Level Up! Get Ready for Diablo III (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Well were preparing for the big release of Diablo III next week.  With most games that become big in the public eye, it’s a rare thing indeed that we have a game making such big news that is for the PC platform.  Speaking of making news, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is still months away but the game is already breaking records.  Read about it below!
New Xbox 360 for $99? Sort of… 
Microsoft has formally announced plans to offer a subscription-based Xbox 360/Kinect bundle requiring a two-year paid commitment. Customers will pay $99 for a 4 GB Xbox 360 and Kinect up front, then will pay $15 per month for the next two years. They'll enjoy an Xbox Live Gold subscription during that time period, but no additional functionality in the service. People who decide they've had enough can opt out of the program, but early termination fees are as high as $250, depending on when the contract is broken. 
The $99 offer is considerably lower than the $299 an Xbox/Kinect bundle will cost you today. However, in the long run, the subscription package will cost people more. The monthly fees will run nearly $360 over the life of the subscription, bringing the total to about $460. Buying that bundle and two one-year subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold would only run $419 -- possibly less if you find Xbox Live gift card on sale. Then there's the matter of availability. The offer is only available at Microsoft retail stores, of which there are a mere 21 locations around the country. 
Elsword Opens Up The Gate of Darkness
The world of Elrios is in chaos with the latest update for Elsword that introduces the Gate of Darkness, a limited-time dungeon defense event that permits players the chance to battle against the nefarious Three-Headed Dark Bone Dragon.
Taking place during May 9 - June 4 at select times, players are tasked to run the gauntlet of 15 waves of demons while they protect El Crystals from being attacked. Players brave enough to enter the dungeon can play the event solo or with a team, with higher rewards being granted for an increase in difficulty.
Elsword is a free-to-play side-scrolling MMORPG that permits players to choose from five customizable characters as they traverse through colorful 2D environments to complete story-driven quests. Elsword also offers an intuitive player-versus-player (PvP) mode where players can compete in action-packed battles for higher rankings. Whether it’s tackling the extravagant and flashy combat solo or with a party up to four players, Elsword gives players the opportunity to experience a satisfying visual experience with vivid artwork, beautiful cel-shaded graphics, and elaborate hand-drawn cutscenes.

To play Elsword and experience the latest features, please visit: http://www.elswordonline.com/



Ubisoft Announces Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Goes Gold 


Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has passed the gold master stage of development for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.. The game will be released on May 22nd in North America and has an ESRB of "M” for Mature. 


“While one of our competitors recently revealed plans to imitate our game’s future technology for their release in the fall, we’re proud to be bringing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier to retail this month,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ubisoft. “Future Soldier has an unparalleled amount of high-tech weapons, gadgets and technology based on real prototypes currently in development that will show gamers the true meaning of future warfare.” 


In Ghost Recon: Future Soldier join an elite team of highly trained, cut-throat special-ops soldiers. Armed to the teeth with unrivalled combat technology and cutting-edge military hardware, Ghost Recon takes you to the globe’s most deadly warzones to hunt down the highest value targets. 


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 setting records six months ahead of release date 


How much money can the Call of Duty franchise make? Apparently…a LOT more! Amazon reports the game, which was just announced last week, is on track to become the most pre-ordered game in its history, outpacing Modern Warfare 2: Black Ops. 


"Preorders from day 1 of Black Ops 2 were more than 10 times the amount of preorders for the first Black Ops on its first day of availability," an Amazon representative stated. "Black Ops 2 even out preordered the first day of availability for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by more than 30 percent." 


Bethesda announces Elder Scrolls Online 


Bethesda has announced The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMO in development at ZeniMax Online Studios. The Elder Scrolls Online will be the first Elder Scrolls game to allow gamers to explore the legendary Elder Scrolls world with others. The Elder Scrolls Online is being developed for PC and Mac under the leadership of industry veteran Matt Firor, who has spent the last two decades working in online game development. 


“We have been working hard to create an online world in which players will be able to experience the epic Elder Scrolls universe with their friends, something fans have long said they wanted,” said Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online. “It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years. The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.” 




Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment) Rated M PC


Diablo III is a fantasy Action Role-Playing Game (RPG). Only the third major release in what is considered by many gamers as the most iconic RPG franchise of all time, Diablo 3 continues the land of Sanctuary's battle against a reoccurring demonic evil, and provides players around the world with the opportunity to create the ultimate hero to quest against it with friends online, or on their own. Features include: classic dungeon crawling gameplay, a new batch of character classes, multiplayer options with friends and single player support with the help of AI companions, a new take on character skill assignment and health, online item auctioning, and compatibility with Windows and Mac operating systems. 


Two decades have passed since the events of the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion pack, in which the demonic lords, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, set out across the world of Sanctuary on a vicious rampage, twisting humanity to their unholy will. Yet for those who battled the Prime Evils, the memory fades slowly. When Deckard Cain returns to the ruins of Tristram Cathedral seeking clues to defeat new stirrings of evil, a fiery harbinger of doom falls from the heavens, striking the very ground where Diablo once entered the world. This fire from the sky reawakens ancient evils, but also calls the heroes of Sanctuary to defend the mortal world against the rising powers of the Burning Hells once again. 


Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC 


Max Payne 3 is the third release in the popular Third-Person Shooter series of the same name, and the first iteration of the series to appear on Next Gen gaming consoles. Developed by Rockstar Games, the creative minds behind the cutting edge GTA, Red Dead and Midnight Club game franchises, Max Payne 3 is a sequel to the second game in the series, and features an older Max Payne with a new life and job abroad. But as dangerous situations spiral Max's life from bad, to worse, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Game features include: series first multiplayer functionality, a wealth of weapons, classic Max Payne Bullet Time and Shootdodge functionality, extreme realism and special bonus features. 


For Max Payne, the tragedies that took his loved ones years ago are wounds that refuse to heal. No longer a cop, close to washed up and addicted to pain killers, Max takes a job in São Paulo, Brazil, protecting the family of wealthy real estate mogul Rodrigo Branco, in an effort to finally escape his troubled past. But as events spiral out of his control, Max Payne finds himself alone on the streets of an unfamiliar city, desperately searching for the truth and fighting for a way out. 

Featuring cutting edge shooting mechanics for precision gunplay, advanced new Bullet Time and Shootdodge effects, full integration of Natural Motion's Euphoria Character Behavior system for lifelike movement and a dark and twisted story, Max Payne 3 is a seamless, highly detailed, cinematic experience from Rockstar Games.



Battleship (Activision) Rated T PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, DS, 3DS 


Two-thirds of our planet is covered by water. The vast blue water is largely unexplored — making it the ideal place to hide. An unknown alien menace has been lurking deep below the surface waiting for the opportunity to attack. The time is now. This aquatic alien force has launched an extreme attack against mankind, and it's up to you to fight back and preserve civilization before it's too late. Channel the elite soldier inside of you and battle against a deadly enemy from another world. 


Gear up for an exciting, action-packed, first-person shooter and fight to defend mankind against an aquatic alien threat in Battleship. Step into the role of Cole Mathis, the U.S. Navy's "boots on the ground," and experience thrilling gameplay as you combat a deadly alien invasion in this game inspired by the upcoming Universal Pictures film. Command real-time control of naval units, strategize a map-wide plan of attack and direct your fleet to launch air strikes, conduct radar sweeps and engage in high-seas combat. Battle against the invading threat on the shores of Hawaii as a member of the elite E.O.D. Arm yourself with an arsenal of deadly weapons and upgradeable naval units, all with special attacks and attributes. Are you ready to prove your worth as an elite soldier? 





 Akai Katana (Aksys Games) Rated T Xbox 360 


Unleash the power of the Blood Swords.The Empire’s war has ravaged the world the people are suffering in its relentless pursuit of domination using the feared Blood Swords. The sacrifices have been great, their deaths giving power to these blades. Do you have the strength to lead a small band of rebels to victory in the face of overwhelming odds ? Manufactured By Rising Star Games. 







Devil May Cry HD Collection (Capcom) PS3


A growing trend in videogames is the practice of taking games that had been released on older consoles and updating them with HD Graphics to be released again on the PS3 or Xbox 360. It’s like a film being re-mastered. The latest to hit store shelves is the Devil May Cry HD collection which comes with Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition on one disc and for the bargain price of $39.99. Besides being revamped with HD graphics it’s also the first time these games have been available to Xbox 360 gamers as they previously had only been released on the PS2. Devil May Cry is a hack-n-slash action series which centers on the main character Dante's goal of avenging his mother's murder by killing demons. 


Now to complicate matters, the actual timeline of the game doesn’t follow the order in which the games were released. The first game in the time line is Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening followed by Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 4 and then Devil May Cry 2. But you really not need worry about the gory details of plot continuity…just pop this in an get to demon slaying. This is what the series is most known for and what it did best…gory, bloody, combination-burning, and ridiculously over-the-top combat violence. 


Dante plows through each level with a variety of guns and melee weapons, hacking and shooting anything that gets in his way. The first game introduced the style meter which grades your performance at the end of each level based upon various factors such as damage you received, continuous attacks you make without taking damage, item usage, items found, and the time it takes to complete the level. Dante can pull off deadly combos with his guns and swords. The fluid and exciting combat system is just as smooth as ever. 


The menu systems are not quite as fluid however. Despite the fact that all three games come on the same disc they carry a singular, self-contained feel. In Devil May Cry 2 you have the ability to play either as Dante or as the beautiful fighter, Lucia. However in order to switch characters you have to complete quit the game in order to do so. There are a few such technical annoyances that drag the action down a bit. Then there is the HD re-mastering itself. The character models and combat effects definitely show their HD makeover. The models are gorgeous and as mentioned the action is as great as it ever was. But Capcom apparently decided not to update the menus and cut scenes as those still look like they are near a decade old. The games camera also seems not to have been improved. This was always a pain with the original games and also in the HD collection. The games suffer often from bad angles which make it difficult to see where to go next. This is somewhat improved in Devil May Cry 3, but only slightly. 


There are some bonus items like an art gallery and music mode where you can listen to the game’s soundtrack but these are hardly enough to entice a purchase. The Devil May Cry HD collection is certainly worth $40 if you’ve never played the games before but it probably doesn’t offer old fans much reason to but it. Grade B-



Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment.  He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors.  Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).  Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.