Hope you all had a great Fourth of July and somehow managed to stay cool. Here in Michigan we topped out at a record-breaking 99 degrees for the holiday…Yikes! While its another slow release week we do have plenty of fireworks in the news section with announcements regarding Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Max Payne 3, The Expendables 2 game, and Guardians of Middle Earth.
Down in the reviews section we have a look at the latest Lego game, Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes.
IN THE NEWS
Elsword Debuts New Playable Character to High Demand From Fans
You think you have seen all Elsword has to offer? Well then perhaps it’s time to take another gander as Chung, a lad that is packing heat with a big cannon named Destroyer, is introduced in Elsword’s largest gaming update of 2012. As one of the most anticipated updates in Elsword’s one-year history in the North American market, Chung is a mysterious fellow that was born a guardian Hamel, the capital of Senance, and was trained for combat ever since he could hold a weapon.
Chung is a dynamic addition to character roster in Elsword that fits the powerful brawler role. His unique weapon, Destroyer, is a large cannon that hold up to six cannonballs to attack demons. Don’t be surprised when players are yelling “Boom! Headshot!” frequently through the chat due to Chung’s exceptional arsenal. His weapon system is titled the CB (cannonball) system and he’s equipped with a specialized armored called Freitunier that becomes stronger due to a protective stone.
Along with his body armor, Chung can employ another effective weapon named Silver Shooter that can practically penetrate any target’s defense. To utilize the Silver Shooter, players must accept the first job class change to the ‘Shooting Guardian’ at level 15. On the flip side, should players want to become a walking tank and dish out a high amount of damage in a short span of time, then the ‘Fury Guardian’ job class is the route to go.
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.
Activision Announces 'Wipeout 3' for Kinect, Wii, and 3DS
Activision Entertainment Group announce Wipeout 3 coming this Fall just in time for the holidays on Kinect for Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS. Wipeout 3 gets gamers back on their favorite insane obstacle course game show, complete with updated features, even more wacky characters, and all the epic wipeouts players can handle.
Wipeout 3 boasts all-new features and effects that catapult players into the most intense, body-contorting action yet! Fans will recognize their favorite obstacles like the Sweeper Arms and the Big Balls, but will be blown away by 12 fresh winter and summer course themes with dozens of obstacles allowing for non-stop fun. Players will be running through wild, over-the-top challenges created exclusively for Wipeout 3, experienced through a fun over-the-shoulder perspective, and with a hilarious “Instant Replay” function that will have families and friends in stitches as they watch and relive their worst wipeouts over and over again.
Wipeout 3 also includes split-screen multiplayer and team modes supporting up to four players, so groups of friends and families can compete for the best times. Players can also visit the new Wipeout Shop which is loaded with useful items that enhance performance, and will be able to unlock characters and special themed episodes as they advance through the game’s hours of non-stop, replayable fun!
Team Ninja unveils two new characters for Dead or Alive 5
Today Team NINJA pulls back the curtain on two new combatants joining the fighting roster for Dead or Alive 5, which is headed to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 25, 2012. The mighty wrestler Bass returns to the series, while a new cast member, the solitary Rig, makes his debut in the Dead or Alive franchise. Showcasing stunning new character designs and the lifelike detail that Dead or Alive is known for, these characters boast all-new styles and even deadlier techniques, reflecting the look and feel of the intense new generation of Dead or Alive combat. To premier these two new characters, Team NINJA has released spectacular new images of the characters and a video vignette highlighting both fighters in a never-before-seen stage.
Bass is an immensely powerful wrestler and former undisputed world wrestling champion. Always the overbearing father, Bass enters the Dead or Alive Tournaments to protect his precious daughter Tina from pursuing yet another one of her crazy dreams. Regarded as the strongest man in the Dead or Alive series, Bass is able to use a wide range of powerful throws as he aims to overwhelm enemies with brute force; a single blow from him can be enough to change the tide of any fight.
Rig, also known as “The Fighter without a Past”, is a mysterious figure; even he doesn't know his real name or where he comes from. His colleagues simply call him "Rig", since they simply found him years ago on the oil rig that he now calls home. Surviving through instinct alone, Rig is a natural born fighter, learning from intuition and discipline. Mastering the fundamentals of taekwondo, Rig has expanded his arsenal, supplementing the ancient art to create his own discipline consisting of never-before-seen moves that have become his signature style.
The mêlée between Bass and Rig takes place in a dynamic new stage known as Fuel, where multiple levels and environmental dangers create a deadly backdrop as formidable as any opponent. Set on an isolated offshore oil platform, Fuel contains three distinct areas that provide their own unique challenges. Breakable floors and railings give way to whole new levels. As the fight heats up, the world comes alive as oil tanks and pipes explode on contact, causing flames to engulf the platform. Over time this creates even more Danger Zones for players to strategically use to defeat their foe!
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Coming to North America
Rising Star Games announced a partnership with independent game developer Bohemia Interactive to bring action-packed, strategy title Carrier Command: Gaea Mission to North American shores this fall. Coming to the Xbox 360 and Windows P. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is another example of Rising Star's commitment to bring top-quality games to North America.
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission brings a modern update to the classic 1980's Carrier Command. A strategy-based game, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission offers a unique combination of first- and third-person action. The game features a deep story set in a massive environment with more than 30 unique islands hosting six distinct climate zones. Alongside their ragtag crew, players will mount a powerful campaign to control a network of island bases set within the universe. Commanders must manage multiple vehicles in real-time while acquiring and manufacturing upgrades, weapons and enhancements to guarantee victory on the battlefield.
"Joining forces with Bohemia Interactive is another step in the right direction for our company," said Phil Robinson, VP of Rising Star Games, Inc. "We are committed to enhancing our U.S. portfolio with top-quality titles and Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is a perfect example of that promise."
"The original Carrier Command was an inspiration for me joining the video game industry, and it's an honor to be creating the re-imagined version of the title 25 years later," said Marek Spanel, CEO and founder of Bohemia Interactive. "We have a passionate team that is dedicated to making a game that continues the Carrier Command legacy and we are thrilled to be working with Rising Star Games to bring this title to the US."
Max Payne 3 Local Justice DLC Pack now available
The Local Justice Pack, the first downloadable content pack for Max Payne 3, was released July 3rd for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with the PC version launching on July 17th. This pack includes three new maps for Max Payne 3 Multiplayer featuring areas from the game’s intense final chapters, plus a new weapon, a new item, a new multiplayer faction and associated new Achievements, Trophies or Social Club accomplishments.
• 55th Battalion HQ map for all game modes
• The Imperial Palace/Departure Lounge maps for Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Payne Killer
• Light Fingers Item for faster looting
• M4 Assault Rifle with attachments
• São Paulo Police Faction with related avatar customization options
Since the Local Justice Pack was originally announced to release in June, we're making it available during launch week for a discounted price of 480 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE) or $5.99 on PSN and PC as a show of appreciation for your patience, after which point it will return to its normal price of 640 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE) or $7.99 on PSN and PC. Of course, if you purchased the Max Payne 3 Rockstar Pass you'll receive the pack free of charge.
Track 'Em, Find 'Em and Kill 'Em in The Expendables 2 Videogame
Ubisoft announced the debut of The Expendables 2 Videogame. Based on the second installment in Lionsgate and Millennium Films’ phenomenal film franchise, the ultimate elite mercenary shooter is coming this summer to PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Windows PC digital download. The Expendables 2 Videogame unites four of the world’s most legendary mercenaries – Barney Ross, Gunner Jensen, Hale Caesar and Yin Yang – in a feast of explosive over-the-top action, authentic to the Expendables franchise.
Building on the universe created in the high-octane, star-studded movies, The Expendables 2 Videogame invites gamers on an adventure to rescue an extremely valuable, kidnapped billionaire. It’s all business, until all hell breaks loose and the explosive mix of testosterone and kerosene detonates in a massive fireball that never lets up. The adventure concludes right where the new movie begins, creating a continuous story experience for fans of the Expendables’ hard-boiled brand of action.
Players can join up to three friends locally and online to experience all-out action in cinematic, close quarters combat or while controlling an arsenal of vehicles in exotic locations including Somalian deserts, Burmese jungles and more. Fans looking to compete for bragging rights can play through several challenges for the top spot on the leaderboard.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service comes to 007 Legends Game
The second of six Bond movie-inspired missions to be featured in this year's upcoming 007 Legends video game has been revealed as On Her Majesty's Secret Service. A first-of-its-kind Bond video game, 007 Legends features an original, overarching storyline tying together five classic Bond movie-inspired missions plus a sixth mission based on this year's highly-anticipated movie - SKYFALL - which will be available post launch as free downloadable content, to offer the most diverse Bond gaming experience yet! Planned to launch on October 16, 2012, from Activision Publishing. 007 Legends equips players with state-of-the-art spy gadgets, an arsenal of weapons and sleek vehicles as they jet off to exotic locations and utilize Bond's quick wits, class and style to take down notorious villains and their brutal henchmen while performing impressive stunts.
True love is hard to find but James Bond has finally found his equal in the beautiful Tracy di Vicenzo, the daughter of European crime syndicate head Marc-Ange Draco - Bond's key contact for tracking down criminal mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld. After wooing Tracy and their ensuing whirlwind romance, they jet set off to the Swiss Alps as Bond pursues Blofeld. It's here, in a picturesque Alpine setting, that gamers encounter an avalanche of action. Blofeld is aware of Bond's undercover ruse and kidnaps Tracy, luring Bond into a rescue mission involving a fast-paced downhill ski chase and a confrontation in a high-flying cable car, which also uncovers Blofeld's master plan to release a deadly virus in five of the world's largest cities. With the help of Tracy's father, players must infiltrate Blofeld's private research facility in the Swiss Alps, thwart the release of the virus and save Tracy before it's too late.
Guardians of Middle-earth First Official Gameplay Trailer
Prepare to enter the battlegrounds as legendary guardians in a clash between good and evil. Only one team will rise from the ashes of war to claim Middle-earth as their own. Which side will you be on?
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today has released the debut gameplay trailer for Guardians of Middle-earth, the highly-anticipated MOBA title being developed exclusively for consoles and set to release this fall. The video features some of the legendary guardians including Gandalf, Gollum and Sauron entering the battle front, showing off some of their lore-based skills and abilities in an attempt to conquer the other team’s fortress.
Guardians of Middle-earth is a new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Monolith Productions, set to be released in fall 2012 exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network. The console-based MOBA offers more than 20 iconic guardians including Gandalf, Sauron, Gollum, Galadriel, Legolas and many more for players to control in PVP arena battles. Gamers will have the ability to connect with other players via an in-game voice communication system, as well as access to a comprehensive online stat and leader board system where they can track friends’ victories and defeats, and more.
Namco Bandai announces Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition
Namco Bandai Games announced that it will be releasing a limited-run Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition alongside the standard version of the game on January 22, 2013 in North America exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, an epic tale of a boy name Oliver travelling between two worlds on a quest to save his mother, is developed by the critically acclaimed Japanese development studio, LEVEL-5. The game features animations and cut-scenes produced and supervised by the legendary Japanese animation company, Studio Ghibli, and features music scored by the world-renowned composer Joe Hisaishi.
The Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition will include a 300+ page hardback physical copy of the Wizard’s Companion, the spellbook Oliver uses throughout his journey in the game. The full-color Wizard’s Companion contains a bestiary of all the creatures found in the game along with in-depth item descriptions, spells and history of the other world. The limited-run Wizard’s Edition will also contain a plush doll of Drippy, Oliver’s guide through his adventures, as well as exclusive “golden mite” and “golden drongo” DLC familiars. The Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition has a MSRP of $99.99 and is available for pre-order now, exclusively at www.clubNAMCO.com for a limited time.
Garnering over a dozen Best RPG of E3 2012 award nominations Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a heart-warming tale of a young boy named Oliver, who embarks on a journey into another world to become a wizard in an attempt to bring his mother back from the dead. Along the way Oliver makes new friends and tames many of the wonderful creatures that inhabit the world, raising them to battle other creatures on his behalf as he takes on formidable enemies. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch will be available January 22, 2013 in North America and will include both English and Japanese voiceovers.
Nuketown reimagined for Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Nuketown, the most popular multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Black Ops, is being reimagined for the hotly anticipated release of Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, published by Activision. The Nuketown 2025 multiplayer map will be available with launch units of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Anyone who pre-orders the game at participating retailers worldwide will get their copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops II at launch, which will include the Nuketown 2025 downloadable bonus map.
"Multiplayer fans of Call of Duty: Black Ops LOVE Nuketown," said Mark Lamia, Studio Head of Treyarch. "Flat out, Nuketown was a blast to play before, and we're excited about the reimagined Nuketown 2025 in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. We can't wait to play with everyone come this November."
On November 13th, Activision and Treyarch will deploy the sequel to the universally acclaimed Call of Duty: Black Ops, which set the record for the biggest entertainment launch in history following its release in 2010. Call of Duty: Black Ops II catapults players forward into an epic near-future warzone rooted in today's headlines. The title represents an unprecedented leap for the franchise, delivering a groundbreaking single-player campaign with branching storylines, advanced weaponry, new graphics technology, a deep multiplayer experience featuring a greater emphasis on eSports and match customization, and the most expansive Zombies action yet, now running on the multiplayer engine.
New Company of Heroes 2 Trailer
It is 1941 and the beginning of what will become the most brutal conflict of World War II, as Germany launches a full-scale invasion of the frozen tundra of the Soviet Union which would result in over 14 million military casualties. Take command of the iconic Soviet Red Army in brutal frontline warfare to free Mother Russia from the invading Nazis. Your strategic skills and tactical expertise hold the power to tip the very balance of this conflict in the sequel to the critically acclaimed and multi award-winning Company of Heroes. Engage in visceral tactical combat that will define you as a military leader and challenge you to wield the might of the Soviet Empire as you smash your way to Berlin.
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
NCAA FOOTBALL 13 (EA Sports) Rated E PS3, Xbox 360
NCAA Football 13 is an American college football game in which players are given the ongoing opportunity to enjoy the collegiate game in multiple ways. Experience the rise to dominance of a young, up-and-coming gridiron star hoping to make his way to a college superpower of choice and eventually a national championship. Experience the pride and pageantry of gameday Saturday like never before as you go from high school superstar, to top college player, to head coach in Road to Glory and Dynasty modes. With a new passing system, new team-specific traditions, and the Heisman Challenge, make an impact by leading your team to the National Championship with NCAA Football 13.
Sights and Sounds
Revel in the pageantry of college football game days with NCAA Football 13. Featuring new team run-outs, mascots and pre-game traditions along with significantly enhanced audio and new trophy presentations, NCAA Football 13 delivers the passion and excitement of college football to fans across the nation.
With a new passing system that changes the way quarterbacks and receivers play and respond, combined with a new read and react defensive AI system, NCAA Football 13 delivers greater realism on the virtual gridiron.
Game days come to life with mid-game updates featuring a new studio analyst, plus enhanced commentary from NCAA Football veterans Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler. Recruiting now goes deeper than ever with the addition of dynamic grades and the ability to scout players. Plus, there are even more ways to interact with your Dynasty from the web.
There are familiar faces on the field in NCAA Football 13, which now features a selection of former Heisman Trophy winners. With the new Heisman Challenge mode, fans have the ability to utilize the skill set of a legendary Heisman Trophy winner in a quest to match his award-winning historical performances and win the Heisman trophy once again.
Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure (Sega) Rated E 3DS
What hidden past motivates this strange young man? And how does he connect to a broader secret buried beneath the city's sparkling appearance? Get ready to experience Paris like you never have before as you follow the beat toward hidden clues and curious riddles on a rhythmic quest for the truth.
Tap, swipe and move to the music to maneuver through Raphael's mysterious world in Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure. Put your detective skills and your ear for rhythm to the test in order to solve the beat-based riddles that lead to the truth behind the mystery. Unearth clues scattered throughout the treasures of Paris to start piecing the puzzle together, then challenge your friends to even more toe-tapping challenges and build an adoring fan base among the Parisians. Immerse yourself in the streets of Paris as its world-famous landmarks, colorful characters and beautiful scenery burst to life in 3D on this wild, high-tempo adventure.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (Activision) Rated E Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS
Ready to get wet, wild and wooly ? Team up with your favorite Ice Age characters in a continental competition of glacial proportions! Battle for treasure with the Herd and the Pirates in their craziest adventure yet!
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Warner Bros.) Rated E,PS3, Xbox 360, PSVita, 3DS, Wii, DS
The latest entry in the LEGO series is aptly named because Batman gets to team up with several of his friends from the Justice League including Green Lantern, Superman, The Flash, and Wonder Woman, along with Robin and Batgirl, to help take down the Joker and his own band of villains featuring Penguin, Riddler, Harley Quinn, and Two-Face. In all the game will offer some 50 playable characters and as in previous Lego games, part of the attraction is to discover all of the various characters in the game.
Those familiar with other Lego games whether it was Batman, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Star Wars will be familiar with the style of gameplay that has you battling villains, solving puzzles, and building objects to meet your goals and advance in the game. However, this time around, developer Traveller’s Tales has added a new wrinkle to the game. This time the game features actual voice acting as opposed to the usual mime acting and mumbling dialog of previous Lego games. What’s more is that the game features voice actors who fans of animated TV shows and films will be familiar with like Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor; Steven Blum as Bane; Rob Paulsen as The Riddler; and Fred Tatasciore as Clayface and Killer Croc.
For comic book fans Lego Batman 2 might be a throwback to the Batman/Super Friends cartoons of the 1970s although much hipper and with far more intentional humor. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously and this fact plays out especially well in the many funny and hugely enjoyable cut-scenes. Another welcome addition to gameplay is mid-level save points which come in handy during some of the very lengthy stages.
The basic plot finds Lex Luthor busting the Joker out of Arkham Asylum along with several other super villain inmates. The Joker devises a special mind-influencing gas that Luthor intends to use to force people to vote for him as President. That becomes the impetus to explore a totally open-world Gotham City. Unlike the sort of Hub world-based previous games, Lego Batman 2 gives you all of Gotham City to explore. You have the usual stock of items to collect: red bricks, gold bricks, and all of the additional characters…and getting to these items is part of the game’s main challenge and its one weakness.
Navigating your way through the much sought after items can occasionally be a real pain in the backside cape. A buggy camera and screwy vehicle control and hard to pinpoint min-maps can be frustrating at times but this is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. The puzzles are never overly taxing and if you’ve played previous Lego games you’ll find yourself right at home. It’s a lot of fun just to fly around the city as Superman, spotting the well-known sights of Gotham as well as collectible items. Supes really is the star of the game even though it’s named after Batman. In all there are 15 stages to explore and the game should take a solid 10 – 12 hours to finish depending upon how much you choose to explore.
There have been a lot of games in the Lego franchise with more on the way but Traveller’s Tales proves that they are not going to let things get stale. An open-ended world with actual voice acting breathes life into the series and I cannot wait until Lego Lord of the Rings. 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 Magazine, 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
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