Tag - onlive

OnLive Shutting Down on April 30

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Looks like game-streaming service OnLive will be closing its doors on April 30, 2015. Here is the official letter to subscribers:

Dear OnLive Gamer,

After five years of uninterrupted service, the OnLive Game Service will be coming to an end. Sony is acquiring important parts of OnLive, and their plans don’t include a continuation of the game service in its current form. Your service should continue uninterrupted until April 30, 2015. No further subscription fees will be charged, and you can continue to play all of your games until that date.

As the first-ever game streaming service of its kind, everyone who has ever played a game using OnLive has contributed to the technology and its evolution in some way. We’re immensely proud of what’s been achieved and extend our heartfelt gratitude to you for being a part of the OnLive Game Service. For more information, please see our FAQ section.

Thank you from all of us at –

OL2, Inc. (aka, OnLive)

The Darkness II Review (PC/OnLive)

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So a while back I asked to review a game for OnLive and they generously said “sure, have a couple” so I picked a second game called The Darkness II simply because I loved the trailer with a twitchy guy standing in the dark babbling about the game.  Don’t get me wrong I had heard of The Darkness and it’s acclaim for both being an extremely solid video game and its rich storyline which it had mostly borrowed from the comic book whose staff included my favorite comic writer, Garth Ennis, so it was on my to play/read list.  The trailer just sold me on playing the sequel first while I had a chance.

Storyline:

This is a hard part to describe without giving away too much of the game and the first volume of the comic book.  In The Darkness II you play Jackie Estacado two years after the events of the first game.  You have become the Don of a crime family and after what happened to you in the first game you have decided to keep The Darkness locked up for everyone’s sake and safety.  The problem is an organization called The Brotherhood has targeted you to try and claim your powers and has no problem taking down both your family and the familia to get it.  This awakens The Darkness within you that talks you into unleashing it to help solve all your problems.  This all happens in the beginning of the game which offers a deeper story of hard choices and questionable reality.  There is a big twist in the story which, while not necessarily my favorite, did lend even more depth to the game, ties to the franchise more and created an alternate ending.

Graphics And Sound:

The gameplay graphics are done using cel-shading which is very reminiscent of the Borderlands franchise but also creates a comic book art style which fits nicely into the comics it is based on.  This graphic style even kind of ties into the subplot of the game making it not just look good but surprisingly fitting.  The cutscenes are done in a style more like standard animated cutscenes for video games which normally might seem mismatched with the artwork of the rest of the game but when taken into consideration with the subplot makes sense too.  The sound and graphics are put to great use in the game because when Jackie is subjected to brighter lights he loses his supernatural Darkness abilities and this is represented by a brightening, whiting out of the screen with a high pitch annoying ringing which makes you want to get out of or destroy that light source as soon as possible.  Because light plays such an important part of the game the graphics for lighting do too, giving you an idea of what areas of lighting source will give you problems.  It isn’t very often that the graphics and their representations play such a heavy role in a game.  The sound work is excellent and helps aid the atmosphere as well as give cues of danger and the soundtrack is excellent giving a terrific selection of KROQ standards from Jane’s Addiction to Offspring.

Gameplay:

I played a bit of The Darkness so I would be able to properly compare the two games, enough to know that point of view and gameplay are very similar with just a few slight improvements which works fine since the first game played so well, no need to fix what isn’t broke.  In the first game you had your guns and your Darkness tendrils at the side of your vision and you could dual wield guns or dual wield tentacles where in this game you can do both at the same time.  This allows for some fantastic and intense gameplay as you can be doing such things as dual wielding a pistol and machine gun while one Darkness tendril picks up a pipe and throws it impaling an enemy and the other Darkness tendril rips the heart out of a dead man’s chest and eats it.  You can also shoot an enemy to the point of weakness then use the Darkness tendrils to rip their bodies apart earning such bonuses as “Wish Bone,” “Daisy Pop” and “Anaconda Kill.”  The tendrils themselves look like snakes with piranha heads and are extremely satisfying and gory to put into action.   In general the game has an over the top gore factor which helps keep the heaviness of the storyline from getting oppressive and while you get moments of to catch your breath and prepare for the next section the waves of onslaught can be pretty crazy.

Along with The Darkness yelling at you in your head you have a little companion darkling dressed only in a British flag t shirt and a cat skin cap that not only helps you get through rough fights but that you can possess to get around obstacles or freed from capture.  The game chooses when you can use him but he can be handy in a fight or scouting capacity as well so whenever you get the opportunity to inhabit him be sure to look around and kill anything you can, it will make things easier for you when you get back to your own body.  The darkling is also remarkably entertaining to interact with or even just watch as he urinates green piss on corpses, lets out huge green farts and behaves in other undignified imp-like fashion.

There is an extensive wheel of unlock-able abilities which branch into other abilities and power ups which can truly turn the battle.  In the first game you get Darkness shooting weapons later in play whereas in this game you don’t get them at all unless you choose to unlock that section of the wheel and work up it’s tree.  My first playthrough I went with a swarm attack instead that caused one of the Darkness tendrils to cough up a green cloud of bee like insects that attack enemies distracting, stunning and even damaging them giving a huge advantage in battle.  I also unlocked and upgraded my Black Hole so that I could through a vortex out that would suck in and kill all enemies in the vicinity giving me an essence bonus.  Essence is collected by killing enemies, finding relics and eating hearts, the last of which also replenishes health.  The essence is collected and used to purchase unlocks on the ability wheel.  Some pre-planning is involved if you want a particular ability higher up on the tree because you will need to save up essences and work up that particular ability tree instead of just picking up any ability you can afford at lower sections of the wheel.

Once you beat the game you have the opportunity to play it again with all the abilities you unlocked the first playthrough still unlocked and all the hidden treasure you found the first time around still found.  This gives the player a chance to either tear through at the same difficulty destroying everything in sight or up the game difficulty and have an advantage to help survive it.  All the levels are unlocked once you beat the game too allowing you to replay them again with or without your unlocks.

Co-Op:

In most games’ multiplayer you wind up playing another version of the main character or you wind up playing side characters from the storyline.  In The Darkness II you go on Vendetta missions where you have hired a squad of hitmen imbued with Darkness powers to attack the Brotherhood back.  This is a great departure from the standard co-op play giving new storyline and makes sens since as The Don you really shouldn’t be running around doing all the dirty work.  Each character has a strength, weapon style and personality which are unique to them and are different from Jackie.  My personal favorite when it comes to style is the Creole voodoo doctor Dumond but when it came down to fighting I was a bit more of a fan of the Scotsman Jimmy Wilson with his axe and darkling (darklings are just so much fun!).  There are four different characters for the four man hit squad and if you are having a hard time finding someone to play with who has a pleasant disposition (ie. not an asshat), you can play the Vendetta missions solo as well.

The OnLive Advantage:

It’s becoming harder and harder to find someone who hasn’t heard of OnLive but most of people are still in the dark about it (ok, slight pun intended).  Onlive is pure cloud gaming, meaning you only have to have a small launcher on your computer and the entire game is played remotely by internet on servers in another part of the country, much like Netflix streaming.  So you don’t need hard drive space for the games or a strong computer, all you need is a decent internet connection and you can play the games through your computer, micro-console or a couple newer devices on the market such as OUYA, VIZIO Plus, newer VIZIO blu-ray players and newer LG televisions.  Many of the games also support touch screen play and are available for play on Android tablets.  Just like with Netflix you can start playing a game on one device then continue it on another giving a lot of diversity and mobility of play.  There is also an interesting feature called Arena that allows you to watch other players playing their games, cheer or jeer them and ask them to be your friends so that they can easily play titles they own, rent or are part of the subscription package with you.  This is particularly handy with The Darkness II co-op mode where while I was playing the game spectators joined to check it out or if they owned the game they friended me so I wouldn’t have to search for another player to co-op with.  With the free activation of an OnLive account you can even demo the game for a certain time limit so you aren’t playing a demo but the actual game for a period of time rather than a certain amount of a level.

Last Call:

It is really easy to recommend this game and suggest that it may be be your first OnLive purchase.  The gameplay is great, has a decently long campaign mode, nice graphics, and excellent replayability.  Add to that the diversity of the co-op play and the option to play alone or with the ever growing OnLive community and this game is worth the money.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the game’s subplot, probably because of how long I have been in the gaming and entertainment community in general and seen how it is used but they did handle it better than most and I always love an alternate ending.

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OnLive News Released

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Palo Alto, Calif. August 19, 2012 — OnLive, the pioneer of instant-action cloud computing, announced today that on August 17th all of its assets were acquired by a newly formed company that will continue to operate under the OnLive name. The OnLive® Game and Desktop Services, all OnLive Devices and Apps, as well as all OnLive partnerships, are expected to continue without interruption and all customer purchases will remain intact; users are not expected to notice any change whatsoever. OnLive’s current initiatives will continue as well, with major announcements of new products and services planned in the coming weeks and months. An affiliate of Lauder Partners was the first investor in the newly-structured company, holding the view that OnLive is the future of computing and entertainment, and a passion to see OnLive’s breakthrough technology continue to grow and evolve. The new company structure enables OnLive to do so.

OnLive, Inc.’s board of directors, faced with difficult financial decisions for OnLive, Inc., determined that the best course of action was a restructuring under an “Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors.”  The assignee of the company’s assets then sold all of OnLive, Inc.’s assets (including its technology, intellectual property, etc.) to the new company. Unfortunately neither OnLive, Inc. shares nor OnLive staff could transfer under this type of transaction, but almost half of OnLive’s staff were given employment offers by the new company at their current salaries immediately upon the transfer, and the non-hired staff will be given offers to do consulting in return for options in the new company. Upon closing additional funding, the company plans to hire more staff, both former OnLive employees as well as new employees.

The OnLive Service has been in operation 24/7 without interruption since its launch over two years ago, and is expected to continue to operate smoothly under the new company. All games, products and services remain available, and the company has new product and partnership announcements on the way.

OnLive’s breakthrough instant-action cloud computing technology has been in development for over a decade and, despite immense skepticism, OnLive successfully deployed this highly disruptive technology as a polished consumer offering with commercial-grade reliability across a vast range of devices, including TVs, tablets, phones, PCs and Macs, connected over almost any Internet connection, including wireless and cellular. Only a few major corporations have ever developed and deployed products and services across such a broad spectrum. OnLive is rare among startups in both the depth and scope of its offerings.

The asset acquisition, although a heartbreaking transition for everyone involved with OnLive, allows the company’s core innovation and ongoing offerings–the product of over a decade of hard work transforming the OnLive vision into reality–to survive—and continue to evolve.

Given the widespread speculation about OnLive and the new company, a FAQ is below that addresses a number of questions both for the public and former employees.

FAQs

Q. Will users see any change in the OnLive Game or Desktop Services? What about their purchases?

A. Users should see no change in the OnLive Game or Desktop Services. All of their purchases remain intact and available. OnLive has been up 24/7 since launch over two years ago and expects to remain so. OnLive has over 2.5 million subscribers, with an active base of over 1.5 million subscribers, connecting from a vast range of devices and networks, with many sessions running for hours. The user base is growing rapidly with OnLive’s addition into recently announced devices and TVs from major manufacturers. We expect this growth to continue under the new company.

 Q. Is there any cash or stock in the new company provided for any OnLive, Inc. shares?

A. Unfortunately not. The nature of the transaction is such that only assets, not shares, were purchased. This is true for all shares of OnLive, Inc., whether held by investors, employees or executives.

 Q. Did Steve Perlman receive stock or compensation in this transaction?

A. Like all shareholders, neither Steve nor any of his companies received any stock in the new company or compensation in this transaction at all. Steve is receiving no compensation whatsoever and most execs are receiving reduced compensation to allow the company to hire as many employees as possible within the current budget.

 Q. Did all OnLive, Inc. assets transfer into the new company? Are any assets held by any other party?

A. All of OnLive, Inc.’s assets (e.g. technology, patents, trademarks, etc.) were transferred to an assignee, which then sold the assets to the new company. There was no transfer to any other party.

Q. Have OnLive, Inc. employees been offered positions in the new company?

 A. Almost half of OnLive’s staff were offered employment at their current salaries in the new company immediately upon the transfer, and the non-hired staff will be given offers to do consulting in return for options in the new company. Upon closing additional funding, the company plans to hire more staff, both former OnLive employees as well as new employees.

Darksiders II Launches on TV, PC, Mac, Tablets via OnLive

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Palo Alto, Calif. – August 14, 2012  – OnLive, Inc., the pioneer of on-demand cloud gaming,  announced that Darksiders® II arrived on the OnLive Game Service in North America today, simultaneous with its official PC and console release, following a summer-long pre-order promotion. The highly anticipated sequel to THQ’s popular action-adventure Darksiders will be playable on demand on PC, Mac, Android™ tablets and on OnLive-enabled TVs. Availability in Europe will begin August 20th.

In Darksiders II players assume the role of Death, the most feared of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in an action-adventure game nearly four times the size of its predecessor. Faster gameplay, deep skill trees and a new loot system all build upon the strengths of the original, allowing players a wide variety of character development and customization options.

Signing up for an OnLive account is free at www.onlive.com, www.onlive.co.uk or www.onlive.be, and an instant demo enables users to play the game free for up to 30 minutes. As with all OnLive games, Darksiders II can be played on demand on PCs and Macs, OnLive-enabled TVs and even Android tablets, with saved games instantly available on whatever display is on hand. Players can also share their feats with friends using unique social functions only available through OnLive, such as Brag Clip® videos, OnLive’s massive spectating Arena and all-new OnLive MultiView in-game spectating, which enables players to spectate and chat with three other gamers while playing their own game (currently in private beta).

“We’ve taken Darksiders to new heights with this epic game, and we’re excited to share it with an even broader audience and a broader range of devices through OnLive,” said Jim Huntley, THQ’s Vice President of Global Brand Management.

For more information about Darksiders II, please visit www.Darksiders.com.  To find out more about OnLive, visit www.onlive.com, www.onlive.co.uk or www.onlive.be. Facebook: www.facebook.com/onlive or Twitter: @OnLive

Classic Gaming Showcase #6 Golden Axe II (PC/MicroConsole/Sega/OnLive)

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Golden Axe II was definitely a sign of its time and did things right and wrong which video game sequels today tend to do even though this is a history lesson over two decades old.  Golden Axe was a huge success, even more so on the console than on the standup arcade game so the decision was made to get it out on console first, then work out all the logistics of the arcade version.  It makes sense, the software is written and stuck on a cartridge then sent out to Genesis players without having to worry about motherboards, standup displays and monitors.  They could rush it out, have it on the market and work out the arcade version later.  So they did and it didn’t do so hot.  Some players of the time probably don’t even remember there was a sequel that came out in 1991 and those that remember might wish they had forgot.  It isn’t a bad game, don’t get me wrong, it does have some solid play value.  The problem is that it suffers what many game sequels do: it feels too much like you are playing the original game to warrant a new one.

Storyline:

Evil forces are back and they claim Golden Axe again causing our three adventurers from the first game to take on mostly the same minions from the first game in a battle to get Yuria free again.  If you didn’t play the first game that was fine, this is essentially a rehashed plot without a twist that occurred in the first because, well, the twist already happened.  This was a failing of the sequel and many sequels both in games and movies since, they didn’t come up with a new story so the story didn’t really matter.

Gameplay:

Gameplay is just like other games on the Sega Genesis and the original Golden Axe so there is no learning curve if you are familiar with either or both.  Directionals on the keyboard or OnLive controller combined with three assigned buttons for battle.  One is dedicated to magic potion attacks, one is for weapon attack and the last is for jumping.  A combination of hitting and jumping can give you a jumping strike or if you hit the buttons both at the same time you can do a special class combo and each of the classes which are the same from the first: warrior, amazon and barbarian have their own combo attack as well as their own magic attack.  In the previous game I favored the barbarian’s magic attack but in this one the amazon’s magic stands out above the rest with its fiery phoenix.  Strategy is a little more key in this one than in the previous since besides high ground there are also falls that can happen if you line your enemy up just right during battle.  Just like the first one it is good to save potions for bosses, heavy attacks or resetting your location after death and I can’t recommend enough using the four save slots that come with the Sega Gaming Classics on OnLive which allow you to save anywhere so if you are doing particularly good or know there is a particularly rough spot ahead make sure to save!  There were some concerns when the game came out that the game was easier to beat than the original, setting it to “challenging” gives you the similar difficulty but I found if you use proper strategy this game is much easier.

Graphics/Sound:

The graphics in this game are VERY superior to the first, I don’t use all caps lightly.  This is something they really got right, everything is more detailed and honestly kicks the crap out of many indie companies of today.  Every aspect of the game looks better, though unfortunately they used the same tricks to improve them that they did in the first game to make them that good.  You fight the same minions a lot, some taken directly from the first game.  So a minion has a fist weapon instead of a mace, the other one has the same club and they both look just like more detailed versions of the first game’s enemies.  The characters are the same from the first game too, just more detailed (especially the amazon’s boobs) so that once again people who bought it at the time wondered if it was worth the money they plunked out.  Also the sound actually seemed a bit better in the first, though it is possible it was the exact same quality but gets so out shined by the graphics that it just seems worse.  It really fell into the sequel trap: if the graphics are better but the sound, story and characters are basically the same then is it worth it?  Of course in this case it is part of the same PlayPack as the first so it definitely IS worth it because it doesn’t cost you any more money, it just gives you more playtime of the game.  Plus the new rideables in this game I think are a lot more fun to ride and more challenging to dismount.

Last Call:

I mentioned to someone that I was reviewing this game and they said, “There was a sequel?” even though they were a heavy Genesis player at the time it came out.  It isn’t a bad game, I totally recommend playing it especially as part of OnLive’s $9.99 PlayPack which comes with over 200 other games as well so if you get bored you can play a different one.  So when you consider how many games there are it costs 1/2 of a penny to play a month, pretty good deal I think.  If you still aren’t sure you can always go to http://www.onlive.com/promote where you can demo just about every game that OnLive has to offer.

Classic Gaming Showcase #5 Golden Axe (PC/MicroConsole/Sega/OnLive)

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There was once a time when the hub of social activity was the video arcade, where loud games noises and Journey music bombarded you while you played your favorite game and flirted with the big haired blonde next to you.  Quarters lined the edge of the playing screen or pinball table as people used them to hold their spots in line for the next game while they watched the current players trying to pick up new tricks and tips.  One of the shining beacons in these arcades was a game called Golden Axe where you got to choose from three characters and hack and slash your way through a wonderful barbaric environment where the only thing faster than the action was how fast the game ate your quarters.  Everyone had a favorite character to play and the lines were always long.  As consoles slowly killed the video arcade, Golden Axe going to the Genesis was definitely one of the coffin nails in the dying social scene.  I can play at home with my best friend as long as I want and only pay one price?  Yes please!

As a result the arcades slowly died off becoming occasional sites and novelties but the Genesis became so much stronger with the release of Golden Axe that Golden Axe II came out on the system before it went to the arcade.  It was the beginning of the console era, a time which is still going strong with it’s only competition being PC games.  It is on the PC and MicroConsole that OnLive has brought back this great gaming classic for a hack and slash trip down memory lane.

Storyline:

The storyline for the game is a pretty straight forward fantasy one: Death Adder has taken the royal family and the magic symbol of the land Golden Axe hostage and threatens to destroy them all if the people do not bend to his rule.  Three adventurers: a warrior, an amazon and a barbarian set off together to free the kingdom of Yuria from the grip of Death Adder.  On the way they must defeat the many minions of Death Adder and use all their fighting skills to survive.  The storyline is mostly told through cut-screens but the game does try to infuse the story where it can.  To most though it is their favorite adventurer they remember instead of Death Adder and his schemes.  It was a hack and slash and most people remember the hacking characters far more.

Gameplay:

Gameplay was standard for the Sega Genesis with three buttons and directionals which is the same setup whether you use the keyboard or an OnLive controller (microconsole or PC).  One button is dedicated to the magic potion attacks which are stronger with the more potions you gather throughout the game.  Each adventurer has their own special attack that they do with the potions, my favorite was the dwarf barbarian who caused lightning to strike everywhere on the screen.  The other two buttons were dedicated to attack and jump which could be used in combination to make a jumping attack or a special character combo if the buttons are hit at the same time.  For example if you hit the jump and attack on the barbarian he did a rolling attack.  There is also the occasional creature you can ride for attacks, one of which is a Cockatrice which came right out of Altered Beast where it was an enemy (both games were made by the same company).  For the most part though you hack and slash, when the enemies get tough or too thick in numbers you use your magic potion attacks to thin them out.  Another use for the potion is if a bunch of enemies take you down, when you revive you can use a potion to knock them all down and give you a chance to regroup and reposition on the screen.  Though it is a hack and slash there is some strategy involved such as high ground and potion use for the most part you are hitting the attack button like a madman with a big grin on your face.

Graphics/Sound:

The graphics and sound of the game are terrific and definitely bring the feeling of the old arcade/console play.  They are probably even a little better than some of the same time because they use the same enemies over and over with just different color outfits.  You have minions with maces and clubs, skeletons and knights but they all look the same which enabled them to make the action fast and the graphics quality better.  I know that back in the day it didn’t seem like that much of an issue, I had actually forgotten about it until I started playing it again for this review.  At the time you would say “uh-oh!  here come the gold ones!” and think how nice the graphics looked as you hacked away.  It seemed like a good tradeoff then and really didn’t bother me that much now because I think of the time the game was made.

Last Call:

I got so into Golden Axe that I was almost late for an appointment because I was hacking away and not watching the clock.  The game is a great representative of it’s time and for people who lived through it is probably dripping with nostalgia that still holds up as a good play to this day.  It is also part of OnLive’s 200+ PlayPack this is only $9.99 a month which wouldn’t have lasted you an hour in the arcades back then or bought you the cartridge.  If you still aren’t sure you can go to http://www.onlive.com/promote where you can demo just about every OnLive game they have and see if the $10 PlayPack is a good investment to you.  Make sure to catch OnLive at booth 535 at E3 2012, it shouldn’t be hard to find they have a terrific interactive booth.  Pick up some swag for me!

OnLive Reveals its E3 Showcase

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Los Angeles, Calif. (E3 Expo, 2012) — June 5, 2012 — OnLive, Inc., the pioneer of on-demand cloud gaming, announced today that it will be showcasing a broad range of new video games as well as breakthrough new features at OnLive’s Booth #535, South Hall at the Electronic Entertainment Expo from June 5-7 in Los Angeles.

OnLive Cloud Gaming Demonstrated on LG Smart TVs with Google TV OnLive is demonstrating the OnLive® Game Service on the next-generation LG Smart TV with Google TV (G2 Series) from LG Electronics. Capitalizing on the power of LG’s L9 dual-core processor, the service will make hundreds of top-tier video games from more than 60 publishers playable on-demand, without a console or PC. When the service becomes available, LG G2 TV owners will also enjoy free instant access to exclusive OnLive social features such as worldwide massive spectating, the brand-new OnLive MultiView spectating capability, Brag Clip™ video recording and Facebook sharing. Select 3D games, using the popular LG CINEMA 3D glasses, are planned for a future software update.

With just a few taps of the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller or any compatible game controller, LG G2 TV owners will be able to jump in and play OnLive’s growing library of hundreds of top-tier, console-class video games on-demand. Instant demos are available for nearly every game so players can experience up to 30 minutes of each game free before deciding what to buy, and then continue playing where the demo left off.

OnLive One-Click In-Browser Cloud Gaming Delivers Full-featured Web-based Gaming OnLive released today a major update to its In-Browser Gaming capabilities, enabling publishers/retailers to offer one-click, instant play of hundreds of games from OnLive‘s top-tier library or any partner-provided games in nearly any PC or Mac® browser, and soon, from browsers in OnLive-enabled TVs, tablets or phones. No signup or login necessary: In just one click, gamers jump into a white-label gaming experience completely defined by the retailer or publisher’s website, from startup to return dialogs to window skinning, utilizing OnLive features such as OnLive MultiView in-game live spectating, multiplayer, voice chat, touch support and secure transaction interfaces. OnLive In-Browser Gaming is live today in North America, Europe and soon worldwide. Check out game trials in OnLive’s game catalog at www.onlive.com/games/featuredgames to see OnLive’s In-Browser Gaming service in action, skinned with a simple interface to showcase base functionality.

OnLive In-Browser Gaming was designed for easy integration into any Web destination, such as partner websites, Facebook pages, tweets or fan sites. Using standard HTML or Flash, the partner website both skins and controls the flow of the entire experience. A simple URL launches any game, whether from OnLive’s library or partner provided. Upon completion of gameplay, the website can decide whether the user returns to the web page for download, for a disc upsell to specific platforms, to purchase the game for continued play through OnLive on the device they are using, or any combination of these choices. No more lost sales (and disappointment) to users who can play a cloud demo on their device, but lack a high-end PC or platform that can play the game. Plus, OnLive opens up new opportunities to sell games for OnLive-enabled TVs, tablets and phones.

A New Era in Social Gaming with OnLive MultiView OnLive has steadily pioneered unique social gaming experiences, such as watching other gamers play live in the massive spectating Arena while voice chatting and messaging with players and spectators around the world. Now with the introduction of the groundbreaking OnLive MultiView feature, users will be able to take social spectating one step further by watching three other players’ game sessions while continuing to play their game. For co-op and multiplayer games, OnLive MultiView adds entirely new possibilities for coordinating tactics with teammates. For everyone, it adds an exciting new social dimension—the ability to keep tabs on three fellow gamers simultaneously in the same or completely different games, to race them, compete against them, cheer them or just watch them play, without ever leaving your own game.

OnLive MultiView is integrated into the OnLive experience, accessible instantly at the push of a button—something only OnLive cloud-based gaming is able to achieve with no changes required by developers. The feature is currently in beta and is slated for full release later this summer.

“OnLive continues to pioneer exciting new experiences that are instantly and easily accessible for everyone,” said Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder and CEO. “OnLive cloud technology is the future, and we are thrilled to continue to bring its unique capabilities to light to a broader audience.”

Millions of Subscribers with 100% Uptime 24/7 at Two-year Anniversary and Counting OnLive went live at E3 2010 with just 19 games in its library on only PCs and Macs over Ethernet. OnLive faced a huge wall of skepticism as to whether the technology would ever work and if it did, whether it could scale, and even then, whether it could reliably deliver gameplay on a consistent basis over consumer broadband connections.

Two years later at E3 2012, OnLive is celebrating its two-year anniversary with hundreds of games from over 60 publishers, and is not only available on PCs and Macs, but on TVs, tablets and smartphones over wired, Wi-Fi and cellular connections. OnLive has millions of subscribers worldwide, with international spectating, multiplayer and voice chat, and despite the immense complexity of operating such a large and intricate real-time service across continents and oceans, OnLive has had 100% uptime 24/7 since launch. OnLive not only works at scale, but it works reliably across a wide range of consumer devices and broadband connections. As OnLive has become integrated into more and more devices, and its game library has grown deeper and wider, we are already seeing that the vision of OnLive has become a reality.

OnLive’s roots go back much farther than the two years since launch. Today’s achievements are the culmination of over a decade of work by an incredibly dedicated team of people and the greater ecosystem of our publisher and technology partners to bring OnLive from the lab and into a commercial product offering, overcoming immense technical and business obstacles. OnLive has filed what may well be one of the largest and most fundamental patent portfolios ever by a technology startup, certainly for a set of inventions met with such skepticism that at their unveiling they were declared impossible. The patents are a reflection of the depth and breadth of the OnLive vision, and the confidence OnLive and its partners held from the outset that OnLive would change everything—gaming, entertainment, computing, and communications.

Classic Gaming Showcase #4 Altered Beast (PC/MicroConsole/Sega/OnLive)

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I was thinking of hopping to a different part of the alphabet for this review but instead I will go with the next one because the games are both from the same creator and even have a same creature between them!  But that is for the next installment.  This Classic Gaming Showcase almost needs no introduction because it was so popular back then it can still be found in retro arcades around the world and has been re-released and even reinvented on various systems and even watches.  For those who haven’t played Altered Beast in a while here are a couple things to help you remember: a god raises you from the dead, your body gets bigger with each power up though your head stays the same size (steroids!) until you get a power up that changes you into a different form, the first level form being a werewolf.

This was so cool at the time and is still pretty dang cool now, not only do you take on this bad ass form it gives you much better attack powers which can make the difference between clearing a level and not.  The bosses are quite memorable too since the first one is some giant burial mound looking thing that rips off it’s head a whole bunch of times and throws it at you.

There are five different forms you take while cruising through the different levels besides the “Conan The Barbarian” body build.  You are a werewolf, weredragon, werebear, weretiger and golden werewolf, which I guess in some ways is just a more powerful werewolf but you don’t mind because as before stated the werewolf form is bad ass!  The levels don’t have save points along them which can be frustrating so you need to remember to use the OnLive save system which allows you to save at any spot in the game and you get multiple save slots.  I try to play the games using their own save points if they have them but it can get frustrating to fight your way to the boss, be fully powered up and need to do it all again when the boss takes you down.  Little known fact: one of the enemies in this game is a cockatrice which is rideable in Golden Axe which is by the same developers.  So you kick it’s butt here and use it to kick butt there!

Storyline:

Zeus needs your help!  Neff, one of the Demon Gods of the Underworld, has kidnapped Zeus’s daughter Athena and so Zeus has risen you from the dead to buff up and take different animal forms to save her!  Go quickly before Neff does something dastardly while Zeus… I don’t know, takes bets on whether you will make it or combs his beard or something.  I mean he is Zeus, wouldn’t he be a better choice than someone who has already died once in service and has to power up to be able to change into a good fighting form… which is a weresomething?  I guess Zeus coming down and flicking Neff like a bug would be a bit of a short game, plus everyone who has seen Clash of the Titans knows how snooty and hands-off the Gods like to play it.

Gameplay:

This uses the arrow buttons and a few keyboard buttons just like the other Sega Genesis games in the PlayPack or the thumb controller and 3 buttons on the OnLive controllers for PC and MicroConsole.  You punch, kick and jump being able to crouch or standup while doing so.  you have melee attacks until you change form at which point you can get some range attacks which really improve your game play.  Spawning can be troublesome due to sometimes spawning you in a screen full of enemies which then instantly kill you again so as mentioned before be sure to use the OnLive save system regularly.  Beyond that this is a classic game which had such a fun and rewarding play system that pretty soon you forget you are playing a game over two decades old and just start enjoying the challenges.

Graphics/Sound:

They are a thing of 16-bit beauty and hold up to retro games made today to imitate the time period.  The graphics are good enough not to detract from play while at the same time bringing back memories of the first times it was played.  The sound is perfect right down to Zeus’s lisp at the beginning and sound effects that harken back to a time when they could be cartoonish and still fun and engaging.

Last Call:

This game was a masterpiece of it’s time and has often been revamped, remade and re-envisioned on many systems but when it comes down to it the original is still probably the best.  Alien Storm, Altered Beast and Golden Axe would probably make a nice game night since all three have very similar graphics and play styles  All three are available as part of the OnLive PlayPack which is only $9.99 a month and if you still aren’t sure give them a test drive at http://www.onlive.com/promote to make sure they are worth your money.  You will probably find yourself trying out a bunch of other games while you are there.

 

Classic Gaming Showcase #3 Alien Storm (PC/MicroConsole/Sega/OnLive)

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Let’s face it we had a pretty decent obsession with aliens back in the days of Sega.  Most of us still have that obsession which brings us to revisit games like Alien Storm and find dozens of other outer worldly creations that go bump in the night.  For now we will pass up on nocturnal fixations (probing!) and talk about a game which had one of the most interesting takes of all time on aliens: possession.  Ok Ok I know you are saying that really isn’t that much of an interesting take but I didn’t finish… possession… of mail boxes.  Here you are walking down the street right after some UFO (well it is an alien saucer so it is identified) buzzes you, carrying some giant fancy plasma gun, whip or flame thrower and all of a sudden the phone booths and mail boxes come to life and start opening a can of whoop ass. Speaking of which, the garbage cans open whoop ass cans themselves!  Good thing you were walking along heavily armed!

Storyline:

You are part of a group called “Alien Busters” and aliens want to dominate the Earth so you are here to stop them!  That’s about it.

Gameplay:

It is kinda fun to run around attacking every object you see in the streets!  You use all the arrow keys because the game is a side scroller with depth so you find yourself needing to move up and down to dodge and land attacks.  But then the game suddenly becomes a first person rail shooter sliding sideways as you shoot up enemies in a warehouse earning energy for the next level.

Then it is back to the side scrolling play for some more action and boss fights.  Then suddenly you are on a running level moving really, really fast and your only way to get through is by shooting, moving up and down and jumping over enemies.  For a moment it throws you for a loop and you might take some damage but it is fun because once again it has changed up the play style.  And these are the things that really make the game work.  Sure it is fun and funny to have garbage cans and mailboxes come to life or fight aliens that look like the Creature From The Black Lagoon or The Thing (the original with Kurt Russel) but most of the games real fun lies in it’s ability to change between styles so much, a diversity we really don’t see in games much except the occasional “mini-game.”  If the game play gets too hairy you can use your energy for special weapons attacks.

Graphics/Sound Effects:

The graphics aren’t great and they aren’t bad, they are actually a decent example of games at that time.  I remember playing some other games on systems with almost identical movement just very different themes.  The music has the wonderful arcade/console music style of the time and just adds to the charm.  The game looks old school but has quality play that has stood up to the test of time.

Last Call:

When it comes to playing the classic Sega games it really comes down to feelings of nostalgia, history, and having fun with games that were in a way often simpler.  This game has no deep plot, uses arrow buttons and a few keys (or three buttons and a thumb control on the controller) but it is fun to play, a silly premise and can be a challenge with the change ups in play style.  This game is a great example of why we pick these retro games up and give another go at them and there are around 40 of them in the OnLive $9.99 a month PlayPack with over 160 other games.  If that isn’t enough of a seller, you can demo them and just about every other one of the games that OnLive offers at http://www.onlive.com/promote and make sure it is worth your money.

Classic Gaming Showcase #2: Alien Soldier (PC/MicroConsole/Sega/OnLive)

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This was a game I thought I hadn’t played before based on reading the premise because I didn’t understand the premise.  I was right but that was luck.   I am all for a nice rich storyline but this set some insanely lofty goals when it came to the idea behind this side scrolling shooter.  You play Epsilon Eagle, a robot/animal/human parasite that co-exists with each of it’s parts including it’s eagle head.  He was the head of a criminal organization which was attacked and he was forced to hide in a young boy’s body until his rival Xi-Tiger forced him into a rage and caused him to morph and began a continuing battle between his good and evil sides.  So there are good and bad guys playing out in a soap opera, or badly written Sci-Fi storyline, that when partially told in a scrolling Prologue is confusing and bordering on painful.  If you can ignore this, and you can, you will experience one of the hardest side scrolling shooters around with so many bosses that it got listed in the 2010 Guinness World Records Game Edition.

Storyline:

AVOID!  Actually it is dramatic enough for a good laugh if you can figure it out.  It even has… DUN DUN DUN… an evil twin!!

Controls/Gameplay:

The game is a side scrolling shooter with three buttons to represent the three on the original Sega system and arrow keys for movement.  One button is for shooting, one for jumping, pretty standard stuff for a side scroller but where it gets interesting is the third button which was traditionally reserved for special attacks.  In this game it allows you to cycle through your weapons, which you can trade out along the way for different ones.  In today’s shooters this is a pretty common thing but back in day when this came out it was pretty unheard of.  Also different enemies are weak against different weapons so you find yourself cycling through at lightning speed to find the weapon of choice.  Some of the enemies you will attack with a certain weapon and just watch it bounce off without any effect while they hit you with deadly accuracy and I am just mentioning the standard enemies. The boss fights (of which there are almost three dozen) each have weapon and logistics challenges.  Honestly this game should be a gauntlet to be thrown down for anyone who brags about beating boss fights or being experts at side scrolling.  Just ignore the storyline and use OnLive’s save system so that you don’t have to keep working your way through the whole level to get back to the boss.

Graphics/Sound:

The graphics are excellent for their time with the sound and music working well with them to pull the player into the game and get them quickly immersed.  Even though the boss battles are difficult, the play is addicting so it is nice that the graphics aren’t an eyesore or that the music or sound effects are too annoying.  It is surprising how these simple things can make the difference between playing on or giving up on a game in a rough patch, which can occur with so many bosses.

Last Call:

Honestly I was worried about this game after the scrolling intro, which I kept watching over and over to understand.  I was afraid this was a rarely seen game for a reason, but once you get past the story this is an excellent side scrolling shooter with plenty of challenges but also more options weapon-wise than gamers were used to at the time.  This game not only holds up it is an excellent challenge for any gamer.  It is also part of OnLive’s $9.99 a month subscription plan which includes over 200 other games. If you still need to make sure it is your taste, you can demo it from OnLive’s new demo link list at http://www.onlive.com/promote or even better yet, challenge that friend that always brags about beating bosses to complete the game.  Just don’t make them follow the story, that is just cruel.