DISCover (cont’d) and the Microsoft and CDV parties
However, DISCover's efforts are not just about making your PC games easier to find. They also have an interface that, much like that of the Xbox 360, allows people to download games from partners like Trymedia, along with game demos and links to pay for games at retail sites like EBGames. McCullough also told us that they plan to add community-based features like reviews and cheats for games to the interface. And what about Windows Vista, the next major Microsoft OS due out in the fall of 2006? He told us that DISCover already has plans for a 2.0 version of their My Games software that will launch alongside Vista, but declined to go into too many details at this point.
DISCover's goals are straightforward as McCullough told us. "We want to make installing and playing a game as easy as playing a CD or DVD," he told us. PC gamers have sometimes complained that installing games should be more like a console title and DISCover's efforts in that area could lead the way towards making that a reality for all gamers.
Parties and Parties
For some odd reason, Micosoft decided to hold a major press event showing off their new and upcoming Xbox 360 titles at San Fransisco on Tuesday night, despite the fact that a ton of reporters were in San Jose for GDC. I managed to find a way to go to the event which was held at the Supper Club. The club was set up so that people could lie down in almost a bed while playing Xbox games. In addition to newly released titles like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, a number of upcoming games were playable at the event. The highlights for me?
Nighty Nine Nights, the Japanese action title in the style of Dynasty Warriors with lots of characters on screen and lots of cool combo attack moves; Tomb Raider Legend, which looks like it will finally bring Lara Croft back to her original Tomb Raider moves; and Saints Row, THQ's answer to the Grand Theft Auto open city crime action games (but a lot better looking).
The big highlight for me though was Dead Rising, the Capcom "lots of zombies in a mall" title that is simply one of the best-looking Xbox 360 games I have seen yet. The game allows the player to pretty much take anything in the environment, from sledgehammers to stuffed bears, against the flesh eating horde. The zombies look good (and that's not a misprint) the combo moves you can do are varied and it's simply one of the best times I have had with an Xbox 360 title. I even saw some upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games, including Street Fighter II which I think will be a huge hit when it was released.
I got a ride back to San Jose in time to attend the CDV party. The game publisher showed off a bunch of playable builds from their upcoming PC game line-up and we will be doing a lot of coverage of those games in the near future. At the party we were most impressed with Pacific Storm, a WWII naval combat action-RTS game and Dark Star One, a Freelancer-like space based action-adventure game with 400 star systems to explore. CDV is branching out from its strategy roots and we think their upcoming game line-up (including games that we didn't get to see Tuesday) is very promising.
That's all for this edition. Tomorrow I'll write up some more thoughts on today's events and interesting things at GDC.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!