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August 08, 2005 - May 22, 2006 - See More Archived News

Monday, May 22, 2006
[Multi] 'Hitman: Blood Money' Demo Debuts - posted by Erich Becker at 9:32 am CDT

The single player demo for Eidos and IO Interactive's upcoming sequel, Hitman: Blood Money, has it the web exclusively at GameSpot.

The demo includes the first level of the game and also provides a refresher course for Hitman veterans as well as series newbies to the art of piano wire and such.

Check out the full Hitman: Blood Money demo today.

In order Hitman news, the game has gone gold and will be on shelves shortly for your system of choice. No plays for an Xbox Live demo have been made available.

[ESCMAG] Where the Hell Have We Been? - posted by Erich Becker at 9:27 am CDT

There's no easy answer to this question so I'm just going to say 'vacation' and leave it at that. There were some issues keeping most of us away from the site as long as we've been gone but we're getting things back on track here at ESCMAG Tower and with our love of gaming still burning bright look for the same old ESCMAG quality reviews to begin popping up any day, even this week.

Monday, November 21, 2005
[Xbox 360] Challenge J Allard on Xbox 360 Tomorrow - posted by Erich Becker at 7:55 am CDT

Xbox Live invites gamers to take part in a once in a lifetime gameplay session with J Allard on Project Gotham Racing. 3 and Perfect Dark Zero. To celebrate the launch of Xbox 360 Xbox Vice President and Chief XNA Architect J Allard will take on Xbox Live. members on Tuesday, November 22.

Log on to Xbox Live using your Xbox Live Gold membership between 5pm - 7pm Eastern (2pm - 4pm Pacific) and you'll find J Allard playing Project Gotham Racing. 3 and Perfect Dark Zero in the Recreation Zone under his gamertag "HiroProtagonist". Gamers can challenge J on multiplayer racers or watch his performance using spectator mode in PGR3.

The gamers who beat J Allard will receive a set of exclusive prizes. The winners will be announced on Xbox.com on Wednesday November 23rd.

[Xbox 360] Xbox 360 Launches Tomorrow at 12:01AM - posted by Erich Becker at 7:49 am CDT

For fans lucky enough to secure a pre-order, Microsoft's jump-start on the next generation of console gaming will hit store shelves just after midnight tonight as the Xbox 360 launches with 18 launch games and a whole lot of hype to live up to.

The console is being sold in two different packages (a core bundle for $299 and another for $399 with all the good stuff included). While I won't use this space for a commentary on Microsoft's questionable pricing model, I will say that I wish them the best of luck launching first, but I don't think they'll be able to overtake Sony in the long run, but we shall see.

Sony's PlayStation3, still shrouded in mystery to a point, will be released sometime in the Spring of 2006 with Nintendo's Revolution (still a codename) hitting store shelves at an unknown time next year (many peg Fall 2006 to be the date).

Friday, November 18, 2005
[Multi] '50 Cent: Bulletproof' Available Today - posted by Erich Becker at 3:14 pm CDT

Vivendi Universal Games has pushed up the release of the urban action game 50 Cent: Bulletproof today, announcing the game is now available on store shelves. Fans of the rapper can now play him as he makes good on his lyrics.

50 Cent: Bulletproof is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and carries an MSRP of $49.99.

Get ready to bust some caps in some asses this weekend.

[Multi] Eidos Taps Jesper Kyd for 'Hitman' Soundtrack - posted by Erich Becker at 3:09 pm CDT

Eidos Interactive has tapped Jesper Kyd and a 150-piece orchestra to provide the soundtrack for the upcoming installment in the Hitman series, Hitman: Blood Money due out next year.

Hitman: Blood Money will feature a cinematic live orchestral score composed by Kyd and recorded with the 150-member Budapest Symphony and Hungarian Radio Choir, in addition to several electronica tracks penned by Kyd for the game.

Hitman: Blood Money will be released in Spring 2006 for the PlayStation2, Xbox, and PC. The game is developed by IO-Interactive.

[Industry] '24: The Game' Footage to Appear at 2005 VGA's - posted by Erich Becker at 3:07 pm CDT

An exclusive clip of 24: The Game, based on the FOX TV series 24, will debut at the 2005 Video Game Awards on Saturday, December 10 (9-11 p.m. ET/PT).

Set between seasons two and three, 24: The Game is a new day in the life of Jack Bauer and the members of the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). 24: The Game is an action-adventure title with more than 60 missions, including driving, gun fights, stealth, satellite tracking and interrogation.

The clip will be introduced by series star Kiefer Sutherland who reprises his role for the video game.

24: The Game will be released for the PlayStation2 in early 2006. No ESRB rating information is available at this time.

[PC] Free Expansion for 'EVE Online' in December - posted by Erich Becker at 3:02 pm CDT

CCP Games, an independent developer and publisher of massively multiplayer online games, today announced the public release of "EVE Online®: Red Moon Rising”, a new expansion to its highly successful and fast-growing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) “EVE Online®: Exodus”. Red Moon Rising is scheduled for release this December, and will be provided to subscribers free of charge.

For more information on EVE Online, check out www.eve-online.com.

[Industry] Nival Postpones Poster Contest Deadline - posted by Erich Becker at 3:00 pm CDT

Here's the story straight from the source:

Nival Interactive postpones the deadline of the “Artists of Might and Magic” poster art contest submissions to November 27th. The final results of the contest will be announced on December 8th on the Nival Interactive web-site.

Nival Interactive’s poster art contest for Heroes of Might and Magic V enjoyed many responses and artworks submissions. Inspired by the fantastic universe of Heroes of Might and Magic, talented artists from various countries have been creating their images of this fictional world, presenting some really interesting and creative artwork.

Still, we are receiving many letters from the contest participants asking for more time to polish their works to the level of the all time favorite game series. Nival Interactive and the art contest jury have decided to grant this little miracle the artists have been asking for and to give them more time, postponing the deadline for the submissions from November 20th to November 27th. The open vote for the special viewer’s choice prize, a Sony PSP gaming console, will start on December 1st and will last until December 7th. The final results of the contest will be announced on Nival Interactive’s web-site on December 8th.

Information about the contest and contest rules can be found here: http://www.nival.com/events/

[PC] 'Space Hack' Now Available - posted by Erich Becker at 2:58 pm CDT

Interactive software publisher, Meridian4 and developer, Rebelmind are thrilled to announce that their Sci-Fi Action/RPG – Space Hack, has shipped to retail stores and is now available.

Space Hack is described as "...a sci-fi Action/RPG title with Diablo-inspired gameplay mechanics, presented in real-time 3D graphics. The story puts gamers on a colony transport ship that suddenly gets trapped inside a Black Nebula, but that’s only their first problem. While trapped, they get boarded by aliens that take over the ship and begin to kill and eat the colonists."

The game is now available with a ESRB rating of "T" for Teen. A trial version can be found at www.meridian4.com.

[Xbox 360] 'Quake 4' Now Available - posted by Erich Becker at 2:56 pm CDT

With the launch of the console less than a week away, Activision has shipped Quake 4 for the Xbox 360. Developed by Raven Software, Quake 4 is a direct sequel to Quake II in which the bloody war against the Strogg continues.

The game is priced with an MSRP of $59.99 and is rated "M" for Mature.

Friday, September 16, 2005
[Revolution] Controller Debuts, Mouths Salivate - posted by Erich Becker at 3:26 pm CDT

If you haven't heard by now (where have you been?) the Nintendo Revolution controller was unveiled yesterday and I must say, I'm really damn impressed with what Nintendo is trying to accomplish. Of course, this wasn't my first reaction upon seeing the controller for the first time. That reaction was more like:

"What in the hell is that thing?"

After I managed to collect myself I started to read about what that "thing" actually does, and the more and more I read, the more and more I wanted it. Sure, we haven't seen any games yet, but just the possibility of what you could do with that device is astounding. Watching the campy video Nintendo used solidified the fact that they've either lost it, or are about to take back the industry they saved 20 years ago. I'm inclined to believe in the latter.

Without actually holding it in my hand, I can't be too quick to judge, and since we weren't invited to Japan for TGS (*cough*) we didn't get to try the device out, but from what I'm able to gather from the "bigger" sites online, Nintendo has come through with the revolutionary aspect of their next system.

Now if they'd only solidify a name, date, and some games, we'll all be happy.

The Nintendo "Revolution" launches in 2006.

[PSP] SOE Promotes A 'Field Commander' - posted by Erich Becker at 3:10 pm CDT

In addition to announcing The Warrior's Code, a follow up to Untold Legends, SOE also announced a new SKU in the way of Field Commander, a turn-based strategy which is set for release in Q1 2006.

[PSP] SOE Follows 'The Warrior's Code' - posted by Erich Becker at 3:08 pm CDT

Sony Online Entertainment is preparing to follow up on the successful launch of Untold Legends of the PSP with a new sequel set to drop in the first quarter of next year. Here's a snippet from the press release:

"Untold Legends™: The Warrior’s Code™ is the next game in the Untold Legends series following the top-selling Brotherhood of the Blade, which was launched earlier this year by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). The Warrior’s Code is an entirely new role-playing game (RPG), as compared to its predecessor, with an evolutionary interactive combat engine, new 3D enhanced graphics, special effects and lighting. The Warrior’s Code is scheduled for a first quarter 2006 launch."

Untold Legends is currently available for the PSP.

[PC] 'F.E.A.R.' Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 3:06 pm CDT

PC gamers will have a new reason to FEAR the supernatural this October as VU Games' F.E.A.R. has gone gold and will be on store shelves October 18th.

The M-Rated game will debut in standard and Director's Edition packages.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
[PC] Matrix to Publish 'Starships Unlimited III' - posted by Erich Becker at 6:28 am CDT

Matrix Games have announced they have signed ApeZone's Starships Unlimited III for publishing. Here's a snippet from the press release:

"Starships Unlimited III will be familiar to fans of the original, but with significant improvements. For starters, exploration has been expanded to four ages of exploration rather than one, with planets revealing more of their secrets as your ability to explore them improves. The focus of exploration is now more peaceful and scientific and allows all races to eventually reach new technology ages through exploration and diligent research. Espionage now includes different types of spies and additional missions, while making the process of recruiting and monitoring your spies easier to manage. New technologies abound as well, including new freighter and colony ship types, larger starships, deathray weapons, hyper drive and defensive fighter flak. Finances are now more challenging and based on skilled labor costs and games can now be limited to a range of technological ages. Finally, the user interface and graphics have been revamped and the computer opponents have been made more challenging, including more possible skill level settings so that you can adjust them to your desired difficulty.

Starships Unlimited III is a space exploration and conquest game where you control every aspect of dominating the universe. Every ship you construct may be customized from around 200 different technologies. From the weapons to the shields and hull, the decision is yours. The potential designs are unlimited and the number of star systems you fight in can range from just a few to an entire galaxy. Conquer space through might of arms, diplomacy, or maybe a little subterfuge. The methods are unlimited but only one race will dominate!"

Starships Unlimited III will be available this Fall on the PC. No rating or MSRP were available at press time.

Monday, August 29, 2005
[PC] Strategy First to Publish 'Space Empires V' - posted by Erich Becker at 2:38 pm CDT

Strategy publisher Strategy First announced Friday that the company will publish Malfador Machinations' Space Empires V in early 2006. The game is the next edition in the Space Empires series.

[GameCube] Mario, Luigi, and Peach Tear up 'SSX' - posted by Erich Becker at 2:35 pm CDT

Nintendo and EA jointly announced last Friday that Mario, Luigi, and Pricess Peach will appear in the GameCube verion of SSX On Tour from EA Sports BIG this fall. The characters will be exclusive to the Nintendo version of the game.

A similar deal was struck with the publisher earlier in the year when the gang shot some hoops in NBA Street.

[PC] UPDATED: 'Guild Wars' Update Next Week? - posted by Erich Becker at 2:34 pm CDT

Keen gamers, during this past weekend PvP Extreme Event, noticed a series of words and numbers which came out to be WAR CENSUS OF ORR. While the phrase doesn't mean much to non-fans (ORR was an ancient kingdom that up and vanished) when the letter's are rearragned it spells out SORROWS FURNACE, the name of the summer update.

The not-so-random numbers appear to be a countdown of some sort which is set to expire on Wednesday, September 7th. Considering Summer officially ends on the 21st of September the date appears to be legit.

Credit goes to the gang over at Guild Wars Guru.

As this story went up, the offical press release came through email to my inbox:

ArenaNet Releases their Guild Wars Update: Sorrow’s Furnace to Launch September 7th

New Explorable Areas Available Free to All Guild Wars Players

Bellevue, Wa. (August 29, 2005) -- ArenaNet®, creators of the #1 selling competitive online roleplaying game, Guild Wars®, announces the release of the much-anticipated Guild Wars update: Sorrow’s Furnace. To be released on September 7, 2005, the update will be available free to all Guild Wars account holders and will stream to them live at game log-in.

Sorrow's Furnace offers two large, explorable regions: Grenth's Footprint and Sorrow's Furnace. These regions will provide exciting new high-level content to Guild Wars players, and will offer new quests, new monsters, new items, and more. For characters who have completed their ascension in Guild Wars, these areas will provide new opportunities for exploration and reward.

Guild Wars is a competitive online roleplaying game that rewards player skill more than time played. Players explore a rich fantasy game world, acquire skills, build personalized characters and compete in head-to-head guild battles with players from around the world.

In addition, DirectSong will simultaneously release new music for Sorrow’s Furnace. DirectSong, the world's first official music expansion service, will offer a Sorrow's Furnace music Mini-Pak free of charge to all Guild Wars account holders who register at their website: www.directsong.com. The Mini-Pak also features a preview of Guild Wars Battle Pak 1, the first full music upgrade announced for Guild Wars, available end of September.

[Multi] 'Call of Duty 2' Voice Actors Added - posted by Erich Becker at 2:10 pm CDT

Further immersing gamers into the gritty intensity of World War II, Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has signed a squadron of actors to voice several of the main characters for Call of Duty® 2 and Call of Duty® 2: Big Red One.

In total, seven actors have joined the Call of Duty cast including:

- Michael Cudlitz (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Live From Baghdad,” “The Negotiator”)
- Rick Gomez (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Ray,” “Sin City”)
- Frank John Hughes (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Catch Me If You Can”)
- James Madio (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Shark Tale”)
- Ross McCall (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “EMR,” “Hooligans”)
- Rene L. Moreno (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Last Flight Out”)
- Richard Speight Jr. (credits include “Band of Brothers,” “Into The West”)

Call of Duty 2 will be released for the PC and Xbox 360 this Fall while Call of Duty 2: Big Red One will be released for the current-gen Xbox, PlayStation2, and Nintendo GameCube. Neither title is rated by the ESRB and no MSRPs have been set.

[PC] 'The Sims 2: Nightlife' Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 2:04 pm CDT

Maxis and Electronic Arts announced today that the Maxis developed The Sims 2 Nightlife has gone gold and will begin shipping September 15th. Here's the official press release:

"The Sims 2 Nightlife is the second expansion pack to the award-winning PC game, The Sims 2. In addition to over 125 objects and brand new downtown locations, The Sims 2 Nightlife also brings in a new life aspiration called Pleasure where Sims’ main focus in their lives are to have fun and create enjoyable moments. Part of this new gameplay also features an attraction system to help monitor the chemistry between your Sims. Take a date out to a romantic French bistro, hot nightclub, hip lounge, trendy bar and even a retro-chic bowling alley. For the first time, Sims will be able to travel downtown in style with their own customizable cars. Some of the new objects that will help create these epic nights out include a DJ booth, poker table, Electro Dance Sphere, photo booth, karaoke machine and more. You can even interact with all new exotic dateable Sims, like hot waiters, dating icons and even a mysterious gypsy matchmaker. The Nightlife is what you make of it, so enjoy!"

Monday, August 08, 2005
[PC] 'F.E.A.R.' Demo Impressions - posted by Erich Becker at 12:41 pm CDT

The age of the ridiculously sized demo is finally upon us. After balking at the 1.4GB demo for Dungeon Siege II, Monolith decides to release a demo half that size for their upcoming first person shooter F.E.A.R. and like the lemming I am, I get to downloading.

The demo is surprisingly short for its download size but allows you to experience part of the game's first level, after a real-time introduction. You're sent to defeat a man who managed to massacre and eat several victims after hearing voices in his head. As a member of the elite F.E.A.R. squad your rookie assignment is to pop this guy, but there's more to the story than that, and during the game's stylistic credit sequences you get bits and pieces to help you along.

One of the additions to the standard story-driving-FPS-formula is the "bullet-time" slow-motion option taken from Max Payne and his legion of copy-cats. While the demo gives you the ability to use the technique, you aren't actually required to do so.

Monolith is known for making some great games, especially based on their own technology, and F.E.A.R. is no different. While the character models of the bare NPCs leave a bit to be desired, the fully armored forces you will run up against (including some in mini-mech like armor) look amazing.

While hopefully no present in the full version of the game upon release, I experienced some major problems with textures disappearing running a Radeon 9600 Pro and an older set of Catalyst drivers (so Guild Wars won't crash out).

While the size of the demo may cause you to squirm a little bit for the 15 minutes of action contained within, give F.E.A.R. a try, it’s a spooky and fun 15 minutes.


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