Latest Game and Movie Reviews (Live Update)

* Game Ratings (/10), Movie Ratings (/5)

DS Tokyo Beat Down 7.1
Xbox 360 Fracture 8.0
MOVIE The Unborn 0
PC Left 4 Dead 8.7
Xbox 360 Mirror's Edge 8.5
MOVIE Dead Space Downfall 3.5
MOVIE The Day the Earth Stood Still 0.5
PSP Super Stardust Portable 9.7  CHOICE PICK
PSP Need for Speed Undercover 2.8
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Game Preview 23 - Medal of Honor:Airborne

Publisher: EA
Platform Available: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, Xbox
Release date: Q1 2007

Medal of Honor makes its debut on next-gen console with Airborne, a WW2 shooter that aims to differentiate itself from other WW2 games by implementing a slight twist to how each game is started. Whereas you start your mission on the ground in other WW2 shooters like the forthcoming Call of Duty 3 and Brother In Arms Hell’s Highway, Airborne requires that you ‘jump’ into every mission. In other words, you would be starting each mission in the air. Decide the best place to land into the enemy territory and make your jump. Medal of Honor: Airborne allows you to land in any location, be it a sniper tower, on the ground on the building, and hence, a different scenario would appear each time you play – there is no linear path. Once you land, different objectives would pop out around the map, so you would know where to go first. The game also manages to accomplish what other WW2 shooters lack: Upgradeable weapons. You would be able to outfit your weapons with all types of objects, including pistol grips, all of which can be found scattered on the battlefields throughout the game. You would be given 5 bars of health in the game, and if you incur damage, the bar would regenerate by itself – much like in Halo 2, but the only difference here is: If one bar is totally wiped up, it is gone – your health for that bar is gone forever. However, you can collect health packs to recover. A total of 10 missions would be available for play, but multiplayer details are not yet known. Being a next-gen game, you would expect the visuals to look highly detailed, and Medal of Honor: Airborne does not disappoint. Different levels of emotions even can be seen from the faces of the soldiers. More information would become available when the game nears its release date.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Game Preview 22:Lair

Publisher: Sony CEA
Platform Available: PS3
Release date: 2007 (specific period unknown)

Developer Factor 5 is not making any Star Wars game this time round, but this game is still about flight. Not flight with spacecrafts or aircrafts, but with dragons. The first thing you should know about Lair is that it is filled to the brim with stunning details, be it with the dragons or with the environments. Soldiers can be viewed from afar and they do not suddenly pop up out of nowhere. For the most parts of the game, you will be riding on your dragon, participating in dogfights occasionally and sometimes, swooping to the ground to take out those pesky soldiers. You can toss them like rag dolls with your dragon’s horns or you can choose to devour them, with the option of having your meal roasted. There are on-foot missions, though. But the fights in on-foot missions will be relatively simpler than those on your dragon. No doubt, there will be boss fights, mini-bosses and so forth. To add to the enjoyment of the game, Factor 5 has included meters at the top of the screen, depicting the morale of your troops and that of the enemy’s. Do more damage to your enemy and the enemy’s morale meter will fill up in no time, and their fighting spirit will be lowered. Similarly, the enemy can do the same to you as well. Now, going on to the unique controls. Lair utilizes the functionality of the SIXAXIS PS3 controller by implementing tilt controls to steer your dragons. You can also pull the controller up to do a round turn, suitable for the dodging of fireballs spat out by enemy’s dragons. Yank the controller down for a claw attack on the opposition – controls will be intuitive. Speaking of fireballs, you can have your dragon dispensing them as well by pressing the square button. Hold on to the button and your dragon will constantly spit fireballs. Make your dragon flap its wings and build up the momentum of speed by hitting the X button repeatedly. However, the analog sticks are not forgotten either. They will be used frequently in the game, but further details are still unknown. If you are expecting to fly through diverse environments, you will not be disappointed with what Lair will have to offer. From jungles to wastelands to ice fields, you will be assured that there will be plenty to explore. Of course, a game like Lair will not neglect multiplayer. Leaderboard, Xbox Live-like achievements, in addition to downloadable content are all possible. As the game nears its release date, more information will be made available.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Game Preview 21:Supreme Commander

Publisher: THQ
Platform Available: PC
Release date: Q1 2007, to be released after Windows Vista

Chris Taylor, the guy behind Total Annihilation, is now involved in Supreme Commander, another real-time strategy (RTS) game of massive scale. Supreme Commander has been billed as the spiritual successor (or in other words, unofficial sequel) to Total Annihilation and you would expect Supreme Commander to work very much like Total Annihilation. If you are expecting that, there is great news. Supreme Commander has implemented most of the gameplay mechanics from Total Annihilation, but for players who like having new features, good news for you as well. New features include the ability to zoom in to any area on the map and spot the detailed models of the units, in addition to the ability to zoom out of the map, and before you know it, you would be looking at the overhead of the map. But first, let’s touch on the basics of the game first. You can choose from 3 factions, namely the United Earth Federation (UEF), the Cybran (the baddies in this game), and the Aeon. There would be 3 campaigns, one for each faction. Generally, there would be 3 tiers of units for you to build. The higher the tier, the more powerful the units, but you start the game with only your Commander unit. From there, you would want to start building your base as quickly as possible. 2 resources are need in this game for the building processes: Energy and Mass. Energy can be easily obtained by building energy plants within your base, but for mass to be obtained, it may be harder. Mass extractors can only be built on specific points, 4 of which would be available around the player’s starting site. Vital buildings in your base, like the energy units mentioned above, can be protected by an energy shield, so the way you position your buildings is important. However, when the building next to the other one explodes, there is bound to be some damage radius. Like in Total Annihilation, commands can be queued. Once the engineer (the builder in this game) has done its work, an icon would appear at the top of the screen to signal to you that there is an unused engineer and that you can give it more orders. This addition is sweet, especially in the middle of a battle, when you are so focused on your units fighting the opposition’s that you tend to forget about your engineers. Your engineers have other uses besides building structures. For example, it can salvage metals of wrecks to increase the mass output. Likewise, you can set up a patrol path, which they would follow and salvage any wreck that appears along the way. When you have a game of such epic scale, you would want the unit limit to be high, and that is where Supreme Commander fulfils your wishes. In fact, the game encourages you to build more, be it land, air or naval units. To aid you in your expansion of your base, Supreme Commander has an assortment of units for you to select. Tier one units are relatively light in armor and are easily destroyed by tier one defenses. Tier two units include tanks, bots with heavier armor, and so on. Tier three units are the most fearsome ones. You have nukes launchers, units that can fire across the entire map (you have to keep your eyes out for these) among many others. Each faction would also have their own experimental units – much like the Krogoth of the Core side in Total Annihilation. These units can wipe out multiple units at once and take down an entire base within a few minutes, but they take an extremely long time to build, and may also be a drain on your precious resources. The weapons these experimental units possess are so strong that it can plot the demise of the commander unit within seconds. But your commander unit is not without strong defenses too. Its weapons are (fortunately) upgradeable and it is an ideal mobile defense in the early stages of the game. Given the complexity of the game, expect each match to last hours – if your opponents are stubborn. As far as multiplayer goes, up to 8 players can be supported on a map, making for some chaotic battles. A mission and map editor would also be available, as well as downloadable content and instant replays. According to the interview with Chris Taylor by Gamespot, a demo would likely to be out near the release date – about January or early February. The game would be tweaked to take full advantage of the capabilities of Windows Vista, and so this only means one thing: You have to have a powerful computer to run this game.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ubisoft Talks Games

Ubisoft recently announced the delay of action stealth game Assassin's Creed and WW2 shooter Brother In Arms Hell's Highway, both of which are for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Instead, these 2 games would only be released after March 2007. Ghost Recon Advenced Warfighter 2 takes the place of the surprise announcement. The game would make it to the store shelves within the first 3 months of 2007, but the platforms at which the game would be released on are still unknown.

Meanwhile, Ubisoft made known that another 7 Wii games are hitting the stores before the end of March 2007. Ubisoft has already announced that they would be releasing 8 Wii launch games, namely Red Steel, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Splinter Cell Double Agent, Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2, Monster 4 X 4 World Circuit, GT Pro Series, Open Season and Far Cry Vengeance. One of the 7 new games would be a totally new brand for the Wii. One guess may be that that game is probably a new Prince of Persia game for the console that Ubisoft has already told reporters.

Another Ubisoft game in the making is Teengae Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Hardware Guide 29:SIXAXIS PS3 Controller

Gone is the boomerang design of the PS3 controller, in comes the SIXAXIS PS3 controller. At first glance, you may think that it is the Dual Shock controller of PS1 or the Dual Shock 2 controller of PS2, but you are actually looking at the new SIXAXIS PS3 controller. The controllers seem almost identical to each other until you try them out. Firstly, the SIXAXIS controller is wireless – it communicates with the console via Bluetooth. According to sources, it is much lighter and it possesses a feature never seen in the previous 2 controllers: motion-sensitivity, but unfortunately, there is a trade-off, which is the absence of the rumble functionality. No, when your car hit the wall, the controller would not vibrate anymore – you would have to adapt to the new controller. However, if you look beyond the rumble functionality, you would find the PS3’s SIXAXIS controller to be one of the more flexible controllers. Tilting controls are in this time round. You can tilt to steer your dragon in the upcoming action game Lair or steer your plane in Warhawk. You can do a melee attack by twisting the controller in Call of Duty 3 and that feature may also be possible in Metal Gear Solid 4: Gun of the Patriots, but confirmations have been unfounded. More games may see this feature implemented soon, so you should be feeling a new level of interactivity in some PS3 games. An embedded and unremovable battery provides the energy for the SIXAXIS controller, and it can be charged just like the Xbox 360 controller. You would be able to connect the controller to the console with a USB cable and the controller would charge automatically – there is goes, it becomes a wired controller once again. A typical charge would last you 36 hours of gameplay, so there is no need to worry about the battery running out of juice in the middle of a tricky battle. Personally, I would prefer the SIXAXIS controller to run on 2 AA batteries like the Wii-mote, but that is a minor issue. Overall, the SIXAXIS controller would offer increased functionality and other marginal improvements, like button being more rigid, over the Dual Shock 2 controller of PS2.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hardware Guide 28:Logitech G25 Racing Wheel

In the age where the gaming peripherals market is saturated with plastic racing wheels, Logitech has decided to do something different with its latest G25 Racing Wheel for the PC and PS2. You are no longer handling a racing car wheel wannabe, but a real racing car wheel – at least to the extent that the Logitech wheel is donned in real leather that does its job well of imitating real-life wheels and with the center being made from first-rate stainless steel, a rarity in most racing wheels. No longer is the front dotted with superfluous buttons, making the G25 look so much more realistic. In fact, the experience it delivers will be realistic as well, but that will be touched on later in this article. Expect to do 900 degrees turn with the wheel – because that is what the wheel can handle. The G25 is also equipped with force feedback technology, and it takes it a step further – adjusting the amount of force feedback on the wheel is possible. Another inclusion in the package is a nice surprise – a six-speed shifted. Like the racing wheel, the gear knob sits atop of a stick that is covered with real leather. With this inclusion, you can drive your virtual car just like what you would do with your real vehicle – the same applies here. Next, come the pedals. The pedals are also manufactured using stainless steel, and instead of only two pedals – the gas pedal and brake pedal, Logitech has included an extra pedal: the clutch pedal. The pedal unit comes with a carpet grip system underneath, so there is no need to be apprehensive of the unit sliding when you are frantically stepping on it. With the G25 retailing at US$299, it is even more expensive than the Wii, but with all the quality you will get from using the G25, it is worth the price. The ultimate racing experience is here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Game Preview 20:Wii Sports

Publisher: Nintendo
Platform Available: Wii
Release date: Wii launch

If there is any game that can showcase the fullest possible capabilities of the Wii-mote, it must be this game. And that is why Nintendo is bundling this game with the Wii console – players can get to know more about the functions of the Wii-mote first before getting down to play with other games. You can see Wii Sports as one game by itself or you can view it as five different games because Wii Sports is essentially a compilation of sports games: Wii Baseball, Wii Golf, Wii Tennis, Wii Boxing and Wii Bowling. Players do not need to have any experience with other sports titles beforehand; just pick up the Wii-mote and start playing – controls are intuitive. It is the kind of games where everyone can get involved. Wii Sports does not boast graphics that are as cutting-edge as Final Fantasy 13, but it makes up for the lack of that by offering one of the most interactive gameplay ever seen. For example, in Wii Tennis, just swing the Wii-mote like what you would do in real-life with a racket when the ball comes flying towards you. This game has a ‘pick-me-up-and-play’ style to the extent that the game does all the running for you. It is this type simple gameplay mechanics that will get even your grandparents involved. Wii Sports also accomplishes its job of making the game feels real. While playing Wii Boxing and Wii Bowling, only a pair of hands will be in the foreground, giving you the feeling that you are in the game itself. To put it simply, Wii Sports would not be possible on any other console – it is that kind of game that can only be made for the Wii. Below are more detailed previews of each sport: (Previews for Wii Baseball and Wii Boxing are unavailable)

Wii Golf

Aspiring to be the next Tiger Woods? Get your practice here! Playing Wii Golf is simple. Hold the Wii-mote with both your hands. Stand sideways towards the screen and hit it! Of course, a power meter would be available at the lower side of the screen to tell you the optimum strength needed behind the shot. Go beyond the meter and your shot would stray out too far from the hole. If the power meter turns green, then it is just right.

Wii Tennis

Wii Tennis may be the simplest of the pack with the game doing all the running for you. All you need to do is to successfully hit the ball back, which should not be much of a problem. You can showcase all your tennis skills here. Yep, every movement with the Wii-mote would affect the style of your shots. Be it a back spin, top spin, left spin, and whatever move you want – you can do it here. You can choose to play a solo game or go with doubles. Where is there a better way to imitate a real game of tennis?

Wii Bowling

The same level of interactivity is also present in Wii Bowling. The Wii-mote becomes your bowling ball in this segment of Wii Sports. Swing the Wii-mote forward like what you would do with your bowling ball. It would help if you have played bowling before – every movement will affect the delivery of the ball and ultimately decide how many pins would be knocked down. You can move your position with the D-pad on the Wii-mote, in addition to adjusting the angle of direction. When you are ready, hold down the ‘B’ button, and swing the Wii-mote forward, not forgetting to release the button to release the ball. Ask your friends over to your house to have a game of bowling!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

PS3 and Wii Launch Titles

What are the games that you will be playing on day 1 of the PS3 and Wii console launches? Powerplay lists them down for your reference. All games listed here are confirmed.

PS3 launch titles
Genji: Days of the Blade
NBA Live 07
Resistance: Fall of Man
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2
Call of Duty 3
Fight Night Round 3
The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
Full Auto 2 Battlelines
Madden NFL 07
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
Untold Legends Dark Kingdom
Ridge Racer 7
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Sonic the Hedgehog
Need for Speed Carbon
Tony Hawk's Project 8
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

Wii launch titles
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Excite Trucks
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
Red Steel
Wii Sports
Splinter Cell Double Agent
Monster 4 X 4 World Circuit
GT Pro Series
Open Season
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2
Far Cry Vengeance
Rayman Raving Rabbids
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Need for Speed Carbon
Madden NFL 07
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Disney’s/Pixar Cars
The Ant Bully
Avatar: The Last Airbender
SpongeBob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
Metal Slug Anthology
Happy Feet
Call of Duty 3

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hits and Misses:Nintendo Wii

With just a few weeks leading to the launch of the Nintendo Wii, Powerplay takes a look at what the Wii has gotten right, and what not.


When it comes to the best part of the entire Wii package, nothing comes closer to the position than the Wii-mote. Instead of sticking with the conventional controller design with the buttons and analog sticks, Nintendo went all out to sculpture one brand new never-seen-before controller design – the Wii-mote. Shaped like a remote control, it will change the way gamers interact with games. As the features of the Wii-mote have been talked about in many previous articles, I would not be repeating all the information again. We have the motion-sensitivity technology to thank.

Least Expensive Next-gen Console
Among all the next-gen consoles, the Wii will be the cheapest. In fact, it is also value for money. For your money, you get the console, the Wii-mote, the sensor bar for the Wii-mote, a free game, Wii Sports, and the Wii Channels. The only trade-offs are the lack of a hard disk and DVD playback functionality.

Wii Channel
Many of us expected Nintendo to go with a plain, simple interface for the Wii, but Nintendo gave everyone a nice surprise when the Wii Channel is announced. To put it simply, the Wii Channel is the first screen that you will see once you fire up your Wii. From the screen, you can access the Internet Channel, which allows you to browse the Internet on your television set via an Opera web browser, New Channel, which is constantly updated with the latest news, Weather Channel, which tells you the weather forecast, your Virtual Console, which you will be using to download classic games from previous Nintendo consoles, as well as those from many other manufacturers, and last but not least, the Disk Drive Channel, which tells you what disc is currently in the Wii disk drive, be it a Wii game or a GameCube game. The Wii is also fully compatible with all GameCube games. Cheers!

Hit Wii Games Including Those from Virtual Console
Ubisoft, EA and Midway have all shown tremendous support for the Wii, which is a good sign that Nintendo is gathering more third-party support. Third-party exclusive Wii games include first-person shooter (FPS) Red Steel, GT Pro Series, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Far Cry Vengeance and many more. In addition to third-party games, Nintendo has stayed true to its tradition of releasing hit first-party games. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is invading the Wii, and so are Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Excite Trucks, Wii Sports, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Battalion Wars 2, Wii Music Orchestra among many others. 30 games will be available before the end of this year and not forgetting the Virtual Console games. Now, there is one problem: Do you have the time to finish them all?


Lack of HD Support
For many who expected the Wii to have at least some kind of HD support, they were let down. Nintendo claimed that not many people are adopting HD, and so, to keep the cost of the console down, Nintendo has not included HD support, the obverse to what the PS3 and Xbox 360 are doing – aggressively promoting HD technology. On the other hand, for people who do not have HD TVs, you are still able to enjoy the full benefits of the Wii, plus there is no need to fork out extra money for a HD TV. But Nintendo should understand that the next-gen console war does not only last for one or two years. By the time the Wii reaches its fourth year, there is every possibility that HD will be popularized by then. At that point of time, the Wii could be on the losing end.

Still Needs More Third-party Support
It is true that Nintendo has some fantastic third-party games coming right up, but I still could not find the 2K Games logo on anything associated with the Wii – or DS, as well. Vivendi Universal Games/Sierra has also not been adopting the Wii, save for a game called ‘Ice Age 2: The Meltdown’. To conquer the console market, it is a given that the Wii needs more third-party support. Nintendo must persuade game publishers to throw away the ‘The GameCube is a kids’ console, so the Wii must also be a kids’ console’ concept. This is further demonstrated that there are many kid titles for the Wii like Barnyard, The Ant Bully, Cars and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. I am sure you do not see these games released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo needs to get rid of that wrong perception – fast – if it wants the Wii to succeed!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hits and Misses:Xbox 360

It has been more than 10 months since Microsoft released their Xbox 360 next-gen console. How has the console been doing so far? Powerplay analyzes the hits and misses of the Xbox 360.


Early Release Date
Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 one year earlier than its rivals, the PS3 and the Wii, to gain a stronger foothold on the next-gen console market. It launched in November 2005 and since then, 5 million units have been sold worldwide as of Jun 30 2006. Microsoft hopes to meet its 10 million target before the PS3 and Wii are released. Launching the console a year earlier than its competitor does has its advantages. By the time the PS3 and the Wii are launched, the Xbox 360’s game library will dwarf the game libraries of the other 2 consoles and people will have more selection options. More games like the highly-anticipated Gears of War and wresting game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 will launch this year-end to help push sales of the Xbox 360. By now, Xbox 360 already has its established share of fans and Xbox Live is up and doing fine. The early release date also gives Microsoft time to correct the problems of the Xbox 360 like crashing, freezing among some others.

In-the-middle price tag
The Xbox 360 is not as cheap as the Wii, but it is also not as expensive as the PS3, so where does the Xbox 360 does falls into? For your buck, you get HD capability, in addition to the ability to play DVD movies, a bundled controller and a few months of Xbox Live. For its price, the Xbox 360 is a well-rounded entertainment machine that can hold its own against the many gadgets in your living room. The Xbox 360 is also backward-compatible with most of the Xbox games.

Xbox Live Arcade
Several interactive and original game titles are available in the Xbox Live Arcade right now. These games can be downloaded for a token fee, or if you have ample Microsoft points, you can buy the games with these points as well. Classic hits like Doom and Defender are also available over at Xbox Live Arcade. All these games give Xbox 360 owners more choices and provide them with additional hours of enjoyment.

Exclusive Game Titles
Lately, we have been seeing some new exclusive Xbox 360 game titles that are set to make anyone drool. Dead Rising is one example. The game puts you into the role of a photojournalist, but with a slight twist for the images that you will be taking are not actually the norms, but zombies! Survive the ordeal and live to tell the tale. Another exclusive game is Saint’s Row. For gamers who cannot get enough of Grand Theft Auto, this game is it. Saint’s Row replicates the experience of Grand Theft Auto, yet at the same time, repairs the lingering minor flaws of the game. As the Xbox 360 progress further into its lifetime, we may see more of such games.


Design Issues and Controller
When Microsoft first released its big black Xbox, people complained that it was too huge. It is not as compact as the slim PS2 and small GameCube. When Microsoft launched its Xbox 360, the problem still remains. Why is the Xbox 360 still so large? Compare that with the PS3 and the Wii and it is going to be obvious that Xbox 360 is going to be a loser in terms of size. It is a welcomed fact that the controller has gone wireless, but the controller is still lacking in motion-sensitivity. With the PS3 controller having some form of motion-sensitivity and the Wii embracing the technology to the fullest extent, the Xbox 360 controller looks obsolete next the other 2.

Lack of Many Big Titles This Holiday Season
What could have been an added bonus for the Xbox 360 game library recently went up in smoke. Forza Motorsport 2 was delayed. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Mass Effect and Too Human are also following in the footsteps of Forza Motorsport 2. Finally, to add to Microsoft’s headache, Nintendo is releasing a game of epic scale, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as a Wii launch title. This particular Zelda game, as promised by Nintendo, will be the biggest Zelda game ever and will definitely serve its role of being a console sales-puller. Sony has got a bunch of juicy games too. Besides Gears of War, Xbox 360 will have little to show this holiday season. The situation would have been a lot different if they could stop delaying games.

The Cruel-to-Xbox 360 Japanese Market
The Xbox came in last behind PS2 and GameCube in the last-gen console war in the Japanese market, so will the Xbox 360 inherit the fate of the Xbox as well? If early signs are any indications, it will. The Japanese have been slow to adopt the Xbox 360, with many units shipped, but yet, many remain unwanted in the stores. Some retailers in Japan have resorted to a price cut, but to no avail. At least Microsoft is aware of this and is taking a positive step towards changing the situation. 2 heavily-hyped Japanese RPGs, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, are set to launch on the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s aim is to woo more Japanese buyers. Recent release Enchanted Arms does not seem to have any impact at all, if any. Microsoft must learn the way of the PS2 in order to survive in the harsh Japanese market.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gears of War:The Hype

If you have a keen eye, you will know that Microsoft has been pushing the heavily-hyped third-person shooter game, Gears of War for the Xbox 360, aggressively since it was first announced. Gears of War is touted as the next Halo by Microsoft, but will Gears of War really live up to its hype? But first, it must be known why Microsoft is doing this.

The main reason why Microsoft is promoting this game unlike any other is because of the looming holiday season next-gen console war. While Nintendo will rock gamers with the much-anticipated Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as well as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Microsoft will have little to counter against since Halo 3 and the recently announced Halo Wars, an real-time strategy (RTS) game based on the Halo universe, are not slated for release until late next year. While Sony will make gamers drool with a slew of tempting games like Resistance: Fall of Man and Heavenly Sword, in addition to Lair, Microsoft, again will have little to show. Besides a few fantastic multi-platform games here and there like Splinter Cell Double Agent and Need for Speed Carbon, the Xbox 360’s big games will not arrive until next year, including Too Human, Mass Effect and the delayed-yet-another-time Forza Motorsport 2. Microsoft seriously need some outstanding games to help sell the Xbox 360 this holiday season, especially since it wants to meet its ‘10 million Xbox 360s’ sold target before the PS3 and the Wii are launched. Gears of War is the next big Microsoft-published game coming out so, of course, Microsoft will want to make sure that it is a hit. It wants Gears of War to be a game, whose experience will stay with the player long after the game is finished – another wholesome franchise of Microsoft. Microsoft wants Marcus Fenix, the main character, to be the new face of the Xbox 360 – to accompany Master Chief. Needless to say, to keep the game going, multiplayer is a vital component. It is Halo 2’s multiplayer that keeps it so popular, so the same must also be done with Gears of War (this will be expanded on later). Note: Halo 2 was even played at the 2005 World Cyber Games!

Now, the main question is not how Xbox 360 is going to become more successful with Gears of War, but whether Gears of War will truly deliver the ‘x-factor’. Gears of War will implement Halo’s tried-and-tested formula, yet at the same time, expand on it to make sure that the player will have a much more immersive experience. Yes, Gears of War and Halo are in the same game genre (well, sort of): they are both action shooters, only that Gears of War, as mentioned earlier, is played in a third-person view. On the behalf of all gamers, here is hoping that there will be no pesky camera issues that have plagued so many third-person action games before it. Gears of War is so similar to Halo to the extent of its storyline. It starts out like this: An alien race, Locust Horde is trying to invade Earth and Marcus Fenix (main character) must lead his troop of 4 into an almost-suicidal mission in an attempt to save humankind. Does this plot ring a bell in your mind? Aren’t the Convenant also trying to invade the Earth in Halo 2? Yep, you heard it right. This is the plot of Gears of War and every event will revolve around it. The story mode will span 36 hours of the life of Marcus Fenix, spreading over an amazing number of 30 missions. The one thing you should know about Gears of War is that the quest to save the Earth is not a solo effort – it involves your troop mates, unlike in Halo 2. This aspect of the game gives way to the possibility to include teamwork and the game developer, Epic Games, has done just that. Cooperation is definitely encouraged in this game – you will able to understand it from the scenarios, the missions and the maps. In the middle of a single-player mission, your friend can also conveniently jump into the game and take control of your troop mate either via split-screen or through an Xbox Live link. That is when the fun comes in. Branching paths are available, so you can go this way and your friend can go the other way and flank the Locust Horde together. Of course, the other 2 A.I.-controlled troop mates will offer a great help too. Like in Halo and Halo 2, your friend can pilot the vehicle, while you man the gun. EA aims to replicate this kind of experience in its upcoming action game, Army of Two, where both soldiers must be kept alive for the game to progress. Okay, back to the point. Imagine this: Voice chat. As far as multiplayer is concerned, you will be surprised to find that voice chat is also supported. Now, you can even strategize with your friend first – verbally – before actually moving in to attack. Deathmatch (4 vs. 4), and all the other bell and whistles of other fabulous multiplayer games. There are two other multiplayer modes, but not much has been known about those. Let’s put it in this way: Gears of War is your next-gen Halo with all the full-blown capabilities of HD graphics displayed, from lightings to animations, name what you want – Epic Games will have them all covered. Gears of War does have the recipe for success, or so it seems. The game stands a good chance of exporting the experience of Halo and Halo 2 over to the Xbox 360, if early signs are any indication. Without saying, the game will contain much much more content that has not been touched on in this article. Playing the game is essential to finding out more about it. It is there and if you take time to learn more about it, you will find it a remarkable experience.

Will Gears of War live up to its hype and really help push sales of the Xbox 360 just like what Halo and Halo 2 did for the Xbox? Will Gears of War truly deliver what we expect or will it flop? It all remains to be seen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hardware Guide 27:Razer Tarantula

Ever wanted a gaming keyboard that exudes class, yet at the same time, manages to be choke-full of features? If a gaming keyboard has an easy way of describing it, this is it. Razer, the maker of the several gaming mice, has produced yet another award-winning design product, but this time, it is the Razer Tarantula. The first thing you should know about this gaming keyboard is that it actually allows you to store profiles in it, made possible by the built-in memory of 32KB. Not satisfied? You can even go up to 100 profiles using the provided software drivers. Once a game is loaded, the keyboard will automatically detect and launch the pre-set profile for that game. The other difference between the Razer Tarantula and other gaming keyboards is that the keys here are interchangeable. Using the Razer Tarantula Tool provided, you can swap any of the standard keys for 10 gaming hotkeys, which are included (Zoom in/out, Armor, Rifle, Pistol and more) as well. More gaming hotkeys for other popular games will be released in the future. No gaming keyboard is complete without macro keys, and the Razer Tarantula does not fail to deliver. 10 of them will be available. With this feature, you can execute a move that (for example) usually requires 5 keystrokes with just a single key press. To top it off, the keys are also specially coated with a unique membrane that reduces key latency and maximize response for critical actions during gameplay. Besides, the keyboard is equipped with the anti-ghosting technology, allowing for multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously. As an added feature, the BattleDock is located at the top of the keyboard. This allows you to add 2 other Razer accessories, namely Razer BattleLight (image left) and Razer BattleEye (image right), to the keyboard. The Razer Tarantula is donned in stylish black metal and is complemented by a Razer logo emitting eerie blue light at the bottom. Behind the keyboard are some added offerings (image below). Look out for this gaming keyboard – coming your way soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Innovative Gaming of Today and Tomorrow

At one point of time, you must have at least touched one innovative game or gaming hardware that may have surprised you. In this special article, Powerplay evaluates some of the innovations to find out whether they are for the better or for the worse.


The Wii-mote for the upcoming Nintendo Wii console is a far cry from the big fat controller of the Nintendo GameCube. The Wii-mote sets itself apart of other game controllers because instead of the conventional design that we have come to expect every time a new controller comes out, it sports a shape of a remote control. Not only that, the Wii-mote takes it a step further by including motion-sensitivity to promote more interactivity in games. For example, while playing a game of tennis, all you need is to swipe the Wii-mote for you to hit the ball, doing away with the numerous buttons and sticks on conventional controllers. This type of interaction give games a whole new level of realism, as well as being able to appeal to newbies, who may be shying away from the complex games of today that usually requires you to read the manual and memorize complicated sequences of button presses before you can get down to play. The Wii-mote is definitely an innovation for the better.

PS3 controller

The PS3 controller resembles the Wii-mote by the fact that it also has motion-sensitivity, but only to a lesser extent. You are still required to press the buttons when it comes to traditional combat in an RPG or in any other type of gameplay, but the PS3 controller offers a little more variety. Controlling a plane in a flight simulation game or a flight action game is no longer restricted to just analog sticks and … … more analog sticks. To turn the plane, simply tilt the controller and there you go! This particular feature will be utilized in the PS3 game, Warhawk. There may be a possibility that this feature may also be used to break the necks of enemies in Metal Gear Solid 4: Gun of the Patriots, but the decision is not yet finalized. All in all, the PS3 controller possesses a similar aim as the Wii-mote and that is to promote interactivity in games.

DS/DS Lite Touch-screen

The DS is the first handheld by a well-known company to include a touch-screen, and the DS Lite, its successor, continues to include that feature. Many creative games have been made for the DS that would otherwise be impossible without a touch-screen. In other words, the touch-screen has opened up many new possibilities for game developers, who want to create games for the DS. There have been ample examples to drive this point home, from Brain Age to Cooking Mama to the knife combats in Resident Evil Deadly Silence. Gameplay of this kind keeps the players really involved in the game and it truly engages them. Arcade favorite Point Blank has also made its way to the DS because of the presence of a touch-screen. The stylus becomes your gun in the game and it does a good job, if not perfect, of replicating the experience on a handheld.

DS/DS Lite Microphone

The microphone situated below the screen of the original DS has been relocated to the hinge on the redesigned DS Lite. It is not a feature that is as prominent as the touch-screen, but nevertheless, credit must be given to the DS designers for including it as well. Few games have ever used the microphone, but if it is used, it ups the excitement factor of the game. One example can be seen in Resident Evil Deadly Silence, where you blow into the microphone to revive a person. It allows you to feel as if you are that person in the game – very innovative gameplay. While the microphone plays an important role in this game, it is sometimes given the role of pure enjoyment like in Mario Kart DS. It is not necessary for you to blow into the microphone to inflate the balloons in the balloon battles, but try blowing into the microphone and you will realize it works just as well. It contributes more fun to the game.

Games with Innovative Controls

Recent DS games like StarFox Command and Mario Hoops 3-on-3 have signaled a change from the use of traditional controls schemes (A, B, X and Y buttons, D-pad) in previous games. Instead, the touch-screen takes up most of the responsibilities. In fact, it is an integral part of the gameplay. In StarFox Command, players make ‘drawings’ on the touch-screen to control the plane. Then, in Mario Hoops 3-on-3, the game practically relies on touch-screen controls for movements. You block, you snatch the ball from your opponents, and almost every other movement requires you to draw ‘directions’ on the touch-screen. Yes, this is innovation – a very obvious sign of it, but is it really for the better? The touch-screen – everyone should be informed – may not cooperate at times, which results in frustration. What I mean is that the touch-screen may not always be responsive to your ‘drawings’. Either it does not recognize your swipes on the screen or it fails to react quickly enough. I have played the puzzles in MechAssualt: Phantom War and when (sometimes) I tried to hit the symbols and pull them into the boxes, the touch-screen refuses to register my movements. And then the touch-screen becomes your bonus enemy in later puzzles when the symbols start traveling at top speeds and it becomes more difficult to catch them. All these only mean one thing: Use innovation appropriately; do not overuse it. Overusing it would result in, as I put it earlier: Innovation for the worse.

Other articles related to this topic: Uniquely Gaming
How about some innovative games?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Game Preview 19 - Superman Returns:The Videogame

Publisher: EA
Platform Available: Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, DS
Release date: November 20 (US), December 31 (Europe), November 20 (US) – DS version, November 24 (Europe) – DS version

Superman Returns: The Videogame is based on the movie of the same name released earlier this year, and if you are expecting the actors and actresses to lend their voices to this game, then you are in luck. Mostly typical of Xbox 360 games, the Xbox 360 build of the game will have slick visuals. The buildings and skyscrapers of Metropolis, the setting for the game, look realistic and Superman himself looks highly detailed. Unlike most games where you meet with an invisible wall of sort if you stray too far out, Superman Returns: The Videogame aims to let you fly higher, even higher than the skyscrapers. Superman Returns: The Videogame also differs a little from other similar games by the fact that Superman does not have a health bar because he is invincible. However, not having a health bar tagged to your character does not necessarily guarantee an easy route to victory. In fact, Metropolis, the city which you are supposed to protect, has acquired the health bar. In other words, if you fail to halt the enemies from destructing the city or if you accidentally kill some of the civilians, the city’s health bar will start depleting in no time .The city of Metropolis is built virtually with the word ‘vast’ in mind, so you can expect to do lots of exploring, which is what the game wants you to do. While there are side missions that you do not need to complete in order to progress further into the game, they are essential in unlocking some new moves and boosting Metropolis’s health bar. You can save kittens, help civilians, and boost Metropolis’s health bar. Side missions are usually triggered by flying (does Superman even needs to walk?) into a particular area. You can ignore the side missions, but once you are in, there is no exit. You must ensure that the enemies in that particular side mission are silenced, or else you risk the depletion of Metropolis’s health bar. That being said, you should know your priorities. Should you pay attention to the more dangerous villain, which registers a three-storey height, or should you choose to fight that opponent, which poses less of a hazard? Of course, you will choose to concentrate on the bigger obstacles and the game has got plenty to provide in this area. I do not know if you view that as unfortunate, but this is supposed to make the game much more exciting. Enemies that appear in the game include some of those that are not seen in the movie such as Metallo, one of them that you will encounter several times, Mongul, Platoon and Riot among others. Lex Luthor, the villain who appeared in the movie, is included as well. It actually helps if you have read some Superman comics before. Needless to say, Superman has a ton of super powers at his disposal to finish off his enemies with unimaginable forces. You start the game with basic powers like freeze breath, heat vision and super breath. That is not to mention that Superman does have the ability to fly at incredible speeds, almost matching that of light. There are 40 combo moves for you to unlock, in addition to upgradeable powers. Don’t forget the costumes! The objects in the environments can be utilized to hurl at your enemies, but that will put the surrounding civilians at risk, so do it at your own peril. Superman possesses aerial attacks, slamming moves and many more waiting for you in the game. You will have to decide which is most suitable for which enemy. Alas, Superman Returns: The Videogame is played in a third-person view, and when that is mentioned, do the two words “camera problems” come to your mind? Often, games are bogged down by camera issues, with the camera simply not positioning itself right. EA has done its work and Superman Returns: The Videogame attempts to correct that egregious error. In this game, however, the camera will be placed at an acceptable distance from Superman and allows you to view all the happenings nicely, so you can rest assure that the camera will not be a bonus enemy in this game. Animations and special effects will be in abundance in this game – a treat for your eyes. Superman Returns: The Videogame is Xbox Live-enabled and will have achievement points, but details are still scarce at the moment. The game also allows you to play as Bizzaro Superman – that kind of superfluous, but nice things – EA has added them in as well, including some mini-games that you should find time to try out – even if you are Superman. In a nutshell, Superman Returns: The Videogame may turn out to be one of the best movie-based games. It looks promising, engaging, interesting, but unfortunately, for PC owners who do not own any console, you may miss all the action. The game releases just after PS3 and Wii are launched. Look out for it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hardware Guide 26:Zboard Limited Edition Counter Strike Keyset

Give yourself an added advantage in the popular Counter Strike game. If there is any keyboard that can claim the throne to be the most customized keyboard for the first-person shooter (FPS) game, it must be the Zboard Limited Edition Counter Strike Keyset. Featuring 12 special quick radio buttons to simplify in-game communications, it also boasts a total of 20 keys specifically dedicated to equipment purchase.

In other words, you can buy your preferred weapon with just a press of a key. The keyset is further decorated by official Counter Strike decals and it is compatible with Counter Strike, Counter Strike: Condition Zero and Counter Strike: Source. The keyset requires the Zboard Gaming Keyboard to be operational. For starters, the Zboard Gaming Keyboard is a standard keyboard by itself, but is interchangeable with different keysets such as this one. Other keysets include the World of Warcraft keyset, Guild Wars Factions keyset, Call of Duty 2 keyset and Battlefield 2 keyset.

The Superhero Cast

Are you ready for the groups of superheroes to invade your console or PC? From Spider-Man to Superman to Invisible Woman, you will have almost all of the superheroes ever imagined at your disposal. In this article, Powerplay introduces to you 3 of these games.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Publisher: Activision
Platform Available: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, Xbox, PSP, GBA, (DS version cancelled)
Release date: October to November

Some superheroes featured: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Thing, Invisible Woman, Silver Surfer, Captain America, Wolverine, Elektra

Take control of your favorite superheroes as they attempt to defeat the most dangerous villains in the Marvel universe, including Dr. Doom and Blackheart. In this game, you are presented with an opportunity to form a team of 4 superheroes, even allowing you to choose the team name, icon, and many more. Build up the reputation of your team as you play through the story mode. Utilize each superhero’s unique powers and use them to their fullest advantage. With a wide variety of moves to perform, from grappling to swinging, there can never be a shortage of ways to eliminate the baddies. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is one of the biggest Marvel games ever, featuring 140 characters (although not all are playable). Competitive and co-op multiplayer modes are also available.

Justice League Heroes

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform Available: PS2, Xbox
Release date: October 17 (US)

Some superheroes featured: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna

The superheroes of Justice League Heroes hail from the world of DC Comics and nothing can be better than taking control of Superman or Batman. Brainiac and his other villains want to conquer the world and eliminate the Justice League once and for all, but is it really possible? Join forces as the superheroes combine their powers in an attempt to defeat the hordes of villains. Each character is accompanied by a set of specific powers and fighting styles. Master the techniques of the superpowers, which can also be customized. Battles take place in destructible environments, providing for some really creative ways to kill the enemies.

Superman Returns: The VideogamePublisher: EA
Platform Available: Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, DS, (PSP version cancelled)
Release date: November 20 (US)

Superhero: Superman

Based on the film of the same name released earlier this year, Superman Returns: The Videogame allows you to take full control of Superman and protect the city of Metropolis. Want to impress the people? Fly overhead and they will take snapshots of you, but the game contains more than this. You have a job – and that is to ensure that the people are safe. Make quick decisions as to which task you want to complete first – saving the people from a disaster or fight the villain. Make a right choice for a wrong one may result in the destruction of the city and hamper your progress of the game. Superman Returns: The Videogame looks to be an intense game that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Game Sales:Online Distribution or Packaged Discs?

In the age where speed is the key factor to almost everything and anything, online distribution of games has been growing, and we are not just talking about small games, but heavy titles like the recently-released Half-Life 2: Episode One. The mentioned game is not the only one jumping onto the online distribution bandwagon. Valve’s Steam also distributed SiN Episode: Emergence, the first of the planned series of 9 episodes of the first-person action shooter, online. As time progresses, we may get to see more games that are distributed online.

Game developers do have a reason for distributing games online; there are clear advantages. Firstly, distributing the game online means that the game can be delivered over the Internet conveniently without the intervention of a game publisher. With users having increasingly faster Internet speeds, it is also no wonder that online distribution of games has just became more popular. Without the time and energy that would otherwise be needed for packaged discs, the cost required to produce a game would be significantly lower. Game developers are able to use the time and money saved to improve upon their game. These savings, in turn, would get passed down to the consumers and they would be able to purchase the games at a lower cost. Smaller developers would get opportunities to get their games across to the players without incurring huge costs. This helps make the game industry better as well, by the fact that there are more variety of games, and more people would be attracted into developing games than previously imagined. All the various factors have given rise to online distribution of games.

On the other hand, the other method that a game can be distributed is through the conventional way – packaged discs, with all the fancy box arts with enticing colors and screenshots at the back. Packaged discs trump over online distribution in some ways, though. Surely, grabbing a game off the shelves and immediately installing the game once you arrive home is faster than downloading the purchased game, but what if? What if you do not have a game store in your vicinity? Then, there is no denying the fact that downloading a game beats getting down to that store. Packaged games also trump over games that are online distributed in another way – by including a manual that you can refer to as and when you like – even when you are in a midst of a battle. They same cannot be said about games that are online distributed game, unless, of course, you find one yourself and print it out. Fortunately, the manual is just a minor component of the entire game package.

As far as the growth of online distribution is concerned, (unfortunately) it does not seem to be taking off in the area of console gaming. You seldom see big hits like Halo 2 being distributed online, if any. But in the area of the PC, online distribution is doing well. So well that there are solid examples to demonstrate the success of online distribution. FilePlanet and Direct2Drive are just two of the examples. FilePlanet deals with the downloading of game demos, game patches and some miscellaneous files. Direct2Drive allows gamers to download full games hot from the Internet, including some of the most recent ones. The method of payment is usually by credit cards. For both applications, membership is needed to a certain extent; it is needed for downloading of most files. All in all, both are reasonably convenient ways to get your gaming fixes.

As you can see so far, online distribution of games is indeed a success. But for the packaged disc business that is valued at US$30 billion, it would definitely take quite a while before the distribution method is entirely phased out. That being said, which would you choose? Would you download your favorite games online, or would you make a trip down to the store and try to squeeze out some bargains from the store owner? Your choice, you decide. But for now, getting the packaged disc is still the more preferred choice among gamers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Game Preview 18:Forza Motorsport 2

Publisher: Microsoft
Platform Available: Xbox 360
Release date: Q1 2007

It is time to surge forza (forward in Italian) again with Forza Motorsport returning on Xbox 360. With the added power of the Xbox 360, you can expect Forza Motorsport 2 to look much more gorgeous than its predecessor. Car models will be highly detailed and there will be no obtruding polygons when the cars are speeding. In fact, the vehicles look almost like the real ones! With 300 licensed cars, including anything from Lamborghinis to Nissans to Corvettes, you will be spoilt for choice. Forza Motorsport 2 is also set on expanding the number of tracks from Forza Motorsport to a total of 70, some fictitious, some real ones. As in Forza Motorsport, the racing lines will still be making an appearance to guide players along the most suitable side of the track to drive on. If there is any complaint that can be leveled at the first Forza, it must be the damage presentation and Forza Motorsport 2 attempts to correct that. A new level of realism has been injected into the game. For example, constant rubbing against the wall will inevitably cause deformation of some parts of the cars and little cracks on the windshield will form. There will be more variation in car damage as well. Heavy car damage will cause the car to be totaled and unable to continue the race, unlike in the first Forza, where players are still able to race despite sustaining serious damage. Want to show your car to the world? Take a snapshot – Forza 2 allows the option for you to do just that. If you are planning to purchase Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, then you will be getting more bang for your buck with Forza Motorsport 2. That is because the game is being developed in a way such that it will work with the add-on, featuring both force feedback and rumble. Needless to say, Forza Motorsport 2 will not be complete without extra customizable options. The game allows you to use 4000 layers to customize the exterior of your car as opposed to just 600 layers in Forza Motorsport. Change your engines, hoods, add decals and many more options for you to ponder over. As far as multiplayer is concerned, the finished game will support up to 12 players in a single race. And to a certain extent, Forza Motorsport 2 will be modeled after Project Gotham Racing 3. PGR3’s spectator mode will be exported over to Forza Motorsport 2 and improved upon. Leaderboard qualified tournaments may be installed and PGR3 TV may also be recreated in some way. Originally slated for a November release, Forza Motorsport 2 has been delayed, and that certainly provides the developers with significantly more time to make some changes to the game.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hardware Guide 25:Logitech ChillStream

Christmas is just around the corner and besides the new game consoles, there are still some other funky gaming gadgets for you to try out. The Logitech ChillStream, which was recently launched, is one of them.

At first glance, the Logitech ChillStream may look like an Xbox 360 game controller with the familiar A, B, X and Y buttons, which coincidentally, are coated in the same colors as the Xbox 360 buttons, but no, it is a PC gaming controller. For gamers who often get sweaty palms when playing the more intense games, this controller will solve your problems. The controller contains a built-in fan whose speed can be adjusted with 3 speed settings to dry your palms. However, if you are looking for a wireless experience, this controller will not be able to cater; it is USB-corded. Designed to make sure that you can hold the controller comfortably in your hands, it also has rubber grips for firm handling and is covered in an elegant silver. What’s more, you do not need the latest operating system to use the controller; it is compatible even with computers using Windows 2000 and for those who are upgrading to Windows Vista next year, the controller will also be compatible.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Uniquely Gaming

(SUPER EXCLUSIVE) -- In this exclusive article, Powerplay explores some of the most unique games that do not seem to fit in any game genre. Welcome to the world of unique gaming, a place where innovative, creative and original games dominate.

Guitar Hero 2 (PS2, Xbox 360)
Once in a while, a music game pops out, but nothing comes closer to Guitar Hero in terms of popularity, and the sequel, Guitar Hero 2 will build on the success of Guitar Hero. Featuring a spanking new and longer song list, and armed with new venues and play modes, Guitar Hero 2 plans to overwhelm you with more choices than its predecessor. With a total of 40 songs, you may be forgiven for thinking that you can go rocking the entire day. Feeling lonely? Take on the multiplayer co-op mode and invite a friend over. Your rocking sessions will be complemented by cool guitars as well.

Every Extend Extra (PSP)
Every Extend originated as a freely-distributed computer puzzle/action game, but eventually made its way to the PSP in the form of Every Extend Extra. Every Extend Extra may look easy at first glance with its innocent triangular chains and vibrant colors, but you need some skills to make it through the levels. String chains together and build up combos as you shake to the unique music beats of every level. Train your reflexes and concentration as the challenges get increasingly intense and work around the given 15 lives and short time limit. EEE is a pure addictive game that is only let down by the lack of more than a dozen levels.

Brain Age/Big Brain Academy (DS)
Brain Age is a never-seen-before game that arrived on the DS earlier this year. It involves you taking part in various activities, ranging from simple mathematics problems to the more intensive memory tests. After you have completed the exercises, the game will tell you the age of you brain. For Sudoku lovers, the puzzles are included as well. Undisputedly, Brain Age is one of this year’s most unique titles and up till now, it is still up that in the charts that says: Top-10 best selling games. Big Brain Academy, the successor to Brain Age, builds on the gameplay of Brain Age by providing more problems. A stress-reliever, Big Brain Academy is an original game that is suitable for all ages.

Wario Ware: Smooth Moves (Wii)
There is no better way of using the Wii-mote than playing this wacky game! You will be required to do all sorts of weird moves like standing the Wii-mote on your head and swinging it. Wario Ware: Smooth Moves definitely is one of those interactive games that only comes out once in a blue moon. With 200 creative and quick mini-games, this is one game made for the whole family. In other words, anyone can pick up the game and play – no training, no experience required. Fast and enjoyable.

Cooking Mama (DS)
The touch-screen of the DS is put to an acid test by Cooking Mama, which utilizes it for every mini-game. In a nutshell, Cooking Mama is an innovative game that comprises mainly of mini-games that have you doing simple tasks like cutting up carrots or frying an egg. For all of these tasks, all you need is your stylus and there you go: slicing, grating, peeling, mashing, to name a few. You are also able to share recipes with 4 other people. Cooking Mama certainly qualifies as one of the pick-and-go games that is well-tailored for people from all walks of life.

LocoRoco (PSP)
Take a break and find time to dive into the colorful world of LocoRoco. Your aim is simple, yet challenging: Guide little rolling and bouncing blobs through the levels by using the PSP’s left and right shoulder buttons to tilt the world in either direction. Join up with other blobs to make your blob bigger and at the same time, avoid splinters and enemies. LocoRoco is a refreshingly brilliant game built for anyone who wants to relax.

Electroplankton (DS)
If you are playing this game, be sure to put on a pair of headphones so that your works can be heard clearly. Get the hint: This is a music game, featuring 10 types of ever adorable creatures in the sea, which are known as “electric planktons”. Let loose your sense of creativity. Draw a path for the electric planktons and depending on the speed and direction, a piece of music is produced. Bundle that with a bag of effects, and this is a game that will truly make your day better. It is just a pity that your audio cannot be saved and once you exit the game, you will have to recreate the same piece of music if you want your friends to hear your works out.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)
The gameplay of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney speaks volumes about the game. Your are put into the role of Phoenix Wright, ace attorney, as he gathers the all-important evidence, interviews witnesses, surveys crime scenes in 5 various cases. Detect whether if there is any speck of truth in the witnesses’ words strengthen your case by presenting findings during proceedings. To sum it all up, this game is truly in a world of its own by allowing the players to act in the drama that is played out ever so often in the courts. Who knows? You may find this game useful for your lawyer training, well, if you want to be a lawyer, that is. Okay, case closed.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

PSP:Summer and Beyond

In the final article of the Summer and Beyond series, Powerplay focuses on the PSP and the better games that will soon invade it. Read on.

Medal of Honor Heroes

EA’s Medal of Honor franchise makes its way to the PSP, featuring 3 new missions. Experience the thrill of the single-player campaign, or choose from 6 different multiplayer modes, which are complemented by 15 multiplayer maps. 32 players can play wirelessly on the same map at any one time, so … … ask your friends over! What’s more, you can unlock more than 20 classic characters for use in multiplayer. Your PSP needs some WW2 action.


From the makers of Heroes of the Pacific, comes another flight action game that you simply cannot afford to miss. The game brings more than 30 aircrafts to life in the virtual world with detailed models and with 40 weapons, you can be sure that there is going to be lots of destruction, which brings us to special effects. The ‘Impact Cam’ feature in the game ensures that you are able to see the fruits of your hard work. If you are thirsting for some flight action, nothing comes closer than this game.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Follow-up to Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, this sequel takes you back into the dangerous world of GTA. You know it: It is time for more action!


Hot PXL signals a refreshing change from the ports that used to plague the PSP, looking amazingly funky, hip, original and creative. Hot PXL is essentially a collection of mini-games that draws inspiration from street culture and digital lifestyle, as well as the rich videogame history of Atari. Hot PXL is no mobile advertisement for the PSP graphical capability, but it introduces pure addictive gameplay that has you doing things like stage-diving at a concert and crossing busy roads.

Killzone: Liberation

(Adapted from IGN) -- The first PSP entry in the Killzone franchise. Killzone: Liberation is an intense and stealth-oriented action game played out in a top-down perspective. The story follows the conclusion of events in the first Killzone, with the battle against the Helghast still raging on. In Southern Vekta, the rules of war have been cast aside with the Helghast General, Metrac, employing brutal measures in order to seize the initiative. Returning as Jan Templar, your mission is to undertake a covert operation to save hostages captured by Metrac, whilst ISA troops continue the fight for liberty...

Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception

Can’t get enough of flight simulation games? Namco is trotting out Ace Combat X, featuring an original storyline and detailed jet models. Plan your strategies wisely and attempt to conquer the crimson skies. The game also promises the option to fine tune your jet and no, the jets are not artificial ones – they exist in real-life, so aircraft fans, here is one good game for you too. Multiplayer supports up to 4 players. Expect the norm like dogfights.

The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion (Image not available)

Oblivion has already reached the PC and Xbox 360 and is launching along with the PS3, and luckily for PSP owners, they will get to experience it too. (Adapted from IGN) -- After the mysterious and untimely death of the Emperor, the throne of Tamriel lies empty. With the Empire ready to crumble, the gates of Oblivion open and demons march upon the land - laying waste to everything in their path. To turn the tide of darkness, you must find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all of Tamriel.

Metal Gear Solids: Portable Ops

(Adapted from IGN) -- Big Boss returns to battle in this all-new MGS action game for the PSP system, where players control the original Snake throughout the game as well as recruit and use their own squadron of mercenaries. Big Boss awakens in prison to find that his former unit, FOX, has started a bloody revolt in South America. Set in 1970, the game acts as a missing link in the ongoing Metal Gear Solid narrative, as players learn more about returning characters such as Para-Medic, Major Zero and Sigint and also witness Big Boss' greatest tragedy -- one that sets into motion the events of later games in the series’ timeline. In addition to a full-fledged single player mode set after the events of MGS3: Snake Eater, the game's multiplayer modes let players take their custom squad online to do battle across new levels, featuring a unique "White Flag" mechanic that will allow players to fight to the death or surrender to compete again.

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