Author - Jerry Paxton

1up Hellgate London Review

1up has posted its review of Hellgate London and given the Flagship Studios’ opus a 4.0 out of 10! Our review gave the game a far more liberal 7.0 out of 10, taking sight of what it will be when the thing is patched. But the world of 1up is apparently a cruel one, taking no strides to soften its blows, we just dont agree with them on such a low score.

Microsoft Releases Vista SP1 to Testers

Engadget reports that Microsoft has released SP1 of it’s Vista operating system to the it’s testers. According to the article, ‘Although there don’t appear to be many new features on top of what we’ve already seen, SP1 appears to be well-received, with testers reporting better laptop battery life, faster networking, and improved wake-from-sleep speeds. There’s still no word on when the final release of SP1 will hit, but if you’re in Microsoft’s tester program, SP1 RC1 is available online now.’

Singapore Comes to its Senses, Un-Bans Mass Effect

Gamespot is reporting that Singapore has changed their mind on banning Mass Effect and has instead given the game an M18 rating. According to the article, the Board of Film Censors issued a statement saying it would be creating a games classification system in January, and in the interim, it would be selectively using games ratings to ‘enable highly anticipated games to be launched in Singapore.’

Finally, a bit of reason prevails!

Let Chewbacca Hump Your Back…and Carry Your Stuff!

Thinkgeek has put a new item up for sale in the same vein as their popular Yoda backpack. Well instead of having cuddly Yoda hitch a ride on your back while carrying your books to class, they went with the next best thing…Chewbacca. Because when I think of cuddly Star Wars characters I would like to have on my back, I think of a seven foot tall, 350 pound, hairy, and don’t forget smelly Wookiee. At least you don’t have to buy him dinner, that is something I guess. Plus he does carry your stuff for you which is the least he can do. Oh well, pics below!

Hous of the Dead 2 & 3 Coming to the Wii Next Year

Joystiq is reporting that SEGA will be reviving House of the Dead 2 & 3 next year, bringing it out for the Nintendo Wii. According to Joystiq, the aimed release date is March 31st, 2008. It seems as though very little is known about the revival aside from the tentative date. Important info such as if there will be graphical upgrades to make the games look more ‘current-gen’ have not yet been answered. And as much as I think SEGA will release these separately, with as old as they are, they should really release them in a bundle pack.

Lionhead Wants Your Insults for Fable 2

Joystiq is reporting that Lionhead Studios, creators of the upcomming Fable 2, are looking for insults to use in their game. The insults are shouted by villagers at your character if they do not like you…In the first game this insult was mainly ‘Arseface’ but apparently they seek variety this time around. Maybe they will deliver on the procedural world this time too, but I digress…

You can submit your insults through this link.

Gamespot Resident Evil: Unbrella Chronicles Review

Gamespot has posted its review of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii, giving it a 7.0 out of 10. The on-rails shooter takes place throughout events of Resident Evil 0, the original Resident Evil, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game relies on the first person perspective as well as the Wii’s unique controller to give a satisfying ‘arcade style’ experience.

From the article:
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is solid for an on-rails shooter, a genre that admittedly becomes less relevant with each passing year, and the strength of the ambiance, the quantity of Resident Evil detail, and some fun little gameplay touches make it better. If you don’t care for either Resident Evil or light-gun games, this won’t change your mind, but if you do, it’s a pretty fun ride.

Mass Effect Banned in Singapore – See Why Here!

Joystiq is reporting that the Bioware RPG Mass Effect has been banned in Singapore for the option to have a lesbian love scene in the game.

From the article:
As reported by Reuters, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, ‘the city-state should keep its conservative values and not allow special rights for homosexuals.’ The lesbian scene was posted on GameVideos earlier this week before Microsoft asked them to remove it.

For your viewing ‘pleasure’, the scene:

Videophiles Beware! Sony Unveils 2 New Pro HD Camcorders

Engadget is reporting on the announcement by Sony of two new high-end pro HD cameras.

From the article:
…the company is back for more with two new high-end 1080p HDV cameras, the $10,500 HVR-S270U (pictured) and the $6,850 HVR-Z7U. Both models feature interchangeable Carl Zeiss lenses, Sony’s 1/3-inch ClearVid CMOS sensor that offers 1.5 lux sensitivity, 24p and 30p modes, and support for recording directly to CompactFlash or an optional hard-disk recording attachment. The miniDV-only HVR-Z7U features HDMI output, while the HVR-270U bumps up to HD- or SD-SDI output and can also take full-size DVCAM tapes. Sony also released $5,540 HVR-M35U HDV deck that accepts both miniDV and full-size tapes, and features a 2.7-inch preview LCD. All this gear is expected to hit in February

Hellgate: London Review

Imagine, if you will, the quaint city of London overrun with all manner of creature from zombies to skeletal fiends. A London where Hell has literally forced its way through the surface to wreak havoc on the human population above. This is the world of Flagship Studios’ Hellgate: London. Masterminded by Bill Roper, creator of Diablo and Diablo II, it is easy to see this influence in Hellgate’s quick gameplay.

Speaking of gameplay, I refer to it as ‘quick & light’ as it plays as a first-person or third-person actioner and feels fast-paced and fun, similar to Serious Sam. You can choose from a variety of class types, each with their own abilities and play styles. These are taken from standard stereotype characters such as a dual-wielding swordsman, gun-toting marksman, shield and sword-toting guardian, etc. The game’s switching back and forth from ranged to melee combat is smooth and adds to the fun of the experience. Hellgate features a campaign that you take part in, however the player can always go back to previous areas and fight to gain experience as well. Characters level and gain experience much like they do in Diablo II which adds to the fps-light feel. Items can be upgraded a-la Diablo II and merchants are central to the game. By selling the loot you find you can buy health/power potions, new equipment, etc. Missions will lead you from the surface to subway lines, sewers, and even hell dimensions.

Graphically, Hellgate is nice. The game does not look like the latest & greatest as even with DirectX 10 features enabled the game’s textures can be a bit bland. The post-apocalyptic landscape is done very well and is…depressing as it should be. Equipment looks sharp and weapon/spell effects do the job nicely. Exploding and destructible objects also add to the experience of tearing up the city even more than it already was.

Hellgate’s score is better than you’ll find in most Hollywood flicks out there and reminds me of the score to George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead somewhat. In fact, the score adds so much to the game that the fps-light feel goes away and anxiety goes up when it starts blaring. Sound design is equally good, with ambient sounds such as paper ruffling across the destroyed roads of Piccadilly Circus and the distant sounds of whaling zombies and screams of survivors.

Now to the part where Hellgate: London falls apart: BUGS! This game was released way too early with not enough QA testing done on enough rig types as so many games are these days. This is unfortunate as the bugs skew review scores on this game everywhere. This game would have been fun enough to survive a few months more testing before release. The game is virtually unplayable in DirectX 10 and freezes/crashes randomly in DirectX 9 mode. The problems don’t stem from the test rig we used either, sporting a high-end dual-core processor and 8800gtx video card, we should have been able to tear the game up like a hot knife through butter. Instead we end up with a buggy mess on our hands when we really want to love this game. We have lost our place on missions soo many times to the game’s inexplicable crashing…very annoying.

Overall, we would highly recommend Hellgate for a fun popcorn-game if it were not for the horrible bugs still plaguing it.

From E3 Demo: