold Edition – Mar 15
Cloning Clyde – Mar 15

Xbox 360
Homefront – Mar 15
Top Spin 4 – Mar 15
Halo: Reach – Defiant Map Pack – Mar 15

PS3
Homefront – Mar 15
Top Spin 4 – Mar 15
Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel – Mar 15
Yakuza 4 – Mar 15
MotoGP 10/11 – Mar 15
Fit in Six – Mar 15
Dance on Broadway – Mar 17
Slam Bolt Scrappers – Mar 15
Warriors: Legends of Troy – Mar 15
Hard Corps: Uprising – Mar 15

Wii
Top Spin 4 – Mar 15
Top Shot Arcade – Mar 15
Top Shot Arcade with Top Shot Elite Gun Peripheral – Mar 15
TrackMania: Build to Race – Mar 15
Fit in Six – Mar 15
Fit in Six – Camera Bundle – Mar 15
Maximum Racing: Drag and Stock Racer – Mar 14
Maximum Racing: GP Classic Racing – Mar 14
Liight – Mar 14

Nintendo DS
Okamiden – Mar 15
Labyrinth – Mar 15
JumpStart Deep Sea Escape – Mar 15
Rabi Laby – Mar 14

PSP
God Eater Burst – Mar 15
Jikandia: The Timeless Land – Mar 15

Dragon Age 2 bonus items compiled

BioWare have compiled all the different bonus items for the newly released Dragon Age 2 into a handy list along with how to get them.

Dragon Age 2 Hayder's RazerCheck the list here, and also check BioWare’s registered game content page which will tell you which items you’re already entitled to, such as
the likes of the Blood Dragon Armour addon from Dragon Age: Origins which you can also use in DA2.

Not mentioned on the page for some reason is the five items up for grabs simply for playing the tie-in Facebook game Dragon Age Legends.

A lot of the other items on BioWare’s list will cease to be available sometime today because they were offered as incentives for preordering, and indeed a cursory check of the Amazon listing offers no bonus items with the purchase today.

Dragon Age 2 was released today for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. There’s a playable demo to check out if you want to try before you buy, and a glowing 89 out of 100 score on Metacritic if you still need to talk yourself into getting it.

Related:
Dragon Age II out now
Play the Dragon Age Facebook game ahead of DA2 launch
BioWare offer special DLC for downloading the new Dragon Age II demo
BioWare offering bonus content for Dragon Age 2 pre-orders
EA haven’t forgotten about Dragon Age: Journeys
Buy Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age: Origins hardcover game guide
Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition compiles all DLC and expansion
Stainless steel Dragon Age swords up for auction

New game releases for the coming week March 7 – March 14

Dragon Age 2This week sees the release of Dragon Age 2 on March the 8th for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3. The first pieces of DLC for the game, The Black Emporium and The Exiled Prince, are also released on the same day.

Other major releases this week are Major League Baseball 2K11 for all platforms including the Playstation 2, and MLB 11: The Show, only released on Playstation platforms.

Technically released last week but worth a mention is also the release of Pokemon Black and White versions for Nintendo DS, which have sold record numbers since they were released in Japan last September.

PC
Dragon Age 2 – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Black Emporium – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Exiled Prince – Mar 8
The Sims 3: Barnacle Bay – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8
Four Great Games – Mar 8
Ship Simulator Extremes: Ferry Pack – Mar 8

Xbox 360
Dragon Age 2 – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Black Emporium – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Exiled Prince – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8
Yoostar 2: In The Movies – Mar 8
Torchlight – Mar 9

PS3
Dragon Age 2 – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Exiled Prince – Mar 8
Dragon Age II: The Black Emporium – Mar 8
MLB 11: The Show – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8
Yoostar 2: In The Movies – Mar 8

PS2
MLB 11: The Show – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8

Wii
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8
The $1,000,000 Pyramid – Mar 8
Maximum Racing: Drag and Stock Racer – Mar 10
Maximum Racing: GP Classic Racing – Mar 10
Heavy Fire: Black Arms – Mar 7

Nintendo DS
Atari’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8
Petz Bunnyz Bunch – Mar 8
Beastly Frantic Foto – Mar 8
GO Series: Earth Saver – Mar 7
G.G Series: Horizontal Bar – Mar 7

PSP
MLB 11: The Show – Mar 8
Phantom Brave: Heroes of the Hermuda Triangle – Mar 8
Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8

Play the Dragon Age Facebook game ahead of DA2 launch

Dragon Age LegendsBioWare are gearing up for the major launch of Dragon Age 2 on March the 8th and EA have made the availability of beta keys for the tie-in Facebook game a lot easier to come by.

To snag a key and start playing the game, head to Gamespot’s promo page here and register or sign in to claim a beta key. Then just sign into Dragon Age: Legends here with your EA account and enter the key to start playing. You can view detailed info about your exploits and manage aspects of the game from the EA site here as well.

I spent a pleasant half hour playing the tutorial and there’s a lot to to DA: Legends for a Facebook game. It follows a straight-forward turn-based combat system for battles but also includes recruiting members with different skills to your party, building a castle for your hero, crafting items like potions and so on to aid you in battle as well as an energy bar that ticks up every few minutes (you need energy to do battle).

Dragon Age Legends DA2 Unlocks

Unlockable DA2 items in Dragon Age: Legends

One of the main draws of playing the Facebook game is unlocking items in Dragon Age 2 when it’s released and currently there are 5 items listed in the game to unlock, namely two rings, a trophy belt, and two amulets. The information on how exactly to unlock the items is said to be coming soon. To view detailed info on the items inside DA: Legends, click the options icon in the top right of the screen and the DA2 Unlocks option appears in the sidebar.

Dragon Age 2 is set to launch for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on March the 8th. Check out the playable demo if you haven’t already, completing it also unlocks some items for the full game.

More info about Dragon Age : Legends can be found at the official Facebook page and Twitter profile. There’s also a fan-submitted question and answer article from the game producer here.

Related:
BioWare offer special DLC for downloading the new Dragon Age II demo
BioWare offering bonus content for Dragon Age 2 pre-orders
EA haven’t forgotten about Dragon Age: Journeys
Dragon Age Facebook game beta signups
Preorder Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age: Origins hardcover game guide
Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition compiles all DLC and expansion
Stainless steel Dragon Age swords up for auction

Civilization Facebook game alpha testing continues

Civilization WorldFiraxis have posted another update on the status of alpha testing for the up and coming Civilization Facebook game. Alpha testing got underway on the 12th of January and they are letting in another wave of testers, so check your inbox for an invitation if you’ve signed up.

Firaxis announced back in November that the game is scheduled for a 2011 release and since then, the Facebook profile has gained over 125,000 fans. Originally named Civilization Network, the name was changed to Civilization World in January ‘to better reflect the main theme of the game’.

For more information about the game in general, check out the intro letter from Sid Meier on the official page here. You can also put your name on the list for the closed test here.

Related:
Civilization for Facebook coming next year
Civilization 5 Roundup
Civilization V Official Strategy Guide
Civilization III Complete
Civilization IV: The Complete Edition

Smithsonian gamer exhibit asks for votes

Half-life 2: Welcome To City 17

Half-Life 2 is on the shortlist of 80 games available for the public to vote on

For those of us who see video games as pieces of modern culture in themselves, The Smithsonian American Art Museum will be running an exhibit in 2012 charting The Art of Video Games.

The exhibit will cover the 40 year history of games and visitors will be able to play a few minutes of five era-defining games, namely Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft.

More details on what the exhibit will entail from the press release:

The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training.

The curators of the exhibit are also asking for gamers to vote online for their favourite game – a shortlist of 80 games are available to vote on, and the winning titles from 5 distinct eras in the history of games will be included in the exhibit.

To vote, head to the official site here and register with your email address. The registration is quick and simple and you don’t even need to provide a password.

The exhibit opens on the 16th of March 2012 in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and is set to run for 6 months until September 30 2012.
More information can be found here.

New game releases for the coming week Feb 28 – March 7

Rift: Planes of TelaraThis week sees the release of the second expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II and Trion Worlds’ Rift: Planes of Telara on March the first. The PC MMO has been in the works for over 4 years and cost over $50 million to develop.

Also released this week are DLC packs for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III and Dead Space 2.

PC
Rift – March 1
Rift Collector’s Edition – March 1
Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II Retribution – March 1
Perfect World International: Genesis – March 2
The Flying Dutchman – March 1
Martial Empires: The Catastrophe of Babylon – Feb 28
Fate of the World – Feb 28

Xbox 360
Fight Night Champion – March 1
Rango – March 1
Beyond Good & Evil HD - March 2
Fable III: Traitor’s Keep - March 1
Dead Space 2: Severed – March 1

PS3
Fight Night Champion – March 1
Rango – March 1
Call of Duty: Black Ops – First Strike – March 3
Dead Space 2: Severed – March 1
StarDrone – Feb 28

Wii
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – March 1
Rango – March 1
Chuck E Cheese’s Sport Games – March 1
Busy Scissors – March 4
Bit.Trip Flux – Feb 28
My Little Restaurant – Feb 28

Nintendo DS
Pokemon – White Version – March 6
Pokemon – Black Version – March 6
Rango – March 1
Chronicles Of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life – March 1

PSP
MiniSquadron – Feb 28

Nvidia Quadro used for transformation scenes in Black Swan

Natalie Portman Black SwanNvidia have posted up an interesting article on their official blog about how their Quadro workstation graphics cards were used to create the memorable final scene in the Natalie Portman film Black Swan.

The 11,000 feathers LOOK created for the transformation scene were based on high-resolution scans of actual tundra swans, and Lipowski built detailed feather geometry for quills, as well as complicated rigs to form the feathers individually. “The wings are long—they come two to three feet off her arms, plus they flex and bend as she whips around,” said Lipowski.

“That’s a huge amount of geometry for a graphics card to process, and NVIDIA Quadro handled it perfectly. The other reason we use NVIDIA cards is because of the driver stability. It’s just better. At times, that reliability means more to me than speed, because to ever have a crash is a huge problem,” explained Michael Oliver, Director of Technology at LOOK Effects.

Link

Computer created that fits on a pen-tip

Phoenix chip computer

The University of Michigan have announced a prototype computer just over one cubic millimeter in size, believed to be the first complete millimeter-scale computing system. Designed as an implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients, the computer consists of a low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio to transmit data to an external reader device.

The computer achieves ultra-low power consumption with a unique power gating architecture and an extreme sleep mode:

The newest system wakes every 15 minutes to take measurements and consumes an average of 5.3 nanowatts. To keep the battery charged, it requires exposure to 10 hours of indoor light each day or 1.5 hours of sunlight. It can store up to a week’s worth of information.

Other possible uses for the micro systems suggested by the researchers include tracking pollution, monitoring structural integrity, performing surveillance, or making any object you can think of smart and trackable.

Our work is unique in the sense that we’re thinking about complete systems in which all the components are low-power and fit on the chip. We can collect data, store it and transmit it. The applications for systems of this size are endless.

More info about the Phoenix microcomputer chip:
Toward computers that fit on a pen tip: New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era
Researchers create computer that fits on a pen tip

Official Skyrim Trailer released

As promised, Bethesda have updated the site for Elder Scrolls V with the official trailer for the game. The 2 minute 54 second trailer features cinematics and gameplay. In addition to the trailer, the official website has also been given a major update, with new Skyrim features and legacy pages for all of the previous games in the Elder Scrolls series.

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is set for release on 11/11/’11 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

YouTube video via Bluesnews

BioWare offer special DLC for downloading the new Dragon Age II demo

Dragon Age II Call to Arms Promo

BioWare have released the first playable demo for Dragon Age II and downloading and completing the 1.9GB demo will unlock in-game items for the full game, set for release early in March.

BioWare are running a ‘Call to Arms’ promotion for the demo, aiming to hit 1 million downloads by March 1. When the download count hits 1 million, two in-game books (Lothering’s Lament and The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall) will be unlocked which give an XP and money boost when read. At the time of this posting, 421105 copies of the demo have been downloaded.

To be eligible to have your download counted for the goodies, you need to be logged into your EA account while playing the demo.

Dragon Age II DLC Hayder's RazorIn a further promo, completing the demo will also unlock an in-game blade for the full version of the game:

Hayder’s Razor, an ancient dwarven blade which increases health, mana, and combat abilities, in the full release of Dragon Age 2.

Hayder’s Razor will be available until May 31.

Dragon Age II is set for release on March 8 in the US and March 11 in the EU and follows the massive success of the original Dragon Age: Origins and its expansion, Awakening.

Grab the Dragon Age II demo here.

Related:
BioWare offering bonus content for Dragon Age 2 pre-orders
EA haven’t forgotten about Dragon Age: Journeys
Dragon Age Facebook game beta signups
Preorder Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age: Origins hardcover game guide
Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition compiles all DLC and expansion
Stainless steel Dragon Age swords up for auction

Kinect SDK for Windows coming this Spring

Xbox 360 with Kinect
Microsoft have decided to go with the tide of unofficial Kinect hacks and release the software development kit for Windows 7 in Spring this year. The SDK will be released as a non-commercial starter kit, with a commercial version appearing at a later date.
In the press release, Microsoft hail the community that has sprung up since the launch of the Kinect back in November and they mention academic research as one of the possible uses they support for the technology:

For example, in January I mentioned Craig’s talk at the Cleveland Clinic, where he highlighted students at the University of Washington’s Biorobotics Lab using Kinect with a commercially available PHANTOM Omni Haptic Device to explore how robotic surgery could be enhanced by incorporating the sense of feel.

The SDK will be available as a free download at an unspecified date in Spring and will be released through the Microsoft Research site.

More coverage of the story can be found on Gizmodo, The Wall St. Journal, Tom’s Hardware and Wired. Mashable also has a comparison between how Sony and Microsoft have differed in their reactions to user hacking.

Related:
Kinect hacked to play World of Warcraft
Man plays Kinect game without moving
Kinect to Boost X360 for another 5 Years?

New game releases for the coming week Feb 21 – Feb 28

Dreamcast Collection Xbox 360This week sees the first DLC for Fallout: New Vegas released on the 22nd as well as the major releases Bulletstorm and Killzone 3. Also of note for old school gamers is the Dreamcast Collection, available on PC and Xbox 360 from the 22nd.

PC
Bulletstorm – Limited Edition – Feb 22
EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious – Feb 22
Gray Matter – Feb 22
The Egyptian Trilogy – Feb 22
Painkiller: Redemption – Feb 25
Trapped Dead – Feb 25
Gemini Rue – Feb 24
Dreamcast Collection – Feb 22
Cities in Motion – Feb 22

Xbox 360
Bulletstorm – Epic Edition – Feb 22
Dreamcast Collection – Feb 22
Knights Contract – Feb 22
De Blob 2 – Feb 22
Bejeweled Blitz Live – Feb 23
Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money – Feb 22

PS3
Killzone 3 – Feb 22
Killzone 3: Helghast Edition – Feb 22
Bulletstorm – Limited Edition – Feb 22
Knights Contract – Feb 22
De Blob 2 – Feb 22
Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money – Feb 22

Wii
De Blob 2 – Feb 22
TrackMania Wii – Feb 22
Cozy Fire – Feb 21

Nintendo DS
Radiant Historia – Feb 22
De Blob 2 – Feb 22
Tin Can – Feb 22
Nanda’s Island – Feb 22
TrackMania Turbo – Feb 22
Rec Room Games – Feb 22
Arctic Escape – Feb 21
Remote Racers – Feb 21

PSP
YS: I&II Chronicles – Feb 22

New game releases for the coming week Feb 14 – Feb 21

Gears of War Triple PackThis week sees Fate of Two Worlds, the latest instalment of the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise released exclusively for consoles on the 15th. Also of note is this week’s sole PSP release, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. The tactical RPG has been chosen as an Gamespot Editor’s Pick and received a glowing review ahead of its release on the 15th.

PC
Amnesia – Feb 15
Club Vegas Triple Pack – Feb 15
Secret Files: Art Of Murder – Feb 15
Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok – Feb 18
The Silver Lining – Episode 3: My Only Love Sprung From My Only Hate – Feb 17

Xbox 360
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – Feb 15
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds: Special Edition – Feb 15
Gears of War Triple Pack – Feb 15
Dance Paradise – Feb 15
Hard Corps: Uprising – Feb 16

PS3
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – Feb 15
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds: Special Edition – Feb 15
Hyperdimension Neptunia – Feb 15

Wii
Pirate Blast – Feb 15
Pucca’s Kisses Game – Feb 14

Nintendo DS
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation – Feb 14
Chronicles Of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life – Feb 15
Oscar in Toyland 2 – Feb 14

PSP
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – Feb 15

3 official StarCraft II mods released through Battlenet

Starjeweled

Blizzard announced in their last Blizzard Insider newsletter (details here) that 3 fun mods for SC2 are in beta test and available to play on Battlenet.

  • Left 2 Die – A nod to Valve’s Left 4 Dead, this is a mod of the classic Outbreak mission from the campaign that shifts between night and day.
  • Aiur Chef – Up to 8 players aim to outcook their opponents by scouting out ingredients across the map then preparing their culinary masterpieces in a kitchen located in the middle of the map.
  • StarJeweled – SC2 meets Bejeweled Blitz, which can be played in solo vs A.I., Co-op vs. A.I. or PvP modes.

I loaded up StarJeweled to check it out and ended up playing for 15 minutes; basically the classic Bejeweled pane is on the right and the more blocks you eliminate, the more StarCraft 2 units you can make to defend against your opponents.

Full details of the mods can be found on Blizzard’s blog here. To play the minigames, go to the multiplayer games tab in SC2 and they’re in the custom games window, just sort the list by Author to see the ones created by Blizzard.

SC2 was released back in July and tons of minigames and mods were created by fans using the powerful SC2 editor. I compiled a shortlist of mods back in September that can serve as an intro to what’s out there. Check it out here.

New game releases for the coming week Feb 7 – Feb 14

DungeonsThis week sees the multi platform release of the trivia quiz game You Don’t Know Jack on the 8th as well as the single and multiplayer racer Test Drive Unlimited 2 on the same day.
PC
Dungeons – Feb 8
Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Feb 8
You Don’t Know Jack – Feb 8
Black Mirror 2: Reigning Evil – Feb 8
Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Feb 8
Superstars V8 Next Challenge – Feb 8
Dying for Daylight – Feb 11
Fate of the World – Feb 11
Lucent Heart – Feb 10
Two Worlds 2 – Feb 8

Xbox 360
You Don’t Know Jack – Feb 8
Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Feb 8
Body and Brain Connection – Feb 8
Superstars V8 Next Challenge – Feb 8
TNT Racers – Feb 10

PS3
Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Feb 8
You Don’t Know Jack – Feb 8
Trinity: Souls Of Zill O’ll – Feb 8
Superstars V8 Next Challenge – Feb 8

Wii
Mario Sports Mix – Feb 7
You Don’t Know Jack – Feb 8

Nintendo DS
Jewel Quest Solitaire Trio – Feb 11
You Don’t Know Jack – Feb 8
Zhu Zhu Princess: Carriages and Castles – Feb 8
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble – Feb 8
Rec Room Games – Feb 11
Boom Boom Squaries – Feb 7

New game releases for the coming week Jan 31 – Feb 7

Castlevania Lords of ShadowThis week sees the first DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, both released on Feb 1. Also of note is Earthrise, a new futuristic sci-fi MMO set in the aftermath of the Third World War.

PC
The Sims 3 Outdoor Living Stuff – Feb 1
Earthrise (PC DVD) – Feb 4
Mystery P.I. – Stolen in San Francisco – Feb 1
Colossus 4 Pack – Build a New Civilization – Feb 1
PopCap Greatest Hits – Bejeweled 2, Peggle, Zuma – Feb 1
Ski Resort Mogul 4-Pack – Feb 1
Insider Tales: Missing in Rome – Feb 1
Magic Encyclopedia: Moonlight – Bonus Pack – Feb 1
Gimme 5 Game Pack – Feb 1
Big Bundle: Fun Pack – Feb 1
Capsized – Jan 31

Xbox 360
Rock Band Country Track Pack 2 – Feb 1
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 – Feb 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops – First Strike – Feb 1
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Reverie – Feb 1

PS3
Rock Band Country Track Pack 2 – Feb 1
Kevin Van Dam Fishing – Feb 1
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 – Feb 2
Alien Breed 3: Descent – Feb 1
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Reverie – Feb 1

Wii
Rock Band Country Track Pack 2 – Feb 1
Jewel Quest Trilogy Wii – Feb 4
Mr. Bean – Jan 31
Ultimate Battle of the Sexes – Feb 1

Nintendo DS
Photo Phantasy – Feb 1
Mr. Bean – Jan 31
Zombiez Seeker – Feb 1
Junior Brain Trainer Math Edition (Nintendo DS) – Feb 1
101 Dolphin Pets – Jan 31

PSP

New game releases for the coming week Jan 24 – Jan 31

World of TanksOf interest this week is the release of Dead Space 2, the sci-fi horror sequel hitting PC, Xbox and PS3 on Tuesday. This week also sees the release of World of Tanks, the MMO which features historically accurate fighting vehicles from the ’30s to the ’50s.

PC
Dead Space 2 – Jan 25
Dead Space 2 Collector’s Edition – Jan 25
World of Tanks – Jan 27
Monday Night Combat – Jan 24
Exorcist – Jan 25
Grace’s Quest: To Catch an Art Thief 4-Pack – Jan 25
Club Vegas Triple Pack – Jan 25
Luxor 5 Anniversary Edition – Jan 25
Gourmania 2: Kitchen Confidential – Bonus Edition – Jan 25
Fiction Fixers 2 – Jan 25
Breach – Jan 25

Xbox 360
Dead Space 2 – Jan 25
Dead Space 2 Collector’s Edition – Jan 25
Two Worlds 2 – Jan 25

PS3
Dead Space 2 – Jan 25
Dead Space 2 Collector’s Edition – Jan 25
Two Worlds 2 – Jan 25

Wii
Dino Strike – Jan 25
Dino Strike With Green Gun Bundle – Jan 25
Jam City Rollergirls – Jan 24

Nintendo DS
Paws and Claws – Marine Rescue – Jan 25
Rocks N’ Rockets – Jan 24

PSP
Lord of Arcana – Jan 25

New game releases for the coming week Jan 17 – Jan 24

MindjackThis week sees the arrival of Mass Effect 2 on the PS3, as well as Square Enix’s online shooter Mindjack for X360 and PS3. The platformer sequel LittleBigPlanet 2 also hits the PS3 on the 18th.

PC
Reel Deal Slots Adventure III World Tour – Jan 22
Venetica – Jan 18

Xbox 360
Mindjack – Jan 18

PS3
LittleBigPlanet 2 – Jan 18
LittleBigPlanet 2: Collector’s Edition – Jan 18
Mass Effect 2 – Jan 18
Mindjack – Jan 18

Wii
Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time – Jan 17

Nintendo DS
Plants Vs. Zombies – Jan 18
The Mysterious Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – Jan 18

SSD blasted with a shotgun and a rifle at CES

ioSafe Rugged PortableTom’s Hardware put ioSafe’s range of Rugged Solid State Drives through the paces by blasting them with a shotgun and a fully automatic rifle at CES recently.

The heavy duty drives are aimed at those who need to keep their data safe from the most extreme environments and are crush resistant up to 5,000 lbs of pressure.

The drive used in the test, the ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD, sets you back $1,299, is constructed from a solid billet of titanium and features a suspension system to protect against shocks from drops.

Impressively, the drive was still operable up to 7 blasts of a shotgun but didn’t work after that, while the M6 automatic rifle rendered the poor hard drive dead with one blast.

Check out video of the tests here and a full set of specs here.