Category Archive: Previews

Sep 12 2012

Borderlands 2 (non-playable) Character Bio: Handsome Jack

Jack - The Villain

Jack – The Villain

High above the action, hanging out in his space station, overseeing and attacking the heroes. Not a playable character but Jack is the antagonist in the Borderlands 2 story. And through Jack the player gets to experience some awesome dialogue. The overly narcissistic, humorously sarcastic wit was a highlight of the preview game play we have seen. He is the Villain we will love to hate.

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Sep 11 2012

Borderlands 2 Character Bio: Maya – The Siren

Maya - The Siren

Maya – The Siren

Early information and footage of Maya in action give the impression that her skills of elemental damage and crowd control are almost god-like. In fact, this is not far from the truth.

This Athenas born Siren has come to Pandora to learn more about her heritage. I’m not sure what that entails but I’ll bet the word “annihilation” comes up more than once.

Her main action Skill – Phaselock involves suspending enemies of any size in mid-air. This can be useful for getting a troublesome enemy out of the fight for a few seconds, or capturing a particularly fast one so the rest of your party can recoup or just wail on them.

Her Skill tree is divided into Motion, Harmony and Cataclysm; how very elegant and destructive sounding is that!?

 

 

Maya skill tree

Maya skill tree

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Sep 11 2012

Borderlands 2 Character Bio: Zer0 – The Assassin

Zer0 - The Assassin

Zer0 – The Assassin

Like a Space Ninja, complete with a blade for melee attacks. He looks mysterious and he is. Little is known of this characters back story, but what we have seen in previews shows how this character can kick serious ass. A main skill for Zer0 is deception, which lets him become invisible, and while in stealth mode a holographic decoy distracts enemies, allowing him to sneak up or behind his targets. While he is good up close with that blade, he can also handle a sniper like a pro.

Zer0’s skill tree includes ‘Sniping’ ‘Cunning’ and ‘Bloodshed’. (Notice how the 3 main skill branches pretty much define the character – brilliant!)

 

 

Zer0 skill tree

Zer0 skill tree

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Sep 09 2012

Borderlands 2 Character Bio: Salvador The Gunzerker

Salvador - Gun Zerker

Salvador – Gun Zerker

If you’ve seen any pre-release content for Borderlands 2 so far, you have probably seen this guy. At 5’4”, he is not the tallest of the playable characters (though he may be the strongest). But what he lacks in height he makes up for in gunzerker-ness.

What exactly is a “gunzerker”? well, the Pandora dictionary defines a gunzerker as:  “one who gunzerks”, but you might be more familiar with the term “dual weild”. Yes! Now this sounds like an awesome skill. The power to blast from 2 awesome guns at the same time!

His three skill tree branches are Rampage, Gunlust and Brawn (see below). From some of the trailers we have seen of this guy in action, he defines all three.

Not quite the surgeon with a weapon that Axton might be, Salvador is best at going into a rampage and blasting with maximum damage.

We know that Salvador was born on Pandora and we look forward to learning more back story of this tough looking hombre.

 

Salvador skill tree

Salvador skill tree

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Sep 09 2012

Borderlands 2 Character Bio: Axton The Commando

Axton - The Commando

Axton – The Commando

The first Borderlands 2 character profile is for Axton. This one seems to be picking up where Roland left off. Not just an ordinary soldier, he is a commando, so you can expect Axton to be good with assault rifles.

His primary action skill is the new and improved Scorpio turret 2.0, a deploy-able turret which can be modified to help the team as well as hurt the enemy.

Axton’s skill tree includes Guerrilla, Gunpowder and Survival branches (see image below). From what we can see, this class is perfect for the player who wants to shoot it out at range with snipers, or unleash a hail of bullets in typical armed combat.

“Axton was kicked out of the military for being too unpredictable and too much of a fun-loving glory hog. Rather than face certain death at a firing squad, he thought he’d retire to the one planet in the galaxy where his talents would be appreciated.”

We know that his former commanding officer and wife ‘Sarah’ is a big piece of this characters back story and in the game we might learn more of his military past.

Axton the Commando – skill tree

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Sep 09 2012

Borderlands 2 Preview, Countdown to Launch Date

Borderlands 2 will be released in North America on September 18th for PC, Xbox360 and PS3. Like the original Borderlands, this sequel is a first person shooter with role playing elements. Some of what made Borderlands special were the vast possibilities for weapon drops and the great co-op play for up to 4 players. Finding those rare guns and other items in random spots was like its own mini-game, you never knew what would turn up, and “looting” was a big part of the fun. Borderlands set itself apart from other first person shooters with its impressive visual style; the cell shading is fantastic. Also, Borderlands multiplayer was not about “team vs. team” or “deathmatch”. The co-op play made it fun for hardcore and casual gamers to join forces without hurting the experience for either. Borderlands 2 is expected to be more of the same, as the basic formula seems unchanged. Everything will be improved upon and tweaked to give us a bigger more awesome game experience than before!

As we count down the last days before its official launch, we will post a set of character bio’s so you know what to expect.

Click the Icon to see the character bios:

Axton - The Commando  Maya - The Siren  Salvador - The GunZerkerZer0 - The Assassin   

 


Which Character class will you play first in Borderlands 2?


 

And be sure to check out the official site by clicking here.

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Aug 18 2012

Borderlands 2; A Confession and a Countdown

With only one month until Borderlands 2 launches, I have a confession to make.

I don’t play FPSs.

The shock!  The horror!  She’s not a gamer after all!

Seriously, I feel like I’m missing out on the one genre that unites everyone.  I know plenty about the big online FPS brands, but I never had the urge to “get good”.  That, combined with my terrible eyesight, means I don’t even see what anyone is shooting at.  By the time I register something is there, someone else has turned it into a pile of bloody fading corpse.  At this point, I generally begin to shoot, because I can’t tell that it’s dead.  Yep.

Even though I am left out of the new release hype and the kill/death ratio bragging, I can’t be bothered.  There’s a lot of rage, frustration, confusion and competition.  Maybe I’m just a giant softy, but I want real people to be on my side against AIs.

This sounds like… Borderlands!  It’s a first person shooter and action RPG.  Thank you, Borderlands, for bringing me a shooter I can get into.  I am so excited to play Borderlands 2 co-op.  I’ve been hearing fantastic things, like some advancements in the AI behavior for hostiles, who will apparently try to flank the player and fall back when injured.  Regarding the Psychos, though, there is a popular quote going around by Gearbox’s VP who says they still behave with the attitude “Wow that’s a gun! I want my face in front of it.”  That sounds excellent!  Really, what game doesn’t need that type of adversary?

Borderlands 2 has also included a sweet feature from some of my favourite games like Skyrim, Fallout and Fable: choices with world changing consequences.  Like many games we are seeing lately, the world is affected by the decisions made by the player.  Along with this, the co-op players will have a greater interaction, since there will be more emphasis on class types and support.

None of the traditional FPSs have this.  It’s no wonder why they feel empty and unworthy of the rage they inspire.  If we see more games like this in the near future, I might get enough practice to give you a run for your money on November 13th when Black Ops 2 drops.

(I’m just kidding – I will be wayyyy too busy playing Paper Mario: Sticker Star that week.)

 

Borderlands 2 Will be released on September 18th, 2012 for Windows PC, XBox 360 and Playstation 3
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Jul 29 2012

Ouya: Looks like it’s a go!

Pronounced: OOO-yah. (Remember, the Wii taught us its whats inside that counts)

Wait… what?

If you have not heard of Ouya yet, here are the basic facts:

  • Ouya is a startup company founded by Julie Uhrman who’s cv includes positions with Vivendi Universal, Gamefly and IGN. (ok, I’m listening.)
  • The business plan for Ouya centers on a new, inexpensive game console for the home. To be powered by Google’s Android OS, with plans to sell the device + 1 controller for under $100 USD. A March 2013 release date is planned.
  • The prototype being shown has a great simple design by Yves Behar of fuseproject, and could easily be imagined as a part of the entertainment center in living rooms around the world.
  • Right now, it is just an idea. But this idea has something going for it – cash. Yes, thanks to kickstarter this idea has the one thing it needs to bring the concept from prototype to market and into consumers’ hands. As of this writing they seem to have $5,723,365 pledged of their $950,000 goal. Lets hope they don’t blow it all on Microsoft stock.

…and it looks like a fancy salt shaker.

Specifications:

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one)
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0
  • ETHERNET!

The story of this company and its innovative attempt to bust into the console market has been covered by a variety of media including Wired, Forbes, Time, and PC World. The buzz seems to focus on two main points:

  1. The bold invitation to hackers to Root it, open it up, create new peripherals, etc. The ever present piracy debate is being brought up in relation to this point and the impression given by some is that the Android platform is inadequate to provide secure distribution (guaranteed control) for software developers.
  2. The indication that Ouya may beat industry giants Apple and Google to market with a device very similar to ones they may be planning to release. (“Apple TV” ring any bells?)

Obligatory controller image, nothing new here except… OMG! HOW WILL THEY LABEL THE BUTTONS!?!?

Think about it: All the things you use a smartphone/tablet for will be there. Email, messaging, social crap, web browsing, video streaming, music… it’s all there, albeit a bit less mobile. But now you can play some “grown up” games too. A million apps at your disposal, many of them free, the rest are quite cheap. And who knows what the hackers will come up with? There is enormous potential for added capabilities to rival what we see in the MS Kinect, PS move and wiiU.

Now let’s take a step back and imagine a world of the near future, perhaps a year from now; where the Ouya overcomes many obstacles and makes it to market. Will anyone care? Will it sell more than the N-gage? I’m going to go out on a limb and say “probably”. Despite another possible Xbox 360 price drop, we are unlikely to see a viable game console with better overall entertainment value. It’s not a stretch to see the potential market for a new $100 console, just refer to the increasing amount of fed up gamers hit with the reality of $80 games.

This is why I love the underdog. Out of nowhere and into living rooms, upsetting the establishment and bringing choice and value to gamers.

And now we can finally play Angry Birds the way it was meant to be played; on a 60 inch LED with 5.1 Surround

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Jun 17 2012

Nintendo Makes an Impression at E3 2012

There are some really great things that came out of E3 this year. You could sit and watch 12 hours of video to catch everything that was revealed, but let me save you some time and possible aggravation.
I have suffered through a sometimes inept and mostly awkward presentation about something I actually care about. It was a rage inspiring experience that no one near a valuable electronic device should have to go through. Since I already have suffered, allow me to spare you.

Mario is haunted

The spirits of goombas he had previously slain. This might be where Mario is forced to understand the pain wrought forth from his senseless slaughter.

I think the outstanding brand at E3 this year was Nintendo. I am not just saying this because I have a huge hard-on for Nintendo. I would be shamelessly biased, if they asked me to. Or if I thought they were looking… but alas, I am but one of many, many fans savoring delightful anticipation for the Nintendo software and hardware hitting stores Christmas 2012.

Nintendo has been keeping fans and media busy with tidbits of information for their upcoming releases. This only served to heighten the excitement for the huge information drop at E3. Nintendo really knows how to tease.

WII U

They made a pretty big fuss about Pikmin 3. I think it will be a fun, amped up Pikmin for all you Pikmin lovers out there. It’s also an easy enough pick-up-and-play family friendly title. They introduced a new kind of Pikmin to excite loyal fans, and fiddled around with cameras to improve game-play for frustrated ones. I wasn’t shocked by anything revolutionary but if you’re a Pikmin fan I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

There will, of course, be a New Super Mario Bros Wii U. Mario fans know what to expect based on the latest New Super Mario Bros Wii and DS, but I don’t think that makes us any less excited. Personally I’m beside myself. I am thrilled to see Yoshi – BABY Yoshi – in this version as well as a lot of little touches reminiscent of Super Mario Bros, and yes, Nintendo is playing on our nostalgia, they know their audience. They can have all of my money.

Aww cute; baby Yoshi’s first bender.

I believe they showed clips of over 20 Wii U games during their conference, and had dozens of others spread out over the floor at the event.  The best thing about this is we can now see the diversity of the Wii U controller, the GamePad.   I love how you can play Wii U without the TV by using the screen on the GamePad… but I don’t think I would be able to resist dual screen gaming.  I have always loved games like Legend of Zelda: Four Swords which have a GBA/GameCube dual screen system, and of course the DS has already won the loyalty of millions of fans.  Having what used to be start-button inventories at your fingertips (literally, with the GamePad touch screen) is absolutely ideal, and now you can enjoy your HD gaming without various bars and buttons cluttering up your television screen.  Games can now look more like a movie.  This is an important step in the right direction, made possible by the High-Def graphic capabilities of the new Wii U.

Gadget oriented games such as Batman: Arkham City and Watch Dogs (more on that later) will be hugely enhanced by the handheld device idea.  The last generation of Wii was about bringing you bodily into the game, which was often more gimmicky than accurate; however with the GamePad they have opened up a fantastic reality.  Oh no, the world does not pause while Batman looks at his Bat…device. We can see how this adds new possibilities for fun and challenge in less gimmicky titles.

Wii U Batman

…”But what about the Wii owners who never got to play Arkham City the first time around Mr.B?”

One thing that popped up on my radar during the Nintendo conference was ZombiU.  If you need any reason to let go of your concerns about the GamePad, all you need to do is travel through time and space to play this game at E3.

But seriously. (link rated M for violence and gore)

If you can’t watch that video, you’re missing out.  Bookmark it for later, I can’t explain it well enough.  It shows the best ways a game can utilize the GamePad that I’ve seen so far.  My mind was a little blown.  A zombie popping up while I scan the room though, thanks but no thanks!  Being able to look behind you while you access the keypad… even HAVING to look behind you:  Amazing.  Sniping was really well done too, I would love to see a better gun attachment for the GamePad and a more advanced system using this idea for a first person shooter.  I think these ideas were a better preview into what we are going to see over the next couple years…

In fact, the breaking news from Nintendo is that they have confirmed that two GamePads will be able to be used with a Wii U in a two player system.  Until now, the various multiplayer games have used Wiimotes or other controllers.  Also they finally demonstrated at E3 the 360 abilities of the GamePad.  This means being able to physically turn around to look behind you.  The possibilities, I’m sure, are endless.  I know ZombieNinjaBot has already come up with a lot of first person shooter ideas using this function. *

The last couple things worth quickly drawing your attention to…  Wii U Lego City.  It looks like a fun open city kind of game that uses the GamePad in a kid-friendly way. I am really excited to see a big open world for kids to explore. Also Nintendo Land was a huge discussion point at E3, for all that it’s just the next Wii Sports, but of course I am gaga over anything with the traditional Nintendo titles.  It includes 13 mini games, very similar to Mario Party games, based on various Nintendo icons such as Mario, Luigi’s mansion, Donkey Kong and my favourite hero of all time, Link. Could this be included with the system at release? How awesome would that be?

*ZombieNinjaBot: “Yer goddam right I have!”

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Jun 04 2012

2012 – E3 Preview

With the current generation of consoles nearing the end of their life cycles, this years E3 is bound to have some big announcements from the top 3. In fact, we already know some key details about the next Nintendo system: “Wii U”. We can expect to hear a lot about this system from Nintendo as they seem to be nearest  to releasing their next console to market. Because most of our pre-E3 information has come from Nintendo, This post will focus on some new details related to the WiiU.

Nintendo has shown how the production version of the game pad hardware has evolved slightly from the prototype shown previously.

 

Nintendo WiiU production gamepad

Nintendo WiiU prototype production gamepad

 

It is clear that Nintendo is aiming for a higher level of integration into the gamers lifestyle by providing tablet style web browsing, a built-in T.V. remote, texing and IM; and social features including a deeper more meaningful way for Wiis to interact: “wara wara” (their name for the built in social Nintendo community application). On that note, get used to hearing the term “Miiverse” (the built in game game network), as this buzzword will become an everyday word soon.

 

Nintendo WiiU Pro controller

Nintendo WiiU Pro controller

 

It has been noted that the WiiU will accept all previous controls from the Wii including nunchucks and balance board, so that is a plus for anyone who invested in Wii hardware.

Full coverage of major E3 announcements will follow, with more focus on Sony and Microsoft in the next few days.

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