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Microsoft Game Studios

Hydrophobia [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Hydrophobia gets a much deserved shot at redemption thanks to the Pure patch, and thankfully the core issues the game had have been fixed and the game is a blast to play. Delving into a destroyed ship overrun by water, fire and electrical hazards provides an experience that I hadn’t experience in a game before, yes that even includes BioShock. While Hydrophobia still has a few issues concerning level variety, how many puzzles are present and a somewhat one-note story, the game has incredible promise and thanks to the fixes made by developer Dark Energy Digital the game is more than playable and is one of the more enjoyable games to be offered on XBLA.

The Pros: 

Water effects are really fluid and feel quite natural at times, even if they sometimes look a bit gelatinous in a way. Using the water to solve puzzles or kill enemies is cool and allowed me to think out of the box in a few scenarios. The action in the levels and their length is rather brisk and the overall length of the game on a first play session is perfect for the price of 800 MS points.

The Cons: 

The story is there but things don’t feel like they’re pushed as much as they could’ve been, even if you look at the game as merely Chapter 1 of a bigger tale. Would like if the designs of the Malthusians were more diverse and there were more enemy types. The levels are designed in a nice fashion, but there’s not enough variety to the world as it’s just one industrial room after another. Would’ve been nice if there were more puzzles instead of merely activating switches or unlocking doors. Rating : 

When a game comes out it’s pretty much over and done with.  In the eyes of gamers once a product is on the shelves or placed on the imaginary shelf space that digital services offer, there’s not much else one can do.  Developers can definitely fine tune things via patching, but at times we only get minimal improvements or we see such a thing used as a crutch for developers who either don’t know what they’re doing or were far too incompetent to realize that there were major issues that needed to be addressed originally.  But now we find ourselves in an interesting scenario as

Microsoft delays Gears of War 3. Cue the Dom in anguish gifs.

Xbox 360 gamers will have to wait a little bit longer for the Emergence Day of Epic Games’ Gears of War 3 as Microsoft have announced the game will not be released in April as originally planned. Instead of gamers cutting up massive Locusts’ in two in the early Spring, gamers will have to wait until the dreaded Fall 2011 release window.

Fable III: The Cast of Fable III Video Diary

Lionhead Studios releases the latest and the third developer video diary for their upcoming RPG, Fable III. The video takes a peek at the voice acting that breathes life and personality into the game. The mini all-star voice actors that ranges from either the movies or TV, comprised mostly by British Actors, includes John Cleese, Sir Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry and Bernard Hill.

Fable III releases on October 26 in NA and October 29 in the UK.

Halo: Reach [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

It's like all the pieces that Bungie has been building over the years finally came together. With all the options for changing the game that players are provided, this is a title that you could get YEARS of enjoyment out of.

The Pros: 

Best story from the Halo-verse yet. Most engaging characters so far. Unparalleled level of customization, both for games and characters. Addictive and fun gameplay. Most comprehensive Halo multiplayer ever. "Psych profile" feature actually pairs you with like-minded gamers!

The Cons: 

If you really truly find yourself needing more than what this game provides you are spoiled. This is the reason you can't have nice things. Rating : 

Though I’ve played through virtually every Halo title (I took a pass on Halo: Wars like three missions in but that doesn’t really even count right?) I’m not exactly what you’d call a “fan” of the series. Halo and I have had a bit of back and forth; some games tickled me while others left me feeling more than a little disappointed. Know that Bungie was stepping up to the plate for one last swing at gaming nirvana though; I knew Reach was going to be something special.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane [Review] [Summer of Arcade]

Overall Feeling: 

A slick upgrade on the classic arcade franchise, Hurricane offers the return of everything that drew people into the original along with some sexy graphical updates and plenty of new gameplay.

The Pros: 

Classic arcade racing action, modernized. Split-screen multiplayer, that can go online! Sleek new models for the classic boats. Tons of new play types. Original arcade/fun feel to everything.

The Cons: 

Not the original voice over for announcer. Unable to smash boats into the air with boost. Control of some boats changed to much for them to be used in the same fashion as the previous title. Rating : 

One of my favourite things about the Xbox Live Arcade platform is the ability to resurrect old arcade/console classics and bring in modern graphics and features (especially online play). This week’s Summer of Arcade release returns one of my all-time favourite arcade classics, and allows me the opportunity to jump online and really test my skills behind the wheel… of a power boat.

Crackdown 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Crackdown 2 is pure and un-adulterated fun. From start to finish the game is all about creating your own experience. Whether you want to spend hours roaming rooftops for agility orbs, or pound the pavement to clean up the streets with up to three friends, there's a little something for everyone that makes this a must-have for any Xbox owner.

The Pros: 

Plenty of fun to be had. Multiple options of gameplay/style. One of the best multiplayer experiences to date. A focus on gameplay rather then trying to make an amazing story, or re-inviting competitive multiplayer.

The Cons: 

Cars no longer transform when you level up. The graphics don't seem to have improved all that much. The campaign is rather short, especially if you have help. Rating : 

The original Crackdown is a game that not a lot of people got to appreciate, until the end of the Halo 3 beta. While the title received plenty of attention, and garnered plenty of purchases, the main draw originally was to Halo fans looking to obtain copies of the Beta key for early entry into the world of Halo 3 multiplayer. To people that actually played the game; this was a bit of a disappointment, considering that Crackdown turned out to be a whole lot of fun.

The Alan Wake content keeps pouring in with these new screenshots

Amidst my early morning rage upon looking at certain things I must admit that looking at these new Alan Wake screenshots has definitely brightened my day up a bit. Perhaps it’s seeing the amazing visuals and lighting techniques that has slightly perked me up a bit or it could be the thought of shooting mysterious shadow dudes and making them go boom.

[Updated] Bootleg images of Halo Reach

It’s not unusual for images or video to leak of a game in beta but when it does happen it doesn’t happen like this.  A user on the MLG forums (that’s Major League Gaming for those not in the know) has posted several images from Halo Reach which shows off a few of the new weapons and more importantly the environments fans can expect to see from the latest installment of the Halo franchise. (UPDATE NOTE: MLG user stole the pics as he wasn't the original leak)

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