It's a sign of just how popular Call of Duty is when it's fans, who number in the tens of millions, will put down ten, fifteen pounds on a few new maps you could count on your hand. Regardless of Activision's exploitative profit-mongering, their customers continue to finance such thinking. I am one of those customers, as I put down 1200 MS Points when the First Strike Map Pack hit Xbox LIVE servers.
As I suffer for my financial sins, you can make an informed decision on whether you want to buy this inordinately priced product or not. Read on!
Let's kick things off with Discovery, the Antarctic-set map ripped from the campaign when Reznov first discovers Project Nova. Visually similar to the Summit map in the original Black Ops release, Discovery transports you to an snowbound facility slap-bang in the middle of an ice-cap afloat in the Antarctic ocean. Lit under the pale green glow of the Aurora Borealis, it makes the proceeding gunfights and a bloodshed a little more beautiful than usual.Click here to read the rest of Felix's review...
Big news out of Japan today. Square Enix has officially confirmed Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3 and Xbox 360, suggesting that it's slated for a Winter 2011 Japanese launch and will subsequently be localised for the West. The sequel will feature a full new story that expands on the events of the original, with tweaked battle mechanics that have "evolved further since XIII." Apparently it will "exceed" its predecessor in "every aspect."
The trailer looks promising enough, but we hope that the core gameplay will have also evolved beyond the original remit. Final Fantasy XIII disappointed even staunch series veterans with its grind-heavy first half, and with any luck, Square will learn from their mistakes.
Square also confirmed that the long-awaited Final Fantasy Versus XIII will remain a full PS3 exclusive. Still no European release date as yet, but expect this to be a fair way off yet. We'll keep you posted. [Andriasang]
Crytek's Xbox 360 exclusive was one of the biggest yet most overlooked announcements of last year's E3- and ever since, we've been wondering exactly what Kingdoms is set to deliver. So far, all that Crytek's told us is that Kingdoms will be "nothing like God Of War" despite reportedly being a third-person action game with mythological overtones- but CEO Cervat Yerli has spoken out to state that it will push the 360 hardware "to its limits" as well as offering an entirely new game experience.
As a company we can't just make shooters, we need to breed genuinely new forms of entertainment and interactive experiences, and I think Kingdoms is a new interactive entertainment experience.
Working with Microsoft allows us to do something really new and awesome from our perspective, and from gamers' perspective I think they'll have a very different experience with Kingdoms.
Yerli went on to discuss Crytek's future plans, suggesting that they're looking at reinventing existing genres or even creating entirely new ones. Well, it'll make a change from eyepopping shooters, I suppose.
Kingdoms is set for a big reveal at this year's E3. We'll keep you posted. [CVG]
In case you missed it, Activision and Treyarch have released the first official trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops' first DLC map pack. We brought you the details a few weeks ago, but this latest communication gives us a closer look and some developer feedback about what First Strike promises to bring to the party.
A lot of people are getting excited about the phrase "New Perks/Killstreaks" appearing at the very start of the trailer, though I wouldn't hold your breath. This likely refers to the new features that Black Ops implemented since Modern Warfare 2.
First Strike launches on February 1st for the Xbox 360, and will reach the PS3 and PC a month later due to their exclusivity deal with Microsoft.
Well it's about damn time. Codemasters has announced that a PC/Xbox 360 sequel to the venerable Cannon Fodder series is in production, featuring the classic cartoony ultraviolence and a wide variety of battlegrounds. Including outer space! This would normally be cause for widespread, uncontrollable jubilation... but unfortunately there's some nasty small print.
So far, Codemasters has only confirmed Cannon Fodder 3 for Russia and CIS territories, though according to Eurogamer, release outside these countries has "yet to be announced." Here's hoping. [Eurogamer]
Microsoft's Director of Programming (chief shill) Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb has revealed that the first DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops will be released on 1st February 2011 for $15 (which we assume means 1200 Microsoft Points). Letting the cat out of the bag in the most recent Podcast, Larry dropped a few hints about what we can expect from the content.
Surprise surprise, it's a multiplayer map pack. It'll contain four new multiplayer stages as well as a supplementary Zombie level. Apparently two of the levels will be based on locations from the singleplayer campaign: Hong Kong and the Arctic (the latter requiring little or no editing to turn into a multiplayer map. Buildings and tents akimbo!). The other two will be entirely new; reportedly taking place around the Berlin Wall and an Ice Hockey stadium. No word about whether the ice will actually be slippery yet.
Microsoft's agreement with Activision means that this DLC pack (and all subsequent content) will be Xbox-exclusive until 2012. Considering the myriad complaints about the PS3 version, I can't imagine that too many Sony fans are that bothered about the move. We'll let you know if it's actually any good in the new year.
No, we can't wait either. LittleBigPlanet 2's delay is causing us no end of aggravation, but at least Sony have been keeping us entertained with plenty of videos while we wait. This latest trailer shows of the plethora of sports games... and genres... that can be emulated using the powerful level creation suite. [PS Blog]
I've said it before and I'll say it again. LittleBigPlanet 2 could be the last game you'll ever need.
The XIM peripherals have been floating around the marketplace for some time. They act as a bridge and translator between an Xbox 360 and PC keyboards/mice, essentially allowing you to play Xbox 360 games with a PC setup... but previous models have been pricey, nasty and fairly shoddy pieces of kit. Luckily (for some), the new XIM3 is sturdier, more responsive and cheaper than previous models, retailing at around $200. Which is still a lot of money for a slightly easier headshots. [XIM via Kotaku]
Personally I much prefer a controller to a mouse these days, but the added precision would come in useful for Quake Arena Arcade. To be honest, however, we still can't quite understand why we can't just plug USB keyboards into the 360 in the first place.
Is this cheating- or a necessary workaround for dedicated shooter fans? Would you buy one? Or should Microsoft hurry up and enable keyboard support already? Have your say in the comments!
...not going to surprise anyone. That's right folks, Treyarch's Call Of Duty: Black Ops has been confirmed as this year's Christmas Number One. It beat FIFA 11 and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit to the post with total sales of over 3 million copies in the UK.
UKIE has also confirmed that it's one of only three titles to break the 100 million pound mark in the UK (joining Modern Warfare 2 and Wii Fit), and that the top ten best selling games have raised over £345 million this last week alone.
Just in case you were wondering, here's the list in full (with an incredibly strong showing from a few Wii exclusives, as you'd expect from the holiday season):