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Level Up! We Review Sleeping Dogs

The latest news on 007 Legends

By Tim Janson     August 17, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Pitfall Harry returns!

The iconic Pitfall Harry is in peril yet again, 30-years after his namesake Atari 2600 video game cemented 'jump-and-run' as a fixture in gaming history.  Activision is celebrating the cherished franchise with the launch of a new Pitfall! App for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, available now on the App Store. Inspired by the original 1982 classic, this modern incarnation features thrilling new environments and twists on classic Pitfall! gameplay that will appeal to fans of all generations.

From the moment mobile gamers start playing Pitfall!, they'll experience an ever-changing landscape with different environments and shifting camera perspectives, vehicles and mine carts, branching paths, and a wide range of hazards to overcome. With the iconic objects from the 2600 classic game - crocodiles, rope swings, gold bars, diamond rings, cobras and more, players will traverse a volcanic island carpeted in sweltering jungle and explore villages long since forgotten by time as they dodge danger in maze-like cave systems. Every level-crafted from the ground up exclusively for mobile-packs stunning 3D visuals, instinctive controls and engaging action-adventure gameplay. As players progress, they can sweep up loot, buy power-ups and earn experience, enabling them to advance through the leveling system and compete with friends for the best high scores. The excitement doesn't stop there, as plans call for the game to evolve over time through future content updates.

The new Pitfall! App for mobile is available for purchase today from the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Activision reveals next movie inspired missions for 007 Legends

Activision has revealed today Die Another Day and Licence to Kill as the third and fourth Bond movie-inspired missions included in this year's upcoming 007 Legends video game. A first-of-its-kind Bond gaming experience, 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 downloadable content. Set to offer the most diverse Bond gaming experience yet, each 007 Legends mission includes multiple levels featuring re-imagined movie moments that showcase state-of-the-art spy gadgets, an arsenal of weapons and sleek vehicles in exotic locations that best utilize Bond's quick wits and style to take down notorious villains and their brutal henchmen.

In 007 Legends' Die Another Day movie-inspired mission, the quintessential secret agent is sent to rendezvous with Agent Jinx to investigate the connection between Gustav Graves - a diamond mogul funding the development of an international space weapon called Icarus - and a North Korean terrorist set on unifying his country once and for all. With Jinx's help, Bond must chase down Graves, racing along ice while duelling against North Korean spies and Graves' allies, all while dodging concentrated blasts of solar energy from the Icarus weapon. After confronting Graves on his high-flying jet, Bond must prevent triggering a war between North and South Korea and escape the stricken jet before it's destroyed.

In the Licence to Kill movie-inspired mission, Bond enlists the help of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent Pam Bouvier in order to avenge Felix Leiter and uncover a vast international drug operation headed by an evil Mexican drug lord with terrorist connections - Fran Sanchez. After detonating a massive explosion in Sanchez's drug refinery, Bond will have to capture Sanchez before he escapes, ending in a brutal physical confrontation on-board a moving tanker truck. Will Bond be able to avenge his friend or will he be killed by Sanchez?

Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) and Carey Lowell (Licence to Kill) both reprise their roles as Gustav Graves from Die Another Day and Agent Pam Bouvier from Licence to Kill, respectively, rounding out the impressive 007 Legends' cast.

Pre-order details for 007 Legends

Fans that reserve an early copy of 007 Legends in North America - planned to launch October 16th from Activision will gain access to the Nemesis Pack from Amazon.com and the 007 Pack from GameStop. The content of each of these exciting pre-order packs are as follows:

Pre-order Now from Amazon.com - Nemesis Pack

Play 007 Legends through the eyes of two notorious Bond rivals - Jaws and Baron Samedi. With the Nemesis Pack, gamers get to play as Moonraker's space-suited henchman or Live and Let Die's voodoo king sporting his iconic skeleton paint in the Legends and multiplayer split-screen modes. Unlockable only for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system, for a limited time, while supplies last.

Pre-order Now from GameStop - The 007 Pack

 Players will be able to dress for success in split-screen multiplayer mode with an exclusive James Bond character outfit, and additionally, use the most famous of James Bond's handguns - the Walther PPK pistol. With the 007 Pack, fans also get early access to the Fast Switch gadget, which increases weapon swap speed by 50%. Unlockable only for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system, for a limited time, while supplies last.

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 as post-launch downloadable content. Each movie inspired mission in 007 Legends includes multiple levels featuring re-imagined movie moments that showcase state-of-the-art spy gadgets, an arsenal of weapons, sleek vehicles and exotic locations, where players will use Bond's quick wits and style to take down notorious villains and their brutal henchmen, offering the most diverse Bond gaming experience yet!

Cinemaware Returns!

Legendary game developer Cinemaware today announced an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to bring the Amiga-cult classic game ”Wings” to new heights in full, glorious HD graphics and sound. 

Just as it revolutionized gaming with “Wings” 22 years ago, the company is now bringing its unique vision to this innovative Kickstarter campaign. If the company achieves its funding goals, it will soar above simply resurrecting the classic game; Cinemaware plans a remake with new missions, new story elements, enhanced animations, art and sound and additional music tracks for an ultimate Director’s Cut edition. As thousands of fans have requested, the classic gameplay and game structure will remain largely unchanged. This will still be the Wings so many gamers know and love!

There are a variety of pledge levels to fit every budget, but the incentives to dig a little deeper are sky high. A pledge of just $15 will get you the game, in-game credit and a set of “Wings: Director’s Cut” desktop wallpapers. True believers who pledge $10,000 will be treated to an acrobatic ride in a real, WWI-style double decker airplane and other cool, WWI-related tours! In between there are a ton of great rewards – T-shirts, posters, in-game credits, the chance to contribute to the game design and even a real-life replica of the Wings’ diary (as seen in the actual game)! Cinemaware has taken great care to create prizes which are unique and related to the great gameplaying experience of “Wings”.

“Keep the flame of Cinemaware burning bright by buying Wings’ pledges! Wings: Director’s Cut will have everything you loved about classic Cinemaware games: Great characters, immersive stories and seat-of-your-pants gaming,” enthused Melville. “You just grip it and rip it!”

As with most Kickstarter campaigns, Cinemaware will post regular updates about the progress of the project, including video updates, graphic and sound development, concept art and developer interviews. There will be a backers’ only forum where backers can contribute ideas and feedback directly to the game’s developers. Pledges will receive the game (DRM free) on the platform of their choice among many other potential rewards. The game is currently slated to release on PC, iOS, and Android in February 2013.

X-Com: Enemy Unknown announces Multi-player game mode

2K Games announced today that XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the highly anticipated action-strategy game from Firaxis Games, will include a unique multiplayer game mode featuring a one-on-one deathmatch against another player for the first time in an XCOM game. Players will be able to pick a squad of soldiers, aliens or even combine a squad of both unit types to create the ultimate mixed squad to command in battle.
 
“Throughout the history of the XCOM series, players have acted as the world’s last hope against the alien invasion,” said Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. “With the multiplayer mode in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, gamers can finally find out what it’s like to command alien units and unleash extraterrestrial destruction on Planet Earth or defend it with a squad of XCOM soldiers and alien allies.”
 
Multiplayer in XCOM: Enemy Unknown draws on the gameplay, tactics and strategy of the single-player experience without making any direct ties to the narrative, offering a standalone opportunity for gamers to enjoy the XCOM universe. Players can mix and match both alien and soldier units to comprise their squad, outfitting soldiers with dozens of armor types, weapons, items and class-based abilities for thousands of possible loadout combinations. These dream squads of up to six units are built using a point cap that can be scaled for players to fight in small skirmishes all the way up to epic battles. Matches can be modified by point limit or time limit per turn. Just like the single-player experience, the fog of war will conceal your enemy’s units until you encounter them on the battlefield, creating the tense anticipation that is the hallmark of the XCOM series.
 
Gamers can get in on the action early by pre-ordering XCOM: Enemy Unknown from participating retailers to guarantee access to the Elite Soldier Pack, a launch bonus offering top-of-the-line soldier customization features. This limited-time bonus gives players the ultimate tool for soldier customization, including Soldier Deco packs, complete color customization and a classic XCOM soldier, flat top included. There will also be a special edition of XCOM: Enemy Unknown available exclusively for PC at retail locations that contains a copy of the game for PC and a number of unique XCOM items, including an art book; fold-out poster of the XCOM headquarters; XCOM insignia patch; and a collection of digital bonus assets such as desktop wallpaper, soundtrack and more. To pre-order now, visit http://www.xcom.com/enemyunknown/preorder

Catwoman revealed for Injustice: Gods Among Us

Today Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment revealed that Catwoman, DC Comics’ feline fatale, will be featured in the upcoming superhero fighter, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The new gameplay vignette featuring Catwoman is now available for download. 
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us is an all-new game in development by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, creators of the definitive fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat. The game is scheduled for release in 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the Wii U.  
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us debuts as a bold new fighting game franchise that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Cyborg, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others.  Set in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred, players will experience heroes and villains engaging in epic battles on a massive scale. 

Ubisoft reveals Assassin’s Creed III Naval warfare trailer
 
In advance of Gamescom 2012, Assassin’s Creed III is bringing gamers to the forefront of naval combat.  As Connor, gamers will command a naval warship and lead his crew through tumultuous waters and enemy ships.  Gamers will be able to use cannons against enemies, including devastating ammunition for optimal impact in what is the most detailed and immersive open-sea experience to date.
 
Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in the late 18th century, Assassin’s Creed III introduces a new hero, Ratohnhaké:ton, of Native American and English heritage. Adopting the name Connor, he becomes the new voice for justice in the ancient war between the Assassins and Templars. Players become an Assassin in the war for liberty against ruthless tyranny in the most stylized and fluid combat experiences in the franchise to date. Assassin’s Creed III spans the Revolutionary War, taking gamers from the vibrant, untamed frontier to bustling colonial towns and the intense, chaotic battlefields where George Washington’s Continental Army clashed with the imposing British Army.

DUE OUT NEXT WEEK

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Activision) Rated T  Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a third-person shooter that returns players to the Transformer's planet of Cybertron for the final battles of the legendary war that preceded their arrival on Earth. The game continues the story of the earlier game, Transformers: War for Cybertron. Players experience the war from both the Autobot and Decepticon point of view, and utilize new powerful transformer types. Additional features include: epic large scale battles, character specific abilities, character customization, improved enemy AI, varied mission play, and online multiplayer. 

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron transports you to the final days of the planet Cybertron where you will experience the darkest hours of the apocalyptic war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Embark on an adrenaline-fueled journey through a wide range of missions and massive environments designed around each character's unique abilities. Fight through both sides of the most epic battles leading to their legendary exodus from their homeworld. In addition, players experience action in the form of new Transformer bot types Combaticons, Insecticons, and Dinobots. 

REVIEWS

Sleeping Dogs (Square Enix) Rated M  PS3

Like me you may have done a double take when you looked at the publisher of Sleeping Dogs.  This is decidedly not the typical sort of game from Square Enix.  It’s easy to classify it as Grand Theft auto set in Hong Kong, but Sleeping Dogs has a depth of story and characters that sucks you in the moment you fire the game up.

You play the game as Wei Shen a former Hong Kong native who has returned after many years in the United states as a cop with the San Francisco PD.  Wei accepts the dangerous assignment of infiltrating Sun On Yee, one of the notorious Triad gangs.  Wei is drawn back into the gang by old friend Jackie Mah who works for the gang’s boss, Winston Chu.  Early on Wei is given minor tasks to handle to prove himself to the gang.  This includes shaking down merchants for protection money and cracking a few heads of the rival gang

Sleeping Dogs features several different mission types,  There are triad missions which I’ve touched on above; there are cop missions that involve you hacking security cameras, planting bugs, tailing suspects, etc.; There are “face” missions where you’ll help random people on the streets doing things like ditching a car in the harbor so they can collect the insurance money, and taking photographs of local landmarks.  Face missions raise your face level; You can also compete in the local underground racing circuit, bet on cock fights,  take part games, or head to a night club for karaoke night.  Each type of missions have their own rewards.  Triad missions allow you to learn skills such as breaking into cars with a slim jim and other such criminal activities; police missions will teach you how to disarm assailants; and face missions raise your face level meaning you can buy better clothing and power-ups such as reduced damage and health regeneration last longer.

Hong Kong is also filled with tons of hidden collectibles.  Health shrines increase your maximum halth level, lock boxes provide cash and clothing; hidden jade statues can be returned to a local dojo where the master will teach you new fighting combos.  The streets are also littered with vendors selling various food items and clothing which can increase your damage and defenses in battle.

The combat system is remarkable simple.  The square button is your attack and held down gives you a heavy attack and various button taps and hold access different combo attacks.  The O button is your grapple button from where you can punch, throw, or drag your victim to a nearby item such as an air conditioner or trash can and ram their heads into them.  The Triangle button is your counter.  When an enemy is highlighted in red  it means he is about to attack.  Hit the Triangle to counter his attack.  You’ll need all these as you often find yourself facing off against a half dozen bad guys or more.  

Driving is also a major part of the game whether racing a high performance car on the underground circuit, winding through narrow alleys on a motorcycle, or ramming cars off the road in a hi-jacked minibus.  The vehicle control physics are fantastic but also realistic as well.  One very cool feature is the ability to leap from a moving vehicle into another, or leap out in slow motion and fire off a carefully aimed shot, similar to Max Payne’s “bullet time”.  There’s also a very eclectic selection of radio stations you can listen to from western-style rock and rap to Asian-themed stations.

Character models, particularly those of the NPCs and random characters on the street are only average and sometimes the camera can be a bit flunky, particularly when maneuvering tight quarters but honestly these are minor complaints.  Sleeping Dogs has a deeply intense storyline, great characters and voice acting, and often brutally enjoyable melee combat.  It brings to life a bustling an exotic Hong Kong.   It’s like being tossed into a real life Asian action film.  Grade A-

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jedibanner 8/17/2012 3:30:37 PM

Wow....Pitfall...that brings back memories.

Not much really anticipated games coming up...may look into that Transformers game...some days I really want it and others I'm like meh.

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