June 4, 2010
Welcome one and all to the third edition of Gaming News! My deepest apologies for how late this issue was put up. I had a small email issue that was resolved. This week we’ll cover a little more Halo: Reach, a movie adaptation of Mass Effect, Farmville Foods, and the PS3 goes PS3D. As for the Review section, well, I’m sad to say that I’ve not been able to play anything recent enough, so instead I will do a preview section this week covering an exciting upcoming title, Gears of War 3.
Now for news.
The Halo: Reach Beta is officially over; it ended on the 19th of May, about a week ago. Why must the good die young? But alas, it is as it should be. After all, if the beta remained, Bungie would be too busy to work on the full game. If you were part of it, congratulations! We were all part of the single biggest beta on record. Get ready for these stats because they will blow you away!
More than 2.7 million people participated amassing more than 1.1 billion kills, over 16 million hours worth of gameplay was logged, adding up to 1,826 YEARS of total time, all within more than 13 million games! And this was in just a two week period! Way to go everyone! This and the feedback on the Reach Feedback Forum at Bungie.net, will give Bungie just what they need to refine and finish the game on time.
And on top of that, Bungie also announced, surprisingly quietly, the release date for the game; September 14, 2010 (September 15 in Japan). So get out there and preorder it at your favorite shop! It is available in three versions; Regular, Limited, and Legendary. The regular is just what you would normally get, the game and the booklet, all for $59.99. Limited comes with many booklets and whatnot filled with all sorts of fictional goodies for about $79.99. And lastly, the Legendary Edition will come with all of that AND a 10-inch, individually molded, hand painted Noble Team statue made by the famous McFarlane Toys for about $149.99. And as an added bonus, those who pick up their copy of the game on release day will get a token that unlocks an exclusive, in-game Spartan Recon Helmet.
Next up is an interesting little tidbit of info about an upcoming movie based on Mass Effect. That’s right. A live action, silver-screen adaptation is coming to a theater near you… eventually. The producers for The Dark Knight and Spiderman; Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Avi Arad, and his son Ari Arad, are all teaming up for this one. They are in negotiations with Mark Protosevich (who did I am Legend and Thor) to write the script, and they say that the movie is in the early stages of development. So it will be a while.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Farmville by now. A craze on Facebook where one cares for and develops a farm. It’s huge among the casual gamer scene. Well, now you can even get it at your local 7-Eleven. Yep, 7-Eleven just went into a partnership with the game. The Farmville branded Items will have codes on them for special items in game. These items will come in the form of ice-cream pints and on the 7-Eleven slurpees. They start to go on sale June 1st and will go until July 15th, or until stock runs out. Probably until stock runs out given the games fanbase.
And lastly, Sony announced recently the upcoming release a firmware update that will give all PS3’s 3D functionality. It looks like it will possibly be coming near the end of 2010 or early 2011. At E3 2009 Sony showed off this up and coming tech using Motorstorm; and indeed it did have full depth of field. They will also release a line of 3D games and a TV especially for the release of the update. But they also said that this tech should work with existing software. At a German exhibition, Sony set up a prototype of the 3D tech playing already existing games.
Gears of War 3 is set eight months after the events of Gears of War 2. The last bastion of humanity, Jacinto, has sunk, and the survivors have fled to the sea. Living on huge leftovers from the collapsed COG army the human race is barely holding on. Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago are on one of these ships helping to grow crops and protect the ship. They are joined by two new playable characters, Jace Stratton, and Anya Stroud (The very same woman from the first and second games that has guided Delta Squad from their base.) Jace is an all new character all together. While not as naive as the Carmine brothers from the first two games, he is still a young, caring soldier. Anya, sporting a new, short haircut and beefy COG armor, has joined Marcus’ side in the war against the Locust. Cole and Baird are back as well, though they won’t be with Marcus. At least not in the beginning. They will be on a mission of their own on the mainland, which will be playable, and joining up with other playable characters. Their story will start interweaving with Marcus and Companies story, and will eventually meld together. And the kicker is this is all playable as a single player campaign to a 4 player co-op.
Unfortunately though, very little was said on the matter of multiplayer. Not much I can easily cover in just words with no pictures anyway. But Epic Games has released small glimpses into a couple of new maps (Arena and Overpass) and also showed off the new “multi-turret”. The multi-turret is essentially a seat with racks on either side of it. The way it works is a player can place and swap out almost any weapon in the game to be used in it. The version Epic showed off had four lancers in it spraying bullets all over the area. The Arena map is interesting in that it is set in a thrashball arena (the sport that Cole played professionally). And that’s pretty much it. Overpass even more so in that it is set in the streets of Jacinto in its final moments. As the game progresses, the map changes; water starts to flood the lower areas, then the map starts to fall into a huge gap into the Hollow underneath. A very interesting dynamic in multiplayer that is usually reserved for campaigns.
The weapons are very exciting to see, as there are many new ones in the mix. One of the new innovations I am personally excited to see is a small “mech” of sorts called the Silverback; better described as a suit of power armor that a player can use. It comes in two flavors; an offensive form and a defensive form. The former can sprint across battlefields, fire on the run, and can even curbstomp downed enemies. The defensive form does just that, and exceptionally well I might add. Stop moving and you can spread shields and armor out from the legs and they actually can provide excellent cover for your teammates. The weapons remain active too, so a single person could fairly easily create a very effective defense platform. There’s also a new sawed off, double-barreled shotgun whose reticule fills half the screen, an old fashioned lancer that has a bayonet instead of the chainsaw and shoots very powerful close-range rounds (don’t worry though, the normal lancer is still in the game), a super heavy, recoilless sniper (essentially) that can take down almost any enemy in a single shot, a new Incendiary grenade, and a very odd looking and sounding gun called a digger launcher. Apparently it shoots out these little creatures that dive underground and pop back up underneath whomever you happen to be aiming at to subsequently explode.
Of course, that’s not to say the enemy doesn’t have any new toys of its own. Due to the near but ultimately failed defeat of the Locust in the second game, they have reverted somewhat to more archaic forms of weaponry. But don’t let that line fool you, they’re certainly just intent on killing you as you are of them. One of the new forms, known as the Savage Grenadier, will actually charge right up to you for close up battle. There’s also a piece of heavy weaponry called the Siege Beast. A huge creature that the Locust use against its will to create a catapult of sorts, it’s apparently got large hind legs that are very springy. On top of all of that, the Locust isn’t even the only enemy anymore. They’re a new threat known as the Lambent.
Briefly introduced in the previous game, the Lambent have grown into true threat. They have many different forms; from tiny “polyps” that explode as the move around, to massive tentacle/vine creatures that’s covering the planet. But probably the form that will be encountered the most will be what’s known as Drudges. These baddies can evolve right in front of your very eyes. Shoot off an arm and it’ll quickly grow two long, whip-like tentacles. Blow off the legs and it will sprout massive, tall tree trunk legs to tower over you. And so on.
Lastly, the story seems to have gotten the attention it deserves. There were all kinds of interesting little tidbits of info in Gears 2, and it seems Epic Games will finally answer some of those questions. It seems that Marcus’ supposedly dead and disgraced father is actually alive and has found an answer to the Lambent threat. But how true is it? And is he indeed still alive somewhere out there? All this and more will be answered, at long last, in this game.
That’s all for this week, leave comments and questions below or to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. See you all later!
Image via Wikipedia