Call of Duty Online

For once, the attempt to expand is bringing benefits to the customers. Due to the banning of gaming consoles in China, Activision has decided to come up with a clever way to route the Chinese government, and spread its influence to Chinese gamers. Call of Duty online will be a Free to Play online First Person Shooter.

That’s right, you read correctly. It will be free to play.

Even though playing the game itself is free, gamers will have to dish out cash in game if they want to buy perks and weapon classes, but it is a small price to play for the potential of dominating the internet as the best CoD Online shooter. With the game being free to play, Activision will still need a way to pay for running its servers without sacrificing their ‘noble’ cause.

In a Game Rant article, they assure gamers that the online version won’t be too different from the multi-player modes on other Call of Duty titles.

Judging by these screen shots, players will still need a decent computer to play the games, as the graphics are not sacrificed for the online gaming experience.

For the original Gamerant article, click here.

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Who is your favorite Mass Effect Squad Member?

Throughout the three games and various expansion packs, we have seen many faces and held many allegiances. But who is your favorite squad member from the Mass Effect series? Vega has a movie, Liara has comics, others have paramour roles, but do you think was the coolest/most important?

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Mass Effect Movie (Official): Paragon Lost

That’s right. This isn’t a gimmick. All you fan boys will get your wishes, as Mass Effect is releasing a full length feature film, titled ‘Mass Effect: Paragon Lost‘.

Now, the next thing I am about to tell you will either further encourage you to watch it, or turn you against the film. It is not a real-footage movie, but rather, an anime feature.

The Story

“An untold chapter in the Mass Effect saga, following the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega, as he leads a squad of elite special forces into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his troops must protect the inhabitants from an invasion of the deadly insectoid warriors determined to collect the population for unknown purposes.

Soon after the attack, Vega’s commanding officer falls in battle, forcing the young officer to embrace the responsibility of leadership for the colony’s survival. Having idolized Earth’s greatest hero and warrior, Commander Shepard (the central character in the Mass Effect video games), the young and idealistic Vega must now make life and the death decisions that will effect not only the lives of his squad, but the lives of every person in the colony – all of whom he has sworn to protect…” Written by Henry Gilroy (IMDB)

Wait a minute…this sounds familiar…

Well, if it sounds familiar, you probably paid attention to the dialogue in Mass Effect 3. Vega talks to Shepard about the mission when you interact with him on the Normandy II. He also tells you what happens, but I won’t reveal that spoiler.

Why Anime?

Seeing as I am not a fan myself, I asked this question. If you stop to think about it, the sheer budget for creating a Mass Effect film with CGI and actual actors would be sky high; that, coupled with the risk that the film would tank in theaters is probably what made the produces choose to go anime with the film. Even so, I have to admit that I am still going to watch it. The animations look interesting and I am curious as to how they will frame the Mass Effect movie without having Commander Shepard as the main character.

What Could Go Wrong?

Going from video game to film is never an easy feat; most game to film adaptations suck out loud, and it is impossible to ever satisfy all of the fans. This plus the fact that it is anime creates the risk of alienating potential viewers. While I am personally not a fan of anime, I am willing to give the film a chance, after all, what do you think is more important? The fact that it is Mass Effect, or the fact that it is anime? Along with these things, the fact that James Vega is the main character, rather than Commander Shepard has the potential to alienate even more potential viewers.

What They Did Right 

James Vega

While all of these things have the potential to alienate viewers, there are a few things that make the film attractive. One big thing about the film is that we know the story and the character. Players meet James Vega in the very beginning of Mass Effect 3, and have him as a party member throughout the game. While players will want to see Commander Shepard, seeing Vega prior to his time on the Normandy has its own special appeal.

Another thing that I find note worthy is the fact that this is not a prequel or a sequel, but rather its own story outside of the main arc of Mass Effect. This is a double edged sword with the potential to discourage Mass Effect fans, but it also has the potential to attract people who aren’t fans of the Mass Effect franchize.

Conclusion

For better or worse, the movie is set to come out some time this year. Directed by Atsushi Takeuchi, the animated film is going to be 84 minutes long, and promises to be an interesting addition to the Mass Effect franchise. Thankfully they didn’t release this film until they fixed the endings of Mass Effect 3. Check out more information about Mass Effect: Paragon on their website.

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Assassins Creed Rise: Live action trailer

In honor of this day, we show those who fought for our freedom all those years ago.

We have come a long way from the ancient brotherhood garrisoned in the sands of Syria. The Order of Assassins has come up with a new recruitment strategy. Assassins are no longer taken as children and raised into the dogma; now the order has spread its reach to the common people, appealing to their sense of justice, honor and duty. In the live action trailer, we see these common people, and hear what pushed them to fight with the Assassin Order.

Connor will not fight alone; he plays a small role in a much greater conflict, the Revolutionary War, and that war also plays a small role in an even greater conflict. Look out for Assassin’s Creed III, hitting shelves in October.

Check out our opinions on whether or not Assassins Creed III is worth buying here. Also, if you are the type that is interested in limited edition packs, check out this article to see what goodies Ubisoft has in store for you.

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Halo 4: Reservations and Expectations

If you can find me a single gamer in the world who has never heard of the name ‘Halo’ or their own language’s equivalent of the word, Masterchief would make a personal appearance at that individual’s home, and educate him on UNSC Spartan Protocal.

Halo, the game franchise which took the Xbox from being a second rate console to the most talked about gaming system, has been an anchor for modern gaming, especially in the realms of Online Multiplayer and First Person Shooters. With five games, a book series and several shows, it has become one of the most influential icons in video-game history. After creating Halo 3: ODST, Bungie threw in the towel and claimed that the series was ending. However, a few years later, after the release of successful offshoots of the series, 343 Industries, the makers of Halo Reach, announced that the series was not yet done.

A brief teaser trailer was shown at E3 2011, revealing that Halo 4 was in production. We all know that 343 is a capable company, as Halo: Reach was a great success, however some wonder if bring Master Chief out of stasis may be a mistake. With the Covenant defeated, and the Flood destroyed, what more does the story of John 117 have to offer for us?

The Story that we Know

The teaser trailer revealed little and less about Halo 4, save for the fact that it is indeed a sequel with Master Chief as the main character. However, this year after numerous leaks and announcements by 343 industries, we have a better idea of what is in store for us with Halo 4. One year after the E3 announcement, this years E3 conference treated us with a live-action trailer for some context, as well as a chunk of sexy game play.

If you are too lazy to wait for the trailers to load, here is a brief synopsis of Halo 4. Master Chief is presumed to have perished with the last halo ring; the UNSC marks him as ‘MIA’ to keep with tradition (There is a saying: “Spartans never die, they only go missing in action”). Even though earth is shattered by the loss of their heroic savior, they know that they must push on, and so the UNSC commissions a disarmed warship, known as the ‘Infinity’, is sent into the unexplored regions of space with the mission of colonizing uncharted worlds through peaceful means.

Of course you all know it wouldn’t be a Halo game without it’s healthy chunk of violence!

Something goes drastically wrong on Infinity’s journey, causing the ship to crash on an unknown planet (later revealed as Forerunner world ‘Requiem’), which also happens to be where Master Chief is located. As Master Chief watches, a gigantic mysterious metallic orb rises behind him, and takes off after the crashing vessel, beckoning Master Chief to give chase. That is when we see the covenant. Most people grimaced at this part. The most common thought in gamer’s minds was “What the hell, didn’t we already kick their asses?” Well don’t worry my friends, 343 has much more in store for us than Elites, Grunts and Jackals.

As he gets closer to the crash site, Master Chief is spotted by a scouting party. While Master Chief out the bulk of the scouts, he witnesses an elite get incinerated as if he was nothing more than a noob grunt. That’s right, we have a new enemy in Halo 4, one that makes the Covenant Elites look like play things. Wielding forerunner weaponry, these metallic beetle like creatures seem to prove to be a challenge in a fight. They can teleport and dish out as many hits as they take.

Known as the Prometheans, these beings were members of the highest rank in the Forerunners’ Warrior-Servants caste. They are mentioned before, in the Anniversary edition of Halo: Combat evolved and Halo Forerunner novel saga. Due to a disagreement with the builders, the Prometheans are cast from the council, which is why we do not see them until Halo 4.

Along with the appearance of the Prometheans, there are rumors of other Spartans in campaign mode. Rumor has it that these Spartans are from the new Spartan-IV program, and are assigned to the Infinity for its new mission. Dubbed as Majestic Sqaud, the Spartan-IVs will be seen in the campaign, as well as be the central focus of the new multiplayer form, ‘Spartan Ops’. This combination of a new enemy and an old story gives the new campaign a promising edge.

Multiplayer

Most of the information on Halo 4’s multiplayer came from leaks, such as the leaked multiplayer-beta footage. This multiplayer looks much different from its predecessors, as we see new armor, weapons and maps. While there are some familiar halo elements, the new textures cause most to sooner assume that this multiplayer belonged to some other space oriented FPS. 343 is playing at a dangerous game here, with so many new features added to the game that most played with die hard loyalty. Will the new fans like it?

As Halo was made famous for its great multiplayer experience, most gamers are critical on the footage that has been released for the multiplayer, however the scales are tipped towards positive feedback for the new multiplayer systems, which include familiar features such as ‘Slayer’ as well as new features like ‘Spartan Ops’, which will replace ‘Fire fight’ which is seen in Halo: Reach. Halo 4’s multiplayer promises to be an integrating and enthralling new experience for gamers (old and new).

Reservations

Multiplayer looks just as promising as the single player campaign, and with the integration of the two through Majestic squad, 343 is welding Halo 4 into a great game. However, there is a catch to this greatness, as 343 industries has announced that gamers will either need 8 GB of free space on the X-box hard drive, or an 8 GB USB in order to use the multiplayer settings. WTF 343, really? 8 Gigs?  What the hell do you guys need 8 gigs for? This had better be worth it!

Anyway, Halo 4 does look enticing. Maybe enticing enough for me to buy a new hard drive. Look for the game in stores in the distant future; it is scheduled to hit shelves on November 6th, 2012. Until then, satisfy yourself with another teaser trailer that the game released recently:

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Assassin’s Creed 3: Limited Edition kit revealed

New Toys for the faithful Fan Girls and Boys of Assassin’s Creed III

Over the years, Limited Edition packs have evolved. What started off as a unique box cover with an extra DVD and a little booklet to help satisfy the dedicated fans has evolved into full fledged ‘treasure chests’ brimming with rewards such as unique content, figurines and larger books with exclusive material. Some of the better known Limited Edition packs include Halo 3 which came with a full sized Mjolnir VI helmet replica, Halo Reach with a model statuette of Nobel Team and Skyrim which came with a statuette of Alduine on a Dragon wall.

Now, it seems that Assassin’s Creed III is joining in the ranks of Limited Edition pack makers. In a recent announcement, Ubisoft has revealed the contents in their limited edition packets. That’s right, I said packetS, as in there is more than one. Two packs will be released by Ubisoft, including a Limited Edition packet, and a Deluxe Digital Edition which is reserved for PC gamers.

Limited Edition Packet includes:

  • The Game (Obviously)
  • Stunning 9.44″ Assassin statue featuring Connor poised to strike with tomahawk and hidden blade.
  • Embroidered 28″x48″ Assassin’s Creed-inspired colonial flag.
  • 3″x3.25″ sturdy metal belt buckle to proudly proclaim your allegiance to the Assassins.

The total cost for all of these nifty gadget brings the price of the Limited Edition Pack up to $120.00, which may seem to be a tad bit pricey, though super fans would probably believe that cost is no object.

The Deluxe Digital Edition Includes:

  • The Game (Once again, obviously)
  • George Washington’s notebook revealing his true story during the American Revolution.
  • Three single-player missions taking players from the high seas to Cozumel Island in search of Captain Kidd’s fabled lost treasure.
  • The Captain of the Aquila’s uniform and traditional Colonial Assassin outfit, boarding axe and Scottish flintlock – rumored to have fired “the shot heard round the world” – for use in the single-player campaign.
  • Sharpshooter and Redcoat characters for use in multiplayer.
  • A collection of the best audio tracks from previous Assassin’s Creed games.

The total cost of the Deluxe Digital Edition costs a total of $65.oo, which is far more reasonable than the limited edition of you ask me, though gamers won’t receive that statuette, flag, or belt buckle.

Along with revealing these special edition cases, Ubisoft has released a new trailer to commemorate the holiday 4th of July, which is almost upon us!

Anyway, whether you prefer to get the normal game, or the extended edition, at least you know the options!

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Game Preview: Dishonored

It appears that the ‘First Person’ playing theme has taken root in another genre: Action-Adventure.

Most notably seen in the game Bioshock, we witnessed how the First Person view could be used effectively in more than just in shooting games. Implementing new engines to further immerse the player in the experience was part of the reason why Bioshock was such a successful game franchise. While Bioshock was a great success, we haven’t seen many more games that push the First-Person view to its true potential. That was, at least, until we saw the first trailers for DishonoredMade by Bethesda Stuio, along with Arkane Studios, the same group that created Bioshock 2, this game pushes the bill for First Person Adventure gaming.

The fictional nation known as the Isles is choking in chaos. With the Empress dead, and a plague running rampant, martial law has come into effect. Accused of murdering of the Empress, decorated soldier, Corporal Corvo Atano is given a chance to avenge the people of this land, and his Empress -who suffered from the injustice and evil actions of other nobles, particularly the Lord Regent-, when a stranger enters his cell and grants him supernatural powers. Branded by the mark of the Outsider, Atano begins his quest for revenge.

Trailers that show game play styles: Gamerant Article with game play trailers

Now while much of this sounds similar to Bioshock, there are a few things that differentiate the game from its Studio’s predecessor.

“You could probably say that dishonored is what you would get if Thief and Bioshock had a steampunk lovechild in Victorian England while J.C Denton and Gordan Freeman watch”IGN reporter during trailer for Dishonored.

1. There is no set path in this game. While it is not a sandbox game, players still have the options to play to their preferences. While there is a linear series of missions, each mission is a sandbox within itself. Players can run in guns blazing, or crawl in the shadows.

2. The steampunk theme allows for a unique weapon set; rather than having simple guns, players are given intriguing weapons such as a mini-crossbow, and razor wire bombs. Along with these weapons, Dishonored has unique supernatural powers- doing away with simple fire, ice and heal magic, players have the ability to ‘blink’ (short range teleport), summon rats, and possess people and animals. These powers and weapons work together in a symbiotic way that allows for cool combined attacks as well as one of a kind game play strategy.

3. While this game has a similar paint-like visual art style to Bioshock, the environment itself is far more unique. Coupling desolate slums with breath taking wealthy areas, all tweaked with a touch of steam punk, the world easy on the eyes and appealing to gamers.

4. Complementing the ‘No set path’ game play system, an interesting acrobatics system has been put in place, allowing players to leap from roof to roof, as well as scale walls. While these stunts are not as easy on the eyes as those of Assassin’s Creed, they still add an interesting element to the game.

With these unique characteristics, I believe that Dishonored has the potential of being a mega hit in the video game industry. The combination of a intriguing story, a visually appealing world, and a unique game play model allows for it to be a one of a kind game. Be sure to look out for Dishonored in October of this year.

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