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    Inversion: Gears of Bore

    A long time ago in a browser far far away, the announcement of Inversion stirred my brain with the potential of premise. Sure, it's a third-person cover based shooter - perhaps the single most overused genre of this generation - but the title looked to mix things up by adding something new to the mix: gravity. Increase or decrease gravity to alter the world before you, to create and destroy. Use it to run up a wall or ceiling before normalizing to what may or may not be the world's natural gravitational pull. Would the additional mechanic be enough to lift a run of the mill brown and grey shooter from the gears of mediocrity?

    Click to read more ...


    It Ain't Summer 'til The Summer of Arcade Says So

    Xbox LIVE Arcade's Summer of Arcade promotions are always a good time. How they work are, Microsoft pools together a bunch of games, releases them weekly, and gives you a portion of your spending back if you buy multiple titles. There are a total of 5 games to be released between July and August, and a few of them look pretty damn snazzy. As your special bonus, should you buy any 3 of the Summer of Arcade titles, you'll get a whopping 400 Microsoft points back. Hooray for incentives! Breakdown to follow:

    • July 18 - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD - 1200 MSP
    • July 25 - Wreckateer - 800 MSP
    • August 1 - Deadlight - 1200 MSP
    • August 8 - Hybrid - 1200 MSP
    • August 15 - Dust: An Elysian Trail - 1200 MSP

    Of the above, the two I'm most interested in getting play time with are Hybrid and Deadlight. Hybrid because of its dummyproof-however-refreshing take on the cover-based shooter genre, that kind of looks like the bastard child of Halo and Gears. Sure it sounds like every other game in the over-saturated genre, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. And Deadlight mostly due to its wonderful zombie-meets-Limbo aesthetic, gorgeous visuals, animation, and strong focus on delivering a satisfying narrative with comic inspired cut scenes. Trailers for the two are included below. What do you got on these, folks?


    A Few Seconds of Mark of the Ninja Impresses

    What we have here is a very short sample of what we can expect from Mark of the Ninja, Klei Entertainment's next release. On the heels of Shank 2, which I expected so much more from, Klei has decided to shift gears to the rarely explored 2D stealth genre, which seems a bit illogical following two B-movie inspired gore fests. Before I sound too much like I'm complaining, I should point out I'm melting at every sight and sound of Mark of the Ninja. Why? Let's see:

    1. Ninjas
    2. Choose your own play style: kill em all or kill no one at all
    3. Klei's incredible signature art and animation
    4. Ninjas
    5. Ridiculously ambient soundtrack, judging from the trailer

    Many E3 accounts have pegged Mark of the Ninja as one of the best looking titles on the show floor, a fact that I'm not willing to dispute at this time. Thankfully, the title's release is right around the corner, with a solid date of 'Summer 2012' which I'm sure means September sometime. Hurry up and download to my Xbox, Ninja!


    Max Payne 3: The Return of the Gangsta

    It seems like it was just a few years ago that I was having my mind blown by the incredible feats of Max Payne. Remedy Software's PC title broke many walls with its gritty tale of horror and industry-changing Bullet Time mechanic that hundreds of games have since reused, with often less than spectacular results. Then, after damn near a decade of silence, Rockstar gives new life to the series with the announcement of Max Payne 3, proving the series to be unkillable much like Max himself. Is the game as old and worn down as its hero as well?

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    MercurySteam Makes History with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

    When was the last time we've seen a numbered Castlevania title? It's been a few decades, hasn't it? I suppose Konami has finally found a storyline worth directly continuing and numbering, so congrats MercurySteam for making this ridiculous piece of geek history with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.

    It ain't nothing but a CG trailer which shows Gabriel Belmont and his lovely perm whipping through a shitload of would-be vampire slayers with his newfound powers of darkness. Also, smoke dragon versus stone colossus. That's new, but it is completely welcome. At trailer's end, Gabe is confronted by a sword-wielding, white-haired defender of light who we can only assume is Castlevania commonplace and dhampiric son of Dracula, Alucard. MercurySteam has taken me for a loop before, so I wouldn't be surprised if our hero is someone completely random, like Soma Cruz or Sean Connery.

    Best believe I'm anticipating more information on this joint, and you'll hear me bitching my tits or licking my lips when I get it.


    Revengeance is a Dish Best Served Milolotold

    See what I did there? It's a mish mash of mild, cool, hot, and cold. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has taken making sense and slashed it to teensy-weensy pieces, so why should I care if the title of this post is nonsensical? You're welcome.

    Seriously though, Revengeance is looking alright by me, but you know, I'm a fan of fast-paced flashy action games with questionable story content. It's beginning to look a bit like what I had hoped Ninja Gaiden III would be, but fell laughably short at. Though the Metal Gear Solid games have normally woven complex storylines, I can't help but question Raiden's Platinum-powered spinoff. But fuck it, cutting concrete pillars and people in half in one stroke; like.


    Dishonored Shows a Gory Victorian Futurism

    Bethesda and Arkane's next shit has graced us with two bloody handfuls of Dishonored gameplay, which has me pumped to assassinate masked guards in me-mode! Little known fact: I'm head over heels for the way under utilized first-person slasher genre. 

    Though the graphics aren't really wowing me, Dishonored looks to be a whole lot of cut throat fun with its roof jumping, sanguine gushing, magical power wielding, Victorian futuristic craziness. And the star of the show is of course that incredible collapsible butterfly sword. Hey Bethesda, pack one of those things in the Collectors Edition and charge $200 for it. You'll have my Benjamins thrown at you instantaneously! 


    Vampire or Slayer? Skyrim Goes Gothic in Dawnguard

    Here's a look at Dawnguard, the upcoming expansion to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which looks like a whole chain of events somewhat similar to the Companions quest line, except focusing on vampires rather than werewolves. Also, horseback combat and giant fucking frost trolls. You know, Game Jam shit! 

    Vampirism was a total pain in the ass in Oblivion, and I didn't think it was worth the trade off of not being able to travel in daylight without taking damage. And if you wanted to reverse the curse, you had to spend hours upon hours toiling through a quest that you may or may not have enough focus to complete. As that was a throw-in and this is an actual entire mass of downloadable content, I'm hoping it's a little better implemented and runs deeper than just faster regeneration and shit. From the looks of it, transforming into a true beast of the night is an option, which is a step in the right direction.


    WWE ’13: A “Revolution” For Wrestling Video Games?

    Written by Jimmy Donofrio

    Back in January, I wrote a piece on WWE ’12 that begged Yuke’s, THQ, and the WWE to change the tired formula of their wrestling video game. It was the first year for the newly branded brawler, but not enough had actually changed to justify buying what amounted to an updated roster (and even that was incomplete, as Chris Jericho, a headliner at this year’s Wrestlemania, is still missing from the game despite three rounds of DLC). I wanted the game to be about the business of wrestling, eliminating the kayfabe and basing matches on performance goals (including losing on purpose) instead of simply winning and furthering the story.

    Flash forward four months, and the first new details of this year’s entry, WWE ’13, have finally emerged. On Tuesday, IGN debuted the new teaser trailer and exclusive details of WWE ’13, along with an exclusive interview with cover-grappler, CM Punk. While it isn’t everything (or, arguably, anything) that I could have hoped for, I’ll admit, there is a lot to be excited about.

    The shiniest addition that will get most of the attention in the lead up to the October 30 release is the new Attitude Era Mode, which will warp players back in time to the late 90’s, the heyday of professional wrestling as a moneymaking, media-driven spectacle. You’ll play through some choice storylines of old while reliving the Monday Night Wars from the perspective of the WWE and classic superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and The Undertaker. It isn’t mentioned in the article, but it’s obvious that Yuke’s found some inspiration in the “Jordan Challenge” and the recent success of the NBA 2K series. How it will be executed is yet to be seen, but if there’s one thing that sells in professional wrestling, it’s nostalgia.

    Is it finally “Clobbering Time” for a WWE video game?

    What really got me pumped up were the new details pertaining to individual matches. New settings and factors will make previously unrealistic (I realize the irony in using that word, but stay with me) match lengths and outcomes more logical and bearable, by professional wrestling standards. From the IGN article:

    ..players will be able to adjust a setting called ‘Match Experience’. Three settings - “Quick”, “Normal” and “Epic” - will affect the overall pacing of a fight, independent of AI difficulty. Factors such as momentum, damage, enemy aggressiveness and even kick out and reversal rates will be affected. The difference can be staggering. Quick matches feel lightning quick compared to epic ones, where superstars seem to have limitless stamina - and health.

    Add to that a new setting that limits the amount of finishers available to use during a given match (from 0 to infinite) and tweaks to the way devastating moves will influence pinfalls, and I’d argue that we’re starting to see a change in the genre as a whole. Up to now, wrestling video games were fighting games based on the “rules” of the wrestling universe. These changes to match mechanics are the greatest step towards a real broadcast wrestling experience since the introduction of real TV and PPV arenas in WCW/nWo Revenge on the N64.

    There’s still a lot to be revealed and learned about WWE ’13 in the coming months, but I’m going to label myself “Cautiously Optimistic” that this is actually a step in the right direction for the future of wrestling games. We may never get the real look behind the curtain that I rallied for, but actually attempting to mirror the product your game is based on is certainly good enough, for now.


    Sleeping Dogs Shows You What's Hip in Hong Kong

    I haven't visited many places in my life time, but I was lucky enough to spend a week in Hong Kong, easily one of the world's most awesome cities. The weather is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the vibe is strangely reminiscent of my home city of New York. Though I did much during my time spent in the Pearl of the Orient, there were some wonderful activities I missed, without a doubt. Sleeping Dogs is here to make sure that you won't miss a beat in Hong Kong. From drag racing, to karaoke, to slashing dudes with meat cleavers, it's all here!

    The more I see of Sleeping Dogs, the more impressed I become. The True Crime games have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but it looks like I will not need to feel guilty about enjoying this one at all because it looks fucking awesome. Alive, bustling, full of activities. The racing looks fast, the fighting looks visceral; the whole package just looks right. But looks ain't good for nothing, it's all about that feel. Don't fuck up that feel, Sleeping Dogs.

    This article has been approved by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (香港旅遊發展局).

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