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MISSING: Playstation 3 exclusives

Have you been wondering why our Playstation 3 friends have lost so many exclusive games? Think about it, Grand Theft Auto and Assassin's Creed are both shinning examples. Also, why has the Xbox 360 wrapped up exclusives from third party developers like Bioshock and Winning Eleven? It's quite simple actually, Sony's lead man Ken Kutaragi dragged his feet for far to long. Mr. Kutaragi couldn't give developers the thumbs up for exclusivity and Microsoft played the roll of annoying best friend, constantly bugging developers to flock to their console. And look at the result, we've got great games coming. Good job Microsoft, third party exclusive titles are butter and cream and we're all anticipating Assassin's Creed. Oh the joy.

[Via, Digg]

New Blue Dragon artwork scans

Over at Xboxygen you can check out some new Blue Dragon scans. Of course it's in Japanese and of course there isn't the littlest hint to what the heck the article is about, but there are some nice screenshots and beautiful artwork on the pages. Heck, it's Blue Dragon just enjoy the pretty pictures already.

Eat Pop-Tarts, get Xbox beanie hat

Our much older (and some say wiser) parent Joystiq found a way to keep both your belly full and your head fashionably warm. On specially marked packages of Pop-Tarts you can get yourself an order form to fill out and send for a Xbox 360 beanie, with the proper UPC count of course. I think I saw another offer similar to this, but for a tshirt on my box of Twistables. And yes, some people do indeed save UPCs for these offers ... it's free Xbox swag AND edible goodies. You just can't go wrong ... you just can't go wrong.

Bungie, they aren't corporate... are they?

This past week's news on Halo 3 and all the upcoming goodies we'll be treated to in the next year makes my inner fanboy squeal with excitement. A new commercial, new Halo 2 maps, and an open beta for Halo 3 multiplayer, that's just nifty. But I can't help but feel a little ... how do I say this ... uneasy about how the Halo franchise is being handled. I'm not referring to Bungie themselves, because they have yet to let us down, but the corporate machine backing Halo. I just don't know, pre-rendered Halo 3 commercial (Bungie doesn't do pre-rendering), new maps for Halo 2 that must be purchased and only on the 360, Halo Wars being licensed off to a different studio ... blah, blah, blah. Maybe I'm just a little paranoid, maybe I'm just a little stressed tonight, but is Microsoft possibly playing the puppet-master card with Bungie just a little too much? I'll revisit this topic some other time I guess ... maybe I can talk to Frankie and he can calm my nerves. Frankie, if you're reading this, please comfort me ... please?

Id says 360 is a gem to develop on

In an interview with CVG, Id developer John Carmack talks about how easy it is to develop on the 360 for the upcoming Nazi killing shooter Castle Wolfenstein and said that "the Xbox 360 is the first console that I've ever worked with that actually has development tools that are better for games than what we've got for the PC." Whoa, those are bold claims Mr. Carmack ... bold claims indeed. Both Id and Raven are teaming up to create this next-gen shooter and both are working hard to squeeze as much power out of the 360 as possible. A true Xbox 360 fanboy has to be excited about this game, but be sure to keep your guard up, because we all know of a certain game developed by team Id/Raven that didn't live up to its potential (crappy multiplayer just angers me).

Gears of War coming to PC ... maybe

In the latest holiday issue of PC Gamer magazine, there is a Microsoft advertisement showing a retail display for the "Games for Windows" PC games. And what game is pictured on the lower shelf squeezed between the PC versions of Shadowrun and Age of Empires III? Gears of War, you silly goose! This ad could just as well be "concept art" and just showing off Microsoft's big hitting video games, but why would they put a supposed Xbox 360 exclusive game like Gears of War in that ad if it wasn't going to be part of their Games for Windows marketing campaign? I'm betting all my chips on Gears of War coming to the PC in 2007, probably around August and only playable on Vista. Playing Gears on your PC, does that sound appealing to you?

GOW knocks Halo 2 from Live top spot

Today is a momentous day. For the first time since, well, ever, Halo 2 has officially been knocked from the number one slot on Xbox Live. If you keep track of Major Nelson's weekly updates on the most played games on Live, you'll know that Halo 2 consistently trumps all other Live titles, even all the fabulous titles on 360. That's right, one original Xbox title is routinely played more than any 360 title. Until now, that is. Of course, now the question is: how long will it stay there?

We'd like to extend our congratulations to Epic and to Microsoft for their success. So, have you made the switch from Halo to Gears?

[Via Joystiq. Thanks, Sherveen Mashayekhi]

360 Racing Wheel reviewed

Remember that spiffy racing wheel that Microsoft announced a while back? You know, the one that comes with the special force feedback version of PGR 3. Yes ... that racing wheel! Over at Xbox Canadian Live they got their hands on one to demo, and the short and sweet version is that they absolutely love it. The force feedback option sounds extremely fun especially with Forza 2 when it drops. Though, I'm not a huge race fan, I could see this little accessory adding to the enjoyment of a game. Are you willing to drop some cash on this bad boy so you can experience what real racing feels like? Seriously, why wouldn't you purchase this wheel? (I guess you probably wouldn't purchase this if you're totally broke and hate racing games or despise wheels in general ... then I can cope with your decision.)

Smash that PS3, HIT IT!

For everyone who has waited in line for hours, for those who have saved up all year (and part of last), for all of you in the fanboy realm who dislike Sony and its Playstation 3 ... I present to you Smash my PS3. Not only do they purchase an uber rare PS3, but they smash it into little bits with a sledgehammer in front of Best Buy as those who are waiting in line look on in horror. Revenge or just taunting aggression? I want to believe it's an Xbox 360 Fanboy with a vendetta to settle. Video after the break.

[Thanks, BklynKid]

Continue reading Smash that PS3, HIT IT!

March Madness demo (in November?)

We missed this earlier today because we were busy checking out the Rainbow Six: Vegas demo, but it looks like a demo for NCAA March Madness 07 is now available on Marketplace. That's right, the wind is bitterly cold, the sky is gray, and the leaves are falling, so it could only mean one thing: March Madness! Seriously, last time we checked it was November, so it's just a wee bit early, donchathink? At least this demo, unlike the Vegas demo, is available to all Xbox Live members and not just Gold members -- assuming you're in the US or Canada anyway. Go grab the demo and tell us what you think. Is it a worthy basketball title, or should it be put back on the bench?

Metareview: Viva PiƱata

Microsoft's Pokémon inspired children's title, Viva Piñata has finally hit the market and is picking up some reviews. Most of the reviews are very positive, though some note that Viva Piñata probably won't satisfy the twitch-happy Gears of War crowd. Then again, it's not really designed for action fans, though many reviews are claiming that it's actually very complex. Sitting somewhere between The Sims and Animal Crossing, Viva Piñata is performing admirably. It currently has an average of 85 on Metacritic.
  • Gamespot (8.3/10) - "It oozes charm and personality from its every papier-mâché-covered pore. While it's accessible enough for those with very little gaming experience (and their children), it also has enough depth to keep any of you with a Pokemon-style "gotta catch 'em all" mentality--or perhaps a penchant for gardening--entertained for many hours."
  • IGN (8.5/10) - "... it seems like a serious oversight to not include the ability to show off your garden in some way to your friends. Here is a game where you spend all of your time cultivating and shaping your garden space -- and you can't show it to anybody on Live. The only way for them to see it is to be right next to you."
  • 1UP (9/10) - "Rare has certainly recaptured its former glory here, and in producing one of the most misunderstood games of the year, it has also produced one of the finest in its history, and certainly one of the most intriguing on 360. To dismiss it as "just for kids" would be foolish. You are not too cool to enjoy this game."
1UP wasn't the only review to share the ironic sentiment that Viva Piñata -- a franchise specifically designed to rake in your kids' cash -- is one of the best Rare games in years. Will Microsoft's famous investment finally pay off?

H3: Everybody run! He's got ... a Needler?

If you've been scouring the Halo 3 information around the web, you may have heard a few things about the needler. The needler -- a weapon that shoots slow moving, homing crystals that explode after a certain duration -- is generally regarded as the worst weapon in the Halo series. In fact, most consider it so useless that they will only pick it up as a joke or for some lucky humiliation kills. Bungie now intends to turn that around. In Halo 3, the needler is no longer dual-wieldable. Because it's now a two-handed weapon, Bungie has room to make it more powerful. We don't know exactly what's been changed -- whether the needles move faster or track better, for instance -- but we do know it's now a weapon to be feared. In the words of Bungie's KPaul:

"These factor in significantly, as once the needles are flying you're pretty much done unless you've got some cover to get behind before they reach you. Yeah, we've said it before, but this time we mean it. You will hear someone scream "OH SHEETS HE'S GOT A NEEDLER" at some point during your Halo 3 experience and for once, it will not be sarcasm."

Needler fans rejoice, come Halo 3, you'll actually have a reason to pick one up. Then again, Bungie said they were going to fix the needler last time, too. Here's hoping they keep their word this time.

[Image via Brickshelf]

European Emergence Day festivities begin

To all of our European readers, happy Emergence Day! It's been a long time coming, but now you can finally celebrate Gears of War with the rest of the world (we hope you enjoy all of the cheaters). Huzzah! As an extra special treat, European 360 owners (except Germany) can now download the special Emergence Day theme and picture from Xbox Live Marketplace. So, now that you finally have your hands on Gears of War, what do you think? Does it live up to the hype we Yanks have been generating? Is curb stomping everything it's cracked up to be? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.

[Thanks, honz12]

Rainbow Six: Vegas multiplayer impressions

We just spent the last hour playing the Rainbow Six: Vegas multiplayer demo, and so far it's pretty damned good. First of all, the character creation and outfitting is surprisingly robust for a demo. There are plenty of faces available -- sorry, no Vision support in the demo -- lots of facial hair options, as well as a few different camouflage options. The amount of weapons and armor is very impressive for a demo. There are multiple types of rifles, machine guns, pistols, grenades, and plenty of armor and clothing choices for the whole body. What's more, there are even some gadgets and custom weapon attachments, too. Finally, the game lets you add a three character prefix to your Gamertag. This is great for those who haven't appended Clan prefixes to their tags (or those who don't want to). Unfortunately, none of these options are saved when you quit the demo, so you may not want to get too attached to your avatar.

Continue reading Rainbow Six: Vegas multiplayer impressions

Vegas multiplayer demo infiltrates Live [update 1]

There's nothing quite like a nice Friday demo. For those of you who can't get enough of the Rainbow Six: Vegas demo, you're in luck, because a multiplayer demo just dropped on Live Marketplace. According to the description, there are tons of modes available, including Adversarial, Attack & Defend, and Terro Hunt. Terro Hunt, 4 player co-op game in which your team slaughters hordes of terrorists, sounds particularly fun. We haven't finished the download yet (almost a gig), so we don't know if character creation -- or face mapping -- is available. We'll update you with our impressions as soon as possible.

Update: It looks like this demo is only available for Gold members. Silver members can get this on November 24th. Still, considering it's online multiplayer, how would Silver members play it anyway?

[Thanks, Chris Hipple]

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