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May 04, 2005 - June 21, 2005 - See More Archived News

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
[PC] 'Battlefield 2' Impressions - posted by Erich Becker at 10:12 am CDT

After playing the Battlefield 2 Demo for the better part of last weekend let me just say this, damn, is that game addicting. I pretty much fell into the "just-one-more-round" frame of thinking, which isn't a bad thing, when you don't have other stuff to be doing.

To play things safe, I lowered all the visual settings to get the maximum performance from my computer (and my video card has been giving me some major issues the past few weeks). Even in its lowest settings, the new engine powering Battlefield 2 looks exceptional.

Only one map is available which features 7 capture points which either the US Marine Corps or fictional Middle East Coalition must hold in order to beat the other team. Depending on how many, and how long, you hold them the opposing team's "tickets" slowly deplete leading you to victory.

Having never played Battlefield 1942 or the semi-sequel Battlefield Vietnam, BF2 was a new experience for me. The team-based combat seems to have been refined (basing this assumption on what I've read online from other sources) and, combined with the other players, you actually feel as though you are working towards a common goal.

Vehicles have always been a big part of the franchise, and BF2 is no different. Flight vehicles like attack helicopters and fighter jets provide high-speed thrills in an arcade atmosphere. Simply jump in, take-off, and hold on. Getting the feel for these armored monsters takes a while. My first experience in a jet lead to my demise at the foot of a mountain as I didn't take off completely from the run-way. The helicopter proved to be a longer-lasting experience, although somehow I ended up upside down in a lake. Go figure.

Ground based vehicles also provide thrills with buggies and Humvees giving you fast access to the entire map while the lumbering, although powerful, APCs and tanks give great support and pack a punch.

Just from about 10 hours of play over the weekend Battlefield 2 really impressed me, and although it is a very high-end game as far as tech specs go, the amount of fun provided surely makes up for the $2000 it'll cost you to upgrade that aging Pentium III beige-box.

Look for a full review soon right here at ESCMAG.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
[E3] 'Zelda: The Twilight Princess' Screens! - posted by Erich Becker at 10:53 am CDT

New information is flooding out from Nintendo's press conference this morning with new screens of the newly titled The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess among them.

See the Screens now!

[E3] Nintendo Revolution Revealed! - posted by Erich Becker at 7:53 am CDT

IGN/Gamespy has released images of Nintendo's Revolution console (no controller shown). The system appears to be smaller than the XBOX 360 and the PlayStation3 and about the same size as the Mac Mini.

Revolution via IGN/Gamespy

Monday, May 16, 2005
[PC] Activision and id Announce 'Enemy Territory: Quake Wars' - posted by Erich Becker at 12:50 pm CDT

Activision and id software have announced the strategic shooter Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. The game "...pits the armies of Earth against the invading alien Strogg in the ultimate online strategic shooter. Featuring strategic team play, persistent character promotions, day and nighttime combat missions, and the universe's most powerful weapons and vehicles, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS transports players to the front lines of an epic new war for Earth."

The game will debut at Activision's booth this week at E3.

[PC] The Adventure Company Picks up Two - posted by Erich Becker at 12:46 pm CDT

The Adventure Company has picked up two games for release, The Sacred Rings, the sequel to Aura: Fate of the Ages, and Journey to the Center of the Moon based on the works of Jules Verne.

Rings will ship this Fall with an expected ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone while Journey has not yet been given a ship date.

For more information on either, check out www.adventurecompanygames.com .

[PC] Shrapnel Releases 'Falklands 1982' Demo - posted by Erich Becker at 12:43 pm CDT

Indie publisher Shrapnel Games has released the first two-scenerio demo for the upcoming game, The Falklands War: 1982. Here's a snippet from the press release:

Travel back twenty-three years and join the fight on a remote South Atlantic island chain in which the sheep outnumber the human inhabitants, and blood was spilled all in the name of a dictatorship trying to cling onto their rule. This is The Falklands War, a British/Argentina conflict that only lasted a short while but whose memory is still fresh today for the nations that fought.

Now serious students of military history and true wargamers can take a gander at reliving this period by downloading the demo for ProSIM's upcoming game on the conflict, The Falklands War: 1982, published by Shrapnel Games and available for the Windows operating system. In an era of bloated demos that provide more style than substance, The Falklands War: 1982 demo weighs in under twenty megs and provides players with a
wonderfully rich gaming experience.

You can download the demo right here.

[X360] id Makes 'Quake 4' Official for XBOX 360 - posted by Erich Becker at 12:39 pm CDT

Activision and id software have confirmed that Quake 4 from Raven software and id software will, indeed, be coming to Microsoft's next-generation XBOX.

No specific release date has been announced for either the PC or XBOX 360 versions of the game.

Friday, May 13, 2005
[PC] Get Steel Panthers Mega-Campaigns While You Can - posted by Erich Becker at 1:04 pm CDT

Matrix Games is announcing that the four Mega-Campaigns for Steel Panthers will be retired as of Wednesday, May 18th. The four campaigns; Desert Fox, Screaming Eagles, Lost Victories, and Watchtower will no longer be sold separately. It is very important to note that all four campaigns are available in Steel Panthers: Generals Edition. If you own the original Steel Panthers you have until May 18th to purchase the updates separately.

Check the games page for information on Steel Panthers: Generals Edition at www.matrixgames.com/games.

[XBOX 360] Activision Has Four Games in Development - posted by Erich Becker at 1:02 pm CDT

Activision also announced games in development for the new XBOX by way of video footage last night on MTV's special and by press release this morning. Those games include Call of Duty 2, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, Neversoft's untitled, unannounced original game, and Quake 4 (being worked on jointly with id Software).

Of course, more details will be available next week at E3.

[Industry] EA Announces 25 Next-Gen Games in Development - posted by Erich Becker at 12:59 pm CDT

Electronic Arts, hot off the heals of Microsoft's XBOX 360 coming to light, has announced that it has 25 next generation games in development including games from the EA SPORTS™ and EA™ brands that will be unveiled at E3 include: Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06, FIFA 06, Madden NFL 06, NBA LIVE 06, Need For Speed™ Most Wanted and The Godfather™.

No specific systems were listed for each game, although XBOX 360 versions are almost a given. We'll know more next week at E3.

[Editorial] XBOX 360 First Impressions - posted by Erich Becker at 9:37 am CDT

So I managed to BeyondTV the MTV unveiling of XBOX 360 last night and I must say I am not impressed. We pretty much knew that the entire show was going to have every celebrity and interviewee on Microsoft's payroll to hype up the system before the "Holiday 2005" launch, but what was actually showed, as far as cold, hard facts, is less than impressive.

The system itself wasn't that much of a surprise since pictures of it leaked out last weekend and the Apple inspired case, Sony inspired vertical/horizontal positioning, and Nokia-like face-plates do nothing for what the system can do. The technical specs of the system weren't really went into during the show (besides J. Allard's laughable acting bit) but print media have gotten wind of some components. The system itself is going to be powerful, and it seems very functional, but what really matters is the game.

Judging a game's graphics on a computer monitor (playing via compressed video) won't give you the most accurate picture, but I didn't see anything revolutionary about it. Project Gotham Racing 3 looked exactly as good as Gran Turismo 4, maybe slightly worse from the 5 second clip showed. Kameo (once a GameCube title) was shown so briefly it is hard to draw conclusions. Third party games like Call of Duty 2 were only given short clips, but nothing really stood out as something my PC couldn't do.

Highlighted the most is the oft-delayed Perfect Dark Zero (again, once a GameCube and Xbox title) which has the new Joanna Dark going from the anime makeover of early Microsoft press material back to a more realistic look, only now sporting a new haircut that, frankly, looks ridiculous. This segment of the show had three "professional gamers" traveling to Rare in England for some deathmatch action, which, again, didn't show anything revolutionary besides small clips of players with jet packs.

Its a bit early to criticize the system based on what was shown. Undoubtedly Microsoft will have a better showing next week at E3 when more respectable media (not the "hip" MTV "peeps") get their hands on the system. There's a lot of promise in the specs for the system, but, so far, XBOX 360 just looks like its circling back and doing everything exactly like the previous generation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
[PC] 'Auto Assault' Pre-Order Bonuses - posted by Erich Becker at 12:50 pm CDT

NCsoft has begun to ship out pre-order boxes for the upcoming Massively Multiplayer Car Combat game, Auto Assault.

Customers who pre-order Auto Assault will receive a special in-game weapon only available in the pre-sale boxes, plus a loot bonus. In addition, the pre-order CD contains art, screens, wallpapers, and music tracks. Customers who purchase this special edition pre-order box and register the product will also be eligible to participate in beta testing events and given a head start over other players before the commercial launch of the product.

If you'd like to get in early for the destruction, keep a keen eye out for those boxes.

[PC] Microsoft Announces 'Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends' - posted by Erich Becker at 12:35 pm CDT

Microsoft announced today the successor to the award winning Rise of Nations in the form of Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends. The game will be displayed next week at E3 as part of Microsoft's Games for Windows.

For fans of the original, or those looking for a new RTS game, Rise of Legends should fit the bill when it is released.

No release date or price point was given in today's press release.

[PlayStation2] 'Cold Winter' Ships - posted by Erich Becker at 12:32 pm CDT

VU Games announced today that they have shipped the PlayStation2 exclusive first person shooter, Cold Winter.

From their press release:

"In Cold Winter, the player is Andrew Sterling, a disavowed British MI6 agent who does what it takes and is prepared to kill in good conscience. Gamers will experience incredibly realistic interaction throughout highly-detailed and life-like environments, featuring real-world physics, searching fallen enemies and manipulating objects to use as cover. As players encounter intelligent adversaries, they can choose from an arsenal of over 30 weapons which inflict extremely graphic zone-specific body damage and produce realistic rag-doll death animations. The original storyline -- set in 2002 and written in collaboration with noted author Warren Ellis -- is revealed through beautiful and dramatic cinematics."

Sound good? Cold Winter is available now at your retailer of choice for $49.99 on the PS2 only.

[Multi] Bethesda Announces 'The Legend of Jack Sparrow' - posted by Erich Becker at 12:25 pm CDT

Bethesda Softworks has announced the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in the subtitle of The Legend of Jack Sparrow. The pirate adventure will be available in 2006 for Xbox, PlayStation2, and the PC.

A demo of the game will be shown next week at E3.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
[PC] 'Knights of Honor' Ships - posted by Erich Becker at 1:14 pm CDT

Paradox Interactive has shipped Knights of Honor to North American stores. The "E+10"-rated game will retail for $39.99 and should be available at your favorite retail store.

[PC] 'Star Fury' Warps To Retail in June - posted by Erich Becker at 1:12 pm CDT

Strategy First and Malfador Machinations are happy to announce that they will be bringing the popular online title Star Fury to retail stores nationwide.

The "E"-rated game will hit store shelves in June for an estimated retail price of $19.99.

[Multi] McNabb Tapped for Madden Cover - posted by Erich Becker at 1:10 pm CDT

Whether the curse will claim him or not, Philadelphia Eagles and NFC Champion quarterback Donovan McNabb will appear on the cover of Madden NFL 06.

If you'll remember Madden NFL 06 will be the only officially licensed football game this season, with a handful of unlicensed games also coming out.

On a personal note, I'll be sticking with NFL2K5 for a while.

[DS] 'Need for Speed Underground 2' Speeds Home - posted by Erich Becker at 1:06 pm CDT

Electronic Arts has released Need for Speed Underground 2 for the Nintendo DS and the game should be available immediately from your retailer of choice. The DS, while lacking in the high-caliber graphics of the PSP manages to enhance the gameplay, as stated in EA's press release:

"In addition, using the handheld’s unique touch screen technology, gamers can now create an unlimited number of custom vinyl designs to apply to their vehicles for that truly unique style to flaunt on the streets. For that extra boost during races, players also can use the touch-sensitive panel controls to manage their nitrous usage as they make their way to the finish line."

For those of you looking for a new racing fix on the dual-screened handheld, look no longer.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
[PC] Play 'RYL: Path of the Emperor' Free for 14 Days - posted by Erich Becker at 1:50 pm CDT

Xfire (http://www.xfire.com) and Planetwide Games (http://www.ryl.net) have announced that starting today, they will be offering a free 14-day trial download of "RYL: Path of the Emperor" -- the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game. This 14-day trial download offers new online game players the ability to experience "RYL: Path of the Emperor," which has the look and feel of a Role Playing Game (RPG) and a First Person Shooter (FPS) hybrid in a massively multiplayer online role playing game.

To download the client and sign up for 14-days free, visit http://www.xfire.com.

[E3: Industry] NCsoft's E3 Lineup Revealed - posted by Erich Becker at 1:44 pm CDT

Below are the games being displayed by NCsoft at this year's E3 conference:

Auto Assault™—Already generating excitement in the press as one of 2005’s most anticipated games, the world’s first car-combat MMO is at E3 and is launching this year! Developed by NetDevil®, LTD., Auto Assault’s high-speed vehicular combat and spectacularly destructible environments are the highlights of a game that will redefine expectations of online role-playing. Successfully combining speed, action and role-playing elements, Auto Assault pushes the envelope for MMO gaming. It’s the fastest, most destructive MMO ever.

City of Villains™—Cryptic Studios™, the creators of the massively popular City of Heroes® game, is premiering the companion game that allows players to take on the role of the bad guy. City of Villains™ is set in the Rogue Isles, a treacherous region not far from Paragon City. Players can now build their criminal empires and spread their own reign of terror. Slated for release later this year, this is the first public showing of this eagerly awaited title since last year’s E3.

Guild Wars®—Recently launched simultaneously in Europe, North America and Australia, this first title by ArenaNet® immerses players in a colorful, robust and detailed online fantasy world where success is determined by player skill, not by the time spent playing. Play with anyone, anywhere, at any time and there’s no subscription fee required.

Tabula Rasa™—Tabula Rasa is a massively multiplayer online action game that takes you into the heat of battle at the front lines of an epic war between a xenophobic alien race bent on galactic conquest and the coalition of rebel soldiers who’ve traveled across the galaxy to stop them. Combining the action of a first person shooter, the immersion of a role-playing game, and Richard Garriott’s signature creative vision, Tabula Rasa takes the player on an intergalactic adventure where the individual has an opportunity to significantly impact the pace of battle on a global scale.

In addition to viewing all these top-notch titles and speaking with the developers, visitors to the booth will see the high-energy performance art and percussion beat of The Mutaytor, which will interpret the world of Auto Assault in scheduled performances throughout the three-day show. Guild Wars demonstrations presented by the development team will be showcased on a giant video wall display. Plus, MMORadio (http://www.mmoradio.com), a 24/7 web radio station for gamers, will be webcasting three days of continuous E-3 coverage live from the NCsoft booth.

[PC] 'Dungeon Lords' Ships - posted by Erich Becker at 1:41 pm CDT

Dreamcatcher has shipped D.W. Bradley’s Combat RPG, Dungeon Lords to retail stores. The Teen-rated game should be available as soon as today and will cost you $39.99 to get lost in the adventure.

Look for a full review soon from ESCMAG.

[Multi] 'SSX On Tour' Announced - posted by Erich Becker at 1:39 pm CDT

Today Electronic Arts announced a fall release for the fourth installment in the SSX series, SSX On Tour (working title). The game will debut across the current generation platforms, meaning PlayStation2, GameCube, and Xbox. No annoucement was made as to the game appearing on the next-generation Xbox, currently thought to be named Xbox 360, or handheld systems.


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