B3 2011- Pinball News- Little Wing's Pinball Tristan comes to IOS!

Halo 4? Oh come on, don't act like you were surprised. I was more suprised over the weekend that Pinball Tristan hit the App store at $1.99- and it turns out, it's the best pinball available on IOS to date. Yes, it's even better than the Charlie Sheen/Chuck Norris triple-pack Gameprom put out. Hopefully it's also a sign of things to come from Little Wing, a Japanese studio that's been doing "solid state pinball" tables for years.

Tristan was their first and simplest table. It's very old-fashioned, with a late 1960s-early 1970s layout with a bright, "toy"-like theme. Easily identifiable targets, no missions, no split playfield, no video modes, no "mod cons" so to speak. At first blush, you might be thinking "Hang on, Slayer Pinball has got to be better than this." But you'd be dead wrong, because Little Wing's physics have always been great, and their tables have a ruthlessly addictive quality that make their titles a perfect fit for portable devices. The scoring is deeper than you think and there's a couple of "secret" shot angles to discover. There's even a weird "Rock'n Play" mode that pretty much turns the game into a no-fail marble rolling game if you want to go ultra-casual. The only two negatives are that I wish it had some kind of feedback when you nudge the table- either a vibration or a screen shake- and there is a particularly egregious use of the dreaded Jokerman font. Bad taste!

I can't wait to see these guys bring Crystal Caliburn, Loony Labyrinth, and Angel's Egg to IOS- they're all more complex than Tristan, but they retain an appealing simplicity and clarity. They've also done some more modern-styled 3D tables more competitive with ZEN's offerings- the Disco-meets-Arabian Nights themed Jinni Zeala, a monster carnival one, and most recently a sequel to Loony Labyrinth. But I think their 2D work is the best fit for IOS.

Spider-Man: Edge of Time Trailer Madness

More E3 trailer madness with everyone’s favorite wall-crawler getting the trailer treatment this time. I’m looking forward to this one as I enjoyed Shattered Dimensions, flaws and all. If they improve upon that design then this one should be quite entertaining. How’s that for a critical summary? What can I say? I’m just killing time until I can go to the airport.

Prototype 2 E3 Trailer Makes No Earthly Sense

I tried liking Prototype, I really did, but I just couldn’t do it. As a result, I guess I shouldn’t expect to know what’s going on in this Prototype 2 trailer, but at the same time, shouldn’t the trailer do something for new players other than show them a bunch of unconnected scenes of extreme violence? I mean, I have no earthly idea what the hell this game is about other than slashing people and breaking Army vehicles. That virus bomb thingy looked pretty cool, assuming I understand the trailer correctly, which I probably don’t. Oh E3 marketing, you so crazy!

Calendar Man – Week of 6/6

No High Scores

Hey, it’s E3 week! Woo-hoo! The cynic in me would say that any games released during E3 week are done so as to not be reviewed when they first come out, allowing for a week of criticism free purchasing. The release of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters on almost every gaming platform known to humanity would certainly add to this theory. Practically speaking, it’s probably just how the chips fell for most of these games, although I do wonder why Red Faction: Armageddon had it’s release pushed back to the 7th, but review copies were still sent out in time for the original release date of May 31 and the review embargo lifted on June 1st. Ah hell, what does it matter any way? Green Lantern will be waiting for me when I get home, regardless of how good it is, and I’ll have to play it like the good little reviewer I am.

New Releases
Oh look, all of those Green Lantern games I mentioned. By lantern’s light, there sure are a lot of them.

Cole Whatshisface, everyone’s favorite moody lightning slinger is back in inFAMOUS 2. I really wanted to like inFAMOUS and I’ll probably pick it up as the free PS3 Welcome Back game, if anything just to goof around. I haven’t gotten a good enough feel on this one to know if the problems I had with the first were fixed. In the end, I’ll probably just stick to renting. Sorry Cole!

I honestly have no idea what the Operation Flashpoint games are about, but they look like military shooters, so, um, yeah. Research!

The Red Faction: Armageddon reviews ended up being both disappointing and not terribly surprising at the same time. The demo played like a third person shooter made interesting by destructibility and the magnet gun and that’s pretty much what the game is. That was well and good for the demo, but I’m not sure it will hold up for 8 – 10 hours, especially if I’m spending 60 bucks for the privilege of playing. Hello GameFly. Time to work your magic again.

Deals
This isn’t a deal, but the DS Lite is now 99 bucks, an excellent price if you have a younger kid who is just getting into gaming and doesn’t need all of the fancy bells and whistles of the DSi or the 3DS. My son has my old DS Lite and it suits him just fine.

Toys R Us – Free $50 gift card with purchase of either Xbox 360 Slim Kinect bundle or PS3 320GB Move bundle. DS Lite on sale for $89.99. Save $20 on the following games: Dragon Age II, MLB 2K11, TW PGA 12, NFS Shift 2 Unleashed, Crysis 2. Save $10 on the following: Mortal Kombat, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, MX vs ATV Alive. Buy inFAMOUS 2, get inFAMOUS for ten bucks. Save $10 on the following DS games: Kung Fu Panda 2, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, Squinkies.

Target – Following DS games on sale for $17.99: Cooking Mama, LEGO Indiana Jones 2, Despicable Me. The following DS games are on sale for $24.99: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Star Wars III, LEGO Battles Ninjago. The following Wii games are on sale for $29.99: Just Dance 2, Zumba Fitness, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters.

Best Buy – Save $30 on any of the following games when purchased with inFAMOUS 2: Gran Turismo 5, Motorstorm Apocalypse, Killzone 3, SOCOM 4, MLB 11: The Show.

Steam – To celebrate the release of Red Faction: Armageddon, all of the Red Faction games are on sale, as are a bunch of other things, all on the < ahref = "http://store.steampowered.com/search/?specials=1" target = "new">specials page.

Impulse has Crysis 2 for $29.97 as well as some other good deals on their Play in new window | Download (0.0KB) | Embed

Sunday Time Waster: The E3 Plan


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It’s that time — time for the week long game fest that is E3. The entire NHS team will be covering the show for GameShark this week. Well, everyone but Barnes. He’s legally not allowed to leave Georgia. (Well, according to his wife, anyway.)

But the rest of the crew, as well as several other GameShark writers, will be on hand.

Here’s what we have planned…

The GameShark crew this year consists of me, Todd, Brandon, Danielle, GameShark Sr. Editor Brian Rowe (@UndeadAreGo) freelancer Mitch Dyer (@MitchyD), Tom Chick (@…wait Tom doesn’t use Twitter, nevermind), our newest writer Justin Amirkhani (@Keadin), and video man Jason McMaster, who isn’t taking any video this year. I am a genius.

Planning E3 is a real bitch, and the NHS crew won’t see every game at the show but — we’re going to see a lot of them. I wanted to share some of our schedule this year so you’ll have an idea of what we can talk about here during the show and what you can expect us to talk about on our nightly E3 podcasts.

Seriously make sure to tune into the podcasts because we have a lot of people on talking games and having a good time. We’re usually punch drunk (not really drunk, as drunk E3 podcasting is never, ever a good idea).

Anyway our schedule:

Tuesday:

A Game of Thrones (me and Todd)
The 2 hour EA Tour (Mass Effect 3, Madden, NCAA, etc.) (Me and Todd)
Battlefield 3 (me)
Star Wars MMO (me)
Aliens: Colonial Marines (Brandon)
Namco (Dark Souls…I am not seeing this, Brandon is, which makes me sad. I’m booked for the EA Tour during the Dark Souls apt.)
Microsoft (Brandon)
Serious Sam BFE (Brandon)
CD Project (Todd)
Warner (Batman) (Danielle)
Sega: Rise of Nightmares (Danielle)
Atari (Danielle)

Wednesday:

Kalypso (Tropico 4, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action) (me)
505 Games (Brandon, Danielle, where we see Danielle play a Kinect swimming game)
Topware (Todd)
Bethesda (hands on RAGE, also Skyrim likely non playable demo. Great lemon squares.) (Me, Brandon, Todd)
Paradox (me and Todd)
2K Games (me and Brandon) — likely seeing XCOM, Darkness II
The rest of SEGA (Danielle)
Activision (Danielle)
Paramount (Danielle, new Star Trek game)

Thursday:

Lucasarts (me)
Nival (Brandon)
DTP Entertainment (Todd)
D3 (Danielle)
UbiSoft (me)
THQ (Saints Row bitches! And Space Marine.) (Me and Brandon)
BioShock Infinite (Me, Todd, Danielle)
Deep Silver (Dead Island) (Brandon)
Square Enix (Deus Ex) (Todd)
Nintendo (Danielle)

So, that’s it, at least from the NHS team’s perspective. You likely noticed some big names not on that list — Sony, for instance. That’s because we can’t see everything between the four of us and it’s why I have a team of nine people.

But if you want to know what we thought of a particular game/company booth now you know when we’re seeing what. As for updates here on the blog, we’ll do what we can. Remember we’re going there for GameShark and you can expect daily recaps posted every night starting on Tuesday with brief write ups from the entire GShark E3 team located on the main page of Gameshark.com. The weekend after E3 is when we get everything together and post our massive E3 A-Z feature. I’ll post that link here when it’s done. It’s a beast of a feature. In addition, we’ll post here as well, about individual games that caught our eye, in a more relaxed blog format.

Our E3 2011 banner (a Danielle creation) is below so when you see that, you know — “hey an E3 update!”

Cool eh?

Barnes will also be around posting press releases and making sad posts about how he can’t be at E3.

We’ll return to regular blog operations starting June 13th. For a week, at least. After that I go to Yellowstone with the family for a week and Brandon is also going on vacation so it’ll be Mike, Todd and Danielle holding down the fort while we’re gone.

Gulp.

***

OK time to announce the winner of the Hunted contest! I played a few hours of co-op with Brandon Friday night and we had a lot of fun. It’ s a hard game — you can easily die after only a few direct hits. Brandon played the brute and never did seem to get the whole “I need to use this shield” tactic. And you really do need to work as a team or you’re dead. I liked that. Brandon did not. Brandon should never, ever, play Demon’s Souls. But remember what Brandon has always said: he is not good at videogames.

Brandon is an honest man.

So – the winner of this shiny new game is: (Bill goes off to use Random.Org…)

Lustwane!

Congrats! I’ll drop you an email shortly and get the game out hopefully Monday. If not Monday…then after E3. So hopefully Monday.

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Metro: Last Light E3 Trailer


Another video for Last Light and this one shows more than the old teaser.

Yep. Gotta see this one. We’re seeing THQ on Thursday near the close of the show. I’ll be tired, likely irritable, and ready to see this one up close. Barnes is weeping.