Ubisoft Announces Start Date for Might & Magic Heroes VI Beta


Regardless of how many times publishers keep cranking out versions of HoMM, I still have a soft spot for this franchise. I know, I know. It’s been played out. There simply isn’t much you can do with this design template at this point, but well, sorry, I don’t care. I still love Heroes of Might & Magic even though UbiSoft isn’t even calling it a Heroes of Might & Magic game.

Might & Magic Heroes just sounds stupid.

Regardless, Ubi sent word last night that:

The BETA for Might & Magic Heroes VI will begin on June 28th. All fans who pre-order Heroes VI will receive a key to access the Beta and be among the first to experience hands-on time with multiple single-player and multiplayer maps.

Serious Sam 3: BFE Trailer


Another game we’ll get hands on time with at E3, Sam is a franchise I have always enjoyed and I hope Croteam can recapture the magic that made the original such a blast to play. From the trailer, yep, that’s a Serious Sam game.

Batman: Arkham City; Get Your Catwoman On


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There’s a lengthy “Pre-E3″ Batman preview at GameSpot today which reveals among other things that Catwoman will be playable, at times, in Rocksteady’s Batman sequel.

Playing as Catwoman wound up being a bit more brief than we would have liked as her playable portion in the work in progress version of the game was just a brief fight with thugs in a room. The sequence let us get a feel for how she handles in a fight. Unsurprisingly she’s faster than Batman and has a lighter feel overall. We were able to pull off some lengthy combos almost immediately thanks to her speed.

It’s a hefty preview so give it a look. Still, I can’t stand it when articles refer to “us” and the Royal We. I’ve never understood that. “We” didn’t play anything. This preview was written by one Ricardo Torres. So who is this ‘we’ he’s on about?

Early morning tangent, my apologies. So, anyway, Catwoman!

"The Dragon" Expansion coming for Talisman

Oh boy, I love Talisman. It’s a completely stupid roll-and-move game at heart, but there’s quite a lot of character and charm to it and it remains the template upon which almost all light RPG-on-a-board games are built. Basically, flip a card and roll dice at a monster until it dies and gives you experience and/or treasure. And it is responsible for the single greatest card in any game ever- the Horrible Black Void.

Fantasy Flight has done of lot of crappy things lately, like retheming the classic DungeonQuest to fit in with their inane “Terrinoth” world and completely ruining the simple combat system in that game, but fortunately they took on the Talisman license from the now-defunct Black Industries before they started doing things like that. They’ve mostly done right by Talisman and have even released some good original expansions for it that are more or less in the spirit of the classic editions of the game. The next add-on has been announced, and it’s The Dragon. It appears that this replace the traditional Crown of Command goal, adding a new inner region and a “boss fight” with one of three dragons looking to usher in an “age of flame and danger” (snicker).

Details are scant, but there’s mention in the press of 300 tokens used to track the influence of the dragon lords. I’m going to need some more information before I come down on it of course, but Talisman should remain a simple, unfussy game without influence markers, token fidgeting, or other needless mechanics that interfere with its core simplicity and directness. So I’m a little worried that they’ve gone and pulled their typical “fix what ain’t broken” M.O. This is a Q3 release, so there’s still plenty of time for them to sway doubters like me. Press follows, along with some cornball fluff text.

Untold ages hence, a powerful wizard waged an epic battle with the Dragon King who ruled over the Firelands. Unable to slay the Dragon King, the wizard devised a ritual, using his most powerful magic to uproot the Dragon King’s tower, stone by stone, and banished the Dragon Lord into a horrible black void. Free to enter the Valley of Fire, the sacred birthplace of dragonkind, the wizard forged the Crown of Command in its eldritch fires. Now, eons later, the unceasing prayers of the Dragon Cults have been answered. Three of the Draconic Lords have returned.

Fantasy Flight Games is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Talisman: The Dragon!

Epic Challenge

Playing with The Dragon expansion, players will encounter even more choices and strategic challenges, including a new, dual-sided Inner Region for their heroes to conquer. The alternate sides allow you to face familiar terrain along a path that requires all new tactics, or to venture into the Dragon Tower, where a hero’s every step meets opposition by the Dragon King’s minions and leads him ever closer to an ultimate confrontation with the Dragon King, himself.

Three new Draconic Lords vie for rulership of the Firelands–Varthrax, Cadorus, and Grilipus. Talisman grows more dangerous as they struggle to claim dominance over their territory and the Crown of Command. The winner shall rule as the new Dragon King, ushering in a new era of flame and danger. Each of the three new Draconic Lords has his own personality and strengths, and each is an awesome opponent.

Any hero who dares confront the Dragon King must be prepared for an epic battle!

New Stories

Talisman: The Dragon brings to life six new characters to confront the draconic challenges that lie ahead. It also adds over 300 new tokens and cards that expand the Draconic Lords’ influence over the land of Talisman and weave the stories of each Draconic Lord’s quest for control of the Crown of Command. New rules pace the increase of the Draconic Lords’ influence, and the heroes’ quests become more and more dangerous as the draconic influence increases.

Now, for those brave adventurers who seek the Crown of Command, the quest means more than power and influence. It is a race to save the land from the Dragon King’s tyrannical rule. Should the new Dragon King claim his throne and the Crown of Command, the new era of dragonkind will begin, and all living things shall bow before their might!

Look for the new Draconic Lords to invade Talisman in the third quarter of 2011.

E3 Wishlist

No High Scores

This time next week, I’ll be at E3. I’m both looking forward to the show and not at the same time as while I love seeing Bill, Todd, Danielle, Mitch and so many others, it’s a lot of work, I don’t get a lot of sleep and there’s only so much social interaction I can take. See, I’m an outgoing guy, but I have a finite pool of sociability (if that’s a word) and as the show goes on, the pool gets drained and never refilled to the point where I’m pretty much spent by the end of the show. Last year, my last appointment was to see the new Kane and Lynch game. The developers were as spent as I was and I think if I had suggested that we all just exchanged cards, pretended the meeting took place and instead split a six pack, they would have agreed.

The usual spate of pre-E3 announcement have been made, with more to come, I’m sure. Some of them, like Darksiders II, I’m extremely excited for, some of them, like Colonial Marines, I’m less excited for.

That’s not to say I won’t keep an eye on Aliens, as I like Gearbox and want to see what they do with the property, it’s just that right now I don’t know enough about the game, other than Sega’s PR department apparently has plenty of money to blow on doll heads and plastic guns…

The Darksiders 2 announcement got me thinking about other things I’d love to see at E3 but haven’t been announced, either because it’s not time yet, or it isn’t happening at all. If these things do end up getting announced, consider me a prophetic genius. If they don’t, feel free to steal my ideas. I don’t need payment beyond a review copy.

A New Luigi’s Mansion Game
I didn’t play Luigi’s Mansion when it launched alongside the GameCube, instead borrowing it from a friend some time afterwards, but when I did play it, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I still don’t understand why, with two different pointer-based consoles from Nintendo, Luigi hasn’t gone back to his ghost busting efforts, but it needs to stop, like now. The Wii is on its way out, but if Project Cafe is going to have hi-def graphics and Wiimote support, make another Luigi’s Mansion, like toot sweet.

A New Paper Mario Game
I loved, loved, loved Super Paper Mario and the papery graphical style would look awesome on a fancy, new 3D display. Sure, Nintendo has said that there is a new Paper Mario game coming to the 3DS, but they’ve said a lot of things about planned software for the 3DS and so far that, and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee. Trees are overrated Nintendo, get some paper all up in this Mushroom Kingdom!

An Interesting Western RPG That Isn’t Made By BioWare or Bethesda
Most of the western RPG’s I play are made by BioWare or Bethesda. Hell, all of the western RPG’s I play are made by BioWare or Bethesda. I like those shops just fine, but I’d like to play something made by someone else. Oh, I know there are other RPG’s out there, but it’s not like Gothic 4 was bringing in awesome reviews. I want something that’s a) western, b) good and c) not made by BioWare or Bethesda. I’m seeing Risen when I’m at E3, and that game interests me greatly. It’s got a cool, pirate meets voodoo vibe, it’s set in a world that’s been flooded and overrun with monsters and it’s not made by BioWare or Bethesda. Here’s hoping it’s good.

Whatever the Next Burnout Game Is
Sure, Split/Second was great, but Burnout is my favorite racing game and I want to see the next one so that I can rest easily knowing it isn’t going to be poo.

The New SSX Game
I’d like to get the disappointment and heartbreak over now so that I don’t hold out hope for an upgraded version of SSX Tricky. Just rip the band-aid off already EA!

LucasArts Adventure Games Remade for the iPad
There are some damn fine adventure games out for the iPad, but come on, how awesome would it be to play Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Sam and Max Hit the Road and Full Throttle while waiting for the dentist to see you? So awesome. That’s how awesome.

Danielle Windmilling
She says she can. This needs to happen.

Bill Punch Someone
Bill teeters dangerously close to physical violence every E3, always a result of some non-gaming journalist show attendant like a Best Buy employee, or ITT Tech student getting in the way as he tries to do his job. Seeing how I’ll be staying with Bill for the length of the show, I’m pretty sure non-stop exposure to Mister Binky will be all that’s needed to push him over the edge and into beating some Walmart buyer into unconsciousness next to the Capcom booth.

A New Sly Cooper Game
Yeah, yeah, yeah, InFAMOUS 2, blah, blah, blah. Sly Cooper is where it’s at, so let’s stop pretending with emo-lightning boy and instead get Sucker Punch back to making games about thieving raccoons.

Something New and Original
Ironic, I know, given that so far all I’ve hoped for is remakes and sequels. Sequels are the name of the game, I understand this. It’s a daunting proposition to spend a ton of money on a new IP in today’s gaming landscape. That being said, I’d like to be surprised by something at E3 that represents something new and original, or at least a new and original take on something that already exists. I know it’s asking a lot, but there have to be some original ideas out there.

Rock Band: Mott the Hoople
All the young dudes!

Saints Row: The Third CG Trailer

Boom goes the dynamite. Excellent use of an amazing song too.

Red Faction Armageddon Review


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Review time at The Mothership.

I finished RF: A over the weekend and the embargo lifted today. I hate grading games. If someone asked me “hey how’s Red Faction Armageddon” I’d say “It’s ok” or, “It’s decent”. So, B-

Hopefully the text is a tad more helpful.

Short version: I love the magnet gun. I hate the linear design.

Score one for print: 1Up Presents


I don’t know about any of you, but I’m a print magazine fiend. Don’t get me wrong, I live and breath in the online world, it’s the only way I’ll ever get my news, and it’s frankly where I read the majority of my gaming content. But there is something special about a really GOOD game magazine – the exhaustively researched features, the gorgeous layouts, the art itself – I’m a big fan.

So, I got excited when I heard the news that the folks I consider to be the very best of 1Up.com will begin releasing a print publication. Dubbed 1Up Presents, it looks to be the pretty, feature-rich, thoughtful sort of publication I can’t wait to get my grubby hands all over, particularly because a number of features in the first issue focus on Metroid: Other M and its complicated reception.

From the post:

“See, print isn’t dying; it’s simply changing. 1UP Presents isn’t a nationally distributed publication, and you won’t find it on newsracks across America. Instead, it’s a print-on-demand magazine, published for and shipped directly to you by Hewlett-Packard’s MagCloud service… There are no ads in this book, so it’s pure content from start to finish. 1UP Presents isn’t trying to be a chronicle of gaming news, either; you aren’t paying for month-old headlines, previews that will be moot in a few months, or reviews of games that you may have played already by the time you read the book.”

Just look at that cover, with it’s Hitchcock references and stark, distinctive art style. Don’t you think it’s worth a few bucks (the issue will set you back $11)? Jeremy Parish and his cadre are among the best in the business, so I’ll definitely be ordering up a dish of 1Up presents.

Darksiders II: Frak Yeah!

No High Scores

Darksiders II is coming! This is the best news I have heard all day. All week even! I saw Darksiders at my first E3 and immediately fell in love with it. I still consider it one of my favorite games of 2010 and have fond memories of getting profanity laden emails from Bill at 2AM expressing his displeasure with Tiamat. It’s also a game I very happily got all thousand points in, which makes it even more extra special.

As with all of the big releases lately, the news broke as part of a Game Informer cover reveal. There’s not a lot of information yet, but Death takes center stage with War standing on the sidelines. There will be more NPC interaction, more loot and more dungeons. I’m sure there will also be a lot more demons and zombies to kill. One interesting tidbit is that Death is working to restore humanity after the unplanned Apocalypse-with-a-capital-A. One of the things I loved about the first was that War didn’t give a rat’s ass about humanity, he just wanted his name cleared. This should be interesting.

I have a THQ booth tour on my E3 schedule so I’m hoping they show the game off then. That and Saints Row 3 would make for the best booth appointment since I got to see Danielle bring Donkey Kong Country Returns to its knees.

I bet Death’s pony is absolutely bad ass

Aliens: Colonial Marines Teaser. The Bug Hunt is so On.


What? Did the meltdown at Hadley’s Hope not do the trick? I thought that was the only way to be sure!

It’s possible I’m late to this one, but Sega has put up a homepage for the upcoming Gearbox Software title Aliens: Colonial Marines. Along with a bit of baseline info and a single screen shot there’s the teaser embedded above. This is the kind of teaser I can get behind. It shows absolutely zilch in terms of gameplay, but hot damn does it evoke Aliens and get me itching to grab my pulse rifle. Call me a sucker, but I watch that teaser and I don’t care who’s publishing. I don’t care who’s developing. All I know is it picks up where Aliens left off and has enough authentic flavor to it to give me reason to believe they’re taking this game seriously. I’m not slated to see Sega at E3 next week, but you bet your ass I’ll be checking out their booth if they put this on the open floor.

More details from the webpage…

Aliens™: Colonial Marines

You and your friends against the deadliest killers in the galaxy. Another glorious day in the corps.

Buckle up, soldier! Welcome to Aliens: Colonial Marines. Created by Gearbox, the critically acclaimed and fan-favorite developers of Borderlands and Brothers In Arms, this first-person shooter is steeped in the eerie, claustrophobic and terrifying atmosphere that made the Aliens films successful worldwide. You and your friends will become the most badass military outfit in the galaxy – the US Colonial Marines. It’s down to you to not just survive but wipe out the Xeno infestation.

FEATURES:

Enlist in the Marine Corps
Bringing you a true sequel to James Cameron’s classic Aliens, get tooled up with classic Marine weapons including pulse rifles, motion trackers and flamethrowers.

The most authentic Aliens experience ever
Using authentic environments inspired by the film series including Hadley’s Hope, the Sulaco and LV-426, you will be immersed in an eerie, atmospheric world where any moment could bring your death.

Drop-in / Drop-out co-operative gameplay
The masters of co-op bring their expertise to the Aliens universe. Xenos getting too tough? Call up your buddies so they can drop in with extra firepower. The whole campaign can be played with a squad of up to four players, dropping in and out as necessary through self-contained missions within an over-arching narrative.

Loadouts and upgrades
Create your perfect killing machine. An extensive upgrade system allows players to customize their characters to play the way they want. Earn experience to get perks, new weapons and new looks for your squad.