Tag - microsoft

Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 Avatar Items Released

Activision has released a plethora of new Xbox 360 avatar items based on their upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. While the game might be due out on November 10th, your Xbox 360 avatars can now dress up in full Ghost uniforms and even play with an R/C UAV! Each costs, of course, mostly in the 240 Microsoft Point range.

You can see the full array of Modern Warfare 2 avatar items here.

DJ Hero Gets First DLC Pack

Activision has released the first DLC pack for its recently-released rhythm title, DJ Hero. The DJ Hero Extended Mix Pack 01 features the following new mixes:

– “All Of Me” by 50 Cent featuring Mary J. Blige vs. “Radio Ga Ga” by Queen
– “DARE” by Gorillaz vs. “Can’t Truss It” Performed by Public Enemy (See the video below)

The DLC pack retails for 480 Microsoft Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and $5.99 on the Playstation Network.

Halo 3: ODST – A Review

Being a United Nations Space Command ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) means that you are a generally mal-tempered fellow who gets his kicks by dropping from orbit in a small metal coffin onto the battlefield – usually right into enemy lines to take them by surprise. You are considered the best of the best by most everyone and are looked upon with shock and awe wherever you fight. Nevermind those mythical ‘Spartans’, being an ODST is what its all about! Hoorah!

The game starts prior to the events of Halo 3 as you are a rookie ODST just joining his first squad aboard the UNSC heavy frigate Say My Name. You meet your squadmates, three of which are voiced by Firefly alumni Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Alan Tudyk. The actors all give good, solid performances in their respective ODST roles and it really feels like they enjoyed the work of recording it.

The Say My Name gets into orbit above New Mombasa and starts dropping your HEVs (Human Entry Vehicles) containing ODSTs when the High Prophet of Regret takes his ship into slipspace, creating a massive shock wave which destroys a good portion of the city center, while also throwing all of your HEVs off-course. This slipstream entry should be familiar to those of you who played Halo 3. Most of the game is spent showing the player’s character finding his comrades. You will play as other characters in the game though, mostly to show their sides of the adventure as it unfolds.

Gameplay as a human ODST and not a Spartan-II soldier is definitely a different experience. Not nearly as resistant to damage, you will find that cover and concealment become increasingly important as the battles get heavier. Thankfully, and this could be considered a problem by some, Bungie does not overwhelm you with Covenant forces to deal with in ODST. Sure, the battles will challenge you at times but more often than not you will be stealthily-dispatching your enemies when possible, thinning them out before making a frontal assault.

Part of the ODST arsenal is a helmet which uses an augmented reality system to enhance your vision and better your combat and navigation about the city. When activated it casts an, at first, off-putting filter over the camera and ups the contrast slightly. It doesn’t seem all that useful until you realize that it will definitely help you see in low-light conditions thanks to its wireframe outlining of the terrain. Also, the augmented reality system can be used to hunt for clues to your squadmates’ whereabouts.

Part of ODST will be spent looking for these clues and you will have to put on your detective hat because they can be difficult to find. The city is laid out in a rough spoke and wheel pattern and is fairly open in every mission. If you take the time to explore all the nooks and crannies you will no doubt find health stations, ammo, and new weapons to fight the Covenant with – a heavy pistol and silenced machine gun.

The game will be enjoyed by fans of shooters as well as the Halo series. However, some might be disappointed by the singleplayer/coop campaign’s short duration coupled with the game’s full-release product pricing ($60). Afterall, you pay full-game pricing and you will no doubt expect a full-game. Thankfully, Microsoft and Bungie have thrown in some additions to soften the blow of this high cost. Halo 3: ODST includes every add-on map for Halo 3 as well as three new maps not seen before. Also included in the purchase is the option to beta test Halo: REACH sometime next year.

One of the more interesting things I found with the game was how the developers organized and refined enemy AI. You will often encounter groups of grunts being escorted about by an Elite or Brute. The interaction between the species is really fun to watch and you will have plenty of time to do so when sneaking about.

In Halo 3: ODST, you will not be able to recharge your health after taking a moment’s rest. Instead, you will have to deal with your stamina meter which acts similar to the shield system found in Halo 3. However, you will also have a health display which, if it empties, so do you. You will have to replenish your health and med stations throughout New Mombasa. Along the way you will be aided to these stations as well as clues about other ODSTs by a ‘dumb AI’ known as the Superintendent. The Superintendant will do fun things like change traffic lights, road signs, etc in order to get you where you need to go. Its a fun, yet effective gimmick.

Overall, Halo 3: ODST is a mixed bag of Halo goodness. Sometimes you will yell at it for costing so much and very obviously only being a short expansion. Other times, you will be yelling at the top of your lungs something like, ‘Die covies! Die!’, as you empty whole mags into enemy troops.

802.11n Xbox 360 Adapter Set to Launch in November

Microsoft has announced that a Wireless N-variant of their Xbox 360 wireless adapter will be available for $100 dollars and is set to release on November 3rd. The adapter uses the Draft 802.11n-wireless standard and is also backwards compatible with 802.11b/g networks.

It is available for pre-order now through Gamestop.com

Screens Show Player Likenesses in PES 2010

Konami has released a few new collaged shots from its upcoming soccer game, PES 2010, showing off player likenesses from a few teams around the world. Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is due out in November on the PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii, and various mobile devices.

See the screens, After the Break!

Zombie Apocalypse Comes to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

Nihilistic Software’s Zombie Apocalypse has shambled on to the Xbox LIVE Arcade and Playstation Network to find unsuspecting victims. For 800 Microsoft Points (or $9.99) you too can team up with three other players in a pure zombie shoot ’em up lasting over 55 days of a zombie apocalypse.

Microsoft’s Courier Tablet Could be Revolutionary

Gizmodo let loose the first details, images, and video from the still-in-prototype stage tablet PC, the Courier. I actually use the term ‘tablet’ loosely because it is actually two 7”-inch, multi-touch screens hinged at the middle to form a book of sorts. This booklet PC (I like the sound of that a lot better) looks like it could revolutionize the tablet PC market. If Microsoft gets this off the ground Apple will have one extremely difficult foe to face off against in the tablet market.

See more images of Courier, After the Break!

Via Gizmodo

Review of the Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition

The dream of owning one of those sweet, personal home cockpits has always interested me, ever since I began playing around with flight simulation in the days of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 4 (yes, that’s really what it looked like kids).

Unfortunately, most of us have to grow up to do things like pay bills, support families, and other expensive tasks that drain away the fun money that we would use, say, to build the aforementioned home flight sim. In today’s modern gaming world, however, there are a number of peripherals and hardware pieces which can get you close however, and a huge step towards this goal comes in the form of the Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition graphics expansion module. A simple black box with some ports on it, this module will allow you to get ‘surround gaming’ the likes of which you have only had dreams about.

It works some serious graphics magical mojo to take your computer graphics output and span it across up to three displays. The basic gist of the unit goes like so…

First, you use the included DVI-DL cable (which is a lot beefier than your standard DVI-I cable) to attach your TripleHead2GO to your PC’s graphics output. Then, you connect your three displays to the output ports on the TripleHead2Go. One nice thing about the Digital Edition of the TripleHead2Go is that it runs off of USB power. So you simply connect it to a powered USB 2.0 port and you are off. Booth up the old PC and revel in the stretched-display goodness. Well, almost…

After connecting all the hardware, be sure to install the included software which contains both the SGU (Surround Gaming Utility) and the Matrox PowerDesk utility. The PowerDesk utility is your main way of controlling how windows will appear on your spanned display, you can even set certain windows to pop up on specific monitors. Take Firefox, for example, if you start the program up in fullscreen mode it will span all three screens, but most websites dont utilize 3048×1024 (our spanned display resolution) so you are left with a lot of empty space. You can set Firefox, in PowerDesk, to only show up on one screen – this way you still have two more screens with which to be productive on.

The Surround Gaming Utility is, if you did not guess by the name, Matrox’s game-launcher. You see, not every game will support the high resolutions and some which do, will appear distorted. Your average shooter can sometimes become a wall-eyed nightmare if you are not careful with such wide resolutions. The SGU attempts to configure the games prior to launching in order to circumvent this effect. For instance, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X was awful when we started it the first time without running the SGU. The view was so close to the cockpit glass in any plane that you could not see any instrumentation. We ran the SGU on the game first and it setup the pliot’s aspect ratio allowing us to see a lot more of the cockpit, making for a much more immersive experience.

Now, not every game can be configured by the SGU, but Matrox is continually trying to add game’s to its library. This is honestly the major drawback of the TripleHead2Go: Some games just are not compatible with the unit. When the TripleHead2Go encounters a resolution it cannot handle, we experienced a strange, ‘scattered’ graphical effect and complete computer lockup. In order to remedy this we had to forcefully shutdown the PC and then unplug and reinsert the TripleHead2Go’s USB cable. This makes certain titles just unplayable if you have the system.

For the games the TripleHead2Go does support, the experience is incredible. The two games I wanted to try out most on the system were Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X and Valve’s Left 4 Dead. The thought of clouds whooshing by me on all three sides and checking corners for zombies simply with my peripheral vision was too enticing to pass up.

For FSX, the experience (after the previously-mentioned SGU config) was stunning. Seeing the horizon span out in front of my gave the simulator a whole new life and sense of realism. We included a popular head-tracking unit for even more seamless immersion.

What I found most interesting was that we experienced no detectable performance loss running in the wider resolution. Some games, such as Combat Mission Shock Force did see a noticeable performance loss, but not in this case. I am not sure if it is an issue of programming but FSX is one complicated piece of software and it ran fine.

Left 4 Dead was equally-incredible with only minor aspect issues on each of the peripheral screens. The biggest issue with the game was that the user interface elements got pushed to these peripheral screens making checking health a less-fulfilling experience. What was once right in your field of view now takes a more head-turning movement which can lead to a loss of perspective on what is coming at you. There are third-party mods which can fix this, brining the UI elements back to the center screen. Unfortunately, due to a technical issue we could not bring you images of Left 4 Dead in play on the three monitor setup. However, we found some images from Matrox’s Surround Gaming website which will illustrate the effect.

As I mentioned, you can see a bit of stretching on the side monitors but it does not hamper the effect at all. Usually, you are focused on the center screen so that your peripheral vision picks up whats happening on the side screens.

Matrox’s TripleHead2Go graphics expansion module is an incredible upgrade for game’s which support its wider resolutions. While there are definitely some bugs to be worked out with Matrox’s TripleHead2Go graphics expansion module, I can’t think of a better system to top-off your home cockpit. Now alls I need is a motion platform… Hmmm…

The TripleHead2Go Digital Edition retails for roughly $299 and is available through a multitude of online and brick & mortar retailers.