September 2007

The newest Zelda game showed up at the house this afternoon a bit unexpectedly since it doesn’t ship until the 1st, but I can’t complain. I didn’t spend too much time with it, but I wanted to share a bit about it. First, graphically it is very nice and is basically a scaled down version of the Wind Waker engine running on the DS. Storywise it seems to pick up right after WW as well. I guess you could call this Wind Waker 2 for all intents and purposes so far.

One unique thing about PH is the use of the stylus. The d-pad cannot be used to control your character, but instead you point using the stylus which direction you’d like to head. At first it sounds strange, but I assure you it works fantastic. I don’t want to ruin too much too early, so I’ll leave it at that, but rest assured that this looks like it’s going to be a great game.

Halo 3 Launch Gallery: NYC

September 27, 2007

Our very own Dave Brown was on location up at the Best Buy in NYC for Monday Night’s launch. In addition to these photos, he snagged interviews with Major Nelson and Frank O’Connor for an upcoming podcast.

My brother was up in Dallas at the Microsoft launch party on Monday night and here are the pictures he snapped for us.

It’s easy to say that Singstar 80s is “more of the same” because it is. There’s very little innovation to be found in the fifth Singstar offering. However, judging by sales of the series worldwide, Sony’s London Studio doesn’t need innovation to sell a game.

Thirty songs are included and the focus is on pop and Top 40 hits, but the decade’s popular rock and even rap songs are represented. Taking a quick glance at the back of the box you’ll see names like Cyndi Lauper, Run DMC, Billy Joel, Starship, and the ever popular Europe (who sings The Final Countdown, which, by itself, makes the game worth buying).

The song selection is one of the best I’ve seen in a Singstar Game; unlike some previous versions, every song is represented with a video. In the case of the aforementioned song by Europe, we’re treated to live concert footage.

Gameplay is virtually unchanged from previous versions. The emphasis is on group and party play with the single player mode really just there for practice. Group play supports the standard battle mode for two people as well as a Party Mode where the focus is on mini-games that require you to pass the mic from person to person in order to keep everyone in your group of up to eight people in the game and having fun. There is a playback mode after each song so you can review your singing, and high scores are saved to the PS2’s memory card. The EyeToy is supported and will replace the song’s video with live video of your performance. Sadly, there is no way to save your performances past the initial post-song review.

Overall, Singstar 80s is a strong entry in the series. The only issue that I found with the game is that unlike some other Singstar games, I was not able to swap discs during play. This means that song selection was limited to the thirty choices included with the game. However, other people have had success swapping discs so my issues could be an isolated incident. I can’t help but think that Singstar is a game that will really benefit from the current generation’s larger storage capacity and content downloads. On the bright side, Singstar 80s is compatible with the PS3 and the microphones work perfectly with the USB interface of the machine. If you are a Singstar or 80s music fan this game is a definite buy.

Ubisoft announced another new Tom Clancy Franchise today in the form of a new air combat brand. The first game in this new IP is slated for a 2008 release and development will be handled by Ubisoft’s Bucharest studio.

“Ubisoft has an unrivaled track record of creating and sustaining new brands,” said Serge Hascoet, chief creative officer at Ubisoft. “Our commitment to refreshing our catalog with regular introduction of new IPs is what keeps gamers coming back for more. With this new brand we’re redefining the aerial combat genre and extending the Tom Clancy universe to deliver a compelling new action title to next-generation gamers.”

Not many details are available about the new IP, but Ubisoft did spill a little bit about the premise of the game. The setting of the game is sometime in the future where a powerful private military force attacks the United States. The game puts you in the cockpit of a high powered advanced jet fighter as you presumably defend the US.

Ubisoft is aiming to set the benchmark for flight combat with this new IP and aims to deliver an experience with all the action and excitement of modern air combat.