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Mass Effect 3 Delayed – Phew!

No High Scores

Hey, I love Mass Effect as much as the next guy, but honestly, there are so many potentially awesome games coming out at the end of this year that something had to give. So yes, consider me squarely in the “not disappointed” column for Mass Effect 3′s delay. Now, I can play Batman and Saints Row 3 and Uncharted 3 and have a grand old time doing it, take a holiday break and bust out my Reaper killing skills in Q2 2012 when the game comes out.

If, however, you just can’t live without your ME3 fix for the year, might I suggest preordering the awesome Normandy model that Dark Horse comics will be releasing in October? When life gives you lemons, go buy toys.

Darkness II Release Date Announced

No High Scores

The Darkness II is coming on October 4th, or as my 7th and 8th grade math teacher would have me believe, International Trucker Day (10-4). I’m hoping this means that the game features Jackie traveling the country in a giant big rig, righting wrongs and slaughtering evil doers along the way, but probably not. A man can dream though. A man can dream. Head over to the official website for the release date trailer and don’t forget that the comic book tie-in Darkness II: Confession will be given away on Saturday as part of the awesomeness that is Free Comic Book Day.

Red Faction: Armageddon It

No High Scores

I want to talk about the Red Faction: Armageddon demo, but first, I need to complain about something, something tangentially related to Red Faction: Armageddon.

We all know the story of the ostrich hammer, one of the oddest, and coolest weapons in Red Faction: Guerrilla. The ostrich hammer was shown in an April Fools developer diary for RF:G and once that video was unleashed on the gaming public, people wanted the real thing in the game. Volition, being the cool people they are, obliged by making the hammer a weapon unlocked via multiplayer.

Volition is back at it again, only this time, instead of a weapon shaped like a huge, flightless bird, they're promising to unlock Mr. Toots, a farting unicorn for use in Red Faction: Armageddon. The only thing we have to do is download the demo a million times. Oh, only a million times?

Well, let me get right on that...

I don’t have a problem with unlocking cool stuff in games by actually playing the game. I think it’s a nice reward and when done properly, gives people extra incentive to spend time with the game. I do have a problem though with holding back on game content so that we can all jump through your stupid PR hoops. I was already planning on telling you that the RF:A demo is good and you should download it, but I’m doing it because the demo is fun and I think you should check it out, not because I want to unlock a horse with a gas problem.

Similarly, why do we need to “Like” Assassins Creed enough to get the next trailer? Is Ubisoft seriously going to not make the game because we all don’t blow sunshine up their collective ass? No, of course not. They’re still going to make it, and they’re still going to unveil more trailers, screen shots and developer diaries than ever before, it just won’t be right away. Well I don’t care if it’s right away, and honestly, if you don’t want me to watch your stupid trailer, then that’s fine with me. Keep the damn thing. I know social media is all great for spreading the word about something awesome, but the awesomeness of that something is diminished in my eyes when you hold it hostage until I tell you how frakkin’ great you are. And this is coming from someone who has grown to love the AC series.

So yeah, do your own damn PR and keep your stupid farting unicorns.

Right, so Red Faction: Armageddon. Prior to the demo, I really had no idea what to expect from this game. Now that I’ve played it, I have more of an idea, so the question becomes whether or not it jives with what I want from Red Faction. The original Red Faction games were competent shooters that let you occasionally destroy things or shoot through rocks with an awesome rail gun thingy. Honestly, I don’t remember much more about them which means they either didn’t make much of an impression on me, or I sustained some sort of head trauma that I also don’t remember.

Guerrilla, on the other hand, was all about the destruction. Sure there was a story, even if it was poorly told and ultimately meaningless, but the focus of the game was on how you could bring down entire buildings. If it helped free Mars, or whatever, even better, but honestly, I stopped caring about the plight of Martian freedom fighters the minute I realized I could complete a mission by taking out a building with a dump truck.

With Armageddon it looks like they’re taking the more linear approach of the original games and then adding in the destructibility of Guerrilla. It is, essentially, a third person shooter in which things get destroyed with marvelous aplomb. And, not only do things get blown up well, but you can use that destruction as a weapon and not in a staged, room full of red barrels type of way.

The demo gives you access to four weapons: a pulse rifle, a charged detonator thrower, a singularity gun and the magnet gun. Of the three, the pulse rile is the weakest against the various alien things you come up against. In fact, in a straight up firefight, they’re all pretty weak, but luckily you’re surrounded by destructible terrain, terrain you can use to your advantage. When the electric aliens start jumping around like a coked up jackrabbit, tag it with a magnet charge and then tag a nearby pillar. Depending on the order of shots, the alien will either be slammed into the pillar, possibly bringing the structure down on them or they’ll get a face full of concrete. Both work and both are immensely satisfying.

Best of all, if you completely trash the place while fighting, as I did many times, you can rebuild it all with the nano forge, your wrist based Maguffin that lets you automagically rebuild stuff. There is a limit to the amount of rebuilding that can be done, and it appears to be based on some sort of level geometry that we just can’t see. For example, I entered a room, rebuild a pipe thingy and then got in a fight in which I trashed said pipe. I then tried to rebuild it and no dice. Not a big deal, but it did ruin the immersion a little.

The nano forge does more than rebuild things as it also has a force blast that can shove away enemies directly in front of you as well a pulse blast that knocks away surrounding enemies. All of these things can be upgraded as you progress through the game and according to the menu, upgrades carry over into multiplayer.

There’s more to the demo, like your Navi-esque persistent companion S.A.M. who will conveniently mark things like ammo boxes and waypoints, some story elements that basically has everyone mad at you, an ending trailer that gives me more of an idea as to the story than I’ve seen up to date and a fun little romp through a Martian underground market in an exoskeleton. Note that this is an exoskeleton and not a mech, something I need to mention because they appear to be two different things if the controller options screen is to be believed.

The ending trailer showed a bunch of outside stuff, so hopefully the outside destruction we got to have fun with in RFG will make a comeback here, but honestly, this demo did a lot to get me excited for the game. The weapons are interesting, the enemies are a challenge and nothing ever slowed down or stuttered as I went on a rampage in my exoskeleton.

The demo is on Xbox Live right now and should be up whenever the PSN comes back. Unfortunately there’s no word on a PC demo but if THQ is smart, they’ll release one. Maybe they’re waiting for you to say that you like their lactose intolerant lemur or something.

Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury unloads on XBLA

Aren’t you sick of all these great XBLA games that have been coming out lately like Clash of Heroes, Outland, and as of today, Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury? I know, right? It’s like, I’m sitting here at home and I’m able to download an awesome and unique game that would never make the cut at retail for only ten to fifteen bucks. I’m fed up with it!

Sarcasm aside, Bangai-O: Missile Fury is Treasure’s latest version of its venerated and absolutely bonkers Dreamcast/N64 manic shooter. I’ve been playing with it for the last 30 minutes or so, and having been completely in love with the DS version a couple of years ago, I’m happy to announce that the game does not disappoint. Particularly when it comes to the “missile fury” department- see the above picture. The gameplay is the same as past installments- it’s more or less a twin stick shooter with complicated controls, extremely short stages (you might last literally two seconds on some of them), and insane amounts of ordnance on the screen at once. Which does, in fact, look stunning in HD. Once again, your tiny little robot has to pick up pineapples and bananas to power up for counter attacks. I haven’t seen soccer balls or baseball bat levels yet, hopefully they’re coming.

800 points buys you an awful lot of missles. Review forthcoming at Gameshark.

Brink HUD Trailer

Take a look at this tutorial video if you want to hit the ground running and know what all of the HUD doo dads mean so your teammates won’t yell at you. (Brandon…)

Brink is set to ship on May 10th.

Spiderweb Software Launches Avadon for Windows

Do you like your role-playing games old-timey and packed with data? Spiderweb Software has been around a long, long time and has developed a lot of really good role-playing games for the PC. These are definitely more in the “classic” sense of the genre and not your super spiffy 3D with facial animations. It’s an indie through and though.

However, this is certainly worth a look simply based on Spiderweb’s history. Jeff Vogel is also one hell of a gaming curmudgeon, so we like him.

You can purchase the game, play the demo, or just read more about it at the Spiderweb website here: http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com

Can You Play Duke Nukem Forever?

Now, this is not do you want to play Duke Nukem Forever, as that is an entirely different question. This is — can you play Duke Nukem Forever. (From the looks of the specs, you can.) That is, if you planned on playing the PC version. Gearbox has released the System Specs, so off we go:

Minimum Specifications
* OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
* Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 @ 2.0 Ghz
* Memory: 1 Gb
* Hard Drive: 10 Gb free
* Video Memory: 256 MB
* Video Card: nVidia GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
* Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Recommended Specifications
* OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
* Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 @ 2.6 Ghz
* Memory: 2 Gb
* Hard Drive: 10 Gb free
* Video Memory: 512 MB
* Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS / ATI Radeon HD 3850
* Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

OTHER REQUIREMENTS & SUPPORTS
Initial installation requires one-time internet connection for Steam authentication; software installations required (included with the game) include Steam Client, Microsoft DirectX, Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable (ATL), Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable, and AMD Dual Core Optimizer. (AMD optimizer required only for specific AMD processors to run the game correctly, but installs for all of them.)

DiRT 3 Superteams Pack Trailer

Codemasters has released a new “superteams” pack trailer for its upcoming rally racing sequel, DiRT 3, which is due out at the end of May. The 24th to be precise.

It’s worth noting here that the trailer is promoting pre-order bonuses in the form of the “superteams”.

The Superteams pack unlocks the Texaco Racing Team, Brembo Racing Team, Team Yokohama and Mobil 1 Performance Team, allowing players to drive for those teams, boosting their driver rep and giving them exclusive team liveries. It will also give gamers immediate access to a wide range of cars including the Ford RS200 Rallycross, Fiat 131 Abarth, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Jun and the iconic Lancia Delta HF Integrale.

IF…you pre-order it at “selected retailers”. Hey at least they aren’t asking for more money, right?

Thanks Blue.

THQ's CEO Suggests Single Player Hurt Homefront

Industry Gamers sat in on a conference call where THQ CEO Brian Farrell suggested that the short single player campaign in Homefront was the main reason some critics panned the game.

Farrell has been all over the map when it comes to the criticisms of Homefront, stating after release and after the reviews poured in, “This game is not a 70″ referring to the overall Metacritic score. In fact, if you want to believe Metacritic’s voodoo — it is a 70. Perhaps the THQ CEO has reached the acceptance stage?

Regardless of how the critics or even the public viewed Homefront it did ship 2.6 million units. That’s a lot of angry digital Koreans and the game helped drive the company’s latest fiscal report.

This all came out during a conference call to discuss THQ’s quarterly financials, which if you read the story at IG, THQ is counting on big sales from Red Faction, Space Marine, Saints Row 3, and WWE.

Wii $150 on 5/15, Comes With Mario Kart

No High Scores

Normally I'd make some joke about the fact that we all knew this was coming, or that everyone already has a Wii but I'm tired so instead I'm going to play the straight man. As of May 15th, the Wii will be $150 bucks. Gone is the Wii Sports pack-in, replaced with Mario Kart. Oh, it also comes with the wheel thing-a-mabob. Along with your dirt cheap console, Nintendo is also bestowing upon you a collection of old games you can pick up for $20 bucks, such as the previously included Wii Sports. The shift from Wii Sports as the pack-in to Mario Kart is an interesting one as it says to me that Nintendo knows the days of luring in non-gamers with a generic sports title are over and now maybe they're looking to grab parents who want to start their children down the dark path of video game playing. Either that or they just discovered a massive cache of Mario Kart copies in some Japanese warehouse.

As this is an entirely new SKU, I doubt retailers will do any price matching should you find yourself with a recently purchased Wii and a receipt showing a number bigger than 150. It doesn't hurt to try, but I wouldn't get your hopes up either.