The Update

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Archive for December, 2008

Left 4 Dead DLC Officially Announced

Posted by haunt506e on December 29, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Yes, it’s true,  DLC (Down-loadeable? Content) has been announced for my favorite game of 2008, Left 4 Dead.  The hit post-apocalyptic zombie shooter isn’t yet 2 months old and some new content has been announced for it.  A video podcast from Kotaku reveals an interview with Chet Faliszek, one of Valve’s writers.  In the interview, Faliszek hints at the announcement of specific DLC for both the 360 and PC versions, possibly the ability to play the other additional 2 campaigns (Dead Air and Death Toll) in versus mode.  If we’re lucky, we might even see a new campaign.

On an earlier post by 1UP (I’m sorry, don’t have the link), another Valve member hinted at a new weapon, the flame thrower, to be included soon in DLC.  This DLC was to be free on the PC version, but apparently Valve has had some difficulties with Microsoft’s allowing them to do the same on the Xbox 360.

There’s not a whole lot of information yet, but we’ve been told that the new DLC will be revealed “really soon,” so we’ll just have to wait until Valve unveals exactly what’s going to be made available to its customers.  Expect more news and blog posts on any future Left 4 Dead news and reports right here at The Update.

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Xbox Live Updates

Posted by haunt506e on December 20, 2008

I’ll start off with a quick apology before getting into the actual blog post real fast.  Sorry that I haven’t been updating the blog with any new stories or posts recently, but it’s been pretty hectic for me this week with finals and things like that, things that add up.  But yeah, I’m back and have a quick story to cove, with some word on the podcast after the main post.  Here we go!

New Xbox Experience Updates

Alright so if you’re an Xbox 360 player who’s connected to Live or who has bought a 360 within like the last month or so, you’ll be playing your console using the newest dashboard update, nicknamed the “New Xbox Experience.”  You will have also created your Avatar, the little Mii-like figure that represents your online self.  Well, as promised, Microsoft has already released several new clothes packs for free to their customers, the first being an actual clothes pack that was released a couple weeks back, and the second a clothes pack featuring “fancy” clothes, including tuxedos for men and various dresses for women.

I don’t really want to focus too much on the clothes, because they’re there if you want to check them out and customize your avatar, but I’d rather like to talk about how Microsoft actually seems to be taking these characters seriously.  Nintendo released their little Mii guys with the standard clothes and sets of eyes, faces, etc., but to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think that Nintendo has released any additions (none free at least) to these Mii things.  Microsoft has not only added several new items (for free) to their Avatars, but they’ve also tossed a few freebies our way via the marketplace, taking the form of a free winter premium theme and a snowglobe.

The theme is pretty neat for being free.  The background is a small town filled with holiday lights and covered by snow, and it fits the season very well.  In addition, when you look at your friends list, you’ll notice present rappings and other seasonal items behind each of your friends or their parties.  It’s a nice touch, and its free, so check it out.  The snowglobe is kind of a waste, but its pretty much a virtual snowglobe…  That’s about all I have to say about that.

Holiday Snowglobe

The Snowglobe is... Cool...

My point is that Microsoft is actually updating and taking care of their consoles and their customers, and, while yes, the 360 still succumbs to the dreadful red ring of death fatal system error, it remains one of the best consoles on the market because of this kind of support.  Live is what makes the 360, and these updates are what make Live.  The NXE was a huge success, and Microsoft shows that they want to continue making it a success in the eyes of its customers.  Kudos to Microsoft for putting this kind of stuff out for free.

As for the Update This podcast, it’s still going, but we’ve been having difficulty scheduling times over the holidays, so it may be postponed until after the holidays.  Until then keep track of all the happenings around here by checking back on the site and following me on twitter (Haunt506e).

Posted in News, Xbox 360 | Leave a Comment »

Halo Wars Gets a Delayed Release Date

Posted by haunt506e on December 8, 2008

Halo WarsHalo Wars, Ensemble Studio’s last project as Ensemble, takes the Halo franchise to the real-time strategy battlefield, where players assume control of hundreds of units, rather than just one single character.  If you haven’t heard of Ensemble studios, you’ll perhaps recognize them by their flagship franchise, Age of Empires.  While Age of Empires has lost its appeal and steam over the past few years, Halo Wars has done nothing but gather up its own layer of hype.  It always astounds me how the gaming community gets so excited for each successive Halo release, yet get pissed off at the developers when the game finally releases.  It doesn’t make much sense to me, but maybe gamers should just stop setting their hopes up so high.

Halo Wars Screenshot

Originally intended as an RTS, the Halo franchise finally makes its way into the strategy genre in Halo Wars.

Anyways, an earlier post here at The Update has outlined the game’s various release packages, the two of which are aimed at the casual gamers and hardcore collectors, respectively.  The game, while exclusive to the Xbox 360, is shaping up to be one hell of a purchase, for RTS fans or Halo fans alike.  For those interested, Halo Wars delves further into Halo’s rich lore (most of which has been developed over time in the Halo novels), and puts you in command of different units from the Halo universe, some of which are taken from the novels in addition to the games.

There have already been several videos posted up around the net on Halo Wars, as well as a few trailers posted up on the Xbox Live Marketplace.  If you’ve got the time, I encourage you to check them out, there’s several good ones in there, including a lengthy game play preview.

So yes, Halo Wars is coming out, but now, the reason for this blog post.  Halo Wars was originally slated for a release date near the end of February.  The U.S. release has now been delayed, however, and Halo Wars’ release has now turned into one of the only times I have seen the European players get the game before the U.S. players (in Xbox 360 releases that is).  For those interested, Halo Wars will debute on February 27th for European players, and on March 3rd for U.S. players.  The game is pretty high up on my list of games to buy for 2008, so I’ll have to see how well it turns out.

Posted in News, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Halo 3 Overtakes Gears of War 2

Posted by haunt506e on December 5, 2008

Halo 3For even as great a game as Gears of War 2 it appears that unseating the multiplayer king from its throne was just too difficult a task.  Or was it that great of a game?  According to a recent blog post by Gamecyte, it looks like Gears of War 2 was more on the mediocre side, at least in terms of online play time.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1    Halo 3
2    Gears of War 2
3    CoD: World at War
4    Call of Duty 4
5    GTA IV
6    Fable II
7    Left 4 Dead
8    Madden NFL 09
9    Fallout 3
10   FIFA 09

Top Arcade Titles (Full Versions purchased)
1    Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
2    A Kingdom for Keflings
3    UNO
4    Castle Crashers
5    Worms
6    Portal: Still Alive
7    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
8    Aegis Wing
9    Bomberman Live
10   Assault Heroes

The above arcade list is based on full versions purchased.

Original Xbox Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1    Halo 2
2    Star Wars: Battlfrnt 2
3    Fable
4    Counter-Strike
5    Call of Duty 3
6    Battlefield 2: MC
7    Conker: Live Reloaded
8    Street Fighter Anniv.
9    Star Wars: Battlefront
10   Splinter Cell Chaos

These lists are based on global unique users connected to Xbox Live or in the case of Arcade, full versions purchased that week.

Judgement DayFor Call of Duty 4, it took several months of a constant back and forth battle before Master Chief could reassert his rule over the Xbox Live domain.  Grand Theft Auto IV was the only other game to knock Halo 3 off of the #1 position, but after a reported 3 updates, even GTAIV couldn’t stand up to Bungie’s creation.  Gears of War 2 had its chance to remain at the top after it briefly took the #1 spot, but EPIC threw away that chance by maintaining a laggy, slow, bug-filled multiplayer experience that was just a hastle to even think about playing.  After the smoke cleared, Halo 3 regained its title after less than a month of the whole Gears of War 2 ordeal.

Gears of War 2 now stands at #2, and by the looks of it, it’s dropping.  The only guys on my friends that I notice playing the game now are people that were huge fans of the original Gears, back when Gears 1 was the #1 most played game on Xbox Live.  I think what happened to Gears of War 2 is that players finished the single player campaign, played a few matches of multiplayer, got agitated by the whole mess, ejected the disc, and put in another game, most likely CoD5 or CoD4, which are now fighting each other for the #3 spot.

Chainsaw DuelSo what exactly happened to Gears of War 2?  We’ve established that the multiplayer sucks, but I will give it kudos in that its take on multiplayer is an improvement over the original Gears.  Improving on garbage isn’t difficult to do, but despite being garbage, the original Gears of War held its position at the top for several months, until Halo 3 came along.  It seems kind of strange that Gears 2, an improvement over Gears 1, couldn’t even hold #1 for even a month, and even more shocking, the game was overtaken by Halo 3, a game that’s not only been out for a year, but one that’s also been heavily criticized by the gaming community as being “overrated.”  (I don’t think Halo 3 deserves some of the punishment it has been getting, but I could talk about why all day long).

New multiplayer matchmaking systems have been layed down by games like Halo 3 and the two Call of Duty games.  While Halo 3 arguably “started it all,” and still maintains an incredible online community, CoD4 and 5 have both contributed to the development of matchmaking in their own way.  Gears of War 2, on the otherhand, seems to have taken a step in the opposite direction, and, because of this, has already suffered from obvious drops in its online play time.  For me and hundreds of thousands of other players, Gears 2 is singularly a single player experience, not because the multiplayer is a bad concept, but because the multiplayer was carried out horribly.

If you’re looking for a great multiplayer game, DON’T BUY GEARS OF WAR 2!  Halo 3 and CoD4 (or 5), despite both being over a year old, are still your best bets.

Posted in News, Xbox 360 | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Mytheon, New Free-To-Play MMOG, Announced

Posted by haunt506e on December 2, 2008

Earlier today Petroglyph, makers of RTS games such as Star Wars: Empire at War and Universe at War: Earth Assault, announced their development of a brand new MMOG called “Mytheon.”  With a release date set during the third quarter of 2009, Petroglyph hopes to make this RTS/RPG/MMO hybrid game available for free, making their profits off of paid micro-transactions within the game.  A teaser site has a bit of info up, but not a whole lot, and I’ve only managed to find a few screenshots of the game, all of which are concept art, and I’m too lazy to post those up at this moment.

Players collect orbs in the game and use these orbs to do different things, carry out attacks, summon monsters, etc.  Using their game store, you will be able to purchase new orbs for cash, and can use these special orbs to bolster your collection and gain the edge on your opponents.  The game is slated to include all the basic forms of play that is common in most MMOs today, including PvP, Raids, Parties, Dungeons, and more.  There’s not a lot of information on it’s “hybrid” game play mechanics, but it sounds like it could be interesting and it definitely has potential.

We’re starting to see this micro-transaction market structure more and more often in free games, and Mytheos seems to be the first one developed in the U.S. using this strategy.  I kind of like it, in a way, but I don’t ever see myself actually paying for ingame items, and therefore it is doubtful that I’ll get into this game.  I know a lot of people like being able to buy items or equipment for real world money, but the way I see it, if I’m playing a game for “free,” I don’t want to be paying money for it, even if it’s almost a necessity to keep up with the rest of the game.

Sorry for the short post lacking pictures, but it’s late tonight and good pictures are almost impossible to find for the game at the moment.  In addition, I’d also like to apologize for not having a lot of posts up lately, but I’ve been a little busy setting up things for future additions to the blog, including The Update’s podcast, simply called “Update This,” which will be airing hopefully this Friday (we’ll record tomorrow).  Come back and check out the podcast when its up, and be sure to check back regularly for blog posts.  Thanks.

Posted in Bargain Bin, News, PC | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »