Past Rants, Raves & Views

Crash, Smash And Burn with debut Dirt Showdown Gameplay trailer

Racers get wrecked and wild in smashing new DiRT Showdown video - now playing at www.dirtgame.com

Codemasters today launched the first gameplay video for DiRT Showdown, a brand new dive-in-and-drive rush of speed, style and destruction. DiRT Showdown, an action packed extension of the award-winning DiRT off-road racing series, will debut May 2012 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION3 computer entertainment system and PC. The video is now playing at www.dirtgame.com.

The ‘Crash and Burn’ video features work-in-progress gameplay footage, showcasing the full-impact, destruction-focussed racing featured in DiRT Showdown’s 8 Ball event. The stage is a dirty, dusty circuit in the sun-baked Nevada desert where eight racers perform in front of the crowd, taking on jumps and dangerous crossover points as they jostle for position against a backdrop of fireworks and fire cannons. Boost is used to speed through gaps and smash rivals as the drivers – racing vehicles tuned for chaotic, aggressive racing – trade paint and crash out as they battle to become the star of the Showdown.

DiRT Showdown will deliver a new world of competitive and combative racing as players boost, trick and smash their way to ‘Showdown’ finals on a chaotic tour of motorised mayhem.

There are three broad categories to DiRT Showdown’s thrilling action-sports racing. Players will use nitrous to blast past rivals and negotiate courses filled with ramps, pinch points and obstacles in full-contact Racing events. Gaming’s most advanced damage engine is unleashed in Demolition Derby themed events where players smash and crash their way to victory in bone-jarring style. Finally, in Hoonigan events, gamers will send fans wild in huge stunt parks where accessible new controls offer every player the chance to become a freestyle driving hero.

From San Francisco to Miami and London to Tokyo, players will dominate their rivals and wow the crowds on their way to becoming a driving superstar. Pyrotechnics, lasers and thousands of fans give each venue a vibrant sports entertainment atmosphere, with the player taking centre stage. Over 50 different events across four championships will challenge gamers in a variety of conditions – sun, snow and rain – through the day and under the floodlights at night.

DiRT Showdown will be Codemasters’ most connected game ever – split-screen multiplayer, eight-player online racing, on and off-line quick-fire party games and YouTube integration all come as standard. Players will also be able to issue ‘Showdown Challenges’ to compete with friends whether they are online or not.

 Powered by the award-winning EGO Game Technology Platform, DiRT Showdown will be uncaged May 2012 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system and PC.

Slash The Pounds With The SOULCALIBUR V

To celebrate the release of SoulcaliburV on Feb 3 2012, Namco Bandai has joined forces with GYMBOX to present the Soulcalibur V: Swordsman Workout, a brand new fighting fit workout class, running exclusively every Tuesday evening at 6.00pm throughout the month of February at GYMBOX Westfield (open to both members and non-members).

 The most exciting gym in London, GYMBOX and a special team of fight choreographers has designed the sword workout. The session is inspired by the Soulcalibur video game franchise and the exercises replicate the likes of Mitsurugi, Siegfried and Pyrrha, taking you through a series of moves lifted straight from the game, giving your body the ultimate cardio and muscle workout.

The 40 minute course is built up of 16 layered sword repetitions, progressively enhancing and improving speed, accuracy and ultimately conditioning the body. Simple yet very effective, many of the moves can also be done at home, so members can continue with their swordsmanship as often as they like!??In addition, any Soulcalibur fan who turns up at GYMBOX Westfield with a copy of Soulcalibur V on either Playstation 3 or Xbox360 will not have to pay a joining fee if they decide to sign up for GYMBOX membership during February, saving themselves £99! 2012 is the year to slash the pounds...don’t delay, get fighting fit today!

SoulCalibur V graffiti transforms London’s East End

The Great Eastern Street wall in London's East End received a facelift last week, a brand new paint job for 2012, celebrating the release of SOULCALIBUR V.??The visual masterpiece in the heart of Shoreditch took three long days and was painted by the East End's infamous painter decorator extraordinaire, JIM ROCKWELL: Graffiti artist & Creative Director of END of the LINE. A time-lapsed video, filmed and painted on location shows the entire process from beginning to end, capturing the mural in all its glory.

Leading video game publisher NAMCO BANDAI teamed up with the cutting-edge aerosol mural artists ENDoftheLINE to celebrate the release of the game on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The huge 16 metre wall features legendary character Nightmare and new additions to the roster Patroklos and Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed®.  The Great Eastern Wall is an ongoing project from ENDoftheLINE, a permanant Public Art Gallery that, in the last two years has featured some of London's most notorious graffiti artists, and has hosted international artists from around the globe.??SoulCalibur V will be released this Friday (3rd Feb) on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

For more information visit www.soulcalibur.com

To watch the video please click here:

Is 1 the loneliest number in games?

Is multiplayer taking the lead over the single player campaign?

Recently, I was trawling through the fresh information that was available for Call of Duty: Black Ops. There was loads of info available, such as extensive previews, interviews with the developers Treyarch, playtests, videos, screenshots; basically there was enough to make a reasonable assessment of the overall title. But one theme ran throughout the entire selection of material: Black Ops is all about the multiplayer.

Treyarch are making a huge effort to push Black Ops’ online feature, such as a variety of new deathmatch modes, a system of scoring that enables players to build-up an online currency that can be used to gamble one results and matches, differing weapons that can only be used in conjunction with others, and a whole host of new and exciting maps. Although a single player campaign was mentioned, in which two solders carry out a series of secret missions during the Cold War, it was nothing more than a fleeting nod before more grinning promotion of the multiplayer.

And this leads me onto a question that has been bugging me for a while: are developers neglecting the single player campaign and overly favoring the online multiplayer?

The reason I ask this is not only because of how Black Ops is being hyped and perceived by its creators, but more so because of how the recent major titles have been multiplayer oriented. Halo: Reach was heralded as one of the best FPS’ of the year, and rightly so, it was pacey, exhilarating and utter beautiful. But in my opinion, the solo campaign was at times tedious, and although it was well produced, it reeked of Halo Déjà vu. There was nothing that I hadn’t seen before, and although that’s arguably not a bad thing for such a successful title, it would have been nice to have seen an original and distinctive campaign, rather than another Halo clone that focused more of it’s time, online. With Reach, it seemed as if everything had gone into the multiplayer mode and the online gameplay had been the main focus of the title.

It was a similar story with Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, which featured a campaign of barley 5 hours, but a whole host of online modes. The same point could be argued for Modern Warfare 2, which boasted some truly staggering online figures (approximately 25 million players since June this year) but had a rather overblown and frantic solo mode. Left 4 Dead is totally aimed at the group play, as have been the promotional pieces that have boosted the new FIFA title (although it should be noted that these two titles are more co-op orientated). Today, online is the place to play.

You can see why developers and publishers would be inclined to focus their titles on the multiplayer market, as it’s enormously lucrative. There are around 20 million people with Xbox Live accounts, and a staggering 39 million gamers with Playstation Network accounts: that’s a lot of potential sales for a group-based title.

Maybe I’m being a bit of an old misery guts, as I don’t play online as often as many, and I spend the majority of my time playing alone, bashing my way through single player campaigns and enjoying the submerging plots that only games can create. Some of my fondest memories of gaming come from the events of Half-Life 2, a title that was superbly focused on giving the sole gamer the most exciting, exhilarating and enthralling experience possible. But in a way, that’s what I fear is being lost in certain games, that solo experience. That story. That blinked plot that is totally unique to each gamer.

There are many exceptions of course, one being the divine Red Dead Redemption, which provided a superb multiplayer mode without diluting its central plot. To me this is the perfect example of a game for both markets, as although there’s plenty of fun to be had with your chums, at its core, Red Dead is essentially a solo experience. In a similar vein, Gears of War 2 is superb online, but its best moments come from its brutal yet heartfelt plot.

Multiplayer gaming is getting bigger and bigger, with more people playing online than ever before and more titles being focused toward this market. That’s fine with me, as gaming is always evolving and expanding, and at present the best titles are the ones that can bring both the solo and the multiplayer campaigns together in harmony. But for me, I’m still slightly concerned that the big publishers are chasing the masses of multiplayer gamers, at the expense of the sole gamer. Treyarch are doing this (in my opinion) with Call of Duty: Black Ops, and although I’m sure it’ll be a fine title, I fear it’ll also be an expendable one, which will be discarded when the online crowds have dried up and moved onto the most crowded online title of the time. With a deep and smartly written solo campaign, a game can practically live on forever, but a multiplayer game cannot, and that’s my concern.

In a few years time, we could see titles that are both devoid of plot and naked against the test of time, and although that’d be fine for a while, I for one would miss the longevity of the solo experience.

Scott Tierney

Gaming Rehab centre opens

New service setup for ‘screenagers’

At some point in our gaming lives, we’ve all blown our metaphorical top at a video game. Repeatedly dieing at the hands of a final boss, getting piped to the line by another racer, taking bullet after bullet to the face from an unknown enemy; these will all send you into a rage of video-gaming mist that is all but uncontrollable. Until now! Or so it seems…

Richard Graham, a London consultant psychiatrist (please note he’s not a doctor) has established a new rehab service for teenagers who are addicted to their precious electrical items and services. The service is primarily aimed at a young gamer/gadget nut that reacts badly to an order or request to stop. Like any addiction, it’s the stopping that’s the hard part, and this service is aiming to stop the cravings of any ‘screenagers’ (I thought ‘screenRAGERS’ would be better?). So, if you have a teenager who is constantly glued to their mobile phone, internet provider, iPod or gaming console, you’ll know where to send them. You could try parenting first, but that’s not the modern way.

"Mental health services need to adapt quickly to the changing worlds young people inhabit and understand how seriously their lives can be impaired by unregulated time online, on-screen or in-game," said Graham. Will the service be available online Richard, via XBLA of the PSN Network?

Graham also added that other services are outdated, "borrowing from older models of addiction and substance misuse to very limited effect". Damn parenting and pills, where have they ever got us?

To be honest, in my teens I would react badly to losing or being told to switch off my video game. I’d whack my Megadrive as if it were a funfair ‘Test your Strength’ game (although the console still works to this day, unbelievably!), throw the controllers around the room, and just general throw a pubescent tantrum. A friend of mine got so angry once, he punched my copy of Micro Machines 2: Turbo Challenge (the one with the extra ports at the top of the cartridge) with such force that he imprinted the port marks onto his fist. So in that respect, any service to stop youngsters doing this is probably a good thing. Think of all the damaged consoles we could save.

It’s strange that this ‘service’ Graham has provided is only available to teenagers. I know plenty of gamers, all in their later 20s early 30s, who still throw ‘wobblys’ at their consoles whenever things go against them. And as a games reviewer, I often dismantle into a puddle of gloopy anger whenever I have to playtest a bad game, so this service could be a big help. Why can’t I come along to one of Graham’s sessions, and unhinge myself from the shackles of this terrible affliction? It’s free I’m guessing?

In all seriousness, and despite the lazy comical tone of this piece, this service is probably a good thing. The police have to deal with numerous calls every year from worried parents, after their children have reacted violently to being told to stop playing. Any service that can help this problem, and give children as young as 12 a chance to break away from their addiction is a good thing. Although in my day, my Mum would have just smacked me on the naked botty and sent me to my room without any supper. Maybe she could get a job working at this rehab centre?

Scott Tierney

The Nunchuk

I don’t know why, I just don’t like it.

I’m a big fan of the Wii, and as a result I play a lot of Wii games as both a reviewer and gaming nut. Obviously there are a lot of bad titles out there, and at times you feel as if you’re digging through a rotten haystack of gaming mediocrity, trying to find a diamond needle that makes all the other pap worthwhile. But overall, the Wii’s a lovely little console, that despite its flaws I’d hate to be without. But the one thing about the Wii that annoys me more than all the bad titles put together, is the Nunchuk. Man, how I hate it.

International Cricket 2010 steps up to the crease on June 18th

New game to launch in time for the ODI series between England and Australia.

International Cricket 2010, the latest game to join Codemasters’ best-selling cricket portfolio, will be released in the UK on Friday, 18th June 2010 to coincide with the thrilling NatWest Series between England and Australia this summer. The game will be published for the PLAYSTATION3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Monopoly

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Let The game Begin!

Developer: Venan Entertainment

Format: iPhone, iPod Touch

Money is power...and so is property !

Monopoly, monopoly. It's a popular board game known to all. Brought back childhood memories: unwrapping Mr. Monopoly from under the tree, eager to play my first game only to lose horribly, retreating crying to my room vowing it was the worst present ever. Years later I decided to face my fear and pick up a copy Wii and later decided to get the iPhone version. While the copy for the Wii has the Classic and World Edition together on the iPhone platform it's two separate versions...how capitalist of EA!

iPad Will Change the Technology World

 

PhonicaMagUK is normally focused on mobile and games technology. Apple is a key topic in our writing because of the innovative and exceptional iPhone, the fantastically capable touch device which revolutionised the way we view handheld technology. Now Apple has announced the iPad, a crossover device somewhere between an iPhone and a Macbook- and it's the most exciting piece of technology the world has ever seen.

Imagine that we once used to interact with our computer with a clunky mouse, our computer stuck to the wall with wires and its monitor equally immovable.

Those days are gone. We don't even need a keyboard anymore. Apple's iPad is a revolutionary tablet computer which enables the user to manipulate everyday workloads with their hands, browse the full internet at arms length, purchase digital books, videos and music on the move and all of this for just $499.

There's a lot to tell about the new iPad, the first thing to explain is the reason it's appearing on a games and mobile phones blog. As the first piece of technology to incorporate all of the tech from one of our favourite phones, the 3GS, into a computing device- and the first piece of tech to allow usage of all the current apps on App Store on anything other than an iPhone or iPod Touch, and a product that will use 3G communication for data, this whole new category of product is directly related to everything Phonica holds dear. In fact it is a new territory and deserves its own space on the current tech landscape.