Saturday, March 26, 2011

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City first details!

Rumors have been floating around for quite some time about Slant Six, former developer of SOCOM, working on a brand new Resident Evil title. Today, we're here to officially validate those rumors along with giving you the very first detail on the upcoming title.

Hitting this winter, gamers will be able to get their hands on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The Official Xbox Magazine have the official cover story this month, and while we'll list a few details, you'll have to pick up their May issue to find out everything!

  • The game takes place in 1998, a time where Resident Evil fans already know what's set to take place. The title lets you enjoy the series from a new perspective, as the men and women who are technically responsible for it all.
  • Rather than continuing the zombie slaying antics of BSAA agents, you're taken back to the original outbreak "that underscored both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis."
  • The game doesn't require any crazy amounts of knowledge of the past titles or characters involved in the series. The title opens up to a "quartet of new faces". Essentially, you're playing as members of the official Umbrella Security Services squad.
  • Operation Raccoon City is a team-based shooter allowing four members of the USS team to destroy all evidence of the ongoing outbreak. Along with slaying the zombies, you're looking to "kill pretty much every survivor possible".
  • The gameplay is described as "dirty", and the series will feel much darker than it has up to this point.
  • The game features three factions that Capcom has stated make up a "three-corner conflict". The other two factions are the US Spec Ops, who are there to repel the USS, and the "bio-organic weapon monsters (BOWs) created by Umbrella.
  • The USS team is made up of the following characters: Vector, Beltway, Bertha, and Spectre. Depending on which character you choose, the responsibilities that you're asked to do within your team will variate.
  • Hunk, first seen in Resident Evil 2 as a hidden character, is the inspiration behind the USS team.
  • "Whichever team you play on, you'll be facing Umbrella-created horrors in between skirmishes with each other".
  • Zombies in the game can sense you in three different manners: sight, sound, and smell.
  • A situation is described in the game where Vector cloaks himself to stir up previously slumbering zombies to use against the Special Ops military foes.
  • Quite a few scenarios in the game aren't "all about headshots". A quote in the article states, "It's about shooting the other soldiers - manipulating the, making them bleed."
  • The game will take you through a number of familiar areas if you're a Resident Evil junkie who remembers your journey to Raccoon City.
  • Operation Raccoon City, depending on how you play the game, will give you the option to "change the history of Resident Evil". Not only will you have the chance to meet and interact with various characters from the series, but you'll even have the opportunity to kill them.
  • One of th mottos repeated to OXM throughout the demo was "Kill Leon". It's also stated that if you choose to represent in the game as the Special Ops team, that you'd more than likely have the goal of trying to save Leon S. Kennedy.
  • Slant Six or Capcom won't reveal if any other characters will be playable in the title just yet, but it'd make sense to see quite a few big cameos.
  • The title will still see players relying on collecting herbs to heal from any attacks you may suffer. You won't need to hoard any herbs, but they'll still benefit you to collect them throughout the game.
  • "This is not a one-versus-one game where you've got one clip full of ammo and zombies on you. If you've ever thought of those times in an RE game when you thought, 'I'd wish I had a big gun', that's what this game is. It's not fair to give people big guns, then take all the ammo away."
  • One of the pictures in the article showcases a zombie being used as a "meatshield".
  • Operation Raccoon City allows players to earn XP for kills, with these points helping you survive the onslaught, and to help to encourage you to anihilate everything in your path.
  • The XP will allow you to earn new abilities, such as Vector's cloaking skill, and new weapons.
  • Tyrants will most definitely be included in the title.

There's a ton of details listed above, but there's even more listed in the May 2011 issue of the Official Xbox Magazine. Don't forget to be on the lookout for the issue to hit store shelves to get even more details on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City!

Monday, March 7, 2011

vParticle+ (iPhone) review

vParticle+ is a modern day version of the classic game Labyrinth. This game is about controlling a bunch of particles through a maze of different kinds of traps. You have to get every single particle to safety into a box, marked with an E, before you can finish the level.

You control the particles with the accelerometer on your iPhone. The particles behave very realistic and precise thanks to the custom-built physics engine. You can also change the sensitivity and calibrate the control so that the particles behave more the way you want.

There are 220 different levels and 5 level types. Some levels are easy and some are really hard. It can become frustrating sometimes but overall the games difficulty has a great variety. And most levels have checkpoints, depending on the difficulty, so you don't have to start from the beginning. If your particles get smashed by moving blocks or other kinds of traps, that specific particle will either start from the beginning or from the nearest checkpoint.

The neon graphics are really nice and very sharp thanks to the full Retina display support. You can also change the theme anytime during gameplay, which is nice. And at every restart a new random theme will be generated. vParticle+ runs at 60 frames per second, and it really shows because the game runs very smoothly.

This game feels very futuristic and so does the music. The soundtrack is electronica based and matches the feel of the game. But if you don't like it, you can always use the iPod feature to play your own music.

Overall: vParticle+ is a fun and challenging labyrinth puzzle game that will keep you busy for hours. With awesome graphics, fantastic particle physics and many different kinds of levels makes this game a must have on your iPhone 4.

Review: vParticle+ (iPhone) XXXX [4/5].

Saturday, March 5, 2011

GDC 2011 (PS3 news)

I've gathered news about what Sony revealed at this years GDC. There weren't any big surprises this year but at least a few new interesting details about upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive games. And some news about Sony's new handheld device NGP.

inFamous 2 "Play, Create, Share"

And just like that, inFamous 2 joins Sony's "Play, Create, Share" suite of games by allowing players to make their own missions. Developer Sucker Punch unveiled the surprising new feature at GDC. Using the new creation tool, you'll be able to create "any" kind of mission. Creators have "access to the same set of characters, creatures and props" that the designers have.

A "limited" public beta will be available in April. Details on how to get in will be announced on the game's official website in two weeks, on March 14th.

Resistance 3 multiplayer details

Insomniac Games has dropped the first details on the multiplayer component in Resistance 3, and those hoping the developer would reach MAG levels of simultaneous combatants after the 60-player Resistance 2 should probably be seated. Rather than escalate, the game's online offering will be more intimate, maxing out at 16 players -- eight on eight in any mode.

The dev says the move is about making the competitive experience more "personal" -- not for any technical reasons. After playing a few matches at tonight's preview event, we found the sole map being demoed, a prison in the Republic of Chad (all the multiplayer stages are set outside the US), nicely sized for the player count. Admittedly, the action was considerably tame compared to the massive battles of the previous game in the series.

Insomniac revealed -- and we tried -- some active and passive multiplayer abilities, the former represented by health/ammo drops and an electrified shield; the latter are always-active "stat buffs," such as making yourself more accurate when shooting while running. The final element we saw was the Berserk, which is rewarded for kill streaks and made our Chimeran character temporarily invisible.

Objective-based modes are to be revealed later, giving us hope that the developer has some fresh ideas lined up for them.

PlayStation 3 stats

During the PlayStation Network Analysis panel at GDC, SCEA digital distribution manager Pierre Gravereau provided some platform stats to attendees, revealing worldwide sales of 47.9 million PS3 consoles. More than 80 percent of consoles are connected to the internet and have spawned 70 million PSN accounts.

Gravereau boasted about the success of PSN in 2010, saying traffic to the PlayStation Store increased by 60 percent compared to the previous year and Sony subsequently saw a 70 percent spike in revenue. Even without exact hard figures, it's quite a dramatic upstick.

NGP at GDC 11

This slide, shown during Sony's Next Generation Portable GDC panel, shed some light on NGP's still-mysterious storage details. Unlike the experimental PSP Go, the NGP doesn't sport any internal storage. Things like save data and patches will be stored on the actual game cards themselves which, notably, will be offered in both 2GB and 4GB varieties, with 5 to 10 percent of the storage allocated to the aforementioned data. On a 2GB card, that leaves 1.8GB to 1.9GB for game data; on a 4GB card, that leaves 3.6GB to 3.8GB.

That puts the NGP's game media storage size between that of the PSP's, whose UMD discs range from 900MB to 1.8GB, and the PS3's, whose Blu-ray discs hold up to 50GB, though "many PS3 games" (i.e., multiplatform titles) remain around 9GB, thanks to the Xbox 360's DVD-ROM size limitation. Of course, this leaves the NGP with far more storage per game than a "10MB phone game."

But that's not all! As previously suggested, the NGP has another storage option, simply called "removable memory" in this presentation. "Cards will be large to support a variety of downloaded content," the slide says. This includes games available over PlayStation Network; and, thankfully, Sony says it's implementing a "single submission for both formats" to streamline the process of getting games approved for both card-based and downloadable releases.

We're hopeful this streamlined process obviates current embarassments like the continued absence of high-profile games in the PSN catalog of PSP titles, which has crippled the appeal of Sony's PSP Go handheld.