Weekly Byte for April 12, 2010

Well, it’s week two for the Weekly Byte, and I have a small issue to address.  Yes, I know I am the PC games writer at EDG, and yes I know what an impact World Of Warcraft has had on PC gaming.  That being said, there have been news leaks and character specs released in the last week, pertaining to the upcoming WoW expansion, subtitled Cataclysm.  I will apologize to any of our followers who are extreme WoW fans, but I don’t feel it necessary to rehash a lot of the WoW news in my news section.  I, for one, am not an MMO player, but that’s not my main reason for excluding it.  I think the fans of WoW cover the game the best on their own—there are blogs and podcasts, forums and chat rooms that pulse with every beat in Blizzard’s wrist.  It is my opinion that WoW players don’t need my rehash of the announcements, they are probably getting them elsewhere and have already heard the updates by the time I release my pieces.  Please, feel free to let me know if you disagree, and I will try my best to include the info in future segments, but for this week I left out the class updates for Cataclysm.  On to the news!

New Releases
  • 4/12/2010 – Dark Void : Zero hits Iphone and PC for $2.99 and $4.99 respectively.
  • 4/13/2010 – GTA IV : Episodes From Liberty City retailing for $29.99
  • 4/15/2010 – Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 1: The Penal Zone, Pre-Order the season for $34.95

Now is this too little, too late(and too expensive) for GTA?  Let me put that in perspective for you with my GTA IV timeline :

GTA IV debuts on PS3/360 on 4/29/2008, later released on PC on 12/2/2008.  First DLC, The Lost and the Damned, released 2/17/09, then the Ballad of Gay Tony, alongside the DLC bundle on 10/29/09.  How well will this sell, this late and at this price point?  And yet, I’m sure Rockstar will complain about this pack’s poor sales figures as a reflection of the pitfalls of the PC as a platform, when it underwhelms in sales.  Things that make you go Hmmm.

Byte Sized News Stories
  • Crysis 2!  So the counter has hit zero, and Times Square was the centerpiece for lifting the lid from Crytek’s silver platter chock full of Crysis 2 reveals.  A beautifully rendered trailer was shown, first at Times Square, showcasing the new Cryengine 3 depicting a ravaged and broken Manhattan in the wake of the alien invasion.  A nanosuit clad figure, presumed to be Nomad, prepares to fight back the alien incursion, all set to the chilling sounds of a soft, slowly sung female rendition of Sinatra’s ‘New York’, complete  with eerie music box chimes.  What do we think?  Well, I’ll be the downer here, I think Crytek will blow everyone away with their engine, I think it will blaze on consoles and shine even brighter on PC’s.  I think Crytek learned a lot since they released Crysis in the chilly November of ’07.  It was evident with the release of Crysis Warhead, that Crytek knew they needed to lower the graphical bar for those without the newest upgrades, and Warhead performed beautifully—as will Crysis 2.  My question is, will the engine carry the game?  The story is penned by acclaimed science fiction author, Richard Morgan–author of Altered Carbon, as well as a few issues of Marvel Knights for Marvel Comics back in 2004.  Crytek has teased tweaks to the suit, allowing powers to be combined for short periods of time, as well as AI enhancements and the character of New York City as a new “concrete jungle” to take the battle to.  I’m hoping the gameplay and balancing was tweaked as much as the engine and the story, or it may be another late pick up for me.  Let’s see if the reveals at E3 can change my mind.
  • More F3AR details leak by the minute, we have confirmation of it’s arrival this fall, a trailer, a new developer and a contributing writer.  It seems Monolith has bowed out and Day One Studios stepped into their shoes, heralding the return of F.E.A.R.’s original developer.  John Carpenter has also been brought in to help with the game’s fiction and storyline, but will he be enough to save the ending of the last game?  Also returning are “Point Man” and original villain Paxton Fettel, who will be played side by side, for the game’s co-op experience?  Yes, you read that right, co-op FEAR.  I’m not sure which will break the universe first, the ailing story carried over from FEAR 2 or the slapped on co-op play.  This is coming from a huge FEAR fan, I was not nearly as let down with FEAR 2’s ending as some other players, and I still hold out hope that F3AR will be great(and yes, I like the new title!), but with all the new information and the odd live action trialer floating around, it’s an uphill battle until I see some more details.  Still, I will be pulling for WB and Day One to wrap up the FEAR trilogy story in a delicious and scary game experience that spills out this fall, reminiscent of the huge snake on the table in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
  • OK, console gamers, this ones for you!  Now is your chance to grab that Collector’s Edition of Spinter Cell Conviction!  It seems that many of the included USB drives packaged in with the CE are defective, and a price drop has been granted to $70.  Quoting Amazon’s Item Description for the CE  “Compatible with Xbox 360, the drive contains exclusive media including: ‘making of’ video, wallpaper, concept art, storyboards and more.”.  Ubisoft has said that they will offer a solution to receive the media on the game’s website on April 15th, but refused to comment on what percentage of the drives were defective.  Also included in the Collector’s Edition are a steelbook DVD case, a “Digging In The Ashes” Comic, a hardcover “Fifth Freedom: The Art Of Splinter Cell” book, decals and In-Game MP5-SD3 and exclusive 3rd Echelon outfit.  As I said, check the game’s website, if you have been affected by this.
  • Speaking of Collector’s Edition, how about that Starcraft II : Wing’s of Liberty CE?  Retailing for $99, the limited edition comes with a 2 GB USB drive, cast as Jim Rainor’s dogtags, containing the original Starcraft, and it’s Broodwar expansion.  Also included is the required Behind-The-Scenes DVD, a 176 page art book, soundtrack CD, exclusive World of Warcraft in-game Thor pet and some cosmetic exclusive BattleNet content.  Very tempting, especially with the USB drive, but it’s a hard bargain to drive home at that asking price.  Still no confirmed release date for the decade in the making sequel.

Happy to announce, this week, we have some deals worth mentioning.  Online digital distribution giant, Direct2Drive, is having a 4 week long Spring Sale, starting this week.  Head on over to www.direct2drive.com for all the details on the goodies.  Also, if you spend $75 or more by 5/9/10, you will be rewarded with $15 credit for more D2D purchases.  Great deals include Dark Void and Fallout 3 for $14.95 each, Neverwinter Nights 2 Gold for $9.95 and the Complete Elven Legacy Collection(first game and 3 expansions) for only $19.95.  Check out their site, and check back for three more Mondays when the deals change.  I’ll keep posting the highlights here, so you can check back here as well.

Geared Up

In light of last week’s “Geared Up”, I thought we would take a look at the shadier side of LEGO.  If I could count the number of sleepless nights I’ve spent, tossing and turning, aching for the day I could have Jake Gyllenhaal in LEGO form!  Well, my prayers are finally answered!  Five LEGO sets depicting settings from the upcoming Prince of Persia movie have already been released.  Feel free to look at the LEGO Store page here, but I’ll list the titles and MSRP’s below if you are riddled with anticipation like I am.  Finally I can sleep soundly, with my Jake Gyllenhaal LEGO!

Desert Attack $10.99, Ostrich Race $19.99(yes, ostrich race….sheesh), Fight for the Dagger $29.99, Quest Against Time $49.99, Battle of Alamut $79.99.  Pictured below is the Quest Against Time set :

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