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Sony vs. U.S. Congress: It's a Barn-burner!

No High Scores

When the United States House of Representatives gets involved you know the grandstanding and finger-pointing can’t be far behind. (Those links go to a pair of articles Opposable Thumbs put up yesterday.) Among the lovely quotes on offer was this one from Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), who said, “But they [Sony] also must shoulder some of the blame for these stunning thefts, which shake the confidence of everyone who types in a credit card number and hits ‘enter.’”

Mary, Mary, Mary. It’s not Enter. It’s Triangle. Or was it Square? X? Surely it’s not Circle. One of the shoulder buttons, maybe?

There’s more at the grand-standing link if you want to read more from the illustrious chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade (surely the first and last time you’ll see those words put together here and in that order). Mostly you just need to know she’s firmly behind Sony giving deserving American consumers, “some straight answers,” and that she’s, “determined to get them.” Once you get beyond that, however, there’s some details from the meat of the hearing that includes testimony from security experts saying what we already had to suspect: Sony’s security wasn’t quite up to the level of being sub-standard.

There’s also Sony’s mailed-in (literally) official response to Congress, in which they insist they have dealt with the security breach responsibly and with all due diligence. They also made sure to point out their sincere conviction that they were making amends to consumers with free downloads and 30-days free membership/membership extension in Playstation Plus (a service so awesome that almost nobody gets it). I’m sure Mary Bono Mack will be satisfied.

Fire up your popcorn maker and melt some butter.

The No High Scores Double Dip Contest!

Hey! It’s time for another giveaway!

It’s been a few weeks since we last gave away free stuff to our wonderful readers who have sworn undying loyalty to everyone here at the No High Scores office.*

This week we’re giving away TWO, yes TWO games! One I know is good and the other, well, I do not. You’re just going to have to take your chances. It’s free, though. The contest is for BOTH games so if you win one, you win both.

Game number one is the newly released XBLA game Outland from UbiSoft, given an “A” review by our very own Michael Barnes this one is certified gold.

Game number two is the newly released sidescrolling PC game on Steam called Capsized. It’s being received quite well in the press. You can read more here:

The Capsized contest is also being run on GameShark’s Facebook page.

Capsized is also being given away on Dangercade, which is an indie game news blog run by GameShark’s Sr. Editor, and my buddy, Brian Rowe. Head over there and tell Brian we sent you and be nice. Brian’s good people. No boot spam, k?

Now, those contests are independent of ours — I just wanted to share the info. Free games are great regardless.

So, we have two codes for each game so two lucky winners will be bagging both games.

Just reply in this thread to enter the contest. Bribes are appreciated but rarely work. I will announce the winners in Sunday’s Time Waster.

*We do not have an office.

Section 8: Prejudice Released on PC

I’ll have a review tomorrow for this but if you look at the Twitter feed thingy over there ————->

You will see that I really like this game and it’s an absolute steal for $15. The solo stuff is merely OK but the Conquest Mode and even Swarm are thoroughly entertaining.

Timegate has also announced the pending release of a third mode: Assault. The catch is that Timegate is waiting until there are 10 million registered online kills before releasing this new mode.

I hate that. There’s a website with a “kill counter” ( and right now there’s over 7 million online kills. Assault is a team based control point mode or something. Regardless, really? Couldn’t just give us the new mode at launch?

Win a Copy of the LOTR Card Game

The Old Board Gamers Blog is giving away a copy of the new Lord of the Rings Card Game. Now I haven’t played this and I have no idea how good it is but it’s currently one of the trendy games at BGG. I’m sure Barnes knows more about it.

The contest is easy enough as it involves retweeting stuff so head over there for the details.

Rock of Ages Looks Crazy

We saw this at E3 last year. Well, Danielle did. She came away in love with Rock of Ages. Today Atlus revealed more gameplay via its trailer.

Cheeky PR Ahead:

ATLUS, the video game publisher with gigantic marbles, today dropped a new “Rolling Through the Ages” trailer for Rock of Ages, the upcoming balls-to-the-walls game of fast-paced strategy, high art, and gigantic boulders of doom slated for digital release for PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox LIVE Arcade for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC. The video, which ushers viewers through the game’s five distinct visual styles, each inspired by a different period in art history, offers the longest glimpses yet of Rock of Ages’ unique tower offense gameplay and sense of humor.

Rock of Ages rolls out in spring 2011 via digital distribution for PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360 system, and PC. For more information, please visit


Ok, so, basically you smash stuff with a large rolling ball.

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

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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

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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.