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Entries Tagged ‘Xbox’:

Lost Classics: Halo – Combat Evolved (Xbox, PC)

haloNow Halo is hardly a game that one would consider a lost classic, but given the franchise’s popularity, and since Halo ODST hit stores this past week, now is a good time to take a look at this classic, if for no other reason than to see how far the series has come in the 8 years since Halo sold many an Xbox so long ago. You play as the Master Chief, humanity’s last and best hope against a collective of alien races known as the Covenant. Aided by your fellow crew members and a holographic artificial intelligence known as Cortanta, you blast your way through many covenant soldiers in an attempt to discover the secrets of the artificial planet/space station known as Halo.
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Xbox 360 Fall Update and More

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The fall dashboard update for the Xbox 360 is running a little late this year. According to Official Xbox Magazine, it should happen on December 4th. Will it be worth the wait? Well parents will be able to use the new Family Settings to limit the time childen playing games. Thats enough Viva Pinata, little Jimmy. Sadly, this is unlikely to curtail the pint sized razor tongued demons I meet nightly in the Xbox Live lobbies of various M rated games. At least MS is trying.

Also coming with this update will be Xbox’s own virtual console! Original Xbox games will be available for 1200 Microsoft points ($15). The launch lineup will be the original Halo (obviously) Fahrenheit, Fable, Crimson Skies, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex and Burnout 3: Takedown. Compatibility with Xbox Live is expected for those titles that supported it (Crimson Skies, Burnout).

Those in Europe will be pleased to find out they’re finally getting Video Marketplace. Now they too can finally download episodes of South Park for $2 a pop.

In a little more immediate news, Screwjumper is now Xbox Live Arcade’s 100th game. To celebrate this as well as 2 years of the service they’re promising a surprise new game next Wednesday that is a “sequel to Xbox Live Arcade’s most successful game.”
I haven’t checked the numbers in a while. That could be early hit Geometry Wars, the card game Uno, or even this year’s best selling classic arcade title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

No matter what, there seems to be no shortage of downlaodable content on Xbox Live these days, which is frustrating since I’m still trying to clear Halo 3, haven’t touched Orange Box yet, and Assassin’s Creed comes out this week.

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Microsoft and Bungie End Exclusivity Deal

Billy Boy gets creamed againSeems as though last weeks rumors were true, and Bungie has indeed split from Microsoft to pursue other opportunities. The Microsoft press release reads:

“REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 5, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the “Halo®” franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned “Halo” intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.

The critically acclaimed Xbox 360®-exclusive “Halo 3” achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, “Halo 3” is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

“Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in ‘Halo’ becoming an enduring mainstream hit,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “While we are supporting Bungie’s desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our ‘Halo’ entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the ‘Halo’ universe. We look forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through ‘Halo’-related titles and new IP created by Bungie.”

“This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,” said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft® platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios; and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through ‘Halo’ and beyond.”

Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Wash….”

What this means for Microsoft competitors Sony and Nintendo remains to be seen, but this is big news any way you slice it. More info as it becomes available.

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$20 Game of the Week: Half Life 2 (PC, Xbox)

halflife2.jpgIn 2004, there were 3 big first person shooter games; Doom 3, Halo 2, and Valve’s Half Life 2. Of the three, many gamers consider this to be the best, and for good reason. The game is second to few in terms of graphical quality, story telling, gameplay, and capability for modding. Built on a modified version of the Havok physics system, a large part of the game’s appeal is simply picking up objects laying on the ground and throwing them at people. A weapon known as the gravity gun allows players to use the physics system to make anything into a weapon. Players take control of series protagonist Gordon Freeman, as he is awoken from stasis nearly two decades after the end of the original Half Life. He emerges into a world overrun by the combine. Joining up with a resistance group, Freeman has to fight back against all odds, battling head crabs, police officers, and alien creatures with a large variety of weapons.

As mentioned before, another part of this game’s popularity has to do with the modding community. There are several mods ranging from new deathmatch maps to full game conversions. One of the more popular mods, “Gary’s Mod” allows players to simply spawn objects in a sandbox environment just to play around with the physics system. Another mod is an attempt at recreating the popular N64 game GoldenEye. Of course when you’re through with the main game, there is plenty of more material coming to keep fans occupied. Episode 1 was released this year, continuing Gordon Freeman’s quest. This fall will see the release of Episode 2, along with the source engine based Team Fortress 2 and Portal. Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers can grab a special “orange box” containing the main game, as well as all the extras mentioned above. Whichever way you decide to get it, don’t miss out on the chance to play one of the best FPS games ever.

System Requirements

Processor: 1.2 GHZ or better
OS: Windows 98 and higher (including Vista)
Internal Memory: 256 MB RAM
Storage: 4.5 GB
Graphics: DirectX 7 or greater
Internet connection required for verification
DVD-ROM drive (unless obtained from Steam)

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Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Updated

Xbox 360 Logo As the 360’s Spring Update and the Halo 3 Beta come closer and closer, Microsoft dropped a rather big surprise on us today! A rather large and unexpected list of newly added backwards compatible Xbox titles for the 360! Namely Sega’s Jet Set Radio Future, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Star Wars Rupublic Commando and some very high profile 2D fighters have been added to the list. This is probably one of the strongest updates released and should please anyone still interested in the service.

Read on for the full list.
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Halo 2: Desolation & Tombstone Review

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Just my quick kneejerk reactions to the newly released maps to Halo 2. They went up for purchase in the content downloader this morning for $4. Note this is the Halo 2 content downloader, not Xbox Live Marketplace.

This first thing that strikes me about these maps is some of the weapon choices. Tombstone’s default start is the Battle Rifle, and with good reason as its too big to use SMG or Plasma weapons to start. The Sentinel Beam also makes a return appearance in Desolation. 2 Halo mainstays are completely missing from the weapon set: Plasma pistol and Sniper Rifle. This can be changed easily in a custom game, and I’m sure Tombstone will become a popular sniper map, but its kinda odd for them to be missing. Neither map supports vehicles or turrets from what I can tell, which further narrows the gameplay. I think the designers were trying really hard to bring orignal Halo multiplayer into Halo 2

Also, neither map feels like Halo 2. While any of the original maps felt like they were plucked from the single player campaign, these look more like arena maps more common to Quake. Tombstone in particular has lots of hallways and ramps everywhere, and it doesn’t have the organic feel of Halo 2. It is a remake of Halo: Combat Evolved’s “Hang ‘Em High” map, and its still really fun to play capture the flah, oddball, and King Of The Hill, but the geometric nature and screwy structure choices seperate it from a map like “Turf” where the art style kept you within the Halo universe even in the free for all multiplayer games.

Ultimately the maps appear well worth the money as they will add some new life to the game and its been a good 2 years since I’ve grabbed a flag and had no idea where to take it and thats a fun feeling. Just don’t expect a new classic like Lockout, Terminal, or Relic. The best way to play these maps will be with friends, so send a friend request on Xbox Live to me, and we’ll get in some games in the upcoming Powet.TV Game Night for Halo 2 on April 28-29!

So what do you think of the new maps? Was a throwback to Halo: CE welcome in the last days of Halo 2? Leave a comment below!

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This Week In Halo

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Bungie’s weekly update is upon us with the usual shocking revelations and totally ordinary and expected announcements.

Halo innovated in a lot of ways over the very cookie-cutter FPS genre. One way they very clearly did not innovate was the exploding barrel. The Bungie Weekly Update confirms that newer, prettier “fusion cores” will be present in Halo 3, along with newer, prettier explosions when you shoot them.

Good News! Theres an auto-update coming soon to Halo 2 that will enhance Banhammer functionality to dispatch cheaters quicker. This will pave the way for the new maps on April 17th! Matchmaking playlists will be updated to include the new maps on April 24th!
Bad News! Rankings will be set back to ZERO with the update. Sorry, Sean, you’re going to have to work your way up Rumble Pit all over again. This reset will make matchmaking easier with the smaller, but still dedicated player base. I feel less bad about dropping from a 23 to a 20 in Team Slayer a couple weeks ago, but the last time stuff was reset there it was pretty quick to rank up, so I’m not sweating this too much.

Public Beta still hasn’t been dated, but a new video documentary should hit Xbox Live before it starts.

This week there was also a re-release of Halo: Ghosts Of Onyx in paperback.

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Swords To Plowshares, And Guns For Xboxes

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Tired of shooting things in real life? Well, now you can trade in your gun and get an Xbox… If you live in Mexico City. Oh, and also, only if it’s a “smaller gun.” If you trade in a “high-caliber weapon like a machine gun” you get a computer instead. No word on if a BB Gun gets you an original Xbox. And hey, maybe they’re actually talking about the original Xbox and not the 360… But I tell you what – I’m not about to run down to Mexico with a bunch of guns to find out for myself. You, however, have that option available to you. (Not really. Please don’t try smuggling guns into Mexico.) So head down to Mexico and make the trade today (seriously, don’t though), and instead of shooting human beings with bullets, you’ll be shooting space aliens and Nazis on your TV!

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