Spam Machinations

In an attempt to try and neutralize the crazy amount of blue jean/boot spam we’ve been getting, our spam filter is catching some comments that shouldn’t be flagged as spam.

We’re working on it.

If this is contest comment spam please try again and make it short and sweet and it should pass the filter police.

Sorry for the inconvenience; we’re still tinkering with a sweet spot for the filter settings.

Harrison Ford wants to save the world… with Ecotopia

No, really – he does, in the literal sense. While we all know Mr. Ford is a real-life badass who saves cub scouts and stars in awesome movies, he’s also a big environmentalist. Now, he’s putting his (considerable) money where his mouth is by backing Ecotopia, a free-to-play new Facebook game with an environmental message.

We’re still about a week away from the game’s launch (April 4th is the big day), but I have to say, I’m incredibly curious to see just how it stacks up. Obviously, Ford’s name on the project is major – I can’t count the number of “serious games” that have tried to impart a “green” message that are out there, but this puppy will have publicity built in.

It’s inherently cool that developers are making games for social/environmental justice – it’s a field I am myself embarking upon – and even cooler that finally, some of them will actually get noticed.

The game itself looks promising, with plenty of new ideas, building upon the more pedestrian city-building gameplay and adding real-world features. From the official web page:

“In addition to innovating via stories, Ecotopia’s ground-breaking features include: in-game rewards for real world green acts, where players can post photos about their green acts, upload video, or have their friends verify their work for in-game points and Ecotopia TV where players can view videos from Conservation International and videos uploaded by players for our monthly eco-friendly contests.”

The Homefront Steam Code Contest

**This contest is over! Thanks for entering**

It’s time for our 2nd contest here at No High Scores. It’s our way to show some appreciation to our readers for sticking around these past 30-some-odd days and making the blog a success. To show you how much we care, we’re giving away a free Steam code for THQ’s Homefront.

Wait, wait, hang on.

I know we’ve been rather critical of Homefront, and Mike even called it a ‘turkey’, but I say you find out for yourself and there’s no better way than getting a free copy of the PC game which is sure to look a lot better than the 360 version. I think free Homefront will likely be a hell of a lot more fun than full priced Homefront, right?

All you have to do is post a comment in this here thread, letting us know that you’d like a Steam code along with anything else you’d like to add (you guys rock, why doesn’t Danielle post more often? Why does Todd hate BioWare?), and come Sunday during the Sunday Time Waster column I’ll announce the winner where upon I’ll email you your shiny Steam code!

Good luck!

Links from the Mothership

A lot of good stuff this past week:

We’ll start off with my review of Total War: Shogun 2, a game to which I remain utterly addicted. I also take a look at the underwhelming PC strategy game Dungeons.

A triple dose of Brandon as he reviews Pokemon White, Okamiden, and de Blob 2 all on the DS.

Our esteemed colleague Tom Chick offers up his thoughts on THQ’s Homefront.

Danielle gets nostalgic with her review of the new Xbox 360 Dreamcast Collection.

Mike’s latest Cracked LCD takes a look at a new deckbuilding game called Nightfall.

James Fudge tells you to stay far away from Hyperdimension Neptunia on the PS3.

Rob Zacny tackles the grognard of grognard wargames: Gary Grigsby’s War in the East.

Finally we have several pieces left over from PAX East including a preview of Duke Nukem Forever and Part I of our look at the best indie games from the show floor.

3DS Shopstravaganza

No High Scores

The 3DS will soon be upon us and like every console launch, between the hardware, game and accessories, your wallet is going to take quite a beating. How much of a beating depends on how willing you are to travel around town for the best deals. Lucky for you we’ve got all of the current 3DS deals in one handy location to maximize your savings and minimize your driving.

Hardware
From what I can tell, the hardware isn’t completely sold out at retail yet, but I have no idea how many units Nintendo is planning on shipping to North America. Unlike past console launches where Amazon and GameStop were sold out of preorders months before the console launched, a quick perusal of the various online merchants shows 3DS’s still available for preorder. What this means for launch day is anyone’s guess. I would imagine the thing will sell out, either due to genuine interest or due to smaller set of initial shipments to goose interest up like only a sold out console can do. By now there are plenty of reviews of the hardware out there so it shouldn’t be too hard to come to a buying decision by Sunday, but if you’re at all on the fence, I’d suggest plunking down whatever the minimum is to preorder it and then decide on Sunday. Unlike the pricing wars that appear to be going on in the UK, here in the States, the price of the console is $249.99 everywhere I’ve seen it available for preorder. That being said, preorder wherever it’s convenient for you, or from wherever has the best deals on the games.

Games
The games are where the real savings can come in, especially considering there are 18 games you can potentially spend your money on. Here’s a list of the current deals on 3DS games at launch.

Best Buy – Get a $10 gift card with the purchase of any two 3DS games. Games range from $29.99 to $39.99.

Target – If you preorder the system at Target you’ll get a $5 gift card when you pick it up. I’m hoping some software deals come out between now and Sunday because as it stands, this is seriously lame.

Kmart – Buy a 3DS and instantly save $25 on a 3DS game. So far, this appears to be the best deal of the bunch. For starters, you only have to buy one game, which you’re probably going to do any way and rather than get the cash back in store credit, it just comes right off of the top.

Toys R US – Buy one 3DS game, get the next for half off. This deal comes in at a close second as again, the savings is off of the purchase price and not in the form of a gift card.

Amazon – Amazon has a deal where if you preorder a 3DS launch game, you get a ten dollar credit towards another 3DS launch game. Not a bad deal but the problem is that you don’t get the credit until the first game ships. Still, if brick and mortar isn’t convenient and you can satisfy yourself with just one game at launch, this isn’t a bad way to go. At least the games are all pricey enough to qualify for free shipping. That’s gotta count for something right? Here’s a link to the launch games page, so you can see everything in one fell swoop. Amazon also has a deal where if you buy a 3DS you’ll get a $25 credit towards one of the 3DS launch games, similar to the Kmart deal, however as with the $10 credit mentioned above, the credit won’t show up until a few days after your 3DS ships. Again, good if you can wait. I’m not sure how the two deals stack together. Here’s a link to the offer page for reference.

Trade In Offers
Traditionally, trading in your current generation hardware towards the price of the next thing is a nice way to save some money. The 3DS does offer backwards compatibility with DS titles, however due to the difference in screen sizes and resolution, some early reviews of the hardware aren’t painting this backwards compatibility in the best light. Destructoid’s Nick Chester has a good article up about it, including pictures, so I’d caution trading in your DS just yet. Now, this does seem like a subjective thing and you may find that your DS games look great for you, but this is not the first time I’ve read about DS games not looking their best on the system. Only you know how much this is going to bug you, and how much you’re going to play DS games on the 3DS once the system launches. Me, I’m keeping my DSi, partially for my kids, but mostly in case DS games look bad, and I would never suggest you do something I’m unwilling to do myself, so there you go.

If you decide to trade in your DS towards a 3DS, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get at the various retailers:

Amazon: $50 for a DS Lite, $75 for a DSi, $100 for a DSi XL. Amazon does not give you credit immediately as you have to send the unit in and then wait until they deposit a credit into your Amazon account so if you’re looking for an immediate reduction in price this won’t work. On the plus side, the process is pretty easy and it doesn’t cost you more than time spent packing the thing up and a trip to a UPS drop off.

GameStop – $50 for a DS Lite, $75 for a DSi, $100 for a DSi XL. GameStop isn’t doing any deals on hardware or software other than giving you stupid ass PowerUp points that aren’t good for anything more than a couple of packs of batteries (seriously). If you decide to go the GameStop route for your preorder, I’d suggest buying your games somewhere else to take advantage of the savings.

Target – On the same day that the 3DS launches, Target will expand its trade in program to accept DS’s but the trade in values are downright insulting. $20 for a DS, $30 for a DS Lite, $45 for a DSi and $60 for a DSi XL. The only reason I’d do this is if you’re looking to trade in a DS Phat but even then, for $20 I’d just keep it.

Toys R Us – TRU is offering “up to” $75 based on the model and the condition of the unit. Honestly, that’s too vague for me but your comfort level may vary.

That’s the current state of 3DS deals. I’ll keep my eye on things between now and Sunday and if anything changes, I’ll update this page. Happy shopping!

HD Resident Evil 4, Code: Veronica coming to PSN, XBLA

No High Scores
Look, I know this has been all over the Internet for the past day or two, but indulge me. I want to report on this too.

Capcom has announced that a two-fer triple-dip of Resident Evil 4 coupled with Code: Veronica is coming to both HD consoles’ download services later this year in celebration of the franchise’s 15th anniversary. Upgraded (read: upscaled) 720p graphics and full trophy/achievment support are on board. There is no mention of any additonal extras or new content, but if Move support isn’t included for 4 at least then it’s a missed opportunity.

You- down in front. Did I just hear you think “meh, cash-in re-release”? Listen buddy, Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games ever made. If you took Brandon’s Nintendogs hostage and said “pick a favorite console game or the Corgi goes to the Nintendpound”, Resident Evil 4 would be top of mind. I actually didn’t play the game until the Wii edition came out so we were already well into the HD generation, and I still think it tops most of the AAA efforts since then. It’s truly epic, grand, creepy, ridiculous, surreal, sublime, and packed full of non-DLC content. I’m totally OK with a straight re-release of it with HD support, if only because it’s playable on current consoles. And having just traded the Wii in last week, my only regret was the loss of RE4. Besides, Metacritic has deemed it great with its mighty 96 aggregate score. And Metacritic is the very Voice of God.

Code: Veronica is the icing on the cake. I played it only once back in the halcyon days of vodka drinking and Dreamcast gaming. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

Now, if we could just get the first three retooled and updated. 15 years? Wow. I’ll never the first time I played an import copy of Biohazard and had no idea what it was. When you find that first zombie in the hallway, I thought “holy $#!t, this is like some kind of George Romero game!” And look where that has gotten us now.

WonderBrit Powers Activate In New Hunted Trailer

Bethesda’s upcoming co-op fantasy yarn Hunted: The Demon’s Forge has a big, bald Brit and a lithe, lovely, elvish Brit simultaneously shooting demons with arrows and hitting them until they explode. It’s all very fantasy heavy and super serious until you get to the part where the bald guy can apparently levitate enemies simply by yelling very, very loudly. The vibe is a little Wonder Twinsy, but in my opinion, co-op elevates everything so I’m willing to give this one a try.

3DS Freebies Revealed

No High Scores

As we wind up for Sunday’s 3DS launch, expect to see a bunch more 3DS stuff on Ye Olde Blogge to get you prepared for the future of portable eye strain. Today we point you to an excellent column at Wired where Chris Kohler details all of the free, built-in games and applications that ship with the 3DS. As with all new Nintendo hardware, these games look to be tech demos more than anything else, but you can still shoot a VR dragon that’s coming out of your coffee table and that’s more than I can say with the free apps that came on my phone. Take that HTC!

Wired’s Rating Nintendo 3DS’ Baked-In Freebies

Duke Nukem Forever Delayed

Of course it is.

New Patapon 3 Trailer

Time to get your rhythm on and meet the “Uberhero” with the new trailer. This one is set to drop April 12th.

KEY FEATURES

* BIGGEST RHYTHMIC-BASED WAR EXPERIENCE ON THE PSP – Glimpse into the deep multiplayer campaigns that deliver an epic feel with the addition of the new Hero Patapon!
* SUPER HERO SPECIAL ATTACKS – Customize your Super Hero Patapon to your specifications and deliver special attacks with the new Superhero character then lead your rhythmic army with a wide selection of soldier types.
* ONLINE CO-OP – Online Co-op and competitive gameplay with up to 8 players.
* CHAT SYSTEM – Chat with other Super Hero Patapons with an all new Pata-Text chat system.
* RHYTHM AND ACTION COLLIDE – Master all 8 drum rhythms and match them to your friends to lead your squad into victory over enemies and online opponents.
* LEVELING-UP – Collect elements to level-up your Super Hero Patapon or evolve into other Patapon forms.
* MISSION VARIETY – Take part in Co-Op Quests or competitive ‘Capture the Flag’ multiplayer game modes.
* UNIQUE ART STYLE – French graphic artist Rolito, noted for his abstract art style seen in collectible toys, animation, and websites, lends his skills to create a variety of unique characters and environments, bringing the Patapon world to life.

For more info check out the Patapon website: http://www.patapon-game.com/