Unreal Tournament 3 – Xbox 360 Hands-On

5 11 2007

Once you enter Epic’s offices, you never want to leave. Giant leather sofas sprawl before a 60-inch widescreen TV, flanked by rock gig-sized surround sound speakers and a giant freezer packed with fast food. Outside sits a basketball court, inside a heavy-duty gym and around the corner a massive motion-capture enclosure. There’s even a room with a bed in it, just in case you really do decide to stay forever.
But we aren’t in Epic’s North Carolina offices to marvel at the decor, we’re here to look at something even more impressive: the latest code of Unreal Tournament III – a shooter that could well be Halo 3’s number one rival when the two square off later this year. And judging by what we see, there should be more sparks flying when these two start slugging it out than you’d get by dragging a cyborg’s head across concrete.
As well as honouring its PC predecessors’ focus on manic multiplayer action, UTIII promises to provide an extensive, deep and compelling single-player campaign. Casting you as a human mercenary, it’ll be your task to track down and vanquish the evil alien mastermind behind the massacre of your family and clan. Sounds like a good excuse for lashings of unadulterated violence if ever we’ve heard one.
As we sit in a darkened room waiting for the first level to fade into view, UTIII’s lead designer Steve Polge fills us in on some background info about the game’s sci-fi world. “You’re fighting for the Izanagi Corporation,” he explains. “In the Unreal universe, there are several great corporations that control space outside of Earth itself.”
The first of these is the Liandri Corporation, robot-manufacturing specialists and organisers of the Unreal Tournament. Next up are the Axon, a faction that spends much of its time researching cutting-edge military hardware. Last of all are your homeboys the Izanagi, forced to spend much of their time stealing military hardware from the Axon in order to fuel their war effort. The final faction in UTIII’s lineup is an alien warrior race called The Necris, a species intent on wiping out humanity and using its bones as percussion instruments and toothpicks for those hard-to-reach rear molars.
In a clear attempt to move away from the linear and highly formulaic FPS template adopted by many of its rivals, UTIII’s single-player campaign will feature a branching strategic overview of the warzone, allowing you to make choices that will determine the direction and outcome of the war. Read the rest of this entry »

Elite sold out in Japan?

5 11 2007

Credits: Gamer.tm

The 360 is undergoing something of a resurgence in Japan, according to sources in the Japanese retail sector, with the 360 Elite selling out.

Last week, Microsoft reduced the price of the Core console in Japan to 27,800 Yen (around £120) while introducing a new Value Pack console consisting of a Premium machine, Forza Motorsport 2 and Viva Pinata for 34,00 Yen (£150-ish) in the territory.

This also coincided with the release of Namco’s Ace Combat 6, along with the addition of popular Japanese orientated titles such as Blue Dragon and The Idolmaster to the console’s Platinum budget range.

And so far, the signs are that this may have worked. According to Gamefront.de, retail chain Asobit has seen a significant rise in demand for the 360 and its related products. According to the report, Ace Combat 6 is selling particularly well, while the Elite model of the 360 actually sold out.

Although no precise numbers are available, this is certainly promising news. In recent months, the hardware market has been undergoing something of a change, with demand for the Wii starting to stabilise and the PS3 starting to cut Nintendo’s advantage in the hardware sales charts.

While it’s highly unlikely that the 360 will be able to make up sufficient ground to catch either format, nevertheless, we’re sure the American company will be pleased with this news – particularly as it’s still got Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey – arguably its biggest hope for success in Japan this year – still to come.

Xbox 360 on top of Oz for October

5 11 2007

Outsells Wii and PlayStation 3.

September was a big month for the Xbox 360, with Halo 3 driving sales of the console. Well, the momentum has kept up, with Microsoft revealing today that according to GFK figures for October, the Xbox 360 was the best selling console hardware for the month.

Halo 3 also remained Australia’s number one game and sold more copies and generated more revenue than any other title across all formats. Australians also spent more dollars on Xbox 360 hardware, software and accessories than on any other platform. David McLean, Australian Xbox Director, says, “We have maintained our momentum throughout October and with the blockbuster range of titles we have coming in November and December, Xbox 360 is primed to finish the year on a very successful high.”

Microsoft to launch ‘Green X’ Campaign

5 11 2007

Microsoft has reportedly teamed up with 15 partners to launch an online scavenger hunt called “X Marks the Spot.” Microsoft will be giving ten clues daily from November 5, 2007 to December 10, 2007. If you find all of the devices you will be entered into a drawing to win over $100,000 in prizes. But don’t believe my word, check it out to see the exact prizes.

 Check it out yourself!

Universal confirms “no plans to support Blu-ray”

5 11 2007

Interview: Ken Graffeo from Universal to talk next gen format war

Credits: Pocket-Lint.co.uk

As the next generation format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD continues to rumble on, Pocket-lint sat down over email with Ken Graffeo, excutive vice president, HD DVD Strategic Marketing for Universal, the only studio to singularly back Toshiba’s HD DVD format from the start.

Is HD DVD going to win over Blu-ray? What does the future hold? How does the company feel about Paramount and Dreamworks coming on board? And will it ever release Blu-ray movies?

Q: No matter how it’s spun, the format war isn’t good for the consumer, looking back, what do you think Sony and Toshiba should have done differently?

A: Extensive efforts were made to find a solution in the DVD Forum and avoid the situation we see today, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. The DVD Forum chose the HD DVD specification and as a result, Sony and its partners decided to make a go of it with Blu-ray. Our focus now is providing the best high definition home entertainment experiences with greatest value proposition for consumers. At the end, the consumer is the real winner because prices on next-generation hardware have been dropping faster and more significantly than they did in the early days of DVD. This is actually hastening rather than slowing consumer adaption

Q: Do you see a time when Universal will release movies on both HD DVD and

A: We have no plans to support Blu-ray. We want to be able to market all the great things HD DVD can offer consumers. We couldn’t do this if we split our resources on two formats, hedged our bets and had to avoid over promoting features on one format so we wouldn’t undercut the other format. HD DVD allows us to provide the type of quality and truly next generation experiences we need to get consumers to migrate from DVD.

Q: With the PS3 price cut meaning the console is now much more affordable, and one of the cheapest Blu-ray players on the market, how do you think this will affect Blu-ray adoption compared to HD DVD?

A: The PS3 is a gaming system first – even Sony will tell you this, and we believe consumers use gaming consoles to play games. Studies show that 70% of gamers don’t even know that their console has a DVD playback option. What’s important is that HD DVD owns the lead in dedicated CE player sales and maintains a 4:1 software attach rate over Blu-ray, meaning people are purchasing four times more HD DVD titles per HD DVD player than Blu-ray. Standalone players for HD DVD will be as low as $199 this holiday shopping season – maintaining HD DVD’s clear cost advantage. The PS3 simply hasn’t been the gamer changer Sony had hoped it would be.

Q: How much longer will Universal offer DVD versions of films for? Read the rest of this entry »

First Call of Duty 4 PS3 Retail Gameplay

5 11 2007

Exclusive 3D QuickTime screenshot of Call of Duty 4

4 11 2007

An exclusive 3D QuickTime screenshot of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Check it out